Agric Minister, Ogbeh, in Multimillion Naira Contract Scam

The Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, under the anti-corruption administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, has been caught in the web of a contract scam.

Ogbeh, through his Personal Assistant on Special Duties, Mr Johnson Agada, has been fingered in several cases of fraud involving unsuspecting traders and intending contractors running between three hundred to four million naira respectively.

Agada, whose activities has been confirmed by some victims, is alleged to be in possession of over a hundred million Naira of intending contractors, a act he engages in on daily basis.

The Honourable Minister’s special duty P.A. hailed from same Ogbadibo Local government Area of Benue State with the Minister, he had worked briefly in Lagos and Enugu States where he was alleged to have been on the wanted list before relocating to Abuja.

Though he is a very close personal aid to the Minister, sources close to the Agric Ministry, however, disclosed that the minister may be unaware of Agada’s dealings.

However, three persons of high target has threaten to report to the police if their money is not refunded and the contract or Agric loan do not locate them as Agada promised them, within the next two weeks.

Effort to get the Minister’s response proved abortive before press time.

Source: TheStreetReporters

Agitations: NFF Cautions Media Organisations Over Hate Speeches

A nongovernmental, Nation First Foundation (NFF), at the weekend urged media organisations in the country to avoid using their platforms to promote hate speeches.

Expressing dismay on the ongoing war of hate speeches from personalities, socio-political leaders, politicians, groups, religious and regional leaders, the National Coordinator of the foundation, Onianwa Elidad, also acknowledged the role played by media organisations in shaping the destiny of the country during and after colonialism, struggle for restoration of democracy on May 29, 1999, checking politicians, and protecting the downtrodden Nigerians.

However, he counselled them to shut their doors against those who spread hatred and marshal out divisive speeches that unnecessarily overheat the polity.

“We in Nation 1st Foundation has become very concerned with the speedy hate speeches are moving on media platforms following agitations calling for secession and quit notice.

“We are urging media organisations to avoid these hate speakers and writers under any organisation to promote division and acrimony in the name of activism and struggle.

“We know they bring money to pay for adverts and sponsor special publications and productions on hate speeches, but we are appealing that such hate speeches should be taken off the list of adverts and news items for publication for the sake of national interest.”

Meanwhile, the National Public Relations Officer of the NFF, Mohammed Ali, disclosed that the Foundation has concluded plans to begin regional integration within the country based on dialogue and much understanding to create a strong bond among young people, religious and regional leaders, socio-cultural and political organisations that would foster peace, unity, equity and justice.

“We have deemed it necessary to put together various linkages that would project national interest based on regional integration cutting across various views, interests, organisations, regions and religions. We want to ensure that the long standing sentiments and barriers that have stunted the progress of our country are weeded out completely through values rebirth and restoration of patriotism.

“We also believe in the strength and impact of genuine dialogue. We will use this bridge to link and cement the proposed integration moves we are talking about because the people have to sit and speak out their differences and settle amicably on lasting solution that would protect the integrity of our sovereignty and nationhood.

“This would be all encompassing basically by the ‘common people’ whose interest has been hijacked by some few elites who pretend to represent the people but unfortunately have used that top project and negotiate basically about themselves and continue to suppress the voice of the majority.

“We are going to start this national assignment by ourselves without any sponsorship from anybody, and we believe it would further strengthen our unity and propel our progress as a country, which all would have access to the common good of our blessed nation endowed by God”, Ali stated.

Agitations: Shun hate Speeches, NFF Urges Socio-political Organisations

On the heals of increasing agitations and hate speeches across the country, a nono-governmental organisation, the Nation First Foundation (NFF), has called on Nigerians to mind their utterances in the interest of national unity and cohesion.

The group charged socio-political organisations across the country to promote national interest instead of overheating the polity through imprudent agitations that raise unnecessary tension.

The advise was given in Abuja by the National Coordinator of the foundation, Onianwa Elidad, after assessing the speeches as a result of agitations from some socio-political groups, which has increased disaffection among various tribes and geopolitical zones in the country.

Elidad said when such organisations jettison national interest at the detriment of the people and their future that indicates self interest and relevance based on unwarranted ego without considering the consequences of such statements.

He said: “We in Nation First Foundation (NFF) sees Nigeria and Nigerians as above our personal interest, and including all other Nigerians, no matter highly placed they are.

“We have decided to stand with the masses, and stand to condemn anybody, group, organisation, region, religion, party, and others whose actions, activities and moves are against national interest.

“Our vision, mission and movement is to re-enact the dreams of the founding fathers of our nation and to instill the tent of nation first before any other ambition.

“We want to make it clear to all socio-political groups based on religion, politics and beliefs that Nigeria’s interest must be promoted and protected no matter what.

“It is also imperative to state that Nigeria and Nigerians are inseparable, therefore should be upheld above individual interest. It is not good for socio-political or socio-cultural groups to be used by some selfish politicians, religious and tribal leaders to promote disunity and disaffection in the country.”

He further stated that now it has become important for the various nongovernmental organisations to embark on the mission to propagate messages and sensitisations that would promote peace, justice, and unity.

In similar vein, the National Secretary, NFF, Adekunle John, acknowledged and stressed that Nigeria’s unity has been strengthened and sustained by her diversity over the years.

“It is important to make it here at this point that every tribe, ethnic group, region, and individuals are important, and nobody is a slave or servant to the other. Rather we are to complement each other and consolidate on our diversity instead to allow persons and groups that not mean well for the future of this country to push and hit the heads of youth to favour their personal interest.

“We the young people should wise up because when the trouble gets heated by these people who are beating drums of hate and calling for violence they would leave the country with their families in seconds. Let us continue to uphold our unity”, John stated.

In his advice, the National Public Relations Officer, Mohammed Ali, cautioned that the leaders when talking about the way out of the issues of threat to national unity the youth should be carried along and made to participate actively, because they will be the ones those who are against national interest would use to promote their interest.

“We want the well meaning leaders show are for nation first to involve and engage the youth in discussing how to preserve and protect  national unity, and we advice that they should be carried along because those against national interest could used them to achieve their own interest at the detriment of other Nigerians”, Ali said.

 

The group charged socio-political organisations across the country to promote national interest instead of overheating the polity through imprudent agitations that raise unnecessary tension.

The advise was given in Abuja by the National Coordinator of the foundation, Onianwa Elidad, after assessing the speeches as a result of agitations from some socio-political groups, which has increased disaffection among various tribes and geopolitical zones in the country.

Elidad said when such organisations jettison national interest at the detriment of the people and their future that indicates self interest and relevance based on unwarranted ego without considering the consequences of such statements.

He said: “We in Nation First Foundation (NFF) sees Nigeria and Nigerians as above our personal interest, and including all other Nigerians, no matter highly placed they are.

“We have decided to stand with the masses, and stand to condemn anybody, group, organisation, region, religion, party, and others whose actions, activities and moves are against national interest.

“Our vision, mission and movement is to re-enact the dreams of the founding fathers of our nation and to instill the tent of nation first before any other ambition.

“We want to make it clear to all socio-political groups based on religion, politics and beliefs that Nigeria’s interest must be promoted and protected no matter what.

“It is also imperative to state that Nigeria and Nigerians are inseparable, therefore should be upheld above individual interest. It is not good for socio-political or socio-cultural groups to be used by some selfish politicians, religious and tribal leaders to promote disunity and disaffection in the country.”

He further stated that now it has become important for the various nongovernmental organisations to embark on the mission to propagate messages and sensitisations that would promote peace, justice, and unity.

In similar vein, the National Secretary, NFF, Adekunle John, acknowledged and stressed that Nigeria’s unity has been strengthened and sustained by her diversity over the years.

“It is important to make it here at this point that every tribe, ethnic group, region, and individuals are important, and nobody is a slave or servant to the other. Rather we are to complement each other and consolidate on our diversity instead to allow persons and groups that not mean well for the future of this country to push and hit the heads of youth to favour their personal interest.

“We the young people should wise up because when the trouble gets heated by these people who are beating drums of hate and calling for violence they would leave the country with their families in seconds. Let us continue to uphold our unity”, John stated.

In his advice, the National Public Relations Officer, Mohammed Ali, cautioned that the leaders when talking about the way out of the issues of threat to national unity the youth should be carried along and made to participate actively, because they will be the ones those who are against national interest would use to promote their interest.

“We want the well meaning leaders show are for nation first to involve and engage the youth in discussing how to preserve and protect  national unity, and we advice that they should be carried along because those against national interest could used them to achieve their own interest at the detriment of other Nigerians”, Ali said.

 

Coalition Blames Sabotage, Not Lami Amodu Over Queens College Deaths

A group of six non-governmental and civil society organisations, The Coalition of Civil Societies on Human Rights and Anti-Corruption in Nigeria has blamed sabotage as possible cause of death of some students at the Queens College Lagos.

The Coalition in a letter to the Senate Committee on Basic and Secondary Education probing the cause of deaths at the Federal Government’s Unity School, insisted that from their findings after an investigation, “we are convinced that what may have happened resulted from acts of sabotage by some desperate persons”.

The former Director/Principal of the College, Dr (Mrs) Lami Amodu, has been accused of culpability in the death of some of the students.

The Coalition, in the letter address to the chairman of the committee and jointly signed by its Chief Convener, Alhaji Sabo Ode and the Director of Public Affairs, Comrade James Ezema, urged the Senate “to ensure that justice is done and that the innocent is not punished for doing that which is right and insisting that the right thing be done in the right way.

 

“As part of our efforts to ensure justice for all, irrespective of class, tribe or social status, when the news of the regrettable incident that led to the death of some students at the college broke, we moved to make our findings on what may have happened”.

 

The groups that constitute the coalition include Professional Women League, Africa Women Network, Centre for Social Justice Equity and Transparency, Save Humanity Advocacy Centre, Stand Up Nigeria, and Conference of Minority Tribes in Nigeria.

 

According to the Coalition, “over time, as we found out, a cartel has been operating within the Queens College Old Girls Association of the school, who always dictated to the management and found for the first time a woman who stood against them.”

 

Spelling out it findings, after an independent investigation carried out by the Coalition, the group said: “Mr Chairman and members, we found out that within her 18 months stay on the saddle in the college, Dr Lami Amodu did all things within her power and within the ambit of bureaucracy to effect long lasting changes that were geared towards improving facilities on ground.

 

“The shocker, for us, was that the incident of stooling and subsequent casualties did not occur in the college until after a meeting held on January 22, 2017, by the Queens College Old Girls Association.

 

“Our findings showed that while the meeting held in the college hall, some old girls found their way into the hostels and the kitchen areas without authorisation of proper permission.

 

“A week later, specifically on January 31, 2017, some students were reported to have started stooling and vomiting but luckily the college and health officials promptly managed and contained the menace.

 

“All of these points to the fact that Dr Lami Amodu understood both the challenges at hand when she assumed office and made efforts to ensure they were addressed”, the group observed.

 

According to them, “One other striking finding was that fact that Dr Amodu was seen as “very strict”, “very hash” and “rude” by certain persons.

 

“On attempt to find out why, we discovered that it was her uncompromising recourse to due process and her resolve that the right thing must be done the right way were the virtues that earned her those tags.

 

“We believe that the old girls and other collaborators, who have resorted to frivolous petition writing, may have played a role, resulting to the stooling and vomiting incident in the college and the subsequent deaths.

 

“More so, some of the deaths occurred after the former Principal had been transferred.

 

“For instance, the death of Sodipo Praise, an Orphan who died on March 30, 2017 occurred nearly two months after Dr Amodu had been transferred.

 

“Our findings equally showed that the young Praise reported to the clinic on 20th February 20, after Dr Amodu had left the school, with feverish condition and was placed on anti-malaria drugs, with follow up treatment until the college went on midterm break.

 

“From home, Miss Praise was referred to the Lagos State University Hospital after her ailment continued at home”, the group revealed.

 

“We gathered that she was diagnosed of liver enlargement and perforation of intestine and later died after surgery, even when she was never treated for stooling and vomiting previously at the college.

 

“Mr Chairman and members, there is more to the issues being raised and allegations being levelled against Dr Amodu. For instance, she was recently accused in a petition of buying an SUV for 17 million, an allegation we have also investigated and found to be false.

“The SUV, which was not for personal use was left in the school after her redeployment. Its purchase, we also found, went through due process and had board approval after the board decided it was very necessary because of the state of the old bus the school had, which was in a very bad condition.

 

“From our investigations we also found out facts on  the allegation of 17 million naira on SUV, which is  also not  true as the findings of the investigation have proved contrary in which the purchase of the SUV went through due process and had board approval after the board decided it was very necessary because of the state of the old bus the school had which was in a bad condition and the Sport Utility Vehicle is still used at Queens College Lagos  by the principal till date and not a private property of Dr. Mrs Lami Amodu”, the group noted.

 

 

Buratai: Decoding the True African General By Karen Goulding

 Africa suffers artificial drought of hardcore and outstanding professionals in every field. This plaque has become more visible with Africans joyful acceptance of the neo-colonial erroneous, biased and destructive verdict of Africa as a continent of failures.
And each time, these alien forces descend their imperial knives on the precious skins of Africans and Africa, it deposits far-reaching consequences. Africans exceptionally gifted are held back in giving out their best. They suffer a psychological inhibition based on these polluted verdicts imposed on people of the continent.
But Africans are equally and competitively, very intelligent like the white-skinned people. How Africans prefer to celebrate their foolery, instead of positive assertion of themselves is really a riddle.
Nonetheless, as time ebbs, more courageous Africans have overcome these mental barriers and are steeping out to prove to the whole world the real substance or worth of an African.
No one can deny brilliance and intelligence of African people in every chosen field of human specialization. Nigerians in particular have carved a niche for themselves in their preferred careers. They are celebrities in academics?, science and indeed, in all professions.
As the largest black nation on earth, the conspiracy of foreign nations against Nigeria is really subject of a whole thesis.
The blackmail of compelling the people to think more in failure and destruction, than progress has impinged on the psyche of Nigerians retardation. It has gone to sublime levels that optimal exhibition of skills is most times impeded in some people because of this belittlement.
As determined as ever, Nigerians are gradually breaking these barriers to demonstrate their excellence to the world. That’s why Nigerians are usually elated, anytime a Nigerian displays uncommon exploits or accomplishments in his career, especially in exceptional professions.
It explains why Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai’s embodiment of professionalism, perfection, discipline and courage in the war against terrorism excites the people.
Upon leading the counter-insurgency war that humbled Boko Haram Terrorists (BHTs), Nigerians feted him with celebrations and Africa picked it up and expanded it. Today, Gen. Buratai is celebrated around the world, as an exceptional professional soldier of high esteem.
To many, the Nigerian Army Chief is indescribable. Also, a peep into his persona does not provide easy insights either. What is however certain is that his personage undulates with unrivalled zeal for exceptional exploits and successes. He has an extremely infectious aura.
But what has worked more for this African Army General is his flair for professionalism, discipline, uprightness in leadership, selflessness, courage, transparency, principle of inclusiveness and hard work. And all these have been seared in the passion for positive results in all endeavors; which have made him a worthy assert to Nigeria, Africa and the world.
Beyond flattery, Gen. Buratai is admittedly a special specie of humanity. By the dictates of his profession, he ought to be tough  and rugged; but to the contrary, he is amiable and humane in dealing with fellow men.
It’s scarce to find such qualities and virtues buried in a single soul in the military, particularly in Nigeria.
Africans have seen Gen. Buratai as both a leader and soldier in the trenches, much as in the administrative boardroom of his vocation, bearing all risks, good or bad.  He does not chase shadows and nothing distracts his focus and concentration.
True to his type, Gen. Buratai personifies the Christ-like motif of troops under his command. He positions himself to feel their pains, sufferings, agonies; the heat in the trenches, the dejections and the defeats.
He is not bossy, so shares the victories and joys of his troops in the same measure the least among troops would feel. It’s not unusual to see him spend Sallah or Christmas celebrations with troops in the battlefield, where he personally lights the candle of bonfire carnivals. This is a mark of leadership, very scarce nowadays.
Understanding the strength behind the modus operendi of Gen. Buratai has proven to be no easy path to walk. But suffice it to say, in achieving efficiency and effectiveness on targets, the COAS utilizes his unique talents  to create the needed impact.
He is feted in Africa and beyond because Gen. Buratai extensively tapped and improvised on the wisdom, vision and intellectual prowess of men or globally acclaimed war veterans, upon his appointment as the ombudsman of the counter-insurgency war in Nigeria.
It gave birth to the reforms and innovations Buratai brought to bear on the Nigerian Army. Suddenly, Nigerian soldiers? adjudged as weaklings, who could shamelessly bid an effeminate retreat in the battlefield became courageously, gallant soldiers to confront terrorists and defeat them.
Therefore, having prepared his house, this Soldier-General courageously broke new grounds and unimaginable records in terrorism warfare. It has continued to draw the inspiration of the world to his convictions, tactics and strategies.
As earlier hinted, there is no iota of doubt that Gen. Buratai must have drawn inspiration from great men, such as the famous English novelist, Ernest Hemmingway, author of the popular “Old Man And The Sea”, Author Hemmingway timelessly asserted that “Once we have a war, there is only one thing to do. It must be won. For defeat, brings worse things, than any that can ever happen in war.”
For this Nigerian Army Chief, the wise counsel of this author was his conviction and guiding principle. It compelled him to face the lethal Boko Haram terrorism war in Nigeria without flinching.
He feared more the consequences of defeat, than the difficulties of surmounting the hurdles, some deliberate, on the battlefield to ensure victory.
And the wisdom, tactics and strategies of Chinese war veteran and father of the Chinese revolution, Mao Tse Tung was also of immense assistance to him, as leader of the counter-insurgency campaigns in Nigeria.
Mao Tse believed thus; “Imaginative, intelligent, and bold leadership is absolutely essential. Commanders and leaders at every echelon must be selected with these specific qualities in mind. Officers and NCOs who are more than competent under normal conditions will frequently be hopelessly ineffective when confronted with dynamic and totally different situations.”
The unfaltering Nigerian Army Chief and Commander of the anti-terrorism war in Nigeria imbibed enough of these virtues and effectively applied them.
So, he risked advance on enemy troops, where his predecessors dreaded; he trailed insurgents and their agents, dynamically in tactics, from battlefield encounters to cyberspace terrorism manifestations and matched action for action.
He suffocated enemy forces’ sources of food and ammunition supply.   He endured and ignored all manner of distractions back home to focus on his assignment to earn the victory today savoured by the whole world.
And in all instances, he moved centuries in thinking, ahead of the localized thoughts and strategies of enemy forces- the Boko Haramists.
This Army General slept once in two weeks, always awake to strategize and personally supervise field operations. He left nothing to chance; while terrorists slept every day in their hideouts with the delusion of courage and invincibility.
So, he conquered them and their agents in the trenches, caves, cyberspace propaganda and everywhere.
They scattered in confused directions, as his troops chased them to the point of conquer or surrender.
After the defeat of Boko Haram terrorists, the Nigerian Army Chief also deployed the wisdom of Mao Tse in cleansing communities in  Northeast, Nigeria of remnants? of Boko Haram terrorists. He commanded his troops to embark on “Operation Crackdown.” Mao Tse’s thoughts in this direction were that; “After the enemies with guns have been wiped out, there will still be enemies without guns; they are bound to struggle desperately against us, and we must never regard these enemies lightly.
“If we do, nor now raise and understand the problem in this way, we shall commit the gravest mistakes.”
Today, Nigeria has regained her freedom. The world stands up in stupefying relish of Buratai’s exploits and victories over terrorism warfare in Nigeria within the shortest possible time.
This Nigerian Army General perceived defeat in the eyes of troops, but meticulously inspired them into self-confidence, greatness and victory;  he triumphed over their disunity and inclination  for  mutiny and made them converts  of the new order of professionalism,  discipline, comradeship  and pursuit of the common agenda of defeat of enemy forces against Nigeria.
No doubt, Gen. Buratai strikes as an angel to civilians in his operational jurisdictions; but a very venomous snake to enemies of state. For Nigerians and millions of Africans, this Army Chief is simply one of the best Africans in recent times.
This is attested or gleaned from the flurry of unsolicited awards and recognitions showered on him across the globe in the last few months.
The Republic of Brazil recently feted and decorated him with the country’s highest military honour in global recognition of his battle against terrorism in Nigeria and the world.
Thus, Gen. Buratai can be described as a gentlemen soldier, a great soldier of repute, a hero of international dimensions, the conqueror of terrorists in Nigeria and environs.
He has replicated history in Nigeria and the world, by religiously deploying and improvising on the military wisdom of those before him to attain the unimaginable victories in war against terrorism.
Consequently, the world is prodded to utilize his wealth of wisdom to surmount the global monster of terrorism.
This would be a step palpably illustrative of the global agenda on collective action against terrorism, a reality now, than yesterday and likely tomorrow.
But if treasured masters of the game, like Buratai are factored into this global collaborative action against terrorism, the world may likely experience respite.
*Goulding, a security expert writes from 199 Watford Way, Hendon, London, United Kingdom.

Hon. Idota Emerges Winner Of Joint Action Coalition Of Civil Societies For Good Governance Award

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.

 

Human Rights Inquiry: Army’s Panel Report Impartial, Neutral, Most Professional – CESJET

The Center for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency, CESJET, has described report of the panel of inquiry set up by the Nigerian Army to investigate alleged human rights violations by army personnel in the counter-terrorism war in Nigeria as impartial, neutral and most professional.

Recall that the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, had announced that officers of the Nigerian Army who are found guilty of Human Rights abuses, especially in connection with arrested Boko Haram terrorists and members of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) will not go unpunished.

The report was submitted to the Chief of Army Staff on May 18, 2017 and due for gazette by the Army Council for posterity.

Speaking on the development, CESJET Executive Director, Joyce Ogwu, said the centre was pleased with release of the anticipated report of the Nigerian Army Board of Inquiry (BOI) inaugurated by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), describing it ?most neutral and professionally done.?

Ogwu, who addressed newsmen in Abuja on Sunday, commended the six-member panel chaired by Major General A.T.Jibril for expeditiously investigating and prodding deep into the alleged human rights violations by some army personnel.

She said, CESJET was, “equally pleased that despite the frightening and highly scandalous figures of claims of extra-judicial killings of Boko Haram suspects in Army detention facilities in Borno state and some members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), the panel diligently conducted a detailed, faultless and splendid inquiry by meeting all the different stakeholders covered by the alleged human rights abuses and found the claims by AI very spurious and patently false.

“The published report of the Army BOI embodied a thorough, impartial and neutral inquest into the allegations gleaned from the tissue of evidences and testimonies by victims and non-victims alike.

“The exoneration of the Amy personnel of culpability or complexity in its anti-terrorism campaigns is indication of Nigerian Army?s unflinching commitment and adherence to the highest ethical standards of professionalism and discipline in the execution of its assignments.

“This is a fact abundantly buttressed by the COAS, Gen. Buratai, as signposted by the setting up of the Human Rights Desk at the Nigerian Army Headquarters (AHQs) Abuja,” he said.

According to her, by this development, ?we dare to frown, restate and reaffirm our objection at the suspiciously covert role of Amnesty International as terrorism mongers in Nigeria and the promotion of same with such false reports to the detriment of Nigerians and security forces battling to tame the monster of terrorism in Nigeria.

The recent repudiation of AI’s claims of human rights violations as contained in its report on army personnel tallies with the proof of emptiness of previous similar reports from the organization conducted by other independent bodies. We therefore call on the Nigerian Government, Civil Society Organizations? (CSOs) and the International community among others, to take a critical interest in the conspicuously biased and anti-Nigerian posture of Amnesty International in the country.”

The centre further appealed to the Army Council to consider reviewing the subsisting sanctions and punishments on Army Personnel, in the event a prima facie case of human rights abuses has been established against any officer.

She said the measure became imperative in view of the contemporary reality of terrorism and the delicate nature of the prosecution of anti-terrorism war by troops, which often involve the risk of life and death of victims they are constrained to rescue, vis-a-vis safeguarding their own lives.

“British Prime Minister, Theresa May has provided insight into the delicateness of the terrorism combat war and the human rights protection laws that appear to embolden terrorists and already thinking of tinkering with UK human rights laws that provide shield for terrorists. It is our thinking that military personnel engaged in terrorism combat wars should also be entitled to some measure of relief on the strictness of the application of human rights abuses laws”, she added.

Human Rights Abuses: Global Amnesty Watch Calls for Speedy Implementation of SBOI Reports

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.”

 

Ogbadu: Blazing Uncommon Trail At NABDA By Nkechi Odoma

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

Terrorists Behind US Suit Against Nigerian Military, Says MPN as Group Demands Investigation of Plaintiffs

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.

CNPP Calls for Scrapping of State Electoral Bodies, Mobilises for Protest Over Benue LG Polls

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.

Full Text of The Kaduna Declaration, Issuing 3 Months Notice To Biafrans To Leave North

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

PREAMBLE
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.
OBSERVATIONS
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.

OUR STAND
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.

3. ENFORCEMENT
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.

CONCLUSION
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

6. JoshuaViashman
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

CNPP Backs Labour’s Calls on FG to Review Capital Oil and Gas Chairman’s Detention

The Conference of Nigeria Political parties (CNPP) has thrown its weight behind the call by the United Labour Congress (ULC) for the release the Chairman of Capital Oil and Gas, Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah, in order to pave the way for negotiation with company’s management.

The umbrella body of all registered political parties and associations in the country in a statement signed by its Secretary General, Chief Willy Ezugwu appealed to the federal government to consider the fate of the numerous workers employed by the privately owned company and release the detained oil magnet or charge him to court for prosecution.

“Like the ULC observed, federal government’s promise to provide jobs and its desire to tackle unemployment in Nigeria will be a mirage if actions or inactions of government lead to job loses or contribute to the widening of the unemployment gap.

“As at today, more jobs have been lost in the private sector than the federal government has created due to harsh economic environment in the country as a result of the current recession.

“Our fears is that the continued detention of the Capital oil and Gas chairman without trial will not only lead to the sack of over 5,000 workers directly and indirectly engaged by the company but will also send frightening signals to foreign direct investors that Nigeria is a country where the rule of law is scarce.

“No serious foreign investor would invest in a country with history of detention without trial”, the CNPP observed.

While calling on Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to intervene in the matter to halt impending massive job loss in the company and other sister companies owned by Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah, the political parties and associations said that the federal government must ensure that justice is seen to have been done in all cases involving its citizens at home and abroad.

“We are aware that the federal government is exploring diplomatic channels to intervene in cases involving Nigerians in some foreign lands. But it would amount to a joke taken too far if the same government detains its citizens involved in a mere commercial transaction dispute indefinitely without opportunity to defend themselves in a court of competent jurisdiction.

“Acting President Yemi Osinbajo must save the President Muhammadu Buhari administration from further damage to its reputation in the international community by releasing or charging Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah to Court.

“It will be very shameful for the federal government to be seen as directly or indirectly contributing to further job losses in the country”, the CNPP noted.

SOURCE: TheStreetReporters

Letter of Complaint on Suitability of Dr. Ganiyu Adeyemi Oke for Conferment Rank of SAN

June 2, 2017

Chief Registrar of Supreme Court/Secretary
Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee,
Supreme Court of Nigeria,
Three Arms Zone,
Supreme Court Complex,
Abuja.

Sir,

COMPLAINT ON THE SUITABILITY OF DR. GANIYU ADEYEMI OKE FOR THE CONFERMENT OF THE RANK OF SENIOR ADVOCATE OF NIGERIA

Organizing For Nigeria Initiative (ONI) is a civil society organization with objectives to promote good governance and integrity in the conduct of private and public life in Nigeria.

In the Public Notice/Advertorial published in The Nation newspaper of Friday, May 19, 2017 by the Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee, Dr. Ganiyu Adeyemi Oke (also known fondly and generally as Dr. Yemi Oke) was listed as one of the candidates who qualified to be awarded the prestigious rank of the Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) under the Academic Category. His name was listed as No. 1 under the category.

We write your Committee to show that by the antecedents, character, reputation and the general disposition of Dr. Yemi Oke in the way and manner he has conducted his legal practice and his dealings with the public in general, he is lacking in the requisite integrity, reputation and competence for this prestigious award.

Our position finds support in section 18 (2) and 19 (1) of the Guidelines For the Conferment of the Rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria 2013 to the effect that a candidate for the award of SAN “must be of good character and must have no pending disciplinary case or complaint relating to professional misconduct against him.” These sections also provide that a candidate who is adjudged by the Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee to be of bad behavior, whether in or out of court, poor temperament or propensity to insult or assault people or cause them harm or put them in state of fear of bodily harm; or who has evidence of moral depravity or other socially unacceptable behavior; or given to abuse of legal trust such as embezzlement or mismanagement of client’s funds is not eligible for the rank of SAN.

Premised on the above, we complain against the candidacy of Dr. Yemi Oke for the rank of SAN on the following grounds:
.
1. Character, Reputation and Disposition of Dr. Yemi Oke:

Dr. Yemi Oke is not a stranger to the politics of Ogun State being a card- carrying member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He served as the Legal Adviser and Executive Member of the Ogun State chapter of the PDP sometime in 2011. In the discharge of his duties as the Legal Adviser to the Chapter, he was found wanting in character, candor and professional disposition. For this reason, a panel constituted by the national leadership of the party disqualified him as an aspirant for the primaries for the Abeokuta South Federal Constituency to the House of Representatives in the following terms:

“The three contestants who were last Friday disqualified by the screening panel headed by Gen. A.B. Mamman from contesting the PDP primaries for National Assembly asprants for their alleged roles in the political crisis in Ohun State ….. Oke was also disqualified on the basis that he failed to use his superior knowledge of the law to advise the party properly, thereby orchestrating the crisis in the party, using his position as a lawyer to destabilize the party and cause disunity contrary to desirable qualities and code of conduct for party members.”

Attached and marked as Annexure I is the certified true copy of The Punch newspapers which reported the disqualification of Dr. Yemi Oke. Against the back ground of his conduct as legal practitioner which had been deprecated in a court’s ruling as would be shown shortly, we hold the view that Dr. Yemi Oke will be a burden and an embarrassment to the Inner Bar.

2. Abuse of Client’s Trust, Judicial Process and Duplicity:

In the discharge of his professional duties as a Legal Practitioner, Dr. Yemi Oke has not only abused the legal trust reposed in him by his clients, he has also encouraged parties to take steps that would ultimately result in the abuse of judicial process. He has once advised adverse parties in a case on steps and strategies, which if adopted, will frustrate his client’s case and position. In Suit No: FHC/L/CS/605/16 Chief Pegba v Otemolu vs. Independent National Electoral Commission & 3 Ors, as Counsel for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the 2nd party in the said suit, Dr. Yemi Oke, instead of pushing the case of his client, was caught advising Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State, the major driver and financier of the Caretaker Committee of the PDP challenging the legality of Ali Modu Sheriff, the Acting Chairman of 2nd defendant.

The 2nd defendant became aware of the antics and unethical conduct of Dr. Yemi Oke, in a text message sent from his (Dr. Yemi Oke’s) telephone number: 08023148096 meant for Governor Ayo Fayose but which was sent in error to Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, the Acting National Chairman of PDP. This abuse of trust, betrayal and duplicity culminated in Dr. Yemi Oke being changed as counsel for PDP. Enclosed herewith is the Further Affidavit of Senator Ali Modu Sheriff in support of the Notice of Change of Counsel, marked as Annexure II, which speaks eloquently about the duplicity of Dr. Yemi Oke in the handling of his client’s case. (See paragraphs 2 – 5 thereof).

3. Unethical Conduct and/or Professional Misconduct:

Dr. Yemi Oke is on record as, a part of the gang of Legal Practitioners, who have no qualms in filing frivolous appeals which serve no purpose other than to delay proceedings and give an advantage to his clients which the judicial process does not envisage. In doing so, it does not matter to him, if the judicial process and the trial Judge are brought into disrepute.

a. In order to stall the proceedings of the 15th day of August, 2016 in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/464/2016: Dr. Ali Modu Sheriff &Ors vs. Independent National Electoral Commission &Ors, Dr. Yemi Oke, for and on behalf of one Hon. Sikirulai Ogundele, a total stranger to the proceedings, filed an application praying the trial Judge for leave to appeal against a purported ruling of the court. One Dolapo Kehinde Esq., who held his brief applied for the case to be adjourned or otherwise stood down to enable Dr. Yemi Oke, who pretended to be held up somewhere at the airport from appearing in court personally to take charge of the day’s proceedings.

b. Based on what he, Dr. Yemi Oke in his wild imagination termed a ruling of the trial Judge, in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/464/2016, an appeal was filed to the Court of Appeal. In the said appeal, which he lacked the courage to pursue to conclusion, he joined the trial Jude, Hon. Justice O. E. Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja personally as the 1st Respondent. The said Notice of Appeal is hereto attached and marked as Annexure II.

c. Just to satisfy his client and put the exalted judicial office of a Judge into disrepute, Dr. Yemi Oke did not have any qualms in accusing the trial Judge of bias and making him a party personally in his said appeal, a practice which has been roundly condemned by all, including the apex court of the land, the Supreme Court as not only unpardonable but also tantamount to gross misconduct.

d. In his Ruling in No. FHC/ABJ/CS/464/2016,the trial Judge spared no words in condemning this unethical conduct of Dr. Yemi Oke, for filing the appeal when no appealable decision had been taken, and particularly, for the more ignominious practice of joining a trial Judge, personally, as respondent in his purported appeal. The Committee is invited to read through the record of proceedings of the 15th of August hereto marked as Annexure III, pages 7 – 9, 13 – 14, and particularly, pages 27 – 31 thereof for what the trial Judge said of the antics of Dr. Yemi Oke:

“Again another counsel, Dolapo Kehinde announced appearance for Hon. Sikirulai Ogundele, a total stranger to the proceedings not being a party to the suit and filed a motion from nowhere dated 3rd day of August, 2016 praying the Court for leave to appeal against the ruling of the Court dated 28th July, 2016 on a purported findings made by the Court in that ruling that was not an appealable decision. The finding was not properly quoted from the ruling of the Court. The findings he made reference to was not related to the ruling of the Court. He relied on a purported findings allegedly made by the Court in the Court’s ruling on 28th July 2016 based on his own imagination. ….. The stranger to the proceedings even filed a notice of appeal without leave of Court and made my humble self a party to the incompetent appeal not binding (minding) the judicial immunity conferred on the Court having regard to the provisions of section 188 of the Evidence Act and also contrary to the decision of the Court of Appeal in the case NKOP VS ETUK supra to the effect that no judicial officer can be sued on the issue relating to the discharge of judicial duties.”

e. The above portion of the trial Judge’s Ruling, appropriately captures Dr. Yemi Oke, the lawyer, his practice, conduct and respect for the judicial process, and exalted positions of Judicial Officers, if any. The conclusion of the trial Judge at pages 30 – 31 of the said Ruling is quite instructive in profiling Dr. Yemi Oke and his unsuitability for the rank of SAN. According to the trial Judge:

“The said application is hereby dismissed. Heavy cost would have been awarded against Hon. Ogundele for his unholy conduct unbecoming of a person who claims to be civilized. The lawyer that assisted him in filing these frivolous processes, Dr. Yemi Oke was conscious of his unethical conduct (sic) and failed to appear in Court and rather sent a junior to Court to receive the consequences of his unethical conduct save for the intervention of Chief A. Akintola (SAN).”

f. The unethical conduct of Dr. Yemi Oke as captured by this Ruling holds him out as a person unfit to be honoured with the prestigious rank of SAN, an award designed to celebrate excellence in the legal profession. We have no doubts whatsoever that the kind of unholy and unethical conduct displayed by Dr. Yemi Oke, who knowing the enormity of his actions rather preferred to set up his junior to receive the bullets while he stays away under the pretense that he was held up on the way, is unbecoming of any lawyer who aspires to put on the silk.

g. The Honourable Justice Walter Onnoghen (now CJN) of the Supreme Court in the celebrated appeals by one faction of the PDP against decision of the Court of Appeal Abuja Division to the Supreme Court to determine the party’s candidate for the governorship of Ondo State in 2016, described a SAN who joined Justices of the Court of Appeal, personally as respondents in an appeal like Dr. YemiOke in the instant case as “a disgrace to the legal profession”.
h. This unethical conduct and/or professional misconduct associated with Dr. Yemi Oke; his lack of respect and regard for the due administration of justice and judicial officers; and his willingness to abuse his position as a minister in the temple of justice if that will help him stall the course of justice and give his clients pyrrhic victory, are not qualities that commend a lawyer to be honored with the rank of SAN.

4. Dr. Yemi Oke’s Penchant for Abuses and Insulting Judges:

We need to add also that a lawyer like Dr. Yemi Oke who in his public statements have no qualms in describing judicial officers as “corrupt judges” and “paid judges”, not minding that the National Judicial Council (NJC), the only official organ with power to investigate and sanction such judges, has not condemned them is not a fit and proper person to be conferred with the rank of SAN. We attach and mark as Annexure IV, a publication of Dr. Yemi Oke on the social media entitled “UN-SENATORIAL MIS-STATEMENTS OF A MISFIT SENATOR IN THE RULING OF HC OF OGUN DATED 24/9/16” where he has deployed terrible and very demeaning appellatives in describing innocent judicial officers, including the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court. This type of conduct which we also consider unethical does not commend Dr. Yemi Oke as one worthy of any type of honour by the legal profession.

5. Pending Complaint Against Dr. YemiOke:

From the public utterances and writings of Dr. Yemi Oke who has a penchant for telling anyone who cares to know that all the pending complaints of unethical conduct and/or professional misconduct associated with his person and legal practice before the NBA Disciplinary Committee would amount to nothing, we came to know that there are unresolved complaints calling for disciplinary action against him. Our inquiry at the NBA Secretariat confirmed the pendency of several complaints against Dr. Yemi Oke, brought by lawyers and other highly-placed citizens since 2016. Most, if not all of the complaints are yet to be determined by the NBA. We are unable to attach some of the petitions and Dr. Yemi Oke’s response, as annexures herein, due to our inability to obtain copies from the NBA. But the NBA National Secretariat, as headed by the General-Secretary of the NBA, is well aware of the pending and unresolved petitions. The Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee may wish to call for such complaints and responses for and against Dr. Yemi Oke.

6. Involvement in the Panama Papers Scandal:

It is also public knowledge that Dr. Yemi Oke was named as one of the lawyers involved in the infamous Panamanian law firm, Mossack Fonseca scandal, who was alleged to have helped incorporate shell entities to evade tax and sell secrecy in perpetration of financial fraudulent dealings. We also attach a publication of Premium Times to the effect as Annexure V.

Our Conclusion

A proper appraisal of each of the matters raised against the candidacy of Dr. Yemi Oke for the award of the rank of SAN shows that he is serially caught by the provisions of section 18 (2) and 19 (1) of the 2013 Guidelines for the said award. We therefore urge the Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee to investigate these matters, all of which are in the public domain and in consequence thereof disqualify Dr. Yemi Oke from being honoured with the rank of SAN.

We are hopeful that your Committee will duly consider the matters herein raised and come to a decision that will save the inner Bar from the likes of Dr. YemiOke who, by his professional misconduct and/or unethical conduct, disposition, and dealings with the public, and unguarded utterances, does not possess the requisite character, reputation and good disposition to represent the best in the Nigerian Bar.

Accept the assurances of our best regards.

Yours faithfully,

Mr. Uche Nnadozie
Executive Director (ONI)

BREAKING: CNPP Backs Labour, Students, Vows to Resist Fuel Tax

The Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) has thrown its weight behind Nigeria’s organised labour over planned increment of prices of petroleum products, accusing the National Assembly of taking more anti-people decisions than resolutions that could better the lives of the already impoverished masses of Nigeria.

 

“We assure the Senate and the federal government that their proposed N5 be per litre of fuel tax will be resisted”, the CNPP vowed in a statement by the Secretary General of CNPP, Chief Willy Ezugwu on Sunday.

 

The Alhaji Balarabe Musa led umbrella organisation of all registered political parties and associations in Nigeria also warned the Presidency of the imminent consequences of adding to the pains of the ordinary people of Nigeria by raising the pump price of fuel under any guise.

 

“Our findings have shown that the bill titled ‘National Roads Fund (Establishment, etc) Bill 2017’, proposing that N5 to be paid per litre of fuel imported into the country is a ploy by the federal government to impose more hardship on Nigerians at a time the burden of recession in the country is becoming unbearable.

 

“We thought that the federal government should be thinking of reducing the already biting hardship in the country after failing to fulfil the promised increment in minimum wage and non-payment of arrears of workers’ salaries and allowances in the past two years.

 

“It seems that the current government at the federal level and their National Assembly collaborators enjoy inflicting more and more pains on Nigerian masses.

 

“We wonder why the Senate Committee on Works in its final report on the bill would make such proposal. Are they saying that the only way this government can raise funds is by increasing pump price of petroleum prices and punishing the masses?”, the CNPP queried.

 

The Nigerian organised labour, students and others have vowed to resist any attempt by government to indirectly or otherwise introduce a hike in the bump price of fuel, given the economic hardship in the country.

CULLED FROM: TheStreetReporters.com

Biafra 50 Years After: A Sober Reflection By Prof. Uzodima Nwala

Before I thank the organisers of this Conference and pay my tribute to the Memory of my friend, late Major-General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, in whose Foundation Center this historic event is being organised, let me quickly dismiss certain lingering pernicious fallacies that have dominated all discussion about the coup of January 15, 1966 and the Biafra War.

First, the Chairman of the occasion, Alhaji Ahmed Joda, has alluded to the January 15, 1966 coup as an Igbo coup that, according to him, was replied by a Northern coup of July 29 1966.

Let it be said loud and clear that that coup, namely January 15, 1966 coup, was not an Igbo coup. It was a coup led by certain Igbo and Yoruba Officers, involving the active participation of soldiers from the North.

The aim, as has been stated again and again, by the leaders of the coup was to release Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who was in detention at the time and install him the Prime Minister of Nigeria.

That coup was foiled by Igbo military officers. Igbo political leaders and activists knew nothing about the coup.

Again the Incursion into the Mid-West by the Biafran troops was not a quest for territorial grabbing by the Igbos. Ojukwu sent troops under the Command of Col, banjo in response to Chief Awolowo’s request for troops to help liberate Yoruba land from the occupation of soldiers from the North.

By the time Col Banjo got to Ore, the British had gotten Gowon to offer Chief Awolowo Vice Chairmanship of the Nigerian Government. Awolowo, therefore, asked Banjo not to proceed on his mission.

General Yakubu Gowon knows the truth of all these things. And that is why the Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF) had written him and asked him to tell Nigerians and the whole world the truth about the January 15, 1966 coup and the Biafra incursion into the Mid-West to stop all the lies against Ndigbo, which have been the basis of the burden they carry as a nation within the Nigerian Federation.

Secondly, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, the former Head of State and a frontline commander on the Federal side during the war, said that they (the Federal military leaders) conducted the war without any hate or vengeance because it was a quarrel between brothers.

To this, one is constrained to ask a few pertinent questions:

How did the world come to describe the conduct of the war as POGROM?
What about the policy that hunger was a legitimate weapon of war and so was justified in its application against the Biafrans?
What about bombing of refugee camps, market places, churches, etc?

Again, when Chief Obasanjo said that they, the victorious side, have been more magnanimous than the victors in the American civil war, where, according to him, those who lost the war never had a chance to be President of America until several decades if not a century later, I would ask him WHAT ABOUT SOUTH AFRICA? WHAT ABOUT NELSON MANDELLA?

Such assertions rather than heal the wounds of the war, keep the wounds aglow, rather than reconcile pour raw paper of unjustified arrogance on the wounded hearts of the Biafrans.

How can you genuinely talk about reconciliation with that kind o mind-set. The truth is that for General Obasanjo, the Biafrans are defeated people. Period!

Indeed, before we can talk about reconciliation, we must accept that grave wrongs were done to the Biafrans, Before, During and Since the end of the war.

Tribute to General Yar’Adua

NOW, Mr Chairman, Ladies and \Gentlemen, let me go on to thank the organisers of this Conference – the Yar’Adua Foundation and the six Nigerian Universities partnering with the Foundation; the Ford Foundation and the Open Society Initiative for West Africa who have provided support for this Conference – Biafra: 50 Years After.

What is more, I would like to pay tribute to the memory of my late friend, General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua. I met him for the first time during the 1994-5 National Constitutional Conference.

There we struck a friendship that would have born great fruits but for his untimely death. I personally escaped being arrested with him.

General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, became a great democrat after the war despite his aristocratic background.

He genuinely believed that this wobbly Federation could be given a dependable foundation. Consequently, he set out to recruit gifted compatriots to work with him for that purpose. What a great hunter of talent Shehu was!

I remember two memorable moments in our interaction. One afternoon, after lunch in his house, we sat down on the sofa. I asked him, “General why is it that when you are not smoking cigar (cigarette), you are chewing kola nut?”

He answered me, “I will not tell you his answer today. Wait for my Memoire that should be ready by my next birthday”.

At another moment, also after lunch with him and late Prof. Aborisade, we sat down on the sofa. Shehu said to me “Dr Nwala, let me show you why we Northerners are reluctant to relinquish political power”.

He brought out two volumes of strategic studies which he had commissioned some intellectuals to produce in preparation for the Constitutional Conference of 1994-5. I glanced through volume 1 which deals with the indices of power in Nigeria.

I read the discussion, looked at the statistics and the graph, and shook my head, and said to myself this guy is a great political actor. I also reserve the details of what I read in that volume as well as our discussion for the sake of my forthcoming memoire.

I saw those two volumes of strategic studies at the Library of the Yar’Adua Center when I visited there about two week ago.

What is important in this narrative is that General Yar’Adua was a very sincere leader, he always spoke to me and to anyone in his political company from the bottom of his heart.

He was sincerely in search of a genuine way forward. He was a man who knew that all is not well with the Nigerian Federation and genuinely sough the correct path to its healing!

The point of the story is to reveal a bit of the life of this great political strategist, who if he had lived after that Conference, he and the powerful circle of comrades he had built at the Conference would have helped to see to a more liberal accommodating political order in Nigeria.

Shehu was the darling of a liberal democratic movement that was emerging in Nigeria before he died. He was equally hated by what many of us call the hegemonist who have consistently aborted every opportunity to create a democratic political culture. It is the later who have consistently made it difficult to achieve a genuine reconciliation in Nigeria.

It is these forces that have insisted on a Federation founded on the peace of the grave yard.

Yes, General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua along with the compatriots he had worked to put together would have constitute an authentic force for reconciliation and national integration. He was a victim of the forces of hegemony.

Post Biafra Reconciliation: What Lessons?

During the trial of Adolf Hitler after Germany and her allies lost the war to the Allied Forces, the following exchange took place between Hitler and his interlocutor ?

Interlocutor to Hitler: You were responsible for the Second World War?
Hitler: No! The Versailles Treaties was.

I believe this Conference has been provoked by the renewed agitation for Biafra. In that case, a similar question can be posed to the Biafra Self-determination Agitators in Nigeria today as to whether they are responsible for the renewed Agitation for Biafra.

I imagine that the Biafra Freedom Agitators, just like Adolf Hitler, would emphatically respond NO!

They would rather blame the present upsurge for Self-determination and Biafra and all its fallouts on all those leaders on the victorious side who, rather than pursuing the path of genuine Reconciliation, pursued the path of punitive retributions against those who lost the war.

Unfortunately, as it was in the case of the defeated Germany that was neither pacified nor conciliated, nor was it permanently weakened, so do we find in the case of Biafra, that despite all the retributive measures against her people, Biafra and the Biafrans, have neither been pacified, nor conciliated, nor have they been permanently weakened.

Unlike the Treaty of Versailles that exerted bloody pound of flesh on the side that lost the First World War, the victorious side in the Second World War padded their retributive actions with the Marshall Plan.

And thus unlike the intended Carthagenian peace of the Versailles Treaty of 28 June 1919, the Marshall Plan brought a relatively permanent peace to Europe that withstood the shock waves of the cold war including the Cuban Missile crises.

In pursuing the lessons of the retributive post-war treatment of the Biafrans, I would ask the leaders on the victorious side ?

When you took all their financial deposits in the banks and paid them only £20 (twenty pounds), what did you expect the result to be “pacification, conciliation or to have them permanently weakened”

When you allowed massacre of unarmed soldiers and leaders even when they had declared their return to Nigeria, what did you expect?

I mean when you murdered Prof. Kalu Ezera or when you killed unarmed Col Onwuatuegwu in cold blood, what did you expect?

When you killed and also buried alive thousands of innocent civilians in Asaba, was that a circus show?

I escaped being killed at the end of the war through the mysterious intervention of my college mate, Mr Nwoguegbe from Asa in Abia State who was a member of the Nigerian battalion that overran my area on that fateful day of January 8, 1970.

The solders had sent for me and when I arrived at Nkwo Mbaise their base, Nwoguegbe instantly recognised me and shouted Nkume!

I responded Nwoguegbe! Despite being introduced to his commander, Captain Jibowu, the later took him to one corner, asking to be convinced why I should not be treated in accordance with the official instructions, namely to waste any such able-bodied young-man who may have been an actual or potential Biafra soldier.

I was lucky. Nwoguegbe saved me, but several of my mates from my community were not. Cornellius Oguikpe, Michael Osuagwu, Efriam Chukwunoyerem, Echewodo Onwunali, all were murdered at the end of the war by the Nigerian soldiers.

Yes, post-Biafra was not attended by any genuine efforts to seek reconciliation nor even to find out what led to the war.

Rather, what we have witnessed is decades of vengeance, arrogance and conspiracy against Alaigbo and Ndigbo – Yes these are on record –

Immediate post-war punitive massacre, Dismissal of some officers on the losing side, Reduction in rank of others, Dismissal of civil servants, Secret Execution of some officers (Col. Onwuatuegwu, Prof, Kalu Ezera), Abandoned property seizure of Igbo property, Punitive boundary adjustment, Closure of the Eastern Sea Port and Railway lines, Deliberate policy of encirclement of Alaigbo, Inciting Igbo outside Igbo heartland to reject their Igbo identity, Deliberate policy of exclusion from the governance and power equation i Nigeria, Deliberate policy of destroying Igbo businesses,Continued massacre, lynching of Igbos in many places in the North, Insensitivity to the plight of the IDPs of Igbo extraction who were initially the major targets of Boko Harm bombings and killings.

No serious effort at post-war reconstruction and reconciliation.

I strongly recommend to all those who care to understand how the Igbos view their predicament in the Federation to read the Petition of Ohanaeze ndigbo to the Human Rights Violations Investigating Committee of 1999.

It is captioned “The Violations of the Human and Civil Rights of Ndigbo in the Federation of Nigeria (1966-1999)”.

President Obasanjo should speak to the nation now about why and how that initiative of his was aborted. A Truth and Reconciliation was a great idea, but just like all National Conference decisions meant to deal with the resolution of the injustices of the system. It was arrogantly dismissed and nothing happened.

Biafra : A Collective Guilt

Have we forgotten that Biafra was a collective guilt and that those who created the Nigerian Federation did so to satisfy their own agenda They designed a local a local agenda for the same purpose?

Have we forgotten the cause of Biafra and the war? Have we ever come together to examine why Biafra?

Obasanjo’s Truth Commission and the Justice Oputa Commission were arrogantly dismissed and nothing happened.

Who was the aggressor in that war?

Aborted Efforts to Solve the Nigerian Problem 

What about several efforts to sit down and dispassionately examine the fate of the Federation and how to heal the wounds of the past. Several aborted historical opportunities for peace and stability, or a genuine democratic system include – Ibadan Conference of Sept/Oct 1966, Aburi Accord, Abiola’s election that would have set a precedent, 1994-5 Constitutional Conference and the 1995 Draft Constitution, the best Constitutional Draft in the history of Nigeria, Conferences organised by Obasanjo’s regime, President Jonathan’s 2014 Conference, Current Ferocious opposition to restructuring.

Laying the Foundations for Genuine Reconciliation: The Biafra Initiative

The Birth of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC): A child of the post-war.

East Central State Youth Volunteer Services Corps (ECSYVSC), whose memo to General Gowon led to the establishment of the NYSC by the Federal Government.

I led the delegation, as Chairman of the ECSYVSC, that delivered the Memoradum to the Federal Government on the eve of the first post-war independence anniversary, precisely on 30th September, 1970.

In response General Gowon had given Dr Ukpabi Asika’s Government £75,000 (Seventy-five thousand pounds) in appreciation of that historical initiative of the youth of Alaigbo.

The great objective of that historical initiative as conceived by us, the youth of Alaigbo, was to forge a genuine instrument of national reconciliation and national integration.

What has happened to the NYSC? Any credit to the initiators? Several attempts have been made by the chaps in the NYSC Foundation in Abuja to interview me in order to draw inspiration from the original mind that conceived the NYSC; each time they were discouraged from a follow-up.

It was the same way that a former Governor had advised the Federal Government to create an institution to house the Biafra scientist. The answer was no!, because doing so would give credit to the Biafrans.

The Road to Reconciliation

Not Restructuring but Renegotiation of the basis of the Nigerian Federation. Nigeria is a multi-national Federation. The task is to agree on the terms for a form of political union among these nations and mini-nations.

Unless this is done, there would never be any stable Federation uniting all these peoples who are culturally, religiously and philosophically separate nations and mini-nations.

*Prof. Uzodinma Nwala is the President Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF) 

CULLED FROM TheStreetReporters.com

Why Three New Faces of Socio-Political Reawakening In Igbo Land Must Not Be Found Wanting

The leaderships of Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety) and Southeast Based Coalition of Human Rights Organizations (SBCHROs) have carefully appraised the goings on as they concern recent social and political developments in the Southeast Nigeria particularly as they concern Igbo socio-political reawakening and assertion of their rights to existence and ethnic identities with successes trailing last Tuesday’s sit-at-home protest voluntarily organized by IPOB and reformed MASSOB leaderships as a clear case in point.

Another reason behind this joint statement is to remind the trio of Peter Obi, Ike Ekweremadu and Nnamdi Kanu of their existing prestigious status as distinguished Igbo personalities of the year 2016.

This reminding advocacy voice is to strongly advise them to always watch their backs and refrain at all times from associating themselves with activities and conducts capable of forcing the Igbo People to look down and disrespect them.

They must not make themselves or be seen as demigods and must always be closer to the Igbo People. The concept of power drunkenness and psychology of politics must never be their portion. In other words, to whom much is given, much is expected.

We are particularly appalled and deeply worried over an allegation making the news in the web and social media (i.e. 247UReports) concerning Governor Willie Obiano’s car and cash gifts to Citizen Nnamdi Kanu.

According to the said online news report, “Nnamdi Kanu was recently handed over a cash of $50,000 and two SUV cars by Governor Willie Obiano and the gifts were gladly accepted from the giver”.

On further enquiry, a dependable and authoritative source told the coalition that “the acceptance of the gifts by Kanu from Governor Obiano was owing to the fact that Governor Obiano has been assisting Nnamdi Kanu’s father while Kanu was in prison”.

The link to the online story is here: https://247ureports.com/2017/05/27/nnamdi-kanu-receives-50000-and-two-suvs-from-obiano/. The publisher, Ikenna Ezenekwe, is a known close ally of Governor Obiano. The jeeps and cash, according to Ezenekwe’s 247UReports of 27th May 2017, “were delivered to Citizen Kanu shortly after his conditional freedom from prison by one Primus Odili, said to be Gov Obiano’s distant relative”..

It must be pointed out clearly here that there is nothing wrong in giving and receiving plain and charitable gifts from a public office holder or a wealthy philanthropist for the advancement of a nonviolent social struggle such as Biafra self determination campaigns, but a lot is morally wrong and socially abominable when such gifts are seen or perceived as politically motivated, ill conceived or evidentially and atrociously escapist.

If it is true that Governor Willie Obiano gave out such gifts to Nnamdi Kanu, valued at about N98million (i.e. N80M for the two SUV cars and N19M equivalent of $50,000), then our immediate appeal to Citizen Kanu is for such gifts to be returned to the Awka Government House with immediacy.

If it is not true, then he should direct his IPOB to respond publicly and convincingly on his behalf. The response under demand is grossly belated.

The acceptance of such gifts, if true, will spell doom to the nonviolent pro Biafra campaigns and pose a generational clog and curse for those championing the ongoing pro Biafra agitation.

The gifts, if truly given and accepted, can further evoke incurable wrath from the spirits of the 140 innocent, defenseless and unarmed Igbo citizens that were slain under Governor Obiano’s supervision and mobilization on 29th and 30th of May 2016 at Nkpor, Onitsha and Asaba.

Mortally, if it is true that such gifts were given and accepted, then the moral rectitude and competence of IPOB under Citizen Nnamdi Kanu to seek culpable and compensatory justices for the slain defenseless and unarmed citizens, numbering not less than, 140 and their beloved families may most likely have been jeopardized (only victims of 29th and 30th of May 2016 massacre at Nkpor, Onitsha and Asaba).

We have insisted and still insist that Governor Willie Obiano must make an open confession and admission of truth regarding his culpable roles and that of his government in the massacre.

He must follow it up by constituting a judicial panel or commission of enquiry, to be composed of 70% non State actors and 30% State actors to further unravel the atrocities of 29th and 30th May 2016.

The Nigerian Army in Onitsha must publicly disclose where and how they criminally buried dozens of slain innocent Igbo citizens; many of them the army was caught in camera conveying or moving them via their military trucks inside the Onitsha Army Barracks.

What shocks us the more is Governor Willie Obiano’s continued denial of death toll in the said Nkpor, Onitsha and Asaba massacre.

The Governor was authoritatively reported to have maintained this stance recently when a Nigerian Army’s kangaroo probe team visited him during which he was reported to have told the team that “nobody was killed at Nkpor and Onitsha on 29th and 30th May 2016 and if they said somebody was killed, I am not aware”. This was disclosed when the so called “army probe team” visited a certain establishment.

The so called “army probe team” never bordered to visit our coalition or the leadership of Intersociety, which thoroughly investigated the referenced massacre.

The leaderships of Intersociety and our coalition also never bordered to seek to meet the team, because we see the said army probe team as nothing but “a kangaroo army probe team”, seeking to trace and profile members and relatives of the slain families for purposes of evidence erasure, destruction and self exoneration.

For purposes of refreshing the minds of all and sundry, not less than 140 unarmed and defenseless citizens including those participating or attending church night vigils (i.e. inside St Edmunds Cath.

Church Primary School Classrooms located along Umuoji Road, Nkpor), early morning church service returnees and travelers, passers-by, street petty traders, artisans and onlookers were in the late night of 29th and morning and afternoon hours of 30th May 2016; shot and killed by members of the Anambra State Joint Security Taskforce (JTF), comprising soldiers of the Onitsha Military Barracks led by Col Abdullahi Isah Maigari and operationally commanded by Major M.I. Ibrahim of the Military Police.

Other key culprits in the massacre are the Anambra State Police Command led by then DCP OPS, now Commissioner of Police, Johnson Babatunde Kokomo and the Onitsha Area Commander and all DPOs under Onitsha Area Command; Anambra Police SARS led by CSP Bassey Annang; personnel of the Onitsha Navy Post Command, operatives of the SSS, personnel of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps, the personnel of the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency and armed members of the Anambra State Vigilante Services (AVS).

It is further recalled that prior to the State Government supervised massacre, a letter of notification was sent and successfully delivered to the Governor of Anambra State through the then Commissioner of Police, now AIG Hosea Karma (AIG Zone 9, Umuahia).

The IPOB’s notification letter duly informed the Obiano Administration of its plan to hold the 2016 Igbo/Biafra Heroes Day near Eke Nkpor at a bulldozed multi plots of land temporarily let out for the event by a concerned property magnet. Following the successful and nonviolent marking of the anniversary in Umuahia and Enugu in 2014 and 2015, Anambra State was chosen as the host venue for 2016 anniversary.

The notification letter also clearly disclosed the intent of the event and solicited for security presence from the Government of Anambra State for the purpose of ensuring effective and peaceful crowd control.

Shockingly, the Governor of Anambra State and his Joint Security Taskforce used the notification letter to plan and strategize for violent crackdowns. Unknown to IPOB, Governor Willie Obiano doled out millions of naira from the meager State coffers for logistics and mobilized all the security agencies under his JTF.

Signals were sent to the 82nd Division of the Nigerian Army in Enugu for reinforcements and before the late night of 29th of May 2016, all strategic nooks and crannies of the State including all strategic entry and exit roads around Onitsha, Nkpor, Nnewi, Awka and Asaba had been violently blocked by soldiers and Police SARS.

As a result, shooting and killing spree targeted at those arriving for the anniversary commenced from 11pm of 29th May and terminated around 2pm of 30th May 2016.

At the end, field reports gathered by Intersociety evidentially showed that not less than 140 citizens were killed, out of them 110 died at Nkpor and Onitsha, while 30 others died at Asaba. Over 130 others were terminally injured: 70 in Onitsha and 60 in Asaba. Several Army Hilux vans carrying scores of dead bodies were caught in camera heading to Onitsha Army Barracks.

The bodies of the dead citizens picked by soldiers were later buried in most abominable and heartless manner inside one of the Onitsha Army Barracks’ two cemeteries (in about 15 graves with each containing at least seven shrank and acidified bodies). Their criminal burial took place on Wednesday 1st June 2016; eyewitnesses say, in the presence of one of Governor Willie Obiano’s Commissioners in charge of Public Communications.

About half of those killed in Asaba, numbering not less than 30, dumped at the Federal Medical Center including Citizen Chinedu Udoye were later on 26th June 2016 removed and buried at a certain location around Asaba Airport Road. Amnesty Int’l had in its report, disclosed that “not less than 60 citizens were killed at Nkpor and Onitsha, with at least 70 others injured”.

The Report did not include those killed and injured in Asaba. The culpable Government of Anambra and its mobilized security agencies including Nigeria Police Force and Nigerian Army not only boasted and justified the massacre, but also labeled the slain and the IPOB as “miscreants”, “violent and armed” and “armed independent people of Biafra”. Credit: Intersociety 2016/2017.

Governor Willie Obiano had also after the massacre and its allied litany of denials told by his Government made cursed offers including announcement of a N10million gift to injured victims during his crocodile tear-visit to hospitals where the wounded were being treated.

The offer was roundly rejected by IPOB and our coalition. A number of late night raids in private and public clinics and private residences were also carried out by soldiers and Police SARS leading to forceful removal of dead bodies of the slain pro Biafra activists; forcing families and relatives of other slain and injured activists to summarily whisk them out of Anambra State for safety.

Revocation of Nnamdi Kanu’s Prisoner-Of-Conscience Status: Following the conditional release of Citizen Nnamdi Kanu who was named Prisoner-Of-Conscience by our coalition in 2016, following his long detention without formal trial and several disobedience to judicial pronouncements for his freedom by his captors (Federal Government and its SSS), we hereby revoke his Prisoner-Of-Conscience status.

The trio of Bright Chimezie, Chidiebere Onwudiwe and David Nwawuisi; alongside Sheik Zaky El-Zaky and his wife-Malama Zeenatu El-Zaky are hereby renamed SBCHROs’ Prisoners-Of-Conscience.

While Sheik El-Zaky and his beloved wife, Malama Zeenatu have been held by SSS without any form of trial or court proceedings or freedom since 14th December 2015, David Nwawuisi and Chidiebere Onwudiwe have remained in detention without trial since October 2015 and June 2016 respectively for un-tried offence of conspiracy to commit treasonable felony, which is lightly bailable and attracts not more than seven years imprisonment on conviction.

Citizen Bright Chimezie’s arrest and incarceration by the Akwa Ibom State Directorate of SSS is complicated and lawless. He was arrested in Uyo by SSS on 16th September 2016 and detained without trial.

All efforts by his lawyers and family to see him proved abortive, forcing his lawyers to file a fundamental rights suit in Abuja in which the SSS filed a counter affidavit, saying that he was being held by its Uyo Directorate.

Fresh suit was filed before the Uyo Federal High Court and the Uyo SSS flouted an order of the Court and refused to produce before same; leading to the judgment of 24th May 2017, ordering for his unconditional release. Citizen Bright Chimezie has not been released by the Uyo SSS till date; thereby fueling speculations of his possible death in SSS custody.

Citizen Benjamin Madubugwu is denied a Prisoner-Of-Conscience status because of his connection with firearms found in his custody. The prisoner-of-conscience status is strictly meant for those who never used violence (pacifists) or implied as violent citizens in asserting their constitutional, regional and international human rights. In the eyes of Nigeria’s body of laws, Citizen Madubugwu is entitled to possess guns in the category of firearms (two pump action guns) found in his custody provided he operates same with lawful license.

Commendation: The following are worthy of commendation for their priceless and immeasurable roles in the human rights, humanitarian, research, documentation and media advocacy aspects of the nonviolent pro Biafra campaigns in Nigeria so far.

They are Amnesty International, SBCHROs, Intersociety, Alaigbo Development Foundation, Igbo Youth Movement, Ike Ekweremadu, Peter Obi, Joe Achuzia, US Embassy in Nigeria, Mike Akuoma, Ugochukwu Chinwuba, Ikechukwu Okoye, Clifford Iloanya, Prince Emeka Onyeso, Okechukwu Nwanguma, Aloysius Attah, Ibuchukwu Ezike, Tochukwu Ezeoke and his Igbo Ekunie group, Justus and Justine Ijeomas, Alex Olisa, Damian Ugwu, Damian Ogudike, Tools & Allied Market and its leadership, Ekwenche Group, USA, Uche Asiegbu, George Onyeibe, Samuel Kamanyoku.

Others are Isaac Umunna and his News Express Online, Daniel and Tim Elombah and their Elomba Reports, Madam Aziza Uko and her Trent Online, Emeka Odugwu and his Odogwu Blog, Chidi Opara and his Chidiopara Reports, Henry Oduenyi and his Nigerian Voice, James Ezema and his The Street Reporters, Naija.Com, Nairaland, Barrister Chioma Kate Unini and her Nigerian Lawyer Online, Mazi Odera, Uchenna Madu, Barristers Ifeanyi Ejiofor, Chuks Muoma (SAN), Emmanuel Onyejena and his Allnewsandreports.

The rest are Chinwe Umeche, Uzochukwu Oguejiofor, Obianuju Joy Igboeli, Florence Akubilo, Ndidiamaka Bernard; the Galaxy TV and its Southeast crew, Minaj TV, Vanguard Newspaper, Innocent Anaba and his InosReport, Leonard Sobechi of Guardian Newspaper, Senator Iroegbu and Dave Eleke of This Day Newspaper, Today Online, Uncova Online, the Authority Newspaper, the Premium Times, Emmanuel Mayah, Mary Ann Onwuchekwa, Anita Foster, Tony Okafor, the Independent Newspaper, Champion Newspaper, Alphonsus Nweze, Cyprain Ebele, to mention but a few.

Why Igbo Spoke In Unisom On 30th May 2017: The massive reactions of the most Igbo People on 30th May 2017 by voluntarily shutting down their businesses across the country and beyond the shores of Nigeria for the purpose of honoring their fallen heroes and heroines killed in the 1967-70 Biafra-Nigeria Civil War and others butchered since 1945 is not only a strong message to those behind the decades long butcheries, but also a red card to those who mocked the Igbo People to the effect that Igbo People are not united and can never be united. It is also a red card to those who falsely claimed that Igbo People have no leadership or kingship.

Most importantly, this collective feat also calls for caution particularly on the part of IPOB and reformed MASSOB under Citizens Nnamdi Kanu and Uchenna Madu leadership. That is to say that such massive support must not be taken for granted. Igbo People have no leadership, kingship or oneness so long as there are no credible people in leadership positions or genuine and formidable social cause to fight or agitate for.

Once credible leaders or genuine social cause are spotted or found, unity, oneness and credible leadership commands take the centre stage among the Igbo People.

That is to say that the same way the Igbo People have hearkened to IPOB and reformed MASSOB’s recent call for a sit-at-home protest, is exactly the same the same Igbo People will turn their back permanently against the likes of IPOB and reformed MASSOB and their leaders once they are seen or perceived as deviants and conformists.

This was why we had on 11th December 2016 named the trio of Peter Obi, Ike Ekweremadu and Nnamdi Kanu as distinguished Igbo personalities for 2016. We found in them great potentials to lead and wriggle Igbo People out of their decades’ long trepidations, agonies, unprovoked attacks and butcheries.

We had then counseled them strongly to jealously guide and guard their leadership potentials and resist any attempt to get them rubbished or compromised. Till date, in Anambra State, Peter Obi’s leadership and public governance imprints are next to nothing or second to none.

The trio of Peter Obi, Ike Ekweremadu and Nnamdi Kanu still retain their prestigious distinguished personalities of 2016 status till the end of this year. With this in their hands, they must at all times not disappoint the Igbo People as “new faces of Igbo renaissance or reawakening”.

They must understand that the Igbo People are watching them all the time as per wherever they go and whatever they do. They are now like the great mgburuichi and nze-na-ozo people of the Oracular Igbo Society, who on account of their membership of the two highly revered groups; were incapable of associating themselves with evil doing or disappointing themselves and their society.

We also welcome Citizen Nnamdi Kanu’s ongoing reconciliatory moves, geared towards mending fences with those in disagreements with others.

Such gesture must also be extended to key members of his group’s Directorate of State (DOS) and Coordinating Office of Coordinators (COC) as well the likes of Ekwenche Igbo group in USA.

Signed:
For: Southeast Based Coalition of Human Rights Organizations (SBCHROs)

Comrade Aloysius Attah (+2348035090548)
For: Civil Liberties Organization, Southeast Zone

Comrade Peter Onyegiri (+2347036892777)
For: Centre for Human Rights & Peace Advocacy

Comrade Samuel Njoku (+2348039444628)
For: Human Rights Organization of Nigeria

Engineer Rufus Duru (+2348037513519)
For: Global Rights & Development International

Comrade Chike Umeh ( +2348064869601)
For: Society Advocacy Watch Project

Obianuju Joy Igboeli, Esq. (+2348034186332)
For: Anambra Human Rights Forum

Comrade Alex Olisa(+2348034090410)
For: Southeast Good Governance Forum

Jerry Chukwuokoro, PhD (+2348035372962)
For: International Solidarity for Peace & Human Rights Initiative

Mr. Tochukwu Ezeoke (+447748612933)
For: Igbo Ekunie Initiative (Pan Igbo Rights Advocacy Group)

Comrade Vincent Ezekwume (+2348171793911)
For: Civil Liberties Organization, Anambra State Branch

Emeka Umeagbalasi(+2348174090052)
For: Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law

Police Personnel to Own Houses on Retirement- DIG Inyang

Officers and Men of the Nigeria Police Force are to own personal residential houses on or before retirement under a new Housing Scheme introduced by the force.

The Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of Training and Development, DIG Emmanuel T. Inyang, stated this in Sokoto during at Human Rights Sensitization and Training of Trainers Workshops for Police Officers of Sokoto State Command.

He said that the scheme which has taken off is being implemented through the Nigeria Police Force Cooperative Society in collaboration with the Federal Mortgage Bank and in partnership with private developers on an “owner – occupier” basis.

DIG Inyang reiterated the commitment of the leadership of the Nigeria Police Force under the current Inspector General of Police, IGP Ibrahim K. Idris, in improving the welfare of all personnel through motivation of training and    re-training, promotion and the provision of working materials and equipments.

He recalled the recent unprecedented mass promotion in the force that cut across all cadres and hinted that the exercise will continue as part of a welfare package being implemented gradually to boost their morale.

DIG Inyang said the human rights training workshop is aimed at providing a platform to reach out to men and officers of the force on the need for the promotion and protection of human rights in the discharge of their duties.

He maintained that the training provides the participants with the skills, knowledge and attitudes to effectively discharge their duties in accordance with the rule of law in compliance with human rights best practices.

DIG Inyang said the program was impacting positively on the force as cases of victimization, brutalization, torture and other forms of human rights violations and abuses by officers and men of the force are being reduced to the barest minimum and appealed to members of the public to cooperate and assist the police in its assigned task of protection of life and property, detection and prevention of crime as well as the maintenance of law and order.

In a remark, Mrs Ogechi Ogu who spoke on behalf of Mr Yinka Lawal, the Executive Director of Prisoners Rehabilitation and Welfare Action, PRAWA, the coordinators of the Nigeria Police Human Rights Training Program, said that mainstreaming human rights principles into the operations and duties of the force would reduce the incidences of human rights violations by officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force.

All Divisional Police Officers (DPOs), Divisional Crime Officers (DCOs) and Human Rights Desk Officers of the 26 Divisions and Formations of the Sokoto State Police Command, some Human Rights Activists, Lawyers, Social Welfare Officers, Oversight Resource Teams, Representatives of the Legal Aid Council, the National Human Rights Commission and Prison Officers are attending the weeklong series of trainings at the workshop.

Media Focal Person of the Human Rights Training Programme, Abdulkadir Ahmed Ibrahim, said the trainings and the workshops are conducted with the support of the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ), the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) of the Swiss Government, the European Union and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The five year planned program has so far covered Cross River, Lagos, FCT, Anambra and Benue states, the Nigeria Police Academy Wudil in Kano State, the Police Training Colleges in Ikeja Lagos State and Kaduna in Kaduna state while some selected Instructors from all the Police Training Schools and Colleges in the country and the Academy were equally trained.

BIAFRA: AN OPEN LETTER By John Paul Iloduba

REPRESSION OF THE INNOCENT POPULATION OF NIGERIANS BY SEPARATISTS IN THE SOUTH-EAST: THE WORLD MUST ACT NOW

On May 30, 2017 small businesses in Abia, Anambra, Enugu, Imo and Ebonyi were forced shut down by separatists as part of activities marking the 50th anniversary of the declaration of the moribund Biafra Republic.

The separatists attempted the same economic blockade to some extent in Rivers, Delta and Bayelsa states while they were completely rebuffed in Edo, Akwa-Ibom and Cross River states.
These separatists operated under names like Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) Biafra Independence Movement (BIM) and assortments of street gangs that act as the militant wings of these groups.
The extent of suffering and economic hardship unleashed on the helpless population can be gauged from the headlines of newspapers in the aftermath of the punitive action.

The Vanguard reported that “Biafra sit-at-home: Total shutdown in S-East” while the Sun read “Biafra: South-East shuts down” and the Guardian has “Sit-at-home order grounds South East”.
Separatists leaders quoted in all the reports gave the misleading impression that owners of these small shops and businesses voluntarily complied with the directive to shutter their premises to mark the anniversary of the tragic republic but the opposite was the case.

Owners of these businesses were repeatedly threatened with arson, looting and rape (of women) for any business that dares to defy the orders of the Biafran “Supreme Leader” not to open for transactions.
Apparently, in an effort to avoid confrontation with the armed militant wing of the aforementioned groups, government security operatives refrained from interfering.

Past interventions by security operatives to prevent economic blockades had resulted in their personnel being attacked and some killed by the militants in the process.
Unfortunately, while the approach of the security agencies averted confrontations, the economic blockade has further impoverished the low income earners that were forced to go one day without earning their livelihood. It must be stated here that the majority of the families that bore the brunt of this oppression from Biafran militants earn less than $2 per day ? the implication of this loss of income for one day will amplify over time to further impoverish them.
More unfortunate is the fact that the sponsors and warlords that declared the forced closure have businesses that are considered too big to harass and were therefore not affected by the shutdown. These businesses include big brands like hotels and supermarkets chains that opened in other cities, oil firms that operated in other parts of the country and other firms with branded names that do not give away their Igbo ownership.
We therefore call the attention of the world to this atrocity, which has become more frequent as the separatists continue to find new excuses for declaring sit-at home orders that effectively translate into forced closure of businesses.

Well meaning countries and international organizations must condemn the activities of the Biafran militants as the terrorism that it is.

Actions must be demanded to protect the vulnerable population from being further impoverished by economic shutdowns that have no connection with the genuine calls for fiscal restructuring of Nigeria.
Demands must be made of the Federal Government of Nigeria not to again abandon the wellbeing of its citizens for political consideration. It is the responsibility of the government, through its security and military agencies, to uphold the Constitutionally guaranteed freedom of movement and freedom to earn income from legitimate means that applies to all Nigerians.

Yours faithfully,

Iloduba is Director of Strategy, Igbo for Nigeria Movement [INM], Awka, Anambra State.

Biafra: Dried Wounds Licked For Too Long By Maxi Chidiebere Igbokwe

Memories of two personalities of Southeastern origin have etched on the psyche of Igbo nation and on the mind of an average Igbo man in Nigeria, including myself.

They are Chief Dr. Nnmadi Azikiwe, the Owelle of Onitsha and the Biafran warlord, Col. Chukwuemeka Odemegwu Ojukwu, the Ikemba of Nnewi.

But both represent two opposing phases in the transitional history of Igbo nation or our people. Also, each one of them made influential imprints on the lives of our people, irrespective of whether it was for good or bad.

A society or community remembers its own based on the extent anyone impacted positively on the lives of the people.

It is reason, in most Africa communities; personalities are canonized, deified or elevated to remarkable historical monuments. Legends sprout from such backgrounds.

The Ghanaians talk of the Great Kweme Nkrumah and South Africans endearingly worship Nelson Mandela. In Nigeria, South -westerners idolize Late Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Northern Nigerians have erected multiple monuments after the Sardauna of Sokoto and first Premier of Northern Nigeria, Sir Ahmadu Bello.

But I believe what is central to the erection of fond memories around personalities whether dead or alive is to espouse and enliven the progressive visions, ideas and legacies they embodied as source of inspiration to the upcoming generation. I consider it absurd and in fact, I have not experienced any community where a son or daughter who brought destruction on his people is immortalized. There is no community of sane people that propagates such retrogressive inclinations.

But I find my people, the Igbo nation attempting to consciously make this silly historical mistake. Yesterday, Nigerians converged in Abuja to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Biafra. Personally, I feel there is nothing wrong with such a gathering, to the extent it serves to remind us of the thorny road we once traversed.

The counsels at the forum by respected Nigerian like former President Olusegun Obasanjo on the further pursuit of the Biafran cause were witty and instructive. As a father to us all, he provided better insights into how we can actualize the Biafran dream that boots and guns could not accede to us as a people between 1967-70, during the bloody Nigerian civil war.

However, what I find disconcerting with my kinsmen is the latter-day resurrection of Biafran instincts by people I prefer to brand as over ambitious brothers and a few sisters in the fold. Perhaps, we have failed to learn from history why Ojukwu’s version of a republic of Biafra failed. And so we are prepared to repeat the same mistakes and thereafter, we begin to cry out to the world, about appalling mass genocide of our people.

I don’t think it’s enough for anyone to garb himself in war-like apron, grab a few desperate youths in the Southeast and arm them with sophisticated weapons and then begin the public march on streets and cities of the Southeast, proclaiming “life or death,” if Nigeria does not concede to our demand of a Biafran state.

If we are prepared to extract Biafran state for ourselves by the dictates of brute force as has become the end game of the Ralph Uwazuirike’s MASSOB or Nnmadi Kanu’s IPOB, then we must have made serious and covert arrangement for it. Only that can save us from the pitfalls that swallowed Ojukwu when he declared what he later discovered was a war he lacked the strength to prosecute to a victorious end.

On the reverse side, if we are adopting the stick approach, we must ensure it is grounded in the ethos of democratic civility, law and decency, the universal conventions prescribed by world bodies like the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU) African Union (AU) and the lot. But it is sadly not the case with today’s agitations for secession.

We are overtly applying both the stick and carrot approach simultaneously, a sign of our confusion. I am not convinced that such would work, if a Biafran state at this phase of our history is anything worthwhile to pursue with such vehemence.

But beyond this plank of reasoning, I am tempted to ask myself again, that based on the allusions of legends I made earlier in this piece, where is Ohaneze Ndigbo heading with a Biafran state now?

Of all the two most pronounced figures, (Azikiwe and Ojukwu) whose legacies are worth emulating? Is it Ojukwu who by every nuance of assessment can be described as someone who selfishly anchored the massacre of our people and the destruction of our land, human and material resources or should it be the popular Zik of Africa, who fought to his grave to accord Igbo nation an identity in the configuration and context of unity of Nigeria?

Or is it not more sensible to copy the footsteps of Zik, our modern patriarch, whose vision developed us and deposited worthy legacies of unity and human development and the relics dots our landscape today?

We are pleaded upon to be reasonable for once. I know many would chastise me for the position I have taken. But maybe, they are yet to come face to face with the harshness of the vagaries of life and so, we feel it is easy to fetch knives, bows and arrows and guns to proclaim Biafran state on the streets.

I am sure, for many more, when they hear counselling such as “no nation survives two civil wars,” like some elements in Ndigbo are pushing, so crudely, it sounds to them like echoes of distant drums.

But I wish to use this platform to remind us of our failings as a people. Any society or community that aspires to progress downplays its retrogressive past. It is not positive thinking to continue to emulate the virtues of Ojukwu.

The respected army officer has lived his life and in his own time and passed unto eternity in blissful ease. He made mistakes, committed blunders and confined us to the fate we now face, and desperately trying to extricate ourselves. But i don’t think it is plausible for us to continue to fashion our destinies after such an idol or his visions.

What has stopped us from striving to live the more positive and progressive life of the Great Zik of Africa. Today, this great nationalist and Pan-Africanist and whatever he represented; the positive values have been buried by us.

I nearly wept when I read the motion for the establishment of Nnamdi Azikiwe Foundation by Hon. Chiedozie Alex Ogbonnia.

He said: “For reasons that cannot be explained, we seem to have ignored the necessity of establishing a Foundation in memory of the great Nnamdi Azikiwe. By all definitions and descriptions, Nnamdi Azikiwe is a hero, not just in Igboland, but also in Nigeria and beyond.”

These are issue that should preoccupy our minds. A foundation was coming for Nnamdi Azikiwe decades after his contemporaries in the Southwest or the North had theirs established for them by their own people. Yet he was a son who made bold marks on the sands of time. Zik was the first President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of independent Nigeria.

He was known as a Pan-Africanist; radical and irrepressible journalist, nationalist, party leader, legislator, minister, premier, senate president, and Governor-General, who lived for Igbo nation and Africans generally.

An extremely very proud descendant of the Igbo race, Azikiwe’s lifestyle influenced and propelled hundreds of Igbo graduates enlist in the public service with his support in post- independence Nigeria.

He lived and defended the Igbo self-worth. For instance, at the 13th Annual Assembly of the Ibo Union, held in Owerri Hall, Enugu on December 19, 1954, Azikiwe decried the verbal attacks on his people and berated security for their inaction.

The Zik of Africa vehemently argued for self-determination by the establishment of an Ibo state to place the Igbos on a pedestal equal to other ethnic groupings that comprise Nigeria and the Cameroons, but emphasizing the indivisibility of Nigeria.

Desirous of development and unity among his people, Azikiwe initiated and promoted Ibo unions and town unions in all the Igbo communities, which later blossomed and embarked on development projects. These unions also assisted brilliant Igbo natives to gain admissions into Nigerian and foreign universities.

When the Biafran war raged, Azikiwe delivered a speech at Oxford University on February 16, 1969, where he outlined a 14-point peace plan for implementation by a United Nations (UN) Peace Keeping Force. He made frantic efforts to resolve the conflict, though both the UN and the federal government of Nigeria rejected the proposals as unworkable. But at least, it expressed his desire for peace.

But in contrast, Ojukwu negated all that the Great Zik represented in respect of unity, peace and development of Igbo nation. But unfortunately, we are more interested in copying his legacies. The events of January 1966 putsch led by Major Kaduna Nzeogwu could not have necessarily exploded into a civil war. But unfortunately, Ojukwu exploited this incident to settle a personal score with the then Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon.

My understanding of it was more of an egoistic battle of sophistry between Col. Ojukwu and Gen. Gowon. And he had to drag his kinsmen into it to give it a broader patronage and sympathy.

Have we imagined that it could have been excusable for Ojukwu to go to war without widespread dialogue and approval of his people?

Can we excuse him for declaring a Biafran republic which he know would lead to war, without stocking himself with arms and ammunitions or consulting widely and seeking the approval of the community he wanted to protect through war? It is the same mistake we want to repeat to today.

And Col. Ojukwu sneaked away into self-exile, when it became evident he could no longer sustain the fire he ignited; while hunger and disease perished thousands of our people as a consequence of the war. I think, we need to be more circumspect today, than ever. We have licked the dried wound of Biafra for too long.

*Maxi Igbokwe writes from Lagos.