*Nigeria: NDDC And The Challenge of Abandoned Projects
By Ifeatu Agbu
Not too long ago, the Presidential Projects Assessment Committee (PPAC) set up by President Goodluck Jonathan to look into cases of abandoned federal government projects released figures that could best be described as shocking. Their report showed that an alarming eleven thousand, eight hundred and eighty-six (11,886) abandoned projects are begging for completion in different parts of the country. “One of the challenges we met when we came on board was the multiplicity of uncompleted and ongoing projects across the region [Niger Delta]. We are aware of stakeholders’ concerns and are committed to ensuring the completion of as many of such projects as possible within the limit of available time and resources.” That was how Dr. Chris Oboh, the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, explained the direction of his new Board. To give effect to the board’s dominant goal, the Managing Director is personally driving the process. He told members of the Presidential Monitoring Committee on the Niger Delta who visited the commission recently that “the 2012 budget would target completion of existing projects and they have all been placed on 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.” True to the declaration of the NDDC boss, the board members undertook an extensive audit of all on-going projects across the oil-producing region. Dr. Oboh described the audit as a demonstration of the commitment of the board to the completion of projects awarded since the inception of the NDDC in December 2000. The monitoring committees constituted by the board have criss-crossed the nine NDDC states to see things for themselves. One of such committees has just concluded its inspection of projects in Delta, Edo and Ondo states. The monitoring groups made up of representatives of the various states on the board of the NDDC had inspected projects in all the states. The projects include roads, bridges, land reclamation and shore protection, flood control and channelization projects, as well as university hostel projects spread across the region. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria's Niger Delta Region showing its composite 8 states.
Members of the first monitoring group visited Bayelsa, Rivers and Akwa Ibom and they were led by Barrister Edi Orubo, representing Bayelsa State. Others were Prof. Ibitamuno Aminigo, representing Rivers State and Engineer Imaobong Inyang, representing Akwa ibom State. According to Orubo, their task was to assess what was on the ground and recommend measures that would facilitate the completion of projects placed on fast-track by the commission. The team leader said that the new board of the NDDC was poised to make appreciable impact on the lives of the people of the Niger Delta as quickly as possible. “The project monitoring team will work closely with the contractors to ensure that they deliver quality infrastructure and on time too,” he said. He said that some of the problems that had previously slowed down the pace of work on NDDC projects had been addressed, noting that “the process of payment has been streamlined and fine-tuned such that contractors are now paid as soon as they present their Interim Payment Certificates[IPC].” The team assessed the level of work done at the site of the 29-kilometre Ogbia-Nembe road, which the commission is building in partnership with the Shell Petroleum Development Company [SPDC]. This road with 10 long bridges and 99 culverts is described as one of the very challenging projects of the commission because of its very difficult terrain. For over 35 years when it was first proposed for construction, successive administrations could not muster the political will to execute it until SPDC and NDDC decided to take the bull by the horns. From Bayelsa State, the board members moved over to Rivers State where they inspected the hostel projects at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology [RUST] and the University of Port Harcourt. After that they moved to Buguma. Here, they inspected the Buguma-Edo-Abalama-Abonema road as well as the Buguma shore-protection and the reclamation of 150 hectares of land in Ogu-Bolo, all in Rivers State. While they expressed satisfaction with the massive land reclaimed at Ogu-Bolo, they were sorely disappointed at the poor performance of the contractor at Buguma. In Akwa Ibom, the board members inspected the hostel at the University of Uyo Permanent site and the one at the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital. They also looked at some on-going NDDC roads and bridges in the state. The roads visited were the 30 kilometre Nsasak Junction-Okon Essien Udim road; the 33.5 kilometre Ikot-Akpan-Udoh road; Iko-Atabrikang-Opolom-Iwuo Achang road with a 600-metre bridge in Ibeno and the Uquo-Odoro Nkit-Ntak-Inyang road. According to Engineer Samuel Inyang, the contractor handling the Nsasak-Okon Road, NDDC’s new approach to project execution was commendable as it was result-oriented. “Since we started work on this road the support of the NDDC has been unprecedented,” Inyang who was a member of the pioneer board, representing the oil companies, said. The second monitoring group from the NDDC board took off from Abia State. The three-man team of board members, led by Barrister Alloysius Nwagboso, representing Abia State, included Barr.Peter Ezeobi, representing Imo State and Hon. Dominic Edem, representing Cross River State. Barr. Nwagboso said that the inspection exercise was aimed at ensuring that on-going projects of the commission were completed on schedule. He said: “If the NDDC is not on ground, building roads and bridges as well as other key infrastructure, we won’t be on this assignment,” he said. He charged all NDDC contractors to fulfil their obligations to the commission by working expeditiously to deliver the various projects on schedule and to specification. He warned; “Contractors that are not on site or fail to keep to specifications will have themselves to blame because the board will not hesitate to take appropriate measures to bring them to book.” According to him, “gone are the days when contractors collect money and abandon projects or go on an endless voyage seeking variations”, since as he puts it “the Commission is determined to handover erring contractors to anti-graft agencies”. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria's Niger Delta Region showing Port Harcourt
The inspection team was disappointed when they visited the site of the 25-kilometre Uzoukwu-Owaza Iguruta Road and bridge project. Barr. Nwagboso lamented that the bridge which would link Abia and Rivers states was being delayed by the contractor who was not on site to explain why the work on the bridge appeared abandoned. It was also a sad story at the site of the 132 KVA transmission line and substation at Ukwa-West local Government Area of Abia State. The N1.6 billion power line project, meant to serve Abia, Rivers and Akwa Ibom states, appeared stalled as the premises of the substation was overgrown with weeds. “It is sad,” was Nwagboso lamentation. The legislator representing Ukwa-West in the House of Representative, Hon. Uzoma Abonta promised to assist the NDDC in holding contractors accountable. “it is in our interest to see that projects sited in our constituencies are not abandoned,” he said. The NDDC board members were, however, delighted with what they saw at Nsidung and Idebe communities in new Bakassi/Akpabuyo Local Government Area of Cross River State. Hon. Akwaedem commended the contractor for “doing a good job” on the 12-kilometre road with a short spam bridge and culverts. Commenting specifically on the hostel projects, Barr. Nwagboso said the progress of work at the Federal University of Technology, Owerri[FUTO] and Imo State University was encouraging. He, however, charged the contractors to keep up the pace to ensure that they were completed on schedule. Engr. Henry Onouha, the site manager for the FUTO hostel project, assured the board members that the complex would be ready for commissioning before the end of the year. The contractors at the other hostels in Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River states gave similar assurances. The 176-room proto-type hostels are being built in 18 universities and polytechnics in the nine Niger Delta states. Barrister Orubo said that members of his committee were impressed with what they saw at the project sites. He said they would continue to monitor the progress of work on the hostels to ensure that they were not only delivered on schedule but done according to specified standards. He appealed to all the contractors to be on their toes because board members would visit their sites henceforth without prior notice. The last leg of the inspection took members to Delta, Edo and Ondo states. The team was led by Chief Solomon Ogba, the representative of Delta State on the board. He stated that cases of agitations would be reduced when the numerous projects being executed by the commission were completed and handed over to the people. He, therefore, charged the contractors working for the NDDC to buckle up as “the board will not entertain excuses for non-performance.” Chief Ogba said the board and management of the commission have a mandate to key into the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan by increasing the tempo of infrastructure development in the oil-producing states. To this end, he said, “the commission is now paying contractors as soon as they achieved specified milestones. We have also placed some key projects on fast-track to ensure that they are completed in the shortest possible time.” The inspection team, which included Barr. Henry Okhuarobo, representing Edo State and Mr. Omogbemi Oladele, representing Ondo State, expressed satisfaction with the pace of work at the site of an extensive flood control project in Ughelli. It has 29.6 kilometres of drain channels and nine boxed culverts criss-crossing Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State. The board members said they were happy with the level of work at one of the university hostel projects in Abraka. According to the contractor, the hostel would be ready by December this year. “Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the second hostel which appears to have been abandoned by the contractor”, Ogba lamented. The NDDC team also inspected the Obozogbe – Abudu 24-Kilometre Road in Edo State, which is almost ready for commissioning. According to Mr. Oladele, “this road is a testimony to the fact that some local contractors can deliver quality jobs. The contractor has done a good job on this road and it is marvellous in our sight”. In Ondo state, the NDDC board members expressed dissatisfaction with the quality and pace of work at the shore protection and land reclamation work in Ayetoro. Mr. Oladele regretted that the project which was supposed to save several communities threatened by high waves from the Atlantic Ocean was being treated with levity. “The endangered Ayetoro community remains endangered because the contractor is not living up to expectation”, he said.
Mr. Ifeatu Agbu ( email@example.com ) writes from Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
*Ojukwu's Gateway In Onitsha Converted To Sodom & Gomorrah
A Joint Public Statement
Ojukwu Gateway& Statue In Onitsha Abandoned & Converted To Sodom & Gomorrah -A Joint Report By Intersociety, MASSOB, CLO, Human Rights Club & Human Rights Dev. Int’l
(Onitsha Nigeria, 9th September 2012) -The leaderships of International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law-Intersociety, Movement for Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra-MASSOB, Civil Liberties Organization-CLO, Human Rights Club of LRRDC-HRC and Human Rights Development International-HRDI in Anambra State and the Southeast Nigeria are alarmed and worried over the slowest pace of the reconstruction work at the newly renamed Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu Gateway at the Onitsha Niger Bridgehead. Apart from near- abandonment of work at the site, the sacred Gateway, adorned with the statue of Revered and Great Ikemba-Nnewi, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, has practically been taken over by a bunch of criminals masquerading as government traffic control agents and revenue collectors. Others who constitute nuisance and pollute the sacred place are extortionist police personnel from Onitsha Area Command, Onitsha Central Police Station and Fegge Police Station; hawkers, Motor Park touts, thieves and those trading in the area. In other words, the statue of Revered and Great Ikemba is erected and abandoned in a filthy environment and den of criminals, a sort of Sodom & Gomorrah, where anything goes. Unlike the Wailing Wall in the State of Israel, which hosts Heaven and atonement-seeking wailers, the Great Ikemba’s statue has after August 30, 2012, when it was unveiled by President Goodluck Jonathan, received and continued to receive scores of wailers, psychologically and morally disturbed by its abandonment and disrespect by the construction firm, CCC Nig. Ltd., the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Government of Anambra State.
It is recalled that the Government of Anambra State under Mr. Peter Gregory Obi recently declared publicly that it has obtained an authority from the Federal Government of Nigeria, which holds the Onitsha-Enugu Dual Carriage Way in trust for Nigerians, to reconstruct at a speedy pace the Niger Bridgehead to Amansea portion of the Dual Carriage Way, in addition to its expansion into a 10-lane drive/gateway renamed Ojukwu Gateway, which stretches from the Niger Bridgehead to Lagos Park at Upper Iweka. But the pace of work at the Niger Bridgehead site is at the lowest and provocative pace. The disturbing situation is compounded by the poor and condemnable way and manner the Government of Anambra State handles the clearing and relocation of traders and transporters occupying the hitherto two unused service lanes, from which the 10-lane space will be carved out. The occupiers of the said lanes have over the years polluted the entrance into the State from western and northern parts of Nigeria and successfully warded off government’s efforts to relocate them through acts of bribery and whipping up of ethno-religious sentiments.
We have prior to President Goodluck Jonathan’s visit to Anambra State, sent our field investigators to the Niger Bridgehead so as to investigate reported activities of government and individual criminals, which came to us in torrents. Part of our findings was the Intersociety’s letter to the Government of Anambra State over the criminal activities of its traffic control agency- ASTA. The letter was dated 23rd August, 2012. Apart from the criminal activities of the ASTA operatives, which remain untamed and include unofficial collection of sundry revenues for their supervising commissioners and other revenue merchants from Anambra and Delta States, police personnel from the Onitsha Area Commander, Mr. B.S. Wordu; the Fegge Divisional Police Officer, Mr. Roland Omotoje; and the Onitsha Central Police Divisional Officer, Mr. Yusuf Abdul are routinely seen hiding under the Niger Bridgehead, mounting illegal roadblocks, harassing and extorting private and commercial motorists as well as arresting those who refused to be extorted and intimidated. This is in spite of the IGP’s total ban on mounting of unapproved police roadblocks across the country. There are also a motley of other criminal revenue agents clutching sticks, planks, nails, metals and double edged knives parading thro and fro the said Great Ojukwu Gateway and unleashing terror on members of the public particularly the innocent visitors to the State. There are touts wearing the IGR aprons belonging to the Government of Anambra State, as well as commercial vehicle loaders, who constitute public nuisance with impunity along the sacred place. The worst of it all is that the Great Ikemba’s statue is now a dumping and resting spot for hawkers.
tally, the Great Ojukwu Gateway is also nothing to write home about. It is the worst environmentally abused and degraded spot in Anambra State. Apart from kiosks and shanties dotting the sacred place, traders, transporters and goat sellers pollute the place with utter alacrity, no thanks to the slowest pace of the road reconstruction work at the site and manifest weakness of the Government of Anambra State to strictly but humanely enforce extant environmental and space management laws/regulations. The Anambra State Government’s hit and run approach towards clearing the sacred place of shanties and kiosks as well as relocation and rehabilitation of the affected traders have worsened the already polluted environment and emboldened the said traders to re-erect such shanties and kiosks and re-occupy the places already cleared in a twinkle of an eye, on the justifiable excuse that Government is witch-hunting them unnecessarily because it is not ready to build the 10 lanes warranting their evacuation. Some top government officials particularly the officials of the Federal Ministry of Works- office of the Federal Controller of Works, have been accused by the traders, transporters and goat sellers in the area of demanding and receiving bribes to delay or discontinue the clearing/relocation exercise. For instance, some top officials from the Federal Works Control office in Asaba, who are in-charge of the Dual Carriage Way and other federal roads in Anambra State, were accused of receiving bribes from the said traders recently, after which they hurriedly approved the relocation and erection of electric poles at the middle of the Onitsha South LGA portion of the Dual Carriage Way’s service lane, instead of erecting them at the tail end. The hurried exercise was promptly stopped by some top officials of the Government of Anambra State when the information reportedly got to the Governor.
Further, when our investigators went back to the site at the Niger Bridgehead on Friday, 7th and Saturday, 8th day of September 2012, the Ojukwu Gateway was still in a sorry state. At the Onitsha South LGA’s portion under the Bridge, we saw three illegal police roadblocks and extortion points mounted by police personnel sent by the Onitsha Area Commander, Mr. B.S. Wordu; the DPO of the CPS, Onitsha, Mr. Yusuf Abdul; and the DPO of the Fegge Police Station, Mr. Roland Omotoje. At the Ogbaru LGA portion under the Bridge, we saw the operatives of ASTA and other touts working for the Anambra State Commissioners for Transport and Special Duties, harassing, intimidating, extorting, arresting and impounding commercial and private vehicles and motorcycles and their operators in the guise of collecting sundry revenues including Okada riders’ permit and motor emblems. At the Ojukwu Statue, we saw some hawkers dumping their wares and resting on top of its marbled staircase, while others hanged around it in utter disrespectful manner. We also witnessed the slowest pace of the reconstruction work in progress, with two worn-out caterpillar bulldozers and two ancient soil excavators stationed, out of which only one was in use. We saw transporters blocking the entire service lanes they asked to leave; shanties and kiosks were seen being rebuilt; water tanks were seen dotting the entire place; women petty traders, who initially relocated to a nearby empty spot, were seen re-occupying their former place in full force; and goat/ onion sellers and other traders were seen re-occupying their former places in the area. The criminal and other environmentally unfriendly activities of the IGR operatives, Motor Park touts, commercial drivers, etc were menacingly in full glare when we visited the sacred Ojukwu Gateway on the said date. The operatives of the Federal Road Safety Corps were also seen causing artificial logjam and extorting money from motorists.
While the erection of the Ojukwu’s statue at the prime entrance into the Southeast Nigeria and renaming of the entire area of the Niger Bridgehead to Lagos Park at Onitsha Upper Iweka after him, is very commendable on the part of the Federal Government and the Government of Abnambra State, it is utterly abominable and amounts to grave crime against the Ikemba, people of the Southeast Nigeria and Nigerians as a whole to erect his statue and name in a Sodom & Gomorrah. For records, the likes of the Ojukwu the Great in modern history are Mao Zedong of China, Shan Kai-shek of the Country of Taiwan, Vladimir Lenin of former USSR/Russia, and Fidel Castro of Cuba, Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran, Martin Ruther King Junior of USA to name but few. In places where their tombs and statues are situated, they are kept clean and sacred at all times. They also pump hundreds of millions of dollars yearly into their countries’ coffers from annual pilgrimages. They are idolized; worshipped and made freedom squares with immunity for free speeches.
Therefore, while condemning the present eyesore status of the Ojukwu Gateway, we call on the Government of Anambra State to as a matter of uttermost urgency and importance, address the problems enumerated above or remove the Ikemba’s statue from the site and return the area renamed to the status quo ante bellum if the State Government lacks the capacity of competence and urgency. Any project in Ikemba’s name and honor should defy any form of delay including excuses of rainy season. Besides, the mobilization stage of road reconstruction involving clearing of unwanted soil/sand, removal of obstruction objects such as shanties, kiosks and bricks, and construction/reconstruction of drainages, usually done at the heat of rainy season, have not been done and completed in this respect, not to talk of the reconstruction proper. From our detailed findings, the Government of Anambra State should swiftly ask for the immediate removal of the Federal Controller of Works for Anambra State as well as the site manager of the firm handling the reconstruction work; the CCC Nig. Ltd., Eng. Chamy. Our joint call for their immediate removal is premised on suspected conflict of interest, sabotage, selfishness and corruption.
If funds are responsible for putting the work at the lowest pace, the Government of Anambra State should provide enough funds immediately and seek for refund from the Federal Government later; if security is the problem, the State Security Council should post adequate security personnel to the site to be aided with human rights kits; if relocation of those trading and transporting in the area is the problem, the State Government should fully, forcefully but humanely carry out the relocation exercise and ensure that such exercise is environmentally and commercially friendly; and if the construction firm is the problem, the State Government should issue an ultimatum to the firm and in consultation with the President, revoke the contract and reward it to a more competent firm in the event of continuing slowest pace.
We further call on the Government of Anambra State to clear the entire Niger Bridgehead-Ojukwu Gateway of hoodlums including motley of government revenue agents, both fake and authentic. As a matter of fact, the ASTA office under the Bridge should be closed down permanently and the entire place ridden of thuggish IGR agents, Motor Park touts, Okada and vehicle riders/drivers’ permits and emblems’ revenue collectors, etc. The Ojukwu Gateway should be adorned with a befitting roundabout and a recreation facility. It should also be magnificently flowered, lightened and kept clean at all times. It should as well be declared a freedom square for free speeches with immunity from arrest and trial. The sanitization exercise should be extended to Lagos and Aba Parks at Onitsha Upper Iweka where fake and serving police personnel from Okpoko Police Station in Ogbaru LGA, who usually go in mufti, as well as touts and criminals are causing havoc by terrorizing the innocent passers-by on daily basis with impunity. The despicable attitude of the iron traders at Uga Junction/Atani Road, who heap tons of rods on the edges of the newly constructed gutters of the Atani-Ogwuikpere Federal Road, built by the present Government of Anambra State, should also be checkmated as a matter of uttermost immediacy.
On the issue of police brigandage, we call on the State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ballah Nasarrawa to ensure that no illegal roadblocks and extortionist activities are carried out anymore by police personnel working under the trio of the Onitsha AC, the DPO of the Onitsha CPS and the DPO of the Fegge Police Station. We also call on the CP to declare the DPO of the Fegge Police Station, Mr. Roland Omotoje a disaster and unfit to continue to serve in Anambra State. The reported criminal activities of the DPO including mass arrest and serial extortion of the Okada operators in Fegge usually from 6.30pm, has risen to an apogee. Those who refused to pay huge bribes or could not afford them are ordered by the DPO to be charged to magistrate court with spurious felonious charges, from where they are dumped in awaiting trial prison custody.
If Ojukwu Gateway & Statue continue to wear an eyesore and a disrespectful look in weeks to come, we shall have no other option than to remove the sacred statue and detach the name from the area renamed-MASSOB leadership threatens today.
Comrade Emeka Umeagbalasi
Chairman, Board of Trustees, Intersociety Nigeria
Comrade Aloysius Attah
Chairman, CLO, Anambra State Branch
Comrade Uchenna Mmadu
National Director of Information, MASSOB, Occupied Territory of Biafra
Comrade Samuel Njoku
Coordinator, HRC of LRRDC, Anambra State Branch
Comrade Peter Onyegiri
Zonal Coordinator, HRDI, Southeast Nigeria
Photo Above: Ojukwu Statue at Ojukwu Gateway
Photo Above: Ojukwu Statue at Ojukwu Gateway (Photo 2)
*Cynthia’s Burial Amidst Tears: The Burden of An Igbo Scholar!
(A Rejoinder On: “Cynthia Osokogu: The Girl Murdered By The Igbos? Who Is Qualified To Respond To This?”)
By Olugu Ukpai
I am aware that different reactions have trailed my pro- Igbo and anti-Igbo demonizing-derogatory article, titled “Cynthia Osokogu: The Girl Murdered By The Igbos? Who Is Qualified To Respond To This?” First, may I commend those who summoned the courage to speak their mind, as I had the opportunity to do so in the article. It is your guaranteed freedom of expression of thought and opinion. The Igbos says that “Uche bu akpa, onye obula nya nke ya”, which when transliterated into English read “Thought is like a goat skin, and everybody carries his own”. For the avoidance of doubt, let me make my position clear. I am a firm believer in challenging the status quo where this is warranted. Also, I love having faith in my own ideas even if everyone is getting on the band wagon, to borrow the phrase of Abraham Lincoln in his letter to his son’s teacher. To me, accepting something simply because it has always been that way is one of the greatest threats to progress. Although some would term my response below to the commentators as radical, my father once told me that, a man who does not have or is not known by any distinctive attribute-whether good or bad is a coward! I live that with history to judge. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Late Cynthia Osokogu
May I crave your indulgence for the very last time to respond to the thought provoking commentaries that have trailed the article? You do not speak about the issues of the living as though they were dead, a la the Igbos! “Aniga ekwu okwu onye di du dika nke onye nwuru anwu”, says the Igbos.
First, many merely reduced the article to feminism, describing my position a feminist orientation “you simply wrote to cover up the girl” one of them said. They have attributed my speaking out against Cynthia’s gruesome death to be, because of my love for women. If the only one condition of being a man is to perpetuate violence against women, by killing innocent women, I would rather prefer to be called a woman. I would friendly remind them that to conform and to follow convention is only an act of cowardice, but unpatriotic which the concept of masculinity detests. Real men do not abuse, let alone killing defenseless women. Rather, they love women unconditionally and protect them. If that is what they mean by feminist orientation, then, call me a radical feminist. If we must develop as a nation, we must love women and give them equal protection.
Second, others have been lenient enough and said that I have been brainwashed. They said that Western education has changed my thinking. But even if taken as a given their assertion, may I gently remind them that change is one of the greatest attributes of life. It was Heraclitus of Ephesus who averred that “nothing is permanent in this world, nothing is constant or stable, and everything is always in the process of change.” His student, Zeno was even more radical who propounded that; no one can step twice into the same river, even in stagnant water. Without unnecessarily being philosophical in orientation, without accepting the fact that everything changes, we cannot find perfect composure. But unfortunately, although it is true, it is difficult for us to accept it. Because we cannot accept the truth of transience, we suffer. Nigerian nation has refused to change their unqualified hatred for the Igbos. Igbo people have been and are continued to be gruesomely murdered needlessly in the illusion called Nigeria. They have been literarily cut off from Nigeria. No wonder the nation is moving anti-clock wise. Therefore for me, to change is natural because I am part of nature. ( Continues below..... )
Third, some have contended that there existed violence in pre-colonization era and argued that “macabre modus operandi” (violence in pre-colonization societies) would be the most appropriate perspective to explore violence in Nigeria. While there were undeniably some elements of violence in pre-colonial societies, evidence abound that the colonial and post colonial period’s violence has increased tremendously following globalization and neo-colonization. These concepts have turned the world into a global village. For instance, Facebook through which Cynthia made contact with her alleged killers is a good example of one of the fall outs of colonialism, post-colonialism and neocolonialism which have helped to increase violence. Had it been that Facebook is never in existence, perhaps, Cynthia couldn’t have made contact with her killers and could have probably been alive today. Thus, colonialism and its somewhat attendant-corresponding fall outs are very central to the increased violence in Nigeria, Igbo land, and elsewhere, and not the Igbos.
Fourth, some have simply termed the article tribalized, adjudging my perspective as not the solution. Unfortunately, those were a lofty rhetoric and warrant no response, though. To warrant my comment, my critics have the burden to put up a substitute theoretical framework antecedent of violence in Nigeria in general and Igbo land in particular. Notwithstanding the arm chair critics, I have no regret of my position. It was Biko Steven who signifies that “You are either alive or proud of where you belong to or you are dead, and when you are dead, you can’t even care anyway”. I am privileged to be a son of the Igbo. I am proud of my race. I have a lot of pride and dignity as an Igbo. If the concept of re-incarnation exists, I will re-incarnate as an Igbo man. Did God made a mistake by creating me an Igbo?
THE BURDEN OF AN IGBO SCHOLAR!
“The Igbo have a culture; they have also a history – an unwritten history which it is the task of the culture historian to piece together.” ~~ Professor Victor Uchendu
I am still wondering what I would tell my unborn children when they grow up to ask me, “but Daddy, what did you say when the Igbos were being demonized? Did you make any effort to put history aright?” Imagine the disappointment that would be written on their faces if my response is “No, I did not because of what people would say”. We can't just groan and shrug and remark to our like-minded friends that this is ridiculous, because this is a significant moment in this campaign to stop demonizing the Igbos in all ramifications. It is the collective responsibilities of Igbo scholars to re-write history. The truth is like medicine. It is always bitter, with some adverse effects, but it cures the disease and heals the patient.
Our illusion called Nigeria is sick and therefore requires large doses of a very bitter medicine-truth. Okowa writes:
“The desire to tell the truth is one condition for being an intellectual. The other is courage, readiness to carry on rational inquiry to whatever it may lead, to undertake ruthless criticism of everything that exists; ruthless in the sense that the criticism will not shrink either from its own conclusions or from conflict with the powers that be.”
Likewise, I agree with Wanye Boot when he said that: “the scholar is the only person charged by the society to carry the burden of thought to its extremes, even when thoughts hits back”.
Correspondingly, I agree with Amu Djoleto when he wrote: “I don’t say what I’m expected to say. I’m no Christ and I do not wish to be. There are enough Jews; but do you think if Christ had said what he was expected to say the church would have been in existence?” Of course not. The Christian Church, a symbol of change came into being because, Christ bitterly condemned a decadent Jewish society, and so do I against the demonizers of the Igbos. I am no Christ, but I owe to humanity, especially, the Igbos, their women (but not excluding Nigeria on one condition: as long as the concept of egalitarianism is enthroned and made paramount) an obligation.
What then is that obligation? – French philosopher, Albert Camus has the answer when he says that “the scholar should always remember that the “highest devotion we can give is not to our country as it is but to a concept of what we would like it to be.” Thus, I write to condemn in the most stringent manner, any act of a dehumanizing of Igbo culture, act of violence and blackmail against Ndi Igbo, in the name of ethnocentrism that violates human’s rights and perpetuate inequality in the leadership of the country, in the hope that those who encourage and support them may be compelled to change for something good. That is the only time we can achieve progress.
Therefore, I will not only criticize and condemn the concept of violence as an attributes of the Igbo culture, but would suggest what I would want to happen to that demonizing concept to be: to melt and fizzle like a wax before the fire.
No nation can develop when one half of it is enslaved, marginalized, demonized and killed unnecessarily with impunity. Professor Christiana Murray, a leading human rights lawyer once said: “No nation can be free [or develop] when one half of it is enslaved.” Development in the extant entity called Nigeria will remain a fantasy as long as the Igbos are continued to be demonized, killed needlessly with impunity and marginalized. I can do no better than to finish with the 1997 judgment of the Supreme Court of Appeal (Enugu Division) as delivered by Chief Justice Niki Tobi, in Mojekwu vs Mojekwu condemning discrimination (paraphrased):
“…In my humble view, it is the monopoly of GOD to determine the sex of a baby [and his/her tribe] and not the parents. Although the scientific world disagrees with this divine truth, I believe that GOD, the creator of human beings is also the final authority of who should be male or female [Igbo, Yoruba, and Hausa etc]. Accordingly, to discriminate against a particular sex [or tribe] is to say the least an affront on the Almighty GOD himself... LET NOBODY [Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba etc] DO SUCH A THING.”
Olugu Ukpai is a Ph.D Law student at School of Law at the University Of Reading, U.K. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
*Why are Nigerians in Thailand? Part 2 (Educational Approach)
By Emmanuel Nweke Okafor
I was so delighted for the various comments I got from various people across the globe both from Nigerians and non- Nigerians. I was deeply encouraged to keep on sharing my personal ideas on why Nigerians are in Thailand from the positive outlook. At this point, I have not got any contrary information that will make me change my position, namely, that many Nigerians are in Thailand for good reasons other than the negative positions of some writers in Thailand via internet postings.
Hence, in this PART 2, it calls for knowledge of the direction of the “good reasons” in which many Nigerians are in for, as against some of the internet blogs that drive joy in condemning Nigerians in Thailand as all criminals, scammers, and bunch of nuisance. In my opinion, I observed that an average Nigerian student in Thailand enjoys the university environment here in Thailand. Many Nigerian lecturers and teachers also enjoy the fact that their salary are paid at and as when due by Thai universities and schools. It is also unfortunate to note that a few Nigerians in Thailand also use their fellow Nigerians as bait in business net. It is therefore my view that all the Nigerians in Thailand irrespective of the field have a part to play in repositioning the image of the Nigeria and Nigerians as wrongly presented to the world by those who may be better described as “enemies of Nigerians living in Thailand”. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Map of Thailand
Limitations, intention and methods:
As I had said in my PART 1, this article is meant to rebuff the various internet websites that wrongly generalize the activities of Nigerians in Thailand to be only drug businesses and scamming activities. I do not also think that I am writing a pure academic paper. I am only presenting an observation from a lived-life by Nigerians in Thailand. My sole intention is to encourage my fellow Nigerians who consider Thailand as a country that will broaden their horizon and perspective in life to move on without fear of some of the internet’s wrong and misleading information about the activities of Nigerians in Thailand. I have always consulted many Nigerians in Thailand and hard even met with some websites that publish incorrect information about Nigerians in Thailand. The various comments from my previous write-ups were also considered.
It is not my intention to promote Thailand and demote my beloved country Nigeria. It is my intention to let all websites that see the only bad aspect of Nigeria and Nigerians in Thailand to do please review their positions and see Nigeria and Nigerians as a country and people in the process of development like other countries. It is possible that I could be in errors in my position if proven otherwise but for now, let the world know that many Nigerians in Thailand are also responsible, good-looking, talented, extremely well educated and destined to contribute positively to the world.
Ever before the establishment of Thai embassy in Abuja, many Nigerians had witnessed one form of trouble in one way or other by either being arrested for either traveling with a fake visa or passport that belongs to other countries. There were many cases in which some Nigerians were caught when they went to renew their visa on another country's passport. The results often lead to an arrest and a phone call. It all centered on the fact that, at that time, Thailand has no embassy in Nigeria which means that Nigerians have to go to London to get Thai visa. Those who tried to get Thai visa through the British embassy found it very hard. This resulted to the fact that many Nigerians and other agencies provided visa in some other ways other than the proper and normal channel.
However, this article intend to let all know that many stories about Nigerians living in Thailand are either exaggerated or outdated which means that there is need for more update of which I have preferred the positive/educational outlook. It is wrong to still maintain that many Nigerians in Thailand have fake passport or visa. As a matter of fact, the number of Nigerians entering Thailand of recent is mostly students and businessmen and women who follow the normal visa process in Abuja. I will personally share more ideas from the educational point of view on why Nigerian students are in Thailand for merely for educational purposes and not for drug, 419 or fraudulent activities. This is not to state that all Nigerian students in Thailand are saints or perfect human being. ( Continues below….. )
I am not in any difficulty to note that in some ways, the history of pedagogy in Nigeria was initially an apparent story of success. It was on record that in the seventies and eighties, the records of educational policies in Nigeria were seemingly satisfying. Formal education in Nigeria attained its highest point when schools were being managed by the voluntary agencies, namely the Christian mission. In those days, religious education was taught and practiced in schools. The morality of the teachers and students were not questionable. The missionaries equipped and maintained these schools. There were strong education policies and principles. The memories of Universal Primary Education (UPE) which later changed to Universal Free Primary Education (UFPE) were encouraging enough. Sequel to that, the abrogation of tuition fees and the reduction of boarding and lodging fees were all aimed at maximization of educational gains. With the introduction of UPE and the reduction of cost of education at all levels, thousands thronged to educational pursuit.
However, the 6-3-3-4 educational system was a welcomed development, but the present state of things shows that it is no more functional. The policy was introduced to give students technical skills and help them acquire both scientific and literary knowledge among other things as earlier mentioned. The past educational feats were not without their own problems. The clamor for more educational institutions came up because each state wanted its own University or Tertiary institutions. Those who did not get any felt cheated and of course, they can cry of being marginalized. This was the proverbial last straw that broke the Carmel’s back. The government of Nigeria took over the management of school in order to fund the sector directly because of the value placed on education. The take over was also to harmonize the system and foster national unity. But then this funding turned out to be the bane of educational institutions to date. Due to the negative attitudes which people have shown towards government work, the funds budgeted for education have all been embezzled and misappropriated.
Teachers were owed salaries for months which then resulted in incessant strikes, their moral became low and their input reduced drastically. It is good to note that because of the poor standard of living which the teachers were forced into, they lost their respect among students who openly abuse and attack them at will. The parents on the other hand, took the advantage of the teacher’s poor situation to insult the teachers when the parents feel that their children have been maltreated. Morality, discipline and honesty were thrown over-board. The dark perennial clouds that hovered over those years continue to cover our bearing coupled with the present chaos and face-off in our institutions. Amidst all the crimes committed in Secondary and Tertiary institutions are due to lack of discipline. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Members of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) protesting in Enugu, Enugu State, Nigeria in 2010.
Click For Enlarged Photo
When Religious education was de-emphasized, morality began to suffer. The subsequent lack of morality resulted in riots, unrest, indiscipline, examination malpractices and mutilation of results. No single session passes in our campuses without student unrest of one kind or another. Also the lack of educational facilities and teaching aids is another problem that has crippled educational growth. The grievances of the lecturers and students in the existential also had all the time lacked adequate attention.
From my own point of view, all these called for a change with a more pragmatic and participatory learning style. Since these changes are no where to be found, some parents, students and concerned Nigerians have taken the decision on their own to search for a better place where the education of their children, family members and friends is not tampered with. Some of these Nigerians who cannot afford to study in the United States, United Kingdom, and European countries then found Thailand universities more attractive because it is cheaper and have no sign of strike actions irrespective of the political problems presently experienced in Thailand.
Therefore, many Nigerians who come to Thailand to study are purely doing so for educational purposes and not for drug, scamming or any form of illegal business. Many of these Nigerians in Thailand universities are just trying to ‘make do’ with what is available in order to avoid the frustrating situation some of them may have embraced at home either in a form of long years of waiting for WAEC or JAMB result. In order words, some Nigerians students are studying in Thailand for good reasons and not for bad reasons. I consider it as a commendable positive approach to life instead of doing nothing. Many of Nigerian students in Thailand understand that the importance of education lies in its ability to make man better and more fulfilled.
Without good governance, development in its true meaning will continue to be a mirage. It is only an ignorant man that feels comfortable when public funds that belong to all citizens are amassed by the public office holders. Education frees people from mental slavery and empowers people economically, socially, and politically. As Bertrand Russell says, education is to rear up the new man of excellence (Russell B, 1961, pp. 4-18). I will therefore argue that well-meaning Nigerians in Thailand should not be intimidated with the generalization of all Nigerians in Thailand as criminals. I do not think that Nigerians in Thailand should be singled out for malicious reasons and cheap publicity that is devoid of necessary international journalism.
Why some Nigerians enjoy Thai educational environment:
To every critical and even uncritical but perceiving mind which is abreast with our existential situation, it is quite clear that education in Nigeria is in a very pitiable state and needs revival. The issue of WAEC, NECO, GCE and JAMB may have alienated many Nigerian students directly or indirectly and have succeeded in keeping many students from furthering their education. There is seemingly a very low standard of education; hence we have become victims of the culture of mediocrity. Many factors are obviously responsible for this namely
The first thing that vitiates the progress of education in Nigeria is that teachers at all levels feel that they are not handsomely paid. This enables teachers to be less dedicated, to seek other avenues of making money to make ends meet, brain drain and incessant strike actions. How do we imagine the outcome of an educational system where universities are closed down for more than six months in a year? What do we expect from students at this period? A saying has it that “an idle man is a devil’s workshop” or “the devil makes work for idle hands”. It is indeed lamentable. I have not met any Nigerian student in Thailand that is worried of a strike action irrespective of Thailand un-ending political logjam. The common feeling is that most Nigerian students are very comfortable studying in Thailand and some are even inviting their cousins, brother, sisters and friends to do so. I do hope that the issue of teachers’ salary should be settled amicably so that Nigerian teachers should be enabled to do what they are trained for. An average Nigerian teacher in Thailand receives about $1000 (equivalent to about N158, 000. 00). Again, an average Nigerian teacher in Thailand gets this money and manages it very well without fear of armed robbers or any form of insecurity. This further explains why many Nigerians are in Thailand not necessarily for drug business.
The infiltration of ‘secret societies’ into our schools today is another debilitating factor with regard to education in Nigeria. In fact, ‘secret societies’ now have their headquarters on campus. Students prefer to attend the meetings of these societies than to do their class work. Through these odd societies, they commit a lot of crime and cause a lot of harm in the universities ranging from murder and rape to harassing of workers, lecturers and fellow students. Although Thailand had a similar situation in some of their universities but it appears that they are well-handled as the Thai police is in charge of the situation. Based on this, Nigerian students in Thailand are feeling relaxed as they face only the racial issues which are preferable to many of them than the threat of the “secret societies” in Nigerian universities. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: University of Ado-Ekiti (UNAD) students demonstrate against cultism.
The next is poor infrastructure which is a common problem in all educational institutions in Nigeria. Many of the Primary schools which are the base of education are still operating scandalously below normal. Hence it was once quoted “About sixty percent (60%) of pupils in our Primary schools do not have furniture, seats and desks to write upon. In fact, at all levels the problem persists. Decaying infrastructures have turned Nigerian Universities from Centers of academic excellence to ivory towers of shame” (Ugwu E. and Fola A, March 23, 1999, p.18). Research facilities have broken down and are too obsolete to produce any meaningful and tangible results. The collapse of most laboratories on campus has led to practical courses being taught theoretically (Ugwu et al, March 23, 1999, p.19). As a consequence, the universities turn out dry biologists, dry doctors from laboratories that have no water, no chemicals and equipment. This has exacerbated the problem to such an extent that many students graduate from schools full of words but as vessels empty of intellectual discipline. Today’s report if given cannot give a positive answer since there is no remarkable development since then. The education sector, which is the key to the development of any nation, has not fared too well either in Nigeria.
A recent ranking of the world's top universities did not locate any Nigerian University among the top 500, despite a reported increase in school fees and the establishment of private universities. Yet in the past Nigerian universities and their products were competing with the best from other societies in the world. For years, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) was still embroiled in a strike over better welfare and improved working conditions, which has resulted in millions of under-graduates staying at home, and susceptible to criminal activities. Even the fact that upon reception of office new Ministry of Education changes what his or her predecessor has done raises a serious and troubling question. This simply demonstrated that the Nigerian government has always been struggling to provide herself with a befitting educational system that will benefit all and sundry but then the road to such has not been easy hence some Nigerians who cannot afford to pay for the USA, EU, UK education decided to study in Thailand irrespective of the fact that Thailand would not have been the desired option by some of the students. Can we then agree with some of the writers hovering around Thailand that Nigerians are in Thailand for scamming? My direct answer is NO!
Suggestions and conclusion:
Nigeria is blessed with abundant human and natural resources and this is reflected in some of the commendable policies that are being formulated on education. In all, it is very clear that the road has not been smooth and is still cloudy in the Nigerian educational system. It is clear that the present attitude of many Nigerians to education is not only uncalled for and unwarranted but suicidal. Now is the time to extricate education from any overture to which it has been lured into. As such, we must all rethink and change for the better by making education one of our priorities both as individuals and as a nation or state. Nigeria today is in a pool of confusion due to various problems: economic, social, political, religious et cetera.
And the first step to get over these problems is by giving education its proper place. This is why we must do something positive about education in our country now. It is not as if the country has had no educational policy. Nigerians have conceived and developed great policies alright, but they have been only peripherally implemented, with an inconsistency that suggests that we are merely sampling every conceivable policy without a clear goal in view. This has led to short term commitments to policy implementation with the obvious result of achieving nothing. What we need now is ‘pick and polish’ policies and curriculum that would accomplish the goals of illiteracy and development. The government should confine itself mainly to regulatory function in the nation’s education system by setting standards, encouraging compliance, providing supervision, giving incentives and scholarships, promoting infrastructural development, fighting corruption and misappropriation of the funds that cripple any working policy. These are direly needed to investigate and revamp the decaying structures and standards that affect the education system.
What the public read and see in the internet blogs about Nigerians in Thailand as presented by some writers were mere blame game that indeed employed dirty tricks to hide their callous acts in Thailand such as murder cases, pedophiles cases, sex with minor cases, fraudulent cases and many other related cases. Interestingly, they have good and responsible ambassadors that come to their aid.
I do not see any sign of intellectual maturity or morality among the self-serving writers whose aim is to the cheap publicity rather than public and for Thailand’s interest. I see some of their hasty generalization as a compensation for their lack of credibility and severe image problem by mounting strong internet attacks against Nigeria and Nigerians in Thailand, trying to drive a wedge between the Thai governments and the Nigerian government and thereby creating an atmosphere of distrust. It is another form of Neo-colonialist interference which Thailand even could not allow (The Nation, June 1, 2010). It comes in many forms sometimes covered with fig leaf of humanitarians concern. I see that as describe it as distortions, half-truths or outright lies. This approach is blatantly uncivilized, barbaric and not fashionable in this 21st century. I personally feel that the idea of these writers is to intimidate, harass an innocent Nigerians. It is a misplaced gesture of blind trust most Nigerians have for the writers.
In all, just as internet gives even an unqualified man or woman a chance to express his or her own opinion and make himself or herself heard, I believe that if enough Nigerians in Thailand should speak up, we will make an impart towards rebranding and reposition our destroyed image by both Nigerians and acclaimed enemies of Nigerians. There is no doubt that many Nigerians in Thailand are imbued with the highest level of integrity, impartiality, good-looking, talented, and extremely well-educated and patriotism.
Finally, Nigerian government should have appropriate curriculum and suitable teaching and learning equipment for each educational program; be able to build academic networks with other countries; provide teaching methods that enable students to become efficient citizens within the African community and the world at large. With this in effect, the Nigerian students will be happy and relaxed studying in Nigeria thereby avoiding the unnecessary insult and assault we receive from both Nigerians and the non-Nigerians.
Why are Nigerians in Thailand? Part 1 at -
Emmanuel Nweke Okafor is a PhD Student in Graduate School of Philosophy/Religion, Assumption University Thailand. He is presently a lecturer and the Supervisor in Language Laboratory Center, Siam University Thailand. He is a licensed teacher in Thailand. He also has his masters in educational administration in Thailand. He can be contacted vis his email address email@example.com
*Dr. Tunde Bakare – Pastor, Prophet, or Politician
( The Role of Religious Leaders and Political Activism in Nigeria )
By Rev. Dr. C. Kingston Ekeke
Recently, Dr. Tunde Bakare, Pastor of Latter Rain Ministries and Convener of Save Nigeria Group (SNG), in one of his sermons that has gone viral on the Internet, called for a change of government in Nigeria. He also called on President Goodluck Jonathan to resign and currently attacking the President’s wife, Mrs. Dame Patience Jonathan. As a result of his utterances against the presidency, Tunde Bakare the pastor and his political activism are being questioned by many. In fact, many see Pastor Tunde's political activism as awkward. Millions of Nigerians tend to distinguish political activism from religious activism. And this is due to various interpretations of Scripture regarding God’s Call. I think the erroneous views and convoluted biblical interpretation regarding those ordained to Ministry are as a result of improper exegesis of Scripture and misunderstanding of the subject of ‘God’s Call,’ or ‘The Call of God.’ ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Pastor Tunde Bakare
The call of God is not always associated with leading a Church or religious organization. It’s not even about salvation or being called to the work of Ministry as priest, pastor, or bishop. The call of God is a call to purpose and destiny. It is a call that moves the “Called” and society from success to significance.
If the Bible is studied very carefully, one will notice that God called different people to various activities and assignments – some to be Wise Counselors (Daniel), as Leaders (Joseph, Moses, Joshua), as Kings (David, Solomon), as Military Warriors (Joshua, Samson, Deborah, Jehoshaphat), as Missionaries (Abraham, Paul), as Judges (Deborah, Gideon), as kingdom Builders (Jesus), as Revolutionaries (Jesus), as Pro-creators (Adam &Eve ), and off-course many were called to be Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Bible Teachers. If you study the Call of some of these folks - Adam & Eve, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, Jonah, Deborah, Gideon, Samson, Ruth, Esther, David, Nehemiah, Jehoshaphat, Isaiah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, John the Baptist, Jesus, Apostles, Paul, etc., you will notice that they all were called by God to carry out different assignments. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Holy Bible
Throughout the history of mankind and even in our present time, true prophets of God and genuine spiritual leaders had always denounced sin, wickedness, and injustice – not per say by political activism but by calling the political leaders of nations to rule in the fear of God and work to provide a just and fair society.
During the prophetic ministry of Isaiah who reigned during the time of Kings Uzziah, Jotham and Hezekiah, you will read that those kings were extremely wicked kings with exception of King Hezekiah, who ruled with the fear of God. Kings Uzziah and Jotham abused the power of their office and led the people astray. They crushed the poor for their own profit.
First, Prophet Isaiah challenged the rebellious people of Jerusalem and gullible Judah to repent of their sins and turn to God. He called on the people to clean up their acts. Isaiah denounced Judah for her idolatry and immorality and called for national repentance, prayer, and fasting.
Second, Prophet Isaiah rebuked the kings and rulers for their social injustice and called on the politicians to restore a just and fair society otherwise God’s judgment and destruction would come suddenly. Third, Prophet Isaiah believed that God has something to say about Judah’s foreign policy and as God’s representative and ambassador to the Kings of Judah - Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah; he warned them about entering into an unholy alliance with Assyria.
Biblical history records Moses as Israel’s greatest leader and prophet. The Bible teaches that only John the Baptist and Jesus were greater than Moses (Matthew 11:11; Hebrew 3). He was a heroic leader and his greatest leadership legacy was that he delivered the Israelites from oppression and slavery in the hands of Pharaoh, King of Egypt. He also gave them the laws that form the foundation of every nation today - social, dietary, religious, moral, and civic.
Joshua, Moses protégée, not only spied the Land of Canaan and believed that Israel could conquer it, but he led the Israelites into conquering the fortified Land of Canaan, a Land flowing with milk and honey. Jesus was called and sent to bring light to the dying world and to lay down his life for Kingdom’s sake. Jesus ministry was whole – teaching, preaching, healing, social, economic and political. Jesus spoke to the political (Sadducees) and religious elites (Pharisees) of his day more than he preached and taught the Scriptures. Prophet Isaiah prophesized 750 years before Jesus was born, “For to us a son is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders and he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace, there is will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this” - Isaiah 6:6-7. Nehemiah left gave up his comfortable and wealthy position in Persia, and returned to his fractured nation and rallied against all forces of opposition to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. This is what most Nigerians in Diaspora should be thinking doing if not soon before Nigeria disintegrates and falls apart.
Micaiah, a valiant and solitary prophet was not intimidated, but challenged the established religious and political order of his time. Without favor or fear, he delivered unpalatable messages to the nation when all the prophets during his time were lying to King Ahab to seek his favor. Prophet Micaiah spoke the truth without caring whose ox was gored. Rev. Billy Graham did not pastor or erect any Church, yet he spread the Gospel around the world and became perhaps the greatest evangelist of our time. He met and advised many world leaders during his evangelistic ministry.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. could have sat comfortably as a pastor of any Church in America during the 60’s, but gave that up to answer the ‘Call of God,’ the ‘Call of his People,’ and of their unfortunate ‘Circumstances’ and through his prophetic ministry, his powerful oratory and courageous leadership, he freed an entire nation from hate, bigotry and self-destruction that gave millions freedom and hope around the world. The problem in our society today is that many people entering into Ministry – i.e., are being ordained as priests, pastors, or spiritual leaders through the back door without any calling, commissioning, and preparation. Without a divine call, commissioning and adequate preparation, which includes – training and mentorship, a person cannot be a leader that God uses. Unfortunately, most of those already serving as pastors, priests, bishops, etc., are there mostly for riches, material gain, and fame. Consequently, the messages that are proclaimed and promulgated over the airways and byways are sometimes totally inconsistent with the teaching of the Holy Scriptures. In fact, what we hear nowadays are pragmatic psychological philosophies and metaphysical teachings to attaining success or solving spiritual problems rather than a sound exposition of God’s Word.
Despite the proliferation of churches in Nigeria, religious hypocrisy, ignorance, and illiteracy abound – rituals, divination, astrology, sorcery, witchcraft, magic, and all manners of evil and satanic worship still exist. Most of the parishioners are gullible and put up with unbiblical teachings. Christians are supposed to be the salt and light of the world, but today, they are worse than worldly people - greed, hatred, corruption, idolatry, jealousy and envy run rampant. So therefore what we see in Nigeria today are adulterous religious systems and satanic religious leaders that parade themselves as the moral authorities in our society and yet the nation suffers from all kinds of satanic violence, evil, and wickedness.
Nigeria’s religious leaders have woefully failed in their divine duties and mandate to rebuke sin and wickedness in high places. How can any true man or woman of God live comfortably in a nation in crisis, where Boko-Haram Jihadists have the audacity to kill innocent citizens in places of worship and then our political and religious leaders don’t have the courage to condemn these satanic and senseless killings? How could any pastor or true prophet of God live in a country with endemic government corruption, looting and embezzlement of public funds and would not speak out; where political leaders are ruling without vision and taking the nation from hope to hopelessness and from strength to weakness.
Rather, the religious leaders compromise their calling to rebuke sin, evil, wickedness and injustice. They also contaminate themselves with the devil and engage in corrupt practices of their shrines, secret occults and their pagan priests. And their lukewarm attitude is so evident and reflective in our culture, attitudes, mannerism and ways of life, which are mostly pompous of voodoo, juju, witchcraft, sorcery, spirits, mediums and all manners of demonic powers. Studies show that more than 70% of Nigerian Christians attend church services every Sunday and sit under so-called men of God and miracle workers and yet rituals, divination, astrology, sorcery, witchcraft, magic, and all manners of evil and satanic worship remain rampant in Nigeria. Greed, hatred, corruption, idolatry, jealousy and envy continue to flourish in the society. The Word of God is His presence and where there is genuine presence of God, evil, unrighteousness and ungodliness cannot be in abundance as it is in our society today. What I am observing in this generation is moral bankruptcy, biblical ignorance and satanic spiritual capitalism. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: A Christian Church service
The likes of Pastor Tunde Bakare are needed in a nation where democracy has become demo-crazy; where the nation's democracy is masqueraded in military, autocratic, and authoritarian feudalistic system. The political democratic culture in Nigeria is also a political impenitent and impunity which works against peace, unity, progress, and hinders godly and bare genuine folks from political participation. And so, there is need for genuine spiritual and prophetic leaders to speak the Word of the LORD and against wickedness and injustice in all of its ramifications. And such persons deserve to be encouraged.
If I should advise Pastor Tunde Bakare, is for him to use his powerful rhetoric and spotlight to condemn the jihadist and murderous activities of Boko Haram. His silence on the militant sect is suspicious. Pastor Bakare should also use his political activism to galvanize the opposition parties (ACN, CPC, APGA, ANPP, etc., to form a formidable alliance or political party in Nigeria. One hundred political parties in Nigeria do not make sense at all. In fact it is insane and for any of those political parties including mushroom ones hoping to win national election or beat PDP is a wishful thinking and dead dream. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: People gather to view ThisDay Newspaper Jabi - Abuja office building heavily damaged by Boko Haram suicide bomb attack.
Pastor Tunde Bakare should seek to offer solutions to the government and engage in advisory role and special duties such as peace, conflict resolution treaties, interfaith kinds of work, etc., rather than continue to criticize the government. If he wants to be remembered as a moral leader, he should desist from desperately seeking political office. But if he continues to engage and meddle in politics and lash out on the President of Federal Republic of Nigeria the way he’s doing, he is probably confused about his Call and divine obligations as pastor. He should then resign as pastor of Latter Rain Ministries, or declare himself as a prophetic leader or focus squarely as a politician.
Finally, I always find it amusing and frankly ignorant, when Southerners criticize religious leaders that participate in politics. Northerners do not distinguish politics from religion. In fact the two are inseparable. Alhaji Buhari is a military man as well as and an ardent Muslim fanatic running to be president of Nigeria and yet Southerners have not criticized his religious fanaticism and military background but have the audacity to criticize Pastor Bakare, who by the way was trained as a lawyer before God called him into ministry.
Psalm 14:1-3, says “The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none that does good. The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any that act wisely, that seek after God. They have all gone astray, they are all alike corrupt; there is none that does good, no, not one. One day, God will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent He will frustrate” (1 Corinthians 1:19 - NIV).
Rev. Dr. C. Kingston Ekeke is a public theologian, author, and leadership scholar. He is the president of Leadership Wisdom Institute.
*How Nigeria’s Trillions & $44b Public Debts Are Pocketed By Top Public Officers & Criminals (Part 1)
A Research-Statement By Intersociety Nigeria
(Onitsha- Nigeria, 3rd September 2012)-In 2007, Nigeria’s total debt stocks, both domestic and foreign, came down to about $16.5Billion from over $46Billion in 2005. While domestic debt remained at about $13Billion (N1.8trillion, using an exchange of N140.00 per US Dollar), foreign debt was heavily rescheduled downwards to about $3.5Billion from its all time high of $36Billion in 2005, thanks to the sagacity of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who led the country out of the external debt burden with the payment of a whopping sum of $12Billion to liquidate the debt of $18Billion. Nigeria’s external foreign exchange reserves as at that time was $60Billion excluding $20Billion in the excess crude oil account. But as at July 2012, the country’s excess crude oil balance and foreign reserve accounts have been depleted to $6.9Billion and $36.93Billion respectively. Globally, as of July 2012, China’s foreign exchange reserves had risen to $3Trillion from $2.3Trillion in 2010 and $700Billion in 2006; the Country of Taiwan under this same period (July 2012) had $391Billion; Brazil $376Billion; South Korea $312.3Billion; Hong Kong $294Billion; Singapore $243Billion; and Indonesia $106Billion (WIKIPEDIA 2012). It is important to point out that Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product in 1965 was far ahead of those of Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Indonesia. For instance, in 1965, Nigeria’s GDP was $5.8Billion whereas those of Indonesia and Malaysia were $3.8Billion and $3.1Billion respectively (source: National Open University of Nigeria 2004). The last time Nigeria recorded federal budget surplus was in 1997 during the Abacha’s inglorious epoch when N37Billion budget surplus was recorded. From the 1999 budget till date including the draft 2013 budget of N4.929Trillion (about $31,5 Billion, using an exchange rate of N155.00 per US Dollar), it has been budget deficits or “loans for budget execution” all through.
Today, as at March 2012, Nigeria’s total debt profile, both domestic and foreign, had risen to N6.8Trillion or $44Billion, out of which domestic debts accounted for N5.96 Trillion or $38.3Billion(DMO 2012),from N1.8Trillion or about $13Billion in 2007, while the foreign aspect increased to N919Billion or $5.9Billion from about $3.5Billion(about N495Billion) in 2007. Apart from the foreign debts where the36 States and the FCT have a share of over $2Billion, the N5.96 Trillion domestic debt is solely owed by the Federal Government on behalf of 160 million Nigerians. From records available to Intersociety, the least owing State in Nigeria, domestically, owes at least N2Billion, whether as “loans” or “credit facilities”. While few States such as Anambra have refused to be loan-ridden, many others like Imo and Abia have local debts overhang of over N100Billion and N50Billion respectively. Lagos State also maintains a heavy burdensome foreign debt of over $790Million or about N118Billion and undisclosed domestic debts believed to be running into tens of billions of Naira. Though most of the 36 States in Nigeria shrouded their domestic loans’ status in secrecy, but our findings indicate that 70% of these States owe between N20Billion and N150Billion each to the local lending institutions with very hash borrowing conditions including high interest rates and penalties. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map and Flag of Nigeria
Nigeria’s budget policies have remained crudely stagnated and one of the most fraudulent, anti development and anti people in the world. A careful study of the country’s national budget policies sadly shows that 70% to 80% of the annual budgets have consistently been stomached by less than 0.5% of the country’s population particularly the 17,500 top elected and appointed public officers in the country, in the form of “recurrent expenditures”(personnel and overhead costs). There are 13,500 top elected public officials in Nigeria with the 774LGAs (local government areas) accounting for roughly 92% or 12,788, comprising 8,692 LGAs councilors and 3,096 LGAs executives. And there are 4,000 top appointed public officials in the country, bringing the total to 17,500 top public officers managing Nigeria’s public affairs. Further break down shows that there are 1,152 State lawmakers, 469 Federal lawmakers, 72 elected State executives and two elected Federal executives, bringing the total to 1,695 elected State and Federal lawmakers and executives. In the area of top Federal and State appointed public officials in the country, there are 2,592 top State appointed executives, 470 Federal appointed executives and 934 top Federal and State judicial officers, bringing the total to 3,996.There are approximately 24,165 inferior and unconstitutional public aides in Nigeria recruited by the 17,500 top elected and appointed public officials recognized in the Salaries & Allowances amended Act of 2008.Despite the fact that the Act in quote as well as the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 as amended, does not recognize these inferior public aides, their sustenance under “allowance pay” has continued to be borne by Nigeria’s lean public wealth. Between N15Billion and N20Billion is spent annually to maintain these 24,165 inferior public aides. The 12,788 LGA top officials in Nigeria hire about 13,000 inferior aides in the form of “personal assistants” with average monthly “allowance pay” scale of N20, 000/N30, 000 per “PA”. Average of one “PA” is attached to one LGA official.
Further, the 2,664 State executives including the country’s 72 governors and deputies hire about 6,000 inferior aides called “senior special assistants”, “special assistants”, “executive assistants” and “personal assistants” with average monthly “allowance pay” scale of N100,000 each, on the premise of two aides per State executive. The 1,152 State lawmakers in the country hire about 2,300 inferior aides called “special assistants” and “personal assistants” with monthly “allowance pay” for each of them ranging from N50, 000 to N100.000. Average of two aides is attached to one State lawmaker. The 472 federal executives including the President and the Vice President hire 960 inferior aides called “ senior special assistants”, “special assistants”, “executive assistants” and “personal assistants” with monthly “allowance pay” ranging from N100,000 to N300,000 for each aide. Average of two inferior aides is attached to a federal executive.The 469 federal lawmakers hire about 950 inferior aides called “senior special assistants”, “executive assistants”, “special assistants” and “personal assistants” with monthly “allowance pay” ranging from N50, 000 to N150.000 per aide. Average of two inferior aides is attached to a federal lawmaker. The 934 Federal/State top judicial officers (justices and judges) hire about 950 inferior aides with monthly “allowance pay” ranging from N50, 000 to N150, 000. Usually, average of one inferior aide is attached to a top judicial officer, but in the case of CJN, CJs, Grand Kadis and Presidents of the Customary Court of Appeal, average of two inferior aides is attached to each of them.
According to the Vanguard Newspaper of June 7, 2010, “over 60% of the N31Trillion spent between 2006 and 2010 fiscal years went for recurrent expenditures, out of which N10Trillion was spent to sustain the 17,500 top Nigerian elected and appointed public officials”. Also N12Trillion went for the execution of capital projects and debt servicing, while the remaining N9trillion was spent on overheads and other public/civil servants in the country. Out of the N12Trillion said to have been spent on capital expenditures and debt servicing, over N2Trillion went for debt servicing. This means that only N9Trillion was spent on the execution of capital projects that service Nigeria’s 160million population including her 17,500 top public officials. In the 2010 and 2011 fiscal years, for instance, over N1.1Trillion was spent on Nigeria’s debt servicing particularly on her local debts. In the 2012 budget of N4.877Trillion, a whopping sum of N559.6Billion was earmarked for debt servicing. Nigeria, according to Dr. Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala and the Vanguard Newspaper (11th August 2012),” has made a total budgets of N32.24Trillion between 2005 and 2013”, a period of eight years, yet they have substantially remained “budgets of intestine”, feeding fat less than 1% of the population and starving the remaining 99% of the Nigerian population(160m). The breakdown shows that in 2005, the Federal budget was N1.8Trillion; 2006 N1.9Trillion; 2007 N2.3Trillion; 2008 N3.58Trillion; 2009 N3.76Trillion; 2010 N4.61Trillion; 2011 N4.484Trillion; 2012 N4.877Trillion; and 2013 N4.929Trillion(draft) with a projected revenue of N3.891Trillion and revenue deficit of over N1trillion earmarked for the 2013 draft budget. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Nigeria Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Further, out of the 2012 budget of N4.877Trillion, only N1.3Trillion was earmarked for capital expenditure, with additional N200Billion from the oil subsidy removal proceeds making the total N1.5Trillion. Sadly and shocking too, only N404Billion or 31% had been released for the execution of capital projects as of the end of July 2012 whereas releases for recurrent expenditure were at over 70%. Nigeria has the lowest public service productivity index in Africa, and by extension, in the whole world. Four out of every five Nigerian public/civil servants are pathologically lazy, unproductive and fraudulent. The job satisfaction index among them is very low and the culture of wealth accumulation is very high. An average Nigerian public/civil servant aspires at all costs to be an expensive property and estate owner, and lives far above his or her income. This explains why the country’s budgets have substantially remained oil, gas and deficit (loan)-based. While oil & gas contributes to 95% of Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings, it contributes 80% to the country’s annual budgets. In the 2011 budget of N4.484Trillion, a whopping sum of N852Billion was borrowed to finance the budget. In the 2012 fiscal year, N744Billion was borrowed to finance the revenue shortfalls in the year’s budget of N4.877Trillion and in the incoming 2013 draft budget of N4.929Trillion; another whopping sum of N727Billion has been earmarked for borrowing to make up the expected revenue shortfalls. This is in spite of enormous revenue potentials including availability in enormous commercial quantity of roughly 33 solid mineral deposits in the country. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Disgraced and Jailed Delta State Governor, James Ibori
It is rudely shocking and disbelieving that the staggering sum of over N1.15Trillion is spent annually on 17,500 Nigerian public managers including their over 24,000 inferior aides, whereas less than 30% of the entire budget is merely allocated for the maintenance of the 160 million Nigerians through the provision and maintenance of critical infrastructures and other social amenities. According to the Nigeria’s Salaries & Allowances amended Act of 2008, N1, 13Trillion is spent on the 17,500 Nigerians annually with over 90% going into allowance packages. Before the 2008 amendment of the Act, N755Billion was spent annually to service these 17,500 top Nigerians. Out of this whopping sum of N1,15Trillion, N592Billion is spent on 12,788 LGAs’ top officials; N300Billion is spent on 2,664 State executives; N98.3Billion is spent 472 federal executives; and N60.4Billion is spent on 469 federal lawmakers excluding the whopping sum of N100Billion spent annually on the so called “constituency projects”. For the 1,152 State lawmakers, N40.9Billion is spent on them; N18.5Billion is spent on 792 State top judicial officers; and N14.8Billion is spent on 142 top federal judicial officers.
Apart from this huge public expenditure on the 17,500 top public managers in Nigeria with their over 24,000 inferior aides, many, if not most of them, both past and present have stolen roughly $500billion from the country’s public coffers since 1960. From 1995 when the total stolen wealth was put at $55Billion, it increased to $60Billion in 1999 and quadrupled to $250Billion in December 2006 (Ribadu & EFCC 2007). Malam Nuhu Ribadu and the World Bank also believe that $380Billion and $300Billion respectively had been stolen by Nigerian political criminals between 1960 and 2006. We at Intersociety believe that over $500Billion had been stolen between 1960 and August 2012. The stealing has become a habitual practice in Nigeria’s public governance.
The Part Two of this research-statement is being worked on and will be released in coming days.
1. Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman, BOT. International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law, Nigeria
2. Comrade Justice Ijeoma, Head, Publicity Desk
*Nigeria: Offodile May Be Psychologically Disturbed - Obi’s aide
The Senior Special Assistant to Governor Obi on Media and publicity, Mr. valentine Obienyem, while reacting to the call by Offodile for Obi to resign said that the man, going his utterances, was showing insipient signs of psychological encumbrances. He wondered why somebody would call on a person that has not done anything contrary to his oath of office to resign. “If you have been reading the newspapers, you would notice that in the past two months, Offodile who is not known to have made any intellectual contributions in the newspapers, suddenly started to write regularly on Obi. This shows that somebody is calling the tune for him somewhere”, Obienyem said. On the issue of Next International investing in SABmiller, Obienyem said that Obi resigned his directorship and membership of the Board of all the companies he has interest, which, according to him, does not mean that those companies should not do businesses again. “ Obi has shares in virtually all the companies in Nigeria such as Fidelity Bank, Enterprises Bank, Diamond Bank, Nestle, Charms , future view, among others. Should those companies stop businesses because of Obi’s shares,” he asked. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: A mentally (psychologically) disturbed man. *Mental illness does not necessarily mean madness, but needs treatment, otherwise may pose danger to society - Anambra not an exception.
On the allegation that Obi revoked a land belonging to International Steel for SABmiller (Intafact), Obienyem said that the land where Intafact built their facility was a property they purchased from GCM at the whopping cost of N550 Million Naira and that the transaction was handled by a reputable Estate agent and Valuer, Okolo and Okolo based at Onitsha. On the land belonging to International Steel, Obienyem said it was revoked alongside other land in the Estate for overriding public interest as contained in the Land use Act. Besides being allowed to that dilapidate because they were not put into use for the purposes of they were granted, Obienyem said that other organizations and companies that Government has interest in needed those land for projects that will contribute in building a better Anambra State. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Chudi Offodile
Obienyem wondered why Offodile, who claims to have done a search at the Corporate Affairs Commission, did not found out that apart from next international that five other companies, including those owned by a Deltan and a lagosian have shares in the company. “It is on record that Obi travelled many times to South Africa and London before he convinced SABmiller people to invest in Anambra among other considered and even preferred states. Thereafter the negotiation were done by the then Commissioners for Commerce, Lands and Finance and the entire transactions were above board and transparent. Concluding, he said it was tragic for the actions of the likes of Offodile, when other Anambraians are celebrating the advent of Industrial Revolution in the State, which Obi is leading.
*Bakassi: Difficult Steps Toward The End
Masterweb Reports - Friday, August 24, 2012: With barely one month to the expiration of the ten-year window of grace allowed by the International Court of Justice for an appeal on the ill-fated judgment on Bakassi, hope seems to be dwindling by the hours as the Nigerian government is yet to make any categorical statement on the Bakassi problem.
It could be recalled that after the ICJ judgment in 2002, former president Olusegun Obasanjo had unilaterally signed what is today known as Green Tree Agreement (GTA) on June 12, 2006 with President Paul Biya of Cameroon, under the pruning supervision of representatives of United Kingdom, United States of America, France and Germany, transferring the territory.
Initial protest against the ceding:
In 2006 shortly after the signing of the Green Tree Agreement in New York, United States of America, some Bakassi indigenes, who foresaw the implications of the ceding, had protested and consequently challenged it at the Federal High Court, Abuja.
The plaintiffs were Chief Tony Ene Asuquo, Chief Orok Eneyo, Chief Emmanuel Effiong Etene, Ndabu Eyo-Umo Nakanda, Emmanuel Okokon Asuquo, Ita Okon Nyong and Richard Ekenyong.
They had asked for an order of perpetual injunction restraining the federal government from expelling or removing them from Bakassi or handing their homeland to Cameroon. The court case was won by the Bakassi people but the federal government refused to recognize the judgment.
Apart from the rejection of the High Court ruling by Abuja, the litigants were also intimidated and threatened. Chief Etene and his partners have gory tales to tell about their experiences in the hands of Nigerian authorities. But, despite this, the struggle for the soul of Bakassi had continued. Many lives have been lost, one of which was that of Chief Tony Ene.
Investigations revealed that when the Nigerian government blatantly refused to honour the court injunction stopping the ceding, out of annoyance and frustration, Ene decided to form a militant group, known then as Bakassi Movement for Self-Determination. This was to press home the emancipation of his people, but he paid the supreme price for daring the government of the day in the early hours of August 22, 2006 in a questionable circumstance.
This writer gathered that Ene died along Calabar-Itu road at Odukpani axis while on a mission to petition the then Cross River State government for the release of Richard Ekenyong who was one of the plaintiffs in the Abuja case. Ekpenyong was detained by the State Security Service allegedly on the order of the government of Cross River State, coerced by Abuja. Eyes witnesses at the purported auto-clash site painted a gory picture of what actually transpired.
While bemoaning the fate of his people and the untimely death of Ene, Chief Eyo Nakanda who spoke with reporters shortly after the death of the Bakassi militant leader, had said “Tony is the first martyr of the struggle for the freedom of the Bakassi people”.
A government house source also disclosed to our reporter that “it was clear that activities of Ene and his group stood on the way of the purported N3 billion ‘largesse’, which was budgeted for the settlement of Bakassi”.
The ceding and the pains:
It remains a fact that despite all entreaties to convince the country’s leadership to change its mind, Nigerian authorities, on August 14, 2008 at the Peregrino Government Lodge in Calabar, finally transferred the territory to Cameroon despite the tears and groans of a people whose only strength was their voices which at that point was rendered useless by the high and mighty in Aso Rock.
That day, thick darkness of uncertain future had eclipsed that part of the world. Some Bakassi indigenes who witnessed the sober ceremonies had psychological and emotional break-down as they visualized bleak future for their posterity.
Old men in their respective villages received the sad tales with rude shock, instigated by fear of losing their heritage, culture, identity, source of livelihood, history, sepulchers of their fathers and indeed everything that matters in life. This shock led to sudden unexplained sicknesses and early graves. It was not a bad dream but an absolute reality; they were being given out cheaply without being conquered in war.
To some of them, the very thought of Cameroon had sent goose pimples down their spines but they were consoled with a promise that the federal government would look into their welfare and properly resettle the emotionally bruised people. Four years after, the assurance has tacitly become a mirage.
From August 14, 2008, many Nigerians have variously made several submissions on the Bakassi problem which gets complicated by the day. Factions with diverse interest have not also help matters. This is because, while majority of the Bakassi people are crying out for their homeland, others are groaning about the federal government’s inability to properly resettle the Bakassi people.
Expressing his frustration in a chat with our reporter in Calabar after being chased out of Atabong (now Idabato) by the brutality of soldiers of the Central African country, a 81 year old Chief Ita Asuquo noted with nostalgia that the federal government’s action on Bakassi reminds him of the story of Ikemefuna; the ill-fated lad from Mbaino as contained in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.
Chief Ita recalled that Ikemefuna had regarded Okonkwo as a father who, apart from playing the role of providing for his household, was destined to be a pillar of strength and protection to his family members.
“In that book, it was Okonkwo, Ikemefuna’s ‘father’ who unleashed on the innocent lad the final and fatal blow which killed him. If Ikemefuna must be sacrificed to the oracle of the hills and caves, must he be slain by his own ‘father’? Bakassi has been slain by a ‘father’ whose natural responsibility was to protect.
“Moreover”, he continued, “like Banquo’s ghost in Shakespearean classic-Julius Ceasar, the ghost of Bakassi has refused to go away and shall never go away. It daily haunts our national psyche, particularly when Cameroon’s cruelty on Nigerians is brought to the fore as narrated by some of those who are daily escaping from the peninsular,” Ita had submitted painstakingly.
The Chief-turned-refugee therefore warned Nigerian government to ensure nothing evil happens to the leader of the Bakassi Self Determination Front, Mr Ekpe Ekpenyong Oku over the recent development at the peninsular, stressing, “the sacrifice of Tony Ene is enough, and as they say, enough is enough”. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Bakassi Self Determination Front flag ( Flag of purported new 'Bakassi Democratic Republic' ).
Gory tales from Bakassi
Furthermore, Nigerians from all walks of life today believe that Bakassi’s sad tale is fallout of international judicial ambush against Nigeria, and which the country’s leadership in its warped wisdom fell into sheepishly.
It is also very true that the story of Bakassi cannot all be told in a hurry. Few days ago, international media practitioners from United States of America and Germany had visited Bakassi for an on-the-spot assessment of situations in the ceded territory. As part of their routine, they had audience with a cross section of the Bakassi people.
Those who spoke included a 24 year old Asuquo Nyong Okon, Mrs Arit Essien, Prince Edet Etim Okon amongst others. All of them spoke in agreement about their gory experiences in the hands of the Cameroon gendarmes.
Mrs Arit Essien, who betrayed emotion during her submission said, “Cameroon people treat us like animals and force us to pay plenty of money when their patrol boat accost us in the sea before we are allowed to pass to our villages which are now in their country.
“Whenever they visit your village, the people would run into the bush and those the Gendarmes would arrest in the village would have to pay a mandatory fee for Gendarmes’ welfare and transportation through a special contribution or they would beat you to a pulp. Some time, they would seize all the fishing nets and engines of our fishermen and would tell our people not to fish in their waters again.
"Bakassi is our ancestral home. We all know that the struggle for the soul of Bakassi is the oil, so if they want to take the oil, let them take the oil and leave our native home to us. If the Nigerian government is not ready to accommodate us, please help us stand on our own as a country.
“We are crying to the Nigerian government to help us because if they leave us at the mercy of the Cameroonians, they would kill us all. We all know how Cameroonians treat Nigerians. We are the Efiks tribes in our country home and we cannot abandon our land. If the Cameroon people want to kill us all, we have no option, we are ready to die”, she sobbed uncontrollably.
Furthermore, our reporter who monitored the happenings in the ceded territory submitted that the mood in Bakassi is that of disappointment, apprehension and annoyance. Majority of Bakassi people hope the ceding of their homeland would be reversed miraculously before October 12 timeline.
Chairman of Bakassi local government area, Dr Ekpo Ekpo Bassey told our reporter recently that all hope was not lost, adding “the Calabar Chiefs who signed the treaty of protection with the British did not tell the colonialists to give out part of Efik kingdom to the Germans. We were not colonized as such the Anglo-German treaty is not binding on us. We shall get back our land by God’s grace”.
In his opinion, amidst great annoyance, Etinyin Etim Okon Edet, paramount ruler of Bakassi , expressed unshaken believe that the peninsular shall come back to the real owners.
Addressing members of the House of Representatives Committee on Treaties and Agreement penultimate week, he had retorted angrily “Nigeria should leave us alone. There was a Bakassi before a political Nigeria and there was Bakassi before a political Cameroon.
“We have not been fairly treated by this nation and what we are looking for now is to go back to our area by any possible means. We don’t even want that so-called relocation or resettlement any longer. We have been left to roam in the streets for almost ten years now; some of our people who chose to remain in the ceded villages are now at the mercy of the gendarmes.
“Thousand of returnees were camped in an open field for months with their wives and children. Thereafter, the Cross River State government built for us a refugee camp. This camp could not contain influx of thousands of Bakassi returnee. I left my palatial mansion at Abana to the Cameroonian”, he stated.
Militants’ activities and declaration of independence
Furthermore, the Bakassi militants themselves have also been speaking from the creeks. The leaders of the militants group, Ekpenyong Oku said his people are ready to lay down their lives and that the boys have already taken over some villages in the peninsular, and added “we shall soon send video clips of our activities for all to see”.
In a message posted on the internet few days ago, Oku, who addresses himself as ‘Commandant-General’ said “the whole world should answer this question: if you own a land, and one inch of that land is taken by your neighbor without your consent and or approval, how will you feel?”
He thereafter went spiritual and said, “O Time, thou determine all things. If indeed this is the time, manifest thyself for all to see that thou have come. The people of Bakassi have been in bondage for about 10years with their land and resources taken away. They are homeless and some have died. Those who are now living have no hope for the future.
“Time, manifest thyself. If blood would be required to set the people free, take mine. As you confronted pharaoh, oh Time, do so now. Everybody here (militants in the creeks) has deserted food, Time, take this as a sacrifice and assist us on this onerous journey as we do not know when we shall return.
“Bakassi, land of our birth, we pledge to you, neither silver nor gold shall dissuade us from taking you back. We did not choose the land of our birth neither did we choose our parents, the Almighty placed us there, and we were uprooted in a broad-day light by a president who was supposed to protect us”.
Oku therefore disclosed that his group, apart from taking over Ine Ekoi village, “are now at Akpa Ukwak quite close to Akpankanya”, stressing “from our observations, no Cameroonian army is in Akpankanya. There is a satellite tower built at Abana, to monitor Akwa Ibom and Cross River with a mast. Firstly, we must bring it down and that will now turn to a full scale.... The Defence Minister at Yaoundé recently visited Abana and Akwa . We are yet to get full details from our intelligence.”
This indeed is the general mood in today’s Bakassi. A one-time Chairman of Bakassi, Chief Emmanuel Etene in an advice said, “Nigerian government for once must be proactive because with what we are hearing, whether one believes it or not, a big problem approaches”
The final step
There are myriads of questions about Bakassi –the small but rich island which has surreptitiously become a global centre of attention. Some of these questions are: what would be the fate of the Bakassi people after the October 10, 2012 timeline? What is the way forward?
Answers to these questions may not be forthcoming but this writer recalls that during the visit of members of the House Committee on Treaties and Agreements to Bakassi penultimate week, Chairman of the Committee, Hon Yacoub Bush-Alebiousu, had given a glimpse of hope.
According to Alebiouse “nobody can feel the pains of Bakassi people than the people themselves. I can really appreciate why you are so bitter. I have sat here and I have tried to imagine what you are passing through, but I haven’t been able to because I am privileged to have an abode, to have shelter and not to roam the streets.
“We have listened to you; we would like something in writing. Those things in writing are what we would use to show and tell everybody, look the agreement has already been breached at this point and if at this point the people are passing through such ordeal, what do you think would happen after that October date?”
He promised the resolved of Nigerian government/National Assembly to do everything within its power to protect Nigerian citizens, and with such assurance, hope was rekindled particularly as the discussion revolved around revisiting the judgment.
But in his reaction to this, a Calabar-based legal practitioner, Barr Okoi Obono-Obla described as ‘medicine after death” any effort at revisiting the ICJ judgment.
Obla posited “the Judgment has been unequivocally accepted by Nigeria with her signing the Green Tree Agreement on the 12th June, 2002 in New York, the United States of America. Nigeria cannot therefore be allowed to approbate and reprobate.
“The equitable doctrine of estoppels shall operate against Nigeria in the event that she makes any attempt to repudiate the Green Tree Agreement signed nearly six years ago. Generally when estoppels bind a party to litigation, he is prevented from placing reliance on or denying the existence of certain facts. Therefore from the point of view of the party in whose favour it operates estoppels, it could be regarded as something which renders proof of certain facts unnecessary.
“It is clear that Article 61 of the Statutes (ICJ’s) shall not avail Nigeria in the event she makes an application to the ICJ for the revision of the judgment delivered on the 10thOctober, 2002 in favour of Cameroon. It is certain that no Lawyer worth his salt will ever proffer such advice to Nigeria to gamble by making such a frivolous application to the ICJ”, he had posited.
Corroborating, Professor Akin Oyebode, renowned international law scholar and Head of Department of International Law and Jurisprudence of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka, Lagos, in an interview recently, submitted that the possibility of a review is remote with a very big proviso.
According to him, “there must be new facts. In law, we have what is called Res Judicata. It means that a decided issue cannot be re-litigated except new facts emerge which were not before the court when the case was decided”.
Towing that same line, a professor of law in the University of Benin, Professor Itse Sagay had, shortly after the judgment submitted “we cannot apply for the revision of the judgment as some laymen have suggested because we cannot meet the conditions for revision. An application for revision can only be made, when it is based on the discovery of some fact of such a nature as to be a decisive factor which fact was when the judgment was given, unknown to the Court and also the partly claiming revision, always provided that such ignorance was not due to negligence (Art 61).
“We cannot claim that we did not know that the Kings, Chiefs and peoples of Bakassi, did not give their consent to the so-called cession of Bakassi, or that the inhabitants of Bakassi are Nigerians. Indeed these points were canvassed before the Court and in effect, rejected. Can we or the Court claim not to know the indispensable nature of self-determination or even plebiscite? In any case self-determination is not a fact, but a legal principle,” he had stated.
This may have explained why the Nigerian government has been dragging its feet since 2002 when the judgment was given.
But the Bakassi people have insisted that they are in possession of unchallengeable fresh facts which shall help to repudiate the ICJ judgment, and that the government should exploit this last chance. They argue that if the Efiks/Bakassi natives were involved in the legal team that represented Nigeria at The Hague, the story would have been different.
In a stakeholders meeting at Ikang recently, they faulted the ICJ judgment which was based on Anglo-German treaty of 1913, stressing that at no time was Bakassi a colony of Great Britain, which should have given the Britons authority to enter into any agreement with the Germans on behalf of the Bakassi people, and that even at that, “the purported 1913 Anglo-Germans.
Treaty was not endorsed by the parties. This renders that document invalid and illegal”.
Besides, experts believe the situation is not completely hopeless as the Nigerian authorities could salvage the situation through a ‘buy back deal’.
On this, Professor Akin Oyebode said “in my honest view, the only way to reset the relationship between Nigeria and Cameroon is either we go to war and win the territory back by force of arms, which is not unheard of in history or we buy back the Bakassi Peninsula from Cameroon. After all, Alaska was sold to the US by Russia”.
Lending his voice, a former General Manager of Cross River State Newspaper Corporation and commentator on national issues, Pastor Daniel Ubi said “the best option open for Nigeria is to buy back at least part of the peninsular for the Bakassi people.
“If appealing the ICJ’s judgment has become a technical impossibility, Nigeria should diplomatically initiate a buy-back deal with Cameroon. At least Western Bakassi that stretches from Abana to the left hand flank of Atabong down to Atai Ema, Archibong Town and Akwa axis could be bought back for the Bakassi people.
“It is not out of place to employ the services of experts in international relations to begin a process of a buy back deal. If Cameroon wants to explore oil in the said area, well, there could be a deal on this. Why sent a people to war on an issue which they cannot directly be blamed?
‘Whatever amount Cameroon would demand could be paid within a stipulated period of time. This would help the Bakassi people return home since there is no place in the world which the people would now call their home, especially as the possibility of living under Cameroonian government is very remote”, he had suggested.
Furthermore, some Nigerians are of the opinion that since the GTA has been blatantly violated by the Cameroonians, Nigeria could exploit this loophole to its advantage.
Leading this group is a member representing Odukpani and Calabar Municipality in the House of Representatives, Amb Nkoyo Toyo who, last week, raised an alarm that apart from forcing the people of Bakassi to change their identity overnight and imposing strict taxation on them, Cameroonians are maltreating, maiming and murdering scores of Nigerians daily, against the terms of the GTA. She appealed to the United Nations to call Cameroon to order.
“It appears the Cameroonian government is trying to use excessive force to establish its dominance over the Bakassi peninsula. This violates the already illegal Green Tree Agreement, and is a perfect opportunity for Nigeria to renegade on that Green Tree Agreement, not only on the grounds of responsibility to protect her citizens, but also on the grounds of a void treaty which has already been violated”, Ambassador Toyo submitted.
Professor Akin Oyebode seems to be in support of this position when he opined that “the GTA provided for the protection of Nigerian residents in the Bakassi and that Cameroon should not harass them and they should be allowed to carry out their activities without fear or molestation peacefully and peaceably.
“So the harassment of the fishermen in the area constitutes a material breach of that agreement which authorizes Nigeria to withdraw from or terminate that treaty. Under the law of treaties, we have a provision on termination of treaties where there is what we call material breach. If you look at Article 60 of the Vienna Convention on the law of Treaties, there is a basis for Nigeria to either withdraw or terminate the Green Tree Agreement. These are loopholes for Nigeria to exploit and win back the Peninsula from Cameroon”, he had submitted.
But some Nigerians have variously raised objections to this, stressing that the said maltreatments are mere allegations and speculations which cannot be substantiated. To this, the Bakassi natives say they have good and tangible proofs to nail Cameroon, and as such have called on Abuja to give them a chance to prove their assertion.
It is against this backdrop that Nigerians from Bakassi to Badagry, Wuse to Dutse, Ondo to Sokoto are unanimously praying for a way out of the imbroglio. October 12, 2012 beckons for a decision which shall assist in wiping away the unending tears of the Bakassi people.
Joseph Kingston reports from Cross River State, Nigeria.
*Cynthia Osokogu: The Girl Murdered By The Igbos? Who Is Qualified To Respond To This?
By Olugu Ukpai
I have kept the desire to write on Cynthia’s unfortunate-gruesome murder in the deep freezer compartment of my heart for sometimes now. But after reading series of some media frenzy commentators that have persuasively linked her assailants to an inherent Igbo culture of killing, and because of the Igbos love of money and how Igbos kill themselves for monetary sake, I shifted this frozen desire to the heater compartment of my heart and commenced immediately.
My dear God, has it now become a crime to be an Igbo? The media frenzy commentators tell me so over and over again. “Cynthia, the girl murdered by the Igbos”, “Igbos why are you killing for money always? I hate Igbos …?” “Igbo like money too much. Ladies should avoid marrying Igbos!” “The Yorubas will be saying that Igbos love money, Igbos kill ...” “Igbos, Igbo why are you killing for money always...”?, to mention but a few. What would I tell their unborn children when they grow up to read such demonizing captions such as above? I was saddened to read such media frenzy reports, attributing Cynthia’s death and killers to the Igbos and Igbo violent culture, rather than tracing the historicity of violence and killing in Nigeria to British colonialism, the country that bequeathed violence on Nigeria in general and the Igbos in particular. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Late Cynthia OsokoguThis article calls for re-interpretation of history from colonial history by the Igbos themselves, because, realities exist, but the ways in which this reality is interpreted are decisive for the ways in which history is shaped. It was Deborah Gray, who signifies that, “history is supposed to give people a sense of identity, a feeling of who they were, who they are, and how far they come. It should act as a springboard for the future.” It is my hope that it will do this for the Igbos, who has been given more myth than history. The myths have put the Igbos in a position where they must prove their case and abhor quietness. Despite all that the Igbos has accomplished in the fantasy called Nigeria, the Igbo man and woman is still awaiting for an affirmative answer to the plaintive question asked over century ago: “Can anything good come out of the Igbos”?
WHO IS QUALIFIED TO SPEAK ON THIS ALLEGATION AGAINST THE IGBOS?
The question of agency stares me on the face. Who is qualified to tell the true story? I am not worried so much about what “outsiders” are saying, but what some of the “Insiders”, the Igbos themselves are saying. I am worried about our own brothers and sisters, who have joined the ranks of the “outsiders” and help uphold the Igbo cultural violence views. How can we fight when our own brothers and sisters are now amplifying the “outsiders” tirade about the Igbos, because they have been given powers and resources? They are now “insiders” that wept louder than the “outsiders”.
Our sincerity and vision are continually being impeded and beclouded by our own historical context and perspective, being told by “outsiders”. We are wise to reject the notion that the Yorubas and Hausas are the same like “us” and that we anything to share in common. “We” would be all too disservice to “ourselves” to assume that these “Others” are so exactly like us, such that their judgement can easily be substituted for “ours”, let alone speaking for “us”. Any approach without the “insiders”, the Igbos themselves, would be as refusing to see the sun in the middle of the day, and ignoring to tell the truth that the Westerners bequeathed on Nigeria whatever they are today. This calls for a different perspective besides the Yoruba and Hausa tainted media frenzy commentators.
MY POSITIONALITY AND ARGUMENT:
Thus, I write to condemn the Hausas and Yorubas hegemonic media frenzy commentators’ hegemonic internal imperialism and exceptionalism. By exceptionalism, I mean the tendency of hegemonizing and demonizing the Igbos as either “violent”, “killers” or “lovers of money” because Faruk Lawal, a man who has demonstrated his penchant appetite and love of money is not an Igbo, neither is the most violent known “killer” group leader of Boko Haram, Abu Muhammed Abubakar, popularly known as Imam or Sheik an Igbo. I condemn the tendency to assume that the Yorubas and Hausas are neither better nor more peaceful than other tribes in Nigeria, especially the Igbos. It is deceptive to assume that they are innocent of violence, who must now speak, condemn and take salvation message to the “Others”, especially the Igbos. When Umar Faruq Abdulmutallab’s failed attempt to blow up a U.S. airliner in December 2009, he was simply identified and referred to as a Nigerian, not as an Hausa man. Nigeria as a whole was demonized and placed on the list of 14 nations whose nationals were singled out for special checks if they want to fly to the United States. Let it be known that no single individual or ethnic group has caused more deaths by violence like the dreaded Boko Haram, and their leader, Abu Muhammed Abubakar. He has never even been arrested, let alone being tried.
I contend that the name calling and one-size fit all perspective, which tries to link up Cynthia’s death with the Igbos, simply because, her assailants supposedly bear somewhat Igbo names is a ploy to relegate the Igbos that lacks merit. Somebody I know very well from Kaduna relocated to somewhere in Igboland and changed his name from “Danfodio Usman” to “Derechi Umarachi” for some attendant benefits. Similarly, given the porosity of the Nigerian borders, many aliens are sneaking into the country; changing their names to obtain the Nigerian passport, and committing crime in the name of Nigerians. Channels TV’s 10pm network news on the 27th of August, 2012, reports that one of Cynthia’s alleged killers, who claimed to be a third year accounting undergraduate student at UNILAG is fake. UNILAG has refuted his studentship, saying that, they do not have such name in their record. How then are we sure that their purported “Igbo names” names are not fake? A one size fit all approach mentality will only ensure that we miss the right approach and similar threats in the future.
HISTORICITY, THE BEST APPRAOCH
How should we then deconstruct violence and how did it enter Nigeria? Violence is the product of the West, especially the British that colonised Nigeria. It is a product of globalization, Americanization and neo-colonialism. Nigerian state did not spring de novo from its environment. Rather, it has roots in the imposition of draconian forms of colonialism. The tragedy of contemporary state is that, it still fails to rise above colonial detritus of wanton disregard of people’s rights.
British colonial masters and those they handed power to, at independence, the Hausas, who have now turned to demonise the Igbos as “violent” and “killers” are the ones that bequeathed violence on Nigeria. Nigeria was peaceful in their struggle to oppose British colonial rule, even in Igboland. But they shot and killed Nigerians, including their women and youths who protested against colonial rule. This is evident and variously known as “the Women’s Riots of 1922” or “the Aba Riots”, but more correctly as “Ogu Umunwanyi”, women’s war in which the British colonizers spilled the blood of innocent women, just like the Cynthia’s innocent blood. It is on record that, gun salutes were a symbolic act of performance and part of the means by which the colonial power demonstrated their power of weaponry. They subdued Igbo women and even married the beautiful women by force. Some of them who could not be able to make love with women imported hard drugs to aid them. This act of drug and rape has continued till today. This was done to terrorise and instill fear and therefore paralyze the Igbo women, stopping them from rioting and overthrowing dictators in our peaceful, cultural fashion. Unfortunately, with repetition, these violence acts became a ritual. The Nigerian elite today use the same rituals of violence, gun salute, and drugging women to demonstrate their legitimacy. They are, when demystify, actually acts of violence. The fundamental structures have not actually changed. Nigeria swims in the ocean of British colonial legacies. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Late Cynthia Osokogu (Photo 2)Could the cause of male violence against women, such as in Cynthia’s case be as a result of the continues use of guns and hard drugs, which Nigerian politicians give our idle teaming youths, who are willing tools in their hands to continue to terrorise women, a legacy they learned from the colonial masters? How on earth do you, in your wildest imagination expect a drug addict, to have respect for human dignity, especially their female friends who they can stab, poor acid on drug, rape and kill at the slightest provocation? A person under the influence of hard drugs is animal, of unsound mind, precisely insane and a wayward child of British colonialism. Reiterating this fact, the CBN Governor insists that Nigerian state is a wayward child of British colonialism when he wrote: “We’re all victims of British colonization”, which was the caption of the PUNCH newspaper of Friday, November 20th 2009. Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi said that the ills of the country (including, but not limited to murdering of innocent citizens, such as that of Cynthia) should not be limited to any ethnic group. According to the CBN boss, “every Nigerian [including the alleged killers of Cynthia] is a victim of colonialism”.
My heart bleeds that, sheding human blood, a taboo and “foreign culture” in Igbo land even before the arrival of the colonial masters, has now gradually being recorded in the Igbo cultural lexicon. “Tufiakwa!.” –God forbid!
Rather than apportioning blames, we should blame it on colonialism and the Whiteman’s brilliance, trick and manipulations in eroding our culture. He destroyed our peaceful culture and bequeathed his on us before leaving. Recollecting and lamenting on the wanton destruction of transformation of Nigerian virtue by the British, Chinua Achebe wrote:
“Does the Whiteman understand our customs…How can he when he does not even speak our tongue? But he says that our customs are bad; and our brothers who have taken up his religion also say that our customs are bad. How do you think we can fight when our own brothers have turned against us? The Whiteman is very cleaver. He came quietly and peacefully with his religion. We were amused at foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers and sisters, and the clan can no longer ACT as ONE. He has put a KNIFE through the things that held us TOGTHER, and we have FALLEN APART”.
Indeed, what evidence do I need to present my case? Igbos love strangers unconditionally and innocently. We loved the British colonial masters unconditionally, but they did not love us back. They pretended that they did until they destroyed Igboland which is the task of Igbo historians to piece together. I contend that, rather than attributing the alleged Cynthia’s killers, whom I call wayward children of British colonialism to the Igbos, I will rather proudly identify late Cynthia, as a true, fearless Igbo young girl, who associated unconditionally, and who trusted unconditionally, because, such were the Igbos’ and Igbo women attributes, which they fearlessly exhibited even before the British colonial masters. But just like the colonial masters did to the Igbo women by mishandling and killing them, Cynthia’s killers did the same, and thereby repeating exactly what the British colonial masters did to the Igbo women. Ola Rotimi lamented on the Whiteman’s deception, in loving someone who does not actually love you, when he wrote:
“I said to him: White One, show me your hand. And he showed me his hand. White One, give me that hand. And he held out his hand. The right hand. Then, I said to him: White One, your face shows love, but does your heart? Because to love someone who does not really love you, is like shaking the giant iroko tree to make a tiny dew-drops…fall. I had opened my hand to the Whiteman. But minds do not meet like roads”.
Olugu Ukpai is a Ph.D Law student at School of Law at the University Of Reading, U.K. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
*Why President Jonathan is coming to Anambra State –Obi
Governor Peter Obi said that President Goodluck Jonathan, GCFR was coming to Anambra to commission mostly projects executed by private sector and some of the projects his government did. He disclosed this yesterday during a radio programme on Silverbird radio, monitored in Awka.
Obi said that in line with the Transformation Agenda of Mr. President, that he would be in the State to commission the facilities built by Orange drugs, the SABmiller brewery as well as Krisoral Company, all of which were private-sector initiative. He said there were other facilities that were ready for commissioning as well as some that were ready for their foundations to be laid, but could not be accommodated because of time constraint. According to him, the President would also commission the Onitsha Ports, Orient Petroleum facility, the new Governor’s Lodge at Onitsha, over ten roads constructed within the Habour Industrial Estate, 500 buses for security in the State. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Gov. Obi laying the foundation for the construction of a hostel Block by Anambra Government at St Charles Borromeo Hospital, Onitsha. On the left is Archbishop Valerian Okeke.
Obi who commended the President for attention to the private sector, said it would go a long way in encouraging entrepreneurial spirit among Nigerians.
On the naming of Bridge-Head to Upper Iweka as Odumegwu-Ojukwu way, Obi said that the road was being named for the first time. He described it as one of the series of steps the State Government planned to take in the immortalization of Ojukwu. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria
Obi called an investors to take advantage of enabling environment in the State and the presence of large market to come and invest in the State.
He disclosed that part of the state's industrial/investment policy, which was drafted under his government to the effect that the State Government should provide road to industrial sites and name streets after the owners of industries where they are located would be observed.
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