*Nigerian Troops And The Malian Crisis: Matters Arising
By Theophilus Ilevbare
The Nigerian Senate gave constitutional approval to the deployment of 1,200 troops for combat mission as part of the Africa International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA) – an Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) organized military mission sent to support the government of ECOWAS member nation Mali against Islamist rebels in the Northern Mali conflict. The mission was authorized with UN Security Council Resolution 2085, passed on 20 December 2012, which "authorizes the deployment of an African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA) for an initial period of one year. Nigerian troops had already been deployed by President Goodluck Jonathan before a letter was transferred to the Senate for approval. This action in itself raises serious constitutional questions.
The swift dispatch of troops belie the security challenges at home. It is now habitual and priority for Nigerian government to solve crisis in neighbouring African countries faster than the insurgency at home. If the federal government had responded in similar manner to the Boko Haram menace during its formative years, their activities would have been nipped in the bud. Security challenges now seem insuperable, extrajudicial killings and human rights abuses are now the hallmark of the Joint Task Force (JTF) on duty in the troubled northern states of Nigeria. The "brilliant record" of Nigeria's participation in peace mission in neighbouring African countries count for nothing when compared to the insurmountable security challenges at home. There is nothing ‘responsible’ about being proactive in regional conflicts when the Boko Haram menace has claimed over 3,000 lives and counting. The present security challenges at home does not warrant any form of peace-keeping outside the shores of the country. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Major General Emeka Onwuamaegbu, Commandant of Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA) in handshake with soldiers.
The conflict in Mali birthed by the emergence of three Islamist groups now active in northern Mali – Ansar Dine, al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb, and the Movement for Oneness and Jihad all beefed up by an influx of mercenary fighters from Libya about a year ago. Defeats by Tuareg separatist aided by Islamist fighters coming back to Mali after the fall of Gaddafi triggered a military coup, in the confusion that ensued, the army were forced to retreat from the vast deserts of the north, with the secular Tuaregs swiftly pushed aside by their former allies, extremist militants took control of a vast area, big as France. For a country fettered with poverty, its citizens in perpetual pangs of hunger and most Malians practicing a temperate form of Islam, the insurgents in Mali were able to operate in shadow manner their presence undetected for years in the forests and deserts with strong ties and financial backing from al-Qaeda in the Middle East (AQIM). These Islamist rebels were also engendered by the subsequent destabilization of northern Africa after the war in Libya leading to the proliferation of arms and ammunition to groups masquerading as Libyan freedom fighters.
Nigerian government should take a cue from the reluctance of some European countries, particularly Britain whose Ministers were ordered to the Commons to stress that UK troops would not ‘undertake a combat role’ in the crisis in Africa, amid fears they could be sucked into a long, bloody conflict opting for logistical air assistance to France. The US played an active role in ousting Muammar Gaddafi during the Libyan uprising with air strikes without putting boots on the ground. Nigeria could have explored similar possibilities and should begin to think along such direction for future invitation to combat missions.
The suggestion by some senators that it is high time Nigeria considered her economic interest in foreign policies like the world super powers, US in particular, was instructive. We need not go on foreign missions without reaping the maximum benefits of our sacrifices. “It is no longer uhuru for the country to continue to play Father Christmas in its foreign policies” quipped a Senator.
The remark by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Azubuike Ihejirika, that Mali trained terrorists have crossed the border into Nigeria is rather preposterous as he gave no evidence of their presence. Actually, Nigeria does not share its border with Mali. In-between there is Burkina Faso, Niger republic and Togo. If all these nations did not report terrorist immigrants, then on what basis did the COAS raise alarm that Mali trained terrorist had landed Nigeria shores? A ruse it turned out to justify the deployment of troops to Mali.
There are real threats of retaliatory strikes of western targets across Africa and beyond, countries whose troops are part of the combined effort to flush out the terrorists. Mali may not play a significant role in world economy but it is surrounded, on far and near sides, by countries that do. Nigeria and Algeria with the largest and second largest gas reserves respectively in Africa, suppliers of petrochemical/minerals, make them potential targets of reprisals. Recently, al-Moulathamine, a group affiliated to AQIM has since claimed responsibility for the attack on a gas field in southern Algeria run by BP, Statoil and the Algerian state oil company Sonatrach.
The Algerian government said 38 workers and 29 militants died in an attack during a three-day military operation to end the hostage crisis. After a special forces operation crushed the last holdout of the fighters at the Amenas plant. Considering that Algeria have been co-operating with the French military operations by allowing the use of its airspace and committing about 900 troops to the UN mission in Mali, the Islamists fighters vowed to avenge what they called the country's support for French military action in neighbouring Mali. With Nigerian troops too in Mali, we may fear the worst.
There is a school of thought who believe the Malian crisis can be resolved with a bit of political persuasion rather than military intervention. Aside this, there lies a serious fear of Islamist fundamentalist taking over Mali and the country’s northern desert already held by insurgents and could become a breeding haven for terrorists to plan and launch international strikes. Already the fighters have taken control of major towns in the north. In the Taliban-Afghan style, they flog women for not covering up and amputate in public squares. The turban fighters have taken advantage of the political instability to capture territories hitherto used to stockpile weapons and train forces.
Few weeks ago, rebels seized control of a town called Konna, and gained entrance to Mopti, Mali's second city which by extension means there capture of the whole south in addition to the already controlled northern part of Mali. Their aim is to topple the government in the capital, Bamako. French troops have provided effective shield for the capital. Reports say French and Malian forces reclaimed the key towns of Konna and Diabaly from militants after days of intense fighting.
Now here is the big question; what is the strategy of the Nigerian troops nay the AFISMA in Mali? Is it to crush the terrorist or chase them out? Whichever of the tactics they deploy, reprisals from splinter and allied terrorist networks in Nigeria, like the Kogi state attack, are a cinch. But if their strategy is to push them out which is the obvious tactics from days of fighting in Mali, border countries should be prepare against the influx of fleeing Islamist rebels.
To stay ahead of the game in the fight against terrorism, Nigeria needs to be proactive on the home front. Have we deployed troops to protect or fortify, if any form of security already existed, Nigeria’s porous borders? Did we count the cost of an economic spill over of a full blown war in Mali, or of a military impasse or casualty? From the foregoing, the deployment of Nigerian troops to Mali has raised more questions than answers.
Theophilus Ilevbare ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
*Tags: Nigerians, Intersociety, Council, Police, Service, Commission. Sack, Ringim, Africa, Masterweb
*Nigeria Police Force: The Good Versus The Bad & The Ugly
Public Statement By The Intersociety Nigeria
(Onitsha Nigeria, Monday, 21 January, 2013)-The leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety) believes strongly that one of the fundamental challenges facing the Nigeria Police Force today is the culture of the good versus the bad & the ugly within her management and operations. Other core challenges or problems undermining the Force’s competence, capacity and capability in crime prevention, fighting and control are static policies and procedures or non-adherence/adaptation to changing security challenges and modern anti-insecurity patterns; obsolete legislations on criminal justice and court rules; obsolete crime prevention and fighting equipment including lack of modern technological policing toolkits; unprofessionalism and lack of specialization; dearth of funds and gross mismanagement of overheads and capital allocations; incompetent oversight control of the Force’s headship by the PSC, ministerial and extra-ministerial establishments; lack of moral boosting; un-patriotism; ethno-religious-cum-political allegiances; ethical dilemma and police sub culture including blue wall of silence and gross negative public perception towards the police resulting in increasing rates of dark figures of crime and the self-help syndrome among members of the public.
The Nigeria Police Force(peopled by over 370,000 officers), going by modern policing technology, is no longer haunted by lack of manpower but lack of machine power and its competent handlers. For instance, it is an indisputable fact that up to 95% of the Force personnel, particularly from her Constables to Inspectors, are not computer literate. Also, most of her so-called Investigating Police Officers in her over 6,500 field formations in the country including most of her State CID operatives fear computers and their hardware and soft ware methodologies. Our criticism of the Force in recent times is well-intentioned; part of it is to see her totally revolutionalised by the authorities concerned. The Nigeria Police Force as the country’s general overseer of her internal security must be re-focused, socially re-engineered and reconstructed to enable her face competently the mounting internal security challenges such as internal terrorism, violent, cyber and administrative crimes. The worrying culture of the good versus the bad and the ugly whereby the good in the Force faces imminent extinction and extermination in the hands of the bad and the ugly who dominate the Force, for daring to effect positive changes, must be tackled head on before it becomes a hydra-headed monster. The late DIG Haruna John (killed in a suspicious helicopter air crash in 2012) wore and still wears the incontestable symbol of the good in the NPF.
Notwithstanding the forgoing inadequacies, there are still the good in the NPF working to the best of their abilities to give the Force a new good name and a new path. We in the Intersociety totally associate ourselves with such police good ambassadors. Conversely, the bad and the ugly still dot every nook and cranny of the Force swearing un-repentantly to return the Force to her dark ages with their sundry nefarious conducts aimed at sabotaging and undermining the change philosophy, which has incontestably removed the Force from the first position of the most corrupt public institution in Nigeria, which now goes to the Nigerian Judiciary particularly its pre-elections and post elections litigation section. One of the good in the top hierarchy of the NPF in recent times is IGP Mohammed Dahiru Abubakar. IGP Abubakar, from our extensive interactions with recently retired chiefs of police in Nigeria, etc, is joined by the likes of late DIG Haruna John (former DIG OPS), DIG Peter Gana(DIG FCID or D Div), AIG Philemon Leha, etc. Out of our various calls for the revolutionalisation of the NPF’s obsolete general administration, intelligence, criminal investigations and oversight control of her top headship, attentions by way of workshops, seminars, re-training and re-orientation, though not yet enough, are being given to two(general administration and criminal investigations)headed by IGP Abubakar and DIG Peter Gana. The dislodgment of most of over 3,500 extortionist police checkpoints across the country and the diligent investigation so far carried out in the dastardly murder of Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde( an aide to Governor Adams Oshiomhole) on 4th of May, 2012 in Benin, Edo State, South-south Nigeria, are cases in point.
IGP Abubakar & DIG Peter Gana As Semblance Of The Good In The NPF:
Apart from ordering the dislodgment of over 3,500 extortionist police checkpoints on January 30, 2012, the IGP has substantially kept to his words of ensuring its sustenance despite the efforts of some corrupt State commands such as Anambra State Command under CP Bala Nasarrawa to sabotage and undermine it. The IGP has, for now; distinguished himself as one of the few history and people-friendly IGPs in Nigeria, notwithstanding the shortcomings of his personnel particularly in the areas of rights abuses such as extra-judicial killings and torture and corrupt practices. When objectively compared with her immediate inglorious epoch, the NPF under IGP Abubakar has made a remarkable shift from her hitherto chronic path of infamy when all indices of her social duties were at zero ratings. The recent successful launch of the code of conduct for the officers and men of the Force is a plus for the IGP’s leadership. Though belated, the code of conduct, we believe, emanates from the international code of conduct for police officers, issued by the International Association of the Chiefs of Police, which is an integral part of the Law Enforcement Oath of Honour, Law Enforcement Code of Ethics, Law Enforcement Code of Conduct and Cannons of Police Ethics. The godfathers of these important codes are the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Personnel and the UN Basic Principles for the Use of Force by the Law Enforcement Officers. In the rights community, they can be called Bill of Rights &Obligations for Law Enforcement Personnel. With this commendable development, the NPF has joined the league of international police organizations using modern professionalism and sound ethical conducts as her uncompromising parameters in her public policing industry. The change philosophy introduced by IGP Abubakar should be supported by all and sundry including the untiring exponents of the new Nigeria Police Service for a maximum success.
The Raging Controversy Over The Murder Of Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde:
For some time now, the investigation and prosecution of the possible murderers of the late Private Secretary to Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, Comrade Olaitan Ojerinde have been shifted to the pages of newspaper no thanks to the Governor’s sustained media attacks against the NPF particularly her DIG FCID, DIG Peter Gana and DCP Chris Ezike(DCP, Federal SARS), who investigated and still investigate the matter, and the scanty responses by the authorities of the NPF. For untainted records, according to our empirical findings, the late Comrade Oyerinde was gruesomely murdered by some violent armed men on 4th of May, 2012 after midnight moments after he returned from a night outing in Benin City, in company of his two friends: one David Ugolor and one Blessing Ada Ogbonna. The gruesome murder took place at his residence: No. 65 2nd Ugbor Road, GRA, Benin, Edo State. The killers of Comrade Oyerinde also robbed his household of mobile telephones including Black Berry; laptops, local and foreign currencies, etc. The most worrying and controversial part of it all was the timing of the gruesome murder: barely three months to the all-important Edo gubernatorial poll, which eventually took place in July 2012. On surface valuation, it appeared politically motivated. But instead of allowing for competent and unbiased criminal investigations, the key players in Edo politics, drawn from the political camps of the ACN, which rules the State and the PDP-the main opposition party, resorted to accusations and counter-accusations via media warfare, aimed at achieving unholy political goal or destroying the possible leads into the involvement, directly or indirectly of either of the two camps.
The criminal investigations into the ill-conceived murder were handled by the NPF best hands in criminal investigations-the DIG-FCID and his subordinate commanders such as DCP Chris Ezike(DCP-Federal SARS), etc. The Department of State Services-DSS (SSS) was also involved in the investigations. At the end, two sets of criminal suspects were arrested by the two security agencies-NPF and SSS with the NPF launching its original investigations on the same day of the murder (04-05-2012). Today, with the help of media propaganda, the substance and validity of the investigation outcomes are under a serious threat. A division, by false or real impression, has successfully been created between the Police and the SSS criminal findings. For instance, Governor Adams Oshiomhole believes that Police have not found the killers of Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde, yet the State’s DPP under his Attorney General has Okayed some of the arrested suspects for criminal trial for murder, armed robbery and criminal conspiracy against the subject. On the other hand, the suspects arrested by the SSS, whom Governor Oshiomhole believes did a good job, were not conventionally investigated (according to our empirical findings) by the SSS, who handed them over or transferred them to the NPF on 23rd August, 2012 for prosecution, with some exhibits other than (no) case files, statements of the suspects and witnesses/complainants, attestations, search warrants, etc; thereby leaving the NPF investigators with no other options than to re-investigate them. The only nexus between the SSS suspects and the murder under reference, according to our empirical findings and the re-investigated case, was criminal receipt of the deceased family’s personal effects (mobile phones) per suspect Lawal Abubakar originally wanted by both NPF and SSS, but first arrested in Kano by the Kano State Police Command and handed over to the SSS on the orders of the State CP before the arrival of the Force CID team. Also, the clues provided by suspect Garba Usman Maisamari, under interrogation, as per his relationship with one David Ugolor over the procurement of the Comrade’s gruesome murder were aborted through media propaganda and court actions, therefore, the clues were unexhausted.
Lessons From The Gruesome Murder & Its Criminal Findings:
The first lesson is gun controversy. Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s accusations would have been valid and believable if, for instance, he had established before the public, as his State’s chief security officer, that the guns used by Comrade Oyerinde’s killers, through bullet ballistic and other empirical analysis, were not the same with those disclosed by the NPF or SSS; since the late Comrade was shot severally in the stomach. Also the ownersip of the guns that accompanied the SSS exhibits and suspects ‘transfer to the NPF is now subject of controversy because its admittance allegedly under torture or duress by one of the suspects (Mohammed Ibrahim Abdullahi) has been withdrawn in the re-investigated case. The suspect, according to our empirical findings, had insisted that in the course of the search executed in his house in Benin, only one hammer, one machete and two kitchen knives used by his three wives were found. He was reportedly introduced to Governor Adams Oshiomhole as the owner of the guns used in murdering Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde when the SSS reportedly paraded him and six others before the Governor on 31st June, 2012. Therefore, it is now left with an option that they were planted. The SSS owes Nigerians an obligation to make public (if any) empirical findings of its conventional investigation of its seven suspects it arrested in connection with Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde’s gruesome murder. The second lesson is the politicization of the murder and its investigations. In criminal investigations, excessive media involvement is a sufficient defense to right to freedom of expression and media, because it defaces leads, clues and scene of the crime management. For now, Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s accusations lack empiricism and factuality until proven otherwise. The third lesson is that other than conventional armed robbery as the cause of the Comrade’s death, it is possible that he was killed from within or outside. In Criminology, Security Studies and the PCR (Peace & Conflict Resolution), politicians from both ruling and opposition parties and camps can kill their own or their opponents for political goals or to erase traces of political incriminations or certain deadly secrets. The fourth lesson is the continued dependency of police prosecutors on the so called DPP advice, which is both time consuming and corrupt. It is also manipulative. Nigerian courts including the Court of Appeal have recently rested the controversy as whether police lawyers can prosecute felonious cases including armed robbery and murder in courts of superior records. The Court answered yes. Referrals to DPP should be made optional and the issue of Holden Charge, already outlawed by some decided cases, revisited.
In all, Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s position that killers of Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde have not been fished out by the Police, may or may not be correct. Since the criminal investigations can last up to seven years, all hands should be on deck to ensure that the Comrade’s murderers including those that perfectly murdered our own Comrade Chima Ubani in September 2005 in Borno State, are fished out and made to face the law. Instead of capitalizing on the poor public image of the NPF to further vilify the Force in matter of innocence and job fairly done well, the NPF should deserve commendation where necessary and bashing or condemnation where necessary as well. For us at Intersociety, the DIG FCID team deserves commendation, not vilification, over its handling so far of the late Oyerinde Olaitan’s murder investigation. Calls for the sack of the duo of DIG FCID and the DCP, F-SARS are, therefore, ill-conceived and condemnable. We hope that those that the Edo DPP says have a case to answer in law court should be diligently and timely prosecuted.
The Bad & The Ugly In The NPF (Nigeria Police Force):
Killer-DPO Temitope Fasugba Of The Onitsha CPS & Torturer-DPO John Mark Of Fegge Division:
On 18th December, 2012, Citizen Chuka Nwankwo, residing at Umusiome Village, Nkpor, Anambra State, was shot twice and battered at close range, at leg region by the DPO(Divisional Police Officer) for Onitsha CPS, SP Temitope Fasugba. Citizen Nwankwo is a commercial bus driver in Onitsha usually hired and paid on daily basis by the management of the Anambra State Traffic Control Agency (ASTA). Citizen Nwankwo and other field officers of the State Agency were at the Onitsha Upper Iweka, controlling traffic to ensure a traffic-free movement for Xmas returnees. Conversely, three women police officers were busy engaging in collection of bribes from motorists and allowing them access to wrong routes. As a result, one of the motorists who offered them N500.00 was refused access by the ASTA field operatives to ply wrongly. The vehicle, a four-runner jeep was impounded and toed to the Agency’s office at the Onitsha GRA, under the police jurisdiction of the Onitsha CPS and the Onitsha Area Command. The toeing of the vehicle was resisted by the three women police officers, who felt slighted and followed them to the Agency’s office. The DPO was contacted and he stormed the Agency’s office in a commando style with his armed personnel at about 4: pm same day and opened fire, shooting indiscriminately in the air. As the personnel of the Agency were scampering for safety, the DPO went straight to where Citizen Nwankwo was surrounded by the three women police officers, pulled his service pistol and shot him. He went closer again to him and shot him the second time, after which he picked him, took him in the booth of his official vehicle and dumped him at his Station to bleed to death. Citizen Nwankwo bled profusely until about 8: pm same day when the night duty officers became afraid of his possible death and alerted the killer-DPO, who had left his office since over two hours. For fear of his possible death at the Station, the killer-DPO directed that he should be taken out of the Station and he was finally dumped at the Multi-care Hospital; an Onitsha based private hospital. On Thursday, 20th December, 2012, the killer-DPO sent a cash of N20, 000 as treatment deposit to the management of the hospital.
From the foregoing, therefore, it is obvious that the bad & the ugly abound in the NPF. DPO Fasugba is one of such bad eggs polluting the NPF with utter alacrity. The above criminal conduct by a senior police officer is not an isolated case; a lot of such go unreported on daily basis. Killer-DPO Temitope Fasugba, before his recent posting to the Onitsha CPS as the DPO, was formerly of the B Division at the State Command Headquarters at Awka as well as the 2i/c Operations at the State Command. The said DPO is a bad news in all its ramifications! He expressly represents the dregs of the NPF or the black sheep of the NPF. If a DPO of his standing cannot understand common theories of use of force, proportionality of defensive force to the proportionality of attacking force, code of conduct and ethical dilemma management, then the NPF is doomed if his likes are allowed to remain in the Force one bit. Killer-DPO Temitope Fasugba and John Mark, the torturer- DPO, Fegge Division of the NPF represent the opposite of the new Nigeria Police Force (NPF). It is correct to say that when IGP Abubakar and his team struggle to re-build; the likes of Supols Fasugba and John Mark struggle to destroy anything needing re-building including NPF image and integrity.
Further, on December 15, 2012, the body including the sensitive body of Mrs. Chika Obikwelu of No. 124 Bida Road, Fegge, Onitsha was lacerated with a long stick by the DPO, Fegge Police Division, Onitsha, Supol John Mark. The woman, a mother of five, had gone to see one Mrs. Ibe(father’s surname), a heavily pregnant woman, who was arrested and detained on the orders of the DPO over her husband’s alleged involvement in armed robbery, with a view to giving her food. The pregnant woman was detained alongside her brother, Mr. Ibe (an operative of the NPF) on the ground that they must produce the culprit, who is Mr. Ibe’s in-law. On sighting Mrs. Obikwelu at the Station’s counter, the torturer-DPO accused her of being one of them and snatched a long stick from an officer, designed and lacerated her body, after which he ordered for her indefinite detention. Mrs. Chika Obikwelu was released three days after (18-12-2012). The matter was later transferred to the SARS for further investigations, culminating in granting the duo bail on Wednesday, January 16, 2013, after over 30 days in detention. The case of the torture of Mrs. Obikwelu has been reported to CP Bala Nasarrawa and assigned to DC OPS for investigation.
As we speak, every inner corner of Onitsha police jurisdiction is flooded with extortionist police personnel. Our press release of December 19, 2012 with respect to the foregoing is a case in point. It is available on our website (intersociety-ng.org). The most culpable police stations are Okpoko under DSP Joseph Ogunlade, Fegge under Supol John Mark, Onitsha CPS under Supol Temitope Fasugba, Obosi under Supol Emeka Ugwu, Onitsha MOPOL 54 under Supol Hilary Ndoma and Onitsha Area Command under ACP Benjamin Wordu. There also exists police fee of N200.00 forcefully paid daily by every commercial vehicle in Onitsha police jurisdiction, collected by a certain contractor and distributed among police heads in the area. The IGP is called upon to take note of these and arrest same promptly. Killer-DPO Temitope Fasugba and torturer-DPO John Mark should be booted out of the NPF and jailed to serve as deterrent to others. The DPOs/Commanders mentioned above should be seriously monitored and held responsible for those anomalous acts complained of. CP Bala Nasarrawa should be made to sit up to sanitize his Command or be posted out of the State and sanctioned.
Shocking Discovery Of Possible Victims Of SARS Extra-judicial Killings:
IGP Abubakar should also investigate thoroughly and conclusively the recent shocking discovery of dozens of corpses inside the Amansea (Ezu) River, in Awka, Anambra State by the local residents on Saturday, January 19, 2013. The River is located between the borders of Anambra and Enugu States. Since there is no known intra and inter communal violence or conflict in the area, it is most likely that the corpses are victims of extra-judicial killings by SARS (Special Anti Robbery Squad) operatives in Anambra State. More so when little or nothing is heard of the prosecution, conviction or acquittal of those arrested for their involvement in violent crimes such as armed robbery, kidnapping and culpable murder, particularly after they have been paraded. They are rarely arraigned and prosecuted in courts. In November 2005, over 20 detained citizens were massacred by the Awka CPS SARS and dumped in the area (Agu-Awka). Therefore, every logical indication points in the direction of the Anambra State SARS and the Anti Kidnap squads as the source of the dead bodies. The IGP should order that the corpses be pathologically investigated to determine their style of killing and circumstances under which they were killed.
Comrade Justus Ijeoma
Head, Publicity Desk
Mobile Phone: 08037114869
Photo Above: Chuka Nwankwo battered leg
*Tags: Nigerians, Intersociety, Council, Police, Service, Commission. Sack, Ringim, Africa, Masterweb
*Nigerian Churches and the Rising Influence of Marine Spirits (Part 2)
By Obinna Akukwe
The rising influence of marine spirits in the churches is noticeable in the city of Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt. lot of young pastors have had course to escape from the church of a super rich, well connected female pastor because this woman whom close friends and workers claim has affinity with water spirits is always demanding sex from numerous young and hungry pastors who throng her church for ministerial assistance and is ready to handsomely reward any accomplice. When one of the pastors refused to continue with the unending sexual demand and signalled intention to quit, the woman of God cursed him and he died. The pastor’s death, under mysterious circumstances, hours after the final altercation with the super rich woman, raised a lot of dust within ministerial circles in Abuja and was reported to local chapter of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, by friends of the deceased. There is a general consensus that the then leadership of Abuja PFN lacked the courage to confront the woman because of the mouthwatering tithes and offerings from her. This matter occurred in the peak of former president Obasanjo’s campaign for Yaradua presidency. Shortly after that, in 2007, another music pastor, whose father is equally a pastor in his South-South home state, had to flee to another church for deliverance when this woman’s son warned the randy pastor of the diabolic nature of the mum( woman of God) whom he is constantly sleeping with. This pastor also had dangerous marine tales about her sugar mummy pastor and I encouraged him to repent and secure himself in God before he becomes a spiritual rag.
These are few instances where the pastor is equally an agent and with the enormous marine sanctioning power, they can reign in any errant church member who is not spiritually well fortified. The purpose of every marine penetration is to lead people on the highway to hell fire and the way the churches are going now, a lot of rich members whom God had blessed are equally being prepared for eternal damnation in churches where the marine powers have taken control. This control of the churches by marine powers dated back to the apostolic age when in the letter to the seven churches, Jesus Christ commended the church in Thyatira for refusing the advances and the teachings of the prostitute, (Revelation Chapter 2 vs 18-21) therefore, believers are expected to resist its operation by rejecting its appearance in the body of Christ. ( Continues below...... )
Photo Above: Christian Symbol
In April 2012 a notable Lagos based Bishop alarmingly told me of a pastor friend who recently patronized the Queen of the Coast and escaped by the grace of God. This Lagos based pastor whose church members have disappeared due to financial hardship, went in search of ministerial help from another senior mentor who has a church of about three thousand members and lots of excess financial breakthrough. This senior mentor took this young pastor to Lagos bar beach in the midnight for special prayers. According to the narration of the traumatized pastor, he saw some pastors he knew in clusters talking in whispers near the parking lot, as they moved closer to the ocean.
The senior mentor then revealed to the younger pastor that the condition for the power he is to receive to transform his church include making love to a soon to appear mermaid and afterwards everything about his church will change. Secondly, he will be constantly sleeping with church members and using their star to maintain the power, he will donate a soul annually, and finally he will be soft on messages of righteousness. The senior pastor explained that all those he saw somewhere near the parking lot have all done it and their churches are moving well and that they still love Jesus except that ministry must move on.
The young pastor was still contemplating what to do when a mighty wave rose up in the sea and a very beautiful girl, stark naked walked out of the deep sea and made for the pastor. This pastor claimed that this lady whose hair reaches the shoulder level was the most beautiful girl he has ever seen and when his manhood was about to respond in admiration he heard a small voice warning him that once he makes love to this lady, his soul is mortgaged forever. He started speaking in tongues and rebuked the foul woman in the name of Jesus Christ; she screamed and disappeared back to the water. This pastor had to narrate the experience to close confidants including the identity of Men of God he saw at the parking lot. This pastor’s story caused some stir among ministerial circles in Lagos and the Bishop was the third notable pastor in Lagos to inform me about it.
Therefore, the evidences of pastors, priests etc working for marine powers abound. God had given every Christian the ability to discern good and evil and it behoves a Christian who sincerely loves God to engage the Holy Spirit in prayers and seek clarifications when strange things happen in the congregation. Wishing away spiritual signals can cause a faithful his soul, which is more precious than the wealth of the entire world. Christians should be watchful and constantly pray against marine operations anywhere they receive spiritual nourishment. This season calls for extra carefulness and pastors should constantly pray and shut the doors of marine penetrations in their respective worship centres without necessarily antagonizing any worshipper. These prayers will kick-start the process of reducing the growing influence of marine powers in the churches.
Obinna Akukwe ( Profetobinna2@yahoo.com )
*Igbo Global Agenda: Igbo Purpose in the rapidly increasing Igbo Diaspora. Part I.
By Echiemeze Chizekene Ofili
Igbo Community in the United States of America (U.S.A) is at the verge of making history. The Igbo States National Associations in U.S.A. have converged under Council of Igbo States in Americas (CISA) to form a common front to promote Igbo unity. It is not that CISA membership agrees on everything, what differentiates this union from previous attempts is the realization of a common threat of hounding Ndiigbo are facing in Nigeria, and the risk that Igbo culture and traditional values are gradually being eroded by meaningless pursuit of materialism, fame and money.
It is not that the threat to Ndiigbo love and desire for peaceful co- existence in Nigeria Federation is new. The intensity of this renewed threat to the lives and businesses of Igbo men and women in Northern Nigeria, and the lack of will to tackle these challenges by Nigeria and Igbo States Governors presents great danger to Ndiigbo everywhere. CISA has been taking stock and monitoring these events and quite aware of the grave danger and persecutions Ndiigbo are subjected to outside their homelands within Nigeria. Secondly, Igbo language is one of the indigenous native languages presently endangered and predicted for extinction in few decades to come if nothing is done to prevent it.
CISA was chartered by Igbo States National Associations. CISA member organizations have resolved to work together as one body as first step towards the eventual building of Global Igbo Union of One People One Voice and One Destiny. CISA is already making consultations with other Igbo community organizations, Local Government Associations and Senatorial zones associations who have already closed ranks with their State Association for a new and emerging Igbo nation. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Echiemeze Chizekene Ofili
It may be that you have heard how disunited the Igbos are. May be you are familiar with the tunes about how they are historically republican society. Or you may be familiar with Igbos attributes of individualism, and how they have no kings and had never been ruled by any mortal. These attributes are as true to the Igbo race as much as they are true to certain other tribes and races.
Some will wonder how a people would function without a ruler, a king or an authority that has final say in their affairs, whether in adjudication of disputes, in their spiritual matters or social political and economic affairs. The truth is that traditional Igbo communities were not in anarchy.
Even many Igbos loudly proclaim these attributes as the secret of their strength while others are quick to dismiss it as the root cause of their disunity. CISA looks at the above attributes as the Igbo-ness in Ndi-Igbo or the ‘Unique Quality’ that makes Ndi-Igbo.
Traditional Igbo society practiced Ohacracy, a form of antiroyalism that embraced “Igwe-bu-ike” and Orakarosophy where the people rule and everyone is heard and has a say. The guiding principle of social relation was Igbo-Mkpa (Finding Solutions or Problem Solving). The Igbo are strong-willed and not lawless people. They have been known to co-exist with peoples of different beliefs and tradition. Like the Jews, Igbos are travelers and enterprising.
At a point in history when Ndi-Igbo are being hunted and hounded in their homeland Nigeria and have become easy targets, and are being maimed and killed daily in places they have lived, grew and known to call home, The Council of Igbo States in Americas (CISA), has risen to the challenge to explore and strategize on the way forward for Ndi-Igbo in the emerging Nigeria of six geographical zones.
The specific purpose of CISA is exclusively for charitable and social welfare purposes within every legal means possible and for the furtherance of common good and general welfare of the people of the community, unification of leadership of Igbo states National association in the United States. Guided by the purpose and principle by which people enter into government and faith in the believe that we will someday leave up to the ideals for securing for all citizen the security in their persons and possessions, promotion of their welfare, and respect for their civil liberties, while affirming that everybody is equal before the eyes of the law.
In pursuant of this mission a retreat to harmonize and perfect Igbo Global Agenda is schedule to hold at Igbo Farm Village, Staunton, Virginia, U.S.A., starting on March 22nd- through March 23rd 2013. The goal as contained in a ten – point agenda for the retreat is to awaken Ndi- Igbo to the reality and dangers in the renewed threat they face as one people. Ratify the proposed plan to assist individual Ndi-Igbo and Igbo business communities willing to relocate from communities where their livelihood and businesses are endangered to Global Igbo communities using the Igbo Village Model project as in Staunton, Virginia, U.S.A.
Echiemeze Chizekene Ofili is a Corporate Governance Specialist and Secretary General Council of Igbo States in Americas (CISA). Email: email@example.com
*Muslim Brotherhood: Face of Political Islam
By Dr. Leonard Madu
Since a Brotherhood candidate, Mohammed Morsi won the last Egyptian presidential elections, the organization has come under increased scrutiny. Most people outside the Arab world do not know whom they are or what they stand for. Since the brotherhood came to power under the Freedom and Justice Party platform, tension has increased in Egyptian society. There is increased strife between Christians and Muslims. Christians are terrified and are emigrating in large numbers to the United States and Europe. Millions of Egyptians are beginning to believe that they are moving from an Islamic State to a Theocratic State. So who are the Muslim Brotherhood and what do they stand for?
However, the Brotherhood has been part of Egyptian political life for over 80 years. It was founded in the city of Ismailia in 1928, four years after Turkish leader Kemal Ataturk abolished the Caliph-the office that had authority over Muslims in the Arab world since the death of Prophet Mohammed. The brotherhood was founded by Hassan El Banna, a Muslim cleric and intellectual. It is a global Sunni revivalist movement that advocates a move away from secularism and a return to the rules of the Koran. It calls for a one party state. Its motto is “Islam is the solution”. It started as an organization with five members and by the end of the second world war it had about half a million members. It began as a religious association with the intent of fighting westernization and re instituting Muslim laws and morality. They were concerned with the social dislocation caused at that time by modernization, industrialization and capitalism and sought answers to them. As an organizational genius, El Banna created cells in all of Egypt by building physical fitness centers, community centers, Young Men's Muslim Association(YMMA), feeding centers for the poor and clinics. These institutions served as recruiting centers to build a mass organization. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Dr. Leonard Madu
In the 1930s, what started as a religious association transformed itself into political Islam. It started advocating opposition to British and French colonial rule in the Middle East, against the corruption of King Farouk and the return of the Suez Canal. In 1948, it was disbanded and its assets impounded on the orders of the Egyptian government under Prime Minister Mahmoud Pasha. This did not go down well with the brotherhood and Pasha was later assassinated by a brotherhood member. El Banna condemned the assassination, but was himself assassinated the following year in 1949. The core beliefs of the Brotherhood can be found in the “ten principles of Hassan El Banna”.
After El Banna's assassination, the Brotherhood under Sayyid Qutb became more radical and violent. Osama Bin Laden was a disciple of Qutb. In the 1954, after an attempted assassination against President Nasser, the organization was banned and its members including Qutb were arrested and imprisoned. Qutb was executed by the Nasser regime in 1966. It remained banned until new Egyptian President Anwar Sadat lifted the ban. However, in 1981, Sadat was assassinated by the Islamic Jihad an offshoot of the Brotherhood led by Ayman Al Zawahiri who later became bin Laden's deputy and now leader of Al Qaeda. In 1982, its branch in Syria led the rebellion against President Hafez Assad in the city of Hama. Assad flattened Hama and over 10,000 people were killed in a matter of days. The organization was banned by Assad and it became a capital offense to be a member.
After the assassination of Sadat, Hosni Mubarak cracked down on the organization. Many of its leaders were jailed and some executed. After Mubarak's overthrow, they resurfaced again. In June 2011, they registered as a political party with the name of Freedom and Justice Party. In 2012, its candidate Mohammed Morsi was elected president of Egypt. The election of Morsi has severely polarized Egyptian society. Since his election, Morsi has been issuing some bizarre decrees and gradually concentrating power in his hands, setting the stage for another dictatorship. Nobody knows how governmental decisions are made, and transparency has jumped out of the window. One cannot expect an organization that has been introverted and secretive for over 35 years, to suddenly become transparent and extroverted. Since the Brotherhood advocates a one party theocratic state, Egyptians might never see another free and fair election after the brotherhood consolidates power. Hassan El Banna had articulated a one party theocracy for Egypt. Given that Mohammed Morsi is known to be a disciple of Hassan El Banna, Egyptians might wake up to find themselves in a one party theocratic state under the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Brotherhood has branches in most countries in the Arab World, in the United States and in Black Africa under different names. In Libya-Justice and Development Party; Tunisia-The Renaissance Party; Yemen-Yemeni Congregation Party; Sudan-National Islamic Front; Algeria-Movement for the Society of Peace; Gaza-Hamas; Somalia-Harakat Al Islah; Jordan-Islamic Action Party; Iraq-Iraqi Islamic Party. In the United States, several Muslim organizations are allied with the Brotherhood. These include the Muslim Students Association, the Muslim American Society and the Islamic Society of North America.
However, because it is a Sunni organization, its influence is minimal in Shiite dominated countries like Iran, Bahrain, Lebanon and Azerbaijan.
Dr. Leonard Madu is President of the African Caribbean Institute and African Chamber of Commerce. He is also a Fox TV foreign affairs analyst and writes from Nashville, TN.
*A rejoinder to Bishop Wale Oke's "The Stone that the Builder rejected"
By Olukayode M. Tokode
The article of Bishop Wale Oke seems to have been designed to gain the sympathy of the public, assert new trend in ecclesiastical behaviour and justify the abuse of religion. The abundant assumptions he advanced to support his position make it necessary for his article to receive a rejoinder as many of us are not persuaded by his submission.
He asserted that Pastors were considered “the down-trodden, the strugglers, and the dregs of the earth” in the past. But Pastors were not the only people so labelled. Musicians and dramatists were so branded at the time. Today the Pastors are not the only people who seem to be enjoying some fortune in their vocation; dramatists and the musicians also do. The boom in the entertainment industry including the church is probably related to the increased requirement for social support and entertainment in urban life after the social support of our ancestors had collapsed because of civilization and urbanization. An individual’s requirement for such support will positively correlate with an individual’s sense of alienation and economic deprivation which is the case for many Nigerians. Religiosity is a mere coping strategy for many people. Since the Pastors have now left the status of the downtrodden, they can as well help to deliver many people from poverty and other social problems by supporting government policies that will improve the economic prospects of Nigerians. Rather many pastors engage in leeching their followers, manipulate the bible to extort money from them and connive with politicians who loot government treasury; the practice which rather make Nigerians poorer by the day. This is the practice that Nigerians are criticizing. As long as the pastors continue to craw behind the politicians, the opinion of the people about their position will not change. We know many Nigerian pastors are not called by God. Many of them have been called by economic deprivation, struggle for power to achieve control over personal and family problems.
The proliferation of churches possibly represents business enterprise camouflaged as God’s work; and the purpose is to accumulate wealth. The genuinely called ones do not see their vocation as a means to a life of luxury. Churches such as the Catholic, the Anglican, the Seventh Day Adventist etc have branches all over the world through which jobs are created for many people. Their service outlets such as hospitals, schools etc create employment, render affordable health and educational services to the people regardless of their religious persuasion. The head of these churches do not own private jets despite the fact that they have branches all over the world. I was not compelled to pay tithes when I worked in these missions. These Churches have impacted various societies world over more than the religious marketers in Nigeria. Despite the exceptions that the government granted them from tax payment to compensate them for affordable services they are suppose to render to Nigerians by law, their services are the most expensive in the country. Even where they provide employment for Nigerians, they ensure that they are made to pay tithes and give other donations compulsorily. Many downtrodden people in Nigeria do not need leeching and extortion but benevolence.
Many pastors of today have been beneficiaries of philanthropies rendered by churches and good-hearted politicians like Pa Obafemi Awolowo. They were given a head start in life through meaningful education they received. Having been delivered from the shackles of penury through the benevolence of others; it is reasonable to expect that they will be involved in organizing an enduring strategy that will ensure that many Nigerians are delivered from penury. I am aware that some churches are giving scholarships and endowment to higher institutions, but the money that has been so given is nothing but a minute fraction of the money that belong to all Nigerians which has been stolen through tax waivers and treasury looting by proxy.
The impact of Charistimatic Church preaching is questionable considering the magnitude of moral decay among church goers. Since the proliferation of health and wealth churches in Nigeria, the aggregate value system of the society has assumed a downward trend. The youths are losing the virtue of diligence and honest labour. Bishop Wale Oke will also bear witness that lack of trust in a fellow Christian is the beginning of wisdom in Nigerian society of today. Many Nigerian churches have become hideouts for fraudsters, criminals and thieves etc. But this should not be surprising. How can adulterers and extortionist raise righteous and ethical followers? How can an unbroken pastor, who brutalizes members of his congregation in a rage of anger, and perpetually lie to his congregation that he has never had an argument with his spouse raise truthful disciples? Or how can a man who spends his time manipulating bible passages to squeeze money out of his followers raise credible congregation? Nigerians know that government money illegally finds its way into the account of Churches. Many Nigerians are also aware that some Nigerian Pastors support corrupts politicians who make donations to their churches. The large scale moral and ethical collapse in our society today was never witnessed in the days of our polytheistic ancestors; yet we call them pagans. Nowadays our children are being told that all they need doing to get wealth is to donate to the church or Pastor and believe it. Pastors have converted Nigerian churches to casino and betting centers. Spiritual gambling takes place in churches every Sunday! An intelligent person should ask whether this is really the purpose of religion.
The light of the gospel has failed to enlighten our people. The more churches we build, the more stupid and superstitious population we produce. Our higher institutions have become arena where spooks are manufactured and men of naïve minds are raised. Graduates live schools with severely damaged brain and thinking faculty crippled by continuous barrages of religious orthodoxy. In schools people don’t believe, they know; if they don’t know, they find out. How can students schooled in institutions where traditions and propositions cannot be challenged be said to have been genuinely educated?
The efficacy of wealth and health gospel is questionable. If the gospel is effective; why are many members of health and wealth churches caught in stealing? Why are many Christians forging travelling papers to go to Europe and America? Why are so many Christians who travelled abroad with visiting intention refused to come back to Nigeria? Why do Nigerian Christians including pastors travel to India, America and European countries to get treated? His submission regarding the effectiveness of health and wealth gospel is based on pious attribution fallacy. For an event (e.g. religion) to be considered the cause of a phenomenon (e.g. healing or wealth), the event must be sufficient to cause the phenomenon and it must be necessary for the phenomenon to occur. The gospel does not fulfil any of these criteria: There are many people both Christians and non-Christians who are wealthy and live in sound health without health and wealth gospel (i.e. the gospel is not necessary for their wealth and health). There are many Christians who hear and practice health and wealth gospel, and who still remain poor, ill and die of their diseases (the gospel is not sufficient for their wealth and health); even those who have been cured of their diseases needed modern medical care in addition to the gospel thus further confirming the violation of sufficiency criterion. Therefore, the gospel of sowing seed to get wealth and healing is an ecclesiastical manipulation to get money off the people in exchange for false hopes and expectations. The only benefit that can safely be attributed to religion is that it can strengthen the person concerned and inculcate the virtue of patience, endurance etc in the person as he goes through life challenges until other strategies produce results. Again this benefit is not the monopoly of any particular religion. I am compelled to believe that many Nigerians pastors know what is good but they refuse to act because such action will jeopardise their wealth. If our government provides good education; who will send his ward to their expensive schools? If health services are qualitative, available, affordable and accessible to an average Nigerian; who will go for healing services? If Nigerians are gainfully employed and the basic necessities of life can be met; who will listen to prosperity messages? If people don’t patronize them, how would they get huge money to live in luxury? No man will like to work against his own interest.
The conception that underlies his point that the state should have asked the church how to provide infrastructure and lead diverse tribes in cooperation and obedience calls for careful examination. He based his submission on the assumption that the means to achieve this cooperation is the same for the state as it is for the church. The means to creating collaboration in the church is doctrinal and the doctrine is backed up by appeal to a deity. Since Nigeria is a secular state, support of the people cannot be obtained by appeal to a particular deity. Thus what unites the constituent tribes in a secular state is the national ethos. This Nigeria does not have as of now. To create a national ethos, opportunities need to be given to each ethnic group to willing submit themselves to be a part of Nigeria state in the spirit of dialogue and concession; and be reassured that their interest would not suffer. The collective aspirations of the constituent ethnic groups then become our doctrine and our ethos. This is what engenders cooperation of the people. So the concept of collaboration that transcends individualism does not exist in a Nigerian state because of the mode of its formation. How can they collaborate meaningfully in a state they do not believe in? Many tribes would support their politicians in government to loot national treasury; many would not report their people stealing electricity cables or vandalizing oil pipelines. These are all evidence of passive resistance to Nigerian state and lack of commitment to it. So the assumption that the wisdom which a man uses to lead his church could equally be used to lead Nigerian state is a serious gamble. Until people are happy to be part of Nigerian state and we have a common ethos as our rallying point; the status quo will continue no matter how much fasting and prayers we do; for God cannot impose his will upon man; he works with the will of man (Matthew 18:18).
Indeed I will concede that Nigeria needs the wisdom of the clergy if religion is a sufficient and a necessary requirement for individual and national prosperity. Research shows that the dominant religion in Malaysia is Islam 61.4% (Christianity 9.2%); in Singapore it is Buddhism 42.4% (Christianity 14.6%); in India it is Hinduism 80.5% (Christianity 2.3%); in North Korea it is atheism 64.3% (Christianity 1.7%); and in China atheism 53.4% (Christianity 3.93%). China was never colonized by any Christian nation; and despite having 48% of its population as Christians, Nigeria remains a major dumping ground for Chinese products. Nigerian lags behind Asian Tigers in almost all indicators of national wellbeing: they have better education, economy, health services, road networks etc. These countries did not need the wisdom of the clergy to achieve their breakthrough. The top richest men in the world today are not Christians. I am not saying that Nigerians should not believe or serve God but my point is that what determines prosperity transcends religious affiliation. How can Nigeria be wealthy when the culture of hard work, patience, honesty and creative thinking are ignored? We declare national fasting and prayer for every small problem; a clear sign of people destitute of problem-solving skills. I am yet to hear Israel, the so called chosen nation, call for national prayers and fasting; yet we get glued to the antiquated useless fasting and prayers that have been abandoned by civilized thinking society.
The recent trade of words between the supporters and opponents of jet owners is a clear indication that business church in Nigeria is on the head-on-collision path with indigenous Nigerian value system. Health and wealth pastors should know that Africans are tolerant by nature, but our tolerance has a limit. If they push us to the limit, we would let them know that African value system is intolerant of deception. Everyone can live in any house he chooses; buy any car he wants; and even choose to ride space shuttle; this is an individual’s cup of tea. What we are saying is that whatever a person buys or the life he chooses to live need to be based on honest labour and transparency in dealing with people; and not on deception, manipulation and unholy cooperation with politicians to steal.
It is time for Nigerians to roll back the idea that greatness could be bestowed on us by someone somewhere, and accept the responsibility that man in every race and in every generation work for greatness; and design the society they and the oncoming generations would like to live in. It is a fact of life that oppressors do not willingly release the oppressed; the oppressed demand their freedom; the captors are not kind enough to let their captives go free, the captives ransom their escape. Western countries stand in their glory as the attractive destinations for frustrated Africans today, not because manner fell from heaven, but because they envisioned a glorious countries and they paid the price to produce them.
We do not lack examples among our ancestors from where we can draw inspiration and secure a stand as we pursue our emancipation. The black slaves of Haiti in 1792 confronted the sophistication of the French army, and with their heart working more effectively than their machetes and clubs, subdued their sophistication and snatch their freedom from their hands. The event shocked Britain and demonstrated that slaves were willing to fight and die for their freedom, and that slavery was not part of natural order to be accepted with fatalistic docility. The Egba people of Western Nigeria confronted the mental and machinery sophistication of the British Empire and took their freedom from them. African scholars, who had studied in Europe and had seen the game plan of their oppressors, worked closely with African statesmen; and with boldness and tenacity, demanded freedom from their colonial oppressors. After the World War II, Nigerians shocked their colonialists and affirmed that oppression is not part of God’s game plan for them. The cascades of events led to independence.
Nigeria is not in short supply of intellectuals with capacity to repeat the exploit of European enlightment on Nigerian soil. Many Nigerians squeezed out of their country by national mismanagement occasioned by oppressive coalition of the politicians and religious leaders, are now quarrying into historical records. Many are now engaged in religious studies at the highest level; and like sentinels sweeping through the starry sky, they peruse every page and line of the bible to disentangle the scriptural fabrics that have been woven into cords to tie our people down in docility and apathy. When the time comes, we would be comparing notes.
Olukayode M. Tokode
*Breaking The Landlord of Environment Jinx
By Chris Onyishi
Most people who have read my previous articles will be most surprised about what I set out to do here. “Breaking the landlord of environment” could mean so many things to various peoples. I have so much dwelt on politics, good governance and society in the past so much that it is becoming monotonous. If I veer off to something outside leadership, good governance, politics and society, I would be seen to be “breaking the landlord of environment” jinx.
When you are staying in one part of a city or country side, most often you get to a point where you do not think you would survive outside that enclave. You would probably be thinking that people dwelling elsewhere do not have good roads leading to their houses even when the road to your house is the worst. You would also be thinking that if you move out of that location, your kids would not have “good” schools to attend even when the ones they are presently attending is not good enough. You would, probably, be thinking that your wife would not see any market to buy food stuff when you change environment. And we would not even talk about religion. How dare you move from Catholicism to Pentecostalism? We won’t even dare talk about the entire move across the divide of Islam to Christianity or Hinduism, etc.
It becomes so habitual that you may even be thinking that there would be no good water supply elsewhere and the truth is that you may not even be having any water supply where you currently stay. If you are like one of us who usually stay out with friends to take a bottle of bear or two in the evenings, you may become so rigid that you may never find such locations elsewhere. There are so many things you would be thinking that would not be happening outside your immediate environment at all or would not be happening exactly the way you have come to accept.
If you live in Maidugri (where Boko Haram suicide bombers detonate their bombs every now and then), you would perhaps be thinking that those who live in Enugu are not getting it right. If you reside in Lagos State, for instance, you may be thinking that you are more exposed than anybody in your village until you travel home to notice that most people have known what you do not even know. You would see many kids dancing to Davido’s “Omo Olowo” lyrics more than your kids do or the famous - identical twin - R&B duo of Peter and Paul’s (P2) “Alingo” If you live in Lagos Island, you may be wondering how people who live in the mainland manage to survive. If you stay around Ikotun Egbe in Lagos State, you would be thinking that people who are residing around Mushin area are actually suffering.
The same goes for those who live in Nyanya, Nasarawa State, and Wuse II in Abuja.
In the computer world “breaking the landlord of environment” jinx could mean leaving your Hewlett Packard (HP) laptop - which you have used all your life - for Sony or vice versa. For those who know what computer programming is and what it takes to build or design one, “breaking the landlord of environment” jinx could mean leaving one programming language for another. And this is where I am actually driving to.
Somewhere in 2011, I was approached by a certain bank to design an alert system for them. They were, and are still, using one banking application which did not have an alert system embedded in it. I am talking about the normal (SMS text message) “Cr” or “Dr” alert you receive in your mobile phone when money is paid into your account or withdrawn from it. But by the time they called me, certain customers of this Bank are threatening to pull out their accounts from them, if they would not get instant information on what happened to their accounts after transactions.
I belong to the old group who settled with such programming language called Microsoft Visual Basic; MS VB for short. But unfortunately, MS VB did not have sufficient construct to carry out such tasks as an Alert System. But Microsoft Corporation (a company owned or chaired by Bill Gates of USA) has continually been upgrading their tools. They now have what is referred to as the “Dot Net” framework which has enormous resources for developing anything from an accounting system to robotic automation.
When this Bank approached me on this alert system issue, two things were very obvious. There wasn’t a third option. It was either I broke the “landlord of environment” jinx and move on to the “Dot Net” framework platform and achieve the task and take the money or stay back with my MS VB and die on it. But I needed the money badly and besides, I had to upgrade to stay relevant in my chosen vocation. Everybody who is close to computer programming will tell you that what I am saying here is not as easy as eating pounded yam with “Egusi” soup.
I already have some products running on MS VB technology platform and some other programming languages. I could not convert or upgrade them all to newer programming tools or platform without going crazy. I had to decide, very quickly, on what to do to stay afloat. I then went down the research lane and Information Technology (IT) has actually helped in the research arena. Before you say Jack, I was down rummaging through so many materials on the internet. One thing with most of us in the IT is that as soon as we discover anything or we break new grounds, we are very pleased to share the discovery. So, I had so much material from competent beings on this issue to contend with. It is this spirit that made me decide to put down what I did so that my colleagues who may find themselves in such dilemma would have a leeway. And much more, the younger generation would be better placed to try newer things although they are not as hamstrung as we the older block because they entered the arena in the mix and midst of the new technologies. Most of them started with the “Dot Net” framework and they never taste what we had to go through. I decree that it won’t be their potion.
We are inching closer to where the discussion will sound like jargon but I will try as much as I can not to go too technical for the benefit of habitual readers while keeping my colleagues close to the core of the technology I am going to, briefly, discuss.
There is what expert call “Dot Com” wrapper in programming parlance and this is mostly a Microsoft thing. You remember I have used “Dot Net” above. When you produce computer software or applications with lower Microsoft tools such as the MS VB, it would be said that you are operating at the “Dot Com” level. But when you upgrade to the newer “Dot Net” platform, it would be said that you are operating at “Dot Net” level. But the big problem is that people like us who started at the “Dot Com” level may never be able to totally switch over to the so called “Dot Net” level. You can ask anybody. But this is where the technology called “Dot Com” wrapper comes handy. As you meet complex tasks which cannot be handled, entirely, at the “Dot Com” level, you extract that portion of the problem and bundle it in the “Dot Net” framework and then port it back and patch up your solution with it in what is then called the “Dot Com” wrapper. So what I did was to implement that aspect of the SMS alert problem in the “Dot Net” framework and then generate what is known as Direct Link Library (DLL) which I then introduced into my project. By so doing, I did not have to wait to learn the hug of “Dot Net” environment to be able to come to a solution and in any case I did not have all the time to do that before someone else takes the job away from me. If I try to go beyond this point, the whole thing will become ridiculous. So I will manage to stop here while I hope I have aroused sufficient minds.
People who are particularly interested on the topic can then get across to me for further discussion.
The advantage we have in the core science area is that we have this courage to read social science, political science, humanities and the art. But how many of our colleagues on the other side will be able to pick up very well written core scientific books to read? Very few, I can bet you. And the truth is that the more you read the better informed and librated you become.
If it is necessary and sufficiently relevant, you may see where you are becoming a “landlord of environment” and try to break it.
Chris Onyishi (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes from Lagos, Nigeria.
*Nigeria: The East Must Take Back the Narrative
(Nobody can tell our story better than we can)
By Azubuike Ekwueme
Any objective observer would see very vividly, the currents and counter-currents of accusations and counter accusations, that has been blowing over a book by the famed Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe. The title of the book is "There was a country" This book opened up cans of worms formerly hidden, as the victors controlled the message. Mazi Achebe is a global phenomenon and his writings, be it the "Things Fall Apart" (first book on indigenous life, by an indigene) or the present one -"There Was A Country" attracts a coterie of admirers and detractors. This book has pitched the Yoruba and Edo nations against the East, mainly the Igbo. Almost all the Yoruba and Edo commentators on the book, were opposed to the intent of the book, while almost all the people of the East, mainly the Igbo were in support.
But one Yoruba man stands out, 20 feet tall, heads and shoulders, above the rest. He is Wole Soyinka, our Nobel Laureate. He came out in full throated support, of Chinua Achebe's book, against his fellow Yoruba kinsmen, as he had done since during the civil war. His book "The Man Died" is a testament of his bravery and truth. Come to think of it, the very best Yoruba I have yet heard of, are all members of the famous Ransome Kuti family who have Christian antecedents. Their patriarch was a pastor, their mother was an effective teacher and advocate for civil rights. Then, you have late Fela Anikulapo, who mesmerized his audience with rambunctious jazz fused with African rhythm, or the late Beko Ransome Kuti, an excellent physician, and our Wole Soyinka, a poet, and dramatist.. These are men of honor, men of substance and men of truth.
I have a question? What use is a man of letters if we simply swoon at his feet, but his message does not percolate into our brains, to resound with us? What use is Wole Soyinka to the Yoruba? Is he simply a wall photograph, to be venerated, admired, but not taken seriously? Shouldn't his stand on issues tell us where we need to stand? Are his words not taken into account? Do his ideas have any resonance with the Yoruba? And while we are it, what is it with this Yoruba insistence on validating the odious Nigeria War Propaganda? For God's sake it is a war propaganda, ginned up to win the war. After the war, intellectuals should have sifted through the confusion, to lay the truth bare. Apparently, that did not happen. So, why are the Yoruba and Edo nations fascinated so completely that they bought the propaganda hook, line and sinker. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria showing defunct Eastern Region(East)
It is true that the victor in any war, writes the history. It is going on 42 years since after the war, the Yoruba/Edo/Hausa/Fulani have been telling our own story, because they were the victors in that war. They mandated that nobody from the East will ever challenge their lies, and innuendos. If any attempt was made to challenge these monsters, as Ralph Uwazurike did, he was quickly thrown into jail. They have no qualms telling us who is the boss, do they? They are the boss. But no longer any more.
Whoever controls the day-to-day narrative of events, the story line, the information, he literally controls the minds in the audience. The victors in that war still have a strangle hold on how we think, what we think, what we do and speak about. Going back to the end of the Biafran war, the narrative coming from the defeated Eastern Nigeria, had been controlled, managed and disseminated, by and large, by the Yoruba Press. The northern press do the same thing, albeit very differently. They ferment massacres. From the Daily Times, to the defunct Concord, to the Tribune, this powerful press, has the finances and personnel to paint the East in extreme negative light.
On the internet today, it is the Sahara Reporters that is taken deadly aims at our Ijaw president, our brother president from the East. The publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, is probably a Muslim, coming from a people that is fast becoming a majority Muslim region. As a Muslim, he is reared NOT see, and does not see the big, deep cultural and religions divide, a huge separation gulf dividing the Christians and the Muslims, culturally as well as religiously. He is attacking the Christian president to take back Nigeria for the Muslims. They are presenting GEA Jonathan in seriously negative, slanted, demeaning putdowns. They try to do it under the cover of attacking the PDP. But nobody is fooled. They are after an Ijaw who became the president. In their minds, that was supposed to happen. It is taking the oil blocks from them. And they are able to do this, because they East had had their hands tied behind their backs, emerging from losing a war of survival. We are about to start fighting back. We'll begin telling our own story, as we believe it should be told.
Shoeless.., Singlet Boys..
When the bourgeoisie Yoruba are now making fun of the abject poverty in the East, especially in Ijaw land , it is obvious these people are not kidding any more. When the took the spoils of war, the eastern oil reserves. They are using words like "shoeless" and other debasing epithets to talk about a President from the East, an Ijaw man. It had always been the same, because nothing has changed since, the Easterners started migrating to the West in the 50s. Then, they had a similar epithets to describe the Igbo. They called us "singlet boys" practically alluding to the fact that they were poor and bush. It has gone from denigrating the Igbo, to denigrating the Ijaw and our President.
Many Easterners have internet websites that are NOT politically assertive. In fact, they are politically inactive. Like their political class back home in the East, they are afraid to have or share political opinions. They grumble underneath their breaths. They know something is wrong, but dare not say a word. They don't want trouble. But trouble is essentially what you get by keeping quiet. If you lack the nerves to say what you think, other people like Sahara Reporters will say it for you. You may grumble about what they said about you, but don't blame them.
When we become intellectually uncurious, we miss the essence of we are. We should be telling the world your own story, going toe-to-toe with their versions. If we do not have an opinion in a dangerous place like Nigeria, we are asking for it. When Christians are being decimated in Muslim Nigeria, and we remain quiet, we are asking for it. As Boko Haram is forcing Christians from the East from essentially worshipping in churches, or even being in the Sharia states, when they are being bombed out in their own churches, when they can't hold communal meeting to bury their dead, and we keep quiet, we asking for more trouble, not less. Just as Maitatsine morphed into Boko Haram of today, another jihadist al Qaeda-type squad will emerge, and bombings and knifings, decapitation will continue. Mass killings for no cause at all, is an Islamic thing. They relish it.
You may have heard nobody goes to a gun fight with a knife. That is so true. But what I am calling for is to re-orient our people to political action. The kind of political action I am advocating, is first, to take back the narrative, or at least challenge the narrative of others. Our actions, political and otherwise must be essentially NON-VIOLENT. This type of action is something that the Hausa/Fulani would never have an answer, to as the world watches. It worked in India, it worked in the USA. It is going to work in Nigeria Our political marches, our placards, must be accompanied by CNN, Fox News, BBC and the entire world press. We lift our actions straight from MLK's play book.
But cowering in the undergrowth, peeping through the bush like pygmies will not save us. We must step out into the sunshine and take our place in the sun. It bugles the mind that a nation with our vast natural resources - OIL, COAL with ebullient and educated people, would allow other resource-poor nations to be our boss. It is unthinkable. How do a region with the best natural resources God ever gave to a people, allow themselves to be politically stupid.? When are we going to learn that coming together is better than going it alone.
Let us hope that 2013 will usher in the revolutionary change in our political firmament. The persecuted, the neglected and marginalized, under-developed victims of Nigeria has to have own voice. We should not allow people outside the East to define us and tell our story. We must, and will rise up, like the phoenix, from the ashes of war, stay together and re-define ourselves away from Muslim Nigeria. That is the only path to survival. Sahara Reporters' Omoyele Sowore is in my crosshairs
The first thing we ought to have as an agenda is to take back the narrative from Lagos-Ibadan Press. We must do this, or die trying. I don't know if you're aware that the Lagos-Ibandan Press (the Ngbati Press) has been controlling the narrative since after the war. They have the lawyers and the press men. They also have access to OIL money. So, the control our thinking. Yes, they have been telling our own story to the world. And what a sordid story they tell! The Lagos-Ibadan press have been selling the East short, put in simpler terms. They have defined us, and not allowing us to define ourselves.
Eastern centric media? Yes, you heard right. Just as the Yoruba (west) have their own media looking out for them, and Hausa/Fulani media (north) looking out for the Sharia north, the former Eastern Nigeria, needs its own eastern-centric media to look out for the wellbeing and interest of the Christian East. That will go a long way to rebuild the shattered, broken Eastern leg of the Nigerian Tripod. All internet sites, newspapers, radio and TV stations owned and controlled by Easterners, are invited to form the Eastern Media. They will tell our story, the way we perceive it to be. We're going to tell the world about the other side of the coin. We're due to begin to challenge and puncture the Nigeria war propaganda balloons. Never again should we allow anybody to tell our story, when we can tell it as well as any if not better. We must begin to counter the lies, obfuscations, the propaganda, as being told by Sahara Reporters and ACN. The Yoruba and Edo nations have gone literally berserk since the presidency was won by the East. They have gone bananas. Yes, they have lost it, just as they are losing the East. They don't even have any pretentions whatsoever anymore, regarding their visceral, the belittling, the brutal hate of anything and anybody East - Igbo, Ijaw, Efik or Ibibio. Isn't it why the Muslim ACN, is seeking political alliance with Hausa/Fulani CPC - the home party of Sharia and Boko Haram? When this alliance is cemented, the monarchical Yoruba/Edo nations and Hausa/Fulani feudalist, will come back to finish the job they left on finished . Let us not give them the pleasure.
Sidebar with the President
Apparently, the "no victor, no vanquished" propaganda isn't enough. Everybody already knows that it is not worth the paper it was printed on. Yet, they're victorious Lagos-Ibadan press is itching to draw more blood. In fact, The Yoruba has the most OIL barons in the Nigerian list of OIL thieves. Apparently that isn't even enough for them either. They still want their pound of flesh. The way the that this press disparages and hates this Ijaw presidency, is approaching hate speech. If the Eastern Governors, Senators, House of Representatives, Oha N'eze Ndigbo, Church people do not get together soon, to have a sidebar with the President, talk about re-developing the East, invite GEA Jonathan to come along, it might be too late. Now, that airplanes and helicopters ferrying Christian politicians have been falling off the sky lately, who knows, it might become a Jonathan's airplane one day. If Boko Haram or some crazed Jihadist politicians decides to take down the President, Namadi Sambo, his VP, a Muslim will become the substantive president. If the East continues to sleep, we might wake up sometime, shackled in by Sharia Islam.
Are the Easterners listening?
Are the Ijaw listening and taking notes? Are the Efik and Ibibio listening and copiously taking notes? Are the Igbo listening? We must stick together to turn this ship around. When a Yoruba man like Val Ojo calls an Igbo lady, our most productive, most learned, and most hardworking, a traitor and wants to burn her at the stake, or kill her by firing squad, we the easterners, understands he meant every word of it. These Mgbati people are not kidding. If Val Ojo and his cohorts had the chance, they'd starve another 3 million Biafran Children to an early grave. Please, do not allow them again.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year All!
Azubike Ekwueme writes and publishes from Milwaukee Wisconsin
*Tags: Nigerians, $800, Billion, Dollars, Rebuild, East, Abuja, Lagos, Africa, Masterweb
*New Year Gift: Obi Splashes Armoured vehicles on the Police
In immediate fulfillment of his promise to make security of lives and property the priority of his Government in 2013 as contained in his New Year broadcast, Gov. Obi on January 2, presented 3 armoured and 50 patrol vehicles to the Police at the Governor’s Lodge, Amawbia, making it over 350 he has so far presented to security organizations in the State.
During the presentation, Obi said that other security agencies would receive theirs and assured the Police of the continued support from Anambra State. He says: “May I reassure the Inspector General of Police and the entire Police that Anambra State will continue to work with them for the security of the State and the country at large. We enjoin all Nigerians to do same.”
Explaining the reason for the gesture, Obi said it was out of his belief that the State needed security to sustain her achievements and record even more, which will not be possible in the atmosphere of insecurity.
Earlier, the Inspector General of Police, Muhammed Abubakar, who said he was in the State to appraise security situation, received the keys to the vehicles from the Governor Obi. He thanked him for his commitment to security saying that each time the Governor visited him in Abuja, it must be on how to improve the security of his people. He said he was also happy on coming to Anambra because the State had remained an example of how other states ought to support security agencies for the good of the country. He also commended Obi for his contributions to the re-positioning of the police through his membership of the Police Funding Committee. ( Continues below….. )
Comparing Anambra of the past and that of today, he said that under Governor Obi, the State had moved from her ugly past and had become more peaceful, secured, stable, progressive and safe.
While commending Obi and the Anambra Police Command for their efforts at security, the IG disclosed that the Police have posted more 500 of her personnel to Anambra and hinted the possibility of establishing more Area commands in the State for efficient and effective policing of the State. He also reiterated his commitment to a safer Anambra. He said that going by the nature and extent of support the Police in Anambra were enjoying from the Gov, that there was no reason for them to fail.
Later, the Governor took the Inspector General of Police to Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company, Nnewi, where he inspected the plant, including the 300 security patrol vehicles ordered and paid for by Anambra State Government to be distributed to the communities in the State.
Speaking to the press, the Inspector General who was impressed with what he saw, said that he would look at the vehicles manufactured at the industry in terms of suitability for security purposes for them to patronize it.
*The Sovereign Biafran State: What will it Look Like?
By Ikechukwu Enyiagu
There are growing international concerns on the inevitable Sovereign Biafran State and what the global community should expect from this much-pronounced and soon-materializing beacon of light in this western part of the African continent. It has to be noted also that these concerns are not coming solely from outside of the Biafran territories; Biafrans alike have continually been asking amongst themselves and wondering what their expectation would eventually give birth to. And considering the ever-increasing and ever-diverging dissimilarities of the so-called “Federated Nigeria” and the consequences of its forced continuity, amongst which are: terrorism, religious intolerance, kidnappings, political/legal robberies and a general societal decay, even those who have fought and killed their supposed colleagues and friends during the 60s invasion of Biafra and the untold genocidal crimes which followed suit have not ruled out the possibility of "Solving Nigeria and the dangers of its continued, compelled oneness" through the separation of Biafra from the present Nigeria. To assuage the interests and concerns of the global community, the present Nigeria's elders and leaders and the Nigerian populace on the need to shun the continued catastrophic outcome of a continued One-Nigeria and to embrace the only solution to the Nigeria equation, I'd like to table a picture of the new Biafra before all. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Map of Defunct Republic of Biafra
1. International Relations: Biafrans, by birth and blood, are a people who individually understand the basics of relationships even if they have never entered the walls of a secular school. It's in the blood of Biafrans to understand that personal growths can only improve and be meaningful when we realize that growth is not altogether personal; the cord of growth intertwines us with our neighbors and roots us to our environment so we can be more fruitful. By the favor of the business spirit, every single Biafran understands that there is need to interconnect with the global community for maximum mutual benefits.
2. Citizenship: One thing the world has to get straight is that no government of a country which undermines its citizens can be said to be totally free from the rogue-spirit; countries that do not hold their citizens to heart will not make good and trusted international partners. That tells why governments of some so-called "sovereign nations" often go to the length of protecting and harboring an international murderer and terrorist even against every treaty. The land and the people of Biafra known to the world from inception abhor autocratic callousness. When a man chooses to be callous, the state has laws to clip his wings, but when a State becomes callous, its citizens, like the butterfly, mature from fear and anger to full-blown terror-machines - inflicting injuries on friends and foes alike. Every Biafran citizen will be fully accounted for and represented.
3. Security: The only reason that Nigeria lacks security and will never have one is because you cannot pour a new wine into an old wine-skin and not expect it to burst; the equation which brought about the amalgamation that birthed Nigeria is an equation of death and can only be corrected by undoing the said amalgamation. Every true businessman understands what security entails and every Biafran is, by birth and blood, a true businessman. Security in the coming Biafra is no challenge as we will be adequately equipped to maximize the potentials of our business spirit.
4. Human Rights: An age-old adage which, when translated in English from the Igbo Language, means "The Igbo (s) have no king” is an inherent democratic gift of the Biafran people. The kings of the old lorded it over all and the leaders of the present Nigeria throw their inefficiencies and arrogant international show of stupidity over all as well. In the Sovereign Biafra, both the leaders and the led will be protected by the democratic and inherent law of "Igbo Enwe Eze." There will be no room for any lawmaker to make a law, break it and then, like the Bankole of the Nigerian House of Representative, cry thus with impunity: "No court (in Nigeria) has power to try me!" In Biafra, just as the former Illinois governor, Rod Blagojevich, was unhesitatingly sentenced to 14 years in prison for trying to play the Nigerian godfatherism in the US, so will the Biafran constitution protect only those who honor it and humble anyone who tries to lord his demons against the State.
5. International Appeal: This is where it gets even better; the long-awaited Biafra will be a home to/for all. Those who are saddled with the responsibility of documenting the ratio of foreigners in their countries can correctly reveal that Biafrans are spread, like the seeds of life, all over the world. And the good thing is: adaptation is home to us. We sink into any society we enter, both to become one with the inhabitants and to help in promoting their best interests. This unique gift has seen our sons and daughters married to men and women of all nationalities - like no other race, ethnic group or people throughout the world. This can only imply that the model which America has tried to sell to the world for decades without much result will be a common sight in the country called Biafra. For the Chinese, they will see Biafran children who are both Chinese and Biafran in every way. For the Americans and the Brits, their tongues, blood and ways of life will be a common sight amongst Biafrans. All over the continents of Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and America, many will find reasons to make Biafra their home. The revealing of this new Biafra will solve about 47% of the UN's global challenges. Those who know how to use their calculators perfectly understand these truths.
6. Religion: Biafrans are mostly Christians and this is the best part of it; there's no compulsion! Religious compulsion feeds corrupt minds and governments, and when the ground gets too much of it, the society boils. Not only will the new Biafra allow others within the present Nigeria to fully follow their religious, circular and family ways of life, it will, through grounded for-peoples' laws, erase religious tensions anywhere in the territories of the Biafran Sovereignty.
With these realities revealed, it is clear to see that every other disturbing concern of today’s Nigeria will have its solution if the blocks of Biafra. Finally, let our eyes sharply focus on the bests of ourselves as a people, a nation and the beacon of true light in Africa and to the rest of the world. As we work and anticipate the emancipation of the Black-Man all over the world through the manly endorsement of the Biafran State by the UN and the Individual Super Powers, let us all think of the best of ourselves that we can put in to sustain the dreams of the Biafran Spirit. And let us start that now.
Ikechukwu Nnochiri (2011), “No court has power to try me – Bankole”, Vanguard Nigeria, http://www.vanguardngr.com/2011/06/no-court-has-power-to-try-me-bankole/ (Accesssed on 30/12/2012) Elizabeth Flock (2011), “Rod Blagojevich is 4th Illinois governor jailed in four decades”, The Washinton Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/rod-blagojevich-4th-illinois-governor-jailed-in-four-decades/2011/12/08/gIQAFzvVfO_blog.html (Accesssed on 30/12/2012)
Ikechukwu Enyiagu can be reached at
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