Sunday, 29 June 2008

Nigeria On The Verge Of Disintergration

If adequate caution is not applied, Nigeria, the geo-political entity put together in 1914 for administrative purposes by a British colonial officer, Lord Luggard, may soon disintergrate.

This disturbing fact was unearthed from reports filed by our reporters in Kaduna, Kano, Enugu, Owerri, Portharcourt, Warri, Ibadan and Lagos.

chidi opara reports gathered in Portharcourt and Warri, that leaders of Niger Delta region are not happy with the recent deployment of troops and naval warships to the region, a situation that have made some of the civil population to leave their homelands. The Niger Delta conference is another source of anger to the leaders of the region. The thinking within the ranks of these leaders is that "the conference is unnecesary". They have however, packaged an "alternative proposal to be forwarded to the Presidency and the National Assembly". Highlights of the proposal, obtained by chidi opara reports, are "resource control" and "creation of more states and local government Areas in the region". The body language of the Niger Delta leaders indicate no compromise on the proposal.

In Kaduna and Kano, chidi opara reports found out that leaders of the North, who appear to have profound hold on the Presidency, are of the opinion that enough have already been done for the Niger Delta, whose under development they opine, should be blamed on the leaders of the oil bearing region. In the thinking of Northern leaders, the Presidency should apply the military and legal options, "if the leaders of Niger Delta cannot call their youths to order". These Northern leaders we can now report, have informally resolved to monitor the proposed Niger Delta conference, with the aim of calling out their youths for agitations, "if the conference recommendations give the Niger Delta advantage over the North".

The position of the leaders of South-West in Ibadan and Lagos are not very clear. In some cases, they will go with the Niger Delta, while in some, their sympathy will go with the North. They are however, said not to be averse to mobilizing their youths for a showdown, "should the agitation in Niger Delta be resolved in favour of violence".

Despite the often mentioned materialistic disposition of the leaders of South-East, chidi opara reports discovered in Enugu and Owerri that the leaders are increasingly becoming converted to the gospel of using violence as an instrument of political negotiations. These south eastern leaders, though not showing open support for the Biafra agitation, have vowed "not to discourage them if they start anything again".

What all these point to, according to a strategically placed security source is that "Nigeria may soon disintergate".

Monday, 23 June 2008

Nigeria's Security Leadership Warned Of Oil Attacks

The recent spate of attacks on crude oil platforms by the MOVEMENT FOR THE EMANCIPATION OF NIGER DELTA(MEND), may not have come as a surprise to JOINT TASKFORCE ON SECURITY(JTF) field operations commanders.

A detailed report, submitted to the top echelon of Nigeria's security leadership earlier this year(2008), made available to chidi opara reports, warned of massive stockpiling of sophisticated weaponry by the various militant groups in Nigeria's Niger delta region. The document also revealed a massive well co-ordinated clandestine militants recruitment drive. The report marked "RESTRICTED", dated 17th january, 2008 and signed by a middle level JTF field commander, revealed further that the main concentration of militant groups are at Nanabie and Igbomina Islands of Rivers State. Nanabie, according to the report, is in the Opobo Area, while Igbomina is said to be in the Andoni/Bonny axis. The document went further to reveal that Okerenkoko community in Delta State still hosts a sizeable number of militants, while Doulse Island in Rivers state is the new domain of Mr. Tom Ateke, a dreaded militant who was driven out of his Okirika, Rivers State domain in december, 2007, by the JTF. Ateke is said to be operating "camp one and two" on the Island. The report ended with recommending "beachlanding operations" "to rout the militants and to mop up their weapons". A top level security personnel who evaluated the document for chidi opara reports, certified it genuine.

A JTF source volunteered that the major reason for the kid glove approach to fighting militancy in the Niger delta region is because "most of our big men are involved in illegal oil bunkering". If full scale military action is ordered, our source continued, "we will destroy all their bunkering vessels".

There have been an increase in incidences of bombing attacks on Nigeria's crude oil platforms in the Niger delta, with MEND claiming responsibilites in most of the attacks.

It will be recalled that the Presidency's reaction to these attacks was an order to JTF to find and apprehend the perpetrators of the acts.

MEND have however, dismissed the order as unserious and subsequenly, declared a unilateral ceasefire, effectve from tuesday, 24th june, 2008.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Nigeria's President Moves Against Major Ethnic Bloc

The widely known political marginalization of the Igbos, a major ethnic bloc, inhabiting south-eastern Nigeria by successive Administrations, have been driven a notch higher by the Administration of Mr. Umaru Yar'Adua.

At the onset of the present Administration, the Igbos, in the thick of high stake political horsetrading, lost strategic political positions to the other ethnic blocs, the Hausa/Fulanis got the position of President, the Ijaws, got the Vice-President, the Yorubas, speaker of the House of Representatives, Nigeria's lower Parliament, the Idomas, President of the Senate, Nigeria's upper parliament. The Igbos only clinched the less strategic position of Deputy Senate President.

"Our hope was that Yar'Adua will favour us with appointments", a prominent Igbo traditional ruler whispered to chidi opara reports. This hope was dashed when the President "began to appoint only his kinsmen in important positions", a bitter middle level civil servant in Umuahia, Abia State, complained.

Apart from the Foreign Minister, Mr. Ojo Maduekwe, whose position we were informed, "is presently shaky" and Mrs. Madueke, the Transport Minister, "whose portfolio may be reduced", no Igbo is presently occupying a strategic position in this dispensation. Mrs Madueke is an Ijaw by birth.

A Presidency source informed chidi opara reports that Professor Chukwuma Soludo, the Central Bank governor, an Igbo "will soon be pressured to resign".

Since the end of the civil war, led by Rtd. Lt. Col. Emeka Ojukwu, an Igbo in 1970, the Igbos have complained of marginalization in all spheres of life in Nigeria. Ojukwu, a self acclaimed leader of the Igbos recently criticised Yar'Adua, accusing him of nepotism.

The Yar'Adua Administration is recently being widely criticised for concentrating appointments to strategic positions on his Hausa/Fulani ethnic bloc.

Ethnicity is still a major issue in Nigerian politics.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Rumbling In Biafra Movement; The Real Story

The recent rumbling in the MOVEMENT FOR THE ACTUALIZATION OF SOVERIGN STATE OF BIAFRA(MASSOB), an organization fighting for the actualization of the defunct Republic of Biafra, which resulted in the resignation of the organization's acting director of information, Mr. David MacDavies, have deepened with officials pointing accusing fingers in the direction of Rtd. Lt. Col. Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, the progenitor of Biafra. Ojukwu is a folk hero amongst the Igbos of South-Eastern Nigeria, where MASSOB is fighting to re-establish Biafra.

Some MASSOB officials who spoke to chidi opara reports on condition of annonymity, apparently for fear of reprisal, explained that MASSOB, unknown to them at the onset, was formed by Ojukwu, through the Biafra foundation, to arm twist the Federal Government of Nigeria to "service his political and business interests". We have not been able so far to independently confirm this.

These officials further revealed that Ojukwu advised Mr. Ralph Uwazuruike, the MASSOB leader, recently to soft pedal on the Biafra agitation, since the Federal Government under President Yar'Adua, does not meddle in the affairs of Anambra State like the immediate past administration. Ojukwu hails from the state, and is believed to be very close to the governor, Mr. Peter Obi, who won the governorship on the platform of ALL PROGRESSIVES GRAND ALLIANCE(APGA), Ojukwu is the national leader of APGA.

The acting director of information of MASSOB, recently called a press conference at which he announced his resignation, citing betrayal of the agitation by the leader of the group as his main reason.

Attempts by chidi opara reports to establish contacts with Ojukwu and/or Uwazuruike for comments have so far proved abortive.

An e-mail sent to Biafra foundation has not been replied at the time of posting this report.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Confirmation Of Nigeria's Anti-Corruption Commission Chief; Immediate Past President's Men Demand Concession

The grandstanding of the Nigerian Senate regarding the assumption of duty of the newly appointed chairperson of the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC), Mrs. Farida Waziri will appear to less discerning minds as an adherence to due process, but reliable information reaching chidi opara reports, points to the contrary. Mrs. Waziri was prevented from assuming duty at the Commission by the Senate, who insisted that her appointment must be confirmed by the upper legislative body before she can assume duty, even on acting capacity.

chidi opara reports learnt that the pro-Obasanjo elements in the Senate, having watched with keen interest the informal policy of "pull Obasanjo down at all cost" in the Presidency, being co-ordinated by secreatary to the federal government, Mr. Babagana Kingibe, and sensing that the change of guard at the anti-corruption Commission is part of the policy, decided to use their numerical strength and influence to stall Mrs. Waziri's assumption of duty, till there is "a solid" assurance that the Commission will not prosecute the immediate ex-President and/or any of his allies, "even if the probes unearth enough evidences". The pro-Obasanjo elements control the leadership of the Senate.

A pro-Obasanjo Senator who pleaded not to be named told chidi opara reports that " we are settling our differences with her". One of the attempts at settling these differences we can now reveal, was a meeting between Mrs Waziri's emissaries and some pro-Obasanjo Senators in the early hours of sunday, june 1st, 2008 at Osun state lodge in Abuja. The out come of the meeting was not known to us at the time of posting this report.

A national Assembly source when approached for information on the Farida Waziri saga, simply volunteered that "she may be confirmed any time from now".

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Inefficiency Mars Operations Of Adhoc Security Body In Nigeria's Oil Region

The operations of the Joint Taskforce(JTF) on security in Nigeria's Niger Delta region, comprising the Army, Navy, Airforce, Police and the State Security Service, established by the Olusegun Obasanjo administration to take over the problematic security situation in the region, occassioned by militant activities, is presently being marred by inefficiency.

This inefficiency may have emboldened criminal elements in the region, who now operate under the guise of being militants, to attack security personnels. Recently, at the ever busy waterlines junction in the heart of Portharcourt, Rivers state, Nigeria's major oil state, hoodlums stopped and shot dead a soldier riding a motocycle in broad daylight. The junction is less than a kilometre from the JTF main base.

A JTF source told chidi opara reports that gross lack of funds have resulted into dearth of essential operations equipments like gunboats and helicopter gunships. Our source further volunteered that the "few outdated" gunboats available are being used to "escort oil companies' barges and tugboats". These companies we gathered, pay handsomely for this service. We were however, not able so far, to independently confirm this. Funding, according to our source, have been left solely for the state governors in the region.

chidi opara reports, also reliably gathered that JTF operatives are not well trained in modern rifle usage. We learnt that the standard basic proceedure in modern rifle usage is that every rifle user is supposed to "zero" his rifle. This means that the rifle should be configured to the user's requirements for every operation. This proceedure, which we learnt have not been in practice in JTF is usually learnt during "Range Classification" training sessions.

When chidi opara reports sought the comments of JTF spokesman, Lt. Col. Musa Sagir, he said that the fact that there is relative peace in the Niger Delta region, especially in Rivers State, means that JTF is still efficient. He explained further that the JTF is fighting an "asymentrical warfare", which means that "your enemy knows your position, while you dont know his", this type of warfare, according to him, is usually more tasking than the conventional one. On operations equipments, the JTF spokesman said that the Army, Navy, Airforce, Police and State Security service operations equipments are all at the disposal of JTF. He disclosed that escort services for oil and gas companies are part of JTF brief. These companies, according to Lt. Col. Sagir, only pay duty allowances to the operatives used for the service. He concluded by saying that "Range classification trainings are standard proceedures in the military and in other para-military bodies, which JTF operatives are part of".