Nigeria: The Tyranny of the Elite By Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo

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Read Time:7 Minute, 3 Second

Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti state is a thorough-bred elite. He lost an election and conceded defeat.

Now that’s what I call fresh air. He could have done so many things, including going to court or going to war. He could have also grumbled that the masses voted against their own interest. But he didn’t. He probably saw the handwriting on the wall – the era of the tyranny of the elite is over.

From the East to the West and the North to the South, the Nigerian masses are beginning to see that the elite are not motivated to solve their problems but only interested in protecting their privileges. The masses are starting to rise up to demand a new social contract with their society and the leaders. In different ways, some good and some bad, the quest to redefine that fundamental relationship between the masses and the guardians of the state is going on in earnest.

A great deal of what is going on in the North is an effort to make that alteration. The northern elite have structured their society in such a way that the bulk of the benefits of the state come to just a few. The path to upward mobility is restricted to the families and friends of the elite. It was an unsustainable structure. For a long time, the elite in the North have maintained it by channeling the displeasure of the masses to things external. At one time the blame for the plight of the masses was heaped on people from other parts of Nigeria who resided in the North. That flame was stroked again and again. Later, the elite threw in an upgraded Sharia law to the masses as a way to distract them from the failure of the elite to provide opportunities for their people. They made no effort to implement Sharia Law on themselves as they continued to enjoy privileges, while the plight of the masses continued to deteriorate. It sets the stage for the next logical consequence. With the people typically blamed virtually out of the way, the eyes of the masses in the North are beginning to open. They are beginning to see that the children of the elite are not being subjected to the same ideology and deprivation that the rest of the masses have had to endure. The elite enjoy the good things of life: speak French, listen to Beethoven, master algebra, travel abroad and send their children to the best schools in the world while they let the masses wallow in poverty and ignorance. At the heart of some of the crisis in the North is a realization of this dichotomy.

In the South-South, the relationship between the Nigerian state and the region has been a matter of concern. Long history of marginalization and deprivation has created a level of distrust that has not been resolved. The grind of dealing with the aftermath of environmental pollution is a daily reality for the masses. Meanwhile, the elite of the region have been in cohort with the federal government. In the guise of fighting for the masses, they have amassed wealth for themselves and left the masses with nothing. A subculture of militancy has grown out of this. The elite in the South tactically embraced the revolting elements within the wretched poor and incorporated them in a wider effort to feed their perfected ransom-based economic strategy. What the larger masses left out in this scheme will do in years to come will determine the future of the region. The fact does not support the sustenance of today’s structure.  The ways things are stacked up now and going by how a similar strategy in the North panned out, it won’t turn out well for the elite in the South and their foot soldiers of today.

In the East, another long history around the relationship between the Igbo and the Nigerian state exists. The wide migration of the Igbo across Nigeria means that when there is a crisis in any part of the country the Igbo are impacted. In interactions with the Nigerian state, the Igbo question immediately becomes glaring. The fact that there is no answer to the question is not lost on the masses of the East. While the elite of this region are doing everything to show that they are the champions of one Nigeria, the masses maintain their doubts based on the daily realities that they confront each day. Because of the Biafran-Nigerian civil war history, the Igbo elite find themselves in a dire situation. One group promotes the naïve idea that being steadfast in compromise will ultimately lead to a benevolent and just Nigeria. The other group who seek the largesse of the Nigerian state must distance themselves from any sympathy for the section of the masses that defaults to the Biafran ideal. By doing so, the elite in the East deprive themselves of the deterrent weapon that the elite from other regions have. For the rest of the masses with business and cultural interests across the country, denial of the shaky nature of the Nigerian state becomes their place of solace. With generational differences and cultural ethos that establish every man as the king of his castle, only a calamity as great as the pogrom of 1966 can bring these competing interests together. More than any other group, the elite in the East have their fortune tied to the fortune of the Nigerian state. It is to their interest that the Nigerian state is reformed to be balanced and fair to all. Events at the federal level can easily leave them vulnerable to charges of betrayal to their own people.

In the West, the relationship between the elite and the masses has been one with the most moderate success. The strategy of the elite is often passed along to the masses in sophisticated ways. And the masses, even when they are in revolt, are guided by a section of the elite. That is the reason the elite hardly criticize groups like the pan-Yoruba group, Odua People’s Congress (OPC). In fact, it is only in the West that a prominent leader of a group like the OPC was nominated to represent the region at the National Conference. No governor in the Eastern part of Nigeria would dare nominate a pro-Biafran leader to the National Conference. One of the natures of politics in the West is a strict resistance to external imposition of leadership on the masses. Such a perception can ruin the fortune of an elite. It appears to be an impending waterloo for Bola Tinubu’s APC’s gravy train. As 2015 comes around the corner and the battleground firmly remains in the West, the elite of the West will again have to make a tough choice. Will they go with their heads or with their hearts? Whatever choice they make, they will have to confront their masses who are good at separating the head from the heart. The success of the West is that it has imbibed a self-correcting feedback system which has saved its society from internal implosion.

The narratives that have been fed to the masses of Nigeria for ages have started to fade. It has always been:  “the solution is easy. I’ll deliver.” If the solution is easy why hasn’t it been delivered yet?  The masses are refining and redesigning their priorities. It can be said that there is a mini-revolution going on in Nigeria. Beneath the sociopolitical crisis in Nigeria one can find a simmering revolt of the masses. Across the country, this dissent has not been guided or channeled in a way that it will overturn the current sociopolitical order. It still has no shape or direction. But it is there and it is lurking in the dark. Those members of the elite who want to lead the masses tomorrow have to step down from their high horses and follow them. If the masses head towards the ditch, you run in front and redirect them.  That’s the nature of the beast that we confront. If you’re an elite and you are not worried yet, it may just be too late for you.

Please correct me if I’m right.

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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Goodluck Jonathan: Nothing is more important than bringing home Nigeria’s missing girls

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Read Time:2 Minute, 35 Second

Goodluck Jonathan is president of Nigeria.

I have had to remain quiet about the continuing efforts by Nigeria’s military, police and investigators to find the girls kidnapped in April from the town of Chibok by the terrorist group Boko Haram. I am deeply concerned, however, that my silence as we work to accomplish the task at hand is being misused by partisan critics to suggest inaction or even weakness.

My silence has been necessary to avoid compromising the details of our investigation. But let me state this unequivocally: My government and our security and intelligence services have spared no resources, have not stopped and will not stop until the girls are returned home and the thugs who took them are brought to justice. On my orders, our forces have aggressively sought these killers in the forests of northern Borno state, where they are based. They are fully committed to defending the integrity of their country.

My heart aches for the missing children and their families. I am a parent myself, and I know how awfully this must hurt. Nothing is more important to me than finding and rescuing our girls.

Since 2010, thousands of people have been killed, injured, abducted or forced by Boko Haram, which seeks to overwhelm the country and impose its ideology on all Nigerians. My government is determined to make that impossible. We will not succumb to the will of terrorists.

 

The abduction of our children cannot be seen as an isolated event. Terrorism knows no borders. This month, Nigeria, Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Britain and the United States established an External Intelligence Response Unit to share security information on such threats in West Africa. I propose that we build on this step to establish an enduring, worldwide commitment to destroying terrorism and those who finance or give safe haven to the terrorists.

In September, I will urge the U.N. General Assembly to establish a U.N.-coordinated system for sharing intelligence and, if necessary, special forces and law enforcement to confront terrorism wherever it occurs.

In Nigeria, there are political, religious and ethnic cleavages to overcome if we are to defeat Boko Haram. We need greater understanding and outreach between Muslims and Christians. We also know that, as it seeks to recruit the gullible, Boko Haram exploits the economic disparities that remain a problem in our country. We are addressing these challenges through such steps as bringing stakeholders together and creating a safe schools initiative, a victims’ support fund and a presidential economic recovery program for northeastern Nigeria. We are also committed to ridding our country of corruption and safeguarding human and civil rights and the rule of law.

Something positive can come out of the situation in Nigeria: most important, the return of the Chibok girls, but also new international cooperation to deny havens to terrorists and destroy their organizations wherever they are — whether in the forests of Nigeria, on the streets of New York or sanctuaries in Iraq or Pakistan. Those who value humanity , civilization and the innocence of children can do no less.

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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Charlie Boy stop Gov Rochas Okorocha from politicising his father Burial

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Read Time:2 Minute, 51 Second

Charlie Boy stop Gov Rochas Okorocha from politicising his father Burial

 
 

The funeral mass or­ganised at the Sa­cred Heart Catho­lic Church, Oguta, Imo State for the late Jus­tice Chukwudifu Oputa ended abruptly yesterday as his son, Charles Oputa aka Charly Boy stopped Governor Rochas Okoro­cha from making a speech in the church.

Okorocha, who was equally angry that proto­col was breached by Presi­dent Goodluck Jonathan who was represented at the mass by the Secretary of the Government of Federation, Chief Anyim Pius Anyim by speaking before him, rose to make his speech but Charly Boy seized the microphone from the Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Jude Ike, which created confusion in the church.

The officiating priest and Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Rev. (Dr) Matthew Hassan Kukah had pleaded with Charly Boy to allow Okorocha speak, but he re­fused, saying he would not allow his father’s burial to be politicised.

An ostensibly angry Okorocha started fuming in the church, which made the Attorney General of Imo State, Chukwuma Umeh, to order the lawyers who gath­ered in the church to leave.

As the lawyers were leav­ing, the dignitaries who at­tended the mass began to leave in droves as Okorocha and his convoy drove away in anger before the body of Oputa was taken back to his country home for interment.

Governor Okorocha had voted N20 million for the burial of Oputa, but the state lost track of the burial arrangement as the Oputa family shot the door on the burial plan. Charly Boy was quoted to have warned the Imo State governor to stay away from his father’s buri­al, but no reason was given for his action.

Anyim had read the presi­dent’s condolence message to Charly Boy in the church with Jonathan saying that he received with great sadness the demise of the eminent jurist.

 

Jonathan described the late Oputa as a respected public servant, patriot and internationally acclaimed jurist.

“He was not only an outstanding icon, he also readily gave himself in the service of our fatherland in demonstration of his faith in the emergence of a strong, united and prosperous Ni­geria,” Jonathan said.

In his sermon at the mass service, Bishop Kukah said that the late Oputa was a man of justice and equity who, while was alive, en­sured that other people were not treated unjustly.

Kukah who served in the popular Oputa panel with the late jurist advised Ni­gerians, particularly politi­cians to emulate his lega­cies.

Dignitaries who attended the funeral mass included Senator Anyim; Labour Minister, Chief Emeka Nworgu; Deputy Speaker of House of Reps, Chief Emeka Ihedioha; Gover­nors Willie Obiano, Rochas Okorocha; former gover­nors Peter Odili (Rivers) and his wife Mary; Achike Udenwa (Imo), Peter Obi (Anambra), Ikedi Ohakim (Imo).

Others are Senators Chris Anyanwu, Hope Uzodinma, Ike Nwachukwu, Chris Ngige, Ifeanyi Ararume, Ar­thur Nzeribe, Uche Chuk­wumerije, George Akume; Amb. Kema Chikwe; Abia Chief Judge, P.I Okpala, Imo Attorney General, Dr Chukwuma Nwachukwu Umeh.

Also present were Cap­tain Emmanuel Iheanacho; Diamond Bank boss, Chief Pascal Dozie, Chief Em­manuel Iwuanyanwu and former Police Inspector General, Mike Okiro.

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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Mysterious snakes, bees attack Boko Haram in Sambisa Forest

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Read Time:2 Minute, 59 Second

MAIDUGURI—Some members of the Islamist sect, Boko Haram, arrested yesterday at Mairi ward behind University of Maiduguri by members of the Civilian JTF vigilante group, have confessed that most of them are fleeing the Sambisa Forest to areas across Borno State owing to what they believe is spiritual attacks from mysterious snakes and bees, which had killed many of their leaders.

According to Kolo Mustapha, one of the arrested insurgents, “most of us are fleeing because there are too many snakes and bees now in the forest. Once they bite, they disappear and the victims do not last for 24 hours.

“We were told that the aggrieved people who had suffered from our deadly mission, including the ghosts of some of those we killed, are the ones turning into the snake and bees.”

‘Our leaders fled, too’

He said some of their leaders have escaped to Cameroon because they are known to the Nigerian authorities and could be easily identified. According to him, those of them who lived all their lives in Maiduguri have nowhere to run to. So they returned and tried to sneak into town.

He said they came in last night and were trying to hide in some uncompleted buildings, when some members of the Civilian JTF saw them.

He said: “We are pleading with them to spare our lives. We were forced into the sect. But we know that it is not the right way. I personally have never killed anyone, but I have my friend here who had killed many people.”

Umar Abor, the other arrested sect member said Kolo Mustapha was lying as they had participated in all heinous acts of the sect.

He said: “We have fought together since 2010. We have fought in Marte, Bama, Buni Yadima and Gwoza. We were not in Chibok. We have not seen the girls, but we heard about the issue.

“Our leaders have been talking about it and we have been following all news from the radio. We decided to flee when almost all our comrades are leaving the Sambisa because of constant attacks by snakes and bees, which we were told was as a result of Chibok abducted schoolgirls.

“They (our leaders) told us that it was our enemies and aggrieved people that are hunting us through diabolical means. We were in the forest in 2010 and 2011. We left and came back last year but we have never experienced such attacks.

“That is why they believe the Chibok people are using juju to pursue us because of their children said to have been taken by our leaders.”

 

‘We‘ll reveal our hiding place’

According to him, they have realised their mistakes and repented, promising that if they are spared they would help the community in fishing out some of their comrades and will lead security agents where their comrades had fled.

One of the leaders of the Civilian JTF said many of the sect members had been fleeing the Sambisa Forest in the past two weeks and that most of them are being arrested and taken to the authorities, except when they resist arrest, in which case they are left with no option but to kill them.

He said: “These ones have not attempted to run or do anything bad. They promise to take us to where they hide their weapons. We are taking them to the chairman of our sector command before they are handed to security operatives.”

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 African caught in Phuket with 72 skimmed ATM cards

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Read Time:1 Minute, 3 Second

Manquba Parker Ngcobo, a 32 year-old South African, was arrested early this morning (June 20) in Patong on ATM-skimming-related charges, after a pile of cloned ATM cards was found in his room at the Horizon Patong Hotel.

Investigators from Phuket Provincial Police HQ tracked Ngcobo down to his hotel after receiving a complaint from Siam Commercial Bank officer about the fake ATMs being used at banks in Patong, Kata and Karon from Tuesday until Thursday this week.

After tracking hom down to his hotel, police waited until he returned to his room and then knocked on the door. A search of the room quickly turned up 72 cloned cards and a stack of cash.

Ngcobo admitted that he had bought the fake cards from friends in South Africa and had withdrawn money from many places in Phuket. All the victims were South African account holders.

Pol Maj Gen Krajang Suwannarat, Deputy Commissioner of Police Region 8, currently looking after Phuket, said that usually skimming gangs caught at work in Phuket were from Europe; this was the first time an African had been caught on skimming-related charges.

However, he added that he believed that there were other Africans probably engaged in this activity in Phuket

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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Snakes and bees ‘flush out’ Boko Haram fighters

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Read Time:1 Minute, 7 Second

The Nigerian Army is struggling to flush Boko Haram Islamist fighters out of their forest fastness, but it seems snakes may be doing the job for them.

Two suspected Boko Haram gunmen captured by local volunteers in Maiduguri, northeastern Nigeria, said they had fled the Sambisa Forest because of "incessant snake bites", the Vanguard newspaper reports.

One of the suspects, Kolo Mustapha, said bees have also been known to join in the attacks, often leaving their victims fatally injured. Some of his fellow-fighters think there is a supernatural aspect to the attacks, fearing that Boko Haram's victims are wreaking vengeance on their killers. Mustapha said he was caught because, like many others, he was trying to sneak back into town "as we have nowhere else to go". "Our leaders have fled to Cameroon," he added, saying they had forced local youths to join the group.

The other captive, Umar Abor, said "almost all our comrades are leaving the Sambisa because of constant attacks by snakes and bees". Many accuse Boko Haram leaders of having brought the plague upon themselves by kidnapping and killing civilians. The Civilian JTF volunteers agree that fighters have been fleeing the forest in growing numbers over the past two weeks, and were helping the security forces find weapons caches.

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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EMAB Plaza Bombing: ‘Bomber Acted Like a Drunk Person’

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Read Time:3 Minute, 35 Second

More revelations have continued to emerge as victims and eyewitnesses recount their ordeal and shock at the bombing of the city’s busiest shopping mall, EMAB Plaza, located side by side with Banex Plaza in the Federal Capital Territory.

It was revealed yesterday that the insistence by the private security personnel attached to the mall helped in reducing the number of casualties.

A victim who was caught up by the explosion told THISDAY that the bomber faked being drunk as a strategy to carry out his dastardly plan.
The victim, Donald Chikason, who is receiving treatment at the Maitama General Hospital, explained that the bomber planted the bomb in his car before approaching the gate.

Chikason, a staff of Skye Bank opposite the plaza said  "I went out to get corn for myself, so on my way coming out, I saw an Hausa man, he wanted to get into the plaza, but the security man stopped him and asked the bomber to follow the procedure by going through the right gate.

"The man started arguing, behaving as if he was drunk. At this point, the security men then asked him to park the car outside the plaza. So I decided to leave the place. Immediately I turned towards my direction, I heard an explosion and the next thing, I saw myself in the hospital," he told THISDAY

Sulieman Lukman Ademola also gave account of what happened at the scene: "I saw the car, the security men were arguing with the driver who was saying  ‘I want to follow here’, but they told him not to follow there. The man then bent down and put his head inside the car, and the next thing was an explosion that threw me down and I became unconscious.  The explosion also burnt my back. When I regained consciousness and looked around, I saw some people's heads and legs. It was then I started begging people to take me to the hospital."

Meanwhile, the death toll from the bomb blast has now increased to 22 as another victim, a Senegalese, died on Wednesday night.

The Public Relations Officer, National Hospital, Abuja, Dr. Tayo Haastrup confirmed the death of the Senegalese to journalists.
According to Haastrup, the hospital tried contacting the Senegalese Embassy, while the victim, a male, was receiving treatment but could not get through; he later died as a result of the severe burns he sustained from the bomb explosion.

The death has brought the tally of those in the mortuary at the time of going to the press to eight, while those receiving treatment at the hospital are eight.

Some of the other victims were also being treated in other private hospitals in the FCT besides government hospitals like Maitama, Wuse, Garki and National Hospital.

Some private doctors and hospitals have also joined with government owned hospitals to give succour to some of the victims from the blast. A consultant orthopaedic surgeon and Medical Director, Alliance Clinics, Dr. Christopher Otabor, explained that the hospital sent well-equipped ambulances and staff to the scene of the accident immediately the news broke out.

Also, one of the victims, Mrs. Gloria Ejike, who was badly affected by the blast, was referred to the clinic where experts laboured to keep her alive. However, at the end of the day, the 32-year old married woman had her leg amputated to stay alive.

At Maitama General Hospital, eight of the victims were being treated, while two others who sustained minor injuries had been discharged.
THISDAY checks revealed that a total of 43 injured persons were brought to the hospital immediately after the blast

The hospital also confirmed that they have ten wholesome corpses in their morgue, while the other ones were mangled, with their body parts in body bags. Also in Garki, some of the victims who were taken there were said to be receiving treatment.

A staff who, did not want his name in print told journalists that “one patient is still in the ICU and is being monitored. The one at the intensive unit is very serious as her two legs were cut off, she has burns all over her body, including her upper arms,” the source said.

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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FG: Why We Withdrew Charges against Mohammed Abacha

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Read Time:3 Minute, 57 Second

 The federal government yesterday said the withdrawal of money laundering charges filed against Mohammed Abacha, son of the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha, would facilitate the recovery of the sum of $380 million from the proceedings against Mohammed in Luxembourg and $550 million from forfeiture proceedings instituted by the United States Department of Justice.

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke (SAN), said the charges were withdrawn because the Abacha family had not only undertaken not to contest the proceedings, but had also agreed to cooperate fully with the federal government in the recovery proceedings.

In a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the minister. Mr Ambrose Momoh, Adoke said the insinuation that government withdrew charges against Mohammed to enable him go scot free was false.

The minister explained that a  key objective in the prosecution of corruption cases was the deprivation of the criminal offender of the proceeds of crime.

He said: "This is achieved by taking away of such proceeds of crime by the state (regurgitation and restitution).

"This principal objective has been achieved to a very significant degree in the Abacha proceedings."

Adoke said while the yearnings for criminal sanctions in form of custodial sentences against the Abacha family was understandable, it should be appreciated that this was a case that had lingered for over 16 years.

The minister said the Abacha's case  was not a straightforward case where conviction was assured.

He said:  "The standard of proof in criminal cases of this nature, which is “proof beyond reasonable doubt,” poses great difficulty for the prosecution as any shadow of doubt is resolved in favour of the accused person.

"This was appreciated by the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo, when it entered into a Global Settlement Agreement with the Abacha family.

"What the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan has done is to ensure that government gets the best deal it can get in the circumstance.

"To this end, this administration has worked closely and consulted widely with experts, international partners including global development agencies on these criminal proceedings and it is clear from the feedback received that there is no doubt that the Jonathan administration has, within the constraints imposed by this case, done its best to protect the interest of the country."

He said the blanket criticism by Transparency International (IT) which according to him had  little bearing on the facts, was therefore unfortunate.

The minister also said the singling out of Nigeria for criticism by TI for adopting measures, which were globally used in cases of this nature and which had produced good results for the country was unfair.

He assured Nigerians that the federal government was being guided  by national interest, the need to promote transparency and accountability and international best practices in its dealings with the Abacha family and indeed, all such recovery proceedings.

Adoke said the federal government of Nigeria was currently pursuing recovery proceedings against the Abacha family and its associates in Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, and the United Kingdom.
He said the government had also made a request for Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal matters to the United States of America in respect of the stolen assets within that jurisdiction.

"Government is also working assiduously with the Department of Justice of the US in respect of the forfeiture proceedings it commenced against the Abacha family and its associates.

"The proceedings will make it possible for the Abacha family and its associates to forfeit over $550million and £95,910 Pounds sterling in 10 accounts and six investment portfolios linked to the Abachas in France, Britain, British Virgin Islands and the US," he said.

According to him, the criminal proceedings instituted against the Abacha family and their associates have forced them to back down from contesting the cases filed by the Federal Government of Nigeria to recover stolen assets in Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, the United Kingdom and the US. The Abacha family has also withdrawn their appeal before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasburg seeking to set aside the forfeiture orders made against them and their associates in Liechtenstein.

"The aforementioned steps have led to the recovery of 226.3 million from Liechtenstein in addition to the 7.5 million euros that was recovered from an associated company of the Abachas’ in Liechtenstein in 2011. It will also be recalled that in 2011, the federal government was able to recover and repatriate through negotiated settlement with the Jersey, the sum of 22.5 million pounds confiscated from an associate of the Abacha family by the Island of Jersey," he added.

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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Apapa Blast: Forensic Experts Yet to Rule out Bomb Explosion

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Read Time:4 Minute, 33 Second

 Not certain of the actual cause of Wednesday’s twin explosions in Apapa, Lagos, police forensic experts, who are already investigating the blast are yet to rule out bomb explosion.

This is just as it was gathered that the anti-bomb operatives who stormed the scene of the blast in the early hours of yesterday to take the debris for forensic examination, had begun post-blast investigations to ascertain the cause of the explosion.

The forensic team had earlier encountered some hitches as security operatives attached to the Folawiyo Energy Limited (FEL), the tank farm, refused to allow men of the anti-bomb department access to the FEL premises.

The initial police explanation that the explosion was caused by gas cylinders and not bombs, further fuelled the suspicion of the anti-bomb disposal unit who were keen on establishing why and how a cylinder exploded around a petrol depot.

THISDAY gathered that the first thing the forensic experts set out to do was to look for the remains of the gas cylinders.

Although it was yet unclear if they succeeded in finding the cylinders that allegedly caused the blast, sources said its discovery would lead to uncovering whether the explosions were caused by bombs or whether it was triggered by faulty appliances.

While stressing that the Explosives Ordinance Depot (EOD) of the Lagos Police Command was yet to rule out the incident being a bomb explosion, the source told THISDAY that investigations had begun.

The source said: "We are yet to rule the incident out because certain factors must be cross-checked. Do not forget that gas is a major component of explosives.

"It is the gas that even makes the explosions worse because of the fragmentation in the gas. It would take EOD experts to ascertain what truly happened in this case.

"Because of the extent of the blast, the gas might have been used to fuel car air conditioning systems because gas makes a bigger effect. You can never underestimate the effect of gas.

"When our men are taken to the range for periodic training exercises, we are often set to task to construct a local bomb and we often use gas to make the effect louder."

He added: "We don't want to incite panic among residents of Lagos unnecessarily and that is why we are taking time to investigate. During investigations, if we see residue of explosives, we can then conclude.

"It is this post-blast investigations which would reveal if the components have explosive substances because the explosion might have been caused by carelessness in handling of the gas."

The management of FEL had denied that the explosion had nothing to do with their premises, claiming that the blast occurred around 200 metres away from the premises.

An official of the company had earlier told THISDAY that there was a “trailer spark” in the premises.

However THISDAY confirmed that while there was an explosion within the FEL premises, which claimed a life, there was another explosion on the opposite side of the depot, which claimed three lives.
Yesterday, the premises of the FEL was cordoned off, and even its staff were not allowed into the premises.

The twin explosions had occurred first at Folawiyo Depot before it happened five minutes later at Alex Junction, killing four persons including a food vendor.

However, as at yesterday, the death toll from the blast may have increased to five following the search of a missing pineapple seller who was only identified as Folakemi, whom some believe, might have been caught in the blast. Eyewitness account said the teenager was hawking her wares at Alex junction minutes before the blast occurred.

THISDAY had on the night of the incident seen scattered wraps of pineapple on the ground near the blast scene but in the melee nobody apparently took note of her absence until yesterday when enquiries as to her whereabouts began.

Meanwhile, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PRO), Ngozi Braide, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, who was at the scene, said the explosion was caused by fuel-laden tanker and not a bomb as alleged.

Braide, who spoke after she was allowed entry into the depot said: “I may not be able to tell you the number of people that died but I will be coming up with a statement later. We have commenced investigation. In cases like this, you just do not go and be making statements up and down.

“After the investigation, we will come up with what transpired and make it known to the press. We don't know if the tank farm explosion was linked to that of the car.

“There is nothing whatsoever suggesting that it was a bomb explosion. It was a tanker loaded with fuel that burst into flames. Policemen are on ground there now and we cannot yet ascertain the casualty figures. But everything is under control."

Braide's statement conflicted with reports from the Commissioner of Police, Umar Manko, who later said it was too early to conclude if the explosion was a blast or not.

Manko said: "We don't want to create unnecessary tension for now but note that the EOD have begun investigations. If it is a bomb, we will begin enlightenment campaign to create awareness on ways to identify these people."

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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Court Upholds Defection of 22 Kwara Lawmakers from PDP to APC as Legal, Constitutional

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Read Time:4 Minute, 48 Second

Contrary to the argument in the political class that an elected official cannot retain his or her seat after defecting from the party under which he or she was elected when there is a crisis, the Federal High court sitting in Ilorin, Kwara State yesterday declared that the defection of 22 state lawmakers elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) but defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) was legal and constitutional.

The presiding judge, Justice Olayinka Faji, in his ruling stressed that the defendants would not lose their seats for another re-election because there was indeed an established case of crisis in their former party (PDP), which prompted their defection to APC.

However, the ruling of Justice Faji coincided with the recommendation of the ongoing Constitutional Conference which has suggested that any elected official who defects from the party on which he or she was elected automatically loses the seat.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) also recently warned that henceforth, politicians who cross-carpet while still in elective positions will have to lose their seats.

A member of the Kwara State House of Assembly, Hon. Ilyas Ibrahim, who stayed back in PDP and the leadership of the PDP had dragged the defendants to court that they should vacate their seats as they had dumped the party for APC.

Counsel for the plaintiff, Mr. Salman Jawondo assisted by O.J Adeseko, had urged the court to declare the seats of the speaker and 20 others vacant in view of the fact that they were elected on the platform of PDP, but defected to APC.

Jawondo argued that having left PDP for APC, the defendants’ seats should be declared vacant and that they must stand another election for them to retain their seats.

But counsel to the defendants, Wahab Bamidele, Tosho Yakubu and Bola Razaq Gold, argued that the defendants had the rights to defect to any other party because of the prevailing crisis in their former party.
But Justice Faji in his ruling in suit no FHC/IL/CS/6/2014, PDP, Ibrahim Vs Razaq Atunwa and 20 others and INEC declared that the defection of the lawmakers was legal and constitutional.

The judge relied on the judgment by Justice Chukwu, which restrained Alhaji Kawo Baraje from parading himself as the INEC-recognised chairman of PDP.

Justice Faji explained that the mere ruling that Bamanga Tukur was recognised as the official chairman of the PDP then, showed indeed that there was a faction and crisis in the PDP. The ruling had also forbidden Baraje from parading himself as the chairman of the party.

The judge explained that at the time of the defection by the Kwara Assembly members, there was indeed a faction in PDP, which made the defection by the Kwara Assembly members legal and constitutional.
Reacting to the ruling yesterday, former Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General in the state now a member of the House of Representatives, Dr. Ahmad Ali, said Justice Faji's judgment had laid to rest the constitutionality of defection by the legislators.

According to the lawmaker, "It is a landmark judgment on the issue of defection. This is the first final judgment, compared to various conflicting interlocutory orders by the Federal High Court in Nigeria. It supersedes all other previous non-judicial gratuitous statements. I urge PDP to quickly appeal this sound judgment if they so wish. We are comforted that in the Federal High Court there are still many judges who are bold and still stand as bulwark between the dregs of the society and the powerful forces.

"The judgment for the first time answered the question: was there a division in PDP when the legislators defected?. The court said yes. If it is yes (as any reasonable man already acknowledges) then any member can constitutionally defect."

However, the National Conference delegates yesterday approved the recommendation  for independent candidates for any election in the country.

The conference further recommended that any elected official that cross carpets to another political party should lose his or her seat. Though, some members argued that the matter should not be discussed because it is still in court, but majority of the delegates insisted that it should be decided upon and when it was put to vote, members adopted the recommendation that whenever any elected politician vacates his or her office prior to the defection, the person loses his or her seat accordingly.

The conference also called for the amendment of the 1999 Constitution to allow for individuals who may not wish to contest election on the platform of any political party to be allowed to do so. The 1999 Constitution states that for anyone to stand for election he must be on the platform of a registered political party.

The conference also rejected the suggestion that government should fund political parties, while recommending that INEC should place a peg on campaign funding and expenditure.

On the issues of creation of local governments and funding, the delegates said it is the duty of the state governments and therefore the local government issues have been removed from the exclusive list to the concurrent list.

The delegates had agreed that the federal government should continue to fund the old 774 local governments, but no decision was taken on the creation of new local governments.

The delegates agreed that states should be allowed to create election tribunals.
The conference adopted the recommendation that any person living above his means of office should be investigated by the anti-corruption agencies to determine the source of his or her wealth. The aim, the delegates explained, is to enable the person(s) concerned to explain his or her source of wealth.

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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