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.