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US Commission Faults Removal Of Nigeria From Religious Freedom Violators’ List

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Humanists Outraged By US Removal Of Nigeria From Religious Freedom Blacklist

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom has condemned the removal of Nigeria from the list of “Countries of Particular Concern for having engaged in or tolerated systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in a statement on Wednesday, blacklisted Russia, China and eight other countries as religious violators, leaving out Nigeria which was placed on the same list in 2020.

The development comes amid Blinken’s visit to Kenya and his scheduled visit to Nigeria this week.

The USCIRF, which described itself as “an independent, bipartisan federal government entity established by the U.S. Congress to monitor, analyze, and report on religious freedom abroad”, said it “finds it unexplainable that the U.S. Department of State did not redesignate Nigeria as a ‘Country of Particular Concern’ and treated it as a country with no severe religious freedom violations.”

READ ALSO: UK Identifies Terror Suspect After blowing Himself Up

In a statement on Wednesday titled, ‘USCIRF Appalled at Administration’s Removal of Nigeria from List of Violators of Religious Freedom’, USCIRF Chair, Nadine Maenza, expressed disappointment over the development, urging the Secretary of State to reconsider its decision.

“USCIRF is disappointed that the State Department did not adopt our recommendations in designating the countries that are the worst violators of religious freedom.

“While the State Department took steps forward on some designations, USCIRF is especially displeased with the removal of Nigeria from its CPC designation, where it was rightfully placed last year, as well as the omission of India, Syria, and Vietnam. We urge the State Department to reconsider its designations based on facts presented in its own reporting,” he said.

 

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NNPCL Board: Club 66 Idanre, Commends Tinubu On Akinyelure’s Appointment

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Chief Pius Akinyelereu

A foremost club in Idanre, Ondo State, Club 66, has commended President Bola Tinubu for appointing its patron, Chief Pius Aknyelure, as chairman of the Board of the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Ltd (NNPCL).

The Club gave the commendation in a statement issued by its President, Dr Anthony Omolola, in Lagos, on Tuesday.

Club 66 Idanre, which described the appointee as a square peg in a square hold, said that he would bring his vast experience in the oil and gas industry spanning over 40 years to bear on the appointment, particularly in resolving some of the knotty issues faced by the NNPCL Board and the oil industry in general.

The Club said: “Chief Pius Akinyelure’s appointment as chairman of the NNPCL board no doubt marks a watershed.

“Akinyelure retired from Mobil Oil as Executive Director of Finance in 1997. Even before then, he had been a big player in the industry.

“The Club sincerely appreciates the president for finding our patron worthy of such a prestigious assignment.

“Before now, he was appointed into the Board by former President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015.

“Thereafter, he was reappointed by President Buhari in May 2020.

“He has been chairman and director of several companies, including Wema Bank, Credit A Bank Ltd, Odua Investment Ltd, Oluwa Glass Plc, Okitipupa Oil-Palm Plc, Odua Telecommunications Ltd, Cocoa Industry Nigeria Ltd, Hallmark Bank, and West African Portland Cement Plc. He is a philanthropist with unique contributions to several communities in Ondo State and Nigeria at large.

“The good people of Idanre extend felicitations to the president for his noble gesture.”

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Abiodun Approves Constituency Projects For 236 Councillors

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Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun

Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, has approved constituency projects for the 236 councillors in the state.

The approval, the governor said, was in fulfilment of his promise to ensure the councilors execute projects in their various constituencies as the closest to the people at the grassroot.

Prince Abiodun made this known at the Governor’s Office, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, when he received the jubilant councilors who were on ground to pass a vote of confidence in his administration and also thank him for paying their full furniture allowance.

Governor Abiodun, who recently approved the full payment of furniture allowance to the 236 councillors, also promised to ensure the continuous empowerment of the councillors.

“You have reminded me of my promise to you of your constituency project. Consider that done because you are the closest to the grassroot. You are the ones representing us at the grassroot. You will not be put to shame.

“I am a promise-keeping governor . Whatever promise I make to you, I will definitely keep it. I want to thank you for your very kind remarks for appreciating that I promised you I was going to pay your furniture allowances, and I remain the first governor that will pay furniture allowances to councillors 100%.

“I also promised that I was going to ensure you are sufficiently empowered. You are politicians. You must be empowered to continue to empower your various constituencies and I think I am trying,” he said.

Governor Abiodun also thanked the judiciary for upholding the rule of law and called on opposition members to stop running around to buy jugments and join his administration in moving the state to the next level.

The governor stated that Ogun State is currently the fastest growing economy in the country, even as he ascribed the success to the team, which shares the same vision with him.

He promised that his administration would spend the next three and half years building on the solid foundation laid in the first term, noting that no stone would be left unturned.

Governor Abiodun also urged the councilors to continue to be good ambassadors of the party at their various wards.

Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman, Ogun State Forum of Councillors, Hon. Olarenwaju Adeleye thanked the governor for approving and paying their full furniture allowance.

Adeleye also acknowledged Governor Abiodun for executing at least a project in each of the 236 wards of the state and commended him for not abandoning projects left unfinished by the immediate past administrations in the state.

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Ogun, Aviation Ministry, Others Meet Tuesday On Concessioning Gateway Agro-Cargo Airport

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Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun

The Ogun State Government, Federal Ministry of Aviation, and other stakeholders will, this week, meet on concessioning the Gateway Agro-Cargo International Airport.

The airport, located in the Iperu-Ilishan axis of the state, is nearing completion with aircraft already landing at the location.

The Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun speaking on a Channels TV programme on Sunday evening, disclosed that efforts by the state government to recoup every penny expended on the airport would begin with the take-off of the concessioning agreement.

Prince Abiodun said that because of the world-class facilities available at the airport, the state government received many concessioning offers.

He said: “Returns on airport investments are not seen overnight. We have been receiving unsolicited offers from others who are desirous of consessioning this airport and paying us back everything the airport costs us.

“So, for us, our money has worked. We invested in building this airport to de-risk it because we realised that if we had gone ahead and advertised for others to come and build this airport for us, we probably would only have started building it at the end of our second term. So, we decided to bite the bullet. We invested. We have built that airport.

“Because of the standard that we have adhered to– we’ve built a world class airport here– we have now received unsolicited offers to concession the airport from us and I am happy to say that we have accepted one of those offers. By the grace of God, on Tuesday , we will be signing that concession. You will see the Minister of Aviation along with the heads of aviation parastatals signing with us to a third party who currently manages three other airports in Africa.

“And this third party would be paying the entire amount the airport has cost us. So, it would now be his responsibility to run this airport in line with the world best practices. He would be responsible for bringing in traffic to this airport, and I know that he is already speaking to some major cargo companies around the world. We’ve created this enabling facility. “They said you build a road that connects you from one point to the other, but when you build an airport, it takes you from one point to the rest of the world. And we think that with what we’ve done, we’ve opened Ogun State to the rest of the world.”

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