Another coffin deposited in ex-UNIBEN Bursar’s house

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Read Time:1 Minute, 4 Second

BARELY 24 hours after two black coffins draped with red strip marks were deposited at the gates of the official residence of the former Bursar of the University of Benin (UNIBEN), Dr. May Ifeoma Nwoye , another coffin with an earthenware containing sacrificial items were, on  Friday night, deposited at the door steps to her apartment.

The items in the earthenware include a dead rabbit, a carved image of a human being, and three eggs.  Nwoye said that she woke up, yesterday morning, to see the coffin and items at her door steps, saying  they were not there before she went to bed.

She told journalists that she immediately contacted the EDHA Police Station whose officials came to the house, took her statement before removing the coffin and the items.

The former Bursar therefore appealed for police protection, saying that those after her life and that of her family were bent on forcing her out UNIBEN at all costs.

Nwoye disclosed that since the issue of who becomes the next Bursar of the institution came up and she  indicated her interest to be retained, she had been receiving anonymous telephones calls threatening to deal with her if she did not forget her ambition to be re-appointed for second term as Bursar.

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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THE PROMISE THAT WAS AND STILL VERY MUCH BIAFRA

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Read Time:11 Minute, 32 Second

The supreme arbiter of the destinies of great nations and their eternal sovereignties has not passed his final verdict on Biafra.(www.self-determination.com) The realities in present day Nigeria make this case even more poignant and should serve to educate us as to the vision and the promise that was and still is Biafra. It goes without saying that the future of Nigeria has been mortgaged to the whims and caprices of the feudalistic and parochial elements of the Hausa/Fulani oligarchy and their agents, the Nigerian military establishment, whose stock-in-trade are coups and counter coups, graft, avarice, corruption, mediocrity, embezzlement, murder, mayhem, etc. Is there any wonder that nothing is working in the country? We then clamored for democracy through elected government of the people for the people by the people so as to bring home to the general populace the dividend of democracy in a supposedly vibrant economy, but what dose has that presented to the oppressed people of Nigeria, high level corruption in the name of fuel subsidy, corruption in high places, embezzlement of pension funds to billions of naira and election malpractices. Insecurity of the citizens ad the frequent terrorist massacre of innocent eastern Christians as a result of the activities of the Boko Haram sect fully supported and empowered by the northern political elites.

Nigeria must inevitably collapse on the weights of its own internal contradictions, which are now glaringly apparent to even those who pretended to be blind to the crises that gave birth to Biafra. These contradictions are now poised to hammer in the final nail to the coffin of Nigeria. Should the present stalemate in the country fail to resolve the central issue facing the nation, other opportunities will inevitably present themselves in the not-too-distant future. As we all know, a house built on sand does not survive the ravages of the the ill winds of the harmattan, unlike that built on the rock.

During the Biafran War, the Yorubas along with some neighboring ethnic groups in the southern section of the country collaborated with the Hausa-Fulani oligarchy in their genocidal war against us. Since then, a cross section of the southern political elites have wittingly and unwittingly advanced the Sokoto Caliphate’s fundamental agenda which the late Saduana articulated as the continuation of the “interrupted match” to the Atlantic. This has led to the internal colonization of the oil-producing southeastern section of the country for the past fifty years. Even the Yorubas and other ethnic groups in the southern part of the country have not escaped this internal colonization. Fifty two years is not one hundred years, is not one thousand years, and is certainly not forever. The plight of the Ogonis and other oil producing regions would no doubt alert them to the designs of the Hausa/Fulani oligarchy. In the light of Abiola’s predicaments on the fairest and freest election ever observed in Africa , the Yorubas would by now have learned who their true visionaries were during the Biafran war. On the one hand are the likes of the venerable and incomparable Wole Soyinka, who supported the Biafran cause, and was subsequently incarcerated for that principled stance. On the other hand are the likes of Obafemi Awolowo, who out of short-sighted political expediency, cemented the glue that now holds the Yoruba people in an inferior position to their fellow “victors” from the northern section of the country, in spite of their enormous contributions to the war effort. That the man Abiola (a Yoruba) will never become the president of Nigeria, even though he clearly won that election, is a well orchestrated design of the Hausa/Fulani oligarchy. As these events unfold, we as Biafrans and as Igbo people, must not be caught napping, for those who fail to chart their own destinies are doomed to have others do it for them.

Students of political and constitutional history have been taught that all power and authority must be derive from the people and that all free governments must be instituted for their benefit. An examination of the political dispensation in Nigeria since its “independence” fifty two years ago will reveal an abysmal failure in all facets of governmental activity, and in all measurable material well-being, social, economic and technological indices. The above abysmal failures in this country would perhaps lend themselves to be downplayed were they not also affecting the destiny of the rest of the African continent. A country where power is derived from the barrel of the gun, and where the average soldier’s time is spent on devising ways of plunging the whole nation into an endless cycle of coups and counter-coups, is not fit to be called a country. It is an unworkable arrangement by which any charlatan can rise to dictatorship, provided he has access to arms and a twisted and perverted following in the military. The dispensation must be realigned to reflect the organic reality of its various nationalities and peoples. As we are told, “where there is no vision, the people perish!” Today, we have elected government in a big country like Nigeria yet the country , her people and the economy are still visibly impoverished.

Perhaps it was this concern about the wastage of human potential that convinced our leader Dim Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu, the Nostradamus of our time and leader, of Biafra to accept the invitation to deliver his first major post-Biafra War speech in February of 1994. Delivering that lecture at the Lagos Law School, and upon reflecting on the fact that his Biafrans were a people who were outgunned, blockaded and starving, he recounted the whole Biafran experience thus:
“The war has come and gone but we remember with pride and hope the three heady years of freedom. These were the three years when we had the opportunity to demonstrate what Nigeria would have been even before 1970. In the three years of war, necessity gave birth to invention. During those three years, we built bombs, we built rockets, we designed and built our own delivery systems. We guided our rockets, we guided them far, and we guided them accurately. For three years, blockaded without hope of imports, we maintained engines, machines, and technical equipment. The state extracted and refined petrol, individuals refined petrol in their back gardens, we built and maintained airports, we maintained them under heavy bombardment. We spoke to the world through a telecommunications system engineered by local ingenuity. The world heard us and spoke back to us. We built armoured cars and tanks. We modified aircraft from trainer to fighters, from passenger aircraft to bombers. In three years of freedom, we had broken the technological barrier. In three years, we became the most civilized, the most technologically advanced black people on earth.”

Clearly, the gadgets and the innovations and inventions Ojukwu was referring to above were crude artifacts. History records that all industrial, technological and scientific revolutions have consistently had such humble beginnings. The Biafrans were clearly on the verge of such revolutions. It was only unfortunate that historical forces aligned themselves against Biafra’s favor. 42 years since the war ended, Nigeria has achieved nothing in the field of technology that one can compare to Biafran inventions. The world would never know how the positive fallouts of such revolutions in Biafra would have impacted on the human race. Lasers, radar, nuclear power technology, rocket science, penicillin, etc., are all products of World War II. Today, lasers have found applications in many scientific and technological activities, ranging from intricate surgical operations, to sophisticated guidance systems for missiles and automatic airplane flights and submarines. The radar has revolutionized air travels, making possible commercial and military transport airplanes. Nuclear power now provides electricity for many residential and industrial uses, besides their original use as cataclysmic agents of total destruction. Rocket science today has developed to such an extent that it is now a routine practice to send space probes to the outer fringes of the cosmos, and spaceships to the moon; and possible trips to mars in the future are now on the drawing boards. Penicillin and other antibiotics are now the conventional weapons of war against microbes that must attack humans and livestock to survive. These technological marvels that are now commonplace materials to our post- World War II era clearly illustrate the type of metamorphosis the so-called crude artifacts of inventions and innovations that were engendered by the historical realities of the war era have undergone. They also illustrate the potential of human ingenuity when properly mobilized and channeled. This was the case during the Biafran episode, and most likely would have been the case in an independent and sovereign Biafra.

No one is disputing the fact that these marvelous materials and advances in modern science and technology would not have been invented in the long run, were it not for the occasion of the two wars: World War II and Biafran war. And no one is also implying that wars are necessary so as to bring out the best in human creative potential. Definitely, most, if not all of the above materials would invariably have been invented, but at a much slower pace. The challenge of every nation worth its salt is to find a way to harness the creative energies and potentials of its citizenry — a challenge our Biafran nation would have so ably met.

I have no doubt in my mind that had Biafra been able to withstand the forces of darkness that were unleashed against it, it would no doubt have taken its rightful place in the community of highly industrialized and technologically advanced nations in the world today. The revolutions currently taking place in the basic sciences, ranging from understanding the nature of the fundamental particles that make up matter, to the human genome project, to the sending of space probes to investigate the outer fringes of the galaxies, to the making of advanced and intelligent plastics and electronics, etc., would clearly not have passed us by, in the manner that these and all pertinent technological advances have clearly passed by the entity called Nigeria.

I look all over Nigeria, and all I see is despair and wastage of human potential and natural resources. Is there any wonder that some of those once comrade-in-arms that fought against those ‘restless’ Biafrans have now turned against one another? What a twist of irony!

As ludicrous as the prevailing political dispensation in Nigeria is today, we must not lose sight of the fact that the fundamental issues that led to that war have still not been resolved forty two years after the cessation of hostilities. The lives and property of our people are still not very safe in regions north and west of the River Niger, as the recent Islamic fundamentalist-inspired Boko Haram are very busy burning life out of ndigbo wbeyond recognition this pracrice of reheased massacre of ndigbo has been a hunting pass time of the house/fulana even before independence and clearly demonstrates the cowardly and murderous pack had the temerity to paraded the north as not being interested in the peaceful co-existence of this union called Nigeria . . You may ask, what earthly offense did Gideon commit against those that beheaded him in 1994 ,such a blood-thirsty marauding hound of people? His offense, according to his killers, was that his wife, used some pages of the Koran as toilet paper. And so they felt that it was their right to mete out such a blood-thirsty vigilante justice. What a civilized people in a very cultured country!
I ask myself, if Nigeria must crumble like a giant on a feet of clay, as she must, should we as Igbo people and as Biafrans, also crumble? My answer is an emphatic no! This answer is informed by the potential I see in the infinite resilience of Igbo people to improve their collective lots along the lines of the basic tenets of the ideals of Biafra and their traditional democratic political systems. Although we do not have a politically sovereign Biafra, at least for the time being, we must press forward by all possible means, with actualizing the noble ideals of Biafra. There is something noble in developing science and technology in Igboland, and by extension, building on the inventions and innovations of the Biafran scientists and Engineers that were attached to the Biafran Research and Production (RAP) unit. There is something noble in unifying all Igbo-speaking peoples from one corner of Igboland to the other. There is something noble in building engines of economic growth in Igboland. There is something noble in creating a more culturally progressive Igboland, where all people are accorded equal status and worth, regardless of gender and faith. problem in Igboland. There is something noble in reforming education in Igboland, and bringing its standard to the level of the era that produced the likes of Chinua Achebe, Godian Ezekwe, Christopher Okigbo and Flora Nwapa. There is something noble in updating Igbo language to reflect the realities of the modern era. There is something noble in providing modern healthcare to all people in Igboland. There is something noble in controlling population explosion in Igboland. There is something noble in reinvigorating the spirit of community development and private initiative in Igboland via massive agricultural infrastructural investment as being embarked upon today by the governor of Imo state , Anayo Rochas Okorocha. And there is something noble in protecting the lives and safeguarding the property of our people wherever they choose to live. Should we be able to accomplish the above tasks, our people who gave up their lives in order that we might have our Biafra, would not have died in vain. And therein lies the promise that was and still is Biafra.

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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The World Bank: Hats off to Ngozi Iweala

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Read Time:3 Minute, 39 Second

 

A golden opportunity for the rest of the world to show Barack Obama the meaning of meritocracy

WHEN economists from the World Bank visit poor countries to dispense cash and advice, they routinely tell governments to reject cronyism and fill each important job with the best candidate available. It is good advice. The World Bank should take it. In appointing its next president, the bank’s board should reject the nominee of its most influential shareholder, America, and pick Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

The World Bank is the world’s premier development institution. Its boss needs experience in government, in economics and in finance (it is a bank, after all). He or she should have a broad record in development, too. Ms Okonjo-Iweala has all these attributes, and Colombia’s José Antonio Ocampo has a couple. By contrast Jim Yong Kim, the American public-health professor whom Barack Obama wants to impose on the bank, has at most one.

Ms Okonjo-Iweala is in her second stint as Nigeria’s finance minister. She has not broken Nigeria’s culture of corruption—an Augean task—but she has sobered up its public finances and injected a measure of transparency. She led the Paris Club negotiations to reschedule her country’s debt and earned rave reviews as managing director of the World Bank in 2007-11. Hers is the CV of a formidable public economist.

Mr Ocampo was also finance minister, though his time in office, 1996-98, saw the budget deficit balloon. He ran the mildly statist UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. His is the CV of the international bureaucrat.

Mr Kim, the head of a university in New England, has done a lot of good things in his life, but the closest he has come to running a global body was as head of HIV/AIDS at the World Health Organisation—not a post requiring tough choices between, say, infrastructure, health and education. He pioneered trials of aid programmes before they became fashionable and set up an outfit called Partners in Health which does fine work in Haiti and Peru. But this is a charity, not a development bank. Had Mr Obama not nominated him, he would be on no one’s shortlist to lead the World Bank. (Indeed he is a far worse example of Western arrogance than Christine Lagarde, whom the Europeans shoehorned into the IMF job last year: the French finance minister plainly had the CV for the job.)

Ms Okonjo-Iweala is an orthodox economist, which many will hold against her. But if there is one thing the world has discovered about poverty reduction in the past 15 years, it is that development is not something rich countries do to poor ones. It is something poor countries manage for themselves, mainly by the sort of policies that Ms Okonjo-Iweala has pursued with some success in Nigeria.

Mr Kim’s views on development are harder to divine. But what can be gleaned is worrying. In an introduction to a 2000 book called “Dying for Growth”, he wrote that “the quest for growth in GDP and corporate profits has in fact worsened the lives of millions of men and women”, quoted Noam Chomsky and praised Cuba for “prioritising social equity”. Were Mr Kim hoping to lead Occupy Wall Street, such views would be unremarkable. But the purposes of the World Bank, according to its articles of agreement, are “to promote private foreign investment…[and to] encourage international investment for the development of the productive resources of members.” The Bank promotes growth because growth helps the poor. If Mr Kim disagrees, he should stick to medicine.

Ready. Steady. Ngo

For almost 70 years, the leadership of the IMF and World Bank has been subject to an indefensible carve-up. The head of the IMF is European; the World Bank, American. This shabby tradition has persisted because it has not been worth picking a fight over. The gap between Mr Kim and Ms Okonjo-Iweala changes the calculation. It gives others a chance to insist on the best candidate, not simply the American one. Mr Ocampo should bow out gracefully. And the rest of the world should rally round Ms Okonjo-Iweala. May the best woman win.

 

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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BLACK EXPERIENCES OF POLICING IN THE EUROPEAN UNION

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Read Time:4 Minute, 39 Second

Exploring the Nexus of Race, EU Law and Criminal Justice
Seminars: May and July 2012

The recent convictions in Britain for the murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993 brought into sharp focus the problematic interaction between racial discrimination and criminal justice. However this is not just a British problem: there are young black men and women living throughout the EU whose lives are significantly affected by the negative interaction between racial discrimination, criminal justice and – increasingly – EU law. Very little attention has been paid to the inter-relationship between these areas. The purpose of these seminars in 2012 is to launch a dialogue on the policing experience of black Union citizens and residents. It is hoped that the seminars will facilitate a discussion between experts, activists, policy makers, academics and legal professionals from a range of member states. The events will focus on listening to the expert voices of those directly affected and offer a platform for sharing experiences of policing from different EU member states. Exploration of such experiences is especially important given the evolution of the ‘Area of Freedom, Security and Justice’ in the EU, the EU Charter on Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, and the development of a European judicial area.

When the Treaty of Rome was signed in 1957 five of the six founder states held colonies in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean and persons from the colonies were living in all six. Neither race nor protection from racial discrimination were mentioned in the original Treaty – this became a core value of the EU only fifty years later in 1997, when Article 13 TEC (now Art 19 TFEU) gave the EU competence to take action to prohibit discrimination on the grounds of sex, race, ethnicity, religion or belief, disability, age and sexual orientation. This competence was activated in the form of the Directive on Racial and Ethnic Discrimination, which applies to treatment of all persons in the public and private sector in relation to employment, occupation and vocational training, working conditions, membership of organisations, social protection and advantages, education and access to goods and services.

The Directive does not cover policing. Policing first became an EU policy competence in 1992, when the Treaty of Maastricht created the tripartite pillar structure of the European Union. Issues concerning policing fell into the third pillar on ‘Justice and Home Affairs’. They came to the fore in 1997, when visa and asylum matters were ‘communitarised’ and the third pillar was re-focused on ‘Policing and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters’ (PJCC). A new EU-wide ‘Area of Freedom, Security and Justice’ was declared to provide a context for such co-operation. The Lisbon Treaty has integrated this area of freedom, security and justice into the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) as set out in Articles 67 to 89 TFEU. These provisions provide the EU with powers to act in a wide variety of fields including immigration and asylum, cross-border crimes such as trafficking of humans, drugs or arms, computer crime, and money laundering, as well as a framework for co-operation among the judicial authorities of the Member States in both civil and criminal matters, where appropriate through the European Judicial Co-operation Unit (EUROJUST).

Integral to this is the development of a European judicial area with common standards and a high level of access to justice for Union citizens. Article 87 empowers the Union to establish ‘police cooperation involving all the Member States’ competent authorities, including police, customs and other specialised law enforcement services in relation to the prevention, detection and investigation of criminal offences.’ Article 88 gives Europol the mission ‘to support and strengthen action by the Member States’ police authorities and other law enforcement services in their activities to tackle serious crime, terrorism and ‘forms of crime which affect a common interest covered by a Union policy’. Yet under Article 276 TFEU, when the EU exercises its powers relating to the area of freedom, security and justice, the judicial institutions of the EU ‘shall have no jurisdiction to review the validity or proportionality of operations carried out by the police or other law-enforcement services of a Member State’ or their internal practices to maintain law and order.

What does the omission of policing from the Race Directive and national autonomy under EU action on internal and external policing mean in relation to freedom, security and justice for black Union residents and citizens? What impact will this have, for example, on freedom of movement? These larger questions will assume ever greater importance as new policing and migration control initiatives are pushed through at a European level. Studies on black experiences of policing and racial profiling over the last few years have recorded racist treatment by national authorities, resulting in death and the abuse of human rights.

The seminars will therefore explore the meaning of an area of freedom, security and justice from the perspective of black Union residents and citizens. Given the ever-increasing action at national and EU level, there remains significant scope for empirical examination, theoretical elaboration and further intervention. It is hoped that they will help to build an academic domain that will sustain scholarly, policy and legal attention on lives lived at the nexus of race, EU law and criminal justice. The first seminar is planned for May 24th 2012. It will be hosted by Matrix Chambers in London. The second seminar will take place in July 2012, hosted by the School of Law at the University of Leeds.

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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FOLLOW UP: The real identity of the woman allegedly “beaten by her husband

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Read Time:1 Minute, 33 Second

Recently, we posted a picture of a lady who was allegedly beaten to pulp by her husband. As we all know, there are are always two sides to a story.  IMO STATE BLOG.com set out asking questions to ascertain the identity of this young Nigerian woman that was allegedly panel beaten by her husband in Lagos. It was said that her jaw was dislocated and she could barely utter a word. Two days later, nothing seemed forth coming as a follow up to the woman’s plight.

How can such a story hold us for work like this? Mba nu!!   Not when it’s published on IMO STATE BLOG!!! Armed with our Biro and  exercise book, we headed into the streets  seeking info on  the low down.

 Further investigations to the “story” revealed that the lady was neither a Nigerian nor beaten by her husband. According to our findings, the lady was a transvestite who went by the name, Barbara Paola. He/She was murdered in  Honduras. This incident was reported  in 2009. For those of us who can read in Spanish, please proceed to this link to learn about the incident which led to her death.

While many of us are relieved that this incident was not an another  issue of domestic violence recorded in Nigeria, it doesn’t erase the fact that the cases of domestic violence in the country are on the rise. The picture of this wo/man is not different from the ones we see in Nigeria.

Not to digress.

Following the conclusion of our investigation,  we  deemed it appropriate to publish our findings.   If you shared the previous story with your contacts, kindly do the same on this article.  Both articles will be cross-linked.

Thank you.

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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Obi Emelonye shocker! Why I gave one kidney away.

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Read Time:19 Minute, 8 Second
Nothing will give one a clue that the man most Nollywood’s stakeholders have come to love and respect, survives on one kidney. Nobody would even believe it since he exercises and plays football regularly. But then, the reality is that popular filmmaker and winner of The Sun’s Creative Man of the Year award, Obi Emelonye is living with one kidney instead of two. In an exclusive interview with Entertainer, the producer of ‘Mirror Boy’ sheds light on how giving away his kidney to his sibling has altered the course of his life. Excerpts:
 
How does it feel to win The Sun’s Creative Man of the Year award, the first of its kind, after just a year of coming into the public consciousness?
We are all God’s creatures and I believe He guides our path, and He directs our affairs in this journey of life. So, it is not really our choice, and in the popular Nigerian parlance, “God’s time is the best”. Actually, it is not something that I chose to happen or something that I fought for to happen, it is something that has happened and I give God the glory. There’s no prematureness about it, it cannot be too early or too late because if you say it is happening at the early stages of my career, then it’s what I call renaissance as a film maker. It means it’s the beginning of greater things to come, and if you put it at the end of my career, it means it is the highlight of my career in which case it is not so encouraging. So, if it is happening at the beginning, winning The Sun Creative Man of the Year is my beginning, which I look at as God’s providence, and I am very humble and very grateful to The Sun for, first of all, carving out this award because a lot of mainstream awards have refused to recognise creativity. So, it is a hugely commendable initiative by The Sun to get a category for creative people and recognize the amount of work we are doing for Nigeria. I feel very honoured and privileged to be the first winner of the award.
 
‘Mirror Boy’ made over N18 million at the box office, is that the end of the story for you?
No. ‘Mirror Boy’ did very well in the cinemas. I am not sure what the final figures are, but it did extremely well and I am grateful for the support of people, the media, most especially, The Sun, Africa Magic, Cool FM and Wazobia FM which made it possible for us to get the success we had. ‘Mirror Boy’ just came back from Canada where it was adapted by Canadian Immigration authorities as a cultural awareness tool. I also have an invitation to come to Holland with the movie. The Durban Film Festival in South Africa has just requested for ‘Mirror Boy’. I have another request from Ireland for the screening of the movie, and a proposition from an American agency for the review of the movie. So, ‘Mirror Boy’ has still got life in it and even the DVD is yet to be done. My career is more than just a film, I had to go and make a new film called, “Last Flight to Abuja”. In the movie are Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, Jim Iyke, and a host of other established names in the industry who are taking their games to the next level. ‘Mirror Boy’ has done great things for me and it will continue to do, and it will always be a film in my career that announced the new Obi Emelonye. I am trying to transcend and move on to greater things as a film maker.
 
What’s the big deal about your new film, ‘Last Flight to Abuja?’
There is no big deal about it. I think it’s an attempt by us to tell our story. This particular story is a type that Nollywood shies away from, maybe because of the technical demands of telling that kind of story. Maybe because of the financial implications of telling that kind of story, but it is one that we haven’t attempted before and to find the confidence to approach this kind of narrative, it is what the big deal is. It is about the confidence, the assurance to approach this type of story and tell it with the kind of technical and visual details it demands. ‘Last Flight to Abuja’ is a simple story about something that happened in Nigeria in 2006, and that is told in an entertaining and sensitive manner.
 
Why did you cast Celine Loader in the film?
There was a strategic thinking behind me casting Celine Loader. It wasn’t just simply a case of somebody that will play the role, and we filmmakers have to start thinking that way, it was along the business line. Celine Loader’s part in the film goes way beyond acting. She wasn’t an executive producer from the scratch, she was an actress. It was when we had difficulties with finance that she came in as an executive producer, and because she believed in the project she decided to put her money where her mouth is. So, she was first and foremost an actress before becoming an executive producer.
 
You are a lawyer and once a footballer, what are you doing with movies?
I have always known that my destiny lies in show business. I actually don’t mention it often but I was also a musician, I was the lead singer of a band called, Jacky’s Family in the early 80s and Charly Boy was our producer. We were supposed to be signed onto his label when he came back from America. This was when I was sixteen. I have touched every aspect of what I wanted to do and have enjoyed it and I feel everything I have done in my life is in preparation for what I am doing now. It makes me a complete man and it has broadened my horizon. So, all the experiences I gained in playing football and going for trials in Europe, and practicing as a lawyer in the UK are now part and parcel of my life. But first and foremost, my first degree was in drama from University of Nigeria, Nsukka where I was also a director and writer. Even when I left and was playing football, including when I was practicing law, I was still writing scripts.
One of my most important films before ‘Mirror Boy’ was ‘Echoes of War’. I actually took time off my Bar exams to direct ‘Echoes of War’ in 2003. So, it has always been in my blood, I have always known that things would fall in place when the time was right.
And in 2007, I made that leap and today, I have been vindicated. Like they say, fortune favours the brave and I have been brave about it, and I think fortune is beginning to smile on me.
 
How long did you practice as a lawyer?
Just three years, between 2003 and 2006. I worked with some solicitors in South East London. I was seconded to a college where I was legal adviser at Lambert College in South East London. I was working especially in the area of law of conveyance. It was a short period of practice but it opened my eyes to the life that I wanted to live; that I didn’t want to go to work everyday. I wanted to work and enjoy it. It is like a professional footballer who is getting paid doing what he enjoys. And the more I practice law, the more I realize that the job is not for me.
 
In the first place, why did you relocate to the UK?
I am a child of the ‘80s and ‘90s when the hippest thing was to go abroad. I graduated in 1990 from UNN, served the next year and played football immediately afterwards. I played for Rangers International of Enugu, Julius Berger of Lagos, and Premier of Onitsha, which I think is defunct now.
   
Where did you meet your wife?
This is a true story. In 2001, I was going with someone to shoot a movie, “Fire Dancer”. He was using my equipment and I was the director of photography. There is a part of my history in the UK which involves a white woman and which I have to do as they say to get to where I am. It was a necessary journey that I had to embark upon but with respect to my wife, it is something I don’t want to talk about it. She is my wife and the mother of my children and anything that happened before then should not be made public.
   
When did you come back to Nigeria?
I came back to Nigeria in 2000 to join the film industry. I left in 1993 and spent seven years in the UK. In 2000, I came back with my equipment and a bit of money and shot films like ‘Who’s Next’, and ‘Voodoo’ with Jim Iyke, Ramsey Noah, Steph Nora Okereke and Chioma Chukwuka. I put Chioma on her first poster. Jim Iyke was my boy; I put him in every film that I shot at that time which made a strong impact in the industry. They called me “oyinbo” filmmaker because at the early stage of Nollywood, I was trying to do things right. What we are doing now is what we were doing then but I think it was a bit too early and so, it wasn’t greatly received. I promoted my films so well that I had billboards in the stadium for “Who’s Next” and it was there for over a year. I built and got permission for the billboard to be put there. All these things we are doing for “Mirror Boy”, have always been there, it was just a case of getting the circumstances right. I came back in 2000 to join the film industry and I was frustrated by the marketers who released my film and never gave me a kobo. I am still being owed millions of naira as we speak by some of these people. They released the film and never gave me a penny in return. Marketers are very important but the problem was that they were a monopoly and monopoly will naturally exploit. And that was what they were doing, they were exploiting the situation. I’ve not finished the story of my wife. I came back from the UK to Nigeria and I was director of photography on a film called, ‘Fire Dancer’ starring Genevieve Nnaji. We were shooting in Omole and I had a Jaguar.
 
So, how did it happen?
I gave her my business card at a time when mobile phone wasn’t available in Nigeria. I was sharing an office with someone in Surulere, Lagos and she decided to phone me but didn’t get through so, she threw away the business card. But what God says will be, will be. Eventually, we met again.
 
Where?
In the same place, of course. I believe what God says will be, will be. Eventually, we met again and our relationship blossomed. About five months after we connected, I went back to the UK, and a few months later, she joined me. We met on the 12th of February, and February 12 was also the day we got married in the UK. It was the day we had our traditional wedding, so February 12 is a very special day for me and my wife.
 
Why her?
I don’t know. I was sitting in a car somewhere and someone opened the gate and immediately I saw her I said ‘that’s my wife’. I think it was a spiritual connection and with due respect to all the ladies I have been with in the past, I think I am the best judge of character than women. I am just lucky with women. Whoever I have had something to do with in the past have been the ones you can take home to mummy.
 
If they were women you could take home to mummy, why didn’t you take them?
There were more things to consider; was I ready to take them to mummy at that time? Was I ready to get married at that time? I didn’t take them to mummy at that time because I was probably too young or not ready financially or mentally, and probably they were not ready. But I have had a knack for dating ladies who are very beautiful and   responsible.
 
Is it true that you donated one of your kidneys to somebody?
In 2007, my younger brother was diagnosed with a kidney condition; we thought it was something that could be managed by just taking drugs but increasingly it became an issue. We went abroad where we were told that it’s in a bad state and cannot be corrected by just taking drugs, and the only option was to do a kidney transplant. In March 2010, his condition became more critical, he started undergoing dialysis and there was need to act very fast. At that point, we were torn between staying in the US where we were at that time or going to the UK where it was very expensive to carry out that kind of procedure. Then we considered Indian and my sister had a good relationship with the Indian High Commissioner, who recommended a hospital in India. We sent blood to India for interpretation; all my brothers were willing to make donations including my sister, who was married. She too was willing to donate her kidney, and it came down to who was available the most and whose kidney matches that of my brother. At this time, I was in post-production for ‘Mirror Boy’, I was in the studio editing the film, and it became a vote between myself and my immediate elder brother, who is executive producer of ‘Last Flight to Abuja’, to go to India with the patient. My brother is older than me by five years and he had a business to run with INEC but I was much freer. I was in post-production of the film, the reason why I’m saying this is not because I am holier than my brothers, no, but circumstances led me to being the only person that was singled out.
My wife obviously had her worries. What risks would I be exposed to? I could die in the operation. How difficult is it and what would happen afterwards? Would I be on medication? Will it affect my quality of life, and by extension, their quality of life? I understand that a woman would want to say that ‘your life is for us now and not for anybody on the outside’ but I said to her that, ‘what if it’s me that needs this help, how would you feel?’ In life it is better to be the giver than the receiver, so if I died trying to give my little brother a kidney, then I would have died a noble death. Some people die on the road while going to visit their girlfriends. Some people do silly things and die. Seeing my conviction on the matter, my wife said ‘let’s go and do it’. It didn’t hit me hard until the day I was going to India. My brother went from Ghana where he lives, and I went from the UK. As I said goodbye to my kids, it just dawned on me that I may not be seeing them again, it was very emotional.
 
Did you prepare your will?
Yeah, I had a reasonable life assurance and I had a will. I contacted my life insurance company to say this is what I was going to do. I told my kids that I would be back soon that they shouldn’t worry. I arrived in India and I thought the whole process shouldn’t take more than two weeks but it was very bureaucratic, very bureaucratic in the sense that a lot of Indians were selling their kidneys for money and so the Indian government had a very stringent law in place, including requirements before you can do a kidney donation. It’s very easy to take a kidney from a dead person but taking from someone who is alive like me was a very difficult one. My brother went two weeks before me and started running tests. When I came, I also started mine and it was a very thorough one. It took a lot of time, and two and a half months after, the operation took place. By this time, the work on ‘Mirror Boy’ was waiting. If we had released the film when we wanted to release it, we would not have been where we are today, but God said ‘don’t worry about the film, I will look after you’.
 
How did the family react and cope with all these challenges?
My family did their best, my brother-in-law tried for us; he contributed immensely to the funds to make this possible. He paid the hospital bills; I was responsible for mine. After all this, it showed that I was a suitable and fit-enough donor and by God’s grace, I passed all the tests needed. The operation was scheduled for the first week of October; I was having issues calling home because of the time difference, about five hours. The night before the operation, I called my wife but didn’t tell her the operation was the next day because I knew she won’t sleep, but somehow she knew because I told her I would be going for a test the next day and my phone would be switched off. During the operation, the camera broke and they had to go to another hospital to bring another, it’s a microscopic camera to see what’s going on. The operation lasted over 10 hours, something that shouldn’t take more than four hours. It was like coming back from hell and by His grace, I woke up. And as soon as they finished mine, they started on my brother, cut him wide, because his was a more detailed procedure. They cut him wider than they cut me, few days later, I left the hospital, went back to our hotel, continued to visit my brother who was now in intensive care.
 
When did you leave India?
A week after the operation, I left India for the UK. As God would have it, a week after I came back from India, my phone rang and it was CNN. They heard about the ‘Mirror Boy’ and wanted an interview. Since that time, my life as a filmmaker has never been the same. God healed my brother; he was in India for another month, now he is back in Ghana, and his kidneys are probably better than yours. The only thing is that he is on medication to control his immune system but he is working perfectly. So, I went back to the UK, saw my doctor in the process, I told him I just got back from India, he said ‘oh, that’s nice, so what took you there?’ I told him I just donated a kidney to my brother. He literally fell off his chair, saying he has been hearing about kidney transplant but it’s the first time he would come in contact with a donor. This is a medical doctor saying this and he knows that I wasn’t paid to do it and that I even paid all my bills while in India. The blessing that I got from my mum alone would last me a lifetime, the kind of goodwill I enjoy from people is amazing. Some people told me not to do it that I should think about my family first, others thought I was going crazy. They look at me now and say I inspire them. After a while, there was a rumour that my kidney failed and that I was in India for an operation because I was dying. I felt I needed to manage the story so, I started writing an internet blog, it attracted traffic at the time, many people would visit the blog and write all sorts of comments but I didn’t let it deter me. In the end, they realised I was serious about it. Right now, I feel lighter with one kidney; I am not on medication, I still play football, I am in perfect health and will continue to be by God’s grace. It’s one of the most fulfilling things I have ever done as a human being.
 
Are you sure there are no health implications?
There are no health implications; the body can function very well with one kidney. I would say ‘good health’ is my middle name. Going through what I went through in India was serious because the government wanted to be sure I wasn’t forced to do the operation, which I found very frustrating. Now, I understand why they did what they did at that time. My brother had to go back to India for a review, I did my review in the UK and the tests showed nothing was wrong. Absolutely, I’m in perfect health. My mum said my life has been prepared for this because I had always lived a healthy lifestyle since I was a small boy. I didn’t use to take beer, wine, champagne or anything alcoholic, even when I am celebrating, I don’t take any alcohol.
 
Did the kidney transplant affect your sexual performance?
Absolutely no, it doesn’t affect any aspect of my life. Like I said earlier, I still play football.

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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Tchidi Chikere responds to malicious report on true state of his marriage

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Read Time:2 Minute, 17 Second

Our attention has been drawn to a malicious report by a softsell magazine and selected blogs about our client, Tchidi Chikere on the state of his marriage and the reasons behind his decision to walk away from the nine-year union. In the said report, the soft sell publication claimed Tchidi has impregnated an actress, is currently living with the said actress and also planning to tie the knot with her by the end of the year.

 

The report is at best laughable and absolutely untrue. So that truth will not be turned on its head and silence taken as admission of guilt, we wish to make the following points clear:

 

1.      Nobody is pregnant for our client. We couldn’t fathom that reporters who delight in fabricating falsehood in the name of gossip would go through this ridiculous and laughable route. Pregnancy is not something that can be hidden, and according to our findings, the said actress is presently on location with actor, Nkem Owoh in Enugu. Those who care to know the truth and are not interested in propaganda can go find out the true state of her ‘pregnancy.’ This is one accusation, given time, would prove true or false.

 

2.      Tchidi Chikere is not getting married to anyone anytime soon. We cannot comprehend where the fabricating machine got such lies from, and the December date is just around the corner, so let’s wait and see.

 

3.      For those who care to know, Tchidi is not living with anyone – actress, actor or colleague.

 

For avoidance of doubt, Tchidi has not been happy in the nine year old marriage and his family knows about it, Sophia’s family knows about it, close friends and associates can also testify to this. Should we ask a man or woman to continue in perpetual state of unhappiness all in the name of saving face?

 

He has worked the marriage for the past nine years and has exhausted all means of peaceful co-existence with his wife. All thanks to Sophia. The decision to end the marriage has nothing to do with any woman and Sophia knows this herself. Otherwise she wouldn’t have made promises to friends and family members to turn a new leaf.

 

No matter the falsehood published after this, our client will not be joining issues with anyone or those who have chosen to pursue personal vendetta on the pages of newspaper.

 

 

 

Signed:

Bigsam Media

 

Enquiries: 2348028302862

Email: bigsammedia001@gmail.com“>bigsammedia001@gmail.com, pr@bigsammedia.com“>pr@bigsammedia.com

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 leads the way in mobile health services which will change healthcare

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Read Time:2 Minute, 51 Second

South Africa leads the way in mobile health services which will change healthcare
Mobile Health Africa launched in Johannesburg in May
 
South Africa is leading the way in launching mobile health (mHealth) services with some of the most successful and best known mHealth initiatives having been developed in this country.  This is according to Andrea Monteiro, director of Mobile Health Africa, which will gather the leading minds in the industry in Johannesburg in May.
 
“Africa suffers more than 24% of the global burden of disease,” says Andrea, “but has an average of only two doctors per 10,000 people – a shocking statistic. It means that providing the majority of people in Africa with healthcare is a major challenge.”  She says the evolution of mHealth services in Africa is enabling the drastic improvement of the healthcare infrastructure:  “in its most basic form it will provide access to healthcare advice and information even in the most remote parts Africa”.
 
South Africa ideal platform for mHealth
According to the Mobile Health Africa director, South Africa represents the ideal platform for the deployment and evolution of mHealth services.  She explains:  “the country has a brilliant telecoms infrastructure, both in terms of service provisioning and technology and is home to several entrepreneurial NGOs currently investing in mobile technologies.  On a social level, mobile penetration rates are very high, and other mobile services such as mobile money/mobile banking are already well established and used successfully on a day-to-day basis.”
 
Africa is a hub for mHealth pilots says Andrea Monteiro.  “With donor agencies, NGOs, governments and MNOs pioneering pilot programmes throughout the continent, the benefits that mobile technology can bring to the health care sector are evident.  mHealth programmes are continuously being launched across Africa.  Other countries to watch for sustainable and scalable mHealth programmes are Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and Uganda.”
 
Mobile Health Africa 2012
The objective is to evolve pilots to successful live mHealth deployments.  Mobile Health Africa 2012 will provide the perfect platform for the establishment of the business models and partnerships needed to build sustainable and scalable mHealth services throughout Africa.   The event will feature presentations from organisations and companies that are leading the development of mHealth initiatives on the continent. These include UNICEF, the Grameen Foundation, AMREF, Waha International, HIV/SA, USAID, UNFPA, Vodacom, Safaricom and HP.
Mobile Health Africa 2012 is part of the Connected Africa Forum, which will showcase the evolution of mobile lifeline services and applications in Africa, and highlight the evolving intersection between mobile money, mobile health and mobile agriculture.

Speaker highlight on the programme includes:

Sandhya Rao, Senior Advisor for Private Sector Partnerships, USAID
Sean Blaschke, Child Survival Systems Strengthening Specialist, UNICEF
Dr. Julitta Onabanjo, Representative – Tanzania, UNFPA
Diana Mukami, Project Manager, AMREF
Rob Allen, Manager hi4life programme, HIV/SA
Sean Krepp, Country Director, Uganda, Grameen Foundation
Salim Madati, New products and Innovations, Airtel Tanzania
Betty Mwangi-Thuo, Chief Officer, New Products Division, Safaricom
Bright Simons, CEO, mPedigree
Marius Conradie, E/M-Health Executive, Vodacom
 
Event website:  www.m-healthconference.com/africa
 
Event dates and location:
14-17 May 2012
Johannesburg, South Africa
 
For media accreditation:
Communications manager:  Annemarie Roodbol
Tel.  +27 21 700 3558      
Fax.  +27 21 700 3501   
Mobile: +27 82 562 7844
Email:  annemarie.roodbol@clarionevents.com

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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How North cornered Nigeria’s oil blocs • Revealed: 80% of ownership of the nation’s oil reserves is in the hands of some influential northerners

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Read Time:7 Minute, 28 Second
How North cornered Nigeria’s oil blocs • Revealed: 80% of ownership of the nation’s oil reserves is in the hands of some influential northerners • North, South-South in battle royale over oil

Tension over the allocation of Nigeria’s oil wealth among the states of the federation is assuming an interesting dimension with key figures in the South-South taking on the North over its recent call for a fiscal redress. The North, through the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) appears set its goal of changing the revenue allocation formular in its favour while the South-South described such calls as idle and insulting.One of the Niger Delta leaders even said the North is ungrateful to the South.

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ACF’s spokesman, Anthony Sani spoke with The Friday Edition declaring that the South cannot describe the north lasy because there is no diligence involved in having crude oil under ones soil.

Beneath the cross fire between the North and the South is the issue of who has juicy oil blocs in his kitty. The Friday Edition serves available details of owners of the multi billion naira oil blocs which insiders described as just a tip of the iceberg.

Unknown to many, more than eighty percent of ownership of the nation’s oil reserves is in the hands of some influential northerners who acquired marginal fields, Oil Mining Licenses (OML) and Oil Prospecting Licenses (OPL).

Curiously, such acquisitions were under the different military regimes of Generals Ibrahim Babangida (rtd), the late Sani Abacha as well as Nigeria’s last military leader, Abdusalami Abubakar.

This discovery is coming on the heels of the brickbat between the South-South and the North over the propriety or otherwise of the review of the revenue sharing formula which the later alleged was unduly advantageous to the former.

Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger state, had, penultimate week, called for equality in the sharing of oil revenue accruing to the oil-producing states, saying it posed a big disadvantage to those without oil.

The position of the Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum had barely settled when Governors Rotimi Amaechi(Rivers), Emmanuel Uduaghan(Delta), Olusegun Mimiko(Ondo), Theodore Orji(Abia) and federal lawmakers from oil-producing states expressed their dismay at the outburst.

The debate had continued to take a new dimension in the last one week.

But Nigerian Tribune’s investigations showed that most of the oil and gas prospects had long been conceded to a particular section of the country.

According to documents exclusively obtained by the Nigerian Tribune, most of those to whom the nation’s juicy oil reserves have been conceded are individually richer than some African oil-producers such as Ghana and Sudan.

For instance, Cavendish Petroleum, the operators of OML 110 – with good yielding OBE field was awarded to Alhaji Mai Deribe – the Borno patriarch, by General Sani Abacha on the 8th of July, 1996.

OML 110 has a proven oil reserve in excess of 500 million barrels (more than the entire 300milliom barrels reserve of Sudan) with capacity to produce about 120,000 barrels of crude oil daily from its OBE 4 and OBE 5 wells.

At current production levels, the Mai Deribes net an average of N4billion monthly in crude oil sales (using oil price estimates of $100 p/b). Deribe, even in death is the richest man in the history of Borno state today.

Another major partaker in the oil and gas sector is Mallam (Prince) Sanusi Lamido, a cousin of the Central Bank Governor, who is a key shareholder and director in Seplat/Platform Petroleum, operators of the Asuokpu/Umutu Marginal Field with a capacity of 300,000 barrels monthly and 30mmfcsd gas plant capable of feeding 100MT of LPG.

But the oldest of all northern-backed oil and gas concerns is South Atlantic Petroleum Limited (SAPETRO). South Atlantic Petroleum (SAPETRO) is a Nigerian Oil Exploration and Production Company that was established in 1995 by General T. Y. Danjuma, who is also the Chairman of ENI Nigeria Limited. General Sani Abacha awarded the Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 246 to SAPETRO in February 1998.

The block covers a total area of 2,590km2 (1,000 sq. miles). SAPETRO partnered with Total Upstream Nigeria Ltd (TUPNI) and Brasoil Oil Services Company Nigeria Ltd to start prospecting on OPL246.

Akpo, a condensate field was discovered in April 2000 with the drilling of the first exploration well (Akpo 1) on the block. Other discoveries made on OPL 246 include the Egina Main, Egina South, Preowei and Kuro (Kuro was suspended as a dry gas/minor oil discovery).

But in June 2006, SAPETRO divested part of its contractor rights and obligations to China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) for $1 billion (N160bn). Akpo exports about 230,000 barrels of condensate daily.

Condensate export is not regulated by OPEC, so SAPETRO/TOTAL exports as much as possible each day. Egina exports about 75,000 barrels of oil daily.

Akpo and Egina therefore, export over 300,000 barrels of oil/condensate daily (three times what Ghana currently exports).

Out of this volume, SAPETRO gets 25 per cent which, however, excludes the gas component that is about 2.5 trillion cubic feet.

Operators of OML 112 and OML 117, AMNI International Petroleum and Development Company, is owned by Alhaji (Colonel) Sani Bello from Kontagora, Niger State. In the production-sharing contract, AMNI gets 60 per cent for owning the oil block and Total gets 40 per cent for providing technical advice.

Although OML 112 was awarded on 12 February, 1998 and OML 117 on 4 August, 1999, all by former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar whose eldest daughter is married to Bello’s son, Abu, operations did not start on both blocks until 26 February, 2006.

Both licenses are due to expire on 11 February, 2018 and 5 August, 2019 respectively. AMNI produces twice as much as Cavendish Petroleum.

Nonetheless, a Former Petroleum minister, (names withheld), another Fulani multi-millionaire with fronted controlling holdings in Afren, manages AMNI oil blocks and with very key interest in the NNPC/Vitol trading deal.

Vitol is a London based oil trading company. Vitol, which lifts 350,000 barrels of crude oil daily from Nigeria is owned by the former minister.

The Okoro and Setu fields in OML 112 with about 50 million barrels in reserve, operated by Afren Energy, currently rake in below 20,000 barrels per day in exports.

Similarly, there is Oriental Energy Resources Limited, a company owned by Alhaji Mohammed Indimi, a close friend of General Ibrahim Babangida. Both, apart from being from Niger state, are in-laws (IBB’s first son, Mohammed is married to Yakolo, Indimi’s daughter). Yakolo is a director in Oriental.

Oriental Energy Resources Limited runs three oil blocks: OML 115, the Okwok field and the Ebok field. OML 115 and Okwo are OML PSC, while Ebok is an OML JV. All of them are crown offshore oil blocks.

OML 115 on its own is 228 sq Km with Oriental Energy Resources Limited controlling 60 per cent while Equity Energy Resources, has 40 per cent.

On Okwok, Addax has 40% and on the Ebok field, Oriental Energy Resources has 100%.

Alhaji Aminu Dantata’s Express Petroleum and Gas Limited floated for the purpose of winning oil block(s) on November 1, 1995, got General Abacha’s approval to operate OML 108. CAMAC Houston, a company owned by Kase Lawal bought 2.5% of Express Petroleum’s 60% holdings. The other 40% on OML 108 is owned by Sheba E&P Limited.

As the operator of OML 108, Shebah Exploration And Production Limited (SEPCOL) has an office in Lagos but the headquarters is in Minna. SEPCOL operates the Ukpokiti offshore field in Shallow water Nigeria, which was acquired from ConocoPhillips in May 2004.

The Alhaji Saleh Mohammed Jambo-owned NorthEast Petroleum Limited, registered as NorEast Petroleum, is the holder of OPL215 license, covering an area of 2,564 square kilometres in water depths between 200 to 1600 metres.

NorEast, which is the parent company of Rayflosh Petroleum, was awarded the blocks OPLs 276 & 283 closing thereupon, a Joint Venture Agreement with Centrica Resources Nigeria Limited and CCC Oil and Gas.

The license was awarded to him by General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida in 1991 and then renewed in 2004 by former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. It was learnt that, so far $50Million has been spent on the very promising Okpoi-1 and Egere -1 exploratory well.

Intels, owned by the three families of Yar’Adua , Ado Bayero and Alhaji Abubakar Atiku is another major northern concern in the oil and gas sector. The Oil and Gas Free Zone and Oil Services Centres, as well as Support Bases operated from government-owned facilities, are leased to Intels under long-term agreements.

Intels thus, runs a ‘private port’, as a counter venture to the Calabar, Warri and Port Harcourt ports. At the Port Harcourt’s facility of the company for instance, there are over one hundred major companies.

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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Finally, Nigeria Bares Its Fangs Abroad

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Read Time:6 Minute, 39 Second

On October 18, 2011 when Israel swapped one Israeli (Gilad Shalit) with
over one thousand Palestinian prisoners, it looked to some as if Israel
was not thinking properly. Shalit was not the Prime Minister or a member
of the Knesset. He was not a general in the Israeli army. Shalit was a
low-ranking soldier: a sergeant. So why should Israel consider him so
important as to be worth the release of over one thousand Palestenians?
The answer is simple: Because he is an Israeli. The life of an Israeli is
regarded as priceless by his country. Even the corpse of an Israeli is
priced highly. Israel had swapped living Palestinians with the corpse of
an Israeli because they wanted to bury their kinsman themselves according
to their rites. It is such premium the Israeli nation places on its
citizens that makes them so patriotic and ready to defend their country
any time.

On March 2, 2012, South Africa deported 125 Nigerians who had landed in
their country in two flights: Nigerian-based Arik Air and South African
Airways. The Nigerian travellers were accused of possessing fake yellow
fever inoculation certificates called the Yellow Card. Information
gathered showed that a Yellow Card is one of the compulsory documents an
applicant is required to present to the South African High Commission in
Nigeria before it can issue a visa to such an applicant. The argument,
therefore, was: If the Yellow Card was fake, why did the South African
High Commission issue the travellers with visas?

Another point was that even if the certificates were fake as alleged by
South African immigration authorities, the standard practice has been that
such people would be quarantined and inoculated. If after three hours they
are are found to be free of yellow fever, they are allowed to enter the
country. Furthermore, if such people were to be deported, the Nigerian
ambassador to the Republic of South Africa should be informed. That was
not done. Nigerian authorities should also have been present to supervise
the deportation of such immigrants. This was also not done.

Why did South Africa, which had been a friendly nation to Nigeria, act in
such a manner to Nigeria? But unlike in the past when Nigeria would start
waiting for answers before taking any action, Nigeria retaliated swiftly
by starting the deportation of South Africans. By Thursday morning, 136
South Africans had been deported for “improper documentation,” in the
words of the Nigerian Immigration Service.

The South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Kingsley Mambolo, was
invited by the Nigerian Foreign Affairs Ministry for explanation. The two
chambers of the legislature also summonend the Minister of Foreign
Affairs, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru, for questioning. His comments at
both chambers showed the new thrust of Nigeria’s foreign policy as regards
such matters.

Ashiru vowed that the Federal Government would henceforth take tough
action against any country that takes delight “in ill-treating Nigerians”.

He added: “This is the first time in all my career in the foreign service
where a supposedly friendly country would send 125 Nigerians back home on
the flimsy excuse that they are carrying fake yellow cards. Nigeria will
take reciprocal action. The Federal Government has summoned the South
African envoy to demand an apology and to ensure that the officers
involved in the deportation are punished.”

“I find the action as totally unfriendly and un-African. You don’t treat
fellow Africans that way, and we will not leave any stone unturned to get
to the bottom of the matter. They should know that they do not have
monopoly of deporting travellers and if we feel that the action against
our nationals was discriminatory, we will take action to reciprocate and
there are various ways of reciprocating.”

“It will be measure for measure; we will not let it go unreciprocated. The
signal must go out, not just to South Africa, but to the rest of the
world, that when you treat Nigerians with disrespect, we also will find a
way of treating your nationals with disrespect. No country has a monopoly
of treating Nigerians with disrespect; we too can hit back.”

Nigerians have expressed solidarity for President Goodluck Jonathan’s
government’s response to the treatment from South Africa. His steps taken
have earned him high praise. Nigerians have always been miffed at the
shabby treatment other countries mete out to Nigerians despite the high
level of hospitality shown other nationals in Nigeria.

But some have pointed out that there may be more of political vendetta in
this recent deportation saga than health issue. In August last year, when
the Libya’s rebels took over Tripoli, Nigeria immediately recognized
Libya’s Transitional National Council, calling it “the legitimate
representative of the Libyan people.” It further urged Colonel Muammar
Gaddafi to cede power and give peace a chance. That did not go down well
with South Africa, which accused Nigeria of “jumping the gun” and taking a
position different from that of the African Union. Eventually, the world
recognized the Libya’s TNC and it became obvious that it was Nigeria’s
position that prevailed. Before Libya, a similar event had played out in
Ivory Coast, where Nigeria swiftly recognized Alassane Ouattara as the
winner of the election and urged the incumbent, Laurent Gbagbo to hand
over to Ouattara and ease the tension in the country. Gbagbo was
eventually captured and Ouattara took over as the President of Ivory
Coast. On the day of his inauguration as president, Ouattara paid special
tribute to Nigeria for its role during the political cul-de-sac in his
country.

Such actions of the Jonathan administration may not have gone down well
with Pretoria. That could have been a remote reason to “cut Nigeria to
size”, some analysts have noted.

But this was not the first time the Jonathan administration had responded
swiftly to a country that treated Nigeria shabbily. In the first week of
November 2011, Nigeria responded to an action of the United Kingdom in the
aviation industry. UK’s Airport Coordination Limited (ACL) had denied
Nigerian-owned Arik Air the landing spots it requested, thereby
tecnhically forcing it to suspend flights to London Heathrow from Abuja.
In what was considered a retaliatory move, the Federal Government
announced the slashing of British Airways’ flights to Lagos from seven
times a week to three, with effect from Tuesday, November 8, 2011.

The FG also went a step further by rescheduling British Airways’ landing
and take-off times. Instead of landing at about 5.30pm and taking off at
about 10.45pm, the airline was directed to start arriving Lagos at 6.00am
and taking off at 10.00am. That was meant to adversely affect the
airline’s passengers’ connectivity in Europe as they would have to wait
for long hours at Heathrow before connecting to their final destinations.
The British authorities quickly rescinded their decision on Arik Air and
the matter was resolved.

It is obvious that Nigeria’s stance of playing the lamb in internationl
relations has not yielded any fruits. Rather it has made other countries
take advantage of it. It is also one of the reasons Nigerian citizens
don’t feel as patriotic as necessary to the nation. There has always been
a feeling that their country is not passionate about the citizens’ safety
and well-being in foreign lands. Jonathan seemed to have noticed that
lacuna and is taking actions to fill it. And the result is that even those
that have bitterly criticized his performance since his assumption of
office as the CEO of the nation have praised him for standing up for
Nigeria in this face-off with South Africa. The apology of South Africa to
Nigeria has further worked in the President’s favour. But most
importantly, Nigeria’s reaction to the treatment from South Africa’s will
send a stern warning to other countries to be wary of treating Nigeria and
Nigerians with levity in future.

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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