Of Buhari, Tinubu, Macbeth and Odu Isa

2019 Elections, Africa, APC, Corruption, economy, Facts, Nigeria, PDP, PMB, Politics, Power, relationship

Of Buhari, Tinubu, Macbeth and Odu Isa.

“Owe ni Ifa npa, Omoran ni imo” Ifa’s revelation is always in parables; only the wise can understand their meanings.

In his analysis of the Shakespearean Tragedy “Macbeth” Michael Stratford argues that the essence of human pride was covered in three dimensions by this work. He asserted in supports of the works of Majorie Garber on the play which concluded that Macbeth’s confrontation with morality at the end of the play portrayed “real recovery” and completed the depiction of the phases of pride in men. He went further to outline these stages as: The hubris that hurls a man into sin and error, the false pride that secure and justifies all and perpetuates us in evil acts, and the final realization of our immortality and futility of all things.

The play Macbeth has been analyzed by many due to its relevance in everyday human progression. Macbeth was a young and virile soldier honored for his love of Scotland and bravery at war by King Duncan. He was at the zenith of his profession as a soldier and revered titled gentleman in Scotland when the story started. A chance meeting with the “three witches”, their predictions of Macbeth as the King of Scotland, transported this gentleman into a murderer and usurper and finally his death.Given the level of public exposure to education and the current public discourse about the ruler of Nigeria which pulls towards lack of proper formal education, maybe this narrative could be brought home more.

Curiosity recently made me look into the Ifa esoteric and cosmogony and I was amazed at the level of sophistication of the Odu Ifa in explaining and predicting main pattern of human conscious, and unconscious acts; going even further to reveal the purpose and destinies of humans on earth. I was further impressed by the manner with which knowledge and wisdom for managing pride and power were expressively itemized thorough the use of parables.For noninitiates, the Ifa divinity comprises of sixteen major quadrant of ancient Yoruba Ifa cult, which was subdivided into 256 distinct sub-heads detailing all areas of human: wisdom for proper interrelations, truth and moralities, science, cosmology, metaphysics, medicine and other established norms of the Yoruba People of Southwest Nigeria as established by Orunmila. Orunmila the first Ifa priest was reputed to have started the accumulation of this knowledge base, handing it over to his sixteen children, who continued to practice and develop the Ifa practice.

In Odi Isa, amongst the Odu Ifa, Orunmila tried to balance power and pride; where he depicts the travail of the Tiger, the king of the jungle when the entire animal challenged him to battle. The tiger despite his acclaimed overwhelming power, applied wisdom and appealed to the elders for help. The elders asked the Tiger to perform a sacrifice and in respect to the words of the elders, the Tiger performed all necessary rites. And to this day, no animal was able to conquer the tiger.

Tiger’s powerful could have stupidly against public opinion challenged the whole animal kingdom. which will then overrun him and take over his kingdom. When faced with adversities, he went begging the elders for advice. Instead of ruin and death as in Macbeth case, the tiger excel and its kingdom expanded.

Many writers in the pre-2015 era had lauded the achievements of the new progressives led by General Mohamadu Buhari and Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu. The duo in conjunction with other heavy weights in Nigerian politics had performed the first presidential election upset in Nigerian history; the defeat of a sitting president in a general election. The global press was agog in the spirit of the wave of change coming to Nigeria politics.

The emergence of Buhari as the new government leader was heralded as a milestone in Nigerian political arena. Given the sixteen years politicking before his emergence as the president, people were thoroughly misled that the “Buhari presidential dream” was driven by passionate goals for real change. When the new government started showing signs of unpreparedness to rule and obvious lack of cohesion were being revealed, the Nigerian people still believed and attributed it to huge challenges emanating from long period of institutionalized corruption by previous governments. Nigerian new government was later revealed to have been distracted by huge amount of propaganda, vain retribution, illegal and unnecessary arrests and prosecutions in its first year in power.

Apparently, governance and economy finally start to show negative growth. Before the end of the second year, the country which was reputed as one of the ten growing global economies was in recession. Economic indicator aside, the failing security architecture has been witnessed in all theaters of operation. Conflict escalations in most areas were being witnessed. Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) continued to rise as conflicts engulfs the state. Youth and elites migration have more than doubled within three years, and statistics on youth unemployment is reading above one third of population. The national currency’s value in international trade fell by over 200 percent in the first year of this government and it took direct intervention of the Central Bank of Nigeria to shore up the Naira to its current 360 to one dollar status.

Failed economy, repetitive conflicts, insurrections, low school attendance, thriving illicit economies, and high youth emigration, according to Mary Kaldor are signs of failing states. The constant stay outside the country by the president was a minor issue until the whole world was treated to the caricature of Nigerian President’s show of shame in faraway Poland on the Saturday Night Show recently. The lack of grace and charisma that goes with the esteemed office of the president of Federal Republic of Nigeria, the representative of over 200millon people and one of the fastest growing states globally by this current president reflects his depth of understanding of the power and privilege of Nigeria in global politics.

Tinubu’s rise to stardom in Nigerian politics was midwifed by the NADECO movement against military rule in the late eighties and early nineties. The movement which led to the emergence of this ongoing republic equally blessed BAT with the governorship of the most priced state in Nigeria, Lagos. Lagos represents the hub of commerce and economy of Nigeria. Nigerian position as a giant in Africa business resides in the economic performance of Lagos State. Eight years of his direct rule, twelve years of his protégés ruling, characterized by unashamed plundering of Lagos state’s resources has created a new Bola Ahmed Tinubu. The Czar of Southwest Nigeria was born. By 2014, Tinubu had in his control a war-chest big enough to start and prosecute any political war in Nigeria against any opposition.

When Tinubu pitched his tent against President Goodluck Jonathan, midwifed a coalition of parties to form All Peoples’ Congress (APC) in supports of Buhari, the die was cast. Tinubu’s prowess and political machinery was founded on the Lagos State dynasty. This base he has always controlled since 1999. Experts have posited that the loss of Lagos by the Tinubu gang will surely sound the kernel of his political demise. Recent happenings have shown the arrival of the new Tinubu. Four month to general elections, Tinubu unilaterally influenced the removal of the name of the incumbent governor of Lagos State from the ballot and imposed a new man as the party representative. A move that has been reported irked many locals and party faithful.

Obviously, Tinubu’s power as sole godfather and power broker in Lagos politics is on test as 2019 February elections looms. Buhari’s reign and reelections as president is being supported by the Tinubu’s camp. The alliance many agreed was based on the pact to return Tinubu as president in 2023. This ambition has fueled the unalloyed support from Lagos APC for Buhari’s return. It’s a big gamble on the path of Tinubu and Buhari. Like the proverbial fly, Buhari has tasted the wine and is ready and willing to die in the same cup of wine.

Tinubu’s ambition also has turned him to the fly that refused to heed the warnings of the elders and has decided to follow the corpse into the earth. Ambition is necessary to achieve and progress in life, yet ambitions should be ethically based, no normal leader will continue to aspire to hold and office in which he does not have capacity for managing, and no normal human being will sacrifice the future of his people, merely for his own selfish ambition.

Ambition contaminated by acute pride surely begets disaster. Macbeth ambition was fueled by greed and selfish ambition to rule Scotland, never because he was a pushed by a need to work a better society for his people. His endgame led to war and carnage pushing Scotland which was growing as a nation into complete recession and pillage by ravaging armies. Equally, the Tiger would have resorted to use of might against his enemies as he was in power, but wisdom led him to the elders. Tinubu and Buhari have achieved the impossible in Nigerian politics; the time has come for them both to respect the people and leave the scene. Unrestrained pride and ambition, the elders says always lead to death and destructions.

Don Michael Adeniji                                                                                          Director, African Initiative for Peace and Human Development, Abuja Chicago Illinois. December, 2018

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Houston police chief: Vote out politicians only “offering prayers” after shootings – Tillet

Corruption, Crime, law enforcement, Politics, SEcurity

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo slammed elected officials for inaction on the state and federal level in response to repeated shootings at schools across the country. His comments come in the wake of the latest school shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas which left 10 people dead.

Appearing on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” Sunday, Acevedo said that political leaders are failing to heed the will of the voters when it comes to gun regulations and reforms.

“Let me tell you, people at the state level and the federal level in too many places in our country are not doing anything other than offering prayers,” Acevedo said. “We need to start using the ballot box and ballot initiatives to take the matters out of the hands of people that are doing nothing that are elected into the hands of the people to see that the will of the people in this country is actually carried out.”

Acevedo added that “local governments are starting to make a difference” by enacting their own reforms.

“I think that the American people, gun owners — the vast majority of which are pragmatic and actually support gun sense and gun reform in terms of keeping guns in the right hands,” Acevedo said.

Acevedo posted on Facebook that he had “hit rock bottom” and “shed tears of sadness, pain and anger” over the Texas killings. The post went viral in the days after the shooting.

On Sunday, he said that one policy to consider would be stronger laws mandating proper security of guns in private homes. According to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, the suspect used a shotgun and a .38-caliber revolver which his father owned legally. Abbott told reporters that he didn’t know whether the father was aware his son had obtained the weapons.

“If you have firearms in your home and you do not secure them and you don’t secure them in a manner that can preclude someone from grabbing them and taking them and carrying out this carnage, [there] is a criminal liability that attaches,” Acevedo suggested.

He added, “I believe that anyone that owns a firearm that doesn’t secure it properly [and it] ends up in the wrong hands and used to kill innocent people, that that should carry some significant consequences. We need to think about that on the national level across this country.”

N24 Billion EFCC Office: Magu Scored Self High on Prudency

Corruption, News, Nigeria

The acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, has defended the agency’s “modest” spending of N24 billion on its new office, despite public criticisms of the huge cost in a depressed economy and huge public debt profile. Magu claimed that the spendings are modest and public spending on such building should really have cost N100 billion.

The acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, has defended the agency’s N24 billion new office, brushing aside criticisms about the huge cost, and claiming it is a modest amount for a building that should cost N100 billion.

A visibly angry Mr. Magu on Wednesday took strong exception to the scrutiny that followed the EFCC’s completion of the new headquarters in Abuja.

The 10-floor building is about 95 percent completed as at May 9 and is expected to serve as the operating base for the anti-graft body.

Politicians have hailed the completion, but anti-corruption campaigners and other citizens are instead keeping their eyes on the cost, especially coming at a time that the agency itself is complaining of poor funding that hampers its basic operations.

“You are not being fair,” Mr. Magu said when asked by media to respond to the controversies around the N24 billion price Wednesday. “If you go and bring any valuer, they will value it for not less than N100 billion.”

Mr. Magu took a select group of journalists on a tour of the building Wednesday afternoon, during which he took questions which were restricted to the new building. The anti-graft chief refused to take questions about his own activities or those of the EFCC in recent months. 

The tour is part of ongoing efforts to raise public awareness to the building before formal opening by President Muhammadu Buhari on May 15.

He explained the cumbersome and expensive procurement process that culminated in the successful execution of the new head office, located at about 12 kilometers southwest of Abuja’s Central Business District.

“That shows prudence, that shows transparency,” Mr. Magu said.

Suspicions have escalated within the past two weeks when Mr. Magu began gloating about the building, which was built by the construction firm, Julius Berger.

The acting EFCC chairman told The Nation last month he was “excited that the headquarters is ready for use” and placed it at an offhand price of N24 billion.

“I will crosscheck to give you the exact figure,” he added.

The skepticism that ensued following the revelation last month gained traction online Tuesday after the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, led other lawmakers on a tour of the facility.

Mr. Saraki praised Mr. Magu and his last two predecessors for putting in their best to complete the building for the agency, which was established in 2003.

magg[Acting EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu]

The agency has been renting offices and official quarters for most of its staff at its branches across the country, including in Abuja where hundreds are currently putting up in a rented apartment.

On November 24, 2010, Yayale Ahmed, then Secretary to the Government of the Federation, proposed the new building to the Federal Executive Council and later got an initial release of N18 billion for it.

A few weeks later, Sahara Reporters published concerns about how Julius Berger won a ‘no objection’ procurement certificate to build the office, alongside a slew of other allegedly questionable contracts award by President Goodluck Jonathan’s cabinet at the time.

The new office includes a mid-size parking facility, three detached buildings, including a clinic, a generator house, and a 33KV step-down transformer station.

Martin Obono, an Abuja-based anti-corruption campaigner, said the EFCC has no justification for spending N24 billion on a single office at the expense of not only the taxpayers but also some of its staff.

“It is not feasible that N24 billion would have been spent on that building,” Mr. Obono said. “It is too expensive for a so-called anti-corruption agency.”

Mr. Obono said the EFCC could build a befitting office for its operations in each of the 36 states at the price of N24 billion, especially since hundreds of staff members operating away from the head office in Abuja would still be putting up with offices that are not conducive.

“Over the past few months, we have heard the EFCC raise alarm about how poor funding is hindering its operations,” Mr. Obono said. “So why should the same agency spend such a humongous amount on an office complex that would only occupy a few people.”

Several departments and directorates are expected to be moved to the new office, but several others will not have accommodation.

Mr. Magu confirmed this and said the EFCC would still keep its current head office along Adetokunbo Ademola Crescent in Wuse II as an annex. Furthermore, some Abuja-based staff members who are currently working out of leased buildings and living in rented quarters would continue to do so for the near future because the new building cannot accommodate everyone.

“Clearly, this building cannot return the N24 billion value Nigerians paid for it,” Mr. Obono said. “We cannot use corruption to fight corruption.”

He demanded that the EFCC publish its books in relations to the building, especially procurement dossiers.

“Mr. Magu must publish the full details of how the money was spent and not think Nigerians are foolish or that they are not paying attention to the suspicious activities going on in an agency that should be curbing financial crimes,” the activist added.

Acting Chair of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu

Outrage as 3-year-old girl is made to twerk with money tossed at her during a birthday party

Corruption, News

Angry parents have reacted to a disturbing video which has gone viral online.

The video shows a 3-year-old girl twerking at a children’s birthday party, while the adults in attendance were encouraging her to dance inappropriately with one of them tossing dollar bills at her.

According to reports, the little girl was made to dance inappropriately to “booty” music like Sir Mix A Lot‘s “I like Big Butts” and Blac Youngsta‘s new hit single “Booty.”

It’s still unclear where the video originated from, but many believe it’s from Jacksonville Florida.

Watch the video here.

via Outrage as 3-year-old girl is made to twerk with money tossed at her during a birthday party (Disturbing Video) — Newworldcommerce.WordPress.Com

We Raided Magu’s Farm For Money- Dismissed NAF Officer

Corruption, Crime, News, Politics

The police have paraded three suspects for their alleged involvement in the attack on the farmhouse of the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu.

The police have paraded three suspects for their alleged involvement in the attack on the farmhouse of the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu.

The attack on the farmhouse led to the death of a policeman, Sergeant Haruna Sarki, who was on guard duty.

The suspects include a dismissed Nigerian Air Force Officer, Vincent Michael, with number: NAF12/26972L/CPL, Inalegwu Omikpa, and Francis Ochife.

Michael told journalists in Abuja on Monday that they raided the farmhouse because they were informed that Magu was keeping huge sums of money there.

The suspect said they were convinced that money was being kept in the farm because there were only a cow and two sheep, which were being guarded by two policemen.

Michael said, “In November 2017,  a friend of mine told me that his friend, Omikpa, told him that there was money at Magu’s house and that we should go and take it.

“At first, I did not buy the idea but he called me again and told me that we were not going to rob. He said all we needed to do was to go and dig the soakaway and get the money out.

“So, December 12, we went to the place and when we got there with two other soldiers, who were contacted by Omikpa, the captain grabbed the policeman who was on duty, I held his neck and Omikpa tied his hand and leg.”

He added, “After he was tied, I picked up the digger and made my way to the soakaway.  I noticed a ray of torchlight and then I went back and noticed that a boy who kills animals at the farm was also there.”

“They tied him also and the captain came to join me where I was breaking the soakaway.  I broke two soakaways but I did not see any money. I received a phone call later that people had started noticing that we were on the farm, so we left.”

On who was responsible for the death of the policeman,  the dismissed NAF officer said Omikpa killed the cop.

“Omikpa killed the policeman because we left him with the policeman and he later came to join us where we were breaking the soakaway,” he stated.

Speaking during the parade of the suspects at the Force Headquarters in Abuja on Monday, the Deputy Force Spokesman, SP Aremu Adeniran, said Michael was handed over to the police by the NAF after he was dismissed from service for his involvement in the attack.

He added that two other NAF personnel who took part in the operation were currently facing disciplinary action with the NAF and would be handed over to the police thereafter.

Items recovered from them included two police AK47 rifles, two mobile phones, two magazines and 60 rounds of AK47 ammunition.

Omikpa explained that they planned to sell the slain policeman’s AK47 rifle for N400,000 because they did not find any money when they raided the farm.

Breaking: EFCC To Arraign Sen. Peter Nwaoboshi On Wednesday

Corruption, Crime, News, Politics

According to the charge sheet obtained by Saharareporters, the senator would be arraigned alongside two firms, GoldenTouch Construction Project Ltd and Suiming Electricals Limited.

The Economics and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) would arraign the Senator representing Delta-North, Peter Nwaoboshi, on a two-count charge of conspiracy and money laundering, at the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos on Wednesday.

The senator would be arraigned before Justice Mohammed Idris, a source in the commission told Saharareporters.

According to the charge sheet obtained by Saharareporters, the senator would be arraigned alongside two firms, GoldenTouch Construction Project Ltd and Suiming Electricals Limited.

This website had earlier reported the arrest of Mr. Nwaoboshi by the anti-graft agency over an alleged fraud of N6 billion.

EFCC sources say the Senator was subsequently quizzed for hours on Monday over an alleged failure to execute contracts worth N4 billion awarded to him.

The Delta state Senator was accused of obtaining N1.2 billion loan from Nigeria Export-Import Bank to buy electrical equipment for his company but instead diverted the loan for personal use.

Mr. Nwaoboshi also allegedly purchased a N805 million, 12-storeys building in Lagos from Delta state government.

He was also accused of failing to make full disclosure of his assets to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).

Count 1 of the charges against the Senator reads, “ AND GOLDENTOUCH CONSTRUCTION PROJECT LTD between May and June   2014 within the jurisdiction of this Hon. Court did acquire a property described as Guinea House, Marine Road, Apapa, Lagos for the sum of N805,000,000.00 (Eight hundred and five million naira only) when you reasonably ought to have known that the N322,000,000.00 (Three hundred and twenty-two million naira only) out of the purchase price transferred to the vendors by order of SUIMING ELECTRICALS LIMITED formed part of the proceed of an unlawful act (to wit: fraud) and you, therefore, committed an offense contrary to section 15(2)(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same act.

Count 2 states “That you, SUIMING ELECTRICALS LIMITED on or about 14th May 2014, within the jurisdiction of this Hon. Court aided PETER NWAOBOSHI AND GOLDEN TOUCH CONSTRUCTION PROJECT LTD to commit laundering and you thereby committed an offense contrary to section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act (as amended) and punishable under Section 15(3) in conjunction with Section 15(2)(d) of the same Act.

Senate Summons Adeosun, Emefiele Over ‘unauthorised $462m’ For Helicopter

APC, Corruption, economy, local news, Military, Nigerian Army, PMB, Politics, Terrorism

Senate Summons Adeosun, Emefiele Over ‘unauthorised $462m’ For Helicopter

adeosun1     emefiele.jpg

The senate has summoned Kemi Adeosun, minister of finance, and Godwin Emiefele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), over the alleged withdrawal of $462 million from the federation account without approval of the national assembly.

Also summoned to give reasons for the said withdrawal is Mansur Dan-Ali, minister of defence.

The upper legislative chamber summoned the trio after Sam Anyawu, a senator from Imo state, raised a motion at plenary on Tuesday.

Anyanwu drew the attention of his colleagues to the alleged withdrawal of the money.

He made reference to section 80 (2) and (3) of the 1999 constitution which prohibits such withdrawal without the consent of the lawmakers.

“I have it on good authority that in March 2018, a whopping sum of $462 million was withdrawn from the federation account and paid for helicopters to an American firm called Helicopter Tecno Fights Helicopters,” he said, adding: “And I know there was no such approval from the senate.”

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He urged the lawmakers to invite the three governnment officials “to tell us how this money was withdrawn and paid to an American company without the approval of the senate.”

The upper legislative chamber adopted his prayers for the trio to be summoned by the committee on appropriation and asked it (the committee) to report back to them after one week.

source: nai

Court Jails Security Guard For Negligent Conduct

Corruption, Crime

A Kado Grade 1 Area Court, Abuja, on Tuesday, sentenced a security guard, Shegun Adegbola, to one-month imprisonment for negligent conduct. Adegbola, who resides at Orozo Abuja, was convicted on one-count charge of negligent public conduct.

A Kado Grade 1 Area Court, Abuja, on Tuesday, sentenced a security guard, Shegun Adegbola, to one-month imprisonment for negligent conduct. Adegbola, who resides at Orozo Abuja, was convicted on one-count charge of negligent public conduct.

The judge, Alhaji Ahmed Ado, gave the judgment after he pleaded guilty of the offense and begged the court to have mercy on him.

Ado, however, gave him an option to pay N2,000 as fine. The judge held that the sentence would be a lesson for other would- be offenders. Earlier, the Police Prosecutor, Zannah Dalhatu, told the court that one Adebayo Charles of Kako Security Organization Area 3 Abuja, reported the matter at the Utako Police Abuja, on April 8.

He said the accused (Adegbola) was assigned to secure Wrapper Resource Center Utako, but he abandoned his duty post and allowed unknown persons to steal two air conditioners valued N180,000. Dalhatu said that the offense contravened Section 196 of the Penal Code.

UAE condemns Somalia over seizing cash ‘sent to army’

Africa, Boko Haram, Corruption, international News, Military, Terrorism, War

Somali soldiers

Somalia said on Sunday it had seized almost $10m from a Royal Jet aeroplane that arrived at Mogadishu airport.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has denounced the seizure of what it described as a civilian aircraft carrying nearly $10m by Somali authorities at Mogadishu airport.

The government of Somalia said on Sunday it had seized several bags of money containing $9.6m in cash from a plane arriving from the UAE capital Abu Dhabi.

According to a statement carried on Tuesday by WAM, the UAE state news agency, the sum was intended to support the Somali military and trainees.

“Money allocated to support the Somali army and trainees was seized at gunpoint by Somali security personnel, who disrespected some members of the UAE forces,” it said.

The money was found in three unmarked bags on a Royal Jet plane, according to the Somali interior ministry, and its seizure resulted in an hours-long standoff between airport officials and UAE embassy staff in Mogadishu.

Royal Jet is an airline based in Abu Dhabi, servicing the luxury market between the UAE and Europe.

“The seized money is worth $9.6m. Security agencies are currently investigating where the money came from, where it was going, the individuals involved and the reason for bringing money worth this amount into the country,” Somalia’s interior ministry said in a statement late on Sunday.

Relations between Somalia and the UAE have been frosty since June last year.

Mogadishu resisted Emirati and Saudi pressure to cut ties with Qatar following a dispute between the Gulf neighbours. Somalia said it was neutral in the Gulf diplomatic rift.

Last month, Abu Dhabi agreed to train security forces in Somaliland – a region in northern Somalia seeking to secede from the country. The UAE has also signed with Somaliland a 30-year concession to manage Berbera Port in the semi-autonomous region. It has also started building a military base in the port city.

Somalia dismissed the agreement between Abu Dhabi and the northern Somali region as “non-existent, null and void” and called on the United Nations to take action.

Speaking at the UN Security Council last month, Abukar Osman, Somalia’s ambassador to the UN, said the agreement between Somaliland and the UAE to establish the base in Berbera is a “clear violation of international law”.

Osman called on the Security Council to “take the necessary steps” to “put an end to these actions”.

“The Federal Government of Somalia strongly condemns these blatant violations, and reaffirms that it will take the necessary measures deriving from its primary responsibility to defend the inviolability of the sovereignty and the unity of Somalia,” he said.

 

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

NEMA in N1.6bn contracts fraud mess

Africa, APC, Corruption, local news, PMB, Politics

Nema

A N1.6 billion contract fraud involving the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has been discovered by the House of Representatives committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness.

The committee during an investigative hearing on violation of public trust in NEMA, said it discovered that the agency spent N1.6 billon on contract awards to companies that have no tax clearance and other precondition qualifications as stipulated by the Nigerian laws.

The Federal Government had in July 2017 released the money to the agency for relief intervention to flood victims in 16 states. NEMA claimed the money had been expended on contracts awarded to 216 companies.

However, the Reps committee, at the investigative hearing which was presided over by the deputy chairman of the committee, Ali Isa, said that reports by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), the National Pension Commission (PENCOM) and the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) showed that NEMA not only violated the law on tax but also committed other contraventions in the award of contracts to the 216 companies.

According to separate reports by FIRS, ITF and PENCOM, the Director General (DG) of NEMA, Mustapha Maihaja, failed to undertake a thorough and financial regulations on the companies to find out their qualifications and their status before awarding multi-million Naira contracts to them.

NEMA management was also indicted for breaching the Public Procurement Act 2007 in the ways and manners the contracts were awarded, apart from the tax laws offences.

Although the DG presented a Certificate of No Objection obtained from the Bureau Of Public Procurement (BPP) to prove that all due process procedures were followed before the contracts were awarded, however, the committee members rejected it, explaining that there are documents that clearly show the breaches in question whose authenticity have not been contested, and therefore, the BPP must have cleared the contracts in error.

In another revelation, it was discovered that the governing council of NEMA, installed on April 3, on the same day suspended six directors said to have opposed the manner the NEMA DG was awarding contracts in breach of due process.

NEMA DG had argued that the report of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) recommended the suspension of the officers.

Meanwhile, the DG, who like the suspended directors was facing investigation, was left out of the suspension in the purported EFCC’s report.

Source: Ripples Nigeria

Court frees 2 Boko Haram suspects, accuses govt of bungling trial

Africa, Boko Haram, Corruption, Herdsmen, international News, local news, Terrorism

buha1An Abuja Federal High Court presided over by Justice Binta Nyako on Wednesday freed two terror suspects, arrested and kept in prison custody for the last five years.

The judge held that the two suspects, Ibrahim Ahmed, and Sani Argungu, who were arraigned for alleged ties with Boko Haram, were freed for lack of diligent prosecution by the Federal Government.

According the trial justice, Ahmed had been in detention since 2013 while Argungu had been detained since 2012.

herdsmeShe explained that since the time of their arrest and prosecution that the Federal Government prosecutors did not call any witnesses.

She said, “The defendants have been in custody with no trial because the prosecution cannot bring its witnesses to court. So, I discharge the defendants and the suit is hereby struck out.”

Justice Nyako however held that any time government prosecutors are ready to bring a witness to testify in the matter, that the defendants could be re-arraigned.

This was as she added that the defendants, despite being discharged, would be monitored.

Justice Nyako then cautioned them to refrain from associating with persons of questionable characters.

 

Is Côte d’Ivoire becoming a wildlife trafficking hotspot?

Corruption, Facts, Politics, World Bank
coteTackling corruption is a priority in stopping the spread of this damaging transnational organised crime.

Since 2016, Côte d’Ivoire has recorded at least five major wildlife-trafficking events involving seizures and arrests. The most recent was in January, when 578kg of ivory and over half a ton of pangolin scales, leopard skins and other items were seized. According to media reports, the pangolin scales were probably poached and harvested in Côte d’Ivoire, while the elephant tusks came from West, East and Central Africa.

These seizures and arrests were the result of multiple investigations aimed at dismantling networks of wildlife traffickers. The investigations are being carried out by Côte d’Ivoire’s Transnational Organised Crime Unit and the Ministry of Environment, Water and Forests with assistance from the Eco Activists for Governance and Law Enforcement (EAGLE Network) – a non-governmental organisation that fights wildlife trafficking.

Based on available information, the problem in Côte d’Ivoire seems smaller in scale than in other countries in the region (such as Nigeria or Guinea) or elsewhere on the continent, such as East and southern Africa. But recent seizures may only represent the tip of the iceberg, and could provide a long-overdue glimpse into both the crime and the networks that run it. Continued investigations will undoubtedly allow a better understanding of the phenomenon.

According to reports, pangolin scales and elephant ivory are the most trafficked wildlife products in the country. These products come from Côte d’Ivoire and other countries in the region, such as Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, Nigeria and Liberia, and are believed to be destined for Asian markets. This makes Côte d’Ivoire both a country of origin and of transit. 

Although poaching has long since been recorded in Côte d’Ivoire, the country has only recently been flagged for wildlife trafficking activities. A TRAFFIC report published in December 2017, which presents data on pangolin seizures and trafficking routes between 2010 and 2015, makes little reference to Côte d’Ivoire. The main states that feature in West Africa are Nigeria, Guinea and Liberia. This highlights the need for more information on the scope and scale of wildlife trafficking in Côte d’Ivoire.

The main challenge is preventing the country from becoming a trafficking hub. Several internal factors make the country particularly vulnerable.

For a long time, the government has failed to prioritise conservation and anti-wildlife trafficking measures. The forest police and other bodies tasked with managing, preserving and protecting wildlife lack human, financial and material resources. Those involved in the illegal trade of protected species receive relatively light penalties, limited to a fine of 3 000 to 300 000 CFA francs (between €4.57 and €457), and two to 12 months in jail. There is little indication that authorities are planning a tougher stance which might be a grave oversight, given that wildlife crime is likely to grow.

Corruption generally enables organised crime. The EAGLE Network says some level of corruption among public officials is recorded in 85% of arrests of alleged traffickers. Trafficking in protected species is considered lucrative, and the corruption it breeds undermines the integrity of governance systems, including security and justice, and fuels the business of trafficking.

Wildlife trafficking is also related to other forms of trafficking and transnational organised crime. At the mass seizure in January, some of those arrested were found with evidence that could be linked to human trafficking, illicit arms, drug trafficking and money laundering. Unless action is taken fast against wildlife trafficking, criminal networks will widen their footprint in Côte d’Ivoire, compounding organised crime and corruption in the country and beyond.

To tackle the problem, Côte d’Ivoire’s government must acknowledge that wildlife trafficking is a form of transnational organised crime with potentially dire consequences for the country. A first step should be the toughening of existing legislation. United Nations Resolution 71/326, adopted in September 2017, calls on states to make ‘illicit trafficking in protected species of wild fauna and flora a serious crime’.

To prevent criminal networks from deepening their presence and impact in the country, Ivorian police and justice officials must step up investigations and increase monitoring and surveillance. This requires upskilling and raising the awareness of security forces – including water and forestry agents, police and customs. To dismantle transnational networks, cooperation between the police, intelligence and judicial authorities of affected countries must be strengthened.

Most important of all however in the fight against wildlife trafficking, is tackling corruption in the management and protection of fauna resources.

William Assanvo, ENACT Regional Coordinator West Africa, ISS

This article was first published by the ENACT project.

Picture: © WWF Global Photo Network/Flickr