Saturday, 27 December 2008

Nigerian Police Plot To Link Our Publisher To Communal Disagreement

An impeccable contact in Owerri informed chidi opara reports of plan by the Police in Imo State to link our Publisher and Editor-In-Chief, Mr. Chidi Anthony Opara to a communal disagreement in his native home, Umude Amala Avuvu in the Ikeduru Local Government Area of Imo State, Nigeria. The community have been having this disagreement over the years, regarding the apropriate name to adopt. Mr. Opara is in no way involved in this disagreement.

The plot was hatched at the instance of a member of Police Service Commission(PSC), who felt uncomfortable with our publications on the Nuhu Ribadu saga.

This plot, according to our contact, involve the Police divisional headquarters at Iho Dimeze, the headquarters of Ikeduru Local Government Area, whose jurisdiction covers Avuvu and the Area command headquarters in Owerri. According to this contact, those detailed to arrest our Publisher, already know that he normally visits his country home every 1st of january. "They have planned with some youths to start trouble during a football match or during the usual masquerade dance", our contact revealed. "Some of the youths", our contact continued, "will be made to confess that Mr. Opara asked them to start the trouble, thereby providing ground for his arrest and detention", our contact concluded.

Independent investigation by chidi opara reports however, revealed that the Police arrest will be a smokescreen. "Within a day or two of detention, the matter will be transfered to the State Security Service(SSS), who will then relocate Mr. Opara to Abuja for questioning on conducts prejudicial to national security", our contact further revealed.

It is not immediately known if the office of Imo State Police Commissioner is aware of this plot. "Considering the influence of this PSC member, it will not be far fetched to expect that the Commissioner is aware", a Police officer who works in the commissioner's office informed chidi opara reports.

Friday, 26 December 2008

Nuhu Ribadu; What Next?

Indications are that if representations being made to some influential personalities in northern Nigeria, notably, the Lamido of Adamawa and the Sultan of Sokoto by some friends of Mr. Nuhu Ribadu, the former chairman of the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC), who was recently dismissed from the Nigerian Police Force by the Police Service Commission(PSC), to intervene in the face-off between the erstwhile anti-corruption chief and the Administration of Mr. Umaru Yar'Adua, fail to elicitate favourable response, the former anti-graft commission chieftain may be in for more victimizations and humiliations. Nuhu Ribadu is a northerner from Adamawa State.

Investigations by chidi opara reports revealed that there is the likelihood that Ribadu may soon be arrested by EFCC for failure to properly hand over some of the commission's properties in his custody to his immediate successor. A handover memo signed by the former EFCC chairman, which chidi opara reports sighted, however, indicated a thorough handover, but we cannot at this time independently confirm the authenticity of the memo.

We also discovered that some persons whom the EFCC under Ribadu prosecuted and got convicted are fine tunning, at the prompting of some powerful politicians, whom Ribadu stepped on their toes, series of petitions, alleging that some of their properties seized by the commission under Ribadu were not properly accounted for. "As soon as we receive any of these petitions, we will move in immediately", an EFCC top level contact informed chidi opara reports.

We further discovered that the main reason for the persecution of Mr. Ribadu is the fact that the Nigerian Presidency was made to believe that some vital components of some sensitive case files like that of some former state governors, were duplicated and taken away by the erstwhile EFCC chairman. It is feared that if by any arrangement, these ex-governors were discharged and acquitted, that Ribadu will release such sensitive information to the news media, especially, the leftwing news blogs, who are usually based outside Nigeria, one of which he has personal relationship with. "As soon as he pledges absolute loyalty and promises to desist from leaking sensitive official information to those people, his troubles will be over", a senior security contact told a chidi opara reports network member recently in Abuja.

We are aware that Mr. Nuhu Ribadu's friends are all over major northern Nigerian cities now, lobbying influential personalities to save the former EFCC chairman from further victimizations and humiliations. We do not however, know at the time of posting this report whether this lobby has Ribadu's blessing or not.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Nigeria's Police Service Commission Dismisses Former Anti-corruption Commission Chief From Service

Information reaching chidi opara reports has it that Mr. Nuhu Ribadu, former Chairman of Economic And Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC), have been dismissed from service by the Police Service Commission(PSC), a body vested with powers to recruit, promote, discipline, etc, the senior ranks cadre of the Nigerian Police Force, with the exception of the Inspector-general Of Police(IG).

The PSC had in a meeting today deliberated on "the Nuhu Ribadu matter" and unanimously returned a verdict of guilt against the former EFCC chairman who recently shunned a Police disciplinary committee summon. The PSC consequently dismissed him from the Nigerian Police force.

The PSC had earlier demoted Mr. Ribadu from the rank of Assistant Inspector-general of Police to Deputy commissioner. The former anti-corruption Chieftain is currently challenging his demotion in court.

Since february this year when Mr. Ribadu was removed as the Chairman of EFCC, in what was widely believed to be a scheme to kill the anti-corruption movement which gathered unprecedented momentum during the years Ribadu was head of the anti-corruption commission, the former EFCC chairman had endured one form of humiliation or the other, the most recent being when he was forcefully removed from the senior executive course 30 graduation ceremony of the Nigerian Institute Of Policy And Strategic Studies(NIPSS),in the presence of his immediate family and invitees. Ribadu, who participated in and completed the course, was subsequently given his graduation certificate in a separate private ceremony.

Details of the PSC meeting is still so far sketchy, but what is not sketchy is the fact that the meeting was at the instance of the IG of Police with the approval of the Presidency.

A chidi opara reports network member in Abuja, who tried to get details of the meeting, met a stone wall from PSC members. This network member reported that all efforts to reach the PSC spokesperson, Miss Comfort Obi have so far proved abortive.

Monday, 22 December 2008

Nigeria's State Security Service Formally Adopts Passport Seizure Policy

chidi opara reports can now report that Nigeria's State Security Service(SSS), have now formally adopted the policy of seizure of passports of Nigerians resident in foreign countries whose parts have at one time or the other crossed with that of the Administration of Mr. Umaru Yar'Adua.

The policy was adopted after series of meetings between the Director-general of SSS and the National Security Adviser(NSA) between September and November this year.

An impeccable security contact informed chidi opara reports that the Presidency, worried by what it termed "anti-government activities", mainly from Nigerians living in foreign countries had in a memo routed through the NSA, mandated the SSS to come up with "the most viable way to contain this menace". The SSS, we learnt further, in mid November, came up with the option of passport seizure, which has been in practice in the Service, albeit informally. This option, according to our security contact, have been approved by the Presidency. "The SSS Director-general had infact, in early december, communicated the policy in writing to all relevant sectional heads", our contact further revealed.

Independent investigations by chidi opara reports revealed that SSS operations offices at International Airports and Border stations across Nigeria have been given a list of Nigerians living in foreign countries, especially, in United States Of America(USA) and United Kingdom(UK), who the Yar'Adua Administration have identified as "anti-government elements". We have not been able so far to have access to the list, but a middle level SSS operative at a Border station informed chidi opara reports that the list include the names of two online news publishers, a college Professor and a fiction writer, all based in USA.

Further investigations also revealed that security units in Nigeria's foreign missions have been instructed to place the movements of persons on the list, "on close survillance".

"We are concentrating on the Borders, because most of our targets may like to avoid the Airports", the SSS contact further revealed to chidi opara reports.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Corruption Thrives In Nigeria As Anti-Corruption Body Engage In Game Of Deceit

chidi opara reports has it on good authority that the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC), instead of fighting corruption in Nigeria, have by its action recently encouraged public officers, especially, State Governors to engage in unbridled corruption.

We can now report that the Chairperson of EFCC, Mrs. Farida Waziri have been meeting with some ex-governors, notably, James Ibori, Peter Odili, and Bola Tinubu, to find a way to give them safe landing in the corruption cases against them.

It was in one one these meetings, usually facilitated by the office of the Attorney- general of the Federation and Minister of Justice, that it was decided that plea bargain would be the best option. "The case of Lucky Igbinedion was to be used to fly the kite", a well placed EFCC contact informed chidi opara reports.

Our information also indicated that when the plea bargain option was first flown, the EFCC Chairperson was skeptical, because according to a contact close to her, she feared that the International Community may not take to the option. "but after meetings with some diplomats, Madam decided to go ahead with the plan", our EFCC contact further revealed.

We can now also report that EFCC strategists have worked out an elaborate blackmail against opponents of their plea bargain scheme. "The plan is to continually accuse unnamed elements of plans to destabilize the Yar'Adua Administration in collaboration with some foreigners. "It is hoped that this will effectively silence those who may want to oppose this idea, but if it doesnt, they may be taken in for treason", a security contact who collaborates with EFCC informed chidi opara reports.

It will be noted that Mr. Lucky Igbinedion, a former governor of Edo State, was recently convicted of a corruption related offence in a plea bargain by a Federal high court in Enugu, he was asked to pay a fine of 3.5million naira. The EFCC however, rejected the conviction and have made known, its intention to appeal. When our EFCC contact was approached on this, she retortd, "it is all part of the game of deceit, what will appeal achieve? they know what they are doing".

The first phase of the EFCC blackmail may have started, the anti-corruption agency recently accused unnamed elements of collaborating with foreign interests to destabilise the Nation.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

The African(Nigerian)Child Is Our Personality Of The Year

Our personality of the year is the African child, especially the Nigerian child, who surprisingly continues to survive, albeit on the fringe, despite the onslaught of corrupt and visionless leadership, which is with the active connivance of some developed Nations who prefer supplying relief materials to discouraging corrupt and visionless leadership in Africa.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Nigeria's Presidential Election Appeal Ruling; Situation Still Hazy

The situation regarding the Nigerian Presidential Election Appeal, whose ruling is slated for today by the Supreme Court is still hazy.

The situation being closely monitored by chidi opara reports, indicated that at the close of work yesterday, none of the Judges on the panel have submitted any written opinions on the matter as advised by the head of the Court, the Chief Justice, to the office of the Chief Justice. These written submissions will eventually form the basis of any consensus ruling on the matter. The Judges, we learnt on good authority, suddenly resolved to submit their written opinions, "at the last minute".

This last minute development, chidi opara reports gathered from competent Presidency contacts, sent the Presidency into panic, prompting the President to personally contact two former heads of Government, rtd. General Yakubu Gowon and Mr. Ernest Shonekan to "put words across to the Chief Justice in the interest of peace and national security".

Contacts close to Gowon and Shonekan informed chidi opara reports that both former heads of Government, spent hours yesterday, respectively working the telephones, preaching the often repeated peace and national security to the Chief Justice, in the consideration of today's ruling. We were however, unable to ascertain the impact of these conversations at the time of posting this report.

In a similar development, chidi opara reports' network members in major northern cities have reported a step up of security. We learnt of an intelligence report hinting at a possible violent reaction by elements sympathetic to the Presidential ambition of rtd. General Buhari, the Presidential candidate of All Nigeria Peoples' Party(ANPP) in the election under dispute. Buhari is known to be popular among the common people(Talakawas).

Unconfirmed reports reaching us also hint at a compromise by the Presidential candidate of the Action Congress(AC) in that election, Mr. Atiku Abubarkar. The details of the compromise was however, not stated. What we can confirm is that the President's mother, during the Sallah holidays had a lenghty telephone conversation with Mr. Abubarkar in which she advised the former Vice-president to "accept whatever is the outcome of the case as the will of Allah". Abubarkar is a family friend and business associate of the Yar'Aduas.

It will be noted that when the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC), declared Mr. Umaru Yar'Adua, the Presidential candidate of the Peoples' Democratic Party(PDP), as the winner of the 2007 Presidential election, the duo of Abubarkar and Buhari respectively went to court to canvass for the nullification of the result.

The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, which is the equivalent of the Court of Appeal, however upheld the result, prompting Abubarkar and Buhari to file appeals at the Supreme court.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Nigeria's Moslem Leaders' Sallah Face-off Linked To Presidential Ambition Of Former Military President

The face-off between Moslem leaders in Suleja Emirate, and Southern Nigeria, and the Supreme head of Moslems in Nigeria, the Sultan of Sokoto, Saa'ad Abubarkar 111, which resulted in Moslem faithfuls in the Emirate and Southern Nigeria celebrating Sallah on Monday, 8th December, 2008 instead of Sunday 7th, as directed by the Sultan, has been linked to the 2011 presidential ambition of Nigeria's one time military President, rtd. General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida(also known as IBB).

chidi opara reports authoritatively learnt that the retired General's ambition have hitherto received blessings in strategic power circuits, the Sokoto Caliphate, which is the domain of the Sultan, inclusive.

"When President Yar'Adua indicated interest for a second term, all those who have already endorsed the General, including the Sultan, started shifting to that direction", a well placed IBB insider, who is a retired military officer told chidi opara reports in Kaduna.

When we approached a close Yar'Adua confidant in Abuja with the question of whether the President is considering running for a second term, he simply retorted, "why not?".

There has been assumption that due to the President's ill health, he will do only one term which will terminate on 29th May, 2011. Based on this assumption, which the President's body language endorsed, the IBB-Odili enormous political machine was revived in readiness for the 2011 presidential election. This revival, we learnt, included getting the endorsement of key political, traditional and religious figures in the country. The cart, according to knowledgeable contacts, began to turn when the President suddenly began to prepare for a second term. "Why should the Sultan as a father to all of us, support the President and IBB for the same cause, at the same time? Can't he advise the President to go and look after his health after one term?", our IBB insider complained.

chidi opara reports further learnt on good authority that following what IBB regarded as "treachery of the Sultan", the former military leader have deployed human and material resources within the Suleja Emirate and amongst Southern Nigeria Moslem leaders to whittle down the huge influence of the Sultan. "We will continue to instigate challenge to his leadership of Moslem faithfuls till he learns to do things the right way", another IBB insider confided in chidi opara reports.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Nigeria's Major Oil State Governor Launders Image With Cultural Festival

The Rivers State cultural festival tagged "Carniriv"' which is scheduled to last for two days(5th and 6th December, 2008) is designed primarily to give the state Government under Mr. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi an image laundry from the battering the Administration's image received when the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) arrested and arraigned some of the Adminisration's principal officers in court recently. Rivers State is a major crude oil producing State in Nigeria.

Investigations by chidi opara reports in Portharcourt revealed that although the cultural festival has been in existence, the Amaechi Administration revived it mainly to wash off the EFCC mud. "We are not fools, they must account for all the monies they are wasting", a worker in the state secreatariat complex told chidi opara reports. "Do you know that teachers have not been paid for three months now?", our contact complained further. We were however, unable to independently confirm this at the time of posting this report.

Further investigations revealed that despite the emergency declared on Education for instance, facilities in this sector is still in a pitiable situation. It is also discovered that infrastructures in other sectors are in similar situation. "We are talking of carniriv, whereas an average classroom has more than one hundred students, no seats, no writing materials, the man is only embarking on populist white elephant projects to hoodwink us", an opposition politician now working with the Administration told us.

chidi opara reports however, witnessed construction works going on in some parts of Portharcourt. We also saw more than a hundred students in one small class room, with most standing during a lecture in one government owned secondary school in the D/line area of Portharcourt.

The Rivers State Government on its website, however, maintained that "carniriv" will help project the rich cultures of the state to the world as well as helping to boost its tourism potentials. The State Government have declared friday, 5th December,2008 as public holiday.

Critics however, insist that as desirable as cultural festivals may be, the timing must be right, because according to another civil servant in the State, "we must feed well and generally live well before showcasing our cultures".

An update filed in(0938hrs on 5th December,2008)by a chidi opara reports' network member in Portharcourt indicates that the festival is holding in a very tight security atmosphere with the Joint taskforce on security(JTF)manning all the major road intersections in the State capital. Helicopter gunships, according to this update can be seen hovering overhead. "Vehicular and human traffic is strictly restricted in Portharcourt", the report further revealed.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Police Service Commission In Cold War With Nigerian Presidency Over Nuhu Ribadu

The belated presentation of certificate and insignia of the Senior Executive course 30 of the Nigerian Institute Of Policy And Strategic Studies(NIPSS) to Mr. Nuhu Ribadu, erstwhile Chairman of the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) has pitched the Police Service Commission(PSC) with the Nigerian Presidency in a cold war.

Mr. Ribadu was prevented by Security Operatives acting on "orders from above" from participating in the graduation ceremony at NIPSS on 22nd November, 2008.

The PSC, a body established to oversee the recruitment, promotion, e.t.c of the senior ranks cadre of the Nigerian Police, chidi opara reports learnt on good authority, had insisted in a secret meeting with the President that if Nuhu Ribadu is allowed to graduate from NIPSS, "it will mean that his demotion to the rank of Deputy Commissioner of Police is of no effect". The President we learnt further, had promised the PSC delegation that "he will do something about the matter". The PSC had demoted Mr, Ribadu while he was already at NIPSS, from the rank of Assistant Inspector-general of Police, to the rank of Deputy Commissioner. Deputy Commissioners Of Police are not eligible to attend the NIPSS Senior Executive course.

"The something which Mr. President promised PSC was what happened at NIPSS", another knowledgeable contact revealed to a chidi opara reports' network member.

checks in Abuja revealed that following widespread condemnation of the way Ribadu was treated at the venue of the NIPSS graduation ceremony and mainly because of pressures from the Governments of United Kingdom(UK) and the United States Of America(USA)to the Nigerian Presidency, "to backdown on the Nuhu Ribadu matter for now", following our expose of the involvement of the two Nations in the matter, the Presidency made a rebound and ordered NIPSS to decorate the former EFCC Chairman.

This Presidential order, chidi opara reports learnt further, is not sitting well with PSC members, who saw the recent decoration of Ribadu by NIPSS as a humiliation. "Members have vowed not to co-operate with the Presidency in similar matters in future", a PSC contact whispered to chidi opara reports.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Ribadu: British And American Embassies Briefed Before Action

A strategically placed contact in the Nigerian Presidency has informed chidi opara reports that the humiliation of former chairman of Ecomonic And Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC), Mr. Nuhu Ribadu during the graduation ceremony of the elite Nigerian Institute Of Policy And Strategic Studies(NIPSS) on November 22, 2008, received the blessings of British And American Governments.

chidi opara reports was authoritatively informed that at about the time the Attorney-general and Minister of Justice of Nigeria, Mr. Michael Aondoakaa was at NIPSS(evening of 21/11/2008) to convey to the management of the institute, "order from the Presidency regarding Nuhu Ribadu's graduation", two high level officials of Nigeria's foreign Ministry were at the embassies of the United Kingdom(UK) and United States Of America(USA) respectively, to brief the two Nations of the impending action. At about 2035hrs(Nigerian time), our contact revealed, "the two World powers have been briefed and their consents secured".

Mr. Ribadu was yesterday stopped from participating in the graduation ceremony of NIPSS by security operatives acting on "orders from above". The former EFCC chairman was subsequently arrested in the presence of his immediate family and invitees and taken to unknown location, but unconfirmed information reaching chidi opara reports indicated that Ribadu is under house arrest in Ebonyi State.

The youthful looking tough former EFCC chairman was earlier in the year sent on an executive course at NIPSS, an action many believed was a ploy to remove him from the anti-corruption commission, so as to protect some former state governors whom EFCC under Ribadu investigated and was prosecuting for corrupt enrichment while in office. These ex-governors were believed to have contributed immensely from the slush funds to the President's campaign fund during the 2007 Presidential election.

The current disquiet was stirred when Mr. Ribadu was demoted from the rank of Assistant Inspector-general of Police(Aig) to Deputy commissioner(DC). The former EFCC helmsman consequently went to court to challenge his demotion. The rank of Deputy commissioner of Police makes him ineligible to participate in the course at NIPSS.

chidi opara reports can now reveal that elaborate schemes have been laid out to humiliate Mr. Ribadu and to fraustrte every of his moves to restore himself to his former rank. We also learnt that Western Nations, especially UK and USA, whose economies depend largely on inflow of slush funds from developing Nations like Nigeria, to stay afloat, especially in this era of global economic recession are co-operating with the Nigerian government in this regard as a way of slowing down anti-corruption campaigns.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Obasanjo's People In Yar'Adua's Ministerial List

Samuel Egwu is a former governor of Ebonyi State. He is known to be a core Obasanjo loyalist. He was sponsored by the Obasanjo group to contest the national chairmanship of the ruling Peoples' Democratic Party(PDP). Egwu lost out of the contest through a last minute scheme engineered by the Yar'Adua cabal, led then by Babagana Kingibe. Samuel Egwu, chidi opara reports learnt, owe his current political rebound to the Obasanjo group.

Rilwanu Lukman is the most recycled face in the Petroleum portfolio. A quiet political schemer, Lukman is known to be in the Northern Nigeria(Arewa) power loop. chidi opara reports learnt that he is the Obasanjo group's prefered candidate for either the Petroleum Ministry or the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.

Dorathy Akunyili is a zealous, upright and hard working intellectual discovered by rtd. General Muhammadu Buhari when he was Chairman of Petroleum Trust Fund(PTF), but brought into national prominience by Olusegun Obasanjo when he was President. Akunyili, a Professor of Pharmacy, currently heads the National Agency For Foods And Drugs Administration And Control(NAFDAC). Her name, chidi opara reports was reliably informed, was inserted into the list by the Obasanjo group mainly to bring some credibility into the current ministerial nomination exercise.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Oshiohmole: Benin Palace Jittery

chidi opara reports have been reliably informed that the emergence of Mr. Adams Oshiohmole, the candidate of Action Congress Party(AC) in the 2007 governorship election as the governor of Edo State is sending jitters to the centuries old Benin(Bini) Palace.

Following the declaration of Professor O. Osunbor, the governorship candidate of the Peoples' Democratic Party(PDP) in that election as the winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC), Mr. Oshiohmole, a former President of Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC) had gone to the Edo State governorship election petition tribunal to challenge the declaration and to pray the tribunal to restore the mandate which he believed was his. The tribunal ruled in his favour, whereupon, the PDP candidate challenged the ruling of the tribunal at the Court of Appeal, which is the final arbiter in such matters. The Court of Appeal upheld the ruling of the lower court. The AC candidate was consequently sworn in as governor.

The fear of the Benin Palace is not as a result of any policy pronouncements of the governor so far, it is rather based on the premise that having been indirectly installed in office by the very influential Igbinedion business and political dynasty, which is known to have been in supremacy contests with the Benin Palace over the years, the governor is likely to institute administrative policies that will seriously whittle down the huge influence of the Benin monarchy.

chidi opara reports gathered authoritatively that the new governor is actually the personal choice of Mr. Lucky Igbinedion, the immediate past governor of the State and the eldest scion of the Igbinedion dynasty. We gathered also that the financial war chest and other logistics with which the AC candidate prosecuted his campaign and the court cases were solely provided by the Igbinedion clan. "Where do you think Oshiohmole got all the money and evidences with which he won the cases?, they are from us ofcourse", a contact known in Benin to be a very close political ally of the Igbinedions boasted to a chidi opara reports network member on friday(14/11/2008).

The Patriarch of Igbinedion dynasty, Mr. Gabriel Igbinedion, who is also known as the "Esama" of the Kingdom is known to always covet the throne. He has reportedly impersonated the Benin monarch on a number of occasions. This and other actions of the clan aimed at whittling down the influence of the Benin Oba have been causes of acrimony between the Igbinedion dynasty and the Palace.

Observers are of the belief that Mr. Oshiohmole being the political godson of the Igbinedions will soon move against the Benin monarch. A contact very close to the Palace informed chidi opara reports that "we are trying to establish contact with the governor, if we fail, we will know what to do next".

Further checks by chidi opara reports in Benin revealed that the Igbinedions control a substantial number of members of the Edo State house of Assembly irrespective of political party affiliations and will not, according to contacts, hesistate to use them against the governor if he refuses to grant any major request from the dynasty.

"The only option now, it seems, is for well meaning prominent indigenes of the state to reconcile the Oba and the Esama", a businessman of Edo State origin volunteered to chidi opara reports in Lagos.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Another Oil War Looms In Nigeria

There appears to be an imminient oil war between the Movement For The Emancipation Of Niger Delta(MEND), which claims it is fighting to stop the long years of neglect of the oil and gas bearing region by successive Administrations, and the Joint Taskforce on security(JTF), a security taskforce created to manage the unique security imperatives in the oil and gas rich region. A previous oil war had been fought with lots of casualities on both sides, as well as serious damages to oil and gas production and loading facilities operated by the oil majors.

The first sign that another oil war is in the making was when the spokesperson of MEND, who goes by the pseudonym Jomo Gbomo in an online news release accused the JTF of planning attacks on MEND's locations on the excuse that one of its(MEND's) commanders named Boyloaf killed some security operatives. Even though some network members of chidi opara reports had noticed upbeat preparations in JTF camps in Portharcourt, Yenagoa and Warri, we had initially thought that these activities were only meant to create fear in the minds of the Niger Delta militants.

We can now report that that the JTF have completed preparations to launch another major attack on MEND's locations in the creeks. This position was partly confirmed when the JTF spokesman in Rivers State, Lt. Col. Musa Sagir recently in Portharcourt issued a warning to MEND to desist from certain actions or risk JTF attack. MEND also threatened to launch what it called "Hurricane Obama" if attacked.

Checks by chidi opara reports revealed that MEND is not in a very good fighting form presently. We learnt that immediately after the last oil war which MEND code named "Hurricane Barbarossa", the JTF, surprised that MEND could muster such level of fighting strength, continued to bombard its camps, even though the militant group had declared a unilateral ceasefire. We also gathered that these sustained attacks depleted the militant group's human and material resources consderably, resulting in MEND's current state of near comatose. "We have to sustain these attacks to completely clean up the creeks" a JTF officer told chidi opara reports.

"Anyhow the thing be, we must fight to survive", one of chidi opara reports' contacts in MEND volunteered on telephone in a not so fluent English. Further checks however, revealed that even though JTF may at the moment have advantage over MEND in men and materials, the morale of the militants who believe that they are freedom fighters is very high. "We are waiting for them here", our MEND contact concluded.

Observers are of the opinion that as it stands now, only a move towards political solution by major stakeholders in the region, which we learnt is in the offing can avert another oil war.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

chidi opara reports; One Year After.

chidi opara reports will be one year old on the 9th of December, 2008, having posted our first report on the 9th of December, 2007.

If this sounds like an editorial, which will be a violation of our policy of non presentations of editorials, e.t.c, to "avoid a preponderance of personal opinions and prejudices", we apologise for the infraction. If on the other hand, this write sounds like a self praise, we crave your indulgence to praise ourself this once in a year.

The main reason for this information coming earlier is the recent clampdown on news media, especially, news blogs going on in Nigeria, where we are based. When information about men suspected to be security operatives, making enquiries about the location of our operation base, keeps reaching us, we have no other option than to tell our story earlier. This we think is better than not telling it at all.

The journey to this destination started according to our Publisher/Editor-In-Chief, Mr. Chidi Anthony Opara, in July 2007 when on a rainy Saturday afternoon, a group of Nigerian news reporters and editors, on Mr. Opara's invitation met in "a back street hotel room in Owerri", to discuss how to actulize "a unique concept of credible internet based public information project". That meeting and follow up ones gave birth to chidi opara reports.

It has no doubt been a year of trying to cope with the difficulties of internet news publishing, bearing in mind that Nigeria is a country with very poor internet infrastructure. Another major problem have been finance. Even though network members work as volunteers, money is still needed to execute assignments. When donors show up, they give conditions which if accepted, will compromise set goals. These conditions are always and will always be rejected.

We will like to use this opportunity to first thank the Almighty God for his guidiance so far. Our gratitude also go to network members whose only motivation for taking this tedious and dangerous job is the desire to see that credible news information that do not get published for obvious reasons are published.

We will like to also use this opportunity to thank our ever increasing readers, especially, those who have taken time either to praise or condemn us. To our admirers, we promise to do better and to those who do not like what we are doing and/or how we are doing it, we promise tolerance, that is if we survive the onslaught by the Umaru Yar'Adua Administration.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Clampdown On News Media; Nigerian Presidency Changes Strategy

The Nigerian Presidency under the leadership of Mr. Umaru Yar'Adua may have changed strategy in its efforts to continue to clampdown on the Nigerian news media, especially the news blogs. The Nigerian Presidency have been on war path for some time now with the Nigerian news media establishment regarding what it likes to describe as "malicious reports about the President's health". The Nigerian President is known to be suffering from a serious major organ ailment.

Reports filed in from Abuja by some network members of chidi opara reports indicated that following the public outcry over the closure of a private television channel in Lagos and the arrest of some members of its editorial staff and the furore generated by the arrest and detention without charges of two Nigerian born, United States Of America(USA) based online news publishers, one of whom is still in detention at the time of posting this report, which we learnt gave this Administration very bad image in the international arena, Presidency strategists are now poised to exploit the legal option which according to them, "seem less controversial and more legitimate".

chidi opara reports learnt that the initial reservation within the group was how to push this option through the courts, especally, with the possibility of defendants hiring radical lawyers, who may likely want to use the forum to present facts capable of further embarassing the Government.

"This problem will soon be solved by our men in the judiciary", a strategically placed contact in the federal ministry of justice told one of our network members in Abuja. We learnt further that a system is being worked out in which any media organizaton that publish any reports the presidency considers libelous, will be sued at the Federal Capital Territory(FCT) division of the federal high court. The case will then be assigned to a member of a select group of judges, who according to our federal ministry of justice contact, "will do justice to the matter". Doing justice to the matter, chidi opara reports learnt, means deciding the case in favour of the President and awarding very high cost as damages against the defendant. "As soon as judgement is delievered, it wil be effected, even if there is an appeal", our contact further revealed. The President's first wife, Turai Yar'Adua and some Presidency hawks are however, said not to be comfortable with this option. Our information has it that they prefer the strong arm option or atleast, a combination of the two. Mrs. Yar'Adua is known to have enormous influence on the President.

It will be noted that the military regime of Ibrahim Babangida tried to use this strategy to silence the radical human rights lawyer, Mr. Gani Fawehinmi, when he tried to expose those he believed were behind the murder of his client, Mr. Dele Giwa, a journalist. It will also be noted that the President is reported to be considering taking legal action against a print news publication that recently published a report about his continually failing health condition.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Nigeria's Immediate Past President Back To Political Relevance

Nigeria's immediate past President, rtd. General Olusegun Obasanjo is back to political relevance. Obasanjo, who single handedly installed Mr. Umaru Yar'Adua as President in 2007, in what was widely described as the worst election in the annals of the country's election history was practically rendered politically irrelevant in the scheme of things thereafter.

The Yar'Adua Administration on assumption of office was hijacked by a cabal, who with the support of the President's first wife, Turai Yar'Adua cornered most major government patronages. This cabal reasoned that for it to continue to influence government policies, the Obasanjo influence must be curtailed, consequently, the first year of the President's four-year term was devoted almost entirely to reversal of most of his predecessor's policies.

"The reversals and harassments of our loyalists with anti corruption agencies and the press came to us initially as a shock, but we quickly recovered from the shock", a key Obasanjo insider informed chidi opara reports. We gathered that when "this embarassing situation" persisted, the Obasanjo group started strategising for a fightback and subsequently came up with its own survival strategies. "We started mobilizing our influential international friends, we also assembled all the damaging facts on those who wanted to render us irrelevant" the Obasanjo insider further told us.

chidi opara reports learnt authoritatively that the mobilization of Obasanjo's influential international friends would have ensured that the Yar'Adua Administration would find it almost impossible to pull through some bilateral proposals necessary for its survival. We also learnt that the Obasanjo group is in possesion of very embarassing dossiers of members the Yar'Adua cabal, as well as that of the President's immediate family, specially, his first wife. It is also believed that leftwing news blogs with Nigeria as editorial focus, though not Obasanjo's friends, will eagerly publish any factual embarassing materials on the President and members of his cabal whenever the Obasanjo group make such materials available.`

The ex President's current journey to political relevance, chidi opara reports gathered was with measured steps, "General was unusually patient, maybe because of his personal relationship with the President's extended family", our Obasanjo insider revealed. We gathered also that the retired General only felt it was time to act when his party, the ruling Peoples' Dmocratic Party(PDP) with the support of the President, amended a section of the party's constitution as it relates to the position of Chairman of Board Of Trustees(BOT), which the ex President is occupying presently. "At this point, General struck and ofcourse they called for reconciliation", another Obasanjo insider informed chidi opara reports.

We can now report that the Yar'Adua cabal have realised that after the supreme court victory which is already in the President's pocket, the major headache would have been the Obasanjo factor, which they recently realised was stonger than they thought initially.

A Presidency contact who is in position to know whispered to chidi opara reports that "the cunning retired General is back".

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Nigeria's Former Anti Corruption Commission Chief Stirs Up Disquiet In Government

The former chairman of Nigeria's Economic And Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC), Mr. Nuhu Ribadu have stirred up disquiet in government circles with a law suit instituted against the Police Service Commission(PSC), a Government agency responsible for the recruitment, promotion, e.t.c of the senior ranks cadre of the Nigerian Police force(NPF), challenging his demotion in rank.

The PSC recently demoted Mr. Ribadu from the rank of Assistant Inspector-general(AIG) to the rank of Deputy Commissioner(DC), alleging irregularity in his accelerated promotion by the immediate past Administration of rtd. General Olusegun Obasanjo. This action of the PSC was believed to be part of a scheme to force Mr. Ribadu out of the Police by some powerful persons whom he was believed to have offended while performing his duty as EFCC chairman.

Nuhu Ribadu's tenure as EFCC's Chief Executive Officer is widely regarded as a period of increased activities in Nigeria's anti corruption crusade. The Commission under him investigated and prosecuted some persons hitherto considered "sacred cows", including a former Inspector-general of Police, Mr. Tafa Balogun and some ex governors.

Earlier this year when Ribadu was nominated to attend a course at the Nigerian Institute Of Policy And Strategic Studies(NIPSS), observers saw it as a way of slowing down the anti corruption crusade which Mr. Ribadu pursued with vigour by removing him from EFCC. The subsequent action of demoting him, seemed to give credence to this belief.

A telephone interaction between chidi opara reports and a contact very close to Ribadu revealed that apart from using the law suit to draw attention to his plight in the Police force, the former anti corruption commission chief also intend to use it to draw attention to "the double standards in this Administration", the contact informed us.

chidi opara reports have independently confirmed that several attempts are being made to pressure Mr. Ribadu to drop his current line of action through some influential persons considered close to him, including former President Olusegun Obasanjo. These efforts we can report have so far not yielded any positive result. "You know very well that Nuhu is a very stubborn man". our contact further informed.

We gathered also that there was a high level scheme to withdraw Mr. Ribadu from the course before his graduation and retire him as a Deputy Commissioner, "but somehow, he got the information and the only option was to go to court", our contact further volunteered.

Our ever alert network members who are keenly monitoring the situation are of the opinion that the law suit has the potential to expose lots of uncomfortable facts about this Administration and its agencies like PSC.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Nigeria's New List Of Ministerial Nominees Keeps Changing

The new list of ministerial nominees which is supposed to have been with the Senate, Nigeria's upper legislative chamber, but which was first sent to the State Security Service(SSS) for security screening and clearance before submission to the legislators keeps changing.

The changes, Presidency contacts informed chidi opara reports is not unconnected with the tendency of many Nigerian leaders to shady lifestyles. The Nigerian President Mr. Umaru Yar'Adua recently dropped twenty of his Ministers in a widely expected cabinet reshuffle.

Inside information available to us has it that the Presidency compiled two lists, a main list and a supplementary one, with inputs from state governors, former heads of state, especially the immediate past president, rtd. general Olusegun Obasanjo and other stakeholders, the exception being rtd. General Muhammadu Buhari, the presidential candidate of All Nigeria Peoples' Party(ANPP) in the 2007 presidential election, who is still challenging the President's election at the Supreme court.

Checks in top level security circles revealed that four of the ministerial nominees could not scale through the security huddle and had to be replaced. chidi opara reports was reliably informed that two nominees from the south west, one from the south east and another one from the north central zone(names withheld for legal reasons) have so far failed the security screening.

"The exercise is progressing, we are being very diligent", a highly placed security contact in Abuja revealed to us.

Mr. Yar'Adua on his return from Saudi Arabia recently where he underwent a minor organ surgery, had hinted of a cabinet reshuffle. We learnt that as soon as the hint was dropped, lobbyists literally invaded the Presidency with resumes. Our inside information indicated that these lobbyists concentrated mainly on Ministries considered as "very lucrative", this includes the newly created Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.

These lobbyists were so powerful that "at a point there was fear in the Presidency that a final list cannot be compiled without offending some of these interests" a Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) chieftain informed one of our network members in Lagos on friday(31st october 2008). "But somehow Mr. President managed to scale the huddle", the PDP chieftain concluded.

"It is expected that the security screening will end soon, The final list will be submitted to the Senate as soon as possible" a middle level Presidency staffer who pleaded not to be named whispered to chidi opara reports.

Friday, 31 October 2008

Nigerian Government Armtwists Another News Blogger

The Nigerian Government under the leadership of Mr. Umaru Yar'Adua, who was declared President following an election which local and international monitors tagged fraudulent, is presently armtwisting another United States Of America(USA)based Nigerian news Blogger, Mr. Emmanuel Emeke Asiwe. Mr. Asiwe is the Publisher/Editor-In-Chief of

Mr. Asiwe who was arrested recently on arrival at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos and flown to Abuja is being interrogated, according to information available to chidi opara reports, "on issues of national security". "Issues of national security" have recently become an excuse with which the Nigerian establishment uses to harass journalists, especially the online segment.

A network member of chidi opara reports in Abuja, reported that the State Security Service(SSS) in their current operations method, have nothing against the online publisher "to warrant even an arrest".

The method now, according to a Senior security contact is to arrest a target, accuse him/her of being a security risk, seize his/her travel documents, threaten to arraign him/her in court for sedition and subsequently ask him/her to apologies to the President and make a commitment not to publisher further "subversive materials" against the government. The second phase, according to our information, is to release the target and his/her travel papers to a prominent Nigerian resident in Nigeria and use the person to constantly pressure the target not to be critical of government policies. "Nothing suggests that the man will not go through these processes" our security contact volunteered.

Mr. Asiwe's is a rightwing news blog. chidi opara reports however, learnt that the clampdown on news media ordered by the Nigerian President made no exception to ideological leaning. Presidency hawks, we learnt have been able to convince Mr. Yar'Adua that news blogs like are perching dangerously on the ideological fence with the likelyhood of falling to the leftwing side of the divide.

Mr. Asiwe is the second news blogger so far taken into custody without charges by the Nigerian government in october(2008).

Some men suspected to be security agents were recently making enquiries at our Publisher's hometown regarding his location.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Renewed Clampdown On News Media In Nigeria, Prelude To Supreme Court Validation Of President's Election.

The Supreme court of Nigeria, which have concluded hearing but suspended ruling indefinitely on an appeal brought to it by rtd. General Muhammad Buhari and Mr. Atiku Abubarkar, presidential candidates of All Nigeria Peoples Party(ANPP) and Action Congress(AC) respectively in the 2007 presidential election, seeking to upturn the ruling of the presidential election petition tribunal, which upheld the declaration of Mr. Umaru Yar'Adua as President by the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC), is set to validate the President's election.

Our investigation revealed that the decision of the Judges to validate the widely disputed election was not based on the fact that the President won the election or on any other solid legal grounds, but was mainly based on a blackmail tactic employed by the Presidency.

Presidency insiders have now confirmed to chidi opara reports that the office of the National Security Adviser(NSA), recently conducted a discreet probe of the Supreme court's financial allocations and expenditures for this year(2008). The probe was said to have unearthed, according to one presidency insider, "facts that are capable of rubbishing the images of the presiding judges". The probe file we learnt, have been handed over to the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) for custody.

We learnt further that the Judges concerned are aware of the existence of the file and its content, and are ready to "co-operate". In the words of another Presidency insider, "we have already won the case".

The major problem now, according to yet another Presidency insider is the news media, especially the online news publications whose investigative powess have been giving the Presidency nightmares. It was reasoned by the President's think tank that the main problem will be the ever discerning and critical Nigerian news media, especially the Internet sub-section, who in their usual ways are expected to highlight any travesty of justice. To solve this problem, think tank members we learnt, agreed to advise the President to adopt a "no nonsense" approach to matters concerning the news media, so as to send the appropriate signals to "those troublesome journalists". "Infact, as soon as you people are sufficiently tamed, the Supreme court will give the ruling, which is in our favour", one Presidency insider revealed to our reporter.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Images Of Blood Oil

Blood oil like its infamous cousin, Blood diamond, evokes memories and images of blood letting as shown above. These images were captured recently in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.

Detained Nigerian News Blogger; Freedom Deal Likely

Some hours after chidi opara reports published a report revealing the real reason why the Nigerian news blogger, Mr. Jonathan Elendu was arrested, the State Security Service(SSS), came out to announce that he was in their custody and a day after, offered him a freedom proposal. The SSS late on friday, 24th october 2008, announced officially that the detained news blogger was initially detained on issues concerning national security, which has been narrowed down to "sedition", thereby confirming our report, titled "Real Reason Why Nigerian Online News Publisher Was Arrested" which was published at about 0800hrs.(local time) on same friday and in which we revealed that the news blogger was arrested in connection with materials he was suspected to have obtained which could embarrass the government if published. Prior to our report, the news was that Mr. Elendu was arrested on suspicion of working for another Nigerian news blog.

Latest inside information available to us has it that the accuracy of our report unsettled top security leadership in Abuja, prompting the SSS announcement and the freedom offer. We have also been informed that presently, there is nothing concrete against Mr. Elendu to warrant prosecution, yet the Nigerian government intends to hang on to the sedition allegation, while looking for substantial evidences to arraign him in court. "There is a very strong suspicion that he has materials that can embarrass the government if published", one of our SSS contacts insisted. The nature and volume of these "materials", we learnt, is not known to the government. "Whatever happens, we are bent on finding out and retrieving whatever he must have gathered", our contact boasted.

chidi opara reports now know that by about noon on saturday, 25th october, 2008, Mr. Elendu, who is now being detained at an Economic And Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) guest house at the Asokoro area of Abuja, was given a written freedom proposal, which amongst other things include (1) that he would reveal and turn over to the interrogating team, all materials capable of embarrassing the government in his custody. (2)Severance of any professional relationships with any local and/or foreign news media. (3)A committment to use his news blog to advance government viewpoints and (4) a private apology to the Nigerian President. We leant that on receipt of the proposal, Mr. Elendu asked for time to study it. "It is likely that he will be arraigned if he fails to embrace this freedom proposal" our contact further volunteered.

Meanwhile, a top female journalist of Igbo origin, who is known to be close to the Presidency and two other men based in USA, whose identities we have not been able to unravel so far are presently doing the Abuja power circuits, lobbying for the release of the detained Nigerian news blogger.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Real Reason Why Nigerian Online News Publisher Was Arrested

Contrary to reports in a section of the Nigerian news media that Mr. Jonathan ELendu, the Nigerian born, United States Of America(USA) based publisher of a popular online news publication, Elendu Reports, who was arrested recently at the Nnamdi Azikiwe international airport Abuja by operatives of the State Security Service(SSS), was arrested on suspicion of working for another popular Nigerian online news publication, Sahara Reporters, chidi opara reports have unravelled the real reason why the online news publisher was arrested.

Aside from being a publisher and news reporter, Mr. Elendu is also a Public Relations(PR) consultant with bias in political image making. A contact close to him told us that "Jonathan is well connected within the Nigerian political establishment, especially amongst younger politicians". We were also informed that "he, infact makes his money mainly from writing and producing PR documentary films for these politicians" by another contact.

Checks by chidi opara reports revealed that one of Mr. Elendu's firms was recently contracted by the government of Rivers State to produce a PR documentary film to commomerate the first year anniversary of governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi. We learnt that in the course of research for materials for the film, it was suspected that Mr. Elendu may have also gathered informational materials that can be used against strategically placed government officials and their friends both in and outside Nigeria, hence the need to arrest him and find out what he actually knows. "We are suspecting that he may have gathered information about who and who are doing oil bunkering in the Niger delta for instance" a highly placed SSS contact in Abuja informed chidi opara reports. "When we got report of this development", our SSS contact continued, "we made efforts to get him but couldn't, so we kept his movements under survillance". Reminded that Mr. Elendu was arrested on suspicion of working for Sahara Reporters, our contact revealed further, "our OPS men just said that to divert attention from the real issue". The online news publisher is said to be "co-operating" and is being well treated. "If he fails to co-operate, we will hand him over to the appropriate agency for prosecution". chidi opara reports have not been able so far to unravel the mode of this co-operation.

Mr. Jonathan Elendu arguably pioneered online news publishing in Nigeria a few years ago when he teamed up with another Nigerian born, USA based civil rights activist, Mr. Omoyele Sowore to establish Mr. Sowore later resigned to establish, citing irreconcialable professional differences.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

"Blood Oil" Still Thrives In Nigeria

Blood oil, a term recently promoted by the Nigerian President as a variant of the infamous blood diamond still thrives in Nigeria, despite contrary claims by security agencies.

Like blood diamond which has been fuelling large scale armed conflicts in some West African countries like Liberia and Sierra Leone, blood oil has been identified as the main sustaining factor of the Niger Delta armed conflict, which has metamorphosed over the years from minor to major armed struggle.

When this minor conflict degenerated into a major one, the then Nigerian President, rtd. general Olusegun Obasanjo inaugurated an adhoc security agency named Joint Taskforce On Security(JTF), comprising the Army. Navy, Airforce, Police and State Security Service. Its mandate was and still is to manage the security situation in the oil rich region.

The inauguration of JTF which many thought would atleast minimized the conflict, rather maximized it. According to findings by chidi opara reports, JTF leadership rather than strategizing to stop all forms of crude oil thefts as a first step towards stopping the conflict, organizes its own rackets and in some cases, collaborate with the militants in these rackets.

A chidi opara reports' contact in the creeks revealed to us that "from time to time, JTF arrests barges which they show to you journalists, but they wont show you the big vessels that illegally load atleast four thousand metric tons of crude oil each, on the high sea, almost on daily basis, settles JTF and disappear". "Although the vessel owners", the contact continued, "also pay the militants and we, the kelebes". Kelebe is an alias for informers.

Checks also revealed that Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation(NNPC) key officials are also neck deep into crude oil theft. The big vessels used for the rackets are not registered with the Corporation as required by law, yet they get loaded with forcados thick crude oil by NNPC engineers, pay seven naira per barrel to JTF as security fees and sail. NNPC topshots usually collect their shares of these rackets in advance through offshore bank accounts.

Procurement of arms and ammunitions used by the militants to protect their territories is one area of collaboration between the JTF, the militants and the illegal crude oil bunkering syndicates. Militants according to checks make their fortunes by collecting protection fees from crude oil bearing vessels passing through their territories. A substantial part of these fees are paid with arms and ammunitions. We gathered that the JTF security fees used to be five naira per barrel of oil loaded, but was recently increased to seven naira to accomodate movements of arms and ammunitions.

In the words of a JTF officer, "nobody kills a cash cow". The Niger Delta conflict have indeed become a cash cow for the JTF, the militants and the big time crude oil thieves.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Nomination Of Ministers Of Niger Delta Affairs Stalls Cabinet Reshuffle

The reshuffle of the President Umaru Yar'Adua cabinet which has been on the card for some time, may not take place now, except if the political intrigues, arm twisting and horse trading, thrown up by the creation of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs are resolved.

The President in a move, according to Presidency officials, targeted at finding a lasting solution to the problems of the long neglected oil rich region had created a Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs. The creation of the Ministry elicited varied reactions from observers, while some hailed the move as a step in the right direction, others described it as capable of creating more problems, while a section of observers approached the issue cautiously. The Movement For The Emancipation Of Niger Delta(MEND) had in an online news release, advised caution in celebrating the creation of the Ministry.

chidi opara reports learnt that as soon as the Ministry was created, various interest groups moved into Abuja to lobby for slots in the potentially "lucrative" Ministry. The Ministry like others will likely have two Ministers, one senior, the other junior. The concentration of the lobbyists, according to knowledgeable contacts in Abuja is on the senior Ministerial slot.

The first set of lobbyists were ex-governors James Ibori, Peter Odili, Donald Duke and Dieyepriye Alamesigha. We can authoritatively report that Ibori and Alamesigha wanted the position for themselves, but have not been able to independently confirm whether Odili and Duke wanted the position for themselves or for their political godsons/daughters.

Other groups lobbying for these Ministerial slots are influential ethnic leaders from the Niger Delta region, as well as influential youth leaders from the oil bearing zone.

very rich business men and women from other zones in the country, whose main interests are in oil and gas are also said to be lobbying to nominate Niger deltans whom they can use to advance their business interests.

The activities of these lobbyists, according to presidency contacts is what is delaying the cabinet reshuffle, contrary to news media reports. "Mr. President cannot afford to offend these powerful interests, so he is still consulting" a Presidency contact whispered to chidi opara reports.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Nigerian Economy And The Global Financial Squeeze

The global financial squeeze which have already adversely affected world class finance giants like American Insurance Group(AIG), lehman Brothers Holdings Incorporated, Merriyll Lynch and others is having its effects on the already weak base of the Nigerian economy.

This financial slide was triggered off in the United States Of America(USA) by a meltdown on the mortgage industry. At present, the USA government have doled out over seventy billion dollars to save its major finance institutions from bankcruptcy.

The squeeze is also noticeable in other renowned global financial centres like London, where the FTSE 100 Index suffered a record slide recently, Tokyo, Sydney, Seoul and Shanghai, where Indices also recorded serious slides.

The first casuality in Nigeria is the price of bonny light crude oil which is equivalent of the north sea brent crude oil, which dropped to slightly above eighty-six dollars per barrel. Even though this price is well above the benchmark on which the 2008 budget proposal was anchored, federal government officials however, fear that further slumps will affect the size of the excess crude oil account with which the government finances recurrent budget deficits. Oil and gas are the mainstay of the Nigerian economy.

At the Nigerian Stock Exchange(NSE), share prices have continued to fall, resulting into huge losses for investors, officials of NSE have been intervening to save the market and by extension, the economy. Brainstorming sessions, chidi opara reports learnt are still on to work out new ways to contain the situation.

In the private sector, major Nigerian banks, who in the bid to globalize their operations, partnered with big ofshore Finance Institutions have had their partners withdrawing Investments in anticipation of a complete shutdown of the country's economy. One of the consequences of this, chidi opara reports was authoritatively informed, is that industry giants who usually depend on finances from these outlets to stay in business, will have to either downsize or shutdown operations with the resultant consequences to the economy of the Nation.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Nigeria's Ruling Class In Desperate Move To Stifle Freedom Of Information

The Nigerian ruling class have recently made a desperate move to stifle freedom of information which they see as inimical to their survival. This class is largely seen as a group that survives mainly on not so transparent state patronages.

this recent move was made through an amendment proposal to the Freedom Of Information(FOI) bill routed through the Nigerian upper legislative chamber, the Senate. The life of the FOI which was first sent to the national Assembly in 1999 with the aim of enhancing access to information have been a very chequered one. The current President of the Senate is a very rich retired general and a former military governor and minister.

The amendment proposal which is seen in informed circles as an attempt to stifle freedom of information proposes that any seeker of information will first apply to a state or federal court to prove that the information will not compromise national security if disclosed. Even at that, a public official, according to the amendment proposal clause which chidi opara reports sighted, can refuse to disclose such information if he/she thinks that it will compromise national security if made public.

The FOI bill had been passed into law by the legislative regime preceeding the current one but was vetoed by the then President Olusegun Obasanjo who was installed into power for the second time in 1999 by the retired military generals segment of the Nigerian ruling class in the heat of nationwide agitations for civilian democratic rule, to protect the interest of this class, who are believed to be plundering the commonwealth of the Nation since independence.

The FOI bill has however, been listed severally for discussions in this dispensation. It was sent to the relevant committee twice last year(2007).President Umaru Yar'Adua, son of a former Minister, younger sibling of a former military Vice-president and a prince of the Katsina royal house, who was installed as President by Olusegun Obasanjo in an election tagged as flawed by local and foreign election monitors is believed to be behind the current travail of the FOI bill.

Chidi opara reports gathered that influential segments of the Nigerian ruling class view the bill in its original format as having the potential to enhance the already huge influence of the critical Nigerian news media, especially the internet sub-sector if passed into law. The Nigerian ruling class is seen at home and abroad as very corrupt, resulting largely in the country being listed as the 125th most corrupt country in the world.

In the light of the snail speed court processes in Nigeria, bringing in the courts into the process of accessing official information have been seen by critical observers as a way of making the process cumbersome, to discourage seekers of information. It is also believed that custodians of official information, majority of whom are career civil servants will always act according to the promptings of political office holders, who are usually installed into these offices to protect class interests.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Rivers State Political Gladiators Shift Battle To EFCC And News Media

The political warfare which have been fought on many fronts since the Rivers State governor, Mr. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi was declared the duely elected governor of the oil rich state by the Supreme court of Nigeria last year(2007) have shifted to the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) and the news media.

Ever since the Supreme court gave the controversial verdict which many observers described as a judicial coup, the political configuration in the state have been divided into two major camps. While the governor leads one camp based in Portharcourt, a former governor of the state, Dr. Peter Odili, known to be the incumbent governor's political godfather is leading the other camp based in Abuja.

What sparked off the current battle was an alleged move by the Abuja group to use the EFCC against the portharcourt group and a news report published by some newspapers and a popular news website, alleging that one of the close aides of the Governor, who is currently undergoing interrogation at EFCC had opened an account with a fictitious name in one of the banks in portharcourt, through which money belonging to the state government is allegedly being transfered into the governor's private purse. The report continued that when the account was discovered by the EFCC, a notice was given to the bank for its freezing. The report further alleged that the governor's aide moved quickly to convert it to a government account after withdrawing a hefty sum.

Investigations in Portharcourt by chidi opara reports revealed that when the news broke, the Portharcourt based group who are already trying to make in roads into EFCC wih the aim of having its own contacts therein, concluded that this is another weapon of its opponents. It therefore intensified efforts to penetrate the anti-corruption commission. We learnt that the Portharcourt group have in the meantime drafted its own news media attackers into the new battle grounds. An equally popular news website which the governor's group patonizes have already published what observers believed was a hatchet job.

Rivers state is reputed to be a major oil and gas producing state in Nigeria. This position also confers on it the position of the richest state in the country. A cross section of analysts who have been following keenly, the political bullfighting in the state, whom chidi opara reports spoke to, posited that there are no altrustic motives behind these fights. "They are only aiming at the commonwealth of the people", a lecturer in the Faculty of Humanites at the University of Portharcourt, who did not want his name published told one of our reporters yesterday(6th october,2008)at the University's senior staff club.

chidi opara reports can now report that both camps have literally invaded security and news media circuits with hefty cash to recruit influencial security and news media topshots to be used in a forthcoming political battle that appears to have the colour of a battle royale.

As the drumbeat of this battle continues to sound, the words of a female civil servant whom our reporter met at the Rivers State secreatariat complex, continues to echo. "Everybody seems to have forgotten us the common people" she complained.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Nigerian-German Security Conference And Workshop Debuts In October,2008 In Abuja

Apart from economic problems, the other major problem facing the Nigerian Nation is security, especially in the oil hub, Niger Delta region, where a group of disgruntled young men and women, armed with sophisticated destructive weapons wreck havoc almost on daily basis on oil and gas facilities and kidnap both expatriates and Nigerians for ransom. Oil and gas are the bedrocks of the Nation's economy.

Aside from the Niger delta security problem, there is also the serious twin issues of armed robbery and assasinations. This year(2008), have already recorded a considerable number of violent robberies and assasinations which have projected Nigeria to offshore investors as unsafe for investment.

The equally serious issue of cultism, especially in the Nation's institutions of learning cannot be overlooked. Virtually all the secondary and tertiary institutions of learning in Nigeria have atleast five deadly cult groups operating therein. Members of these cult groups provide ready manpower base for the recruiters of armed robbers, militants and assasins. The security implications of these developments which have considerably stretched the resources of Nigerian security apparatuses over the years are obvious.

The need to arrest this situation and thereby engender adequate security in Nigeria, prompted a corporate German citizen and friend of Nigeria, BA Enterprises, through its Nigerian arm, Bodyguard Academy(BA)Consultancy(Nigeria)Limited, in co-operation with the Nigeria-German Business Association(NGBA) to organize a two-day security conference and workshop it tagged "1st Nigerian-German Security Conference, Abuja 2008" to be held on 24th and 25th october, 2008 at Bolingo hotel and tower.

The Managing Director/CEO of the organizing firm, Mr. Thorsten .M. Moeller in an online interaction with chidi opara reports, said that the firm have lined up resource persons as speakers. One of the speakers will be the Chief operating officer of NGBA, Mr. Jaiye Doherty who will discuss opportunities of business develpoment between Nigeria and Germany.

Other speakers include; Brice De Ron, with more than ten years experience in planning, development and production of custom made security/tracking solutions. Peter Kozany, with more than six years experience in developing and building armoured vehicles. Dirk Grube, with more than eleven years experience as close protection officer for government and private personnels in hostile environments. Stanoje Bimbasic, with more than five years experience in operative risk and fraud management, especially in banking and Thorsten .M. Moeller, with more than ten years experience in military reconnaisance and training.

The conference and workshop according to the organizers, will help in further strengthening the cordial relationship between Nigeria and Germany, especially in the area of business development.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Rivers State Government To Establish Statistics Department

The Government of Rivers State of Nigeria will soon establish a statistics department as part of its efforts to ensure accountability. This statistics department will be designed to help government to ascertain accurate data in the planning process of government business.

The government of the main oil producing state in Nigeria is also working with a major Nigerian commercial Bank, Zenith Bank Plc to undertake payroll audit of all Ministries and Departments to ascertain the exact statistics of the workforce in the employ of the State Government.

These revelations were made in Portharcourt recently by the Chief Executive Officer of the State, Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi at a workshop on Economic Empowerment. The Governor who delievered the keynote address at the occasion also revealed that documentation plan for each Ministry, as well as the re-validation of certificates of ocupancy will soon commence.

The State Chief Executive Officer also used the occasion to highlight some of his developmental programmes, which he said included: (1)Building of new primary schools across the State. (2)Building of five health centres in each Local Government Area of the State. (3)Construction of a nineteen kilometre mono rail in Portharcourt on Public-Private Partnership(PPP) basis. (4)Establishment of four libraries in Portharcourt to encourage reading culture, and (5)sponsorship of thirty youths to Republic of Benin, who have already been trained on the Songhai farm model.

Governor Amaechi finally promised to provide a conducive environment for the people of the State to enhance themselves through the various empowerment programmes initiated by the State Government.

In a similar development, the Rivers State helmsman urged Moslems in the State to join hands with him in rebuilding and repositioning the State to meet the aspirations of a developing market economy.
The Governor who made this call in a message on the occasion of Id-El-Fitre celebrattions advised residents and indigenes of Rivers State to be committed to the task of developing the State. He affirmed that his Administration is doing a lot to transform the State and solicited for the support and understanding of all stakeholders.

Oil War: JTF Intensifies Heat On MEND.

The Joint Taskforce on security(JTF) in the Niger Delta region have taken the oil war declared recently by the Movement For The Emancipation Of Niger Delta(MEND) to a new height.

MEND had declared an all out war it code named "Hurricane Barbarossa" whose main aim was to sabotage oil and gas facilities in the creeks of the oil rich region following what it claimed was unprovoked multi-faceted attacks on one of its camps in Rivers State by the JTF. The adhoc security apparatus then debunked the claim, insisting that one of its marine units was on routine patrol on the waterways, when it was attacked by a MEND unit and had to respond.

The oil war which lasted barely one week resulted into casulties on both sides, with each side exaggerating the other side's casualties and downplaying its own. The main casualties were however, oil and gas platforms, which were considerably destroyed, resulting into a considerable reduction in production outputs, which in turn resulted into reduction in revenue earning for the Nigerian Nation whose economic mainstay is revenue from oil and gas. MEND subsequently declared a unilateral ceasefire.

This development roused the Nigerian Presidency who have hitherto treated the issue of militancy in the Niger Delta region as a minor internal problem, into action, resulting into an order to the Defence Headquarters "to find a lasting military solution to the problem". This order to a lay person may not mean much, but top military contacts whom chidi opara reports spoke to, said that the order is equivalent to a declaration of war.

Our investigations revealed that when the new Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshall Paul Dike visited the restive region recently, what he saw moved him to order "immediate and complete routing of the militants", a mandate that is said to be broader than the former rule of engagement on which JTF was operating. JTF have however, denied this, but strategically placed contacts at the Defence headquarters insist that the adhoc security body's rule of engagement have been expanded.

"They were having upper hand because the former Chief of Defence who is their brother refused to give us order and weapons to clear them, now that their brother is no longer there, let us see how they can out gun us", a JTF unit commander boasted to one of our reporters.

We learnt authoritatively that there is presently, massive deployment of troops and equipments as well as continous bombardment of militants' camps especially in Rivers State. The heat we further learnt have resulted in hurried movements of militants to relatively calm places like Ondo and Cross River States.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Three Nigerian News Websites Receive Funds From A Private CIA Affiliate Agency; Says Preliminary Security Report.

A recent order by President Umaru Yar'Adua to the Nigerian security apparatus to probe the ownership structure and funding of some Nigerian news websites have started yielding revelations.

A preliminary investigations report turned in by the probing body indicated that three of these online news publications(names withheld for legal reasons), are being funded by a private foreign intelligence agency(name also withheld for legal reasons), with strong affiliations to the United States Of America's(USA) Central intelligence Agency(CIA).

According to the preliminary investigations report, one of the three online publications based in USA have not received funds from this agency for the past three months, this is attributed to the fact that the funding agency discovered that the Publisher have been making attempts to get into the good books of the Nigerian Presidency through a top female Nigerian journalist. The other two also based in USA are still receiving funds from the private intelligence agency, the report hinted.

chidi opara reports also learnt that the report traced the real ownership of these e-news publications to a National Democratic Coalition(NADECO) cell that is still secretly active in Europe and America. Two of the Publishers according to the report may not know the real ownership of their publications and the actual source of funds, while the third is said to be fully aware of this arrangement. This third Publisher, according to the report have been directly and indirectly involved in founding, operations and funding of the two other publications.

"These websites are sometimes fed with half truths by their secret service friends, who are here as diplomats, to create tension, so that they can take enough crude oil", a contact inside the investigating body hinted to chidi opara reports.

We also learnt authoritatively that the President was livid with anger when he saw the preliminary investigations report. The oath of secrecy administered to government officials recently is one of the President's reactions to the matter. The President was also said to have ordered speedy conclusion of the investigations and have instructed the National Security Adviser(NSA) to order all sections of the Nation's security establishment "to identify and cover loopholes of strategic information leakages". The President we learnt will in the interim, step up diplomatic pressures on the government of USA to stop the private intelligence agency from releasing more funds to these e-news publications.

A security analyst based in Lagos who spoke to us on condition of anonynmity, volunteered that "Journalists are within the catchment recruitment segments of CIA".

Monday, 22 September 2008

Garden City(Portharcourt) Literary Festival Opening Soon

Portharcourt, capital city of oil rich Rivers state and the garden city of Nigeria will take time off from its current image of cults and militants enclave to host the cream of national and international literati in a festival tagged "Garden City Literary Festival" being organized by the Rainbow Book club and Rivers State Government, in conjunction with the University of Portharcourt, British council and others, between wednesday, the 24th and saturday, the 27th of september, 2008 at the University of Portharcourt campus.

Going by press releases on its website, the festival which has the Governor of Rivers State, Mr. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi as the Guest of Honour and the Vice-chancellor of University of Portharcourt, Prof. Don Baridam as host, will be attended by prominent literary figures like: Wole Soyinka, Elechi Amadi, Kaine Agary, Petrina Crockford, Kofi Awoonor, Okey Ndibe and Others.

The programe of events include; opening ceremony, reading/interactive session with Wole Soyinka, open readings and book signing on the first day. The second day will feature, symposium, workshops, reading/interactive session with Kofi Awoonor, fiction, non fiction/journalism and literary evening. The programe of the third day is; reading/interactive session with Elechi Amadi, workshops, fiction, non fiction/journalism, etc. The final day will feature; special students' session, workshops, publishing seminar, etc.

chidi opara reports gathered independently that the Rivers State goverment is poised to use the festival to further acquire positive public image. We also gathered that the online registration to the event have thrown up unexpected challenges to the organizers who did not envisage such level of interest. Contacts within the organizing committee however, told us that "the challenges are being managed".