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13 Niger Delta indigenes win SPDC JV scholarship to UK varsities

 

Thirteen indigenes of Niger Delta States of Bayelsa, Delta, Imo and Rivers have won the 2019 Shell Petroleum Development Company Joint Venture scholarship for a one-year master’s degree in three top-ranked universities in the United Kingdom. The latest awards bring the total number of beneficiaries to 92 since the inception of the scheme in 2010.

“A lack of world-class research institutions and limited access to technology are key challenges in enabling Nigerians and Nigerian companies to play an even greater role in the oil and gas value chain, therefore, the SPDC Joint Venture has, over the years, developed many scholarship programmes and other initiatives as part of our continuing efforts to develop indigenous manpower for the oil and gas industry,” SPDC’s General Manager External Relations, Igo Weli, said at the award ceremony in Port Harcourt on Thursday.

Represented by SPDC’s Social Investment Manager, Gloria Udoh, Weli explained that the scheme was targeted at host communities. “We have the national scholarship which caters for the entire country in addition to the scholarships offered by our deepwater business, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company.”

According to him, the fully-funded scholarship covers “all the direct and indirect activities leading up to the award of the postgraduate degree including visa fees, Tuition, living expenses, other allowances and return flight tickets for a one-year Master’s degree in top-ranked partner universities.

The partner universities are: Imperial College London; University of Leeds; and University of Aberdeen.

SPDC’s General Manager, Nigerian Content Development, Olanrewaju Olawuyi said the company was committed to country value addition not just through scholarships but also through in-country manufacturing, supplier development, asset ownership and infrastructure development.

Olawuyi said, “Our approach to developing local human capacity has evolved over the years as the challenges facing the industry and our businesses have changed. We look forward to their returning home and contributing to the development of the oil and gas industry and their communities.”

One of the awardees, Ahante Promise, described the scholarship as “a life-time opportunity to further improve myself and compete equally with my peers all over the world. Shell is doing a great job and I am extremely grateful.” Another beneficiary, Woyinpreye Cliff-Ekubo, expressed appreciation to SPDC “for the opportunity and continuous support in ensuring human capacity development in Nigeria.”

You can’t pocket me, I’m not dollars – Wike tells Ganduje

The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has lambasted his counterpart from Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje over plans to drag him to court, saying he is not a dollar bill which Ganduje can “pocket sheepishly and recklessly”.

Ganduje was reported to have threatened to institute a legal action against Wike, following claims that he ordered the demolition of a mosque in Port Harcourt, the state capital.

The Rivers State governor, however, denied the allegation.

However, a statement by Wike’s Media Aide, Simeon Nwakaudu reads: “It beats my imagination that Kano State Governor, Abdulahi Umar Ganduje is still in the habit of making irresponsible comments about Rivers State. Up till now, Ganduje is yet to realise that Governor Wike is not dollars that he can pocket recklessly and sheepishly.

“I saw a statement released by Abdulahi Umar Ganduje. He said that he will sue Governor Wike over the falsehood that a Mosque was demolished in Port Harcourt. For the umpteenth time, no Mosque was demolished by Governor Wike. No Mosque was demolished by the Rivers State Government.

“The story was a fabrication by one Alhaji Tobacco. The fabrication was orchestrated by Daily Trust and The Nation Newspapers for obvious mischievous political reasons. These baseless press releases confirm the ugly plot.

“Several journalists and civil society groups have visited the disputed land and no traces of any Mosque were found at the location. Governor Wike personally led journalists to the disputed land and the world saw that no Mosque existed there.

“On Saturday, the Rivers State Islamic Leader/Vice President General, Rivers State Council for Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Nasir Uhor stated that there was no physical structure of a Mosque at the disputed land at Rainbow Town in Port Harcourt. He said the insinuation that any structure was at that location was not true. He also admitted that a Rivers State High Court confirmed that the disputed land belongs to the Rivers State Government.

“Suit Number PHC/986/2012 between Registered Trustees of Trans-Amadi Mosque, Port Harcourt (Claimant) and the Commissioner, Ministry of Urban Development and Physical Planning, Rivers State, the Governor of Rivers State and the Attorney General of Rivers State (Defendants) was resolved by Justice G.O. Omereji on Tuesday, 27th November, 2018. This matter pre-dated Governor Wike.

“Justice Omereji of the Rivers State High Court held that: “The defendants have in Exhibits J, J1 and J2 inclusive of Exhibit K, which is the Certificate of Title, established that the land, the subject matter of this suit, was acquired in 1959 by the Government.

“My humble opinion is that the claimants have not established that they have better title to the land, the subject matter of this suit and they have not established that at the material time they were in possession and that the defendants do not have better title to the land”.

“The Court further ruled that the claimants had no approval to build on the disputed land.

“The entire world is aware of the above facts. Nobody has circulated any photographs or videos of the said Mosque that Ganduje and other APC Chieftains are harping on. They merely want to use a non-existent Mosque story to score ugly political points.

“Pray, what redress would Ganduje be seeking in court when he sues Governor Wike? Would Ganduje tell the court to relegate the Rivers State Ministry of Urban Development and Physical Planning and enthrone its Kano State Counterpart? Would Ganduje be asking the Court to hand over jurisdiction to Kano State High Court?

“Under the Land Use Act, the governor is responsible for allocation of land in all urban areas to individuals’ resident in the state or to organizations for residential, agricultural, commercial and other purposes. Perhaps, Ganduje would be telling the Court to deny the Rivers State Governor of such powers, while he retains same powers under the Land Use Act in Kano State.

“The Press Statement attributed to Ganduje is a confirmation that this country is at its lowest point. This is the worst form of administrative ignorance.

“As a Governor with a bruised ego, Ganduje thinks that this religious falsehood would afford him a backdoor entry into the national good book. Sadly, he has exposed himself as a terribly ignorant leader who basks in baseless claims.

“The disputed land is already before the court, as the Registered Trustees of Trans-Amadi Mosque, Port Harcourt (Claimant) sued the Rivers State Government in 2012. Having lost at the Court of First instance, these trustees have appealed the judgment.

“GANDOLLARS MAY HAVE FORGOTTEN, On December 8, 2016, Abdulahi Umar Ganduje, as Chairman of the Rivers State APC Election Rerun Campaign Committee, threatened violence on Rivers people at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium.

“Alongside several APC Governors, Ganduje Ganduje called on APC Thugs to unleash mayhem on Rivers electorate for the purpose of rigging the rerun elections. He claimed that the aim was to ensure that the APC took control of the House of Assembly for the purpose of impeaching Governor Wike.

“The APC Federal Government deployed 57,000 security personnel, billions of naira, millions of dollars, Jet Fighters and Gunboats for the rerun elections. Rivers people stood with Governor Wike and the APC was roundly defeated. Rivers people rejected the plot to pocket Governor Wike by the APC rigging machine.

“GOVERNOR WIKE IS NOT DOLLARS. Abdulahi Umar Ganduje, a man who enjoys bribery and falsehood, must realise that Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike is not dollars that he pockets with ridiculous abandon. Governor Wike is a lover of the rule of law, due process, religious tolerance and peaceful co-existence. He cannot be intimidated by the illiterate threat of lawsuit from a man of low moral standing.

“Gandollars, sorry, Ganduje is still talking because he thinks that Nigerians have forgotten about his crime against his people.”

Formula 2 driver Anthoine Hubert killed in crash at Belgian Grand Prix

Formula 2 driver Anthoine Hubert has died after a crash at the Belgian Grand Prix, the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) has confirmed.

The Frenchman’s car was hit at high speed by Juan-Manuel Correa’s at Spa-Francorchamps. They were treated by emergency medical crews before being taken to a medical center.

Hubert, 22, died at 6:45 p.m. local time, the FIA said, while American Correa remains in a stable condition and is being treated at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire (CHU) de Liege hospital.

The third driver involved, France’s Giuliano Alesi, was declared fit at the medical center. The race was canceled soon after the crash occurred on lap two.
Formula 2 is a feeder series for Formula One and is seen as the final step before progressing to F1.

Hubert, who won two races this season and the Formula 3 championship last year, drove for BWT Arden and was an affiliated driver for the Renault Formula One team.

Teams and drivers from across the motorsport community paid tribute to Hubert, with former F1 world champion Jenson Button calling the youngster “super talented.”

UK: Suspension of Parliament sparks nationwide protests

Hundreds of people blocked London’s normally busy Whitehall road on Saturday to protest Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s suspension of the British parliament.

They gathered outside the gates protecting the prime minister’s London residence at 10 Downing Street and chanted “Boris Johnson, shame on you,” “Trump’s puppet, shame on you,” “Liar Johnson, shame on you,” the Press Association (PA) reports.

The protesters also rang a bell, blew whistles and beat a drum, PA reported, adding that they carried placards and European Union flags.

A small crowd gathered in Belfast, more than 1,000 gathered in York and 1,000 in Manchester, according to PA.

Organizers had been expecting hundreds of thousands of people to turn out in London, Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Oxford and York, among other cities, and in Aberdeen and Glasgow in Scotland, as well as Belfast.

The anti-Brexit initiative “Another Europe Is Possible” had issued the call to protest.

It was joined by, among others, the leader of the main opposition Labour party, Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour grassroots organization Momentum and environmental activists from the YouthStrike4Climate campaign.

Johnson on Wednesday successfully petitioned Queen Elizabeth II to prorogue, or suspend, parliament in London from mid-September to mid-October, when he plans to submit his government programme in a new parliamentary session.

“The public outrage at Boris Johnson shutting down democracy has been deafening,” Labour leader Corbyn tweeted on Friday. “People are right to take to the streets – and I encourage everyone to join the demonstrations in London and across the country tomorrow.”

Corbyn did not seem to have turned up on Saturday, but his colleague and shadow home secretary Diana Abbott addressed the crowd in Whitehall, saying that he sent his support for the demonstration.

“We cannot allow Boris Johnson to shut down parliament and to shut down the voice of ordinary British people,” PA quoted her as saying.

Many in the crowd shouted “Where is Jeremy?” PA reported.

Parliament is in fact routinely prorogued, but the move is highly controversial shortly before Britain’s planned exit from the European Union by the deadline of Oct. 31.

The suspension has greatly shortened the time in which members of parliament could debate possible legislative procedures to prevent Brexit happening without a deal. (dpa/NAN)

Ndidi returns for Leicester … Iheanacho, Balogun missing

Super Eagles midfielder Wilfred Ndidi returned to the starting line-up for Leicester City who defeated Bournemouth 3-1 in their Premier League clash at the King Power Stadium on Saturday

Ndidi, who missed the Foxes last league game against Sheffield United due to injury. featured for 90 minutes in the game.

It was Ndidi’s third league appearance for Leicester City this season and he has scored once.

His international teammate, Kelechi Iheanacho was not listed for the game by the hosts.

Iheanacho has now been left out of the matchday squad by the Foxes for their last three games in all competitions.

Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy was involved in all three goals as Brendan Rodgers’ side beat Bournemouth 3-1 in an end-to-end contest at the King Power Stadium.

Leicester, who were industrious both on and off the ball against the visitors, move provisionally up to third in the table with eight points after four games.

“We were worthy winners I felt,” Rodgers said. “I’m so, so proud of them. They gave so much against a very good side.

“Vardy is a top-class striker. From the day I walked through the door, he’s been amazing. It was a difficult (first) goal today… on the bounce, his connection and finish.”

Isaac Success featured as a substitute in Watford 1-1 away draw against Newcastle United.

Success replaced the Hornets goal scorer in the game, Will Hughes in the 71st minute.

The other Nigerian at the club, Tom Dele-Bashiru failed to make the matchday squad for Watford in the encounter.

At the Etihad Stadium, Leon Balogun was left out of the matchday squad for the fourth consecutive game as his club, Brighton&Hove Albion lost 4-0 to Manchester City.

In other fixtures, West Ham United defeated Norwich City 2-0 at the London Stadium, while Crystal Palace edged 10-man Aston Villa 1-0 at the Selhurst Park.

Koulibaly’s own goal hands Juventus dramatic win to ruin Napoli comeback

Napoli defender, Kalidou Koulibaly, scored an injury-time own goal to hand Juventus a 4-3 Serie A victory in Turin on Saturday after the visitors had fought back from three goals down.

Goals from Danilo, Gonzalo Higuain and Cristiano Ronaldo gave the Italian champions a 3-0 lead with less than half an hour remaining.

Napoli refused to give up as Kostas Manolas and Hirving Lozano scored within two minutes of each other before Giovanni Di Lorenzo completed a stunning comeback.

But Koulibaly volleyed a free kick into his own net in stoppage time to hand Juve an early advantage in the Serie A title race.

Juventus face a trip to Fiorentina next after the international break, while Napoli host Sampdoria.

Bayern fire six past hapless Mainz for second win in a row

Bayern Munich scored six times in a span of 45 minutes to come from a goal down and crush visitors Mainz 05 6-1 on Saturday.

The result saw Bayern climb to seven points from three games, two off the top.

Benjamin Pavard’s fine volley in the 36th minute cancelled out Mainz’s lead through a Jean-Paul Boetius header and launched Bayern’s sustained attack.

A sensational David Alaba free kick on the stroke of halftime turned the game around before Ivan Perisic gave Bayern a two-goal cushion with a header at the far post in the 54th minute.

Kingsley Coman stabbed in their fourth 10 minutes later and league top scorer Robert Lewandowski also got onto the scoresheet, firing in his sixth goal in three league matches in the 78th.

Substitute Alphonso Davies completed the rout two minutes later.

RB Leipzig are top on nine points after their 3-1 win at Borussia Moenchengladbach on Friday.

Liverpool triumphs with record-breaking win at Burnley

Premier League leaders Liverpool set a new club record of 13 straight top flight wins with a 3-0 victory at Burnley on Saturday, maintaining their two-point advantage over champions Manchester City.

After Burnley started brightly, with forward Chris Wood forcing an early save out of Adrian, Liverpool got ahead in the 33rd minute, albeit in fortunate fashion.

Trent Alexander-Arnold’s attempted cross from deep on the right hit the back of Wood and looped over Burnley keeper Nick Pope into the far corner.

If Sean Dyche’s side felt luck was against them with the opener, they had only themselves to blame when they handed Liverpool a second goal four minutes later.

Burnley skipper Ben Mee passed straight to Roberto Firmino, who burst forward and then slipped the ball left to Sadio Mane, who finished with precision into the bottom corner.

Firmino wrapped up the win nine minutes from the end, driving past Pope after good work from Mohamed Salah, who skipped past two challenges before setting up the Brazilian.

The club’s previous record run was set between April and October 1990, when the team was managed by Kenny Dalglish.

Buhari vows not to interfere with EFCC operations

President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged not to interfere with the operations of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as it strives to uncover and prosecute corrupt public officials in the country.

The president made the pledge on Saturday at the graduation of 328 cadets of the Detective Superintendent Course 8 of the EFCC.

The colourful passing out parade took place at the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) parade ground, Ribadu Campus, Kaduna.

The parade climaxed 13 months of rigorous training to avail the officers with the necessary skills of law enforcement.

Buhari, who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, congratulated the cadets and urged them to contribute their quota to the fight against corruption in the country.

The President gave assurance that his administration would offer the EFCC all the necessary support to ensure effective discharge of its responsibilities.

He also assured them that the government would improve their working condition to enhance their efficiency.

Buhari stressed that the fight against corruption remains a cardinal objective of his government.

He noted that significant progress has been made in the last four years in fighting corruption and blocking financial leakages especially with the introduction of the Single Treasury Account and whistleblower policy.

“This progress has facilitate the recovery of looted funds in the country”, Buhari said, and commended the EFCC for being part of the success story.

He, however, urged them to continue with the good work in order to have a well developed country.

EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, stressed that all Nigerians have a responsibility of fighting against corruption, so as to have a well developed nation.

Five of the cadets were given awards for outstanding performance, while the overall best cadet, Nuriddeen Sani, got a presidential award.

National grid collapses for the 10th time in 2019

The national electricity grid recorded another collapse on Friday, throwing most parts of the country into darkness for nine hours.

Ndidi Mbah, spokesperson of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), said that the system collapse, which is the 10th this year, happened around 2:01 p.m., but that the grid was restored around 9:01 p.m.

The incident was said to have led to power generation dropping to zero megawatts(MW). According to Mbah, the cause is being investigated.

The grid suffered four total collapses in January, and one each in February and April.

The grid collapsed twice within 24 hours in May which resulted in a reduction of electricity allocation to distribution companies (DisCos) across the country.

On June 30, a fire outbreak at a power substation in Benin, Edo state, led to the total collapse of the national grid, making it the ninth total collapse in the year.

The TCN had blamed the system collapse on the massive load rejection by the DisCos.

But the DisCos blamed the frequent collapses on poor protection equipment used for power transmission.

The Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED), the umbrella body of the DisCos, said the grid has recorded over 100 partial and total transmission system collapses since the privatisation of the sector in 2013.

Leah Sharibu alive, will soon return – Presidency

Senior Special Assistant to the President, Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, says the Buhari administration will not give up on the safe return of Leah Sharibu.

Leah Sharibu, student of Government Girls Science and Technical Secondary School, Dapchi, was kidnapped along with other rescued students by a faction of Boko Haram terrorists in February 2018.

Speaking to a group of journalists on Saturday in Abuja, Shehu said: ‘‘Instead of giving up, the government is carrying forward processes that should hopefully yield her release by her captors.”

The presidential spokesman was responding to worrying cycle of speculations on whether Leah Sharibu, the kidnapped Dapchi school girl had been harmed by her abductors.

He told reporters emphatically that ”much of what is written about the girl in the press is false news.

“Lines of communications remain open with the kidnappers, ISWA, to secure the release of Leah Sharibu.

‘‘Contrary to false reports, she is alive – given assurances from our security agencies -, and the government is committed to her safe return, as well as all other hostages to their families.

“Kidnapping for ransom should never be encouraged. This means not capitulating to the demands of terrorists: refrain from rewarding their heinous crimes with payment.

‘’With the abduction of loved family and friends, the government understands how difficult these times are for them, but government is pursuing many options to ensure the safe return of Leah Sharibu.

“We must commit to law and communication, using the breadth of strategies at our disposal: legal initiatives, stakeholder cooperation, involvement of all relevant parties and the use of the latest hostage negotiation techniques.

‘‘Kidnapping for ransom is rising across the Sahel. We must – collectively – make sure we implement best practice to prevent its exploitation.”

While appealing for patience in dealing with the challenge posed by Leah Sharibu’s captivity, the Presidential spokesman assured that ”the administration is fully conscious that any misstep on a delicate issue as this can be costly”.

NNPC debunks reports of pipeline explosion

Mr. Mele Kyari, Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), has debunked reports of an explosion on the Abura Crude Trunk line, operated by the Corporation.

This was contained in a statement by NNPC spokesperson, Mr Ndu Ughamadu, on Saturday in Abuja.

Ughamadu said Kyari faulted the reports shortly after teeing off the 2019 NNPC Upstream Golf Tournament in Benin City.

There were alleged media reports that the pipeline, situated at Otu-Jeremi town in Ughelli, Delta State, was engulfed in flames.

The facility is NNPC’s Upstream subsidiary, operated by the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC).

Kyari described the incident as a mere rupture on one of the corporation’s pipeline, which would be fixed within three days.

“It was not an explosion. It was a rupture on one of our pipelines. Our team of engineers have since moved to site. In three days, we should be able to fix it.

“We have since contained the spill coming out of that pipeline. There was no fire anywhere on the pipeline. So, there is no cause for alarm,” Kyari said.

The GMD assured the public that the incident would have no negative impact on power supply; and called on host communities to disregard the rumour and go about their normal activities.

He also stated that the Upstream Golf Tournament at Benin would avail members of staff of various operations of the Corporation, the opportunity to work and maintain a healthy lifestyle through the game of golf.

“Our operations require the support of all stakeholders to succeed.

“We see our relationship with Benin Golf Club as very crucial in helping us achieve our key targets of growing production, increasing the nation’s reserves and ensuring lasting peace in the Niger Delta,” he noted

Earlier, Prince Aghatise Erediauwa, the Captain, Benin Golf Club, stated that that the NNPC had an age-long relationship with the Club in line with its Corporate Social Responsibility policy.

“We are very honoured to have the GMD coming down here to tee off this year’s tournament even though he has a very tight schedule.

“We are very pleased and we hope this relationship continues for years to come,’’ Eradiauwa was quoted in the statement as saying.

More than 200 golfers across Nigeria are expected to participate in this year’s tournament, where there will be commissioning of some projects executed by the NNPC at the Benin Golf Course.

South-East governors ban armed herdsmen … to meet Buhari, service

Governors of the South East region have appealed for audience with President Muhammadu Buhari and security chiefs in the country over insecurity in the region.

The Chairman, South East Governors Forum, Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State, disclosed this on Saturday while briefing newsmen after the forum’s meeting in Enugu.

Umahi said that the sought meeting with the president was necessary because it would help douse rising tension in the region.

The forum chairman announced a ban on herders who moved with AK47 rifles and or machete in the region.
He also said that the forum agreed on a joint air surveillance in the zone with security agencies to flush out bandits from the region.

“We have banned herders who move about with AK47 and machete and we want our security agencies to enforce the order,” he said.

Umahi commended Enugu State Government for the steps it had taken to secure the state, including the establishment of Forest Guards.

He encouraged other governors to replicate the measure in their respective states to ensure the safety of the people.
The meeting was attended by governors of Ebonyi, Anambra, Imo and Enugu States and the Deputy Governor of Abia.

Others in attendance were security chiefs in the state, chieftains of Ohaneze Ndigbo and technocrats, among others.

CAN President, Adeboye, others kick against RUGA settlements

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has told the Federal Government to jettison the planned RUGA scheme, saying the association was opposed to the implementation of the programme anywhere in Nigeria.

On May 21, the Federal Government approved what it termed the RUGA settlement scheme, to curb open grazing of animals nationwide.

RUGA entails the settlement of animals by farmers in an organised place with the provision of necessary amenities.

CAN President, Pastor Samson Ayokunle, announced the position of the association at a church leaders’ summit in Lagos on Saturday.

“We, the Christian body call on the Federal Government to immediately suspend and abrogate the RUGA settlement programme,’’Ayokunle stated.

According to him, anything that smacks of mutual distrust should be avoided in the interest of national unity.

He said also that the perception by many Christians that CAN had not been showing enough interest in national issues was wrong.

“Let me state it here that our position, although it may differ from that of government is not opposition but a way of helping those in government.

“Our position is a way of helping those in government by calling their attention to the dangers that may come from the proposed action if adequate caution is not considered.

“We, the Christian body also kick against the Control of Waterways Bill now before the National Assembly. The Control of Waterways by the Federal Government Bill before the National Assembly should be rejected.

“Waterways in each locality should be controlled by local authorities. God created the waterways there. At most, they should be controlled by State Governments.”

The CAN chief advised the Federal Government to intensify efforts on the establishment of modern ranching facilities, abattoirs and meat processing firms.

Also speaking, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, said that he supported the position of CAN on the RUGA settlement issue.

“CAN must do everything possible to let the world know that CAN is one. Whatever the CAN president says is the final,” he said.

The Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, in a message, said that building of the nation is in the hands of God.

He pleaded with Nigerians to pray to God for supernatural intervention in the affairs of Nigeria, saying: “we need to cry to God to help Nigeria.”

Osinbajo was represented by the Chaplain of Aso Rock Chapel, Pastor Sheyi Malomo.

Church leaders at the summit include Pastor Felix Omobude, President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria.

Elder Napo Emuchey, President of the Organisation of African Instituted Churches, Rev. S.T.V. Adegbite, President of the Christian Council of Nigeria and Benebo Fubara-Manuel, among others.

The theme of the summit is: “RUGA: The Church Response in the 21st Century”.