*Nigerian Ex-Tax Chief In U.S. Jailed 10 Yrs For Theft
By Masterweb News Desk
Patrick Onyemechara, 53, former Director of City of Monroe Revenue and Taxation Department in Louisiana, USA, was sentenced last Tuesday to 10 years imprisonment with hard labor on each of 10 felony theft counts at 4th Judicial District Court. The sentences run concurrently. Onyemechara was ordered to pay restitution to the City of Monroe in the mount of $121,688. Judicial District ad hoc Judge James Boddie gave Onyemechara credit for time served, by suspending two and half years of the sentence, reducing it from 12 1/2 to 10 years. Onyemechara was held in the Ouachita Correctional Center since 2009 as he could not come up with the required $1.8 million bail. His passports remain in the custody of the court as he was determined to be a potential flight risk Jury selection was under way for his trial when he pleaded guilty to 10 counts of felony theft in March. Sentencing was scheduled for June 13, but later rescheduled for Tuesday, June 21, at the request of Ad Hoc Judge James Bodie.
Onyemechara would be placed on 10-year supervised probation after release from prison. He would not be allowed to apply for or have access to a passport and cannot visit any foreign country during the probationary period.
In a speech shortly before his sentencing, Onyemechara said he was sorry for what he did, but he was not a bad person. "From the depth of my heart I am truly, truly sorry for any pain I have caused to anyone or any business in this jurisdiction. I am portrayed as this godfather with this Sicilian and Nigerian connection - I'm not a bad person and only God can judge me." Onyemechara said.
Onyemechara was arrested in 2009 accused of taking tax payment cheques (checks) collected by his office and ordering cashiers under him to cash them with funds in their drawers. He would keep the money to himself. He was employed with the city for 11 years with eight of them spent as Director of the Revenue and Taxation Department. He became Director of Taxation and Revenue in 2001. According to prosecution, one of the biggest cashed cheque was a $12,029 tax rebate from the state of Louisiana to the city of Monroe. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Patrick Onyemechara
Onyemechara's trouble began when a city employee discovered a cheque for $73,606 dated Dec. 12, 2006, written by a Monroe business to cover delinquent sales taxes had not been deposited into the bank. Upon further investigation, the city employee found additional cheque stubs for delinquent sales tax receipts that lacked corresponding payment posting to city accounts of the businesses. At that point, city officials contacted Monroe Police which executed a search warrant on Onyemechara's office. Investigators interrogated taxation and revenue employees, who confirmed Onyemechara gave them instructions to forward all delinquent sales tax payments to him. According to documents, one city cashier said Onyemechara presented a number of cheques to her and told her to "cash the checks and give him the cash". The cashier kept a log of each check, with transactions dating back to 2004. Investigators also served a search warrant at Onyemechara's home, where they discovered more financial records and bank documents.
Speaking for prosecution, Assistant District Attorneys Neal Johnson and Fred McGaha said the theft amount was fixed at $121,688, which was the amount documented by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor's Office during its two-year audit of the department. According to them, the amount represented what was on the error logs maintained by various cashiers. They said there was over $240,000 worth of transactions that fit the pattern used by Onyemechara, but error logs that were kept only documented $121,688 because the defendant got the head cashier shred the logs.
Before sentencing, Judge Boddie heard a victim impact statement from Stacey Haynie, Director of Accounting for the city. Haynie said she found evidence of error logs dating back to 2003 and "based on that, I believe it started the day he walked in the door as director". She said some of the error logs were destroyed at Onyemechara's direction and that he threatened staff from time to time. In her words: "employees worked out of fear". Onyemechara's defense lawyer, Charles Kincade pleading for leniency, told the court his client had no prior criminal history and that none of the threats were ever documented. "He is a true first-time offender. He has exhibited remorse." Kincade said.
*Tags: Nigerians, Ex, Tax, Chief, Jailed, Ten, Years, Us, Theft , Africa, Masterweb
*Nigeria: Intersociety Comments On Onitsha Horror & Abuja Suicide Bombing
Intersociety Comments On Horror In Onitsha Upper Iweka And The Suicide Bombing Of The Nigeria Police Force Headquarters
(Onitsha, Nigeria, June 19, 2011)-The Leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law notes with happiness the smashing of a hideout operated by a heinous terror gang at Onitsha Upper Iweka in Anambra State, Nigeria. The successful operation reportedly took place on Thursday, June 16, 2011. According to media and eyewitnesses’ accounts, including our fact finders, over a dozen dead bodies and instruments of death, including sophisticated guns, machetes, empty and filled gallons of undiluted acid and house-hold utensils were discovered and recovered by both private and public security operatives that conducted the operation. The terror hideout was discovered at the left side of the popular Onitsha Upper Iweka, behind the MTN Mast, on Onitsha-Enugu Dual Carriage Way, after its Flyover, and inside an abandoned deep and wide gutter, measuring over ten feet.
This is a clear manifestation of accuracy and incontrovertibility on our part. Recall that we had in our Memo to the out-going( commissioners and special advisers) Anambra State Executive Council, dated June 13, 2011, cited elaborately the activities of the hoodlums at the Onitsha Upper Iweka, which include pick-pocketing, bag-snatching, car-jacking, robbery and armed robbery, fee-fraud, rape, forceful discharge of passengers and offloading of goods and collection of exorbitant “service charge ”, abduction, unlawful killings as well as police extortions, which include toll collection and “wetin you carry”(what is in your bag or carton, with intent to extort). We had also in the Memo, listed Aba Park, Mikemera Park, Lagos Park, Old ENTRACO/Asaba Park (the location of the terror hideout), Old TRACAS Park, all located within the same axis, as the hot spots where these heinous activities are perpetrated, especially against the visitors to the State as well as those passing through the Onitsha-Enugu Federal Road, on which those places are situated. Please see the Memo at www.intersociety-ng.org (under press releases and newsletters). It can be found under a sub-heading “Security”.
We have, again, been vindicated! While re-assuring our teeming readers, supporters and the world public of accurate, objective, credible and incontrovertible positions on topical public matters at all times, we reiterate our earlier demand contained in the Memo with respect to the above subject matter that the worsening security situations in the area should be brought under firm control. The successful operation so carried out is not good enough. It is only a scratch on its surface. Other parts of the area should be routinely combed by a crack team of detectives. There should also be a proper investigation into the discovery and recovery of the dead bodies and the instruments responsible for their death, including human and material instruments. The investigation should go beyond liquor-joint or drunken-cop patterns, to pathological and forensic types. This has also brought to bear the need to have Anambra State’s outdated Coroner Law reformed and upgraded urgently, so as to incorporate the modern tools of criminal investigation into the criminal inquiries over this type of unnatural deaths as well as to civilianize and break the yoke of the age-long “Sergeant Nwaiboko” style of criminal investigation, retained by the present leadership of the Nigeria Police Force, which is grossly ineffective and outdated.
The statement credited to the Onitsha Area Commander, Mr. Larry Osita, over the incident, to the effect that the dead bodies were part of those killed extra-judicially and dumped inside the disused drainage by some members of the public, on suspicion of being “armed robbers”, if true, is totally condemned. Also, if it is true, then the Area Commander has a case to answer before his Abuja superiors, including the Police Service Commission. Again, if it is true, then he might have, if not must have known about the existence and activities of the terror gang and abetted same. In criminal law, aiding and abetting are both acts of commission and omission. This type of “official” comment is utterly diversionary, especially when pieces of circumstantial evidence, obtained therein, are overwhelming. The Anambra State Police Command must not treat these explosive barbaric activities with its usual kid gloves. The Command must seek forensic and pathological assistance so as to get to the root of same. The Anambra State Ministries of Environment and Works should visit the area with a view to ascertaining why such big gutter is not in use. If it is blocked elsewhere, they should find out who, when, how and why it is blocked with a view to re-opening it and rid it of further use by violent criminals.
Similarly, the Thursday, June 16, 2011 bombing of the general packing garage of the Headquarters of the Nigeria Police Force in Abuja, Nigeria, is a clear case of failed security system in Nigeria. The dire security situation in the country reminds us of the immortal question threw at the African leaders in 1994, by then President Julius Nyerere of the Union of Tanzania, whereupon he asked:” why is it that when the Europeans and the North Americans are busy finding their way to the moon, Africans are busy heading back to the cave?”. The Nigerian security system is in comatose and at the crossroads of intractable uncertainties. Her Police Force is peopled and commanded at the top by “comprador bourgeoisies”. It is possible that the Nigeria Police Boss and his senior commanders do not know how to operate their emails, not to talk of embracing modern security technologies.
Apart from the Police Act and the country’s criminal legislations, which are anachronistic, the security patterns adopted when Dane Guns were in use, are still retained in today’s advanced securitization, to the extent that “Sergeant Nwaiboko’s pattern of criminal investigation and definition of “ who a witness is”, is still reigning in today’s Nigeria’s security industry. Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention. When the 9/11 struck the USA, she quickly invented “Homeland Security”, but what do we have in Nigeria today? “Wielders of Atomic Bombs pursuing wielders of Nuclear Weapons”! Using conventional war tactics against an asymmetric tactical war outfit or an amorphous terror brigade is an act of corporate empty headedness. Buying helicopter gunships, warplanes, armoured personnel carriers and grenade launchers, etc to execute an “invisible warfare”, is purely war instruments meant to crush innocent Nigerian citizens the more, because to kill one guerrilla operative conventionally expressly means to mow down 200 civilians in the process.
Conventional war tactics are meant for conventional warfare and asymmetric war tactics for asymmetric warfare. If the IGP’s convoy cannot be installed with explosive or bomb tracking devices in this modern age, then the Nigeria Police Force is doomed and nobody is safe in this country. This also explains why the Force could not say for sure the real number of personnel it has as well as those that are routinely retired statutorily and punitively. The Force, also, cannot boost of the regularly updated website and a central server and its official emails are rarely accessed. Our judges, on their part, have continued to turn down pieces of evidence generated from technological sources, and even when lawyers quote online authorities as their information sources, such are turned down and dismissed except they are from one archaic and obscure source. The regular announcement of the invitation of foreign detectives to help in unmasking these faceless violent groups is a further failure on the part of the Police. Intelligence gathering requires terrain knowledge no matter the level of sophistication. What the foreign detectives should provide are technical supports.
Above all, Nigerian borders, especially the Nigerian-Chadian and the Nigerian-Nigerien Borders are very porous. The country’s political leaders should tell Nigerians why the routes between the country and Sudan and that between her and Iran are not monitored. What is the business of those that frequent these routes? Are there terrorist training camps being hosted by some radical elements in the two countries? Is it correct to say that the so called “Boko Haram” uprising in the North-east, Nigeria is engineered by some radical Northern elements so as to force the Federation to return the Presidency to the “North”, which is akin to the Niger Delta uprising of 2003 and the Southwest “pen” militancy of the early 1990s, all of which yielded the “targeted results” for their promoters? Are some top security commanders in Nigeria sympathizers of the so called “Boko Haram Sect”? If the so called “Boko Haram” doctrine is against western education, are bombs, guns, laptops, tracking devices and phones they reportedly use not originated from “western education”?
Security wise, particularly, in the area of the Police, for the Force High Command to be turned around, total purge is urgently required, which will sweep off all the AIGs, DIGs, the IGP and any CP, who above 50years old. Among the remaining CPs, DCPs and ACPs must be found an ICT and modern technology-derived security egg-head to be made the next IGP, who should be 45 to 50years. The country’s Procedural and the Substantive Criminal Laws as well as the Police Act and various High Court Rules must be made to incorporate the technology-derived pieces of evidence and other modern adjudicative and investigative processes. The modern investigation and adjudicative tools such as tracking devices, CCTVs, modern forensic and pathological components as well as PCs, E-Libraries, Laptops and Storing Devices should be embraced and procured for the country’s security personnel and judiciary. The law setting up the SSS and the NIA should be reviewed so as to assign its operatives more and well-defined security roles, more so when the country’s security responsibilities are seemingly blurred, that is to say it is difficult to ascertain who manages the country’s foreign intelligence and counter-intelligence as well as their internal counter-parts.
The possibility of setting up Anti-terrorism & Allied Matters Court, which procedures must be brought in tandem with international best practices, in order to ensure the speedy trial of the suspects, should be considered. There is also need to pass a legislation making Nigerian Judiciary to join other respected countries as a country with “Universal Jurisdiction” in matters of grievous human rights abuses by ex or incumbent political leaders within and outside the shores of the country.
Also, the plurality of the Nigerian Federation had been taken for granted. Equitable allocations of human and material resources are non-negotiable! Concentration of infrastructural development and provision of social services only in the capital cities of the North make those who feel disadvantaged wiling tools in the hands of the promoters of this violence. Due to the porosity of the country’s borders, it is very difficult differentiating between Chadians, Nigeriens and Nigerians, more so when their dominant ethnic groups belong to same Afro-Asiatic Language Family. The social, economic and political contents of the so called “Boko Haram” uprising should be frontally identified and addressed by Nigerian authorities.
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman, BOT (+234(0)8033601078)
Photo Above: Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Intersociety, 41, Miss Elems Street, Fegge, Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria.
*Tags: Nigerians, Intersociety, Peter, Obi, Scorecard, Anambra, State, Africa, Masterweb
*Nigeria: Dressing Corruption With White Linen
By Kali Gwegwe
Never in the history of Nigeria has the fight against corruption been so fiercely fought like have been done in the last ten years. Despite this fact, only very little have been achieved by the two major anti-graft agencies- EFCC and ICPC. This is hugely due to the high amount of energy and craft deployed by the many apostles of corruption within and outside government. Unknown to many, corruption has almost become a national culture.
Many Nigerians are also forced to see and take corruption as a source of livelihood. It is pertinent to point out that high level of unemployment has made the culture of corruption fashionable. There is therefore the important need for government to take the issue of unemployment very seriously.
To effectively tackle the problems of unemployment, government at all levels must do well to expand the economy by energizing the private sector to create many new jobs. This can be achieved through the deliberate reduction of the general cost of doing business, access to cheap business start-up capital with a friendly repayment plan, and the wooing of foreign investment among others. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria
There is no gainsaying that Nigeria has a robust market and variety of mineral resources that will easily attract foreign investors. Nevertheless, issues of stable power, security, effective transport infrastructure, and stable polity are critical factors in the global business community. It is recognized worldwide that only sound political leadership culture can promote a healthy business environment. This is what every investor- local or foreign look out for.
Unfortunately however, very sad realities in the nation’s polity have continued to pose a major threat to winning the confidence of foreign investors. Very few investors will be willing to risk their capital in a country where integrity and patriotism are relegated to the background of national culture. It is a very huge fact that the lack of integrity helps to blind public servants from seeing the evils of corruption. Also worthy of note is the fact that only unpatriotic leaders can afford to take undue advantage of their exalted offices to promote mainly their individual interests at the expense of the larger society choking in the cold hands of poverty. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Farida Waziri, EFCC Chairman
No doubt, the business of law making is sacred. This is true to the extent that quality laws help put societies on the fast lane of socio-economic transformation. Ordinarily, legislators are treated with high level of regard in all democratic societies. This is however not so in Nigeria owing to very bitter incidents in the National Assembly in the last twelve years. Apart from the fact that many members snore through sittings, supposed honourable law makers have on several occasions engaged in physical assaults on each other right inside the hallowed chambers of the National Assembly. On one or more occasions, these contemptible incidents had resulted to injuries, hospitalization, and even death.
One of the greatest threats to Nigeria’s democracy is the several cases of corruption allegations against successive leaderships of the National Assembly since the nation returned to democratic political leadership in 1999. Allegations of corruption have always been the reason behind the frequent changes of leadership in both the lower and upper chambers of the National Assembly. This is most shameful and unacceptable in modern societies. It has no doubt rubbished our collective efforts as a nation aimed at winning the confidence and respect of members of the international community. Perhaps, this will help to explain why despite Nigeria’s huge market and variety of abundant natural resources, foreign investors have been reluctant to put their capital in the economy of the world’s most populous country of black people. This is a big indictment of past and present leaderships of the National Assembly. They have not been able to lay a solid foundation for an effective national transformation agenda.
Nigerians cannot continue to feign ignorance of the fact that our legislators have fallen short of global best practices. While in many countries, law makers are spurred by patriotic zeal to serve; Nigerian legislators seem to be ruled by their individual interests. That could be the only reason why they are not in any way bothered by the urgent need to legislate towards improving on power supply, transport infrastructure, health care, education, housing, security, employment, and national economic growth. Instead, they busy themselves with padding their individual pockets with outrageous allowances. This is nothing but dressing corruption with white linen. Their aim is to mislead Nigerians. A black cloth will remain a black cloth whether won to the farm, market, office, or funeral. In the same vein, corruption is corruption whether dressed with white linen called allowances. ( Continues below...... )
Photo Above: Nigeria National Assembly Complex
Instead of the executive arm being a threat to our democracy, it is the legislature that Nigerians are worried about. The reason for this is not far fetched. Graft dressed in white linen has taken a whooping 25% of national budget. To make matters worse, the National Assembly have rubbished the necessity of the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Allocation Committee (RMFAC) through its in-house mechanisms. The doctrine of checks and balance has been tilted in favour of the legislature. They have unlimited powers to decide what individual members take home as allowances. This could be the only reason why members of the National Assembly take home between N60m and N100m as allowances alone every quarter. They are also at liberty to borrow at will.
From the look of things, the task is too big for the executive arm of government alone. Nigerian masses will need to join forces with the executive to clip the overbearing wings of members of the National Assembly. The nation’s present economic realities do not support the outrageous salaries and allowances our legislators take home. It is therefore surprising that despite the revelation by the CBN governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido that a whole of 25% of the nation’s budget was spent on the welfare of national law makers; efforts have never been made to correct the anomaly by the law makers themselves. The long suffering Nigerian masses had expected the law makers to show remorse and rush to “repentance” following the Sanusi “missile.”
As a nation, we do not need Prophet T.B. Joshua to prophesy that Nigerian masses are angry. If the leadership of the National Assembly is not prepared to begin the process of “unpadding” their pockets, those individual members with conscience should do the unusual by returning a minimum of 50% of their allowances to the federal treasury and earn the forgiveness of history. The “unpadded” funds should be added to the allocations of state governments. It will go a long way in helping to breach the gap that the N18,000 minimum wage law will cause many state governments.
Kali Gwegwe writes from Yenagoa, Bayelsa State and can be reached at email@example.com ( 0806 407 4810 )
*Tags: Nigerians, Dressing, Corruption, White, Linen, Abuja, Lagos, Africa, Masterweb
*Nigeria: Oh Youths! Power Your Desires!
By Ikechukwu Enyiagu
There’s a fire in the cover, open it up! The desires are in a rage, let them burst out! Oh Youths! Power your desires! Let every stone for the future’s foundation be powered by your desires. Enlarge the possibilities in your minds-break the records. Free your desires and let them run wild over and against all encumbrances. Drive your future from within and let the story of its outcome be told everywhere. Gather the bullets of your life and shoot your desires upward and forward. Break every form of fear from within you-set your possibilities free.
The fist law of slavery demands that the enslaved ask no questions, but questions are your empowerment-your desires to reach out is your reaching out. The first law of hell demands that fear be presented as a reasonable friend, but faith answers all fears-your faith is the fulfillment of your desires. The first law of success, achievements, and peace demands that you “believe your dreams-” believe your desires. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: EnoughisEnough Nigeria Coalition demonstrating - EnoughisEnough Nigeria is a coalition of individuals and youth organizations committed to instituting a culture of good governance and public accountability in Nigeria.
Most times, what brings out your best is not found in trying to get what you want for yourself, but trying to fill every gap that needs filling-when you can. What empowers your desires is not wildness, but a determined, purposeful decision to reach out and touch lives. True desires are run by “the wheel of meeting needs”. To get your power activated, you must get your desires prioritized. To get your desires in order, you need to constantly think in the direction of “meeting needs-” be they of people, families, and nations.
The meal of mediocrity is no longer delectable, fear has lost its reasons for being attractive and understandable. This time, the dreams must be allowed to run wild; desires must be freed. We must challenge whatever challenges us in ourselves and in our country, and burst forth into that side of unending possibilities. Power your dreams, power your desires. Rise up and decide how you want your country to be. Keeping quiet only allows the evil one to make decisions for you. You may appear to have it all, but your emptiness is glaringly obvious to all if you feign blindness to what happens around.Get tough, get toughened, and bulldoze your way through. Let your name be imprinted in the sands of time…because you powered up your dreams. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: University of Ado-Ekiti (UNAD) students demonstrate against cultism.
Stop letting incompetent hands represent you, why would you leave your future in the hands of nothing? Say “no” to a rudderless ship, and get out of it. Shout at the top of your voices, if that’s how far you can go, and silence that silly fear. Move beyond “I don’t know” to “I’m now sure”. Celebrate your conscience, enthrone your future; fuel up your desires for a better and godly tomorrow. Use every good and legal means to power up your dreams. Erase the fear of intimidation, failure, or death from the list of your dreams and desires. Get up, and shout your enemies down.
Nigerian youths, great people, it’s time to show the world what you have got. It’s time to rise up from that drench of inhumanity and unto your glorious places among nations. You came out en mass to vote this last time, let that spirit of readiness remain alight within you. Tell our leaders, from wherever you are, what we want, what we need, and what we must have. Help the police, the EFCC, ICPC, military, and the government to root out corruption and wickedness from every corner. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Members of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) protesting in Enugu, Enugu State, Nigeria in September last year (2010). Click For Enlarged Photo
Use your ears, your phones, your computers-use your selflessness and bring about the enthronement of what we've all longed for. Stand up for something-even this once. Let there be no silence until our corrupt leaders are all brought to justice, until those who kill and bomb citizens are given their rightful places in judgment. My fellow youths, indeed, it’s time to empower our dreams, to power up our desires. So, go, get them all powered this day…and keep them burning.
Ikechukwu Enyiagu can be reached at
*Tags: Nigerians, Need, Certificate, Speak, Abuja, Lagos, Africa, Masterweb
*Nigeria: The Boko Haram Question
By Kali Gwegwe
It is not surprising that the Boko Haram question is fast gaining space in Nigeria. For a country that has almost been ruined by poor leadership in the political, cultural, economic, and religious sectors; the emergence of the Boko Haram sect is only a positive reminder that God loves Nigeria. With the pitiable depth Nigeria has sunk to in the last fifty years, many outside the shores of the country had thought that the world’s most populous black nation would have been dead and buried in the backyard of African history. Nigerians should therefore thank God before worrying about the menace of Boko Haram.
Over the last few months, many commentators have made the grave mistake of putting the Niger Delta crisis in the same basket with the Boko Haram question. Others have placed Boko Haram in the same cage with the Odua and Biafra agendas. They are not in any way birds of the same feather. ( Continues below...... )
Photo Above: Late Boko Haram Leader, Mohammed Yusuf. Police said Yusuf was shot while trying to escape.
History has shown that political, social, and economic ideologies built on the foundation of religion is usually very complex and difficult to manage. This is due to the important place of God in the affairs of men and societies. It has therefore been easy for people and organizations to hide behind the banner of religion to promote their individual and collective beliefs. Even when some of these beliefs are doubtful or unpalatable, fear of the wrath of the unseen God- and not necessarily threats of violence weakens the resolve to put up open resistance. This, coupled with high quality propaganda has earned many radical Islamic organizations such as Al Qaeda the sympathy of many Muslim faithfuls.
In analyzing the Boko Haram question, one fundamental issue must be fully digested. Every religion has a unique way of responding to different issues involving God. For instance; Christians will gladly wait for God to avenge those that desecrate His name, nature, or eminence. Some Muslim sects will not. They will rather stand up to physically defend the name, nature, and eminence of Allah. This is the foundation of Islamic radicalism or fundamentalism. Unfortunately, several western countries like Britain and the United States have refused to accept this bare reality. The result is a steady increase in terrorist activities all over the world. In their own folly, Washington and London have responded with the use of extreme force against militant organisations at home and abroad. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria
Despite the astronomical amount of human and financial resources deployed in the last twenty years to combat religious radicalism as represented by Al Qaeda and sister organisations, very little have been achieved. This is one simple reason why I strongly endorse President Goodluck Jonathan’s decision to bring the leadership of the Boko Haram sect to a round table. This should not be seen as weakness on the part of the federal government. President Jonathan should not for any reason repeat the mistakes of the two Bush presidencies in the United States. They undermined the complexities and spiritual strength of Islamic fundamentalists. We are all sad witnesses to how wrong Washington was.
With superior arguments, the Boko Haram sect will disengage. This argument will however not be done with threats, guns and tanks. In 2009, the Nigerian federal government appropriated about N400b to equip the military to extinguish militancy in the Niger Delta region but failed woefully. What the military succeeded in achieving was the demolition of several coastline communities. They also won the prize of killing thousands of innocent women and children. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Mohammed Yusuf's bullet-ridden body shown to journalists in a video hours on July 30, 2009 after Nigerian police announced they had captured him alive. Police said Yusuf was shot while trying to escape.
With all of these in mind, the federal government will need to invest enough political will and diverse resources to make the Boko Haram leadership appreciate the truth about the mechanism of globalization. They need to be told that our failing value system- not western education is responsible for the sordid state we have found ourselves. A whole lot of intellectual capacity will be required to achieve this dream.
I am not aware that western education encourages government officials to ignore the interests of the wider society and protect their private interests alone. Western education does not teach corruption. It does not also promote sexual promiscuity. No doubt, the concerns raised by Boko Haram are tenable. The problem is how to address them. This should be a challenge to all political, economic, cultural, and religious leaders in Nigeria. We cannot sit back and allow our values to be rubbished by the greed and strength of a few heeled persons in the society.
Kali Gwegwe writes from Yenagoa, Bayelsa State and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org ( 0806 407 4810 )
*Tags: Nigerians, Boko, Haram, Question, Abuja, Lagos, Africa, Masterweb
*Re: Between Governor Obi & Ihiala People
By Valentine Obienyem
The above article recently published in almost all the newspapers in the country, was written by Mr. C. Don Adinuba. Devoid of the unnecessary rigmarole that characterised the piece, he merely submitted that Ihiala Local Government, including his home town of Ihiala, is neglected by the present Anambra State Government headed by Mr. Peter Obi. He described Gov. Obi’s last gubernatorial victory as enmeshed in controversy. In his contrived view to suit the interest he was protecting, Gov. Obi was rejected by the people of the State in the April 2011 elections.
For many reasons, I do not want to write a traditional rejoinder to this piece. I want instead to seize the opportunity it presents to evaluate opinion-writing and informed commentaries in the contemporary Nigerian media. Of course, for being able to have his comments and opinions published now and then, Mr. Adinuba qualifies to be named among commentators on national affairs.
Reading through these opinions, including those coming from columnists, one can classify them according to their literary texture, philosophic bent or genial pull through sense and nonsense. Such writers like Dr. Reuben Abati are instructive interpreters of events in manners that are endlessly inspiring. Some opinions are packed with wisdom and winged with wit. We have some mature opinion writers; permit me to give example with Dr. Edwin Madunagu. You may not agree with his viewpoints but he writes in the mellow metaphysics of old age. If you see somebody reading the back page of the Sun, who every now and then interrupts the reading with patches of deep laughter often to the point of giving himself blows upon the forehead, accompanied with motions of ecstasy and mirthfulness, it is either he is out of his wits or he might just be reading the opinions of writers like Mr. Steve Nwosu. The likes of Okey Ndibe, whose writing I once compared with Maimonides’s Guide to the Perplexed, gets too personal these days that you get more perplexities than guidance reading him. Writers like Femi Adesina are not afraid of saying it the way they see it. You may not believe it, but some pieces inspire us to love wisdom because they are centred on speculative thinking; here you talk of writers like Dr. Okey Ikechukwu. The Dan Onwukwes of the opinion world believe in the sanctity of conveying the truth without dissimulation.
But there are some writings that lack what could be called total perspective. Reading them you need no soothsayer to tell you that the writers do not even believe in what they write. This class of writers are what we call hatchet writers. The existentialist Gabriel Marcel had them in mind when he said that “a man who believes in nothing and a man who depends on nothing is a man without connection.” They do violence to themselves and to opinion-writing. These are people who collect money to write anything for opinion because, as far as they are concerned, it remains their views. To such writers, characters such as Osisikankwu, the dead Abia kidnapper, can be elevated to posthumous sanctity, depending on how those that wanted it have been able to lubricate some palms. When one reads articles written by them, it will not be difficult for one to detect how the coerce necessities of physical existence can drag us from the height of thought into the mart of economic strife and gain. Writers that come under this block know themselves. Such writers never think of gathering their writings in book form because some of their viewpoints dictated by one pay master or the other will even be scandalous to them.
It is not my business to tell you where Mr Adinuba belongs, but we shall boldly subpoena him before the literary seat of judgement as we interpret him based on his ways. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Anambra State Governor Peter Obi
Since Anambra State was created, Adinuba has written platitudes for all the past governors of the State and has elevated hatchet-writing into an art. When the State was sinking under Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju, Adinuba was busy showering upon him the flattery which he knew His Excellency loved to sip. At that time, I was in Abuja and it gave me psychic encumbrances every morning to go through the newspapers. No good news emanated from Anambra and yet Adinuba presented Mbadinuju to Nigerians as an Angel of Light sent to rescue the State. Adinuba was on hand to sing Dr Chris Ngige’s praises when Ngige sat on Peter Obi’s mandate in contempt of the people’s right to elect the leader of their choice. He did likewise for some governors and politicians elsewhere, including Prof. Charles Soludo recently. Why is it that he has not written for Governor Obi? Are other Governors better than Governor Obi in all respects? Has he decided not to write for people again?
Since I started reading him, this last piece is one article of his that pretended to be clamouring for social justice rather than the usual praise-singing stuff he is known for. By the time one reads through, one will discover that it was another baseless anti-Obi exercise, most probably commissioned by those who believe they are fighting the Governor. How can an article mourning the absence of development in Ihiala end up telling us about what Adinuba in his fancy called discredited election, loss of confidence by the clergy in Obi, among others?
Permit me a little immodesty here. As a concerned citizen of Anambra State, when Dr. Chris Ngige stole the mandate of Gov. Peter Obi, I was very forceful in my support for the Governor though I did not know him then neither had we met. Indeed we met for the first time during the presentation of my biography of Dim Chukwuemewka Odumegwu-Ojukwu entitled The Last Patriot on the 16th of February, 2006 shortly before he won his Court of Appeal case that sent Ngige packing. In spite of my support for Obi, I wrote copiously in the newspapers commending Dr. Chris Ngige for performing better than Mbadinuju did. Even when he was buffeted and attacked by reactionary forces that led to the burning of Anambra State, I wrote in his support and concluded that what the arsonists did was wrong and that Ngige remained de jure governor. I did not, because I was supporting Obi, fail to see anything good in Ngige.
Because Adinuba did not have enough material evidence to write against the governor you could see that he was scouting for material. Not knowing what to say, he even, laughable though, said that Obi neglected Ihiala in spite of the fact that lawmakers from the town supported the governor. He has to tell us whether that is a manual for Governors on who to support or not. When the better part of wisdom dictates that a Governor should show equal love to all the parts of the State, he wants him to show that only to those that supported him. Tragic!
His reference to the State University betrayed him as one who is parochial. Between Mbadinuju taking the university to his home town, Ngige taking part of it to his home town and Obi determined to develop it according to the dictates of its foundation, which is worth celebrating? At the Uli campus, does he know that Obi has built more structures than any past Governor of the State, including Mbadinuju the one Adinuba served faithfully, for hatchet writers thrive more under incompetent government? Presently, the Permanent site of the University at Igabriam is being developed, but insofar as it is not in Ihiala, it means nothing to Adinuba. Meanwhile all the towns in Ihiala acknowledge the Governor’s achievement. A sample: “As a matter of fact, we sincerely appreciate the efforts of your Government through Anambra Integrated Development Strategy, ANIDS not only in developing all sectors of the economy in Anambra State simultaneously, but also in the even spread of the governmental projects throughout the entire state. This is a feat no past governor in Anambra State, executive or otherwise, has achieved. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Anambra State, Nigeria
Time may not permit us to mention your many projects in the state and Ihiala Local Government Area in particular one after the other but on the side of road projects we thank you especially for the Azia- Orsumoghu-Mbosi road project with a spur to Lilu awarded by your government to GRAND STAR which is nearing completion. We also thank your Excellency for your tireless efforts to see not only that road projects are awarded and executed in Anambra State but that the roads are constructed according to approved standards. We also appreciate the effort of your government in the provision of bore hole in our only government owned secondary school, Community secondary school Orsumoghu through the Millennium Development Goal Water Project. Your Excellency, it is on record that you are the 1st Governor that appointed an illustrious son of this town in the person of Omelora Mike Omanu to the exalted position of a permanent Secretary.” This is the President General of one of the towns that made up Ihiala LGA, rsumoghu, speaking when the Governor visited the town on the 11th of September, 2009. All the towns in the LG have similar tales and yet Adinuba said they were all crying for not benefitting anything from the present Government of Peter Obi.
Telling us that he mentioned the issue of Ihiala at one or two chance meetings with the governor shows you how sincere and self-absorbed he is. I expect him to show us the letters he has written to the Governor on that. Besides showing how disrespectful he is for the office of the Governor he is showing bad example to the children of the State. I hope he is not trying to prove that the best way to discuss weighty issues affecting the development of the State is through chance meetings with relevant authorities.
A man from Ihiala Local Government was once the Governor of Anambra State; I challenge him to tell the entire world what he did for the Local government. In this debate, which I believe is just starting, I will concede victory to him if he proves with empirical evidence that the man did 20% of what the present governor has done in Ihiala.
Obi has unleashed a Mississippi of projects in all the parts of the State and in all sectors. Today he is working; I mean work is going on in 17 Small Town Water schemes, 15 Bridges, including Okpu Bridge on Osungwu-Nkwo Okija road at Ihiala. He is working on over 27 erosion sites. He is working on over 70 roads, including the Uli University road, Ihiala Local govt. Ring Road, Azia-Orsumoghu-Ubuluisiuzor, Lilu road among other roads in Ihiala. He is building blocks of five classrooms in the State out of which all the towns in the Local Government have benefitted. Out of 43 Voluntary hospitals the State is supporting, 3 are in Ihiala LGA. Out of about 111 Schools that received buses, 7 are from Ihiala LG. Out of about 140 schools that received 50 laptops and 10 desktops each, 8 are from Ihiala LG. Out of about 130 schools connected to the INTERNET, 6 are from Ihiala LG. I can go on and on. In the midst of all these, it is important to note that the Governor has not borrowed any kobo from any financial institution, unlike many states in the country. For the first time we have a governor in the State who is taking development to hitherto forgotten areas such as Anambra West and Ayamelum such that the tag of lopsided accusation of development would not fly.
What will it profit Adinuba or any of his ilk to attack a Governor who is working so hard for the State and whose work would certainly be difficult to equal in Anambra? How can Anambra State stop advertising its projects when people like Adinuba are ready to lie to the public that Obi is not doing anything? They readily rush to sites such as Saharareporters that only delight in painting Anambra State black. Meanwhile, the consummate worker, Obi, goes on undisturbed by the bedlam of politics and those clamouring to be noticed at all costs. From the benefit of hindsight, where are those that noticed such rampaging writers in the past?
Last line: It behoves writers everywhere to speak the truth at all times. Though truth might not make us rich, it will make us free, and its love is more glorious and incomparable to the lust for money. This is for Adinuba and his tribe.
Obienyem wrote this piece from Awka, Anambra State.
RELATED ARTICLE => Peter Obi Leads Anambra State Poll
*Tags: Nigerians, Governor, Peter, Obi, Ihiala, People , Africa, Masterweb
*Nigeria: You Need No Certificate To Speak!
By Ikechukwu Enyiagu
You need no certificate to speak! You need no microphone to speak; all you need is “a voice.” And that, you need a voice that must be heard, a “voice frequency” which is sure to resonate in every heart that beats. Your soul needs a voice to speak to it, your family needs a voice to chart its course- everything needs the voice of change to constantly speak unto it, and propel it in its path of call.
Nigeria lacks the water from the voice of change. The only true God said in His words that He will ‘pour out’ His Spirit ‘upon all flesh’. Isaiah the prophet, by the Spirit, spoke: ‘the Spirit of the Lord is upon me because He has anointed me to preach…’ The reason for the outpouring and the anointing is to 'speak.' From a child’s birth through to the moment of final accounts, the day it first spoke always remained remarkable and unforgettable. Speaking is important in our days so much that God had to give Adam the authority to name things and decide what if will look like and how it will function.
It is a voice which brought life to earth; voice always has its servants in everything it speaks. Creation will always answer to the call of your voice and bring about that which you speak of. It’s your voice which gives your thumb its unique print. No two voices are the same even when they flow in the same rhythm. If you have a dream for yourself or for the nation, you must speak it out. If you see a vision concerning a thing, there is always an accompanying message. The purpose for the Spirit is so you could dream and see, and the reason you must dream and see is so you could speak out a "revealed word". ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Sample English Language Certificate
That power is already here. The ability to dream dreams and see visions is here with you because we are in ‘the last days’. Children now posses that same ability to separate the good from what is unacceptable. God never leaves anyone orphaned; there is always the power you need lying within. That situation ravaging our country, Nigeria, needs your voice to alter it. You cannot speak at cross-purposes with the dream given by the Spirit; you cannot silence your conscience.
Nigeria needs a voice, the voice birthed from dreams and visions which have taken their places in your conscience. Martin Luther once talked about having a dream, a beautiful dream which nothing was able nor would have been able to alter. Nigeria needs your voice; it needs your voice to propel it in its path of call. But you do not need any certificate, whatsoever, to speak words that change things. You need no extra authorization to chart that course which this nation must follow. All you need is that voice borne out of Godly dreams and visions, and directed by a true conscience. What do you need in our polity? Let your voice make it happen. Do you want corruption to be corrupted entirely? Use your voice. Do you want a better future for your generation? Speak the word. Have you seen injustice? Let justice issue forth from your mouth.
The voice which propels things is that born of “the Spirit”. It’s important that your voice has a root in other to produce. You can never corrupt your dreams and visions in your conscience and expect your words to produce. What comes out naturally when a nation adulterate its dreams and visions are lies, nepotism, bribery, corruption, decay, and death. That’s been the story of Nigeria because, even when we speak, we do not speak our Spirit-inspired dreams and visions – we speak deceit, gluttony, selfishness, pride, bigotry, callousness and death, even of our very selves. We deny the truth its throne and refuse justice its course, yet we expect our words to cause changes. But such changes can only be the fruits of a Seared conscience. ( Continues below...... )
Photo Above: Nigeria National Assembly Complex
I call on you whose citizenship is in Nigeria to speak the words of your dreams and visions. Speak words that are true and right concerning Nigeria. Remove any sentiments and divide-just speak the truth and stand for justice. Dimeji Bankeo was the “speaker of the Nation Assembly” of Nigeria, yet his words were that which produce death alone. As “the” speaker, he denied his God-inspired dreams and visions, seared his conscience with a hot iron, and stood boldly to “speak” for the entire nation-expecting results. Whoever you are in politics, national security, anti-graft and fraud units, education, workplaces, business, homes and religious places: you must stand up and speak up for that which is right! You must dream the dreams, see the visions, and speak the words.
You must speak to the many injustices perpetrated against individuals, groups, tribes, and religions. You must speak as a man who truly needs changes. You must avoid “the voice of the House of Assembly-” you must avoid deceiving yourself. The country must be run in truth and honesty because only in the truth can there be any true and lasting change. If we choose to avoid or ignore our conscience now, it will always stare us in the face with a basket-full of its dividends. No fight against bribery and corruption will succeed unless we stand up to speak to Nigeria-starting from matters of its deceitful birth, through its reasons for unity, to the matters of an impending dissolution.
Rise up today and speak to Nigeria without fear, favor or partiality. Get up and address that which addresses your life. We can all speak for our nation and its assembly. We can all speak for our future today and change things. No matter where you are, crush every threat or intimidation in your heart; stand up and speak. You are a part of the results of silence, false words, /or words that touch their targets. You have some seeds to plant for the future. No matter who you are, stand up now! Speak for justice! And, if anyone asks you what permission you have, tell him: “I need no certificate to stand for the right and for justice." And as you speak those words given by the Spirit, you will suddenly see them taking their shapes and directing situations-no matter how “Nigeria” (difficult) they seem. You need no certificate to speak.
Ikechukwu Enyiagu can be reached at
*Tags: Nigerians, Need, Certificate, Speak, Abuja, Lagos, Africa, Masterweb
By Masterweb News Desk
A Kenyan divorcee is trying to cope with life without his manhood after it was cut-off by an angry lover. Ronald ole Kitare, 27 told newsmen that he never imagined the woman he loved and planned to marry could amputate his manhood. Kitare swore never to trust any woman again.
Kitare, a security guard in Diani, a suburb of Mombasa, was separated from his wife early this year on grounds of infidelity. He fell in love with Faith Kamulu, 20, the woman who eventually cut-off his penis last week. According to Kitare, Kamulu came back home drunk, a state he had never seen her before and quarrel broke out between them. “My fiancée, who I had planned to marry in the next few months, arrived home at about 8.00 pm and we differed for a few minutes. I tried to inquire why she was drunk, but instead of answering me, she confronted me,” Kitare told reporters from his hospital bed.
In another statement from his bed, Kitare said Kamulu claimed his ex-wife insulted her over the phone calling her “husband snatcher”, an issue she took seriously. According to Kitare, “due to that, she threatened to do something to ensure I will not have any other woman in my life. But after some discussion, we resolved our differences and came to terms.I thought all was well since we even made love that night, but because it was a hot night, I decided to sleep on a mat while my fiancée spent the night in the bed. I never thought she still had grudge against me, but at about 12.00 am, she sneaked and chopped off my penis using a kitchen knife; she threw the organ away.” ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Arnold ole Kitare in Coast General Hospital
Kitare said he bled profusely after the cut and cried out for help as he was losing consciousness. In his word: “I was bleeding profusely and I was rescued by my neighbours who heard me yelling for help.” Neighbours came to his rescue, seizing Kamulu and handing her over to the police upon their arrival at the scene. Kitare was rushed to Msambweni Hospital emergency room and later transferred to Coast General Hospital. Ms Evah Hussein, a hospital official ruled out the possibility of reattachment of the severed penis. She said cosmetic surgery to restore Kitare's manhood to enable him urinate and in reproduction was possible. “The surgery to re-attach the organ was not done in time and cosmetic surgery can be done at Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi to help the patient in urinating and even regain his sexual function if well conjoined with the urethra,” Ms Hussein explained.
Kitare in a statement said he does not plan to have more children. His organ is being preserved at Coast General Hospital awaiting his consent for its disposal.
On Monday in a Kwale court, Kamulu denied the charges of aggravated assault and maiming of Kitare.
*Tags: Nigerians, Angry, Woman, Cuts, Off, Lovers, Penis, Africa, Masterweb
*Nigeria: Justice Or Divine Revolution?
By Ikechukwu Enyiagu
I cry for Nigeria. I cry for this amalgamation. I cry for those born in this land. But my cries are not of one without hope, no, my cries are that of the voice in the wilderness saying: “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” It is the voice of the one who sees the end of evil and the glory of good. I cry for a nation struggling to survive, to live by the blood of those in its care. Nigeria, like every other nation has its history but, unlike every other nation, the story of Nigeria is a message from hell-the pride of Satan. Nigeria is a warning post from God to the nations of the earth and I am a voice telling everyone, from everywhere that the time to be ready is now upon us. The time to seek the Lord has come. The time to separate the chaff from the wheat is none other than now. And the creation of God is His battle axe.
Since this present government came into being, Nigerians have heard unheard-before news of corruptions among the very top leadership of our country. To one man among them, there are over twenty (20) count charges which are everything else but lies and fabrications. The EFCC has unearthed a spot in the root of the corruption amongst our top government representatives, and this information being presently uncovered by the EFCC is, undoubtedly, the source of the fire which is about to engulf the entire nation of Nigeria-both for cleansing and for consumption. ( Continues below...... )
Photo Above: Nigeria National Assembly Complex
The FoI bill was passed few days back after over a decade of disobedience by our leaders to every law of progress. What the world knows is that Nigeria is a corrupt country but what we know is that our leaders are the corruption eating everything else up. Now, with the passage of the FoI bill, and the EFCC at work, Nigeria should be able to have its stolen money back, with every interest paid. And a separate account must be opened for these monies to help in healing the wounds they created. The case of Bankole connects almost every person holding a federal political post in Nigeria and every Nigerian expects to see all these to a logical and true conclusion as fast as possible.
The voice which cries for Nigeria has seen, read and understood the handwritings on the wall concerning Nigeria. This nation is headed for a total blackout in the events that these men of hell are not brought to justice and swiftly. The darkness that will engulf Nigeria shall be as never seen or heard of if the government or anyone in authority blocks the smooth passage of the hammer of justice. The cries are no longer from one man; the cries are heard from every created thing which has its place within Nigeria and they are calling out, saying to the nation: prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight His path because He will bulldoze, without mercy, ANYTHING which stands in His way of justice. This now calls for the presidency to, consciously, throws its full weight behind and follow up these matters arising amongst its leadership-matters which have swallowed up Nigeria to the neck. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria showing some major cities, including the Federal capital (Abuja or FCT)
Unless there is a clear and clean carrying out of justice on these political thieves, the land will be engulfed by an unquenchable fire. Unless the wealth of God’s people are recovered and restored to them, the angel of chaos will descend upon our nation. It’s either justice now or a great revolution masterminded from above. To you who enslave my people, the Lord is saying: “is it not time to set my people free, is it not time to let them go and worship me? Behold, I’m coming against all of you with the rod of my anger. Unless you prepare a way of peace, righteousness and justice for me to come into your midst, I’ll come in my strength and wrath and will burn every evil in my path.”
It’s either justice for every Nigerian, or the fire of revolution will descend. You can’t enslave my people and expect me to remain silent when their cries won’t let me be. This is not the time for silence; it’s the time for freedom. It’s not the time for fears; rather, it’s the time for the Lord. This is not the time for politicking with our lives; it’s the time to set yourself and your family free by setting God’s people free. This voice has warned for the last time: “prepare the way for the Lord to come into your midst, make straight His path to travel among you.” There is no one on earth that is above Yahweh, none is greater than Jehovah. From the land called Nigeria, the Lord has decided to do a new thing throughout the earth; shall you obstruct Him and survive it, shall not the God of all crush your rebellion against His holy call?
Be wise, oh Nigeria! Be wise, you leaders! Be wise, you dwellers! Return to God now while you can. Set free those you have bound. Return to the poor and the needy all you have stolen from them. Set the innocent free and bring the guilty to justice. Be quick in this, and prepare you this way in haste. The Lord is coming with His rewards and He is coming very fast. What do you expect: shall He meet you ready or shall He crush this rebellious and adulterous entity called Nigeria in His anger? Do you prefer to bring justice to my chosen people or would you rather that I bring the justice? “Look! I shall no longer delay. I’m coming quickly and my rewards are with me”. “To my children in the midst of this wickedness,” the Lord says, “I am coming soon. Keep that which you have and keep your lamp burning-it is a mark of my redemption in that day of recompense.”
Ikechukwu Enyiagu can be reached at
*Tags: Nigerians, Justice, Divine, Revolution, Abuja, Lagos, Africa, Masterweb
*Nigeria: Intersociety’s Scorecard On Anambra State Govt.
Our Ref: Intersociety/Vol.01/06/2011/ANSEC/ANSG/NG
41, Miss Elems Street
Anambra State, Nigeria
Chairman, Anambra State Executive
Council & Governor of Anambra State
Chief Paul Odenigbo, Secretary to the State Government
The SSG’s Office, Government House
Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria
Your Excellency & Distinguished Council Members,
Intersociety’s Scorecard On The Democratically Elected Government Of Anambra State - Why Your Distinguished Council Should Take Stock And Be Dissolved
(Onitsha-Nigeria, June 13, 2011)-International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law concerns itself with deepening democracy, preservation of the citizens’ liberties and observance of the rule of law in Nigeria and any part thereof. As the Southeast based civil society group, we are committed to the enthronement of permanent culture of accountability in governance in the zone particularly in Anambra. Part of our “social covenant” with the Southeast populace is to ensure that the zone is no longer cheated in the Nigerian Project, especially in the sharing of the country’s human and material resources as well as to hold her political leaders to be accountable to the people of the zone at all times.
Why We Write:
It is a consensus opinion in the public parliament that the tenure of the present Executive Council of the Government of Anambra State is the longest in the history of democracy oriented Federal/State Executive Council in Nigeria. Our reliable checks clearly show that apart from minor cabinet reshuffles that brought in few new faces into Your Distinguished Council, many, if not most members of Your Distinguished Council had been in service since 2006, a period of over 5 years, either as commissioners or special advisers. This is not to mention the over-bloated size of the non-members of Your Distinguished Council, who are also not constitutionally recognized, numbering over 100, called “Special Assistants”, and “Personal Assistants”, who were appointed by Dame Virginia Etiaba during her acting governorship tenure in 2006, and who used to operate under trees and from “container houses” that dotted the Awka Government House Premises. These over-bloated non-essential aides were reportedly set against Mr. Peter Obi when he came back from his inglorious impeachment, thereby making their removal politically difficult.
Unmistakably speaking, many, if not most of Your Distinguished Council members have over-stayed their welcome or usefulness. And it appears that the “Law of Diminishing Return” has set in, in many directions. Complaints from many, if not most social quarters across the State are now a daily routine, to the effect that armchair syndrome and “big manism” now dot the bio-regalia of some, if not many of Your Distinguished Council Members. Credible complaints also have it that every revenue window in the State is explored and exploited; yet little or nothing goes into the coffers of the Government of Anambra State, no thanks to some, if not many of Your Distinguished Council members, in the context of inefficiency or subversive ministerial activities.
In some cases, these Commissioners and Special Advisers seemingly take laws into their hands by creating extra-statutory and ministerial revenue collection agencies outside the approval of the Governor and Your Distinguished Council. In other words, there exist “un-statutory” and “extra-statutory” revenue collection agencies in the State seemingly powered by these senior aides, with little or nothing paid into the coffers of the Government of Anambra State monthly. Our investigations also did not exonerate some, if not many members of the out-gone Anambra State House of Assembly from these socio-economic misconducts. Apart from setting up illegal revenue collection agencies especially in Onitsha and Nnewi zones, in parks and markets as well as on roads, some of them reportedly engineered some uninformed traders to build stalls at unauthorized places with some stalls allocated to them, which they either sell or retain by proxies. Such cases are rampant in Onitsha and Nnewi zones. Mr. Peter Obi’s “due process” disposition appears to have been mistaken as a sign of weakness by these senior aides. It also appears that his fiscal prudence is only abided by on the surface.
Some Empirical Instances:
Our Investigations into the despicable activities showed that offices of the Commissioners of Environment, Special Duties & Transport, Water Resources and the Special Adviser on Parks & Markets as well as offices of the State’s 21 LGAs are fingered. For instance, the office of the Commissioner for Special Duties & Transport unilaterally imposed a motorcycle levy of N700.00 per annum on all private and commercial motorcycles in the State, which is called “Registration and Identification for Motorcycle Riders in Anambra State”. But our checks show that to purchase the Form attracts N900.00, while every “defaulter” pays N3,000.00, excluding police “bail fees”. There are estimated 400,000 commercial and private motorcycles in Anambra State, yet it is widely believed in Government circles that this is one of the extra-statutory revenue collection exercises reportedly not in the knowledge of Your Distinguished Council. Administratively speaking, it is also wrong to include private motorcycle operators because they pay statutory motorcycle papers’ renewal charges.
There is another monstrous group created by the office of the Commissioner for Special Duties & Transport, which is called “Ndi-Mpiawa-Azu” (“Cane-masters or Lacerators”). This group, we understand, was created to check the excesses of commercial bus drivers on major roads in Onitsha zone as well as to clear the streets of excesses of street traders, but the group is now an outlaw and an extortionist brigade. Its excesses have become unbearable and its extortionist activities reached a crescendo. Its coordinator, a private individual, is reported to have owned a very lucrative mini transport service with injection of at least twenty Mitsubishi buses quarterly. Though such revenue generated therein, is “blood money”, but there is no record of one kobo being remitted to the coffers of the Government of Anambra State. Some believe that payment of “returns” to the supervising commissioner may be most likely.
Similar nefarious conducts could be found among the operatives of the yellow-shirted Anambra State Traffic Control Agency (ASTA), an illegal agency created by former Commissioner for Special Duties & Transport, Emeka Ojukwu (junior). Because they are not remunerated, they survive on all manner of extortion and other acts of brigandage. Their activities clearly run contrary to conventional traffic control rules. They impound, forcibly remove vehicle plate numbers, tow vehicles to their offices and extort them. Commercial vehicles and street traders who cause obstructions are allowed after routine bribes while private vehicles are targeted at slightest or no default. From the office of the Special Adviser on Parks & Markets comes indiscriminate approval of unconventional revenue agencies that now flood major streets and roads, markets and parks in the State. Every commercial vehicle and motorcycle that loads passengers and goods pays stipulated amount depending on how many times covered daily, yet it remains to be seen whether the office is a major revenue generator for the Government of Anambra State. Once these unconventional fees are paid, the payers now constitute public nuisance with utter alacrity. This is not to mention similar extortionist activities directed against the commercial motorcycle operators, street shop operators, etc. Those created by the Heads of LGA Administration and some legislators are in legions.
Another form of extra-statutory revenue imposition and collection is the charges placed on every commercial and private borehole owner in the State by the State Ministry of Water Resources, which are called: 1. “Borehole/Well Licensing fees,” 2. “Water Quality Analysis fees” and 3. “Renewal fees (for those already licensed)”, totaling N69,500 per borehole for the 2009 and 2011 periods. While such fees demanded from the commercial borehole users may be understandable, it is socially reprehensible asking the private borehole users to pay for complementing the efforts of the government in providing water to the citizenry. It is the duty of the government to ensure the cleanliness of the water being consumed by subjecting such boreholes to periodic tests and treatments and not by punishing the citizens for helping the government. This policy should be reversed as a matter of immediacy. Also, demanding payments in arrears of up to three years (2009 to 2011) is akin to passing a criminal law with a retrospective effect. It is socially cumbersome and harmful. The revenue collection policy adopted by the office of the Commissioner for Environment, which supervises the State Environmental Protection Authority (ANSEPA), is totally condemned.
There are multiple revenue collection methods associated with the payment of sanitation fees in the State. In some cases, Landlords’ associations collude with their vigilante groups and some ANSEPA contractors to hijack the collection and pocket same, after which the ANSEPA authorities will issue another “demand notice” claiming ignorance of the first payment and disowning the collectors of same. The ANSEPA Board is also in the perpetual habit of demanding and forcing people to pay for arrears of two years or more. For instance, in its recent “demand notice” dated 6/4/2011, the Authority unilaterally increased the fees by 150 percent (from N200.00 to N500.00 per flat/month) and demanded for the payment of 2010 and 2011 arrears. Each Four-storey building in Onitsha zone was asked to pay between N80,000.00 and N100,000.00. The less cumbersome method would have been to demand for quarterly payment.
The said demand and increment cut across other payable establishments and were made at the heat of the April polls. One discovery we made in the course of our investigations, which is common among these conventional and unconventional revenue collection agencies including ANSEPA is the thirst to collect revenues without commensurate delivery of accompanied services. Many, if not most of the empty plots, road, river and gutter sides in the State, particularly in Onitsha, Awka and Nnewi zones are dotted with refuse heaps. About 80 percent of gutters and other drainages in the State are blocked and dotted with garbage, yet the quest to collect associated revenues is alarming. A typical example is the Power Mike Sports Complex to St Gregory Cath. Church portion of Atani-Ogwuikpere Federal Road. There is urgent need to dissolve the Board and reconstitute it; legislatively upgrade its “Edict” to “Law” and re-formulate its environmental policy to suit the present environmental realities.
Collection of statutory stallage fees in various parts of the State is another important source of public revenue that has been hijacked and pocketed by some LGA staffers in collusion with some corrupt market leaders and officials of the Government of Anambra State. There are about 500,000 or more market stalls in Onitsha, Awka and Nnewi zones. Each is ought to pay N3,000.00 per annum either to the State Government or the affected LGA. But stall owners now play host in their residences to these corrupt individuals, who print fake receipts and ask such owners to pay below the prescribed fees especially when they owe arrears. It is sad and very unfortunate that while the totality of the IGR of the Government of Anambra State presently stands at between N400Million and N450Million per month, the vigilante groups’ proprietors in the State including Landlords’ associations, market associations and town unions, generate over N500Million per month. Between July 2000 and August 2002, the infamous civilian government of Dr. C.C. Mbadinuju said it generated about N9.5Billion from security fees. Today, each street/market store and flat apartment in the State pays between N200.00 and N500.00 per month to service over 600 armed vigilante groups operating in the State and the payment of this levy records 100 period compliance owing to harmful effects so associated in the event of default.
Why Your Distinguished Council Is Asked To Take Stock And Be Dissolved:
As earlier noted, Your Distinguished Council is long overdue for dissolution having served the people of the State for over five years. Loyalty and patriotism have become a problem to some, if not many of Your Distinguished Council members. Some now work against the interest of the Anambra People while serving, while others run their ministries like their private estates to the extent of traveling out for over two weeks on non-official trips and abandoning their public duties. Some are no longer in-charge of their ministries and offices.
Mr. Peter Obi’s policy of giving his corrupt or non-performing senior aides a soft landing in the context of “resignation” is socially misunderstood. For instance, a certain former Environment Commissioner who was said to have inflated the evacuation of the Nwangene River/Creek Road heaps of refuse contract was given a similar soft landing to quit. It was reported that out of every ten tippers evacuated, at least twenty were fictitiously added and their “evacuation sums” pocketed. His resignation was grossly misinterpreted in social circles and he was seen as a saint. Therefore, it is time for members of Your Distinguished Council (commissioners and special advisers) to quit! Most of the people in Anambra State have asked us to thank Your Distinguished Council members for serving them to the best of their abilities, and to also inform them to prepare their hand over as a matter of utmost immediacy and social importance. We totally disagree with some of them to the effect that Mr. Peter Obi was “magicalized” by some of those senior aides to be kept unchanged.
Your Distinguished Council’s Achievements Since 2006:
It is grounded in the Law of Natural Justice to appreciate and celebrate achievers like members of Your Distinguished Council. Notwithstanding the shortcomings so enumerated, Your Distinguished Council had in the past five years changed the course of history of the State. Towering achievements are noted and appreciated in the areas of road and bridge construction, reconstruction and rehabilitation, security (notwithstanding intermittent disruptions), education, health, water, agriculture, fiscal responsibility, sports, environment, political tolerance and others incorporated into the Anambra State Integrated Development Strategy (ANIDS) from the Millennium Development Goals of the UNO.
Sectoral Achievements & Our Reservations:
Appreciated is the fact that this important sector has received a commendable attention from Your Distinguished Council. The public School System in the State got totally collapsed to the extent that erection of church buildings took over their premises and elitism introduced whereupon almost every family reverted to private school system where teachers with secondary school certificates were made principals of secondary schools. With the arrival of Your Council in 2006, things changed for better. Today, Anambra State leads other States in the Southeast zone and competes with Rivers and Lagos States, especially in Primary and Post-primary School Systems. Renovation of decayed classroom blocks in over 70 percent of the State’s post-primary schools as well as renovation and building of libraries and laboratories in them is noted and appreciated. We also appreciate the provision of over 100 buses, generating sets, computers and Internet facilities to them. Anambra State University, State College of Agriculture and Nwafor Orizu College of Education are also not left out. They are undergoing visible transformations in the areas of provision of access roads, erection of perimeter fencing and building of classroom and faculty blocks. Recent recruitment of 3,200 teachers, made up of ICT teachers, primary and post-primary school teachers and their postings into the State’s primary and post-primary school systems are noted and appreciated. The most commendable aspect of it all is the zero-bribery mode of recruitment, contrary to what was the case in former illegal Governor Chris Ngige’s era during which to be recruited, a candidate must pay N100,000 bribe.
We observe that some public secondary schools in the State are yet to receive the said government packages including perimeter fencing, provision of school buses, libraries, laboratories, Internet facilities and generating sets. For instance, Ezinifite Community Secondary in Aguata LGA, which had one of its decayed blocks renovated in 2009 by Your Distinguished Council, at the cost of N5Million, is yet to receive the aforementioned. We have also been informed that some, if not many Secondary School Principals in the State have imposed extra-statutory term fee of N300.00 per student for what they termed “school bus and bus driver’s maintenance fee”. Other sundry illegal fees are also imposed and collected in most of these schools, courtesy of their principals and head teachers. Our investigations confirmed that Urban Girl’s Secondary School, Fegge, Onitsha is one of the schools where the extortion is going on. The attention of Your Distinguished Council is also drawn to the fact that some of the boreholes sunk in the State’s public schools, particularly in hilly areas are not functioning. There may also be need to restore their power source back to fuel-energy because the solar-energy appears to be associated with intermittent hitches. The borehole at the Igwebuike Primary School, Ezinifite, Aguata LGA has ceased to function long time ago. Rising cases of sexual molestation and exploitation as well as exorbitant prices and production of low quality textbooks or course materials in the State tertiary institutions, particularly in ANSU should be checked. Some lecturers have become habitual truants. They must be made to work and justify their high pay wage.
Renovation of many public general hospitals and building of many public maternities across the State by Your Distinguished Council are noted and appreciated. The building from scratch of the State Teaching Hospital by Your Distinguished Council is worth noting. The restoration of clinical activities in these hitherto decayed and dead public hospitals is very commendable.
We note with dismay the ongoing strike by the government medical and para-medical staffers, which, we understand, has to do with dispute over pay wage adjustments. The attitudes of these government doctors towards their duties are unreservedly condemned. In the course of our investigations into the doctors’ responses to their work schedules, which were carried out in eight of the State’s general hospitals in 2010, we discovered that most of these doctors were more interested in their private clinics than their public duties, yet at every month end, they would go home with tax payers’ salaries and allowances amounting to tens of millions of naira. Their professional misconducts range from absenteeism, truancy, to diversion of patients from public clinics to their private clinics, which they do through proxies (nurses and other public clinic staffers). We task Your Distinguished Council to find a quick and amicable solution to the industrial dispute with the said medical workers. Effective measures should also be explored by Your Distinguished Council and its successor to curtail these professional excesses so as to make them work and justify their pay.
Fiscal Management & Revenue Generation:
Appreciated is the fact that Your Distinguished Council has made Anambra State and her people proud by ensuring that the State remains the least indebted State in Nigeria according to the Debts Management Office. The State is also appreciated for maintaining a steady culture of surplus or balanced budgets. Prudent management of the State’s commonwealth is also appreciated. Your Distinguished Council’s recourse to the prescribed public procurement procedures and near-zero abandonment of public projects are noted and appreciated. We understand that the “B1” contract percentage, traditionally meant for Mr. Peter Obi has been channeled into public use, which resulted to the procurement of over 100 buses meant for the ANIDS transport scheme. This is highly commendable.
One major area where Your Distinguished Council has failed woefully is in the area of Internally Generated Revenues (IGRs). Former Governor Bola Tinubu’s era in Lagos State saw the State generating about N5Billion monthly from her IGRs but the present government of Raji Babatunde Fashola has increased same to about N17.5Billion monthly from the State’s over 1,300 revenue items. But Anambra State, with IGR capacity of at least N5Billion monthly, is battling with meager IGR monthly revenue of about N450Million, that is to say the officially recorded monthly revenues from internal sources. While every nook and cranny of the State is dotted with one form of revenue collection agency or the other, very little of it is remitted into the coffers of the State Government. It is shocking that while those in private security business in the State smile to the bank at every month end with over N500Million, the entire revenue items of the State Government generate and remit a meager sum of about N450million at every month end.
And it is safe to conclude that only 10 percent of the State revenues is remitted into the coffers of the State Government, whereas the remaining 90 percent is pocketed by some untouchable individuals such as landlords associations, market leaders, town union officials, motor parks operators, some members of the State legislature, vigilante groups’ heads, Local Government heads, corrupt commissioners and special advisers and shylock contractors. Anambra State is supposed to join Lagos State as the next non-core oil State in Nigeria that could survive without statutory federal allocations, unfortunately, reverse is the case. The State currently generates between N5.4Billion and N6Billion per year from her internal sources, whereas she is supposed to generate and remit into her coffers at least N60Billion annually below Lagos State’s N210Billion annual IGR.
Consequently, the IGR policy of Your Distinguished Council should totally be overhauled. The issue of multiplicity of revenue items has to be completely eliminated. Your Distinguished Council through the Governor, the Accountant General, the Commissioner for Finance, the Commissioner for Budget & Economic Planning and the Attorney General, in conjunction with the 21 LGA Heads should carefully articulate all the statutory revenue items collectible in the State, which are entrusted in the hands of the State Government and the LGA System by the relevant taxes and levies Act of the Federation for the purpose of their harmonization, uniformity and codification or passage into the laws of Anambra State. This will eliminate multiplicity and engender sanity as well as eliminate middlemen and other unconventional revenue collection methods in the State. We cannot recall the last time the yearly accounts of the State finances were published and made public by the State Auditor General, in spite of the fact that this is a constitutional duty. We ask that that will, henceforth, be done as constitutionally required, in the spirit of Freedom of Information Act provisions and governmental accountability. We also need to know the current statutory wage bill, assets and liabilities of the Government of Anambra State.
Among Okada riders in the State, there are up to 10 sets of levies imposed on them. Today, in Anambra State, there is no exact number of revenue items and almost every ministry and parastatal now operates revenue collection agency, yet little or nothing goes into the coffers of the State Government at the month end. Articulated and codified copies of the revenue items should be well publicized and made available to all stakeholders such as market leaderships, town unions, heads of parks and garages, landlords associations, mass media, churches, civil society, etc. They should also be posted on the State’s website, with statutory review period of about five years. Effective measures should be put in place to compel reluctant taxable adult residents in the State to pay their statutory taxes including Personal Income Tax. Obsolete edicts adorning various parastatals in the State such as ANSEPA, Water Corporation, etc should be legislatively upgraded to be in tune with present social realities. The mountainous arrears of salaries and gratuities of the workers of the State Water Corporation (including pensions), Anambra State Newspaper Company, owners of the National Light and the Anambra State Broadcasting Service (gratuity and pensions), owed them over the years, which are running into billions of naira should be looked into with a view to deflating them. The workers of the Water Corporation and the National Light should be put to good use or paid off if their services are no longer needed to avoid further accumulation of pay arrears.
Appreciated is the fact that Your Distinguished Council built a number of high court blocks across various Judicial Divisions in the State, including the renovation of the burnt State Judiciary Complex in Awka and facilitation of the establishment of the Federal High Court in the State. Nationally, it must be noted and appreciated that Your Distinguished Council had changed the history of the country’s jurisprudence by inventing staggered elections’ timetable, which makes it possible for the likes of Adams Oshiomole of Edo State, Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State and Rauf Alegboshola of Osun State to be governors today. Before Your Distinguished Council’s three years of fierce judicial struggle, it was an act of impossibility for gubernatorial electoral riggers like Dr. Chris Ngige to be judicially made to surrender sacred electoral mandates freely given by the electorates. These are extra-ordinarily commendable.
The State Judiciary System still requires more attention especially in the area of decayed facilities in various Magistrate Courts as well as modern adjudicative tools. The criminal and civil laws of Anambra State are begging for reformation as many of them are archaic and out of tune with present social realities. The quality of judgments being dished out by some, if not many Judges and Magistrates in the State are akin to those found in the battered Republic of Somalia. Our Judges and Magistrates should be trained from time to time and processes of recruiting them stiffened. Part of the expected law reforms would include reformation of our Coroner Law System, which should be modeled after that of Lagos State. Your Distinguished Council should also release all outstanding white papers on the Commissions of Enquiry including Nwafor Orizu College of Education Commission of Enquiry of 2008 (?) and have them judiciously implemented.
The Directorate of the Citizen’s Rights set up to help indigent residents of the State to get justice appears to be moribund. It should be strengthened and made efficient and accessible. We also express deep dismay over the ongoing industrial disharmony between Your Distinguished Council and the State Judiciary workers, which has grounded court activities for months. We fear that police operatives, especial operatives of the SARS may have resorted to their usual jungle justice practices, which include extra-judicial killings, unlawful detention, torture, illegal arrest and unlawful raiding of dwelling and non-dwelling houses. We task Your Distinguished Council to negotiate with the striking JUSUN workers with a view to resolving same and restoring normal court activities in the State.
The security of lives and property in Anambra State has been very challenging, especially since the emergence of Your Distinguished Council on March 17, 2006. It took a dangerous dimension when deadly politicians and bloody business moguls in Nnewi, etc introduced politically motivated and ill-conceived kidnapping, bank/bullion van robbery, bloody robbery and killing without robbing methodologies. It is therefore appreciated that Your Distinguished Council had spent over N4Billion in security since 2006, especially in the areas of patrol vehicular, gadgets and over-head costs. The confinement of over 600 armed vigilante groups in the State to their areas of security engagement so as to ensure sanity is also appreciated. We pay tribute to Chief Simon Okeke, former Chairman, Police Service Commission, Colonel John Enenche of the Engineering Regiment, Onitsha Army Barracks, CP John Haruna, Retired DCP Amusa Bello and CP Philemon Leha for their commendable efforts in controlling crimes in the State during their tenures and postings here, especially when the State faced stiff challenges in the hands of some dare-devil politicians who laid siege to the State with their “political” kidnappers, bank robbers and murderers pretending to be habitual armed robbers. The leadership of the SSS in the State is also commended for its efforts in ensuring crime reduction in the State.
The problem with security in the State is further compounded by the proliferation of monstrous vigilantism, illicit small arms and rabid corruption and bribery in the State Police Command. Today, private persons for the purpose of asserting naked power and money making raise vigilantes from left, right and center. Police abuses range from extra-judicial killings, torture, unlawful arrest and detention to extortion at source (police stations and check-points). Presently, Anambra roads are flooded with over 300 police extortion points, fetching the Command N60million monthly with each manned by a four to five-person extortionist squad. From Military Police, “SWAT” Personnel, Mobile Police Personnel to Regular Police Personnel, their stock-in-trade remains extortion and brutality. Out of every five persons arrested and taken to Police Station by the State Police personnel, at least four are extorted and molested. Ninety-five percent of commercial road users in the State tip police personnel at each extortion point otherwise called “check-point” in police parlance.
The tip-sum ranges from N20.00 to N300.00 depending on the category of the commercial vehicles involved. Furthermore, out of every five private vehicle owners that have their vehicles impounded on the road by police in the State, over minor errors in their vehicles’ papers, such as omission of an alphabet or a number, five of them are grossly extorted; same applies to traders conveying goods to their destinations. Onitsha and Nnewi Zones are worst hit by these criminal activities. Your Distinguished Council’s attention is also drawn to the menace of hoodlums and personnel of the Okpoko Police Station at Lagos and Aba Parks’ axis, which includes “Micmerah” Park to outer Ogbaru Relief Market as well as Old Asaba/TRACAS Park down to the Lagos Park. The criminal activities going on there contribute to 40 percent of negative perception given to Onitsha Upper Iweka by travelers and visitors.
The said criminal activities involve pick-pocketing, snatching of bags, forceful offloading and on-loading of goods from commercial buses and charging and collection of outrageous service charges, robbing private vehicle owners especially those passing through Onitsha, by asking them to wind down as well as summarily robbing pedestrians. The police personnel on their part, who usually go in mufti, engage in “wetin-you-carry” and other forms of police abuse. The worst of it all is that almost all the police personnel stationed in the area are said to have compromised, that is to say they receive daily “returns” from those hoodlums. Another “gold-mine” for Anambra Police Personnel is what they called “road worthiness”, routinely demanded from private vehicle owners. The clear intent of such unlawful act is to extort. In Anambra State of today, police personnel do the works of armed robbers and other property and violent criminals, the judges and magistrates, Custom & Excise, Immigration Service and the Federal Road Safety Corps, all with intent to extort and rob. Anambra State Police Command can safely be described as “the Anambra State Police Company Limited”. Okpoko Police Station, Ogidi Police Station, Onitsha Central Police Station, Awka Central Police Station, Nnewi Central Police Station, Awkuzu SARS Headquarters, Ekwulobia SARS Office, Nnewi SARS Office, Onitsha Inland Town Police Station and Nnewi Area Command are the 10 most deadly Police Formations in the State, which should be brought under the watchful eyes of Your Distinguished Council
We task Your Distinguished Council to prevail on the Commissioner of Police Anambra State Command to immediately put effective measures in place to tackle all these. Future assistance from Your Distinguished Council should be tied to the conditions that the Command must be human rights and public friendly. A crack team of detectives should be deployed to those hot areas of Onitsha Upper Iweka so as to clear them of hoodlums. As for the reports of gradual resurgence of violent and property crimes particularly in Nnewi, Awka and Onitsha Zones, Your Distinguished Council is tasked not to rest on its oars and ensure that it is on top of same at all times. The eagle eyes of Your Distinguished Council should also be beamed at all times on some deadly politicians from Anambra State, some of whom were recently inaugurated as “federal legislators” as well as some Nnewi-based business moguls who are believed to have set up private armies to dislodge their business opponents by way of abduction, assassination and stage-managed armed robbery attacks.
Construction/Reconstruction/Rehabilitation of Roads & Bridges:
It is worthy to note that the “road revolution” in Anambra State started with the illegal regime of Dr. Chris Ngige, which started and completed 193 kilometers, out of about 1000 kilometers of dilapidated State road network. In the nationally recognized network of road of about 194,000 kilometers, about 30,000 belongs to the Federal Government, 34,500 to the 36 States while the remaining 129,500 belongs to the 774 LGAs in Nigeria. There are about 14 Federal Roads in Anambra State and the State has over 1,300 kilometers of Trunk A (federal) and B (State) roads, with Trunk B accounting for about 1000 kilometers. It is highly appreciated that Your Distinguished Council had continued from where the illegal regime of Dr. Chris Ngige stopped by not only continuing and completing those the illegal regime started such as Umunze-Umuchu-Uga-Ezinifite-Igbo-ukwu Road, which Your Distinguished Council took over at Amesi and completed it at Igbo-ukwu as well as given attention to those built by the illegal regime, which have failed such as Amawbia Bypass, Ideani-Abagana, Isekke-Ukpor and Nnewi-Nnobi Roads, etc. As at last count, out of the State’s 1000 kilometers of Trunk B roads, about 700 kilometers have been built, with about 193 kilometers going to the illegal regime of Dr. Chris Ngige and about 500 kilometers to Your Distinguished Council.
Outside the State roads, it is noted and appreciated that the illegal regime of Dr. Chris Ngige rehabilitated the Niger Bridgehead and the Zik’s Roundabout portion of the Onitsha-Enugu Dual Carriage Way. Appreciated also is the fact that Your Distinguished Council is doing some federal roads such as Atani-Ogwuikpere Federal Road, Nkpor-Awka-Enugu Old (federal) Road and Oba- Nnewi-Federal Road, which are all under construction and at the advanced stages of completion. It is also a fact to note that most of the township roads built in Awka and Upper Onitsha (Odoakpu, Inland-town and GRA) were started and completed by Your Distinguished Council. What make Your Distinguished Council’s road building patterns unique are their LGA and rural community connectivity as well as recent establishment of the Anambra State Road Maintenance Agency with pieces of equipment procured, so as to ensure prompt and steady maintenance of those in bad shapes.
Today, Anambra State is leading others, with the exception of few States such as FCT, Rivers (?), Cross River (?) and Lagos (?) as the State with best network of link roads in Nigeria. Some State residents now catch fun by touring the three Senatorial Districts by road at weekends as a result of their magnificent connectivity. While the ancient Oji River LGA in Enugu State celebrated recently the first tarred road since 1999 (still under construction), Anambra road network has gone beyond LGA to LGA connectivity to community-to-community connectivity. Outside Your Distinguished Council’s road building artistry, the construction and completion of the State’s two giant Secretariat buildings is noted and appreciated. The building of first and second Business Parks, Onitsha North & South LGA Secretariats, two mini stadiums and other public buildings across the State is also appreciated. The completion of the strategic Ede Road in Okpoko Layout, Ogbaru LGA is noted and appreciated so also numerous ongoing road projects in Omambala (core river-line) areas of the State. It is also noted and appreciated the ongoing construction of 15 bridge projects across the State, particularly the completion of the 65-meter Odo River Bridge in Awgbu/Amaokpara Communities.
Owing to the fact that Anambra roads attract highest number of users or vehicles including heavy trucks and the environmentally unfriendly activities such as indiscriminate dumping of refuse inside drainages or by the road sides and blocking of same as well as laying of communication cables and burning of tyres at the center of the road, there is urgent need for the services of the State’s Ministry of Environment and the Road Maintenance Agency to be brought to bear to remedy these problems at all times. As we celebrate with Your Distinguished Council over the enviable feat recorded in the road sector, we must point out that the deplorable state of the Onitsha-Enugu Federal Road; especially its Onitsha Niger Bridge to Upper Iweka/Nkpor New Tyre Market axis (Onitsha) and the UNIZIK Junction (Awka) to Amansea axis tend to rubbish these efforts. The impression these deplorable spots create especially among visitors is that Anambra State is akin to the Land of Kivu in the Congo DRC. This has earned us an undeserved pig name of “Ezi-Nwangene”.
Consequently, we task Your Distinguished Council to seek for an approval from the President & Commander-in-Chief of Nigeria to do the road, especially its six-lane aspect from the Bridgehead to the Zik’s Roundabout in Onitsha so as to be refunded later. In the event the State’s “enemy”- politicians attempt to block the authorization, in the name of politics, Your Distinguished Council should alert us and other civil society groups in the State such as the Civil Liberties Organization so that we will declare a total media and international campaign until such is granted. We understand that the Governor has since written to President Jonathan to make the said request. The request should expressly be granted, because failure to grant such a sacred request on the part of Mr. President amounts to levying of another war against the Igbo race.
While the State celebrates her magnificent road network and connectivity, lower Onitsha zone such as Fegge, Woliwo Layout, Omagba Phases I&II, Awada/Ugwuagba, Nkpor, Obosi, Odume Layout, Ogidi, Iyiowa Odekpe, Okpoko and Nkutaku Layout still find it difficult in terms of key access roads leading to their areas. Same thing applies to Nnewi zone especially the heart of its urban. There is need to ease the hardship being experienced by tarring at least two key access street roads, each, for the named areas. This can be done using the State’s Road Maintenance Agency at cheaper rates. For instance, in Fegge area, Arondizogu-Onitsha South Mini Stadium Road, Ozubulu/Bishop Shanahan Street, Okwuenu Street, Mbonu-Ojike Street and Premier Brewery’s Road are its key access street roads. The recent completion of the Silas Works Road project is commendable, but we plead that its Fegge Housing to Onitsha-Enugu Expressway axis should also be asphalted.
In Iyiowa Odekpe Layout in Ogbaru LGA, New Road/Ihitenasaa Street, School Road and Acha Street are major access roads. In Awada Layout, Oraifite Street, Ezeiweka Road and Mgbemene Street are major street roads. In Okpoko/Nkutaku Layout, G.M.O Road and Ogbuagu Road are major roads. In Woliwo Layout, Akunnia–Njoto Street and Ihembosi Street are major street roads. In Nkpor Agu Layout, which connects Omagba Phase II and Nkpor, John Nwadiogbu Street, Ichie Aguiyi Lane and Azodo Street by United Primary School and Mercedes Avenue are major street roads. In Nnewi North urban, Bank Road and Nkwo Triangle are major roads. Oraifite Street and Ezeiweka Road in Awada Layout, Obosi have almost cut into two. In Ugwuagba Layout in Obosi, Amanato Street and Pope John Paul Road are major street roads. In Omagba Phase I, Water Works Road needs urgent rehabilitation. In Omagba Phase II, Nkpor, Umunya Street is its major street road.
For other strategic shorter streets in these areas to receive due government attention, our team of researchers has discovered the cheapest means of building shorter street roads with ten years life span. For instance, a kilometer of road in present labour market in Nigeria goes for between N150Million and N200Million depending on terrain. It costs more in core river-line areas. But our recent findings arithmetically showed that using “Ogbo-mmanu” (direct labour) architectural ingenuity, a street road of about 500 meters (half kilometer) could be tarred with just N20Million or $135,000 as against N100Million or about $670,000. What is simply required is mass recruitment of masons on the basis of daily pay depending on the number of bags of cement mixed and thrusted daily. The method requires solid mixture of fifteen bags of cement with one trip of white sand and a trip of “chippings” with required quantity of water, which can also be used simultaneously to construct sizeable drainage or gutter. The thrusting of a street road can be covered in four to seven days at most. Strategic entrances into various markets in Onitsha are where the method was successfully applied and despite heavy trucks that offload and on-load goods on daily basis, yet they have lasted for up to ten years. Even if they decay, they can easily be scrapped and new ones re-thrusted.
With N100Million, Your Distinguished Council can comfortably do five shorter street roads in any of the Anambra urban areas. The State’s Road Maintenance Agency or private firms can do the longer street roads that connect these shorter streets with bigger gutters or drainages, while this method can be applied on these shorter streets like Abagana Street, Anambra Street, etc in Fegge, Onitsha. The rural community road projects of Your Distinguished Council should be consolidated. To this end, Umuchu-Achina-Onne-Ogboji Road and Achina-Enugu-umuonyia-Ezira-Umunze Road all in Aguata and Orumba North and Orumba South LGAs should be considered so as to open up the areas for maximum socio-economic benefits of the people of the areas. Also the E-E E Road, that is to say Ekwulobia-Ezinifite-Ekwulummiri Road and its Old Uga Airport-Ifite-Ezinifite-Uga/Ekwulummiri Bypass should also be considered by Your Distinguished Council. The ongoing construction of Ekwulobia-Aguluezechukwu- Ogboji- Akpu Road and Ekwulobia-Nkpologwu-Achina-Umuchu Road in the same area is noted and appreciated, but the pace of work on them should be expedited.
Appreciated is the fact that Your Distinguished Council had started and completed some gully erosion control projects, while others totaling 27 site projects worth billions of naira are under construction across the State. The evacuation of the age-long heaps of refuse, which are mountain-size at the Creek Road/Nwangene River side, is celebrated. Appreciated also is the dredging of legendary Sakamori Drainage in Onitsha, which collects Onitsha flood to the Niger River. Before the dredging commenced in 2008, at least 200 residents of Okpoko and Fegge Communities were crushed to death by the flood that overflow same, while those who resided around Silas Works, part of the Fegge Housing Estate, Creek Road, etc abandoned their residences. It is also worthy to mention the successful dredging and re-opening of the Iyiagu Flood Channel in Awka, which was blocked for private building projects during the regime of Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju. In 2008 for instance, at least 8 people lost their lives to flood menace in the area.
It is safe to submit that out of the country’s over 5000 devastating gullies, over 4000 are found in the Southeast and Anambra State accounts for about 1000. In spite of the successes mentioned above, the environmental policy of Your Distinguished Council is near-zero going by international best practices. Deforestation activities in the State have risen to an apogee. Except for services rendered by the management of LAGA Environmental Services Limited in outer Onitsha zone, the services of the Anambra State Environmental Protection Agency (ANSEPA) and the State Ministry of Environment are very poor. They seem to be more interested in collecting sanitation fees with accompanied poor service delivery. Many, if not most of the empty plots, gutters; roads and riversides have been converted to refuse dumping sites (see Atani-Ogwuikpere Federal Road from Power Mike Sports Complex down to St Gregory Cath. Church). Whenever it rains, some families especially those residing in Okpoko (Ogbaru LGA), Odoakpu (Onitsha), Awada (Obosi), etc, resort to dumping refuse inside gutters because of the absence of refuse containers or befitting dumping sites. Urban and town planning are frequently altered in Onitsha and Nnewi zones to the extent that many residential areas now house medium and large scale industries producing harmful substances dangerous to human health. Some petroleum filling stations are built very close to residential houses. Awada and Iyiowa Layouts are typical examples. Some markets such as Onitsha Main Market have become “bread industry’s ovens” or suffocation enclave owing to steady alteration of the original market plans and over population.
Gutters and drainages are routinely blocked and churches, filling stations, market stores and residential buildings erected. State and LGA lands are also sold to land speculators under dubious circumstances and as it stands now, there are no befitting public cemetery and refuse dumping sites in the heart of Onitsha zone. There is also indiscriminate felling of trees in Onitsha urban. Three deep gullies on Onitsha-Enugu Expressway, which is at the Ogboefele Market Junction, Chisco by Relief Market Junction and Oraifite Street Junction may cut the Road into parts unless something is done urgently. Your Distinguished Council’s Commissioner in-charge of Environment, Chief Mike Egbebuike is not environmentally in-charge. One major failure of the good network of roads built by Your Distinguished Council is total absence of flowering and beautification. The Nkpor Old Road, from Zik’s Roundabout to Nkpor Junction, Awka Road (Onitsha), Miss Elems Street (Onitsha), Onitsha Zik’s Avenue, Modebe Avenue and Iweka Road (Onitsha) and their likes in Nnewi and Awka zones are spacious enough to be demarcated (dualized) by using concrete bricks; lightened and flowered. The Environment Ministry’s space management policy is also next to zero. Flowers and good space management beautify cities but this is hardly seen in any part of Anambra State. Our spaces are adorned with shanties and kiosks.
Furthermore, Onitsha and environs are under siege by mosquitoes .The worst hit is Okpoko, Iyiowa Odekpe and Fegge Housing Estate. This explains why a medical doctor, recently elected to represent one of the two Fegge Onitsha Constituencies in the State House of Assembly, won his election credibly on the basis of the fact that he fumigated his constituency, which instantly earned him a new nickname “the mosquito killer”. In the area of waste management, more metal refuse containers should be provided in strategic street joints for refuse collected to be evacuated at least three times a week. Every landlord, church, market, school, hospital, filling station, industry, motor park, street trader, etc should be directed to keep their surroundings clean at all times, including ensuring that gutters and drainages around them are cleared of any waste. A law shall be made to sanction the defaulters. Gutters carrying flood to the Niger River from Uga Junction (on both sides) to the Bridgehead, on Onitsha-Enugu Expressway, are an eyesore. They are filled with dirt and stagnant water and stink as well. Something very urgent and effective should be done about it.
The menace of street traders in the State, particularly Onitsha zone has become unbearable. For instance, the activity of the Iron Dealers Market, which occupies Atani Road to Uga Junction and Uga Junction to Port Harcourt Road, has become a public nuisance. These important public roads are blocked with impunity. Sanity should be restored to this very important passage. Traders of the Ochanja Market are also not helping matters. Apart from blocking their spacious frontage, they also refuse to open the blocked gutters on Zik’s Avenue by Ochanja axis; instead, they trade on top of same and dump refuse inside same. They should be made to be law abiding. It is also sad to note that the multi million naira State Government Motor Park on Onitsha-Owerri Road, constructed by Your Distinguished Council meant to decongest the Onitsha end of the Onitsha-Owerri Road has not been put to good use as the area remains congested while the Park is almost empty. Efforts should be made to move all commercial buses to the Park so as to decongest the area including Aba Park and clear the area of touts and hoodlums.
Observations & Recommendations:
We unforgettably observe Your Distinguished Council’s achievements in water resources, sports, women development, science & technology, commerce & industries, agriculture, etc. Specifically noted is the presence of the world’s largest brewery, the SAB Miller Breweries of South Africa in Anambra State, which is presently investing over 100Million US Dollars on its newly acquired plot in Ogbaru, near Onitsha. The 22 ongoing medium water scheme projects across the State including Onitsha, Awka and Nnewi zones are noted and appreciated. The positive responses of the various international donor and development agencies on the development of our beloved State are very commendable. Your Distinguished Council must also be commended for being politically tolerant and creating conducive atmosphere for the expression of free opinions without recourse to political violence and undue use of legal machinery against the dissent.
The quality of people elected into the State House of Assembly in the April 2011 polls is highly celebrated. This is the first time since 1999 that many candidates are winning their legislative polls credibly. The incoming House and Your Distinguished Council have a duty to work harmoniously. There should be a comprehensive review of all the “black market” laws passed by the fifth and sixth sessions of the House of assembly of Anambra State of Nigeria. The seventh House of Assembly of the State should also review a set of laws passed at eleventh hour by the out-gone House, which includes the so-called “Law on Life Pensions for Speakers, Deputy Speakers, Governors and Deputy Governors” The Governor may return same to them for an amendment or to be rested in the parliamentary abeyance if socially harmful.
However, the way and manner the present Commissioner for Information handles his information management is condemned unreservedly. The Commissioner, Chief Maja Umeh, is seemingly not alive to his duties. The management of the Anambra State Broadcasting Service (radio and television) headed by Mrs. Chinwe Nnebedum is a failure by any standard. The ABS has gone back to the Mbadinuju and Ngige eras when praise singing, obituaries and advertisements were the only news items dotting the Service. Also the sudden redeployment of Mr. Oseloka Offor to Administration from the post of Director, News is totally magisterial and uncalled for. More so when Mr. Offor’s programme is the only means available to invite informed citizens to critically assess the State Government and educate the public. The ABS management should totally be overhauled, including re-posting of Mr. Offor back to the News Desk and appointment of an information egghead as its next managing director. Like government doctors, some workers of the Station are engaged in multiple employments including Nolly Wood Film making, but at the end of every month, they surface at the Station for their statutory salaries and allowances.
Chief Sylva Nwobu- Alor is too “big” to be left to continue to be in-charge of Parks & Markets as a “Special Adviser” to the Governor. He should be redeployed to the Chieftaincy Affairs to manage relationship between the Governor and the State Traditional Rulers as well as licensed traditional medical practitioners. The “Transport” added to the duties of the Commissioner for Special Duties should be removed and made a full fledge ministry. One of the banes of some, if not many of Governor Peter Obi’s commissioners and special advisers is armchair syndrome and simulation of their ministerial duties. They are also too elitist and very faraway from the people of the State, especially traders and artisans, who constitute majority of the residents in the State. The concept of “Peopling Governance” or taking governance to the people is non-existent in their ministerial polices. They are too bookish and hardly found in the fields except in their air-conditioned offices.
Consequently, the next set of commissioners and special advisers must be made to have grass-root potentials in addition to requisite expertise in their would-be ministries. Orientation retreats should be organized for the incoming commissioners and special advisers so as to make them “grass-root commissioners and special advisers”. A leaf should be borrowed from the MD of ANIDS Transport Scheme who travels, periodically, around the country to monitor the activities of the Scheme with a view to ensuring efficiency among his workers. The next Commissioner for Information must have innovative ideas, including how to organize public forums in markets, parks and even mechanic villages to explain government activities and take and answer questions. If a Commissioner feels that he or she “is too big” to relate with “illiterate traders” then, let him or her stays away from such an appointment or resign if he or she has been appointed.
Apart from the post-State Executive Council’s meetings’ press briefings, the next Commissioner for Information should organize “public” press briefings outside his or her office with journalists from both “friendly” and “unfriendly” print and electronic media outfits. If the “unfriendly” electronic media refuse to air the outcome of such briefings, they can be aired under “commercial news”. Every Commissioner should be made to file on weekly basis, the summary of his or her ministerial activities, especially the achievements and failures, with the Information Ministry for their incorporation into the brochure for the Information Commissioner’s “town hall forums”.
As earlier recommended, the State’s IGR collection methods should be harmonized, codified and consolidated. To this end, sanity should be restored therein by inaugurating a well-packaged IGR collection bureau to be incorporated into the ANIDS multi sectoral Scheme, in collaboration with the Joint Tax Collection Board and the LGA revenue collection agencies. The proposed joint revenue collection bureau members should be given common uniform dresses with ANIDS tags. They should also be properly orientated and well remunerated. Since the State and the LGAs have Joint Accounts, they should have joint revenue collectors as well. Indiscriminate collection of revenues by almost every Ministry and Parastatal in the State should be banned except those to be statutorily empowered after the harmonization. The usurpation of certain government revenues such as public sanitation levies, by some landlords associations such as, some say, the Awada Landlords Association in collaboration with some shylock contractors, should be prohibited.
The last time the Local Government Poll was held in the State was in December 1998, which is almost thirteen years ago and this is a violation of Section 7 of the Constitution of 1999, as amended. Even though the Local Government System in Nigeria has become a waste of public funds, warranting calls for its abrogation, but until that is answered constitutionally; this constitutional demand must be met. Therefore, we task Your Distinguished Council to conduct a credible LGA poll preferably by November or December 2011, which is one year after it was earlier fixed (December 4, 2010) before its postponement owing to threats by the Action Congress of Nigeria to quash it judicially if conducted with the Old Voters’ Register.
Lastly, “our reservations” columns in this letter should be critically x-rayed by Your Distinguished Council with a view to finding solutions to issues that were raised therein. This Memo is also a roadmap for an advanced transformation of the State from 2011 to 2014. It may also serve as a credible benchmark for the Nigerian populace to assess Your Distinguished Council’s performance as well as a handover memo to Your Distinguished Council’s successors.
In grand summary therefore, by Nigerian standard, Your Distinguished Council has done well to the best of its abilities and available circumstances. But by international standards, Anambra State, just like Lagos State, has not arrived. The two States still wallow in acute darkness courtesy of chronic power failure, with failed industries and teeming unemployed graduates still roaming the streets. Therefore, we thank Your Distinguished Council for its five years of actionable services to our Beloved State of Anambra. Again, we urge Your Distinguished Council’s members (commissioners and special advisers) to prepare their handover notes and be ready to be dissolved so as to give room for injection of new blood and fresh ideas.
In matters of government protocol, it may be wrong to address a letter to the head and copy his or her subordinate, but we sincerely plead with Your Distinguished Council and His Excellency, Mr. Peter Gregory Onwubuashi Obi, to allow us step down the existing protocol by copying this Memo to Your Distinguished Council and Governor Obi’s subordinates for ease of reference and convenience.
The following documents are attached for further authentication of what we have written:
*A printed form for private and commercial motorcycle operators in the State, emanating from office of the Commissioner for Special Duties & Transport, requesting for compulsory payment of the so-called “Identification Fees”.
*A Sanitation Levy “Demand Notice” emanating from offices of the ANSEPA Chairman and the Commissioner for Environment containing all categories of levies to be paid as well as demand for the payment of two years arrears (2010 and 2011).
*A “Demand Notice” emanating from the State Commissioner for Water Resources demanding for payment of three years arrears (2009 to 2011) for the so-called “borehole license, water quality analysis and renewal fees”.
*A Copy of Sanitation Receipt emanating from the Awada Central Landlords’ Association containing the payment sum of N21,600 for 12 months, dated 6th of October 2010 made by residents of No. 14B Orsumoghu Street, Awada, a seeming evidence of public revenue collected and diverted into private pockets. The receipt bears thus “Anambra State Government, Ministry of Solid Minerals & Environment In Collaboration with Awada Central Landlords’ Association”.
We sincerely hope that this very important Memo of ours shall be judiciously and proactively handled?
Yours In The Service For The New And Enviable Anambra State Of Nigeria,
Chairman, Board of Trustees
Amaka Biachi Nwosu
Head, Research & Strategy
+234 (0) 8035532707
Head, Publicity Desk
1. The President & Commander-in-Chief, Federal of Nigeria, FCT, Abuja
2. Chairman, Governing Board, National Human Rights Commission, FCT, Abuja
3. Chairman, Police Service Commission, FCT, Abuja
4. Inspector General of Police, FCT, Abuja
5. Head, European Union Mission in Nigeria, FCT, Abuja
6. The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, FCT, Abuja
7. The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, FCT, Abuja
8. Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, FCT, Abuja
9. Attorney General of Anambra State & Commissioner for Justice, Awka, Anambra State
10. Commissioner for Local Government & Chieftaincy Affairs, Awka, Anambra State
11. Commissioner for Budget & Economic Planning, Awka, Anambra State
12. Commissioner for Education, Awka, Anambra State
13. Commissioner for Health, Awka, Anambra State
14. Commissioner for Lands, Survey & Urban Planning, Awka, Anambra State
15. Commissioner for Environment, Awka, Anambra State
16. Commissioner for Finance, Awka, Anambra State
17. Commissioner for Works, Awka, Anambra state
18. Commissioner for Water Resources, Awka, Anambra State
19. Commissioner for Information, Awka, Anambra State
20. Commissioner for Commerce, Awka, Anambra State
21. The Accountant General of Anambra State, Awka, Anambra State
22. Auditor General of Anambra State, Awka, Anambra State
23. Commissioner for Special Duties & Transport, Awka, Anambra State
24. Special Adviser to the Governor on Parks & Markets, Awka, Anambra State
25. Commissioner of Police, Anambra State Command, Awka, Anambra State
26. Director of SSS, Anambra State Directorate, Awka, Anambra State
27. The Nnewi Police Area Commander, Nnewi, Anambra State
28. The Awka Police Area Commander, Awka, Anambra State
29. The Onitsha Police Area Commander, Onitsha, Anambra State.
30. Executive Director, Human Rights Watch, New York, USA
31. The Secretary General, Amnesty International, London, UK
32. Civil Liberties Organization, Lagos, Nigeria
33. Campaign for Democracy, Lagos, Nigeria
34. Other Relevant Bodies within and outside Nigeria
Photo Above: Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Intersociety, 41, Miss Elems Street, Fegge, Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria.
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