Monday, 31 August 2009

Publisher Of Prudence International Magazine Makes Case For Nigeria(News Release)

                                                   Map Of Nigeria

Bothered by the continual negative image of the African nation of Nigeria, portrayed by the mainstream Western media, Prudence International Magazine Publisher Samson O. Agbebi have decided that it is time to act.

After hearing a report of the National Conference of Black Mayors (NCBM), whose delegation recently returned from Nigeria, Agbebi said that now is the time to make a case for Nigeria's positive image in the world.
"The delegation from the black mayors saw the real Nigeria and I applaud its report," said the Prudence International Magazine publisher.
"I am officially going on record stating that Prudence International Magazine believes the positive image of Nigeria is being ignored by the Western media," said Agbebi.

"I commend the National Conference of Black Mayors for its visit to Nigeria," said Agbebi. "The delegation has placed itself in the midst of a significant renaissance campaign. That campaign re-brands the Nigerian image from a negative one to a positive one."

Prudence International Magazine publisher, Agbebi said that the NCBM delegation witnessed the strength, competencies and potential of a country that the Western mainstream media had portrayed as the most corrupt nation in Africa and the world.
"This negative portrayal affects the image and integrity of Nigeria and its citizens all over the world," he said.

Agbebi listed several positive points concerning Nigeria, which the Western media  ignored.
These include:
•Nigeria stands as the fourth largest peace keeping nation in the world.
•When Citibank in Nigeria was at the point of collapse, a Nigerian bank bailed it out.
•Nigeria's capitalization at the New York Exchange is close to 65%.
•Nigerians carry over 75% of the workforce population of foreign nationals in healthcare in the U.S. and Britain.
•The Chevrolet electric car soon to be introduced to the market was designed by a Nigerian.
•A Nigerian immigrant, who worked himself up the corporate and entrepreneur ladder in the United States, now owns the largest black-owned engineering firm in the United States (Chester Engineers, Inc.).
"I find it disturbing when none of the Western media focuses on the strengths that Nigeria offers the world community. Western media fails to focus on the qualities that make Nigeria a great nation. Obviously, there are many great things about Nigeria that the Western media refuses to discuss," he said.
"If Nigeria is as bad as it is portrayed, why do so many Lebanese, Asians, Americans, Chinese and Britons live and do business there?" asks Agbebi.

In the Nigeria of today, Nigerian business would hardly bid for and win a government contract without the involvement of these foreign nationals, often called expatriates or technical consultants, according to the Prudence International Magazine publisher.
Agbebi also challenged Nigerians throughout the world to become part of the positive-image campaign for their homeland.

"Where ever they are in the world, Nigerians must realize that the fight and fate of Nigeria is in their hands," said Agbebi. "To make this a success, all Nigerians must be committed to the Nigerian renaissance campaign." "It is crucial for Nigerians abroad, especially those in the United States to work with the likes of Mayor Eugene Grant of Seat Pleasant and rest of the Black Mayors that have the right perception of the country to change the negative portrayal round. " The publisher concluded.

As the National Conference of Black Mayors convention takes place in Las Vegas October 20-25, 2009, The publisher of Prudence International Magazine called on Nigerians to turn out and support the convention of which the Nigerian President, Umaru Yar' Adua is scheduled to be the Keynote Speaker.

Prudence International Magazine, known as "The Pulse of Africa," promotes business and investment between the United States and Africa. Through its digital circulation of over 53,000, it provides a forum for business-to-business connections through its exclusive coverage of businesses with close ties and interests in Africa.

Andy Burton
Coordinating Editor
Prudence International Magazine
888 16th Street, NW
Suite 802
Washington, DC 20006
Tel: 202-379-2980
Fax: 202-379-4850

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Research Finding: New Drug Can Help Improve Treatment For Stroke Patients

                                             Victim Of Stroke

An experimental drug reduces the stroke risk in patients with irregular heartbeats by more than three times, compared with the popular drug warfarin - but possibly at a cost, according to new research released Sunday.

Patients taking the new drug dabigatran etexilate, made by German pharmaceutical Boehringer Ingelheim, also were slightly more likely to have heart attacks or stomach pain, according to the research presented at the European Society of Cardiology meeting in Barcelona.

Patients with irregular heartbeats are up to five times more likely to have a stroke than healthy people.
About one-sixth of all strokes occur in patients with irregular heartbeats who also have other risk factors such as smoking or obesity. In the United States, there are about 2 million people with such a condition.

Until now most such patients have been given warfarin, which has been around since the 1950s and has side effects including bleeding risks and requires lifestyle changes such as dietary restrictions.
Doctors hope the new drug can help improve treatment for patients, who must be monitored continuously if they are put on warfarin and avoid alcohol and foods such as spinach and cranberries.

The new research on dabigatran - which has not yet been approved in the United States but is sold as Pradaxa in 40 countries to prevent blood clots - was compiled after doctors monitored more than 18,000 patients with irregular heartbeats, or atrial fibrillation, worldwide for about two years starting in 2005. The patients took either dabigatran or warfarin, at varying doses.

On warfarin a patient's risk of stroke drops dramatically to about 0.38 percent per year, according to the study, also published online in the New England Journal of Medicine. Warfarin has invited complications, however, because it is difficult to dose and may be confusing for patients to take, doctors have said.

On dabigatran, that risk is slashed even further to about 0.10 percent per year, the study says.
"It is certainly a big step forward," said Dr. Fausto Pinto, director of the Cardiovascular Institute at the University of Lisbon, Portugal, and program chairman of the European Society of Cardiology.
Dabigatran "probably will replace warfarin," as it is easier for both doctors and patients to use, said Pinto, who was not involved in the study.

Last year, the market for anti-clotting drugs was about $13.6 billion globally.
Getting approval for dabigatran could take years after Boehringer Ingelheim submits data to regulatory agencies.
Dr. Clyde Yancy, medical director of the Baylor Heart and Vascular Institute in Dallas and president of the American Heart Association, said more information was needed on why dabigatran appeared to slightly increase the number of heart attacks, but that overall the data were encouraging.
"Patients have wanted something easier to take for their atrial fibrillation for years, and this may be it," Yancy said. "That's why this may be a game-changer."

(From Associated Press)

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Video Of The Edward Kennedy Funeral Mass

The Edward Kennedy funeral Mass is going on about now with the cream of World leaders across all areas of human endervour in attendance.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Madonna Criticizes Discriminations Against Gypsies, Booed In Bucharest


At first, fans politely applauded the Roma performers sharing a stage with Madonna. Then the pop star condemned widespread discrimination against Roma, or Gypsies — and the cheers gave way to jeers.

The sharp mood change that swept the crowd of 60,000, who had packed a park for Wednesday night's concert, underscores how prejudice against Gypsies remains deeply entrenched across Eastern Europe.
Despite long-standing efforts to stamp out rampant bias, human rights advocates say Roma probably suffer more humiliation and endure more discrimination than any other people group on the continent.
Sometimes, it can be deadly: In neighboring Hungary, six Roma have been killed and several wounded in a recent series of apparently racially motivated attacks targeting small countryside villages predominantly settled by Gypsies.
"There is generally widespread resentment against Gypsies in Eastern Europe. They have historically been the underdog," Radu Motoc, an official with the Soros Foundation Romania, said Thursday.

Roma, or Gypsies, are a nomadic ethnic group believed to have their roots in the Indian subcontinent. They live mostly in southern and eastern Europe, but hundreds of thousands have migrated west over the past few decades in search of jobs and better living conditions.
Romania has the largest number of Roma in the region. Some say the population could be as high as 2 million, although official data put it at 500,000.

Until the 19th century, Romanian Gypsies were slaves, and they've gotten a mixed response ever since: While discrimination is widespread, many East Europeans are enthusiastic about Gypsy music and dance, which they embrace as part of the region's cultural heritage.
That explains why the Roma musicians and a dancer who had briefly joined Madonna onstage got enthusiastic applause. And it also may explain why some in the crowd turned on Madonna when she paused during the two-hour show — a stop on her worldwide "Sticky and Sweet" tour — to touch on their plight.
"It has been brought to my attention ... that there is a lot of discrimination against Romanies and Gypsies in general in Eastern Europe," she said. "It made me feel very sad."
Thousands booed and jeered her.
A few cheered when she added: "We don't believe in discrimination ... we believe in freedom and equal rights for everyone." But she got more boos when she mentioned discrimination against homosexuals and others.
"I jeered her because it seemed false what she was telling us. What business does she have telling us these things?" said Ionut Dinu, 23.

Madonna did not react and carried on with her concert, held near the hulking palace of the late communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.
Her publicist, Liz Rosenberg, said Madonna and other had told her there were cheers as well as jeers.
"Madonna has been touring with a phenomenal troupe of Roma musicians who made her aware of the discrimination toward them in several countries so she felt compelled to make a brief statement," Rosenberg said in an e-mail. "She will not be issuing a further statement."
One Roma musician said the attitude toward Gypsies is contradictory.
"Romanians watch Gypsy soap operas, they like Gypsy music and go to Gypsy concerts," said Damian Draghici, a Grammy Award-winner who has performed with James Brown and Joe Cocker.
"But there has been a wave of aggression against Roma people in Italy, Hungary and Romania, which shows me something is not OK," he told the AP in an interview. "The politicians have to do something about it. People have to be educated not to be prejudiced. All people are equal, and that is the message politicians must give."

Nearly one in two of Europe's estimated 12 million Roma claimed to have suffered an act of discrimination over the past 12 months, according to a recent report by the Vienna-based EU Fundamental Rights Agency. The group says Roma face "overt discrimination" in housing, health care and education.
Many do not have official identification, which means they cannot get social benefits, are undereducated and struggle to find decent jobs.
Roma children are more likely to drop out of school than their peers from other ethnic groups. Many Romanians label Gypsies as thieves, and many are outraged by those who beg or commit petty crimes in Western Europe, believing they spoil Romania's image abroad.

In May 2007, Romanian President Traian Basescu was heard to call a Romanian journalist a "stinky Gypsy" during a conversation with his wife. Romania's anti-discrimination board criticized Basescu, who later apologized.
Human rights activists say the attacks in Hungary, which began in July 2008, may be tied to that country's economic crisis and the rising popularity of far-right vigilantes angered by a rash of petty thefts and other so-called "Gypsy crime." Last week, police arrested four suspects in a nightclub in the eastern city of Debrecen.
Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia also have been criticized for widespread bias against Roma.

Madonna's outrage touched a nerve in Romania, but it seems doubtful it will change anything, said the Soros Foundation's Motoc.
"Madonna is a pop star. She is not an expert on interethnic relations," he said.

(From Associated Press)

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Mrs. Ibru Surrenders To EFCC After Assurances From Presidency, PDP National Leadership

                                                      Mrs. Cecilia Ibru

The former Chief Executive Officer(CEO) of Oceanic International Bank Plc, Mrs. Cecilia Ibru, who was recently declared wanted by the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) when she failed to honour the commission's invitation to answer questions on her alleged role in some malpractices in the Bank during her tenure, have successfully negotiated a soft landing on the matter with the Presidency and the ruling party national leadership, chidi opara reports have been reliably informed.

The negotiations which has been going on during the period Mrs. Ibru was in hiding started with high powered lobby on the President and the leadership of Nigeria's ruling party, the Peoples' Democratic Party(PDP). We are however not yet privy to details of the "Ibru deal", what we know is that the President according to a well placed Presidency official who is privy to some details of the lobby, have already called the chairperson of EFCC, Mrs. Farida Waziri and advised her to "handle the Ibru matter with wisdom".

Our investigation revealed that when the lobby on the President hit an initial brick wall, a Delta State born publisher of a very successful national newspaper, who is known to be very close to the President was approached to help. "The young man made the President to understand the role the Ibru family have been playing and will continue to play in the success of our party", a well positioned contact in the PDP national secretariate told one chidi opara reports network member. The lobby on the PDP national leadership according to another PDP insider, "was smooth". We can also confirm the the Director-general of the Nigeria Stock Exchange, Dr. Ndidi Okereke-Onyiuke spoke to the President's wife, Mrs. Turai Yar'Adua on soft landing for Mrs. Ibru.

"We are not happy with the way Sanusi and Waziri are embarassing our very important members, they should be told that without these people, there would not have been any Yar'Adua government to work for", a PDP national officer from the South-east complained in a private conversation with our Publisher/Editor-In-Chief, Mr. Chidi Anthony Opara and others at an occasion in Imo state on sunday.

There is indication that Mrs. Ibru surrendered to EFCC yesterday after her family got assurances from the Presidency and the PDP national leadership that the case would be handled in a manner that would not embarass her very rich and influential family.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Oil Price Down Below Seventy-Two US Dollars

                                                          Oil Production

Oil prices slipped below $72 a barrel Wednesday, after tumbling more than 3 percent overnight, as investors expected inventory data from the U.S. to show demand remaining weak in the world's largest economy.

Benchmark crude for October delivery was down 73 cents at $71.32 a barrel by midday European time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Prices briefly touched $75 per barrel Tuesday for the first time in 10 months, buoyed by new signals of rising U.S. consumer confidence, but fell back to settle at $72.05 after on measure of inventories showed energy demand was weak in the U.S.

A report by the American Petroleum Institute showed a substantial gain of 4.3 million barrels in crude oil inventories for the week ended Aug. 21.

The official government inventory data is due later in the day from the U.S. Energy Department. For the previous week, crude stocks officially fell 8.4 million barrels.

The buildup in stockpiles was then largely due to the delivery of delayed crude oil imports, and this may further increase due to seasonally lower demand for gasoline as the summer holidays end, said Victor Shum, an energy analyst with consultancy Purvin & Gertz in Singapore.

"The momentum in the oil rally has certainly been broken. We are seeing a well-deserved correction right now and could see oil prices fall below $70 a barrel in the coming weeks," Shum said.

Energy prices have risen sharply this year, riding a rally in equity markets mostly on the cautious expectation that the global economy is improving and demand will rebound soon.

Stock markets were mixed on Wednesday, however _ with markets in Europe and the U.S. down despite Asian gains _ as investors seemed to have already priced in a short-term economic recovery.

In other Nymex trading, gasoline for September delivery fell 0.42 cents to $2.0028 a gallon and heating oil dropped 1.58 cents to $1.8401 a gallon. Natural gas edged down by 5.1 cents to $2.831 per 1,000 cubic feet.

In London, Brent crude fell 42 cents to $71.40.

(From Associated Press).

Afenifere's Reaction To Hillary Clinton's Visit(News Release)

                                                        Mrs. Clinton

Disparate comments and reactions have trailed the visit to Nigeria of the American Secretary of State, Senator Hillary Clinton. While AFENIFERE commends the country for successfully hosting this foremost female Diplomat, we will admonish restraint in weighing the value of her visit.

Mrs. Clinton On Corruption, Bad Leadership, Electoral Reforms:
Madam Clinton told us nothing new about ourselves. She pinpointed bad leadership, corruption and flawed elections as drawbacks to our country’s development and the key culprits for our backwardness. Nigerians have always known these facts. Therefore, AFENIFERE is not concerned about what Mrs. Clinton said as much as we are concerned about our leaders’ reaction to what she said. Unfortunately, government representatives have reacted negatively to her enlightened observations instead of making a firm commitment to seeking solutions to the malaises that she identified. This outpouring of vituperations by Nigeria’s ruling class casts politicians as diehard sinners who, rather than repent, wish to continue sliding down the path of perdition. One would have thought that instead of grandstanding, our pompous political leaders would regard Clinton’s observations as a clinical diagnosis that only they themselves can provide with healing. After all, our people say only a friend can muster the courage to tell his friend that his mouth smells foully. Mrs. Clinton’s diagnosis and prescriptions, like those of President Barack Obama her boss, deserve urgent attention. We must show the world we have the moral and political will to stop corruption, electoral fraud and bad leadership.

Needed, US Assistance On Corruption:
On its own part, the US (as we will similarly demand of other Western Nations) should also walk its talk on the fight against corruption in Nigeria. US leaders will convince us more about their readiness to assist us in combating corruption by a specific policy targeted at repatriating the proceeds of money laundered from Africa and hibernating in the banks of America and other receiver countries. The US must, for instance, push the Halliburton Graft Trial to a logical judicial conclusion, with appropriate sanctions for everyone indicted.

What The FG Should Do With EFCC:
The government should revamp the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in order to return it to the glory it attained under Malam Nuhu Ribadu, pioneer EFCC Chairman. In this regard, the witch-hunting of Ribadu must stop. Not only is it diversionary, it is counter-productive, unreasonable and internationally embarrassing. Instead, the Commission should endeavour to secure the prosecution and conviction of those politicians whose investigation it has concluded. Only this will make the international community take us seriously about our resolve to fight graft.

US Presence In The Niger Delta?:
Afenifere will ask Nigeria to reject the American Secretary of State’s offer of military assistance in the Niger-Delta. Simply put, the offer is standard American practice to push its enlightened self-interest through by hiding under an altruistic design. All this will only satisfy American desire for a strategic foothold in the Gulf of Guinea. Allowing US presence in the zone will be admitting through the back-door the George Bush-fashioned AFRICOM, which Nigeria refused to grant an operational base here and lobbied African countries to also reject, for the simple reason that such a Force will compromise our Sovereignty and territorial integrity. It also violates Nigeria’s traditional non-aligned stance. The Niger-Delta has international implications indirectly; but any Military solution must be 100 percent local.
Even then, Military solution has always failed in the Niger-Delta. Can we soon forget the international embarrassment the Nigerian government recorded with the Lt. Col. Dauda Komo-headed Internal Security Task Force and in past Military campaigns in Odi and Choba. Now we have the Joint Task Force. None of these Military interventions have succeeded in quelling the crisis in the Niger-Delta. The Senate, House of Representatives, Governors’ Forum, the State Houses of Assembly and all Nigerians must sternly reject this impending American Military intervention.

Blood Oil Is Coming?:
If it means well, the Federal Government need not develop inferiority complex about its homegrown policy in the Niger-Delta as this amnesty deal has visibly lowered the temperature and incident of hostilities. This expression of desperation is unnecessary ill-advised and unstrategic at this time that every interest in the Niger-Delta, including militants and state governments have endorsed the amnesty deal. Far from being a viable option, US military presence on the land will only increase the heat.
Afenifere vehemently opposes American military presence in any inch of Nigeria and we urge both the National Assembly and the American Senate to veto any such request placed before them.
Never must we allow our Fellow Countrymen to be slaughtered for a foreign Nation’s aspiration for unrestricted access to cheap petroleum. The Nigerian government has taken the right step to seek the path of peaceful resolution of the Niger-Delta Question, beginning with the amnesty to militants. Government should continue to explore and expand this solution and other pacific political options to end the Niger-Delta crisis.

Chief Reuben Fasoranti, OFR
Afenifere Leader.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Furgitives From The Law


Cecilia Ibru was untill her dismissal by the Central Bank Of Nigeria(CBN) the Chief Executive Officer(CEO) of Oceanic Bank International Plc owned by the influential Ibru family. She is one of the wives of the progenitor of the Ibru dynasty, Mr. Michael Ibru. She is wanted by the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) for questioning regarding her alleged role in untoward banking practices in Oceanic Bank during her tenure. She is rumoured to be hiding in Rome.


Erastus Akingbola is the immediate past CEO of Intercontinental Bank Plc whose board was also recently desolved by The CBN because of alleged insider sharp practices. He is also wanted for questioning by EFCC, chidi opara reports is in possession of unconfirmed information that the former bank chief is hiding in South Africa.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Apple Says It Did Not "Reject" Google Voice Programme For iPhone

                                                Apple Logo

Apple Inc. told federal regulators Friday that it blocked the Google Voice program from running on the iPhone because it alters important functions on the device — yet Apple denied that it has rejected Google's application outright. “Contrary to published reports, Apple has not rejected the Google Voice application, and continues to study it,” Apple said in a letter to the Federal Communications Commission.

The FCC is looking into Apple's block on the Google Voice app as part of a bigger examination of the consumer implications of practices in the wireless industry. It sent questions to Apple, Google and AT&T Inc., the only wireless carrier to offer the iPhone in the U.S.

AT&T and Google also responded with letters to regulators Friday. AT&T said Apple did not consult with the company before turning Google's program down. Google kept confidential the parts of its letter describing Apple's reasons for rejecting Google Voice.

Google Voice gives people an additional phone number that's not tied to any one phone line. People can program the service to direct incoming calls first to a cell phone, then a work number and finally a home number, for example. Users can set up voicemail and have Google Voice e-mail transcripts of their messages. It can also be used to send text messages and place calls — even international ones — at low rates paid to Google, not the carriers. Those calls do burn regular cell phone plan minutes, but the idea has still prompted widespread speculation that Apple and AT&T saw a Google Voice app for the iPhone as a potential competitor to their monthly mobile plans.

Apple said it rejected the program because it replaces the iPhone's own interface for making calls and sending text messages with a Google version. The company said it blocked three other developers' phone programs for the same reasons.

Apple said it also was concerned that the app would send the contents of people's iPhone contact lists to Google's servers.

“We have yet to obtain any assurances from Google that this data will only be used in appropriate ways,” Apple said. “These factors present several new issues and questions to us that we are still pondering at this time.”

The Google Voice snafu comes as competition between onetime allies Apple and Google is heating up. Google has its own cell phone operating software, called Android, and it recently announced plans for a computer operating system that could challenge Apple and its Macs. Eric Schmidt, Google's CEO, resigned from Apple's board in early August, after regulators from the Federal Trade Commission began questioning whether his dual role would make it easier for the two to collude in ways that would diminish competition.

In its response, AT&T told federal regulators Friday that it's not privy to Apple's iPhone application vetting process and played no part in blocking Google Voice. AT&T said the two companies have discussed a handful of programs but not Google's.

Apple's iPhone apps store on iTunes set off a wave of similar digital shops from competitors including Microsoft Corp. and BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd. Outside software developers sign up to get the programming tools necessary for building the apps, then submit them for review and sale on a central site.

Apple has been quiet about the details of its vetting system, which has been criticized as a black box by developers whose apps have been rejected. Some say they submitted apps and waited months, only to be rejected without much of a reason why.

The backlash has grown as some programs have slipped onto the app store that have raised eyebrows — including one game that mimicked a wailing baby and required users to shake the iPhone to extinguish the cries.

In its letter to the FCC, Apple disclosed some aspects of the review process. The company said it gets about 8,500 app submissions a week, some brand new and some updates to existing programs. Apple said more than 40 people work full-time to review the apps, and that at least two look at each one.

(From Associated Press).

Parade Bank Killers, CACOL Urges EFCC(News Release)

The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) has urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other anti-graft agencies to parade all persons and institutions that are responsible for the travails of the five banks whose Chief Executives and Executive Directors where sacked the previous week by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to serve as deterrent to others.

The anti-graft Coalition of Civil Society Organisations noted that naming of those behind non-performing loans that caused the collapse of the frontline financial institutions is not enough but shaming and nailing them according to the law and the practice of the law enforcement agencies in Nigeria .

CACOL noted in a statement at the weekend that “the indicted persons and institutions that have for so many years deceitfully denied ordinary Nigerian citizens access to capital and honest loans to do their honest businesses that would have earned them decent living conditions should not be treated with better respect than are accorded common criminals that are daily paraded in chains by the EFCC, the police and other law enforcement agencies”. The group noted that it is this untowardly acts of the presumed movers and shakers of the society has turned otherwise honest Nigerian youths into criminals of all descriptions who make security of lives and properties of the innocent a mirage in their homes and on highways while their real tormentors fly around in private jets and move with myriads of security aids and bodyguards.

Noted CACOL “It is necessary for victims of these financial vampires to see faces of their adversaries in the media in handcuffs while sitting on bare floor so that when they appear in various communities, Churches and Mosques to donate billions of naira their victims and potential victims will despise, mock and pelt them with rotten tomatoes, sachet of water rather than welcome them with the usual pomp and pageantry”.

According to CACOL, “among those we would like to see clutching each others’ pants or sitting on bare floor, half naked, handcuffed and leg-chained if found culpable in the scandal are: Mrs Cecilia Ibru of Oceanic Bank for mismanaging N278.2bn, Mr Erastus Akingbola of Intercontinental Bank for N210.9bn, Mr Sebstian Adigwe of Afribank for N141.9bn, Mr Bartholomew Ebong of Union Bank for N73.6bn, Mr Okey Nwosu of FinBank for N42.4bn and Mr Peter Ololo of Falcon Securities Limited for his involvement in N88.3bn non-performing loans”.

According to the statement, “It would be interesting to see on the podium of shame alleged managers of fraud like the Director-General of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Prof Ndi Okereke Onyiuke who doubles as the Chairman of TRANSCORP for N41.1bn, Alhaji Abdurahman Bashir of Rhamahiya Oil and Gas for N41.4bn, Mr Femi Otedola of Zenon Oil for N19.05bn and African Petroleum, Alhaji Aliko Dangote of Dansa Oil and Gas for N11.3bn, Alhaji Arisekola Alao of Lister Oil for N5bn, Chief Obateru Akinruntan of Obat Petroleum for N5.5bn, Senator Ifeanyi Ararume of FinBank for N158m and Chief Lulu Briggs for N9.8bn.

“Yet others are Mr Henry Imasekha for N49bn, Mr J.I. Arumemi Johnson for N36.9bn, Najite Okoloko for N23.8bn, Mr Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede for N16.2bn, Mr Jimoh Ibrahim of Global Fleet for N14.8bn, Mr Oba Otudeko of Honeywell for N1.6bn, Nanashetu Abdullahi for N12.8bn, Bashir Admu of Imad Oil and Gas for N10.103bn, Nitel chief Executive for N7.8bn, Chief Executive (Governor) of Delta State for N6.45bn, Senator Annie Okonkwo of Reliance for N800m and former Governor of Rivers State and Dr Peter Odili for N189m”. The aforelisted, according to CACOL “have committed offences that transcends economic and financial crimes but also crimes against humanity since their deeds or misdeeds would have sent many, including babies, pregnant women and other hapless citizens who could have contributed the mismanaged funds through their savings in banks, taxes etc to their untimely graves”.

Observed CACOL, “It is unfortunate that some managers of fraud who sometimes parade themselves as part-time clergymen (and women) junket about town in private jets (to show off what absolute opulence they live in) are allowed by anti-graft agencies, who are empowered to question sources of their astounding wealth, to dazzle ordinary citizens, who may be members of their congregation or constituencies but cannot afford to ride bicycles into further psychological agony with their display of unearned inordinate prosperity”.

“The present democratic experiment”, CACOL observed, ‘has only brought more agony to Nigerians than relief.” According to the Coalition, “the former and the present civilian administrations during the present republic have only worsen the condition of living of the average Nigerian in all areas that can be thought of - power, energy, education, health, economy, security or transportation etc”. Quoting the Secretary of State of the United States of America, Mrs Hillary Clinton who said during her visit to Nigeria two weeks earlier that, “Today I am in Nigeria, a Country that produces 2 million barrels of oil a day, has the seventh-largest gas reserves of any country in the world but according to the United Nations, the poverty rate in Nigeria has gone up from 46 percent to 76 percent over the last 13 years”, the group noted that ten of those thirteen years were spent under the aforementioned regimes of both Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua.

CACOL finally urged the EFCC not to allow anyone of the culprits in this BankersGate go unpunished. The Coalition seized the opportunity to remind the EFCC that CACOL had once commended the agency for securing about 70 convictions, and recovered about N50 billion within the first year of Madam Farida Waziri in office to show the Coalition’s solidarity with the agency in contrast to the scathing criticism it receives from several quarters. It however warned that the Coalition will call its members out on the streets in procession to shame the EFCC should it fail to adequately shame the bad bank managers, bad bank debtors and their accomplices who have caused ordinary Nigerians so much misery by ensuring that they face the fullest wrath of the law.

Debo Adeniran
Executive Chairman, CACOL
22nd August, 2009

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Bayelsa Disarmament Charade(News Release From MEND)

"There are still too many! Bring them down to the spring, and I will sort out who will go with you and who will not"
- God to Gideon (Judges 7:5)

The ongoing amnesty program by the government of Nigeria seems to have achieved separating those who still have the zeal to fight for our freedom from those who were in it for the money.

Today, Saturday, August 22, 2009 that sorting process was again re-enacted in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state where weapons mostly bought by the government were displayed and the boys separated from the men in the circus.

The charade witnessed in Bayelsa is not an indication of success but that of failure considering that the energy put into that event could have been better used in deliberating on the root issues collated in the Niger Delta Technical Committee report which addressed such germane issues from the Willink's Commission of 1958 to date.

In the midst of such sheer deceit, MEND will be compelled to resume with ferocious attacks on the oil industry at the end of our ceasefire on September 15, 2009 to prove that weapons being displayed are mostly government-owned and those surrendering them have not been part of the previous campaigns like Hurricanes Barbarossa, Piper Alpha and Moses that brought the government to their knees.

We have also suspended talks with the Special Adviser to the President on the amnesty, Mr. Timi Alaibe who like the government, expects a disarmament without the real issues being addressed.

MEND will not enter into talks with governors from the region who have tainted the amnesty program with politics and monetary inducements.

Many of the boys who have received money today will at best squander it on material things and what happens next can best be left to the imagination.

Our solemn pledge to the people of the Niger Delta still remains to emancipate the region from the forces that have held it down for over 50 years with divide and rule, monetary inducements and treachery.

Jomo Gbomo

Friday, 21 August 2009

WHO: Swine Flu Drug For The Young, Old And Pregnant

The World Health Organization said Friday that Tamiflu should only be given to particularly vulnerable people — a warning to countries like Britain where the swine flu drug is being handed out freely.

WHO previously said it was up to doctors to decide who should get Tamiflu. On Friday, the U.N. agency said healthy people who catch mild to moderate cases of swine flu don't need the drug, but the young, old, pregnant, and those with underlying health problems surely do.

If countries use Tamiflu too liberally, that could lead to resistant viruses, leaving the world with few resources to fight swine flu.

WHO said people thought to be at risk for complications from swine flu — children less than 5 years old, pregnant women, people over age 65 and those with other health problems like heart disease, HIV or diabetes — should definitely get the drug.

The agency also recommended all patients, including children, who have severe cases of swine flu, with breathing difficulties, chest pain or severe weakness, should get Tamiflu immediately, perhaps in higher doses than now used.

"The WHO guidance is quite different from what has been done in England," said Hugh Pennington, a flu expert at the University of Aberdeen. "England's approach is out of step with the rest of the world on this."

In Britain, the government's response to the swine flu outbreak has come under fire for allowing Tamiflu to be handed out by call center workers who have as little as three hours of training.

Since the British set up a national flu service in July to deal with the surge of swine flu cases, Tamiflu has been available to anyone suspected of having the disease.

At its summer peak, British authorities guessed there were about 110,000 new cases of swine flu, also known as H1N1, every week. The number of new cases dropped last week to about 11,000, but the fall/winter flu season has not yet begun.

Boasting that Britain had the world's largest supply of Tamiflu, enough to cover 80 percent of its nearly 61 million people, Health Minister Andy Burnham promised the drug would be available to anyone who needed it.

Britons who call the national flu line can get Tamiflu without ever seeing a doctor —it is given out by call center workers who have no medical training. The operators' training lasts from three hours to a day. There are no health workers present at the call centers. Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales decided not to participate in the swine flu phone line.

On its swine flu Web site, the Department of Health says "the government has decided to offer the antivirals Tamiflu or Relenza to everyone confirmed with swine flu."

To stop people fraudulently getting Tamiflu, the web site says "the government is relying on the public to use the system responsibly." In its first two weeks of operation, the call center workers handed out more than 511,000 courses of Tamiflu.

Some experts have criticized that approach, warning that blanketing the population with Tamiflu increases the chances of resistant strains emerging.

Pennington called the strategy "a very big experiment" that could render Tamiflu useless. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says antivirals must be prescribed by a health care professional. Canada's Public Health Agency does not recommend Tamiflu for people with mild illness.

Pennington said Britain's national flu line should be dismantled so that Tamiflu would only be used sparingly.

"This approach increases the likelihood of a resistant strain and that is not a risk worth running," Pennington said.

Officials have already found widespread drug resistance in seasonal strains of H1N1 flu and worry that might also crop up with swine flu. So far, only a handful of Tamiflu-resistant swine flu strains have been found.

Charles Penn, a WHO antivirals expert, said it was up to countries to decide how they used their Tamiflu stocks. He said in most cases, the drug should be prescribed by a doctor or nurse, and that resistance could emerge if Tamiflu was overused.

WHO said most patients infected with swine flu worldwide recover within a week without any medical treatment. Still, about 40 percent of the severe swine flu cases are occurring in previously healthy children and adults, usually under 50 years of age.

WHO has estimated that as many as 2 billion people could become infected over the next two years with swine flu — nearly one-third of the world's population. At a swine flu conference in Beijing, a top WHO official predicted there would be "an explosion" of cases in the future.

(From Associated Press)

IBB's Reconciliation With Mukoro Brokered By CIA

The recent reconciliation between rtd. Major Saliba Mukoro, who was one of the main brains behind the failed coup of 1990 widely known as the Orkah coup, whose main aim was to topple the military regime of Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, also known as IBB and the major target of the coup. rtd. general Ibrahim Babangida at his Abuja residence was brokered by the United States Of America(USA) Central Intelligency Agency(CIA), chidi opara reports can now reveal.

Our investigation revealed that rtd. Major Mukoro who teaches criminology in a university in USA, while in the army had close relationship with the CIA. This relationship we learnt, put him in the position of chief planner of the failed putsch. A USA based writer who also had close relationship with the CIA during that period informed us online that "the agency knew of Babangida's plan to continue as civilian President and the problems it was going to cause, and so decided to do something about it". The CIA according to the writer, contacted the then Major Saliba Mukoro, who was very close to IBB and was saddled with the task of midwifing with others, the establisment of the National Guard, an elite commando outfit to protect the Presidency, to help see the plan through. "The plan was to do away with the Babangida regime and conduct elections in twelve months", the writer revealed further.

A retired top Intelligence personnel whom chidi opara reports spoke to in Lagos confirmed this information and added, "even when Mukoro escaped, leaving his family behind, his CIA friends infiltrated Bonny camp and took them away".

When chidi opara reports tried to find out from the USA based writer why the CIA would be interested in the reconciliation of the retired military officers, the answer was "I do not know exactly, but it may not be unconnected with the politics of super powers interests in your oil rich country".

We have however, reliably gathered from contacts arround Saliba Mukoro and IBB that very damaging materials on the IBB military presidency in Mukoro's possesion would have been released to the media next year if IBB had not contacted his friends in the French Intelligence community to approach their counterparts in USA on the possibility of reconciling with Mukoro to avert the release.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Sharp Loss In China Results In World Markets Fall

World markank Wednesday as investors were spooked by sharp losses in China that strengthened fears stocks are now overpriced after this year's powerful rally. U.S. markets were also set to open lower.
With a lack of new economic data across most of Europe and the U.S., investors focused on the jitters in Asia, where Shanghai's index fell as much as 5 percent on worries that the Chinese government's easy credit policy to support the economy will not fuel a sustainable recovery.
Germany's DAX fell 28.76 points, or 0.6 percent, to 5,221.98 while Britain's FTSE 100 dropped 20.46 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,665.32. France's CAC-40 fell 11.48 points, or 0.3 percent, to 3,439.21.
In futures trading, the Dow industrials futures were down 74 points, or 0.8 percent, at 9,133 and Standard & Poor's 500 futures lost 8.4 points, or 0.9 percent, to 981.20.
The drops came after the Shanghai index plunged over 5 percent at one point before closing down 125.30 points, or 4.3 percent, at 2,785.58.
The index has lost nearly 20 percent this month on worrets sies about corporate profits, the strength of China's recovery and possible changes in Beijing's easy credit policy that has helped to fuel the bull run in Chinese stocks this year.
"Global markets are entering a crucial period: with questions being asked of the global recovery's longevity as key sources of stimuli pass their peak, confidence in the outlook may not be so readily found amongst investors as was so clearly the case in the first half," said Neil Mellor, analyst at Bank of New York Mellon in London.
Wednesday's losses came on the heels of a steep fall in world markets Monday, when investors were dismayed by weakness in American consumer spending. That seemed to many to augur an end to the five-month rally that has boosted some benchmarks over 50 percent.
"We've had a very strong run and people are a little unnerved by what's going on in China, so it seems like a good opportunity to take some money off the table," said Adrian Mowat, chief Asian and emerging market equities strategist at JP Morgan in Hong Kong.
World stock markets have mostly been rising since March on relief that the economic crisis will be shorter than previously feared. But once many indexes reached new highs for 2009, investors started wondering whether stocks are overvalued. Considering trading volumes are limited by the summer holiday season, the uncertainty has caused markets to hover in a range over the past few weeks.
Stuart Bennett, senior foreign-exchange strategist at Calyon in London, said European stocks may be overreacting to the Chinese market movements. He said losses may be short-lived, considering the speed with which Monday's sharp drop was quickly stabilized on Tuesday.
"The ups and downs over the past few days and the inconsistent reaction to data and news still leads to the conclusion that the market does not know which way to point," he said.
In Britain, minutes published from the Bank of England's latest policy meeting showed three rate-setters wanted a larger monetary stimulus than announced. Led by governor Mervyn King, the three policmakers wanted to increase the amount of quantitative easing, or increasing the supply of money in the economy, by 75 billion pounds, not just 50 billion pounds. That suggests the central bank may not be done with efforts to spur the economy.
"If the recovery is weaker than the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) expects, there is a good chance that the MPC will extend the quantitative easing program again in November," said Vicky Redwood, economist at Capital Economics.
Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average lost 80.96 points, or 0.8 percent, to 10,204.00. Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 1.7 percent to 19,954.23.
South Korea's Kospi fell 0.3 percent, India's Sensex was 1.5 percent lower and Taiwan's index was flat. Australia's benchmark lost 0.2 percent. Indonesia's market, another investor favorite this year, was down 2.7 percent.
Overnight in the U.S, stronger-than-expected retail earnings reports and the latest reading on housing sent markets to a higher finish following a bout of heavy selling on Monday.
The Dow rose 0.9 percent to 9,217.94. The S&P 500 gained 1 percent to 989.67, while the Nasdaq rose 1.3 percent to 1,955.92.
Oil prices fell in Europe, losing 27 cents to $68.92 a barrel. On Tuesday, the contract gained $2.44 to settle at $69.19.
The dollar fell to 94.24 yen from 94.70 yen, while the euro fell to $1.4106 from $1.4131.

(From Associated Press)

Monday, 17 August 2009

On Clinton’s Visit To Nigeria And Sack of Five Bank Chiefs(News Release)

Last week, the United States (US) Secretary of States, Hillary Rodham Clinton visited our beloved country, Nigeria as part of her African tour in pursuit of American diplomacy and foreign policy. During her short stay in the country, she met with the President, Ministers, Governors, Senators and Civil Society.

In her meeting with the Civil Society and others, she remarked frankly and rightly so that the Nigerian government had failed Nigerians. Clinton said in substance that the government has not done well in sustaining the roots of democracy. She cited the failure to produce credible elections and pledged America ’s commitment to help Nigeria in the Electoral Reforms process but that this can only be done by America if the Nigerian government was genuinely committed to the Electoral Reforms process. She said that America believed totally in the Justice Uwais led Electoral Reforms Panel Recommendations and expressed the hope of Nigeria having future credible elections if the government would implement those recommendations.

Clinton also stated that the President Yar Adua’s Seven-Point Agenda if delivered would help in shaping a new course for the development of our dear country and she concluded by saying that Nigeria ought to be a Member of the G-20 but for our corruption index. She then said that the EFCC has failed in its role.

The People’s Action for Democracy (PAD) however notes with sadness that the US Secretary of States frank and honest comments on the true state of our country is being viewed in bad faith by our government and has in fact elucidated acidic reactions from the agents and apologists of the government. People like the Senate President, David Mark, the Speaker, House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole and others are going around spreading the false propaganda that Clinton’s comments does not echo the true state of Nigeria and its government and that her comments in reality were borne out of misinformation and misrepresentation of facts from her meeting with the opposition, civil society and those who do not wish the PDP led government well.

But the PAD refused to accept this propaganda. We endorsed Clinton ’s comments. America has demonstrated through its Secretary of States' bluntness and candidness on our nation that it is willing to meet freedom’s challenge on the firing line. All that she said about our dear country is the truth and nothing but the truth. The Yar Adua Administration should sit up and stop trying to hide behind the smokescreen of political demagoguery giving cheap excuses for its gross failure. The caustic reactions of Senator David Mark, Honourable Dimeji Bankole and others do not reflect the thoughts, yearnings and aspirations of the Nigerian people and such reactions are certainly not the minds of Nigerians. Nigerians are sick of the Yar Adua Administration’s hypocrisy. They are tired of cheap rhetoric. This government like others before it has failed them; all they get from the government daily is nothing but hurt, neglect and policies deliberately designed to work against them.

We in the PAD therefore salute the courage and thoughtfulness of America and its US Secretary of States, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and we trust that this will widen into a major superhighway of justice, freedom, peace and love for all of God’s children in Nigeria for her thoughts, actions and comments during her visit are very much in line with the wishes, longings and aspirations of the Nigerian people.

On the Sacked Bank Chiefs

The PAD also wishes to comment on the sack last Friday of five of the nation’s top Commercial Banks Board of Directors and their immediate replacements.

While we appreciate the need to sanitise our Banking Sector and the CBN apparent desire to meet its goal and obligations, we want to say that in carrying out its mandate, it must do so in clear and transparent terms for all to see to avoid unnecessary generation of bad blood. And we hope and trust that the CBN will fulfill its statutory duty without bias. There should be no sacred cows. And there should be no witch-hunting either. The CBN must not be enmeshed in acts capable of being misinterpreted as vendetta. While we will refrain from making a categorical statement at this stage as we are still observing and studying the available facts, we want to state in unequivocal terms that the manner this exercise was carried out was not tactful enough. It is capable of scaring investors and depositors, and making them withdraw their deposits which could result in the collapse of the affected Banks which in our opinion is not the ultimate goal of the CBN. The Apex Bank could have been more tactful.

Finally, still on the affected Banks, we demand that the CBN should publish the facts and documentations which precipitated the actions it took. This will engender transparency and restore depositors and investors confidence.

The People’s Action for Democracy (PAD) is an independent, non partisan, non religious and all inclusive platform committed to driving development change at sub-national, national and international levels in Nigeria . The outfit is committed to serving as catalysts simultaneously driving three movements – a) To strengthen and institutionalize democratize, accountable, equitable, transparent and social order through inclusive and participative monitoring and evaluation, b) To Promote and Protect Human Rights in all its ramifications of all Nigerians and c) To Re-professionalize the entire Public Services in all the three tiers of government in Nigeria. PAD believes that the future of our country greatly depends on completing Constitution Amendment that support election system reform, human rights system reform, police service reform, monitoring and evaluation system reform and entire National Political, economic, Social and Cultural Reforms as early as possible.

Debo Adeniran
Chairman, PAD

Eneruvie Enakoko
Secretary, Publicity Committee, PAD

Sunday, 16 August, 2009

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Yoruba Governors And Politicians Unite!(News Release From Afenifere)

Afenifere has observed with much discomfort the disunity among governors of the South-West. The relationship amongst “Their Excellencies” is nothing to write home about. This is clearly lamentable.

Unlike the recent demonstrations of camaraderie and unity by the governors of the South-South and by the governors of the North, our own governors have permitted artificial party affiliations to keep them apart. Instead of remaining focused to and pushing a common regional agenda, each state today proclaims, “To your tents, O Israel.”

Recently, South-South governors spoke with one voice, resolving to withdraw their commitment to the Federal Government’s amnesty offer to militants if government went ahead with a purported plan to relocate the proposed University of Petroleum Technology from Effurun, Warri, Delta State to Kaduna. More than any other consideration, this single-minded resolve by the South-South Governors made the Federal Government to change its mind. Similarly, the Northern governors called an emergency meeting and spoke with one voice on the “Boko Haramun Case,” with a resolve to forge a common policy on aliens coming to the North.

Conversely, Yoruba governors failed to forge a common front on crucial matters affecting the interest of the Yoruba race. These include but are not limited to: The flagrant killing of Yoruba people, including National Youth Service Corps participants, in the Jos crisis of last December; WEMA Bank; the bombing of the Atlas Cove, the chief entry port for petroleum products to the South-West, an attack that inflicted collateral damage on our resources, kinsmen, facilities and interests. The Executive Governors have also been unable to speak as one on pipeline vandalisation; local government and state creations; electoral reforms; resource control; devolution of power; true Federalism and true fiscal Federalism; poor road network spanning the entire South-West; Northernisation of Federal appointments; fertilizer allocation and distribution. It remains a poor commentary on our race that we are unable to present a common front on such crucial issues where our people suffer gross disadvantages.

The problem lies in the fact that we have compromised our unity. It is sad that rather than see themselves first as kinsmen and descendants of Oduduwa, politicians regard themselves primarily as members of People’s Democratic Party, Action Congress, Alliance for Democracy, Democratic Peoples Alliance or Nigerian Labour Party. Although this divergent following of multifarious parties earmarks the legendary liberalism of the Yoruba race, time has come for us to reemphasise Yoruba homogeneity, unity and common ties.

Our people have forgotten the words of our elders that “K’arin ka po, yiye ni nyeni.” Its poor English paraphrase will be “United we stand, divided we fall.” This also means that although we may have disagreement on the person or character of some of those leading us, we must sometimes subsume these in an overriding unity in the more important purpose of defending and protecting the collective interest of the Yoruba nation.

Afenifere will encourage that, for the welfare of our people, Yoruba politicians must cast partisanship aside and forge a united front. South-West governors must lead the way by breaking down all partisan Berlin Walls that artificially keep our people divided. Yoruba governors must come together to form a political power bloc wherein they will relate together for the common good of our indigenes and our citizens. They must form a South-West Governors Forum or the Yoruba Governors Forum. This will act as an interest group for enhancing the socio-political and socio-economic development of our Yoruba people and Yoruba land. It will be the clearing house for policies coming from the Federal Government to the South-West or those originating in the South-West for adoption in all the states for the common benefit of our people. This synergy must bridge together: Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola of Osun State, Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola of Lagos State, Governor Gbenga Daniel of Ogun State, Governor Segun Mimiko of Ondo State, Governor Christopher Alao-Akala of Oyo State and Governor Segun Oni of Ekiti State. It will be to our corporate advantage if we can also to reach out to our cousins in Edo State, Delta State, Kwara State and Kogi State.

In truth, our people are disunited now than they have ever been. This can only be to the advantage of our common antagonists. The world over, the trend tends towards inclusive, expansive socio-economic power blocs like –the European Union, ASEA, ECOWAS, etc.

Our unity made us strong as a region under Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Today, although parties may differ, Afenifere wants politicians to strive to forge Yoruba into one strong power bloc. Our strength must remain in our diversity.

Chief Reuben Fasoranti, OFR
Afenifere Leader.

Nigeria's Central Bank Governor Threatened Presidency With Resignation Over Dismissed Bank CEOs

When the report of the investigation panel comprising officers of the Central Bank Of Nigeria(CBN)and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation(NDIC), instituted by the new leadership of CBN to investigate banks was made available to the governor of CBN, Mr. Sanusi Lamido, the former Chief Executive Officers(CEOs) of the five banks whose leadership was recently changed by the CBN got to know of their imminient dismissal and mounted intense lobby to avert it, CBN insiders told chidi opara reports.

The most intense lobby according to these insiders came from the former leadership of Oceanic Bank Plc, whose CEO, Mrs. Cecilia Ibru is one of the wives of the patriarch of the influential Ibru family, Mr. Michael Ibru. The Ibru family own the Ibru organization whose business interests cover but not limited to Oil and gas, Construction, Agriculture, Banking and Aviation. Unconfirmed information has it it that Oceanic Bank Plc is a subsidiary of the Ibru Organization.

We learnt on good authority that when efforts to compromise the leadership of CBN failed, the former Oceanic Bank CEO contacted Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim of the NICON group, for whom the bank once granted a loan facility running into millions of naira on doubtful colateral, to help enlist the immediate past President, rtd. general Olusegun Obasanjo to speak with the President on the matter. Mr. Ibrahim is known to be a protege of the former President.

We learnt further that when contacted, a reluctant Obasanjo spoke with the President, but according to one Presidency insider, "the President was non committal, all the same he promised to talk to the CBN governor." "When Mr. President spoke to governor, he told Mr. President that he would prefer to resign than to allow the compromised officers to remain at the helm of affairs in the banks", a CBN insider revealed to us.

Investigation revealed that if not for Mr. Lamido's background as a Prince of the powerful Kano Emirate, the dismissed CEOs would have remained in their positions. Further checks revealed that during the tenure of the immediate past CBN governor, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, matters like this were not handled decissively because "the hands of the then CBN governor were tied."

We can now reveal that there is presently serious lobby in the Presidency and office of the Attorney-general of the federation to prevail on the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) to handle the matter in a shoddy way when the report is eventually forwarded to it.

Contacts very close to the CBN governor informed us that he has made up his mind to forward the report to EFCC. "If he makes up his mind about anything, it is very difficult to influence him otherwise", a childhood friend of Sanusi's told one of chidi opara reports network members in Kano yesterday.

Editorial: That Townhall Meeting With Mrs. Clinton

The Secretary Of State of the United States Of America(USA), Mrs. Hillary Clinton recently visited Nigeria for the first time in the capacity of a high rank cabinet member of the Barack Obama administration. The visit was the last stage of her seven-nation-tour of Africa.

During the visit, Mrs. Clinton had meetings with governmental and non governmental groups. Notable among the non governmental groups the USA top official had meeting with was a coalition of civil society groups, whom Mrs. Clinton exchanged ideas with in a townhall meeting.

Highlight of the townhall meeting was an address by the Secretary Of State in which she amongst other pronouncements, noted that it is up to Nigerians to effect the necessary legitimate changes in the governance of their country. She however added that the Obama administration would be ready to work with the civil society community in this regard. chidi opara reports agrees with Madam Secretary of State in this regard.

This statement coming from a high rank cabinet member of a very important nation like the USA would ordinarily serve as motivation to any civil society community anywhere, serious about effecting legitimate changes in the country where it operates.

Unfortunately, the civil society community in Nigeria, we dare say is unserious, unorganized, unimaginative and lazy. We make this pronouncement, bearing in mind the laudable roles a few selfless and committed activists, some living and others dead, played in the onerous task of reforming the Nigerian space. chidi opara reports salutes them.

This in our opinion is the time for the civil society community in Nigeria to seize this window of opportunity offered by the current mood in Washington to get serious in the areas of imaginative strategizing, grassroots based organization and vibrant peaceful demonstrations in all parts of Nigeria against objectionable policies of government when the need arise. The era of waiting for other nations to effect the required legitimate changes in Nigeria should be over. Enough of that townhall meeting with Mrs. Clinton and other officials of other countries.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Why We Intervened In The Five Banks(News Release From Central Bank Of Nigeria)

As we are aware, the world economy has been hit by recession following the
financial meltdown that started with the sub-prime mortgage crisis in the
United States of America and spread to Europe and other parts of the world.
This crisis have led to the collapse of many banks and other financial
institutions, and even rendered an entire nation bankrupt.

In Nigeria, the banking system appears to have weathered the storm due to a
number of factors. Among these is the fact that our financial system is not
strongly integrated into the international financial System as well as the
relatively simple nature of financial products and strong capitalization and
liquidity of Nigerian banks.

However, there are many who have been aware for a while that whereas the
system in general is likely to absorb and survive the effects of crisis, the
effects vary from. A few Nigerian banks, mainly due to huge concentrations
in their exposure to certain sectors (capital Market and Oil and Gas being
the prominent ones), and a general weakness in risk management and corporate
governance, have continued to display signs of failure.

In October 2008, some of the banks showed serious liquidity strain and had
to be given financial support by the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN) in the
form of an "Expanded Discount Window" (EDW) whereby the CBN extended credit
facilities to these banks on the basis of collateral in the form of
Commercial Paper and Bankers' acceptances, sometimes of doubtful value.

Since June 4, 2009 when I assumed office as Governor of the CBN the total
amount outstanding at the Expanded Discount Window was N256.571 billion most
of which was owed by the five banks.
A review of the activity in the EDW showed that four banks had almost been
permanently locked-in as borrowers and were unable to repay their
obligations. A fifth bank had been a very frequent borrower when its profile
ordinarily should have placed it among the net placers of funds in the
marker. Whereas the five banks were by no means the only ones to have
benefited from the EDW, the persistence and frequency of their demand
pointed to a deeper problem and the CBN identified them as probable source
of financial instability, most likely suffering from deeper problems due to
non-performing loans.

The impact of the situation of these banks was being felt by the market in
different negative ways. Because of this strain in their balance sheets, the
banks pushed up the interest rate paid to private sector depositors and
their competitors had to follow suit. They also contributed to the
destabilization of the inter-bank market as many of their competitors were
unwilling to take unsecured risk on them.

It was primarily because of these banks, or at least some of them, that the
CBN decided to guarantee the inter-bank market when it stopped granting new
lines under the EDW. Without that guarantee, almost four banks would not
have been able to borrow in the inter-bank and would probably have

CBN guaranteed the inter-bank market to give us the time to conduct a
thorough diagnostic of the banks and ensure that appropriate remedial action
is taken. At least four of the banks in question have since the guarantee
came into force either remained heavy users of funds at the EDW or drawn
from other banks under cover of the CBN guarantee to wind-down at this
window. In all event, it is clear that they do not have the ability to meet
their obligations to depositors and creditors as they are in a grave

Due to these circumstances, I instructed the Director of Banking Supervision
of the CBN to carry out a Special Examination of the following banks:
1. Afribank Plc
2. Finbank
3. Intercontinental Bank Plc
4. Oceanic bank Plc and
5. Union Bank Plc.
The examination was conducted by a joint team of CBN and Nigeria Deposit
Insurance Commission (NDIC) officials. The major findings on the banks
1. Excessively high level of non-performing loans in the five banks which
was attributable to poor corporate governance practices, lax credit
administration processes and the absence or non-adherence to the bank's
credit risk management practices. Thus the percentage of non-performing
loans to total loans ranged from 19 per cent to 48 per cent. The five banks
will therefore need to make additional provision of N539.09 billion.
2. The total loan portfolio of these banks was N2,801.92 billion. Margin
loans amounted to N456.28 billion and exposure to Oil and Gas was N487.02
billion. Aggregate non-performing loans stood at N143 billion representing
40.81 per cent.
3. From the first two findings, it is evident that the five banks accounted
for a disproportionate component of the total exposure to Capital Market and
Oil ad Gas, thus reflecting heavy concentration to high risk areas relative
to other banks in the industry.
4. The huge provisioning requirements, have led to significant capital
impairment. Consequently, all the banks are undercapitalized for their
current levels of operations and are required to increase their provisions
for loan losses, which impacted negatively on their capital. Indeed one is
teachnically insolvent with a Capital Adequacy Ratio of (1.01 per cent).
Thus, a minimum capital injection of N204.94 billion will be required in the
five banks to meet the minimum capital adequacy ratio of 10per cent.
5. The five banks were either perennial net-takers of funds in the
inter-bank market or enjoyed liquidity support from the CBN for long period
of time, a clear evidence of illiquidity. In other words, these banks were
unable to meet their obligations as they fall due without resorting to the
CBN or the inter-bank market. As a matter of fact, the outstanding balance
on the EDW of the five banks amounted to N127.85 billion by end July 2009,
representing 89.81 per cent of the total industry exposure to the CBN on its
discount window while their net guaranteed inter-bank takings stood at
N253.30 billion as at August 02, 2009. Their liquidity Ratios ranged from
17.65 per cent to 24per cent as at May 31, 2009. (Regulatory minimum is 25
per cent).

Noteworthy is that at least three of the banks are systemically important
(accounting for more than five per cent of assets and Deposits in the
banking system) and together the five banks account for 39.93 per cent of
loans, 29.99 per cent of deposits, and 31.47 per cent of total assets as at
May 31, 2009.

Given the extent of the asset quality problem leading to liquidity stress,
and the variety of stress points on the banks' balance sheets, failure to
secure the financial health of these banks will clearly place the system at
risk. CBN has a responsibility to protect all depositors and creditors and
ensure that no one loses money due to bank failure. The Bank also needs to
move decisively to remove principal causes of financial instability and
restore confidence in the banking system.

Consequently, I have reviewed the reports of the examiners and the comments
of the directors and deputy governors and I am satisfied that these five
institutions are in a grave situation and that their management have acted
in a manner detrimental to the interest of their depositors and creditors.

Therefore, in exercise of my powers as contained in Sections 33 and 35 of
the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act 1991, as amended, and after
securing the consent of the Board of directors of the CBN, I hereby remove
the Managing Directors (MDs) and the Executive Directors (EDs) of the
following banks from office with effect from Friday, August 14, 2009.
1. Afribank Plc
2. Intercontinental Bank Plc
3. Union Bank of Nigeria Plc
4. Oceanic International Bank Plc
5. Finbank Plc
These persons cease to be directors and officers of their respective banks.
The Board of the Central Bank of Nigeria has also appointed the following as
the MDs/CEOs of the affected banks:
1. John Aboh - MD/CEO Oceanic International Bank Plc
2. Mahmoud L. Alabi - MD/CEO Intercontinental Bank Plc
3. Nebolisa Arah - MD/CEO Afribank Plc
4. Suzanne Irochie - MD/CEO Finbank Plc
5. Funke Osibodu - MD/CEO Union Bank Plc.

They will head a management team that will include (EDs) and Chief Financial
Officers (CFOs) to be appointed by the CBN. This team is tasked with
continuation of the businesses of the banks. I therefore appeal to the
boards of the affected banks, in their own interest, to cooperate with the
newly appointed executive management.

We are conscious of the fact that changing management alone will not resolve
this problem. Therefore, the CBN is injecting about N400 billion into the
affected banks with immediate effect in form of Tier 2 Capital to be repaid
from proceeds of capitalization in near future.

This injection is sufficient to resolve and stabilize all the institutions
and enable them continue normal business. The injection of fresh capital by
the CBN is a temporary measure as government does not intend to hold the
shares for long and shall divest its holding as soon as new investors
recapitalize these banks.

I also advise all debtors of Nigerian banks that the CBN and all government
agencies are united in our commitment to support the recovery efforts of the
banks. Debtors who do not pay shall have their names published in national
newspapers in due course and we will solicit the support of law enforcement
agencies in recovery.

Let me reassure the customers of the affected banks and all the banks in
general that there is no cause for alarm. They should continue to transact
their business in the banks where their accounts are
domiciled as their exercise is meant to strengthen the banking industry and
recapitalize the affected banks.

The scope of the Special examination was widened to cover all 24 banks. So
far, we have concluded the audit of 10 banks including the affected five,
the others being Diamond Bank, First Bank, United bank for Africa, Guaranty
Trust bank and Sterling Bank.

We have also commenced the examination of the next batch of 11 banks and
hope to conclude them by the end of August and we expect to conclude the
audit in mid-September. The CBN requires all banks to make appropriate
provisioning for non-performing loans and disclose them. We hope that by the
end of this quarter, all banks would have cleaned up their balance sheets.
On the basis of the information available to us so far, we are confident
that the banking system is safe and sound and we have dealt with the major
sources of systemic risk.

The CBN will not waiver in its desire to ensure that public confidence in
the Nigerian banking system is maintained through appropriate disclosure and
reinvigoration of its policy of zero tolerance on all professional and
unethical conduct.

We will not allow any bank to fail. However, we will also ensure that
officers of banks and debtors who contribute to bank failures are brought to
book to the full extent of the law and that all proceeds of infraction are
confiscated where legally feasible.

Central Bank Of Nigeria(CBN)

Mrs Clinton: The Lack Of Transparency And Accountability Has Eroded The Legitimacy Of The (Nigerian)Government

Well, I am absolutely delighted to be here. I'm very grateful to TMG
and all
of the partners who helped to organize this event. I apologize for
you waiting. I've had such an extraordinary schedule of meetings
today, and
I just finished a very interesting and important dialogue with leaders
both the Muslim and Christian communities. And I had to listen to
because everyone had something very important to say.

I want to thank you for the work that all of you do. Moshood listed
off all
of the different affiliations that are represented here. But you are
in part, because you care about your country. You have worked on
behalf of
the public or the private sector, civil society, the faith
because of your commitment to a better future.

I am here on behalf of President Obama and our Administration and my
to deepen and strengthen our relationship. We have had a long history
friendship and partnership with Nigeria, and we want to do even more.
But we
recognize, as I have told the government officials with whom I have
today, that Nigeria is at a crossroads, and it is imperative that
be engaged and that civic organizations be involved in helping to
chart the
future of this great nation.

I started my trip in Africa about - over - about a week or so ago -
lost track of time in Kenya. I was at a town hall meeting much like
this at
the University of Nairobi, and one of the people in the audience was
friend and a former Nobel Prize winner, Wangari Maathai. And she said
something which has stuck with me as I have traveled across this
extraordinary continent. She said, "Africa is a rich continent. The
must have been on our side when they created the planet, and yet we

I have seen the best and the most distressing of what is happening in
today. Yesterday, I was in eastern Congo, one of the most beautiful
landscapes on earth, yet one that is replete with human misery. Today,
I am
in Nigeria, a country that produces 2 million barrels of oil a day,
has the
seventh-largest natural gas reserves of any country in the world, but
according to the United Nations, the poverty rate in Nigeria has gone
from 46 percent to 76 percent over the last 13 years.

Now, there are many reasons why Nigeria has struggled. There is the
destructive legacy of colonialism, there are wars, including a
civil war. There are other external forces. But as President Obama
said in
Ghana in his historic speech, the future of Africa is up to the
and the future of Nigeria is up to the Nigerians. The most immediate
of the disconnect between Nigeria's wealth and its poverty is a
failure of
governance at the local, state, and federal level.

And some of that is due, as you know so well, to corruption, others of
it to
a lack of capacity or mismanagement. But the World Bank recently
that Nigeria has lost well over $300 billion during the last three
as a result of all of these problems. And therefore, it is imperative
we look at where Nigeria is today and, in the spirit of friendship and
partnership, of a country that has made its own mistakes, has had its
problems, we look for ways to help one another, and particularly to
help the
people of this country.

The raw numbers, 300 billion, 2 million barrels of oil - they're
But they don't tell you how many hospitals and roads could have been
They don't tell you how many schools could have opened, or how many
Nigerians could have attended college, or how many mothers might have
survived childbirth if that money had been spent differently. The lack
transparency and accountability has eroded the legitimacy of the
and contributed to the rise of groups that embrace violence and reject
authority of the state. We deplore the attacks perpetrated by any
group, whether they be religious extremists, militias, or criminals.
addressing the challenges that they and the poverty of the country
takes more than action by your excellent military or your police. It
requires fixing Nigeria's flawed electoral system
a truly independent electoral council.

In order to create a peaceful, stable environment that creates
among the people, citizens need to have confidence that their votes
that their government cares about them, that democracy can deliver
services. They need to know that officials will be replaced if they
the law or fail to deliver what they have promised. And
each know that Nigeria's natural resources, particularly your oil and
gas, will be used to invest in social development programs that
benefit all
Nigerians, particularly the poorest. We stand ready to work with you
with your government and with civil society to help realize these

(Being an abridged version of the speech delievered by the United States Of America(USA), Secretary Of State, Mrs. Hillary Rodham Clinton at a meeting with non governmental organizations during her recent visit to Nigeria)

Friday, 14 August 2009

Nigerian Music Stars Begin Hunger Strike On August 25th, 2009(News Release)

(September 1st, 2009 Declared “NO MUSIC DAY”)
True to its vow at a world press conference held in Lagos on July 14, the coalition of major associations in the Nigerian music industry has begun the mobilization of stakeholders throughout the country for the commencement of an indefinite mass hunger strike to draw the attention of the world to the intolerable amount of piracy that is devastating the music industry in Nigeria. The mass hunger strike is planned to commence on August 25. As a prelude to the strike, there will be an important rally of stakeholders in the Nigerian music industry at the premises of the National Theatre, Lagos at 10.00am on August 25. The rally will offer an opportunity to artistes and investors across the industry to network and devise strategies to frontally attacking the piracy scourge that is plundering the Nigerian entertainment industry.

Further to the hunger strike, the coalition has resolved that a powerful delegation of industry stakeholders will proceed to the National Assembly in Abuja on September 1 to express the frustration of the industry over the lukewarm and ineffective attitude of the government to attacking the piracy cancer that is fast eating away the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of Nigerians and destroying the Nation’s image. The coalition is also requesting all broadcast organizations in the country to show solidarity with the plight of the Nigerian entertainment industry by observing September 1, 2009 as “NO MUSIC DAY”. Consequently, broadcasting stations across Nigeria are requested not to broadcast music between the hours of 6 am and 6 pm on September 1. Artistes across the country are also requested not to engage in any musical performance on “NO MUSIC DAY”

It will be recalled that at the Press Conference held at Protea Hotel, Ikeja on July 14, the coalition had called on President Yar’ Adua to declare a State of Emergency with respect to the fight against piracy in Nigeria and to muster the necessary resources to eradicate the monster. The coalition had also called on the President to take the following specific actions:-

1. Set up a Governing Board made up of Nigerians of proven commitment and integrity to design and supervise the activities of the Nigerian Copyright Commission in accordance with the Nigerian Copyright Act as the records show that for more than five years, the Nigerian Copyright Commission has only had a Board for a period of a few months in 2005.

2. Direct the Nigerian Copyright Commission to immediately put on hold the process of approval of any new copyright collective management organization pending the IMMEDIATE convening of a stake holders conference on Collective Management to ensure that the process receives input from the stakeholders that will earn any organization emerging from the process the support of the industry.

3. Direct the Inspector General of Police to serve a warning to the traders at Alaba International Market in Lagos, the world’s biggest hotbed of piracy, that if within a specified period the traders do not clean up the market, the government will shut Alaba market down.

At the massively attended Press Conference, the coalition had noted that whatever efforts made so far to fight piracy in Nigeria had failed and rather than piracy being controlled or reduced in Nigeria, it was ravaging an entire generation of creative people. The coalition also warned that in desperation, practitioners in the Nigerian entertainment industry may soon be forced to take the laws into their hands in a desperate attempt to safeguard their investment and this may result in otherwise avoidable bloodshed.

The coalition made up of Performing Musicians Employers Association of Nigeria (PMAN), Nigerian Association of Recording Industries (NARI), Performing & Mechanical Rights Society Ltd/Gte (PMRS), Association of Music Business Professionals (AM.B-Pro), Music Label Owners & Recording Industries Association of Nigeria (MORAN), Music Label Owners Association of Nigeria (MULOAN), Gramophone Records & Cassette Dealers (AGRECD), Music Advertisers Association Of Nigeria (MAAN). Audio /Video CD Sellers Association of Nigeria (AVCDSAN) also reminded the government that Nigeria may face sanctions from the international community because of the glaring failure to meet the nation’s obligations under the different conventions and treaties signed by our country to protect intellectual property rights of citizens of other nations which are wantonly infringed upon in Nigeria alongside those of Nigerian nationals.

All artistes in music film, comedy, drama, literary works and all friends of the entertainment industry are invited to storm the historic rally at the National Theatre Lagos on Tuesday August 25 at 10 am

Efe Omorogbe
For: The Nigerian Music Industry Coalition

Amnesty Fraud Alert!(News Release From MEND)

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has been approached by the Nigerian government to own up to thousands of weapons belonging to the Nigerian Army which would be delivered secretly at night to an arms collection centre if we agree to the plan.

This desperate measure which aims to give the amnesty program some semblance of progress has the input and connivance of the Amnesty Committee, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Ministry of Defense as well as the Joint Task Force.

We know that some unscrupulous individuals will participate in this scam because of the money involved and as such we are using this opportunity to raise the alarm before Nigerians and the international community are hoodwinked.

For a government that has perfected the art of rigging elections, this latest fraudulent attempt does not come to us as a surprise.

MEND believes in a holistic process where the root issues that prompted the unrest are addressed and weapons are freely given up in exchange for justice.

We are happy to note that the military has vacated the Gbaramatu communities to allow the displaced people return home and hope that the government will go a step further by rebuilding the damaged homes or compensating those whose property were wantonly destroyed.

Jomo Gbomo