Friday, 29 June 2012

News Report: Nigeria Shell Oil Pipeline Bomber Caught

JTF Patrol

The Joint Task force On Security (JTF) have paraded Seiyifa Gbereke( also knowns as General Cairo) to the news media,

“General Cairo” who allegedly led a gang of 8 who destroyed Oil pipelines in the Niger Delta region was said to have confessed to the crime.

chidi opara reports could not confirm the confession as at the time of preparing this report.

The media briefing was addressed by the JTF spokesperson, Lt. Col. Onyema Nwachukwu.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Photonews: "End Impunity In Nigeria" Rally

"End Impunity In Nigeria" Activists

News Release: End Of Impunity Campaign Starts Today, 28th June, 2012

Nigerians woke up on New Year Day, January 1, 2012 to the sudden removal of subsidy enjoyed on Petroleum Products by the Federal Government, pushing the pump price from N65 per litre to N140-N200 per litre. There were spontaneous public reactions and demonstrations all over the country in opposition to the policy on fuel subsidy removal. The public outcry and massive protests led by the organized labour, both at the federal and state levels in collaboration with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and other stakeholders and opinion leaders in the country, were occasioned by the hardship caused on Nigerians particularly the vulnerable groups and over 60 per cent of the population living under grinding poverty thresholds of less than $1 per day. The failure of government to revert the policy made the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to jointly embark on a total nationwide strike action starting from the 9th day of January 2012 in order to presurise government to reverse the policy.

Nigerians both at home and in Diaspora rejected government's excuse of inability to tackle pervasive  corruption in the subsidy regime as its main reason for introducing the harsh policy suggesting instead that Government should exercise its constitutional authority by dealing with corruption anywhere it exists, including the oil and gas industry.

The protests and strikes grew in intensity with every new day, leaving the nation on a drifting path. As a way to try to reduce the tension the House of Representatives had to cut short its recess and reconvened to intervene in the national crisis with an aim of preventing its degeneration into anarchy. The House of Representatives at its emergency meeting on 8th January, set up a sub-committee of the House saddled with the task of mediating in the crisis on the basis of its resolution which had required the federal government to go back to the status quo before 1st January, while labour was to call off its intended strike, with civil society calling off the protests that had already begun. Furthermore after a week of general strike and mass protests, and the call off of same on the 16th of January, the House of Representatives in order to get to the root of the crisis established a Ad-Hoc committee to determine the actual subsidy requirement and investigate the implementation of the subsidy regime between 2009 and 2011.

The committee discovered that the fuel subsidy regime was fraught with endemic corruption and entrenched inefficiency. Much of the amount claimed to have been paid as subsidy was actually not for consumed Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) or petrol. According to the report, the committee established subsidy payment of N2,587.087 trillion as at 31st December, 2011, amounting to more than 900 percent over the appropriated sum of N245 Billion. The committee also unearthed several mind boggling revelations and proffered series of recommendations. As an instance, it recommended the refund to the national treasury the sum of N1.7 trillion by various agencies, marketers and institutions that were indicted by the report.

Review Of The NASS Fuel Subsidy Probe Report:  
 A one-day roundtable on   the Enforcement of the House of Representative Ad-Hoc Committee Report on petroleum subsidy, was organised by the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) in Abuja on Wednesday May 23, 2012. It was designed to provide a platform for CSOs to engage relevant agencies and other stakeholders in Nigeria to ensure that the recommendations contained in the House of Representatives  Fuel subsidy probe report as finally adopted by the whole House, are diligently and urgently implemented in the overall interest of Nigerians.

Participants at the roundtable which were drawn from Civil Society Organisations [CSOs],  Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Trade Union Congress, TUC, academia, the Media and the International Development Agencies among others, expressed absolute disappointment about the high level of corruption, inefficiency and serious breach of constitutional provisions and the procurement law and processes as exhibited by some highly placed institutions and individuals that were involved in the petroleum subsidy contracts in Nigeria and consequently resolved that June 28, 2012 be set aside as a National Day of Action to press all relevant agencies of Government to take decisive action on the enforcement of the HoR’s  recommendations. A 10-member Action Committee was mandated to prepare for and prosecute a National Day of Action and come up with operational guidelines and work plan for a campaign.

The Group met in ANEEJ Advocacy office in Abuja and came up with the theme and name; "End Impunity Now" for the Campaign.

Emerging Issues:
In the past few days, Nigerians have been following allegations of one of the major players in the petroleum sector, Mr. Femi Otedola against the suspended Chairman of the National Assembly Ad-hoc Committee on Petroleum subsidy probe, Mallam Lawan Farouk. Nigerians are also resolved that all allegations of corruption should be investigated and offenders punished according to law. Nigerians are equally united that the bribery allegation must not be used as distraction with respect to the enforcement of the recommendations of the  Fuel subsidy probe report.For the avoidance of doubt, two issues are involved here: the massive scale and scope of unacceptable and unsustainable fraud in the management of the subsidy regime; as well as the alledged bribery involving key persons in the Ad-Hoc committee that investigated the fraud. Both should be treated with equal amount of seriousness, urgency and firmness. Nothing should be done to give the impression that anyone is above the law [whether alledged oil subsidy thieves or bribe takers]; nor should anything be done to indicate that findings of this report will be discarded or treated with levity, while the impunity in the conduct of government business will continue unabated.

What We Expect On June 28, 2012:
The End Impunity Now Campaign is organizing a mass rally in collaboration with other Civil Society Organisations, Labour, and media in Abuja on June 28, 2012 beginning at 9:00 am with the following objectives:
o   Encourage the Federal Government to walk the talk on corruption in the oil sector
  • Visits to the leadership of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and other key Government Agencies to see how they are following up with the probe and encourage them  and other Agencies to investigate all cases of fraud in the oil sector and to prosecute those identified in fraudulent practices.
o   Gathering and Finalizing petitions to the Presidency, the EFCC, ICPC, Bureau of Public Procurement, Civil Service Commission, National Assembly, and other agencies.

We expect all Civil Society Organisations, Labour Movements, Market Women, Progressive Politicians, Peasants, Artisans, Media Organisations (Print and Electronic), Civil Servants, Musicians, Farmers, Business men and Women,  to carry out both indoor and outdoor activities to pressure the Executive Arm of  Government to enforce the recommendations of the report even as investigations into all allegations concerning the fuel subsidy probe and the National Assembly Ad-hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy continue. You can also use social media to carry out your activities.

Let's Together End the Culture of Impunity In Nigeria Now! Take Action, In Your Organization, Community, Local Government, State and geo-political zone!

For further information contact: End Impunity Now Campaign On:,, or call +234-52-840554, 08053080864, 08033105107                                          

Rev David Ugolor
Africa Network Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), Benin City
Muhammed Attah
Procurement Observation and Advocacy Initiative
Dr. Tola Winjobi
CAFSO-WRAG for Development, Ibadan
Adebiyi Olusolape
Ugheughe Uyoyoghene
Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Abuja
Comrade Nnana Nelson Nwafor
Foundation for Environmental Right, Advocacy and Development in Nigeria (FENRAD-NIG)
Fyneface Dumnamene Fyneface
Social Development Integrated Centre, Port Harcourt
Victor Eloke
Eze Onyekpere
Tessa Anota
Edem Edem
Green Code
Green Concern for Development
Andy Ogbuigwe
Accord for Community Development, Port Harcourt
Samuel Ishaya
Mary Igharo
Ngozi Izuora
Centre LSD
Michael Ani
Ezekiel Jamaka
Barr. A. O. Ewere
University of Benin
Dr. Dayo Ayoade
Faculty of Law, University of Lagos
Ikechukwu Okoli
Dr. Nicholas Baamlong
Nigeria Medical Association
Yinka Lawal
Peter Ritchie
Dikko Osman
Ebele Collins N.
Centre LSD
Anicetus Atakpu
Isa Aremu
Vice President, NLC
Mr. Jaye Gaskia
United Action for Democracy (UAD)
Otive Igbuzor
African Centre for Leadership, Strategy & Development (Centre LSD), Abuja
Lukman Adefolahan
Yaya Kolawole
Victoria Ose Udoh
Centre for Democracy Development
Comrade Nuhu Toro
Aliyu Musa
Leo Atakpu
Development Outreach

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

News Report: Signs Of Military Professionalism, Cooperation On Rise In Africa

Photo Credit:American Forces Press Service
Credit: American Forces Press Service

Dotting the African continent are promising examples of the capable, professional military forces U.S. Africa Command is working to promote.
As Tunisia spawned what became known as the Arab Spring in December 2010, its military opposed then-President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s order to use force against the pro-democracy protesters who ultimately brought down his regime.

The Ugandan army has become a professional force and plays a key role in advancing regional peace and security, conducting humanitarian operations at home while contributing thousands of troops to counterterrorism and peacekeeping efforts in neighboring Somalia.

Uganda is also among four African nations -- also including South Sudan, Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo -- that have come together to fight the Lord’s Resistance Army, one of Africa’s most violent and persistent rebel groups which has brutalized civilians in the region for a quarter-century.

Meanwhile, Uganda, Burundi and Djibouti are contributing forces under the banner of the African Union Mission in Somalia, or AMISOM, to help Somalia deal with the al-Shabab terrorist organization that threatens its transitional government.

And in Liberia -- a nation long wracked by civil war and instability -- the military once discredited as the puppet of former president and convicted war criminal Charles Taylor has become a respected organization under the direction of the democratically elected civilian leadership.

Officials at Africom, the United States’ newest combatant command focused on Africa, see these and other developments as a sign of positive trends they’re helping to shape on the continent.

Strengthening the defense capabilities of African countries and encouraging them to work together to confront common security threats and challenges has been a cornerstone of Africom’s work since its standup in 2008.

Africom has been instrumental in supporting other promising developments, Army Maj. Gen. Charles J. Hooper, Africom’s director of strategy, plans and programs, told American Forces Press Service. “We see increasing trends toward democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights,” he said. “And I think Africom has played a very positive role in supporting those trends.”

Hooper pointed to the role U.S. military advisors and mentors have played in rebuilding the Armed Forces of Liberia through a five-year, State-Department funded Africom program known as Operation Onward Liberty. For the past two years, Marine Forces Africa has led the joint Marine-Army-Air Force effort aimed at helping professionalize the Liberian military and ensuring it's able to defend the country’s borders and come to the aid of its neighbors if needed.

“This small training and education mission [is] focused on developing a cohesive Liberian armed force,” said Hooper. “I saw our Operation Onward Liberty mentors assisting them in everything from [establishing] a fair military justice system and teaching the military police to serve, to working in the clinics, all the way to assisting the young soldiers in the Liberian army who volunteered and started an elementary school on their base,” he said.

Particularly encouraging, he said, was the Liberian military’s new focus on internal development. Engineering units, for example, were using their equipment to build roads and rebuild infrastructure ravaged during years of civil war.

Hooper said he was impressed by the Liberian force that has emerged. “What I saw there was a Liberian military that had a renewed faith in itself, a renewed enthusiasm about being a force for good in its country and serving the people,” he said.

Michael Casciaro, Africom’s security cooperation programs division chief, reported similar promise in Uganda, where the command is providing training and equipment to build capability and capacity.

Casciaro said he received favorable feedback about the transformation taking place in the Ugandan military from the unlikeliest of sources: an opposition leader. “What he told us was, ‘I see the difference in Americans operating in my country… I see the impact of Americans working with the Ugandans because now they … go out and do humanitarian things for their own country, and are being used in a different way,’” Casciaro said.

In 2007, Uganda stepped up to support the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia, followed by Burundi; both remain today as the primary troop-contributing nations. “A major objective of ours has been to prepare Africans to go into Somalia to create stability,” Casciaro said. “And [the African militaries] have been instrumental in clearing a prominent terrorist group out of Mogadishu,” a first step toward expanding the effort north to regain control of the country.

Army Brig. Gen. Arnold Gordon-Bray, Africom’s deputy operations director, called the mission in Somalia “one of the best examples of Africans helping themselves that we are involved in.”

The African Union established its African Union Mission to Somalia with a clear vision that a failed Somalia would impact the entire continent, Bray said.

“This collective grouping is epitomizing what Africom is able to do, working with the State Department, working with other international partners, working by, with and through African partners to bring stability,” he said. “It is a great mission. It is symbolic of all the great things we are trying to do.”

A full range of peacekeeping training and instruction falls under the Africa Contingency Operations Training and Assistance, a program funded and managed by the U.S. State Department. It is designed to improve African militaries’ capabilities by providing selected training and equipment required to execute multinational peace support operations. U.S. military trainers play a supporting role, providing mentorship and specialized instruction in areas such as bomb detection or deployment logistics.

Army Gen. Carter F. Ham, the Africom commander, told Congress earlier this year he’s also encouraged by “an increasingly collaborative approach” among African nations standing together against al-Shabab. As they rallied to Somalia’s aid, the U.S. State Department responded to their requests for help in training and equipping those forces so they would be able to deploy to conduct their operations.

Ham called this effort a model of what U.S. Africa Command is all about: a command able to tap into the full range of U.S. government capabilities to help African nations better provide for their own security.

“And it is starting now to have significant benefit… We are seeing those African forces being more and more successful against al-Shabab each and every day,” he said. “This is one example of how building partner capacity really yields a decisive result in Africa,” he said.

Ham cited similar success in helping Africans in their fight against the Lord’s Resistance Army.

U.S. Special Forces advisors working with the four nations on the ground “are having a very positive effect,” he told the House Armed Services Committee in February. “We’re assisting in intelligence fusion, in facilitating long-range communications, logistics operations to sustain forces in the field for long periods of time and increased intelligence collection.”

“So I’m optimistic,” he told the House panel. “But I’m not yet to the point where we see the end in sight.”
The result, Ham said, is fulfillment of Africom’s goal of enabling Africans to solve African problems.

“If that is successful -- and I believe the trend line is pretty good right now -- that means that’s an area where the United States would not have to commit sizable forces to address a security situation,” Ham told the House panel. “And that’s really what we’re trying to do. That’s the essence of building partner capability in this collaborative approach with state and defense.”