Sunday, 31 October 2010

Article: Cecilia Ibru Vs Bill Gate

Gate And Ibru

By Rufus Kayode Oteniya

This piece is not about the man and woman, not about the two persons but two people; it is not entirely about Cecilia Ibru and Bill Gate but about the society as personified by them. It is about selflessness against selfishness; altruism as opposed to egotism; and magnanimity versus self-centredness.

Cecilia and Bill both grew up in the middle class homes having lawyers as their fathers. Cecilia Ibru's father, late Chief Edward Gbagbeke Sido was an educationist, a social enterprenuer and most especially an erudite lawyer while Bill Gate's father, William Henry Gates, Sr is a retired American attorney, philanthropist and an author.

Cecilia and Bill both started the businesses that they become synonymous with. Cecilia Ibru dropped out of the main Ibru's family business to start and head Oceanic bank with the family's wealth. She succeeded in taking the bank to an enviable height nationally and even internationally. Oceanic Bank International was seemingly one of the fastest growing and most profitable banks in Nigeria until August 2009. Bill Gate also dropped out of Harvard to team up with his childhood friend, Paul Allen with whom he shared a passion in computer programming and on April 4, 1975, they started Microsoft with Gates as the CEO. Microsoft would later become the world's biggest software maker.

They are also both married to spouses who were deeply involved in their businesses. Celicila is the most prominent of the five wives of Olorogun Michael Ibru who served as the founding chairman of Oceanic bank from its inception on March 26, 1990 until he attained the mandatory retirement age. Gate is married to Melinda Ann Gate who was the General Manager of Information Products at Microsoft before she left the company to focus on starting and raising a family with Bill, together, they have three children.

The list of their similarities is long but their most notable common denominator is money. When you talk about money, they both have it and in abundance. As much as money is their commonest denominator so also it is their commonest divider.

They are apparently two rich persons who differ in how they made and spend their money.

Gates is undoubtedly the 'eze ego' - the king of money - of our time. He was number one on the "Forbes 400" list from 1993 through to 2007 and number one on Forbes list of "The World's Richest People" until recently. In 1999, Gates's wealth briefly surpassed $101 billion, causing the media to call him the only "centibillionaire" ever. Since 2000, the nominal value of his Gate's wealth has declined due to a fall in Microsoft's stock price after the dot-com bubble burst and the multi-billion dollar donations he has made to his charitable foundations. In March 2010 Bill Gates was marginally bumped down to the 2nd wealthiest man behind Carlos Slim, a Jewish Mexican telecom magnate. A 5% upward movement in the share price of Microsoft will thrust him back to the top position.

Though not listed by Forbes, Cecilia Ibru must have been making jest of Forbes in her closet when in March 2009, the financial magazine officially named Aliko Dangote and Femi Otedola as Nigeria's wealthiest men with net worth of $2.5bn and $1.2bn respectively - Dangote's net worth was revised downward to $2.1bn in 2010 while Otedola was dropped from the list of global billionaires. While being investigated for her role in running Oceanic bank to near collapse, EFCC's investigation revealed that Cecilia's assets value dwarfed the combined reported net worth of the two businessmen listed as purported richest men in Nigeria. The security agency unearthed assets that were in excess of N500bn out of which she would later give up a chunk valued at $191bn in a guilty bargain plea and she also received a 18 month prison sentence that will run concurrently for 6 months. She is currently serving her time at a N90,000 per night royal suite of Reddington multi-specialist hospital, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Ibru represents a typical Nigerian businessman/woman or a public office holder whose net worth can never be guessed correctly. Most top businessmen and public office holders are worth far beyond any logical reason. Not even in the wildest imagination could someone have appropriated such an astounding level of wealth to the innocent looking 'God-fearing deaconness' from Udu kingdom in Urhobo land. Most office holders live above what their legitimate income could possibly have guaranteed and most times launder money through established businessmen. Who knows if Ibru is holding some of their assets? Or how do you explain a civil servant having chains of properties, fleet of cars and children in expensive colleges abroad?

It took a Bellview Airlines plane crash on 22 October 2005 and a family wrangling to uncover that a late financial director of INEC and RCCG Abuja area Pastor, Timothy Olufemi Akanni had embezzled more than 6 billion naira from INEC. He would never have disclosed such stupendous wealth being a career civil servant. Tafa Balogun would never have declared his assets to show the over N7bn he stole from the Police force and neither would Bode George have shown his stolen billions being a career public servant/retired military man. And neither would their tax records reflect such since they hardly pay.

Similarly and to the surprise of not a few, in the course of EFCC's investigation, assets worth over N346 billion belonging to Erastus Akingbola, a pastor and the former Chief Executive Officer of Intercontinental Bank Plc were unearth and frozen. While as bank CEO of many years, reasonably, everyone would expect Erastus to be rich but not to that level. Only Heavens could explain while the affluent and respected banker from Oke Igbo in Ondo state would succumb to financial greed to the extent of causing the bank he built from zilch to be on the brink of collapse.

With the discovery of the vast assets of Ibru, Akingbola and Francis Atuche, the former CEO of Bank PHB, one could not help to be suspicious and even picture the worth of the other banks CEOs (present and past). This imagination could also be extended to the other businessmen.

If after Abacha's death, it was discovered that he had stolen more than $5 billion from our national treasury, then one cannot help to think of the other big players before and after him. We may not know their worth but we know they flamboyantly flaunt a lifestyle and assets that their legitimate income could not have supported.

Gate knew there was time for everything; time to build portfolio and time to use it for mankind, time to acquire and time to disburse but Ibru never knew. For her and her likes, acquisition is for all season. While Gate is busy selling off his holdings in Microsoft to enable him finance his passion for helping mankind, Cecilia is known to be recklessly acquiring landed properties as if they were endangered species that would soon run out of supply or abscond from the surface of the earth. In the course of her insatiable acquisition, she almost bought up a whole street in the US and an entire estate in the Dubai, U.A.E.

Having being the world's richest man longer than most teenagers have lived, Gate has long realised that there is more to life than material wealth, he needed to affect others, empower the powerless, support the weak, care for the less privileged and that is exactly what he has been doing in the last few years. Gates goes round the globe touching lives with his wealth. He is undoubtedly the most generous man ever having already spent over $28bn out of around $40bn of his personal money which he has committed to humanitarian causes through Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He goes from Asia to Africa fighting poverty, illiteracy and diseases ranging from malaria and polio to HIV/AIDS. He has spent over $120m in eradicating polio in Nigeria. He has also inspired other wealthy men around the world to be committed to giving back to the society. Warren Buffett, the world's third richest man was one of the first to catch Gate's drift when in June 2006 he pledged $30.7bn donation to Gates Foundation saying "I greatly admire what the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is accomplishing and want to materially expand its future capabilities."

Currently, Bill Gates, Melinda Gates, and Warren Buffett are inspiring American billionaires to pledge to give at least half their net worth to charity, in their lifetimes or at death. The programme called 'The Giving Pledge' has 39 American billionaires (including Gate, Buffett, New York Mayor, Michel Bloomberg, Paul Allen, Larry Ellison, the founder of Oracle, George Lucas and Pierre Omidyar, the founder of EBay) as signatories. They have also recently taken the campaign to China where some wealthy Chinese were happy to pledge their wealth at death. Gate himself has promised that 99% of his assets will go to charity at his death.

Cecilia and her likes are hardly known to be involved in any significant humanitarian causes and neither do they plan to remember humanity at their death. They scarcely give back to the society while they live and more rarely when they die. They hardly affect lives outside their cocoon rather they enjoy oppressing people around them; suppressing the under-privileged and wrongly applying the world of God that says that "Whoever has will be given more, and he will have abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him." – Matthew 13:12.

In the course of Gates thrust to affluence, he carried so many people along with him in the wealth creation. His company, Microsoft made so many millionaires and even billionaire from investors and employers of the company. Steve Ballmer, an old friend of Bill at Harvard who is the current CEO and one of the richest people in the world with a personal wealth estimated at US$13.1 billion is a career Microsoft employee. Most employees of Microsoft during the Internet boom of the late 90s were worth several millions of dollars.

In contrast Cecilia Ibru and some like her are known to have amazed great wealth at the expense of people around them. Many underpay their workers, cheat their shareholders, collaborate with public officials to inflate contract values, get paid without executing contracts, embezzle fund entrusted to them and beat the government by evading taxes. It is a known fact that the richer they are the poorer they pay their private workers. Cecilia is also known to have directly wiped out the lifesavings of many shareholders of Oceanic bank by diverting the funds of the bank illegally and giving unsecured loans thereby causing the bank to turn to borrowing and featuring permanently at the Central Bank of Nigeria - CBN's Expanded Discount window; and publishing false results to deceive innocent investors into buying her schemed scam. The investors who bought Oceanic bank shares when it was trading at a peak price of N45.00 in 2008 would have lost over 95% of the value of their investment as the stock now trades around N2.00. Many people, families, organisation and institutional investors and traders have lost all due to her financial gluttony.

As money is evidently the root of all evil, so is it the root of all good done by the likes of Bill Gate. Money has enabled him to touch lives all around the world from Asia to America and from North Korea to South Africa. The love of money enhances the greed of the likes of Cecilia.

Gate also knew that the best time to quit the stage is when the ovation is loudest. He resigned as the CEO of Microsoft at the age of 44 taking up a lower position of the chief software architect. He then disengaged from Microsoft as full time worker on 27 June 2008 at the age of 52 retaining only the position of the chairman. He did this so that he could dedicate the rest of his life to charitable causes. The likes of Cecilia do not quit the stage unless they are forced by law or circumstances beyond their control. And trust that whenever they quit, they leave for their children to take over regardless of their capabilities. Cecilia had been grooming her son, Oboden Ibru to succeed her whenever she attain the mandatory age but fate would not allow it to happen as she was disgraced out of office on 14 August 2010 at the age of 64 after 20 years as CEO in what was dubbed 'Sanusi Tsunami' in which the CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi fired Mrs. Ibru and four other banks CEOs and their executive directors. The other affected CEOs were Mr. Sebastian Adigwe (Afribank Nigeria Plc), Mr. Erastus Akingbola (Intercontinental Bank Plc), Dr. Bartholomew Ebong (Union Bank Plc), and Mr. Okey Nwosu (Finbank Plc).

Gate and Ibru are not unique in their ways; they only represent two groups in the society. The ones who want to live and let others live and the group who want to live and let others die.

How pleasant is it if we have more of Gates among us, the world will surely be a better place but it's unfortunate that we have too many Ibrus and just a few Gates?

Must someone be billionaire before he can have the heart of Gate? No! Must someone even be millionaires before he can make a difference in the world? No! Mother Teresa was never a rich women and one of her popular quote is "If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one"

Everyone one has a God-given ability to make a difference in the life of somebody. If everyman touches a soul even in his/her little capacity, the world will surely be a healthier place.

After his unprecedented wealth, King Solomon summed it all by saying that "Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher; vanity of vanities, all is vanity. What profit hath man of all his labor wherein he laboreth under the sun? One generation goeth, and another generation cometh; but the earth abideth for ever. The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to its place where it ariseth. The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it turneth about continually in its course, and the wind returneth again to its circuits. All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full; unto the place whither the rivers go, thither they go again." - Ecclesiastes 1:2-7

At the end of it all, it will not matter how much you make but how you use it because we came here with nothing and we'd surely go with nothing.

What you give to yourself is a need and a treat, what you give to your family is your responsibility but what you give to others is liberality which will live with you in eternity. Charity starts but does not end at home.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

News Report: Shipper Says Weapons Seized In Nigerian Seaport Came From Iran

The Seized Weapons
A weapons cache containing artillery rockets seized by Nigerian security agents at the West African nation's busiest port originally came from Iran, an international shipping company said Saturday.

The statement from CMA CGM, an international cargo shipper based in France, comes after Israeli officials accused Iran of trying to sneak the shipment into the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. By unloading the weapons in Nigeria, the Israeli claim suggests Iran perhaps sought to truck the weapons through Africa to slide around an embargo now in place in Gaza.

Hussein Abdullahi, Iran's ambassador to Nigeria, said there was no clear evidence linking his country to the shipment.

The "different speculation doesn't have any clear sources. At this time, we can't judge on any of them," Abdullahi told The Associated Press on Saturday. "Sometimes they blame India, sometimes they blame Iran, sometimes they say the arms are going to Nigeria, sometimes they say they are going to Gambia. Now, they claim they are going to the Gaza Strip.

"There is different speculation, but there is no clear evidence for (any) of them."

The MV CMA CGM Everest picked up the 13 shipping containers from Bandar Abbas, a port in southern Iran, the company said. The shipment, which stopped in Mumbai's port before heading to Lagos, had been labeled as containing "packages of glass wool and pallets of stone."

"The shipment in question was booked as a 'shippers-owned container' and supplied, loaded and sealed by the shipper, an Iranian trader who does not appear on any forbidden persons listing," CMA CGM's statement read. "The containers were discharged in Lagos in July and transferred to a customs-bonded depot where they have remained with all seals untouched and unbroken."

The shipment sat untouched for weeks, a common occurrence in Lagos' busy and chaotic Apapa Port. Last week, the Iranian shipper filed a request for the containers to be picked up again and this time shipped to the West African nation of Gambia, CMA CGM said.

Agents with Nigeria's State Security Service discovered the weapons Tuesday. Journalists allowed to view the weapons on Wednesday saw 107 mm rockets, rifle rounds and other items labeled in English. Authorities said the shipment also contained grenades, explosives and possibly rocket launchers, but journalists did not see them.

In the hands of highly trained troops, the 107 mm artillery rockets can accurately hit targets more than 5 miles (8.5 kilometers) away, killing everything within about 40 feet (12 meters). Fighters in Afghanistan and Iraq have used similar rockets against U.S. troops.

China, the United States, and Russia manufacture versions of the rocket, as does Iran — which calls the weapon a Katyusha rocket. In 2006, the Islamic militant group Hezbollah fired nearly 4,000 Katyusha rockets across Israel's northern border, some of which fell as far as 55 miles (90 kilometers) inside Israel.

Israeli military officials, speaking on condition of anonymity as they were unauthorized to discuss the matter with journalists, said Thursday that it appeared Iran hoped to smuggle the weapons into the Gaza Strip. Israel instituted a naval blockade of the region in 2007 after Iranian-backed Hamas seized control of the Palestinian territory.

However, there remain more questions than answers about the Israeli claims. To reach Gaza, the weapons would first need to be trucked across Nigeria into Chad, Sudan and ultimately through Egypt. It also remains unclear why the shipper wanted to try to re-export the weapons to Gambia, a tiny sliver of nation carved out inside of Senegal.

Abdullahi, the Iranian ambassador, said his embassy in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, planned to hold a news conference Monday to address the allegations. The weapons shipment claims come after a July visit by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Nigeria.

Nigeria, an OPEC-member nation that is one of the top crude oil suppliers to the U.S., is approaching what could be a highly contested presidential election next year. Security remains a concern in Nigeria as it continues to see targeted killings allegedly committed by a radical Islamic sect in the north and the threat of new violence in its oil-rich southern delta.

From: Associated Press

Friday, 29 October 2010

News Report: Late General Abacha's Chief Security Officer Would Not Be Released From Prison Unless.....

Al-Mustapher In One Of His Court Appearances
chidi opara reports' investigation have revealed that late Sani Abacha's Chief Security Officer(CSO), Major Hamza Al-Mustapher would not be released from prison unless he returned "very sensitive" audio and visual tapes in his possesion and enter into an undertaking not to divulge their contents in future. Abacha was Nigeria's military President from 1993 to 1998.

Al-Mustapher and others have been undergoing trial for treason and other charges in the jurisdiction of the Lagos state judiciary since 1998.

Recently, there have been agitations for the release of Al-Mustapher and his co-accused. Prominent amongst the agitators are Mr. Edwin .k. Clark, Ijaw leader and former Minister of Information and Federick Fasehun, medical doctor and founder of Yoruba militant group, Oodua Peoples' Congress(OPC). There are also demonstrations and news media campaigns in favour of the release.

But the mindset in top security circles according to chidi opara reports' checks is that the former CSO's possession of these materials is a threat to national security and interests of Nigeria's allies, though this was not included in the charges. Top level security contacts are unanimous in their opinions that Al-Mustapher's rank and position did not permit him access to such materials. "He would be the most powerful and dangerous person if he is granted freedom without returning those tapes and giving some kind of undertaking for secrecy", a top security contact informed us. We do not know at this point if Al-Mustapher or his lawyer have been approached on this.

Our investigation also confirmed that the former CSO had secretly and illegally taped and filmed deliberations of the Armed Forces Ruling Council(AFRC), which was the nation's highest decision making organ. He was also known to have secretly and illegally taped and filmed meetings between his principal and prominent national and International personalities. These materials we have independently confirmed was taken to an Arab nation yet to be unravelled for safe keeping by one of Major Hamza Al-Mustapher's brothers.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

News Report: Renewed Discreet Security Searchlight On Prominent Nigerian News Blog

President Jonathan Of Nigeria
There is renewed discreet security searchlight on a prominent United States Of America(USA) based news blog published by a Nigerian following the bomb blast at Abuja, Nigeria's capital city during the 1st October 2010 Independence anniversary celebrations for which Movement For The Emancipation Of Niger Delta(MEND) claimed responsibility.

Security contacts informed chidi opara reports  that this renewed searchlight is as a result of the way the news blog have been reporting the bomb blast which government believes to be biased in favour of MEND.

This news blog and others were under intense security searchlight during the administration of late Umaru Yar'Adua. The security searchlight however dimmed at the commencement of the Goodluck Jonathan Presidency.

chidi opara reports  learnt that efforts are currently afoot to unravel sources of finance of the news blog which Nigeria's Security Services believe, have covert offices and staff in major cities in Nigeria. These efforts, a Security contact volunteered are going on simultaneously in Nigeria and USA.

We learnt that government is particularly unhappy about a recent report in which the news blog attempted to discredit one of its potential star witnesses in the Abuja bomb trial.

Mr. Henry Okah, a South African based Nigerian and suspected MEND financier, his Nigeria based elder brother, Mr. Charles Okah and others are being prosecuted in South Africa and Nigeria respectively for the bombing.

The news blog recently published its editorial policies, a move observers believed to be an attempt to preempt any attempt by the Nigerian government to misrepresent it to its host country.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

News Report: Octopus Paul Is Dead

Octopus Paul In Action
Sea Life Aquarium says that Paul the Octopus who gained worldwide fame with his perfect World Cup predictions has died. He was 2 1/2.

Aquarium spokeswoman Ariane Vieregge in Oberhausen said Tuesday that Paul seemed fine when checked on late Monday night but was found dead in his tank Tuesday morning.

She says that it was normal for an octopus of his type to die at that age and that he had died of natural causes.

Paul correctly predicted the outcome of all seven of Germany's games plus Spain's victory over the Netherlands in the final.

From: Associated Press

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Photonews: Remembering Dele Giwa

Dele Giwa Remembrance Logo

News Report: Nigeria's Oil Militant Group Cease Fire

Niger Delta Militants
Indications are that Nigeria's Oil militant group who rejected amnesty have ceased fire following clampdown by security forces, chidi opara reports investigation have revealed.

Following the October 1st 2010 bombing in Abuja, Nigeria's capital city in which the Movement For The Emancipation Of Niger Delta(MEND) claimed responsibility, the Nigerian Police arrested persons alleged to have perpetrated the bombing and declared others wanted. A suspected financier of MEND, Mr. Henry Okah was arrested and charged to court in his South African base. Okah's younger brother, Mr. Charles Okah have also been indicted by Nigeria's State Security Service(SSS). He will appear in court soon.

Apart from security clampdown, chidi opara reports also discovered that some loyalists of the Nigerian President, acting through an official of the Embassy of United States Of America(USA) in Abuja have been trying to link MEND's activities to the Al Queda network using a news blog published by a USA based Nigerian. The motive, we were informed is to enlist support of the International community in the current clampdown.

MEND, this week, in an e-mail to the Media said that it would henceforth limit its online interactions to alerts and claims of responsibility. The militant group cited security concerns as reason for this decision.

chidi opara reports' checks also revealed that MEND's operatives recruited and trained after the amnesty programme in which most of the organization's operatives surrendered have been pulled off streets of major cities in Nigeria. Unconfirmed information has it that they are hidding in the creeks of Ghana and Equatorial Guinea. "There could still be a few operations by MEND's mercenaries", a security contact cautioned.

Meanwhile, Presidency insiders told chidi opara reports that Henry Okah is still considered as the only voice that can calm the present situation. As one insider put it "Okah is the only known face of MEND". "A deal with the man is still a possibility", another insider assured.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

News Report: MEND Warns Supporters To Stay Clear Of Nigerian President’s Election Campaigns In Capital City

Movement For The Emancipation Of Niger Delta(MEND) have warned supporters of the Nigerian President to stay away from his election campaigns in the Nigerian capital city of Abuja, reiterating its earlier warning of an impending bomb attack.

MEND issued this warning today in an e-mail sent to chidi opara reports and some other news media. The text of the e-mail read “out of security concerns, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta MEND until further notice will no longer entertain any enquires.Henceforth, we will release to the media only warnings and statements of claim.

We hereby repeat our warnings to the residents of Abuja, the heart of the country and to all persons who will be interested in attending the political campaigns organized by the President,Goodluck Jonathan. This is due to the split he has initiated in our country that had enjoyed a united front politically, and the corruption and split in the Niger Delta community.

Lastly, the arrest and detention of our respected brothers of the land and the assassination of their character has become a great concern that cannot be ignored”.

Jomo Gbomo.

Monday, 18 October 2010

News Report: Ruling In James Ibori’s Dubai Extradition Case Sends Jitters To Nigeria’s Top Notch Political Circles

Map Of United Arab Emirates
The failure of Mr. James Ibori, former governor of Delta state of Nigeria to stop his extradition from Dubai, United Arab Emirates(UAE) to United Kingdom(UK) to answer charges of money laundering and fraud have sent jitters to Nigeria’s top notch political circles, chidi opara reports have learnt.

Dubai recently became the investments heaven of most Nigeria’s top politicians, most of whom are apprehensive that investments in Europe and America would not pass money laundering and fraud scrutiny.

Contacts close to some prominent Nigerian politicians known to have investments in Dubai, whom chidi opara reports spoke to immediately news of Ibori’s failure to halt his extradition became public, confirmed fears that the Ibori case may be a prelude to more problems. “My brother, this looks like big trouble”, a close aide of a Nigerian former Vice-president known to have huge investments in Dubai, intoned.

A Dubai court on Sunday 17th October 2010 ruled that Ibori  be extradited to UK to face money laundering and fraud charges. He has 30 days to file for Appeal.

Dubai is one of the seven emirates of UAE.  It has the largest population and the second largest land territory.

UAE according to CIA fact book has an open economy with a high per capita income and a sizable annual trade surplus. Successful efforts at economic diversification have reduced the portion of GDP based on oil and gas output to 25%. Since the discovery of oil in the UAE more than 30 years ago, the UAE has undergone a profound transformation from an impoverished region of small desert principalities to a modern state with a high standard of living.

The government has increased spending on job creation and infrastructure expansion and is opening up utilities to greater private sector involvement. In April 2004, the UAE signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement with Washington and in November 2004 agreed to undertake negotiations toward a Free Trade Agreement with the US, however, those talks have not moved forward.

The country's Free Trade Zones - offering 100% foreign ownership and zero taxes - are helping to attract foreign investors. The global financial crisis, tight international credit, falling oil prices, and deflated asset prices caused GDP to drop nearly 4% in 2009. UAE authorities have tried to blunt the crisis by increasing spending and boosting liquidity in the banking sector. The crisis hit Dubai hardest, as it was heavily exposed to depressed real estate prices. Dubai lacked sufficient cash to meet its debt obligations, prompting global concern about its solvency. In February 2009, Dubai launched a $20 billion bond program to meet its debt obligations. The UAE Central Bank and Abu Dhabi-based banks bought the largest shares.

In December 2009 Dubai received an additional $10 billion loan from the emirate of Abu Dhabi. Dependence on oil and a large expatriate workforce are significant long-term challenges. The UAE's strategic plan for the next few years focuses on diversification and creating more opportunities for nationals through improved education and increased private sector employment.

Friday, 15 October 2010

News Release: MEND Announces Imminent Bomb Attack On Abuja

In an obvious attempt to intimidate anyone opposed to the presidential ambition of Goodluck Jonathan, the Nigerian government hiding under the cloak of terrorist hunters have been witch-hunting, falsely accusing and harassing its perceived opponents.

A perfect opportunity emerged on October 1, 2010 after the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) detonated car bombs in a symbolic attack in Abuja for which we reaffirm responsibility but with regrets to the avoidable loss of lives.

The government of President Goodluck Jonathan responded by arresting innocent persons on trumped-up charges, linking them with the attack. From Chief Raymond Dokpesi which indirectly was pointing at former military head of state, General Ibrahim Babangida to Henry Okah in South Africa, the government has also named and arrested persons not connected with our actions as suspects and masterminds. 

The South African government is playing an obviously  partial role over the Independence Day Bombing in it's handling of the Henry Okah angle because the Nigerian government has threatened to nationalize the South Africa communication giant, MTN if the country does not follow a devious script.

Since the court in South Africa has turned into a Kangaroo one that is scandalously biased, and both governments are bent on blaming innocent persons on ridiculous insinuations and unrelated evidence, we have decided to carry out another attack in Abuja without altering our mode of operation to proof the suspect’s innocence.

As usual we will give a thirty minutes advance warning to avoid civilian casualties then sit back and watch how the blame game will be played out on all those already falsely accused.

Jomo Gbomo

Photonews: Change Of Power In Nigeria's Ekiti State(Aftermath Of Appeal Court Ruling)

Kayode Fayemi: New Governor
Segun Oni: Ousted Governor

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Report: Amnesty International Alleges Use Of Excessive Force In Nigeria's Rivers State Demolitions

The Nigerian government must set up an independent commission of inquiry to investigate the use of firearms by security forces that left at least one person dead and 12 seriously injured at in the southern city of Port Harcourt, Amnesty International has said in a new report.

Port Harcourt Demolitions: Excessive Use of Force Against Demonstrators details how on October 12 2009, armed security forces opened fire on a crowd of people peacefully protesting against the proposed demolition of their homes in Bundu community, Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

"The excessive use of force seen in the Bundu shooting is just one of many examples of the brutality with which the police and army operate throughout Nigeria," said Lucy Freeman, Amnesty International's Nigeria researcher.

"But few officers are held accountable and in most cases no investigation is carried out."

The 18-page report offers eye witness accounts from the victims of the Bundu shootings as well as from women who were intimidated and beaten by security personnel.

"The soldiers started shooting again but this time, they fired shots into the crowd. I was shot on my left thigh," recalls 34-year-old Tamuno Tonye Ama.

"We tried to run away but there was nowhere to go. Soldiers kept firing and charged towards the crowd and people were now running all over the place."

Amnesty International has gathered clear evidence that the security forces opened fire, shot and injured several people on 12 October, however the governor of Rivers State told Amnesty International that "there was no firing, no shooting and no-one was killed or injured on the day. In fact, nothing happened at all."

"The issue of impunity is one that is all too entrenched in Nigeria," said Lucy Freeman. "The government cannot keep turning a blind eye to the human rights atrocities committed by its security forces."

Lethal force and firearms should only be used in circumstances that are justified under human rights law and standards and firearms should be regarded as potentially lethal in all circumstances and at all times.

The excessive use of force by Nigeria's security forces in Bundu waterfront community is contrary to Nigeria's international human rights obligations and commitments.


Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Biography: Professor Babatunde Aliu Fafunwa(1923-2010)

Late Professor Fafunwa
Born into the Onikoyi Chieftaincy family of Isale Eko, Lagos to Pa Sanusi Giwa Fafunwa and Madam Morinatu Fafunwa on Sept 23, 1923, his early beginnings were full of struggles, set backs and successes. At a very tender age, young Aliu Fafunwa assisted his father in his trade as a fisherman and his mother in petty trading while in Jebba, Niger state, where they had moved to from their native Lagos for economic reasons.

He had his primary education at Muslim training school Ebute-Elefun and Ahmadiyya Talimul School Elegbata Lagos, between 1932 and 1936. He proceeded to C.M.S. Grammar School, Lagos between 1937 and 1943 for his secondary education. Before leaving for Florida, United States of America in 1947, Prof. Fafunwa worked for a short while, at the Nigerian Railway Corporation. .

He was awarded B. Sc in Social Sciences and English, M.A in English Education at the New York University and Ph.D. in Administration and Higher Education.

Prof. Aliu Fafunwa will best be remembered for his advocacy of learning ‘mother-tongue’ with English as a second language during the six years of primary education. The use of the mother tongue, according to Fafunwa would:  

(1)Deliver the student from the shackles of colonialism.

(2)Allow for effective and meaningful communication between the teacher and student within and outside the classroom.

(3)Promote the development of mature judgment by the pupils.

(4) Be able to re-direct the society, if need be.    

His second most important pioneering work is the introduction of primary science programme at the Primary education level in Nigeria.

Professor Aliu Babatunde Fafunwa’s career in education began on a humble note on his return from the United States of America. He started as a Senior tutor and later became Principal of the Ahmadiyyah College, Agege from Jan. to Dec. 1956. He moved from education to take up employment as Public Relations Manager at Esso West Africa from 1957 to 1961.

He went back to the classroom as a Senior Lecturer and head of education and later Associate Professor and Dean of the Faculty of education, University of Nigeria Nsukka in 1964. By 1965, he was Professor, Director of the Institute of Education and Head, Department of Education. And finally by 1966, he was acting Vice Chancellor of that University.

From 1967 to 1972, he was a Senior Lecturer and later Deputy Vice Chancellor at the University of Ife. 

He was appointed to the Ibadan University Council from 1972 to 1975 and was member, board of Lagos State teaching Service Commission between 1976 and 1979. Between 1985 and 1990, He was the Vice President and later President of the Nigerian Academy of Education and was appointed Honourable Federal Minister of Education and Youth Development where he served from 1990 to 1993.

He held numerous administrative and academic appointments. he was an external examiner on education to five Nigerian universities. A number of foreign universities like Makarere University in Uganda. University College Cape Coast Ghana, University of West Indies, Jamaica and the University of Sierra Leone benefited from his wealth of experience.

Professor Fafunwa also served in very crucial capacities and was appointed to numerous organizations and commissions.

He was National President, Nigeria Experiment in International Living (1957-1980);

Member, Editorial Advisory Board, Teachers College Record, Teachers College, Columbia University (1973-84)

Chairman of Council, Lagos State College of Education (1981-82).

He was also President, International Council on Education for Teaching (ICET) Headquarters, Arlington, Virginia, U.S.A.(1990-1994).

Professor Fafunwa is an author of international repute. He has authored about twenty-two books and had nearly fifty publications in National and International Journals, including one in Polish language titled Problemy Afrikan Instuki published in January 1964. Over the years his contribution to education have attracted recognition including scholarships, awards, medals and appointments world-wide.

He won the Franklin Brook Award for outstanding contribution to Educational Development, New York, 1973;

Medal for Distinguished Service in Education, Teacher’s College, Columbia University,1973;

Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award, New York University School of Education,1982;

Distinguished Fellow, International Council on Education for Teaching, Washington D.C., 1983.

Aliu Fafunwa was a powerful force behind the formation of the Nigerian Academy of Education which has today become the most credible assemblage of the who-is-who in the field of education. He also chaired what is now known as the Fafunwa “Study Group” on the funding of Primary Education. The report of the group spelt out how to stabilize education at the base (primary level); the role of each tier of government and of parents too. It was that report that led to the birth of the National Primary Education Commission by the Federal Government in 1987.

Apart from his contributions to education, Professor Fafunwa is a God fearing man, his contribution to the cause of Islam dates back to over four decades. He is a member of the Shooting stars (1948) Islamic club as well as the Committee on Muslim Islamic Schools (COMIS) located in Osun State.

Professor Aliu Babatunde Fafunwa is a dedicated husband, father and grandfather. His wife Doris Elaine Jones who hails from North Bennington, Vermont U.S.A. has been a companion and a pillar of support for more than fifty – four years.         

Their marriage is blessed with four children and several grandchildren.

He was the recipient of three honorary doctorate degrees from University of Nigeria, Nsukka in 1986, University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) in 1987 and the Lagos State University in 2000.

He is a recipient of the Nigerian National Merit Award in 1989, Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) in 2002.

Professor Aliu Babatunde Fafunwa died on October 11th, 2010 at the age of eighty-seven.

Prepared with materials from:

Monday, 11 October 2010

News Report: James Ibori's Associates Seek Presidency Intervention

James Ibori
With the ruling on the case for the extradition of former Delta State governor, Mr. James Ibori to the  United Kingdom(UK) fixed for Sunday 17th October, 2010 by a Dubai court, associates of Mr. Ibori have been making frantic efforts to get the Nigerian Presidency to use diplomatic channels to influence withdrawal of the charges in UK, in the event of the case being decided in favour of extradition, chidi opara reports have learnt.

The two pronged lobby, we learnt are from Delta state, Ibori's home state and Kano state. The Kano lobby group is led by a young road haulage tycoon friend of a prominent Kano politician who served as governor and minister. This politician is reported to be close to the family of late military ruler, General Sani Abacha. Ibori worked for the Abacha regime in a semi-official capacity prior to becoming governor.

The lobby group from Delta state is led by an Urhobo retired federal civil servant, James Ibori is an Urhobo. The Delta group is reported to be making efforts at the moment to see Ijaw leader and politician, Mr. E.K Clark, who is known to be one of the President's godfathers. This group chidi opara reports learnt would seek audience with the President after meeting with Mr. Clark.

The message, according to contacts close to both groups is that the Ibori and Abacha associates would work for the President's re-election in next year's Presidential election, if he would use diplomatic channels to get Ibori off the hook, should he be extradited. It is not yet known at the time of preparing this report if these groups have succeeded in getting appointments to see Clark and the President, a contact close to the Ijaw leader however told chidi opara reports that "I doubt the likelihood of such meeting". A Presidency insider when contacted replied, "we have not been contacted, although some contacts are made through unofficial channels".

Mr. Ibori who fled Nigeria in the aftermath of an invitation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) to answer allegations of corruption while in office was subsequently arrested in Dubai, United Arab Emirate. He is also wanted in UK for money laundering and fraud.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Biography: Mario Vargas Llosa(2010 Nobel Prize Winner In Literature)

Mario Vargas Llosa
Mario Vargas Llosa was born in Arequipa, but from ages one to then he lived in Cochabamba, Bolivia, where he was brought up by his mother and maternal grandparents after his parents separated. However, Vargas Llosa once said, that "I feel very much an Arequipan". He also spent some time in Piura, northern Peru (1945-46), where his grandfather had been appointed as Prefect, and then in Lima. When he was about eight years old his parents reconciled.

Vargas Llosa attended Leoncio Prado Military Academy (1950-52), and Colegio Nacional San Miguel de Piura (1952). In 1955 he married Julia Urquidi; they divorced in 1964. From 1955 to 1957 Vargas Llosa studied literature and law at the University of San Marcos. He then attended graduate school at the University of Madrid, from where he received his Ph.D. in 1959. Vargas Llosa's doctoral dissertation about García Márquez (1971) was followed by several books on literary criticism, among them LA ORGÍA PERPETUA (1975), about Flaubert's masterpiece Madame Bovary. Decades later, in TRAVESURAS DE LA NIÑA MALA (2006), he drew on the character of Emma. With Julio Cortázar, Carlos Fuentes, and García Márquez, Vargas Llosa was among the most famous writers, whose aim was to revitalize the Latin American novel.

In the 1950s, while still a student, Vargas Llosa worked as a journalist for La Industria. He was a coeditor of the literary journals Cuadernos de Conversación and Literatura, and journalist for Radio Panamericana and La Crónica. His first collection of short stories, LOS JEFES, appeared in 1959. In the same year he moved to Paris because he felt that in Peru he could not earn his living as a serious writer. Although the boom of Latin American fiction in the 1960s opened doors to some authors for commercial success, the great majority of Peruvian writers suffered from the problems of the country's publishing industry.

In France Vargas Llosa worked as Spanish teacher, journalist for Agence-France-Presse, and broadcaster for Radio Télévision Française in early 1960s. From the late 1960s Vargas Llosa worked as a visiting professor at many American and European universities. In 1965 he married Patricia Llosa; they had two sons and one daughter. García Márquez became a godfather to his son, but after a brawl in a Mexican cinema in 1976, the friendship of two writers ended bitterly. However, in 2006 Vargas Llosa allowed an excerpt from his HISTORIA SECRETA DE UNA NOVELA (1971) to be published in the 40th anniversary edition of García Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude. In 1970 Vargas Llosa moved to Barcelona and five years later he settled back in Peru, ending his self-imposed exile. In 1977 he was elected President of PEN Club International. The military dictatorship, which started in 1968 when General Francisco Morales Bermudez took over the country, ended in 1980.

In 1990 Vargas Llosa was a conservative candidate (Fredemo, the Democratic Front) for the Peruvian presidency. The development of his political convictions, from a sympathizer of Cuban revolution to the liberal right, has astonished his critics and has made it impossible to approach his work from a single point of view. Sabine Koellmann has noted that the publication of Vargas Llosa's LA FIESTA DEL CHIVO (2000, The Feast of the Goat) confirmed, "that politics is one of the most persistent 'demons' which, according to his theory, provoke his creativity." (see Vargas Llosa's Fiction & the Demons of Politics, 2002) Vargas Llosa was defeated by Alberto Fujimori, an agricultural engineer of Japanese descent, also a political novice, but who had a more straightforward agenda to present to the voters. An unexpected twist in the plot of this political play occurerred in 2000, when President Fujimori escaped to his ancestral homeland Japan after a corruption scandal.

In 1991 Vargas Llosa worked as a visiting professor at Florida International University, Miami and Wissdenschaftskolleg, Berlin from 1991 to 1992. The author has received several prestigious literary awards, including Leopoldo Alas Prize (1959), Rómulo Gallegos Prize (1967), National Critics' Prize (1967), Peruvian National Prize (1967), Critics' Annual Prize for Theatre (1981), Prince of Asturias Prize (1986) and Miguel de Cervantes Prize (1994).

Vargas Llosa made his debut as a novelist with The Time of the Hero (1962), set in Leoncio Prado military Academy, where he had been a student. The book received an immediate international recognition. According to Vargas Llosa's theory, personal, social or historical daemon gives a meaning to a novel and in the writing process unconscious obsessions are transformed into a novelist's themes. Autobiography and art has been one of the themes in his criticism.

One of Vargas Llosa's own obsessions is the conflict between a father and son, which he has approached from the private level or from more universal or social levels. The Time of the Hero is a microcosm of Peruvian society. The murder of an informer is buried due to the codes of honor to protect the academy's reputation. Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter (1977) is a partly autobiographical story of a courtship and marriage, written with uninhibited humor. The tyrannical father threatens to shoot his son, a novelist named Marito Varguitas, in the middle of the street, because of his marriage to the sexy, sophisticated, older Aunt Julia. Marito is eighteen and the marriage is illegal. Eventually his father accepts the situation. The book started to live its own life when Aunt Julia, Vargas Llosa's first wife, wrote a reply to it.

In The Green House (1966) Vargas Llosa returned to formative experiences of his childhood and youth. The complicated novel has two major settings: the first, a provincial city, and the second, the jungle, a challenging, hostile and attractive environment, which the author has depicted in several works. In 1957 Varga Llosa travelled with a group of anthropologists into the jungle, and learned how Indian girls were being drafted into prostitution on the coast. The "Green House" of the story is a brothel, which is burned to the ground but rebuilt again. Another storyline follows the fate of the virginal Bonifacia from a jungle mission; she becomes a prostitute in Piura.

The War of the End of the World (1981) is a story of a revolt against the Brazilian government in the late 19th-century and the brutal response of the authorities. A religious fanatic, known as Conselheiro (Counselor), is followed by a huge band of disciples drawn from the fringes of society. Before the army of the Republic wins, the modern rational world suffers several humiliating defeats with the group of outcasts. Vargas Llosa uses Euclides da Cunha's account of the events, Os sertões (1902), as a source. One of the characters, a "nearsighted journalist", is loosely based on da Cunha.

The Real life of Alejandro Mayta (1984) moves on several narrative levels. It deals with a failed Marxist-Leninist insurrection in the Andes, led by an aging Trotskyist Alejandro Mayta. He is captured and his second lieutenant Vallejos executed. The novelist-narrator interviews a number of people who give a contradictory view of Mayta's personality and the events. Finally the reader realizes that in the process of creating a novel within a novel, the narrator has invented Mayta's life and undermined the concepts of writing and reading history.

Vargas Llosa's bitter memoir, EL PEZ EN EL AGUA (A Fish in the Water), appeared in 1993. It focused on his run for the presidency in 1990 - he was supposed to win the little-known Alberto Fujimori. The Feast of the Goat continued the author's political excursion into the recent history of South America. The story is set in the Dominican Republic in 1961, ruled by the dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo. Urania Chabral has returned to the noisy Santo Domingo to visit her father, Agustin Chabral, who is ill. He is a former Dominican senator, a faithful servant of the dictator. "And how many times did you come home saddened because he did not call to you, fearful you were no longer in the circle of the elect, that you had fallen among the censured?"

Eventually "Minister Cabral, Egghead Cabral" lost his favor. Urania left the country as a schoolgirl, three and a half decades ago, just before Trujillo's assassination in 1961. Urania wants revenge against father for everything he did not do, and has her own reasons to examine the Trujillo Era. "The most important thing that happened to us in five hundred years. You used to say that with so much conviction. It's true, Papa. During those thirty-one years, all the evil we had carried with us since the Conquest became crystallized."

Vargas Llosa portrays Trujillo as a superman intoxicated by his political and sexual powers, and worshipped by his demonic henchmen working in torture dungeons. "Oddly, Vargas Llosa's Trujillo sees himself as having gotten the short end of the bargain. He whipped his pathetic homeland into shape, modernized its attitudes and highways and in return he got -- old." (Walter Kirn in the New York Times, November 25, 2001) Vargas Llosa has structured the story like a thriller, leading the reader into the heart of the darkness. The Feast of the Goat is a highly topical book.

The era of strong leaders is not totally over in Latin America, as one of the latest examples, Fujimori, sadly proved. In EL PARAÍSO EN LA OTRA ESQUINA (2002) two exceptional individuals, the socialist Flora Tristan, and her grandson, the painter Paul Gauguin, are inspired by great ideas. Flora devotes her life to serve the humanity, to create a worker's paradise. Gauguin leaves civilization behind and eventually rots alive in Atuana, Marguesas Island, in a tropical paradise.


Wednesday, 6 October 2010

News Release: Joint Revolutionary Council Says “Henry Okah lied!”

Henry Okah
On behalf of the Joint Revolutionary Council comprising of alliance units of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, The Reformed Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force and the Martyrs Brigade, we wish to dissociate ourselves from the actions of Henry Okah who until recently was the lead arms supplier to a faction of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta.

His faction of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta was led by General Boyloaf (Victor Ebikabowei) who has since disbanded his unit and has joined forces with the renewed efforts in bringing peace, stability and development to the Niger Delta.

Henry Okah is a monster that was created by frontline Ijaw leader Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari. During his incarceration in 2005-2007, Henry Okah was mandated and paid to service fighting units loyal to Mujahid Dokubo-Asari. He exploited Dokubo-Asari’s absence, cunningly hijacked the email address used by MEND to communicate with the world, sold arms to armed robbers and confiscated hundreds of millions of naira meant for supply of arms to combat groups in the Niger Delta.

Since his release from prison by former President Yar’Adua and realizing that he had lost most of his leverage, Henry Okah has sought to work with former armed robbery gangs that he had supplied arms to in the past. These armed robbery groups were responsible for bank robberies and the theft of monies from oil companies in Port Harcourt and its environs.

Henry Okah is not MEND and MEND is not Henry Okah. We condemn him in all fullness and await further directives on appropriate actions that will be taken on this hardened criminal who successfully infiltrated our ranks to perpetrate clandestinely heinous crimes. His end has come.

Cynthia Whyte
Spokesperson, Joint Revolutionary Council

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Photonews: Enter Nigeria's New Security Top shot

Rtd. General Owoye Azazi

Monday, 4 October 2010

News Release: Insecurity Is Nigeria’s Nightmare

One Of The Scenes of Abuja Bomb Blast
The Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian law (IHRHL) condemns the Independence day bomb blast at Abuja the Nation’s capital. The incidence illustrates absolute failure on the government and security apparatus, despite the resent appointment of new service chiefs insecurity continues on the increase daily.

One of the primary duties of government is to safeguard the lives and properties of its citizens and in this regard, the federal government through the agency of the various security apparatus has failed considerably. To this end, we call on the Federal government to initiate efforts aimed at truncating the current spate of kidnapping, assassination, armed robbery and other crimes in the region and the Nation. The money allocated for security vote should be judiciously and effectively utilized for the protection of lives and properties.

The IHRHL expresses their sympathy and condolence to the families affected by this tragic attack, while noting that, nobody or group has the right to deny others their right to life in the name of struggle or aggression at the society, sanity of human life must be precedence at all time.

We charge the Federal government to ensure that the National security services are more proactive rather than been just reacting to sensitive security issues, and effectively deploy its security personnel towards the protection of lives and properties.

Okocha Chigozirim Vivian
Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (IHRHL)

News Release: Nigerian Police Names Suspects In Abuja Bomb Blast

The Suspects
Gentlemen of the Press: As you are already aware, two cars exploded before noon of 1st October, 2010, while the President, Commander-in-Chief was reviewing a colourful ceremony marking Nigeria’s 50th Independence Anniversary.

Both explosions occurred near a bridge adjacent to the Millennium Park, within a kilometre, East end of the Eagle Square. The ugly incident resulted in the death of 10 (ten) persons, while 36 (thirty-six) others, including 11 policemen were seriously injured. The blasts completely destroyed 6 (six) cars, damaged 18 (eighteen) others, and shattered the glasses of a hotel nearby.

The Nigeria Police deeply regrets the loss of innocent lives and the harm and damage done to the well being and property of fellow citizens. It is clear that the intention of the perpetrators of the evil act was to truncate Nigeria’s celebration of half a century of her political freedom. Their motive was to cut short the joy of men and women of goodwill and to pour shame and contempt on our President and indeed the entire nation, in the very presence of dignitaries and eminent persons from around the world. Certainly, these operators of an evil enterprise had targeted to commit mass murder of innocent children, young and old men and women, and members of the international community who had gathered to partake in our nation’s glorious moment. To the glory of God, their act of wickedness was frustrated by the tight security put in place at the Eagle Square.

Police investigation has commenced in earnest. Forensic experts are already checking about a hundred vehicles trapped in the vicinity of the blasts to ascertain the make, composition and origin of the explosives. As soon as the forensic examination is over, the vehicles will be released to their owners and the roads re-opened to normal traffic. The Nigeria Police regrets the inconveniences caused owners of those trapped vehicles and the users of those roads.

Also, an arrest has been made by the Police in connection with the incident. Police detectives are currently hunting for another two Nigerian citizens suspected to be the masterminds of the evil plot. Their names are

1.    Chima Orlu, (Male)
 2.    Ben Jessy (Male)

I have attached their photographs for easier identification.

By this release, they are declared wanted by the Nigeria Police, and are hereby requested to come forward and clear their names. Any person who sees them or knows their whereabouts is requested to kindly report to the nearest Police Station anywhere in the Federation of Nigeria, or abroad, or call or send SMS to the

following telephone numbers:
1.    08033225-349
 2.    08062700-000
 3.    08038305-707

Finally, I wish to call on all citizens that the thought and act of bombing any part of this country amounts to a declaration of war against Nigeria. It is our collective duty to stop criminals from destroying our fatherland. All citizens are reminded that they are obliged by the constitution to assist law enforcement agencies in the maintenance of law and order. And it is indeed a punishable offence to conceal or hide the identity or whereabouts of a wanted person.

ACP Emmanuel C. S. Ojukwu
Force Public Relations Officer

Sunday, 3 October 2010

News Release: Joint Revolutionary Council Condoles Nigerians On Abuja Bomb Blast

The Joint Revolutionary Council (JRC) hereby condoles with all men of goodwill and the entire citizenry of the Nigerian State on the callous and gruesome murder of more than 15 people and the injury inflicted on many others.
Our struggle is a moral and just one. We have had no place for gun-runners, toddlers-abductors, bank robbers, commercial hostage-takers, prison breakers and bare-face murderers who go on foolish murderous rampage while their families are safe and secure in foreign lands.
The gruesome attack of Friday was the handiwork of a son of the devil with active connivance of disgruntled dissident elements from one of the camps of a former MEND leader who has since relinquished leadership in the former MEND structure.
An email address alone does not represent MEND. In a few days that email will no longer be usable. What must be done will be done immediately. Terrorism is not a virtue for heroic combatants in the Ijaw and Niger Delta struggle.
Millions of young men in the Niger Delta today possess the ability to deploy acts of unlimited violence on the Nigerian State. However, these men have decided to keep the peace because they can claim to be more Ijaw or more Niger Deltan than Goodluck Jonathan. They have given him the benefit of doubt and have pledged to work with him and guide him on his efforts in the Niger Delta. His commitment to the Niger Delta question, while still cloudy, remains unquestionable.
In the next few days, the Central Command of the Joint Revolutionary Council will confer with Mujahid Dokubo-Asari to arrive at a final decision on this matter. Key decisions will be relayed to the press immediately.
The Struggle is on Course!
Cynthia Whyte
Spokesperson, Joint Revolutionary Coucil

News Release: MEND’s Update On Abuja Bomb Blast

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) deeply regrets the avoidable loss of lives during our bomb attack in Abuja on Friday October 1, 2010. Our hearts go to the families of those killed who we know were sympathetic to our cause.

The irresponsible attitude of the government security forces is to blame for the loss of lives.They were given 5 days prior notice which led to the harassment of Henry Okah on Thursday, September 30 in South Africa. Okah has never been involved in any MEND operations but has always been blamed for every attack which is strange to us..

The security forces were also warned one full hour to the first bomb blast ahead of the general alert sent to the media and told to steer the public from all parked cars which was not done.

Jomo Gbomo

Friday, 1 October 2010

Speech: Nigerian President's Independence Anniversary Speech

President Goodluck Jonathan

Fellow Citizens,

Today, 1st October, 2010 marks the 50th Anniversary of our independence from Britain. It is with a deep sense of humility and gratitude to the Almighty that I address you this morning.

On this day in 1960, the heroes of the nationalist struggles and all Nigerians were full of hopes and dreams. The citizens of the new country danced in colourful celebration of the newfound freedom. Nigerians were filled with expectations as the Union Jack was lowered and the green-white-green flag was raised in its place. A new country was born. A new journey had started on a road never taken before. The future was pregnant with promise.

With patriotism and pragmatism, our founding fathers charted a course for the greatness of this country. While there were differences and disagreements, they did not waver in their desire to build a country that future generations would be proud of. They made compromises and sacrifices. They toiled night and day to build a viable country where progress and peace would reign supreme.

Our independence was gained by men and women who envisioned a land of freedom and one of opportunity.

Our founding fathers sought a government of character, that seeks justice to her citizens as our national anthem so eloquently describes: One Nation Bound in Freedom, Peace and Unity. However, today, the opinion of many Nigerians is that these dreams and expectations have not been fulfilled. Not only have people despaired about the slow pace of progress, some have in fact given up on the country. Some believe that if the colonial masters had stayed longer, Nigeria may have been the better for it.

All these postulations, we must admit, are borne out of a somewhat justifiable sense of frustration. Our troubles and failures are well catalogued. For a country that was, in terms of development, on a similar, if not better level with many countries at independence, it is discomforting that we are lagging behind as the economic indicators among nations now show.

In the midst of these challenges, it is easy to forget our unusual circumstances. We have actually been moving from one political instability to the other such that we have barely been able to plan long-term and implement policies on a fairly consistent basis.

This instability has also impacted negatively on institutional development, which is necessary for advancement. The structures of governance had barely been developed when we ran into a series of political obstacles shortly after Independence.

While we were at it, the military took over power and this fuelled a different kind of political instability which ultimately led to the unfortunate 30-month Civil War. This was certainly not the dream of our founding fathers who sacrificed so much to give us Nigeria. They did not dream of a country where brothers would be killing brothers and sisters killing sisters. They did not dream of a country where neighbours and friends would exchange bullets in place of handshakes.

Military rule and the Civil War were major setbacks for our nationhood. They produced a polluted national landscape. This did not offer the best atmosphere for national development. It impacted negatively on Nigeria socially, politically and economically, a situation which further undermined our aspiration as a stable nation. Without political stability, it has been very difficult to plan and build our institutions like other countries that were our peers.

Dear compatriots, despite the serious challenges that we have been living with; we cannot ignore the fact that we have cause to celebrate our nationhood and even a greater cause to look forward to a brighter future. This is a historic occasion when we need to pause and appreciate who we are, what we have, and to reflect on the encouraging possibilities ahead. There is certainly much to celebrate: our freedom, our strength, our unity and our resilience.

This is also a time for stock-taking, to consider our past so that it will inform our future. This is a time to look forward to the great opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for Nigeria. In fifty years, we have in several respects, attained heights that we should be very proud of as a nation.

In the fields of science and technology, education, the arts, entertainment, scholarship, and diplomacy, Nigerians have distinguished themselves in spite of the enormous hurdles they encounter everyday. If we could achieve so much under tough conditions, we are capable of achieving even much more in our journey to the Promised Land.

Our strides in medical science are hardly celebrated. Recently a team of Nigerian scientists led by Dauda Oladepo of the International Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) discovered CD4 Lymphocyte baseline for testing people living with HIV/AIDS. The effort is all the more remarkable because it was funded by the Federal Ministry of Health and its findings are particularly useful to the Nigerian environment. The discovery is very vital to monitoring and managing the disease progression in infected people.

Also, a Nigerian scientist, Dr. Louis Nelson, has made significant progress in his research to find a permanent cure for diabetes, which afflicts over 123 million sufferers worldwide. The vaccine that has made Yellow Fever disease manageable was developed in our shores! While we may not have landed a spaceship on the moon or developed nuclear technology, our inventors and innovators have made globally acknowledged contributions. Clearly, these are indications that within us are potentials that can be harnessed for greatness.

Nigerian writers have won numerous awards on the global stage. Professor Wole Soyinka gave Africa its first Nobel Prize in Literature. Professor Chinua Achebe pioneered the most successful African novel in history. Ben Okri won the Booker prize. Helon Habila, Sefi Attah and Chimamanda Adichie, among several others, are internationally renowned.

In the movie industry, Nollywood is rated second biggest in the world. Nigerians have by themselves defied all that is negative around them to build a billion dollar film industry from the scratch. This is a major landmark worth celebrating.

Today our actors and artistes are household names in Africa and parts of the world. The future can only be brighter as competition in this sector breeds improved quality and better creativity. Our leading professionals - lawyers, scientists, economists, doctors, diplomats and academics are celebrated all over the world. They occupy prestigious positions in the leading institutions across the developed world. Most of them were born and bred in Nigeria. Most of them schooled here before they travelled abroad. This should tell us something: that daunting as our circumstances have been, we are still full of ability and capability. We are blessed with talented and patriotic Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora, many of whom are willing and ready to return home to be part of the drive to turn Nigeria around for good, so that the country can take its pride of place in the comity of nations.

My brothers and sisters, as we begin the journey to another fifty years of nationhood, we have two choices to make. We can choose to focus on the imperfections and problems that easily beset us as a nation or we choose to focus on the unlimited possibilities that we have. I urge us all to choose the latter. I prefer to see the silver lining in the dark cloud rather than the dark cloud in the silver lining.

Today, we need to celebrate the remarkable resilience of the Nigerian spirit. We need to appreciate, that even though the road has been bumpy; we have trudged on, in hope. We may not have overcome our challenges, but neither have our challenges overcome us. Whenever we are completely written off, we always bounce back from the edge to renew our national bond for the benefit of our progress. That is the Nigerian spirit. This is what has kept us together as a country even when other countries with far less challenges have fallen apart.

Our recovery from the scars of the Western Region Crisis, the Civil War, and the June 12, 1993 election annulment has convinced me more than anything else that Nigeria is destined for greatness. It has proved that in our differences, tough circumstances and diversity, what binds us together is far stronger more than what divides us. We have a glorious future awaiting us. I am convinced that North or South, East or West, Muslim, Christian or other faiths, majority or minority, we are all bound by our common humanity and mutual aspirations.

We are not sworn enemies. We are not irreconcilable foes. We are neighbours who sometimes offend each other but can always sit down to talk over our differences. We are one people and one family. There are clear examples across the country where, in one family, you have people of different faiths and convictions living peacefully under the same roof.
The father could be a Muslim, the mother a Christian and the children professing different faiths. Yet, they do not draw the sword against one another in the name of religion.

Fellow compatriots, one of the greatest achievements of our union this past fifty years is our togetherness. The late Sardauna of Sokoto, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello once said: "Let us understand our differences." I identify fully with these words of wisdom. Our faith may be different. We may not speak the same language. We may not eat the same kind of food. But we are in a plural society where we have continued to accommodate one another and integrate without reservations. This we must build on! This we must strengthen! We have the opportunity of imitating our forefathers by envisioning a new society where our children and children's children will live in peace and harmony and enjoy good quality of life comparable to the best the world can offer.

Today marks the dawn of a new era. It is in our hands to decide what we want to make of it. We must reawaken in ourselves the hunger and aspirations of our founding fathers for a strong, united and prosperous nation that shall be the pride of future generations. To do this, we must change the old ways of doing things. The core values of patriotism, hardwork, integrity and commitment to good governance must henceforth take precedence.

It seems to me that the consensus of most Nigerians is that the time has come for us to break from the past and progress into a better future. We should not allow Nigeria to be pulled back again by those who believe it is either they have their way or the country should fall to pieces. The new Nigeria ahead of us, the new Nigeria we have to build together, is a society where everybody must feel at home. It must be a place we can all be happy, comfortable and confident to call our country. It is not just enough for us to talk about how Nigeria can be great; it is our duty to make Nigeria great.

We can change Nigeria from our communities, cubicles and desks. The task to make Nigeria great is a task for everyone.
My fellow citizens, we stand at a cross road. Our forefathers did not achieve our freedom by doing what was easy or convenient. We have not sustained our independence and built our democracy by wishful thinking. We must not allow our future to pass us by. We must grasp it and shape it, drawing on the same spirit and vision that inspired our founding fathers fifty years ago.

On my part, I promise visionary and committed leadership. I promise to give my all, my best, to our great country. I am committed to ensuring public safety and security. Government is fully aware of the ugly security situation in Abia State. We are determined to confront it with even greater vigour. For our present and our future, I am committed to improving the quality of education and to give Nigeria the edge in human capital development. We will rebuild our economy by continuing the implementation of the reforms in the banking and other sectors to ensure economic progress.

I will fight corruption and demand transparency so that we can all take pride in our government. Through various policies, we shall continue to seek ways to grow the economy further, give our citizens greater opportunity so that we can compete better in the global market place.

I am committed to the implementation of a national fiscal policy that will encourage growth and development. We will give priority to wealth creation and employment generation. I am focused on addressing our infrastructure needs, especially power, as this is the biggest obstacle to our economic development and wealth creation.

I am determined to implement to the letter the recently launched power sector roadmap, and I am confident that we will soon be able to provide the power that we need today as well as the resources to meet the needs of tomorrow. All the issues bordering on peace, justice and stability in the Niger Delta are being addressed and will continue to receive attention as we consolidate on the Amnesty Programme.

When God gives you an opportunity, you must use it to His glory and to the glory of His creations. I promise to use the opportunity given to me by God and the Nigerian people to move Nigeria forward. We must therefore pay special attention to the advancement of our democracy through credible elections. I have said this and I will say it again, with all the conviction in me: Our votes must count! One man, One Vote! One woman, one vote! One youth, one vote!

The future of Nigeria and generations yet unborn is at stake. We must start the journey to the next fifty years with credible elections, with a clean break from the past. We must show the whole world that we can do things the right and the equitable way. This is my pledge and I will never deviate from it.

The Nigeria of the next fifty years must be a land of delight. The signs are not difficult to see. We have a hardworking population, a growing sense of Nigerianness and a new generation of leaders with new ideas. We must have a new sense of purpose and a determination to make things work. WE MUST COLLECTIVELY TRANSFORM NIGERIA.

The ultimate result of all these, Fellow Citizens, is that a new Nigeria is in the making. The worst is over. Our latest democratic dispensation has defied all the odds. Since Independence, we have never had 11 years of unbroken civilian rule as we have today. This is a new experience for us. With this comes stability. With this comes the building of strong institutions. With this comes the ability to plan and pursue our plans.

The great people of Nigeria, I implore all to join in the renewed efforts to remake Nigeria. It is a task for everyone. Pray for our country; wish our country well; do things that will make our country great; see and tap into opportunities for greatness that are everywhere around you and take pride in Nigeria. These are the ideals that I embrace. These are the issues that I am committed to.

In conclusion, I will like to speak to Nigeria's greatest resource: our young men and women. I say you have the greatest stake in transforming our nation. It is time for this generation of Nigerians to answer the call and contribute to Nigeria's foundation of freedom. That is how this generation will make its mark. That is how we will make the most of these opportunities. That is how we will ensure that five decades from now, as our children and grand children celebrate our nation's independence centenary, we will be remembered as having contributed to the great history of Nigeria.

On my part I commit myself to doing my very best and to call on your intellect, wisdom and commitment to bring this dream to fruition.

May God Almighty bless you all!

May God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!

Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR,

President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria