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IMN Mounts Defence on El-zakzaky’s Return to Nigeria




The Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), on Friday confirmed the return of its leader, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, to Nigeria, but rejected reports that he refused treatment in India.

In a statement by its Media Forum, IMN said that the religious leader arrived in Abuja at noon.

In the statement signed by the forum’s President, Malam Ibrahim Musa, and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Zaria, Kaduna State, IMN claimed that the leader was not allowed to speak with “the multitude” of newsmen that had waited for hours to speak with him on arrival.

It alleged that contrary to the view of the Federal Government that El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat, refused treatment, they were “forcibly wheeled to a hospital without their personal physician that accompanied them from Nigeria”.

It further claimed that medics subjected the couple to physical examination in the absence of the doctors that initially examined them, and that their request to have their doctors were rejected.

The group claimed that another physician that came from London was also denied access to them in spite his being familiar with the sheikh’s case from Nigeria.

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“It was at this point that Sheikh El-Zakzaky lost confidence in the whole process and refused any further attempt to be treated,” the group claimed.

IMN said that the group would continue the struggle to ensure that its leader got the appropriate medical treatment as ordered by the Kaduna High court.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that El-Zakzaky, who is facing an 8-count charge in a case of homicide filed by the Kaduna State Government, was granted leave for medical treatment by a Kaduna High Court on Aug. 5.

El-Zakzaky and  his wife, Zeenat, subsequently traveled to India via Duba, for medical treatment after the Federal Government and relevant agencies took steps to comply with the order in spite of protestation by the Kaduna State Government.

However, the Federal Government in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja, said that the religious leader was frustrating the authorities of the Indian hospital where he was to be treated.

In the statement,  “The true story on El-Zakzaky in India”, the government said that the cleric, who particularly chose Medanta Hospital, India for the treatment, had begun to display ulterior motives against laid down procedures.

The statement signed by Grace Isu Gekpe, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, said that the cleric refused to subject himself to preliminary medical checks after State officials resisted his pressure to hand over his International Passport to him.

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“He also demanded free movement and access to visitors of all kinds, and also requested to be allowed to check into a 5-Star Hotel instead of being admitted in the hospital.

“That request was rejected on the ground that he came into the country for medicals, and not as a tourist, especially with the Visa issued on medical grounds and not for tourism.

“He also demanded that Police protection be withdrawn from him by the Indian authorities.

“Against medical ethics and standard practice, he requested to nominate Doctors of his choice to join the ones tasked by Medanta Hospital to perform medical treatment on him and his wife.

“That demand created a stalemate as the Hospital insisted that he would not dictate to it on the choice of medical personnel to carry the required medical treatment.”

The statement said that the Indian auth0rities, who were frustrated by his antics, had expressed willingness to return him to Nigeria with immediate effect on the account that they would not allow him to use their country to internationalise his group’s activities.

The Nigerian government commended the stand of the Indian Government and also apologise to her for the “unruly behaviour” of El-Zakzaky.

The statement affirmed government’s readiness to prosecute El-Zakzaky through due process, if and when he is returned to the country, urging Nigerians to ignore his claims that he was being held in circumstances worse than he was in Nigeria.

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NAN recalls that the Federal Government recently proscribed the group following incessant protests by its members. (NAN)


Pope Francis Gives Cardinal Okpaleke  new Appointment




  His Holiness, Pope Francis has appointed His Eminence, Peter Ebere Cardinal Okpaleke, to serve as a member for the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life.

The Catholic Bishop of Ekwulobia’s appointment was among some recently created Cardinals to be members of different dicasteries of the Roman Curia, the Vatican announced.

This is contained in a statement on Saturday through Fr Mike Umoh, the National Director of Social Communications,  Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Abuja.

“The Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life was established by Pope Francis on 15 August 2016 with the ‘Motu Proprio’ ‘Sedula Mater’, which describes the responsibilities and functions that previously pertained to the Pontifical Council for the Laity and the Pontifical Council for the Family,” It stated.

According to the  statement, the Cardinal’s  new responsibility came among other Cardinals appointed as announced by the Vatican.

Cardinal Okpaleke was among the 20 prelates welcomed into the College of Cardinals by Pope Francis on Aug. 27.(NAN)

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NCPC to Commence Pilgrimage to Rome in October




The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC), Rev. Yakubu Pam, said the Commission is set to commence pilgrimage exercise to Rome in October.

This is  contained  in a statement  by Godiya Mathew, an Information Officer in the commission on Friday in Abuja .

Mathew quoted Pam as disclosing this during a courtesy visit to him by the Catholic Youth Organisation of Nigeria (CYON) .

Rev. Fr. Boniface Idoko, National Youth Animator of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria led the delegation.

Pam  commended the Catholic Church for preserving the Holy sites in Israel, Turkey and other Holy Lands.

He said the Catholic Church has helped the Christian heritage and background.

Pam said the commission, in collaboration with the Catholic Youth Organisation, would work out modalities on how to include Catholic Youth Pilgrimage as part of its pilgrimage package.

The NCPC boss also disclosed that the Archbishop of Abuja, His Grace, Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, would be the spiritual leader of the Pilgrimage exercise to Rome in October.

In his response, Idoko, who led the delegation,  appreciated Pam being a great ambassador of Christ and his Gospel through the pilgrimage exercise.

” We are proud of your great works,” he said.

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 Idoko explained that the youths can be used as agents of pilgrimage awareness; hence the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria was open to any collaboration with the commission.

He further disclosed that the Catholic Church would be organizing a World Youth Day, which is scheduled to take place in Aug. 2023 at Lisbon, Portugal.

Idoko said,” it is a catholic festival for youths from all over the world.” (NAN)

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Pioneer Bishop of Catholic Diocese, Zaria, George Dodo dies at 65




Kaduna, July 8, 2022 (NAN) The Catholic Diocese of Zaria on Friday confirmed the passing of its pioneer Bishop, Most Rev. George Dodo at the age of 65.

The Diocesan Vice Chancellor, Rev. Fr. Abraham Nake, who announced this in Zaria said Dodo died in the early hours of Friday following an illness.

“While we enjoin all to pray for his peaceful repose, information regarding his burial will be announced as soon as possible,” he said.

Dodo was born on April 17, 1956. He was the second child of the family of Mr and Mrs David Dodo of Zuturung Mago Village, Zangon Kataf Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

He was enrolled into St. Patrick’s Primary School, now LEA Primary School, Zuturung Mago in January 1964 for his Primary Education and finished in 1970.

He graduated from St. Joseph’s Minor Seminary, Zaria, in May 1977 with a General Certificate Examination (GCE) and enrolled into Augustine’s Major Seminary Jos on Aug.

27, 1977, where he studied philosophy and theology.

Dodo also bagged a Diploma in Religious Studies from the University of Ibadan in July 1981, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sacred Theology conferred upon by the Pontifical Urbanian University, Rome in Sept. 1983.

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He was ordained a deacon in the Archdiocese of Jos, Plateau State, in Oct. 1983, and was raised to the order of the Presbyterate on June 18, 1983, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Cathedral, Kaduna.

His first place of pastoral assignment was the cathedral of St. Joseph in Kaduna, where he served as the Assistant Cathedral Administrator between July 1983 and June 1984.

He went for further studies at the Jesuits of Rosehill Campus, Fordham University, Bronx-New York, USA, where he obtained a Master of Arts degree in Pastoral Care/Counselling and Parish Ministration and Leadership.

He was to return to the University of Fordham to obtain an Advanced Professional Diploma between July 1989 and Dec. 1990.

He held many priestly positions in  Zonkwa and Kaduna before his elevation as the Catholic Bishop of Zaria in 2007. (NAN)

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