Sunday, 30 June 2013

News Release: Nigeria President Condoles Senate, Family Of Late Senator

Late Senator Akpor Pius Ewherido 

President Goodluck Jonathan has received with shock and sadness, news of the passing away of Senator Akpor Pius Ewherido today at the National Hospital in Abuja.

On behalf of himself and all members of the executive arm of the Federal Government, President Jonathan extends heartfelt condolences to Senator Ewherido’s family, the Senate President, Senator David Mark and all of the late Senator’s colleagues in the upper chamber of the National Assembly.

The President joins them, members of the Ewherido family and the government and people of Delta State in mourning the distinguished legislator who served commendably as a member and deputy speaker of the Delta State of Assembly before his election as the Senator representing the Delta Central Senatorial District in the 2011 general elections.

President Jonathan prays that God Almighty will comfort Senator Ewherido’s family, relatives, colleagues in the National Assembly and all the people of his constituency.

He further prays that God will, in His infinite mercies, grant them the strength and fortitude to bear the painful loss of the very promising politician at the relatively youthful age of 50.


Reuben Abati
Special Adviser To The President
(Media & Publicity)

Photonews: Obama Visits Mandela's Former Prison Cell

Photo Credit: Reuters
Photo Credit: Reuters

News Release: ActionAid Organizes Twitter Conference On Tax Justice In Nigeria

Activista, Nigeria Youth mobilization programme of ActionAid will on Tuesday, 2 July 2013 convene a twitter conference to harness citizens’ views on tax justice and administration in Nigeria.

David Haba, Activista Nigeria Coordinator said “governments across Nigeria as everywhere else are faced with limited resources to drive development”.

Haba stated that “in Nigeria the situation is made worse by challenges faced as a result of weak and under-resourced revenue institutions, unnecessary offer of tax breaks to multinationals, and lack of trust in the Governance systems by especially the poor to even comply with taxation responsibilities as often tax systems are heavily skewed against their interest”. 

“He further stated, “we hope to use this platform to inform, educate and mobilize people to call for effective and efficient tax structures that create incentives to improve governance, strengthen channels of political representation, redistribute wealth, provide essential services and infrastructure, as well as reduce corruption.

Haba said it is imperative for the government to facilitate and use effective tax structures and systems to mobilize domestic resources, re-distribute wealth and provide essential services and infrastructure. This way, they will create incentives that will improve governance, strengthen channels of political representation and curb corruption, there by eradicating poverty, he said.

According to the Coordinator, the official conference hash tag is #TaxJusticeNG #Taxpaysfor and key discussant are:

Esther Agbarakwe (Esther climate) a former Activista core volunteer, a member of the ActionAid Nigeria General Assembly and a renowned climate activist globally

Egghead Odewale: Research fellow, The Berkman Center for Internet Security in Harvard University and Personal Assistant to the Governor of Ekiti State, South West Nigeria.

Ken Henshaw: Former President, National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) and the Programs Manager, Social action

Chris Jordan: AAUK Campaign Manager, have an extensive experience campaigning on Tax Issues

ActionAid Nigeria is a non-governmental organisation working with the poor and excluded; promoting values and commitment in civil society, institutions and governments with the aim of achieving structural changes in order to eradicate injustices and poverty in the world. ActionAid is registered with the Nigeria Corporate Affairs Commission as a national organisation, and an affiliate of ActionAid International.

For further information contact: Kenneth Okoineme, Policy and Campaign Officer, ActionAid Nigeria, +234 803 5939 033,


Tunde Aremu 
ActionAid Nigeria Policy Advocacy And Campaigns Manager.
Tel:+234 (0) 812 8888 825-7 | Mob: +234 (0) 802 318 0493. E: Skype: taremu. | |

Saturday, 29 June 2013

News Release: Nigeria Is A Murderous Country At War Against Her Citizens

Monday, June 24, 2013 public execution of Citizens Richard Igago, Chima Ejiofor, Daniel Nsofor and Osaremwinda Aigbuokhian on the executive orders of the Edo State Governor, South-south, Nigeria, is not only shocking but also savagely. Since June 1999, when the civil rule was restored on the polity, over 58,000 citizens have been killed outside the law in the country. The latest public execution of the four controversially processed convicts has brought the country thousands of years backward from being a member of the comity of civilized countries and human rights respecter countries. Nigeria is steadily descending dangerously into the abyss of savagery and cannibalism. The country now earns notoriety as a country not in war, but in war. She now records one of the highest global incidences of unlawful killings per month with monthly average of 200. When a political system is corrupt and weak to safeguard lives and property, incidence of safe-help method in inter-personal and group’s disputes grows astronomically dangerously-says Emeka Umeagbalasi today in Denver, Colorado, USA. A modern country that engages in public execution of its citizens whose actions are said to be in conflict with its criminal law, whether anachronistically or globally blended, is not only a direct descendant of the butchery of the old, but also instills homicidal militancy in the psyches of its civil populace to slaughter at will even in mere dissent verbal exchanges-further says Emeka Umeagbalasi.

Factually speaking, over 1,400 Nigerian citizens have been killed since January 2013; a period of six months. It has become a routine in the country to count not less than 200 unlawful deaths at every month end. From our empirical records, over 200 citizens were killed in May 2013 and in this month of June, 2013,  the local and international media have reported over 200 more unlawful deaths including the communal killing of between 32 and 48 citizens  on 27-6-2013 in the Langtang  areas of Plateau State, North-Central Nigeria. Nigerian government’s reported excuses of using public execution of condemned law breakers to decongest the prisons or using same to reduce crimes clearly show how empty her security and justice policy makers and administrators are in matters of public governance, security, rule of law and accountability to  the citizenry. They also remind us of similar infantile and barbarous reasoning canvassed by the promoters of monstrous vigilantism in the Southeast States of Anambra and Abia, which were repositories of the killer-Bakassi Boys that massacred over 5,000 citizens including the chairman of the local body of lawyers and his wife. It is an incontestable fact that 95% of Nigeria’s social problems or challenges are politically generated. The highest generators of violence in the country are her political leaders.

Comparatively speaking, over 2.3million jailed lawbreakers abound in USA; mostly jailed in connection with immigration, drug/alcohol and sex violence offences, yet they are being counseled, rehabilitated and substantially integrated into the American society so as to turn to new leaves and break laws no more. In Nigeria, less than 10% of her 53,000 prisons inmates is jailed lawbreakers, while only about 1000 of them are condemned lawbreakers. Up to 90% are awaiting trial inmates made to suffer from the failed and outdated justice administration or system. Revolutions and innovations have also characterized today’s justice administration or system globally. Court rules and other criminal and civil statutes are routinely upsized or downsized including expansion of sentencing and punishment options and management. To this effect, there are prisons labour, industry, community service, paroling, counseling & rehabilitation, suspended sentencing or jail holidays, foster homes, amnesty or pardoning, commutation, sporting, volunteerism, to mention a few; designed for today’s prisons inmates. The ultimate goal of modern prisons is rehabilitation; whereas that of the Stone Age was death for death, stealing for stealing and spiting for spiting.

Therefore, the traditional concept of sentencing by death is confined to the dustbin of the Yore. It is shocking that till date, the prisons facility management in the country is monopolized by one out of the country’s three tiers of government-federal government. While each of our senators crookedly smiles to the bank at every month end with N29.4million (over $190.000) in the form of allowances, which also includes a fraction of monthly basic salary and outrageous monthly newspaper allowance of N1.24million (about $8.000), in this era of internet; most of the country’s federal criminal and civil laws including the Nigerian Prisons, Police and Evidence Acts are begging for legislative upgrade with no hopes in sight. Most of the country’s criminal and civil laws including court rules were created in the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s. The Police Act, for instance, has not seen major changes since its creation in April 1930. The Prisons Act was created in 1972.

Intersociety feels deeply pained over the rising incidence of unlawful deaths in Nigeria including State sanctioned murder and killings emanating from the failed justice system. There are available records showing that dozens of condemned inmates have in recent years, if not months, been granted pardon in the country under the Prerogative of Mercy  constitutionally exercised by Mr. President, governors and strategic heads of the judiciary. It therefore surprises us as what interest the Edo Governor has in sanctioning the execution of the four incarcerated citizens. We have it on good authority that the fifth person who was to be executed alongside four others, but got spared, temporarily-Citizen ThankGod Ebhos, is kept for execution in a later date soonest. Three out of the remaining four condemned inmates waiting for execution are Citizens Cyracius Ogidi, Agbonware Omorogie and Apostle Igene. Five other condemned inmates who spoke to   Intersociety yesterday complained bitterly of starvation and denial of food and water for four days. This is a gross violation of national, regional and international provisions on the fair treatment of prisoners.

It is recalled that on 18th day of April, 2013, our leadership issued a public statement, captioned: Amnesty for Eight Condemned Prisons Inmates in Edo Nigeria: A Call for Urgent Action; informing the world particularly the leaderships of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch based in UK and USA respectively, through their researchers on Nigeria, about the imminence of the public execution of the eight Benin prisons inmates. Four out of the eight are now dead. Sadly, the two world respected rights groups did little or nothing concerning theurgent appeal, except belated statement of condemnation. They neither acknowledged our urgent call nor responded swiftly which would have possibly saved the lives of the executed citizens. Their enormous quick intervention global advocacy arsenal motivated us to write them.
It is sad and unfortunate that Nigeria, through her political leaders, has chosen a path of seemingly intractable backwardness in the global scheme of things including human rights, economic management and security, to the extent that the first African born US President skipped the country in his African tour itinerary. The other day, it was some defaced characters wearing parliamentary gowns that shocked their fellow country men and women with unpardonably falsified report on Ezu River massacre.  The barefaced falsified report has exposed the mercantilization of legislative oversight civil inquiries in Nigeria and hijacking of criminal investigation by same. For us in Intersociety, we are least surprised having ignored from the beginning the shambolic exercise because of not-good characters behind it. The nexus between the provocative legislative Ezu River report and the public execution of the four citizens is incontestably linked.


Emeka Umeagbalasi,
Chairman Of The Board
International Society For Civil Liberties And The Rule Of Law.
08033601078, 14143937972

Photonews: Forced To Pledge To Nigeria

Current batch of Nigeria National Youth Service Corps Members During Swearing-In

Videonews: A One-way Ticket To The Sun

Friday, 28 June 2013

News Report: Somalia May Accept Former Islamist Warlord In Port City

Credit: Reuters
Somalia's government is expected to recognize a former Islamist warlord it had opposed as interim leader of a strategic port city, diplomats said, defusing a crisis over rival claims to the post that had raised fears of a return to clan warfare.
The threat of the kind of clan fighting that over two decades tore Somalia apart has hung over Kismayu since Ahmed Madobe, leader of the Ras Kamboni militia, was chosen by a regional assembly to lead Jubaland and its port in May.
The fate of Kismayu and the surrounding region in southern Somalia has been seen as a litmus test of whether the government can manage a federal state and cement a fragile peace in place since African peacekeeping troops drove out Islamist militants.
Western and regional diplomats, all with a close knowledge of Somalia and the workings of its government, told Reuters that Mogadishu had changed tack and was resigned to having the Ras Kamboni leader stay in charge, but on an interim basis.
"They recognise that they have to deal with Madobe," said one senior Western diplomat.
Regional capitals and Western donors are nervous about any reversal of delicate security gains made in Somalia by African troops fighting against the al Qaeda-linked militants, seen as a threat to stability in the region and beyond.
Central government spokesman Abdirahman Omar Osman said Mogadishu, which had widely been seen to back another candidate, was ready for a deal but it had not decided on who it would be.
"We are willing to compromise provided that the legality, the constitution, and the federal institution and mandate is protected," he said, adding senior government officials were in Kismayu for negotiations with the rival parties.
Even with the regional leader title, Madobe will only really control Kismayu and its immediate surrounds because al Shabaab Islamist militants still control much of Jubaland's countryside.
Lucrative Business:
Dozens of people have been killed in Kismayu since May in sporadic clashes between Madobe's Ras Kamboni militia, opposed by the central government, and fighters loyal to Barre Hirale, another former warlord seen as having Mogadishu's backing.
Rival clans want control of port taxes, valuable charcoal exports and levies on arms and other illegal imports.
If a deal is struck, one government source said the interim administration would be in place for up to a year before a vote.
The situation has been complicated because of ambiguity over how Somalia, including its break-away regions, will be governed as a federation and because Mogadishu has little leverage as its poorly paid and trained security forces cannot impose control.
"Acknowledging that Madobe is the de facto leader in charge of an interim Jubaland administration would be pragmatic," said Matt Bryden, a director of Sahan Research think-tank who previously coordinated a U.N. monitoring report on Somalia.
"The government can't afford to become embroiled in this," he said. "It doesn't have the time, the resources or sufficient influence in Jubaland."
Madobe was a governor of Kismayu during an administration that was routed by Ethiopian forces sent into Somalia between 2006-2009 with tacit U.S. backing.
The European Union's top Africa official, Nicholas Westcott, said it was vital for a deal to improve security in Jubaland, a region which some analysts fear could otherwise break away.

"If Somalia is fragmented it will never be in position to develop or resolve all the conflicts," Westcott said.

Special Report: World Investment Report 2013

The Division on Investment and Enterprise of UNCTAD is a global centre of excellence, dealing with issues related to investment and enterprise development in the United Nations System. It builds on four decades of experience and international expertise in research and policy analysis, intergovernmental consensus building, and provides technical assistance to over 150 countries.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Speech: “The Chinese Lifted 600 Million People Out Of Poverty”-----W/Bank President

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim

(Being World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim’s speech at the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition Annual Conference on June 25th, 2013 in Washington DC, USA)

Good afternoon, everybody.  It’s a wonderful honor to be here.  Thank you, Ann for that great introduction and I just want you to know it’s a true pleasure to be here at the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition’s annual conference.

I accepted the invitation to speak at this year’s conference because of the critical role that so many of you play in improving the lives of the poorest people in the world.  This conference brought together one of the most diverse coalitions in the international policy arena, from leaders in the business, NGO, and faith-based communities to scholars and national security experts.  You have the breadth and depth of experience needed to tackle complex challenges.

The challenges are daunting, indeed, but today, and really I want to stress this, for the first time in human history we have an opportunity. 

You know, Ann mentioned that we have two goals and it took a lot of work and time to get our board of governors, and the board of governors of the World Bank Group are development ministers, but mostly ministers of finance from 188 different countries.

And so, for this particular group, who is in charge of very practical decisions about, you know, how to distribute -- how to organize a budget, how to make sure that their own countries are growing economically, these really very busy people came together and gave us a great gift, and the gift was these two goals.  The first is to end poverty by 2030, and what we mean by that is that we want to get the rates of poverty down below 3 percent.  And the reason we picked that 3 percent number is that we looked and looked and looked at what we think is going to happen naturally.

So, if we keep at more or less the same rates of growth, the projection is it will be to between 6 and 9 percent poverty by 2030, and we’ve looked hard at that, and the reason that the rate of reduction of poverty would slow down a little bit is because many of the low-hanging fruit have been picked.  So much of the success over the last couple of decades has been as a result of China’s rapid economic growth.  The Chinese lifted 600 million people out of poverty, which has never been done before.  This is the first time in human history.

And so, now we have South Asia, we have Sub-Saharan Africa, we have many of the so-called fragile and conflict affected states left.  So, to get the poverty rate below 3 percent is going to be a huge task.  We refer to it as trying to bend the arc of history by actually pulling that poverty rate down below 3 percent.  Once it gets to 3 percent, it’s fairly clear that the nature of the struggle against poverty will change, in other words, major structural investments, the growth of the private sector, these are all going to be critical for bringing poverty down, but at 3 percent, it’s going to be really what the economists call frictional poverty, poverty that happens as a result of extreme weather events, for example, poverty that happens as a result of disasters, poverty that happens as a result of famine, things that are difficult to control and that we’ll have to respond to on a case-by-case basis. 

But we think we can bring it down below 3 percent.

The other goal is to boost the incomes of the bottom 40 percent.  This is the first time in history that the World Bank Group is going to publish every single year the extent to which the bottom 40 percent of any country is participating in economic growth.   Now, there’s two messages here, the first is that economic growth is critical, and economic growth, especially in the private sector, is critical.

On the other hand, what we know -- and, you know, the events of the last few weeks have made it even clearer -- what we know is that if you don’t include the bottom 40 percent, if you don’t include women, if you don’t include young people in that economic growth, you are building instability into your societies, even countries that have been doing so well in terms of sharing the fruits of growth, like Brazil, are now experiencing demonstrations that I don’t think will go away.

What did we learn from the Arab Spring?  You can have growth in your GDP, but if it’s not inclusive, and if it’s not inclusive especially of young people, you’re going to have these kinds of demonstrations, because now, one of the great things about the new age is that people will be heard, people will make their voices heard.

And so, end extreme poverty, boost shared prosperity, and moreover, when we talk about boosting shared prosperity, we’re talking specifically about sharing prosperity with future generations. 

Many of you may know, we’ve made a tremendous effort over the past year to increase the World Bank Group’s commitment to tackling climate change.  We think this is absolutely a critical part of trying to fight extreme poverty.  There’s no way that we will be able to end extreme poverty unless we tackle climate change.

Now, let me just give you a little bit of perspective.  First of all, so many of you in this room have fought hard for increases in foreign assistance and I can’t thank you enough for having done that.  It’s critical.  Foreign assistance is absolutely critical, has made a huge difference in the world.  Anyone who doubts that, please come talk to me and anyone else who’s been the beneficiary of foreign assistance for such a long time.

But if you look at the numbers today, total Official Development Assistance, the total package is about $125 billion.  Now, that $125 billion is critical, but look at it compared to the needs in the world today.  So, in Africa alone, every year there’s about a $95 billion a year need for funding for infrastructure, and that’s Sub-Saharan Africa by itself. 

If you look at India, in my trip there, the Minister of Finance kept stressing to me, India has a $1 trillion infrastructure deficit over the next five years, so on average, about $200 billion a year.  So, all of ODA can’t even meet India’s need for infrastructure for one year.  All of ODA will cover the need of Sub-Saharan Africa in infrastructure for one year.  And guess what it is that these countries want?  They want energy, they want roads, they want an environment that will lure private sector investment so they can create jobs.

Now, some people have asked me -- and I have been talking a lot about the private sector.  In fact, the last few months, I’ve been traveling to countries like Japan and Canada, very explicitly saying that the private sector needs to get in the game and help us achieve our development goals while at the same time making money.  You know, there is something like $5 trillion sitting on the sidelines these days earning very low interest rates, and what we know is that 90 percent of all jobs in the world are created by the private sector.  This came out in our World Development Report of 2013. 

So, when people -- friends from my past life of working in some of the smallest communities, when they ask me why is it that you’re talking so much about the private sector, I say that, you know, it has nothing to do with whether or not I like or don’t like the private sector, whether anyone likes or doesn’t like the private sector.  Fundamentally, it has to do with your aspirations for poor people.

If you think that all of development assistance is how we divide up ODA, then poor people are in big trouble.   A hundred and twenty-five billion dollars is so critical because that money is going to pay for the kind of investments that no other source of financing will pay for.  We need it and we need it to grow and we need your help in making sure it grows.

But what we also need to do is to make sure that every penny of foreign assistance, every penny of ODA that exists, is used to leverage, first, domestic resources, I mean, you know, many countries are getting better at collecting taxes and having a real foundation for making their own investments in infrastructure, but even more importantly, we’ve got to find a way of leveraging these precious ODA dollars to leverage private sector investment.

We’re trying to do that very directly within the World Bank Group.  As some of you may know, we call it the World Bank Group because there’s one part, the public sector part, IBRD, the original 

International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which is our so-called market rate lending to lots of middle income countries, mostly middle income countries, and then we have our concessional loan window IDA, the International Development Association, that provides zero interest rates and grants to the poorest countries.

But we also have IFC, the International Finance Corporation, our private sector wing, and it started from a relatively small operation to now it’s about a $20 billion a year operation, which is 40 percent of our overall operation.  We also have another group called MIGA, the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency that provides political risk assurance for investors who are investing even in the most fragile countries.

And just to give you a sense of how we’re doing, now, IFC, the International Finance Corporation, makes equity investments directly into some of the poorest countries in the world, and over the last 15 years, including over the last five years, the average internal rate of return on our equity investments has been 20 percent.

Now, we have been able to make a good return on our equity investments while at the same time advancing the development aims of the countries, the companies, the regions that we invest in, and this is going to be the key to ending poverty.

Now, you might say, well, but what about countries like Liberia?  Here’s a country, a small country, racked with a long history, decades of war.  I had a long conversation with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf when I was in Tokyo for the Tokyo International Conference on African Development, and that meeting itself was really quite striking.  You know, we had something like 50 heads of state from Africa together with the Prime Minister of Japan, and we spent three days together talking about what’s going on in Africa.

And, interestingly, as they were walking through the door, my vice-president for Africa said to me, it’s amazing, because the last Tokyo International Conference in African Development was five years ago in 2008, and in 2008, everyone was saying to themselves, in the developed world, oh, my goodness, the financial crisis, what is going to happen to Africa?  These countries are going to be in such trouble.  But as they were walking through the door in 2013, average rate of growth over the last five years was over 5 percent, not a single African country was experiencing hyper-inflation, their debt-to-GDP ratio was a lot better than a lot of countries in Europe.  They were confident as they walked in the door.

So, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said to me, look, we need energy.  She had been in power for about seven years, but she said, we have been out of war for over a decade and still, to this day, we have 21 megawatts of installed capacity, about enough for a couple of city blocks here in Washington, DC.  

And she said, if we don’t have energy, we’re not going to get the private sector investment we need and we’re not going to be able to create the jobs that I desperately need for my young people, some of them -- she said, I have young men who are over 30 years old who have done nothing their entire lives except be soldiers.  What do I do with those young men to ensure that they don’t pick up their arms again?  What they need is energy, private sector investment, and jobs.

And so, we now are doing our best to move quickly and increase a really pitiful amount of energy.  And moreover, let me tell you, not only does she only have 21 megawatts of installed capacity, she pays 54 cents a kilowatt hour, which is four or five times what we pay here in Washington, DC.

So, the message from the African leaders was clear, yes, we need your aid, but please, when you come to our countries, listen to our priorities.  What we want is strategic investments that lead to our ability then to use whatever tax base we have to build, for example, healthcare systems that are going to sustain themselves, because people have jobs and can participate in insurance programs.  More than anything else, we need jobs.  We need jobs and we need to keep, in many cases, former combatants off the battlefield.

Now, so that’s one part of my message.  We need private sector investment and we need to do this in close cooperation with every single dollar of Official Development Assistance that’s going into these countries.

The second thing that I’d like to raise, though, to you, is that when it comes to issues like ending poverty and battling climate change, we need social movements.  I’ve had the great good fortune of being part of some social movements.  Let me just tell you about one and why I think that a truly well thought out, rigorous, committed social movement has the greatest capacity to transform the world and help us reach our aspirations around things like poverty and battling climate change.

You know, we all know that the last decade in the AIDS world has just seen an unbelievable transformation.  We’ve gone from, in 10 years, from about 50,000 people in treatment in development countries to over nine million today.  Nine million people who would have been dead. 

Now, what would have happened to the African economy if those nine million people or so, in Africa, were dead?  What would have happened if no one was getting tested?  What would have happened for people living with HIV there was no hope?  I actually think the economic performance would not have been this good and that we would have been wondering, my goodness, what did we just let happen?  But now this has happened.

But I want to tell you a little bit about the story of how it happened.  It was a small group of committed souls who made this happen.  It was people who were willing to risk their lives, go into the National Institutes of Health, for example, throw blood on researchers and say, you need to focus on AIDS research.  That happened.  Then they said, once we have promising molecules, we need to make sure that it moves quickly from research laboratory into private sector companies.  And then once promising molecules were coming out of the private sector companies, they worked to reduce the time it takes to get a drug through the Food and Drug Administration from 27 months, that’s the fast track, to six months.

And this was done by people who had no specialization in those areas.  You know, one of the people, Mark Harrington, a very good friend of mine, he was a very smart guy, he graduated from Harvard, he was involved in Act-Up, the movement to tackle HIV.  He became an expert on the Food and Drug Administration, found out about all their rules and regulations, because he knew that in order for him and his friends to live, they needed to shrink the number of months it took to get a drug through the FDA.

After that, after the drugs got through the FDA, then they started saying, well, now that we have these drugs, we’re not going to let them only be available for people who have money, so now we’re going to work on making sure that everyone in the world has access to these drugs, and everything from having Medecins Sans Frontieres reduce the first prices, President Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative brought the price down to $70 a year for HIV drugs. 

The point is that with the public sector, with activists, with the private sector, all of them brought together, went from a brand new disease in 1981, to effective treatment in ’96, and today in 2013, to the people -- nine million people in the poorest countries in the world, one of the most effective social movements ever.

And so, when I talk to people about poverty or climate change, I keep asking the question, have we done all the work we need to build a social movement that will stretch across the entire value chain, to use a word from business, that we need to tackle in order to get the results we want?  And I would argue, and I think most people would agree, that today we don’t have that for climate change and we don’t have that yet for ending poverty. 

But for the NGO representatives in the room, what would it take to build a movement to end poverty?  What would it take to build a movement to tackle climate change so we have any hope of ending poverty?

Well, I’m here today to give you my personal message of enormous optimism of hope that we can actually make it happen.  Today, and perhaps right at this moment, President Obama is giving a speech on U.S. efforts to tackle climate change.  We have the declaration of 188 ministers of finance and ministers of development that we are going to end poverty; that we’re going to put everything we have to ending poverty on this earth in a generation by 2030.  You know, the only way that that will happen is if we all get past the suspicions we have of each other.  You know, one of the most important things that I’ve tried to communicate to my team is that we are one small part of a much bigger plan to tackle poverty, to tackle climate change, to boost shared prosperity for the poorest 40 percent, and that we’ve got to find ways to work together.

Just a couple of months I flew -- I went to the Great Lakes region.  We visited the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda.  It was led by the Secretary-General of the United Nations and me.  And I didn’t know this, but the Secretary-General told me that our trip together was the first time in history that the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the President of the World Bank went on a mission together.  I said, but I’ve seen pictures of them together before.  It turns out that when disasters happen, they happen to show up at the same place and take pictures together, but they never went on mission together because to go on mission together, you’ve got to negotiate who’s going where, who’s going to take the first picture, all those kinds of things.  And it’s been so hard over such a long time that no one’s done it.  And so I think both the Secretary-General and I gave instructions to our teams to just lose arguments, lose more arguments than you’re used to, and we got it done.  And we were able to put one billion additional dollars on the table.  The Secretary-General was able to reinforce the peace framework that he had established several months before, and it was so helpful we’re going to do it again and again.  But I remember what it was like on the ground when I was one of the mice when the elephants were fighting with each other, when the U.N. and the World Bank didn’t work so well together.  And you can extend that all to when NGOs and the private sector were fighting.

Look, we have a chance to eliminate poverty from the face of the earth, extreme poverty from the face of the earth, in a generation.  I hope that all of you in this room today will commit to that in whatever way that you can contribute.  And think about what it will be like.  Now, for me, it’s very real.  I’m very involved -- the World Bank is involved in energy, agriculture, so many other things.  And for me specifically the climate change issue is very, very real.  I can just hear my 13-year-old and 4-year-old sons in about 20 years when they’re living in a 2 degree Celsius warmer world, where there are water fights and food fights every day, where there are extreme weather events happening all over the world on a regular basis.  In that time my kids are going to look at me and say Dad, what the hell were you doing when you were President of the World Bank?  And by that time if the number of people living in absolute poverty increases, they’re going to ask me even harder questions.  So we have a chance.  We have a chance to leave something for our children and for our grandchildren that will be truly inspiring, but it won’t happen unless everyone in this room decides today that the ultimate goal is far more important than raising the flag for our single organizations. 

Thank you very much.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

News Release: Update On Thankgod Ebhos; Death Row Inmate In Benin Prison

This is the update  on Mr. Thankgod Ebhos 53yrs, was the 5th person taken to Gallows along with  the 4 executed inmates in Benin prison on 24 June 2013, Thankgod was brought out from the gallows and returned back to cell, when the Judge was reading his death warrant signed in 1997 by Ahmed Ali, then Military Administrator of Kaduna state, it was written he should be executed by public execution in the city of Kaduna by Nigerian army 1st mechanize Division Kaduna state, the hangman (Executioner) said

He was charged Arm-Robbery, charge No: KD/ART/4/90, he was arrested on 28 March 1988, sentenced to death on 30th May 1995 by Hon. Justice J.S Abiriye of Kaduna State Robbery and Firearms Tribunal holding at High Court of Justice Kaduna state Nigeria, he is native of Ekpoma in Edo state, he is musician by profession.

On 24th June 2013 Mr. Thankgod Ebhos 53yrs witness the execution of the four death row prisoners: Chima Ijiofor 43yrs, Daniel Nsofor 39yrs, Osarenwinda Aiguokhan 49yrs, Richard Igagu 49yrs, the planned execution by firing squad of Mr. Thankgod Ebhos 53yrs by the prisons Authorities after witnessing the execution of 4 inmates constitutes Mental Torture and amounts to inhuman and degrading treatment contrary  to section 34 (1) (a) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended, and Article 5 of the African Charter on Human and people's Rights (Ratification and Enforcement ) Act.

1.That it would amount to torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment for the Nigerian Prisons Authorities  to execute Mr. Thankgod Ebhos 53yrs after  he has  suffered long and severe trauma, anxiety and suspense of imminent death while on death row.

2.That Section 11 of Robbery and Firearms (Special Provision) Act under which removes the right ofMr. Thankgod Ebhos  to appeal against his conviction and sentence to death amounts a gross violation of the right of Mr. Thankgod Ebhos to appeal against his said conviction and sentence and therefore contravenes section 36 of the 1999 Constitution and Article 7 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act.

3. Human Rights Social Development and Environmental foundation (HURSDEF) appeal to the President of Federal republic of Nigeria to commute the death sentence passed on Mr. Thankgod Ebhos to life imprisonment or terms of imprisonment.

Justine Ijeomah
Executive Director, HURSDEF
62 Ikwerre Street Mile 1, Diobu, Port-Harcourt,
Rivers State, Nigeria

Photonews: Laughing Ministers Of Nigeria

From left: Justice Minister; Bello Adoke, Agriculture Minister; Akinwunmi Adesina and Aviation Minister; Stella Oduah

U-Report: Total Gets Approval To Develop Egina Oilfield

Report By Total Media Relations

Total  announces that its subsidiary Total Upstream Nigeria Limited (TUPNI), operator of the OML 130 block, and co-venturers have obtained the necessary approvals from Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to award the main EPC contracts for the development of the offshore Egina field.

The field, discovered in 2003, is located in water depths of around 1,600 meters, 200 kilometers offshore Port Harcourt and 20 kilometers southwest of the Akpo field, located on the same license.

Egina is the second development of the OML 130 license. Following Akpo, which was brought on stream in 2009, it will add significant value to the partnership. With more than 21 million man-hours of local work, the project will make a material contribution to the development of Nigerian economy. After more than 50 years in the country, we are confident that Nigeria will continue to provide a suitable framework to promote investments” commented Yves-Louis Darricarrère, President of Upstream at Total.

The field development plan calls for 44 wells connected to a 330 meter-long floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel with a storage capacity of 2.3 million barrels. The design of the FPSO includes capacity for future developments of nearby discoveries. First oil is expected end-2017, with output reaching 200,000 barrels of oil per day at plateau. 

TUPNI has a 24% interest alongside the OML 130 partners: NNPC (Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation), SAPETRO (South Atlantic Petroleum) of Nigeria, CNOOC Limited of China and Petrobras of Brazil.

Total Exploration And Production In Nigeria:
In 2012, Total celebrates fifty years of its presence in Nigeria. The Group’s production in Nigeria was at 279,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2012.

Deepwater developments are one of Total’s main growth avenues in Nigeria, where the Group operates the Akpo field in OML 130 and is also preparing to develop the Egina field in the same lease.

Offshore production also comes from OMLs 99, 100 and 102, which are operated by the Group as part of a joint-venture with NNPC. The main fields in these leases are Amenam-Kpono, Edikan and Ofon. Total recently commenced the second phase of the Ofon development which is mostly intended to recover natural gas reserves. Ofon phase 2 is a step forward in the Group’s plan to reduce its gas flaring and greenhouse gas emissions.

Total’s onshore production comes from OML 58, which it also operates as part of its joint-venture with NNPC. A project is underway to increase the lease’s natural gas and condensate production capacity to supply the domestic market.

In addition, Total has significant equity production in Nigeria from its interests in non-operated ventures, particularly the NNPC/SPDC joint venture (10%) and SNEPCO operated PSC (12.5%), which includes the Bonga field. Total also has a 15% interest in Nigeria LNG, whose liquefied natural gas production capacity was increased to 21.9 million metric tons per year when Train 6 was brought on stream in late 2007.

Total deploys an assertive local content policy in Nigeria, with locally worked hours accounting for 60% and 90% respectively for Usan and OML 58 projects, and likely to reach 75% for Egina. The Group is also helping Nigerian contractors to build deepwater expertise, especially in the Niger Delta, a region that is home to more than half of Total’s Nigerian employees and most of its operations in the country.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Videonews: Ugandan Minister On Why IDA Matters For Uganda

U-Report: Rising Levels Of Homophobia In Sub-Saharan Africa

Report By Amnesty International

Homophobic attacks and harassment across sub-Saharan Africa are becoming more visible, indicating that homophobia is reaching dangerous levels, Amnesty International said today as it launched a comprehensive report documenting the discrimination faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex (LGBTI) people on the continent.

"Making Love a Crime: Criminalization of same-sex conduct in sub-Saharan Africa" looks at how “homosexual acts” are being increasingly criminalized across Africa as a number of governments seek to impose draconian penalties or broaden the scope of existing laws, including by introducing the death penalty.

“These attacks – sometimes deadly - must be stopped. No one should be beaten or killed because of who they are attracted to or intimately involved with,” said Widney Brown, Amnesty International’s director of Law and Policy.

“In too many cases these attacks on individuals and groups are being fuelled by key politicians and religious leaders who should be using their position to fight discrimination and promote equality.”

Homosexuality, often characterized as “unnatural carnal acts” or “acts against the order of nature”, is currently a crime in 38 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

In the last five years South Sudan and Burundi have introduced new laws criminalising same-sex sexual conduct. Uganda, Liberia and Nigeria all currently have Bills seeking to increase existing penalties pending before Parliament.

The report reviews the current state of legal provisions across the continent and how these laws adversely affect LGBTI Africans. Individuals interviewed by Amnesty International spoke of their daily struggle to survive discrimination and threats. The report contains specific cases from Uganda, Kenya, South Africa and Cameroon.

In Cameroon, people are regularly arrested after being denounced to the authorities as being gay or lesbian - based on their appearance or conjecture, rather than evidence. Some individuals accused of same sex conduct have been imprisoned for three years without trial or charge.

Former detainees from Cameroon told Amnesty International about being beaten while in custody and subjected to invasive procedures such as forced anal exams.
Even in countries where criminalization laws are not enforced, their existence provides opportunities for abuse, including blackmail and extortion, by police and members of the public. 

In Kenya, individuals told Amnesty International that sometimes the police threaten to arrest them under provisions in the penal code related to same-sex relations in order to elicit a bribe. Extortionists also use the existence of these laws to demand money or goods in exchange for not revealing real or even made-up private details to the media, community or police.

“The very existence of laws criminalizing same-sex relations - whether they are enforced or not - sends a toxic message that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are criminals and have no rights,” said Widney Brown.

“These poisonous laws must be repealed and the human rights of all Africans upheld.”
Political and religious opposition to LGBTI rights is becoming more visible - and vocal. In some African countries political leaders target sexual orientation issues to distract attention from their overall human rights records, often marked by rampant discrimination and violence against women, corruption and lack of media freedoms.

Uganda’s much publicized Anti-Homosexuality Bill still hangs over the LGBTI community. It has been re-introduced to Parliament several times since 2009, frequently coinciding with periods of widespread unrest about rising fuel and food prices. The Bill seeks to impose the death penalty for ‘aggravated’ homosexuality and would criminalize anyone in the country who does not report violations of the Bill’s wide-ranging provisions.

National and religious leaders in Africa often frame “homosexual acts” as a western import, alien to African culture. However, most of the laws criminalizing same sex activity in Africa are a direct legacy of colonialism and it is the religious right in Western countries like the US who actively fund and promote homophobia in Africa.

In many instances, media reports also stir up and inflame hostility towards people not conforming to heterosexual norms, often putting individuals at risk. A photograph of LGBTI activist David Kato was printed on the front page of Rolling Stone magazine in Uganda in 2010 next to a headline reading “Hang them”. Just a month later, he was killed in his home.

In South Africa, Amnesty International has documented a persistently high number of rapes and murders against the LGBTI community even though same sex conduct is not criminalized and the country boasts one of the most progressive constitutions in the world, including promoting the rights of LGBTI individuals.

Between June and November 2012 at least seven people, five of them lesbians, were murdered in what appears to be targeted violence related to their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“It is time that African states stopped demonizing individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. Human rights are about the dignity and equality of all people,” said Widney Brown.

“As the chorus for recognition grows stronger and stronger, African states have to stop denying that homophobia is a human rights issue and recognize that LGBTI rights are an integral part of the human rights struggle. It is their responsibility to protect, not persecute.”