[ Masterweb Reports: Judd-Leonard Okafor reports ] - Wife of the President, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, is to launch a report next week detailing the prevalence of female genital mutilation in Nigeria as part of a zero-tolerance campaign against the practice.
Preliminary findings by the report show female genital mutilation and cutting (FGM) are most prevalent in the six states of Imo, Ebonyi, Osun, Ekiti, Oyo and Lagos.
The survey by United Nations Population Fund and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNFPA) found southwest region had the highest prevalence, nearly double the national average between 2003 and 2013, according to data from the National Demographic Health Survey.
The prevalence of FGM is lowest in the northeast but has been increasing within the same period, and even faster in the south east region.
The report to be launched by Mrs Buhari follows a programme to abandon FGM, which began in the six priority states since 2014, to help girls like Cecila Ogore, who was forced to submit to female genital mutilation at age 18 to guarantee her family's social status in her community.
FGM is still commonly done on grounds of protecting a girl's chastity, marriageability or a rite of passage into womanhood, but Ogore wasn't given any reason when she underwent FGM in 2012.
"No one told me about it. It was on the day it was to be done that I knew about it," she told Daily Trust. " My mum pleaded with me. I didn't want to deny her what was rightfully hers."
She and over a dozen other survivors will give testimonies of having endured the pain of FGM on Tuesday as Buhari launches the report to strengthen the anti-FGM campaign.
Ogore, who's been involved in the campaign to turn girls and women against FGM, said, "It is something I went through, and I don't want young girls out there to go through it."
*Photo Caption - Nigeria First Lady, Mrs. Aisha Buhari
[ Masterweb Reports: Intersociety reports ] - (Onitsha Nigeria, 3rd February 2016)-The advocacy attention of the leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety) has, again, been drawn concerning a public sensitive report credited to the Attorney General of the Federation & Minister for Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, to the effect that “the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had in the past 12 years since its creation, recovered over $2trillion or N400trillion from Nigeria’s criminal groups and public office holders”. The perfidiously false report was published in the front page of the Vanguard Newspaper of today, being 3rd of February 2016.
The AGF was copiously quoted by the Newspaper’s Ikechukwu Nnochiri as having made the disclosure in a keynote address presented at the ‘First Annual Conference on Financial Fraud, Cyber-Crime & Other Cross-border Crimes’, in Abuja, yesterday (2nd of February 2016. The AGF was specifically quoted as saying: “available reports showed that in the past 12 years, since the establishment of EFCC, more than $2 trillion has been confiscated and recovered”. Full details of the AGF’s unpardonably falsified report are: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/02/money-laundering-efcc-recovers-looted-2trn-in-12-years/.
We had in the course of issuance of this statement, gone extra mile to confirm the authenticity of the AGF’s blundered figure and his authorship; leading to the management of the Vanguard Newspaper informing us this morning (3rd of February 2016) that “the AGF was not misquoted” and that “it was contained in his written keynote address” delivered at the said Abuja function. They also informed us that “ before its publication, the reporter (Ikechukwu Nnochiri) was specifically requested to scan and forward the said keynote speech containing the “blundered version and figure” and he forwarded it immediately, leading to the publication and its front page use.
We have severally stated publicly and still state that “corruption is first driven by moral decadence or integrity crisis” and that those wishing to fight the scourge must first be morally upright or integrity rewarding. That is to say that “he or she that sets to go to equity, must go with clean hands at all times”. A man or woman that shaves his or her armpit hairs is not expectant of armpit dirt and offensive odour. A woman who wears a stained white brazier does not wear short sleeve gown to an occasion. One of the greatest threats to fight against corruption is falsehood and propaganda. Another is unclean hands of those fighting it and those supporting those fighting it (i.e. CSOs and activists).
For the avoidance of doubt, the Nigeria’s Economic & Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was established through an Act of the National Assembly of Nigeria, dated 13th December 2002 (now refers as “EFCC Act of 2004”) and it started its operations in 2003 or during the second term of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. The creation of the Commission was partly in response to pressure from the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF), which named Nigeria as one of 23 countries non-cooperative in the international community's efforts to fight money laundering. The successes recorded by the Commission including loots recovery and effective and maximum use of technology and institutional mechanisms reached their peak between 2004 and 2007. The fame of EFCC and others like NAFDAC, got shrank from 2008 and upwards; owing to election and appointment of corruption friendly public officials as new set of heads of Nigeria’s Presidency, AGF, NAFDAC, Police and EFCC.
Just yesterday, 2nd of February 2016, we released a facts laden report of our recent investigation on the state of public budgets, loans and expenditures in Nigeria in the past 12 years; covering January 2005 to December 2016. The expenditures covered the 36 States, the Federal Government, the Niger Delta, the Federal Capital Territory and the country’s constitutionally recognized 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs). At the end, we found that the totality of public expenditures in Nigeria in the past 12 years, captured by various FGN, States, FCT and Niger Delta budgets and LGAs allocations in Nigeria in the past 12 years (2005-2016) stood at $600billion or N118.2trillion.
We also found that Nigeria had in the past 10 years (2007-2016) borrowed a total of N10trillion or $50billion from local and international lending institutions. Of $600billion or N118.2trillion of the public expenditures under reference, only 30% of same or $180billion (N36trillion) was spent on capital projects. One of the reasons behind this special investigation is to checkmate the antics of some propagandist government officials and their unprofessional media acolytes, who recklessly and mindlessly inflate and corrupt figures and other sensitive public matters here and there for purposes of settling political scores and misleading Nigerians and members of the international community. The report is published on the electronic media below.
http://www.newsexpressngr.com/news/detail.php?news=19845&title=Nigerian-politicians-squander-N118.2-trillion-in-12-years,-incur-N10trn-debt-in-10-years. http://www.thetrentonline.com/mass-poverty-how-nigerian-politicians-squa... http://www.thenigerianvoice.com/news/204939/mass-poverty-in-the-land-of-plenty-how-nigerianpoliticians.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheNigerianVoiceNews+%28The+Nigerian+Voice+News%29 http://elombah.com/index.php/special-reports/4722-explosive-mass-poverty-in-land-of-plenty-how-nigerian-politicians-squandered-n118-2tr-in-12-yrs
Using the foregoing indisputable statistics, therefore, it is totally correct to say Nigeria and its federating units including States, LGAs and Federal had never generated half of “$2trillion (N400trillion)” since the return of civil rule in June 1999; not to talk of the EFCC recovering “$2trillion in the past 12 years since its creation”.
Even if the total public expenditures of 2003 and 2004 are added to the total public expenditures of $600billion or N118.2trillion under reference; covering January 2005 to December 2016, the total public expenditures including loans and generated funds; budgeted, allocated and expended since then is not more than $700billion or N140trillion.
Our questions to the Honorable AGF and the Federal Government are: where did “the $2trillion (N400trillion)” the EFCC recovered in the past 12 years come from? Where is it kept? Was it recovered from “looted” personnel cost budgets or overheads cost budgets? Or was it recovered from meager $180billion (+$30billion allocated for capital expenditures for 2003 and 2004) meant for capital expenditures from January 2005 to December 2016? Was it also recovered from oil bunkering? What are Nigeria’s total public expenditures from its three tiers since 2003? How much was recovered from “criminal groups” as well as “from public office holders”?
We challenge the AGF as well as the authorities of the EFCC to rubbish this position of ours by providing publicly concrete answers to the above questions and graphic details of how, where and when the EFCC recovered “$2trillion or N400trillion from criminal groups and public office holders” in the past 12 years, as well as statistical breakdown of the amount and how it was recovered, kept or spent. Also, “in the past 12 years since its (EFCC) creation”, requires detailed specification, as in from what year to what year did the 12 years cover? We will not be surprised if defense of “being quoted out of context” is invoked by the AGF as an escape route. If this type of unpardonable falsehood can be dished out by the country’s law-lord or chief law officer, then Nigeria is doomed irreparably!
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chairman
International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
Mobile Line: +2348174090052
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Chinwe Umeche, Esq., Head, Democracy & Good Governance Program
*Photo Caption - As seen.
[ Masterweb Reports: Adekunle Olushola reports ] - Foremost African financial institution, Guaranty Trust Bank plc, has been listed among the top 500 global banking brands in a study conducted by Brand Finance, one of the world’s leading brand valuation consultancy.
In the report, which is to be published in the February edition of the Banker, GTbank rises to 389th in the league table of the world’s biggest banks, 28 places from last year’s 417th position. It is one of only four Nigerian banks and tops in the country as the bank with the highest year-on-year brand value increase; from $213 million in 2015 to $243 million in 2016.
“We are excited to be named among the biggest banking brands in the world,” commented Segun Agbaje, the Managing Director/CEO of GTBank. “Our continued rise in the league of the world’s biggest banks is made possible by the passion and unwavering commitment of every member of staff, the management and the board to building a solid financial institution reputable for innovation, integrity, good corporate governance standards, and excellence in service delivery.”
Banks from five African countries made the ranking of which those from Nigeria cumulatively had the highest brand value increase of $249 million. Egypt came in second with a brand increase of $239 million followed by Togo at $134 million, while South Africa and Morocco both recorded brand decreases of $878 million and $213 million respectively.
GTBank has consistently played a leading role in Africa’s banking industry. The Bank operates from over 230 branches in Nigeria and has banking subsidiaries in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Cote D’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and the United Kingdom. Reputed for its superior financial performance and best in-class product and service delivery, the bank has received numerous awards from industry watchers and analysts, among these are the “Best Banking Group of 2015, Nigeria,” by the World Finance Magazine and the 2015 Bank of the Year by leading international investment and communications group, Africa Investor (Ai).
Social Media Manager
No 26 Oroleye Crescent off Abel Oreniyi Street.
Off Salvation Road, Opebi
*Photo Caption - A GTBank branch
[ Masterweb Reports: Intersociety reports ] - (Onitsha Nigeria, 2nd February 2016)-The leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety) wishes to inform statistically that the Nigerian political leaders holding forth at the Federal, States, Local Government and Federal Capital Territory have between January 2005 and December 2016; a period of 12 years, squandered a whopping sum of N118.2trillion or $600billion. The squandered public funds are made up of generated and borrowed funds secured for the purpose of budgetary expenditures in all of the country’s public offices, between January 2005 and December 2016. The political leaders under reference include the Federal authorities, the authorities in charge of the country’s 36 States and 774 constitutionally recognized Local Government Areas (LGAs) as well as the authorities of the Federal Capital Territory (Abuja); numbering 17,500, made up of elected and appointed public office holders in the executive, legislative and judicial arms of government.
The political authorities under reference, have also between June 2007 and December 2016; a period of ten years, incurred staggering public debts of over N10trillion or $50billion from local and international sources; comprising States and Federal Government’s local and foreign loans. Nigeria’s official or public total debts as at May 2007 stood at $23.5billion; comprising local debts of N1.8trillion ($20billion: 140.00/US$) and foreign debts of $3.5billion. This was after its $30billion foreign loans were liquidated in 2006 courtesy of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and leading international lending institutions. But by the end of December 2016, Nigeria’s current total public debts must have risen to over N14.6trillion or $73billion. The Buhari’s federal Presidency alone has proposed a public borrowing of over $9billion or N1.84trillion in the 2016 budget proposal. Average of 20%-30% of 2016 budget proposal of each State in Nigeria is also expected to be funded from local or international borrowings.
When added, the country’s total official or public debts will be raised to as much as $80billion or N16trillion by the end of December 2016. The country’s current official public debts as at June 2015 were quoted by DMO as “N11.1trillion or $63.8billion”, using old official exchange rate of N155/US$. This is no longer fiscally realistic. Crookedness is also associated with government local borrowings in Nigeria; making it difficult for DMO to appropriately capture every kobo borrowed locally particularly by State Governments. As a matter of fact, totality of public borrowed funds in Nigeria both openly and illicitly borrowed; is strongly believed to be in the neighborhood of $80billion to $90billion or N18trillion or even more. Nigeria had also spent a whopping sum of N2.95trillion or $15billion in the past five years (2010-2014) in debts servicing. It is also feared in many informed quarters that Nigeria’s current public debts may most likely double at the end of President Buhari’s embattled administration by 2019, owing to alarming rates with which loans are being borrowed by his administration and subordinates of his administration particularly the State Governors.
On the other hand, by the end of December 2016, a total of N118.2trillion or $600billion borrowed and generated public funds in Nigeria since January 2005 would have been squandered by the named public office holders. These public office holders are majorly and dually controlled by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC). The two major political parties are also “two fingers of a leprous hand” used by those 17,500 public office holders particularly the elected; through back and forth membership and political trading, to squander the princely public funds under reference.
This grounded finding of ours is built on similar facts laden finding made on 13th January 2013 by the Vanguard Newspaper, which corresponded with data available at the Federal Ministry of Finance. The report found that the referenced tiers of government and their agencies in Nigeria had between January 2005 and December 2013 budgeted, generated, borrowed and squandered a whopping sum of N80trillion ($400billion); out of which N56trillion ($280billion) was spent on recurrent expenditures, while paltry N24trillion ($120billion) was spent on capital expenditures. In our expanded and extensive investigation following the foregoing, we further found that another N38.2trillion or $190billion had been squandered between January 2014 and December 2016; a period of three years. Of this amount and by the end of December 2016, the Federal Government would have spent N16trillion or $80billion; South-south zone N5.6trillion or $28billion, Southwest N4trillion or $20billion, Northwest N3.1trillion or $15billion, 774 LGAs N3trillion or $15billion, North-central N2.1trillion or $10billion, Northeast N2trillion or $10billion, Southeast N1.66trillion or $8.01billion and the FCT N625billion or $3.1billion which includes a 2016 projected budget of N180billion; totaling N38.2trillion or $190billion in three years.
Our grounded findings were arrived at using the main public budgets of the Federal Government, the 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory; while in the case of 774 constitutionally recognized Local Government Areas (LGAs), their statutory federation allocations was used. For instance, in the 2015 federal allocations to the LGAs in Nigeria, a total of N953billion or $4.5billion was so allocated. On the other hand, our grounded finding did not include supplementary budgets of some of the 36 States and the Federal Government (some) as well as the internally generated revenues of the 774 LGAs. That of the LGAs was informed by total castration of the independence and functionality of the LGAs system in Nigeria; worsened by the provisions of Sections 162 (6) (State Joint LGA account) and 7(1) (management of LGAs by State Government). Also, in the course of our findings, the official exchange of N199.00/US$ was applied or used. We also hold that if the “missing points” are added, the budgeted and squandered public funds in Nigeria in the past 12 years will be higher than the figure under discussion.
Further breakdown of the above findings statistically indicates that by the end of December 2016, the Federal Government would have budgeted, generated, borrowed and squandered a total of N48.1trillion or $240billion; having budgeted and squandered N1.8trillion in 2005, N1.9trillion in 2006, N2.3trillion in 2007, N3.58trillion in 2008, N3.76trillion in 2009, N4.6trillion in 2010, N4.48trillion in 2011, N4.7trillion in 2012, N4.98trillion in 2013, N4.92trillion in 2014, N4.5trillion and the Buhari’s supplementary budget of N575billion in 2015 in addition to his 2016 budget proposal of N6.07trillion; all totaling N48.1trillion or $240billion in 12 years or from 2005 to 2016.
The South-south or Oil Niger Delta Region emerged the second largest squanderer with a whopping sum of N17.1trillion or $85billion; comprising N11.5trillion budgeted and spent between January 2005 and December 2013, and N5.6trillion between January 2014 and December 2016. The constitutionally recognized 774 LGAs emerged third largest squanderer with N14.4trillion or $70billion allocation in 12 years; comprising N11.4trillion between January 2005 and December 2013, and N3trillion between January 2014 and December 2016.
Southwest zone was 4th largest squanderer and the country’s sub national largest debtor. It squandered a total of N11.3trillion or $56.5billion; comprising N7.3trillion between January 2005 and December 2013, and N4trillion between January 2014 and December 2016. Northwest zone was the fifth largest squanderer with N8.5trillion or $42.5billion; comprising N5.38trillion between January 2005 and December 2013, and N3.1trillion between January 2014 and December 2016; followed by North-central as sixth largest squanderer with N7.35trillion or $37.5billion; comprising N5.19trillion between January 2005 and December 2013, and N2.16trillion between January 2014 and December 2016. The Northeast zone was the seventh largest squanderer with N5.76trillion or $28.8billion; comprising N3.75trillion between January 2005 and December 2013, and N2trillion between January 2014 and December 2016.
This Southeast zone emerged 8th largest squanderer with N5.1trillion or $25billion; comprising N3.45trillion between January 2005 and December 2013, and N1.66 trillion between January 2014 and December 2016. The ninth largest squanderer was the Federal Capital Territory (Abuja) with N1.96trillion or $9.5billion; comprising N1.33trillion between January 2005 and December 2013, and N625billion between January 2014 and December 2016; all totaling N118.2trillion or $600billion in the past 12 years or January 2005 to December 2016.
It is shockingly sad that Nigerians are groaning in abject poverty in their land of plenty, to the extent that a whopping sum of N118.2trillion or $600billion was budgeted and squandered in the past 12 years (2005-2016) with little or nothing to show for it. Nigeria is a country of squander-mania. It is also developmentally dead as 98% of its solid minerals and agricultural produce are acutely subsistent or non- industrialized. Creative wealth is also near-totally absent owing to promotion by Nigeria’s political office holders particularly President Muhammadu Buhari administration, of sectional mediocrity and primordialism; corporate and bureaucratic idleness and laziness. Nigerian politicians rely heavily on oil and gas revenues as well as serial borrowings to sustain their political offices and siphoning of public funds.
As a matter of fact, crude oil revenues account for 35% of the country’s Gross National Product (GDP); 75% of government revenues and 90% of its export earnings till date. The country has no traces of any foreign investment overseas and has become “a territorial non grata” for real foreign investors, owing to myriad of its man-made security threats and other unsafe conditions as well as the Buhari’s gross and unrepentant affront to rule of law, human rights and constitutionalism. The country’s foreign reserves have shrunk from $36billion in October 2014 to $28billion in January 2016. Oil price has also fallen from $144 per barrel in July 2014 to as low as $30.25 per barrel in January 2016; leading Nigeria to lose over $70billion in oil revenues yearly to plummeted oil prices and presidentially provoked oil militancy in the Niger Delta.
Nigeria is expected to earn a meager sum of about $33billion from crude oil in 2016, from $102billion in 2013/2014 at the rate of $110 per barrel into 2.3million barrels per day. Also, out of the expected dwindling crude revenues of about $33billion for 2016, oil companies and drillers of the country’s crude oil are expected to be paid about $15billion or about 49% as contractual royalties; leaving the country with about $18billion or N3.6trillion oil revenues for this 2016. The Federal Government of Nigeria is expected to take about N1.5trillion or $7.5billion (52.6%); leaving the rest to oil States, 36 States, FCT and LGAs, etc.
The grand import of this grounded findings of ours is to bring to bear and to the attention of all Nigerians and members of the international community the entrenched squander-mania culture of the country’s political office holders and their total neglect and abandonment of over 170million citizens of the country to continually wallow in abject mass poverty; with the most shocking being chronic allocation of less than 30% of the budgets and staggering public funds under reference to capital projects. Another shocking observation of ours was resort particularly by States and the Federal Government to reckless local and foreign borrowings for the purpose of funding recurrent expenditures, comprising of personnel and overheads expenditures. In the Buhari’s supplementary budget of N575billion of 2015, for instance, most, if not all of it was for recurrent expenditures and in his 2016 budget proposal of N6.07trillion or $30billion, N3.6trillion or $18billion was for non-debt recurrent expenditures; which include N1.83trillion or $9.1billion for personnel costs and N547.8billion or $2.75billion was for overheads costs. Only a paltry sum of N1.8trillion or $9billion (30%) was proposed for capital expenditures. This is totally unacceptable!
Nigerians and members of the international community are therefore called upon to reasonably and sacrificially draw concrete comparisons between the expenditure of the staggering public funds under reference and level of socio-economic development ( i.e. roads, aviation, railway, transport, health, education, energy, water, shelter, justice, security and human rights, jobs, industry, environment and technology, etc) of their areas in particular and the country in general and be able to stand up and ask their political office holders, numbering 17,500, to account for the squandered public funds of N118.2trillion or $600billion in the past 12 years. They should rise up in condemnation of reckless and serial public borrowings in Nigeria particularly the entrenchment by political office holders of despicable habits of “borrowing to squander and plunder”.
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chairman
International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
Mobile Line: +2348174090052
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Chinwe Umeche, Esq., Head, Democracy & Good Governance Program
*Photo Caption – As seen.
[ Masterweb Reports: Isiaka Wakili reports ] - Italian government has expressed the conviction that Nigeria will emerge one of the most powerful countries of the world under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi spoke to State House correspondents today after meeting behind closed-doors with Buhari at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja.
The Italian prime minister emphasised that President Buhari's leadership was important to Italy.
Renzi said Italy was in total support of the ongoing anti-corruption war of President Buhari's government.
Describing Nigeria as a very important partner of Italy in Africa, Renzi also expressed his country support to Nigeria in the fight against terrorism.
The Italian leader called on the international community to consider Africa as priority in the fight against terrorism.
Renzi said he and Buhari discussed how to foster both country's cooperation in the areas of security, energy, infrastructure, agriculture and small and medium enterprise.
President Buhari listed issues discussed with Renzi as including the development of petroleum resources as well as training equipping of security forces. Buhari added: "We discussed agriculture which is one of the areas we identified that will be a priority in face of dwindling oil prices.
*Photo Caption - President Muhammadu Buhari
[ Masterweb Reports: Intersociety reports ] - (Intersociety, Onitsha Nigeria, 25th January 2016)-One of the social maladies, if not the worse, bedeviling Nigeria of present socio-political dispensation is lack of sound general census (population and industrial) and national planning. This is compounded by lack of visionary political leadership and statesmanship. To the extent that on mere mentioning or appearance of a president of a country on international scenes; its national currency instantly loses value in money market; speaks of the enormity of the disaster of having a tinkerer as president; as opposed to other social climes where emergence of a visionary, thinker and statesman as president instantly leads to valuation of its national currency in money market and positive recoveries in its economy. In other words, Nigeria under the present civilian administration of Gen Muhammadu Buhari fundamentally lacks vision, statesmanship and sound national planning built on scientific and statistically grounded population and industrial census.
Modern Census is divided into three categories of general census, population census and industrial (economic) census. Combination of population census and industrial or economic census is called general census. Population census gives country sound information with respect to age-brackets (infancy, children, adolescence, youth, adult and aging populations). It also provides analytical and grounded statistics as it concerns gender population (males and females), working population, student population and non-working population or unemployed. From population census, the number of private and public institutions’ working populations are credibly ascertained; likewise membership of ethnic groups and religious bodies. The number of Nigerians living in Diaspora is also credibly ascertained using sound population census. Also soundly ascertained is the number of population or people occupying each square kilometer of landmass both in densely and sparsely populated areas of Nigeria. Creation and allocation of geographical and geopolitical entities like States, Local Government Areas, Senatorial Districts, Federal and State Constituencies as well as allocation of public human and material resources can only be appropriately and popularly allocated using sound population census.
In industrial or economic census, it is statistically done to ascertain the number of existing or functioning business enterprises, social enterprises (i.e. churches, mosques, foundations, etc), commercial buildings, commercial and private vehicular (lorries, mini lorries, cars, tricycles, motorcycles, etc), government agencies, and small, medium and large scale industries. It also covers railway, maritime and aviation sectors. The number of functional and non functional public and private health and educational facilities as well as functional and non functional public, multinational and private commercial companies and nonprofit organizations are credibly captured through industrial or economic census. It also importantly and appropriately guides export and import trade policies of the government. Through industrial census, PPP-engineered industrial policies of the government including industrial revolution; location, concentration or de-centralization of industries are aggressively pursued. Credible and sound industrial census also attracts huge direct foreign investments and remittances from enterprising Nigerians living in Diaspora and moves the country away from subsistent to mechanized industrialization and its policies. Till date, Nigeria’s 33 solid mineral deposits have remained substantially, if not totally subsistent and un-mechanized.
Through population and industrial census, public resources and development projects are appropriately allocated based on geopolitical and geographical population density and environmental considerations. Also through this, public wealth and debt per capita as well as population birth and death rates, among others are credibly ascertained. Population and industrial census is roundly important and serves as the fundamental foundation of economic, political (including securitization, electoral and criminal justice), environmental and cultural policies of the government. The national planning and budgeting can only become ambitious and revolutionary if sound population and industrial census is put in place and be demographically updated as appropriate. The importance of timely and credibly conducted population and industrial census for Nigeria of present challenging time is the first among equal. Sound population and industrial census is also a fundamental foundation for transparency and accountability of the Government and a starting point of anti corruption policy of the same Government.
Further, sound population and industrial census scientifically gives birth to creative, industrial and competitive communities. A country with sound and modern population and industrial census moves away from population and society; founded on primordialism and destructive social ideology to that founded on industrial creativity and competition. The United States, for instance, is one of the world’s most ethnicized countries; yet its population has successfully been transformed into industrially creative and competitive generation. There are hundreds of thousands of industrial communities in the USA today. An example of industrial or creative community in Nigeria is Nigeria’s Movie Industry. The World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and the American Basket Ball Association (NBA) are two main examples of creative or industrial communities in the United States.
A creative or industrial community is that capable of producing forefathers and incapable of discriminating on the ground of sex, ethnic origin or place of birth or religious affiliation. For instance, there are many forefathers and non Americans in the US Wrestling Industrial Community (WWE). Creative and industrial community is also capable of earning national respect and protection as well as contributing to the individual and collective wealth of its mother country. A brain creatively kept busy finds no time for primordialist and other socially incoherent conducts. A creative brain is a researcher who is busy bringing new things and ideas into life. This is the secret behind the exploits of the United States to the extent that its military thinkers few years back invented world’s fastest military aircraft that flies 2.7km per second.
It therefore saddens our heart that Nigerian territory had been operated without a sound general census for the past 63 years or since 1952/3. We are not aware, too, till date of any industrial census (whether sound or unsound) ever conducted in Nigeria till date. What can be called a population census figure was that of 1952/3 conducted by then British colonial authorities. Another attempt at conducting population census in Nigeria was that done in 1991 during the inglorious military regime of Gen Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, which put the total population figure at 88.5million. The 2006 population census organized by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, which gave Nigerian population size as “140 million”, was far from being credible. Apart from systematic exclusion of millions of Nigerians during the census, particularly the people of the rain forest and oil delta regions; there were credible reports of post census sectional manipulations by sectional and central powers that be; whereby figures of self acclaimed born-to-rule States or regions were rapaciously inflated.
Shockingly, it is only in Nigeria that population of dry lands or semi desert are chronically greater than those of the rain forest. In all, the current population size of Nigeria being put at estimate of 170million-174million is totally unscientific, speculative and unreliable. There must be domestically organized general census to statistically ascertain how many Nigerians are leaving in the country, how many that leave outside Nigeria and how many leaving in the country as lawful and unlawful immigrants. On these the National Panning, political and economic policies of the Government must be laid.
Absence of sound industrial census in Nigeria is another shocking and provocative dimension to the country’s demographic roguery. This is why trade and investment policies of Gen Muhammadu Buhari’s civilian administration are in disarray with no iota of hope for Nigerian citizens in 2016. What is called 2016 Federal Budget Proposal lying before the National Assembly is nothing but “loan-based recurrent expenditure authorization document; waiting for certification before mastication”. A truly public oriented budget or budget proposal is that containing over 60% capital expenditures with 95% or more of its funding sources derived from non borrowing or loan sources. But a critical look at Gen Muhammadu Buhari’s budget proposal clearly indicates that it is a budget of neo-colonialism (filled with loans or borrowings) and legitimized profligacy. It is therefore not surprising seeing his new lenders including USA “applauding his anti corruption drive”, in spite of the fact that a whopping sum of N795 Million ($4Million) is set aside in the controversial budget document to upgrade website of the State House alone. This is a compound fraud! Fraudulent recurrent expenditure provisions contained in Gen Buhari’s 2016 budget document are incontestably graver than the so called $2.1Billion arms deal scandal.
It further shocks us as to rationale behind the unceremonious cancellation of the “2016 census exercise” by the Nigerian Population Commission and its National Planning counterpart. The NPC had last month announced, on presidential directive, the canellation of 2016 general census and claimed that it had shifted it to 2017. This is not only against the Federal Government policy of conducting general census in Nigeria in every ten years; but also contrary to the United Nations guidelines for “national census of member-States to be held in every five-ten years”. Till date, no federal authority in Nigeria including the National Planning and the Nigerian Population Census authorities can boast of sound data as per the country’s population and industrial census figures. The number of illegal immigrants in the country is also publicly unknown till date.
In the United States, for instance, as at 2013, apart from its scientifically established population of 313 million, there were also 11 million illegal immigrants leaving in the country. But in Nigeria, its population had been managed using speculative, unscientific, unverifiable and unreliable figures for decades. Every aspect of Nigeria’s demographic democracy is roguishly and chronically manipulative. One of the realities of these age-long demographic manipulation and suppressive policies in the country was the 2015 general elections where to the shocking of all Nigerians, millions of underage children, as young as nine years were registered as voters, issued permanent voters cards and allowed to vote in the core northern States; so as to shore up the northern population and maintain the age-long phantom northern population superiority over the southern part or rain forest region of Nigeria.
Possibility was also very high that during the election under reference, hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants particularly from Niger and Chad Republics were allowed access into Nigeria and “Nigerianized” to vote in the said controversial poll. The 2016, by convention and law, ought to be Nigeria’s year of general census; but this has deliberately been stepped down by the administration of Gen Muhammadu Buhari in preference of retention of age-long status quo of demographic violence or suppressive policy.
We condemn unreservedly the unceremonious cancellation of the 2016 General Census by the civilian government of Gen Muhammadu Buhari. We strongly believe that Nigerians are tired of being sized and measured speculatively using international figures plotted and graphed by international demographic theorists. Nigerians should rise with one voice and insist on conduct of general census, which must include population and industrial counting. It is the right of every ethnic nationality, religious body, male, female, child, infant, adolescent, youth, adult and elderly in Nigeria to be put in the know of their population size and be updated statistically on same in every five or ten years. It is also the right of every Nigerian not to be kept in the dark with respect to conduct of sound industrial or economic census in the country; which is a driving engine of industrial policies or directions of both the Government and the private sector.
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chairman
International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
Mobile Phone: +2348174090052
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Obianuju Joy Igboeli, Esq., Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Program
Uzochukwu Oguejiofor-Nwonu, Esq., Head, Campaign & Publicity Department
*Photo Caption – Map of Nigeria
[ Masterweb Reports: Odimegwu Onwumere reports ] - Indigenous textile operators are howling that Chinese operators have taken over the Nigeria’s textile industry. From East to West, North to South there is ranting. The local operators weep stalks to the fact that China, which was formerly an import dependent country, had 16 textile factories in China devoted to tossing out textiles with a “Made in Nigeria” badge sewn in them around 1997, with Nigeria’s textile industry vibrantly operating over 300 vivacious factories. The vibrancy of the industry in Nigeria earned her the status of the second largest in Africa, battling with South Africa, after Egypt’s, then.
A Nigerian Journalist, Ugboja Felix Ojonugwa said in a civic appearance on May 20 2015, “Within a few decades, China has lifted some 300 million of its people from abject poverty, a feat without any precedence in the annals of economic development. Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, with vast reserves of oil and gas, is yet gasping for the breath and is the toast of many global economic powers.”
China took over the importation and distribution of textiles in Nigeria. Nigeria becomes prospectively, the chief marketplace for China’s industrial products in Africa, today.
Ogonugwa added, “Nigeria’s imports from China account for over a third of its total trade with West Africa. President Jonathan’s visit to China in 2014 is significant as it underlines Nigeria’s growing economic relations with China. From the Nigerian perspective, closer economic ties with China have become imperative. The Chinese loan of $1.5billion brings to a total of nearly $15 billion China’s investments and loans to Nigeria in recent years, including the $2.5billion investment in the newly refurbished Lagos-Kano rail line.”
The irony is that in the 90s, Chinese factories were copying West African designs and as well opening their own distribution chains in the territory. As at 2012, Chinese investors whose textiles were once regarded to be of low worth, have had over 200 corporations at Kantin Kwari Market in Kano State, sending local investors who had controlled the market from beginning, packing.
A source that would not want the name in print said, “For a time the Chinese material was of a much lower quality than Nigerian originals, but that gap narrowed as Chinese standards rose. The Chinese began to take control of the market, with the unsuspecting Nigerian vendors as a willing tool.”
Some of the local traders become errand boys otherwise called middlemen to Chinese traders and are settled to the tone of N1, 000 to N500 depending on the business outcome with the prospective buyer they brought to any Chinese traders. The distressing side is that China provides low interest loans for infrastructure in Nigeria and other African countries, whereas she is a leading player in global trade and Africa’s largest trading partner, making $198.5 billion in China-Africa trade as at 2012, compared with $99.8 billion for US–Africa trade.
According to another Nigerian business journalist, Yemi Olakitan, “In 1995, World Trade Organisation (WTO) adopted certain agreements on Textiles and Clothing, chief of them was that all allocations on textile and clothing will be removed among WTO member countries. The main beneficiary of the policy was China. The global textile market is said to worth more than $400bn at present. According to China Customs, the export value of China’s textile and garment alone amounted to $206.5bn. The Nigerian textile industry was one of those that suffered, because of the cheap exports from China. Nigeria used to be the major supplier of (Ankara) good quality wax-resist textile. However, in the early 2000s, cheap imitations of these products were produced and exported from China to West Africa. Some would be slammed with Made-in-Nigeria labels and then sold in Nigeria.”
The Chinese rose by attacking “at the heart of the industry: the wax-print and African-print segment.” Although, condemned at the time by some business moguls as “100% illicit”, the locals were accounted to be doing the smuggling, experts at Business Journal, have said.
Nevertheless, not up to 10 percent of the indigenous factories are functional in the recent times. Many have closed shop and sidetracked to other perceived lucrative businesses. For example, the International Textile Industry (ITI) with factories in Isolo and Ikorodu, both in Lagos, has closed shop. And over 1500 persons under its employ lost their jobs. The same fate befell the First Spinner Limited, Ikorodu, Lagos. Over 800 persons lost their jobs in this factory, too.
Others that enjoyed the boom in the Nigeria’s textile industry but today have closed shop were the Textile Ltd (KTL), Arewa Textiles Plc, United Nigerian Textile Plc, Supertex, Nortex Nigerian Ltd and Finetex Nigerian Ltd. Others were Gaskiya Textiles Mill, Kano Textile Ltd, Aba Textiles, Zamfara Textiles Ltd, Asaba Textiles Ltd, African Textile Mill Plc, Tofa Textiles.
The story of textile factories that have closed shop is numerous. In all of this an estimated 250, 000 persons have lost their jobs, out of about 350,000 that were occupying the industry. In 2014, many of the former workers of the closed textile industries in Kaduna were suffering.
It is applicable till date. They have resorted to riding Okada and engaged in menial jobs, since many of them have minimal academic qualifications to look for a white collar job elsewhere. The chairman of the Coalition of Closed Unpaid Textile Workers in Kaduna, Wardem Simdik told newsmen that this is the ugly fate that has befallen most of them and they have been protesting that the companies they once worked for should pay them their severance benefits.
Despite the intervention by the successive governments in Nigeria to consolidate the country’s textile industry, the henchman of the National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN), Mr. Ladele Hunsu had his fears that the industry is yet to be viable no matter the money that successive governments have been pumping into the industry to revitalise it.
Hunsu lamented that there are many textiles coming into the country unchecked, adding that corruption, mismanagement, lack of constant electricity, lack of modern equipments and cost of production have endangered the country’s textile industry, hence giving room for China to steal show by shipping materials that are confirmed substandard into the country.
To redeem the textile industry, the Federal Government had to place a ban on importation of textiles into Nigeria. But this idea did not go down well in some quarters. Many persons in the industry felt shortchanged. They argued that the revenue from imported textiles that was supposed to come to the country was being reaped by neigbouring countries and smugglers, hence the call for lifting of the ban. There was the “Acting President Goodluck Jonathan Must Hear This” summit that took place in Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State, where the convener of the forum, Alhaji Ibrahim Dojo, said in bawling tone that the ban appeared to have ethnic colouration targeting the South-East and South-South.
It was believed that about 50 million Nigerians were rendered jobless as a result of the ban. The forum frowned that in the 70s and 80s the industry was generating about 25 per cent of the manufacturing GDP and contributing 20 percent of mutual taxation revenue in Nigeria. Today, there is an estimated $2.2bn textiles smuggled into Nigeria through Benin, per annum, making Nigeria’s production go down drastically.
Irked by China’s approach
While having business operation in Nigeria, China prefers to manufacture finished product in her country and ship to Nigeria, knowing that Nigerians prefer foreign goods to their locally made ones. In the light of this, experts are of the opinion that it will be difficult for Nigeria to survive.
Against this influence, many calls were made to China to build textile industries in Nigeria; not even the ban of 2002 by the ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo could deter China. The Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, was among the many Nigerians that have called on China to build industries in Nigeria.
“Our over-reliance on foreign products is hurting our economy and the only way to stop this trend is to tackle the problems in the manufacturing sector,” said the Emir, when he met with China’s Ambassador to Nigeria at his Palace recently.
Before leaving office in 2007, Obasanjo ‘launched’ a N70bn Textile Development Fund. Ex-President Yar’Adua increased the fund by an extra N30bn to N100bn. In 2005, a special inter-ministerial committee headed by the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai destroyed by burning, smuggled textile materials worth over N4 billion. By 2010, ex-President Goodluck Jonathan lifted the ban.
Sanusi who was a former central bank governor, is believed in Nigeria to have known how the trade and economy of the world run. But swiftly, Sa’idu Adhama, a former textile factory owner, recapped his fears that since the government in Nigeria hardly give loans to local investors, it would be very hard for Nigerian traders to contend with their Chinese counterparts, whose country is always at their disposal by giving them loans at “single digit rates over a longer term.”
“It was acknowledged that imitations of made-in-Nigerian goods are coming in shiploads of containers from China. They are branded with the Nigerian local brand name. While the truly made-in-Nigeria is selling for N570, the China imitations sell for N350. So people prefer to buy the one from China,” said Debo Oladimeji, a journalist with The Guardian.
In 2015, Nafiu Badaru, a junior civil servant in Kano (place regarded as a centre of weaving and textile manufacturing dating back centuries), told AFP that he could not afford to buy a piece of high-quality brocade (cloth), which costs around 10,000 naira ($50, 47 Euros), but with 1,500 Naira (less than $6), he could buy six pieces of cheap Chinese brocade (cloth) and keep a lot of balance and at the same time look good.
Taking open door policy for granted
Over a decade ago, China started taking advantage of the liberal policy of the Nigerian government to foreign trade, to undermine the country with her textiles. Instead of abiding by the law that prohibits foreign traders from retailing, some Chinese circumvented the law in May 2012, by retailing in the streets.
The authorities in the country apprehended them and deported 45 of them. This is excluding 4 of them that were earlier in that month arrested for smuggling mass produced fabrics, which were contained in 26 warehouses that were sealed by the authorities, which import duties were not paid.
As at 2014, the USA was playing the second fiddle in 142years following China in term of economy rating by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Chinese economy was worth $17.61 trillion compared with $17.4 trillion for the USA. The IMF estimated that the economy of China will be worth just under $26.98 trillion in 2019. “That would be 20 per cent bigger than the U.S. economy, which is forecast to be worth $22.3 trillion by then,” the source said.
China achieved this economic feat through industrialisation. Worried by the collapse of the Nigeria’s textile industry, stakeholders assembled at the 6th Advisory Board Meeting of Fashion Textile Stakeholders’ Forum in Lagos in 2013. Mr. Joseph Ikemefuna Odumodu, the Director General/Chief Executive of Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), argued: “People only copy successful products. There is a challenge. Technology also changes our consumption habits. How can we ensure that our products are competitive?”
There is a clamour that the industry wants government protection, not only through monetary donation, but also by making strong the currency in the face of rising Chinese competition. In a different presentation, Ojonugwa said, “Nigeria needs China’s financial and technical assistance in the development of its decaying infrastructure.”
An ex-Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr Olusegun Aganga, once said, “The time is now, to look inward to patronize Nigerian made fabrics and other local raw materials. We must realize the damage we pose on our economy, on our cultural heritage, and our national pride when we shun local brands in preference for products from other economies. We must recognize our power as designers to dictate the taste (or better still, trend) of a population.”
Odimegwu Onwumere ( Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +2348057778358 ), Poet/Writer reports from Rivers State.
*Photo Caption - Female workers at a Chinese textile factory in Dongguan, Guangdong Province, China.
[ Masterweb Reports: Lawrence Nwobu reports ] - You will often hear some commentators claim our problems started from the January 1966 coup. In making this claim, they seem to suggest that all was well until the military for no reason struck and burst into the scene. But nothing can be farther from the truth. Like everywhere else where the military had course to intervene, Nigeria was already in decline with corruption, violence, census/election rigging, tribalism and other such crisis owing directly and indirectly to the excesses of the then leadership which in turn unfortunately occasioned the incursion of the military into Nigeria’s politics. Had the political leaders of the time played by the rules, the military would ordinarily have no reason to intervene. In the Western region alone, it is estimated that more than 5000 people were killed in sustained riots following the massive rigging of elections there. The riots (wetie) which included arson, thuggery, murders and general acts of lawlessness was to continue from 1964 until 1966 when it stopped only after the military had intervened. In other words, it took the January 1966 coup to stop further carnage and the thousands of lives that would have been lost in the Western region if the military had not intervened.
The crisis in the Western region was only one among other needless crisis such as the Tiv riots and uproar against a rigged census amongst others that was purely and simply occasioned by a failure of leadership. In light of these tragedies—are those who claim the January 1966 coup created our problems disregarding the thousands of lives already lost and countless thousands that would have been lost in the Western region if the military had not struck? Are they saying that the lives of a few political and military leaders count more than the thousands of ordinary civilians that had been killed and that would have been killed had the military coup not stopped the riots? What kind of a society and people would place more premium on the lives of a few big men ahead of thousands of ordinary citizens? Is this warped mindset not symptomatic of the slave and slave master society Nigeria has since evolved into?
While I have problems with the overreaction of the young officers in the execution of the coup; weighted on a balance between the thousands of lives already lost and the thousands more sure to be lost in the ensuing riots in the Western region as against a few political leaders, in addition to the overall ideal of the coup to nip corruption in the bud, I would chose the corrective coup as imperfect as it was, if only for the thousands of civilian lives it saved in the Western region. Many countries have had corrective military regimes that set their country on the part of growth and accountability. In Ghana for example— the Flt Jerry Rawlings revolutionary coup eliminated the corrupt leaders and their enablers and set Ghana on the path of growth and development that Ghana still enjoys till today. For the records; Jerry Rawlings killed no one from his Ewe tribe but Ghanaians did not tribalise the coup as was done in Nigeria. The coup consequently succeeded in ridding Ghana of corruption and misrule which they continue to enjoy to date. If thus, there was any problem with the incursion of the military into politics in January 1966, it was not with the corrective anti-corruption coup itself, as imperfect as it was but with its mismanagement which amongst others led to the tribalisation of the coup, the pogrom and the Nigeria-Biafra war.
Indeed, if the incursion of the military into Nigeria’s politics is as much a problem as some commentators claim, how come that in a democratic dispensation Nigerians have ended up returning the same former military rulers to power from Obasanjo to Buhari? How come the military constituency considered Nigeria’s problems are ironically the only ones considered capable of leading out of a population of more than 150 million people? Is it not then plausible that if Major Kaduna Nzeogwu were to be alive, he might possibly have been drafted into Nigeria’s presidency given how the corruption he tried to rid Nigeria off has overwhelmed and destroyed the nation? More than anything else, the trajectory of returning ex-military officers through the ballot box puts a lie to the contrived propaganda that Kaduna Nzeogwu and his military ilk created Nigeria’s problems when they in reality only patriotically reacted to overwhelming misrule, violence and impunity by the Balewa government.
Another wrong narrative is the idea that the pogroms in the North came about wholly as a result of the perceived wrongs and or provocation of the January 1966 coup. While the coup which was primitively tribalised and tagged an Igbo coup was certainly an immediate trigger and factor in the pogrom, the pogrom was caused more by a long standing culture of violence and mass murders in the North which continues to manifest today and into the future with groups such as Boko Haram. It’s important to note that long before the January 1966 coup, ethno-religious riots/pogroms have been prevalent in the North from as far back as 1945. In 1953 when Anthony Enahoro moved a motion for independence in the federal parliament, anti-independence riots erupted in Kano that killed hundreds of Southerners and shortly after the civil war ended— ethno-religious riots resumed in the North—first with the Maitsatsine riots and subsequently to riots that all but became routine culminating in Fulani herdsmen massacres and Boko Haram that was in 2015 named the most murderous terrorist group in the world—far ahead of Al Qaeda and ISIS. Also notably, the North was not the only region that lost leaders in the January 1966 coup, but it was the only region that reacted with a pogrom. It is thus self evident that the Northern pogrom which led to the civil war was occasioned more by an already existing culture of violence, intolerance and mass murders than by the coup itself as vindicated by present day terrorist groups such as Boko Haram.
Finally, much has been said about the January 1966 coup—almost everyone has an opinion on it, but what has been missing is an analysis or appraisal of the scenarios prior to the coup and the likely consequence of what would have emerged had there been no coup. From the intrigues, plots and scheming prior to the coup certain things were already obvious. Firstly, with the rigging of the national census results in favour of the North in 1962 and rigging of elections in Tiv land, the Balewa/Ahmadu Bello administration was already on the way to achieve total domination of the North against both Northern minorities and the rest of Nigeria. Secondly, with the state of emergency declared in the Western region in 1962 and the alliance between Ladoke Akintola and Balewa, the stage was also set for the takeover of the Southwest and thus an extension of their national power. Thirdly, with the arrest and conviction of Chief Obafemi Awolowo in 1963 for treason, the massive rigging of elections in the Western region in 1964 and the consequent long running bloody riots that was ignored by the Balewa administration—it was obvious impunity/corruption had taken over the nation and Balewa/Ahmadu Bello were well on their way to creating a corrupt one party state.
As the saying goes, the handwriting was thus already on the wall owing to the unfolding scenarios. Had there been no coup, Nigeria would have emerged a corrupt one party state in the firm grip of Balewa/Ahmadu Bello who having succeeded in neutralising Chief Obafemi Awolowo through trumped up treason charges would most likely have also neutralised Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe possibly also through a trumped up treason charge that probably would have seen him and his recalcitrant supporters also clamped into jail or fleeing into exile. Without the coup, it is also possible that Chief Obafemi Awolowo and many of his supporters who were already serving a 10 year jail term for treason might not have survived the rigours of prison. Considering how the Balewa administration ignored the riots in the Western region from 1964 to 1966 even as hundreds were dying on a daily basis, many more lives would have been lost had the coupists not intervened. Therefore consequent upon a plague of bad leaders who were unwilling to play by the rules, Nigeria was already on a downward slope to a corrupt, dysfunctional, lawless, murderous, disharmonious and tyrannical one party state that would have left the nation prostrate possibly even worse than what presently obtains.
Lawrence Chinedu Nwobu ( Email: email@example.com ) reports.
*Photo Caption – Map of Nigeria depicting violent polity
[ Masterweb Reports: Chuka Odittah reports ] - Minister of Transportation Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has been appointed by the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban ki Moon, to serve as a member of the board of trustees of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).
The appointment is for a three -year term beginning from January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2018.
UNITAR is an autonomous institute established within the framework of the United Nations for the purpose of enhancing the effectiveness of government in achieving major objectives of the United Nations particularly for the purpose of maintaining peace, security and development in developing nations like Nigeria.
Director, Decentralised Corporation UNITAR, Alex Mejia, while presenting the letter of appointment to Nigeria’s minister of transportation on behalf of the United Nations’ Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, said that Amaechi is expected to make useful and valuable contributions to the growth and development of UNITAR.
*Photo Caption - Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi
[ Masterweb Reports: Press Release For Immediate Release ] - The OEAS called for the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security to utilize their good office to help bring about a Referendum on Biafra Independence. The OEAS has also called for release of all Biafran political prisoners, a stand down of Nigerian forces, and a snap referendum to be held within 90 days.
Mrs. Mogherini who handles the foreign affairs portfolio for the European Union responded on January 18 to the OEAS Chief Administrative Officer, Dr., Jonathan Levy, regarding the question of a Biafra referendum. The European Unions official position is that while it has strong diplomatic and economic ties with Nigeria, Protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms remains a priority for the EU and we encourage the
authorities [Nigeria] in every occasion to respect such rights.
The EU went on to advise the OEAS and Biafrans that self-determination and border changes must be in accordance with established international law. The OEAS has called for an internationally recognized referendum on Biafra independence or autonomy. The EU has indicated it will only recognize a Biafra born via international law and not armed secession.
To achieve a referendum, the OEAS advises all nonviolent means should be utilized including general strikes, economic boycotts, work actions, demonstrations, lawsuits, and civil disobedience. Nigeria is a member of The International Labor Organization (ILO). The ILO recognizes the right to engage in general strikes and the right to strike is also recognized in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966 (Article 8(1)(d)).
Biafra is a charter member of the Organization of Emerging African States (OEAS), an international governmental organization that promotes self-determination and the end to
colonial era boundaries in Africa. The OEAS has called for a snap referendum on Biafra self-determination with nonaligned observers supervising the balloting process. The OEAS supports the Shadow Government of Biafra and calls for the immediate release of all Biafran patriots detained by the Nigerian federal government.
A copy of the EU communication to the OEAS is attached.
For more information, contact:
Dr. Ebenezer Derek Mbongo Akwanga, Jr.,
Secretary General OEAS
Dr. Jonathan Levy, Solicitor
Chief Administrative Officer OEAS
Tel 44 020 3239 1362
*Photo Caption - Map of Defunct Republic of Biafra