Monday, 29 June 2009
The sincerity of the government of Nigeria came into question again on Friday, June 26, 2009 after the Interior Minister, General Godwin Abbe (rtd) informed the nation that the release of a sick Henry Okah would now depend on consultations with the dictators and despots ruling Angola and Equatorial Guinea.
The minister also lied when he said Okah traveled to Equatorial Guinea. The fact is that Mr Henry Okah has never set foot in that country; not even as an airport transit passenger.
In the case of Angola, the authorities in that country had severally wanted to release Okah and Atatah because they had no case to answer, but were prevented by the Nigerian ambassador in Angola from doing so.
It is important to remember that Edward Atatah, arrested together with Henry in Angola has long been set free because nothing incriminating came out of that business trip. If it were true that Okah went to purchase weapons as claimed, then Edward would not have been set free because both men traveled together to inspect the fishing trawler in Luanda, Angola which Henry wanted to purchase.
Many Nigerians are unhappy that the Yar'Adua government has brushed aside the call for inquiry into the extra-judicial murder on 08/08/08 of Messrs Boma Green and Stanley Pepple by the JTF in Bonny, Rivers state.
The fact they have not seen reason to investigate the killings that was caught on tape means that the perpetrators have been given a license to kill innocent civilians. The region is not safe in the hands of such licensed armed killers called the JTF who we understand are now threatening the families to shut up or risk being killed.
The government should use part of the 50 billion Naira amnesty fund as compensation to the families of these men since they left behind children that must be educated and wives that must survive with a trade.
A fraction of what was wasted for travels, hotels, allowances and entertainment by the Niger Delta Technical Committee whose report has joined the long list of shelved reports since 1960 could have gone a long way in helping the two families.
Justice for the two men will become an integral part of any future negotiations we will have with the government until the perpetrators of that evil act are brought to book.
If successful, the on-going amnesty exercise directed at repentant criminals in the Niger Delta region will no doubt create an enabling environment for dealing with the Niger Delta question which freedom fighting groups such as MEND is waging.
It will separate the wheat from the chaff and allow the government to focus on the root issues instead of tying militancy with criminality as an excuse for not addressing the grievances of the Niger Delta people.
Because criminals in other parts of Nigeria may hijack the struggle again after the region is rid of them, we call on political thugs, armed robbers, kidnappers, pirates etc from other states in Nigeria to take advantage of the governments offer by traveling to one of the centers in the Niger Delta and trade their weapons for amnesty.
Come with the whole gang and get rehabilitated with gains of free education, money to start legitimate businesses etc. This is a unique opportunity in a country where so many graduates can not find jobs and girls no longer marry for love. Remember to use a name that strikes terror, like Osama bin Laden, 9/11, Taliban, Mujaheddin etc.
The certificate the Inspector General of Police (IGP) will personally hand over will be your life saver. One last thing. Take a picture shaking hands with the IGP as proof, frame the picture and leave it on your car dash board to avoid future harassment by the police at illegal road blocks.
We hope that after this exercise is over the government will begin a genuine bilateral peace process with the involvement of the international community and every stakeholder to address the agitation of the region such as fiscal federalism amongst others.
We also hope that rehabilitation of criminals from past public office holders to the present ones including the armed forces and police will be put in place so as to bring sanity back to the decayed system.
Past heads of state and governors from the military era should also participate in the program too. The Jerry Rawlings type of rehab against corrupt leaders in Ghana would have been preferable against these criminals but Nigerians can still make do for now pending a revolution.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Piper Alpha has struck at the Shell Forcados off-shore platform in Delta state today, Monday, June 29, 2009 at about 0330 Hrs.
Cluster 11 and 30 are currently on fire after a massive explosion.
A military gunboat patrol on noticing the fire stumbled upon heavily armed fighters and the confrontation resulted in the sinking of the gunboat with all the occupants numbering between 20-23 soldiers.
We have made it clear that patrols must not open fire at us as our target is the oil infrastructure. This unheeded warning resulted in the death of these soldiers
MEND wishes to state that Mr Innocent Iboroma and Mr Cletus Arerebo are not representatives of Farah Dagogo and Boyloaf at high level talks.
Therefore the said meeting held in Port Harcourt between them and the Minister of Internal Affairs is a fraud.
MEND will negotiate as a group when the right time comes. The impression the government is trying to give that commanders are negotiating independently is another propaganda aimed at causing confusion.
Even though our commanders are constantly being bombarded with enticing monetary offers as much as 1billion Naira per camp, only those who are willing to sell their birthright for a bowl of porridge will accept while the rest of us will continue the struggle until justice is achieved.
DPA has blasted the Action Congress (AC) government in Lagos State for equivocating and playing politics with Free Education.
The party accused the Lagos State Government of shortchanging education of the 26 percent share of total budget that the United Nations prescribed, having allocated a paltry N14,322,000,000 (2.5 percent) of its total budget of N403.401 billion in 2008 and merely N10 billion (3.5 percent) of the N405 billion for 2009, Lagos DPA said in a statement by its Director of Publicity, Felix Oboagwina.
Saying it was sad that the Deputy Governor who doubles as Commissioner for Education, Princess Sarah Sosan, recently oversaw an Education Summit that advocated the scrapping of the Free Education policy, while the Governor countered with a converse statement, DPA surmised that the two varied positions showed the AC government in Lagos held this great policy in contempt.
“How can the state’s two most prominent citizens be singing different tunes on a policy as grave and encompassing as Free Education? If they had commitment to it, would it not have been the very cornerstone of their government? But they know that if they come all out to say they have scrapped Free Education, people will query their progressives credentials and they will lose votes at elections. Lagosians, beware! Deputy Governor Sosan has unwittingly let the cat out of the bag, AC is about to bury Free Education in Lagos State !” according to the DPA statement by its Director of Publicity, Felix Oboagwina.
According to DPA, the confusion in the two statements highlighted the troubled state of the sector, which has this year alone suffered two teachers strike, and had witnessed the selling off of the Ketu Campus of the Lagos State Polytechnic to a private holding with another planned sale of the School of Nursing complex at Ikoyi to a private hotel.
However, DPA hoped that in this cacophony of the absurd, the Governor’s voice would prevail over that of the Deputy Governor.
DPA reeled out statistics showing that the over N159 billion the Action Congress (AC) in Lagos claimed to have spent on education in the last nine years had gone down the drain with:
Half of all secondary school classrooms dilapidated;
Almost 67 percent of Lagos children of primary school age unable to enroll;
Only 20 percent of those who enroll finishing primary school;
12 percent of children starting primary school go on to complete secondary education; while
Only 40 percent of primary and secondary school students complete schooling.
The party recalled media reports of overcrowding in classrooms with records of over 120 students in a class, a direct contradiction to the United Nations pupil-teacher ratio of 1:25 . Newspapers recently captured pupils in the model Millennium Secondary Schools sitting on the floor to take lessons.
“One wonders that a government having no qualms paying a private company 15 percent monthly cannot invest as much to educate its youth,” the party said. “And then, when we concentrate on planting shrubs instead of planning our children’s education, those dropouts will mess up those flowers.”
DPA pointed out that the Nigerian Constitution in Chapter II titled “Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy” stated in Chapter 18(1), that: “Government shall direct its policy towards ensuring that there are equal and adequate educational opportunities at all levels… Government shall strive to eradicate illiteracy; and to this end Government shall as and when practicable provide, free, compulsory and universal primary education; free secondary education; free university education; and free adult literacy programme.”
Lagos DPA expressed its own commitment to Free Education, in line with the Afenifere creed as spelt out by Chief Obafemi Awolowo and other founding fathers of the South-West.
According to DPA, “Being Awoist is more than wearing the cap and the specs of the man, it entails buying into his policies, especially when they are still very relevant to the people he fought for. With many parents losing their jobs and means of livelihood and poverty increasing and with all the parameters of employment failing, students need all the help they can get from a caring, listening and sensitive government.”
The party said the government has also failed to guarantee quality control in public schools, and pointed out that: “Even Governor Fashola’s Alma Mater, Birch Freeman High School in Surulere area of Lagos, has become a tattered shadow of itself and is a far cry from his time there as a student.”
In the words of the party: “Things have gone so bad that there are reports of three schools sharing one classroom and different teachers working simultaneously. In this rainy season some schools are spotting so many leaks that pupils and teachers have to hurdle into the safe areas of their classrooms. Even classes in the Governor’s alma mater, Birch Freeman High School , do not have windows.”
The party said current state of schools highlighted the rot the AC government inflicted on the sector in the last ten years.
According to the party, the government should creatively tackle the unhealthy indices currently earmarking government-owned schools, including incessant strikes, inadequate teachers for subjects, unchecked levies, low teacher morale, lack of facilities, shanty buildings and dearth of scholarships, bursaries and foreign training.
“Alhaji Lateef Jakande’s regime was accused of building ‘poultry-sheds’ in public schools in the 1980s, but he left a legacy of free education for all, unlike the present AC regime in Lagos that enjoys unprecedented wealth yet cannot be identified with any policy direction on education,” DPA said.
Director of Publicity, Lagos State DPA
Friday, 26 June 2009
Information reaching chidi opara reports indicate that unless there is a last minute change of plans, the maiden ceremony of weapons surrender by repentant Nigerian oil region militant leaders will take place this morning at the headquarters of the Amphibious Brigade of the Nigerian Army in Portharcourt. The weapons surrender is the first stage in the amnesty proposed for the militants by the Nigerian government. The Amphibious Brigade headquarters is also the operation base of the Joint Taskforce on Security(JTF).
Amphibious brigade headquarters insiders revealed to chidi opara reports that the militant leaders who are to surender weapons today are: Messrs. Tom Ateke, Fara Dagogo and Soboma George. "The weapons surrender ceremony tomorrow is likely to be by proxy", a militant group insider whispered to us yesterday.
We also gathered` that Mr. Dokubo Asari, a repentant militant leader who had a security problem recently is expected in Portharcourt this morning from Abuja in connection with the ceremony. Mr. Asari, according to a contact close to him, is not surrending weapons, but was asked by the Presidency to be available in Portharcourt, "so that things will move smoothly". We were not able to confirm before publication if he will be present at the venue of the ceremony scheduled to begin by 10.00am.
It will be noted that the Nigerian government recently announced its intention to grant amnesty to repentant Niger Delta militants. A committee headed by the country's Minister of The Interior was inaugurated with the mandate to work out modalities for the amnesty. The committee had concluded its assignment and submitted the report to the President.
While there have been purported declarations of intentions to accept the amnesty by some militant leaders from their places of hiding, the main Niger Delta militant group, Movement For The Emancipation Of Niger Delta(MEND) have however, rejected the offer. MEND, in a news release made available to chidi opara reports and some other news organizations, debunked reports that its "senior Commanders", Boyloaf, Fara Dagogo and Soboma George had accepted the offer. The group described the reports as propaganda hatched by elements inside government who had their eyes on the billions of naira budgeted for the anmesty project.
Wednesday, 24 June 2009
"The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) categorically denies the orchestrated rumors being peddled by government agents and propagandists that MEND senior commanders, Farah Dagogo, Boyloaf and Soboma George have accepted to receive amnesty by proxy as carried in some local newspapers.
It is a shame that the interior minister and his cohorts are offering bribes and incentives to militants in a desperate attempt to get our cooperation in sharing the 50billion Naira budgeted for the amnesty exercise.
While it is true that some of us will succumb to the temptation of money as Judas did, there are a majority that will remain steadfast to integrity, honor and a commitment to the people who can not fight for their rights.
We want to reassure our people who are looking up to us that we will never compromise our birthright for a price.
MEND is waiting to hear if President Yar'Adua has anything new to offer in his expected address on Thursday, June 25 before responding accordingly.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Piper Alpha remains on course.
MEND condemns the arrest of Asari Dokubo by security agents at the MM Airport in Lagos and request for his unconditional release within the next 24 Hrs.
The purported arrest of nine men linked to the Agip pipeline sabotage is a case of looking for scape goats by the JTF to calm the oil majors who have lost confidence in them. Not one of the fighters who carried out the attack has been arrested".
Tuesday, 23 June 2009
The names of prominent persons and institutions in Nigeria and overseas on the list found at the deserted Tompolo Camp Five by the Joint Taskforce On Security(JTF) and submitted directly to the President by a commanding officer of JTF, Lt. Colonel A.T Lawal have gone through "major alterations", chidi opara reports have been reliably informed by a highly placed security contact. The JTF in a military operation last month found a list of sponsors of militants, a visitors' book and other documents relating to sales of Oil and purchase of arms and ammunitions.
These alterations we learnt, involved removal and addition of names. It is learnt for instance that the name of a prominent Ijaw businessman from Bayelsa state, who lives in a massive estate in one of the new government reserved areas(GRAs)in Portharcourt, which was originally on the list have been removed because of his closeness to the Vice-president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. The name of a prominent Ijaw Oil tycoon was also removed for what our contact described as "compassionate reason", this Ijaw Oil tycoon is said to have been sick for some time now.
chidi opara reports learnt further that the name of the leader of the Movement For The Actualization Of Sovereign State Of Biafra(MASSOD), Mr. Ralph Uwazuruike was added. Other additions according to our contact are names of some prominient politicians from northern Nigeria, who are known to be nursing presidential ambition in 2011. This list we learnt, will be used to keep them in check.
furhter checks by chidi opara reports revealed that this altered list have been classified "Restricted Document" in category "A". A security consultant on our retainership is of the opinion that "this development means that access to the document is highly restricted".
Saturday, 20 June 2009
The global economic crisis will help push 100 million people into poverty this year through lost jobs and lower earnings, leaving one sixth of the world's population living in hunger, a U.N. agency said on Friday.
The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) forecast the number of people living in hunger would reach a record high of 1.02 billion this year, exacerbated by persistently high prices for staples following the food crisis of 2006-2008.
Not only will the global slowdown destroy livelihoods in the developing world -- where almost all of the world's hungry live -- it will reduce aid spending from wealthy countries by around a quarter, just when it is most needed, the FAO warned.
"The silent hunger crisis ... poses a serious risk for world peace and security," said FAO Director General Jacques Diouf. "We urgently need to forge a broad consensus on the total and rapid eradication of hunger."
The FAO said "substantial and sustained remedial actions" were required to reach the U.N. Millennium goal of halving the number of hungry people to under 420 million by 2015.
Whereas good progress was made in reducing chronic hunger in the 1980s and the first half of the 1990s, it has been steadily on the rise for the past decade, the FAO said.
The global economic crisis left little scope for developing countries to adapt -- through currency depreciation or borrowing from international capital markets -- because it was hitting all parts of the world at the same time, the report said.
Foreign investment in the developing world is expected to fall by nearly one third, while cash remittances from overseas could fall by around 8 percent, reversing years of steady increases, the FAO said in a report.
The urban poor will be the hardest hit, due to job losses, but food pressure will also mount in rural areas as millions of migrants return to the countryside.
The increase in undernourishment is not a result of limited international food supplies. FAO figures predict strong world cereal production in 2009, only modestly down from year's record output of 2.3 billion tons.
While world food prices have retreated from their mid-2008 highs, they are still high by historical standards. At the end of 2008, staple foods cost on average 24 percent more in real terms than two years earlier, the FAO said.
Asia and the Pacific was the worst affected region with an estimated 642 million people are suffering from chronic hunger, followed by 265 million in Sub-Saharan Africa, the FAO said.
(Courtesy Of Reuters)
Thursday, 18 June 2009
Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) has been slow to make any comments on the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) purportedly signed between the Nigerian Governors’ Forum and Harvard University to train our governors on good governance after many of them have spent between 2-6years in office, dispensing bad governance and helping themselves with the treasury of their states.
We had thought that the initial furore generated by the media, which prompted Governor Adams Oshimhole of Edo State, to dissociate himself from the arrangements would have made these governors to see reason and backed out of the deal.
Also, with the Harvard’s Head of Intra-State Conflict Programmes, Professor Robert Rotberg, saying that no binding MOU was signed between the governors and the University, we had thought that the governors would have had an escape route and jettisoned this odious deal.
But, in a characteristic display of impunity by our rulers, Governor Bukola Saraki of Kwara State, and Chairman of the Governors’ Forum, has come out to defend the Forum’s stand, an indication that our governors might have been fleecing the treasury of their states through this phony project called Harvard Training and not ready to stop it.
We are opposed to this Chicanery
ARG is opposed to the governors’ Harvard Training project for the following reasons:
(i)Such a project at this time when most of the governors have spent between two and six years in office is nothing but an admission of failure on the part of the governors; nothing but a veritable pointer to the fact that Nigeria has been run aground by those in whose hands its destiny has over the years been bequeathed to. It is sad that, after 6years in office, those who are supposed to provide an enabling environment for Nigerian youth to become governors tomorrow are still the ones learning how to govern.
Take for instance, Kwara, interestingly, the state where Saraki holds forte as governor. The State’s Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Alhaji Bolaji Abdullahi, was recently said to have become worried at the systemic failure in the education sector in the state; where only seven teachers out of the 19,125 crossed the minimum aptitude and capacity threshold in an aptitude and capacity test organized for teachers in the state's public school; and only one out of the 2,628 graduate teachers passed the test while 10 graduates scored outright zero. And, as if these were not enough, "nearly 60 per cent of the teachers cannot read information or use the information in preparing a simple lesson."
Not that alone, statistics from the last annual Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE), conducted by the West African Examination Council (WAEC), revealed the scandalous attitude to governance by our rulers. For record purposes, 77 per cent of the candidates failed to make the Credit grade in Mathematics while only 35 per cent passed English Language at Credit level. But, rather than confront the national dilemma posed by this national embarrassment, all our governors are interested in doing is to further task our tolerance.
Without doubt, Kwara State is a metaphor of the decadent system that has sadly become the lot of the Nigerian space. But, rather than face the challenge thrown up by the quality of governance nationwide, all our governors are interested in doing is to further insult our collective intelligence by embarking on this shameless jamboree that will only end up selfishly swelling their purses with the taxpayers’ money.
Again, like in Kwara State, it is because Nigeria has all along had wrong people at the helm of affairs that the future of our country has continued to be in jeopardy. ARG is therefore perturbed that, in this age of global scientific and technological development, Nigeria still revels in gross underdevelopment encapsulated in fake and feigned promises, faint and unattainable dreams; as well as inconsistent and incoherent policies. Educational system in Nigeria is dysfunctional. Teachers remain untrained and unpaid. Our institutions of higher learning remain glorified secondary schools. Health sector is in shambles.
Here, corruption and incompetence have taken over the affairs of the Nigerian state and it is as if the country is living on its glorious past. Indeed, the nation's future is bleak. Yet, all the governors want to do to reverse the tide which of course they have been part of its creation is to further unleash socio-economic mayhem on Nigeria in the name of overseas’ training on governance. Were it not for the fact that they have run down our educational system which they can no longer trust their children with, they would not have thought of running abroad for any training on governance. Rather, they would have found a local institution here to organize it for them.
(ii)In this period of global meltdown, when other forthright governments are cutting cost, our own governors are thinking otherwise. There is no doubt that any training, be it local or overseas, embarked upon by our governors will only end up further depleting the already-lean purse of their respective states. We say this because we are not unaware of the characteristic ego-tripping of our rulers where trips like this carry along with it a retinue of aids who also are interested in following their masters’ footsteps.
(iii)Any training at Harvard at this time will only contribute to the corrupt nature of these governors. In truth, it is in climes like ours that provision of pipe-borne water, supply of electricity, good roads, healthcare services, among internationally antiquated promises, are still classified as dividends of good governance. It should also interest our rulers that America has crossed this threshold well over 200 years ago. Again, let it be stated here that the solutions to our problems as a nation state are here with us. Even, a hawker on the road knows what good governance is all about.
But we ask: do we need any Harvard Training before realizing that, unless absolute caution is applied, the nation is heading for the precipice? What further proof do our governors need before coming to terms that they have failed us as a nation and as a people? Is this the way the United States of America, Harvard’s home state runs its affairs?
In any case, the governors have already known that the best way to rule here is to corner our resources. Here, elections are a ‘do-or-die’ affair. They are about votes snatching and ballot-stuffing. They are about the deployment of state might. The only profession one doesn’t have to prepare for in this clime is governance. Is that what they want to go and learn at Harvard? Is that what they do at Harvard? This is our dilemma.
In times like this, the ideal thing is to call on the superior authority to call these governors to order. Hence the reason why ARG is therefore calling on President Umar Yar’Adua to prevail on his governors to jettison this unprofitable venture called Harvard Training. However, we are also worried how a president who, in his first meeting with former President George Bush in Washington DC, felt humbled to a state of inferiority, can prevail on his subordinates to put a stop to a non-profitable project.
Again, we call on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, as well as the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, to investigate this phony scam with a view to unraveling whether or not the taxpayers’ money has already been sunk into it.
Finally, all lovers of good governance are passionately enjoined to prevail on these governors to abandon without further delay this Harvard Training project that is particularly destined to further enrich our rulers who erroneously call themselves our governors.
All said, if these governors still insist on going to Harvard, let them resign en-masse.
National Publicity Secretary, ARG,
Wednesday, 17 June 2009
Iranians took to the streets to protest result of the recent election in their country, despite clampdown on civil society groups and the media. Observers in Nigeria believe that this is a final wake up call to Nigerians who are believed to be docile. Elections in Nigeria are generally conducted in less transparent ways.
Tuesday, 16 June 2009
It has come to the knowledge of the
Joint task Force (JTF), Operation Restore Hope, that MEND,
due to its failure
in the use of violence and previous attempts at denting our
names which equally
failed, has embarked on yet another smear campaign against
the security outfit
and its commanders by circulating constructed and acted
video clips to depict
rape and extra-judicial killings by the JTF in the Niger
Delta. These concocted clips are
now being forwarded
to international figures for sympathy, while the media they
hitherto, are no longer sympathetic to their course due to
the criminality and of
falsity this faceless body.
The JTF is constrained to once again
alert the unsuspecting members of the public about this
dimension in MEND's
propaganda and to discard them as lies.
We want to make it categorically clear that the JTF
is composed of
disciplined, professional officers and men trained and
versed in the conduct of
military operations in accordance with the tenet of all the
conventions to which Nigeria
is a signatory. This could be
substantiated by the participation by Nigerian Armed Forces
in peace keeping and
peace enforcement operations in Somalia, Liberia, Sierra
Leone, Sudan and
Yugoslavia to mention a few, all of which its members
therefore their so-called claims hold no waters.
They (MEND) are just a body ofcriminals that
has run out of ideas.
We further wish to advise the general
public to be alert in this and similar smear campaigns
against the JTF by the
faceless MEND and its sponsors.
we are re-assuring the general public that the JTF will not
relent on the
ongoing efforts in restoring law and order within the Niger
This is JTF's response
to MEND allegation on extra-judicial
Sunday, 14 June 2009
The "decission" of Shell, an International Oil and Gas consortium to settle out of court on "humanitarian grounds" in a case instituted in a New York court by a constitutional rights group on behalf of the families of the nine Ogoni activists, executed during the regime of Late General Sani Abacha for complicity in the murder of their four notable kinsmen, was informed by "an array of new very increminating evidences of the company's involvements in Environmental and Human Rights abuses in Oil producing communities in Nigeria since the 1950s", chidi opara reports learnt. The case which was instituted in 1996, will now end following this "decission" to pay the sum of fifteen million dollars as compensation in the said out of court settlement. Companies operating in the United states of America(USA), can be sued for Human rights abuses committed in any part of the World.
A highly placed official of one the Embassies in Abuja informed chidi opara reports that "the plaintiff had limited evidences of Shell's involvement in the hanging of the Ogoni Nine, the evidences would not have been enough to win the case and Shell knows this". "In the course of the case", the Embassy official continued, "an Embassy of a European country sympathetic to the Ogoni cause released to the plaintiff more eveidences of Shell's involvement in Environmental and Human rights abuses in Oil producing communities in Nigeria from 1950s to date".
Our checks revealed that the European Embassy involved was being updated with evidences of Environmental and Human rights abuses by Oil Majors in Oil producing communities in Nigeria since 1950s by a World renowned Professor of Political science, who founded a top class research institution in Portharcourt. The Professor died in the 1990s.
chidi opara reports gathered authoritatively that these new evidences "which would have caused loud uproar arround the World", when shown to Shell Officials, compelled the Anglo-Dutch company to accept to settle the matter out of court.
Friday, 12 June 2009
Former group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation(NNPC), during the immediate past Administration of Rtd. General Olusegun Obasanjo, Mr. Jackson Gaius-Obaseki have confirmed a substantial part of chidi opara reports' earlier report titled "Nigerian Petroleum Products Marketing Mafia In Imminient Showdown With Civil Society Groups Over Total Removal Of Subsidy". Mr. Obaseki was at the helm of affairs in the Corporation between 1999 and 2003.
The former group Managing Director while answering questions yesterday from members of the House Of Representatives adhoc Committee probing the activities of NNPC and its subsidiaries, revealed that his first assignment when he assumed duty in 1999 was to fight the Mafia in the Oil Industry.
Mr. Obaseki further revealed that by the time he assumed duty, some companies had oil lifting allocations up to 2016, he told the parliamentarians that he promptly cancelled the allocations.
The upstream and downstream sections of the Petroleum sector in Nigeria is known to be controlled by a powerful Mafia with feet entrenched in the upper echelons of Government.
It will be noted that chidi opara reports on March 15th 2009, published a report in which the activities of a Petroleum products Mafia was highlighted. The opening portion of the said report read:
"The total removal of subsidy on petroleum products, also known as deregulation of downstream sector of Petroleum industry, announced last week by the administration of Mr. Umaru Yar'Adua is about to ignite a showdown between civil society groups and the petroleum products marketing mafia.
The mafia is made up of influential individuals and organizations in the business of importation and distribution of petroleum products, they, in a bid to protect their business interest are known to have sabotaged complete repairs of local refineries".
Wednesday, 10 June 2009
Nigeria's Adhoc Security Commanding Officer Breaches Proceedure, Submits "Tompolo" List Direct To President.
The action of a Joint Taskforce On Security(JTF) Commanding Officer, Lt. Colonel A.T Lawal in submitting the list allegedly found at the "Camp Five" operations base of Mr. Government Ekpemupolo(AKA Tompolo) direct to the President, in clear breach of proceedure is presently causing disquiet in military circles, chidi opara reports have been reliably informed.
Our information has it that on the day "Camp Five" fell, with the former dreaded militant leader on the run, a JTF unit led by one Lt. Abdulmalik stormed the camp and commenced an intensive search. A few minutes after the commencement of the search, Lt. Colonel A.T Lawal under whose command, Abdulmalik operates arrived. Further into the search, chidi opara reports learnt, a Lance corporal stumbled on a pile of papers and brought it to the attention of Lt. Abdulmalik, who on separating the pile discovered a list of names, a visitors book, military operational manual, amongst others. Our information further has it that as soon as Abdulmalik sighted these strategic findings, he alerted Lawal, who took the papers and immediately flew to Abuja in his operations helicopter and handed the lot directly to the President. chidi opara reports is so far not privy to how the Lt. Colonel gained direct access to the President.
What we can confirm is that the JTF Commander, the Chief of Army Staff, the Chief of Defence Staff, and the National Security Adviser, heard of the findings through the President.
Military insiders insist that the action of Lt. Colonel Lawal was a serious breach of proceedure. They opined that the Commanding officer would have submitted the findings to the JTF Commander, his immediate boss, who would channel same through the hierachies, till it gets to the President as annexe to a security report. Another group of military insiders however, revealed that the findings indicted Lawal's superiors, hence the bypass.
Lt. Abdulmalik, meanwhile, have been transfered out of JTF, his new posting, chidi opara reports learnt on good authority is a closely guarded secret at Army headquarters.
Tuesday, 9 June 2009
Famous Nigerian Journalist Killed With Letter Bomb Was A Blackmailer: Revelation By A Nigerian Professor.
The flambouyant Nigerian Journalist, Mr. Dele Giwa, who was killed on 19th October, 1986 with a letter bomb, believed to have been packaged and delievered to him by an assasination cell inside the then Military Administration of General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida was a top class blackmailer. This revelation was made recently to a Nigerian national weekly newspaper, "The Nation on Sunday", by a Professor of Music, Taiye Ogunade. Mr. Giwa was the founding Editor-In-Chief of "Newswatch", a widely read news magazine based in Lagos.
Professor Ogunade in the expose, monitored by a chidi opara reports network member, revealed that during the trial of late Major-general Mamman Vatsa for coup plot against the Babangida regime, Vatsa made a four-hour-speech in which he revealed that a certain Chinyere, a friend and business associate of Babangida's wife, Maryam, who goes by the pseudonym "Gloria Okon", had a serious security problem with the Nigeria Customs Service while on an International business trip for Mrs. Babangida, in which she was arrested and detained. The late Mamman Vatsa, a close friend of the Babangida family, was asked, according to Professor Ogunade, to help and fix the problem, whereupon, Vatsa took journalist to a morgue in Kano where "Gloria Okon" was arrested and detained, and showed them the remains of a lady whom he claimed was "Okon", while the real person had been released and had gone to live in London. The Professor claimed that soldiers loyal to Vatsa made a tape of the speech and gave him a copy. The Professor further claimed that he gave the tape to late Dele Giwa, who investigated the story and in the course of investigation, got photographs of "Gloria Okon" and Mrs. Babangida at a ceremony in London. Mr. Giwa, the Professor continued, approached Babangida and threatened to publish the photographs if he was not made minister of information. Giwa, Ogunade said, was boombed within forty-eight hours of that encounter. The Professor of Music, who also spoke to a well known Nigerian news blog based in New York, "SaharaReporters", made other far reaching revelations.
chidi opara reports have not been able so far to unravel the motives behind these revelations, but preliminary checks on Professor Taiye Ogunade revealed that he was a major clandestine operative in the anti-Babangida and subsequently, anti-Abacha movements that emerged after the annullment of the June 12th 1993 presidential election, believed to have been won by Mr. Moshood Abiola, a billionaire, from the Yoruba ethnic stock.
Friday, 5 June 2009
I hope this letter reaches you and your family well.
Your recent call again to lay down arms as you received a report from the Godwin Abbe panel set up to work out the details of your amnesty offer is the reason I write you on behalf of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND).
The whole ceremony was like a deja vu. It is no different from the show you put up when you received the report of the Niger Delta Technical Committee which was never implemented.
The civilized world expected your apology to the hundreds of displaced and relatives of dead civilians caused by the indiscriminate aerial bombing targeted at innocent impoverished communities from a cowardly armed forces meant to instill fear.
Without root issues addressed, the efforts of this panel will be another waste of time. The very reason for militancy is because of injustice. Fiscal federalism is among the things that will silence our guns.
We are not intimidated by the size of your armed forces or impressed by its latest acquisitions because that has never won a war. The Americans can tell you that from their experience in Vietnam.
A simple reversal to fiscal federalism will save you the trouble of another future ceremony where you are made to receive piles of worthless paper.
Thursday, 4 June 2009
The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL), an aggregate of more than 40 anti-corruption grassroots organizations has expressed its concern over the plans of the Senate to legislate a new Commission to oversee the operations of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC). The Coalition hinges its opposition to the Senate’s Initiative on the fact that Nigeria already has enough legislation in its statute books to take care of any excesses that the anti-graft agencies might get indulged in. This position was canvassed in a statement made available to the media by Mr Debo Adeniran the Chairman of CACOL wherein the group also complained that Nigeria is a country with too many standing and ad hoc redundant, duplicated and moribund Councils, Commissions, Panels and Agencies that gulp so much public funds but achieve nothing but ant-people results like rewarding a corrupt firm like Siemens that has aided the growth of corruption and systemic failure in Nigeria with fresh multi-billion naira contracts.
As examples of duplication of Commission CACOL listed the Council of State, National Defence Council, National Security Council, Police Service Commission, Nigeria Police Council that work to invent and supervise policies on security of the country, inhabitants and their property. All their pretences to know-how achieved nothing than the loss of Bakassi to Cammeroun, lost Niger Delta to militants, highways and homes to armed bandits as typified by burglars, robbers, assassins and other terrorists. Another one is the Federal Judicial Service Commission, National Judicial Council and the Judicial Service Committee of FCT that are all created to supervise judicial officers to ensure that what citizens get from the judiciary are not mere judgment but justice. Although the best performing arm of the Federal and State Governments, the Nigerian Judicial system has created more problems for the people than reliefs. Justices of the defunc First Election Petition Tribunal in Osun State led by Mr. Justice Thomas Naron are still in service of the Nigerian Judiciary even when the Federal Court of Appeal has indicted them of carrying out a miscarriage of justice while their sitting in Osun State lasted.
The group asserted it unthinkable that all the supervisory judicial bodies could watch with disinterest while a High Court grants the former governor of Rivers State, Peter Odili perpetual injunction by a High Court against arrest, investigation, and therefore trial for his indictment by the EFCC of corrupt practices. They wonder what sort of justice system allows a suspected criminal wander the streets a free person, even when so many innocent suspects are wallowing in detention for want of charges against them. The anti-graft group equally wonders why all the judicial bodies allow 24 CACOL members arrested in Osun State, detained in police custody and remanded in prison custody twice for about five weeks after they were charged under non-existent laws for carrying placards condemning judicial corruption in the State. Their bail was once revoked even when they committed no offence to warrant the punishment. Yet all overseeing judicial bodies tolerated myriads of indicted criminals that are given slaps-on-the-wrist punishments in the name of the judicial fraud called plea-bargaining.
Furthermore, the Coalition cited examples of the Federal Character Commission that could be subsumed within the National and State Civil Service Commission or Council of State as well as that of the Code of Conduct Bureau and its Tribunal that are mere toothless bulldogs. All these are outside several ad-hoc reforms, investigation and probe Panels whose reports only serve as bases of setting up other panels that cost so much funds to run but achieve too little benefits for the people. The Coalition cited the recent Electoral Reforms Panel headed by retired Justice Mohammed Uwais upon which a phony Panel had to be constituted to review the white paper on its reports and recommendation as being instructive in this regard.
The anti-graft Coalition further expressed its disappointment in the slap on the face of Nigerians by the Federal Executive Council which on Wednesday was reported to have approved a N25.3bn worth contract to a German firm, Siemens, that has already indicted and blacklisted for corruption in Nigeria, found guilty and punished for corruption in Germany and the US. CACOL wonders if the National Assembly thinks that a government lacking in consistency that reverses itself on matters of integrity could take any recommendation from an overseer Commission any more seriously. CACOL queried if the members of the new Commission are to be saints and not humans like the ones that constitute their subordinating counterparts?
To CACOL, setting up Panels, Commissions etc are nothing but jobs-for-the-boys by the ruling elite. And this is done at the expense of the poor ordinary citizens whose lives could have been made more meaningful if the huge funds being expended to service the Commissions etc had been judiciously utilized. The group suggested mutual monitoring roles among different anti-graft agencies, several existing judicial bodies and the Ministry of Justice if there is any genuine fear of compromise of integrity on the part of any of them. Besides, CACOL complained that setting up a new Commission to supervise the existing anti-graft Commission would only increase the already cumbersome Bureaucracy that has made prosecution of corrupt suspects almost impossible prodigious task. According to CACOL, the intervention of Barrister Michael Aondoakoaa as the head of the Ministry of Justice that supervises EFCC and ICPC has already frustrated several cases of corruption both at home and abroad such as the ones of Halliburton, Siemens, Wilbross, Pentascope etc.
The Coalition agreed with the Chairperson of EFCC, Madam Farida Waziri that what the country requires is not duplicity in and duplication of roles of anti-graft agencies but a machinery to make their jobs less frustrating, less cumbersome and more rewarding. This, CACOL argues could only be achieved if specialised courts are established to try corruption cases that on daily basis keeps pouring into already overburdened inadequate courts and other judicial institutions in different parts of the country. This, CACOL asserts, will bust the cycle of delayed justice which gives criminal the leverage to evade justice and the people denied much needed justice against the plunderers of their collective patrimony, their national heritage.