Defence Headquarters To Close Some Routes In Abuja For Armed Forces Day

As part of activities to ensure the smooth celebration of this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day Parade, the Nigerian Defence Headquarters has announced that certain routes will be blocked in the morning within the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, during the event.

The event takes place on Tuesday 15 January, 2019 at the National Arcade Abuja by 9am, and is a day celebrated  on January 15th every year to honour the nation’s fallen heroes who paid the supreme price for peace and security in the nation.

According to a statement from the Acting Director of Defence Information, Brigadier General   John Agim, the following routes will be affected by the activities:
a. Court of Appeal junction
b. Foreign Affairs junction
c. Bayelsa House junction
d. Benue House junction
e. Phase 3 flyover
f. Aso Drive by phase 3
g. Mopol gate behind National Arcade.

Defence Headquarters however regrets all inconveniences and called on the entire public to join the Armed Forces in remembering the fallen heroes who sacrificed their lives for peace and security of the nation.

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Of Cynicism And Sarcasm: A Rejoinder To Newsrescue.com – In Defence Of Jabir Sani Maihula, By Usama Dandare

I read with adore an article published by Newsrescue.com (an online news blog) tittled “Sokoto University Lecturer Brags “Sunni Ulama” Secretly Orchestrated Nigeria Government Attacks Against Shia Islam” in what looks like an attempt to smear the personality of Sheik Jabir Maihula and assassinate his character. In the publication of 14 October, 2016, Newsrescue allegedly claimed that Sheik Jabir put up a post on his Facebook page rejoicing the murderous clampdown on Shia Muslims in northern Nigeria few days ago, and went in to interpret the Sheik’s post out of context by falsely accusing him of saying that the latest attacks on shi’ite members across several northern states were orchestrated by underground works by “Sunni Ulama” linked with the Buhari government.

Well, I found it utterly disgusting and unprofessional for a respected blog like Newsrescue to go about quoting people out of context and engaging in spreading falsehood against an innocent individual without pausing to capture the real context of his message. Unfortunately, this is how social media has became venomous to the collective peaceful coexistence of the Nigerian masses, it is fast proving to be a phenomenon of inciting hatred and promoting religious and ethnic jingoism instead of being a platform for positive growth and development. Lately, some hate mongers are hell-bent on destroying the long enjoyed peaceful and harmonious coexistence between people of different ethnic and religious institution in this country by going overboard to distort the polity and create unnecessary tension among the peace loving people of Nigeria.

Sheik Jabir Maihula who is presently residing in Nottingham, United Kingdom, put up a Facebook post in Hausa language on October 12, 2016, regarding the level of tremendous achievement the nation has attained so far under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari in terms of restoring peace and security in the northeastern troubled region, in which he made mention that Sunni Ulama have made significant contribution through the wise advices they gave to the government at all levels and perhaps the apparent positive effects of such advices. For record emphasis and to clear all doubts if any, this is what Sheik Jabir Maihula wrote and I quote:

“Dayawa cikin ahlussunnah yanzu sun fara fahimtar cewa: Kusantar Malaman Ahlusunnah ga jagoranci na shekara daya yafi tasiri a kan wa’azi na shekara biyar. Ku baiwa malaman ku uzuri kada ku munana masu zato. Wani aiki da kuke murna akanshi yau su sukayi shi a karshi kasa sanadiyar alakar su mai kyau da jagoranci.”

Meaning:

“Several ahlussunnah (Sunni scholars) have now begin to realize that: close association with the government for one year makes more impact than preaching of five years, reason with your clerics and don’t judge them wrong. One particular achievement most of you are rejoicing over was silently made possible by them through their good relationship with the government. “

All of sudden, Newsrescue began crying wolf where there is non and went on to maliciously misinterpret this statement by mischievously linking the highly respected Sheik Jabir with the recent mayhem and clashes that occurred between shi’ite members and the public on the day of Ashura in various cities in the north. I wonder how Newsrescue was able to come about with what was undisclosed in Sheik Jabir’s mind for there was nowhere in the said Facebook post that Jabir made mention of shiites members neither their doctrine nor their activities. This whole publication by Newsrescue was either an attempt to smear the credibility of Sheik Jabir and tarnish the image of Islam or another display of unprofessionalism by the so-called self acclaimed social media journalists who lacks the prerequisite skills and ideas to make good out of citizen journalism, hence misinforming the society with contaminated and venomous informations.

You see, this is one problem that the Nigerian media is facing in general, all our journalists of today cares about is attractive content that will attract more readers without given due emphasis to the consequences or impact it may have in the near future. They just goes about translating and interpreting opinion leaders wrongly. I want to believe the whole content of this publication is more or less an issue of misinterpretation, Newsrescue translated Sheik Jabir’s statement wrongly, akin to “the dog and the baboon” scenario where a non-hausa speaking journalist misinterpreted President Buhari’s quote which at the end brought lots of heated debates across the nation. But wait a minute, must someone translate what he doesn’t understand fluently? Newsrescue have really stepped wrongly on my toes.

I have known Sheik Jabir for a while now and I can state without doubt that he would never call or support any form of violence, whoever knows him will also testify the fact that he is indeed peaceful, honest, charismatic and perhaps intelligent. He has never called for violence in all his preachings both at home and abroad, he isn’t an extremist and will never be. I knew him very well, apart from being the chief imam of the jumu’at mosque in my neighborhood whenever he is in the country, he is also a friend and a mentor any youth would like to model. He is one of the most gifted and talented African youth around, a rare breed of modesty, and indeed a man of honour and dignity. He is perhaps a genius, a great gift to our society and undoubtedly the most islamically educated youth in Nigeria.

To this end, I will like to call on the general public to take this publication from Newsrescue with a pinch of salt, it came with no meaningful intentions and it is nothing to write home about. It is just another mischief in the series of mischievous attempts to portray Islam as a violent religion and tarnish the image of Islamic clerics in the eyes of the world. Newsrescue should equally take caution from now on, they should make sure accurate and real context of all their informations are filtered carefully before publication to avoid future embarrassments, they should also if possible tender an unreserved apology to Sheik Jabir Maihula and retract their earlier publication for good, and stop misinforming the society. A stitch in time save nine.

 

Usama A. Dandare, a social commentator write from Sokoto. Reach him via osadaby@yahoo.com,  www.facebook.com/usama.dandareor twitter @osadaby

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In Defence Of AGF Abubakar Malami By Chukwudi Enekwechi

The common saying that “uneasy lies the head that wears the crown” seems to be the lot of Nigeria’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami. A man with genteel disposition and one that is not enamoured by the attractions of high office, Mr. Malami, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria has been in the saddle for less than two years, but his fight against graft in public offices is already having a backlash on his person and reputation. 
Due to his determination to recover Nigeria’s looted funds, some vested interests, and even fraudsters are now heaping insults and false accusations against him, all in a bid to break his will in continuing the fight. Nonetheless, the Abubakar Malami that I know will not waver nor falter in his assigned task, as his love for country and loyalty to President Buhari’s anti-corruption fight is unequivocal and unquestionable.
One begins to wonder why a certain Nigerian lawyer will accuse the Attorney General of asking for kickback in the return of about $458m Abacha loot. Obviously, such allegation smacks of blackmail and a calculated attempt to undermine Mr. Malami’s determination to repatriate all Nigeria’s stolen funds abroad.
It is pertinent to point out that throughout Mr. Malami’s day in the bar, and later National Legal Adviser of defunct Congress for Progressive Change he never wavered or left anyone in doubt on the need to combat corruption in Nigeria. It is therefore strange that a certain Nigerians US-based attorney will choose to malign his sterling reputation, simply because of his insistence that all the Abacha looted funds should be returned to the Federal Government.
It is worthy of note that under the new Attorney General, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has been rejuvenated and has been professionalised in the way and manner they execute their duties. So far, they have recovered for the Federal Government over N3Trillion. This is an amount that ordinarily would have been in private pockets, and Nigerians will continue to wallow in poverty. With the recoveries, critical infrastructures such as roads, power, railways, health, education and others will be fixed and the ultimate beneficiaries are Nigerians.
The Attorney General has also continued to carry out his responsibilities within the framework of the constitution, as we no longer have cases of arbitrary arrests and trampling of the fundamental human rights of citizens. Rather, we are witnessing total observation of the rule of law and the recent inspection of EFCC detention cells to the press is a testimony that under Malami’s watch rule of law has become the norm.
It is indeed disheartening that some unscrupulous elements among us will always want to throw darts on performing government functionaries, all in a bid to intimidate or harangue them to do their bidding. Or how else can we describe a situation where the Abacha looted funds which ought to have returned to Nigeria from the United States are being withheld because of the unpatriotic actions of some Nigerians.
There is the need for total attitudinal change among Nigerians, and the Federal Government re-orientation programmes such as “Change start with me” are timely as they will help to sensitize Nigerians on the need to be patriotic. For us as a nation to make progress in the war against corruption there is the need to support the Justice Minister in his efforts to recover looted funds, as well as reposition the justice sector.
In this era of dwindling oil fortune all hands must be on deck to ensure that Nigeria’s stolen wealth which have been stashed in foreign countries are urgently repatriated. It is the height of irresponsibility and unpatriotism for some individuals to constitute themselves into obstacles in ensuring better lives for Nigerian citizens.
 In these trying times of the nation’s history, we owe it a duty to ensure that well-meaning government officials like the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami are given the necessary support to realize the objective of ridding our country of corruption. The effort he has so far invested in the recovery of looted funds should not be wasted on the altar of frivolous allegations and blackmail.  
As a consummate lawyer he has being in the vanguard of the advocacy for good governance and integrity in governance and it is too late in the day to distract him from those lofty goals. One can only implore him not to lose focus but devote his time and energy in ensuring that the cankerworm of corruption and dishonesty are eliminated from the Justice sector and the entire public service sector.
Perhaps I need to remind his blackmailer and framers that they are on a wild goose chase as Nigerians have already reposed their confidence in the current ATTORNEY GENERAL as his antecedents are glaring and inspiring and no amount of false allegations will change Nigerians’ good disposition towards him.
Chukwudi Enekwechi
Kwechis19@yahoo.com
08065507972
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Niger Delta Militants Vows To Bomb Presidential Villa, Defence, Police Headquarters, Others

As announced last week that “something big is about to happen”, it appears the Niger Delta Militants will match words with action.

The Joint Niger Delta Liberation Force, JNDLF, in a statement on Monday, vowed to shut down Nigerian Communication Satellite Orbit so that launching of missiles will not cause electronic radiation to human lives.

Also, the group vowed to unleash six missiles that will destroy key buildings like the Presidential Villa, National Assembly, Defence Headquarters and 12 others.

Consequently, the NDLF has advised the occupants of the targeted buildings to vacate them so as to avoid loss of innocent lives.

The group also called on the international community to remain neutral as the militants battle the Nigerian Government.

The statement jointly signed by General Akotebe Darikoro, Commander, General Duties; General Torunanaowei Latei, Creeks Network Coordinator; General Agbakakuro Owei-Tauro, Pipelines Bleeding Expert; and General Pulokiri Ebiladei, Intelligence Bureau, reads further:

“The followings occupants of these buildings should as a matter of urgency vacate in them immediately IN THEIR OWN INTEREST to save their lives because our fight is not for ANY HUMAN BLOOD but to destroy all those infrastructures that were built with our oil and gas monies in this country.

“We will make federal government and oil companies to suffer as they have made the people of Niger Delta region suffers over the years from environmental degradation, and environmental pollution.

They include:

1. STATE HOUSE, VILLA- ABUJA

2. DEFENCE HEADQUARTERS

3. DSS HEADQUARTERS

4. POLICE HEADQUARTERS

5. NATIONAL ASSENBLY

6. NNPC TOWERS

7. CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA

8. SUPREME COURT/APPEAL COURT

9. AGIP HEADQUARTERS, ABUJA

10. SHELL HEADQUARERS, LAGOS

11. CHEVRON HEADQUARTERS, LAGOS

12. EXXON MOBIL, LAGOS

13. NLNG, LAGOS & ABUJA OFFICES

14. KADUNA REFINERY

15. ALL MILITARY FORMATIONS IN ABUJA, LAGOS, KADUNA, BENUE, ETC.

“We shall fire these Missiles’ simultaneously at the night, as this will enable every Nigerians to see the movement of the MISSILES and equally to believe us of our seriousness attached to the final breakup as predicted by the United States of America (USA).

“We equally advise the Diplomatic Community to be neutral on this issue as wrong comments against us will be seen as saboteurs. Where they are staying presently will not be affected which is not part of our targeted areas of destruction in the country.

“We shall embarrass the self acclaimed Nigerian Air Force with their recent deployment of fighter aircraft, helicopter gunship and surveillance aircraft when at this digital age, countries are talking about Missile development, and they still condescend so low of their present obsolete equipment. This is sad indeed!”

“Note, we are going to destroy the ones they have deployed to Escravos, Forcados in Delta State; Bonga oil field, Agbami offshore and Brass in Bayelsa; Bony in Rivers; Qua Iboe Terminal in Akwa Ibom State, and Opuekeba in Ondo State if they fails to remove them before time. Our crack team has taken inventory of their equipments. Even the present suffering from a rare ear disease known as Meniere’s disease by President Muhammadu Buhari will not win any sympathy to save our action against the federal government. The name Nigeria as a country will come to an end this week.

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“The so called military operations code named ‘OPERATION PULO SHIELD’ in the Niger Delta region who our partners in the oil bunkering activities, because presently without been told the former JTF Commander, Major-General Emmanuel Atewe who was arrested by the EFCC last week over pipelines surveillance contract amounts to N8.2 billion in the region, is an eye opener to the federal government that the military are fully involved in illegal bunkering in the area.

“They only destroy those who could not afford their bidding and further lobby to come to the Niger Delta region because of what they are gaining from the area.

“Imagine, an Army private’s and corporals from the North could build business plaza of 3 storeys with several estate and other buildings including exotic cars to the detriment of the region? The Pharaoh of Nigeria (Buhari) should take the counsel of sycophants and jesters around him of the region especially Mr. Ayiri Emami and Professor Ita Sagey who are presently in our searchlight. The founder of the Niger Delta Ex-Agitators, Israel Akpodoro, is a dead man and that he should not hide for linking former President, Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Seriake Dickson with the Avengers. We are not in ANY community, the Military can’t locate Tompolo but we have identified where he is now.

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“Presently, Tompolo is in Libya and we’ll get him dead or alive for betraying us in supporting the federal government against us.

“Nigerian Military has weak intelligence gathering mechanism hence they could not identify our modu oparandi. Nigerian military is only good in carrying AK47 to harass innocent people and raping young girls and women.

“If the oil companies especially Shell and Chevron spents billions of naira to only undertake repairs of damaged oil and gas pipelines in the region, when such funds were better channeled for the payments of Bonga oil spill in 2011 and Chevron gas explosion in Koluama, Bayelsa state in 2012 would have saved them from these bombing and their present predicament would have been a thing of the past. Since they don’t want to hear, we’ll continue to break the pipelines until they do the needful for our old parents at home because that is the only language the companies and federal government hears in the country from the region.”

The Niger Delta Avengers have in the past couple of weeks bombed several oil installations, raising fears that Nigeria’s economy might soon collapse as zero oil production is imminent.

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Hijab Ban controversy: In Defence Of The honest And Sincere Parties Involved, By Ibrahim Khaleel Muazu

Following the presidential media chat that held on the 30th of December, 2015, a lot of statements from the president have, as
expected, captured the attention of many Nigerians. However, the one that has generated the biggest controversy is the issue of security; the use of young girls by Boko Haram to carry out suicide bombings.

A reporter from Premium Times by the name Ibanga Isine, out of what many consider as either his hatred for Islam and Muslims, Northern Nigeria and northerners, or shear ignorance of religion and National security,
asked or rather suggested to the President the idea of banning Hijab as a means of stopping suicide bombings by Boko Haram. The President, after a deep breathe, answered saying banning hijab is not an option
but if this (suicide bombing using hijab) continues, he will have to consider banning hijab, adding that the people will have to choose between the hijab and their security.

In response to Mr President’s remark, different opinions have been expressed by different group of people. A reasonable number of these
groups are honest and sincere individuals who are either concerned about the sanctity of Islam as a religion, the security of lives or both. I hereby deem it fit to write this piece in support of both groups in order to pave way for mutual understanding in the spirit of National development.

The President is one of those I consider the most sincere, being concerned about the security of our lives as well as the sanctity of our religion. He can do anything within his power to secure the nation and that can be affirmed even by his worst enemy if that enemy is to be honest. That is why the president had to take a deep breath before answering the hijab ban question. However, the fact that banning hijab might not be the best option to stopping suicide attacks should not be overlooked, as this came right from an army general as well as the Commander in Chief of the nation. The president should therefore not be blamed for saying what he said. He should rather be commended for being so much considerate to Nigerians more than I have ever seen in any president in the past.

The religious people among us who have condemned Mr President’s answer to the hijab ban question should also be given some benefit of the doubt as most of them did that out of sincerity and love for their religion. They are also of the opinion that banning hijab will not stop terrorist attack but might trigger more tribulations to the nation. This is born out of the belief that the wrath of God will always befall those who go against His command, and hijab has been commanded by Allah in the Qur’an in no uncertain terms. Also, the fact that security experts like the president himself do not consider banning hijab an option justifies their claims to some extent.

I therefore think that this this group of people do not deserve condemnation or judgement but explanation and dialogue as they are as concerned about the nation’s security as those that are supporting the hijab ban.

The last group I would defend in this piece is the group who support the hijab ban not because they are in anyway undermining Islam but
because they are concerned about human lives which is also considered more precious in Islam that the ‘ka’abah’ itself. They are also of the
opinion that banning the type of hijab the Boko Haram terrorist are using to carry out suicide attacks does not mean banning Muslim women
from covering their body completely as ordained by the Qur’an. Many of them have suggested either adopting the type of veil our mothers and grandmothers used before the advent of this type of hijab or the type of veil being used by Muslim women in the UK, USA, Malaysia or India.

In fact others suggested that we try to come up with a fashion that will cover the body completely and still look beautiful on our sisters, wives and mothers, after all, what Islam requires is covering the body and not wearing a particular type of dress. This group of people do not also deserve blanket condemnation but dialogue and intellectual discussion.

As for the hypocrites who wish that hijab should be banned so that Muslim women would be dressing in a semi-nude way, I consider them a
group of psychologically attacked vagabonds that require our help and prayers. They fail to realise that decent dressing is not only
preached by Islam but by many other religions, except that Islam has gone extra mile by putting the theory into practice. No wonder the
nuns who are considered the most chaste women in Christianity dress in a very decent way similar to that of Muslim women. No wonder Mother Mary who is respected by both Muslims and Christians is shown in all of the pictures attributed to her dressing decently.
It is therefore requisite for all the parties involved in this issue to give each other the benefit of the doubt by having intellectual
discussions for our own collective benefit.

Ibrahim Khaleel Muazu
muazuqaloon@gmail.com

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We’re Taking Urgent Action To Sanitize Defence Procurements – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari said Monday in Abuja that his administration was taking urgent and appropriate actions to restore order, due process and probity to the procurement processes of the nation’s Armed Forces.

Speaking at a meeting with the British Secretary of State for Defence, Mr. Michael Fallon, President Buhari lamented that the procurement of equipment for Nigeria’s Armed Forces which followed due process  in the past, had become open to corruption and shady deals under the last administration.

“They just put foreign exchange in a briefcase and traveled  to procure equipment for the military. That is why we have found ourselves in the crisis we are now facing,” the President said.

Welcoming the offer by the British Government to assist Nigeria in defence procurements, intelligence gathering and training,  President Buhari restated his conviction that the international community must collaborate more and work with greater unity of purpose to overcome global terrorism.

“Terrorism has become very sophisticated now. If developed nations can be attacked, and hundreds of lives lost, how much more developing countries?

“In the West African sub-region, Nigeria is the main battleground of the Boko Haram insurgency. We have made a lot of progress against the terrorists, but we will welcome more assistance from our friends and the international community,” the President told Mr. Fallon.

Mr. Fallon said he was in the country to see what more Britain could do to support Nigeria in battling terrorism and violent extremism.

“Groups like Boko Haram don’t believe in democracy and freedom of choice, so it’s a common fight for us all,” he told President Buhari.

 

Femi Adesina

Special Adviser to the President

(Media & Publicity)

December 21, 2015

 

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Colonel Dasakui’s Cockpoppy Defence By Okoi Obono-Obla

It is no defence for the embittered retired Lt Colonel Sambo Dasuki to suggest that vehicles for past Heads of States and Presidents from allocation to the Office of National Security Adviser: Somebody should tell Mr Dasuki that his defence or the propaganda been peddled in the media that he will spilled the bean to the effect  that Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV) were bought for past Heads of State and Presidents from allocations of the sum of 2.1 billion dollars  to the Office of National Security Adviser is total hogwash, tenuous  and cannot be a defence or justification for his misappropriation and sharing out to Peoples Democratic Party mandarins of the money budgeted and allocated to his office to purchase military hardware for the troops fighting the insurgency.

I also think such a line of defence can never be a defence in law to the charges such as stealing, money laundering leveled against him. It is puerile and farcical as it is unknown to law. I honesty see such a defence as the clinging of a drowning man to whatever straw come his way to escape from drowning!

The pertinent question is:

Are past Heads of State and Presidents in the country entitled to the provision of vehicles by the Federal Government of Nigeria?

Are these past Head of States and Presidents entitled to protection by the Federal Government of Nigeria?

Certainly the answers to these questions are in the affirmative. I know that as a matter of tradition the Federal Government of Nigeria buys vehicles every year for past Heads of States and Presidents; so suggesting that past Heads of States and Presidents were bought vehicles from allocation to the office of the National Security Adviser is neither here nor there!

It is a poppycock defence!

Okoi Obono-Obla

 

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Defence Hqtrs Detain Generals Over Missing Cash Running Into Trillions Of Naira

No fewer than 20 Generals in the military said to have stolen cash running into trillions of naira from the purchase of arms and ammunition have been recalled by the defence headquarters to answer questions relating to the funds.

Some of the Generals and other top military officers are also being detained at a military facility in Abuja and would soon be made to face the music for their roles in fleecing the nation.

Some of the officers from the army, navy and the airforce, the source said will soon be made

to face an investigating panel probing the purchase of arms for the nation since 2009 with a view to ascertaining their roles in the missing defence funds.

According to one of the sources, the investigative panel, which was raised by the Chief of Army Staff, is headed by a Brigadier General, whose name was not also disclosed for security reasons.

According to a source, “I can tell you that the current leadership of the Defence institution in Nigeria has zero tolerance for corruption given the need to give Nigeria a new lease of life. All those suspected to have diverted any money meant for the armed forces are being recalled to explain their roles in arms purchase.

“As we speak, some Generals currently serving are under detention at a military facility in Abuja while some who had retired but held sensitive appointments relating to arms and logistics procurement have been recalled by an investigating panel.”

It was learnt that some of the detained top military officers might have connived with some national security officers to divert huge sums of money set aside for the procurement of vital equipment and platforms for the armed forces by acknowledging receipt of such items when none had been supplied.

The Presidency is said to have ordered the military authorities to take immediate steps to recover stolen funds allocated to them.

This followed the report of a panel raised by President Muhammadu Buhari on August 31 this year to look into defence budget and recommend the way forward for Nigeria.

In turning in its interim report, the panel raised the alarm that certain individuals saddled with the task of arms procurement for Nigeria, made away with huge sums and left the army to fight with bare hands.

The panel said that extra budgetary interventions collated by the committee was N643.8 billion while the foreign currency component was $2.2 billion.

The report indicated that the amounts excluded grants from the state governments and funds collected by the Directorate of State Services and the Police.

The statement said the committee observed that in spite of this huge financial intervention, very little was expended to support defence procurement.

The committee also observed that of 513 contracts awarded at $8,356,525,184.32; N2,189,265,724,404.55 and 54,000.00 Euros, 53 were failed contracts amounting to $2,378,939,066.27 and N13,729,342,329.87 respectively.

According to the statement, the committee also noted that the amount of foreign currency spent on failed contracts was more than double the one billion dollars loan that the National Assembly approved for borrowing to fight the insurgency in the North East.

It stated that the committee also discovered that payments to the tune of N3.850 billion were made to a single company by the former NSA without documented evidence of contractual agreements or fulfilment of tax obligations to the Federal Government.

The statement said: “Further findings revealed that between March 2012 and March 2015, the erstwhile NSA, Lt. Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd) awarded fictitious and phantom contracts to the tune of N2,219,188,609.50; $1,671,742,613.58  and 9,905,477.00 Euros.

“The contracts, which were said to be for the purchase of four Alpha Jets, 12 helicopters, bombs and ammunition were not executed and the equipment were never supplied to the Nigerian Air Force, neither are they in its inventory.

“Even more disturbing was the discovery that out of these figures, two companies, were awarded contracts to the tune of N350,000,000.00; $1,661,670,469.71 and 9,905,477.00 Euros alone.

“This was without prejudice to the consistent non-performance of the companies in the previous contracts awarded.

“Additionally, it was discovered that the former NSA directed the Central Bank of Nigeria to transfer $132,050,486.97 and 9,905,473.55 Euros to the accounts of Societe D’equipmente Internationaux in West Africa, United Kingdom and United States of America for un-ascertained purposes, without any contract documents to explain the transactions.”

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Inside Senator Shehu Sani’s Defence Of Fulani Herdsmen: Facts And Fallacies By Aper Zava

Precisely on October 24, 2015 the Punch newspaper published the text of an interview granted by Senator Shehu Sani  in response to calls by the Afeniferi, a Yoruba cultural group, that Fulani herdsmen should restrict their activities to the northern part of the country. That interview forms the basis for this contribution whose aim is to expose the fallacies in the views and sentiments expressed therein by the Senator concerning herdsmen and their activities.

Who is Senator Shehu Sani?

Shehu Sani represents Kaduna Central at the Nigerian Red Chamber. He holds a HND in Agricultural Engineering from Kaduna Polytechnic. His profile on Wikipedia says he is a “Civil Rights Activist”. That he was actively involved in the struggle against the annulment of the June 12 1993 Presidential Election, a struggle that got him “implicated in the 1995 phantom Coup” following which he was jailed for life. Shehu Sani, however, regained freedom when civil rule was restored in 1999.

Senator Shehu Sani has led several struggles to fight for the rights of the weak and to bring succor to the poor and vulnerable.

Recently, he has been a strong voice for the Fulani herdsmen who have been terrorizing rural communities who are opposed to their destructive grazing activities. While it is nobody’s business that Senator Shehu Sani has shifted from civil rights activism to nomadic grazing rights activism, his support of the cause of the wealthy cattle rearing predators and his indifference to the plight of the poor peasant farming victims does not speak well of his reputation as a civil rights activist.

Senator Shehu Sani started by saying there are good herdsmen and there bad herdsmen. He believes that the widely reported cases of rural terrorism, raping, kidnapping and destruction of crops are perpetrated by the criminal elements among the herdsmen. The Senator, however, argues that it is wrong to demonize all herdsmen on account of the crimes committed by the few among them.

While this argument is plausible, it is difficult to apply it to herdsmen because when the “bad” herdsmen sack villages and displace the inhabitants, all herdsmen (both the “good” and the “bad” ones) move in with their cattle and occupy the deserted farmlands. How can you be knowingly benefiting from the proceeds of a crime and still claim innocence of the crime?

These well coordinated attacks cannot just be blamed on few criminal elements among the herdsmen, the attacks are part of a global agenda of the herdsmen and their patrons to capture grazing lands, having lost their land to desertification.

Senator Shehu Sani says “it is not possible to restrict the movement of Fulani herdsmen” as that would amount to violation of their fundamental right to move freely. It is laughable, but pathetic, that the Senator finds it reasonable to rely on the right to freedom of movement to justify trespass and forceful occupation of territories by herdsmen. Does the constitution say citizens should move freely and occupy any property they deem fit, and that where access is denied one should use force to displace the inhabitants and install themselves as the landowners? Why is Senator Shehu Sani mischievously turning the constitution upside down? Clearly Senator Shehu Sani is one of those who are indoctrinating the herdsmen and giving them the effrontery to sack villages, occupy deserted farmlands and maintain some level of hostilities enough to permanently keep the native inhabitants too frightened to return home as landowners.

Senator Shehu Sani blames the clashes between crop farmers and herdsmen on the “the failure of government to develop a national grazing land policy whereby the Fulani will know the paths they should follow and the ones they should avoid”. He wants government to acquire and preserve grazing reserves/routes for the exclusive use of the herdsmen as a solution to the land use conflicts between crop farmers and herdsmen. I refuse to believe the Senator is enjoying these conflicts and wants them to continue indefinitely, but the fact that his suggested conditions for peace are not realizable is so much disturbing.

Which communities in the savanna and the forest zones will be willing to concede lands large enough to accommodate the teaming population of herdsmen and herds who keep trouping into the country from the drying nations of the sahel?

Besides, does the Senator think the pasture in the proposed grazing reserves will keep regenerating and will never yield to persistent grazing? Does the Senator think that the climate change disasters that have ravaged the native home base of the herdsmen, as a result of which they relocated to other parts of the country, will never hit his proposed grazing reserves?

Someone close to Senator Shehu Sani should tap him and wake him up to the reality that the grazing reserves he is clamouring for cannot sustain the only God-knows-how-many herdsmen and herds. That in no time the grazing reserves will yield to the pressure of persistent grazing and finally become as barren as desert lands. That is if government is able to acquire the grazing reserves at all.

Why is it so difficult for a well learned man like Senator Shehu Sani to understand that herdsmen cannot continue to rely on natural pasture and water sources to sustain their livestock, and that they need to start cultivating their own pasture? Even if his training as an Agricultural Engineer did not expose him to the modern system of rearing livestock in ranches, he has travelled well enough to see how this is done in other countries that are notable for animal production.

One expects the Senator to engage in exploring ways of helping his people to access modern techniques of planting pasture and managing range lands. But no. The only modern technology Senator Shehu Sani wants for his people, the herdsmen, is the one that allows them to track the movement of cattle and which will enable the herdsmen to communicate with each other and with the government as they move from place to place. What a shame!

Today, farmers in Benue, Nasarawa, Plateau and Taraba states, as well as elsewhere down south, are afraid to go to farm because of the hostilities of herdsmen. As a result, rural poverty has escalated and food security is under serious threat. Yet, Senator Shehu Sani says this will continue for as long as it takes the government (that can barely provide social amenities) to provide and equip grazing reserves for the herdsmen.

Well, if Senator Shehu Sani does not care about national food security and the livelihood of crop famers, he cannot ignore the serious threats to national security that nomadic grazing presents. The Senator and his fellow patrons of herdsmen have admitted variously that violent elements have infiltrated the ranks of herdsmen. We have no way of knowing what these “bad” herdsmen are up to. It is time to subject the herdsmen to the scrutiny of the law. Even though Senator Shehu Sani argues that “the (village) hunters in possession of guns are not different from the Fulani in possession guns”, the practice whereby herdsmen live their lives outside the purview of law enforcement agents is unacceptable in this time the country is grappling with insurgency. There is no doubt that grazing routes are potential paths for the circulation of dangerous weapons undetected, and there is no doubt that the camps of the herdsmen are lawless enclaves which can be used as bases to plan and launch attacks.

It is time to legislate against nomadic grazing and encourage the herdsmen to settle down into ranches. The nation permits the continuation of the outmoded practice of nomadic grazing at her peril.

Aper Zava

(aperzava@gmail.com)                           

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The Straw That Broke The Camel’s Hump: A Rejoinder To All Enemies Of Change – In Defence Of Aisha Abubakar Alhaji

BY USAMA DANDARE

“Rigar da ba wuya ce zan dunka, kowa yasa ga kai nai ta dace” ~ Hausa Proverb

Since the announcement of Hajiya Aisha Abubakar as a Ministerial candidate representing my beloved Sokoto State, a lot of political brouhaha have been going on regarding the person of Aisha Abubakar. Many individuals have expressed their views either in support or against this nomination, citing numerous reasons to buttress their points.

Well, I intended not to join issues with anyone on this ground but being me a indigen of Sokoto State whom Aisha was nominated to represent, i feel voicing my personal opinion is also imperative. Though i believe all these heated debates either in support or against the nomination of Aisha are for the interest of democracy but to be frank, i found almost all the reactions to be totally baseless, childish and uncalled for.

Basically, what drawn my attention to this whole subject is the political brouhaha going on within and outside the state owing to lack of patroticism, vested interest and ignorance. Some influential figures in the state are all out to assassinate the character of Hajiya Aisha Abubakar and hell-bent on bringing her down against all decorum just to satisfy their selfish interests and that of their paymaster.
After recruiting some media attack dogs to blackmail and tarnish her credibility, to an extent of requesting her withdrawal from the ministerial nominee list for no define reasons. They hired thugs and unambitious women under the aegis of “Concern Women Group of Sokoto State” to stage shameful protests all in an attempt to disqualify and get her substituted for their low profile political godfather.

The real reason behind these shameful exhibition of ignorance according to a petition they submitted on the floor of the red chamber; they claimed that albeit Aisha Abubakar is from Sokoto state but she is not known by 99% of women in the state and therefore she should be replaced by a more popular choice. This is one of the most callous and pointless reason that can be told only to the marines. When does it became a law that a ministerial nominee must be known by at least 99% of same gender people in his/her state? This is the highest form of ignorance and lack of idea but nonetheless, i blame Senator Gobir for even having the time to entertain such garbage not to mention of submitting it for consideration.

Another pointless point they raised goes on to say that Aisha Abubakar spent her service years abroad and she never served Sokoto State in any capacity, therefore she’s not qualify to represent the state. Although they may be right to some extent, it is true that Aisha never served officially in Sokoto state but whether she served in the state or elsewhere, she has immensely contributed her knowledge, time and energy serving Nigeria for decades and unless you ceded Sokoto out of Nigeria, then Aisha has perhaps ser served the state since it is a Nigerian state. Moreover, which section of the Nigerian constitution mandated that someone must officially served his state before being considered for ministerial appointment? We saw several scenarios where hundreds of Nigerians were called from UK, US and several foreign nations to come back home and take up public appointments just because they are fit for the job. And to the best of my knowledge, Aisha Abubakar spent her entire working career serving Nigeria if not her stay as a Senior Bilateral Cooperation Officer at African Development Bank, Abidjan, Ivory Coas for a period of only four years between 1993 – 1997.

The naysayers went on to state that “her nomination has created a lots of sceptimism and worries among the generality of the people of Sokoto state.” This is not true! I am currently in Sokoto state and i can confirm that this claim is nothing but a lie, as there’s no such sceptimism and worries among the peace loving people of Sokoto state, if not for those hired and paid to protest against her nomination.

The bitter truth is that Hajiya Aisha Abubakar is not only an indigen of Sokoto State but from the Sultanate Royal Family, being her among the descendants of the legendary Usmanu Ibn Fodio. Like her or not, but the palpability that she possessed all the educational requirements, experience, dedication, credibility, integrity and exposure to represent any state or even the country anywhere in the world cannot be disputed. She’s loyal, humble, educative, religious, caring, honest, charismatic and above all, a technocrat.

It is however idiotic to insist that Aisha didn’t deserved to be a minister based on the fact that she never stayed in Sokoto for a long period that will enable her know and mingle with the people. Since the return of democracy in 1999, Sokoto state has been producing as ministers people who served the state in various capacities and people widely known by almost every resident in the state, but I doubt if it exist a single achievement that all these so-called past ministers brought to the development of the state. I stand to be corrected.

Have we forgotten so soon the words of President Muhammadu Buhari while addressing American government in New York just three months back?
The president has came out to tell the world that he would not only appoint patriotic Nigerians but decent and experienced ones as ministers, people who are committed to the progress of Nigeria and clean hands who have never soiled their palms with corruption irrespective of religion, tribe, gender or political inclination. So any claim that Aisha Abubakar has never being a member of the APC or any political party is totally bullshit, Aisha was nominated based on merit not on political ground or compensation. Must you belong to the ruling party or any political party before you can be considered for ministerial appointment?

It is in view of the aforementioned, that any attempt to challenge Buhari’s choice of ministers will be perceived by we (the masses) as a fight against our national development, it’s also an act of distraction to sabotage the ‘change agenda’ of President Muhammadu Buhari toward rebuilding a new Nigeria for all to be happy. It is vexatious and absolutely hypocritical for anyone to oppose Buhari’s choice of ministers especially those in the APC akin to what is presently going on in Sokoto state, Buhari has made a choice and therefore his choice must be respected. I expect strong opposition if the chosen ministers failed to deliver but as for now, it is uncalled for.

The brain behind this whole brouhaha is nobody rather than a certain siren addicted senator who wants to abandon his senator membership owing to lack of legislative exposure and take up a ministerial role, he’s singly the chief sponsor of this conspiracy for some selfish reasons best known to him alone. While all those making noisy protests aren’t doing so for any define or articulated reason of their own, rather than to please the selfish and undemocratic desire of a non respected parliamentary commodity in the state.

To make things clear, Aisha Abubakar must not nor does anybody have to obtain an associated degree from the University of Pittsburgh in the United States of America or claim to have Masters degree from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria before qualifying for a ministerial job. She might not be popular in town because she don’t go around throwing out wads of naira to the people on the streets in a free-for-all manner which obviously cannot be a reason for her disqualification. She might also not be fit for a ministerial appointment because she don’t walk around with thugs causing havoc and chaos to the peace of the masses if that’s what the naysayers considered party loyalty.

The naked truth is that nobody can force the President to appoint someone whom he wouldn’t be comfortable working with and when he does, both the president and the naysayers themselves will pay the price of their inability to deliver as promise. The immediate past regime of former President Jonathan which sacrificed merit on the alter of vested interest remains a classical example for anyone wishing to learn. What is more important is that neither the protesters nor their paymaster can falsify the fact that Aisha Abubakar is perhaps fit and qualified for appointment based on nothing but merits.

What is even more alarming is that instead of the APC leaders in Sokoto state and their dubious godfather to hail Buhari’s determination to form a cabinet full of technocrats and join the president to deliver his “change agenda” down to the local level, they are now cowardly pressurizing him to appoint political a nuisance into his government, all in their desperation for a safe landing.

Alas! When merit is sacrificed on the alter of sympathy, compensation or vested interest. Then surely, the inevitability of backwardness is absolutely guaranteed. Aisha Abubakar will deliver, i am optimistic she will give us reasons to be proud of. Indeed, if it is a matter of eating and not of selling, then the hen is better than a horse.

 

USAMA DANDARE
osadaby@yahoo.com
@osadaby

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In Defence Of Ndigbo, By Lauretta Onochie 

Many Nigerians have watched with tongue in cheek as the group known as Ohaneze Ndigbo has paraded itself as the group with the interest of Ndigbo. For starters, let us look at the meaning of Ohaneze Ndigbo. Oha means the ordinary people. Eze means King or in this case, Elites. The phrase Oha na Eze Ndigbo as an organisation would mean an association that is for all Igbo people, irrespective of whether they are elites or ordinary Ndigbo or their social status.

But what we have seen in Ohaneze is an organisation that is far from representing the interests of the ordinary Igbo people. The ‘Oha’ have been completely relegated to the background. For many years, children of school age would be seen at various markets in Eastern Nigerian learning how to use calculators and shunning formal education. Their main ambition, or should I say the life plan for such children by their parents is a life in one of those dingy market stalls, with 10,000 power generating sets and no ventilation. Did Ohaneze care? No! It did not occur to them that they could mobilise the Oha in each market to invest in one massive generator that can serve everyone. Like this, they would breathe in clean air and live longer. But why should they do anything in the interest of the Oha? They are the ordinary hard-working commoners! Their own children are in some of the  best schools across the world acquiring sound education that will position them to continue as the elites, the Ezes, over the down trodden Ordinary Ndigbo, the ‘Oha’

Around the end of April, 2013, we all woke up to find the remains of scores of Igbo youth floating on Ezu River. Their crime? They had a peaceful demonstration at Onitsha calling for the actualisation of the defunct state of Biafra. Although I am vehemently opposed to the reason for their protest, they did not deserve to be summarily executed and dumped in the Ezu river. It would make a cheery read if Ohaneze Ndigbo can tell Nigerians how much pressure it mounted on the government of Pres. Jonathan to try to bring to justice those who killed such number of Igbo and  Nigerian youth.

Nigerians are waiting.

In the twilight of the Jonathan administration, it was the same Ohaneze that connived with that government to dupe Ndigbo, promising what other Nigerians saw as desperate hoodwinking of Ndigbo to win unmerited votes. Ohaneze Ndigbo stood with President Jonathan as he lied, wilfully, that the second Niger Bridge would be a reality. Some of us raised the alarm that they were playing on the intelligence of the Oha but Mr. Ifeanyi Uba, armed with sacks of Jonathanian loot, rampaged through the South East, where most things are for cash and carry. Consequently, our warnings fell on deaf ears and today, an organisation that has mud in its face, an organisation that misled it’s people, an organisation that serves only its elites, is rearing its ugly head, shamelessly pretending to be speaking for Ndigbo.

President Buhari has been painstakingly putting a cabinet of men and women of integrity together. Nigerians are certain that this ministerial cabinet will not include the same people that misled and benefitted from the Jonathan administration. Ohaneze are now calling on Ndigbo to reject ministerial positions under Pres. Buhari. It’s a case of, “Since we have completely lost relevance, no other Igbo people should emerge as leaders.” Who are these people? What do they want for The Oha, the ordinary Ndigbo? On one hand they cried, “Lopsided appointment and marginalisation”, on the other, they canvass for the rejection of appointments from the Buhari administration.

They are spreading the same venom across their ranks. It’s interesting that the youth wing of the elite organisation went after Barr. Festus Keyamo, calling him “a desperate political sycophant who sees insulting the Ndigbo as the fastest way to get the attention of Buhari for consideration for a political appointment.” Coming from a confused youth wing of Ohaneze, who can take such myopic ridicule seriously? The anti-Nigeria stance of Ohaneze Ndigbo is not lost on other Nigerians.

Ordinary Igbo families are comfortable living in all parts of Nigeria. They know that Nigeria is the only nation they have. The civil war has been over decades ago. Even the late Igbo leader, Dim Emeka Odimegwu Ojukwu, founded a political party and fully participated in the political and electoral processes of our nation. The divisive nature of the utterances of Ohaneze are nothing but self-serving. It’s all about them and nothing to do with Ndigbo in general.

I dare say to Ohaneze Ndigbo, “You do not speak for Ndigbo”. You speak for yourselves. NOI Polls, an outfit run by the immediate past Minister for Finance, Mrs Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, published that 92% of the sample polled from the South East are very happy with the Nigeria of today. Ndigbo are also a reasonable nation. They are not the ones crying “Lopsidedness” when they know that no laws have been breeched and that there are more appointments coming that will favour every part of the nation. Most importantly, they also know that with the new Sheriff in town, every appointee will serve all Nigerians irrespective of their ethnic origins.

Ohaneze Ndigbo, a self interest organisation may have represented Ndigbo in the long distant past but in recent years, they have not been representing the interests of the ordinary Nigerians of the Igbo stock. It’s time to close shop and allow a Pan-Igbo organisation that has the interest of Ndigbo to emerge. The current Ohaneze is a trading organisation that sells hatred, religious bigotry and ethnic bias, wares, Nigerians rejected by electing President Buhari.

We were witnesses when this organisation was speaking from both sides of its mouth, depending on who paid them last, before the last election. It’s either they deliberately misled their people or they were too focused on the proceeds from selling their people that they did not read the bold handwriting on the wall. The good news is that the government of Pres. Buhari is a people-centred government that will act in the best interests of all Nigerians irrespective of whether they voted for him or not.

Many years ago, the Late father of Anioma people Delta State and icon, Late Chief Dennis Osadebey, saw the self-centredness and the rot in this organisation and hurriedly left, rightly taking shelter in his own Anioma ethnic identity. Today, there are still Nigerian patriots like the fierce Festus Keyamo who smell, from afar, the mischief this organisation continues to create in their region and elsewhere. So they have sent their elites sons to insult a Nigerian role model. If Festus Keyamo declared the truth because he seeks public office, which he merits, anyway, it would still be a long way better and more patriotic than barking at the leadership of this nation for food. Well, this is not President Jonathan’s administration where people were paid for being unreasonable. If Festus Keyamo must apologise to Ohaneze Ndigbo, Ohaneze must first, apologise to Ndigbo for misrepresenting them all these years.

Henceforth, regional organisations that do not represent the interests of their people will have all Nigerians to contend with. Nigerians have found their voice and will no longer tolerate a sect of elites who carry on as if they own their geo political zones. The South East belongs to the ordinary Nigerians of Igbo stock. Nigerians will support them to call their elites to order if their voice fail them. The South East is part and parcel of Nigeria. All Nigerians have a right to speak up on what goes on there, the same way Ndigbo are free to speak on issues in other regions.

Finally, leading up to the last elections, Ohaneze could not read the handwriting on the wall for the simple fact that the body only thinks in terms of Dollars. And they were suffocated with it so they happily misinformed their people and turned them away from the “Change” direction the whole nation was headed. It was in Delta State that an ex governor told some Deltans to go and seek help from the person they voted for. That is PDP spirit. Thank God President Muhammadu Buhari is not cut from the same fabric as Ex-Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan. He is the President of Nigeria, not the president of those who voted for him. He will make appointments to cover the states across the nation. The best part of this is that the appointees will serve all Nigerians and not only where they come from.

Ohaneze, old or young, men or youth, must change their modus operandi. They must focus within to find ways of properly representing Ndigbo in general. They must start showing interest in issues that interest the Oha. Otherwise, there will be more Festus Keyamos and this could lead to the demise of the near moribund elitist organ. Welcome to Nigeria, a new Nigeria where there is no more free money.

 

Lauretta Onochie

@Laurestar

www.laurestar,com

 

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#DeltaTribunal: Judges Frown at INEC’s Failure to Commence Defence

The Delta state election petition tribunal sitting in Asaba, on Tuesday, frowned at the failure of the counsel to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mr D. D. Dodo (SAN) to commence their defence by calling their witnesses listed to appear before the tribunal.

The All Progressive Congress (APC) and its gubernatorial candidate Olorogun O’tega Emerhor are challenging the declaration of Okowa as the winner of the governorship election held on April 11 at the tribunal.

At the resumed hearing of the petition, INEC was expected to open its defense by calling  witnesses as well as  present their  documentary evidence for adoption and closing its case; however, INEC’s counsel, D.D. Dodo (SAN) represented by Mr Onyinye Anumonye, instead, pleaded for a second adjournment after the last granted to them Wednesday last week.

Making the oral application, Mr Anumonye told the tribunal that the document INEC sought to tender is not yet available, adding that the INEC witness who was billed to testify at the tribunal, called to say that she was indisposed.

But counsel to the petitioner, Chief Thomson Okpoko (SAN) objected to the application on the ground that the excuses given are not tenable and that the tribunal barely has less than 30days to deliver judgment.

In a short ruling delivered by the tribunal Chairman, Justice Nasiru Gumi; “We frown at this adjournment sought by the third respondents (INEC) to fifth respondents when the tribunal does not even have up to 35 days or there about to deliver its judgment”.

He added that due to this adjournment, the tribunal will abridge the time for counsel to submit and adopt their written addresses not more than two weeks from 30th of September 2015 in order to give the tribunal at least two weeks to write and deliver its judgment. He however adjourned till Wednesday September 30th for resumption of hearing.

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