Monday, 29 November 2010

News Release: President Jonathan, the Osun Verdict and this New Season of Hope

Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) Founder and President, Dr. Frederick Fasehun, have hailed President Goodluck Jonathan for allowing the Judiciary to function without executive interference.

Fasehun spoke at the weekend in a Press Statement following Saturday’s swearing in of Engineer Rauf Aregbesola of the Action Congress (AC) as the Governor of Osun State, following the Court of Appeal’s final ruling on his suit against PDP’s Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola in the 2007 governorship election.

According to Fasehun, the free rein that the Executive under President Jonathan gave to the Judiciary in the governorship election cases gave Nigerians hope of free, fair and credible elections in 2011.

“We congratulate Nigeria and all Nigerians for this new-found culture of respect for the independence of the Judiciary as well as the prevalence of the rule of law,” Fasehun said. “But Nigerians must appreciate that the star of this feat is President Goodluck Jonathan. It takes courage to dispense justice against yourself. And the President has demonstrated consummate courage. He has allowed the Judiciary to operate without interference, even when the verdicts apparently contradicted his party’s interest.”

Fasehun, however, advised the National Judicial Council to evolve prescriptions to reduce the lifespan of litigations.

In his words: “Waiting three and a half years to recover a stolen mandate is just too long for a litigant with scarce resources; and it makes acquisition of justice the exclusive commodity of the man of means. Justice delayed is justice denied. The timeline for dispensing with cases needs to be drastically shortened, even if it means dedicating a segment of the Court of Appeal strictly for electoral matters in order to thrash out cases within six months maximum.”

According to him, the current Federal administration under President Goodluck Jonathan had demonstrated respect for the rule of law, due process and democracy in the cases of Ekiti, Delta, Ondo, Edo states and most recently Osun State , which had all upstaged ruling governors from PDP, the President’s party.

Although he commended the Judiciary for demonstrating its independence without brooking extraneous interferences, he particularly cherished the atmosphere President Jonathan had allowed in allowing judges a freehand.

His words: “For being the catalyst of this era, President Goodluck Jonathan wins my heart. He has demonstrated exceptional statesmanship by burying parochial party interest for the larger good and overall interest of the nation. He has demonstrated a rare quality that the nation needs in its leaders at this time of our national history. By allowing true separation of powers and giving the Judiciary a free rein to follow its own mind, President Jonathan has helped to water the roots of the country’s renascent democracy.”

Fasehun predicted that if this new wind of justice were allowed to blow through the land, skeptics and pessimists who had predicted doom for Nigeria will be proved wrong.

“Then Nigeria will not only survive but hold her head high in the comity of nations,” he said, adding, “In fact, this prevailing situation in is a prelude to national peace and concord. For our troubles basically come from Nigerians losing faith in the country’s established institutions and resorting to self-help.”

He saw the verdicts as a good omen for 2010 because it would discourage what he described as the culture of impunity that previously pervaded Nigeria’s politics since the Judiciary had demonstrated a capability to effectively redress offences and render due diligence to wronged parties.

“The lesson for would-be election riggers is that continuing in their sordid tradition would amount to investing in a nullity. Henceforth, those who perpetrate electoral perfidy will not have the last say. Politicians might as well walk the honest path and let the votes speak. Time has come for us to repent from all our electoral iniquities and turn over a new leaf if our democracy must survive. We must learn to walk the straight and narrow path,” he said.

He, however, urged the beneficiaries of judicial verdicts to refrain from misapplying justice while in office.

Dr. Frederick Fasehun
Founder/President, Oodua People's Congress(OPC)

Photonews: The "Beautiful Brides" Of Nigeria's 2011 Elections

Adamu Ciroma
Adamu Ciroma is a chieftain of Northern Political Leadership Forum(NPLF) and arrow head of Northern Consensus Candidature.

Bola Tinubu
 Bola Tinubu is the force behind Action Congress of Nigeria(ACN), which is presently the dominant political party in south western Nigeria.

Emeka Ojukwu
Emeka Ojukwu is the promoter of All Progressives Grand Alliance(APGA), the dominant opposition party in south eastern Nigeria.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

News Report: Conservative Politicians In South-Western Nigeria Regroup To Forestall More Defeats

Conservative politicians in south-western Nigeria would be regrouping soon to forestall more defeats by radical elements, chidi opara reports learnt.

Five states in the geo-political zone; Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Ondo and Ekiti were hitherto controlled by right wing politicians through the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) platform. Three of the five; Osun. Ondo and Ekiti are now in the hands of left wing tendencies through the Action Congress Of Nigeria(ACN) and Labour Party(LP) platforms.

Confirmed information available to chidi opara reports has it that former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who is also Chairman of PDP's Board of Trustees(BoT), Mr. Richard Akinjide, former Minister of Justice in the Shehu Shagari administration and a former governor of Oyo state, Dr. Omolulu Oluloyo, both PDP stalwarts, are mobilizing promiment south-west politicians of the conservative mode to unite and foster a common front to forestall total defeat in future elections.

The string of defeats suffered in south-western Nigeria by conservative politicians, chidi opara reports learnt are being blamed on the "winner takes all attitudes of some members of the fold". Presidency insiders informed that when Obasanjo called President Jonathan to discuss the development immediately after the recent Court of Appeal ruling on Osun state, the President reportedly advised that party elders in the zone should find a way to solve the problem as soon as possible.

An Obasanjo insider told a chidi opara reports network member in Lagos earlier today that there is likelihood of a meeting of party elders in the zone soon. "The venue have not yet been decided, we are still at the planning stage", the contact volunteered further. Our checks however revealed that the meeting would hold in a yet to be decided venue in Ibadan, capital city of Oyo state. It is not yet clear if this meeting would be secret or open.

Further checks revealed that the Matriarch of the very influential Awolowo family, Mrs. HID Awolowo would be contacted tomorrow, it is believed that she would give her blessing to the proposed rapproachement. The Awolowo family have moved from left to right wing politics.

It would be noted that the Court of Appeal siting in Ibadan on friday 26th november, 2010, removed PDP's Olagunsoye Oyinlola and replaced him with ACN's Rauf Aregbesola as governor of Osun state, making the ACN founded by Mr. Bola Tinubu, former senator and former governor of Lagos state and other left wing politicians as the dorminat political party in the south-west.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Open Letter: Imo State Judicial Service Commission Protecting Chief Magistrate Victoria Isiguzo

Ikenna Samuelson Iwuoha
This is to alert the general public that the Imo State Judicial Service Commission is protecting a well known Judicial Hatchet woman, Mrs. Victoria Isiguzo
It is a notorious fact that the judicial activities of this magistrate have sent so many innocent citizens of Imo state to unjust imprisonment. This writer is a victim. Despite complaints to the Imo State Judicial Service Commission concerning the Judicial activities of Mrs. Isiguzo, the situation have remained the same.

the Commission have intentionally refused to act. The National Human Rights Commission have formally written to the Commission on the need to set up a disciplinary committee to investigate Mrs. Isiguzo, till this moment the woman have continued to preside over Magistrate Court one. The Network On Police Reform In Nigeria(NOPRIN) also called on the Imo State Chief Judge to investigate this same judicial hatchet Woman. Many months after these calls, she is still presiding over a Magistrate Court in Owerri .

This letter is to alert the general public that the plot to protect Mrs. Victoria Isiguzo will never stand .The Chief Judge of Imo State is therefore humbly requested to commence full investigation on this magistrate. More steps would taken to expose the activities of Imo State Judiciary if Mrs. Victoria Isiguzo is not investigated and shown the way out.

The time to discipline Chief magistrate Victoria Isiguzo is now.


Ikenna Samuelson Iwuoha

Thursday, 25 November 2010

News Report: More Surprises From Northern Nigeria Politicians Underway

Indications are that there would be more surprises from northern Nigeria politicians after the successful completion of the Northern Political Leadership Forum(NPLF) consensus candidate for the 2011 presidential election selection exercise.

chidi opara reports learnt that the NPLF have started the recruitment of influential traditional and religious leaders into the body as ex-officio members. The membership of these leaders who have only so far given moral supports would be strictly confidential.

One of the reasons volunteered by contacts close to NPLF leadership for this recent move is that northern politicians like Muhammadu Buhari, Balarabe Musa and Nuhu Ribadu can only be influenced by traditional and religious leaders. Northern Nigeria is predominantly conservative and Islamic. NPLF is reportedly working to get these politicians to support its consensus candidate, Mr. Atiku Abubakar. Buhari, Musa and Ribadu belong to different political platforms.

The NPLF contact committee whose mode of operation is highly secret is reported to have met with some influential traditional and religious leaders in Sokoto, Kano and Bauchi so far. The results of these meetings, an NPLF contact volunteered, "have been positive". Contact committee members are reportedly impressing it on these leaders, the need to get politicians of northern Nigeria origin to close ranks and support Atiku Abubakar to defeat the incumbent, whom they see as another Olusegun Obasanjo imposition.

The contact committee, chidi opara reports also learnt is not restricting contacts to the North. "Thers is plan to reach out to friendly leaders in the South", another NPLF contact informed.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Profile: Adamu Ciroma; New "Sarduana" Of Northern Nigeria

Adamu Ciroma
The politics of Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) zoning policy have positioned Mr. Adamu Ciroma, presently leading the crusade for a consensus northern presidential candidate to challenge the incumbent in the 2011 presidential election, as the new leader of Northern Nigeria.

Adamu Ciroma was born on 20th November 1934 in Potiskum, Yobe state. He was a newspaper administrator and governor of Central Bank of Nigeria.

In 1978, he joined the National Party Of Nigeria(NPN), he contested and lost the party's presidential primary election and later became the party's national secretary and subsequently served as Ministers for Industries, Agriculture and Finance under the Shehu Shagari administration.

In 1998, Ciroma returned to limelight when he teamed up with other prominent Nigerians to form what is today known as Peoples Democratic Party(PDP). The party won the 1999 presidential election and Ciroma once again was appointed  Minister for Finance under the Olusegun Obasanjo presidency.

Adamu Ciroma's current role is the aftermath of the death of  Umuaru Yar'Adua while in office. Yar'Adua, going by the PDP zoning policy, was serving the northern slot which would have terminated in 2015. On his death, his deputy, Goodluck Jonathan was sworn in as President.

When Jonathan insisted on contesting the 2011 presidential elections on PDP platform, against the expectation of key northern political leaders, Ciroma and others gathered under the aegis of Northern Political Leadership Forum(NPLF) to agitate for an exclusive northern presidential candidature in 2011. To give effect to this, a selection committee was inaugurated to screen and appoint a consensus candidate from the four northern presidential aspirants in PDP.  Ciroma is the committee's head.

This role and its successful completion which saw former Vice-president Atiku Abubakar's emergence, according to observers, have entrusted the leaderhip of the north, which have remained unfilled since the death of Ahmadu Bello, Sarduana of Sokoto and undisputable leader of the North in his lifetime, on Adamu Ciroma.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

News Report: Nigeria's Former Vice-president Is North's Consensus Candidate

Atiku Abubakar
Nigeria's former Vice-president from 1999 to 2007, Mr. Atiku Abubakar is the consensus candidate of Northern Nigeria, the Northern Political Leadership Forum (NPLF) announced today.

The NPLF insisting that the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) should abide by its zoning policy that stipulates that the North would produce the Presidential candidates from 2007 to 2015, enpanelled a selection committee headed by Mr. Adamu Ciroma to screen and select a nothern consensus candidate from PDP's four presidential aspirants. Those screened were Atiku Abubakar, Ibrahim Babangida, Aliyu Gusau and Bukola Saraki.

Atiku Abubakar who returned to PDP after contesting the 2007 presidential election on the ticket of Action Congress of Nigeria(ACN) is also a tycoon with interests in Oil and Gas, Agriculture, Maritime, amongst others.

chidi opara reports was not able to get reactions from the campaign organizations of the other aspirants at the time of preparing this report.

Monday, 22 November 2010

News Release: Obidi Refinery Trunk Line Attacked

On Sunday, Nov 21, 2010, at about 0200hrs, fighters of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta(M.E.N.D) attacked and destroyed the Obidi-Refinery trunk line.

This pipeline was responsible for transporting crude oil to the refinery in Warri, Delta state in the Niger Delta.

This attack does not mark the start of our promised campaign against the Nigerian oil industry. This attack and similar attacks on pipelines which will take place within the next few days is a reminder to the Nigerian government of the futility of wasting the nation’s resources in combating militancy without addressing the underlying causes of agitation in the Niger Delta.

In our past press release, we exposed the false claims of the Nigerian military and government, our assertions will easily be confirmed by the hostages and actions on the Nigerian government in the coming weeks.

All militants “supposedly captured” by the Nigerian military will soon be driving around in the streets of the Niger Delta in expensive luxury cars.

Jonathan will go to any length to deceive the nation and the world that he is in control of the agitation in the Niger Delta. This man is a fraud.

Jomo Gbomo

News Release: MEND Says Nigerian Military’s Claim Is False

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (M.E.N.D) denies in its totality claims by the Nigerian military and government that a co-ordinated attack was launched against one of our camps by the Nigerian military in Rivers state in the Niger Delta. It is a well known fact that the Nigerian military is bereft of such capabilities or imagination. This amusing claim must have been extracted from a war novel.

The truth is that the individual concerned known to the group as Commander Obese was contacted by President Goodluck Jonathan and a former MEND Commander Farah Dagogo. Jonathan pleaded with this junior Commander to save him (Jonathan) from further shame and urged Obese to emerge from the Creeks and encourage others to do likewise in exchange for a huge amount of money and immunity from prosecution.

Most of the fighters attached to this individual rejected this offer which this junior Commander was misled into accepting.

There was no exchange of gunfire and these individuals handed themselves over to the military in expectance of a reward as promised by Jonathan.

Weapons surrendered by these persons were less than thirty (30) in numbers. Items displayed by the Nigerian military did not come from that camp. This was staged.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta has vowed and will expose Goodluck Jonathan for the fraud that he is. Jonathan is a Wimp who cannot even contain his domestic problems so how then can Nigerians expect this Spineless stooge to contain an insurgence in the Niger Delta.

We promised to the people of the Niger Delta to bring oil companies operating in Nigeria to their knees and reclaim all lands stolen from the people of the Niger Delta.

Jomo Gbomo

Sunday, 21 November 2010

News Report: Nigerians Await North's Consensus Candidate

Adamu Ciroma: Selection Committee Chairman
Nigerians await the announcement of Northern Nigeria's consensus candidate in the forthcoming 2011 presidential election. Indications strongly point to Monday 22nd or Tuesday 23rd of November, 2010 as possible dates for the announcement.

A selection committee led by Mr. Adamu Ciroma was constituted to screen candidates amongst the Peoples Democratic Party's(PDP) four Northern presidential aspirants namely; Ibrahim Babangida, Atiku Abubakar, Aliyu Gusau and Bukola Saraki.

The Adamu Ciroma selection committee is working for the Northern Political Leaderhip Forum(NPLF), a body which insists that it is the right of the North to occupy the Presidency till 2015, going by the ruling PDP zoning policy.

The selection committee was reported to have secured  commitments from the aspirants to abide by the committee's decision. "If a consensus candidate emerges, other aspirants would be expected to deploy their platforms for his benefit", a contact close a committee member told chidi opara reports.

We could not get information regarding who the candidate would be, as contacts close to members of the selection committee informed of difficulties in extracting information in this regard.

Checks in the campaign organizations of the four aspirants however indicated optimism.

chidi opara reports learnt that members of the committee are presently lodged at a guest house in Kaduna, capital city of Kaduna state, preparatory to the announcement.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

News Report: Pope Creates 24 New Cardinals

Pope Benedict xvi
Pope Benedict XVI formally created 24 new cardinals on Saturday amid cheers in St. Peter's Basilica, bringing a mostly Italian group into the elite club that will eventually elect his successor. Speaking in Latin, Benedict read out each of the names of the new "princes of the church" at the start of the Mass, eliciting roaring applause from the pews and smiles from the cardinals themselves. Wearing their new scarlet cassocks to signify their willingness to shed blood for the church the cardinals processed first into the basilica, waving to well-wishers as organ music thundered in a festive yet solemn atmosphere.

The basilica was awash in red as some 150 cardinals from around the world came to Rome for the occasion of welcoming in their newest members.

The 24 new cardinals include heads of Vatican congregations, archbishops of major cities in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas, and retired prelates honored for their lifelong service to the church. Their numbers bring the College of Cardinals to 203, 121 of whom are under age 80 and thus eligible to vote in a conclave to elect a new pope.

Eight of the new voting-age cardinals are Italian, seriously boosting the Italian bloc and leading to some speculation that the papacy might eventually swing back to an Italian following a Polish and German pope.
Benedict, 83, told the men of their new mission as cardinals, saying they must devote themselves totally to the church and to Christ. In his homily, he asked the faithful to pray for them, saying: "Let the Lord's spirit support these new cardinals in the commitment of service to the church, following Christ of the Cross even if necessary to shed their blood, always ready ... to respond to whatever is asked."

The senior new cardinal, Angelo Amato, who heads the Vatican's saint-making office, told Benedict at the start of the Mass of the "stupor" each one of the men feels to have been chosen. "We recognize with trepidation our limits knowing the great dignity with which we have been entrusted and that we are called to testify to with our lives and activities," he said. During the ceremony, the new cardinals each promised to obey the pope, reading an oath in Latin to maintain communion with the Holy See, keep secrets given to them and not divulge anything that might bring harm onto the church.

After pledging the oath, each new cardinal walked up to the pontiff who was seated on a gilded throne on the altar to receive his red zucchetto, or skullcap, and biretta, a three-ridged hat worn over it. Applause broke out again as each received the pope's blessing and kissed his ring. One new cardinal, the Coptic Catholic patriarch of Alexandria, Egypt, Antonios Naguib, wore a black cassock as is consistent with his role.
A choir sang and a brass ensemble played as the men then greeted each of the other cardinals in the college, exchanging a few words of welcome.

There was Cardinal Kurt Koch of Switzerland, the new head of the Vatican office for relations with other Christians, greeting his predecessor, retired Cardinal Walter Kasper of Germany. There was the new Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, the Italian head of the Vatican's culture office, greeting the retired Vatican No. 2 Cardinal Angelo Sodano. And so on.

One of the loudest rounds of applause was for Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington, D.C., who was joined in Rome by a delegation of some 400 well-wishers from the United States.The cardinal's main task is to offer the pontiff advice and eventually elect his successor.

This is the third time Benedict has held a consistory to create new cardinals. With Saturday's additions, he will have hand-picked 40 percent of the college, infusing it with conservative, tradition-minded prelates like himself and almost ensuring that a future pope will carry on the path he has set out for the church.
During a day of reflection on Friday, cardinals new and old discussed some of the most pressing issues of concern to the church, including the sex abuse scandal.

Cardinal William Levada, who heads the Vatican office responsible for dealing with abuse cases, told the cardinals his office was planning to issue a set of guidelines to bishops around the world on responding to priests who rape and molest children. The Vatican said Levada spoke of the need for prevention programs, better screening of priests and the need to obey civil reporting requirements.

From Associated Press

Report: Details Of Foreigners Kidnapped So Far In Africa

Nov. 7th, 2010, Gunmen in Nigeria attacked offshore oil rig operated by exploration firm, Afren, kidnapping seven foreign crew members, two Americans, two Frenchmen, two Indonesians and one Canadian and 12 Nigerians.

Nov. 17th, In land, air and sea operation, Nigeria's military rescued all 19 hostages from militant camps in creeks of Niger Delta.

April 2008, Gunmen seized a Briton and a Kenyan working on U.N.funded project.

July 14th, 2009, Somali gunmen kidnapped two French security advisers in Mogadishu. One of them, Marc Aubriere, escaped on Aug. 26th.

Nov. 8th, 2010, European Union anti-piracy task force said it has rescued a South African yachtsman after he was left behind by Somali pirates. Two other South African crew members were taken onshore as hostages.

Somali pirates are holding more than 25 vessels and some of their crews. In the latest incident, a Panama flagged chemical tanker was taken on Nov. 11th.

Sept. 16th, 2010, Seven foreigners were kidnapped in Arlit, Niger's northern uranium mining zone. Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claimed responsibility on Sept. 21st.

The foreigners,  five French nationals, one from Togo and one from Madagascar, all employees of French firms Areva and Vinci were taken by their captors into Mali on Sept. 17th.

Oct. 7th, 2010, A Hungarian civilian member of Darfur's joint U.N./African Union peacekeeping force (UNAMID) was abducted by armed men. It was believed to be the first time kidnappers seized a foreigner in El Fasher, capital of North Darfur.

Nov. 4th, 2010, Three Latvian helicopter crewmen, two helicopter pilots and a mechanic, contracted to the U.N. World Food Programme were kidnapped in South Darfur capital Nyala.

From Reuters

Friday, 19 November 2010

News Release: MEND Confirms Hostage Rescue

As a result of the bombings by the Nigerian military of camps and communities, hostages, earlier taken from oil installations where kept in a community to ensure their safety.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (M.E.N.D) confirms, that there was indeed a raid on this particular community by the Nigerian Military which had being tipped-off by certain persons from this community.

The hostages were guarded by only a few of our fighters who retreated in order to prevent an exchange of fire that would have endangered the lives of these hostages.

However, our fighters have being instructed to carry out more raids on oil installations from where fresh hostages will be taken.

Also, at about 0300hrs, on Thursday, Nov 18, 2010, our units in Delta state in the Niger Delta, received intelligence report of the movement of fourteen(14) gunboats of the Nigerian military heading towards one of our camps in Delta state.

Our units ambushed the convoy of Nigerian army gunboats at Ayakoromo in Delta state. This convoy was literally decimated.

Reports reaching us from the General Hospital Warri in Delta state, indicate that Ten(10) soldiers were brought in dead and Eighteen(18) seriously injured. A large number of Nigerian army soldiers were reported by our fighters to have drowned.

A large number of weapons which include Browning machine guns, R.p.g Lunchers, general purpose machine guns, assault riffles and ammunitions were retrieved by our fighters following the ambush.

As earlier promised, we will soon commence with a all-out attack on oil installations across the Niger Delta.

Jomo Gbomo

Thursday, 18 November 2010

News Report: Amos Adamu Banned For Three Years

Amos Adamu
One of Fifa's most senior figures have become the first official from the organization ever to be banned for bribery after six officials were punished following a corruption scandal. Nigeria's Amos Adamu received a three-year ban and 10,000 Swiss franc (£6,341) fine from Fifa's ethics committee today after being found guilty of breaching bribery rules.

His fellow executive committee member Reynald Temarii was suspended for a year and fined 5,000 Swiss francs (£3,170) for breaching rules on loyalty and confidentiality.

The bans follow a Sunday Times expose which alleged the officials had asked for cash in return for World Cup votes. Neither man will be able to take part in the 2018 and 2022 World Cup votes on 2 December – only 22 executive members will now take those decisions.

Four other Fifa officials, all former executive committee members, have also received bans of between two and four years.

The ethics committee chairman, Claudio Sulser, however criticised the Sunday Times as "sensationalist" – despite basing the investigation on the paper's revelations and imposing punishments which surprised many observers with their severity.

He told a news conference in Zurich: "What I cannot tolerate is the fact that they changed the sentences, they changed the way they presented the truth. If footage is taken out of context that's twisting the facts.
"They showed footage that lasted four minutes, we have looked at audio and video footage of several hours."
Adamu and Temarii's absence from the executive committee may not aid England's campaign for 2018 as the bid had hoped they had sealed their votes.

Furthermore, the ethics committee will take no action regarding allegations that England's 2018 rivals Spain/Portugal have agreed a vote-swapping deal with 2022 bidders Qatar.

Sulser said no evidence had been found of the collusion claims but confirmed that Spain's executive committee member Angel Villar Llona and Qatar's Mohamed Bin Hammam and only been contacted by letter and not interviewed in person.

Sulser said: "We didn't find sufficient grounds to reach the conclusion that there was any collusion, therefore we didn't move forward on that case. "It's hard to prove collusion. Although doubts may arise about objectivity if we can't establish anything, it's clear we cannot say an offence has been committed."
Sulser admitted that the scandal had caused "great damage" to Fifa's image.

Fifa general secretary Jerôme Valcke said the sanctions stood as a warning to anyone tempted to break the rules, but admitted that he could not guarantee the World Cup bidding process is free of collusion.
Valcke said: "Am I sure that 2018 and 2022 are free of any collusion? I can't answer this question – I don't vote and I have no idea what the discussions are between various members.

"As the Fifa president [Sepp Blatter] said before, having two World Cup being bid for at the same time opened the door to such conversations between executive committee members – particularly as you have eight bids involved who have executive members in the room. "I hope that what's happened here in the last three days shows people should be careful of entering into any situation which is forbidden."

Adamu has insisted he will appeal but this will not be heard before the 2 December vote.
He said in a statement: "I am profoundly disappointed with the ethics committee's findings and had honestly believed I would be exonerated of any charges by now. "I completely refute the decision they have made. I will be lodging a full appeal against it with immediate effect."

The other officials sanctioned were Ismael Bhamjee of Botswana, who was handed a four-year ban, Amadou Diakite of Mali and Ahongalu Fusimalohi of Tonga who were suspended for three years and Tunisian official Slim Aloulou for two. All four were also fined 10,000 Swiss francs.

In a separate investigation, the ethics committee found insufficient evidence of collusion between the bid teams of Spain-Portugal 2018 and Qatar 2022. The committee had been conducting an investigation into allegations that the two bid teams had been colluding to trade votes, against bidding regulations.
However, it was announced today the committee "did not find sufficient grounds to reach a conclusion that there was any collusion".

From: Bing News

News Release: DPA Raises Alarm Over Police Search Of ATM Patrons

Marvel Akpoyibo
 Democratic Peoples’ Alliance (DPA) have raised an alarm over a new form of harassment that ATM bank patrons now suffer at the hands of people purporting to be policemen in Lagos .

The party reported complaints by customers leaving banks’ Automated Teller Machines (ATM) points only to be stopped in public by plain-clothed people brandishing supposed police identification. These characters would then proceed to undertake a thorough body search of their victims, who are subsequently forced to display their personal identity card, ATM cards and their cash withdrawals, DPA said in a statement by its Director of Publicity, Felix Oboagwina.

DPA urged the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Marvel Akpoyibo, to urgently wade into the matter and call his men to order.

“It is a most dangerous dimension to banking and ATM transactions,” DPA said, maintaining that, “Such unwarranted stop-and-search exercises are not only threatening, they clearly violate the security and confidentiality traditional to banks and their customers. Moreover, they can expose customers to attacks from robbers and muggers.”

The party noted that police and banks usually provided security at ATM points inside banking premises and nothing warranted the novel embarrassment the police was subjecting the public to.
Recalling several ugly incidents in which policemen had turned around to rob, maim and sometimes kill people whom they searched and found substantial cash upon; DPA said the practice of trailing ATM patrons must stop immediately.

Nigeria is not the first place that Automated Teller Machines will be installed, and nowhere else in the world do police trail patrons to enquire about withdrawals from ATM points. Whatever the advantages of this latter-day practice by the Nigerian police, it happens nowhere else in the world; plus it clearly violates the fundamental rights provisions of the Nigerian Constitution,” DPA said.

According to the party, such searching violated Nigerians constitutionally guaranteed rights relating to dignity of human persons, personal liberty, and freedom of movement, fair hearing and freedom from discrimination.
The party’s statement cited the specific case of a student of the University of Ilorin who had made a withdrawal at the Ikotun Branch of the Intercontinental Bank on Wednesday in Lagos. The young man was trailed and accosted by two men claiming to be plain-cloths policemen and given a thorough body search.

They only released him when they felt uncomfortable with a crowd that began to gather at the scene.
“It could have been turned nasty if these policemen cornered this bank customer in a solitary place,” he said.
DPA also recalled that last year, a two-man gang on a motorcycle had trailed a customer who unknown to them had made a lodgment, not a withdrawal, at a new generation bank at Isolo area of Lagos. They shot him before making away with his empty bag as he lay dying in a pool of blood.

Urging the banks and the public to prevail on police authorities in Lagos and throughout the country to stop this new mode of trailing ATM patrons, DPA warned that such policemen could ultimately turn around to serve as informants for armed robbers. It said that armed robbers could also hijack the practice.

Felix Oboagwina
Director of Publicity(Lagos State DPA)

News Report: Nigerian Security Taskforce Acts To Forestall Diplomatic Pressures

JTF Officers

The Joint Security Taskforce (JTF), an adhoc security apparatus set up to manage the security situation in the restive oil and gas rich Niger Delta region have acted to forestall diplomatic pressures by the governments of United states Of America(USA), Canada, France and Indonesia, whose nationals were abducted recently in an attack on an oil and gas facility by operatives of Movement For The Emancipation Of Niger Delta(MEND), chidi opara reports learnt.
The JTF in the early hours of  today rescued hostages abducted by MEND during the attack. MEND, According to reliable information had hoped to use the hostages for negotiations. Alleged financiers and operatives of MEND,  Mr. Henry Okah, His elder brother, Charles Okah and others are undergoing prosecution in South Africa and Nigeria for complicity in the Abuja bomb blast of October 1st, 2010.
Diplomatic contacts informed chidi opara reports that the Embassies of France, Canada, USA And Indonesia had concluded plan to commence diplomatic pressures on Nigeria to find a political solution to the trials. The pressure would have been coordinated by the USA Embassy.
Oil and gas sector insiders also told us that part of the reason for the diplomatic pressure is that the two recent attacks by MEND which caused considerable damages to the facilities resulted  in drastic reduction in productions. Europe and USA depend mainly on oil and gas from Nigeria.  These foreign nations, according to unconfirmed information have shelved the plan for diplomatic pressures following JTF success.
Defence headquarters contacts informed chidi opara reports that the renewed attacks on suspected MEND locations in the creeks of Niger Delta which resulted in the rescue of the hostages was part of the plans to forestall diplomatic pressures.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

News Report: Facebook Unveils New Messaging Platform That May Replace E-Mails

Facebook unveiled a new messaging platform Monday that takes aim at one of the Internet's first applications, e-mail.
Though CEO Mark Zuckerberg didn't go as far as declaring e-mail dead, he sees the four-decade-old technology as secondary to more seamless, faster ways of communicating such as text messages and chats. In other words, Facebook is betting that today's high school students are on to something.
“We don't think a modern messaging system is going to be e-mail,” Zuckerberg said at a special event in San Francisco.
The new platform, which will be rolled out to users in the coming months, integrates cell phone texts, chats, e-mail and the existing Facebook messages. It seeks to bring together all these different forms of communication in one inbox, centered around the people sending it rather than the type of technology they use. Facebook will hand out e-mail addresses — mostly to make it easier to communicate with people who aren't on Facebook.
“If we do a good job, some people will say this is the way that the future will work,” Zuckerberg said.
By making e-mail part of its communications hub, Facebook escalates its duel with Internet search leader Google Inc., which shook up online communications 6½ years ago with its Gmail service. Google also has said it will roll out more social networking features to counter Facebook's growing popularity.
Zuckerberg dismissed notions that the service, code-named “Project Titan,” is the “Gmail killer” it's been dubbed by the press.
At the same time, Zuckerberg said he thinks more people will forego lengthy e-mail conversations in favor of shorter, more immediate chats.
The first Internet e-mail system arrived in the early 1970s, and it's been an integral part of people's lives for at least two decades. Though e-mail is still a primary form of communication for older adults, recent studies suggest this is not the case for young people. Text messaging has surpassed face-to-face contact, e-mail, phone calls and instant messaging as the primary form of communication for U.S. teens, according to a 2009 survey from the Pew Internet and American Life Project.
Facebook sees its messaging service as a way to deepen its connection with the more than 500 million users of its network. If it can persuade its vast audience to become faithful users of its e-mail service, Facebook conceivably will have more opportunities to sell advertising that caters to their likes and dislikes.
That ambition also could heighten the privacy issues surrounding Facebook as it becomes more deeply ingrained in people's lives and its computers become a treasure trove of personal information.
From Associated Press

Photonews: Nigerian President, Vice-president Celebrate Eid-El-Kabir

President Goodluck Jonathan Addressing Moslem Faithfuls On Courtesy Call

Vice-president Namadi Sambo At The Praying Ground

Monday, 15 November 2010

News Release: MEND Claims Responsibility In ExxonMobil Facility Attack

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) confirms the attack on the ExxonMobil Ibeno oil facility in Akwa Ibom state, in the Niger Delta, was carried out by its fighters.

The attack commenced at approximately 2040hrs Nigerian time and terminated at approximately 2237hrs Nigerian time after our fighters detonated explosives they had earlier rigged to this facility, causing considerable damage.

Like in the previous attack, on the Shallow-water okoro oilfield on Nov 7, 2010 , 7 local employees were abducted. They were taken to prevent the Nigerian government from attributing the damage to this facility to an industrial accident.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (M.E.N.D) wishes to draw the attention of the International Community to the indiscriminate bombing and strafing of communities in the Niger Delta and locations in the creeks and swamps suspected of accommodating militia camps by the Nigerian military.

At about 1400hrs on Nov 15, 2010 , the Nigerian army carried out such an attack as described above, in the general definity of one of our camps in Rivers state in the Niger Delta.

Expatriate hostages held at this location had to be removed and relocated for their safety as rocket attacks by the Nigerian military came very close to these individuals.

The Nigerian government should be mindful of the fact that these activities are endangering the lives of these hostages who otherwise, would come to no harm in our custody. No amount of military activities will secure the release of these hostages. They will be released at our time.

The Nigerian government till date has refused to dialogue over addressing the injustice in the Niger Delta preferring instead to deceive the world into believing that the Niger Delta issue has being resolved by the government of Goodluck Jonathan who has only being successful in bribing a few miscreants.

In the coming weeks, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (M.E.N.D) will launch a major operation that will simultaneously affect oil facilities across the Niger Delta.

Jomo Gbomo

Sunday, 14 November 2010

News Report: Association Of Nigerian Authors Surrenders To Politicians

Jerry Agada: ANA President
The Association of Nigerian Authors(ANA), an organization founded by the renowned Nigerian novelist, Professor Chinua Achebe and others to protect the interests of Nigerian creative writers have finally surrendered to politicians who now use it for political gains, checks by chidi opara reports have revealed.

ANA insiders informed us that the Association is so broke that each time it has a programme, it would go to politicians for funds. These politicians, according to these insiders are ever willing to "help" but with conditions.

The main condition have always been that these politicians are allowed to install their proteges as members of the Executive committees in the state chapters and the national headquarters.

Another crucial condition, chidi opara reports learnt also is that the Association would not criticize these politicians and their programmes.

The recent ANA convention in Akure, capital city of Ondo state, for instance, would not have held for reason of lack of fund, if not that a renowned writer and former President of the Association had to approach the governor of Ondo state, Mr. Olusegun Mimko for "help" through an Internationally acclaimed writer of Yoruba extraction. This "help", chidi opara reports learnt was granted after assurances of "co-operation" of ANA Executives with the Ondo state administration. The Ondo state government spent about fifty million naira on the convention, the seven million naira donated at the event included.

Checks also revealed that the state chapters were only able to attand the convention through the "generosity" of their governors, whom they had to approach for "sponsorship".

These "sponsorships" requests and grants have been going on in the Rivers state chapter, for instance, for three years now, where the government "donates" funds to the Association through a renowned novelist, known to be one of the governor's godfathers and whose proteges hold the rein of authority in the state Executive committee. Most of these proteges have questionable authorship credentials. Two members of the national Executive committee, one a lady, the other a young man from northern Nigeria are also known to have questionable authorship credentials, but were foisted on ANA by their politician godfathers.

The Associations Executive committee members in the state chapters and national headquarters have reportedly abandoned the systems of revenue generation stipulated in the constitution of the Association "because of  donations. helps and sponsorships from politicians". In the words of a disgruntled member from Imo state, "no one talks about the constitution of ANA any longer".

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Article: South Africa’s Elite Join in the Plunder of Nigeria

Participants At The Event
(Paper presented at the 15th Anniversary of the killing of Ken Saro-Wiwa & 8 others in Cape Town, South Africa)

By Shawn Hattign

Nigeria’s recent history has been marked by plunder. Corporations like Shell and Chevron, with the backing of powerful states like the US, Britain and France, have dominated the country, exploited its people and destroyed its environment. Linked to this, the US state through the IMF has kept Nigeria’s people in an almost complete state of serfdom by extracting vast amounts of money from them through debt repayments. The plunder of the country has at times even seen corporations, such as Shell, working hand in hand with the Nigerian military to put down any resistance to their operations in the country, which has included working together to murder Ken Saro-Wiwa.

A small section of the Nigerian society - in the form of politicians, leading state officials, generals and powerful business people - have also been involved in this plunder. They have formed partnerships with imperial powers and corporations from the US and Britain because they have benefited from doing so. In fact, over the years state officials in Nigeria have whisked away billions of dollars, obtained from the oil industry and bribes from corporations, and have stashed these funds in various tax havens. As part of this the Nigerian elite, along with dominating society, have also played workers and the poor off against one another to keep people divided and weak. This has been done by exploiting ethnic and religious differences, so that people turn against one another rather than the real enemies - imperialist powers, corporations and the local elite. In fact, the situation in Nigeria highlights how the state and capitalist system are inherently violent, exploitative and oppressive. Indeed, the result of the plunder of Nigeria, by imperial powers like the US and local Nigerian elites, has been devastating: in real terms Nigerian workers and the poor are probably poorer than at any time in their history.

Over the last fifteen years, another power has joined this plunder. This power is South Africa. Despite being junior partner to the US and the British states, the South African state acts as an imperialist power in its own right in Africa, including in Nigeria. In Africa, the South African state and corporations often work together to seek out new markets, resources and cheap labour. As such, the South African state’s foreign policy towards Africa, including Nigeria, is not based on Pan-Africanism or anti-imperialism; but rather on self interest. In the case of Nigeria, this has seen the South African state promoting the interests of South African linked companies, through things such as a bilateral trade and investment agreement and an investment council. It has also seen them linking up with the Nigerian elite by forming strategic partnerships. To some extent this has proved successful as the South Africa state and corporations have become notable investors in Nigeria.

South African interests in Nigeria have grown:
The success that the South African state has had in opening Nigeria up for its corporations can be seen in expansion of the number of South African linked companies operating in the country. In 1999 there were only 4 South African linked companies operating in Nigeria; today there are reportedly over 100.

South African companies have become major players in a number of sectors of the Nigerian economy. For example, in 2001 MTN entered into Nigeria and it now has over 10 million subscribers. In the Nigerian retail sector, South African companies also loom large. Massmart and Shoprite have opened a number of stores in the country. South African companies also control a large portion of the international fast food franchising industry; while Sanlam and Standard Bank have become involved in the financial sector. With the economic crisis, a number of Nigerian banks were bailed out by the state and these are now up for sale. South African linked banks, in the form of Standard and First National, are trying to buy these banks to expand their interests. South African state-owned companies are also expanding into the country, for instance Eskom has a number of interests in Nigeria.

South African companies have also received oil concessions from the Nigerian state. Ophir Energy, partly owned Mvelephanda Resources, has been given the right to mine oil in the country. In 2010 another South African company SACoil formed a partnership with the Nigerian company, Energy Equity Resources, and bought oil interests in the Niger Delta. Similarly, SASOL entered into a partnership with Chevron to develop a gas to fuel plant. This project is expected to be up and running by 2013; after a number of delays and running over budget, and will eventually produce 120 000 barrels a day.

Oil scandals:
In 1999 the Nigerian state also awarded the South African state the right to market 50 000 barrels of oil a day. In 2003, Thabo Mbeki and Alec Erwin intervened and got it increased to 120 000 barrels of oil a day. However, the South African state passed on the rights to this oil to a shadowy company, the South African Oil Company, which is registered in the Cayman Islands. It appears that 70% of the South African Oil Company was owned by a Nigerian-American businessman, Jakes Lawal, but who owned the other 30% is a mystery. Lawal, however, has close connections with leading past and present ANC figures. It is interesting that the Cayman Island’s South African Oil Company also had a sister company registered in South Africa. It was perhaps no co-incidence that some of the shareholders in this sister company happened to be leading ANC figures, like:
• Nomusa Mufamadi, wife of Sydney Mufamadi
• Miles Nzama, leading figure in the ANC Fundraising Trust
• and Brian Casey, a confidant of Penuell Maduna.

Not all smooth sailing:
Although many South African companies have made huge profits in Nigeria, others have failed. For example, PetroSA bought a share in a Nigerian oil field in 2004, which it recently sold as the field produced less than was expected. Likewise, Telkom eventually spent approximately US $ 400 million on buying a Nigerian company – MultiLinks – which it is now trying to sell due to losses. Despite this, most South African linked companies have continued to make profits in Nigeria.

Trade between South Africa and Nigeria:
Along with an increase in South African investments in Nigeria, trade between the two countries has risen from $16 million in 1999 to $2.1-billion in 2008. Most of this trade involves South Africa importing oil from Nigeria. However, South Africa also exports manufactured goods to Nigeria. Amongst these has been military equipment worth R86 million. It was also recently announced that the South African state-owned arms company DENEL would, over the next few years, be producing parts for Augusta military helicopters that are to be exported to Nigeria.

Who benefits?:
Although still dwarfed by the interests of the EU and the US, the South African state and South African linked corporations have tended to do well out of their involvement in Nigeria. Despite all this trade, investment and profit, however, the workers and the poor of Nigeria have not benefited. This is because South African companies operating in Nigeria are allowed to repatriate much of the profits that they make out of the country. South African companies operating in Nigeria have also created surprisingly few jobs. The jobs that they have created have also tended to be casual. For example, many of MTN’s workers are temporary or on contracts, and it has reportedly tried to deny its workers the right to join a trade union.

Telkom in Nigeria also stands accused of casualising its workforce, paying workers extremely poorly, and firing workers when they demand their rights. Added to this, the company is accused or hiring expatriate South African managers instead of Nigerians. In fact many of the Nigerians who work for Telkom’s operations are employed as casuals. This led workers at Telkom’s operations, Multilinks, to go out on strike in October. South African companies have also been involved in blatant looting in Nigeria. MTN charges some of the highest rates in the world for cellular phone calls in the country. Added to this, SASOL is involved in partnerships with Chevron, which has committed human and environmental rights abuses in the Niger Delta.

Workers at Shoprite’s stores in Nigeria have also complained of appalling working conditions. Workers are forced to work long hours and receive poor pay; the average worker at Shoprite in Nigeria apparently earns as little as R592 a month (less than a weekly wages for domestic workers or nannies in South Africa). This situation led workers to recently embark on a strike. At one point, workers even occupied a store to try and get the management to improve their working conditions. Shoprite reacted by firing them and replacing them with more ‘compliant’ workers. Indeed, the struggle for better working conditions by workers in Shoprite, MTN and Telkom in Nigeria continues.

The plunder of Nigeria shows just how brutal capitalism, imperialism and the state systems are. While the Nigerian elite, the South Africa elite and the elite from other parts of the world have made billions from the plunder of Nigeria, workers have suffered and indeed paid the price. Although politicians and the rich in South Africa have benefited from exploiting Nigeria’s resources and workers; it must also be remembered that the South African working class have not. In reality, workers in Nigeria and South Africa often face the same enemy in terms of the bosses of companies like MTN, Telkom, and Shoprite etc. It is, therefore, important that workers and the poor in South Africa and Nigeria begin to form links with one another so that the struggle – like capitalism – becomes international.

Only through international struggle will exploitation in Nigeria, and South Africa, be ended. As such, it is vital not to fall in the trap of siding with the local bosses and politicians or embracing xenophobia or ethnic and religious hatred, as workers have much more in common with one another than they do with politicians and the bosses. Indeed, both Nigerian and South African workers and the poor face the same enemy in forms of the state and capitalist systems. For as long as these two systems exist, workers and the poor will never be truly free. As such, the struggles of workers and the poor in Nigeria and South Africa are part of same struggle – the struggle to be free from domination and exploitation - and it is important that we realize this, take interest in one another’s struggles and stand side by side. Indeed, freedom will only come when capitalism and the state systems are gone - along with other forms of oppression like racism and sexism - and replaced with a system where the poor and workers have control over their own lives without bosses, state officials and politicians ordering them about. Unlike the current oppressive state and capitalist systems, such a system based on freedom would have to centre around meeting people’s needs and not making profits, it would have to ensure direct democracy using decentralized and federated assemblies that people themselves direct, and to ensure worker’s freedom through self-management in workplaces. Only in such a world will everyone truly be free, including workers and the poor in South Africa and Nigeria.

(Shawn Hattign is a Researcher with the International Labour Research and Information Group (ILRIG), an active member of SAFOS and supporter of the Ogoni struggle.)

Friday, 12 November 2010

News Release: MEND Releases Names Of Persons Abducted At Okoro Oilfied

On November 7th, 2010 , fighters of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (M.E.N.D) attacked the Shallow-water okoro oilfield in Akwa Ibom state of the Niger Delta.

Our fighters reported stiff resistance from the Nigerian military stationed at this facility. After an intense fire fight, the resistance from the Nigerian military was subdued. Our fighters cost extensive damage on this facility and attempted to set it ablaze as they were instructed to do.

In the course of the same attack, the under listed were captured.

Name:                                                      Employer:                                 Nationality:
1 James Robertson                                    Transocean                                 USA
2 Jeffrey James                                          Transocean                                 USA
3 Patrick Weber                                        Transocean                                 France
4 Mignon Gilles                                         Sodexo                                       France
5 Robert Croke                                         PPI                                            Canada
6 Robert Tampubolon                               Century Energy Services             Indonesia
                                                                 Ltd (Century Bumi JV)
7 Permana Nugraha                                 Century Energy Services             Indonesia
                                                                Ltd (Century Bumi JV)

As earlier reported, we took custody of 3 French nationals and 1 Thai national abducted about 2 months ago by a militia group in the Niger Delta. Owing to their generally poor state of health, we were compelled to release them on humanitarian grounds.

The abduction of the 7 expatriates from the Shallow-water okoro oilfield in Akwa Ibom state was to prevent the Nigerian government from denying the attack on this facility.

The 7 individuals are all in good health and will be in our custody for a while.

Jomo Gbomo

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Communiqué At The End Of A Joint Emergency Meeting Between The NLC And TUC On November 10, 2010 At Labour House, Abuja

The National Executive Council (NEC) of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Central Working Committee (CWC) of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) met at an emergency session on November 10, 2010 in Abuja over the three-day warning strike called by the two trade union centres to push for the implementation of the New National Minimum wage.

After due deliberation, the Sessions, arrived at the following resolutions:

Suspension of the Three-Day Warning Strike
(i) The Sessions after due consideration resolved to suspend the three-day warning strike given the desired attention the issue has drawn from various organs of government. The Sessions noted in particular the role of the National Assembly in given assurance that the matter will be given accelerated passage when brought before them.
(ii) The Sessions noted that having lost precious time on the issue of a new national minimum wage, the Presidency should immediately after the meeting of the National Council of State on the November 25, 2010 present a bill to the National Assembly which will fast tract the process before the meeting of this very organs in the first week of December 2010.
(iii) That the two labour centres will not accept any figure less than the negotiated figure N18, 000 in the Report of the Tripartite Committee chaired by Justice Alfa Belgore. The two Labour Centres will reconvene again in the first week of December to take further action should government fail to submit the bill to the National Assembly for accelerated passage.
(iv) We commend those state governments who have expressed willingness to pay the negotiated salary immediately it is passed

The Attack on Union Leaders in Benin:
(v) We condemn in very strong terms the unprovoked shooting of the Edo State chairman of NUATE, Comrade Ehichioya Godwin who was shot by a policeman earlier today in Benin. We call on the Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Ringim to order the immediate arrest, dismissal and prosecution of the policeman who carried out this dastardly and uncivilised act.

On Arik Airline:
(v) The NLC and TUC resolved that for violating the strike and for attempting to facilitate the escape of the policeman that shot Comrade Godwin, Nigerian workers and their allies should stop patronising Arik Airlines. The two Labour Centres advise all their affiliate unions to take a cue from the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) who have already ordered the stoppage of supply of aviation fuel to Arik Airlines immediately.

(vi) The two Labour Centres acknowledge and commend the solidarity and support demonstrated by our civil society partners, the media and other prominent Nigerians too numerous to mention. We promise that we will not renege in our resolve and commitment to the full implementation of the new minimum wage as contained in the Justice Alfa Belgore Committee Report.
(vii) The Sessions strongly commend the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr Goodluck Jonathan for his civility and commitment of his government to the implementation of the new minimum wage when passed into law.

Comrade Promise Adewusi                                                    Comrade Peter Esele
Acting President, NLC                                                              President General, TUC

Comrade John Odah                                                                 Comrade John Kolawole
General Secretary, NLC                                                             Secretary General, TUC

Speech: Repression of Ogoni Ethnic Nationality continues!

Activists At The Anniversary
(Being Speech Presented on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the hanging of the Ogoni 9 on the 10 November 2010)

Dear Comrades and friends,

On behalf of the Ogoni Solidarity Forum, Ogoni people at home and in the Diaspora, we welcome you to this special but heart breaking event. The Ogoni people highly appreciate and value the time that you have caved out of your busy activities to be with us today. In the Ogoni culture, true friends are measured by the level of emotions and support shown at marriage ceremonies, the birth of children and during mourning period. But of these three instances, the sympathy and support given to mourners is valued the most.

We, the Ogoni ethnic nationality had been in a state of protracted mourning since the 10th of November 1995 over the brutal killing of 9 Ogoni leaders and activists – fifteen years after it is still one of world’s cruelest political murders, Ogoni people are yet to come to terms with the barbaric and callous act. Fifteen years after, the 10th November every year places heavy weight, sense of depression, confusion and sadness in the heart of every Ogoni person in the world.

As we commemorate the 15th Anniversary of the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa, Dr. Barinem Kiobel, Daniel Gboko, Nordu Eewo, Saturday Doobee, Felix Nuateh, Paul Levura, Baribom Bera and John Kpuinee, we are forced to retrospect, and to make one resounding statement – the Ogoni ethnic nationality continue to be a victim of the machineries of colonial powers, internal domination, exploitation, political subjugation and economic strangulation.

Perhaps, it is important to refresh your minds that the Ogoni 9 were killed because the Ogoni people wanted to, and still desires to establish its identity as a distinct ethnic group within Nigeria. Ogoni people also desire to correct their gross disempowerment within the complex cluster of tribes and mere geographical expression called Nigeria – the only place in the world where political cannibalism is a system of government. It may surprise you to hear that approximately 90% of Nigerians including national office holders were ignorant of Ogoniland despite her enormous contribution to the Nigerian revenue pot.

Until Ken Saro-Wiwa started the agitation for Nigerian constitution to acknowledge the ethnic composition of the country, and the recognition of the vulnerability and special needs of minorities like the Ogonis; many Nigerians did not know that a tribe called Ogoni existed within the country. This could be dismissed with the wave of the hand as one of those “accidents” in history. But when one gauge this against the fact that Ogoni is one of the places were oil was first drilled in commercial quantity in Nigeria, gauged also against the backdrop that Ogoni has produced a total of 900 million barrels of crude oil as at the time of the agitation, and bearing in mind that Shell and the Nigerian economy raked in an estimated $100 billion from their exploitation of the area, yet, Ogoni was hardly known within Nigeria as at 1993.

The Ogoni people are yet to know of any academic loftiness, moral persuasion and political theory that can satisfactorily explain why and how they could not be captured on the Nigerian socio-political radarscope despite the significant contribution of the Ogoni tribe to the country’s economy. The Ogoni people cannot make any other deduction from the foregoing other than the fact that there was a careful manipulation to keep the Ogoni identity obscured within Nigeria and from the face of human history, an ingenuous political scheme that run on the wheels of internal domination exploiting the numerical weakness of the Ogoni tribe.

Having succeeded relegated Ogoni to the base; successive administrations proceeded to exclude the Ogoni territory from benefitting from infrastructural developments and other projects. Ogoni towns and villages is the best example of the paradox of plenty and a perfect illustration of a people living by the bank of the river yet unable to wash their hands – because they are barred.

Friends and Comrades, permit me to paint the picture of the backwardness of the Ogoni people by comparing the states of infrastructural development in Ogoni and Khayelitsha - one of the poorest settlements in South Africa. Khayelitsha has sports centers and stadiums; Ogoni does not. There are well equipped libraries in Khayelitsha, the Ogoni has none until this year (2010) when Mr. Befii Charles Nwileh an Ogoni son in the Rivers state House of Assembly devoted his constituency project allowance to build one, which will hopefully serve some 200 villages – now completed but there are no books in it. The people of Khayelitsha have thousands of houses built by the government for the poor - substandard even by the standard of South Africa’s poor and working class, but there is no such housing project anywhere in Ogoniland. If a fraction of the houses that has been built in Khayelitsha was built in Ogoniland, the Ogoni people would have not been agitated as much as they have been. The worse hospital in Khayelitsha is better than the “best” of Ogoni’s – there is no hospital in Ogoni if compared to Khayelitsha. To the people of Khayelitsha, electricity and pipe born water is a necessity, in Ogoni, those are luxuries. There is no shopping mall in any where in Ogoni.

Also permit me to reflect a little bit on the broad situation in Nigeria. The country celebrated her 50th mortgaged and flag independence from British colonialism this year. Unfortunately, the Nigerian independence – the most populated black nation on earth holds true only on paper. Nigeria bask in an illusion of being the giant of the continent whereas its roads are death traps, it hospitals are but cemeteries, none of the over 200 universities, colleges and polytechnics can match the facilities of secondary schools in developed societies. An average of three quarters of the last two decades of Nigerian academic life was spent by lecturers, teachers and students at home because of strikes over appalling working conditions. It is no longer news that Nigeria cannot provide electricity for itself – but what may be news to you is that even the country’s presidency depends on generator for power. Fifty years of Nigerian nationhood had taken a third of African peoples on a journey of disaster and rendered them completely hopeless. It does not make mathematical sense that Nigeria is indebted up to the tune of $30 billion despite making over $400 billion from the sales of crude oil as a nation.

Any person that does not understand the meaning of crime against humanity should look no further than what Nigerian leadership has done to its own peoples. The internal slavery in Nigeria is so cruel that the citizens continue to offer themselves voluntarily as third class citizens any where in the world. Nigerians are willing to accept imprisonment, they do not mind to be maligned and suffer all forms of prejudices as foreigners instead of them to return back to the Nigerian dungeon.

Saro-Wiwa feared for the future of the country and rightly stated that Nigeria will not exist for a day longer when oil of the Ogoni and other minorities run out. He deployed his intellectual arsenal to mobilize the Ogoni people in order to challenge their oppressors. The political epiphany of the Ogoni group gave birth to a mass movement that alarmed over how much the Nigerian body politics and its structures, irrespective of who or what type of government in power has failed the Ogoni people. The Ogoni people believe that the least that the country can do is to acknowledge that the Nigerian nation-state is not original because it stemmed from British imperial hegemony, and that the forced nationhood has proven to be ineffective and inefficacious in addressing the fundamental human rights and the needs of the majority of the country’s population, the minority groups in general but the Ogoni most severely.

The Ogoni people also stated in their Bill of Rights that the peoples and tribes that negotiated the country’s independence had betrayed the tenets of true federalism, which is the only system of governance that befits Nigeria. The Ogoni people believes in the ethnicity and nationalities of each individual peoples irrespective of size and there should be no special regard or undue advantages for some other tribes to have the prerogatives of state instruments and apparatus for the enslavement of others.

The Ogoni people have enough reasons to justify that the nation of Nigeria is an imperialist and conquistador agenda set out for the exploitation of the abundant natural resources. Nigerian nation system is tantamount to the formation a cult of aristocrats, which explains why kleptocracy is the main factor that defines governance in Nigeria. In fighting for minority recognition, ecological protection, economic and political empowerment, the Ogoni positioned itself against systemic and endemic corruption that flourishes within the ambit of ethnic chauvinism and super imposition of the hegemony of the bigger tribes upon the weak and small groups.

It is the norm rather than the exception that the bigger tribes and their allies monopolizes military and political positions in order to usurp and control natural resources deposited at the backyards of the minorities. Nigerian majority groups has evolved the dubious apt of creating unviable states that depend entirely on the extortion of proceeds from the sales of oil mined from the soil of the weak and small groups. By so doing, the Ogoni people consigned to a few and an insignificant number of local government areas are milked to death so that the seventeen northern states will survive. The bigger ethnic groups continue to commit bare face theft and robbery as they arrogate to themselves an automatic power to decide how the oil wealth would be shared. When it comes to the oil in Ogoni, the age long aphorism of “he who has the piper dictates the tune” does not apply, if any thing, the opposite is the case.

The Ogoni people seek to know why a federation should be operated in a unitary manner when the pre-colonial era was not. The pseudo federalism of Nigeria gives the central authority excessive power; it goes without saying that the absolute nature of the power bestowed upon Nigerian central government is the precursor of its horsewhip and sledge hammers to either flog Ogoni into line or be crutched to dust. The Nigerian nation-state creates an imbalance that favors the majority tribes, entrenches it and place in their hands weapons to steal what belongs to the minorities. The Ogoni people are saying that each individual ethnic components of Nigeria should be allowed to acquire some form of autonomy that allows each to be productive, and to use its products to address the needs of its own while contributing proportionately to a central purse.

But on the contrary, the Nigerian aristocracy and those that benefits from the spoils it provides wish that the quagmire and paradox of autarky should continue. They are afraid because they know the implication of the demise of Nigerian aristocracy. They cannot stand the fact that their presumed slaves will be free and empowered. They are afraid of an end to the culture of oligarchy, opulence and an obstruction to their unchecked accessibility to petro-dollars.

To sum up the situation, the Ogoni struggle sprang up when the predatory system was most relaxed and assured of its conquest. The Ogoni people deserve the highest award imaginable because it brought under focus the following:

1) The perfidious operation of constitutional provisions to oppress the minorities,

2) Interrogated the ontology and dynamics of why British colonial authority grafted and consigned the Ogoni people into the hands of the bigger groups;

3) Exposed Nigerian aristocratic web and its slick alliance with the global imperial network;

4) Exposed the colossal disregard for local and indigenous communities by multinational companies; and

5) named and shamed Shell for stealing into Ogoni through the back door; yet, laying claim to stolen land, and the fact the company remain obsessed about its false claim and strong hold on the oil wells in Ogoni area tell the sick nature of capitalism.

As we remember Ken Saro-Wiwa and the eight others who were killed on November 10, 1995, it is vital to bring to the attention of our friends and comrades that the current Nigerian political dispensation is no different from the military. Civilian governments in Nigeria remain the progenies of the military, the country constitution a bequeathal from military, just as former military dictators and apologists have transformed to party politicians. We are reminding friends gathered here and elsewhere that the Ogoni and their neighbors in the Niger Delta are still at pain because of the Land Use Decree (now Land Use Act) and other related laws like the Petroleum Act facilitated by previous military regimes, and as long as these obnoxious laws are not repealed the Ogoni people shall remain as slaves within Nigeria.

In concluding, the Ogoni people draw the attention of our friends to two issues, firstly, the conspicuous exclusion of hundreds of Ogonis from the on-going resettlement and rehabilitation of former militants by the federal government. It is true that in the twenty-one years that the Ogoni people have prosecuted their struggle, Ogoni people have not resorted to the use of arms, the Ogoni people are shocked that while Ogoni activists that were persecuted and exiled on account of their non-violent resistance remain trapped in various refuge camps and living in dehumanizing conditions, the Nigerian government is spending millions of dollars to provide education to former militants in South Africa and other countries of the world.

We use this platform to call on the Nigerian government to immediately develop a scheme that will provide scholarships for the over 800 Ogonis trapped in refugee camps in West Africa to study in universities and colleges in South Africa and other countries. This much we have raised in a discussion document delivered through Professor Wole Soyinka to the Nigerian president but we are yet to receive a response.

Secondly, a section of Ogoni activists, politicians, business people, academics, chiefs and religious leaders is demanding for a state from the Nigerian Senate. They have demanded the government to create a state for the Ogoni ethnic nationality and some of their neighbors. The Ogoni Solidarity Forum has expressed elsewhere to the Ogoni people that it does not believe that just a state within Nigeria will correct the imbalances and the economic and environmental injustices perpetrated against the Ogoni people.

We have however followed the agitation for a state for the Ogoni people and their neighbors with keen interest. We therefore use the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the hanging of the Ogoni 9 to place on record for our friends and the international community to observe and witness how the Ogoni people will be denied even the barest minimal demand – the Ogoni have to labour for this minimal demand that had repeatedly fallen on the laps of other tribes with an unfathomable ease.

Finally, the least you can do here today is to sign a petition addressed to the Nigerian president through the office of the Nigerian Ambassador to South Africa.

Yours in the struggle,

Barry Wuganaale