Bishop Mathew Kukah, the Bishop of Sokoto Catholic Diocese, has expressed his perspective on the ongoing government palliatives, stating that they do not offer effective solutions to the challenges faced by Nigerians.
Kukah in his Christmas message theme, “Time to Reclaim Nigeria’s Greatness” said the problems are deep and are structural, calling on President Bola Tinubu not to be afraid to reset the template of power no matter the cultural or historical myths. “We are tired of promises and stories. We want evidence we can see and touch”
He also called on the President to stop the killings of Nigerians by whatever name must end and end now. “These senseless killings, abductions, extortions and kidnappings have to end and the sacredness and sanctity of human life restored. Blasphemy laws have no place in a democracy. We are not in a theocracy.
“Those who take life by whatever means must be fished out and punished. A culture of compensation to victims must be institutionalised and states must take full responsibility while criminals or those who hide them are fished out. We cannot go on this way. The seeds of hatred that have sprouted in Gaza show us the consequences of allowing a culture of distorted narratives to grow among us.
“You must rid the public service of criminals who have turned the opportunity to serve into an ignoble enterprise. We concede that there are millions of decent men and women who genuinely wish to serve but are crushed by the deadweight of corrupt ogas at the top who use corruption as their oxygen! This surgery must happen if you are to succeed in any of your dreams of delivering much-needed services to our people.
He also spoke on the 2023 elections and their consequences on the nation so far, and called on leaders on every front to as a matter of urgency find healing as soon as possible. He explained that this is not an easy job for any nation and there are no shortcuts to nation-building.
He however said the last few years did test our collective resolve to stay united. “Now, the government must devise strategies for achieving reconciliation which has eluded us.
“Our injuries are not invisible. Very many National Conferences have been held to chart a way forward. The trove of grievances and hopes is there and all the government needs to do is to dust them up. No need to reinvent the wheel or attempt some new diagnosis.
He further said, “Mr. President, Sir, congratulations and a happy Christmas. Now, you have what you prayed for, what you dreamt of, what you longed for. For the better part of over twenty years, you have plotted to be our President. For years, you campaigned for a new Nigeria through restructuring or overhauling the defective machinery of the Nigerian state.
“For years, you fought the military and other forms of dictatorships. For years, you fought for the victims of a deep state. For years, you sought to create an egalitarian society. For years, you sought a just society. For years you have built networks with individuals, communities and institutions. Now is harvest time.
“You are on the driving seat now. Under your watch, Nigeria must turn the corner. Under your watch, we must end the ugly instrumentalization of religious, ethnic or regional identities. You have had enough time to think of the answers to many questions that are crying for answers. Your future and that of our country is in your hands.
” Mr President, you have no excuses before God or the people of Nigeria. Neither God nor history will not forgive you if you fail. This is our moment, our date with history. Now, all eyes and ears are on you. Our prayers for a united country are with you.
“We have seen the first faltering steps of policy decisions which have elicited a mixture of controversy, anxiety and praise. This is to be expected. You have promised us a Renewed Hope Agenda, but know that hope has worn thin in our dear nation.
“Nigerians have almost lost hope in the fact that a government can really and truly care for them. Nigerians have lost hope in the fact that our politicians will put our interests first and find a way to deal with the cancer of corruption. We had lost hope in being united again given the seeds of division that had been sown. Ignite our hope again, Sir.
“We now have seen some renewed hope in your effort to run an inclusive government. We want an end to partisanship. The problems of Nigeria are deep-seated and they are based on a culture of corruption that has become the foundation stone of governance. This evil structure has to be dismantled.
“To be able to have credibility, your Renewed Hope agenda must be based on a solid foundation of faith and hope for the restoration of glory for our country. So far, a few of your key policies have unleashed a raft of suffering on the masses of our people. There must be a deliberate effort to restore hope on the faces of the poor and vulnerable in our society.
“We have heard the familiar stories of empty treasuries and the efforts at investigations. We wait to see if anything will be different. Lay the foundation for ending the unnecessary sufferings of our people”
Kukah also appealed to Nigerians to continue to have faith in the country and stay the course in hope. “God will do great things for our nation, but we each must renew our commitment towards self-examination and repentance.
“Good politics and good politicians can bring about change, but all of these require the commitment and honesty of citizens to be honest at all levels. I therefore call on Christians in particular in this season to become real models of our faith.
“The call to be a Christian is not a call to join an Association or a Club. The fourteenth-century English poet Alexander Pope who said, “Christ may be born a thousand times in Bethlehem, but if he is not born in your heart, his birth has no meaning for you.”
Order CBN to honour Letters of Credit– SINET to Tinubu, NASS
Amidst several hardships facing the Nigerian populace, the Social Integrity Network, (SINET) has urged President Ahmed Bola Tinubu and the leadership of national assembly to compel the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Mr. Olayemi Cardoso, to order and reconsider honouring the forward contracts that are genuinely backed up with proper compliant documents for utilisation against each Letters of Credit (LCs) opened by the commercial banks using the forwards as a hedge.
The group also urged the Federal Government to make further clarification concerning a statement credited to the CBN Governor on issues regarding the alleged and well-publicized revelations of a $2.4 billion forex trading fraud.
SINET recalled that “On February 5, 2024, the governor of CBN made this declaration in both his interactions with Senate committees and his interview on a national television, following the engagement of Deloitte Management Consultant to conduct a forensic investigation where he claimed that the said amount was uncovered.
A statement issued on Monday by SINET national coordinator, Ibrahim Issah, disclosed that “On the contrary, we wish to unequivocally state that these claims lack merit and do not take into account the consequences they will have on businesses, public perception, or the economy of our cherished nation and its implication on forex both at home and abroad.”
According to him, “Without sentiment, the claim is completely falsehood and unacceptable as he, the CBN governor, failed to consider its economic implications. It is pertinent to state that genuine businessmen and women across the country, borrowed Funds from commercial banks, some with interest rates as high as 30% to secure forex from the CBN through their respective commercial banks since CBN does not sell the dollars to individuals directly.
“The same funds have been deposited with CBN for the past one and half years for forwards allocated for which the Apex Bank is now claiming were fraudulent transactions. May we remind Mr. Governor that while the CBN allocated the forwards after collecting the naira for each forward allocated, the commercial banks used these same forward contracts as a hedge and issued Letters of Credit (LCs) to their various customers against their offshore credit lines and also as a sovereign guarantee to their offshore banks which stand unpaid till today as a result of the failure of CBN to honour the various forward contracts.
“May we also remind our CBN Governor that as a result of their failure to honour these contracts, the outstanding foreign loans continue to accrue interest (post-negotiation charges), which the commercial Banks are passing to their customers: the same customers you say do not have a genuine claim.”
The statement further stressed that, “The public would like to ask Mr. Governor the following questions: What will happen to the foreign bank that is expecting their payment to be paid back? What will happen to the businessmen and women who had borrowed Naira from commercial Banks and paid the same into the CBN account for the purchase of forex for over eighteen months? Who will bear the interest charged on borrowed funds locally? Who will bear the charges running against the offshore lines used in establishing Letters of Credit? What will happen to the businesses? What will happen to the employees that are dependent on the survival of the businesses that CBN is trying to kill?
“We call upon the senate president and, in fact, the president and Commander In-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to call the CBN governor to order and reconsider honouring the forward contracts that are genuinely backed up with proper compliant documents for utilisation against each Letters of Credit (LCs) opened by the commercial banks using the forwards as a hedge.
“Let us state categorically that the CBN is killing businesses by cancelling the forward contracts that were sold to them about 18 months ago at the rate of N450/dollar and now selling the same funds to the commercial banks and directing the bank to sell the money at the rate of 1,500/dollar to the same businesses who initially had a forward contract at the rate of N450/dollar.
“May we also remind Mr. Governor, that failure to honour these forward contracts is taking commercial banks longer time to clean the offshore lines already used for establishing Letters of Credit against which shipments have been done and payment made to LC beneficiaries by the offshore banks. The delays of the commercial banks to settle their Forex obligations to their offshore banks is making our country risk to be very high.
“Lastly, the public will like to call on the coordinating minister for the economy, Mr. Wale Edun to engage the CBN regarding this issue of undelivered forward contracts because at present in Nigeria, almost 60% of companies in the manufacturing sector have been closed due to the volatility of Forex in Nigeria in order to avoid the other 40% from also closing down.
“This will go a long way to help the few remaining manufacturing companies still in operation in Nigeria and also encourage the new investors that the president and commander in-chief of the federal republic is trying woo to bring their investments to Nigeria.”
APC To Yahaya Bello: Stop Confusing The Party, No Vacancy For National Chairman
The leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has told the immediate-past governor of Kogi state, Yahaya Bello that there is no vacancy in the office of the national chairman of the party.
The national publicity secretary of the party, Felix Morka warned the former Kogi governor to stop confusing the party, saying the position of the national chairman is currently occupied.
Morka handed down the warning while addressing newsmen at the national secretariat of the party.
The posters of the former governor were seen on major streets in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), especially around the federal secretariat and on walls and fences of structures around the APC national secretariat along Blantyre Street, Wuse 2, Abuja.
The bold picture of the former Kogi state governor is adorned with the inscription, “APC Next Level. Alhaji Yahaya Bello as APC National Chairman. Leading the Change, Building a Stronger APC.”