Iran disowns intercepted arms

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*Shipment rattles security forces, FG summons envoys

The arms intercepted at  the Lagos Port steeped further into controversy yesterday as Iran said there was no clear evidence linking it to the shipment.

Iran’s response contradicted the claim by an international shipping firm that the weapons originated from the country.

Israeli  officials had on Thursday accused Iran of trying to sneak the shipment into the Hames-controlled Gazo strip. By unloading the weapons in Nigeria, the Israeli claim suggested Iran perhaps sought to truck the weapons through Africa to evade an  embargo now in place in Gaza.

In Nigeria, the security forces intensified their investigations into the arms haul with the government reportedly summoning officials of countries linked to the incident to explain their linkage.

Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State asked the Federal Government to suspend importation from the country where the arms may have come while cardinal Olubunmi Okogie demanded the prosecution of the masterminds.

The Iranian ambassador to Nigeria, Hussein Abdullahi, disowning the arms shipment yesterday, said “the different speculation doesn’t have any clear sources. At this time, we can’t judge on any of them,” Abdullahi told The Associated Press: “Sometimes they blame India, sometimes they blame Iran, sometimes they say the arms are going to Nigeria, sometimes they say they are going to Gambia. Now, they claim they are going to the Gaza Strip.”

FG summons envoys
Security sources told Sunday Vanguard, yesterday, that the office of the National Security Adviser had summoned some officials of  key countries identified in intelligence report to come forward and explain their linkage with the intercepted arms.

Diplomatic sources confirmed that there had been invitation from the National Security Adviser, but it  was a routine process of fact finding and collaboration on security matters as part of the global anti-terror war.

According to the sources,  the arms could also have been for domestic use. A breakdown of the unit cost of the arms show that a rocket launcher goes for about $82,000 each while the mortars cost between $85,000 to $95,000 each.

A former Chief of the Defence Staff,  who preferred anonymity, told Sunday Vanguard that the diplomatic shifting of blames must not distract the intelligence community from exploring the angle that the arms could have been imported into Nigeria for domestic use. “We know that the projections by some western powers that Nigeria will disintegrate in 2013 is real;  those behind the shipment have tried to exploit the often repeated porous state of the country’s borders but the war against terror has increased  international collaboration in the flow of intelligence and security information which those who shipped the consignment seemed to have overlooked.

“We must not allow propaganda of international politics to divert the attention of the investigators as we must do everything possible to get to the root. The placement of Nigeria on the global terror watch by the United States early this year was roundly criticised locally,  but two security events in the month of our golden jubilee show that Nigeria has crossed the age of innocence in international politics”.

Former governor of Ekiti State, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, told Sunday Vanguard that although it is relieving to hear that the arms were in transit,  the claim must not divert the search light from the internal activities of groups that have become militant as the imported arms are  not the type to be used for electoral violence but to levy war on the state or cause a forceful change of government”.

A senior research fellow at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) told Sunday Vanguard that the need to overhaul the entire security community in Nigeria is long over due as the  global network of terror has seen that Nigeria’s security community can be easily caught napping, “We know that a proposal is before President Goodluck Jonathan to tinker with the country’s security assets to make them more responsive to the needs of modern statehood”

A source said the president is concerned that “the state security apparatus has not been living up to its responsibility in stopping security threats to the state. “There is something wrong with our intelligence gathering capabilities.  A lot of blunders were committed before and after the Abuja bomb blasts.  We had a  repeat of what happened in Warri last March, when the Vanguard   Post Amnesty Dialogue was bombed by MEND in a similar fashion.  Yet, the president was misinformed about the situation”.

The source said the president is favourably disposed to the idea of creating a ministry to handle home land security as “distinct  from the encumbered Ministry of Interior”. Such a ministry will co-ordinate the operations and activities of security  and para- military outfits that deal with physical security matters. It will deal with the growing threats of terrorism and religious uprisings; this will leave the Police and the Civil Defence corps with the task of dealing with civil crimes. The proposed National Guard, according to the source,  “will be built around the experience and expertise of service personnel who retire when they are still in their active years. “We need their experience and we know that it takes so much resources to train some of those who are made to leave the services because of political exigencies. The National Guard will make use of these retired service personnel who will be trained on how to handle security matters in a democratic era”.

Sanction country of origin of shipment — Fashola

Meanwhile, Governor  Fashola has asked the Federal Government to order immediate suspension of importation from the country of origin of the arms shipment.

The governor, who made the call during a visit  to Apapa seaport where the seized arms and ammunition are being kept, said; “This is a huge trading port, our port and the businesses that it brings in terms of export to other countries create international commercial benefit that must never be abuse against the safety of citizens.

“So this is the time we should be finding out were this cargo originated from and summoning their diplomatic representative if we have not done so, this is where we should be considering whether or not we should suspend import from that country to send the strongest signal to every other countries that ship goods to Nigeria that our port are ports for development of the prosperity of Nigeria and Nigerians and not port for being agents of destruction”.

Prosecute importers – Okogie

CATHOLIC Archbishop of Lagos, Anthony Cardinal Okogie, yesterday commended the nation’s security agents for intercepting the  weapons, describing the shipment  as an act of illegality and criminality.

Addressing journalists  in Lagos, the cardinal stressed the need for all Nigerians to be vigilant at this crucial moment of the nation’s history, stating that the authorities should stop at nothing to unveil the importers of the deadly weapons at this point of the nation’s political history.

“The security of this country should be uppermost in our minds,” he said, adding that all hands must be on deck. “More security measures should be put in place in this country. The security agencies should double up their efforts just the way they have done to intercept this ones at the ports.”

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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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South African group snubs Tutu’s anti-Israeli call

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Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s call, discouraging South Africa’s Cape Town Opera from performing in Israel have failed. The group says it will go ahead with its tour.
This week, the opera’s managing director said it would not take a political stand by shunning Israel culturally and will go ahead with next month’s Tel Aviv performance.

Managing Director, Michael Williams said the “transformative power of the arts” was more important than canceling the performance.

“The opera has “much which should provide food for thought for audiences in Israel. I am proud that our artists, when traveling abroad, act as ambassadors and exemplars of the free society that has been achieved in democratic South Africa,” he said in a statement.

Williams added his company is in ongoing negotiations to perform within the Arab world.

“In particular, Cape Town Opera welcomes the opportunity to perform within Palestine as well.”

However, the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize winner and one of South Africa’s iconic anti-apartheid heroes, 79-year-old Tutu said the Israeli trip would be inappropriate as it had been for artists to visit South Africa during apartheid.

The former Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, wrote a letter to the company saying it would be wrong for them to perform in “a society founded on discriminatory laws and racial exclusivity,” Reuters reported.

“To perform Porgy and Bess, with its universal message of non-discrimination, in the present state of Israel, is unconscionable,” wrote Tutu, urging the company to postpone its trip until “until both Israeli and Palestinian opera lovers of the region have equal opportunity and unfettered access to attend performances.”

Tutu has been an outspoken critic of Israel. Last month, he supported a call for a South African academic boycott of Israel.

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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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Presidential aspirants Ribadu differ on improvement of education sector

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Read Time:2 Minute, 33 Second

While other presidential candidates declined the demand by stakeholders in the education sector to present their policies on education, three: Muhammadu Buhari of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Nuhu Ribadu of the Action Congress of Nigeria, and Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, at the weekend, presented their programmes on how to tackle the challenges facing the sector.

The presidential hopefuls made their presentations at a meeting of the Joint Education Stakeholders Action Coalition (JESAC) in Abuja.

The JESAC is a voluntary association of eighteen (18) education unions, associations and organizations that cut across the entire gamut of Nigeria’s education sector.

Its membership cuts across academic and non-academic staff in all our educational institutions. These include the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Nigeria Union of Teachers, Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union, the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, and the Association of Primary School Head Teachers of Nigeria.

The group had invited presidential candidates, including President Goodluck Jonathan and former military ruler, Ibrahim Babangida, to make presentations at the meeting . Only three did.

Ike Onyechere, the national coordinator of JESAC, however, absolved the other aspirants from any blame in not attending the conference.

“Yes, we sent invitations to everybody (the presidential aspirants). But they don’t all have equal time. When we are doing the third one (conference), we are going to take it round the zones so those who did not present their policies will have the opportunity to do so.” Mr. Onyechere told NEXT.

The three candidates condemned the decay in infrastructure and promised to take Nigeria’s educational institutions to a greater height if elected.

The areas where the candidates stated as needing urgent attention include funding, infrastructure development, staff training and welfare, research, science and technology development, regulation and inspectorate services, as well as education for the less privileged and physically challenged.

Different ways of addressing challenges

The candidates, however, differed on how to tackle the challenges facing the educational sector. Some of the areas where they differed include university funding and provision, funding of research, and the role of the federal government in education.

While Mr. Buhari and Mr. Ribadu in their policies stated that the FG would continue to fund all its universities, Mr. Abubakar stated that if elected President, the federal government would only finance and own one university in each of the six geo-political zones.

While Mr. Buhari stated that educational research funding will be carried out by the private sector, former EFCC boss stated that he would establish a National Research Fund with funding both from government and the private sector.

Mr. Onyechere, the JESAC boss, however states that his association is not limiting its conferences to presidential hopefuls alone.

“It’s not only presidential aspirants that will address our conferences. There are other conferences coming up around the zones in Nigeria. Governorship aspirants and local government chairmen will all be called upon to come and tell Nigerians what their plan is to revamp our educational institutions,” he stated.

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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Palestine: Reconciliation Between Hamas and Fatah

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Reconciliation Between Hamas and Fatah finally came to reality after all these years. It’s been a long time since both Palestinian Organizations conflicted, and now both of them decided a reconciliation. On Tuesday, An Official from Hamas said that Hamas wants to reach a comprehensive reconciliation with Fatah.

Mediators from other countries are sending their delegations to support Hamas and Fatah. Mediators offer experience and influence in create peace and helping Human Rights Issues.

Through Gaza the delegations are coming in Damascus. Members of mediator team are former Republic of Ireland President as Head of Delegation, Mary Robinson, Former Algeria Foreign Minister and United Nations Delegation, Lakhdar Brahimi, and Indian feminist advocate, Ela Bhatt.

Hamas Senior Officials, Osama Hamdan said that Hamas tried to overcame the obstacles before Reconciliation Between Hamas and Fatah could happen. He also added that both Hamas and Fatah are honoring elders to discuss Israel’s Blockade in Gaza Line.

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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Weapons seized in Nigeria came from Iran-shipping company

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Read Time:2 Minute, 44 Second

LAGOS (Codewit) – Crates of weapons including rocket launchers and mortars seized in Nigeria this week were loaded in Iran by a local trader, the company which shipped the containers said on Saturday.

French-based shipping group CMA CGM said it had been the victim of a false cargo declaration and that the weapons and ammunitions were in sealed containers which had been declared as “packages of glass wool and pallets of stone.”

Nigeria’s secret service intercepted the 13 containers in the country’s main port of Lagos — one of Africa’s busiest — this week and said it found rocket launchers, grenades and other explosives and ammunition.

“The shipment in question was booked as a ‘shipper’s owned container’ and supplied loaded and sealed by the shipper, an Iranian trader who does not appear on any ‘forbidden persons’ listing,” CMA CGM said in a statement.

“The containers were loaded in Bandar Abbas and discharged in Lagos in July,” it said, adding it was cooperating fully with local and international agencies investigating the shipment.

Israeli media reports, citing Israeli defence officials, have suggested the weapons may have been destined for Hamas Islamists in Gaza and that a new smuggling route was being tested. Israel’s foreign ministry has declined to comment.

Israel says its arch-foe Iran bankrolls attempts to ship weapons to the Gaza Strip by sea or land routes. Iran says its support for Hamas is diplomatic only.

The Iranian embassy in Nigeria said it may issue a statement on the arms seizure in the coming days.

HEAVY MORTARS

The weapons shown to journalists in Lagos this week included 107mm rockets, designed to attack static targets and used by armies to support infantry units. Security experts say they have also been used by groups including the Taliban in Afghanistan and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Nigeria’s secret service has said it is too soon to speculate on where the weapons were going and that investigations are continuing. The customs service said the only documentation it had seen was the manifest and could not immediately confirm the containers had come from Iran.

CMA CGM said the containers had been held by customs since arriving in Lagos in July. It is not unusual for shipments to take several months to pass through customs clearance in the port, one of the busiest on the continent.

The French shipping firm said the shipper had requested that the containers be re-loaded and shipped to Gambia, further round the West African coast, and that it had obtained customs documents and clearance for the voyage.

But the Nigerian authorities blocked the goods before they could be re-exported, it said.

The seizure has heightened concerns about national security in Africa’s most populous nation months ahead of elections.

It came weeks after car bombs killed at least 10 people near an independence day parade in the capital Abuja on October 1.

Militant groups in the oil-producing Niger Delta have been illegally supplied weapons for years and Boko Haram, a radical Islamist group in the north, is also believed to have received illegal arms, raising questions about border surveillance.

The authorities have said they have stepped up security in the wake of both the Abuja bombings and the Lagos seizure.

(Additional reporting by Dan Williams in Jerusalem)

 

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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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Goodluck Jonathan: The Facebook president

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(Codewit) — At over 246,000 and counting, he has more Facebook fans than the combined tally of British Prime Minister David Cameron, German chancellor Angela Merkel, and South African head of state Jacob Zuma.

Since Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria’s president, created his profile in June of this year, rarely a day goes by without a fresh update — which appear to be written by Jonathan himself — concerning recent news events, government policy and, of course, the coming elections.

He also seized public momentum and stole a march on his rivals by choosing the hugely popular social networking site to announce his standing for the forthcoming presidential elections in 2011.

“I Goodluck Ebele Jonathan by the grace of God hereby offer myself and my services to the Nigerian people as a candidate for the office of President” read his Facebook status on September 15, ending a long period of speculation about the likelihood of his candidacy.

“This is the first time in our country that Facebook has ever made the headlines of a national newspaper,” Chude Jideonwo, founding member of influential Nigerian activist site Enough is Enough, told CNN.

Jideonwo notes that the surprise announcement was made at precisely the same time that one of Jonathan’s main presidential rivals, former military ruler Ibrahim Babangida, put his own election hat into the ring.

“Many people believe this was a strategic move to overshadow Babangida’s announcement — and if it was, frankly, it worked,” said Jideonwo.

What distinguishes Jonathan from other politicians is that he seems to have genuinely embraced Facebook
–Chude Jideonwo, Web activist

But the Nigerian president’s Facebook activity appears to go beyond headline-grabbing stunts. In one fairly typical instance, he addresses a Facebook user who has made a suggestion for meeting Nigeria’s growing energy demands:

“Again I spent time reading your comments and yesterday a youth named Toyin Dawodu indicated that he had an idea for a project that could deliver 4,000 MWs of electricity … Toyin, someone from my office will make contact with you regarding your idea. I know I can not attend to every comment or suggestion due to time constraints, but please do know that I read them and they influence my actions.”

It’s this direct and personal form of interaction that seems to be endearing the Nigerian president to his country’s growing young and web-savvy electorate.

Each new post from Jonathan attracts thousands of comments and some have garnered in excess of 6,000 responses.

“What distinguishes Jonathan from other politicians is that he seems to have genuinely embraced Facebook,” explained Jideonwo. “You can consistently hear his voice in the posts and it feels like he is really trying to communicate with the voters — this is what makes him so popular.”

With a population of over 150 million, Nigeria has just fewer than 44 million internet users, according to internetworldstats.com, and of these 1.7 million are on Facebook.

While this represents Africa’s biggest internet market, as well as the continent’s largest Facebook user base — the numbers make up only a small proportion of the overall electorate.

Is it too soon then for social media platforms to play a meaningful role in Nigerian politics?

“What you have to bear in mind is that there is a critical minority of opinion leaders on Facebook — local business CEOs, young activists, and university graduates,” Ken Banks, founder of kiwanja.net, an information technology site that provides support for NGOs, told CNN.

The president’s high profile on the world’s biggest social network has not, however, escaped criticism. In a post that made international headlines, Jonathan claimed that a decision to reverse his proposed two-year suspension of the Nigerian football team following their early exit in the 2010 World Cup Finals was prompted by a wave of opposition from his Facebook followers.

But, as Nigerian journalist Tolu Ogunlesi told CNN: “The fact is his hand was forced by FIFA regulations preventing political interference with the national football team. His comments on Facebook were really just to protect his image.”

For some, this is a worrying reflection of the incumbent president’s use of social media to, perhaps cynically, bolster his election hopes.

“It’s obvious that this is a calculated attempt to win the heart and minds of Nigerians who are active on Facebook, in a bid to secure electoral victory,” Nigerian Internet entrepreneur, Oluniyi Ajao, wrote in a recent post on his popular blog.

Similar criticisms have been voiced by a number of the Facebook users Jonathan is attempting to engage: “We are tired of rhetoric, what we need is action,” wrote one commentator in response to a post concerning Nigeria’s frequent power shortages.

But, for the time being — at least as far as Facebook is concerned — any disparaging remarks are drowned out by a bellowing chorus of support.

“Whatever his motives,” Jideonwo concluded, “the president has opened up a new channel of popular involvement in Nigerian politics, encouraging young people to feel like they have a voice. This can only be a good thing.”

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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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Nigeria: What Kind Of A Nation Do We Want To Live In?

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Read Time:5 Minute, 30 Second

There comes a time in a nation’s life just as in a man’s life when there has to be a pause, reflections and certain questions asked on the journey so far. Nigeria’s progressive decline in all facets of life to the extent of becoming a failed state in spite of record material and human resources now calls for such an occasion of reflection and a genuine national debate over what kind of a nation we really do want to live in.

Ours is a tragic nation where blind tribalism has blunted all sense of reason, where there is no justice, no love, no harmony and no patriotism. It is also a nation that in the 21st century remains at odds with modernity as it shamefully lacks a database for its citizens and  all the basic necessities of  life such as roads, electricity, pipe borne water, functional hospitals and functional schools amongst others. Added to this, is a disastrous outing in every global index of social development. At the last count the United Nations and other international development organisations estimates that over 70% of Nigeria’s population live below the poverty line in extreme penury. Given our population, that represents a figure of over a 100 million people.

Life expectancy in Nigeria is among the lowest in the world, while maternal and infant mortality are among the highest in the world. Diseases such as Polio, Cholera and VVF that are near extinct elsewhere are still highly prevalent in Nigeria. In the failed states index, Nigeria is ranked in the same league as Somalia among the red list of failed and collapsing states. In the corruption perception index Nigeria ranks among the most corrupt red listed nations in the world. In the areas of ethnic and religious harmony, Nigeria ranks among the worst in the world having shamefully pioneered genocide in Africa, and with more than 30,000 killed in the last 10 years alone.

In the area of political stability and economic development, Nigeria in 2007 organised the most fraudulent elections to date  in human history and  remains highly volatile and unstable as a result of violent inter-ethnic power squabbles, while the economy bereft of  basic infrastructure  is undergoing a phase of de-industrialisation with factories closing down in droves and relocating to neighbouring countries. This has created a glut and time bomb of unemployed and under-employed youths estimated to be over 40 million. Another 15 million Nigerians are estimated to have fled the ravages of the nation, some of them through dangerous routes such as desert crossings and sea routes from Morocco and Libya to foreign climes.

The nation seems to be trapped in a cursed spiral of doom in spite of  the longest running oil boom in the nation’s history.  In the face of these damning realities it has become obvious that the route travelled so far by Nigerian leaders has failed. Nigerians must now reflect and decide what kind of a nation we want to live in.  Should we  break-up the nation that has been a source of so much hatred and whose contradictions has stifled development or should we continue as one nation with new structures that guarantees true federalism and regional autonomy?
Should we continue our journey towards total collapse by continuing to ignore the absence of basic infrastructure that is taken for granted elsewhere or do we begin now to build some of the most sophisticated infrastructure in the world? Do we continue to ignore the millions of unemployed youths and the inherent time bomb or do we begin today to implement policies that will create jobs and other opportunities? Do we continue to allow generations flee our shores in desperation or do we implement policies that will keep them at home?

Do we continue to nurture a population trapped in extreme poverty or do we begin aggressive initiatives to eradicate poverty in our clime? Should infants and mothers in our nation continue to die avoidable deaths or should we take measures to end this indignity? Should our general population continue to expect to die before the age of 40 or should we improve the social conditions of  the people and thus their life expectancy? Should our nation continue to play host to diseases that are extinct elsewhere or should we work to eradicate such diseases?

Should our political leaders continue ethnic power squabbles or should we evolve an organised political system that guarantees inclusion and rotation amongst the 6 zones? Should our nation continue to be a centre of religious intolerance, ethnic-cleansing and genocide or should it be a nation that projects peace and hope to the rest of Africa and the black race? Should our electoral process continue to be fraudulent and do we continue to tolerate the misrule and massive looting of the nation’s coffers without any consequence or do we rise up and revolt against the leadership?

Should our nation continue to be the worst in every index of social development in spite of record resources or do we begin to change the trajectory of such indignity? Should we continue to treat our old people many of whom die queuing for their pension with scorn, our weak and disabled most of whom live a life of misery with disdain and our youths who go through life without any hope with nonchalance or should we begin to engage with and provide for the welfare of  these most vulnerable people in our society?

Should our nation be one of  hatred or of love? Should be it one of conflict or of harmony? Should it be one of neglect or of charity and brotherhood? Should it be one of penury and failure or one of success and prosperity? Should it be a laughing stock and a nation we are ashamed of or a stunning success that inspires pride in all of us and indeed the entire black race?

As Nigeria’s man made predicament  gradually enters the psychological point of no return, and as  another tragic year draws to a close without much hope or promise, every Nigerian, the leaders and the led, Muslims and Christians, Catholics and Protestants, Sunni’s and Shiite’s, Jews and Gentiles  must now reflect  and ask these fundamental questions. Before it’s too late, we must all now decide what kind of a nation we want to live in?

Email: lawrencenwobu@yahoo.com

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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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Nigeria: SSS Intercepts Arms Shipment in Lagos – Rockets Launchers, Grenades Found

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Read Time:2 Minute, 57 Second

Codewit.com — The State Security Service (SSS) yesterday seized an illegal arms shipment containing “rocket launchers, grenades and other explosives,” at the Apapa Wharf, Lagos, the largest shipping port in the country. SSS said the shipment was in 13 containers.

Security was immediately tightened at the Apapa Wharf last night as SSS, Police, Customs and naval officials condoned off the area where the ship was being detained and its contents examined.

The seizure came on the heels of the October 1 Independence Day bombings in Abuja which killed at least 12 people and injured many others.

Former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Henry Okah, is at present facing terrorism charges in South Africa in respect of the bombings, while his brother Charles and six others were dragged to court last week in Lagos in connection with the blast

Charges have not been preferred against Charles and others in Lagos.SSS Spokeswoman Marilyn Ogar, who confirmed the seizure, said security agents had only gone through eight crates inside one of the shipping containers labelled as carrying “building materials”

Four crates contained floor tiles and marbles, while the other four crates contained military-grade armaments,” she said.She said agents would continue to search the containers through the night, hoping to have more information.Ogar failed to identify the ship carrying the container or its final destination.But a source at the port said the ship was coming from Iran and might be headed for The Gambia.

“There was no declaration about the arrival of the ship and the information we got was that it was meant for Gambia,” he said.

The SSSâ-àspokeswoman said in a terse statement: “Today at the Apapa Wharf, the State Security Service as part of its extra security surveillance since the October 1 incidence, intercepted 13 containers.

“On opening the first container, the service operatives discovered rocket launchers, grenades and other explosives. The contents and findings from the other detained 12 containers, which the service is opening after the first, would be made public.”The service has launched investigations immediately on the discovery and the circumstances surrounding it.”

Okah denied the charges against him and also said he was not MEND leader or the one writing the organisation’s correspondence under the pseudo name Jomo Gbomo.

The bid by Okah last Friday to view evidence used by South African prosecutors to link him to the October 1 Abuja bombings was dealt a blow by the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court.

Also, Okah’s wife, Azuka, faced contempt of court charges at the same Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court. Her phone rang during hearing of the bail application for her husband last Thursday.

Meanwhile, the five persons arrested with Charles in connection with the bomb blasts regained their freedom from detention last weekend.

Handing down judgment, Magistrate Hein Louw only granted Okah’s defence team access to the hard drives of computers and cell phones confiscated from his home during an October 2 raid.

“I order that a mirror copy image of computer hard drives, cell phone hard drives and memories be made available to the applicant in no later than three working days,” Louw said.

He refused to give the defence permission to access information underpinning the state’s latest revelation in Okah’s bail application.

“In due course the defence will have opportunity to access such information,” Louw ordered.

The prosecution had said in an affidavit that Okah had exchanged emails, text messages with the alleged bombers and even bought two cars for the operation.

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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 congressmen seek explanation from Facebook founder

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Read Time:2 Minute, 14 Second

WASHINGTON — Two members of the US Congress have asked Facebook to explain how applications transmitted information about users to advertising and Web tracking companies in violation of the social network’s rules.

Representative Joe Barton, a Republican from Texas, and Representative Edward Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, asked Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to reply to 18 questions about what they called a “privacy breach.”

Facebook on Monday acknowledged that some popular third-party applications had passed on user identification (UID) information but played down the privacy implications.

“Nevertheless, we are committed to ensuring that even the inadvertent passing of UIDs is prevented and all applications are in compliance with our policy,” Facebook engineer Mike Vernal said in a blog post.

“Our policy is very clear about protecting user data, ensuring that no one can access private user information without explicit user consent,” Vernal said. “We take strong measures to enforce this policy, including suspending and disabling applications that violate it.”

In their letter, Burton and Markey, co-chairmen of the House BiPartisan Privacy Caucus, said: “Given the number of current users, the rate at which that number grows worldwide, and the age range of Facebook users, combined with the amount and the nature of information these users place in Facebook’s trust, this series of breaches of consumer privacy is a cause for concern.”

They asked how many users were impacted, what information was transmitted to other parties and how many third-party applications were involved.

They also asked whether Facebook will “seek the deletion of its users’ personal information from data bases of the Internet or advertising companies who received it as a result of this series of privacy breaches?”

Andrew Noyes, a Facebook spokesman, said Facebook “is committed to safeguarding private data while letting people enjoy meaningful social experiences with their friends.

“As our privacy policy states, when a Facebook user connects with an application, the user ID is part of the information that the application receives,” he said.

“The suggestion that the passing of a user ID to an application, as described in Facebook’s privacy policy, constitutes a ‘breach’ is curious at best,” Noyes said.

The Wall Street Journal said applications were providing access to Facebook members’ names and, in some cases, their friends’ names, to companies that build detailed databases on people in order to track them online.

All of the 10 most popular applications on Facebook were transmitting unique user ID numbers to outside companies, it said. They include Zynga’s FarmVille, with 59 million users, Texas HoldEm Poker and FrontierVille.

Facebook is the world’s most popular social network with around 500 million users, but it has been dogged by complaints about privacy protection.

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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South Africa is under pressure, says Henry Okah’s lawyer

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Rudi Krause, lawyer to Henry Okah has told presiding judge, Hein Louw that he is ‘not bound’ to ensure ‘the interests of a community thousands of kilometres away from this court.’
Mr. Krause was responding to points raised by prosecution lawyer, Shaun Abrahams on Monday when he cross-examined Mr. Okah.
‘You have no onus to save face in the international community by refusing the applicant bail,’ Mr Krause said, urging the judge not to give in to ‘statements of ideology’ he attributed to the prosecution.

Mr. Krause said Mr. Okah should be granted bail because the South African state’s case is ‘a case subject to substantial and serious doubt.’ He also said Mr Okah is entitled to medical treatment ‘which he will not receive in prison.’

Mr. Krause also said based on ‘the conflicting statements’ issued by the Nigerian government, ‘little or no reliance can be placed on any evidence emanating from that part of the world.’
Mr. Krause cited the contents of an affidavit which the prosecution stated it received from the Nigerian government, saying the document was ‘sweeping, vague…to the extent that it is actually embarrassing…’

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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