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Nigeria Denies Religious Freedom Violation Allegation
Nigeria Denies Religious Freedom Violation Allegation
Nigeria has denied the allegation, by the United States, of engaging
in systematic and egregious religious freedom violations.
In a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday, the Minister of Information
and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, described the allegation as a case
of honest disagreement between the two nations on the causes of
violence in Nigeria.
”Nigeria does not engage in religious freedom violation, neither does
it have a policy of religious persecution. Victims of insecurity and
terrorism in the country are adherents of Christianity, Islam and
other religions,” the Minister said.
He said Nigeria jealously protects religious freedom as enshrined in
the country’s constitution and takes seriously any infringements in
Special Assistant To The President (Media)
Office of the Minister of Information and Culture
8 Dec. 2020
KEYNOTE ADDRESS OF THE HON. MINISTER OF WORKS AND HOUSING, MR. BABATUNDE FASHOLA, SAN, AT THE 26TH MEETING OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL ON WORKS WITH THE THEME, “ROAD INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT, JOB CREATION AND NATIONAL ECONOMIC GROWTH” AT THE HOTEL PRESIDENTIAL, PORT HARCOURT, RIVERS STATE ON THURSDAY,10TH DECEMBER 2020
On behalf of the Federal Government, I convey the appreciation of the Ministry of Works and Housing to the Government of Rivers State and Governor Nyesom Wike, for Hosting this 2020 edition of National Council on Works.
The commitment to host this was made last year when the Cross River State hosted the 2019 edition and when nobody foresaw the outbreak of a devastating viral pandemic called COVID-19.
The impact of the disease on livelihoods and the global economy has led countries across the world into different stages of negative economic growth and recession.
The need to address the economic challenges has prompted countries and Governments to design and implement various measures and policies to keep their economies going and to reflate them.
The Muhammadu Buhari Administration developed and has started implementing an Economic Sustainability Plan, that incorporates and challenges Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to ramp up activities, inspite of COVID-19; in order to provide work, increase opportunities and sustain productivity.
The Ministry of Works and Housing, as a critical infrastructure provider of the Federal Government, is one of the focal MDAs assigned with responsibilities for sustaining and expanding the economy during and beyond the COVID period.
This in part explains the theme of this year’s Council which is, “Road Infrastructure Development, Job Creation and National Economic Growth”.
While the public looks forward mainly to the quality of the Highway pavement, the Government sees a larger economic impact of infrastructure and the way it helps to legitimately distribute wealth to the people at the bottom of the pyramid.
Road construction employs a large number of the urban poor, skilled and unskilled labour and vendors who depend on daily or weekly wages.
The lockdown period was a difficult period for them and it was not surprising that as soon as lockdown eased, the Agriculture Sector and Road Construction were the first to resume work.
Eleven (11) of the biggest contractors of the Federal Government were allowed to return to work in May 2020 in 26 states.
This was closely followed by the resumption of maintenance works in 92 different locations across 24 states by FERMA.
The Government then decided to increase the scope for local content, labour and materials by:
a) Advocating for the increased use of cement, stone and concrete which are all locally available
b) Advocating for the local production of Bitumen since we have large deposits of the raw material.
I am delighted to inform you that many of these policies are at different stages of implementation with consequences on the economy.
With safety guidelines for Social Distancing, face mask and sanitation issued to construction companies, construction work has resumed almost full time across the country even though the virus is still with us.
Although the Third Quarter GDP result is still negative at -3.62%, it shows growth in the following sectors:
a) Quarrying and other minerals production 41.81%
b) Cement manufacturing 11.96%
c) Construction 2.64%
With the sustenance of construction activities, a strong contribution will be seen on the road to economic recovery.
Regarding the need to use more cement, more stone and concrete, the Ministry had to produce a design manual for Rigid Pavement in consultation with all the stakeholders in the industry.
I am happy to Report that the Sub-Committee led by the Honourable Minister of State, Engr. Abubakar D. Aliyu, and the Director of Bridges and Design, Engr. Emmanuel Adeoye, have produced the first Rigid Pavement Manual for Nigerian Roads.
There could be no better place to unveil it than at the National Council for Works, where all State Governments and other stakeholders are present.
This should also form the basis for implementing the Government policy for more labour-intensive Road Construction to stimulate employment drive, and more use of locally available materials of stone, cement and concrete for improved economic productivity.
It is impossible to discuss roads and economic development without discussing:
a) capital appreciation of 30-40% that infrastructure provision adds to the value of land;
b) the supply chain of food, lubricants, construction materials like laterite, cement, Reinforcement (steel), Water, Energy (Diesel) that is positively affected by infrastructure;
c) the sub-specialities of subcontractors such as Lane Marking, Highway Signage and Electrical fittings,
all of which benefit from the Construction of a Road.
I am aware that all the States are executing one infrastructure project or the other and this is how it must be. I was in Rivers State recently to commission a Bridge project undertaken by the State Government.
Our collective National Spending on infrastructure will contribute in no small way to our recovery from recession, but also propel inclusive and beneficial growth.
Examples abound of the positive impact of the investment in infrastructure through a value chain of inclusive wealth distribution that is immediately activated when one of our construction sites utilises 5,000 trucks of laterites at N30,000 per truck.
Such a value chain would include the owner of the quarries, the operators in the quarries, the truck owners and truck drivers, among several others.
When one of our contractors also recently paid N500 million to his diesel suppliers, another inclusive wealth distribution value chain got activated or sustained.
In closing this speech permit me to highlight the challenges we still encounter in some states and communities with respect to claims for compensation, which hinder our contractors’ ability to work.
– Challenges in the area of compensation require further collaboration and for States to play a lead role.
– The need for an interactive forum between State Commissioners and Federal Ministry of Works, which will occur more frequently than the annual Council, as recently suggested by the Honourable Commissioner for Works from Kwara State will also hopefully be considered at this Meeting.
I thank you all for your attention.
BABATUNDE RAJI FASHOLA, SAN
HON. MINISTER OF WORKS AND HOUSING
Thursday, 10th December 2020
SANWO-OLU: TRADITIONAL INSTITUTIONS, GOVT MUST SYNERGISE FOR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has called for synergy between traditional institutions and government for sustainable community and national development.
He said synergy between traditional institutions and government will facilitate improved security, welfare and prosperity for the people as well as a closer cooperation between the modern governance system and traditional institutions.
Governor Sanwo-Olu gave the advice at the colloquium organised to mark the 12th installation anniversary of the Aragbiji of Iragbiji, His Royal Majesty, Oba Rasheed Olabomi, at Iragbiji, Osun State on Thursday.
Speaking on the theme of the colloquium “Sustainable Community and National Development, Creating a Synergy between traditional institutions and government,” Governor Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by his Special Adviser on Chieftaincy Affairs, Prince Bayo Osiyemi, said traditional institution by virtue of its unlimited tenure is strategically positioned to promote sustainability because of its link between the past and the present.
The Governor said traditional institutions must play a role beyond being the custodian of the people’s tradition, custom history and culture, adding that the role of traditional rulers must be agreed upon and enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution.
He said: “Some Nigerians hold the opinion that one of the factors responsible for our low level of development is the failure to harness the potentials of our traditional institutions. In other words, there is need for synergy between government and the custodians of our history, culture and tradition.
“A key factor in development is sustainability, which in simple terms means meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of our future generations to meet their own needs. The traditional institution by virtue of its unlimited tenure is strategically positioned to promote sustainability because of their link between the past and the present.”
Sanwo-Olu while stressing the need for synergy between traditional institutions and government, said traditional institutions has a repository of knowledge, experience and wisdom, which are essential for social stability and purpose driven development which is tailored towards the needs of the community.
He said: “One of the areas where the role and relevance of the traditional institution are of great significance is the maintenance of peace, order and security, which is the foundation for sustainable socio-economic development at the community, state and national level. This is one area where the government must synergise with traditional rulers who are closest to the people and possess superior knowledge of the dynamics of their communities.
“It will do our nascent democracy a lot of good and to our advantage in terms of facilitating improved security, welfare and prosperity for our people, if we take a cue from our past experiences and force a closer synergy between the modern governance system and our traditional institutions.”
Other speakers at the colloquium include Prof. Lai Olorode, Prof. Siyan Oyeweso, Dr. (Mrs) Aminat Ayobami Olaboopo.
The event was attended by the deputy governor, Hon. Gboyega Alabi, who represented the governor, Hon Rasaq Adeosun, Special Adviser on Chieftaincy amongst others.
CHIEF PRESS SECRETARY
DECEMBER 10, 2020
Governors, lawmakers for SPCC’s 70th Anniversary
High-ranking federal government functionaries, prominent traditional rulers, professionals and leaders of political parties in Nigeria are expected in Aghalokpe, Delta State on Friday, April 9, 2021.
The 70th Anniversary Celebration of St Peter Claver’s College, Aghalokpe is billed for April 9 and 10, 2021.
According to a statement by the Chairman of the 70th Anniversary Organizing Committee, Chief Kingsley Omokri, there will be Mass at the College Chapel, inspection of college premises and distribution of anniversary crested books to students of SPCC, Aghalokpe and pupils of SPCC Nursery and Primary School on Friday, April 9, 2021.
Major programmes at the gathering, Chief Omokri said, include the commissioning of renovated projects by old students, anniversary lecture, award ceremony for those that have distinguished themselves and launching of a book titled ; SPCC Aghalokpe: The Hidden Pearl of the Ethiope.
‘’There will be free medical service for the natives of Aghalokpe, Aragba, Oviri, Ekpan, Okpara-Waterside and Igun on Saturday, April 10, 2021’’ the statement said.
.’’A novelty football match between Old Boys Association of St Peter Claver’s College, Aghalokpe and Urhobo College Old Students Association will take place on Saturday, April 10, 2021’’ the statement added.
Founded in 1950 as the fourth secondary school in Warri Province (later renamed Delta Province in 1952), St Peter Claver’s College was the first secondary school in Sapele.
Its proprietor, His Lordship P. J. Kelly, Catholic Bishop of Benin Diocese which included Warri/Delta Province during British Colonial Times, envisaged St Peter Claver’s College as the equivalent of St Patrick’s College, Asaba, for the Catholic Community in Warri Province.
SPCC moved from Sapele to Aghalokpe in 1953.
INTERNATIONAL MEDIA CORRESPONDENTS BASED IN NIGERIA
NIGERIAN JOURNALISTS (Publishers, Editors, Correspondents and Reporters)
Angels are in heaven: Tribute to Amaka Lauretta Ndoma-Egba
By Sen. Victor Ndoma-Egba
Where do I start this tribute? Certainly I cannot talk about you in the past for you live. When you live in the hearts and minds of the so many you have touched you cannot die. When is the best time to die..?
You are the love of my youth, the love of my life. You came into my life, we were both young, and took it over completely. You left me to worry about my work and my lawn tennis. Even with my work and tennis you had deep insights. You are faithful, strong, bold, confident, brutally honest and unusually generous and kind. You want the best for yourself and for everyone else. With you there are no half measures. Only the best is good for you, and all. You are very beautiful and even more beautiful inside. You are focused and on a mission. There is no tomorrow in your lexicon. Whatever you have to do you do it today. A fashionista and prayer warrior you are a devotee of the Blessed Virgin Mary. You are different, simply unique. Your views and attitude were like none other. Spreading joy to others is your biggest joy.
As every human you have your faults which however pale into insignificance beside your good side. You hate pettiness, weakness and slovenliness. You hope and pray for a better society. In all our years together I never heard one child in our home raise his or her voice against another. Indeed, nobody raised a voice against another in our house; at least I never heard. Your many cats, whom you referred to as your children, dogs and birds ate from the same plates. Everyone lives in peace with one another in your home, and the animals too.
You left enduring legacies. You unlocked the destinies of many and encouraged all who came your way to exert themselves to the limits of their endowments .You built Start-Rite Schools from an idea to an iconic institution comparable with the best anywhere in the world, completed this church to the glory of God. You built people.
“The days of mortals are determined
You have decreed the number of their months and have set limits they cannot exceed” Job 14:5. God has numbered our days. When He calls us back to Himself early it is to prevent those He loves from being corrupted on earth. The scriptures tell us that “The righteous perish, and no one takes it to heart, the devout are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil” Isaiah 57: 1
Your name is carved in our hearts. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you. Your stories are sweet.
I hear you say to me “I give you this one thought to keep
I am with you still. I do not sleep
I am a thousand winds that blow
I am the diamond glints on snow
I am the sunshine on ripened grain
I am the gentle rain on the roof
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night
So do not think of me as gone. I am still with you in each new dawn”
From my friend you became my lover, wife, friend, and soulmate. You became me and I became you. We became one. Your pains were mine and your joys were my joys. Your whole life is Victor. From being a provincial lawyer you showed me the possibilities of the global stage and dared me to seize them. Your friends nickname you “gum body “ as you cling to me every minute, in body and in soul. Now you have upgraded. You are now an Angel with God Whom you so faithfully serve .You are with our Blessed Mother, Mary whom you venerate. You are in Heaven, where all Angels are. Angels are in Heaven and you are my Personal Angel.
“My flesh and heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” Psalm 73:26. Because God is my strength I, rather than mourn you I will celebrate your most remarkable life for you live. It is not the length of our years that matter, rather it is the life in the years. You have life in every minute of your life. I have hope in the Resurrection so I will not mourn because we will meet again to part no more . You hate self pity and love strength so I am strong.
When is the best time to die..? The best time to die is when you die for God has decreed the number of our days and set our limits “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose” Romans 8:28. My love, my Angel, it is well for you live for “Now is eternal life; that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” John 3:36.
Today, the world celebrates you. I will celebrate and love you forever. Live on my Angel, my personal Angel.
Sen. Victor Ndoma-Egba, SAN, is former Senate Leader and ex-NDDC Chairman
LAGOS OPENS AGEGE PEN-CINEMA BRIDGE NEXT FEBRUARY, AS PROJECT REACHES 90 PERCENT COMPLETION
Sanwo-Olu Inspects Project Site Amid Jubilation By Residents
Barring any exigency, the long-awaited Agege Pen-Cinema Bridge in Lagos State will fully open to vehicular movement in about eight weeks, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu assured commuters in the axis.
The project is said to be at 90 per cent completion; all civil works have already been completed on the bridge.
The overpass ascends from Oba Ogunji Road and drops at Oke Koto axis of Agege. The bridge also opens to the old Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway through Abule Egba.
When opened for use, it will bring an end to the discomfort currently being experienced by motorists plying Agege-Abule Egba.
Sanwo-Olu, in company of his Deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, and members of the State’s cabinet, went on an unplanned inspection of the project site on Wednesday and assessed the level of work done so far.
The Governor was joined in a walk-through on the 1.7 kilometre-long bridge by a multitude of ecstatic residents, who expressed their appreciation on pace of work on the bridge.
Speaking to reporters during the tour of the project site, Sanwo-Olu expressed satisfaction on the quality of work done, disclosing that the bridge would be fully opened for public use next February.
He said the only work left on the bridge was turning intersection improvements at the descending part of the bridge and signalisation for ease of traffic movement.
The Governor said: “We have just finished an inspection and a walk through of the Agege Pen-Cinema Bridge. The level of completion of the project is around 90 per cent. All the major brick work has been done and we are left with two major deliverables, which include cleaning up the intersection and signalisation.
“There are four synchronised signalisation we are expecting to have and each must work together with the other. We are expecting that all these will be done early next year. This is in fulfillment of the promise we made that we will complete all projects abandoned. We are giving the contractor handling this project a maximum of eight weeks to attend to little snags in the project.
“By second week in January, vehicles can move on the bridge but we may need additional four weeks to complete the signalisation, road painting and demarcation. We are looking forward to fully hand over this project sometimes in February next year.”
Sanwo-Olu said the State Government had started to consider other complementary road construction to be done on the axis to further improve traffic for commuters in the area.
The Governor said the State was in talks with the Federal Road Maintainance Agency (FERMA) to take on adjoining arterial roads, with the objective to ease flow of traffic from the bridge down to other areas.
Addressing a crowd of residents at the site, Sanwo-Olu urged them to be patient while the contractor puts final touches on the project. He said his administration moved to complete the bridge given its strategic importance to easing gridlocks and improving economic activities in Agege and adjoining communities.
The Governor also charged the residents on the need to keep peace in the area, asking them to protect assets of the Government in their neighborhoods.
CHIEF PRESS SECRETARY
DECEMBER 9, 2020
Moro’s Veteran Welfare Fund Bill scales seconding reading
The Bill seeking to establish the Veteran Welfare Fund, sponsored by Distinguished Senator Abba Moro, on Wednesday, crossed Second Reading on the floor of the Senate.
The Veteran Welfare Fund which was first read in the Upper Legislative House on March 5, 2020, is aimed at providing financial and other forms of assistance and benefits to serving and retired members of the Nigerian Armed Forces.
In his lead debate, Senator Moro representing Benue South Senatorial District in the Red Chamber said the Veteran Welfare Fund, if established, would provide succour and hope for serving and retired military personnel who are staking their lives for the country.
According to a statement issued by his media aide, Ameh Comrade Godwin, the lawmaker implored his colleagues to support the Bill and make it a law to serve as “a motivation and morale-boosting for our military men and women.”
Moro’s lead debate reads: “Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, may I humbly seek your consent to lead the debate on this very important Bill.
“The Bill was read for the first time in this Revered Chamber on Thursday, 5th March, 2020.
“Mr. President, most respected colleagues, may I use this opportunity to highlight some of the objectives and intent of the Bill, which certainly will not just furnish justification for this deserving legislative advent, but will also motivate the National Assembly to accelerate the legislative process in passing this Bill into law.
“The Bill seeks to establish the Veteran Welfare Fund so as to provide financial and other forms of assistance and benefits to serving and retired members of the Nigerian Armed Forces.
“Major benefits under this fund include veterans’ compensation, veterans’ pension, rehabilitation, housing assistance, health and economic benefits.
“Mr. President, most respected colleagues, may I, at this point, define ‘Veteran’, for the purpose of this Bill: A Veteran is a long experienced and long practiced person in the service of the Military, Naval, and Air Force, or who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable.
“This definition explains any individual who has put in fifteen years and above in the Service or has successfully completed his service years in any branch of the Nigerian Armed Forces, or discharged under conditions other than dishonourable.
“It is pertinent to mention here that most of the time, the best a retired or discharged Military Veteran gets in our country is a befitting ‘burial and memorial’, which often includes service interment, head stones, markers and of course, Presidential Memorial Certificates.
“The Veteran Welfare Fund, when established, will enhance the welfare of serving or retired members of the armed forces in compensation of the enormous sacrifices they have made or are making.
“This Bill intends to boost patriotism, gallantry and morale in the men at the frontline. Mr. President, respected colleagues, I humbly urge you to support this Bill and give it an accelerated passage. Thank you.”
The Bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Establishment And Public Matters.
LAND TRANSACTIONS IN LAGOS FULLY GO DIGITAL NEXT YEAR – SANWO-OLU
Application And Payment For C Of O, Building Plans To Be Done Online
Governor Addresses Property Investors At LASRERA’s Maiden Real Estate Conference
Beginning from first quarter of next year, all land related transactions in Lagos State will be undertaken online, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu disclosed on Wednesday.
The plan, the Governor said, is to further accelerate the process of getting approvals on land matters and create an enduring business-driven property development market in the State.
Sanwo-Olu made the disclosure at the maiden Real Estate Marketplace Conference and Exhibitions organised by Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Authority (LASRERA), with the theme: “Unearthing real opportunities in Real Estate.”
The Governor said the State’s Department of Lands had built the required capacity for smooth transition to the online platform, stressing that the plan was already in its final stage.
When the web-based platform is finally launched, there will be no need for applicants seeking for Certificates of Occupancy (C of O), survey and building plan approvals to physically submit paper documents for authorisation. All documentation and payments will be done by applicants from the comfort of their homes.
Sanwo-Olu said the new development would bring about quick turnaround time in land transactions and boost private investors’ confidence in provision of home ownership model that will address deficits in housing.
He said: “We have improved on our GIS solution to accelerating land matters in Lagos. From the first quarter of next year, we will be launching an online platform on which all land transactions will be done. When the project kick-starts next year, there will be one-stop shop for all transactions relating to land, including Governor’s approval on CofO, and building approval by Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development.
“We have given our commitment on this, because of the need to improve the turnaround time from when people submit their requests for approval and the time the authorisation is completed. We cannot afford to disappoint private investors and applicants seeking real time approval. We are raising our capacity, so that we can respond to the requests and discharge them.”
The Governor charged residents and property developers applying for approvals to stop cutting corners and circumventing the process, stressing that sharp practices would only make it difficult for impatient applicants to get their documents approved.
Sanwo-Olu said his administration was committed to providing mass housing scheme that would address inadequacy in housing, pointing out that the establishment of LASRERA was part of the move to re-build integrity in housing market and gain confidence of private developers working with the Government to realise the State’s housing need.
The Governor also harped on the need for massive regeneration of properties in mainland part of Lagos, charging real estate investors and private developers to divert their investment to rebuilding mainland and redistributing wealth from the business.
He said: “I need to charge the real estate investors that, everybody needs not build in Sangotedo or Ibeju Lekki. Let us go to mainland and start regeneration of the assets in that part of Lagos. This way, we would be redistributing wealth and creating opportunities for our citizens.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Housing, Mrs. Toke Benson-Awoyinka, said the conference was held with an objective to bring stakeholders in property business in contact with relevant Government agencies and address bottlenecks slowing down property transactions.
She said LASRERA was created with a mandate to bridge the gap of credibility in property business, pointing out that the Government responded to the yearnings of industry players, having realised there were genuine real estate practitioners and property developers, as well as genuine home and property seekers who were desirous of credibility in real estate transactions in Lagos.
Benson-Awoyinka said the regulatory agency, since inception, had set processes in motion to change the negative image of property development business and check malpractices which the sector had faced in the last decades.
She said: “As a Government that is determined to bridge the housing deficit in the State, we are aware of our role in not just the provision of houses, but also create an enabling environment for the private sector working hand in hand to a desired end.
“We are making a renewed appeal to investors in the sector to team up with the State Government to create a home ownership model that will help address the deficits observed in housing market in the State our through Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiative in providing mass housing for our people.”
There conference featured exhibitions for home marketing firms, Government and private property developers.
There was also a panel of discussion in which private practitioners, heads of relevant Ministries and agencies provided explanations on housing market can be improved.
CHIEF PRESS SECRETARY
DECEMBER 9, 2020
No Birthday Celebration This Year, Monetize Your Gifts – Obuah
Ahead of the birthday anniversary of Bro Felix Obuah, Sole Administrator, Rivers State Waste Management Agency, RIWAMA, and Immediate Past Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, which usually draws avalanche of goodwill, congratulatory messages, gifts, parties, religious and social programmes from friends, relations, political associates and admirers from across the globe, Bro Felix Obuah says this year’s edition of his birthday will not hold.
Though no specific reason was given for not observing what may have become an annual ritual most often at the behest of his well-wishers, Bro Obuah appealed to those who could have presented him with gifts or organize parties, religious and social programmes to do so by monetizing such gifts.
Bro Obuah, said, it became necessary to make public the suspension of this year’s Birthday Anniversary to save his numerous friends and fans the energy, time and financial resources that would be wasted in trying to identify with him for the suspended event.
“If such friends and fans should insist on having him celebrate the birthday anniversary however, such persons should do well to transmit their gifts and presents to him in monetary terms,” Bro Felix Obuah emphatically declared.
Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to
Bro. Felix Obuah, Sole Administrator,
Rivers State Waste Management Agency (RIWAMA).
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