New US sanctions on Iran aim to head off Israel

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Read Time:5 Minute, 17 Second

WASHINGTON (AP) — Additional U.S. sanctions on Iran are more significant for their timing than their immediate effect on Iran’s economy, coming as the United States and its allies are arguing that Israel should hold off on any military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities to allow more time for sanctions to work.

The U.S. ordered tough new penalties Monday to give U.S. banks additional powers to freeze assets linked to the Iranian government and close loopholes that officials say Iran has used to move money despite earlier restrictions imposed by the U.S. and Europe.

Israelis officials have been open about their worry that Iran could be on the brink of a bomb by this summer and that this spring offers the last window of opportunity to destroy bomb-related facilities. Many Israeli officials believe that sanctions only give Iran time to move its nuclear program underground, out of reach of Israeli military strikes.

Nonetheless, the sanctions were endorsed Tuesday by Israel’s hawkish foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman.

“We appreciate the very crucial decision regarding the sanctions,” Lieberman told reporters in Washington, in between meetings with U.S. senators. “We are awaiting that the Iranians, they will give up their nuclear ambitions,” said Lieberman, who also met with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said the sanctions are not doing enough. “We are pleased to see increasing sanctions but so far they have not been deterred from their course,” he said of Iranian leaders.

Like previous economic penalties, these are intended to persuade Iran to back off what the West contends is a drive to build a nuclear bomb. Israel increasingly is concerned that sanctions will never be enough to make Iran drop what has become a national priority for a clerical regime that has vowed to wipe Israel off the map.

The faster and more effectively the sanctions can be seen to work, the better the case to shelve any plan by Israel to bomb Iran, a pre-emptory move that could ignite a new Mideast war. Taking this initial step against the Iranian Central Bank, the first time the U.S. has directly gone after that major institution, is one way the Obama administration can show momentum now.

In Tehran, Ramin Mehmanparast, the foreign ministry spokesman, dismissed the sanctions as “propaganda.” He said Iran’s central bank has no financial transactions with the United States and would not be affected by the measures. “Many of these (U.S.) activities are in the sphere of psychological war and propaganda, and they cannot affect our work,” he said.

“Many of these (U.S.) activities are in the sphere of psychological war and propaganda, and they cannot affect our work,” he said.

Israel considers Iran to be its most dangerous enemy and has vowed to prevent it from going nuclear. But an Israeli official in Jerusalem on Monday said the country’s prime minister has told Cabinet members not to be so outspoken about the possibility of attacking Iran.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was discussing a closed meeting.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself often has commented about keeping all options on the table in dealing with Iran.

The new, stricter sanctions, authorized in legislation that President Barack Obama signed in December, will be enforced under an order he signed only now.

The U.S. and Europe want to deprive Iran of the oil income it needs to run its government and pay for the nuclear program. But many experts believe Iran will be able to find other buyers outside Europe.

The European Union announced last month it would ban the import of Iranian crude oil starting in July. The U.S. doesn’t buy Iranian oil, but last month it placed sanctions on Iran’s banks to make it harder for the nation to sell crude. The U.S., however, has delayed implementing those sanctions for at least six months because it is worried about sending oil prices higher at a time when the world economy is struggling. Iran exports about 3 percent of the world’s oil.

White House spokesman Jay Carney denied that Monday’s unexpected announcement of new banking sanctions was a sign of heightened worry about an Israeli attack.

“There has been a steady increase in our sanctions activity and this is part of that escalation,” he said.

Carney said U.S. sanctions on Iran already are squeezing Iran’s economy and have exacerbated tensions within the Iranian leadership.

“There is no question that the impact of the isolation on Iran and the economic sanctions on Iran have caused added turmoil within Iran,” he said.

Iran is the world’s third-largest exporter of crude oil, giving its leaders financial resources and leverage to withstand outside pressure. Last year, Iran generated $100 billion in revenue from oil, up from $20 billion a decade ago, according to IHS CERA, an energy consulting firm.

If Iranian oil is prevented from getting to market, other suppliers could make up the difference. The U.S. has been pressuring other Middle East and African nations to step up production for sale to Europe. Saudi Arabia has said it could increase production to make up for any lost Iranian crude.

Iran’s disputed nuclear program became a global concern more than five years ago, when the extent of the country’s research and uranium enrichment began to be known. Since then a web of international economic and other sanctions have failed to stop Iran’s progress toward a point when it could build one or more nuclear devices.

U.S. intelligence agencies say Iran is indeed close to that ability but has not yet decided to go ahead. Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful and denounces sanctions as aggression.

The White House previously had said it would take months to evaluate the likely effect on the fragile global economy before taking the next large steps, including new penalties on the Central Bank.

Now, U.S. institutions are required to seize any Iranian state assets they come across, rather than rejecting the transaction involved.

The value of Iranian assets affected by the new order was not clear. Iran does almost no direct business with the United States after three decades of enmity, but its money moves through the world financial system and its oil is sold in dollars.

___

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Boko Haram: Adazi 12 buried amidst wailing and agitations

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Read Time:5 Minute, 39 Second

It was a dark Thursday yesterday in Adazi Nnukwu as the community helplessly committed to mother earth 12 of its citizens mowed down in Mubi, Adamawa State on December 28, 2011 and January 6, 2012 by the Islamic sect, Boko Haram.

Sorrow, agony and anger was written visibly on the faces of the thousands of citizens whose tears surged like flood as the caskets bearing the remains of the 12 victims were laid at the St Andrews’ Catholic Church, Adazi Nnukwu field for funeral mass.

The victims buried yesterday which included 35 year-old Mrs Ukamaka Aforka who until her murder was a staff of federal Polytechnic, Mubi are, 42 years old Mr Amaechi Onwukaike, 16 year old Obinna Okoye Akukwe, 52 year old Mr. Osita Aforka, 45 year old Mr. Uchenna Okpala and 48 year old Mr. Ugochukwu Ezenwekwe.

Others were 62 year old John Obiakonwa, 49 year old Mr. Patrick Aghachi, 35 year old Mr. Job Mgbemena, 56 year old Mr. Bede Anagbado, 47 year old Simeon Asor and 54 year old Mr. Sunday Okoye.
By 8am the church field venue was already filled with people for the mass slated for 10am and security operatives had a herculean task controlling the crowd, majority of who were in all black attires.

Governor Peter Obi, the leader of Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) National Chairman, Chief Victor Umeh and Hon Uche Ekwunife led other Anambrarians and Ndigbo to the burial.
In his homily at the mass attended by over 100 priests, the Catholic Bishop of Awka, Most Rev. Paulinus C. Ezeokafor warned that “enough is enough” of the senseless killing of innocent Nigerians especially Ndigbo, insisting that human life is sacred and must be respected.

He said, “We are gathered here with heavy hearts to commend into the Lord’s hands, 12 victims of senseless acts of violence that took place at Mubi, Adamawa State. Law abiding citizens of Nigeria, going about their legitimate businesses, were wantonly cut down by the assassins’ bullet in cold blood. Ten women were instantly made widows; scores of children rendered fatherless; a group of children lost both father and mother and untold hardship visited on countless other dependants whose breadwinners and lifelines were mowed down by those who ascribe to themselves the divine power of deciding who lives and who dies.

“The fact that all these victims are from one community, the Adazi-Nnukwu community, compounds the pain. As the chief shepherd of the flock of God in this diocese, I have come to condole with the families who lost their loved ones and with the entire Adazi- Nnukwu community for this great loss. I have come to mourn and pray with you for the repose of our brethren and to reflect with you, in the light of the Gospel, on the recent events in our country.

“Most countries in the world contend with natural disasters that take lives and damage properties. In Nigeria, what we face are mostly human disasters: human beings killing and maiming others for absolutely no just cause. The present human disaster in Nigeria is Boko Haram, an Islamic sect who claimed responsibility for the Christmas day bombing of St Theresa’s Church Madalla, Niger State, in which over 30 persons were killed and scores wounded. People who gathered to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ saw their joy turned into sorrow by reckless and lawless agents of hate and destruction. On Friday, January 20, 2012 the same group pulled off a coordinated bombing campaign in Kano which sent over 180 innocent Nigerians to their untimely death. We recall similar incidents of senseless killing in Borno, Bauchi, Kaduna, and Plateau States of Northern Nigeria.

“Faced with the events of the recent past, we are compelled to ask: when will all these barbaric, inhuman and animalistic behaviours end? What does the future hold for our dear country Nigeria? Who will save this country from an impending doom if the Boko Haram menace is not addressed decisively and very soon too? Where are our elected leaders into whose hands we have freely surrendered our live and properties? What are the security agencies doing to end this cycle of violence? Let our leaders and those entrusted with the security of the lives and properties of Nigerians remember that there continued failure in this regard will surely attract the wrath of God.

“Enough is enough! We cannot continue like this! Human life is sacred and must be respected. It is our responsibility to nurture and defend life and not to destroy it. Those charged with security in the land have to act fast to prevent the senseless shedding of human blood and the spread of pain, misery and hardship”.
In his speech at the funeral mass Governor Obi condemned the killing of his subjects who live in Mubi but urged the people to maintain peace.

He announced government scholarship for the children of the victims and N 1 million for each of the victims’ families as an initial package, just as he announced Adamawa State government’s initial package of N 1 million each for the victim families. Obi further said, “Though this affected many communities, Adazi-Nnukwu was the worst hit by the present unnecessary murder in a country that is supposed to always give protection to all of us. This murder diminishes our humanity. This indeed is a season of anomie.

“I am aware that some people have tried to compare this sad turn of events with what happened during the Nigeria civil war (1966-1967). I disagree. As opposed to what was the case in the wake of the Civil War, the Federal Government of today is responsive to the situation. At the same time, we should cast our eyes back to senseless killing in the past in countries like Sudan, Rwanda, Somali and Democratic Republic of Congo, among others. In all of these cases, the people only ended up diminishing their humanity and lowering their status as countries in the comity of nations. The same fate awaits us if we do not stop the present unwarranted killings.

“As we bury these brothers and sisters of ours, let us bear in mind that what their families need today is love, compassion and understanding. I have been informed of the difficulties some of their people encounter owing to the ugly situation. I assure them that the Anambra State Government will continue to assist them wherever she is supposed to do so. The victims were later buried at the church burial ground where again their family members especially wives and children cried their hearts out.

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Going! Going! Gone! Nigerian Northern Elites and The Auctioning of Buhari

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Read Time:6 Minute, 26 Second

Auctioning is a process of disposal of tangible goods to the highest bidder at the time the auction cry is over. The highest bidder takes the goods except if a higher bid comes up before the bid is closed. I do remember with nostalgia my early years when after every annual harvest and thanksgiving church service the parishioners gathers for the bazaar sales.  The goods offered to The Lord as thanksgiving offerings were usually gathered together for disposal to the highest bidder. The items include tubers of yam, livestock, cattle, clothes, kitchen utensils, bicycles, motorcycles and whatever item the parishioners came to church with. A goat could be sold for twenty times the market value to the cheering   of parishioners or  in rare cases at the market price especially minutes before the end of the bazaar. The money realized is used to further the work of the Gospel.
 
The Nigerian Northern Elites have auctioned their greatest chances to reclaim the presidency they lost during the Obasanjo era. Some northern militaricians led by former military president Ibrahim Babangida repackaged Obasanjo for a puppetist agenda in 1998 banking on their knowledge of the former Head of state – fearful, loyal, subservient and they never bargained that Obasanjo would want to be his own man. Years in Maidugeri prison have turned the former Head of State to another personality  as he saw himself as the second Mandela of Africa. Since then the north lost grip of power. The greatest chance for the north to regain power back since 2003 was in the personality of former head of state General Muhammadu Buhari.
 
In 2003 presidential elections the ruling party agreed to allocate Buhari 11 million votes in an election the foreign media had already reported Buhari as leading other aspirants with Ojukwu and Obasanjo trailing . Buhari saw votes coming to him and suddenly the votes disappeared in a twinkle when the ruling PDP rigging wonders appeared. When Nigerians wanted to revolt against the presidential charade called elections, the ANPP governors-elect from the north led by Adamu Aliero of Kebbi state  campaigned  that the aggrieved should go to court for redress. He was supported by The Nigerian Labour Congress of Oshiomhole ,who contrary to earlier affirmations, refused to bring workers out for protests.
 
The court process was another judicial exercise as all the Justices saw a most wonderful elections with just a few hitches . His own Katsina kinsman and the then Chief Justice of Nigeria, Muhammadu Uwais and his seven man panel blessed the electoral  fraud with holy piousness.
 
In 2007 Buhari came again for the presidency. His greatest enemy was Sanni Yerima , the governor of Zamfara State who introduced Sharia to Nigeria. Governor Yerima with his counterparts in the ANPP so much ganged up against Buhari’s presidential ambition that it took only intelligence reports that the PDP would prefer a Yerima candidacy to that of Buhari for the former governor to step down.  Yerima then took a pound of flesh by imposing Edwin Ume-Ezeoke as the running mate against Buhari’s preferred choice of Mike Ahamba. Immediately after the fraudulent 2007 election was over Yerima and Ume-Ezeoke abandoned Buhari and scrambled to submit names to the Yar’adua government for patronage and appointments to the cheering of his northern brothers in the ANPP. Seven man panel of Justices of the Supreme Court handled the case , the three from the north namely Justice Idris Kutigi, Katsina-alu and Dahiru Mustapha and Niki Tobi from the south south saw nothing wrong in the fraud while George  Oguntade led other two justices from the south to reject the forgery in a minority judgment. In fact it was the justices from the south that always made futile attempts to salvage the case of  the general while their northern colleagues followed the ruling party starting from rtd Justice Nsofor.
 
In 2011 , a man that rode on Buhari’s back to become governor in kano state, Ibrahim Shekarau, started challenging him. In fact Shekarau drove Buhari out of ANPP and the general had to form his own party , months to the presidential elections. During the presidential campaign eighty percent of funds of the Goodluck –Sambo campaign organization went to the pockets of the northern elites including traditional rulers, opinion leaders and religious leaders. They helped President Goodluck get the mandatory 25% votes in 2/3 states of the federation. It was a charade of securing 25% votes for Goodluck in core northern states. In fact most states of the core north  did not display the posters of Goodluck except on the eve of every President campaign  and the posters disappeared  as quickly as Goodluck leaves the states. There was no radio jingles, nothing to show that another candidate existed but when the results was coming President Goodluck was getting 25% and above in many areas. The northern elites colluded with the ruling party to avoid a run-off election and as such securing the 25% in as many northern states as possible was the major task. Those purchased for the assignment did it without caution and the voter’s suspicion of high level collusion triggered the post election violence.
 
The funds to used to purchase northern elites were drawn from PPMC, PPPRA, FIRS, Customs, MDAs. Ministers were ordered to mobilize money from their ministries for the purchase. The FCDA released the N7billion naira meant for the vice presidents mansion for this merchandise. When the senators led by Smart Adeyemi recently raised hell about the whereabouts of the money and were told how it vanished, the case died off as a family affair. Northern elites in the past have accused the Igbo politicians of being money conscious but the 2011 presidential elections showed that abundant greed resides in the north more than any part of the country.
 
Buhari’s attempt to get justice again was truncated by northern justices in the Supreme Court. They initially plotted the removal of uncompromising Salami, from the south west as the President of the Court of Appeal and went on to bury the general in their subsequent judgments which refused to admit audit  of electoral materials.
 
The problem of the north is the north. Had Shekarau availed Buhari of the funds he used to prosecute his presidential campaign, the general would have penetrated the south. General Buhari’s campaign organization suffered severe cash crunch that they couldn’t even pay for party agents to represent them in the polls in some states in the south . where they paid agents, the sum was paltry that the ruling party had a field day inflating votes. Shekarau chased Buhari out of the ANPP and appointed himself a presidential candidate and all his party could get was 917,000 votes while the man he chased away got 12, 214, 000 votes in his new party, CPC. What an irony.
 
If the northern elites had supported  Muhammadu Buhari , the election wouldn’t be that easy for the ruling PDP, but alas they elected to fill their pocket to the brim at the expense of the north.  Like Judas Iscariot in the Bible who sold his master Jesus Christ for thirty pieces of silver and later on returned the money and committed suicide in Matthew chapter 26:vs 14-16 the northern elites have sold their political future for a mess of billions of dollars, pounds, euro and naira and as such have led the north into a state of political hara-kiri .
 
Obinna Akukwe
Financial/ IT consultant.

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Terrorist That Killed 82 Christians On Christmas Day Escapes Jail

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Read Time:1 Minute, 59 Second

A man arrested at the Borno State Governor’s Lodge over the deadly Madalla Christmas Day bombing escaped from police custody on Sunday while he was being conveyed to a location in Abaji area of Abuja, Daily Trust learnt yesterday.
Boko Haram suspect Kabiru Sokoto was arrested at the weekend during a police raid on the lodge, where he sneaked in through a friend who was given accommodation to stay overnight. He was said to be taken along with a Flight Lieutenant of the Nigerian Air Force to the Zone 7 Headquarters of the Police in Abuja.

Sources told Daily Trust yesterday that Kabiru was taken to Abaji on Sunday, where he is said to own a house, to allow police conduct search. But he escaped at about 5.30pm at Abaji.

Police went on a pursuit, firing shot and in the process a stray bullet hit and killed a 28-year-old man named Awwal Inuwa Ashafa, according to residents of the area.

Pandemonium ensued as people run for cover. Ashafa, who had an HND in Building Engineering from Federal Polytechnic, Nasarawa, was shot in the chest.

A witness said trouble started in the area when policemen from Abuja city brought Kabiru Sokoto in a Toyota Hilux van. A gang of youths flagged down the vehicle as it was heading for the Ona of Abaji’s Palace, creating a chaos during which the suspect escaped.

The police had earlier taken the suspect to a house he owned at Abaji to conduct search and were on their way to the traditional head’s palace when the youths saw him in handcuffs and then blocked the road, the witness said.

Kabiru seized the opportunity created by the youths and escaped. Meanwhile, the police fired shots in the air to disperse the youths, but one of the bullets hit a young man.

Our reporter, observed soldiers, riot police and men of the FCT Special Anti-Robbery Squad positioned at various junctions in Abaji, while a police armoured vehicle was also seen stationed in the town.

Abaji DPO, Superintendent Mathew Chukwkuma Okafor, was not available for comments. A senior police officer said four persons have been arrested over the incident.

But spokesman for the FCT police command Moshood Jimoh said no suspect escaped custody from either the Abaji divisional police or from any other police unit there.

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Occupy Nigeria: Jonathan Orders Arrest Of Femi Falana, Tunde Bakare, Dino Melaye And Shehu Sanni

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Read Time:1 Minute, 8 Second

In a bid to undermine the growing protest against his government’s removal of fuel subsidy, President Goodluck Jonathan has ordered the SSS to arrest civil rights attorney, Femi Falana, Fiery Lagos pastor, Tunde Bakare, ex-member of house of representatives, Dino Melaye and and Kaduna based activist, Shehu Sanni.

Two sources within the State Security Services told Saharareporters that the security agency had received presidential instructions to move against these four men as well as other perceived organizers of the resistance against the government’s dramatic  increase of the price of fuel.

“The presidency has decided that the way to break the protest is to go after those that the government believed to be the brains organizing the #Occupy Nigeria protests, ” said one of the sources.

 

 The protests in the last one week has attracted larger crowds in Lagos, Ibadan, Kano, Kaduna and several other Nigerian cities to show that the masses reject President Jonathan’s policy to impose further suffering on the Nigerian people.

 The presidency’s instruction to the SSS is seen as desperate move to forestall a series of massive protests in Kaduna as well well as other northern cities and towns which promises to beat the Lagos crowd.

 In addition, the Jonathan administrations has been rattled by swelling crowds that have attended protest rallies in Lagos and other Nigerian cities.

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Subsidy Removal: Nigerians in Finland to protest tomorrow

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Read Time:28 Second

Nigerians living in Finland have said that they will tomorrow, the 13th day of January, join their brothers and sisters in Nigeria and other parts of the world to protest the removal of fuel subsidy by the federal government.

In a statement gathered from their facebook page (Nigerian Residents in Finland (Occupy Nigeria Group) , the protest will take place from Asema-aukio 5h, 00100 Helsinki City Cente

“ We wish to inform you that Nigerians in Finland will be taking their protest against fuel subsidy removal  tomorrow at 14.00pm”, the statement read.

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Boko Haram: Nigerian Islamist leader defends attacks

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Read Time:3 Minute, 35 Second

The leader of Nigeria’s Boko Haram Islamist militants has defended recent attacks on Christians, saying they are revenge for killings of Muslims.

In his first video message, posted on YouTube, Abubakar Shekau referred to attacks on Muslims in recent years in several parts of northern Nigeria.

Boko Haram militants attacked several churches on Christmas Day, killing dozens of worshippers.

This has led to some reprisals in the mainly Christian south.

Mosques in two states have been attacked.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation with 160 million people, is divided between a largely Muslim north and a south where most people are Christians and some animists.

Thousands of people have fled their homes following the recent attacks, leading some people, including Nigeria’s president and the leader of the country’s main Christian organisation, to make comparisons with the 1967-70 civil war when the south-east tried to secede.

‘Religious cleansing’

In the latest attack, four people have been shot dead by attackers on motorbikes while they filled up their car with petrol in the north-eastern Yobe state, the local police chief has told the BBC.

Police chief Lawal Tanko did not release the identities of those killed, or the attackers.

The AFP news agency quotes local residents as saying those killed were southerners. Shootings from motorbikes are a Boko Haram trademark.

Yobe state is one of those areas where President Goodluck Jonathan has recently declared a state of emergency but the police chief said he had not yet received the details.

 

In the 15-minute video, Mr Shekau, wearing a red and white turban, a bullet-proof vest and sitting in front of two Kalashnikov rifles, said he was responding to recent statements from Nigeria’s President Jonathan and the leader of the country’s main Christian organisation, the Christian Association of Nigeria.

He warned President Jonathan that Nigeria’s security forces would not be able to defeat the group.

Mr Jonathan, a Christian, declared a state of emergency in some northern states last month – but the attacks have continued.

On Tuesday night, gunmen opened fire on a bar in Yobe, killing eight people, including several police officers.

The president recently said that he suspected some officials, politicians and members of the security forces sympathised with Boko Haram.

Defending the latest spate of violence, Mr Shekau referred to the killing of Muslims in places like Jos, Kaduna, Zangon Kataf, Tafawa Balewa in recent years.

Some of these places have seen bitter communal clashes but correspondents say they are often based on long-standing disputes over resources such as land, or are whipped up by politicians, rather than being based on religious differences.

“We are also at war with Christians because the whole world knows what they did to us,” Mr Shekau said in the video, speaking in Hausa – the most common language in northern Nigeria.

“They killed our fellows and even ate their flesh in Jos,” he said, referring to reports last year of isolated cases of Christian youths burning and eating their rivals in Plateau state, where more than 1,000 people have been killed in a series of clashes over the past two years.

Christian Association of Nigeria head Ayo Oritsejafor said on Saturday that his members would protect themselves against the attacks, which he said suggested “systematic ethnic and religious cleansing”.

On Tuesday, he told the BBC World Service there should be dialogue with Muslim leaders to halt the violence.

Mr Shekau said the group could only hold talks with the government in accordance with the teachings of Islam.

He said the group’s primary targets remained the security forces, who he said had summarily executed their former leader Mohammed Yusuf after he was arrested in 2009.

“Everyone has seen how we were treated, people have seen what has happened between us and armed security agents and their accomplices who give them information about us,” Mr Shekau said.

After a lull, in 2010 the group started to stage drive-by shootings on government targets in its base in the north-eastern city of Maiduguri.

Last year, it carried out suicide bombings on high-profile targets such as the headquarters of the UN and the police in the capital, Abuja.

The group, known locally as Boko Haram meaning “Western education is forbidden”, wants to establish Sharia law in Nigeria.

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Those Who Lost Out In Power Behind Insecurity – Wole Soyinka

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Read Time:3 Minute, 37 Second

Renowned Nigerian Nobel Laureate for literature, Professor Wole Soyinka has agreed with President Jonathan that the Boko Haram insurgency currently underway in Nigeria is worse than the Nigerian Civil War of between 1967 and 1970.

Speaking to the British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC, Soyinka had said amongst other things that he feared Nigeria was heading for a civil war. “We see the nation heading towards a civil war.”

Soyinka was also asked whether the unrest threatened the state of Nigeria itself, and replied: “It is going that way. We no longer can pretend it’s not.

“When you’ve got a situation where a bunch of people can go into a place of worship and open fire through the windows, you’ve reached a certain dismal watershed in the life of that nation.

” Soyinka said the issues raised by Islamist group Boko Haram, which was blamed for violence targeting Christians in the north of Nigeria and has sparked fears of a wider religious conflict, had been brewing for some time.

“There are people in power in certain parts of the country, leaders, who quite genuinely and authoritatively hate and cannot tolerate any religion outside their own,”he said.

“When you combine that with the ambitions of a number of people who believe they are divinely endowed to rule the country and who… believe that their religion is above whatever else binds the entire nation together, and somehow the power appears to slip from their hands, then they resort to the most extreme measures.

“Youths who have been indoctrinated right from infancy can be used, and who have been used, again and again to create mayhem in the country” 

He added: “Those who have created this faceless army have lost control.”

It may be recalled that before the April general elections, a group of individuals who had for long pretended to be nationaist had banded themselves into a group known as the Northern Elders Political Leaders Forum and used that platform to agitate for the return pf power to the North in 2010.

And then in October of 2010 when it seemed likely that the candidate they had selected to challenge President Jonathan for the PDP primaries was going to lose out, a prominent member of the group, Alhaji Lawal Kaita had openly told newsmen that they would make Nigeria ungovernable for Jonathan should he win the Presidential elections.

it would also be recalled that in December of 2010, the candidate of the Northern Elders Political Leaders Forum, former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, had made a statement that ‘those who make peaceful change impossible make violent change inevitable”. And only last month in Kaduna at the venue of the Northern Peace Conference, former minister of education and oil, and a former senator, Jubril Aminu, had called for the scrapping of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).

It would also be recalled that many local and international pundits have asked the question why major Northern politicians have refused to speak up against the activities of Boko Haram. In fact, incumbent senate President, David Mark, had asked the question at the Northern Peace Conference.

A lot of Nigerians were also taken aback by the virulent insults heaped on the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria by Malam Bashir Yusuf, the Depeuty Director General of the Atiku campaign when the CAN President called on Christians to defend themselves. Bashir had called the CAN President a “bigot’ and a “hypocrite” and insinuated that Pastor Oritsejafor, the CAN President, was affected by drug use and bitterness against his mother.

It may also be recalled that after the verdict of the Supreme Court which threw out his petition against the election of President Jonathan, Muhammadu Buhari, the candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) had said Nigerians will pay the price for voting for President Jonathan. This sentiment was equally re echoed by his crony, Malam Nasir Elrufai, the controversial former minister of the FCT who himself had once accused Buhari of being incompetent to rule Nigeria. Elrufai had given an interview to the Sun Newpapers last week under the title ‘Boko Haram: Nigerians will pay the price for not voting Buhari’. How Elrufai expects Nigerians to pay the Price remains to be sin.

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Boko Haram Attack Another Church In Adamawa, Kill 12

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Read Time:1 Minute, 9 Second

Members of the violent terrorist group, , On Sunday attacked a Christ Apostolic Church in Yola, Adamawa State capital, killing 11 worshippers. One of the worshipers died in the hospital of bullet wounds.

News of the shooting made residents, mostly non-indigenes, to flee their homes in the night and seek refuge at the General Jalo Army Barracks, Yola, for fear of being killed.

Meanwhile, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday, campaigned for the re-election of Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State despite the nationwide strike called by labour over the recent increase in petrol price.

It was learnt that the unknown gunmen, who rode on motorcycles, entered the church and opened fire on the worshippers. 11 members reportedly died on the spot and several others sustained bullet wounds.

One of the wounded church members reportedly died later, bringing the number of those who died to 12, even as five others are in critical conditions at the Specialist Hospital, Yola.

Last Friday, 12 mourners were killed in Mubi, the commercial nerve centre of the state by suspected members of  sect.

Those killed were allegedly holding a meeting on how to raise money to convey home the remains of three of their relatives earlier shot dead by members of the sect on Thursday before they were attacked.

Police in the state said they were investigating the incidents.

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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US Government Secret Memo Warned Of Petrol Import Scams, NNPC Scandal

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Read Time:6 Minute, 19 Second

… Trafigura and Gusau’s Vitol Linked To Scam

SAN FRANCISCO, January 10, (THEWILL) – A United States Secret cable from its embassy in Nigeria published by Wikileaks alerted of the scam and fraud in the importation of petrol orchestrated by foreign dealers with the support of rogue government officials in the NNPC and customs.

The cable supports the revelation in THEWILL’s 2009 inaugural edition story titled: “Cartels Behind Nigeria’s Continued Oil Imports.”

The scam has cost the Nigerian taxpayers trillions of naira over many years and untold hardship. Several senior government personnel have looked the other way and at most times aided the scam, while these vultures devoured our common wealth for their personal wellbeing in the name of fuel subsidy.
The US classified document titled: “Scandal brewing over Nigerian fuel imports” reads:

SUBJECT: SCANDAL BREWING OVER NIGERIAN FUEL IMPORTS
Classified By: J. GREGOIRE FOR REASONS 1.5 (B), (D), AND (E).

 (C) SUMMARY. A scandal is brewing in Nigeria over prices paid by the government for imported fuel. International fuel traders have been falsifying the dates of bills of lading to reflect particularly high market prices, overcharging the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) by $300 million or more. END SUMMARY.
 
2. (C N/F) On April 2, Chris Finlayson, Chairman and Managing Director of Shell Petroleum Development Corporation of Nigeria (SPDC), told Consul General and Econoff that a scandal is brewing within the NNPC over payments made to international fuel marketers.  Finlayson said some marketers have been changing the dates when fuel shipments bound for Nigeria were loaded in order to take advantage of particularly high market prices.  He said the total overpayment by NNPC may be as high as $330 million. Finlayson noted that Shell is not one of the marketers in question, but is becoming a leading fuel supplier for NNPC.

3. (C N/F) On April 6, Femi Otedola, President and CEO of Zenon Petroleum and Gas, the largest supplier of diesel fuel in Nigeria, essentially corroborated Finlayson’s report. Otedola said over $300 million has been overpaid by NNPC for fuel imports, and that many leading international traders are involved.  According to Otedola, NNPC contracts to pay its suppliers the market price on the day a ship is loaded with fuel.  He said NNPC recently discovered, however, that bills of lading were altered to reflect loading on days of high market prices.  Discrepancies were found when comparing dates on the bills of lading with dates of landing in Lagos.

4. (C N/F) Pointing to examples, Otedola said that while a tanker loading fuel at a refinery in Bahrain usually takes four weeks to arrive in Lagos, comparisons between the bills of lading and dates of arrival of some shipments reflected only a four-day difference, and in other cases, if taken at face value, indicated the journey took nine months.  Otedola said 73 shipments from refineries in the Persian Gulf, England, and Venezuela listed delivery times of only one day.  NNPC is attempting to get compensation for the over-charge. Otedola went on that most of the fuel traders supplying Nigeria are implicated in over-charging NNPC, and showed a list of 17 companies that supplied fuel in the first quarter of 2004, several of which, he said, are significant players in international markets, such as Trafigura and Vitol. Otedola added that three companies clearly not involved in the scandal are British Petroleum, ChevronTexaco and Shell.

5. (C N/F) Otedola recommended that NNPC stop contracting with international fuel traders and negotiate purchases directly from refineries worldwide.  According to him, such a move would have two positive effects.  Otedola calculates that NNPC would save some four billion dollars a year in expenditures on imported fuel.  (Note: Prior to deregulation in October 2003, NNPC, then the sole importer of fuel, lost two billion dollars per year because it sold stock to retailers below purchase price. After October 2003, NNPC initially stopped subsidizing fuel sales, letting marketers import fuel to be sold at market prices.  However, sources agree that NNPC is back in the business of subsidizing gasoline sales while it maintains a facade of deregulation by encouraging private marketers to import fuel that NNPC purchases at market price.  NNPC then sells the fuel to marketers and retailers at a reduced price to ensure that those companies maintain a profit margin while holding consumer prices to informal caps set by the Department of Petroleum Resources. End Note.)

6. (C N/F) Otedola added that by cutting out the international traders, NNPC would also enhance the environment in which Nigeria’s refineries could be restored and operated.  Otedola said he believes international fuel trade “mafias” are behind the failure to bring Nigeria’s refineries back on-line and to capacity.  Otedola is convinced these traders arrange for the vandalization of crude oil feeder pipelines, which keep the refineries at Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna closed or under-capacity.  He said the international traders generally receive at least one million dollars per shipload of fuel to Nigeria and have grown accustomed to the easy money Nigeria offers as long its refineries remain down.

7. (C N/F) As an example, Otedola described an arrangement the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) had with Sahara Energy for the provision of diesel to an emergency power generation plant in Abuja.  He said that while a pipeline was under construction to deliver fuel to the main power plant, NEPA paid some five billion dollars to Sahara over four years for diesel to the back-up plant.  It was later discovered that NEPA had received only about one billion dollars worth of fuel, according to Otedola.  Otedola said that he, too, was contracted to deliver diesel fuel to the plant on occasion; however, he petitioned the president to investigate the matter after becoming suspicious of NEPA’s ongoing contract with Sahara and the fact that the pipeline for the power plant was never finished.  He said his intervention led to an investigation that ultimately resulted in the cancellation of NEPA’s contract with Sahara.

8. (C N/F) COMMENT:  The allegation that international traders bilked NNPC of hundreds of millions of dollars is yet another example of the poor management of Nigeria’s energy sector, and highlights the complex links between crude sales, fuel importation, refinery maintenance, and energy production here.  Otedola is probably right in suggesting that long-standing sweetheart deals between the NNPC and a variety of fuel traders is keeping the system inefficient.  That may also explain why the GON just can’t seem to get its refineries running even after spending a billion dollars or more on maintenance contracts over the last four years. Otedola said he initially bid to purchase the Port Harcourt refinery offered for privatization, but he recently told President Obasanjo he will not invest in the refinery so long as NNPC purchases fuel from traders instead of negotiating directly with refineries in other countries and leasing ships itself to deliver fuel to Nigeria.  It is not clear if Otedola’s assumption that the international traders’ stake in Nigeria’s current fuel market is the main driver behind the country’s refinery woes.  But it is clear that the fundamentals of infrastructure security, interim supply stability, and transactional transparency must still be addressed if the GON is to be taken seriously about its efforts to deregulate and largely privatize Nigeria’s downstream petroleum sector.  END COMMENT. HINSON-JONES

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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