[ Masterweb Reports: Intersociety reports ] - (Onitsha Nigeria, July 22, 2016)-In line with our three core advocacy objectives of ensuring at all times that human rights are extensively made accessible to their holders/owners; protective for victims of their violations; and accountability of the State and non-State actors over the perpetration and commission of human rights abuses and other regime atrocities, irrespective of class, religion, tribe or sex; it is our (Intersociety) firm declaration that the Judicial Panel of Enquiry set up in January 2016 by the Government of Kaduna State to look into the so called “Army-Shiite Clash” (Shiite Genocide) of December 12-14, 2015 in Zaria, Kaduna State; is nothing but an act of uselessness and effort in futility. Fundamental flaws inherent in the Panel’s constitution, composition, legal status, procedures, proceedings, outcomes and enforceability are also basket-loaded.
To set the records straight, there was no clash between the soldiers and members of Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) on 12th of December 2015, but purely a premeditated and well coordinated State terror and genocide. Even the kangaroo Kaduna State Judicial Panel of Enquiry admitted that “one army corporal was lynched while at least 347 corpses of members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria were massacred by soldiers in the presence of its COAS and buried in mass graves”. Till date, there is no evidence of violent uprising or mob-violence targeted at the Nigerian Army or the convoy of its COAS, Lt Gen Turkur Buratai by the Islamic Movement on the said date. Same is the case in the IPOB and its associates peaceful assemblies and jubilation matches of 30th of August, 2nd December and 17th December of 2015 in Onitsha as well as those of 18th of January, 29th of January, 9th of February and 30th of May 2016 in Aba, Nkpor, Onitsha and Asaba in which as much 250 unarmed and defenceless activists were massacred with over 400 terminally shot, battered or lacerated. The perpetrators of these two genocides are still on the prowl as we speak.
It is recalled that the genocidal massacre was carried out on December 12, 2015 in the presence of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Turkur Buratai and his convoy leading to massacre of hundreds of Shiite members on the spot. The Shiite members were performing their annual faith processions, using a major road in Zaria, leading to heavy human traffic, which slowed down vehicular movements including the convoy of the COAS, Lt General Turkur Buratai. The massacre was repeated on December 14, 2015 at the Shiite headquarters in Zaria during which hundreds of other Shiite members were massacred, their headquarters raised and their leader, Mallam Ibraheem El-Zakzaky shot, battered and abducted till date. A lot of 809 Shiite members were killed or made to disappear till date, according to detailed statistics and pictorial evidence released by the Sect. The Government of Kaduna State later admitted burring 347 corpses in mass graves.
The Panel of Enquiry under reference totally lacks local contents and fundamental ingredients of enforceability and applicability. It is also procedurally blundered, culprit-escapist and an enemy-visitor to two fundamental foundations of the rule of law: nemo judex in sua causa (nobody should be a judge in his or her own case or cause) and audi alteram partem (listen to the other side or let the other side be heard as well). It must be clearly stated that panels of enquiry generally speaking, are nothing more than fire brigade approaches and soft landings for culprits. In most cases, they end up creating hyper-victimization.
Perpetrators of regime atrocities recklessly use Panels of Enquiry to escape criminal responsibilities and where any of them is rarely indicted; their white papers are hardly implemented or enforced by the constituting authorities. Panels of Enquiry are also holistically State-actor arrangements; designed in such a way that the same human butchers and human rights abusers are invited to right their own wrongs and sit over judgments in the same regime atrocities they are suspects or committers, either vicariously or individually.
Therefore, in the case of the Kaduna State Government Judicial Panel of Enquiry under reference, headed by one Justice Muhammad Lawal-Garba, which had sat and wound up, the following grave flaws abound in its constitution, composition, legal status, procedures, proceedings, outcomes and enforceability: (a) the Kaduna State Government, which constituted it is vicariously an interested and culpable party (a grave violation of the principle of nemo judex in sua causa); (b) the victim-group (Shiite Muslim Sect or Islamic Movement of Nigeria) and its leadership was never represented or heard (a grave violation of the principle of audi alteram partem);(c) its leader, Mallam Ibraheem, El-Zak-Zaky was shot, battered and lacerated and thrown into illegal, unconstitutional, solitary and incommunicado detention running into its eight month without trial (a grave violation of the 1999 Constitution and the Fundamental Human Rights Principles and Procedures).
Others are: (d) the law under which the judicial panel of enquiry was set up is the law of Kaduna State or a State law, which is inferior to federal law; (e) procedurally, the law of a State (i.e. Kaduna State) and its sanction codes is rarely enforceable against the federal authorities (i.e. army and its COAS) and where a State law is in conflict with a federal law, the latter subsists and the former disappears instantly (see Section 4(5) of the 1999 Constitution); (f) the persons and institution (Nigerian Army and its COAS) responsible for the genocide do not belong to the Government of Kaduna State, but to the Federal Government of Nigeria; (g) the judicial panel of enquiry under reference was solely designed to exonerate certain sacred cows or hit men of the Presidency (i.e. Lt General Turkur Buratai) and hang culpable ropes around certain sacrificial lambs such as the GOC, 1st Mechanized Division of the Nigerian Army, Kaduna, Major Gen Adeniyi Oyebade; (h) the judicial panel of enquiry can never address judicially and satisfactorily the regime atrocities above mentioned or bring their perpetrators to criminal accountability or ensure adequate justice for the victims and the society wronged and despaired; (i) the judicial panel of enquiry did not apply the rule of law in its procedures and proceedings.
The rest are: (j) the judicial panel of enquiry was a desperate attempt by the authorities of the Federal Government and the Government of Kaduna State to ensure that perpetrators under their service and appointment escape international justice and culpability by attempting to manipulate the internationally existing principle of complimentarity, which instantly invokes international justice attentions and sanctions against the culprits where it is found that the Federal authorities in Nigeria are clearly unable and unwilling to apprehend the culprits and bring them to internationally standardized justice.
And (k) under the international laws including international customary, criminal, humanitarian, statute and human rights laws; the principle of complimentarity (i.e. ability and willingness of a UN Member-State to municipally address heinous crimes or grave regime atrocities and hold their perpetrators accountable), a mere setting up of judicial or political panels of enquiry by any UN Member-State in response to heinous crimes or regime atrocities so committed such as the above mentioned; is not in any way amounted to adhering strictly to the sacred principle of willingness and ability of a UN Member-State, rather, it is expressly factored into that of unwillingness and inability to act.
We hereby reject the outcomes of the Kangaroo Judicial Panel of Enquiry under reference, particularly its deliberate attempt to shift criminal responsibilities off the neck of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Turkur Buratai. It is baffling as how a subordinate officer will be made a sacrificial lamb in a genocidal operation carried out in full presence and operational seal of his Chief of (Army) Staff. The Kangaroo Judicial Panel of Enquiry and its constituting authority: the Government of Kaduna State must also tell Nigerians and members of the international community whether the COAS, Lt Gen Turkur Buratai was sleeping or in a comma when the genocide took place. Assuming the COAS was drunk during the genocide, he is still criminally liable (i.e. manslaughter) as well as professionally liable for gross breach of soldiering code of conduct. The COAS remains number one culprit in the genocide anytime any day.
Good a thing, such a genocidal act is not statute bared or does not have time limits. There is no amount of presidential protection or evidence destruction or threats that will make all perpetrators of regime atrocities under the Buhari administration in Nigeria to escape justice over heinous crimes they committed. The global advocacy watch is already centered and beamed at all times in the direction of all of them particularly the duo of former IGP, Solomon Arase and the COAS, Lt Gen Turkur Buratai. Not even a thousand NGO and media image launderers so recruited can save them. The spirits of over 1000 murdered innocent citizens under their operational watch and directives have since been invoked to visit their spiritual wraths against them without time bound.
For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety)
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chairman (Criminologist & Graduate of Security Studies)
Mobile Line: +2348174090052
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Barr Obianuju Joy Igboeli, Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Program
Mobile Line: +2348034186332
*Photo Caption - As seen
[ Masterweb Reports: Edwin Uhara reports ] - In a work entitled: ''Big lie is a propaganda technique,'' Joseph Goebbels, late propaganda chief to the former German leader, Adolph Hitler stated: ''If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, the people will eventually believe it. He went further by saying that ''The most brilliant propandist's technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly- that it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.''
However, in supporting Goebbels, Adolph Hitler added that ''All propaganda has to be popular and have to accommodate itself to the comprehension of the least intelligent of those whom it seeks to reach. He went further to say that through clever and constant application of propaganda; the people can be made to see paradise as
hell. To do this, Hitler suggested that the propaganda machinery must make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it and eventually the people will believe it. According to him, ''The great masses of the people will more easily fall victims to a big lie than to a small one, because the victor will never be asked if he told the truth.
The above expressions and illustrations can best describe the hatchet job Sahara Reporters have agreed to do for its paymaster against the Honorable Minister of Interior, retired Lieutenant General Abdulrahman Bellow Dambazau for supporting President Buhari and insisting that things must be rightly done in Nigeria.
It will be recalled that upon assumption of office, the President told Nigerians that if you kill corruption, corruption will kill you. With this in mind, I believe the President knew very well that if one is coming to kill corruption, it will put up stiff resistance or fight back because in every action, there is equal and opposite reaction.
Hence, with the series of falsehood, fabricated stories and frivolous media campaign launched against the Interior Minister, General Dambazau and his Ministry by Sahara Reporters and its allies in the media, one does not require the services of a prophet to why this is happening!
First, Sahara Reporters and it allies claimed that the retired General deducted one billion naira every month from defence budget when he was Chief of Army Staff. This is untrue as the fabricators failed to realize that when General Dambazau was Army Chief between 2008 and 2010, Nigeria was facing serious cash crunch caused the Global Economic Crisis of 2008 which led to severe austerity and closure of many institutions in the country. For Example, the following banks ran out of cash and were taken over by other banks. There are; defunct Afribank, Oceanic Bank, Spring Bank, Bank of the North etc. It was during this period that Nigeria's mono product- oil sold for between $30 and $35 which depleted government revenue and caused budget
deficit for the nation. It was also during this period that inflation went over the roof forcing the Central Bank of Nigeria to attempt restructuring the Naira by moving two zeros backward to equate our One Naira to one United States Dollars. So, if one billion naira was going out the economy every month in an economy that would crumble if half a billion is removed from it, how come the Nigeria did not collapse? Big lie earthed!
Secondly, Sahara Reporters and its allies alleged that General Dambazau doctored the arms probe panel report, but the same medium failed to understand that Dambazau was only appointed Chief of Army Staff in 2008 and not 2007 as their report claimed. The question every rational thinker should ask Sahara Reporters is why all these media attacks on Dambazau without extending it to the man who was there from 2007-2008 if it is not fronting for some persons?
Besides, when Dambazau was there as Army Chief, the power to award military contracts resided not in his office but with the Ministry of Defence. Also, during the reign of General Dambazau as Army Chief, a body called Budget Monitoring and Price Intelligence Unit (BMPIU) popularly known as Due Process that handled anything that have to do with the pricing and monitoring of all government contracts while the
Ministry of Defence awards the contract. So, it has nothing to do with General Dambazau! It was when the General left office that so many things changed. For Example, we no longer have the BMPIU or Due Process Office to do its job, instead we now have the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP). I certainly do not want to believe that those trying at all course to accuse General Dambazau of any wrong doing are suffering from memory interferance.
There are many big lies concocted by Sahara Reporters against General Dambazau which many Nigerians have already dismissed as cock and bull story, but last one I want to address is the current big lies that as Interior Minister, the General bought a House in the United States of America.
From the report alone, Sahara Reporters exposed itself as hired propaganda machinery against General Dambazau. For Example, the medium claimed that the Minister bought a house in 2013 when he was not holding any public office and subsequently sold it in 2015, but only for it to now claim that the Minister bought a house as Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Haba Sahara Reporters? One cannot approbate and reprobate and likewise, no one can be dead and be alive
at the same time!
Therefore, hiding under the power of Yellow Journalism and Thunderous Journalism to missapply Walter Lippmann's Agender Setting Theory of the media which says that the media have not only succeeded in putting pictures on people's head but have also succeeded in telling people how to think about issues and using it at the same time to fire the Magic Bullet of the media at a man who have done the nation proud and is still doing it proud because of narrow and parochial interest is a mockery of media freedom.
Finally, I urge Sahara Reporters and its allies to stop being pawn in the hands of Nigeria's enemies because in a growing democracy like ours, the media ought to be a partner in progress and not a tool for destabilization.
Comrade Edwin Uhara ( Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ) is a Journalist and Public Affairs Commentator.
He writes from Enugu State, Nigeria.
*Photo Caption - As seen.
[ Masterweb Reports: Olalekan Adigun reports ] - Many Nigerians started looking for information on the failed coup attempt in Turkey since last week. Some suddenly started supporting the coup plotters describing them and their actions as “heroes” or “heroic” development (praying earnestly for it to happen in Nigeria) while others see it as a failure. The social media was set agog with a video call from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urging the people to take to the street in defence of his administration. He reportedly launched a social media blitz, sending calls to the population via different platforms, Facebook, WhatsApp, directly to their mobile phones, and through Twitter. This is how powerful the social media can be!
Like many other human inventions, the internet-especially in the advent of the social media-suffer from avoidable challenges. Social media was used to quash a coup in Turkey. It has been responsible for bringing down governments both elected and unelected.
Noticing the extent of damage social media done to its image, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) recently took to its Twitter account to “apologize” to Nigerians of its past role in spreading “toxic comments” among Nigerians. The statement reads (from its verified handle @PDPNigeria):
“We have noticed, with a growing sense of dismay, the level of toxicity that pervades the political space with respect to discussions on national issues,” the PDP said. “We accept responsibility and apologize for whatever role we have played in reaching this level of toxicity.”
The statement continued: “This toxicity, some of which finds expression in discussions across social media platforms, has reached the level where bridges are being burnt, personal relationships are being strained and an unnecessary tension fills what should ordinarily be patriotic and enlightening conversations on how to move the nation forward…”
On reading this first on The Punch, I had to conclude there must have been a mix up somewhere. I was honestly expecting something like a rebuttal from the party with the traditional claim that its account has been hacked. The news of hackers attacking social media accounts of eminent Nigerians has been frequent in recent times. On at least two occasions, the party has suspended its twitter account. The Wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari has also made a public claim dissociating herself from a controversial tweet calling a sitting Governor a “dog” saying her account had been hacked.
Days have gone by, yet PDP has not disclaimed the tweets. Rather, the party’s national caretaker committee chair, Ahmed Makarfi threw his weight behind President Buhari’s fight against corruption.
Many Nigerians recall that former All Progressives Congress (APC) spokesman, Alhaji Lai Muhammed gave the party an unusual advice – “rebrand or go into extinction”. Call it coincidence or whatever you chose, the PDP set up what was known as “Rebranding Committee” headed by a media mogul, High Chief Raymond Dokpesi. The second – to go into extinction – is not even an option at all. The question will then be whether the party has ever had a brand. The advice did not just come because the APC is diametrically opposed (in terms of ideas) to the PDP. The advice became necessary because of the fact that the party has a well-known brand which will take the gathering of the world most brilliant brand strategists to rebrand!
In the heat of the 2015 election, there was no low some of the party supporters will not go on social media. At some point, it was #ISISBuhari. They want us to believe that Buhari sponsors the deadly Islamic State (ISIS) just to score political points. Having served as a volunteer for the Buhari Support Organisations (BSO) myself during the election, I can say that the attitudes of some APC supporters, especially on Twitter, too are condemnable but that is a topic for another day!
It looks nice for that the PDP wants us to forget so soon that it once boasted that it would “rule” the country for 60 or more years. They want Nigerians to forget how they treated as “family affair” several monumental corruptions involving their members. The party wants us to forget how 16 became greater than 19 in the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) leadership election. They still want us to forget how they did their very best to prove to us that STEALING is not CORRUPTION. They will like us to forget how they told us that it is not the fault of the yam-eating goats but the presence of the tubers of yams in the same room with the goats. There is no problem with forgiving, but forgetting is another matter altogether.
The new part slogan, Change The Change (CTC) it intends to adopt as its war cry looks to me like the Trump/Pence (TP) slogan which is now synonymous with tissue paper (TP) in the ongoing US presidential election. The fact that the word change appeared twice in the slogan shows looks more like it has given up the battle to the Change side already. Like I wrote when the party selected ex-Borno state Governor, Ali Modu Sherriff as acting national chairman that the party is doing the APC a great favour and making the work of the ruling party easier by giving out too much. The Change The Change slogan may be another way of telling APC strategists that they have very little work to do come 2019.
An unsolicited advice is that the PDP should look for more emotionally mature youths to manage its social media platforms. There is not much that is wrong with its current handlers, but continuing with them can only add to the damage already done it the party’s poor public image. I observed some people doing their best to launch a hash tag on twitter, #PDPOnlineDirectorate as a way of encouraging youths in decision making in the party. I wasn’t too surprised to get tweets like: “Oh wait....I missed something. There is now a Directorate for SM in the PDP. Director, please reveal yourself” “Politics is local! Fight to be relevant in your Ward, Local government, state and not one useless #PDPOnlineDirectorate you are fighting for”. Things can only work better when we all stay and live positively. Making “toxic” comments about other people helps no one in particular.
If the party is serious about its apologies and can urge its supporters to turn a new leave; if the APC too can appeal to its “online” members to stop “attacking” those with divergent views; if the rest of us can at least be more neutral in our commenting on issues on social media, then we can safely conclude that democracy is really developing in this country.
Olalekan Waheed ADIGUN is a political risk analyst and independent political strategist for wide range of individuals, organisations and campaigns. He is based in Lagos, Nigeria. His write-ups can be viewed on his website http://olalekanadigun.com/ Tel: +2348136502040, +2347081901080
Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
*Photo Caption - PDP logo
[ Masterweb Reports: Bade Adebolu reports ] - The things that really matter in life are surprisingly the seemingly simple things. Small things like patting someone on the back in the event of some achievement or simply saying “Thank you” after a meal to the person who offers one such delicacy, really go a long way. In some cases, one might not even be aware of the countless lives one has saved as a result of a small smile directed at someone in deep pain in the hospital ward or a depressed soul in a refugee camp. Life can be this simple, but unfortunately, we often make it unnecessarily complicated!
On June 13, 2016, the immediate past minister of finance, Dr (Mrs) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala turned 62. One of the pictures of the events marking her birthday celebration was the one showing her husband and Senator Ben Murray-Bruce “kissing” her during an indoor party. Apart from the media attention that went with the “formal” aspect of the occasion (by which I mean, the “dining and wining”), the media (especially the mainstream or traditional media), as usual missed a big part of the event!
Many remember her celebrating her birthday, but few recall she visited Karonmagaji Village School, a remote public school in Abuja, as part of her birthday celebration. Many do not remember this because this is one part of her that the mafias in the media do not want the public to know. The picture of her with the staff and students of the school suddenly went “missing” or did not interest the “big boys” in the media.
This, as some of us recall, will not be the first time Madam Okonjo-Iweala will engage in such humanitarian acts. At a time when even the so-called #BringBackOurGirls campaigners could not visit Chibok where over 200 girls were allegedly kidnapped, she not only visited the town, she laid the foundation for the rebuilding of the Government Secondary School, which was destroyed by the Boko Haram sect. How better can one love the poor?
I once received a call from one of my readers who wanted to know why I write so passionately about the former minister after having read one of my articles. I told the young man, in frank terms, that I have never met the former minister all my life in person, neither have I spoken to her electronically or via the social media. This man simply would not believe me, but I swore to it. I told him that I love my job as an accountant (a profession that places much emphasis on integrity) and I have very little to do with politicians since I am never one of their biggest fans. Whether this man believes what I told him is another matter altogether!
For this guy, whose name I cannot remember now, and people like him that may think I am one of those “paid to write”, I wish to disappoint them here. Like I said earlier, I have never met the former minister before. But one thing I can say is that I have benefited from the YouWIN programme which she initiated. If this is not enough for me to defend her, then I know not how else I will.
That is just on a lighter note. But, seriously, I think we need to have more people like Ngozi who can be of help to the poor, like she has always done. We need our politicians to emulate her virtues of stepping down from their big mansions once in a while to associate with the poor.
Bade ADEBOLU is an accountant who lives and works in Ado-Ekiti. He sends this piece via email@example.com
Editor's Note: Masterweb has made several unsuccessful attempts to interview Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. She would agree to an interview and at the last minute would keep away from it. Our staff was in Abuja for an interview as scheduled by Iweala's PA but were told that she was still on vacation. She needs this interview to address all the issues the "mafia" and 'guerilla' media are raising against her. Anything short of this on her part is questionable.
*Photo Caption - Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
[ Masterweb Reports: Olalekan Adigun reports ] - The international arena can be more complicated than most people may think. In November, 2015 one of the strangest things in international politics happened with Turkey shooting down a Russian warplane en route Syria. This phenomenon is “strange” giving the fact that troubled Syria which borders Turkey in the south portends danger to the country’s territory. The Russians and Turks are known to have kept “friendly” relations in time past. It is the first time a Russian aircraft has crashed in Syria since Moscow launched air strikes against opponents of President Bashar al-Assad earlier in September.
The Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s regime in Ankara (the Turkish capital) appears to be struggling with domestic challenges already; a battle with “mighty” Russia and a strong ally may look to like a poor calculation in times like this. But President Erdoğan is a smart politician who knows how to distract his people from their present economic challenges!
Was the President looking for favour with the West by bombing down the Russian plane? I say this because, the US has long considered Turkey a major ally in the region, and its Incirlik air base in the southeast part of the country is essential to US-led NATO missions in Syria and Iraq. The site also houses US nuclear tactical weapons. Then what is the sense of Erdoğan’s actions against Russians.
With the Russians sure to reciprocate the Turkish gesture not after insulting President Putin’s large ego, the economic effect of a trade embargo will soon bite harder. This is because Russia is Turkey’s second trading partner after Germany. The former Soviet Republic is the main import source for the Turkish economy. Imports from Russia account for about 13% of overall imports. Whereas Russian tourists visiting Turkey as of 1999 was below 500 thousand, this figure reached 2.4 billion in 2007. Turkey has become the most preferred holiday destination for Russians. The number of Turkish tourists visiting Russia is also rapidly growing and reached about 200 thousand. This places Turkey in a precarious position should Moscow strike.
On Friday July 15, 2016 the world received the shocking news of a failed coup attempt in Turkey. That came few days after the Islamic State claimed responsibility for attacks on Istanbul Airport. Not this again!
On receiving the news, a friend of mine, who is a well-known pro-Biafra (a group calling for separation of former Eastern Region away from Nigeria) campaigner called to buy me a drink. I queried the reason for that knowing that my friend, Ikechi, is not known to be that generous to buy me a drink just for the fun of it. He told me how happy he was on hearing of that the “patriotic Turkish army” took over from “dictator Erdoğan”. He is happy that such event will propel some “patriotic soldiers to save us from Buhari’s dictatorship.” He dropped the call after I told him I was so tired that night.
In parenthesis, Ikechi went into jubilation when the result of the recent British referendum went in favour of the “Leave” campaigners under the nickname Brexit. He told me that will be enough justification for Biafra to leave Nigeria. I politely informed him that both phenomena are not the same. I told him how Morocco left the African Union (then known as OAU) in 1984 without any consequences. I told him that Morocca’s exit from the AU is what can be compared to Britain leaving the European Union (EU). Whether he agrees with me, is another issue altogether.
The Turkish “coup” is one of the strangest in recent history. Though there are obvious justifications for at least a change of government in Ankara, every box of “how not to plan a coup” was ticked in the Turkish coup. The disenchantments of the people against the government were not properly articulated into a political action. The coup looked likely to fail, even with the coup plotters’ military strength, or their support inside the military. They failed to make it seem like they were going to succeed. The ability to shape perceptions of success, often through media, is crucial in coups. People tend to support a coup if they think it is going to succeed.
This was the missing link in Friday’s coup in Turkey!
There are striking similarities between Turkey and Nigeria. Both countries have past experiences of military rule. While Turkey can boast of nationalist soldiers like Mustafa Kemal Atatürk who will shun all tribal sentiments and institute strong economic reforms; Nigeria has had to battle with corrupt and power-hungry generals whose only mandate is gratifying their inordinate desires. To buttress this point, there have been several rumours of a possible military coup in Nigeria in recent time. From the sections these are coming, one can see the “patriotism” in those hailing the imaginary coup. Perhaps the media and the opposition need to learn how to and how not to play politics in Nigeria using Turkey example because military coups are no longer fashionable, as the Turkish recent experience clearly show.
Olalekan Waheed ADIGUN ( Tel: +2348136502040, +2347081901080
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com )
is a political risk analyst and independent political strategist for wide range of individuals, organisations and campaigns. He is based in Lagos, Nigeria.
*Photo Caption - Map of Turkey
[ Masterweb Reports: Dr. Peregrino Brimah reports ] - Is it possible for a man to testify against himself and then convict himself? This difficulty-rarity is the reason why "independence" is always demanded in the setting-up of panels whose results may be deemed useful and reassuring.
The Muslim Quran sternly summons mankind to be firm witnesses and true in justice even against themselves and theirs. Verse 135 of Chapter 4 states the translated:
"O you who have believed, stand out firmly for justice, witnesses for Allah , even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether (the case be of) the rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted."
But very few Muslims really care, it appears. Indeed so grievous is the crime of false testimony and subversion of justice that it is included in the 10 Biblical commandments.
Nigeria's Two Cases
Two panel results are currently in the nation's headlines: the Arms Panel report and the Kaduna Judicial Commission of Inquiry report. Both cases relate to massive deaths of Nigerians and are particularly instrumental in building trust and confidence in Nigeria's current administration and preventing societal breakdown, chaos and terror which have a history of being promoted by inequality, corruption and a lack of justice.
Already the Buhari "change" government has been largely deemed in the public's eye to have failed as far as the Arms Panel report goes. Two names in particular found to be missing or edited out of the report, sacked public trust and validated the "wailers'" accusations of witch-hunts. The names of the 2008-2010 Chief of Army staff, Dambazzau and the Dasuki era DHQ Procurement chief, Buratai were auspiciously missing and edited from the report. PremiumTimes hastily debunked a FGN curve-attempt claiming the report did not cover Dambazzau's tenure. It did.
The second report has been received by the Kaduna State Government, KDSG and is expected to be made public "after editing," any moment from now. It is the report on the Zaria massacre incident of mid-December last year. Anywhere between 377 confirmed (includes 347 admitted by KDSG to be in the Mando mass grave and at least 30 initial and later hospital and prison released bodies) and 1000 Nigerians, mostly Muslims were killed in that incident.
Once again, as happened with the Arms Panel report where names of government officials found to be in the report were edited out, what will be edited out of the already un-independent JCI report?
The KDSG admitted already to wrong doing. It confessed secretly mass-burying 347 bodies in a grave in Mando (yet to be exhumed and investigated) last December and to concealing this information for three months thereafter. The Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Balarabe Lawal confessed to this crime on April 11th. Will the report indict the very state government that chartered the select panel members? Will the report recommend the termination (resignation) of the heads of the Kaduna state government for such crimes against humanity and their subsequent prosecution? And if the report does, will these recommendations be left insitu or will they be edited out?
Again, for those observant of the Kaduna fallout, the singular candidate implicated in both panels in review, current Chief of Army staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai's propagandists have directly implicated and accused the KDSG in being behind the incitement of the Zaria massacre. The Buratai-linked media arms have gone as far as hinting the KDSG as having worked with and for Boko Haram in inducing the massacre, setting up the Kaduna Shia Muslims and "framing" the person of Buratai. Yushau Shuaib of PRNigeria, known for presenting a recent unaccredited rather outlandish defense that Buratai's $1.5 million Dubai property acquisition was legitimate for being "investment property and not family home" and had undergone an expedited, secretive, miraculous and unprecedented FG Aso-rock panel investigation and clearance, has been at the center of propagating this indictment of the KDSG.
With these two top government arms, the KDSG and head of the Nigerian army, being so embroiled and even culpably counterposed in the instance of the inquired Kaduna massacre, what will el-Rufai's selected panel members submit and what will the edited version contain or not contain, and how will this next report impact Nigeria's growing confidence or loss of it in the new "change" administration? The coming days will tell.
Dr. Peregrino Brimah ( Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ) reports.
*Photo Caption - As seen.
[ Masterweb Reports: Dan Osofisan reports ] - We have all, at one time or another, had cause to hear or maybe even use this age-old saying, “A prophet is not without honour, except in his own country.” These words, spoken by the Lord Jesus, aptly summarise the story of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s sojourn in the corridors of executive power in Nigeria.
Our prophet (for so she must be called), blessed with the dual gifts of foresight and economic prowess, saw the need for a country as endowed in natural resources as Nigeria to set aside reasonable savings.
Thinking about it; this is basic, practical economy really. When you earn more, regardless of how tempted you are to spend, and spend, and spend, there is a little vice whispering in your ear to set some of it aside.
This sounds sensible enough, until you realise that some people do not even have a modicum of sense left in them. Or how else does one explain the obsession some of our public office holders have with spending? Should we get common sense a megaphone, so it’s voice can be louder than the sound of their hearts beating excitedly at the very thought of how they intend to rape our commonwealth? Can some noble scientist come up with a new vaccine to help us once and for all rid this nation of professional politicians whose goal is to steal, kill and destroy?
But, I digress.
A few days ago I read a report on Premium Times reviewing the opinion of Nigerians on President Buhari’s administration so far. While it was somewhat interesting to read what people thought about his efforts, my thoughts kept taking me back to Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
You see, things may or may not have become so bad for us in this country if we had listened to this intelligent and very detailed woman when we really needed a voice of reason. As Finance Minister, she set up an Excess Crude Account that was supposed to help keep us afloat regardless of what the dynamics of the economy would present, and it did help indeed during the first economic recession. One would think that seeing how beneficial the ECA was, her work would be applauded.
But she became the Number One enemy of lecherous governors who, with their salivating mouths, could not keep their hands off the ECA.
The constituted Governors’ Forum suddenly had nothing better to talk about than how to sue the Federal Government over their unwillingness to share the money saved in the Excess Crude Account. The Wise King whose proverbs are renowned certainly knew no such men, else he would have added Amaechi, Fashola, and Oshimhole to his list of the grave, the barren womb, the thirsty desert, the blazing fire; making them eight things that never cry “ENOUGH!”.
They drained our commonwealth, leaving those who ought to have been generous lenders become the most pitiful of borrowers. Even with her smart setting up of the Sovereign Wealth Funds; something, I might add that other oil-rich nations were doing, our beloved leaders were more obsessed with lining their robust foreign accounts than in investing for the future.
When recession was in sight, Mrs Okonjo-Iweala began to talk of belt-tightening measures and the fight started again. Our thumb-sucking leaders didn’t want their ‘toys’ taken from them. No more holidays in Europe? No more study trips abroad? You mean we have to use local hospitals now? Our mummy is a bad mummy!
Shame on them, I say! And double shame on us! She saw it, predicted it, warned us about it, and we let these uncircumcised Philistines steal our heritage. Double shame on us! While it may sound glib simply to say, “If Okonjo-Iweala said it, so it will be”, it is sadly our reality today. We heard the prophet and did nothing about it. Despite her best efforts to keep us from experiencing the calamity she foresaw, here we are today.
Dan Osofisan ( Email: email@example.com ) writes from University of Jos.
*Photo Caption - Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
[ Masterweb Reports: SKC Ogbonnia reports ] - The scheme by the Nigerian Senate to undermine President Muhammadu Buhari’s government is as real as it is idiotic. The most annoying yet is the attitude of the senators in the ongoing trial of its principal officers for allegedly forging the Standing Rules used to usher them to power. Once the forgery case was referred to the courts, the Senate charged that prosecution of members of the legislature is a threat to democracy. The Deputy Senate President, Mr. Ike Ekweremadu, followed by peddling the bunkum all the way to the international community. The whole hoopla, of course, is a vicious scam to arm-twist Buhari to revert to the status quo prior to the current regime where Nigeria’s lawmaking body was literally above the law.
This matter has aroused different shades of opinions. But before we begin to skew the history, as has become common with some pundits so soon, it is necessary to quickly recall how we got here. Nigeria before 2015 general elections was a hopeless case home and abroad. Despite generating unprecedented revenue from sustained oil windfall throughout the 16-year reign of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the only changes the Nigerian masses could witness were different waves of poverty and despair due to an endemic corruption. The people yearned for positive change. Sum it up this way: Muhammadu Buhari was voted back to power because of his ageless fidelity to war against corruption.
However, upon assuming office, in an attempt to avoid evoking any choking nostalgia of his dictatorial military past, the Daura-born general naively assumed the posture of a recruit in dealing with the body that makes laws for the country. In the process, Buhari downplayed an important political maxim: The struggle to reclaim Nigeria from PDP required more than a simple majority in a presidential election. It entails sustained influence throughout the life of the new government. This type of influence in the American presidential democracy entails continuous lobbying in the legislature with the tradeoffs generally targeted towards public good. But effective lobbying in the Nigerian context is totally something else. It is simply for personal gains and demands a serious act of “Ghana-Must-Go”—whatever that means.
This reality coupled with Buhari’s austere profile created a huge opening for the corrupt oligarchy to strike back. They easily capitalized on the fact that most of the senators—both from the ruling and opposition parties—were flat broke after 2015 polls. Having invested their last cards in the said polls, these lawmakers were desperate to recoup, the source notwithstanding. Not surprisingly, the election of the principal officers of the senate was basically a cash-n-carry affair.
This gist, if it is not already manifest, is that Olubukola Abubakar Saraki deployed his huge wealth to “lobby” to gain control of the senate. Thus, instead of the much-anticipated change, Nigeria is faced with a precarious situation where some of the most hardened members of the corrupt oligarchy dictate the content and pace of the legislative agenda—in a Buhari government. Today, not only does a member of a discredited minority party remain the deputy president of the Senate, most of the important committees are chaired by the same opposition characters that combined to ruin the previous regime.
Of course, President Buhari has been fighting back. But it is clear he has been hitting them with kid gloves. While dragging Saraki and Ekweremadu to the courts is in tune with due process, the punch has been too flat and too slow. It does not take a psychological maven to discern that these two senators have no shame and will never toe the path of honour to step aside for greater good. More essentially, the duo has already conquered the legislature and is armed with the war chest to duplicate the feat at the judiciary. Watch out for endless adjournment!
The way forward, therefore, is to meet the Saraki Senate fire for fire. It requires countering with a heavy dose of Nigerian style of lobbying till we reclaim the mandate. The politics of the moment requires taking an objective head count in the Senate to determine who is in or who is out. It requires securing the majority needed to impeach Saraki before he finally unleashes his plot.
Critics are expected to roar at this juncture. Those from the opposition will cling on their banal rallying cry of separation of power. But they should be reminded that there comes a time nonsense paves way to common sense. Not only is the change under a serious threat, separation of power is not a license to commit crimes or hold a nation hostage. In short, the elites joining to spew the separation of power façade might as well recognize that their action does nothing but further the prevailing view that consequences for bad behavior in Nigeria are only applicable to the ordinary people.
Other critics will argue, and understandably so, that Buhari must not compromise his principle in the course of the war against corruption by indulging in Nigeria’s brand of presidential lobby. But Mr. President should shun such notion. For leadership is contingent upon the environment. Even as it is vitally important for leaders to be unwavering in their convictions, any conviction ought to advance the greater good, if it is to translate to effective leadership. Blind following of ideology is another name for dogmatism and can easily lead to destructive power. Moreover, Buhari cannot feign ignorance of how he finally won the presidency after three previous attempts without money.
The objective fact is that the Nigerian masses are not interested in the best of reasons for failure. We need the change we voted for—not Saraki. Buhari needs to be emboldened by the wisdom of the story of mat and space. He does not need to be told again and again that Senator Bukola Saraki has become the real threat to Nigeria’s democracy. And it remains the responsibility of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to find ways to influence the shyster and his principal cohorts out of power, however the quickest style of lobbying.
SKC Ogbonnia ( Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ) reports.
*Photo Caption - Olubukola Abubakar Saraki
[ Masterweb Reports: Olalekan Waheed Adigun reports ] - Sometimes in 2006, the Ife University management, then led by Professor Michael Faborode, rusticated some Students’ Union leaders: Akinola Saburi (Malcom X), Ogunma Segun Adrew (Karl Marx), Taiwo Hassan (Soweto), Tunde Dairo(Barry Blacky) and others for politically-motivated reasons and had the vibrant Great Ife Students’ Union proscribed. The students, particularly we the then freshmen, were left at the mercy of the University management and its notorious security men known as “crackers” (a group that fallout of the earlier Modakeke-Ife crises) whose mandates includes but not limited to harassing, intimidating and suppressing students’ voice particularly students with progressive orientations and ideological groups on the campus.
While on his way from Osogbo (the Osun state capital) to submit a petition concerning election fraud (during the 2007 Gubernatorial election on OAU campus), Akinola Saburi, then President of the Students’ Union, was arrested on the orders of the then Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola of Osun state. The Union leaders’ fate from that point was now out of reach of the university management. Malcom X, as Saburi was popularly called, had to spend over 7 months at Ilesha prison with Soweto and Barry Blacky to spend 4 months in detention. Somehow, Ogunma Segun (Karl Marx), then the Union’s Speaker, managed to escape been caught. The ban on the Union will later be lifted in 2008 and I joined its ranks. Against all “admonitions”, and at great personal discomforts, I joined the movement to campaign for the reinstatement of the victimized activists.
The battle to reinstate these lads soon took titanic turn as the political bigwigs in the state became interested in their case. For those who do not know, the Great Ife Students’ Union in its entire history, as I recall, has little or nothing to do with partisan, let alone in local, politics. The question Akinola Saburi simply asked the Tribunal to decide(before his arrest) was how a political party can amass about 30,000 votes on OAU campus while students were not in school in the April, 2007 election. At this point, no one needs to be told that the fate of these lads lie in the outcome of the Election Tribunals (there were many of them!). So, while we did our bests to negotiate their release and subsequent reinstatement, we kept a weather eye on developments at the Tribunals. This was how some of us became involved in Osun politics ever since!
I need to add that Rauf Aregbesola won back his mandate at the Court of Appeal, sitting in Ibadan, in 2010 and within few days of this victory, Saburi and Karl Marx will be allowed to resume their studies at Ife.
Those following events in Osun state will probably notice the patterns have since changed since 2010. I wouldn’t like to bother my readers with the intrigues involving the “forces” trying to stop Aregbesola from becoming Governor, but I will say here that there is nothing really new with the notion that he is an “Islamic fundamentalist”. He was once alleged to have links to al-Qaeda, a dangerous Islamic sect in Africa and the Middle East. No one should really be surprised that all these started years before he even became governor!
One would have thought that since becoming Governor, his detractors would have at least surrendered after losing the tough duel, but they regrouped under different names. The same elements using some compromised staff of the Department of State Security (DSS) came up with another narrative in 2012 that the Governor is under “security watch” over a fictitious plan to “Islamise” Osun. A curious observer will see the dangerous politics adopted by the age-long rivals in desperate bid to “unseat” him in the 2014 election. The only difference then was the DSS became the cat’s paw in the well-acted script!
No one recalls Aregbesola “Christianising” Osun or coming up with “Christianisation Agenda” when he appointed 18 Commissioners out of which 10 are Christians in a state that boast of majority Muslims. No one told us that Aregbe’s immediate family members contain a sizable number of Christians (including pastors in two well-known Pentecostal Churches in Nigeria). They deliberately forgot his generous donations to several Churches in the state. Traditional religious worshippers were short-changed in this scheme of things, but those who love us more did their best to lampoon the “Opon Imo” (Tablet of Knowledge) and the new state’s logo (which included cowry shells) as having something to do with idolatry or idol worship. If you think that is inconsistent, I must confess to you that it took me a long time to recover from these confusing arguments!
Lest we forget, the opposition went to town with new sets of propaganda that Osun wanted to secede from the federation with the introduction of the state’s anthem. On getting to know about this allegation, I had to painfully agree with Bola Ilori, who recently told us of a “satanic agenda” at work in Osun state. It is understandable for emotions to take over reasons when it comes to religious issues especially in this part of the world, but for anyone to see a state having its own flag, symbols or anthem as the basis for secession defiles every known reason. I had to agree with him again, because, what is happening in Osun is not any religious agenda as some people might have innocently thought, but a “satanic” political agenda!
Olalekan Waheed Adigun ( Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: +2348136502040, +2347081901080 ) is a political risk analyst and independent political strategist.
*Photo Caption - As seen.
[ Masterweb Reports: Odimegwu Onwumere reports ] - On Thursday, June 9 this year, Liberia formally rolled out the drums in celebration of their being Ebola – free. According to medical science, Ebola is an infectious and generally fatal disease marked by fever and severe internal bleeding, spread through contact with infected body fluids by a filovirus (Ebola virus), whose normal host species is unknown.
In 2014, this strange virus wrecked countries in the West African sub-region, leading to 11,300 deaths and 28, 000 cases. To a larger degree, this huge casualty failure could have been avoided. From all indications, the Ebola spiral was largely as a failure of states in their quick response.
For some school of thoughts it is rather strange that Liberia is celebrating her Ebola free status some two years after the virus struck havoc in the country.
The last Ebola patient in the country was declared negative on 4 December 2015, and the country was declared Ebola free by the World Health Organization, WHO, an agency of the United Nations, UN, on 14 January 2016.
On the last count, a total of 4, 800 citizens lost their lives in Liberia, to Ebola. Again, like any other West African countries that were ravaged by the virus, the alarming rate of death was due to the gassy response of government.
“By October 2014, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia had lost more than 4,000 lives to Ebola due to boring response by governments,” Zaya Yeebo, a Ghanaian journalist and commentator on Pan African affairs, said on December 4, 2014.
Another leading voice on the subject matter, Crisis Group, an international group working to prevent conflict worldwide, said, “The international reaction was equally problematic and rightly criticized as dysfunctional and inadequate by many observers. Early warnings were largely ignored until cases began cropping up in the U.S., WHO, which had stalled for far too long on declaring an international health emergency, then proved incapable of mounting an effective response. The Security Council was forced to create a new body to scale up and coordinate operations – with variable results – the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER).”
Years Of Neglect
Since 1970s, Ebola had been and the response remained weak. Yeebo said that there was a claim by Kofi Annan, a former Secretary General of the UN that the response was weak, because the virus was affecting Africans.
The Journalist said that the claim was rather questionable with a view that the West perhaps hadn’t a glimpse idea that Ebola would leave the shores of West Africa and penetrate Europe and America.
The reason, according to Patrick Martin from World Socialist website, “The giant pharmaceutical companies that control medical research saw little profit in saving the lives of impoverished villagers in rural Africa.”
“So far, we know that research has been conducted on possible cures and vaccines funded by the US Pentagon, for dubious reasons. The US claims that this research was to protect ‘US soldiers who might be deployed to the jungles of central Africa. How many US bases are located in Central Africa to warrant this approach? However, claims that the Ebola research carried out by the US Pentagon as an antidote to ‘whether the virus could be weaponised for use against potential enemies’ in my view, seems more credible. The chickens have come home to roost,” Yeebo opined.
The Ebola epidemic was coming at a time West Africa was recovering from decades of conflicts. This pummeled health infrastructures. Continuing, Yeebo added, "In the 1980s through the 1990s, these countries implemented neo-liberal reforms imposed by Bretton Wood Institutions, International Monetary Fund, IMF, and World Bank, whereby welfare systems were abandoned in exchange for donor support."
There was lack of accountability in Ebola funding in the countries, the civil society initiatives that bridge socio-political bonding and help create a more shared approach to crisis response were not fully incorporated into the response team, health systems were weak.
"It was only after the second wave of Ebola cases threatened the very stability of the affected countries that authorities took concerted action (with the help of Non-Governmental Organizations, NGOs, international agencies on the ground and donors), starting with the engagement of community leaders. Particularly in Liberia, they slowly learned what did not work and how to better communicate appropriate precautions and necessary cultural changes, eg, handling of deceased relatives that finally helped bring the epidemic under control," Africa Report, 28 Oct 2015, said.
Using Ebola To Resolve Geopolitical Interests
Across West Africa and the world, travel bans were placed in severely affected countries as anxiousness about Ebola hyped in 2014. Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea were the most hit with Nigeria on the flaccid.
Ten countries, including the United States and Spain, were affected, and the world recorded more than 28,000 cases as was articled.
During the 2014 Ebola epidemic, West African countries, which were officially declared of Ebola on 22 March 2014 in Guinea, six countries in West Africa (Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone) were severely affected.
Quoting Martin, Yeebo said, “What makes the Ebola virus disease even more worrying is the fact that the United States, Britain and other countries are using this crisis to resolve their geopolitical interests. The US sent in 4,000 troops (marines) to Liberia. President is calling on his top guards to prepare to ‘intervene’. On the other hand, the UK government has also announced its intention to send 3,000 soldiers to Sierra Leone. Historically, American Marines are routinely used to restore public order or enforce consent.”
He asked, “If these countries are not at war, and there is no civil disobedience, why send in troops instead of doctors and nurses? In contrast, Cuba sent 160 Doctors and nurses to Sierra Leone, and will send additional 296 health care workers to Liberia and Guinea. The approach of the Cuban government is humanitarian whilst the approach by the US and UK governments is militaristic, seeking to exploit the crisis for geopolitical reasons. The real agenda of Washington is to secure a basis for its Africa Command (AFRICOM), up to now excluded from the continent by local opposition, thus advancing the interests of American imperialism against its rivals, particularly China.”
Lack Of Clarity On Response Efforts
Kim Yi Dionne of Washington Post on July 15, 2014, reported that government did not help matters with responses to the epidemic.
Dionne said, “A significant challenge in responding to public health problems is coordinating across these actors. Part of the challenge is the lack of clarity on who should lead response efforts. Ultimately, the success or failure of the Ebola response relies on the ordinary people who are at risk of becoming infected.”
Political parties hijacked the response for vain glory, there was greater lack of cross-border cooperation and information sharing on the health crisis, the UN Security Council barely paid close attention to the governance challenges in these countries where citizens’ trust in their governments and institutions was elusive; there was vacuum in the Economic Community of West Africa, ECOWAS, regional health surveillance, communication and coordination mechanisms.
Dionne noted that on June 30, 2014, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf declared that government would put-on-trial anyone “reported to be holding suspected Ebola cases in homes or prayer houses.” Similarly, Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma had also made such statement as Sirleaf’s.
The Washington Post’s reporter argued, “The statements were mischievous and capable of brewing increase in traffic of assumed Ebola cases to formal health institutions, where people can be properly isolated, subsequently allowing others who may have come into contact with a suspected case to be traced; ultimately curbing the outbreak’s spread. But is the threat of prosecution the best motivation for increasing health-seeking behaviour? If a government is ill-equipped to provide basic health services in far-flung regions of the country, how equipped is that same government to prosecute evasion of health care?”
However, the apprehension all over the world by July 2014 was that Africa will not be getting over her Ebola outbreak very soon. But she did, upon that there was poor health infrastructure in the affected countries. Before then, Sierra Leone and Liberia had been destroyed by wars and refugees fled into Guinea where health services were already poor. There was dearth of health personnel in these countries with Liberia having just 0.014 doctors per 1,000 people.
From March 2014, Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières), MSF, teams treated 10,376 patients in West Africa including 3,804 patients in Guinea, with the authorities saying that 110 health workers died from the virus in the country.
Sources say "Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontières (MSF) sent a specialized team to Gueckedou on March 18 2012, just six days after another of their teams already in Guinea (working on a malaria project) had learned from Guinea’s Health Ministry about what was then characterized as a “mysterious disease.” Conversely, with respect to coordinating response across the countries, there seems to have been greater delay. For example, it was not until July 2 2012 that the WHO convened a special meeting bringing together health ministries and partners involved in the Ebola outbreak to discuss a collective response. Only today is the WHO activating operations at a Sub-Regional Outbreak Coordination Center it recently established in Conakry."
Bold Steps Taken
Despite the glaring shortcomings, health workers took blood samples for Ebola virus testing at screening marquees. Jingles, campaigns and the media were awash, all sensitizing the masses to wash their hands and know measures to address any suspected victim of the virus. Local ministries of health of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, Nigeria, WHO, (MSF, CDC, UNICEF, Institute Pasteur, European Mobile Laboratory Project (funded by the European Union), all responded.
At many public places, sterilizers were mounted at the entrances. People cleaned their hands with them. In 2012, Uganda recorded what analysts said was one of the more successful Ebola responses in history after the epidemic claimed 17 lives among 24 confirmed cases. The country had set up CDC, a lab at Uganda’s Virus Research Institute specifically tasked with the rapid diagnosis of viral hemorrhagic fevers (including Ebola) two years before the 2012 outbreak. Six days into the 2000 Uganda Ebola outbreak, donor community enhanced the Ugandan government Ebola budget (adding $400,000 to the government’s $285,000).
West Africa Not Sleeping
Upon the certification that Liberia is free from the virus, responses and sensitizations are still ongoing for any eventual outbreak across West Africa.
Sorbor George, chief of communication at the ministry in Liberia, told AFP, “We have been carrying on a sensitization campaign. This campaign will continue, and we will still be in readiness to contain any eventual outbreak.”
It is hoped they will walk their talks in order to avoid more agonizing deaths.
Odimegwu Onwumere is a Rivers State based poet, writer and consultant. Tel: +2348057778358. Email: email@example.com
*Photo Caption - As seen.