[ Masterweb Reports; Odimegwu Onwumere reports ] - Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State wants the residents to feel a sense of importance through his amnesty programme. He wants the people to stand for freedom and justice. He wants to crack down on lawlessness that once characterised the state before he came in as governor.
The convivial Senior Special Assistant on Media to the governor, Mr. Terver Akase in a public presentation last year exposed that many parts of Benue were in turmoil with traits of violence before the emergence of his principal as governor. Akase opined that Benue State was an Opera of violence, armed robbery, kidnapping, political killings, thuggery and cultism.
The irony, according to Akase, was that the economy of the state was being pummeled as investors and others were fleeing the state for a safe ground elsewhere. Therefore, when Ortom mounted the saddle and took oath of office on May 29, 2015, he declared the amnesty programme to give the lawbreakers a new lease of life to live and be better citizens.
After the first expiration of the amnesty programme in August 2015, in September the governor raised the flag of devoutness on amnesty and granted some persons who were illegally in custody of arms and ammunitions forgiveness. When he saw that some persons this year were in the patio to surrender their dubious acts especially in the Benue South Senatorial District, he gave in and lengthened his Olive Branch to them.
Governor Ortom has been garnering support and kudos from far and near with this singular act. From the youth, elders and traditional rulers the song on their lips is that the governor is one who wants his people to be responsible citizens devoid of breaking laws. The Idoma Traditional Council is today thanking Ortom for having a listening ear to the plea it made in Otukpo during a security meeting he had with stakeholders where the traditional council pleaded with him to extend the amnesty.
It is observable that in a situation like this, not all would show support. And the governor was once irked that some persons did not support the programme when it was freshly generated till its expiration and here they were pleading with him for extension; something he has obliged and is calling on all others who still have illegal arms to willingly surrender and sin no more. It was not certain why some persons had arms in the state. Perhaps, due to the frequent clashes the farmers in the state were having with herdsmen.
However, the governor has curtailed the clashes and is moving to meet his counterpart at the Nasarawa State Government to find a lasting solution to the clashes between herdsmen and farmers. What would happen to the persons who have refused to surrender their illegal possession of arms is contained in the statement that the governor made on May 29, 2015 at IBB Square, Makurdi.
“We will move decisively against our youths and their patrons who have chosen a living out of unbridled acts of terror and thuggery. Government will no longer be a shield for these youths and those who patronise them. Whoever they may be and no matter how powerful they are, they will be brought to account. We call on all unlawfully armed persons who have been terrorising innocent citizens to immediately surrender their arms, be free and get integrated into our reform programme, or we shall pursue them down to their holes,” Governor Ortom had said.
What stands the governor out in the programme is that he is not just making verbal pronouncement; he set up a committee that would oversee the programme some days it was made public. Today, the programme has recorded a major feat with the likes of an infamous gang leader whose name was given as Terwase Agwaza (aka Ghana) who was bent on terrorising parts of Benue and Taraba States surrendering to the programme with what media report said was with a huge amount of arms and ammunition – 84 assorted riffles and 770 rounds of ammunition.
It is evidence that the governor is not leaving any stone unturned in making sure that the programme was a success. His budget for the programme this year amounted to some millions of naira to make sure that the once notorious elements were rehabilitated and given a fresh air to be engaged in money-spinning ventures that are legal. It would, therefore, behoove Governor Samuel Ortom and his counterparts in the neighbouring states to form a joint of “Truth and Friendship Commission” just as the neighbouring countries with Nigeria are forming in the fight against terrorism.
There should be transparency, accountability and sustainability in the programme to make it achieve the aim it was formed. There should be a regular audit, just as companies carry out environmental and social audits. There should be documentation for every undocumented person residing in Benue State to help fight criminals that might be threatening the state again in the name of gangsterism.
Odimegwu Onwumere ( Email: email@example.com Tel: +2348057778358 ), a Media Consultant reports from Rivers State, Nigeria.
*Photo Caption - Governor Samuel Ortom
[ Masterweb Reports: Dr Peregrino Brimah reports ] - It is urgently required for Nigeria to invest in explosives-detection technology for Maiduguri and neighboring cities. We can't keep just talking and praying. We need bomb sniffing dogs, bees, mice and other biological organisms deployed across Maiduguri. We need explosives trace compounds testing kits to be used by Civilian-JTF and military for operations. Once precursors for home-made explosives are detected on random suspects' hands, they can be interrogated and lead to their bomb-manufacturing bases ahead of the next deadly carnage.
While some of these things are expensive, we know many of the tools are quite cheap enough. Further, it is time for draconian measures against the National Assembly and reckless government officials who covet billions in borehole projects and buying newest model replacement cars for fleets only a year old, as the Senate leadership just did; and take this money to save lives in the northeast. Scrap that Senate as Senegal did for God sake and save Nigerian lives. Kit the army; kit the intelligence units, kit the Civilian-JTF. And as promised, keep the Army heads in Borno. There was a technical reason for that promise, your Excellency, if I must remind you. The family of 20 that were killed is never coming back. Their history has been wiped out. Where is our conscience as a nation that we play games and play politics and stoke-up and invite unnecessary sectarian strife at the beckon of mischievous foreign parties, than protect our citizens' lives?
If indeed the war has been revised back from an insurgency to urban terror, then Nigeria should move ahead of the revision and not waste time talking. How many more lives need to be lost for us to catch up to and move ahead of Boko Haram? Enough talk. It is not by defining or redefining the technical details of the technical defeat of Boko Haram, nor by chatting with the media and defining what the media does or does not do that will save the invaluable lives of our dear loved ones. The media did its job perfectly fine during the Jonathan era in effort to save Nigeria's north and the nation at large from total collapse under Boko Haram terror; and this job is what brought in this new government; we must never forget.
The media must advise and warn the people properly. Indeed I had to play my part as an advocate to warn the people in my article, to stay alert and not be distracted by the political advertisement of victory of the government which borrowed from the notes of the Jonathan government. The risks of such careless advise are too grave to be continuously toyed with. Perhaps the people of Borno misunderstood the meaning of "technically," and relaxed their security consciousness. Nigeria is not interested in publicity stunts. They got Jonathan nowhere. We want action, clue-full action. Over 100 lives have been lost in Borno and Adamawa states of Nigeria since Christmas. People like me and you; entire families have been wiped out. We must act.
As mentioned in my earlier article; we must know those behind and sponsoring Boko Haram and cut the links and execute the sponsors to end this saga and prevent the like. Killing and pleading for Boko Haram foot soldiers to surrender does not kill it. Who is doing this to us and why? Who pays the bills? Many of our Elite and politicians know. Arrest them! The Military, NSA and other security agencies should get out of Zaria sectarian and political issues and focus on Borno in terms of technology, manpower and proper intelligence. We need Boko Haram sponsors arrested and we need this now. We are not kids to think this thing lacks a head, nor are we conscience-less to think the heads can be pardoned.
Nigeria needs proper intelligence; proper tools and a professional military and intelligence command.
Dr Peregrino Brimah ( Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ) reports.
*Photo Caption - A policeman checks a car for explosives in Kano, January 22, 2012.
[ Masterweb Reports: Dr. Peregrino Brimah reports ] - While we receive the announcement of the technical defeat of Boko Haram by the Nigerian government on Christmas eve, we are obligated to advice Nigerian citizens to not release their breath yet and risk their lives in the known Boko Haram territories. Keep your guards up and be fully security conscious as the end is near and approachable but not quite here.
ENDS as always highly appreciates the work of the altruistic and truly patriotic Civilian-JTF who have always remained there as the last line of defense and most reliable and consistent hope to the plagued communities against Boko Haram. Your vigilance in intercepting those food-flask bombs cannot be over commended. And the sacrifice you make and those who have passed made will never be forgotten.
While Boko Haram is "technically" defeated, the danger is still here and present and still well active. Unless the public was not notified, not a single sponsor of Boko Haram has yet been arrested by the Nigerian security services and army. This is the root of the deadly tree and until the root is killed, the tree will not be dead.
We will like to remind the Nigerian security services that the governor of Borno state and head of the northern governor's forum, Kashim Shettima knows the sponsors of Boko Haram. Kashim Shettima has said on several occasions that he is keeping mute to protect them.
We will like to urge the Nigerian army to make Kashim Shettima and others who know the sponsors, talk. Dasuki has hinted that he knows the sponsors as has former President Goodluck Jonathan. By now we do believe they have handed over this information to the security services and we also expected top-level arrests before the December deadline.
It is time to put a lasting and permanent end to this menace that has affected all of us including our army and turned some of us into beasts and walking dead. The stress has taken a permanent toll on our army. As is done world over, they need counselors and medical therapy. They should not keep laying their lives down for us and testing their physical and mental capacities while some people paid for this carnage and still live large and party happy.
As important as the war against corruption is and prosecuting the chief looters; so also is the war against Boko Haram and its main financiers and political sponsors, Nigerian and foreign. Nigeria must urgently get to the bottom of it via identifying and executing its backers, not only to truly end the reign of terror and prevent its reoccurrence but also to identify the reasons towards preventing similar situations in the future. The sponsors of Boko Haram must no longer be covered and all those implicated in concealing their identity must be punished equally to the full extent of the law.
The military chiefs also implicated in supporting Boko Haram and its pogrom agenda directly and indirectly along with former NSA Dasuki must also be brought to book. We should have pity on the 100,000 dead victims and 3 million displaced, suffering in Borno's winter right now. These men must not continue to walk free after all they caused and the money for terror they looted. The Chibok girls and their families deserve justice; without which there can never be peace.
It is another Christmas without our girls. Only God know whether they will ever come back. But they are in the best hands: His. May He have mercy on them.
We thank the sacrifice of the soldiers in the battle front. May the Good Lord bless you and reward you in the ways man cannot. Zaman Lafiya, Lafiya Dole!
Dear compassionate Nigerians, please donate winter clothes to our #IDPClothesDrive for the families in Borno IDP camps.
God bless Nigeria.
Dr. Peregrino Brimah ( Email: email@example.com ) reports.
*Photo Caption - Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau.
[ Masterweb Reports: Lawrence Nwobu reports ] - The recent raid of the home of El-Zakzaky the Shiite leader in Nigeria and the killing of his wife, 2 of his sons and massacre of hundreds more innocent civilians, many of them children by the Nigerian army, following an alleged blockage of a road through which the chief of army staff was passing; once again brings to the fore, the globally acclaimed culture of impunity that is highly entrenched in the Nigerian army. The Shiite killings comes on the heels of similar massacres of scores of unarmed pro-Biafra protesters in Onitsha who were demanding the release of Nnamdi Kanu and following his acquittal by the federal high court the killing of yet more people who were celebrating the news of his release on the streets of Onitsha. This massacre of civilians in cold blood which no doubt constitute crimes against humanity—are overall indicative of the level of miss-training and rot in the Nigerian army. It is also indicative of a misunderstanding of the proper role of the army in a democratic society. What kind of an army will always so wilfully kill the same citizens it is trained and paid to protect? One is sometimes left to wonder how the soldiers who carry out such sadistic and cowardly acts of killing innocent civilians sleep at night after such atrocious crimes.
It is exactly killings like these that prompted the American government to enact the “Leahy act,” an act sponsored by Senator Patrick Leahy that forbids the sale of weapons to nations where there is ample evidence of human rights violations being perpetrated by its armed forces and other security services. Owing to the supply of much evidence by amnesty international, its own intelligence services and other civil rights organisations in regards to massive human rights abuses by the Nigerian army, the American government invoked the Leahy act and banned all sales of weapons to the Nigerian armed forces. Senator Patrick Leahy himself had described the Nigerian army as an “army of rapists and murderers” in reaction to the unassailable evidence of extra-judicial killings perpetrated by the army. I still remember the angry reaction of a section of the public to news of the American ban of weapons sales to the Nigerian army, with some going as far as accusing the American government of backing Boko Haram while making puerile comparisons between the purported human rights violations by the Israeli army and the American government’s continued sale of weapons to Israel vis-avis the Nigerian army.
But with the latest Shiite and Onitsha massacres in just 7 months of Buhari’s so called “change” government can we now in all honesty blame them for choosing to ban weapons sales to the Nigerian Army? As the days go by and as evidence of human rights violations continues to mount has the American government and other Western nations not been vindicated in their decision to suspend weapons sales to the Nigerian army? The fact remains, that sections of the Nigerian public who criticised the ban did so on the basis of their limited understanding of inherent American values in regards to human rights. We cannot expect other more civilised nations to share our bankrupt values that totally disregard the dignity of the human person. No people that lay claim to any civilisation more so in the 21st century can sell arms in good conscience to an army that is verifiably involved in human rights violations such as the Nigerian army. Interestingly none of those who were critical of the American decision brought any contrary evidence to the accusations of human rights violations beyond mere sentimental babblings and illogical arguments. If anything, it is common knowledge that the Nigeria army has a dark history of human rights violations from as far back as the 60’s, contributing significantly to the crisis that engulfed the nation in those turbulent years.
Overtime, the culture of impunity became consolidated eventually spreading to other security services such as the police force and others. The consequence is that wherever you send the Nigerian army or police for security duties they inevitably end up extorting and carrying out extra-judicial executions on mostly innocent civilians. Whereas some states in the South of America still fly the confederate flags and peaceful rallies in support of the confederacy are all but routine, the Nigerian army kills unarmed pro-Biafran protesters exercising their fundamental rights to peaceful protests at will. If citizens cannot engage in peaceful protests why do we claim to be a democracy and why does anyone expect any civilised nation to sell arms to such an army? While the police force is notorious for roadside executions in the course of extorting sums as little as N20 naira, in all recent military deployments from Odi in the Niger-Delta, Zaki Biam in the North central to Boko Haram in the Northeast, the Nigerian army has repeatedly carried out extra-judicial executions. The evidence abounds everywhere as countless videos which captured such executions of sometimes very young children are available online.
It takes a totally debased army to be engaged in such unconscionable violation of the rights of even its own citizens that it is constituted to protect. Ironically, in just 7 months of Buhari’s administration that claims to be all about “change”, human rights violations and disregard for the rule of law have almost surpassed much of what obtained in the past. Not only has the Nigerian army been increasingly carrying out random massacres of the same citizens/civilians it is trained and paid to protect, Nnamdi Kanu, the proprietor of Radio Biafra remains in extra-judicial detention even after both the magistrate court and federal high court discharged and acquitted him in blatant disregard of the rule of law—and all under Buhari’s watch and supposed “change” government. Where then is the “change” when people continue to be clamped in detention against court orders and where civilians can be randomly mowed down by an atrocious army?
It is obvious that the Nigerian army as presently constituted is not fit for purpose. If Buhari is serious about his so called change agenda, then he must urgently undertake a root and branch reform of the army; massive re-training and re-orientation, while at the same time punishing all the culprits implicated in human rights violations and respect the rule of law as it concerns Nnamdi Kanu’s extra-judicial detention. In a normal society, the chief of army staff under whose direct command the massacre of innocent civilians happened would have long resigned, but in Nigeria being as embedded in injustice as it is in impunity the chief of army staff is defiant. Yet, for an administration that promised change, it is left for Buhari to decide his fate and ultimately what kind of change his administration really represents. Whether it will be a change for the better or a change for the worse remains to be seen. Injustice consumes all in its path, and except we collectively strive to create a nation that upholds the fundamental rights of all its citizens, any of us could one day be a victim of human rights violations.
Lawrence Chinedu Nwobu ( Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ) reports.
*Photo Caption - A Nigerian soldier restoring order, - orders a girl on her knees, threatening her with a stick.
[ Masterweb Reports: Dr. David Leffler reports ] - The state-run Saudi Press Agency has announced that 34 nations are forming a new "Islamic military alliance" to fight terrorism. But will this new alliance really be able to prevent future terrorist attacks and create lasting peace? There is no statistically validated guarantee that the military strategy of fighting violence with violence will work. It certainly has not in the past. Why should it now? History shows that using violence to quell violence ultimately just ratchets up the level of violence.
There is hope, however, if the new alliance honors its stated goal that terrorism "should be fought by all means and collaboration should be made to eliminate it." Today a scientifically validated means exists to prevent terrorism and war, and all countries involved in the alliance could collaboratively deploy it. This scientific approach is known in military circles as Invincible Defense Technology (IDT). This field-tested approach to reducing stress and violence is already part of the training of Brazil's Elite Police force, and has been field-tested by other militaries. It has been validated by 23 peer-reviewed studies carried out in both developed and developing nations, including the Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America. Independent scientists and scholars endorse it, based on 25 years of ongoing research.
IDT Reduces Societal Stress
As a specially trained military unit, an "IDT Prevention Wing of the Military" uses IDT to neutralize the buildup of stress in the national collective consciousness that ultimately fuels terrorism, war and crime. As collective stress and frustration subside, government leaders and citizens alike are more capable of finding orderly and constructive solutions to the issues that have separated them for generations.
Experience with IDT in highly stressed areas of the globe have demonstrated increased economic incentive and growth of prosperity. Individual creativity and entrepreneurship increase as well. With greater civic calm, citizens' aspirations rise and a more productive and balanced society emerges. Such a society naturally disallows violence as a means for change, or as an expression of discontent. With this, the ground for terrorism is eliminated. Moreover, this positive change in social trends takes place within a few days or weeks after IDT is introduced. The changes are measurable from such statistics as reduced terrorism, crime rates, accidents, hospital admissions, infant mortality, etc.
The IDT warrior's daily routine includes the non-religious practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique and the advanced TM-Sidhi program. Military personnel, functioning as a societal coherence-creating military unit, practice these techniques together in a group twice a day, seven days a week, preferably near the targeted population in a secure location. Their presence need not be disclosed to achieve the effect of conflict resolution and violence reduction.
Such coherence-creating groups have achieved positive benefits to society, shown experientially, in just 48 hours. Modern statistical methods demonstrate a consistent causal influence of the IDT group on reducing conflict, precluding chance or coincidence. The IDT approach has been used during wartime, resulting in reduction of fighting, reduced war deaths and casualties, and improved progress toward resolving the conflict through peaceful means. Its coherence-creating effect has also been documented on a global scale in a study published in the Journal of Offender Rehabilitation. When large assemblies of civilian IDT experts gathered during the years 1983-1985, terrorism-related casualties decreased 72%, international conflict decreased 32%, and overall violence was reduced in nations without intrusion by other governments.
A civilian IDT group in Israel decreased the intensity of war in Lebanon in 1983 in a dramatic way in 48 hours, to name only one of 50 successful demonstrations. (See a summary of the study, published in the Journal of Conflict Resolution and summaries of follow-up studies in the Journal of Social Behavior and Personality and the Journal of Scientific Exploration).
IDT is totally unlike any other defense technology because it does not use violence in an attempt to quell violence. It is a more civilized approach, yet the IDT defense technology supersedes all other known defense technologies (which are based on electronic, chemical, and/or nuclear forces). Therefore, militaries that deploy it gain the ultimate strategic advantage.
If the Islamic military alliance defense forces establish Prevention Wings of the Military, they will ease the current high tensions, reverse centuries of mistrust and hatred and permanently prevent future unrest. These IDT units will create genuine and lasting reconciliation and friendship where there was once only hatred and conflict. The powerful IDT human-resource-based defense technology disallows negative trends and prevents enemies from arising. No enemies means no terrorism and full security, as well as a normal, happy, productive life for everyone.
By eliminating terrorism and ending decades-old cycles of violence, the Islamic military alliance IDT units will create lasting peace and prosperity. Their powerful demonstration of this non-violent peace technology will gain worldwide attention. They will be honored and respected as great warriors who served honorably in their militaries for the betterment of all humanity.
Extensive scientific research objectively says, "Yes, this approach works." This is a military "means" that should be championed with "all means." It is desperately needed. There is truly no other solution.
The Islamic military alliance must act now, before high social tensions inevitably explode again.
About the author: Dr. David Leffler is the author of "A New Role for the Military: Preventing Enemies from Arising - Reviving an Ancient Approach to Peace." He was a member of the US Air Force for nearly nine years. Dr. Leffler has a Ph.D. in Consciousness-Based Military Defense and served as an Associate of the Proteus Management Group at the Center for Strategic Leadership, US Army War College. Currently, he serves as the Executive Director at the Center for Advanced Military Science (CAMS) and lectures and writes worldwide about IDT. He is on Twitter and Facebook.
*Photo Caption - As seen.
[ Masterweb Reports: Benjamin Okike reports ] - War no matter how small it may seem has destructive tendencies. The war that took place in University of Abuja within the period specified above has negative effects on the university community. No war is small because that may lead to the destruction of lives and properties, including that of intellectual as was the case during University of Abuja War. Because of the negative effects of war, some army generals may prefer to convert to Private soldiers in order to continue to serve in Army Headquarters, Abuja where there is no war rather than to be redeployed to North East as generals where Boko Haram has declared war on Nigeria and her citizens. Those beating war drums, chanting war songs, dancing war music and blowing war whistles should desist from such acts as the consequences of war may be better imagined than experienced. War-mongers beware!.
Throughout the period that the war raged on in the university, University of Abuja experienced a negative growth. My department, Department of Computer Science was the first negative beneficiary of one of the effects of that war. In 2010, a year after the commencement of the war, the department lost accreditation and consequently stopped admission of students. By the year, 2014, the department has no students (100 through 400 levels). During the period under review, the department which was once bubbling with life became a shadow of itself. It is regrettable then that a department that started at the inception of this university in 1990 after over two decades stopped admission of students into the department. Since the department has staff and no students (100 through 400 levels) it would not be out of place then to rename the department to Department of Confusion Science.
The previous year (2013), I went on self-exile to Department of Computer Science, University of Ghana, Accra in the form of a sabbatical leave where I was teaching till the war ended in 2014. I do not want to mention the effects of that war on Agriculture and Engineering Faculties and that of Medical College, those there may know better than I do.
There is no doubt that it is easier to destroy than to rebuild. The present management of University of Abuja is working hard to reconstruct and repair the “damages and injuries” sustained by the university in the course of the war that ended over a year ago. All stakeholders should give the university management maximum support and cooperation desired to restore the university to its former glory.
Benjamin Okike ( Email: email@example.com ) of Department of Computer Science, University of Abuja, Nigeria reports.
*Photo Caption – Students at University of Abuja Campus Gate
[ Masterweb Reports: Philip Amiola reports ] - The world was recently taken aback by news of a London-based Nigerian doctor, Emmanuel Edet, and his wife who were found guilty of enslaving one Ofonime Sunday Inuk for 24 years. As pathetic as the case is, it is only one of many such cases, most of which never come to light. Ben Cooley touched on this when he revealed that Hope for Justice – the charity he heads – has liberated more than 70 slaves this year alone. Education is supposed to liberate us and help us become more rational. However, as this revelation from the UK shows, education as we have it is apparently not enough.
Now, it is easy to identify physical slavery and kick against it, but how do we deal with mental slavery? Unlike physical slavery where there is an oppressed and an oppressor, mental slavery is more of a wilful – or perhaps unconscious – subservience to a perceived superior entity. It’s a subtle reinvention of imperialism. Nigeria gained independence 55 years ago. But are we truly a sovereign state or simply an independent colony? Do we really have an identity independent of the West?
I shake my head each time I see helpless hustlers clad in suit and tie, sweating profusely in the hot tropical sun. Who says you can't dress like a Wole Soyinka or an Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to attend a job interview? Who restricted native attires to Fridays? Think about it. We're so "independent" that we even celebrate foreign holidays we know nothing about. As long as it is a US or UK thing we jump on the bandwagon.
Yes, some of these holidays are great; for example, Mother's Day, Father's Day and Thanksgiving. But if we would like to adopt them, why don't we come up with our own instead of gate-crashing as it were? Having said that, the real issue is not about holidays. We seem to have a predilection for Western norms and culture over and above our time-tested values. That's the real issue.
Yes, we may need to improve some aspects of our culture and traditions but we cannot afford to discard them altogether. Yes, we may need to adopt some practices from the West but we should adapt them to suit our peculiar situation. To take embrace Western culture in its entirety is to erode our values and deny our very essence. How well has that worked for us thus far? Isn’t it obvious that we need a change?
Philip Amiola ( Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ) reports from Lagos, Lagos State, Nigeria.
*Photo Caption - Masterweb Breaking News logo
[ Masterweb Reports: Igbo Mandate Congress reports ] - It has been brought to the notice of Igbo Mandate Congress (IMC) by concerned Nigerians and Ndigbo in the United States that Mr Musa Gowon, the Igbo son of Nigeria’s former Head of Stat from 1966 to 1975, General Yakubu Gowon has been released from prison courtesy of the magnanimity of United States President Barrack Obama. Musa Gowon is now in the custody of the United States Immigration Agency and is set for deportation soon.
Musa Gowon was borne out of a courtship gone awryl relationship between former Head of State Yakubu Gowon, then a Lieutenant Colonel and an Igbo Girl by name Edith Ike-Okongwu while he was still a bachelor. This relationship between Gowon and Edith Ike ended in the heat of the civil war while the former was military Head of State. It is widely believed that the relationship broke off after Federal Troops bombed Aba General Hospital with NAF Napalm Bomb on July 14, 1968 killing most of the patients.
Edith was said to have expressed disapproval with Gowon over the deliberate bombing of Biafran civilian soft targets and the romance was brought to an end. Prior to that, Edith Ike’s parents who had lived in the north for more than thirty years, hastily relocated back to the East after narrowly surviving the pogrom of 1966, while Edith herself relocated to West Germany on 30thJune, 1967.
The relationship was said to have produced a handsome young man with full name Jack Musa Ngonadi Gowon in 1968. Due to Edith’s constant unease at the indiscriminate murder of civilians, the relationship got frosty and ended towards the end of 1968. In 1969 Gowon married Miss Victoria Zakari, a nurse by profession. Gowon reportedly denied paternity of Musa.
Chief Charles Okereke, Publisher of the popular online media, Nigeria Masterweb and Ambassador at large for Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council, and chieftain of Igbo Mandate Congress while briefing the leadership of the group on aspects of the legal tussle between Gowon and Edith Ike said that “the case of paternity appeared before the Supreme Court of Nigeria (Suit No: SC.64/97); the appellant was General Gowon (Gowon v. Ike-Okongwu (2003) 6 NWLR (Pt.815)38 and respondent sMrs. Edith Ike-Okongwu, and Mr.Musa Gowon. FACTS: Respondent herein as plaintiff in the original action claimed, inter alia that the defendant,General Yakubu Gowon, is the father of the 2nd plaintiff, Musa Gowon. They claimed damages of the sum of N10, 000,000.00 for alleged libel contained in a letter published by the defendant through his solicitors to the editor of a monthly magazine “The Prime People.”
“Defendant in his statement of defense denied liability and paternity of the 2nd plaintiff. The defendant subsequently filed a motion seeking leave of court to file an amended statement of defense by inclusion of a counter-claim. The subject of the counter-claim was an alleged libelous article in two publications of the magazine called “HINTS - True Life Romances.”
"These publications of the magazine were made after the plaintiffs had filed amended statement of defense. The trial court at the conclusion of hearing of the application struck out both the amended statement of defense and the counter-claim. The defendant’s appeal to the Court of Appeal was dismissed. Dissatisfied, he further appealed to the Supreme Court.”
Edith was said to have migrated to the United States from then West Germany after the birth of Musa. The young boy lived with Gowon until her mother took him awa to the US. In the US Musa was said to have joined a Colombian drug cartel and lived flamboyant lifestyle until he was arrested on November 18, 1992 aged 23, prosecuted and given 40-year jail sentence the following year”
U.S. President Obama last month granted him state pardon after he had spent 22 years in prison. He is now in the custody of U.S. Immigration booked for deportation to Nigeria anytime from now.
The Director General of Igbo Mandate Congress, Rev Obinna Akukwe has gotten in touch with Nigerians in diaspora to determine the actual date of deportation so that this rejected Igbo son abandoned by his father, is given a sense of belonging
Igbo Mandate Congress also calls on the Federal Government to ensure that this boy is rehabilitated so that those evil memories of the civil war is not resurrected and used by desperate politicians.
IMC also called on Igbos in the United States to assist to assist Musa Gowon Ngonadi because “he whom has been rejected should not reject himself”
Igbo Mandate Congress also expresses gratitude to the United States President Barrack Obama for the pardon granted Musa Ngonadi Gowon in the spirit of reconciliation and demand good treatment of this man born under the contradictions of love, hate and an unnecessary civil war.
Rev Obinna Akukwe
Igbo Mandate Congress (IMC)
*Photo Caption - Nigerian Air Force napalm bombing of Aba Gen Hospital on July 12, 1968 that killed over 500 patients including the Medical Doctor on duty - Dr. Nzeribe. It was this massacre of innocent civilians that reportedly, finally ended the romance between Yakubu Gowon and Edith Ike-Okongwu.
[ Masterweb Reports: Intersociety reports ] - (Jos, Nigeria 20th November 2015)-The leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law is shocked and alarmed over steady perpetration and perpetuation of anti democratic, anti rule of law and anti constitutional conducts by the Buhari administration otherwise called State terrorism. The most shocking aspect of it all is that as days go by, these despicable and condemnable conducts continue to escalate and deepen. The DSS has fully gone on rampage against Citizens Nnamdi Kanu and Sambo Dasuki using trumped up charges, kangaroo court orders and abusive power of arrest.
Further, as there are spoilers of peace and conflict profiteers in violent conflict; the State terrorism governing styles of the Buhari administration have also thrown up profiteers of self determination or peaceful assemblies. The commonwealth of Nigerians are now hugely deployed by the so called powers that be to hire leprous voices to label those exercising their legitimate and constitutionally given rights to peaceful assembly and association; movement, personal liberty, life, dignity of humanperson, fair hearing and equality before the law as well as their regionally and internationally guaranteed rights to existence, development and self determination; as evil doers, jobless people in Europe, street urchins and jobless citizens in the streets of Nigeria.
Rather than going back to the governance drawing board to right the wrongs being complained of or agitated against, zero-sum game or lose-lose approaches instead of win-win approaches have been extensively deployed by the Buhari administration to escalate the raging early warning signals. Today, the wife of the President has become a self appointed ambassador of war and divide-and-rule; visiting blessed virgin Mary (mother of peace and enemy of injustice) adoration grounds; asking her to become the mother of injustice. Lepers of social justice and latter day Judases have also sprung up or mobilized and scripted to disassociate or renounce their constitutional, regional and international rights cited above, which are being asserted peacefully for collectivism by other millions of Nigerian citizens. These damage control and divide-and-rule approaches so presidentially deployed have further emboldened the peaceful self determination agitators and drawn more global attentions and sympathies for their local, regional and international legitimate cause.
History has not forgotten to remind all and sundry that it was the fears of the minority nationalities over their possible dominance by the majority nationalities in the (would be) post colonial Nigeria that led to enshrinement of the Fundamental Human Rights Charter into the Independence Constitution of 1960. The same history further reminds that it was the Willinks Commission of 1957 that made such noble recommendation. Today, the Fundamental Human Rights Charter of the 1999 Constitution has not only served as a major basis for the advancement and protection of the rights of the minority nationalities, but also the rights of all Nigerians including the serving and past political office holders.
Return of Black Sheep in the Nigerian Judiciary: It is our authoritative information that the captivity ordeal of Citizen Nnamdi Kanu has further been compounded and complicated by President Muhammadu and his DSS. Apart from deliberate and inexcusable failure of the President and his DSS to produce Citizen Nnamdi Kanu in the Wuse Zone 2 Magistrate Court yesterday, as earlier ordered, for his trial leading to another firm order of the Magistrate Court (presided over by Mr. Shaibu Usman) for his mandatory production on Monday, 23rd November 2015; it is further socking to inform that the DSS has obtained a black market or phantom order of the Federal High Court in Abuja to keep Citizen Nnamdi Kanu in detention for ninety (90) days; starting from 10th November 2015. The order was dated same 10th November 2015.
The DSS had on 10th November 2015 (after detaining Citizen Nnamdi Kanu extra judicially for 21 days) secretly and un-popularly sought and obtained an ex-parte order or order ex-parte from Federal High Court Six sitting in Abuja, presided over by Hon Justice Alfa Ademola for detention of Citizen Kanu for ninety (90) days; for the purpose of investigating him for terrorism and terrorism financing. The spurious order was sought and obtained through a suit number: FHC/ABJ/CS/873/2015.
The order was sought and obtained in fragrant abuse of the court process and disregard of the three consequential orders (bail, production and transfer to prison) of the Wuse 2 Magistrate Court made on 19th, 23rd and 26th October 2015 against the DSS. In granting the ex-parte order, the presiding Judge (Hon Justice Ademola) unprofessionally issued the order without hearing from the accused person or his defense counsel considering the weighty nature of the matter, which also attracts death penalty on conviction.
The DSS obviously misled the Court by refusing to inform same of another pending criminal proceeding it had earlier initiated against the same accused at the Magistrate Court as well as its flouting of the three consequential orders of the same court. The Service also engaged in clear abuse of court process by gambling with the rule of law and judicial process (i.e. resorting to technical justice and looking for judges willing to do its illegitimate biddings).The Federal High Court, on its part, failed damnably to uphold the sacred principle of hear the other side or audi alteram partem. The Judge who granted the spurious order is a black sheep in the Nigerian Judiciary and a protagonist of State terrorism and dictatorship. He also acted as if he is a pastoral nomad emerging from Sambisa Forest suggesting that he does know anything about the social background of the subject matter; even if he was born outside computer age (BBC).
Spurious accusation of terrorism & terrorism financing against Nnamdi Kanu: Terrorism is commonly defined as the use of violence and intimidation in pursuit of political aims or an act designed to cause terror. It is also use of violence or threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes or a state of fear or submission produced by terrorism or terrorization. In Nigeria, there is the Terrorism (Prevention) Act of 2011 (amended in 2013). The Act had 41 sections and a schedule. Its Section 1(2) defines “act of terrorism‟ as an act which is deliberately done with malice after thought and which is intended or can reasonably be regarded as having been intended to (1) unduly compel a government or international organization to perform or to abstain from performing any act (II) seriously intimidate a population,(c)(I) may cause serious bodily harm or death (II) kidnapping of a person (III) destruction of a government or public utility, a transport system, an infrastructure facility, including an information system, a fixed platform located on continental shelf.
By its Section 1 (2) (h), anybody found guilty of terrorism in Nigeria is liable to be sentenced to death, while anybody found guilty of conspiracy in the commission of terrorism will be liable to life imprisonment. Section 2 gives power to a high court Judge to proscribe an organization that has a legacy of terrorism. However, this must be through an application made by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), National security Adviser (NSA) and Inspector General of Police (IGP) on the approval of the President. The proscribed organization(s) and the notice must be published in the official Gazette. Therefore, any person who belongs to such proscribed organization is guilty on conviction to a maximum term of 20 years imprisonment.
Apart from this section, Section 9(4) empowers the President to declare a body an international terrorist group if there are reasonable grounds to believe that such a group is under the influence of persons or groups outside Nigeria or listed as a terrorist group(s) in any United Nations Security Council, African Union or Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Resolution‟. But such presidential action must emanate on the recommendation of NSA and IGP. Section 10(1) is intended to monitor the movement of funds which terrorists use to cause mayhem in the neighbourhood. It clearly states that a person who provides funds with the intension of using such money for terrorist acts as stated in section 1 of the Act commits an offence and liable on conviction to maximum term of 20 years jail term. It is also important to remind that the Terrorism (Prevention) Act of 2011 as amended in 2013 is subject in spirit and letters, to the provisions of the 1999 Constitution including its Fundamental Human Rights Charter in its Chapter Four.
Linking Citizen Nnamdi Kanu and his Radio Biafra London (RBL) and Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) with capital crime offense (death) of terrorism and its 20 years jail term of terrorism financing is a height of executive lawlessness, recklessness and abuse of office. Terrorism is clearly an act of mass violence or war against Nigeria or any part thereof. It is also a gross violation of the provisions of the same Terrorism Act of 2011 (amended in 2013) for the DSS to have disclosed judicially through its kangaroo court order of its investigation of Citizen Nnamdi Kanu for crimes of terrorism and terrorism financing when neither Citizen Kanu nor his RBL and IPOB has been proscribed by a high court judge, acting on the recommendation of the trio of the Attorney General of the Federation, the National Security Adviser and the Inspector General of the Police; upon the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari, which must be officially gazetted.
It is also worth emphasizing that Citizen Nnamdi Kanu and his RBL and IPOB have never used or advocated violence; neither have they taken up arms against the State of Nigeria or any part thereof. All their activities are non violent and peaceful and have so remained till date. They are only asserting their constitutional, regional and international rights to self determination, among others, without recourse to violence of any form. This is unlike the activities of the so called “Fulani Herdsmen” (Fulani Islamic terror group) that have steadily remained violent and blood-soaking leading to death of thousands of innocent citizens of Nigeria in recent years with Nigerian Government doing nothing.
The State terrorism approaches being intensified by the Buhari administration and its DSS in the persecution ofCitizen Nnamdi Kanu and his RBL and IPOB, manifesting in his current extra judicial incarceration and obtainment of a phantom court order to further hold him in perpetual captivity; are clearly similar to the State oiled ordeal of the former NSA, Col Sambo Dasuki. Laying siege on his residence and preventing him from enforcing his rights to life, personal liberty, equality before the law and movement as ordered by a court of superior records (Federal High Court); for the purpose of indicting him at all costs through hurriedly concocted interim presidential report on arms procurement; are clear acts of State terrorism and abuse of office.
The disrespect to the rule of law and abuse of human rights by President Buhari and his DSS has reached an uncontrollable proportion. Accusation of embezzlement and fraud in Nigeria is not a capital offense warranting the present ordeal of Sambo Dasuki in the hands of President Muhammadu Buhari. A Presidential committee is not a high court and the principle of hear the other side must be exhausted by the suspect (Dasuki) irrespective of public incitement and sentiments being officially sponsored against him. He who alleges must judicially proof to the utmost satisfaction of the sacred principles of the rule of law. President Buhari and his DSS must also be constitutionally reminded that their power of arrest does not include powers to hold citizens hostage or detain them including Citizens Nnamdi Kanu and Sambo Dasuki in perpetuity and outside the rule of law and legitimately grounded judicial processes.
We wish to inform all Nigerians and members of the international community particularly the UN, EU, US, Vatican, France, India, Brazil, Australia, Germany, Canada, UK, Japan and the UN and the AU Rights Commissions or Committees that the era of indiscriminate use of trumped up or kangaroo charges and persecutorial justice is fully back in Nigeria. As was the case in 1984 to 1985 under then Buhari’s military administration, it has fully become a routine under the (same) Buhari’s present civilian administration.In July 2015, Sambo Dasuki was arrested and detained by DSS under a trumped up accusation of treasonable felony (life jail). Lack of evidence and public outcries forced the Service to abandon same and settle for unlawful possession of firearms (five to ten years jail), which is yet to be “prosecutorially” proved. Today, the same DSS is at it again; obtaining a phantom court order to detain Citizen Nnamdi Kanu in the guise of investigating him for terrorism and terrorism financing, in fragrant violation of the same Act it is relying upon (Terrorism Prevention Act of 2011); by labeling him and his group as terrorist organization/individual, without recourse to the provisions of the Act (i.e. IPOB and RBL are yet to be procedurally proscribed).
Finally, we commend Chief Magistrate Shaibu Usman of the Wuse Zone 2 Magistrate Court for standing firm in his conscience and defense of the rule of law and the integrity of the Nigerian Judiciary. By withstanding the threats and pressures of the so called powers that be and by insisting on doing that which ought to be done; he has written his name in immortal gold. As for Hon Justice Alfa Ademola of the Federal High Court Six, Abuja who issued a kangaroo detention order of ninety (90) days against Citizen Nnamdi Kanu without recourse to the sacred principle of audi alteram partem (hear or listen to the other side) in such sensitive matter that has drawn global attention and local outcries; it is our firm demand that he should be thoroughly investigated and sanctioned by the National Judicial Council (NJC) in accordance with extant laws.
For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
Emeka Umeagbalasi, B.Sc. (Hons), Criminology & Security Studies
Uzochukwu Oguejiofor-Nwonu, Esq., (LLB, BL), Head, Campaign & Publicity Department
Obianuju Igboeli, Esq., (LLB, BL), Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Program
*Photo Caption - Nigeria DSS officers
[ Masterweb Reports: CSBHROs reports ] - (Onitsha-Nigeria, 22nd November 2015)-The leaderships of the Southeast based Coalition of Human Rights Organizations; comprising the Anambra State Branch of Civil Liberties Organization (CLO), International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety), Center for Human Rights & Peace Advocacy (CHRPA), Human Rights Club(HRC) (a project of LRRDC), Southeast Good Governance Forum (SGGF), Forum for Equity, Justice & Defense of Human Rights (FEJDHR), Society Advocacy Watch Project (SPAW), Anambra Human Rights Forum (AHRF) and the International Solidarity for Peace & Human Rights Initiative (INTERSOLIDARITY) having observed the recent socio-political developments and events in the Southeast Nigeria; collectively wish to take a firm stand on the issues so generated.
Issues generated by the events warranting our firm stance: These are issues of high public importance affecting the Southeast Geopolitical Zone, leading to recent socio-political happenings that shook the foundation of the zone for the first time since the end of the Nigerian-Biafran Civil War in 1970.These are:( 1) mass movement and peaceful agitations for self determination by millions of people of the Southeast and the South-south zones; otherwise referred as Biafran agitation; and response of the Buhari administration including his divide-in-rule approaches to same; (2) shameful roles of compromised individuals and groups of the Southeast extraction who parade themselves as “Igbo elders” or “Igbo political leaders”. The despicable roles also include those of compromised traditional rulers, activists and APC puppets, using different names and mushroom bodies such as “Ohanaeze Ndigbo”, “Igbo Conscience Leaders”, etc to get influenced presidentially so as to disparage the mass and legitimate agitations by their own people and lend soiled support to age-long injustices against the people of the zone including continued unconstitutional incarceration without fair trial of Citizen Nnamdi Kanu since 14th October 2015; a period of 39 days.
Others are (3) un-priestly and compromised third party roles of some men-of-God in the like of Reverend Father Ejike Mbaka and Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah’s manifest bias position on the issue when he contacted our Coalition recently in the guise of “mediation”. We are fully aware too of plans that have reached an advanced stage by the Presidency to continue its “divide-and-rule” approaches by using puppet-leaders of churches to further denounce and disassociate themselves from the agitations. Some paid media reporters have also been hired to blackmail and coerced leading traditional institutions and popular social bodies in the Southeast into joining in condemnation of the agitations including by pretending to seek to get their opinions on the raging agitations; for the purpose of deliberately quoting them out of context (i.e. Obi of Onitsha’s reported disassociation of himself from the agitations whereupon he was said to have been deliberately misquoted).
Also critically evaluated are (4) the social realities of the Southeast self determination agitation or its remote and immediate factors or reasons and the universal reality of assertion of the right to self determination using non violence, (5) sustained or continued threat to ethnic identity of the people of the Southeast zone in Nigeria as well as (6) political enslavement of the zone and its age-long structural injustice. We further looked into and considered the sorry state of (6) federal infrastructures in the Southeast zone including the acutely deplorable condition of federal roads in the zone (i.e. Onitsha-Enugu, Enugu-Nsukka-Oturkpo, Enugu-Port Harcourt, Owerri-Port Harcourt and Aba-Ikot Ekpene) , abandonment of the 2nd Niger Bridge project, the skeletal status of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu, the continued moribund status of the railway system in the zone, absence of a standard seaport or wharfs and general abdication of federal responsibilities by the Federal Government in the Southeast zone. Identified and condemned too is the (7) abysmal performance of the Southeast Governors Forum and its lack of clear vision and development insights for the zone.
We also considered it as utmost important and immediacy the need for establishment (8) of the Southeast Development Commission and the Federal Ministry for Southeast Affairs. Lastly identified was the need and public importance of the immediate (9) construction of a federal bridge linking Anambra State through Ogwuikpere Community in Ogbaru LGA in the Southeast zone and Rivers State through Ndoni Community in Rivers State in the South-south zone. The important bridge, when constructed, will facilitate easy and shorter movement of goods and services from Port Harcourt wharfs and the South-south zone to the Southeast zone in less than one-and-a half hour. This project being demanded can be jointly funded by the Southeast Governors Forum through the Southeast Joint Development Trust Funds, which should be established urgently; if the Federal Government chooses otherwise.
Vox Populi (voice of the people): It is very important to point out that the peaceful protests that swept across the entire Southeast and the South-south zones as well as in various countries across the globe are purely the voice of the people or mass movement oiled by mass conscience and consciousness and fueled by unaddressed and sustained social injustices against the peoples of the two zones. In the history of civil revolutions, issue of sponsorship is dead on arrival. The mass protests under reference were strictly built on immortal dictum of you can deceive the people some time but they cannot be deceived all the time.
The Federal Government’s divide-and-rule approach adopted to address the thorny issue is also not only a fire brigade approach, but also roundly condemned. Organizing compromised and faceless groups to issue public statements disassociating, denouncing or renouncing the earth-shaking mass protests is not only counterproductive, but also a further enslavement of the race raising their hallowed voices against enslavement and their identity slavery. By accepting crumbs from the presidency to disown the masses of the Southeast and the South-south including their sacred lands and cosmic ancestors; instead of identifying, cataloguing and articulating the age-long injustices responsible for the mass agitation, the profiteers and merchants of human miseries under reference stand totally condemned, shamed and have their integrity and relevance ruined forever before their own people; be they priests, religious leaders, politicians, elders, traditional rulers or public office holders!
Constitutional& Global realities of the Southeast (Biafran) self determination agitation: It is our firm stand that rights of the people to existence, development and self determination; irrespective of their race, colour, religion, ethnicity or class, are internationally and regionally preserved and protected provided they do not use or advocate violence. Though the success of using violence to advocate for and achieve these rights is determined by the doctrine of necessity (i.e. Eritrea from Ethiopia in 1993, South Sudan from Sudan in 2011, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovinian, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro from Yugoslavia in 1991/2), but violence of any kind is abhorred and prohibited locally, regionally and internationally. Our collective sympathy for the assertion of rights to existence, development and self determination by the people or race under reference is built on two strong premises of use of non violence and the fact that the Nigerian Constitution, regional and international treaties recognize and protect the rights in question.
Rights to life, dignity of human person, personal liberty, freedom of expression, movement, peaceful assembly and association and freedom from discrimination are expressly provided in Sections 33, 34, 35, 36, 40, 41 and 42 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Rights to existence, development and self determination are also provided in Article 20, etc of the African Charter on Human & Peoples Rights of 1981; ratified and domesticated by Nigeria in 1983. The right to self determination is also provided in Article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights of 1976, signed and ratified by Nigeria in 1993. It is also empirically established that countries in the world have periodically reviewed their concept of togetherness or separation and of the two major available approaches: peaceful and violent means; peaceful means remain the international best practices; which is why we constitutionally sympathize with the Southeast Nigeria’s self determination agitators owing to their non violent approaches.
Social injuries behind the self determination agitation in Southeast: It is our finding too that there are three social injustices or injuries responsible for the spirit behind the increased tempo of the Southeast (Biafran) self determination agitation. These are: (a) sustained or continued threat to the ethnic identity of the people of the Southeast Nigeria leading to them being treated as leprous ethnic nationality or third class citizens of the Nigerian Federation in the country’s socio-political project.
Others are:(b) continued political enslavement of the zone; heightened by the Muhammadu Buhari administration’s resurged politics of exclusion and vindictiveness clearly targeted at the zone; and (c) structural injustice or imbalance against the zone in creation, allocation, composition and appointment of federal political and economic structures, infrastructures and persons. All of these are in deliberate and fragrant violation of Section 14 (3) of the 1999 Constitution. They also violate and threaten the foundation of the 1999 Constitution which is laid on the sacred principles of Freedom, Equality & Justice.
Statistics: Out of the country’s current 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs) spread across its six geopolitical zones: Southeast zone with only 5 States is given the least number: 95 LGAs; whereas two States in the Northwest zone alone: Kano and Jigawa have 77 LGAs. The two States used to be one State (Kano) until 1996 when it was divided into Kano and Jigawa States. Also Northwest zone has the highest number of LGAs: 186, followed by Southwest zone with 138 LGAs; South-south 123 LGAs; North-central 115 LGAs and Northeast 112 LGAs. It is important to inform that federal allocation of resources to the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria is dependent on the number of Local Government Areas in each zone; likewise federal elective and appointive offices. The six geopolitical zonal structures were designed for Nigeria in the 1993/4 Constitutional Conference to ensure fairness and equality in distribution of national wealth, resources, infrastructures and federal public offices and their holders. This is also reinforced by Section 14 (3) of the 1999 Constitution. But this arrangement was brutally manipulated structurally by then Hausa-Fulani ruling military oligarchs and has remained so till date.
The same structural imbalance and injustice is also inherent in the number of Senatorial and House of Reps seats or districts/constituencies in the country’s six geopolitical zones; whereby out of the country’s 109 Senatorial seats/districts, Southeast zone has the least number of 15; whereas the Northwest zone is given 21; followed by Southwest, South-south, North-central and Northeast zones with 18 each. Out of the country’s 360 House of Reps seats/constituencies spread geopolitically, Southeast zone is again allocated with the least number of 43; whereas the Northwest zone is given 92; followed by the Southwest zone with 71; South-south 55; North-central 49; and Northeast 48. Out of the country’s 36 State structures, Southeast zone has the least number with five, whereas the Northwest zone is the highest number of seven while rest of the four zones (North-central, Northeast, South-south and Southwest) has six States each.
In the country’s six geopolitical allocation of registered voters (RVs) and permanent voters’ cards (PVCs) distributed in March 2015; totalling 68, 833, 000 RVs and 55, 904, 000 PVCs; Southeast zone got the least registered voters of 7,665,000 and PVCs of 6,614,000; whereas the Northwest zone got the highest RVs and PVCs of 17,620,000 and PVCs of 16,098, 000 respectively; followed by Southwest zone with 13, 731, 000 RVs and 8,965,000 PVCs; South-south zone 10, 059,000 RVs and 8, 365,000 PVCs; Northeast zone 9,107,000 RVs and 7,722,000 PVCs; and North-central zone with 9,767,000 RVs and 7, 651,000 PVCs.
Out of 34, 120 kilometers of federal roads spread across the country’s six geopolitical zones as at 2011, Southeast zone has the least number of kilometers of 3,231; whereas the North-central zone including the Federal Capital Territory (Abuja) has the highest kilometers of 9,756; followed by Northeast 6, 787; Northwest 6,363; Southwest 4,161; and South-south 4, 150. And of all these, the federal roads in the Southeast and the South-south zones are most acutely deplorable and rapaciously abandoned. Few of them that are asphalted and made usable were done by host States’ Governors with their unpaid reimbursement sums running into tens of billions of naira till date.
In the area of federal public office holders in Nigeria drawn from the six geopolitical zones, the Southeast zone is abysmally represented. For instance, no senior police officer from the zone is among the current heads of the country’s 12 Police Zonal Commands and the few serving AIGs from the zone have since gone on statutory retirement leaving the zone no known serving AIGs out of the country’s current Police AIGs of at least 22.
All these are owing to age-long deliberate policy designed to stunt their promotions and posting till in the twilight of their statutory retirements when they are given retirement promotions. The composition of CPs and AIGs’ cadres of the Nigeria Police Force is also grossly lopsided in fragrant breach of Section 14 (3) of the 1999 Constitution. The same gross lopsided composition is the case in the Nigerian Custom, Nigerian Immigration Service, the Nigerian Prisons Service, the DSS, the NIA, Army, Navy and the Air Force. In the headships of SPUs, ATSs, SARS, Federal Highway Police, the Mobile Police and Border Police composition and headship in the Nigeria Police Force; same is the case; likewise the country’s federal Appeal and Federal High Court and Appeal and Supreme Court Judges and Justices in which the zone is acutely represented. The same gross lopsidedness and exclusion are the order of the day in federal ministers, directors, headships of federal executive bodies as well as Service Chiefs and other top non ministerial federal appointments.
Addressing the issues thrown up by the agitation: Deployment of huge State resources that should be put for good public use; into influencing and compromising some individuals and groups so as to quench the raging agitations will end up escalating the issue and possibly blow same out of proportion and push the agitators to a radical and uncontrollable end, which may lead to another round of insurgency. This is more so when the leading brains behind the agitating movement (IPOB) are scattered across the globe. The Federal Government must be told in a clear term that those being compromised and influenced to recant are completely not in control of the agitating movement and millions of its supporters and sympathizers. These sets of conformist individuals and groups have long disgraced themselves and lost touch with the mainstream grassroots of the Southeast zone. Which is why to justify crumbs so federally received, they end up on the pages of newspaper with their tainted faces and faceless and mushroom groups.
The Federal Government must stop chasing shadows and critically look inwards so as to study and identify those issues that have remained unaddressed till date that resulted to the earth-shaking agitations in the Southeast and the South-south zones. The first critical step is to withdraw all trumped charges leveled against Citizen Nnamdi Kanu and order for his immediate and unconditional release from the DSS captivity. A Nigeria of pluralism and democratic constitutionalism, equality and fairness with no distinction in theory and practice as to ethnicity, place of birth, education, sex, class, oligarchic or aristocratic background and religion is always a preferred option and can be safely described as a united Nigeria. But a Nigeria of the opposite remains the worst option, while assertion of right to independent statehood is its best alternative. This is because it is better to live free in a land flowing with poverty than to live buoyantly in a land shackled and manacled by chains of slavery and enslavement.
To assuage the earth-shaking agitations and placate the people of the Southeast zone, all the age-long structural imbalances must be redressed especially the country’s geopolitical imbalances including lopsidedness in the number of States, LGAs, Senatorial Districts, Federal Constituencies, Federal Roads, Fiscal Allocations and geopolitical compositions of the field formations and headships of the Army, Police, Air Force, Navy, DSS, NIA, FRSC, Prisons and Customs.
Others to be geopolitically revisited with lenses of equality and fairness are the headships of the Federal Executive Bodies and the Federal Ministries, Parastatals and Departments (MDAs); likewise the Federal High Court, Appeal Court and Supreme Court Judges and Justices. Principle of geopolitical equality and fairness must also be applied to the letter in all other relevant and related offices and bodies. Each of the six geopolitical zones must be given equal number of States, LGAs, Senatorial Districts, Federal Constituencies and revenue allocations, federal projects execution and building and maintenance of federal infrastructures including roads, rail, aviation, health, education, water and other social facilities.
For: Coalition of Southeast Based Human Rights Orgaizations (CSBHROs):
1. Emeka Umeagbalasi (+23474090052 (office)
For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety)
2. Comrade Aloysius Attah (+2348035090548)
For: Anambra State Branch of the Civil Liberties Organization (CLO)
3. Comrade Peter Onyegiri (+2347036892777)
For: Center for Human Rights & Peace Advocacy (CHRPA)
4. Comrade Samuel Njoku (+2348039444628)
For: Human Rights Club (a project of LRRDC)(HRC)
5. Justus Uche Ijeoma, Esq.(+2348037114869)
For: Forum for Justice, Equity & Defense of Human Rights (FJEDHR)
6. Comrade Chike Umeh ( +2348064869601)
For: Society Advocacy Watch Project (SPAW)
7. Obianuju Joy Igboeli, Esq. (+2348034186332)
For: Anambra Human Rights Forum (AHRF)
8. Comrade Alex Olisa(+2348034090410)
For: Southeast Good Governance Forum (SGGF)
9. Jerry Chukwuokolo, PhD (+2348035372962)
For: International Solidarity for Peace & Human Rights Initiative (ITERSOLIDARITY)
*Photo Caption - Map of defunct Republic of Biafra