Friday 30 May 2014

Nigerian military arrests Boko Haram’s Abuja and Jos bomb expert!

According to reliable high-ranking military sources, a young man  in his mid 20s, who confessed being a bomb expert for the extremist Boko Haram sect has been arrested  by military operatives in Borno state while on his way to  Sambisa forest, the dreaded hideout of the Boko Haram terrorists. 

The man, whose identity was withheld by the authorities, appears a big catch for the military as he has confessed being involved in the recent Nyanya and Jos bombings that killed more than 300 people.
It was gathered that the suspect was traveling from Abuja to Sambisa on Sunday, but was arrested near Bama town of Borno state by soldiers of the 7 Division of the Nigerian Army.
Soldiers on patrol nabbed the man during a stop-and-search operation at a checkpoint after finding suspicious items like “sophisticated communication gadgets, a map, a very  expensive laptop and 30 pieces of Flash-Drives in  his bag”. 
He was immediately whisked to the Maimalari barracks in Maiduguri, a distance of about 100km away and handed him over to relevant military personnel for further interrogation.
During interrogation, it was alleged that the man confessed being  a bomb expert working for Boko Haram and claimed to be carrying out assignments for “the power that be
The suspect also allegedly confessed being responsible for both Nyanya and Jos bomb blasts that claimed about 300 lives.
He said he was to meet with some operatives of  Boko Haram for yet another work (bomb attack), a sources who cannot be named because he was not authorised to make these disclosures to anyone said.
The source added that the suspect boasted during interrogation that those who arrested him merely wasted their time as he was confident of being released by the powers behind his deadly activities.
He boasted that he will soon be released as was the  case at DSS headquarters when he was arrested late last year but only to be released three months after to start work again,” one of our sources, said.
When contacted, the spokesperson of the Defence Headquarters, Chris Olukolade, a Major General, declined to confirm or deny the arrest.
Many terrorists are being interrogated as we speak and I do not want to comment on any specific case at this time,” Mr. Olukolade said.

Police officers refused to look for my girl- Father of one of the raped and hung girls!

Roving Informant learnt that the father of one of the girls gang-raped and hanged from a tree says he was ridiculed by the Police when he reported her missing.
Discretion advised:

The man, who has not been identified, said that because he was from a lower caste, Police officers 'refused to look for my girl'
The girls, cousins aged 14 and 16, were found hanging from a mango tree in Katra village in Uttar Pradesh after they were raped and killed by a gang.

The family belongs to the Dalit community, also called 'untouchables' and considered the lowest rung in India's age-old caste system.

'When I went to the Police station, the first thing I was asked was my caste,' he told the BBC. 'When I told them what my caste was, they started abusing me.'

So far, three men, including one Policeman, have been arrested in connection with the crime, while officials are said to be searching for another three men, one of whom is also a Police officer.

What are human beings turning into?.......

'Honor Killing’ of Pakistani Woman- Four More Arrests made!

It has been revealed that the Pakistani Police has arrested four more people in connection with the death of Farzana Parveen, a pregnant woman fatally beaten by her family in a so-called honor killing that has stirred outrage in Pakistan and across the world.
After an urgent appeal for action from the Prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, the Police on Thursday night arrested Ms. Parveen’s uncle, two cousins and a driver employed by her family.
They are accused of participating in a crowd of about 30 men, having been led by her father and two brothers, who surrounded the 25 year old Ms. Parveen, as she was bludgeoned with a brick outside the Lahore High Court building last Tuesday. 
The manner of Ms. Parveen’s death, before a large group of men on a busy street in a major city, has attracted global attention, highlighting both the brutality of honor killings and the apparent inability of the Pakistani Police to protect vulnerable women.
Photos of Muhammad Iqbal, her grieving husband, hunched over a shawl that covered his wife’s bloodied body have fed the condemnation of honor killings, which often occur in rural areas when a woman elopes with, or marries, a man of her choice in defiance of her parents’ wishes.
But new details that have emerged in Ms. Parveen’s case have suggested that money was also a major factor in her death and that her grieving husband had himself killed a woman in the past.
Police records show that Mr. Iqbal, 45, killed his first wife, Ayesha Bibi, in October 2009. In a phone interview, Mr. Iqbal confirmed that he had killed Ms. Bibi and said he had done so to be with Ms. Parveen.
I strangled her,” he said, speaking from home in the Faisalabad district, west of Lahore. “I liked Farzana since she was a child.”
Police investigators said that Mr. Iqbal absconded after the 2009 murder and stayed with Ms. Parveen’s family, in their home, until he was arrested in April 2013. The Police charged him with Ms. Bibi’s murder, but he was released under an Islamic provision of Pakistani law that allows a convict to be freed upon payment of money to the victim’s relatives.

Money linked to cause of killing:
Mr. Iqbal later asked for Ms. Parveen’s hand in marriage from her father, who agreed in exchange for a dowry of about $800. But then, he said, the family requested more money, and a dispute emerged.
With the matter unresolved, Ms. Parveen and Mr. Iqbal married in January. Ms. Parveen’s family told the Police that she had already been married to one of her cousins and claimed that Mr. Iqbal had kidnapped her.
The conflict on Tuesday arose when a crowd of men from her family’s village, led by her father and two brothers, surrounded her as she walked from her lawyer’s office to the Lahore High Court.
She was going to the court, her lawyer later said, to give a statement that she had married Mr. Iqbal of her own free will.
Mr. Cheema, the Police investigator, said that one person fired a gun, and the bullet grazed her ankle. Then her father, Mr. Azeem, hit her with a brick taken from the roadside. Her brother Zahid, and a cousin, Mazhar Iqbal, joined in the attack, he said.
Mr. Iqbal said he was also beaten by the men. “When Farzana was killed, I fell on her body, but they pulled me off and started beating her body and her face with their shoes.” he said.
There is absolutely no honor in killing a pregnant and unharmed woman- Roving Informant!

Thursday 29 May 2014

President Jonathan’s Democracy Day Speech!

Fellow Nigerians,

1.I greet and felicitate with you all, today, as we mark 15 years of uninterrupted democratic governance in our beloved country.

2.Our dear nation, Nigeria, has certainly come a long way and made notable progress since our first Democracy Day on May 29, 1999 when the military finally relinquished power and handed over to a democratically-elected government, marking the true beginning of a government of the people, by the people, for the people.”

3.Although I have ordered a low-key commemoration of this year’s Democracy Day in deference to the current mood of the nation, there can be no doubt that the past 15 years, the longest period of sustained democratic governance in our country, have been a blessing to us, as a people.

4.As we commemorate 15 years of our Fourth Republic today therefore, I believe that it is fitting that we pay tribute once again to all those who played a part in restoring our nation to the true path of democratic governance, built on the foundations of rule of law and freedom of expression.

5.As a result of our collective efforts since 1999, democratic governance is now entrenched in our nation and institutions. I wholeheartedly believe that our people are the better for it. The scope of fundamental rights and liberties enjoyed by our people over the past 15 years has been expanded beyond measure.

6.On my watch, we have witnessed high national economic growth rates, steady improvements and expansion of national infrastructure including airports and roads, the restoration of rail transportation, the efficient implementation of a roadmap for improved power supply, a revolutionary approach to agricultural production, as well as advances in education, sports, youth development, healthcare delivery, housing, water supply and other social services.

7.In the oil and gas sector, our promotion of a sustainable local content policy, continues to guarantee equity and better opportunities for Nigerian entrepreneurs and skilled personnel.

8.Significant increase in mobile telephone and national broadband penetration, making Information and Communications Technology (ICT) one of the fastest growing sectors of the Nigerian economy. We have also developed strong financial markets and regulatory institutions. Our banks now have regional and global footprints.

9.Nigeria has also gained recognition as the largest economy in Africa, the most preferred investment destination in the continent and in terms of returns on investment, the fourth in the world. We are pleased that the world has noticed, as global leaders converged in Abuja early this month for the World Economic Forum in Africa.

10.The event not only witnessed a record attendance, it brought the prospect of an additional flow of investment into the Nigerian economy estimated at over $68 billion over the next few years.

11. In foreign relations, our country has equally done well within this period, by establishing and strengthening strong partnerships with all ECOWAS countries and the rest of the world. This has helped to deepen Nigeria’s leadership role in multilateral institutions including the United Nations.

12.Furthermore, under this administration, we have made consistent progress in improving the standard of elections in our country to ensure that they are ever more credible and truly representative of the people’s free choice. The National Conference we initiated to deliberate and make recommendations on the best ways of resolving our current political and socio-economic challenges is on-going. It is our expectation that its outcomes will help to further consolidate the gains we have made from democracy in the past 15 years, and place our dear nation even more firmly on the path to greatness.
Dear Compatriots,

13.It is a sad fact that as I address you today, all the gains of the past 15 years of democratic governance in our country are threatened by the presence of international terrorism on our shores. Our dear country, Nigeria is facing a new challenge. A war has been unleashed on us. Extremist foreign elements, collaborating with some of our misguided citizens, are focused on an attempt to bring down our country and the democracy and freedom we cherish and celebrate today.

14. The despicable abduction of school girls from Chibok in Borno State has brought to the awareness of the entire world, the heartless brutality of these terrorists who want to instigate a descent into anarchy and balkanize our nation.

15.In recent years, terrorist attacks have claimed the lives of several of our compatriots, many have been injured or maimed, whole villages and communities have been destroyed and the economy of some of our states is in jeopardy.

16.There can be no doubt that what we are witnessing in Nigeria today is a manifestation of the same warped and ferocious world view that brought down the Twin Towers in New York, killed innocent persons in Boston and led to the murder of defenceless people in the Southern Russian city of Volgograd. Terrorist activities have brought war and pains to Mali, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan. These agents of evil continue to brainwash and incite ignorant young men and women to attack the innocent. We cannot allow this to continue.

17.I welcome the statements of solidarity from patriotic citizens and the global community in support of our efforts to stamp out terrorism. I applaud the understanding that in a democracy, such as we are building, people can have differences while sharing worthy values and standing together in opposition to the scourge of terrorism. Nigeria is the only country we have and we must all work to preserve it for present and future generations.

18.Despite the challenges we face, we must commend our security forces. We must not forget their gallantry and successes in liberating nations and in peacekeeping, from Liberia to Sierra Leone, Congo, Sudan, Mali, Guinea-Bissau and many places in Africa and beyond. Our forces have paid the supreme price in several places at several times.

19.Today, they face a different challenge, an unconventional war by terrorists. They are adjusting and are being equipped to tackle the new menace of terrorism. We must show confidence in their ability. I have no doubt that, with the support of Nigerians, our neighbours and the international community, we will reinforce our defence, free our girls and rid Nigeria of terrorists.

20.It is now 45 days since the horrifying abduction of the college girls of Chibok. I share the deep pain and anxiety of their parents and guardians and I assure them once again that government will continue to do everything possible to bring our daughters home.

21.I am determined to protect our democracy, our national unity and our political stability, by waging a total war against terrorism. The unity and stability of our country, and the protection of lives and property are non-negotiable. I have instructed our security forces to launch a full-scale operation to put an end to the impunity of terrorists on our soil.

22.I have also authorized the security forces to use any means necessary under the law to ensure that this is done. I assure you that Nigeria will be safe again, and that these thugs will be driven away – it will not happen overnight, but we will spare no effort to achieve this goal.

23.For our citizens who have joined hands with Al Qaeda and international terrorists in the misguided belief that violence can possibly solve their problems, our doors remain open to them for dialogue and reconciliation, if they renounce terrorism and embrace peace.

24.My government, while pursuing security measures, will explore all options, including readiness to accept unconditional renunciation of violence by insurgents, and to ensure their de-radicalization, rehabilitation and re-integration into the broader society.

Dear Compatriots,
25.We must remain united to win the war against terrorism. Christians, Moslems, farmers, fishermen, herdsmen, teachers, lawyers, clergy or clerics, the rich, the poor and Nigerians from all sections of the country must work together with our security agencies and armed forces to overcome the terrorists who now threaten all that we hold dear.

26.The war against terror may be difficult, but the days of peace will come again. Terror is evil; nowhere in history has evil endured forever. The menace of Boko Haram will surely come to an end. I believe that because of your prayers, your courage, hardwork, faith and sacrifice, we will ultimately prevail over the terrorists and all other evil forces.

27.We are a strong, resilient and courageous people. We will continue to partner with the civilized world, to confront international terrorism and every other challenge that comes our way with patriotic zeal and determination.
Fellow Nigerians,

28.Yes, we have challenges but we will surely overcome. Nigeria is our country. Nigeria is blessed. We will all collectively protect, defend and develop this country for ourselves, and our children.

29. Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

30. Thank you and God bless Nigeria.

Rihanna's Instagram Is the Most Important Thing in Fashion-Tom Ford!

Tom Ford in an interview with revealed that people no longer care about fashion reviews or editors "with a knowledge and a history and an ability to write and disseminate that information to the rest of the population." Instead, what they care about is what Rihanna Instagrams when she's lying naked in bed.
Something new is happening that I'm just clueing into now—this probably won't go down well—but customers don't care any more about reviews or hard-copy publications. They care what picture Rihanna just Instagrammed while she's naked in bed, what new shoes she has on, how she's talking about them. That's what they respond to. he said
Ford points to the trend of bloggers posting about shows, clothes, and everything under the sun, and of course, the rise of social media. 
He said "Everyone has a voice now, so the person with the loudest voice is the one people listen to,".

White House ‘to look into’ blunder after publicizing name of CIA’s chief in Afghanistan!

The White House has ordered an investigation into the blunder which saw the CIA’s Afghanistan station chief accidentally identified, an official said Tuesday.
The agent’s name was revealed in a pool report sent out by a Washington Post reporter to journalists based on a list of officials provided by the White House who were taking part in a security briefing for President Barack Obama during his surprise weekend visit to Bagram Air Base.
The pool report is an eyewitness account of the president’s activities written by a pool reporter on behalf of his colleagues, sent out by the White House to thousands of journalists.
It was gathered that when the reporter realized what had happened, he notified senior White House officials and they provided a new list of officials for the pool report that was missing the name of the man revealed as “chief of station” in the earlier report.

Wednesday 28 May 2014

Maya Angelou passed on at 86!

Acclaimed poet , author and civil rights icon who wrote lyrically of her childhood in the Jim Crow south, Maya Angelou is dead.
According to reports, Maya died Wednesday morning  at age 86, her death was confirmed by a family representative and by officials at the Winston-Salem mayor’s office in North Carolina, where she had been living.
Angelou was honored with more than 50 awards, including the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, for her collected works of poetry, fiction and nonfiction, most notably her groundbreaking memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which made history as one of the first nonfiction best-sellers by an African-American woman.
Her family is extremely grateful that her ascension was not belabored by a loss of acuity or comprehension,” a family representative posted on her Facebook page. “She lived a life as a teacher, activist, artist and human being. She was a warrior for equality, tolerance and peace. The family is extremely appreciative of the time we had with her and we know that she is looking down upon us with love.”
Angelou’s career spanned the globe, including stints as an editor in Egypt a and a music and drama school teacher in Ghana. Her career also extended beyond the page to the film set, the stage and the lectern. As a civil rights activist, she became friends with both Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.

Adieu Maya

Tuesday 27 May 2014

‘He was very, very lucky’: Oregon climber survives fall into Mt. Hood volcanic gas crater!


A climber who slipped from near the top of Oregon’s Mt. Hood, sliding 800 feet before plunging into a gaping hole that emits toxic volcanic gases, managed to survive the plunge and was in fair condition on Tuesday, officials said. 
Information says that after sliding down the active volcano’s slope, 59-year-old James Michael Adams landed at the bottom of a fumarole, where hot lava rocks emit toxic gases such as sulfur dioxide, Portland Mountain Rescue spokesman Mark Morford said.
Though badly injured with multiple fractures and internal injuries, Adams was conscious and able to call out to nearby climbers at the surface, said Scott Norton, one of the rescue leaders. Since he was able to speak, rescue workers determined it was safe enough to enter the hole to haul him out.
I’d say this guy, he was very, very lucky,” Norton said, adding that the rescue crew, already on the mountain, was able to get to Adams in less than two hours. “We had to borrow ropes and pickets and all kinds of equipment from other people nearby.”
A helicopter was able to land nearby because of the way the snow melted this year and Adams, of Tualatin, in Oregon, was taken to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center.  
Mt. Hood, about 60 miles east of Portland, is a popular climbing spot, with 8,000 to 10,000 climbs per year. New Jersey Catholic Priest Robert Cormier, 57, died this month in a fall from the top of the mountain. 
Norton said the rescue team was working on ways to teach climbers how to safely maneuver the fumarole. 
Our concern is that the feature is going to be more of a hazard this year,” he said.

The Kano “Ikebe” Dance That Surrendered Our Sovereignty!

This photograph of President Jonathan on stage is “historic” to all Nigerians depending on one’s school of thought. Both friends and enemies of GEJ, APC and PDP all have different view about the message of the picture. No matter your school of thought, I’m very optimistic that this picture is not one of the good pictures President Jonathan will love to see in his album.
If it were in the analogue age, the photographer of any news media that snapped the picture must be a guest of our security agencies. The picture went viral on April 15th 2014 after PDP rally in Kano to welcome Mr Shakarau that was displaced in APC by Governor Kwankwaso.

Terrorism can be scary or terrifying. It is not the wish of any President or Governor to encounter it no matter how equipped or fortified your security/defense is.  Let us recall that President George Bush was flown into Air force base in Louisiana from Sarasota Florida when the World Trade Centre was struck due to concern that he would be targeted by terrorists. Take note also that George Bush first National security meeting was through electronic means at Strategic Air command in Nabraska before returning to the white house. This example is a typical demonstration of how every leader trembles at the mention of terrorism. What vindicates or vilify leaders are your actions and reactions after terror attack.  George bush statements after 9/11 restored Americans confidence on him. It was on record that Bush had 24(twenty four) national security meeting between September 11 to October 11.  That is leadership redefined!

The kidnap of over 200 school girls  of Chibok in Borno state on the 15th of April while Mr President was attending the PDP rally in Kano was not the first of its kind nor the worst done by book-haram insurgents. School children were once massacred in their dormitories; over 20 pupils were kidnapped in the wake of missing Sanusi 20 billion dollars. Plus other heinous massacre that took place in Yobe, Nasarawa, Niger, Plateau and Adamawa states respectively.

What subjected President Jonathan to world vilification was cumulative anger triggered by the “unspoken word of I don’t care” depicted by the above photograph. Seeing Mr. president dancing and raising his hands in Kano while the likes of British high commissioner in Nigeria was in National hospital in sober mood donating blood to rescue Nyanya bomb blast victims portrays President GEJ as uncompassionate man desperate for power and a leader who places less value to the lives of his citizens. Unfortunately the Chibok girls were kidnapped same day Mr. President was displaying his olingo masterpiece. This dance now resurrects the cumulative anger and unholy silences in the land leading to the popular believe that Mr President is clueless. That does not mean that government has done well in terms of handling security challenges ab initio

All the reasons cited by Labaran Maku to defend the Kano dance was more of fueling the burning bush. Maku said,” the Terrorist aim is to stop governance and the dance/rally in Kano was to prove them wrong”. Some thinkers like Maku bought into that disgusting statement but I’m sure that no national election is fast approaching and therefore, the rally can be postponed for another day. Moreover, when does rally become part of governance? Rally is weapon of political parties not weapon of governance. Any action labeled governance must be for the interest and benefit of the nation not political party. Furthermore, how does GEJ glorifies and celebrate frustrated enemy in the event of national calamity? Is he joining GEJ because he likes him or is he joining out of frustration? What brought Shakarau to Jonathan? If not for APC leadership tussle between him and Kwankwaso, will he not be one of the leaders of the opposition in Nigeria today? No matter your political affiliation, Shakarau is never a plus to GEJ and people of Kano can has proved it in the just concluded LGA election. Some shallow readers will argue that LGA election is not a measure of one’s political strength but I will refer them to Edo and Anambra State LGA election where (LP) Ifeanyi Uba and (PDP) Tony Aninih proved their political worth in their local governments. I expected Shakarau to do the same in Kano but he couldn’t. Therefore, GEJ and his advisers failed woefully on that Kano rally.

Some has also underrated the consequence of incompetent advisers and lack of political intelligent unit. But success of George Bush can be attributed to his team of professional staff and his humility to listen to every one of them. I do not expect every leader to be an orator nor has exceptional vision like Obama or Clinton. But I will not also spare these GEJ advisers who are the worst I have ever seen in my life. I’m sure not even Satan can tolerate their advice.

Rather than summoning for national security meeting after the Nyanya blast, the advisers confused GEJ and converted it to PDP meeting signaling politicization of national security. Blame game rather than united front was the outcome of the meeting. Reno Omokri(PA new media to GEJ) added more fuel to the fire by telling public lie that APC governors boycotted a security meeting which they conspired to convert to party meeting. This is a very shameful act in the light of sorrow and grief in the land.

What broke the camel’s back was the misinformation, lies and attempt to blackmail or sabotage, the struggle to rescue the abducted Chibok girls by the presidential advisers. The misrepresentation of the #BringBackOurGirls clamor as people opposing the government was the first evil plot of this group of advisers. We all laughed at the “open assassination of grammar” by the first lady but the bitter truth we must accept was that she strongly believe that there was no kidnapping and there was grand conspiracy against her husband (this might not be totally wrong assumption though) but condemning the apolitical citizens that felt sympathy for the victims of this kidnap is condemnable. The gap between the time the advisers were deceiving GEJ that the kidnap was the handwork of the opposition, and the time it took them to thread blames and the time it took them to resolve to take action due to mounting international pressure was what forced GEJ to surrender our sovereignty. Let us also have another deeper look of what would have happened if not for this evil advisers. Patience Jonathan as mama peace should have matched to Presidency leading other first ladies, senators and all women to demand #BringBackOurGirls. Her pressure with other elite will exonerate her and citizens will understand her limitation. But this evil advisers converted this woman into another Co-President torturing ”the pricipa on national television because na only she waka come”. She did not stop there, she directed the protesters to proceed to Bornu state. The police in their usual manner rather than securing innocent citizens went to disperse them at unity fountain. This again raises more concern globally that GEJ is hunting for citizens rather than terrorists.

The incoherent statement and blames/self defense/excuses emanating from the presidency was very disturbing.
“the Borno state Govt is inconsistent with the figures”, “the Borno Govt should be blamed for opening the school against FG letter to WAEC” “our military have rescued all the girl” “sorry we are misinformed by the school principal”, the war is Gorilla war”” its unconventional war”, ‘our military are well motivated”, we have all the modern equipment to fight terror”, blame terrorist not govt.” we need international support”

All this statement/blames/excuses and lies falls short of a responsible government that couldn’t safe guard her citizens. This statement diminishes the world perception of GEJ both home and abroad. The advisers did not stop there; they have not seen the need for him to visit Chibok. Why not deploy all the military men both police to guide GEJ to visit chibok? The excuses cited by GEJ on why he has not visited Chibok is not convincing. It was shameful to behold GEJ before the world press in France citing moral boast as the only advantage of visiting Chibok yet he never deem it fit to give this moral boast to those families. We should recall that Gov Shettima defied military advice not to visit Chibok and went unhurt. GEJ should be courageous to show leadership as CinC. Obama sneaked out of white house unannounced and visited American troops in Afghanistan recently.
Chibok visit will enable GEJ to have one on one conversation with the military boys in war front. One of them might reveal to him what the senior MILADS might be hiding away from him. The visit will unravel to GEJ the rumor of hunger, lack of welfare and equipment being speculated. He will be a morale booster for the families and the military but the advisers will never let it happen. This was how they deceived him in Yobe until the Progressive Governors visited and walk the street of Yobe. GEJ aftermath visit was much reactionary and no citizen bought into it. Any visit by GEJ to Chibok today is meaningless because the opportunity is gone for good.
Not up to 12 hours after twin bomb blast in Jos, one of the presidential aides rushed to BBC to say that “there was no evidence that the Jos blast was detonated by Boko Haram”…. I ask when he started investigation or gathering of evidence. Why sudden conclusion? Who then bombed Jos if not Boko Haram?

Citizens are free to speculate based on their personal perception and political inclination but any comment emanating from the presidency MUST be swift, accurate, factual, well evidenced and undisputable. The statement must be of objective and devoid of any sentiments.

By Godwin Okeke

Help, This Nigerian State Is Failing!

“One commonly hears that carping critics complain about what is wrong, but do not present solutions. There is an accurate translation for that charge: ‘They present solutions, but I don’t like them.” ― Noam Chomsky, Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy Nigeria is a conundrum. A country beset before and behind; besieged on every side by corruption, war of attrition, with several militia groups masquerading all over the place, full blown terrorism with an almost unchecked deadly and regular dose of bombings, mass killings, illegal abductions etc. Nigeria is a failing state. But how did we get here?
In 1999, Nigeria enthroned a new government and we started practicing a form of democracy almost unknown elsewhere. We had people who claimed to have been voted into power but who were completely above the law, not subject to the people neither were they accountable by any stretch of the imagination. What we had were men and women with absolute power, totally disconnected from reality, corrupt, undisciplined characters who didn’t understand what democracy means. Critics were roundly condemned, abused or even in some instances physically harassed. As at today, no living Nigerian can conveniently say he/she knows how much Nigeria earns in reality and how much is spent. Corruption is gleefully given a pride of place and the corrupt are highly celebrated and feted even by the people themselves.
Meanwhile nobody in government thought to improve healthcare delivery. Why do they need to do that when the privilegentsia can easily fly business class (or lately fly private jets) to Germany, Israel, UK, US or even to India for medical treatment? The Education sector was left to decay but why bother when the children of the ruling elites and those of their acolytes can all migrate to the best schools and enjoy the best education the west can provide in Canada, US, UK etc? Nigeria today is the only OPEC country that still wholly imports domestic fuel for its local consumption. But why maintain or build new refineries when we can easily give out fuel importation licenses to friends and acolytes of those in government? Standard of living has been daily deteriorating but no need to worry; we can share Okada, pepper grinding machines, sewing machines etc to the poorest as dividends of democracy. Our ruling elites had always been living in a bubble, creating an army of discontented and angry youths denied of opportunities and simple privileges that their nationality ought to confer on them.
Fast forward to the Nigeria of today. In my over four decades on earth, I never imagined I was going to witness such carnage and human suffering in a “peaceful” nation such as I have witnessed in Nigeria in the past few years. Statistics show that over 70% percent of Nigerians are under the age of 35years and of that number over 60% are under 20years old. Add that to the fact that between 50-60% of the youths are either unemployed or underemployed with cost of living rising daily and exponentially. Remember rulers like Gen. Gowon was Head of State at 32yrs. Today, most 35y-year-olds are still either living with their parents or just squatting with friends. Not many are living; the vast majority are merely surviving.
Radical and angry preachers are mushrooming; religious houses are multiplying daily without any form of control. They sell hope to the hopeless and in a land where hope is a scarce commodity like ours; the hope sellers will definitely attract an army of hopeless people in droves. People who can’t afford basic healthcare wouldl rather go to a shamanic prayer contractor who can promise them healing at little or no cost. Throw in an army of jobless and potentially unemployable youths with either little or no formal training and you have a keg of gunpowder waiting to be lit.
In one of my essays, I warned certain governors who would rather spend millions on feeding people during religious fasts than spend such sums to train citizens in formal education. But as usual our politicians will rather play to the gallery than govern those they are supposed to govern.
Our military was also affected by the unbridled corruption. While trillions were budgeted for security, until Boko Haram came, we didn’t realise how obsolete our military had become in training, equipment and hardware.
We even took our national lunacy a notch higher when, rather than equip and continuously train our navy, the federal government led by Jonathan decided to outsource the job of our naval force to his friends, ex militants and warlords. See excerpts from one of my past essay:
” In August, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) broke some disturbing news about Nigeria. It was reported that some ex-militants in the Niger Delta had been paid about N6.32billion within the past one year by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). Yes, for the ‘noble’ service of providing security against vandals for the Corporation’s oil pipeline network. Imagine! The breakdown, as outlined by WSJ, is this:
Chief Government Ekpumopolo (alias Tompolo), Alhaji Mujahid Asari-Dokubo, ‘General’ Ebikabowei Victor Ben (Boyloaf) and ‘General’ Ateke Tom were respectively paid N5.1 billion, N1.44 billion, N608 million and N608 million yearly by the state-owned NNPC, as ‘protection money’ to guard the pipelines they once attacked.
As if that was not enough an insult on the collective intelligence of Nigerians, earlier in the year the Federal Government awarded a contract worth $103.4million (over N15billion) to the Global West Vessel Specialist Limited (GWVSL) – a firm widely believed to be owned by Tompolo to supply 20 vessels for the use of the nation’s military authorities to secure the waterways. Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Ziadeke Akpobolokemi, had last year sent a memo titled, “Award of Contract for the Strategic Concessioning Partnership with NIMASA to Provide Platforms for Tracking Ships and Cargoes, Enforce Regulatory Compliance and Surveillance Of The Entire Nigerian Maritime Domain,” to President Goodluck Jonathan.
In considering the memo, President Goodluck Jonathan and Akpobolokemi chose GWVSL as the preferred company for the 10-year concession agreement, renewable for two terms of five years each. Jonathan, in a memo dated 9th November, 2011, with reference number PRES/99/MT/61, approved Akpobolokemi’s memo, which the Federal Executive Council rubber-stamped on 5th January, 2012. According to Akpobolokemi, GWVSL “will provide platforms for effective policing of Nigeria’s maritime domain and ensure compliance with international maritime conventions on vessels and ships voyaging the country’s waters”. NIMASA maintains that the concessionaire would help the Federal Government to enforce the sabotage law and collect levies on its behalf. This, in a country that still maintains a statutory Naval force, and without a track record for GWVSL?
From the above, the current occupant of the presidential villa showed where his loyalty lies…rather than train the military, he equipped criminals and vandals who had taken up arms against the state. No wonder so much arms and ammunition have found their way into Nigeria and our country has now become one gigantic human abattoir where someone is killed on an average of an hour, daily. Between January to May 2014 it has been estimated that over 1,500 people have been mindlessly cut down by terrorists and blood thirsty killers.
Our security agencies have been emasculated and politicized, used to harass perceived political opponents, soft targets etc. For instance, a gentleman, Onimisi, was abducted by the DSS for 11 days simply for tweeting photos. They will do anything but their jobs of securing the populace.
In all the calamities that have recently befallen our nations, one can see a pattern. The president either condemns and moves on, or pretends to be ignorant of happenings; while relying on our supreme and collective Short Attention Span (SAS) to quickly forget. That was the situation when about 300 girls were kidnapped in Chibok on April 14, 2014. The president feigned ignorance while his foot soldiers went to town denying that the abductions ever happened. They may have been successful as usual, just like they did when 59 boys were slaughtered at the FGC Bunin Yadi, on February 25 of the same year and over 29 girls were abducted. Till date, not a word has been spoken or heard about such bloody and shameful occurrences. But for the persistence of the Nigerian youths on social media who deployed the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls, those Chibok girls would have become another sad footnote in our beleaguered and checkered recent history.
I just finished watching the news and I discovered that 3 Chinese warships had berthed in Nigeria to help our military. This made me reflect, and I am certain the money spent on Tompolo, Dokubo etc would have been better channeled to train our military to combat terror and external aggression much earlier, instead of the sudden appeal to anybody or country who wishes, to come and help save Nigeria. It is a shame that after trillions of naira had been pumped into security over the years, we need foreigners to come and help us do what we ought to have done much earlier, if we had sincerity of purpose from the leadership.
A country that cannot provide jobs, healthcare, education, basic amenities, infrastructure and basic security for its citizens is not worthy of such appellation. Our biggest problem remains poor leadership, insincerity of purpose and unbridled corruption in high places. Boko Haram is a challenge that would have been defeated much earlier if the leadership had stood up to be counted instead of playing blame games until it had become such a huge and festering sore. While foreign help is now welcome because we have now been proven to be clearly incapable of defeating them, the truth remains that this problem is OUR problem and we are the only ones who can solve our problems by ourselves.
It is high time the government arose from its lethargy and begins to offer true leadership. The old cliche of “some people want to destabilize my government” is now quite well worn, old and bare-bone. Provide the necessary leadership or quit. If the kitchen is too hot for you and you can no longer cope, then GET OUT!!! That is what real leaders do…after-all the Korean president who tendered his resignation wasn’t the pilot of the capsized ferry….

By Ayobami Oyalowo

IBB Started Religious Crises In Nigeria – Confab Delegate!

DR Maryam Abdullahi, a delegate representing Civil Society Organisation, CSO, at the on-going National Conference, Tuesday, accused former military President, Ibrahim Babangida of starting religious crises in Nigeria.
Dr Abdullahi said the former military ruler pushed Nigeria into membership of the Organisation of Islamic Conference, OIC, without the consent of the people he was ruling, a development, she said started religious crises in the country.
She insisted that the relationship between Christians and Muslims deteriorated when Nigeria was admitted as a full member of Organisation of the Islamic Conference.
Abdullahi, specifically said Babangida, who pushed for Nigeria’s full membership of OIC, did that to manipulate religion in order to perpetuate himself in the office, insisting that this was the beginning of mistrust between adherents of the two faith because of mutual suspicion of possible Islamization of Nigeria.
Abdullahi spoke while making her contribution to the debate on the report of the conference Committee on Religion, during plenary.
The delegate who spoke to the applause of her colleagues, said: “The relationship between Christians and Muslims deteriorated when Nigeria was admitted as full member of Organisation of the Islamic Conference.
“This made Christians to start resisting any move that would portray Nigeria as an Islamic state.
“Consequent to this, there is the prevailing mistrust and disharmony between the adherents of the two religions in the country.
“Mr. Chairman, the then Head of State, that pushed for the admission of Nigeria into OIC did not do that in consultation with the Muslims. He did that in order to manipulate religion as a political tool to perpetuate himself in office and now Nigeria is the worst for it,” she said.
She, however, cautioned against viewing every political policy from religious perspective, explaining that OIC an economic forum not only for Islamic states but also for countries that have Muslims minority.
Dr Abdullahi appealed to the conference to allay the fears of Nigerians that nobody would Islamize or Christianize Nigeria and urged political class to stop manipulating religion and ethnicity in order to achieve a political goal.
She called for strengthening of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council in order to promote inter-religious peace and stability, while also calling for inter-religious dialogue in Nigeria.
But the recommendations by the Committee on Religion that governments at all levels shall not utilize public funds to sponsor any religious pilgrimages for any category of citizens and government functionaries generated heated arguments among delegates.
Similarly, the recommendation for establishment of a National Religious Equity Commission to be jointly chaired by a Muslim and a Christian, generated heated debate among the delegates.
While some delegates applauded the report, others condemned the two recommendations, describing them as unnecessary.
The immediate past Minister of Education, Professor Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufa’i, in her contribution, commended the work of the committee and supported the recommendation that government should stop sponsorship of delegations on any pilgrimages.
But she disapproved the recommendation for establishment of a National Religious Equity Commission, arguing that Nigeria already had too many commissions and that there were bodies on ground, especially the National Human Rights Commission to deal with such issues as stipulated in the committee’s recommendation.
Also contributing, another delegate, Mr. Atedo Peterside, said he endorsed over 90 percent of the report in view of the excellent work done by the committee but disagreed on the recommendation for establishment of a National Religious Equity Commission.
He argued that establishing the commission was like what he described as “using a single evidence to arrive at different results.”
Mr Peterside drew the attention of the delegates to the situation in France where he said religious organisations came together to address some of the problems they faced instead of bringing the government into it.
I have strong reservations in this. We should not allow government to get into religion under any guise. Countries that don’t take religion so seriously make far progress than those, who embrace religion.
“As beautiful as this report is, we should be careful. This is the kind of item for which it is very clear that fundamental rights are the issues. Those rights should be handled by religious NGOs and we should not elevate religion above fundamental human rights,” he added.

Boko Haram will not stop 2015 elections – Jonathan!

President Goodluck Jonathan has said that the insecurity currently plaguing the country would not stop the conduct of elections next year.
The president is said to have stated this at the 2014 Democracy Day Inter-denominational Church Service in Abuja.
He also added that the terrorism unleashed on the nation by Boko Haram was meant to bring down his government.
He said the nation would continue to move forward, notwithstanding the setbacks occasioned by the terrorists’ activities.
“I can assure you that the next Democracy Day will witness a new government. I remember when I was in my village this morning to collect my permanent voter’s card, a journalist asked me whether there will be elections in Nigeria, and I told him there would be elections in this country.”
This country will continue to move forward in spite of some of the setbacks we are witnessing,’’ the President said.
Jonathan said Nigeria would overcome every dark forces facing it, in spite of forces of development as well as forces of retrogression operating in the country.He thanked all the religious faiths for their prayers for the administration and the country at large, saying this had kept the nation together.
“Without your prayers, it would have been worse. With your prayers, our girls will be seen by our security men. All these distractions were planned to bring this government down. Since they failed, terror will also fail. Forces of darkness will never prevail over light. I call on all Nigerians to continue to pray and, with God on our side, we shall overcome,’’ Jonathan said.
He said his administration’s Transformation Agenda was not a mere campaign promise, but had yielded visible dividends and positive developments in every sector in the past three years.
Congregational prayers were offered for security, peace and development, as well as for the victims and families of recent bomb blasts. Prayers were also said for the successful search for and rescue of the Chibok schoolgirls, as well as for President Jonathan and his family and the three arms of government.The service was attended by the First Lady, Patience Jonathan, the President’s mother, Madam Eunice, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha.
Others in attendance were the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Sen. Anyim Pius Anyim, cabinet ministers, members of the diplomatic corps, service chiefs and presidential aides.