*Does Boko Haram deserve Amnesty?
By Dr. Lewis Akpogena
Few weeks ago, the Sultan of Sokoto, Abubakar Sa’ad asked the Federal Government to grant members of the militant group, Boko Haram, a “total and unconditional amnesty” for the sake of peace in the country. The Sultan’s basis is premised on the fact that a presidential amnesty to even one member of the sect could make others to lay down their arms for peace to reign in the nation. In reaction to the sultan’s call, President Jonathan, during his visit to Maiduguri, said his administration would not grant members of the group amnesty until such a time the group comes out in the public to dialogue with the federal government. Since these two prominent figures made these comments, Nigerians seem to have been divided on the justification of amnesty for Boko Haram. Although this division can be understood if viewed from different perspectives, it is quite disappointing that most of the views expressed are either beclouded by sentiments or emotions, especially on the part of those who think that an amnesty for Boko Haram will be a tragic mistake. It is even more disheartening when those who are in support of amnesty for Boko Haram are immediately branded Boko Haram sympathizers, just because they dared to proffer a solution. It doesn’t even matter to this people if you have been affected in one way or the other.
I particularly decided to write this piece to add the Christian perspective to the ongoing public opinion on the matter. Terrorism by any person or group of persons based on political, religious or any other persuasion that results in killing of people and destruction of properties is evil and condemnable. If Boko Haram by their activities of killing Christians, People from the Southern part of Nigeria and destruction of Churches and their properties fit being described as terrorist organization, do they deserve amnesty? What qualifies a terrorist organization being granted amnesty? Can we equate the militant agitation of the Niger Delta Militants with the activities of Boko Haram? God’s view and method are the standard to analyze any given situation in life. The Bible, God’s Word reveals God’s intent, requirements and methodology. When man rebelled against God by doing what was wrong and became violent and hostile to God’s righteous demand. God did not only express condemnation of the act but proffer solution to the situation. He became solution for the redemption of fallen man with condition. “If you believe the finished work of redemption through Jesus Christ”, “accept and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour”. Furthermore, Luke 17:3-4, “3Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him”. What if the offender refused to repent? What should be done? Jesus Christ died for the whole world but the benefits of his death is not received or enjoyed by all…only those who believe and are remorseful over their wrong.
In light of the present situation, does Boko Haram deserve amnesty? Here are some opinions on this question: Abubakar Sidiq Usman is an Urban Planning Consultant; Blogger and an Active Citizen working towards a better Nigeria has this to say: “I do not live in any of those states where Boko Haram have laid siege and fortunately, I have not been directly affected by any of their atrocities, but I do not need to be or wait till I am before I seek a way out of the evil perpetrated by these men for whatever reason, because I may not be this lucky forever. My support for amnesty is not spontaneous. I actually kicked against it when it was first suggested, but over time, I realized the need for it and that reason is not borne out of the fact that I think Boko Haram deserves amnesty. Those evil men have caused untold harm to the Nigerian state and her people. Ordinarily, they should be made to face justice for their crimes and this I believe is the argument advanced by many of those who kicked against granting them amnesty, but while this has failed to bring about peace or at least succeed in putting a stop to the insurgency, it is only normal to give amnesty a try so as to prevent further carnage. After all, an unjust peace in the views of Cicero is better than a just war”. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: An assault rifle, one of the weapons used by Boko Haram.
“Even as some persons kicked against the amnesty, they have not been able to tell us what they think can solve the problem or at least guarantee peace to the affected people, except for a continued military onslaught whose outcome has resulted in more deaths of civilians than the Boko Haram members itself. There is no guarantee that amnesty will be all that is needed, but there is even a guarantee that the presence of the JTF in those areas affected will not stop the killing of citizens of those states. At least we have seen that for over five years. The argument by some of these people is that amnesty for Boko Haram is not in any way comparable to the amnesty granted Niger Delta militants. What they failed to realize is that crime against a state is a crime. No doubt, the Boko Haram sect has killed countless number of people and destroyed properties belonging to individuals and the authority, but if Wikipedia’s definition of terrorism which it says “refers to those violent acts which are intended to create fear (terror); are perpetrated for a religious, political or, ideological goal; and deliberately target or disregard the safety of non-combatants (civilians)” is anything to go by, then the Niger Delta militants are also liable, because they’ve also killed and destroyed properties, whether comparable or not to Boko Haram. Although I quite agree with what the agitations of the militants were about, assuming it is true they did what they did in the overall interest of the Niger Deltans, it still doesn’t exonerate them from what many people want for Boko Haram. That is by the way though”.
“An amnesty for Boko Haram does not necessarily need to be the same amnesty granted to Niger Delta Militants. Fact is that not everybody in the sect will accept amnesty, especially those who are hardliners like Abubakar Shekau, but you can be sure that a good number of them will accept it, especially those who joined because their mosques were destroyed, their leaders or members were killed extra-judiciously or even those who joined because they suffered victimization from the hands of security agencies. Personally, I think amnesty for Boko Haram should come with a lot of conditions. Those who are willing for example could be asked to submit their arms; all members should be screened and those who actually deserve the gesture should be given, while those who are found to have committed heinous crimes should be made to face the course of justice. Also, the training and monthly allowance as is the case with Niger Delta militants should either be minimal or completely excluded from the amnesty package. As this is going on, a combined strategy of dialogue, improved intelligence gathering and use of force will be stepped up to tackle those who will not accept the amnesty. Gains against this terror group are even more realistic now that there seem to be different factions in the sect, as this must have weakened their ranks. There are no guarantees of success with this strategy though, but it will go a long way in reducing the number of enemies the government will have to deal with”.
“The government really needs to step up its responsibility of protecting the lives and properties of every Nigerians instead of playing politics with the issue. The claim by President Jonathan that Boko Haram is ghost and therefore cannot be granted amnesty is not only laughable, but irresponsible. We have not forgotten that the government told us severally that it is in dialogue with Boko Haram. We have also not forgotten that at a point, the government promised to publish the names of their sponsors which it never did. How come these same people all of a sudden became ghosts? President Jonathan said the elders of the terrorist stronghold should fish out the Boko Haram members. When late President Yar Adua granted amnesty to Niger delta Militants, he didn’t sit down in Aso Rock and asked leaders in the Niger Delta to fish out the militants. He empowered his vice president, who incidentally is now the President to enter into the creeks and dialogue with the militants before they finally accepted amnesty. Dr Goodluck Jonathan as vice president then worked in conjunction with governors and elders of the Niger Delta states to dialogue with the militants which eventually ended up in the amnesty. That exactly is what President Jonathan ought to do, especially now that the vice president is also a son from the north and not to sit down in Aso Rock and hand over his responsibility solely to those who do not have the requisite capacity to carry out such assignment. Until we are ready to explore as many options as possible part of which is an amnesty, we may just have to continue to live with the evils of Boko Haram for a long time coming”
Another view from the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) represented by the General Secretary, Rev. Musa Asake: “Our position is very clear. We don’t support amnesty for Boko Haram. You don’t give amnesty to people you don’t know. If those people who are calling for the amnesty know these people called Boko Haram, and they are seeking peace, let them come out and tell us why they are killing people. Their targets are Christians and they have been going after Christians and they have been saying it without mincing words. They have been saying that the Nigerian Constitution should be removed from the North and be replaced with the Sharia, if not, the violence will go on. For somebody to come out and say there should be amnesty for people like that, without considering the people that have been made widows and orphans, without considering the places of worship and schools that have been burnt down, is insensitive. In calling for amnesty, they never mentioned those widows, those orphans; they never mentioned the grave injustice that has been done to Christians. This leaves me with a very big question mark. What is the motive behind the call? There was a time that some Muslims denied that Boko Haram members were Muslims. But none of the Muslims is ready to support our position. We want to know them. What are they fighting for?”
Don’t you think granting Boko Haram amnesty could bring the crisis in the North to an end? “ Do you have a guarantee for that? We can’t play games when people’s lives are being wasted daily. Their leader, Ibrahim Shekau, came out recently and said they were fighting the cause of Allah. He never talked about injustice. He never said they were looking for justice. I really don’t understand. And there are some people, who are just trying to attract attention by comparing them with the Niger Delta militants. What happened in Niger Delta was completely different. There was a cause that they were fighting for. But the goal of this people is to destroy churches and kill Christians. When you say there is no justice, I ask: who needs justice; is it the person who is killing others or the person who is being killed? We as Nigerians need to be very sincere with ourselves. Nobody is saying anything about the people who have lost their loved ones and their places of worship destroyed. All we are hearing is that Boko Haram, faceless people, who are fighting no just cause, should be granted amnesty. I’m from the North. And I can tell you that the North has been shattered by the activities of Boko Haram members. So, it bothers me to hear someone calling for amnesty for these people”
This issue seems to have become a subject of argument between Christians and Muslims. Is there a political dimension to this or is it strictly religious? “I don’t think these people (Boko Haram members) have at anytime convinced anybody about their mission. Right from the onset, they declared that Christians are enemies of Allah, so they are out to get rid of Christians. And look at their activities. It’s only Christians they go after. They have burnt down several churches, and they killed so many Christians. So, this is not an issue that somebody should begin to scratch his head over who their target is. If you listen to all they have said, they have never minced words about eliminating Christians. So, you don’t believe poverty has a hand in this. “If you are poor, do you begin to fight and kill others? Is that the way to get rich? Can the firearms they are using, the AK 47 they are using in their numbers, be purchased by poor people? Does it make sense to say you are poor and you are holding AK 47? We are more than this kind of argument. Let’s talk of the real thing. Let’s call black black and white white. Let’s be honest with ourselves. This has nothing to do with poverty”
FOR the past four years, federal government has been fighting to end Boko Haram insurgency in the northern part of the country with little or no success. This has prompted some northern elders and legislators from that part of the country to call on the federal government to grant amnesty to the members of the Islamic sect. This call has generated a lot of controversy among Nigerians. While some people argue that Boko Haram does not deserve amnesty, others insist that amnesty is the only way out of the prevailing security challenges. God did not force salvation on people to ensure peace. He declared and called for repentance. Has Boko Haram show remorse? Who guarantees peace, security and order if amnesty is granted without fulfilling these conditions? What is your view of this?
Dr. Lewis Akpogena (08033399821, email@example.com ), A Christian devotional writer/Minister, Consultant and Educationist reports from Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
*Nigeria: Happy nation (Poem)
By Jide Olu
We are a happy people
Let us celebrate and sing a song
We are a happy nation
The last strand of our ill
The pretense that our GEJ would certainly fight corruption
Has finally breathed its last
Our corruption once again lives and kicks in fine health
We are a happy people
Let us celebrate and bring a bomb
We are a happy nation
Sultan calls for amnesty
The pretense that GEJ was surely atop the situation
Has finally breathed its last
Our politics of violence gains life as from the dead
We all are Nigerians and we have no worries
We have Goodluck Jonathan
We have the Sultan, and he has Boko Haram
And we're quiet as the mouses in our Temples
We are a happy country.
Photo Above: Map and Flag of Nigeria
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria showing its 36 states and Federal capital (Abuja or FCT)
*Tags: Nigerians, Intersociety, Council, Police, Service, Commission. Sack, Ringim, Africa, Masterweb
*Chinua Achebe as a Moral Standard – A Tribute
By Osita Ebiem
Chinua Achebe one of the most important pioneers in African literature and the advancement of world knowledge and understanding died on the 21st of March, 2013 at 82. We join with millions of others around the world with a deep sense of loss to mourn Achebe’s passing. But we also take consolation in the fact that he lived well and has left us with many clear examples of how we should conduct our human affairs. Achebe was a formidable fighter while he lived. Intellectually he fought to dissipate and disabuse the numerous misconceptions that the rest of the world held about Africa and its peoples. He fought so unreservedly on the side of truth and justice especially when he voluntarily enlisted in the rank of those that championed the struggle for the freedom and independence of his Biafran people. And for more than one decade of the last part of his life he fought without complaining a debilitating handicap where he was paralyzed from waist down and restricted to the wheelchair after a car accident on a Nigerian road. Characteristically, Achebe in spite of this restricting health problem fought his way through and remained active and productive till his last moments. Throughout this period of health troubles he still continued to teach and conduct academic seminars and conferences such as his world famous Achebe Colloquium that held annually every December at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island in the United States. Achebe had one of the best and astute of minds but most of all he was an unassailable honest intellectual and truth teller with an impeccable character.
Though this can be considered a period of transition and the realigning of many long-established world orders yet there is a general consensus amongst many chroniclers of world events and epochs that the moral standard of our world is currently struggling. This, most people agree, results from the many decades of lack of enough credible voices of people of influence with integrity that speak from the high ground of morality, honesty, truth and sincerity. On another hand there seems to be the over-abundance of people with compromised and unreliable characters in places of influence and authority. Across the globe today there are noticeable diffused morality lines or near total lack of moral standards. In some societies this negative and even dangerous lack of social/personal moral standards and a sense of what is right is being defended as social liberalism or “freedoms”. As much as we cherish true freedom as the most essential ingredient for all human progress and civilization but we are very much aware that there will always be standards and the legitimate demand from members of any responsible society that those of them in positions of authority and influence show leadership and accountability if such a society will survive and prosper. Freedom is not equivalent to recklessness and lack of individual and collective responsibility. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Prof. Chinua Achebe
Experiences have proved that it is through the path of responsible freedom and enforceable social standards that societies attain that coveted level of prosperity, greatness, civility, security and the seemingly elusive sense of the brotherhood of man. Given our present human experience it seems that there may never come a time when any society in the world will be able to afford to do without the mandatory imposition of the rule of law, individual and collective responsibilities and still hope to succeed. So, for a society to succeed the members must find a way to establish and insist on enforcing these standards and collective social goals. And because we know that the mere letters of the law and the best law enforcement agents are never enough and because human beings learn faster and better through emulation then every successful society must find and project to the fore their own human standard bearers; the beacons that the rest of the society aspire to emulate. These epitomes of who we should look like, do not only become mirrors, they also become the conscience of the society. These people do not get to be appointed by any politician or through any ballot box, they achieve this enviable position through dint of hard work and the will to transcend self and maintain stability; consistency in the midst of the vagaries and influences of situations, institutions, environments and persons around them.
It is in this area of being the society’s mirror and conscience that Achebe the artist, intellectual and a human being shines forth so unmistakably. Chinua Achebe through hard work and personal discipline became the mirror and conscience of the society: The Nigerian society and beyond. Through personal choice and conscious effort, Achebe became one of the most important credible truth tellers and unassailable honest individuals of all time who would neither be corrupted nor compromised by powers or tainted honors. It was consistent with his character that though Achebe had accepted numerous local and international merit awards in the past but he would not accept, on two different occasions, national awards from Nigeria’s government in 2004 and 2011 respectively. He rejected these awards because as he said, Nigeria has become too dangerous, unjustifiably genocidal, irretrievably corrupt and unwilling to succeed as a society or country. It should be noted here that his friend Christopher Okigbo, the internationally acclaimed poet and Biafran soldier who died fighting for Biafra’s freedom and independence had exhibited similar characteristic too. Okigbo would not accept an international literary award in 1965 on the basis that it was couched in a discriminatory nomenclature. When anyone person has a strong enough character and moral strength they would always look at even the proverbial gift horse in the mouth because they will not for any reason accept personal gains and promotions at the expense of the greater good.
Achebe lived through an era when truth, justice and the will to do what is right experienced their most difficult moments amongst world leading politicians and policy makers. In Achebe’s prime in the 1960s world leaders and politicians were merely concerned about what will be for their parochial individual interests and were willing to employ every form of chicanery and even immoral brazen display of official power, arm-twisting and undue influences in thwarting justice and what is right. Like official position bullies they overreached themselves and sought to destroy small people and imaginary enemies with disproportional jackboots and sledge hammers. (In those days Britain under the leadership of Harold Wilson did not see anything wrong in the death of more than 3 million Biafrans; Chinua Achebe’s people, so long as the sacrifice of Biafra’s children and women of that number would preserve a hopeless one Nigeria).
The Biafran crisis of 1966 to 1970 afforded Great Britain under Prime Minister Harold Wilson one of the best opportunities of all time to do what is right in regards with Nigeria. That was the time when Britain should have acted as an impartial arbiter and helped to re-divide the country as it should be: Along the pre-colonial and still existing ethnic/religious dividing lines. Right from the onset of the ill-fated amalgamation of 1914 by the British colonialist Frederick Lugard it has always been known that the various ethnic/religious groups in Nigeria have very irreconcilable cultural, social, religious and linguistic differences and that they can never coexist and build a successful society as citizens of the same country. Had Britain then honestly taken this most appropriate, reasonable and honorable line of action, the terrible and unconscionable disgraceful murderous events that are taking place in Nigeria today would have been avoided. That Britain was inexcusably wrong in supporting the continued existence of one Nigeria especially at the time when events presented themselves for the division of the country can easily be proved. Two examples among numerous others will suffice here. All through the colonial era when Britain controlled Nigeria there were several warning signs that were ignored which clearly showed and still show that the peoples that are being forced to live as citizens of one country in Nigeria can never become one and will only end up (as in the physicist’s matter/antimatter phenomenon) annihilating one another should they continue as one Nigeria. The 1945 and 1953 ethnic/religious cleansing in Jos and Kano respectively are just two apt examples. Jos and Kano are two Islamic North of Nigeria cities that have continued to be in the news for exactly the same reasons of ethnic/religious genocides till today.
Today Nigeria as a country has become an abysmal nightmare, the scourge of the civilized world and the graveyard of truth, justice, honesty, sincerity, secured existence of citizens and every positive trait that should normally be found in a modern society. Nigeria has become a bedlam, a thriving center of world Islamic terrorism and the seat of the worst kind of corrupt sociopolitical management. British and other Western nationals are being kidnapped and murdered on a regular basis in Nigeria by Islamic fundamentalist groups like Boko Haram, Ansaru and others which are known to have working relationships with al Qaeda worldwide network and those at the Maghreb in North Africa, AQIM. This mayhem is taking place in Nigeria today because Nigeria is a hopelessly failed government and political state. And this failure has its root in the initiation and perpetuation of an unworkable one Nigeria by the colonial British. This unnecessary Islamic violence to persons and properties, bad governance of society and waste of resources would have easily been avoided in the 1960s when the Biafran crisis afforded the opportunity. The peoples of the former Eastern Region of Nigeria under the assumed name of Biafra were pushed into opting out of the Nigerian union and they sought for a separate existence through the exercise of their legal and legitimate right to Self Determination and national independence. But Britain led a coalition of allies to fight them back and defeat them.
But nevertheless, and because the Biafran effort was just, honest and right, Chinua Achebe who was always known for his honesty, incorruptible integrity and sterling strength of character was among those at the vanguard that championed Biafra’s independence. Though Britain under the leadership of Harold Wilson spearheaded the counter move, yet it did not diminish the justness and the necessity of the Biafran effort. During the 1960s while the crisis was on Wilson as the Prime Minister of Britain worked with the then Soviet Union as he mobilized Egypt, the Islamic Arab League of Nations, the United Nations of U Thant, African Union, then known as Organization of African Unity and a number of other political power centers around the world and worked to frustrate what would have been a redemptive opportunity for Britain.
Britain in Biafra was offered a very rare golden opportunity to redeem itself and show that the colonial mistake they made in creating one Nigeria was a mistake of bad judgment and not a deliberate act to create a monstrous demon that would eventually self-destruct while “entertaining” the spectators as in the gruesomeness of the gladiatorial fashion in the Amphitheater of the old Rome. The Self Determination and independence move made by Biafrans in the 1960s offered the British and still do the chance to fix one of the most terrible devastating mistakes of the colonial Europe in Africa (please refer to the 1884 to 1885 Berlin Conference). Unfortunately that opportunity was bungled but it is never too late to do the right thing. The time is just right today as it was then in 1960s; to divide Nigeria. Dividing Nigeria today will solve permanently Nigeria’s problem of Islamic terrorism, British and other foreign nationals’ kidnappings and killings and end the seemingly unending genocides and ethnic/religious cleansings.
Emphatically, dividing Nigeria is Chinua Achebe’s last testament and wishes as he stated in his last and the most important of all his books. Achebe’s memoir was published only a few months before his death and it is the final word on the most reliable solution to one Nigeria: Divide Nigeria. There was A Country: A Personal History of Biafra by Chinua Achebe (published by Penguin Press, New York, 2012) tells us that for the sake of our children and their own children, Nigeria must be divided now. Achebe witnessed the injustices of Biafra and after more than fifty years he concludes in the book that Britain and other former colonial powers that created the unworkable modern states of Africa must help to unravel and disentangle the irreconcilable national unions like in one Nigeria. It is a general consensus that Achebe contributed positively and immensely to the collective global knowledge, progress and understanding through his excellent intellectual efforts. And the best way the world can show gratitude and appreciation for this invaluable contribution now that Achebe is dead is to help fulfill his last wishes: The security and freedom of his people. The greatest tribute that anyone or group can bestow on Achebe is to prove to our common humanity that it is still right to live honestly and support what is right like Chinua Achebe demonstrated with his life and works. The killings of Achebe’s people in Nigeria as in the 1960s when Achebe and his fellow compatriots had to go to war to prove their right to life and human dignity continues today unabated. Achebe’s memory is asking all humanity to help end these kidnappings and killings by dividing Nigeria and setting Achebe’s people free. The people of the former Eastern Region of Nigeria; Chinua Achebe’s people, are still as anxious to leave Nigeria and become a separate sovereign independent country today as they were in the 1960s. And Achebe as the quintessential specimen of the best things anyone can hope for in the finest of human beings, in parting offers to us the only answer to the many troubles of Nigeria and the only hope for his Biafran people: The division of Nigeria now.
*Tags: Nigerians, Intersociety, Council, Police, Service, Commission. Sack, Ringim, Africa, Masterweb
*Literary Giant Or Nobel Laureate?
By Chris Onyishi
I recapped, recently, two tributes on Prof. Chinua Achebe by Tola Adeniyi (“Chinua Achebe: The Uncrowned Nobel Laureate”) and Shola Balogun (“THE NOBEL LAUREATE WE NEVER HAD”). These two tributes are just but a figment in the avalanche of tributes to the great writer upon the news of passage to the world beyond.
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"
I accentuated Tola’s tribute thus:
When the main issue is about character and men of no mean literary state from all works of life talk fluently about an individual, in most unguarded ecstasy as we have witnessed on Prof. Achebe, then even the corruption laden uncharitable rulers of Nigeria would have to have a break. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Prof. Chinua Achebe
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 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 t 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 accorded this honor both in the past and in the future.
Chris Onyishi (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes from Lagos, Nigeria
*Digital Africa Conference & Exhibition To Hold In Abuja, Nigeria April 23-25
By Masterweb News Desk
The inaugural Digital Africa Conference & Exhibition (dubbed Digital Africa 2013) is scheduled for April 23 thru 25th at Nicon Luxury Hotel, in Abuja, Nigeria. Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country and largest telecom market in the continent.
The event will bring together ICT communities from Africa and the rest of the world to do business and network among themselves under one roof for the three days of the event. This will in the long run enable Africa to be competitive in the 21st century, while at the same time opening new markets to investors. Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja Sheraton Hotel, Bolingo Hotel, Protea Hotel-Asokoro, Chelsea Hotel, Rockview Hotel, and Hampton Suites have been designated as official accommodation hotels for guests expected from around Nigeria, Africa and the rest of the world.
Digital Africa 2003 is promoted by Compumetrics Solutions Limited, and organized on its behalf by Eli Business Support Services Limited and Red Sapphire Nigeria Limited. Dr. Evans Woherem, CEO of Compumetrics Solutions Limited in a press statement described Africa as the last frontier for global ICT companies seeking fresh markets. Ralph Szymczak, a telecom analyst in Landesbank, Germany described Africa as second to China in terms of global ICT growth in the last five years. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Dr. Evans Woherem, CEO of Compumetrics Solutions Limited – promoter of event.
Everyone in the ICT industry, irrespective of residence should plan on attending this function because Africa is the ICT destination of the 21st century. God Bless Africa, African Union Award Winning Anthem composed by Chief Charles O. Okereke is billed to grace the inaugural event.
Below are contact details for the event.
Telephone: +234 803 063 5853
*Tags: Nigerians, Intersociety, Council, Police, Service, Commission. Sack, Ringim, Africa, Masterweb
*Oyerinde’s Murder: Saving Nigeria Police Force From Political & Media Crucifixion
By Intersociety-Nigeria (Public Statement)
(Onitsha-Nigeria, 5th day of April, 2013)-On 21st day of January, 2013, the leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law, released a public statement-titled: "The Nigeria Police Force: The Good Versus The Bad & The Ugly". We had in the widely publicized statement stated clearly that despite the corporate failure of the NPF in matters of security and crime in the country, there is still the good side of the Force. We also stated that there are some personnel of the Force who are less corrupt; patriotic and proven to be good ambassadors of the Force in recent times. Some of the commendable works of the NPF in recent times were highlighted in the statement, which included its investigation into the gruesome murder of Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde; a principal aide to the Governor of Edo State, South-south Nigeria. We made it clear that despite the very bad image the Force attracted to itself over the years, it should be commended when its works commendably and condemned when the reverse is the case. Some of the atrocious acts of the Force in recent times such as continued extra-judicial killings, torture and corruption were highlighted. Also highlighted as part of its good works was the 30th day of January, 2012 dislodgement of the over 3,500 police roadblocks and extortion points in the country, which, to a reasonable extent, is still in force. Hours before the statement went to press, reports came out that up to 50 dead citizen bodies, if not more, were found dumped and floating on the Ezu River of Death in Awka, Anambra State, Southeast Nigeria with accusing fingers pointing in consensus at the Anambra State Police Command via its SARS terror squad to the effect that they were killed by same extra-judicially.
Alarmed by unending media altercations between the Government of Edo State and the leadership of the NPF over the investigation outcomes in the murder of the late Principal Secretary, a decision was taken by our leadership to revisit the investigation of the murder saga. This is with a view to ensuring that an undue advantage is not taken by the Government of Edo State to further destroy the already battered image of the NPF with respect to the matter under reference. It is also to ensure that the NPF is not covering up the real identities of those that murdered the late NLC Comrade as alleged by the Government of Edo State. Following the well publicized statement of ours as well as petitions from certain quarters, the leadership of the Nigeria’s House of Representatives intervened and referred the matter to its standing committee on police affairs for civil investigation and on 17th and 27th of February 2013, the representatives of the NPF (FCID) and the Government of Edo State were heard on the contentious matter under reference. Despite the transparent public presentations by the two altercating parties, the Government of Edo State has refused to be quiet or be quieted. Just recently, the Governor of Edo State and the Attorney General of the Federation & Minister of Justice nearly engaged themselves in a free for all in a public outing at Aso Rock, the country’s central seat of power over the contentious issue with respect to the referral of the murder’s case file (armed robbery angle) by the NPF to the AGF, which the Governor frowned at. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Late Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde
For records, the late Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde, a former staff of the NLC and Principal Private Secretary to the Governor of Edo State was gruesomely murdered in the early hours of 4th day of May, 2012 at his residence, No. 65, 2nd Ugbor Road, GRA, Benin City, Edo State by some malicious armed men, minutes after he, accompanied by his friend; one Reverend David Ugolor, returned from a social night outing in Benin City with their female friends-Miss Ada Blessing Ogbonna and her relative. The gruesome murder took place less than three months before the Edo State staggered gubernatorial poll which was held in July 2012. Investigations into the murder commenced hours later same date with the arrival of the NPF special investigation team led by DIG Peter Gana-DIG FCID, seconded by DCP Chris Ezike-DC F/SARS.
From the criminological evaluation of the investigations so far carried out by the NPF investigation team, the investigation appears to be one of the most extensive and scientifically advanced criminal investigations carried out by the NPF on any capital offence crimes in Nigeria in recent times. The NPF investigations started from the scene of crime (Oyerinde’s residence), last scene seen (a hotel where the duo of Olaitan Oyerinde and one Reverend David Ugolor and their two female friends were last seen), plotters’ garden (restaurant/corner where the plot was hatched) to material victims of the crime (items stolen or taken away from the crime scene). The NPF investigators’ breakthroughs came from the forensic tracking of the telephone hardware of telephone numbers belonging to key members of the late Oyerinde’s family including his wife-Mrs. Funke Oyerinde and her brother in-law-Mr. Oletubo Adeyinka. Some of the telephones stolen from the scene of crime are four Black Berry handsets, one Nokia handset, two Galaxy taps, one I-PAD and one Laptop computer.
The celebrated forensic tracking missions started on 9th day of June, 2012 at Ragia Lemo Line, Daremi-Fagge in Kano State where the telephone hardware of Mrs. Funke Oyerinde’s phone was being used by Suspect Abubakar Lawal. The NPF forensic tracking missioners also stormed Yola, Adamawa State on 22nd day of June, 2012 on the strength of information that the telephone hardware of late Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde’s phone was in use. The valuable clues so obtained led to the Benin forensic tracking mission of 26th day of June, 2012 from where one Garba Usman Maisamari of No. 11, Ezeoba Street, off Sakpoba Road, Benin City, Edo State, was arrested. Found in his possession were 23 used SIM cards of different networks among other stolen items. It was from this suspect that the stolen items from the late Comrade’s house including the ones found in the hands of one of the suspects paraded by the SSS originated. He was also alleged to be the immediate organizer of the armed robbery and murder operations in the late Comrade’s house as well as the suspect who named one Reverend David Ugolor as the sponsor of the dastardly act with an alleged promise to pay the killers N20million after execution and an instant part payment of N200, 000. The malicious deal was reportedly sealed at two plotters’ gardens in Benin City, Edo State called Bob Izua Park area and Somebody’s Parliament (a beer parlour) located at Owina Junction, Benin City.
NPF’s Re-investigation Of Seven Suspects Paraded By The SSS:
Six suspects were originally paraded in Abuja on 1st day of August, 2012 by Nigeria’s secret intelligence agency called State Security Services or SSS as the killers of the late Comrade-a theory totally believed by the Government of Edo State till date. The SERVICE, while parading them, announced to the public that the suspects were arrested in the late Comrade’s house. This dimension brought a twist into the contentious matter as how two different sets of malicious armed gangs could be arrested and paraded by the NPF and the SSS as the same killers and robbers of the late Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde. On 23rd day of August, 2012, the SSS, in compliance with its establishment Act, which restricts its powers to intelligence gathering, protection of certain VIPs-very important public persons, etc; other than law enforcement and diligent criminal investigation/prosecution; transferred the seven suspects-with additional one suspect from the original six, to the NPF for diligent criminal investigation and prosecution. The suspects were transferred without Preliminary or Interim Investigation Report, which usually contains complainants, witnesses or suspects’ statements, search warrants, attestations by the preliminary investigation officers, etc. The only exhibits handed over to the NPF with the seven suspects were one Europa Pump Action gun and two Russian Double Barrel guns, said to have been recovered from one Mohammed Ibrahim Abdullahi-a Hausa-Fulani resident of Benin City and a member of the gang so called. Interestingly, the suspect vehemently denied ownership of the said guns and stated that it was only kitchen knives belonging to his three wives and a hammer that were recovered in his residence in Benin City when it was searched by the SSS.
The NPF said it requested formally from the SSS, for the provision of these, but to no avail. The re-investigation of the seven suspects by the NPF, which became pertinent owing to the inexplicable absence of the foregoing; showed no linkage between the suspects and the murder and robbing of the late Oyerinde and members of his household except a malicious transaction between Suspects Bashiru Hassan and Lawal Abubakar involving some e-communication items stolen from the late Comrade’s house, which were traced to the same NPF’s prime suspect in Benin City named Garba Usman Maisamari, who, apart from dealing on stolen items like phones, told the NPF investigators that he was hired and partly paid by one David Ugolor to execute the dastardly operation in the late Comrade’s house on 4th day of May,2012. The NPF re-investigation outcome also revealed that the seven SSS suspects were involved in other armed robbery and illicit homicide operations around Benin City, but not the murder and robbing of the late Comrade. Proper identification parades were also arranged by the NPF featuring the SSS suspects; and members of the late NLC’s Comrade’s household including Mr. Alhadu Ali Metu-the gateman, were unable to identify any of them as culprit in the heinous crime. But in the other pictorial identification parade preferred by Mrs. Funke Oyerinde, four out of many faces brought to her were identified as those behind her husband’s murder. Based on these different findings, the SSS suspects were arraigned before the Oredo Magistrate Court on 1st day of November, 2012 and remanded in prisons’ custody till date.
The Magistrate Court Arraignment & DPP’s Advice Controversy:
In compliance with the controversial Holden Charge principle-art of taking a suspect indicted by the police on capital offence before a magistrate court that lacks power to try him or her, which was reaffirmed controversially by the Supreme Court of Nigeria in the case of Lufadeju v Bayo Johnson, the suspects investigated by the NPF in the Oyerinde’s murder and other violent criminal operations around Benin City, were arraigned before an Oredo Magistrate Court on 31st day of August, 2012 via three charge sheets namely-Charge No.MOR/326c/2012, Charge No.MOR/327c/2012 and Charge No.MOR/328c/2012. They were all remanded in prisons custody and have remained there till date. In compliance with the usual practice in Nigeria’s Criminal Justice System, the suspects’ case files were forwarded to the relevant DPPs for pieces of legal advice. The pieces of advice expected were drawn from capital offences of murder, armed robbery and related others with their presumed offenders drawn from principal offenders, joint acts and criminal conspiracy-three major parties to crime. Owing to the controversies trailing the murder and armed robbery saga and jurisdictional competence of the Government of Edo State with respect to offences of murder and armed robbery and the Federal Government of Nigeria with respect to offences of armed robbery, unlawful possession of firearms and related others; the Edo State DPP and the Federal DPP offered two separate legal opinions dated 29th day of October, 2012-referenced No.01/s.6712/12(Ed0 DPP) and 21st day of January 2013, referenced DPP/ADV:128/12(Federal DPP), respectively. The Edo DPP’s advice was predicated on a referral emanating from the Oredo Magistrate Court, dated 5th day of September, 2012 and referenced MOR/21/242.
As a result, the Edo DPP established a prima facie case of conspiracy to commit armed robbery, armed robbery and murder in the late NLC Comrade’s household against Suspects Garba Usman Maisamari, Auta Umaru Ali, Moses Asamah Okoro and Usman Adamu. The FCID of the NPF; the chief investigator of the heinous crime, has vehemently denied the existence of one Usman Adamu, who was included in the Edo DPP’s perused case file, on the ground that the name was strange and imported. The Edo DPP also made a prima facie case of receiving robbed property against Hassan Aliyu Babete and Idris Abdulhamid. In the case of the Federal DPP, which was strictly asked by the NPF to peruse and advice under the Robbery & Firearms Act of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004, a prima facie case of conspiracy, armed robbery and unlawful possession of firearms was made out against Danjuma Musa, Muritala Usman, Auta Umaru Ali and Moses Asamah Okoro. Suspects Mohammed Baba Yelwa, Idris Abdulhamid, Abubakar Lawal, Abubakar Raji, Hassan Babete Aliyu and Garba Usman Maisamari were recommended to be charged for the offence of receiving stolen property in line with Section 5 of the Robbery & Firearms Act of 2004. Suspects Wilfred Eserhienrhein and Umaru Adamu(Duna) were recommended for trial under the offence of unlawful possession of firearms in line with the provisions of said Act. Interestingly, both the Edo and the Federal DPPs advised that Suspect David Ugolor would not be successfully tried because the confessional statement of prime Suspect Garba Usman Maisamari implicating him as the chief hirer of the dastardly mission was not enough under the law to convict him especially when it was not corroborated. While the Edo DPP called for his discharge and acquittal, the Federal DPP said he should be re-investigated.
Areas Of Altercation/Conflict Between The Edo State Government & The NPF:
The first major area of conflict involves the handling of the multiple fatal road accidents involving the Edo Governor’s convoy prior to Edo gubernatorial poll of July 2012, which were fully investigated by the FCID via a transfer letter (preliminary investigation report) dated 10th day of May, 2012 from the local police/SSS joint team. The NPF’s final findings revealed that the accidents were caused by the drivers’ over speeding, negligence and recklessness and that there was no political undertone behind same. The suspects were arraigned before the Fuze Magistrate Court on June 28, 2012 for conspiracy and murder and remanded in prisons custody till date without proper trial at the high court of justice. It was upon this premise that the national leadership of the PDP, which had been at the center of accusation, reacted to it publicly and said that its party has been vindicated-a development the Edo State Government did not take lightly. This marked the beginning of bad blood between the two altercating parties. The second area of conflict involves the implication of one Reverend David Ugolor in the murder saga. Reverend Ugolor, as last person seen with the late NLC Comrade, was earlier questioned by the NPF. He was again implicated by way of confessional statement as the chief hirer by prime Suspect Garba Usman Maisamari. This was followed up with proper identification parade witnessed and agreed upon by his lawyer. Reverend Ugolor was very close to both the Edo State Governor and the late NLC’s Comrade before the latter’s gruesome murder. It is a widely held view that the Government of Edo State is leaving no stone unturned to pervert the thorough investigation of the said reverend.
Further, the third area of altercation is the typographical error contained in the date of the arrest of Suspects Danjuma Musa and Muritala Usman, who were arrested on 24th day of May, 2012 and handed over to the Divisional Police Officer of the Oba Market Police Station in Benin City, from where they were transferred to the Edo State SARS for unlawful possession of firearms. The FCID took over their case file on 27th day of June, 2012, in connection with the murder and robbing of the late NLC Comrade on 4th day of May, 2012. Owing to the error in the said date, the Government of Edo and its media and CSO sympathizers claimed that the duo were already in the Edo State Police custody at the time of the gruesome murder having been arrested on 24th day of April, 2012. Other than the spotted error in a part of the records, other records associated with same including the suspects’ statements bore 24th day of May, 2012 as their date of arrest. The fourth area of the duo’s altercation is the manner with which the Government of Edo State handled its DPP’s advice in the subject matter under reference. The NPF is appalled that rather than returning the said case file to the NPF for the diligent prosecution of the defendants at the high court of justice or taking over the said prosecution, the Edo State Attorney General chose to press its legal opinion on the pages of newspaper via the Nation Newspaper of 9th day of November, 2012. It took the NPF protest letter of 19th day of November, 2012, for the said AG and his DPP to send a copy to the DIG-FCID, Abuja, Nigeria.
The foregoing factual presentations clearly show that the Nigeria Police Force, represented by the DIG, FCID and his officers performed very excellently in the investigation into late Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde’s murder and, therefore, does not deserve the orchestrated media attacks directed at it, openly sponsored by the Government of Edo State, South-south Nigeria. Instead, it is the said State Government that failed woefully on its sacred social duties by allowing the suspects investigated by the NPF over the multiple fatal accidents involving the Governor’s convoy and those involved in the murder of the late NLC’s Comrade as well as other violent criminal operations around Benin City to continue to languish in the prisons’ custodies even after it said they respectively have a case to answer in the high court of justice, yet it could not prosecute them till date. Also, granted that the Holden Charge has been anti-socially okayed by the Supreme Court of Nigeria, it is appalling and shocking too, that suspects in Edo State, the home of the Comrade Governor so called, are still held in prisons’ custodies ad infinitum under the guise of Holden Charge Remands or Awaiting Trials. The likes of Lagos State have extensively reformed its criminal justice administration including limiting the periods of the Holden Charge Remands to less than one month as case may be. Till date, there are no pieces of evidence from the side of the Government of Edo State particularly used or shot cartridges from the crime scene or the victim’s body, showing that they were shot from guns different in model or type from those being paraded by the NPF.
True to the position of Edo State Government, all the killers of the late NLC’s Comrade may not have been found in their completeness. From this date till next seven years, as allowed by law, investigations into the matter are still open and anybody including one Reverend David Ugolor and one Comrade Oshiomole Adams can be diligently investigated or re-investigated, either now or in nearer future. Any of them can be innocent or guilty. The Nigeria Police Force is the police of every Nigerian-the good, the bad and the ugly; therefore, it must be protected especially when it gets it right and bashed unpardonably when it gets it wrong. On our part, our criticism of the NPF from time to time is purely reformative, constructive and strategic. In all, it is meant to reform and refocus the Force and not to destroy it. It should be commended where necessary and condemn where necessary as well.
We call on the Government of Edo State to carry out extensive reforms of its criminal justice administration particularly as it concerns the maximum periods the Holden Charge Remand inmates can be held before being tried in the high court of justice. The Apex Court’s pronouncement on the legality and practicability of the Holden Charge in Nigeria –Lufadeju v Bayo Johnson should be revisited and reversed. It is our advocacy position that if a court lacks jurisdiction in any criminal trial, it should expressly wash her hands off the case completely and order the arraigning police officers to take their suspects back and charge them in the appropriate courts. Remanding suspects in prisons custodies and ordering that their case files be transferred to the DPP for legal advice so called expressly amounts to assumption of jurisdiction, which the same magistrate courts claim to be running away from.
Since no citizen can be charged in two courts at the same time over same criminal offence in Nigeria, the Edo State DPP is called upon to take over immediately the diligent trial of all the suspects indicted by itself including the presumed murderers and robbers of the late Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde, the Governor’s convoy multiple accidents offenders and those indicted over several violent criminal operations around Benin City including those paraded by the SSS and re-investigated by the NPF, who are still languishing in prisons custodies almost one year after the said capital offences and related others were committed. Those suspects not covered by the Edo DPP perused case files, but who were indicted by the Federal DPP under the Robbery & Firearms Act(special provisions) of the Federation should be tried by same immediately.
Chairman of the Board
International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
41, Miss Elems Street, Fegge, Onitsha-Nigeria
Comrade Justus Ijeoma
Head, Publicity Desk
*Chinua Achebe—a Poet, Philosopher and Prophet
By C. Kingston Ekeke, Ph.D
It is with heavy heart and deep sorry, I pen this condolence message and tribute in honor of Albert Chinualumogu Achebe. On behalf of my family and Leadership Wisdom Institute, I wish the Achebe’s family, God’s peace and rest over the passing in glory of the eminent poet, the master novelist, and an essayist per excellence. Our hearts, sympathy, and condolences are with you and your loved ones over this incalculable loss. Ndi-Igbo and indeed the entire nation have lost a national treasure.
The late Prof. Chinua Achebe was a man of dignity, honor, and integrity. He was a brilliant scholar and intellectual giant. Chinua Achebe was a literary giant, a prolific writer, an iconic figure and Nigeria’s pride. He was a rare human-being, a man of moral consciousness and divine integrity. Prof. Achebe was Africa’s pride and a gift to the world.
As a poet, novelist and essayist, Chinua Achebe’s notable achievements include his famous 1958 novel, “Things Fall Apart,” which have sold more than 10 million copies and translated in more than 50 languages. Things Fall Apart is read and studied in schools, colleges and institutions of higher learning in over 100 countries of the world. Achebe’s writings have influenced and inspired the global community for more than half a century. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Prof. Chinua Achebe
As a philosopher, Chinua Achebe was a great thinker and intellectual icon. He was a true gem, a sage and an incomparable personality in human history. He was a prolific author, a master writer and one of the most celebrated writers in the world. Prof. Achebe stands incomparable amongst the world's greatest writers, poets and novelists of all time. Millions of writers—aspiring and skilled, as well as millions of readers around the world, found in him their inspiration. Even the world’s greatest poets are inspired by his writings and style. His writing style reads like music and melody.
As a prophet, Chinua Achebe showed an intense concern about the nation’s corrupt and failed leadership. In his famous book entitled: “The Trouble with Nigeria,” he succinctly writes, “The trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership.” He was so concerned with the pandemic poverty, disease, corruption, violence, ethical and moral decadence in Nigeria due to failure of leadership. In his lifetime, he saw Nigeria degenerate from a nation of hope to a nation of lawlessness and irresponsible leadership.
Today, the wealth of the nation is being fleeced by a leadership cult that does not care for the common good of the country. What we have today is a lawless and disorderly nation—a country with repugnant culture of callousness and irresponsibility. A nation of ethnic jingoism and tribal hatred, a nation where truth is portrayed as false and false as truth depending on who is saying it. Chinua Achebe, the poet, philosopher, prophet and sage always spoke truth to power no matter whose feelings is hurt.
Like prophet Amos, Chinua Achebe spoke to a crumbling nation, a nation since independence has not been able to govern itself, a nation that has not truly enjoyed any period of political peace and economic prosperity despite its abundant resources—human and natural.
Like prophet Amos, Professor Achebe spoke to a nation that is inwardly rotten, against perverted religious nation and corrupt spiritual leaders—hypocritical priests, pastors, bishops, and syncretic church.
Like prophet Isaiah, Achebe possessed prophetic consciousness and spoke against a rebellious nation, a nation of cheaters, looters, liars, hypocrites and irresponsible leaders. He cried out for the ordinary folk who are cheated and exploited by those who claim to be their leaders. He understood the hurt and pains of millions of suffering Nigerians. Like prophet Jeremiah, he wept for Nigeria and condemned social injustice and deceptive prosperity and warned her against injustice, idolatry, and immorality. However, the sage also believed in the power and greatness of Nigeria that can only come when Nigeria buries its tumultuous past; make a sincere decision to live in peace again and genuine effort to re-integrate the Igbos and minorities in the affairs of Nigeria.
As a poet, he was a combination of Dante and Milton. As a philosopher, he was Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle combined. And a prophet, he was the conscience of the nation and a combination of Hosea, Amos, Micah, Isaiah, and Jeremiah. When one reads the writings of Chinua Achebe, one cannot help comparing him among the great and Greek Homeric epics, or English Shakespeare and other greats. Chinua Achebe had a heightened sense of divine agony against the culture of callousness, corruption as well as lawless and disorderly country Nigeria had become.
His recent book, “There was a country—Personal History of Biafra,” which has been described by New York Times as classic, the foremost novelist and world renowned essayist, Professor Chinua Achebe, not only recounts his experiences of the ethnic genocide against Ndi-Igbo, but the deliberate effort to exclude his ethnic people from the affairs of running the nation—a nation in which the Igbos constitute more than one-third of the population and contribute tremendously to the federation.
Despite the barrage of criticisms against his Biafra memoir by some political crabs and idlers because of his facts of genocide, pogrom and wicked monetary policy meted against Ndi-Igbo by Awo and Gowon, the literary icon and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Novelist Wole Soyinka agreed with most of the facts in Achebe’s book. Frankly, it strikes me that most Nigerian political leaders are still living in denial. As one commentator said, words and facts in Chinua Achebe's latest sacramental book: "There was a country", are sacrosanct. Nigeria cannot move forward until she deals with her past. Nigeria cannot and will not move forward until repentance, genuine forgiveness and true reconciliation are made. Ethnic jingoism and hatred, religious bigotry and intolerance, corruption and vision-less leadership are just some of the challenges hindering Nigeria’s development and progress. Until the national leadership courageously deals with such issues, Nigeria will continue to exist in absolute vanity.
Chinua Achebe is a man of honor and integrity. He was a rare human-being and a heavenly gift to the world. He was a great thinker and intellectual giant, the moral conscience of Nigeria and moral fighter for his ethnic people, Ndigbo. Among the dead and those living, even those who claim to be anointed writers today, none is comparable to the late Chinua Achebe. He was a sage, an intellectual giant and global treasure. He possessed an indomitable spirit, and was a champion for justice and a prophet who used his pen to speak against a nation that continues to squander its greatness and glory because of religious intolerance, ethnic hatred and bad leadership.
Let it be noted that the Achebe’s family alone did loose their beloved father, grand-father, uncle, brother, etc., but Ndi-igbo, Nigeria, Africa and indeed the world lost a gem, a sage, and a rare man, whose name and books will continue to resonate throughout the entire global community. On behalf of my family, I wish to express my deepest sympathy and condolences to Achebe’s family over the passing in glory of Chinua Achebe in Boston, Massachusetts and his older brother, Philip Achebe in Atlanta, Georgia a week prior. I pray God Almighty to encourage your hearts and for you to know that your beloved ones have departed this earthly realm to be with the LORD in heaven. They have entered into everlasting peace and glory where there are no more pain, sickness, and suffering.
May God dry your tears and fill you and your family with comfort during this time of grieve, sorrow, and sadness. May the Lord grant the dead eternal peace and give the bereaving family the fortitude to bear this huge loss. May his soul rest in eternal peace! Amen.
May the LORD bless Albert Chinualumogu Achebe and keep you; May the LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; May the LORD turn His face toward you and give you peace” (Numbers 6:24). Amen.
In his book, a ‘Call to Conscience,’ Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, “death is not a period that ends the great sentence of life but a comma that punctuates it to more loft significance.”
May Chinua Achebe and his works will live forever in our minds and hearts. Adieu.
We bemoan today.
In Deepest Sympathy,
C. Kingston Ekeke, Ph.D. , is a public theologian, author, consultant and leadership scholar. He is the founder and president of Leadership Wisdom Institute.
*Clip of Chief Charles Okereke BBC London Interview of March 31, 2013
By Masterweb News Desk
People’s Servant (Chief) Charles O. Okereke, Masterweb Founder/CEO spoke on BBC London on Sunday, March 31, 2013 on issues on the desirability and criteria for Black British and African anthems. It was a challenging encounter because Chief Okereke did not have preknowledge of the questions for the interview. His astonishing performance in the interview was based on his complete........
*NAEC 1st Quarter Conference: Commander Stresses The Need For Hardwork
By Capt A Abdullahi – NAEC APR
The acting Commander Nigerian Army Education Corps (NAEC) Brigadier Sunday Adedapo Adebayo stresses the need for hard work among Army education officers adding that only through improved effort the best can be tap out of officers. He made this known during an interactive session at the NAEC first quarter conference.
The conference which was held at Nigerian Army School of Education (NASE) Ilorin witnessed participation of Nigerian Army education officers from across units and formations of the Army. The five days event started with a lecture titled “Challenges and prospect of NAEC: The way forward” delivered by Colonel MO Ideh (retired) ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Acting Comd NAEC arriving the venue of NAEC first quarter conference
Earlier, the acting corps Commander paid a courtesy visit to Commander 22 Armoured Brigade, he commended the cordial relationship existing between Nigerian Army School of Education and the Brigade, and then he pledged an improved improved relationship between the two co-located formation and school. Responding the Commander 22 Brigade, Brigadier General IM Alkali appreciates the visit and promised to maintain and improve the relationship, he later wish the acting commander a successful conduct of the conference.
Highlight of the NAEC quarterly conference include lectures, discussions by the seasoned retired army officers, briefs from various NAEC officers on the field and interacting sessions on how to rejuvenate NAEC for better performance of its roles in support of Chief of Army Staff vision.
By Abubakar ABDULLAHI
Army Public Relations Officer
*Kano Bus Bombings:Kano State Government Should Be Dragged Before ICC
By Intersociety-Nigeria (Public Statement)
Nigeria’s Kano Luxury Bus Park Massacre: Government Of Kano State Is An Accomplice And Should Be Dragged Before The ICC For Investigation
(Onitsha-Nigeria, 31st day of March, 2013)-The divide and rule tactics applied by the Government of Kano State, Northwest Nigeria over the 18th day of March, 2013 deadly bomb blasts that killed up to 200 people, if not more, and injured hundreds of others, mostly Nigerian citizens of Igbo extraction, at the New Road Luxury Bus Terminal in Sabon Gari city of the State is unreservedly condemned by the leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law. This has also exposed the State as an accomplice in the dastardly act, which amounts to pogrom. The said State Government risks being made to answer for crimes against humanity before the ICC, at The Hague, the Netherlands. It is recalled that the multiple deadly bomb blasts occurred at about 4:00pm on 18th day of March, 2013; minutes after an unmarked Volkswagen Golf car drove into the Park and parked in between two fully loaded luxury buses belonging to Gobison Nigerian Limited. The car was loaded with undetected improvised explosive devices, which were detonated minutes later. Beside the two luxury buses were three other scantly loaded luxury buses belonging to Ezenwata and Chiemezie Motors Limited respectively. The modern luxury buses, which contained 59 properly seated passengers each, excluding attachments, were Southwest, Southeast and South-south bound buses. The five buses were burnt beyond recognition. The Park, which is located at the heart of the Igbo controlled area of Kano State, called Sabon Gari, also had at the time of the deadly bomb attacks, other passengers, both those embarking on, and disembarking from journeys, as well as hawkers, park workers and passerby.
The advent of Boko-Haram and lately Ansaru Islamist terror brigades as well as the controversial introduction of Sharia Islamic law in the northern parts of Nigeria some 12 years ago have deepened social divisions between the host Hausa-Fulani Muslim population and the non-native Christian population residents in the State, dominated by the Igbos of the Southeast Nigeria. The Igbo race is the strongest hold of the Nigerian Christian population and has consistently been a target of ethno-religious killings in the past 50 years. As per the entrenched social divisions, only few moderate and educated host Hausa-Fulanis patronize private transport companies in the northern parts of the country including Kano State, controlled by the Igbo transporters. The uneducated adult Hausa-Fulanis of the north and their leading politicians despise Igbos with reckless abandon, especially in the area of alcohol consumption and other social lifestyles (other than women and polygamy), which they see as ungodly. Among this class; sitting in the same bus, eating, drinking and shaking hands with Igbos amounts to contamination and unrighteousness. As a result of these and more, social divisions between the Muslim and the Christian populations in the northern Nigeria including Kano State are deepened. Kano State plays host to the largest Igbo population in northern Nigeria with over 3million Igbo residents; most of them settled in Sabon Gari city of the State. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano State
Following the deadly bomb blasts, clearly targeted at the Igbo population by violent Islamist brigades, backed by leading northern politicians, the Kano State Police Command led by one Musa Daura, acting in conjunction with the Government of Kano State, released a public statement shortly after the carnage, claiming that only 22 persons died and 65 injured. Few days later, the Government of Kano State led by one Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, released another statement, claiming that 24 persons died and that more Hausas died than the Igbos. The two official statements were far below the casualty figures given by the media and other credible independent sources including the Kano State leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and eyewitnesses, which ranged between 70 and 170 or more. In an obvious bid to justify the despicable act and stick to its deceitful and mangled figures, which received wide condemnations from many Nigerians, the Government of Kano State remorselessly embarked, reportedly, on divide and rule tactics. On March 29, 2013, the duo of one Boniface Ibekwe and one Chi Nworgu reportedly got a brief from the Government of Kano State to engage in act of betrayal against their fellow Igbos especially those that lost their dear lives in the deadly bomb blasts. The duo, as reportedly directed, issued a statement, reportedly prepared for them, claiming that Igbos were not the target of the bombing and that only 37 died and 75 injured and that the dead and the injured cut across other ethnic groups. The duo, as reportedly directed, said they spoke on behalf of all Igbo residents in Kano State.
The perceived procured statement was quickly succeeded by another issued on Saturday, 30TH day of March, 2013, by the Kano State leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, led by Chief Tobias Michael Idika. The statement not only condemned the act of betrayal of the duo of one Boniface Ibekwe and one Chi Nworgu, but also gave graphic steps so far taken by his leadership following the deadly attacks particularly as it concerns the identities and numbers of the dead and the injured. The Kano State Ohanaeze Ndigbo leadership also condemned the despicable roles of the Government of Kano State especially its efforts to suppress the casualty figures and create divisions among the Igbo population in Kano State. The leadership, which on the heels of the deadly bombings, said it counted over 70 dead bodies, informed that as at 29th day of March, 2013, 53 names of dead Igbo sons and daughters were received and recorded in its register with over 60 injured, and that many Igbo families in Kano State have declared their relatives missing, while many other dead bodies were yet to be identified by their families, relatives and friends as at the said date owing to problem of proper identification. Also, according to the leadership, not all the injured were treated in the public clinics; some treated themselves quietly and left, while others went or were admitted in private clinics for treatments.
It is utterly despicable and condemnable that what the Government of Kano State could offer as corporate sympathy for the Igbo residents in its State for the loss of their loved ones is reportedly the application of divide and rule tactics and criminal suppression of the casualty figures. Just the other day, it was the leadership of MASSOB led by Chief Raphael Uwazuruike that reportedly probated and reprobated over this same sensitive issue. The factors that necessitated the reported strange and sudden reprobation were said to have been traced to the Aso Rock Seat of Power in Abuja, Nigeria.
Let those sponsoring these divide and rule tactics among the Igbos be firmly reminded that the retaliations against these killings by the Igbos, if continued unchecked, will be expected from surprised Igbo quarters and not from those angles being compromised and influenced. As a core Igbo oriented civil rights group that is grassroots oriented, we are aware of burning concerns of teeming young Igbo graduate-scientists and non-graduate scientists as well as others resident locally and internationally over these Igbo killings, which explains why we consistently task the Federal Government of Nigeria to find acceptable solutions to the problem and cease the systematic ethnic cleansing against the law abiding Igbo race in Nigeria. Unfortunately, the only solution available to the Government of Kano State and the Federal Government of Nigeria is the creation of imaginary divisions among the Igbos using some leprous individuals who bear Igbo names, whom many Igbos have described as Judases of our times.
For those Judases so called, they should be reminded that bombings and terror killings are like stones thrown inside a densely populated market; anybody can be a victim. Today, they are said to have collected bribes to erase the names and numbers of their brothers and sisters who were massacred by their host enemies; tomorrow, it may most likely be their turn. Also, those Judases so called, can be victims of clean-up killing or perfect crime, which, criminologically, is one of the government or political crimes. This is because anybody who is privy to an enclosure where heinous State crimes are discussed is an express candidate of political elimination or killing.
While commending, unreservedly, the courageous attitude of the Kano State Branch of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo for a good job it has done, we wish to restate our earlier warning that pushing the Igbos to the wall will be very catastrophic and unquenchable. Again, if the Igbo race is pushed to the wall, production of improvised explosive devices and their detonating appliances will be a toyish aspect of what the Race will be capable of inventing and producing. Any further killings of Igbos and other innocent Nigerians, on the strength of these thoughtless divide and rule tactics will be very calamitous. It remains our immutable position that solutions to these senseless killings must be found by the Federal Government of Nigeria as a matter of extreme urgency and immediacy.
The solutions to the systematic massacre of Igbos and other innocent Nigerians by malicious and blood thirsty Nigerians are not far-fetched. They include overhauling by presidential proclamation, of the grossly lopsided command structure of the Nigeria Police Force with respect to rankings, promotions and postings so as to engender geopolitical equity; digitalization of the NPF(including computer literacy) especially its criminal intelligence and criminal investigation; advancement of local and international in-service trainings of the personnel of the criminal intelligence and investigation units of the NPF; upgrading and digitalization of all State CIDs of the NPF including their forensic/crime labs; mass retirement of all serving CPs, AIGs and DIGs from 55 years and above; non-renewal of the tenure of retired DIG Parry Osayande, chairman, Nigeria Police Service Commission and appointment of a non-retired police officer as his replacement come May, 2013; curbing proliferation of small arms and their illicit bearers, which may have reached an all time high of 5.7million in the country; high reliance on preventive policing and less reliance on gun-culture policing; advancement of early warning and hazard preventive measures rather than medicine after death methodologies; equitable implementation of police-citizen protection ratio to all Nigerians irrespective of tribe, religion, age and sex; upgrading and professionalization of the country’s criminal justice system including criminal intelligence and investigation managements, criminal prosecutions and criminal trials; and arrest and prosecution of northern politicians, royal fathers and retired and serving top security personnel found backing the violent religious extremists perpetrating these crimes against humanity or where the Government of the Federation is incapable of ensuring this; express invitation of the Chief Prosecutor/Investigator for the International Criminal Court for investigation, arrest and prosecution of those involved, which may include the Government of Kano State, before the ICC at the Hague.
Comrade Justus Ijeoma
Head, Publicity Desk
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