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The Christian Association Nigeria (CAN) has called on the Federal Ministry of Education and the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council to publish the full details of the controversial new Curriculum of Education if they have no hidden agenda.

The perceived dangers packaged in the new Curriculum of Education has brought the document to the fore since the leadership of the CAN raised the issue in a meeting with the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, and asked the government to ensure there is no discrimination against any student because of religious beliefs in our public schools. ‎

Speaking through its President, Dr. Samson Olasupo A. Ayokunle, the umbrella body of all Christians in the country said it foresaw the danger ahead if the curriculum that merged the Christian Religious Knowledge and Islamic Religious Knowledge with Civic Education is made to stay.

It also disclosed some perceived discrimination against Christian students in the curriculum.

According to Ayokunle: “…In this curriculum, Islamic and Christian Religious Studies will no longer be studied in schools as subjects on their own but as themes in a civic education. This undermines the sound moral values that these two subjects had imparted in the past to our children which had made us to religiously and ethnically co-exist without any tension.

“…Islamic Religious Knowledge was equally made available as a subject in another section without any corresponding availability of Christian Religious Knowledge. Is this not a divisive curriculum that can set the nation on fire? Is this fair to millions of Christians in this nation?”

To buttress his point, the CAN President cited a case in Kwara State where a student was punished for refusing to register for Islamic Religious Knowledge.

He said: “A Christian student in a secondary school in Kwara State had his body lacerated with cane by the Arabic Teacher because the pupil refused to do Islamic Religious Knowledge when French Teacher was not available and Christian Religious Knowledge, Hebrew or Greek were not part of the options at all.”

But in a swift reaction, the Federal Ministry of Education debunked the claims that Christian Religious Knowledge had been removed as a subject of study from the secondary school curriculum and Islamic Religious Studies reintroduced.

According to the Director of Press, Federal Ministry of Education, Chinenye Ihuoma, the ministry has only designed a new subject which merged Civic Education, IRS, CRK and Social Studies into “Religion and National Values”.

According to Ihuoma: “The alternation is not from the minister, this is purely from the National Council on Education. It is just as the council has said that History should be a subject of its own at the basic level in the first nine years.

“Now, a new subject has been introduced, called Religion and National Values. It is a fusion of religion and civics.

“I have not seen the details but in a case where you have subject combinations in the same period, everyone will attend lectures that correspond with their own religion.

“Arabic and Islamic Studies are not standing alone. Islamic Religious Study and Christian Religious Study as well as national values will be taught under a new subject.”

In his own reaction, the Executive Secretary of NERDC, Prof. Ismail Junaidu, who also faulted CAN’s position, contradicted the position of the Ministry.

According to Junaidu: “NERDC hereby states that: CRK is still taught in schools; as a separate distinct subject with the accompanying Teachers’ Guide.

“CRK is not a theme in Civic Education. Civic Education is a distinct subject on its own which teaches the rudiments of good citizenship.”

Junaidu said a directive given by the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, on the merger.

He said: “For the avoidance of doubt, the last review of the curriculum was approved in 2013 and implementation commenced in September, 2014. In both instances, neither the Christian Religious Knowledge nor Islamic Studies was removed from the curriculum.

“In fact, at the commencement of the present administration, the Hon. Minister of Education sought and obtained the approval of the National Council on Education to make Christian Religious Knowledge compulsory for all Christians students and Islamic Studies compulsory for their Muslim counterparts.

“Efforts are in top gear to print the Christian Religious Knowledge and Islamic Studies Curriculum separately in order to maintain their characteristics and distinctiveness.

“In this Curriculum, no child should be coerced or compelled to learn or be taught in school any religious studies subject but only one (out of the two) that restrictively relates to the belief system professed by the child and his/her parents.”

However, CAN in a statement on Thursday by Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, said: “If the two religions were different subjects in the new curriculum, why did the Minister has to seek the approval of the agency “to make Christian Religious Knowledge compulsory for all Christians students and Islamic Studies compulsory for their Muslim counterparts”?

“Again, if the two religious studies are being taught separately, why is the agency stating that “Efforts are in top gear to print the Christian Religious Knowledge and Islamic Studies Curriculum separately in order to maintain their characteristics and distinctiveness.

“These statements underscore our position that the subjects were merged before! Do we need to run away from underscoring the importance of these two subjects which focus on teaching the fear of God, love for others and so on at a time like when our nation is facing the challenge of violence and breakup?

“If the new curriculum is treating the two religious subjects separately as being claimed, why do we have a satanic topic in the Civic Education like ‘IS JESUS THE SON OF GOD’? Or is the Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo who disclosed to CAN leadership that this was in the curriculum he earlier saw lying too?

“The agency claims no student will be forced to register for a religion against his/her wish.

“That is not true. In Kwara State, for example, the discriminatory curriculum has begun and Christian students who refused to register for it already had their bodies lacerated with cane! We have the names of the victims and their schools with us, including the text message from the parents of such students who were beaten.

“Not only that, in the forth coming Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) 2017 TIME TABLE, which runs from Tuesday, 4th July, 2017 to Thursday, 13 Julyin Kwara State, there is no CRK as subject to be sat for. Any reason for this? Instead, on the 13th July, 2017, it has the following; KW/BECE/ 203 Arabic CAIS, KW/BECE/204 IRK JIS; KW/BECE/407 ARABIC JIS and KW/BECE/205 Islamic History. Source:www.kwaraeducation.com.

“The chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria in Delta State has also called to complain that students are calling him to say that their teachers are saying that they will no longer be doing CRK as a subject again. Who is deceiving whom?

“As far as CAN is concerned, the curriculum is a time-bomb, obnoxious, divisive and ungodly and its implementation must be stopped until all the grey areas are addressed. Like we told the Acting President, it’s introduction is an ill-wind that blows nobody any good for so many reasons.

“If we are going to do pilgrimage together as a nation, there must be fair play, mutual respect for one another and justice which can be brought about by different arms of government. We demand for justice from the government on this matter very quickly.

“We request for a return to the curriculum we were using before this dangerous one which did not produce insurgents or a wrongly indoctrinated Nigerians. It was the students that came from a school system where morning devotion was removed that are behind the insurgency and kidnappings that are happening now and then.

“Those of us who passed through the former system where we all did devotion in the morning and in the afternoon at closing in our schools lived together peacefully irrespective of our religions. The government must stop the operation of this new curriculum. It did not come out of a forward looking research but a backward one. A stitch in time saves nine.

“We caution the Federal Government against the use of propaganda in addressing this sensitive issue because the unity of the country is at stake. We are not crying wolves where none exists.

“We are disappointed hearing the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu claiming that CAN was believing a piece of misinformation received from the social media.

“To say the least, that is a misleading statement from a Minister who is not only trying to Islamise the ministry with all the appointments he has made but denying the reality of discrimination policy under his watch.

“We counsel Adamu to reconcile his position with the spokesperson of his ministry who agreed that both CRK, IRK and Civic Education had been merged to become one subject before denying the reality.”

CAN then went on to make it demands known to the Federal Government.

It said: “The implementation of the curriculum must be suspended till a workshop is organized where all the stakeholders must be well represented.

“The Presidency should direct the Federal Ministry of Education to publish the full details of the curriculum on its website to enable everyone know what it contains.

“There was nothing wrong with the old curriculum on Christian Religious Studies and Islamic Religious Studies. What people are yearning for is a return to Civic Education and History for obvious reasons as distinct subjects.

“That the heads of the parastatals and agencies in the Federal Ministry of Education should be overhauled with a view to balancing the religious dichotomy. A situation where 13 of their heads are Muslims while the remaining four are Christians is an ill-wind that would blow no one any good.

“We urge the Presidency to call for a meeting of all stake holders to look at this curriculum line by line and for all of us to own it together before implementation.

“If our call is taken as for granted and nothing is done quickly about this curriculum, we may be tempted to take further action on this curriculum.”

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Federal Government Plans Petrol Alternative, To Crash Fuel Price To N97

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The Federal Government on Thursday said it would crash the price of petrol by providing Compressed Natural Gas as an alternative source of fuel for vehicles nationwide.

The CNG is a fuel that can be used in the place of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly known as petrol. It can also be used in the place of diesel and Liquefied Petroleum Gas.

Speaking on what the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources would work on this year during a press conference in Abuja, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, stated that the Federal Government was working for the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill before May.

He further stated that moves by the Federal Government to recover $62bn from international oil companies were seemingly impossible, as no such money was sitting anywhere to be harvested by the country.

Sylva further declared that the Nigerian oil and gas sector was retrogressing, particularly when compared to the oil sector of other nations.

He stated that the use of petrol had caused a serious drain on the finances of the Federal Government as a result of the continued subsidy on the commodity.

Explaining how the government intends to crash petrol prices, Sylva said, “When you say we are thinking about reducing the pump price of petrol, I could easily say yes. Why I could say yes is because we are looking at giving the masses an alternative.

“Today, we are using the PMS but what we want to do, going forward is to see that we are able to move the masses to the CNG. If we take all transport vehicles to the use of the CNG, you would have impacted the poor positively.”

Sylva said findings by the government showed that the CNG cost less than the subsidized PMS and that once the CNG was fully deployed, the price of fuel would crash.

“The subsidized rate of the PMS per litre is N145 but the CNG cost between N95 to N97 per litre and that is why I said that we want to reduce the cost of fuel,” he stated.

He said Nigeria had abundant gas and that deploying the CNG would not be tough for the country.

“Nigeria’s gas reserve is significant. Nigeria currently has estimated 202TCF (trillion standard cubic feet) of gas, with a projection of 600TCF,” Sylva said.

On the PIB, the minister said, “We are optimistic that both the Petroleum Industry Governance Administration and Host Communities Bill, on the one hand, and the Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill, on the other hand, will be passed within the first anniversary of the second tenure of this administration.”

Commenting on moves by the Federal Government to recover $62bn from international oil companies based on an October 17 judgment of the Supreme Court, Sylva stated that it was practically impossible to recoup such funds from the IOCs.

He declared that no $62bn was anywhere for release by the IOCs and explained that it was best for the government to sit and discuss with the oil firms on how to go about the issue.

The Federal Government had through the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation written to the IOCs, demanding various sums of money on the basis of the Supreme Court judgment.

The court had ordered the Federal Government to recoup all revenues lost to oil-exploring and exploiting companies due to the wrong profit-sharing formula since August 2003.

Sylva said, “Yes there was a provision in the amended Deep Offshore Act, but when we had crude oil prices above $20 per barrel, the Federal Government should have asked for some form of an increase in its take.

“Unfortunately we didn’t activate that aspect. You will not blame the Federal Government or the oil companies for not activating that aspect of the Act. You will agree that $62bn could not have been sitting somewhere for us to harvest; it is not possible.”

The minister stated that Nigeria was retrogressing in the oil sector, particularly when compared to other nations that started at similar times with Nigeria in the oil and gas business.

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Ghana Emerges 3rd Most Corrupt Country In The World

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Ghana has emerged as the third most corrupt country in the world in the most recent version of Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index.

The West African country scored 67 points in the rankings released earlier this week.

Another African country, Kenya, also made the top 10, occupying the 8th position with 53 points.

Colombia is perceived to be the most corrupt country in the world, according to U.S. News’ 2020 Best Countries rankings, a characterization of 73 countries based on a survey of more than 20,000 global citizens.

In the survey, respondents answered how closely they related each of the countries to the term “corrupt”, the exact meaning of which was left to their own interpretation. The attribute is factored into the Best Countries rankings for transparency, as well as the best countries to invest in and headquarter a corporation.

Colombia, which sees an estimated $14 billion a year in corruption-related costs, experienced a wave of anti-government protests starting at the end of November. A new set of strikes could ensue after protest leaders meet with government officials later this month.

While the country is known for its decades of political scandals, voters recently elected Claudia López, a member of Colombia’s green party and a prominent activist, as the mayor of Bogota. López is the first woman and openly gay individual to become mayor of Colombia’s capital city.

Mexico, known for its deadly drug cartels, follows Colombia as the No. 2 most corrupt country in the 2020 ranking. Myanmar, Guatemala, Saudia Arabia, Brazil, and Bolivia also made the top 10.

Russia, which has been accused of election meddling and Olympic doping, joins the top 10 list this year after placing No. 12 in 2019.

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Catholic Church May Bar Fr. Mbaka From Preaching Over His Partisanship Prophecies —- Archbishop

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The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Adewale Martins, says the Spiritual Director of the Adoration Ministry, Enugu, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka, could be banned from preaching if he continues to deviate from the doctrines and tenets of the Catholic Church.

Martins, who was appointed Archbishop of Lagos by the Pope in 2012, said this during an interview with the BBC Igbo while reacting to Mbaka’s prophecy that Hope Uzodinma would emerge as governor of Imo State.

Mbaka had on New Year’s Eve prophesied that Uzodinma would emerge as governor in 2020, a prophecy which came to pass on Tuesday when the Supreme Court sacked Emeka Ihedioha and named Uzodinma as the duly elected governor.

Reacting to the prophecy, which has stirred heated debate, the archbishop said Mbaka was under the Diocese of Enugu and did not report to him.

He, however, said if Mbaka continued in the manner he was doing things, the Catholic Church may bar him from ministering.

Martins said, “Fr. Mbaka falls under the authority of the Bishop of Enugu Diocese and therefore he has the responsibility of cautioning him. I can imagine that this must be giving the bishop some challenges.

“It must be giving him a bit of a headache and I feel sorry for him and I hope he will find some way of dealing with this matter that has been recurring. Of course, what could be done in the end is either to say, ok you receive the sanction of being stopped from public ministry. That is a possibility. If it is not done, there must be a reason.”

Martins, who was ordained a priest in 1983, said the Catholic Church does not engage in partisan politics.

He said even if Mbaka received a prophecy from God, he ought to ensure that his conduct corresponds with the scriptures and the doctrine of the Catholic Church.

The archbishop added, “It is utterly surprising that Fr Mbaka would go as far as naming one person as governor against another. It is embarrassing when you hear of priests or people in a position of authority making statements that are clearly partisan.

“The position of the Catholic Church on matters that have to do with politics is not to be partisan. Of course, we as a church cannot be oblivious to political events and happenings in the country or the world at large and therefore we must speak from the point of view of principles.

“The priest who believes he has a gift of prophecy has to test whatever has been told to him in the light of the scriptures, in the light of the teachings of the church and in terms of the authority that has been given to leaders in the church.”

Martins said Mbaka’s behaviour was at variance with the teachings of the Catholic Church and he had fallen below the standard expected of priests.

Mbaka, who was ordained a Catholic priest in 1995, has been known to give many controversial prophecies.

In 2002, he prophesied that the then Governor of Enugu State, Chimaroke Nnamani, would not return to office in the election but the governor won a second term.

In 2015, Mbaka prophesied that President Goodluck Jonathan would lose to the current President, Maj Gen Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), which came true.

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