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05/24/13

*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..... )

Prof. Chinua Achebe

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 (ctekchris@yahoo.com) writes from Owerri, Nigeria.

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05/19/13

Nigeria: Why Okiro Is Unsuitable To Head External Civilian Oversight of The Police As Chairman Of Police Service Commission

Report By Network On Police Reform In Nigeria (NOPRIN)

WHY MIKE OKIRO, A RETIRED INSPECTOR-GENERAL OF POLICE IS UNSUITABLE TO HEAD EXTERNAL CIVILIAN OVERSIGHT OF THE POLICE AS CHAIRMAN OF POLICE SERVICE COMMISSION

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This report issued by the Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN) details why Mr. Mike Okiro, former Inspector-General of Police, is unfit and unsuitable to be confirmed as the Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC). The report highlights and explains four very substantial grounds of objection to Mr. Okiro’s nomination, namely

1. The need to secure the role of the Commission as civilian credible and effective oversight mechanism
2. Mr. Okiro’s role in popularising extrajudicial executions in Nigeria, an institutional illegality that has become a driver for internal extremism in Nigeria;
3. Mr. Okiro’s candidacy suffers clear and irremediable integrity deficits; and
4. As a person, Mr. Okiro’s partisan interests fail to comply with the Provisions of the Constitution

Each of the reasons summarised above raises insuperable obstacles to Mr. Okiro’s nomination. The NOPRIN and our member organisations believe that in combination, these factors make Mr. Okiro both unqualified and unsuitable to be confirmed as the Chairman of the Police Service Commission.

The relevance and capacity of the commission as a civilian oversight mechanism to discharge its statutory roles is brought to question by the appointment of a recently retired Inspector-General of Police. Mr Okiro has been serially implicated in the promotion of extra-judicial executions, a practice that has clearly been shown to have deepened the insecurity in Nigeria. This practice undermines the constitutional responsibility to guarantee public safety and security as the primary goal of government. As an active member of a political party, and tainted as he is by serious and pending allegations of corruption, Mr. Okiro does not possess the standards of independence and impartiality required for the credible discharge of the responsibilities of Chairman of the PSC.

Additionally, NOPRIN in the report points out that the reappointment of two former members (Dr. Otive Igbuzor and Ms. Comfort Obi) of the just dissolved Parry Osayande-led board of the PSC is unlawful and in clear violation of Section 3 (1) of Police Service Commission’s establishment Act 2001 which prohibits the reappointment of members. For the avoidance of doubt, the report makes clear that these members cannot be appointed as ex-officio because there are no ex-officio members in civil society or the media.

For these reasons, the report urges the distinguished members of the Senate to decline confirmation to the nominations of Mr. Okiro as Chairman of the PSC and to Dr. Igbuzor and Ms. Obi, as members of the Commission. It also makes additional recommendations for strengthening the PSC.

WHY MIKE OKIRO, A RETIRED INSPECTOR-GENERAL OF POLICE IS UNSUITABLE TO HEAD EXTERNAL CIVILIAN OVERSIGHT OF THE POLICE AS CHAIRMAN OF POLICE SERVICE COMMISSION.

1 INTRODUCTION

On Wednesday May 8, 2013 President Goodluck Jonathan, GCFR, sent a list to the Senate seeking confirmation of Mr. Mike Okiro, former Inspector General of Police (IGP), as Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC). He was one of seven listed for appointment into a reconstituted Commission. President Jonathan also nominated Dr. Otive Igbuzor and Ms. Comfort Obi, commissioners in the immediate past Commission headed by Mr. Parry Osayande, a retired Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG) respectively as representatives of the civil society and of the media.

Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN), a coalition of 47 civil society organizations spread across Nigeria and committed to promoting police accountability and respect for human rights and the enhancement of safety, security and justice, wishes to convey through this report substantial objections to the confirmation of Mr. Okiro, Dr. Igbuzor and Ms. Obi. These objections are founded in law and justified by the overriding goal of preserving and enhancing the institutional effectiveness and credibility of the PSC. Specifically, our objections are based on four main grounds.

5. The need to secure the role of the Commission as civilian credible and effective oversight mechanism
6. Mr. Okiro’s role in popularising extrajudicial executions in Nigeria, an institutional illegality that has become a driver for internal extremism in Nigeria;
7. Mr. Okiro’s candidacy suffers clear and irremediable integrity deficits; and
8. As a person, Mr. Okiro’s partisan interests fail to comply with the Provisions of the Constitution

Each of the reasons summarised above raises insuperable obstacles to Mr. Okiro’s nomination. The NOPRIN and our member organisations believe that in combination, these factors make Mr. Okiro both unqualified and unsuitable to be confirmed as the Chairman of the Police Service Commission. In the rest of this document, we provide fuller details of the various objections to Mr. Okiro’s nomination.

With reference to Dr. Otive Igbuzor and Ms. Comfort Obi, NOPRIN points out that their re-nomination would violate Section 3(1) of the Police Service Commission Act which precludes the re-nomination of members whose terms have expired.

2 CONSTITUTIONAL AND LEGAL STANDARDS GOVERNING THE COMPOSITION OF THE PSC

The Police Service Commission is established under Section 153(1) (m) of the 1999 Constitution. Under Section 154(1) of the same Constitution, the Chairman and members of the Commission “shall, subject to the provisions of this Constitution, be appointed by the President and the appointment shall be subject to confirmation by the Senate.” The composition of the Commission is governed by Section 2(1) of the Act as follows:

The management of the Commission shall vest in the following members, whose appointment shall be in line with the Federal Character provision of the Constitution.

(a) a Chairman who shall be the Chief Executive of the Commission;

(b) a retired Justice of the Supreme Court or Court of Appeal;

(c) a retired Police Officer not below the rank of Commissioner of Police;

(d) one representative each of

(i) women interest;

(ii) the Nigerian Press;

(iii) Non-Governmental human rights organisations in Nigeria;

(iv) organized Private Sector;

(v) the Secretary to the Commission

Under Section 156 of the Constitution:

(1) No person shall be qualified for appointment as a member of any of the bodies aforesaid if -

(a) he is not qualified or if he is disqualified for election as a member of the House of Representatives;

(b) within the preceding ten years, he has been removed as a member of any of the bodies or as the holder of any other office on the ground of misconduct.

(2) any person employed in the public service of the Federation shall not be disqualified for appointment as Chairman or member of any of such bodies:

Provided that where such person has been duly appointed he shall, on his appointment, be deemed to have resigned his former office as from the date of the appointment.

(3) No person shall be qualified for appointment to any of the bodies aforesaid if, having previously been appointed as a member otherwise than as an ex officio member of that body, he has been re-appointed for a further term as a member of the same body.

The qualifications for election to the House of Representatives are contained in Section 65 and 66 of the Constitution. These provisions are also reinforced by Section 2(2) of the Police Service Commission Act, which provides:

(2) The Chairman and other members of the Commission shall-

(a) be appointed by the President subject to the confirmation by the Senate;

(b) be persons of proven integrity and ability.

3 THE NEED TO SECURE THE ROLE OF THE COMMISSION AS AN INDEPENDENT CIVILIAN OVERSIGHT MECHANISM

Section 14(2) (b) of the 1999 Constitution mandates that “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.” Partly for this purpose, it establishes the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) in Section 214, and the Police Service Commission as an external, civilian oversight mechanism to assure the effectiveness of the Police in fulfilling this high constitutional mandate.

The defining characteristic and mission of the Commission is that it is a civilian oversight body, external to the Police. This requires the PSC to be independent and impartial. It cannot be either of these if it is headed by a retired former Inspector-General of Police.

This mission is destroyed by appointing a recent or former Inspector-General as the Chairman of the PSC. In our report entitled ‘Criminal Force…’ published jointly with Open Society Justice Initiative in 2010, NOPRIN stated as follows:

‘The Police Service Commission, established in 2001 as the oversight body for the police, has nominally strong statutory powers but remains institutionally enfeebled. The UN Special Rapporteur (on summary executions) summed up the record of the commission in the report of his mission to Nigeria as follows:

The Police Service Commission is charged with police discipline, but has opted to refer all complaints of extrajudicial police killings back to the police for investigation. The Commission’s mandate is potentially empowering. But despite efforts by one or two excellent commissioners, its performance has been dismal and self-restraining. Its quarterly reports to the President are not published and present a dismal chronicle of rubber-stamping decisions taken by the police, coupled with inaction in relation to pressing concerns. A radical overhaul of its procedures and composition is warranted.’

The PSC exists for the purpose of assuring the effectiveness and service quality of the police as well as dealing with discipline and promotions in the Force. Inherent in this mission and essential to its fulfilment of this mission is a requirement that the leadership of the PSC should be guaranteed by someone external to the Force rather than part of it.

What we need is a civilian-led PSC that has the courage to investigate all public complaints and cases of police abuse. Appointing a retired Inspector-General undermines and subverts this mission and renders the PSC ultimately into another department of the NPF. This is not good for the Police; it is inconsistent with the structure and purpose of the Constitution and the PSC Act of 2001; and defeats the whole essence of the establishment of the PSC as a civilian oversight body on policing in Nigeria. It has been demonstrated that the Commission will function, and has actually functioned more independently and effectively under a non police personnel rather than under a retired police officer. The impartiality and effectiveness of the PSC needs to be preserved and enhanced. Appointing Mr. Okiro diminishes it.

4 MR. OKIRO’S ROLE IN PROMOTING EXTRAJUDICIAL EXECUTIONS IN POLICING

The strong link between extrajudicial executions and the escalation of terrorism in Nigeria has been recognised and acknowledged by everyone, including, more recently, by the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke, SAN.[1]

Extrajudicial executions have become a factor in raising the monster of extremism in Northern Nigeria. As Inspector-General, Mr. Okiro enthusiastically promoted third-degree methods and extra-judicial executions as the principal method of policing. In December 2012, Attorney-General of the Federation, Mohammed Bello Adoke, SAN, disclosed:

Even the most charitable defenders of the Force cannot deny that some dishonourable officers indeed have taken the law into their hands in the most barbaric fashion by killing suspects and innocent citizens. For the avoidance of doubt, the constitutional derogation to the right to life which sanctions the use of force to curb an escapee is no blank cheque to carry out extra-judicial killings....Nonetheless, government cannot afford to ignore this dangerous trend by which lives of innocent citizens are endangered or snuffed out by those whose constitutional duty it is to secure the lives and property of the citizenry. Most of these challenges appear to have been significantly tackled by the recommendations of the Presidential Committee on the Re-organization of the Nigeria Police which recently submitted its report. It is instructive that among other recommendations, the report highlighted the need to embark on a continuous weeding out of bad and unscrupulous elements who on account of arbitrariness and opaqueness in recruitment exercise had found their way into the force.[2]

As part of his role, the Chairman of the Police Service Commission is required to ensure administrative accountability for such malfeasance and crimes. As a former Inspector-General who promoted extra-judicial killings, Mr. Okiro cannot perform this role conscientiously. In being unable to do so, he will not only deny victims of extra-judicial executions remedies, he may also further endanger or deepen the insecurity in the country.

4(a) PARTICULARS OF MR. OKIRO’S ROLE IN PROMOTING EXTRA-JUDICIAL EXECUTIONS

Under Mr. Okiro as IGP extrajudicial executions were celebrated in the Nigeria police as a strategy of fighting crime. In the aforesaid report jointly issued in 2010 by the Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN) and the Open Society Justice Initiative, we reported as follows:

In November 2007, Acting Inspector-General Mike Okiro reported that the police had killed 785 and arrested 1,628 “armed robbers” in his first one hundred days in office. This translates into a daily killing rate of 7.85 persons, a kill-to-arrest ratio of 1:2.07, or, in comparison to statistics announced by former Inspector-General Ehindero, an increase of over 400 percent on the official police statistics of encounter-related police killings for the years 2000–2004.[3]

In other words, Mr. Okiro oversaw more extra-judicial killings by the Nigeria Police Force during his time as Inspector-General of Police than any of his predecessors and grew the rate of extra-judicial killings by over 400%. This was separately buttressed by Human Rights Watch in its own findings as follows:

‘Since the January 7, 2006 Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, the police continue to be implicated in numerous extrajudicial killings in the course of police operations. On November 14, 2007, Inspector General of Police Mike Okiro announced that 785 suspected “armed robbers” were shot and killed in gunfire exchanges with the police between June and the beginning of September 2007. According to the same set of statistics 1,628 armed robbers were arrested during this period.”[4]

In any decent society, the notion - or even the mere suspicion - that the police engaged in extrajudicial killing would raise alarms. It is however, ‘stunning’, - as Human Rights Watch aptly put it, ‘that the police killed half as many ‘armed robbery suspects’ as they managed to arrest during Okiro’s first 90 days." "And it’s scandalous that leading police officials seem to regard the routine killing of Nigerian citizens - criminal suspects or not - as a point of pride."[5]

If the mandate of the Police Service Commission is to ensure accountability for police abuses- of which extrajudicial executions have remained a notorious aspect, it will therefore be contrary to the raison d’être of the Commission to appoint as its Chair a man with such a tragic record of respect for the standards of professionalism in law enforcement. If the distinguished members of the Senate consent to this nomination, they would be voting to compromise the work of the Police Service Commission irretrievably.

NOPRIN therefore, urges the Senate to recognise and act in accordance with the imperative of strengthening the commission and securing its independence to effectively discharge its oversight functions of ensuring accountability within the police. The Senate should reject Okiro’s nomination as Chairman of the PSC.

4(b) INTEGRITY ISSUES

The PSC Act states that persons to be appointed as PSC Commissioners must ‘be persons of proven integrity and ability’. Mr. Okiro, in our view, falls short of this standard. His record of performance, character and partisan connection disqualify him for appointment as Chairman of the PSC.

4(b) (i) UNCLEARED CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS

There are pending serious allegations of crime and corruption which Mr. Okiro needs to clear before being considered for consideration for high public office. In a country governed by the rule of law and accountability, Mr. Okiro ought to be standing trial to clear his name of these grave allegations rather than being considered for appointment into office as Chairman of a the Police oversight institution under the Constitution.

It was widely reported in the media that as Acting Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mike Okiro, his immediate predecessor Sunday Ehindero and several other serving police officers were implicated in several corruption scandals. The most egregious was his alleged taking of a loan of 166 million naira from a commercial bank to develop an oil company he had floated in the name of himself and his wife while still holding the office of Inspector-General. As Chairman of the Company, he was alleged to have committed perjury by falsifying some of the documents he signed on behalf of the Company. [6]

It was similarly reported that one John Obaniyi, a Commissioner in charge of finance at the police headquarters at the time, and a principal target of investigations into the source of N21 million seized while being moved out of Police Headquarters in Abuja, named Mr. Okiro, Mr. Ehindero and others in serious financial malfeasance and shady deals. Besides, Obaniyi revealed that several members of the police hierarchy, including Okiro shared close to N100 million from funds provided to the police to help rig the April 2007 elections. There was also the controversy over the ownership of Bharmos Ventures Nigeria Ltd, the ‘Consultant’ who was allegedly paid N1.6 billion naira for police recruitment from part of 2 billion naira realised from N2000 paid by each of the applicants for police recruitment during Okiro’s tenure as IGP[7]

From the early days of his tenure as Acting IGP, through his days as substantive IGP, up till date, a cloud of allegations continue to hang over his neck for the numerous alleged crimes he committed while in office. As one commentator observed then,

‘Here is an Inspector-General whose men and women in uniform are often called upon to investigate other Nigerians who are implicated in the same kind of crimes and allegations he has been accused of. How can Mike Okiro, in good conscience, perform his duties as IG when he himself is as guilty as those the Police Force should be going after in the society?’ [8]

Section155(2) of the Constitution states that ‘…a member of any of the (federal executive) bodies (inclusive of the PSC) shall cease to be a member if the circumstances arise that, if he were not a member of the body, would cause him to be disqualified for appointment as such a member.’

4(b) (ii) PARTISAN INTEREST

As a person, Mr. Okiro’s partisan interests and allegiance undermine the independence of the PSC in such a way as confirm him as unsuitable for the job of leading the PSC.

In 2010 Mr. Mike Okiro- a PDP card-carrying member, contested at a PDP primaries for Senate in the Federal Capital Territory. He lost. He was also, until last month Chief of Staff to the Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur. He has since his retirement, been chairman, Security Committee of all PDP conventions.

A body which is established with the constitutional mandate to recruit, promote and discipline all police personnel other than the IGP in an independent and impartial manner is expected to be composed and headed by non partisan individuals of unquestionable integrity.

5 RE-NOMINATION OF PERSONS FOR MORE THAN ONE TERM

The re-nomination for appointment of two former members of the Commission, Dr. Otive Igbuzor and Ms. Comfort Obi, clearly violates the Police Service Commission’s establishment Act 2001. For the avoidance of doubt, Section 3 (1) of the Act provides that:

'Subject to the provisions of Section 4 of this Act, a member of the Commission, other than ex-officio members shall each hold office- for a term of four years and no more…’

The Constitution makes an exemption from this term limit for members of executive bodies who are ex-officio, i.e. appointed by virtue of office (such as a Chief Judge heading the State Judicial Service Commission) there are no such ex-officio members in the PSC.

CONCLUSION

NOPRIN believes that the PSC evinced under the Constitution and the PSC Act of 2001 is an independent and impartial institution. Such an institution is worth fighting for. Appointing Mr. Okiro as a former Inspector-General of Police to head the PSC subverts the independence and impartiality of the PSC.

It is thus our position that in order to ensure the effectiveness of the PSC, the Distinguished Senate should decline confirmation to Mr. Mike Okiro as Chairman of the PSC. NOPRIN particularly calls on the Senate to decline confirmation of Mr. Mike Okiro as Chairman of the PSC and to respectfully request the President to reconsider his nominations of both the Chairman and other members of the Commission.

Additionally, as the PSC Act does allow it, the re-nomination of members who have previously served a term is unlawful. Senate should decline them confirmation.

It is our further considered view that since members of the Commission are to represent specific interest groups, these groups must be consulted on such appointments and should have the power to recall any representative when they deem fit. The appointment process should be transparent, preferably with properly advertised vacancy notices.

The Senate should therefore, commence the amendment to the Police Service Commission Act to address its composition. All appointments should be made in such a way as to strengthen the independence of the Commission. Efforts should be made to appoint people with integrity and managerial skills to strengthen the Commission. Chairman of the Commission should be a person with broad managerial experience, preferably with broad corporate management skills. In the event that the Commission needs expert advice from the police, it should be given the liberty to seek such service.

It is the expectation of NOPRIN and its member- organisations that the Senate will take urgent and appropriate legislative measures in the interest of effective police performance, best policing practices and public safety, to improve the civilian oversight function of the Police Service Commission in relation to police service provision. The Senate should take measures to enhance the commission’s efficiency, effectiveness and integrity.

For further information or inquiries, please contact:

Okechukwu Nwanguma
Program and Advocacy Coordinator. NOPRIN Foundation, Lagos.
Email: Okechukwu@noprin.org
Mobile: 08064974531

Mike Okiro

Photo Above: Mr Mike Okiro

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05/16/13

Hausanisation Policy In Nigerian Police & Death Of Over 2,500 Igbos Under Jonathan

By International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety)

Ref: Intersociety/S/03/05/013/S/E/Presidency/ABJ/FGN

               From:
               The Secretariat of:
               International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
               41, Miss Elems Street, Fegge, Onitsha, Anambra, Nigeria

To:

Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan
President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces & Chairman, Nigeria Police Council

Thro

Mr. Peter Gregory Obi
Chairman, the Southeast Governors’ Forum
Office of the Governor of Anambra State
Government House, Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria

Your Excellencies,

Hausanisation & Islamisation 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

(Onitsha Nigeria, 13th day of May, 2013)-On 6th day of May, 2013, we addressed a letter to Your Excellencies with the above related caption. The letter is referenced: Intersociety/S/01/05/013/S/E/Presidency/ABJ/FGN. We also addressed another letter to the Executive Chairman of the Federal Character Commission, dated 6th day of May, 2013 and referenced: Intersociety/S/02/05/013/S/E/FCC/ABJ/FGN. Copies of the two letters are attached for Your Excellencies’ perusal and required action.

Our writing Your Excellencies again is as a result of topical events of the past days. Apart from the said events, we also find it important and necessary to make the following corrections and clarifications pertaining to our first letter to Your Excellencies. It is recalled that we had in the said letter included the name of AIG (now DIG) Philemon Leha as one of the serving AIGs in the NPF. He hails from Taraba State, Northeast Nigeria. But further checks by leadership indicate that he was promoted to the DIG in 2012 on the heels of the tragic death of DIG Haruna John, who died in a helicopter crash. Also as we rightly pointed out in the letter to the effect that some CPs whom we thought to be from the Igbo-Southeast may most likely hail from the South-south Igbo areas. True to this position of ours, CP Kingsley Omire, who retired statutorily on 21st day of April, 2013 as Bayelsa State Commissioner of Police, is not from Igbo-Southeast, but from Delta State. CP Benjamin Onwuka, who is Deputy Commandant, Police College, Jos, is not from Igbo-Southeast, but from Asaba in Delta State. CP Isaac Eke, CP Admin B, Force Headquarters, is from Rivers State and not from Igbo- Southeast, and CP Patrick Egbuniwe, who was Commissioner of Police in-charge of Yobe State Command, has retired statutorily weeks or months ago. He hails from Onitsha in Anambra State, Southeast Nigeria.

Following the clarifications above, the number of serving Igbo-Southeast Commissioners of Police in the Nigeria Police Force has reduced to seven. Four of them: CPs Ikechukwu Aduba, CP in-charge of Delta State Command, Godfrey Okeke, CP in-charge of Adamawa State Command, Hilary Opara, CP in-charge of Kogi State Command and Ikemuefula Okoye, CP in-charge of Ogun State Command, are the only four serving State Commissioners of Police in Nigeria, who hail from Igbo-Southeast, while CPs Mrs. Chintua Amajor Onu-CP Intelligence, Felix Uyanna-Commandant, Police College, Oji River and Sylvester Umeh-CP, PAP, Eastern Port are the three remaining non-State Commissioners of Police from the zone.

Authoritatively speaking, Your Excellencies, there are confirmed 21 serving AIGs including 2 specialists and 19 general duties in the Nigeria Police Force as at 4th day of April, 2013(last promotion by PSC/NPF took place on 3rd day of April, 2013). Shockingly and sadly too, none of the said serving AIGs in the NPF is from the Igbo-Southeast Nigeria. This is an impeachable violation of Section 14(3) of the 1999 Constitution on federal character principle. There are also 86 confirmed serving Commissioners of Police (CPs) in the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) as of date including 80 general duties and 6 specialists.

Shockingly speaking, Your Excellencies, only seven Commissioners of Police out of the 86 come from the Igbo-Southeast. This is another grave violation of the said Section 14(3). By express meaning of this Section as well as federal character principle and six geopolitical zonal structures, the Igbo-Southeast zone is entitled to at least 14 serving CPs out of the 86 serving CPs and should be entitled to 15 if their number is increased to 90. Also due to deliberate stagnation that condemnably trailed the statutory promotion and posting of these serving Igbo-Southeast CPs and few others that occupy senior ranking positions like DCPs, ACPs, CSPs and SPs, some of them will be due for statutory retirement in few weeks or months away from date.

Similarly, it is authoritatively confirmed that there are 176 serving DCPs in the NPF as of date including 163 general duties and 13 specialists. In the area of Assistant Commissioners of Police (ACPs), there are 385 of them serving in the NPF as of date with 374 general duties and 11 specialists. There are also 1,052 serving CSPs and 1, 707 SPs in the Nigeria Police Force as of date (03-04-2013) excluding those who possibly retired statutorily since December 2012. About 95% of the officers-in-charge of the NPF’s divisional police stations, special anti robbery squads, area commands, state criminal investigations departments, State commands, zonal commands, police educational institutions, border, airport, railway and marine patrol commands and other top administrative duties, are drawn from these top ranks of SPs to DIGs. Other than the seven serving DIGs in the Nigeria Police Force, who equitably represent the six geopolitical zones of Southeast, South-south, Southwest, Northwest, Northeast and North-central, there is barefaced geopolitical lopsidedness in the geopolitical identities and distributions of those who presently occupy the ranks of SPs to AIGs in the Force. From our in-depth checks, the geopolitical distribution of the said top police ranks heavily favors the three geopolitical zones of Northwest, Northeast and Southwest, especially those bearing Muslim names. The Southeast geopolitical zone is the worst victim of the lopsided geopolitical distribution of the said top police ranks, followed by the Christian officers of the old Middle-belt Region. The Christian peoples of the old region are presently scattered in Taraba and Adamawa of Northeast, Kaduna of Northwest and Benue, Nasarawa and Plateau of North-central.

In other words, for the promoters of hausanisation, islamisation and mediocrity policy in the Nigeria Police Force under the headship of present IGP, Mohammed Dahiru Abubakar, it is a curse to be a Christian police officer from northern part of Nigeria and a candidate of hell to be an Igbo-Southeast police officer. On the other hand, it is a blessing to be a police officer from the Yoruba-Southwest or North-central and double blessing and princely too, to be a Hausa-Fulani Muslim police officer in the NPF. For the latter, promotion, double promotions and juicy postings are designed to be their portions at all times even if they are professional mediocre(s) and imbeciles, and for the former, especially the police officers of the Igbo-Southeast origin, the contrary is the case at all times. For instance, heads will roll threat-statement; issued by the IGP in 2012 on the heels of suspected Boko Haram attack at the Abuja SARS headquarters had died down on discovery that the suspected police accomplices in the context of insider informants, etc were all Muslim officers. The head of the IGP’s appointed investigation team in the matter, CP (now AIG) Ahmadu Ali, recently got rewarded with an AIGship promotion to be effected on 31st day of July, 2013-his date of statutory retirement from the Force. This is even when his investigation report has continued to be shrouded in secrecy by having not been made public till date. If it had been discovered that Christian and Igbo officers were involved, heads would have indeed rolled.

Continued Militarization Of NPF & Okiro’s Nomination As Next Chairman Of PSC: On 8th day of May, 2013, Your Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, sent two lists of nominees to the leadership of the Nigerian Senate, seeking their confirmation as members of the Nigeria Police Service Commission and the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission. While Your Excellency is commended for sticking to the Federal Character Principle in line with Section 14(3) in selecting members of the two public bodies, Your Excellency’s insistence on militarizing the NPF and encircling the same people that contributed to the Force’s battered image and policing failures in recent times, is unreservedly condemned. Your Excellency had in the said list, nominated retired IGP, Mike Mbama Okiro, from the South-south geopolitical zone as the new chairman of the PSC. Other members nominated are: Retired DIG, Yakubu Mohammed-Northwest, retired Hon. Justice Olufunke Adekeye-Southwest, Aisha Larai Tukur-Northeast , Mrs. Comfort Obi-Southeast, Mr. Tongee Gem Toranylin-North-central and Dr. Otive Igbuzor-South-south. The retention of Mrs. Comfort Obi and Dr. Otive Igbuzor, who were members of the abysmally performed erstwhile PSC, is also condemned. New members of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, which has former Senator Ken Nnamani from the Southeast geopolitical zone as chairman, were also commendably selected in accordance with Section 14(3).

Our leadership as well as other leading social voices and civil society organizations in Nigeria and beyond has consistently opposed the appointment of retired senior police officers to head the Police Service Commission. They can be made members of the Commission, but not heads of same. The main idea of setting up the PSC is to police the police from the civil polity and not to militarize it. Retired police officers who are made to head the PSC, as the retired DIG, Parry Osayande’s immediate past era has shown, are most likely to engage in nepotism, favoritism, corruption and unprofessional midwifery of the Force. The PSC under them can also not function independently. The Nigeria Police Force had since the return to civil rule in 1999, been battered and eaten up by hydra-headed monsters of corruption through roadblock extortion, illegal custody bail fees and return culture; indiscriminate roadblock shootings and killings, pretrial killings, ethnocentrism, religious fundamentalism and institutionalization of mediocrity and unprofessionalism. The said hydra-headed monsters, which included indiscriminate mounting of roadblocks and extortion, roadblock shootings and killings, pretrial killings and return culture, were unreservedly a routine under Mike Okiro’s IGPship, from 2007 to 2009. It was under his police midwifery that the armada of electoral fraud called 2007 general elections was conducted using the NPF to perpetrate it with impunity. Credit will always go to the present IGP, Mohammed Dahiru Abubakar as the only IGP in the history of the NPF in recent times, who had made proactive efforts at taming the high incidence of roadblock extortion, shootings and killings, notwithstanding pockets of breaches across the country.

Predictably, the Okiro’s chairmanship of the PSC will not go beyond the continued promotion of nepotism and favoritism, which breeds ethnicity, mediocrity, unprofessionalism and corruption in the NPF. There is also a serious question mark to Okiro’s integrity and character. For instance, it is on record that he retired statutorily in 2009 as Nigeria’s IGP after attaining the mandatory age of 60; that is to say that he is 64 years old this year (2013). The Senate President, David Mark, recently turned 65. The integrity question is: Facially and bodily looking; between Okiro and David Mark, who is older than the other? Is Okiro in his 60s or 70s or more? Or is he terminally ill? These integrity questions are necessary because we strongly believe that one of the main reasons behind Your Excellency’s nomination of Mr. Mike Okiro was because of perceived impeccability of his character. In this circumstance, though, we are having our say, while Your Excellency is possibly having Your Excellency’s way, but it will be socially disastrous for Nigeria to have another five wasted years in the Okiro’s chairmanship of the PSC without any tangible way forward for the highly battered, professionally defaced and ethnically divided NPF. Beyond strong moral question mark on Okiro’s character, he is constitutionally unfit to be the PSC chairman, having been a well known card-carrying member of the PDP, which is forbidden by the PSC Act of 2001 and Section 156 of the 1999 Constitution. Section 156 forbids any head of the federal bodies created by Section 153 of the Constitution such as the Police Service Commission, from belonging to a political party. Up till April 2013, Mr. Mike Okiro functioned as chief of staff to the national Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and contested for a senatorial election under the PDP during the last poll in Nigeria. The re-appointment of Mrs. Comfort Obi and Dr. Otive Igbuzor also appeared to have been done in breach of Section 156.

The inability of Your Excellency to consult widely and appropriately nowadays before making appointments into sensitive public bodies like the PSC that has a rigid tenure of five years has become worrisome. Today, political party arsonists and brigands have found their way into sacred public bodies like federal universities and other higher educational and health institutions in the form of board members and chairmen. Conversely, sensitive appointments made during Your Excellency’s transitional presidency appeared credibly spotless, unlike Your Excellency’s present day board appointments. The NERC, NHRC and INEC Boards, are some of such popular appointments in 2010 and early 2011. On the issue of the constitution of new board for the Police Service Commission, we had expected Your Excellency to shop for credible, impeccable and seminal personalities such as Prof. Etinibi Alemika; one of Nigeria’s celebrated and foremost criminologists, who is also the NPF’s consultant, to head the new Police Service Commission.

In all, the worst era for Nigeria’s PSC remains the immediate past era of retired DIG, Parry Osayande(April 2008-April 2013) and the best era so far for the Commission was the era under Chief Simon Okeke(November 2001-November 2006). Unlike retired DIG, Parry Osayande’s failed team, composed of persons with perceived empty academic and social titles; Chief Simon Okeke’s team was made up of the unofficial president of Nigeria, during the Abacha’s military’s inglorious epoch; Mrs. Ayo Obe(former president of Nigeria’s Civil Liberties Organization-1995-2003). Others were: Hon. Justice O. Olatawura( a retired Justice of the Supreme Court), Alhaji Sani Ahmed Daura(a retired police AIG), Dr. Mrs. Aishatu Abdulkadir( a leading feminist & social Amazon), Mr. Ray Ekpu(a seasoned journalist and reputable personality) and Alhaji Rufai Mohammed.

Igbo-Southeast As Endangered Species Under Your Excellency’s Presidency: It is correct to say that the Igbo-Southeast have lost at least 2,500 of their sons and daughters since Your Excellency’s transitional and substantive presidency from May, 2010. The slaughtering of the zone’s sons and daughters is predicated by their killers, especially the killer Hausa-Fulani Muslim zealots, on false notion that there is no difference between Your Excellency’s Ijaw tribe and the Igbo race. As the most Christian populated race in Nigeria, there is no iota of doubt that the Igbo-Southeast are being targeted for total castration and elimination. During the 2011 post election violence in the 12 northern States of Nigeria, out of over 1000 people killed in both pre-election and post election violence that engulfed the country that period, at least 40% or 400 of them were from the Igbo-Southeast. The zone also lost at least 20 members of the National Youth Service Corps to both election and Boko Haram violence including the Bauchi killing of April 2011 and the Suleja INEC bombings of April 2011.

Between January 2011 and January 2012, approximately 510 sons and daughters of the Igbo-Southeast were murdered in Boko Haram bomb and weapons attacks in various parts of the country including the Madalla Igbo massacre of December 25, 2011 and the Mubi Igbo massacre of January 6, 2012. In the Jos township ethno-religious attacks of 2010 and 2011, at least 300 sons and daughters of the Igbo-Southeast were murdered. In 2010 alone, up to 800 people were killed in Jos violence. The killings included the 24th December, 2010 bomb blasts in churches populated by worshippers of the Igbo-Southeast that killed at least 80 worshippers. On 8th day of January, 2011, 40 Igbo traders were massacred in Dilimi Terminus Market, Jos in Plateau State, North-central Nigeria. On 18th day of March, 2013, over 150 citizens of the Igbo-Southeast extraction were killed in the Sabon Gari, Kano bus park bomb blasts that killed up to 180 people. In the 2011 post election violence, over 350 churches, according to the Christian Association of Nigeria, were burnt or destroyed in northern parts of the country. Ninety percent of these churches were built and populated by the Christian worshippers of the Igbo-Southeast extraction resident in northern Nigeria. Instances are too many to mention. It is utterly disheartening that in spite of these supreme sacrifices paid by the sons and daughters of the zone with respect to Your Excellency’s presidency, the zone remains an endangered species under Your Excellency’s administration. The zone is further castrated and disempowered by being ostracized from federal appointments and promotions such as in the Nigeria Police Force.

Condolences Over The Killing Of Over 100 Security Personnel In Two Days: We deeply extend our condolences to Your Excellency and the State of Nigeria over the reported loss of over 100 security personnel in two days; 07-05-2013 and 08-05-2013 in Bama, Borno State, Northeast Nigeria and Lafia in Nasarawa State, North-central Nigeria. While 22 police personnel, 14 prisons officials and two soldiers were reportedly killed alongside four civilians and 13 insurgents in Bama by Hoko Haram Islamists, credible independent sources including the Vanguard Newspaper and the BBC Hausa Service, said that 88(BBC quoting a source at Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital in Lafia) security personnel, mainly from the NPF Mobile Force were killed in Lafia by the Ombatse Shrine armed militias. Twenty-eight(State government), out of 117 security personnel(Vanguard) that went for the professionally failed operation were reported to have been found alive, while eight, out of eleven security patrol vans involved in the abortive operation, were burnt beyond recognition. The high casualty figures associated with police law enforcement operations in the country in recent times is a direct consequence of the promotion and sustenance of ethnicity, religious bigotry, favoritism, nepotism and mediocrity in the Force. The official mangling of casualty figures in Nigeria has caught up with the NPF in this respect.

Conclusion: We conclusively state that the people of the Igbo-Southeast must be protected at all times from other malicious Nigerians and given their rightful position in Nigeria’s socio-political scene. We reiterate our sacred demands contained in the letter above quoted and attached including an immediate end to the castration and exclusion of the Southeast zone from sensitive federal appointments and promotions including the Nigeria Police Force. Also the presidential delays in punishing the heads of the NPF for inexplicable high death toll of the Nigerian security personnel in 48 hours are very shocking and worrisome. We also call on Your Excellency to withdraw the names of Mr. Mike Okiro, Dr. Otive Igbuzor and Mrs. Comfort Obi as Your Excellency’s nominees for the PSC Board from the Senate and replace them with other distinguished personalities.

Yours Faithfully,

For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law, Nigeria

Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman of the Board
Mobile Phone Nos.: 08033601078, 08180103912
Email: info@intersociety-ng.org, umeagbalasi@yahoo.com
Website: intersociety-ng.org

CC:

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

Emeka Umeagbalasi

Photo Above: Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Intersociety, 41, Miss Elems Street, Fegge, Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria.
- CLICK FOR ENLARGED PHOTO.

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05/12/13

[adsense:]

*The Threat To Nigeria's Existence Is Deepening On Daily Bases

By Chris Onyishi

The Nigerian State frowns at peaceful, organized and civil approach to matters of self determination but beckons on faceless armed militants who kill and maim innocent citizens in the name of agitation against the state on purely no defined principle. It is on record that despite the full blown civil war of 1967 to 1970, there has never been a greater destruction of human beings, who are all Nigerians predominantly of a certain tribe and religion, in the annals of our country.

So what you get is that a group from a section of the country that is peacefully asking for self determination is put forth for treasonable felony trial while the State is, at the same time, negotiating amnesty with another group that has caused the greatest number of deaths through broad day bombings in the land. ( Continues below..... )

Map and Flag of Nigeria

Photo Above: Map and Flag of Nigeria

I would have expected that at worst, a state that is run by creative people would want to negotiate with a civil agitation group rather than rapor with faceless gangsters, if only as a sign that it is more amenable to groups and individuals that follow internationally accepted pattern in demanding for self determination.

It is pertinent to note that it is as a result of flagrant repudiation of a people's fundamental rights to civil agitation that tensions which tend to destroy nation states are engendered.

President Jonathan cannot afford to sit on the fence while the nation he swore to hold together is on the precipise of disintegration. Injustice, unlike politics or politicking, has but one meaning. The project Nigeria cannot run succesfully on this form of flagrant abuse of the rights of its constituent members.

Chris Onyishi ( ctekchris@yahoo.com ) writes from Lagos, Nigeria.

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05/08/13

*Intersociety Raises Alarm on The Grave Violation of The Federal Character Principle By Nigeria Police Force

By International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety)

Ref: Intersociety/S/02/05/013/F/C/ABJ/FGN

               From: the Secretariat of:
               International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
               41, Miss Elems Street, Fegge, Onitsha, Anambra, Nigeria

To:

Prof. Shuaibu AbdulRaheem Oba
Executive Chairman, Federal Character Commission
Plot 64, 1st Avenue, Off Shehu Shagari Way
Central Business District, Abuja, Nigeria

Sir,

Grave Violation Of The Federal Character Principle By The Leadership Of The Nigeria Police Force: A Call For Your Commission’s Immediate Intervention

Above subject matter refers.

(Onitsha Nigeria, 6th day of May, 2013)-In line with powers vested on your Commission by the Federal Character Commission Act of 1996 and Section 153 as well as Supplementary Section 7, Part 1 of Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution, your Commission’s attention is drawn to the above named subject. For full details and necessary action, please find attached a copy of our letter to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, through Mr. Peter Gregory Obi, Governor of Anambra State and Chairman, Southeast Governors’ Forum. The letter is dated 6th day of May, 2013 and referenced: Intersociety/S/01/05/013/S/E/Presidency/ABJ/FGN.

Our Request: We pray your Commission to carry out full investigation into the 3rd day of April, 2013 promotion of 130 senior police officers by the immediate past leadership of the Nigeria Police Service Commission, which said it promoted based on IGP’s recommendation. Your Commission’s investigation will show whether the NPF and the former PSC leadership acted in conformity with the Federal Character Principle, in conformity with Section 14(3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended as well as with the six geopolitical zonal structures. Our findings in the intersociety clearly show that the methods of recommendation for promotion, promotion and posting of senior police officers in the present day NPF are gravely lopsided and carefully designed to cripple and destroy the Southeast zone in the Nigeria’s social scheme of things. We demand that your Commission’s investigation, which should be thorough and conclusive, be extended to the Federal Ministry of Interior and the Immigration Service, where strong accusations of discriminatory practices against personnel of the Southeast extraction working in them are becoming thicker day by day.

We also demand that your Commission’s investigation should be extended to the area of serving AIGs in the NPF so as to ascertain why out of between 22 and 24 serving police AIGs in Nigeria, none is from the Southeast geopolitical zone. The number and geopolitical identities of all serving CPs in the NPF should also be thoroughly investigated to ensure that each geopolitical zone is equitably represented and not short-changed. At the end of your Commission’s investigation, the said lopsidedness should be frontally reversed and proactively prohibited at all times in all the federal ministries and agencies in Nigeria.

Yours Faithfully,

For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law, Nigeria

Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman of the Board
Mobile Phone Nos.: 08033601078, 08180103912
Email: info@intersociety-ng.org, umeagbalasi@yahoo.com
Website: intersociety-ng.org

Emeka Umeagbalasi

Photo Above: Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Intersociety, 41, Miss Elems Street, Fegge, Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria.
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05/07/13

*Hausanisation Of Nigeria Police Force: Intersociety Raises Alarm

By International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety)

Ref: Intersociety/S/01/05/013/S/E/Presidency/ABJ/FGN

               From: the Secretariat of:
               International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
               41, Miss Elems Street, Fegge, Onitsha, Anambra State
               Southeast, Nigeria

To:

Dr. Goodluck E. Jonathan, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Commander-in-Chief, Nigerian Armed Force & Chairman, Nigeria Police Council

Thro

The Chairman, Nigeria’s Southeast Governors’ Forum
Office of the Governor of Anambra State, Government House, Awka
Anambra State, Southeast, Nigeria

Your Excellencies,

Hausanisation & Islamisation Policy In The Nigeria Police Force: Our Case Against The Police Leadership Under IGP M.D. Abubakar

(Onitsha Nigeria, 6th day of May, 2013)-The composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few States or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that Government or in any of its agencies. Your Excellencies, it is totally correct to say that the foregoing firm constitutional directive provided in Section 14(3) of the Constitution of Nigeria, 1999 as amended, is observed in total breach by the present leadership of the Nigeria Police Force, headed by IGP Mohammed Dikko Abubakar as it relates to recommendation for promotion, promotion and posting of senior police officers, especially those from the ranks of Commissioners of Police and Assistant Inspectors General of Police. Though, the Nigeria Police Service Commission promotes, but it says the IGP recommends those to be promoted. This is in clear violation of the PSC Establishment Act of 2001 and Supplementary Section 29 of Part 1 of Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution as amended.

As Your Excellencies may know, unity in diversity is the main and last trademark of every heterogeneous society such as ours. It was a driving force behind the introduction of federalism into the country’s political and legal systems in 1954. The Nigeria’s variant of the Fundamental Human Rights doctrine, which was recommended in 1957/8 for enshrinement into the Independence Constitution of 1960, was solely predicated on unity in diversity. It was the fears of the Nigerian minorities of Mid-West and Middle-Belt that made its enshrinement into the country’s constitutions till date possible. Today, every Tom, Dick and Harry in the country is a beneficiary of this famous doctrine, originally intended to allay the fears of the minorities. This is also expressly responsible for Your Excellency, President Goodluck E. Jonathan’s presidential emergence, having come Ijaw small ethnic group. The unanimous adoption of six geopolitical zonal structures for Nigeria’s geopolitical system at the 1994 constitutional conference is also to ensure unity in diversity.

Therefore, the social importance of unity in diversity in every heterogeneous society like ours cannot be quantitatively and qualitatively measured. The trademark of unity in diversity is effective constitutional safeguards to ward off its violators at all times. In Nigeria, despite the clear and unambiguous provisions of Section 14(3) quoted above, the Government of the Federation and its agencies and agents have continued to observe these sacred constitutional provisions in gross breach. In 2012, we alerted Your Excellencies over discriminatory policies in some Federal Government ministries and agencies especially in the Nigeria Police Force as they concerned and still concern recommendation for promotion, promotion and posting of senior police officers. By the combined provisions of Section 14(3) of the 1999 Constitution and the principle of six geopolitical zonal structures, the appointment of persons into various agencies of the Federal Government including the Nigeria Police Force as well as promotion and posting of the latter’s senior officers should strictly be based on federal character representation and six geopolitical zonal structures.

This simply means that on no accounts should the command structure of the Nigeria Police Force be dominated by one ethnic group or religion. It further means that if there are 24 police AIGs in the Force, each geopolitical zone must get at least four; if there are 90 police CPs, each zone is automatically entitled to fifteen. This should be replicated in other senior or command positions and postings in the Force. It should also be applied in field operations in the Force. For instance, out of the 12 police zonal commands and 37 State commands in the country, each zone should respectively get at least two zonal AIGs and six States CPs. But on the contrary, the reverse is the case. Deliberate Hausanisation and Islamisation policy has become a routine in the present day Nigeria Police Force under the leadership of Mr. Mohammed Diko Abubakar. As the Plateau State Commissioner of Police years back in 2001 or there about, Mr. M.D. Abubakar was gravely accused by Christian community, media, rights groups and government adhoc facts finders as an ethnic and religious zealot, a stigma that nearly robbed him of his present IGPship, which is still a big minus on his personage till date.

Our Grouse:

Non-promotion of Igbo-Southeast Police Personnel & Stagnation of their Ranks: Senior police officers of the Southeast extraction are heavily discriminated against in the areas of statutory promotions and postings. There is also an age-long ranking stagnation policy against them being promoted by the top headship of the Nigeria Police Force. The top field and administrative formations of the Force in Nigeria, out of its 6,651 field formations in the country are: IGPship manned by the overall head of the Force, six DIGs of administration, works, investigation, training, planning & research and information & computer technology; twelve zonal commands manned by twelve AIGs, thirty-seven States and FCT Commands manned by 37 States Commissioners of Police as well as hundreds of State criminal investigation departments and area commands manned by Assistant Commissioners of Police. There are also other important field and administrative formations in the Force manned by AIGs, CPs and DCPs. Some of them are Police Staff College, Jos, Police Academy, Kano, Police Medical, Police Veterinary, Air-wing, Border Patrols, Force Secretary, Intelligence and Marines & Airport Command, all manned by AIGs. Others like Police Detective Colleges, Police Colleges, Police Admin, Police Legal, Port Authority, MOPOL, SARS, CTU, Info Tech/Admin, Police Animal, etc, are manned by Commissioners of Police.

Surprisingly and shocking too, senior police officers of the Igbo-Southeast extraction are not equitably represented in all these key police formations in the country. For instance, in the number of serving police commissioners in Nigeria, the Southeast zone is the least represented geopolitically. Other than States Police Commands where about six of them are serving with their statutory terminal dates nearing, their absence in other key police formations in the country is acutely noticed. For instance, among the 12 Police Zonal Commands in the country, manned by AIGs, none of them is from the Igbo-Southeast extraction. As a matter of fact, there is no Igbo-Southeast serving AIG, out of between 22 and 24 serving AIGs (assistant inspectors general of police) in the Nigeria Police Force presently. The only serving AIG from the zone who was promoted in 2012 on the heels of similar outcries from the zone over non-promotion and exclusion of Igbo-Southeast senior police officers, quietly retired in April 2013. His name is Mr. Alex Emeka Okeke-a celebrated police pharmacist.

The promotion of Igbo-Southeast senior police officers to the ranks of ACPs, DCPs, CPs and AIGs is also deliberately stunted and carried out months away from their statutory retirement dates. There are incontrovertible pieces of evidence showing that the Igbo-Southeast police officers are among the best in both police colleges and police staff colleges in Nigeria, yet their promotions and postings are habitually stunted by the promoting and posting authorities of the NPF. There are still many Igbo-Southeast police officers who entered the Force in early 80s with higher education qualifications, who also emerged all round cadets in police colleges, yet, they are still in the ranks of SPs, CSPs, ACPs and DCPs, whereas their counterparts from five other geopolitical zones particularly the Northwest, Northeast, North-central and Southwest, have risen to the ranks of CPs, AIGs and DIGs. The present IGP, Mohammed Dikko Abubakar, from Zamfara State, Northwest Nigeria, joined the NPF as a cadet inspector on 1st day of August, 1979.

The Last Straw that Broke the Camel’s Back: On 3rd day of May, 2013, Nigerians, particularly those of the Southeast extraction received with shock and disbelief the news of decoration by the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Dikko Abubakar, of nine newly promoted Commissioners of Police at Force Headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria. Our swift checks revealed that they were part of the 13 deputy commissioners of police promoted to police commissioners on 3rd day of April by the immediate past leadership of the Nigeria Police Service Commission, which said it acted based on the recommendation of the Inspector General of Police, Mr. M.D. Abubakar. The former PSC leadership had in the exercise promoted 13 DCPs to CPs, 22 ACPs to DCPs, 9 CSPs to ACPs, 16 DSPs to SPs, 52 ASPs to DSPs and 7 Inspectors to ASPs. Also, one serving Commissioner of Police, Ali Ahmadu, was made an AIG with a strange directive that his promotion would take effect from 31st day of July, 2013, the same day he will retire from the Nigeria Police Force. The identities and geopolitical zones of the newly promoted officers were shrouded in secrecy by the former PSC leadership as well as the top leadership of the Force with the exception of the nine newly decorated CPs. The full details of the promotion were neither put on the PSC and NPF websites nor given to the media.

Our further in-depth checks showed that out of the nine newly promoted and decorated police commissioners, whose identities were made public by the IGP, none of them is from the Igbo-Southeast Nigeria and out of the 13 new CPs promoted, none is from the Southeast, whereas eight out of the nine newly decorated ones are northern Muslims. Seven of them are core Hausa-Fulani Muslims; one is a northern Yoruba Muslim, while one is a Southwest Christian. Their names are: Commissioners of Police Kudu Abubakar Nima, Umar U. Shehu, Usman Yakubu, Saidu Madawaki, Usman Isah Baba, Abdulmajid Ali, Abubakar Adamu Mohammed, Abdul Salami and Cornelius Kayode Aderanti. For us in the Intersociety, this is an impeachable violation of Section 14(3) of the 1999 Constitution.

Further, in the eighteen names available to us, out of between 22 and 24 serving AIGs in the Nigeria Police Force, none of them comes from the Southeast geopolitical zone. They are: Police AIGs Saliu Argungu Hashimu, Mamman Ibrahim Tsafe, Suleiman A. Abba, Ali Ahmadu, Ibrahim Abdu, Tambari Mohammed, Mohammed Abubakar, Aliyu Musa and Balla Hassan (they are all Hausa-Fulani Muslims). Nine other non-Igbo-Southeast AIGs still serving are: Christopher Dega, Julius Ishola, Solomon Arase, Dan’azumi Job Doma, Solomon Olusegun, Michael Zuokumor, Orubebe Gandhi Ebikeme, Jonathan Johnson and Philemon Leha. None of the 4 or 6 remaining AIGs, whose names are not contained here, is from the Igbo-Southeast Nigeria. In the list above, all the geopolitical zones of Northwest, Northeast, North-central, Southwest and South-south are represented in the all-important AIGship except the Southeast zone.

Few serving Igbo-Southeast States CPs in Nigeria with nearing statutory terminal dates are CPs Ikechukwu Aduba-Delta State, Godfrey Okeke-Adamawa State, Kingsley Omire-Bayelsa State, Hilary Opara-Kogi State, Ikemefula Okoye-Ogun and Patrick Egbuniwe-Yobe State. Four other known non-State Command CPs from the Igbo-Southeast, who are still serving are CPs Mrs. Chintua Amajor Onu-CP Intelligence, Force Headquarters, Isaac Eke-CP Admin B, Force Headquarters, Benjamin Onwuka-Deputy Commandant, Police College, Jos and Felix Uyanna-Commandant, Police College, Oji River, Enugu State. It is possible that some of these CPs that bear Igbo names are of the South-south Igbo origin. The only cadre of the NPF top command that is equitably represented in the six geopolitical zonal structures is the six NPF’s top management levels manned by Deputy Inspectors General of Police. While DIGs Atiku Y. Kafur and Suleiman D. Fakai of Planning & Research and Administration departments, respectively, represent Northwest and Northeast geopolitical zones; DIGs Marvel Akpoyibo and Abdulrahman Akano of Training and Information & Computer Technology departments, respectively, represent South-south and Southwest zones. DIGs Peter Yisa Gana and Emmanuel Onyekachi Udoji of Investigation and Works departments, respectively, represent North-central and Southeast zones.

Marginalization of the Igbo-Southeast in Other Federal Ministries & Agencies: The attentions of Your Excellencies are drawn to efforts by some key federal ministries and agencies controlled by other geopolitical zones to oust and destroy the Igbo-Southeast personnel working in such ministries and agencies. It is clear to every Tom, Dick and Harry that the Northwest, Northeast, North-central and Southwest zones are not comfortable over the headship of the Nigerian Army by an Igbo-Southeast person. Phantom moves are steadily being made to oust the zone from the position. Just months ago, the Controller General of the Nigerian Immigration Service, Mrs. Rose Uzoma, who hailed from the Southeast zone, was unceremoniously ousted by the Federal Government under Your Excellency, President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, over phantom allegations including recruitment of Igbo persons into the Service outside the Federal Character principle. Recently, the concerned Igbo-Southeast personnel working in the Service cried foul over the discriminatory practices being initiated and sustained against them in the Service and the Federal Ministry of Interior. They complained of non-appointment into key positions, barefaced discrimination, sideling and allocation of irrelevant duties to them, unnecessary and deliberate delays in appointing another Southeast person as the acting or substantive Controller General of the Immigration Service, among others. They specifically pointed out that the Igbo-Southeast are not represented in the Federal Ministry of Interior’s boards of Prisons, Immigration, Security & Civil Defense Corps, Customs and Police. Whereas other geopolitical zones are represented in the Ministry’s Joint Intelligence Board, it is only the Southeast zone that is not represented. They cited a stark example of the lopsided composition of the Ministry of Interior, where the Minister and Permanent Secretary are from the north and chairman and secretary of the Immigration Board are from the same north. Same thing applies to Prisons and Civil Defense Corps, etc.

Conclusion: Our writing Your Excellencies is to draw Your Excellencies’ attentions to issues under reference and demand for permanent end to same as well as strict adherence to Section 14(3) and six geopolitical zonal principle in matters of distribution of federal appointments, recruitments, promotions and postings of members of the armed forces including the Nigeria Police Force. The recent promotions in the NPF being complained of should be thoroughly and expeditiously investigated with a view to addressing the gross lopsidedness and sanctioning those found flouting the said Section 14(3). Your Excellency, President Goodluck Jonathan, should expeditiously issue a presidential proclamation directing all heads of the armed forces including the NPF and the PSC to henceforth base their recruitments, promotions and postings on Section 14(3) and six geopolitical zonal structures. Your Excellency, as the chairman of the Nigeria Police Council and sole appointing authority of members of the PSC board should ensure that the next PSC board is composed of astute and impeccable personalities. The grave mistake of appointing a retired police officer as the chairman of the PSC must be avoided. The intendment behind the creation of the PSC is not to militarize the NPF but to civilianize it and provide effective checks and balances on its headship at all times. Also, promoting police officers on the recommendation of the IGP is illegal and unconstitutional. The PSC is expressly empowered both constitutionally and legally to appoint (promote), dismiss and discipline any member of the NPF other than the IGP without recourse to the IGP’s so called recommendation. The IGP is the operational head of the Force and nothing more than that.

We urge Your Excellency, Mr. Peter Obi, as the chairman of the Southeast Governors’ Forum, to be more proactive, protective and outspoken whenever the lives, liberties and interests of the people of Igbo-Southeast such as the foregoing are under threats. The slaughtering of thousands of the Southeast people on yearly basis by lawful and unlawful armed malicious elements in the country is partly because of the lopsidedness being complained of and quietness of the graveyard on the part of the zone’s top public office holders. The leaders of the zone under Your Excellency’s leadership must no longer sound and behave like a conquered people, which they are not. Nigeria, as Your Excellency is aware, belongs to all of us. Our people must be maximally protected in any part of the country at all times. The Jonathan’s Presidency must no longer be made to look like Jonathan rules and Igbo people get perished political game.

Yours Faithfully,
For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law, Nigeria

Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman of the Board
Mobile Phone Nos.: 08033601078, 08180103912
Email: info@intersociety-ng.org, umeagbalasi@yahoo.com
Website: intersociety-ng.org

CC:
The Chairman, Federal Character Commission, FCT, Abuja, Nigeria
Deputy President of Senate, National Assembly of Nigeria, FCT, Abuja, Nigeria
Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives of Nigeria, FCT, Abuja, Nigeria

Emeka Umeagbalasi

Photo Above: Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Intersociety, 41, Miss Elems Street, Fegge, Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria.
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04/22/13

*Chief Okereke, Masterweb Publisher Loses Mother

By Masterweb News Desk

Friday, May 3, 2013 has been set for the burial of Lolo Grace Nnennaya Okereke, mother of Nigeria Masterweb publisher, Chief Charles O. Okereke who passed on to glory at the ripe age of 90. She will be laid to rest at the family home in Ogwumabiri (adjacent to Amaja Elu), Akoliufu – Alayi.

Below is the Programme of the Funeral Rites.

Friday, May 3, 2013.

0 am: Body leaves St. Francis Mortuary, Aba for St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Akoliufu, Alayi.

11.00 am12 noon: Concelebrated Requiem Mass at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Akoliufu, Alayi.

m: Body arrives at our family compound in Ogwumabiri (adjacent to Amaja Elu), about 1.5 miles from the church.

0 pm: Interment

1.102.10 pm: Speeches / Tributes

2.15 - 5.00 pm: Entertainment & Cultural Dances

Send condolences to admin@nigeriamasterweb.com Okereke’s family can be reached at +234 08060471078. May her gentle soul rest in peace.

Late Lolo Grace Nnennaya Okereke

Photo Above: Late Lolo Grace Nnennaya Okereke

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04/18/13

*Amnesty For 8 Condemned Nigerian Prisoners: A Call For Urgent Action

By International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety)

               The Secretariat Of:
               International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule Of Law
               41, Miss Elems Street, Fegge, Onitsha, Anambra, Nigeria.

1. The Secretary General
Amnesty International
C/O Mr. Makmid Kamara, AI Researcher for Nigeria
1, Easton Street, Peter Benison House
London WCIX ODW, UK

2. The Executive Director
Human Rights Watch
C/O Mariana Enamoneta, HRW Researcher for Nigeria
350 Fifth Avenue, 34th Floor, New York, NY 10118-3299, USA

Dear Senior Colleagues,

Amnesty For Eight Condemned Prisoners In Benin Nigeria: A Call For Urgent Action

(Onitsha Nigeria, 18th day of April, 2013) -On 15th day of April, 2013, our leadership got an urgent information from inside the Benin Prisons in Edo State, South-south, Nigeria that fresh plans are being made by the Prisons authorities, in collaboration with the Government of Edo State to execute some condemned prisons inmates at the Prisons Gallows located within its premises. In October 2012, similar plans by the Government of Edo State and the authorities of the Nigerian Prisons in the State to carry out the callous executions were thwarted by international pressures from leading internationally respected bodies including your respected organizations and the European Union Mission to Nigeria. Movement against judicial executions in Nigeria including the case under reference has also become a subject of litigation courtesy of the Nigeria’s Legal Defence & Assistance Project-LEDAP and other interested parties. The matter, principally filed on behalf of some death row inmates in Edo State, was filed before the Benin Division of the Federal High Court in October 2012 and is still pending in the Nigerian courts.

In spite of the litigious nature of the matter under reference in addition to existing moratoriums on death penalty in Nigeria (defacto) and the African Union, against judicial executions in the country, the political authorities in Edo State seem hell bent on carrying out such executions in secretly dangerous ways. As you may know, there are approximately 920 prisoners on death row in Nigeria, out of which, about 840 of them are presently in court, challenging the rationality behind their death warrants issued by substantive and adhoc judicial bodies in the country. This is more so when over 100 independent countries, out of the UN’s 193 member-States have ousted death penalty clauses from their municipal laws, while over half of the remaining countries, which are not parties to anti death penalty clauses have adopted moratoriums against it.

The latest alarm is stem from the servicing of the Prisons Gallows of the Benin Prisons and the padlock of a door leading to the Gallows on Monday, 15th day of April, 2013. According to concerned inmates in the Prisons, once the Gallows and the said door are oiled and serviced, it means executions may most likely take place. The door to the Gallows from prisons cells, popularly called gate of hell in the Prisons is opened once in a long while when executions are to take place. It is a passage through which condemned prisoners are led to the Gallows at the point of their executions. According to a source, the door has been under lock and key for years until three days ago. Strange presence of some prisons warders around the Gallows in the midnight of 17th day of April, 2013 was reported to us in the early morning of 18th day of April, 2013. It is seriously suspected that the Governor of Edo State has signed the death warrant of some death row inmates including Daniel Nsofor and Osarenmwinda Aiguokhian. The latter were part of those death row inmates saved from planned execution in October 2012.

The following eight condemned prisoners from the Benin Prisons fear terribly that they may most likely be executed at any time from now. They are: 1. Agbonmware Omorogie, from Edo State-convicted since 1994 and exhausted his right of appeal at the Supreme Court of Nigeria (spent 19 years after conviction).2. Cyracius Ogidi, from Imo State-convicted for armed robbery by military tribunal since 1997(spent 16 years after conviction).3.ThanKGod Ebhos, from Kaduna State convicted for armed robbery by military tribunal since 1988(spent 25 years after conviction). 4. Chima Ejifor-arrested in Edo State on 29-11-1994 and convicted on 21-8-1998 at the age of 27(spent 15 years after conviction). His appeal has been exhausted at the Apex Court.

Others are: 5.Richard Igago, arrested in 1994 and convicted on 19-12-1995 by an Edo State High Court (spent 18 years after conviction). 6. Osarenmwinda Aiguokhian-arrested on 7-7-1993 and convicted for armed robbery by military tribunal on 18-1-1996(spent 17 years after conviction). 7. Daniel Nsofor-arrested in Edo State on 31-11-1992 and convicted on 19-6-1996(spent 17 years after conviction with his right of appeal exhausted at the Apex Court). 8. Apostle Igene, from Delta State-arrested on 9-5-1997 and convicted for armed robbery by military tribunal in 1998 at the age of 28 with no right of appeal (spent 15 years after conviction).

Under an aspect of the Nigerian law called the Prerogative of Mercy, the President of the country and the Governor of any of the 36 federating units called States as well as the Chief Justice of Nigeria and the Chief Judge of a State are empowered to commute the jail terms of convicted citizens ranging from death penalty, life jail to years-jail. They are also carnally arrogated with the powers of go home and sin or offend no more. Sadly, this important power is not equitably and socially exercised in Nigeria. They are exercised under politically motivated and ill-conceived influences. At times, the exercise is pegged for the highest bidders or those that have long legs.

Our writing your respected international organizations is in recognition of immense roles you successfully played around the globe with respect to movement against death penalty. That major leading regional and international social groupings like the Organization of American States, the European Union, the African Union and the United Nations now play ceaselessly the flutes of say no to death penalty, which has caught the municipal attentions of over 100 territorial sovereign entities, is expressly linked to sustained advocacies carried out by your respected organizations with other interested parties.

Though death penalty is globally condemned because it is cruel, degrading and inhuman, but the most cruel, degrading and inhuman is pretrial killings. Death penalty victims are processed criminals, though some may have been wrongly convicted, but victims of pretrial killings are unprocessed suspects merely accused of offending the law whether felony, misdemeanor or simple offences; who in the eyes of the law are not criminals because they have not been fully processed by way of criminal arrest, investigation, prosecution, fair trial, conviction and sentencing. In Nigeria, thousands of citizens are killed annually before trial in circumstances not even connected to the so called self defense, custody escape and arrest resistance, under which the country’s law enforcement agencies including the Nigeria Police Force hide to kill Nigerians in droves with impunity. The three universally outlawed killing circumstances are code-named Order 237 of the Nigeria Police Force contained in the NPF Act and defenses to rights to life and dignity of human person contained in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

We call upon your respected organizations to use your wide global influences to secure an amnesty for the nine Nigerian death row inmates under reference as a matter of extreme urgency and stop the country both at Federal and State levels to stop further judicial execution of those citizens under death row in the country. The Nigerian authorities should also be pressurized to adopt a substantive moratorium against judicial executions, from which she will be made to enter an anti death penalty club. The country should be encouraged to diversify her sentencing and penalty system to accommodate community service, prison labour, prison industry, parole, fines, prison sporting and social development, etc. The Nigerian Prisons System should also be put in the concurrent legislative list to enable various States to participate so as to ensure its effective and efficient management. It is also our call upon your respected organizations to initiate a new wave of international advocacy against pretrial killings by law enforcement organs of many member-States of the UN particularly in Africa. Effective legal mechanisms should be put in place internationally, regionally, sub-regionally and nationally to bring to book those law enforcement and other security personnel found involved in pretrial killings. Strong global movements against the globally abhorred acts should be formed and sustained.

Yours Comradely,

For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law, Nigeria

Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman of the Board
08033601078, 08180103912
info@intersociety-ng.org, umeagbalasi@yahoo.com

Comrade Justus Ijeoma, Head, Publicity Desk
08037114869
juijeoma@yahoo.com

Emeka Umeagbalasi

Photo Above: Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Intersociety, 41, Miss Elems Street, Fegge, Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria.
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04/14/13

*Motherhood -By Valentine Obienyem

By Valentine Obienyem

Childhood disposition is basically the same for both sexes especially at the early stages of life. The newly born, apart from a few natural distinctions, cry, crawl, go on diapers, play childhood pranks, sleep, and do many things almost indistinguishable from one another. As they enter into infancy, especially when they start primary schools, though still of the same disposition, they subtly become conscious of their sexes. At this stage, there is the tendency for each sex to be attracted to its kind. Thus, we see boys, as girls, playing with one another mostly. Sex prejudices will now crawl in like a snake to disturb the paradise of childhood oneness.

At puberty, helped by psychological and physical changes that children undergo, each sex now becomes fully conscious of its identity. Stimulated to amorous frenzy by these changes, girls are often advised to avoid boys because of the unexpected. Determined to enjoy all the fantasies of adolescence, the growing youngsters, despite all efforts to shield them from one another, still “enjoy” one another.

Now, moving into conscious young adulthood, the boys will now like to stay close to their fathers as the girls are naturally attracted to their mothers. A methodical father will now undertake to teach the son(s) the ways of the community: relevant histories, their possessions, masculine stories that praise heroism and despise effeminate degeneracy. As the son (s) grows to marriageable age, he will undertake to teach him the virtues that a man must look for in a woman he intends to marry. On the part of mothers, they undertake, in a nutshell, to teach their daughters the requirements of sound motherhood.

There are many reasons that suggest that motherhood is the crown of womanhood. This is not just motherhood, but blended with the right spiritual disposition. As soon as young girls come of age, they are agitated with the thought of getting married to the right man. To most of them, their wedding days are usually the happiest in their lives, not the day they gained admission into higher institution or recorded some epochal achievements. Soon after marriage/wedding, the next urge is to beget children and raise families. You need to see the trauma that accompanies childlessness to appreciate the position of children in our society. With the coming of children, our thoughtless young women assume another responsibility - the upbringing of their children. ( Continues below..... )

Expectant mother with her son

Photo Above: Expectant mother with her son

If the truth must be told, mothers contribute more to the upbringing of children than fathers. Fathers surpass only in families where mothers are acutely unaware of, or incapable of living up to their responsibilities. If you have been part of a typical child’s upbringing, from conception to adulthood, you will realize what I mean. It is true that men “Supply” the sperm that fertilizes the ovum for life to begin, but this is often after a process that they usually derive pleasure from. Contemplating the long gestation, the pain of childbirth, and reckoning how many sleepless nights mothers are forced to bear by “troublesome” babies, some of us will revise our judgment of man being the principal party in child rearing, and perceive again the universal dignity of motherhood.

In the great systole and dystole of history, we have seen motherhood honoured in various ways. Among Christians, a Sunday is set apart - Mothering Sunday - for the celebration of motherhood. This is in recognition of the central position of mothers to the stability of the family. Do not remind me of Father’s Sunday, it is a patriarchal response to what seemed to the men as matriarchal omnipotence.

Most mothers take activities such as Mothering Sunday as the glorification of motherhood. This may not be far from the truth, but they need to be reminded that it is also a reminder to them of the responsibilities of being mothers. It is all about being mothers in name and in fact. It calls for sober reflection on the part of mothers. Genuine sober reflection, usually involves self-questioning. Thus, Mothering Sunday calls on all mothers to ask questions to themselves such as: “Have I been a responsible Mother? “ “Can I be a responsible mother? “. In what constitute responsible motherhood?

The chaos in our country today seems more to be a moral chaos, caused, perhaps, by the weakening of sound and pristine values. Children of these days are brought up in such a way to regard insolence and waywardness as a show of manliness. Respect for elders is now in short supply. Our institutions of higher learning are now populated by peculiarly deluded youths who only understand the language of violence. The dress code of contemporary youngsters disrespects all sense of decency, as it is aimed at arousing even stones to amorous gallantry. Looking at the moral situation of our society with perplexity, the “Perplexed” is wont to ask: “Who is to blame?”

Since the upbringing of the child is more the responsibility of mothers as dictated by their closeness to their children more than fathers, mothers are mostly to be blamed. Most of them, considering their disposition, are eminently unsuited for the dignity of motherhood in many respects.

Let us look at mothers that are shorn of morals. Some not only leave their husbands to live in brothels, they go ahead and raise children in these brothels. Raised in the midst of vices and debauchery, tell me how these children will not grow up into moral misfits?

To Confucius, example is the best form of precept. It is not enough for mothers to tell their children to do this or that, but do the opposite of their counsel. We mourn the degeneration of the dress code. We mourn the increase of cheating among youngsters. We mourn lack of respect that seems to be in vague among the youth. We mourn the so much vices that have become the trademark of youngsters. But in truth, some mothers stimulate these anomalies by their corrupt examples. The mothers of today are almost always the first to persuade the father to offer bribe for their children to be admitted into higher institutions. Some imbibe the culture of disrespect on their children by being disrespectful to their husbands. An Igbo proverb has it that when the nanny goat chews the cud, the kid watches.

Proper upbringing of a child calls for Spartan motherhood. Brought up in soft and aristocratic ways, the mothers of today handle their children softly to the point of shunning corporal punishment. Time was when bringing up a child was properly regarded as joint responsibility. Children dared not misbehave in the presence of any elder, both known and unknown, for the fear of his lashes. Not anymore!. Our modern mothers have allowed emotional considerations to dethrone their reason. When attempts to correct your neigbbour’s child are met with extreme hostility, everybody is now on his guard. Morality suffers.

The foundation of society is a disciplined individual in a disciplined family. For a family to be disciplined calls for responsible parenthood, especially on the side of mothers. It is for this reason that men are called to choose their wives carefully, bearing in mind the character of the woman. We end up having many failed marriages/families because most marriages are concluded for beauty’s sake, or huddled up for amorous desires. Marriage is much more than that.

In this day and age, most mothers are forced into marriage because of “scarcity” of men. This is detestable. It is not only the duty of men to choose their wives; women also should choose their husbands. Of two suitors for his daughters hand, we are told, Themistocles chose the likely man in preference to the rich man saying “I want a man without money rather than money without a man.” Let this be a guide to our young girls.

Motherhood is dignified, motherhood is sacred, and motherhood is worthy of celebration because of its importance to the moral fabric of the society. But are you a worthy mother? Do you merit our praises because of your forthrightness? For our society to regenerate morally, mothers have an important part to play. “There is no worse evil” Euripides wrote, “than a bad mother; and nothing has ever been produced better than a good one.”

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04/11/13

*Does Boko Haram deserve Amnesty?

By Dr. Lewis Akpogena

Few weeks ago, the Sultan of Sokoto, Abubakar Sa’ad asked the Federal Government to grant members of the militant group, Boko Haram, a “total and unconditional amnesty” for the sake of peace in the country. The Sultan’s basis is premised on the fact that a presidential amnesty to even one member of the sect could make others to lay down their arms for peace to reign in the nation. In reaction to the sultan’s call, President Jonathan, during his visit to Maiduguri, said his administration would not grant members of the group amnesty until such a time the group comes out in the public to dialogue with the federal government. Since these two prominent figures made these comments, Nigerians seem to have been divided on the justification of amnesty for Boko Haram. Although this division can be understood if viewed from different perspectives, it is quite disappointing that most of the views expressed are either beclouded by sentiments or emotions, especially on the part of those who think that an amnesty for Boko Haram will be a tragic mistake. It is even more disheartening when those who are in support of amnesty for Boko Haram are immediately branded Boko Haram sympathizers, just because they dared to proffer a solution. It doesn’t even matter to this people if you have been affected in one way or the other.

I particularly decided to write this piece to add the Christian perspective to the ongoing public opinion on the matter. Terrorism by any person or group of persons based on political, religious or any other persuasion that results in killing of people and destruction of properties is evil and condemnable. If Boko Haram by their activities of killing Christians, People from the Southern part of Nigeria and destruction of Churches and their properties fit being described as terrorist organization, do they deserve amnesty? What qualifies a terrorist organization being granted amnesty? Can we equate the militant agitation of the Niger Delta Militants with the activities of Boko Haram? God’s view and method are the standard to analyze any given situation in life. The Bible, God’s Word reveals God’s intent, requirements and methodology. When man rebelled against God by doing what was wrong and became violent and hostile to God’s righteous demand. God did not only express condemnation of the act but proffer solution to the situation. He became solution for the redemption of fallen man with condition. “If you believe the finished work of redemption through Jesus Christ”, “accept and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour”. Furthermore, Luke 17:3-4, “3Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him”. What if the offender refused to repent? What should be done? Jesus Christ died for the whole world but the benefits of his death is not received or enjoyed by all…only those who believe and are remorseful over their wrong.

In light of the present situation, does Boko Haram deserve amnesty? Here are some opinions on this question: Abubakar Sidiq Usman is an Urban Planning Consultant; Blogger and an Active Citizen working towards a better Nigeria has this to say: “I do not live in any of those states where Boko Haram have laid siege and fortunately, I have not been directly affected by any of their atrocities, but I do not need to be or wait till I am before I seek a way out of the evil perpetrated by these men for whatever reason, because I may not be this lucky forever. My support for amnesty is not spontaneous. I actually kicked against it when it was first suggested, but over time, I realized the need for it and that reason is not borne out of the fact that I think Boko Haram deserves amnesty. Those evil men have caused untold harm to the Nigerian state and her people. Ordinarily, they should be made to face justice for their crimes and this I believe is the argument advanced by many of those who kicked against granting them amnesty, but while this has failed to bring about peace or at least succeed in putting a stop to the insurgency, it is only normal to give amnesty a try so as to prevent further carnage. After all, an unjust peace in the views of Cicero is better than a just war”. ( Continues below….. )

An assault rifle
Photo Above: An assault rifle, one of the weapons used by Boko Haram.

“Even as some persons kicked against the amnesty, they have not been able to tell us what they think can solve the problem or at least guarantee peace to the affected people, except for a continued military onslaught whose outcome has resulted in more deaths of civilians than the Boko Haram members itself. There is no guarantee that amnesty will be all that is needed, but there is even a guarantee that the presence of the JTF in those areas affected will not stop the killing of citizens of those states. At least we have seen that for over five years. The argument by some of these people is that amnesty for Boko Haram is not in any way comparable to the amnesty granted Niger Delta militants. What they failed to realize is that crime against a state is a crime. No doubt, the Boko Haram sect has killed countless number of people and destroyed properties belonging to individuals and the authority, but if Wikipedia’s definition of terrorism which it says “refers to those violent acts which are intended to create fear (terror); are perpetrated for a religious, political or, ideological goal; and deliberately target or disregard the safety of non-combatants (civilians)” is anything to go by, then the Niger Delta militants are also liable, because they’ve also killed and destroyed properties, whether comparable or not to Boko Haram. Although I quite agree with what the agitations of the militants were about, assuming it is true they did what they did in the overall interest of the Niger Deltans, it still doesn’t exonerate them from what many people want for Boko Haram. That is by the way though”.

“An amnesty for Boko Haram does not necessarily need to be the same amnesty granted to Niger Delta Militants. Fact is that not everybody in the sect will accept amnesty, especially those who are hardliners like Abubakar Shekau, but you can be sure that a good number of them will accept it, especially those who joined because their mosques were destroyed, their leaders or members were killed extra-judiciously or even those who joined because they suffered victimization from the hands of security agencies. Personally, I think amnesty for Boko Haram should come with a lot of conditions. Those who are willing for example could be asked to submit their arms; all members should be screened and those who actually deserve the gesture should be given, while those who are found to have committed heinous crimes should be made to face the course of justice. Also, the training and monthly allowance as is the case with Niger Delta militants should either be minimal or completely excluded from the amnesty package. As this is going on, a combined strategy of dialogue, improved intelligence gathering and use of force will be stepped up to tackle those who will not accept the amnesty. Gains against this terror group are even more realistic now that there seem to be different factions in the sect, as this must have weakened their ranks. There are no guarantees of success with this strategy though, but it will go a long way in reducing the number of enemies the government will have to deal with”.

“The government really needs to step up its responsibility of protecting the lives and properties of every Nigerians instead of playing politics with the issue. The claim by President Jonathan that Boko Haram is ghost and therefore cannot be granted amnesty is not only laughable, but irresponsible. We have not forgotten that the government told us severally that it is in dialogue with Boko Haram. We have also not forgotten that at a point, the government promised to publish the names of their sponsors which it never did. How come these same people all of a sudden became ghosts? President Jonathan said the elders of the terrorist stronghold should fish out the Boko Haram members. When late President Yar Adua granted amnesty to Niger delta Militants, he didn’t sit down in Aso Rock and asked leaders in the Niger Delta to fish out the militants. He empowered his vice president, who incidentally is now the President to enter into the creeks and dialogue with the militants before they finally accepted amnesty. Dr Goodluck Jonathan as vice president then worked in conjunction with governors and elders of the Niger Delta states to dialogue with the militants which eventually ended up in the amnesty. That exactly is what President Jonathan ought to do, especially now that the vice president is also a son from the north and not to sit down in Aso Rock and hand over his responsibility solely to those who do not have the requisite capacity to carry out such assignment. Until we are ready to explore as many options as possible part of which is an amnesty, we may just have to continue to live with the evils of Boko Haram for a long time coming”

Another view from the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) represented by the General Secretary, Rev. Musa Asake: “Our position is very clear. We don’t support amnesty for Boko Haram. You don’t give amnesty to people you don’t know. If those people who are calling for the amnesty know these people called Boko Haram, and they are seeking peace, let them come out and tell us why they are killing people. Their targets are Christians and they have been going after Christians and they have been saying it without mincing words. They have been saying that the Nigerian Constitution should be removed from the North and be replaced with the Sharia, if not, the violence will go on. For somebody to come out and say there should be amnesty for people like that, without considering the people that have been made widows and orphans, without considering the places of worship and schools that have been burnt down, is insensitive. In calling for amnesty, they never mentioned those widows, those orphans; they never mentioned the grave injustice that has been done to Christians. This leaves me with a very big question mark. What is the motive behind the call? There was a time that some Muslims denied that Boko Haram members were Muslims. But none of the Muslims is ready to support our position. We want to know them. What are they fighting for?”

Don’t you think granting Boko Haram amnesty could bring the crisis in the North to an end? “ Do you have a guarantee for that? We can’t play games when people’s lives are being wasted daily. Their leader, Ibrahim Shekau, came out recently and said they were fighting the cause of Allah. He never talked about injustice. He never said they were looking for justice. I really don’t understand. And there are some people, who are just trying to attract attention by comparing them with the Niger Delta militants. What happened in Niger Delta was completely different. There was a cause that they were fighting for. But the goal of this people is to destroy churches and kill Christians. When you say there is no justice, I ask: who needs justice; is it the person who is killing others or the person who is being killed? We as Nigerians need to be very sincere with ourselves. Nobody is saying anything about the people who have lost their loved ones and their places of worship destroyed. All we are hearing is that Boko Haram, faceless people, who are fighting no just cause, should be granted amnesty. I’m from the North. And I can tell you that the North has been shattered by the activities of Boko Haram members. So, it bothers me to hear someone calling for amnesty for these people”

This issue seems to have become a subject of argument between Christians and Muslims. Is there a political dimension to this or is it strictly religious? “I don’t think these people (Boko Haram members) have at anytime convinced anybody about their mission. Right from the onset, they declared that Christians are enemies of Allah, so they are out to get rid of Christians. And look at their activities. It’s only Christians they go after. They have burnt down several churches, and they killed so many Christians. So, this is not an issue that somebody should begin to scratch his head over who their target is. If you listen to all they have said, they have never minced words about eliminating Christians. So, you don’t believe poverty has a hand in this. “If you are poor, do you begin to fight and kill others? Is that the way to get rich? Can the firearms they are using, the AK 47 they are using in their numbers, be purchased by poor people? Does it make sense to say you are poor and you are holding AK 47? We are more than this kind of argument. Let’s talk of the real thing. Let’s call black black and white white. Let’s be honest with ourselves. This has nothing to do with poverty”

FOR the past four years, federal government has been fighting to end Boko Haram insurgency in the northern part of the country with little or no success. This has prompted some northern elders and legislators from that part of the country to call on the federal government to grant amnesty to the members of the Islamic sect. This call has generated a lot of controversy among Nigerians. While some people argue that Boko Haram does not deserve amnesty, others insist that amnesty is the only way out of the prevailing security challenges. God did not force salvation on people to ensure peace. He declared and called for repentance. Has Boko Haram show remorse? Who guarantees peace, security and order if amnesty is granted without fulfilling these conditions? What is your view of this?

Dr. Lewis Akpogena (08033399821, akpogena@yahoo.com ), A Christian devotional writer/Minister, Consultant and Educationist reports from Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

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