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09/01/14

*Masterweb Interviews Kingsley Ojugberu, Suspect of Acid Attack On Wife, Mabel Mark

By Uchendu Precious Onuoha (Masterweb Special Correspondent-Spain)

It’s said that “it takes two to make a tango” and there is always two sides to a coin. In that respect efforts were made by the Nigerian Embassy Spain for our special correspondent in Spain to have an interview with Kingsley Ojugberu, the alleged suspect by Mabel Mark his wife for acid attack on her in Nigeria. Below is Kingsley’s side of the story in an exhaustive interview held at his base in Las Palmas Spain. [ Click to Read Mabel Mark’s Interview by Our Special Correspondent-Spain ]

Could you please tell me a little about yourself?

My name is Kingsley Ojugberu from Delta state, 38 years, School cert holder and a fashion designer by profession. I have a big fashion house named Kings Fashion with about 22 workers in Egbeda Lagos.

When and how did you know Mabel?

I knew Mabel in 2006 through her friend that came to my house in Lagos whom I helped to go back to Europe. When she saw how gentle and industrious I am, she told me about her best friend and said she would like me to know her. She gave my number to her and we started talking from 2006 till 2008 when she came to meet me in Lagos. ( Continues below..... )

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Photo Above: Mabel Mark After Acid Attack by Husband
- CLICK for Enlarged Photo

When did you come to Spain?

We got married in 2008 and I came to Spain in December 2010

Did you have traditional marriage?

No traditional marriage, only court wedding in Lagos. Both families witnessed the wedding and the mother signed the certificate. They never wanted her to get married. Before we got married, Mabel told me that the greatest problem she has is her family. There is nothing she does that pleases them. After our marriage, the two sisters, Blessing and Dorcas called me from Benin and asked why should I go and marry their family investment? When my wife heard that she called her mother and asked why they should be telling her husband such? I tried to settle the case before she travelled back to Spain. Everything I am telling you God is my witness.

What can you tell me about the acid attack incident on Mabel in Nigeria?

Ans. me and my wife we never have problem in our marriage, until Blessing and Dorcas that have been fighting us from Nigeria came. They were living with us in the same house and anything we do they used to tell their sister Florence in Benin. And that is when our problem started. Before I came my wife had an African shop. I am a businessman, an international man. The shop was small. My wife had in her account 350euros when I came to Spain. That is what she showed me she has in her account. I started booming the shop. I bought an industrial sowing machine; God was so good to us. The African shop grew. I sow clothes for Nigerians; we now made it a joint business. We have the same account. We didn’t hide anything from each other. When we make a certain amount of money, we take it to Nigeria to invest for the future. I and my wife we have a love contact.

You mean a love covenant?

Yes a secret between me and her that we will never hurt each other. We travelled to Nigeria in 2011 and bought a property at Ogun State.

Before you bought this property, has she any property before?

She bought two houses in Benin. The first 8 rooms flat were before I married her and the family never allowed her to see the building until I got married to her. I am the one that carried her to see the building. She was disappointed because is not what they told her. The second one, I am married to her.

We went back in 2013 that is when the problem started. Before then these two girls have been calling the sister in Benin telling her that I am the one controlling everything. Gloria works in the same place with Dorcas and she lives in the same house with us. and she told us that Dorcas said our marriage will not work and that she used to call her people in Nigeria telling them are they sleeping, that they should go out, that I am the one controlling everything. My wife got angry and asked Dorcas but she denied. ( Continues below..... )

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Photo Above: Mabel Mark Before Acid Attack by Husband

While in Nigeria, Florence called my wife to come to Benin. Her sisters finished our marriage. They were not happy with our marriage because they are not from the same parents with my wife. These girls are evil. But may God fight them… We didn’t know they have set us up with a Babalawo. (Voodoo man) I did not have anything in mind because I and my wife love each other. We have love covenant. We prayed for better for worse. This woman has been praying that even if she dies and come back again she will look for me as a husband. This woman used to tell me sweet words and I used to tell her sweet words. If I talk lie may I not see tomorrow, this woman is a good wife to me…

Florence said that we should come to Benin because Babalawo said my wife is Ogbanje. We went to Benin with another girl that came from Spain and Florence took us to the Babalawo house. This Babalawo name is Clement Okobu. He has two wives. When we were there, I don’t know what they did to me. The next thing my wife did was to sit on the lap of the Babalawo, I thought that was Europe style; the wife opened the curtain and saw them and went back. I don’t know who told the Babalawo that my wife is pregnant. And the Babalawo asked who is pregnant here? And I said that my wife is pregnant and what about it. He said that the pregnancy is a problem.

How long did you stay in the Babalawo’s house?

I won’t lie to you I stayed there for 2-3 days and during these period I never came close to my wife. He told me that he is seeing accident for me as I drive. And he put us in a hole like a grave and bath us with some concoctions. I never knew that it was for us to hate ourselves. He collected from us (N380, 000) cash to do the Ogbanje for my wife. And the other girl from Spain told me she paid almost ( N1,000 000). My wife stayed in the house of this Babalawo for 7 days. And he put her in a room and said that is only him that will be seeing my wife for these 7days for that is the procedure. If I talk lie thunder fire me… This Babalawo has tugs in his compound. Those who bring girls to Europe take the girls to swear juju before him. And he sends the tugs to disturb the parents of the girls if the girls refuse to pay in Europe. Please I want government to fish this man out. Dorcas told me that this man wanted to marry her before she came to Europe but she refused. I want thunder to start firing all of them…

I went back to Lagos without my wife. 3 days later my wife told me that she is coming to Lagos with the Babalawo and Florence. I said for what? She said that there is something that the man is coming to do in the land we bought in Ogun state. My wife paid flight ticket for the Babalawo to come to Lagos. By this time my wife is no longer my wife, she has changed totally. My wife lodged in a hotel with the babalawo and Florence in Lagos. The Babalawo said to me that my wife told him that she wants to die, that he should help her…She has given this woman different concoctions that I cannot understand.

After the Babalawo went back, I tried to make love to my wife and she said I should go for a harlot that there is something the Babalawo put in her that she should not make love to anybody. My wife was behaving like a mad person. I managed to come back to Spain with her. Back to Spain, my wife could not sleep at night. The Babalawo and Florence were calling her for her to come back to Nigeria and finish what she has to do.

I called the Babalawo and told him to stop disturbing my wife. And he told me that I should stop calling that woman my wife because she is not my wife. I collected the voodoo she gave my wife even the one she baths with, I pissed on them and flushed them in the toilet I contacted two pastors to help me and pray for my wife because she has totally changed. Two weeks after we came back, my wife bought ticket to go back to Nigeria. I tried to stop her by hiding her passport but she insisted and left leaving me with our daughter who is to have her birth day in 2 days’ time.

She called me from Lagos and said that I blocked account and she could not collect money. We have a joint account in First Bank and both of us must sign before money is withdrawn. I sent 3000euros from the shop through Dorcas to her. My wife is not a bad woman, we love each other, and it’s the family that finished us with the Babalawo. She sent a me a text message before the incident saying ,my husband I am sorry for everything I have done to you please forgive me I have seen all their plans towards me. I showed this message to a member of Nigerian association when I went to visit my wife at the hospital.

Two days after, Blessing called me from my working place and said that something has happened to my wife, that they poured her acid. Immediately, I called my wife’s number in Nigeria and somebody picked and the person said that she is the sister and that I cannot talk to her, I should call back in 30 minutes. I called after 30 minutes and the phone was switched off. I called the mother and she said I should not call her. Here in Spain, the two sisters were fighting me, saying that the Babalawo said I am the one that sent somebody to pour acid on Mabel. Two days after, my wife was flown back to Spain, she is the one who called me and said I should come to the hospital. Dorcas was there when I reached the hospital. I saw my wife and burst to tears, I could not recognize her. Her face was totally black. She was crying and I was crying too. Let this God that nobody can hide something from bear me witness. You can lie to man but you cannot lie to God…

Did anybody try to prevent you from seeing your wife in the hospital?

How can somebody stop me from seeing my wife that was sick at the hospital? Is the person crazy? I snapped her, it’s in my phone. It was in the presence of Dorcas, she said I should forgive her. Camera recorded it. She told me her family said she should say it’s me but she knows it can never be me.

When and why were you arrested and detained by the Spanish authorities?

On the 8/06/13, I was arrested at home by police. They said I was reported by Dorcas and one retired police officer that used to come to our shop. They showed me the picture of my wife that was poured acid and said I am the suspect.

How were you treated by the police during detention?

They assaulted me, calling me black pig, and all sorts of names, forcing me to write statement, no type of treatment they did not give me which is against their law here. I was taken to court and you know this a developed country. They investigated everything about me here and in Nigeria even my phone conversations and they saw I was innocent of this matter. I was taken to prison for maltreating a woman because my wife lied that I used to beat her.

How did the Nigerian Embassy come in?

I am the one that wrote, that I want to see officials of the Nigerian embassy . I have been put in prison before the Embassy came. And they asked me what they can do for me. I told them the only help they can do for me is to help my wife, because these two girls and the Babalawo are still controlling her.

What efforts have you made towards her treatment and recovery?

I just came out from prison, and by their law here, everything I have has been given to her both our bank account. I don’t have anything; I am just living on friends. And as I came out I learnt my wife has put in for divorce. Because they said she cannot get help here without divorce. That’s what I am facing now.

Have you been served the divorce paper?

They have served me. But for me to know what happened to this woman, I will never sign the divorce. I will give her time because she is not herself yet.

You have spoken at length, lastly what else do you want to say?

I know, you journalist need confirmation, please tell the police to investigate the phone conversion between Mabel and my brother Eddy who is now in Germany between December 23 – 30, 2013. My wife said that the family in Nigeria told her, that the two wives of the Babalawo confessed that it is not her husband that planned the acid attack on her but the first wife of the voodoo man who contacted another Babalawo who arranged with the boy that poured acid on my wife. That even the boys killed somebody in Benin and escaped. And I want the police to act fast and arrest this Babalawo, and Nigerians should help so that this people will not go free. Also please I want T. B. Joshua and Chris Oyakhilome to pray for my wife for deliverance. [ Click to Read Mabel Mark’s Interview by Our Special Correspondent-Spain ]

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08/31/14

*Obasanjo Holds The Key To Boko Haram Surrender says Obasanjo’s Twin Brother In Spain

By Uchendu Precious Onuoha (Masterweb Special Correspondent-Spain)

Unknown to many Nigerians is that Uncle Shege, as he is popularly called by many Nigerians has a twin brother. More also even unknown to the ex-two times President of Nigeria (military and civilian) is the where-about of his twin brother whom he thought was always at home. But unknown to him, his brother has checked out to Europe like “Andrew” during his years of long service to the nation. But as fate would have it, they were to meet again in a foreign land far from home, just like Joseph met with his brothers in Egypt after they sold him to slavery and thought that he was dead.

On June 4, 2014 at Madrid Barajas International airport- Spain, OBJ, on his way to Malabo, met with his twin brother whom he thought was still at home, and a discussion ensued between them. According to the brother, I never knew we were that closely related, and bears the same resemblance until after the photo with Uncle Shege was published and people started commenting that we look like twins. It was by then it dawned on me like a grass-cutter that remembers to bite only when reminded, that I have a legendry twin brother in the person of Uncle Shege he equally claimed he has a twin brother.

While I am writing this piece is because I know and realize the antecedents and pedigree of my brother OBJ. Uncle Shege has always played crucial roles at critical moments of Nigerian history. This is a man who has worked through the valley of the shadow of death and emerged unscathed. In 1966, at the height of Nzeogwu’s coup, during endeavors for Nzeogwu to yield to the supreme military council, he was the only person that could move the tenacious Nzeogwu to hand over himself and lay down his arms to the Supreme Military Council of Aguiyi Ironsi. ( Continues below….. )

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Photo Above: Honourable Uchendu Precious Onuoha, Masterweb Special Correspondent, Ohanaeze Youth-Spain Chairman/Media Coordinator (LEFT); Ex-Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo (RIGHT).
- CLICK for Enlarged Photo

In 1970, after the Nigeria – Biafra civil war that ensued, it was at his feet, General David Effiong and Col. Achuzie the top Biafra commanders laid down their arms on behalf of Biafra. He was a beneficiary of the Murtala Mohammed’s coup and also was called to salvage Nigeria after Murtala was overthrown and killed by Dimka. He led Nigeria through the storm and ushered in the short lived democracy during Shagari civilian era before the khaki boys took over again.

The Abacha moving train which only a mad man dared challenge, that claimed the lives of eminent citizens like Saro Wiwa, and others derailed and summersaulted before him and claimed the life of the power drunken driver. And in 1995, while in Golgotha the cup of death passed over Uncle Shege. Once again from the throes and shadows of death he emerged and led Nigeria out of the grip of a colossus and a draconian and gave the country a sigh of relief.

In 1999, he handled the massacre and military invasion of Odi-Bayelsa state, quenched and silenced the uprising between the oil community and the Nigerian security forces. He proffered the juju antidote to fight apartheid during the racist era in South Africa. Time and space will fail me if I continue to recount great things he had done.

In the recent Boko-Haram plague and war, to find the solution do not lie in American drones and all the European and Western trumped up support which have yielded no result since they arrived. Going by the antecedents of my twin brother OBJ, he holds the key to Mambisa forest. Let President Jonathan and Nigerians acknowledge his accomplishments and give him the onus to deliver Nigeria from the verge of collapse once-again. He has the magic wand and the key that could make Boko-Haram to bow and surrender to him. He has done it before and he can do it again.

But Uncle Shege, before you go to the battle of Mambisa, remember your word during our meeting and discussion on the state of Nigerians in Spain and abroad. You said that you have always told Nigerians abroad to come back home if abroad is not favorable to them. Many want to heed to that call, but when they remember the state of things at home, they feel scared to go. But no matter in what way home may be, home is home and there is no place like home. And who his brother is in paradise cannot go to hell. And home is, “the road we travelled.”

Uncle Shege, as your brother, I urge you to listen to my call and the voice of John Donne, that says, “any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee “.The cry of our girls in Mambisa forest and countless Nigerians that have been killed by the insurgents tolls for you. Please arise and salvage Nigeria as you have always done.

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08/27/14

*Intersociety Writes Jonathan on The Redeployment Of Senior Police Officers

By Intersociety

Ref.: Intersociety/08/04/014/FGN/ABJ/NG/NPF

1. His Excellency
Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan
President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria & Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces
Thro
Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, Secretary to the Government of the Federation
The SGF Office, Shehu Shagari Complex
Three Arms Zone, FCT, Abuja, Nigeria

2. Senator David Mark, President of the Senate, Federal Republic of Nigeria
The Senate Chambers, National Assembly Complex
Three Arms Zones, FCT, Abuja, Nigeria

3. Honourable Aminu Tambuwal
Speaker, House of Representatives, Federal Republic of Nigeria
The House of Reps Chambers, National Assembly Complex
Three Arms Zone, FCT, Abuja, Nigeria

4. Prof. Shuaibu Oba AbdulRaheem
Executive Chairman, Federal Character Commission
The FCC Headquarters, Plot 64, First Avenue
Off Shehu Shagari Way, Maitama
FCT, Abuja, Nigeria

5. IGP (rtd.) Mike Mbama Okiro
Chairman, Police Service Commission
The PSC Headquarters, Federal Secretariat Complex
Shehu Shagari Way, FCT, Abuja, Nigeria

Sir,

Redeployment Of Senior Police Officers: Why Acting IGP’s Confirmation Should Be Tied To His Handling Of Ethno-Religious Domination & Lopsided Operational Posting & Assignment Of Strategic Duties In The NPF

(Security & Rule of Law, Onitsha Nigeria, August 27th 2014)-General Information: In early February 2014, our organization (International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law) discovered existing ethno-religious domination in the Nigeria Police Force (NPF). The discovery was in respect of promotion of senior police officers carried out constitutionally by the Police Service Commission (PSC) and operational posting and assignment of duties, which are constitutionally performed by the Inspector General of Police (IGP). The discovery was also made in respect of the lopsided arrangement of names of serving senior police officers ranging from CSPs to DIGs.

In the same February 2014 (4th, 5th and 6th), we addressed a three-part letter of protest to your important public offices seeking redress. Few months later, the Police Service Commission publicly promised to investigate and address the lopsidedness complained of. On 4th June 2014, new promotions comprising two AIGs, seven CPs and a number of other senior officers, were announced by the PSC. AIG Dr. Grace Chita Okudo of the NPF Medicals from Ebonyi State, Southeast Nigeria, was one of the two new AIGs. With her promotion, the Southeast geopolitical zone was remembered and included in the AIG list many months after it was excluded from it with reckless abandon. With her promotion, the zone got one AIG out of 23 serving AIGs in the NPF then.

On July 31st 2014, AIG Suleiman Abba was promoted to Acting Inspector General of Police. His promotion marked the third in row of the IGP from Northwest zone between 2010 and 2014. On August 19th 2014, eight new DIGs were promoted with Northwest and South/south zones getting two each while North-central, Northeast, Southeast and Southwest zones got one each. On 20th of August 2014, nineteen new AIGs were promoted, bringing the total number of serving AIGs to thirty-one, out of which Northwest has nine, followed by North-central with seven, South/south five, Southeast four and Northeast and Southwest three respectively. On August 23rd 2014, the Acting IGP, Suleiman Abba exercised his first major constitutional duty of redeploying the affected and newly promoted senior police officers. In the context of operational portfolio or “juicy” and “tea-making” duty assignments, he spread out the 12 Zonal Commands among five geopolitical zones lopsidedly leaving out Southeast zone.

This he did by appointing eight Muslims to head eight strategic zonal commands leaving Christians with only four. He also allocated four zonal commands each to Northwest and North-central zones respectively. The South/south zone was given two zonal commands while Northeast and Southwest zones were given one each. Shockingly the Southeast zone was left without a single zonal command. No woman AIG was among those appointed heads of Zonal Commands. With this continued ethno-religious and gender discrimination by the Acting IGP, it is hugely feared that the redeployment of more senior police officers who are reportedly awaiting new promotion by the PSC including about twenty-eight coming CPs, will go the same way the redeployment of AIGs went. .

As it stands now, out of four new AIGs of Southeast origin, two (Godfrey E. Okeke) and (Felix Osita Uyanna) will retire on 16th September 2014 and 15th January 2015 respectively leaving the important zone with only two AIGs. Out of about 96 serving CPs, Southeast presently has three out of which one (Sylvester A. Umeh) will retire on 10th November 2014, leaving the zone with only two serving CPs out of 96 serving CPs in the NPF.

Why We Write: Our writing your important public offices followed our recent public statements over the issue including our public statements of 21st, 22nd and 24th of August 2014 in which the two exercises were graphically analyzed and pitfalls inherent in them extensively pointed with far reaching recommendations. Our extensive investigations clearly showed that the major bane of the Nigeria Police Force is ethno-religious domination, which has bred seeming incurable corruption and policing mediocrity. This has also entrenched a culture of favoritism and nepotism in the Force. The NPF is also far from being a pluralistic police force direly needed in a pluralistic country like Nigeria.

In the course of our extensive investigations under reference, we also discovered a Stone Age practice whereby police officers from the Southeast zone have their promotions delayed or stunted for years resulting in “retirement era promotions”. The assignment of less important and less strategic duties to the officers under reference is also very common and indiscriminate in the NPF. These have resulted and still result to deep “police-citizen” protection disparity between indigenes of other federating tribes and Igbo federating tribe particularly during ethno-religious crises.

Demands: It is recalled that in early 2012 when former IGP, Mohammed Abubakar was appointed, police roadblock extortions and indiscriminate killings associated with them were widespread and they became a national calamity leading to a series of outcries by Nigerians and issuance of reports by local and international rights groups. Among such reports and publications issued then were “Everyone’s on the Game” (How Corruption Fuels Human Rights Abuses by the NPF): Human Rights Watch (August 2010) and “Corruption As Human Rights Abuse: How Personnel of the NPF Raked in N53.48Billion from Police Roadblocks in Three Years (2009-2011)” & “Nigeria In A State Of War: How 54,000 Citizens Were Killed Outside The Law Since 1999”: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (December 2011). The foregoing advocacy actions then forced the Presidency to tie the confirmation of then Acting IGP (A-IGP), Mohammed Abubakar as substantive IGP on his management of the high incidence of police roadblock extortions and killings across the country. In a swift response so as to get substantively confirmed, then A-IGP, Mohammed Abubakar, dismantled most of the existing 3,500 police roadblocks across the country, which was prevalent and indiscriminate in the Southeast with over 1,500 of them. Thousands of potential victims of police roadblock killings and extortion ridden billions of naira were saved.

Today, crude ethno-religious domination policy in the NPF is as worse as, if not more menacing than police abuses and unlawful killings breading by roadblock extortions/corruption. While the Police Service Commission appears to have taken a bold step in addressing the Stone Age policy in its ongoing promotions, the A-IGP, Suleiman Abba appears hell bent in retaining the divisive and retrogressive policy in his ongoing operational duty assignments and postings. It gladdens our heart to inform your important public offices that Intersociety is not alone in the struggle to end this socially poisonous policy.

Just on Sunday, August 24th 2014, the Southeast zone of the federally ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) announced their total rejection of the new police posting under reference and called on the A-IGP and the PSC to look into it so as to address it and ensure geopolitical balance in the exercise. This complimentary and commendable demand was made in Umuahia, Abia State, Southeast Nigeria during the meeting attended by key public office holders of the Party from the geopolitical zone, which included a number of State Governors, Deputy Senate President and Deputy Speaker of the House of Reps, among others.

As your important public offices are aware, the gross lopsidedness under contention grossly violates Section 14(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as well as the Federal Character Act No 34 of 1996. The useless and crisis breading policy also attacks brutally the hallowed doctrines of equity, fairness, social integration and pluralism upon which the foundation of the country is laid.

In view of these, we firmly demand the following:

1. That the practice of ethno-religious domination and discrimination in the NPF in matters of promotions, operational duty postings and assignments should be publicly condemned and abolished by your important public offices.

2. That the Acting Inspector General of Police, A-IGP Suleiman Abba should be ordered to reverse the recent lopsided posting of AIGs particularly as it affects the headship of the Zonal Commands as well as exclusion of women AIGs from it. Equitable geopolitical representation and fair gender representation must be ensured.

3. That the confirmation of A-IGP Suleiman A. Abba as the country’s substantive IGP by the Presidency should be tied to his effective and unbiased handling and reversal of the despicable policy under contention. In other words, if he fails to address the despicable and condemnable issue under reference, then his confirmation should be swiftly reversed. He must show his secularist disposition and competence to lead the pluralistic NPF.

4. That henceforth, the issue of promotion and operational posting of senior police officers should strictly be tied to equitable zonal geopolitical representation and specifically, there shall be 12 DIG positions in the NPF out of which each zone should get two; 36 AIG positions out of which each zone should get six; and 90 CP positions out of which each zone should be given 15.

5. That out of existing 12 Zonal Commands in the country headed by AIGs, each zone should be given two; out of 36 State Police Commands in the country, each zone should be given six.

6. That all promotions made into the senior ranks of CSPs to DIGs as well as their operational postings and assignment of duties should be based on existing six geopolitical zonal spread.

7. That the policy of “promotion stagnancy or hanging” being used to maltreat the senior police officers of Southeast extraction should totally be abolished and prohibited; likewise promotion of the affected senior police officers in the twilight of their statutory retirement.

8. That once a senior police officer from a particular zone including the Southeast zone holding important police duty such as DIG, head of a zonal command or State Command CP retires, his or her position should be retained by another officer from the same zone. Same thing should apply in the case of promotion of senior officers particularly from CSP to DIG.

9. That the composition of current headships of important operational police departments such as State Commands, Special Protection Units, Anti Terrorism Squads, Police Border Patrols, Police Highway Patrols, Airport Police, Port Authority Police, Special Anti Robbery Squads, Police Mobile Force, Police Training Institutions, Area Commands and Divisional Police Commands, should be revisited with a view to ensuring that they are not dominated by officers of a particular geopolitical zone or ethno-religious section of the country.

10. That the plight of Police Traffic Warding (PTWs) should be revisited and redressed particularly in the area of existing obnoxious Decree 21 of 1975, which has made them perpetual slaves in the hands of the NPF and abominably pegged the highest ranking in the Service to “Assistant Superintendent of Traffic”, which is an equivalent of Police ASP.

The obnoxious Act should be abrogated to make room for absorption of the over 8,000 personnel of the PTWs into the NPF Motor Traffic Division and remove them from age-long discriminatory practice particularly in ranking, promotion and duty control and assignment.

Yours Faithfully,

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

Emeka Umeagbalasi (Criminologist & Graduate of Security Studies) Chairman of the Board

Barrister Uzochukwu Oguejiofor, Head, Campaign & Publicity Department

Barrister Anita Onochie, Head, Security & Safety Program

Barrister Obianuju Igboeli, Head, Civil & Rule of Law Program

CC: A-IGP Suleiman Abba, Acting Inspector General of Police Force Headquarters, Louis Edet House, 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 ANOTHER PHOTO.

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08/26/14

*Rogue Nigerian Naval Officer Batter Politician After Stealing Fuel from Gas Station - Help bring him to book

By GlobalvilleNews Reporter

In what appears to be a repeat of the Lady Uzoma Okere’s treatment by naval officers in Lagos, a prominent politician in Eket local government Area of Akwa Ibom State, Hon. Ekanem Willie was in the early hours of Sunday August 24, 2014, viciously battered and assaulted by a naval officer believed to be attached to the Navy Basic Training School, Onne, Port Harcourt Rivers State after he ran away with fuel worth of three thousand Naira.

The ugly and unnecessary display of smartness by the rogue naval officer who name is yet to be known happened at Stevegrad Filling Station along Liverpool Rood in Eket. ( Continues below….. )

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Photo Above: The bully rogue Nigerian Naval Officer; to the left is the van he drove

Hon. Willie said while briefing newsmen in Eket over the incident said that the naval officer took off his batch to deliberately conceal his identity and avoid identification by anyone who was around the scene.

“The naval officer, whose service number and name was not displayed on his unofficial uniform, drove into a filling station and bought fuel worth #3,000 (about $32) only. He tricked the pump attendant to allow him to eat some parked food in the naval bus before making payment. He all of a sudden entered the dark blue navy bus with an inscription “NAVY BASIC TRAINING SCHOOL, ONNE” and with registration number NAVY NNO9-D09, and drove off quickly. The pump attendant stood helpless.

Since I was in the same filling station to buy fuel, I offered to assist the pump attendant by pursuing the naval officer whom I accosted along Onna-Ikot Abasi High Way. I asked him to pay for the fuel he bought. He (Naval Officer) denied buying fuel without making payment but later accepted.”

Hon. Willie, a former Vice Chairman of Eket Local Government Council said his only sin for the torture in the hands of the thievery naval officer was he bluntly told him in the face he was a disgrace to the Nigerian Navy. ( Continues below….. )

As labeled

Photo Above: The bully rogue Nigerian Naval Officer; to the left is the van he drove - Photo 2

“My only sin was for me to tell him that he is an embarrassment to Nigeria and The Nigerian Navy.

This huge and tall Naval Officer slapped me and tore my dress to pieces.” Hon. Ekanem Willie, an Eket grassroots politician and community leader, who aspired for Eket LGA Chairmanship position in the last primaries under the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) called on well-meaning Nigerians to help him by bringing this Naval Officer to justice.

Reacting to the news, an Abuja based human right activist, Mr. John Peter said the action of the naval officer was not only criminal but a violation of Hon. Willie’s fundamental human right and abuse of his professional uniform. He called on the Nigerian Navy to take a disciplinary action against what he described as “barefaced thief in navy uniform’ to serve as a deterrent to others.

All efforts by our reporters to contact Director of Logistic and Administration Naval Basic Training School, Onne, Rivers State did yield dividends as calls and text messages directed to his mobile numbers were unresponsive as at the time of going to the press.

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07/31/14

*North Central Theological Seminary to Award Full Scholarships In All Degree Levels To Nigerians

[ Press Release For Immediate Release ] By North Central Theological Seminary
North Central Theological Seminary, an American Institution of Higher learning to Award $300,000.00 in Full Scholarships for the Accelerated Bachelor's, Master's, or Doctoral Degree Programs to Nigerians.
Contact: Dr. Philip Jay, North Central Theological Seminary, Phone: +1 612-293-3801 ( Continues below….. )

As labeled

Photo Above: As labeled

MINNEAPOLIS, USA, July 26, 2014 -- Christians and pastors in Nigeria interested in pursuing seminary Education at the bachelor's, master's, or doctoral level now have the opportunity to complete all of their courses online and free of charge with a full scholarship at North Central Theological Seminary, an accredited online religious vocational institution of higher learning based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Candidates interested in pursuing a bachelor's degree program must have a high school diploma or equivalent. To pursue the Master's program, they must have a bachelor's degree in any vocation, and for admission into the doctorate program, a master's degree in any vocation.

According to Dr. Phil Jay, North Central Theological Seminary's director of graduate and undergraduate studies, "The current societal moral decay, declining church attendance, and Islamic extremism are all indicative of the urgent need to train new pastors, evangelists, and religious educators in Nigeria who will fearlessly and impartially preach the gospel of Jesus Christ nationally and internationally. As a result of today's economic hardships, many people interested in winning souls for Christ do not have the funds to attend seminary and earn the credentials required to make an impact. This is why North Central Theological Seminary is making these full scholarships available through private funding to potential men and women of God."

It is the firm policy of North Central Theological Seminary that its students invest in themselves and in taking their life pursuits seriously. To this end, and to enable all students to participate in self-improving full use of our electronic library and academic resources, we still require full scholarship students to pay a $29.00 Student Activity fee each month until they graduate, withdraw, or transfer from the seminary.

The scholarships from this program are not available to currently enrolled students. We will be awarding them until the funds are used in accordance with donor base stipulation. Pastors and Christians interested in taking advantage of this opportunity should submit a non-obligatory enrollment application immediately because only the first fifty qualified enrollments will be accepted. Candidates are to submit a non obligatory enrollment application by clicking on the "Degree" tab at www.nctsmn.org using scholarship referral # PRCNW2014

The accelerated completion schedule is 24 to 30 months for the Bachelor's degree program, 11 to 18 months for the Master's, and 14 to 18 months for the doctorate.

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07/23/14

*Masterweb Interviews Mabel Mark, Nigerian Spanish Acid Attack Victim

By Uchendu Precious Onuoha (Masterweb Special Correspondent-Spain)

She is a well to do Nigerian lady living in Las Palmas Spain. She hails from Ishan L. G. A. inEdo state. As she travelled home to Nigeria in last April 2013, she never knew that fate had a bitter package for her. And she never returned back to Spain the same again. The once beautiful lady was bathed with acid on her face and body while in Nigeria with the assailant escaping while she alleges her spouse in Spain to be the brain behind that. While the doctors are still battling to save her life in Spain, our special correspondent in Spain got into contact with her through the Nigerian embassy for an interview and here is her story.

When did you come to Spain?

The year 2000

Since the year 2000 you have been living in Las Palmas?

I lived in Madrid for about a year and five months after which I came to Las Palmas.

When did you get married and with who?

That was in 2008 and with Kingsley Ojugberu ( Continues below..... )

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Photo Above: Mabel Mark Before Acid Attack by Husband

You met here or in Nigeria?

I met him in Nigeria. And it was through a friend of mine that worked together with me in my place of work and later went back to Nigeria. It happened that he was living in the same house where Kingsley lived, and he helped her. It was in that process that my friend informed me that there is a young man who saw your pictures and said he would like to talk to you. She connected us and from there we started interacting on phone until 2008 we met and got married in Lagos through the court.

When did he join you here in Spain?

In 2010, and it was not easy because I went through a lot of process which took almost one year before I succeeded to secure visa and travel documents for him to join me.

How many children do you have?

Just this girl, she just completed 4 years pointing - to her daughter on the side

How has your relationship with your husband been before this incident?

After he joined me in 2010 we were living fine, but we didn’t really live long as we were almost three years together before this incident.

When did this incident happen and what actually led to that?

Happened on April 20, 2013. Living together was good during the first 2 years. Within this period I was helping him right from Nigeria as things were not okay with him. I can say I am a successful person; I have got a lot of properties in Nigeria and here before we met and he came here. As we were living together as husband and wife, I put his name in two of my properties in Lagos. But the ones in Benin and others I did not put his name.

I buy and send goods to Nigeria, and about a year and four months before we went to Nigeria I sent a bus with goods to Nigeria, and it was cleared and sold by the brother and when I asked for the money, it could not be accounted for. And I discovered that other things were going wrong as I found out that huge sums of money has been removed from the joint account we have with First bank in Lagos. He had the account before and my name was added and I saved money in the account. And the brother also ripped me off with about 1 million naira (N1.0M) in the house I bought in Shasha Lagos.

As a husband and wife, I trusted him and put my money there, until I got to Nigeria and found out that things were going wrong as a lot of money have been taken from the account without my knowledge. I confronted him on that, and that led to an argument and I went to a doctor in Lagos he introduced to me as his uncle and reported to him. When we came back to Spain, I told him this is not going to be, because I found out now that everything I own is on him. I let him to realize how I have helped him a lot, even two of his brothers I spent my money to bring to Spain. And after all these they are still eating my money in Nigeria. Then we had a quarrel.

And I decided to go Nigeria to change his name from the properties and the house recently bought in Shasha, which the payment was going through his account and open a new account to transfer the payment. And perhaps let us have time to study and understand each other more. While in Lagos, I went to the bank to take money, the bank refused me saying that my husband made a call to the bank instructing that they should not release money from the account to me. And he knew that the money in the account is what I was meant to use in Nigeria.

I called him and he said no that he did not call the bank, and I told him that the bank is not lying that I was there and it is written on the screen, he cut the call and offed his phone. I was stranded. I managed to move down to Benin to tell my parents. My mother said she could not handle that alone. We contacted my uncle who suggested connecting me to a lawyer in Lagos to help me. Before travelling to Lagos I decided to do my hair in a salon near my uncles house, while there a boy walked in and my attention was drawn to the way he tied his hair with a piece of a Rasta insignia. He said he was looking for somebody and as I raised my face, he stepped closer and splashed something on my face and body and dashed out immediately.

I felt horrible pains over my body and was rushed to a hospital. And the first hospital said they cannot treat my case and was referred to UBTH where they could only administer pain reliefs and I heard the doctors saying that I would die if they keep me there that the best solution is to take me abroad for the treatment. When the doctor learnt I was living abroad, they invited the police to the hospital and a police report was prepared and arrangement was made to take me to Lagos and back to Spain.

How long did it take for you to come back to Spain after the incident?

Luckily for me, two days after I was flown back to Spain and from the airport straight to the hospital. ( Continues below..... )

As labeled

Photo Above: Mabel Mark After Acid Attack by Husband

How have you been undergoing the treatment since then?

I must say that the Spanish doctors have tried a lot; I spent about three months in the first phase of the treatment at the hospital. I have done the first skin operation where they removed all the affected skins and replaced with other skins to cover up the body. They did not work much on the face; rather they pilled it against the second surgery.

Was the whole body affected?

No, from my chest upward.

How was your husband informed and what was his reaction about the incident?

According to my sisters that very Saturday he woke them up about 8 am asking them have you heard from your sister. Saying they should call her because he has a feeling that something bad has happened to her. Two hours later my mum called telling them that I have had an acid attack. And because of what he told them two hours back, they went and confronted him that he has succeeded in harming their sister and they quarreled. So that was how he knew. When I arrived Spain I was taken straight to the hospital and I did not tell anybody. And at the hospital they asked me what happened to me. I told them that it happened in Nigeria. It was from the hospital that I called to inform my sisters that I was in Spain and that one of them should come and from there the news spread.

Did he come to the hospital after he knew?

He came to the hospital but my sisters did not allow him in.

So he was prevented from seeing you?

I later opened up to the nurses what happened and that I don’t want him to see me. And they invited the press who felt much concern how I managed to bear the pains without treatment from Nigeria to Spain.

Since then has he seen you?

Yes he saw me in the hospital once. He came to the hospital and was dragging with the nurses and eventually they let him in. But when he saw me he didn’t talk and they have to walk him out. That was how he saw me before they got him arrested after sometime. When the press came, they asked to know if I was having dispute with anybody and I told them he was the number one suspect.

He was arrested after he visited you at the hospital?

Yes, two days after because a civil defense security agent who knows me came to my shop and asked my sisters about me and they told him that I was in the hospital and he asked to know why I was in the hospital, my sister told him what happened to me in Nigeria. He grew annoyed and reported the matter to the police. So that was how the police came in and have to protect my daughter and sisters because as I was inside, I am not sure of what could happen next and what his plans were.

After he was arrested did you make any allegation?

The police came to me at the hospital and I told them everything that happened. His threats telling me that he is a black axe, that if I eventually separate from him, he will kill me. These were the threats, though I didn’t take them serious because I thought he could not go to that extent. I so much trusted him because I thought that even if something happen and we have to separate he would not harm me because I have helped him a lot.

Perhaps they would have let him out but because of his declaration that an uncle whom I presented him to in Benin wanted to marry me and that is why the wives planned and attacked me with acid. And the question is how did he know that?

Has this matter gone to court?

Yes the matter has gone to court here but the one in Nigeria I don’t have the strength now. After investigations, they sentenced him for what was done here, like beating my sister. He was sentenced for two years. And is banned to come close to me for five years. But my concern is in Nigeria as I don’t have anybody except my old mother and she can’t do much.

What was the reaction of his family down home over this incident?

As I am talking to you now, I have not heard from any member of his family down home. Even the doctor he claimed as the uncle has not called me or contacted my family. Two of his brothers I helped bring to Spain used to call but the police said I should stop to avoid further stress. As at now I don’t even know his family in Nigeria.

You did not have traditional marriage?

No traditional marriage only court wedding in Lagos

What has the Nigerian embassy in Spain done to help you?

The Nigerian embassy was contacted through the help of Nigerian community here; also the court here asked me to do that so that the embassy will intervene to protect my money in the bank and other properties in Nigeria. The embassy came immediately to see me, also visited Kingsley in the prison. And they have contacted the bank in Nigeria and they were told what to do. And I am very happy for the help and concern the embassy has shown over my plight.

You run a shop here?

Yes, an African shop

Is it in your name?

Yes, for one year I put it in his name, so when we started having dispute I removed it on his name but the rent remained on his name until last month.

What further plan do you have for your treatment?

I have gone to see a specialist and we have settled about the plastic surgery.

How much is that likely to cost?

That would cost about 43,000 euros. About eight million and six hundred thousand Naira (N8.6M)

What else do you have to say?

The only thing I would add, I would take care of myself. I want him to leave me alone and go on his own without hurting me and my daughter. I want my family, money and properties to be protected. I would like to have my properties without fighting. And I don’t want that to cost my life or any member of my family.

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07/17/14

*2 Men With Sack Containing The Body of Dead Child Arrested By NSCDC, Abia Command

By Masterweb News Desk

Yesterday, July 16, at about 2:45pm, a patrol team of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Abia Command apprehended two men suspected to be ritualists along Aba expressway, Aba, Abia State close to Ariaria International Market. ( Continues below….. )

As labeled

Photo Above: The two suspect ritualists with the sack bag containing the body of the female child

The men were carrying fresh dead body of a female child aged between 6-8yrs in a sack bag when the NSCDC operatives intercepted them. They claimed the baby died in a hospital and her father contracted them with N2,000 to help bury her. When asked to provide identification of the deceased’s father, they said they did not have such details. The hospital they claimed the child died in told NSCDC there was no such death in their facility. ( Continues below….. )

As labeled

Photo Above: The two suspected ritualists on display with the body of the female child
Click For Enlarged Photo.

Investigation is still ongoing as at the time of this report; meanwhile, the suspects have been transferred to the police for further interrogation.

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07/09/14

*Liberia Hanging of Dr. Justin Obi, An Igbo Chemistry Professor

By Chief Charles O. Okereke

On November 19, 1969 as the Biafran war was winding down, Dr. Justin Obi, a 65-year-old Igbo professor of chemistry, allegedly shot to death Rt. Rev. Dillard Brown, Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Missionary - District of Liberia, his Treasurer Claude Nadar and wounded three others, including Miss Patricia Newiss, the Bishop’s secretary. Dr. Obi was a brilliant former chemistry professor at Cuttington University College of Liberia in Suaccoco, a suburb of Monrovia. He obtained his Ph.D. in chemistry from Havard University in the United States. Cuttington University College was owned and operated by the Episcopal Church.

Obi allegedly had stopped over in Monrovia on a flight from Biafra to the United States and while ostensibly looking for mail, after walking into the offices opened fire with a pistol, killing two people and wounding three. He was indicted by a grand jury of Montserrado County on December 24, 1969 as principal, along with others as accessories, whose trials were severed. At the trial he claimed legal insanity, for the crime appeared senseless, with no apparent cause except mutual agreement for his services to be terminate at Cuttington University College. He also pointed to lack of malice, based in part on total lack of recall of the event. Obi was convicted in March 1971 for double murder and sentenced to death by public hanging. In his words after sentencing: “I have no malice, nor do I hate anyone. I go to my creator with joy.”

William Tubman Sr. (Liberia President January 3, 1944 - July 23, 1971) did not sign Obi's death warrant because no motive was proven in court for the murder. Rumour had it that there was rift between Obi and the Bishop over Miss Newiss, his secretary but that did not change Tubman’s mind as it was not raised in court. Obi therefore, remained on death roll until the reign of William Tolbert Jr. (Liberia President July 23, 1971 -April 12, 1980), an ordained Baptist pastor who should have known that only God judges and that life is sacred and should not be taken by fellow man. Maybe, Tolbert should have considered the implications of mounting a pendulum that would never attain equilibrium between Church and State, as State may propose and the bible disposes according to the ten commandments. Tolbert signed Obi’s death warrant after two weeks in office as Liberian President. Mr. Jalaoso, Nigerian Ambassador to Liberia at the time, Christians, Churches, civil rights organizations and world leaders unsuccessfully sought pardon or leniency for the condemned. Obi was publicly hanged on Friday, November 19, 1971, exactly two years after the homicides . Tolbert signed a total of sixteen death warrants during his tenure, including that of his cousin William Tolbert who killed his wife. ( Continues below….. )

William Tolbert Jr.

Photo Above: William Tolbert Jr.

The first witness to take the stand for the prosecution was Miss Patricia Newiss, a British and one of the victims of the shooting. She testified in chief: "On the 19th of November, 1969, Bishop Brown returned to his office at fifteen minutes to four P.M. At that time Mr. Nader was in his office with the representative whose name I cannot recall. I was seated at my desk finishing up my work; Jacob also was talking with Kamara in the outer office.

“At 4 P.M. the door opened and Mr. Justin M. Obi came in. He came forward toward my desk. I asked him who and what he wanted, he did not reply. He continued toward my office towards Mr. Nader's. He still said nothing to me. I repeatedly asked what he wanted. He then turned round and came towards my desk. I then asked again if I could help, if not he should sit in the waiting area until either Mr. Nader or Bishop Brown would see him. At this time he was standing at the front of my desk. He then turned around and came beside my desk and he started looking through papers and envelopes. At this point I stood up and asked him to put the papers down as he had no right to touch the papers. At this time Bishop Brown came from his office and looked over to Mr. Obi. Right up to this time Mr. Obi had not said one word and Bishop Brown had not been given a chance to speak. Obi took out his gun and shot Bishop Brown.

“I gasped and ran forward to catch Bishop Brown, Obi turned around and shot in my mouth. The next thing I was on the floor and I prayed. While I was on the floor, I couldn't speak, I couldn't read. I just held my face and prayed. While I was on the floor I heard shouts and screaming and three more bullet shots. All of this time I did not see Obi again. As I was lying, my face down on the floor at this time, I then crawled over towards Bishop Brown's office, he was this time dead. I was at this point so angry that such a wonderful man could be murdered in cold blood. I refused to die. I then crawled over behind my desk, still unable to speak. At this point Kamara, the driver, was shouting, 'It's not me, it's not me.' I, of course, knew it was not Kamara.

“I cried, Obi, Obi, but nothing could come, so I wrote with my own blood on the floor the name Obi, because I knew if God has not granted me to be here today, possibly no one would know who had committed this murder. Then help came; I was taken down to my brother-inlaw's clinic, my brother-in-law is Dr. Wittk Sidney Lewis. On the office floor which I had been strapped down with the strapper, in the clinic, Doctor Lewis stitched my gashed tongue and this saved my life. I was then taken in an open pickup to the Catholic Hospital where I came through within 48 hours of critical period. This is my statement."

Below is part of Newiss cross-examination.

Q. Tell us whether or not you have ever in such close proximity witnessed the shooting of a gun?

A. I have never ever witnessed such a shooting and I know I will never again.

Q. So then you cannot say for sure whether the defendant in the dock did shoot and kill Claude Nader, am I correct?

A. I stated correctly that Bishop Brown was shot in front of me and I agree that was the time that Claude Nader was shot, I was at this time on the floor so I did not witness the actual shooting of Mr. Nader, but from shouts and screams I knew who was being shot and from where I was lying on the floor I had the full view of the open door to the office and up to this point no one had entered the office."

A witness to Dr. Obi’s hanging described it in his words as “one of the most gruesome and brutal killings that I ever saw or read about. His dead body, which was hanging with a white noose around his neck, was not released to friends or relatives, who sought to give Dr. Obi a decent burial. His hanging was one of several "murders" that had ritualistic connotations in Liberia at the time!”

It was alleged by unconfirmed sources that some powerful Liberian politicians at that time wanted Dr. Obi hanged so that his human body parts would be removed for powerful rituals. Ritual murders were booming business in Liberia for several years before the April 12, 1980 coup d'etat that brought Master Sergeant Samuel K. Doe in power. According to unconfirmed reports, Samuel Doe had a field day ritually mutilating the body of deposed President Tolbert. One report (by Thomas Clough at http://www.weirdrepublic.com/episode79.htm) was as follows: “On April 12th, 1980 a Liberian army sergeant assigned to a beach patrol near the Liberian president’s home directed his platoon to the presidential palace and surprised President Tolbert in his bed, where the president was promptly disemboweled. Master Sergeant Samuel K. Doe personally cut out President Tolbert’s liver and heart and ritually mutilated the organs; he left his teeth marks in the flesh; he would later nail Tolbert’s liver to a wall of the John F. Kennedy Medical Center in Monrovia. Within hours of his murder, thirteen of President Tolbert’s cabinet ministers were bound to telephone poles on a Monrovia beach and shot to death by drunken soldiers loyal to the illiterate Sergeant Doe. Thus began Liberia’s descent into ruin and depravity.”

Ironically, those that lived by the sword in Liberia died by the sword; if not dead, await the ultímate faith in international solitary confinement. Is this a lesson for those that take lives, be them the ruled or rulers? Did Dr. Obi commit the crime or was he insane when he committed murder? Did Biafra war trauma play any role on the mental state of Obi when he went on the abominable rampage, assuming he was guilty as ruled by the court? Please add your voice to this matter by making your comments below.

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06/18/14

*Weighing up the Boko Haram: An Analysis

By Philip Probity $ Abdullah Ibrahim .

How do we as Nigerians understand the Boko Haram and what must be done to undermine its power? We have been experiencing a lot of killings and attacks -- not just on Christians but Muslims and other groups since 2004. The world has now awakened to its influence following the kidnapping of the schoolgirls. Discussion with Dr Kusum Gopal in Geneva.

Question 1: How do we get to grips with the Boko Haram?

What is worrying is not just the kidnapping of schoolgirls in Chibok – but the visibility which has accompanied it – indeed, how it has been done. We know that the men who claim allegiance to the Boko Haram arrived in jalopies, then proceeded to knock down a school and kidnap 234 girls --and leave, unhurried in a slowly moving convoy of pick-ups and battered vehicles yet nobody raised an alarm when it was occurring. This happened in a State that is under Emergency Rule at present. And, the list of girls released has taken some time and this list is also being questioned. We read that traditional hunters from these very north-eastern states aged from 18—88 years armed with poison arrows and homemade guns as one of the broadsheets has noted are willing to assist the military as they understand the terrain -- 60,000 sq. kms of forest better than most. It is of the greatest urgency that these girls need to be found and returned safely to their families. And, this is an immeasurable outrage. The Rights of the Child states very clearly, “Every child, regardless of gender, ethnic origin, social status, language, nationality or religion, has the right to education and to live without fear of violence.” Thus they should be allowed to attend school and the Nigerian government must take preventive measures everywhere else to protect its citizens and prevent a recurrence! ( Continues below….. )

Abducted Chibok School Girls in a video released by Boko Haram.

Photo Above: Abducted Chibok School Girls in a video released by Boko Haram.

We need to understand why the Boko Haram came into existence. It is quite new about a decade old. And it has been translated as “a congregation of the people of tradition to proselytise and wage jihad, “Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati Wal-Jihad” -- Boko Haram being the literal translation in Hausa for anti-western education. And, its adherents are reported to have been operating in north-east Nigeria: Borno, Adamawa, Kaduna, Bauchi, Yobe and Kano as also in Cameroon and Niger. Foremost causes of such violent activitiesis adversity of being on account of widespread excessive poverty, loss of livelihoods, serious unemployment caused by endemic corruption— which is simply not being addressed!

The Criminal Code in Nigeria based on the Indian Penal Code 1861 which was formulated after the Indian Mutiny of 1857 to contain civil unrest-- is outdated and needs to be revised. This would end the culture of violence that is embodied in the state structure – imprisonment is one thing but to torture and kill one’s own citizens is not only unacceptable but will backfire. And, thus there is no recourse to justice: accepting or performing criminal activities appears to be the only option for many – theft and murder or both and this has spawned quite naturally a culture of vigilantism in Nigeria. The presence of militias and cult groups such as the Bokassi boys, MASSOB, Ombatse Cult, OPC and as you know so many more are illustrative of governance and communitas. Indeed, the Boko Haram is merely an extension, an expression of these groups, all of which have been granted general amnesty and co-opted into the regional governments. It may have had messianic roots as its idealist founder from Maiduguri sought to hearken back to times of’ a just society’, in this case, pre-colonial west Africa. Their goal to establish an early form of Islam with Sharia providing the Ideal state in control of its resources.

But we need to take note of the fact that it has many self-styled leaders who may be acting alone or in groups several criminal elements cover their activities under the garb of Boko Haram. As stated earlier, Prof Jean Herskovits has noted perceptively in an interesting article, that the Boko Haram has now evolved into a franchise that includes criminal groups claiming its identity. And, the Nigeria’s State Security Services also identified members of four “criminal syndicates” that send threatening text messages in the name of Boko Haram. Southern Nigerians — not northern Muslims — ran three of these four syndicates. She notes that 25% of the budget has been put aside for police and army and that the brutality of the security forces and the army is much more feared than the Boko Haram: such brutality is counterproductive and unnecessary. It was reported that the security services arrested a Christian southerner wearing northern Muslim garb as he set fire to a church in the Niger Delta. Nor, she observes is the Boko Haram a well-defined, organised terrorist group !Thus she concludes, in Nigeria, religious terrorism is not always what it seems. In recent months the Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima noted that the Boko Haram have become a franchise that anyone can buy into. Also, Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Mustapha El-Kanemi, denies that Boko Haram are indigenes of Borno- stating that they are outsiders.

What is clear is that M Yousuf who died in custody had a popular following—in Maidaguri he set up a school for poor from Nigeria and other neighbouring states such as Chad to attend – and then moved base to Yobe. He spoke out against police corruption and poverty. One Nigerian intellectual Chris Kwaja, is keen to emphasise it is not religion but disenfranchisement and inequality. He states a little known fact that in Nigeria the laws have granted special powers to regional political leaders to decide who qualif as 'indigenes' (original inhabitants) or not. Only they can determine whether citizens can participate in politics, own land, seek employment or attend school. This system has excluded many Muslims who have been denied indigene-citizenship certificates. This is indeed a very serious charge and must be redressed. Only the Nigerian government’s civic initiatives hold the answer for long term solutions.

Question 2: What about its agenda to make Nigeria into an Islamic republic governed by Sha’ria?

As discussed earlier, it is critical for the Nigerian government to work actively towards guaranteeing people’s citizenship and indigenes rights – and secure their livelihoods, providing civic facilities, indeed security of personhood. Social security can be provided from the oil revenues if planned correctly. Vigilantism and brutal activities which accompany it will automatically dissolve. As for its agenda –we must acknowledge and respect that historically this region of the Savannah and its kingdoms has accommodated many influences that coexisted with folk spiritualism—If one reflects beyond the current political borders which limit our understanding – then it is possible to understand better the deep connections--- communications and cultural influences of the Sahara with central and western Sudan – trans Saharan trade and polity– Islam has remained integral to this region – Hausa land. There are chronicles such as the Kano Chronicle that give insightful accounts. But what is essential to keep in mind is that while conversion to Islam was gradual, it was not forced and in the countryside animistic practices remain. Also, learning and scholasticism accompanied such cultural syntheses. This also led to the construction of mosques with the movement of peoples such as the Fulani, the Fulbe among so many other groups led to intermarriage; race and ethnicity did not exist. Indeed, the great learning and scholasticism led to the development of indigenous sophisticated systems of justice based on Islamic jurisprudence for those times under the Hausa kings needs to be recognised.

There are many scholarly interpretations on the Boko Haram – and as many denunciations of it being anti-Islamic. In 1903 there had been a violent uprising in this region against the missionaries -- Maitatsine resistance for example and there are connections made between Boko Haram and that revolt! The rejection of western education is directly linked to the Colonial Project, specifically the work of the missionaries. Locals are noted to believe that western education (investments/ businesses included) can be equated with Christianity. Thomas Beidelmann an eminent anthropologist who in a very insightful study on colonial evangelicalism has noted that European missionaries who came out to Africa/ the Indian Subcontinent and other parts of the colonised world were profoundly different from their own countrymen and women – indeed, he states unequivocally that missionaries were the most alien of all – to quote him,” the depth, totality, and length of their commitment were the greatest. They sought to change not only the ways of work and politics of native peoples but their innermost beliefs, feelings, and deepest held values as well; and because of these missionaries may be considered the most ambitious and culturally pervasive of all colonialists, attempting social change and domination in their most radical forms... ” I wonder if you have read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte- if you recall her cousin John – you may get a better picture of the kind of people Beidelmann is describing.

It is interesting to note that MSF- Medicines Sans Frontiers workers are never attacked as they do not have any religious affiliation. It is extremely important at this stage to contain this violence. What we are experiencing now along with the extreme poverty and livelihood issues – is a counter-offensive if you like. What can be done? Well, we need to recognise people’s wishes and sentiments in this region. And, that is why the Nigerian government must enter into dialogues of reassurance if only to affirm that the Fulani and Hausa people are indigenes and will be accorded full respect and dignity of being, whether they are Muslim or not. And, allow the forms of governance they wish to enjoy for their region.

Question 3: Any further thoughts?

I think it is critical at this juncture to bring to focus the need for education specifically inter-faith understandings in all parts of the world. Non-Muslims must learn about the many expressions of Islam familiarise themselves with basic tenets – for example -- jihad – al jihad-al-akbar is an intense inner moral struggle that has accompanies the choices we have to make as we strive to live a moral and principled life as a Muslim and al-jihad al-asghar means fighting injustice or oppressive rulers who maybe Muslim or non-Muslim. The Qur’an forbids the killing of innocent people. And so forth, indeed, there are so many common themes in the Judaeo Christian traditions that can be a platform for dialogues and creativity avoiding war and immeasurable suffering. Here the role of elders and religious leaders is invaluable.

Ultimately all understandings are constituted through our engagement with the world and for us living and knowing are interlinked. As anthropologists have noted that morality does not reside exclusively in social relationships or cultural expectations nor in the forces of nature nor in the consciousness of the socially constituted person – but rather all these three components of human conduct are welded into an integrated totality- within specific historical and cultural contexts.

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