*Nigeria: We are Not Defeated by Principalities and Powers; Man simply Failed Himself
By Ikechukwu Enyiagu
“Money” is its own gospel; those who love it need not be bothered with “strange” messages, for they have “heard it all.” The gospel which money brings is the message of “I can do all” of men who, through their dominion and forcefulness, have manifested many heights of principalities and powers. Therefore, before those whose hearts seek the truth, such slaves of Mammon have evolved into the full stature of man: spirits - dwelling, as it appears, in lofty places where they may never be touched. Principalities are of the spirit and every force of power is unseen. Man is a spirit and he wields principalities and powers and apportions to them which seats they must sit among men. He even has influence over the prophecies of time and, without his involvement, time ceases to count. Are you looking for principalities, do you search for powers which stir life and, most times, drag you, as against the goads and in opposition to the flow of your life waters, to where you would not? Look no further! Here is man for you – with all the powers to chart the course of his future and that of those he leads whose ignorance became the baits of their many sorrows. Within the heart of man lies the conscience: a field where the real battle of life is won and where man, this spirit, decides who and what wins. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Nigerian Naira Notes
“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places,” the Holy Bible rightly said. Where these battles are fought and won or lost are in the heart of this empowered spirit called man. But both the defeats and the spoils of these battles remain what man will have to deal with as long as he remains in the flesh. The spirit that is man stands exulted even above these “evil spirits of the unseen world” and every decision man takes in his true nature becomes the errands of these dark spirits whose sustenance and fulfillments emanate from the wishes of man. Everyday, the game of life is played in the hearts of man repeatedly on many issues; and at each turn, man must blow the final whistle. What he consciously decides and wishes for (if his spirit has not been willingly subdued by his ignorance which he willingly received from that serpent of old) rightly becomes the command of these principalities and said powers. And as societies gather to invoke superior “powers to represent” upon certain individuals, the battles for these societies are consequently shifted, not to the many fields of war which man has carved for himself, but to the very hearts of those thus saddled with responsibilities to lead; to the consciences of those thus elected or chosen as representatives or leaders. In the conscience of man lies the voice of God - speaking forth His word which saves; and that of the enemy of mankind - always giving man reasons to willfully fail and fall. It will be important to state here that the spirit which leads a people is the chosen leader, and his conscience, if alive, is the perfect law. What these spirits (men, leaders) decide becomes their strong wishes, and their wishes, the commands of these little beings that operate in all atmospheres – seeking for just one thing: to obey. But the danger of man is ignorance, and this has made him more of man (the flesh) than he truly is a spirit. Turning aside to enslave himself under his slaves, he listens to all kinds of persuasive voices and believes in every extended “helping hand” of trapped spirits. And as he does, he unknowingly signs a contract with his servants - a contract which transfers his eternal rights to rule and reign over all creatures in conscious responsibility to his messengers. Now, these little beings, like the fairies of mischief, love nothing more than assuming the place of puppeteer over what his master has reduced himself to: a mortal man. ( Continues below….. )
Among these principalities and powers of darkness, the spirit called Mammon is perhaps the most persuasive of all. He places before his master (man who ought to be in his full stature as a conscious spirit) a picture of possibilities which, as he wrongly claims, can only be attained solely through his assistance. And just as the Adam of old did in forgetting his communion of safety with the creator of all, the man of today often chooses to be more Adam than the man to whom all creation has been willed. The God of true wisdom says: “With me, you can do anything, but without me, you can do nothing;” but Mammon, the spirit of the love of money says: No! It’s without me that you are lost. And as in the days of Eden, man has to choose again even when the glory of truth still dazzles. What does man do? He believes in Mammon, enters into a state of indebtedness to his servant, and thereby surrenders his foundation to a vengeful spirit who never gets enough praise. He demands that man slaves for him and he obliges; then goes further and demands that he makes slaves for him – of his father, mother, siblings, children, neighbors and the society. Having given up his place to this spirit, man sees himself as having no choice but to oblige the one without whom he believes he is lost. Money answers all things, but only as a faithful servant. A feast is made for laughter, and wine makes life merry, but money is the answer for everything solely because of its service in trade. Yet wisdom in the hearts of those who lead is a greater defense than money presents. In any society where money becomes Mammon and its utmost defense, the foundation caves in. And when it does, enemies are willingly made and without excuses - even right within families and amongst bests of friends. The spirit of betrayal therefore sets hierarchies. Submission to this Mammon takes over a man born in the creeks – born with no clear path for life – and drags him from a place of seeming irrelevance to the position of a representative as he surrenders to every whim and caprice of this spirit because he knows that with greater favor comes greater submission. Some he picked from among homes of insanity and pulls them up to places of authority beyond their comprehensions and abilities. While worthy heirs are been groomed to properly lead, slaves follow this spirit, Mammon, all the way to be imposed as leaders. Suddenly, men without any conscience for true leadership become ward counselors, Local Government Chairmen, commissioners, governors, and ministers, members of parliaments, senators, chief judges, ambassadors, and even all the way to the presidency. What this does is: it makes Mammon the chief ruler of the society, and when it does, the battle for worship increases every moment so much so that evil becomes good and good, evil. With this submission to Mammon comes greater love for money, and as it grows, men find every reason to debase and dehumanize mankind. But what this man would not see is that every pact of love and commitment done with this vengeful spirit, Mammon, is a burden of slavery. So, today, you see spirits born to rule, walk like men bound with the shackles of an unforgiving spirit…even while they represent and rule. And so their great dreams for better societies are often bound under the burden of their slavery to this insatiable spirit. O How principalities and powers glory for a period! How man willingly surrenders to failures which he has made his! ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: US Dollar Notes
The church of Christ must know this truth: the power to decide resides with fully awakened man and the verdict of the conscience is decided by the man who has found himself. There are principalities, and powers also exist; but the man who has gained mastery of the truth rules his conscience and stands as the head of these forces – dictating outcomes. The only answer to why the church seems to be ineffective is because most people in the church, especially from among the bishops and elders, have equally been beguiled by this persuasive serpent. The men and women appointed and elected to lead and represent must be men whose consciences and spirits are alive to the truth. Without this, as they sell themselves, those whom they lead are equally sold. The children of Israel cried for a king out of an undefined conscience, and God gave them their answer in Saul. Then evil increased, because when men consciously go against divine dictates, evil is always born. David fought his conscientious battles, neither in the palace nor in the fields of men, but in humility and conscious wakefulness while he leads humble sheep. Because God was their election chief and anointing priest, He went straight and picked him from the bush – from amongst the wild beast to “save His people and to lead them aright.” Moses fought against evil and stood for the truth – even against a raging storm of oppositions. He was called a quick-tempered man, yet God called him the meekest of men. He chose him to deliver His people because he has fought and won in his conscience over and against the spirit of Mammon and that old beguiling serpent. Joseph accepted imprisonment just to establish a true foundation in his conscience. He became, not what the spirit called Mammon threatened he would be, but a deliverer of his people. But today, the voice that dwells in the consciences of most men to decide is this same spirit called Mammon. In Nigeria, those who worship it are many, even among those who complain of his burdensome shackles of slavery on them. Nigeria has become the cobweb of Mammon, yet a single illumination from truth breaks his chains from man. Those who lead are bound by this and, therefore, are incapable of deciding for victories in their hearts nor can they blow whistles which will be final, except for that which further exults this wicked spirit and makes these enslaved leaders more in love with money. They are devoid of the will and conviction to stand for what is right because, as their bondage tells them, life is worthless without his help. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria showing some major cities, including the Federal capital (Abuja or FCT)
These leaders were elected and chosen by the people, and only by the people will they be judged and removed or elevated. We are indeed not fighting against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, and against all wickedness in high places. These forces of the dark world have no base of operation and no contract rights except in the heart of a willing man. And if this man is the leader of all, then all are bound in seeming drunkenness towards enslavement, except, of course, they rise up from their slumber and decide the victory in their consciences. Yet this victory over all wickedness in high places comes from a higher place, and from that spirit (man) who is truly conscious of his place of authority – able to decide the times and how they affect men bound by a breakable agreement. Nigeria was founded by the old serpent of hell and run by Mammon. Those bound by this name have only in them the ability to become free. The power to be free is the grace to know the truth and to stand up for it. It is the power of the tongue which gains its convincing victory from the conscience. For man to regain his place and for this slave called Mammon to know and function in his right place, man must decide the verdict in the field of his conscience between the truth over falsehood and victory over defeat. And when he has fully come, he must rise up and speak words which carry their corresponding actions; words which carry the power for creation. In doing this, therefore, take with you the amour of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and to stand in all things perfect. Stand ready therefore, and put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Sooner than expected, the walls of Jericho will fall (even now they are falling) and Mammon, the slave, will be forever bound in his place of duty. This is the duty of man - that spirit who finally discovers and occupies his place in creation and realizes that principalities and powers are but messengers for him. Let Nigeria free Nigerians and let Mammon be cast down to hell! Amen!
Ikechukwu Enyiagu can be reached at
BACKGROUND - For our country, with its colonial stamp of 'made in England', the three hundred odd ethnic and sub-ethnic units in this land, brought together by the force of British Imperialism to forge a modern nation, have good cause to thank God for the astonishing abundance of human and material resources bestowed on us. We are still in the process of nation building, struggling to blend together and harmonize our various very rich but differing traditions, customs and cultures. The recognition of the significance of
*Nigeria: I Will Personally Supervise Removal of Illegal Structures -Obi
Masterweb Reports - Monday, June 25, 2012: Work is to commence immediately on the reconstruction of collapsed parts of UNIZIK temporary site axis of the Onitsha-Enugu Expressway. Governor Peter Obi announced this after inspecting the area. Governor Obi said it was unacceptable that a major access road in the heart of the capital city should be in such a deplorable condition and continue to pose daily difficulties to road users.
He recalled that his administration has written severally and made repeated representation to the federal government requesting authorization for the State government to reconstruct the Amensea to Amawbia sections of the road as it is in a position to fund and complete the project as early as possible. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Governor Peter Obi
The Governor regretted that drainages in the area are completely silted because the residents have continued to block them with refuse thereby forcing flood on the roads and orchestrating the devastation of erosion.
He made clear that he will personally supervise the opening of the drains and removal of all illegal structures obstructing the free flow of water.
*Nigeria: What is $620,000 worth?
Masterweb Reports - Wednesday, May 20, 2012: Recent media have been inundated with the gory details of how a member of the Nigerian House of Representatives, Hon. Farouk Lawan of Shanano/Bagwai federal constituency of Kano state allegedly demanded for and received a bribe of $620,000 from Femi Otedola, CEO of Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd. Mr Otedola subsequently claimed that this was a sting operation orchestrated by the Nigerian Secret Service to trap the lawmaker in the act by the use of a video recording and marked bills. In a counter argument, Hon. Lawan insists that he on the other hand, played along in order to incriminate Mr Otedola. Actually, according to reports, the sum agreed on was $3 million, with $620,000 being paid as a part-payment, and for the balance to be paid after Zenon was taken off the list of indicted companies in the fuel subsidy report. The essence of this article is not to apportion blame or take sides, but rather to look more closely at the amount of money involved in this scandal.
It is by no means the biggest corruption scandal in the country’s history in monetary terms but it will surely rank up there as one of the most audacious. This is due to the fact that Hon. Lawan, who had been charged with the responsibility of investigating the corruption in the petroleum industry, had seemingly discharged his responsibilities without fear or favour, putting up a face of saint-like innocence and brick-like defiance. If it is proved that he is guilty, it would indeed be a sad day for us as a country. However, even if it is not, and it does turn out that the SSS provided the money for this “sting operation” (money which is now missing), how much can $620,000 buy if it were put to productive use? We hear of different amounts of money linked to corruption in Nigeria so often that we have become deadened or immune to the shock of a new scandal. So I decided to get out a notepad and do a little calculation of just how much $620,000 is worth. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: US Dollar Notes
To start with, based on the older World Bank definition of poverty being the inability to live on equal to or above $1 per day, $620,000 will be able to raise about 21,000 people out of poverty for a month and about 1,700 people out of poverty for a year. It would be sufficient to pay the school fees of about 6,700 children in a year at the primary and secondary levels as well as buy about 20,000 school books at N5,000 a piece. It can provide 23,000 pieces of clothing for children and would be able to pay for the sinking of about 832 boreholes.
What is $620,000 worth? It can purchase about 1,000,000 packs of anti-malaria drugs. It can provide anti-retroviral treatment for 4,103 people living with AIDS for one year. It can buy about 8,326 small generators for small and medium scale enterprises. It can also get 2,566 bicycles and 1,998 Innoson motorcycles for transportation of people in the rural areas or for them to start businesses. In addition, it could provide about 1.03 million litres of petrol! ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Nigerian Naira Notes
Having said the foregoing, it should be noted that $620,000 is only 20% of $3 million. I leave it to your imagination to figure out what this same calculation would have come to, if $3 million was used instead in this analysis. To put things into context, some other recent scandals we have had in the national assembly include $203 million (N32.8 billion) that was allegedly embezzled in the pension scam, $230 million (N37 billion) illegal loan allegedly taken by Bankole and Nafada, and $273,000 (N44 million) bribe allegedly requested by Hon. Hembe. So in conclusion, having seen all this, my question is simple: what are they doing with all this money?
By Chisom Ubabukoh
MSc Development Economics and Policy
University of Manchester
*Nigeria: Insurance Covers Crashed Dana Plane, says Management
By Lateef Lawal
The Dana plane that crashed on June 3, this year has an insurance cover totaling $354.5 million, the management of the airline has disclosed. The spokesman of the airline, Mr Tony Usidamen said that the speculations making rounds that the company did not have requisite insurance or that it is not up-to-date on its insurance premium is untrue.
According to him, Dana Air has all required insurance coverage and was fully up-to-date with policy payments. He said Dana Air’s insurers were - Prestige Assurance Plc as Lead Underwriter, while the foreign one is Lloyds of London.
The said flight had two levels of insurance cover -that is- $4.5 million for the value of the plane(Hull) and $350 million for third party liabilities.
Usidamen further disclosed that the airline had made direct contact with 103 of the 112 families who lost loved ones in the accident and had also made contact with the 6 embassies managing communications with the families of those victims from other countries.
According to him, families and embassies had been sent letters of condolence and the insurance documentation necessary to facilitate compensation payments. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Body of a victim being removed from the Dana plane crash site
He added that as of the close of business on Friday June 22nd, the company had received completed insurance forms for 23 of the victims, 2 of which were staff of the airline.
- NCAA guidelines require that, where possible, initial compensation payments be made within 30 days of the accident taking place.
- NCAA guidelines set the compensation level at $100,000 per victim.
On the identification and release of bodies to the families, he said Dana Air has continued to engage with the Lagos State Government and the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital to ensure that the process is expedited so that families can lay their loved ones to rest.
He said that as at Friday, June 22nd, 98% of DNA samples had been successfully collected and dispatched to a UK laboratory for testing while the remainder would be sent today.
To facilitate the completion of claims forms by the families the company has established toll free lines to a crisis management center to provide assistance.
He assured that the airline would continue to provide this service until all claims have been addressed and settled.
Lateef Lawal (NigerianAviationNews)
Photo Above: Nigeria Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Adaeze Oduah
Photo Above: An airborne Dana plane
*Nigeria: NDDC Projects in The Eyes of Senators
By Ifeatu Agbu
Just like any wise individual, organisations also learn from the mistakes of others, if they truly want to succeed. This appears to be playing out at the current board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC. Its immediate predecessor spent only half of its tenure before it was dismissed, all because of the rancorous relationship that existed among its members. The new board, so far, is reported to have worked harmoniously to enhance its chances of delivering on its mandate. And this seems to have attracted the attention of its key stakeholders.
During a recent tour of the commission’s projects by the Senate Committee on the Niger Delta, its chairman, Senator James Manager, was apparently convinced that things have changed for the better. He declared: “We have not come on the heels of disputes. If there is anything that has been achieved by this board, it is peace at the NDDC.”
It was, indeed, in that convivial atmosphere that the Senator-Manager-led team began its latest oversight duty at the NDDC. The Act setting up the commission makes it the most monitored Federal Government agency in the country. The relevant committees in the Senate and the House of Representatives, the office of the Secretary to the Federal Government, the Advisory Committee made up of all the governors of the region, among others, take turns to beam searchlights on the activities of this very important interventionist agency. In a way, this has helped the commission to always be on its toes. ( Continues below...... )
Photo Above: Nigeria National Assembly Complex
Before hitting the road for project inspection, the Senate Committee stopped over at the Rivers State Government House to pay a courtesy call on Rt. Hon. Chubuike Rotimi Amaechi, the governor of the state. The Senators were accompanied by Dr. Tarilah Tebepah, the Chairman of the Board of the NDDC, Dr. Christian Oboh, the Managing Director and some members of the board. The governor, who was until recently the chairman of Forum of Governors of the nine NDDC states, said that they had agreed with the commission to focus more on regional projects like a railway that would connect all the states in the Niger Delta. He also urged the NDDC to invest more in agriculture “to create jobs and reduce the level of crime in the region.”
After the visit to Governor Amaechi, the heavens opened up and it seemed as if the rains would ruin the Senators’ programme for the day. In spite of the rain, the Senators set out for their inspection tour. At the site of the 19-kilometre Abalama-Idoh-Degema Road Project in Rivers State, Senator Manager described the project as a job well done and urged the commission and the contractor to keep up with the good performance. The story was, however, different at the Igbiri-Abbibo-Oba Road and bridges linking Okrika Local Government Area to Port Harcourt. The committee expressed displeasure over the slow pace of work on the project. A visibly angry NDDC boss tongue-lashed the contractor and called for an amendment to the NDDC Act to provide for stiffer sanctions to checkmate erring contractors.
“We have seen that this contractor is not working, the next thing they do is to ask for variation, using powerful Nigerians to mount pressure on us. Meanwhile the communities are suffering, NDDC cannot continue this way,” he said. The MD promptly summoned the contractor to meet with NDDC management, immediately, warning “if in another two months you cannot show a reasonable commitment to deliver this project, we will be forced to re-assign it”. The Senate committee, according to its chairman, has a responsibility to monitor the activities of three agencies, namely; the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, the NDDC and the Amnesty Programme. So, their tour of projects included those of the ministry as well. Of course, the East-West Road, which was taken over by the ministry in 2009, is a project that is very dear to the hearts of Niger Deltans.
The committee members inspected different sections of the strategic road being handled by Setraco Nigeria Ltd. The drive through Ahoada to Mbiama was anything but pleasant. The monitoring team rocked and danced through the pothole-ravaged East/West Road. The ditches that cover most of that stretch of the road sent a powerful message that nothing has changed for the long-suffering people of the Niger Delta.
Mr. Michael Hachenberg, the Managing Director of Setraco, told the South-South caucus of the House of Representatives last year that if the delay in funding the project was not checked, it would take 10 years to complete this very important road link. He blamed the Federal Government for not releasing funds as and when due.
This unfortunate development has been giving leaders of the region sleepless nights and the Governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan is not an exception. He too decried the slow pace of work on this road. He told the Senate Committee that visited him at the Government House Annex in Warri, that the strategic road has become a source of worry and if it was not completed by 2015, it will be a big problem, adding that it was the desire of the people of the South-South region to have the road completed as quickly as possible.
Dr. Uduaghan said that governors of the Niger Delta region were prepared to liaise with the Presidency to facilitate the speedy release of funds for the completion of the East-West road. He re-echoed the views of Governor Amaechi that the states covered by the NDDC had resolved that the commission should focus on regional infrastructure that cut across the states. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria's Niger Delta Region showing its composite 8 states.
Senator James Manager, said the committee had invited the Minister of Works to explain the circumstances delaying the completion of the road. He said that although the East-West Road was critical to the Niger Delta region, "it is obvious that looking at the way things are going, the road will not be completed in the next five years. That is why we have invited the Minister of Works to explain to us because from the way things are going, it is not possible to deliver that project in the next three years."
Another mega project inspected by the committee in Delta State is the Bomadi-Tuomo-Ojobo-Tamigbe road with 8 bridges. The 16-kilometre road being constructed by Setraco Nigeria Ltd. at the cost of N8.9 billion was awarded in 2009. The Senate Committee Chairman said he was not pleased with the progress of work on the road.
At the 23-kilometre Uzere-Patani Road, the project supervisor, Engr Dotun Olugbami said that the company was struggling to meet set targets with limited funds. He, however, promised that work on the road and three bridges would be completed by December 2014.
The Senators also inspected the Ugheha-Koko-Escravos Road in Delta State. Here, some aggrieved members of Koko community complained that the contractor was not serious with the project. It took repeated assurances from Senator Manager to get them to calm down. He appealed to them to be patient and peaceful to ensure that work progresses smoothly at the site. Turning to the youths, he said: “you need the road, so, cooperate with NDDC and the contractor to enable them go ahead with this project.”
In Bayelsa State, the Senators inspected the 40-kilometre the East/West Road Junction-Sampou-Odoni Osekwenike Road with six bridges. They were told by Chief Azezi Ekadi, a community leader, that the people of the surrounding communities were pleased with what the NDDC was doing for them. “We are very glad that the work is moving well. I thank the NDDC for giving us access to our villages,” he said.
The Senators also inspected the 29-kilometre Sagbama-Edebri-Angalamabiri road, a project which the NDDC MD said was very strategic. Senator Heinekin Lokpobri, a member of the committee, reminded his colleagues that the road does not only lead to his village and that of the Governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Serieki Dickson, but would equally open up the hitherto inaccessible areas to commerce and development.
This is not the first time the Senators are coming face-to-face with the daunting problems of the Niger Delta. In November 2007, Senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria held a four-day retreat in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. According to the Senate President, Chief David Mark, it afforded them the opportunity to venture into the creeks of the Niger Delta. He said it was an eye-opener for them.
Senator Manager said that his committee saw enough from the tour of three states (Rivers, Bayelsa and Delta) to convince them that NDDC holds the key to the sustainable development of the Niger Delta. He said that after seeing things on the ground, they were now well equipped to assist the NDDC. The Senate Committee Chairman said that from what they saw on the ground, the new board of the NDDC was doing its best to improve the lives of Niger Deltans. He, therefore, called for the support and cooperation of stakeholders to enable the commission achieve its goals for the oil-bearing region.
Senator Manager commended the commitment and passion of the NDDC MD and the management team. He said: “From all available evidence, they mean well. Under Dr. Oboh’s leadership, there is a flurry of construction activities going on in the three States of the Niger Delta so far visited” The NDDC boss, who was visibly pleased with the inspection tour, said that the commission was pursuing the delivery of on-going projects and would award new ones where necessary. “We have seen the magnitude of projects going on, what we need now are sustainable efforts and funding to deliver”, he said.
Senator Manager agreed that the issue of adequate funding of the NDDC is at the heart of all development efforts in the region. He underscored the fact that the difficult terrain in the Niger Delta posed an enormous challenge, which should be matched with robust funding.
Mr. Ifeatu Agbu ( email@example.com ) writes from Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
*Nigeria: Azaziphobia, PDP and Northern Elders
Masterweb Reports - Friday, May 22, 2012: Andrew Azazi's comments at the South South Summit in Asaba that the PDP is responsible for Boko Haram have continued to elicit reactions from different sections of the Nigerian populace long after the comments. People still discuss it with the intensity they discuss the statements of General Buhari that rigging of the 2015 elections would elicit bloody reactions.
PDP members were pressurizing Jonathan to replace Azazi . The northern elites were calling for his head for suggesting that their tribesmen in the PDP are responsible for Boko Haram insurgency. Some non partisan observers believe that Azazi should resign as the NSA. They feel that as an insider in the Jonathan cabinet he should not expose his principal. I would like to take on the reasons people preferred for Azazi to be thrown away and why such reasoning may be more of emotional and intuitive exercise than logical.
PDP Chieftains truly believe that Azazi is an ingrate. Discussions with some of them who preside over the affairs of Nigeria show a curious resentment and phobia for Azazi which defies common sense. They accuse Azazi of betrayal and posit that Jonathan needs loyalists around him not people like Azazi. Some of them claimed that they have told their President to rid himself of this nosy and talkative soldier before he ruins their great party’s chances in 2015 election.
The northern counterparts posit that Azazi is an ethnic bigot who is out to give the north a bad name and damage its reputation among Nigerians with intent of denying the north the chances of 2015 presidency. The PDP as a whole views Azazi with suspicion and the Northern leaders equally view him with suspicion. Azazi was left between two bulldogs trying to tear him to pieces.
Azazi have served Nigeria in different capacity, the most recent being the GOC of 1st Division, Kaduna in January 2005, The Chief of Army Staff in June 2006 and the Chief of Defence Staff. His recent appointment as the National Security Adviser is not greater than the last two appointments. Azazi have equally had his share of the Nigerian national cake. With all the billions budgeted for the office of the NSA, certainly Azazi cannot be holier than the system he is serving. During his time as army chief, he gave soft landings for militants and encouraged dialogue with his kinsmen. His friends in the military believe that Azazi is aware of all oil bunkering activities within the Niger Delta during his era as military chief. Therefore the theory of ingratitude cannot hold water. Azazi, by Nigeria’s standards was already a fulfilled man, professionally and financially before he came to serve Jonathan. Infact, he actually came to Jonathan’s rescue when the former security adviser, General Gusau indicated interest to run for the presidency in October 2010. Azazi was drafted to help continue the stabilization which Aliyu Gusau era brought to the security arm. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: PDP Logo
It is actually the PDP that needs Azazi. The PDP and their style of politics is making the work of Andrew Azazi and other heads of security agencies to be very difficult. These undemocratic tendencies are the greatest security risk Nigeria is facing. Indiscrete electoral fraud caused post election violence in the north of Nigeria in 2011 and the security agencies were called up to clean up the mess. PDP supervised corruption is responsible for mass discontent in the land which in itself is a security risk. Aggrieved PDP members in the north with huge funds are sponsoring Boko Haram in Nigeria as a means of seeking redress for Jonathan jettisoning the zoning structure. The security agencies are also cleaning the mess from the Boko Haram branch of PDP. The subsidy protest is a reaction to PDP harsh economic policies. When the people wanted to overpower the looters, the soldiers were called in to contain the protesters. It is obvious that when the PDP defecates, the security agencies clean up the mess in order to keep the nation one. Yet the shamelessly defecating ruling party is accusing a security head of ingratitude.
The PDP should be grateful to Andrew Azazi and the heads of other security agencies that there is still democracy in Nigeria. They are yet to know how close this democracy came close to being truncated on two occasions. They should take the advice of Azazi , who actually spoke the minds of other heads of security agencies. They should stop rigging of elections, stop flouting court orders, stop looting the economy, stop shielding corrupt public officials, stop implementing harsh economic and stop sponsoring Boko Haram. This will reduce the mass discontent in the land and eliminate a lot of security flashpoints. However, if they fail to heed the warning, which is most likely, they should at least be grateful that the armed forces are cleaning up the security mess from their anus.
Andrew Azazi has cleared his conscience. The blood of innocent Nigerians being murdered by the terrorists, hitherto hanging on his Ijaw neck have been sent back to where it ought to hang, the ruling party. He has stomached the bloody deception for long and at last decided to free his conscience. If it pleases Jonathan and the feasters in Aso Rock, let them sack Azazi. He has nothing to lose. This man whom the public view with the same lenses they viewed the sacked Inspector General of Police, Hafzat Ringim, have finally extricated his name from the public tag of incompetence. Other public officers should emulate Patrick Azazi.
When Remi Babalola alerted on the escalating subsidy scam and insolvency of NNPC powerful persons within the party sought for his head and President Jonathan hurriedly redeployed him to the ministry of Special Duties on the 10th of August 2010 from where he honourably resigned. Babalola went home with a free conscience and the subsidy bill skyrocketed to N2.7 trillion naira in the same year. Audu Ogbeh was forced to resign as PDP chairman by former president Obasanjo when he openly criticised the ceding of Anambra State to the Uba brothers in the aftermath of the torching of state edifices an act which followed the shameless kidnap of former governor Chris Ngige. Mr Vincent Azie was removed as the Auditor General of the Federation a month after he released his audit findings in 2003 which revealed a flagrant violation of financial rules and regulations by the presidency and other organs of government. In the view of some shameless Nigerians, these men had lost out, but before the larger society and before God, they have discharged themselves honourably and freed themselves from the guilt of commission and omission.
Public officers owe a duty to God and the people of Nigeria to speak against acts capable of putting the nation in jeopardy even if it may endanger their privilege. The day a good number of public officers toes the path of honour by speaking the truth as these men have done then the deliverance of the nation could be perceived from afar.
President Goodluck Jonathan on March 21, 2012 relieved Gen Andrew Azazi (rtd) and Dr. Haliru Bello of their jobs as National Security Adviser and Defence Minister respectively.
*Airline Operators Petition National Assembly On Proposed Public Hearing/Investigation of Dana/Allied Plane Crashes
By Lateef Lawal
The Joint National Assembly Committee on Aviation's planned public hearing/investigation of the Dana and Allied Air plane crashes has come under attack by members of the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON). The Joint Committee sitting which is expected to commence from June 19th - 22nd, 2012 is to investigate the cause(s) of the Dana airline's accident in Lagos and that of Allied Airline Cargo plane crash in Ghana. In a petition sent to the Chairman of the Committee by the Secretary General of AON, Captain Mohammed Joji and copies sent to President Goodluck Jonathan, the Senate President, David Mark, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Tambuwal and other principal officers of the National Assembly, the airline operators noted that it would be illogical to conduct any public hearing or investigation when the body statutorily charged with that responsibility-Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) was yet to conclude its investigation. In addition, members of the association noted that in any aircraft accident all over the world, public hearing into aircraft accident are not held in public because of its volatility due to loss of lives in such an accident as in the present circumstance, as it could heat up the polity. The full text of the petition is reproduced below:
The Chairman, Senate and House of Representatives Join Committee on Aviation, National Assembly Complex, Garki, Abuja.
REF: PUBLIC HEARING ON THE CRASH OF DANA AND ALLIED AIRLINES.
We read on a National Daily that the Joint Committee will commence a Four Day Public Hearing from June 19th¡V 22nd, 2012 as part of Investigation into the Crash of DANA Airline¡¦s Flight in Lagos and a Nigerian Cargo Aircraft, Allied Airline in Ghana. Furthermore, you also asked that we should submit a memorandum detailing all the information we have on the Crash to the Secretariat of the Joint Committee. First of all, in our Press Conference (AON) of Friday 7th June, 2012 in Lagos where we briefed the Press to act responsibly in reporting this fatal accident, and not to engaged in innuendos and shenanigans prior to the outcome of the investigation. We send our condolence to the families and friends of the briefed. Secondly, we believed that it is the Constitutional right of the Legislators to call for public hearing, but under the circumstances where even the preliminary report of the Accident is not concluded, it is ill-time and ill-conceived to discuss the remote causes of the Accident. Thirdly, it is also inappropriate to discuss this very accident at this material time, where the polity in the country is already overheated. Power of the Commissioner to Investigate Accidents and Incidents The Civil Aviation Act of 2006 signed by the Members of Parliament on the 9th and 14th November, 2006 and endorsed by Mr. President on the 14th November, 2006, specifically part (viii), para. 29, clearly gave powers to the Commissioner of Accident to Investigate Accidents/Incidents and report directly to Mr. President through the Minister of Aviation before any pronouncement is made over any accident. Any parallel investigation which can prejudice the outcome of the on-going investigation is against the ICAO ¡V Convention of Accident Investigation particularly ICAO Annex 13 which dealt with Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation. Furthermore, prior to the outcome of the initial stage of investigation,communications between the pilot and the control tower cannot be divulged.
Jamboree of Public Opinion
We have read all sorts of jamboree by some members of the public who claimed to have knowledge of Aviation Industry, perhaps some of them may not have even been a passenger in any Aircraft all their life. If this is allowed to continue it will put the Aviation Industry in bad light.
Relative Safety of our Aviation Industry
Apart from the three successive accidents which occurred between 2005 and 2006 and claimed the lives of 312 people, we have had a relatively accident free Aviation Industry. The industry has achieved a lot in terms of safety and development particularly, the achievement of the past twelve months, the achievement of FAA category one (1), which classified Nigeria as one of the safest Aviation Industry in the world given our level of activities. It must be remembered that, there are not more than 9 African countries from the 62 African countries which was granted the category 1 status. The Domestication of Cape Town Convention which is a great achievement convinced Foreign Investors to invest in newer Private Aircraft flying within our Airspace.
Level of Activities in the Nigeria Airspace
Nigeria is a country of 158,259,000 people. All the other 16 West African Countries has a population of 150,456,000. This is less than the Nigeria Population. Gambia is a country less than the area of Lagos State, and its population is less than Ikeja Local Government. Nigeria has the largest domestic network in Africa and flies about 700 flights daily including helicopter flights to/from the oil platforms. All the Airlines in Nigeria are privately owned. Ethiopia is one of the most successful airline in Africa has barely half the population of Nigeria, its domestic network is negligible compared to Nigeria. The entire commercial accident in the Nigeria Aviation since the establishment of West African Air Transport in council following a court order No. 682 of the Buckingham Palace by the Kings Most Excellent Majesty ¡V King George VI (father of the present Queen of England) is less the monthly accident on the Nigerian road. Other World Accident Statistics 1. On the 27th March, 1977 a Ground Collision at Tenerife occurred between Pan Am B747 ¡V 1000 Reg. No. 736PA and KLM B747 ¡V 100, killing 664 passengers on the spot. The two Aircraft are carrying holiday people. Several families, grandparents, parents, children and grandchildren lost their lives. In most of these cases, some entire family lost their lives. The accident was due to the negligent of the KLM Captain not obeying the Air Traffic Controllers¡¦ Directive. Investigation was peacefully conducted by both countries; USA/Netherland did not conduct any public hearing prior to the final accident report. 2. On the 2nd September, 1998, a Swiss Air MD-11, Reg.: HB ¡V IWF, a new Aircraft suffered cockpit fire. The Aircraft was flying from New York to Geneva, declared an emergency and diverted to Halifax in Canada, 5nautical miles(NM) to the Airport, the Aircraft crash off the coast of Nova Scotia killing all 229 people on board. Normal investigation was carried out, there was no public hearing prior to the final outcome of the investigation. 3. On the 17th January, 2008, A British Airways Boeing 777 ¡V 200, Reg. No:G ¡V YMMM, a factory new Aircraft, lost both engines and crashed just inside the perimeter of Heathrow Airport besides the runway on a soft grass. The 152 passengers and crew escaped death with minor injuries. Catastrophe was averted by share act of God. Were the Aircraft crashed one(1) minute earlier, it could have crashed in Central London. A political catastrophe was averted by share act of God. Investigation was allowed to be carried out in three stages by the British Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB). These stages include; initial report,subsequent update and special bulleting published 4 months after for public interest. Grounding of an Airline at the Aftermath of an Accident Grounding an airline at the aftermath of a crash is inappropriate. By shutting down the operation of an airline will automatically shut-down the other serviceable Aircraft within the Airline fleet. Take for example, United/Continental Airline with; „« 704 Aircraft „« A fleet value of $13.9 billion „« Employ 230,000 people „« With 167 Aircraft on order. Shutting down such Airline in the aftermath of accident, will spell doom to the USA Economy. That is why as long as other Aircraft are still serviceable,airlines are allowed to operate at the aftermath of an accident.
In any Aircraft accident, which involves loss of lives, Emotion is often very high. This is why a thorough investigation was often carried out before any public debate. In accordance with established International arrangements, example of the British Airways accidents; The National Transportation Safety Board (NSTB)of the USA, representing the State of Design and Manufacture of the Aircraft,the NTSB accredited representative is supported by a team which includes additional investigation from the NTSB, the Federal Aviation Administration(FAA) (the equivalent of our NCAA) and Boeing. Rolls ¡V Royce, the Engine Manufacturer is also participating fully in the investigation. British Airways, the Operator is cooperating fully with the investigation and providing expertise as required. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency(EASA) are being kept informed of developments. The above explanation, is the world standard of investigating an accidents which is applicable to all the 191 ICAO member states. You will notice that throughout the period of such investigation, no any member of the public including the British Parliament and the House of Lords participated in the investigation. They all waited for the outcome of the investigation. Why do we choose to do everything differently for political expediency, which will ultimately overheat the polity? Kindly allow the investigation to take its normal course before calling for any public hearing which you have the Constitutional right to do so. ICAO clearly stipulates that; the sole objective of the investigation of an accident or serious incident shall be the prevention of accidents and incidents and it shall not be the purpose of such an investigation to apportion blame or liability.
Lateef Lawal (NigerianAviationNews)
Photo Above: An airborne Dana plane
Photo Above: Nigeria Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Adaeze Oduah
*Task Before Niger Delta Stakeholders
By Ifeatu Agbu
The Amnesty Programme, introduced by the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, in more ways than one thawed the ice of tension in the oil-rich region of Nigeria. However, it remains a prelude to a comprehensive resolution of the Niger Delta problem, which is lack of development. So, the bottom-line is getting all stakeholders to join in the efforts to rapidly and significantly transform the oil-bearing communities.
The way forward, therefore, is to sustain the gains of the amnesty programme by embarking on tangible development projects that would positively change the lives of the people. That would also enlist them as vanguards for the protection of oil installations and vulnerable pipelines crisscrossing the Niger Delta. Even now, the oil industry is being threatened by the activities of criminals who seem to have taken over from where the militants left off.
According to Engineer Austen Oniwon, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), thieves are stealing about 180,000 barrels worth of crude oil every day from pipelines and through illegal bunkering in the Niger Delta. So, as it is, high-profile criminals have taken over illegal oil trading activities from militants who hitherto engaged in such acts.
Counting the cost in monetary terms, Mr. Mutiu Sunmonu, the Managing Director, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, said that the country is losing $5bn (N780bn) annually to the oil thieves. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria's Niger Delta Region showing its composite 8 states.
Thanks to the amnesty programme, the oil thieves can now be distinguished from the militants, who were genuinely agitating for a fair deal from the Federal Government. This is why no effort should be spared in ensuring that the fruits of the official pardon are fully enjoyed by the people who bear the brunt of oil exploration and exploitation.
In order to make things happen as quickly as expected, the development agencies, such as the oil companies, the federal, state, local governments, the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, must collaborate at different levels and key into the regional development Master Plan already approved by the central government. The NDDC which facilitated the production of the Niger Delta Regional Development Master Plan is well placed to drive the process of its implementation. So far, the commission has been making efforts to build enduring partnerships and embarking on targeted engagements with strategic stakeholders.
Recently, the Presidential Monitoring Committee on NDDC held an interactive session with stakeholders in the region where it was agreed that the commission would focus more on completing all on-going projects awarded since its inception. The commission has commenced an audit of ongoing projects across the region to enable it identify the status of such projects in order to prioritize their completion based on available resources. Dr Christian Oboh, the Managing Director of the NDDC, said the commission had reviewed its budgetary system to put all existing projects on the top priority list. “A lot of projects have been awarded since the establishment of the NDDC; we intend to focus on the completion of the projects. Partnership is the new road map that the commission has adopted in project implementation across the states of the Niger Delta”, he said.
Dr. Oboh said that with the re-activation of the Advisory Committee of the NDDC, which comprises the governors of oil-bearing states and the principal officers of the commission, it would now be easier for them to interface directly on project planning and implementation. This is the driving force behind the joint effort of the NDDC, Akwa Ibom State Government and Mobil Producing Nigeria Ltd in the quest to complete the Eket-Ibeno Road. The 18 kilometre dual carriage way, with two bridges, is being constructed at the cost of N8.2 billion.
Obviously, pleased by the team effort, the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio eagerly joined the chief executive officers of NDDC and Mobil to inspect the road project to work out the best way to deliver it on schedule. The governor said that the road was strategic to the operations of Mobil and as such was very important to the state. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria's Niger Delta Region showing Port Harcourt
He was confident that the NDDC, having teamed up with the state government and Mobil, would deliver quality projects. “With the interaction we have had, there is hope for the Niger Delta. The MD of NDDC has shown focus, passion and commitment. For me, this is a turning point”, he said.
Such high profile partnership is the way forward for a region that is yearning for rapid development. The NDDC had always joined forces with key stakeholders in confronting the enormous challenge of making a difference in the lives of the people in the remote communities of the Niger Delta. One of such collaborations is in the construction of the 29 kilometre Ogbia-Nembe road, which it is undertaking in partnership with the Shell Petroleum Development Company [SPDC].
The N9.6 billion project illustrates the kind of challenges confronting the Niger Delta. It cuts through the swamps with ten bridges and 99 culverts. The terrain is such that four metres of clay soil has to be dug out and then sand-filled to provide a base for the road. It shouldn’t surprise anyone therefore to learn that constructing a road in this tough environment costs twice or thrice of what is required in other parts of the country. This is a project several previous administrations thought was impossible. Now work on the road is progressing appreciably.
This is just one of the many mega projects being executed by the interventionist agency with the limited funds at its disposal. Without doubt, the NDDC needs to be adequately funded to enable it deliver on its mandate. All the key stakeholders, which include the Niger Delta Ministry, three tiers of government and the oil companies, have a responsibility to collaborate with the NDDC as the agency driving the implementation of the Regional Development Master Plan.
The master plan, which has been generally applauded as a worthy compass for the development of the region, needs to be adequately funded and meticulously implemented in order to translate the lofty plans into tangible projects and programmes. The big ticket projects articulated in the plan require enormous resources to execute.
Unfortunately, the Federal Government which is supposed to lead the way in ensuring adequate funding for the commission for many years under the Olusegun Obasanjo administration failed to meet the statutory obligations to the commission. For many years, the interventionist agency was getting only 10 per cent from it instead of the statutory 15 per cent. This resulted in the much-talked about N500 billion debt that the Federal Government is owing the commission.
The NDDC Act states clearly how the commission shall be funded. Section 14 provides that “there shall be paid and credited to the fund established pursuant to subsection  of this section; [a] from the Federal Government the equivalent of 15 per cent of the total monthly allocation due to the member states of the commission from the federation account, this being the contribution of the Federal Government to the commission; [b] three per cent of the total annual budget of any oil-producing company operating onshore and offshore in the Niger Delta area, including gas processing companies; [c] 50 per cent of monies due to member states of the commission from the ecological fund...” and other sources such as grants and loans.
Apart from the Federal Government which did not comply with the provisions of the Act during the Obasanjo years, some of the oil companies have also not been paying the three per cent of their annual budget as required by law. Records show that they deduct first charges before calculating the three per cent from the balance. It is more like cutting the nose to spite the face, given that what they spend for the development of the Niger Delta is for their own good at the end of the day.
Given the enormous impact of their activities on the environment, the oil companies are expected to be at the forefront in the critical task of remediating, and indeed the comprehensive development of the oil basin that has suffered so much neglect in the past. It is, in fact, in their interest to develop the region where they operate in order to guarantee peace, which is very necessary for them to continue with their business.
Recently, the Petroleum Resources Minister, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, blamed International Oil Companies (IOCs) for the underdevelopment of Nigeria's economy. She said that some decisions taken by the oil firms had resulted in a loss of over $300 billion to government coffers. The minister alleged various acts by foreign oil firms that showed intent to “generate their own revenue without paying attention to actions that add value to the over all Nigerian economy.”
The oil companies should embrace global best practices in the execution of their business in the Niger Delta. Ultimately, this will enhance their profile and expedite the development process of our country.
Mr. Ifeatu Agbu ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) writes from Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
*Nigerian Soldiers Stranded In Sudan
Masterweb Reports - Sunday, May 24, 2012: We are four Nigerian Battalions (NIBATTS 30, 31, 32 and 33) on duty in Nyala, Sudan from 26 November, 2011 - 2 January, 2012 but now stranded after we are due for rotation. Our expected period of rotation to Nigeria is 26 May - 3 July, 2012 for the four battalions; up till the time of this report, we have not been rotated. This situation is very depressing and is dangerously affecting us and our loved ones back home.
NIBATT 31 was supposed to be rotated back to Nigeria between 31 May - 7 June, 2012. Out of the 800 troops that made up the battalion, only 115 were airlifted to Nigeria on 31 May; the remaining troops are still stranded in Sudan. They have added extra weeks to their official date of departure as well as NIBATT 30 which was supposed to be rotated back home on 26 May. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Nigerian Army Logo/BannerThis situation is due to either negligence on the part of the Nigerian government or the Army in taking up their responsibilities abroad with respect to their men and women on tour of duty.
As I write, Nigerian Army Peace Keeping Center (NAPKC) in Jaji is full of troops of the four Battalions that underwent training to rotate the stranded 4 Battalions here in Sudan. Also the FOB in Abuja where troops normally spend the night before they are airlifted to Sudan is filled up with troops awaiting airlift to Sudan. Sudan as we all know is a very hostile and a desert country with hash weather that makes living very unbearable. It is unwise for Nigeria to leave us to stay extra days, weeks or months in Sudan after the expiration of our tour of duty.
Other Contingents like Thailand, Sierra Leone, Bangladesh, Nepal, Egypt and South Africa have all rotated their troops with chartered planes with passenger seats of about 220. Nigerian Army is waiting for United Nations to organize their rotation for them with a plane carrying only 115 passengers, making us to rotate a battalion seven (7) times x 4. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Major General Emeka Onwuamaegbu, Commandant of Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA) in handshake with soldiers.
I appeal to Nigerians to use their good offices in telling Mr. President, Senate President, Minister of Defense, Chief of Defense Staff and Chief of Army Staff as a matter of urgency to bring planes (bigger ones) to rotate the four Battalions in Sudan not later than 3 July or else we will create a scenario in Sudan which will deter the on-going peace process in Darfur. 3rd July is our ultimatum. Please publish this to the readership of those in Aso Rock. They are all sitting down in Nigeria eating from our sweat which a battalion generates a month ($700,000:00) for then in the UN.
We look forward to seeing this news publish today or tomorrow in the various dallies. Thank you and God bless.
Concern Soldiers in Darfur, Sudan.
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