Obama, Modi Resolve Nuclear Deal Issues

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U.S. President Barack Obama and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi broke a deadlock on a long-stalled nuclear pact Sunday, with both leaders noting their "friendship" as the catalyst for closer diplomatic ties.

Hours after arriving in India, the U.S. leader said he and Modi have "agreed to deepen" their defense and security cooperation.

Modi said the relationship between the United States and India "stands at a new level." 

The deadlock has been stalling a civilian nuclear power agreement for years, and the action agreed upon is a step that both sides hope will help establish an enduring strategic partnership.

The two countries reached an understanding on two issues that, despite a groundbreaking 2008 agreement, had stopped U.S. companies from setting up reactors in India and became one of the major irritants in bilateral ties.

“We are committed to moving towards full implementation,” Obama told a joint news conference with Modi after he arrived in the Indian capital of New Delhi in a state visit. “This is an important step that shows how we can work together to elevate our relationship.”

Modi added, "I am pleased that six years after we signed our bilateral agreement, we are moving towards commercial cooperation, consistent with our laws (and) international legal obligations."

Liability issues resolved

The new deal resolved differences over the liability of suppliers to India in the event of a nuclear accident and U.S. demands on tracking the whereabouts of material supplied to the country, U.S. ambassador to India Richard Verma told reporters.

"It opens the door for U.S. and other companies to come forward and actually help India towards developing nuclear power and support its non carbon-based energy production," Verma said.

“Ultimately it's up to the companies to go forward, but the two governments came to an understanding,” he added.

Obama arrived in India Sunday for a three-day visit during which he will become the first American leader to attend the country’s Republic Day ceremony.

Modi demonstrated the importance of the visit by breaking protocol to receive Obama at the airport with a big hug.

Their talks will primarily focus on trade, but also take in security, nuclear power and climate change.

The United States views India as a vast market and potential counterweight to China's assertiveness in Asia, but frequently grows frustrated with the slow pace of economic reforms and unwillingness to side with Washington in international affairs.

Elected last May, Modi has injected a new vitality into the economy and foreign relations and, to Washington's delight, begun pushing back against China's growing assertiveness across Asia.

In a veiled reference to China, the leaders reiterated the “importance of safeguarding maritime security and ensuring freedom of navigation and overflight throughout the region, especially in the South China Sea.”

Agenda for visit. After his arrival, the U.S. president traveled to the presidential palace for an official welcoming ceremony with his Indian counterpart, Pranab Mukherjee.

Obama placed a wreath at the Mahatma Gandhi memorial ahead of talks with Modi and later, a state dinner.

On Monday, in addition to attending India’s Republic Day celebration, the U.S. president will speak at a CEO forum bringing together American and Indian business leaders.

Obama canceled a planned trip to the Taj Mahal to travel to Saudi Arabia on January 27, and will cap his New Delhi visit with a speech earlier Tuesday, laying out his vision for the future of U.S.-India relations

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

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

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Maiduguri (Nigeria) (AFP) – Nigeria's military fought Boko Haram militants in the restive northeastern city of Maiduguri on Sunday, as US Secretary of State John Kerry jetted in to discuss fears about election-related violence. Militants launched a dawn raid on Jintilo village on the outskirts of the Borno State capital, prompting soldiers to respond with heavy weaponry and air strikes while the entire city was put on lock-down

At the same time, Islamist fighters attacked Monguno, about 65 kilometres (40 miles) from the fishing town of Baga, where hundreds, if not more, people were killed in a devastating Boko Haram onslaught earlier this month.Amnesty International said civilians in the city and surrounding areas were now "at grave risk" and called for their "immediate protection".

The renewed violence underscored the extent of the difficulties facing Nigeria as it scrambles for a solution to enable hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the unrest to vote next monthIt also demonstrated the uphill battle facing President Goodluck Jonathan, who was at a campaign rally for the February 14 election in Maiduguri on Saturday, where he again vowed to end the six-year insurgency.

Kerry touched down in the financial capital, Lagos, and headed straight for separate meetings with Jonathan and the main opposition's presidential candidate, former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari.The Nigeria visit — the first by a US secretary of state since Hillary Clinton in 2012 — was announced on Friday during a speech in which Kerry warned of the dangers of Islamist extremists worldwide.

Kerry has previously described the attack on Baga as a "crime against humanity" while the United States has warned of the threat to Nigeria's sovereignty posed by the militants, who want to create a hardline Islamic state in northeast Nigeria.

A senior US official told reporters travelling with Kerry that the insurgency, which is increasingly threatening neighbouring countries, would likely be raised with both candidates.

"We have been working very, very closely with the government of Nigeria to address Boko Haram, and I can say very clearly that no country has done as much as we have to support Nigeria's efforts," the official said.

"And we would hope that both candidates will be able to address the insecurity and address Nigeria's response to Boko Haram."

But US involvement in Nigeria has been fraught, with criticisms in particular of the Nigerian government's slow response to the mass abduction of 276 girls from the town of Chibok in April last year.

US drones were deployed and the Pentagon dispatched intelligence and surveillance specialists in the hope of finding the 219 teenagers still being held but to no avail.

Assistant Secretary of State Linda Thomas-Greenfield has accused Nigeria's military of being in denial about the threat posed by Boko Haram, which has captured dozens of towns in the last six months.

Nigeria's ambassador to Washington has accused the United States of failing to provide the weaponry required to end the rebellion and Abuja also ended a US training programme for soldiers to take on the militants.

But despite massive defence spending accounting for some 20 percent of the federal budget last year, Nigerian troops maintain that they lack the right weapons and equipment to take on the better-armed militants.

Boko Haram is thought to have increased the scope and intensity of its attacks this year to further undermine the credibility of the government, which it sees as illegitimate and un-Islamic.

But Kerry was instead expected to address poll-related violence, which has blighted previous Nigerian elections and which it is feared could erupt again, given the closely fought race.

Some 1,000 people died at the last elections in 2011 during protests in central Nigeria, where the predominantly Christian south meets the mainly Muslim north.

Both Jonathan and Buhari recently signed a non-violence agreement but that has not stopped sporadic outbreaks of unrest between supporters of their Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The US official said Washington expected free, fair and peaceful elections in Africa's most populous nation.

"This election in Nigeria is being watched by the entire continent and in fact by the entire world," the official added.

The United States has pressed for the elections to go ahead, despite the raging insurgency.

This week, Nigeria's national security advisor Sambo Dasuki called for polling to be delayed as 30 million voter cards had yet to be distributed. But the electoral body maintained it was on track

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

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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Oklahoma police release video of cop fatally shooting armed, fleeing man

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Read Time:3 Minute, 21 Second

Warning: Some readers might not want to watch the video released by law enforcement because of its graphic content. Oklahoma police released a video Friday from the body camera of a cop who fatally shot a suspect earlier this month. Muskogee Officer Chansey McMillin, responding to a domestic abuse complaint, approached 21-year-old Terrance Walker outside the Old Agency Baptist Church on Jan. 17, according to local media.

"Just relax for me,” McMillin said. “Why you shaking for? Relax.” The video shows Walker run away and McMillin give chase. The suspect then stops to bend over and pick up something he has dropped in the street.From the video, it is not clear what he is attempting to retrieve, but police say it was a loaded semiautomatic pistol.

McMillin fires five shots at Walker, who had set off running again, which strike and kill the young man. The unedited footage shows Walker fall over into a ditch. The church’s pastor ran toward the scene and begged the cop to put his gun down. “Don’t shoot no more,” he shouted. “Get back!” McMillin screamed multiple times, while approaching the body. Other officers arrived on the scene. One found the handgun on Walker’s person before checking his vital signs. Minutes later, McMillin collapsed onto another cop car. His colleagues tried to comfort him. “You’re all right, baby. You’re all right, OK? Let’s go to my car, come on,” one said

“F—. Why’d he have to do that?” McMillin said, referring to Walker's attempt to flee. Walker’s mother, Cassandra, spoke to KXAN after authorities released the body camera footage of her son’s death on Friday. She said she has refused to watch it.

“I have no desire to look at it. I want to remember him like I know him to be,” she told the station. “I wouldn’t want any mother, daughter, wife, grandmother, I would never want somebody to physically see that.” Walker, who was originally from Austin, Texas, had moved to Muskogee to attend Bacone College on a football scholarship, she said. Muskogee police Cpl. Mike Mahan said Walker had been threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend, saying he “had a bullet with her name on it,” KJRH reported.

"From everything we can see in the video, the officer responded appropriately," he told KFOR. "This officer had a split second to make that decision. We believe he acted according to his training." Some local residents told the NBC affiliate that the entire incident is a tragedy, but that they are happy it did not result in the sort of violence seen in other places, such as Ferguson, Mo “The other cities that this has happened in, they get pretty riled up about it. But thank God this is … you know, it’s kept – the community is quiet,” Joseph Ingram said. “I really don’t think that that police officer felt like he had any other choice," said Danita Week, "but I feel really bad for the young man who was shot, too." Authorities said the incident is under investigation and McMillin has been placed on leave. In December, President Barack Obama requested a three-year, $263 million investment package to supply more police officers with body cameras.

The White House said the goal is to have 50,000 more body cameras in use within three years. The proposal came at a time of widespread protests against law enforcement related to the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown at the hands of Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson in August. Brown’s death and a grand jury's decision not to indict Wilson rekindled a national debate about policing in predominantly African-American communities.

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

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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ADEOLA decries violence as a campaign strategy

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The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts and APC Lagos West Senatorial candidate, Hon Solomon Adeola has decried the introduction of violence into ongoing campaign by opposition political party candidates as a way of scaring voters from performing their civil duties of voting for the candidate of their choice

Condemning the practice when a coterie of support groups from the senatorial district paid him solidarity visits over the weekend, Hon. Adeola regretted that any candidate would include sporadic shooting of guns and machete attacks on people opposed to their candidature or pasting his poster adding that he would continue his campaign based on his track record at the state and federal legislature for the past 12 years as well as his legislative agenda for Lagos West Senatorial District.

“I will never involve in or encourage my supporters to carry out campaign of intimidation of voters with violence in any form particularly shooting sporadically or attacking those pasting posters. It is regrettable that one APC supporter has been killed in Agege and another APC woman was attacked with machete in Ayobo-Ipaja area for posting APC candidates posters on her premises”

He said he will continue to meet with the people and groups to discuss his agenda as representation is about people adding that his campaigns across the district in form of town hall meeting and rallies was aimed at letting the people know who is going to represent them as well as discuss the what inform them what they should expect from him at the Senate.

He said the senate as the highest legislative body requires cognate experience with consideration giving to ranking among senators adding that Lagos West as the largest senatorial district in Nigeria cannot afford to send a learner or first timer to the senate.

Earlier all the groups including National Association of Nigerian Students(NANS) LASU, Araromi Youth, Association of Disabled Persons, Oshodi –Isolo as well as Lagos State Association of the Deaf all said they came to declare their support based on his track records in Alimosho where he has been a representative at both state and federal level.

Nurudeen Temilola, the President of NANS LASU promised that his association will campaign for him among the over 5000 students spread across four campuses  adding that they were in his office to collect campaign materials

Signed:

Chief Kayode Odunaro

Media Adviser to Hon. Solomon Adeola.

24TH January, 2014.

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

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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Rivers APC raises alarm over attacks, laments bombing of campaign venue

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The Rivers State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has cried out over the increasing rate of attacks directed against it by agents of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the State. The party raised the alarm following the bombing, in the wee hours of Saturday, of the venue of its proposed governorship campaign rally in Okrika.
 
The rally, scheduled to hold today, had to be inevitably postponed after hoodlums who drove in a white Hiace bus, stormed the National School field Okrika, venue of the proposed governorship rally, at about 3:45 a.m., shooting sporadically and hauling explosives into the arena and destroying the podium, sound equipment and canopies.
 
“Rivers APC unreservedly condemns the continuing resort to violence by a desperate Peoples Democratic Party, which, having seen the handwriting on the wall, is bent on making Rivers State ungovernable. As a law-abiding party which does not believe in violence, we have chosen to put off today’s rally at great cost to ourselves and to our gubernatorial candidate, Dr. Dakuku Adol Peterside, a man of peace who abhors violence on any sort,” State Party Chairman, Dr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya said in a statement issued in Port Harcourt.
 
He regretted that the attackers allegedly came from the direction of Igbiri, a community that shares borders with Oba Ama, an Okrika community and hometown of Nigeria’s First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan. “Rivers APC is pained that this dastardly attack is coming barely days after our Okrika Secretariat was bombed by yet-to-be-identified persons. While we are reluctant to link the Nigerian First Lady with our ordeal, as some people have done, we must however express worry that she has failed to call those behind these attacks to order as they believe that they are doing this to protect her interest, the interest of her husband, President Goodluck Jonathan and their drowning party, the PDP,” Ikanya said.  
 
The APC State Chairman said that the police must bear part of the blame “because, apart from turning a deaf ear to our cries for help, information reaching us has it that the police is systematically harassing and arresting our members across the State while looking the other way as armed thugs move from place to place in Okrika, destroying our members’ houses after ensuring that we are not able to hold our rally in the town today as earlier scheduled.”
 
Rivers APC berated the State PDP leader and gubernatorial candidate, Chief Nyesome Wike, for threatening to destroying and burn the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt if it is not released for the use of President Jonathan for his campaign. The party restated that violence will not save PDP from being disgraced during the February 2015 elections, as the party has been overwhelmingly rejected by the people of the State, whom it has unjustly oppressed over the past five years.
 
Finally, we wish to counsel President Jonathan to prevail on the PDP leadership not to use the stadium issue to destroy the peace of Rivers State knowing very well that the party does not have the membership to fill the stadium. In other words, we are trying to save the president from the embarrassment of addressing an empty stadium.

Attached are the relevant pictures of the destruction of our rally venue at Okirika
 
{gallery}/stories/2015/gallery/rivers-apcdamage/{/gallery}

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

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: Change and Agbaje’s Rescue Mission

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Read Time:6 Minute, 36 Second

 For  some  politicians belonging to the ruling  APC  in  Lagos state it  is unthinkable  to think  of their  party  not  being  in power in the state. It  is not their  fault since they have been the ample beneficiaries  of three  back to back political  and electoral  victories of  the party in various shapes , formations  and names  and a fourth  victory  is just seen as regular  and just an icing on the cake. This haughty assumption  pervades  the entire echelon  of the APC  such that its leaders and  followers  do not see  what is very much  in plain sight  and is bound to be  the party’s nemesis  at the 2015  gubernatorial  elections  in  Lagos state .  

That  is the  masses  resentment  against  the government machinery  in the way  it has gone about  its onerous  and very successful  but  rich  harvest of collecting  revenue  from  all the nooks and corners and  commercial  streets of the Lagos Metropolis and sprawling  suburbs of the    state  without  thinking  of  the discomfort  and pain  it has  cost  the citizenry  and  electorate in the process  of enriching its  coffers  for governance.

This then  is why  change  is of necessity  in Lagos state and a priority  for  the Lagos state  electorate  to vote  in the PDP  candidate J K  Agbaje  in order  to  get  immediate  and absolute  respite  from  the  Eko  Oni  Baje  dictum  of persecution  of Lagos  state which  the APC  wants  to continue with ‘ Ambo ‘    –  ‘we  are  coming ‘  slogan of  APC  candidate Akin  Ambode, another  handpicked  candidate  of the party .

The  election  of Jimi  Agbaje  is a task  that must  be  done  like former  head  of  State  General  Yakubu  Gowon  said  about  crushing  the Ojukwu  rebellion  during  the Nigerian civil  war. This is because  on  a daily  basis  Nigerians  face  the torture  of  government agents  in  Lagos state in pursuit  of their  task  of collecting  government revenues . On  the roads  LASMA  officials are  busy charging  at drivers  without driving belts while making no  effort  to  make traffic  flow which the State  governor  said  was  their  primary  duty.  They  jump  at trailer  drivers at  great  risk  to their  lives  like area  boys  and force  them  to pack to  collect revenue  for  one type  of infringement  and another .

At peak  hours when  people  are  looking for their daily  bread,  uniformed  Vehicle  Inspection Officers, VIOs –  swarm  the streets and way lay traders ,  market women and  businessmen  to ask  for particulars  and  take bribes  where  they  are  not available. This  is a daily nightmare  that  has made  Lagosians  dread  waking up to  each  working and business  day to earn  a  living. It  is not that government should  not  collect its revenue but that in collecting it, it should  give  the masses  that put  it in power  a right of way and  passage  to earn  a  living. This  is why  the Lagos electorate  is waiting for  a change  of parties  and personalities at the helm  of affairs  in Lagos state and cannot wait  to elect  Jimi  Agbaje  on the platform  of the PDP  and thus end 16 years  of the shenanigan  and oppression  of the ruling APC .

Again  we  believe  it is the duty  of  government to collect taxes  from  its citizenry  for  the development  of the state .  It  is also  the duty of government to  look  after  the welfare of its citizenry with the tax so collected . That  is not  the case in most parts  of  Lagos streets especially  with  innermost  city  streets  far  inside the metropolis where  the teeming  masses line. Bad  roads  have been  the order  of the day  on Lagos  roads  with  no linkages  to  the well  laid out roads  in city centers  and business  areas. It  is not unusual  to see  – Pay  Your Tax –  road  signs at  junctions  of roads  leading nowhere  where LASTMA    officials lurk to  arrest , fine or take bribes  from road  users  who inevitably  take one  way routes  to come back  from roads that end abruptly which  are quite many  in  Lagos state .

The  overhead  bridge  which is supposed  to link  Okota  with  Surulere is  a classical  case  of government’s  indifference to the plight  of  its citizenry  in  Lagos state .  The  Okota  end  of  the  bridge cannot  link  Okota’  gateway  at Apple  Junction  just  because the  road  in between  which  should have  been ready  before  the  construction  of the overhead bridge  is simply  impassable . So  of what use  is the overhead  bridge ?  This coming  gubernatorial election makes  the election  of Jimi  Agbaje the solution  to this Okota Apple  Junction linkage with  the Okota – Surulere  overhead  bridge.  The  important  thing  about  elections is that  they  provide another opportunity  to  make  a choice and elect  to power those  people  feel  will  listen  to them.  Not  those who oppress  them  and  turned a deaf ear  to their  pleas  for improved welfare  and  free  movement of goods  and services  to make ends  meet . Agbaje  represents a breadth  of fresh air for Lagosians  to  make a change  that will affect  their environment for  good and  make  them  have a sense of belonging . Not  the present army of occupation which  pursues those who elected  it as if once elected the  government is to make  life  difficult  for those  who  elected it.  The  election of JK Agbaje  should  change  such electoral  fraud  and  horror and Lagosians  look  to his  coming  this year with enormous  joy.

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

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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My ‘Controversial Meeting’ with the President

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Read Time:13 Minute, 5 Second

 When the invitation to meet President Goodluck Jonathan came to me through some of my friends who are his special aides, I hesitated. I was stunned; and that prompted a soliloquized exclamation, “Why me?” I know that I have been very critical of his government but that was last year. My first piece this year was on Jimi Agbaje. Could it be that Jonathan was trying to intervene on Agbaje’s behalf or was the invitation about himself or what. Questions. Questions. Questions. By the way, Jimi Agbaje is PDP’s gubernatorial candidate in Lagos State and according to a credible source, he is Jonathan’s darling. The President, I learnt later, loves Agbaje because he was told by those who brought Agbaje to him that he (Agbaje) lost the 2007 elections to Babatunde Fashola because he lacked the resources to fight Bola Tinubu. The President, my source informed  me, told Jimi Agbaje that if he  crossed over to PDP, he would see “real federal money” that would make Tinubu’s wealth look like “change” (insignificant).

Back to the invitation. In this instance, I did not know what to make of this shocking invitation. Was the President  actually aware of this meeting? But considering how close these aides were to him, I concluded that he must be aware. Having resolved the riddle of the invitation and convinced that it was for real, I decided to call some of my close friends to discuss the issue with them. Though, I had made up my mind to go for the appointment, I only wanted my friends to know of my movement in case they offered me tea at the meeting. Remember Moshood Kahimawo Abiola and the last tea.

From the pool of friends that I have, I opted for strategic selection, that is, I decided to inform only those with cognate relevance to and experience in what could happen to me. The first and natural person to call was Kunle Ajibade. He was my room mate during our undergraduate and postgraduate days (years) in Ife (Great Ife). However, I did not call him because of room-mate affiliation. I called him because he had been “jailed for life” before by the one and only Sani Abacha. So, in case I found myself dining with prisoners instead of the President, he can offer some advice on solitary forbearance and longsuffering. Next on my list was Kemi Rotimi, a specialsit on Police history and a very close friend of many Inspectors – General of Police, retired and tired. I will need his contacts in case I ended up meeting with the Police instead of meeting with the President.

The third person I called was Tayo Adesina, a professor of history. I must carry him along so that no aspect of my historical meeting with the President  must be omitted from the books of History. How many people, especially critics of a government, have the privilege of being invited to meet the President of their country. No matter what people think of Goodluck Jonathan, it was still a great honour for me to have a private meting with him. Those who chronicle events for posterity should not be excluded from the process of history. Therefore, Tayo was of strategic value to this unfolding drama of history.

The last person of course was Segun Ayobolu my regular accomplice in seminal baraza. His job was to mobilize the media community and the public for a “Bring Back Dapo” campaign in case my meeting with the President was a Kidnap plot by agents of government and my friends in the Presidency.

On the day of the appointment, my friends who arranged the meeting called to remind me of the appointment. In the course of the telephone conversation, I was told that the dress code was at my discretion. The venue of the meeting was never made known to me. I was only told that it would be in Lagos not Abuja. My wife wanted me to go in native and I agreed with her. It was an opportunity for me to wear one of the many agbadas that I rarely wear. At about 8p.m., a call came through from one of those who arranged the meeting that the vehicle that would convey me to the venue was on its way with an armed police orderly. Immediately I heard that, I changed my mind on the dress to wear. I opted for casuals instead of the native earlier chosen – jean, shirt and sneakers – just in case there was need to do some jogging for life from the venue to any of the NADECO routes in Idi-Iroko. Which sensible individual will do a run for his life in flowing gowns? Enough on my pre-meeting rituals and preambles.

I found myself at the venue. It was a nice duplex that was elegantly furnished. Few security guys were outside the building but they were not heavily armed. Inside the living room, there were two of them in suit. It was the orderly that came with me in the car that ushered me in. He left me in the room with the two security guys. I was frisked but my phones were not taken from me. While I was about to sit on the sofa, one of my phones rang. The call was from one of those who arranged the meeting. He called to inform me that the President would soon be with me. In less than five minutes, the President came in with his two aides who arranged the meeting. The President signaled to the two security guys to exit the room leaving just four of us-The President, myself and his two aides, my own friends. After the normal introductory rituals, the President told me the reason(s) for the special invitation. By the way, I later learnt that the venue of the meeting was one of the President’s hide-outs in Lagos. It is strictly for very personal engagements and activities.

According to the President, he would like me to tell him the truth about the situations ‘outside’ and what his chances were in the February 14 election. He also wanted to know what the people are saying about him and his style of governance. I looked at my two friends one after the other to be sure that the President meant what he was saying. As if one of them read my mind, he told me to “feel free” to tell the President  the truth but I was stunned when he moved near me to whisper some words into my right ear: “Dapo, please show some respect in your submission and don’t be rude”.

Respectfully, I stood up to address the President but he politely asked me to sit. I must confess that it took some time before I could decide on what methodology to adopt. I was not even sure if what I needed was methodical approach or the courage to say what I wanted to say bluntly.

“Mr. President Sir”, I stammered, “it is very hot outside. I am not talking about the atmosphere. Your government is very unpopular and the hunger for “change” is like a revolution against your government. People outside there are tired of your government. Some of them cannot even wait for February 14 to vote you out. The other time, you were glorifying your administration  for raising the ante on participatory democracy. You were of the view that it was your government that sensitized the people on the need to participate in the electoral process hence their clamour for Permanent Voter Card (PVC). At this time, I looked towards my right to see if any of my two friends would code a message of caution to me through body language. Surprisingly, the President was calm. Despite the fact that the room was well lit, I could not read the expression on the President’s face accurately. Well, I took it to mean that the three of them were enjoying my submission despite its unpatrionising delivery.

I continued: “Sir, if you must know, I thought you were right when you were making that statement on the network news. It was not until I went to collect my PVC that I knew how wrong you were. Most of those who came to collect their PVCs at my own centre were saying it openly that their desperation was provoked by the inaction and cluelessness of your government. That with their PVCs, your government is a ‘goner’ notionally from February 14 and actually on May 29”.

The President’s disbelief was theoretically paraphrased in his short interjection: “My friend are you sure?” His question energized further acerbic comments from me: “Yes Sir.  I am very sure because I heard them and I saw them. They want you out sharp, sharp”. This time, one of my friends was walking towards me, possibly to caution me, but the President halted his angry strides towards me. With this Presidential gesture, I concluded rightly or wrongly that the President was enjoying my candid presentation. So, I fired on: “Sir, I advise that you tell your men to stop their abusive campaign against Buhari  especially the campaign about his having only WASC and “soldier” certificates. It is not working. People are not interested in what degree Buhari possesses. What they are saying out there is that what progress has the nation made since independence when we been ruled by “Bachelors’ (B.A./B.Sc holders) and “Doctors” (Ph.D holder(s))?

The President interrupted me: “But if they are saying my men are being sentimental, are the people not being sentimental themselves by overlooking the low educational background of a man that wants to rule a very big and complex nation like Nigeria? Why are they angry with my government on the basis of sentiments? Is it not because they cannot take me up on issues?

“Mr.  President”, I took over the discussion, “there are plenty issues people out there have against your government. They question your competence to manage the economy. You have been accused of “complex dependency” on World Bank and IMF rogue economists whose economic policies and ideas are incongruous with domestic realities. These people are conservative theorists who theorise on economic issues forgetting that there should be an alignment between the practicality of their policies and their theoretical variants. Their failure to contextualize their economic ideas within their domestic locale is the major reason the economy has sunk into atrophy”.

“Sir”, I said, “I will also like you to know that the issue of corruption is also dominant in public discourse. People believe that your administration is guilty of egregious public larceny and prebendal accumulation of public resources. They say that the management of our oil and oil proceeds is lousy, loose, parochial, and culturally primitive ignoring contemporary accounting procedures and violating all known norms of transparency and accountability. This explains why billions and trillions of dollars and naira keep missing  from the nation’s treasury. The Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) has not helped in consolidating our sovereignty rather it has been the formal instrument of providing legitimacy for citizens’ suffering. Sir, all those who stole in your administration have been eased out of your government with cultural fanfare and flighty celebration. Those who are supposed to be languishing in jail for corruption are being celebrated with cultural carnivals and being treated with nauseating heroism. The dirty ones in government are being robbed in the cassock of Saints while the rest of us outside government who are the victims of their massive looting are dressed in the garment of Lucifer”.

At this stage, the President had started fidgeting on his seat. But I offered no apologies because he told me to tell him the truth no matter how bitter it was. Still, there was no attempt to stop me. None of my friends was ready to do or say anything since the President stopped them earlier from coming near me.

“Mr. President”, I ignored the mood in the room and continued with my “truthful submission”  “why  was it difficult for you to protect your citizens  from the irresponsible killings and kidnapping going on in some parts of the North by the Boko  Haram?  I must be very frank with you Sir that your handling of the insurgency has been very poor and lackadaisical. People feel you lack the political will and the professional understanding to confront the insurgents and bring an end to the siege they have laid on the people of the North.

The most painful aspect of this is your failure to rescue the Chibok girls and visit the people of Chibok to let them know that their children have not been forgotten or abandoned by the government. They wonder how you can sleep soundly, campaign vigorously, smile excitedly, organize wedding ceremony for your own daughter when more than 200 innocent girls are trapped in  the dungeons of the insurgents”.

As if the issue of the Chibok girls, was a no-go-area, the President stood up dramatically and reluctantly excused himself without disclosing where he was going. I was not sure if that was a signal that the meeting had come to an abrupt end. My two friends went out with him. Nobody told me anything nor did anybody come in to tell me what was happening. Anyway, I was gathering my thoughts on what I would say on the following issues should the President come back to the living room: electricity, unemployment, poverty, education, health, Patience’s impatience with the governors of Rivers and Bayelsa, the President’s visit to Maiduguri, Ayo Fayose’s advert on Buhari’s possible death in office, the collapsing of industries, Abba Sulaiman’s excesses and so on and so forth.

Unexpectedly, a security chap came into the room to inform me that the President had to attend to other important matters and would not be returning for the meeting. He said he would lead me to my car. I consoled myself that it had been a very rewarding night. But it could have been more rewarding if the drama that happened at the last minute had not occurred.

The guy who was leading me to the car was carrying a bag, possibly containing some undisclosed “presidential hospitality” contents and was about giving it to me as a gift when somebody ran after him and whispered something into his ears (I don’t know why they are always whispering). Suddenly, the guy with the bag made a u-turn and took the bag back to the house. The “whispering” guy whispered some words into the driver’s ear and before I could say “what about the bag”, the driver took off.

The setting of the meeting and the “returned bag” were all products of engineered fantasy. The blame for this should go to the terrestrial agents who presented human images in celestial apparitions to an innocent personage in the comfort of his slumbering territory.
-Thomas is a writer and university lecturer

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

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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NNPC: January Gas Supply Down by 50% due to Pipeline Vandalism

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Read Time:3 Minute, 17 Second

 Nigeria’s total gas production may have been cut by almost 50 per cent in the month of January following relentless breaks on the trans-Forcados crude oil pipeline.

Consequently, available gas for supply to thermal electricity generation companies in the country has dropped.

The Group Executive Director, Gas and Power of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. David Ige, said weekend in Abuja that within January 2015, the Trans Forcados pipeline, a major pipeline that conveys crude oil from oil fields in Oben, Sapele and Oredo amongst others had recorded up to four major breaks across its length, resulting in huge capacity drops.

Ige explained that within this period, the pipeline had not recorded uninterrupted operation for up to four days before another break was inflicted by vandals.

“We’ve had the Trans Forcados Pipeline vandalised almost once every week for the last couple of weeks and it is not just a recent outage,” Ige said.

He continued: “From the first of January this year and today, the pipe has been vandalised, we fixed it and it is vandalised again and again and we are in the fourth phase of fixing the pipeline in three weeks and that is not just the beginning because it has been like this consistently for many months.”

“Usually, the guys go there and drill holes and in some cases, they kill security operatives that try to stop them. The implication of the Trans Forcados is that it is a major artery that evacuates most of the crude oil from production facilities at Oben, Sapele, Utorogun and others.

“We have two Forcados which is the main export terminals and the implication of that is that whenever this pipeline is out, we lose gas production from Oben, Sapele, Oredo and Utorogun and that immediately accounts for almost 40 to 50 per cent of our entire gas production in the country,” he added.

Ige who also expressed the difficulties encountered in getting the pipeline back on stream, said: “It takes us quite sometimes to repair because typical repairs takes about four to five days depending on how many holes we find. Sometimes after repairing, we realise that additional holes have been drilled somewhere because what happens is that when you want to repair the pipeline, you have to depressurise it and that now gives them additional time to drill more holes somewhere down the line and different from where the original attack had happened.”

He said: “This has been consistent and has become a major frustration for us and all the efforts for increased volumes of gas for power is affected by this on and off.

“An additional challenge is that when the pipeline is out and you fix it, it takes us several days to get our production back up to capacity because the wells take time to build up capacity and so it is not just a kind of switch on and off but that we lose time, money and sometimes when we get back up to capacity, the line is blown off again.”

He noted that like Trans Forcados, the Trans Niger on the eastern axis also experiences similar frequency and level of vandalism, adding that: “The implication of Trans Niger been out is that the Afam and Okpai power plants go out and our supply of gas to a lot of our customers on the eastern axis is affected.

“I do not know what drives it but I do know that in the last couple of months, the intensity has been increased and like I said, since January 1, the Trans Forcados has not been up for about three days in a row without been hit and you can only link that to outright criminality and we know that increase in the last few weeks has been unusual,” he explained.

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

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: Boko Haram Frees 192 Persons Abducted from Yobe

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Read Time:1 Minute, 45 Second

Boko Haram has released nearly 200 hostages, most of them women, who were kidnapped from a village in the northeast Nigerian state of Yobe, a community leader and a military source told AFP on Saturday.

A total of 192 people were released on Friday from two Islamist enclaves, where they had been kept since a January 6 raid on Katarko, 20 kilometres (12 miles) from the state capital Damaturu. In all, 218 women and children were abducted.

“Boko Haram have released 192 of our women they kidnapped early this month,” Goni Mari, a Katarko community leader told AFP from Damaturu. “They brought them in two batches in four trucks and dropped them at Girbuwa village, eight kilometres from Damaturu, from where we conveyed them to the city and they were taken into government custody.”

The raid on Katarko saw dozens of Boko Haram gunmen storm the village, where they killed 25 men and burnt homes and businesses before kidnapping the women and children.

The attack was apparently in retaliation over a raid by local hunters and vigilantes in nearby Buni Yadi, where several militants were killed and scores of others were arrested, vigilantes said at the time.

But with Boko Haram raids a near daily occurrence in the restive northeast and no precise figures on the numbers of people taken, the attack received little publicity.
Boko Haram fought running battles with troops in Damaturu the following Friday, again in an apparent reprisal to the Buni Yadi raid.

A military officer, who requested anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media, also confirmed the release of the hostages.

“It is true Boko Haram terrorists yesterday (Friday) released 192 hostages they kidnapped from Katarko village,” he added.

Mass abduction has been a feature of Boko Haram’s bloody six-year insurgency, with young men and boys forcibly conscripted to fight alongside the militants.
Women and young girls have been taken to be wives for the Islamists, with reports from those who were freed or escaped of forced labour, sexual and psychological abuse.

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

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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Elections: NBC Cautions Broadcast Stations against Offensive Messages

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Read Time:1 Minute, 31 Second

 Incensed by the increasing provocative utterances in the electronic media by political actors in the buildup to the general elections, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), on Saturday in Enugu asked broadcast stations across the country to discontinue offensive political broadcasts which can ignite resentment, violence, anarchy and chaos in the country.

The stations were reminded that national interest must take prominence over personal, party, or sectional interests, as they have the responsibility to educate the masses and politicians on the dangers of smear campaigns amongst and against political opponents.

The Commission’s Director General, Emeka Mba, who gave the charge while speaking at a one-day sensitisation meeting with stakeholders organised by the commission in Enugu with the theme ‘The Role of Broadcasters and Government’, stressed the need for broadcast stations to promote peace in their reportage and avoid anything that would lead to breakdown of law and order.

He said broadcasters have important role to build an enlightened civic society that should know its obligations before, during and after elections in order to be able to hold leaders accountable.

He noted that stations must endeavour to support and promote all shades of opinion and provide a level-playing ground to all as to avoid complaints bias from political actors, adding that those in the social media should also ensure that dangerous contests are censored.

In a ten-point communique issued at the end of the meeting chaired by a former Director General of Radio Nigeria, Kelvin Ejiofor, with veteran broadcaster and former Zonal Director of NBC, Enugu Zone, Egbuna Akpa as guest speaker, participants drawn from broadcast stations in the south east, police commissioners from the zone as well as Information Commissioners from the area agreed that provocative and hate messages should be controlled by the media.

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

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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