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Nigeria police arrest traditional priest after laying curse

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A 94-year-old traditional priest has been arrested in Nigeria after cursing the alleged perpetrators of a recent spate of violence.

Anazo Ilomuanya was hired by a group of youths attempting to end killings affecting Ozubulu town, in the south-east of the country, police say.

The police arrested the traditional priest after local people complained.

The conflict, thought to be between rival drug gangs, led to the killing of 13 churchgoers last year.

It is believed that the perpetrators mistakenly thought the intended target of the attack was attending the St Philip’s Church.

Read also: Maids accused of stealing ex-Zambian first lady’s clothes, beer

At the time, police said the shooting was the result of a feud between Nigerians from Ozubulu who were living abroad and that the violence could be linked to drug-trafficking.

“The youths of the town, under the name of Concerned Indigenous People of Ozubulu in seeking a means to end the killings, consulted the traditional priest to lay curses on the people involved,” police spokesperson Haruna Muhammed told BBC Igbo.

But others in the town were unhappy and reported the priest and the youths to the police, Mr Muhammed added.

Those arrested are due to appear in court, but it is unclear what they will be charged with as it is not a crime to lay a curse on someone under Nigerian law.

Metro

Zambian Police bar political party leaders from attending church services

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The political crisis in Zambia took a new disturbing dimension on Sunday when heavily armed Police Officers stopped Presidents of political parties under the United Kwacha Alliance (UKA) coalition from attending various church services in the Copperbelt region.

Those affected, according to Zambian Monitor, include ex-president, Edgar Lungu, and New Heritage Party (NHP) president, Chishala Kateka, who were blocked from attending a designated church service where they had been initially invited but later managed to sneak into a Catholic Church.

Others affected by the police action were Presidents of Christian Democratic Party, Dan Pule, and National Congress Party leader, Peter Chanda, who were scheduled to worship at Christ the King Church in Kitwe but were turned away by police officers who escorted them out of Kitwe.

However, the UKA Chairperson, Sakwiba Sikota, and Zambia Republican Party leader, Wright Musoma, managed to escape the police dragnet and worshiped at Disciples Fellowship Ministries International (DFMI) in Ndola.

Citizens First President, Harry Kalaba, was in Chingola at St Peters and Paul’s Parish when alleged armed UPND cadres surrounded the parish.

Kalaba was later seen in a social media video being whisked away through the backdoor of the church, leaving behind his vehicles, and went to BIGOCA in Lulamba where the UPND cadres followed him again.

Speaking on the situation, Kalaba told journalists:

“In President Hakainde Hichilema’s regime, the Police have been summoning and arresting clergy critical of his government including disrupting meetings between priests and opposition political figures.”

UKA Chairperson for Communications, Jackson Silavwe, said it was worth noting that President Hichilema had never attended and officiated at the National Day of Prayer and Fasting with his UPND senior officials and members calling it a “useless” day when in the opposition.

“It is therefore, not surprising that the Zambia Police under President Hichilema’s government are showing the same gross contempt towards the clergy and churches who associate with critical voices,” he said.

Silavwe alleged that the heavy handedness by the Zambia Police of this magnitude towards clergy and the church had never been seen before in the history of Zambia, claiming Hichilema had once again scored another ‘first’ under his administration.

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Nigerian govt insists on N62,000 minimum wage despite Labour’s stance

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The lingering feud between the Nigerian government and organized labour on the minimum wage saga may not have an end soon as the government has insisted that it will not pay a dime above the N62,000 it had proposed despite labour pegging its demand at N250,000.

A statement from the Presidency on Sunday stated in clear terms that the N250,000 minimum wage clamour by Organised Labour was unsustainable, warning that the Federal Government could not channel all its resources to meet such a demand.

The position of the Nigerian government is coming after the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) also raised concerns over the amount being proposed by the FG in the face of escalating inflation and high cost of living.

ALGON, had, in a statement, said if approved, the wage may put a strain on the councils’ financial burden.

Several rounds of talks between government and labour leaders have stalled as the Tripartite Committee set up to negotiate on behalf of government has failed to reach a compromise with labour.

The labour unions have described the proposal as an insult to the intelligence of the average Nigerian worker, whom they say deserve far better than what the government offered.

Special Adviser to President Bola Tinubu on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, in an interview, disclosed that unless the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress were selfish, they should consider that the resources meant for the entire Nigerians could not be channeled to only the benefit of their members who are not more than 10 per cent of the entire population.

“That is why we keep telling labour to be realistic because the government cannot use all its resources to pay workers. They have other things to do. The workers we are even talking about are not up to 10 per cent of the population.

“Many people are self-employed or engaged in the private sector, who are not members of Labour, and are not affected by this demand.

“This is even more reason why labour has to reconsider their decision critically instead of always striving to shut down the system. What the FG did was in consultation with the private sector and others.

“Only Labour, which appears to be in the minority, kept saying they won’t accept N62,000. They are not even employers but employees.

“Let us wait and hear what they are going to say after their return from the ILO conference. But they have to be realistic,” Onanuga reiterated.

Onanuga added that the Federal Government might not meet the Labour leaders again unless something cogent turned up.

“I am not sure whether the FG is meeting with them or whether its position on the minimum wage has changed. Don’t forget the current amount on the table was arrived at by the committee that also has the private sector where the NECA and NACIMMA were also represented.

“That was the figure the FG delegation, sub-nationals, employers, NECA and other sectors agreed on. So, the FG cannot just decide on any other amount of money on its own without carrying these people along.

“And the government cannot just decide anything without ensuring that the state and local governments are able to pay,” he said.

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