The Joint Action Coalition of Civil Society for Good Governance held its mid year round table Conference recently at Links Hotel Conference Hall Utako Abuja, where it announced the winner of the HERO OF DEMOCRACY award.
The Joint Action Coalition of Civil Society for good governance formed in the late 70s, is the largest pan African movement, it has been believed that they can be no ideological revolution without a conscious society.
The Coalition of Civil Society for good governance is a coalition of 14 Civil society organizations aimed at drawing a uniform and collective consciousness cutting across all blogs of societal formations, with the sole purpose of revamping these sectors towards achieving good governance, protecting the right of the common man and a robust economy free of corruption.
After passing a vote of confidence on the fight against corruption, and the improvement of security which has created a conductive environment for development even at the local government level by the Mid term of President Buhari led government but frowned at the poor performance of a lot of Governors in the country, which has made the desired change for the people unachievable.
Hon Odumu Idota emerged as the winner of the HERO OF DEMOCRACY award in consideration of his esteemed role in the development of Ohimini Local Government of Benue State, Benue State and Nigeria as a whole, most especially in his chosen career, political, youth, social , peace and economic development and being one of the true hero that formed the foundation that brought about the desired Change in Nigeria.
He emerged the winner out of 5 nominees from the North Central Geopolitical Zone at round table meeting of the coalition in Abuja with 86 votes.
In a statement by the chairman communique drafting committee Hon. Dr. Kabir Dallah said “This award is our totem to encourage the recipient to work harder and thank him for his good works most especially in fighting for the change to purposeful leadership in Nigeria.
“Our country as a whole is in dear need of models like him to help actualize the desired change we need to push our country to greater heights as he is one of the unsung hero of our time.
The decoration of Hon. Idota as our HERO OF DEMOCRACY will be held in Abuja.
The Global Amnesty Watch, an international humanitarian organization has endorsed the report of the Special Board of Inquiry (SBOI), which investigated the alleged war crimes man by the Nigerian Army personnel in the fight against insurgency in the North East and Internal Security Operations in the South Eastern part of the country.
Recall that the Nigerian Army had said on Thursday that it was studying the report of a special panel that investigated allegations of human rights abuses against the army.
The panel headed by a retired major general, A.T. Jibrin, submitted its report to the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai last week at the army headquarters in Abuja.
Mrs Helen Adesola, Nigerian Representative of GAW, said it was clearly established that all the allegations of rights abuses, extra-judicial killings, forced disappearances were mere concoctions from the imaginations of those of those that have been issuing inaccurate reports.
According to her, “Other instances of documented abuses were transposed from a previous era to give the impression that the cases in question were recently committed.
She added, “The report, which should be given the widest publicity possible, should now put to rest the controversies that had raged around the efforts by Nigerian military authorities to secure the country and keep citizens safe from terrorists and other life threatening criminals.
“The revelations that certain unauthorized organizations were able to obtain classified military documents and signals through leaks is one that should keep the world worried as it implies staffers of such organizations could have been engaged in passing vital Army strategies and troop movement to terrorists, making it difficult to protect civilians.
“We have noted calls for independent investigation and further probes suggested by certain organizations.
“The Global Amnesty Watch however wishes to caution the Nigerian Army and the Federal Government of Nigeria to resist the temptation of being drawn into a popularity contest of pleasing smaller groups to the detriment of the larger population,” her statement added.
The GAW urged the military authority not compromise the interest of the people in the areas affected by terrorism, insurgency and other crimes because they want to be compliant with the request of a narrow spectrum of activists.
She added, “The response for an independent investigation or commission of inquiry must be realistically balanced with the safety and security of citizens since such exercise can compromise national security.
“Nigeria must never lose sight of the fact that the Army is its institution as a sovereign nation and no amount of blackmail should force it to surrender state institutions to fifth columnists especially in this era that terrorists have infiltrated the ranks and file of various military which the Nigerian Army has successfully insulated itself against.”
There are multiple federal agencies and parastaltals in Nigeria to the extent, many consider some of them duplicitous. This presumption is greased by the inactivity of most of these agencies, which are empowered by law, with clearly defined mandates, but have sank into obscurity because of succeeding weak leaderships.
That was the fate of the National Biotechnology Development Agency, (NABDA) until an amazon, a tested scientist/ academic, and a pioneer staff of the agency, Professor Mrs. Lucy Jumeyi Ogbadu was elevated to the position of Director General/Chief Executive Officer (DG/CEO) in November, 2013.
The Professor of Microbiology, a visionary of a rare breed, assessed the vast mandate of NABDA and the gulf in the unfulfilled dreams, as reflected in its mandate and vision. She immediately elected upon herself, to positively alter the equation in Biotechnology application and utilization in Nigeria.
And barely four years on the saddle, Ogbadu has advertised a clear difference and departure from the culture of previous indolent leaderships of the agency. She has not only increased the visibility of NABDA in the areas of agriculture, medical, environment and genomics; but opened the agency’s doors for multifarious partnerships with institutions and countries.
NABDA has now initiated unprecedented researches and development in various fields to provide solutions to the ever-afflicting problems of Nigerians which biotechnology aims to resolve.
The DG/CEO’s knowledge and privileged position as a pioneering staff of the agency compelled a deep appreciation of the core mandate of NABDA, which is the “Promotion, coordination and deployment of cutting-edge biotechnology research & development, processes and products for the socio-economic well-being of the nation.”
And her desire to fully consummate the agency’s vision in promoting biotechnology activities that positively respond to national aspirations on food security, job/wealth creation, affordable healthcare delivery and sustainable environment, Professor Ogbadu ventured into a scientific arena seemingly reserved for men. She has successfully proven that women are sometimes more competent than men, with her accomplishments at NABDA. This is in spite prejudices against leadership of women in Africa, which erects a psychological inferiority complex in them, coupled with some religious inhibitions.
The bio-technologist and innovator of towering credentials and the Vice President of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) has gripped the Biotechnological space for Nigerians beneficially in agriculture, medicine, the environment and genomics.
NABDA is in the process of signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Federal University, Otuoke (FUO) for a Biotechnology Resources Centre in the varsity intended for use as hub in developing research and manpower in biotechnology to service the agency and Nigerians.
At the familiarity visit, the Director, Bioresources Development Centre, Odi, Mr. Habu Josiah who doubles as Coordinating Director of the Bioresources Development Centres in the six Geo-ecological Zones in Nigeria, also introduced to FUO its products, developed through biotechnology techniques , which have the potency to generate more jobs for Nigerians.
NABDA under Professor has delved into medical research on very disturbing and debilitating public ailments prevalent in Nigeria and Africa generally. The agency’s scientists in partnership with the private sector and Nigerian medical experts in diaspora have dabbled into research on finding a permanent cure for Sickle Cell Anaemia. It is also; set to produce drugs for the treatment of the age-long affliction of Nigerians by cancer.
These are novel technological thoughts in Nigeria and the agency is optimistic of positive indicators in the development of such medical remedies in the nearest future. The agency has devoted time, committed resources and energy to deliver this technological breakthrough to Nigerians, which she believes is a problem of the black people and only the same people can rescue themselves.
And her desperation to resurrect the hitherto suppressed potentials of NABDA, the DG also conscripted the agency into partnership with the African University of Science and Technology, which has reached impressive levels in producing drugs for the treatment of cancer ailments in patients.
And all Nigerians are aware, cancer has remained an incurable ailment since its discovery.
In addition, Professor Ogbadu, famed as a workaholic has spread the agencies tentacles to Cuba, where it has signed a partnership agreement with that South American country for technology-transfer for the production of vaccines against other killer diseases, such as typhoid and the likes. And innovatively, Nigerian scientists are poised to produce vaccines that are “thermo-durable”, or “thermo-resistant” to ensure effective storage even without electricity.
She is concerned about the sudden stoppage of the production of human vaccines in Nigeria. She is on the neck of all stakeholders; with pleas to enable the agency revive this culture, which was very pronounced in the 1960s.
It was based on this conviction and the competence of NABDA to achieve this feat that when she appeared for 2017 budget defence, she made a passionate plea to the House of Reps to assist the agency in reviving the Bioresource development centres, through allocation of funds for their development across the country .
She hopes that with this done, the medicinal value crop species viable for vaccine production, lying waste in the laboratories for over 15 years would be utilized through cultivation to support the project of revitalization of vaccine production in Nigeria.
Having foresighted the severe shortfall in the production of fish for domestic consumption, NABDA has set out to bridge the gap. While Nigeria produces a mere 1.1 million metric tons of fish yearly, its consumption rate stands at about 3.2 million metric tons within the same period.
Therefore, in conjunction with Bayero University Centre for Dryland Agriculture in Kano state, NABDA trained and graduated 38 females on capacity in fish spawning and breeding.
And there are plans to extend more of such training to other viable areas in order to meet Nigeria’s domestic demands of fresh and clean fish for consumption.
Similarly, NABDA is also in partnership with a private agro- solution provider company, CONTEC Global Agro Limited (CGAL), and currently, various ways are being explored in the partnership to launch Nigeria as the hub of improved agro-inputs for better productivity of multiple crops in Nigeria. NABDA is digging into CGAL?s Tissue Culture Laboratories at Abuja to harness its Tissue Culture (TC) technology for multiplication of quality seeds and plants for food security.
And when Professor Ogbadu hosted the Portuguese Minister of Science, Technology and Education, Professor Manuel Heitor, in Abuja, talks were entered on the interest of Portuguese government to partner with NABDA to magnify technologies towards improving tropical agriculture. Portugal has offered to assist NABDA’s scientific officers in manpower training, as it explored various areas of competence of the Portuguese to profitably collaborate with Nigeria, through NABDA.
Therefore, the likes of Professor Ogbadu are the few Nigerians who share the same vision with President Muhammedu Buhari’s “Change agenda” and deserves the support of the private sector, wealthy individuals and governments at all levels to explore greater depths of biotechnology at NABDA, especially in funding.
Scientific researchers are capital intensive, if the desired results must be achieved. Precisely, and despite the economic recession, allocating a paltry N2.2 billion to a viable, and profit-oriented agency like NABDA as done in 2016 budget for both its recurrent and capital expenditure is an unkind-cut and grossly insufficient to say the least.
The DG is patriotically driving the “change agenda” by blazing the trail in this uncommon field and the agency deserves a better funding support. Professor Ogbadu thinks talks and walks the Nigerian dream of a prosperous land and she deserves encouragement.
Odoma, is President of Africa Arise for Change Network and contributed this piece from Abuja
A civil liberty organisation, Movement of the People of Nigeria, on Wednesday alleged that the persons behind the lawsuit against personnel of Nigerian military authorities in the United States, were not Nigerians “but terrorists and extremists.”
The group, which demanded an investigation of their real identities, however promised to raise its own team of lawyers to confront anyone desperate to rubbish the image of the country or attempts to further diminish its citizenry before the international community.
The Chairman, Board of Trustees of MPN, Dr. Innocent Oche Pita, told journalists in Abuja that the suit was aimed at causing a diplomatic row between Nigeria and US.
The suit was said to have been instituted by some persons against Nigeria’s military leadership before a US District Court for the District of Columbia.
But the MPN described it as an abuse of the Torture Victims Protection Act and Alien Tort Claims Act Complaint of the United States.
“The world is aware that Nigeria has suffered in the hands of terrorists and extremists and the Biafra agitators are another brand of terrorists that must not be admitted into the United States, Nigeria or any other peace loving nation.
“It will be wise for the Donald Trump’s administration and the security agencies to discretely investigate the plaintiffs as regards their activities in the United State before they become the kind of nuisance that is presently threatening the United Kingdom and other European countries”, MPN alleged.
The MPN said much as it was glaring that the US courts lack jurisdiction to try such issues, there is no record or evidence that the Nigerian Military abused the rights of any citizen within or outside the territory of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The group said those who fear such “are common criminals who had held the country by the jugular in the recent past through acts like banditry, kidnaping and gun-for-hire.”
According to Pita, the suit is nothing short of a calculated attempt to rubbish the US judiciary for its liberal stand on human rights and protection of lives.
He said it was to allegedly abuse the law under which the suit was filed so that it no longer serves the purpose for which it was crafted, “and to use it to cause strain in Nigeria – US relations.”
MPN said, “Secrecy in a case that claims to be as grounded as the plaintiffs claimed is dubious as it implies that criminals can hide under such unanimity to further questionable agenda. The plaintiffs would only fear exposing their identities either because they are not real in the first place or that they are persons with criminal records in the US.
“Our position is that these people behind the suit are not Nigerians and should stop dragging the name of our country’s military to the mud.
“This is why we are worried that even non-Nigerians can be coached to give evidence since it is apparent that the people that filed the suit are not honest enough to show themselves.
“We will raise our own team of lawyers to confront anyone or any group that is out to rubbish the image of our great country or attempts to further diminish its citizenry in the eyes of citizens of the world”, the group said.
The Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) has begun mobilisation to protest what it described as a rape of democracy in Benue State local government election, calling for the scrapping of State Electoral Commissions across the country if democracy most thrive at the grassroots level.
It further described the purported local government election in Benue and the inauguration of its outcome in the state as a deliberate effort to foist a one party democracy on the state by Governor Samuel Ortom.
The CNPP Secretary General, Chief Willy Ezugwu, told newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday that the umbrella body of all registered political parties and associations in Nigeria still rejects the “process and its outcome remains unacceptable to us.
“Therefore, we’re already mobilising Nigerians and the civil society groups across the country to resist this imposition and open threat to our democracy.
“As I’m talking to you, all the Civil Society and Human Rights organizations in the country have united to end this impunity once and for all. We shall use Benue as an example and a warning to other state governors who are tramping the tenets of democracy under foot through a charade they call council elections.
“I can tell you that the sham in Benue was orchestrated by Governor Samuel Ortom and the chairman of Benue State Electoral Commission, John Tsuwa Tor on the 3rd of June 2017 to exclude political participation at the local level.
“That is why we want state electoral bodies scrapped. We are happy that the good people of Benue State boycotted the election as a major voice in protesting against the establishment; that explains the unprecedented voter apathy on the day of the election. The Benue people spoke loud and clear”, he said.
Asked what the special interest in Benue was, Chief Ezugwu swiftly responded, “If we condone this, it will go down in world’s history and will embolden other Governors and their State electoral body to continue with this practice in Nigeria.
“If this charade is allowed to stay unchallenged, it will be tantamount to truncating Nigeria’s democracy and uprooting it from the roots”, he said.
Asked to give details of the planned protest, he said, “When we get to the bridge, we will cross it. The details have been concluded and the civil society groups are set.
“And we are insisting on the total cancellation of the exercise and a return of over N1.2 billion siphoned in the name of the failed election”, the CNPP said.
The Northern Youth Vanguard and the Arewa Stakeholders Forum have reacted to Femi Fani-Kayode’s and Ohanaize Ndigbo’s remarks on the Kaduna Declaration describing them as mischief makers.
A statement jointly signed by Joshua Viashman and Mohammad A. Muhammad for the two groups, said Fani-Kayode and Ohanaize deliberately distorted the real message contained in the Declaration, to which they are signatories.
The two northern groups said there was nowhere in the Declaration that suggests that the north is mobilizing to attack the Igbo’s in the region.
“What we said is since the Igbo’s insist they are not part of Nigeria, every unit should be allowed to go their own ways and the north would use peaceful and safe means to reclaim its spaces for its future development.
“But typically, Fani-Kayode distorted and misrepresented the content in order to misguide the gullible ones.
“Rather than going about trading mischief, we advice Fani-Kayode to face his money laundering trial and stop diverting attention by interfering in matters that are no concern of his,” the groups said.
The reminded him that it is too early to forget the venom he vented on the same Igbo when he was attempting to prove to them that they were unwanted settlers in Lagos prior to the 2015 elections.
On Ohanaize, the groups said they saw nothing wrong in issuing ultimatums and pointed to the series of ultimatums dished out by the Igbo to the Fulani, to northern governors and even to President Muhammadu Buhari.
The groups said the quick reaction of Ohanaize confirms the assertion that the rebellious conduct of IPOB is fully backed by the Igbo leaders.
THE KADUNA DECLARATION
BEING A JOINT POSITION PAPER ISSUED BY THE AREWA CITIZENS ACTION FOR CHANGE, AREWA YOUTH CONSULTATIVE FORUM, AREWA YOUTH DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION, AREWA STUDENTS FORUM AND NORTHERN EMANCIPATION NETWORK ON THE IGBO PERSISTENCE FOR SECESSION
June 06, 2017
The persistence for the actualization of Biafra by the unruly Igbo of South-Eastern Nigeria has lately assumed another alarming twist which involved the forceful lockdown of activities and denial of other people’s right to free movement in the South-East by the rebel Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its overt and covert sponsors.
This latest action and similar confrontational conducts which amount to a brutal encroachment on the rights of those termed as non-indigenous people residing and doing lawful businesses in those areas illegally demarcated and defined as Biafra by the Igbo, are downright unacceptable and shall no longer be tolerated.
Concerned by this persistent Igbo threat to national integration, the above-named Pan-northern groups met with several others and reviewed the current position of the North and jointly came up with the following observations:
1. IGBO PROVOCATION
a. The Igbo people of the South-East, without remorse for the carnage they wrought on the nation in the 1960s, are today boldly reliving those sinister intentions connoted by the Biafran agitation that led to the very first bloody insurrection in Nigeria’s history.
b. Emboldened by the apparent indifference of the Nigerian authorities, the Igbo secessionist tendency is widening in scope and action at every stage, with adverse effects on the law-abiding people of other regions residing in or passing through the East, while the Igbo leaders and elders by their utterances and direct action or inaction appear to support and encourage it.
c. This is happening irrespective of the undisputable fact that:
i. The cruel Igbos have done and are doing more damage to our collective nationhood than any other ethnic group; being responsible for the first violent interference with democracy in Nigeria resulting in a prolonged counter-productive chain of military dictatorship.
ii. The Igbos similarly orchestrated the first, and so far, the only civil war in Nigeria that consumed millions of lives and sowed the seed of the current mutual suspicion and distrust.
iii. The Igbos are also responsible for Nigeria’s cultural and moral degeneracy with their notorious involvement in all kinds of crimes, including international networking for drug and human trafficking, violent robberies and kidnappings, high-profile prostitution and advanced financial fraud.
iv. At the peak of the devastating Boko Haram violence in some parts of the North, available records show that the Igbo people have variously been apprehended while attempting to convey catches of dangerous arms and ammunition to the troubled regions.
v. There are today sufficient reasons to suspect that some Igbos masquerade as Fulani herdsmen to commit violent atrocities across the country in order to cause and spread ethnic disaffection.
vi. It is also on record that since the inception of the current democratic dispensation, the Igbos have shown and maintained open contempt and resentment for the collective decision expressed by majority of Nigerians at various stages via generally acceptable democratic processes.
2. DOCILE NORTHERN RESPONSE
a. While these provocative acts of aggression persist and grow in dimension with each new move, leaders of the North whose people are at the receiving end of the threats, appear helplessly unperturbed.
b. Rather than endorsing a concise framework for pre-emptive action to protect and safeguard the interest of the North and its people, leaders of the region at every stage tend to seek the cover of a flimsy and long-discarded excuse of having fought in the 60s to keep Nigeria united.
c. Without pursuing a resolute action-plan, these northern leaders have adopted and have been dragging its people into a pitifully pacifist position in order to sustain an elusive national cohesion that has long been ridiculed by the Igbos.
1. From today, June 6, 2017, when this proclamation is signed, the North, a critical player in the Nigerian project, hereby declares that it will no longer be disposed to coexisting with the Igbos and shall take definite steps to end the partnership by pulling out of the current federal arrangement.
2. This conclusion is necessitated by the realization that it since ceased to be comfortable or safe to continue sharing the same country with the ungrateful, uncultured Igbos who have exhibited reckless disrespect for the other federating units and stained the integrity of the entire nation with their insatiable criminal obsessions.
3. Rather than certain sections holding the whole country to ransom at every stage, each should be allowed to go its own way as we categorically proclaim today that the North is fed up with being the same country with this pack of acrimonious Igbo partners.
4. The North hereby openly calls on the authorities and other national and international stakeholders to acknowledge this declaration by taking steps to facilitate the final dissolution of this hopeless union that has never been convenient to any of the parties.
PRELUDE TO FINAL SEPARATION
1. RECOVERY AND CONTROL OF LANDED PROPERTY
As a first step, since the Igbo have clearly abused the unreciprocated hospitality that gave them unrestricted access to, and ownership of landed properties all over the North, our first major move shall be to reclaim, assume and assert sole ownership and control of these landed resources currently owned, rented or in any way enjoyed by the ingrate Igbos in any part of Northern Nigeria.
Consequently, officials of the signatory groups to this declaration, are already mandated to commence immediate inventory of all properties, spaces or activity in the north currently occupied by the Igbos for forfeiture at the expiration of the ultimatum contained in this declaration.
In specific terms, the groups are directed to compile and forward an up-to-date data of all locations occupied by any Igbo in any part of Northern Nigeria including schools, markets, shops, workshops, residences and every other activity spaces.
2. RELOCATION NOTICE
Secondly, with the effective date of this declaration, which is today, Tuesday, June 06, 2017, all Igbos currently residing in any part of Northern Nigeria are hereby served notice to relocate within three months and all northerners residing in the East are advised likewise.
All northern civil society and pressure groups are by this declaration mandated to mobilize for sustained, coordinated campaigns at their respective State Government Houses, State Houses of Assembly, Local Government Council Secretariats and Traditional Palaces to mount pressure for steps to be taken to ensure enforcement of the directives contained herein.
In conclusion, we are hereby placing the Nigerian authorities and the entire nation on notice that as from the 1st October 2017, we shall commence the implementation of visible actions to prove to the whole world that we are no longer part of any federal union that should do with the Igbos.
From that date, effective, peaceful and safe mop-up of all the remnants of the stubborn Igbos that neglect to heed this quit notice shall commence to finally eject them from every part of the North.
And finally, all authorities, individuals or groups are hereby advised against attempting to undermine this declaration by insisting on this union with the Igbos who have thus far proved to be an unnecessary baggage carried too far and for too long.
SIGNATORIES TO THIS DECLARATION:
1. Nastura Ashir Sharif
FOR: AREWA CITIZENS ACTION FORCHANGE
2. Amb. ShettimaYerima
FOR: AREWA YOUTH CONSULTATIVE FORUM
3. Aminu Adam
FOR: AREWA YOUTH DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION
4. Alfred Solomon
FOR: AREWA STUDENTS FORUM
5. Abdul-Azeez Suleiman
FOR: NORTHERN EMANCIPATION NETWORK
FOR: NORTHERN YOUTH VANGUARD
7. Mohammad A. Mohammad
FOR: NORTHERN YOUTH STAKEHOLDERS FORUM
8. Mohammed Tasiu Pantami
FOR: NORTH EAST ASSEMBLY
9. Nathaniel Ajegena Adigizi
FOR: NORTH CENTRAL PEOPLE’S FRONT