*Nigerian Community Association Thailand: A Revival Mission
By Emmanuel Nweke Okafor.
The tenure of Ambassador Chukwudi Newington Okafor, the Nigerian Ambassador to the Kingdom of Thailand has not only heralded several improvements amongst Nigerians living in Thailand but has also moved Nigerians in Thailand in an upward progression in terms of discipline, co-operation and the overall push towards rebranding and repositioning Nigeria’s image in Thailand. Prior to the arrival of Ambassador Chukwudi many Nigerians in Thailand claimed that the Nigerian embassy in Bangkok and her activities in actuality remained alien and unresponsive to the needs and demands of its diplomatic responsibilities towards Nigerian nationals living in Thailand. Many Nigerians had reported some years back that the mission, the vision, and the diplomatic actions of the Nigerian embassy in Bangkok lacked the required diplomatic tenets. By then, going to the embassy as some claimed used to be frightening for many Nigerians, in addition to the fact that the long wait and rude behavior of some of the officials showed that it was nothing but a diplomatic mess happening at the Nigeria embassy, Bangkok. As at the time, it was evidently clear that the relationship between Nigerians and the Nigerian embassy was that of acrimony and zero tolerance from Nigerians. But today, the case is different, the staff attitude towards Nigerians have improved as they have become approachable to serve Nigerians, thanks to the ‘Moses’ of our time, Ambassador Chukwudi Okafor.
The visionary leadership of Ambassador Chudi has helped to fix up the unpopular past of the rapport of the Nigeria embassy and many of the Nigerian nationals living in Thailand. On inception, he went on to gather all the Nigerians in Thailand under the umbrella of a “Town Hall Meeting” as a hen would gather her chicks under her caring and shielding wings. His leadership highlighted the need to build a concourse to serve as a necessary partnership link to move Nigerians in Thailand forward. It was clear that the ambassador is really composed to work for the welfare of Nigerian citizens in the Kingdom of Thailand. The writer has been privileged to interact diligently with the Ambassador and some other embassy staff and as such, can attest to their sincerity in doing their work with diplomatic tenets needed therein. Consequently, the present embassy officers no doubt, have as their supreme priority, the welfare of Nigerians. The prevalent idea that the embassy is a place to acquire only E-passport and also endorse a document is gone under this ambassador. The majority of Nigerians have demonstrated to be at home at the embassy given the fatherly admonition of the Ambassador. It is like going to share friendly ideas with your beloved family members. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Map of Thailand
There are noticeable areas in which His Excellency has done very well especially with the help of Mr. Raymond Brown and Mr. Gayus Jalo, two of the energetic and dynamic diplomats at the embassy. Hence, the response of the embassy towards Nigerian citizens has fashioned some noteworthy changes and attitude among Nigerians living in Thailand, especially, considering how the Nigerian embassy has given listening ear and has steadily shown concerns to the predicaments of the unhappy Nigerian citizens here in Thailand. Worthy of mention is the case of quick implementation of the treaty which nearly collapsed.
In addition to this, consistent efforts have been made to ensure that all necessary attention is given to Nigerians in Jail through judicial process in Thailand, courtesy of the Nigerian embassy. The ambassador in his humane gesture has expressed how deeply touched his feelings were on the dilemmas and circumstantial abandonment felt by some of the deported Nigerians. He has future plans to coordinate with the particular agencies that will be in charge of appropriate reintegration of the deported Nigerians into normal life in Nigeria. Again, the Nigerian embassy has been aware of the various reported mistreatments of Nigerians on the streets of Bangkok by some law enforcement agencies. The ambassador has made visible efforts including following up specific cases of victims of such maltreatment in order to allow the rule of law to be properly carried. All thanks to Mr. Jalo who has demonstrated to be a task master with a great sense of commitment and passion.
To add to this, the Ambassador has been handling a lot of issues including the Emergency Travelling Certificate (ETC) cases which is demanding to some of Nigerians living in Thailand. The embassy has made adequate arrangement to bring in the Nigerian Immigration officials to Thailand for the sole purpose of serving the needs of Nigerians who may have lost their passports or whose passports have expired. The ambassador since his arrival has shown to Nigerians in Thailand that the Nigerian embassy can be trusted once more. Nigerians in Thailand now receive a swift reply from the embassy which helped to get their problems solved and at the same time would help inculcate a notch of respect before some of the Thai authorities who may have been thinking that Nigerians have no embassy. ( Continues below..... )
Still on consular matters, it is noted that some consular charges have been fairly affordable and beneficial for the Nigerian citizens in the Kingdom of Thailand within the period Ambassador Chukwudi Okafor steered the affairs of the embassy. Nigerians in Thailand can now feel belonged and feel proud to identify with their embassy. This strongly suggests that a degree of assurance and national awareness has been aroused among fellow Nigerians. Now some Nigerians can move around in the streets of Bangkok and can confidently say “I am a Nigerian”, all kudos to His Excellency and his aides at the embassy who made it possible. Indeed, “Oga Chudi” can make things work and he is making it work in Thailand. It is said elsewhere that “once a winner always a winner and a star cannot be shielded from its lights”. The National Honor of the Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) cordially conferred on him by H.E. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is an exercise in a rightful direction. The current Nigerian Ambassador to Thailand is like a candle light that illumines continuously from its position. His charismatic and diplomatic strips continue to follow him wherever he gathers Nigerians in Thailand. Other remarkable things he has done for Nigerian Community in Thailand in his tenure are:
1. Inauguration of Nigerians in Diaspora Organization (NIDOTH)
2. Inauguration of Nigerian Student Association in Thailand (NSAT)
3. Revival of Nigerian Community Association Thailand (NCAT)
4. Fatherly advice to other State Associations in Thailand
5. Rebranding the image of Nigerians via the social media
6. Census for Nigerian citizens in Thailand
7. Making the embassy to be the home for all Nigerians in Thailand
Besides, Ambassador Chukwudi had called an emergency meeting in order to revive the Nigerian Community Association in Thailand. The meeting of 3rd November, 2014 at the embassy was indeed a good move towards providing Nigerians in Thailand a more unified “community spirit”. The need for a credible Nigerian Community Association in Thailand cannot be over emphasized. Therefore, all kudos to His Excellency, Ambassador Chukwudi Okafor for this “communitarian calls”.
Having established these indisputable facts, the writer has the following to advice the participants at the ‘revival meeting’. The writer’s motive is to support the move for a better and stable Nigerian Community Association in Thailand. Therefore, this write-up suggests the following points:
1. Let all the members do thorough research, prayer and reflection before attending any meeting because the issue at hand as long as it has to be about Nigerians in Thailand needs a contextual and circumstantial approach. What happens in another country may not necessarily be applied to the issue concerning Nigerians in Thailand. It is diverse in all its form and nature.
2. Nigerians in Thailand appear to be the most dynamic and somewhat a sophisticated and a complicated group. Therefore it suggests that a sophisticated approach is also required in order to have a strong, stable and reliable Nigerian Community Association in Thailand.
3. The leaders of the recognized Nigerian State Associations in Thailand, Nigerian Pastors, Nigerians in Diaspora Organization, Thailand (NIDOTH), Nigerian Business groups, and Nigerian Student Association should be allowed to direct the affairs of the Nigerian Community in order to arrive at a strong and stable Nigerian Community Association in Thailand.
4. The Yoruba Community in Thailand must not be allowed to exclude themselves regardless of what their reasons may be. Consequently, serious efforts must be made to let them take part in the deliberation because they are Nigerians too. They may have their own legitimate reasons but it is necessary that they should comply with the embassy’s mission to help shape the situations facing Nigerians in Thailand which they are part of.
5. To this effect, the writer believes that strong, solid, stable and credible Nigerian Community Association in Thailand can emerge if these various leaders instantly become the Executives of the Nigerian Community Association for 6 months or a year with the view to help put the association in a rightful direction in line with the good intention of the Nigerian Embassy. Any sudden election without systematic groundwork may likely produce another unstable Nigerian Community Association given its history and manner of existence. Election is not the problem but the notion of credibility. The fundamental question is: Why are Nigerians in Thailand?
6. The embassy has done well by selecting these responsible men and women who are (themselves) the possible real stakeholders as far as Nigerians in Thailand are concerned, but the fact is that, if election is called most of them will not like to contest and may likely go back to their various “comfort zones” thereby leaving the association to be led by those who may not have what it takes to move the association forward. Efforts must be made to encourage “comfort zoners” to come out in this revival and rebranding mission.
7. Thus, within 6 months or a year in which these leaders will handle the affairs of things, they will help to provide and produce a stable and democratic Nigerian Community Association in Thailand.
8. Then they must be able to achieve the following:
a) Help to bring back the integrity of the association by helping some of the Nigerians who have lost interest in Nigerian Community to regain their interest in the community affairs.
b) Help to rebrand and reposition the integrity of the association before the Thailand authority. This is a must do! We have Nigerians who are capable of achieving this without necessarily being elected as an executive.
c) Help to do all that is required to get the association registered in Thailand.
d) Help to revive and reactivate the constitution drafting committee in order to have guidelines to whoever will lead the association for good.
e) Help to create the enabling atmosphere for democratic elections.
9. All the leaders of the State associations and other groups’ leaders were formerly elected with the peoples’ mandate therefore if their representatives become the executives of Nigerian Community Association in Thailand for 6 months or even a year, it is still within the democratic principle.
10. Nigerian Community Association needs leaders that will help to clean the image. Therefore the attention must be given to this image problem at this stage. This method above will help to reduce unnecessary micro politics among Nigerians here. We need unified collective efforts now.
11. The best way to answer this Ambassadorial call of unification is to go by selection not election. Most credible Nigerians are particularly serious with their jobs and do not pay attention to the community issues because of the noticeable dirty games involved. Thus, selection method will enable the “required image clean group” to come out for the sake of our country – The Federal Republic of Nigeria.
12. The selection has already been initiated and coordinated by the embassy therefore our duty should be to cement it by suggesting to the embassy what is practical, given the situation in Thailand. We have a duty here!
13. Permit me to submit without prevarication that historically and chronologically speaking, Nigerian Community Association has an image problem which could be rebranded and repositioned if “Selective Method” is used. Of course, election can also be done in a selective way in order to achieve this goal. This is, if we are really serious and honest in tackling the problems here in Thailand. It is our common responsibility and duty.
14. Let us also be aware that by the conduct of international law, any association is voluntary, thus inalienable right of any Nigerian cannot be replaced based on attending an association’s meeting. It is also not diplomatically correct to deprive a Nigerian his/her due right as a Nigerian in Thailand because he/she failed to belong to the Nigerian Community Association in Thailand. UN CHARTER on Human Right is very clear on this and Nigeria is also a signatory to the said UN CHARTER. Article 20:
a) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
b) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.
15. Whatever worth doing is worth doing well, legally, globally, nationally and otherwise. The Electoral Board should not get carried away but should remain focused with the relevant and reflective questions such as: Why is Nigerian Community Association in Thailand so messed? Why are most Nigerians treated like brute animals by some Thai police men and women? Why are we singled out amongst other African nations? How can we tackle the problems? Are the problems going to be solved after the community election? On what constitutional tenets is the said election going to be conducted? Why have we consistently conducted elections for the Nigerian Community Association in Thailand without an agreed and duly signed peoples’ constitution? These and many more questions should be able to enable the Electoral Board to work more effectively and efficiently. The embassy has done its best, ours is to welcome this clarion call with sincerity and to act within the law of the Land.
Let me recall a note of warning on those things that are capable of leading Nigerians in Thailand to failure as identified by the distinguished woman of God, Pastor Mrs. Mary Frank Owali which she states as follows: “Lack of sincere love for one another, self-extremism (Proud or I know it all), unnecessary competition (it must be me), inability to tolerate one another (my opinion must prevail), unforgiving spirit (refusal to let go), lack of sincere co-operation, Sabotage ( Sambalat and Tobias attitude)” and so on.
Other grievous things that may not allow Nigerians in Thailand to progress are well articulated by His Excellency Chudi Okafor in his address to the Nigerian Community at the Town Hall meeting of August 11, 2012, so he said: “Fellow Nigerians, before we conclude, let me speak to you on three more points I consider crucial, based on my experience in dealing with the Nigerian Community. One is the need to avoid poisonous gossips, rumours and character assassination between and among yourselves. In conflict situations between States, this is called propaganda and some States have succeeded in using it to deceive and even win wars, against their perceived enemies. In human relations, unfounded rumours and cheap blackmail have torn brothers/sisters, friends and communities apart. He said and you said, or pull him down Syndrome, is a very bad attitude that must not be allowed to continue in your relationship with one another and in your various associations. We must cultivate the attitude to tell each other what we feel and not what we heard, as you may wrongly take steps you will later regret. In such situations, one mistake will lead to another, and before you know it, the damage is done”.
As a result, this write up is also a wake-up call to those Nigerians who rarely get themselves involved in the affairs of Nigerian Community in Thailand to rethink and join hands together with the recent move to revive the community because the “price paid by the wise is to be ruled by the unwise”. The side effect of the unlawful activities of few Nigerians who bring shame to us all is indeed affecting us all irrespective of who you are, provided that the Nigerian name or passport is mentioned. This is the right time to face this reality and confront it once and for all. His Excellency, Ambassador Chukwudi has extended an olive branch to us. He has challenged us. Let us come en masse and support Pastor Mrs. Mary Owali as she pilots the affairs of things as the electoral board chairperson. It is a common statement that “whatever a man does, a woman can do even better”.
Conclusively, the proper time to act collectively and sincerely is now. Nigerians in Thailand have contributed to the Thai economy in an irrefutable fashion. Nigerians in Thailand have also contributed to the Thai educational systeml. Many Nigerians in Thailand are legally and gainfully employed. Uncountable numbers of Nigerians are law abiding citizens. Therefore, letting the activities of the few to continuously tarnish the image of Nigerian Community in Thailand is unfair and unacceptable. It is the writer’s considered view that all Nigerians in Thailand should come out en masse for this process of image cleansing even as we must work hard to discourage our fellow Nigerians who break the law to desist from such. A crime is crime irrespective of where it is committed. Thus a crime is unacceptable nationally and globally. Let us work for a peaceful society for we are all human. Peace in the Lord!
Emmanuel Nweke Okafor is a Nigerian professional teacher in Thailand. He is a lecturer in Siam University. He is presently a supervisor in the Language Laboratory Center in Siam University. He is also a student in Political Science Program in Politics and International Relations in prestigious Thammasat University, Bangkok, Thailand. He can be contacted via his email address firstname.lastname@example.org
*Intersociety Writes Police On Threat Of Breakdown Of Law & Order In Nnobi Community
1. AIG Usman Akila Gwarry
Assistant Inspector General of Police in-charge of Zone 9 Command
Nigeria Police Zonal Command Headquarters
Umuahia, Abia State
2. CP Hosea Karma
Commissioner of Police, Anambra State Command
Nigeria Police Force State Command Headquarters
Awka, Anambra State
3. Retired IGP Mike Mbama Okiro
Chairman, Police Service Commission
The Police Service Commission Headquarters
The Federal Secretariat Complex, Shehu Shagari Way
FCT, Abuja, Nigeria
Threat Of Breakdown Of Law & Order In Nnobi Community: A Call For Steady Maintenance Of Law & Order & Protection Of Recognized Traditional Institution & Community’s Association & The Entire People Of Nnobi Community
(Security & Rule of Law, Onitsha Nigeria 11th November, 2014)- The attention of our organization-International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety) has been drawn to the above referenced subject.
Background Information: After the traditional ruler of Nnobi Community in Idemmili South Local Government Area of Anambra State, Igwe Eddy Ezeokoli joined his ancestors in 2003, the issue of selection of his successor fell on three quarters in the Community; namely Ebenesi, Awuda and Ngo. The Constitution of the Community had earlier in 1988 been amended to provide for rotational Igweship among the three quarters of Ebenesi, Awuda and Ngo. For administrative convenience, the Nnobi Community is divided into 72 administrative wards with each of the quarters given 24 administrative wards. While the late traditional ruler of the Community (late Igwe Edmund Ezeokoli) hailed from Ngo quarters, the Ebenesi quarters produced the Okpala who is also called the traditional prime minister. The Ebenesi quarters also has the king crowner called Isiani. The Igweship, the Okpala/traditional prime minister and the Isiani are three reigning royalties in Nnobi Community. The present Okpala/traditional prime minister has reigned for 38 years.
By the tradition and customs of the Community in consonance with its 1988 amended Constitution, the Ebenesi quarters having produced the Isiani and the Okpala/traditional prime minister cannot, in equity and fairness, produce the next Igwe likewise the Ngo quarters that produced the last Igwe. Chief Ebubechukwu Etudo, who claims to be the Igwe-elect, hails from Ebenesi quarters. It was on account of these that the present traditional ruler, His Royal Highness, Engr. Nick M. Obi (Igwe Omenyili), who is from Awuda quarters, was chosen in line with the customs and traditions of the Community embedded in the amended Community’s Constitution of 1988. As it stands presently, the three top royalties and the PGship are evenly spread among the three quarters of Ebenesi, Ngo and Awuda. While the Igweship has moved to Awuda quarters, the Isiani & the Okpala/traditional prime minister is retained by the Ebenesi quarters and the Ngo quarters has the present President General of the Community.
However, the Igwe-elect so called, Chief Ebubechukwu Etudo disputed the choice of Igwe Nick Moudum Obi and protested. In 2006, in suit number: HID/16/2006 filed before the Ogidi High Court of Anambra State between the Registered Trustees of Nnobi Welfare Organization & Chief Ebubechukwu Lota Etudo, an order was made by the presiding judge, Hon Justice J.C. Iguh, restraining him from parading or addressing himself as Igwe-elect of Nnobi. His effort to set aside the order at the Enugu Appeal Court was unsuccessful. He also accused, reportedly, the Awuda quarters of opting for an autonomous community; which he reportedly said made them lose right of claims to the Igweship of Nnobi.
But the Awuda quarters denied the accusation and their position was later strengthened by the Enugu Court of Appeal judgment of July 19, 2011 in Government of Anambra State v Anambra State Association of Autonomous Communities, which ruled against the existence and recognition of autonomous communities in Anambra State of Nigeria. Though another legal proceeding has reportedly been initiated challenging the presentation of the staff of office by the Government of Anambra State to the present Igwe, His Royal Highness, Nick Moudum Obi, but no superior court judgment is in force or obtained setting aside the status quo till date.
Roles of the Government of Anambra State: Following the said claims and counter claims associated with the traditional stool of Nnobi Community, the Government of Anambra State opted to mediate in the dispute. The State Government also took a long time (2006 to 2011) to carefully study the issues arising from the dispute bearing in mind the provisions of the Anambra State Traditional Rulers’ Law of 1981 including its Section 20 (powers, rights and privileges of a recognized traditional ruler). On 4th July 2011, the Executive Governor of Anambra State, His Excellency, Mr. Peter Obi, issued a certificate of recognition to His Royal Highness, Igwe Nick Moudum Obi as Igwe Omenyili of Nnobi and presented him with a staff of office. The State Government had earlier on 27th September 2006, through the office of the Special Adviser to the Governor on Local Government & Chieftaincy Matters, recognized the Nnobi Welfare Organization (NWO) as the official umbrella community organization for the Community. The Nnobi Welfare Organization has been in existence since 1943.
Recent threats on Law & Order in Nnobi Community: The violence of unprecedented magnitude that would have eclipsed the 2014 Asha-Olu or New Yam Festival in Nnobi Community was miraculously averted owing to civilized crisis handling style applied by the leadership of the present Igwe of Nnobi and his Nnobi Welfare Organization (NWO). Despite several public notices and security alert letters issued or addressed to the relevant security agencies and the State Government by the Nnobi Welfare Organization and the Igwe-in-council, security lapses were allowed leading to issuance of counter public notices for a parallel Asha-Olu festival by Chief Ebubechukwu Etudo culminating in erection of canopies for a parallel event at Afor-Nnobi Market square in contravention of Sections 19 & 20 of the Anambra State Traditional Rulers’ Law of 1981.
In all the letters under reference, the present Divisional Police Officer, Supol Abdullahi of the Nnobi Division of the Nigeria Police Force was at the center of the storm. He was heavily accused of compromising the public security of the Community during the festival by taking sides with Chief Ebubechukwu Etudo in defiance of several government directives and recognition conferred on the present Igwe of Nnobi by the Government of Anambra State. The 2014 Asha-Olu festival took place between 24th and 27th September 2014.
Condemned action of the Police: Security lapses allowed or influenced by relevant police agencies particularly the Divisional Police Officer of the Nnobi Police Station are out-rightly condemned. We have also observed that indiscriminate police invitations to members of the Nnobi ruling royal and civil status quo have continued to rent the air. These amount to psychological harassment and triggers of self help dispute methodology. The indiscriminate police invitations under reference are also extortionist or money making in nature.
For instance, on Monday, November 3rd, 2014, the President General of the Nnobi Welfare Organization (NWO), Prof Eddy Akusoba (77 years old) and five other notable officials of the Community’s umbrella organization were put behind the counter where they were held for hours, at the instance of the Awka Area Commander, one ACP Yusuf. They were later granted bail with a reported payment of N120, 000 illegal bail fees. The information received from the Igwe palace indicates that N100,000 was paid cash before the bail was granted to them on Monday, 3rd November 2014 and the balance of N20,000 was handed down to the office of the Area Commander on Monday, 10th November 2014 when they reported as directed.
Calls: We call upon your good public offices to ensure that peace and security are maintained in Nnobi Community at all times. Enforcement of law and order in the Community should be ensured at all times as well. Also Sections 19 & 20 of the Anambra State Traditional Rulers’ Law of 1981 forbid those not recognized as traditional rulers from addressing or parading themselves as if they are. They are also barred from holding or sponsoring or participating in community activities under whatever names called in parallel with or outside the consent or knowledge of the Community’s recognized chiefs or traditional rulers.
Contravention of the provisions of these sections attracts on conviction two years imprisonment without option of fine. We call upon your good offices to enforce these provisions to the letter. Constitutional protection of lives and properties in Nnobi Community including those of the disputants (whether the disputants are real or pretentious) is very fundamental to the safety and securitization duties of your good offices.
The idea of using or converting the dispute in the said Community into money making venture by way of indiscriminate and seeming frivolous police invitation or arrest and detention must be avoided. Police invitations and arrests/detentions should only be based strictly on reasonable commission or suspicion of commission of crimes of legal records or serious involvement in acts capable of breaking law and order in Nnobi Community. The roles of the Nnobi DPO, Supol Abdullahi in the entire episode should be thoroughly and punitively investigated. He should also be called to order henceforth. Also the N100,000 extorted from the PG of Nnobi Community and co at the Awka Area Command on Monday, 3rd November, 2014, as well as the remainder (N20,000) given to the office of the Area Commander on Monday, 10th of November 2014, should be investigated and refunded inexcusably and unconditionally.
The need by your good offices to maintain or protect the status quo until the contrary is established must be applied to the letter. That is to say that since no superior court of records has set aside the issuance of certificate of recognition & staff of office by the Government of Anambra State to Igwe Nick Moudum Obi as well as recognition of the Nnobi Welfare Organization (NWO) by the same Government, these government pronouncements must be protected and enforced by your good offices at all times until the contrary is established or otherwise.
Note: For matters of further investigation, questioning, enquiry or action, they should be channeled to the following respected members of the Nnobi ruling royal & civil status quo, namely 1. His Royal Highness, Igwe Nick Moudum Obi (Igwe Omenyili). 2. President General (PG) of Nnobi Welfare Organization, Prof Eddy Akusoba 08034344107. 3. Palace Secretary, Ichie Ezeobi Ajaghaku (former PG) 08037421569. 4. Cabinet Secretary, Ichie Basil Eruchalu 08037148661. 5. Secretary General of Nnobi Welfare Organization, Barr Isaac Ezenwelu 08037459016. Also, protocols are lowered here so as to copy relevant junior police formations under your good offices.
For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
Emeka Umeagbalasi (Criminologist & Graduate of Security Studies), Board Chairman
08174090052, 08100755939 (office only)
Barr Uzochukwu Oguejiofor, Head, Campaign & Publicity Department
Barr Chiugo Onwuatuegwu, Head, Democracy & Good Governance Program
Barr Obianuju Igboeli, Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Program
1. His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Anambra State
2. The Hon Speaker, Anambra State House of Assembly
3. The Inspector General of Police, Force Headquarters, Abuja
4. Attorney General of Anambra State & Commissioner for Justice
5. The Secretary to the State Government
6. Special Adviser to the Governor on Security
7. Special Adviser to the Governor on Chieftaincy & Town Union Matters
8. Director of State Security Services, Anambra State
9. The Executive Chairman of Idemmili South LGA
10. Chairman, Anambra State Traditional Rulers Council
11. President, Anambra State Association of Town Unions (ASATU)
12. Hon Ebele Obi, Member Representing Idemmili South Constituency in the Anambra State House of Assembly
13. The Area Commander, Awka Area Command
14. The Divisional Police Officer, Awka Central Police Station
15. The Divisional Police Officer, Nnobi Police Station
*Tags: Nigerians, Intersociety, Council, Police, Service, Commission. Sack, Ringim, Africa, Masterweb
*Ebola Scare Takes The Life of A Nigerian At Madrid Barajas Airport, Spain
By Uchendu Precious Onuoha (Masterweb Special Correspondent-Spain)
The fear of Ebola is the beginning of life. Ebola is the most dreaded terror and scourge to humanity at moment. It is no respecter of persons, color or race, white and black, it is without boundary. Mere glimpse of any sign of Ebola at a distance will make even the American Special Strike force to take to their heels. The best of medical personnel cannot stand at the sign of Ebola. So was the case on October 18, 2014 at Barajas Madrid Airport Spain, where a Nigerian drug peddler was mistakenly abandoned and left to stew in his own juice by the airport security and medical team because of Ebola scare. If not for the Ebola fear the life of the Nigerian may have been saved.
According to information gathered by our Special Correspondent at the airport, the 38 year old Nigerian, identified as Ikenna Nzeako from Owerri Imo state on the fateful day arrived on a Turkish airline flight from Istanbul to Madrid. As he was about to leave from the airport he started shivering and collapsed. The airport security men and the emergency medical team realizing he was a Nigerian felt scared and hesitated to attend to him. Time elapsed as he was left alone on the floor before a special medical team arrived and confirmed that it was not Ebola case. But was as a result of overdose of cocaine inside his body which has busted inside his stomach. Subsequently he died few minutes after the medical team attended to him. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Late Ikenna Nzeako
Our Special correspondent traced where he lived in Madrid and met with his live- in girlfriend who is the mother of his one year old baby girl. According to the lady who said that the deceased came to Spain in 2008 and they have lived together for almost three years. Responding to questions by the Correspondent, she said that the late Ikenna called her two hours before he died and was talking to her in Igbo dialect a language she could not understand as she is from Edo state. And she never knew that was his last word until she was called by the police to inform her about his death later. The late Ikenna came from a family of eight with his parents still alive with three elder brothers before him and two sisters all in Nigeria. One of the sisters in Nigeria, who spoke to our special correspondent on phone, said that they saw him last in 2012 when he visited Nigeria. She pleaded that the Correspondent should on behalf of the family appeal to the Nigerian Embassy and the Nigerian Community in Spain to help bring back the corpse, saying as we did not see him in life again let us see him at death.
Also the deceased fiancée who was carrying their one year old baby girl during the interview with the Correspondent requested for help from the Nigerian Embassy and the Spanish government for accommodation and financial assistance to enable her take care of the baby as she has no work now.
The Nigerian Embassy, in line with their citizen’s diplomacy was quick to react to the incident by demanding for explanation from the Spanish authorities on the circumstances surrounding the death of the Nigerian. According to the Ambassador, Bianca Ojukwu who spoke to our correspondent over the incident said that the facts had to be established clearly that it was not as a result of Ebola as was initially feared. She lamented that its quiet unfortunate the circumstances that led to his death. And the Ambassador condemned the act of Nigerian citizens who involve themselves in heinous crimes risking their lives and tarnishing the image of the country in their quest to make fast money. She said that its high time they withdraw themselves otherwise they stand the risk of grave consequences for their actions as the host country would not take it lightly with anyone who constitutes himself a nuisance to them after giving him residence and work permit. Ambassador Bianca appealed to Nigerians living in Spain to always respect the laws of their host country and stay away from crime. She encouraged them to look for work and engage themselves in meaningful activities.
A cross section of Nigerians who spoke to our Correspondent over the incident expressed their displeasure with the situation of things at home saying that due to corruption among those at the corridors of power and the mis-management of the country’s resources has forced Nigerians to migrate and turned to beggars abroad, compelling many to take to crime against their wish. They appealed to the Federal Government to set up measures that will alleviate the sufferings of Nigerian citizens in Spain and Diaspora.
If not for Ebola scare, perhaps the life of Ikenna may have been saved first, after which he would have faced the wrath of the law for his crime. However, Ebola “though like the toad ugly and venomous yet it wears a precious jewel on its neck” (Shakespeare). Nigeria has been certified Ebola free country by WHO, thanks to the rapid response the Government gave to that and the cooperation of the citizenry also. At least the Ebola fear has shown that things can work in Nigeria if we really want. If the approach that was used to combat the Ebola case is applied in all sectors of governance in Nigeria, the country will turn to a paradise overnight. Hence with the fear of Ebola, Nigeria will be free of corruption and the economy will recover. Nigerians will stay at home and would not migrate. Those abroad can go back home to enjoy the milk of the land and the likes of the late Ikenna would be saved from untimely death. Therefore let all the incoming politicians and office holders come 2015 take an oath and be sworn in by the spirit of Ebola. As the fear of Ebola that made the Spanish airport security and medical team to abandon the Nigerian citizen will scare away corrupt politicians from embezzling public fund and save the nation.
*Ndigbo In U.S. Hold Rally For Endorsement of President Jonathan For A 2nd Term
By Masterweb News Desk
SPECIAL NOTICE: - Ignore the press release below - an updated Press Release reflecting the new date will be published soon.
Ndigbo in the United States will in November, next month hold a rally for the endorsement of President Goodluck Jonathan for a second term of office. The event tagged “Igbo Rally For The Endorsement of President Goodluck Jonathan For A Second Term of Office.” is scheduled to hold at OZAC Hall, 2417 York Street, Blue Island (in Chicago), Illinois, USA on November 14 – 16, 2014. November 14 is arrival of guests and the event holds the following day (November 15) from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm with gala night from 8.00 pm to 1.00 am. Attendees may depart Sunday, November 16 after town hall meetings/breakfast between 7.00 am to 10.00 am. Igbos, Nigerians and their friends from all walks of life in the U.S., Nigeria and worldwide, amongst them - important dignitaries, are to gather in Chicago and show their support for President Jonathan’s re-election. Dame Patience Jonathan (Nigeria First Lady), Gov. T. A. Orji, Engineer Arthur Eze, Mr. Peter Obi, Col. Joe Achuzie, Ambassador Mrs. Bianca Ojukwu, Dr. Harold Molokwu (PDP-USA Chairman), His Royal Majesty Eze Eberechi Dick, His Royal Majesty Igwe Kelly and many others to be named later are among important dignitaries to grace the event. A delegation from the presidency is also expected to attend to show solidarity with supporters at the rally. Members of PDP-USA will also be there to show solidarity and support. Designations and roles of special guests will be announced soon. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Event flyer - *See Enlarged Flyer below
The rally will provide the platform in mobilizing Ndigbo in the U.S. in utilizing all available resources such as formation of committee of friends, campaign organizations, direct phone calls/sms texts in educating their relatives, friends and associates on the need to vote for President Jonathan. That Nigerians abroad cannot vote in elections does not mean they cannot influence their outcome. Nigerians in the Diaspora remittances are key financial relief to families at home and boost to Nigerian economy. In 2012, Nigerians abroad remitted whopping $21 billion to the country; this has grown over the years. This means Nigerians in the Diaspora are very much on the ground and relevant in elections only if they can reach out to friends, family and business beneficiaries on the right candidates to vote for. Igbos will be awakened at the rally to mobilize and gather votes at home for President Jonathan’s re-election. This is for continuity to enable him finish up the good job he is doing that has made Nigeria the largest economy in Africa and a no-go-area for the Ebola virus. Nigeria has been declared Ebola-free by World Health Organization – thanks for the stellar leadership of Jonathan.
The event is co-hosted by Orlu Zonal Assembly of Chicago and Environs, Nigeria Masterweb (www.nigeriamasterweb.com) and Chief Charles O. Okereke, Ohanaeze Youth Ambassador-at-Large/Diaspora Coordinator & Media Consultant. Refreshments and meals will be served throughout the duration of the rally. There are many hotels in the area for accommodation booking.
Photo Above: Enlarged Event flyer
*Bianca Ojukwu Wins The Most Outstanding African Ambassador In Diaspora 2014 Award
By Uchendu Precious Onuoha (Masterweb Special Correspondent-Spain)
Once a winner always a winner, and a star cannot be shielded from its lights. Ambassador Bianca Olivia Odumegwu Ojukwu is like the Northern star whose light remains constant from her position in the firmament. Bianca’s star and winning streaks continues to follow her wherever she goes. Initially her appointment as a non-career Diplomat was received with mixed feelings in some certain quarters. According to Shakespeare, “The fault, dear Brutus is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings.” Today, the stone which the builders rejected has become the chief corner stone of the house. Bianca Ojukwu like a Trojan went to Spain, saw and conquered. Ambassador Bianca Ojukwu is a rare bird, bestowed with beauty, intelligence and wisdom. And her accomplishments have proved that one does not need to acquire all the qualifications in the world before you become a successful and good leader.
On October 17, 2014, she was honored with the prestigious award of, African Most Outstanding Ambassador in Diaspora 2014 in Netherlands by the Voice of Achievers. The Voice Magazine Annual Award Ceremony is one of the most prestigious and highly rated awards in Europe used to recognize and honor African Achievers and Friends of Africa who have distinguished and proven themselves in their areas of calling for the advancement of their countries, Africa and humanity at large. This year’s event which was held at HOTEL ALMERE, a five star hotel in the city of Almere in Netherlands was used to give various Awards to deserving Africans and Nigerians. Among them are, Ambassador Bianca Ojukwu, Chief Peter Obi, former Executive Governor of Anambra state who received award as Personality of the year 2014, Bishop Mathew Kukah, Bishop of Sokoto Diocese Nigeria, Dr. Abdullahi Dikko, the Comptroller General of Customs in Nigeria, Chief Joop Berkhout, and Chairman/CEO. Spectrum Books, among others. Among former recipients of the Award before include; Olusegun Obasanjo, Former President of Nigeria, Professor Wole Soyinka, Nobel Laureate, Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma among others. ( Continues below..... )
Ambassador Bianca Ojukwu whose presence dominates and arrests her environment wherever she enters, was the cynosure of all eyes, as all guests were falling heads over heels to catch a glimpse of her and have snap shots. The award was presented to her by her counterpart, the Nigerian Ambassador to the Netherlands, Dr. N.N.Akanbi. Speaking during the occasion, Bianca thanked the organizers of the event and those who recommended her for the award. She dedicated the award to the staff of the Nigerian Embassy Spain whom she said that without their collaboration and support she may not have attained to that height. She also thanked the Federation of Nigerian Community Spain (FNCS) and all Nigerian citizens in Spain for their support. Accompanying her to receive the award was what could be described as the Operation Swift crack squad of the Embassy whom she humorously name tagged. Among them are, The Head of Chancery, Safiu Olukayode Olaniyan, she described as, the Pillar of chancery and facilitator of the renovation of the Embassy and Chancery buildings, Head of Consul L.D.G. Boko (absent for ill-health) Consul Nze Nnamdi, Coordinator and Investigator of the Embassy’s Rescue Operations, Joshua Luka (Accountant) she tagged as CBN of the Embassy, Adekemu Ajayi, the Mother of Rescued Nigerian Children, a known face at the Airport and could be mistaken as a child trafficker, as she is always carrying two or three Nigerian siblings rescued from adoption while accompanying them to Nigeria to their families. Others include, Ruth Dauda who is on attachment and Wendy Van Der Veen, a Dutch woman and Founder of the Black and White Association, a good friend of the Embassy.
Answering questions from our Special Correspondent Spain who was at the event, on how she feels and what the Award means to her? Ambassador Bianca, said that she feels happy and encouraged as this goes a long way to show that her pursuit and implementation of the Citizens diplomacy as was directed as a priority area of attention to all missions by the President while commissioning them as Ambassadors are yielding fruits. She stated that the Nigerian Embassy will continue to protect the rights and welfare of all Nigerian citizens in Spain and in Diaspora. She asserted that the Nigeria Embassy Spain is of the people, by the people and for the people. And that the Nigerian Embassy remains a Sanctuary for all Nigerian citizens in Spain. And she used the occasion to commend the Government for the efforts they made to combat and control Ebola in Nigeria. And called on all Nigerians to join hands with the Government to make Nigeria great and a better country for all.
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*A Case Against Return Of Criminal Entities At New Bridgehead Car Park
Chief Willie Obiano
Executive Governor of Anambra State
Governor’s Lodge, Awka
A Case Against Return Of Criminal Entities At New Bridgehead Car Park & Need For Protection & Maintenance Of Key Public Infrastructures
(Good Governance & Security, Onitsha Nigeria, 16th October, 2014)- Your Excellency will recall that conversion of un-tarred portions of the Onitsha-Asaba Dual Carriage Way at Bridgehead into a car park and construction of same endeared Your Excellency to the heart of the people in the area particularly the traders of the Bridgehead Market. The major aim of the noble project was to clear and reclaim the area from the hands of some criminal entities that go with various names including Ukwu-aziza squad or Ogbaru Youth, among others. Another aim was to sanitize the area and make it environment friendly since it is a gateway into Anambra State and Southeast. Part of the aim also was to decongest the area by providing a befitting parking space for traders and others in the area to park their private cars. Before now, private cars litter the area causing congestion and other traffic jams as well as defacing the area, which is a major entrance into the State. The last aim was to reclaim lost government revenues hitherto in wrong hands by collecting tolls from each parked car as well as provision of public security in the area.
Sadly Your Excellency, these noble aims are in a verge of being reversed, if not reversed already. Few days ago, the traders at the Bridgehead Market received with shock the ‘leasing’ of parts of the completed car park to some militant transporters leading to the return of the dreaded Ukwu-aziza terror motor park brigade. Two portions were leased to “Benin and Asaba route transporters”. The two are in between the government public restroom or toilet before the Niger Bridge. The one before the public toilet is “leased” to “Agbor/Benin route transporters”, while the one after the public toilet is “given” to “Asaba route transporters”. Our last checks as at Wednesday, 15th October, 2014, indicated that the remaining portions where traders park their cars have already been negotiated for similar ”leases”. The one undergoing construction is penciled down for owners and drivers of “heavy trucks” including 911 and Trailer Lorries.
Already, tents and canopies have been erected in the leased portions and the Ukwu-aziza terror brigade also called “Benin Garage Agbaros”, are back. Smoking of marijuana or Indian hemp is now the order of the day. In recent past, the place was a den for armed robbers and other violent crimes. A number of affluent traders in Bridgehead Market, who were abducted but regained their freedoms after payment of ransom, have traced their ordeal to the activities of the dreaded criminal entities. Traders also suffered sundry extortions in their hands as well as loss of their wares and personal effects in the hands of the referenced criminal gangs.
These explain why the traders of the Market saw Your Excellency’s initial moves as efforts in the right direction culminating in cluster analysis and commendation of Your Excellency’s bold step. But since Monday, 13th of October, 2014 when the news was broken, clusters have rented the air in the Market and its environs, condemning and casting aspersions at Your Excellency over unpopular reversion of the noble efforts leading to restoration of criminal entities and criminal neighborhoods. In the traders’ view, “Akpokuedike has killed us, by bringing back criminals to haunt us and hunt for us and by denying us a space to park our cars for a price (payment of toll to government)”. What angered the traders most was that it was Your Excellency’s Commissioner for Transport (Barr Chuma Mbonu) that is fingered as being behind all this. Traders also feared that very soon the entire area will be converted to shops and other brick structures and made criminal hideouts. Before this unpopular policy reversal, the criminal entities under reference have relocated and adjusted giving traders in the area a sigh of relief.
Protection & Maintenance Of Key Public Infrastructures: It is recalled Your Excellency that our maiden recommendation to Your Excellency on the need to mandate all the 21 LGA chairmen to clear and open all gutters and drainages in their areas in the State prior to coming of the outgoing rainy season paid off leading to smooth movement of water and flood to adjoining rivers and other water bodies. This simply effort of Your Excellency saved a lot of human and material costs for the State. Your Excellency’s acting on our recommendation and effort proper is very commendable. Following from the above Your Excellency, as the rainy season goes on its annual and traditional holiday, the need to mitigate its hazards particularly in the area of failed portions of roads and blocked gutters and drainages has again become inevitable. It is our recommendation that Your Excellency should direct all the 21 LGA chairmen and their councilors to go round and compile the list of all failed portions of State roads as well as Federal and intercity roads for immediate mitigation or repair; for it is cheaper to maintain than to build.
Your Excellency’s attention is also drawn to the collapse of the right side of “Ulasi Okija Bridge” in Ihiala LGA as well as the erosion menace at Ihembosi/Okija communities in Ihiala LGA leading to cutting off of the right lane of the all-important Onitsha-Owerri Dual Carriage Way. Our reason of drawing Your Excellency’s attention is for Your Excellency to draw the attention of the Federal Government of Nigeria as well as finding a way of effecting palliative measures before substantive solution could be found and applied. It is also our observation that the Contracting firm that reconstructed the Road (CCC Limited) did not comply with the relevant environmental laws such as Environmental Impact Assessment Act of 1992 leading to collapse of that portion less than two years after its completion. Your Excellency should protest this to the Federal Government so as to get the Company back to rework the two failed areas (Okija Bridge and erosion site).
Your Excellency’s attention is also direly needed in Aguata LGA where three major federal roads linking it with its communities are in tatters. The three major roads are Nnobi-Awkaetiti-Igboukwu-Ekwulobia Road, Oba-Nnewi-Okigwe Road and Agulu-Ekwulobia-Uga Road. The terrible state of these roads will create untold hardships for the people of the area particularly this coming Christmas period. It is our call on Your Excellency to draw the attention of relevant federal bodies including the Federal Ministry of Works and its Federal Emergency Road Maintenance Agency to the dire state of the said roads. FERMA body should be gotten to carry out thorough palliative works on the three roads pending when contracts for their proper reconstruction will be awarded.
Protection Of Key Public Infrastructures: There is steady need to protect key government or public infrastructures in the State. For instance, our recent investigation at Onitsha Upper Iweka indicates that a number of street light poles have had their lamps removed or vandalized. There are also similar acts of theft and vandalisation of key public infrastructures in other parts of the State. All the 21 LGA chairmen and their councilors should be tasked with the responsibility of monitoring all government infrastructures across the State. This should be done in collaboration with the officers and personnel of the Nigerian Security & Civil Defense Corps, who are constitutionally empowered to monitor, protect, arrest and prosecute vandals of government facilities.
Road Decongestion & Menace Of Militant Transporters/Street Traders: The incidence of loading and offloading of passengers and wares at center of the roads is on the increase particularly in Onitsha Upper Iweka, Owerri Road, Bridgehead and Nkpor. Heavy trucks also park indiscriminately at the unapproved portions of the roads particularly in Nkpor and Ogidi. Street or road side trading and defacing of environment is still on the increase in the State leading to indiscriminate dumping of refuse inside gutters and unapproved places. Efforts should be intensified to tame it.
Incidence Of Return Culture: Most, if not all the special security checkpoints mounted on Anambra Roads at the instance of Your Excellency particularly those in urban areas are engaged in collection of “returns” from transporters. From Niger Bridgehead to Uga Junction; Upper Iweka to Owerri Road; and Nkpor to Ogidi, etc, the story remains the same. This has hampered government efforts in road decongestion and other road safety and environmental activities as well as detection and control of other criminal activities. All the security personnel ranging from Police, Navy and Army are involved. Our field trips have seen at least five incidents. Civilians are contracted as agents to collect such returns from a taskforce working for the militant transporters. At times, as in Uga Junction, such returns are handed down directly to the Navy squad. In some cases, there are open tolls imposed on KEKE, Okada and commercial buses tagged “Police, Navy or Army Levies”.
Need to Monitor Government Appointees: Anambra State Government appointees have for decades earned notoriety in engaging in sundry criminal and subversive activities particularly in the area of creation and collection of parallel public revenues in Onitsha, Nnewi and their environs with intent to diverting and pocketing them. These have earned them sarcastic name “Hotel Commissioners”; meaning that the first aim of an average Anambra Government appointee is to build and own a hotel from criminal proceeds. Criminal and subversive activities of these public aides have become triggers of youth violence and militancy, touting and thuggery, extortion and criminalization of public revenue collection, etc. Efforts should be made to tame this. And such government efforts should include digitalization and consolidation of internal revenue generation as well as sacking and prosecution of any public appointee found involved.
Call & Commendation: Beautification works at the Niger Bridgehead and Zik’s Roundabout by Your Excellency are very commendable likewise work at the three pedestrian bridges at Nlkpor and Onitsha. The increase on the pace of work at Upper Iweka/Army Barracks portion of the Onitsha-Enugu Dual Carriage Way is observed and commendable likewise drastic reduction in the incidence of violent crimes of armed robbery and abduction in the State. The IDC Construction Company Limited should be directed as a matter of urgency to repair the failed Uga Junction portion of the Asba-Onitsha Expressway Service Lane and open its blocked water channels for proper flow of water and longevity of the Expressway.
As for the criminalization and touting of the new car park under reference, it is our firm call that the anti people’s policy should be reversed. Your Excellency is called upon to pay an unscheduled visit to the area so as to see things for yourself. We further demand from Your Excellency immediate and thorough investigation of the said role of the Commissioner for Transport or any other government appointee in the said “leasing” and criminalization of the car park with a view to meting out appropriate sanctions if found culpable. The car park should be fully designated for traders to park their cars in exchange for payment of a token to the Government of Anambra State and it must be fully controlled and managed by the Government of Anambra State. If for any reason a portion is carved out for Asaba or Benin route transporters, it has to be properly barbed wired and be rid of any form of garage touting and brigandage so as to safeguard the traders’ parked cars and attract more patronage. That is to say it has to be fully and solely controlled by the Government.
For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chairman
Uzochukwu Oguejiofor, Esq., Head, Campaign & Publicity Department
Chiugo Onwuatuegwu, Esq., Head, Democracy & Good Governance Program
*Tags: Nigerians, Intersociety, Council, Police, Service, Commission. Sack, Ringim, Africa, Masterweb
*Sponsorship Of Nigerian Insurgency Violence: Why Your Distinguished Criminal Court Must Not Be Misled & Misinformed
Ms. Fatou Bensouda, Chief Prosecutor
International Criminal Court (ICC)
Chief Prosecutorfs Office, Maanweg, 174
2516 AB The Hague, the Netherlands
Dear Chief Prosecutor,
Sponsorship Of Nigerian Insurgency Violence: Why Your Distinguished Criminal Court Must Not Be Misled & Misinformed
( Security & International Justice: Onitsha Nigeria, September 14, 2014)- Recall a letter addressed to us by your respected office, dated 2nd day of June 2014 in response to our two-part letter to Mr. President of Nigeria, dated 29th and 31st May, 2014, which we copied your respected office. The remaining parts three and four of the letter as well as related subsequent letters and publications updated up to July 2014 were also sent to your office, which it duly received and acknowledged. The correspondences between your office and ours were in respect to commission of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide by the State and non-State actors in Nigeriafs insurgency violence (Boko Haram terrorism) and a demand for your bodyfs intervention.
Our writing your respected office again is not only to remind your office that we are still waiting for the official announcement from your revered office of its commencement of its substantive criminal inquiry into the above named atrocity crimes with a view to apprehending and prosecuting their offenders; but also to alert your office of well coordinated attempts by those at the center of the Nigerian Insurgency sponsorship and their collaborators to politicize, misdirect and misinform your office and divert the international attention as per those bankrolling the heinous criminal activities of the leading terror groups operating in the country, which include Boko Haram and Fulani terror groups. We are also not ignorant of a number of credible challenges delaying your officefs prompt intervention. These include gmunicipal and international referralh procedures Articles 14 of the ICC and 7 of the UN Charter). We are aware that the challenge supposedly posed by the gprinciple of complementarityh is already overcome because Nigeria has grossly shown its ginabilityh and gunwillingnessh to municipally sanction the atrocity criminals under reference (Article 17).
Therefore, our writing your respected office is on the issue of the sponsorship of the Boko Haram terrorism in the country. We understand that a number of petitions from individuals and groups including latent groups said to represent the countryfs civil society community have been forwarded to your office particularly in the angle of the Boko Haram terror sponsorship. The issue under reference was recently brought to bear and made a public discourse in Nigeria. Reason being a recent development (July 2014) before the British House of Commons where a prominent member of the Parliament, Mr. Andrew Rosindell questioned the UK Foreign Secretary, Mr. William Hague, on the countryfs engagement with Nigeriafs leading opposition bodies and leaders over the Boko Haram menace and its sponsorship.
The Cable News online had broken the news on its site on Saturday, July 12, 2014. The Online news further reports: gThis came after a debate in the Parliament in which Labour MP Sandra Osborne sought to examine allegations of links between the bodies under reference and the insurgents. The increasing questioning of the UK government by MPs on the issue may force an enquiry into the allegations. Hon. Andrew Rosindell, a conservative who represents Romford and is a member of the influential foreign affairs committee, sent in his written questions „Ÿ called gnoticesh „Ÿ on Tuesday, July 8h.
gMr. John Hague (foreign secretary) is mandated to formally respond to Rosindellfs questions in the coming weeks on behalf of the British Government. The questions, listed under gnotices for written answerh, were published on the website of the UK Parliament. Rosindellfs queries relating to Boko Haram, as listed, are: 1. To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will commission an inquiry into the international support network for Boko Haram in Nigeria and Cameroon; and if he will make a statement (Notice no. 204402). 2. To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions (a) he and (b) other Ministers in his Department have had with leading members of the Nigerian opposition party and its leaders; and if he will make a statement (204401)h.
Others are: 3. gTo ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the rise in Islamic terrorism in Nigeria (204387). 4. To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what support his Department plans to offer to Nigeria in tackling the threat of Boko Haram (204388). 5. To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of links between Boko Haram and other Islamic extremist groups in Africa (204389). 6. To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will discuss with his counterpart in Cameroon the need for constructive dialogue between that country and Nigeria in tackling Boko Haram; and if he will make a statement(204390)h.
This marked the beginning of a barrage of reactions particularly from the opposition bodies and leaders resulting in denials, accusations and counter-accusations. Fierce local and international propaganda machinery was commissioned. The machinery was drawn from sections of local and international media (including paper, audio, audio visual and ICT) as well as civil society community. The climax of the fierce and well coordinated propaganda under reference was the gDavies Stephen Strawmanshiph. Dr. Stephen Davies is a self acclaimed ginternational negotiatorh said to have been hired to negotiate the release of the held Chibok Girls. His strange and perceived roguish style of gnegotiation rolesh in which he utterly took side and made wild and spurious allegations against some persons gave us every reason to investigate him, which we did and found his roles and utterances to be quackery. We also saw him as a gstawmanh. In our public statement, issued on September 7, 2014 over the issue, his credibility and status were criminologically investigated and analyzed in the context of streamlined roles of a third party conflict negotiator particularly as its concerns gneutralityh, gimpartialityh, gconfidentialityh, hreliabilityh, gtrusth and gstatesmanshiph.
Following questions were asked in the course of our criminological investigation: Was Dr. Stephen Davies engaged to negotiate the release of abducted Chibok girls or to interview Boko Haram Commanders to ascertain their sponsors? Can a hostage or conflict peace negotiator validly break his or her oath of neutrality and confidentiality as Dr. Davies has recklessly done? Are there not terms of reference for Dr. Stephen Davies to operate? Can a third party negotiator be one sided? Who actually hired him? What benefits do the Boko Haram Commanders stand to gain by naming their sponsors? Did the Boko Haram Commanders actually name their sponsors in their so-called interactions with Dr. Stephen Davies?
Others are: Did Dr. Stephen Daviesf hostage negotiation deal for the release of Chibok girls fail on account of the sponsors and sponsorship of Boko Haram terror insurgency? Is Dr. Stephen Davies truly a third party hostage/conflict peace negotiator? What about his past success or failed stories in matters of hostage or conflict peace negotiation if any? Are his talkativeness and wild allegations in line with the international best practices in matters of conflict peace third party negotiation? Can it be said that Dr. Stephen Davies is a confirmed quack hired by Nigeriafs merchants of death for bloody enrichment and deadly political-and-ethno-religious goals?
The so called gDr. Stephen Davies of Australiah has been widely quoted in both local and international media as accusing some prominent Nigerian citizens including the immediate past Army chief and a former governor of Borno State in the Northeast of Nigeria of sponsoring Boko Haram terror group. He also raised issues that are clearly not connected with the ongoing insurgency violence in the country, thereby raising further credibility question of his true social identity. All these are carefully designed so as to divert the attentions of Nigerians, your office and the international community with respect to real sponsors and sponsorship of the Nigeriafs ethno-religious terror brigands including Boko Haram killer brigade. Your respected office should not be surprised to have received a barrage of petitions from groups believed to have been oiled to distract, mislead and misinform your office over the issue. Petitions sent to your office between August and first week of September 2014 most likely fall within this category. Eagle eye should be used while considering them.
Lastly, relevant provisions of the ICC including Article 28 empower your respected office to investigate and prosecute criminal State actors in Nigeria whose conducts in the course of prosecuting counter-insurgency violence are found to be outside the provisions of the ICC Statute and the Geneva War Conventions. But such State atrocity criminals including sponsors of the Insurgent terror group should not be tried by gordealh or on the basis of ghearsay pieces of evidenceh. They should be independently identified using your officefs competent criminal investigation human and material resources. Any call on your office either written or oral to see and treat anybody named by Dr. Stephen Davies and his perceived sponsors as war crimes, humanity and genocidal criminals or suspects should be out-rightly rejected and discarded. This is because whatever he has said in that respect is corrupted, contaminated, crude, unreliable, unsubstantiated, unscientific and unverifiable.
Your respected office should also be careful on news coming from the country in respect of the subject matter. Such news should be independently verified with further extensive investigation before attaching any substance to it. We have a duty not to allow your revered office to be misled, hijacked, politicized, distracted, misinformed and misdirected. Our position firmly remains that in the course of your officefs criminal investigation being awaited, searchlight should be beamed in the directions of both State and non-State actors. Your investigation at the end may most likely reveal that the insurgent terror groups and their sponsors are responsible for about 90% of war atrocities, while the belligerent State actors account for the remaining 10%.
For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
*Tags: Nigerians, Intersociety, Council, Police, Service, Commission. Sack, Ringim, Africa, Masterweb
*Creation Of New Polling Units: Why Nigeria’s Roguish Electoral Demography Must Be Reviewed & Evenly Re-Distributed
1. His Excellency
Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan
President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria & Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces
Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, Secretary to the Government of the Federation
The SGF Office, Shehu Shagari Complex
Three Arms Zone, FCT, Abuja, Nigeria
2. Senator David Mark, President of the Senate, Federal Republic of Nigeria
The Senate Chambers, National Assembly Complex
Three Arms Zones, FCT, Abuja, Nigeria
3. Honourable Aminu Tambuwal
Speaker, House of Representatives, Federal Republic of Nigeria
The House of Reps Chambers, National Assembly Complex
Three Arms Zone, FCT, Abuja, Nigeria
4. Professor Attahiru Jega
Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission
The INEC Headquarters, Plot 436, Zambezi Crescent
Maitama District, FCT, Abuja, Nigeria
Creation Of New Polling Units: Why Nigeria’s Roguish Electoral Demography Must Be Reviewed & Evenly Re-Distributed
( Democracy & Good Governance, Onitsha Nigeria, September 11, 2014)- It has come to the notice of the International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety) that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has concluded plans to embark on the creation of additional polling units of 30,029 for Nigerian electorates. Using the existing six geopolitical zonal arrangement, the Commission says it would allocate 21, 615 polling units to the north and 8, 414 to the south. The total figures were further broken down per geopolitical zone as follows: Northwest 7,909 polling units, North-central 6, 318 polling units, Northeast 5, 291 polling units, Southwest 4, 160 polling units, South/south 3,087 polling units and Southeast 1, 167 polling units. The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) is to be given 1, 120 polling units. The Commission has gone further to give reasons why the creation of the additional polling units is necessary as well as justification of its distribution formula.
Having carefully listened to the INEC Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega and critically analyzed the contents of his Press Conference in response to wide criticisms trailing the proposed exercise, we write to your important public offices to reject in its entirety the said proposed exercise. Our rejection of the exercise under reference hugely has to do with its timing, modality and distribution formula. The electoral demographic need for such exercise in the country is hugely incontestable owing to a number of genuine factors including voting accessibility and convenience, population growth, poll transparency, credibility and popularity. But timing it less than sixty days to the official commencement of the all-important electioneering for the early 2015 general polls is highly suspicious. The planned exercise is more political than demographic. It is violence-prone and has the capacity of overheating the already charged political season in the country.
Apart from the fact that such important exercise is best suited during administrative and non-election seasons or times, there is important need to critically and evenly review the existing 120,000 polling units and 8,809 electoral wards in the country before thinking of creating additional ones. As revealed by the INEC Chairman, the existing polling units and electoral wards were created by the worst electoral regime in the history of Nigeria: called “National Electoral Commission of Nigeria” (NECON) under one “Chief Dagogo Jack”. They were also created during the worst military regime in the country under maximum dictator, late General Sani Abacha. The five existing political parties then were called “five fingers of a leprous hand” (apologies to late Chief Bola Ige). They were also grossly lopsided and prone to systematic poll rigging.
Today in Anambra State, for instance, the river-line areas of the State still have the highest concentration of polling units designed then for massive polling rigging. This is because the area’s road network then was horrible making the area prone for poll rigging and very difficult for credible poll stakeholders to access polling units and other electoral facilities in the area. Similar sharp practices also marred the National Register of Voters particularly between 1996 and 2010. Before then, over half of the names contained in the Register were non living objects given human names and demographic codes. The same patterns were adopted during the pre-2011 national voters’ registration and revalidation exercises, which were responsible for the roguish outcomes of 2003 and 2007 general polls.
Therefore, we are shocked that the INEC did not see anything wrong in the existing polling units and electoral wards especially their composition and demographic distribution patterns. The existing polling units and electoral wards under reference have also followed the age-long roguish pattern of population counting and distribution criminally and abominably designed to de-populate some parts of the country including the Southeast and over-populate others including the core-north. Pieces of evidence available to us also showed that the present INEC leadership appears to have adopted a more advanced and technical approach since the 2011 national voters’ registration and subsequent revalidation exercises with a view to maintaining the roguish electoral demographic status quo.
The widened gap between the number of registered voters and those who voted in the 2011 presidential poll is a clear case in point. During the said crucial poll, the level of voter apathy was only high in the Southwest particularly in Lagos State, where out of a total registered voting population of 6, 108, 069, only 1, 945, 044 voted in the presidential poll. This is because the zone felt it was not in the contest for the presidency of the country having not fielded any major candidate. But in the three sub-regions of the north (northwest, northeast and north-central and the FCT), the voter participation was huge because of their insistence on producing the next president then. In the Southeast and the South/south, the voter participation was also very high because of the candidacy of President Goodluck Jonathan, who hails from the area.
However, the failure of the so called “higher number of registered voters” in the north to fairly measure up their polling units voting capacities clearly raised a number of critical questions and cast a serious doubt on the credibility and genuineness of the figures allocated to them in the National Register of Voters. For instance, according to information on the official website of the Nigerian Elections Coalition with respect to the official results of the 2011 presidential poll, out of 9, 474,404 registered voters in the six States of the South/south zone, 6, 339,216 voted. Out of 19, 803, 699 registered voters in the seven States of the Northwest zone, only 10, 790,085 voted. In the North-central zone with six States, out of 10, 584, 017 registered voters, only 5, 149, 057 voted in the said crucial presidential poll.
Further, out of 10, 749,059 registered voters in the Northeast, which has six States, only 5, 826, 645 voted. In the Southeast zone with only five States, out of 7, 577, 212 registered voters, 5, 082, 321 voted. But in the Southwest zone with six States, which was technically out of the 2011 presidential contest, out of 14, 296, 163 registered voters, only 4,613,712 voted in the said crucial poll. In Lagos State alone, out of 6, 108, 069 registered voters, only 1, 945, 044 voted. This means that 4,163, 025 registered voters did not turn up in the State during the presidential poll of 2011. In its 2011 governorship poll, only 1, 863, 513 voted. Even in the FCT, out of 943, 474 registered voters, only 398,094 voted. In the entire north, out of 41, 136, 775 registered voters, only 21, 765, 797 voted in the crucial presidential poll in which they fielded Mr. Mohammed Buhari.
Following the foregoing, therefore, we regard the explanations offered by the Chairman of INEC during his Press Conference held in Abuja on September 10, 2014 as watery, unsatisfactory and grossly unsubstantiated. The Commission also messed up its ongoing continuous voters’ registration and revalidation exercises by its reliance on the 2011 post AFIS (automated finger print identification software) figure of 70, 383, 247 for its planned additional creation of the controversial polling units. It is a public knowledge that the Commission’s continuous voters registration and revalidation exercises are meant to capture more registered voting population including those that relocated from or fled the troubled zones and got settled in new areas either in their ancestral or host zones or communities. Part of this includes the voter’s card transfer exercise.
On the other hand, they are to capture those that have died naturally or unnaturally and get them deleted from the National Register of Voters. At the end of these exercises, the Commission is expected to announce to Nigerians the new total number of living registered voters including the deleted number of dead and fictitious voters. Part of the INEC’s expected announcement is the fate of the voting populations who are still in the troubled zones (areas affected by the ongoing insurgency violence) as in the eligibility of their areas in participating in the forthcoming general polls. Any creation of additional polling units and wards must come after these and certainly not periods close to the national polls. It is sad and shocking that instead of toeing these defined and noble paths, the Commission turned around to organize a phantom and pro-rigging exercise in the context of ethno-religious lopsidedness. This includes bogus allocation of 5,291 polling units to the violence prone Northeast zone, which populations are unsettled and scattered outside the zone.
Finally, our purpose of writing your important public offices is to bring this unpopular and widely condemned exercise to your attentions and demand its immediate cancellation. By this singular despicable act, INEC’s readiness to conduct free, fair and popular polls in 2015 is seriously in doubt and under threat. We foresee situations whereby results for troubled areas in Adamawa, Borno, Taraba, Yobe, Bauchi, Gombe Kaduna and Plateau States will be written in places of public politics and worship in Yola, Maiduguri, Dutse, Bauchi, Gombe, Kaduna and Jos. Should the INEC Chairman go ahead with the controversial polling units creation against the outcries of Nigerians and grounded criticisms from respected Nigerians and bodies, the Presidency is called upon to direct him to resign.
For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
Barrister Uzochukwu Oguejiofor, Head, Campaign & Publicity Department
Barrister Obianuju Igboeli, Head, Civil & Rule of Law Program
Chiugo Onwuatuegwu, Esq., Head, Democracy & Good Governance Program
*The Sermon of Bianca Ojukwu To Nigerians In Spain During Igbo Carnival
By Uchendu Precious Onuoha (Masterweb Special Correspondent-Spain)
The Igbos in Valencia Spain recently organized a colorful cultural carnival on August 23, 2014 in the city of Valencia Spain. The festival which was organized by the Igbo Union in Valencia was used to display a variety of Igbo cultural dances. The event which was a delight to watch attracted many Igbo personalities in Spain, Europe and Nigeria.
The highlight of the occasion were the children presentation in Igbo language, the scintillating Abriba war dance of Abia state in Valencia which held the guests spell bound with their wonderful display. Other groups that performed in the occasion include, the Orlu Cultural Dance of Imo state, the Anambra State Cultural Troupe, Enugu State Cultural Troupe, and the Delta State Cultural Troupe all in Valencia. The ceremony was also used to present awards to those nominated by the Igbo union.
Part of the activities during the event were, Panel Presentation, Nigeria at 100, from Amalgamation to Unification, The Position of Ndigbo by His Royal Majesty HRM Eze (Dr) Cletus Illomuanya, who was represented by his son. Lectures from Dr.Joe Illoh and Amb. Kennedy Onyeke. In his welcome address, the president of Igbo Improvement Union Valencia, Hon. Kingsley Obi thanked the guests who came from far and wide to grace the occasion. He remarked that it was the first of its kind in the history of Nigerians in Spain where the Spanish Authorities granted a whole street to be closed to traffic for a cultural festival by foreigners.
Among the dignitaries that witnessed the occasion include; Her Excellency Amb. Bianca Ojukwu, Nigeria Ambassador Spain, who was the Special Guest of Honor. Eze Ndigbo Warri Delta State, Eze (Sir) Peter Chukwu who was Chairman of the occasion, HRM Eze (Dr) Cletus Illomuanya, represented by his son. Hon. Uchendu Precious Onuoha, Ohanaeze Youth Chairman (OYC) and Master web Special Correspondent. Others include, Nwanne Campo, African Diaspora Woman of the year, Chief Nnanta, Ambassador Ndigbo in Diaspora, and Jennifer Diorgu, the First Lady Aesthetician and Cosmetologist in Spain among others. ( Continues below..... )
In her speech which was like an epistle to Igbos and Nigerians in Spain, Amb. Bianca congratulated the Igbo union in Valencia saying that they have always been in the lead to unite Igbos in Spain. And to showcase the Igbo rich culture to the host, also of importance to teach the children in diaspora Igbo culture for them to know their root. Reminding them that when there is problem, the ultimate place to run to is Igbo land. The culture of a people distinguishes and makes them unique in the society. She said that the Embassy is aware they are faced with many challenges which revolves around the future which approaches faster than many are ready to accommodate.
20 years from now, what will be our future? What are the elements that distinguish us as a people she asked? Our family unit is threatened, and all over the world the family unit is threatened. Our strength is the family structure, and it is our duty to keep the family structure together. It is up to the women to preserve the family structure. To the men she said, if a man does what he is supposed to do as a man, a woman will respect him. What you are doing here is very important for the children. She further advised that they should keep their eyes at home and make sure that the money they send home is properly utilized. She mentioned the notion that Igbos doesn’t love themselves is caused by a few. And she asked the Igbo community in Spain to desist from unwarranted leadership tussles among them. And she urged Igbos in Spain to resist and stay away from crime.
She further highlighted on embassy duties, saying that embassy work is not just for passports. She asked Ndigbo and Nigerians in Spain to always inform the Embassy about Nigerians who are in trouble. She used the opportunity to inform Nigerians about the effort the Embassy is making to solve the problem of police report, stating that efforts has been made to obtain approval from the Spanish authorities to grant approval for the Embassy to issue Certificate of good conduct, as that would reduce the expenses involved and alleviate the problems Nigerians in Spain go through in that process. She informed that the Spanish police has endorsed that, but remaining he approval of other relevant ministries.
The Ambassador, spoke on the issue of Ebola, saying that it is a new trend in Nigeria, and seem to be stronger than Boko Haram. But the way it is reported by the European press is not the way it is in Nigeria. She expounded that Ebola did not originate from Nigeria, and Government has tried to inform Nigerian masses especially through the ministry of health about the true position and the efforts to combat it. She said that it lies on Nigerians in Spain to disseminate the correct information about the situation in Nigeria. She further stated that Europe is no longer what it used to be. And therefore urged Nigerians to tell the truth to people at home for them to know the true position.
Lastly she reiterated that the Embassy will continue to implement the mandate given to them to protect the human right of every Nigerian in Spain. And she used the opportunity to convey the President’s goodwill to all Nigerians in Spain.
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