Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Nigerian Human Rights Lawyer Writes President

Castle Of Law
4th Floor Metro Plaza, CBD, Abuja-NIGERIA

16th November 2009

The President,
Federal Republic of Nigeria
The Presidency,
Aso Villa,
Abuja, FCT.

Your Excellency,

Two-Week Unwarranted Close Down Of Public Schools In Abuja, FCT For “2009 Abuja Carnival”
(A Call For The Review Of Unjustifiable Close Down And Resignation Of The FCT Minister.)

I am constrained to write you this letter as a Nigeria Citizen, father, guardian and a lawyer with dedicated and patriotic interest in keeping a close watch on the nation’s state of affairs as well as advocating for and ensuring good governance in our dear country.

I am sure that it is within your knowledge that the seat of your government, Abuja will pay host to the annual cultural cum tourist festival tagged “2009 Abuja Carnival” with the theme “Celebrate Nigeria” which will take place between 21st - 24th November 2009 in which 36 States of the Nigeria Federation and FCT will show case their cultural heritage to the delight of the residents and tourists of Abuja.

From the past events which my family and our visitors have been graciously invited to attend, the Carnival has to do with glitz, colours and excitements; simply, it is a street party. The event is indeed fascinating and desirable but it is however not interesting and beat me hollow to understand that the Administrators of the Public Educational system in Abuja under the able supervision of the Honourable Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Adamu Aliero has unilaterally declared the closure of Public Schools in Abuja for the preparation and hosting 2009 Abuja Carnival.

This therefore translate to the effect that for a mere 3 days street jamboree and party christened Abuja Carnival the learning students in public schools will be shut out from educational activities for the next 167 (One Hundred and Sixty Seven) hours; 14 days.

I am of the strong view that our education system is of great value to the development of human resources, especially at this developing stage of our dear nation.

Therefore, I with respect view the two week unwarranted closure as another reflection of the infamous Boko Haram (Detest against Western Education), a stride which is completely antithetical to the universally quest for education.

I therefore, deem it fit to call your attention to this insensitivity on the part of the Honourable Minister of FCT and therefore urge you to review this anti-education decision as well as relieve Senator Adamu Aliero of the post of Minister of FCT with other officials that are wittingly or unwittingly involved in this unprogressive decision.

Education is the bedrock of any nation’s development whereas the Minister has not demonstrated any commitment to promote this important sector, as it would be recalled that this same minister had in the past used funds budgeted for the educational sector for other purposes.

I wish to restate my commitment and support to any measures that will ensure good governance in Nigeria.

Accept, please, your Excellency, the firm assurances of my highest regards.

Yours truly,

Kayode Ajulo, Esq.

Meeting With MEND: Nigerian President Bows To Security Warnings From Super Nations

                                                 [Nigerian President]

Indications have emerged that the secret meeting between the negotiating team appointed by the Movement For The Emancipation Of Niger Delta(MEND), otherwise known as "Aaron Team" and the Nigerian President on saturday 14th November, 2009 was necesitated by security warnings from super nations namely; France, Britain, USA, Rusia and China. The Nigerian government had hitherto refused to talk with MEND's "Aaron Team".

Presidency insiders told chidi opara reports that for the past one month, the President's desk have been receiving lots of security warnings from these super nations, particularly France.

These warnings according to a senior security aide in the office of the National Security Adviser(NSA), pointed to the fact that there are lots of poor and disgruntled retired military and para-military personnels in the country who are well trained in the operation of sophisticated weaponry, who can be readily recruited by MEND to replace the fighters who embraced amnesty. This report, according to this security aide went further to conclude that illegal arms purchase outlets are everywhere waiting for any patrons with money.

One particular security warning according to a senior State Security Service(SSS) personnel also in the Presidency, "was emphatic that there are still armed militants in the creeks of Niger Delta".

These militants, our checks revealed, usually confine their movements to parts of the creeks where security boats cannot patrol.

Aside from these security warnings, chidi opara reports also learnt that Oil and Gas majors who also reportedly got the same security warnings from their home governments, issued a subtle threat to the effect that they would close shop if the government fail to establish lasting peace in the restive oil and gas region by early next year.

"Look madam reporter, we are the unseen government in this country, but please don't mention my name-o", a lady who works in the office of a senior expatriate staffer of a multi-national oil and gas conglomerate boasted to one of our network members in Port Harcourt.

Article: Deregulation, PDP Government And Development In Nigeria

                                                    [PDP Logo]

The public discussion and showmanship that accompany the inevitable and impending implementation of the deregulation programme of the right wing PDP and other governments in Nigeria are at the verge of a crescendo. The Labour movement naturally is very vocal in its opposition to the imperialist imposed programme in respect of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry. On the exploiter side of the contest stand the right wing governments of Nigeria led by the Peoples Democratic Party PDP.

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the politics involved in deregulation in all its ramifications and to propose an enduring solution to the monstrous problem that deregulation constitutes in the needed economic development of Nigeria.

What Is Deregulation?:
It is necessary to answer this question so that we will understand the issues we are actually discussing or fighting over.

Deregulation is an essential component of the Structural Adjustment Programme SAP that was slapped on Nigeria and other third world unindustrialised economies in 1985 by the IMF and imbibed by the military dictatorship led by Babangida and his cohort. It was introduced into the Nigerian state policy as an invasion by international capitalism in the name of neo liberalism peddled as market reforms or in local political parlance PPP public private partnership whereby public assets are transferred to selected private interests, usually the right wing politicians, their local funders and their foreign promoters. The other two key elements of the programme are privatisation and downsizing.

The right wing promoters of the neo liberal policies and their agents try to sell the concept that government has no business in doing business. But they do not highlight the truth that the same people who deliberately make government companies and projects to fail by stealing, fraudulent practices, project cost bloating, bribery, project splitting, pre arranged after award cost reviews, and other forms of corruption that result in non performance in the face of fee collection and other corrupt practices turn round to be the buyers of the public companies in the privatisation process.

They are the same professionals and experts who ran the public institutions aground and move on to buy Nigerian national assets cheaply and thereafter make the privatised companies work and make vast profits for the new owners.

Deregulation goes much beyond the petroleum downstream economy that merely happens to be the one generating heated discussion in the country today. It has been carried out by the military and PDP governments in the telecommunication sector and is on in the transportation and energy sectors. It is indeed being carried out in social services sectors like education and healthcare delivery.

Position Of The Right Wing Governments:
We must remember that the PDP manifesto that was clearly articulated by el Rufai at a workshop he promoted and led for PDP bigwigs on 8 January 2007 declared the intention of the party to create a class of entrepreneurs, small business owners and professionals with access to credit. The emergence of Sanusi at the Central Bank in place of the neo-politician Soludo has demonstrated the methods of access to credit by these new owners of our national commonwealth.

The promoters of the concept and practice of deregulation in the oil sector readily give the following as advantages of the scheme
• Stoppage of cross border smuggling operations that is attributed to low prices in Nigeria as against the neighbouring territories
• Utilisation of erstwhile subsidy by the government to shore up provision of facilities in education, health and transportation
• An illogically cyclical argument that the rise in pump prices will stabilise the product prices to the consumers
• The removal of artificial pegging of prices will rise by the tricks of market forces to a parity level

These stories are as old as the era of military dictatorship when the confusion in the oil sector actually started in Nigeria. That was the era when individuals in military uniform in government and their cronies in civilian robes rummaged through the national system to gain undue access to personalise the national commonwealth. Indeed, that was the start of deregulation climaxing in 1985 when Babangida took in the IMF programme hook, line and sinker and sustained by the PDP in making it a key part of its manifesto at its birth in 1999.

The Position Of Labour:
The trade unions and the civil society have been very consistent in its battles against deregulation in the petroleum downstream sector by its regular fights both in the era of military dictatorship and the current period of PDP right wing dispensation. These organisational expressions of the Nigerian working class have used the strike weapon to maintain their pro-people position.

The issue really is that the PDP right wing government is fully committed to implement an economic programme in favour of international capitalism and its Nigerian comprador agents. There is hardly any difference in the positions of the other ruling right wing political parties ANPP, AC and APGA.

The total collapse of the energy sector whereby Nigerians are compelled to spend 796.4 billion naira of their own money annually to fuel private generators in addition to the huge capital commitment to own the hardware and maintain same in working condition certainly is not in the interest of the poverty ridden pockets of our people but in favour of the foreign economies from whom we import the generators and the fuel, not to mention the vehicles and other machineries that keep our consuming and non producing economy running.

The Answer:
The answer is basically political. Indeed, I dare say that it is entirely political. It is to wrest political power from the right wing political parties and install a government that will dump the pro-imperialist and anti-people programme that promotes fuel product importation, generator importation, and similar economic postures in favour of a centrally planned economic development programme that is nationally implemented for the benefits of the working class and the generality of our people.

There is simply no rational position for a country with the enormous economic capabilities of Nigeria holding over 140 million human beings to be a prostrate economy incapable of local efforts at production but a beggar importer of fuel products, generators, phone handsets, pins and toothpicks and begging for foreign investors.

There must be a publicly promoted programme for a people oriented economic development system to reverse and replace the current imposition by the PDP and its cohorts. One does not need to claim any gifts of prophecy to know that the right wing governments will go on with privatisation, downsizing and deregulation, no matter what the people say. The only answer is to replace them. 2011 is getting close.

By Dr Abayomi Ferreira