Tuesday, August 30, 2005

WHEN AMERICA SUFFERS, WHAT DO WE DO?


Aug. 30, 2005 - WHEN AMERICA SUFFERS, WHAT DO WE DO?


OUR URGENT APPEAL TO THE REST OF THE WORLD TO COME TO THE AID OF AMERICA IN THE CATASTROPHE OF HURRICANE KATRINA.
Tuesday,August 30,2005.

When the catastrophic Tsunamis struck Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the other countries in the Indian Ocean, America rushed to the rescue of the terrified victims and till date there are more American emergency Aid workers still doing their best to save precious lives and rehabilitate the homeless thousands. But when natural disasters happen in America, the rest of the world will not rush to help Americans in distress. Why? Because, they believe Americans can take care of themselves? But, this is wrong and inhuman. Because, death is no respecter of persons. Scores of people have already died from the collateral damages of Hurricane Katrina and the worst hit millions of people are in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama with the death toll of over 55 precious souls who are innocent of the wrath of the earth. Now what are we going to do to help America in her hours of need? Yes, America is now in dire need of our help. And giving helping hands is not always giving money. Words of comfort go a long way to help those who are hurting and languishing as millions of those who have lost their loved ones, homes and very valuable properties worth billions of dollars in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The thousands of refugees are in the shelter in the New Orleans' Superdome stadium, where power was lost early Monday power supplies, water supplies and businesses have been wrecked. The trauma is nerve-wrecking and millions of people in New Orleans are harrowing in sorrow now. And their sorrow will linger till tomorrow.

Only God who understands why these terrible disasters happen can comfort us. But, what can we do to prevent there earthquakes, tsunamis, tornados, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions and other catastrophic disasters on planet earth? Are our scientific exploits not enough to develop the means to avert these disasters? Have we failed to develop the technologies to build safer homes that can withstand these disasters? Have we ignored the knowledge that God has already given us to overcome all these natural and unnatural disasters of the wrath of the earth and allow ourselves to be living in fear and trembling in the shadow of death?

We have many questions, but very few answers. How can we continue to survive on this planet earth, the only home we have in the whole universe? Or are we going to look for another planet that will be safer for human habitation? Where is such a planet? Only God has the answers to all the questions of the fears of humans on earth.

Of course, the precious lives lost can never be replaced. Human Life is priceless. Who will comfort the bereaved. America is going through trials and tribulations and yet America has the time to come to our rescue in Niger, the Sudan, Ethiopia and other parts of Africa and the rest of the world where there are emergencies. Now let us come to bear with Americans in this their moments of pains and tears of great loss as they suffer the ravages of this catastrophic Hurricane called Katrina.

Hurricane Katrina's wrath still being felt as death toll rises to 55

Holbrook Mohr
Canadian Press
Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Adeline Perkins carries her dog, Princess, as Lynell Batiste carries Timmy while Kewanda Batiste and Ulysses Batiste swim through the flood waters from their Lacombe, La. home. (AP Photo/Mari Darr~Welch)

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) - U.S. Gulf Coast residents staggered from the body-blow inflicted by hurricane Katrina, with more than a million people without power, lowlands swamped and at least 55 dead - a number likely to increase as rescuers reach the hardest-hit areas.

Boats rescued people clinging to rooftops, hundreds of trees were uprooted and sailboats were flung about like toys after Katrina crashed ashore Monday in what could become the most expensive storm in U.S. history.

The U.S. federal government began rushing baby formula, communications equipment, generators, water and ice into hard-hit areas of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, along with doctors, nurses and first-aid supplies.

The U.S. Defense Department sent experts to help with search-rescue operations.

The death toll jumped late Monday when Harrison County emergency operations center spokesman Jim Pollard said an estimated 50 people had died in the county, with some 30 dead at a beach-side apartment complex in Biloxi.

"This is our tsunami," Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway told the Biloxi Sun Herald.

Mississippi Emergency Management Agency officials refused to confirm the deaths. Three other people were killed by falling trees elsewhere in Mississippi and two died in a traffic accident in Alabama, authorities said.

The total does not include 11 deaths in South Florida when a much-weaker Katrina first made landfall last week.

Katrina knocked out power to more than a million people from Louisiana to the lorida Panhandle - the westernmost areas of the southern state - and authorities said it could be two months before electricity is restored to everyone. Ten major hospitals in New Orleans were running on emergency backup power.



"It will be unsafe to return to the coastal area for several days," Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour told evacuees Monday. "Be patient. Don't be in a hurry to go back."

According to preliminary assessments by AIR Worldwide Corp., a risk modeling firm, the property and casualty insurance industry faces as much as $26 billion US in claims from Katrina.



That would make Katrina more expensive than the previous record-setting storm, Hurricane Andrew, which caused some US$21 billion in insured losses in 1992 to property in Florida and along the Gulf Coast.



Mississippi's economy was also dealt a blow that could run into the millions, as the storm shuttered the flashy casinos that dot its coast. The gambling houses are built on barges anchored just off the beach, and Barbour said emergency officials had received reports of water reaching the third floors of some casinos.



After striking the Gulf Coast as a Category 4 hurricane, Katrina was later downgraded to a tropical storm as it passed through eastern Mississippi, moving north at nearly 35 km/h. Winds early Tuesday were still nearly 100 km/h.



At New Orleans' Superdome stadium, where power was lost early Monday, some 9,000 refugees spent a second night in the dark bleachers. With the air conditioning off, the carpets were soggy, the bricks were slick with humidity and anxiety was rising.

"Everybody wants to go see their house. We want to know what's happened to us. It's hot, it's miserable and, on top of that, you're worried about your house," said Rosetta Junne, 37.




Associated Press reporters Mary Foster, Allen G. Breed, Brett Martel, Adam Nossiter and Jay Reeves contributed to this report.

-

On the Net:

National Hurricane Center:

Http://www.nhc.noaa.gov

Monday, August 29, 2005

FBI RAIDS THE HOME OF THE VICE PRESIDENT OF NIGERIA


ALHAJI ATIKU ABUBAKAR.

ALJAZEERA just reported that the FBI raided the American residence of the Vice President of Nigeria, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

Alhaji Atiku Abubakar wants to be the next President of Nigeria in 2007. And his only rival is the former head of state, the retired General Ibrahim Gbadamosi Babaginda who is also a northerner. Both men have enough ill-gotten wealth to rig the Presidential Election in 2007. They are leaders of the corrupt Nigerian oligarchy. Alhaji Abubakar has many wives and concubines. And he is also very queer.

The full report is published below.
FBI raids Nigeria official's US home

Sunday 28 August 2005, 22:24 Makka Time, 19:24 GMT
Vice President Atiku Abubakar's home was searched (file)

The FBI has raided the Maryland residence of the Nigerian vice president as part of an investigation into whether a US legislator made or approved payments to officials in West Africa, a US newspaper reported.

A US State Department spokeswoman confirmed the search had taken place but would not make further comment.

"All inquiries regarding the search of the United States' residence of Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar should be directed to the Department of Justice," she said.

The Justice Department declined to comment.

The raid, which took place on 3 August but has just come to light, was in connection with an investigation into William Jefferson, a Democratic legislator from New Orleans, the city's Times-Picayune newspaper said on Saturday.

Diplomatic channels

The Nigerian vice president was not available for comment on Sunday, but a Nigerian presidential spokeswoman said: "The presidency has been notified of the incident and is using diplomatic channels to find out the reason and the findings surrounding the incident."

A source familiar with the investigation said subpoenas showed federal agents were looking for records indicating whether Jefferson paid, offered to pay or authorised payments to Nigerian or Ghanaian government officials, The Times-Picayune said.

Agents were seeking documents related to Jefferson's dealings with Abubakar and the vice president of Ghana, Aliu Mahama. Jefferson returned from a five-day visit to Ghana in mid-July, about three weeks before the FBI raided his homes, according to the newspaper.

The subpoenas focused partly on a telecommunications deal Jefferson was trying to engineer in Nigeria over the past year, according to documents and those familiar with details of the investigation.

Kentucky company

According to The Times-Picayune, sources familiar with the telecommunications deal said Jefferson was attempting to smooth the way for iGate Corp., a small Kentucky company, to offer its high-speed broadband technology to Nigeria's fast-growing telecommunications market.

Jefferson's spokeswoman, Melanie Roussell, said the eight-term legislator would continue to decline comment on the federal investigation. He has only said he is cooperating with federal investigators, according to the newspaper.

Jefferson's attorney, Mike Fawer, has said he thinks the FBI had been conducting a sting operation against his client.

Abubakar and his wife, Jennifer, a doctoral student at American University in Washington, were said to be in Nigeria.


Reuters

Saturday, August 27, 2005

"YAHOO-YAHOO" NIGERIAN INTERNET SCAM SPAM: DON'T BE A VICTIM!


The greed for American dollars and to get rich quick have driven thousands of young Nigerians to the Internet for the sole purpose of Scams. What they now now "Yahoo-Yahoo" in Nigeria. They use chicanery and flattery to deceive, hoodwink and to rob their foreign victims in America, Europe, Australia, Asia and the Middle East.
No day passes without seeing these Scam spam in the e-mails. But, mostly in free e-mail accounts. The best advice is to delete them immediately you see unsolicited spam mail.


Oil pipelines run through Nigerian villages. But, the billions of dollars Nigeria makes daily from crude oil and gas exports have been stolen by corrupt Nigerian rulers and their contractors. Over 200 billion pounds have been stolen by the corrupt civilian and military rulers in Nigeria since Shell struck oil in the country in 1956. The greediness and wickedness of these Nigerian tyrants and power brokers of the Nigerian oligarchy have left the majority of the over 135 million Nigerians in ruins as the picture above shows.

We have to republish this very important report already widely circulated, because most people have the problem of recollection of such things that we know could make a lot of difference. The sooner the people in America and Europe in particular stop responding to Internet Scam spam mail, the better for us all in Nigeria and others in the world. Because, we want the rest of the world to stop calling Nigerians bad names and to stop painting Nigeria bad in the global village. If you ignore these Internet scammers, they will stop. If you really want them to stop, then you should stop responding to them. It takes two to tango. How can you claim millions of dollars you have not won? When did you play the lottery? How did they get your e-mail address when you did not subscribe to them. Heh! Dollars don't grow on trees. Let us agree now to stop the notorious Nigerian 419 Internet Scammers! All right?

Internet Spam and Scam in Nigeria
Business Archive
August 7, 2005 BY DULUE MBACHU.
LAGOS, Nigeria.

Day in, day out, a strapping, amiable 24-year-old who calls himself Kele B. heads to an Internet cafe, hunkers down at a computer and casts his net upon the cyber-waters. Blithely oblivious to signs on the walls and desks warning of the penalties for Internet fraud, he has sent out tens of thousands of e-mails telling recipients they have won about $6.4 million in a bogus British government "Internet lottery." "Congratulation! You Are Our Lucky Winner!" it says. So far, Kele said, he has had only one response. But he claims it paid off handsomely. An American took the bait, he said, and coughed up "fees" and "taxes" of more than $5,000, never to hear from Kele again. Festac Town, a district of Lagos where the scammers ply their schemes, has become notorious for "419 scams," named for the section of the Nigerian penal code that outlaws them.

YOU DON'T KNOW ME ...
No one knows for sure which of these dodges, if any, were invented in Nigeria, but fraudsters in the West African nation have made them so famous that they are often called ''419 scams,'' after the clause in the Nigerian penal code that outlaws them. A look at some of the more common ones: ''You don't know me, but I used to be married to a corrupt dictator ...''

Nigerians are most commonly associated with scams featuring purported officials or relatives of dead dictators seeking help in getting millions of dollars out of Nigeria or any other African country. Victims are promised a large chunk of the money supposedly stolen from the state treasury, but first must put up money to show their trustworthiness. Variations include proposals for lucrative oil, construction or procurement contracts purported to have been issued by some state-owned company or government department, all with the object of extracting payments from the victim in the form of taxes, fees and bribes to facilitate the promised payoff. ''You're in luck ...'' Targets are told they have come into some sudden fortune and need only complete a few bureaucratic procedures to claim it. These procedures turn out to be costly. Victims are often churches and charities, which are told that a millionaire somewhere has willed them a fortune. ''You Are Our Lucky Winner!'' Millions of e-mails are sent telling recipients they have won millions of dollars (or any hard currency) in an ''official Internet lottery.''

The ''winners'' are given the name of an agent who will handle upfront ''taxes'' and other levies. ''Your price is right ...'' A scammer contacts someone selling a car or other valuable over the Internet and accepts the advertised price. The scammer sends the seller a check for perhaps twice the amount, then claims to have made a mistake and asks the seller to wire the difference to a bank account in Nigeria or elsewhere. The seller obliges, then discovers the check sent to him is fake. AP
In Festac Town, an entire community of scammers overnights on the Internet. By day they flaunt their smart clothes and cars and hang around the Internet cafes, trading stories about successful cons and near misses, and hatching new plots. Festac Town is where communication specialists operating underground sell foreign telephone lines over which a scammer can purport to be calling from any city in the world. Here lurk master forgers and purveyors of such software as "e-mail extractors," which can harvest e-mail addresses by the million. Now, however, a 3-year-old crackdown is yielding results, Nigerian authorities say. Nuhu Ribadu, head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, said cash and assets worth more than $700 million were recovered from suspects between May 2003 and June 2004. More than 500 suspects have been arrested, more than 100 cases are before the courts, and 500 others are under investigation, he said.

The agency won its first big court victory in May when Mike Amadi was sentenced to 16 years in prison for setting up a Web site that offered juicy but phoney procurement contracts. Amadi cheekily posed as Ribadu himself and used the agency's name. He was caught by an undercover agent posing as an Italian businessman. This month, the biggest international scam of all -- though not one involving the Internet -- ended in court convictions. Amaka Anajemba was sentenced to 2-1/2 years in prison and ordered to return $25.5 million of the $242 million she helped to steal from a Brazilian bank. The trial of four co-defendants is to start in September. Why Nigeria? There are many theories. The nation of 130 million, Africa's most populous, is well-educated, and English, the lingua franca of the scam industry, is the official language. Nigeria bursts with talent, from former NBA star Hakeem Olajuwon to Nobel literature laureate Wole Soyinka. But with World Bank studies showing a quarter of urban college graduates are unemployed, crime offers tempting career opportunities -- in drug dealing, immigrant-trafficking, oil-smuggling and Internet fraud. The scammers thrived during oil-rich Nigeria's 15 years of brutal and corrupt military rule, and democracy was restored only six years ago. "We reached a point when law enforcement and regulatory agencies seemed nonexistent. But the stance of the present administration has started changing that," said Ribadu, the scam-busting chief.

President Olusegun Obasanjo is winning U.S. praise for his crackdown. Interpol, the FBI and other Western law enforcement agencies have stepped in to help, said police spokesman Emmanuel Ighodalo, and Nigerian police have received equipment and Western training in combating Internet crime and money-laundering.

Experts say Nigerian scams continue to flood e-mail systems, though many are being blocked by spam filters that get smarter and more aggressive. America Online spokesman Nicholas Graham said Nigerian messages lack the telltale signs of other spam -- such as embedded Web links -- but its filters are able to be alert to suspect mail coming from a specific range of Internet addresses.

Also, the scams have a limited shelf life. In the con that Internet users are probably most familiar with, the e-mailer poses as a corrupt official looking for help in smuggling a fortune to a foreign bank account. E-mail or fax recipients are told that if they provide their banking and personal details and deposit certain sums of money, they'll get a cut of the loot. But there are other scams, like the fake lotteries. Kele B., who won't give his surname, said he couldn't find work after finishing high school in 2000 in the southeastern city of Owerri, so he drifted with some friends to Lagos, where he tried his hand at boxing. Then he discovered the Web. Now he spends his mornings in Internet cafes on secondhand computers with aged screens, waiting "to see if my trap caught something," he said. Elekwa, a chubby-faced 28-year-old who also keeps his surname to himself, shows up in Festac Town driving a Lexus and telling how he was jobless for two years despite having a diploma in computer science. His break came four years ago when the chief of a fraud gang saw him solve what seemed like "a complex computer problem" at a business center in the southeastern city of Umuahia and lured him to Lagos. He won't talk about his scams, only about their fruits: "Now I have three cars, I have two houses and I'm not looking for a job anymore."

Friday, August 26, 2005

PIPE DREAMS IN NIGERIA



I am publishing more recent reports on the critical situation in the Niger Delta of Nigeria where 40% of the oil and gas supplies for America comes from. But, the US Government has been ignoring the emergency in the Niger Delta of Nigeria. And I will keep on reminding the whole world of the emergency untill I see the positive responses from the United Nations, the United States of America and Europe, because they are the largest beneficiaries of the resources in the Niger Delta and I sincerely appeal to you all to address this emergency, because when the crisis shall erupt, the gas suppy to the US will be drastically reduced and you will pay more than you have ever paid for gas since the war in Iraq started. A word is enough for the wise. But, I will not stop reporting the news from Nigeria to the rest of the world, whether good or bad.

PIPE DREAMS: Conflicts, Participation, Transparency.
July 29, 2005

Second installation of the WAGP series:
Oil and Gas Conflicts in the Western Delta Gas for the West African Gas Pipeline will be sourced from the Escravos area in the Western Niger Delta. It must be noted that this is a grossly neglected and environmentally degraded area of the Niger Delta.

It is an area noted for violent state repression and conflicts arising from competition for control of land and resources between the Nigerian government, oil and gas companies and the communities. The proponents of WAGP have clearly kept a blind eye to the concerns of the communities in these gas fields. Without an attempt to resolve these issues, there is the grave danger that WAGP will exacerbate the crisis in the area, which will lead to further disruptions in gas supply, while worsening the insecurity and impoverishment in the area. The foundation is being laid for the continuation and exportation of conflict from the Niger Delta to local communities that would be negatively affected by the WAGP project in Lagos and Ogun states ,Southwest Nigeria. This is already being encouraged by the failure of the government and WAPco to consult with community people, respond to their concerns and pay adequate compensation for lands acquired from families and communities in these areas.

A LOT OF HOT AIR
Gas flaring is a major issue locally and internationally. The oil corporations operating in the Niger Delta have continued to toe the cheap option of dealing with associated gas through gas flaring.

The WAGP has been falsely promoted as a gas flare reduction project even though its sponsors have not demonstrated commitment to addressing the problem in Nigeria. In May 2005, Shell which is a project sponsor unilaterally announced that it would not be meeting its commitment to eliminate routine flaring of associated gas from its oil fields in 2008. Neither has Chevron given adequate guarantees that the WAGP would contribute to gas flare reduction by ensuring that only associated gas from its Escravos oil fields would be supplied to the pipeline.

FALSE CLAIMS
Chevron and the World Bank have been presenting the WAGP to the world as a clean energy project which should qualify for credit under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The request for CDM credit is predicated on the claim that the pipeline project would contribute to the reduction of gas flaring in the Niger Delta of Nigeria. However, Chevron, the World Bank and the Nigerian government have failed to show and demonstrate how the flaring of associated gas (which is the gas being flared in the Niger Delta) will be reduced as a result of WAGP. We state our objection to the move by sponsors of the WAGP including the World Bank and the Nigerian government to sell this lie. In as much as the pipeline project will be utilizing gas from new gas fields and would not significantly impact on the volume of gas being flared in the region it is unethical to claim that this is a CDM project and to reap carbon credits and make profits based on questionable assumptions.It should be noted that Chevron was part of the Global Climate Coalition, an oil industry lobby group which fiercely opposed the Kyoto Protocol. Now, they want to benefit - because it is profitable! We demand a commitment that 100 per cent associated (currently flared) gas be used for the WAGP until associated gas from existing and future fields is exhausted. Moreover, WAGP sponsors and other major transnational oil companies operating in Nigeria should be compelled by law to provide a written commitment and concrete plan to end all associated gas flaring by 2008, both for operations associated with WAGP and other oil developments in the country. In addition, Nigerian national legislation should ensure that all new oil development in the country be accompanies by gas gathering infrastructure, and utilisation programs for power generation within Nigeria.Need for TransparencyAs a condition for commencement of the pipelines operation, project sponsors and the Nigerian government should disclose to the Nigerian people:
1.The WAGP Treaty and Annexed International Project Agreement,
2.All gas purchase or off-take agreements between WAPCO and the consumers / governments of Ghana, Togo and the Republic of Benin,
3.The contract between Ghana and Nigeria for the latter to provide a loan to the former for its equity stake in the pipeline, and
4.The economic and financial assessments of WAGP.
Oil pollution and environmental degradation are major issues in Nigeria's oil industry - and were the subject of a forum held this weekend by the National Assembly.

Oil pollution and environmental degradation are major issues in Nigeria's oil industry - and were the subject of a forum held this weekend by the National Assembly.

The goal was to find long-term solutions to the problem. Local communities in the oil-rich Niger Delta region have consistently accused the government and oil companies of colluding to plunder their oil resources and impoverishing them through unmitigated pollution and environmental degradation. The two-day session closely examined the nature of oil pollution and environmental degradation in the oil-rich Niger Delta region.

Gamaliel Onosode is a leading financial and public affairs analyst who's also known for his extensive research on environmental problems in the Niger Delta. He listed the problems caused by the crisis. "The problem is serious in more than one way. First, pollution has affected the ecosystem generally. You can see the forest and mangrove swamps, those areas have been wiped out. Two, it has affected water quality. My home is a good example. You sink a bore-hole and you readily see evidence of seepage into the water supply. Thirdly, it has affected air quality."

Thursday, August 25, 2005

NIGERIA COMES TO THE RESCUE OF NIGER


Picture: African refugees on the move.

It is good news to see that Nigeria is going to help Niger.
Well, they are actually neighbours and have a common river, the Niger from which they draw their source of power supply and the river Niger provides drinking water and other things of which the most common is fishing.

The only difference are their different languages. Niger is French speaking, because it was a French colony whilst Nigeria was a British colony and English is the official language of Nigeria. They are what I will call unidentical twins.

When Nigeria Rallies for Niger Republic

Daily Trust (Abuja)
OPINION
August 24, 2005
Posted to the web August 24, 2005.

By Salisu Na'inna Dambatta
The establishment and actual inauguration of a highly visible and active National Committee on Famine Relief for the Republic of Niger by President Olusegun Obasanjo and his directive that each member of the Federal Executive Council should donate N20, 000 to the Famine Relief Fund is both a diplomatic masterstroke and a genuine move of coming to the aid of a friendly and brotherly nation and its populace.
The resultant food scarcity and its devastating impact are visible on the frail bodies of malnourished children, emaciated adults and the remains of thousands of livestock. It is manifested in a massive social dislocation and agony among the estimated 3.6 million people caught in its painful web.

Reports from parts of Niger Republic, especially the densely populated Sahe1ian southern part that shares border with Nigeria, and the central areas in the inhospitable Sahara desert, indicate that nearly 800,000 children are especially vulnerable, even as hundreds of them have already died of starvation. More are in danger of dying from starvation, hence the need for Nigeria to rally for them, to assist them and contribute in saving those that could be rescued by a small, worthy sacrifice.

Nigeria and Niger Republic are cooperating closely at multi-lateral and bilateral levels. Both countries are in the ECOW AS, the African Union, the Lake Chad Basin Commission, the River Niger Joint Commission, the United Nations Organisation, the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC), the Non-Aligned Movement and a dozen other regional and global organizations.

In fact, Niger Republic has cooperated and consequently developed a unique understanding with Nigeria over the utilization of the waters of River Niger by foregoing an option to dam it upstream, which would have eroded the opportunity for Nigeria to develop the strategic hydropower generating stations at Kainji and Jebba. A percentage of the power generated from the hydropower station at Kainji is sold at a preferential rate to Niger Republic.

Majority of the people of Niger Republic have strong ties and affinities with the peoples in Nigerian states sharing border with that country.

At least 90.8 per cent of the people of Niger are Hausa, Zabarmawa, Fulani, Kanuri or Shuwa Arabs, just like the people on the Nigerian side of the border in Borno, Yobe, Jigawa, Katsina, Sokoto and Kebbi states. There are countless socio-economic contacts on daily basis, in shared markets and festivities such as Argungu fishing festival, in mosques during marriage, child naming or funeral rites. Herdsmen from both sides of the border often share grazing reserves. Inter-marriages across the border are regarded as normal and very common.

The facts stated in the preceding paragraph and the natural tendency of Nigerians to be their brothers' keepers are some of the reasons for the swift and generous response to aid the famine victims of Niger Republic. In Kano, a private radio station is mobilizing individual donors and it seems to be serving as a collector of donations. The Government of Kebbi State has dispatched 33 trailers laden with rice, millet, sorghum and maize to Niger Republic for those in need. Governor Muhammad Adamu Aliero also sent drugs and medical personnel for the sick in the areas affected by famine. It would be appropriate for the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) to consider mobilizing volunteers from its ranks to go to Niger Republic and assist. The Nigerian Red Cross, according to its Chairman, Dr. Ibrahim Tahir, has sent a team there. But what are the two main Islamic Aid Groups planning? If Non-Governmental Organizations from Europe and as far off as the United States of America could move into Niger Republic to assist, those in Nigeria are morally bound to also act appropriately.

It is significant that, despite the propensity of the dominant Western media to focus largely on the token doled out to the people of Niger Republic by Western countries and their NGOs, Nigeria has for long provided succour to its neighbour without making much noise or claiming credit, even though doing so would not be improper.

As stated earlier, consumers from Niger Republic attend markets in Nigerian towns and cities, including Lagos, Onitsha and Aba, to purchase foodstuff and other goods. So, when Nigeria officially sold grains to the World Food Programme (WFP) for delivery to Niger a few weeks ago, this writer regarded it as just a complex extension of the daily simple commercial transactions between the citizens of the two countries.

The Nigerien community in Nigeria is one of the largest on earth. Some members of that community have much confidence and trust in our country and have invested heavily in Nigeria, thereby creating employment for Nigerians to the extent that the question of their nationality is no longer an Issue.

So, if people from Niger Republic would sell to and buy from Nigerians or invest their hard-earned money in our country when the going was good for them, it is only proper for Nigeria and Nigerians to come together and assist them in their hour of need. This is one element of a special relationship. One other factor that contributed in making the relationship between Niger Republic and Nigeria so special is that the 1,497 kilometre-Iong borders we share is probably the most peaceful of all our international borders. There is no serious, peace-threatening border dispute between Nigeria and Niger Republic.

It is rare for criminals or bandits, cattle rustlers or invading soldiers from Niger Republic to cross into Nigeria and cause havoc. This cannot be said of some of our neighbours that seem to be spoiling for war with our country over a boundary dispute.

In the final analysis, given the positive role Nigeria plays in Africa and across the world in peace keeping operations, facilitating conciliation between or among disputants and giving leadership among peers, it is only natural for President Olusegun Obasanjo to set up the Masari Committee in the belief that Nigerians would show compassion, solidarity and generousity to the famine victims in Niger Republic.
As stated earlier, the spirit of compassion, giving and solidarity was demonstrated for the Asian tsunami victims, for the Russians when they had a disaster and for countless other causes. It can be repeated for the benefit of our special friends and neighbours.

Indeed, rallying for Niger Republic would be a historic continuation of our good neighbourliness, which was extended to Liberia, Sierra Leone, Sudan and other countries. It is also a practical manifestation of our concern for the welfare of fellow human beings.

Copyright © 2005 Daily Trust. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

NIGERIAN VILLAGERS DEMAND $5 MILLION FROM SHELL



I am tired of hearing and reading the news of villagers in the Niger Delta harassing and embarrassing officials of the multinational oil and gas companies to extort financial settlement from them all the time. Because, that will not solve the wide spread damages done to our environment and these collateral damages have been causing the deprivations we suffer daily in our communities where the majority of us are paupers harrowing in the misery of our penury.

I am from the Niger Delta of Nigeria and I am very much involved in the agitations of my suffering people who have been wallowing in polluted waters and choking from polluted air. Our waters are polluted daily by oil spills and the emissions from gas flares have polluted the atmosphere of our environment. The Niger Delta is an environmental disaster in dire need of remediation. The Niger Delta is a time bomb and only God knows when it will explode. And Nigeria and the multinational oil companies are sitting on the keg of gunpowder and when the violence shall erupt, I would be blameless. Only God can contain the anger of my people. No week passes that they will not demand more compensation from either Shell or ChevronTexaco, because, they are the biggest oil companies operating in Nigeria.

The solution to all these violent agitations is simple. The corrupt government should stop misappropriating the billions of dollars that the multinational oil and gas companies have been paying the Nigerian government for the benefit of the host communities in the Niger Delta of Nigeria. The 13% (thirteen percent) derivation given to us is not enough and we refuse to continue to accept it. Even, the 25% we demanded at the last National Political Reforms Conference is not good enough. We demand at least 50% or let us have the natural control of the economic management of our resources and pay taxes to the Federal Government of Nigeria as it is done in America. The US Government does not control the revenue from the oil in Texas. Texas only pays taxes for the oil resources. Therefore, we hereby demand the total resource control of all our oil and gas resources in the true equity of true Federalism, as it is the practice in the United States of America. The Federal Government of Nigeria should hands off our oil and gas resources. This is the only solution. Otherwise, we will continue to demand for our legitimate rights to possess our possessions.

I am tired of the perpetual deprivations of my people in the Niger Delta of Nigeria. And I want the government of Nigeria to meet with our community leaders to address the issues at stake in the best interest of all the bona fide stakeholders in the Niger Delta of Nigeria. And the Federal Government of Nigeria should stop using our resources to fund the Islamic states of Northern Nigeria. If these Islamic states can have the rights to impose Islamic orders in a secular sovereignty in violation of the Federal Constitution of Nigeria, then we of the Southern States can have the rights to control our natural resources. Let the Northern States control and manage their resources. Let every state in Nigeria control and manage their resources in true democracy and governance of a true Federal Republic of Nigeria. Then, the people of the Niger Delta of Nigeria will stop the further embarrassment and harassment of all the multinational oil and gas companies operating in our communities. No amount of tokens in cash or kind will be enough compensation for the collateral damages done to our ecosystem and welfare in the Niger Delta of Nigeria.

But, where there is no justice, there will be no peace.

I believe in one united Nigeria. And Nigerian Times will cooperate and support all the stakeholders to put heads together and join hands together to live and work together in Love, peace and unity for the nation building of a New Nigeria in the leadership of Africa among the comity of nations in the world.
To listen and to learn and make amends is the only true education.



(Picture:A daily scene in the Niger Delta.)
Associated Press
Shell Reopens Oil Facilities in Nigeria
08.22.2005, 12:19 PM

Royal Dutch Shell PLC has reopened two oil facilities producing nearly 40,000 barrels of crude a day after closing them last week amid a compensation dispute, a company spokeswoman said Monday. A lawyer said talks to resolve the dispute would resume.

Villagers demanding compensation for an oil spill and a fire nearly two years ago launched protests in mid-August that prompted Shell to close the facilities in the oil-rich Niger delta's Obio-Akpor district.

Bernadette Cunnane, a Shell spokeswoman, said by telephone from London that the Agbada I flow station producing 14,000 barrels a day reopened Sunday while the Agbada II station, which produces 25,000 barrels daily, reopened early Monday.

Cunnane declined further comment. Aziboala Roberts, the lawyer representing the protesting communities, said both sides have agreed to resume negotiations for compensation demanded by five Obio-Akpor communities for the Dec. 2003 oil spill, which they say affected their streams and farmlands.

"As a sign of good faith the communities have agreed to lift the siege," Roberts said by telephone from the oil industry center of Port Harcourt.

Roberts said Shell's initial offer of a total sum of US$938.60 (euro759.50) for jointly owned community property remained unacceptable to the villagers.

Roberts said villagers were asking for US$5 million (euro4.11 million), but said "if Shell shows good faith they're ready to be flexible."

Shell officials have said the offer reflected oil industry standards in Nigeria.

Armed militants, protesters and oil thieves frequently target oil operations in the impoverished Niger delta, where locals accuse joint ventures run by the government and oil multinationals of cheating them out of the oil wealth pumped from their land and leaving them the ugly consequences: pollution and environmental degradation.

Nearly all of Nigeria's 2.5 million barrels of daily exports are produced in the delta region.

Nigeria is Africa's largest oil exporter and the fifth largest supplier of crude to the United States.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Halliburton NIGERIA LNG BRIBE SCANDAL ECHOES AGAIN IN CHICAGO



The NIGERIA LNG on Bonny Island.

Aug. 22, 2005, 11:33PM



Nigeria work prompts subpoena
Chicago Bridge, Halliburton joined to do project

By DAVID IVANOVICH
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON - The Securities and Exchange Commission has subpoenaed documents from Chicago Bridge & Iron Co. as part of an investigation into Halliburton Co.'s business dealings in Nigeria, the company said in filing.

The SEC and the Justice Department have been examining Houston-based Halliburton's role in the construction of a $5.5 billion liquefied natural gas plant at Bonny Island in Nigeria's Rivers State.

Chicago Bridge, an engineering and construction company based in the Netherlands, with its worldwide administrative headquarters in The Woodlands, served as a subcontractor for a Halliburton affiliate on the project.

When the company's participation in the project was first announced in December 1999, Chicago Bridge officials estimated the contract's value at more than $100 million.

The LNG facility was built by a Madeira, Portugal-based consortium called TSKJ. The consortium was equally owned by Halliburton; France's Technip; Snamprogetti Netherlands, an affiliate of Italy's ENI; and Japan's JGC Corp.

Halliburton officials acknowledged last year that the partners discussed as long as 10 years ago paying bribes to Nigerian officials.

"We understand from the ongoing governmental and other investigations that payments may have been made to Nigerian officials," Halliburton said in a recent filing.

Chicago Bridge officials received a subpoena from the SEC Aug. 14.

"We are cooperating fully with such investigation," the company said in a filing with the SEC.

Chicago Bridge spokesman Bruce Steimle could provide no other details about the investigation.

Chicago Bridge employs about 300 in its office in The Woodlands.

"We are working with all officials and will, of course, continue to cooperate with the SEC to provide them with all the information they request," Halliburton spokeswoman Cathy Mann said.

david.ivanovich@chron.com

Monday, August 22, 2005

SADDAM SAYS HE IS A MARTYR!


Saddam Casts Self As Martyr

Life is full of agonies and ironies. The agonies and ironies of life can make you dumb and numb.

This is the reaction of most people to the latest Associated Press report on an exclusive letter written by Saddam Hussein who is awaiting trial and possible execution for his crimes against humanity.

In a letter to his unnamed Jordanian friend, Saddam was quoted as follows:
“"My soul and my existence is to be sacrificed for our precious Palestine and our beloved, patient and suffering Iraq,"
Saddam wrote his letter in a defiant and unrepentant tone coated with characteristic flowery Arabic oratory.

The letter was published in two Jordanian newspapers last Sunday and made available to the Associated Press.

The letter was taken to the friend through the International Committee of the Red Cross. The Red Cross confirmed the authenticity and said the American authorities holding Saddam Hussein censored the letter.

The Baath Socialist Party Secretary General Tayseer Homsi said that the recipient is reported to be a well-known independent political personality in Jordan whose name was withheld.
" He handed the letter over two days ago, Homsi said. "He's an old friend of Saddam. He's not a member of our party nor is he a party functionary."
The letter has been verified as 100% authentic in the typical handwriting of Saddam Hussein.

Saddam wants to be remembered as a martyr of the Islamic faith as he added
"Life is meaningless without the considerations of faith, love and inherited history in our nation.”

The two daughters of the ousted Iraqi tyrant have been hiding in Amman since they fled from the invading forces of the US Army two years ago.

Saddam Hussein and his fellow accused convicts would be on trial soon for dozens of crimes such as the 1982 massacre of Shiite towns people in Dujail in northern Baghdad who were massacred for plotting a botched assassination of Saddam. The spokesperson of the Iraqi government Laith Kuba said that the trial of Saddam Hussein and accomplices is likely to commence in six weeks time. Saddam and the other partners in crime could face the death penalty if found guilty. The others awaiting trial with Saddam are his co-defendants Barazan Ibrahim, intelligence chief at the time of the massacre and Saddam's half brother; former Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan; and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, who was a Baath party official in Dujail at the time.

The Jordan Arab Baath Socialist Party published the exclusive letter and said that the person whom the letter was addressed to refused to disclose his identity. And this is the first letter that Saddam would write to someone outside his immediate family since he was captured in 2003.

The spokesperson of the present Iraqi government also said that Jordan has permitted notable members of the family of Saddam to fund a dangerous network with the aim of destabilizing the on going democratic developments in Iraq and to re-establish the Iraqi Baath Socialist Party that has since been banned.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

WIKIPEDIA NEEDS YOUR HELP NOW.


WIKIPEDIA NEEDS OUR HELP TO RAISE FUNDS.

You are welcome to donate as much as you can donate to a worthy project for the benefit of humanity.

Spread the message around.

God bless you as you do so.

NIGERIA WANTS TO CANCEL WAR CRIMES PACT WITH AMERICA.



Nigeria's Senate Moves

to Cancel War Crimes Pact with US

By VOA News 19 August 2005

Nigerian lawmakers have called on the president to cancel a pact with the United States that prevents Nigeria from surrendering suspected American war criminals to the International Criminal Court.

A resolution passed by Nigeria's Senate says the agreement violates the country's constitution.

Lawmakers reminded President Olusegun Obasanjo the pact has failed to meet a constitutional requirement that parliament must enact international treaties into law.

Senate resolutions are non-binding.

The United States has negotiated treaties with many nations to keep its citizens from falling under the International Criminal Court's jurisdiction.

The Bush administration has refused to ratify a treaty creating the Hague-based court, asserting U.S. troops abroad could be targeted for politically motivated prosecutions.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

ON LINE SALARIES HIGHER THAN OTHER MEDIA SALARIES!



The above picture shows the threat of spamming on the on line media.

The good news is that the future of modern journalism is already on line.
Both Internet Scams and Spam-mails cannot stop the boom in on line news and marketing.

Here are some facts from the On Line News Association.

Defining Citizens' Journalism and Participatory Journalism
CJR attempts to define and draw a distinction between participatory journalism and citizens' journalism:


First, there's the move of established newspapers and news sites to solicit and publish material, such as photos or personal accounts, from their readers -- that we'd like to call "participatory journalism." Then there's the creation of blogs and unedited news sites that allow users to write and post their own content. That one we'll call "citizen journalism."

Online salaries higher than other media industries
Online publishing salaries of recent graduates are higher than broadcast or print media salaries, according to the 2004 Annual Survey of Journalism and Mass Communication Graduates conducted by The University of Georgia’s James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research.
The survey found that the media online publishing salary in 2004 was $32,000. By comparison, the median salary for TV was $23,492; for cable TV was $30,000; for daily newspapers was $26,000; for weekly newspapers was $24,000; for radio was $23,000; and for consumer magazines was $27,000.


Nearly 1 in 3 Web users visit newspaper sites
Online newspaper readership continued to climb in the second quarter of 2005, reaching a peak audience of 43.7 million unique visitors during the month of May, representing nearly 30 percent of all adults online in that period, the highest monthly total in 18 months of tracking, according to a Nielsen//NetRatings report for the Newspaper Association of America.

Friday, August 19, 2005

THE SUPER COMPUTER GENIUS OF OUR TIME


THE SUPER COMPUTER GENIUS OF OUR TIME

(Above picture shows Philip Emeagwali in our traditional African royal regalia.)

Who is the most respected

Super Computer genius from Africa?

A billion dollar guess?
But all the search engines will only come up with the name of PHILIP EMEAGWALI!

The 48 years old super computer genius from Nigeria.

Here is an interview with this highly gifed Super Computer Genius of our time.

Interview with Philip Emeagwali.

Part 1: Early Life of Philip Emeagwali - Supercomputers
Interview By Mary Bellis.

Nigerian born Dr. Philip Emeagwali first entered the limelight in 1989 when he won the prestigious Gordon Bell Prize for his work with massively parallel computers. He programmed the Connection Machine to compute a world record 3.1 billion calculations per second using 65,536 processors to simulate oil reservoirs. With over 41 inventions submitted to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Philip Emeagwali is making big waves in the supercomputer industry, amazing achievements only surpassed by an even more amazing life.

About Nigeria, how do you envision your beginning affecting your end?

Philip Emeagwali - Nigeria is a West African nation of over 100 million energetic people. It is endowed with lots of natural resources but lacks human resources. It was recently ranked by the World Bank as the 13th poorest nation in the world. Due to financial reasons, I dropped out of school after eight years of formal schooling. During 1967-70 period, my family was homeless. Sometimes, we slept in refugee camps, abandoned school buildings and bombed houses.

The hardship of living in a refugee camp made me psychologically strong. It is called learning from the school of hard knocks. It made me street smart. It equipped me with a greater sense of determination and vision.

Adversities such as being homeless and going to prison has made many people stronger. Nelson Mandela and Malcolm X came out of prison stronger. The hardships that I encountered in the past will help me succeed in the future.

You speak about the influence nature's own creativity has had upon your science theories, how did this begin?

Philip Emeagwali - I have expertise in five different fields which helps me to easily understand the analogy between my scientific problems and those occurring in nature. First, I identify an analogous problem in nature and borrow from it. It is smarter to borrow from nature than to reinvent the wheels.

Your education during your teenage years was outside of the school system, can you talk about that experience?

Philip Emeagwali - It was the toughest experience of my life. I dropped out of high school four times between the ages of 12 to 17. When I enrolled in college at age 19, I had a total of eight years of formal classroom education. As a result, I was not comfortable with formal lectures and receiving regular homework assignments. I preferred to study those subjects that were of interest to me.

I learned by reading the classic but out-of-date works of Galileo, Isaac Newton, Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein. Since there were no formally trained scientists in my hometown, the famous commercial city of Onitsha, I gained a word-of-mouth reputation as an expert in mathematics, physics and astronomy and students came to consult me in these subjects.

What brought about you leaving Africa?

Philip Emeagwali - I wanted to become a mathematician, physicist or astronomer. I could not study these subjects at the cutting-edge level in Africa. During the week that I arrived in the United States, I saw an airport, used a telephone, used a library, talked with a scientist, and was shown a computer for the first time in my life.

Today, I have access to a $55 million super computer while many African scientists do not have access to a personal computer. The greater opportunity enabled me to make important discoveries and inventions.

Continue interview > Philip Emeagwali on winning the Gordon Bell Award and making supercomputers.


THANK YOU MR. PRESIDENT

Yesterday we lashed our President for telling "Presidential Lies". But, today, we have to commend him for saying the bitter truth about the violations of human rights by the Nigerian Police.

We are proud of President Olusegun Obasanjo whenever he does the right thing. But, we must call him to order if he does the wrong thing.We are not here to lick any jackboot or kiss the arse of any tyrant. We say the truth even if the truth convicts us.

We want the best for Nigeria and we want the President of Nigeria to do his best for the benefit of Nigeria. No more.No less. Finis.

Obasanjo says Nigeria police

torture, kill suspects...

18 Aug 2005 18:08:27 GMT

Source: Reuters

By Camillus Eboh

ABUJA, Aug 18 (Reuters) - Nigerian police have tortured and illegally killed criminal suspects, President Olusegun Obasanjo said on Thursday, accepting some key findings of a damning report by Human Rights Watch.

Last month's report by the New York-based group found that torture and extra-judicial killings were widespread in the Nigerian police force.

The group asked Western donors funding police reform to make aid a condition of measurable steps to curb abuses.

"Our recent history as a nation witnessed instances of gross violations of some of the most basic fundamental human rights," Obasanjo said in a message to a police seminar in the capital.

"These violations ranged from extra-judicial killings to torture and unlawful detention."

Obasanjo cited the killing in June of six unarmed civilians by police in a poor neighbourhood on the outskirts of Abuja and vowed that the officers accused would face the full weight of the law.

Shortly after the shootings, Obasanjo ordered a public inquiry in an unprecedented attempt to hold police accountable for killing members of the public.

Police initially said the victims were armed robbers who opened fire first, but witnesses told the inquiry the slain civilians were party-goers on their way home who were killed in cold blood.

Six officers are facing trial and could face the death penalty if convicted. The case resumes next month.

"The full weight of the law will be brought to bear on all who are found to have been involved in the perpetration of this most heinous crime," Obasanjo said.

His comments come in the context of wider government attempts to root out corruption and reform the country's institutions.

About 3,100 "suspected armed robbers" were killed in combat with security forces in 2003, according police figures.

Human Rights Watch said it had interviewed men whose genitals were subjected to electric shock and women who had been raped to extract confessions.

The group said other forms of torture in Nigerian police cells wincluded suspension by hands and legs from a ceiling, beating, the spraying of tear gas into eyes and the shooting of suspects in the leg.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

PRESIDENTIAL LIES



We are getting tired of hearing the lies of President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria. Because, it is no longer news that the President is a liar. In fact, I don’t know if he is as bad as the President of America whose own lie I prefer to call the famous American White Lie or American slip of tongue. Because, I don’t have the right to call the President of America a liar. He is not my President and George W. Bush has not lied to Nigerians. But, President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria has been telling what I want to call “Public Relation Lies” for his image-laundering project.Imagine him claiming that the last National Political Reform Conference was “a mission from God”?

Then he went on to lie that the conference was held in an atmosphere of harmony, love and brotherhood? When the major economic region of Nigeria, the South- South left the conference midway and never returned? President Olusegun Obasanjo hosted conference delegates at a lavish banquet in the Presidential Villa in Abuja, and commended them for a job well done.

This old African ruler is political comic!

Now, can President Olusegun Obasanjo and his ruling party give us the account of the total budget of the last National Political Reform Conference?If he cannot do so, then he has no right to denounce the draconian government of Papa Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and he has no right to dismiss the coup in Mauritania. Because, he is a bad example to the rest of the political rulers in Africa. After all, he also came to power first in 1976 through a military coup. And returned to power again through dubious Presidential Elections. Because, the so called democratic elections of 1999 and 2003 in Nigeria were all rigged and stage-managed by the Nigerian political mafia and the corrupt oligarchy.

Political assassinations and extra judicial murders have become common since President Olusegun Obasanjo came to power in 1999.

Below is a foreign report on the last National Political Reform Conference in Nigeria for the knowledge of those who were not aware of it.

Swiss info J
uly 25, 2005 1:35 AM

Nigeria's Obasanjo hails reform talks despite boycott

By Estelle Shirbon.ABUJA (Reuters)

Nigeria's political reform conference handed recommendations to President Olusegun Obasanjo in a blaze of publicity on Sunday but delegates from the oil-producing Niger Delta boycotted the event over a wealth-sharing row.Obasanjo launched the talks in February with a mandate to propose changes to Nigeria's constitution, written under military rule. Activists, politicians, clerics and elder statesmen from across Africa's most populous country took part.Delegates from the delta walked out of the talks in June after failing to secure their main objective: a recommendation that the region's share of oil revenue be raised dramatically.Oil money is Nigeria's main income and the acrimony over how it should be shared laid bare deep divisions between regional, ethnic and religious interest groups in the nation of 140 million people.Obasanjo hosted conference delegates on Sunday night at a lavish banquet in the presidential villa during which he took possession of six volumes of recommendations.

These range from combating electoral fraud to boosting agriculture.The Niger Delta delegates turned down their invitation to the glittering gala, which was broadcast live on national television and radio."I commend all delegates for the atmosphere of harmony, love and brotherhood that prevailed at the conference," said Obasanjo, making no direct reference to the delta's walk-out.

"The cynics among us have been proved wrong ... except for a few diehards and professional opportunists," he said.

"NO HIDDEN AGENDA"Obasanjo called the conference a "mission from God" and spoke of it "shaping the destiny of the nation".Describing what he sees as one of his government's biggest achievements, an $18 billion (10.4 billion pounds) debt relief package secured from rich creditors, he said funds made available by the deal would be used to implement some of the conference's recommendations.Obasanjo said he had "no hidden agenda" in convening the talks -- a reference to persistent speculation that they are being used to sound out opinion on changing the constitution to allow him to seek a third term.

The issue of whether to change the current four-year presidential term, renewable once, was the other sticking point at the reform talks, although the row over oil wealth was much fiercer.Ledum Mitee, head of a group representing one of the delta's ethnic groups, told Reuters the region's delegates had boycotted the banquet because "we did not want to legitimize a process that did not reflect the fundamental wishes of our people".

The demand for a greater share of oil money is a powerful one in the delta, where most people are poor and feel cheated of the wealth being extracted from their lands.Billions of petrodollars leave the region every year in the form of profits for foreign oil firms or revenue for the central government, which has a record of corruption and mismanagement.Resentment over the perceived injustice has fuelled conflict between delta communities and oil companies as well as sabotage, kidnappings of oil workers and inter-communal violence.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

OBA Obasanjo - Africa's Powerful, Credible Voicefor the Black World


Obasanjo - Africa's Powerful, Credible Voicefor the Black World (2)

Ghanaian Chronicle (Accra)

OPINION:
August 16, 2005.

Posted to the web August 16, 2005.

The United Nations has not quite met the full aspirations of its founders. It has not ended wars and conflicts between and within nations. But no one can doubt its relevance in global politics and the conduct of international relations. It has been involved in the onerous task of forging and sustaining global peace and development in virtually every continent of the world. The various organs of the United Nations such as the UNICEF, UNESCO, UNDP, UNHCR, UNIDO, FAO, etc, have been actively involved in policies and programmes aimed at addressing and enhancing human living conditions throughout the world.

Without the United Nations, relations between and among nations and peoples would be characterised by chaos, violence and destruction. Indeed, without the United Nations, the world would be a nastier and more brutish place to live in. Who knows, the world might have been convulsed in a third world war which, given the sophistication and the deadliness of weaponry, would have made the horrors and the killings in World War II look like an urban riot.

Given the circumstances of its birth, the central organ of the United Nations, the Security Council, was structured to reflect the influence of the super powers. Each of its five permanent members, namely, the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia, has a veto power. To use a local parlance, the Security Council is really where it happens. No African country is a permanent member of the council. The simplistic explanation is that no African country was a super power when the council was structured. I can almost hear someone ask if an African country is a super power now. My answer is no. However, the concept of super power has become irrelevant in contemporary international politics. The lone super power is the United States of America. So, if we go on that basis, then only that country can remain a permanent member of the Security Council.

International politics have changed considerably in the last forty or fifty years, not least because the fields have been widened with the independence of African and numerous other third world countries from colonial rule. What was fair in international politics in 1945 is no longer fair in contemporary terms. The world has moved on since the end of the war and since the cold w~r between the Western and Eastern block countries ended nearly twenty years ago. The United Nations cannot ignore these changes or remain aloof to them. It must necessarily move with the times in order to continue to be relevant for all seasons. Its old structures can no longer serve its current needs.

The UN effected some reforms in 1965 by increasing the membership of its Security Council from 11 to 15. No change was made to the five-permanent-member structure, perhaps, because as at then, the super powers were still the super powers. The Berlin walls had not come down. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics had not unravelled. Communism still believed it could defeat democracy. Socialism was still a credible alternative form of economic management to capitalism. The world was still divided rather neatly between the Western and the Eastern blocs with the non-aligned nations constituting themselves into swing support for one or the other group as circumstances dictated.

All these have changed in the forty years since the 1965 reforms. The time calls for seine fundamental reforms in the United Nations Security Council in line with contemporary global developments. Military prowess or the possession of means and weapons of mass destruction can no longer be the sole determinant of the relevance of a nation to do its duty to the international community. Economic power has become even more relevant. We must not forget that military power was conceived as a means of protecting the economy of nations. Real national power was always in its economy, not in its guns and bombs.

In the past forty years, many countries have moved from third world status to first world status solely on the strength of their economic development. Many more are on the cusp of this development. These countries have earned the right to be authentic regional or bloc voices in their own right in a supra-national body such as the United Nations.

We, therefore, welcome the decision of the member nations of the UN to redress the historical imbalance in the UN Security Council. Part of the current UN reforms is the increase in the number of permanent members of the Security Council. Each region of the world has been allotted one or more permanent seats in the country. Africa has been allotted two permanent seats. This qualifies as a major restructuring in the Security Council. We welcome it. It is evidence of a conscious effort by the leaders of the free world to make the United Nations a democratic association of sovereign nations united by their common desire for a better world; a world in which the swords of belligerence and destruction would be turned into ploughshares.
The two seats allotted to Africa are being competed for by several African nations. Nigeria is competing for one of them. Why Nigeria? The question might as well be asked. It is said that in Nigeria we answer questions with questions. So, my answer is, why not Nigeria?

Nigeria seeks fora permanent seat in the Security Council as a matter of duty to Africans and the black race. My country does not run away from its responsibilities. It cannot run away from this one either. Nigeria has special qualifications for its permanent place in the Security Council. Nigeria is the most populous black nation in the world. One out of every four Africans is a Nigerian. One out of every five blacks in the world is a Nigerian. The United Nations put the total population of the world at 6.1 billion in the year 2000. It estimates that 77 million people are added to the world population every year. In the last five years, therefore, 385 million more people have been added to the world population. Africa constitutes twelve per cent of the world population. But interestingly, twenty-five per cent of the world population is black. Based on the UN world population in the year 2000, there are a little over one and a half billion black people in the world. We must not view this as passive statistics. These are living human beings with their individual ambitions, hopes and aspirations. More importantly, they are people who desire that their voices be heard as a distinct racial group in world affairs.
Which African nation, I ask you, qualifies to be the authentic voice of these one and half billion black people? Nigeria.

My country lays strong historical claims to this position. Shortly after our independence, the then Prime Minister, Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, enunciated the country's foreign policy in which he declared- Africa as its centre piece. We are proud of our Afro-centric foreign policy because it is a policy aimed at protecting and promoting the interests of the entire black race in Africa and in the Diaspora. Successive Nigerian leaders have faithfully adhered to this policy by words and by deeds.

We could cry over spilt milk and bemoan the fact that in its 50 years, the United Nations has not had a black nation as a permanent member of the Security Council. For 50 years the voice of the black race in world affairs has been muted at best. One quarter of the world population was denied the right to play an active role in how the world is governed and how nations relate to one another. Our task is not to try to put the spilt milk back into the bottle. Rather, our collective task as black people is to give the black race an authentic representation and voice in the Security Council. That is the positive way forward. That authentic representative is, without question, Nigeria.

The political history of Nigeria is the history of a people committed to what it considers to be the best for Africa and the black race. Nigeria attained independence in 1960. But its leaders knew that the independence of our country would be meaningless if other countries in Africa were net free. Nigeria could not afford to be a free island in the sea of other African countries in colonial chains. The country did not wait to be invited to support the United Nations to bring peace to what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo, formerly known as Zaire in the early sixties. It is a tribute to our country's commitment to the restoration of peace in that region that the late Brigadier (as he then was) J.T.U. Aguiyi-lronsi, our first military ruler, was made commander of the UN forces in the Congo.
Nigeria has been in all the theatres of African conflict since then. Our over-riding desire has always been, and remains, peace and unity in and among African nations. Nigeria's role in the struggle against that unspeakable system of racial injustice called apartheid in South Africa was so comprehensive that it was numbered among the front lines states with Tanzania and other countries in the sub-region. No single African nation has done as much as Nigeria for Africa and the Africans. It was never for its own gain, it was always for continental benefits. Nigeria has more than paid its dues to Africa and the Africans. Its willingness to take on even more responsibilities as the authentic voice and representative of Africa and the black race as a permanent member of the Security Council is consistent with its belief that the time has come for Africa and the Africans to play a leadership rather than a subordinate role in world affairs.

Nigeria was a founding member of the defunct Organisation for African Unity, OAU and was its strongest pillar. The OAU served its purpose and when the leaders of Africa felt it was time to rest it and replace it with the African Union, (AU) Nigeria again played a pivotal role in the intellectual formulation of the new union. Predictably, President Obasanjo was unanimously elected its first chairman. He was recently re-elected for an unprecedented second term. We can only say that the decision of his fellow African leaders is a loud acclaim of his leadership as an international statesman and a continental standing ovation for Nigeria.

Nigeria is a regional power in its own right. It is a potentially economic giant. With an estimated population of 130 million, Nigeria is easily the largest single market in Africa. It is the fifth largest oil producing country in the world. Current federal and state government efforts to revive its agriculture portend bright prospects for the country's capacity to become the food basket of Africa.
In recent years, parts of the West African sub-region faced internal political conflicts and crises. Liberia, Sierra Leone and Cote d'lvoire were the most affected countries. In each case, Nigeria rose up to its full responsibilities as their big brother through the auspices of the Economic Community of West Africa, ECOWAS. Even its bitterest critics would admit that if Nigeria had folded its arms, the affected countries in particular and the West African sub-region would still be convulsed in violence and mindless destruction of lives and property. Our country has been a stabilising force in the region. Nigeria has always answered the distress cal of its brothers in distress because we know that when the bell of conflict tolls for one country~ it tolls for every country.

We admit that our nation has itself witnessed periods of internal instability because of military interventions in our political administration. The majority of African countries had a similar experience. We look at that period of our history as our own forty years in the wilderness on our sure way to the Promised Land. We have been toughened by the experience. Countries go through different mutes on their way to nationhood. We, therefore, have nothing to be ashamed of our past. But even during the military regime, our country did not turn deaf ears to the cries of other countries in distress. We did our duty to Africa, the black race and the world, just as we do today.

Our country returned to democratic rule six years ago. In only six years, we can see the tree of democracy in full flowering in the soil of democracy. Our country is more stable than ever before. It is, indeed, more stable than some of the older democracies in other regions of the world. We are proud of what our country has achieved so far as a young democracy. We have good reasons to believe that the future is bright for our country. We believe that our country has earned the right to be the authentic voice of the black race. Of all the countries known to have indicated interest in the permanent seat in the UN Security Council, including Egypt and South Africa, Nigeria is the only true black nation that can raise a purely black national flag. No one can deny Nigeria the right it has earned. That right to take its rightful seat as a permanent member of the UN Security Council. We cannot, and we must not, settle for anything less.

Nigeria has been a true, loyal and committed member of the United Nations. No member nation of the UN, save, perhaps India, comes close to Nigeria's outstanding record in participating in UN peace keeping operations around the world. In these operations, our country has made and continues to make valuable human and other sacrifices that other nations and peoples might be at peace with one another. In the words of our president, "for us, no sacrifice is too high to make for peace" anywhere in the world. Our country left its enviable mark on the peace keeping operations in Lebanon, the former Yugoslavia, the Congo, Somalia, Western Sahara, Sierra Leone and Liberia. It is actively participating in the ongoing peace effort in the Dafur region of Sudan. Nigeria's participation in these peace missions has earned it international commendations and brought stability to many countries and regions around the world. Nigeria has consistently met all its financial obligations to the UN. In local parlance, it is a financial member of the world body. We do not view a permanent UN Security Council seat for Nigeria as a compensation for its UN support. We see it as a fair and just acknowledgement of our country's role in ensuring that the UN realises the objectives of its founding fathers and remains relevant for all times and to all the peoples of the world.

Thank you and may God continue to bless our efforts.

Copyright © 2005 Ghanaian Chronicle. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

NIGERIA LEADS AFRICA IN MOBILE PHONES CIRCULATION



From the Vanguard (Lagos)

August 15, 2005
Posted to the web August 15, 2005

Godfrey Ikhemuemhe


AT four years of the introduction of GSM in the country, Nigeria has again scored another first in the fixed wireless segment of the telecommunications market.

Chief Regulator and CEO of the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), Engr. Ernest Ndukwe, has revealed that Nigeria leads the whole of Africa in fixed lines service penetration.


Ndukwe who spoke last week at the seminar on Corporate Governance in the Telecommunications sector, indicated that with the number of fixed wireless lines in the country today, the nation ranks favourably with developed countries of the world in terms of fixed line penetration.

He attributed the giant strides recorded by the country in the telecommunications sector to the innovative approaches to policy regulation on the part of the regulator and the innovativeness of the service providers in service delivery.

The NCC boss, however, contended that the gains of the past four years were capable of being eroded if operators did not adhere to good corporate government principles.

He enumerated those practices in the sector which were inimical to development to include refusal by some operators to pay statutory levies to government; refusal by some operators to settle interconnect bills even though they have collected payment upfront for such calls; refusal by some operators to audit their accounts annually; as well as other flaws in the style of management such as employment policies, lack of transparency and so on.

Ndukwe explained that the commission had a role to play in ensuring good corporate governance in the sector but quickly added that all stakeholders in the sector were responsible for ensuring good corporate governance.

He further contended that the NCC would enforce regulation to the extent that the interest of the consumer is protected. "We can look into how an organisation is managed to ensure that the consumer is protected," he told participants at the seminar constituted by operators, consumers and media men.

He admonished sectoral organisations and associations such as the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), the Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), the Internet Service Providers Association of Nigeria (ISPAN) to be involved in peer review for effective implementation of good corporate governance practices amongst their members.

"Those operators that are successful in the industry today are those that have adopted good corporate government policies,"Ndukwe asserted.

Earlier in his lecture, Dr. Chris Uwaje, CEO of Connect Technologies Limited, had advocated good corporate governance policies across the entire spectrum of the Nigerian economy, stressing that the damaging effect of poor corporate governance is not restricted to the telecom sector.

He said if there was good corporate governance in the public sector, the decay in the country's infrastructure would not be as bad as it was. He said corruption would also have been reduced to the minimum.

Dr. Uwaje advocated that all who believe in the dream of a better Nigeria should be involved in enthroning good corporate governance in all aspects of the Nigerian economy, stressing that Nigeria would be the better for it.

Turning to the Telcos, he said the revolution in the telecommunications industry could only be sustained by if operators adhered strictly to good corporate governance principles in running their businesses.

He said Telcos should have quality assurance, which should be paramount in their operations, stressing that Nigeria was lucky to have an efficient driver for the sector like the NCC, which has ensured that corporate governance had to degenerated to abysmal levels.

He also enjoined telecos to be involved in capacity building in human resource for according to him, without the requisite human resource there would be no place for good corporate governance in an organization. He contended that the Digital Bridge Institute recently established by the NCC was a right step in the right direction in addressing the human capacity issue.

No more need for Altech, says Econet Wireless

ECONET Wireless says it no longer has any need for the partnership with Altech because it already has numerous offers from potential investors who are interested in the communications outfit.

Strive Masiyawa, Econet's CEO told South African journalists in a media briefing at the weekend that his company would be able to finance an amicable settlement arising from the divorce, stressing that there were already so many suitors.

Masiyawa's position is coming against the background of a suit filed by Altech in a Botswana High Court asking for the winding down of Econet Wireless Global, its joint venture with the Econet Wireless group.

Masiyawa's briefing was held subsequent to a hearing in the high court of SA, where Altech has also launched an application to prevent Masiyiwa from proceeding with an independent inquiry into allegations of racist remarks by an employee seconded by Altech to Econet Wireless Global. The case was moved to 18 August.

According to Masiyiwa, there was no justifiable reason for litigation when the relationship between the two companies broke down. Altech has communicated in a statement that they are a willing seller and Econet is a willing buyer, thus there should be no conflict.

According to Econet, it partnered with Altech because in addition to the financial investment, Altech did not threaten its vision. The agreement also made it clear that Econet would manage the joint venture with Masiyiwa at the helm. It was therefore within his scope of duties to take action over the alleged racist comment.

Masiyiwa also questioned Altech's application to wind down the partnership, claiming that Econet had pre-emptive rights. He emphasised the company was operational and had employees before Altech came along and winding down its affairs would be failing them.

Masiyiwa reiterated that the Econet Wireless Group's stake in the joint venture was not for sale, at any price. He said the license to operate in Botswana was under strict regulations and that Altech does not meet the requirements to serve as a technical strategic partner to the Botswana government.

Masiyiwa said it would have been to both companies' common interest to go for arbitration and to ask for an independent evaluation of the shares, rather than taking the litigious approach. Econet would then have purchased the Altech stake at what they would consider a fair value.

"A judge cannot rule that we pay Altech the $100 million for the stake as it is not within his/her competency to value shares in a company," Masiyiwa said. The more likely scenario, he said, is that the judge would appoint a banking institution and instruct them to value the shares, which would bring them to the same position.

Masiyiwa said the Econet Group was not bound by the agreement any more and can therefore continue with their expansion plans. "As an operator, we are not short of opportunities," he said.

MTN Group concludes acquisition of Telecel Zambia â-oe appoints executives

THE MTN Group has concluded the acquisition of Telecel Zambia. This follows the approval from the regulatory and competition authorities in Zambia okaying the acquisition. The company would soon commence full operations.

The acquisition of Telecel Zambia follows the recent acquisition by the group of Telecel Cote d'Ivoire.

Says Phuthuma Nhleko, MTN Group CEO: "We are pleased that our acquisition of Telecel Zambia has been concluded as we believe the operation holds very positive growth prospects for the MTN Group. We look forward to commencing operations in Zambia and are confident that our expertise and approach to doing business on the continent will contribute effectively to the growth of the mobile industry there."

MTN also announced the appointment of Mike Blackburn, as Chief Executive Officer for the Zambian operation. Blackburn was formerly chief financial officer at MTN Uganda.

Recently, the MTN Group also announced the acquisition of the 51% stake in Loteny Telecom, trading under the name Telecel Cote d'Ivoire, in the Republic of Cote d'Ivoire.

Ron Allard, former chief executive officer of MTN Cameroon, is the chief executive officer of Telecel Cote d'Ivoire.

The MTN Group is also pleased to announce the appointment of Ms SB Mtshali as MTN Group Company Secretary effective from 1 August 2005.

Combined with the recent acquisition of a 51% share in Telecel Cote d'Ivoire, the acquisition of Telecel Zambia increases the MTN Group's operations to eight - including MTN South Africa, MTN Nigeria, MTN Cameroon, MTN Uganda, MTN Rwanda and MTN Swaziland. The latest acquisitions bring the MTN Group's total subscriber base to more than 18 million.

Vmobile introduces handset warranty

VMOBILE has introduced a one-year warranty and aftersales service for all handsets bought from Vstores and authorised trade partners nationwide.

This is part of the company's determination to give value to its customers wherever they may reside.

The introduction of the service is aimed at helping Vmobile customers derive the best benefit from their phones and remain in touch.

Obinna Ariwodo, Head of Events, Sponsorship & PR, Vmobile Nigeria, the warranty service covers manufacturer's defect (or out of box failure) and faults that occur within 12 months of the purchase of the phone.

Under the warranty programme, handsets that developed fault within seven days of purchase will be replaced free of charge, whereas handsets that developed fault within 12 months of purchase will be repaired, all subject to manufacturer/Vmobile's Standard Warranty Terms and Conditions as outlined in the Cell phone Guide (enclosed in the phone pack).

Any faulty handset would only be replaced at the original point of purchase and should be accompanied by the warranty card and invoice obtained, detailing the make, model, IMEI number and date of purchase of the handset. Subscribers are, however, advised to look at for the warranty stickers at the point of purchase. But warranty will not apply if there are signs of customisation, misuse, physical damage, liquid damage or abuse on the handset.

While purchasing handsets from any of Vmobile's authorised outlets, customers are to ensure that the handset has a one-year warranty sticker on the handset package and that all accessories, manual, and user guide supplied by the manufacturer are intact. The subscriber should also ensure that the handset is tested in the presence of customer care agent, to ensure that it is in perfect condition, and that the Warranty card attached to the Cell phone Guide is completed and a copy kept properly.

Subscribers should be informed that warranty repairs will attract administrative charge of N500 only and that the warranty service is limited to handsets purchased from Vstores and authorized trade partners' outlets that are used on the Vmobile network.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

BETWEEN NIGERIA, IRAN AND AMERICA



Nigeria and Iran discuss military cooperation
LAGOS (Reuters)

Above, we see the President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo hand in hand with George W. Bush, the President of America at the last G-8 Summit in Gleneagles, Scotland. But, later the same queer President of Nigeria agreed to have a military pact with Iran whose newly elected younger President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad shown above is very ambitious and stubborn with futuristic plans to make Iran an Islamic super power to challenge the authority and supremacy of the United States of America in the world.

An Iranian military delegation is visiting Nigeria with a view to signing a defense cooperation pact, Nigerian military spokesmen and an Iranian diplomat said on Thursday.

"The Iranian delegation is in the country to visit military formations," said a Nigerian navy spokesman, adding that the two sides planned to sign a military cooperation agreement shortly.

The five-day visit by the representatives of the Islamic republic of Iran follows a recent trip to Iran by Nigeria's defense minister, an Iranian diplomat said. A Nigerian military delegation is expected to visit Iran shortly.
Last update - 16:37 14/08/2005


Responding to Bush, Iran says has more war options than U.S.

By The Associated Press

Iran notched up the rhetorical battle with the United States on Sunday, declaring its options, if attacked by Washington, far exceeded those of the Americans.In an interview with Israeli Channel 1 TV on Friday, U.S. President George W. Bush said "all options are on the table" if Iran refused to comply with international demands to halt its nuclear program."I think Bush should know that our options are more numerous than the U.S. options," said Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi. "If the United States makes such a big mistake, then Iran will definitely have more choices to defend itself."

He offered no specifics but characterized Bush's words as part of an ongoing psychological war against Iran.Bush issued the veiled threat two days after Tehran resumed uranium conversion at its nuclear facility in Isfahan, a move which also prompted a warning from the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency.Bush has called from continued diplomacy to halt Iran's nuclear program, with resort to U.N. Security Council sanctions only if all other diplomatic efforts fail.In the interview, Bush said the United States and Israel "are united in our objective to make sure that Iran does not have a weapon."But, he said, if diplomacy fails "all options are on the table. The use of force is the last option for any President. You know, we've used force in the recent past to secure our country."For its part, Israel maintains a nuclear monopoly in the Middle East and is thought to have about 200 warheads deployed on ballistic missiles, aircraft and submarines, according to the Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Israeli officials do not comment on the country's nuclear weapons potential.The International Atomic Energy Agency's 35-nation board of directors expressed "serious concern" Thursday over Iran's resumption of nuclear activities that could provide it with the fuel for a nuclear weapon.Iran routinely insists its nuclear program is peaceful - designed only for electricity generation - and responded indignantly to the IAEA warning.Under the IAEA resolution, Iran faces a September 3 deadline to stop uranium conversion or face possible referral to the Security Council, which can impose crippling economic sanctions.Asefi said such deadlines were irrelevant because the IAEA has now power to restrict Iran's nuclear activity, which is legal under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Friday, August 12, 2005

NIGERIAN POLITICIANS AS GANGSTERS

IBB the "Evil Genius"
Wikipedia noted that this former military head of state of the most notorious military junta in the history of Nigeria is called the "IDI AMIN" of Nigeria. General Ibrahim Badamosi Babaginda wants to come back in 2007 to complete his Islamic agenda for the rest of Nigeria and when the "evil genius" sneezes the present President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo catches cold. Because, IBB knows the skeletons in his cupboard. That is why this "evil genius" is the most sacred cow in the political history of Nigeria. Read the classic article below for the full details. This is another Nigerian Times classic written by Uche Nworah.


Nigerian Politicians as Gangsters

American Films and Nigerian Political Culture
 

~ By Uche Nworah

My favourite all time movie is The Godfather trilogy by Francis Ford Coppola. Back then growing up in Nigeria, if you were a guy and you had not seen any of the Godfather movies, then you were generally ‘dissed’ by peers as not knowing ‘what time it is’, The Godfather movies glamourised crime, and so do other gangster movies.



The director of the Godfather movies, Francis Ford Coppola brought to the big screens what decent folks only discussed privately at their dinner tables, he was smart and creative in the production, mixing and combining of the power of crime in very sexy ways, his all-star cast includes Marlon Brando playing the lead role as Don Vito Corleone, and Al Pacino playing the role of Michael Corleone (Don Vito’s last hope for a breakthrough into white America). Robert de Niro and James Caan complete the cast amongst other notable actors and actresses.


My other favourite movies are Scarface, featuring Al Pacino in his star performance as Tony Montana, the Cuban immigrant and drug lord; Once Upon A Time in America and Good Fellas, which featured Robert de Niro, Ray Liotta and Joe Pesci.

My fascination with these movies were just for their sheer entertainment value, they also provided me with some form of escape as I could easily slip into my regular daydreams and assume the role of any of the vicious characters from the movies, and then go after my imaginary enemies with sawn - off short guns, or best still I could fantasise about sending Luca Brasi or the volatile Joe Pesci’s character after them. In this my world, I remember killing emeka ifedi (not his real name) many times for using his father’s Citroen car and his privileged status as a doctor’s son to capture Ijeoma, my love interest at the time.



In all these however, I was conscious and cautious not to let my fascination and fantasies get the better of me, else my murder count would have been in the hundreds by now. I also knew that these movies were only works of art, although art does sometimes imitate life and reality, but my own reality, though twisted by some personal and political events at the time didn’t warrant my trying to imitate art by taking the laws into my hands.


These may not be the case with Nigerian politicians; I just think that they watch too many gangster movies, to the extent that they have now become gangsters themselves. They seem not to be able to draw the line between art and reality. Their actions point more and more to a gangster mentality.


To understand the mentality of gangsters, it also important to identify their key features and characteristics.

Gangsters by their very nature are sworn enemies of the law, they are always on the other side (opposing) of the law, they do not hide this attribute hence they wouldn’t engage in any of their multiple illegal activities. If that is the case, then Nigerian politicians deserve to be classified as gangsters because although they are law and policy makers, that alone does not make them to be on the good side of the law. They are among the greatest lawbreakers, they are artful tax dodgers and evaders, and do not pay for the public services they enjoy; they steal and rob public coffers with their gold pens in addition to committing other nefarious activities.


Just like their gangster idols, Nigerian politicians are highly skilled in the art of deception. They are very good at presenting and projecting personae to the public quite different from their real selves, they are able to cover their tracks such that it is difficult, if not impossible to trace their illegal acts to them.


Nigerian politicians are good at opening multiple bank accounts using false aliases, these bank accounts both in Nigeria and abroad then become hosts of stolen public funds, also they are very good at investing in properties and in other businesses under assumed names, Joshua Dariye, the governor of Plateau state showed Nigerians recently by his actions how this is done, Chimaraoke Nnamani of Enugu state and Orji Uzor Kalu of Abia state belong to this category of Business men cum governors, Orji Uzor Kalu in particular owns an airline (SLOK) and was widely reported to have bought a dream mansion worth over $1.5m in the Potomac area of Washington D.C.


Also there have been this rumour, which refuses to go away about Atiku’s covet investments in African Petroleum, and also about IBB being the real owner of all Otunba Michael Adenuga’s Business empire. Gangsters will operate in this manner; they have people known as ‘fall guys’ who go down for them should anything go wrong, and while the fall guy is away in prison, his or her family will continue to be taken care of by the gangster. This fall guy theory was seen in action in the Maryam Babangida and Glory Okon/Jennifer Madike saga, Nigerians still do not know the whole truth of the level of Mrs Babangida’s involvement in the alleged cocaine stories. Once again deception at its highest.


How about womanizing? Gangsters are the quintessential playboys, it baffles me how they have such high devotions to their wives and family and still live sleazy lifestyles on the side, they are very good at setting women up in rented apartments and paying them huge sums to be at their beck and call, such high class women (prostitutes) are usually trustees of information about hideous crimes their gangster lovers commit.
We all know how Nigerian politicians are and their low level of morality, do not be surprised at the number of big bosomed women that throng their offices daily in search of contracts, hotel operators and owners will ever be grateful to them for their patronage, they are known to keep different specifications of women at the same time in different hotels, sometimes they do not have time to come and ‘service’ these women, this responsibility then falls on their hundreds of aides who would normally demand a ‘sample’ before handing over their masters’ money gifts.



Several women have also benefited from their largesse; they have received gifts of cars, houses, expenses paid travel to Europe and America, etc. Are you surprised that the late military president Sanni Abacha was rumoured to have died in the arms of a Russian prostitute at Aso rock? The Russian lady allegedly was part of a larger conspiracy.


Notice how the different state governors have been adding ‘sweet sixteens’ to their harem, Orji Uzor Kalu came to Enugwu-Ukwu for a chieftaincy title in 2000 and took home a maiden as well, James Ibori has recently annexed a beautiful Enugu girl, who in turn has given him a bouncing baby boy, the story just like the snake between their legs is too long for these pages.


Government houses and lodges are famous for the select parties that take place there, anytime a compatriot or fellow politician comes into town, a gala night is organised for the ‘August’ visitor, with lots of young and half naked women on offer, these women are usually from nearby schools and universities, any surprise then that most state governors usually have it as a priority to set up their own state universities, not for the educational benefits to the people but so that they would have supply bases and hunting spots. Do you know that in Nigeria, pimping for a politician can be quite lucrative? Hmm!


If you live in Enugu, you may still remember the famous Jim Nwobodo parties at the government house while he was the governor of the then Anambra state, the stories of the coveting and philandering that took place in his parties are better not repeated here, else parents would quickly withdraw their daughters from Enugu schools and universities. At such parties catering is provided by the best caterers in town, and only the best wines and champagnes are drunk, sometimes customised champagne are shipped in just like Chief Adisa Akinloye, the then NPN chairman did when he celebrated his first 1 Billion Naira with a grandiose party.

There are other examples, especially amongst the military politicians, remember the woman tussle between the Bamaiyi brothers? And the Ndubuisi Kanu and Jubril Aminu wife swap/snatch?


Picture Al Capone in his champagne parties, with women doting on him and also Al Pacino’s character in Scarface as he coveted his boss’ (Frank Lopez) girlfriend. This is another aspect of the symbiotic relationship between gangsters and Nigerian politicians: parties, women, and frolicking.


Gangsters are known forgers and dodgers. The American government found it difficult to nail Al Capone because Al Capone constantly manipulated his books, records and his bookkeeper, the key witness sought desperately by the government. There is no difference between Al Capone’s tactics and antics and those of James Onanefe Ibori, the Delta state governor. It is only tact and craft that enabled him to wriggle out of his recent legal problem over the identity of the James Ibori that was convicted by an Abuja court in 1995 and the James Ibori that is currently the governor of Delta state, the star witness (the ‘other’ James Ibori) in the matter was missing and could not testify, just like Al Capone’s bookkeeper.


Play back the tape to the Toronto scandal of the ex- speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, I am sure that wherever he is now, Salisu Buhari will be wondering why him and not the others?

Perhaps the greatest resemblance between gangsters and Nigerian politicians is in the area of perpetrating mayhem, killings, and the hiring of hoodlums and goons. Party politics in Nigeria is never complete without political thuggery and assassinations. There is a long list of opponents in Nigeria that have fallen from assassins’ bullets sponsored by political opponents. In gangster land, putting out a hit or contract on a rival gangster is also commonplace.


Gangsters are known to belong to mobs and so are Nigerian politicians, hence the descriptions Kaduna Mafia, Langtang Mafia etc. This mob mentality actually became a permanent feature of party politics in Nigeria in the second republic.


In the eastern part of Nigeria, there were lots of such hired goons, who were financed by the politicians at the time; Jim Nwobodo was financing the Jim’s Vanguard while Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu financed the Ikemba Front. Clashes between these two opposing camps were widely reported in the media and at the time provided real entertainment to the party politics followers, their rivalry culminated in the now famous Nkpo junction clash between the Jim’s Vanguard and the Ikemba Front, this clash led to the ‘ignominious pimp’ speech by the Ikemba.


In Imo state, the ‘weeping’ governor late Sam Mbakwe set up the Onunaka Front Organisation (OFO) which he used as his own private security outfit, Mbakwe had no problems in recruiting members into this organisation as he had ample supply from the unemployed weight lifters who normally congregated at the Aba stadium, known as “ndi akpu obi’ (Big and muscular lads).


These political thugs later metamorphosed into armed robbers when they were disbanded as a result of the Buhari/Idiagbon military coup, but having tasted power they never really went away and have continued to provide ‘executioner’ services to successive politicians, they were recently seen in action in Anambra state but this time under the direction of Chris Uba.


Militia and Vigilante organisations such as the OPC, MASSOB and The Bakassi have also been used in the Western and Eastern parts of Nigeria by politicians as thugs to intimidate their opponents; the politicians are known to sponsor these organisations through the purchase of arms and also by making financial contributions.


The other associated characteristics between Nigerian politicians and gangsters are betrayal and back stabbing (the kiss of death theory). OBJ demonstrated this in his saga with Audu Ogbeh, he was having lunch with him while at the same time detailing security operatives to his house to put him under house arrest and force his resignation.


IBB did the same to his alleged friend, late M.K.O Abiola when he annulled the June 12 elections, which Abiola had contested with IBB’s assurances and won, this made Abiola to remark that ‘with friends like this, we no longer need enemies’.

I can recall Michael Corleone kissing his brother-in-law in the presence of his sister, despite having given the order for him to be executed.

Picture Al Capone in his dapper immaculate suits, remember how Tony Montana described the attempted assassination on his life, ‘they wanna spoil my $800 suit’ he said.


Nigerian politicians are lovers of high fashion, their fashion budget can offset the interest payments of the mounting debts they incur on behalf of the electorates, in his days Jim Nwobodo was famous for his canali suits, when they come abroad, they only shop at the best shops, the Harrords, the Russell & Bromleys. Mrs. Maryam Babangida is still remembered today, not for her better life programme but for her fashion contest with Mrs. Maryam Abacha. The politicians wear the best and most expensive lace and brocade materials, their shoes and slip-ons are usually of the best animal skin and Italian leather. How are they able to afford such luxuries? With our money, of course.


There is now a growing trend of godfatherism in Nigerian politics, the same way Amerigo Bonasera came to kiss Don Corleone’s (the Godfather) feet to ask for favours, so do Nigerian politicians run to their respective Godfathers for help, for the state governors, these Godfathers force them to sign away their federal allocations, they also enter into pacts with the devil by swearing oaths of loyalty and allegiance at native shrines. IBB is now the biggest Godfather of them all, every known politician in Nigeria have benefited from his benevolence, no wonder they are always running to his Minna residence to pay homage.

In the west, Chief Lamidi Adedibu and Alhaji Azeez Arisekola-Alao hold sway, Arthur Nzeribe may be waning in importance but he still has his loyals, in Anambra state Chris Uba has taken over from Emeka Offor as the political Godfather in the state, in the other states Godfathers abound as well.

Nigerian politicians and gangsters are also known to be corrupt, they bribe judges and therefore corrupt justice. They intimidate their opponents using different tactics; finally, they are professional liars, and always speak from the two sides of their mouth, you can never trust a gangster, neither can you trust a Nigerian politician, not with your life nor with your protection, because they think only of their own survival.


(First posted on 22 Januray 2005.)

Profile of Uche Nworah
Uche’s passion is in motivating and inspiring people to achieve and excel, as a life coach and public speaker, he preaches self - enterprise as the key to people and economic empowerment drawing from his experiences which includes running his own lottery business at the age of 10.

Uche holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Arts (second class honours upper division) from the University of Uyo -Nigeria and also a Master of Science (MSc) degree in Marketing from the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus. He also holds the BEEC professional certificate and diploma in advertising, and the Post-graduate Diploma in Marketing of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, London.
In addition to a teaching qualification (Postgraduate Certificate in Education) obtained from the University of Greenwich, London, he is currently studying for a doctorate degree (EdD) in Education at the same university.


Uche has extensive management and marketing experience having worked for Leading Edge Consulting Ltd, Lagos as a management consultant and also Sunrise D’Arcy, Lagos as Head of Events and Public Relations. He also worked as an independent investment adviser for African markets in Germany before leaving to pursue his life long dream of teaching, first at Bexley College, London as a business and marketing lecturer and currently at NewVic, London. Uche speaks and writes German fluently, enjoys travelling, football, movies, writing and meeting people.


He is the founder and project director of T.O.T.A.L PROJECTS, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that promotes e - learning in Africa.


Uche’s email address is: uchenworah@yahoo.com








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