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More Catholic than the Pope: Demystifying Nasiru El-Rufa’i’s obsession with power

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Nasir El Rufai

Murtala Uba Mohammed

The famous nineteenth century German Philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche was quoted to have said: “arrogance on the part of meritorious is even more offensive to us than the arrogance of those without merit: for merit itself is offensive”.

This statement is very relevant to a giant-voiced, small physique governor of Kaduna State Malam Nasiru El-Rufa’i.

No doubt, the Katsina born graduate of the famous Ahmadu Bello University and later University of Harvard and Georgetown University, has achieved much in his life.

In his memoir, The Accidental Public Servant, El-Rufa’i stated that he was very lucky to be among few Nigerians to become millionaires in their twenties.

Indeed, this is a rare blessing in a country where the economy is in the hand of a few, largely aged fellows. Nasiru’s achievement is not only in material sense as he was fortunate to hold some big political offices in the country.

A rare achiever, Governor El-Rufa’i governed some of the most important capitals of the country, Abuja the present administrative capital of  Nigeria and Kaduna the capital of the defunct Northern Region.

No license for contempt

However achievement is not a licence to treat people with contempt and disrespect the sensibilities of the general public.

After all, El-Rufa’i should thank Nigeria (of course Nigerians) for the chances he is given continuously.

It is important for him to remember that a country of over two hundred million people is very much blessed with many seasoned administrators and technocrats.

I want him to put at the back of his mind that he is not the only and will never be the most intelligent person ever produced in this country.

Let him be humble and not as arrogant as he presents himself.

El-Rufa’i needs to be reminded that if it was physical strength or might, he would not in any way get closer to the power he is too proud of.

In fact it is very unlikely for a person of his stand to inhale its fragrance or odour as the case may be.

If it is hard-work, many work harder but are not destined to attain for one reason or another.

For someone who grew in a centre of learning like Zaria City, it is easy to be reminded that intelligence is no one’s monopoly.

He should equally be reminded that power is transient and should be treated as such.

Mai Rusau

Although, this is not the first time El-Rufa’i displayed his extremism and to some extent conceited attitude to the service he was entrusted to render, it is only now that it becomes glaring how overzealous he is and how arrogant and indifferent he is to the people of Kaduna.

As the Minister of Abuja, he was nicknamed Mai-Rusau (the demolisher).

 In his attempt to restore the Master Plan of Abuja, he demolished many structures worth billions of naira.

Many casual and superficial observers applauded him and perceived the wanton destruction of property as a laudable achievement.

But the ever overzealous governor had done more than what planners of the city expected him to do.

Planning is not, by any stretch of the imagination, as rigid as he thought, because it is always people’s oriented, it allows for restructuring, amendment and accommodation.

A liveable city should have place for the poor and working class, but not for only capitalist-oriented minds.

Dealing with COVID-19

Anyone following the news today can easily understand how passionate the Kaduna State Governor had become in his fight against the Covid-19 pandemic that found its way into Nigeria since early February.

Governor Rufa’i cannot be matched by any governor in his zeal to do all that can be regarded as proactive measure in containing the pandemic.

He is one of the first governors to impose and enforce lockdown as a means of mitigating the transmission of the virus to the barest level.

This is certainly a good measure especially when one considers the strategic location of Kaduna State as the main entry to core northern states via the most important capitals of the country—Lagos, the commercial capital and Abuja the administrative capital—and indeed the two major entries for the spread of pandemic.

This is sound and proactive tactic, and El-Rufa’i should be commended for that.

However, what one may find strange about the governor is the way he cares not about the fate and plight of the poor and the common people.

A good shepherd should be more concerned about his herd. In a state where most of the residents are poor and live through daily earning, it is very insensitive and unwise to lock people for more than one month as he did.

I do not want to talk about whether the palliatives given were sufficient enough to keep the poor or not because no sensible Nigerian will believe our leaders in this kind of situation—glaringly confidence has been eroded.

One will continue to wonder and ask rhetorically:  who are his advisers?

It seems he has too much confidence in himself and this has given him a proclivity of the 21st century dictators.

He feels that his view is the only view and his way is the only right path.

It is apparent that the governor remains insensitive and adamant to many calls and advice given by good and concerned citizen of Kaduna State.

Dangerous utterances

Some of the governor’s utterances were dangerous and quietly implied his general feeling towards people’s cause. The governor always wants to say things that are controversial and that will make him perpetually the point of discussion in the public arena.

El-Rufa’i’s attitude to his principals is very undemocratic as he continues to remain adamant to the people’s fate.

It is crystal clear how draconian he sounds especially when it comes to religion.

There is nothing wrong in banning religious gathering to safeguard the life of people and to ensure that the spread of lethal Covid 19 is within government’s control, but that should be done with decorum and respect to religious authority.

When he was canvassing for their support and votes, he treated them with all the respect they deserved.

Among his most annoying action was his press release of May 19th laced with statements that are quite unfortunate for a public office holder of his status.

It is very unprofessional for a governor of one state to engage in direct attack on other state’s decision especially in a matter of national question and jurisdiction.

In his press release, governor El-Rufa’i unnecessarily dedicated three of points to Kano State.

He also appointed himself as a prosecutor and a judge by concluding that the strange deaths of people in Kano State during the height of the pandemic were caused by the Coronavirus and nothing more.

Intellectual arrogance

This statement revealed how intellectually arrogant and naive he is to report what a medical team and the Presidential Task Force on the Coronavirus Pandemic were investigating and yet to compile their reports at the time. Not only that the governor accused his counterpart (the governor of Kano State) of complacency and being economical with truth by concluding that the cause was known by the Kano state government and the medical team but they were manipulating the truth.

The new self-styled Pax-Nigeriana extended his jurisdiction beyond the assigned territory by saying that he would stay at the border to prevent people from Kano and other states from entering the ‘Holy’ Kaduna State.

These and his other utterances, including that of saying the evacuated Almajirai from Kano constitute a larger portion of cases recorded in his state had generated mixed reactions on social media.

The Kano State government also responded to that and youth from the two states engaged in bitter and offensive exchanges.

The divisive and controversial utterances of El-Rufa’i were the causes of the heated exchanges which polarized the youth of the two states at a time they needed to work together in harmony.

In attempt to settle the exchange between the two giant governors, the Daily-Trust newspaper dedicated its editorial of 1st June to this issue.

In the editorial, the newspaper reminded the two executives about their duties which exclude not engaging in unnecessary dispute and altercations over what is considered of critical importance to people’s life.

Health is one of the primary needs of human and it should not be handled with onionskin.

Still pointing fingers

However, it is obvious that El-Rufa’i has not refrained from his usual way of portraying himself as the holiest of the holy.

In a response to a tweet made by one @jibrilibrahim17 on 5th June, El-Rufa’i through his twitter handle, @elrufai opined that some states are deliberately under reporting their Covid-19 positive cases by submitting few sample to test laboratories.

However, he exonerated his state by saying: “FCT, Kaduna and Lagos at least are actively tracing contacts because we want RIGHT numbers of those infected – to test, trace contact and treat them. We want to save lives not have unexplained death.”

Although the governor was not so specific as to what state he was referring in his statement, it is as clear that he was referring to Kano and no more.

Of all states in the country none had the case of unexplained death as Kano. Also, the state (Kano) is reporting few cases since last week which the statement was pointing at.

The foregoing had clearly shown that the El-Rufa’i has neither physical nor social boundary in his dealings.

His way is clearly confrontational and dictatorial.

He considers himself too important and arrogates wisdom to himself.

This has to stop for the respect of constitution and other people’s thoughts, rights and opinions.

It is my humble hope that the governor will adjust and concentrate on his duties while allowing others to discharge theirs.

I will end with a popular saying that respect is reciprocal.

Murtala Uba Mohammed, PhD writes from Department of Geography, Bayero University Kano

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Opinion

[Friday Sermon] IPOB Killings: An Invitation To Another Civil War In Nigeria!

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By Imam Murtadha Gusau

 

 

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all creation. May the salutations of Allah, His peace and blessings be upon our beloved Prophet, his family, his companions and his true and sincere followers until the Last Day – then to proceed:

Dear brothers and sisters! The terrorist group and Members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, on Sunday mercilessly killed 12 people from the Northern Nigeria, including a pregnant woman, her four children and eight others at Isulo, Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra State.

The slain woman was identified as Harirah Jibril, 32, while the four children were identified as Fatimah, 9; Khadijah, 7; Azizah, 5 and; Zaitunah, 2.

The terrorists waylaid them on their way back home after a visit to Orumba North. The slain woman was a native of Adamawa State.

And as I’m talking to you now all Hausa people from the North have completely deserted Ihiala, following heightened attacks on non-natives in the area.

The unprovoked evictions, attacks, killings, destructions of properties and other forms of violations against northerners in various parts of the South East had resulted from the hate campaigns and propaganda being conducted by regional and ethnic agitators.

These killings followed other coordinated attacks on northern traders and haulage trucks, killing some people and destroying millions worth of properties including the truck.

We strongly condemn these killings. It is brutish, horrendous and barbaric. No family deserves to be wiped out in this manner.

And we call on the security agencies to smoke out the killers and bring them to justice. At the same time, we ask all men of conscience to speak up and condemn this barbaric killing.

For peace to reign and to avoid reprisal killings in other side of the country our people must have the liberty to exercising their freedom of movement in Southeastern part of the country, we’re law abiding citizens, we, therefore, warn that these killings should stop forthwith, as the blood of our people can’t be used as a sacrifice to keep Nigeria as one.

Once again, we wish to call on security agencies to intensify efforts in ensuring the lawless elements behind the killings are brought to book to serve as a deterrent to others.

We also appeal to our people in the North not to retaliate. Because vengeance will only ignite a cycle of violence. Nigeria needs peace at this crucial time. Therefore, nobody should embark on reprisal killing please. It will only compound the problem.

Respected brothers and sisters! One of the distinctive characteristics of the times we live in is the overwhelming presence of bloodshed, crisis and violence in our societies. Whether it is an IPOB attacks and killings to our people in Dei-Dei Abuja and southeast, or a tribal and religious attacks, or a kidnappings where innocent people are held at ransom to achieve political ends, we live in an age, where the manipulation and loss of innocent lives has become commonplace.

Such is the all-pervasive nature of indiscriminate violence, that terrorism is considered as one of the prime threats to peace and security in our societies.

The word terrorism came into wide usage only a few decades ago. But one of the unfortunate results of this new terminology is that it limits the definition of terrorism to that perpetrated by small groups or individuals. Terrorism, in fact, spans the entire world, and manifests itself in various forms. Its perpetrators do not fit any stereotype. Those who hold human lives cheap, and have the power to expend human lives, appear at different levels in our societies. The frustrated employee who kills his colleagues in cold-blood or the oppressed citizen of an occupied land who vents his anger by blowing up a school bus are terrorists who provoke our anger and revulsion. Ironically however, the politician who uses age-old ethnic animosities between peoples to consolidate his position, the head of state who orders “carpet bombing” of entire cities, the exalted councils that choke millions of civilians to death by wielding the insidious weapon of sanctions, the terrorist group like IPOB, who are killing the northerners living in their areas, are rarely punished for their crimes against humanity.

It is this narrow definition of terrorism that implicates only individuals and groups, that has caused Muslims to be associated with acts of destruction and terror, and as a result, to become victims of hate violence and terror themselves. Sometimes the religion of Islam is held responsible for the acts of a handful of Muslims, and often for the acts of non-Muslims!

Could it be possible that Islam, whose light ended the Dark Ages in Europe, now propound the advent of an age of terror? Could a faith that has over 2 billion followers the world over, and over 10 million in America, actually advocate the killing and maiming of innocent people? Could Islam, whose name itself stands for “peace” and “submission to Allah Almighty”, encourage its adherents to work for death and destruction?

For too long, have we relied on popular images in the media and in Hollywood films, for answers to these pertinent questions. It is now time to look at the sources of Islam, and its history to determine whether Islam does indeed advocate violence. The Glorious Qur’an says:

“…take not life, which Allah hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law: thus do He command you, that you may learn wisdom.” [Qur’an, 6:151]

Islam considers all life forms as sacred. However, the sanctity of human life is accorded a special place. The first and the foremost basic right of a human being is the right to live. The Glorious Qur’an says:

“…if any one slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people.” [Qur’an, 5:32]

Such is the value of a single human life, that the Qur’an equates the taking of even one human life unjustly, with killing of all humanity. Thus, the Qur’an prohibits homicide in clear terms. The taking of a criminal’s life by the state in order to administer justice is required to uphold the rule of law, and the peace and security of the society. Only a proper and competent court can decide whether an individual has forfeited his right to life by disregarding the right to life and peace of other human beings.

Even in a state of war, Islam enjoins that one deals with the enemy nobly on the battlefield. Islam has drawn a clear line of distinction between the combatants and the non-combatants of the enemy country. As far as the non-combatant population is concerned such as women, children, the old and the infirm, etc., the instructions of the Prophet are as follows:

“Do not kill any old person, any child or any woman.” [Abu Dawud]

“Do not kill the monks in monasteries” or “Do not kill the people who are sitting in places of worship.” [Musnad of Imam Ahmad]

During a war, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) saw the corpse of a woman lying on the ground and observed:

“She was not fighting. How then she came to be killed?”

Thus non-combatants are guaranteed security of life even if their state is at war with an Islamic state.

While Islam in general is misunderstood in the western world, perhaps no other Islamic term evokes such strong reactions as the word ‘jihad.’ The term ‘jihad’ has been much abused, to conjure up bizarre images of violent Muslims, forcing people to submit at the point of the sword. This myth was perpetuated throughout the centuries of mistrust during and after the Crusades. Unfortunately, it survives to this day.

The word Jihad comes from the root word jahada, which means to struggle. So jihad is literally an act of struggling. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said that the greatest jihad is to struggle with the insidious suggestions of one’s own soul. Thus jihad primarily refers to the inner struggle of being a person of virtue and submission to Allah in all aspects of life.

Secondarily, jihad refers to struggle against injustice. Islam, like many other religions, allows for armed self-defense, or retribution against tyranny, exploitation, and oppression. The Glorious Qur’an says:

“And why should you not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)? – Men, women, and children, whose cry is: “Our Lord! Rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from you one who will protect; and raise for us from you one who will help!” [Qur’an, 4:75]

Thus Islam enjoins upon its believers to strive utmost, in purifying themselves, as well as in establishing peace and justice in the society. A Muslim can never be at rest when he sees injustice and oppression around him. As Martin Luther King Jr. said:

“We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.”

Islam enjoins upon all Muslims to work actively to maintain the balance in which Allah created everything. However, regardless of how legitimate the cause may be, the Glorious Qur’an never condones the killing of innocent people. Terrorising the civilian population can never be termed as jihad and can never be reconciled with the teachings of Islam.

Even Western scholars have repudiated the myth of Muslims coercing others to convert. The great historian De Lacy O’Leary wrote:

“History makes it clear, however, that the legend of fanatical Muslims, sweeping through the world and forcing Islam at the point of sword upon conquered races is one of the most fantastically absurd myths that historians have ever repeated.” [Islam at Crossroads, London, 1923 page 8]

Muslims ruled Spain for roughly 800 years. During this time, and up until they were finally forced out, the non-Muslims there were alive and flourishing. Additionally, Christian and Jewish minorities have survived in the Muslim lands of the Middle East for centuries. Countries such as Egypt, Morocco, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan all have significant Christian and/or Jewish populations.

This is not surprising to a Muslim, for his faith prohibits him from forcing others to see his point of view. The Glorious Qur’an says:

“Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah hear and know all things.” [Qur’an, 2:256]

Far from being a militant dogma, Islam is a way of life that transcends race and ethnicity. The Glorious Qur’an repeatedly reminds us of our common origin:

“O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other (not that you may despise (each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).” [Qur’an, 49:13]

Thus, it is the universality of its teachings that makes Islam the fastest growing religion in the world. In a world full of conflicts and deep schisms between human beings, a world that is threatened with terrorism, perpetrated by individuals and states, Islam is a beacon of light that offers hope for the future.

Fellow Nigerians! If you can remember, the same thing taking place today of hate campaigns, maltreatment, attacking and killing the northerners by Igbo people was what ignited the 1966 Nigerian civil war.

In August 1965 five Igbo Majors were beginning to plot a coup against incumbent Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa. The coup was planned because the Majors as reported, were dissatisfied with the governments actions and that most Nigerian politicians were of Hausa or Fulani descent. In a memoir written by coup plotter Adewale Ademoyega he wrote:

“Our enemies are the political profiteers, the swindlers, the men in high and low places, that seek bribes and demand 10%; those that seek to keep the country divided permanently so that they can remain in office as ministers or VIPs.”

The coup plotters had five goals to achieve, to Strike simultaneously in regional capitals, arrest leading politicians-kill any who resist, avoid reprisals-kill all senior army officers, prevent troop movement-block Niger and Benue, and form a new Government. They planned to strike right before the Commonwealth Conference so that Tafawa Balewa would be distracted from any suspicious army movements.

In the weeks leading up to the coup Major Kaduna Nzeogwu carried out reconnaissance on Ahmadu Bello’s house in Kaduna. Nzeogwu often took his men on a night-time training exercise known as “Exercise Damisa” which was in actuality a practice run for a military coup. The commander of the 2nd Brigade, Brigadier Samuel Ademulegun, became irritated with the night-time exercises and reprimanded Nzeogwu in a telephone call to keep exercises a safe distance from Ahmadu Bello’s house. Although Ademulegun complained about the commotion he had no idea of the exercise’s true purpose. Nzeogwu’s control over his troops was so little that he had to conscript young soldiers from the Nigerian Military Training College at Kaduna. In the early hours on January 15, 1966 Nzeogwu decided to turn “Exercise Damisa” into a full blown military coup. Nzeogwu led his men to a bush adjacent to the house gates and informed them of their real mission. Nzeogwu and his men blew open the house gates and conducted a search of the residence, hunting for Ahmadu Bello Sardauna. After losing his temper at his initial failure to locate him, Nzeogwu found him with his wives. Ahmadu Bello was shot along with one of his wives who tried to shield him with her body. Also Ahmadu Bello’s faithful bodyguard came to defend him with a bow and arrows but was also shot.

So we have to be very very careful in order to avoid another civil war in Nigeria. Because if the killing of northerners in southeastern Nigeria continue, I’m assuring you that anything can happen…

All praises and thanks are due to Allah alone, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our noble Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true and sincere followers.

Murtadha Muhammad Gusau is the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and the late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: gusauimam@gmail.com or +2348038289761.

This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Shawwal 26, 1443 AH (May 27, 2022).

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Opinion

Tribute to a late colleague, Baballe Mukhtari Fagge

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Abdu Usman

lnnalillihi wa ina ilaihi Rajuun

Allahu Akbar! Allahu!! 

It is with deep sorrow and grief that we received the report of the death of our beloved friend and colleague in the journalism profession Malam Baballe Mukhtar Fagge. 

Aged 67, Malam Baballe Fagge passed away on the eve of Sunday night at Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital Kano (AKTH) after a protracted illness and his remains buried Monday morning at Tarauni Central Graveyard, Kano.

A veteran broadcaster, pioneer staff of then CTV (ARTV), senior reporter at Radio Kano who earlier served at American Embassy Kaduna until his last minute of breath was working with Express FM Radio.

Malam Baballe Mukhtar Fagge, a hardworking and committed personality who devoted most of his life to the development and progress of his community and people of Kano State, is survived by a wife, many children and relatives.

Indeed, the deceased will be long remembered by his colleagues, particularly those in media circles who either work or had in contact with him at various points.

At this juncture, we once again extended our condolences to the deceased’s immediate family as well as entire members of NUJ across the country.

May Allah SWT forgive his shortcomings and grant his family strength and courage to bear the sad bereavement. Amin.

Hakika munyi rashin aboki. Allah ya jikansa da gafara ya kuma ba wa iyalansa da ‘yan uwansa da sauran abokansa hakurin rashin. Amin.

Abdu Usman

is a former Press Secretary to former Secretary to the State Government Alhaji Rabiu Sulaiman Bichi 

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Opinion

Pillars slips into relegation as team plays home matches in Abuja 

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Jamilu Ubah Adamu

Before the kick-off of the current campaign of the Nigeria Professional Football League season, no one ever envisaged four-time elite Nigerian league winners, Kano Pillars, would be battling relegation.

But football can be cruel, at times, as the Sai Masu Gida are presently dashing points both home and away, and are doing everything physically and spiritually never to avoid the shame of relegation to the lower league.

Pillars who are seen to have the largest fan-base in the local league have only ten matches remaining to play before the end of the season. Five of those matches are home, while the remaining are on the road. With their current poor performance, it’s unlikely that the Sai Masu Gida would win all five home matches and snatch some vital points on the road to guarantee safety, unless the impossible happens.

This is made even more complicated owing to the fact that they have been playing their home games on away territory, lacking in the ever vociferous support of their untiring and undying fans.

It is, however, hoped that the former League and Aiteo Federation Cup champions would defy the odds by ensuring they do not falter in their remaining ten games, whether home or away.

Sitting at the 19th position with 29 points from 27 games and a suspended three point deduction by LMC, due to a reoccurrence of violence by their fans, the world of football is keenly watching how the cash-strapped club will respond to their current predicament, and should it happen, it will be one of the wonders in club football, not only in Nigeria but across the globe, in modern times.

For the large followers of the Club and lovers of football, they would not want to see Kano Pillars relegated as they command a huge aura of history in the domestic elite league, including producing the likes of Super Eagles’ captain, Ahmed Musa, and legendary Rabiu Ali (Pele), to mention but a few.

Below is Kano Pillars’ remaining Fixture:

1. Kano Pillars vs. Heartland FC – Home.

2. Remo Stars vs. Kano Pillars – Away.

3. Kano Pillars vs. Dakkada FC – Home.

4. Plateau United vs. Kano Pillars FC – Away

5. Kano Pillars vs. Wikki Tourists FC – Home.

6. Abia Warriors vs. Kano Pillars – Away.

7. Kano Pillars vs. Enugu Rangers Int’l – Home.

8. Rivers United vs. Kano Pillars – Away.

9. Nasarawa United vs. Kano Pillars – Away.

10. Kano Pillars vs.Shooting Stars – Home

The above fixtures are pretty cheeky and difficult to predict Kano Pillars’ ascendancy over their opponents, making it difficult to assuage that  relegation won’t stare at their face this season.

But as earlier explained, football can be cruel and it’s an  unpredictable sport.

As a son of the soil and unrepentant fan of the Sai Masu Gida, I wish them all the best in their endeavours!!!

Jamilu Uba Adamu

is a football analyst and can be reached via +234 803 207 8489

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