Fr Kukah debunks critics, coup allegation

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He said effort by government to silent dissenting voices was unacceptable and must be resisted.

Bishop Matthew Kukah of the Sokoto Catholic Archdiocese., yesterday, responded to attacks on him over his Christmas Day message, urging Nigerians to ignore the lie against him.

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He disclosed this in a chat with journalists yesterday, and asked Nigerians to dwell on the statement he made, not on lies against him, He explained that his message, titled ‘Another Christmas with Dark Clouds of Death,’ was based on his love for the country without any political or ulterior motive.

On the attacks on him, he said he was pained that his critics had failed to see that many innocent lives were being lost on daily basis and had failed to show concern for the loss of lives in the last ten years, even before the advent of this administration.

He said: “The reactions are a reflection of every citizen that make up Nigeria. It is sad that when you drop something in Nigeria, everybody goes back to their enclave and abandons the larger picture. I am someone who never takes offence to what people say about me.

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“What I said was my opinion based on evidence and what has happened in Nigeria, and if you looked into the records, there is evidence that justifies that statement, and if anyone thinks I am wrong, they should come out with a superior position.”

He described as unfair news reports that he called for a coup while expressing his personal view about Nigeria.

To those calling him to drop his priesthood cassock and join the political fray, Kukah said if he was to join politics, it would have been during the time of the late Aminu Kano and not now.

He said: “I have no plan and will never play partisan politics for any reason. Those who link my message to partisan politics are only playing to the gallery.

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He argued that his views on governance and politics would not make him a politician, saying: “Take, for instance, brilliant Nigerian youths making comments about Chelsea or Arsenal and have never been to England, does that make them players of such club sides?”

He argued that people who called him a politician because of his comments on governance were totally ignorant of elementary politics and the role of a priest.

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“Whatever I said can please or displease anyone, but that is my own. I have no problem with Muslims, Christians, or any other religion but what I don’t like is when someone is using a religious issue to play politics, it is wrong.”

COALITION of Nigerian Muslim Professionals (CNMP) and other groups had, yesterday, joined the ranks of those condemning attacks on Bishop Matthew Kukah of Sokoto Catholic Archdiocese. The attacks followed his sermon on Christmas Day, which warned against nepotism and other aberrations that had impeded the country’s growth under President Muhammadu Buhari.

The latest support for Kukah by the CNMP and others came as the cleric broke his silence on the attacks against him, tongue-lashing his attackers and accusing them of deliberately misinterpreting his message to suit their selfish pursuits.

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The coalition commended Kukah for “his boldness to speak truth to power.” They faulted those who rose against him over his sermon. In the statement signed yesterday by the group’s National Coordinator, Prof. Mohammed Inuwa, the group noted that President Buhari meant well for the country, but faulted him for some actions taken by his administration against the country’s unity.

The coalition said the country would be a great place to live if it had three persons like the Catholic bishop, saying that persons attacking the truth do so for their personal interests.

It urged the President to see the bishop’s message as a wake-up call with a view to adjusting his policies and programmes for the betterment of the country and Nigerians.

The professionals accused attackers of the bishop as doing so for pecuniary gains and not in the interest of the country. It warned against twisting the cleric’s message to mean that he called for a coup, saying the bishop was too learned to support such ignoble path to installing leadership, saying Nigerians with a conscience would not fall for the antics of those twisting the Bishop’s message.

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The group said: “Even during the military era where people dreaded the powers that be at the time, Bishop Kukah, who was then a Catholic priest spoke truth to those at the helm of affairs without fear or favour. He has shown through his actions all the years that he is a true son of Nigeria in particular and Africa in general. We should support him for being bold enough to come out to speak what many Nigerians know is the truth but are afraid to speak out for fear of the leadership.”

It continued: “While we must admit that President Muhammadu Buhari means well for the nation, we must say most people in his government are grossly incompetent and don’t deserve to stay around power even in an uncivilised space.”

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The group said it would not shy away from the truth even though most of the President’s actions drawing criticisms were in favour of its region.

It flayed marginalisation of the Igbo in every facet of national life, saying the development was not promoting national cohesion, which nationalists that laid down their lives for the country’s independence wanted.

“There’s nothing wrong with Bishop Kukah’s statement in the actual sense. Some regions particularly the South East have been marginalised in successive governments, and the administration of President Muhammad Buhari came and amplified it with the worst,” it added.
SOUTHERN Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) youth wing and the Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA), yesterday, joined the list of those declaring their support for Kukah and his sermon.

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The Secretary General of ECWA, Rev Yunusa Sabo Nmadu, in a statement, said there was nothing new about what Bishop Kukah said.

“The bishop has spoken our minds and we will resist any attempt by any group or agency of government to harm him. Enough of this intimidation.”

The cleric reinforced Kukah’s position on nepotism, saying: “as a matter of fact, Nepotism under President Buhari’s administration is topnotch. This administration has first class in nepotism and maladministration. The Federal Government must immediately take steps towards addressing those concerns raised by Bishop Kukah, rather than sponsoring fake groups to attack the revered bishop.”

He said the earlier the administration took steps to address the concerns raised by Kukah, the better for the country.

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SOKAPU youth leaders flayed the statement credited to Arewa Youths Consultative Forum and signed by its national President, Yerima Shetima, “calling for the arrest of Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah.

A statement issued by the group, signed by its national leader, John Isaac, lamented that despite the obvious lopsidedness in the composition of the security architecture of the country as pointed by Bishop Kukah, the Arewa Youths Consultative Forum allowed itself to be dragged into the “murky waters of tribalism, ethnic loyalty and religious bigotry, choosing to look away the realities of the North which has become a pool of blood and a yard of graves”.

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#Newsworthy

Messi and Suarez to join Inter Miami in 2022

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According to a report from Catalunya Radio, Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez could resume their partnership in Major League Soccer in 2022.


Two days ago Lionel Messi was interviewed by Spanish journalist Jordi Évole and the Argentine superstar said he would like to live in the United States and play in Major League Soccer at some point in the near future. His words made a big splash right around the football world and now there are hints that it could be Inter Miami who make Messi’s wishes come true.

According to Catalunya radio, Barcelona’s No 10 could join Inter Miami in 2022. The franchise’s co-owner David Beckham is planning to lure Messi by also bringing in Luis Suárez, one of the Barcelona star’s best friends. The world-class players first linked up in 2014 and were inseparable on and off the pitch, until Suárez moved to Atlético Madrid this summer.

During the interview with Évole, Messi said that the sudden departure of Luis Suárez was one of the many reasons he decided to send the legal notification to the club saying he wanted to leave FC Barcelona. His demand to leave was of course denied by then president Bartomeu, who held him to the club’s interpretation of their agreement. Messi, though, will now become a free agent on 30 June 2021.

The Argentinean says he has not decided whether he will renew his contract with Barcelona or start negotiating with other clubs, something he is allowed to do starting 1 January 2021. But the MLS option appears to be one that Messi finds tempting, and linking up with Suárez once again may make it even more enticing. Luis Suarez’ contract with Atlético Madrid expires in the summer of 2022. Will Inter Miami be able to put together a package to bring both players across the pond and allow them to resume their partnership in the United States?


#NobleSports..

Group of Reps proposes legalization of Cannabis [Nigeria]

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When this bill is passed, Nigeria will join the league of 30 other countries that have legalised the use of cannabis.

The House of Representatives has proposed a bill that will legalise the cultivation, sale and use of cannabis better known as marijuana or Indian hemp in Nigeria.

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The bill, which has already been read the first time and was slated for second reading before the House proceeded on Christmas and New Year break is sponsored by Hon. Miriam Onuoha (APC, Imo). Onuoha, who represents Isiala Mbano/ Onuimo/ Okigwe federal constituency of Imo State, is a firsttimer in the lower chamber after defeating her closest rival Obinna Onwubuariri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the rerun election that was held in 18 polling units in the constituency in January this year.

It is titled “A bill for an act to decriminalise the growth and use of cannabis, to establish a system for the registration and licensing of cannabis growers, users and control, to legalise the growth, sale and use of cannabis and set out a legal framework for the registration and licensing of cannabis growers and producers in Nigeria; and for related matters.”

Although the bill was listed on the order paper on December 21, it could not be debated due to the absence of the sponsors on the floor of the House.

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Investigation revealed by NoRM‘s known Media that the proposed legislation will be considered when the House reconvene on January 26, 2021

A synopsis of the bill obtained by New Telegraph shows that it is “to regulate the cultivation, possession, availability and trade in cannabis for medical and research purposes.”

The objectives of the bill include to: “Provide for a registration and licensing system for cannabis farmers and processors; establish a registration and licensing system for cannabis farmers and processors; regulate the cultivation, processing, availability and trade of cannabis for medical purposes and promote public awareness about the cultivation, processing, availability and trade of cannabis for medicinal and research purposes and its use in relation to medical or health purpose.”

The bill, however, prohibits issuance of cannabis licence for medical use if such a person is without a proof that “he is either a medical doctor and intends to use it for medical purposes or a pharmaceutical company who intends to use an amount of cannabis, which may be determined as required, in producing a medicine for the cure of a certain disease or an epidemic.”

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They include Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech, Denmark and Finland.

Others are Germany, Greece, Israel, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Italy, Poland, Jamaica, Lesotho, Romania and Dan Marino. The rest are Luxemburg, Switzerland, Macedonia, Tury, Malta, Mexico, Uruguay and Zimbabwe.

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#Newsworthy

Marcelo has fallen ‘out of Grace’

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He will have to bring out his best version if he does not want to be overtaken.

In the last few weeks there have been reports of Marcelo putting his all into getting back into the starting line-up at Real Madrid.

NoRM‘s known Newspaper reveals the main strategy of his plan to return in style.

Marcelo has been working hard to get back to into the team after the Christmas break. He has reportedly been doing extra work for weeks.

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Alfonso Madrid, his new personal trainer, is getting him in shape and Sport Media known to NoRM has revealed the keys to his plan.

It is based on two pillars: food and extra work. The Brazilian is taking great care with his meals so as not to overweight himself and to be quick on the pitch.

This is partly why he has been seen to be a bit more toned in some of his social network publications.

He is also giving a lot of importance to his physique, aware that his main competitor for the leading role under Zidane’s guidelines is Mendy, seven years younger.

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And, for the moment, that is what is happening. Marcelo has not been on the pitch as a starter since 28 November, just one month ago, in the La Liga match that Madrid lost to Alavés.

Otherwise, he is currently without minutes both in the domestic championship and in the Champions League.

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#NobleSport

COVID-19: PACAC member dies as Nigeria reports 749 new cases

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The news publication noted that though Boss Mustapha, the chairman presidential task force on COVID-19, stated that a good friend of the government passed away at 6:30 pm, however, he did not state if it’s Odekunle.

Femi Odekunle, a member of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) headed by Itse Sagay has died from COVID-19.

NoRM reports that Odekunle a professor of law died on Tuesday evening, December 29, at the COVID-19 isolation center in Gwagalada, Abuja.

Mustapha, the secretary to the government of the federation speaking at the PTF on COVID-19, said discussions were ongoing to help the deceased before news of his death broke.

Meanwhile, It was reported that 2 doctors in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja died from the novel coronavirus disease.

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This was disclosed in a statement issued on Tuesday, December 29, by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA).

According to Anthony Ogunleye, chief press secretary to the FCT minister, 2 weeks ago a female doctor at Gwarimpa General hospital died, while a private medical doctor passed away last week.

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#Newsworthy

Paulo Dybala could join Pochettino at new Club

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The operation would cost around 60 million euros. This is not the only market target the coach has reportedly proposed.

Tuttosport says that one of Mauricio Pochettino’s requests in view of his imminent arrival at PSG is to sign Paulo Dybala from Juventus.

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PSG is about to begin a new phase with Mauricio Pochettino at the helm and ‘Tuttosport’ revealed one of their requests, probably the most demanding: Paulo Dybala.

His incorporation could be closed for about 60 million euros to tidy up the coach’s sports planning.

This situation is remarkable, as the Parisian team already has in its ranks one of the most promising young strikers on the planet, Kylian Mbappé.

Perhaps the arrival of the current Juventus striker will open the door for the Frenchman, who has no shortage of suitors.

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In economic terms, the offer referred to by the source mentioned in the first paragraph is higher than the player’s current market value. As estimated by the parameters of ‘ProFootballDB’, it is 41 million euros. He is committed to Juve until 2022, so his club has the upper hand.

And are there any other requests from Pochettino to the board? Yes, it has already been leaked that Dele Alli and Eriksen may be some of the coach’s ideas to rekindle the flame of a project that has already agreed to the dismissal of Thomas Tuchel. The new PSG could have an Argentinean accent.

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#Newsworthy

Options weighing: Isco could leave Real Madrid

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His contribution, in this course, is limited to the 358 minutes that he has been on the field.

On the verge of a new transfer market, Real Madrid’s Isco continues to weigh up the idea of leaving the Madrid club. The Premier League and Serie A being his most likely destinations.

These are not good times for Isco. The Spaniard has only played eleven matches so far and his performances on the pitch have left much to be desired.

Both his quality and his physical condition continue to cause issues at Real Madrid, who may agree to a transfer of the Malaga-born player in this upcoming winter transfer market

Isco has been losing prominence in the ‘merengue’ team and not even Zinedine Zidane has managed to recover that footballer who amazed the world.

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In a period of somewhat muted transfers due to the scarce economic capacity of many teams, the Premier League seems to be the most probable destination for the offensive midfielder, English teams seem to have been the least affected by the crisis. Arsenal and Everton are both reportedly interested in him.

However, Serie A is also being tipped as the favourite to host Isco, as both Juventus and Inter Milan have reportedly enquired about his situation. All this, in the event that the 28-year-old decides to leave the Santiago Bernabeu.

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#Newsworthy

[Nigeria] LP National Chairman, Abdulsalam is dead

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Alhaji Abdulkadir Abdulsalam, the National Chairman of the Labour Party (LP), is dead.

According to reports, Abdulsalam died in the early hours of Tuesday 29, December 2020 from an undisclosed ailment.

Confirming his death, Mr. Kennedy Chigozie, the Deputy National Secretary, LP, said that a public announcement would be made soon by the party.

More details later…

COVID-19: South Africa takes new step as WHO warns of worse pandemics

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And in Spain, where the death toll has topped 50,000, the health minister said the government would set up a registry of people who refuse to be vaccinated and share it with other European Union member states.

South Africa banned alcohol sales and made masks mandatory in public from Tuesday after a surge in coronavirus cases, as the World Health Organization warned that pandemics far more deadly than Covid-19 may lie ahead.

Nations around the world are struggling with winter spikes in infections that have pushed the global caseload close to 81 million, even as the rollout of vaccines gathers pace in North America and Europe.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday announced a ban on selling alcohol and said face masks will be compulsory in public after his nation became the first in Africa to record one million cases.

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“We have let down our guard, and unfortunately we are now paying the price,” said Ramaphosa, blaming “super-spreader” social events and an “extreme lack of vigilance over the holiday period” for the spike.

Ramaphosa said data showed “excessive alcohol consumption” leads to an increase in trauma cases reported at hospitals, causing an “unnecessary” strain on public health facilities.

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Surging cases also forced authorities in Rio de Janeiro — one of Brazil’s worst-hit cities — to announce Monday that they will block access to beaches on December 31 to prevent crowds celebrating New Year’s Eve.

Vaccinations in Spain and other EU countries started over the weekend, and authorities fear vaccine hesitancy and rejection could hamper those efforts — especially because of misinformation campaigns on social media.

That was not a concern with 75-year-old Jacques Collineau, resident of an old people’s home in Joue-les-Tours, France.

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“Fear? Fear of what? I’ve been vaccinated for the flu before, now it’s the same thing,” Collineau said as he got the shot on Monday.

“We don’t make vaccines to kill people, we make vaccines to try to save them.”

‘This is not the big one’
The coronavirus has devastated lives and economies across the globe, but the WHO warned Monday that worse pandemics could like ahead, urging the world to get serious about preparedness.

“This is a wakeup call,” WHO emergencies chief Michael Ryan told reporters at a briefing marking a year since the UN agency first learned of the new virus spreading in China.

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“This pandemic… has spread around the world extremely quickly and it has affected every corner of this planet, but this is not necessarily the big one,” Ryan added.

“We need to get ready for something that may even be more severe in the future.”

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While huge scientific progress was made to study the virus and develop vaccines at record speed, WHO senior advisor Bruce Aylward cautioned that the world was far from ready for the next pandemic.

“We are into the second and third waves of this virus and we are still not prepared to deal with and manage those,” he said.

“While we are better prepared… we are not fully prepared for this one, let alone the next one.”

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‘Good riddance, 2020!’
The warnings were backed up by the worrying figures and trends reported worldwide.

South Korea, one of the nations hailed for its success during the first months of the pandemic, on Tuesday logged its highest daily death toll since the beginning of the pandemic as it battled a third wave of infections.

India, with the second-biggest caseload in the world, reported the detection of the new coronavirus strain, but officials said the nation’s pandemic guidelines have not changed because of it.

Highlighting the frustration and suffering caused by the crisis, submissions from around the world came in for a Good Riddance Day celebration in New York City.

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The submissions were printed and then shredded, while the host of the event pulverised a 2020 pinata.

When Westbury, New York, resident Raul was asked what he wanted to say good riddance to, he responded: “Like anybody else, I want to get rid of the coronavirus. That’s it!”

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#Newsworthy

Fr Kukah had only said ‘the truth’ to power – Muslim group react

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The group said it would not shy away from the truth even though most of the president’s actions drawing criticisms were in favour of its region.

A coalition of Nigerian Muslim professionals has condemned attacks trailing Bishop Matthew Kukah following his Christmas Day Message, where he allegedly berated the state of the nation, warning that unless leaders sit up, Nigeria was heading towards a failed state.

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The revered Bishop of Sokoto Catholic Archdiocese was also quoted as accusing President Muhammadu Buhari of piloting Nigeria into darkness in the message titled: “A Nation in Search of Vindication.”

He took swipe at the worsening state of insecurity in the country just as he berated the current federal administration of glaringly abandoning the nation’s extant federal character principles and rather promoting nepotism with impunity.

The development has been drawing criticisms from the president’s friends, political associates, and party, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

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But reacting to the attacks on the Bishop, the coalition of Nigerian Muslim Professionals while commending Kukah for what they described as “his boldness to speak truth to power”, faulted those vilifying him.

In the statement signed on Tuesday by the group’s National Coordinator, Prof. Mohammed Inuwa, the group while noting that President Buhari means well for the country, faulted him in some actions taken by his administration which it said, was not promoting unity.

The coalition said the country would be a great place to live if there were up to three persons like the Catholic bishop, saying those who were hiding from the truth were doing so for their personal interests.

It tasked the president to see the Bishop’s message as a wake-up call with a view to adjusting his policies and programmes for the betterment of Nigeria and Nigerians.

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The Nigerian Muslim Professionals took a swipe at those trolling the Bishop, saying they were doing it for their pecuniary gains and not the interest of the country.

It warned against twisting the message to mean the Bishop endorses coup, saying contrary to those promoting that insinuation, the revered Bishop was too learned to support such ignoble path to installing leadership, saying Nigerians with a conscience would not fall to the antics of those twisting the Bishop’s message for selfish reasons.

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The group said having followed Bishop Kukah’s activities and preachings since the days of the military, it was convinced that not too many Nigerians took the interest of the country at heart like Kukah”.

“Even during the military era where people dreaded the powers that be at the time, Bishop Kukah, who was then a Catholic priest spoke truth to those at the helm of affairs without fear or favour. He has shown through his actions all the years that he is a true son of Nigeria in particular and Africa in general. We should support him for being bold enough to come out to speak what many Nigerians know is the truth but afraid to speak out for fear of the leadership”, the statement read.

“While we must admit that President Muhammad Buhari means well for the nation, we must say that most people in his government are grossly incompetent and don’t deserve to stay around power even in an uncivilized space,” the group stated.

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It flayed the glaring marginalisation of the Igbo in every facet of national life, saying the development was not promoting national cohesion which nationalists that laid down their lives for the country’s independence wanted.

“There’s nothing wrong with Bishop Kukah’s statement in the actual sense. Some regions particularly the South East have been marginalized in successive governments, and the administration of President Muhammad Buhari came and amplified it with the worst,” it added.

It described those attacking Kukah as faceless individuals who were being promoted by selfish people in leadership to silence the truth.

” We strongly condemn the wrong approach taken to respond to a message by a patriotic Nigerian by these incompetent people working to derail the president’s agenda.

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“It is completely wrong to be attacking Bishop Kukah by some faceless sponsored groups. Bishop kukah did not in any way call for a coup, he is too learned to do that.

“We stand completely with Bishop Kukah, this government must be fair to all Nigerians irrespective of tribe and religion,” it said.

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#Newsworthy

News+: Building collapse amid powerful earthquake in Petrinja

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The Balkan region lies on major fault lines and is regularly hit by earthquakes.

A powerful 6.4 magnitude earthquake tore down buildings in central Croatia on Tuesday, striking near the town of Petrinja where rescue teams raced to comb through the rubble.

The tremor, one of the strongest to rock Croatia in recent years, collapsed rooftops in Petrinja, home to some 20,000 people, and left the streets strewn with bricks and other debris.

“We are pulling people from the cars, we don’t know if we have dead or injured,” Darinko Dumbovic, the mayor of Petrinja told regional broadcaster N1.

“There is general panic, people are looking for their loved ones,” he added.

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Rescue workers and the army were deployed to search for trapped residents, with no casualties initially reported.

“I’m scared, I can’t reach anyone at home as the phone lines are dead,” one worried woman in Petrinja told N1.

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The quake was also felt in the capital Zagreb, 50 kilometres (30 miles) north of the epicentre, where tiles were ripped off roofs and panicked residents gathered streets, according to an AFP reporter.

Electricity was cut in the city centre.

Two quakes
The quake, which struck around 1130 GMT according to the US Geological Survey (USGS), rattled Petrinja just one day after a smaller earthquake struck the town, causing some damage to buildings.

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The tremors reverberated across neighbouring countries, including Serbia, Slovenia and as far away as the Austrian capital Vienna.

As a precaution, Slovenia moved to shut down the Krsko nuclear power plan it co-owns with Croatia.

European Union leaders said they were closely following the “devastating earthquake” in member state Croatia.

“We are ready to support,” European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen wrote on Twitter, adding that the bloc’s civil protection team was “ready to travel to Croatia as soon as the situation allows”.

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Charles Michel, president of the European Council, said “our thoughts go out to the injured and frontline workers”.

In March, Zagreb was damaged by a 5.3-magnitude quake, the most powerful to hit the capital decades.

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#Newsworthy

Lil Pump banned from Airline after refusing to use face mask

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The site claims that Lil Pump refused to comply with JetBlue’s mask policy, and later said he was sneezing and coughing into a blanket without his mask.

Lil Pump has been banned from flying with a US airline after refusing to wear a face mask during a flight, according to NoRM‘s known Media.

The rapper, 20, was on a JetBlue flight from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles on Saturday when he reportedly “became verbally abusive” to members of the cabin crew and took off his face mask before refusing to put it back on when asked.

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JetBlue allegedly called into LAX Airport to tell them to have police on standby but Lil Pump was not arrested when the flight landed.

He’s later said to have complied and worn his mask, but when the flight landed he criticised the airline on social media.

In a now-deleted Instagram video, Lil Pump said:

Fk JetBlue. Fk everyone that’s working there! All 2020, 2021, I ain’t wearing no mask. I ain’t gotta wear no f**king mask, bitch, corona’s fake.

JetBlue’s policy requires all passengers aged two and older to wear a face-covering throughout the flight.

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A JetBlue representative according to the Mirror said that Lil Pump “became verbally abusive with crew members after being asked multiple times and refusing to comply with JetBlue’s face covering policy,” which resulted in law enforcement involvement.

The representative added:

His return reservation was cancelled and he is no longer welcome to fly on JetBlue. The safety of all customers and crew members is JetBlue’s first priority.

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#Newsworthy

Trump’s pentagon stalling transition, risky – Joe Biden

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Biden said he was seeking a “clear picture” from the outgoing administration on the force posture of US troops around the world.

President-elect Joe Biden said Monday that Donald Trump’s appointees at the Pentagon were stalling on the transition and warned that the United States faces security risks as a result.

After he and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris were briefed by their transition teams on national security, Biden said that political appointees at the Pentagon as well as the Office of Management and Budget had put up “roadblocks.”

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“Right now, we just aren’t getting all the information that we need from the outgoing administration in key national security area(s),” Biden said after the briefing.

“It is nothing short, in my view, of irresponsibility.”

“We need full visibility into the budget planning underway at the Defense Department and other agencies in order to avoid any window of confusion or catch-up that our adversaries may try to exploit,” Biden said.

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Trump has refused to concede the November 3 election, which Biden won by some seven million votes and by 306-232 in the state-by-state Electoral College. The president has made unsubstantiated claims of widespread fraud.

The Trump administration has drawn concern by shaking up the leadership of the Pentagon since the election including firing defense secretary Mark Esper, who had distanced himself from the president’s use of force against unarmed anti-racism demonstrators earlier this year.

Trump’s new acting defense secretary, Chris Miller, has said that the outgoing administration had agreed with Biden’s people to pause briefings for the holiday season, an assertion that the incoming team called untrue.

Miller released a statement Monday saying the Pentagon’s coordination efforts with the transition team “already surpass those of recent administrations with over three weeks to go.”

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He added that Department of Defense officials would continue working in a “transparent and collegial manner” to support the transition.

Trump’s last-minute installation of loyalists at the Pentagon comes amid high tensions with Iran, which Trump blamed for a rocket attack on the US embassy in Iraq ahead of the January anniversary of the US killing in Baghdad of a top Iranian general.

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#Newsworthy

US shooting: Solider charged with murder

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The highly decorated Green Beret was assigned to the US Army’s 7th Special Forces Group, based in Florida, and had served four Afghan tours.

A US Green Beret has been charged with murder after a shooting at a bowling alley over the weekend left three dead in Illinois, the state attorney said Monday.

A further three people were injured when a man opened fire in Rockford’s Don Carter Lanes bowling alley on Saturday night.

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Duke Webb, 37, has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted first-degree murder and denied bail, State Attorney J. Hanley said in a press conference.

Hanley named those killed as Thomas Furseth, 65, from Machesney Park in Illinois, Jerome Woodford, 69, and Dennis Steinhoff, 73, who were both from Rockford.

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Of those wounded, the state attorney said a 16-year-old girl was stable, while another teen — a 14-year-old boy — and a 62-year-old man remain in a critical condition in hospital.

“The defendant admitted to the shootings and directed officers to the locations of the firearms he used,” Hanley told the press conference.

Two weapons were recovered at the scene.

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Webb was on leave and reportedly visiting family at the time of the attack.

He is due to appear again in court on February 16, and could face life imprisonment without parole if convicted.

A decorated Special Forces assistant operations and intelligence sergeant, Webb finished his most recent tour of Afghanistan in July, US media said.

Media reported his lawyer saying Webb might have PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) although noting he will need a medical examination before that can be confirmed.

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Major General John Brennan, commander of 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne), said Webb’s actions were “abhorrent and are absolutely not representative of the Special Forces Regiment.”

“The actions described in reports are shocking and are completely out of character with Webb’s 12 years of honourable service,” Brennan told NoRM‘s known Media

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#Newsworthy

Xmas’20: Lagos Gov’t takes new decision on Cross over night

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This was confirmed yesterday, in a statement released by Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Lagos state chairman, Bishop Stephen Adegbite.

The Lagos State government which is head by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has taken a new decision on December 31, 2020 cross service.

The Lagos state government has sanctioned that the service can go on but insisting that the worship must end by 12.15 a.m and all necessary measures must be put in place.

He said the timing was in deference to Federal Government’s existing curfew to check the COVID-19 pandemic.

He advised members who could return home to remain within the premises till 4:00a.m. when the restriction elapses.

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Adegbite pleaded with worship centres to observe extant safety measures, pleading that infections should be promptly reported to relevant authorities.

This will come as good news for most Christians in the state as they will have the opportunity to give thanks to their maker alongside their fellow brethren after going through a tough year.

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2023: FFK attacks Pastor Tunde Bakare over Tinubu

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Fani-Kayode said it was Tinubu who forced Buhari on the nation and the people of the Southwest in 2015, saying he should share in the blame of the downturn of the Buhari administration.

Controversial Critic Femi Fani-Kayode has attacked Pastor Tunde Bakare over his romance with the National leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

He said Bakare has desecrated the pulpit by praising Tinubu to the highest heaven, saying “shame on him.”

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Bakare had attacked rancorous Yoruba elders who are bent on destroying Tinubu ahead of the 2023 presidency, saying they were envious of his achievement.

The fiery preacher said “I have a word for those Yoruba rancorous elements, noisemakers who have not achieved as much as Asiwaju Tinubu has achieved, but are always querying and worrying themselves about his ancestry.

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“Those who are envious of Mr. Tinubu and those who desire to take his power slot should stop their useless talk about him, and busy themselves with what can add value to society”.

Reacting, Fani-Kayode wondered how Bakare who once said Tinubu would give account for all his deeds, would suddenly turn around to praise the same man he once denigrated.

According to him, “I listened to Bakare’s words, spoken from the sanctity of his pulpit, three times and I was astounded. I asked myself what could have possibly made him flip in such an unceremonious, undignified and inglorious manner?

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“I regarded his new-found and newly-cultivated grovelling and sycophantic assertions about Tinubu as being not only self-serving, arrogant, pitiful and condescending but also a desecration of the pulpit”.

“I asked myself over and over again whether this was the same man saying one thing at the end of 2019 and saying the opposite at the end of 2020?”

He said for Bakare to support Tinubu, it meant a lot and warned him not to drag the Yoruba people into his new found love.

“However on this Tinubu matter he has not done justice to himself and he has indulged in an inexcusable faux pas!

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I am constrained to ask, why this sudden u-turn on Jagaban? Is there something he knows today that he did not know one year ago? If so can he possibly share it with us so that we can possibly consider doing a volte face too? Or is that they have something on him?” He asked.

“The ‘sakabular’ pastor is encouraging the young ones to loot, steal, engage in fraudulent acts, sell drugs, do passport racketeering in their youth as these will not count against them in the future. Rubbish from the pulpit. Shame on him,” he added.

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2023: Orji Uzor kalu as Nigeria’s next President, not my prophecy – TB Joshua

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Prophet TB Joshua made the clarification in a tweet posted on Monday.

The founder of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), Prophet TB Joshua, has denied saying Senator Orji Kalu would be the next president of Nigeria.

The controversial cleric described the story making the rounds as “fake news”.

He said he has been on his prayer mountain for five days now and could not have made the statement.

“FAKE NEWS ALERT! Please be informed that the story circulating titled “Orji Kalu is Nigeria’s Next President, says TB Joshua” is NOT from TB Joshua.

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“TB Joshua is not around; he is at the Prayer Mountain in a rural area for the past five days,” the tweet read.

The prophet was reported to have said over the weekend that President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor, would be a former governor from the southern part of the country who was held in prison.

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[Nigeria] Ondo cleric dares Buhari on holding Church service

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Why sudden rise in COVID-19 cases? the cleric queried.

Senior Pastor of Awaiting the Second Coming of Christ Ministry, Akure, Ondo State, Adewale Giwa, has declared he is ready to die than succumb to the decisions of President Muhammadu Buhari and state governors not to gather and worship God during the New Year eve.

Giwa, while addressing his members, faulted the resolution of some state governors to cancel crossover service in churches.

“The priests first seized Peter and Jonh in Acts chapter 4, they put them in jail and they were released.

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“Before they released them, the priests warned them not to talk about Jesus again, yet, Peter and John did not keep quiet to preach and teach the church. Where are Peter, John and Daniel today in the church?

“When King Darius asked people not to pray to God, Daniel widely opened his windows and prayed to Jehovah. Who are you to stop me from worshipping my God?

“I am ready to lay my life down for Christ instead of succumbing to persecution. It is appointed once for a man to die and then judgment.

“Jesus Christ laid down His life for us, why cannot we follow suit? Apostle Paul says what should separate us from the love of God? Shall tribulation, stress, persecution, peril, nakedness or famine? I am more than a conqueror.

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“I heard them also giving us time to close our services. Does anybody give them time to close political meetings?

“Why didn’t they increase the number of COVID-19 patients during their political campaigns? Why sudden rise in COVID-19 cases?” he queried.

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Imo: Tension as Archbishop got allegedly kidnapped

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The Imo State police spokesman, Orlando Ikeokwu, who confirmed the incident, said the command had swung into action to fish out the kidnappers of the Bishop.

The auxiliary Bishop of Owerri archdiocese in Imo State, Bishop Chikwe Moses has been kidnapped.

Reports had it that the prelate was whisked away on Monday while coming out from his Owerri residence.

According to a release from the archdiocese of Owerri, “your eminences, your graces, your lordships, it is sad to announce to you that our Auxiliary Bishop, Chikwe Moses, has been kidnapped. There has not been any form of communication from the kidnappers since his kidnap on Monday.

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“Trusting in the maternal assistance of the blessed Virgin Mary, we pray for safety and quick release,” it concluded.

NoRM learnt that the kidnapped Bishop will soon be taking over from Archbishop A. J. V Obinna who has retired.

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Don’t insult Fr Kukah! – Dino Melaye warns Buhari

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MURIC accused Kukah of being a first class blackmailer.

Dino Melaye, former Senator representing Kogi West, has warned President Muhammadu Buhari against attempting to arrest the Bishop of Sokoto Catholic Diocese, Mathew Kukah, over his Christmas message.

Noble Reporters Media had reported that Kukah accused President Buhari of crass nepotism like never experienced in the history of Nigeria.

Bishop Kukah, in his Christmas message titled, “A Nation in Search of Vindication” delivered in Sokoto on Friday, noted that President Buhari had succeeded in sacrificing the dreams of Nigerians on the altar of nepotism by pursuing Northern hegemony.

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According to him, there could have been a coup or war in the country if a non-Nothern Muslim became president and does some of the things Buhari had done.

Following the development, the Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC, launched an attack on the Bishop.

Reacting, Melaye in a Tweet warned Buhari against arresting or embarrassing Bishop Kukah.

He also said the President will be shown that the government isn’t owned by him but the people if he fails to heed to the warning.

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“Arrest or try to embarass Bishop Kukah and we will prove to you that Government is not owned by you but the people.

“They want to scare every body. Kill fear and speak the truth to power,” he wrote.

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I could defeat Tyson Fury twice and reclaim WBO title – Anthony Joshua

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Joshua has fought there twice. He won against Joseph Parker and Carlos Takam.

As the year comes to a close, the IBF, IBO, WBA, WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua is looking forward to a potential full division unification with WBC champion Tyson Fury in 2021, reports NoRM‘s known Media.

Anthony Joshua was in action earlier this month when he knocked out mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev.

Now his sights are set on finalising a two-fight deal with Fury.

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The only thing in Joshua’s way – is a clash with WBO mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk.

If Usyk refuses to accept a step-aside deal, then Joshua could be forced to vacate the WBO title in order to move forward with a highly lucrative fight against Fury.

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“Will people care if I have to lose a belt to Usyk? Will I have to give one up? I am not too sure yet. I don’t want to, because it is ‘the road to undisputed’. But I know that, when I win, I will go back and fight for that belt anyway — that will be my goal,” Joshua said to The Sun.

“I want to fight Fury, beat him again in the rematch — two difficult hurdles, serious fights — then I will go straight back to try to fight for that title again.”

On the other side of the fence, Fury is dealing with a legal action brought forward by Deontay Wilder.

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Back in February, Fury stopped Wilder in seven rounds to capture the WBC title at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Soon after, Wilder exercised an immediate rematch clause. The contest was postponed several times, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Eventually, Fury’s handlers took the firm position of Wilder allowing the rematch clause to expire – while Wilder began a legal battle to enforce the rematch clause for the trilogy fight.

“I don’t know what Fury’s situation is with Wilder. My situation is, do I give up the WBO or will Usyk step aside?” Joshua said.

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A summer undisputed heavyweight clash between Fury and Joshua is the fight on everyone’s lips at the moment, certainly on British shores, according to NoRM‘s known Media

Talks have been held between both sides to get a fight over the line in the summer of 2021 between the world’s top two at 200 pounds plus. There’s seemingly only one major problem. Saudi Arabia is favoured to host the encounter.

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Money men in the Middle East, who previously wanted Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao II – as first reported by WBN late last year, have now turned their attention to Fury v Joshua.

Despite initial discussions about a potential spring date for the fight, WBN understands June or July is much more likely. But due to the current pandemic, taking the first of two bouts outside of the UK makes the most sense to those who crunch the numbers.

We know that Joshua would be more inclined to fight in the summer. That’s if the first fight can be kept in the United Kingdom.

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Should all sides take the money and head to Saudi Arabia, May could work but would be a massive blow for the whole UK. Questions of whether the UK government should step in have since been raised to keep the fight on home soil. But as COVID-19 gets worse and worse in the UK, the likeliness of fans being able to witness the biggest top division fight in history is fading fast.

The fans are going to be the biggest losers here. Those who can’t afford to travel or don’t want to step foot in the region due to other issues have no option but to watch TV. At present, it’s imperative the fight just gets made.

Therefore, where it takes place for now is a secondary matter.

They will agree on a two-fight deal. This gives significant hope that the rematch will happen in the UK. If it takes place at the end of 2021, then a huge stadium with a roof like that of The Principality Stadium in Wales would be the frontrunner.

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As the venue continues to be a bone of contention, mediation includes Deontay Wilder and Oleksandr Usyk. Situations that see Wilder wanting his shot at Fury. Plus, Usyk being the mandatory challenger to Joshua, still need to be ironed out.

It’s not a straightforward heavyweight deal, obviously. Fingers remain crossed.

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