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EYN: Rev. Billi, Distortion of History, and The Living Tamarind Tree 

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EYN: Rev. Billi, Distortion of History, and The Living Tamarind Tree 

By: Balami  Lazarus 

One man with a Holy Bible forcefully tried in an attempt to disjoint and change the course of history of the 100-year centenary celebration of EYN-CCBN in Nigeria. What is the rationale for “celebring 100 years of existence at two different locations”?  Likes of one Rev. Joel Billi, who lacks a sense of history, if given the chance, will turn historical events and their marks upside-down and inside-out to create different versions and interpretations. 

Men are subjects of history and have always neglected the importance of their footprints in the place of history, failing to realize that their activities could be a topic of history in discourse. The tempest raised by Rev. Billi at the wake of the 100-year centenary celebration of Ekklesiya Yan’uwa a Nigeriya, Church of Brethren in Nigeria (EYN– CBN ) was alarming, dire, appalling, and hair-rraising that shook the church founded over 100 years ago: March 1923, to March 17th, 2024 (101 years) as of now.

As an observer of the events, I write not only in support of one Mr. Yohanna Yusufu Balami (YY Balami), as he is known. His book, “Emerging Issues and Concerns: The 76th EYN General Church Council (Majelisa),” 2023. Has brought to light the deliberate distortion and near-death of the history of EYN Church in Nigeria. Rev. Joel, the President of EYN-CCBN was at the peak of this urgly and unhealthy situation that nearly consumed EYN as a Christian organization with her churches and members. 

Looking at the issues from a historical perspective, considering the fact that Rev. Billi has discredited the true and correct source of a living history from his actions in the aftermath of the church centenary celebration to mark its 100 years of existence at Garkida, where it first started in 1923,. He began this by using the privileges of his official capacity as President of EYN-CCBN to change the course of the living history of the church that first appeared in Ladin Gabas’ northeastern Nigeria, where it was planted precisely on March 17, 1923, under a living tamarind tree at Garkida in Adamawa State by two white, humble missionaries, Rev. Stover Kulp and Dr. Albert Helser.

The news of circumventing the centenary celebration has turned the entire church council into confusion; clerics and members were disturbed by this eruption. With repeated rejection of Rev. Stephen Billi intentions that lack merit with no justification, only but to distort and change the history of origin, date, and site bore out of selfishness wrapped in greed, ethnic and monetary capitalization on the gainers chart, nurtured and promoted by him.

The concerned elders of the church and other high-profile personalities from the region, Rev. Joel, refused to shift ground, and of course darkness fell that came with a thick smell of breakup rearing its head among her many church branches. He was near achieving this feat through the disunity he created, powered, and sponsored through his throng of’vultures’  for the sole purpose of personal interest by tempering with the history of 100 years. Rev. Billi has technically distorted the church history of Nigeria.

In spite of the historical relics—tombs and plagues—on and under the living Tamarind Tree, individuals like Rev. Billi have had the guts to dare see such glaring evidence of church history long before he was born. “All other places the EYN missionaries went to were on different dates after March 17, 1923. Kwarhi was not there and has no significant attachment to its history dating back to 100 years.

The 17th of March 1923 will always and forever remain our Founders Day in Garkida under the blessed Tamarind Tree, making it our spiritual headquarterss.”  My individual concern is the near collapse of the church and the damage to the rich history of EYN-CCBN. The question on the lips of members is: What has March 15, 2023, to do with the coming of Rev. Stover Kulp and Dr. Albert Helser? I put it to Rev. Joel Stephen Billi that this is but a broad-day robbery of EYN history. However, the cries of members and some well-meaning individuals in the public have helped to water down his intentions, which might have caused catastrophe for the entire EYN Church. I believe such will and shall not happen again in EYN-CBN as a church.

Balami, a publisher and columnist.

EYN: Rev. Billi, Distortion of History, and The Living Tamarind Tree 

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Nigeria, UAE to Strengthen Partnership and Collaboration

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Nigeria, UAE to Strengthen Partnership and Collaboration

By: Michael Mike

Plans are underway to further strengthen areas of partnership and collaboration between Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

This way revealed during the visit of the Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa to the Embassy of UAE in Abuja following the removal of the visa ban by placed on Nigeria by the Arab country.

Dabiri-Erewa who was received by the UAE Ambassador to Nigeria, Salem Saeed Al-Shamsi, stated that NiDCOM intends to engage and sensitize Nigerians in the UAE to be good ambassadors of their country of stay and country of origin, to excel in whatever they are doing and never to forget home.

She added further “this initiative aims to foster better understanding and compliance with local regulations”, while She disclosing that 190 Nigerians were repatriated to Nigeria, with an additional 250 expected to return soon.

She said the actions of individuals in a host country can greatly impact the overall image of their home country, noting that the role of Western media imperialism in perpetuating negative stereotypes about Nigerians.

The UAE Envoy on his part, explained that the visa ban on Nigeria has been officially lifted.

He confirmed that the Visa on Arrival policy has been canceled for all countries, but assured that the new procedures are designed to facilitate tourism and ensure travelers’ safe return.

The Ambassador expressed his commitment to providing the best possible services for Nigerians, with the support of the determined Nigerian government.

He also acknowledged the UAE’s role in safely repatriating 96 Nigerians at no cost.

Marking his one-year anniversary as the UAE Ambassador to Nigeria, Al-Shamsi shared his positive impressions of Nigeria, describing it as a beautiful country with warm-hearted people who share similar cultural, religious, Android ethnic backgrounds with the UAE.

He expressed his eagerness to continue collaborating with NiDCOM to strengthen ties between the two countries.

Nigeria, UAE to Strengthen Partnership and Collaboration

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UK Government Hosts Stakeholder Meeting on Serious and Organised Crime

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UK Government Hosts Stakeholder Meeting on Serious and Organised Crime

By: Michael Mike

The United Kingdom Government has hosted a multi-stakeholder meeting in Abuja to discuss how its Serious & Organised Crime (SOC) Prevent Programme is making significant strides in deterring vulnerable young people from joining Organised Crime Groups in Nigeria.

Launched as a three-year pilot in December 2021, the programme is designed to disrupt Nigerian Organised Crime Groups by redirecting at-risk youth towards positive alternatives in Bayelsa, Edo, Zamfara and Lagos states.

In select local governments of these states, the SOC Prevent Programme has established robust structures and delivered various interventions, including Back-to-School Initiatives, Digital Skills Acquisition, Dance and Drama Workshops and Sports Interventions.

Collaborating closely with the Nigeria Police Force, the programme has trained 83 officers in the Prevent methodology, reinforcing the commitment to institutionalise this approach in tackling SOC, and to date, approximately 1,500 beneficiaries across the four states have been diverted from potential involvement in organised crime.

Speaking at the meeting, the Acting British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Gill Lever said: “Serious & Organised Crime is a priority for both Nigeria and the UK, and can take many forms. Ranging from online focussed activities like cybercrime to the physical movement of illicit commodities and people in the form of trafficking.

“Our results in Nigeria have proven that the Prevent methodology works, and it has been successful in diverting young people from choosing a life of crime. I believe that the valuable discussions that took place today will smoothen the way for Prevent to be fully institutionalised in Nigeria.”

The meeting included representatives from the Federal Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Police Affairs, the Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Security & Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), INTERPOL, Office for Strategic Preparedness and Resilience (OSPRE), Ministry of Police Affairs, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and others.

The Prevent programme is an approach to tackling SOC. Others are Pursue, Protect and Prepare. Prevent methodology looks to prevent or deter people from engaging in SOC by raising awareness of the consequences of SOC and developing techniques to deter people from continuing in criminality.

UK Government Hosts Stakeholder Meeting on Serious and Organised Crime

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Adeola Odutola College 79/84 set celebrate 40 years in grand style with multi-million naira donation of solar street light to school

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Adeola Odutola College 79/84 set celebrate 40 years in grand style with multi-million naira donation of solar street light to school

By: Michael Mike

All is now set for the commissioning of multi-million naira installed solar street light by Adeola Odutola College 1979-1984 set as part of the activities lined up to commemorate the 40 years of leaving the school on Friday July 19.

In a statement, the set said the celebration which had earlier been kicked off with a thanksgiving in the Church on Sunday June 16, to mark the 75 years Founder’s Day, will witness a special Jumat service for the commemoration in the school.

According to Abiodun Balogun, the President of Adeola Odutola College Old Students Association 1979-1984 set, stated that the programme will start with the set participating in the morning assembly with the students from 8 a.m followed by a courtesy call on the Principal and Management of the school.

Thereafter, he said there would be commissioning of the installed solar street light at 11.00 a.m donated by the set to the school.

Balogun said the set will join the Muslim community of the School to observe a Jumat service specially for the set .

Other activities lined up for the anniversary include a get together and gala nite where the old students will reunite and reminiscence of their five years stay in the school.

Balogun added that the set is grateful to God for His benevolence on them as it has produced Professors and academicians, top civil servants, businessmen and women, educationists among several others both at home and in the diaspora.

It will be recalled that the set regrouped in 2014 to mark its 30 years in existence with renovation of some classrooms in the school.

Adeola Odutola College 79/84 set celebrate 40 years in grand style with multi-million naira donation of solar street light to school

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