Turkey: Erdogan’s Macabre Dance In Africa, By Joshua Ocheja

This is indeed a fascinating topic and a product of great research work. I decided to undertake in this research work to put in public space a motive expressed by the Turkish President, Recep Erdogan to extend his clampdown on Hizmet movement affiliated institutions as he has done in Turkey in the aftermath of the failed July 15th Coup. And with sheer disregard for the sovereignty of other countries, especially in Africa.

For a start, it is pertinent to shed light on the Hizmet movement and its activities. The Hizmet movement is a civic initiative rooted in the teachings of internationally respected Islamic scholar and writer Fethullah Gülen. It is a faith-inspired, non-political, cultural and educational movement whose basic principles stem from Islam’s universal values, such as love of the creation, sympathy for the fellow human, compassion, and altruism. Fethullah Gülen describes it as “a movement of people united around high human values”.

Three thrust anchors their activities globally, and these are love, tolerance, and peaceful co-existence. And what do they do essentially? Its members build schools and hospitals and they also engage in inter-faith works and charity. That is the Hizmet movement for you and nothing more.

Since 2013, there has been a demonization of the movement by President Recep Erdogan. For him, the Hizmet movement must be decimated, the schools and hospitals belonging to members of the movement be either confiscated or close down. This much he has done in Turkey in the aftermath of the coup attempt which he flatly accused Fethullah Gulen as the mastermind. But without any tangible evidence.

He made a request to the government of United States of America for Fethullah Gulen to be extradited, but his request was turned down for lacking in evidence. Fethullah Gulen has been living a reclusive life in a remote settlement in the United States of American since 1999. Those in the know of his activities says the 75-year-old cleric has been managing his failing health and out of circulation on the advice of his doctors.  Fr. Thomas Michel, a former Secretary for Interreligious Dialogue for the Society of Jesus stated in one of his articles on the failed coup that “For those who know Gülen personally or have had contact with the open-hearted and idealistic members of the movement, claims of subversive “terrorism” seem incongruous.”

But the Erdogan regime in Turkey would hear none of that. It has lost count of the number of schools, universities, media houses and hospitals belonging to Hizmet movement participants that have been closed down. So much so that international civil society organizations like Amnesty International and others have cautioned the Turkish authorities, and also, questioned the motives behind the unjustifiable clampdown on private investments.

President Erdogan hasn’t relented in his desire to decimate the Hizmet movement and its affiliated institutions. And one of his point of call is to African countries because he thinks African leaders can be influenced easily or hoodwinked to replicate his line of action towards the Hizmet movement affiliated institutions in their countries.   As a prelude to his request, Erdogan visited African countries including Nigeria in the months preceding the coup attempt and the motive was clear. He wanted the countries where Hizmet movement participants have investments to be closed. But the response he received wasn’t pleasant from most of the countries.

Alas, the failed coup provided that opportunity for him to further advance his agenda. And he reached out to almost all the African countries again, thinking this time around he has a more justifiable reason for the failed coup attempt.  For the case of Nigeria, it sparked outrage from the intellectual community, religious community and civil society organizations. He wanted schools and hospital to be closed. But the Nigerian government was emphatic in its response “this is an internal matter, and we have our rules and regulations. Besides, there ought to be evidence to back your claims.” And the rest is history.

Obviously disappointed, President Erdogan went for low-hanging fruits in Sudan, Somalia, and Guinea Conakry. I say low-hanging fruits because the countries mentioned above to an extent depend on financial aids from Turkey. In the case of Somalia, where it has spearheaded international reconstruction efforts after decades of war and instability, that closing the institutions was not a difficult decision.

In Kenya, Turkish authorities have pressurized the country to close down academic institutions even before the coup, but this request was turned down. In the case of Germany, the response the Turkish government was what it ought to get and an example to other countries where such demands have been made. Mr. Winfried Kretschmann, premier of Baden-Wuerttemberg, said

“I think it is not on at all for a foreign state to interfere in our internal affairs. We are responsible for these institutions and no one else. We will judge these schools with our discretion, and we are aware of nothing negative about these establishments.”

The Indonesian experience is also worthy of mention. Cabinet secretary Pramono Anung said. “Indonesia is a democratic country and will always prioritize democratic and active politics. Indonesia’s internal affairs remain Indonesia’s responsibility that includes anyone who has officially received the recognition of the Indonesian government. They will be governed by Indonesian law.” Same was the case in Tanzania Uganda and other countries.

The government of Turkey has gone ahead to establish a foundation called Maarif Foundation. The Maarif Foundation is a subsidiary of the Turkish government that was created by President Erdogan to take over the schools and institutions owned by members of the Hizmet movement in an attempt to extend his clampdown and purges outside the shores of Turkey.

The Maarif Foundation is currently reaching out to almost all African countries for these institutions to be transferred to them. And if such request isn’t forthcoming, he resorts to propaganda in the form of issuing a press statement on what hasn’t been agreed or discussed, ostensibly to influence the countries or create a false impression.

Recently, the President of the republic of Benin, Mr. Patrice Talon visited Turkey on a one-day state visit. After the visit, President Erdogan held a press conference saying that the President of Benin Republic has agreed to nationalize the schools and institutions belonging to Hizmet movement participants in Benin Republic and handover them to Maarif foundation to manage. Whereas this wasn’t the case, as the relevant authorities haven’t issued any statement to that effect.

It was the same gimmick he attempted to use in Chad when a delegation from Maarif foundation paid a courtesy visit to the country. The meeting ended on a pleasant note with no such item as transferring ownership of schools to Maarif foundation. But the Erdogan propaganda machinery went to press to speak on behalf of the Chadian authorities and possibly to influence their line of thought.

Two things are imperative here. What is the sense in advocating for the transfer of investments of private individuals to a government backed NGO? Is President Erdogan indirectly telling African leaders that his empire in Turkey extends to African countries hence the outrageous demand? From the preceding, it is clear that President Erdogan has little or no respect for African nations hence this anomaly. I also beg to state here that the politics of Turkey should be left in Turkey.

It is bad enough that he has closed down over 2099 schools, dormitories, and universities in Turkey belonging to Hizmet movement participants as the aftermath of the coup attempt even in the absence of any credible evidence linking Fethullah Gulen to be the mastermind of the coup. Does he need to insult the intelligence of others? It is quite unfortunate.

Ocheja is an expert on conflict and security studies and an alumnus of the Nigerian Defence Academy.

Legal Implications Of The Senate’s Rejection Of Magu’s Nomination By Inibehe Effiong

On Thursday December 15, 2016 the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria held an executive session during which it rejected the nomination of Mr. Ibrahim Magu as the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) by President Muhammadu Buhari based on an adverse ‘’security report’’ authored by the State Security Service (SSS).

Unsurprisingly, the decision of the Senate has triggered controversy on whether Mr. Magu can validly continue in his capacity as the Acting Chairman of the EFCC in the light of the disapproving decision of the Senate. This intervention seeks to offer clarification on the issue based on the enabling and relevant legal authorities.

On the mode of appointing the Chairman of the Commission, the relevant statutory provision is Section 2(3) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act Cap. E17 LFN , 2004. It provides thus:

‘’The Chairman and members of the Commission other than ex-officio members shall be appointed by the President and the appointment shall be subject to the confirmation of the Senate.’’

The above provision subjects the appointment of the Chairman of the Commission by the President to the concurrence and confirmation of the Senate. We submit that the EFCC (Establishment) Act does not expressly provide for the position of an Acting Chairman of the Commission, it only provides for a substantive Chairman.

Flowing from the above, two issues necessarily arise for determination:

Where does the President derive the power to appoint an Acting Chairman of the Commission?; and
Can Magu continue to act as the Acting Chairman of the Commission despite the rejection of his nomination, having regards to Section 2(3) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act quoted above?

In resolving the twin issues formulated supra (above), the provisions of Section 11 of the Interpretation Act Cap. 123, Vol. 8, LFN, 2004 are apposite. For clarity and ease of reference, the said provisions are wholly reproduced infra (below):

11. Appointment

(1) Where an enactment confers a power to appoint a person either to an office or to exercise any functions, whether for a specified period or not, the power includes?

(a) power to appoint a person by name or to appoint the holder from time to time of a particular office;

(b) power to remove or suspend him;

(c) power, exercisable in the manner and subject to the limitations and conditions (if any) applicable to the power to appoint?

(i) to reappoint or reinstate him;

(ii) to appoint a person to act in his place, either generally or in regard to specified functions, during such time as is considered expedient by the authority in whom the power of appointment in question is vested.

(2) A reference in an enactment to the holder of an office shall be construed as including a reference to a person for the time being appointed to act in his place, either as respects the functions of the office generally or the functions in regard to which he is appointed, as the case may be.

Before proceeding to examine the ramifications and effect of the elaborate provisions above, it should be borne in mind that the Interpretation Act is a special piece of legislation that gives direction on the meaning of words, expressions and interpretation of the provisions of all other laws enacted by the legislature. Where there is an interpretative lacuna or controversy in a statute regarding the meaning and application of certain words, expressions and or provisions, the Interpretation Act is usually resorted to by the courts for succor.

It is our firm contention that the President has the requisite vires (powers) to appoint an Acting Chairman of the EFCC. We reference Section 11(1)(c)(ii) of the Interpretation Act in support. The said provision has clothed the President with the authority to appoint another person to act in the place of a substantive Chairman of the EFCC. Unlike the appointment of a substantive Chairman which requires the confirmation of the Senate, the President does not need the confirmation of the Senate to appoint an Acting Chairman of the Commission.

On the second issue, we submit that the decision of the Senate to reject the nomination of Magu for the position of substantive Chairman of the EFCC has no upsetting consequence in law on his earlier appointment as the Acting Chairman of the EFCC by President Buhari on November 9, 2015.

The Interpretation Act does not specify the term of office or period for which the acting chairmanship is to subsist. Section 11(1)(c)(ii) of the Interpretation Act seems to give the appointing authority the discretion to determine how long the acting or temporary appointee is to serve. This reasoning appears inevitable given the use of the expression ‘’during such time as is considered expedient by the authority in whom the power of appointment in question is vested’’ in the cited provision.

It is an elementary principle of statutory interpretation that where the words and expressions used in a statute are clear and unambiguous, they must be given their natural and ordinary meanings unless to do so would lead to absurdity or inconsistency with the rest of the statute. See the recent decision of the Supreme Court in Okoye v. C.O.P. (2015) 17 NWLR (Pt. 1488) 276 at 320. The expression ‘’during such time as is considered expedient by the authority in whom the power of appointment in question is vested’’ is clear and unambiguous.

In the instant case, the President is the appointing authority under Section 2(3) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act. He is the person vested with power under Section 11 of the Interpretation Act to appoint an Acting Chairman in lieu (in the absence of) of a substantive chairman. Accordingly, Mr. Magu will continue to act as the chairman of the EFCC if his retention is considered expedient by President Buhari. It does not lie in the mouth of the Senate to say what is expedient in the circumstance. The parameters for determining the expediency of Magu’s continued acting leadership of the EFCC belongs to President Buhari.

However, we submit that there are two identifiable limitations or exceptions to the power of the appointing authority under Section 11 of the Interpretation Act to determine the duration or tenure of a person appointed in an acting capacity based on what is considered expedient by the appointing authority. These exceptions will be shown using the present case of Ibrahim Magu.

First, we submit that Magu cannot legally serve in an acting capacity BEYOND the term permissible for a substantive chairman of the Commission. Section 3(1) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act states that ‘’the Chairman and members of the Commission other than ex-officio members shall hold office for a period of four years and may be re-appointed for a further term of four years and no more.’’ It would be absurd for anyone to suggest that a person who is appointed in an acting capacity can serve in that capacity beyond the statutorily allowable tenure for the substantive appointee. The President’s power to appoint an Acting Chairman of the EFCC under Section 11 of the Interpretation Act is derivable from and only incidental to his power to appoint a substantive Chairman under Section 2(3) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act. Therefore, Magu cannot continue in his acting capacity beyond the four years term (in the first instance) allowed for a substantive Chairman.

Second, it is our humble view that Magu’s tenure as the Acting Chairman of the Commission MUST BE LESS THAN the four years period stipulated for a substantive Chairman. The gravamen of this contention is that the words ‘act’ and ‘acting’ when used in relation to a position, by their ordinary grammatical and juristic meaning presupposes a state or status of temporariness as opposed to permanency. Few dictionary definitions will suffice. The Interpretation Act does not define ‘act’ or ‘acting’. The Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary, 6th edition, page 11 defines ‘acting’ as ‘’Doing the work of another person for a short time…’’. Law Guide, (www.thelaw.com) an online legal source, defines ‘acting’ as ‘’Temporary performance. Frequently referring to a temporary position performing and carrying out the duties of an office without actually holding the position.’’ Lastly, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, online version, variously defines ‘acting’ as ‘’performing a job for a short time’’ and ‘’holding a temporary rank or position’’.

Does the law give recognition and effect to dictionary definition of words in the interpretation of statutes? The answer is in the affirmative. Reference is made to a recent decision of the Court of Appeal in Alechenu v. University of Jos (2015) 1 NWLR (Pt. 1440) 333 at 361, paras. C-D, where the appellate court, per BDLIYA, J.C.A., held inter alia: ‘’Where words used in a Statute are not defined therein, a resort to the dictionary meaning of such words is permissible…’’

The totality of the above exposition is that a person who is appointed into a position in an acting capacity cannot exhaust or complete the full term of that office or position. A person can either be appointed in an acting capacity to complete the remainder term of the substantive appointee whose office has become vacant either by reason of death, resignation, removal or for other cause OR to occupy the position temporarily pending when a substantive appointment is made. Anything other than this is legally indefensible.

The legal implications of the two exceptions espoused above are that Mr. Magu can continue in his position as the Acting Chairman of the EFCC at the pleasure of President Buhari. However, the President in deciding the expediency for the continued retention of Mr. Magu in an acting capacity must ensure that Magu’s acting tenure does not exceed, but is actually less than the four years period stipulated in Section 3(1) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act.

As a postscript, the President is at liberty to re-submit Magu’s name to the Senate for re-consideration and possible confirmation. The Senate’s decision whether to accept or reject the nomination is absolute, provided same is done in conformity with the constitutional requirement for quorum and the Standing Orders of the Senate.

The fight against corruption in Nigeria is being trivialized. President Buhari should bear in mind that if he fails in his anti-corruption campaign, he has failed in everything. It is indeed a tragic irony that the very infamous Senator Bukola Saraki-led Senate, with all its scandals and embarrassing pedigree, is lecturing President Buhari on corruption.

The fact that the alleged indicting security report which formed the fulcrum upon which the Senate acted in rejecting Magu’s nomination was authored by the SSS, an agency under the presidency, loudly evinces the apparent lack of coordination and effective leadership in the country. It is either President Buhari is not in charge of his government or he is trying to use corruption to fight corruption.

The troubling message from this unsettling scenario is that Nigeria is far from being salvaged. We can only hope that the evil forces in the corridors of power will not completely pollute and destroy our nation.

Thank you.

Inibehe Effiong is a Lagos based Legal Practitioner and Convener of the Coalition of Human Rights Defenders (COHRD) and can be reached at:inibehe.effiong@gmail.com

Bob Marley And The Wailing Wailers By Simon Kolawole

There are many reasons you will never find me in politics — either by election or appointment. The one that is relevant to our discussion today is “groupthink”. Have you ever wondered why people are so reasonable and principled… until they join government? And then a few weeks later they are telling you: “Things are not as simple as you people outside think. Forget all these things you are writing.” Their ideals begin to disappear. The philosophers begin to distance themselves from their philosophies. The moment they enter the State House, they have crossed over to another world. They now belong to a new group where everybody unconsciously thinks alike.

A major disservice caused by “groupthink” is to treat any dissenting voice as that of the enemy. President Muhammadu Buhari had hardly settled down when officials of his government derisively tagged those who criticised him or held a contrary opinion as “wailing wailers”.  An alarm went off in my head immediately. It was this same mentality that got President Goodluck Jonathan boxed into a corner from which he never recovered. He treated every criticism that came his way as the handiwork of his political enemies. He became paranoid. The end result was that he lost his balance, went on the defensive and got snookered.

By the way, it is very unfair to use “Wailing Wailers” as a pejorative term. For those who may not know, the Wailing Wailers was the debut album by The Wailers released in 1965. It was a compilation of recordings by Neville Livingston (Bunny Wailer), Robert Nesta Marley (Bob Marley, Livingston’s step-brother) and Peter McIntosh (Peter Tosh). They planted reggae as protest music and put the genre into international reckoning against all odds. They were the voice of the voiceless. After Macintosh and Livingston left the The Wailers in 1975, the group became known as “Bob Marley and the Wailers”. Tosh and Marley must be turning in their graves at Nigeria’s aspersion.

Let’s face the fact without beating about the bush: in the real world, Buhari will face criticisms. The motives will always be different. It is all too natural. Criticisms will come from those who want him to succeed — as well as those who are desperate to see him fail. Criticisms will come from those who think he can do better than he has done since May 2015 — as well as those think or wish they have already seen the best of him. Criticisms will come from those who have nothing against him but think his policies so far are uninspiring — as well as those who think he needs to be discredited now in preparation for the 2019 presidential election. Motives.

However, wisdom dictates that: one, don’t lump all your critics together (as “groupthink” tends to do) because you may become unnecessarily touchy and miss the point; two, listen to even the worst of your enemies because there may actually be some substance in their criticism that you can use to your advantage; and three, the beauty of democracy is the diversity of opinion, and people must never be cowed into shying away from voicing their views. When people become too scared to talk because of DSS and EFCC, the beauty of democracy remains unexplored. The classification of critics as “Wailing Wailers” is, in the end, not helpful to the progress of the president.

Criticisms are in two categories: constructive and destructive. Constructive criticism is often done with concern. It could be harsh. But it is more like: “You’re not getting it right. Try something else. Do it another way.” Implicit in constructive criticism is a desire to see things done in a different and better way, even if outright suggestions are not always offered. Ultimately, there is goodwill. Ultimately, the motive is never selfish. Agreed, nobody likes to be criticised. It is only human. But when people criticise me, no matter how uncomfortable I am and how bruised my ego feels, I try to examine my ways. And it has helped me tremendously in my life journey.

There is, of course, destructive criticism. We don’t need to google that. Destructive criticism can hide under altruism and fair comment, but the motive is difficult to disguise. Clearly, some people are out to destroy Buhari for political reasons. It is certainly legitimate — after all, APC came to power by destroying Jonathan and refusing to recognise any achievements recorded by him. It would seem then that the PDP is serving APC some tablets from their own medicine by trying to cast Buhari as a failure less than two years in office. Some are also criticising Buhari because they have lost out or are completely uncomfortable under the new dispensation. It is all normal.

Unfortunately, the contents of public criticism are virtually the same. Both the constructive and destructive are saying the same thing. So when both camps say, with different motives, that the power situation is getting worse, is it a lie? When they say there is still corruption, is that not true? Is the economy not contracting — even if Buhari inherited a mess? Is the DSS not detaining people without any legal basis? Has there been any legal justification for the continued detention of Ibraheem El Zakzaky, Nnamdi Kanu and Sambo Dasuki? Are state agencies not disobeying court orders? But does it mean anyone who says these things is automatically a “wailing wailer”?

I am so eager to see Buhari succeed as president. Aside the fact that I genuinely believe in him and trust his integrity, I am insanely desperate to see Nigeria move up the ladder of development. The world has left Nigeria behind. We are still discussing Introduction to Physics when the world is already doing laser brain surgery. My theory all along, dating back to the military era, is that Nigeria was not developing because of corruption. I’ve always believed that if a patriotic leader puts together a competent team, there would be no stopping our progress. We’ve had brilliant leaders whose brains got poisoned by the lust for filthy lucre.

Some of Nigeria’s problems are so basic yet they look insurmountable. What does it take to have constant power? Even if there was no single cable anywhere in Nigeria in 1999, we could have done it in 17 years with all the petrodollars that flooded this economy. Even if there was no road anywhere in 1999, we could have paved 50,000 kilometres by now. Even if there was no single refinery in 1999, we could have built 20 by now! There has been a lack of seriousness and sincerity for ages, and in Buhari I believe we have someone who can still offer true leadership despite a very slow start. But of what use is a competent team if they don’t have access to him?

I would love Buhari to pay closer attention to criticism — both the constructive and the destructive. Everything has its value. Criticism represents a strand of opinion, no matter how acidic. You may say my shirt is dirty because you want to ridicule me, but what if it is true? I would have to ignore your motive and change the shirt. That is the point. If Buhari makes positive use of criticism, he will only become a better leader. I know every leader has his or her strategy in dealing with critics. Some believe in fire-for-fire. It may work. It may not work. Jonathan did fire-for-fire, arrow-for-arrow, and bullet-for-bullet. Whatever it is, people must be free to voice their opinion in a democracy.

In Rebel Music, Bob Marley sang: “Why can’t we be what we want to be/We want to be free.” Those values are at the core of constitutional democracy. Once these freedoms are curtailed, it takes away the “demo” from democracy and replaces it with “auto”. And can we deny the fact that many Buhari supporters are losing their patience and singing “I don’t wanna wait in vain for your love” along with Marley? The Wailers famously sang: “Get up stand up/stand up for your rights.” If you legitimately demand for your rights and you are classified as a “wailing wailer”, that should be taken as a compliment. Buhari’s team members must consciously deal with the pathologies of “groupthink”.

AND FOUR OTHER THINGS…

MANGLING MAGU

Satirist and singer Tom Lehrer famously said political satire became obsolete when “war criminal” Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973. Now that the National Assembly is at the forefront of the fight against corruption in Nigeria, satire has gone into coma. The same National Assembly that lampooned the DSS for raiding the homes of judges, insisting that financial crimes are not under the agency’s purvey, has now used a “financial crime” report by the same DSS to halt the confirmation of Mr. Ibrahim Magu as EFCC chairman. I’ve not said Magu is a saint, but I have lost my sense of humour since Thursday when the lawmakers joined the anti-graft war. Hilarious.

‘CRACK YA RIBS’

Two of my favourite Nigerian comedians are currently in President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet. One is Comrade Solomon Dalung, minister of youth, sports and comedy. The other is “Pastor” Babachir Lawal, secretary to the government of the federation and laugh-master general of the federation. There is no time he talks that I don’t laugh away my sorrows. So an engineering firm founded by him got N200m payments from a grass-cutting contract awarded by an agency under his office and people are calling on him to resign. Can’t people see that he has disengaged from the company? The only thing he does now is sign the cheques and collect dividends. Balderdash.

MY, MY, MY (MMM)

When I was a tiny little boy, I heard about the activities of “money doublers”. If you gave the native doctors one naira, they would double it to two naira, I used to hear. I always wondered how they did it — and why they were not doing it for themselves. But I was not intelligent enough to know that I was not supposed to understand how it works. Now, money doubling has gone online. From your smart phone, you can double your money. All you need do is go on a website, register, transfer money to some account and your money will double in no time. As easy as ABC. The seduction by native doctors has gone digital. My, My, My. You sure look good tonight. Greed.

SWEET MOTHER

All (the bad) roads lead to Umuokoro Eziama, Ngor Opkala LGA, Imo state, on December 27-28, 2016, when my friend, brother and partner-in-crime, Chidi ‘Uzor, buries his sweet mother, Mrs Grace Chinyere Uzor Anugwa, who recently died at 101. The real story, though, is that Mama, through sheer tenacity and courage, sponsored all her five children in school — singlehanded. This was after the devastating civil war when nobody in the south-east had food to eat, much less scholarships. Chidi clearly inherited his mother’s never-say-die gene. He has moved from being a journalist to owning a microfinance bank — by hard work, discipline and imagination. Inspiration.

Stealing From IDPs Is One Of The Worst Sins Ever – Peregrino Brimah

Quran 4:10 

(As for) those who swallow the property of the orphans unjustly, surely they only swallow fire into their bellies and they shall enter burning fire.

Proverbs 22:22-23 

Don’t steal from the poor, because they are poor. Don’t oppress the needy in the gate. For Jehovah will plead their cause, And despoil of life those that despoil them.

Mathew 18:6 

But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

Quran 107:1-3

Have you considered him who calls the judgment a lie? That is the one who treats the orphan with harshness, And does not urge (others) to feed the poor.

Quran 4:2

And give to the orphans their property, and do not substitute worthless (things) for (their) good (ones), and do not devour their property (as an addition) to your own property; this is surely a great crime.

Exodus 20:17

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

Quran 107:4-7

So woe to those praying ones, Who are careless of their prayers, Those who (want but) to be seen (of men), But refuse (to supply) (even) neighbourly needs.

Ephesians 4:28

Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

Proverbs 21:26

Some people are always greedy for more, but the godly love to give!

Proverbs 28:27

Whoever gives to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to poverty will be cursed.

Quran 2:177

Righteousness is not that you turn your faces to the east and the west [in prayer]. But righteous is the one who believes in God, the Last Day, the Angels, the Scripture and the Prophets; who gives his wealth in spite of love for it to kinsfolk, orphans, the poor, the wayfarer, to those who ask and to set slaves free. And (righteous are) those who pray, pay alms, honor their agreements, and are patient in (times of) poverty, ailment and during conflict. Such are the people of truth. And they are the God-Fearing.”

Al-Bukhari Hadith

A Makhzoomi noblewoman (from the tribe of Makhzoom) stole at the time of the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allah exalt his mention ) and Usaamah Ibn Zayd, may Allah be pleased with him, wanted to intercede for her. The Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam (may Allah exalt his mention) became angry and said: “Do you intercede concerning one of the Hadd set by Allah? Those who came before you were destroyed because if a rich man among them stole, they would let him off, but if a lowly person stole, they would carry out the punishment on him. By Allah, if Faatimah Bint (daughter of) Muhammad were to steal, I would cut off her hand.”

Quran 2:191

…and oppression is worse than slaughter!

Dr. Peregrino Brimah; @EveryNigerian

Magu, DSS, Saraki, Buhari And The Intrigues Of A Corrupt Cabal, By Godwin Onyeacholem

The President – whoever he is – has to decide. He can’t pass the buck to anybody. No one else can do the deciding for him. That’s his job.”

The prologue to this piece was part of the farewell address to the American people delivered in January 1953 by President Harry Truman. It was a categorical reference to the concept of “The buck stops here,” which Truman, 33rd president of the United States, invented and espoused diligently. So passionate was Truman about this principle that he made the phrase into a desk sign that stood on his desk throughout his tenure.

“The BUCK STOPS here! This phrase is an irrefutable reminder of where the ultimate power lies in a democratic presidency, which one is minded to recommend to President Muhammadu Buhari in these very worrying times, especially in the wake of the Nigerian senate’s despicable rejection of his nominee, Ibrahim Magu, as substantive chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. Clearly, if nothing else, Buhari should know that that rejection sounded the death knell for his vaunted war against corruption, as well as constitutes a huge embarrassment to his person and office.

And he should also take notice that rather than being the end, the senate’s act is just the beginning of the process of giving full expression to a familiar refrain of his and numerous other lieutenants in the APC administration: corruption is fighting back. Yes, corruption is fighting back, and the Buhari administration needs to summon the will to repel the attack and crush the monster. Otherwise, as Buhari himself has often stated, it will kill us. With the decision to block Magu from becoming EFCC chairman, there is no way corruption won’t kill us eventually if Buhari does not act like a true president.

Now, it’s no longer about Magu, nor an utterly useless senate populated by overfed thieves whom Nigerians would be too glad to do away with as quickly as possible. It’s about Buhari. It’s about the kind of president he wants to be, and whether he wants to continue to run a heavily tainted and compromised presidency where the one who runs the show is the highly discredited Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, a man who has been linked with multiple acts of corruption and who on the eve of the 2015 elections denounced Buhari as a “serial loser.”

In the subtle design to rubbish Buhari’s government and preserve the old order, Abba Kyari is ably supported by other willing collaborators among them the equally unpleasant DSS boss, Lawal Daura, and the senate president Bukola Saraki. But now is the time to urge Buhari to toe the path of Truman and point to Abba Kyari and the rest of the destructive gang where the buck stops.

With an impressive credential of personal integrity, and with fervent pre and post election resolve to wage an all-out war against a scourge that has gone down as the biggest cog in Nigeria’s development – a resolve for which he received an unequivocal endorsement from the vast majority of Nigerians – will Buhari buckle under the unrelenting onslaught of a vicious cabal whose singular interest is to perpetuate corruption as the directive principle of state policy? Will he continue to fold his arms and look the other way when his arch ally in the anti-corruption war, the man who has demonstrated rare courage in dealing corruption an unprecedented blow is being sought out by the cabal for destruction?

That the senate did what they did was not altogether surprising. Every discerning observer saw it coming. After more than one year of Magu as acting chairman, and six months after receiving a letter from the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, requesting the senate to confirm him as substantive chairman of EFCC, the senators reluctantly rustled up a pathetic engagement with Magu on the day they had scheduled to go on end-of-year recess. Instead of allowing the man to appear before them at plenary as the whole world expected, they arranged a sham executive session where the public was shut out.

It was at that dubious session that Magu’s fate was purportedly sealed. While the world was still waiting for the chambers to be thrown open and Magu invited for screening, it was a guilt-ridden, tremulous spokesman of the senate, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, that appeared to read a terse statement announcing the senate’s decision that Magu was not “fit” to be confirmed as substantive chairman based on a security report submitted by the DSS. What the spokesman failed to tell his audience was that there were indeed two security reports on Magu written the same day by the DSS. The one that clearly acquitted Magu and certified him qualified to lead the EFCC was discarded by the senate, and the negative report was picked just because they had an evil agenda that must be satisfied no matter what it takes. No wonder he refused to take questions.

It will be interesting to see how Buhari reacts to all of this. His reaction should determine the status of The Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption (PACAC) headed by Professor Itse Sagay, going forward. If Buhari would not see through the shenanigans of the Abba Kyaris the Bukola Sarakis and assert himself as president by insisting that Magu remains his choice for the EFCC chair, Sagay should lead other members of the committee to resign the job and allow Buhari to fight corruption his own way.

Truly, if Magu was really corrupt, the crooked Nigerian senate that we know would have filled the chamber with chorus of “Take a bow; Take a bow!”

Godwin Onyeacholem is a journalist. He can be reached on gonyeacholem@gmail.com; Follow him on Twitter @Gonyeacholem

 

Magu, DSS, Nigerian Senate And Buhari’s Anti-corruption War, By Chido Onumah

There are very few moments in a nation’s history that can equate the infamy that took place at the Nigerian Senate on Thursday, December 15, 2016. Of course, this is Nigeria, where infamous acts by those who have purloined our country are an everyday occurrence.

Two days ago, after months of prevarication the Nigerian senate, one half of the National Assembly that was described as a den of thieves and “unarmed robbers” by ex-president, Olusegun Obasanjo, finally summoned the shameless audacity to “reject” the nomination of Ibrahim Mustapha Magu as the chairman of Nigeria’s foremost anti-corruption agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Anyway who didn’t expect that outcome must be from Mars.

In a sentence, that despicable act was a coup against the long-suffering people of Nigeria; a clear attempt by a self-absorbed and rapacious elite to continue to reap the fruit of corruption. The elite capture of the Nigerian state has a long history and manifests in various guises. Listening to a quivering Aliyu Abdullahi, the spokesperson of the senate, read the terse handwritten declaration, while the senate was still in session, “rejecting” Magu’s nomination, I was reminded of that infamous act twenty three years ago when Nduka Irabor, the press secretary to the then military Vice-President, Augustus Aikhomu, read a short handwritten speech annulling the result of the June 12, 2016, presidential election, before the electoral umpire could announce the results. We shouldn’t forget that that contemptible and criminal usurpation of the will of Nigerians was supervised by the “evil genius”, Ibrahim Babangida, and his cohorts, including David Mark, a retired general, who would resurface in 2007 as president of this same senate.

It would be too clichéd to say what is going on is corruption fighting back. That would amount to honouring our senators, many of them former executive scoundrels who have found a safe haven in the senate. But we can’t really blame the senate. It did what it had to do. It needed an alibi to reject Magu and it found it in the “damning” security report submitted by the Department of State Services (DSS). How a bunch of wastrels, acting as distinguished senators, can hold a nation to ransom beggars belief. A few years ago, one of their own and a former governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso, described the National Assembly as the greatest problem of Nigeria. After reviewing what transpired in the senate on Thursday, it is difficult to fault Kwankwaso.

Was Thursday’s decision a unanimous one? How many Senators, if any, opposed the vote? If there were any, they should stand up and be counted because when the history of the senate, and indeed that of the country is written, Thursday’s action will go down as one of the greatest political heists since the military-inspired civilian rule came to being in 1999. Anyone who wants to really appreciate the Magu confirmation imbroglio must look no further than the procedural inconsistency that trailed it. Clearly, no hearing of any form took place in the senate on December 15, 2016. Assumedly, the so-called security report was submitted to the senate so that senators could consider it in making “informed judgement” on whether to confirm Mr Magu or not. That didn’t happen.

The anti-Magu hysteria that has gripped a section of the media and civil society hoodwinked by our duplicitous senate and its collaborators is appalling. It is necessary, at this juncture, therefore, to do a quick review of the trajectory of this orchestrated plot. Magu’s confirmation letter was read in the senate on July 14, 2016. It took our do-nothing senate exactly five months, on the day it was going on recess for the year, to get around to “screening” him.

The letter, signed by the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, read in part, “…I hereby draw your Excellency’s attention to the vacancy that existed in the EFCC. Having carefully considered eminently suitable qualified Nigerians (emphasis mine) for the vacant position, I am pleased to inform you of the appointment of the following and to propose them for confirmation of the Senate as provided by the EFCC Act. 1. Magu Ibrahim Mustapha, ACP – Chairman; 2. Nasule Moses – Member; 3. Lawan Maman – Member; 4. Garandaji Imam Naji – Member; 5. Adeleke Abebayo Rafiu – Member. The curriculum vitae of the appointee are attached for the information of the distinguished senators. I hope the screening will as usual be carried out expeditiously by the distinguished senate.”

Many other nominees whose letters of nomination were sent to the senate after Magu’s were expeditiously screened. Then late Wednesday, December 7, 2016, Magu’s name appeared on the first page of the Order Paper, the senate’s daily agenda, for Thursday, 8th December, 2016. It read: “Confirmation of nomination: That the Senate do consider the request of Mr. President, C-in-C, for the confirmation of the nomination of Ibrahim Magu as Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in accordance with Section 2(3) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).” The same day, the deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, announced at plenary that the confirmation hearing would hold the next day after five months of delay.

By the morning of Thursday, December 8, 2016, a new Order Paper, without any mention of Magu’s confirmation, appeared. The news from the senate was that because of the importance of the confirmation, it wanted to create room for more senators to be involved in the process. Fast forward to Thursday, December 15, 2016. Magu’s name appeared again on the Order Paper and he was expected to be at the senate to be grilled by distinguished senators on how he has run the EFCC since his appointment on November 9, 2015, as acting chairman. It was also a veritable opportunity to raise any concerns the senators might have about any allegations against him. Well, as it turned out, it was all a ruse. Once it resumed, the senate went into an executive session – which meant the public was not privy to its deliberations – and cooked up a reason to reject Magu’s nomination.

The senate just “resolved” that since there was a security report, it could not go ahead with the confirmation hearing. Of course, it is important to find out the role of the senate committee on anti-corruption in this mess? Did it investigate the DSS report? Did it make a presentation to the senate on the issue? Did the senate only receive the DSS report or there were other petitions from the public against Magu? If the senate felt so strongly about the security report, why were senators not availed of the content before Thursday? If the senate didn’t do its own due diligence, why was the acting chairman of EFCC made to appear before the senate without being allowed to state his side of the story?

As soon as the senate formally “rejected” Magu’s nomination, it released the “damning” security report – a report that was in the public domain for many months – and its spin doctors and sympathizers went on overdrive and it lapdogs started foaming in the mouth. Magu was accused of various crimes, including living in a N40million mansion allegedly paid for by a shady character, Umar Mohammed, a retired air commodore. I will leave Magu to speak for himself. But if this allegation is true, it is not something the senate and the DSS should treat with such levity.

Of course, the Presidency bears some culpability in this national show of shame.  All of Magu’s purported crimes were committed before his name was sent to the senate. Is it possible then that the DSS did not do a security check on him before the Presidency sent his name to the senate? Did the DSS invite Magu to “defend” himself over their finding? Could it be, to borrow a local parlance, a case of the insect destroying the leaf lives inside the leaf? Undoubtedly, there are those within the Presidency who are vehemently opposed to Magu and they found willing collaborators in the senate.

Clearly, there is a serious lack of coherence and control in the exercise of power in the Presidency. Why would a nominee of Mr. President before the senate be undermined by a report by the DSS? Can the president send the name of a nominee to the senate without DSS clearance? There is serious doubt about APC and Buhari’s change mantra but nowhere is this apprehension more critical than on the issue of the war against corruption. This will be a true test for President Buhari’s anti-corruption credentials. There are two options open to him: re-submit Magu’s name for confirmation or allow him stay as acting chairman of EFCC.

Sure, Magu is not the only Nigerian who can lead the EFCC, but it will be hard to find someone – within the limitations placed by the EFCC Establishment Act – who has the experience, and above all, courage and determination, to confront some of the most despicable and vicious characters who have occupied public office in Nigeria.

Of course, it is only in Nigeria that criminals who should ordinarily be in jail for their egregious crimes against the country are the ones who define moral codes and sit in judgement on how to punish crime.

conumah@hotmail.com; Follow me on Twitter @conumah

PMB At 74: Peace Shuttle In Birthday Week, By Femi Adesina

What a helluva week for a man who turns 74 today. In one day, in his birthday week, he flew from Abuja to Monrovia, from there to Freetown, and then to Banjul, in The Gambia. He held meetings lasting many hours, then flew to Freetown, again to Monrovia, and then returned to Abuja by 3.20 a.m. In the afternoon of that same day, when most of those who travelled with him would have given anything to be in slumberland, he presented the 2017 budget proposals to the National Assembly. If I am lucky to live to that age, I don’t wish to run such punishing schedule.

But for that reason was Muhammadu Buhari born on December 17, 1942, in Daura, present day Katsina State. For that reason he came to the world. To serve humanity, serve his country, and make a huge difference. He was sent here to show that it is possible to be squeaky clean, play according to the rules, and live for others, not for primitive accumulation.

The word came out on Monday, a public holiday. We were headed for Gambia the next morning, and we must set forth at dawn. For we were returning to Abuja the same day. By 6 a.m, we were on the way to the airport. A few minutes past 7 a.m, the great bird lifted into the sky. The peace shuttle had begun.

What took President Buhari out at short notice was the developing situation in The Gambia. President, Professor, Dr, Alhaji Yahya Jammeh, who had taken power from Sir Dauda Jawara 22 years earlier in a military coup, and who had transmuted to a civilian ruler along the way, had suddenly recanted on an election he lost, and over which he had congratulated the winner. Jammeh said the scales had fallen from his eyes, he had seen the light, and the defeat he had conceded was no longer so. The election was flawed, and there must be a new exercise under a “God-fearing electoral commission.”

This was deja vu. Another Gbagbo scenario, as we had seen in Cote D’Ivoire? A playback of 1998 Sierra Leone, in which ECOMOG troops, led by Nigeria under Sani Abacha, had flushed out the military junta led by Johnny Paul Koroma, which had ousted President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah from power? Will the President, Professor, Dr, and Alhaji be given the Gbagbo and Koroma treatment? It seemed inevitable. But blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. Buhari of Nigeria, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone, and John Mahama of Ghana, decided to wave the olive branch. It was time to try and talk some sense into Jammeh’s head. The presence of Mahama in the team was significant, as he had also conceded defeat in the presidential election held in Ghana only a few days earlier.

After a flight of two hours and forty minutes, we landed in Monrovia. We took aboard Johnson-Sirleaf, and some of her aides. A few days earlier, in her capacity as chair of ECOWAS, she had headed for The Gambia. Jammeh did not give her plane permission to land. She had to return home.

Liberia. Land of blood, caused by greed for power. Samuel Doe. Yormie Johnson. Charles Taylor. Many others. They wanted power, and did not mind turning their country to a killing field. Very sad.

After 47 minutes, we landed in Freetown. Some years back, the town had not been free. The same lust for power. Foday Sankoh led what he called the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), and his type of revolution was to chop off the hands of innocent people. If he cut it at the wrist, he called it long sleeve. If he butchered at the elbow, he called it short sleeve. Sierra Leone was filled with thousands and thousands of amputees. Sheer madness!

But the day of reckoning came, as it always does. Sankoh was arrested, and put on trial. He fell ill, was wheelchair bound, and eventually died. He escaped the justice of man, but not of God. I was editor of Daily Sun when he died. I remember my headline: ‘Foday Sankoh goes to hell.’ The Mirror of London went the same way. NEXT STOP:HELL. That was the paper’s headline. You can accuse us of being judgmental, playing God. But as far as human beings knew, Foday Sankoh had no other destination. Only hell, to keep a date with his master, Satan.

But I digress too much. We are talking of a peace shuttle in a birthday week.

Yes, we took on board President Bai Koroma and his aides, and we were on the way. An hour later, we were overflying Banjul. Would we be permitted to land, or given the Johnson-Sirleaf treatment? Happily, the big bird swooped down, and we landed. I was back in Banjul, 12 years after my last visit. Everything seemed the way I had left it. Only Jammeh had changed. From conceding defeat, to calling for another election.

The three presidents joined John Mahama of Ghana at the Coco Ocean Hotel, a lovely resort by the sea. Would the waters be turned crimson red soon? God forbid. That was why the peacemakers were around. For the next seven hours, they met with Adama Barrow, the victor in the election, the leadership of the electoral commission, a delegation of the coalition that gave Barrow victory, Security Chiefs, and many others. Twice, they met with Jammeh at the State House. Before proceedings began, and after. What were they asking for? Simple. Respect the Constitution of your country. Honour your word, and uphold the results of the election. Vacate power next January, as decency requires.

There was no positive commitment from Jammeh, and the parley continues, as ECOWAS meets in Abuja today. On his 74th birthday, President Buhari, instead of wining and dining, would be hosting leaders of the West African sub-region. For that reason was he born. For that purpose was he sent to Nigeria. To serve the country, serve humanity, and show that things could be done differently.

By 10 p.m Nigerian time (9 p.m Gambian time) we boarded the presidential jet. I remembered a primary school song:”Oh Nigeria, oh my native land, Never again may I roam. I’ve been to Ghana, I’ve been to Sierra Leone, I’ve been to Gambia, I’m going back to my native land, never again may I roam.”

It was a day of roaming, but for a good cause. We dropped off the Sierra Leonean contingent first. Freetown, the land of my father. In 1955, my father had sailed from Nigeria to Sierra Leone, in search of the Golden Fleece. He had gone to study at Fourah Bay College, from where he took a degree in Economics, and returned home in 1959. He took to teaching, and retired as a school principal in 1971. He had good stories to tell us about Sierra Leone. That was before the country lost its innocence, erupting in an orgy of killings.

We dropped off the Liberian contingent, and headed for Abuja. If we had gone straight, we needed only two hours and forty minutes. We spent five hours and five minutes. Double that, and we had spent more than 10 hours in the air, all in West Africa. Blessed are the peacemakers…

Yesterday, President Buhari gave out one of his daughters, Zahra, in marriage. Today, he would be with ECOWAS leaders for most of the day. How do you remind him it’s his birthday? On Wednesday morning, we had got back to Aso Villa at 4 a.m. By 2 p.m, the President was presenting Budget 2017 to a joint session of the National Assembly. On Thursday, he was in Lagos to commission a ship at the Naval Dockyard. What a helluva birthday week! I repeat. If I am lucky to live till 74, I don’t want to run such punishing schedule.

Some people say they used to give them some injections in the military that make them go on and on. True? False? I don’t know. We saw the same of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, also a retired General, who worked endless hours. Could the injection theory be true? Somebody, please confirm.

The man the people call Mai Gaskiya (honest man) turns 74 today. I wish him longer life, in good health. The sailing may be rough and tempestuous on the economy front now, and some people are shouting; carest thou not that we perish? We are hungry and dying. But Nigeria will get to halcyon shores. This land will prosper again. Our captain is at the helm. He is tested and trusted. We can then sleep through the storm.

Femi Adesina is Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari

Corrupt Architecture: Nigeria, Corruption In An Anti-corruption Disney, By Ade Ilemobade

Nigeria as a geopolitical space is a disney of A-priori and A-posteriori universals of corruption, a conurbation riddled with influence peddlers, rogues, without any vividly cut line of distinction between what is ethical and moral. We are living in an environment of roguishness where the boundary between acceptable behaviour and misconduct is unclear.

North East Nigeria ravaged by Boko Haram… Nigeria Army intervene to save the populace and with the sound of early morning machine gun fire villagers runing helter skelter confusion, delirium, smell of blood and burning flesh everywhere… after years of serious confrontation with the terrorist the nation ”was liberated” without Sambisa forest and not without over two million IDPs.

Liberation or no liberation that is an argument for another day when we shall look into the philosophy of liberation, freedom, peace, and the notion of the absence of war from classical theorist down to our contemporary commentators.

Colonel, Major, and Air commodore not forgetting rank and file have all paid the ultimate price defending Nigeria against Boko Haram terrorist yet some people sit around the corridors of power with a roguish mentality and the urge for unbridled self enrichment that makes #Dasukigate looks like a comic play while they are feeding fat on the despair of victims of terrorism. This is a classical case of man’s inhumanity to man.

Sometimes I wonder about what exactly is the likely institutional logics around the corridors of power in Nigeria in respect of acceptable behaviours because daily the goalpost of sanity, ethics and moral decency has been repeatedly hijacked by rogues who now set boundaries concerning ethically acceptable mannerism by violating the laid down rules and code of conducts for public officials.

Illegality of recruitments, influence peddling or conflict of interest is now the new normal at the apex of current governmental administration the vogue now within the corridors of power is rationalization of corruption within an anti-corruption disney architecture “technicization” with a barage of technocrats willing to defend illegality with fabricated data for justification are ubiquitous in Aso rock hoping that gullible Nigerians would swallow the garbage hook, line, and sinker.

This change is dead from the top because of a systemic hemorrhage induced by corrupt people at the pinnacle of current governmental administration in Nigeria. It is instructive here to point to the latest revelation by the senate that funds meant for the Internally displaced people in the North East of Nigeria has been mismanaged by SGF (Babachir Lawal) a man within the corridors of power in a contract scam to eradicate unwanted grass for 200million Naira awarded to an organization he has an interest in Haba!

This is a deeply worrying development and a downward spiral into the abyss of animalistic behaviour within the corridors of power. I am not a religious person but I like to conclude by urging those concerned to read the following Quranic injunctions and other text relevant to this subject matter maybe they would redirect their attention to doing the needful according to the rules and regulations laid down in our statute.

Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah said:

“This is why those who are in authority are of two groups: the scholars and the rulers. If they are upright, the people will be upright; if they are corrupt, the people will be corrupt.”

The Noble Qur’an – Hud 11:85

“And O my people! Give full measure and weight in justice and reduce not the things that are due to the people, and do not commit mischief in the land, causing corruption.’’

Mr. president cannot be silent anymore a stitch in time saves nine.

 

OTUNBA ADE ILEMOBADE is a philosopher

Twitter: @pearl2prince

Why Magu Was Rejected By Senate And What Lies Ahead For Him, By Nnamdi Wogu

Magu is a level 14 civil servant. He is a Deputy Commissioner of Police with a terrible record.
He was once detained for 4 months and kicked out of the EFCC by Farida Waziri for his criminal activities such as bribe taking and stealing recovered funds. Even the Police IG suspended him from the police for some time as a result of that.

It was the former Minster of Police Affairs, Adamu Waziri, that had him reinstated in the police Force after Alhaji Kashim Imam and Mallam Nuhu Ribadu made appeals on his behalf.

They eventually got him back into the EFCC after Waziri was sacked and Lamorde was brought in as Chairman. Magu is Ribadus boy but even Ribadu can no longer control him.

Many have died in mysterious circumstances in the EFCC cells in the last one year under his watch.

Many are people locked up illegally in the EFCC cells including kids as young as 3 month old baby.

Many court orders are regularly breached. Many innocent people have had their bank accounts frozen illegally.

Many people have been coerced into giving money back to EFCC by threats and extortion and such monies were never accounted for or documented. Many people are in long term illegal detention.

Many of his friends of the likes of Ribadu and Lamorde are being protected from prosecution even though they took so much money.

Ribadu collected one hundred million naira in 2015 from Jonathan’s presidential campaign organization yet he was never questioned as Magu covered him up.

EFCC under him is a northern enclave where christians and southerners and middle belters are treated like faeces .

His job was to torment and humiliate leading members of the opposition and to keep them busy. Especially those that are very vocal and that criticise the government.

He got carried away in these acts in a bid to ensure his confirmation.

His problem was that he enjoyed doing it and he did it with so much impunity that he made even more enemies for the government.

He couldn’t make a difference between persecution and prosecution. To him they were one and the same thing .

The SSS report exposed his front who is a retired Air Vice Umar Mohammed who was till recently in SSS custody.

Air Vice Marshall Mohammed has completely exposed Magu and all the kickbacks he was collecting on his behalf. Mohammed is also reported as having had a love affair with the wife of a Major leader in government and Magu used that to blackmail him and as leverage against him.

There is one Saru in the zone 7 office of EFCC in Abuja who is another of Magus front and he has collected millions of dollars in cash from accused people who he terrorised into giving him money on Magu’s behalf. There is also one Iliyasu who heads the Lagos office who does the same. These two police officers are very corrupt and very close to Magu.

Magu takes drugs. He is addicted to indian hemp and cocaine which is why he behaves like a madman.

He also uses the media to conduct media trials and witch-hunts on his victims including other members of the government such as the Presidential Chief of Staff Alhaji Anba Kyari and the DG SSS Alhaji Lawal Daura. He has sworn to get the two of them sacked and to prosecute them only because they have refused to cover him up with the President.

He is very close to the National Security Advisor Maj. Gen. Monguno who also uses him to collect money from his victims. He and Monguno are very close and they share many dirty secrets.

Magu’s contacts in the media are Yusuf Alli of the Nation newspaper, one Eniola in the Punch Newspaper and Sowore of Saharareporters. He gives them millions of naira regularly. His official spokesman Wilson Uwajaren is the main link with the rest of the media and he has been given a large budget just to bribe them and keep them happy. The main media consultant to Magu is Kayode Komolafe of Thisday and he controls a network of reporters whose job is to protect and promote Magu and attack and demonise his victims and enemies. These people are all on his payroll and he uses them to churn out lies about those that he targets.

Magu is hated and feared by his own staff at the EFCC because they know that he is wicked and corrupt. And prior to this confirmation so many fetish acts were observed at the commission which left most of the staff worried for their lives.

He is a criminal and a sadist and they are planning to prosecute and jail him.

NNAMDI WOGU IS SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE ANTI-CORRUPTION COALITION.

Boosting Food Production in Niger State: Rice Production, Other Options, By Abdullberqy Ebbo

Stimulating agricultural sector in Niger State through large scale rice farming is a key component, even if just a strand, of Governor Abubakar Sani Bello’s holistic Strategic Plan Framework for food production and better living for the people of Niger state. This is understandably so. Rice has been a staple meal in most homes and longstanding favourite of Nigerians, young and old. Regrettably and perhaps even strangely, the stuff has lately transformed into a scarce commodity, selling for as high as N24,000 per 50kg bag in most Nigerian markets!

Against the backdrop of a trend of unenthusiastic policy formulation/implementation, specifically as it affects cultivation/processing of rice by past governments both at the state and federal levels, the precarious and volatile nature of the international market, regarding the relations of America’s dollar against the naira, assisted (worsened) by other sharp conducts of stock market dealers, both locally and internationally, this common staple has lately taken flight from the meal tables of most homes. It is not a story the common man will tell with joy.

The picture, often linked to global economic recession which has equally affected other areas of human life in Nigeria as much as elsewhere, is however not irreversible and is actually being reversed. The ‘reverse’ or change process, which is slow but strategic, has seen President Muhammadu Buhari applying the Agricultural Development Agenda (ADA). ADA centers attention to latest techniques of rice production and matchless empowerment of farmers in select states in the country. Underscoring his commitment to supporting the President on the ADA initiative, Governor Sani Bello’s commissioning on the 8th December 2016 of the Bida Rice Processing and Milling Complex, constructed by Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) at Bida, Niger state.

The rice mill project, which takes after and extends the larger plan of the Governor’s Restoration Agenda, specifically in the area of agriculture/food production, youth employment and women empowerment, is a tripartite cooperation among Niger State Government, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Republic of Korea. At completion the project is hoped to generate well over TEN THOUSAND DIRECT AND INDIRECT JOBS.

The Second Rice Project, expected to be Commissioned by the Governor few months to come, is the 75,000-Hectare SWASHI RICE PROJECT, which is equally a partnership between the Government of Niger state and some Indian Investors, the PJS Farms LTD. The project being handled by Pearl Universal Impex Limited includes the development of a Mechanised Rice Farm and a Rice Processing Mill in Borgu Emirate, which further promises to create additional over SEVEN THOUSAND JOBS (3000 direct and 4000 indirect).

Governor Sani Bello’s target of One Million Metric Tonnes of rice production by the state annually seems eminently achievable, against the backdrop of these ongoing projects. A recent ranking of the World Bank, placing Niger state 1st in the group of six viable rice producing states in the country, is a further affirmation of the enormous food production potentials of the state.

But all efforts are not about rice!

Soon after inauguration on 29th May, 2015 and with an awareness of a state with modest presence of natural endowments, especially favouring agriculture, the governor began situating Niger state as Nigeria’s formidable food hub. Currently, sustainable programmes of his administration not only in rice production but equally in poultry, aqua-culture and other areas of agric business can be found in parts of the state.

One of such is the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)-initiated Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) which, within the last one year, benefitted a minimum of 14,000 farmers, with about N2 billion already disbursed from the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Fund (MSMEDF) in the state.

Disclosing this during the inspection of rice farms in Doko in Lavun Local Government Area of Niger State, CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said a total of one million tonnes of rice was expected from the cluster of rice farms across the State, courtesy of the CBN-initiated Anchor Borrowers’ Programme.

Earlier and soon after his inauguration, Governor Abubakar had also directed the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to distribute 58mt (metric tons) stock of grains to the public at subsidised rates, a move meant to support feeding needs of households, as it came just before the 2015 Ramadan Fast period. The state government had also approved the purchase and distribution of 20,000 metric tons of assorted fertilizers to 164,000 farmers across the 274 wards of the state.

Further, another batch of six hundred small-scale farmers in each of the 274 wards have enjoyed 50% subsidy off every purchase of 2 bags of NPK or Urea fertilizer at 2,850 naira per 50kg, a facility which translated to One Billion, One Hundred and Forty Naira(N1,140,000,000.00)financial burden upon the state government.

The Governor had not long ago also constituted a committee to prepare grounds for successful commencement of the privately owned N36billion Sunti Sugar Golden Mill Company located at Sunti Village in Mokwa Local Government Area of the State. The company, a subsidiary of Sunti Farms Limited, is a division of Flour Mills of Nigeria, Plc.

Niger state’s economy: What was on ground.

Created on February 3, 1976 from now defunct North-Western State during the regime of General Murtala Mohammed, Niger State, occupying 76, 469.903 Square Kilometers (10 per cent of Nigeria’s entire land area!) and with 25 Local Government Areas (LGAs), has a population of 3,950,249 by 2006 Population and Housing Census, 85 per cent of which engages in farming. The state experiences distinct dry and wet seasons with significant rainfall periods in northern and southern parts and temperatures varying tolerably to accommodate sustenance of human, animal (poultry), aquatic and plant lives.

Governor Sani Bello met a Niger state the economy of which, given these facts and many others, promised to sustain its citizens’ livelihood and growth desires through agriculture, if right policies were not just enacted but were conscientiously followed through.

Showing his preparedness for the development of the state and that governance in Niger state is no longer ‘business as usual’, Governor Abubakar has stated repeatedly his preoccupation as governor is not to teach and trade in politics, but use the governorship position to elevate the substance of the people, socially and economically

Letter to my igbo compatriots… By Yahaya Mohd

Igbo ndewonu!!

Political agitation and struggle is a right, but it must be done within the corridors of law and order and most importantly intelligence, network and lobbying with ability to give and take.

Why have the Igbo nation decided that President Jonathan’s electoral loss in 2015 will be morned for eternity. Even the south south where he hails from has moved on, Asari Dokubo the foul mouthed clown who helped him to loss has moved on too, Edwin Clark has moved on, all Jonathan’s aids and ministers have moved on so why won’t you dry up your tears, console yourselves and plan ahead. After all what did you gain from him?

Remember at a point every other region had had its own share of the power lost, Abiola won June 12 election was denied by a northerner and Yorubas wiped off their tears and moved on, Ya’radua died left the presidency for a southerner, the North wiped off its tears and moved on. Why can’t the Igbos learn that life is a circus, it Is like the pattern of dance where the last person move to the front and the first person move to the last but only if you remain in the dance, Winners never quit and quiters never win.

2019 should be the best year of political harvest for the Igbos but I don’t see you preparing to take advantage of the political raining season that is coming, while all other major blocs are harmonising and re-aligning, the Igbo nation is busy fighting itself and fighting perceived enemies.

No one is an enemy politically, unless you create one out of him and no one is an ally politically unless you create one out of him. The Igbos should learn from history, learn from the past that only a united front can give you whatever you want, be It Biafra which is unlikely or the presidency which is most likely with a united front.

For instance, the north is busy looking for major contenders that will square up against whoever will contest for presidency from the ruling APC so that head or tail the presidency will remain in the north, the most likely position which will be the vice presidency which will be up for grab between the southwest and the Southeast has been left to the southwest without any contest, while you busy yourself in isolation and hauling insult, others are busy working hard and forming allies.

Assuming the Igbos have sworn never to support APC for their perception that it’s a northern party what is wrong in reaching out through other political parties?

If the Igbos see working with President Buhari as a betrayal of the Igbo cause, what is wrong if you form alliance with another person to defeat him or his candidate in future election, Tinubu/yorubas did it in 2015 and it worked for him and the Yorubas, but rather than engage in this political realignment the Igbo youth are busy chanting “Biafra must be free” “northerners are animals” “ewu hausa” and all whatnot, will these give the Igbos Biafra or the presidency? No! C’mon be smart!

It Is not late in the day for the Igbos to unite, reach out to other regions, build bridges, north, south and west, the Igbo youth should engage in campaign of ideas and leave insults, negotiate with all and work out the best deals that suits you, only then can you achieve what you want.

Igbo people are smart, strong and hardworking but your political calculation needs alteration to get a desired result.

Igbo kwenu!
Yahaya Mohammed
Twitter: @boyemdee

Aregbesola: Redefining Development By Abiodun Komolafe

A ‘nomics’ has been added to the world of economic policies and Nigerians should appreciate its coming from their part of the planet, especially, at a time the world  is  grappling with  the depravity of politics and the captivity of politicians.

In a paper presented at a Colloquium to mark his six years in office as governor of the State of Osun, Rauf Aregbesola reiterated his administration’s  commitment to  laying a solid foundation for the state in every area such that tampering with  its progress  in  the  future would be difficult, if not impossible. While describing “rising expenditure, especially wage bill, within the contrast of falling revenue” as the  biggest challenge  facing  his  government, Aregbesola promised that his administration would do all within its powers to ensure that no one was left behind in the distribution of  the  dividends of democracy  to the  good  people  of  Osun. “We are grappling with the challenge of finance and we are doing all within our power to complete all the projects we started. We are not going to leave any project uncompleted”, the governor stated.

Democracy hath no fury than a people abandoned! So, what is Raufnomics? In my considered opinion, the  promoter  has  given  a clue:    it is about “getting as much from little and using the resources of the state to maximally benefit the people”.  It is about “strategic planning and intervention in society; making governance mass-based and people-centric”; and  “guaranteeing the maximum good for the maximum number of people.” With a special reference to Osun,  Raufnomics has proved to be a popular solution  to   the  state’s socio-economic problems created as a result of years of Nigeria’s  sole  dependence on proceeds from crude oil. It has helped sustain the state even as it continues to encourage innovative  interventions within the framework of the administration’s Six Point Integral Action Plan in such a way as to help put the economy of the state back on track.

In addition to some of this administration’s laudable achievements which  have  already  been  captured in Aregbesola’s speech at the event, the establishment of Osun Job Centre, designed principally  to serve as an interface between  job seekers and employers of labour;  the  procurement of no fewer than 125 Patrol Vans, 20 Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) and one helicopter which has  helped   in drastically reducing incidences of crime in the state;   and  the creation and successful take-off of 61 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs), 3 Area Offices and 2 Administrative Offices from the former 31 Local Government Areas  are also some of the ways this government  has positively affected the rule of the game.

A strong advocate of regional integration, he was a major force in the establishment of the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission, an institutional and programmed body saddled with the responsibility of midwifing the regional integration agenda of the Southwest states.  And, with  the creation of Osun Education Quality Assurance and Morality Enforcement Agency, I doubt if any misguided pupil or student will ever attempt to task the tolerance of the good people of Osun or insult their collective intelligence again.

Aregbesola’s  approval of the immediate commencement of a unified Public Service in the  state  is worth mentioning here. Apart from  repositioning  “the State Public Service for efficient and effective service delivery at all levels of governance”, the step is also aimed at removing “all restrictions to  seamless movement of personnel from one spectrum of the Public Service to the other”. Needless to repeat that  it  is  in a bid  to  ensure transparency in the state’s financial dealings that this man of splendor and all-encompassing charisma  recently inaugurated the Hassan Sunmonu-led  committee on allocation of revenues to “oversee allocation of state’s revenue to prompt payment of salaries as well as adequate running of government.”

The price of fame, it is often said, goes beyond brooding or bargaining around the frustration of some mischievous parallelisms! But when will Nigeria’s vine overcome the antics of  her “foxes, the little foxes” and who will raise the hands of her Moses as an assurance of permanent victory? Coming closer home, if we have an avatar at the helm of affairs in Osun, how come the state is such in dire straits that it now seems as if delayed salaries have come to stay with us? Assuming without conceding that we are in this pass because of  the level of our debt and its management,  as a result of  which  dear  state  has allegedly  become slave  to  Irrevocable Payment Standing Orders (IPSOs) and other debt recovery instruments, how do we situate the fate of richer and resource-endowed states like Ondo and Bayelsa which are also behind schedule in terms of salary obligations to their workers?

Well, the tragedy of  our  Nigerianness  is that we deceive ourselves a lot and that has been our greatest undoing! Here, we play politics like an interest-driven game,  unrepentantly   notorious for its art of the impossible and personal manipulations. That  is  why, despite  efforts by this dogged fighter at positively impacting lives   through his “numerous programmes, policies and schemes”, there still exists some unrefined, less-informed  detractors who derisively “consider it fit and proper to constitute themselves into an opposition of the government of the day, however well-meaning and good-intentioned.” Because  of the  way  they  are fated,  they  always allow their personal and selfish desire for certain specialities to run wild thereby straying away from unprejudiced realities. They lust for what they do not have and that which is of no use to them and, despite the fact that they do not get that which they do not have and that which they neither need nor deserve, they delude themselves with it to spoil that which they are supposed to have but unfortunately they do not have.

In their world, there is neither economic focus nor political direction that is practically aimed at alleviating the people’s poverty and pains. Instead, they revel in the virulence of insouciant leaders and the proliferation of unprincipled politicians. For no just cause, these individualists and spoilers culpably hate leaders for doing good, categorize  a government which “runs a most transparent allocation of scarce resources to tackle underdevelopment” as ‘reckless’; and  tag  one which strives to  confront  “problems engendered by socio-political transformation”  as  ‘insensitive’! Since they are experts at spreading beliefs that reject persuasion, they tar every developmental stride with the mark of corruption. In their myopic view, Opon Imo is a scam; O-YES,  money-sapping; O-MEALS,  unnecessary; and policies and programmes aimed  at  shoring up the state’s revenue generation capacity are ‘too draconian and unfriendly’.

In any case, “minds differ as rivers differ”, says Baron Thomas Macaulay.  While some might  liken Aregbesola  to a “controversial politician who doesn’t listen to advice, however novel or useful”, to others, he’s  one  astute  administrator who would not “want to enrich himself at the expense of the poor masses”. While some might unfairly consider his style of governance as one “built only on propaganda”, others see it – and, rightly, too –  as “a source of hope in the face of the weak and bleak future that the Yoruba race and Nigeria face.” In all  of  these  however;  and  political persuasions notwithstanding,  what critics of Raufnomics  cannot deny is  Aregbesola’s  gentleness, straightforwardness and uncanny sense of direction which he has dispassionately deployed in  transforming the state into  an emerging market with a lot of potentials. Unlike others whose portion is in making promises at the drop of a hat with no real intention of keeping them, it is unRauf to allow people who delight in whirling by their dark clouds to be the limit of his success.

Need I say more on why Osun has continued to wax stronger, in spite  of  the  biting economic slowdown currently troubling Nigeria’s Israel?

May principalities and powers, assigned to rubbish our leaders’ efforts, BACKFIRE!

 

*KOMOLAFE writes in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State, Nigeria (ijebujesa@yahoo.co.uk)

 

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