Cameroon’s forced returns put Nigerian refugees at risk- ISS

Facts, News, Politics
Forced repatriations are illegal and play into Boko Haram’s narrative that states are unwilling to protect people BY AIMÉE-NOËL MBIYOZO

ref.jpg

Cameroon has forcibly returned 385 refugees to Nigeria this year, most of them in the past month, a United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) report reveals. This despite the country’s commitment as recently as 2017 to facilitate the safe return of Nigerian refugees fleeing Boko Haram violence.

By doing this, Cameroon is violating both national and international law. It is also putting vulnerable refugees at risk, and is eroding the effectiveness of protection frameworks and supporting extremist narratives.

Roughly 110 000 Nigerians have fled to Cameroon from Boko Haram-related violence. Of these, the UNHCR has registered 87 600. The Minawao refugee camp was built in 2013 specifically for Nigerians. The camp has capacity for 20 000 but reports indicate it hosts over 70 000. At least 30 000 additional refugees have been living in villages surrounding the Minawao camp and make up the bulk of the forced returns.

The Cameroonian government claims that Nigerian refugees constitute a security and economic threat, but has provided no evidence that Nigerian asylum seekers or refugees have been involved in attacks. Despite mounting evidence, Cameroon denies deporting refugees and claims they have merely moved people to safer localities.

After two years of quiet efforts to curtail forced returns, the UNHCR published two reports in May 2017 documenting over 90 000 returns since January 2015. The UNHCR has since formed a tripartite commission with Nigeria and Cameroon to facilitate safe, voluntary returns that Cameroon has repeatedly violated.

A September 2017 report by Human Rights Watch claimed Cameroon had summarily deported more than 100 000 Nigerians, with evidence that soldiers beat people to force them to comply. Allegations of torture and human rights abuses, including unlawful detention, torture and killing, have been lodged against the Cameroonian government.

New Nigerian arrivals are reportedly being aggressively screened, accused of being members or wives of Boko Haram, tortured and moved to remote locations away from UNHCR access. Gross abuses have been reported in the Minawao camp, including a lack of food, water and healthcare and restrictions on refugees’ rights to move freely.

Cameroon has a legitimate right to monitor who is in the country, but assuming Nigerian nationals are linked to extremists is false and distracts from the real issues. It also has dangerous consequences. Refugees forcefully returned from Cameroon to north-east Nigeria face displacement and destitution.

They are returned to a conflict region with no access to resources or support. Overcrowding is severe, housing is scarce and food is in short supply. Women are particularly vulnerable and face sexual exploitation. Children are being separated from their families. Some returnees, including children, are weakened by malnutrition and a lack of medical care and die during deportations.

The non-refoulement principle – which forbids countries from returning asylum seekers or refugees to countries where they face danger – is at the heart of international refugee conventions. Cameroon is a state party to both the 1969 Organisation of African Unity Refugee Convention and the 1951 Refugee Convention of Geneva and has incorporated these prohibitions into its own laws. By forcibly returning people, Cameroon is contravening national and international law and tarnishing its long history of hosting refugees.

Conducting forced returns erodes the authority of international laws to protect refugees. It sets a dangerous precedent and is part of an international trend of growing hostilities and shrinking protection for refugees.

Returning refugees as a security measure is a particularly dangerous precedent in the Lake Chad Basin, where Chad, Niger and Nigeria all face extremist threats and have tenuous human rights records. Analysis by the Institute for Security Studies argues that if other countries follow Cameroon, this would worsen an already dire situation. Worryingly, in February 2018, Nigeria – possibly in response to this practice – was similarly accused of forcibly returning 47 Cameroonian asylum seekers.

By repatriating people fleeing Boko Haram, Cameroon is forcing vulnerable people into situations that inherently contain many of the factors that fuel radicalisation. And this is happening in a region where Boko Haram is actively recruiting. Plus, one of Boko Haram’s objectives is to delegitimise governments as ruling entities. This is a central narrative of the extremist group, as are claims that states are illegitimate and unwilling to protect people.

Whether intentionally or by default, states that violate international and national human rights laws, and expose vulnerable people to imminent threat and poverty, lend significant weight to Boko Haram narratives.

Meanwhile Boko Haram activity in Cameroon has increased. It has displaced an estimated 200 000 Cameroonians internally and is recruiting members using a mix of coercion and financial incentives, particularly among disaffected youth. Up to 4 000 Cameroonians are believed to have joined Boko Haram. Evidence thus far indicates the group has had far more success in recruiting Cameroonians than infiltrating Nigerian refugee flows.

Responding effectively to Boko Haram in Cameroon requires practical, evidence-based efforts that address the root causes of extremism in a particular context. This must be done without violating the rights of refugees, or creating conditions that could worsen violent extremism.

As a signatory to international conventions governing refugees, Cameroon must reconsider its policy on deportations, and comply with international and national law to protect refugee rights. It must further allow entry of all asylum seekers and provide access to refugee registration. Programmes that counter Boko Haram recruitment must be started, and should include socio-economic development and education, particularly among disaffected youth.

Read the full ISS policy brief: Cameroon’s forceful repatriation of Nigerian refugees.

Aimée-Noël Mbiyozo, Senior Research Consultant, Migration Programme, ISS

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Dino Melaye charged with attempted suicide – Police

APC, Politics

The police say they arrested Dino Melaye, senator representing Kogi west senatorial district, after he was granted bail in court as a result of pending charges against him. Melaye was arrested on Wednesday after he was granted bail in a magistrate court in Abuja where he was charged with attempted suicide, criminal conspiracy and causing […]. More at:

https://wp.me/p8kB6r-1Qn7

Buhari Blames Lack of Education for the Herders and Farmers Clashes in Nigeria

2019 Elections, APC, News, Nigeria, PMB, Politics

President Buhari have confessed that he would have gotten caught up in the herdsmen/farmers clashes if he hadn’t  enlisted in the military.

Buhari also restated his resolve to seek reelection in 2019; given the fact that he is certain of victory.

buuuuPresident Muhammadu Buhari has stated that had he not gone to school, he night have been one of those involved in the clashes between herdsmen and farmers, Punch reports. The president made the comment at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium, Bauchi, on Thursday, April 26, during his two-day visit to the state. The president urged Bauchi residents to allow their children go to school, as he addressed the thousands who thronged the stadium to welcome him on his first visit to the state since 2015.

Delivering his message in Hausa, he stated: “Make every effort to put your children in school, plead with them to be patient and read hard. In this generation, you cannot make it except you are educated. “Now, look at the farmers/herdsmen’s clashes in the northern part of this country. I have been telling people that if I had not gone to school, I would not have gone into the military. And where I come from, since my cows are finished, maybe, I would have been involved in this fight.

“But because I went to school, I got a job to do and because of that, desertification is everywhere, there is no bush we will go to cut down trees and destroy farms and the rainy season is not promising. Because of that, education is the guarantee. “You should strive hard and be educated, get the education that will benefit you and the society, it is not compulsory that government will give you what to do.” President Buhari also declared that he would emerge victorious in 2019 as he restated his resolve to seek reelection.  Meanwhile, President Buhari  had appealed to the people of Benue state not to cave in or allow themselves to be used by those he considered enemies of the country trying to bring it to a sorry point.

Buhari made the appeal in a statement by one of his spokespersons, Garba Shehu, late Thursday, April 26. It read in part: “Repeated acts of mass killings and destruction in parts of the country and Benue state in particular, point to the evil design of enemies of peace and unity who have desperately been trying to bring the country to this sorry point: a brother killing brother, a neighbor killing a neighbor and a community attacking and killing members of another community. “The president strongly warns citizens against playing into the hands of the agents of disunity.”

Journalist Blocked from Asking Questions at Buhari-Trump Briefing in Washington

Africa, News, PMB, Politics

 

A Nigerian freelance Journalsit based in Washington, D.C, has revealed the staged public appearance of the Nigerian President at the Rose Garden with his host, President Trump to meet the world media. He maintained that he tried severally to ask president Muhammadu Buhari question during his state briefing with U.S president, Donal Trump at the White House yesterday.
According to the reporter, Simon Ateba who was among other journalists present at the briefing , he was prevented by a lady from asking a question as he realized that the president had already been given questions which were meant to be  asked.

He shared his experience  on Facebook.

“I did not ask a question today to President Trump or President Buhari because the White House has a protocol. It asks every President to choose 2 journalists who will ask them questions. Nigerian questions went through the Nigerian Embassy.
The President was told what they will ask him. I felt sad. I raised my hand and President Trump came close to making me ask my question. One Nigerian lady in New York was hitting me in the back not to ask a question. It was not my day here in the Rose Garden inside the White House in Washington DC. But after the questions were asked, I realized that I may be playing on a different league. I thank God.  Being independent in journalism is crucial. But sustaining it is hard without enough ads. When the government flies you to DC, lodges you and promises you money, it’s hard to do serious journalism work. But I thank God for blessing”.

Obasanjo: Ex-President says no one can intimidate him — pulse.ng – Nigeria’s entertainment & lifestyle platform online

2019 Elections, News, Nigeria, PMB, Politics

OBJ said this while speaking to CNM members at a town hall meeting in Bodija, Ibadan, Oyo state on Saturday, April 28, 2018. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said that nobody can intimidate him.According to Tribune, OBJ said that his agenda to form a third force with the Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM) cannot be…

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said that nobody can intimidate him.

According to Tribune, OBJ said that his agenda to form a third force with the Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM) cannot be stopped.

Obasanjo officially joined CNM in Abeokuta, Ogun State on Thursday, February 1, 2018.

The former President said “For me, I don’t think there is anyone that can intimidate me. Let me remind you, I have gone through many things. I have been jailed without committing any offence.”

OBJ said this while speaking to CNM members at a town hall meeting in Bodija, Ibadan, Oyo state on Saturday, April 28, 2018.

“My struggle for the good of Nigeria progress of Nigeria, the unity of Nigeria, development of Nigeria will not diminish. Even now, I get people from other parties, coming to me to seek advice. I don’t belong to them. I don’t have anything to do with them, but I give them advice. So, that situation will continue. I will continue to look for the good of Nigeria wherever I am.

“Men of valour don’t run away from challenges and it is the same thing with women of honour. Permanent voter’s cards (PVCs) are your instruments. If you have not collected yours, go and collect it. If you are not yet registered, go and register. They are the keys to open the doors.

“The youths under 40 years old form more than 65 per cent of our population. Now, who will tell you that because you are under 40, you cannot play a very significant role in the affairs of your country?

ALSO READ: Coalition for Nigeria Movement has 3 million members – OBJ

“I was Head of State when I was under 40. Now, France has elected a president that is under 40 yrs. Botswana has just a vice president at 32 years old. Now, what we are saying is that the youths must be given a pride of place,” he said.

Also, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar has said that Obasanjo cannot stop his presidential ambition.

Atiku said this during an interview with the BBC Hausa service on Saturday, April 28, 2018.

via Obasanjo: Ex-President says no one can intimidate him — pulse.ng – Nigeria’s entertainment & lifestyle platform online

Those against Buhari’s re-election behind attacks in the country – Lai Mohammed Briefs International Media

2019 Elections, APC, Boko Haram, international News, News

Lai Mohammed, the Nigerian minister of information and culture, has commended the efforts of  the Buhari administration in pushing back insurgency in Nigeria. – He eqully gave this administration kudos in its economy development and diversification efforts,

buuuu President Buhari says he may have been part of the herdsmen/farmers clashes if he did not go to school Lai Mohammed, the minister of information and culture, has blamed those opposed to the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari of being behind the attacks in parts of the country. The minister made the allegation in the US when speaking on the achievements of the Buhari administration.

“Most of the attacks we receive today are from people who have morbid fear of the President coming back in 2019,” he said. President Buhari is due in the US at the weekend for a meeting with President Donald Trump on April 30 in Washington DC, The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports. Mohammed, since his arrival, has been actively engaged with the media and some think-tanks. He said the Buhari’s administration has a lot of success stories, which needed to be told.

The minister was first in Washington, DC and later in New York, where he explained that Buhari’s administration has done very well and recorded so many achievements in less than three years. He said: “I’ve been to VOA – Voice of America, Washington Post, Washington Times; I’ve been to Al Jazeera. I’ve met a couple of think-tanks, the Atlantic Council and also the Foreign Relations Council. “In New York here, today, I’ve met with Reuters. I’ve met with Wall Street Journal. Today, I’m meeting with CNN and also the New York Times and probably the AP. “The whole idea is to give the government’s perspectives and narratives on the development and progress the government has made.”

Mohammed said he was able to explain that the administration has done very well in pushing back insurgency especially given what the situation was as at May 2015. He said at that time, about 20 out of 37 local governments in Borno alone was under the effective occupation of Boko Haram and about two in Yobe, and about four in Adamawa. “Today not one single inch of land is occupied by Boko Haram,” he said.

Mohammed said he drew attention to the fact that before 2015, Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, was not safe as the Boko Haram breached security more than five times. “But between 2015 and today, every one lives with his two eyes closed in Abuja. So we discussed extensively the achievements of this administration in the area of fighting insecurity.” “Generally I was able to give a good account of what we’ve done in the economy,” he said adding, “the figures are there to see what we’ve done”. The minister said: “We were in recession, within two quarters we came out of recession, largely because of the Economic and Recovery Growth Plan of the government. “And today, we’ve been able to double our foreign exchange from about 23.6 billion dollars in 2015 to about 47 billion dollars.“We’ve in one year been able to climb 24 steps in the ladder of World Bank ranking of Ease of Doing Business. “Our (Nigerian) Stock Exchange has been rated as one of the six best performing in the world and return on investment was as high as 43 per cent.“And in the area of the economy again, we’ve been able to push down inflation for 11 consecutive months from 18 per cent to now about 13.5 per cent”.

In the area of diversification, Mohammed said the anchor-borrower programme was a big success adding, it has added additional almost six million rice farmers and cut down on importation of rice from 644,000 metric tonnes 24 metric tonnes. “We’ve increased the number of Integrated Rice Processing Mills from 13 to 21 and 10 new ones were just approved on Wednesday by the Federal Executive Council and our diversification programme is working very well. The latest figure showed that apart from agriculture, mines, metal ore, electricity, gas, creative industry, are all reading positively. “We discussed also the issue of corruption and how this government is fighting corruption and how it is important for us to remain focus”.

NAN reports that Mohammed, while in New York, also visited the Nigeria House where he briefed senior officials of the Consulate and was received by Nigeria’s Consul-General, Tanko Suleiman and other officials of the Consulate. Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has stated that had he not gone to school, he night have been one of those involved in the clashes between herdsmen and farmers, Punch reports. The president made the comment at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium, Bauchi, on Thursday, April 26, during his two-day visit to the state. SW gathers that the president urged Bauchi residents to allow their children go to school, as he addressed the thousands who thronged the stadium to welcome him on his first visit to the state since 2015. 

Again, FAAC Meeting Postponed over Shortfall in NNPC Remittances

economy, News, Nigeria, PMB, Politics, Power
Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun

The meeting of the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) for the month of April was Wednesday postponed, the second time in a row, as controversy again dogged the remittances by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to the Federation Account.

The FAAC meeting for March where the representatives of the three tiers of government had gathered to disburse revenue that had accrued to the account for the month of February had ended in a stalemate due to a shortfall of about N37.7 billion in NNPC remittances for that month,

It took the intervention of the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, who pleaded with the governors before the meeting was reconvened for the sharing of revenue to the various tiers of government.

The Chairman, Finance Commissioners Forum, Mallam Yunusa Mahmoud, who confirmed the postponement of the FAAC meeting for March Wednesday, described the situation as unfortunate.

He stated that the development had prompted the governors’ intervention again, adding that the governors held a “high-level meeting” with top officials of NNPC Wednesday in Abuja.

“We have some challenges, the figures we have gotten is far below what we expected to be remitted by NNPC. As it is now, there is a meeting between the governors and the top management of NNPC at the State House.

“I believe this is a very high-level deliberation and something good will come out of it,” he said.
According to him, the NNPC was duty-bound to carry FAAC stakeholders along in its business, adding that anything short of transparency in the rendition would elicit questions.

“There are processes okay. Before now, you did not hear such news, but because this government is a government of change, some level of transparency is expected.

“When you pick your figures and you submit your figures, the person that is supposed to look at it and deliberate on it will ask questions if need be,” he said.
On whether NNPC’s action was not tantamount to deliberately shortchanging the Federation Account, Mahmoud said it was too hasty to hold the position.
He said: “I don’t want to use the word insincerity. What happened could be an error. If one party is wrong, the other party is right; if you add it together at the end of the day you make progress.

“The last FAAC meeting was postponed twice and at the end of the day, we made progress. That was during the Easter break.
“But in the spirit of Easter, we held a meeting, because we were looking at the plight of the workers that were supposed to receive their salaries as and when due, but based on the submission we have now, some states will not pay salaries now.
“What we are doing now is we have to table where we will discuss. That is why the matter is at the highest level and is being discussed now.”

The National Assembly on Strike to Protest Insecurity in Benue, Kogi, Nassarawa and Bornu State

Boko Haram, Crime, News, PMB, Politics

The NASS has resolved to invite President Buhari to adress questions on insecurity in the country. The House of Representatives has also resolved to go on three days recess to protest insecurity in Nigeria- The House also moved that its leaders should pay a fact finding visit to the President to ask pertinent questions on insecurity in Benue and other parts of the country. -the Senate has also resolved to invite the IGP to brief the Senate on national security issues and the arrest and manhandling  of Senator Dino Melaye by the Police.

buuuuThe relatively unchecked reign of terror campaign fomented through the daily killings in Benue, Nassarawa and other States in Nigeria has led to the Vote of no confidence in Nigeria National security apparatus and the security chiefs by the National Assembly. the eight assembly has resolved to call the President to brief on the plans for security in the country and showed the House the programme to effectively deal with the menace.

Daily record of scores of mortality and an ineffective policing structure has eroded past trust in local security apparatus to deal with current insecurity, The NASS directly points at the lack of trust in the policing agencies and made direct accusation of collusion between the Herdsmen and security operatives in achieving attacks in several states.

Lagos and the burden of resurgent insecurity -Ngozi Konyebagu

Crime, News

The security situation in Lagos is becoming a source of pain to residents and the earlier the Lagos State Government addressed this “festering wound”, the better for all. Attracting investors to Lagos has been a primary desire of the Government over the years. However, with the current state of insecurity in Lagos, it may be a tall dream.

Cases of kidnapping within Lagos State have reduced commendably in the last few months but traffic robbery has taken on a new dimension especially within the Oshodi area where massive construction is ongoing presently. The police are stationed only on the bridge while these hoodlums move down to carry out their evil trade. The stretch from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport all through Oshodi down to Gbagada Expressway is a major problem now as that route has become a deadly zone. The horrendous traffic situation on that area has actually become helpful to these robbers in recent times. Quite strange is the fact that the Rapid Response Squad vehicles are packed on top of the bridge and it beats one’s imagination what they are doing there taking a full lane to themselves in the unbelievably gruelling Oshodi gridlock. Commuters are also not free from mayhem launched frequently by undesirable elements around this area both at night and in the day time. Cases of robbers dispossessing travellers coming into Lagos from the international airport en route to Oshodi have become frequent in the past few weeks.

The increasing number of hoodlums in Lagos itself is a big worry to Lagos residents and commuters alike. These are mostly young ones within their early 20s and late 30s and they are everywhere looking for innocent victims to rob. In traffic jams, they come to the side of vehicles and after checking out the cars and the people in such vehicles, they go ahead to unleash mayhem on these victims. They normally smash the windows of the cars and take almost everything in the car. Even up to Gbagada and Maryland, it’s always a tale of woe for road users who have become helpless in the hands of these traffic robbers.

Besides, it is a nightmare whenever it rains in Lagos as most of the roads have been taken over by ditches and because road users become more careful during such times so they don’t fall into such ditches, traffic snarls build up in virtually all the major roads within Lagos. These criminals are always happy during the rains as they come out from their “holes” like ants after sugar and show the “stuff” they are made of. Worryingly too, the Lagos State emergency numbers which were very effective during the last dispensation, have become largely ineffective as urgent follow-ups are no longer witnessed by callers. For female drivers, it’s a more challenging period because they are the major focus of these robbers. The Mile 2/Apapa area is also a notorious black spot and due to the endless gridlock on that road, hoodlums have turned that place into their “business centre”.

Apart from collecting valuables like laptops, phones, money and every other thing within sight, most times, these robbers harm their victims especially if they notice any resistance. Most of these hoodlums appear unarmed but finding out if they are armed would be suicidal hence most victims just allow them have their way.

The Yuletide is here again and no doubt it’s a precarious period as this is the time robbery cases abound in Lagos. Therefore, it is imperative that the Lagos State Government ensures the maximum safety of its citizens. An increase of policemen on our roads would go a long way to reduce this growing menace. Notable black spots need to be constantly monitored and traffic on such routes should be pruned by assigning more traffic officers to such areas. Pending the time the Oshodi construction is completed, the policemen on duty in that area should make conscious efforts to parade that area instead of sitting down in their vehicles while “things” are happening around them. They need to be more proactive as they appear to have lost their focus.

UK-based Nigerian wife attacks husband’s sidechick with bleach

News, sports

A jilted Nigerian wife living in the U.K has been jailed for two years after she threw bleach into the face of a woman she believed was having an affair with her husband.

42 year old Aboseda Ajayi flew into a rage when she saw her husband’s alleged sidechick, Jane Ocran sitting in her convertible Mercedes outside her home.

UK-based Nigerian wife attacks husband’s sidechick with bleach lailasnews

UK news website, Standard.co.uk, reports she emptied a bottle of household bleach over Jane Ocran’s head and beat her with her wig.

Aboseda Ajayi, a former Ministry of Justice administrator, repeatedly slapped and punched Ms Ocran before battering her with her own handbag.

At the Inner London crown court, prosecutor Polly Dyer said Ms Ocran escaped serious injury as her sunglasses protected her eyes from the bleach, but she was left screaming in pain after the attack on June 17 last year.

The court heard Ms Ocran, who denies an affair was taking place, had been shopping that day with Mr Ajayi and had just returned to his home in Brixton.

Ms Ajayi was shouting at her

‘you b*tch, sleeping with my husband, f***ing my husband’.”

The prosecutor said Ajayi grabbed Ms Ocran’s handbag during the attack.

“The defendant took off her own wig and used it to hit Ms Ocran, slapping and punching her a number of times in the head,”.

The defendant emptied the contents of the handbag into the street and then walked back inside her home.”

Passers-by doused Ms Ocran’s face with water, and she was treated in hospital for soreness to her eyes.

In a victim impact statement, she revealed she “lives in fear of Ajayi doing it to her again”.

Gerwyn Wise, mitigating, said Ajayi had been the victim of domestic violence during her 16-year marriage, and her husband had openly embarked on several extra-marital affairs.

Judge Benedict Kelleher sentenced Ajayi to two years in prison, telling her:

“This was a vicious attack that could have caused serious and disfiguring injuries.”

Ajayi, a mother-of-two from Brixton, initially denied the assault, insisting she had only thrown water over Ms Ocran.

Anarchy looms in Nigeria, as ‘constitution is now suspended’ – Fayose

News, Politics

aluko3Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose has raised the alarm that Nigeria was drifting towards a state of anarchy, calling on the international community to intervene and rescue the country from turning to a war zone, where mass killings is a usual occurrence.

Fayose, reacting to the killing of 18 worshippers and the two priests in Benue State allegedly by herdsmen, said President Muhammadu Buhari’s withdrawal of $496 million from Excess Crude Account (ECA) without approval of the National Assembly and thecontroversial arrest of Mr Dino Melaye, said it was obvious that “under this government of Mr Buhari, the constitution is on suspension.”

He said; “If half of the level of aggressiveness being shown by the Police on the arrest of Melaye because of seeming concocted allegations is shown on the killings by herdsmen across the North Central States and other parts of the country, the rampaging killer herdsmen that are even killing policemen would have been brought under control.”

Special Assistant to the governor on Public Communications and New Media, Mr Lere Olayinka, said in a statement issued on Tuesday night that “it is alarming and curious that Mr Joseph Gor, one of the Catholic Priests murdered in Benue State yesterday, raised alarm on January 3, 2018, through his Facebook account on the occupation of Mbalom community by herdsmen. Yet, the priest was killed!”

The governor asked; “Why is the federal government allowing this seeming ethnic cleansing in Benue and other middle-belt States, such that Buhari and the entire members of his government do not see the wanton killings as anything to be worried about?

“When did Nigeria degenerate to the level that people can no longer worship peacefully in their churches or go to their farms? When did Nigeria become a state of anomie where people are killed even after raising alarm that there was threat to their existence?”

On the illegal withdrawal of $496 million from the Excess Crude Account, Fayose said; “One day, this federal government will even stop releasing statutory allocations to States and Local councils. They are behaving as if the constitution of the country is already suspended and this should worry lovers of democracy in Nigeria.

He said it was alarming that “despite that Local Councils in Ekiti State were in court, challenging the federal government decision to withdraw $1 billion from the Excess Crude Account and the Attorney General of the Federation had already entered appearance in the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1264/17 that came up for hearing before Justice Binta Nyako on Monday, $496 million was taken from the Excess Crude Account.”

The governor, who described the President’s action on the illegal withdrawal from ECA as an insult on the National Assembly and the Judiciary, added that; “Only the National Assembly and the judiciary can save themselves from being turned to a non-existing institutions as already being done by the President.”

 

Why the North will still vote for Buhari in 2019 –Matthew Kukah

2019 Elections, Africa, Celebrity Gists, PDP, PMB, Politics, Power

The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Matthew Kukah, speaks to TOBI AWORINDE on the socio-economic situation in the North, President Muhammadu Buhari’s performance and the forthcoming 2019 elections

kuka2.jpgYou were one of those who vehemently opposed Muhammadu Buhari’s presidency from the outset. How would you describe the quality of leadership in Nigeria in the immediate past era?

Vehemently opposed to Buhari? Where did you get this from? I think you were sold this dummy in the heydays of ecstasy, frenzy and euphoria of the Buhariphilia, who jumped out of every corner of Nigeria believing that their redemption was at hand. Sadly, today, a good chunk has since apostacised. I never doubted the sincerity of the President’s intention to fight corruption. However, no matter how much you hate leprosy, you cannot cure leprosy by just giving Panadol to the victim.

My fears were threefold and based on experience. First, no matter the goodness, holiness or devotion of any human being, wait until he or she has power entrusted to them and see what they become. So, even in the most optimistic of situations, set goals and expectations and let the person prove himself or herself. Secondly, what Buhari kept saying about corruption did not seem to be the result of some deep reflections. His claims and strategies had never been interrogated. And finally, I insisted that national cohesion was far more urgent a task than just saying ‘we are here to fight corruption’. That informed what you may have referred to as vehement opposition. I was simply warning against too much blind trust and now we are where we are today.

What worries you most about this administration?

I am worried over the lack of fresh ideas, focus, vision and a seeming insensitivity to public feelings; a kind of contempt for how people feel and the impact of policy choices, on the part of this government. This is a season of anomie and alienation. The (Buhari) government seems closed to ideas that challenge their assumptions and apparently does not care what Nigerians think and what they feel. Else, there is no way that you can have a government make the mistakes that this government has made; refuse to engage citizens and simply refuse to give a damn. It is disturbing and, clearly, the government is listening to other drummers. Technically, no one suggests that their views should be taken, but this government has given Nigerians a feeling that they were sold a dummy. This is sad; very sad indeed.

Buhari and the military under his government have continuously claimed that Boko Haram has been defeated. Do you believe them?

Well, this is part of the problem and I think we should let the evidence — not the sloganeering and propaganda — do the talking. The government has refused to listen to the views of Nigerians about the rather incestuous and non-plural ways it has dealt with security and the appointments of their heads. Perhaps the government has a reason for allowing members of only one faith to monopolise the security apparatus, perhaps because it thinks Boko Haram is a problem within Islam and only Muslims can address the issues. Either way, our country is haemorrhaging in a way that ending the Boko Haram conflict will only open a new chapter in a country of people suffering the collective trauma, fear, self-doubt and a feeling of being totally disconnected from the state that has no empathy. With the government seeing this purely as a military operation, we can spend all the money in the world, but we will be nowhere near having a united nation or people. This battle has become a military operation with all its consequences on the economy and the dynamics of the engagement.

What was your reaction upon hearing the news of the Dapchi girls’ abduction?

My reaction was that of shock, sorrow; a tragic sense of déjà vu, and some level of near despair.

Do you agree with Buhari that his response time to the Dapchi girls’ abduction was better than that of the previous administration to the abduction of Chibok girls?

This comparison does not arise. One tragedy is bad enough; a repeat is a disaster. It is like asking whether dying by injection is better than drowning.

Do you think Buhari owes Nigerians an apology, considering his commitment to rescuing the Chibok girls and defeating Boko Haram within the first few months of his presidency?

Why should he apologise? I believe this government has done its best and this is about all it can offer. So, they should be judged not on speculation but on the reality. The issue of an apology does not arise because what we are seeing is the best that is on the table and this is the best team for the job in their view.

Buhari’s health was a major talking point last year with the President spending several weeks on two medical trips. Do you think Buhari owes Nigeria an explanation about what he was treated for?

You mean he should apologise that he was sick? I think we should respect everyone’s privacy. You don’t lose that by being a public servant. I was not happy the way we handled the issue of the President’s health. Others behave differently and I think we should learn not to play politics with everything in Nigeria.

Does his physical fitness worry you, given the possibility of his running for a second term?

There is a Hausa proverb which says, ‘You cannot borrow someone else’s mouth to eat onions’. No one has the right to decide on anyone’s health and as to whether they are capable of a particular function. It is left for the insiders of a party to decide whom they will field as a candidate even if the person is on a stretcher. Today’s weightlifter could fall sick tomorrow. Let the party decide who their best candidate is.

Three of the major promises of this administration are to fight corruption, boost the economy and conquer Boko Haram. Would you say the government has made any significant stride in these areas?

I have said repeatedly that personal opinion does not matter in the long run. Look at the reports from the Federal Bureau of Statistics, the United Nations Development Programme, Amnesty International or Transparency International. What does the evidence suggest? You cannot pick and choose what you want to believe. Or look at the entire Nigerian landscape littered with corpses, destroyed businesses and buildings, all the ravages of war. This is very painful.

What achievements do you think the Buhari government has made?

There is a Minister for Information; he has that duty, not me. They said they have technically defeated Boko Haram, reflated the economy, and brought back some Chibok girls and the Dapchi girls, bar Leah. We now have 7,000 megawatts of electricity and so on. They are also telling us about new multi-billion-naira projects which they are embarking on with no idea when they will be completed. The faces of Nigerians tell a different story and, sadly, we are not communicating with one another.

How do you feel about the recent revelation that senators receive N13.5 million monthly as running costs and that House of Representatives members receive N12m monthly?

Senator (Shehu) Sani has done his job. It is left for Nigerians to decide what to make of it. It is a pity that we are in such a state of stupor that nothing can rouse us from our apathy and this country will continue to sink. Will the President, Vice President, governors and ministers ever come clean or does it require reverting to the Freedom of Information Act? In the mafia, they call this destructive secrecy ‘omerta’, an oath of silence under pain of death. This is why Senator Sani deserves our respect for taking the decision he took. We hear that the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) is claiming ignorance as to these sums. But, as I have always said, governance in Nigeria is a criminal enterprise which functions above the law.

What are your thoughts on governors’ transition to senators when their eight-year tenure is completed?

Well, what else is there for some of these people to do? Can they go anywhere to deliver a lecture or write books on their experiences? This country stands or falls depending on what the governors do.

What is your grouse with Governor Nasir el-Rufai?

What do you mean by grouse?

You recently criticised el-Rufai on his handling of the Southern Kaduna massacre. Do you think there is room for reparations?

Did you read my sermon in its entirety and why do you single out Governor el-Rufai? It was a funeral and there was the need to set the records straight. I simply articulated an evidence-based side of a story that I had played a role in. If that is what you mean by criticism, then fine. We are all entitled to our opinions but we are not entitled to our facts because facts are sacred. I presented my side of the story based on my personal experience with the claims he made.

What can the governor do to make amends?

Amends with, or to, whom? That is within the realm of governance which requires consultation and consensus building.

You have been vocal about the role of the northern elite in the poverty and underdevelopment plaguing the North. Can you elaborate on this?

My field of doctoral research was on Religion and Power Politics in Northern Nigeria and the result was my book, ‘Religion, Politics and Power in Northern Nigeria’. It opened up new frontiers and it was a pioneering research on how religion has been used to mobilise and retain power by the northern Muslim elite. I had over 100 recorded interviews with a cross section of northern politicians across the divide.

This has given me an appreciation of the issues. It does not make me an expert. However, it is because of this that those who do not want to follow the arguments keep falling back and accusing me of being anti-northern or anti-Muslim. This is the easy line for those who benefit from this manipulation but do not want to face the consequences.

There is a noble obligation that all elite owe to those they represent; those on whose shoulders they may have stood; those who voted for them or those who helped them get an education. In the rest of Nigeria, this elite have met these obligations by building schools, hospitals, clinics, and so on for their people. They have bridged the gap between government’s absence and the welfare of their people. This is the story of almost all of southern Nigeria and parts of the Middle Belt.

In the North, the evidence of this dereliction of duty litters the entire landscape, millions of out-of-school children, federal and state government projects such as irrigation and power-generating dams that now lie abandoned in remote communities, structures, such as the Almajiri schools, all in decay in many communities, and so on.

Look at the World Bank, UNDP and other reports on development in Nigeria and look at northern Nigeria. The sad thing is that for the elite, these lives of destitution, illiteracy and squalor are reservoirs of investment from where they draw their oxygen of political relevance. The grinding poverty leaves the people permanently below zero and all they do is continue to look at the stupendous wealth of the elite with awe. In exchange, they (the elite) pretend to offer them (the poor) dubious religiosity through the manipulation of pilgrimages and construction of mosques.

Could that be the reason for the emergence of Boko Haram?

In my view, it is the long historical experience of this distortion of the religion of Islam with its exclusionist tendencies that Boko Haram has exploited. Boko Haram exploited the fact that this elite proclaimed Sharia in 1999 and 2000, while in reality, they did not believe in the religion itself. So, Boko Haram simply has asked them to step aside.

Indeed, the Buhari project presents us with an interesting view. The average northerner has become far more impoverished under Buhari than he was under (former President Goodluck) Jonathan. But they will still vote for Buhari because they see him as the only one who can help bring their derelict elite to order. It is a strange appeal but that is it. They believe their corrupt elite are above the law. They were seduced with Sharia because they believed it was going to help them punish their own elite, who they see as being above the law of Nigeria. These are the issues.

Did the northern elite act against the interest of their people intentionally?

If they were mistaken, 50 years would have been enough to correct the mistake, but as I said, this culture of ignorance, poverty and squalor is an investment. Aminu Kano spent his life trying to open the eyes of his people, the Talakawa. The late Bala Usman, a phenomenal intellectual, made massive contributions in this regard by subjecting this charade to critical social analysis. The result was a ‘saner’ environment for the generation of fresh ideas among Christian and Muslim scholars. Ideology replaced the divisive tendencies of religion among the elite. Fighting the Kaduna mafia and other mafias was an ideological project. Today, Alhaji Balarabe Musa and some of the remnants of NEPU (Northern Elements Progressive Union) politics remain the last of the best wine.

What are the interests for the northern elite?

They want to permanently hold on to power. Inherently (there is) nothing wrong with that if it can be used for the good of the people, but after all these years of monopoly of power under the military and civilians, we northerners are still the weakest, the most sickly, the poorest, the most illiterate, and the most vulnerable. We have the highest number of childhood stunting, which is a danger to the future. The elite have brought shame on us and made us too weak to fight.

Do you believe in restructuring?

Does it matter what I or anyone believes? Even if it determines the outcome of the elections, did the All Progressives Congress not promise us restructuring? Promises have never been a problem. The saddest part of it all is that even the politicians do not expect to be believed, but somehow, we stupidly do. The Kenyan scholar, Patrick Lumumba, once said the tragedy with Africa is that those with ideas are not in power, while those in power have no ideas. The sad thing, he said, is that when the people have a chance, they still vote for those with no ideas.

What do you think the North has to gain or lose in restructuring?

They may perhaps gain the chains of poverty and the fear of those who hold the chains over the majority of our people.

What do you make of the APC committee on restructuring led by el-Rufai?

I have not seen it.

Many have described the APC panel on restructuring as an afterthought by Buhari to score political points. Do you agree?

No idea. Nothing is ever late. It is when honesty appears that matters.

What are your thoughts on the Catholic Church in Nigeria rejoining the Christian Association of Nigeria?

How can we rejoin what we started?

Do you still maintain a relationship with former President Goodluck Jonathan?

I don’t know what you mean by ‘a relationship’. The last time I saw him was when the Peace Committee had a consultative audience with him after the swearing-in of the new administration.

Do you have any expectations concerning the outcome of the 2019 elections?

Let us pray to be alive first. 2019 is a long way away. But I tell you that I have never felt this sense of foreboding. Things could change, but we have to plan how to cross this wide river that lies ahead of us.

Governance in Nigeria is spiritual warfare – Osinbajo

2019 Elections, News, PMB

Yemi-Osinbaji-560x390Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has called for prayers for leaders in the country, saying governance is spiritual warfare.

Osinbajo spoke on Tuesday at the inauguration of the auditorium of Deeper Christian Life Ministry headquarters at Gbagada, Lagos State.

Osinbajo said the inauguration was auspicious because it came at a time when the nation is confronting different security challenges.

He, however, faulted people who criticise Christians in government.

While making reference to how Esther in the Bible delivered the Israelites, he urgedChristians to pray more, saying governance is a spiritual warfare.

He said, “Those of us Christians in government, we are sometimes referred to as Esthers; we are told that we are in office for such a time as this.

“What is often forgotten is that when Mordecai told Esther that she was in the palace for such a time as this, Esther replied in Esther 4:16, ‘Go and gather all the Jews that are in Shusan and fast for me, neither eat for three days – night and day. My maids will fast likewise and I will go to the king, which is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.’

“This I say to the church as well; it is the duty of the church to pray for those in government; the church should uphold the hands of those in government, not by complaining, but by supporting us in the place of prayer. Governance is spiritual warfare. Anyone that does not know that, I know that governance is spiritual warfare and I ask that you pray for us who are in position of authority in this land.”

The Vice-President said the crises in North-East and other parts of the country were caused by Satan’s opposition to the spread of the gospel.

Osinbajo, who condemned the persecution of Christians in some parts of the country, said that President Muhammadu Buhari had asked him to take up cases where people were prevented from building religious places of worship.

He said, “First, there is even a resistance to building of churches. There are specific cases and places where specific allegations are made of valid applications made to build churches that have been refused. The President has mandated me to take up those cases with specific states and authorities. The right to freedom of worship is also a right to build places of worship.

“Second is the physical persecution of Christians, a phenomenon we have seen for years. Just this morning on my way here, I was notified of the violation of a Catholic church in Benue State by armed killers, who went there while a burial mass was taking place and killed the priest and some worshippers.

“It is not only a heinous sacrilege, but high wickedness to kill persons in the place of worship. As I discuss these issues with the President and other members in the securitycouncil, it is evident to me and to many that the devil’s biggest agenda is to stoke up a religious conflict in Nigeria; one that will make it impossible for anyone to preach the gospel or even Muslims to worship in their mosques. A few days ago in Bama, a mosque was burnt and many died.

“While the security agencies continue to work relentlessly to hunt down the perpetrators of this evil acts and bring a permanent end to all killings going on in the name of herdsmen or Boko Haram or in any other name. We, as the body of Christ, must not lose focus. We are called to bring men and women to salvation: all men and women, even those who kill and persecute us.

“The enemy wants us to stand on our pulpit and preach hate. But we will not. We will obey our Lord Jesus Christ, who said that we must love our enemies and preach to even those who persecute us. There is nobody born or yet to be born that can stop the march of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Osinbajo, while lauding Deeper Life for its investment in a flyover and streetlights to ease traffic in the neighbourhood, said the edifice is the fourth largest auditorium in the world.

He described General Superintendent of the Church, Mr William Kumuyi, as “a man of uncommon humility and commitment to the spread of the undiluted gospel of Jesus Christ with candour and integrity.”

The Vice-President urged the cleric to continue to preach “righteousness and righteous behaviour” as the government battles corruption.

The event featured musical performances from children, youths, campus and adult ministries of the church.

Kumuyi thanked members and leaders of the church for contributing towards the success of the project, saying the church went beyond its initial plans by constructing the flyover and streetlights as part of its corporate social responsibility.

He said it took the church 13 years to construct the 30,000-seater church.

Punch

Nigerian, Two Brazilian men busted for cocaine in condoms – Laila Ijeoma

Crime, News

A Nigerian and three Brazilian men have been busted by the Indian Narcotic Control Bureau (NCB) for smuggling condoms filled with cocaine.

The three men were taken into custody on the 16th of April from a guest house in Paharganj in Delhi.

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It was revealed that about 2.6 kgs of liquid cocaine had been obfuscated in condoms by the two Brazilians who were supposed to deliver it to the Nigerian man.

According to the Narcotic Drug and Psychotropic Substance (NDPS) Act the three men were arrested.

The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) zone Director- Madho Singh had this to say:

The trafficking of liquid cocaine concealed in foodstuff from South American countries is a new modus operandi being adopted by Africans syndicates to deceive the drug law enforcement officers.

See more photos from the bust:

 

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Nigeria as Buhari’s ‘Suara Sobo’ lorry -Festus Adedayo

2019 Elections, APC, News, Nigeria, PMB, Politics

abuuuNigeria of the 1950s and early 1960s had very many interesting personalities. Western Region had its fair share of such. One of them was a man named Suara Sobo (Sobo pronounced as Sorbor). He was a prominent transporter who held the transportation industry of the time by its jugular. An Ibadan man of the Opo Yeosa clan who lived in an area now known as Ring Road, Suara Sobo was wealthy and had a fleet of lorries in his pool. As a trade logo, Suara Sobo’s lorries always had monkeys chained to their entrance which excited and attracted passengers to them. However, his lorries soon acquired very unflattering typecast.

Any passenger who boarded them was literally embarking on a journey that had no certain time or terminal point of dismebarkment as the lorry could be arrested for having no particulars and the inappropriate conducts of the drivers and conductors, which led to road accidents, were legendary. The otherwise pleasurable ride with a monkey on board to marvel at its close resemblance of man could turn awry. It thus became a peculiar refrain in the Western Region to say a man had entered Suara Sobo’s lorry, an equivalent of today’s One Chancelingo among youths. Odolaye Aremu, then Ibadan-based Ilorin-born dadakuwada musician, once sang of the untimely passage of Suara Sobo, years after. At a celebration in his house, said Odolaye, Suara Sobo had hosted the crème de la crème of Ibadan where roast mutton and turkey flesh were feasted upon. People were shocked when, six days later, Suara Sobo’s sudden death was announced to the world.

The anecdote of Suara Sobo may be necessary here. It may be pretty difficult to know what goes on in the mind of President Muhammadu Buhari. Much more difficult is it to download what drives him; what defines him and what he thinks of the other person. The President has one major ambivalent quality which prevents anyone observing him through the media to know his persona – he is terribly introverted. If the Nigerian society were as sophisticated as the west, getting to know the essential Buhari would be easier. The American public today has a triple advantage – it has the benefit of being a free society, an extrovert as president and the benefit of technology to help it un-bowel the mind of the character in the White House. For Nigeria, it is triple assaults: Buhari’s private and public life is guarded like the sentries in hell guard Lucifer, he speaks seldom and runs a double-speak government where his minders tell the world divergent lies without synchro, which, in any case, are far away from the composition of their principal’s mind. Thus, we are left to guess who really Buhari is.

The few snippets available to the public about the person of Buhari are very disgusting. In 1978, while he was the Minister of Petroleum under General Olusegun Obasanjo, he was embroiled in a N2.8 million oil money scandal. The military however gave him a clean bill of health. During his time as a military dictator, the bits were indeed really very frightening. We have Tunde Thompson and Nduka Irabor as examples. Lean as a cowpea tree but with shining epaulettes on his square shoulders, his first press briefing as military Head of State was a fiasco. Insouciant at what the public may think, when asked by the press if he would tamper with press freedom, he answered in the affirmative. For the months he sat in the saddle, Buhari ruled Nigeria with an iron fist of cudgel and scorpion, like the biblical Rehoboam. There was little or no public window into his private life, except that, upon his return from the detention slammed on him by his dictator successor, Ibrahim Babangida, he sacked the dotting mother of his children unceremoniously. Since then, very little was in the public domain about him. There was however this public perception of him as a very straightforward man.

As head of General Sani Abacha’s Petroleum Development Trust Fund, (PTDF) this public perception availed him. Though many of the projects constructed under the PTDF were marred in allegations of favouritism, nepotism and ethnic preferences of contractors, he still wore the lapel of honour on his shirt sleeve. Global condemnation of Abacha’s primitive heists notwithstanding, Buhari still chose to whitewash Sani’s apparels. He told the world that the Kanuri dictator never stole a dime of Nigerian patrimony. He is yet to recant this blind and I dare say silly, tribal defence of his fellow northerner.

His foray into politics opened the blind a little into his grim persona. As the Presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change, (CPC) in the 2011 election, while the rat-a-tat firepower of Boko Haram raged and its hirelings detonated explosives which killed his kinsmen in their hundreds, Buhari said, by attacking Boko Haram, Goodluck Jonathan was attacking the North. He shocked Nigerians in 2012 while speaking in Hausa and addressing members of the CPC from Niger State, who had paid him a courtesy visit in Kaduna. Claiming that he was quoting Professor Ango Abdullahi, Buhari identified three types of insurgents in the country. According to him, the Federal Government, led by Jonathan, topped the list, followed by those he described as “criminals who steal and kill Nigerians in the name of religion” and the third was the insurgent group led by late Muhammed Yusufu. Buhari then decorated the final cake with an icing of crimson: “God willing, by 2015, something will happen. They either conduct a free and fair election or they go a very disgraceful way. If what happened in 2011 (alleged rigging) should again happen in 2015, by the grace of God, the dog and the baboon would all be soaked in blood.’’

Buhari had earlier demonstrated clearly that he barely tolerated anyone outside his stock. While late Alhaji Lam Adesina was governor of Oyo State, Buhari, in company with Alhaji Ahmed Joda, Buba Marwa and others, he had stormed the state. Fulani Bororo cattle rearers, who have been held as a menace to farmers in the northern part of the state, had clashed with natives who apparently clearly routed them in a scuffle. On a courtesy visit to Adesina, Buhari had been quoted to have lamented how “your people killed my people.” Adesina, who was known never to suffer fools gladly, had pilloried the former Head of State for this clearly sectional statement, stating that as a former Head of State, he ought to have spoken as a nationalist. A couple of years ago, Buhari was also quoted to have told some Islamic brethren that he was committed to ensuring that Sharia was spread to all the nooks and crannies of Nigeria, a statement reminiscent of that incandescent and self-serving decree attributed to Uthman Danfodio.

In a saner clime, all the above should be enough to carve the effigy of what a Buhari presidency held in store for Nigerians. In the build up to the 2015 elections, the All Progressives Congress (APC) leaders, among whom Bola Tinubu was a kingpin of renown, deodorized Buhari, latching on his alleged non-corruptive credentials as Nigeria’s hope of redemption from Jonathan’s Ali Baba and the Thieves government. We would yet know that the personal integrity of a leader doesn’t approximate national integrity nor does it put food on a nation’s table. As lacking mental depth as Jonathan was reputed to be, he was greatly pained that APC leaders filibustered on a proposed televised debate with Buhari. A debate would have shown Nigerians what a Suara Sobo lorry Nigerians were about to board.

The last three years but one month of his presidency have shown Buhari very clearly. Still terse in communication and disdainful of the other person, these attributes jutted out glaringly in the last three years. He demurred for months in appointing ministers, which economic experts said was one of the incubating indices of Nigeria’s subsequent collapse into reception and when he eventually did appoint his ministers, the credentials of the appointees could not be compared with that of Goodluck Jonathan’s. Things went bad on the economic front. The president’s bad health, shortly after he was assumption of office, literally halted the administration of Nigeria and the emergence of some hawks nicknamed cabal who are said to run his government rammed in the final nails. Things went so bad on the economic front that many Nigerians anguished at their choice of Buhari while thousands of jobs were lost in the process.

Corruption and security, two key prongs on which Buhari canvassed for votes, have not fared better. Like Jonathan, a curious kidnap of girls of a secondary school at Dapchi was inflicted on the nation by Boko Haram and a more curious release of the girls occurred weeks later. Even though his personal frugal and perhaps incorruptible nature have yet to be impeached, Buhari’s tendency to condone corrupt people who make a ring round him is legendary. With little or no conviction secured of corruption cases in the last three years, Nigerians have concluded that the Buhari government is merely fighting those who, in its very limited horizon, are corrupt; rather than fighting corruption.

If the Buhari government ever attracts investors to Nigeria, he shovels them away with the other finger. Each time he travels out of the country, he does so much damage to the name of the country in an inexplicable way. The latest is his claim on a trip to the UK that the youth of his country is afflicted by indolence and a get-rich-quick blight.

The Buhari government’s I-don’t-care attitude to hundreds of Nigerians killed by Fulani herdsmen and its rationalization of their deaths are another sore point of his government. Now that he has expressed the desire to contest again in 2019, with the above as backcloth, it may be a fitting description to call the government he has run and which he will run if voted into office again as akin to the Suara Sobo lorry and Nigerians, his captive passengers.

90 minutes at NASS’ Entebbe

Now that we have recovered from the palpable shock that a band of unarmed thugs invaded the Nigerian National Assembly (NASS) and bolted away with the legislative authority, the mace, one hopes that Nigerians have recovered their thinking cap lost in the process of our national bewilderment. Last Wednesday, three thugs were reported to have invaded the Upper Chamber, at about the same time that the suspended pro-President Muhammadu Buhari Senator, Ovie Omo-Agege, walked in. Not only did the thugs bolt away with the mace, (it was eventually recovered where it was dumped) national outcry was diverted towards Omo-Agege who was promptly arrested but released later by the police.

Now, let us assume for a fleeting moment that the shame of this action on Nigeria never came; that parliamentarians from neighbouring Ghana did not witness Nigeria’s moment of national shame, but how did this shameful drama happen? What sorry pass won’t Nigeria sink into?

This writer has been to National Assembly a number of times and knows how fortress-like its security is. From the first sentry to the last, you would be accosted by about four posts where your entry would be subjected to rigorous scrutiny of policemen, DSS officials and the like. Did these sentries go on a journey like the biblical Baal, god of the Sidonians? How come some urchins not reported to be armed were able to dislodge well-armed officers patrolling Nigeria’s national parliament? After striking and snatching the mace, the three thugs were said to have jumped into a Sports Utility Van and sped off. Who opened the gates for them? How come three thugs overpowered scores of armed sentries?

If you ask me, I think Bukola Saraki, Ike Ekweremadu and the parliamentarians should look outside the parliament for the marionette who fiddled with the strings on the laughable Wednesday. It is not on record that those sentries are constitutionally under the legislature but the executive. The culprit of the invasion is resident outside. But methinks that the invasion is very amateurish and points to the fact that even when it plans to dissemble, the Nigerian state is incompetent on all fronts. Except if the aim of the invasion was to entertain Nigerians to some idiotic comedy, the Villa’s apparatchik ought to have read Ninety Minutes at Entebbe, the story of how Israeli police rescued 102 of their hostages held by Idi Amin Dada of Uganda. Operation Entebbe, also known as Operation Thunderbolt, was a code name for a successful counter-terrorist hostage-rescue mission which was carried out by Israel Defense Forces (IDF) commandos at the Entebbe Airport, Uganda on July 4, 1976. If the Villa read this book, we would have got a more robust script that would engage future state attempts to force its way through some uncoordinated barbarians.

A true leader should not expose his citizens abroad – Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, cautions Buhari over anti-youths’ comment in UK

2019 Elections, Africa, News, PMB, Politics

yower

 

THE President of Uganda, Yoweri Musevei, has taken President Buhari to task for his anti-youth statement during the just-concluded Commonwealth meeting in London, the United Kingdom.

The angry Gambian leader reportedly said he was taken aback by President Buhari’s statement when he said Nigerian youths are lazy and always want everything given them free.

He said this statement is untrue considering the fact Nigerian youths are hardworking and always in search of how to survive.

Reacting further, the Ugandan leader said, ”President Buhari remains the most useless leader on the continent. A true leader should not expose his citizens, Nigeria is a great country, in fact, an outstanding country in Africa because of the indefatigable youths of that country.”

President Museveni further took a swipe at his Nigerian counterpart for rubbishing his citizens any time he makes a trip outside the country.

He said: ” Buhari can never outgrow the slave and master mentality, He keeps talking bad about his people any time he makes a trip. Britain is there to exploit and steal just what they are known for. He seizes to understand that Britain created that country and gave it all the flaws that will never make it grow beyond a limit.”

 

Dailyglobewatch

Opinion: A President and His Excuses

News, Nigeria

buharPresident Muhammadu Buhari was convinced that the growth in herdsmen attacks in most states in Nigeria can be laid at the doorstep of the policy on recruitment of Arabs and Tuaregs nationals as mercenaries to fight on the side of the former Libyan strong man, Late Colonel M. Qaddafi. While many analysts and writers continued to deride the well intentioned analysis of the retire general now turned democrats, there seem to be some plausible reason to hug the premises of the general’s conclusions.   The growth of illegal light weapons and arms in Africa in the past 6 years has been attributed to the growth of several mercenary -Soldiers of fortune- groups in Africa since the 1950s. The South African freedom fights of over 50 years and several civil wars in Nigeria, Mali, Niger and Sudan have created a huge surplus of people trained in warfare than the local security agencies could employ.

The Libyan war was instrumental to expansion of illicit economy in Africa due to the huge spendings and handing over of weapons to non-state elements by the coalition of western government  led by America and France. Huge amount of arms were shipped into Africa and handed over like candies to Arab groups fighting against Qaddafi, without supervision and system of mopping up such weapons after the war. At the end of the war, still armed and hungry, the new mercenary class are ready and willing to kill at the cost of a meal. Several political actors saw this new move and embraced it for the advancement of their ambition.

Yet, my grouse with the President was that we took over 3 years of his administration to get to the root cause of this problem, then how many years are we going to use to find an answer while on daily basis lives are being lost to herders attack in Nigeria? Just when I thought we have gotten  a clear understanding of whom to blame for our security challenges, the Nigerian security agencies -whom i thought must have briefed the president before he made the announcement- came out with its own releases. “Blame the Politicians” they all chorussed. And not to be left without nothing to say, the minister of communication Mr. Lai Mohammed confirmed it was the politician influencing the media and attacks against the president.

Its my understanding that those agencies and the president spoke from the content of intelligence they received and worked with, but something about my training still made me query the timing of these quality intelligence for this period. The elections are less than 10 months and everything said by anyone  office now is seen as political. and cannot be processed without looking at its political implication.

A concise look at the Presidents’s assertion was negated by his insistence later on in the speech that the herders/farmer issues are age old, economical and based on people’s need to protect their source of income and sustenance. It’s neither religious nor ethnic based. Hence I concluded that the Libyan issue might not be the causative factor but has come to influence the growth of the problem. What people like me were really expecting from the state was a blue print on a newer system of CVE that will be effective and sustainable in the long run. There need to be a proactive system to deflate the plans of these enemies of state.

Excuses apart, the time for positive actions on these issues are now. Nigerians cannot afford to just look on and bear the pains of loosing  friends and family members to rampaging gun men for much longer. The people of Benue and Kogi in the past weekend lost more than 40 people and the death toll keep rising, before the people devolve into mass self help, raising ethnic armies to defend their homes could lead to emergence of local warlords. Before Nigerian state devolve into another Somalia, a stitch in time could truly save nine.

 

 

Lazy Youths: “Critics Inciting Youths Against Buhari” – Lai Mohammed

2019 Elections, News, Politics

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The Minister of Information and Culture , Lai Mohammed , says President Muhammadu Buhari has passion and concern for Nigerian youths, as opposed to what the critics of his administration want the people to believe. He said this on Friday in Abeokuta, Ogun State while fielding questions from journalists at the ongoing African Drum Festival .

The minister dismissed reports quoting President Buhari as describing all Nigerian youths as lazy and always waiting for free things .
He noted that the current administration had invested in the youth with some of its programmes.

He said , “ Some people have just made it their full -time job these days to scrutinise and twist whatever the President says out of context .
“ I wonder how a government that has employed 100 ,000 unemployed graduates and also feeds about 7 . 5 million people daily could be tagged anti- youth.
“ Our social investment programmes have continued to generate jobs and create opportunities for our teeming youths while our empowerment programmes have been providing soft loans to over 400 , 000 youths .
“ Millions of families and individuals have also continued to benefit from our Conditional Cash Transfer initiative .
“ This is a government that is so concerned and passionate about youth development and it is not right for people to begin to quote Mr . President out of context and thereby incite the youths against the government .”

US builds drone base in Niger, crossroads of extremism fight

Africa, Boko Haram, News, Tech, Terrorism

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On the scorching edge of the Sahara Desert, the U.S. Air Force is building a base for armed drones, the newest front in America’s battle against the growing extremist threat in Africa’s vast Sahel region.

Three hangars and the first layers of a runway command a sandy, barren field. Niger Air Base 201 is expected to be functional early next year. The base, a few miles outside Agadez and built at the request of Niger’s government, will eventually house fighter jets and MQ-9 drones transferred from the capital Niamey. The drones, with surveillance and added striking capabilities, will have a range enabling them to reach a number of West and North African countries.

Few knew of the American military’s presence in this desperately poor, remote West African country until October, when an ambush by Islamic State group-linked extremists killed four U.S. soldiers and five Nigeriens.

The $110 million project is the largest troop labor construction project in U.S. history, according to Air Force officials. It will cost $15 million annually to operate.

Citing security reasons, no official will say how many drones will be housed at the base or whether more U.S. personnel will be brought to the region. Already the U.S. military presence here is the second largest in Africa behind the sole permanent U.S. base on the continent, in the tiny Horn of Africa nation of Djibouti.

The drones at the base are expected to target several different al-Qaida and Islamic State group-affiliated fighters in countries throughout the Sahel, a sprawling region just south of the Sahara, including the area around Lake Chad, where the Nigeria’s Boko Haram insurgency has spread.

As the U.S. puts drones at the forefront of the fight against extremists, some worry that civilians will be mistaken for fighters.

“We are afraid of falling back into the same situation as in Afghanistan, with many mistakes made by American soldiers who did not always know the difference between a wedding ceremony and a training of terrorist groups,” said Amadou Roufai, a Nigerien administration official.

Civic leader Nouhou Mahamadou also expressed concerns.

“The presence of foreign bases in general and American in particular is a serious surrender of our sovereignty and a serious attack on the morale of the Nigerien military,” he said.

The number of U.S. military personnel in Niger has risen over the past few years from 100 to 800, the second largest concentration in Africa after the 4,000 in Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti. About 500 personnel are working on the new air and drone base and the base camp is marked with an American and Nigerien flag.

Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance are crucial in the fight against extremism, U.S. Africa Command spokeswoman Samantha Reho said.

“The location in Agadez will improve U.S. Africa Command’s capability to facilitate intelligence-sharing that better supports Niger and other partner nations, such as Nigeria, Chad, Mali and other neighbors in the region and will improve our capability to respond to regional security issues,” Reho said.

The intelligence gathered by the drones can be used by Niger and other U.S. partners for prosecuting extremists, said Commander Brad Harbaugh, who is in charge of the new base.

Some in Niger welcome the growing U.S. military presence in the face of a growing extremist threat in the region.

“Northern Mali has become a no man’s land, southern Libya is an incubator for terrorists and northeastern Nigeria is fertile ground for Boko Haram’s activities … Can Niger alone ensure its own security? I think not. No country in the world can today alone fight terrorism,” said Souleymane Abdourahmane, a restaurant promoter in the capital, Niamey.

Threats include al-Qaida-linked fighters in Mali and Burkina Faso, Islamic State group-affiliated fighters in Niger, Mali and Nigeria and the Nigeria-based Boko Haram. They take advantage of the vast region’s widespread poverty and countries’ often poorly equipped security forces.

Foreigners, including a German aid worker kidnapped this month in Niger, have been targeted as well.

The U.S. military’s use of armed drones comes as its special forces pull back from the front lines of the fight. The focus is changing to advising and assisting local partners higher up the chain of command, said U.S. Special Command Africa commander Maj. Gen. Marcus Hicks.

Ibrahim Maiga, a Mali-based researcher for the Institute for Security Studies, said more needs to be known about the U.S. military presence in the region.

“The U.S. military footprint in the Sahel is difficult to grasp, just as it is not easy to assess its effectiveness,” he said. “There isn’t nearly enough information in the public space on this presence.”

Mud homes line the barbed wire fence at the edge of the main airport in Agadez. Residents watch the U.S. forces come and go with curiosity.

Shebu Issa, an assistant at a Quranic school, stood in one doorway as goats and children roamed the sandy roads.

“It’s no big deal to us, they come and they don’t bother us. We appreciate they want to help in the fight,” he said. “We live a hard life, and don’t make much money, so we hope maybe this will help us get more.”

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Associated Press writer Dalatou Mamane in Niamey, Niger contributed.

EIB and African Development Bank to support private sector investment in Nigeria with Development Bank of Nigeria backing

Africa, International Finance, international News, News, World Bank

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EIB and African Development Bank to support private sector investment in Nigeria with Development Bank of Nigeria backing

The European Investment Bank and the African Development Bank have agreed to support the creation of the new Development Bank of Nigeria to strengthen lending for business and agriculture investment in the country. The European Investment Bank has finalized a US $20-million equity stake in the new financing institution, alongside US $50-million equity participation from the African Development Bank.

The Development Bank of Nigeria has been created by the Federal Government of Nigeria to address financing challenges hindering private sector investment in the country. The Bank is called to play an important and catalytic role in providing funding and risk sharing facilities to micro, small and medium enterprises as well as small corporates.

“The Development Bank of Nigeria will overcome the funding gap in the micro-, small- and medium-scale enterprises space and help businesses unlock opportunities across Nigeria. DBN’s ambition is strengthened by the financial and technical support of international partners, including the European Investment Bank and African Development Bank. The new institution builds on international experience and uses a business model that has demonstrated proven success to enhance private-sector investment across Africa and around the world where other financing options are inadequate or absent,” said Tony Okpanachi, Managing Director of the Development Bank of Nigeria.

“Private sector businesses are critical to the development of the Nigerian economy as they possess huge potential for employment generation and output diversification. Nevertheless, there has been under-performance of these businesses and this has undermined their contribution to economic growth. Among the issues affecting their performance, the shortage of finance, particularly investment finance, occupies a very central position. The Development Bank of Nigeria is expected to contribute to mobilizing significant long-term financing to an important yet underserved sector with high development potential,” said Stefan Nalletamby, Director of the Financial Sector Development Department at the African Development Bank.

“New private sector investment is crucial to create jobs and enable businesses to expand and limited access to long-term financing holds back economic growth. The European Investment Bank is pleased to support the new Development Bank of Nigeria to strengthen private-sector investment in Africa’s largest economy. We look forward to continued close cooperation with Nigerian and international partners to ensure that once fully operational the new Development Bank of Nigeria can help harness the country’s economic potential,” said Ambroise Fayolle, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB).

Addressing the investment gap holding back private-sector investment

At present, new investment essential for companies to expand and create jobs is hindered by limited access to commercial banks. It is estimated by the Development Bank of Nigeria that only 5% of the 37 million entrepreneurs and small businesses in Nigeria that contribute to 50% of GDP can access credit in the financial system.

Building on broad international support

Other international financial institutions including the World Bank, Germany’s KfW and the French Agence française de développement (AFD) will also support the new bank alongside backing from the Federal Government of Nigeria.

Original source: AfDB
Published on 19 April 2018

Breaking: Police promote Magu, 17 other Officers

local news, News, Nigeria

The Police Service Commission (PSC) has reportedly promoted 18 senior officers to their next ranks –

The chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, who was deputy commissioner of police was promoted to the rank of

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commissioner of police – PSC had on Thursday, April 19, promoted 45 police officers who arrested billionaire kidnapper Evans The Police Service Commission (PSC) on Friday, April 20, announced the promotion of 18 senior officers including the acting chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu.

The new promotion was contained in a statement by Ikechukwu Ani, a spokesperson for the PSC. The statement read: “The Police Service Commission has approved the promotion of eighteen senior police officers. The promotions are one of the high points of the commission’s 27th plenary meeting which ended in Abuja today, Friday, April 20th, 2018. “The meeting was presided over by the commission’s chairman Sir. Dr. Mike Mbama Okiro, a retired Inspector General of the Police. “The commission approved the promotion of AIG Agbola Oshodi-Glover in charge of zone 11, Osogbo, to the next rank of a Deputy Inspector General of Police.

“CP Ghazzali Mohammed, Commissioner of Police, Administration, DLS, Force Headquarters and CP Peace Ibekwe Abdallah, former Commissioner of Police, Ebonyi state command and currently , CP, Force Intelligence Bureau, Force Headquarters were promoted to Assistant Inspector General of Police.

“The acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), DCP Ibrahim Mustapha Magu, DCP Ebere C. Onyeagoro, DCP Administration, Kaduna State Command and DCP Moshood O. Gbolarumi, DCP Maritime, Lagos, were promoted to the next rank of Commissioner of Police.

“Other promotions approved by the commission include; one Assistant Commissioner of Police to Deputy Commissioner of Police, Nine Chief Superintendents of Police to Assistant Commissioners of Police, one Deputy Superintendent of Police to Superintendent of Police, one assistant Superintendent of Police to Deputy Superintendent of Police and one Inspector to assistant Superintendent of Police. “Chairman of the commission,

Dr. Mike Okiro congratulated the newly promoted officers and urged them to rededicate themselves to the service of their fatherland. He assured them that the Commission will continue to pay attention to their basic entitlements which include regular promotions.

”Wicked People Vandalised Nigeria” – President Buhari Speaks From London (Video)

News, PMB, Politics

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President Buhari at a meeting with Buhari Diaspora Support Organization in London was reported to have complained that: ”Wicked People Vandalised Nigeria”.

Video Source: Aso Rock. watch the video below : 


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPOrhGeJHAw

Victor Moses overtakes Alex Iwobi to become highest-scoring Nigerian in Premier League

News, sports
Victor Moses
(Getty)
 Shina Oludare

Victor Moses’ second-half strike against Burnley has seen him leapfrog Alex Iwobi to be Premier League’s highest-scoring Nigerian this season.

The Nigeria international, who returned to Chelsea’s starting XI after making a cameo appearance in the Blues’ 3-2 victory at Southampton, struck in the 69th minute at Turf Moor, his third this season and 20th in England’s top flight.

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WE’RE BACK IN FRONT!

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That strike moves Moses ahead of and fellow Super Eagles teammate Alex Iwobi, who has hit two goals in the Premier League during this term.

Leicester City forward Kelechi Iheanacho is third with just one goal with four games to the end of the season.

Iheanacho was the highest-scoring Nigerian last season with four goals, while Moses, Iwobi and Victor Anichebe got three apiece.

Yakubu Aiyegbeni leads the all-time chart with 95 goals AS Nwankwo Kanu (54) and Efan Ekoku (52) are second and third respectively.

Shina Oludare

Nigerian Youths are Achievers and Hardworking – Atiku

APC, local news, News, PMB, Politics

Atiku Reacts To President Buhari’s “Nigerian Youths Are Not Ready To Work” Comment

atikueFormer president Atiku Abubakar reacted via his Twitter handle to President Muhammadu Buhari reported comment that many Nigerian youths are uneducated, not ready to work and dependent on revenue from oil to survive.

He said the youths, who make up 60 per cent of the population, were waiting to get social amenities free without doing anything. The President spoke during a panel discussion at the Commonwealth Business Forum in Westminster, London.

 “I will never refer to Nigeria’s youth as people who sit and do nothing. They are hardworking. I should know, I have thousands of youths working for me all over the country who have been the backbone to our success. he tweeted.

I’ve always said oil is not Nigeria’s greatest asset. Our greatest asset is our youth who created Nollywood out of nothing and an entertainment industry that is second to none in Africa.

Our youth are charting new frontiers; creating a huge tech industry on their own! Their entrepreneurial spirit, work ethic, and creative abilities are things of pride and should be applauded, encouraged and nurtured.

 

Presidency: Buhari Didn’t Deride Nigerian Youths

News, Nigeria, PMB, Politics

Buhari

By Omololu Ogunmade in London

The presidency Thursday in London, denied the insinuations that President Muhammadu Buhari mocked Nigerian youths while speaking at the Commonwealth Business Forum, a session of the ongoing Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) on Wednesday.

The president, after giving a keynote address on “Making Business Easier Between Commonwealth Countries,” had responded to a question, during which he said: “We have a very young population; our population is estimated conservatively to be 180 million. More than 60 per cent of the population is below the age of 30. A lot of them have not been to school and they are claiming that Nigeria has been an oil producing country, therefore they should sit and do nothing and get housing, healthcare and education free.”
The president’s remark was however accompanied by a wild outrage among Nigerians who accused him of “attacking” the youths of his country on global stage.

But in a swift reaction to the outrage Thursday, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President’s Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, said the remark was twisted as it is “typical of the stock in trade” of those he described as “manipulators and twisters of statements of Mr. President, who lie in wait to make mischief”.

According to him, such persons who have cultivated the habit of misinterpreting the president’s comment, twisted it “to mean that President Buhari had taken all Nigerian youths to the cleaners”.
According to him, elementary English recognises a wide gulf between “a lot of” and the word “all,” adding: “How can ‘a lot of them,’ suddenly transmogrify to mean ‘all of them?’ Mischievous and unconscionable!”

He said it was impossible for Buhari, whom he described as the father of the Nigerian nation in every sense of the word, and who equally has biological children of his own in the youths’ age bracket to pass a vote of no confidence on all youths, adding: “It can only exist in the imagination of those who play what the president has described as ‘irresponsible politics’ with everything.”

Adesina added: “President Buhari has always applauded and celebrated Nigerian youths who excel in different areas of endeavour, from sports, to academia, and other realms. And he will continue to do so, because he values the youths, and knows that they are the fulcrum on which the future of the country rests.

“Indeed, every country has its share of idle population, and it is the bounden duty of government at all levels, to create an enabling environment for them to actualize their potentials. That is what President Buhari is committed to doing.

“The focal areas of the administration; securing the country, reviving the economy, and fighting corruption, are actually intended to give youths a future and a hope.

“This much was emphasised in an April 5, 2018 comment by President Buhari, while receiving Letter of Credence from the Head of Delegation of the European Union to Nigeria, when he said: ‘Our insistence on probity is to encourage people to be accountable, and accept honesty as a lifestyle so as to secure the future of our youths.’
“The President also said more than 60 per cent of Nigerians fall into the age category of youths and deserve to inherit a stable and prosperous country that they can be proud of, adding that the government will work assiduously to prevent waste and the depletion of resources by corrupt Nigerians.
“It is futile for mischief makers to lie in wait, and take a minor part of the words of the president, and turn it into negative commentary, peradventure they could diminish the profile of the President.
“Nigerians across all walks of life know who is serving them faithfully and truly, and they will always reciprocate such fidelity as occasions demand.”

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