Monday, October 28, 2013

Pastor Sam Adeyemi's questions on the proposed National Conference

I've been reading "WHY NATIONS FAIL: THE ORIGINS OF POWER, PROSPERITY AND POVERTY" by Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson. They surmise that in most countries the small elite group which controls political power, uses it to control the economy to benefit themselves. Most countries that have developed did so by evolving inclusive institutions and policies that make prosperity possible for all citizens. So, citizens have control over the elite that control the economy.

England changed when parliament whittled down the power of the monarchy and created policies to empower citizens to prosper. The industrial revolution followed through innovation by citizens. Dubai which runs a monarchy has transformed because the elite have a conscience.

Nigeria's government is taking steps towards organising a national conference now. This gives cause for cheer, but there are questions on my mind.

1. Do we need a national conference to build good roads, schools and hospitals etc?

2. Sadly I have seen utter wretchedness in the living conditions of Nigerians in recent times.

3. Will the Nigerian elite class have enough conscience to create a Nigeria where all citizens can equally prosper ? It doesn't matter whether they are military or civilian, or belong to different political parties.

4. Will this elite class which has frustrated previous conferences and annulled elections execute our decisions this time?

5. Does the Nigerian populace have the enlightenment and guts to whip the political class into line when the elections come?

6. Will the outcomes of this conference, if any, ever become our reality?

7. Is there a way for citizens to shift the balance of power so they have control over the politicians?

8. Or should we encourage the conference to hold and pray that God should hijack the direction somehow?

9. Do all constituent parts of Nigeria really want development to happen?

Many questions on my mind. Dear Tweeps, WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Friday, October 11, 2013

PRESS RELEASE: MEND Exposes National Dialogue Committee Member, Tony Uranta

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has alleged that a member of the National Dialogue Committee, Mr Tony Uranta recently constituted and inaugurated by President Goodluck Jonathan to work out the framework for a national dialogue contacted it to solicit support for the confab.

The militant group in a statement signed by its spokesman, Jomo Gbomo said its scepticism and suspicion may not be farfetched about antecedent of Mr Uranta whom it said had campaign repeatedly that MEND has seized to exist.

According to Jomo Gbomo, Mr Uranta approached the group to solicit for its support because a rejection coming from a South-South body like MEND is an embarrassment to the presidency.

Read the Full Statement Below:
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) was recently contacted by a member of the National Dialogue Advisory Committee, Mr Tony Uranta, soliciting our understanding and support for the proposed National Confab stating that a rejection coming from a South-South body like MEND is an embarrassment to the presidency.

Ironically, this solicitation is coming from the same man who has been campaigning repeatedly that MEND seized to exist after the Niger Delta Amnesty fraud.

Our scepticism and suspicion of the so-called National Dialogue may also have to do with the antecedents and lack of integrity of Mr Tony Uranta himself.

Some hours after we took responsibility for our symbolic October 01, 2010 twin car bomb blasts in Abuja, Mr Tony Uranta sent a text message to Mr Henry Okah, asking him to reach out to me (Jomo Gbomo) to retract our earlier claim of responsibility “as the government of Goodluck Jonathan wants to put the blame on some Northern elements” (specifically, former head of state and 2011 presidential aspirant, General Ibrahim Babangida and Mallam Nasir el Rufai, were the targets for the blame).

It was in anticipation that MEND was contacted by Mr Henry Okah, the president Goodluck Jonathan confidently came on national television that night to absorb our group from the attack.

Mr Tony Uranta was also involved in collecting 50,000 US Dollars bribe on behalf of the Save Nigeria Group which led to an embarrassing scandal at the time.

The same people who managed to hoodwink and entire nation into believing that over 30,000 men and women in the Niger Delta, now requiring an annual training/rehabilitation budget of over 30Billion Naira, took up arms. How can the government correlate its display of less than three thousand weapons (most of which were donated by the military for the disarmament show), with more than thirty thousand (30) so-called repentant militants. Were the rest fighting with sticks?

Millions of hard working Nigerians remains unemployed, our education system is going down the drain with strikes, and the country is getting increasingly full of educated derelicts while the government shares out billions of naira monthly on miscreants, criminals and con men who claim to have been freedom fighters. This scam was designed by people in government such as Timi Alaibe who created ghost fighters with the connivance of those at the highest level.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) hereby passes a vote of no-confidence.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

How Army intercepted plot to bomb Kano during Sallah

The Nigerian Army has confirmed that it has intercepted plans by the dreaded Boko haram insurgent group to carry out attacks during the forth-coming Sallah celebrations in Kano State.
According to the Commander ‘3’ Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Brig. Gen Illiyasu Abba, at a press briefing in Kano, a combined team of the JTF troops and Department of State Services made stunning recoveries during a raid of two Boko Haram terrorists’ hideouts at Gunduwawa village in the Gezawa Local Government Area.
Brig.Gen Abba said the security operatives recovered bomb making paraphernalia which were being assembled for an attack in the state during Sallah andother upcoming celebration this year from a factory.
Abba said, “At about 2 am on October 8, a combined team of the JTF troops and Department of State Services raided two Boko Haram terrorists’ hideouts at Gunduwawa village in the Gezawa Local Government Area.
“The raid, which was conducted following a lead on intelligence reports, made no arrests as the terrorists fled the village on the approach of the JTF troops and DSS personnel.
“The weapons  and other dangerous materials were meant to wreak havoc on Kano during the Eid-el-Kabir and other festivities before the end of the year.’’
He also said the suspected child of owner of the house, an unnamed young man was shot dead during the operation.
The items the military said it recovered includes: improvised Explosive Devices, ‘two AK 58 with 193 rounds of 5.56 mm ammunition, one AK 47  magazine with 107 rounds of 5.56 millimeter ammunition, bows and arrows as some of the recovered items.
There were also: three primed cylinders of IEDs, one primed explosive suicide back pack, 18 empty IED cylinders, 24 detonators,   a small bag of fertiliser,  IED timers  cortex wires, three remote control devices, five Motorola hand held radios, four communicators, six alarm clocks, two cartons of  nine -volt batteries, a scale, one external hard drive and one heavy duty charger/battery were also recovered from the factory, according to the commander.
In a related development, reliable source revealed that Cameroonian soldiers, on Tuesday, engaged the members Boko Haram in a fierce gun battle which left about 180 members of the sect dead while various sophisticated weapons were also recovered.
The source stated thus: “The Cameroonian troops have been involved in a serious confrontation with the insurgents. They have killed over 180 of them.
“Almost 200 rifles and 70 machine guns were recovered from them by Cameroonian soldiers.
“You can see from the casualty figure and the level of seizures that they were already comfortable in that part of Cameroun until this incident.
“Ironically, the Camerounians who had  been reluctant in spite of complaints by Nigeria at the diplomatic level are the ones now  reaching out to us to ensure that the fleeing insurgents are not allowed to escape. So, I can tell you that the heat is on them” the source further revealed.
The source also said that the killing of two gendarmes on patrol by the insurgents lead to a reprisal around the border which Cameroon shares with Nigeria.
“I think this angered them to order a comprehensive raid of the hideouts of the insurgents” he revealed.

Boko Haram Bomb Factory Discovered In kano

AS residents of Kano State begin to heave a sigh of relief that the era of bomb explosions is gone, the Joint Task Force (JTF), in the early hours of Monday, uncovered a  bomb factory  where bombs and other dangerous equipment were being made in preparation for use during the Eid el Kabir and Christmas celebrations.
The son of the owner of the house where the explosives were being manufactured  was killed during the JTF operation. He was inside the building between 2-3 a.m. when the operation took place.
Speaking with newsmen on Wednesday in Kano, the 3 Brigade commander, Brigadier-General Ilyasu Abba, said the whole festive period could have been a disaster if the huge amount of weapons being manufactured were not discovered .
Among the dangerous weapons which had already been made for an assignment at the terrorists’ hideout at Gunduwawa village in Gezawa Local Government  Area in the ancient city are 193 rounds of 5.3mm ammunition , one AK 47  magazine, 107 rounds of  7.6mm special ammunition and working tools and materials used for making Improvised Explosive Devices (EIDs ).
Others are materials used for making IEDs, which include three primed  cylinders of IEDs, one primed explosive suicide back pack , 18 empty IEDs cylinder,  small bags of fertilizer, IEDs timers, cortex wires, three remote control devices and 24 detonators.
According to Brigadier-General Abba, the JTF team and the Director of State Security Service (DSSS) stormed the bomb factory between 2- 3 a.m. last Monday and succeeded in killing one of the terrorists, who was the son of the owner of the house, The house was allegedly gave out on hire.
He  added that the raid, which was conducted  following intelligence report, made no arrest as the terrorists fled the village on the approach of the JTF troop and the DSSS, saying that the security operatives did not attempt to attack the terrorists with maximum equipment because they were cautious not to kill innocent citizens.
 Abba further hinted that other dangerous equipment recovered from the bomb factory were five motorola hand held radios, four communicators, six alarm clocks, three cartons of eight-volt batteries, one external hard drive and one heavy duty charger/ battery.
Corroborating Brigadier-General Abba, the state DSSS, Bassey Etang, said the son of the owner of the house, who was killed during the operation was found at the scene of the incident at the odd hour (2-3 a.m on Monday), alleging that he must be a member of  Boko Haram since he was among those that gave out the building for hire without the knowledge of his father.
While commending the general public for their unflinching support  and useful information being given to the security operatives , the state DSS Bassy Etang assured that every information given would be treated with confidentiality
He noted that without the necessary information from member of the public could have not succeeded in tracking the terrorists.
The DSS who disclosed that the very house where the Boko Haram members were uncovered had been demolish in line with the security regulation , noting that owners of house have been warned several times to be wary of who they who gave their building for rent to afford been demolish if found to be hideout of terrorists.

Oil theft in Nigeria A murky business

THE standard depiction of oil theft in Nigeria shows a young man, knee-deep in a swamp, with a bucket or wooden canoe full of pilfered thick black sludge. But a besuited banker in Geneva or a slick shipping trader in London might provide an equally apt image. A report by Chatham House, a London think-tank, unravels a complex network that arranges the theft of oil worth billions of dollars a year.

Oil theft may cost Nigeria, Africa’s second-biggest economy after South Africa’s, as much as $8 billion a year, claims the report. It says an average of 100,000 barrels a day (b/d) were stolen in the first quarter of this year. Politicians, security forces, militants, oil-industry staff, oil traders and members of local communities all profit from “bunkering” of oil, so few have an interest in stopping it. When so many are feeding from the trough, it is doubtful if anyone in Nigeria has the political will to stop it.

Profits are laundered abroad in financial hubs, including New York, London, Geneva and Singapore. Money is smuggled in cash via middlemen and deposited in shell companies and tax havens. Bank officials are bribed. Cash is laundered through legitimate businesses. Some of the proceeds—and stolen oil—end up in the Balkans, Brazil, China, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, the United States and other parts of west Africa.

At the smallest scale, telltale plumes of smoke rise from illegal refineries in the Niger Delta’s labyrinthine creeks. But larger-scale bunkering involves siphoning oil from pipelines on land or under water and loading it onto small barges, from which it is transferred to bigger ships in the Gulf of Guinea that carry the stuff to international refiners who may be unaware it is stolen—though plainly many know it is. The line between legal and illegal oil supplies is easily blurred in a country so rife with corruption. Transactions in Nigeria’s oil industry are infamous for their murkiness.

The trade in stolen oil helps other transnational criminal networks to spread across the Gulf of Guinea, creating global links between oil thieves, pirates and traffickers in arms and drugs. The damage caused by thieves also often forces oil companies to shut pipelines down. As a result, Nigeria is producing oil at 400,000 b/d below its capacity of 2.5m b/d. On September 23rd Shell had to close its Trans-Niger pipeline, which should carry 150,000 b/d, because of leaks due to theft, less than a week after it had been reopened.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Lord Chosen Church Headquarters Shut Over Environmental Law Violation

Lagos State Government Tuesday, sealed the Headquarters Church of the Lords Chosen Church, along the Apapa – Oshodi Expressway over alleged gross environmental abuse and Attention of structures along Odo Asimawu Drainage Channel, System 6c.

While monitoring the state of Lagos environment, the Commissioner for the Environment noticed massive trading under the Ijesha flyover bridge along the Apapa Oshodi Expressway and large scale environmental degradation arising from the activities of the traders.

Further inspection round the premises revealed that the church does not dispose the solid waste generated properly, while as a matter of fact, it openly burns waste generated inside the church premises, thereby exposing the lives of its worshipers to serious health hazard.

A further investigation also revealed that a substantial part of the 1 kilometer church Auditorium was built on the Odo Asimawu drainage channel thereby impeding the flow of storm water, as well as inhibiting effective performance of the channel.

It was also discovered that the Church built all its toilets on the canal and deliberately discharges the raw human waste into the canal.

Bello, explained that in order to prevent an outbreak of epidemic, as well as protect the lives of its worshippers, the state government was left with no other option but to seal the church Auditorium.
He therefore, directed that, for the church to be reopened it must abate all the nuisances noticed as well as remove all the encumbrances along the drainage channel.

Other conditions stated for re opening include: Completion of sanitization of the entire church environment, putting in place a proper solid waste disposal facility, stop further refuse burning, removal of all structures on drainage channel, building of a new toilet facilities, and ensuring proper disposal as well as evacuation of solid/human waste dumped inside the canal among others.

While commending the cooperation and non resistance of the Church authorities, the commissioner observed their willingness to comply, but stated that the state government would only unseal the auditorium as until all the environmental nuisances were abated.

Bello, assured that that government would continue to promote a cleaner, habitable and conducive environment to residents irrespective of their ethnic or religious affiliation in other to attain a cleaner and sustainable environment in the state.

The commissioner further restated the commitment of the administration to its environmental regeneration and renewal programmes geared towards attaining a cleaner and habitable environment that would be the pride of all citizens.


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Police rescues businessman from kidnappers in Aba --- ACP

The Police Area Commander in Aba, Abia, ACP Rabiu Dayi, on Monday said that the police rescued a kidnapped business man in the town. Dayi told newsmen in Aba that the police smashed had a gang of kidnappers terrorising Aba. “We called you up this morning to show you another achievement we have recorded in crime fighting in Aba. “Two kidnappers were gunned down by my men last week.

“Yesterday (Sunday) at about 10.a.m, a young businessman, whose name I will not mention for security reasons, went to No. 36 Omenazu Street, off Faulks Road, Aba to cut his hair.

“Four armed young men in a white-coloured Toyota Hilux van followed him into the salon and kidnapped him on gun point.
“When I got the information around 1.00 p.m., we started searching for information.
“We were reliably informed that the man was taken to Nwakanma’s compound at Amavo, Osisioma Ngwa Local Government Area, along Enugu-Port Harcourt expressway,” Dayi said.
The commander said that the police trailed the kidnappers to the compound which was alleged to be used by kidnappers as hideout.
According to him, in an early morning gun battle between the police and the gang, one person was killed while some others escaped with bullet wounds.
Dayi said that the victim was rescued unhurt while the police recovered two AK 47 riffles with 49 rounds of ammunitions and two motorcycles from the hideout.
The commander called on residents of Abia and neighbouring states to be watchful and to report any body with bullet wounds to the nearest police station for further action.
The commander urged people to be careful and to inform the police if they found any vehicle trailing them.
He said that members of the gang that robbed people at gunpoint at Iheorji in Aba South Local Government Area had been caught and would be charged to court.
Dayi, however, said that many cases were being stalled in courts in Aba because people were afraid of testifying against criminals, adding that such stance made things hard to try criminals in the area.
Dayi said people who testified in courts and volunteered information that would help to get judgments against criminals threatening the peace of the society, would get ``full protection''. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Plane Crash: Eye Witness Recount Ordeal

An airport taxi driver, Mathew Babatunde who witnessed the crash narrated how it happened.
He said, "I was just passing the toll gate with passengers in my car when I saw the aircraft coming down.
I even thought the plane will crash on my car the way it was bent.
My passengers immediately shouted at me that I should swerve the car. Immediately, I swerved my car then I saw that the plane was struggling to go back up. It eventually hit a Mango tree behind Saraha Tank Farm. 
Immediately the plane hit the tree, it divided into two and caught fire. I saw one man walked out with his leg, he was supported by two other people (The man was later revealed as Mr. Akinsanya, son- in-law of the late former Governor Olusegun Agagu). It took about 20 minutes before ambulance came and another forty minutes before fire service people arrived the scene.
"Those around, including Air Force, Arik and other Nigerians were helping to rescue the victims. "I am not working again today, I want to go and park my car now. I am no longer interested."

Another witness, Mrs. Chidinma Nwoke spoke while crying, saying she was among the first people who arrived the scene of the crash. She said "we tried to help the victims but the soldiers and airport officials refused. They said it is dangerous and that we were not wearing safety boots. "It is horrible. I saw a woman who tried to jump out but she got hooked on the fence and she died there. The fire outbreak consumed most of them, including one man who was almost out. That man would have been alive if the fire services were on
ground early enough. He was almost out of the aircraft but fire caught his trousers and that was how he got burnt". "I saw a man who wore a white trouser walked with his legs from the crash. He had only a slight injury on the head and was taken to the clinic near the toll gate".

Another person who witnessed it, Mr. Nasir Ramon Olanrewaju, a senior communications manager working at the headquarters of United Bank for Africa (UBA), simply said, "I was at a private hangar waiting for a flight to Ghana when I saw the plane, an Embraer come down at the airport. I saw it plunged into a building, close to Tank Farm at the airport, close to toll gate".

Thursday, October 3, 2013

More pictures from scene of crashed Lagos plane

Commissioner among passengers of crashed Lagos plane — Ondo State Govt.

The Government of Ondo State in Nigeria’s South-West has confirmed that one of its commissioners was among the passengers of the Associated Ailrines flight heading for the state capital, Akure, but which crashed shortly after take-off from the domestic terminal at Lagos’ Murtala Mohammed International Airport.

A statement issued by Eni Akinsola, Chief Pres Secretary to Governor Olusegun Mimiko, also confirmed that “family members, associates and other top government officials were also involved in the crash.”

The statement said:

“The Ondo State Government received with shock the news of the crash of the plane bearing the corpse of the former Governor of Ondo State, Dr Olusegun Agagu, as it was taking off from Lagos. A commissioner, family members, associates and other top government officials were also involved in the crash. Information available indicates that there were casualties and a few survivors of this unfortunate crash. We are however still expecting more information. No doubt, this is an unfortunate disaster in the life of our dear State.

We can only pray that God will visit the State with mercy and give us all the strength to bear these unfortunate losses. We ask all residents to be in a sober and prayerful mood at these trying times as God is indeed the only person we should call upon in this period. Government assures that further and better information will be released as soon as they are available.”

Below are more images from the scene of the crash

Agagu’s casket recovered intact

The casket, bearing the corpse of the Ondo State former governor, Dr. Olusegun Agagu, has been recovered by rescue agencies at the site of the Associated Airlines plane, which crashed in Lagos on Thursday morning. The casket was intact as of the time of recovery.
The only casket on board the plane, which was supposedly that of Agagu, was taken away by security operatives a few minutes after 12 noon.
Almost all parts of the aircraft was burnt except the back where the casket was kept.
The remains of the former University of Ibadan lecturer were due to be interred in Ondo State this weekend after a series of events by the state government. The plane was conveying Agagu’s body to Akure, the Ondo State capital, when it crashed around the MMIA in Lagos.

Plane crash latest: Emergency agencies recover nine bodies

Rescue agencies have recovered the bodies of nine victims of the Associated Airlines plane, which crashed around the access gate of the MMIA, Lagos, on Thursday.
No official confirmation has been released by the relevant agencies on the number of casualties.
Twenty passengers were on board the plane, which was conveying the body of the former governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Agagu, who died in Lagos on Friday last week, to Akure, the state capital.


Plane crash: Black boxes recovered, says AIB

The Accident Investigation Bureau has said the two black boxes of the Associated Airlines plane, which crashed in Lagos on Thursday, have been recovered.

The Director of Engineering, AIB, Mr. Emmanuel Dialla, said the two black boxes had been retrieved from the accident scene.
Dialla said, “AIB has succeeded in picking the two black boxes, which will give us an insight into what really happened.”


Plane lost engine after take-off before crash

The Associated Airlines plane, with registration number 5NBJY, which crashed within the precinct of the MMIA, Ikeja, Lagos, on Thursday, lost an engine immediately after it took off.
A source, who confided in our correspondent, said the pilot of the distressed plane tried to return to the airport while the aircraft crashed about 800 metres away from the airport.
The EMBRA plane 120 crashed by the Sahara Group building few metres away from the MMIA access gate.
Unconfirmed reports said the late Agagu’s son, Feyi, was among the crash victims.
The identities of the other victims of the crash could not be ascertained as of press time.


#NGN101: Introduction to the average Nigerian – Japheth J Omojuwa

Are you ready to die for Nigerians? For those of you that need to think very hard about that question, let me guide you into the thoughts that should help you make a decision. The Arab Spring started off the back of a citizen who immolated himself. Then others went mad and the spring consumed entrenched powers. If a Nigerian had done that, many things would have happened but certainly not the spring. If a Nigerian sets himself on fire over the issues and poverty faced by Nigerians, many possible questions would be asked.

“Why did he set himself on fire? Once there is life there is hope.” If the person did it in the morning, *average Nigerians would say, “why didn’t he do in the afternoon when workers are returning from work?” and if the person did it in the afternoon, average Nigerians would go, “he should have done it in the morning, cause traffic, so that others will join in the protest.” If the dead protester used, say 4 litres of petrol to burn himself, average Nigerians would say,”that’s almost N400 worth of petrol wasted. Why didn’t he use firewood?” And had the person somehow used firewood, the very same average Nigerians will go, “in this world of climate change and desertification, why in the world would he waste firewood to kill himself?”
If the person was the only child of his parents, average Nigerians would say, “why did he have to hurt his parents? Why didn’t he at least inform them so they’d be prepared” and were the protester to have siblings, average Nigerians will ask “why didn’t he involve some of his other siblings? It would have been more effective if he had burnt not only himself but may be two of his sisters and brothers for effect.”
If per chance the person gets saved and did not die, average Nigerians will ask “why didn’t he just die? Now he is useless to the society” and if the person used a gun, average Nigerians will ask, “why did he use a gun, that’s un-dramatic, he should have set himself on fire.” There are a million questions and accusations that’d follow this act but only a few will be in line with the expectation of the dead; that the people for whom he died see a reason to commit themselves to the struggle for change in Nigeria.
Average Nigerians are not dumb; they are smart, in fact, too smart. They will not be asking those questions because they are dumb, they will be asking those questions to avoid anything that’d require them to fight, to agitate, to protest or make requests on the government for change to happen. The English language calls it cowardice but this is not directly reflected except you take a deep look at the underlying reasons why people ask questions when it is time for action and why they ask for action when they know deep down those who will hit the street are only ready to outline the issues first of all. So now, refer to the first sentence of this piece and see if you can answer the question better.
There is a recent example. The #OurNASS protests started in July as #AugustMarch on Twitter when as with the #OccupyNigeria movement, Nigerians on social media started discussing the need to take the anger on social media to the streets. This time, the debate was squarely about the pay of the National Assembly. At this time, everybody had something to say and virtually everyone agreed it was time. Of course as usual, the average Nigerian said, “all they can do is tweet and talk, they cannot go on the street to protest.” It does not matter that the bulk of these young people started and brought about the country’s most renowned protest, #OccupyNigeria. The average Nigerian felt the tweets and talks were useless because according to him, hitting the streets – even without thinking, facts and baring the issues before hand – was the only way forward. Despite the efforts to denigrate their attempts for change, these young Nigerians were undeterred and certainly did not thoughtlessly hit the streets. What they did was go behind closed doors to organise. What do we do? How do we do it? When is the best time to do it? Who should we work and partner with? They discussed and debated. They argued, agreed and disagreed but were never disagreeable. All the while, those who knew they were planning a protest did not have super ideas of what was best. If they did have them, they did not say a thing! You would think, based on the defined character of the average Nigerian above that they were simply waiting for when it was certain the protests would no longer hold. To then say, “why haven’t they come out to protest?”
Then the Nigerians who had spent the better part of about 10 weeks planning finally came out. They said they’d march in Abuja initially with respect to the pay of the National Assembly. It was designed as a peaceful protest in Abuja that’d involve engaging the National Assembly in a logical debate about its budgetary allocations and the discordant realities of poverty on the streets of Nigeria. The initial protest and engagement was designed to be a first of many steps to get the National Assembly to be accountable. Guess what, the average Nigerian who had those 10 weeks to map out so called better ideas on strategy and what to do finally spoke – on the eve of the protests. “No! This is not what we need. We need guns and bullets. How can we engage David Mark?” and “I am not interested in protests, when you are ready for a bloody revolution please call me” and bla bla bla and bullshit spilling all over!  “The ones we protested what changed? There are no successful protests.” If they sounded logical on the eve of the protests, they removed the mask over that when some of them went as far as mocking the protesters. One even said they should be shot at sight!
If you take one issue, they will say “what about this and that issue?” and if you bite the bait and take “this and that” issue, they will say “why not focus on one first.” If you are silent you are a coward. If you are too loud, then a politician has paid you. What then do you think these average Nigerians would have you do? Nothing! Be nothing! Do nothing! As long as you never existed, you’d be fine. Some call it envy and jealousy but I don’t think those words do justice to the phenomenon of hating those deemed to be at the forefront.
This is why I do what I do; it is who I am. This is why it looks as though I don’t give a …. It is because I don’t! Once I am convinced about the need for something, hating only spurs me on. I am not doing it trying to save a people or some people, I am doing it because this is my life. It does not matter what people say; that I collect money from the APC, that Bola Tinubu pays me, that Nasi El-Rufai pays me, that I am an American agent, that I am Illuminati, that I secretly work for the PDP…the accusations are endless but they all come from the same source; a group of people who would rather people like myself keep shut and come and chop. You find them on social media, mini contractors and Lilliputian ball boys and micro assistants of local politicians who believe that asking for a better country puts their own sources of income at risk. They’d do anything to defend their butter and bread, they’d say anything to shut people like myself up but shutting up would be a tragedy.
I am inspired by the fact that I am not alone. I have friends who are committed to this Nigerian project. Many of them would live easier lives minding their thriving businesses, but they’d rather commit to working for a better country. Many of them like myself have had countless opportunities to “take and be quiet” even as recent as two weeks ago but they remain undaunted. Many who would sell out assume others are like them so they accuse you of what you haven’t done. They say you will be who you have not been. They intend to live their unfulfilled lives waiting for you to fall. When you create that siege mentality around yourself, you against them, you know falling is in your hands and so you keep moving…but only forward. I appreciate my friends and those young Nigerians committed to take our country back! But for them, someone like myself would probably sign a long-term contract and just maintain a life in the United States and Europe. God bless these ones who keep the fire burning. They are not politicians but they are interested in politics. Like myself, they are accused by the establishment through their social media agents, of being sponsored by certain elements but all you need do is open your eyes and you’d see these young people are creating value beyond just making demands on the government of the day.
When we needed the National Assembly to make the then vice-president Jonathan to be acting president, they were there to ask for justice to be done. Today when they ask for justice from the same government, they have ethnicity thrown as a card to distract from issues. The ethnicity that was not there when we marched to have the President installed.
Going forward, I personally remain committed to my values and critical relationships. I believe there is a long way to go and needless battles must be avoided, as there are real ones ahead. I believe to have a better country the average Nigerian must become a sort of factivist with his or her work. It just matters that you don’t make activism that work. Get a job, and then fight through it. Don’t sell out and call a god today the one you called a fool yesterday, like one of these social media onenaija boys. There is no need for personal conflicts; if we fight using words, we’d have wasted our words. If we fight using blows, we’d have wasted our blows. Like the average Nigerian described above, people will always be who they are anyway and that diversity is what makes our world what it is. I am excited about tomorrow. I am excited because the future I see for myself and my country are way better than the realities we both see today. I know that what we see today makes it difficult to hope for a better tomorrow but I also know that we cannot judge a tomorrow that is yet to come. Like Nigeria’s future, tomorrow remains a clean slate for me and I hope to live it on my own terms like I have always done. I am not where I used to be; I have more than I have ever had. God has blessed me and I am now a blessing to many. Many things about me have changed but those are mostly things money can buy, the most important thing remains the same; I am the same ol’ Gee! Thank you for your support. I have been blessed by many of you and I have found strength at critical times because of your kind words. Have my best wishes. Glory to God!
*The average Nigerian must fight for his/her country or forget it altogether. There is no messiah coming to save us.

Policemen beaten up over Okada seizure

Pandemonium broke out, yesterday, in Idi-Araba area of Lagos, after hoodlums attacked a team of policemen that came to effect the arrest of commercial motorcyclists (Okada), leaving some of them wounded.
The Police van would have reportedly been set ablaze but for the timely arrival of reinforcement from Area ‘D’ Command, Mushin.
This is just as a 28-year-old Man ‘O War official was arrested by the Lagos State Police Command for impersonating a Police Corporal.
The suspect was said to have chewed and swallowed the fake police identity card found on him in a bid to avoid arrest.
Eyewitnesses said trouble started at Idi-Araba after a team of policemen from Itire division stormed a park close to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital and seized some commercial motorcycles.
They said pleas and explanations by the commercial motorcyclists that the area was not among the designated areas of restriction by the state government fell on deaf ears.
Out of frustration, some of them reportedly attempted to seize their motorbikes, an action that led to an altercation that degenerated into a fight.
Beating up policemen
An eyewitness said: “A group of persons from nowhere came and descended on the policemen. Two of the policemen were beaten to a state of coma.
“When police reinforcement came, the protesters unleashed terror on them and they fled. They were later overpowered by another reinforcement that came in patrol vans from different stations under Area ‘D’ Command.
“They shot sporadically into the air. In the process a male passer-by was hit by stray bullet and was immediately rushed to the hospital.”
When Vanguard visited the scene at 4p.m., normalcy had returned. But policemen were patrolling the scene.
‘Bar identity’
Meanwhile, the suspect arrested for impersonating a Police Corporal said he got the police badge and ranks from a beer parlour.
The suspect, who identified himself as Ben Okon, said: “I am a member of Man ‘O War and my original uniform was given to me by my boss. But the police badge and rank fell from a policeman’s who was in a beer parlour.
“After she left, I picked the polythene bag, thinking it contained money, only to find her badge.”
The suspect, according to Deputy spokes person for Lagos State Police Command, Damasus Ozoani, would be charged to court soon.

Breaking News: Plane Crashes at Lagos Airport

Reports reaching us indicate that an Akure-bound chartered Associated Aeroplane has crashed at the Lagos airport near the toll gate.
Fire service officials were seen evacuating the occupants of the plane and an unconfirmed report from LASUTH says 20 bodies have been brought it unconscious.
It is also said that the aircraft was carrying the corpse of late ex-Ondo state governor Olusegun Agagu. 
More details later

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Tinubu Writes Yobe Gov An Emotional Letter Over School Attack

Former Lagos State Governor and leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has sympathised with Governor Ibrahim Gaidam of Yobe State over Sunday’s murder of 41 students of the College of Agriculture in Gujba by suspected Boko Haram militants.
In an emotional letter sent to the governor, Tinubu said he was moved to “deep sorrow and anguish indignation” upon hearing the news of the tragedy. He said the wanton murder of the students “jars the conscience and reminds us of the sinister nature of the enemy our nation now faces”.
In one of the most horrific attacks carried out on defenseless people by the Islamic militants, gunmen on Sunday invaded the hostels at the school and shot dead more than 40 students while they were sleeping. The attackers also set the school buildings on fire as they retreated after the attack.
Tinubu wrote: “ I dare not ply you with words of false comfort and consolation for there is no genuine solace to be had at a moment like this. Evil crept through the darkness to snatch the lives of young people who were just entering the fullness of life. “Their purported crime was that they wanted to improve their lives and help the nation; for this, they should be commended. Instead, their lives were snuffed short,” the APC leader said.
Tinubu also assured the governor that though the grief is heavy, Nigerians share in the tragedy of this moment. “ You are the father of all residents in your state, thus you carry the heavy grief of a father; but you don’t carry this grief alone; all Nigerians grief with you. Those taken are our children too.”
The former governor also urged Gaidam and the people of Yobe State never to bow to the intimidation of the attackers but overcome this tragedy with determination and persistence.
Tinubu told Gaidam: “You must look beyond the death and spilled blood of these innocent children. In times like these, it is easy to give up and retreat into the shadows these evil forces have created. Yet we must be of good courage, we must forge ahead with our best plans and preparations for the people.”
The APC leader also warned of the dire consequences of giving in to terror. He urged the governor to remain steadfast in providing quality education, enlightenment and progress for the people describing the attack as a contest for the soul of the state and the nation.
“This is a contest for the soul of the state and the nation; we dare not lose it. These murderers seek to shutter the educational system in your state. Should they accomplish this, they will only attack another institution, then another, until all are flattened,” he said.

Tinubu called on the Federal Government and the law enforcement agencies to work closely with the state government to devise a strategy that better protects targeted institutions saying with the latest attack, it is now clear the acts of terror is not directed at a particular religion but to all Nigerians.While offering his assistance to Gaidam, Tinubu reiterated his commitment to standing by the people.
He said: “I want you to know that I stand by you, if there is anything I can do to help overcome this terrible moment, please call on me. You are my brother and I will come to help as a man does when his brother is in need.”

Media Chat: The 5 Lies Of Jonathan

Efforts made by President Goodluck Jonathan to shield some obvious truths during the fifth Media Chat held Sunday night on national television, have been exposed by P.M.NEWS painstaking investigation.
Contrary to the President’s claim in the televised media chat that prior to the emergence of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as the ruling party at the centre in 1999, there was no mobile phone, the truth, according to P.M. NEWS finding, is that mobile cellular services made their debut in Nigeria in 1993 with a “national” service operated by NITEL and a smaller Lagos service operated by Mobile Telecommunications Services (MTS).
The two companies, with a joint subscriber base of 12, 500, offered voice services over an analogue E-TACS network, as well as basic value-added services such as voicemail and paging, from three switches (in Lagos, Enugu, and Abuja).
Also, in 1995, MTS closed its operations due to failure to pay interconnection charges to NITEL. M-Tel subsequently emerged as Nitel’s mobile service provider. NITEL introduced the 090—phonelines. This was, however, analogue, very expensive and was reserved for the very few. It indeed was a status symbol, but it had limited coverage.
Furthermore, Multi-Links, a private limited liability company was incorporated in Nigeria in 1994 to provide telecommunication services. It only got “a Unified Access Service Licence with an initial 10 years validity and with an option to renew for a further five years to enable it further expand its services and provide a wide ranging bouquet of services covering Digital mobile fixed telephony, ISP, VAS and payphone, Full international gateway and National long distance services,” on 6 November, 2006, from the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC.
Prior to its expansion, it already introduced the 01- 775-lines into the market.
President Jonathan further claimed that since the emergence of the PDP, the country has witnessed improved standard of living. Surprisingly or maybe in the attempt to cover up the party’s failure at the federal level, he failed to state that many of the statistics churned out yearly do not correctly reflect the true prevailing situation in the country.
Last year, for instance, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) raised an alarm over an increase in the country’s poverty rate. The
Statistician-General of Nigeria, Yemi Kale, presented a study report indicating that poverty had risen from 54 percent among Nigeria’s population in 2004 to 69 percent in 2010, or about 112 million Nigerians, a huge figure when compared with Nigeria’s estimated population of 163 million in 2010.

Kale further said estimates show Nigerians may have gotten poorer in 2011.
Again, this year, the Statistician-General put the current rate of unemployment in Nigeria at 23.9 per cent even though it is believed to be higher.
The United Nations has also said that with 60,000 Nigerian children infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) last year, the country has the highest number of children with the virus in the world.
Jonathan also claimed that the Federal Government had only been assisting the striking lecturers of Nigerian universities in terms of payment of arrears as, according to him, the universities are supposed to be self sustaining, getting their pay from their internally generated revenue.
But P.M. NEWS findings have shown that his claim is false as it is not in conformity with the 2009 agreement the union reached with the Federal Government. According to the details of the report released by an implementation committee in November 2012, and obtained by P.M. NEWS, there was nothing to indicate that allowances or even salaries would be paid the lecturers through their internally generated revenue.
The report even made provision for grants for the lecturers to enable them attain more professional qualifications and degrees. The report was signed by both parties from the government and ASUU.
Many Nigerians this morning further slammed the President for mentioning that the ASUU strike was political.
According to them, the statement is unpresidential since the union has a justifiable reason for embarking on the industrial action.
Again, another obvious lie the President told Nigerians was that he had not declared his ambition to contest for the presidency in 2015.

He also denied seeing any of his billboards campaigning for his election, stressing that it was illegal to declare since the electoral laws of the country had not permitted it. Nigerians have not forgotten the recent campaigns by Dame Patience, the President’s wife, both in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital and the recent Abuja rally which brought thousands of PDP women together.
Apart from this, the President’s body language has shown his desperate interest in a second term in office. His loyalists and handlers have also, several times, given Nigerians the reason to believe that Jonathan is interested in contesting in 2015.

Analysts also believe that his ambition is the reason for the crises that have engulfed the PDP and torn the party into two.
President Jonathan claimed that his administration had fought corruption and that it is not even a major problem in the country or a major consideration for investors who want to do business in the country. In contrast to this claim, however, Nigerians and the international community have always lamented the high evel of corruption, especially in recent times and the inability of the government to check it.
There has also been a complaint that the rate of oil theft has never been as widespread and as frequent as it is now. This is even as the President has awarded contracts for the monitoring of the country’s waterways.
The secrecy with which the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, operates has also been a major point in the criticism of the present administration regarding the huge fraud being perpetrated in the petroleum industry.
At the last count, Transparency International rated Nigeria the 8th most corrupt nation on earth. This was in July this year, when it released the 2013 Global Corruption Barometer, which grouped Nigeria along with Zambia, Paraguay, Venezuela, Mexico, Russia, Zimbabwe, Liberia and Mongolia as the leading corrupt nations in the world.
Most informed analyses have always singled out corruption as the fundamental problem inhibiting Nigeria’s march to progress. President Jonathan’s comment will thus be deemed an absurdity.
PM News

Bigmanism in Nigeria

Several years ago, at a conference on Coastal Piracy in Nigeria’s Territorial Waters, I admonished a senior member of the Nigeria Customs and Immigrations Department that the Customs was the most corrupt sector of the Nigerian public service.
As a result, the Customs receive by far the largest number of job-applicants in the entire service.  The reason, I maintained, was because it is widely understood that Customs officials are Nigeria’s richest public-servants, given the fact that they are well-positioned to extort and receive bribes.
Big-man lawlessness:  The unfortunate Customs official at whom my reprimand was directed was not particularly offended.  Rather, he observed solemnly that the Customs receive mixed signals from Nigerian officialdom.  These indicate that laws are to be honoured more in the breach than in the observance.  Therefore, Customs officials have few qualms about being corrupt when, daily, they observe first-hand the corrupt practices of the powers-that-be
He noted that, on the one hand, the government issues a directive stating that a certain item is banned, or is to attract a certain amount of duty.  However, on the other hand, some “big-man” in the same government contradicts that very directive by giving instructions to Customs officials that Mr. So-and-So should be allowed in with 53 suitcases of the same banned item, or is to be exempted from duty payment.
Inevitably, Customs officials recognise that even members of the government are not interested in promoting their own laws.  So why should they, as lowly officials, be expected to be more Catholic than the Pope?
The same logic can be applied to the high propensity towards armed robbery in Nigeria.  Why should lowly paupers not resort to grand larceny for the sake of enjoying the “high life” when, day-in day-out, big-men steal millions and billions of public money with strokes of the pen and go unpunished?
Indeed, why should a Lawrence Anini be arrested and prosecuted for robbing an Agbor Bank of N50,000, when Chief Big-man, in the form of an Inspector-General of Police, is allowed to go virtually scot-free despite stealing a whopping N17 billion of public funds?
Nation of big-men:  Bigmanism is a chronic national malaise in Nigeria.  It is a disease whereby members of a highly visible segment of society are paraded as higher breeds beyond the pale of the law.  These big-men flout all conventions and they break all the rules.  In Nigeria, bigmanism is the key that opens all doors.  You are either a big man or you are not.  If you are, the world is your oyster.  If you are not, you are the scum of the earth.  In order to protect your rights, you will need to secure the good offices of a big-man.
The influence of the big-man in Nigerian society is without all bounds.  To date, we have yet to define any areas of merit or excellence immune to the nepotistic influence of our big-men.  If, for example, a man obtains a first-class honours degree in Economics and a Masters in Business Administration from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, and subsequently secures employment at First Bank in Lagos, people would still want to know how he got the job.
Yes, he obtained a first-class degree in the relevant field alright but, tell me: is the Managing Director of First Bank his uncle?  Did one Chief Big-man push the right buttons for him?
Cheating the small-man:  Bigmanism is also invaluable in Nigeria as a means of protecting your rights.  Some years back, Yinka, a friend of mine, was arrested for obstructing traffic, when all he did was move out of the way for an ambulance with blaring sirens.
He was fined N7,500  and also charged N1,500 for car radio license.  When he asked the arresting officer if he could see any radio in his car, he just smiled at him then put a sticker on his windscreen stating that he had paid for his non-existent car-radio.
When Yinka got home, he felt so cheated.  He knew what happened to him was nothing but daylight robbery.  On reflection, he concluded that the reason he was robbed so blatantly was because he was a “Nobody.”  He was driving an old ramshackle car which did not even have a radio.  He was scruffily-dressed and was subdued throughout his ordeal.  So he decided to fight back.  He understood that, in order to do this effectively, he had to become “Somebody.”
Big-man’s redemption:  So the next day, he went back to the offending office.  But this time, he went as a big-man.  He put on a pompous suit-and-tie.  He went in a posh saloon car.  He did not drive himself; he went chauffeur-driven.
Immediately he got out of his car, a gentleman accosted him and greeted him lavishly.  “I seem to know you from somewhere,” he said.  He stared at him for a moment then asked: “Did you use to own a business at Ikoyi Hotel?”  “Yes,” he replied.  “That’s right,” he said, “my office was at Glover.  What can I do for you, Sir?  My name is Onikoyi and I am in charge here.”
“You are the man I have come to see,” Yinka replied.  “Yesterday, one of your men arrested and fined me N7,500  for making way for an ambulance.  On top of that, he charged me N1,500 for car radio license.  When I protested that I did not have a car radio, he simply laughed at me.”
Arrogant oppressor
Mr. Onikoyi asked: “Can you recognise the man involved if you see him again?”  “Yes, I can,” he replied. At which point, he directed that all his subordinates should line up for Yinka’s inspection.  But before they could do that, his nemesis of the day before walked in.  “This is the man,” Yinka declared.
Mr. Onikoyi did not waste any time with him.  “That is the end of your job here,” he said.  This man, who had been Yinka’s arrogant oppressor the day before, now started rolling on the ground at his feet, begging for his job.  Mr. Onikoyi said to him: “Look at you, useless man.”  Then he turned to Yinka: “The man has two wives!”  Yinka’s N7,500 fine was refunded to him.  Unfortunately, his radio license fee could not be refunded for administrative reasons.
Yinka could not confirm if the man was actually sacked in the end.  All he knows is that he prevailed on that occasion by becoming a “big man.”  That is how the system works in Nigeria.  If you are not a big-man, you are likely to be cheated with impunity.
A few weeks later, Yinka was arrested yet again, in the same vicinity.  This time, the traffic warden stopped him, and then told him to proceed.  But when he did, he arrested him, insisting he only told the car in front of him to go.  When he refused to play ball by offering a quick bribe, he jumped into the front-seat with him and took him to the same office.
As Yinka got out of the car on reaching there, he was immediately surrounded by a number of the arresting officer’s colleagues.  “What are you doing here, Sir,” they enquired anxiously.  Before he could answer, they insisted he must leave at once.  “There’s no problem, Sir, no problem at all,” they chorused, determined that he should not, under any circumstances, see Mr. Onikoyi.  That was apparently the last of his problems with them.  I believe he must have been classified thereafter in their office as an untouchable big-man.
Former-big-men:  Nigeria is not only the country with the largest Black population in the world, it is also, in all probability, the country with the largest number of big-men.  This number is swelled by the large retinue of ex-public functionaries, fondly referred to in some circles as “ex-this: ex-that.”
The high turnover of government in Nigeria has brought many Nigerians into high public office, only to turn them out soon afterwards.  High government turnover itself is compounded by administrative devolution.  There are now 36 states, with people still clamoring for more.  And then there is township bigmanism, represented by the obas, the emirs and the plethora of chiefs.
There are so many big men in Nigeria that the British government was constrained to send to Nigeria a list of the few public functionaries they recognise as big-men.  Those big-men not on the list should not expect diplomatic protocols when visiting Britain.
Former public functionaries
Part of the problem here is that Nigeria’s former public functionaries continue to act as big-men, and expect to continue to be treated as big-men, even after they are out of office.  What this means, in effect, is that the more the turnover of government, the more the big-men there are to flout the law.
The more states we have; the more public officers we have, the more our streets, offices, banks and airports are littered with big-men, former big-men and “acting” big men, always at the ready to ask: “Do you know who I am?”
And then there is yet that other category: those Nigerians who are big-men by extension.  They are the brothers and sisters and uncles and aunties of the big-men.
These people are likely to ask the bureaucrat or the law-enforcement agent whether he knows that so-and-so is their relative.  This approach works, for the simple reason that superior authorities are not inclined to back up their subordinates who deny special privileges either to big-men or their relations.  In fact, denial of those privileges is one of the surest ways of losing your job.
Future big-men:  So, after listening to the simple rationalisations of the Customs official, I came to the conclusion that, while most young graduates may wish to become Customs officials, most Nigerians have one burning ambition: to become big-men.  Very soon, if you were to ask a Nigerian boy of five years old what he would like to be when he grows up, don’t be surprised if he replies: “I want to be a big-man.”