The Golden Eaglets finished second at the African Under 17 Championship in Morocco,where they lost out to Ivory Coast in the finals,while the Nigerian Athletics team won the maiden edition of the African under 18 championship held in Warri,Delta State.
President Jonathan said that he was rewarding them for their efforts in representing the country very well in their respective competitions,adding that he was giving them a certain amount of money,considering that they are still young,in order not to derail the.
“In recognition of your performance, we are giving you a token cash appreciation. It is token because you are young people and we don’t want to spoil you” President Jonathan said.
“The U-17 players will get N500,000 each. Their coach will get N1m, the assistant coaches will get N750,000, the team officials will get N500,000 each while the team curator will get N300,000.
“For the athletes, we will give N500,000 for gold medals, N400,000 for silver medals, N300,000 for bronze medals and N500, 000 for technical officials.”
“The nation is proud of you. You have done us proud and as a nation, we appreciate your efforts and patriotism. I urge you not to relent. You must continue to inspire young people,” President Jonathan added.
An intelligence source in Niger said on Tuesday security had been tightened along the thinly populated border and military police were searching vehicles for Boko Haram fighters who might be fleeing the past week’s onslaught on their bases in Nigeria.
A Nigerian minister delivered a request for assistance late on Monday in the Niger capital Niamey, but gave no details on what Niger’s role may be. The success of al Qaeda associates in seizing a swathe of Mali last year prompted West African leaders to cooperate more against militants seeking an Islamic emirate.
Nigeria, oil-rich and Africa’s most populous nation, worries that the four-year-old insurgency based in its remote northeast is being fed from abroad, through Niger, Chad and Cameroon. President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in three states last week and launched a major military offensive.
Nurudeen Muhammed, a junior foreign minister, delivered the request for assistance from Jonathan to Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou: “We currently have military operations under way in Nigeria in three federal states to combat terrorism and we would like to have Niger’s support in the common fight against these terrorists,” Muhammed told Niger state television.
Nigeria and Niger signed a mutual defense pact in October and soldiers from Niger, as well as Chad, joined Nigerian forces in an assault on Boko Haram fighters last month in the Nigerian town of Baga, on the semi-desert shores of Lake Chad.
The Niger intelligence source said 20 vehicles carrying suspected Boko Haram fighters had been spotted on Tuesday in Nigeria about 100 km (60 miles) from the border town of Bosso.
Military officers in the combat zone, deep in a semi-desert frontier region, said operations continued and that troops faced considerable opposition from well-armed Boko Haram fighters.
A presidential spokesman issued a statement saying the biggest drive yet against the four-year-old rebellion had made progress since President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in three troubled states last Tuesday.
“The insurgents have been dislodged from their previously safe havens and camps while many have been apprehended, and their activities in the affected states have been brought to a total halt,” he said of operations around Lake Chad, along Nigeria’s northeastern borders with Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
Thousands of additional troops have been deployed in the states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa in an operation that has targeted areas of Africa’s top energy producer where Boko Haram has established bases and weapons dumps. Warplanes were used to destroy some militant camps on Friday.
Jonathan has won support for decisive action, although many doubt whether Boko Haram, adept at going into hiding under pressure and then resurfacing, can be defeated militarily.
A record of human rights abuses by the Nigerian armed forces has seen Western powers voice concern about the offensive.
A military source in Maiduguri told Reuters the operation was facing major hurdles, as the Islamists were well armed and ready. Some had already gone into hiding, he said. Soldiers were conducting house-to-house raids, another military source said.
A spokesman for Nigeria’s defense headquarters, Brigadier-General Chris Olukolade, said in a statement that several Boko Haram camps had been destroyed in areas such as New Marte and Hausari, which were now back under control of the government.
He added that 120 militants were detained at a funeral for one of their commanders killed by special forces. Others had fled towards the Chad and Niger borders, he said.
Igbo leaders make demands of the Federal Government while welcoming President Goodluck Jonathan, who was visiting the South-East, to Enugu, the capital of Enugu State.
The Igbo leaders spoke through Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State on a day Jonathan fulfilled his 2011 electioneering campaign promise to the Igbo by completing Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu.
Obi referred to the fulfillment of the electioneering promise when he told Jonathan that the South-East merits its own international airport to enable the people, being the most widely travelled in Nigeria, traverse the world to market their entrepreneurial attributes.
On the Second Niger Bridge, the Igbo leaders said: “The bridge will serve as an important economic corridor that is at the heart of a globally recognized emerging industrial hub, not just for this nation, but for the entire Africa. The salient national benefits of a second bridge across River Niger cannot be overemphasized.In our last meeting, you promised to flag off this project within the First Quarter of 2013. We humbly plead that you return to our zone in the not-too-distant future to fulfil this promise for which your commitment is not in doubt.”
On roads, they said: “The presence of a good road network. The present state of most federal roads in our zone remains deplorable and our people very often use these roads as a comparative measure of the federal government’s commitment to our zone.
“In this context, sir, we wish to once more as a people appeal for your due attention to the Enugu-Port-Harcourt, Enugu-Onitsha, and the Owerri-Elele federal roads, which we have repeatedly brought to your attention. These roads form a critical tripod in our national transportation mosaic. Similarly, a critical bridge on the hump of the federal road linking Abakaliki to Ogoja is in dire need of replacement.”
Jonathan had on Tuesday declared a state of emergency in three states, Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States.
The mandatory two days required for the National Assembly to approve the emergency rule in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states elapsed on Thursday without a formal notification from President Goodluck Jonathan to federal lawmakers, leaving a web of confusion whether or not, a vital constitutional requirement was breached.
Lawmakers and lawyers shelved an overwhelming euphoria that have trailed the emergency rule, to accuse the president of violating basic requirements in imposing emergency order, pointing out what may turn out tools for potential challengers of the order.
“I’m not contented with the whole arrangement because of the way he declared it and did not follow due process. He was expected to notify the House,” Ibrahim Kamba, a House of Representatives member from Kebbi state said on Wednesday.
The senate confirmed on Thursday it had yet to receive a published gazette, as stipulated by the constitution, through which the proclamation of the emergency rule ought to have been made.
The senate’s position is founded on Section 305 of the constitution, which states that “Subject to the provisions of this constitution, the president may by instrument published in the official gazette of the government of the federation issue a proclamation of a state of emergency in the federation or any part thereof.”
The succeeding sub section requires that “copies” of the published gazette be “immediately” sent to the senate and the House for consideration and possible approval. Such approval is expected in two days if the lawmakers are in session, or 10 days, if they are on break.
Johnathan needs to act quickly to ensure that Nigerians do not see this act as unconstitutional and whence any act by men of the military could be deemed as criminal
The United States of America has expressed concern over the emergency rule declared by President Jonathan in Yobe, Adawama and Borno vis-a-viz the ongoing fighting in the region and urged the Military to use restrictive force in their bid to rid the region of Boko Haram terrorist.”
John Kerry, US Secretary of State, in statement on Friday, said,” the United States condemns Boko Haram’s campaign of terror in the strongest terms.
But urged Nigeria’s security forces to apply disciplined use of force in all operations protect civilians in any security response, and respect human rights and the rule of law.
He stated that the United States is deeply concerned about the fighting in northeastern Nigeria following President Jonathan’s declaration of a state of emergency in the Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states.
We are also deeply concerned by credible allegations that Nigerian security forces are committing gross human rights violations, which, in turn, only escalate the violence and fuel extremism. He noted.
Soldiers raided areas in the Sambisa Game Reserve, a remote savannah of some 500 sq km (200 sq miles) in Borno state where Islamists have established bases, said two sources who spoke on condition of anonymity. They gave no further details.
Preparing for possible further action across three frontier states where President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency on Tuesday, the armed forces also deployed jet fighters and helicopter gunships to the region.
Rights groups said they feared for the safety of civilians from combatants on both sides, but Jonathan’s move enjoys widespread public support after more than three years of trying to contain the insurgency without notable success.
It follows an upsurge in violence against government and Christian targets in the northeast by Islamists who want an Islamic state in Nigeria. Africa’s most populous nation’s 170 million people are split evenly between Christians, who dominate in the south, and Muslims, who are the majority in the north.
Little detail was available from Sambisa. Nigerian forces have attacked Islamist bases in the area of the game reserve before, as recently as February, to rout militants seen as the biggest security threat to Africa’s top energy producer.
The emergency affects the semi-desert states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, which variously border Niger, Chad and Cameroon and cover some 150,000 sq km (60,000 sq miles) – an area similar to England or Illinois, but with a population of only 10 million.
A Reuters reporter saw two Alpha light attack jets land at Yola in Adamawa state. Air Force spokesman Air Commodore Yusuf Anas confirmed that “air assets”, also including helicopter gunships, had been sent to support ground troops. A military source said there could be air strikes on Islamist bases.
In the 1980s, military leaders used air power to put down religiously inspired protests during a crackdown that left some 5,000 people dead, according to state media at the time.
Telephone connections to Borno and Yobe were almost completely cut on Thursday. In Adamawa, where a new, 12-hour overnight curfew was declared – the other two states were already under curfew – some cautiously welcomed the offensive.
“This state has been under the control of gunmen for so long, it’s been long overdue,” said Audu John, a market trader.
But another man, Ahmed Usman, feared civilians would become targets for killings or torture by a military notorious for abuses. His family was evacuating as soon as possible, he said.
The Islamist insurgency has cost thousands of lives since it began in 2009, when a crackdown killed 800 people, including Boko Haram founder Mohammed Yusuf, who died in police custody.
Because it has mostly happened far from economic centers such as the commercial hub Lagos or political capital Abuja – and because it is hundreds of miles away from oilfields in the southeast – it has not been a priority for the establishment.
The offensive ordered by Jonathan, a southern Christian, may answer critics who had accused him of failing to address the crisis: “The federal government has come to terms with the bleak reality that what we are facing is … terrorism in its most horrific form,” the Punch newspaper said in an editorial.
“Nigeria is teetering on the precipice of disintegration.
“It is time to act decisively.”
But the United States expressed concern about a worsening “cycle of violence” on Wednesday, a view echoed by human rights groups Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch on Thursday.
Both have documented cases of abuses by Nigerian forces, including summary executions and random shootings.
At Human Rights Watch, Eric Guttschuss said: “If the military continues its practice of targeting civilians, there is a risk of massive abuses during this offensive.”
|President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday put paid to arguments for and against the declaration of a state of emergency in troubled northern states, claiming the resolve of the Federal Government had been tested beyond tolerable levels.
He lamented that activities of terrorists transcend incidents of militancy and criminality but have gone on to rebellion and insurgency, and must therefore be summarily curtailed.
“Dear compatriots, it has become necessary for me to address you on the recent spate of terrorist activities and protracted security challenges in some parts of the country, particularly in Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Gombe, Bauchi, Kano, Plateau and most recently Bayelsa, Taraba, Benue and Nasarawa states. These unfortunate events have led to needless loss of lives and property of many innocent Nigerians including members of our security forces,” the president said in a national address traditionally aired on the network of the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA).
“The recent killing of security operatives by a cult group in Nasarawa state is particularly condemnable. I have directed that no effort or expense be spared in identifying and bringing to justice all those who had a hand in the killing of the operatives.
“The activities of insurgents and terrorists have been reprehensible, causing fear among our citizens and a near-breakdown of law and order in parts of the country, especially the North. We have taken robust steps to unravel and address the root causes of these crises, but it would appear that there is a systematic effort by insurgents and terrorists to destabilize the Nigerian state and test our collective resolve.
“Since I returned to the country after cutting short my visit to South Africa and aborting a planned state visit to Namibia, I have received detailed briefings from our security agencies. These briefings indicate that what we are facing is not just militancy or criminality, but a rebellion and insurgency by terrorist groups which pose a very serious threat to national unity and territorial integrity. Already, some northern parts of Borno state have been taken over by groups whose allegiance is to different flags and ideologies.
He expressed regrets that the terrorists and insurgents seem determined to establish control and authority over parts of the country and to progressively overwhelm the rest of the country.
“In many places, they have destroyed the Nigerian flag and other symbols of state authority and in their place, hoisted strange flags suggesting the exercise of alternative sovereignty,” he said.
“They have attacked government buildings and facilities. They have murdered innocent citizens and state officials. They have set houses ablaze, and taken women and children as hostages. These actions amount to a declaration of war and a deliberate attempt to undermine the authority of the Nigerian state and threaten her territorial integrity. As a responsible government, we will not tolerate this.
“Previously, we adopted a multi-track approach to the resolution of this problem through actions which included persuasion, dialogue and widespread consultation with the political, religious and community leaders in the affected states.
We exercised restraint to allow for all efforts by both State Governors and well-meaning Nigerians to stop the repeated cases of mindless violence.
“Yet, the insurgents and terrorists seek to prevent government from fulfilling its constitutional obligations to the people as they pursue their fanatical agenda of mayhem, mass murder, division and separatism.
While the efforts at persuasion and dialogue will continue, let me reiterate that we have a sacred duty to ensure the security and well-being of all our people and protect the sovereign integrity of our country. Therefore, we shall, on no account, shy away from doing whatever becomes necessary to provide the fullest possible security for the citizens of this country in any part of the country they choose to reside. We have a duty to stand firm against those who threaten the sovereign integrity of the Nigerian state. Our will is strong, because our faith lies in the indivisibility of Nigeria.”
Declaring the state of emergency, President Jonathan said:
“Following recent developments in the affected states, it has become necessary for Government to take extraordinary measures to restore normalcy. After wide consultations, and in exercise of the powers conferred on me by the provisions of Section 305, sub-section 1 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended, I hereby declare a State of Emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.
“Accordingly, the Chief of Defence Staff has been directed to immediately deploy more troops to these states for more effective internal security operations. The troops and other security agencies involved in these operations have orders to take all necessary action, within the ambit of their rules of engagement, to put an end to the impunity of insurgents and terrorists.
“This will include the authority to arrest and detain suspects, the taking of possession and control of any building or structure used for terrorist purposes, the lock-down of any area of terrorist operation, the conduct of searches, and the apprehension of persons in illegal possession of weapons.
“The details of this Proclamation will be transmitted to the National Assembly in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. But in the meantime, let me make it clear that within the purview of this Proclamation, the Governors and other political office holders in the affected states will continue to discharge their constitutional responsibilities.
“I urge the political leadership in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states to co-operate maximally with the Armed Forces and the Police to ensure that the exercise succeeds. We call on the citizenry to co-operate with our security agencies to ensure a return to normalcy within the shortest possible time.
“I am again approaching our neighbouring countries, through diplomatic channels, as done in the recent past, for their co-operation in apprehending any terrorist elements that may escape across the border. Nigerians are peace-loving people; these sad events perpetrated by those who do not wish our nation well have not changed the essential character of our people.
I want to reassure you all that those who are directly or indirectly encouraging any form of rebellion against the Nigerian state, and their collaborators; those insurgents and terrorists who take delight in killing our security operatives, whoever they may be, wherever they may go, we will hunt them down, we will fish them out, and we will bring them to justice. No matter what it takes, we will win this war against terror. I am convinced that with your support and prayers, we shall overcome these challenges and together, we will restore every part of our country to the path of peace, growth and development. Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Human rights lawyer, Barrister Festus kenyamo, who was one of the first to react to the president’s declaration, described it as a step that has long been overdue.
“The bloodletting in these states left the president with no other option but to take this extraordinary step. This step must be appreciated in the light of the refusal of the insurgents to even dialogue with the Federal Government,” Kenyamo wrote in a statement to Huhuonline.com.
“The primary duty of any government is to protect lives and properties and it is only right that government should dig deep to find a lasting solution to this ceaseless carnage.”
However, he argued that there are strong caveats that must be issued to government in respect of the extraordinary action:
“That government must not in any way politicize this action. It is constitutionally correct that the President did not attempt to suspend the Governors from office as nothing inSection 305 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) gives him such a power.
“What Obasanjo did in the past in suspending governors through a declaration of a State of Emergency was illegal, unconstitutional, null and void. Unfortunately, none of the governors had the mettle to challenge him in court.”
He urged the Military to be careful at all times not to trample on the fundamental rights of innocent citizens in these states, so that they do not become the scourge rather than solution.
“The president must follow all the steps required in Section 305 of the 1999 Constitution as amended to legitimize his action,” he added.
“That the moment calm is restored, the troops must return to the barracks so as not to give the Military unholy ideas about their role in our democracy. We all owe it a duty to assist government to restore law and order in the country. It is for our overall benefit.”
At a joint security forum meeting with other security agencies in the country hours before the broadcast, the Defence Headquarters had assured that series of challenges facing them in cause of their duties will not in any way deter their commitment to the patriotic duty of safeguarding the nation, its people and its democracy.
Brigadier general Chris Olukolade, the director of Defence information, gave the assurance at the Joint Security Forum on the recent killings of some service personnel in the country.
“Despite the enormity of the issues, the troops and operatives have remained very conscious of the fact that we are not at war with citizens,” he said.
“Hence, the rights of all our citizens within nation’s territory, as guaranteed by the constitution will continue to be guaranteed in all operations. We are here to assure Nigerians that the security agents of the country are working around the clock to ensure that our country is safe and secure. The services are committed to protecting and defending the territorial integrity of Nigeria from the machinations of those who are bent on violating her sovereignty and territory.”
He disclosed that the services had been conducting anti-kidnapping operations, cordoning off, searching, and destroying militant camps, as well as providing security for oil and gas facilities; anti-illegal oil bunking patrols, anti- banditry, anti-piracy operations and arrest terrorists of all shades among others.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Police has clarified that 46 police officers were killed last Tuesday in Alakyo Village. Also, the State Security Service (SSS) said 10 SSS operatives were killed by cultists in the same village.
Police spokesman Frank Mba said at the forum that 32 bodies have been released just as the SSS spokesperson Marlyn Ogar said that four bodies of the SSS operators were recovered. Mba added that the Police underestimated the threat posed by the group and had gone there to cordon off the area and search and not for battle.
Notwithstanding government’s unusual reticence to our persistent recommendation for the adoption of dollar certificates for the monthly payments of distributable dollar-derived revenue, a regular reader of this column has suggested reasons why certain stakeholders would oppose the proposition to fundamentally alter the payment system, and thereby lift the irrepressible perennial burden of excess cash. Undoubtedly, systemic surplus cash induces such adverse collaterals as, inflation, high cost of funds, rising national debt, weaker exchange rate, rising unemployment, about N2000bn annual fuel subsidy and deepening poverty nationwide!
In his online rejoinder, a certain “Mr. Has” noted that “… the money deposit banks that should mobilize deposits for proper financial intermediation depend heavily on the monthly naira distribution to the tiers of government… for their operations. With dollar certificates, this source of funds will no more be available. The banks may experience some liquidity crisis. This probably explains why the banks exhibit lukewarm attitude to your proposals. Previous directives that the accounts of MDAs be held by the CBN were reversed owing to the banks’ agitation, as many of them exhibited inherent liquidity crisis! I believe the dollar certificates will have similar effect on the banks”.
For sake of clarity, excess liquidity is defined as cash held by a bank above the usual regulatory requirement for that bank.
Presently, Nigerian banks are required to hold a minimum of 12 per cent of their assets strictly as cash; consequently, cash availability above 12 per cent may encourage banks to indiscriminately, recklessly expand credit to customers, thereby unwittingly increasing money supply, and driving inflation, as so much money chase less goods!
Evidently, Nigerian banks become flush with excess liquidity every month, when hundreds of billions of naira are substituted for monthly distributable dollar revenue and paid into the bank accounts of the three tiers of government.
In response to the inflationary threat caused by the ensuing naira surplus, CBN would seek to withdraw and keep as redundant and idle, hundreds of billions of naira, which it borrows from the banks at between 10 and 17 per cent interest rate.
In place of such an obnoxious strategy, government proposed, some years back, that cash allocations to the three tiers of government should be domiciled directly with the CBN rather than commercial banks; in this manner, the burden of government paying outrageous charges for accumulating idle funds borrowed from the banks to restrain inflation will be averted.
Understandably, the banks rose up in concert to oppose this arrangement, which would have removed their veritable source of free meal tickets. Expectedly, banks preferred the comfort zone of playing custodian to government funds and also earning premium returns from the high-yield risk-free sovereign borrowings that regularly came their way. Unfortunately, with such supportive payments model, it made better commercial sense for banks to ignore lending to the more risk-prone real sector SMEs!
Consequently, the real sector eternally cries for credit, and gradually contracts, with adverse impacts on employment opportunities, while banks conversely continue to declare extraordinary profit results, in an otherwise retrogressive economy.
Regrettably, in spite of CBN’s constant generosity with humongous bailouts with public funds and the bonanza associated with endless excess liquidity in banks over the years, it is inexplicable that the Nigerian public have become traumatically pauperized. Nonetheless, the most impactful function of banks currently appears to be the facilitation of transactions rather than that of an engine room for inclusive national economic growth.
Alternatively, however, adoption of dollar certificates would avoid the pitfalls of excess liquidity and its ugly train of double-digit inflation, high cost of funds, with a weakening naira instigating increasing fuel subsidies above N2tn annually; such resultant enabling environment will regenerate industrial activities, and ultimately also restrain the plague of unemployment!
Furthermore, “Mr. Has” also observed online that “…the state governments that will be beneficiaries of the (proposed) dollar certificates require naira to meet their monthly recurrent expenditure, which range from 40 – 80 per cent. Why issue them with dollar certificates? Probably, that explains why the state governments are not enthusiastic about the dollar certificates”.
In practice, dollar certificates are not legal tender; consequently, beneficiaries would need to exchange them for naira at market-determined rates through the banks. Thus, in the absence of the usual stupendous cash increase with 100 per cent naira allocations, increasingly more dollars will consequently chase stable naira supply and alter market dynamics in favour of a stronger naira! Thus, in place of naira value coming under threat with bountiful dollar revenue, as before, the reverse will become a benign trend!
The presumed liquidity enjoyed by the three tiers of government from the current payment system has failed to positively induce real economic growth with improved social welfare. Nonetheless, government and MDAs’ bloated recurrent expenditure budgets have become cesspools of corruption, and accommodate all sorts of spurious expenses and allowances, including salaries for hundreds of thousands of ghost workers and other such duplications and leakages!
Conversely, the adoption of dollar certificates would certainly boost naira purchasing power, so that income earners would immediately find that their otherwise meagre wages and salaries will buy much more goods and services than previously possible. The resultant increase in consumer demand would create an array of opportunities for production expansion in existing ventures and similarly attract new investors who wish to target the exploding consumer demand.
Consequently, multiple job opportunities would become available to reduce unemployment and also absorb those ‘victims’ of efficient streamlining of public establishments in response to the MDAs’ adjusted liquidity positions. Ultimately, government coffers will also become beneficiaries of rising personal and corporate tax revenue.
Finally, “Mr. Has”, in his rejoinder, is concerned that a payments reform, as proposed, will create several beneficiaries of dollar certificates and this may in return result in multiplicity of exchange rates in the market. This may not necessarily be so; for example, in the absence of rogue consignments, the multiplicity of tomatoes sellers in a market does not generally engender a wide spread of prices; indeed, this is what a free market is all about; ultimately, an equilibrium price with minimal deviations will always evolve!
In reality, centralized price control promotes corruption and is generally also a precursor of market distortions and inefficiency, as currently evident with CBN’s monopoly of the foreign exchange market. This odious practice pampers the interest of the banks and the operators of a collaborative government structure, at the expense of over 90% of Nigerians, whose welfare and sense of dignity have become deflated by this oppressive payment model.
SAVE THE NAIRA, SAVE NIGERIANS!!
BY HENRY BOYO
Many women lose their lives during childbirth especially in developing countries where medical care is still inadequate.
Maternal mortality ratio is highest in the African region, estimated at an average of 800 deaths per 100 000 live births. In Nigeria it is estimated at 1000 per 100 000 live births with wide regional disparities. Common causes of maternal deaths include bleeding, hypertensive diseases in pregnancy, obstructed labour, eclampsia, maternal infections and unsafe abortions. Eclampsia is the most common cause of maternal death especially in Northern Nigeria accounting for about 30% of all maternal deaths while studies carried out in Southern Nigeria found haemorrhage and unsafe abortions as the leading cause of maternal mortality.
Eclampsia is an acute and life threatening complication of pregnancy characterized by the appearance of convulsions in a patient with high blood pressure and protein in the urine. It may occur before, during or shortly after delivery.
Common risk factors of developing eclampsia include first pregnancy, multiple gestations and pre-existing hypertension. When eclampsia occurs after delivery, especially in Northern Nigeria, it may be associated with some harmful traditional practices like “hot bath” and ingestion of Kunun Kanwa [a lake salt rich in sodium].
The hallmark of eclampsia is the occurrence of major epileptiform convulsions. Other features include headache and nausea preceding the convulsions. Patient may present with other features like abdominal pain, vaginal bleeding, liver and kidney failure. Blood pressure is raised and proteins are present in the urine. The mortality varies with the number of fits, the quality of the treatment and the speed with which treatment is made available. Pregnant women with eclampsia are believed to be possessed by evil spirits especially in rural areas where level of educational attainment is still low; and hence those type of ailments are thought to be beyond the realm of modern therapy and the expertise of traditional healers are thought first. This results in considerable delay in seeking modern obstetric care and can lead to severe morbidity and mortality.
The aim of management of eclampsia is prevention of further convulsions, control of the elevated blood pressure and delivery of the woman as soon as possible. These are achieved by sedation and use of drugs like magnesium sulphate and use of antihypertensive drugs. The woman can either be delivered by caesarean section; or with the aid of vacuum extractor or forceps.
Early detection and management of pre-eclampsia are essential part of antenatal care and hence prevention of eclampsia involves regular antenatal visit by all pregnant women. The community should also be educated about obstetric complications like eclampsia and when and where to seek for assistance. All health care facilities should ensure skilled attendance i.e. doctors and midwives at every birth. Doctors attending to pregnant woman should be trained to be proficient in life saving procedures like caesarean section, forceps delivery and vacuum extraction. We should promote antenatal care attendance by pregnant women and female education.
Government, health care workers and well- meaning Nigerians should demonstrate more commitment towards reducing maternal deaths resulting from eclampsia and other pregnancy related complications.
Dr Abdullahi Dahiru is a Kano based medical practitioner.
Industry analyst today estimate carbon management business presently at about 2 trillion dollars and this amount is expected to rise to an astounding figure of about 20 trillion dollars in the next 10 years. The future of industry rest squarely on how we are able to arrest the emission of carbon and its related compounds into the environment. The implication of inaction is the continued depletion of the ozone layer with its inherent raising of global temperatures, melting of polar ice in the northern hemisphere, drought and desertification in Africa, disastrous economic damages due to hurricanes in the Americas, loss of bio-diversity in warming ocean beds and terrestrial habitats and countless other collateral damages.
With the Montréal protocol of 1987 which banned the production and use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s)-substances which deplete the ozone layer, the Basel Agreement on movement of trans-boundary hazardous wastes (1987) which set mitigation’s on dumping of hazardous wastes in developing nations, and more appropriately the Kyoto framework on climate change of 1982, it seems as if the sound of environmental sustainability and the carbon future has been long in coming. Ours is to make the best of it because with it also comes lots of opportunities.
Businesses could save a lot on cost by good energy conservation and carbon reduction management, and also earn incomes that far out stripe their present earnings by getting involved in the trade in carbon, and also earn good social credit for community relationship -a major corporate income mostly unquantifiable in real terms. This becomes a veritable enterprise in converting waste to wealth. Developing nations with low carbon emission accrue income, clean technology and energy production infrastructure from carbon trading by selling pollution permits (CDM) to the developed world.
The concern of major financial and green analysts is that with the fast pace of market growth, companies in developing economies may be left behind if they do not tune in at this early stage of the carbon economic development programs.
The direction of the new US government is a useful indicator to where global policy direction is driving with respect to a green economy. The US stimulus package allocated about $90 billion dollars for development of a new energy future of low carbon emission and sustainable businesses/manufacturing operations. President Obama has further promised to pass laws on carbon cap and trade that would reduce carbon emission.
What this means is that energy companies and other carbon emitting entities that exceed their legal limits can purchase credits from a company that is not using all its available credits, or from companies whose business is to store and sell credits because they create activities or products that reduce carbon emission such as forest plantations which sequester carbon. The carbon issue is an international feature because national boundaries are immaterial to where a carbon laden plume of waste emissions flows. Recently the provincial government in Ontario Canada enacted a green energy act meant to boost incentives for energy conservation and encourage sustainable energy use. This measure practically implies that the government intends to reduce the amount of carbon emission in Ontario. This empowers government agencies to audit consumer energy use.
To sell a house in Ontario with this new regime you may likely pay a green tax of about $300 dollars. Experts are tinkering with policy considerations of carbon taxing fossil fuel from the point of exploration. This means that each unit or litre of fuel will be taxed, and this would definitely be passed on every stage from the point of production to the consumer. All over the globe there is increased capacity and incentives for businesses to develop around environmental sustainability.
For companies, understanding the implications of the series of regulations emanating globally on indigenous, regional and international activities could be quite challenging, more especially as many of these rules are still evolving. Understanding how to manage carbon accounts without increasing overheads and alienating themselves from mainstream global and regional economies and relationships should be a prime goal.
In most developed nations today, companies are required to reduce their green house emission. Inability of a company to do this will increasingly earn dire reprobation’s and/ incur cost from monitoring authorities and could even lead to closures. Though the type and number of companies to be regulated may depend primarily on national interests and exigencies; international businesses and relationship of major global entities is progressively based on how well you impact the environment. Companies and government are increasingly wary of the carbon content of their imports. This boils down to the carbon or ecological housekeeping of the businesses they deal with. This scenario will trickle down to regional and intra national concerns with time.
Aside from a company’s financial status, one question companies, banks, governments, institutions, communities, including international agencies, the United nations , International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, now ask each other before establishing a business’s relationship is – are you in ecological deficit or credit? These questions are more explicit today than implied. In other words they also require knowing of your environmental balance sheet. But they are all the more relevant and important if we are to sustain our activities and productive enterprises with the earth’s diminishing resource base. You are in credit if your carbon foot print is low and in debit if it is beyond your global capacity. This generic measurement index is referred to commonly as global hectares. Quite tasking new business terms for many no doubt. That is why these processes also need to be fine tuned to meet the unique requirements of the developing economies.
This is where the twin financial and environmental consultancy companies like Hayman Corp with global linkages and in house experts on carbon trade, eco-foot printing and benchmarking becomes most essential; to assist companies maintain competitiveness, profitability, social responsibility, track their carbon footprint, produce and communicate conformance report for carbon management which are all imperatives to properly align businesses and governments to still flourish today without losing their foothold in the emergent carbon future.
Most international businessesare still not very aware of Africa’s investment opportunities. Information costs are high: Africa is fragmented into many different countries, and even in aggregate the continent is a fairly small economy. For several decades, investor ignorance did not matter: with few exceptions Africa’s economies were too badly run for there to be many opportunities for firms of integrity. But there has been a sea change—Africa is on the move. There will be ups and downs, but investors from the countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) who remain set in their ways may be missing a giant business opportunity if they fail to pay attention to the changes afoot.
The situation in Africa quietly began to change during the period 1995–2005. Profound macroeconomic reforms tamed inflation and opened economies to international trade. More patchily, the regulatory environment facing international business also improved. Public ratings, such as the World Bank’s Doing Business surveys, enabled African governments to benchmark their performance and began to put pressure on those that were recalcitrant. As the global commodity boom built to its 2008 crescendo, many African countries were well positioned to harness the spike in their export revenues for growth beyond the resource extraction sector itself.
That upturn in national growth rates was mirrored in the increased profitability of companies operating in Africa. Indeed, three distinct sources of data indicate that returns on investment are higher there than in other regions. One was a comprehensive study of the publicly traded companies operating in Africa for the period 2002–07, mostly in the manufacturing and services sectors. It found that these companies’ average return on capital was around two-thirds higher than that of comparable companies in China, India, Indonesia, and Vietnam. Another source, on the foreign direct investment of US companies, showed that they were getting a higher return on their African investments than on those in other regions. Finally, analysis of a series of surveys of several thousand manufacturing firms around the developing world found that, at the margin, capital investment had a higher return in Africa.1
This was the scene in the years leading up to the global crisis. Although its origins had nothing to do with the continent, the crisis did not bypass Africa. Its effect was to collapse commodity prices—for example, the price of oil initially tumbled by more than $100 a barrel. More subtly, the international appetite for risk collapsed, and since Africa is still generally viewed as the riskiest region, investors got scared; for example, international banks curtailed letters of credit to African exporters far more drastically than to those in other regions.
These effects were severe. However, with a few exceptions—inevitable in a region with so many countries—Africa weathered the economic storms well. Led by its two largest economies, South Africa and Nigeria, most countries had built prudent fiscal positions: in a remarkable break with its past, Nigeria had freed itself from debt and built up over $70 billion of foreign-exchange reserves. Further, the adverse impact of the crisis through commodity prices lasted less than a year for Africa. Globally, commodity prices rapidly bounced back and seem to have stabilized around levels markedly higher than those in the decades before the boom, underwritten by growing Asian economies and their corresponding need for commodities.
Revenues from commodity exports have been augmented not just by high prices but also by the resource discoveries that high prices have triggered. Yet the recent discoveries are merely the beginning: the scale of what is likely to happen is not widely appreciated. As I show in The Plundered Planet, Africa is the last major region on Earth that remains largely unexplored. In the long-explored countries of the OECD, the average square kilometer of territory still has beneath it around $114,000 of known subsoil assets, despite two centuries of intense extraction. In contrast, the average square kilometer of sub-Saharan Africa has a mere $23,000 of known sub-soil assets. It is highly unlikely that this massive difference is due to a corresponding difference in what is actually there. Rather, the difference in known assets is likely to indicate an offsetting difference in what is awaiting discovery.
It is reasonable to suppose that what is actually under the soil in the average square kilometer of Africa is at least as valuable as what is known still to be available in the OECD. An implication is that once these untapped resources have been discovered, Africa’s commodity exports will be around five times their present level. In turn, this has three profound implications. One is that many of the countries in which resources are discovered will be those that currently are not significant resource exporters: the economic map of Africa will change quite drastically as new opportunities open. A second is that such a radically higher level of commodity exports across the region will support correspondingly larger economies. The final implication is that in the process of getting to this much higher level, Africa will have a prolonged phase of rapid growth.
Now for the reality check. During the commodity booms of the 1970s, Africa also had a wave of resource discoveries. With a few exceptions, most notably Botswana, these opportunities were not harnessed for transformative growth. Indeed, the more common experience was an ugly and costly political contest for control of the revenues. If history repeats itself, the forthcoming much larger wave of resource discoveries in Africa will leave a legacy of scarred landscapes and scarred lives.
Yet the contrast between Nigeria’s dysfunctional management of its first oil boom of 1973–83 and its brilliant management of the second boom of 2003–08 cautions against the gloomy cynicism that until recently bedeviled investor thinking about Africa. The road to economic transformation is undoubtedly likely to be a bumpy one, but many African societies have learned both from their own histories and from the prosperity of other once-poor countries. Unlike the externally dictated structural-adjustment programs of the 1980s, the key struggles over economic policy will be internal to African societies. They will not all be won, but nor will they all be lost: some societies will decisively adopt progrowth economic strategies.
To date, Africa has lacked the spectacular regional role models of economic success that so benefited Asia. But it is now starting to get them. Even in Rwanda, a landlocked, crowded country lacking in natural resources, a leadership committed to economic transformation has been able to sustain a growth rate of 10 percent. In some of the countries with more favorable fundamentals, even faster growth rates will be sustained. Such successes will have a profound influence on the neighbors, just as occurred in Asia.
As in Asia, I doubt that there will be a close correspondence between the struggles for democracy and the struggles for economic transformation. The struggles for democracy do indeed have an important economic dimension: many African rulers have accumulated excessive personal power and abused it to sacrifice the common good of national prosperity for narrow sectional self-interest. But more recently, some African leaders, such as President Museveni of Uganda, President Kagame of Rwanda, and Prime Minister Meles of Ethiopia, have built strong credentials for a commitment to the economic transformation of their societies while being somewhat hesitant democrats. Some of Africa’s coming economic successes will be in societies that have won the struggle for accountable democratic government. But others will be in societies in which autocratic leaders have become ambitious for national goals rather than merely for power and privilege; expect some African repetitions of Malaysia’s experience.
Dear President Jonathan,
I am not in the habit of writing letters especially when the chance of reaching the intended audience is slim. However, I decide to write you because a few days ago, my nine-year-old daughter asked me if I am proud to be Nigerian. If this letter reaches you, I will tell her that the first reason why I am proud to be Nigerian is that I can reach you as easily as she can reach President Obama.
Let me first say though that her question did not come to me as a surprise. She has seen on CNN the carnage surrounding the elections in Nigeria. She has also heard me complain ad nauseam about the issues Nigeria faces as a nation (something I have vowed not to do in her presence anymore). When she came to Nigeria, she stayed without electricity most of the time. While she was in Nigeria she also noticed that only kids from affluent parents can afford many of the things she considers as basic. All these put together, it is understandable why she is curious to know if daddy is proud to be Nigerian. As she is a child, I did not expect her to understand that the lack of these basic things underscores much deeper issues.
I know that the obvious emotional answer to her question is that, yes, I am proud to be Nigerian. Like many other honest Nigerians, my pride in Nigeria is out of emotions rather than reasons. But as a man who likes reasons more than emotions, I have always emphasized to my daughter the importance of backing her answers up with reasons. To achieve this goal, I formed the habit of throwing her questions back to her. On this occasion, it meant asking her if she proud to be American. I know she has a catalog of reasons why she proud to be American. So, let’s just say that the chickens have come home to roost.
Whatever reasons her young brain can come up with, I know that the main reason why Americans are proud of their country are freedom, liberty, equality and the pursuit of happiness. From an early age, Americans think that these are the core aspect of their nation.
These pivotal aspects of democracy are embedded in the foundation of America as a nation. For instance, when the founders declared that the government of the United States was instituted to protect inalienable rights bestowed on citizens by the creator; – the rights to freedom, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, they gave generations of Americans a reason to be proud. It is clear that we have not been so lucky as Nigerians. Yet, these are the cornerstone of democracy; it is from liberty, freedom and cultured desire to pursue happiness that innovations flow. Any democratic nation without these values should not expect to prosper.
Many people think that modern infrastructures make a great nation. True a 24/7 supply of electricity, good drinking water, good schools, beautiful cities with good road networks are important aspects of what makes America a great nation. Yet, what makes Americans proud is a foundation that protected their inalienable rights.
The burden falls on you to lay a foundation that will protect our inalienable rights as Nigerians. It is time to move Nigeria to a time when every Nigerian can question the actions of the government without fear of reprisals. It is when there is a general understanding that Nigerians are equal before the law that to change the trajectory of Nigerian history and I am rooting for you.
As I conclude this letter, let me hope that the next time my daughter asks me if I am proud to be Nigerian, I will give her good reasons why I am proud to be Nigerian.
public officials can be held responsible for their actions.
I urge you to make the declaration that Nigerian government is instituted to protect the inalienable rights of all citizens. I am sure that you are aware that the foundation of a nation provides the framework for its governance and progress, so said Alex De Tocqueville after observing America’s democracy for the purpose of recommending democracy to France. If this statement is relied on, it means that the challenges Nigeria faces today as a nation exist because of its foundation. Nigeria’s foundation is not rooted in democratic values that give Nigerians good reason to be proud. Now is the time
The financial crisis, which?threw the spotlight on MBA?programmes and graduates,?combined with the management needs of a new breed of industries, mean that business schools are now trying to recruit a different type of student to their MBA programmes. This is particularly true at top US business schools Harvard, Wharton and Stanford. Where these schools lead, others follow.
Diversity is the watchword, and the number of women, entrepreneurs, military personnel, environmentalists and not-for-profit managers being accepted is evidence of the type of students who will join this year’s incoming class, the class of 2013.
The developments are the result of long-term strategy, says Dee Leopold, managing director for MBA admissions and financial aid at Harvard. “We have worked hard to find different leadership styles,” she says. “It’s a story that has to be told in prose, not soundbites.”
But perhaps just as significant as increasing diversity is the average age of incoming students. This is not decreasing, as was widely feared three or four years ago, when US schools argued that the long work experience requirement meant that the average 27-year-old was already on a career path that did not require an MBA.
At the Wharton school at the University of Pennsylvania, J.J. Cutler, director of MBA admissions and financial aid, says previous managerial experience is key to recruiters. “All the feedback from employers is that they want work experience. We want a mature, diverse class.” Some 78 per cent of the class of 845 at Wharton have four or more years of work experience
African Analyst -A passenger plain slammed into an apartment building in Nigeria’s largest city shortly after takeoff Sunday. Firefighters pulled at least one body from the heavily damaged building and searched for survivors.
Casualty figures were not yet known, said Lagos state emergency manager EMI Oke-Osanyinpolu. It was unclear how many people were on board the plane or in the building, located just north of the airport. The Dana Air flight had taken off from the airport and was bound for Abuja, Nigeria’s capital in the interior of Africa’s most populous country, said Harold Denuren, head of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority. The plane went down in clear and sunny weather.
At the crash site, an Associated Press reporter saw parts of the plane’s seat signs scattered around. The rest of the plane was cratered into the apartment building. Firefighters tried to put out the smoldering flames of a jet engine and carried at least one corpse from the building that continued to crumble. Thousands of people looked on.
Two firetrucks and about 50 rescue personnel were at the site about an hour after the plane went down. A military helicopter flew overhead.
Lagos’ international airport is a major hub for West Africa and saw 2.3 million passengers pass through it in 2009, according to the most recent statistics provided by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria.
In August 2010, the U.S. announced it had given Nigeria the FAA’s Category 1 status, its top safety rating that allows the nation’s domestic carriers to fly directly to the U.S.
The Nigerian government said it also now has full radar coverage of the entire nation. However, in a nation where the state-run electricity company is in tatters, state power and diesel generators sometimes both fail at airports, making radar screens go blank.
President GoodLuck Jonathan addressed the country and families of the victims of the Dana Crash.
It is with a very heavy heart indeed that I address you today on this last day of national mourning for our fathers, mothers, children, brothers, sisters, colleagues, associates, friends and fellow citizens who lost their lives in Sunday’s plane crash.
While the official mourning period ends today, no one can doubt that the pain and anguish of the shocking, sudden and unexpected loss of highly valued lives in that horrendous plane crash will remain with us all, long after this day has ended.
My heart goes out to the immediate families of all the Nigerian and foreign victims of the crash. We continue to pray that God Almighty will grant them divine solace and consolation.
As I said at the crash site on Monday, it is a highly regrettable setback to ongoing efforts to reposition our aviation sector and further enhance the safety record of Nigerian carriers which had improved significantly in recent years.
I wish to reaffirm our commitment to the improvement of the quality of our aviation infrastructure with the overall goal of making air travel safer. We will remain and stay firm on this commitment. At a time such as this when a tragedy of such proportion befalls the nation, we must strive even more to put in place those measures that can support air safety and other means of transportation.
I have directed that the fullest possible investigation be undertaken into the remote and immediate causes of the crash with a view to ensuring that the proper lessons are learnt from it, and that going forward, every necessary measure is effectively implemented to enhance the safety of air travellers in Nigeria.
In the past few days since the crash, our newspapers, airwaves, and social media have been awash with all manner of theories and speculations on the cause of the tragedy. I urge that there should be no rush to judgment.
The lives of all Nigerians and foreigners in our country are precious to this administration. We will continue to do everything possible to protect lives and prevent avoidable deaths.
I assure all Nigerians and the international community that the investigations which I have ordered will be very thorough. Let me warn that where clear dereliction of duty is established, firm action will be taken.
This administration stands ready to take whatever action may become necessary after the investigation to prevent the recurrence of air mishaps.
We are a nation of highly resilient people; in time, we will surely overcome the collective trauma of Sunday’s plane crash in Lagos.
However, we must never forget the many precious lives that were lost in that utterly devastating crash.
I invite all stakeholders in the sector to join hands with us in proactively implementing measures and undertaking actions that will ultimately benefit the entire industry and reassure the public.
In addition to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)/Federal Ministry of Aviation Committee on the strengthening of the financial stability and growth of domestic airlines, I have also directed the Coordinating Minister of the Economy/Minister of Finance, the Minister of Trade and Investment, the Governor of the Central Bank, and the Chief Economic Adviser to the President, to further look into our tariffs and other taxes as they relate to the aviation industry and come up with recommendations as to where we can further assist the sector.
May God have mercy and bless the souls of our beloved departed and continually strengthen those who mourn their loss.
May their souls rest in perfect peace.
Calls by many newspapers to sack the aviation minister is wrong. The Dana crash is a tragedy. It is a painful reminder that airline oversight and flight readiness should be a focus of the Nigerian Government.
It should come as no surprise to keen observers of the Nigerian politic that these private airlines lack the infrastructure required for effective maintenance of these airplanes. Moreover we should look at the history of the airplane to determine the root cause in the absence of the black box. The box has been shipped to the USA for analysis because Nigeria lacks the expertise and technical capacity to analyse the data
The accident occurred after the crew reported engine trouble and declared an emergency 11 nautical miles (20 km) from the airport. The MD-83 then crashed into a crowded neighbourhood near the airport, apparently landing on its tail and causing a large fire.
The crash scene reportedly became chaotic, with the sun reporting that more than 500,000 Lagos residents attempted to approach the site. Crowds attempted to bring hoses to the site while soldiers attempted to disperse onlookers with punches and whips The onlookers then threw stones at the soldiers in retaliation. Water for firefighting was scarce for several hours due to the city’s shortage of fire trucks and civilians attempted to fight the fire by hand with water from plastic buckets. Water trucks commandeered from nearby construction projects had difficulties reaching the site due to the neighbourhood’s narrow roads.
The aircraft was a twin-engined MD-83 Registered in Nigeria as 5N-RAM, it was a former Alaska Airlines aircraft (N944AS), which Alaska Airlines purchased new in 1990 and sold to Dana Air in 2009, “was bedeviled with technical problems soon after its delivery by McDonnell Douglas” to Alaska Airlines, according to the Alaska Dispatch.
The MD-80 was produced on a common line with the DC-9 with which it shares its line number sequence. However after the delivery of 976 DC-9s and 108 MD-80s, McDonnell Douglas stopped DC-9 production. Hence, commencing with the 1,085th DC-9/MD-80 delivery, an MD-82 for VIASA in December 1982, all DC-9s produced were Series 80s/MD-80s.
In addition to the Long Beach, California line, a second assembly line was set up at Shanghai, where aircraft were to be built under license.
During 1991, MD-80 production had reached a peak of 12 per month, having been running at approximately 10 per month since 1987 and was expected to continue at this rate in the near term (140 MD-80s were delivered in 1991). As a result of the decline in the air traffic and a slow market response to the MD-90, MD-80 production was reduced, and 84 aircraft were handed over in 1992. A further production rate cut saw 42 MD-80s delivered during 1993 (3.5 per month) and 22 aircraft were handed over. MD-80 production ended in 1999.
JOS, Nigeria — A suicide car bomber detonated his explosives Sunday outside a church in central Nigeria as gunmen attacked another church in the nation’s northeast, killing at least six people and wounding dozens of others in the latest attacks targeting Christian worshippers in a nation increasingly divided by faith, officials and witnesses said. A radical Islamist sect known as Boko Haram claimed the attacks.
The violence Sunday in Jos and Biu, a city in hard-hit northeastern Borno state, comes as almost every weekend this year has seen churches targeted by Boko Haram and other shadowy assailants exacerbating the country’s unease. Despite a heavy military presence in the region, deadly attacks by the sect have continued unstopped.
In Jos, a city on the uneasy dividing line between Nigeria’s largely Muslim north and Christian south, the suicide car bomber drove toward the compound of the Christ Chosen Church of God in the city and detonated his bomb nearby, said Abu Emmanuel, a spokesman for Plateau state police. While outside of the church, the shock wave from the blast brought down a portion of the building, causing injuries inside, Emmanuel said.
Angry youths later surrounded the area, striking back against Muslims in retaliatory violence, witnesses said. Four people and the suicide bomber were killed, while more than 40 others were wounded, police and the military said.
More could die from the blast as it left many severely wounded, officials said.
Meanwhile in Biu, a city in northeast Nigeria’s Borno state, gunmen opened fire during a service at an EYN church, an acronym that means “Church of the Brethen in Nigeria” in the local Hausa language of Nigeria’s north, witnesses said. An usher and another worshipper at the church were killed in the attack while others were injured, military spokesman Col. Victor Ebhaleme
Borno state police commissioner Bala Hassan confirmed the attack and said officers were investigating.
Speaking to journalists on a conference call Sunday night, a spokesman for Boko Haram claimed both attacks. Nigeria faces a growing wave of sectarian violence carried out by Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is sacrilege” in Hausa. Boko Haram has been blamed for killing more than 560 people this year alone, according to an Associated Press count. The sect’s targets have included churches, police stations and other security buildings, often attacked by suicide car bombers across northern Nigeria.
Boko Haram most recently claimed responsibility for the drive-by killing Tuesday of a retired deputy inspector-general of police and two other officers in Nigeria’s largest northern city of Kano.
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Examination Mal practice is an ugly situation, that has been eating up our nation’s economy. Most of the fraudsters we have in this country Nigeria, were all by-products of examination mal-practice, fondly called “EXPO”. It has been a situation that is very difficult to control in present day Nigeria. Why? Because everybody needs money. Even in the primary schools, it is happening there. I could remember when I took my Common Entrance examination, my school faced hell. We refused to take part in the so-called expo. We were called different names, and I got irritated. The worst of it all, was that most of the answers were wrong. In a situation like this, where primary School children, practice exam mal-practice, what would be of the secondary schools, what about the universities? This problem is like a canker worm eating up the nation.
The teacher and parents are even encouraging this social problem. I mean what is the meaning of entertainment money, when a student has already paid the required amount for the examination. The teacher’s force the students to bring money, in order to bribe the invigilator, so that they could practice exam mal-practice. If a child, knows that his/her parents don’t have the money to bring out. The child might be tempted to steal, for the expo. Students nowadays, no longer read for their exams, because expo is coming, none of them bothers to check, if the answers that are given to them are correct.
Nobody is now afraid of the 21 years imprisonment, if caught practicing exam ma-practice, because money now speaks. The rate of unemployment is now high, few qualified persons to take the jobs. Our school certificates are now regarded as rubbish, because it is assumed that most of the results are through examination mal-practice, looking around the society, you would see graduates, expo-graduates, walking around the streets, with big files, but yet cannot defend their results.
The teachers and parents, infact everybody involved in this act, might think he/she is helping that child, but it is all wrong, you are instead causing more harm than good, because that child would not be able to depend or have confidence in him/herself, thereby producing half baked graduates. You would come to find out that somebody who studied Mathematics at school, might graduate from school, and would not be able to solve a simple equation. It would be a very shameful thing to us. Most of these unemployed people( job seekers) were all brought up from the normal “EXPO”, in such a case the nation’s economy suffers.
Parents please, do not be a part to this, if you don’t pay for entertainment fee, your child would not practice “EXPO”, Teachers if you don’t give the students answer, they would definitely read their books and write with there heads, and their own knowledge. The teachers are the prime cause of examination mal-practice, Teacher’s “you might think that it is only affecting the students, but it is also affecting you, because you’re a part of the nation.
The Government is not bothered about this problem, because most of their children are in private schools, therefore neglecting the public schools, when 90% of the children are in public schools, if they are neglected and their teachers are not being paid, it is pitiable because they will have to use “Expo” to write their exams, because they are not been taught anything. This is a very bad situation, that has to be tackled.
There are various forms of examination mal-practices in different levels of Education.
In the Primary School and Junior Secondary it is called “Expo or entertainment fee” in the Senior Secondary, they practice what is called “IMPERSONATION” that is writing an exam for another person, then in the university it is called “SORTING”, in sorting the students give the lecturers money, just to make good graders, and most of the females among them, sell their bodies, to make high marks. The government is neglecting the educational sector.There are so many ways the government could control this situation.
First of all, the government should make strict laws about exam mal-practice.
Secondly, any school caught practicing exam-mal practice should be closed for 7 years, and all the teachers arrested.
Thirdly, any student caught in the act, would be arrested, together with the parents.
All the people that are involved in the exam-mal practice should face life imprisonment. Being a concerned junior secondary school student in Nigeria, I strongly feels that examination mal-practice demeans us as a nation. Thank you.
Chidera Ejiogu is 13 and writes from NIGERIA.
The late Afro beat musician Fela has been vindicated with all the confusion now in the land, the moving around in circles, but still standing in the same spot. It is now clear to everyone that Nigeria has become a failed state, a country of anything can happen.
There is now an entrenched culture of corruption in the land, our leaders are having a field day pillaging our common treasury as the country slowly bleeds to her death. The stench of corruption assaults your nose as you step into Nigeria leaving you breathless. The latest in town now is the “fuel subsidy scam”, where a group of Nigerian oil marketers in collaboration with their friends in government defrauded Nigerians to the tune of a mind boggling sum of N2.6 Trillion Naira. There is now a desperate attempt by these thieves in league with the hoodlums parading as our law makers to cover it all up. But this time around, as Nigerians would say in our local Parlance; God don catch dem, they are now exposing each other making mistakes upon mistakes.
Can you believe, that our Hoodlum Congress men actually discovered this day light robbery by their friends, the most unlikely source. You may agree with me, thieves don’t usually expose each other except in cases of one party trying to be greedy. When the news filtered out that our dishonest law makers has uncovered this unbelievable fraud. Nigerians gullible as they are, started hailing them as being patriotic and repentant. But little did they know that their law makers were only after their own cut from the loot. A young man called Farouk Lawan, known by Nigerians to be one of the few forthright law makers we have, from Kano state was the head of the house ad-hoc committee, that made this startling discovery has now turned out to be the villain to the shock of his admires all over the country. It is now an open secret that he was approached on his capacity as head of the investigating committee to cover up the great rip off. Farouk demanded on behalf of his committee members the sum of $3.5 Million to kill off the investigation. The oil marketers and importers through their leader Zenon Oil Boss Femi Otedola Handed over to Farouk an advanced payment bribe money of $620.000.00 to balance up immediately the committee meets up with their own part of the deal. Femi Otedola without the knowledge of Farouk filmed the exchange of bribe money. Now with the exposure of the bribe exchange, Farouk Lawan initially denied the allegation, he only owned up after Otedola confirmed that he gave Farouk the money and filmed it. Farouk started singing a new song, to defend himself but the song was short in truth and fact. Farouk claims that he encouraged Otedola when approached to give the bribe in other to expose him as a dishonest business man. But his story left a lot of begging questions, why did he not carry the Police along, if he was sincere in exposing this corrupt man. Farouk was also unaware that Otedola marked the dollar bills he gave him. His other story that he informed the speaker of the house of representatives Alhaji Tambullawal of his exchange with Otedola is far from the truth at this stage the investigation. The speaker like other of his colleagues are distancing themselves from him.
The evidence is just too huge and formidable for even our smart government people to cover up. So everyone is been very careful about this case due to the large public out-cry. It’s obvious that this young man’s political career is in total jeopardy and he could go to jail. That is, if the scandal is not covered up by his friends.
African Analyst is now of the opinion that the Nigerian people are now completely helpless, and hostages of a thieving, gluttonous, vultures parading as their leaders. Nigerian people have lost all confidence in these leaders, they cannot be trusted any longer. We are now inviting the international community through the united nation to step in now and salvage what is remaining of Nigeria, before the people take the laws into their hands, we can no longer tolerate a situation where 90% of Nigerians are living in abject poverty while an insignificant 10% are living large at our expense. Time to chase the wicked thieves out is now.
United States has said it would continue to look at the question of a broader designation of the Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati Wal-Jihad, (also known as Boko Haram), even after three of its leaders were designated global terrorists this week.
This is coming just as the Nigerian embassy in Washington DC appealed to the US government that whatever action that would be taken against the three designated Boko Haram leaders should not affect their immediate neighbours who had not only been the hardest hit, but had vehemently opposed the activities of the militant sect.
The three Boko Haram leaders labeled as “Specially Designated Global Terrorists”, are Abubakar Shekau, Abubakar Adam Kambar, and Khalid al-Barnawi.
The three individuals, an official said, are Abubakar Shekau, aged around 43, described as a Boko Haram leader who allegedly aligned himself with al Qaeda in a video message; Abubakar Adam Kambar, aged roughly 35; and Khalid al Barnawi, aged approximately 36. All three are native Nigerians.
Answering reporters question at a briefing at the State Department in Washington DC, the department’s spokesperson, Victoria Nuland, said, “More broadly, as you know, there is always this question of whether designating individuals within an organization is the most effective strategy or whether the designating (of) the whole organization is the most effective strategy. So, we’re continuing to look at the question of a broader designation.”
She however noted that Boko Haram was at the moment a loosely constructed group attached to trying to address grievances in the North.
Nuland said there were different views within the group, and US was looking at that, while also working with Nigerian authorities to encourage dialogue with forces in the North with a view to ensuring that, “a unified, multi – pluralistic Nigeria where the rights of all people, no matter their religion, no matter where they live, are protected in its own security efforts.”
She added that Nigerian government needed to begin a real dialogue about some of the roots of the dissatisfaction in the North by engaging northern
communities, thereby making them more resistant to some of the extremist-style tactics that the three designated Boko Haram leaders espouse.
The expected action will freeze any assets they have in the United States, and bar U.S. persons from any transactions with them.
What happened in Kaduna this week a day after the bombing of three churches, with the attendant lose of 100 lives including women and children, was the last straw. A Christian revenge mob squad converged and went on a murderous spree of violence, revenge was the only thing on their mind. What follows was the unrelenting destruction of mosques, slaughtering of anyone resembling a Muslim Hausa/Fulani on sight for three days. The carnage was so inhuman and spontaneous, it was clear that the aggrieved Christian youths can’t take it any longer, that is the coordinated destruction of their worship centers, plus the daily lose of their Christian brethrens, they had to defend themselves since it became obvious that the government of Jonathan and their leaders have failed them. They where no longer prepared to listen to the plea of government and their leaders not to retaliate, since the government is helpless and cannot protect them. They just can stand ideally by and be slaughtered; they had to protect themselves by all means necessary.
We have been turning the other cheek; they chorused, now we have no other cheek to turn. Where was our leaders, who are calling for calm when this murderous savage Muslims with the backing of their dubious leaders in government were killing us. We can no longer wait and watch them kill all of us, we must give them a dose of their own medicine was the general opinion.
This was exactly what we the African analyst feared will happen, if the government does nothing to stop the senseless slaughter of Christians in the north. Is this the beginning of the end for Nigeria as a nation? The north is now like a ghost territory, the shading of innocent in large scale is now the order of the day. Kaduna for now is the action spot, knowing the north’s insatiable taste for revenge, it will surely spread to the other volatile areas in the north. Christians there are clearly in danger of being wiped out, it might even assume a more dangerous dimension that is ETHNIC with the follow up revenge mission in rather peaceful southern states.
It is becoming obvious by the day that the Nigerian president, president Jonathan is no longer in control of the situation. He must as a matter of urgency declare a state of emergency in all northern states now as a precautionary measure to forestall the impending massacre of Christians in the north.
We cannot continue to insist on one Nigeria since we cannot stay together without killing each other. Let us do the right thing and dissolve peacefully this obvious unworkable union of incompatible peoples.
NOTE: coming soon, the Senate President David Mark’s indictment of the over pampered northern leaders.
NYSC how relevant is it now!
The wonderful marketing strategies of our rural women
The Nigeria of my dream is a country, where there is no form of child labour, a country where the fundamental human rights of children are being given to them, a country where the right to acquire sound education is granted to every child, a country where there are no child hawkers. The Nigeria of my Dreams is a country where the prime concern of the Government, is the welfare of its citizens. A country which looks into the needs of its people, a country where the security of the people, is one of the optimum concern of the government.
A country that is sufficient in food production, where no child is homeless or goes to bed hungry. I dream of a Nigeria that is free from all forms of vice and social problems. I dream of a country where people are free to practice any religion of their choice, a country where there is no form of tribalism and ethnic problems. A country where the citizens live in peace and harmony, a country where everyone loves themselves, not minding whether they are Muslim or a Christians. I dream of a country, where there is employment for every graduate .
A country in which the government builds good infrastructures for its citizens, in order for them to live good lives. I dream of a country where there is enough medical and health care services for everyone including the rich and poor , a country in which education is made open for all, and not only the rich . I dream of a good and green Nigeria, a country that makes good utilization of its natural resources.
I dream, that we would become one of the best countries in the world, a country that everybody would love to come and dwell in. I dream of a country, which would always sponsor the talented ones amongst its citizens. I dream of a Nigeria, a country with no single trace of corruption. I dream of a time, when every citizen of Nigeria would be proud to say, I AM A NIGERIAN. These are the dreams; I have for my country Nigeria.
EJIOGU CHIDERA is 13 years and writes from Nigeria
David Mark stops senators attending road show organised by the Minister of Aviation, Mrs. Stella Oduah.
Investigations on Monday showed that some senators had accepted the aviation minister’s invitation to the tour, which was aimed at wooing investors for the aviation sector.
It was, however, gathered that on learning about the senators’ acceptance of the offer and the rejection by the House of Representatives, Mark contacted members of the upper chamber involved.
Investigations revealed that the senate president prevailed on the senators not to go on the trip, which he said could affect the image of the upper chamber.
The senators, it was learnt, did not get the approval of the leadership of the Senate as the convention before accepting the offer to travel.
A reliable source in the Senate on Monday said, “They had accepted the invitation to travel with the ministry for the tour, but it is true that the President of the Senate stepped in and stopped it.
“It has been the convention that whenever there is such a foreign trip, an approval is sought from the leadership of the Senate. read more at www.punchng.com/news
President Obama is committed to preserving the United States’ preferential trade deal with Africa and will immediately begin working with the new Congress to renew it if he’s reelected, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday during a stop in South Africa.
The 2000 African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) allows most sub-Saharan countries to export their products duty-free. The law expires in 2015 and Clinton called its renewal the “centerpiece” of Obama’s strategy for Africa, unveiled in June.
South Africa’s eligibility for the trade pact has come under debate because sub-Saharan Africa’s largest economy is considered an upper-middle income economy by the World Bank. South Africa for example was excluded when Congress last week renewed an AGOA provision allowing African countries to export textiles and apparel to the United States duty-free using fabric from third countries.
“Currently 98 percent of South Africa’s exports enter the U.S. market duty-free and quota-free under the current dispensation of the U.S. Africa Growth and Opportunity Act, AGOA,” she said. “Africa is eagerly lobbying for its extension beyond 2015.”
Clinton said the administration intends that South Africa be included in the law’s reauthorization.
“Well, I can tell you that the United States is strongly committed to extending the African Growth and Opportunity Act,” Clinton said. “It is the centerpiece of our policy, and we want to see South Africa included in an extension.
“We’re going to start working on this when the new Congress comes in after the elections this year. So I can promise you our best efforts to make the case to get it extended, to make sure South Africa is included in it. That’s the position of the Obama Administration, and we’re going to do our very best to make sure that is done.”
In the centre page of the Sun Newspaper 10 August, 2012 excitement was on the air, on the Ibo’s determination to succeed Jonathan 2015. With this in mind, they are now planning a summit for November to articulate how to go about it.
An Ohaneze Ndigbo Chieftain, Chekwas Okorie chronicling the marginalization of Ndigbo since the end of the civil war – 1970, said the Ibos are set to stop the maltreatment being meted to them by subsequent Nigerian Government since the end of the war. He went on to lament the fact that Ndigbo a major ethnic group that occupies the entire south east zone is the only zone that has not tasted power.
This reflects the sentiments of Ndigbo about the injustice being dished out to them. They have the least number of states, local governments, and representatives in parliament. The federal infrastructures in the zone like roads are the worst ever.
It is beginning to look as if there is a conspiracy by the other zones of the country to deny Ndigbo of the presidency. We hope this time that individualism that has failed Ndigbo in Nigerian politics will not rear its ugly head 2015. It is also necessary that Ohaneze Ndigbo is determined to sanction any Igbo son or daughter that betrays or sabotages this present effort to demand justice for the Igbos. The Ibos are about the only group in Nigeria that believes one in a practical way. The others just voice it, since it favours them that way. With the Ibo commitment in terms of investment all over the country, it is our submission that they will do justice more than any group or tribe to all Nigerians.
Kenya will bid to become the first African nation to host the Olympic Games in 2024, Raila Odinga, the country’s prime minister, has said.
Speaking to the FT in London, Mr Odinga said sub-Saharan Africa’s time to host the games had come. The region’s trillion-dollar economy was set to boom over the next decade, he said, and for Kenya, east Africa’s leading economy, hosting the Olympics would bring a psychological boost as well as “enormous benefits” in terms of investment in infrastructure.
Read more on www.FT.com
DDIS ABABA, Ethiopia—Nigeria’s $1 billion sovereign-wealth fund is set to start operating in the next few months, said the country’s finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, in what would mark a crucial step to help the governement finance the revamping of its ramshackle roads and power grids.
Ms. Okonjo-Iweala, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum, said the $1 billion will be pulled from Nigeria’s Excess Crude Account, which also funds the country’s fuel subsidy.
Ms. Okonjo-Iweala, who was recently in the spotlight for her unsuccessful bid for the World Bank presidency, said the fund’s management team will be selected in the next few weeks.
The sovereign-wealth fund will be overseen by a governing council, made up of members of civil society including representatives from media and academics, that will review its decisions to ensure that the money is transparently invested, she said.
The fund is a major component in Nigeria’s attempt to hedge against budget volatility, build infrastructure, combat unemployment and provide economic growth.
“We want this growth to be inclusive and job creating because as of now there are not going to be enough jobs. We want to focus on the diversification of the economy,” Ms. Okonjo-Iweala said.
Separately, she said Nigeria’s move to convert 10% of its foreign currency reserves from U.S. dollars to Chinese yuan last year is “prudent and sensible” given the increasing trade with China.
Buoyed by low external debt of less than 3 percent and high petroleum prices, sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest crude oil exporter grew 7.4% last year and is forecasting a growth of 7% to 8% in the budget for 2012.
Most of the growth took place in the non-oil sectors of agriculture, metal mining and retail services, which she said the government will continue to promote.
Nigeria has undertaken ambitious reforms, most notably a bank overhaul that strengthened bank capitalization and reduced non-performing loans. But the country still faces significant challenges, with violence flaring up due to regional tensions. Lingering concerns about official corruption have caused skepticism among many Nigerians about fiscal reform. read more @ wsj.com
The internationalisation of the renminbi is reaching deep into Africa.
This month the central banks of Nigeria and Tanzania joined their counterparts on other continents in adding renminbi to their reserves. Together they bought bonds worth Rmb 500m in a Rmb2.5bn three-year issue from the China Development Bank, the Chinese state development lender.
Standard Bank, the South African bank with close Chinese ties, which handled the issue, said that one fifth of the total bonds went to African investors in a “landmark bond sale”.
Banks often claim their sales to be landmarks. But in this case it seems justified.
In a statement, Bing Fan, managing director of Standard Bank China, the Beijing arm, said, “The internationalisation of the renminbi is inevitable and Africa is a fertile soil and important front for this process. We believe that African central banks will become increasingly interested and involved in the offshore renminbi market.”
Nigeria, with $36.4bn in foreign exchange reserves, could become a significant buyer. Tanzania, with just $3.8bn, may trouble bankers rather less. But it is a country with growing trade and investment links with China.
Standard Bank, in which the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China has a 20 per cent stake, estimated two years ago that $100bn or 40 per cent of China’s trade with Africa would be facilitated in renminbi by 2015.
However, some continue to have their doubts about China’s bid to elevate its currency in global trade. Trust Chikohora, secretary general of COMESA business council, an economic integration lobby group , recently told reporters that emerging markets would be better off with “the current basket of currencies” for now.
He said, “Although there is now talk in the Brics about moving towards using the yuan, I do not think that this is close to implementation”. read more on ft.com
The governor of the CBN, Sanusi Lamido said that the plan is aimed at enhancing the quality of banknotes, incorporate a more effective feature for the visually impaired as well as reduce cost of production, distribution and disposal of banknotes.
“On the 28 of November 2011, the CBN board considered and approved the new currency structure. It subsequently sought and on 19 December 2011 obtained the approval of his excellency the president Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GCFR),” Mr Sanusi said.
“It is our pleasure to tell you that a new high currency denomination will also be introduced. It is the N5000 note.
“In the same vain, the lower bank notes of N5, N10 and N20 will also be coined.
“Under new structure the existing denomination of N50, N100, N200, N500 and N1000 will be redesigned with added new security features.
“Consequently, the naira currency structure will now be 12. These are six coins and six bank notes denominations.”
The CBN helmsman said that efforts are on top gear to ensure that the redesigned N50 and new N5000 notes are launched early next year.
THE plans of the Apex Bank in Nigeria called Central Bank of Nigeria to introduce a new larger denomination of N5,000 and the conversions of lower denominations like N5, N10 and N20 notes, into coin was describe as lacking in any good economic reasoning. People are asking and rightly so, what is the point of a high denomination note now? Since people might view it that our currency is fast losing value. It might send a wrong signal to investors and other big economic players in our country. Not forgetting the economic cost to Nigerian on such a costly venture. This is not the time for wasteful spending, considering the lack of attentions on things that are more important to Nigerians like power supply and good roads.
It is very clear that the Governor of Central Bank Mr. Sanusi have lost focus and totally bereaved of ideas on how to turn things around, always jumping from one policy to another, yesterday it was Islamic banking today it is currency reform. You can not just on your own embark on policies like financial restructuring that will effect the economy without consulting and getting the approval of the Nigerian people through their representatives. This is what happens when a country refuses to put square pegs in square holes.
Uzoma writes from Nigeria
The shocking resignation of the power minister, Prof. Barth Nnaji is still raising dust in the country. Prof. Nnaji lost his job to the fierce power play by investors biding for plants and power distribution companies in the country.
No fewer than 51 investors are bidding for 11 distribution companies, including the controversial Enugu distribution company. Some of the powerful would be investors that Nnaji may have offended include Ex heads of state, governors, these powerful interest are covertly promoting companies biding for power Distribution deals through their surrogates and International investors.
The former power minister in his own defense said that, he had to resign to save his reputation and integrity; he has worked to build for years, and will not see it being tarnished by powerfully entrenched interest in the country.
It is a really sad time for Nigeria, seeing that Nnaji was one of the few committed, competent ministers in the Jonathan administration. We just hope Jonathan will bring someone as competent to continue where he stopped.
uzoma-writes from nigeria
Owerri, the Imo State capital, was a Mecca of sort last Thursday, as people from all walks of life besieged the city to witness the opening of the Ikemba Odumegwu-Ojukwu Centre built by the Imo State government in honour of the late Igbo leader and Biafran war lord, Dim Chukwuemeka OdumegwuOjukwu. The late Ojukwu who passed on in a London hospital on November 26, 2011, was accorded a full military burial by the Federal Government at his home town, Nnewi, Anambra State on February 3, 2012.
Last week’s inauguration of the Ikemba Odumegwu-Ojukwu Centre together with the members of the Governing Board, no doubt lived up to expectations as notable Igbo sons and daughters, friends, youths, political associates and immediate family members of the late Igbo leader gathered at the massive centre to honour their late hero.
The centre which has a world class auditorium, administrative block, heroe’s villa, heroe’s hall of fame and the children’s park, has a total of 19 Board members and four institutional representatives.
Those in the Board include, Prof. George Obiozor (chairman), Prof. Fabian Osuji (Director-General/Chief Executive), Prof. Anya O. Anya, Dr. Alex Oti, Prof. Fred Onyeoziri, Prof. ABC Nwosu, Igwe A.I. Ofuebe, Nick Onyechi, Prof. Omako Okoh, Dr. Agom Eze, Chief Tyndale Aneke, Mr. Maxwell Agu, Chief P.C.Echeruo, Prof. Ebere Onwudiwe, Prof. B.A.Okorie, Prof.Augustine Esogbue and Prof. S.JS.Cookey. While the institutional representatives are chairman of World Igbo Congress (WIC), Joe Eto, Director Centre for Igbo Studies, Imo State State University, Prof. U.D. Anyanwu, Director Centre of Igbo Studies, Abia State University, Prof. Elochukwu Amucheazu and secretary to the Board, Mr. Chike Orjiakor.
Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha who looked fulfilled when he mounted the podium, started by saying that “Ojukwu represents an ideal leader; a selfless leader. He never thought about himself but others. Ojukwu was a true leader and an icon. He became poor because of the sake of his people. He abandoned wealth that he might fight for a course that he believed in. So Ojukwu to me, was a great man and greater in death.” According to him, the late Igbo leader deserved to be homoured as he represented the “Igbo and Igboness.”
“It has always been my dream to have a centre for the Igbos and the Ikemba Odumegwu-Ojukwu Centre is indeed a dream come through which provides the platform for people to look into our past, our present and our future. So, the centre is basically to look into the Igbo past, the present and the Igbo future and there is no other better person to be so honoured in that centre than the late Ikemba Ojukwu who actually stood for the Igbo and Igboness.
“Today, having inaugurated the board with calibre of people like Ambassador George Obiozor, shows that this would indeed become a rallying point for Igbo renaissance, Igbo culture, Igbo history, Igbo technology. I believe that Igbos have a lot to offer the world if given the opportunity. So, if we have a centre like this, where our children can anchor as a take-off point to rediscover who they are for the sake of development, the centre will build bridges of peace and development across the world,” Okorocha noted.
Okorocha who did not foreclose the inclusion of more people into the board of the centre especially women and the youth, said “It’s not a closed door appointment s so far. Before you are appointed into the board of the centre, we must have looked at your credentials and find out you are an impeccable character and a good person. “
Explaining why the event was low key, he said it was “an Igbo thing organised by the state. It’s like what Imo State is donating to the Igbo nation. So the organisation at this time is local but having inaugurated the board probably in the future if the board has other programmes, they can invite the likes of all Igbo brothers and sisters. We want to make it a smaller event today just to kick start and inaugurate it. Having started it we are going to hit the ground rolling and all Igbos will be invited here.
Okorocha who also harped on Igbo unity, said said Igbo leaders irrespective of party leanings should key into the message of unity, togetherness and progress espoused by the late Igbo leader whom he described as an enigma.
Commentating on the Ikemba Odumegwu-Ojukwu centre, Uwajumogu said its realisation was because of the maximum support it got from the Imo State House of Assembly.
According to him, the Assembly passed a law for the establishment of the Ikemba Odumegwu-Ojukwu centre which he said provided a subvention for the yearly running of the place. The Speaker said that the law also provided for two-year renewal tenure for members of the Board.
In his welcoming address, Osuji who described the Board as “galaxy of distinguished Nigerians” said the members are ready to confront the challenges facing the Igbos. He said apart from the centre carrying out research and documentation, it would periodically organise seminars, conferences and workshops on contemporary issues especially as they affect the people of the South-east.
According to him, “the Board will in no distant time begin to unravel the mystery of the Igbo race” adding that thelate Odumegwu-Ojukwu’d principles and values are needed to shape the future of the Igbo race.
On his part, the Chief Judge of State, Njemanze said the establishment of the Ikemba Odumegwu-Ojukwu Centre “is very important to the existence of Ndigbo in Nigeria” adding that “in death Ojukwu has transcended party politics.”
Speaking on the honour done to his late father by the Imo State government, Emeka who looks more like his father in terms of stature, when mounted the podium recalled with nolstalgia how the body of father was laid at the same centre for a night during one of the activities marking his final burial rites. “When I saw the edifice I thought my father will never die. My father was an Igbo man to the core.”
Read more at www. Thisdaylive.com
An Integrated Payment and Supply Solution for Nigeria’s Electric Power Industry
The supply of steady electric power in Nigeria has remained a major problem for growth and development of industry and human capital in the nation. It is estimated that Nigeria losses 70 percent of its investment potential to other nations in the subcontinent due to this problem. Equally of concern is the fact that generating companies are unable to maintain supply due to a huge debt backlog owned operators by consumers. But the interesting aspect of this national dilemma is that Nigeria continues to witness a growth in demand for power from year to year. It is clear that there is a great disconnect within the theory of demand and supply in Nigeria. Why is it impossible for the nation to develop the capacity to services its consumer requirements in such a lucrative industry?
Having taken time over the years to study this subject based on global industry principles and best practices, we find that the problem is not in our ‘stars’ as a country, but a major limitation in assembling a process that is specifically designed to provide an uninterrupted power supply to the country irrespective of social, political and economic problems. A process is a system that talks to each other just as the flow blood sustains the human system.
We propose a solution that will integrate the chain of generation, supply, transmission and payment system of the Nigeria power industry, such that each functions as an individual entity while at the same time function as one integral unit. In this system the chain of power supply would act as a product that each supplier would sell to a central transmission system, and power marketing companies would sell to consumers from this unit. Power would be delivered more as an economic product, and less as a social good, and responsibility shall be demanded interactively from each end of the chain. This system would encourage international and local investors to invest at either point of this interactive chain that they are best suited. The National Power Commission as the regulatory entity would provide the legal framework to maintain this responsibility.
Notice that we have pointed to two explanatory variables for this integrated design; a framework that ingrains a ‘process’ and ‘responsibility.’ These two elements without doubt constrain the development and efficiency of the nation’s power system. This would be housed within a central unit software system, an arm of which would be accessible to each participant of the integrated system at the level of their participation. But the entire system would be open to, and under the control of the National Commission. With this system fully formalized, we expect to move the nation’s power industry away from being subject to either high debt consumers, or generators that do not meet their target, or ill maintained transmission systems. The system will deliver efficiency; though it is interactive it will make each end of the chain able to continue enjoying the utility of their demands, or supplier roles at any one time, unlimited by the possibilities of individual deficiencies. In other words this system design would be ‘self-healing.’
By Kingsley Ejiogu (PHD) & Frank Dike (Msc). To get more info on the solution please send an email to email@example.com
By JULIE PACE, ASSOCIATED PRESS
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Michelle Obama’s message: President Barack Obama is just like you.
“Barack knows the American Dream because he’s lived it,” the first lady told the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday in an address intended to reassure voters that her husband share their values – hard work, perseverance and optimism – while also drawing a contrast between him and Mitt Romney.
Mrs. Obama never mentioned the president’s Republican challenger, who grew up in a world of privilege and wealth.
But the point was clear as she weaved a tapestry of their early years together, when money was tight and times were tough, when they were “so in love, and so in debt.” She reminisced about the man who now occupies the Oval Office pulling his favorite coffee table out of the trash and wearing dress shoes that were a size too small. And she told stories about a president who still takes time to eat dinner with his daughters nearly every night, answering their questions about the news and strategizing about middle-school friendships.
With a mix of personal anecdotes and policy talk, Mrs. Obama’s speech was by far her most political yet.
“Today, after so many struggles and triumphs and moments that have tested my husband in ways I never could have imagined, I have seen firsthand that being president doesn’t change who you are – it reveals who you are,” she said.
To that send, the first lady painted a portrait of a leader who knows first-hand the struggles of everyday Americans, who listens to them as president, and who pushes an agenda with their interests in mind.
“That’s the man I see in those quiet moments late at night, hunched over his desk, poring over the letters people have sent him,” she said. “I see the concern in his eyes … and I hear the determination in his voice as he tells me, `You won’t believe what these folks are going through, Michelle . it’s not right. We’ve got to keep working to fix this. We’ve got so much more to do.”"
She added: “I see how that’s what drives Barack Obama every single day.”
With such stories, the first lady sought to counter Republicans trying to paint Obama as something other than a typical American, and implied that it was Romney who couldn’t relate to people trying to get by in tough economic times.
To be sure, neither Romney nor Obama fits the bill of the average, working-class American struggling with credit card debt and mortgage payments. Both are millionaires who live a privileged life few Americans will ever experience.
But each candidate is trying to convince Americans that they’re best-suited to run an economy hampered by sluggish growth and high unemployment. Polls show Romney leading on who voters say would best to manage the economy, but Obama with the advantage on who voters believe understands their economic challenges better.
As she stood in the center of the convention’s blue-carpeted stage, Mrs. Obama’s words went straight to the core of the contrast Democrats are trying to draw between Obama and Romney. They say the president is pushing policies to boost the middle class, while Romney wants to protect the wealthy and hope their success trickles down.
Once a reluctant political spouse, Mrs. Obama delved more deeply into the details of her husband’s policies than she has in her previous speeches. She promoted his health care overhaul, push for tax cuts for middle income earners and the auto bailout. And she took on the economy, her husband’s biggest political liability, arguing that he “brought our economy back from the brink of collapse to creating jobs again.”
“In the end, for Barack, these issues aren’t political. They’re personal,” she said.
The president watched Mrs. Obama’s speech from the White House along with the couple’s two young daughters.
“I’m going to try to not let them see their daddy cry because when Michelle starts talking, I start getting all misty,” Obama said at rally earlier Tuesday in Norfolk, Va.
Mrs. Obama will likely have one more turn in the convention spotlight later this week. She is expected to introduce her husband Thursday night when he accepts the Democratic nomination before a crowd of up to 74,000 and a television audience of millions across the country.
Read more Huffington post.com
Five months into his five-year jail term in the United Kingdom, James Ibori, the former Delta State Governor, will on Monday, return to the Southwark Crown Court at 10 a.m. Ibori will appear in Courtroom 5 for the confiscation of assets hearing at the South East Court as the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and his defence team finalise
arrangement to confiscate his £50 million assets for which he received a sentence at the same court in April.
Both the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and Ibori’s defence team would finalise arrangements to confiscate the £50 million assets for which he received a 13-year jail term at the same court in April.
The former governor had earlier requested to be present in court in May when the confiscation hearing was listed for mention, but the judge, who jailed him, declined, saying it was not necessary.
Two sources at the Crown Court confirmed that the former governor would be present for the hearing.
“It is in Court 5, at 10.am and he will be coming,” one of the sources said, when asked if Ibori would be there with his legal team.
Asked in which prison the former governor would be coming from, another court staff said she had no idea, but that Ibori was presently not at Wandsworth Prison, where he spent the early days of his conviction.
“I don’t really know where he is, as the system has not been updated,” she responded.
And on who would be on Ibori’s defence team when state prosecutors make their case to strip him of his ill-gotten wealth, another court staff said: “we don’t know who is representing him, but the prosecutor is the CPS.”
Police in Nigeria, which faces an Islamist insurgent threat, ordered 24-hour security around all foreign embassies on Thursday after gunmen in Libya enraged over a film about the Prophet Mohammad killed the U.S. ambassador there.
The American embassy in Abuja issued an emergency warning to its citizens living in Nigeria, where radical Islamist sect Boko Haram has killed hundreds this year in an insurgency against the Nigerian government.
“Extremists may attempt to target U.S. citizens and other Westerners in Nigeria,” the message on the embassy’s website said. “The situation in the country remains fluid and unpredictable.”
U.S. embassies in Yemen and Egypt were attacked by demonstrators on Thursday and U.S. warships headed to Libya after Tuesday’s attack on the U.S. mission there that killed the ambassador and three other Americans.
Nigerian authorities fear an Islamist backlash, possibly after Friday prayers this week.
“The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Dahiru Abubakar, has placed all police formations across the federation on red alert,” a statement from the Nigerian police said.
“The IGP has directed … 24-hour water-tight security in and around all embassies and foreign missions in Nigeria as well as other vulnerable targets.”
The Nigerian Islamist sect Boko Haram has killed hundreds of people this year as it aims to revive an ancient Islamic state in the modern West African country of 160 million people, split roughly evenly between Muslims and Christians.
Boko Haram bombed the offices of Nigerian newspaper This Day in April because of an article written years before about the Miss World beauty pageant and the Prophet Mohammad that they said was blasphemous to Islam.
The sect also carried out a suicide bombing on the United Nations building in the capital Abuja last year.
The attacks this week in several Arab states were by groups protesting against the anti-Islam film called the “Innocence of Muslims,” by a U.S.-Israeli director which has been circulating online for weeks.
Muslim and Christian groups in Nigeria condemned the film but urged their followers to remain peaceful. read more at reuters.com
The National Council on Privatisation on Tuesday shortlisted 21 bidders for 10 out of the 11 electricity distribution firms in the country.
The decision was taken at the council’s meeting presided over by Vice-President Namadi Sambo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
A member of the NCP, Mr. Atedo Peterside, told State House correspondents at the end of the meeting that the firms shortlisted would be invited to the financial bid opening scheduled for October 10, 2012 upon the submission of their individual post-qualification studies.
Analysts project that seven African countries will be among the top ten fastest growing economies by 2015 and that the continent’s population is going to double to 2 billion by 2050. It is critical to reform the power sector to ensure adequate and reliable energy supply to support this growth. Currently, more than 70% of Africans do not have access to power, and the few that do have unreliable supply.
I remember living through a month-long blackout a few years ago in Zimbabwe. As a student in my final year of high school, it was difficult to study at night. Worse still, I had to spend some of my study time looking for alternative sources of energy like wood.
Unfortunately, electricity shortage does not only affect quality of life in a nation, it also hinders economic growth. According to the World Bank, manufacturing firms in Africa experience power outages an average of 56 days per year. Because of this, firms need to invest in expensive back-up systems to prevent losses from lost production and damaged equipment during power cuts. Recently, Sable Chemicals in Zimbabwe had no power for more than ten days, consequently losing more than $12 million dollars in damaged outputs.
However, despite these power problems, Africa has an abundance of energy resources. Indeed, 93% of its hydropower potential remains untapped. Zambia, for example, utilizes only 1600MW out of its 6000MW capacity. In addition, of the Rift Valley’s 15,000MW geothermal potential, only 220MW has been developed. Why then is there such a large gap between demand and supply of electricity?
Currently, most power utilities on the African continent are owned by the government. Due to the bureaucracy and inefficiency of government owned utilities, several challenges prevail including the shortage of funds to build new power stations and maintain existing ones, as well as the high cost of energy lost during transmission due to the use of outdated technology. In addition, existing tariffs do not reflect the real cost of electricity and there are low payment collection rates.
For example, in February, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Energy and Power Development disclosed that defaulting customers owed over $450 million to the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA). Among the biggest debtors were top government officials; some of them owing hundreds of thousands of dollars. This is one of the reasons why ZESA is failing to pay its own debts including the $31 million it owes to Mozambique. In addition, ZESA is failing to ensure energy security in the nation; this year, it announced that homes and businesses will suffer about nine hours of power cuts daily. However, the situation has been worse with some neighborhoods enduring up to 17 hours of blackouts from 5 am to 11 pm every day.
Therefore, to ensure transparency, meet growing demand, and improve reliability of supply, it is crucial to reform power sectors in African countries. This can be done through the introduction of Independent Power Producers who then sell electricity to the state, management leases where a power company comes and produces electricity using state resources that are already there, or through dividing the government owned utility into smaller companies and allowing privatization and competition.
For example, in Tanzania, under a 3 year management contract, Net Group Solutions improved efficiency of the state owned power utility. In fact, Net Group Solutions increased collection rates from 67 to 93%, connected 30,000 new people to electricity, increased annual revenues by 35%, and cut costs by 30%. However, in spite of the success, Net Group’s contract was not renewed and the state resumed control of the power utilities. Thus, the improvement in power supply in Tanzania was short lived.
Privatization allows competition and forces firms to be efficient. Like the Nigerian Minister of Power said at the Nigeria Security and Exchange Commission annual investment forum held in Abuja, “Once the utilities are taken over by private companies, they will be able to raise more capital to expand and improve distribution networks.” Nigeria is currently undergoing the privatization of its generation and distribution utilities, and the Minister of Power cited “cost reflective tariffs and a stable regulatory environment” as important conditions that need to be met to make investors feel safe to come and invest in a nation’s power sector, thus making reform successful.
African countries must take steps to introduce private sector participation in electricity generation, transmission, and distribution and thus ensure energy security on the continent.
25 September 2012 – The United Nations’ urgent assistance is crucial in order to bring peace and security to West Africa, Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan said today at the General Assembly’s high-level debate, while also acknowledging the role played by regional organizations in stemming the continent’s violence.
“The overall security situation in the West African sub-region should continue to be a matter of interest and concern to the rest of the international community,” President Jonathan declared n his address to the General Debate of the Assembly’s 67th session, taking place at UN Headquarters in New York.
“Although ECOWAS [the Economic Community of West African States] is taking measures to address the situation in Mali, particularly in the north, the urgent assistance of the United Nations and the support of other partners will be needed to build on recent gains to secure peace and stability in Mali and across the sub-region,” he stated, adding that West Africa could “ill-afford renewed insurgency.”
Fighting between Government forces and Tuareg rebels broke out in northern Mali in January. The instability and insecurity resulting from the renewed clashes, as well as the proliferation of armed groups in the region, drought and political instability in the wake of a military coup d’état in March, have led over 250,000 Malians to flee to neighbouring countries, with 174,000 Malians estimated to be internally displaced.
President Jonathan noted that Nigeria had committed itself to the attainment of regional peace and security and was doing so in close coordination with the UN, African Union and ECOWAS partners, particularly in Mali, where Nigeria and ECOWAS are working in concert to prevent the country’s conflict from spilling over its borders.
In addition, he also highlighted Nigeria’s assistance to the Transitional Government in Guinea-Bissau as it works towards national reconciliation and the organization of credible elections following its unconstitutional change of government earlier this year.
Turning his focus to the issue of regional cooperation, the Nigerian leader emphasized that it had been “a key factor” in tackling West Africa’s security challenges, singling out Nigeria’s bilateral agreements with neighbouring Cameroon, Niger, and Chad.
“We are confident that these measures will stem the flow and access to small arms and light weapons, which have indeed become Africa’s weapons of mass destruction and the most potent source of instability,” he added.
Along with President Jonathan, scores of the world’s heads of State and government and other high-level officials are presenting their views and comments on issues of individual national and international relevance at the Assembly’s General Debate, which ends on 1 October. source un.org
Nigerian FG to challenge the ownership of the Bakassi peninsula at the International court of justice (ICJ). In a meeting scheduled for today the President Good-luck Jonathan has invited the nations top lawyers and members of the house and senate to discuss next steps.
The deadline for appealing the 2002 ruling is Oct 9th. Interested Bakassi residents and notable historians welcome last weeks senate resolution mandating the President to appeal against the ICJ ruling ceding Bakassi to Cameroun because of the new facts that had emerged over the matter.
Read more on vanguardngr.com
Better healthcare for women in low-income households is a formidable challenge in Nigeria, which accounts for 10 percent of all maternal deaths globally. In Adamawa, one of the country’s largest states, the chances of a pregnant woman delivering her baby with the help of a skilled worker are just one in seven.
Like other states in Nigeria, Adamawa has numerous primary health centers for its citizens. Despite the existence of these centers and a relatively high level of investment in health, good-quality basic health services are not easily available to poor people. This gap, which is common across Nigeria, partly explains why the country has not made faster progress to date on maternal and child health.
Strong action to keep more mothers and children alive and healthy
In a recent drive for rapid health results, Adamawa, along with Nasarawa and Ondo states, is rising to the challenge with strong action that could benefit as many as 3.8 million women and children. The idea is to reduce the obstacles commonly encountered at health centers, including low motivation among health workers, a lack of management, and frequent stock-outs of essential medicines and supplies.
These states now will make significant changes at the health center level—introducing autonomy, enhancing management training, and offering financial incentives to centers that carry out pre-agreed services such as delivering babies safely and immunizing children, with due attention to quality. State or local government institutions will also be rewarded for providing health centers and district hospitals with the right kind of support.
This investment approach, called “Results-Based Financing”, has been supported by the World Bank in many African countries. In Rwanda, where frontline health centers have received performance incentives nationwide, an impact evaluation supported by the Bank found that rewarding good performance has contributed to rapid nationwide health gains.
The World Bank is supporting this approach in Nigeria with financing of $150 million for the Nigeria State Health Investment Project, as well as $21.5 million from the Health Results Innovation Trust Fund that will fund, among other things, a rigorous impact evaluation to see how well the approach works in the three states and its applicability elsewhere in Nigeria.
“For years we’ve had investment from public and other sources towards health sector improvement and there was a lag between those investments, expectations, and the reality that we have experienced in our country,” said Dr. Mohamed Pate, Nigeria’s Minister of State for Health. “I believe Results-Based Financing will help us to make faster progress, but let’s demonstrate it with this project as a start.”
Spotlight on essential services at clinics and hospitals
What the changes mean for Nigerian women of child-bearing age who live in poor households in these states is that their chances of getting potentially lifesaving care at any of the facilities targeted by the project—including 576 primary health centers and 53 general hospitals—could go up significantly over the next few years, as performance incentives begin to work.
Three secondary hospitals will also be targeted, including the Maternal and Child Hospital in Ondo State, which is currently the apex hospital in the Abiye scheme launched by the Ondo government in 2009. This hospital has already been experimenting with various innovations to enhance quality of care and a focus on results.
Health facilities receive cash rewards based not only on the quantity of pre-agreed services provided, but also the quality of these services, and the remoteness of the center’s location. If good quality services are provided, the center can receive a significantly large bonus payment. Centers can use the money both for their own operational costs as well as for staff incentives.
“At the root of it all, we believe that health workers respond to incentives, and if the incentives are aligned to good service delivery, we should see a commensurate response,” said Dr. Mohamed Ali Pate.
“In addition to checks at the health center level and information from surveys, communities will also participate in verifying the impact of these improvements,” explained Dinesh Nair, the World Bank Task Team Leader for the project. “Grassroots organizations will visit randomly selected households based on health center records to check if they exist and if they actually received the services, and to document their opinion.”
Small-scale trial is already spurring change
The three states have already invested their own resources to conduct a small-scale trial in the East LGA (Ondo), Wamba LGA (Nasarawa) and Fufure LGA in Adamawa. A web-based database has been set up to record data on the quantity and quality of services. A clear early finding is that there needs to be an emphasis on merit-based management at the facilities; performance issues need to be dealt with, and a yard-stick competition for health facility managers is being designed based on this experience.
What is all the fuss over what Achebe said about his personal account of Nigeria’s Biafra era? It is clear for people that love the truth, that there was once an attempt to exterminate the Igbo ethnic group in Nigeria. But God did not allow the wicked to prevail, what we must know is that it is not only bullets and bombs that kill people, wicked and callous government policies kill too. In some cases in much larger numbers. This was true of the plight of the industrious Igbo people during and after the unfortunate civil war.
Some people might dismiss Achebe’s accusations as the vituperations of a defeated man, but the truth is that, the Yoruba leader Obafemi Awolowo’s actions or inactions as head of the intellectual arm of the federal forces did not help the Igbo people during the unfortunate period. Falsehood may prevail for thousands of years but the day, the truth resurfaces, falsehood will start running for safety. The scars of the civil war against the Igbo people is still a fact of life in Igbo land.
The International Community especially Britain, stood by and watched as women and children where deliberately starved and massacred in their thousands. It is not too late for them to make amends, some of the people who committed the evil act are still alive in Nigeria today; they should be made to pay for their crimes against humanity, to serve as a deterrent for those who may want to attempt such act in the future and a warning to others.
We can argue over this issue for hours, but until the nations faces up to the evil it did to the Igbos, it mediocrity will continue. Genuine reconciliation comes with admitting ones wrong and having the ability to correct it. The Igbo’s must forgive their oppressors but must never forget.
Uzoma ejiogu writes from Nigeria and expresses his views on burning issues of the day in Nigeria.
Boko Haram is waging an insurgency against President Goodluck Jonathan’s government with the avowed aim of reviving an ancient Islamic kingdom in majority Muslim northern Nigeria.
Styled on the Afghan Taliban, the sect’s purported leader Abubakar Shekau has said he wants to impose Sharia law on the country of 160 million people, around half of whom are Christian and the other half Muslim. The movement has become the number one security threat to Africa’s top energy producer.
China’s Export import bank (EXIM) has loaned Nigeria $600 million at 2.5% interest rate . Nigeria plans to use the funds to build high speed rail servicing the metro areas in Abuja the capital city.
According to China news quote” The Abuja railway, which is being built by the State-owned China Civil EngineeringConstruction Corp, will cost $500 million and is due to be completed by 2015.
A further $100 million of debt will be used for Nigeria’s Galaxy Backbone project, which isaimed at improving security and giving young people better access to technology.
One strand of the new railway will link Abuja city center with the international airport and theother plans to connect surrounding commuter regions with the capital. Roads around thecapital are poorly maintained, congested and dangerous”
10,000 people have been stranded on roof tops in Nigeria due to flooding in Nigeria. The worst flooding in decades. Emergency services have been trying to save lives
Red cross indicates that the floods have left 148 people dead and affected 21 states.
“Torrential downpours in recent weeks have caused widespread destruction and forced many families into makeshift camps,” the aid agency said on its website. “An estimated 134,000 people have now been affected by the floods and concern is growing about the spread of waterborne diseases.”
Read more: Heavy rains kill 21 in Nigeria
The floods have affected a series of states, including Bayelsa and Benue.
In Bayelsa state, an official said the area’s terrain has intensified the effects of the downpour.
“It is like Florida … swampy with a lot of sea water mixed with fresh water because we are close to rivers and the Atlantic (ocean),” said Tam Alazigha, the chief economic adviser for the state.
“A lot of people have been displaced. Snakes, crocodiles and hippos have been displaced and are ending up in people’s homes. Everyone has been displaced.”
Alazigha said more rain is forecast and authorities are evacuating residents to shelters that have been set up in schools located on higher ground.
“The bad part is … there is no relief yet,” he said.
State officials are working to enhance drainage around the buldging rivers, according to the adviser.
“Our main goals are to help settle the displaced people and improve on the drainage,” he said. “Our hope is that when the drainage gets better and the waters subside, we can deploy more resources to see how much we can save.”
Alazigha said the amount of rain was unexpected.
“It took us by surprise,” he said. “We need help from those agencies that are out there that usually help out in situations like these. All hands are on deck, but it is quite a challenge.”
In the state of Benue, more than 25, 000 people were displaced after a local river overflowed, the National Emergency Management Agency said.
Your actions on Facebook, Twitter and other networks may soon come under closer attention by the authorities as the Ugandan police chief has called on African countries to increase social-media monitoring to curtail the spread of “dangerous” information.
General Kale Kayihura is said to be advocating for more policing of the social media.
“Social media is a good thing but can also be a bad thing because it is so quick in terms of dissemination of information. If it’s good information that is nice, but if it’s dangerous information like genocide information… somebody tells lies like you remember the Kayunga riots, then you know how much damage it can do,” Gen Kayihura said while speaking at a meeting of East African police chiefs.
Police chiefs at the 14th East African Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation (EAPCO) read more
(Reuters) – Nigeria lost out on tens of billions of dollars in oil and gas revenues over the last decade from cut price deals struck between multinational oil companies and government officials, a confidential report seen by Reuters says.
A team headed by the former head of the anti-corruption agency Nuhu Ribadu produced the 146-page study on an oil ministry request. It covers the year 2002 to the present.
Nigeria is Africa’s largest crude oil exporter, shipping more than 2 million barrels per day (bpd), and is also home to the world’s ninth biggest gas reserves and one of its largest Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) export terminals.
The report provides new details on Nigeria’s long history of corruption in the oil sector, which has enriched its elite and provided the oil majors with hefty profits while two thirds of people live in poverty.
Oil Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke told Reuters on Tuesday she had received the report last month but that it was a draft and the government was still supposed to give input. The one seen by Reuters was labeled “Final Report.”
The report concluded that oil majors Shell, Total and Eni made bumper profits from cut-price gas, while Nigerian oil ministers handed out licenses at their own discretion. This, while not illegal, did not follow best practice of using open bids. Hundreds of millions of dollars in signature bonuses on those deals were also missing, it said.
“We have not seen this report and are, therefore, unable to comment on the content, but we will study it if and when it is published,” a Shell spokesman said.
The report alleges international oil traders sometimes buy crude without any formal contracts, and the state oil firm had short-changed the Nigerian treasury billions over the last 10 years by selling crude oil and gas to itself below market rates.
There was no suggestion that the oil majors or traders had done anything illegal, but the report highlighted a lack of transparency in their dealings in a nation rife with graft.
“It is a draft,” Alison-Madueke said. “There will be some areas where the government … may have a slightly different opinion … (and) will put its point of view to the committee.”
She said she expects the final report to be with President Goodluck Jonathan within two weeks.
Ribadu’s probe was among several set up following a week of nationwide strikes against a rise in fuel prices in January, which morphed into a campaign against oil corruption.
Billions of dollars of revenue was missing in unpaid debts from signature bonuses and royalties, the report found.
Nigeria LNG, a company jointly owned by the NNPC, Shell, Total and Eni had paid the country for gas at cut-down prices before exporting it to international markets, the report said.
Total and Eni declined to comment because they invest in but do not operate Nigeria LNG, the role played by Shell.
“The estimated cumulative of the deficit between value obtainable on the international market and what is currently being obtained from NLNG, over the 10 year period, amounts to approximately $29 billion,” the report said.
It also said foreign oil firms had outstanding debts.
Addax, now a unit of China’s state-owned Sinopec, owes Nigeria $1.5 billion in unpaid royalties, part of a $3 billion black hole of unpaid bonuses and royalties owed by oil firms.
Addax did not respond to requests for comment, but the report noted it disputes owing the signature bonuses.
Shell owes Nigeria’s government 137.57 billion naira ($874 million) for gas sold from its Bonga deep offshore field, the report said, while oil majors owed $58 million between them for gas flaring penalties. They were also not adhering to newer higher fines.
The probe also said Nigeria was the only nation to sell all its crude through international oil traders rather than directly to refineries, adding that such trades were often opaque.
It said some international oil traders who were not “on the approved master list of customers” had been sold crude oil “without a formal contract” so little could be obtained about the details of these deals, which can be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
“This logically will serve to reduce margins obtainable on sale of crude oil,” the report said.
But Alison-Madueke disputed this, saying there are no informal contracts and there is “an official tender put out every year”, which can be seen by the public in newspapers.
The state oil firm gets an allocation of 445,000 bpd of crude oil to refine locally but it has been selling itself this oil at cut-down prices, a practice which cost Nigeria $5 billion in potential revenue between 2002-2011, the report said.
“NNPC buys at international rates,” Alison-Madueke retorted.
The report said the NNPC made 86.6 billion naira over the 10-year period by using overly generous exchange rates in its declarations to the government. There was no sign of the money.
Nigerian oil ministers between 2008-2011 handed out seven discretionary licenses but there is $183 million in signature bonuses missing from the deals, the report said. Three of these oil licenses were awarded since Alison-Madueke took up her position in 2010, according to the report.
“I have not given any discretionary awards during this administration,” Alison-Madueke told Reuters, although she added that the president had the right to do so instead of using bids if he saw fit. “That is entirely up to him,” she said. Read more @ www.reuters.com
At least seven people have been killed and dozens injured in a suicide bombing during Mass at a Catholic church in northern Nigeria, officials say.
An explosive-laden vehicle drove into the church and detonated its load, ripping a hole in the wall and roof.
The attack happened in Kaduna, which has been targeted by Islamist militant group Boko Haram in the recent past.
President Goodluck Jonathan promised to “redouble” his government’s efforts to tackle terrorism and violence.
He called the attack part of an “unfortunate and unacceptable trend that threatens the peace and stability of our nation”.
A spokesman for the local governor has called for calm, pleading with people on local radio not to retaliate.
The Nigerian Emergency Management Agency told the BBC that Christian youths attacked a vehicle that had come to rescue survivors after the attack, smashing one of the windows.
Unconfirmed reports said at least two people were killed in reprisal attacks by Christians after the bombing.
No group has said it carried out the bombing.
Looking for sanctuary
The attack happened at St Rita’s church in the Malali neighbourhood of the city.
The vehicle had been stopped at the security gate outside the church.
The driver initially reversed, but then careered straight through the church wall and detonated the bomb.
Members of the choir are thought to be among the dead and injured.
The church was surrounded by soldiers and police after the blast, and ambulances were taking the injured to hospital.
Nigeria’s north has a large Muslim majority whereas the south is most populated by Christians and those who follow traditional religions.
The Frankenstorm may hit the Northeast if Hurricane Sandy, currently in the Caribbean as a Category 2 storm, meets an early winter storm in the West with a blast of arctic air from the North, according to CBS News. Frankenstorm is likely to hit the East Coast next week, with New York City and New Jersey getting the brunt force.
“The guys in the government are calling it ‘Frankenstorm,’” a hybrid of a tropical system and a nor’easter, Tom Downs, a forecaster at Weather 2000 Inc. in New York told Business Week. “It is safe to say that there will be millions of dollars in damage.”
Passengers arriving at Murtala Mohammed airport in Lagos could be forgiven for thinking they had stumbled into a refugee camp.
In a big white tent a throng of people struggle with luggage in the sapping heat and humidity. In front of makeshift service counters they form something that might be a queue but looks more like a scrum.
The only clue that this is one of the most important domestic air terminals serving Africa’s second-biggest economy and top oil producer is that many wear business suits.
Terminal Two, where Arik Air has operated out of a tent for a year while repair work goes on, is not the only evidence that Nigerian aviation is in chaos. read more @ reuters.com
Voters give OBAMA/BIDEN BROAD MANDATE: Vice President Joe Biden, speaking to reporters the day after the election, said the Obama administration has a mandate on the issue of tax policy heading into the next critical weeks.
“You guys have probably looked at the internals of the vote more than I have so far,” Biden said, according to a transcript provided by pool reporters. “But from what it appears is that, on the issue of the tax issue, there was a clear, a clear sort of mandate about people coming much closer to our view about how to deal with tax policy.”
What this means in legislative terms was unclear. Biden said he thought corporate tax reform may come quickly, as both parties agree that lowering the overall rate while closing loopholes and ending reductions constitutes common-sense reform. But on the big debates -– what to do about the expiring Bush tax cut and the forthcoming $1 trillion in automatic spending cuts — the vice president left lingering questions unanswered.
“I don’t want to speculate on that,” said Biden. “But we are prepared to work with Republican leadership to actually deal with the two overarching problems right now. One is the whole sequester piece, and the other is the tax piece. It’s possible you can bifurcate them. It’s possible, there’s all kinds of potential to be able to reach a rational, principled compromise. But it’s going to be an interesting — I think the most interesting caucus is going to be the Republican caucus.”
Last week, a White House official told The Huffington Post an election victory would provide the administration with a mandate to allow the rates on top earners to rise to Clinton-era levels. source-huffington post
High youth unemployment will result in a revolution .
Olusegun Obasanjo the former president of Nigeria expressed fears that Nigeria will witness a revolution soon unless government takes urgent steps to check growing youth unemployment and poverty.
Remarks he made in Dakar, Senegal at the weekend, Obasanjo said the danger posed by an army of unemployed youth in Nigeria can only be imagined.
“I’m afraid, and you know I am a General. When a General says he is afraid, that means the danger ahead is real and potent,” he said.
Obasanjo added that despite what he called the imminent threat to Nigeria’s nationhood “there is absence of
serious, concrete, realistic, short and long term solution” to youth unemployment.
He made reference to the doctorate degree holders who applied for jobs as drivers at the Dangote Group, saying Nigerian youths have been patient enough and that this patience will soon reach its elastic limit.
According to the former president, youth unemployment rate which was 72% in 1999 when he took over power had been reduced to 52% by 2004 but that the rate rocketed to 71% by 2011.
Obasanjo left office in 2007, succeeded by Umaru Yar’Adua who died in 2010, and President Jonathan has been in office since then.
The former president lamented that the unemployment situation had given rise to the prevalence of social crimes being perpetrated by three categories of youth whom he identified as area boys, Yahoo boys and, recently, Blackberry boys
Medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said Nigeria had failed to deliver on promises to tackle a deadly lead poisoning epidemic and called on president Goodluck Jonathan to intervene.
Lead contamination from an artisanal gold mine in the Bagega area of northern Zamfara state has killed at least 400 children and poisoned around 4,000, according to medical officials.
“MSF is calling … for the urgent intervention of the President for the immediate release of the Bagega remediation funds,” it said in a report on Thursday.
In May the government pledged 850 million naira ($5.4 million) to address the issue, although MSF said none of the ministers — mines, environment and health — scheduled to attend a conference on the poisoning showed up.
Chairman of House Committee on Public Petitions, Uzor Azubuike, issued the threat on Thursday to order the arrest of Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and former Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Verification and Reconciliation of Subsidy Payments, Aig Imokhuede, for failing to appear before the House Committee on Public Petitions.
Azubuike added that since the invitation was for the Ministry of Finance, the minister ought to have mandated a representative to present the position of ministry.
He warned that if a representative was not sent to the next sitting of the committee, a warrant of arrest would be issued in the name of the ministry.
It will be recalled that Aig-Imokhuede headed the Presidential Committee on Verification of Subsidy Payments.
On Thursday, his lawayers wrote the committee, saying he no longer functioned in that capacity. He claimed that his committee had already completed its assignment and submitted a report to the Federal Government.
The Access Bank GMD added that he had no legal authority to appear before any committee in the capacity of head of the presidential panel.
He also pointed out that there were several court cases on the matter the committee was investigating, hence it would be prejudicial for him to speak on it.
But, the committee dismissed the argument and directed that he should appear unfailingly at the next adjourned date.
The World Health Organization’s World Malaria Report 2012, released this week, underscores the continued progress against the disease coupled with the increasingly urgent threat of resurgence in the absence of increased funding.
The report notes that 50 countries are on track to reduce their malaria case incidence by 75% by 2015. In the course of one year, access to Rapid Diagnostic Testing has doubled, access to WHO recommended treatment — Artemisinin Combination Therapy — has increased by one third, and access to nets remains constant with last year’s figures. These gains come as financing for the disease increased over 2011 levels.
At the same time, we know that mortality has declined by one third in sub-Saharan Africa over the past decade resulting in more than one million lives saved. Much of these gains have come in response to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s catalytic malaria goals of providing universal access of malaria control interventions to all at risk, with the ultimate goal of reaching near zero malaria deaths by the end of 2015.
Yet as the world approaches the final three years to achieve the 2015 target, we know that the funding crisis that has affected the entire world, especially with respect to the challenges that confronted the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, has also affected our efforts against malaria. There is a financial gap of approximately US$3.6 billion required to reach and sustain universal coverage of essential malaria interventions in Africa until the end of 2015.
As Dr. Chan notes in the forward of the report, “We cannot achieve further progress unless we ensure that sustained and predictable financing is available. We must act with urgency and determination to keep this tremendous progress from slipping out of our grasp.”
Sustained and predictable financing is needed not only to ensure continued progress, but even more importantly, to prevent resurgence. As we reflect on the findings of the report, there is no greater harbinger for the future potential trajectory of morbidity and mortality than the infamous historical trends in Sri Lanka.
In that island nation, a robust malaria control program in the years after World War II reduced the burden of the disease from hundreds of thousands of cases and tens of thousands of deaths to virtual elimination. Yet after enjoying years of living virtually malaria free, the malaria control program was abandoned in the 1960s and a dramatic resurgence occurred almost immediately thereafter, erasing the hard fought gains against the disease. To bring the disease back under control, as Sri Lanka eventually did, meant reconstituting the program at the old baseline numbers, in the process losing the gains of the original investment both in terms of lives saved, and financial resources.
While the world is not considering abandoning the global effort to end malaria deaths by any stretch, the Sri Lanka incident exemplifies how fragile gains against the disease can be, and what is at stake if they are not protected. And much indeed, is at stake.
Since 2007, funders, led by The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (accounting for over half of all external malaria funding), The United States President’s Malaria Initiative, the United Kingdom, and the World Bank, have invested over $10 billion in reversing the course of the disease, protecting hundreds of millions of children, women and men with lifesaving commodities.
Yet at this moment, it is no exaggeration to say that we stand on the precipice of a humanitarian crisis if we fail to urgently resolve this funding shortfall.
Closing this gap will require a perfect storm of increased traditional resources, increased endemic country prioritization, and increased savings associated with innovation – both technologically and financially. But it can be done.
Last week the Board of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership agreed to a series of immediate actions to redeploy resources to address these gaps, and this action plan should be followed without delay.
The Africa Leaders Malaria Alliance, comprised of over 40 Heads of State across the continent, is prioritizing this funding gap at the highest level.
ALMA is committing their upcoming Forum alongside the African Union Summit in January to examine innovative financing, domestic revenue generation as well as donor reprogramming.
Looking ahead, there is arguably no greater driver of what the future will hold for malaria control funding than the replenishment and recapitalization of the Global Fund in September of 2013.
At the same time, improving savings on our program costs is helping to ensure sustainability. Average net costs are now $3.25, down from a high of $7 just five years ago. Likewise treatment and testing commodities continue to be more affordable than in the past. In addition, as economic growth in Africa remains strong, endemic countries are beginning to commit more of their own resources than ever before. Ultimately, because of these and other factors, we can look to a downward trend in terms of the investment required from traditional donors should we achieve control and begin to lift the human and economic toll malaria takes.
Fortunately, many aspects of the solution needed to address this financial shortfall are already in place. Now we need to resolve to implement them.
It would be a grave calamity to allow millions of children to lose their protection and wipe away our US$10 billion investment to date by allowing resurgences to occur. It would undo years of good work that has improved lives on such a dramatic scale, propelled African economies dramatically forward, and has helped some of the world’s most disparate countries form strong bonds. We cannot allow so much progress to come undone, when we have never been closer to reversing the course of malaria in such a profound way.
Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President of Liberia; Raymond G. Chambers, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Malaria and MDG Advocate.
OBAMA: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much. Vice President Biden, Mr. Chief Justice, members of the United States Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens, each time we gather to inaugurate a president, we bear witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution. We affirm the promise of our democracy. We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names. What makes us exceptional, what makes us America is our allegiance to an idea articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.
OBAMA: That they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, and among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Today we continue a never ending journey to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they’ve never been self-executing. That while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by his people here on earth.
The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few, or the rule of a mob. They gave to us a republic, a government of, and by, and for the people. Entrusting each generation to keep safe our founding creed. And for more than 200 years we have. Through blood drawn by lash, and blood drawn by sword, we noted that no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half slave, and half free.
OBAMA: We made ourselves anew, and vowed to move forward together. Together we determined that a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce, schools and colleges to train our workers. Together we discovered that a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play. Together we resolve that a great nation must care for the vulnerable and protect its people from life’s worst hazards and misfortune. Through it all, we have never relinquished our skepticism of central authority, nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all societies ills can be cured through government alone. Our celebration of initiative and enterprise, our insistence on hard work and personal responsibility, these are constants in our character. For we have always understood that when times change, so must we, that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges, that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action. For the American people can no more meet the demands of today’s world be acting alone than American soldiers could have met the forces of fascism or communism with muskets and militias. No single person can train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future. Or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores.
OBAMA: Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation, and one people.
OBAMA: This generation of Americans has been tested by crises that steeled our resolve and proved our resilience. A decade of war is now ending.
OBAMA: And economic recovery has begun.
OBAMA: America’s possibilities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands: youth and drive, diversity and openness, of endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention. My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment and we will seize it, so long as we seize it together.
OBAMA: For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it.
OBAMA: We believe that America’s prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class. We know that America thrives when every person can find independence and pride in their work, when the wages of honest labor will liberate families from the brink of hardship.We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else because she is an American, she is free, and she is equal not just in the eyes of God but also in our own.
OBAMA: We understand that outworn programs are inadequate to the needs of our time. So we must harness new ideas and technology to remake our government, revamp our tax code, reform our schools, and empower our citizens with the skills they need to work hard or learn more, reach higher. But while the means will change, our purpose endures. A nation that rewards the effort and determination of every single American, that is what this moment requires. That is what will give real meaning to our creed. We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity. We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit.
OBAMA: But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future.
OBAMA: For we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn. We do not believe that in this country freedom is reserved for the lucky or happiness for the few. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us at any time may face a job loss or a sudden illness or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other through Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, these things do not sap our initiative.They strengthen us.
OBAMA: They do not make us a nation of takers. They free us to take the risks that make this country great.
OBAMA: We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.
OBAMA: Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms. The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But American cannot resist this transition. We must lead it.
OBAMA: We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries. We must claim its promise. That’s how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure, our forests and waterways, our crop lands and snow capped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.
OBAMA: We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war.
OBAMA: Our brave men and women in uniform tempered by the flames of battle are unmatched in skill and courage.
OBAMA: Our citizens seared by the memory of those we have lost, know too well the price that is paid for liberty. The knowledge of their sacrifice will keep us forever vigilant against those who would do us harm. But we are also heirs to those who won the peace, and not just the war. Who turn sworn enemies into the surest of friends. And we must carry those lessons into this time as well. We will defend our people, and uphold our values through strength of arms, and the rule of law. We will show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully. Not because we are naive about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear.
OBAMA: America will remain the anchor of strong alliances in every corner of the globe. And we will renew those institutions that extend our capacity to manage crisis abroad. For no one has a greater stake in a peaceful world than its most powerful nation. We will support democracy from Asia to Africa, from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom. And we must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice.
OBAMA: Not out of mere charity, but because peace in our time requires the constant advance of those principles that our common creed describes; tolerance and opportunity, human dignity
and justice. We the people declare today that the most evident of truth that all of us are created equal — is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear
a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.
OBAMA: It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began, for our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their
OBAMA: Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one
another must be equal, as well.
OBAMA: Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote.
OBAMA: Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity, until bright young students and
engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country.
OBAMA: Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm.That is our generation’s task, to make these works, these rights, these values of life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness real for every American. Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life. It does not mean we all define liberty in exactly the same way or follow the same precise path to happiness Progress does not compel us to settle century’s long debates about the role of government for all time, but it does require us to act in our time.
OBAMA: For now, decisions are upon us and we cannot afford delay. We cannot mistake absolutism for principle or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned
OBAMA: We must act. We must act knowing that our work will be imperfect. We must act knowing that today’s victories will be only partial, and that it will be up to those who stand here
in four years and 40 years and 400 years hence to advance the timeless spirit once conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall. My fellow Americans, the oath I have sworn before you today, like the one recited by others who serve in this Capitol, was an oath to God and country, not party or faction. And we must faithfully execute that pledge during the duration of our service. But the words I spoke today are not so different from the oath that is taken each time a soldier signs up for duty, or an immigrant realizes her dream. My oath is not so different from the pledge we all make to the flag that waves above and that fills our hearts with pride. They are the words of citizens, and they represent our greatest hope. You and I, as citizens, have the power to set this country’s course. You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time, not only with the votes we cast, but the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient
values and enduring ideas.
Let us each of us now embrace with solemn duty, and awesome joy, what is our lasting birthright. With common effort and common purpose, with passion and dedication, let us answer the call of history and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom.
Thank you. God bless you. And may He forever bless these United States of America.
When Jim O’Neill published his seminal piece “Building Better Global Economic BRICs” in 2001 he never imagined the economic and political impact he would trigger just by coining the term Brics. Few now remember that the main argument of his essay, which was a suggestion on how to improve global economic and financial governance, turned out to be off target.
To make room at the table for emerging market economies he proposed to slim the G7 into a G5 through the consolidation of the eurozone representation (Germany, France and Italy) in one chair and to add Brazil, Russia, India and China for a more representative G9.
One has to give credit to O’Neill for putting the emerging market asset class on the map for many who, back then, hadn’t noticed its growing power and geopolitical importance.
He was mainly trying to make a point about China but needed a broader packaging of countries in order to make for a better sell. But it appears that the country selection of the original Brics group was rather an accident of size, demographics and, more importantly, of words.
It is still an open question whether the current grouping of the Brics has been helpful in the attempts to fireproof the global economy ahead of the next crisis or whether it has done more damage by polarising the international debate with misguiding concepts like currency wars or monetary tsunamis. Turning the Brics, which originated in economic criteria, into a political forum may not last.
The appeal of the concept of the Brics contrasts with the deep political and economic differences among its member countries, as has been well documented in the press.
Being part of the Brics helps its members to advance their economic and financial interests while demanding more recognition by western powers. As China continues to liberalise its capital account and push for more international relevance of its currency, it helps Beijing to work with Brazil and Russia as they are also demanding more representation, most notably in the IMF.
On political grounds China has some differences with India arising from territorial disputes and ethnic conflicts, but the two are ready to team up with the Brics’ anti-G7 rhetoric and stay close together as emerging powers. India and Brazil also often complain of the lack of support from China for their bids to join the Security Council, while Russia, like China, already has its interests covered with a permanent seat.
Brazil has been the most active member in committing important political capital to foster the consolidation of the group, trying to use it to institutionalise anti-Washington Consensus positions. Brazil has started to feel the pain of being close to China, as its greater access to Asia’s export markets have forced it to open its own markets to a flood of cheap Chinese products. Resorting to protectionist measures now will only make things worse for the Brazilian economy and the tense bilateral relationship.
Being the only true power of the group, China doesn’t lose anything by belonging to the Brics, as it helps Beijing to maintain antagonistic positions at a very low cost, knowing that Brazil will play the tough guy.
It was an accident that these countries were suddenly empowered with a stronger and more relevant role in the international arena just by the fact that the Bric concept was attractive. They were very agile in seizing the political opportunity, more so by taking advantage of President Lula’s halo to raise the political level of the group and turning it into a leaders’ forum.
Incorporating South Africa in 2010 was a swift move that strengthened its composition with an African member without sacrificing any of the magic marketing power of the Brics concept.
However, after four summits the group’s agenda has yet to deliver relevant substance to improve global governance.
The group has not been able to operate as a solid bloc in relevant decisions, including basic issues such as supporting the same candidate in the races for the top jobs at the WTO, IMF or World Bank.
Moreover, the announcement during the last summit in New Delhi of a new Brics development bank for infrastructure and sustainable development projects was received with scepticism in the crowded landscape of official financial institutions. Being unable to deliver will only contribute to the perception that the group lacks substance.
Slower economic growth prospects for Brazil, China and India have already spawned a search for the next group of darling countries that will lead the way. A whole new set of acronyms is already starting to emerge. The crisis has left the Brics with lower potential GDP growth rates, which implies that they did not take advantage of the momentum generated behind them to move forward with structural reforms in order to enhance productivity.
Read more on FT.COM
A retired professor of Political Science and Economics at Central State University, Wilberforce, Ohio, United States, Professor Ebere Onwudiwe, has been appointed Executive Director of Ken Nnamani Centre for Leadership and Development, Abuja. The scholar was the director of the Centre for African Studies and, later, executive director of the Centre for International Studies.
A statement from the Nnamani Centre says while he has also taught at the Ohio State University, Antioch College and the United Nations University in Costa Rica, Onwudiwe has served as a consultatnt on governance at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and as a Consultant to the African Peer Review Mechanism. Read more @ www.punchng.com
The deadly bombing at the Boston Marathon Monday has left at least three people dead — including an 8-year-old boy — and more than 130 others wounded.
Two explosions rocked the Boston Marathon near the finish line, causing multiple casualties and sending the city into chaos. Another explosion occurred at the JFK Library, but authorities were unsure if the incidents were linked.
The blasts downtown in Copley Square occurred just before 3:00 p.m., according to MyFoxBoston. www.huffingtonpost.com
A pilot program of 13 million cards distributed over the next year will allow cardholders to make deposits or spend funds at thousands of merchants and automatic teller machines that already accept MasterCard across the country, said Michael Miebach, president for the Middle East and Africa of the Purchase, New York-based company. The prepaid cards will be linked to bank accounts at Nigeria’s Access Bank PLC (ACCESS.LA). “Large-scale issuance through the government, driving change of behavior around the use of payments, growing the pie, gets you into a virtuous circle,” Mr. Miebach said. “We are convinced government is the correct partner for working to bank the unbanked.”
Mastercard’s partnership with Nigeria follows a similar contract in South Africa, where the company has issued more than 10 million cards to welfare grant recipients. But those cards do not have a dual identification purpose. And in Nigeria, previous efforts to issue national ID’s have met with controversy. Issuing national ID cards would force Nigeria to reckon with whether there are more Muslims than Christians in the country, how many people live in Nigeria’s oil-rich areas and how big its megacities really are. Answering those questions could effect Nigeria’s complicated electoral calculus, and how the country divides its oil wealth.
“The reason why you would not have a national identity card…is because once you do that, it becomes very easy to establish the actual number of Nigerians,” said Bismark Rewane, managing director of Lagos-based Financial Derivatives Co. “And once you do that, you can establish an accurate voters’ register, and once you have that, you will have credible elections, and that will totally change the political dynamic in Nigeria.”
But now the government is merging a renewed national ID drive with a parallel plan to move more of Nigeria’s cash-fueled economy into electronic payments. In recent years a program to reduce cash transaction in favor of card swipes has met small triumphs in Lagos, the commercial capital. Card swipes now account for 17% of the city’s supermarket purchases, and could reach 25 % in coming months–up from essentially nothing a decade ago, according to Mr. Rewane.
In June Nigeria’s central bank plans to extend to five more of Nigeria’s 36 states the cashless policy that limits ATM withdrawals and sanctions banks that allow customers to pull out thousands of dollars at a time.
Ms. Okonjo-Iweala said leveraging MasterCard’s global brand recognition and technological experience would help the government overcome the controversy of its past efforts to introduce national ID’s. “MasterCard wouldn’t enter an agreement that doesn’t meet the smell test, and neither would I,” she said.
(Reuters) – Nigeria sent fighter jets in support of troops fighting increasingly powerful Islamist insurgents in its northeast on Thursday, the second day of a military offensive that has divided opinion over how best to tackle the rebellion.
A Reuters reporter saw two Alpha jets land in the city of Yola, in Adamawa state, one of three over which President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency on Tuesday, the other two being Borno and Yobe.
Jonathan has beefed up troop deployments in the northeast to counter increasingly bold and deadly attacks by Islamist group Boko Haram, which wants to create an Islamic state in Nigeria and already controls territory in the northeast.
Rights groups said they feared an escalation of the conflict that could cause large civilian deaths, but Jonathan’s move enjoys public support in Nigeria, after more than three years of trying to contain the insurgency have largely failed.
Air Force spokesman Air Commodore Yusuf Anas confirmed to Reuters by telephone that “air assets”, including helicopter gunships as well as jets, had been sent in support of the extra troops being deployed for the operation.
He declined to give any further details. A military source said the planes would bomb Islamist bases and training camps.
Telephone connections to Borno and Yobe were almost completely cut on Thursday. In Adawama, where a curfew was declared from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. — the other two states were already under curfew — some cautiously welcomed the offensive. The three are among Nigeria’s poorest and most remote states, near border areas with Chad, Cameroon and Niger.
“This state has been under the control of gunmen for so long, it’s been long overdue,” said Audu John, a trader in Jimeta market.
But another man, Ahmed Usman, feared civilians would become targets for killings or torture by a military notorious for abuses. His family was evacuating as soon as possible, he said.
The Islamist insurgency has cost thousands of lives and destabilized Africa’s top energy producer since it began in 2009. Because it has mostly happened far from economic centers such as the commercial hub Lagos or political capital Abuja — and because it is hundreds of miles away from oil fields in the southeast — Nigerian elites have rarely prioritized it.
Jonathan’s move will answer critics who had accused him of not taking the crisis seriously enough.
“The federal government has come to terms with the bleak reality that what we are facing is … terrorism in its most horrific form,” said an editorial in The Punch daily paper on Thursday. “Nigeria is teetering on the precipice of disintegration … It is time to act decisively.”
But the United States expressed concern about a worsening “cycle of violence” on Wednesday, a view echoed by human rights groups Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch on Thursday.
Both have documented cases of abuses by Nigerian forces including summary executions and random shootings.
“All you’re doing is giving the military more powers than they had, but they were already far exceeding the powers … and violating human rights massively,” Lucy Freeman, Amnesty International’s deputy program director, told Reuters by phone.
Human Rights Watch Nigeria researcher Eric Guttschuss said: “If the military continues its practice of targeting civilians, there is a risk of massive abuses during this offensive … the military’s tactics have helped fuel the spiraling violence.”
Gunmen stormed a police station and a bank in a town in Nigeria’s northwest, beyond a region covered by a military crackdown on a Islamist insurgency, a sign the offensive could provoke violence by smaller militant cells across the north.
It was not clear who carried out the attack.
Several gunmen were killed during a clash with police in the remote town in Katsina state, army spokesman Ikedichi Iweha told Reuters, without giving specific figures or police casualties.
Nigerian forces are trying to regain territory controlled by increasingly well-armed Boko Haram Islamist insurgents in their northeastern stronghold states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, which were put under a state of emergency by President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday.
Security experts believe a crackdown in the northeast could push insurgent attacks into other regions, or awaken smaller cells that operate in other parts of the north.
“It’s difficult to tell if this is a criminal attack or part of another Islamist cell,” one security source said.
“There have been incidents in the past in Katsina but it certainly hasn’t been an insurgent stronghold.”
Another security source said a bank was raided and prisoners were freed from the police station.
Boko Haram, other Islamist groups like al-Qaeda linked Ansaru and associated criminal gangs have become the biggest threat to stability in Africa’s second largest economy and top oil producer.
Thousands have been killed since Boko Haram launched an uprising almost four years ago in an effort to create an Islamic state in a country of around 170 million split roughly equally between Christians and Muslims.
Violence has mostly happened far from economic centers such as the commercial hub Lagos or political capital Abuja and hundreds of miles away from oilfields in the southeast.
Military jets, helicopter gunships and thousands of troops are involved in the current offensive, which may answer some critics who accuse Jonathan, a southern Christian, of underestimating the severity of the crisis in the Muslim north.
Rights groups are concerned the state of emergency will lead to more abuses they have document by Nigerian forces.
Justice E. S. Chukwu of the Federal High Court in Abuja, has granted the request of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to evacuate for safe keeping the petroleum products recovered from 14 suspected oil thieves currently facing prosecution for charges bordering on conspiracy and oil bunkering.
At the resumed hearing, the EFCC through an ex-parte motion brought pursuant to section 26 of the EFCC Act, 2004, prayed the court for an order granting leave to the applicant to evacuate the petroleum products conveyed by the respondents in trucks and vehicles as specified in the schedule attached to the affidavit, for safe keeping.
The recovered petroleum products are currently at the premises of Shittu Alao Barracks of the 177 Battalion, Guards Brigade, Nigerian Army, Keffi, Nasarawa State.
EFCC counsel, Elizabeth Ayodele specifically prayed the court for an order directing the Managing Director of PPMC, the Department of Petroleum Resources or the relevant arm of the NNPC to evacuate and keep in safe custody the crude oil recovered from the trucks and any further order or orders as the court may make in the circumstance.
Justice Chukwu granted the motion as prayed and adjourned the case to May 27 for continuation of hearing.
It would be recalled that the suspects, Joseph Amaechi, Israel Friday, Ubadia Francis, Abayomi Adebisi, Abdullahi Idris, Samuel Job, Onah Peter Ode, Sabo Tasha Hassan, Abdullahi Moh'd, Abubakar Abdulkadir, Ehiogu Paul, Ibrahim Saidu, Garba Mohammed and Bartholomew Onyema were arrested at Toto Military checkpoint, Nasarawa State with 14 trailer load of suspected crude oil after a failed attempt to bribe their way through the checkpoint
source -all africa.com/Vanguard
A building under construction in Agbama area of Umuahia, the capital of Abia State collapsed yesterday night at about 8 o’clock.
Red Cross, and security agencies are currently involved in rescue exercise.
First responders/observers on-site fear more people may be buried in the rubble. …. more details
The former parish priest of St. Paul’s Catholic Parish Umuodagu Ntu in Ngor/Okpala Local Government Area of Imo State, Rev. Father Bethrand has called on Christians to be united as a body.
Rev. Bethrand made the call at a send-off and reception church service organised for him and the new parish priest, Rev. Father Cosmas Edochie by the parishioners on 12th May, 2013, as a way to appreciate him for a meritorious 6 years of service in the parish.
Using the broom to drive home his massage of unity, the clergy said when Christians stand as individual entities, just as a single broom stick, they can easily be defeated but when they are united as a collective indivisible entity, they will be in good position to overcome any threat and emerge victorious because Igwe bu ike (multitude is strength)
Rev Bethrand noted that though there is diversity in our various lives, there is need for unity among Christians which will bring about peace and development for the good of the society.
Reading from the gospel of John 17:20-26, Rev. Bethrand charged Christians to love one another just as God loved Jesus Christ.
In earlier in her welcome address, comrade Maria Eke commended the dogged efforts of Rev. Ujunwa thus:
“On his arrival on February 20th 2007 Rev. Fr. Bethrand Ujunwa left no stone unturned but quickly galvanized the people into action. By his efforts and in consonant with the efforts of the parishioners mostly the CWO, the parish house was completed, well-furnished along with the Boys Quarters. In no distance time as he came with the financial assistance of his non-parishioner friends – Mr and Mrs Emma O. Agbachi, MD. A.O. Emmaco Global ltd and others put in place a befitting Chapel which ranks second to none in the Archdiocese.
He started a Nursery/Primary School and within one year, he provided a new and standard structure, an edifice to accommodate the school pupils.
Rev. Fr. Bethrand with dogged persistence and enthusiasm negotiated and acquired over ten plots of land for further and future developmental purpose for the parish. He was a peacemaker. He mediated in and resolved some nagging and prolonged misunderstandings among families and villages”.
After receiving kind words and gifts from the Anglican Church in the community, catholic organisations in the parish, individuals, and a solidarity club (Ofu Ama Solidarity Club) led by its leader, Nze Emmanuel etc. Rev. Ujunwa stated that, “I am moved by the songs and all the pleasant things you have said. You have surprised me. I am overwhelmed by the love you showered on me. May God reward you all”.
In an interview on the significance of the day to him, this was Rev. Bertrand’s response:
Today is a great day for me, in the sense that the people here, whom I have stayed with for six years asked me to come over for them to appreciate me for the work I have done for them. I am very happy coming back to them, to thank them for their support, because they are not the one that called me to this ministry, it is God himself. I did what I was supposed to do, working for them here. But for them to recognise that father you did well, come let us tell you thank you, I appreciate them. I appreciate them for their efforts to make sure that everything went smoothly when I was here with them. They gave me their full support, they gave me full encouragement, they did all they could do to make sure that our mission here was successful. Today is significant and I am happy. I am happy today.
On his major Achievement:
The major achievement is the spiritual rejuvenation. That is the greatest achievement I made here. I try to revive their spiritual life. When I came in, you couldn’t blame them because of the distance from the parish centre, which made impossible for the parish priest when they were still a station to be really covering the community very well. But with my coming to live with them, the gospel got closer to them, and as God will have it, they responded to the gospel and you see some changes in their life style – they become more aware of their Christian responsibilities.
His message to the parishioners:
They should remain faithful to the gospel of Christ which we have propagated when we were here. They should remain ever faithful to it. The word of God is truth, and truth never rots. Truth is unchanging, so those truths the gospel of Christ has given them, they should hold on to them strongly. As the new priest has come, they should equally support him fully so that he will be able to achieve his aims here to making them better Christians.
The occasion was graced by His Royal Highness and Ugoeze S.O. Nwaeke, knights and Ladies of the church, traditional title holders, among others.
|Bombardier in the United States air force is a person in the force’splane, who is responsible of aiming and dropping bombs. But in Rivers
State, the Aircraft Bombardier BD 700, Global Express aircraft with
registration No. 5N5N65 RS, bought by the Rivers State Government,
used by Governor Chibuike Amaechi for official trips, have many
political bombardiers, and this is generating political wars.
After the plane was grounded at Akure airport on April 26 and Governor
Amaechi was affronted by those who felt that they were better
political bombardiers, because of their professed threat on the part
of Amaechi, the dust their political bombs are generating are noisy,
but are as infertile as a dry season.
They have called on Amaechi to explain the ownership of the jet. They
said that their records with the Acting Director General of Nigeria
Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), the aircraft was not bought by the
state government. Is this not giving a good dog a bad name in order to
hang her? They jumped from that to say that the aircraft registration
illustrated that it was possessed by Bank of Utah Trustee of Salt Lake
City, Utah Limited States of America.
What the ham-fisted Acting Director General of Nigeria Civil Aviation
Authority (NCAA), who was credited as saying that the aircraft’s
clearance approval expired on April 2 did not know, was that his
statement exposed his position for public ridicule. Since he or she
knew that the clearance approval had expired since April 2, what
effort did this inelegant chap make to notify the Rivers State
The Acting Director General of Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA)
was also credited as saying that the aircraft was operated illegally.
But this statement was coming after the aircraft was grounded and you
wonder between the aircraft and the office of the accuser which one
Imagine that it was reportedly that the aircraft’s clearance approval
expired since April 2 and it was nearly a month that the clumsy Acting
Director General of Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) was
telling the world about this and perhaps, with a view that Amaechi had
shot himself on the foot, oblivious that the Acting Director General
of Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) was calling for his or her
sack, for not been able to update the Rivers State Government with the
news of the supposedly expiration of the aircraft’s clearance
If Amaechi-led Rivers State Government aircraft clearance approval had
expired, it behoved the aviation authorities to notify his government
since the said April 2, and not wait to insult their offices thinking
that they were bent to molest Amaechi. This impostor behaviour is
unacceptable and embarrassing to the sensibilities of Nigerians that
public funds are completely managed-badly, as salaries to the Acting
Director General of Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA); this
person was supposed to be a professional, but allowed sluggishness to
becloud his or her official duty.
The sack of this Acting Director General of Nigeria Civil Aviation
Authority (NCAA) should be effected immediately if it is believed that
the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government led by President
Goodluck Jonathan had zero tolerance for corruption. Nigerians are
tired of incompetent and un-performing office holders. From
examination, if truly the aircraft’s clearance approval had expired
since April 2, that Acting Director General of Nigeria Civil Aviation
Authority (NCAA), is just diverting attention and joining many
political bombardiers to mount massive opposition and humiliation of
What these fellows after Amaechi do not realise is that Amaechi is not
the only person to be the chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum
(NGF), from where the presidency began to fight him, because he was
always not mincing words on the stand of the forum. Why did the same
presidency not fight the House of Reps, which rejected the
forced-candidate by the presidency for the post of Speaker and voted
for their wish? Amaechi has been rated the best chairman of the NGF,
but regrettably his fellow governors allowed themselves to be divided
by the presidency for the portage of political gains. What a pragmatic
political friends and foes!
The saga of the bombardier aircraft has kept President Goodluck
Jonathan on the line on how he would be rated in his further political
ambitions, because totalitarianism is an enemy of democracy. Has
Jonathan not been fighting in all the regions of the country? North,
West and South-South. Does he remember an Ijaw proverb which says
that, “The beginning of iworoko dance at village square will not end
with the beating of bathroom slippers”? The political bombardments
will not end with Amaechi.
Whether it was N7bn or N9bn that the private jet was bought or not,
what did those saying that Amaechi inflated the cost of the jet by
$10m do when they earlier had this record? Was it when the plane had
brushes with the aviation authorities that this spurious agenda of the
rival came up? It is really unfounded!
This rather hatchet man’s job against Amaechi is falsity and an
imagined-thing of the imagination of those spreading the bogus claim.
Wherever the traducers got their record, but news reports said that
the state government never announced that the aircraft was purchased
for $57m. It was recently that the state government said that the
aircraft was bought for US$45m. Which script are those political
bombardiers against Amaechi playing? The script, Nigerians have seen,
will not make a good film.
One group “Lawyers League” only saw where the Nigerian Civil Aviation
Authority acted within the law, but refused to see where the Acting
Director General of Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) misfired
against the law.
Citing the Civil Aviation Authority Act of 2004, the group made a
comment before it reasoned thus: (1) The private jet illegally
operated for three weeks on an expired type certificate; (2) The
owners of the jet wilfully and or neglected to comply with the
Nigerian Civil Aviation Act of 2004; and (3) The NCAA has no record of
Governor Amaechi’s interest in the private jet registered.
The above statement can only be expected from ‘lawyers without
boarder’. Hope you know what a professional without speciality can do?
Need we say more? And if the phony group said that Governor Amaechi or
the foreign operator of the private jet did not please the NCAA’s
terms and conditions, how come that the plane was allowed a landing
space? Many officials in the NCAA needed to be sacked, if not for the
politics the presidency is playing against Amaechi.
No one should say that Governor Amaechi should own up to any error
that was not his. The regulator in NCAA needed to be castigated more
than anyone had perceived, because of its shortcomings in the proper
exercise of regulation. The regulator did not do the right thing since
it knew and said that the aircraft’s clearance approval expired since
It was not expected of Governor Amaechi or the Rivers State to provide
any satisfactory answer when the bean had already been peeled by the
NCAA. If the plane was not driven that day it meant that NCAA would
not have known the alleged state of the aircraft. Many persons needed
to be sacked from this NCAA! One wonders how many privately owned
aircraft in Nigeria that occupy the landing space without official
Many Nigerians have known that the political bombardiers against
Governor Amaechi are bent on distracting him and are urging other
Nigerians not to allow this comedian’s tactics distract them. It is an
unnecessary distraction. They want to score cheap point with Amaechi.
One woman in the NCAA even said freshly that she was not aware of the
aircraft, and you wonder if the aircraft was smuggled into the country
if not through the dictates of the NCAA.
It has become obvious from what are on the papers that the political
bombardiers against Amaechi want to intimidate or blackmail him. Do
these persons remember again the Fuel subsidy scandal that involved a
member of the National House? Hooey! EFCC should investigate NCAA and
make its findings public, because Amaechi is not insane not to have
known the obligations required of him before the plane was brought in.
Governor Amaechi is courageous and bold, but what did the Federal
Government do to the country that unleashed its dam’s bank to flood
Nigeria? That country turned Nigeria into garbage of a sort in the
areas that the flood affected as long as it lasted. Contending with
Governor Amaechi’s right to the Immunity Clause that he was supposed
to be enjoying as a sitting governor, is contradictory and
incompatible with the Constitution of the Federal Republic.
As far as the Immunity Clause exists, whoever that is probing Governor
Amaechi is infringing on his fundamental right to the Constitution
with impunity. Rather, it should be those at the NCAA that deserve the
probe for not living upto expectation in the cause of their duty, but
only waited to open the Pandora’s Box when there is a perceived
witch-hunt. After all, did the state House of Assembly not approve of
the purchase of the aircraft?
If people see the purchase of the aircraft as a misappropriation of
state funds they are not true with the issue, if a top banker in the
country could say he donated One Hundred Million naira to a state in
the north upon the insecurity in that part of the region and you
wonder what the donation was meant for. He said that it was to assist
the destitute, but what of if the people had used the money to
purchase more munitions for their rebellious expertise?
Who is talking about the Rivers State Government aircraft and is
breaking head over it when 73% Niger Delta oil wells are controlled by
the Hausa/Fulani ‘untouchables’ of this country and hardly is anyone
talking about it? The political fight against Amaechi is not ideal.
The fight is costing Niger Delta its supposedly peace. It is a vulgar
display against Amaechi, if those in the NCAA who said that the
aircraft’s clearance approval had expired since April 2, but did not
notify the Rivers State Government earlier, are enjoying their sleep.
It is palpable that people should stop betraying the Constitution with
the view that they are fighting Amaechi. All the repression and
high-handedness levelled against Amaechi in this matter should stop.
Paying a section of the media to pull Amaechi down does not worth the
onus. Is Amaechi the only governor whose state’s aircraft was
registered by the Bank of Uttah? Tomorrow is the best judge of any
action taken today.
Odimegwu Onwumere, Poet/Author, is the Coordinator, Concerned
Non-Indigenes In Rivers State (CONIRIV). Phone: +2348032552855 (OR)
+2348057778358. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org