Cash Or Prisoners, What Did The Nigeria Govt Swapped For Chiboks Girls?

Since the release of 21 girls who were kidnapped from their secondary school in Chibok, Borno State more than two years ago, there have been conflicting reports about what Boko Haram received in exchange.

The reports contrast what the Nigerian govt said, which is that no prisoner or cash were exchanged for the release of the girls.

“This was not a swap,” Nigerian Information Minister Alhaji Lai Mohammed said Thursday. “It is a release, the product of painstaking negotiations and trust on both sides.”

However, some reports claim prisoners were exchanged for the girls, while some others said the swap involved cash.

While Thisday, quoting presidency source reports that the release of the girls involves cash, a report by CNN is saying some Boko Haram commanders were exchanged for the girls.

Thisday, quoting a presidency source said an undisclosed amount of money was paid to the Boko Haram leaders before the 21 girls were released.

But a CNN report which quoted an anonymous source close to the negotiations between the Islamist militant group and the Nigerian government, “a number of Boko Haram commanders” were freed as part of Thursday’s release of the girls.”

The CCN report  also quoted a separate source, one with direct knowledge about the girls’ release, as saying that no captive Boko Haram fighters were released in exchange for the girls.

Further laying credit to the prisoner swap claim is a report by Punch which said troops and security personnel involved in the ongoing counter-terrorism campaign against Boko Haram are unhappy with the release of five top Boko Haram commanders.

The report added that investigations revealed that the military expressed reservations about the swap which saw the release of five terrorist commanders in exchange for the 21 girls.

“Troops and some military commanders are further worried by the fact that the release of terrorist commanders could impact negatively on the ongoing campaign to flush out the insurgents from the North-East.”‘

“It was further gathered that some of the troops were not happy that Boko Haram commanders, who had killed civilians and security personnel, were traded for the girls.”

The fact that the Nigerian government who claimed no swap in the release of the girls have yet to release terms of the agreement in the negotiated deal brokered by the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Swiss government has helped in leaving room for speculations.

Nonetheless, what appears to be of importance to the country is the safe return of the 21 girls and hope that the others will soon be released.

This much was expressed by Vice president Osinbajo after meeting the girls at the Office of the Department of State Services (DSS), saying Nigerians should congratulate themselves and thank God for the girls’ release.

Osinbajo, who also confirmed the information minister’s assertion that the federal government did not swap the girls for detained members of Boko Haram said said: “We should congratulate ourselves and thank the almighty God for the release and subsequent return home of 21 of the Chibok girls who were taken hostage two years ago.

“It is exciting news for the whole country. Everyone is really excited and I believe that we should be very thankful to God.

“When we started negotiations, we said we would consider all options available to us. Absolutely, there was no exchange of any kind.”

When asked further if the government will agree to future swaps to secure the release of the remaining girls, he replied: “We must be sensitive to the fact that the government wants these girls back and alive.

“Again, we must balance it against the security and safety of the country. In the process of negotiations, we will look at all options and we will weigh the options carefully and decide on what to do.

“But what has happened and the process we have begun is one which has not involved any type of swap of Boko Haram commanders or any militant in any way.

“That is a very good turn of events. We believe that in the next few days and months, we will be bringing in more of these girls using exactly the same kind of negotiations and the same template that we used.”

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Untold Story Of DSS Raid On Federal Court Judges

The Department of State Security (DSS) has revealed that the overnight raid on the residences of some nine court judges, culminating in the arrest of several of them, came as a result of petitions and decisions of the National Judicial Council (NJC), a statutory body that regulates the activities of judges.

Two DSS sources, however, stated that contrary to earlier reports, the Supreme Court nominee for Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, was not targeted in any of the raids conducted so far. Justice Onnohen reportedly raised alarm to friends when he noticed police action next to his residence as a team of security agents swooped on his next door neighbor, Justice Sylvanus Ngwunta. A press release issued by the DSS indicated that Justice Onnohen is not under investigation, SaharaReporters learnt that the justice’s appointment is being fast-tracked to become the CJN in a few days.

However, two Supreme Court justices, John Inyang Okoro and Sylvanus Ngwuta, were arrested in connection with the receipt of bribes from Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State. Justice Ngwuta reportedly traveled to Qatar to receive bribes that he shared with Justice Okoro and other justices in order to help Mr. Wike to win a case at the Supreme Court regarding his disputed election. During a search of his home Justice Ngwunta was in possession of N35,208m, $319,475, 25,890 pounds and 280 Euros

The two judges have been linked with massive properties development in Abuja and Calabar. Justice Okoro is said to be building seven houses simultaneously in Calabar with the help of former Governor Godswill Akpabio and his predecessor Udom Emmanuel in Akwa Ibom state. Justice Okoro had N4.35m, $38,833 and 1000 Euros in his possession during his arrest this morning.

SaharaReporters learned that Governor Wike sprang up late at night to obstruct the arrest of a judge in Port Harcourt. The altercation that ensued created a tense atmosphere between the Governor and security operatives sent to arrest the judge.

One source told SaharaReporters that the judge involved was Justice Abdullahi Liman of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt. Justice Liman, who is yet to be apprehended reportedly took $2million from Ahmed Makarfi-led faction of the Peoples Democratic Party to give a judgement that “overthrew” the faction led by a former governor of Borno state, Ali Modu Sheriff. Governor Wike reportedly transferred the funds in cash to Liman in Ghana, before it was ferried to his home in Port Harcourt. The bribe was to be shared between Lima and the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court of Nigeria, Justice Ibrahim Auta. When the team arrived the house in Port Harcourt where the loot was kept Gov. Wike mobilized his men to counter the DSS team with the aid of the State’s Police Commissioner. Another source also stated that one Justice Uche Nma Agomoh of the Federal High Court in the same city who was a lackey of the former president of the Nigerian Bar Association, Joseph Daudu was also involved in the scam.

A statement issued by the DSS stated that their team was obstructed by the governor and some thugs with the help of officers from a sister agency, which SaharaReporters learnt is a reference to the Nigerian police.

A security source claimed that Governor Wike left when confronted by police and DSS agents who threatened to shoot him, however, the obstruction aided movement of the cash found on the property. Governor Wike told a different version to the press, claiming he did not know who the judge was.

As early as 11 p.m. Nigerian time, the siege on the homes of judges became public knowledge when DSS agents raided the home of a young judge, Dimgba Nnamdi, who apparently has been a thorn in the side of the DSS lately. When the siege was over, the judge’s brother had been brutalized, after which the security agents showed their victim a “search warrant” meant for Justice Okoro. Justice Dimgba Nnamdi was “roughened up” but not immediately arrested. However, a DSS source stated Justice Dimgba is guilty of corruption and had been arrested as well.

Justice Muazu Pindiga, who was arrested in Gombe, was transported to the DSS headquarters in Abuja. A DSS source told our correspondent that Justice Pindiga was cooperating with the DSS regarding his role in a bribery scheme over the Rivers State election tribunal from which he was removed as a judge as Saharareporters exposed him for receiving N100m from Governor Wike.
SaharaReporters learned that Justice Muhammad Ladan Tsamiya, an Appeal Court justice who was recently “compulsorily retired” by the NJC, was not home when a DSS team invaded his home in the Gwarimpa area of Abuja, he reportedly surrendered to the DSS later this morning.
One of the most dramatic scenes took place when the DSS team stormed the home of Justice Adeniyi Ademola. When the team ordered Justice Ademola to come out, the judge claimed he was not home, but his cellphone signal gave him away. He was subsequently arrested with at least N300 million found in different local and foreign currencies in his bedroom. Specifically the same of N54m cash, $171,779. 4,400 Euros, 1,010 Rupees, and 80 pounds was found in his residence.
A different team also arrested Justice Kabiru Auta in Kano.

One DSS source told our reporter that the raids were meant to be carried out by joint DSS and the Nigerian police teams, adding that the police bungled some of the raids by apparently tipping off their targets.

Several security agents stated that the raids took place following independent investigations that were triggered by petitions submitted to the NJC against some of the judges. According to one of the operatives,  none of the nine judges targeted haven’t spent their salaries in the last two years.

One source revealed that the raids were originally planned for last week, but had to be postponed for “strategic reasons.”

A statement issued by the DSS stated that the agency had recovered large sums of foreign and local currencies. The DSS gave a breakdown of the recovered funds as follows:

SUMMARY OF RECOVERED MONEY

1.   NAIRA          –      N93,558,000.00

2.    DOLLARS   –      $530,087

3.    POUNDS    –      £25,970

4.    EURO        –      €5,680

Other foreign currencies were also recovered. The funds were recovered from just three of the arrested judges.

The DSS revealed that its operatives also seized banking as well as real estate documents from several judges.

The agency is making preparations to arraign the arrested justices in court early next week.

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As The Nyakos And Fintiri Appear Before Abuja Federal High Courts By Babayola Toungo

The former governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako, and his son, Abdul-aziz, are currently facing trial at a Federal High Court in Abuja for different cases of alleged corruption.

The Nyakos and others are standing trial in a 37-count charge bordering on criminal conspiracy, stealing, abuse of office and money laundering to the tune of N29 billion preferred against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as they are alleged to have at various times between 2011 and 2013, used five companies – Blue Opal Nigeria limited, Sebore Farms & Extension Limited, Pagoda Fortunes Limited, Towers Assets Management Limited and Crust Energy Limited to commit the alleged fraud.

As their trial continued, former acting governor of Adamawa State, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri was also arraigned before an Abuja High Court on similar but different charges.

Mr. Fintiri was last month arraigned by the EFCC on a five-count charge bordering on money laundering.

He was said to have defrauded the Adamawa government to the tune of N970 million and 4.8 million dollars when he was the governor of the state for three months.

As is to be expected, each of the cases has been unique in hearing and other processes that will lead to the determination of the case.

In the case involving Abdulaziz Nyako, the court last month, ordered the EFCC to pay the sum of N12.5 million being exemplary damages in favour of the senator for unlawful freezing of his account and illegal detention.

This is because the judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, held while delivering judgment in the fundamental rights enforcement suit, that Senator Nyako, was detained in the custody of the commission in excess of the period prescribed by law.

The court in the same judgment also held that declaring the younger Nyako ‘wanted’ without evidence of crime is tantamount to a breach of his fundamental human rights by the EFCC.

Justice Evoh Chukwu of the Federal High Court Abuja in a similar vein blamed the EFCC for delaying judgment on former governor Nyako’s case.

This was after the counsel to Nyako, Yakubu Maikyau said they needed to study a document tendered by the EFCC counsel because it was voluminous before going on with the cross-examination which justice Chukwu sustained explaining that the document should have been served to Nyako’s counsel, Maikyau long before now, adding that the fresh document amounts to delay of judgment.

But before the conclusion of the case, Justice Chukwu who was handling the trial of the former Adamawa State governor and his two children as well as other major cases like the trial of former officials of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), Sani Lulu, Taiwo Ogunjobi and others died.

The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, then re-assigned the case to Justice Okon Abang following the death of Chukwu in June.

The case was initially scheduled to commence afresh by way of re-arraignment on July 7. However, the court could not sit due to the extension of the Eid-el-Fitri holiday announced by the Federal Government on July 5, further delaying the case as the EFCC will now have to re-arraign the former governor and his son before Justice Okon Abang on September 12, 2016.

Even as the matter has dragged due to no fault of the accused persons, it is pertinent to point out that the delay in dispensing with the case, which the late judge complained about is set to further aggravate with the processes, as the new judge handling the case needs time to appraise himself with the facts of the matter.

But of serious concern is another coincidence, having to do with the fact that the wife of the former governor, who is a step mother to the other accused person, who are both being arraigned, is also a judge in a federal High Court in Abuja.

Previous cases that are similar in nature have raised concerns in the past and it will not be out of place to ask certain questions if only to ensure a fulfillment of a vital requirement in the dispensation of justice, which is seeing that justice is not only done but seemed to be done.

Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the last governorship election in Rivers State, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, not long ago raised an issue out of a similar coincidence when the wife of a former governor of the state, Justice Mary Odili, who is believed to be close to Governor Nyesom Wike, a party in a matter that went to the Supreme Court, was serving as a judge when the apex court delivered its judgment.

Peterside said “credible information” confirmed that Wike had met with the Supreme Court justices that sat on the matter at different places before the judgment was delivered stressing that Wike himself confirmed during his thanksgiving service that former governor of the state, Dr. Peter Odili, and his wife, Mary (a justice of the Supreme Court), were his advisers.

He said, “Despite my acceptance and temperate public comments on the verdict of the Supreme Court on January 27, 2016, Wike, by his unguarded utterance last Sunday, seems to give credence to the pervading doubt being expressed on the judgment in public space especially in the media”.

“For the record, in his speech at the church service, Wike probably forgot that he was on live telecast when he stated: ‘Let me thank our former governor, Dr. Peter Odili (husband of Supreme Court Justice, Mary Odili). He will call me midnight to tell me what to do….he will say go so so place.” I took all his advice, and here we are today.”

Though Wike reacted by saying Peterside was crying wolf and trying to incite President Muhammadu Buhari and the military against the governor and the people of the state, the point made by Peterside cannot be waved aside.

Parties usually feel uncomfortable if they notice any development that would erode their confidence in the impartiality of the courts and the court, when such issues are raised usually obliges in order to give a sense of justice to all.

It is to avoid such accusations and doubts in the judicial system that it becomes imperative to point out that having both Nyako and his son, tried before an Abuja Federal High Court when a member of their family is a judge within the same precinct should call for concern.

Not only that, but there is also the need to draw attention to the case of the former acting governor, Fintiri, coming in an Abuja Federal High Court for the same reason.

Fintiri it was who played a major role as speaker of the Adamawa State House of Assembly that led to the impeachment of Nyako in 2014.

If the coincidence in the case of Nyako and his son can be ignored on the basis that the facts of the case would speak for itself, that of Fintiri should bother any unbiased mind due to the no love lost relationship between him and members of the Nyako family.

It would therefore not be out of place to allay the fears of those who for good reasons harbor such concerns in order to deepen the faith of the citizenry in the judiciary.
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The President Has Not Violated the Federal Character Provision In Appointments, By Okoi Obono-Obla

The allegation that President Muhammadu Buhari has made appointments in favour of the Northern part of the country in violation of the Federal Character provision contained in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) is groundless and baseless.

Indeed, President Buhari has scrupulously complied with the Federal Character provision enshrined in the Constitution in making appointments concerning the Government of the Federation.

Section 171 (1) of the Constitution vests on the President the power to appoint persons to hold or act in the offices and  to  remove persons so appointed from any such office .

Section 171 (2) of the Constitution specified such offices to, namely –

(a) Secretary to the Government of the Federation;

(b) Head of the Civil Service of the Federation;

(c) Ambassador, High Commissioner or other Principal Representative of Nigeria abroad;

(d) Permanent Secretary in any Ministry or Head of any Extra-Ministerial Department of the Government of the Federation howsoever designated; and

(e) any office on the personal staff of the President.

Section 171 (5) of the Constitution provide that  in exercising his powers of appointment under this section, the President shall have regard to the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity.

So that it is not correct for some people to contend the President must comply with the Federal Character principle in all manners of appointments he makes.

Section 147 (1) of the Constitution stipulates that there shall be such offices of Ministers of the Government of the Federation as may be established by the President.

Section 147 (3) of the Constitution provides that any appointment under subsection (2) of this section by the President shall be in conformity with the provisions of section 14(3) of this Constitution:- provided that in giving effect to the provisions aforesaid the President shall appoint at least one Minister from each State, who shall be an indigene of such State.

Section 14 (3) of the Constitution provide thus: The composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few State or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that Government or in any of its agencies.

Accordingly the President appointed Ministers from all the 36 States of the Federation on the 12th November, 2015.

The President also appointed Permanent Secretaries from all the 36 States of the Federation in compliance with Section 171 (2) (d) of the Constitution.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Engineer Babachir David Lawal is from Adamawa State in the North Eastern Region of the country in accordance with Section 171 (2) (a) of the Constitution.

The Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs Wilfred Oyo-Ita is from Cross River State in the South/South Region of the country in compliance with Section 171 (2) (b) of the Constitution.

The Chief of Staff to the President is Abba Kyari from Bornu State, North Eastern Region. See Section 171 (2) (e) of the Constitution.

But the Deputy Chief of Staff to the President, Barrister Ade Ipaye is from Lagos State, South West. He is attached to the Office of the Vice President. See Section 171 (2) (e) of the Constitution.

None of these persons are Fulani as erroneously peddled in some quarters.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Engineer Babachir David Lawal is not Fulani or Hausa.

The Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari is Kanuri not Fulani or Hausa as wrongly peddled in some uninformed quarters.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Tukur Buratai and the National Security Adviser, General M. Munguno are not Fulani or Hausa as falsely asserted in some quarters by detractors.

The Acting Inspector General of Police, Idris Ibrahim is not Hausa or Fulani but Nupe.                                      The Current Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honourable Justice Mahmud Mohammed  and the President of the Court of Appeal, Honourable Justice Zainab Adamu Bulkachuwa respectively were not appointed by President Buhari as falsely asserted by some detractors of the present administration. Indeed the duo were appointed by former President Goodluck Jonathan on merit.

Recently the President nominated 47 Persons from 32 States of the Federation and sends their names to the Senate for confirmation as Ambassadors/High Commissioners or other Principal Representatives of Nigeria abroad in compliance with Section 171 (2) (c) of the Constitution.

Those who divide the country into North and South are mischievous, misinformed and totally wrong.

The Federal Republic of Nigeria is not divided into North and South.

Constitutionally the Federal Republic of Nigeria is divided into 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

Section 2 (1) of the Constitution provide thus: Nigeria is one indivisible and indissoluble sovereign state to be known by the name of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Section (2) of the Constitution provide thus: Nigeria shall be a Federation consisting of States and a Federal Capital Territory.

Section (3) (1) of the Constitution provide thus: There shall be 36 states in Nigeria, that is to say, Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe and Zamfara.

Administratively, the Country is further divided into North East, North West, North Central, South East, South West and South/South.

On the 14th January 1914, the Protectorate of Northern Nigeria and the Colony and Protectorate of Southern Nigeria were amalgamated to form the Federation of Nigeria.

In 1946, the Federation of Nigeria was divided into three Regions namely Northern, Western and Eastern Regions.

On the 27th May 1967, the regional structure was abolished and the three regions were divided into 12 States namely Kano, Lagos, Western ; Benue/Plateau, North Central, North East, North West, Kwara, East Central, Mid-Western, Rivers and South Eastern States.

In February 1976, the 12 States of the Federation of Nigeria were divided into 19 States.

On 23rd September 1987, the 19 States were divided into 24 States.

On 27th August, 1991, the 24 States were increased to 30 States.

On 1st October, 1996 Ebonyi, Gombe, Bayelsa, Ekiti, Nassarawa and Zamfara States were created to bring the total number of States in the country to 36.

The Constitution did not provide that all classes of appointments made by the President must comply with the federal provisions of the Constitution.

I submit without fear of contradiction that if the writers of the Constitution intended that all classes of appointments made by the President must reflect federal character they will have rightly stated so.

Okoi Obono-Obla

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“State Govts Must Comply With Procurement Law, Standards In Rehabilitating Federal Roads” – Dogara

ADDRESS BY THE RT. HON. DOGARA YAKUBU, SPEAKER, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, ON THE OCCASION OF THE JOINT INVESTIGATIVE HEARING ON THE CLAIMS BY STATE GOVERNMENTS OF EXPENDITURE INCURRED ON REHABILITATION OF FEDERAL ROADS HELD IN ROOM 231, NEW BUILDING, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, ON WEDNESDAY, 23RD MARCH, 2016.

Protocols:

It is with great pleasure that I welcome all stakeholders and everyone here to today’s occasion, which is the “INVESTIGATIVE HEARING ON CLAIMS BY STATE GOVERNMENTS OF EXPENDITURE INCURRED ON REHABILITATION OF FEDERAL ROADS IN THEIR STATES” being jointly conducted by the House of Representatives Committees on Works and Finance.

  1. This Joint Investigative Hearing is pursuant to the House of Representatives resolution of Thursday, 26th November 2015, which specifically mandated the joint committee to, among others, “…..investigate claims by State Governments on the expenditure incurred in reconstructing Federal roads to determine their propriety, integrity of the construction work and other related matters….”
  2. The 1999 Constitution has provided for road matters in the Exclusive Legislative List, and there exist various legislations on the subject. Item 11 of the Exclusive Legislative List provides for “Construction, alteration and maintenance of such roads as may be declared by the National Assembly to be Federal Trunk Roads”.

In fact, the Second Schedule, Part II: Supplemental and interpretation, provides that:

“1. Where by this Schedule the National Assembly is required to designate any matter or thing or to make any declaration, it may do so either by an Act of the National Assembly or by a resolution passed by both Houses of the National Assembly”.

Existing legislation such as the Federal High Way Act, Cap F13, 35 of LFN, 2004 is also relevant to this public hearing.

  1. The Constitution thus, vested in the National Assembly, with exclusive power for the construction, alteration and maintenance of such roads as it may declare to be federal trunk roads. The National may exercise this power by resolution of both Houses of the National Assembly. Thus, the Executive may not be involved even in this declaration. The National Assembly may have delegated aspects of this power to the Executive by virtue of some existing laws, but it appears that the power to declare Federal Trunk Roads still exists in the National Assembly. This was the decision of the Lagos High Court in the case of Incorporated Trustees of All Nigeria Autobike Commercial Owners and Workers Association Vs Lagos State Government

In this case, Okada riders in Lagos argued that “the defendants (Lagos State Government) have no power whatsoever to make any law to regulate traffic on any of the Federal Trunk or highway roads listed in Schedule II to the Lagos State Road traffic Law, No. 2 of 2012 and in the Federal Highways Act, Cap F13, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004”

The Hon. Justice Aishat Opesanwo, held that the prerogative of designating federal trunk roads is “undeniably” that of the National Assembly. She declared:
“Every trunk road is a highway, although every highway may not necessarily be a trunk road”
….”I have neither been provided with nor directed to a provision where the National Assembly designates any road as a trunk road … I hold that there are no federal trunk roads”.

“Claimants also submitted that the roads are Federal Highways under the Federal Highway Act. It is a misconception and misrepresentation of the Act”.

This Public Hearing may in addition to its express mandate look into the procedure and process of declaring federal trunk roads and federal highways to conform with Constitutional provisions and make recommendations to the House.

  1. The road system in Nigerian is classified into four identified broad categories: The Federal Trunk ‘A’ Roads: These are under Federal Government ownership and they are developed and maintained by the Federal Government. The Federal Trunk ‘F’ Roads: These were formerly under state ownership, but were taken over by the Federal Government, with a view to upgrading them to Federal highway standards. The State Trunk ‘B’ Roads are under the ownership and management of the component states. The Local Government Trunk ‘C’ Roads: These are under Local Government ownership and management. Each tier of government has the responsibility for planning, construction and maintenance of the network of roads under its jurisdiction.
  2. It is important to note that most Federal Roads traversing the States are very strategic roads that link various communities and towns. Some are inter-state roads that are very vital to the economic and social wellbeing of the citizens resident in many states.
  3. When these roads are in dilapidated state, it brings a lot of pressure on the state governments that are responsive to the yearnings of their people, to act. As a result, some state governments are content to re-construct the roads even if they have no approvals from the Federal government. Some of the state governments actually sought and obtained approvals from the Federal Government to reconstruct exclusively federal trunk roads.
  4. You are all aware, that the National Assembly has exclusive Constitutional responsibility on matters in the Exclusive Legislative List under S.4 of the Constitution. The National Assembly also has power of oversight over federal government projects and MDA’s.
  5. The National Assembly’s powers of the purse entails the Executive can only incur expenditure as provided for by law.

It is thus within the province of the National Assembly to determine the amount to be appropriated for road projects and to oversight any MDA where monies are appropriated for roads. Furthermore, the National Assembly passed the Public Procurement Act of 2007 wherein the method and process of contract awards are stated.

  1. It is very relevant therefore to find out if state governments complied with the basic tenets and principles of the Public Procurement Act in the award of Federal road Projects within their states for which they seek a refund. Is there value for money for those contracts? Are those contracts awarded whimsically to conies and favoured companies without due process? Ordinarily, it is not the business of the Federal Government in a Federation, to get itself involved in how state governments conduct it procurement and award of contracts. But when you want the Federal government to re-imburse you, then the National Assembly as constitutional guardians of our commonwealth and patrimony, has a duty to ensure, that due process is followed and that there is value for money for the Nigerian people. This is the purpose of this public hearing and this is why the National Assembly is involved, in an otherwise state activity.
  2. I wish to call on the Joint Committee to carefully design a workable criteria for refund of such expenditures to State Governments that is in line with our extant laws, specifically, the Public Procurement Act of 2007, in addition to other requirements.
  3. The inability of the federal government to undertake the rehabilitation of the over 30,000 Kilometers of Federal roads despite the establishment of the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency in 2003 is treacable to paucity of funds resulting in the poor funding of the road sector.
  4. In view of the enormous responsibility of Federal Ministry of Works and it’s maintenance agency FERMA, it is necessary to look for alternative source of funding for the road sector. For the 8th Assembly, we look forward to the Executive to propose a comprehensive framework and an Executive Bill that will address all the issues in the sector. If the Executive fails to do so, private members bill will fill the gap.
  5. The bill, should encapsulate all necessary areas of alternative funding for the road sector including but not limited to BOT (Build Operate and Transfer) and all necessary models of BOT. It should also specify the areas of taxation that will bring in the required fund for the road sector.
  6. Finally, permit me at this juncture to congratulate the members of the House of Representatives for their unflinching and unwavering support and commitment to the provision of good governance to the people of Nigeria. It is my conviction that the leadership and membership of the Joint Committee will maintain a high standard of legislative service delivery in conducting this investigation.
  7. I invite you all today, to join me as I declare this Joint Investigative Hearing open.
  8. May God bless you all, and bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

 

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Federal Lawmaker, Hon Adekoya Empowers Women Groups, Rebuilds Mosques, Churches

A federal Lawmaker has embarked on massive support for religious organisations to enhance the spiritual wellbeing of his constituents. Hon. Adekoya Adesegun Abdel-Majid represents Ijebu-North/Ijebu-East/Ogun Waterside Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives.

 

In his quest to make the second oldest church in Ijebu land, Ako Methodist Church to be an ultra modern cathedral, he recently pulled down the structure and mobilised a construction firm to commence work immediately. The church was first built in 1984 and the new structure is near completion now.

 

Hon. Adekoya has also commenced the rebuilding of an abandoned mosque in Oni Ward 2 of Ogun Waterside Local Government Area.

 

The information regarding the abandoned mosque was brought to his attention by one of his constituents in the said ward via a text message sent to his phone and he immediately swung into action by supplying bags of cement, loads of sharp sand, roofing materials and enough cash to complete the mosque.

 

In the same vein, he has made provisions for construction work to commence on a Mosque in Mamu, Ward 11 in Ijebu North Local Government Area earlier this week.

 

In his words, “These are just too important for me to do because I have chosen to be a vehicle for supporting spiritual development in my lifetime. As the Bible says “For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” I have resolved to always heed religion calls any day without hesitation especially when it has to do with building and revamping of religious structures. Those who know me very well will attest to the fact that over the years, I have always supported religious bodies in whatever capacity I can. I have successfully built a mosque and more are still at different stages of construction. I am committed to doing this as long as I live”.

 

Members of the community expressed their appreciation through Alhaji Ogunade who spoke on behalf of the elders of the mosque; he showered prayers on the Federal Lawmaker and assured him of their physical and spiritual support always.

 

Similarly, the same gesture was extended to women groups in Ijebu-Igbo today as he empowers over 50 women with cash donation of N25,000 each to support their businesses.

 

The empowerment programme was done at the country home of Engr. Bayo Dayo, Ogun State PDP Chairman in Ijebu-Igbo.

 

These women left with smiles on their faces and expressed appreciations for the generosity of the Honourable member.

 

He said that continuous empowerment of women and positive engagement of the teeming youth is focal points in his plans for his people.

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MOSOP Commend Federal Government’s Commitment To Ogoni Cleanup

The umbrella organization of the Ogoni people, The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) wishes to express its pleasure over the renewed commitment of the federal government to speedily commence the implementation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report on Ogoniland.

MOSOP is particularly delighted at the new spirit of cooperation and commitment to results shown by the Honorable Minister for Environment, Mrs. Amina Mohammed during her visit to Ogoniland.

We also wish to convey to the Federal Government the unreserved pledge of the Ogoni people to cooperate with all stakeholders and relevant agencies that will be involved in the project implementation.

We note that the delay in the implementation of the UNEP report has had some damaging consequences on the health of our people including an increased mortality rate resulting from organ failures. We believe that these negative experiences could have been averted had the government given the desired attention to the report when it was released in August 2011.

We will be counting on the assurance given by the Honorable Minister for Environment that the implementation of the report will be launched by the present government within weeks.

Once again, we pledge our support and cooperation to the process and will expect all parties including the multinational oil companies to demonstrate similar dedication to and work towards the success of the programme.

Signed:

Fegalo Nsuke
Publicity Secretary
MOSOP
March 6, 2016
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Federal Roads: ?Boroffice Replies Mimiko, Insists Ondo Govt Lied

The senator representing Ondo North senatorial district, Prof. Ajayi Boroffice has fired back at the Ondo State Government over its reaction to the controversial sum of N11bn allegedly spent by the state government on federal roads in the state. 
In a statement issued on Monday by his media aide, Kayode Adeniyi, the senator said the reaction of the Mimiko-led administration to his honest observations raised more questions than answers.
“The Media Office of Distinguished Senator (Prof.) Ajayi Boroffice has noted the reaction of the Ondo State Government, through its Commissioner of Information, Kayode Akinmade, to the appeal made by Senator Boroffice to the Federal Government on the need to exercise circumspection on the issue of reimbursement of funds reportedly spent on federal roads to the Mimiko-led government. The twin-ground of appeal are: firstly, it was in view of the conflicting figures emanating from the governor and his appointees. Secondly, it was due to the fact that most of the federal roads, for which the Mimiko-led administration is seeking reimbursement, are presently death traps that require the urgent intervention of the federal government. 
“Therefore, the underlisted points must be stated: That the reaction of the governmernment falls short of gubernatorial mien. It was an hogwash from a sloppy commissioner who glaringly failed in the cruel bid to muddle up issues with his expressed befuddlement and confusion. Obviously, he knows little or nothing about the government he speaks for.
“Meanwhile, the insinuation that Senator Boroffice is working against the interest of the state? is false and misleading. That was a poor shot at blackmailing the federal lawmaker for his honest observations. Why is the government seeking to wipe sympathies from the people like a forsaken-crying baby? A man who has been at the forefront of attracting the intervention of federal government to fix bad roads in Ondo State cannot be said to be working against the interest or hate the same state . He should also not be expected to keep mute when there is a coordinated plan to defraud the federal government.
“Obviously, it is a known fact that the N11bn claimed to have been expended on federal roads in Ondo State is an accumulated figure from past administrations. Of course, the Mimiko-led administration couldn’t have claimed it single-handedly spent N11bn on roads when roads are not built inside a dome – the official conduit pipe to siphon public resources. The emphasis of the government on an obvious fact is therefore a mere distraction. It doesn’t address the issue of conflicting figures.
?”Putting the record straight, Senator Boroffice noted that on Tuesday, 10th of November 2015, Governor Mimiko claimed that the state government was owed N7bn on federal roads. Senator Boroffice also noted that on Thursday, 29th of January 2015, the state commissioner for Works, Gboye
Adegbenro? said? that N11bn was spent on federal roads. Presently, Akimade has claimed part of the N11bn incurred by the state government had been paid three years ago with a N9bn balance yet to be paid. If this administration were to be a transparent one, should it take the observation of Senator Boroffice to bring it to public domain that it received N2bn in 2013? Indeed, if the state government was paid N2bn out of N11bn in 2013, why did a commissioner for works, Gboye Adegbenro, claimed the amount yet to be received by the state government was N11bn in 2015? Was the money received without the knowledge of the state commissioner? Was it received through the backdoor?  Or did Adegbenro deliberately lie to the people on behalf of the government? Considering the fact that Akinmade has said #9bn is the balance yet to be paid, why did Governor Mimiko claim it was N7bn in November, 2015? Does it mean Governor Mimiko made an uninformed comment? Who should the people believe between Governor Mimiko and Akinmade? Who is in charge?  
“Rather than reconcile figures, the commissioner has only confirmed that indeed, the figures brandished by the Governor and other officials of the government ?are conflicting. ?A competent government official would not seek to wave off issue of accountability and transparency by resorting to political innuendoes. That is being clever by half.
“As clearly analysed above, Akinmade needs to acquire basic rudiments of arithmetic as much as he needs fundamental knowledge of space technology.
“On a reiterating note, Senator Boroffice maintains the view that most of the affected roads are death traps and the people of Ondo State would prefer the federal government to fix them rather than pay such funds to an administration that detests accountability and transparency.
“?Finally, given the established conflicting figures as admitted by officials of the Ondo State Government, the federal government should exercise caution on this issue. And the Hon. Rotimi Ameachi-led team should make its report and recommendations available to the public”, the statement read.
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Buhari Sacks Head of 26 Federal Parastatals [See Full List]

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the immediate disengagement of 26 Chief Executive Officers Federal parastatals, Agencies and Commissions.

A statement by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir David Lawal said the president also approved the most senior officers in the Parastatals, Agencies and Councils to oversee the activities of the organizations pending the appointment of substantive Chief Executive Officers.

The statement said the president however, thanked them for their invaluable services to the Nation and wishes them well in their future endeavours.

The list is below:

(i) Nigerian Television Authority (NTA)
(ii) Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN)
(iii) Voice of Nigeria (VON)
(iv) News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
(v) National Broadcasting Commission (NBC)
(vi) Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF)
(vii) New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD)
(viii) Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF)
(ix) Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB)
(x) Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN)
(xi) Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund)
(xii) National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA)
(xiii) Petroleum Equalization Fund
(xiv) Nigeria Railways Corporation (NRC)
(xv) Bureau of Public Procurements (BPP)
(xvi) Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE)
(xvii) Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA)
(xviii) Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON)
(xix) National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC)
(xx) Nigeria Investment Promotion Council (NIPC)
(xxi) Bank of Industry (BoI)
(xxii) National Centre for Women Development (NCWD)
(xxiii) National Orientation Agency (NOA)
(xxiv) Industrial Training Fund (ITF)
(xxv) Nigerian Export-Import Bank
(xxvi) National Agency for Prohibition of Traffic In Persons and Other Related Matters (NAPTIP)
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No Completed Federal Project In PDP’s 16 Years Reign – Osinbajo

Vice president Yemi Osinbajo has said that no volume of pressure or calls from the elites would derail president Mohammadu Buhari or himself from carrying the anti-corruption war to its logical conclusion.

And that in the last 16 years there was not a single federal government completed road project including rail, as the cost of projects were inflated, saying that “The reason is corruption”.

Revealing that there had been a plethora of calls and efforts by the highly placed Nigerians to stop the probes, the Vice President stated that said both of them had no other agenda but “the progress of this country.”

Osinabjo spoke yesterday during a meeting in his office with a delegation from the Moslem Congress of Nigeria led Imam Abdulahi Shuaib at the presidential villa, Abuja.

His submission was contained in a statement by his spokesman, Mr. Laolu Akande.

According to the statement, the Vice President said that the development was a strange morality emanating from some Nigerians across ethnic and religious lines.

“We get regular messages from some Nigerian elites saying cool down. It is a very strange morality that some of those people have, very complicated but cutting across all tribes and religious differences.

“Mr. President and I are extremely focussed on what we need to do. We will focus on critical things, infrastructure and social investments”, he said.

Osinbajo who was miffed by the attitude however noted that the many Nigerians could still discern between what is right and wrong.

He said “the masses don’t have that problem.”

Re-echoing that the elites who felt unperturbed were saying “it is not a big deal,” stressing that government should merely ask the looters of the commonwealth to return the money and go, Osinbajo expressed gladness that “a new tribe of Nigerians who would not compromise their values but would maintain a sense of right and wrong is now emerging”.

“The man on the street is very clear, so whatever some of these elites say, we shall keep our focus on the masses who voted for us,” the Vice President declared.

He said it is simply unacceptable that in the last 16 years there was not a single federal government completed road project including rail, the Vice President added that cost of projects were also inflated, saying that “The reason is corruption”.

He said it was the same inordinate desire for enrichment that explains why money meant to procure arms were being distributed among persons at a time when the territorial integrity of the nation was being attacked.

“The insurgency has gone on for 6 years because government could not adequately equip the military,” he stated.

Speaking earlier, the leader of the delegation, Shuaib conveyed the support of the organization to the government in its programmes including anti-corruption, and expressed readiness to offer assistance.

According to him, “we are thankful that our candidates of choice in the election emerged.” He said the choice of the President and Vice President were made by God Himself during last year’s presidential election.

In a similar note, the Vice President also received delegations from the Nigeria Society of Engineers, NSE and the Facility for Oil Sector Transparency Reform, FOSTER, a group composed of NGOs involved in different issues in the Niger Delta areas.

Speaking with the members of NSE, who were led by their President, Engineer Otis Anyaeji, Osinbajo while highlighting the importance of their profession in national development extolled the engineers for their contributions to the society.

“There is no question at all that engineers are central to the development of the society,” he noted.

Also speaking while receiving FOSTER, also led by Mr. Richard Oshowole, the Vice President restated the government’s commitment to the development of the Niger Delta.

He commended the group for their initiating a common framework to support the process of development in the area.

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Buhari Approves Appointment Of 30 New Federal High Court Judges

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the appointment of 30  new federal high court judges across Nigeria. According to a press statement by Soji Oye, Acting Director of Information of the Nigeria Judicial Council, President Buhari endorsed the recommendation o of the NJC in appointing the judges. The new judges will be sworn in at 10 am  on December 2nd, 2015 by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed.

See full list of newly appointed judges below:

 

Name of Candidate                     State Of Origin

Hon. Justice Yellin S. Bogoro        –    Bauchi State;

Rosemary O. Dugbo Oghoghorie        –    Delta State;

Taiwo Obayomi Taiwo            –    Ogun State;

Ibrahim Watila                    –    Borno State;

Mallong Peter Hoommuk            –    Plateau State;

Isa Hamma Adama Dashen            –   Adamawa  State;

Hassan Dikko                    –    Kebbi State;

Jude Kanyioh Dagat                –      Kaduna State;

Olayinka Olusegun Tokode            –    Osun State;

Simon Akpah Amobeda,            –    Kogi State;

Jane Egienanwan Inyang            –    Cross River State;

Daniel Emeka Osiagor            –    Rivers State;

Prof. Chuka Austine Obiozor        –    Anambra State;

Iniekenimi Nicholas Oweib            –    Bayelsa State;

Hassan Muslim Sule                –    Zamfara State;

Hadiza Rabiu Shagari                –     Sokoto State;

Saleh Kogo Idrissa                –    Yobe State;

Joyce Obehi Abdulmalik            –    Edo State;

Hillary Ide Osho Oshomah            –    Edo State;

Fadima Murtala Aminu            –  Adamawa State;

Toyin Bolaji Adegoke                –    Kwara State;

James Kolawole Omotosho            –    Ogun State;

Nehizena Idemudia Ekunwe        –    Edo State;

Stephen Daylop Pam                –    Plateau State;

Akintayo Aluko                    –    Ekiti State;

Dr. Nnamdi O. Dimgba            –    Abia State;

Emeka Nwite                    –    Ebonyi State;

Abdulazeez M.Z. Anka            –    Zamfara State;

Abdu Dogo                    –    FCT; and

Adamu Turaki Muhammed            –    Jigawa State.

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Legal Possibility Of The Federal Republic Of Biafra By Hannatu Musawa

“When we speak, the Zoo trembles. That is what happens when a cattle rearing terrorist and pedophile is your ruler. Message to every #Hardcore Biafran, if you find anybody in your village asking after Radio Biafra, kill the Baboon Awusa Foolani or Yorobber bast*ard. Let them keep searching as we keep tweeting for Biafra…. Lunatics.”

–This was the exact (verbatim) message posted on Nnamdi Kanu’s Twitter handle on the 28th June 2015 at, approximately, 11:00 pm.

The above excerpt was posted by Nnamdi Kanu, the London-based director of the radio station, Radio Biafra, and a leading member of a movement agitating for Self-Determination from Nigeria to form the sovereign Nation of Biafra.

Now, let me say this; before I had the sickening experience of going through all the vitriol-filled social media platforms owned by Mr. Nnamdi Kanu and reading the dangerously frightening, chilling and venomous hate-filled rhetoric that this young man has been spewing, I was one of those who disagreed with the current measures taken against him. It reminded me of Mohammed Yusuf, who was a person that few knew about until the government incarceration and murder of him turned him into a Martyr. A martyrdom, which triggered bloodletting lunatics we are petrified of today. I felt that Mr. Kanu’s imprisonment was counterproductive. I believe he was playing a game, one which the government took the bait! I feared that there were frightening parallels between the current tensions raised by his incarceration and the sectarian, religious and anti-government rage that preceded the current insurgent uprising in the base of Biafra. In the same way that I felt the government could have handled the situation and fallout of Mohammed Yusuf’s capture in a more cautious manner, I also felt that the present government should handle the capture of Mr. Nnamdi Kanu in a more cautious way.

I simply feel that they should free him, with surveillance, if only for the fact he is a hateful little Gremlin, with a rather funny shaped head! I look at him as no more than a misguided, attention seeking, fed with an over-fed ego. Looking for his 5 or 10 mins,, I still feel, going forward, that the government needs to be a lot more careful, strategic and structured in the decisions it makes on Mr. Nnamdi Kanu. So that tiny tittle anthills aren’t turned into humorous mountains. A staring point would be to release him with station some surveillance on him.

While doing some background on Mr. Nnamdi Kanu and reading his social media posts, I came across scores and scores of his hate filled rhetoric online, some speaking on mass murder, torture, maiming, really, really unspeakable acts those he refers to as Awwusa, Foolani, Yooroober and every tribe not from the South East. To say I was flabbergasted is an understatement. It is unbelievable to me that a human being can harbor that level of hatred. Like the insurgents killing and bastardizing innocent people in the North East, I hope Mr. Kalu can come to the realization that there is very little in the way both he and insurgents think. He is a reflection of their leader, and they are in the reflection of him! Right or wrong, different ideology, they both legitimize violence.

When researching and reading of Mr. Kanu, I experienced three emotions. The first was of a mischievous amusement because his head looked like a Watermelon, that was so absolutely ginormous he would probably need a mattress to serve as a pillow. I imagined that his nickname as a child would be Mr. Bobblehead!

The second was an anxious curiosity I felt about his home environment as a child. I wondered what kind of toxic setting he grew up in that shaped this misguided young man into the hate filled reprobate making the posts I read. The third was a deep compassion I felt for him. I felt sad to see another, amongst us, whose heart was so condemned, it perished in the deep, dark, lonely dungeon of such bigotry and loathing. Where was his family and his friends as he was growing into this dark, bigheaded nasty creature?

I wanted to write on so many of the issues that had been raised by Mr. Watermelon-Head (if I may call him Mr. Watermelon-Head that since that seems so fitting) in his quest to actualize Biafra, however, there were a plethora. Understanding and loving the South East and the people of the South East the way I do, I feel a responsibility to dissect the matters thoroughly. In order to do so, I will separate the main issues into different articles; in sporadic weeks. Each will have a different topic, but a different title using the theme THE —————————- OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF BIAFRA

Considering the fact that the basis of Mr. Watermelon-Head’s (My apologies for referring to him as that throughout the piece, I believe that must be the starting point. The legality for a discussion on not Self-Determination for Biafra claims priority in any such discussion.
I will first examine the legal ramifications and possibility of a declaration of political autonomy from Nigeria on the backdrop of the United Nations Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This declaration is essential and a starting point for any discussion on Self-determination. This is where you see the lawyer/lecturer in me tends to overpower the writer). It is not the first time the issue of Self-Determination from Nigeria has come up. In the past, groups have attempted to make use of Art 1(2) of the United Nations Charter as well as other International Covenants to assert the third generation right for political autonomy, however, the position of International legal principles and set precedents established, in regards to Self-determination is not as simple and straightforward as one would assume! “…I’ll explain…”

Under Art 1, [ICCPR/ICESCR, Art 1(2), UN Charter; Art 20(1), ACHPR; Art 2, AL], it is provided that:

  1.    “All peoples have the right to self-determination…”
    2.    “All peoples may, for their own ends, freely dispose of their natural wealth and resources without prejudice to any obligations arising out of international economic co-operation, based on the principle of mutual benefit, and international law. In no case may a people be deprived of its own means of subsistence.”
    3.    “The State Parties to the present Covenant, shall promote the realization of self-determination, and shall respect that right, in conformity with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations.”

As clearly evidenced in the provisions of the United Nations Charter, international law has always held the right to self-determination at a high standing because its recognition is vital for the effective guarantee and observance of individual human rights and the promotion and strengthening of those rights. However, even with the importance attached to this right, in the wake of decolonization, the right to self-determination stands as one of the most debatable aspects of modern international human rights law we have today.

The accepted view of self-determination is that it is a right exercised primarily by people living under colonial regimes, which could be exercised once and once only, to remove the colonial regime in question. Essentially it was taken as referring to the right of a group of people, normally of one distinct territory, to decide collectively the manner in which they wish to be ruled or governed. However, even though the right to self-determination for all peoples is an apparently inalienable human right, it must be noted that it is not necessarily an absolute right! Most notably, its application to ‘peoples’ living under non-colonial domination is not so apparent.

It must be established that the right to self-determination is ‘a group’ right but one of its main problems lies with its beneficiaries; who are the ‘people’ to whom the rights ascribe? Due to the fact that the right is only exercisable by ‘peoples’, the law has to be satisfied that those who seek it meet the threshold of ‘peoples’ under international set principles. The meaning to be attributed to the concept of ‘peoples’ for the rights of people in international law in this regard includes groups who enjoy a common historical tradition, racial or ethnic identity, cultural homogeneity, linguistic unity, religious or ideological affinity, territorial connection or common economic life. The group as a whole must have the will to be identified as ‘a people’ or the consciousness of being ‘a people.’ Given this definition, it is presumed that Mr. Watermelon-Head’s definition of the Biafran people may satisfy the definition of ‘peoples’ for the purpose of securing their indigenous rights under the United Nations Convention… If he has the complete and pure consensus of every single Nigerian Igbo!

Conversely, in respect of self-determination of ‘peoples’, two other vital aspects have to be distinguished; the internal and external aspect of self-determination.
The right has an internal aspect, that is to say, the rights of all peoples to pursue freely their economic, social and cultural development without outside interference. In that respect, there exists a link with the right of every citizen to take part in the conduct of public affairs at any level, as referred to in Article 5 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. In consequence, governments are to represent the whole population without distinction as to race, color, descent or national or ethnic origin. On the other hand, the external aspect of self-determination implies that, all peoples have the right to determine freely their political status and their place in the international community based upon the principle of equal rights and exemplified by the liberation of peoples from colonialism and by the prohibition to subject peoples to alien subjugation, domination, and exploitation.

Within the backdrop of establishing the internal and external aspect of self-determination follows the issue of territorial integrity. The main bone of contention for any group or peoples within a defined national boundary that wish to declare their right to self-determination is the fact that international law has developed within a framework of respect for the territorial integrity of a state. Cohabiting with the United Nations’ encouragement of self-determination is its very strict practice of respect for the territorial integrity of a State, a policy deeply against partial or total interference with the territorial integrity of a State. Territorial integrity and respect, therefore, is enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, Art 2. The General Assembly, in Declaration 1514 on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples in 1960 even went as far as purporting to exclude the exercise of self-determination by discernible groups: ‘Any attempt aimed at the partial or total disruption of the national unity and the territorial integrity of a country is incompatible with the purpose and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.’

In a leading Canadian case with similar facts to the declaration that Mr. Watermelon-Head may eventually wish to rely on, the court was very clear on the position of United Nations Charter regarding the right to self-determination of indigenous people within a defined state.
On the question of whether international law principles recognize Quebecers right to self-determination, which could legally effect the unilateral secession of Quebec from Canada, the court concluded that; ‘Canada is a sovereign and independent State conducting itself in compliance with the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples. Thus, the Quebecers had no right to secede’. In the judgment, the Supreme Court had recognized the right of a people to self-determination and acknowledged that much of the Quebec population satisfied the criteria for determining the definition of a ‘people.’ However, the court then distinguished between internal and external self-determination; the former being the accepted political development of a State and the latter could only be invoked unilaterally in extreme situations. The Quebecers were accorded internal self-determination insofar as their linguistic rights are recognized; they have a fair representation in national legislative, executive and judicial bodies, and their culture is not threatened.
The court received many submissions on behalf of other indigenous Canadians who also argued for their own territory and autonomy. But this point was not even addressed by the court because no application of the principle of self-determination was found as justified vis-à-vis Quebec and, therefore, no other indigenous group or tribe could invoke that right.

But even with these set principles, there are instances where the international law applies a different criterion in cases it considers extreme. The scope of an extreme situation justifying external self-determination was addressed in the opinion of the African Commission of Human Rights in Katangese Peoples’ Congress V Zaire. It was suggested that where a State denies a group participation in the Government process and violates their fundamental rights, the territorial integrity of the State may not be such a paramount consideration.

Furthermore, other instances where support for the extension of the principle of Self-determination to indigenous populations may be inferred have been recorded. If Mr. Watermelon-Head’s grievance and ambit falls within this argument, then he may have a case. One such example was from the powerful separate opinion laid down in the Western Sahara Case. The judge opined that; “It hardly seems necessary to make more explicit the cardinal restraints which the legal right of self-determination imposes… It is for the people to determine the destiny of the territory and not for the territory to determine the destiny of the people.” But even such a strong ‘obiter’ is not without its ambiguity. It could be inferred from this that the ‘people’ must be of a whole territory and hence the judgment conforms to the territorial view of the United Nations. On the other hand, the use of the term ‘territory’ could be taken to mean that the land could be part of an existing State. This still causes some problems for self-determination with the colonial framework where questions of succession arise.

While unilateral secession is not specifically prohibited, it is clear that international law does not specifically grant component parts of sovereign states the legal right to secede unilaterally from their parent state. Self-determination is clearly acceptable for divesting States of colonial powers, but the problems arise when groups, not, in a solo occupation of a given defined State territory choose to exercise self-determination! Hoping Mr. Watermelon-Head is taking note…!

Although the policy of self-determination has had some notable successes in the post-colonialist era; for example in Czechoslovakia where the population voted to separate and become two States, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia, international law tends to lean towards territorial integrity in a clash with claims for ethnic, cultural and religious self-determination.

As earlier stated, the right to self-determination as a group right applies to the people of a State wholly and not severally. The people that Mr. Watermelon-Head is referring to as Biafrans are the nationals of Nigeria as a whole. And even though Nigeria is a decolonized State that lacks cultural and ethnic homogeneity, the whole people of the territory achieved independence through the communal exercise of self-determination.

So, based on the set precedence of the International legal provision that Mr. Watermelon-Head probably would need to seek to rely on, would such a quest for political autonomy of Biafra from Nigeria succeed under the United Nations Charter? Given the fact that it would be difficult to argue that Biafra meets the threshold of a colonial people or oppressed people or that they have been denied meaningful access to government to pursue their political, economic, cultural and social development, any quest he may have for self-determination under the United Nations Charter would be unlikely to succeed. International law would expect any such agitation for self-determination to be sought within the framework of Nigeria.

Now, let me briefly turn to Nigerian law. Based on Nigerian internal law, Mr. Watermelon-Head’s quest is also unlikely to succeed. Provided in the preamble to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,1999 (as Amended), the entire people of Nigeria agreed that the Country should be One Indivisible and Indissoluble Sovereign Nation. It prescribes that;

“We the People of the Federal Republic of Nigeria: Having firmly and solemnly resolved: TO LIVE in unity and harmony as one indivisible, indissoluble, Sovereign Nation under God dedicated to the promotion of inter-African solidarity, world peace,  international co-operation and understanding: AND TO PROVIDE  for a  Constitution for the purpose of promoting the good government and welfare of all persons in our  country on the principles of Freedom, Equity and Justice, and for the purpose of consolidating the Unity of our people: DO HEREBY MAKE, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THE following constitution…”

The preceding is a collective agreement by the Nigerian People and for this principle of indivisibility and indissolubility to be undermined by any part of Nigeria it will require the people of Nigeria coming together to agree that a part of the nation has a right to what that part considers as self-determination. The Constitution is the Organic Law, governing the rights, duties, obligations, and privileges of the people of Nigeria and its supremacy must at all times be fundamentally observed. For any group of persons to seek to divide the Nation under any guise would amount to a brazen attack on the Constitution.

Mr. Watermelon-Head has got the law, both international and internal, twisted! The second limb of the preamble to the Constitution makes provision aimed at engendering peaceful coexistence and unity of Nigeria. Perhaps, Mr. Watermelon-Head should be advised to concentrate his efforts on engaging the leadership of Nigeria for… better leadership rather than go on this ‘silly, billy, senseless, ‘Frolic of his own!”
It is likely that the grievances Mr. Watermelon-Head has is hinged on the failure of past political leaders to promote good governance and welfare of all persons on the principles of Freedom, Equality, and Justice that has heightened his agitation for the Biafran State, which threatens the peace of the Nation.
I suggest he channels his energies in order to bring better leadership in the places it is required. How about lifting his posterior off that potato couch, hence where he disgorges his vile venom in the comfort of this London station and comes to see what peaceful and productive change he can bring to Nigeria? Eeehhh? How about that for a suggestion Mr. Watermelom…? Instead of breaking the law, calling for treason, committing conspiracy and expecting to b hailed as a hero and a marty. *Sigh*

In a nation like Ethiopia, it was possible for Eritrea to exercise her right to self-determination because the Ethiopian law has a liberal provision that guarantees such right, unlike Nigeria where the Constitution does not admit of the exercise of a right to self-determination.

Therefore, if Mr. Watermelon-Head wants to declare political autonomy from Nigeria in order to enforce the United Nations’ Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples for the self-determination of Biafra, he must keep in mind that, in challenging the traditional anti-secessionist United Nations’ stand, the present United Nations’ practice dictates that only classic colonies, those Third-World nations under European domination can exercise the right to self-determination without any hitch. In light of this, rather than relying on international law and the UN Convention or internal law to enforce his quest for self-determination, an internal decision making framework, such as a Constitutional Convention, National Conference or Constituent Assembly may be a more informed, advisable and sensible way for Mr. Watermelon-Head to present his argument for breaking away from Nigeria.

That is it for my legal analysis on the Legal Analysis on The Self-Determination and Political Autonomy On Biafra Mr. Nnamdi Kanu is trying to make noise on.

Next time, I will dissect another aspect of the wearisome issues that have been thrown up by the Cantankerous undertaking that Mr. Watermelon-Head, AKA, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu has so audaciously committed himself to in his search for Biafra.
Better still, I would like to have an intellectual, fact and legal based, respectful debate on this issue with him. With any luck, if I can focus my mind off his Watermelon-Head, I think I’ll be good1

Written By Hannatu Musa Musawa
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