From Adetutu Folasade-Koyi and Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has warned Nigerians travelling to the United States, the United Kingdom and some European countries to be wary of thieves targeting their passports, money and other valuables.
He disclosed that there’s an avalanche of reports of theft of valuables, including passports of Nigerians.
“It has come to the attention of the government that Nigerian travellers to the United States and some countries in Europe are having their belongings, especially money and international passports, stolen at an increasingly high rate.
“The most recent victims of this are travelers to the UK, most of whom were dispossessed of their belongings at high brow shops, particularly in the high street of Oxford.
“We have, therefore, decided to advise Nigerians travelling to Europe and the United States to take extra precaution to avoid being dispossessed of their belongings.
“This is not your typical travel advisory. Issuing such is the prerogative of our embassies/high commissions as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is merely a piece of advice to Nigerians who may be visiting the affected parts of the world…”
Meanwhile, former director of the Kenyan anti-corruption agency and Professor of Public Law, Patrick Lumumba, has said African countries must shun politics of the stomach and ethnicity so as to make progress.
He who stated this at the 10th memorial lecture of former Senate leader, Abubakar Saraki, in Abuja, wondered why the 55 African countries cannot feed themselves, after about 60 years of independence.
This is as President Muhammadu Buhari described the late Saraki as a statesman, who contributed to political development of the country, during his time.
President Buhari, who was represented by the Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, said the former Senate leader “earned the respect of many Nigerians and in particular President Muhammadu Buhari who has been always showing enormous regard for him, equally our presidential candidate Ahmed Bola Tinubu and many others have in many occasions appreciated his contributions to our polity.”
Lumumba, while stating that Africa would not be at ease until Nigeria is at ease, noted that the country ought to be a $4 trillion economy, rather than the present $500 billion.
“The continent is not at ease because the continent is suffering from a deficit of leadership. As long as Nigeria is not at ease, Africa will never be at ease. If Africa wants to be at ease, Nigeria must be at ease. She is the largest economy in Africa. She has a population of about 200 million people. One in every African is a Nigerian. She is represented in every sector.
“If you want the best Engineers, they are Nigerians, if you want the best doctors, they are Nigerians. If you want good lawyers, they are Nigerians, but also if you want Yahoo boys, they are Nigerians. Nigerians are present everywhere in the world.
“Nigeria I am told is a $500billion economy. never ever be proud of that Nigerians, this is an economy that should be at least a $4trillion GDP. Whenever you reach that level, then I will say that Nigeria is doing the right thing. All the ingredients are there, the question is, why is she not realizing its potentials?”
Lumumba, who spoke on “leadership and followership in Africa” said African countries have outsourced the education of the followers to foreign Non Governmental Organisation ( NGOs) and Community Based Organisations( CBOs). And noted that the implication is that the citizens are “tuned”from outside.
“ I am suggesting that Africa is not going to grow as long as you are in position of leadership, and you have perfected the art of appealing to the stomach rather than the minds of the men and women that you lead.
“I am suggesting that Africa is not going to realize her potential as long as we continue to conduct the politics of money and money bags, not the politics of ideas. I am suggesting to you that Africa is never going to realize our potential as long as we are dividing our people along ethnic lines.
“I am suggesting that as long as you were in positions of honor and privilege and you are in the business of dividing our people on the basis of the religion, Africa is not going to realize her potential,” the professor of law stated.
Earlier, the Sultan of Sokoto, Saad Abubakar 111, who was chairman of the occasion, admonished the leaders to be conscious of the fact that there would be a time of reckoning, when they will be required to go account of their stewardship.
The Sultan said: “We are interested in what happens in our country and this is very serious period with politics dominating the space and we are talking about leadership and followership by a distinguish African.
“The topic chosen by the organizers is so apt, and important because we are into political activities and we are looking for leaders to steer the ship of State to an excellent destination, we must look at who a leader should be, what leadership should not be, what we should do as followers to ensure we have a good leader.
“For leaders we want to urge you to always uphold the truth, be honest, be transparent and be accountable because Almighty Allah will ask you.”
Former Senate president, Bukola Saraki, in his welcome address, said if his late father was around, he would have been proud of the bipartisan nature of the gathering.