Thursday, 30 June 2011

U-Report: Catalog of Pastors Killed By Boko Haram Militants(Part One)

Reported By: Chima Emmanuel
As anxiety is mounting over the activities of Boko Haram group, some Muslims are defusing the fear as misplaced. They see the group as only a new breed of young Muslim activists who have aggressively embraced a stricter version of Islam, rejecting anything Western and Christian. Boko Haram began life as a peaceful group focused on the study of the Koran, according to Abdulmumin Sa’ad, a Muslim scholar and professor of Sociology at the University of Maiduguri.
“The idea was that there is a lot of sin in the larger society and their parents had amassed a lot of ill-gotten wealth,” says Sa’ad, who taught some of the militants. “There is widespread immorality, and so the best thing to do is to remove themselves and camp elsewhere, where they can concentrate on their religion, mediate, reach out and begin to form a fellowship.” Sa’ad claims that group turned violent when authorities harassed it.
In retaliation, the group had killed about 16,000 policemen and was responsible for the death of pastors in Christian circle. Worried about the safety of Christians and pastors in Nigeria, the president of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, asked the federal government to curb the growing trend of terrorism in parts of the country. “We can no longer allow this group of disgruntled elements to get away with these acts of terrorism in Nigeria,” he said.
The catalogue of death of pastors by Boko Haram militants is raising alarm immediate change. Pastor David Usman, 45, and church secretary Hamman Andrew of the 'Church of Christ in Nigeria' in the troubled city of Maiduguri on the 7 June and Pastor Solomon Uzor of Trinity Chapel in Bauchi on the 10 May were among the latest casualties in what local Christians called "an upsurge of Islamic militancy" in these states.
Evangelical Christians said the two men were shot and killed by members of the Boko Haram sect near an area of Maiduguri, known as Railway Quarters, where their church is based. Hours earlier the gunmen also participated in blasts and attacks that left at least ten people dead, police said. A Catholic church, which was also targeted in the attacks, has been badly shattered, according to witnesses.
The same incident was reported in Lagos where Boko Haram members allegedly killed Pastor Daniel Okolu with two other people in November 2010. Pastor Michael Madugu, had just returned to his medicine store when his assailants pounced on him. Eyewitnesses said: “Two motorcyclists just stopped in front of the shop around 7.00pm and started shooting into the air to scare away people before they opened fire on Madugu. His assailants then moved immediately to the next medicine store where one Obinna and his brother were also shot to death. Unlucky James, another victim, who was about to enter Obinna’s store to buy medicine was also shot dead.
It was gathered that Michael Madugu, a district pastor in charge of Hausa church, was killed by a gang of four fundamentalists in his pharmaceutical shop while dispensing drugs to customers at about 7.05 p.m., leaving his wife and seven children to mourn him.
On December 24, armed men suspected to be members of the Boko Haram sect stormed some churches including the Victory Baptist Church at Dala-Alamderi and shot to death the resident pastor, Rev. Bulus Marwa (37), Christopher Balami, a lecturer in the state-owned polytechnic, Paul Mathew, Philip Luka and a tea hawker, Yohana Adamu. The rampaging gunmen also set the Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN) in Ruwan Safi ablaze. A Deeper Life pastor, 3 others were killed in Maiduguri by suspected members of Boko Haram Jan 20, 2011.
Danjuma Akawu, who survived the attack on the Baptist church, said “they hacked the two choir members using knives and petrol bomb before heading to the pastor’s residence, where he was killed.”
On 26 July, 2009 the girl identified by CSW only as Mary was in church with her pastor, his brother and an older Christian woman when a group of fifty militants broke in. She and her pastor hid as the group killed the pastor’s brother and dragged the older woman out of the room. On discovering their hiding place, the militants cut off her pastor’s hand to stop him holding on to her, then hacked him to death with machetes before setting him on fire.
The girl and the woman were dragged to Boko Haram's compound in Maiduguri's Railway district, and were placed in a room with around 100 other Christian women and girls. They were all asked to renounce their faith or face continued imprisonment, while Christian men were given the choice of renouncing their faith or dying.
Mary vividly describes how she was forced to wash the blood stained clothing of Boko Haram fighters. She was in the camp for four days, but managed to escape with a few others when military forces intensified their attack on the compound.
Mary's pastor was one of three Christian ministers targeted and killed by Boko Haram during that week's violence. "Local Christians have also expressed disappointment that some western media have disregarded the targeted nature of attacks on their community, and the brutal murders of Christian pastors. "Unless this aspect of the violence is recognised by all and dealt with effectively, people in Northern Nigeria will continue to suffer because of their religious beliefs.”
One of the victims of that week’s attack by the Yusufiya sect in Borno State has given a shocking account of how the Islamic extremists killed three pastors who were captured along with other victims on the second day of the insurgence 28 July 2009. The victim was among those held hostage in Yusuf’s enclave.
Speaking exclusively to Daily Sun in Maiduguri, the eye witness who preferred anonymity disclosed that the three pastors were beheaded on the instruction of the sect leader, Mohammed Yusuf shortly after bringing them out of his inner chamber.
“The pastors alongside one Ibo man were asked to change their faith to Islam like they did to other people taken as hostages. And there was an argument by one of the pastors which gave the others some level of confidence to also resist accepting Islam”.
“The Yusufiya men who were armed on that Tuesday afternoon were not comfortable with the pastors and they took one of them to the sect leader in his inner chamber. They came out later to the courtyard within the compound and cut their heads one after the other and thereafter, shouted allah akbar in wild celebration accompanied with several gun shots,” the eye witness disclosed.
Corroborating the account of the killing, a senior pastor with Good News Church, Wulari Maiduguri Rev. Baba Gata Ibrahim told Daily Sun in an interview that a pastor in his church, Pastor George Orjih was beheaded on the instruction of the Boko Haram leader because the clergy man refused to accept Islam.
The late Pastor George Orjih was said to have arrived Maiduguri last week from Jos where he was doing his Masters programme in Theology. Described as a fearless, hardworking, and intellectually sound, his care for the welfare and well being of his family allegedly contributed to his capture and eventual death. “He was mindful of his family and their welfare. He was really out of the house but thought to go back again. That was how he was captured by the Boko Haram before he was killed,’’ the senior pastor added.
“An eye witness who was also captured by the Islamic militants gave us details of how the pastor was killed. He told us they were persuading him to accept Islam and he said over his dead body. He was even said to have preached Christ to Mohammed Yusuf and that reportedly angered the sect leader who then as he ordered that the pastor and others be killed immediately,” he disclosed.
He said the hostages numbering about 50 within the area of the execution of the pastors and another fair complexioned man which he could not identify, were gripped with fear as non could foretell the outcome of their stay at the enclave of the fundamentalists. He was however lucky to escape as he was freed in the night with others with a warning not to mix with kafrici (infidels).
Late Rev. Sabo Yakubu, slain COCIN Church pastor, was assassinated in Bauchi by Boko Haram militants March 2011. The late pastor had once complained about the activities of Boko Haram, saying that unless the Nigerian government faced up to the challenge of its attacks, the extremist group would consume the lives of innocent persons, according to Gongchi. But Reverend Titus Dama Pona of the Evangelical Church Winning All in Maiduguri said local Christians remain concerned about their future. He told reporters that Christians can no longer worship freely for "fear of becoming targets of these unprovoked attacks" by Muslim militants.
A statement was issued by pastor Ladi Thompson, the founder of the Living Water Church, Anthony Lagos that the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in Ogun State is an obvious target of the Islamic fundamentalist group, Boko Haram. This is not just a possibility but one of the deadly plans of the fundamentalist group, according to a Christian cleric, Pastor Ladi Thompson.
He particularly advised the leadership of the RCCG to beef up security as the fundamentalists are angry that in the build-up to the last election, President Goodluck Jonathan who visited the camp knelt down for prayer before the General Overseer of the church, Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye.
Pastor Ladi advised authorities of the church not to allow worshipers come into its worship hall with more than their Bibles. He also cautioned the church against allowing people to enter the camp with paper bags or other suspicious containers.
When the group launched its attacks in July 2009, Pastor Ladi had alerted the government that what happened then was just a tip of the iceberg and revealed that the Islamic fundamentalists had been at plan since early 1990s, fully backed by some northern former military leaders, Emirs, intellectuals and Imams.

(Source: Chidi Ahmed, Blueprint Correspondent.)

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Book Release: “Insuring Wealth” By Taiwo Sanyaolu and Kehinde Sanyaolu

“Insuring Wealth” By  Taiwo Sanyaolu and Kehinde Sanyaolu is a compendious yet broadly educating intelligible piece that expounds on an age old concept of guarding financial resources from the ever present risk of loss to accidents and unpredictable cataclysms.

In the book, the authors explore how the financial burden of replacing property lost to accidents can easily be shifted to a third party by adopting this simple financial concept in advance. They carefully ensure that without fail readers appreciate how insurance, often disregarded and mostly ignorantly shrugged, can help an individual achieve a reposeful financial life.

The book is the first in the Stakes Personal Finance series and takes the model of an 'insurance for dummies', presented in an extremely lucid manner for easy comprehension.

Aside getting to understand the origin of modern insurance business, readers will also learn – What Insurance is; How Insurance Works (Re-insurance and How Premium Is Calculated); Insurable Risks/What you can and can’t insure; Types of Insurance; Why you need Insurance and Insuring in Nigeria (Car Insurance, Home/property insurance, Life Insurance, Health Insurance).

Furthermore, it explores: Differences between Insurance and Assurance and takes a look at the Insurance industry in Nigeria [The makeup and the role of Insurers, the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria, Re-insurers, the Nigerian Insurers Association, Insurance Brokers, the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers, Insurance Agents, Association of Registered Insurance Agents, Loss Adjusters and Institute of Loss Adjusters of Nigeria].

Also highlighted are the Six Compulsory Insurance Policies in Nigeria; the process of claim requisition and finally a list of registered insurance companies in Nigeria.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Article: Jonathan, Berlusconi And The Politics Of Sweet Talk

President Jonathan
(Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river. ~Nikita Khrushchev)
By Rufus Kayode Oteniya
Reading an article recently in The Economist entitled ‘Berlusconi: The man who screwed an entire country’, I couldn’t but draw a striking similarity between President Goodluck Jonathan and Italian Prime Minister, Mr. Silvio Berlusconi.
The two leaders are very popular in their respective countries and have enjoyed immense goodwill among their countrymen now or in the immediate past. Their popularity is not borne out of their achievements but for what they say. They are both gifted at knowing what their people like to hear and exactly, that is what they tell them.
In Berlusconi early days in government, he would always remind the people how he had been able to build a business empire from nothing; a feat that has made him one of the richest men in the world and at various times, Italy’s richest though now, the 3rd richest according to Forbe’s latest ranking. He would always also remind them how planned to use his Midas touch to transform Italy; a transformation that never was. And since the global crises began, Berlusconi would often remind his countrymen how they are better off than the other Europeans because they are the least hit by the global crisis.
Berlusconi has governed Italy longer than anyone since the end of the Second World War. He has held the position of the prime minister on three separate occasions: from 1994 to 1995, from 2001 to 2006 and currently since 2008 and in all these years, Italy has witnessed a consistently declining economy. Despite his failed reforms, he has remained very popular until lately simply because he had mastered the art of knowing the sweet things to tell the people and always keeping them hoping for a brighter future while doing very little to bring it to reality.
Thanks to his numerous escapades with young girls - some of them minors and some financial recklessness involving him and his numerous businesses, Italians have woken up to know that at best, Berlusconi does not mean good for their country and they are now saying NO to him and his party, though a little too late. He had already screwed an entire country! The economy has been battered! It’s now dawn on the people that Berlusconi is in politics to protect himself from going to jail for his numerous financial scandals and also protect his business empire. Now, it is clear that the saying is true that a good politician under democracy is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar.
In the last local election, Berlusconi and his party were rejected by the people and they even lost in Milan. According to Dr. Anthony A Kila in his article entitled The Italian Festa,  “Silvio Berlusconi was biologically, commercially and politically born in Milan, the city considered by all to be his stronghold…” He lost it! And he woefully lost the battle in his power base. Italians completely rejected him again in a recent referendum!
President Goodluck Jonathan has just won the election (fair or unfair). Most of his strong supporters would likely tell you tales like he’s humble, his one of us, he’s sincere, he’s got good plans for Nigeria, he relates directly to us on Facebook, he’s a lucky man, he’s a South South man and they hardly speak of his track records despites his being in politics for over 12 years.
On his part also, he has told us many times his story of not having shoes while growing up; he often reminds the people how he never thought he would get to where he is today; he routinely reminds his followers on Facebook his policy of saying little and doing much while always ending that he would always fight for our interests and never disappoint us. No week goes by without telling us his plan to fight corruption. Before the elections, he would often tell us how he planned to deliver free and fair election. All these sweet talks have endeared the president to the hearts of not a few Nigerians.
Even though his slogan is saying little and doing much, President Jonathan never said little, he was always saying much and more often than not, what Nigerians love to hear.
His electioneering campaigns were full of promises as detailed by the veteran journalist, Sonala Olumhense in his article ‘Non-governing Governance: A Mountain Of Promises.’ The campaign promises were so many such that if the president can fulfil only 20% of them, posterity will judge him as one of the best presidents of our time.
In reality, President Jonathan has done little while saying much. He has spoken and broken too many promises. For the sake of space, I would like to look at only two of his unfulfilled promises in the power sector here:
As the Vice President to the late President Umaru Yar’Adua who was as at that time AWOL, and while directly supervising the energy sector then, Dr. Jonathan, while Speaking on 23 November 2009 in Kaduna at the inauguration of a production line for Peugeot 306 Sedan reiterated that Federal Government was putting necessary machinery in place to meet all its targets in the power sector, beginning with the generation and distribution of 6,000MW scheduled for December 2009 and that Nigerians would no longer need to use generators for their industrial and private power from January 2010.
About a year later, then as the substantial president following the death of Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua, his predecessor, Dr. Jonathan on 17 November 2010 while speaking in Abuja at a meeting with former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and the chief executive officer of JP Morgan Bank of the USA, Jamie Dimon announced to the nation that if his administration’s plans for the power sector are fully implemented, Nigeria should be generating enough power for use in homes, offices, and commercial enterprises by April 2011.
Nineteen months since he made the first promise and seven months after the second one and two months after the last set time for stable electricity, nothing is stable about our electricity other than stable black-outs.
While the former promise was an unconditional, the president applied a caution in the latter. He gave a condition that if his administration’s plans for the power sector were fully implemented.
I am quite sure that Nigerians would like to know if his administration’s plans for the power sector were fully implemented. If yes, why do we not have steady electricity supply as he had promised? And if no, why did he not implement his plans?
Since there was no change in the administration and the president was also directly in charge of the Ministry of Power, then, he must be totally responsible for this failure. On assuming office, first as the acting president and later as the president, Jonathan took over the Ministry of Power so that he could directly supervise his policy regarding power and as a result he had no excuse for policy implementation.
Jonathan has a history of saying something and acting another thinking Nigerians will always be gullible and support him regardless of his inadequacies or just banking on his name, Goodluck.
Before you start asking me to give him time to settle down for his new term, kindly know that these promises were not premised on his new term. He knew elections would be held in April, 2011 before making his promise; he knew a new term would begin on 29 May 2011.
I know you’d say Jonathan didn’t start Nigeria’s power problems. Yes! He didn’t. He campaigned and promised to solve the problems, he made ‘unforced’ promises to solve them and we elected him to solve the problems.
Let the president capitalize on the goodwill that he is enjoying while it lasts. Let him walk his talk on electricity so that his name will be engraved in gold when the true history of Nigeria is written.
We are not asking for too much. Just gives us light and we’ll take it up from there. Nigerians are creative, hardworking and ingenious people but without light, little can be achieved. If he fails to do this, he might be causing some who had had shoes while growing up to lose them as adults and by that time Nigerians will have no choice but to treat him the way Italians treat Mr. Silvio Berlusconi.
God Bless Nigeria!
(Oteniya can be contacted at:
+2348166870008 (SMS Only)

Monday, 27 June 2011

News Report: Rivers State Government Hurriedly Pulls Military Off Traffic Rules Enforcement

The Rivers State government have hurriedly pulled off from traffic rules enforcement, the military dominated Joint Task Force on Security(JTF), comprising the military, the police and the state security service(SSS), set up by the late Umaru Yar'Adua administration to combat militancy in the oil rich Niger Delta region which includes Rivers state. The initial mandate of  JTF have been expanded.

chidi opara reports last week reported that the Rivers state traffic agency known as TIMARIV have made good its earlier threat to use the military in traffic rules enforcement in the state, especially in the capital city, Port Harcourt, which is known for its traffic gridlocks. The report went further to detail the operations in some strategic locations in the state capital. It is however, not clear if the hurried pull off was as a result of our report. A Rivers state government house insider however revealed to us that "your report was very disturbing". A contact in the headquarters of the Army brigade in Port Harcourt, known as Bori Camp equally revealed that "your report caused a stir".

Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi told local news reporters yesterday that the operation is yet to start. He confirmed the proposed involvement of JTF.

Our network member who visited Rumuokoro, Rumuola, Waterlines and Eleme junctions and the Lagos bus stop earlier today reported the absence of military personnels seen last week assisting TIMARIV in their operations.

chidi opara reports have however learnt that the nitty-gritty of the operation is being worked out at the moment between the military authorities in Rivers state and the Rivers state government. "The JTF unit to be seconded to TIMARIV may be dominated by the police", a highly placed TIMARIV contact informed one of our network members at the weekend.

The mandate of JTF is constantly being expanded at the request of state governors, to include almost every aspect of law enforcement.

News Report: Complete List Of Nigeria's Ministerial Nominees

1.Ambassador Bash Yuguda
2.Alhaji Yusuf Suleiman
3. Ruqaayat Rufai
4. Hajia Abiba Isah Dutshe
5. Alhaji Yusuff Abubakar
6. Dr. Shamsudeen Usman
7. Arc. Mohammed Musa Saada
8. Bello Haliru Mohammed
9. Mrs. Diezana -Allison-Madueke
10. Arc. Tonye Cole
11. Mrs. Martina Odom
12.Elder Godsday Orubebe
13. Arc. Mike Onolememen
14. Prof. Ita Okon Bassey-Ewa
15. Biola  Viola Onwuliri
16. Barth Nnaji
17. Mrs. Stella Odua-Ogiemwonyi
18. Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu
19. Barrister Emeka Nwogu
20. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

21. Mohammed B. Adoke
22. Alhaji Bolaji Abdullahi
23. Labaran Maku-Nassarawa
24. Hajia Zainab Ibrahim Kuchi
25. Dr. Samuel Loraer Ortom
26. Dr. Jonah Madugu
27. Comrade Abba Moro
28. Olusegun Aganga
29. Ms. Olajumoke Akinjide
30. Akinwunmi Ayo Adesina
31. Erelu Olushola Obada
32. Mrs. Omobola Johnson Olubushola
33. Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru
34. Navy Capt. Caleb Olubaolade
35. Bukar Tijjani- Borno
36. Obadiah Ando
37. Senator Idris Umar
38. Dr. Yerima Lawan Ngama
39. Hajia Zainab  Maina
40.Senator Bala Mohammed
41. Dr. Mohammed Pateh

Saturday, 25 June 2011

U-Report: Speaker Of Imo State House Of Assembly Receives Award For Excellence And Philantropy

Speaker Uwajimogu

Reported By Ikenna Samuelson Iwuoha

The speaker of Imo State House of Assembly Rt. Hon. Benjamin Uwajumogu has received an award for excellence and philanthropy. The award was given to him by the National Commission for Museums and Monument in association with Alliance Francaise, Boom Votex and Next 2 None (NGO) to mark the International Children's Day in a 4-day Children's Art Festival Organized at the Rosy Art Theatre Owerri – Imo State on the 23rd of June 2011.

Speaking at the occasion after receiving the award, Rt. Hon. Uwajumogu thanked the Organizers of the event particularly the guest speaker Mrs. Chioba Francisca Uboh and Mr. Obii Ekeocha, the initiator of the ceremony for their ingenuity in facilitating the ceremony. Speaker Uwajumogu advised them to continue to work together for the growth of our children, our cultural heritage in the state and Nigeria at large. He maintained that our children has a right to be  loved, a right to be protected, a right to sound and qualitative education, a right to be heard and a right to live. The ebullient and vibrant legislator therefore urged and enjoined all and sundry to carry out this crusade of taking care of our children to various homes, communities and local governments. He insisted that these crusades are geared towards the well-being of our children who majority of them are still in child labour, abject poverty, sexual abuse, slavery and other unimaginable conditions in many parts of the world.

Article: Tough Talking Hafiz Abubakar Ringim

Hafiz Ringim
By Kenneth Uwadi
It was Thursday, and I was drinking table water that I bought from a nearby store and from my window I stare  at  Bunmi  that walks  toward  my door.  She is dark, of Yoruba lineage and with large brown eyes .Her legs kept moving, as if she was doing a slow rhythmic dance. She was wearing long shiny earrings with bracelets on each arm. Her cloth hugs her body; the lightest of cotton is that cloth. Everyone in the neighbourhood admires her and she knows it. I was still watching her when the news of the suicide bomb blast at the Nigerian police headquarters was aired on radio.
The news of the suicide bombing in Nigeria hit me like a bucket of cold water. I stayed glued to my radio set  so as to get the true story of this gory incident  but my neighbours' dog, Jimmy, will not stop barking, the same high, rhythmic bark. Sometimes when this dog starts barking at  God knows what, I  use to   chase it out of my  room ,  close all the windows in the house and  put on a home theatre at  full blast. Dogs will be dogs, and will always bark. Jimmy; my neighbour's   dog has bad manners and a cold nose. Always  following me around the house like a porcupine and always climbing all over my clothes, filling me full of mange and rubbing up against my knee like a dog hungry for  bone .Damn this dog, I've got to hear this news.
A bomb blew up inside the Nigerian police headquarters killing a suspected suicide bomber and others, witnesses and officials said. The blast tore into a police car park at the compound in our capital Abuja, throwing people to the ground and destroying several vehicles. Holy Mary, Mother of God! This is the first suicide bombing in Nigeria as we face a growing threat from Islamic militants. Boko Haram Islamic  sect, we gathered has  claimed responsibility for this bombing that left eight people dead and 77 vehicles destroyed. A statement from a senior member of the group, Abu Zaid, said the attack at the police headquarters was to prove a point to all who doubt the capabilities of the sect. It said it was angered by a police declaration that the days of Boko Haram are numbered.
The Police have claimed to have randomly detained at least 58  Boko Haram  sect members .The 58 Boko Haram members we  are  told  were moved to Abuja aboard a military aircraft .This  Boko Haram set members are full of hate. They are now the monster that grew out of despair. Bombs are going off everywhere in Nigeria, even in places which are supposed to be the safest due to their supposedly tight security. With the adoption of suicide bombing by this sect, Nigeria is now unsafe. If suicide bombers can detonate bombs at the National Police Headquarters,then nowhere is safe again.
IG of Police Alhaji Hafiz Abubakar Ringim had in Borno State announced that the days of Boko Haram were numbered and that the police will soon flush out the group. Tough talking Ringim. He can go ahead to jump up or boxed in and talk the entire tough about how he can flush out the Boko Haram group. He can bang his  fists on the wall, beat his chest, kick  and shout till he is hoarse but we want to see action. He should make things happen. The Police talked tough when Alfred Rewane was shot and killed in Lagos on October 6, 1995. Till date nobody was convicted for his murder.The police talked tough over  the bloody assassination of the then  Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Bola Ige. He was a member of the Alliance for Democracy (AD), one of the political parties that presented a candidate for the 1999 polls. Bola Ige was killed in his home in Ibadan, in the South-western state of Oyo, on the 23rd December 2001.His case provoked a severe outcry in Nigeria. He apparently had come to spend the Christmas with his wife when a group of gunmen came into his house and shot him. Bola Ige had publicly stated that he was going to resign his ministerial appointment in order to actively take part in party politics. Till date the police could not solve the Ige murder case. What about the murder of  Chief  Sunday  Awoniyi on January 7,2002. He was found soaked in his blood, reportedly stabbed to death. No one has been convicted for the murder of Awoniyi
Dating back to history, there is hardly any high profile crime case that has been successfully unravelled or solved. Yet IG of Police Alhaji Hafiz Abubakar Ringim is talking tough.The police talked tough when Barnabas Igwe,chairman of the Anambra state branch of the Nigerian Bar Association, and his wife Abigail Amaka were ambushed in their car and brutally murdered in Onitsha, on September 1,2002. The police also talked tough  when Ogbonnaya Uche, was shot in his home in Owerri on February 8, 2003, and died two days later.The police talked tough when  Aminasoari K. Dikibo, Chairman of Peoples' Democratic Party, South South Zone was killed on 6 February 2004, equally under circumstances termed to be inexplicable. The murder of Dikibo was so mysterious that it has come under public scrutiny. Dikibo was accosted while on his way to attend a meeting of the Board of Trustees of the party.Orji Uzor Kalu once said that Dikibo told him (Orji) that some High Politicians in Abuja were after him. The police till date did not solve the mentioned crime cases, yet Hafiz Abubakar Ringim   is talking tough about Boko Haram.
The cops In Nigeria to me are almost as menacing as Boko Haram for they have never come out with solutions to crime cases of national attention. What can our Police  forces do well? To me it is time we find someone that can re-structure the police,overhaul the system, improve the  intelligence gathering efforts and capabilities. For now, Nigerian Police is obsolete in attitude, training and functions. The activities of the Boko Haram sect are now becoming embarrassing. Authorities that are responsible for security should please stand up, take up their responsibilities and save us from this sect
(Uwadi writes from Mmahu-Egbema, Imo State,Nigeria)

Report: State Of The World’s Mothers 2011

"In commemoration of Mother’s Day, Save the Children is publishing its twelfth annual State of the World’s Mothers report. We have assembled our Champions for Children – leading voices from academia, politics, religion, business and the arts – to celebrate the great progress the world has made in recent decades to reduce deaths among children under age 5. These distinguished essayists explore the many reasons why the United States, as a nation, must continue to invest in lifesaving maternal and child health programs. U.S. investment in basic health care for the world’s mothers and children will impact everything from the future of national security, to economic growth for American businesses in developing countries, and even the environment. Millions of children are alive today because of past investments in lifesaving programs. But our work is not done. Each day, 22,000 children still perish, mostly from preventable or treatable causes. While many countries are making progress, many still need our help. This report identifies countries that are lagging behind in the race to save lives. It also shows that effective solutions to this challenge are affordable – even in the world’s poorest countries."

Click Here To Read Report

News Report: Nigeria's President Consults Ex-Convict Former Party Chieftain Over Ministerial Nomination

George And Wife During Trial

Chief Olabode George, former Deputy national Chairman of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), who has just served a jail term for corrupt enrichment of self while serving as non executive Chairman of Nigerian Ports Authority(NPA), has been in consultations with Nigeria's President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, over who will fill the ministerial slot for Lagos state where George comes from. Lagos state has been in the hands of the rival Action Congress Party of Nigeria(ACN) since 2007. The President is mandated to appoint at least one Minister from each of the thirthy-six states of the country.

chidi opara reports network members in Abuja, Nigeria's capital city reported three meetings last week between the former PDP chieftain and the President. "It is all about nomination of Ministers", a highly placed Presidency contact informed us.

A high level Presidency insider also informed us that the former PDP chieftain presented three names out of which the President is expected to choose one. We are still waiting for the names as promised by the insider at the time of preparing this report.

Security contacts had revealed to chidi opara reports earlier this year that having served in strategic locations as a naval officer, Olabode Goerge, who was also a military governor of Ondo state, is privy to a lot of sensitive information about petroleum and arms rackets in high places. It is feared in security circles that George, if pushed too far may reveal whatever he knows.

Our investigation revealed that Olabode George has a hold on PDP national leadership and the President. The former PDP chieftain, according to our findings has details of how he donated part of the proceeds of the corruption for which he was sent to prison to the PDP national purse and to the Umaru Yar'Adua/Goodluck Jonathan presidential campaign organization in 2007. The PDP national leadership and the Presidency, we learned on good authority have resolved to rehabilitated George. A presidential pardon, chidi opara reports also learned, is also in the offing.

Friday, 24 June 2011

News Report: Rivers State Traffic Agency Now Using Military For Operations

Amaechi: Rivers State Governor
The Rivers state traffic agency, known as TIMARIV have made good its threat to use the military in the enforcement of traffic laws in the state.

TIMARIV helmsman, Mr. Nelson Jaja told the media last week that the agency was considering using the military for its operations.

The pronouncement had provoked extensive criticisms from lawyers, civil rights activists and opinion leaders, who labelled the move unconstitutional.

TIMARIV, however, commenced the joint operation last Monday. The operation was merged with the existing MOT/TIMARIV Joint Enforcement scheme. MOT stands for Ministry of Transport. The transport ministry supervises TIMARIV.

chidi opara reports, yesterday evening noticed the presence of heavily armed operatives of the Joint Task force on security, dominated by the military, famously known as JTF, assisting TIMARIV in the enforcement of traffic rules at strategic junctions in Port Harcourt, like Rumuola, Rumuokoro, Waterlines And Lagos bus stop. The operation was also witnessed this morning at the locations mentioned by some chidi opara reports network members.

TIMARIV is the brainchild of the Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi administration. It was planned to be the solution to the embarrassing traffic situation in the state capital. The traffic problem however, increased inspite of the establishment of TIMARIV. From noon on Sundays to Saturdays, major roads in Port Harcourt have been known to experience serious traffic gridlocks

Unproven allegations of corruption against TIMARIV operatives have been making the rounds for sometime now.

chidi opara reports have a yet to be confirmed information that some members of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) Youth wing have been integrated into TIMARIV as "TIMARIV Volunteers".

Efforts to reach the TIMARIV management for comment was not successful at the time of preparing this report.

Essay: Poeticizing Kidnapping

Chidi Anthony Opara With Wole Soyinka And Kofi Awoonor
(On Chidi Anthony Opara's "Degenerates Pound Our Polity Polluted")
 By Toyin Adepoju

Beautiful. Sad. Moving. Poignant. I find the last two lines particularly striking:

"Pardoned kidnappers
Cruise in our capital city,
 Cuddling ransoms,
We supplicate in shackles."

The image of kidnappers "cuddling" ransoms rings out in its suggestion of tenderness. Yet,   in a manner that suggests the ludicrous, it contrasts with their characterization as kidnappers.
The kidnapper is characterized through   the action of “cuddling" the proceeds of their kidnapping. This correlation of the physically, psychologically and socially violent criminal action of kidnapping with the tenderness evoked by "cuddling",   evokes a conception of poetry as transgression, as semantic and linguistic transgression.

In the name of Jesus Christ, how can kidnapper "cuddle" ransom money? Why is the kidnapper being pictured in terms of a sensitive behavior normally related to tender moments like cuddling a child, a small, sensitive being to whom one feels affection?

The poet transgresses because he/she dislocates our conventional expectations. He/she breaks up what we understand as normal and carries us into an un-normal place, where we are forced to see with the transgressive eyes of the poet. 

In a sense, the poet kidnaps us from our conventional world of relationship between language and ideas and takes us forcefully into another world, where things are distorted or reshaped from the world we knew. We cannot really return to the world we used to inhabit because that world is not complete for us anymore or does not even exist anymore.We become homeless and have to make a new home in the new world the poet has abducted us into. The poet kidnaps us, collects ransom from us and in the process, destroys our old world.

The poet extracts from us a ransom of perception. The ransom is in our being forced to see with the eyes of the poet.  Yet we are not free. The poet is a kidnapper who collects ransom and yet does not free the kidnapped person. Interestingly, the kidnapped person can never  be free again no matter what  the poet or the kidnapped person may do.

If someone shows you a secret about yourself that you did not know before, can you return to your former innocence? Can you successfully wish you did not have that new knowledge? You cannot. That is similar to the kidnapping and ransom, the transgression and eventual participation in transgression, which the poet inflicts on his or her audience. We become, not only simply recipients of the act of kidnapping, but participants in the transgressive experience the kidnapping involves. 

The potency of the appeal of poetry may be described as consisting in the mental shock the audience experiences from being inflicted with that transgression. We are jolted from the customary frames of reference through which we categorise and therefore respond to the universe.

It is these juxtapositions, evoked by the poet, and as stated by William Empson, apprehended and mentally resolved by the audience, even as the incongruity continues to delight the mind, that is the poetic core. 

Of course, the kidnapper will "cuddle" the precious fruits of his dastardly work. It is what he has wrought such pain on others and taken such risks to achieve. Why should he not cuddle it? With it, he will be able to enjoy what other people work to achieve through jobs done in the honesty of moral daylight. 

But, really, who are these kidnappers? Are they simply those who abduct people and demand ransom? Are there other kinds of kidnappers, more insidious and perhaps contributing to or acting as catalysts to the emergence of the brazen kidnapper, the cruder version of the other kind of kidnapper who kidnaps your freedom, your right to justice, your right to fundamentals of civilized existence, all orchestrated in terms of the structure of a social system, so that everyone within that system is kidnapped?

Is this not the image that Chidi Anthony Opara, is evoking for us in this poem, a situation where kidnappers are part of and their activities constitute much of the social system of whatever country he is alluding to? 

Is that not what is suggested by the concluding line "We supplicate in shackles”?

My God! Fusing sacred action, supplication, appeal to a higher power, with an image of bondage, being "in shackles.” How may one convey a more potent image of wretchedness? 

The idea of "supplicating in shackles", in my view, takes this poem beyond the level of social and political criticism into a metaphysical realm, in terms of questions in the philosophy of religion.Karl Marx famously described religion as the opium of the masses. Adapting Opara's lines, one may also describe religion as also capable of being the shackles of the masses, shackles they place on themselves or which others place on them, in the name of supplicating powers which represent a focus on illusion, an abdication of human responsibility to divine figures who will never do what the human being can do for themselves, and whenever these goals are achieved through human effort or chance, the intervention of these gods of questionable existence and ability is credited.

As Jorge Luis Borges puts it in Labyrinths  "I brought out a revolver and I killed the gods!".
In relation to the context of countries where the poverty rate is highest, it has been argued that such countries are particularly religious. So Opara's evocation of supplication and shackling may take our minds to the various higher powers, spiritual and secular, that people are shackled to, supplicating to them, not for freedom but to further  enable that bondage by letting the victims  share in the crumbs falling from the higher powers or appealing  to join those powers.

A system that  encourages  the seeking of  government contracts in contrast to  demanding infrastructural  development so that everyone should have good roads to use instead of  a few riding  Mercedes Benzes on bad roads; scrambling  for bags of rice given away by the First Lady instead of organizing a  drive for food justice for the nation, for policies that will ensure that as many people as possible have easy access to good food; scrambling for political appointments instead of demanding the development of a thriving economy, among other approaches to supplicating in shackles, as Opara puts it.

I am not implying that seeking government contracts or government appointments is necessarily negative. I am suggesting that a system that is heavily tilted towards the government as the central source of economic empowerment is not healthy and could place people in bondage. 

I am also not suggesting that any country should be defined primarily in terms of its negative points. One needs to do a comprehensive analysis and also take note of positive developments. One has to observe those parts of the country where roads are being built, educational services improved, observe and assess developments in the cultivation of a democratic system, among other valuable initiatives.

The poet puts our nose to the grindstone to justify the opportunity to take part in the great enterprise of building human communities. The poet is watching closely. The poet is poised to skewer with words tipped with with beautiful poison any slacking from standards of humane existence.

(Adepoju is a Doctoral student based in United Kingdom)