Sunday, 6 January 2008

FIVE STAR HOTEL IN PORTHARCOURT NIGERIA PAY PROTECTION FEES TO MILITANT LEADER

Inspite of media reports that the 1st january,2008 early morning attack on the luxurious five star hotel presidential in Portharcourt,capital city of Rivers state of Nigeria,being managed by the Chargourys,was a reprisal attack by a militant group,a source in Portharcourt whispered to us that the attack was actually as a result of failed personal financial relationship between the management of the hotel and the leader of a militant group.

The hotel management, according to the source had placed the leader of the group on a monthly allowance of ten million naira,but the allowance was however, stopped in october,2007 with the hotel management giving no reason for that.

All threats, according to the source, by the leader of the group to the hotel management were ignored, prompting the militant leader who is already aggrieved by other developments to include the hotel in the list of targets to be attacked.

Following renewed upsurge in activities of militants in Niger delta region of Nigeria, companies in Portharcourt,Nigeria's major oil city have allegedly been paying protection fees to militant groups. The payments are always negotiated and paid through community liaison officers(C.L.Os)in the employ of these companies.

The thinking that informs this approach is that since militant groups can attack anytime, anyhow, anywhere, and have on some occasions killed law enforcement officers, relying on law enforcement agencies for protection is not a very safe strategy,the source further explained.

Peace meetings between the federal government of Nigeria and Niger delta region stakeholders, which includes militant groups, recently collapsed with Niger delta stakeholders accusing the federal government of insincerity.

Most oil and gas major and sub-contracting companies, as well as blue chip business concerns are located in Portharcourt.

An e-mail sent to the management of hotel presidential Portharcourt for comments have not been replied so far, but the spokesperson of MOVEMENT FOR THE EMANCIPATION OF NIGER DELTA(MEND),"Jomo Gbomo" when contacted via e-mail, replied that "there is no truth in the report".

WHAT NIGERIAN PRESIDENT DISCUSSED WITH ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL CRIMES AGENCY CHIEF.

Contrary to widely held belief that the recent meeting in Aso rock Presidential villa between the Nigerian President, Mr. Umar Yar'Adua and Mr. Nuhu Ribadu, that country's economic and financial crimes agency chief,centered on Mr. Ribadu's nomination to attend a one-year- course, we can now reveal that the close door meeting was actually arranged by a prominent first class traditional ruler from northern Nigeria to persuade Mr. Ribadu not to leak damaging dossiers he has on prominent politicians and traditional rulers, including the president, to the press and the international community.

Presidency sources informed us that Mr.Ribadu anticipated his removal and had used the instruments of his office to gather dossiers on prominent politicians and traditional rulers, especially the president and members of his extended family.The president was a state governor between 1999 and 2007, while his late elder brother was military vice- president between 1976 and 1979.

When Mr. Ribadu's removal was broached, according to sources,the economic and financial crimes fighter who learnt of this development through one of his numerous informers in the presidency,threatened through a proxy to leak the dossiers he has to the press and international community.This threat according to sources was taken seriously by the presidency.

It is in a bid, sources continued, to find a middle course between the intense pressure by political associates of the president to remove the economic and financial crimes agency chieftain and Mr. Ribadu's threat that necesitated the meeting which ended with no concessions made so far by either party.Presidency and economic and finanacial crimes commission officials have neither confirmed nor denied this reports so far, even though attempts have been made to reach both parties for comments.

Mr. Ribadu, an assisitant inspector- general of police, was last month nominated by police authority to attend a one-year course at the prestigious Nigerian institute of policy and strategic studies(NIPSS).The course is mandatory for police officers of Mr. Ribadu's rank.

The nomination has since been approved by the president, but this nomination and approval is generally seen as a ploy to remove Mr. Ribadu from the agency he heads.

The agency is currently investigating and prosecuting some former state governors for economic and financial crimes.Most of these former state governors undergoing investigations and prosecutions belong to the president's political party and are believed to have financed his election with part of the funds they looted from the public treasury.