Edo to Sue USA, Britain over Stolen Art Works
From Senator Iroegbu in Benin, 10.17.2009
Edo State is set to recover stolen artifacts from the United States, Britain and other countries around the world.
To that end, it has threatened to drag unbending culpable countries to the International Court of Justice at The Hague if entreaties failed to recover relics stolen from the State since 1897, it was revealed yesterday.
As the State gears up for its first cultural show tagged Edofest, the State’s Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Vincent Akhere who spoke to journalists in Abuja said the cultural event would raise the bar on the promotion of cultural revival in the country.
He explained the reasons behind the action of the government, saying, “The move was borne out of the determination of Comrade Governor Adams Oshiomole who is out to ensure the revival and reinvigoration of the rich cultural heritage and values of the people of Edo State.
“This was in line with his electoral promises to ensure that all facets of the Ministry are revived. The result of this can also be appreciated by the forthcoming launch of a book on the Benin monarch, Omonoba Ereiduwa that chronicles his achievement since his enthronement 30 years ago”.
According to Akhere, the Ministry of Culture was responsible for the production of the book slated for launch during the Igwe festival.
He also disclosed that the State is sponsoring a bill to the State House of Assembly for the official recognition of 184 cultural and historical sites in the state, "the essence of this is to ensure that those sites become globally recognized for international sponsorship, if the UNESCO, Ford Foundation, British Council as well as others can officially recognized the sites as world heritage sites”.
On the systematic cultural revival programme of the State was deliberately planned, the Commissioner said it was part of economic revival strategy of the State government which “The Edo Festival is being likend to an economic bailout for the youths of the State.
“About 10,000 foreign visitors are being expected at the Edo festival. the implication can be appreciated by the kind of boost the State’s economy would witness during and after the festival.
“Already, the Governor has approved N100m for the rehabilitation of the Cultural Center while other venues of the festival are also undergoing rehabilitation.
He said Edo indigenes in the diaspora would also partake in the December 3-13 fiesta. "We are reaching out to sons and daughters of the State, corporate organization and the international community on the success of the festival
"The sponsorship of the festival will be on a Private Public Partnership (PPP) because of the competing demands on the finances of the State. "We are reaching out to Edo State personalities like Chief Tony Anenih, Ifieko Omoghui, Gen. Theophilus Danjuma and his wife Daisy, Steve Oronsanye, Dr Raymond Dokpesi among several others for their endorsements and goodwill.
Akhere dislosed that a N150m fund-raising event would soon be launched to generate enough funds for the festival.
Taraba Police Arrest Pastors over Alleged Theft
From Augustine Osayande in Jalingo
There was palpable tension in Jalingo capital of Taraba state yesterday following the arrest of five pastors and seven senior church official of the United Methodist Church by the police. Anti-riot policemen were position in various strategic locations and the churches headquarter located in mile six part of the town.
Speaking to newsmen, the state police commissioner Alhaji Aliyu Musa said the pastors and the church officials were arrested for vandalizing and stealing the church properties. He said information got to him at about 10:15pm in the night that some thieves were vandalizing the Church properties.
He quickly mobilized the policemen who were on guard in his resident to the Church premises and the suspects were arrested and brought to the police headquarter. He said later he learnt that the suspects were members of the Church who were trying to remove their properties as a result of the crisis in the Church. The police commissioner added that the reason gave by the suspects for their action was not satisfactory and as such they would be charge to court.
The suspects would be charge to court for stealing the Church properties and action likely to cause serious public disturbances. Speaking to newsmen, one of the suspects Reverend Elly Yaku said he was not aware why he was arrested by the police. He said they were arrested in their houses in day time contrary to the knight claimed by the police commissioner.
When contacted, the Bishop of the Church Arthur Kulah who also confirmed the arrest of the suspects said they were arrested by the police for looting the Church properties. He condemned the action describing it as act of criminality against the state.