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FIRS Easter Message: CAN Appeals for Sensitivity, Respect in Public Communications

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By Laide Akinboade, Abuja 

The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, on Tuesday condemned the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Easter message.

In a statement issued by CAN and signed by Prophet Commodore Abimbola Ayuba (rtd), National Director, National Issues and Social Welfare, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), and made available to journalists in Abuja.

 Ayuba advised that it is imperative to use religious symbols and narratives, and should be handled with the highest degree of sensitivity, especially when intersecting with secular matters.

The statement reads, “It has come to our attention that the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has released an Easter message that has sparked significant public outcry amongst Christians.

It is with a profound sense of duty to national unity and respect for religious sentiments that we address the controversial statement “Jesus paid your debt, not your taxes” circulated by the FIRS.

“As a nation that prides itself on religious harmony and peaceful coexistence, we are deeply concerned by the recurrence of provocative messages around religious holidays. This year, a public institution, which should be the bastion of exemplary conduct, has been implicated in disseminating content that is widely regarded as offensive and derogatory to the Christian faith. Such messages not only threaten the delicate fabric of our national unity but also undermine the efforts of countless Nigerians working towards fostering mutual respect among diverse religious groups.

“The Easter period, a time of solemn reflection and sacred observance for Christians, should not be juxtaposed with civic obligations in a manner that trivializes or mocks core religious beliefs. Religious convictions are at the heart of our identity and deserve the utmost respect. The analogy drawn by the FIRS between the pivotal Christian doctrine of redemption and the civic duty of tax payment has been received with distress and indignation by the Christian community.

“We recognize that the intended message may have been to creatively engage taxpayers; however, the execution has regrettably crossed the bounds of cultural and religious decorum. While the FIRS’s intent may not have been to show irreverence, the impact of the message cannot be ignored. It is imperative to remember that the use of religious symbols and narratives should be handled with the highest degree of sensitivity, especially when intersecting with secular matters.

“The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) advises all public and private organizations to exercise caution and consideration for the diverse religious backgrounds of our society. It is crucial that communications, especially from public institutions, are crafted with a clear understanding of the cultural and religious tapestry that defines our nation.

“In light of recent events, we call upon the management of the FIRS to retract the message and offer a public apology for the distress caused. We also urge President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Minister of Finance, Wale Edun and the Department of State Security Service (DSS) to take cognizance of this incident and to guide the FIRS in adhering to communication strategies that promote respect, unity, and cohesion.

“As a nation, we must strive to uphold the principles of respect and sensitivity in all our public discourses. It is through these values that we can continue to build a truly harmonious and inclusive Nigeria.”

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10th Anniverssary: Borno Government Gives Update On 89 Abducted Chibok Girls Still In Captivity

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Borno State government has said 89 out of 276 abducted girls of Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, are still in captivity.

The state Commissioner for Information and Internal security Affairs, Prof Usman Tar, disclosed this at a press conference to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the ugly event.

April 14, 2014, would mark the tenth year of the abduction of the school girls.

“So far, 187 of the 276 abducted Chibok girls have been rescued and reunited with their families; 89 are still missing,” he said.

Tar, who spoke alongside his counterpart of Women Affairs, Zuwaira Gambo, noted that the 187 girls rescued over a period of ten years, include the 57 that escaped on the day of abduction.

He revealed that 108 were rescued by the security agencies and already reunited with their families.

He said the 187 rescued girls were enrolled in Capacity-building centres and Second Chance Schools initiative to make them self-reliant.

“Also, a number of the rescued girls have been enrolled for various scholarship programmes” he said.

He called on the parents of the girls that are still missing to be patient, saying government would do everything possible to get reunited with their children.

“We really understand the pain and anguish that the families of those still in captivity are going through, and government is committed to rescuing the remaining girls in captivity; we are working very closely with the federal security agencies along this line,” he said

He expressed hope that with the combined efforts of the security forces, intelligence agencies and communities, all the remaining girls in captivity would return home.

“With about 100 still in captivity, I can say that we are still in mourning period, and we still in prayer session in Mosques and Churches for their rescue.”

“This is not a moment of celebration and joy, but a moment for prayers and commemoration,” he stressed, assuring, “We will celebrate when all have been rescued,” he said.

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Abductors of former Gov Ortom’s CoS, wife, cook, contact family demand N100 million

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From Attah Ede Makurdi

The suspected armed Fulani herdsmen who reportedly attacked chief of staff (CoS) to former Benue State governor Samuel Ortom, Mr. Terwase Orbunde and abducted his wife and house maid, have contacted the victims’ family and demanded for the sum of N100 million as ransom for their release.

Orbunde served the immediate past Governor of the state, Chief Samuel Ortom as chief of staff between 2015 to 2022 and contested for governorship of the State under the platform of APC in the 2023 general elections.
The former governorship aspirants who is being treated for gunshot injuries in undisclosed hospital in Makurdi, said that the men contacted him this morning (Saturday) at about 8:30am through their victims.
The former Chief of Staff said his wife and cook were very calm when they spoke with him.He revealed that during the attack which took place at about 6pm yesterday, the gunmen spoke Fulani among themselves and communicated with him in Hausa saying they would contact him on phone.He maintained that his wife and the house help told him to be prepared to send the money to them and that if he failed to do that they would kill his wife and cook.Daily Asset had earlier reported that the former chief of staff was attacked yesterday (Friday), April 12, 2024, close to the Genocide Cemetery along Mobile Barracks-Welfare Quarters Road in Makurdi, the state capital at about six pm.Orbunde reportedly escaped with a gunshot on his right arm while the attackers whisked away Mrs Abigail Kashimana Orbunde, and her house help, Patience Ogute.It was said that Orbunde, his wife and the house help had gone to inspect the weeding of their farm located close to the road.They said after the inspection of the work and payment of the workers five gunmen suddenly attacked their victims as they walked back to their car.It was reported that they opened fire and Honorable Orbunde received a bullet on the right arm while they ordered him and the women to follow them to an unknown destination.The shooting was said to have caused villagers and passersby to scamper for safety in different directions.”As they marched along, the former Chief of Staff was said to be bleeding profusely and unable to walk quickly.”The leader of the group ordered him to walk away while the gunmen took the women to an unknown destination while good Samaritans conveyed Mr Orbunde to hospital”, an eye witness watched from afar narrated.

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Kukah Advises Nigerians to use Power, Authority to Impact Humanity

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Bishop Mathew Kukah, Archbishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, has advised Nigerians to use positions of power and authority to impact, and add value, to humanity.

Kukah gave the advice on Friday in Abuja at the 2nd Annual Impact and Legacy Lecture of Late Innocent Chukwuma, Founder of Cleen Foundation.

The foundation is known for promoting public safety, security and accessible justice through the strategies of empirical research, legislative advocacy and publications.

Kukah who spoke on: “Power of One: Dreams and Nightmares”, said that it was important to strive to change negative narratives, live impactful lives and leave lasting positive legacies.

“I begin this lecture by telling you about people like Pope John Paul, Malala Yousafzai, Martin Luther King and a host of others who have used powers positively.

“I used this to illustrate the choices that people have made in life and how they have used powers in their hands, either for good or bad.

“The late Innocent took up a passionate commitment and we must continue to push the frontiers that brought greatness to Nigeria,” he said.

The Bishop said that memorials are only for those who make impacts.

He urged everyone with ideas on curbing crimes and enhancing policing to strive to make impact irrespective of age and location for the betterment of the country.

Contributing, Mr Solomon Arase, Chairman, Police Service Commission (PSC), said the whole idea of community and intelligence policing could be attributed to the efforts of late Chukwuma.

According to him, it was through Chukwuma’s efforts that the trends and patterns of crime and its terminology were introduced into Nigeria’s policing vocabulary.

“Intelligence policing in Nigeria can be attributed to late Innocent Chukwuma because most people may not know about this and how this whole thing came about.

“The efforts of this man brought people from the metropolitan police and conveyed about 500 police officers from Nigeria to study what they were doing in the United States.

“His efforts and those of Prof Etannibi Alemika, Kemi and the MacArthur Foundation also brought into Nigeria one of the best police officers in the world who started talking about community partnership in deepening internal security management.

“The man Innocent Chukwuma has left things that are imperishable and should be sustained,” he said.

Reports says that former Minister of Solid Minerals, Obi EzEzewkesil, representatives of Ford Foundation, Civil Liberty Organization, YIAGA Africa and others at the event commended the convergence of great minds to foster continued development in policing. (NAN)

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