[ Masterweb Reports: Mr. Gabriel Maji reports ] - My name is Gabriel Maji, a Nigerian from Kogi State. I was highly embarrassed to see the picture of my late wife on the cover of The Punch newspaper this morning along with a story which quoted me. It was a neighbour who showed me the story.
This is the link of the article online - http://www.punchng.com/news/synagogue-nigerian-togolese-beninoise-victims-still-missing/.
I wonder how a newspaper like The Punch would go out of its way to write such a wicked story which is completely false about me and my wife. I was thoroughly shocked to see what was written and I don’t know how the paper came about it.
The Punch story has not only embarrassed me and my relatives but is also misleading to the whole world because it was all concocted to achieve the ulterior motive of the writer.
I want to say clearly that I am still with the church and since this ugly incident happened, the church has also been with me. The SCOAN has been communicating regularly with me and has never said or done anything bad against my wife or me. Even my children and I have been here and the church has been 100 percent with me. What happened was not only to my wife.
Many people were coming in to sympathize with me not knowing some were false sympathizers like The Punch writer who came with ulterior motives. He even secretly took the picture of my late wife on the wall in my house. I leave him to God for judgment. My advice to him is to desist from falsehood. Stop writing what did not happen as truth to mislead the public, because you will account for everybody you mislead by your writing.
Mr. Gabriel Maji ( Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ) reports.
*Photo Caption - Mr. Gabriel Maji, insert his wife Veronica.
[ Masterweb Reports: Ihechukwu Njoku Writes Nicholas Ibekwe ] - Dear Nicholas; Firstly, thanks for standing up for your moral principles this week! I
appreciate your zeal and bold resolve to let integrity lead in your journalistic pursuits.
My name is Ihechukwu Njoku, a freelancer currently in Lagos. Let me be honest - a brief online check will show that I am a fan of TBJ, evidenced in my numerous write-ups about The SCOAN. I am not however a ‘church spokesman’ as a few people have insinuated due to the positive focus of my reports.
Before placing me in any stereotypical mould, I am not here to declare some ‘Deuteronomy-style’ curse on your head or quote the whole ‘touch not my anointed’ jargon as I know some other religious fanatics (nutheads) have done.
I simply wish to express my own personal observations of this current ‘bribe-saga’ in the hope that it may also help clarify a couple of things.
I agree 100% that journalism in Nigeria is darkened by a cloud of corruption where truth is doctored to suit the political will of the paymasters with ‘brown envelopes’ running the show behind the scenes. This deserves denunciation and renunciation at every available opportunity by all who believe ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’.
I would sincerely, however, paint a different picture in the case of T.B. Joshua – based on my own personal experiences and the principles Joshua has espoused and stood for over the years.
I am not sure how well you know TBJ or SCOAN but I would say first of all that it would be impromptu to use this particular tragic incident and the church’s rather unusual reaction to it as a yardstick to determine his integrity.
I have watched Emmanuel TV for nearly five years and visited The SCOAN several times during this period. I was initially very skeptical but what caught my attention was the sheer simplicity of Joshua’s message and lifestyle. He is a fresh exception to the ‘money-mongering’ ‘private-jet-boasting’ lifestyles of most Naija men of God today. Joshua lives simply, drives simply, dresses simply, talks simply… he is hands-down the most humble, generous and unusual man I’ve met.
The first time I met T.B. Joshua (without him knowing I was into a journalism and without my asking), he gave me N10,000 for ‘transport’. Where I lived only needed about N500 to get there! There was no condition attached or surreptitious motive at play. That’s just the type of man T.B. Joshua is – a good giver. Ask anyone who knows about SCOAN and they will tell you the same. That’s why I termed him
unusual. Such attitude is so rare to find in Nigeria that the insinuations and connotations you arrived at in the light of what he offered you last Sunday are completely understandable.
Don’t think I am naïve! Of course, the money offered by Joshua to you and other journalists last week was certainly influenced by the situation on ground. However, it does not change the truth that this has been Joshua’s habitual practice – not only to journalists but to anyone he meets. Don’t judge by my perception alone – ask anyone who has met him and has not left with some form of blessing.
Besides, what facts are really there to be ‘covered up’ by this ‘bribe’ in an international incident of this magnitude? The money, either received or rejected, didn’t change the facts that the media reported.
I could say a lot more but I’m not here to preach. I am just positing that there is more to T.B. Joshua than could be appreciated on a first encounter in a challenging scenario.
My candid advice is to take some time to watch Emmanuel TV, even if you consider yourself ‘unreligious’. Watch the man, listen to what he has to say over a significant period of time and in the light of such, arrive at your conclusion. After all, for over 360 South Africans to take the long journey to Lagos, ignoring the fears of Ebola and Boko Haram, show he certainly has something worth looking at.
That’s just my two cents.
*Photo Caption - Nicholas Ibekwe
[ Masterweb Reports: Dr. Peregrino Brimah ] - On June 3rd 2013, the United States Department of State declared “Abubakar Shekau” alias, Abu Bakr Skikwa, Imam Abu Bakr Shiku, Abu Muhammad Abu Bakr Bin Muhammad Al Shakwi Al Muslimi Bishku, wanted. A bounty of $7 million was put on his head for “information on his location” or leading to his capture. Quote: “rewards for information on key leaders of terrorist organizations in West Africa.”
In February of 2014, I on behalf of the ENDS organization released an explicit article, “Boko Haram Leader Abubakar Shekau Is Dead!” In the article, we proved with clear evidence that the new person appearing in all videos released since August of 2013 were impostors of the late Shekau I. See article: http://ends.ng/boko-haram-leader-abubakar-shekau-is-dead/
In May of 2014 after Boko Haram abducted 234 girls from Chibok in Noerth Nigeria, we provided side-by-side picture comparisons which fully exposed the differences between the new Shekau II who released the videos and the original Shekau I declared wanted. [http://ends.ng/when-they-bombed-the-churches/]
So many media local and international rejected our position. CNN on May 13th of 2014 denied our claims as supported by Nigerian Government’s intelligence position; they wrote: “The man identifies himself as Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau. Nigerian officials disputed that claim on Monday, arguing that Shekau is dead. Other experts say the notorious terror group leader is still alive.
In the same article, CNN went ahead to argue that: “The same man appears in Boko Haram videos claiming to be Shekau at least as far back as August. And at least one expert doubted Ogar's claim.” [http://edition.cnn.com/2014/05/12/world/africa/nigeria-abducted-girls/]
However shockingly erroneously, CNN compared Shekau II to an edition of him in August of 2013, after the new impostor had taken over, and did not responsibly compare the new person to editions of Shekau I between 2011 and July of 2013, which were clearly a different person.
Our accurate updated information on the whereabouts of Shekau I, derived from careful analysis of all past video and picture images of Shekau, determining authoritatively that an impostor appeared in all post August 2013 releases by Boko Haram and their affiliates, was essential and invaluable towards asserting the strength of the group, and phase of security departments in the war on terror and for determining US strategies of involvement.
Today the Nigerian government is announcing the likely killing of Boko Haram leader Shekau II. There are images of his body for careful analysis and his physical carcass genetic studies to confirm that this person is an impostor as we accurately proved. Several experts including Australian negotiator, Stephen Davis have now asserted and confirmed our asserted publications, that Shekau I died since July of 2013. See: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2014/09/killed-shekau-nigeria-cameroon/#sthash.cM7D4RTM.dpuf
In light of the new evidence, we believe ENDS deserves the US reward for clarifying with detailed analysis and pictorial evidence the location of Shekau I – Dead and buried. Our press releases categorically informing the world of the impostor taking up the deposed leader’s role, were essential in the fight against Boko Haram who depended on portraying the real Shekau as still alive to maintain moral, confidence and loyalty of its members.
We look forward to the initiation of the compensation process for our invaluable role.
Dr. Peregrino Brimah ( Email: email@example.com ) reports.
*Photo Caption - Dead body thought to be that of Abubakar Shekau, Boko Haram leader. The deceased was killed by Cameroonian soldiers; Nigerian army claims to have killed Shekau earlier in battle near Konduga in Borno State.. Unconfirmed reports say the man killed by the Cameroonian army might be a body double used by Shekau.
[ Masterweb Reports: Intersociety reports ] - (Security, International Justice & Human Rights, Onitsha Nigeria, September 21, 2014)-On Thursday, 18th of September, 2014, the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) wrote us. The reply letter under reference was sequel to our earlier letter to it dated Sunday 14th of September, 2014 over the sponsorship of the Nigerian Insurgency Violence orchestrated majorly by the duo of Boko Haram and Fulani Islamist terror groups. The ICC’s letter to the Intersociety is second in three months. Its first letter bordering on the same ethno-religious atrocity criminality in Nigeria was dated 2nd June, 2014 in response to our forwarding letter to it dated 30th of May 2014. The forwarding letter was in reference to our (now) four-part letter to Mr. President of Nigeria, dated 29th and 31st May, 2014(Boko Haram Terror & Other Unlawful Killings In Nigeria).
In its September 18, 2014 letter to us, the ICC Prosecutor states as follows: “on behalf of the Prosecutor, I thank you for your communication received on 30/5/2014, as well as any subsequent related information. The office is analyzing the situation identified in your communication, with the assistance of other related communications and other available information. Under Article 53 of the Rome Statute, the Prosecutor must consider whether there is a reasonable basis to believe that crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court have been committed, the gravity of the crimes, whether the national systems are investigating and prosecuting the relevant crimes, and the interest of justice. Analysis will be carried out as expeditiously as possible, but please be aware that meaningful analysis of this can take time. As soon as a decision is taken on whether there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation, we will advise you promptly and we will
provide reasons for the decision.” The ICC letter was signed by Mr. M.P. Dillion, Head of the Information & Evidence Desk of the Office of the Prosecutor.
In our recent letters to the Pope and the Nigerian Christian leaders including the Catholic Church its Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), dated 17th and 18th July 2014, we had, among other demands, called upon them to continuously break their silence and take detailed stock of the ceaseless killing of Christians and burning of churches in the northern part of the country by the two murderous groups above mentioned. On Monday, 15th of September 2014, the Catholic Diocese of Maiduguri, spoke publicly through its Director of Social Communications, Rev. Father Gideon Obasogie. The Church shockingly and chillingly revealed that its diocese of Maiduguri covering Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States has documentarily lost over 500 members including over 170 children in the insurgency violence waged by the Boko Haram terror group since the beginning of 2009. It also revealed that over 50 of its parishes and rectories have been destroyed or burnt down; that over 500 women and 1,500 child members of the Diocese have been made widows and orphans respectively; and that over 90,000 parishioners are displaced.
The Church further revealed that its parishes and outstations in Pulka, Barma, Gamboru Ngala, Maffa, Gubio, Darnasak, Madayi, Baga, Gwoza, Madagali, Gulak and Shuwa all in Borno State as well as Michika, Bazza, Mishara and Mubi in Adamawa State have been under siege. These, according to the Church, amounted to over 100 parishes, outstations, local churches and other small Christian communities. Also adversely affected by the Boko Haram anti-Christian terror attacks are some churches within Potiskum and Damaturu in Yobe State. The Church cited the example of such calculated and well coordinated bloody and destructive attacks to include the January 25, 2014 attack at an outstation attached to the St. Denis Parish in Chakawa community in which the outstation was completely burnt down and 60 worshippers slaughtered. The 23 nursery and primary schools and 10 secondary schools belonging to the Church in Maiduguri Diocese have also come under heavy Boko Haram terror attacks leading to desertion of the schools by pupils, students and teachers and present takeover and militant occupation of St. Joseph Minor Seminary, Shuwa, St. Joseph Nursery & Primary School, Gamboru Ngala and St. Michael Nursery & Primary School, Maiduguri by the murderous terror group.
The Church lamented that the Catholic faithful in the area are leaving in enmasse for safety as the Diocese is facing a moment of fierce persecution. This has also led to the closure of 15 adversely affected Catholic missionary schools in the area. The Church concluded thus “the adverse effects of these incessant attacks can be seen clearly in the dwindling number and mass exodus of people from the area. Every aspect of the diocese is shrinking by the day and the number of masses celebrated in large parishes has drastically been reduced. Our St. Denis Parish in Madagali is presently occupied by the Boko Haram”.
The Archbishop of the Diocese, Most Rev. Dr. Oliver Dashe Doeme gave further insight into difficulties afflicting the Diocese of Maiduguri. In a press engagement on Friday, September 19, 2014, the Archbishop cried thus “our people are dying every day and in most cases with no one to bury them decently, they are left to rot; their homes and properties looted; they have become slaves and prisoners in their fatherland, here is a government that cannot safe guard the lives of its citizens and indeed life has become so cheap that it can be wasted any moment. We used to think that salt is the cheapest commodity in the market, well, life is cheaper now especially in the North-eastern part of Nigeria. We are faced with a huge humanitarian crisis; people are sleeping on the streets in Maiduguri, despite the seven or more camps within the city for the IDPs. We are again witnessing a mass exodus of our brothers and sisters from the East, South and West. Many people are relocating to other parts of Nigeria; even the soldiers are moving their families out of the barracks to safer towns and cities in Nigeria. This is our current situation in the Catholic Diocese of Maiduguri”.
The Archbishop revealed that 25 towns in Borno State have fallen to the Boko Haram terror group including his Diocese’s parishes, outstations and rectories. The towns are Damboa, Buni Yadi, Madagali, Gwoza, Gujba, Gulak, Bama, Gulani, Shuwa, Marte, Kukawa, Michika, Dikwa, Bularafa, Bazza, Gamboru Ngalla and Buni Gari, Banki, Bara, Pulka, Bumsa, Ashgashiya, Taltaba, Limankara and Njibulwa. He further revealed that close to 20 priests have been taken refuge by Boko Haram terror group in Yola, Adamawa State. The church cried out saying that Maiduguri, the Borno State capital “is sitting on a keg of gun powder, with the fall of Bama which is about 71 kilometres away and Konduga, the next major target is Maiduguri”.
According to the Archbishop, “there are conflicting reports about Bama as to whether it is in the hands of the terrorists. But the number of civilians that have migrated into Maiduguri on foot from Bama, Kawuri and Konduga is suggestive that the terrorists have an upper hand in the fight. The last one month has seen the intensification and aggressive devastation of the Boko Haram activities in northern, central and southern parts of the Catholic Diocese of Maiduguri. The brutality and callousness with which people are killed can only be compared to that of the ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Many of our people are being forced out of their ancestral homes, villages and towns”.
“Right now, thousands are living in caves on the mountains, some in the forest; the few who were able to escape are being absorbed by friends and relatives in Maiduguri and Yola. Thousands have managed to escape into Cameroun and are living under very difficult conditions of lack of food, shelter and medication. What is very worrying and discouraging in the whole scenario, is the attitude of the military that we mortgage and depend on for security. In the face of these attacks, they flee and ask civilians to do the same. The level of sophistication and capabilities that these terrorists have attained within five years is very revealing and scary. The mastery and tact with which they fight is unequalled by our military. Their resilience can be compared to that of trained Marines. That is why they are able to over-run towns and villages almost unchallenged. They can boast of armoured tanks and armoured personnel carrier (APC), rocket launchers, anti aircraft and anti tank destroyers, sub-machine guns, new and latest guns AK 47 and an inexhaustible boxes of ammunitions and bullets”.
“We are sinking fast in the quick sand, let us swallow our empty pride as Nigerians and ask for international assistance in tackling this problem. After all, if we have been assisting other countries and nations restore peace and order, why do we feel that it is humiliating to ask for help now that our house is on fire? The near inaction of the government, the lukewarm attitude and the silence of the government is very disturbing. There is a total disconnection between what our so called leaders in Abuja report in the media and the reality on ground. We wish they have the courage to fly into these areas and see things for themselves. We might shy away from it, we may be silent and unable to speak up or speak out now against the plan to Islamize the North-east and eventually Nigeria. But what we are witnessing in Northern Adamawa is a clear confirmation and the unfolding of this agenda”.
Collectively, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) also spoke strongly against the ongoing ethno-religious butchery in the country and ceaseless attacks on Christians and churches in northern Nigeria in particular. Rising from its Second Plenary Conference in Warri in Delta State on Friday, September 19, 2014, the CBCN observed sadly “first –hand and horrifying reports reaching us from Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Taraba, Kano and Kaduna States about the mass slaughter of fellow Nigerians; the burning and sacking of whole villages, churches and rectories”. It lamented precarious situation in the North-eastern Nigeria, where killings, burnings and fleeing of defenseless Nigerians have created heightened sense of unrest and siege to the whole nation”. It asked the Federal Government of Nigeria to “do more than it is currently doing to fight off and disarm these destroyers of Nigerians and Nigeria”. It said that the Federal Government “must do more than it is currently doing to prevent segments of our nation from drifting, anarchy and mutual self-destruction and bring the criminals to justice”. The CBCN’s statement was signed by its President, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama and its Secretary, Archbishop William Avenya.
The Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC and the body of the Catholic Church in Nigeria through its Catholic Bishop Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) are commended for these commendable bold steps under reference. The recent public accounts given by the Catholic Diocese of Maiduguri through its Archbishop and Director of Social Communications as referenced above, particularly gladdened our heart and are absolutely in line with our earlier call in July 2014 through our letters addressed to them in which we called for an end to “silence of the graveyard” condemnably maintained by Nigerian Christian bodies in the midst of the ongoing Islamist groups’ butcheries and property violence. The leadership of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), which earlier revealed that “over 750 of its churches have been destroyed or burnt down in northern Nigeria by Boko Haram terror group since 2009” is still being commended. We still call on other Christian bodies and leaderships in the country including the Anglican Communion in Nigeria to open up and speak out in the same or similar directions.
While the steps taken or roles played so far by the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC and the Nigerian Christian bodies and leaderships in respect of exposing the atrocities associated with ongoing ethno-religious violence in Nigeria and atrocity criminals behind them, are worthy noting and commendation, they are not good enough. More actions are steadily expected of them.
For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
Uzochukwu Oguejiofor, Esq., Head, Campaign & Publicity Department
Onyinyechi Angela Nwankwere, Esq., Deputy Head, International Justice & Human Rights Program
*Photo Caption - Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau
[ Masterweb Reports ] -Gov Orji to be Conferred National Honours Award as Commander Order of the Niger (CON) by President Goodluck Jonathan
The Executive Governor of Abia State, His Excellency, Chief Theodore Orji, has been pencilled down for the prestigious National Honours Award as Commander Order of the Niger (CON).
This award of excellence for distinguishing himself in the service of his fatherland will be conferred on him along with other distinguished Nigerians by President Goodluck Jonathan on September 29,2014 at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.
A release issued in Umuahia by his Chief Press Secretary, Charles Ajunwa, said that the award was a testimonial of the Governor's proficient and visionary leadership which has since restored Abia on the path of greatness.
According to the release, this award coupled with numerous others already conferred on the Governor by various communities, associations and institutions both local and international speak volume of his administrative acumen and giant strides which have placed the state on an enviable height.
The statement reads in part: "There is no gain saying the fact that His Excellency Chief T. A Orji has laid a solid foundation for the economic and socio-political growth of Abia. Ever since he courageously liberated the state from political bondage and economic stagnation, Abia has witnessed rapid infrastructural transformation.
"He has also democratised Abia's political space such that even the opposition today criticise government without fear of intimidation or molestation unlike what previously obtained when the opposition went on self exile during the years of ruin and locust by his predecessor.
"It is evident that the array of legacy projects dotting the Abia landscape today is as a result of his prudence in managing scare resources as he has not mortgaged the future of Abia by accessing funds in the bond market as some of his counterparts who make the most of noise have done. Orji has judiciously managed the resources of the state to work for the state without incurring any debt.
"Apart from legacy projects, Governor Orji has also excelled in human capital development and youth empowerment thereby giving hope and future to thousands of Abia youths who were before he came on board willing tools in the crime industry."
The statement further noted that Orji unlike the previous administrations in the state had also carried Abia elders and founding fathers along in the governance of the state, a development that has resulted to the prevailing peace in the polity.
According to the statement, the award is also in recognition of the Governor's commendable efforts in the restoration and sustenance of security in the state which have made Abia rank among the three most peaceful states in Nigeria today.
The award, the statement further noted called for celebration by all well-meaning Abians as the Governor has dedicated it to their massive support and loyalty to his administration, while promising to consolidate on the successes so far recorded for the good of all Abians.
*Photo Caption - Governor T. A. Orji
[ Masterweb Reports: Valentine Obienyem reports ] … Complementing and strengthening the public opinion of Ojukwu are the general opinions from his comrade-in-arms. Brigadier Adekunle Benjamin formed and led the defunct “Third Marine Commando” during the war. He was known for his anti-Igbo activities. His singular ambition during the war was the annihilation of the Igbos and the only words meaningful to him or his soldiers were: rifle, fighter, death, kill, shoot, rape, rapine, pillage and ethnic cleansing. He commanded his soldiers to shoot at everything that moved, apparently believing, like a Roman emperor, that “The corpse of an enemy smells sweet.” There were other tales of incredible barbarities associated with Adekunle. It was said, for instance, that being callously cruel, he grew flowers in the skulls of his dead foes, after a close aide had advised against drinking water with them on health grounds. Some Igbos indignantly swallowed these tales with their eyes shut. Later investigations revealed that some of these tales were “war atrocities” manufactured by historians/journalists in a hostile camp.
The repentant Adekunle lately confessed that despite having fought against Ojukwu, that he would always run to him whenever he called him. This was, perhaps, a self-serving apology of an officer who fought against his old commanding officer. The same Brigadier Adekunle was very close to General Gowon, but when Gowon whom he fought for was overthrown, he made many remarks, largely unprintable, against him. He spoke in terms of Gowon being a “nobody.”
I have never judged, I cannot judge, and I do not wish to judge. All I want to say is that Adekunle should have added in his indictments that Gowon’s sins are legion, for ordering the massacre of the defenceless Igbos in what he ostensibly called “police Action” which degenerated into ethnic cleansing. Furthermore, Adekunle should publicly show remorse for joining hands with the destructive forces of Gowon.
Valentine Obienyem reports.
*Photo Caption - Benjamin Adekunle
[ Masterweb Reports ] - Recall a letter addressed to us by your respected office, dated 2nd day of June 2014 in response to our two-part letter to Mr. President of Nigeria, dated 29th and 31st May, 2014, which we copied your respected office. The remaining parts three and four of the letter as well as related subsequent letters and publications updated up to July 2014 were also sent to your office, which it duly received and acknowledged. The correspondences between your office and ours were in respect to commission of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide by the State and non-State actors in Nigeria's insurgency violence (Boko Haram terrorism) and a demand for your body's intervention. Our writing your respected office again is not only to remind your office that we are still waiting for the official announcement from your revered office of its commencement of its substantive criminal inquiry into the above named atrocity crimes with a view to apprehending and prosecuting their offenders; but also to........ Read More.
*Photo Caption - International Criminal Court (ICC) logo
[ Masterweb Reports: Paul C Nwabuikwu reports ] - It is a shame that someone with the credentials of Dr Temitope Oshikoya would display the kind of dishonesty and moral turpitude present in his article, “Golden Girl and the Icarus Paradox” published in The Guardian of Monday, September 8, 2014. The article is a commentary on the ongoing recruitment process for CEO of the Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC).
For the sake of transparency, Dr Oshikoya should have let the world know that he was a candidate for this position but unfortunately, he did not make it. The fact that he neglected to mention this is very instructive and demonstrates that he is nothing but a disappointed bitter person who is not man enough to take responsibility for his own performance.
It is quite disheartening when people like Oshikoya, who is expected to know better, impugn efforts to institutionalize a merit-based approach to recruitment for key positions in the country simply because the results did not favour him. Some of us need to learn to put the collective good ahead of individual selfish interest.
The NMRC is, of course, the government sponsored but private-sector driven institution which is central to the Jonathan administration’s plan to make mortgage finance accessible to Nigerians. The launch of the first 10,000 mortgages scheme on July 31 underscores the government’s commitment to the realization of this objective.
The interview for CEO of NMRC which Dr Oshikoya participated in was part of a transparent process managed by the globally respected consulting firm, Deloitte and Touche. The firm shortlisted ten Nigerians from within and outside the country in a global headhunt which met the standards of international best practice. The interview panel included Managing Director of Stanbic IBTC Bank, Mrs Sola David Borha; interim CEO of NMRC, Mr Sunny Ayere; CEO, Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, Mr Uche Orji; CEO of Aso Savings and Loans Plc, Alhaji Hassan Usman; and representatives of the World Bank, International Finance Corporation and DFID. In the end, Dr Oshikoya did not make the short list of the final three candidates who are being proposed to be interviewed by the Board of the NMRC.
It is understandable to feel disappointed in this kind of circumstance. What is not understandable – or justifiable – is to write an article full of vicious falsehoods and distortions against the chair of the interview panel who, for reasons best known to Oshikoya, he erroneously blames for his poor performance. The unwarranted attack against the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance by Oshikoya is nothing but a despicable effort by a person who obviously has an inflated opinion of himself to channel personal frustration against a false object of disappointment.
Oshikoya’s long winded article is full of allegations which are as false as they are laughable. For instance, he shamelessly repeats the unfounded story that Okonjo-Iweala appointed Igbos to head agencies in the financial sector. But this is totally untrue as it is a verifiable fact that the heads of the Securities and Exchange Commission, AMCON, Nigeria Stock Exchange and others were already in office before Okonjo-Iweala returned to government in August 2011. It is also a fact that Mr Uche Orji, the CEO of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority emerged through a competitive and transparent process supervised by the reputable international consulting firm KPMG and in which the respected Mr Fola Adeola headed the nominations committee.
It is indeed sad that Dr Oshikoya would, by implication, impugn the integrity of Mr Kunle Elebute, Managing Partner of KPMG who supervised the process of hiring the top management team of the NSIA, Mr Dotun Philips, head of Philips Consulting who supervised the FIRS version and Mr Joseph Olofinsola of Deloitte and Touche who oversaw the NMRC process which inspired his article.
In his haste to tar the Minister, Oshikoya neglected to do even the most basic homework. He obviously does not know that the DG of BPE, Mr Benjamin Dikki, one of the “Igbos” whom Oshikoya identified as the Coordinating Minister’s appointee is from Kebbi State not Okonjo-Iweala’s so-called “geo-ethnic circles” (sic)! Of course, Dr Bright Okogu, the DG Budget Office who is also mentioned is Urhobo from Delta State. He carefully does not mention Dr Mansur Muhtar, Nigeria’s most senior representative at the World Bank and Dr Shehu Yahaya, Executive Director at the African Development Bank as well as other qualified persons whose nominations were supported by Dr Okonjo-Iweala. To a mind warped by disappointment and bitterness, the truth is dispensable.
It is beneath contempt for Oshikoya to resurrect old lies about Okonjo-Iweala’s alleged role in the failed bid of Mr Bisi Ogunjobi to be elected President of the African Development Bank ten years ago. The final outcome had little to do with Dr Okonjo-Iweala who campaigned vigorously for him once he was nominated as Nigeria’s candidate. The truth is that Mr Ogunjobi performed creditably in a competitive process in which all ministers of finance in Africa interviewed candidates but did not emerge the winner. The notion that Okonjo-Iweala could have singlehandedly swung the vote in Mr Ogunjobi’s favour but refused to do so is fanciful nonsense.
It is even more despicable for Oshikoya to try and set Dr Okonjo-Iweala up to take the blame, ahead of time, should Nigeria’s candidate for the presidency of the African Development Bank this time around fail to make it. It is clear in his appalling write up that Oshikoya is an ethnic bigot carrying out an agenda that is designed to target Dr Okonjo-Iweala. I am sure that Nigeria’s candidate for the AfDB presidency, Dr Akin Adesina, given his background and profile, will be keen to dissociate himself from this unscrupulous attempt to sully his reputation and his serious bid for the presidency of AfDB. I know that, unlike Oshikoya, Dr Adesina is perfectly capable of taking responsibility for his performance, good or bad, when the time comes.
Oshikoya’s comments on Okonjo-Iweala’s historic and widely applauded run for the presidency of the World Bank is the final nail in the coffin of an article that trivializes fact and assaults common sense. Apparently, Temitope Oshikoya, Phd, was asleep when a respected rival, Dr Ocampo stepped down for Okonjo-Iweala during the race and the leading lights and respected voices in the world’s premier institutions and media declared her the better candidate to run the institution.
And he must have been oblivious when the world criticized the post Second World War tradition which made the position a monopoly of the US and which was used to stop Okonjo-Iweala from becoming the first non-American to head the institution. Of course he also conveniently forgot that African Presidents who recommended her and President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan who graciously put her forward were major reasons for her decision to participate. There is no substance in the charge of hubris which Oshikoya lays against Okonjo-Iweala. Obviously for a pseudo-intellectual with an ax to grind there are no limits to the sheer variety of lies that can be deployed in the service of an unholy cause.
Rather than pollute public discourse with an opinion piece riddled with lies and bitterness, Temitope Oshikoya should accept that he simply did not do well in his recent quest to head a key emerging institution and get on with whatever is left of his life. He should step up his game at his next job interview. We wish him good luck.
Nwabuikwu is Special Adviser Media and Communication to the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance.
*Photo Caption - Paul C Nwabuikwu
[ Masterweb Reports ] - Abia State government has reacted to the allegation that former Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika (rtd), is a Boko Haram sponsor saying that the accusation is unfounded.
In a statement, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Charles Ajunwa said such grave accusation should be backed with evidence which up till now is lacking.
Mr. Ajunwa called on those behind the allegation to allow the former Chief of Army Staff retire peacefully after a meritorious service to his fatherland and queried why they did not raise the issue when he was still serving.
The Chief Press Secretary said Gen. Ihejirika is an accomplished military officer who did his best during his time to fight insurgency in the country.
He wondered how someone who was accused of being overzealous in crushing Boko Haram while in office would turn round overnight to become a sponsor of the same devilish group he was fighting.
The statement re-stated that the former Chief of Army Staff remains an illustrious son of Abia who distinguished himself in office and gave the insurgents a good fight.
*Photo Caption - Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika (rtd)
[ Masterweb Reports: Intersociety Reports ] - (Security & Rule of Law, Onitsha Nigeria, 4th September 2014)-On 30th of August 2014, the Nigeria’s Police Service Commission released the names of thirty-seven (37) new Commissioners of Police (CPs) and two new Assistant Inspectors General of Police (AIGs). The names of CPs comprise thirty (30) substantive CPs and seven (7) acting CPs. According to our further investigation, the names of the newly promoted officers and their States/Geopolitical Zones are the following: AIG Buhari Tanko (Kano State, Northwest) and AIG Johnson A. Ogunsakin (Ekiti State, Southwest). Others promoted to CP from the rank of DCP are: Pius U. Imue (Rivers State, South/south), Hilda Ibifuro Harrison (Edo State, South/south), Michael Ogbodu (Delta State, South/south), Gabriel Achong (Cross River State, South/south), Etop John James (Akwa Ibom State, South/south), Emmanuel T. Inyang (Akwa Ibom State, South/south), Victory Niro Menta (Delta State, South/south) and (acting CP) Moses Jitobor (Bayelsa State, South/south).
Other names are: Felix Goodluck Ogundeji (Ondo State, Southwest), Frederick Taiwo Lakanu (Lagos State, Southwest), Ademola Omole (Osun State, Southwest), Olusola Emmanuel Amore (Ogun State, Southwest), Adegbuyi Samuel Damilola (Ogun State, Southwest), Rasheed A. Akintunde (Ogun State, Southwest), Olufemi Olanipekun Oyeleye (Osun State, Southwest), Adekunle J. Oladunjoye (Ondo State, Southwest), Sobulo B.T.M (Ogun State, Southwest) and acting CPs Fatai Owoseni (Oyo State, Southwest), Adeyemi Samuel Ogunjemilusi (Ogun State, Southwest) and Ibine J. Emmanuel (Ogun State, Southwest).
Also promoted to CP are: Valentine U. Ntochukwu (Anambra State, Southeast), Nwodibo Ekechukwu (Imo State, Southeast), Peace Ibekwe Abdallah (Anambra State, Southeast) and acting CP Emmanuel C.S. Ojukwu (Anambra State, Southeast). There are CPs Joshak Habila (Plateau State, North-central), Jimoh Omeiza Ozi Obeh (Kogi State, North-central), Clement Adoda (Benue State, North-central), Austin I. Iwar (Benue State, North-central), Adaji Adejo Gabriel (Kogi State, North-central), Ezekiel Danboyi Zang (Plateau State, North-central) and acting CP Wilson Inalegwu (Benue State, North-central). The rest are CPs Ibrahim A. Lamorde (Adamawa State, Northeast), Ishaku Alhaji Barau ( Bauchi State, Northeast), Istifanus Shettima (Borno State, Northeast), Ghazalli Mohammed (Zamfara State, Northwest), Mohammed Lawal Hussein (Kano State, Northwest) and acting CP Mani Murtala Usman (Katsina State, Northwest).
The geopolitical breakdown shows that out of the thirty-seven (37) newly promoted CPs, the Southwest zone tops the list with twelve (12), followed by the South/south with eight (8) and the North-central with seven (7). The Southeast zone got four (4) CPs, followed by the Northwest and the Northeast zones with three (3) each. While the promotion exercise made an attempt to ensure a geopolitical spread, it is still observed that it is not done fairly and equitably. Our careful study of the background of the promotion exercise speaks volume of reversion to the status quo on the part of the PSC, which just picked a number of names as lopsidedly arranged by the former IGP, contained in the “NPF Senior Staff List for CSP-IGP” and got them promoted as new CPs both in acting and substantive capacities; without a recourse to fair geopolitical balancing.
For instance, the PSC just picked names of the benefiting senior police officers from the staff list under reference in the DCP category serially numbered from 16 to 50 and got them promoted. We have severally kicked against any promotion based on this type of arrangement because of the grossly lopsided arrangement of the names in the said list. Those exempted from the serially promoted names are DCPs Jackson O. Eko (No. 43) and Veronica Modupe Omofonma, who have gone on statutory retirement since 30th July 2014. CP Moses Jitobor (No.146) was also promoted much more ahead of others including a number of Southeast and Northeast serving DCPs direly needed to balance the gross geopolitical imbalance under contention.
The two geopolitical zones under reference remain the zones with least number of serving CPs and AIGs in the country till date. It is totally wrong to allocate twelve new CP slots to the Southwest zone and allocate mere four and three slots to Southeast and Northeast zones respectively. Till date, the Northwest zone still dominates other zones in the number of serving CPs and AIGs. The zone is followed by the North-central, South/south and Southwest zones. The zones of Southeast and Northeast have the least number of the serving senior police officers under reference. With the latest promotion exercise, there are only six serving CPs of the Southeast origin including one acting CP out of a total of about 110 serving CPs in the NPF. By geopolitical equity and fairness provided in the 1999 Constitution, the Southeast ought to be given at least fifteen (15) serving CPs out of about 110 in the NPF.
In our struggle to right the monumental wrong being complained of, it is no retreat, no surrender until a total victory is achieved. It has also come to our full knowledge that slots meant for some States in the Southeast particularly Anambra State during police cadet and non-cadet recruitment exercises are hijacked and filled with names from other geopolitical zones. In the 2010 police cadet recruitment exercise, for instance, twelve of such names meant for Anambra indigenes were reportedly hijacked by scavengers from the South/south zone. It was also reported that at times, such slots are hijacked by some malicious individuals from the North and filled with names of Southeast bearing. Such names are later changed after being successfully recruited. Similar criminal and ethno-religious practices have been reported in other federal government policing and non-policing agencies.
Possible Extinction Of Southeast Judicial Slots: Similarly, it has been reported that the Southeast quotas in the federal judicial bodies are facing extinction. These bodies include the Federal High Court, the Federal Industrial Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. It is observed correctly that in couple of years to come it will be very difficult to fill the Southeast slots in the Supreme and Appeal Courts. One of the Southeast States that is worse hit is Anambra State, which has reportedly maintained a steady decline in the number of its Judges and Justices sitting at the Apex and the Appellate Courts. Our findings showed that one of the causes of this is the practice of recommending old magistrates and judges to the National Judicial Council so as to be appointed State judges and judges of the Federal High Court. This makes their elevation to next judicial level very difficult because by the time such elevations come, they must have retired statutorily. The present Chief Judge of Anambra State is being accused as one of those involved in such unhealthy practice with respect to one of his reported recent recommendations to the NJC.
We not only demand full investigation and immediate reversal of such archaic practice but also call on all top public officers in the Southeast particularly the elected ones to look inward by ensuring that the Southeast slots in these respects are no longer hijacked, diverted or subverted. Our slots in all policing establishments in Nigeria must be reclaimed and filled at all times by our own people. Where there are personnel shortfalls from any Southeast State to fill its own slots, others from the rest of the zone should be made to fill such vacancies for the zone. Senior security officers from the Southeast zone must stop alienating themselves from the people and relevant social bodies of their zone, which include respected individuals and grassroots, based social groups and communities. They should also ensure that those slots meant for us are not hijacked and diverted by other zones.
Our Chief Judges should identify and recommend younger magistrates and judges with outstanding performance records to be made State and Federal judges by the NJC. In the case of Anambra State, more judges should be appointed so as to decongest the high volume of cases in the State. The State Judiciary should also be professionalized and sub-divided into “Criminal” and “Civil” High Court Divisions. The number of serving judges in the State, said to be 28, if true, is totally unacceptable considering the volume of undecided cases pending in various judicial divisions.
For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chairman
+2348100755939 (office only)
Uzochukwu Oguejiofor, Esq., Head, Campaign & Publicity Department
*Photo Caption - Nigeria Police