*Nigeria: NDDC Projects in The Eyes of Senators
By Ifeatu Agbu
Just like any wise individual, organisations also learn from the mistakes of others, if they truly want to succeed. This appears to be playing out at the current board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC. Its immediate predecessor spent only half of its tenure before it was dismissed, all because of the rancorous relationship that existed among its members. The new board, so far, is reported to have worked harmoniously to enhance its chances of delivering on its mandate. And this seems to have attracted the attention of its key stakeholders.
During a recent tour of the commission’s projects by the Senate Committee on the Niger Delta, its chairman, Senator James Manager, was apparently convinced that things have changed for the better. He declared: “We have not come on the heels of disputes. If there is anything that has been achieved by this board, it is peace at the NDDC.”
It was, indeed, in that convivial atmosphere that the Senator-Manager-led team began its latest oversight duty at the NDDC. The Act setting up the commission makes it the most monitored Federal Government agency in the country. The relevant committees in the Senate and the House of Representatives, the office of the Secretary to the Federal Government, the Advisory Committee made up of all the governors of the region, among others, take turns to beam searchlights on the activities of this very important interventionist agency. In a way, this has helped the commission to always be on its toes. ( Continues below...... )
Photo Above: Nigeria National Assembly Complex
Before hitting the road for project inspection, the Senate Committee stopped over at the Rivers State Government House to pay a courtesy call on Rt. Hon. Chubuike Rotimi Amaechi, the governor of the state. The Senators were accompanied by Dr. Tarilah Tebepah, the Chairman of the Board of the NDDC, Dr. Christian Oboh, the Managing Director and some members of the board. The governor, who was until recently the chairman of Forum of Governors of the nine NDDC states, said that they had agreed with the commission to focus more on regional projects like a railway that would connect all the states in the Niger Delta. He also urged the NDDC to invest more in agriculture “to create jobs and reduce the level of crime in the region.”
After the visit to Governor Amaechi, the heavens opened up and it seemed as if the rains would ruin the Senators’ programme for the day. In spite of the rain, the Senators set out for their inspection tour. At the site of the 19-kilometre Abalama-Idoh-Degema Road Project in Rivers State, Senator Manager described the project as a job well done and urged the commission and the contractor to keep up with the good performance. The story was, however, different at the Igbiri-Abbibo-Oba Road and bridges linking Okrika Local Government Area to Port Harcourt. The committee expressed displeasure over the slow pace of work on the project. A visibly angry NDDC boss tongue-lashed the contractor and called for an amendment to the NDDC Act to provide for stiffer sanctions to checkmate erring contractors.
“We have seen that this contractor is not working, the next thing they do is to ask for variation, using powerful Nigerians to mount pressure on us. Meanwhile the communities are suffering, NDDC cannot continue this way,” he said. The MD promptly summoned the contractor to meet with NDDC management, immediately, warning “if in another two months you cannot show a reasonable commitment to deliver this project, we will be forced to re-assign it”. The Senate committee, according to its chairman, has a responsibility to monitor the activities of three agencies, namely; the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, the NDDC and the Amnesty Programme. So, their tour of projects included those of the ministry as well. Of course, the East-West Road, which was taken over by the ministry in 2009, is a project that is very dear to the hearts of Niger Deltans.
The committee members inspected different sections of the strategic road being handled by Setraco Nigeria Ltd. The drive through Ahoada to Mbiama was anything but pleasant. The monitoring team rocked and danced through the pothole-ravaged East/West Road. The ditches that cover most of that stretch of the road sent a powerful message that nothing has changed for the long-suffering people of the Niger Delta.
Mr. Michael Hachenberg, the Managing Director of Setraco, told the South-South caucus of the House of Representatives last year that if the delay in funding the project was not checked, it would take 10 years to complete this very important road link. He blamed the Federal Government for not releasing funds as and when due.
This unfortunate development has been giving leaders of the region sleepless nights and the Governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan is not an exception. He too decried the slow pace of work on this road. He told the Senate Committee that visited him at the Government House Annex in Warri, that the strategic road has become a source of worry and if it was not completed by 2015, it will be a big problem, adding that it was the desire of the people of the South-South region to have the road completed as quickly as possible.
Dr. Uduaghan said that governors of the Niger Delta region were prepared to liaise with the Presidency to facilitate the speedy release of funds for the completion of the East-West road. He re-echoed the views of Governor Amaechi that the states covered by the NDDC had resolved that the commission should focus on regional infrastructure that cut across the states. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria's Niger Delta Region showing its composite 8 states.
Senator James Manager, said the committee had invited the Minister of Works to explain the circumstances delaying the completion of the road. He said that although the East-West Road was critical to the Niger Delta region, "it is obvious that looking at the way things are going, the road will not be completed in the next five years. That is why we have invited the Minister of Works to explain to us because from the way things are going, it is not possible to deliver that project in the next three years."
Another mega project inspected by the committee in Delta State is the Bomadi-Tuomo-Ojobo-Tamigbe road with 8 bridges. The 16-kilometre road being constructed by Setraco Nigeria Ltd. at the cost of N8.9 billion was awarded in 2009. The Senate Committee Chairman said he was not pleased with the progress of work on the road.
At the 23-kilometre Uzere-Patani Road, the project supervisor, Engr Dotun Olugbami said that the company was struggling to meet set targets with limited funds. He, however, promised that work on the road and three bridges would be completed by December 2014.
The Senators also inspected the Ugheha-Koko-Escravos Road in Delta State. Here, some aggrieved members of Koko community complained that the contractor was not serious with the project. It took repeated assurances from Senator Manager to get them to calm down. He appealed to them to be patient and peaceful to ensure that work progresses smoothly at the site. Turning to the youths, he said: “you need the road, so, cooperate with NDDC and the contractor to enable them go ahead with this project.”
In Bayelsa State, the Senators inspected the 40-kilometre the East/West Road Junction-Sampou-Odoni Osekwenike Road with six bridges. They were told by Chief Azezi Ekadi, a community leader, that the people of the surrounding communities were pleased with what the NDDC was doing for them. “We are very glad that the work is moving well. I thank the NDDC for giving us access to our villages,” he said.
The Senators also inspected the 29-kilometre Sagbama-Edebri-Angalamabiri road, a project which the NDDC MD said was very strategic. Senator Heinekin Lokpobri, a member of the committee, reminded his colleagues that the road does not only lead to his village and that of the Governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Serieki Dickson, but would equally open up the hitherto inaccessible areas to commerce and development.
This is not the first time the Senators are coming face-to-face with the daunting problems of the Niger Delta. In November 2007, Senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria held a four-day retreat in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. According to the Senate President, Chief David Mark, it afforded them the opportunity to venture into the creeks of the Niger Delta. He said it was an eye-opener for them.
Senator Manager said that his committee saw enough from the tour of three states (Rivers, Bayelsa and Delta) to convince them that NDDC holds the key to the sustainable development of the Niger Delta. He said that after seeing things on the ground, they were now well equipped to assist the NDDC. The Senate Committee Chairman said that from what they saw on the ground, the new board of the NDDC was doing its best to improve the lives of Niger Deltans. He, therefore, called for the support and cooperation of stakeholders to enable the commission achieve its goals for the oil-bearing region.
Senator Manager commended the commitment and passion of the NDDC MD and the management team. He said: “From all available evidence, they mean well. Under Dr. Oboh’s leadership, there is a flurry of construction activities going on in the three States of the Niger Delta so far visited” The NDDC boss, who was visibly pleased with the inspection tour, said that the commission was pursuing the delivery of on-going projects and would award new ones where necessary. “We have seen the magnitude of projects going on, what we need now are sustainable efforts and funding to deliver”, he said.
Senator Manager agreed that the issue of adequate funding of the NDDC is at the heart of all development efforts in the region. He underscored the fact that the difficult terrain in the Niger Delta posed an enormous challenge, which should be matched with robust funding.
Mr. Ifeatu Agbu ( email@example.com ) writes from Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
*Nigeria: Azaziphobia, PDP and Northern Elders
Masterweb Reports - Friday, May 22, 2012: Andrew Azazi's comments at the South South Summit in Asaba that the PDP is responsible for Boko Haram have continued to elicit reactions from different sections of the Nigerian populace long after the comments. People still discuss it with the intensity they discuss the statements of General Buhari that rigging of the 2015 elections would elicit bloody reactions.
PDP members were pressurizing Jonathan to replace Azazi . The northern elites were calling for his head for suggesting that their tribesmen in the PDP are responsible for Boko Haram insurgency. Some non partisan observers believe that Azazi should resign as the NSA. They feel that as an insider in the Jonathan cabinet he should not expose his principal. I would like to take on the reasons people preferred for Azazi to be thrown away and why such reasoning may be more of emotional and intuitive exercise than logical.
PDP Chieftains truly believe that Azazi is an ingrate. Discussions with some of them who preside over the affairs of Nigeria show a curious resentment and phobia for Azazi which defies common sense. They accuse Azazi of betrayal and posit that Jonathan needs loyalists around him not people like Azazi. Some of them claimed that they have told their President to rid himself of this nosy and talkative soldier before he ruins their great party’s chances in 2015 election.
The northern counterparts posit that Azazi is an ethnic bigot who is out to give the north a bad name and damage its reputation among Nigerians with intent of denying the north the chances of 2015 presidency. The PDP as a whole views Azazi with suspicion and the Northern leaders equally view him with suspicion. Azazi was left between two bulldogs trying to tear him to pieces.
Azazi have served Nigeria in different capacity, the most recent being the GOC of 1st Division, Kaduna in January 2005, The Chief of Army Staff in June 2006 and the Chief of Defence Staff. His recent appointment as the National Security Adviser is not greater than the last two appointments. Azazi have equally had his share of the Nigerian national cake. With all the billions budgeted for the office of the NSA, certainly Azazi cannot be holier than the system he is serving. During his time as army chief, he gave soft landings for militants and encouraged dialogue with his kinsmen. His friends in the military believe that Azazi is aware of all oil bunkering activities within the Niger Delta during his era as military chief. Therefore the theory of ingratitude cannot hold water. Azazi, by Nigeria’s standards was already a fulfilled man, professionally and financially before he came to serve Jonathan. Infact, he actually came to Jonathan’s rescue when the former security adviser, General Gusau indicated interest to run for the presidency in October 2010. Azazi was drafted to help continue the stabilization which Aliyu Gusau era brought to the security arm. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: PDP Logo
It is actually the PDP that needs Azazi. The PDP and their style of politics is making the work of Andrew Azazi and other heads of security agencies to be very difficult. These undemocratic tendencies are the greatest security risk Nigeria is facing. Indiscrete electoral fraud caused post election violence in the north of Nigeria in 2011 and the security agencies were called up to clean up the mess. PDP supervised corruption is responsible for mass discontent in the land which in itself is a security risk. Aggrieved PDP members in the north with huge funds are sponsoring Boko Haram in Nigeria as a means of seeking redress for Jonathan jettisoning the zoning structure. The security agencies are also cleaning the mess from the Boko Haram branch of PDP. The subsidy protest is a reaction to PDP harsh economic policies. When the people wanted to overpower the looters, the soldiers were called in to contain the protesters. It is obvious that when the PDP defecates, the security agencies clean up the mess in order to keep the nation one. Yet the shamelessly defecating ruling party is accusing a security head of ingratitude.
The PDP should be grateful to Andrew Azazi and the heads of other security agencies that there is still democracy in Nigeria. They are yet to know how close this democracy came close to being truncated on two occasions. They should take the advice of Azazi , who actually spoke the minds of other heads of security agencies. They should stop rigging of elections, stop flouting court orders, stop looting the economy, stop shielding corrupt public officials, stop implementing harsh economic and stop sponsoring Boko Haram. This will reduce the mass discontent in the land and eliminate a lot of security flashpoints. However, if they fail to heed the warning, which is most likely, they should at least be grateful that the armed forces are cleaning up the security mess from their anus.
Andrew Azazi has cleared his conscience. The blood of innocent Nigerians being murdered by the terrorists, hitherto hanging on his Ijaw neck have been sent back to where it ought to hang, the ruling party. He has stomached the bloody deception for long and at last decided to free his conscience. If it pleases Jonathan and the feasters in Aso Rock, let them sack Azazi. He has nothing to lose. This man whom the public view with the same lenses they viewed the sacked Inspector General of Police, Hafzat Ringim, have finally extricated his name from the public tag of incompetence. Other public officers should emulate Patrick Azazi.
When Remi Babalola alerted on the escalating subsidy scam and insolvency of NNPC powerful persons within the party sought for his head and President Jonathan hurriedly redeployed him to the ministry of Special Duties on the 10th of August 2010 from where he honourably resigned. Babalola went home with a free conscience and the subsidy bill skyrocketed to N2.7 trillion naira in the same year. Audu Ogbeh was forced to resign as PDP chairman by former president Obasanjo when he openly criticised the ceding of Anambra State to the Uba brothers in the aftermath of the torching of state edifices an act which followed the shameless kidnap of former governor Chris Ngige. Mr Vincent Azie was removed as the Auditor General of the Federation a month after he released his audit findings in 2003 which revealed a flagrant violation of financial rules and regulations by the presidency and other organs of government. In the view of some shameless Nigerians, these men had lost out, but before the larger society and before God, they have discharged themselves honourably and freed themselves from the guilt of commission and omission.
Public officers owe a duty to God and the people of Nigeria to speak against acts capable of putting the nation in jeopardy even if it may endanger their privilege. The day a good number of public officers toes the path of honour by speaking the truth as these men have done then the deliverance of the nation could be perceived from afar.
President Goodluck Jonathan on March 21, 2012 relieved Gen Andrew Azazi (rtd) and Dr. Haliru Bello of their jobs as National Security Adviser and Defence Minister respectively.
*Airline Operators Petition National Assembly On Proposed Public Hearing/Investigation of Dana/Allied Plane Crashes
By Lateef Lawal
The Joint National Assembly Committee on Aviation's planned public hearing/investigation of the Dana and Allied Air plane crashes has come under attack by members of the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON). The Joint Committee sitting which is expected to commence from June 19th - 22nd, 2012 is to investigate the cause(s) of the Dana airline's accident in Lagos and that of Allied Airline Cargo plane crash in Ghana. In a petition sent to the Chairman of the Committee by the Secretary General of AON, Captain Mohammed Joji and copies sent to President Goodluck Jonathan, the Senate President, David Mark, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Tambuwal and other principal officers of the National Assembly, the airline operators noted that it would be illogical to conduct any public hearing or investigation when the body statutorily charged with that responsibility-Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) was yet to conclude its investigation. In addition, members of the association noted that in any aircraft accident all over the world, public hearing into aircraft accident are not held in public because of its volatility due to loss of lives in such an accident as in the present circumstance, as it could heat up the polity. The full text of the petition is reproduced below:
The Chairman, Senate and House of Representatives Join Committee on Aviation, National Assembly Complex, Garki, Abuja.
REF: PUBLIC HEARING ON THE CRASH OF DANA AND ALLIED AIRLINES.
We read on a National Daily that the Joint Committee will commence a Four Day Public Hearing from June 19th¡V 22nd, 2012 as part of Investigation into the Crash of DANA Airline¡¦s Flight in Lagos and a Nigerian Cargo Aircraft, Allied Airline in Ghana. Furthermore, you also asked that we should submit a memorandum detailing all the information we have on the Crash to the Secretariat of the Joint Committee. First of all, in our Press Conference (AON) of Friday 7th June, 2012 in Lagos where we briefed the Press to act responsibly in reporting this fatal accident, and not to engaged in innuendos and shenanigans prior to the outcome of the investigation. We send our condolence to the families and friends of the briefed. Secondly, we believed that it is the Constitutional right of the Legislators to call for public hearing, but under the circumstances where even the preliminary report of the Accident is not concluded, it is ill-time and ill-conceived to discuss the remote causes of the Accident. Thirdly, it is also inappropriate to discuss this very accident at this material time, where the polity in the country is already overheated. Power of the Commissioner to Investigate Accidents and Incidents The Civil Aviation Act of 2006 signed by the Members of Parliament on the 9th and 14th November, 2006 and endorsed by Mr. President on the 14th November, 2006, specifically part (viii), para. 29, clearly gave powers to the Commissioner of Accident to Investigate Accidents/Incidents and report directly to Mr. President through the Minister of Aviation before any pronouncement is made over any accident. Any parallel investigation which can prejudice the outcome of the on-going investigation is against the ICAO ¡V Convention of Accident Investigation particularly ICAO Annex 13 which dealt with Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation. Furthermore, prior to the outcome of the initial stage of investigation,communications between the pilot and the control tower cannot be divulged.
Jamboree of Public Opinion
We have read all sorts of jamboree by some members of the public who claimed to have knowledge of Aviation Industry, perhaps some of them may not have even been a passenger in any Aircraft all their life. If this is allowed to continue it will put the Aviation Industry in bad light.
Relative Safety of our Aviation Industry
Apart from the three successive accidents which occurred between 2005 and 2006 and claimed the lives of 312 people, we have had a relatively accident free Aviation Industry. The industry has achieved a lot in terms of safety and development particularly, the achievement of the past twelve months, the achievement of FAA category one (1), which classified Nigeria as one of the safest Aviation Industry in the world given our level of activities. It must be remembered that, there are not more than 9 African countries from the 62 African countries which was granted the category 1 status. The Domestication of Cape Town Convention which is a great achievement convinced Foreign Investors to invest in newer Private Aircraft flying within our Airspace.
Level of Activities in the Nigeria Airspace
Nigeria is a country of 158,259,000 people. All the other 16 West African Countries has a population of 150,456,000. This is less than the Nigeria Population. Gambia is a country less than the area of Lagos State, and its population is less than Ikeja Local Government. Nigeria has the largest domestic network in Africa and flies about 700 flights daily including helicopter flights to/from the oil platforms. All the Airlines in Nigeria are privately owned. Ethiopia is one of the most successful airline in Africa has barely half the population of Nigeria, its domestic network is negligible compared to Nigeria. The entire commercial accident in the Nigeria Aviation since the establishment of West African Air Transport in council following a court order No. 682 of the Buckingham Palace by the Kings Most Excellent Majesty ¡V King George VI (father of the present Queen of England) is less the monthly accident on the Nigerian road. Other World Accident Statistics 1. On the 27th March, 1977 a Ground Collision at Tenerife occurred between Pan Am B747 ¡V 1000 Reg. No. 736PA and KLM B747 ¡V 100, killing 664 passengers on the spot. The two Aircraft are carrying holiday people. Several families, grandparents, parents, children and grandchildren lost their lives. In most of these cases, some entire family lost their lives. The accident was due to the negligent of the KLM Captain not obeying the Air Traffic Controllers¡¦ Directive. Investigation was peacefully conducted by both countries; USA/Netherland did not conduct any public hearing prior to the final accident report. 2. On the 2nd September, 1998, a Swiss Air MD-11, Reg.: HB ¡V IWF, a new Aircraft suffered cockpit fire. The Aircraft was flying from New York to Geneva, declared an emergency and diverted to Halifax in Canada, 5nautical miles(NM) to the Airport, the Aircraft crash off the coast of Nova Scotia killing all 229 people on board. Normal investigation was carried out, there was no public hearing prior to the final outcome of the investigation. 3. On the 17th January, 2008, A British Airways Boeing 777 ¡V 200, Reg. No:G ¡V YMMM, a factory new Aircraft, lost both engines and crashed just inside the perimeter of Heathrow Airport besides the runway on a soft grass. The 152 passengers and crew escaped death with minor injuries. Catastrophe was averted by share act of God. Were the Aircraft crashed one(1) minute earlier, it could have crashed in Central London. A political catastrophe was averted by share act of God. Investigation was allowed to be carried out in three stages by the British Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB). These stages include; initial report,subsequent update and special bulleting published 4 months after for public interest. Grounding of an Airline at the Aftermath of an Accident Grounding an airline at the aftermath of a crash is inappropriate. By shutting down the operation of an airline will automatically shut-down the other serviceable Aircraft within the Airline fleet. Take for example, United/Continental Airline with; „« 704 Aircraft „« A fleet value of $13.9 billion „« Employ 230,000 people „« With 167 Aircraft on order. Shutting down such Airline in the aftermath of accident, will spell doom to the USA Economy. That is why as long as other Aircraft are still serviceable,airlines are allowed to operate at the aftermath of an accident.
In any Aircraft accident, which involves loss of lives, Emotion is often very high. This is why a thorough investigation was often carried out before any public debate. In accordance with established International arrangements, example of the British Airways accidents; The National Transportation Safety Board (NSTB)of the USA, representing the State of Design and Manufacture of the Aircraft,the NTSB accredited representative is supported by a team which includes additional investigation from the NTSB, the Federal Aviation Administration(FAA) (the equivalent of our NCAA) and Boeing. Rolls ¡V Royce, the Engine Manufacturer is also participating fully in the investigation. British Airways, the Operator is cooperating fully with the investigation and providing expertise as required. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency(EASA) are being kept informed of developments. The above explanation, is the world standard of investigating an accidents which is applicable to all the 191 ICAO member states. You will notice that throughout the period of such investigation, no any member of the public including the British Parliament and the House of Lords participated in the investigation. They all waited for the outcome of the investigation. Why do we choose to do everything differently for political expediency, which will ultimately overheat the polity? Kindly allow the investigation to take its normal course before calling for any public hearing which you have the Constitutional right to do so. ICAO clearly stipulates that; the sole objective of the investigation of an accident or serious incident shall be the prevention of accidents and incidents and it shall not be the purpose of such an investigation to apportion blame or liability.
Lateef Lawal (NigerianAviationNews)
Photo Above: An airborne Dana plane
Photo Above: Nigeria Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Adaeze Oduah
*Task Before Niger Delta Stakeholders
By Ifeatu Agbu
The Amnesty Programme, introduced by the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, in more ways than one thawed the ice of tension in the oil-rich region of Nigeria. However, it remains a prelude to a comprehensive resolution of the Niger Delta problem, which is lack of development. So, the bottom-line is getting all stakeholders to join in the efforts to rapidly and significantly transform the oil-bearing communities.
The way forward, therefore, is to sustain the gains of the amnesty programme by embarking on tangible development projects that would positively change the lives of the people. That would also enlist them as vanguards for the protection of oil installations and vulnerable pipelines crisscrossing the Niger Delta. Even now, the oil industry is being threatened by the activities of criminals who seem to have taken over from where the militants left off.
According to Engineer Austen Oniwon, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), thieves are stealing about 180,000 barrels worth of crude oil every day from pipelines and through illegal bunkering in the Niger Delta. So, as it is, high-profile criminals have taken over illegal oil trading activities from militants who hitherto engaged in such acts.
Counting the cost in monetary terms, Mr. Mutiu Sunmonu, the Managing Director, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, said that the country is losing $5bn (N780bn) annually to the oil thieves. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria's Niger Delta Region showing its composite 8 states.
Thanks to the amnesty programme, the oil thieves can now be distinguished from the militants, who were genuinely agitating for a fair deal from the Federal Government. This is why no effort should be spared in ensuring that the fruits of the official pardon are fully enjoyed by the people who bear the brunt of oil exploration and exploitation.
In order to make things happen as quickly as expected, the development agencies, such as the oil companies, the federal, state, local governments, the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, must collaborate at different levels and key into the regional development Master Plan already approved by the central government. The NDDC which facilitated the production of the Niger Delta Regional Development Master Plan is well placed to drive the process of its implementation. So far, the commission has been making efforts to build enduring partnerships and embarking on targeted engagements with strategic stakeholders.
Recently, the Presidential Monitoring Committee on NDDC held an interactive session with stakeholders in the region where it was agreed that the commission would focus more on completing all on-going projects awarded since its inception. The commission has commenced an audit of ongoing projects across the region to enable it identify the status of such projects in order to prioritize their completion based on available resources. Dr Christian Oboh, the Managing Director of the NDDC, said the commission had reviewed its budgetary system to put all existing projects on the top priority list. “A lot of projects have been awarded since the establishment of the NDDC; we intend to focus on the completion of the projects. Partnership is the new road map that the commission has adopted in project implementation across the states of the Niger Delta”, he said.
Dr. Oboh said that with the re-activation of the Advisory Committee of the NDDC, which comprises the governors of oil-bearing states and the principal officers of the commission, it would now be easier for them to interface directly on project planning and implementation. This is the driving force behind the joint effort of the NDDC, Akwa Ibom State Government and Mobil Producing Nigeria Ltd in the quest to complete the Eket-Ibeno Road. The 18 kilometre dual carriage way, with two bridges, is being constructed at the cost of N8.2 billion.
Obviously, pleased by the team effort, the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio eagerly joined the chief executive officers of NDDC and Mobil to inspect the road project to work out the best way to deliver it on schedule. The governor said that the road was strategic to the operations of Mobil and as such was very important to the state. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria's Niger Delta Region showing Port Harcourt
He was confident that the NDDC, having teamed up with the state government and Mobil, would deliver quality projects. “With the interaction we have had, there is hope for the Niger Delta. The MD of NDDC has shown focus, passion and commitment. For me, this is a turning point”, he said.
Such high profile partnership is the way forward for a region that is yearning for rapid development. The NDDC had always joined forces with key stakeholders in confronting the enormous challenge of making a difference in the lives of the people in the remote communities of the Niger Delta. One of such collaborations is in the construction of the 29 kilometre Ogbia-Nembe road, which it is undertaking in partnership with the Shell Petroleum Development Company [SPDC].
The N9.6 billion project illustrates the kind of challenges confronting the Niger Delta. It cuts through the swamps with ten bridges and 99 culverts. The terrain is such that four metres of clay soil has to be dug out and then sand-filled to provide a base for the road. It shouldn’t surprise anyone therefore to learn that constructing a road in this tough environment costs twice or thrice of what is required in other parts of the country. This is a project several previous administrations thought was impossible. Now work on the road is progressing appreciably.
This is just one of the many mega projects being executed by the interventionist agency with the limited funds at its disposal. Without doubt, the NDDC needs to be adequately funded to enable it deliver on its mandate. All the key stakeholders, which include the Niger Delta Ministry, three tiers of government and the oil companies, have a responsibility to collaborate with the NDDC as the agency driving the implementation of the Regional Development Master Plan.
The master plan, which has been generally applauded as a worthy compass for the development of the region, needs to be adequately funded and meticulously implemented in order to translate the lofty plans into tangible projects and programmes. The big ticket projects articulated in the plan require enormous resources to execute.
Unfortunately, the Federal Government which is supposed to lead the way in ensuring adequate funding for the commission for many years under the Olusegun Obasanjo administration failed to meet the statutory obligations to the commission. For many years, the interventionist agency was getting only 10 per cent from it instead of the statutory 15 per cent. This resulted in the much-talked about N500 billion debt that the Federal Government is owing the commission.
The NDDC Act states clearly how the commission shall be funded. Section 14 provides that “there shall be paid and credited to the fund established pursuant to subsection  of this section; [a] from the Federal Government the equivalent of 15 per cent of the total monthly allocation due to the member states of the commission from the federation account, this being the contribution of the Federal Government to the commission; [b] three per cent of the total annual budget of any oil-producing company operating onshore and offshore in the Niger Delta area, including gas processing companies; [c] 50 per cent of monies due to member states of the commission from the ecological fund...” and other sources such as grants and loans.
Apart from the Federal Government which did not comply with the provisions of the Act during the Obasanjo years, some of the oil companies have also not been paying the three per cent of their annual budget as required by law. Records show that they deduct first charges before calculating the three per cent from the balance. It is more like cutting the nose to spite the face, given that what they spend for the development of the Niger Delta is for their own good at the end of the day.
Given the enormous impact of their activities on the environment, the oil companies are expected to be at the forefront in the critical task of remediating, and indeed the comprehensive development of the oil basin that has suffered so much neglect in the past. It is, in fact, in their interest to develop the region where they operate in order to guarantee peace, which is very necessary for them to continue with their business.
Recently, the Petroleum Resources Minister, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, blamed International Oil Companies (IOCs) for the underdevelopment of Nigeria's economy. She said that some decisions taken by the oil firms had resulted in a loss of over $300 billion to government coffers. The minister alleged various acts by foreign oil firms that showed intent to “generate their own revenue without paying attention to actions that add value to the over all Nigerian economy.”
The oil companies should embrace global best practices in the execution of their business in the Niger Delta. Ultimately, this will enhance their profile and expedite the development process of our country.
Mr. Ifeatu Agbu ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) writes from Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
*Nigerian Soldiers Stranded In Sudan
Masterweb Reports - Sunday, May 24, 2012: We are four Nigerian Battalions (NIBATTS 30, 31, 32 and 33) on duty in Nyala, Sudan from 26 November, 2011 - 2 January, 2012 but now stranded after we are due for rotation. Our expected period of rotation to Nigeria is 26 May - 3 July, 2012 for the four battalions; up till the time of this report, we have not been rotated. This situation is very depressing and is dangerously affecting us and our loved ones back home.
NIBATT 31 was supposed to be rotated back to Nigeria between 31 May - 7 June, 2012. Out of the 800 troops that made up the battalion, only 115 were airlifted to Nigeria on 31 May; the remaining troops are still stranded in Sudan. They have added extra weeks to their official date of departure as well as NIBATT 30 which was supposed to be rotated back home on 26 May. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Nigerian Army Logo/BannerThis situation is due to either negligence on the part of the Nigerian government or the Army in taking up their responsibilities abroad with respect to their men and women on tour of duty.
As I write, Nigerian Army Peace Keeping Center (NAPKC) in Jaji is full of troops of the four Battalions that underwent training to rotate the stranded 4 Battalions here in Sudan. Also the FOB in Abuja where troops normally spend the night before they are airlifted to Sudan is filled up with troops awaiting airlift to Sudan. Sudan as we all know is a very hostile and a desert country with hash weather that makes living very unbearable. It is unwise for Nigeria to leave us to stay extra days, weeks or months in Sudan after the expiration of our tour of duty.
Other Contingents like Thailand, Sierra Leone, Bangladesh, Nepal, Egypt and South Africa have all rotated their troops with chartered planes with passenger seats of about 220. Nigerian Army is waiting for United Nations to organize their rotation for them with a plane carrying only 115 passengers, making us to rotate a battalion seven (7) times x 4. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Major General Emeka Onwuamaegbu, Commandant of Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA) in handshake with soldiers.
I appeal to Nigerians to use their good offices in telling Mr. President, Senate President, Minister of Defense, Chief of Defense Staff and Chief of Army Staff as a matter of urgency to bring planes (bigger ones) to rotate the four Battalions in Sudan not later than 3 July or else we will create a scenario in Sudan which will deter the on-going peace process in Darfur. 3rd July is our ultimatum. Please publish this to the readership of those in Aso Rock. They are all sitting down in Nigeria eating from our sweat which a battalion generates a month ($700,000:00) for then in the UN.
We look forward to seeing this news publish today or tomorrow in the various dallies. Thank you and God bless.
Concern Soldiers in Darfur, Sudan.
*NCAA Grounds Air Nigeria Operations Again Over Insolvency
By Lateef Lawal
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has once again grounded the operations of Air Nigeria over alleged insolvency issues. Competent sources at the Ministry of Aviation said NCAA was directed by the Minister to ground the operations of the airline when it was discovered that the airline was owing virtually every of its service providers- that is- fuel suppliers, aviation agencies and aircraft maintenance organisation overseas and on top of it all, staff salaries. All these indices, it was learnt could impact negatively on safety. This, it was gathered was why the Ministry of Aviation had to direct the grounding of the airline's operation, aside from the fact that the airline was alleged to have been illegally withholding tax payment due to the Federal Government.
However in a statement from the carrier following the latest development said, “The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has suspended our flight operations effective immediately over alleged indications that the airline is in financial distress. We wish to apologize for all the inconvenience that this order by the NCAA will bring on our passengers and wish to assure that Air Nigeria will continue to liaise with the relevant agencies to ensure that the suspension order is lifted as soon as possible.” ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: An Airborne Plane (Photo 1)
The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) had on Wednesday filed charges of evading five years tax payment of N4.86 billion naira and forgery of Tax Clearance Certificate (TCC) against Air Nigeria.
Mr Jimoh Ibrahim, the company’s Chairman, Mr Kinfe Kahssaye, Managing Director and Air Nigeria Development Company Limited (formerly Virgin Nigeria Airways Ltd), were joined in the 10-count charge. The suit comes barely 48 hours after the service arrested Kahssaye in Lagos on Monday.
He was flown to Abuja same day and detained by the service and released on Tuesday afternoon. An official of FIRS, said the service met with Ibrahim on Tuesday, but did not reach any agreement on the payment of the tax. In the charge, FIRS accused officials of the indigenous airline of illegally obtaining Tax Clearance Certificates. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: An Airborne Plane (Photo 2)
They were also said to have unlawfully presented the fake certificate to the Minister of Interior for the renewal of expatriate quota positions for 20 pilots and 10 other persons.
According to the FIRS, the accused persons failed to deduct and pay taxes accruing to government from Withholding Tax and Value Added Tax (VAT) from 2007 to 2010, totaling N4.86 billion. The charge said Air Nigeria and the accused persons failed to deduct at source, N394.1m
Lateef Lawal (NigerianAviationNews)
*Biafra Failed Because The War Was Not Fought Before It Began
By Osita Ebiem
At this stage in their collective history it will be very naïve of any Igbo politician of repute, business investor or elite of any shade not to have thought seriously about the anticipated and inevitable breakup of the Nigerian union. The mark of the good politician or leader in any field is being foresighted. The Igbo leader is not only the one that thinks and acts in the interest of the collective, they are able to predict future events and believe in their predictions enough by making concrete efforts to prepare and position themselves, the institution and people they represent to benefit or at the least, not lose as much as they would have when the event eventually occurs. It is always better to be prepared and the event never happens than to be caught unprepared or even under-prepared. The Igbo leader is the one who is able to think of those things that may never happen like they would. Every Igbo leader or any Igbo at all alive today is supposed to have simulated every aspect of what will happen to them and their people after the disintegration of Nigeria. True Igbo leadership is all about responsibility to the people you lead; thinking and planning ahead for them and actually conducting your activities like you mean what you say or think.
Let’s look at the above position in the light of the Biafra War. In the history books and the accounts of witnesses it is well known that the Nigerian state was the aggressor in the war. Nigeria with the help of Great Britain, USSR and the Arab nations combined forces and fought dirty to defeat Biafra in 1970. With that said it is true that Biafra lost the War because of the formidable forces that allied themselves against the new nation. Yet, as it is with other complex things in life, if we looked close enough we will see other reasons why Biafrans failed in their justified first attempt at Self Determination and independence. As we go on we will find an uncomfortable lapse on the side of Igbo leaders. We will see that the War was lost not as a result of lack of courage or necessarily because of the seemingly insurmountable odds against Biafra. Biafrans had all the courage they needed because someone said that Biafrans did not just fight hard and well as heroes, he said that heroes fight like Biafrans. Biafrans so demonstrated courage and bravery against odds that today people equate Biafra with, apart from Freedom and Human Dignity; Heroism! ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Map of Defunct Republic of Biafra
Over the years Biafra has become synonymous with those who do heroic things. Today it is believed that whoever that is a Biafran is a hero and does things that befit heroes. But fighting and defending oneself and others as heroes do might sound impressive to some, especially when a vulnerable people come under the threat of total extermination. But when we consider it by a different standard we may be surprised to see that there may not be much in it to be proud of after all. Life force is among the most powerful forces in existence. In summer time, I have seen green grasses grow almost lush in cracks in the middle of busy roads where ten thousand vehicles run on every day. That is an excellent example of the power of the will to survive that is inherent in living things. For grass existence, to endure such harsh and impossible conditions and still survive and maybe thrive is commendable. But here we are talking about human beings with higher intellects than mere grasses. Nature endowed humans with the power of the intellect that enables them to not just exist but determine their existence. Humans have the capacity to, through the power of their mind, determine the quality of their existence here on Earth. This explains the saying; to whom much is given, much is expected.
For Igbo/Biafrans, it is not enough to fight and defend their right to life; they are expected to do more than that. When in the 1980s Nigerian Muslims recommenced the Islamic jihad on the Igbo in Kano and other cities in the North of Nigeria under the name Maitatsine; a variant of today’s Boko Haram, the Igbo after overcoming the initial shock of surprise attack, rose up and defended themselves. The Nigerian government just like today could not defend them. There were Igbo businessmen that had shops in the city that sold guns. They took a quick decision and emptied their stores by distributing the guns to fellow Igbo in Sabon Gari, Kano. Their attackers backed down when their Islamic beheading knives and daggers were matched with Igbo guns and ammunition. We can go on and list other such heroic moments when the Igbo came together and fought as one against a common enemy. Yet, as commendable as the action of self-defense is, for the Igbo to not just survive but become secure and prosperous, they must take it a step further from that basic level. They must shift their attention from fighting survival battles, and learn to come together and fight future battles before they begin.
All progressive societies around the world at one point in their history confronted this truth and recognized its significance to their success. There is no nation or a group of people that has made any significant progress by remaining at the level of the reactionary. The Igbo nation of today must come to the realization that if she must live successfully in this world, then she must learn to take the initiative in all areas of human endeavors. Igbo people must become offensive and take the fight to the enemy territory rather than lead a carefree existence and only fight back when attacked. The Igbo of this generation must position their nation to begin to take advantage of the works of past generations. Again that is the hallmark of all progressive societies; the ability to stand on the shoulders of past generations rather than let each new generation start from the scratch. It is only lower animals and plants that start afresh at every new season. Even then they have the advantage of their natural instinct and self-adjusting genetic coding capability to compensate for what they lost in their lack of the ability to process complex information and stimuli and make adjustments ahead of events. ( Continues below..... )
From available evidences Igbo leaders, politicians and intellectuals failed to fight the Biafra War ten, twenty years before it began. Such lapses on the side of the people in responsible positions in Igbo/Biafra Land are unacceptable and must never happen again. Contrary to Igbo people’s attitude about the country, the others in Nigeria never hid their negative feelings and intentions against the Igbo long before the 1966 Igbo pogrom/genocide that led up to the 1967 to 1970 war. For any careful observer it was not difficult to see how the Hausa, Fulani, Yoruba and others fought their own side of the war long before it began. They won the War not necessarily because of the combined forces of Britain, Soviet Union, Egypt and the Arab League of Nations. (Readers who care to pursue this point further are encouraged to listen to and read what the Ahmadu Bellos and others of Nigeria had to say about Igbo people ten, twenty years before the War). The present generation of Igbo people cannot afford to allow the repeat of that pre-War mistake. The leaders must learn to think and plan ahead while calling the bluff of the frowning faces of demagogues who flaunt before them the catch phrases; “you want to break up the country,” “you want to be rebels”. Igbo leaders, politicians and intellectuals must stop falling victims of the trap of wanting to please these Nigerian browbeaters by recoiling and apologizing for their very existence. They must stop being content with just living for the moment and “safe” so that no one accuses them of “trying to break up the country”. Nigeria should have broken up long before now, anyway. The union should never have been in the first place.
Anyone for that matter, but especially Igbo leaders in any capacity should be concerned about what verdict the next generation would pass on what they did or failed to do. If the present Igbo political leadership and intellectuals failed to see ten, twenty years before now the eventual breakup of Nigeria and emergence of an independent and sovereign Igbo or Biafra nation then something is wrong. By today they ought to have completed all preparations needed to run a successful Igbo/Biafra nation state, separate from Nigeria.
It is gross negligence and irresponsibility on the side of Igbo political, business and intellectual leaders of today to be so concerned about what their neighbors, “the frowning demagogues” will say or just being “conscious” of the feelings of the others who are working only for their own people’s benefits, and fail to work for the improvement of the fortunes of the present and future of Igbo people. We are not stretching the truth when we say that the current Islamic Boko Haram scourge against Igbo/Biafrans would never have happened if Igbo intellectuals and leaders had prepared for it ten to twenty years before it began. If this tide of death and destruction that is continuously unleashed on the Igbo in Nigeria must be turned away then Igbo leaders and intellectuals must resolve to reverse this collective suicidal trend of only reacting after the heads of their people have been Islamic-ally cut off.
At this point there may still be those who are yet to be convinced and are still bent on finding “solutions” by finding ways through which Igbo people will continue to coexist with the rest of Nigerians in the same country; that is not a problem. It is the duty of the collective Igbo/Biafran leaders and thinkers to patiently work harder still to persuade such persons. No single Igbo or Biafran will be left behind. Igbo opinion leaders, politicians, intellectuals and business people must find a way to patiently educate and persuade every Igbo/Biafra skeptic on why their only option is living independently away from Nigeria. Let them show the people why one-Nigeria is not and can never be an option for Igbo people. Igbo leaders and intellectuals must find the way to convince the residual doubters that the fault or impossibility of a one-Nigerian state is too fundamental and practically irreconcilable. The fault line lies at the center of the unbridgeable differences in the way of life of the various peoples that make up one-Nigeria. The cultural/religious diversities existing amongst the various ethnic peoples that comprise the Nigerian union are irreconcilable. It is the duty of Igbo leaders to convince the unbelievers among their people that culture and a people’s way of doing things is the very essence of the people’s being and cannot be compromised. Let them know that it is the reason why people everywhere fight to death to preserve the way they do things as distinct from those of others. It is the duty of Igbo leaders to convince their people on the fact that no matter the rhetoric on the contrary, no one will win the war for one-Nigeria. It is an ideological warfare, a cultural/religious browbeating. And to win is to begin by positioning the Igbo nation and showing the people how to fight the next Biafra and all other Igbo/Biafra wars before they begin.
*Nigeria: The Peak of Human Rights Abuse and a Global Ticking Bomb
By Ikechukwu Enyiagu
Oftentimes, when men proffer solutions to many ills in societies as concerned and in the world in general, it’s often welcomed with hopeful anticipations. Oftentimes again, these solutions proffered, when adopted, do not really effect any meaningful and lasting changes; and even when they tend to prove handy, these suggestions often entail losses of lives, economic fallouts and several other unanticipated and unplanned-for consequences. Today, looking at the pile of human rights abuse cases in the world and the difficulties which the United Nations and key powers have always grappled with in the pursuit for global peace, the idea and preference of proffering solutions to impending threats instead of preventing them from building up brings to question the governing structures and principles of those who lead the peoples of the world – whether through merit or by imposition. Syria, as it stands today, has proven, among many other self-evident evidences, that those who rule the world with claims to be concerned for their countries of jurisdictions and for a global peace know little or nothing about the law of justice, peace, progress, posterity and mutuality. Nigeria, an illusion created by British interest in Africa and with the help of a lying spirit, towers above all in the world as the peak of Human Rights abuse. Without having to apply riddles, especially seeing that those who have temporary evaded justice and now sit in different seats of authority in the world have mostly lost purposes and directions, I am stating it here again as clear as the effects of the sun to all life that Nigeria – this British amalgamation called Nigeria – is a global ticking bomb. Did you ask me how what goes on in Nigeria affects you in Russia, USA, Britain, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Germany...or even in your citadels or religious cocoons? Well, the answer is simple: the world as we have it today is a global village, and as science advances, this village shrinks to a clan and then to a family. But even as man tries to claim the pride of unifying the world, let’s not forget that the sculptor of the universe is one and He made it as one. However, man’s rejection of the principles of the law of governance instituted by God for an accountable and responsible world may cause an implosion to the much celebrated global village. These principles of the law of governance ordained by God for accountability and responsibility are found in the freedom-to-choose which He gave all; it is what man calls “Human Rights” today.
Human Rights, in its simplest definition, has to do with allowing humans to live as humans – neither dehumanized nor rendered unaccountable and irresponsible. It will be noted that those governments, organizations and individuals who clamor for a man’s rights to have sex with another man, a woman’s rights to have sex with another of the same gender and the rights to be transgendered are not even honest to their very selves and their noisy and degrading campaigns: Your idea of sustaining human rights is to clamor for what destroys nature and the order in creation but you would care not about what protects, saves and procreates. You say that it’s a man’s rights to violate the natural use of the anus but you deny that it’s against the rights of people to be unwillingly and unequally yoked with a yoke of unaccountability and irresponsibility. Russia and China claim that it’s in the interests of their countries, Syria and that of the world that they continue to support a government which, for many years, has reduced its citizens to slaves and has now turned them into martyrs. No! You are not honest to yourselves, and because you rule with dishonesty while you expect those you have denied every right to opinions to be accountable and responsible, the sculptor of life (it matters not if you believe in Jesus as God, if you believe in the Big Bang, or if you place your heart on other entities or theories) will hold you, as governments, organizations and individuals, accountable for all the impediment you have brought to the wheels of His living creation. ( Continues below..... )
Why it is difficult for China and Russia to accept that the continuation of Assad of Syria’s monarchical autocracy has become an abomination in Syria, in Islam and in the world is the very reason why Britain, United States, European Union, Russia, the Arab world, United Nations and several other countries stood passively/actively in opposition to the rights of Igbo, the indigenous people of Biafra, as they, without warring in retaliation of the massacre and pogrom carried out against them in the falsely-founded Nigeria, made the one and eternal use of their human rights: secession. These acts of dehumanization and injustices which the creation of Nigeria planted and which the ever-increasing diversities and impossibilities of a One Nigeria continue to water, have continually birthed and groomed all manners of unthinkable abominations. Today, Nigeria, as a country, without having to delve into the consequences of her existence on her citizens, has become, in herself, an abomination – opposing every dot in the chatter of the United Nations Human Rights and the laws which have, from creation, governed and held the earth rotating on its axis.
A country where the refuse dumps of other countries feed its first-class citizens, where a few people share amongst themselves what is meant to alleviate poverty amongst its citizenry, where those sent to stop bribery and corruption are the very people selling more corruption, where each tier of government collaborates in corruption , where the legislative arm is bribed before they can deliberate on a law , where men in financial authority use their positions to siphon national money to their states, where a nation bound together with other nations in a false marriage insist that they would be the only rulers and their leaders boldly declare that there would be bloodbath if power does not return to them, where one religion insists that their only stand for the federation is when they have killed every Christian through acts of terrorism, or compelled them to renounce their faith and convert to Islam; where a section of the country is constantly targeted for extinction by the government and those who claim to be born to rule , where security of lives and property is the one thing the ordinary citizens will never have or expect from their government, where the president is simply “speechless ” by acts of terrorism against a section of those he leads, yet refuses to seek international help to address the group which has defied him and his government as a terrorist organization ; such a country as this should not have been. And now that its nemesis are constantly on the rise, this country, as Nigeria is, should and must be dissolved to forestall another dilemma which has prevailed in the middle-east to this day.
It is sad that a nation which claims to have the religion and message of peace has and continues to carry out acts of terror against other nationalities/religious groups as means to achieve peace. It is regrettable that those in the Muslim world who often go murderous and bloodthirsty - burning flags and embassies of other nations - simply because one person from those nations or their allies spoke on their religion or acted on their religious relics in a manner that is not acceptable to them have neither condemned their religious brothers in Nigeria in their inhuman/inhumane and atrocious activities in the name of their religion nor have they commiserated with those unjustly targeted in this unholy-in-every-way Jihad. One wonders the true agenda of those championing this type of peace and from which tree they branched out . Most regrettable is the fact that the countries who insisted that this abomination called Nigeria should remain to this day are mainly of Christian citizens. ( Continues below..... )
Policies of diplomacy, if not redefined to suit the definition of global pursuit for Human Rights, will not only fail the countries thus bound, it will fail the world at large. Nigeria is an impossibility and its continuation is an epidemic which will not spare anyone in the world – no matter where they may be or what leak-proof laws they may deceive themselves into believing they have. Nigeria is not! Stories of shame which emanate from project Nigeria on hourly basis should not, in any way, be considered to be limited to Nigerians, Africans or solely to every “black man” anywhere in the world: it is the shame of all world policy makers and rulers. Nigeria is the shame of Britain, Russia, America, the Arab world, United Nations and all those who truly believe they are championing right causes, and its overflowing consequences will, through these evil diplomatic policies filter into all societies. There is no wisdom in any government which stands by, watching a strong man kill an innocent and unarmed man before coming in to carry out justice which, in effect, becomes a double loss. It is the height of foolishness. Sometime last month, the United States congress deliberated on whether to label the terrorizing Boko Haram a terrorist organization but have not passed it into law . It is sad that their policies of domination and deprivation against less-informed, unarmed and/or peaceful sections of mankind have kept them stuttering through the fact that the cause of fighting war on terror is, in every way, heavier and economically recession-incurring than it would be in preventing it. It is equally a show of man’s pitiable ignorance for the US, Britain and all those concerned about the mineral resources in the said Nigeria to deceive themselves into believing that those who have been constantly suppressed, marginalized, dehumanized and killed in Nigeria would not stand for their rights – even if it means paying the murderous North in their own coin - if these excesses are not promptly checked.
The amalgamation of Nigeria, as late Chief Obafemi Awolowo rightly said, still stands as the greatest injustice Britain inflicted on Southern Nigeria and still represents what late Sultan of Sokoto, Ahmadu Bello, termed as an extension of their (Northern Nigeria) father’s estate. Nigeria is neither safe for Nigerians nor is it all-rewarding for those countries where the spirit of Nigeria has exiled many Nigerians. Those who insist that a Sovereign National Conference (SNC), a call which has repeatedly rung from different well-meaning quarters, is uncalled-for have yet to understand the depth of Nigeria’s impossibilities. Their main argument has often remained that it is the work of the legislative arm of the government but what they have either refused to accept or understand is that the three tiers of the government of Nigeria have, from inception, failed the project called Nigeria – thereby inflicting ever-increasing pains on those bound under its name. Should we then relegate this blind argument to Africa’s “blind faith” or should we call it an extension and nemesis of a falsely-founded, corrupt and impossible country? For me, I’d want to believe that there is every reason to make them see reason again: the legislative arm of the government which should deliberate on laws for the betterment of the peoples have refused to do so and, instead, have repeatedly made laws to cover their traps and keep them immune from the atrocities which they carry out on daily basis. The judiciary has remained an auction party where the highest bidder takes victory home, while the executive arm has remained there to receive the highest cut in every bribery and embezzlement deal as long as they turn the other way while the country burns and the masses writhe in agony and pain. These observations are not peculiar to our time; they started from the foundation of Nigeria’s amalgamation and have been sustained overtime by the nonchalance of Nigerians over corrupt politicians and leaders, and the dishonesty of Nigeria’s political, religious and traditional stocks to the truth about a continued One Nigeria. The legislature, said to be elected to deliberate on the ever-present matters of the reasons for the wailing calls of a Sovereign National Conference, has defiled both their blood and oath of office so much so that matters which concern them have been narrowed to matters which concern their continued political relevance. They, in their fights to keep relevance, have relegated what matters most to their constituents in particular, and to the country they claim to protect at large, to the dustbin. It’s therefore the duty of those who have elected them and those whom they rule thus in domination to stand, just as patterns and directions have evolved with time, and oppose, in every way, these monsters who have not relented in carving out murderers from simple men, guilt from the innocents and hell for those who long for paradise in the right ways.
The abomination called Nigeria is a spirit, the spirit of the antichrist; it is only wearing the amalgamation as a veil to hide his true identity. This is what “Nigerians” – no matter the nationality and ethno/religious inclinations – have either deliberately or ignorantly ignored. This spirit feeds on the amalgamation – on the impossibility of a One Nigeria. The West and all those countries who claim to have stakes in Nigeria also know this, but because of man’s pride in ignorance through his myopic visions of interests, satan has equally blinded them to this truth. However, the judgment and lasting place of every evil is found in defeat and shame. Nigeria, the spirit which hides under this abomination, is already defeated, and like a tree which is cut down and dead takes a while to dry up, even so Nigeria has been uprooted and is already drying up. Everyone who truly loves peace, justice, human rights, security progress and posterity stands for this truth. And every country or organization which is founded to last must stand against a continued One Nigeria and against this Tower of Babel which has lost its place in God and its use for the evolving mankind. Those who stand with and for Nigeria have resigned their roots and branches for an inevitable doom. Yet Nigeria will not stand any longer as one country.
Ikechukwu Enyiagu can be reached at
*Delta State: Patience In Suffering - A Response To Ogeah
Dear Mr. Ogeah, I am constrained to respond to your statement in page 12 of “Vanguard” of Tuesday June 12, 2012 urging Deltans to be patient with Uduaghan. I must confess that very many of us have refrained from responding to your very many falsehoods fed to Deltans, this in the belief that you are almost like an alien who has little or no understanding of the issues your position has constrained you to address – a position to my mind, you were never prepared for in the first place. I decided to do this today because you chose a sacred day like June 12, a day I believe that people like you contributed significantly to truncate to insult our sensibilities. More so, it has been said that “to leave an error un-refuted will lead to an intellectual immorality”.
I sincerely believe that apart from the deliberate attempt at impoverishing and pauperising Deltans, you and your co-travellers in the Uduaghan cabinet may have thought that all Deltans have suddenly lost their sense of reasoning when you said that “the governor was not interested in playing to the gallery to win cheap popularity but has a vision to provide for the people, projects with longer gestation period that would impact positively on the present and future generations to come”.
I find it very disturbing that the people we thought we could trust can hoodwink their principles to the extent of allowing principles to play robot to the samba dance of opportunism. I believe that it is important to just let you know that Deltans are not as gullible as you people think we are.
On a very serious note Mr. Information Commissioner, can you summon the Asaba people that live in DLA road, Okelue Street, Ebenuwa street, Maduemezie Street, Odiachi Street, Chukudumebi Street, the street by Sizler’s, Parkinson Street, Nmunkwo Quarter in Asaba, the street behind Zenith bank in Ezenei Avenue, and all the adjoining roads off the popular Nnebisi Road and tell them to be patient at a time that many of them cannot drive their cars to their homes? Can you say that to the school children who have to almost walk naked out of their homes because of the large pools of water that has taken over their streets? How about the angry car owners whose meager salaries now go to the mechanic who has to fix their cars every now and then because of the high degree of dilapidation of the streets under review? ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Governor Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan of Delta State
Can you go to the streets of Agbor and tell the residents of the town now turned to an ancient city to be patient with a government that has demonstrated its clear lack of focus on how to address the infrastructural challenges of the State? Can you say that to the people of Ika South that live in Aliagwu, Ewuru, Aliagwai, Ozanogogo, Oyoko, Obi Ayima,Obi-Agbor, Ekuku Agbor, Abavo Central and Igbogili communities who cannot drive their cars to their communities because of the high level of dilapidation of their roads and with every other infrastructure in a state of disrepair?
Are you aware that there is no access road in the entire Kwale town once the rain comes? Do you know that you cannot get to Ogume through Kwale once the rains are here? Do you not know that a journey from Obiaruku to Eziokpor is reminiscent of the route Okonkwo took on his trip to his mother’s kinsmen in Chinua Achebe’s famous book, “Things fall apart”?
Do you realise that the Oko communities just a few kilometres from Asaba are still wallowing in anguish, neglect and reckless abandonment with all their roads crying for attention? Do you know that if this government was focused enough to construct a road from Oko to Abala, that the trip to Aboh from Asaba would have been reduced to barely 20 minutes?
Can you stand before the people in a town hall meeting in Warri City or Udu LGA and urge the slaving mass of the people swimming in the artificial rivers in their streets to be patient with this administration and hope to escape without being lynched? Mr. Ogeah, as commissioner for information, how many times have you gone round the State to get firsthand information on the challenges in every city, town and village? How many times have you commissioned people to carry out perception analysis of the government that you speak for? I believe that to come out every now and then to peddle falsehood and say only things that will suit the hearing of your paymaster is to say the least a total disservice to the people of this State whom you claim to serve. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria showing its 36 states (including Delta State), and Federal capital (Abuja or FCT)
Does a serious Governor need 8 years in office before constructing street roads that are less than 500m? Can Mr. Ogeah show Deltans the projects the government has on ground as pointers to their plan to build for the future? Can a governor who has not been able to meet the needs of the present generation, dream of meeting the needs of the future generation?
Perhaps, we may need to ask if the Mariam Babangida Road is the example of the projects signposting Uduaghan’s dream for a greater tomorrow. There can be no greater testimony of the type of vision the governor has for the State than the quality of job done on that road built only in 2008 but yet has become completely comatose. Mr. Ogeah, does the Ughelli - Asaba dual carriage way awarded in 2008 have a completion date? Maybe it is a project for the future.
The Governor would need to take a trip to other States just within the South- South Region to see how not to govern a people. It is painful that the other South- South Governors Mr. Ogeah is vilifying as executing only short term and quick fix programmes have put in place solid strategies for the development of their States. Do we need to mention that Gov. Oshiomole has turned around the infrastructure in the nooks and crannies of Edo State? How about Godswill Akpabio who within his first four years in office has turned every town and village around, with the quality of the infrastructures competing with those you will find in Europe. Do we need to mention Hon, Rotimi Amaechi who stunned the nation with his unending list of high impact projects (completed and commissioned) and achievements in every sector in his State during the BRACED Commission summit hosted by this State!
Do we need to inform you Mr. Information Commissioner, that, the people in Ogwashi Uku are living in the brinks as there is no potable water and electricity? Does it occur to you that this state of affairs will have a very negative impact on the quality of graduates from The Polytechnic at Ogwashi Uku. Will it require a million years for a serious government to put in place a strategy to address these two all important basic necessities of life and for once rescue the Ogwashi Uku people from this anguish?
I challenge you to open the gates of the Delta Broadcasting Service and DRTV in Asaba and Warri respectively and allow Deltans an unfettered access to the State media and see if you can escape with your half truths reminiscent of the propagandist agenda’s of the military dictatorship in Nigeria.
Let me conclude by letting you know that come what may, the Uduaghan administration shall come to an end in 2015 and when that happens you will become a stakeholder like us. I sincerely hope that you will not say that you were only doing your job?
Delta Rescue Mission
*Nigeria: SAHCOL Begins Construction of Ultra-Modern Custom Bonded Warehouse
By Lateef Lawal
The Skyway Aviation Handling Company Limited (SAHCOL) has started the construction of an ultra-modern 9,000 square meters Custom Bonded Cargo Warehouse, at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport Cargo Complex. The 9000 square meters cargo warehouse is designed and fabricated by Remco Romania, a division of the Remco Group of companies, with its headquarters in the Netherlands, a group which is specialized in designing, building and delivering industrial halls based on innovative steel construction concept.
The custom Bonded warehouse, which is expected to be first of its kind in the West African Sub Region, will include among others, a Cold Room, Strong Room, Racks, Office block of two (2) floors (covering a total space of 800 square meters per floor) and a loading bay with four (4) loading gates. In addition, the warehouse’s designs has an aluminium coated finish floor on top of concrete floor, which provides additional strength, more friction for rolling equipments and eliminates the possibility of dust emission. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, Nigeria.
The construction of the warehouse which is expected to be completed within Nine (9) months, is being handled by Mazin Engineering, a Zen Group Subsidiary, which specializes in steel fabrication, complementing with Civil Construction, thereby enabling them to deliver complete projects of Steel Structures, coupled with Civil Engineering.
The new face of SAHCOL is witnessing massive deployment of Modern State-of-the-art Ground Support Equipment (GSE), Training/Retraining of all categories of staff, Infrastructural development, Management Repositioning, Employment of new staff/skills, re-fleeting of Company Vehicles, Boosting Customer confidence/patronage, among others. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: An Airborne Plane
SAHCOL is an Aviation Ground Handling Company, fully owned by the Sifax Group, offering services in Cargo Handling/Warehousing, Passenger Handling, Ramp Handling, Aviation Security, Baggage Reconciliation, Executive Lounge Services, and other related Ground Handling Services; while ensuring that Ground Handling assignment is carried out in an efficient, speedy and safe manner, by deploying the right tools.
Lateef Lawal (NigerianAviationNews)
*Tags: Nigerians, Air, NCAA, Abuja, Safety, Award, Harold, Demuren, Lagos, Airport, Africa, Masterweb
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