*Much Ado About Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) And APCON's Position
By Chris Onyishi
I was glossing over a brother’s posts in the FACE BOOK recently and I stumbled over where he dropped a link to an article in the TheGuardian Nigeria, with the caption “Foreign Direct Investment: A Vote for APCON Reforms” which is credited to one Edwin Madueme.
An excerpt from that article read thus:
"The thing our government must do and urgently too, is to properly define who a foreign investor is. And for the avoidance of doubt, foreign investment does not include someone coming into the country to feed from values already developed and milk a market already ripe while funneling proceeds to his or her home country. A foreign investor is one (either an individual or a body corporate) with capital in terms of finance, technology or product capable of boosting the economy, generating income for the citizens and raising the standards of life in the country of destination. A foreign investment that dislocates and deprives citizens of opportunities must be seen as flying in the face of overriding national interest." ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria showing its 36 states and Federal capital (Abuja or FCT)
Without any prejudice, whatsoever, to the article and the position of APCON on the matter of foreign investment, I have entirely a different opinion about this issue. But a nation that is really wishing for or posing to be inviting a foreign investor will first put its infrastructures in the most minimally acceptable level.We do not need to go to Harvard or London School of Economics to understand this.
You do not expect an investor who comes with his own power, water, road, housing, security, etc to dance around – snuff ("ataba") in his palm – with you. No. It doesn’t happen that way. I know of a company in Nigeria that spends well over eighteen million Naira monthly on energy alone.
But I know a lot of people would quickly want to tell me that coming in to install our power system for us is also an investment except we are only looking at advertising as the only area that is calling for foreign direct investment in our country.
If you dare tell me that, then I will reply and say to you that some basic infrastructures are not good in the hands of foreign investors. We have to get our energy system right. We should be able to have close to 100% control of our energy supplies and close to 100% stable energy supply. And the good thing about some of these things is that they are at the level of technology and not rocket science anymore. There is little we will need from outside when it comes to installation of power systems. But corruption would not let us be.
Nigeria, as a nation, must define how it wants to become a truly independent nation first. We must put our house in order first. All these noise of one misguided President or one obtuse Minister trotting around the globe in the name of fishing for investors is arrant nonsense. Foreign Direct Investment (or FDI as they call it to make it sound big) initiative of the Federal Government is another disillusioned swaggering of the government which does not and will never be situated around any known principle.
What our rulers fail to understand is that there are certain issues you do not wish out or dream about without clear and well synchronized initiative. What people do not know is that you do not look for investors. Investors are smart guys who know where the atmosphere is safe and ripe to locate their funds and get good returns while not hurting the environment.
Our rulers are still leaving in the past and do not know that with the advent a what is known as global village, no one needs to come to your land before he or she knows how you stand. And even without the help of the electronic information systems, most of these foreigners have their embassy and offices in our country who feed them back on the true position.
One needs to see how sympathetic their hosts feel as they watch our rulers ramble about obtrusive investment climate in our country where they know none exists. They would usually, as well informed diplomats, give them a pat on the shoulder and assure them that they may even rich our shores before them. They never come. And our naïve rulers would, after spending and saving their loots in those lands, come back to play videos of empty promises from these country leaders and government agencies and the investor groups.
You can delude yourself, as an administration, to say that your climate is good for investment but the statement being made clearly shows that you are just fooling about. Are we so harangued to forget, so soon, that a corporate organization known as Michelin once had an operational location in Nigeria? Is Michelin still in Nigeria? Has Michelin come back to Nigeria? Has the reason and circumstances that drove Michelin out of Nigeria changed? What are we talking about? And I just want to save space here otherwise I can go on and on to mention hundreds of corporate organizations that have left our shores doe to unacceptable business environment.
It does not seem to me that our rulers are yet serious "... by the stretch of any imagination", if you permit me to use one of my brothers’ words. A country where a governor gives out cars to celebrities as a wedding gift and some spend millions of Naira in society weddings – in the face of abject poverty – and the President is all over the country commissioning churches built with looted funds does not strike a chord to me as a country of creative and proactive "leaders" that understand what minimal infrastructure is needed before asking anybody to come to invest.
I feel ashamed when people who do everything, good and bad, to get to power eventually get there and they cannot even come up with pulverizing argument about what they set out to achieve. If you are a crook and you have a very creative way of being one, I do not even mind. What turns me crazy is when you are a big fool and you do not even understand how foolish you are. If you understand that your “leader” or ruler is a creative person, but only surrounded by very naïve adventurers, you will have solace in time. But the truth is that very creative leaders know how to choose the best team.
That Stephen Keshi assembled the team that brought glory to Nigeria in the recently concluded AFCON goes beyond the fact that the lads are good. The crux of the matter is that Mr. Keshi has the intuition to know which of the lads from the pack is good and has the experience, will and sincerity of purpose to galvanize the individual strengths of these lads and use same to bring about a feat which our corrupt rulers now align with to claim that they are doing well.
Can you imagine a whole Senate President leading a delegation of government to a football tournament just to underscore the fact that this upper house identifies the galvanizing force of soccer or sports? Nobody undermines the efficacy of sports in engendering national development but an administration that touts success in sports as its achievement is an idle one.
The President has severally told us that he is on top of everything including our security. But it is on record that Nigeria has never - in the annals of our country - lost more human beings in security related issues, except during the civil war, than in this regime through Boko Haram alone.
It may be easy to fool everybody in Nigeria that all is well, but it won’t be easy to fool investors who are smart guys that the country is safe for any good investment. The only investors who would be willing to come to Nigeria at this point in time are only those who are racketeers and whose investment would only be to throw themselves up as mannequins for corrupt politicians to cart away their loots to foreign lands.
Part of the proof of countries and nations that are ripe for foreign investment is that their rulers or leaders do not need to carry their wealth (ill or well gotten) to other lands.
If any investor is set to do real and sincere work in Nigeria today, he or she will end up employing Nigerians as slaves whose income would be below a living wage. This will aggravate corruption in the land and the politicians will keep wallowing in unmitigated absurdities.
Our rulers have to, first, convince themselves and the local citizens that our land is safe and ripe for investment and thereafter the modalities for foreign participation would be spelt out. Today genuine local investors are regularly suffering under various levels of government by way of dual and triple taxations when these same governments never care to play their own side of the bargain by providing any meaningful infrastructure for investment.
What you get as infrastructure is that some governors erect street lights that are powered by generators kept along the streets. Then you get some senators and representatives who have bought over all the lands in their states and the Federal Capital territories where they have erected hotels and radio stations and churches from looted funds. That is what they try to sell to the foreigners as an indication of fertile investment environment.
Chris Onyishi (email@example.com) writes from Owerri, Nigeria.
*The Struggle For The Soul of The Catholic Church in Ahiara Diocese
By Chris Onyishi
I had sometime put up a rejoinder to an article on this matter which I titled “The Struggle For The Soul of The Catholic Church in Ahiara Diocese”. I stumbled on another piece credited to Mr. Uche Ezechukwu which he captioned “Mbaise Versus Catholic Church” on The Sun – May 20th 2013. I initially felt like giving this piece the title of “Mr. Uche Ezechukwu Versus Mbaise People” before I considered that it would sound too parochial.
I will amend that piece to make it reactive to the issues Mr. Ezechukwu raised on The Sun of the above date which is also linked.
“The Church in its over 2000-year history has seen and weathered greater challenges and this one by the rabble-rousers from the Ahiara Diocese and a few of their supporters is only a storm in the teacup which will be also weathered by the Church.”
The above excerpt by Mr. Ezechukwu, in the said article, is not only arrogant but indicative of someone who does not even believe in what he is professing. Obtuse and arrogant statement wasn’t what Jesus Christ was known for. Mr Ezechukwu depicted himself as someone who is not very keen on the developments in the Catholic Church all along its evolution. I am not going to dwell on the changes that had taken place in the Catholic Church over the years which the Celibacy issue was a major one. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: A Christian Church service
It seems that as a columnist on Capital Matters – on The Sun (Nigeria), Mr. Ezechukwu has trespassed out of his known domain and has chosen to make up for his short comings in an unfamiliar terrain with incandescent arrogance. People who have the opportunity of doing columns on a respectable or mainstream print media must learn to be civil in their analysis of very provocative matters.
In as much as I am not an authority in Catholic Church maters, I have this instinct that the church must begin to accommodate the feelings of the immediate flock where it exists or it wishes to exist.
One of the strongest points in the agitation by Africans – that the next Pope should be an African – during the last search for the replacement of retiring John Paul was that, even though the seat of the Catholic church is in Europe, providence or circumstantial prudence demands that an African be made the Pope in view of their numbers within the body of Christ.
Mr. Ezechukwu, in my opinion, is an intelligent person. But my question to him is: Did Africa and Africans have any point in their demand based on their strength? The tradition of the Catholic Church should also be weighed against the population and feeling of the church. And I think the Catholic Church is sufficiently aware that followership is the strength of any church.
According to Mr. Ezechukwu, “Any Catholic, especially a priest who does not respect or accept, without question, the dictates of the Church, which, in any case is not a democracy, has automatically ruled him or herself out as a Catholic. Such a person should no longer have the right to use the institution or premises of the Catholic Church. That vocal and irresponsible Mbaise activists, currently embarrassing the very pious and active Catholics from the diocese, should be known and taken for what they are – rogue Catholics and the constituted authorities of the State should take note of their nuisance factor, especially at this time when the country cannot afford another social blow-out by selfish and self-serving deviants.”
The above excerpt, from Mr. Ezechukwu’s piece on The Sun, is most unexpected assertion from someone who believes in the doctrine of the Catholic Church and I think Mr. Ezechukwu got it all wrong. He is too abrasive. One would have expected Mr. Ezechukwu to be more civil and light hearted if he is really supposed to be seeing the event in Ahiara Diocese from the perspective of a good Catholic. Once in a while, in the said publication, he used some derogatory language on a people just because he wants to make a point and to protect the interest of the junior brother to his – “nwa nwa ibem” – maternal cousin. I guess he may be trying to secure the favor of the yet to be ordained bishop now that the coast seems clear that the ordination is a matter of hours.
Catholic Church may not be a democracy as Mr. Ezechukwu wishes people to understand, but any dynamic mind will realize that the Church of the late 19th century is far way back such that people will not want to use that time against the believers of the 21st century.
If a church refuses to be responsive to the wishes and aspirations of its members, it will discover that, in no time, it will either loose its membership to other more accommodating churches or face outright indignation from less committed members. There are cases why patients have walked out on arrogant physicians. True Democracy is inherent in people.
“Secondly, Bashorun M.K.O. Abiola of the blessed memory once said that it is unwise of someone to urinate into a pool from which one hoped to draw his drinking water”, according to Mr. Ezechukwu.
This is very correct just as the same Late M.K.O Abiola, may his soul rest in peace, did say that “… you can only shave the hair on the head of someone who is present in the barbers shop”.
I find certain excerpt from Mr. Ezechukwu’s piece a little uncomfortable because no matter what a church wants and claims to be, the location and people where it exists has tremendous impact on its success, whether these are members or not. And in most cases church members come from families who may be of different dominion.
We have had cases where churches try to ostracize the parents of the youths who are major contributors to church funds in the name of instilling one form of Catholic tradition or the other. Is Catholic Church unmindfull of the fact that time changes?
21st century churches must begin to accept the true tenets of using church as the vehicle of reconciliation and not an agent of infraction within the locations and amongst the people where they find themselves, and it would serve people like Mr. Uche Ezechukwu better to use their portfolio to bring about the beauty of churches to the fore by exhibiting piety in their public discuss.
Chris Onyishi (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes from Owerri, Nigeria.
*Egba Community Welcomes Obasanjo in Milwaukee (Photo)
By Masterweb News Desk
Photos Above: Mr. Idowu Oguntade of Progressive Alliance Movement; represnting Egba Community in Milwaukee displays a placard welcoming Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (OBJ) to Milwaukee; Wisconsin; U.S.A.; during the ex-Nigerian president's visit of Milwaukee on June 12; 2013.; Mr. Oguntade is a prominent leader in both Egba and Nigerian communities in Milwaukee; he can be reached by phone at +1 4149218111 or by email at
*Obasanjo Photos With Nigerian U.S. Boxing Champ During Milwaukee Visit
By Masterweb News Desk
Nigeria Masterweb News Desk was on ground last week, June 12, when Ex-Nigerian President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (OBJ) visited University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee (UWM) where he was a guest speaker promoting future relations and strengthening of ties between UWM and African Nations. Masterweb was also there the previous night during his arrival as guest at an exclusive hotel in Milwaukee. Milwaukee community leaders including Dr. Sunday Olafintila, Mr. Idowu Oguntade of Progressive Alliance Movement, Mr. Enobong Umohette (Wisconsin State Heavy Weight Boxing Champion), Mr. Okey Akubueze, Engineer Ben Eruchalu, Mazi Chris Nwonye, Rev. Chris Ikanih, Chief Charles O. Okereke (Publisher – Nigeria Masterweb & Composer God Bless Africa – African Union Award Winning Anthem) and selected cross section of others were also at the hotel reception. Below are some of the photos taken both at the hotel and UWM event during OBJ’s visit; more photos will be published soon. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Ex-President Obasanjo, his aides and Wisconsin/Illinois community leaders arriving the Milwaukee exclusive hotel. 
In champ’s (Enobong Umohette) words: “Baba's request for boxing gloves was a joking tease on Tuesday night, until we met at his hotel suite and I told him the story of how he personally handed me a pair of souvenir construction gloves at Wilberforce Island in March 2001. I was a young SSS Security operative and single-handedly secured the successful Presidential advance party operations for His Excellency President Obasanjo at the site of the commissioning of Niger Delta University at Wilberforce Island. President Obasanjo was faced with his first and most serious security threat on that state visit to Bayelsa State which happened after the Odi Military conflict. His Excellency remembered that state visit and was amazed to find that the young SSS officer he gave the souvenir gloves to; 12 years ago was returning to him as a boxing champion, so the boxing gloves was a symbolic pledge I made to him in fulfillment of a destiny he foretold by his own gift of a pair of gloves to me on that fateful day in March 2001. ”
Photo Above: Wisconsin State Heavy Weight Boxing Champion, Mr. Enobong Umohette helping OBJ put on boxing gloves. 
MORE OBASANJO MILWAUKEE VISIT PHOTOS TO BE PUBLISHED SOON
*Obasanjo Visits Milwaukee, Meets Wisconsin Heavy Weight Boxing Champ Mr. Enobong Umohette
By Masterweb News Desk
International elder statesman and former Nigerian President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was honored during a recent visit on June 12th, 2013 to University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee (UWM) where he was a guest speaker promoting future relations and strengthening of ties between UWM and African Nations.
His Excellency President Obasanjo who has served severally as a United Nations and African Union envoy is internationally accredited as the first African Military head of state to hand over to a democratically elected government in 1979 where he assumed leadership of Nigeria after the assassination of the then Military head of state General Murtala Muhamed in 1976 and further served two terms as an elected Civilian President of Nigeria between 1999-2007. His Excellency Chief Obasanjo had a successful Military career retiring as General and has bagged numerous awards and Honorary Degrees from all over the world for leadership, social crusade and International advocacy for peace, human rights and development.
President Obasanjo spoke to a cross section of the organized private sector, academia, Nigerian community, the diplomatic corps, top political office holders in the city of Milwaukee and members of the press at the event.
One of the highlights of the UWM event was the presentation of awards and gifts to His Excellency President Obasanjo which was kicked off by the presentation of a pair of Boxing Gloves to President Obasanjo, by Enobong Umohette (THE NIGERIAN GENTLEMAN), who is the current State of Wisconsin Heavyweight Boxing Champion. ( Continues below….. )
President Obasanjo who not only thanked the Nigerian born Heavyweight boxing Champion for the gift, but proudly wore his new boxing gloves and to the standing ovation by the audience, engaged the boxing champion in a session of shadow boxing.
The current Wisconsin State Heavyweight professional Boxing Champion, Mr Enobong Umohette during a private dinner with His Excellency President Olusegun Obasanjo prior to the UWM event, narrated a touching story of his first meeting and encounter with President Obasanjo. In that meeting Mr Enobong Umohette described how as a sitting President of Nigeria, Chief Obasanjo handed him a souvenir pair of construction gloves in gratitude for his exemplary service while conducting a successful advanced party security operation ahead of a State visit to Wilberforce Island in Bayelsa state in March 2001. Mr Umohette who was then a member of Nigeria's elite secret service (State Security Services-SSS), described vividly the fateful circumstances that propelled him to assume leadership position in the operations that was solely responsible for the life, security and safety of President Olusegun Obasanjo who was then the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria at the site of the commissioning of the Niger Delta University located in Wilberforce Island.
President Obasanjo who recalled the State visit of March 2001, clearly remembered the event and described his first meeting with Mr Umohette, the career journey of Mr Umohette and his second meeting with Mr Umohette now a USA State boxing Champion as an act of God.
President Obasanjo acknowledged the Hand of God in the affairs of man be it individually or collectively and pledged to support Mr Umohette's boxing career as he prayed for the Wisconsin State Champion's continued success in the ring.
In attendance at the private dinner with His Excellency Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was Otunba Abbey Badejo of Prometheus Consulting, an International Consulting firm based in Chicago, Alhaji Surajudeen Akande, renowned poet, publisher and African Union Award winning song composer; Chief Charles Okereke, Linda Oyewopo, 1976 Masters degree Alumni of UWM-Milwaukee; Mr Christian Akiwowo, Deputy Chief of Mission Nigerian Embassy Washington DC; His Excellency Ambassador Bassey E. Archibong and a few other dignitaries.
Mr Umohette described His Excellency President Obasanjo as a father and one of Africa's most iconic historical figures and thanked him for honoring the State of Wisconsin by his visit.
How Nigeria Murdered Democracy Since 1999 & Kept June 12 Alive
By International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety)
(Washington DC, USA, June 11, 2013)-Firstly, the International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law, Nigeria; ably represented here in Washington DC, USA, by Comrade Emeka Umeagbalasi, wishes to appreciate, deeply, the invitation of its Chairman of the Board by the US Department of State, to participate in the internationally respected and prestigious International Visitor(s) Leadership Program for NGO Management in USA & related others. We appreciate, commend and congratulate the Department of State of the United States and Its officials, distinguished members of the ECA/PE/R/V and the FHI-360 Project teams, respected and reputable IVLP colleagues and all other institutions and persons involved directly or indirectly in the ennobled program scheduled to cover the US States and Cities ranging from Washington and Washington DC; Seattle, Louisville, Kentucky; Huntington and Birmingham, Alabama; East Lansing, Michigan; St. Louis, Missouri; to Denver, Colorado. We wish all the participants in the program and its organizers huge successes at the end. The program was opened on Monday, June 10 and expected to end on June 29. The leadership of Intersociety celebrates the nomination of its Chairman of the Board, Emeka Umeagbalasi as the only Nigerian nominated to join other 23 international personalities drawn from twenty-four countries around the world including Russia, UK, India, Mexico, China, Costa Rica, Romania and Italy.
Our Beloved Country(Nigeria) As Murderer Of Democracy, Civil Liberties & The Rule Of Law:
Nigeria; a country of approximately 160million to 170 million people with 923,000 square kilometers of landmass; 3,500 kilometers of railways; 8,600 kilometers of inland waterways; 22 airports- both domestic and international; 17% of African population; 9.2% of African landmass; 2.5% of the world population; highest populated black country on earth; 3.5% of the world landmass; roughly two times the size of State of Alaska in USA in terms of landmass; and 198,000 kilometers of federal, states and local governments’ road network; blessed with abundant human and material resources ( with over 33 solid mineral deposits), has been caught up in a crossfire of social, economic and political crises particularly since her return to civil rule in 1999; a period of 14 years and 12 days. Though, our beloved country had been in crises since her statehood in 1960, but the present crises came about as a result of the seizure of political power in 1999 by Nigeria’s enemies within- corrupt members of the political class, which included military apologists, advance fee fraudsters and ritual cultists such as “Otokoto” occultist confraternity in Southeast Nigeria. Nigeria is akin to Cambodia of 1975 to 1979 under bloodthirsty “Comrade” Pol Pot.
Conversely, in the Union of South Africa, the political activists led by Mr. Nelson Mandela who fought for their country’s independence, foresaw the dangers of abandoning the political leadership in the hands of their country’s “black sheep”. As a result, they moved in and took control and dogmatized and systematized their country’s political leadership. But in Nigeria, the reverse was the case as her heroes and heroines of democracy struggle stayed away and allowed the criminal political class limitless access to the corridors of power. This marked the beginning of Nigeria’s current social, economic and political woes till date.
In this context, therefore, Nigeria’s crises are divided into three major areas of: insecurity & spiraled crime rates; failed governance & economy and failed justice system & deplorable human rights state.
Security & Crime:
Security threats and other unsafe conditions have remained Nigeria’s major challenge till date. Our beloved country can best be described as “consociation democracy”- a sort of a democratic country that is highly divided along ethnic, religious and political lines with high incidence of self-help method in respect of inter-personal and inter-group disputes. The mountainous and untamed security threats have converted our beloved country into a death theatre.
In December 2011, during the 63rd World Rights Anniversary, we released a report to the effect that since 1999, approximately 54,000 Nigerians were killed outside the law by our beloved country’s malicious citizens operating as “State actors” and “non-state actors”. See www.intersociety-ng.org (under press releases and newsletters) for the report, captioned: “How 54,000 Nigerians Died outside the Law Since 1999”. The said unlawful deaths arose from Vigilante killings dominant in the Southeast Nigerian States of Anambra and Abia. Others arose from the Police violent crackdown on members of the Movement for the Sovereign State of Biafra-MASSOB; intra-communal and inter-communal conflicts; ethno-religious/sectarian conflicts such as Jos killings and Boko Haram insurgency; election related violence; police custody/pretrial killings; political assassinations/killings; kidnap killings; culpable homicides; and excessive use of force by military/police against Nigeria’s malicious entities and members of the civil populace.
From the report, it was approximated that over 15,000 unlawful deaths arose from vigilante killings. The ethno-religious/sectarian killings including the Boko Haram insurgency accounted for over 16,000 unlawful deaths; police/military unlawful or extra-legal killings accounted for 21,000 deaths; and election violence took over 2,000 lives. Beyond this, the in-depth review of the continued unlawful killings in our beloved country from January to May 2013, showed that more 4000 Nigerians may most likely to have been killed outside the law, between January 2012 and May 2013. The 2011 report covered June 1999 to December 2011. This brings the total number of unlawful deaths in Nigeria since 1999 to approximately 58,000. For instance, between January and April 2013, over 1000 Nigerians were killed unlawfully by malicious elements within and outside the country’s security forces. The killings according to our public statement of 1st day of May 2013, titled: “Nigeria Is A Death Theatre: How Over 1000 Citizens Were Murdered In Four Months By Malicious Elements”; arose from police custody killings such as Ezu River Killings; ethno-religious/sectarian violence such as Jos killings; and the Boko Haram insurgency.
In the area of police pretrial/custody killings, over 200 Nigerians may most likely to have been killed between January and April 2013. The unlawful killings included over 50 young Nigerian males of the Igbo-Southeast extraction, killed by Anambra State Police SARS in January 2013 and dumped into Ezu River in Awka, Anambra State, Southeast Nigeria (see the Intersociety’s reports, titled: the Return of Anambra’s Killing Fields part 1, 2 & 3 at www.intersociety-ng.org). On the issue of Boko Haram insurgency, over 600 Nigerians have been killed since January 2013. The killings included over 220 citizens killed on 16th and 17th of April, 2013 in the Baga (Borno State, Northeast Nigeria) violent clashes between Boko Haram militant Islamists and the Multi-national Joint Taskforce led by Nigerian security forces in which 2,275 thatched houses were destroyed (HRW May 2013), as well as the killing of over 180 citizens, mostly citizens of Southeast Igbo extraction, on 18th day of March 2013 at the Sabon Gari Luxury Bus Park in Kano State, Northwest Nigeria.
Other unlawful killings that took place between January and April 2013 are the Jos ethno-religious/sectarian violence where over 200 citizens have been killed. In May 2013, alone, up to 200 Nigerians have died in unjustified manners in our beloved country. The May 2013 killings included the death of 90 members of Nigerian security forces on 8th day of May, 2013 in Lafia, Nasarawa State, North-central, Nigeria and the killing of 55 citizens including 22 police officers, 14 prisons officials, two soldiers, 13 Boko Haram insurgents and four civilians (see Intersociety’s letter to President Goodluck Jonathan, titled: “Hausanisation & Islamization Policy In The Nigeria Police Force: Igbo-Southeast As Endangered Species With The Loss Of Over 2,500 Souls Under Your Excellency’s Administration-Part Two”, dated 13th day of May,2013- www.intersociety-ng.org).
Importantly, the killings under reference (58,000 unlawful deaths) did not include those killed in motor accidents. In the five months of 2013 alone, over 300 Nigerians have been killed in motorization mishaps. Between December 19, 2012 and first week of January 2013, according to Nigeria’s Federal Road Safety Corps, 280 Nigerians were killed in road accidents. The Igbo-Southeast region of Nigeria, on her part, has lost over 2,500 of its citizens since 2010 to killers who kill outside the law. Those killed died in election violence of 2011, Jos violence in North-central Nigeria as well as in several bombs and weapons’ attacks launched by the Boko Haram insurgents in some northern parts of Nigeria. In the Kano Luxury Bus Park bomb attacks of March 18, 2013, for instance, up to 150 of them were killed. The Igbo race is the most unprotected race and targeted victims of hate violence in our beloved country.
Between January 2011 and January 2012, the number of citizens of the Igbo-southeast Nigeria killed in Boko Haram insurgency was about 510, out of about 714 Nigerians killed. See our letters to President Goodluck Jonathan, dated 18-1-2012 and 18-5-2013, titled: “Chilling Killing of 510 Igbo-Nigerian Citizens Amounts to Crimes Against Humanity” and “Hausanization & Islamization Policy in the Nigeria Police Force & Killing of over 2,500 Igbo-Nigerians Since 2010”. They are available at www.intersociety-ng.org. Nigeria has also recorded over 230 unresolved political murders since 1999 (see Intersociety’s report: “How 54,000 Nigerians Died Outside The Law Since 1999”, dated 11-12-2011). These killings outside the law have continued unabated and increased as days go by with impunity.
Further, corruption, favoritism, nepotism, ethno-religious division, primordial policing and proliferation of illicit small arms have been identified via researches as major challenges or banes militating against effective policing in our beloved country. Out of the UN’s recommendation of one police officer for 400 citizens, Nigeria presently maintains about 500 citizens for one police officer with about 371,000 police officers and 6,651 police field formations in her police establishment, policing between 160 million and 170 million populations. Yet our beloved country and her populous citizens are still going through chronic insecurity and other unsafe conditions.
A link between police unlawful killing and police corruption in Nigeria has been indisputably established. On 11th day of December, 2011, we released twin reports captioned: “How 54,000 Nigerians Died Outside The Law Since 1999” and “How Nigerian Police Personnel Raked in N53.4Billion ($336.6million) From Nigerian Roadblocks In Three Years-2009-2011” (see www.intersociety-ng.org). The report on extortion and corruption in the NPF documented and exposed with pictorial pieces of evidence, the use of over 3,500 police roadblocks across Nigeria particularly in the Southeast zone, as an avenue for criminal enrichment and unlawful killings. There were also reports issued by other rights advocacy organizations such as “Rest In Pieces” of the Human Rights Watch, 2005;”Killing At Will” of Amnesty International, 2009; “Criminal Force” of the Open Society Justice Initiative and the Network On Police Reforms In Nigeria-NOPRIN (revised version), 2010; “Everyone’s In The Game” of the Human Rights Watch, 2010; and the US Department of State Reports on the State of Human Rights in Nigeria, of 2009 and 2012. These credible reports documented and exposed monumental corrupt practices of many police officers in Nigeria, which embolden them to kill Nigerians indiscriminately outside the law with impunity.
Though, the reports under reference, particularly our own version of December 2011, have been partly acted upon, which led to drastic reduction in the number of police roadblocks on Nigerian roads and drastic decrease in police roadblock killings since February 2012, but incidences of corruption, nepotism, favoritism, deep ethnic divisions and custody killings are still very high in the Nigeria Police Force. Promotions and postings in the Force are grossly lopsided and carried out to favour the Hausa-Fulani Muslims as well as the Yoruba Ethnic group of Southwest and North-central Nigeria, while the Igbo ethnic group and other Christian minority tribes of the South-south and northern parts of the country are acutely sidelined( see the Intersociety’s letters to President Goodluck Jonathan, captioned: “Hausanisation & Islamization Policy In The Nigeria Police Force & Related Issues-1 & 2”, dated 06-05-2013 and 13-05-2013 at www.intersociety-ng.org) . The Nigeria Police Force is also haunted by primordial and gun-culture policing. Its intelligence network has gone moribund. Modern preventive and gadgets’ policing are almost non-existent in its confines. Its crime investigation and prosecution managements are anachronistic and unscientific (see our public statements on Ezu River Killings part 1, 2 & 3, dated: 19-01-2013; 04-03-2013 and 11-03-2013- www.intersociety-ng.org).
Proliferation of illicit small arms and their unlawful bearers is another major contributor to insecurity and other unsafe conditions in Nigeria to date. It is the major factor aiding the incompetence and incapacity of the Nigerian security forces led by the Nigeria Police Force in crime prevention and control management. Our Organization strongly believes that there are presently over 5million illicit small arms in wrong hands in Nigeria (see our public statement of 7th day of November, 2012, captioned: “Focus on Anambra State Of Nigeria: Security & Crime Under Review”- www.intersociety-ng.org). We in the Intersociety-Nigeria see illicit small arms as “illegally acquired technologically manufactured lethal weapons other than weapons of mass destruction, found in wrong hands, ranging from rocket launchers to AK-47 assault rifles, revolver guns and related others”.
There are approximately 8,000 to 10,000 unconventionally trained armed vigilante groups operating in Nigeria today, with dominance in Anambra and Abia States in Southeast, Nigeria. Over 2000 of them are believed to be in the repositories of the two States. Skyrocketing increase in illicit small arms proliferation and their unlawful bearers in Nigeria in recent times is premised on vigilante militancy, political thuggery and brigandage, rise in violent crimes, and the resource control and ethno-religious insurgencies. Politicians remain the largest generators of violence in Nigeria till date. The South-south, Southeast, Northeast, North-west and North-central geopolitical zones of Nigeria are strongly believed to have the largest quantities of illicit small arms in Nigeria today.
In the Southeast zone, Anambra and Abia States run neck to neck as largest bearers of illicit small arms. In the South-south zone, Rivers and Bayelsa States are leading Delta State. In the North-west zone, Kaduna and Kano States are on top. In the Northeast zone, it is Borno State, followed by Yobe, Adamawa and Bauchi States; and in the North-central zone, Plateau State is on top, followed by Benue and Nasarawa States. Though the Southwest zone is relatively free from high concentration of illicit small arms circulating in Nigeria, but Lagos State parades the highest quantity of illicit small arms in private criminals’ hands in the zone. A total of 270 people were killed in the State by violent criminals between first quarter of 2012 and first quarter of 2013 (Lagos State Police Command 2013).
There are over 300,000 of such illicit small arms in Anambra State of Southeast Nigeria alone and over 1000 unconventionally trained armed vigilante groups operating in the State to date. A 2011 UN’s Small Arms Survey, disclosed that out of 875million small arms produced by over 1000 companies in over 100 countries worldwide, Nigeria’s share hovers around 5.95million, 7million and 8million, thereby making her a dominant illicit small arms bearer in West Africa and a major world illicit small arms bearing country. Our beloved country is put in the same category with Yemen and the United States. The Nigeria’s Nation Newspaper of 9th day of March, 2013 reported the arraignment in UK of a Briton, Mr. Gary Hyde, for illegal shipment into Nigeria of 80,000 riffles and pistols and 32million rounds of ammunition. The illegal shipment included 40,000 AK-47 assault rifles, 30,000 riffles and 10,000 9mm pistols. Caches of weapons have been discovered from left, right and center in Nigeria in recent times. An Iranian was recently convicted by a Nigerian court for similar offence. Nigerian laws responsible for regulating the importation and use of small arms are very weak and outdated. Such laws are the Firearms Act, Cap F28 of 2004, the Private Guards Act of 1986 and the Custom & Excuse Management Act of 2002, etc. The controlling and regulatory agencies in our beloved country are also very corrupt and incompetent.
Failed Economy & Governance:
Nigeria’s public governance and state of economy has been in a sorry state since 1999 despite the abundance of her human and material resources. Over 33 solid minerals abound in the country. With the exception of oil and gas, others have remained at subsistence levels. Our beloved country continues to perform abysmally in every regional and international social indicator; from regional and international universities’ ratings to infant mortality; from high cost of governance to highly indebted poor countries’ status, etc. The incidence of corruption and bad governance has remained alarmingly high in our beloved country and the state of infrastructures including key ones like air and seaports, energy, health facilities, schools, roads, etc, is in steady decay, with the exception of few States like Anambra and Edo where the reverse is substantially the case courtesies of their legitimate State Governments.
Nigeria runs one of the costliest public governances in the world. In 2002, barely three years after the return to civil rule, Nigeria enacted a law called “Salaries & Allowances Of Top Public Office Holders Act of 2002”. The Law allocated N755.8billion (about $5billion) for the servicing of her 17,500 top public office holders annually. In 2008, the law was revised and the said salaries and allowances increased to N1.13trillion (approximately $7.5billion). Yet, to date, the spirit and letters of the law are not strictly adhered to. In other words, the law is totally observed in breach. This is because pieces of annual federal and states’ appropriation legislation are used to allocate and pocket hundreds of billions of naira in the form of “allowances and jumbo pay”, which are in gross violation of the subsisting pay Act, revised in 2008. The shocking part of it all is that almost half of these monies are borrowed locally and internationally with prohibitive interests and penalties. Nigeria borrows to consume and not to produce.
Nigeria, to date, has 17,500 top public office holders; out of which, 13,500 occupy elective offices and 4,000 others occupy appointive offices. According to the revised pay Act of 2008 under reference, N592billion( approximately $3.9billion using N155.00 for $1) is spent annually in servicing the 12,788 top Local Government Areas’ officials; out of this, allowances take N550billion or over 90%, while salaries account for only N41.8billion or less than 10%. There are 774 constitutionally recognized LGAs in Nigeria as of date. The sum of N300.5billion is spent on about 2,664 States’ executives of Nigeria’s 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory. The sum of N40.9billion is spent on 1,152 States’ lawmakers; N98.3billion is spent on 472 federal executives; N60.4billion is spent on 469 federal lawmakers; N18.5billion is spent on 792 State High Court Judges; and N14.8billion is spent on 142 federal judges.
In summary, two sets of allowances abound for Nigeria’s top public office holders; one is contained in the revised pay Act of 2008 and the other is criminally smuggled into the Federal and States’ annual budgets. Out of N80trillion ($500billion) shared among the Federal Government of Nigeria, the 36 States of the Federation and the FCT (federal capital territory) and the 774 Local Government Areas from the Federation Accounts since June 1999, up to 70% of same went into payment of salaries & allowances and debts servicing, while only 30% went into execution of public-interest projects. Also, out of the total budgets of N37, 665trillion ($240billion) made by the Federal Government of Nigeria between June 1999 and 2013, N21, 7trillion (about $145billion) was spent on consumption (recurrent expenditures), while only N11.3trillion (about $70 billion) went into production (capital expenditures). The remaining sum of N4.5trillion ($28billion) was used for local and foreign debts servicing. These explain why Nigeria runs one of the costliest public governances on earth to date.
Our beloved country has also returned to the “Highly Indebted Poor Country” status with total public debts of over $100billion. This debts figure includes Federal Government’s court judgment of N188.5billion as of 2012; government ministries and parastatals ‘debts; States’ foreign and domestic debts; as well as Federal Government’s foreign and domestic debts. According to official records of the Federal Government of Nigeria, the current total public debts stand at $52billion including its 2013-2015 foreign borrowing proposals of $7.9billion; domestic debts of N6.15trillion ($40billion) and foreign debts of $6,035billion. This account did not include the Federal Government and States’ government incurred court judgment debts; their ministries and parastatals’ debts and huge local debts incurred by the 36 States, the FCT and some Local Government Areas, which are on steady increase. Nigeria’s foreign debts increased from $970million in 1970 to $36billion in 2006. It came down to about $6billion in 2006 as a result of debts forgiveness and rose again to over $15billion in 2012/2013.
As at December 2001, Nigeria borrowed a total of $13.5billion from the Paris Club and spent a total of $41.2billion in its servicing. Nigeria’s journey to huge local indebtedness began in 1986 with a total local debt of N28.44billion ($1.3billion then using N22.00 for one USD), by 2006; it spirally rose to N1.8trillion (about $13billion then) and by 2012/2013, it alarmingly increased to over N9trillion (about $60billion) possibly excluding huge local debts of various States’ government. For fuller details, please visit our website at www.intersociety-ng.org for our two reports, dated 03-09-2012 and 01-10-2012 and captioned: “How Nigeria’s Trillion & $44Billion Debts Are Pocketed By 17,500 Politically Privileged Nigerians and “Nigeria In Desperate Need Of Another Iweala Debts’ Exit Magic”. While China; Nigeria’s economic peer in the 60s, 70s and 80s, has increased her foreign exchange reserves from $700 billion in 2006; $2.3 trillion in 2010; to $3 trillion in 2012, Nigeria’s fell from $60 billion in 2006 to $50 billion in 2013. Our beloved country has also depleted her excess crude oil sales reserves from $20 billion in 2006 to almost zero USD in 2013.
Archaic Body of Laws:
Nigeria’s criminal and civil justice systems are in dire need of reforms. Apart from deformities inherent in her Constitution of 1999, most of the pieces of her criminal legislation are outdated. The country has also refused to accede to numerous international rights and humanitarian treaties by way of ratification and “domestication”, in accordance with Section 12 of her Constitution. These have earned her a pariah status internationally. Section 6, sub 6(c) of her Constitution has continued to deny citizens and courts rights of judicial justice and judicial review with respect to the implementation of economic, social and cultural rights, contained in the Chapter Two of her Constitution. Nigeria’s outdated pieces of criminal legislation and court rules have continued to encourage extra-judicial killings, torture and massive corrupt practices in public establishments. Her judiciary organ is one of the most corrupt judicial institutions in the world as of date and a leading corrupt public institution in the country.
For fuller details on Nigeria’s failed justice system, please visit our website (www.intersociety-ng.org). Specifically, see the following: 1. Letter submitted to the Clerk of the Nigeria’s House of Reps Committee on Constitution Review, dated 12th day of November, 2012. 2. Second letter to the same House on the same issue; dated 18th day of November, 2012 and captioned: “Ousting The Ouster Clauses In The Chapter Four Of The Constitution”.3. Letter to the Attorney General of Nigeria on need to drastically reform Nigeria’s criminal and civil justice systems, dated 13-12-2012. 4. Public statement, captioned: “Return of Anambra’s killing Fields- part two”, dated 11-03-2013. 5. Public statement, captioned: “Oyerinde’s Murder Investigation In Edo State: Saving The Nigeria Police Force From Media & Political Cruxifion,” dated 05-04-2013.
From the foregoing, therefore, our beloved country’s 14 years of civilian rule since 1999 has been tortuous and challenging. This has enlivened the event marking the murder on June 12, 1993 of the historic electoral free speech by the Ibrahim Babangida’s military epoch. It is unreservedly correct to say that most of Nigeria’s social problems of today are caused by tainted and criminal political class, which hijacked the political power from the military in 1999 on account of the refusal of the social saints who fought and won our hand-earned democracy to step in and nurse-maid the political governance. In-spite of these man-made woes, bright hopes still abound in our beloved country. It requires congregation of forces of the social saints with positive international supports for things to be turned around for the good of every Nigerian in no distance future.
We were incorporated in Nigeria in April 2008 and launched in July 2008. We operate from Onitsha, Anambra State, Southeast, Nigeria, with a mission to: protecting the civil liberties and other human rights of the Igbo-Southeast citizens of Nigeria, Nigerian citizens and world citizens at all times, in accordance with the UDHR provisions; standing at all times on the side of the abused and the victimized; standing at all times against human rights abusers and enemies of the rule of law be they State actors or non-State actors; campaigning vigorously for the enthronement and sustenance of the rule of law and judicial accountability including periodic reforms in civil and criminal justice systems; and seeking for an end or reducing to the barest minimum of official misconducts in Nigeria and the Continent of Africa including sit-tight political leadership, State murder, bad governance and corruption.
Our vision is to: become a successful, fiery and leading civil liberties and the rule of law advocacy movement in the Igbo-Southeast Nigeria as well as at national, regional and international levels; and see our beloved country quitting her inglorious killing field and economically impoverished self-initiated club. Since the inception of our Organization in 2008, we have carried out over 150 advocacy activities covering reports, public petitions, public statements, articles, researches, publications and documentaries (see our website-www.intersociety-ng.org for more). These we have done with small local assistance only. We humbly seek to be supported internationally to do more and improve upon what we have done. Our motto is: taking civil liberties (human rights) and the rule of law campaigns to the grassroots.
For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law, Nigeria
The Executive Chairman, Federal Character Commission, FCT, Abuja, Nigeria
Deputy Senate President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, FCT, Abuja, Nigeria
Deputy Speaker, House of Reps, FCT, Abuja, Nigeria
*Tags: Nigerians, Intersociety, Council, Police, Service, Commission. Sack, Ringim, Africa, Masterweb
*Press Release: Disclaimer on Groups Claiming to be Youth Wing of Ohanaeze
By Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council
Some misguided Youths have recently been going about claiming to be the Youth Wing of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and using the hallowed name of Ohanaeze in different forms to put up Advertorials and unauthorized information in the media. They use such names as Ohanaeze Youth Congress, Ohanaeze Youth Forum Etc. Let it be known by all Nigerians that such claimants are fake and dubious and should be disregarded or reported to the security agencies for impersonation and misrepresentation.
There is only one youth wing of Ohanaeze Ndigbo which operates from No. 7 Park Avenue, GRA, Enugu. The Last President was late Hon Nnamdi Nwokocha (Carmel) and the last Secretary -General was Comrade Chuks Ibegbu, the well know Social Analysts and now the President of the World Igbo Leadership, Educational And Cultural Council (WILECC). Until an election is held to throw up a new executive body for the youth wing of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, comrade Ibegbu remains the BOT Chairman and custodian of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Wing.
He is expected to officially hand over to a democratically elected Executive of the body.
The security agents are advised to arrest and prosecute anybody claiming o be the leader of these fake organizations and also we advise the EFCC and the CAC to cancel any registration done with regards to these fake Ohanaeze outfits or wings.
Hon. Elvis Iwuajoku
Hon. Pat Anyanwu
Hon. Okey Isiguzoro
Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council
No. 7 Park Avenue
GRA, Enugu, Enugu State.
Photo Above: Ohanaeze Ndigbo logo
*NDDC Projects in The Eyes of Lawmakers
By Ifeatu Agbu
Chairman! Are you not forgetting something? Senator Nurudeen Abatemi-Usman, the Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Niger Delta asked Senator James Manager, the arrowhead of the committee. Of course, the chairman did not forget what had become a sing-song for him after inspecting projects that deserved plaudits. So, he intoned: ‘To God be the glory!”
That generally sums up the impressions of the senators after their one-week inspection tour of projects being executed by the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC in Abia, Cross River and Akwa Ibom states. The senators saw all there was to see. In some cases, they were satisfied. In others, they were disappointed. At the end of the day, Senator Manager still held on to his mantra: To God be the glory!
The Senate Committee which visited in February to monitor the state of NDDC projects in the Niger Delta, had hardly settled down in their red chamber when the members of the House of Representatives Committee on the NDDC came calling for their own round of inspections. The members of the House of Representative led by their chairman, Hon Nicholas Mutu inspected projects in 5 states over a period of 4 days. They were in Rivers, Imo, Edo, Delta and Bayelsa states. The committee performed a similar oversight function in October last year. Then, the committee said it was gathering information to assist it in fine-tuning the 2013 budget of the commission.
Traversing 5 states in just 4 days was hectic for the lawmakers but they took the strains in their strides. Mutu said that their findings after inspecting some of the mega projects being executed by the commission were revealing and instructive. “We now appreciate the need to commit more funds for the rapid development of the oil-rich region. What we have seen convinces us that the NDDC is making tremendous impact on the lives of the people. We will, therefore, urge the Federal Government to give the commission the financial muscle to be able to handle more big ticket projects,” Mutu said.
He underlined the fact that the Niger Delta terrain posed a big challenge to development agencies, noting that it made it difficult and expensive to execute projects in the region. In addition, he said, the long rainy season in the area affects the delivery time for projects. “We commend the NDDC for working against these odds and still delivering on its mandate of fast-tracking the development of the Niger Delta. In the light of this, we call on the Federal Government to encourage the commission by releasing the over N500 billion it is owing on outstanding statutory allocations to it,” he said. ( Continues below...... )
Photo Above: Nigeria National Assembly Complex
The Federal Government had consistently failed to adequately meet its statutory obligations to the NDDC since its inception in 2000. In spite of the provisions of the NDDC Establishment Act, which says that the Federal Government should contribute an equivalent of 15 per cent of the total amount accruable to the nine oil-producing states from the Federation Account, the former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, unilaterally decided to pay only 10 per cent. The difference between what the law says and what Obasanjo decided to pay was what accumulated to an outstanding deficit of N244 billion at the time he left office.
The disregard for the law continued during late President Umaru Yar’Adua’s administration. As at 2009, the withheld funds had ballooned to a staggering N484, 450, 551, 137.91 billion. This apparent injustice forced the traditional rulers from the Niger Delta under the auspices of the Traditional Rulers of Oil Mineral Producing Communities of Nigeria [TRMPCON] to run to the courts to get the Federal Government to comply with its own laws.
At the site of some of the mega projects, the issue of poor funding continued to dominate discussions among the lawmakers. For Chief Barry Mpigi, representing Tai/Eleme Federal Constituency, the funding problem goes beyond the outstanding arrears of N500 billion. He said that actions on the Petroleum Industry Bill [PIB] should be finalised to provide another source of funding for the development of oil-producing communities.
Surprisingly, the acrimonious debate over the PIB bill at the National Assembly did not seem to affect the feelings of the members of the committee on NDDC, as they shared jokes on the attitude of some politicians in Abuja, whom they said seemed to be oblivious to the deleterious effects of oil exploitation in the Niger Delta. Perhaps, being outside the “hallowed chambers” of the National Assembly opened the eyes of the legislators to the realities of everyday living of ordinary Nigerians.
This connection with the feelings of ordinary Nigerians became stronger as they moved from one part of the oil-rich region to the other. They inspected 9 road projects including the 23.7 kilometer Owaza-Etche-Igwuruta Road and the 18.9 kilometre Erema Ring Road in Ogba/Egbema Ndoni Local Government Area, both in Rivers State. They also visited the Koko-Ugheaye-Escrovos Road, which would link Delta to Ondo State, with 6 bridges; the 28-kilometer Patani-Angoloma Road in Delta State and the Sampou-Odoni Road in Bayelsa State. In Imo State, they saw the 17-kilometre Ishinweke-Onicha River Road in Ihite Ubuma LGA and the 18-kilometre Obokofia internal roads in Ohaji/Egbema LGA. But the project that caught their attention was the Imo State University hostel project which was being painted, indicating that it was almost ready to be handed over.
However, a similar hostel project at the University of Benin in Edo State left a sour taste in the mouth. The lawmakers were disappointed with what they saw and they told the contractor to sit up or face sanctions. They looked in the direction of the Managing Director of the NDDC, Dr Christian Oboh, to get answers to why the contractor was not living up to expectations. He too appeared confounded by the poor performance of the contractor. He told the lawmakers that he found it difficult to understand why the contractor failed to deliver on agreed milestones after he had been adequately funded.
Dr Oboh said that the hostel project was one of those placed on fast-track by the current board of the commission to ensure that they were completed as quickly as possible. Shrugging off the depressing situation at the university of Benin hostel project, the NDDC MD assured the legislators that a number of other projects that were put on priority list had been completed and would be commissioned soon.
One of such projects is the Ewohime-Onicha Ugbo-Abudu Road, linking Delta and Edo states. The lawmakers who drove on the road and bridge were pleased and satisfied with the quality of job done. Dr Oboh was particularly delighted that a Nigerian contractor, Inter Bau, could record such a Grade A performance.
Another star project that is also virtually at the verge of commissioning is the Iko-Atabrikang-Opolom-Iwuo Achang road with a 600-metre bridge across the Qua Iboe River. The project links Iwuo Achang mainland to Okoroutip, a community of 13 villages, bringing civilisation to the riverine areas which were before now forgotten. It is also note worthy that this is the longest bridge being built by a Nigerian contractor, Viche Nigeria ltd, in the region.
This particular project was one of those inspected by members of the Senate Committee on the Niger Delta before the House of Representatives committee took their turn. A visibly excited Senator Manager said: “We, the Senators are happy and we have seen that the communities around here are happy too. This is a landmark project and it is very unique.” He also gave kudos to indigenous contractors and urged the NDDC to encourage such serious firms. It was not all about roads. The committee also inspected the Specialist and Orthopaedic hospital being built by the NDDC in Port Harcourt. Justifying the need for the hospital, the NDDC boss said:‘The people need to be healthy to savour the benefits of good roads and bridges.”
Dr Oboh told the law makers that the hospital comprised Orthopaedic and Cardiovascular units. He said that the project would be replicated in Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom and Delta states. “We want to reverse the trend of medical tourism in the Niger Delta. We want our people to begin to get their medical treatment from our specialist hospitals, instead of travelling overseas for their healthcare needs,” he said.
Mr. Ifeatu Agbu ( email@example.com ) writes from Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
*Radio Biafra and the Coalition of Pro-Biafra Organizations
By Ikechukwu Enyiagu
My people, we all know that now is the time because what we have all tried to set up and to kick-start towards the emancipation of our people from the hell-trap called Nigeria was eventually done, but not as we had thought or planned. It was kicked off, nevertheless, towards the goal which has always been one: an Independent Biafra. I therefore call on all pro-Biafran organizations and individuals to align themselves with what Radio Biafra London and Bilie Human Rights Initiative are doing so that our speed may be boosted and our collective goal realized earlier than thought.
Chukwu na eme eze and it is he who choses our front. If we, as individuals and Biafran groups, delay any longer in openly supporting and aligning ourselves and organizations with Radio Biafra London and Bilie Human Rights Initiative, we may only be revealing our inner worth, our deception and out hate towards Igbo freedom. We would have shown to the world that nothing ever mattered to us in this pursuit except whatever titles and positions we had thought to get and that we were never serious with our love for Biafra and our fight to make it come in our time.
Nothing is as painful, shameful, degrading, depraved and demonic as loathing and leaving your cause for freedom and rights simply because another person, who obviously had a stronger and better argument on how to kick it off, decided to make the journey lighter and faster for all. For many who have been shouting for freedom in various Biafra groups but have never given any reasonable amount of money towards the project, is it still unclear to you why you were the seed of failure or delay in the organizations in which you belong? You are an engineer, doctor, nurse, lecturer, technician, driver, etc. with jobs and you are a business man or woman but you still find it difficult to bring out a penny for the Biafran cause simply because you are watching to see others do it first and to see what they will give. Now, Radio Biafra has returned with the commitment of just eight people...and you are very mad that there's progress. What witchcraft and what insensitivity could be worse against yourself, against your very family for whom you seek emancipation? ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Map of Defunct Republic of Biafra
I put it to you that our politicians may have nobler causes than you in your intentions to serve after all. If not, why the delay in openly bonding with what's progressively now on ground and available so we can get to our collective destination faster and earlier? Nevertheless, I implore us to discard self and pride and bitterness and instead to put on the garment of Biafra's realization by all means. We have, from inception, been called to this selfless service because God himself knew the times of the Igbo and that they would eventually need people like you and I who would put the peace of their people before everything else. With Radio Biafra London and Bilie Human Rights Initiative, we will all get there and faster...when we have put our forces together. Otherwise, if we still place personal pride and ambition over the deliverance of our people, we may not see it but we would be clearly telling the world that we are a bunch of slaves who must never be allowed to be free and to govern themselves for the safety of the rest of mankind. It's time we all asked ourselves: What do I stand to gain in Biafra's independence? What is my goal: personal ambition or Biafra's independence? How can I show my support and commitment to the fight to free my people?
I know many of you and I have spoken with some of you. Suddenly my communications with some of you were interfered with. Was it me? Was it because I've made it clear that my eyes are set and my mind made up on Biafra and not on anyone and that I'll move with the spirit who runs forward with our cause? Perhaps it was because I openly said it was better to get what we are all looking for before we proceed to iron out our differences, was it? Maybe, if you needed Biafra as I did and still do, you would have reasoned in my direction and you would then eschew every open or subconscious attempt to derail the Biafran dream. Sometime in 2011, Biafra Liberation in Exile (BILIE) had a Biafra Genocide Fund appeal for Biafra genocide case. It obviously went down the drain. In February, an appeal for funds to resuscitate Voice of Biafra International (VOBI) was made. Nothing came of it because some people wanted others to bring the money while they take the credit for what the money may achieve. Some others who could fund these things effortlessly would rather pride themselves in their evident contribution to the fruitlessness of the collective venture by waiting for those who are on their financial knees to rise up before another step in the journey can be made. What foolishness! What shame! In July, 2011, I got a detailed email from Dr. James Achikeh of Biafra Liberation in Exile (BILIE). Noble causes were the goals and the willingness was there. The only problem, as we noted, was that those among us who had the wherewithal were obviously not in love enough with Biafra to part with their treasure as they often try to compel on people to believe. And one wonders why they get upset when somebody else puts his money and time where his mouth is in the cause of Biafra.
Whatever the case may be, we all still have a stake in our collective pursuit for Biafra. Freedom for our families, children and posterity is something to be pursued rigorously and without being tainted by ego or self. The hands of all Pro-Biafra organizations and groups are needed on deck while Bilie Human Rights Initiative and Radio Biafra London pilot it under the overseership of our Council of Elders. In the end, which will not be far, we shall all have been satisfied.
Anyone with opposing but constructive and progressive opinion is welcome to proffer it. We must all remember that, after all is said and done, the mind with which we seek for the emancipation of our people from Nigeria will always follow us wherever we go as our scale of sincerity and commitment. And it will not be hidden from others because our results will be seen by others. MEND opposed the government and got the recognition and amnesty while Boko Haram opposes Nigeria itself with the intention of Islamizing everyone, making Nigeria an extension of their great-grandfather's estate and enslaving all of South. However, we have a greater argument against the diabolical experiment called Nigeria because it has taken what belongs to us and now moves to totally destroy us. We, like Abram, will have to forsake self and pursue after her until we have overtaken her and retrieved our dear Lot. While I thank the leadership of these organizations for every effort they have put so far into this noble cause, I appeal to them to, once again, consider their priorities and allegiance to the spirit of our collective calling so that, in no distant future, the world will know who the Igbo truly are. Ndewo nu.
Ikechukwu Enyiagu can be reached at
*Literary Giant, A Nobel Laureate or Grandfather of African Literature?
By Chris Onyishi
People are never literary giants by providence, as maybe the case in some other fields such as politics, showbiz, etc. The circumstance of discovery of a literary giant maybe by providence but that cannot be said of Prof. Chinua Achebe. Prof. Chinua Achebe’s position in the literary world is not by circumstantial evidence either. In all, I think that one literature, 50 languages and over 12 million copies is by no means a position of chance or luck.
I recapped, recently, two tributes on Prof. Chinua Achebe by Tola Adeniyi (“Chinua Achebe: The Uncrowned Nobel Laureate”) - The Sun, 25th March 2013 - and Shola Balogun (“THE NOBEL LAUREATE WE NEVER HAD”) - The Sun, 24th March 2013. These two tributes are just but a figment in the avalanche of tributes to the great writer upon the news of his passage to the world beyond. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Late Prof. Chinua Achebe
The highlight of Tola’s expose, without disregards to other streaks in that tribute, is that “Chinua Achebe was not just a writer; he was a distinguished writer with the best and noblest of human virtues. A non hypocrite. A non bully. Achebe was both a great ambassador of Africa and a true and respectable specimen of the finest humanity"
On Shola Balogun’s tribute, the aspect of his highlight includes; "… even literature is no longer immune from the vagaries of global politics and other considerations. They have observed that perhaps, owing to political and other extraneous considerations, the Nobel Prize in Literature may well elude certain writers despite their exceptional brilliance and great talent that have been well acknowledged across the globe”.
On my side, I had rapped that Shola’s tribute has once more brought to the fore the faulty scale upon which Europe and the West generally weighs intellectualism when an iridescent, but uncompromising, African - such as Prof. Chinua Achebe - is involved.
I did interject that I was very glad that up until his death, Prof. Achebe never wavered - for once - in asserting that honor should only be given by honorable people, for if it is given by dishonorable people, the giver and taker become both of questionable character.
It is in this vain that I have always viewed the “Nobel laureate” and its organizers - of recent - as another token of imperialism.
My question here now is which insignia would have been best for Prof. Chinue Achebe? Would it have been more honorable to refer to him as a Nobel Laureate or a literary giant? From Tola and Shola’s accounts, a literary giant could easily become a Nobel laureate but a Nobel laureate may not be or become a literary giant.
If I should answer myself, I would say that a literary giant tag – and extension, the father of African Literature – for a man whom one of his books sold over 12 million copies and was translated into over 50 languages would be more honorable and weighs more than a Nobel laureate tag which is an award by one small Swedish academy whose judgment has been infiltrated by an unfounded yardstick due to some political and other extraneous considerations.
But the greatest looser in the whole “Nobel Laureate” saga, in my opinion, is Alfred Nobel who enunciated the award via his will of 1895 for rewarding greatness in the fields of Chemistry, Physics, Literature, Peace and Physiology or Medicine. For when you begin to view greatness from regional or political prism, the greatness becomes an aberration.
The Swedish Academy that brings this distortion to the “award” may have to rethink and allow the soul of Alfred Nobel to rest in peace.
If the Swedish academy decides now, to posthumously, award Prof. Achebe the Nobel Laureate, it will only play the role of gradually returning integrity to the organization and may not necessarily change anything in terms of Prof. Achebe’s literary and intellectual stature. But if they remain adamant to awarding the laureate to a real globally accepted and recognized literary giant such as Prof. Achebe, it will only worsen the image of that organization and may even bring question marks to those they have awarded and will award this honor both in the past and in the future.
Finally, when the main issue is about pedigree in the literary art, and character, and men of no mean literary state from all works of life talk gleefully and fluently about an individual, in a most unguarded ecstasy as we have witnessed on Prof. Achebe, then no single title is too much and no single title is relevant anymore and any or all efforts to deny him or bequeath him such a title or tag becomes either born out of jealousy or efforts consigned to the waste bin.
Chris Onyishi (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes from Owerri, Nigeria.
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