Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Who makes the laws?

In the Chancellor's budget speech he said he could not introduce a different rate of VAT on fuel as it would be illegal. What he presumably means is that it would go against EU law. It is evident that what we have in Westminster is not a law making parliamnet but a puppet show with the EUrocrats pulling the strings.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

There is more trouble in Jos

There is more trouble in Jos - a bomb planted in a Pentecostal church was found and did not go off but one being taken to an ECWA church went off en route - it was being taken on a bike....

Political rally was to take place so tensions running high and trouble started. Security forces out firing live bullets and using tear gas. Shops are closed.

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

NIGERIA: THOUSANDS DISPLACED IN BAUCHI STATE AS ATTACKS ON VILLAGES CONTINUE

Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports on 18 March 2011

Over 4000 people are now reported to have been displaced in a series of night attacks by heavily-armed Fulani tribesmen on the Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area (LGA) in Bauchi State that began in the early hours of 10 March.

These attacks have continued despite the deployment of security personnel to the area. During the latest attack on 16 March, Sama Ila, Barau and Lukka Sabo, Zakka Y. Maidawa, and Pastor Markus Kele of the Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN) were murdered in Lim Village.

According to church sources, so far around 463 homes, 11 shops and 13 churches have been torched in the villages of Tafare, Gwashe, Gumel, Gongo, Malanchi, Mingil and Malanci Zwal in Tafawa Balewa LGA. Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) also reported on 17 March that it was currently caring for approximately 4500 internally displaced people (IDP’s) in makeshift camps set up in primary schools in eight localities.

Local sources attribute the attacks to a group of around 2,000 militants from Niger, Katsina, Kano, Sokoto and other northern Nigerian states. The men allegedly wear army and mobile police uniforms, and are reportedly encamped in the Bununu area of Tafawa Balewa LGA. According to information received by the Bauchi Chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), the group allegedly plans to “storm the area for fourteen days”.

Tafawa Balewa is predominantly inhabited by non-Muslims from the Tsayawa tribe. The area has experienced numerous sectarian attacks since 1991, when a disagreement between a Fulani man and a Tsayawa meat seller escalated into violence in which close to 1000 villages were burnt, 173 churches were destroyed, and 400 people lost their lives.

In a comment to a local newspaper after the initial outbreak of violence, Bukuta Zhadi, Secretary of the Tsawaya Council of Elders in Bogoro and Tafawa Balewa, blamed the outbreak of violence on a statement allegedly made by Bauchi State Governor Isa Yaguda, where he reportedly threatened to “demolish the area and hand it over to the Fulani men for grazing, should there ever be any disturbance again by the people… So the governor has actually succeeded in destroying the area”.

CSW Advocacy Director Andrew Johnston said: “It is unacceptable that lives are being lost and such large-scale destruction is occurring despite the presence of additional security personnel in Tafawa Balewa. Moreover, given the area’s history of sectarian tension and violence, it would be profoundly disappointing if the Governor of Bauchi did indeed make the remarks attributed to him, as they would not only be deeply irresponsible, but are also unworthy of the premier public servant of any state. If these allegations prove to be true, then, clearly, the people of Tafawa Balewa can only be protected by urgent and effective security measures taken at federal level.”

For further information or to arrange interviews please contact Matthew Jones, Public Affairs Officer at Christian Solidarity Worldwide on +44 7826 938360, email matthewjones@csw.org.uk or visit www.csw.org.uk.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

MUSLIM CLERIC ASSASSINATED IN NORTHERN NIGERIA FOR SPEAKING OUT AGAINST ISLAMIST MILITIA

Christian Solidarity Worldwide reoports on 15 March 2011

A prominent Muslim cleric was assassinated on 13 March in Maiduguri, Borno State, by members of the Boko Haram Islamist militia.

Imam Ibrahim Ahmed Abdullahi, who advocated non-violence and decried the religious sectarianism currently afflicting parts of northern and central Nigeria, regularly spoke out against Boko Haram’s activities and ideology. He was shot five times by gunmen who fled in a jeep as he sat outside his home, which was next door to his mosque.

Nigeria hoped it had seen the last of Boko Haram following the siege and destruction of its headquarters in Maiduguri in 2009. However, an attack in September 2010 on Bauchi Federal Prison that destroyed the complex and freed more than 700 inmates, including around 100 alleged members Boko Haram, heralded the group’s return.

Since then, Maiduguri has experienced a wave of gun attacks attributed to Boko Haram. The group initially targeted members of the security forces and Muslim leaders who were deemed to have betrayed it. However, over the Christmas period the group also mounted several attacks on church services, killing around 15 Christians and destroying at least five church buildings.

Imam Abdullahi’s murder follows the high-profile assassination in January of the gubernatorial candidate for the All Nigeria People Party (ANPP). The Imam is the second religious leader to be assassinated by Boko Haram since its re-emergence. In October 2010, its gunmen targeted Imam Bashir Kashara, who had also criticized the group’s doctrine on his weekly show on state-run radio. The latest killing occurred despite a heavy security presence in the area. “People are leaving the city every day”, a Maiduguri resident informed CSW. “There are killings on a daily basis, at times two people are killed every other day. We only go out if it’s urgent. These people kill when they want to kill. Our only hope is in the Almighty”.

Meanwhile, six people died following attacks by armed Fulanis on two villages in Plateau State during the evening of 13 March. One person died during an assault on Gohok Village in Vom, Jos South, while five others were killed in Kai Village in Barkin Ladi. Four of these victims were members of the same family.

CSW Advocacy Director Andrew Johnston said: “CSW condemns the assassination of Imam Abdullahi, and we send our sincere condolences to his family. Our prayers are with them and our hope is that his death will not deter peace-loving people from both religious communities from speaking up for justice and bridging the religious divide. CSW also condemns in the strongest terms the incessant attacks on villages in Plateau State and the wanton destruction of innocent lives that seems to be occurring on a weekly basis despite the security presence in the area. We call once again on the Nigerian authorities to take robust and effective action to bring a definitive end to this violence by tracking down the perpetrators and masterminds of these actions, and bringing them to justice.”


For further information or to arrange interviews please contact Matthew Jones, Public Affairs Officer at Christian Solidarity Worldwide on +44 7826 938360, email matthewjones@csw.org.uk or visit www.csw.org.uk.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is a Christian organisation working for religious freedom through advocacy and human rights, in the pursuit of justice.

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

TENSIONS PERSIST IN BAUCHI STATE, NIGERIA, FOLLOWING ARMED ATTACK

Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports on 11 March 2011

Tensions remain high in the Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area (LGA) of Bauchi State following an armed attack in the early hours of 10 March.

According to reports, a large group of Fulani men armed with high-powered rifles and other weaponry descended on the area, shooting randomly and torching homes. While news agencies report that three people died in house fires, local churches, who are still collating their losses, say the final death toll is likely to be higher.

According to information received by the Bauchi Chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), the attackers were part of a group of around 2,000 militants who had allegedly planned to “storm the area for fourteen days”. According to one report received by Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), local residents, who had been on the alert since receiving threats of an attack scheduled for 6 March, eventually managed to chase their attackers away. Police reinforcements are now reported to be stationed in the area.

Tafawa Balewa is predominantly inhabited by non-Muslims from the Tsayawa tribe. The area has experienced numerous sectarian attacks since 1991, when a disagreement between a Fulani man and a Tsayawa meat seller escalated into violence in which villages were burnt, 173 churches were destroyed, and 400 people lost their lives.

In 1995, 30 Tsayawa villages were razed to the ground and 140 people were killed, including 36 women and children who had taken refuge in a church in Gungu-Zango Village. In June 2000, following the introduction of “full Shari’a”, Muslim youths set fire to homes and a church, and between June and October2001, approximately 30 people were killed and eighteen injured by armed Fulanis, some of whom reportedly came from Mali, Niger and Chad.

More recently, in April 2010, the Reverend and Mrs Ishaya Kada of the Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN) were dragged from their home, hacked to death and burnt to ashes by Muslim assailants, and in January this year, Tafawa Balewa witnessed further sectarian violence following a disagreement between youths that left several dead and churches and mosques destroyed. Elsewhere in January, a Sunday church service at the Methodist Church in the centre of the state capital, Bauchi Town, was disrupted when a bomb was left under a pew in a laptop bag by a young man who entered the building towards the end of the service, and fled on a waiting motorcycle.

CSW Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said: “CSW’s thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this appalling pre-dawn attack on innocent villagers. It is deeply disturbing that a sinister phenomenon that is currently directed against villagers in Plateau State may now be occurring in Bauchi. The information received by CAN Bauchi regarding the presence of a large, well-armed militia in the area is also very disturbing. While we commend the stationing of additional security in the area, in order to truly ensure peace and stability the Government of Bauchi State and the Federal Government of Nigeria must move decisively to apprehend this group before it launches further attacks”.

For further information or to arrange interviews please contact Matthew Jones, Public Affairs Officer at Christian Solidarity Worldwide on +44 20 8329 0045 / +44 7826 938 360 or email matthewjones@csw.org.uk, or visit www.csw.org.uk.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is a Christian organisation working for religious freedom through advocacy and human rights, in the pursuit of justice.

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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Census 2011

I have been filling in the form which is a testimony to our over intrusive government which has no sense of history. I had to answer 56 questions, the others in the household, 42 each. One hundred years ago my great grandfather had to answer 12 questions on behalf of each person resident on April 2nd 1911. In 1911 there was a head of the family. Now I am merely a householder. In 1911 the census asked five questions I do not have to answer. In 2011 the state is not bothered how many years I have been married, how many children we have had born alive, how many live and how many died. Nor is the state interested to know my place of birth. Come 2111 my great grandchildren will learn a lot about how we live now but any genealogical research will be hindered by the questions that were not asked in 2011 but were in 1911. This census is for the government and the employment of more civil servants. It is not in the real interest of future generations.

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