Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Speech: UN Secretary-General Urges More Actions Against Mali

UN Secretary-General(Middle) Making The Speech. Photo Credit: UN News Centre
I welcome this opportunity to brief the Security Council on the deeply troubling situation in Mali.

Since the start of the crisis earlier this year, four months ago, we have seen the situation take one alarming turn after another, reaching seemingly new depths with every passing week.

We have seen a regional pillar of democracy fall steeply off the constitutional path, undermining years of progress.

We have seen an already horrendous food and nutrition emergency grow even worse, exposing many thousands more people to acute shortages of food, water and basic services.

And in areas where there was once stability and coexistence, we have seen rising extremism, criminal activity and violations of human rights.

These grave developments have brought enormous suffering to the people of Mali.  They also pose a widening threat to international peace and security.

With last month’s adoption of resolution 2056, this Council has expressed its concern.

Today, as we consider the latest developments, it is clear that more may be required of you.

In Bamako, limited progress has been made in restoring constitutional order. Mali’s socio-political forces remain divided over support for the transitional arrangements and, more broadly, over future prospects for the country.

The military junta reportedly maintains a strong influence on the transitional process.  It has retained control over the security and defence forces, and continues to violently repress fellow soldiers suspected of having supported the attempted counter-coup of 30 April.

ECOWAS Heads of State and Government have called for a more inclusive Government, and mandated the ECOWAS Mediator to urgently engage in consultations with Malian stakeholders. They also decided to deploy an ECOWAS Standby Force to Mali and to send a Technical Assessment Mission to Bamako to prepare for the deployment of this Force.  I understand that the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Kadre Desire Ouedraogo, has submitted the mission’s report and other relevant documents to this Council.

One positive development has been the return of President Dioncounda Traoré to Bamako. His presence enhances the constitutional legitimacy of the transitional arrangements and can ensure that Malians play a central role in leading the transitional process.

I commend the steps the President is taking to ensure the formation of a government of national unity.  I also welcome his announcement of the creation of the National Transition Committee, the National Dialogue Committee, and the High Council of State, which he plans to chair.

Let me turn now to the situation in the North, where the security situation remains volatile and unpredictable.

The Ansar Dine and the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa, which are reportedly linked to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, have taken control after pushing out the Movement for the Liberation of Azawad, and have illegally imposed Sharia Law on the residents.  With the influx of regional and international Jihadists, there is reason to be concerned that the North is becoming a safe haven for terrorists and criminal elements.

The ECOWAS Mediator, President Blaise Compaoré, has taken initial steps to meet with representatives of the MNLA and Ansar Dine.  After travelling to northern Mali yesterday, Burkina Faso Foreign Minister Djibril Bassole met with leaders of Ansar Dine and requested that they cut ties to terrorist movements before any peace talk could begin. But no meaningful dialogue has commenced between the Government of Mali and any of the groups in the north.  With the establishment of President Traore’s National Commission for Negotiations, it is expected that a Malian-owned dialogue process, with the assistance of ECOWAS and neighbouring countries, will commence shortly.

For my part, I have used my good offices to help address the crisis through my Special Representative for West Africa, Mr. Said Djinnit.

From the outset of the mediation process led by ECOWAS, Mr. Djinnit has been in close contact with the mediation team.  He has conducted good offices missions to Mauritania and Algeria and participated in ECOWAS Summits and other meetings on Mali.

Here at headquarters, the Department of Political Affairs is consulting with Permanent Representatives of

ECOWAS Member States, the “Pays du Champ” and other partners. UN military planners have participated, in an advisory capacity, in the ECOWAS Technical Assessment Mission.

As the Malian transitional authorities prepare to initiate a national dialogue, the United Nations stands ready to offer its considerable expertise in designing such processes and facilitating such dialogue.

The conflict in Mali has exacerbated a perilous humanitarian situation.  More than 174,000 people have been internally displaced, and more than 253,000 have sought refuge in neighboring countries. A severe food security and nutrition crisis is now affecting 4.6 million people in Mali and more than 18 million people across the Sahel region.

I am also extremely concerned about reports that armed groups in the north are committing serious human rights violations, including summary executions of civilians, rapes and torture.

Moreover, the Ansar Dine group deliberately destroyed 9 of the 16 mausoleums in Timbuktu, in callous disregard of sites that have been classified by UNESCO as part of the indivisible heritage of humanity.
I encourage the Security Council to give serious consideration to the imposition of targeted travel and financial sanctions against individuals or groups in Mali engaged in terrorist, religious extremist or criminal activities.

The crisis in Mali is complex and multidimensional. Its resolution requires a holistic and comprehensive approach, rather than partial and disconnected measures.

I strongly encourage the Government of Mali to develop an over-arching political strategy to return the country to constitutional order and reestablish state authority in the North.

The strategy should clearly spell out responses to genuine socio-economic and political grievances, the modalities for political dialogue and negotiations, and the aims of eventual military action against extremist forces in the North.

Looking ahead, it is essential for Malians to take ownership and show leadership.

ECOWAS, the African Union, the European Union, key regional countries and bilateral partners should all assist in this endeavor.

Many challenges lie ahead. If we are to succeed in restoring peace in Mali and the wider Sahel region, there must be unity of vision and close coordination.

The United Nations will continue to do its part.

Thank you.

U-Report: The Future Awards Nominees Reception Held In Style In Lagos

Anchor Persons: Uti And Veriter
 Report By RedNigeria Media

It was a night of entertainment, fashion, and recognition of exceptional hard work as the prestigious The Future Awards hosted its annual Nominees Reception for Season 7.

The media and VIP event which was anchored by BBA 2011 Winner Uti Nwachukwu and Venita was a gathering of 168 leaders, innovators, change-makers, and entrepreneurs nominated for this year’s The Future Awards amongst other guests. “We are impressed with the people nominated in all categories this season. Bringing them together in a gathering to honor and show them to the world excites us and we glad the show was excellent," said Ohimai Atafo who chairs the Central Working Committee of the Awards.

Nominees were presented with certificates of nomination by judges of the awards, led by Pastor Ituah Ighodalo. Adebola Williams, one of the organizers of The Future Awards officially declared during the reception that The Down Syndrome Foundation of Nigeria will be the selected charity for 2012. The Down Syndrome Foundation of Nigeria also made a moving presentation that was shown to the audience.

There were musical performances from a few of Nigeria’s young and hottest artistes such as E.M.E, first lady, Niyola, who performed two of her hit tracks. Also fast-rising, 2008 finalist of MTN Project Fame, Praiz performed his latest track, ‘Rich and Famous’. The last and most exciting performance of the night was delivered by the small-but-mighty, Project Fame Season 3 Winner, Chidinma, who brought the house down with her hit single, ‘Kedike.’

There was a fashion show to launch The Future Awards ‘Get Your Green On!’ fashion campaign with designers Sally Bawa, Violet Kutor, Elder, Moofa and Phunk Afrique. As a means of raising money for The Down Syndrome Foundation of Nigeria, Vickky Elder designed an outfit that was auctioned at the reception.

The Future Awards is an affiliate of The Future Project (TFP), a development firm dedicated to leadership and enterprise. To know more about The Down Syndrome Foundation of Nigeria, log on to

Letter: Human Rights Watch Writes Hillary Clinton On Visit To Nigeria

The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
United States Department of State

Dear Secretary Clinton,
In light of your forthcoming trip to Nigeria, we would like to bring to your attention some of our recent research findings and recommendations for some key human rights challenges facing Nigeria. We hope that you will take the opportunity during your visit to address these issues with your counterparts and speak publicly about these and other human rights concerns.

Boko Haram and Inter-Communal Violence:
More than 1,400 people in northern and central Nigeria have been killed in attacks by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram since 2010. Five days of violence in July 2009 left more than 800 people dead. Government security forces captured the group’s leader at the time, Mohammed Yusuf, and summarily executed him along with dozens of other Boko Haram suspects. Since the group reemerged in 2010, their increasingly deadly attacks have targeted police and other government security agents, Christians and churches, and Muslims who are critical of the group or perceived as collaborating with the government. Security agents have rounded up hundreds of individuals and routinely detained them incommunicado without charge or trial. Security forces have also been implicated in extrajudicial killings of Boko Haram suspects and in other detention-related abuses. The group claims they are carrying out attacks against the police in retaliation for security force abuses.

In addition to the Boko Haram attacks, several thousand people – both Muslims and Christians – have died in inter-communal violence in the past four years in Nigeria’s volatile “middle-belt” region – particularly in Kaduna and Plateau states. Mobs have hacked to death many of their victims based simply on their ethnic or religious identity, but rarely has anyone been prosecuted for these massacres. Nigeria’s government has failed to break the cycle of killings by holding the perpetrators accountable. In addition, it has failed to address the root causes of inter-communal violence, including state and local government policies that exacerbate existing ethnic divisions by discriminating against members of ethnic groups they classify as “non-indigenes” – people

who cannot trace their ancestry to what are said to be the original inhabitants of an area.

We urge you to press the Nigerian authorities to break the cycle of violence in northern Nigeria as well as in Kaduna and Plateau states by calling on the government to rein in abusive police and soldiers, and prosecute, without delay, all those responsible for the violence. You should call on the authorities to ensure that the population at risk of further attacks in northern and central Nigeria is protected from violence. And you should urge the Nigerian authorities to end divisive state and local government policies that discriminate against “non-indigenes” who reside within their jurisdictions.

Despite Nigeria’s tremendous oil wealth, endemic government corruption and poor governance have robbed many Nigerians of their rights to health and education. These problems are most acute in the north – the country’s poorest region – where widespread poverty and unemployment, sustained by corruption, and state-sponsored abuses have created an environment in which militant groups thrive.

Nigeria’s main anti-corruption agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has since 2005 filed corruption charges against 35 nationally prominent political figures, including 20 former state governors. The EFCC has secured four convictions of high-level officials, but they faced relatively little or no prison time. Despite the endemic corruption, no senior political figure in Nigeria is currently serving prison time for corruption.

In November 2011, President Goodluck Jonathan appointed Ibrahim Lamorde as the EFCC’s chairperson. The move was welcomed by many, including the United States, but the EFCC has not yet made significant strides in the fight against corruption. The commission still lacks adequate institutional independence from the executive. Its chairperson, for example, can be removed at any time at the will of the president.

We encourage you to call on the EFCC chairperson to give a public account of the status and reasons for delays in the corruption cases against senior political figures. We also urge you to press the presidency to improve the independence of the EFCC by sponsoring legislation to amend the EFCC Act to provide greater security of tenure for the commission’s chairperson.

Thank you, once again, for your attention to these concerns.


Daniel Bekele
Executive Director,
Africa Division.

U-Report: Ogoni Self-Government Is on Course

Ogoni Flag

By Tambari Deekor
Associate Editor,
 MOSOP Media

Injustice against Ogoni risks the fate of Nigeria, Says MOSOP President/Spokesman, Dr. Goodluck Diigbo

“We cannot be pushed,” Diigbo alerted, saying: “Violent action wasn’t part of the 2nd August Declaration of Course of Action,” as he reacted to recent Daily Trust newspaper publication online today August 7, 2012 fully laden with dangerous insinuations:

But I must say that it (declaration) was a mere internet declaration. But if it had gotten the support of the six kingdoms of Ogoniland, if it had gotten the support of the entire Ogoni people, by now the government of Nigeria and oil companies will be struggling on what action to take". ttp://

“Already, 2,720 elected village council members and 66 district representatives began meetings with local politicians on Monday, August 6, 2012 after the thanksgiving on Sunday, August 5, 2012 to mark our Self-Government Declaration. There may be distractions, but Ogoni self-government cannot be derailed,” Diigbo noted.

“Any decision outside of declared course of action will not be approved by MOSOP and will not be supported by the Ogoni people. If it is absolutely necessary to take further action; that decision will be made after the process announced is completed,” Diigbo explained.

“Don’t engage in double-talk, public deception and old-fashioned tactics that have brought no good to the Ogoni people or Nigeria. I have been pressured that even the Ijaws are split, Yorubas split, Hausa-Fulani split and Ibos split and have created different fronts in order to benefit on one side and pursue their demands on the other side. I will not speak from both side of my mouth,” Diigbo declared.

Moreover: “There is nothing called MOSOP Provisional Council (MPC) to represent another face of MOSOP. Why did former President Olusengun Obasanjo not set up a Nigeria Provisional Council (NPC), when he couldn’t hold unto office? I expected the media and any credible institution, NGO or government to question the legitimacy of the socalled MPC behind this notion of double-talk. Neither MOSOP nor Ogoni is for sale. Double talk is ruled out and Ogonis cannot be fooled again. Self-government for Ogoni is on course. I look back; I remember how much we were ignored in the 1990s. Doubts abound on facing ruthless and military dictators and the powerful Anglo-Royal Dutch/Shell. But, the gravity for any mistake now will be heavier for Nigeria, if this peaceful process is ignored. Injustice now puts the fate of Nigeria at risk, just as the petroleum industry was brought into question by reckless operations. I realize Nigeria’s elites hardly learn from history,” Dr. Goodluck Diigbo remarked.

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