Tribute To Sen. Isiaka Adeleke, By Gov. Rauf Aregbesola

ERIN WO, AJANAKU SUN BI OKE, A TITAN IS GONE

TRIBUTE TO SENATOR ISIAKA ADELEKE (JANUARY 1955 – APRIL 23, 2017)

I received with deep shock but submission to the will of Allah (SWT) the news of the death of Senator Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke early this morning. He was 62 years. Senator Adeleke was the first civilian governor of the State of Osun elected on the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), in the aborted Third Republic. He was in office between January 1992 and November 1993.

At the return of civil democratic rule, he was elected as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to represent Osun West in the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from 2007 to 2011. Senator Adeleke came from the illustrious Adeleke family of Ede. His father, Senator Ayoola Adeleke, was a progressive politician, an ally of Chief Obafemi Awolowo and a staunch member of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), under which banner he was elected to the Nigerian Senate in the Second Republic.

It is not surprising therefore that Senator Adeleke returned to the progressives fold in 2014 when he joined the All Progressives Congress (APC). He returned to the Senate in 2015, having contested the Osun West Senatorial seat in the general election and won as the candidate of the APC.

Senator Adeleke became the first civilian governor of Osun at the age of 37, barely a year after the creation of the state, at a period he was most energetic. He therefore laboured hard, giving his best, to lay a good foundation for the then young state, the impact of which we still feel today, even though he was in office for less than two years.

He was a charismatic politician and political leader with panache, passion and fervour that traversed the political spectrum, appealing to all social strata. He was at home with the grassroots as he was with the elite.

Senator Adeleke was a very generous man who gave his all to the needy, friends and constituents, without favour to ethnicity, religion and background. Thousands benefitted from his scholarship scheme and social empowerment programmes.

He was a loyal party member and a team player who was determined to help realise the progressive agenda of the party, through legislation, not just in the whole country but in the State of Osun and Osun West Senatorial District as well.

Senator Adeleke was a personal friend who was committed to my re-election with his entire being. He was unflinching in his support and commitment, even when the security agencies laid a siege to his residence on the eve of the August 9, 2014 governorship election.

His death is very painful and a blow to us all. He is leaving a void in us, the Senate of the Federal Republic, Osun politics and his community in Ede that will be hard to fill. We give thanks to the Almighty God for the fruitful and exemplary life that Senator Adeleke lived. All mortal come from him and to him shall they return.

On behalf of the government, the good people of Osun and my family, I offer sincere condolences to his wife and children, the Adeleke Family of Ede, the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the APC national and in the State of Osun, the good people of Ede and the progressives family at large.

May God grant him eternal repose and Aljanna Fidaus.

 

Rauf Aregbesola

Governor, State of Osun

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The Greatest Athlete In Kenya Showed The Photo Of The Expensive Car, But The Tracks Remained Unhidden

One of the best athletes was caught in a million shilling farce. The man declared that he had bought the Range Rover, although fans pointed out it was all the deceit.

As reported at Tuko Newspaper, the biggest part of the athletes in Kenya are rich. With their winning streak, they are raking in millions for their winnings and appearances. Because of this, the fact that these sportsmen are at the head of their own hotel, have the number of sports clubs or a range of amazing cars, must not surprise you.

Well, one of these rich people is called Geoffrey Kipsang. It is known that he is 25 years old. He is the great champion of the country. The man has many fans and the last news that shocked them was on his official social page. Geoffrey posted the photo with his new amazing automobile — Range Rover.

On the photo, people could see the number plate with the athlete’s name. A lot of rumors appeared on the theme that the car was bought due to the great holiday — St. Valentine’s Day. However, by monitoring the photo, it was found out that the pic had been downloaded from another site and everything on the car was made with photoshop. The site, where the pic was taken, is called the Ebay. Moreover, Kamworor captioned the image on his social media with the words “Up to this far, I thank you, Lord”.

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Timeline And Amount Of Recoveries By EFCC Since October 2016

One of the most controversial agencies during the present Buhari administration is the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

From the outset of the administration, it was obvious that the President was relying heavily on the agency to carry out his anti-corruption war. Since then, the EFCC has been more active than ever before, claiming to make several recoveries.

While many have lauded the actions of the EFCC as sanitizing a corrupt polity, others claim that the agency has just been used by the Federal Government (FG) to target political enemies and deal with them. One of the most resounding arguments of critics of the EFCC remains their inability to produce a coherent and accurate record of the so-called loot they claim to be recovering.

The Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, who has been denied confirmation as the substantial Chairman twice by the Senate, himself could not produce neither an accurate figure nor an estimate during his appearance before the legislators. SBM Intel has compiled a timeline of recoveries and the amounts EFCC claimed to recover between October 2015 and April 21, 2017 below.

October 4, 2015

  • N1,200,000 from former Minster of Petroleum, Diezani Madueke

February 6, 2016

  • N25,000,000 from Abba Dabo, former political adviser to ex-Vice president, Namadi Sambo

February 21, 2016

  • N381,000,000 from Mrs. Omolara Amosu, wife of former Chief of Air Staff
  • $1,000,000 from former Chief of Air staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh

May 24, 2016

  • N10,000,000 from Alhaji Ahmed Dandija

May 24, 2016

  • N2,000,000 from Nuhu Poloma

May 25, 2016

  • N5,000,000 from Bunu Mulima

June 6,2016

  • N10,061,172,600 from National Broadcasting Commission
  • N2,300,000,000 from ex-Chief of Air Staff
  • N900,000,000 from an ex-presidential aide
  • N750,000,000 from a businessman
  • N420,000,000 from an ex-Chief of Staff and others
  • N140,000,000 from an ex-Minister
  • N100,000,000 from an ex-military adiministrator
  • N359,000,000 from Oyo and Ogun INEC
  • N2,000,000 from a former Minister
  • N580,000,000 from a former Minister
  • $1,000,000 from an ex-governor of Delta state
  • N1,000,000 from a former State speaker
  • N2,500,000,000 from an account belonging to an housemaid of former Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah
  • £2,000,000 from a former state speaker

September 2, 2016

  • N78,000,000,000 from unknown persons in Abuja
  • $3,000,000 from unknown persons in Abuja

September 4, 2016

  • N10,000,000 from Jumoke Akinjide

November 3, 2016

  • N100,000,000 from Musiliu Obanikoro

November 17, 2016

  • N400,000,000 from Olisa Metuh

November 26, 2016

  • N6,500,000 from Vice-Chancellor FUNAAB, Olusola Oyewole

November 30, 2016

  • N30,000,000 from Musiliu Obanikoro

December 3, 2016

  • N1,400,000,000 from Abdullahi Dikko

December 18, 2016

  • N1,150,000,000 from unspecified persons in Kano State

January 6, 2017

  • N34,000,000,000 from former Minster of Petroleum, Diezani Madueke

January 13, 2017

  • N100,000,000 from Jafaru Isa

February 3, 2017

  • $9,800,000 from Andrew Yakubu, former NNPC MD
  • £74,000 from Andrew Yakubu, former NNPC MD

February 7, 2017

  • N111,000,000 from 23 INEC officials in Rivers State

February 11, 2017

  • $37,500,000 from former Minster of Petroleum, Diezani Madueke

February 12, 2017

  • N8,000,000,000 from unknown persons in Lagos state
  • $151,000,000 from unknown persons in Lagos state

February 14, 2017

  • N84,000,000 from Air Commodore Gbadebo

March 13, 2017

  • N49,000,000 from unspecified persons at Kaduna Airport

April 9, 2017

  • N448,850,000 from unspecified persons at an empty shop in Lagos

April 11, 2017

  • N4,000,000,000 in a fixed deposit account domiciled in Guaranty Trust Bank

April 12, 2017

  • N23,218,000 in an apartment in Ikoyi, Lagos
  • $43,600,000 in an apartment in Ikoyi, Lagos
  • £27,800 in an apartment in Ikoyi, Lagos

A total of 41 recoveries were reported with the overall sum of recoveries standing at N169, 634,722,600, $260,900,000 and £2,101,800.

Nairametrics

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Profile Of Newly Appointed Executive Director Of Rural Electrification Fund Management, Dr. Sanusi Ohiare

Sanusi Ohiare was born on 6th of March, 1985 (32), in Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, but originally hails from Adavi Local Government Area of Kogi State, Nigeria.

He had his primary education at Academy Staff School Suleja, Niger State, before proceeding to the Federal Government College, Kwali – Abuja, for his secondary education.

Sanusi obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the University of Jos, Plateau State, where he graduated with a second class honours, upper division (2.1) in 2006.

He later attended the renowned Centre for Energy, Petroleum, Mineral Law and Policy (CEPMLP), University of Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom, where he obtained a Master of Science degree in Energy Studies, with Specialization in Energy Finance in 2011;

He also obtained a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in Rural Energy Development from the prestigious Institute for Energy and Sustainable Development (IESD), De Montfort University, Leicester, UK in 2014, and is currently the only Nigerian with that specialization.

His doctorate thesis was on: “Financing Rural Energy Projects in Developing Countries: Country Case Nigeria” (see https://www.dora.dmu.ac.uk/handle/2086/10462 )

Before his appointment, he worked with the German International Cooperation Agency (GIZ), as a National Advisor on Rural Electrification, under the Nigerian Energy Support Programme (NESP), co-funded by the European Union and German Government. In this capacity, he provided technical support to the Rural Electrification Agency and Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission; was in charge of data management system and planning for rural electrification; supported the development Mini-grids Pilot Projects and coordinated the Northern states of the programme.

Sanusi has over 10 years’ experience within the Rural Electrification Space. He previously worked with the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc. (NBET); Sustainability, Policy and Innovative Development Research (Spider) Solutions; Federal Capital Territory Administration-Abuja and other private companies, in various capacities.

He has published several peer-reviewed articles and a textbook chapter on rural electrification, with bias to planning, technology options and financing in Nigeria, and he was part of the presidential committee that reviewed the rural electrification strategy document for Nigeria in 2013; and also part of the team that developed the draft Mini-grid regulations 2016.

He is a member of the International Association of Energy Economics (IAEE), Nigerian Association of Energy Economics (NAEE), Lagos Oil Club, Society for Petroleum Engineers (SPE), and Energy Institute UK.

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7 Things Saraki Wants Nigerians To Know

The Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, sat down with veteran journalist, Mahmud Jega for a no-holds-barred interview. These are seven major takeaways

?#1. On whether or not he thought that being Senate President would come with so many crises and conflicts…

Saraki said: “Well, some of these come with the job and with the kind of politics that we play. The most important thing is to always stay focused, and have an objective, have a goal, and be guided by that. And at every point to ask yourself what changes are you making to the lives of the people that voted for us? How are we improving their lives. That is my focus.”

#2. On whether or not the unnecessary distractions in the media are affecting his job as the Senate President…

Saraki said: “These issues are not affecting Senate’s productivity. And today, we are laying the PIB [Petroleum Industry Bill], which has never happened before. I am saying that some things will happen because of politics here and there, but it has not affected our productivity. I can understand if because of these issues, major bills are still waiting and we have not passed. Last year we preferred a way out of the economic problems. Three weeks ago, we moved a motion on the Senate floor that led to the biggest anti-corruption case, where we stand that there was theft of close to N140billion in petroleum produce and government agencies then moved in. It was not any anti-corruption agency that discovered it but the Senate, and we are happy that the DG SSS moved in and arrested the man. So, please, judge us by our results.”

#3. On whether the Senate injects politics into every issue…

Saraki said: “Let us serve Nigeria now and when 2019 comes, then you start again. But we cannot have politics all the time. When government wanted to increase electricity tariff, who intervened? It was the National Assembly. When government brought the request to borrow $31billion, people were saying ‘National Assembly refused to approve’ but it made government to look at a better approach with a proper breakdown, e.g. $1.5billion support for 2016 budget. It became much better when you can break it down and say this is for this and this is for that, instead of approving a total loan package without breakdowns. So, when we take positions like that, it is not against the government, we are all working for the same purpose.”

#4. On whether or not he [Saraki] is opposed to President Buhari…

Saraki said: “The people who are saying that this Senate President is against Buhari, I say to them, when President Buhari was away for two months and rumours were flying around everywhere as to the real situation, President Buhari received many guests [in London] but who was the person who came out and said, ‘President Buhari is fine and is coming back home?’ Tell me, who was it?

“Loyalty is not what people do in front of you. It is what they do behind your back. All this propaganda is just to cause a head-on collision and we know why they are doing it. When the time comes, we will tell you why they are doing it…”

#5. On why his name is involved in recent EFCC cases…

Saraki said: “I never had any problem with EFCC. The only time when I have problems with EFCC is when there is an issue that is political. When I got up in the Senate and raise the issue of the N1.3trillion fuel subsidy, I quickly got a letter from EFCC, that I should come. If truly there were any issues with my governorship, why didn’t I get invited within one month like some of my other colleaguees? In 2011, when I decided that I was going to contest for President, pram! I got an EFCC invitation. Anytime I get an invitation from EFCC, you can attach it to a political issues. At the end of the day, nothing come out of them.

#6. On whether or not he is going to contest for President in 2019…

Saraki said: “You are not the first and you will not be the last person to ask me this question. We won an election in 2015. We have not yet delivered. Majority of the people who should be talking about how we are going to deliver, they are talking about 2019. This is the time for governance. When it is time for politics, it is time for politics. If I give any answer to your question, I am also helping to overheat the polity. Everybody should leave that issue of 2019 so we can concentrate on governance…

#7. On what he wants President Buhari’s supporters to know…

Saraki said: “When you want to know who is loyal to you, it is during your trying moments. Go back to two months ago. Who was it who stood up resolutely and said “Mr. President will be back and there is no cause for alarm?” I don’t think that a man who is not loyal to you will do that. We know some people who went to London and saw President Buhari, but they just left. They did not say anything. My message to all our party’s supporters is that I am committed, that whatever we promised Nigerians, we will deliver. For some of us, this government cannot be allowed to fail. We left one party with our supporters and embarked on this journey. We must be able to go back to them and tell them that the journey was worth it. If God forbid this government fails, what will I go back and tell them? it is in my personal and political interest to see that this government succeeds.”

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Boko Haram Commander, Others Relive Life In Sambisa, Says “Allah Didn’t Ask Us To Kill Anyone”

  • Captured Boko Haram commander, combatants relive life in Sambisa, other Boko Haram strongholds
  • How Nigerian Army de-radicalises terror suspects

Joseph David hushed boys to sleep with bullets in Sambisa. He shot hot lead into their parents in Baga. He watched blood drip through their perforated innards, to soak the sands and scorched earth of Borno. David a.k.a Ibrahim Al Hajar, abducted peasant girls and housewives too.

At 22, the commander of the dreaded terrorist sect, Boko Haram, forcibly married two Chibok girls: Precious a.k.a Faridah and Elizabeth a.k.a Amina,soon after their abduction from home and his marriage to his first bride, who is also named Faridah, from Madagali.

David has killed people. Thus at 25, three years after he took command of Boko Haram’s 150-man guerrilla unit, he has lost grasp of his body count. But he remembers the peasant families he dismembered. He remembers the husbands, wives, beloved sons and daughters that he ‘wasted’ in cold blood. David remembers too, the soldiers he ambushed and killed in furious glee.

In the wake of his bloody exploits, David seeks redemption. He fights a desperate battle every day, against demons no one can see. “I want everybody to forgive me and forget because I did it mistakenly. It is not my fault. They forced me…I am sorry for my past. I am sorry for what I did. I am a Christian. I did not intend to do these things but they forced me. I did it to save my life. That is why I say I am sorry,” he said, urging his victims to ‘forgive and forget.’

I want everybody to forgive me and forget because I did it mistakenly. It is not my fault. They forced me…I am sorry for my past. I am sorry for what I did. I am a Christian. I did not intend to do these things but they forced me. I did it to save my life. That is why I say I am sorry

Can his victims ever forgive and forget? Most of them are dead; very few people survived David and his rampaging horde. From Baga to Bama, Patawe to Pita, Monguno to Sambisa, David left a bloody trail as a fearless slayer. But how did the unassuming youth from Mubi, Adamawa State, mutate into a terror of Nigeria’s northeast?

“I was kidnapped,” he said; “The people that kidnapped me named me Ibrahim Al Hajar. They (Boko Haram) kidnapped me three years ago in Mubi (Adamawa). I was 22 years old. They took me to Sambisa Forest.”

In Sambisa Forest, David’s abductors indoctrinated him with spiritual texts regarded as Boko Haram’s holy grail. This was the prerequisite for training him to use guns and other weaponry. Thus after three months of brainwashing, Joseph was renamed Ibrahim Al Hajar.

shekauAfterwards, he was transferred toShababu Ummah. “That is where they train people to use guns. I spent almost four months there, learning to use machine guns and other weapons of war. After that, I passed out (graduated),” he said.

For his first assignment, he was given a Hilux truck with an Antiaircraft (AA) machine gun. He was assigned to lead ambushes against Nigeria’s Military Joint Task Force (MJTF). David led his squad on several successful missions, ambushing the JTF and halting military onslaught against Boko Haram in Sambisa. Then he got caught.

“Before I was caught, I went on a mission to Patawe. I went to Gwoza. In 2015, I attacked Babangida (a town) and there was a time that the Nigeria Army attacked Sambisa Forest, so they permitted me to walk over them. So I did…That was the time Buhari defeated Goodluck Jonathan.”

David regrets many things: “You know, the lives of people that I have wasted. At the end, I don’t know how it will be…on the last day of judgment. And I regret because I was a student before Boko Haram kidnapped me.

“I was schooling at SPY. That is, State Polytechnic, Yola. I was studying Criminal Law…I want to say sorry because these things that I did, I did them to save my life. If I didn’t do them, they may think I am trying to bring problem within them. So, I did those things smartly and logically, till the time that God provided way for me to escape,” he said.

“You know, the lives of people that I have wasted. At the end, I don’t know how it will be…on the last day of judgment. And I regret because I was a student before Boko Haram kidnapped me. I was schooling at SPY. That is, State Polytechnic, Yola. I was studying Criminal Law…I want to say sorry because these things that I did, I did them to save my life.

Life as Boko Haram Commander

Being a Boko Haram Commander attracted several perks. David enjoyed a great deal of respect and modest wealth. He had his own army, numbering 150 to 250 men. He also received at least N500, 000 every month for his upkeep and that of his soldiers. The money was disbursed to him and fellow senior officers in Nigerian currency and sometimes, it was disbursed to them in foreign currencies: Euro, Dollars or Riyal.

With such liquid cash at his disposal, David was rich enough to marry three wives. Thus in one year, he forcibly married three abducted teenagers; his first wife, Faridah, was kidnapped from Madagali and the other two, Precious a.k.a Faridah and Elizabeth a.k.a Amina, were abducted from Chibok. His first wife, he revealed, was pregnant at the time of his arrest by the Nigeria Army.

Didn’t he feel sorry for them? Didn’t he ever imagine that they could be his sisters and thus cringe from marrying them? To these, he responds: “I felt sorry for them but I treated them well. Due to my position, I had some wealth, shelter and other things. So, I took care of them. Because they were Christians and I was a Christian too, I treated them well.”

Did they love him? “They loved me too much,” he enthused.

David’s wives are still in Sambisa and he believes they will still see him ‘By God’s grace.”

 Frosty relationship with Shekau

“Shekau captured my wives. He took the two Chibok girls from me because I treated them well. He said he did not trust me. He said, one day, I would run with them back to Nigeria,” said David. According to him, his frosty relationship with Shekau was caused by moles in his unit who fed unpalatable information about him to the Boko Haram leader. David said because he didn’t maltreat his wives like the other officers, his actions became suspect to his soldiers and peers.

David is sure that his wives and Boko Haram leadership know that he is still alive. “They will know because of the information that goes around and they have computers and other digital gear,” he said.

David met with Shekau at the completion of each stage of his training in weapon handling. For instance, Shekau hosted him and gave him a Hilux truck with Anti-aircraft (AA) machine gun immediately he completed his first training. He also fought alongside Shekau against the military in Pita in a bloody gunfight that led to deaths on both sides.

Is Shekau a good leader?

Shekau is not a good leader due to what he is doing. His Muslim brothers are blaming him. He spoiled the religion of Muslims. So, he is not a good person. If you look at the people and widows that he has taken as slaves, he is not taking good care of them. People are dying, especially the small children. He is not taking care of them – David.

The 25-year-old dreams of pursuing a career in Criminology. He also dreams of reuniting with his siblings and parents in Yola, Adamawa.

 Boko Haram’s dangerous use of minors

Over the years, Boko Haram has constituted a security challenge to Nigeria. Since its birth in 2009, the group has expanded its operational tactics to include the use of suicide bombers – mainly underage girls – and forcible recruitment of underage boys as combatants to execute its terrorist attacks.

Boko Haram’s modus operandi (MO) includes the abduction of underage girls and boys and even adults to feed its badly devastated militant army. Abductees or hostages of the terrorist group oftentimes harden into stone-cold killers on the watch of the group’s leadership.

                                                                                                Damina

One such victim is Yau Damina, 14. The teenager was abducted from Potiskum by Boko Haram and taken to an unknown destination several months ago. Damina spent five months in Boko Haram’s terror camps, training to become a combatant soldier. And he became a stone-cold killer. In five months, Damina developed deadly skills. For instance, he killed five men in the blink of an eye, because they disrespected and killed his team leader.

“I killed them because they killed my team leader,” he said. In retrospect, Damina feels bad over what he’d done. He said he wishes he hadn’t joined Boko Haram. Damina has no hobbies. He has no dreams. And he has no hopes for the future. He is simply content living in military detention. Yau was arrested while attending a wedding at his grandfather’s village in Potiskum.

Unlike Damina whose body count tally at five, Ali Mustapha, 17, killed 13 people during his time with Boko Haram. Mustapha revealed that he was forced to kill his victims in Chikungudu Forest, Kalabalge, where he was held in captivity for three years by the insurgents.

Mustapha was intercepted by security operatives while on espionage mission in Maiduguri. He was allegedly sent by his Commander, Umar, fromChikungudu Forest in Kalabalge.

Ali Mustapha told The Nation in an interview, that he was sent to spy and report on likely soft targets in Baga Road, Monday Market and Custom Market in Maiduguri, Borno capital.

                                                                                             

                                                                                             Mustapha

“I was kidnapped in Marte by the insurgents; when they stormed the town in 2013, they took us away to Chikungudu Forest in Kalabalge council. I was held in captivity for three years at Chikungudu. Within the period, I have killed about 13 people in separate locations.

“First was at Chikungudu, where we were held hostage by Boko Haram. Whenever the insurgents returned from a mission, they would line up their hostages before us and ask us to kill them. They forced us to kill innocent people.

“They said they were testing us. The first time I killed, I killed five people. They told me, ‘Ali, you will kill five people today.’ I initially declined but when they threatened to kill me, I had no option but to kill the five people they brought before me. They later came with three other people and forced me to kill them.

“The second time I killed people was at a village called Burssari. While we were there, they brought another set of five people and asked me to kill them and instantly I did. I had no choice because they threatened to kill me if I didn’t kill them. Then we went back to Chikungudu where they held us. They also went to a town and came back with some people and told other victims like me to kill them which they did,” revealed Mustapha.

The 17-year-old was trained to couple and dismantle AK 47 rifles. “More than 500 children of my age, including younger ones, were conscripted as child soldiers in Chukungudu Forest in Kalabalge. Even kids younger than I am were trained to handle and shoot AK 47 rifles in the forest. There were girls too, who were trained to go on suicide bombing missions,” he said.

‘Children of pagans’

“Although they gave us some inscription written in Arabic to drink, I declined and threw mine away. We sometimes declined to do what they wanted us to do, so they nicknamed us children of pagans and spat on us and refused to give us food.

“At Chikungudu in Kalabalge. Our leader is Umar from Mamman Nur’s faction of Boko Haram. I have never seen him but they usually sent people to greet him and they always told us about how powerful he is.

“My father’s name is Mustapha and my mother’s name is Ya’zara. The last time I saw them was at Marte, when Boko Haram stormed our town and took us away,” said Ali.

Mustapha arrived in Maiduguri in company of two younger child soldiers, Muhammad and Ba’ana. While his beats were Baga Road, Monday Market and Custom Market, he did not know his accomplices’ beats in Maiduguri. He was arrested at the Bakassi IDP camp after refugees in the camp identified him as a member of Boko Haram. The 17-year-old’s parents were identified as IDPs taking refuge in the camp.

Abducted, forcibly conscripted from Cameroon

Muhammed Abubakar, 31, had a wife in Cameroon, Fatima, and a two-year old son, Hadji Muhammed. Two years ago, Abubakar was abducted in common hours, while he laboured to fend for his family. Life was hard but bearable for the 31-year-old until the rampaging hordes of Boko Haram struck his community on the outskirts of Cameroon. Abubakar was whisked to Sambisa Forest where he was forcibly recruited as soldier by Boko Haram. He lived in Sambisa for two years. During those years, he tried to escape thrice. At his third try, Boko Haram commanders lost patience with him. Thus they amputated his left leg and right hand. Then they set him free.

                                                                                                       Abubakar

“Fool, you can escape now. You are of no use to us or anyone now,” they taunted him. Abubakar bled and writhed in his own blood for three days. It was a miracle that he lived. He was given no analgesic neither was he accorded the luxury of first aid treatment of his wounds. Thus at the risk of contracting life-threatening diseases, he clung desperately to life hoping for a miracle.

Abubakar’s limbs were amputated for trying to escape from Boko Haram’s terror camp

That miracle came in the form of a rescue by the Nigeria Army. The latter freed Abubakar during a decisive onslaught against his captors in Sambisa Forest. Boko Haram was dislodged from the forest and Abubakar and thousands of the terrorist group’s captives were liberated.

Use of hard drugs, hypnosis

The Nation findings revealed that the terrorist group plies its foot soldiers, underage kids in particular, with intoxicants and hard drugs. For instance, David revealed that he binged on Tramol (A variant of Tramadol) as stimulant and analgesic before and after his missions. Further investigations revealed that the terrorist sect’s leadership plies members, underage kids in particular, with LSD, cannabis, codeine, tramadol and other hard drugs, to stimulate them to commit grievous crimes they would otherwise avoid.

Members of the group, in an exclusive chat with The Nation, revealed that they had to take such narcotics to incite the ‘courage’ by which they perpetrated grisly killings and sexual abuse of their victims.

Recently, the Nigerian Army intercepted supplies of cannabis, condoms and sex-enhancing drugs that were headed for Boko Haram camps. Troops of the 3 Division of the Nigeria Army intercepted and arrested suppliers of the hard drugs and other stimulants between Depchi and Geidam, Geidam Local Government Area in northern part of Yobe State. The suppliers were allegedly found in possession of Cannabis, Tramol(Tramadol), Chlorofone substance (aka Madaran suck and die) as well as fuel.

The Nigeria Army’s ‘de-radicalisation’ approach

The Nigeria Army recently initiated a de-radicalisation and rehabilitation programme for ex-members of Boko Haram in its custody. “Contrary to claims by Amnesty International and other non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that we are killing them off like cattle, we aren’t. We have a comprehensive programme in place to de-radicalise them. Many of them are underage boys and girls who were abducted and forcibly conscripted by Boko Haram. We found out that they committed most atrocities under duress, oftentimes at the risk of being slaughtered by their captors,” said General Lucky “Leo” Irabor, Nigeria Army Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, northeast zone.

While Irabor expressed confidence in the military’s rehabilitation programme, he stressed that the Nigeria Army continues to adjust how the detainees and participants are counselled, re-orientated, educated, monitored, and reintegrated into society.

 We’ve had some organisations with interest in human rights issues make allegations against the military. Those allegations are so untrue; untrue because they are mere allusions. They did not in anyway come to us for verification. They didn’t confront us with the issues before they went to the press. When you talk about human rights abuses in a detention facility, the question to ask is: what are those human rights abuses? The detainees themselves know and speak to the fact that the treatment we give to them in the detention facilities is the kind of treatment they never envisaged. They never thought that they would be well fed or that there will be a kind of medical treatment for them.

There is the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), we give them unfettered access to the detention facility. Well of course, you could say there is congestion. Again, congestion in my view is also relative. Once you are in a solitary confinement; of course, there will be issues. In our state-run prisons, there are issues. It cannot be the same as living in your own house.

We are a professional force. We set out for our operations guided by rules. We do not set out to make life unbearable for anyone. Not even in the frontlines let alone in the detention facilities. In fact, if we had it in mind to make life unbearable for them, why didn’t we eliminate them at the point of capture? That we didn’t do that, speaks to the fact that we are bound by laws that govern operations generally: the international humanitarian law and the international human rights law. And of course our code of conduct and rules of engagement compels us to do what is right.We have those who come to monitor all that we do, within the military. The idea is to ensure that we do what is right.

Allegations of child abuse

Some have also accused us of keeping children but the children. The only set of children we have are the children of some of the detainees that refuse to let us transfer the children to appropriate facilities for children, like the facility set up by the Borno state government for such children. The others are those children that have also taken part in war. Some of them…a boy of 10, 12, 13, if you know what they have done in terms of killing and what they’ve gone through by way of training and operation of weapons, you will be shocked.

But of course, it will be improper of us to see such a boy of such age and say he is a child and take let him go. No. We have to keep him to change his orientation. And our deradicalisation process of course have yielded results.

In sum, I will say that the allegations that a good number of people and some international organisations, especially the Amnesty International (AI) have leveled against us are untrue and very unfair with respect to the operations and the detention of some of the detainees. What is on ground is very different from the picture they paint.

We also have the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) that has engaged us in respect of similar issues and they have not in any way faulted what’ve done. The ICRC like I said, has engaged us at various times and they have commended us in respect of those issues concerning how we treat those in our detention facilities.

There is no system that is perfect. We are always open for engagement, particularly with those with interests that are positive in orientation, not with those who believe that nothing good can come out of the Nigerian military.

Deradicalising Boko Haram

It’s been quite challenging no doubt but of course, it’s been very successful thus far; because we have brought our ingenuity into the operations. We have been able to evolve and answer the necessary questions: What is it that has motivated them to stay so long in this fight? And what is it that if we take out, it could make them surrender?

The aggregate of all these is that we have evolved a progressive approach to dealing with arrested members of Boko Haram. When they come to our detention facilities…not only do we address their medical needs, at the point we receive them, some of them appear so emaciated. They appear to have been starved of food. They appear very sick. Not only do we address those immediate needs, we also go as far as ensuring that their immediate hygiene requirements are met. Then we provide them clothing and change the rags in which they arrive.

Then we have evolved a humane process of interrogating them. It laid the foundation for properly interrogating them. And a large percentage of them have begun to open up and have a different impression as to the falsehood they were fed with whilst in the bush. They confessed to us that they were made to believe in the bush is that as soon as they come out, we would kill them but surprisingly to them, we are keeping them alive. We also treat them humanely and even provide them medicines and food.

We allow the ICRC to visit our detention facilities from time to time because of their pedigree. And then they also talk to the inmates. Then they talk to us and highlight areas they would like us to address. In following visits, they try to ascertain if we have addressed issues they raised in their previous visits; and to a fair extent, they see that we do and they have commended us for the progressive improvements in the treatment of the inmates and the facility itself.

Due to our humane interrogation approach and deradicalisation programme, the inmates have been coming forward with very useful information which has helped a great deal in our operations.

Those in the bush are finally getting to know that they stand to benefit a great deal if they surrender peacefully or come to us. They know that we have in our custody, a great number of them that surrendered and those that we also arrested.

A great deal of reformation has taken place in the lives of some of them to the extent that, they have volunteered to speak to their colleagues that are still in the bush with Boko Haram. They are eager to counsel their colleagues to lay down arms and surrender using themselves as examples. They want them to see that reality is different from what they have been made to believe by their captors and colleagues in the bush.

The onset of change

As the deradicalisation process progresses, sometimes, you are forced to wonder, are these the same fellows that were responsible for the kind of carnage attributed to them? Many of them have become so remorseful. If not for their confessions about the kind of killings they’ve perpetrated, sometimes, it may become very difficult for you to believe that they were responsible for such crimes. But of course, there are a few others that are still in the process of coming to terms with their situation. And a few others, because of the trauma they experienced while with the Boko Haram terrorist group, sometimes, they experience some emotional breakdown. Sometimes, we have had to take them to appropriate medical facility to ensure that their state of mind is normalised and they get necessary help.

Those in our custody undergoing reform are eager to save their colleagues. Many of them crave that their colleagues lay down arms and come to the kind of understanding they have attained in our custody, which is, the government means well, the military means well and that they are being well taken care of in their detention facilities.

We give them to opportunity to say their Salat prayers and conduct their normal worship at appropriate times right in the detention facilities. The scope of the deradicalisation programme has since been widened to include renowned Islamic scholars to disabuse their minds of wrong ideologies and introduce them to the right doctrine. These clerics and scholars are working to put them through the right doctrinal framework in terms of the true teachings of the Islam and the Holy Quran.

As it stands today, I can say that, those in our detention facilities, a greater percentage of them has actually come to terms with their situation and they have found that they had been deceived. They feel so remorseful and they wish that they were never part of the Boko Haram terrorism madness. This is heartwarming and that is why we are living no stone unturned to encourage others, those that are still running from one part of the bush to the other, to lay down their arms and embrace peace

We also hope that those that have been deradicalised and reformed will prove useful in helping others to embrace peace and reintegrate into society when the process is completed.

Success of Operation Lafiya Dole

The success we have recorded so far is because of the strength of the operations that we have conducted. We have intercepted those that have a link to the sponsors. A good number of them that have been on our watchlist have been arrested. We have also killed a good number of them. Those in our detention facilities have revealed that certain people we are looking for have been killed in certain operations. And of course, due to the asymmetric nature of the war, it becomes difficult to piece together biometric information of slain leaders of the terrorist group.

Besides the occasional suicide bombings, what strength does Boko Haram have? This of course, speaks to the fact that their strength is waning. In the distant future, Boko Haram will be totally crushed.

 A work in progress

It is still a work in progress but as one of the most advanced efforts to de-radicalise terror suspects, the initiative offers veritable pathways to policymakers looking for insight on how best to deal with alleged terrorists in custody who may one day be released.

The Nigeria Army’s de-radicalisation programme was launched in response to urgent needs for reform and rehabilitation of arrested terror suspects. Army authorities responded to a series of domestic terrorist incidents by transforming its counterterrorism strategy, taking steps to balance traditional security efforts with techniques that address ideological sources of violent extremism.

One critical component of this new approach was the rehabilitation of extremists in prison through religious reeducation, vocational training and psychological counseling. The programme evolves in scope and reach as participants appear to assimilate acceptable ethics towards reintegrating successfully into society.

Idris Mahmud-Abdoullahi, a Borno-based Islamic cleric and social psychologist, acknowledged the programme as a progressive venture that will survive the straits of experimentation. According to him, while the initiative is commendable, it is too early to determine the accuracy of any estimate of recidivism, particularly since there has not been enough time to study long-term effects of the de-radicalisation programme.

Since its inception, hundreds of ex-Boko Haram soldiers, mostly child soldiers and girl suicide bombers, have participated in the de-radicalisation sessions and an after-care programme geared to reintegrate them into Nigerian society. The initiative is overseen by officers of the Nigerian Army in collaboration with committees of clerics, psychologists, and security officers who handle religious, psycho-social, security, and media-related programming.

Initially focused only on inmates who were not directly involved in terrorist attacks, it later included radicalised detainees arrested in Sambisa Forest and repatriated from prisons of neighbouring countries.

 

Quiet venture, secret locations

The actual locations of the de-radicalisation centres are hidden from the public. “This is for security reasons,” revealed a senior military officer and psychologist in the programme. According to him, there is need to keep locations hidden to avoid undue sabotage and avoidable attacks by the detainees’ former colleagues in Boko Haram.

The most revealing developments are at the de-radicalisation centres located in the heart of Maiduguri. The centres include a modified halfway house that combines elements of a security operation with those of a social services institution. Important aspects of the programme have changed over the past few months, based on impact and peculiar rehabilitation needs of detainees and participants in the programme.

The adjustments also reflect lessons learned from working with the most hardened ideologues, who the programme officers admit, showed initial scorn at rehabilitation efforts and reluctance to be part of the program. Reflecting their study of results with early programme participants, the army and its team of rehabilitation experts have begun increasing disengagement-focused elements. They still stress the importance of religious dialogue to address a detainee’s understanding of Islam, a strategy critical for ex-Boko Haram members who committed grave acts of violence and relied on religion for legitimacy.

Recent changes in the programme suggest new emphasis on educational efforts aiming to modify a detainee’s behaviour, not change his religious beliefs. Teachers now offer a wider range of programmes, to include classes and counselling on Sharia Law, psychology, vocational training, sociology, history, Islamic culture, art therapy, and athletics. Each aims to support the center‘s goal of shaping the thoughts of its “beneficiaries,” but also stresses the need to change their behaviour and provide tools that help detainees reintegrate into Nigerian society.

One interesting update reveals an increased understanding of sources of radicalisation for those in custody. In response to a new concern about Boko Haram’a efforts to manipulate Islamic history to recruit followers, the Nigeria Army’s rehabilitation programme offers updated sessions on history and culture, to counter this influence. It is part of an effort to develop specialised approaches for each detainee that inform how he behaves within larger society upon his or her release.

There are also plans to expand the scope of the de-radicalisation programme to include the role of a detainee’s family. There are plans to involve detainees families in joint counseling sessions to mitigate the likelihood of stigmatisation. Thus families are expected to visit during the programme and provide post-release support. A programme officer revealed that there is deliberation to adopt sequenced trial releases of less volatile inmates with their families, to observe how each party responds to the other, assess the individual undergoing rehabilitation, and determine whether family members will be capable of supervising the inmate after release. This last element is critical to ensure the family can help prevent a formerly violent extremist from becoming a threat again. Though very time consuming and difficult to implement for more than small groups at a time, security officials point to potential long-term benefits in this approach–particularly regarding broader efforts to combat radicalisation in northeast Nigeria.

Perhaps the most critical development regards efforts to assess the progress of each beneficiary throughout the programme, one of the central weaknesses of de-radicalisation efforts underway worldwide. Officials previously relied heavily on trust to overcome this problem–trust in the detainee being rehabilitated, trust in the family taking responsibility for his actions, and trust in the country’s security apparatus to monitor his activities after release.

The Nigeria Army seeks to address inherent weaknesses of this approach through a system that aims to continuously evaluate every detainee in a rigorous, multi-dimensional fashion. This includes monitoring in and out of the centre, ongoing documented evaluations, and regular assessments by programme administrators. Though still imperfect, subjective, and reliant on post-release security efforts, these processes suggest potential newtools to evaluate the threat posed by terrorists in custody. 

The healing

Fiona Lovatt, founder, Children of Borno (COB), a haven for orphaned children and other vulnerable IDPs argued that the government and the Nigerian society should pay good mind to the healing process. “The radical ones are the ones that have been abducted, kidnapped, put in situations of deprivation by their abductors. We don’t know what has been fed into their minds but it is clearly not the Quran because the Holy Quran is a healing balm for those who have suffered or are suffering.

“I have seen in Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in the camps, such high faith; that they can sit in the squalor and hunger and poverty that they are dealing with and say ‘Alhmadulillah! Praise God, I am alive. My children are alive. I have lived another day.

“It’s wrong to say, they have been radicalised; they have been brutalised. So, we know there’s drugs involved. We know there’s violence involved. We know there’s emotional blackmail.

Most of these kids have to kill or be killed. This is not some ideology. This is just some raw, gut torture. It is the sort of things Nazi did to train their soldiers. These are mind control techniques that has nothing to do with any religion. These are mind control employed with brutality.

In my perspective, it’s just an abject failure of society to care for those children. My perspective is we take care of people in need, children in need.

I have seen children who have experienced the worst killings rise above their trauma to paint beautiful pictures. I have seen such children tend their own gardens, grow their own vegetables and learn two new languages. I have seen passion ignite in them and watch them yearn to become engineers, doctors, teachers when they grow up. I have seen such children heal in my home.

Lovatt stated that such children need to heal. “Society needs to initiate the healing process. It’s never enough to put them in homes or orphanages where all they do is watch TV. Give them good education. Get them to read and write. Teach them new, useful things, beneficial things that would aid their development into stronger adults and responsible citizens of humanity,” she said.

‘Shaytan has whispered into their hearts’

Disaffection becomes the most feasible rationalisation for Boko Haram’s appeal. The foot soldiers and commanders of the terrorist group are drawn mostly from male segments of the population with little formal education. They live in straitened circumstances, surviving by with menial jobs on the fringes of the urban and rustic north.

In Maiduguri, they are scorned and treated like vermin even by fellow Muslims. Most believe they are lazy and hindered by lack of ambition. You see them smiling and pleading for alms; deep down, they are very angry. And Boko Haram offers them militant Islam and a corrupted creed asplatform to vent their angst. Boko Haram makes them feel loved.

Eventually, they are goaded to believe that they are a crucial part of a great cause. A worthy movement geared to topple the government of the infidels. They misinterpret the Holy Quran and use it to justify the senseless murders they commit. Shaytan has whispered into their hearts – argued Sheikh Mahmud Abdullah, an Islamic scholar and cleric.

Boko Haram’s dogma like similar groups’ worldwide, plays a central role in its survival. Its creed of violence and wanton genocide is primed to achieve resonance. And it’s success and appeal among the northern youth is largely based on a combination of persuasive communicators, the compelling nature of the grievances articulated, and the pervasiveness of local conditions that seem to justify the terrorist group’s rationale for employing violence express and mitigate its grievances.

What are the group’s grievances? A growing sense of economic malaise has been felt throughout the country for some time, and is most palpable in the north. A longstanding history of corruption and patronage at the federal, state, and local levels of government, according to experts, is also a source of widespread dissatisfaction toward politicians, the legal system, and law enforcement. These sentiments may be found in greater depths and concentration in the north than elsewhere in the country, argued James Forest, Associate Professor, University of Massachusetts, United States of America.

Boko Haram and its sponsors, of course, cash in on the situation; they manipulate the sentiments of the northern youth in recruiting them as soldiers. They lure them with food, money and a passport to paradise; they tell them that their religion is under threat.

Reformed terrorists’ plea to Boko Haram

Damina regretted killing innocent people and Abubakar lamented the loss of his limbs. The latter advised his colleagues still operating with Boko Haram in the bushes, to discard their guns and surrender. “I want them to know that they have been misled. We have been misled. They tell us it is a sin to forgive the Nigerian infidels but Allah did not send us to kill anyone. There is no paradise for Boko Haram. They have been telling us lies. Allah is not a wicked God. There is nothing in the Holy Quran that supports what Boko Haram is doing,” he said.

Abubakar wished his colleagues would desert the forest and surrender peacefully to the Nigerian Armed Forces. “It’s the only way out of this problem or death,” he said.

“Life here is better. We thought they would kill us. They didn’t. They feed us well. Clothe us well and advise us,” enthused Joseph. According to the former Boko Haram commander, “To my colleagues still in Boko Haram, this is the message that I want to give to them: Let them know that their leaders are deceiving them. They are deceiving them, making them think they are fighting Jihad. What they are doing is against Islam and the Quran. So, I beg them to stop what they are doing. Stop deceiving the innocent girls by giving them bombs to detonate and kill people and other things that they think they are doing, for the sake of Allah, which is not good and not even true.”

If you ask Damina, Abubakar and Joseph, life in the detention facility is markedly better than the harsh realities that plagued their lives in Sambisa Forest and Boko Haram’s other terror camps.

Although they have settled into their new lives, they have to relearn the old ways of humaneness and acceptable social behaviour. But while they pick their way through the jagged horror of their past, will their hearts and memories retract the terror they visited on their innocent victims? Will the latter forgive?

Consider the sad case of Hajia Sambira Abu-Ali. The widow of Lt. Col. Muhammed Abu-Ali who was killed by Boko Haram in Borno on Friday, November 4, 2016 has no potent remedy for her loss. She considers it unfortunate that her husband left her while their children, Fatima, 7, Mohammed, 4, and Yasmin, 1, are still young. “My children are very aware that their father is no more. It is unfortunate that he left them at such tender ages. But they will always recall that he was a kind and loving father. Just like he was to me,” she said.

As David and co seek absolution, let them be guided by the weight of the Abu-Alis’ and their other victims loss.

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Few Takeaways From Emir Sanusi’s Speech At The #KadInvest 2.0 Summit In Kaduna

The Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi, was the keynote speaker at the second edition of the Kaduna Economic and Investment Summit (KadInvest 2.0, an event organised by the Kaduna Sate Government to encourage investments.

During his speech, the governor spoke on a lot of issues including education for the girl child, the economy and the comment by Zamfara State governor.

Below are some highlights from the speech.

As I start, I will try very very hard not to offend anyone. Apologies in advance if I do.

Senate Versus Presidency

If you’ve been reading Nigerian newspapers for the last 3 weeks, Nigerian TV and social media, you’ll be concerned. There has been no serious conversation over the last 3 weeks. Too much noise. If you create too much noise, nobody sees you good work. Nobody sees the progress on anti-corruption or security. All that noise have the consequences of noise.

Governor Yari’s Comment On Meningitis As God’s Punishment For Nigerians Sins

“Don’t give these kind of explanations. “That is not an Islamically correct statement to make.”

“(If) you don’t have vaccines, you don’t have vaccines; Go and get vaccines.”

On the Economy

I have spoken a few times on the Economy. I think I have actually said enough. I’ll just summarize the growth of Nigeria in the periods of high growth were driven largely by rising commodity prices & debt. The Federal Government is spending 66% of its revenue on interest on debt. 34% left for recurrent & capital.

We have Governors, they spend 1 month in China then return with MOUs of debt. A nation (state) is only transformed by vision. If the vision is flawed, every single thing is flawed automatically. We need to invest in education and healthcare. We are in denial.

The North East and the North West of Nigeria are amongst the poorest parts of the WORLD. Not just Nigeria. If Borno and Yobe were countries, they’d be poorer than Niger and Chad.

On Kano Film Village

I publicly opposed the opposition of the Movie Village in Kano. We had a comparative advantage with Kannywood. Now, that entire industry is now being moved to Kaduna. I am sad Kano has lost it. Happy Kaduna got it.

“We refuse to recognize that the rest of the Muslim world has moved on. We are fighting culture and we are fighting civilisation. For us to address social policy, we have to reclaim our religion.”

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21 Things To Know About Buhari’s Economic Growth And Recovery Plan

Below are 21 things Nigerians should know about the plan:

1. The ERGP has three broad strategic objectives: restoring growth of the economy, investing in the Nigerian people, and building a globally competitive economy;

2. It targets the growth of Nigeria’s gross domestic product, GDP, by 2.19 percent in 2017 and 7.0 percent by the end 2020;

3. It envisages reducing inflation to single digit by 2020 and increasing federal government’s revenues from N2.7 trillion in 2016 to N4.7 trillion in 2020;

4. It prioritizes key turnaround interventions and enablers to generate concrete, visible impact by 2017 and articulates medium term economic policies for implementation between 2017 and 2020;

5. It focuses on achieving macroeconomic stability; economic growth and diversification; competitiveness and business environment; and governance and security;

6. It builds on the short-term Strategic Implementation Plan, SIP, for the 2016 ‘Budget of Change’ towards sustainable accelerated development for 2017-2020;

7. It is a multi-pronged agenda to tackle corruption, improve security and re-build the economy;
8. It is consistent with the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, as it addresses economic, social and environmental sustainability issues;

9. It is different from previous plans, as there appears to be a strong political determination, commitment and will at the highest level to realize the objectives;

10. It has a delivery unit in the presidency to drive implementation of economic priorities;

11. It outlines initiatives to boost oil production to 2.5 million barrels by 2020, privatise selected public enterprises/asset, and revamp local refineries to reduce petroleum product imports by 60 per cent by 2018;

12. It builds on the National Industrial Revolution Plan and the Nigeria Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan;

13. It seeks to promote effective collaboration and coordination between the federal and state governments’ work towards achieving national objectives;

14. It emphasises improvement on public and private sector efficiency towards increased national productivity, sustainable diversification of production, food and energy security.

15. It focuses on tackling constraints to national economic growth, by leveraging the power of the private sector towards economic recovery and transformation;

16. It has five execution priorities to kick-start economic recovery: stabilization of the macroeconomic environment, achieving agriculture and food security, ensuring energy sufficiency in power and petroleum products, improving transport infrastructure, and driving industrialization through local and small business enterprise;

17. It is a blueprint for recovery in the short term and a strategy for sustained growth and development in the long term.

18. It merges the budget and planning functions into one ministry to create a better and stronger link between annual budgets and the national economic plan;

19. It seeks to help improve oil revenues earnings from N700 billion in 2016 to N1.3 trillion per year in 2017 and N1.45 trillion per year by 2020;

20. It aims to boost oil production from 1.4 million barrels per day in 2016 to 2.2 million barrels per day in 2017 and 2.5 million barrels per day by 2020.

21. It aims to boost efficiency in savings of N50 billion per year and reducing government overhead expenditures by 25 per cent.

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How Osun Spent N11.7bn Paris Club Refund

In December 2016, when the state government of Osun paid out the sum of N13,645,546,673.04 to clear salaries, leave bonuses and pension arrears of four (4) months, many did wonder how the Paris Club refund received a month earlier was allocated.

However, the Accountant General of the state of Osun, Mr. Akintayo Kolawole, has revealed, how the state government expended the sum of N11,744,237,793.56 received from the federal government in November 2016 as first tranche of the Paris Club Refund.

Speaking with Journalists at his office in Osogbo, Mr. Kolawole revealed that the Osun Revenue Apportionment Committee headed by Comrade Hassan Sunmonu agreed for the total Paris Club Refund to be spent on clearing workers salary arrears.

“The revenue apportionment committee agreed that the Paris refund be used in paying salaries and that the sum of N1.9bn be added by the state government to augment salary payment to local government workers,” Mr. Kolawole noted.

Speaking on how a total of N13.6bn was used in paying salary 

arrears, Mr Kolawole stated that, “the sum of N8,519,437.233.43 was paid out as salaries for September, October, November and December. Similarly, the sum of N924,676,305.24 was paid out as leave bonuses for the four months, while the sum of N2,496,605,100.64 was paid in pensions for the same period.”

Explaining how the state spent above the N11.74bn received as Paris Club Refund, the accountant general noted that the sum of N1,704,828,033.73 was transferred to the ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs for the payment of salaries at that level.

When contacted, State Chairman of the Triangular Pensioners Association, Prince Rotimi Adelugba confirmed all pensioners in the state received four months of pension arrears as agreed with the state government in December 2016.

Other workers in the state commended the government for making workers’ welfare its priority.

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Cybercriminals Rake In $2.7m From Businesses, $422,000 From Individuals – Report

A report on the activities of West African cyber criminals has been released by Joint Trend Micro and INTERPOL. The report which is part of the ongoing Cybercriminal Underground Economy Series (CUES) revealed that scams targeting individuals and businesses have grown exponentially since 2013.
The INTERPOL survey showed West African cybercriminals rake in an average $2.7 million from businesses and $422,000 from individuals. The two threat actors listed in the report are Yahoo Boys and Next-Level cybercriminals.
“Yahoo boys rely on Yahoo apps to communicate, they focus on less technically advanced schemes, including advanced-fee, stranded traveler and romance scams under the supervision of a ringleader. Next-Level Cybercriminals are able to execute more sophisticated attacks, such as Business Email Compromise (BEC) and tax scams. Next-Level Cybercriminals also maintain connections and accounts overseas as a way to feign legitimacy with their victims and keep law enforcement at arm’s length,” the report reads.
To pull off these sophisticated social engineering tactics, Trend Micro significantly increased its research and effort into the crimes committed by Next-Level Cybercriminals.
In Ghana where the ritualization of online fraud, sakawa, is practiced, Sakawa recognizes that a Supreme Being blesses scammers with protection and good fortune, eliminating the unethical implications and encouraging West Africans to defraud foreign victims.
A survey conducted by INTERPOL revealed thateach year nearly half of the 1 million graduates from more than 668 African universities are unemployed.
“This joint paper shows that criminals across the region are becoming more technically savvy, and this emerging underground market will require an even stronger law enforcement response in the future, both in terms of training for investigators and ensuring the appropriate legislation is in place,” said Noboru Nakatani, Executive Director of INTERPOL’s Global Complex for Innovation (IGCI).
Highlighting the importance of the research, Nakatani noted that the research also puts into limelight, the importance of public-private partnerships in identifying and arresting criminals, as well as educating businesses and governments about cyber threats.
One such collaboration in 2016 resulted in the arrest of a Nigerian national who had extorted $60 million from businesses around the world using BEC scams.
Despite roadblocks related to investigating cybercrime in the West African region, the INTERPOL survey revealed 30 percent of crimes reported to law enforcement each year lead to arrests.
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Calabar Superhighway Threatens World’s Biodiversity, To Displace 185 Communities, 50,000 Inhabitants

By Mercy Abang

The southern Nigeria state of Cross River used to be known as an area with some of the oldest tropical rain-forests in the West African region, with mangrove swamps on the coastal zones and some of the rarest species of organisms to boot. However, that reserve is being threatened including the famous Cross River National park, Ukpong and Ekuri forests  identified as a biodiversity hot spot.

This is because of the planned construction of a high tech super highway from Calabar, the state capital to the neighbouring Benue State through the forest.  Complete with anti-slip features, speed cameras and Internet connectivity, it would cost the state a whooping sum of $3.5bn.

Beyond that, there are the implications directly and indirectly for thousands of families and their livelihoods.

50- year – old, Alice Bassey sat on the trunk of a felled tree while talking to me, her eyes fixed on her visibly cracked building – on the outskirts of Calabar, Ikot-Opkoene Akpabuyo community – originally owned by her parents and passed down to her immediate family. She was flanked by her kids as she described how the wall cracked the same night men acting on the instructions of the state Governor, Ben Ayade, invaded her community with bulldozers.

“I was sleeping when we heard the trucks (bulldozers) clearing all the economic trees, my only means of survival”, she reminisces. “I don’t have where to move to, they want to take my land, without notice, this house as you can see the demolition marks, has been revoked.”

On 22nd January 2016, the government published a notice in the Weekend Chronicle, a local newspaper announcing the revocation of all land occupancy titles within a 20-kilometre wide corridor of land along the highway route. This revocation means that government has acquired all farmlands, forests and even houses owned by the communities.

Bassey and her kids are helpless, their means of livelihood destroyed by a government elected to make life better for the citizens. “At no time were we issued a notice. The actions by the authority remains shocking”, she sobs, pointing to the debris of trees she claims had been in existence for over 150 years. Since the destruction of her cocoa, palm trees, guava, mango, and orange trees, the only means of survival for her and her six kids, they have had to rely on friends and families to eat.”

The invasion of his community has left Elder Okon James Ukpong, 76, who I met in downtown Ikot Ndareke, stranded.

Asked if he was willing to move as his home had the demolition sign from the authorities, the unperturbed senior citizen said, “I am not leaving, they’ve destroyed my means of survival, and I am waiting for them to come for my house so I can die with the bulldozer that day.”

During the interview, he would wonder aloud why the government was insensitive to the plight of the people – repeatedly questioning why over 50,000 people will be displaced, and most of them without prior notice.

—-

Environmental Impact

Umo Isua-Ikoh, an environmental activist working with the group, Peace Point Action (PPA) a local NGO in the state condemned the demolitions, saying there was no due process followed by the government. In a clear contravention of the act, the government has however, started clearing forests in Bakassi, Boki, Apkabuyo, Obubran, Akampka and elsewhere.

“Over 185 communities were affected”, he emphasizes. “The EIA act of 1992 states that no land clearing should take place without Environmental impact (EIA) assessment permit from the federal government.”

The government seems to be dismissing all the concerns though.

According Governor Ayade, widely quoted to have said Cross River has “over one million hectares of pristine forest and that forest which is an asset that has remained unexploited and this forest has been conserved over time without exploitation. That is not the way we are going to go forward, we are going to move from forest conservation to forest management which means we are going to be needing 2000-3000 young men who will be responsible for regeneration of forest. As we are deforesting for development by processing it into ply wood and vinyl for export, we are also correspondingly investing hugely for regeneration.”

 

In the fact sheet made available by environmentalists and scientists to the press, the state has much less than 1,000,000 hectares of forest – perhaps only 600,000 are standing.

“The existing highways, if refurbished, could fulfil development needs without loss of any forests, and at a much lower cost”, the document reads. “The existing highways have an established system of feeder roads, linking communities to the trade route – The proposed super highway would likely cause the construction of its own network of feeder roads, and thus cut a grid of smaller roads into what is left of the rainforest – This slicing up of intact ecosystems would severely affect animal migration, and the gross loss of habitat would further threaten their survival – Sustainable human use of non-timber forest products in many areas would be eliminated. Nigeria would lose its REDD+ status.”

From the interactions in the affected 7 communities visited, it was clear that notice of revocation of land rights was not widely publicize and many individuals affected never knew about it, thus, no prior consent was sought from the communities.

Compensation and Demands

Ekpo Abasi, 37, tells me he has no problem with a government that seeks to construct roads for the people but questioned why his land ownership had to be revoked overnight without due diligence.

“We need roads but not this level of expansion, and the governor should restrict himself to the highway act – and I need to be compensated, I can’t just be asked to leave, leave to where?”

The GREENCODE movement, another NGO liaising with the people and the state gov’t over the superhighway project, led by Comrade Edem Edem, the group is demanding the government stops the revocation of land rights within 10km.

“We want a stop to all activities directed at the destruction of the means of livelihoods, homes, heritage, artefacts and religious spots, wetlands/forest of the indigenous people of Akpabuyo/Bakassi communities until the following studies”.

Edem also wants a “transparent and participatory environmental and social impact study – Transparent and participatory compilation of schedules of compensations of valued items (already and yet to be destroyed) would have been accomplished in compliance with the subsisting laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as well as related International treaties and conventions that Nigeria is a signatory.”

 

38-year old Nku Enu, a subsistent farmer in Boki Local Government of Cross River State, questions why the said superhighway project is shrouded in secrecy.

“They’ve been moving the woods to where? Who is buying the woods? These are some of the questions we need answered”, said Mr Enu. He alleges that the government has reached a deal with a foreign firm to buy in the woods in exchange for money.

“We have also heard rumors of a certain Chinese firm buying the woods, a deal only the governor and his foreign collaborators know about”.

Donald Ikenna Ofoegbu of Heinrich Boll – an environmental Foundation that supports initiatives that are environmentally and politically green in the search for low-carbon -argues that the justification presented by the state government is insufficient.

“Nobody is answering where the money is coming from, where are the compensation plan, were the people involved in arriving at this choice project or are we just feeding a man’s dream; why is no one asking what the people need.”

And Ofoegbu has more questions on what has been labelled a white elephant project: “How long will it take to make profit from the proposed toll gate, where is the business sense; are they any cost-benefit analysis. If we fail to answer these questions and follow due process in the choice of developmental projects, we would end up having lots of community forest destroyed, their timbers logged and sold by people we do not know, we would end up not having a road and the forest disappear.”

***
Mercy Abang is a Freelance Journalist – Media Fixer with Sunday Times of London, BBC, Aljazeera and a former Stringer with the Associated Press – She tweets at @abangmercy..

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Inside Story Of Magu’s Rejection By The Senate – The Tinubu Connection

Danlami Nmodu
Some fresh hints have  emerged about the repeated  rejection of Ibrahim Magu as EFCC chairman by the Senate.
Newsdiaryonline was told that Magu’s biggest problem is his alleged Secret alliance with former Governor of Lagos State, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Tinubu is national leader of APC.
“Magu is known to have aligned secretly with Tinubu.
“The acting  chairman of EFCC has been fighting Tinubu’s enemies  for him and  we are all aware of this” a source conversant with the intrigues said.
It could be recalled that it was Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who first sent Magu’s name for confirmation and the Senate rejected him.
The latest disclosure about the Tinubu connecting came barely 24 hours after the Senate rejected Magic as EFCC chairman for the second time.
The DSS filed a report to the Senate describing Magic as a liability.The commission drew attention to alleged  infractions by Magu
Newsdiaryonline was told that there are  other cases details of which are yet to be disclosed  against Magu.
One of the sources who spoke with Newsdiaryonline said if Magu is confirmed it means the DSS will have to fight for his credibility afterwards.
Even more, the insider asked:Do you think DSS DG would write such a report without consulting with the President?
The presidency has not issued a statement yet on the matter. Presidential Spokesman, Femi Adesina reportedly  said the presidency was waiting for official communication from the Senate on the matter.
It could be recalled  that despite denials, the rosy relationship between Tinubu and President Buhari have reportedly nosedived. Tinubu even visited ailing Buhari in London recently  to show that all was well.
Despite that,  it is Magu’s politics that may have become his undoing, insiders  claim.
However, a source within EFCC  told Newsdiaryonline recently  that failure to confirm Magu will be a sad commentary on Nigeria’s anti-corruption war.
But sources said it was the same executive that nominated Magu that disqualified him. “The choice now is :you either retain Magu or sack DG DSS, which is unlikely now. “
Even more, one associate of the president asked: “must it be Magu. Why is it that his name was submitted to Senate when Buhari had left the country or when the President was about jetting out? It is politics”
“Is Magu the only one that can fight corruption? Is he not equally  corrupt as the DSS said? The executive gave him with one hand and retrieved it with the other. Tinubu has lost yet another battle . The cabal has shown him pepper.”
Source: NewsDiaryOnline
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