[ Masterweb Reports: Bade Adebolu reports ] - An objective evaluation and analysis of Nigeria’s economic collapse points directly to President Muhammadu Buhari and his unprecedented inaction and monumental blunder in failing to appoint his ministers and form a government until 6 months after he was sworn into office. Furthermore, the delay in having a budget passed is also another factor. To cap it up, the appointment of a seeming mediocre minister to head the finance ministry can only explain why the dollar has gotten to the Guinness Book of Records’ all-time-low in the country’s entire history. Can Buhari explain why it took him over 10 months to have a budget in place?
Buhari never saw the management of Nigeria in the prism of Business and concept of profit maximization. Dangote, with all his wealth couldn’t afford to shut down his business for 6 months just like Buhari did with the economy of Nigeria. Any business that closes for 6 months will definitely suffer the effects of comatose, recession or long depression which are the underlying aftermath of such thoughtless and purposeless action.
There is no basis to compare Buhari to Jonathan. The latter had a well-established economic team of professional managers headed by no less a person than the Harvard-trained economist, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. On this again, Buhari has failed woefully. The war on corruption has not recorded any appreciable success judging by the reported meagre looted funds that have thus far been recovered. Can we now see why the naira will soon start trading for N1000 to the dollar any time soon? Do we still have a responsible government in place in this country? Isn’t it time we began working with technocrats rather than professional politicians?
Let us take the familiar excuse of Buhari and his incorrigible supporters and look at it on its merits (assuming they have any). They sing it like the National Anthem that the price of oil has fallen in the international market. This is not, and can never be an excuse for Buhari to drag the economy into recession where the dollar now sells for over 500 naira. I recall the APC “Change” campaign promised to make the naira equal to the dollar. Where is even the naira now to start with? Doesn’t this mean Nigerians were better off under expert mangers like Okonjo-Iweala who managed to keep it at N199?
Still on Buharists’ arguments that oil price crash is the reason for their misfortune in office, we pose that most countries do not have oil reserves, yet they have robust economies. I only hope this disappoints Buharists; but will it?
As though all these are not enough, Buhari’s misinformed and obnoxious appointment of half baked, professionally deficient if not inefficient cronies have not helped matters. The appointees have proven to be ineffectual and undeserving of the positions they occupy. Maybe they will go well with the title of “Ineffectual Buffons” and know how good it looks. (Apologies The Economist).
I posit that the only magic wand and silver bullet to resuscitate the ailing economy is for Buhari to sack all the inept and unqualified cronies and replace them with people with track record of achievement in nation building and economic rejuvenation.
As the battered naira rose to N500 to the US dollar at the parallel market, some economic experts whom this writer can vouch for predicted the Nigerian currency might hit the N1000 mark by December, if the free fall of oil prices continues.
With the exchange rate of about N500 to 1 US Dollar, there are fears that things could get worse with the naira hitting the all-time record N1000 to a dollar, yet this government does not appear to have any clue on what to do. We need an expert like Okonjo-Iweala back at the helm of affairs. This is my humble opinion.
Bade Adebolu is an accountant based in Ado-Ekiti. He sent this piece via email@example.com
Editor's Note: As at today the official naira exchange rate against the dollar is N315, Western Union rate N375 and black market rate N455 - and not N500 as quoted in the article. Weak naira can be good or bad depending on what is happening on the ground - if it attracts foreign investment then it is good, otherwise (like the situation now) it is bad. World bank has not developed any country in the world and Nigeria will not be an exception. Nigeria does not need officials or employees of world bodies like United Nations, World Court and World Bank to develop. It was not officials or employees of these world bodies that developed great countries like U.S., China and many others. All a country needs to develop are good leadership, natural and human resources.
*Photo Caption - Naira notes
[ Masterweb Reports: Odimegwu Onwumere reports ] - The Executive Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello may be in for another set of distraction after the Supreme Court on September 20 2016 upheld his election as the rightful winner of the gubernatorial election in the state held in 2015. It is perceived that some politicians in the state are working round the clock in making sure that the governor suffers a setback in his administration.
Recently, they accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of keeping eyes right in their call to investigate Bello for whatever reason Nigerians are yet to know. This was coming after they had written series of petition to the body. But the EFCC seemed to know better – that there might be the hand of Jacob but the voice of Esau in their petition – making their petition null and void.
The other time, there were speculations that he was pelted with pure water sachet while coming out from the Mosque, after a day’s prayer. If true that he was pelted, political observers know who to hold responsible. And if he was not pelted, the same people know who to hold responsible for circulating the message of defame.
Most politicians hire crowd for an event, the same way they hire street urchins to cast aspersion before the public, on the personality of their prey. However, Nigerians of good will cannot sit down and watch Alhaji Yahaya Bello, the young and youthful Governor of Kogi State be brought to disrepute. We are yet to read that he associates with mischief, except as some politicians in that state want us to believe.
Unlike some persons who allow some heights they have attained in life to influence and control them, the last time we checked, Bello still respects elders and is ever ready to learn from people. While he is doing his best to bring any person or group that has been politically squabbling to make peace with each other, some of the politicians are throwing tantrums. Sad!
No matter what they might be doing to plunge Bello into the murky waters of disgrace, the governor seems not perturbed as he goes about his official duties to uplift Kogi State, putting much effort on rural and urban development. He believes that after developing this area, it will attract a lot of potentials.
With his New Direction Blueprint, the governor has vowed to take education to the next level in the state. Any doubting Thomas may ask the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Petra Onyegbule. With the state’s rich mineral and natural resources, although many are yet to be tapped, Bello has said he has the youths at heart in his development priorities.
While working to raise these youths, the governor has reiterated the need for technical education while people are pursuing the secular education. Nonetheless, many Nigerians might be crying over the lame-duck governance of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the federal level, but Bello has shown that he has a New Direction Blueprint: A promise he made when he went to pick Expression of Interest and Nomination Forms of the APC in company of chieftains of the party from the three senatorial zones in the state.
Governor Bello pledged to overturn the high level of crimes in the state. The party leaders conversely knew that he would not disappoint in carrying out his official functions when they stopped the thought of any other candidate as the party’s typical bearer. The unwavering Bello filled out the form, signed by a Commissioner of Oath, and returned to the APC National Secretariat, in what political pundits said was affixed to a letter of nomination sent to INEC on Friday November 27 2015, by the National Chairman of APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.
The party perhaps knew that Mr. James Abiodun Faleke might not do better than Bello, hence Falake was asked to be Bello's running mate. But Faleke refused that offer and insisted on Abubakar Audu/Faleke ticket, which the party gave the duo before Audu suddenly died on November 22, 2015. It will be pertinent to say that with the aggressive policking against Bello in Kogi, if the state fails, it will concern everybody in the state. But it will not fail with Bello!
So, Governor Yahaya Bello should be left without distractions to earnestly fix the state to attain his dream state, where there will no longer be pot holes in front of the Government House, educational system will never be horrible again, Kogi children will not be taught under the trees, teachers will not be discouraged; the potentialities of the agriculture sector will not be undiscovered, and infrastructure will not be in totters.
Odimegwu Onwumere can be contacted via: firstname.lastname@example.org
*Photo Caption - Governor Alhaji Yahaya Bello
[ Masterweb Reports: Fejiro Oliver reports ] - Let us celebrate the occasion with wine and sweet words. Plautus: In 2014, I can still remember vividly former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State celebrating his birthday, with pomp and pageantry, glitz and glamour. That day was his in Nigeria; shining as the most prominent political figure to be celebrated that very hour.
He was celebrating his 60th year birthday. I remember that day because it was the moment of the tense Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primaries campaign and the heat was on. On that day of his celebration, I was in my hotel room, when I penned down one of my most famous works to him, urging him to give Deltans a birthday gift by handing over power to the current governor, Senator Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa. I remember that day, because while others were watching the live streaming of Uduaghan’s birthday lectures, I chose to watch the historic cutting of tape of the Akwa Ibom Nest of Champion Stadium. It will ever be a day to remember.
Today, Uduaghan is 62 years. I sent people to the Newspaper stand to check how many pages of newspapers did prominent Deltans take just to congratulate him on his new age, and the outcome was not impressive. Unlike in the past when he was governor and political businessmen and Buccaneers buying almost all the pages of Vanguard Newspaper just to congratulate him; we saw none of such today. Who is this man Uduaghan?
My relationship with him happened after the general elections in Lagos State. From a distance, I judged him as a journalist and a critic. I scored him very low in his performance as a governor. But today, the score may be different, depending on the prism through which I look through it.
My privilege to be close to the corridors of power; the same seat Uduaghan sat on, has given me a different view of judging Nigeria leaders. Being close to a governor, I have come to understand the power of sycophancy, which envelopes almost all leaders and eventually consume those who cannot break free from it. Uduaghan was a victim of such sycophancy, surrounded by the worst persons that ever had access to power.
Out of government, we have built a strong bond of father and son, confidante and adviser. Our relationship has grown so deep that I have come to understand him more as a person than as a former governor, who did no good in my eyes. This relationship is built solely on trust and confidentiality, on fatherhood and sonship and not on any financial benefits.
This relationship is what has put me in a better position today to access Uduaghan at 62 as a person and not as a former governor. On this day that he celebrates, I am proud to say publicly that he meant well for Delta State and still means well for Delta State but is a victim of the recklessness of his political aides, who took his gentility for a ride and devoured our common patrimony. Without his full knowledge, they brought memos for him to sign, meaning well; and when he signed, they went back to implement another thing. I do not absolve him of the political mistakes, for the bulk stops at his table and should naturally bear the consequences, but Uduaghan is a good man.
My close knowledge of him reveals him to be very soft in heart, actions and words. His mien is simply that of peace and would rather let his personal desire and ambition fade away for the general peace of people. I have personally experienced it.
In 2016, I was under pressure by my wife to give her sister who has a First Class in Banking and Finance a job in Access Bank, after she made it to the last fifteen selected candidates. The only hurdle remaining was the task of sourcing for some amount of money for new accounts. I was not ready to stake my company’s account for it due to the condition attached and had to look for alternative.
I thought of two names to use in crossing the hurdle; Uduaghan and Onofiok Luke who is Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly. I settled for Uduaghan and told him exactly what I want. Right in my presence, he made the phone call, that broke all protocols and today alongside the help of Sunny Onuesoke, my sister in-law is about rounding up her training as one of the best candidates of Access Bank School.
Few months after that, Secret Reporters did a negative report on him. Did he get angry? No. In his usual calm manner, he explained the real situations of things to me, which the reporter never looked into. That is Uduaghan for you, looking for peace than war; even though he has the capacity to wage a war and see it to finish, without probably losing it.
This can explain why we never had cases of militancy and insurgency during the eight years that he ruled; neither were there security challenges in any part of Delta. If given another chance to lead Delta again, Uduaghan at 62 will do things differently. He will leave better legacies like the Asaba Airport he built from scratch to finish. If given just one more term to govern again, I am very sure many of those he appointed won’t even make it as his councilors.
At 62, life must have offered him new pair of eyes to see things objectively and open mind to accept what critics like us saw and criticized. At 62, Uduaghan has seen all in life and like he once told me; “I never thought I was ever going to be a governor in my life”, but providence handed him the position on a platter of gold and he deserve to celebrate yearly.
At 62, he has just eight years to the biblical age of living, and must be preparing to get his boarding pass home, BUT on this day while he lives; I owe a duty to tell him what he has done wrong to many political leaders and ordinary Deltans that they were not bold to tell him.
His Excellency current troubles are as a result of not keeping to promises. A promise is a debt hanging on your neck forever, which if not paid now to those you made it to, will be paid at the other world. This is his albatross and a heavy cross he must lift off his shoulders as he get very close to exiting this world to meet the creator.
At 62, he is still as fit as a fiddle and must be reflecting on his life. His political life as a governor will forever be his judgment. May the judgment of the unborn Deltans record him well in history book when roll calls of Deltans that touched lives are called. As he begins another journey of life, may more years to celebrate arrive his doorstep. May his name not be wiped away and his good deeds speak when it matters most.
Happy Birthday Asamaigor.
These little things matter…
Fejiro Oliver is Editor In Chief of Secrets Reporters News, Investigative Journalist, Media Consultant and Human Rights Activist can be reached on +2348022050733 (SMS ONLY) or email@example.com.
*Photo Caption - Former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State
[ Masterweb Reports: Dr. SKC Ogbonnia reports ] - The recent statement by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to reform the Nigeria’s electoral laws is in order. Any overture with a positive attribute is always welcome. Yet, some might argue, and plainly so, that the idea of electoral reform in the country is hardly novel and therefore far from the solution. After all, despite the fact that Buhari’s immediate predecessors made similar attempts that resulted to Electoral Acts of 2002, 2006, and 2010, the Nigerian experience with election matters has remained a travesty of sorts.
But there is an array of hope. The current reform agenda is developing to be uniquely salutary. In short, it appears our leaders are gradually coming to terms with the pragmatic truth that Nigeria’s leadership problem has never been due to the absence of laws. And it has never been any failure on the part of the Nigerian people to recognize when and where the laws are broken. Instead, it is the abject failure to implement the existing laws.
It is profoundly encouraging, therefore, to read that part of the terms of reference of the present reform committee headed by former Senate President Ken Nnamani is “to review recent judicial decisions on election petitions as they relate to conflicting judgments and absence of consequential orders.”
Clearly, there has been a plethora of conflicting judgments as there is the absence of consequential orders on election petitions throughout the 4th Republic. The most obvious, of course, is the seemingly lack of consequences for politicians who are found guilty of rigging themselves to power besides the mere replacement with the rightful winners. But no election dilemma is more mindboggling than the degree of inconsistency that exists in addressing the petitions. Ultimately ripe for The Guinness Book of Records is a case that went viral in the media not long ago. Referred to as Obiechina Vs Chime, it has been languishing in the courts for the past 5 years. As if the delay is not enough, instead of meeting it with some sense of finality when it came up at the Supreme Court on 26th September 2016, the case was pole-vaulted further to 14th February 2017.
Initiated contemporaneously in 2011 by Dr. Alex Obiechina, an Enugu governorship contestant under the Peoples Democratic Party of Nigeria (PDP), the petition is against the then State Governor, Mr. Sullivan Chime. The crux of the matter is that the party officially scheduled and held its primaries on 9th January 2011, and Obiechina was declared the winner. For unknown reasons, PDP jettisoned the result and conducted another election on 12th January 2011 with Chime as its flag bearer.
Unfortunately, however, the PDP did not give a notice of 21 days to the Independent National Election Commission (INEC), a condition required by the Electoral Act of 2010 for re-conducting party primary elections—and a key omission which the INEC itself openly admitted. Moreover, the PDP failed to give the 7-day mandatory notice to aspirants as enshrined in the party’s election guidelines. Despite various complaints from Obiechina, the then national ruling party proceeded to submit Chime's name to INEC for the governorship election in Enugu State in April 2011. Adding a more bizarre element to the predicament is the audacity of INEC to conduct another election in 2015 to the same Enugu governorship position while there were subsisting pre-election cases before the courts.
Some legal scholars have worried that the stumbling block is ostensibly hinged to the orbit of public perception. First, Obiechina did not stand for the general election to the office he is attempting to assume. Second, INEC has conducted another election in which another person, who is not connected to the original case, has been sworn in as the governor of the same state under review. But such concerns ought not to be. The law is the law. Besides, there is a set of prevailing precedence. Not to play a judge here, for I am not one, but two landmark cases: Amaechi Vs Omehia and Obi Vs Uba might have pointed to a decisive outcome one way or the other.
So why such abnormal delays?
The answer is uncertain. It could be due to any manner of reason, including the typical logistical problems, and so forth. And contrary to popular belief, most members of the Supreme Court are people of virtue, who have shown some level of independence in their careers and remain capable of making bold decisions. Nevertheless, undue delays, regardless of the circumstance, only go to fuel the widespread narrative that favourable court outcomes, especially on election matters, are the sole province of the highest bidders.
The judiciary is definitely not the lone culprit. Individual candidates, the legislature, the executive, and the INEC itself flout electoral laws without restraint. Section 91 of the Electoral Act of 2010, for instance, is explicit on nature of campaign finance while Section 124 is specific with bribery and relative consequences. Yet, different shades of world currencies, huge gifts, and honorariums from the politicians to traditional leaders, religious leaders, electoral officials as well as the vulnerable voters have defined recent election seasons. Worse still, the INEC is nonchalant about this important issue of campaign money. As a matter of record, its then chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, had to confess that even though the Electoral Act empowers it to monitor sources and nature of funding, the “INEC does not even have a desk that handles campaign financing.”
Still, any meaningful change in the electoral process must stare closely at the judiciary. Envisioned as the beacon of hope for the citizenry in a democracy, this organ of government has a special role to play. Not only is it designed to provide the right ambiance as well as the confidence for the equitable dispensation of justice, but it is also vested with the power to guide the actions of all participants in the electoral process. But I do not need to repeat here that the ordinary Nigerian people view the entire judiciary as a daylight bugaboo. And you cannot blame them for such mistrust. The history with conflicting judgments and the brazen lack of consequential orders, which has cast a stark stain on the courts, does not emit hope.
Reforming Nigeria’s electoral laws is a holy grail, for sure. But the Nnamani-led committee is in a vantage position to make a difference. Instead of being bogged down with an entirely new Act, it ought to focus more on how existing laws could be enforced. After all, a simple review of the latest Electoral Act will show that the document itself sufficiently addresses current electoral experiences, including offenses, and consequences. What is urgent, therefore, is how to restore public confidence in the judiciary, beginning with the courts dispensing the cases brought before them not only in a timely fashion but also without fear or favour. Very essentially, any reform must explore how best to ensure that judges render verdicts that readily translate to serious consequences for electoral malpractices. Anything less is a predictive vain hope.
Dr.SKC Ogbonnia ( Email: SKCOgbonnia@firsttexasenergy.com ) reports from Houston, Texas, USA.
*Photo Caption - As seen.
[ Masterweb Reports: Bade Adebolu reports ] - Every day is important but there are days that stand out in our lives; for me, October 15 is one of them. I wish I could tell you the significance of this day in my life but that’s too confidential for this pages of this medium.
I pledged to write an article on this day among other things and three headlines got my attention: “Our president is a ‘bush man’ | 5 takeaways from the shameful battle between Buhari and his wife” published on Ynaija, “It’s Time To Restructure Nigeria” on Leadership and “Donald Trump 'grabbed me and went for the lips', says new accuser”, the Guardian [foreign].
Buhari and Aisha
President Buhari’s “perceived chauvinist blunder” is no longer news to anyone who has been following the headlines; in fact, it keeps trending. Our dear president during a press conference with the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, openly reminded his wife and perhaps other women that their place is in the kitchen, the living room and “the other room”. One wonders what the president meant by “the other room”, but I’ll leave that to your imagination. Your guess is probably as good as mine.
My problem with this is why the president would publicly say that about his wife. Couldn’t he have gone mute? This has gone beyond politics. It is emotional.
While discussing this with a colleague, I said: “He can’t say this if he was the president of the US or contesting for the seat.” He would automatically go out of favour with that group of the economy. I guess Mr Trump can testify to this.
The Quack Economist
The piece on Leadership (see second paragraph) left me with mixed feelings. First I must commend the writer for his optimism for the country.
Asked if there is much worth celebrating at our dear country’s independence, here’s his reply: “It all depends how you look at celebration and on one’s concept of life. Some people celebrate being alive. Others can celebrate their material acquisitions. Yes we’re no way near the promise land. Mistakes have been made, huge mistakes of course. But, then, the fact that we’re still together as a nation, is something we should possibly say thank God we have seen 56 years of our nationhood…
“We as a people must learn from our mistakes because a man who has never made mistakes can never be a successful man.”
He further knocked the talk and idea of selling national assets. Great!
But Odilim goofed and strayed by delving in matters which he just has academic knowledge about. This makes me question the Leadership’s description of him as a renowned Developmental Economist and Political Analyst. Great Economist my foot! Odilim is nothing but a quack.
Odilim claimed that the recession started with the past administration and was covered up but any great economist should know that there’s absolutely no way to veil a recession.
A recession is well defined as two quarters of contraction on growth. The office of chief statistician gives the growth figures as does IMF and World Bank, African Development Bank and United Nations. None of these saw any contraction in the Nigerian economy in 2012. So Odilim is an absolute liar and a quack.
It’s the likes of Odilim who hamper Nigeria’s growth by misinforming Nigerians through mass media.
Beyond reading some of his articles in the past, I remember him appearing in the news for a case against Hon Jibrin and the House of Reps for failing to pay him N115 million “consulting fee” to draft 50 questions which they infamously asked the former Finance Minister, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to answer, and to react to her response.
More than anything else, this tells me that Odilim is not just a quack but a crook and opportunist, whose pen is for hire. How shamelessly greedy can one be to have gone to the media to fight over unpaid money? Definitely not patriotism. He’s more interested in his own pocket than the good of the country. No great economist would have done that.
The “Kissing” Candidate
I find the news on Donald Trump rather interesting. I wish I could say more, but by now, my pen needs some rest. Perhaps, I should have written this first but I have to end this to face other pressing matters.
Trump, “na you biko”. Let’s see how you come out of this one.
You can read the story here: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/oct/15/donald-trump-sexual-misconduct-allegations-cathy-heller
Bade Adebolu ( Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ) is an accountant based in Ado-Ekiti and reports from there.
*Photo Caption - President Muhammadu Buhari
Editor's Note: President Buhari as Military head of state put in place a policy for the empowerment of women. We will write on this later. His remarks on his wife is what we will ask him to clarify if we are able to schedule an interview with him. Donald Trump's accuser should have taken up the case when the incident happened-if it really happened and not wait many years at a time he is seeking public office. It is not surprising to see women flock around multi-billionaires such as Trump for attention and money - some may put themselves in a position to be touched and later complain for attention, fame and money through lawsuit. We respect the author's right to freedom of expression.
[ Masterweb Reports: Intersociety reports ] - (Intersociety: Onitsha Nigeria, 16th of October 2016)-Our heart is saddened over the failure of the civilian Government of Gen Muhammadu Buhari to learn from history so as to avoid further triggering of societal anarchy and plunging the Federal Republic of Nigeria into a state of unquenchable and intractable human tragedies. The Buhari Administration has become so destructive that most, if not all of the democratic gains, values and consolidations made over the years particularly since 1999 have virtually disappeared or collapsed. The worst of it all is that Nigeria has lost its “conscience of the nation” (CSOs, rights activists and media) to Buhari Administration’s entrenched governance rascality and brigandage.
Regime Atrocities such as State killings and terrorism are now labelled “fight against corruption” and even tolerated and condoned in the community of CSOs. Human Rights Activists have become Human Rights Destroyers and activist lawyers have turned to agents of darkness and promoters of anarchy; to the extent of advising Gen Muhammadu Buhari to “suspend rule of law for one year in order to fight corruption”. DARKNESS HAS BEFALLEN NIGERIA!!
Throughout the histories of the old and the new, rational territorial political leaderships had avoided triggering off widespread conflicts territorially or off territorially, while the irrational ones got drenched and consumed. Democratically speaking, avoidance of territorial violent conflicts is ensured at all times by rigidly sticking to the policies of good governance and rule of law; negative peace or absence of violence against innocent citizens; and positive peace or absence of structural violence (i.e. political and religious tolerance and inclusion; respect for identity values, political representation as well as equal access to power and resources).
As the saying goes: democracy may not be the best form of government but since the best form of government is yet to be found; democracy remains the best. Among the best modern theories of violence is Democratic Theory of Violence; which sacredly holds that Democracies do not or hardly go to war (violent conflicts) internally or externally except as a last resort, as case may be. Any democratic territory that chooses militarism and militarization as its cornerstone, as Gen Muhammadu Buhari has done, is a government in pieces.
Further, China as one of the oldest countries in the world, dating back to over 3000 BC; during which its Legist School of Jurisprudence existed; sacredly sees conflict as an opportunity to change; meaning that conflict is naturally inevitable and becomes violent if irrationally and beastly managed; and constructive and transformative if rationally and conscientiously managed. Naturally speaking, just as agriculture and crime gave birth to today’s world and its institutions including government; so did foetal protest gave birth to childhood development and intra and inter personal dispute; which in turn, when ill-managed, gave birth to conflict; which further gave birth to violent conflicts or wars as we have them today; if poorly or destructively managed.
By modern military or war science, war (now called violent conflict under UN System) is any widespread lethal action against a population by a group involving the death of more than 999 persons. Violent conflict levied against a civilian or unarmed population by reason of their ethnic, political or religious identities; is regarded as heinous international crimes or crimes against humanity as well as fundamental breach of the Principles and Purposes of the United Nations.
On the other hand, if levied against an asymmetric or weaker armed target population, in total disregard to the Laws of War or Geneva Conventions of 1949 and its Protocols such as widespread attacks on non-military objects like women, the elderly, children, and other civilian populations, their dwelling, working or leisure facilities as well as places of worship; this is expressly regarded War Crimes.
The advocacy and technical analysis above is to bring to the fore the unwarranted, unprovoked, coordinated and systematic repression and radicalization of the Shiite Muslim worship in Nigeria by the intolerant Government of Gen Muhammadu Buhari, coordinated by the trio of Gen Muhammadu Buhari, Mallam Nasiru El-Rufai; the violent Governor of Kaduna State and Lt. Gen Turkur Buratai; the killer Chief of Army Staff (COAS). Apart from the fact that the Muslim body has lost over 1000 of its unarmed and innocent members including women and children, to the Administration of Gen Muhammadu Buhari; a radical Sunni Muslim apologist, buildings and sacred places of worship belonging to the body or the “Islamic Movement of Nigeria or IMN”, have also been reduced to rubbles.
The leader of the Movement, Sheik Ibrahim ZakyZaky, was terminally shot and battered on 14th of December 2015 by soldiers on the orders of the COAS, Lt Gen Turkur Buratai. Sheik Zaky Zaky was shot and battered when his house was raided and set ablaze. According to IMN sources, at least 18 shot bullets were removed from his body and he has gone almost blind. His wife, Mrs. Malama Zeenatu was also shot severally, leading to laceration of her body and removal of at least six bullets from her body. Their three sons: Hammad, Ali Haydar and Humaid were shot and killed on the spot and in the presence of their deadly battered parents. Other three sons of Sheik ZakyZaky: Ahmad, Hameed and Mahmud had earlier been shot and killed by soldiers in 2014; leaving him and his wife with only three surviving children; Muhammad (first and only surviving son), Nusaiba and Suhaila (daughters).
The State violence under reference was unleashed on them on 12th and 14th of December 2015, leading to the death of over 800 members of the Movement and destruction of its sacred place of worship. Sheik Ibrahim ZakyZaky and her injured wife were taken into solitary confinement and detained incommunicado since 14th of December 2015 till date. They have not been charged or tried or released since then. The above regime atrocity has never happened in the history of democracy in Nigeria or any part thereof. The Government of Kaduna State also admitted burying 347 of murdered IMN members in mass graves. Till date, no single perpetrator including Lt Gen Turkur Buratai has been arrested and prosecuted. The world has also slumbered in silence and inaction; aiding and abetting regime atrocities, thereby encouraging citizen militancy and reprisal violence or uprising or insurgency.
As if these were not enough, repression and radicalization of Shiite Muslim worship took another dangerous dimension in early October 2016 when the Government of Kaduna State issued an illegitimate, illegal and unconstitutional Executive Proclamation, declaring the IMN illegal and unlawful society. The ban has further been extended to other States such as Plateau and Kano States; which explains our position that the regime atrocities are sponsored and aided by the Buhari’s Presidency. The Kaduna State Government; backed by the Buhari Administration, also went ahead and instigated mob attacks against members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, leading to the death of at least 25 of its members in the past one week.
Between 22 and 25 deaths or more have been recorded on the side of IMN and some of its important educational facilities were also torched or destroyed. For instant, two IMN members were killed in Kano, eleven in Katsina, four in Kaduna, five in Plateau, among a number of others who died as a result of terminal injuries they sustained following the military and police shootings and Government sponsored mob attacks. Scores of IMN members were also critically injured. Many, if not most of the killings were perpetrated by the Army and the Police and their perpetrators are still on the prowl.
Over 100 members of IMN were also arrested particularly in Kano State where at least 46 females and 40 males were arrested and taken into police and prison custodies and detained till date. Scores of others were arrested in Plateau State and detained. The arrests started since 10th of October 2016 and have continued. Among the arrested are juveniles who were sent to prisons but were rejected by prison authorities, leading to their detention in police cells till date. Despite the fact that spurious charges preferred against them (i.e. unlawful assemblies, breach of public peace, etc) are lightly or administratively bailable, they have been held for a period of seven days without bail or release.
We have carefully followed and studied the developments above highlighted and found no grounds whatsoever to lend credence to the Government crackdown other than sheer intra religious hatred, pursuit of vendetta and attempts to cow and intimidate the leadership of IMN and its members so as to escape responsibilities for heinous crimes against the Movement and its members; having slaughtered in a broad day light and under two days (12th and 14th of December 2015) of over 800 of its members and destruction of its sacred places of worship.
The grounds upon which the Government of Kaduna State, as directed by the Presidency, predicated its recent unconstitutional action of declaring IMN “unlawful society” and its consequent crackdown, are totally at variance with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution particularly its Sections 38 and 40. IMN as it is today in Nigeria, is not a violent religious body or a group involved in violent uprising or insurgency. This is more so when the Shiite Muslim body has just marked 40 years of its existence in Nigeria with no records of group violence or insurgency. Till date, there is no concrete evidence or State records linking the IMN to any form of violent uprising or insurgency in Nigeria or any part thereof.
Violence, till date, and in the world over, is measured by its gravity and proportionality. Nonviolent and peaceful religious processions, leading to occasional traffic gridlock on public roads can never constitute grounds for deployment of State brute or repressive force culminating into the massacre of over 800 citizens including women and children in a broad day light. Blockage of public roads during religious processions is as old as Islam in Nigeria particularly in northern parts of the country.
It is also one of the dark marks of the northern ruling oligarchy, dating back to 60s and 70s long before the coming of Shiite Islamism in Nigeria in 1976. Till date, strategic Federal Roads are blocked for hours every Friday by leading northern political leaders such as Gen Muhammadu Buhari, Nasiru El-Rufai and Lt Gen Turkur Buratai, claiming that they are exercising their right to freedom of religion, thought and conscience. Why should the same State now around and selectively deploy brute force and violence against members of the Shiite or IMN?
The allegation levelled by the Government of Kaduna State and its Federal backers to the effect that the IMN “intends to take up arms against Nigeria by maintaining a paramilitary body” is also an extension of criminalization, stigmatization, falsehood and propaganda policies of the Buhari Administration, which it has extensively used and sustained against dissent citizens and bodies since late May 2015 when it came to Nigeria’s Presidency. Under the law (i.e. Private Guards Act of 1986) and by convention, unarmed but uniform paramilitaries are allowed including within religious bodies.
In the Catholic Church, for instance, there exists Boys Scout, Man O’ War, Catholic Mobile Security of Nigeria, etc; so also in Anglican Church, which has Boys Brigade and Girls Guild, etc. Even the Nigerian Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are also known as paramilitary bodies in Nigeria. The IMN’s “HURRAS”; derived from Arabic word, meaning “civilian security guards”, cannot be an exception, provided they are not bearing firearms contrary to Section 214 of the 1999 Constitution. These paramilitaries are merely used to maintain orderliness and other skeletal security and humanitarian services within their religious bodies or localities as case may be.
Our decision to take up this informed advocacy position is to advise and caution Gen Muhammadu Buhari, Mallam Nasiru El-Rufai and Lt Gen Turkur Bruatai and their co-travellers in Yorean Violence to retrace their dangerous steps particularly as they concern the renewed violent crackdown on unarmed and innocent members of the IMN in Nigeria. Beyond the peaceful conducts of 6m-10m IMN followers in the country despite State’s systematic attacks and repression directed at the Movement, the group’s affiliates beyond the shores of Nigeria are not a push over when it comes to reprisal violence and insurgency. It is also important and advisable for those behind the ongoing religious persecution of Shiite Muslims in the country to carefully study history particularly the Iranian Revolution of 1979 as well as the Hezbollah Uprising in Lebanon and Anarchic State of things in Iraq.
These explain why we maintain that the ongoing religious persecution of Shiites in Nigeria by way of violent crackdown, ban and radicalization of their religious practices are the making of new deadly insurgency in Nigeria. Right to Freedom of Worship and Religion is the oldest human rights in the world. It predates Biblical, Koranic and Mosaic eras. It is through this that Jesus Christ came by way of birth around BC 001 and left around AD 33, leading to the birth of his Church around AD 35. Prophet Mohammed, too, came on account of it, by his birth in 570 AD and departure in 632 AD. As the first human rights, right to freedom of religion was codified as far back as AD 304 by a Roman Catholic Pope.
Its sanctity is unrivalled at all times and it is suicidal to attempt to suppress and repress citizens on account of their religious beliefs and practices and tribal identities. When the collective value identities of a population or group are systematically and rapaciously threatened by the repressive State, the target group can go radical and to any length in defense and preservation of such priceless group values.
The conspiracy of silence presently maintained by the international community must be broken now before it is too late. The international community must call Gen Muhammadu Buhari and his security commanders as well as the violent Governor of Kaduna State to order. All members of IMN arrested and detained including scores of juveniles and married women must be freed unconditionally.
Finally, we wish to extend our deep felt condolences to the leadership of IMN and its followers over the recent lost of scores of its members to Buhari’s State violence and call upon them to remain nonviolent and continue to explore available local, regional and international remedies to bring to justice the trio of Buhari, El-Rufai and Buratai and other perpetrators of regime atrocities no matter how long it takes. The IMN must resist and forestall at all times the ongoing panicky moves by the trio to intimidate it into abandoning its quest to get them account for regime atrocities committed against its unarmed and defenceless members.
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chairman
International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
Mobile Line: +2348174090052
Obianuju Igboeli, Esq., LLB, BL; LLM (c)
Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Program
Mobile Line: +2348034186332
Chinwe Umeche, Esq., LLB, BL
Mobile Line: +2347013238673
Head, Democracy & Good Governance Program
*Photo Caption - As seen.
[ Masterweb Reports: Tunde Asaju reports ] - If I had a word of advice for a worthy son, it would go something like this - beware of those who ride on sweet words into the conscience of voters for public office, they are a disappointment in the end. Since this is the era in which sons never accept anything without questioning, I would provide examples. The Wizard of Ota, a good writer of fables handed power civilians and returned to reap the reward. Once back in office, became an emperor and a gross disappointment, now writing and speaking back into political relevance and struggling to rewrite history.
A certain Mai Gaskiya, so broke and austere-living he couldn’t pay his rent. Returned to power on his anti-corruption stance now bursting at the seams with five houses, children in London schools, cash and cows all over; inheritor of eleven presidential jets and buyer of bullet proof limousines. Now thinks change begins with his fans! To dyed-in-the-wool Change apostles, nothing but their hero’s name is the key that opens El Dorado, so let Sai Baba be!
But what do you say of Peter Obi and his new road to redemption? Instead of sitting pretty over his rumoured successful businesses empire and savouring his newfound love with the umblera, former APGA lone-ranger, Peter Obi has stirred the political Hornet’s nest. His advise on how to curb waste and flourish in spite of the recession is the stuff of which bling-bling pastor’s create serial sermons and cult followership.
So, can anything good come out of a man who blatantly shunned the enviable perks of office and ran it all alone for eight years? Here was a governor who would carry his own bag; queue at airports when he travelled and refuse executive shunting. How can a man like that be taken seriously in a country where governors take pleasure in driving through their opponent’s villagers nuts with deadening siren just to rub in the painful balm of defeat?
What is power when the powerful shun the perks that differentiate them from Joneses? Obi gallantly saw the waste in local governments and refused to conduct elections preferring to be sole administrator for eight years. As dividend, he has tarred roads, first class school results and improved social infrastructure to prove. Obi tackled kidnapping by taking down the mansions with which its kingpins mocked the huts build on sweat. Yes, there are those who argue that Obi’s tarred roads are collapsing two years after he left office, although they are not telling us whether this is as a result of poor maintenance or the power of gully erosions.
Who wants the advice of an ex-governor who saved money for his successor by ostracising and starving political godfathers? A man who confessed to taking government house to big men rather than use taxpayer’s money to lavishly entertain them in government house. A man rejected the call to be the Amr of secession by diverting money meant for development into ‘building a formidable opposition’. A killjoy Obi did not hand over the one state APGA to the APC as a lasting handshake across Onitsha to secure for himself immunity from prosecution but willed it to a tattered umblera. It’s been two years and neither the EFCC nor the Daura Security Service, DSS has invited Obi for a chat, a fact that may change if he keeps talking.
As a co-traveller in the thankless enterprise of preaching to the converted, I would shrug my shoulders and ask that nobody listen to Obi. I don’t have to emphasise that for those whose auditory nerves have been deadened by the market noise of Change. There is a sickness associated with the ruling elite for which they deserve more than a ten-day retreat at Sai Baba’s London Ear Infection Clinic - it’s that they do not use common sense when in power. But Obi practically lived his talk for eight years in Awka! Hate the messenger, but digest Peter Obi’s road to redemption.
*Photo Caption - Peter Obi, Goodluck Janathan meet the Pope December 2014.
[ Masterweb Reports: Odimegwu Onwumere reports ] - “Sadly, the compliance level of the oil and gas exploration and production companies in payment of levies and taxes is very low and in fact, pitiable,” contained in a letter Governor Henry Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State personally wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), dated April 18, 2016.
There are indications that multinational companies in the country involve in illicit financial movements in corporate tax evasion and avoidance, with links to one heinous activity, especially, bribery.
They also milk their operating stations without contributing to the economies of the country by means of tax payment. They use trade or transfer mispricing, manipulation of tax treaties to defraud the country.
They rely on global network of dual taxation treaties or agreements. They believe that with the treaties, they can earn their income in the country other than their home country and shy away from or reduce the tax they ought to pay to their home countries’ governments.
Worried that many multinational companies do not have regard to the laws of the country and laws regulating tax in the 36 states of the country, Dickson therefore sought after the help of the Federal Government (FG) to persuade multinational oil companies to stop evading tax.
He added, “Our further position is that the Federal Government and its agencies should not condone or support irresponsible behaviour by these companies whose conduct subvert and undermine the authority of the State and our economy especially in the areas we have legislative authority such as Development Control, taxes permitted by Federal Laws and other legislations within the residual powers of the State.”
Trillions Of Naira Lost
Since August 2016, the FG has been inundated with a call that multinational companies must pay their tax. Checks revealed that Nigeria has lost money amounting to trillions of naira as a result of tax evasion by the multinational companies in the country.
Just in January 2016, Nigeria lost a monstrous US$3.3 billion to a strange tax holiday approved by the FG to three of the world’s principal multinational oil and gas companies operating in the country.
Findings by this writer showed that at the popular official rate authorised by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), that amount was the equal of N650.1 billion; while it was N957 billion at the corresponding market, with dollar exchanged for N290.00 or thereabout.
It was observable that this tax freedom was three times the bulk of Nigeria’s healthcare account (US$1.4 billion) for 2015; it was again above US$2.4 billion that was meant for education sector same year.
The ActionAid, an international development agency analyzed the double taxation treaty like it’s in Nigeria-Mauritius, saying that companies doing business in Nigeria have the loophole to avoid tax by steering their investments through Mauritius as contrasting to investing unswervingly in Nigeria.
Pundits expressed dissatisfaction, saying that these were not good for Nigeria with a population of over 170 million. They added that by 2013, Nigeria was Africa’s largest economy, with a GDP of 521 billion USD and an annual growth rate of 5.4%, with debt in that year, amounting to 19% of the GDP.
But in all that, there were indices that poverty was at 33.1% with the tax-to-GDP ratio at 14% in the same year. There were also fingers pointing at oil companies that include Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC); Nigerian Agip Oil Company Limited (NAOC); Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL); Consolidated Oil (CL); Conoil Producing; Brass LNG and Aiteo Energy, as major culprits in tax evasion.
According to a reliable source, “Just like the oil companies, in a rare disclosure in 2013, MTN Nigeria, a telecom company, admitted it made unauthorised payments of N37.6 Billion to MTN Dubai between 2010 and 2013.
“The transfers were then “on-paid” to Mauritius, a shell company with zero number of staff and which physical presence in the capital Port Louis is nothing more than a post office letter box.
“The disclosure amounted to a confession given that MTN made the dodgy transfers without seeking approval from the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), the body mandated to oversee such transfers.”
Corporate Tax Evasion
There have been policies by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Joint Tax Board (JTB) in making sure that taxes are collected, but these policies died as soon as they were implemented.
Some reports have shown that Organised Private Sector (OPS) and the oil and gas industry have robbed Nigeria enough by evading tax. The source revealed that in 2006, it was a tug of war when the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Resources had to look into Chevron Group of Companies for tax evasion.
There was tax blunder allegedly committed by the company which was to the tune of $10.8 billion (an equivalent of N140 billion), after an audit report had indicted it.
“Chevron over-bloated its cost of operation and evaded tax by $1.394 billion; claimed unmerited cash call of $2.112 billion," said the committee.
Many Nigerians and groups condemned the act by the company and tagged it as national embarrassment but blamed the country for being irresponsible with its tax system that these companies could maneuver.
Viewpoints By African Union
From Nigeria to Niger, from Somalia to Soweto, indications have emerged that oil multinationals and multinational companies swindle Africa’s tax billions yearly, said African Union (AU)
Against this backdrop, the Federal Ministry of Finance had to inaugurate a participatory method of instituting a Presumptive Tax Regime to successfully tax the casual sector, while Nigeria’s Joint Tax Board (JTB) had initiated the practice of balancing the assorted ( given at about 85) diverse taxes charged diagonally in the country to stay-away-from numerous taxation but criminalise the practice.
There was the introduction of a Tax Identification Number (TIN), which was meant to distribute a digit to a person as a requirement for involvement in some economic activities. There had been platform established for fair taxation: The Tax Justice & Governance (TJ&GP), which aligned with Oxfam, Actionaid, Christian Aid and others. This platform made appearances in May 2014, as a host of Pan African civil society when the African Union Finance Ministers meeting held in Abuja, likewise in the World Economic Forum on Africa held in Abuja .
In March, the same year, a sophisticated panel by AU (chaired by former South African President, Thabo Mbeki) on illicit financial flows, had found out that the money Africa had lost in tax was more than what it received in improvement aids from abroad or foreign direct investment joined together.
“They (multinationals) are depriving some of the world’s poorest countries of money vitally needed to pay for schools, hospitals and other essential services,” said the report.
ActionAid, conversely, noted that what the multinationals have been doing on the country, Africa should be renegotiating on tax, among the African governments, if necessary. The organisation advised that Africa might cancel some of her tax treaties in making sure that more money was accessible to help better the lives of the majority of her citizens.
“About $138 billion is given away by governments in developing countries annually in corporate income tax exemptions. The amount could have been enough to put every primary school aged child in school, meet all the health-related Millennium Development Goals and leave enough money for the agriculture investment needed to end hunger. African governments should also review their tax incentives and cooperate at a regional level to develop a coordinated approach to tax competition,” ActionAid said.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun on October 7, 2016, while briefing journalists in Washington D.C concerning the aftermath of a closed-door meeting of G-24 of an IMF/World Bank meeting, screamed that all multinational companies doing business in the country rarely paid tax and must pay their taxes.
“We were able to make two contributions; one of it was the need for accelerated investment in infrastructure as the way out of our current situation. This is what we believe will create jobs and reduce poverty.
“Another issue that we raised was tax evasion and the fact that we need the multilateral agencies to support us. Yes, trade is very important, but we need the multilaterals to ensure that all multinational companies that trade in Nigeria pay their fair share of taxes and that point was well taken,” Adeosun said.
Senate President Bukola Saraki related on October 12 2016, at the 22nd version of the Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja that Nigeria’s corporate taxation scheme should be improved on to get the country out of the economic downturn.
“With 37 million small and medium scale enterprises providing about 95 per cent of our jobs, as we promote ‘made-in-Nigeria’, we must also use our legislative powers to amend the taxation laws. To get out of this recession, we must provide a business-friendly environment,” he said.
On August 3 2016, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in a meeting presided over by Major General Muhammadu Buhari had approved a Multi-lateral Competent Authority Agreement on Exchange of Country by Country Report.
What this meant was that the accomplishment of the report would help the government to fast track tax laws. This was made known by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, in Abuja. Mohammed also informed that revenue companies have lost a lot of money.
“Where multinational companies operate, it’s quite easy for them to move profit from one territory to another territory where the tax law is very favourable to them. And what has happened over the years is that the revenue companies have lost a lot of money.
“As at the last count, over $1 trillion has been lost over a period of time. And the revenue companies have found that they were losing more money in terms of tax evasion and avoidance than what they were even receiving as grants from multinational agencies,” Mohammed said.
Importance Of Tax
An analyst who would not want the name in print told this writer that the importance of tax was immeasurable. He lamented that he wouldn’t know why multinational companies evade tax.
He added that apart from resources from agriculture before oil was found in 1956, Nigeria was thumping the ground with revenues from tax. He believed that Nigeria has lost a lot in the absence of tax since crude oil was discovered.
Apart from the money made from agriculture before the discovery of oil, this writer gathered that a personality like Chief Obafemi Awolowo (now late), as the first premier of the Western Region, built a lot of people-oriented infrastructures from money, also, gotten from tax.
According to the source, Awolowo built such structures that included the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University); Airport Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos; Oodua Textile Mill, Ado Ekiti; Ifon Ceramics Industry, Okitipupa Oil Palm Plc, Oluwa Glass Company Plc, Ondo state, Cocoa House and the Western Nigeria Television Authority (Now NTA), Ibadan, and so many others.
This writer’s source said that no country survives when its citizens, but especially, mutlinational companies doing business in that country are evading tax. He, therefore, suggested that all companies have to pay tax according to their resources.
Odimegwu Onwumere is a Poet, Writer and Consultant based in Rivers State. Tel: +2348057778358. Email: email@example.com
*Photo Caption - As seen.
[ Masterweb Reports: Dr. Peregrino Brimah reports ] - At the heart of the deadly intolerance against Shia Muslims in Nigeria is a deep-seated hatred for Shia Muslims. We must lay the facts bare in the face of in-our-face death delivering persecution against Nigeria's Shi'a minority.
Though they are more than 9 million, Shia are a minority religious group in Nigeria. In a 2012 pew poll, 12% of Nigerian Muslims identified as Shia; 38% identified as Sunni and 42% identified as "just Muslims."
With approximately 78 million Muslims in Nigeria, right about half of the nation, this would put those who self-identify as Shia at 9.4 million and those who self-identify as Sunni at 29.6 million.
When the northern concentration of Shia Muslims is factored, and the Sunni concentration is spread with Yoruba southern presence, we have most of the 9.4 million Shia in the north with perhaps half of those who identify as Sunni likely being in Yoruba-land.
In essence, about 9.4 million identify as Shia in the north and around 14.8 million identify as Sunni in the same north. That's almost a ratio of 1:1 or at most 1:2. This is the reality. If the Shia decided to embark on violence, openly or via terror, it would be very disastrous. Thankfully Shi'a are known for their peace and tolerance.
While many other religious groups are known for their blood-thirstiness and cutting others up, some Shia are despised for cutting themselves (self-flagellation). I ask, which is worse: those who cut others and often secretly bury them or those who cut themselves?
I ask, what have the Shi'a Muslims done in Nigeria and across the world to merit the kind of hate we witnessed in Nigeria last December that continued again this Muharram Holy month with teams of takfiri youth seen loaded in police vans with sticks and machetes on mission to kill and burn Shia Muslims and drag their dead bodies in garbage dumps?
There are several pictures of these online. Police ferrying takfiri killers on mission to cut-up Shia Muslims. Pictures of soldiers in the middle of these takfiri Boko Haram-like youth burning Shia Muslims' bodies. Indeed the Zaria massacre according to all accounts had these same takfiris involved along with the army in the massacre of the Shi'a victims.
It is troubling to say the least. When the Nigerian army and police conveys terrorists in its vehicles to pursue and massacre religious minorities, one can only pray the peaceful nature and patience of the Shi a Muslims is not expended. Every metal has a young modulus elastic limit. Bend it enough and it will snap.
What was banned by el-Rufai and other northern governors, for whatever gratification, was not the Islamic movement of Nigeria, but Shia Islam. The Shia conduct processions about three times a year. These processions are conducted not just in Nigeria but across the world. Why was the ban announced right before a major such procession and why were those assembling freely and conducting their religious rights in Ashura processions affected and killed by police and police escorted mobs? Even if we do not mourn as they do, do we have a right to stop them and stop Christians from going to Church and Jews from going to their synagogue?
After seeing that 10 months later the Shi'a abided by the law and were patient and did not react in any illegal or adverse way to the December Zaria massacre, and fended off all sponsored ploys through the media and phony rights groups, consistently denying them what will grant them the excuse they desired to "ban" the faithfuls and hunt down its adherents, they could wait no longer and went ahead to proclaim the ban in fulfillment of the desires of their puppet foreign masters.
Why did the northern governors not discuss with the Shi'a Muslims of Nigeria and determine a safe way to allow them their religious rights? Is close to 10 million people not a big enough number for their interests to be considered even if they are distasteful to some? Can public holidays not even be considered? We have cultural activities across Nigeria that paralyze cities. Must the remedy for difference be persecution and death? Is this how we invite people to our fold if indeed we think we are on the right and we have what is better? Are we being good ambassadors of the religion of peace and the compassionate prophet and mercy to mankind?
A Muslim will never kill a Christian, Jew or 'Shi'a' Muslim simply because of their method of belief in God.
Those who kill these other believers have departed far from Islam. The Muslim Quran says that which means, "If a man (a believer) kills a (another) believer intentionally his recompense is Hell to abide therein (for ever): and the wrath and the curse of Allah are upon him and a dreadful penalty is prepared for him. Quran 4:93."
The truth is, while the word "Shi'a" actually occurs in the Quran at least twice in reference to righteous people. "And most surely Abraham was among the Shi’a of him (i.e., Noah)”(Qur’an 37:83); and again in verse Quran 28:15, in reference to the followers of Prophet Moses(a), the same cannot be said of "Sunni." It's not in the Quran. These are facts I have learned since the December Zaria massacre. So while dividing the religion into sects with any name put before Muslim, be it Shia or Sunni is rejected and condemned in Islam (Quran 6:159), the use of Shi'a as a figure of speech and not a name divider, in its meaning, "follower" has been done by God Himself. It's mere arabic. A shia of Prophet Mohammed(p) simply means a follower of Prophet Mohammed(p). Can others say the same. Real talk. They hate the Shi'a because they say some of them curse some Sahaba (companions). But they revere Muawiyah who instituted cursing Ali(R) at the pulpit (Muslim, Chapter of Virtues of Companions, Section of Virtues of ‘Ali, Arabic, v4, p1871, Tradition #32), and that's Ali who was not just a companion but a family of the Prophet who the Prophet of Islam warned must be respected (Muslim, v1, p48). Perhaps when you point a finger, three point back at you. And what of those Shi'a who are "Zaydiyya?" Do they consider the similarities of these individuals?
But I am really not interested in dabbling in these matters. It is no one's business what another person believes or how he portrays his belief. If yours is better then argue a better argument and show them your better way (Quran 16:125), but to kill them? And secretly bury them and instigate continuous violence against them? This is satanic.
While we may not be able to change the ways of the heavily foreign-sponsored government agents and scholars who promote and perpetrate this hate and persecution and murder in Nigeria, we can appeal to individuals. This is the only option: to tear away recruited potential takfiris among citizens and even the police and army. To them I leave this Muslim hadith that tells us that no matter who and how much we may revere and respect a person and their blessing with God, we must always follow God and NEVER follow man at the risk of defying our Creator and Sole master:
Narrated Abu Wail: When 'Ali sent 'Ammar and Al-Hasan to (the people of) Kufa to urge them to fight, 'Ammar addressed them saying, "I know that she (i.e. 'Aisha) is the wife of the Prophet in this world and in the Hereafter (world to come), but Allah has put you to test, whether you will follow Him (i.e. Allah) or her." (Bukhari Volume 5, Book 57, Number 116)
When they urge you to kill Christians, Jews or 'Shi'a' Muslims, will you follow them or follow Allah?
Dr. Peregrino Brimah ( Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ) reports.
*Photo Caption - Takfiri youth in police truck escorted by police to kill Shia.
[ Masterweb Reports: Uzoma Ngozi reports ] - When will Nigeria come out recession? Who will deliver Nigeria? But for Nigeria to come out of this economic state, our leaders must speak and act in truth.
Opeyemi Agbaje wrote an article titled, "Nigerian Economy Since 1999: Myths, Lies and Data" in August giving a rundown of economic management in the country in past administrations.
Against several mis-information in the public, the past administration is not to blame for the economic woes of the country. With Dr Okonjo-Iweala at the economic seat of the country, the economy was well managed.
Her economic astuteness was even preceded by her stint at the past administration to Obasanjo’s tenure in government.
Let’s look at some of the policies and implementations that came from her and past governments.
Under President Olusegun Obasanjo, Okonjo Iweala helped Nigeria pay off a huge amount of a burdening debt to the Paris Club. Nigaria’s debt reduced from $30 billion to $12 billion. The same Okonjo-Iweala had told the government to save for a rainy day but opposition from some governors with no well-meaning intentions stifled the idea.
The former president through the then Finance Minister also created the Excess Crude Account, ECA, which was and saved billions, which enabled Nigeria to survive the 2008 worldwide economic meltdown.
Also, note that she oversaw the establishment of lofty accomplishments like the establishment of Almajiri schools, You-Win and SURE-P programs and investments in the education sector.
She achieved this of course with the support of the presents on seat then.
What has the present administration achieved rather than to apportion blames? They should stop blaming and acting!
With a sound implementation like the ECA, Nigeria should not be going through what it is presently but what became of the ECA? Some state governors by their demand for the distribution of resources and distributing it depleted the ECA.
They frustrated the former minister’s efforts and stalled her appeal for the nation to save for a rainy day.
Now we see the results; Nigerians are suffering for this.
Stop blaming past administrations. Stop giving lies as facts and figures. Take responsibility!
God bless Nigeria!
Uzoma Ngozi ( Email: email@example.com )is an entrepreneur and a social commentator who resides in Lagos.
*Photo Caption - As seen.