Uncle, This Is Why I Don’t Own A House by Ugodre

If you are above 30 and have worked for between 5 to 10 years then you may have heard questions like this? “when are you going to own your own house”? “Do you want to keep paying rent”? “Look at James your age mate, he has already built a house in his village and in town”. These questions come from people you know very well, especially those you care about? Like your mum, dad, aunt, wife, uncle or even boss? Well, I have and quite recently as such. I recently moved into a house in a suburb of Lagos called and being a rented duplex I received a barrage of calls and advice from folks “who know better” insisting that I begin to build my own house. Naturally, I respond to advice like this in a pious manner retorting that soon the divine will make way. But why don’t I have a house after over a decade of working and why do I need one right now? Have you asked yourself that question too? I did and here is what I found out?

Why do I Need to own a House?

Everyone desires to own a house but have you ever thought why? What makes a rented apartment/house less appreciated that an owner occupier house? Does owning a house mean you have financial freedom? Do people who own houses fare better than those who do not on the long run? Does owning a house make a man healthier than those who do not? Does it take you to heaven? I have no answers to these questions but I do know why I do not own a house and why I should own a house.

So first of all, why should I own a house?

I know there are many but this are the fundamental reasons why I think one should own a house;

1. Pride – The first reason why any one should want to own a house is the pride that comes with it. For most it is a reflection of one’s success in life and a statement of manhood. Even the bible acknowledges the need in Jeremiah 29,5 saying “Build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them”. So if pride is important to you then you must own a house provided you can afford it

2. Comfort – Some also own house because of the comfort that comes with it. Most spend loads of money designing a house that fits their desires, style and taste. And such can hardly be gotten in a rented apartment as it may mean reconstructing another man’s property. Some also own several houses in their villages, vacation spots, business spots, recreational houses etc. These are all meant to give a level of comfort that only gets limited to the insatiability of the owner. So if you are one who desires a unique form of comfort then owning a house or houses is a necessity.

3. Capital Gains/Investments – Some also own houses for Investment purposes. These are property owners like land lords and Real Estate Investors who build houses to derive some form of capital gains from them. Houses can also be used as collateral to borrow money and invest in other businesses which could ultimately increase the benefit of the owner. For real estate investors and property speculators, owning houses is a means to eke a living.

4. Financial Independence – One can also own a house to be independent from the state, landlords or anyone else who’s accommodation may infringe on his dependence on his money. He needs not pay rent to a landlord, government, community etc. If you hate paying rent and want to hedge against increase of rent from shylock landlords, then owning your own house and living in it is necessarry.

Now there may be other reasons but you will agree these are the most important reasons why one should own a house(s). But why don’t I own a house yet. To answer that I will have to ask myself one important question. How can one own a house?

I believe there are four ways and these are;

1. Inheritance – One can own a house if the house is passed on legally from a relative, friend, acquaintance. This is usually written in a will or sometimes can be determined by culture and tradition that is passed on from generations before.

2. Income/Savings – Another way that one can own a house is through personal savings or income. Income derived from salaries or investment can be used to purchase a house outrightly. However that depends on how much the income is and if it is enough to buy the house of your choice

3. Mortgage – This is probably the mostly popular and widely used method of owning a house. By borrowing from a bank or mortgage institution people can buy houses and pay back over time. In Nigeria, this can range between 4 – 10 years, in developed economies its probably between 15 to 30 years.

4. Gift/donations/raffle – One can also own a houses through gifts, donations, lottery or raffle. They are all in the same category as they individually do not require you to pay for the full value of the house or put some money down as in a mortgage or inherit from a relative. It simply involves someone giving you a house for next to nothing.

With the above it is easy to explain why I do not on a house. If I am yet to inherit one or can afford to by one from my present income or get an affordable mortgage or gifted one then I may just have to rent one lest I remain homeless. And since the only reason I probably want to own a house now is more of pride, it however does not surpass the more important desire which is comfort. Meaning, I rather pay rent a comfortable house than own and live in a house in Mowe which my salary may probably afford to build in about 4 years. I know people who own houses but still live in rented apartments.

The ODD Scenario

But then there are some who earn as much as I do, some who earn much lower and some without a defined source of income who own house(s). How is that possible when they did not inherit it and neither was it a gift. They obviously did not pay for it from their income as the math wouldn’t just add up. This only leaves me with perhaps one answer….CORRUPTION. The quickest source of making money in the Nigeria and indeed the world. So presently, if I am to own a comfortable home using my present income I may as well have to steal public or private funds to afford it. And if I refuse to steal or defraud, the only available option will be to rent which is what I am doing now.

That’s the tragedy of Nigeria, where people have severed the link between success and it’s source. The source of success never comes to mind so far as you have not been caught. If I did not have a job or a steady source of income then people can easily infer that the source may have been fraudulent. Thats different for one with a steady source of income. No one ever thinks the money was obtained from stolen wealth. It is seen as share hardork and a sign of progress. “He/she is doing well” as they often say. Finally, to my dear Uncle, I may not be “doing well” enough to own a house in your opinion. But in my opinion if the source of funding a house does not meet the four conditions above or the reasons do not meet the four above as well, then I amy well continue in my rented apartment so as long as my income can pay it.

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Why National Assembly Must Consent to the Petroleum Industry Bill?

Satellite view of a typical Niger delta oil community

The idea behind the enactment of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB Bill) originated about fourteen years ago under former President Olusegun  Obasanjo when he set up an  Oil and Gas Reform Implementation Committee (OGIC)  to assess modality for the reformation of the oil industry. The committee was saddled with the responsibility to carry out a comprehensive reform of the oil Industry with a view to bring Nigerian system under the international best practices and to replace the opaqueness haunting our oil industry with transparency. The Act is to establish legal and regulatory framework, institutions and regulatory authorities for the Nigerian petroleum industry and to establish guidelines for the operation of the upstream and downstream sectors.
The Act which was generally applauded by Nigerians was somehow prevented from not seeing the light of the day hence it was fraught with myriad of problems militating against it. This includes multiplicity of oil reform Bills at the National Assembly and lack of political will by the Federal Government to push through the PIB Bill. In addition, are the activities of multinational companies who wanted the status quo to be maintained in respect of Pre-PIB Joint Venture Agreements with the NNPC/Federal Government.. They are afraid that tampering with the Joint Venture Agreements will cede too much control to the Federal Government. .The multinational oil companies are not comfortable with the fiscal regime and increased Royalty Payments in the PIB. Some provisions of the “PIB” were poorly drafted and not well articulated and some salient important issues not addressed at all and/or included in past draft versions of “the PIB” .For instance:
• Fiscal regime for gas not touched and/or addressed at all;
• Fiscal regime for offshore drilling is poorly drafted and omitted ultra deep offshore drilling;
• Blueprint for NNPC privatisation is completely superficial –need to include strong provisions for commercialising and privatising NNPC in line with international best practices;
• The role of Minister of Petroleum Resources in the post PIB regime is not properly defined – for instance:
• Who oversees the reform implementation process?
• Should the minister’s discretionary power to award and revoke licenses be retained?
• Should the minister’s role be restricted to policy making and setting directives for the industry only?
Despite the aforementioned obstacles on the way of the Bill, Nigerians breathed a sigh of relief when President Goodluck Jonathan in his national broadcast in commemoration of Nigeria’s democracy day on 29th May 2012 promised that a new PIB would be ready in June 2012 for onward transmission to the National Assembly.
Subsequently. Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke inaugurated a task force chaired by former senator and chairman of the Board of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Udo Udoma  Udo, was also expected to work alongside a technical sub-committee headed by the Director-General of Department for Petroleum Resources (DPR), Mr. Osten Olurunsola, which was charged with reviewing all former versions of the bill and come out with a draft within the next 30 days. They were saddled with the responsibility of drafting a new PIB Bill.
Thus, the new PIB Bill presented by Minister of Petroleum Resources Mrs Allison-Madueke to the President recently is meant to change everything from fiscal terms to overhauling the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), promote Nigerian content and significantly increase domestic gas supplies, especially for power generation and industrial development. The ultimate aim of the PIB was to refine the Petroleum laws, after more than 50 years of oil and gas operations in Nigeria. This was taking good care off by consolidating the 16 existing laws into a single set of provisions, leading to an overhaul of the legal, fiscal, commercial and governance frameworks.
The core principles of the new PIB, are to imbibe global best practices of openness, transparency, good governance, indigenous participation and sustained revenues for Government. Under the new PIB Bill two new institutions would be formed to replace the NNPC once the draft PIB was passed. These are the National Oil Company (NOC) and National Assets Management Company (NAMC).
These institutions and the petroleum industry would be under the supervision of the petroleum minister. The NAMC is expected to be 100 percent government owned, while the government is to adequately capitalise and progressively sell government’s stake in the NOC, down to 49 percent.
A critical study of the Bill revealed that it   reaches into all the facets of the petroleum industry and it liberates the sector from all the government constraints and impediments which hitherto rock the industry, rendering it unattractive to both local and international investors. It gives incentives to both small and big players in the industry through transparent and fair rules of participation. The concept of good corporate governance is also evident in the provisions of the Bill, which also features strong fiscal framework beneficial to the country. In a nutshell, it moves Nigeria clearly towards the international best practices in the extractive sector.
Furthermore, the Bill has far reaching provisions on the issues of Nigerian content. For example, it provides that no project can be approved without a comprehensive “Nigerian Content Plan” which must include obligations on the part of the investor to purchase local goods and services, increase employment, as well as to focus on training, education research and development. It also requires the foreign investors to follow guidelines in order to assist local companies. Adherence to the provisions of the Bill will surely boost the purchase of local goods and services leading to higher employment opportunities for Nigerians.
Series of landmark provisions are also addressed in the Bill to correct the anomalies of the current petroleum regime. For example, it is a notorious fact that the Deep Sea Water Blocks contract that Nigeria entered into in 1993 with foreign investors is one of the worst contracts any oil-exporting nation can enter into as it seems to foster unilateral advantages only on the foreign partners with Nigeria having very little or no gains under the production sharing formula in the agreement.
The royalties accruable to the country are Zero per cent! The foreign partners take I00 per cent of the products. Even the taxes system under the said “bad deal” contract does not provide much benefit for the country as the tax regime included generous tax credits to these foreign investors which wiped out a great percentage of the collectible tax by the Federal Government. Now under the Bill, there are a number of provisions on ventures like Deep Water operations that are much more beneficial to the countries and comparable to what other oil exporting nations do collect under such contracts.
In totality, the Bill would both eradicate the practice of discretionary award of licenses and contracts in the upstream sub-sector of the industry, as well as ensuring that only genuine investors with appropriate technical and financial capacity get the oil licenses.
In spite of all the advantages described above, it is very surprising and worrisome that the National Assembly, since 2008, has not given it the urgent attention it deserves by passing it into a law. As a matter of fact, there is a school of thought that believes that some cabalistic vested interests are the brains behind the non-passage of the bill through underground machinations. There is a belief that a regime of openness and transparency the Bill would usher in would erase some accruable gains under the present shady regime.
No doubt, the government must be losing billion of Naira daily as a result of non passage of the Bill by the National Assembly .Only a few days ago, Regional Executive Vice President, Sub-Sahara Africa, Shell Upstream, Mr. Ian Craig, who spoke at the opening of the 2012 edition of the Nigerian Oil and Gas, in Abuja, said Nigeria loses approximately 150,000 barrel per day to theft – an amount translating to a whopping N2.9 billion daily!
The pertinent question here is that “Is the prolonged delay in the passage of this all-important Petroleum Industry Bill attributable to underground manipulation of the vested interests or is it just a case of unpatriotic nonchalance on the part of the lawmakers?
Whatever maybe the situation, Nigerians are appealing to the law makers saddled with the responsibility of passing the Bill into law to as a matter of urgency save Nigerians the billions of Naira lost daily for the delay of the Bill by assenting to it  once it is passed to the Chamber by President Goodluck Jonathan.
Oghenekevwe Laba a Lagos based journalist

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Fast Tracking Development In The Niger Delta By Oghenekevwe Laba

Shell in the Niger Delat

Before now, poverty, illiteracy and high rate of criminal activities ranging from militancy, piracy, armed robbery, oil pipeline vandalism and incessant attack on oil pipeline and platforms were the order of the day in the Niger Delta Region.
Today, the situation looks different. Environment experts say the damage done to the Niger Delta Region fragile natural environment and to the health of the people was due largely to uncontrolled exploration and exploitation of crude oil and natural gas, which led to numerous spills, gas flaring, the opening up of the forests to loggers, indiscriminate canalizations, flooding, coastal erosion and earth tremor.
Criminal activities in the region resulting from the degradation of the region led to speedy decline of the nation’s economy as the oil production which is our main source of revenue generation dropped to all time low rate of 700 barrels per day.
Reasons for the criminal activities in the region were not farfetched.  The indigenes of the region felt that as the ‘chicken that lay the golden eggs’, they ought to feel the impact of the resources drained from their area. Successive governments from military rule to democratic government
neglected the region.
But the people breathe a sigh of relief when Alhaji Musa Yar’Adua became the President of Nigeria in 2007.   The President saw reasons with the people of the region and decided to implement programmes that will ameliorate their sufferings. Thus, he introduced the amnesty programme and urged the warring youths of the region to embrace the programme by denouncing hostility and handling over their illegally acquired fire arms to the government. Unfortunately Yar’Adua did not live long to see the programme the fruit of the programmes he started.
However, President Goodluck Jonathan, who took over from Yar’Adua as the President of Nigeria did not let his late boss down as he implemented the programme to the latter. Thus, three years after the amnesty programme for Niger Delta militants, the man at the helm of its affairs, Kingsley Kuku, is handling the glory to President Goodluck Jonathan, whom he said had pursued the programme with a single-minded tenacity. Kuku, Special Adviser to the President, said the President’s attitude for the success of the programme was all part of his greater picture of leaving behind a united country with a robust economy, where the citizens and foreigners would be
free to live and pursue their trades under a safe environment. According to him, the success of the programme had seen the growth of oil production in the Niger Delta Region from a mere 700 barrels per day at the peak of the crisis in the Niger Delta area to the current 2.6million barrels per day, and a leap in its earnings. The militants, who had been targeting oil installations apart from engaging in other forms of activities that made the area unsafe to live and do business have all been evacuated from the creeks and have been rehabilitated at various institutions in Nigeria and abroad, where they are learning both formal and informal skills.
A total of 5,204 ex-militants are currently undergoing various forms of skills acquisition training or formal education in Nigeria and other parts of the world. The career choices selected by the delegates range from marine, heavy duty operations, welding,  agriculture, boat building, oil
and gas technics, entrepreneurship, automobile technology and aviation among others. The Amnesty programme’s trainees are spread across 28 foreign training institutions in 15 countries across the globe and 36 local training institutions in 10 states of the federation. No fewer than 5,067 of the beneficiaries had already graduated in skills acquisition fields such as welding and fabrication (1,847), entrepreneurship (1,609), pipe fitting (150), carpentry & plumbing (206), oil drilling (32), electrical installation (232), ICT (125), marine related courses (564) and others (302). Already, 95 delegates have been offered direct employment in various governmental and private establishments. Beside, the Amnesty Office is putting finishing touches to mentoring programmes that would see many of the graduates becoming self-employed and employing other Nigerian youths.
In addition, 6,280 delegates had already been processed for deployment to local and foreign training institutions to undergo courses ranging from aviation technicians, oil and gas technicians, marine technicians, entrepreneurial development programmes as well as formal education.
The rehabilitation of the militants has resulted in the creating of peace and security in the region which has lead to the production  of  between 2.4 and 2.6 million barrels of crude oil per day as against the abysmally low between 700,000 and 800,000 barrels per day at the peak of the Niger Delta crisis in January 2009, the nation and its Joint Venture Partners are currently making production savings of up to 1.9 million barrels per day.
When computed with prevailing exchange rate of about N160 to $1, daily production savings for Nigeria and the JV partners currently stand at a minimum of N33.4 billion per day.  Given that oil production in Nigeria hovered between 2.4 and 2.6 barrels for all of 2011, it would be safe to
emphatically assert that savings for Nigeria and the JV partners for year ending 2011 is estimated to be a whopping N6 trillion.
As for infrastructural development, Jonathan through the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC)   and other intervention agencies has provided good roads which link the adjoining communities of the area.
This has lead to improvement of trade and social activities among members of the various communities. Dilapidated school buildings are renovated to standard while new ones were constructed to meet modern standard. Bridges are constructed to link riverine areas.
Beside, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC)  is fast tracking the completion of 57 ongoing projects valued at N1.3 trillion spread across the oil-rich Niger Delta region. The Managing Director of the commission, Dr Christian Oboh, stated recently in Port Harcourt that the new board had resolved to award fewer contracts and speed up the completion of the 57
ongoing projects inherited from the previous board.
Although critics may argue that enough has not been done in the region, but critical observation showed that ever since Jonathan mounted the saddle of power, there has been serious development in the region, particularly in human, infrastructure, economy and social aspect. This development has led to increase in the financial balance sheet of the country.
Laba, a journalist, wrote from Lagos.

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How I Fought for Change….You Can Too by Abubakar Usman

Let me start by sharing a story of my personal experience with you. Many of us who must have passed through higher institutions of learning may have been involved in one association or organization during the course of our studies. Such associations like the Student Union Government (SUG), state or departmental associations are most often the creation of students to meet certain objectives.

When I got admitted into the university and resume at the department I was given to study at, I met an association formed by students of the department, which has the two primary objectives of protecting the interest as well as promoting the welfare of every student in the university. By interest and welfare, it meant that the stay of every student in the department would be worthwhile, but the realization that hit me in the face is a sharp contrast to the purpose for which the association was established.

Each year, the set of executives elected to oversee the affairs of the association with the semester and session dues paid by each student, share these funds amongst themselves. To make matters worse, the Head of the Department, whom by extension serves as the patron of the association gets a large chunk of the looted funds.

This development didn’t seemed to go down with me, so in my third year and with the encouragement from a few concerned students, I decided to make myself available for election as the president of the association. My decision was necessitated by the need to set an example of a reasonable, responsible and accountable leadership on one hand and to correct the ills of the past on the other hand, but this was to be the beginning of my ordeal. It simply didn’t go down well with the very people who were involved in embezzling the funds of the association.

Did I tell you I had in my first and second year visibly opposed all the actors misappropriating our funds? I was a thorn in the flesh of successive executive members who continuously milked us dry. During this time, I saw to the dissolution of a particular set of executives whom, upon the expiration of their tenure, but with in agreement with the HOD, refused to relinquish power to the incoming executives simply because they want to collect another set of dues from the students. These and some of the other opposing stand I took against them had set me on a collision course with not just some group of ‘cabals in the department, but also the HOD.

When the time for election came, they used all available tactics and means to ensure that I did not contest or win the election. They had at a point accused me of doing the bidding of a particular religion which I do not even belong to. They arranged some influential lecturers to prevail on me into stepping down and then played the ethnic card by asking the students who are in the majority of a particular tribe, not to allow an outsider defeat a son of the soil, but all their antics failed because I didn’t give in to any of them and the students whome they had hope will dance to their tune remained unperturbed.

I eventually won the election, but could not assume office until after several weeks into the period of my tenure. Why? Rumors had spread round the campus that the election HOD had cancelled the election and ordered for a fresh one on the allegation that I rigged. What I was to be informed later was that the HOD held a secret meeting with my opponent and his supporters where they were promised that anything possible will be done to see that I do not emerge the president. As soon as I got wind of this, I wrote a petition to some senior staffs in the faculty who in turn ordered for the setting up of an election panel to verify the claims of vote rigging. At the end of the exercise, the electoral panel found no evidence of vote rigging and returned me the winner.

Soon after I assumed office and reeling from the failure of preventing me from emerging as earlier planned, the HOD invoked the policy where students are under no compulsion to pay any due or belong to any association, just for me to be starved of fund for performing my duties. As a result of this, I couldn’t do much of all I had anticipated I will do as the president, except for the ones that I used my meager pocket money to organize or the contributions from a few individuals. So invariably, I failed in doing much in office, but one thing I did not fail in doing was to ensure that the two previous executives before me as well as the HOD were made to refund the sum they had embezzled. The HOD alone refunded the sum of one hundred and forty eight thousand (148,000).

I took the matter to the school authority attaching the report of the committee set up to verify their expenditure, because my ultimate aim was to ensure that the HOD is removed from his position, but the Dean of student had to plead that the matter should be resolved at his level so that the HOD does not lose his job.

The idea behind my story is to let us know that change will come only if we rise up to the challenge. it is not just enough to crave for an ideal society if we are not ready to make it happen. We must not be held back by the fear of the consequences of fighting for change. Nobody will ever tell you that change comes so easy. You will be pushed through trials and tribulations. The people who you want to wrestle the system from will fight back and try to bring you down, but your determination and courage is what will keep you going.

When I initiated the process of sanitizing the system in my department, I was threatened and tried. Some people even send emissaries to tell me how I won’t graduate if I insist on going ahead with the report I made to the school authority concerning my HOD, but the fact that I know I was pursuing the truth was what kept me going.

I graduated from the school without suffering any harm as many had expected. As a matter of fact, I ended up scoring B in the course my HOD took despite missing one of his tests, while running around to ensure I get some things done for the students.

My action may not have succeeded in completely sanitizing the system, but it ensured that no incidence of embezzlement occurred during the period that I remained in the institution and I strongly believe that if some other persons had continued from where I stopped, the system will be completely salvaged.

This is the same approach we all need to employ to solving the problem of our country. our leaders continue to milk us dry without the populace doing much to keep them at check. Since the beginning of the year, it has been on case of corruption or the other and all this money in their trillions are funds that could have made the life of ordinary Nigerian worthwhile. This is therefore a call for all to act in bringing about the much needed change we desire. If we come together, shun the syndromes that pull down a nation, we can achieve the Nigeria of our dreams.

Were you inspired by this story?

Please share your thoughts


Abubakar Sidiq Usman

I am @abusidiqu on twitter

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President Jonathan and Boko Haram: Who is “Crushing” Who?

March 28th 2012 is one of those memorable days many Nigerians will not forget in a hurry. This was the day when reports filtered out that President Goodluck Jonathan had in an interview in far away South Korea, the previous day, confidently assured the international community that Jama’atu Ahlis Sunnah Lidda’awati Wal-Jihad commonly referred to as Boko Haram would be contained by June 2012. Of course Boko Haram, not one to let such an opportunity to display its peculiar propensity for viciousness and violence against its perceived “enemies” to pass by, shortly after, did what it does best — carried out deadly attacks at select targets such as Universities and Media Houses along with its usual offensive against churches, police stations, security posts and installations. These attacks so far have persisted and become more fierce and bloody, and the rest as they say is history…

I can vividly remember that afternoon in late March, what I was wearing, and what I was doing when I learnt about President Jonathan’s enthusiastic and optimistic assurance. I cannot recall though, the precise flurry of emotions that coursed through my very being in reaction – amusement, incredulity, perplexity, exasperation or a mish-mash of all these. I wondered why the President couldn’t have been more tactful in his choice of words knowing well that Boko Haram generally relishes the slightest opportunity to flex its ferocious muscles and it would interpret his statement as some sort of dare. I also dreaded what Boko Haram would do to disprove the President’s statement.

And indeed, Jama’atu Ahlis Sunnah Lidda’awati Wal-Jihad retorted, first, with a very menacing video clip, vowing to “bring down” and “consume” President Jonathan’s administration and then unleashed a string of attacks against several targets with such astonishing levels of aggression and ferocity, dashing the faintest hopes of anyone who thought the group would be contained within this period. The most recent violent campaign within this month, being the mayhem in Kaduna state – attacks on churches in Wusasa, Sabon Gari and Tirkanniya, the reprisals and the counter reprisals – and the bomb blasts, gun battle and prison break in Damaturu, Yobe state have left hundreds dead in a bloody trail of death and terror. Residents of these cities have been subjected to 24 hour government imposed curfews for the better part of last week, paralyzed in fear and uncertainty. Though the curfews have been somewhat relaxed, the sudden clampdown on movement has had traumatizing effects on residents, has done little to calm frayed nerves in a very tense atmosphere and crippled economic activity in the interim.

As June fast approaches to an end, leaving in its wake, an atmosphere of uncertainty and gloom, it is pertinent to reflect on the President’s statement and consider whether Boko Haram is really being contained, controlled or crushed as the international community was assured way back in March or whether it is Boko Haram which is containing and crushing Nigerians. If the reality on ground is skewed towards the latter scenario, one has to wonder then, why Mr. President made that statement. Was it because he felt that such an assurance was necessary to restore the confidence of (potential) investors in Nigeria’s political and economic viability to absorb their crisp emerging market DollarsYuan and Won?

Of course as Commander-in-Chief, President Jonathan is privy to classified reports from intelligence agencies and his security advisers. Based on such intelligence reports, he probably felt confident that the noose was tightening fast around Boko Haram and thought it timely to enthusiastically inform the world of such impending victory, at Seoul. Quite possibly, the President felt sufficient information to close in on Boko Haram had been garnered from the scores of suspects apprehended in the past few months, such that security forces were just on the verge of moving in for the kill. Or perhaps President Jonathan’s premature enthusiasm was just one of those one-off statements leaders make, on the prodding of their advisers, as a gamble, with their fingers crossed under the table and toes crossed in their presidential shoes, hoping against all odds that such a statement turns out to be true.

Whatever the reason behind this rather impulsive and premature assurance, it is now evident that the exact opposite came to pass. One could speculate thus, that it is owing to this realization by the President, that he fired his erstwhile National Security Adviser (NSA) General Andrew Owoye Azazi and the erstwhile Defence Minister Alhaji Haliru Mohammed Bello. This much can be inferred from the reason given by President Jonathan for sacking them in order to “conform to the changing tactics of the Boko Haram insurgency”

Considering how dark and bloody June 2012 has turned out to be contrary to earlier assurances, one truly hopes that the President would be more tactful and selective in his choice of words on such combustible issues, in the near future. This would perhaps depend on the outlook and the new security strategy that would be adopted by the newly appointed NSA and yet to be appointed defence minister. Hopefully again, this bitter and dark lesson learnt would spawn a culture of having regular press conferences which would avail Nigerians of real and actual progress made by security agencies in tackling insecurity in Nigeria at all tiers of government, especially the Federal Government. This should particularly apply to progress made in the arraignment, trial and conviction of key suspects who have so far been apprehended. This is just so that ordinary Nigerians’ fears are allayed and people are more informed about what is quite frankly, a life or death situation for many.

By Zainab Usman



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It wasn’t that he won, it was that Tessy grew tired of arguing. Kunle’s voice had graduated from loud to yelling and the neighbours were now sure to be listening. She hated entertaining the neighbours, especially the ones who lived in the apartment next door. They looked at her in a funny way whenever their paths crossed in the stairway, as if they knew the details of her private life. Read more

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Nigeria Go Survive By Stella Damasus

There is so much to talk about that I don’t even know where to begin. Let me skip some experiences and talk about the conversation I had with my aunty in my hotel room in the United Kingdom.

She asked me how Naija was and I said ‘well we thank God’. Of course, I knew she hated answers like that so I quickly apologised.

In as much as I try to be as positive as I can about every situation, it was slightly difficult to talk about Nigeria in that manner. Read more

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President Goodluck Jonathan must really be imagining which policy or programme to introduce that will go down well with Nigerians. When in January, he hiked the price of fuel from 65 Naira to 142 Naira, Nigerians poured into the streets to protest the hike. When he introduced cassava bread as a measure to encourage the usage of cassava, Nigerians said they can’t be forced to eat cassava bread. Read more

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This is a continuation of the first part of this write up. You can read it before proceeding with the second part. QUR’AN BABY AND DOUBTING THOMASES (Part 1)

Now to continue our stories on various signs revealed by Allah to affirm the authenticity of Islam as His one and only religion: five pieces of beef which bore the names of Allah and Muhammad (SAW) were found by Yahaya Muhammad Sa’adan. Read more

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