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06/21/13

*Egba Community Welcomes Obasanjo in Milwaukee (Photo)

By Masterweb News Desk

Egba Community welcoming Obasanjo

Egba Community welcoming Obasanjo

Photos Above: Mr. Idowu Oguntade of Progressive Alliance Movement; represnting Egba Community in Milwaukee displays a placard welcoming Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (OBJ) to Milwaukee; Wisconsin; U.S.A.; during the ex-Nigerian president's visit of Milwaukee on June 12; 2013.; Mr. Oguntade is a prominent leader in both Egba and Nigerian communities in Milwaukee; he can be reached by phone at +1 4149218111 or by email at idowuzoguntade@yahoo.com

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06/19/13

*Obasanjo Photos With Nigerian U.S. Boxing Champ During Milwaukee Visit

By Masterweb News Desk

Nigeria Masterweb News Desk was on ground last week, June 12, when Ex-Nigerian President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (OBJ) visited University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee (UWM) where he was a guest speaker promoting future relations and strengthening of ties between UWM and African Nations. Masterweb was also there the previous night during his arrival as guest at an exclusive hotel in Milwaukee. Milwaukee community leaders including Dr. Sunday Olafintila, Mr. Idowu Oguntade of Progressive Alliance Movement, Mr. Enobong Umohette (Wisconsin State Heavy Weight Boxing Champion), Mr. Okey Akubueze, Engineer Ben Eruchalu, Mazi Chris Nwonye, Rev. Chris Ikanih, Chief Charles O. Okereke (Publisher – Nigeria Masterweb & Composer God Bless Africa – African Union Award Winning Anthem) and selected cross section of others were also at the hotel reception. Below are some of the photos taken both at the hotel and UWM event during OBJ’s visit; more photos will be published soon. ( Continues below….. )

Ex-President and entourage arriving the Milwaukee exclusive hotel

Photo Above: Ex-President Obasanjo, his aides and Wisconsin/Illinois community leaders arriving the Milwaukee exclusive hotel. [ Photo By Nigeria Masterweb ]

In champ’s (Enobong Umohette) words: “Baba's request for boxing gloves was a joking tease on Tuesday night, until we met at his hotel suite and I told him the story of how he personally handed me a pair of souvenir construction gloves at Wilberforce Island in March 2001. I was a young SSS Security operative and single-handedly secured the successful Presidential advance party operations for His Excellency President Obasanjo at the site of the commissioning of Niger Delta University at Wilberforce Island. President Obasanjo was faced with his first and most serious security threat on that state visit to Bayelsa State which happened after the Odi Military conflict. His Excellency remembered that state visit and was amazed to find that the young SSS officer he gave the souvenir gloves to; 12 years ago was returning to him as a boxing champion, so the boxing gloves was a symbolic pledge I made to him in fulfillment of a destiny he foretold by his own gift of a pair of gloves to me on that fateful day in March 2001. ”

OTHER PHOTOS

 Wisconsin State Heavy Weight Boxing Champion, Mr. Enobong Umohette helping OBJ put on boxing gloves

Photo Above: Wisconsin State Heavy Weight Boxing Champion, Mr. Enobong Umohette helping OBJ put on boxing gloves. [ Photo By Nigeria Masterweb ]

 Enobong Umohette shadow boxing with Ex-President Obasanjo

Photo Above: Enobong Umohette shadow boxing with Ex-President Obasanjo [ Photo By Nigeria Masterweb ]
- CLICK FOR ENLARGED PHOTO.

Enobong Umohette raises Ex-President Obasanjo’s hand as winner

Photo Above: Enobong Umohette raises Ex-President Obasanjo’s hand as winner of the shadow boxing between him and the ex-president [ Photo By Danitephotos ]
- CLICK FOR ENLARGED PHOTO.

Enobong Umohette hugs Ex-President Obasanjo

Photo Above: Enobong Umohette hugs Ex-President Obasanjo [ Photo By Nigeria Masterweb ]
- CLICK FOR ENLARGED PHOTO.

Enobong Umohette exchanges greetings with Ex-President Obasanjo

Photo Above: Enobong Umohette exchanges greetings with Ex-President Obasanjo
- CLICK FOR ENLARGED PHOTO.

MORE OBASANJO MILWAUKEE VISIT PHOTOS TO BE PUBLISHED SOON

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06/16/13

*Obasanjo Visits Milwaukee, Meets Wisconsin Heavy Weight Boxing Champ Mr. Enobong Umohette

By Masterweb News Desk

International elder statesman and former Nigerian President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was honored during a recent visit on June 12th, 2013 to University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee (UWM) where he was a guest speaker promoting future relations and strengthening of ties between UWM and African Nations.

His Excellency President Obasanjo who has served severally as a United Nations and African Union envoy is internationally accredited as the first African Military head of state to hand over to a democratically elected government in 1979 where he assumed leadership of Nigeria after the assassination of the then Military head of state General Murtala Muhamed in 1976 and further served two terms as an elected Civilian President of Nigeria between 1999-2007. His Excellency Chief Obasanjo had a successful Military career retiring as General and has bagged numerous awards and Honorary Degrees from all over the world for leadership, social crusade and International advocacy for peace, human rights and development.

President Obasanjo spoke to a cross section of the organized private sector, academia, Nigerian community, the diplomatic corps, top political office holders in the city of Milwaukee and members of the press at the event.

One of the highlights of the UWM event was the presentation of awards and gifts to His Excellency President Obasanjo which was kicked off by the presentation of a pair of Boxing Gloves to President Obasanjo, by Enobong Umohette (THE NIGERIAN GENTLEMAN), who is the current State of Wisconsin Heavyweight Boxing Champion. ( Continues below….. )

Enobong Umohette presenting pair of Boxing Gloves to President Obasanjo

Photo Above: Enobong Umohette presenting pair of Boxing Gloves to President Obasanjo
- CLICK FOR ENLARGED PHOTO.
- MORE PHOTOS TO BE POSTED TOMORROW.

President Obasanjo who not only thanked the Nigerian born Heavyweight boxing Champion for the gift, but proudly wore his new boxing gloves and to the standing ovation by the audience, engaged the boxing champion in a session of shadow boxing.

The current Wisconsin State Heavyweight professional Boxing Champion, Mr Enobong Umohette during a private dinner with His Excellency President Olusegun Obasanjo prior to the UWM event, narrated a touching story of his first meeting and encounter with President Obasanjo. In that meeting Mr Enobong Umohette described how as a sitting President of Nigeria, Chief Obasanjo handed him a souvenir pair of construction gloves in gratitude for his exemplary service while conducting a successful advanced party security operation ahead of a State visit to Wilberforce Island in Bayelsa state in March 2001. Mr Umohette who was then a member of Nigeria's elite secret service (State Security Services-SSS), described vividly the fateful circumstances that propelled him to assume leadership position in the operations that was solely responsible for the life, security and safety of President Olusegun Obasanjo who was then the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria at the site of the commissioning of the Niger Delta University located in Wilberforce Island.

President Obasanjo who recalled the State visit of March 2001, clearly remembered the event and described his first meeting with Mr Umohette, the career journey of Mr Umohette and his second meeting with Mr Umohette now a USA State boxing Champion as an act of God.

President Obasanjo acknowledged the Hand of God in the affairs of man be it individually or collectively and pledged to support Mr Umohette's boxing career as he prayed for the Wisconsin State Champion's continued success in the ring.

In attendance at the private dinner with His Excellency Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was Otunba Abbey Badejo of Prometheus Consulting, an International Consulting firm based in Chicago, Alhaji Surajudeen Akande, renowned poet, publisher and African Union Award winning song composer; Chief Charles Okereke, Linda Oyewopo, 1976 Masters degree Alumni of UWM-Milwaukee; Mr Christian Akiwowo, Deputy Chief of Mission Nigerian Embassy Washington DC; His Excellency Ambassador Bassey E. Archibong and a few other dignitaries.

Mr Umohette described His Excellency President Obasanjo as a father and one of Africa's most iconic historical figures and thanked him for honoring the State of Wisconsin by his visit.

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06/14/13

How Nigeria Murdered Democracy Since 1999 & Kept June 12 Alive

By International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety)

(Washington DC, USA, June 11, 2013)-Firstly, the International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law, Nigeria; ably represented here in Washington DC, USA, by Comrade Emeka Umeagbalasi, wishes to appreciate, deeply, the invitation of its Chairman of the Board by the US Department of State, to participate in the internationally respected and prestigious International Visitor(s) Leadership Program for NGO Management in USA & related others. We appreciate, commend and congratulate the Department of State of the United States and Its officials, distinguished members of the ECA/PE/R/V and the FHI-360 Project teams, respected and reputable IVLP colleagues and all other institutions and persons involved directly or indirectly in the ennobled program scheduled to cover the US States and Cities ranging from Washington and Washington DC; Seattle, Louisville, Kentucky; Huntington and Birmingham, Alabama; East Lansing, Michigan; St. Louis, Missouri; to Denver, Colorado. We wish all the participants in the program and its organizers huge successes at the end. The program was opened on Monday, June 10 and expected to end on June 29. The leadership of Intersociety celebrates the nomination of its Chairman of the Board, Emeka Umeagbalasi as the only Nigerian nominated to join other 23 international personalities drawn from twenty-four countries around the world including Russia, UK, India, Mexico, China, Costa Rica, Romania and Italy.

Our Beloved Country(Nigeria) As Murderer Of Democracy, Civil Liberties & The Rule Of Law:

Nigeria; a country of approximately 160million to 170 million people with 923,000 square kilometers of landmass; 3,500 kilometers of railways; 8,600 kilometers of inland waterways; 22 airports- both domestic and international; 17% of African population; 9.2% of African landmass; 2.5% of the world population; highest populated black country on earth; 3.5% of the world landmass; roughly two times the size of State of Alaska in USA in terms of landmass; and 198,000 kilometers of federal, states and local governments’ road network; blessed with abundant human and material resources ( with over 33 solid mineral deposits), has been caught up in a crossfire of social, economic and political crises particularly since her return to civil rule in 1999; a period of 14 years and 12 days. Though, our beloved country had been in crises since her statehood in 1960, but the present crises came about as a result of the seizure of political power in 1999 by Nigeria’s enemies within- corrupt members of the political class, which included military apologists, advance fee fraudsters and ritual cultists such as “Otokoto” occultist confraternity in Southeast Nigeria. Nigeria is akin to Cambodia of 1975 to 1979 under bloodthirsty “Comrade” Pol Pot.

Conversely, in the Union of South Africa, the political activists led by Mr. Nelson Mandela who fought for their country’s independence, foresaw the dangers of abandoning the political leadership in the hands of their country’s “black sheep”. As a result, they moved in and took control and dogmatized and systematized their country’s political leadership. But in Nigeria, the reverse was the case as her heroes and heroines of democracy struggle stayed away and allowed the criminal political class limitless access to the corridors of power. This marked the beginning of Nigeria’s current social, economic and political woes till date.

In this context, therefore, Nigeria’s crises are divided into three major areas of: insecurity & spiraled crime rates; failed governance & economy and failed justice system & deplorable human rights state.

Security & Crime:

Security threats and other unsafe conditions have remained Nigeria’s major challenge till date. Our beloved country can best be described as “consociation democracy”- a sort of a democratic country that is highly divided along ethnic, religious and political lines with high incidence of self-help method in respect of inter-personal and inter-group disputes. The mountainous and untamed security threats have converted our beloved country into a death theatre.

In December 2011, during the 63rd World Rights Anniversary, we released a report to the effect that since 1999, approximately 54,000 Nigerians were killed outside the law by our beloved country’s malicious citizens operating as “State actors” and “non-state actors”. See www.intersociety-ng.org (under press releases and newsletters) for the report, captioned: “How 54,000 Nigerians Died outside the Law Since 1999”. The said unlawful deaths arose from Vigilante killings dominant in the Southeast Nigerian States of Anambra and Abia. Others arose from the Police violent crackdown on members of the Movement for the Sovereign State of Biafra-MASSOB; intra-communal and inter-communal conflicts; ethno-religious/sectarian conflicts such as Jos killings and Boko Haram insurgency; election related violence; police custody/pretrial killings; political assassinations/killings; kidnap killings; culpable homicides; and excessive use of force by military/police against Nigeria’s malicious entities and members of the civil populace.

From the report, it was approximated that over 15,000 unlawful deaths arose from vigilante killings. The ethno-religious/sectarian killings including the Boko Haram insurgency accounted for over 16,000 unlawful deaths; police/military unlawful or extra-legal killings accounted for 21,000 deaths; and election violence took over 2,000 lives. Beyond this, the in-depth review of the continued unlawful killings in our beloved country from January to May 2013, showed that more 4000 Nigerians may most likely to have been killed outside the law, between January 2012 and May 2013. The 2011 report covered June 1999 to December 2011. This brings the total number of unlawful deaths in Nigeria since 1999 to approximately 58,000. For instance, between January and April 2013, over 1000 Nigerians were killed unlawfully by malicious elements within and outside the country’s security forces. The killings according to our public statement of 1st day of May 2013, titled: “Nigeria Is A Death Theatre: How Over 1000 Citizens Were Murdered In Four Months By Malicious Elements”; arose from police custody killings such as Ezu River Killings; ethno-religious/sectarian violence such as Jos killings; and the Boko Haram insurgency.

In the area of police pretrial/custody killings, over 200 Nigerians may most likely to have been killed between January and April 2013. The unlawful killings included over 50 young Nigerian males of the Igbo-Southeast extraction, killed by Anambra State Police SARS in January 2013 and dumped into Ezu River in Awka, Anambra State, Southeast Nigeria (see the Intersociety’s reports, titled: the Return of Anambra’s Killing Fields part 1, 2 & 3 at www.intersociety-ng.org). On the issue of Boko Haram insurgency, over 600 Nigerians have been killed since January 2013. The killings included over 220 citizens killed on 16th and 17th of April, 2013 in the Baga (Borno State, Northeast Nigeria) violent clashes between Boko Haram militant Islamists and the Multi-national Joint Taskforce led by Nigerian security forces in which 2,275 thatched houses were destroyed (HRW May 2013), as well as the killing of over 180 citizens, mostly citizens of Southeast Igbo extraction, on 18th day of March 2013 at the Sabon Gari Luxury Bus Park in Kano State, Northwest Nigeria.

Other unlawful killings that took place between January and April 2013 are the Jos ethno-religious/sectarian violence where over 200 citizens have been killed. In May 2013, alone, up to 200 Nigerians have died in unjustified manners in our beloved country. The May 2013 killings included the death of 90 members of Nigerian security forces on 8th day of May, 2013 in Lafia, Nasarawa State, North-central, Nigeria and the killing of 55 citizens including 22 police officers, 14 prisons officials, two soldiers, 13 Boko Haram insurgents and four civilians (see Intersociety’s letter to President Goodluck Jonathan, titled: “Hausanisation & Islamization Policy In The Nigeria Police Force: Igbo-Southeast As Endangered Species With The Loss Of Over 2,500 Souls Under Your Excellency’s Administration-Part Two”, dated 13th day of May,2013- www.intersociety-ng.org).

Importantly, the killings under reference (58,000 unlawful deaths) did not include those killed in motor accidents. In the five months of 2013 alone, over 300 Nigerians have been killed in motorization mishaps. Between December 19, 2012 and first week of January 2013, according to Nigeria’s Federal Road Safety Corps, 280 Nigerians were killed in road accidents. The Igbo-Southeast region of Nigeria, on her part, has lost over 2,500 of its citizens since 2010 to killers who kill outside the law. Those killed died in election violence of 2011, Jos violence in North-central Nigeria as well as in several bombs and weapons’ attacks launched by the Boko Haram insurgents in some northern parts of Nigeria. In the Kano Luxury Bus Park bomb attacks of March 18, 2013, for instance, up to 150 of them were killed. The Igbo race is the most unprotected race and targeted victims of hate violence in our beloved country.

Between January 2011 and January 2012, the number of citizens of the Igbo-southeast Nigeria killed in Boko Haram insurgency was about 510, out of about 714 Nigerians killed. See our letters to President Goodluck Jonathan, dated 18-1-2012 and 18-5-2013, titled: “Chilling Killing of 510 Igbo-Nigerian Citizens Amounts to Crimes Against Humanity” and “Hausanization & Islamization Policy in the Nigeria Police Force & Killing of over 2,500 Igbo-Nigerians Since 2010”. They are available at www.intersociety-ng.org. Nigeria has also recorded over 230 unresolved political murders since 1999 (see Intersociety’s report: “How 54,000 Nigerians Died Outside The Law Since 1999”, dated 11-12-2011). These killings outside the law have continued unabated and increased as days go by with impunity.

Further, corruption, favoritism, nepotism, ethno-religious division, primordial policing and proliferation of illicit small arms have been identified via researches as major challenges or banes militating against effective policing in our beloved country. Out of the UN’s recommendation of one police officer for 400 citizens, Nigeria presently maintains about 500 citizens for one police officer with about 371,000 police officers and 6,651 police field formations in her police establishment, policing between 160 million and 170 million populations. Yet our beloved country and her populous citizens are still going through chronic insecurity and other unsafe conditions.

A link between police unlawful killing and police corruption in Nigeria has been indisputably established. On 11th day of December, 2011, we released twin reports captioned: “How 54,000 Nigerians Died Outside The Law Since 1999” and “How Nigerian Police Personnel Raked in N53.4Billion ($336.6million) From Nigerian Roadblocks In Three Years-2009-2011” (see www.intersociety-ng.org). The report on extortion and corruption in the NPF documented and exposed with pictorial pieces of evidence, the use of over 3,500 police roadblocks across Nigeria particularly in the Southeast zone, as an avenue for criminal enrichment and unlawful killings. There were also reports issued by other rights advocacy organizations such as “Rest In Pieces” of the Human Rights Watch, 2005;”Killing At Will” of Amnesty International, 2009; “Criminal Force” of the Open Society Justice Initiative and the Network On Police Reforms In Nigeria-NOPRIN (revised version), 2010; “Everyone’s In The Game” of the Human Rights Watch, 2010; and the US Department of State Reports on the State of Human Rights in Nigeria, of 2009 and 2012. These credible reports documented and exposed monumental corrupt practices of many police officers in Nigeria, which embolden them to kill Nigerians indiscriminately outside the law with impunity.

Though, the reports under reference, particularly our own version of December 2011, have been partly acted upon, which led to drastic reduction in the number of police roadblocks on Nigerian roads and drastic decrease in police roadblock killings since February 2012, but incidences of corruption, nepotism, favoritism, deep ethnic divisions and custody killings are still very high in the Nigeria Police Force. Promotions and postings in the Force are grossly lopsided and carried out to favour the Hausa-Fulani Muslims as well as the Yoruba Ethnic group of Southwest and North-central Nigeria, while the Igbo ethnic group and other Christian minority tribes of the South-south and northern parts of the country are acutely sidelined( see the Intersociety’s letters to President Goodluck Jonathan, captioned: “Hausanisation & Islamization Policy In The Nigeria Police Force & Related Issues-1 & 2”, dated 06-05-2013 and 13-05-2013 at www.intersociety-ng.org) . The Nigeria Police Force is also haunted by primordial and gun-culture policing. Its intelligence network has gone moribund. Modern preventive and gadgets’ policing are almost non-existent in its confines. Its crime investigation and prosecution managements are anachronistic and unscientific (see our public statements on Ezu River Killings part 1, 2 & 3, dated: 19-01-2013; 04-03-2013 and 11-03-2013- www.intersociety-ng.org).

Proliferation of illicit small arms and their unlawful bearers is another major contributor to insecurity and other unsafe conditions in Nigeria to date. It is the major factor aiding the incompetence and incapacity of the Nigerian security forces led by the Nigeria Police Force in crime prevention and control management. Our Organization strongly believes that there are presently over 5million illicit small arms in wrong hands in Nigeria (see our public statement of 7th day of November, 2012, captioned: “Focus on Anambra State Of Nigeria: Security & Crime Under Review”- www.intersociety-ng.org). We in the Intersociety-Nigeria see illicit small arms as “illegally acquired technologically manufactured lethal weapons other than weapons of mass destruction, found in wrong hands, ranging from rocket launchers to AK-47 assault rifles, revolver guns and related others”.

There are approximately 8,000 to 10,000 unconventionally trained armed vigilante groups operating in Nigeria today, with dominance in Anambra and Abia States in Southeast, Nigeria. Over 2000 of them are believed to be in the repositories of the two States. Skyrocketing increase in illicit small arms proliferation and their unlawful bearers in Nigeria in recent times is premised on vigilante militancy, political thuggery and brigandage, rise in violent crimes, and the resource control and ethno-religious insurgencies. Politicians remain the largest generators of violence in Nigeria till date. The South-south, Southeast, Northeast, North-west and North-central geopolitical zones of Nigeria are strongly believed to have the largest quantities of illicit small arms in Nigeria today.

In the Southeast zone, Anambra and Abia States run neck to neck as largest bearers of illicit small arms. In the South-south zone, Rivers and Bayelsa States are leading Delta State. In the North-west zone, Kaduna and Kano States are on top. In the Northeast zone, it is Borno State, followed by Yobe, Adamawa and Bauchi States; and in the North-central zone, Plateau State is on top, followed by Benue and Nasarawa States. Though the Southwest zone is relatively free from high concentration of illicit small arms circulating in Nigeria, but Lagos State parades the highest quantity of illicit small arms in private criminals’ hands in the zone. A total of 270 people were killed in the State by violent criminals between first quarter of 2012 and first quarter of 2013 (Lagos State Police Command 2013).

There are over 300,000 of such illicit small arms in Anambra State of Southeast Nigeria alone and over 1000 unconventionally trained armed vigilante groups operating in the State to date. A 2011 UN’s Small Arms Survey, disclosed that out of 875million small arms produced by over 1000 companies in over 100 countries worldwide, Nigeria’s share hovers around 5.95million, 7million and 8million, thereby making her a dominant illicit small arms bearer in West Africa and a major world illicit small arms bearing country. Our beloved country is put in the same category with Yemen and the United States. The Nigeria’s Nation Newspaper of 9th day of March, 2013 reported the arraignment in UK of a Briton, Mr. Gary Hyde, for illegal shipment into Nigeria of 80,000 riffles and pistols and 32million rounds of ammunition. The illegal shipment included 40,000 AK-47 assault rifles, 30,000 riffles and 10,000 9mm pistols. Caches of weapons have been discovered from left, right and center in Nigeria in recent times. An Iranian was recently convicted by a Nigerian court for similar offence. Nigerian laws responsible for regulating the importation and use of small arms are very weak and outdated. Such laws are the Firearms Act, Cap F28 of 2004, the Private Guards Act of 1986 and the Custom & Excuse Management Act of 2002, etc. The controlling and regulatory agencies in our beloved country are also very corrupt and incompetent.

Failed Economy & Governance:

Nigeria’s public governance and state of economy has been in a sorry state since 1999 despite the abundance of her human and material resources. Over 33 solid minerals abound in the country. With the exception of oil and gas, others have remained at subsistence levels. Our beloved country continues to perform abysmally in every regional and international social indicator; from regional and international universities’ ratings to infant mortality; from high cost of governance to highly indebted poor countries’ status, etc. The incidence of corruption and bad governance has remained alarmingly high in our beloved country and the state of infrastructures including key ones like air and seaports, energy, health facilities, schools, roads, etc, is in steady decay, with the exception of few States like Anambra and Edo where the reverse is substantially the case courtesies of their legitimate State Governments.

Nigeria runs one of the costliest public governances in the world. In 2002, barely three years after the return to civil rule, Nigeria enacted a law called “Salaries & Allowances Of Top Public Office Holders Act of 2002”. The Law allocated N755.8billion (about $5billion) for the servicing of her 17,500 top public office holders annually. In 2008, the law was revised and the said salaries and allowances increased to N1.13trillion (approximately $7.5billion). Yet, to date, the spirit and letters of the law are not strictly adhered to. In other words, the law is totally observed in breach. This is because pieces of annual federal and states’ appropriation legislation are used to allocate and pocket hundreds of billions of naira in the form of “allowances and jumbo pay”, which are in gross violation of the subsisting pay Act, revised in 2008. The shocking part of it all is that almost half of these monies are borrowed locally and internationally with prohibitive interests and penalties. Nigeria borrows to consume and not to produce.

Nigeria, to date, has 17,500 top public office holders; out of which, 13,500 occupy elective offices and 4,000 others occupy appointive offices. According to the revised pay Act of 2008 under reference, N592billion( approximately $3.9billion using N155.00 for $1) is spent annually in servicing the 12,788 top Local Government Areas’ officials; out of this, allowances take N550billion or over 90%, while salaries account for only N41.8billion or less than 10%. There are 774 constitutionally recognized LGAs in Nigeria as of date. The sum of N300.5billion is spent on about 2,664 States’ executives of Nigeria’s 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory. The sum of N40.9billion is spent on 1,152 States’ lawmakers; N98.3billion is spent on 472 federal executives; N60.4billion is spent on 469 federal lawmakers; N18.5billion is spent on 792 State High Court Judges; and N14.8billion is spent on 142 federal judges.

In summary, two sets of allowances abound for Nigeria’s top public office holders; one is contained in the revised pay Act of 2008 and the other is criminally smuggled into the Federal and States’ annual budgets. Out of N80trillion ($500billion) shared among the Federal Government of Nigeria, the 36 States of the Federation and the FCT (federal capital territory) and the 774 Local Government Areas from the Federation Accounts since June 1999, up to 70% of same went into payment of salaries & allowances and debts servicing, while only 30% went into execution of public-interest projects. Also, out of the total budgets of N37, 665trillion ($240billion) made by the Federal Government of Nigeria between June 1999 and 2013, N21, 7trillion (about $145billion) was spent on consumption (recurrent expenditures), while only N11.3trillion (about $70 billion) went into production (capital expenditures). The remaining sum of N4.5trillion ($28billion) was used for local and foreign debts servicing. These explain why Nigeria runs one of the costliest public governances on earth to date.

Our beloved country has also returned to the “Highly Indebted Poor Country” status with total public debts of over $100billion. This debts figure includes Federal Government’s court judgment of N188.5billion as of 2012; government ministries and parastatals ‘debts; States’ foreign and domestic debts; as well as Federal Government’s foreign and domestic debts. According to official records of the Federal Government of Nigeria, the current total public debts stand at $52billion including its 2013-2015 foreign borrowing proposals of $7.9billion; domestic debts of N6.15trillion ($40billion) and foreign debts of $6,035billion. This account did not include the Federal Government and States’ government incurred court judgment debts; their ministries and parastatals’ debts and huge local debts incurred by the 36 States, the FCT and some Local Government Areas, which are on steady increase. Nigeria’s foreign debts increased from $970million in 1970 to $36billion in 2006. It came down to about $6billion in 2006 as a result of debts forgiveness and rose again to over $15billion in 2012/2013.

As at December 2001, Nigeria borrowed a total of $13.5billion from the Paris Club and spent a total of $41.2billion in its servicing. Nigeria’s journey to huge local indebtedness began in 1986 with a total local debt of N28.44billion ($1.3billion then using N22.00 for one USD), by 2006; it spirally rose to N1.8trillion (about $13billion then) and by 2012/2013, it alarmingly increased to over N9trillion (about $60billion) possibly excluding huge local debts of various States’ government. For fuller details, please visit our website at www.intersociety-ng.org for our two reports, dated 03-09-2012 and 01-10-2012 and captioned: “How Nigeria’s Trillion & $44Billion Debts Are Pocketed By 17,500 Politically Privileged Nigerians and “Nigeria In Desperate Need Of Another Iweala Debts’ Exit Magic”. While China; Nigeria’s economic peer in the 60s, 70s and 80s, has increased her foreign exchange reserves from $700 billion in 2006; $2.3 trillion in 2010; to $3 trillion in 2012, Nigeria’s fell from $60 billion in 2006 to $50 billion in 2013. Our beloved country has also depleted her excess crude oil sales reserves from $20 billion in 2006 to almost zero USD in 2013.

Archaic Body of Laws:

Nigeria’s criminal and civil justice systems are in dire need of reforms. Apart from deformities inherent in her Constitution of 1999, most of the pieces of her criminal legislation are outdated. The country has also refused to accede to numerous international rights and humanitarian treaties by way of ratification and “domestication”, in accordance with Section 12 of her Constitution. These have earned her a pariah status internationally. Section 6, sub 6(c) of her Constitution has continued to deny citizens and courts rights of judicial justice and judicial review with respect to the implementation of economic, social and cultural rights, contained in the Chapter Two of her Constitution. Nigeria’s outdated pieces of criminal legislation and court rules have continued to encourage extra-judicial killings, torture and massive corrupt practices in public establishments. Her judiciary organ is one of the most corrupt judicial institutions in the world as of date and a leading corrupt public institution in the country.

For fuller details on Nigeria’s failed justice system, please visit our website (www.intersociety-ng.org). Specifically, see the following: 1. Letter submitted to the Clerk of the Nigeria’s House of Reps Committee on Constitution Review, dated 12th day of November, 2012. 2. Second letter to the same House on the same issue; dated 18th day of November, 2012 and captioned: “Ousting The Ouster Clauses In The Chapter Four Of The Constitution”.3. Letter to the Attorney General of Nigeria on need to drastically reform Nigeria’s criminal and civil justice systems, dated 13-12-2012. 4. Public statement, captioned: “Return of Anambra’s killing Fields- part two”, dated 11-03-2013. 5. Public statement, captioned: “Oyerinde’s Murder Investigation In Edo State: Saving The Nigeria Police Force From Media & Political Cruxifion,” dated 05-04-2013.

From the foregoing, therefore, our beloved country’s 14 years of civilian rule since 1999 has been tortuous and challenging. This has enlivened the event marking the murder on June 12, 1993 of the historic electoral free speech by the Ibrahim Babangida’s military epoch. It is unreservedly correct to say that most of Nigeria’s social problems of today are caused by tainted and criminal political class, which hijacked the political power from the military in 1999 on account of the refusal of the social saints who fought and won our hand-earned democracy to step in and nurse-maid the political governance. In-spite of these man-made woes, bright hopes still abound in our beloved country. It requires congregation of forces of the social saints with positive international supports for things to be turned around for the good of every Nigerian in no distance future.

About Intersocity-Nigeria:

We were incorporated in Nigeria in April 2008 and launched in July 2008. We operate from Onitsha, Anambra State, Southeast, Nigeria, with a mission to: protecting the civil liberties and other human rights of the Igbo-Southeast citizens of Nigeria, Nigerian citizens and world citizens at all times, in accordance with the UDHR provisions; standing at all times on the side of the abused and the victimized; standing at all times against human rights abusers and enemies of the rule of law be they State actors or non-State actors; campaigning vigorously for the enthronement and sustenance of the rule of law and judicial accountability including periodic reforms in civil and criminal justice systems; and seeking for an end or reducing to the barest minimum of official misconducts in Nigeria and the Continent of Africa including sit-tight political leadership, State murder, bad governance and corruption.

Our vision is to: become a successful, fiery and leading civil liberties and the rule of law advocacy movement in the Igbo-Southeast Nigeria as well as at national, regional and international levels; and see our beloved country quitting her inglorious killing field and economically impoverished self-initiated club. Since the inception of our Organization in 2008, we have carried out over 150 advocacy activities covering reports, public petitions, public statements, articles, researches, publications and documentaries (see our website-www.intersociety-ng.org for more). These we have done with small local assistance only. We humbly seek to be supported internationally to do more and improve upon what we have done. Our motto is: taking civil liberties (human rights) and the rule of law campaigns to the grassroots.

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

Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman of the Board
Mobile Phone Nos.: 08033601078, 08180103912
Email: info@intersociety-ng.org, umeagbalasi@yahoo.com
Website: intersociety-ng.org

CC:

The Executive Chairman, Federal Character Commission, FCT, Abuja, Nigeria
Deputy Senate President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, FCT, Abuja, Nigeria
Deputy Speaker, House of Reps, FCT, Abuja, Nigeria

Emeka Umeagbalasi

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

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06/05/13

*Press Release: Disclaimer on Groups Claiming to be Youth Wing of Ohanaeze

By Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council

Some misguided Youths have recently been going about claiming to be the Youth Wing of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and using the hallowed name of Ohanaeze in different forms to put up Advertorials and unauthorized information in the media. They use such names as Ohanaeze Youth Congress, Ohanaeze Youth Forum Etc. Let it be known by all Nigerians that such claimants are fake and dubious and should be disregarded or reported to the security agencies for impersonation and misrepresentation.

There is only one youth wing of Ohanaeze Ndigbo which operates from No. 7 Park Avenue, GRA, Enugu. The Last President was late Hon Nnamdi Nwokocha (Carmel) and the last Secretary -General was Comrade Chuks Ibegbu, the well know Social Analysts and now the President of the World Igbo Leadership, Educational And Cultural Council (WILECC). Until an election is held to throw up a new executive body for the youth wing of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, comrade Ibegbu remains the BOT Chairman and custodian of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Wing.

He is expected to officially hand over to a democratically elected Executive of the body.

The security agents are advised to arrest and prosecute anybody claiming o be the leader of these fake organizations and also we advise the EFCC and the CAC to cancel any registration done with regards to these fake Ohanaeze outfits or wings.

Signed

Hon. Elvis Iwuajoku

Hon. Pat Anyanwu

Hon. Okey Isiguzoro

For Stakeholders
Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council
No. 7 Park Avenue
GRA, Enugu, Enugu State.

Ohanaeze Ndigbo logo

Photo Above: Ohanaeze Ndigbo logo

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05/31/13

*NDDC Projects in The Eyes of Lawmakers

By Ifeatu Agbu

Chairman! Are you not forgetting something? Senator Nurudeen Abatemi-Usman, the Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Niger Delta asked Senator James Manager, the arrowhead of the committee. Of course, the chairman did not forget what had become a sing-song for him after inspecting projects that deserved plaudits. So, he intoned: ‘To God be the glory!”

That generally sums up the impressions of the senators after their one-week inspection tour of projects being executed by the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC in Abia, Cross River and Akwa Ibom states. The senators saw all there was to see. In some cases, they were satisfied. In others, they were disappointed. At the end of the day, Senator Manager still held on to his mantra: To God be the glory!

The Senate Committee which visited in February to monitor the state of NDDC projects in the Niger Delta, had hardly settled down in their red chamber when the members of the House of Representatives Committee on the NDDC came calling for their own round of inspections. The members of the House of Representative led by their chairman, Hon Nicholas Mutu inspected projects in 5 states over a period of 4 days. They were in Rivers, Imo, Edo, Delta and Bayelsa states. The committee performed a similar oversight function in October last year. Then, the committee said it was gathering information to assist it in fine-tuning the 2013 budget of the commission.

Traversing 5 states in just 4 days was hectic for the lawmakers but they took the strains in their strides. Mutu said that their findings after inspecting some of the mega projects being executed by the commission were revealing and instructive. “We now appreciate the need to commit more funds for the rapid development of the oil-rich region. What we have seen convinces us that the NDDC is making tremendous impact on the lives of the people. We will, therefore, urge the Federal Government to give the commission the financial muscle to be able to handle more big ticket projects,” Mutu said.

He underlined the fact that the Niger Delta terrain posed a big challenge to development agencies, noting that it made it difficult and expensive to execute projects in the region. In addition, he said, the long rainy season in the area affects the delivery time for projects. “We commend the NDDC for working against these odds and still delivering on its mandate of fast-tracking the development of the Niger Delta. In the light of this, we call on the Federal Government to encourage the commission by releasing the over N500 billion it is owing on outstanding statutory allocations to it,” he said. ( Continues below...... )

Nigeria National Assembly Complex

Photo Above: Nigeria National Assembly Complex

The Federal Government had consistently failed to adequately meet its statutory obligations to the NDDC since its inception in 2000. In spite of the provisions of the NDDC Establishment Act, which says that the Federal Government should contribute an equivalent of 15 per cent of the total amount accruable to the nine oil-producing states from the Federation Account, the former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, unilaterally decided to pay only 10 per cent. The difference between what the law says and what Obasanjo decided to pay was what accumulated to an outstanding deficit of N244 billion at the time he left office.

The disregard for the law continued during late President Umaru Yar’Adua’s administration. As at 2009, the withheld funds had ballooned to a staggering N484, 450, 551, 137.91 billion. This apparent injustice forced the traditional rulers from the Niger Delta under the auspices of the Traditional Rulers of Oil Mineral Producing Communities of Nigeria [TRMPCON] to run to the courts to get the Federal Government to comply with its own laws.

At the site of some of the mega projects, the issue of poor funding continued to dominate discussions among the lawmakers. For Chief Barry Mpigi, representing Tai/Eleme Federal Constituency, the funding problem goes beyond the outstanding arrears of N500 billion. He said that actions on the Petroleum Industry Bill [PIB] should be finalised to provide another source of funding for the development of oil-producing communities.

Surprisingly, the acrimonious debate over the PIB bill at the National Assembly did not seem to affect the feelings of the members of the committee on NDDC, as they shared jokes on the attitude of some politicians in Abuja, whom they said seemed to be oblivious to the deleterious effects of oil exploitation in the Niger Delta. Perhaps, being outside the “hallowed chambers” of the National Assembly opened the eyes of the legislators to the realities of everyday living of ordinary Nigerians.

This connection with the feelings of ordinary Nigerians became stronger as they moved from one part of the oil-rich region to the other. They inspected 9 road projects including the 23.7 kilometer Owaza-Etche-Igwuruta Road and the 18.9 kilometre Erema Ring Road in Ogba/Egbema Ndoni Local Government Area, both in Rivers State. They also visited the Koko-Ugheaye-Escrovos Road, which would link Delta to Ondo State, with 6 bridges; the 28-kilometer Patani-Angoloma Road in Delta State and the Sampou-Odoni Road in Bayelsa State. In Imo State, they saw the 17-kilometre Ishinweke-Onicha River Road in Ihite Ubuma LGA and the 18-kilometre Obokofia internal roads in Ohaji/Egbema LGA. But the project that caught their attention was the Imo State University hostel project which was being painted, indicating that it was almost ready to be handed over.

However, a similar hostel project at the University of Benin in Edo State left a sour taste in the mouth. The lawmakers were disappointed with what they saw and they told the contractor to sit up or face sanctions. They looked in the direction of the Managing Director of the NDDC, Dr Christian Oboh, to get answers to why the contractor was not living up to expectations. He too appeared confounded by the poor performance of the contractor. He told the lawmakers that he found it difficult to understand why the contractor failed to deliver on agreed milestones after he had been adequately funded.

Dr Oboh said that the hostel project was one of those placed on fast-track by the current board of the commission to ensure that they were completed as quickly as possible. Shrugging off the depressing situation at the university of Benin hostel project, the NDDC MD assured the legislators that a number of other projects that were put on priority list had been completed and would be commissioned soon.

One of such projects is the Ewohime-Onicha Ugbo-Abudu Road, linking Delta and Edo states. The lawmakers who drove on the road and bridge were pleased and satisfied with the quality of job done. Dr Oboh was particularly delighted that a Nigerian contractor, Inter Bau, could record such a Grade A performance.

Another star project that is also virtually at the verge of commissioning is the Iko-Atabrikang-Opolom-Iwuo Achang road with a 600-metre bridge across the Qua Iboe River. The project links Iwuo Achang mainland to Okoroutip, a community of 13 villages, bringing civilisation to the riverine areas which were before now forgotten. It is also note worthy that this is the longest bridge being built by a Nigerian contractor, Viche Nigeria ltd, in the region.

This particular project was one of those inspected by members of the Senate Committee on the Niger Delta before the House of Representatives committee took their turn. A visibly excited Senator Manager said: “We, the Senators are happy and we have seen that the communities around here are happy too. This is a landmark project and it is very unique.” He also gave kudos to indigenous contractors and urged the NDDC to encourage such serious firms. It was not all about roads. The committee also inspected the Specialist and Orthopaedic hospital being built by the NDDC in Port Harcourt. Justifying the need for the hospital, the NDDC boss said:‘The people need to be healthy to savour the benefits of good roads and bridges.”

Dr Oboh told the law makers that the hospital comprised Orthopaedic and Cardiovascular units. He said that the project would be replicated in Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom and Delta states. “We want to reverse the trend of medical tourism in the Niger Delta. We want our people to begin to get their medical treatment from our specialist hospitals, instead of travelling overseas for their healthcare needs,” he said.

Mr. Ifeatu Agbu ( ifeatuagbu@yahoo.com ) writes from Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

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05/25/13

*Radio Biafra and the Coalition of Pro-Biafra Organizations

By Ikechukwu Enyiagu

My people, we all know that now is the time because what we have all tried to set up and to kick-start towards the emancipation of our people from the hell-trap called Nigeria was eventually done, but not as we had thought or planned. It was kicked off, nevertheless, towards the goal which has always been one: an Independent Biafra. I therefore call on all pro-Biafran organizations and individuals to align themselves with what Radio Biafra London and Bilie Human Rights Initiative are doing so that our speed may be boosted and our collective goal realized earlier than thought.

Chukwu na eme eze and it is he who choses our front. If we, as individuals and Biafran groups, delay any longer in openly supporting and aligning ourselves and organizations with Radio Biafra London and Bilie Human Rights Initiative, we may only be revealing our inner worth, our deception and out hate towards Igbo freedom. We would have shown to the world that nothing ever mattered to us in this pursuit except whatever titles and positions we had thought to get and that we were never serious with our love for Biafra and our fight to make it come in our time.

Nothing is as painful, shameful, degrading, depraved and demonic as loathing and leaving your cause for freedom and rights simply because another person, who obviously had a stronger and better argument on how to kick it off, decided to make the journey lighter and faster for all. For many who have been shouting for freedom in various Biafra groups but have never given any reasonable amount of money towards the project, is it still unclear to you why you were the seed of failure or delay in the organizations in which you belong? You are an engineer, doctor, nurse, lecturer, technician, driver, etc. with jobs and you are a business man or woman but you still find it difficult to bring out a penny for the Biafran cause simply because you are watching to see others do it first and to see what they will give. Now, Radio Biafra has returned with the commitment of just eight people...and you are very mad that there's progress. What witchcraft and what insensitivity could be worse against yourself, against your very family for whom you seek emancipation? ( Continues below….. )

Map of Defunct Republic of Biafra

Photo Above: Map of Defunct Republic of Biafra

I put it to you that our politicians may have nobler causes than you in your intentions to serve after all. If not, why the delay in openly bonding with what's progressively now on ground and available so we can get to our collective destination faster and earlier? Nevertheless, I implore us to discard self and pride and bitterness and instead to put on the garment of Biafra's realization by all means. We have, from inception, been called to this selfless service because God himself knew the times of the Igbo and that they would eventually need people like you and I who would put the peace of their people before everything else. With Radio Biafra London and Bilie Human Rights Initiative, we will all get there and faster...when we have put our forces together. Otherwise, if we still place personal pride and ambition over the deliverance of our people, we may not see it but we would be clearly telling the world that we are a bunch of slaves who must never be allowed to be free and to govern themselves for the safety of the rest of mankind. It's time we all asked ourselves: What do I stand to gain in Biafra's independence? What is my goal: personal ambition or Biafra's independence? How can I show my support and commitment to the fight to free my people?

I know many of you and I have spoken with some of you. Suddenly my communications with some of you were interfered with. Was it me? Was it because I've made it clear that my eyes are set and my mind made up on Biafra and not on anyone and that I'll move with the spirit who runs forward with our cause? Perhaps it was because I openly said it was better to get what we are all looking for before we proceed to iron out our differences, was it? Maybe, if you needed Biafra as I did and still do, you would have reasoned in my direction and you would then eschew every open or subconscious attempt to derail the Biafran dream. Sometime in 2011, Biafra Liberation in Exile (BILIE) had a Biafra Genocide Fund appeal for Biafra genocide case. It obviously went down the drain. In February, an appeal for funds to resuscitate Voice of Biafra International (VOBI) was made. Nothing came of it because some people wanted others to bring the money while they take the credit for what the money may achieve. Some others who could fund these things effortlessly would rather pride themselves in their evident contribution to the fruitlessness of the collective venture by waiting for those who are on their financial knees to rise up before another step in the journey can be made. What foolishness! What shame! In July, 2011, I got a detailed email from Dr. James Achikeh of Biafra Liberation in Exile (BILIE). Noble causes were the goals and the willingness was there. The only problem, as we noted, was that those among us who had the wherewithal were obviously not in love enough with Biafra to part with their treasure as they often try to compel on people to believe. And one wonders why they get upset when somebody else puts his money and time where his mouth is in the cause of Biafra.

Whatever the case may be, we all still have a stake in our collective pursuit for Biafra. Freedom for our families, children and posterity is something to be pursued rigorously and without being tainted by ego or self. The hands of all Pro-Biafra organizations and groups are needed on deck while Bilie Human Rights Initiative and Radio Biafra London pilot it under the overseership of our Council of Elders. In the end, which will not be far, we shall all have been satisfied.

Anyone with opposing but constructive and progressive opinion is welcome to proffer it. We must all remember that, after all is said and done, the mind with which we seek for the emancipation of our people from Nigeria will always follow us wherever we go as our scale of sincerity and commitment. And it will not be hidden from others because our results will be seen by others. MEND opposed the government and got the recognition and amnesty while Boko Haram opposes Nigeria itself with the intention of Islamizing everyone, making Nigeria an extension of their great-grandfather's estate and enslaving all of South. However, we have a greater argument against the diabolical experiment called Nigeria because it has taken what belongs to us and now moves to totally destroy us. We, like Abram, will have to forsake self and pursue after her until we have overtaken her and retrieved our dear Lot. While I thank the leadership of these organizations for every effort they have put so far into this noble cause, I appeal to them to, once again, consider their priorities and allegiance to the spirit of our collective calling so that, in no distant future, the world will know who the Igbo truly are. Ndewo nu.

Ikechukwu Enyiagu can be reached at ike.enyiagu@gmail.com

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05/24/13

*Literary Giant, A Nobel Laureate or Grandfather of African Literature?

By Chris Onyishi

People are never literary giants by providence, as maybe the case in some other fields such as politics, showbiz, etc.  The circumstance of discovery of a literary giant maybe by providence but that cannot be said of Prof. Chinua Achebe.  Prof. Chinua Achebe’s position in the literary world is not by circumstantial evidence either. In all, I  think that one literature, 50 languages and over 12 million copies is by no means a position of chance or luck.

I recapped, recently, two tributes on Prof. Chinua Achebe by Tola Adeniyi (“Chinua Achebe: The Uncrowned Nobel Laureate”) - The Sun, 25th March 2013 - and Shola Balogun (“THE NOBEL LAUREATE WE NEVER HAD”) - The Sun, 24th March 2013. These two tributes are just but a figment in the avalanche of tributes to the great writer upon the news of his passage to the world beyond. ( Continues below..... )

Prof. Chinua Achebe

Photo Above: Late Prof. Chinua Achebe

The highlight of Tola’s expose, without disregards to other streaks in that tribute, is that “Chinua Achebe was not just a writer; he was a distinguished writer with the best and noblest of human virtues. A non hypocrite. A non bully. Achebe was both a great ambassador of Africa and a true and respectable specimen of the finest humanity"

On Shola Balogun’s tribute, the aspect of his highlight includes; "… even literature is no longer immune from the vagaries of global politics and other considerations. They have observed that perhaps, owing to political and other extraneous considerations, the Nobel Prize in Literature may well elude certain writers despite their exceptional brilliance and great talent that have been well acknowledged across the globe”.

On my side, I had rapped that Shola’s tribute has once more brought to the fore the faulty scale upon which Europe and the West generally weighs intellectualism when an iridescent, but uncompromising, African - such as Prof. Chinua Achebe - is involved.

I did interject that I was very glad that up until his death, Prof. Achebe never wavered - for once - in asserting that honor should only be given by honorable people, for if it is given by dishonorable people, the giver and taker become both of questionable character.
It is in this vain that I have always viewed the “Nobel laureate” and its organizers - of recent - as another token of imperialism.

My question here now is which insignia would have been best for Prof. Chinue Achebe? Would it have been more honorable to refer to him as a Nobel Laureate or a literary giant?  From Tola and Shola’s accounts, a literary giant could easily become a Nobel laureate but a Nobel laureate may not be or become a literary giant.

If I should answer myself, I would say that a literary giant tag – and extension, the father of African Literature –  for a man whom one of his books sold over 12 million copies and was translated into over 50 languages would be more honorable and weighs more than a Nobel laureate tag which is an award by one small Swedish academy whose judgment has been infiltrated by an unfounded yardstick due to some political and other extraneous considerations.

But the greatest looser in the whole “Nobel Laureate” saga, in my opinion, is Alfred Nobel who enunciated the award via his will of 1895 for rewarding greatness in the fields of Chemistry, Physics, Literature, Peace and Physiology or Medicine. For when you begin to view greatness from regional or political prism, the greatness becomes an aberration.

The Swedish Academy that brings this distortion to the “award” may have to rethink and allow the soul of Alfred Nobel to rest in peace.

If the Swedish academy decides now, to posthumously, award Prof. Achebe the Nobel Laureate, it will only play the role of gradually returning integrity to the organization and may not necessarily change anything in terms of Prof. Achebe’s literary and intellectual stature. But if they remain adamant to awarding the laureate to a real globally accepted and recognized literary giant such as Prof. Achebe, it will only worsen the image of that organization and may even bring question marks to those they have awarded and will award this honor both in the past and in the future.

Finally, when the main issue is about pedigree in the literary art, and character, and men of no mean literary state from all works of life talk gleefully and fluently about an individual, in a most unguarded ecstasy as we have witnessed on Prof. Achebe, then no single title is too much and no single title is relevant anymore and any or all efforts to deny him or bequeath him such a title or tag becomes either born out of jealousy or efforts consigned to the waste bin.

Chris Onyishi (ctekchris@yahoo.com) writes from Owerri, Nigeria.

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05/19/13

Nigeria: Why Okiro Is Unsuitable To Head External Civilian Oversight of The Police As Chairman Of Police Service Commission

Report By Network On Police Reform In Nigeria (NOPRIN)

WHY MIKE OKIRO, A RETIRED INSPECTOR-GENERAL OF POLICE IS UNSUITABLE TO HEAD EXTERNAL CIVILIAN OVERSIGHT OF THE POLICE AS CHAIRMAN OF POLICE SERVICE COMMISSION

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This report issued by the Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN) details why Mr. Mike Okiro, former Inspector-General of Police, is unfit and unsuitable to be confirmed as the Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC). The report highlights and explains four very substantial grounds of objection to Mr. Okiro’s nomination, namely

1. The need to secure the role of the Commission as civilian credible and effective oversight mechanism
2. Mr. Okiro’s role in popularising extrajudicial executions in Nigeria, an institutional illegality that has become a driver for internal extremism in Nigeria;
3. Mr. Okiro’s candidacy suffers clear and irremediable integrity deficits; and
4. As a person, Mr. Okiro’s partisan interests fail to comply with the Provisions of the Constitution

Each of the reasons summarised above raises insuperable obstacles to Mr. Okiro’s nomination. The NOPRIN and our member organisations believe that in combination, these factors make Mr. Okiro both unqualified and unsuitable to be confirmed as the Chairman of the Police Service Commission.

The relevance and capacity of the commission as a civilian oversight mechanism to discharge its statutory roles is brought to question by the appointment of a recently retired Inspector-General of Police. Mr Okiro has been serially implicated in the promotion of extra-judicial executions, a practice that has clearly been shown to have deepened the insecurity in Nigeria. This practice undermines the constitutional responsibility to guarantee public safety and security as the primary goal of government. As an active member of a political party, and tainted as he is by serious and pending allegations of corruption, Mr. Okiro does not possess the standards of independence and impartiality required for the credible discharge of the responsibilities of Chairman of the PSC.

Additionally, NOPRIN in the report points out that the reappointment of two former members (Dr. Otive Igbuzor and Ms. Comfort Obi) of the just dissolved Parry Osayande-led board of the PSC is unlawful and in clear violation of Section 3 (1) of Police Service Commission’s establishment Act 2001 which prohibits the reappointment of members. For the avoidance of doubt, the report makes clear that these members cannot be appointed as ex-officio because there are no ex-officio members in civil society or the media.

For these reasons, the report urges the distinguished members of the Senate to decline confirmation to the nominations of Mr. Okiro as Chairman of the PSC and to Dr. Igbuzor and Ms. Obi, as members of the Commission. It also makes additional recommendations for strengthening the PSC.

WHY MIKE OKIRO, A RETIRED INSPECTOR-GENERAL OF POLICE IS UNSUITABLE TO HEAD EXTERNAL CIVILIAN OVERSIGHT OF THE POLICE AS CHAIRMAN OF POLICE SERVICE COMMISSION.

1 INTRODUCTION

On Wednesday May 8, 2013 President Goodluck Jonathan, GCFR, sent a list to the Senate seeking confirmation of Mr. Mike Okiro, former Inspector General of Police (IGP), as Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC). He was one of seven listed for appointment into a reconstituted Commission. President Jonathan also nominated Dr. Otive Igbuzor and Ms. Comfort Obi, commissioners in the immediate past Commission headed by Mr. Parry Osayande, a retired Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG) respectively as representatives of the civil society and of the media.

Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN), a coalition of 47 civil society organizations spread across Nigeria and committed to promoting police accountability and respect for human rights and the enhancement of safety, security and justice, wishes to convey through this report substantial objections to the confirmation of Mr. Okiro, Dr. Igbuzor and Ms. Obi. These objections are founded in law and justified by the overriding goal of preserving and enhancing the institutional effectiveness and credibility of the PSC. Specifically, our objections are based on four main grounds.

5. The need to secure the role of the Commission as civilian credible and effective oversight mechanism
6. Mr. Okiro’s role in popularising extrajudicial executions in Nigeria, an institutional illegality that has become a driver for internal extremism in Nigeria;
7. Mr. Okiro’s candidacy suffers clear and irremediable integrity deficits; and
8. As a person, Mr. Okiro’s partisan interests fail to comply with the Provisions of the Constitution

Each of the reasons summarised above raises insuperable obstacles to Mr. Okiro’s nomination. The NOPRIN and our member organisations believe that in combination, these factors make Mr. Okiro both unqualified and unsuitable to be confirmed as the Chairman of the Police Service Commission. In the rest of this document, we provide fuller details of the various objections to Mr. Okiro’s nomination.

With reference to Dr. Otive Igbuzor and Ms. Comfort Obi, NOPRIN points out that their re-nomination would violate Section 3(1) of the Police Service Commission Act which precludes the re-nomination of members whose terms have expired.

2 CONSTITUTIONAL AND LEGAL STANDARDS GOVERNING THE COMPOSITION OF THE PSC

The Police Service Commission is established under Section 153(1) (m) of the 1999 Constitution. Under Section 154(1) of the same Constitution, the Chairman and members of the Commission “shall, subject to the provisions of this Constitution, be appointed by the President and the appointment shall be subject to confirmation by the Senate.” The composition of the Commission is governed by Section 2(1) of the Act as follows:

The management of the Commission shall vest in the following members, whose appointment shall be in line with the Federal Character provision of the Constitution.

(a) a Chairman who shall be the Chief Executive of the Commission;

(b) a retired Justice of the Supreme Court or Court of Appeal;

(c) a retired Police Officer not below the rank of Commissioner of Police;

(d) one representative each of

(i) women interest;

(ii) the Nigerian Press;

(iii) Non-Governmental human rights organisations in Nigeria;

(iv) organized Private Sector;

(v) the Secretary to the Commission

Under Section 156 of the Constitution:

(1) No person shall be qualified for appointment as a member of any of the bodies aforesaid if -

(a) he is not qualified or if he is disqualified for election as a member of the House of Representatives;

(b) within the preceding ten years, he has been removed as a member of any of the bodies or as the holder of any other office on the ground of misconduct.

(2) any person employed in the public service of the Federation shall not be disqualified for appointment as Chairman or member of any of such bodies:

Provided that where such person has been duly appointed he shall, on his appointment, be deemed to have resigned his former office as from the date of the appointment.

(3) No person shall be qualified for appointment to any of the bodies aforesaid if, having previously been appointed as a member otherwise than as an ex officio member of that body, he has been re-appointed for a further term as a member of the same body.

The qualifications for election to the House of Representatives are contained in Section 65 and 66 of the Constitution. These provisions are also reinforced by Section 2(2) of the Police Service Commission Act, which provides:

(2) The Chairman and other members of the Commission shall-

(a) be appointed by the President subject to the confirmation by the Senate;

(b) be persons of proven integrity and ability.

3 THE NEED TO SECURE THE ROLE OF THE COMMISSION AS AN INDEPENDENT CIVILIAN OVERSIGHT MECHANISM

Section 14(2) (b) of the 1999 Constitution mandates that “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.” Partly for this purpose, it establishes the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) in Section 214, and the Police Service Commission as an external, civilian oversight mechanism to assure the effectiveness of the Police in fulfilling this high constitutional mandate.

The defining characteristic and mission of the Commission is that it is a civilian oversight body, external to the Police. This requires the PSC to be independent and impartial. It cannot be either of these if it is headed by a retired former Inspector-General of Police.

This mission is destroyed by appointing a recent or former Inspector-General as the Chairman of the PSC. In our report entitled ‘Criminal Force…’ published jointly with Open Society Justice Initiative in 2010, NOPRIN stated as follows:

‘The Police Service Commission, established in 2001 as the oversight body for the police, has nominally strong statutory powers but remains institutionally enfeebled. The UN Special Rapporteur (on summary executions) summed up the record of the commission in the report of his mission to Nigeria as follows:

The Police Service Commission is charged with police discipline, but has opted to refer all complaints of extrajudicial police killings back to the police for investigation. The Commission’s mandate is potentially empowering. But despite efforts by one or two excellent commissioners, its performance has been dismal and self-restraining. Its quarterly reports to the President are not published and present a dismal chronicle of rubber-stamping decisions taken by the police, coupled with inaction in relation to pressing concerns. A radical overhaul of its procedures and composition is warranted.’

The PSC exists for the purpose of assuring the effectiveness and service quality of the police as well as dealing with discipline and promotions in the Force. Inherent in this mission and essential to its fulfilment of this mission is a requirement that the leadership of the PSC should be guaranteed by someone external to the Force rather than part of it.

What we need is a civilian-led PSC that has the courage to investigate all public complaints and cases of police abuse. Appointing a retired Inspector-General undermines and subverts this mission and renders the PSC ultimately into another department of the NPF. This is not good for the Police; it is inconsistent with the structure and purpose of the Constitution and the PSC Act of 2001; and defeats the whole essence of the establishment of the PSC as a civilian oversight body on policing in Nigeria. It has been demonstrated that the Commission will function, and has actually functioned more independently and effectively under a non police personnel rather than under a retired police officer. The impartiality and effectiveness of the PSC needs to be preserved and enhanced. Appointing Mr. Okiro diminishes it.

4 MR. OKIRO’S ROLE IN PROMOTING EXTRAJUDICIAL EXECUTIONS IN POLICING

The strong link between extrajudicial executions and the escalation of terrorism in Nigeria has been recognised and acknowledged by everyone, including, more recently, by the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke, SAN.[1]

Extrajudicial executions have become a factor in raising the monster of extremism in Northern Nigeria. As Inspector-General, Mr. Okiro enthusiastically promoted third-degree methods and extra-judicial executions as the principal method of policing. In December 2012, Attorney-General of the Federation, Mohammed Bello Adoke, SAN, disclosed:

Even the most charitable defenders of the Force cannot deny that some dishonourable officers indeed have taken the law into their hands in the most barbaric fashion by killing suspects and innocent citizens. For the avoidance of doubt, the constitutional derogation to the right to life which sanctions the use of force to curb an escapee is no blank cheque to carry out extra-judicial killings....Nonetheless, government cannot afford to ignore this dangerous trend by which lives of innocent citizens are endangered or snuffed out by those whose constitutional duty it is to secure the lives and property of the citizenry. Most of these challenges appear to have been significantly tackled by the recommendations of the Presidential Committee on the Re-organization of the Nigeria Police which recently submitted its report. It is instructive that among other recommendations, the report highlighted the need to embark on a continuous weeding out of bad and unscrupulous elements who on account of arbitrariness and opaqueness in recruitment exercise had found their way into the force.[2]

As part of his role, the Chairman of the Police Service Commission is required to ensure administrative accountability for such malfeasance and crimes. As a former Inspector-General who promoted extra-judicial killings, Mr. Okiro cannot perform this role conscientiously. In being unable to do so, he will not only deny victims of extra-judicial executions remedies, he may also further endanger or deepen the insecurity in the country.

4(a) PARTICULARS OF MR. OKIRO’S ROLE IN PROMOTING EXTRA-JUDICIAL EXECUTIONS

Under Mr. Okiro as IGP extrajudicial executions were celebrated in the Nigeria police as a strategy of fighting crime. In the aforesaid report jointly issued in 2010 by the Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN) and the Open Society Justice Initiative, we reported as follows:

In November 2007, Acting Inspector-General Mike Okiro reported that the police had killed 785 and arrested 1,628 “armed robbers” in his first one hundred days in office. This translates into a daily killing rate of 7.85 persons, a kill-to-arrest ratio of 1:2.07, or, in comparison to statistics announced by former Inspector-General Ehindero, an increase of over 400 percent on the official police statistics of encounter-related police killings for the years 2000–2004.[3]

In other words, Mr. Okiro oversaw more extra-judicial killings by the Nigeria Police Force during his time as Inspector-General of Police than any of his predecessors and grew the rate of extra-judicial killings by over 400%. This was separately buttressed by Human Rights Watch in its own findings as follows:

‘Since the January 7, 2006 Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, the police continue to be implicated in numerous extrajudicial killings in the course of police operations. On November 14, 2007, Inspector General of Police Mike Okiro announced that 785 suspected “armed robbers” were shot and killed in gunfire exchanges with the police between June and the beginning of September 2007. According to the same set of statistics 1,628 armed robbers were arrested during this period.”[4]

In any decent society, the notion - or even the mere suspicion - that the police engaged in extrajudicial killing would raise alarms. It is however, ‘stunning’, - as Human Rights Watch aptly put it, ‘that the police killed half as many ‘armed robbery suspects’ as they managed to arrest during Okiro’s first 90 days." "And it’s scandalous that leading police officials seem to regard the routine killing of Nigerian citizens - criminal suspects or not - as a point of pride."[5]

If the mandate of the Police Service Commission is to ensure accountability for police abuses- of which extrajudicial executions have remained a notorious aspect, it will therefore be contrary to the raison d’être of the Commission to appoint as its Chair a man with such a tragic record of respect for the standards of professionalism in law enforcement. If the distinguished members of the Senate consent to this nomination, they would be voting to compromise the work of the Police Service Commission irretrievably.

NOPRIN therefore, urges the Senate to recognise and act in accordance with the imperative of strengthening the commission and securing its independence to effectively discharge its oversight functions of ensuring accountability within the police. The Senate should reject Okiro’s nomination as Chairman of the PSC.

4(b) INTEGRITY ISSUES

The PSC Act states that persons to be appointed as PSC Commissioners must ‘be persons of proven integrity and ability’. Mr. Okiro, in our view, falls short of this standard. His record of performance, character and partisan connection disqualify him for appointment as Chairman of the PSC.

4(b) (i) UNCLEARED CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS

There are pending serious allegations of crime and corruption which Mr. Okiro needs to clear before being considered for consideration for high public office. In a country governed by the rule of law and accountability, Mr. Okiro ought to be standing trial to clear his name of these grave allegations rather than being considered for appointment into office as Chairman of a the Police oversight institution under the Constitution.

It was widely reported in the media that as Acting Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mike Okiro, his immediate predecessor Sunday Ehindero and several other serving police officers were implicated in several corruption scandals. The most egregious was his alleged taking of a loan of 166 million naira from a commercial bank to develop an oil company he had floated in the name of himself and his wife while still holding the office of Inspector-General. As Chairman of the Company, he was alleged to have committed perjury by falsifying some of the documents he signed on behalf of the Company. [6]

It was similarly reported that one John Obaniyi, a Commissioner in charge of finance at the police headquarters at the time, and a principal target of investigations into the source of N21 million seized while being moved out of Police Headquarters in Abuja, named Mr. Okiro, Mr. Ehindero and others in serious financial malfeasance and shady deals. Besides, Obaniyi revealed that several members of the police hierarchy, including Okiro shared close to N100 million from funds provided to the police to help rig the April 2007 elections. There was also the controversy over the ownership of Bharmos Ventures Nigeria Ltd, the ‘Consultant’ who was allegedly paid N1.6 billion naira for police recruitment from part of 2 billion naira realised from N2000 paid by each of the applicants for police recruitment during Okiro’s tenure as IGP[7]

From the early days of his tenure as Acting IGP, through his days as substantive IGP, up till date, a cloud of allegations continue to hang over his neck for the numerous alleged crimes he committed while in office. As one commentator observed then,

‘Here is an Inspector-General whose men and women in uniform are often called upon to investigate other Nigerians who are implicated in the same kind of crimes and allegations he has been accused of. How can Mike Okiro, in good conscience, perform his duties as IG when he himself is as guilty as those the Police Force should be going after in the society?’ [8]

Section155(2) of the Constitution states that ‘…a member of any of the (federal executive) bodies (inclusive of the PSC) shall cease to be a member if the circumstances arise that, if he were not a member of the body, would cause him to be disqualified for appointment as such a member.’

4(b) (ii) PARTISAN INTEREST

As a person, Mr. Okiro’s partisan interests and allegiance undermine the independence of the PSC in such a way as confirm him as unsuitable for the job of leading the PSC.

In 2010 Mr. Mike Okiro- a PDP card-carrying member, contested at a PDP primaries for Senate in the Federal Capital Territory. He lost. He was also, until last month Chief of Staff to the Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur. He has since his retirement, been chairman, Security Committee of all PDP conventions.

A body which is established with the constitutional mandate to recruit, promote and discipline all police personnel other than the IGP in an independent and impartial manner is expected to be composed and headed by non partisan individuals of unquestionable integrity.

5 RE-NOMINATION OF PERSONS FOR MORE THAN ONE TERM

The re-nomination for appointment of two former members of the Commission, Dr. Otive Igbuzor and Ms. Comfort Obi, clearly violates the Police Service Commission’s establishment Act 2001. For the avoidance of doubt, Section 3 (1) of the Act provides that:

'Subject to the provisions of Section 4 of this Act, a member of the Commission, other than ex-officio members shall each hold office- for a term of four years and no more…’

The Constitution makes an exemption from this term limit for members of executive bodies who are ex-officio, i.e. appointed by virtue of office (such as a Chief Judge heading the State Judicial Service Commission) there are no such ex-officio members in the PSC.

CONCLUSION

NOPRIN believes that the PSC evinced under the Constitution and the PSC Act of 2001 is an independent and impartial institution. Such an institution is worth fighting for. Appointing Mr. Okiro as a former Inspector-General of Police to head the PSC subverts the independence and impartiality of the PSC.

It is thus our position that in order to ensure the effectiveness of the PSC, the Distinguished Senate should decline confirmation to Mr. Mike Okiro as Chairman of the PSC. NOPRIN particularly calls on the Senate to decline confirmation of Mr. Mike Okiro as Chairman of the PSC and to respectfully request the President to reconsider his nominations of both the Chairman and other members of the Commission.

Additionally, as the PSC Act does allow it, the re-nomination of members who have previously served a term is unlawful. Senate should decline them confirmation.

It is our further considered view that since members of the Commission are to represent specific interest groups, these groups must be consulted on such appointments and should have the power to recall any representative when they deem fit. The appointment process should be transparent, preferably with properly advertised vacancy notices.

The Senate should therefore, commence the amendment to the Police Service Commission Act to address its composition. All appointments should be made in such a way as to strengthen the independence of the Commission. Efforts should be made to appoint people with integrity and managerial skills to strengthen the Commission. Chairman of the Commission should be a person with broad managerial experience, preferably with broad corporate management skills. In the event that the Commission needs expert advice from the police, it should be given the liberty to seek such service.

It is the expectation of NOPRIN and its member- organisations that the Senate will take urgent and appropriate legislative measures in the interest of effective police performance, best policing practices and public safety, to improve the civilian oversight function of the Police Service Commission in relation to police service provision. The Senate should take measures to enhance the commission’s efficiency, effectiveness and integrity.

For further information or inquiries, please contact:

Okechukwu Nwanguma
Program and Advocacy Coordinator. NOPRIN Foundation, Lagos.
Email: Okechukwu@noprin.org
Mobile: 08064974531

Mike Okiro

Photo Above: Mr Mike Okiro

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05/16/13

Hausanisation Policy In Nigerian Police & Death Of Over 2,500 Igbos Under Jonathan

By International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety)

Ref: Intersociety/S/03/05/013/S/E/Presidency/ABJ/FGN

               From:
               The Secretariat of:
               International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
               41, Miss Elems Street, Fegge, Onitsha, Anambra, Nigeria

To:

Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan
President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces & Chairman, Nigeria Police Council

Thro

Mr. Peter Gregory Obi
Chairman, the Southeast Governors’ Forum
Office of the Governor of Anambra State
Government House, Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria

Your Excellencies,

Hausanisation & Islamisation Policy In The Nigeria Police Force: Igbo-Southeast As Endangered Species With The Loss Of Over 2,500 Souls Under Your Excellency’s Administration -Part Two

(Onitsha Nigeria, 13th day of May, 2013)-On 6th day of May, 2013, we addressed a letter to Your Excellencies with the above related caption. The letter is referenced: Intersociety/S/01/05/013/S/E/Presidency/ABJ/FGN. We also addressed another letter to the Executive Chairman of the Federal Character Commission, dated 6th day of May, 2013 and referenced: Intersociety/S/02/05/013/S/E/FCC/ABJ/FGN. Copies of the two letters are attached for Your Excellencies’ perusal and required action.

Our writing Your Excellencies again is as a result of topical events of the past days. Apart from the said events, we also find it important and necessary to make the following corrections and clarifications pertaining to our first letter to Your Excellencies. It is recalled that we had in the said letter included the name of AIG (now DIG) Philemon Leha as one of the serving AIGs in the NPF. He hails from Taraba State, Northeast Nigeria. But further checks by leadership indicate that he was promoted to the DIG in 2012 on the heels of the tragic death of DIG Haruna John, who died in a helicopter crash. Also as we rightly pointed out in the letter to the effect that some CPs whom we thought to be from the Igbo-Southeast may most likely hail from the South-south Igbo areas. True to this position of ours, CP Kingsley Omire, who retired statutorily on 21st day of April, 2013 as Bayelsa State Commissioner of Police, is not from Igbo-Southeast, but from Delta State. CP Benjamin Onwuka, who is Deputy Commandant, Police College, Jos, is not from Igbo-Southeast, but from Asaba in Delta State. CP Isaac Eke, CP Admin B, Force Headquarters, is from Rivers State and not from Igbo- Southeast, and CP Patrick Egbuniwe, who was Commissioner of Police in-charge of Yobe State Command, has retired statutorily weeks or months ago. He hails from Onitsha in Anambra State, Southeast Nigeria.

Following the clarifications above, the number of serving Igbo-Southeast Commissioners of Police in the Nigeria Police Force has reduced to seven. Four of them: CPs Ikechukwu Aduba, CP in-charge of Delta State Command, Godfrey Okeke, CP in-charge of Adamawa State Command, Hilary Opara, CP in-charge of Kogi State Command and Ikemuefula Okoye, CP in-charge of Ogun State Command, are the only four serving State Commissioners of Police in Nigeria, who hail from Igbo-Southeast, while CPs Mrs. Chintua Amajor Onu-CP Intelligence, Felix Uyanna-Commandant, Police College, Oji River and Sylvester Umeh-CP, PAP, Eastern Port are the three remaining non-State Commissioners of Police from the zone.

Authoritatively speaking, Your Excellencies, there are confirmed 21 serving AIGs including 2 specialists and 19 general duties in the Nigeria Police Force as at 4th day of April, 2013(last promotion by PSC/NPF took place on 3rd day of April, 2013). Shockingly and sadly too, none of the said serving AIGs in the NPF is from the Igbo-Southeast Nigeria. This is an impeachable violation of Section 14(3) of the 1999 Constitution on federal character principle. There are also 86 confirmed serving Commissioners of Police (CPs) in the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) as of date including 80 general duties and 6 specialists.

Shockingly speaking, Your Excellencies, only seven Commissioners of Police out of the 86 come from the Igbo-Southeast. This is another grave violation of the said Section 14(3). By express meaning of this Section as well as federal character principle and six geopolitical zonal structures, the Igbo-Southeast zone is entitled to at least 14 serving CPs out of the 86 serving CPs and should be entitled to 15 if their number is increased to 90. Also due to deliberate stagnation that condemnably trailed the statutory promotion and posting of these serving Igbo-Southeast CPs and few others that occupy senior ranking positions like DCPs, ACPs, CSPs and SPs, some of them will be due for statutory retirement in few weeks or months away from date.

Similarly, it is authoritatively confirmed that there are 176 serving DCPs in the NPF as of date including 163 general duties and 13 specialists. In the area of Assistant Commissioners of Police (ACPs), there are 385 of them serving in the NPF as of date with 374 general duties and 11 specialists. There are also 1,052 serving CSPs and 1, 707 SPs in the Nigeria Police Force as of date (03-04-2013) excluding those who possibly retired statutorily since December 2012. About 95% of the officers-in-charge of the NPF’s divisional police stations, special anti robbery squads, area commands, state criminal investigations departments, State commands, zonal commands, police educational institutions, border, airport, railway and marine patrol commands and other top administrative duties, are drawn from these top ranks of SPs to DIGs. Other than the seven serving DIGs in the Nigeria Police Force, who equitably represent the six geopolitical zones of Southeast, South-south, Southwest, Northwest, Northeast and North-central, there is barefaced geopolitical lopsidedness in the geopolitical identities and distributions of those who presently occupy the ranks of SPs to AIGs in the Force. From our in-depth checks, the geopolitical distribution of the said top police ranks heavily favors the three geopolitical zones of Northwest, Northeast and Southwest, especially those bearing Muslim names. The Southeast geopolitical zone is the worst victim of the lopsided geopolitical distribution of the said top police ranks, followed by the Christian officers of the old Middle-belt Region. The Christian peoples of the old region are presently scattered in Taraba and Adamawa of Northeast, Kaduna of Northwest and Benue, Nasarawa and Plateau of North-central.

In other words, for the promoters of hausanisation, islamisation and mediocrity policy in the Nigeria Police Force under the headship of present IGP, Mohammed Dahiru Abubakar, it is a curse to be a Christian police officer from northern part of Nigeria and a candidate of hell to be an Igbo-Southeast police officer. On the other hand, it is a blessing to be a police officer from the Yoruba-Southwest or North-central and double blessing and princely too, to be a Hausa-Fulani Muslim police officer in the NPF. For the latter, promotion, double promotions and juicy postings are designed to be their portions at all times even if they are professional mediocre(s) and imbeciles, and for the former, especially the police officers of the Igbo-Southeast origin, the contrary is the case at all times. For instance, heads will roll threat-statement; issued by the IGP in 2012 on the heels of suspected Boko Haram attack at the Abuja SARS headquarters had died down on discovery that the suspected police accomplices in the context of insider informants, etc were all Muslim officers. The head of the IGP’s appointed investigation team in the matter, CP (now AIG) Ahmadu Ali, recently got rewarded with an AIGship promotion to be effected on 31st day of July, 2013-his date of statutory retirement from the Force. This is even when his investigation report has continued to be shrouded in secrecy by having not been made public till date. If it had been discovered that Christian and Igbo officers were involved, heads would have indeed rolled.

Continued Militarization Of NPF & Okiro’s Nomination As Next Chairman Of PSC: On 8th day of May, 2013, Your Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, sent two lists of nominees to the leadership of the Nigerian Senate, seeking their confirmation as members of the Nigeria Police Service Commission and the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission. While Your Excellency is commended for sticking to the Federal Character Principle in line with Section 14(3) in selecting members of the two public bodies, Your Excellency’s insistence on militarizing the NPF and encircling the same people that contributed to the Force’s battered image and policing failures in recent times, is unreservedly condemned. Your Excellency had in the said list, nominated retired IGP, Mike Mbama Okiro, from the South-south geopolitical zone as the new chairman of the PSC. Other members nominated are: Retired DIG, Yakubu Mohammed-Northwest, retired Hon. Justice Olufunke Adekeye-Southwest, Aisha Larai Tukur-Northeast , Mrs. Comfort Obi-Southeast, Mr. Tongee Gem Toranylin-North-central and Dr. Otive Igbuzor-South-south. The retention of Mrs. Comfort Obi and Dr. Otive Igbuzor, who were members of the abysmally performed erstwhile PSC, is also condemned. New members of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, which has former Senator Ken Nnamani from the Southeast geopolitical zone as chairman, were also commendably selected in accordance with Section 14(3).

Our leadership as well as other leading social voices and civil society organizations in Nigeria and beyond has consistently opposed the appointment of retired senior police officers to head the Police Service Commission. They can be made members of the Commission, but not heads of same. The main idea of setting up the PSC is to police the police from the civil polity and not to militarize it. Retired police officers who are made to head the PSC, as the retired DIG, Parry Osayande’s immediate past era has shown, are most likely to engage in nepotism, favoritism, corruption and unprofessional midwifery of the Force. The PSC under them can also not function independently. The Nigeria Police Force had since the return to civil rule in 1999, been battered and eaten up by hydra-headed monsters of corruption through roadblock extortion, illegal custody bail fees and return culture; indiscriminate roadblock shootings and killings, pretrial killings, ethnocentrism, religious fundamentalism and institutionalization of mediocrity and unprofessionalism. The said hydra-headed monsters, which included indiscriminate mounting of roadblocks and extortion, roadblock shootings and killings, pretrial killings and return culture, were unreservedly a routine under Mike Okiro’s IGPship, from 2007 to 2009. It was under his police midwifery that the armada of electoral fraud called 2007 general elections was conducted using the NPF to perpetrate it with impunity. Credit will always go to the present IGP, Mohammed Dahiru Abubakar as the only IGP in the history of the NPF in recent times, who had made proactive efforts at taming the high incidence of roadblock extortion, shootings and killings, notwithstanding pockets of breaches across the country.

Predictably, the Okiro’s chairmanship of the PSC will not go beyond the continued promotion of nepotism and favoritism, which breeds ethnicity, mediocrity, unprofessionalism and corruption in the NPF. There is also a serious question mark to Okiro’s integrity and character. For instance, it is on record that he retired statutorily in 2009 as Nigeria’s IGP after attaining the mandatory age of 60; that is to say that he is 64 years old this year (2013). The Senate President, David Mark, recently turned 65. The integrity question is: Facially and bodily looking; between Okiro and David Mark, who is older than the other? Is Okiro in his 60s or 70s or more? Or is he terminally ill? These integrity questions are necessary because we strongly believe that one of the main reasons behind Your Excellency’s nomination of Mr. Mike Okiro was because of perceived impeccability of his character. In this circumstance, though, we are having our say, while Your Excellency is possibly having Your Excellency’s way, but it will be socially disastrous for Nigeria to have another five wasted years in the Okiro’s chairmanship of the PSC without any tangible way forward for the highly battered, professionally defaced and ethnically divided NPF. Beyond strong moral question mark on Okiro’s character, he is constitutionally unfit to be the PSC chairman, having been a well known card-carrying member of the PDP, which is forbidden by the PSC Act of 2001 and Section 156 of the 1999 Constitution. Section 156 forbids any head of the federal bodies created by Section 153 of the Constitution such as the Police Service Commission, from belonging to a political party. Up till April 2013, Mr. Mike Okiro functioned as chief of staff to the national Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and contested for a senatorial election under the PDP during the last poll in Nigeria. The re-appointment of Mrs. Comfort Obi and Dr. Otive Igbuzor also appeared to have been done in breach of Section 156.

The inability of Your Excellency to consult widely and appropriately nowadays before making appointments into sensitive public bodies like the PSC that has a rigid tenure of five years has become worrisome. Today, political party arsonists and brigands have found their way into sacred public bodies like federal universities and other higher educational and health institutions in the form of board members and chairmen. Conversely, sensitive appointments made during Your Excellency’s transitional presidency appeared credibly spotless, unlike Your Excellency’s present day board appointments. The NERC, NHRC and INEC Boards, are some of such popular appointments in 2010 and early 2011. On the issue of the constitution of new board for the Police Service Commission, we had expected Your Excellency to shop for credible, impeccable and seminal personalities such as Prof. Etinibi Alemika; one of Nigeria’s celebrated and foremost criminologists, who is also the NPF’s consultant, to head the new Police Service Commission.

In all, the worst era for Nigeria’s PSC remains the immediate past era of retired DIG, Parry Osayande(April 2008-April 2013) and the best era so far for the Commission was the era under Chief Simon Okeke(November 2001-November 2006). Unlike retired DIG, Parry Osayande’s failed team, composed of persons with perceived empty academic and social titles; Chief Simon Okeke’s team was made up of the unofficial president of Nigeria, during the Abacha’s military’s inglorious epoch; Mrs. Ayo Obe(former president of Nigeria’s Civil Liberties Organization-1995-2003). Others were: Hon. Justice O. Olatawura( a retired Justice of the Supreme Court), Alhaji Sani Ahmed Daura(a retired police AIG), Dr. Mrs. Aishatu Abdulkadir( a leading feminist & social Amazon), Mr. Ray Ekpu(a seasoned journalist and reputable personality) and Alhaji Rufai Mohammed.

Igbo-Southeast As Endangered Species Under Your Excellency’s Presidency: It is correct to say that the Igbo-Southeast have lost at least 2,500 of their sons and daughters since Your Excellency’s transitional and substantive presidency from May, 2010. The slaughtering of the zone’s sons and daughters is predicated by their killers, especially the killer Hausa-Fulani Muslim zealots, on false notion that there is no difference between Your Excellency’s Ijaw tribe and the Igbo race. As the most Christian populated race in Nigeria, there is no iota of doubt that the Igbo-Southeast are being targeted for total castration and elimination. During the 2011 post election violence in the 12 northern States of Nigeria, out of over 1000 people killed in both pre-election and post election violence that engulfed the country that period, at least 40% or 400 of them were from the Igbo-Southeast. The zone also lost at least 20 members of the National Youth Service Corps to both election and Boko Haram violence including the Bauchi killing of April 2011 and the Suleja INEC bombings of April 2011.

Between January 2011 and January 2012, approximately 510 sons and daughters of the Igbo-Southeast were murdered in Boko Haram bomb and weapons attacks in various parts of the country including the Madalla Igbo massacre of December 25, 2011 and the Mubi Igbo massacre of January 6, 2012. In the Jos township ethno-religious attacks of 2010 and 2011, at least 300 sons and daughters of the Igbo-Southeast were murdered. In 2010 alone, up to 800 people were killed in Jos violence. The killings included the 24th December, 2010 bomb blasts in churches populated by worshippers of the Igbo-Southeast that killed at least 80 worshippers. On 8th day of January, 2011, 40 Igbo traders were massacred in Dilimi Terminus Market, Jos in Plateau State, North-central Nigeria. On 18th day of March, 2013, over 150 citizens of the Igbo-Southeast extraction were killed in the Sabon Gari, Kano bus park bomb blasts that killed up to 180 people. In the 2011 post election violence, over 350 churches, according to the Christian Association of Nigeria, were burnt or destroyed in northern parts of the country. Ninety percent of these churches were built and populated by the Christian worshippers of the Igbo-Southeast extraction resident in northern Nigeria. Instances are too many to mention. It is utterly disheartening that in spite of these supreme sacrifices paid by the sons and daughters of the zone with respect to Your Excellency’s presidency, the zone remains an endangered species under Your Excellency’s administration. The zone is further castrated and disempowered by being ostracized from federal appointments and promotions such as in the Nigeria Police Force.

Condolences Over The Killing Of Over 100 Security Personnel In Two Days: We deeply extend our condolences to Your Excellency and the State of Nigeria over the reported loss of over 100 security personnel in two days; 07-05-2013 and 08-05-2013 in Bama, Borno State, Northeast Nigeria and Lafia in Nasarawa State, North-central Nigeria. While 22 police personnel, 14 prisons officials and two soldiers were reportedly killed alongside four civilians and 13 insurgents in Bama by Hoko Haram Islamists, credible independent sources including the Vanguard Newspaper and the BBC Hausa Service, said that 88(BBC quoting a source at Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital in Lafia) security personnel, mainly from the NPF Mobile Force were killed in Lafia by the Ombatse Shrine armed militias. Twenty-eight(State government), out of 117 security personnel(Vanguard) that went for the professionally failed operation were reported to have been found alive, while eight, out of eleven security patrol vans involved in the abortive operation, were burnt beyond recognition. The high casualty figures associated with police law enforcement operations in the country in recent times is a direct consequence of the promotion and sustenance of ethnicity, religious bigotry, favoritism, nepotism and mediocrity in the Force. The official mangling of casualty figures in Nigeria has caught up with the NPF in this respect.

Conclusion: We conclusively state that the people of the Igbo-Southeast must be protected at all times from other malicious Nigerians and given their rightful position in Nigeria’s socio-political scene. We reiterate our sacred demands contained in the letter above quoted and attached including an immediate end to the castration and exclusion of the Southeast zone from sensitive federal appointments and promotions including the Nigeria Police Force. Also the presidential delays in punishing the heads of the NPF for inexplicable high death toll of the Nigerian security personnel in 48 hours are very shocking and worrisome. We also call on Your Excellency to withdraw the names of Mr. Mike Okiro, Dr. Otive Igbuzor and Mrs. Comfort Obi as Your Excellency’s nominees for the PSC Board from the Senate and replace them with other distinguished personalities.

Yours Faithfully,

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

Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman of the Board
Mobile Phone Nos.: 08033601078, 08180103912
Email: info@intersociety-ng.org, umeagbalasi@yahoo.com
Website: intersociety-ng.org

CC:

The Executive Chairman, Federal Character Commission, FCT, Abuja, Nigeria
Deputy Senate President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, FCT, Abuja, Nigeria
Deputy Speaker, House of Reps, FCT, Abuja, Nigeria

Emeka Umeagbalasi

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

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