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05/21/15

*Disastrous Performance Of The Seventh National Assembly Of Nigeria & Challenges Before The Eight National Assembly - Part 1

By Intersociety

((Parliamentary Accountability, Onitsha Nigeria, 16th May 2015)-The heart of the leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law is gladdened over the decision of the outgoing Seventh National Assembly of Nigeria to join the outgoing Government of Lagos State in heeding our recent calls for the account of stewardship of the outgoing executive and legislative arms of government in Nigeria including the Federal and State Executive Councils as well as the Federal and States Legislative Chambers. The call of ours under reference stems from the fact that whatever that has a beginning must have an end as well as the need to institutionalize at all times an enviable benchmark for public governance accountability in Nigeria.

For records, the Nigeria’s National Assembly made up of the Senate called the Red Chambers with 109 Senators and the House of Representatives called the Green Chambers with 360 Honorable Members (Reps) is categorized as follows: First Republic National Assembly(1960-1966), Second Republic National Assembly (1979-1983), Third Republic National Assembly (1990-1991/2), Fourth Republic National Assembly (1999-2003), Fifth Republic National Assembly (2003-2007), Sixth Republic National Assembly (2007-2011), Seventh National Assembly (2011-2015) and Eight National Assembly (2015-2019). The Third Republic National Assembly (1990-1991/2) was a diarchic parliament put in place Gen Ibrahim Babangida’s military regime, which was ousted by the Sani Abacha military coup of 1993.

Report Card Of The Seventh National Assembly: As reported by the Premium Times, the outgoing Seventh National Assembly of Nigeria said it passed a total of 106 bills into law out of 1,063 bills sponsored and brought to its legislative attention in the past four years (2011-2015). Despite earning the world’s record as the most expensive parliament in the world, the number of bills passed by the referenced National Assembly is considered very abysmal when compared to what obtains elsewhere including the United States where the U.S. Congress passed 297 bills between 2013 and 2014. The referenced number of bills of the US Congress is also considered to be one of the lowest in the country’s legislative seasons owing to the fact that the same Congress passed 604 bills in 1999 alone and 460 between 2007 and 2008 (Premium Times Report 2015). Legal bills associated with public order and good governance are usually higher in the developing countries than the developed countries owing to the latter’s development challenges and the former’s development maintenance challenges.

For records, legislative Bills are proposed public laws designed to control human conducts including relationships within persons, between persons, between government and persons, between government and groups, within groups, between groups and between groups and persons. They are also designed to control human excessive activities on the environment as well as effects of natural disasters on environment and the living. Challenges posed by science and technology including harmful chemical substances and excesses and hazards of Information Computer Technology (ICT) are controlled using bills passed into law.

By bills passed into law by elected lawmakers, criminal and civil laws with their administrations are created, repealed or upgraded from time to time. Through mounting social, environmental, technological, cultural, political, economic and human identity challenges, laws originating from bills are moved back and forth. The hitherto rigidity associated with constitutional amendments is steadily fading owing to the mounting challenges aforesaid. Also, through bills passed into law, hash laws and policies as they concern politics, public security and safety, economy, culture, health, education, religion and ethnicity, etc are moderated and liberalized from time to time. It is also through bills passed into law that archaic and anti human rights laws are repealed or rebranded. Electronic navigation and upgrading in law, economy and politics are ensured using bills passed into law. These explain why the fundamental trust of lawmaking in Nigeria is to make laws for order and good governance in Nigeria or any part thereof.

Monetization Of Lawmaking Processes In Nigeria: As correctly reported by the Premium Times, the Seventh National Assembly of Nigeria recorded a monumental failure in its four legislative years. By the provisions of successive appropriation Acts of the Federation since 2011, the outgoing Seventh National Assembly received over N600 billion ($3 billion) in budgetary allocations on annual average of over N150 billion and this translates to N5.77 billion for each of the 106 bills passed into law. In other words, it took the outgoing Seventh National Assembly of Nigeria N5.77 billion belonging to Nigerians to get each of the bills passed into law. Of the said 106 passed bills, most of them are reported to be executive sponsored bills including appropriation (budgetary) and supplementary appropriation bills as well as bills authorizing the Presidency to borrow loans with reckless abandon. Of the 106 bills under reference, expert bills and public interest bills are very minute. Processes of initiating Private Member bills both at the Federal and State legislative levels are also characterized by fraud and bribery. In other words, to initiate a bill through a member of the National Assembly, huge sums of money must exchange hands in some cases. Corporate and professional bodies are hard hit.

Furthermore, monetization had since 1999 taken over legislative intellectualism and selflessness in lawmaking processes in Nigeria. The forefather of the outgoing Seventh National Assembly is the Fourth Republic National Assembly (1999-2003). Owing to the quackery and mercantilist composition of the 469-member National Assembly then dominated by white collar criminal class, military retirees, military contractors and military apologists; the Fourth Republic National Assembly laid a disastrous legislative foundation haunting the country’s legislative and executive governance till date. The quackery and mercantilist composition of the country’s National Assembly robbed it of lawmaking processes of international standards including losing the opportunity of relating with pro legislative advocacy bodies and campaigners, sometimes referred as parliamentary amicus curiae. At the State Houses of Assembly, the quality of laws passed is horrible and in most cases conflict with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution and its subsidiary federal laws.

Till date, the chief business of the National Assembly including the outgoing Seventh National Assembly as well as the Houses of Assembly remains passage of appropriation Acts (federal) and Laws (States) as well as oversight civil probes of alleged errant government agencies and parastatals for purely mercantilist interest. These have taken precedence over their core lawmaking functions. At times, the statutory functions of criminal investigative agencies are stampeded or usurped by relevant Federal and State legislative adhoc committees.

Legislative witch-hunting is also very common in the Federal and State legislative chambers. This they do using denial or stifling of budgets of relevant government ministries, departments and parastatals during budget allocation and defense for the purpose of punishing unjustly their heads who dare to challenge their overbearing influence including constant threats and harassment.

At times also, they arrogate to themselves the executive functions through constituency projects execution and callous demand for the sack of head of any government agency that dares to question their overbearing influence. As a result of these, the National Assembly and the State Houses of Assembly in Nigeria, fathered by the Fourth Republic National and State Legislative Chambers of 1999 to 2003, have turned into business enterprises and parliamentary bazaar chambers. They are akin to the biblical Holy Temple of Jerusalem converted to the House of Trade and Commerce by its entrusted custodians.

According to the Salaries & Allowances for Top Public Office Holders Act of the Federation 2002 (amended in 2008), which is managed by the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation & Fiscal Commission (RMAFC); a total sum of N101.3 billion ($500million) is spent annually on the salaries and allowances of 1, 621 Federal and State lawmakers in Nigeria. That is to say N60.4 billion for the 469 Federal lawmakers and N40.9 billion for 1,152 State lawmakers. There are 469 Federal lawmakers and 1,152 State lawmakers in Nigeria recognized by the RMAFC and the political figures’ wage Acts under reference. Further breakdown shows that of this huge amount, N90 billion or 90% goes into their annual (criminal) allowances while only N10 billion or 10% is spent on their annual salaries. In the case of members of the National Assembly, each member is paid at least N128.5 million annually, out of which only N13 million is paid as his or her annual salaries. It is important to state here that Senators and principal officers of the two-chamber National Assembly receive more than the above highlighted.

In the case of the 1,152 State lawmakers, 90% or N36.8 billion is spent on their allowances while only N5.09 billion is spent on their annual salaries. Each of them gets minimum of N36 million annually from the said N40.9 billion annual legislative remuneration. This translates to N32.8 million or 90% as his or her annual allowances and N3.6 million or 10% as annual salaries. The principal officers of the States legislatures are paid higher than the above highlighted. A number of allowances attached to these lawmakers particularly those at the Federal level are criminal and provocative. In this computer and internet age, a Nigerian federal lawmaker still pockets over N1.2 million per annum as newspaper allowance. Some of the referenced allowances are also duplicated or blurred such as vehicle and vehicle maintenance allowances; housing, furniture and domestic allowances.

Furthermore, a total of N15 billion ($75 million) will be squandered by 29th May 2015 on the severance, housing and furniture allowances of the outgoing and the incoming Federal lawmakers and executives. While the President-Elect and Federal lawmakers elect will receive N9 billion furniture and housing allowances, the outgoing President and Federal lawmakers will receive N3.24 billion and N2.8 billion respectively as severance packages totaling N15 billion. The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Sen. Bala Mohammed recently disclosed that it is costing the Nigeria’s commonwealth a staggering sum of N27 billion ($123.5 million) to build the official residences of the leaderships of the two-chamber National Assembly.

Criminal Overheads: Apart from the questionable allowance packages above highlighted, the National Assembly of Nigeria including the outgoing Seventh National Assembly in conspiracy with the Federal Executive Council has introduced criminal overheads to further fritter away the common resources of Nigeria and dry up resources badly needed for the infrastructural development and maintenance as well as provision and delivery of social services to other 170 million Nigerians and their landscapes.

Through conspiracy and legislative stampede, outrageous funds are cornered each fiscal year by the referenced national legislature in the form of overheads component of the recurrent expenditures leading to outrageous allocation of funds for the principal officers of the National Assembly including a criminal sum of N250 million allocated to the office of the Senate President in every three months. Despite the paltry allocations to the capital expenditures averaging less than 30% of the total federal budget each year, budget implementation has remained grossly lopsided with over 100% implementation for recurrent expenditures and about 50% for capital expenditures.

While the recurrent expenditures recorded steady and astronomical increase, the capital expenditures have remained steadily declined. In the recently passed Federal Budget of 2015 totaling N4.49 trillion, for instance, a staggering sum of N2.6 trillion was earmarked for non debts recurrent expenditures, while a paltry sum of N557 billion was set aside for capital expenditures. Of the said N4.49 trillion budget, the National Assembly got N120 billion while the N160 billion originally proposed for roads was drastically slashed to N11 billion. The budget under reference also recorded further recurrent expenditure increase of N135 billion totaling N4.49 trillion from the sum of N4.357 trillion originally proposed by the Federal Executive Council. In the same Budget, which has N953 billion for debts servicing and N231 billion for service-wide votes (?); the capital expenditure component abysmally went down to 12% of the total budget.

As if these were no enough, the outgoing Seventh National Assembly magisterially passed a new bill making its principal officers-Senate President, Deputy Senate President, Speaker of the House of Reps and the Deputy Speaker of the House recipients of Parliamentary Life Pension. Further to this shocking, despicable and condemnable scenario is introduction and institutionalization of criminal security votes. This, which started with the President, the Vice President, the Governor and the Deputy Governor has now spread like wild fire and extended to heads of key government tertiary educational and health institutions, chairmen and their deputies in the Local Government Areas as well as the leaders of LGAs’ legislative houses. Others are speakers and deputy speakers of the State Houses of Assembly, the Senate President and his or her deputy, the Speaker of the House of Reps and his or her deputy as well as key ministers and heads of government agencies, departments and parastatals. Totality of these swells the already bloated overheads of the Federal and State Governments and dries up funds needed for general development of the country or any part thereof.

Signed:

Emeka Umeagbalasi, B.Sc. (Hons) Criminology & Security Studies
Board Chairman, International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
+2348174090052
info@intersociety-ng.org, emekaumeagbalasi@yahoo.co.uk

Uzochukwu Oguejiofor-Nwonu, Esq., LLB, BL
Head, Campaign & Publicity Department

Chiugo Onwuatuegwu, Esq., LLB, BL
Head, Democracy & Good Governance Program

Emeka Umeagbalasi

Photo Above: Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Intersociety, 41, Miss Elems Street, Fegge, Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria.
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*NewsRoundup 21/5/15: Nigeria News Updates & Across The World This Thursday

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05/15/15

*Spanish Citizen Blackmailing Nigeria's Government

By Uchendu Precious Onuoha (Masterweb Special Correspondent-Spain)

According to the law of nations; each nation is a mistress of her own actions, when they do not affect the perfect right of others. Therefore, it is quite wrong for a Spanish citizen or a Spanish of Nigerian extract, for any reason to insult the Nigerian Embassy, her Ambassador and the Nigerian government through misleading provocative and ridiculous statements aimed at inciting Nigerians to chaos, stirring up ethnic strife among Nigerians, tarnishing the image of Nigeria and bringing the good works of the Nigerian Ambassador to disrepute. And above all putting Spain on a diplomatic collision course with Nigeria.

“Let them that live in a glass house don’t throw stone”

Somebody who decided to renounce Nigerian nationality and take up Spanish citizenship should not turn back to start insulting, blackmailing and painting Nigeria black outside the ambit of the bilateral laws because she has become Spanish. This attitude could lead to Spain making it more difficult to grant citizenship to Nigerians subsequently, if that is meant to breach her good relationship with Nigeria, as it appears that those that hold Spanish citizenship are quite ignorant of Spanish rules, laws, and their limitations to Nigeria the country they have renounced. “You cannot eat your cake and have it”.

I am a proud Nigerian citizen and I have confidence in Nigeria. I pledged to Nigeria, my country to be faithful loyal and honest, to serve Nigeria with all my strength, to defend her unity and uphold Her honor and glory wherever I may be. And I will not remain passive or turn blind eyes when the image of my own country is being smeared by a citizen of another country. “If a man comes into my hut and defecates on the floor, what do I do? Do I shut my eyes? No! I take a stick and break his head. (Chinua Achebe). And by virtue of my profession as a journalist, I am a societal watchdog, it lays on me the onus to inform and educate the public on some salient issues.

“Is it ignorance that makes the rat attack the cat”?

The recent publication in the social media by a Nigerian born Spanish citizen (name withheld for now), insulting and painting the name of Nigeria black by raining abuses, corrupt allegations against the Nigerian government, and the worst, against the Ambassador who has done exceptionally great works in Spain to earn the prestigious award as, African most outstanding Ambassador in Europe. And for a Spanish citizen to attempt to drag her name to the mud is a total affront and insult to all Nigerians in Spain and the Nigerian government. ( Continues below..... )

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Before I proceed, I have to cite one of the malicious articles the Spanish lady posted on the social media on May 3, 2015, insulting the Nigerian government and the Ambassador. And for those who may be deceived to think that she is doing this for the interest of Nigerians, no it’s not for her love for Nigeria, because if you love Nigeria, you will not renounce it for another country, but because her selfish demands could not be granted by the Nigerian Embassy in Spain.

The Spanish lady who has been posting several articles in the social media blackmailing the Nigerian government and the Ambassador. In one of her malicious postings, she alleged that the Ambassador was in a 4 day visit to Malaga, a city in Spain preparing ID Cards for Nigerians there to vote, a misleading and erroneous information, when everybody knows that elections in Nigeria has been concluded. She alleged that Nigerian Embassy is ethnic and corrupt, malicious statements aimed at inciting ethnic strife and tarnishing to the image of Nigerian government. Her malicious articles and extortive demand letters to the Embassy would be cited in due course.

In respect to the above, it is important that all Nigerians in Spain and beyond should know the truth about this matter as not to be misled into believing falsehoods. In the cause of reactions by some concerned Nigerians to the ill-conceived and malicious articles the Spanish citizen who seem to be on rampage has unleashed on the Ambassador and Nigerian government, the attention of the Nigerian embassy was drawn. And from information gathered from the Embassy source, the lady who is identified as gunning for a public position in Spain presently, went to the Nigerian Embassy in Spain demanding for huge sums of fund that runs into thousands of euros from the Embassy and a staff, to finance her campaign bid. The Embassy declined her demand by letting her know that, Embassy is not authorized to finance election campaigns in Spain, Nigeria or anywhere in the world as it is against international diplomatic regulations. Owing to the decline, she went on rampage and resorted to a campaign of calumny through the social media to blackmail, label corruption, falsehood and malice aimed at discrediting the Ambassador and the government of Nigeria.

“He that knows, and knows not that he knows is asleep. Wake him”. (Arabic proverb)

May I wake her up and others who may not know the implications and limits of what Spanish citizenship implies? Spain does not grant dual citizenship to Nigerians. She needs visa to enter Nigeria. By virtue of her status as a Spanish citizen, she is not a Nigerian anymore and cannot act as the mouthpiece of Nigerians, a country she has renounced her citizenship for Spain. It’s like a dog eating her own vomit. Doing that is to deceive her conscience. Her actions amount to a serious breach of diplomatic protocol by attempting to spy on the activities of another nation and trying to extort money from a foreign mission to finance her political campaign, an act which is fraudulent and contrary to Spanish regulations.

“He that knows not, and knows that he knows not is a pupil. Teach him”

Nigerians in Spain, it is diplomatically wrong for Spanish citizens to champion your cause. It is wrong for those that hold Spanish nationality to be leaders of Nigerian associations. I have to mention that because “If an idol becomes too troublesome, it will be shown the tree from which it was carved”.

I am a Nigerian citizen, and I feel insulted by the Spanish citizen’s actions, because I value the integrity of Nigeria. And as Nigerians, we have not surrendered our sovereignty to Spain or her citizen to champion our cause. Nigeria is for Nigerians. She abated crime by giving bribe, and today she has the audacity to expose herself and actions through misguided utterances. It is the behavior of one that knows full well that she is breaking the law. This venom targeted at Nigerian mission, government and the Ambassador is as a result of frustration that her selfish interest which amounts to extortion and fraud was not granted. Spain, please answer me.

“When crocodiles eat their own eggs, what will they not do to the flesh of a frog?

Therefore it is extremely irresponsible for a non-Nigerian citizen who should spend more time seeking relevance as a Spanish, and concentrate on her cause, rather than meddling into Nigeria’s affairs by insulting a country that she has renounced. The latest diplomatic spat by the Spanish lady is not only unnecessary but extremely unhealthy and dangerous to Nigeria and its good relationship with Spain. Whatever her intention may be that warranted her perceived fury and salacious articles insulting the Nigerian government, followed by very harsh personal attack against the Ambassador and a cross section of the Nigerian people in Spain is undeserving and should be condemned by well-meaning Nigerians and Spanish government.

By her actions, it seems she wants to rock the boat of the strong and good relationship Spain has for a long time cultivated with Nigeria for the sole purpose of satisfying her selfish ego by insinuating and fanning the embers of xenophobia against Nigerians in Spain. The damage the publication may cause to Spain’s relationship with Nigeria, not to mention the deeply personal insults targeted at the Nigerian Ambassador are humiliations to Nigeria.

“He that knows not, and knows not that he knows not is a fool. Shun him”

Her actions clearly acknowledges that she has prepared herself to become discredited, isolated, pariah, and persona non grata to well-meaning Nigerians. And I call on the Nigerian Embassy in Spain not to hesitate to report her nefarious activities to the appropriate authorities in Spain. Also, I appeal to Spain to call her citizen, who may be unaware that she is dwelling in “ignorance is bliss” state to order and tender an unreserved apology to the Nigerian government as to forestall any diplomatic row this reckless behavior may cause.

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05/11/15

*Unpaid Workers’ Salaries & Allowances In Nigeria: Why The Debtor Governors Should Be Impeached

By Intersociety

(Special Investigation On Good Governance In Nigeria, Onitsha Nigeria, 9th May 2015)-A series of vindication have come the way of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law in recent times over its research based positions on burning national issues in Nigeria. From its projection that INEC has already rigged the 2015 general polls (presidential poll in particular) per skewed and lopsided PVC distribution, to criminal borrowings & governances in Nigeria; the list is endless. All these are attributed to our insistence on feeding Nigerians and the global community with factual and un-adulterated opinions on social, political and economic issues as they concern public governance in Nigeria or any part thereof, without caring whose ox is gored.

Public Salaries & Allowances In Nigeria: The major trust behind the invention of the art of government and governance in the world is to ensure steady and un-impeded provision and delivery of social services to the people leading to remarkable improvement in their standards of living and environments as well as facilitation of happiness to the greater number of them at all times. Through art of public budgeting, government is allowed to aggregate and congregate all public earnings and apportion them dually in the context of capital and recurrent expenditures. Of this, government is allowed minute percent of it for running and maintenance of the government. This is called recurrent expenditures which include overheads or cost of running government machineries and personnel costs or cost of maintaining the personnel of government through monthly payment of their salaries and allowances. The public or civil retired workforce is also accommodated through retirement benefits and pensions.

On the other hand, the capital expenditures is created in the referenced public budgeting and tasked with retaining the lion’s share of the budgeted. It is through this that the feeling of government among the people is ensured. Through this, unimpeded and unhindered social services are provided to the citizenry. Key public infrastructures like roads, bridges, primary, secondary and tertiary educational and health institutions, stadia, airports, seaports, railways, physical security, food, tourist facilities, etc are provided and maintained. Provision and delivery of these are called social contract fulfillment.

Sadly and shocking too, the reverse has remained the case in Nigeria particularly since the return of democracy in the country in May 1999. While Nigerians were yet to recover from the traumas of the military’s inglorious epoch, the criminal class and military apologists with their military retirees’ cronies who hijacked the new civil rule criminally enacted some nocturnal laws and signed into their pockets chunk of the public earnings in the country. One of such socially abominable laws is called “Salaries & Allowances for Top Public Office Holders Act of 2002”. The obnoxious Act under reference categorized and recognized 17, 474 (17, 500) top elective and appointive public offices and officers in Nigeria. The top officers are 472 federal executives, 469 federal lawmakers and 142 federal judicial officers. At the State level, there are 2, 664 State executives, 1,152 State lawmakers and 792 State judicial officers. At the constitutionally recognized 774 Local Government Areas, there are 3,096 LGA executives and 8,692 LGA councilors.

When the infamous Act was enacted in 2002, a whopping sum of N755 billion was set aside from the Federation Account to service their annual salaries and allowances and when it was reviewed upwards and amended in 2008, the amount got raised to N1, 125 trillion. As if that was not enough, the criminal class and their cronies under reference went further to introduce criminal fiscal appropriation particularly at the Federal and State levels. Through criminal fiscal appropriation, they introduced criminal overheads, criminal monetization, criminal allowances and criminal security votes. The totality of these swelled and bloated the recurrent expenditures and dried up funds meant for capital expenditures. When the leaderships of the country’s organized labour discovered the foregoing, they opted for accomplice comradeship.

Rather than confronting the criminal class and their cronies headlong until the mercantilist policy is reversed for overall public interest, the organized labour demanded for their own share of the cartel deal in the context of criminal allowances. This led to further astronomical increases in government wage bills; leading to serial borrowings holding the country’s economy to ransom till date. As Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (Nigeria’s Finance Minister) recently disclosed, N1 trillion is spent annually in the payment of the allowances of the Federal civil servants. In the first four months of this year, a whopping sum of N473 billion ($2.35B) has been borrowed to finance the Federal recurrent expenditures or wages and overhead component of the 2015 Federal budget. The totality of these is responsible for poor and criminal governances in the Nigeria’s three tiers of government leading to steady socio-economic retardation and under-development afflicting the country.

How N1,125 Trillion ($5.1B) Is Shared Among 17, 500 Nigerian Political Figures Annually: While it is possible that the said Salaries & Allowances Act of 2002 (amended in 2008), has been secretly amended and reviewed upwards in recent times say in 2013 or it is informally amended using the budget or appropriation Acts (federal) and Laws (States) per criminal personnel and overheads; it is very important to highlight how the whopping sum under reference is shared among a paltry 17, 500 Nigerian Public Office Holders who constitute about 0.010% of the estimated population of 170 million citizens of the county. It is also shocking to observe that of the referenced amount, salaries take only 10% while allowances take staggering 90%. At the Federal level, out of a total sum of N98.3 billion spent on 472 federal executives annually, N89.7 billion is spent on their allowances as against only N8.6 billion spent on their salaries. Out of N60.4 billion spent on 469 federal lawmakers annually, N54.2 billion is spent on their allowances as against only N6.1 billion spent on their salaries. Out of N14.8 billion spent on 142 top federal judicial officers annually, N13.1 billion is spent on their allowances as against only N1.7 billion spent on their salaries.

Furthermore, at the State level, out of N300.5 billion spent annually on 2, 664 State executives, N272 billion is spent on their allowances as against N28.3 billion spent on their salaries. Out of N40.9 billion spent on 1,152 State lawmakers, N38.8 billion is spent on their allowances as against N5.09 billion spent on their salaries.

Out of N18.5 billion spent on 792 State top judicial officers, N15.4 billion is spent on their allowances as against N3.1 billion spent on their salaries. At the 774 Local Government Areas’ level, out of N592 billion spent on 11, 788 LGA executives and councilors annually, a whopping sum of N550.9 billion is spent on their allowances as against only N41.8 billion spent on their salaries. There are also over 24, 000 personal assistants hired and paid by the referenced 17, 500 political figures from the government coffers.

They are called “senior special assistants”, “special assistants”, “executive assistants” and “personal assistants”. Other than “Special Advisers” and upwards, these “personal assistants” are not recognized by the Constitution of Nigeria 1999. Average “Special Assistant” in Nigeria working for a governor, deputy governor, minister or a State/ Federal lawmaker is paid N150, 000 monthly. As a result, it is possible that Nigeria spends N3.6 billion monthly and N43.2 billion annually in servicing its more than 24,000 personal assistants.

How Nigeria’s Three Tiers Of Government Squandered N56 Trillion ($280B) On Recurrent Expenditures In Nine Years: According to the seminal findings of the Vanguard Newspaper of January 13, 2013, out of a total sum of N80 trillion ($400B) shared among the Federal, States and 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria between 2005 and 2013 fiscal seasons; a period of nine years, a whopping sum of N56 trillion ($280B) was spent on recurrent expenditures as against only N24 trillion ($102B) spent on capital expenditures. The Federal Government’s share of the N80 trillion was N32.121 trillion. The Federal Government’s recurrent expenditure component of the 2012 budget was 71.47% of the total budget, while that of 2013 was 68.66%. Further breakdown of the referenced seminal report shows that in the period under review, the three tiers of government in Nigeria spent N1.1 billion hourly, N24.35 billion daily, N740.74 billion monthly and N8.89 trillion yearly.

The facts laden report also investigated the budgets of the States within the period and observed that eight States of Lagos, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Bayelsa, Kaduna, Kano, Oyo and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) within the period became “trillionaire budget States”, by spending a total of N17.58 trillion ($85.3B) in nine years (2005-2013). Lagos State came first with N3.28 trillion, followed by Rivers State N3.079 trillion, Akwa Ibom N2.651 trillion, Delta State N2. 371 trillion, Bayelsa State N1.708 trillion, the FCT N1.336 trillion, Kaduna State N1.096 trillion, Kano State N1.059 trillion and Oyo State N1.045 trillion.

At the six geopolitical zones, South-south became the biggest budget spender under the said 2005 to 2013 fiscal periods with N11.503 trillion, followed by the South-west N7.30 trillion, North-west N5.386 trillion, North-central N5.197 trillion, Northeast N3.752 trillion and Southeast N3.45 trillion.

In the past eleven years; that is to say from 2005 to the outgoing 2015 fiscal year, our investigation shows that the Southeast geopolitical zone has budgeted and spent a total of N4.520 trillion ($22.6B). Imo State came first with N1.269 trillion, followed by Anambra State N912 billion, Abia State N884 billion, Ebonyi State N732 billion and Enugu State N721 billion.

Further breakdown shows that Imo State budgeted and spent N35.7 billion in 2005, N37 billion in 2006, N43.40 billion in 2007, N112.9 billion in 2008, N134 billion in 2009, N127 billion in 2010, N124.4 billion in 2011, N178.6 billion in 2012, N197.7 billion in 2013, N137.6 billion in 2014 and N141.2 billion in 2015 totaling N1.269 trillion budgets and expenditures in eleven years. In the case of Anambra State, it budgeted and spent N29.20 billion in 2005, N35.87 billion in 2006, N54.25 billion in 2007, N60.58 billion in 2008, N78.53 billion in 2009, N67 billion in 2010, N66.90 billion in 2011, N103.20 billion in 2012, N110.89 billion in 2013, N145 billion in 2014 and N164.4 billion in 2015 totaling N912.82 billion budgets and expenditures in eleven years.

In Abia State, it budgeted and spent N24.10 billion in 2005, N34.60 billion in 2006, N46.70 billion in 2007, N57.98 billion in 2008, N55.53 billion in 2009, N75.30 billion in 2010, N105.10 billion in 2011, N129.95 billion in 2012, N137.20 billion in 2013, N115.3 billion in 2014 and N102.4 billion in 2015 totaling N884.16 billion budgets and expenditures in eleven years. In Ebonyi State, it budgeted and spent N21 billion in 2005, N28.67 billion in 2006, N31.20 billion in 2007, N57.74 billion in 2008, N73.05 billion in 2009, N76.20 billion in 2010, N73.50 billion in 2011, N86.86 billion in 2012, N104.37 billion in 2013, N99.8 billion in 2014 and N80.01 billion in 2015 totaling N732.39 billion budgets and expenditures in eleven years.

In Enugu State, it budgeted and spent N25.10 billion in 2005, N31.10 billion in 2006, N38.38 billion in 2007, N60.71 billion in 2008, N60.46 billion in 2009, N67.86 billion in 2010, N89.60 billion in 2011, N74.99 billion in 2012, N82.90 billion in 2013, N93.2 billion in 2014 and N96.7 billion in 2015 totaling N721 billion budgets and expenditures in eleven years. Other than Anambra State from 2006 to 2014, the referenced budgets and expenditures of the States in the Southeast were substantially loan-based. The 2015 budget of N164.4 billion of Anambra State is most likely loan-based.

Impeachment Of Debtor Governors Over Unpaid Workers Salaries: The governors of the States where salaries and other workers’ monetary benefits are owed should be impeached without further delays in accordance with the gross misconduct provisions in Section 188 (11) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended in 2011. Owing workers’ salaries and other entitlements amount to gross misconduct or fundamental breach of the provisions of the Constitution. It is also a glaring abdication of the constitutional duties entrusted on the elected governors particularly as they concern the Fundamental Objectives & Directive Principles of the State Policy contained in the Chapter Two of the Constitution. Specifically, the affected governors including the Governor of Imo State have grossly observed Sections 13 and 14 (2) (b) of the 1999 Constitution in breach and should be impeached as a matter of uttermost urgency and public importance.

From the thorough investigation of ours above, no elected governor in Nigeria has any justifiable reason to owe his or her serving and retired workforce their wage entitlements. This is more so when none of the political appointees or elected public officers including the governor is owed a dime in the form of monthly security votes, allowances, etc. Many of the governors collect as much as N1 billion each month as security votes leading to paucity of funds for payment of workers’ salaries, allowances and execution of capital projects.

The governors also mindlessly breach Section 7 of the Constitution (independence and democratization of the Local Government System) by seizing and diverting statutory allocations of the Local Government Areas. This they do by exploiting and manipulating Section 162 (6) of the Constitution (State-Local Government Joint Account). Between the 2005 and the 2015 fiscal years, at least, N15 trillion ($75B) had been allocated to the 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Nigeria from the Federation Account and it is correct to say that up to 70% of these huge sums has been diverted by the governors to God knows where; yet they have the audacity to owe their workers and impede the general development of their States with impunity.

Statistically speaking, between 1999 and 2007, the referenced 774 LGAs received at least N3.8 trillion from the Federation Account. In 2008, at least N1.05 trillion was allocated to them. In 2009, another N1.2 trillion was allocated. Between 2010 and 2012, at least N3.8 trillion was allocated. In 2013, at least N1.4 trillion was allocated and between 2014 and 2015, over N3 trillion has been allocated to the all important third tier of government system in Nigeria totaling at least N15 trillion or $75 billion (US$-N200,00).

It is therefore alarming, shocking, despicable and condemnable for the likes of Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State to blame the Federal Government for his woefully failure to pay workers working for his administration despite budgeting and spending total staggering sum of N779.72 billion or $3.9 billion in the last five years of 2011 to 2015. The Governor should be held wholly responsible to account for this or be impeached without further delays. It is an elementary knowledge to every Tom, Dick and Harry in Nigeria that the common revenues of the Federation of Nigeria are not kept in the Account of the Federal Government of Nigeria, but in the Federation Account. The revenues’ sharing formula is also not determined by the Federal Government. It is agreed upon by the three tiers of the Federal, State and Local Government and codified.

The Federal Government has no right to determine how statutory allocations accrued to every State are to be used. It is the duty of the State Executive Council and the State House of Assembly of the recipient State to determine how they are used. Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State also inexcusably owes the people of Imo and Nigerians a detailed explanation as it concerns how his total budgets of N779.72 billion since 2011 was used to the extent of failing to pay workers working for his administration running into over twelve months. Statistically speaking, Governor Okorocha budgeted and spent N124.47 billion in 2011. In 2012, he budgeted and spent N178.63 billion, N197.74 billion in 2013, N137.68 billion in 2014 and N141.20 billion in 2015 totaling N779.72 billion. The funding of the huge budgets under reference also attracted huge local loan borrowings.

What The Organized Labour & Other Civil Stakeholders Must Do: The organized labour including the Nigerian Labour Congress, the Nigerian Union of Teachers, the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees and the Trade Union Congress, etc in the States with backlog of serving and retired workforce wage arrears must articulate all categories of unpaid wages and publicly present them to their State Houses of Assembly for immediate investigation and commencement of impeachment proceedings against the debtor governors.

The unpaid wage arrears to be articulated include workers’ salaries, pensioners’ pensions, promotion arrears, retirement gratuities, statutory allowances and related benefits of the State and Local Government workers. The organized labour should also demand firmly from their governors, armed with the Freedom of Information Act of 2011, to disclose publicly the actual amounts of loans borrowed locally to fund the budgets under reference. This has become necessary owing to the fact that in most of the referenced States including Imo State, huge bonds or loans were secured locally to finance the budgets dominated by recurrent expenditures. Other civil stakeholders like rights CSOs, media, academic bodies and religious bodies should also join in demanding for public disclosures of where these huge budgets have gone into as well as whereabouts of LGA funds.

Signed:

Emeka Umeagbalasi, B.Sc. (Hons) Criminology & Security Studies
Board Chairman, International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
+2348174090052
info@intersociety-ng.org, emekaumeagbalasi@yahoo.co.uk

Uzochukwu Oguejiofor-Nwonu, Esq., LLB, BL
Head, Campaign & Publicity Department

Chiugo Onwuatuegwu, Esq., LLB, BL
Head, Democracy & Good Governance Program

Obianuju Igboeli, Esq., LLB, BL
Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Program

Emeka Umeagbalasi

Photo Above: Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Intersociety, 41, Miss Elems Street, Fegge, Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria.
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04/30/15

*BreakingNews 30/4/15: Read What Is Happening Today In Nigeria & Around The World - Newspapers & Headline News

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04/28/15

*Buhari, Are You The One or Should We Wait For Another - Nigerian Legislators Earn Bogus Salary

By Uchendu Precious Onuoha (Masterweb Special Correspondent-Spain)

About 2500 years ago, the nation of Israel was in a state of dilemma and confusion, as it were dominated by an imperial lord. Under the circumstance the people found themselves they remembered that they were blessed with a land that flowed with milk and honey. But because of their disobedience to Yahweh, evil and corruption pervaded the land, and the Jewish nation lost their position and bearing in God’s purpose for the nation. And they became colonized by the Roman Empire. The people suffered in the midst of plenty as their fate lied in the hands of the imperial lords. Under their predicament, they remembered a promised messiah. A leader who would bail them out, and deliver them from political, social and economic bondage.

And It was under that scenario that Jesus Christ came on stage with a ministry contrary to their expectations, including John his fore runner. Perhaps if Jesus were really the Messiah, He would perform works connected with political deliverance of Israel or at least the deliverance of John, His fore runner who was unjustly imprisoned, they may have reasoned. John became doubtful, and sent emissaries to Jesus and asked. “Are you the coming one, or do we look for another?” Under the circumstance John found himself, his situation may be explained. ( Continues below….. )

As seen

Photo Above: As seen - Nigerian legislators collect world top 'rat' salary, feed fat while the masses live in abject poverty.

The Presidential election has come and gone in Nigeria. And the president elect has emerged. His victory has been welcomed with a lot of euphoria among some Nigerians, and despair among others across the nation. Like the people of Israel and John, Nigeria is in a state of high expectation, doubt and predicament. To the President elect, like a new born baby the birth celebration will soon be over and the guests will depart. And staring before him is a journey into a vast plantation. Buhari, to many Nigerians may seem to be the expected Messiah going by his pedigree. But to millions of Johns across Nigeria, given to the state of rot in the system, with corruption exulted and glorified in high places, no steady power supply, education and health care beyond the reach of the common man, no water, and good roads. A situation that made Andrew to check out in the 80’s. And worse still the hydra headed insecurity problem. In the midst of these, the question in the minds of many Johns in Nigeria are; Buhari, are you the coming one, or should we look for another? President elect, the answer is yours.

In a country where the leaders are richer than the states, Politicians looting and squandering the public’s money without any fear or restriction and milking the nation’s resources to a standstill. While the masses and youths are suffering, the salary and income of a Nigerian legislator in a year is more than the overall income of the constituency that he represents. Mr. President elect, your campaign slogan was vote for “change”. Now that the protagonist of change has arrived, Will there be changes in situations that are crying for change. Buhari, are you the coming one or should we look for another?

Judgement should begin from the house of God. Therefore change should begin from those on the seat of power. The earnings of a Nigerian senator in a year is more than enough to provide the basic amenities, which are lacken in the states they represent. Because Nigerian legislators are overpaid that’s why going to Abuja has become a do or die affair for every politician whom the first bill that receives an express approval is their salaries. If Abuja is changed from been a goldmine to legislators at the expense of the people, the number of those who go there to suck Nigeria dry will be reduced. ( Continues below….. )

General Muhammadu Buhari

Photo Above: VENUE: Abuja, DATE: December 9, 2010 - Buhari displays a clenched fist during his declaration of his intention to stand for the 2011 presidential election.

Remove tithe and offering from the church, then you will know those who are really called by God. President elect, here is a special report on the salaries of the legislators you are about to preside. Will there be a change in this trend. Buhari, are you the one, or should we wait for another?

Details of Average Salary of a Nigerian Senator.

Basic Salary (B.S) - N2, 484,245.50

Hardship Allowance (50% of B.S) - N1,242,122.70

Constituency Allowance (200% of B.S) - N4,968,509.00

Newspaper Allowance (50%of B.S) - N1,242,122.70

Wardrobe Allowance (25% of B.S) - N621,061.37

Recess Allowance (10% of B.S) - N248,424.55

Accommodation (200% of B.S) - N4,968,509.00

Utilities (30% of B.S) - N828,081.83

Domestic Staff (70% of B.S) - N1,863,184.12

Entertainment (30% of B.S) - N828,081.83

Personal Assistants (25% of B.S) - N621,061.12

Vehcle Maintenace Allowance (75% of B.S) - N1,863,184.12

Leave Allowance (10% of B.S) - N248,424.55

Severance Gratuity (300% of B.S) - N7,452,736.50

Car Allowance (400% of B.S) - N9, 936, 982.00

Total Monthly Salary = N29,479.00 x 12 = N353,756,988.00 ($2,183,685.00)

*Exchange Rate = $1 = N162

LEGISLATORS PAY WORLDWIDE PER ANNUM

Britain - $105, 400.00

United States - $174,000.00

France - $85,900.00

South Africa - $104,000.00

Kenya - $74,500.00

Saudi Arabia - $64,000.00

Brazil - $157,600.00

Ghana - $46, 500.00

Indonesia - $65, 800.00

Thailand - $43,800.00

India - $11, 200.00

Italy - $182, 000.00

Bangladesh - $4,000.00

Israel - $114,800.00

Hong Kong - $130,700.00

Canada - $154, 000.00

Spain - $43,900.00

Germany - $119,500.00

Pakistan - $3, 500.00

Norway - $138, 000.00

According to the Economist, in terms of law makers’ salaries as a ratio of GDP per capita, the gap is even much wider. While the salary of a Nigerian law maker is 116 times the country’s GDP per person, that of British Member of Parliament is just 2.7 times. The average salary of a Nigerian worker based on the national minimum wage is N18, 000.00. So the yearly salary is N18, 000.00 X12 = N216,000.00 ($1,333.00). Remember, the annual salary of a Nigerian senator is, $2,183,685.00. In proportion, $2,183,685.00/$1,333.00 = 1,638. Therefore, it will take an average Nigerian worker 1,638 years to earn the annual salary of a Nigerian Senator. Senior Buhari, please answer John your servant, with the above statistics, are you the one to make the changes, or should I wait for another?

Mr. President, you can see that our legislators legislate more into their pockets, and they are part of the problem of this country. Therefore you don’t need to search far for where the change you came for should start. Buhari, tell us if you are the messiah Nigeria has been waiting for, or do we look, and wait for another. To be contd.

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04/23/15

*NewsReel 23/4/15 - Nigeria & The World Today; Newspapers & News Headlines

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04/11/15

*Nigeria 2015 Governorship Election Results Live Report

By Masterweb News Desk

*IMPORTANT NOTICE 1 => Friday, April 10 at 7.00 pm an unidentified caller informs Masterweb News Desk that a new rector in one of the institutions of higher learning in Aba, Abia State gathered students in his house and was paying them to thumb print ballot papers. The caller refused to disclose the name of the rector nor the name of the institution. If you have information on this incident please contact us by phone at +1 4148070329( from Nigeria dialed 00914148070329 ) or by email at admin@nigeriamasterweb.com Your identity will be protected.

*IMPORTANT NOTICE 2 => Friday at 9.00 pm another unidentified caller informed Masterweb News Desk that he was witnessing live, 6 buses full of people entering gate 1 of Umuana - Ndume, Ibeku in Abia State. He said villagers were worried and not happy with what was happening - strangers being brought into the community on the eve of state elections. If you have information on this incident please contact us by phone at +1 4148070329( from Nigeria dialed 00914148070329 ) or by email at admin@nigeriamasterweb.com Your identity will be protected.

Below are Election results update compiled from Masterweb Reporters on the ground in Nigeria, The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announcements, and the general public in Nigeria-(may be truthful, biased or false). Nigerians today vote in their fifth governorship and state assembly elections since the country’s return to democracy in 1999. Voters in 29 states will elect governors while new state house members will be elected in 36 states. There are no governorship elections in Anambra, Bayelsa, Edo, Ekiti, Kogi, Ondo, and Osun because the tenure of their governors are yet to expire. Both Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Party (APC) are going into the elections with one form of advantage or the other. PDP controls 20 of Nigeria’s 36 states while APC govern 15; All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) controls the remaining one state. PDP controls more states the other parties. The advantage APC has is that it won the March 28 presidential and national assembly elections and these will be appealing to voters to vote for them in this governorship and state assembly elections; there is a popular saying in Nigeria that "If you can't beat them, you join them." The general public can contact us (or text us) at +1 4148070329( from Nigeria dialed 00914148070329 ) with election news in their area; please include the time of the occurrence of the news item.

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Friday, April 17, 2015 ( Scroll down for Earlier Updates )

9.00 am: The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) To Hold Gubernatorial Re-run Polls In Abia, Imo & Taraba - INEC fixes Saturday, April 25 for re-run of the 2015 governorship and some constituencies in the state House of Assembly elections in Abia, Imo and Taraba states. In Abia, the supplementary election will be between Okezie Ikpeazu of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Alex Otti of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). It will hold in selected polling units in Aba North and South, Osisioma, Ugwunagbo, Umuahia North, Isiala Ngwa North, Obingwa, Ohafia and Ikwuano. In Imo, the re-run will be between Governor Rochas Okorocha of All Progressives Congress (APC) and Emeka Ihedioha of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)- Constituencies affected in the re-run include Ikeduru, Isiala Mbano, Isu, Oguta, Owerri West, and Oru East. In Taraba, the re-run is between Aisha Jummai Alhassan of All Progressives Congress (APC) and Darius Ishaku of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Taraba governorship was declared inconclusive because the number of cancelled votes totaling 127,125 were more than the 54,812 margin between the PDP candidate who polled 317,198 and the APC candidate who got 262,386 votes. [ info by a Citizen reporter ] ( Continues below..... )

As labeled

( Continues below..... )

As labeled

Thursday, April 16, 2015 ( Scroll down for Earlier Updates )

11.00 am: Stakeholders in Abia State have call on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to declare the results of the governorship election in the state with immediate effect. They described the alleged inconclusive elections in the state as a ploy to rob Dr Okezie Ikpeazu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of his victory, noting that they would not fold their hands and watch the electorate's mandate stolen in broad day light. [ info by a Citizen reporter ]

Wednesday, April 15, 2015 ( Scroll down for Earlier Updates )

10.00 am: INEC Holds Run Off Election in Taraba On April 25 - The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed April 25 for the run off of the Taraba governorship elections declared inconclusive. Fabian Yame, INEC Head of Public Affairs made this known to newsmen in Jalingo yesterday. [ info by a Citizen reporter ]

Tuesday, April 14, 2015 ( Scroll down for Earlier Updates )

10.00 am: INEC Declares Governorship Election in Taraba Inconclusive - Mohammed Kyari, INEC Returning Officer in the state made the announcement yesterday in Jalingo. Darius Ishaku of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) polled 317,198 votes while Aisha Alhassan of the All Progressives Congress (APC) scored 262,386 votes. According to Kyari, the election was declared inconclusive since the total number of cancelled votes which was 127,125 exceeded the marginal difference of 54,812 votes between the scores of the PDP and APC candidates. He said the re-run election between the two candidates would be held within 30 days in the areas where votes were cancelled. [ info by a Citizen reporter ]

8.00 am: Wike wins Rivers State governorship election by landslide - Nyesom Wike of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) won 1,029,102 votes, while Dakuku Peterside, of All Progressives Congress (APC) polled 124,896 votes to place second. APC, which previously controlled the state described the result as “a rape of democracy” but PDP said it was a “a reflection of the people’s confidence” in them. [ info by a Citizen reporter ]

Monday, April 13, 2015 ( Scroll down for Earlier Updates )

10.00 am: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) wins Abia. According to tally by Masterweb Special Reporter in Abia State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, governorship candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) won a total of 248,459 votes, trailed by Dr. Alex Oti of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) who came-in second with 165,406 votes. The two parties are still dragging the results at the time of this report. [ info by Masterweb Special Reporter ]

10.00 am: All Progressives Congress (APC) sweeps to victory in the governorship and House of Assembly elections. According to the results released yesterday by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), APC so far won 18 states while the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) won 9 states. The states won by APC include: Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Katsina, Adamawa, Jigawa, Kano, Nasarawa, Sokoto, Kebbi, Yobe, Bauchi, Kaduna, Niger, Borno, Benue, Kwara, and Zamfara states. PDP won Enugu, Ebonyi, Rivers, Gombe, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Taraba, Plateau and Delta. [ info by a Citizen reporter ]

Sunday, April 12, 2015 ( Scroll down for Earlier Updates )

4.00 pm: The All Progressives Congress (APC) makes more gains in Saturday's governorship and state assembly elections by retaining Lagos State governorship in and clinched Kaduna and Katsina States currently controlled by PDP. Final results for 29 governorships and all 36 state assemblies are still being tallied. [ info by a Nigerian reporter ]

3.30 pm: Declaration of results of Abia governorship election stalemated following the reversal of the cancellation of results in three local government areas, namely: Osisioma, Obingwa and Isialangwa North by the Returning Officer, Prof. Benjamin Ozumba. The results were earlier canceled on the grounds of “incontrovertible evidence of violence’’ and reports from international observers. [ info by a Nigerian reporter ]

2.30 pm: Professor Ibidapo Obe, The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Returning Officer in Imo State declares the governorship election in Imo state inconclusive, due to the number of cancelled votes (144,715) in relation to the margin of win (79,529) by the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Rochas Okorocha. [ info by a Nigerian reporter ]

Saturday, April 11, 2015 ( Scroll down for Earlier Updates )

4.30 pm: Security operatives arrest INEC official with thumb printed ballot papers at Ajeromi, Lagos State. [ info by a Nigerian reporter ]

4.00 pm: Voting in Delta State generally peaceful - voting takes place place in Ethiope East LGA after failed attempt to hijack electoral materials. [ info by a Nigerian reporter ]

3.30 pm: Malam Nuhu Ribadu, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in Adamawa says he would concede defeat if he loses. Ribadu made the statement shortly after casting his vote at Aliyu Mustafa polling unit in Yola State. [ info by a Citizen reporter ]

2.45 pm: Rivers State Commissioner of Police confirms several gunmen invaded registration area center in Buguma around noon today shooting sporadically and triggering explosions using dynamite. [ info by a Nigerian reporter ]

2.15 pm: President-Elect General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.) and his wife accredited in his hometown, Daura, Katsina. [ info by a Nigerian reporter ]

2.00 pm: Widespread abnormality reported in Warri in polling units in Jedo Okpe local govt. area. Mad woman disrupt voting insisting on being allowed to vote in Abiwan ward, polling unit 023, Ifo local government area, Ogun State. [ info by a Nigerian reporter ]

1.30 pm:Poor voters turnout in Bauchi statewide. At polling units are multiple political party agents (up to five) representing one party instead of one as was the case in the presidential election. Rivers State Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and wife accredited by INEC officials at 1.00 pm at Unit 14, Ward 13, Ikwerre local government. Speaking to newsmen shortly before accreditation, Amaechi described the Governorship and House of Assembly elections in the state as a sham. He said the elections witnessed thuggery and hijack of election materials by hoodlums in most parts of the state. [ info by a Citizen reporter ]

12.30 pm:Mr. Emeka Nworie , PDP Ishielu LGA Chairman and a young man shot dead in Ebonyi. Huge turnout of voters in Adamawa despite hazy weather. In some areas, INEC officials arrived as early as 7.oo am. Hundreds of displaced people of Michika and Madagali slept at INEC designated IDPs voting centers. Bala Ngilari, Adamawa State Governor lifts dusk to dawn curfew imposed in the state. [ info by a Citizen reporter ]

12.15 pm:Dr. Alex Otti, governorship candidate of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) and wife accredited at Ward 5, Unit 17, Ehina-Gury, Umuru in Isiala-Ngwa Local Government Area. [ info by a Citizen reporter ]

11.00 am: Voting starts in some polling units including Omi Primary School polling station in Delta State. Accreditation continues in other polling units. [ info by a Citizen reporter ]

10.00 am: Over 50 soldiers surround home of Rivers PDP candidate, Nyesom Wike in Old GRA Area, Port Harcourt, Rivers State. New card reader delivered to Abiwan ward, polling unit 023, Ifo local government area, Ogun State. [ info by a Citizen reporter ]

9.00 am: President Goodluck Jonathan calls on voters and all citizens to ensure peaceful election devoid of intimidation and harassment. “Mr. President reiterated his call for peaceful conduct during the election and he stressed the point about every stakeholder placing emphasis on national unity and stability. This was against the background of certain developments after the presidential and national assembly elections and in the lead up to the gubernatorial and state house of assembly elections,” Reuben Abati, spokesman for President Jonathan said in a press statement. [ info by a Citizen reporter ]

8.30 am: Card Reader problem in Abiwan ward, polling unit 023, Ifo local government area, Ogun State. [ info by a Citizen reporter ]

8.00 am: Accreditation commences in most polling stations. INEC officials arrive early at Jos North polling stations. Electoral agents and materials arrive as early as 7.30 am in some polling units in Farin Gada, Rock Haven and Alikazaure areas of Jos North. Atmosphere generally peaceful with minimal problems with card readers compared to the challenges experienced in the presidential election. [ info by a Citizen reporter ]

6.00 am: Streets are empty across the country. Police and soldiers on patrol. [ info by a Citizen reporter ]

Friday - April 10, 2015:
(1) Stringent security measures put in place in 31 out the country's 36 states that gubernatorial and state assembly elections will take place according to The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and police. A statement signed by Emmanuel Ojukwu, national police spokesman read: "The Inspector General of Police assures that adequate security logistics and manpower have been strategically deployed to achieve a most conducive electioneering atmosphere. In this regard, policemen for election duty have been properly briefed on their roles as stipulated in the (Nigerian) Electoral Act."

(2) INEC postpones State House of Assembly election in 8 of the 24 constituencies in Bayelsa State to April 18. Baritor Kpagih, Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state said the election in the 8 constituencies was postponed by one week due to inadequate ballot papers.

(3) Friday at 7.00 pm an unidentified caller informs Masterweb News Desk that a new rector in one of the institutions of higher learning in Aba, Abia State gathered students in his house and was paying them to thumb print ballot papers. The caller refused to disclose the name of the rector nor the name of the institution.

(4) Friday at 9.00 pm another unidentified caller informed Masterweb News Desk that he was witnessing live, 6 buses full of people entering gate 1 of Umuana - Ndume, Ibeku in Abia State. He said villagers were worried and not happy with what was happening - strangers being brought into the community on the eve of state elections. [ info by Citizen & Nigerian reporters ]

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Nigerians casting their votes in a previous election

Photo Above: Nigerians casting their votes in a previous election.

Nigerians line-up to vote during election, while a cattle herder remains on his normadic job with his herd.

Photo Above: Nigerians line-up to vote during election, while a cattle herder remains on his normadic job with his herd.

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04/10/15

*Intersociety Writes ICC For The Arrest & Prosecution of Oba Rilwan Akiolu of Lagos

By Intersociety

Our Ref: INTERSOC/SE/NG/01/04/015/ICC/Genocide/Int

Mrs. Fatou Bensouda
Prosecutor, International Criminal Court (ICC)
The ICC Headquarters, Maanweg, 174
2516 AB, The Hague, The Netherlands

Dear Prosecutor,

A Call For Immediate Arrest & Prosecution Of Oba Rilwan Akiolu Of Lagos, The Governor Of Lagos State & The Inspector General Of Police Of Nigeria For Commission, Aiding & Abetting Of Crime of Incitement To Genocide Against The Igbo Ethnic Group In Lagos State Of Nigeria

(Democracy & Rights To Ethnic Existence, Onitsha Nigeria, 10th April 2015)-The leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law, Southeast Nigeria, humbly writes your locally and internationally respected office over the subject above referenced.

Introduction:

On 28th March 2015, Nigerians went to the poll to elect the new president and his vice as well as 360 members of its Federal House of Reps and 109 Senators. The second and final tranche of the country’s 2015 general polls will hold tomorrow being Saturday, 11th April 2015 to elect the country’s 58 out of its 72 State governors and their deputies as well as its 1,152 State legislators. Of these referenced polls, the presidential poll is the most crucial and controversial owing to sharp ethno-religious divisions among the country’s major ethno-religious groups particularly between largely Christian South and largely Muslim North.

Prior to these important polls, the electoral umpire called the Independent National Electoral Commission or INEC compromised its independence and impartiality. It rudely disregarded Nigeria’s ethno-religious composition and pluralism as it concerns the distribution of electronic voters’ cards to the registered voters in the country. The Commission skewed the electronic voters’ cards distribution in favour of Hausa-Fulani ethnic population and ensured widespread denial of other ethnic nationalities including Igbo, Southern and Northern ethnic minorities registered to vote, numbering 12.4 million, access to their electronic voters’ cards. The INEC, for reasons above, bluntly refused to allow them the use of alternative temporary voters’ cards.

The out-going President comes from the Southern minority tribe of Ijaw with Igbo ethnic group and other minority Southern and Northern Christian entities as his strongholds. At the end, 12.4 million registered voters dominated by the Igbo, Southern and Northern Ethnic Minorities were denied electronic voting cards, their alternatives and voting rights. In Lagos State alone, over 2 million registered voters dominated by the latter were denied electronic voting cards and rights by INEC. Further, during the referenced poll proper, there were widespread electronic voting card readers’ failures in most of the polling booths in the South-south and the Southeast geopolitical zones leading to late reversion to manual voting accreditation in some voting areas as well as late voting. Strict voting procedures like use of card readers and voting deadline were strictly applied in the South and relaxed in the North during the said voting.

The combination of the foregoing disenfranchised and excluded from voting millions of voters of the Igbo and other ethnic minorities. While the said millions of registered voters were denied or frustrated from voting in the South and other areas in the North populated by minority Christian communities; the electronic voting cards were not only lumped in the North in the hands of Hausa-Fulani Muslim registered voting population, but also millions of under-age children ranging from 8 years to 14 years were registered and accredited as voters by INEC.

The Nigeria’s present Constitution and its Electoral Act of 2010 prohibit citizens less than 18 years and above from being registered as voters as well as voting during elections. This stone-age conduct of INEC resurrected the age-long deep divisions and ethno-religious hatred among dominant Christian and Muslim populations in Nigeria leading to highly divisive and segregated voting that produced Mr. Muhammadu Buhari of the APC (All Progressives Congress) as the winner on account of demographically rigged and manipulated block votes from his Hausa-Fulani Muslim enclaves.

Incitement To Genocide & Crime Of Persecution:

Background:

Lagos State is a highly Cosmopolitan Island and Africa’s largest city with over fifteen million residents. Remotely, it was founded in 17th century by the defunct Benin Empire (1440-1897) which used it as a military outpost during the slave trade and pre colonial wars. Its first name was given by the erstwhile fiery Empire as “Eko” or war camp and in 1630, the Empire created the Obaship of Lagos and named one of its princes called “Prince Ado” as its first King or Oba. The area was later named “Lagos” or group of lakes or lagoons by first Portuguese settlers who also built the palace of the Oba of Lagos in 1705. It later became Nigeria’s second federal capital after the city of Calabar (Niger Coast Protectorate).

The area is surrounded by Yoruba speaking areas and Benin Republic and labeled a “Yoruba State” owing to dominance of assimilated and corrupted Yoruba and English Languages. The latter is called “pdigin English” derive from freed slaves and missionaries from Liberia, Sierra Leone and other Anglo regions. Of the State’s over fifteen million residents, Igbo natives constitute at least 40% or six million. The ancient Igbo natives also co-founded the Obaship of Lagos owing to their integration into the Benin Empire’s ruling class and ancient intellectualism such as adoption by the defunct Empire of Igbo’s four-market days, labeling, to mention but a few.

The Igbo ethnic group, apart from being one of Nigeria’s three major ethnic groups; is the most peaceful, accommodating and harmless ethnic group in Nigeria. The group constitutes about 70% of guest population in Nigeria followed by the Fulanis. It has both sedentary or home based and pastoralist or outside home based populations in the country. The Igbo ethnic group is also the most hated and endangered in Nigeria. In the case of the referenced genocidal remarks by the accused Oba of Lagos, it arose from the 28th March 2015 federal legislative poll in the State where five non indigenes including Igbo natives won five federal seats out of 24 seats federally allocated to the State. The out-going President also pulled a surprise to the likes of Oba Rilwan Akiolu by garnering 632,000 votes as against the APC and its Buhari’s 792,000 votes.

Further, in the 1953 anti Igbo Kano riot, thousands of the group’s natives were massacred. In 1966 anti Igbo pogrom in the North, the tribe lost up to 30,000 natives. In 1967-1970 civil war, over 2 million of its natives including men, women and children died from fighting and forced famine. Others are 1981 anti Igbo riots in Kano and Kaduna; the October 1991 anti Igbo killings and the 1995 Gideon Akaluka’s beheading/Igbo massacre in Kano; the Kano and Kaduna anti Igbo riots of 2000/2001; the Abuja and Jos riots of 2001; the 2002 Miss World riot; the 2008 and 2010 Jos riots; the 2009 Boko Haram uprising in the North; and the 2011 post election violence in the North. In these butcheries, tens of thousands of Igbo natives were targeted and slaughtered. As a matter of recent fact, out of at least 13,500 innocent citizens massacred by the Islamist Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria between 2009 and 2014 (President Goodluck Jonathan, New York, USA , September 2014), at least 5,000 were Igbo natives living in the North.

Oba Rilwan Akiolu’s Genocidal Incitement:

On 6th April 2015, the Oba of Lagos, Retired Assistant Inspector General of Police Rilwan Akiolu, made the following genocidal speech against over 6 million Igbo natives in Lagos State of Nigeria:

''On Saturday, if anyone of you (Igbo resident) goes against Akinwunmi Ambode, who I picked, that is your end. If it does not happen within seven days, just know that I am a bastard and it is not my father who gave birth to me. By the grace of God, I am the owner of Lagos for the time being. This is an undivided chair. The palace belongs to the dead and those coming in the future. On Saturday, if anyone of you, I swear in the name of God, Allah goes against my wish that Ambode will be the next governor of Lagos State, the person is going to die inside this water (Lagoon). For the Igbo and others in Lagos, they should go where the Oba of Lagos heads to. When they were coming to the State, they did not come with all their houses. But now, they have properties in the State. So they must do my bidding. And that is the bidding of the ancestors of Lagos and God. I am not ready to beg you. Nobody knew how I picked Ambode. Jimi (Agbaje) is my blood relation and I told him that he could never be governor in Lagos for now. The future belongs to God. I am not begging anybody, but what you people cannot do in Onitsha, Aba or anywhere you cannot do it here. If you vote against my candidate Ambode, Lagos will be hostile to you”.

Hours after the Oba’s genocidal speech was delivered publicly to the Igbo natives’ traditional representatives, the following hate message rented the air and sprang up in every nook and cranny of the referenced State as well as online and social media. The said hate message is as follows:

"Vote Ambode for Governor! Jim Agbaje is giving igbos power to dominate us in our land. He has promised them 4 Local Government Chairmanship positions and 3 Cabinet posts in his cabinet if the Igbos in Lagos support him to win. Can you imagine 5 Igbos have won House of Rep(s) election in Lagos State (?). Jimi Agbaje says when he wins, an Eze Ndigbo will (be) crowned and given the same status as Oba of Lagos. YORUBA E RONU, WE DON'T WANT TO LOOSE (LOSE) LAGOS STATE TO THE IGBOS, THE WAY WE LOST Ilorin, remember The Afonja story. The igbos claim that Lagos is no man's land, let's prove them wrong by voting APC on Saturday. VOTE Akinwunmi Ambode"

The Oba’s attempt to water down or deny the genocidal speech was rubbished by video and audio clips of the referenced speech. Oba Rilwan Akiolu is a first class Oba or Traditional Ruler in Lagos State and a public office appointee of the Government of Lagos with full paraphernalia of office including security detail, official cars, official aides and monthly government pay allowances. He is also a former senior officer of the Nigeria Police Force and its pensioner. The video clip or footage is hereby attached.

Aiding & Abetting By Government Of Lagos State & The Inspector General Of Police:

On account of legally and socially indisputable evidence in public domain and mounting public outcries over the issue, the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Suleiman A. Abba was publicly called upon to investigate and prosecute the culprit, but the Police IG chose to make himself and his NPF an accomplice. He reacted as follows:

“Police cannot investigate Oba Akiolu because he has denied making the (genocidal) statement and that since the traditional ruler has denied the allegation, I am not in any position to state otherwise. I saw it in the media and I tried all my best to verify whether that statement was made and, so far, what I have been able to gather is the fact that the Oba himself denied it. And if the Oba denied it, who am I to say that he didn’t make it. However, if for any reason that becomes a subject of further efforts to confirm if he did it or not, I think we will leave that to the future. But for now, this is what I have.” There is a video clip confirming the IGP’s official reaction above. Our leadership publicly gave him 48Hrs to initiate moves at getting the errant Oba arrested and investigated but he chose otherwise. By the provisions of the ICC, he has aided and abetted. The said video clip is hereby attached.

The Governor of Lagos State and his Government also aided and abetted by refusing to make any bold and categorical public statement on the issue, which ought to include relieving the Oba of his traditional stool and revoking his certificate of office as well as recommending him for arrest and prosecution for conducts capable of breaching public peace, security and safety and other relevant criminal sanctions grounded in Nigeria’s municipal laws and international rights treaties entered into by the country. The State Government’s ruling party merely said “the Oba did not speak for the party, its national leaders and the Government of Lagos State” and that “his speech was a slip of tongue”.

Citations:

The crimes of Hate Speech and Incitement to Genocide are criminally prohibited and punishable under international law and rights treaties. State-Parties under International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights (ICCPR) of 1966 are enjoined in Article 20 (2) to prohibit hate speech (any advocacy of national, racial, or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence). Nigeria became a State-Party to ICCPR in 1993. Incitement to Genocide is also a fundamental breach of international criminal law including the Genocide Convention of 1948, the ICCPR of 1966 and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court of 1998, which came into force in July 2002. Nigeria is a State-Party to all of them with its specific ratification of the Rome Statute of the ICC in 2001. As Madam Prosecutor is aware, the Crime of Incitement to Genocide is clearly provided for and defined by Article 25 (3) (e) of the Rome Statute of the ICC.

Also the conducts of the trio of Oba Rilwan Akiolu, the Governor/Government of Lagos State and the Inspector General of Police of Nigeria are a clear case of Persecution (intentional and severe deprivation of fundamental rights contrary to international law by reason of the identity of the group or collectivity). This is provided for and clearly defined by Article 7 (2) (g) of the ICC. Rights to vote conscientiously is a fundamental human right recognized by the Chapter Four of Nigeria’s Constitution and the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights. Threat to make Lagos hostile for Igbo natives living in the State should they vote their traducers’ enemy candidate is also a clear case of Persecution frowned at by the international law.

Further, in case of Aiding & Abetting, it is grounded under the Jurisdiction & Admissibility of the Rome Statute of the ICC as well as other relevant provisions of the Court. It provides: “the Court has jurisdiction over individuals accused of these crimes including those directly responsible for committing the crimes as well as others who may be liable for the crimes for example by aiding, abetting or otherwise assisting in the commission of the crimes”.

The Principle of Complementarity, which invokes the jurisdiction of the Court on account of unwillingness and inability of the State-Party to investigate, prosecute and punish criminal suspects under the ICC mandate, is fully grounded in this case owing to the accused authorities’ refusal and unwillingness to the punish the first accused (Oba Akiolu). This is in accordance with Article 17 of the Statute establishing the Court. By Article 25 (3) of the Rome Statute of the ICC under Individual Criminal Responsibility, a person shall be held criminally responsible and liable for punishment for committing a crime within the jurisdiction of the Court if that person in respect of the crime of genocide directly and publicly incites others to commit genocide.

Calls:

It is globally agreed that the inherent dignity and equality of every individual is the foundational axiom of international human rights and law. Already, some individuals and groups with vested interests including the party supporters of the first accused (Oba Akiolu) have given the Oba’s genocidal public speech a lot of interpretations in order to water down its meaning in a misleading and deceitful manner. Some said “he drank”, “he spoke figuratively”, “he spoke in parable” and others said “he spoke out of anger”, etc. These sponsored excuses have no single bearing in the international crime being complained of. The traditional global elements of crime are well grounded in the referenced case.

The attached video clip also does not show any of these infantile and watery excuses in the referenced international criminal conduct. The Government of Lagos State, under which the first accused serves, has a notorious record of intolerance and anti ethnic rights policies and actions. In July 2013, in the hours of the blue law, it rounded 76 Igbo natives lawfully residing in the State and deported them to Anambra State and dumped them under a popular overhead bridge before cock crows.

In view of the foregoing therefore, we call for investigative and prosecutorial intervention by Madam Prosecutor and her Court. The first accused, who is supposed to be the custodian of peace, social harmony and values in his traditional domain has become a serial promoter and instigator of social disharmony and ethnic cleansing capable of erupting into genocide of uncontrollable proportions. The resolve of the second and third accused to aid and abet the genocidal conduct of the first accused is also shocking and deafening.

There are ominous signs all over Lagos State and environs that the lives, liberties and properties of over 6 millions Igbo natives in the State will indeed be perished in the lagoon particularly after the referenced polls unless Madam Prosecutor and her Court intervene urgently. The referenced genocidal speech is akin to operation nettoyer (operation clean up the Tutsis) used during the Rwandan Genocide of April to July 1994 that killed approximately one million people. Interestingly, the Nigeria’s version under reference is coming in the same month the world is marking 21 years of the Rwandan Genocide. As our tribute to the Rwandan fallen heroes and heroines of its 1994 Genocide, we hereby dedicate this anti genocidal clarion call in memory of the sad episode of 1994.

Madam Prosecutor is grandly urged to punish the accused so as to serve as enough deterrence to others. Besides, Igbo natives in Nigeria, having become endangered species in their own country; should be internationally protected at all times. Despite winning the presidential poll under controversial circumstances, the jubilant Hausa-Fulani youths in the North still resorted to killing and maiming of Igbo native residents in the area for not joining them in saying “Sai Buhari!” (sort of “Buhari is great”). In considering our criminal complaint against the accused, Madam Prosecutor is also prayed to consider other criminal sanctions against them in accordance with the provisions of the Rome Statute establishing the Court.

Yours Faithfully,

For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law

Emeka Umeagbalasi, B.Sc. (Hons.) Criminology & Security Studies
Board Chairman
+2348174090052
emekaumeagbalasi@yahoo.co.uk, info@intersociety-ng.org

Barr Chiugo Onwuatuegwu, Head, Democracy & Good Governance Program

Barr Obianuju Igboeli, Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Program

Barr Uzochukwu Oguejiofor, Head, Campaign & Publicity Department

Note: Our Address: 41, Miss Elems Street, Fegge, Onitsha, Southeast, Nigeria

Oba Rilwan Akiolu of Lagos

Photo Above: Oba Rilwan Akiolu of Lagos

Emeka Umeagbalasi

Photo Above: Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Intersociety, 41, Miss Elems Street, Fegge, Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria.
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