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Easter: Love is impossible without an intention of sacrifice.

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This year’s Easter celebration is significant in the sense that it is the first major national festival we will be witnessing after the commencement of the administration of vaccines against the dreaded Corona Virus.

I recall that during last year’s celebration there was a global lockdown as most countries of the world required that citizens stay indoors and, for the first time in many generations, we celebrated Easter in a low-key style.

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But the story this year is slightly different.

Now, there are several certified vaccines and Nigeria, having giving nearly a million of our population their first doses of vaccination, has joined the league of countries that are pushing back the virus. But we are not anyway near the safety threshold. The deadly virus is still much potent as it was last year and the requirement for us to stay safe by adhering to all the Covid-19 safety protocols of washing our hands, wearing face mask, avoiding crowded places and observing social distance, needs to be observed diligently.

However, we remain thankful. First, to the Almighty God for HIs benevolence in giving us the knowledge to overcome the virus. Secondly, we must thank our ever-courageous health workers, who like the example set by Jesus Christ, sacrificed their time and in many instances, their lives in order for us to get to where we are today in the fight against the deadly virus.

The essence of Easter celebration is not merely for us to merry. It is a season to reflect on the purpose and meaning of love and sacrifice. Love, because God says we should love our neighbours as ourselves. And sacrifice, because love is hardly practicable without an intention to make a sacrifice.

Therefore, on this occasion of Easter celebration, I urge all Nigerians to take time to pray first of all for peace to return to the country and also for unity. Nigeria is at the precipice of insecurity, poverty and, most unfortunately, disunity. These are challenges, not impediments. The way to surmount these challenges is to learn from the world when super power countries who are rivals suspended politics to face a common threat in Covid-19.

I believe that when we approach our challenges with a heart of forgiveness and love, humanity will always triumph. This is the lesson that Jesus (Nabil Yisa) taught us.

As I join in wishing the Christian faithful in Nigeria and across the globe a happy Easter celebration, let us as take a moment to pray for our military men and women who are keeping the vigil of daily sacrifice in order to keep us all safe.
May God bless our nation and its people.

Atiku Abubakar

Wazirin Adamawa

Vice President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999-2007

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El-Rufai Remains My Boss Forever, Says Suspended NPA MD, Hadiza Bala-Usman

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The suspended managing director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala-Usman, has described Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State as her “Forever Boss”.

She made her first public appearance on Thursday since after she was asked to step aside in order to allow for unfettered investigation of the management of the NPA.

OBSERVERS TIMES recall that Bala-Usman was last week Thursday, May 6, 2021 suspended from office over sundry allegations including remittance shortfalls by NPA to the tune of N165.3bn.

Presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, had in a statement on May 6 announced the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari granted to the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, to set up a panel of enquiry on the activities of the NPA management and as well Hadiza Bala-Usman’s suspension while the investigation last.

Although she has denied the allegations but on Monday, May 10, 2021, Amaechi carried out the presidential directive by inaugurating a 10-man panel of enquiry, which will probe Bala-Usman and the NPA management.

Meanwhile Hadiza, who hails from Katsina State, showed up in Zaria, Kaduna State on Thursday as a member of the entourage of the state governor to the Emir of Zazzau’s palace for Eid-el-Fitr festivities.

She took to her social media handles afterwards to announce her presence with a photo of her seated beside Governor El-Rufai at the Sallah event, saying she was at the event with El-Rufai, her “Forever Boss”.

Hadiza Bala-Usman, apart from the traditional sallah prayer, also made a veiled reference to the ongoing probe of NPA activities, saying she was resolute with a belief that “truth always triumphs.”

Bala-Usman wrote: “Eid Mubarak….”Taqabbalallāhu minnā wa minkum”May Allah accept [good deeds] from you and us”.

“At the place of the Emir of Zazzau with my forever Boss @elrufai. We remain resolute in the believe that the truth always triumphs…Allah’s protection and guidance for alway

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Buhari’s regime has lost ideas, best known for blame game –Gov Mohammed

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The Governor of Bauchi State, Bala Mohammed, has come out hard on the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, saying it is full of blame game, nepotism and corruption.

Mohammed , who made this assertion in an interaction with journalists on Thursday at the Ramat House, Bauchi, after the Sallah parade at the palace of the Emir of Bauchi, said the deteriorating economy which has led to widespread insecurity and poverty in the country, was as a result of loss of ideas by the Federal Government.

Mohammed added that there was truth in the assertion by the Southern governors who recently said that the northern part of the country was favoured more than the south.

If you are not fair and equitable in your administration, in your management, if there is nepotism, only one section is given positions in government, then what the southern governors said is true.

Some people are given too much attention to the detriment of others.

“What we know in this country, as a federation, there is always a balance in terms of appointments of federal offices, in terms of appointments even at the local level because if you don’t practise fairness at the top, then you cannot get it at the lower level. And people will begin to think of self-actualisation, self-determination, and so on,” he said.

Mohammed insisted that the Buhari regime had no ideas on how to grow the economy, noting that it was best known for blame game, just as corruption was thriving in the regime more than previous administrations.

“I think the Federal Government has lost ideas on how to grow the economy. They are just involved in a blame game. What they are best known for is blame game, always saying this and that.”

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Four killed in Customs, smugglers gun fight in Oyo

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Four people have been reported dead after a crossfire between operatives of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and suspected smugglers in Iseyin area of Oyo State.

The gun fight caused fear among residents celebrating the Eid-el-Fitr while fleeing for safety

Muftau Abilawon, the former Caretaker Chairman of Iseyin Local Government Council, confirmed the crossfire to Newsmen.

“I have been duly informed by a traditional chief, the Ikolaba of Iseyin, Chief Ismail Tikalosoro, who called me and narrated the incident to me on the phone.

He advised that I brief the special adviser to the governor on security about the matter, which I did immediately, and he has promised to intervene,” Mr Abilawon stated.

He added, “I understand that the four corpses were taken to the palace of the Aseyin of Iseyin, where the chiefs appealed for calm and asked the aggrieved residents to deposit the corpses at Fadoks hospital.

“The chiefs also begged them not to set the Customs base in Iseyin ablaze, which they yielded to, but it was too late for the Toyota Hilux van as it was on fire already before the appeal.”

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