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Posts tagged ‘Boko Haram’

Fresh Boko Haram Scare Hits Imo Nigeriens, Northerners Flood Owerri.


 

Palpable fear and uneasy calm is gradually enveloping in Imo state following the unprecedented increase in the number of Nigerians and Northerners in the state.
It would be recalled that the PDP in Imo state had at a press briefing few weeks ago raised alarm about possible Boko Haram in Imo when it alleged that people from the Northern part of the country where activities of Boko Haram is dominant were being trained at the state government built ICAPS complex on Egbu road Owerri. Later discoveries indicate that youths from a particular Northern state were undergoing training at ICAPS. The trainees were later sent back to the respective state by concerned authorities in Imo.
However, heavy presence of Nigerians believed to be from the Northern part of the country is being noticed in the state capital especially in Owerri and other developed towns of Orlu, Okigwe Mgbidi, Ahiara junction and Nwaoriebu.
Our reporters who have been monitoring the developments since the beginning of the year, noticed that major corners in the state capital like Douglas/Mbaise Roads, and Ama JK are witnessing beehive of activities swelled by the presence of the foreigners who have turned to itinerant artisans and craftsmen. Apart from textile and petty trading, some of them are involved in cobbler and roadside merchandising.
Trumpeta visit to Ama Hausa, abode for Northerners showed that the quarters have been over filled with people from the Hausa Fulani speaking states and foreigners with little or no space to operate. Same applies to major areas in the state capital where uncompleted buildings and shanties have turned to places of abode for these foreigners and Northerners alike.
The reasons for the influx of foreigners and Northerners could not be ascertained as to press time but reports have it that if might not be unconnected with inclement security conditions in the Northern parts of the country. It was gathered that the heavy military presence coupled with exercises of soldiers searching for Boko Haram suspects sent many Northerners and foreigners from the sect’s infested areas to terror-free zones to avoid either been caught in cross fire or nabbed by the soldiers.
However, their presence has not gone down well with residents of the state who are scared and expressing misgivings over the influx of non indigenes from the North. Apparently aware of the Boko Haram scare in Southern states like Lagos and Rivers state occasioned by heavy presence of Northerners and foreigners, Imo residents are experiencing uneasy calm, palpable fear and tension.
Some residents, who spoke to our reporter on the increasing presence of foreigners and Northerners on Owerri streets, noted that it is a dangerous trend security agencies should delve into, adding that proactive measures must be instituted to check any action likely to cause insurgence in the state.

By peter uzoma.

Source: Radio Biafra.

A Government From Boko Haram By Emeka Asinugo.


By Emeka Asinugo

When, some months back, President Jonathan of Nigeria said that Boko Haram had penetrated his government and federal government agencies, he knew exactly what he was saying. He was right. In a way, the prolonged and mindless Boko Haram killings in the eastern parts of Northern Nigeria seem to be playing out that time-tested song by Jimmy Cliff titled ‘the harder they come, the harder they fall.’ The harder Boko Haram attacks come on the villages of Northern Nigeria, the harder Nigerian citizens of northern extract fall. The destructive presence of Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria can only be compared with the merciless mission of the Janjaweed militia of Darfur.

What Nigerians need to know, at this point in time, is whether these attacks still have religious or political undertones or whether they have turned out to become pure brigandage. For, in these Northern villages which Boko Haram attacks with measured frequency, the people’s cattle, their foodstuff and even their beautiful young daughters are catered away by force, by unknown gunmen, to unknown destinations where, no doubt, the young damsels are subjected to sexual abuse. If this is not brigandage, what could possibly be? Come to think of it! What have foodstuff, cattle and pretty girls got to do with people who claim they want to establish a pure Islamic state, even in a country that embraces a secular and not religious constitution?

Some scholars have, as it were, posited that Boko Haram sect believes some members of a contaminated school of Muslim thought, in tandem with a highly corrupt cabal of Northern politicians, have succeeded in high jacking political dispensation in the Northern part of Nigeria. That is why they are determined to wrestle power from them. They want to see the North return to fundamental Islamic teaching and tradition.

It all sounds good and well.

But if that is their desire, why then are they are killing their own people? Why are they are spilling the blood of their own young and innocent children? Why are they are destroying their own innocent women? Why are they mowing down their own innocent men? What have those being killed got to do with the aspirations of Boko Haram? People no longer have homes in the villages Boko Haram has sacked. They are refugees in their own country, driven away from their homesteads by a mindless sect that claims to be working for their interest.

Boko Haram is the vampire that has kept sucking the blood of Northern Nigeria’s future generations. The sect members have continued to cut down on their own Northern population. They have continued to limit their voting power by reducing their own number. So, someone should tell me: what sort of government can possibly emerge from the rubbles of such recklessness?

Just think about it. This is a wake-up call. How can Boko Haram, if ever they succeed in becoming a government of their own people, dry the tears from the eyes of thousands of women they prematurely turned into widows, and the many more children they turned into orphans? How can they say ‘sorry’ to all those families they threw into grief or left in agony after they mowed down their breadwinner? With what face will they meet their subjects after the battle is fought and won?

If all this is part of the alleged plan to make governance difficult for President Jonathan, then honestly, people from that part of the country should have their heads examined. I am sorry: I am not being rude, but I am almost convinced that this group of rascals cannot possibly stand the ground against a united Northern elders’ forum which endorses government as a democratic dispensation and not a cabal of the rich and mighty shoving it down the throats of the weak and vulnerable.

Boko Haram has caused so much pain to so many families across the nation. They have killed the Yoruba. They have killed the Hausa and the Fulani. They have killed Christians. They have killed Muslims. They have killed students. They have killed people in the marketplace. They have killed people during events. They just don’t care who they kill. They go for vulnerable people in strategic places.

Now, assuming that tomorrow a Muslim northerner becomes President of Nigeria, will these mindless killings stop?

Maybe it will be good for Nigerians to know. It is obvious that any government emanating straight from the ashes of Boko Haram’s killings will either be an autocracy or another Taliban type of government which will enforce strict Islamic Laws that tend to deny women of their human rights – a government that will dry the women’s tears with fire, and not with handkerchiefs. Will a Northern President be able to placate the Boko Haram sect and bring their nefarious activities under control? In other words, can a Northern President heal the wounds inflicted by Boko Haram on so many families in the North and in the South?

Nigerians should learn from the history of their country – both ancient and contemporary history. When two-time Head of State, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, was in power, Niger Delta people were agitating so much about being marginalized in the scheme of things in the country. The bulk of the oil which sustained the economy of the nation was coming from their land. And they were being neglected. Basic infrastructure was obsolete and in some cases, non-existent. No good roads. No clean drinking water. No affordable medical care. No standard schools. Electricity supply was epileptic. There was general poverty in the land. The oil companies which were exploring oil from the Delta Region were said to have turned a blind eye to all the suffering the people of the region were passing through. They were not doing much to alleviate the level of poverty that was eating deep into the communities that made up the Delta Region. In the midst of the excruciating poverty that was ravaging the region, their top officers and chief executives preferred to live in palatial mansions in the big cities wining and dining with Governors, walking tall on the corridors of power.

Overwhelmed by their circumstances, the people of the Delta Region began to make trouble. They kidnapped oil workers. They kidnapped indigenes. They kidnapped foreigners. They kidnapped members of the families of public office holders. They vandalized oil pipelines and oil installations. They stole crude oil and refined them in makeshift refineries within the creeks, far away from government’s scrutiny.

It was all telling on Chief Obasanjo as Head of State because he is a man who loves his country but who, from experience, knew how difficult it was to please every Nigerian at the same time from the Presidential Villa. Obasanjo thought out a plan.

He was convinced that a President coming from the Delta Region would be in a better position to sort out Delta people and bring relief to the country. So, he sponsored the late Musa Yar ‘Adua as President and Jonathan as Vice President under the auspices of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, which at the time was largest and the ruling party.

Jonathan had become Governor of Bayelsa State after his predecessor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, had been indicted for money laundering by a London court and was impeached by Bayelsa House of Assembly on that account. The elder brother of Governor Musa Yar ‘Adua, Major General Shehu Yar’ Adua, had been a successful businessman, soldier, and politician. His father was a former Minister for Lagos during the First Republic. Shehu trained at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, England and participated in the Nigerian Civil War. He was Vice President of Nigeria when Olusegun Obasanjo was military Head of State from 1976 until 1979.

In 1995, the older Yar ‘Adua was sentenced to life in prison by a military tribunal after he called on the military government of General Sani Abacha and his Provisional Ruling Council to re-establish civilian rule. Obasanjo was also imprisoned at the same time. Unfortunately, Shehu Yar ‘Adua died in prison two years later, on 8 December 1997. When eventually Obasanjo was released from prison, he wanted to see justice done to the family of the Yar’Aduas. So, he sponsored Umaru Musa Yar ‘Adua, the younger brother of his late prison mate, Shehu, to be elected as President of Nigeria in 2007 while Goodluck Jonathan was Vice President.

Everybody knew that Musa Yar ‘Adua was a sick man. Twice, during his tenure as governor, he had gone for medical treatment abroad, which kept him away from work for several months at a time. But because he was loved, not only by his people from Northern Nigeria, but by almost every other Nigerian both from the East and the West, he didn’t have any problem getting back into his office on return.

Whether by accident or by design, the pressure of work killed Musa Yar ‘Adua after three and half years as President. Jonathan succeeded him in office.

But since Jonathan, a son of Delta Region, became President, the troubles in Delta State have not ended. No. Rather, they have escalated. The level of impunity has gone up. Members of the families of government officials are no longer safe. Even members of the family of the President himself are not safe. Recently, the step-father of President Jonathan was kidnapped right from his village home, and the kidnappers are asking for a ransom amount of N500 million (£2 million).

That level of impunity!

So, assuming that by tomorrow, Boko Haram succeeds in “wrestling power from the democratically elected government that is in control in the North”, what sort of government will they be able to form? Will the fact that a Northerner has become President stop the agitation of Boko Haram? Just as having a Delta President could not stop the Delta rebellion, so a Northern President may not be able to twist the arms of Boko Haram insurgency.

In that case, will it not be an indication to Eastern and Western Nigerians that it is time for them to decide for themselves if they still want this do-or-die leadership style of their militant northern brothers or to go their separate ways because things have fallen apart and the centre can no longer hold? If that is what Nigerians need to know – and react to – this is the time to speak up, the National Conference, the opportunity.

 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

Anarchy: Has Jonathan Lost Control Of Nigeria? By Peregrino Brimah.


By Peregrino Brimah

Bama, Izghe, Bama, Yobe, Mafa, Jakana; Boko Haram is unleashing mayhem in the northeastern villages and towns of Nigeria. Burning them to ashes and massacring the citizens with impunity. ‘Impunity,’ the most commonly used vocab in conversations about this regime.

Since the new service chiefs were sworn in and since the suspect thrice failed NSA and dictatorial regime, Gusau was approved to return to our security department, Boko Haram or whatever it is, has successfully enjoyed ravaging Nigerian cities for hours on-end with the army appearing to have been given a stand-down order. The Armageddon has begun, without question, for many of our countrymen.

The United States has categorized Boko Haram as the world’s second worst terrorist organisation, killings only of less numbers than al Qaeda Taliban central. But with the new rate of successful killing and destruction, Boko Haram 2014 is currently the world’s top terrorist organisation.

Under this administration, Boko Haram which was pretty much destroyed by ex-President Yar’Adua is now back and in better form than ever; getting stronger and more brazen by the day. In the five years, the administration has been unable to restore security to the north and the economy continues in its deadly plunge. As the crisis entrenches itself, the people have lost all confidence and hope.

BUNKERING, PIRACY AND KIDNAPPING

While the northeast grapples with a new reality of life with terror, under this new era of impunity, MEND has reformed into the world’s top high-sea pirates, achieving the most dangerous, high value boat captures and robberies in the entire world for 2013. In fact the first oil tanker kidnap in Nigeria’s history, the hijack of MT Velle di Cordoba, happened in December of 2010 under Jonathan’s government.  Situations appear to be getting out of hand and restoration of modest security appears completely illusive.

According to estimates from a former senior World Bank employee, over $400 billion dollars worth of oil revenue has been stolen from the Niger Delta by thieves, bunkerers and pirates since independence. Today the stealing, bunkering and spilling oil from illegal activities is at an all time high. The creeks are flowing with poisonous oil. In fact the thieves are so confident and feel so legitimate, the President of the Ijaw Youth Council announced publicly that illegal ‘bush’ refining should be legalized. 400,000 barrels of oil are looted every day with a staggering income diversion by the Niger Delta bandits of $4 million every day! And this is getting worse. Unhindered looting of this capacity is a serious enduring threat to national security and prosperity. Illegally amassed wealth is the chief source of cash for the mechanisms of terror. The coastal terrorists continue to secure their status politically and militarily and if not checked early, this poses an irreversible threat to the commoner, the region, the nation and sub-continent as a whole. As these barons achieve stupendous wealth, their sophistication surpasses that of Nigeria’s security services, they are able to bribe and buy off any government threats and their daring reach expands outside Nigeria’s shores, with activities of Nigerian pirates extending as far east as Gabon and west to Ivory Coast.

LARGE-SCALE CORRUPTION AND ECONOMIC TERRORISM
Nigeria loses $8bn a year in NNPC oil-product swaps. $4.3 million a day is stolen from the poor masses in the NNPC kerosene subsidy scam, which by the way, contrary to recent statements by the oil minister and President, Nigerians never protested about; the January 2012 protests were only in relation to petrol and not kerosene subsidies. The nation’s economy appears strong in only one thing—missing billions of dollars. Investor confidence is tanking rapidly as the corruption and recklessness of the current regime continues to be exposed. Jonathan appears to have willingly or accidentally lost total control. Of late, the President has fired many of his ministers and even the CBN governor after he exposed gargantuan misappropriations and frank looting of up to and over $100 billion by the administration. As Nigeria’s fortunes get worse, a handful of cabal continue to get stupendously rich while the numbers of destitute have doubled in the last 10 years.

This is serious. This is a deep mess. I’m not an alarmist. When we raised the alarm about the nation being broke; billions looted, we were not unduly frantic, we were simply reading the signs and feeling the pinch that has been substantiated with the expose of the kerosene subsidy scam and the now known $20-127 billion looted as exposed by the Central bank. Trends in terror finance, the sudden inclusion of Nigerians to the list of the world’s top billionaires and poverty in the nation, signified one thing- rapid transfer of oil funds and masses wealth to greedy cabal. The dry-looting of the nation.

Such a situation where the masses are robbed dry to satisfy a few is not sustainable. Anarchy is the predictable outcome of the current state of the nation under administrative economic terrorism. Nigeria hangs precariously at the balance and political aspirations and desperation does not allow those in power realize the impending doom and chaos. For the dead, RIP, the doom has already happened.

ARMS PROLIFERATION

Boko Haram terrorism of the northeast and MEND southern terrorism were both the results of the proliferation of weapons among thugs of psychopathic politicians. After the candidates secured their victories, these armed youth political thugs lost their relevance and resorted to terror. If the events of the past elections are anything to go by, Nigeria is in a bigger mess today. The importation and proliferation of arms is at an all time high under the current regime. No region is being spared as politicians take advantage of the impunity that avails to create and arm new thug militia who will become the havoc wrecking terrorist groups of tomorrow. Nigerian Customs reported seven times as high seizures of arms in 2013 as there were in 2012.

The Punch of Feb 20 revealed that over 8,741 arms and 7,014 pieces of ammunition were recovered from various criminal hideouts in Anambra, Edo and Rivers states. According to another February article in the same paper, the State Security Service operatives intercepted high-calibre ammunition in a 20-foot container at the sea port in Rivers State in a MV Iron Trader vessel which was carrying 2,700 anti-aircraft and anti-tank bombs. The police, according to the report also alerted of an increased number of arms in circulation. Considering the continuous violent killings in the Middle Belt, and the entire national rate of violent armed crime and terror, it does not take much to appreciate the danger Nigerians are in as everyone who desires to possess a gun or even an anti-tank weapon, has one and is able to use it without risk of being locked up. In Nigeria today, when one person discretely shoots, he is a criminal, but once a gang of two make loud noise and beat and kill in a form of mob action, they are spared of any wrong doing. This impunity for mob and communal terror has cemented the foundation for insecurity and societal anarchy.

IMPUNITY AND EMPOWERMENT OF TERRORISTS

It is no news that the corrupt and the sponsors of terror are not only protected today, but are even rewarded and granted greater rights and privileges. In the current political dispensation, once you have amassed enough wealth and power to appear to be able to contribute a certain voter block, the government will patronize you. This grand impunity has discredited any attempt at appearing to be tackling corruption and terror in Nigeria. As long as sponsors of terror are protected by the government, support and cash flow to terrorists is guaranteed.

Government officials caught with bags of money and hand in pot are retained within the government and even if finally they retire, they never face repudiation for their crimes. Imprisoned terrorists, killers and looters are granted pardon or brought out of jail some other way and even the worst murderous dictators and looters of the nation’s history have been awarded national honors. The short term and long term impacts of this ‘canonization of terror’ as Noble Laureate Wole Soyinka phrased it and legalizing of corruption and criminality can only be dreaded. This is a nation under terror. The leaders are proud of their embrace of corruption and terror and wish to share this with the masses and teach all, old and young that corruption and violent and economic terror is a thing to be embraced and regarded. This dangerous situation of absurd impunity threatens the nation more than any other problem the nation has. Where there is no law and no justice there can never be peace. Without ensuring security, there can never be meaningful development. A radical leadership intervention is exigent at this time in Nigeria’s history to stem the tide of praise and patronage of terror, corruption and illegality.

CONCLUSION

The government is afraid of the masses. It knows the people are very different from it. The Civilian JTF in the northeast has increasingly come at odds with the state. These brave youth have gone after sponsors of terror, only to be fenced by the government that quickly comes to the rescue of the cabal, eight hours faster than they ever come to the rescue of the poor and elderly in villages attacked by Boko Haram. This administration is afraid of a true SNC. It is afraid of state police, regional power and restoring regionalism. The Status quo maintains arbitrary ethnic divides and frustrations that allow the government and cabal divert the attention of the masses from their atrocities to ridiculous religious and ethnic quarrels. One must admit that the government and their coterie of plunderers have thus far been a step ahead of the masses. If things remain as is, Nigeria is on a path to sure and certain calamity.

At this critical point, to protect life and restore hope, either a people or other event of force rids the nation of the current administration; or the people must work with this government and help it and force its hand to limit its misadventures till its tenure ends mid next year. These problems are serious; there will forever be scars from what has transpired not only in these last five years but from most of the years since independence. The global dependence on oil is changing; much of the ‘developed’ world has abandoned Nigeria. One notices European players are limiting their dependence on our oil and easing out their oil companies from Nigeria and allowing the Chinese take over. This is not by accident. This is because of their projections on what we have and are doing to ourselves. They view us as on a course of irredeemable decay and a long-term investment risk. Are we going to prove them right? Are we going to secure a future for our children, or leave them a ‘Darfur?’

Dr. Peregrino Brimah
http://ENDS.ng [Every Nigerian Do Something]
Email: drbrimah@ends.ng Twitter: @EveryNigerian

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

A National Insult Rejected By Okey Ndibe.


 

Okey Ndibe
Columnist:

Okey Ndibe

For those unaware of its source, I might as well state from the outset that the title of this column is not original. It’s adapted from a statement released last week by Wole Soyinka. The statement, which bore the Nobel laureate’s stamp of revulsion at moral impunity, chastised the Goodluck Jonathan administration for its bizarre line-up of 100 personalities worthy of honor at a ceremony marking the centenary of Nigeria’s amalgamation.

The centenary list, typical of such rolls in Nigeria, was a hodgepodge. It bracketed imperial personages, so-called “contributors to the making of Nigeria”—including Queen Elizabeth 11 of England and Lord Frederick Lugard, first British overseer of the forcibly amalgamated territory—with such notable nationalist fighters as Herbert Macaulay, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, and Anthony Enahoro. It squeezed Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Michael Imoudu, Aminu Kano, Kenneth Onwuka Dike, Funmilayo Ransome Kuti, John Pepper Clark, Chike Obi, Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Dagogo Fubara, and Moshood Kashimawo Abiola into the same tent as Sani Abacha. In an even weirder development, Mr. Abacha shows up—along with Yakubu Gowon, Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida—under the category of “Outstanding Promoters of Unity, Patriotism and National Development”.

How did we quickly forget that Abacha’s looting of public funds from the vaults of the Central Bank of Nigeria was a patriotic act? Or that he gave his cronies licenses to import toxic fuel into Nigeria because he so fiercely loved Nigerians and fervently desired their development? Or that Babangida’s annulment of the June 12 presidential election was a recipe for Nigeria’s unity?

Anybody who only followed the Aso Rock version of the centenary could have run away with the impression that Nigerians are ever grateful to the coalition of British merchants, bureaucrats, adventurers and royals who cobbled their country together—and named it Nigeria. But the deeper truth lies elsewhere. There were two sets of memory at play last week, two attitudes to Nigeria—a so-called nation bereft of a national spirit, a space that is unformed, ill-formed and malformed.

Those who preside today over the looting of billions of dollars of Nigeria’s resources may deceive themselves that the 100th anniversary of the amalgamation of Nigeria is an occasion for celebration. Many—I’d argue, most—Nigerians think otherwise. For several months, the Internet was abuzz with speculations that the legal instruments of amalgamation stipulated one hundred years as the event’s expiry date. With a great sense of expectancy, many looked forward to the formal cessation of the tragic, nightmarish, and blood-soaked experiment called Nigeria. Was the Jonathan administration unaware of this swell of hope that Nigeria should cease?

In the build-up to the centenary, the band of Islamist extremists known as Boko Haram carried out one of their most savage and outrageous attacks yet. They stormed a secondary school in Yobe under the cover of darkness, slaughtered 60 boys, and set their victims’ dorms on fire. In any serious country, one such act would forever scar the collective conscience, provoking a resolve of “Never again!” Not in Nigeria, a place where a human life is worth far less than a chicken. How did Nigeria’s “transformational” leadership respond to this latest callousness by Boko Haram? It responded in its accustomed soft, indifferent manner. It issued the same tiresome, obligatory condemnation of the carnage, nothing more. The Presidency did not consider the shocking abbreviation of so many innocent lives an occasion to devise and announce a bold, effective plan to assure the safety of all citizens, especially school children, in the Boko Haram-plagued, terror-infested areas. It was, as usual, a do-nothing stance.

But then the government did something even worse than habitual abdication. Apparently, Reno Omokri, Mr. Jonathan’s point man on social media, orchestrated a release that sought to link Nigeria’s suspended Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, with a spike in Boko Haram’s gruesome activities, including the Yobe slaughter. Apparently Mr. Omokri did not reckon with the fact that many Nigerians are quite adept at cyber intelligence, deft at the kind of detective work that can unmask those who exploit the seeming anonymity of the Internet to slander others. Mr. Sanusi is the Jonathan administration’s Public Enemy Number One. The sacked CBN Governor committed the unpardonable sin of telling the world that a major agency of the Nigerian state had failed to deposit $20 billion earned from crude oil exports. In response, the government accused Mr. Sanusi of squandering the funds of the bank he ran, awarding contracts without following requisite laws, and dispensing Nigeria’s funds as if they were his private treasury.

If Mr. Sanusi committed these crimes, I’d like to see him prosecuted, convicted and punished. I’d also like to see the administration account fully for the funds that Mr. Sanusi alleged to be missing. Here’s what the government doesn’t have a right to do: sending Mr. Omokri, its cyber warrior-in-chief, to concoct and disseminate horrific lies against Mr. Sanusi or any Nigerian. Unless Mr. Omokri can demonstrate that he did not mastermind the craven forgery, he ought to resign immediately. Or be fired.

It’s tragic that the Nigerian government, from the president to his aides, continues to fiddle while the country burns. It’s shameful that President Jonathan and Nigerian legislators prioritize a phantom war—going after gays—when the country is besieged by mindless, well-armed zealots who see unarmed Nigerians, including children, as fair game. How does the targeting of gays solve Nigeria’s infrastructural problems? Are gays the reason elections are massively rigged in Nigeria; public funds looted with depraved greed; our educational system a shambles; our healthcare system ghastly?

Nigeria fought a civil war that claimed anything from one to three million lives. It was a war to defend a British-made idea, to uphold the sanctity of a space wrought by British imperial fiat. The mantra was: To keep Nigeria one is a task that must be done. To their credit, the British had an excellent reason for keeping Nigeria one. Nigeria was their largest holding in Africa (and their second largest anywhere, after India). It was a prodigious source of raw materials for British firms as well as a huge dumping ground for British-made goods. It made sound sense, from the British point of view, to keep Nigeria one.

As British rule ended, the Nigerian elite who inherited the spoils of the state adopted as an article of faith the idea that Nigeria must remain one entity. But they shied away from asking the hard questions. What’s so sacred about Nigeria? Why should we remain one? What ends are served by remaining one? What does Nigeria represent? And—if unity was not negotiable—then what must be the irreducible terms of our engagement?

I’ve argued before that a central part of Nigeria’s tragedy arises from the fact that the country fought a costly war, but has never permitted the lessons of that war to inform its conduct, to shape its ethos. It’s as if we went to war to defend the right of a few to continue to plunder, to continue to feed fat at the expense of the rest of us, to perpetually rig themselves into power, and to add their contemptible names to every roll of honor, even though they refrain from doing anything that is remotely honorable.

As Mr. Jonathan feted the so-called giants of Nigeria’s centenary, a different, oppositional narrative played itself out. The collective memory of the vast majority of Nigerians beheld Nigeria, not as a splendid monument, but as a sordid, wretched edifice. They saw what Mr. Jonathan and his ilk refuse to see: that the Nigerian state is a provocation, a moral affront, a failed, misery-dispensing state.

Soyinka captured part of the spirit of that deep split in the way Nigeria is regarded. He acted bravely by excusing himself from the insouciant official ritual that amounted to an insult to the outraged sensibilities of the majority of Nigerians. In a statement of renunciation titled “Canonization of Terror,” Mr. Soyinka called attention to the wasted lives of the students in Yobe. He drew our attention to “the entire ethical landscape into which this nation has been forced by insensate leadership.” He would not succumb to the summons to collective amnesia, the only condition under which an ogre like Sani Abacha would be invited to arise, ghost-like, to accept national veneration as a patriotic champion of Nigerian “unity and national development.” Stated Mr. Soyinka: “Under that ruler, torture and other forms of barbarism were enthroned as the norm of governance. To round up, nine Nigerian citizens, including the writer and environmentalist Ken Saro-Wiwa, were hanged after a trial that was stomach churning even by the most primitive standards of judicial trial, and in defiance of the intervention of world leadership.”

In the end, Soyinka spoke for me—and I suggest, for many other enlightened people—when he stated, “I reject my share of this national insult.”

Please follow me on twitter @ okeyndibe

 

(okeyndibe@gmail.com)

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Massacre continues as Boko Haram attacks another Borno village, many feared killed.


The police confirmed the attack but could not provide details.
Jakana Village in Kaga Local Government Area of Borno State was on Monday night attacked by gunmen believed to be members of the Boko Haram.
‪Jakana is 36km away from Maiduguri, the state capital, and about 20km from Mainok, the village where 39 people were massacred by the Boko Haram on Saturday.‬
‪Though details of the Monday night attack that lasted till around 3 a.m. are still sketchy for now, some of the villagers who were able to escape the attack said many may have been affected by the incident.‬
‪PREMIUM TIMES gathered that villagers from a neighbouring village of Auno fled to Njimtilo, another village outside Maiduguri, upon seeing the skies being lighted by burning fire from the direction of the attacked village.‬
‪”We spent the nIght in Njimtilo village after running from our own village, Auno”, said an embattled villager, Bashir Adam.
He added that “even in Njimtilo we could still hear the sounds of shooting in Jakana. We hope our brethren there will survive this calamity that has befallen us”.‬
‪The Borno Police Public Relations Officer, Gideon Jubrin,  confirmed the incident to journalists but said there were no details yet.
The Monday night attack in Jakana occurs about 24 hours after at least 32 people were killed by the Boko Haram in Mafa Village.
Mafa Village was also set ablaze by the terrorists in an attack that residents said lasted about 5 hours.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that the villagers in Mafa had been forewarned of the attack and many of them fled their homes about a week ago.
The warnings were allegedly handed down by Boko Haram members via leaflets dropped around the village.
According to the Senator representing Borno Central, Ahmed Zannah, the gunmen not only massacred the hapless villagers, but also razed down the entire village.
Mr. Zannah told journalists on Monday that two police officers died in a bomb explosion targeted at an Armoured Personnel Carrier while they were trying to evacuate injured victims.
“I have officially received a detailed report from my constituents in Mafa that 29 people among which was a woman died during the attack. Two policemen also died this morning as they went to evacuate injured people,” the senator said on Monday.
A resident of Mafa, Modu Yuraim, who survived the attack, told journalists in a telephone interview that “We have performed the burial of 32 persons, among them was a woman”.
Mr. Yuraim said the attackers came in various vehicles at about 8 p.m. on Sunday night and began to shoot sporadically. He said most of the houses, which were of thatched roofs, caught fire.
“They have set on fire the entire village, sparing nothing. All houses, all shops and government buildings were razed down completely; we have been devastated beyond what one can describe,” he said.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that the attack, which started at about 8 p.m. lasted over five hours; a development that left many wondering why it took security officials so long to arrive the village which is just about 45km away.
“I was reliably informed by my people that all the soldiers in Mafa fled during the attack because they could not stand the superior weapons of the Boko-Haram,” he said.
Mr. Yuraim added that apart from the houses that were burnt down, the gunmen also burnt down seven trucks loaded with goods, as well as other vehicles.
The chairman of Mafa Local Government Area, Abubakar Zulum, said the loss suffered by the people, apart from the 32 lives lost, were worth billions of Naira

Ola’ Audu
(From Biafra Galaxy)

U.S. releases damning human rights report about Nigeria.


 

“The most serious human rights abuses during the year were those committed by Boko Haram.”
A new report by the United States has described Nigeria as a country where corruption, official impunity, and gross human rights violations occur at will.
The report described the human rights violations to include extra-judicial killings, rape, torture, mistreatment of detainees, destruction of property, violence against women, vigilante killings, child labour, forced and bonded labour, and discrimination based on sexual orientation.
This assessment of Nigeria is according to the 2013 Country Report on Human Rights. The report, which is now in its 38th year, is sanctioned by the U.S. Congress. It, amongst other things, helps inform the U.S. government policy and foreign assistance.
According to the report, the terrorist group, Boko Haram, and the Nigerian Government are the worst perpetrators of human rights abuses in the country.
“The most serious human rights abuses during the year were those committed by Boko Haram, which conducted killings, bombings, abduction and rape of women, and other attacks throughout the country, resulting in numerous deaths, injuries, and widespread destruction of property; those committed by security services, which perpetrated extrajudicial killings, torture, rape, beatings, arbitrary detention, mistreatment of detainees, and destruction of property; and widespread societal violence, including ethnic, regional, and religious violence,” the report said.
The report came hard on the Goodluck Jonathan administration for institutionalising impunity with the state pardon granted to serial money launderer and former governor of Bayelsa State, Dipreye Alamieyeseigha. It also said the Nigeria government has displayed no willingness to prosecute soldiers and police officers accused of gross human rights violations.
The report makes specific reference to the refusal of the government to prosecute members of the armed forces found to have perpetrated extrajudicial killing and torture in clear disregard of the recommendation of The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the Committee against Torture.
“During the year joint task forces (JTFs), composed of elements of the military, police, and other security services, conducted raids on militant groups and criminal suspects in the states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Kano, Kaduna, Kogi, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba, Katsina, Jigawa, and Yobe. These raids resulted in numerous deaths of and injuries to alleged criminals, militants, and civilians. Local NGOs, international human rights groups, and political and traditional leaders in the affected states accused the security services of indiscriminate and extrajudicial killings.
“The national police, army, and other security forces committed extrajudicial killings and used lethal and excessive force to apprehend criminals and suspects as well as to disperse protesters. Authorities generally did not hold police accountable for the use of excessive or deadly force or for the deaths of persons in custody. The reports of state or federal panels of inquiry investigating suspicious deaths remained unpublished.”
Inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment
The report frowned at the technique of “parading” of suspects commonly used by the police. It observed that most of those paraded are subjected to public ridicule or abuse.
“Police commonly used a technique called “parading” of arrestees. Parading involved literally walking arrestees through public spaces, subjecting them to public ridicule and abuse.
“Bystanders often hurled taunts, food, and other objects. Police defended this practice with the argument that public humiliation helped deter crime,” it said.
It further observed that police flagrantly extort money from civilians and in blatant violation of the law. They use torture to extract confessions from suspects, which are later used to secure convictions in court.
The report indicts the police of rape and other sexual offences of women in their custody. In one example in Abraka in Delta State, in March 2013, a woman said four men raped her while she was in police custody. She said the police had put her in the same cell as the men. She accused the police of failing to help her. According to her, the investigating police office told her to keep quiet about the incident.
Over-crowded and disease-infested prisons
The report described a horrid condition of the country’s prison. It said the prisons are mostly over-crowded and in such deplorable states that they provide fertile breeding grounds for communicable disease. It said prisoners are poorly fed and their health neglected.
For instance, it observed that inmates with mental illness are kept among the general population. Prison warders are also accused of widespread torture, extortions, and sexual abuses such as rape of female inmates.
“Prison and detention center conditions remained harsh and life threatening. Prisoners, a majority of whom had not been tried, were subject to extrajudicial execution, torture, gross overcrowding, food and water shortages, inadequate medical treatment, deliberate and incidental exposure to heat and sun, and infrastructure deficiencies that led to wholly inadequate sanitary conditions and could result in death.”
“Reports indicated guards and prison officials extorted inmates or levied fees on them to pay for food, prison maintenance, and prisoner release. In some cases female inmates faced the threat of rape. Female prisoners pregnant at the time of incarceration gave birth to and raised their babies in prison,” it added.
“Overcrowding was a significant problem in some prisons. Although national capacity stood at 47,284, an imbalance in the use of prisons resulted in underutilization at some facilities, while others were at more than 800 percent of their designed capacity. For example, the Owerri Federal Prison had the capacity to hold 548 prisoners but held more than 1,784. Ogwuashi-Uku prison in Delta State, with a capacity to house 64 prisoners, housed 541, while Port Harcourt prison, with a capacity to hold 804, held 2,955. Ijebu-Ode prison in Lagos, with a capacity to hold 49 prisoners, held 309,” it continued.
“Although the law prohibits the imprisonment of children, minors–many of whom were born there–lived in the prisons. A 2006 report on the rights and welfare of children from the Federal Ministry of Women’s Affairs to the African Union found an estimated 6,000 children lived in prisons and detention centers. The Nigerian Prison Service reported, however, that as of March, 69 infants resided in prison with their mothers while 847 juvenile inmates were detained in juvenile detention centers.”
Freedom of Speech
The report observed that though the freedom of speech and a free press are guaranteed by the constitution, high-handed security and government officials still occasionally harass journalists.
The report made a case in point of the December 2012 raid of the homes and offices of the editor Musa Muhammad Awwal and reporter Aliyu Saleh of the Hausa-language weekly newspaper Al-Mizan, confiscating their phones and laptops as well as detaining the journalists and their wives.
“Politicians and political parties harassed and attacked journalists perceived as reporting on them or their interests in a negative manner. For example, on April 8, authorities in Abuja detained two reporters for Leadership Newspaper, Tony Amokeodo and Chibuzor Ukaibe, following the publication on April 3 of an article alleging that President Jonathan had ordered the disruption of operations of his political opponents. Authorities charged the two men with “vexatious publication.” All charges were later dropped.
“Journalists also were at risk of abduction. For example, in March assailants in Ondo State abducted a Nigeria Television Authority journalist, Olubunmi Oke, as she arrived home from work with her infant child and maid. The child and maid were later released. Media reports stated that the assailants had demanded an eight million naira ($50,240) ransom. Oke was freed after three days, following the payment of an undisclosed ransom.
Nicholas Ibekwe
(From Biafra Galaxy)

Boko Haram terrorists: Dead bodies litter Borno.


Details of the weekend bomb explosions in Maiduguri, Borno State emerged yesterday as residents and rescue officials said at least 50 people died in the twin blasts while another 39 were killed in another attack on Manoik, a village near the state capital by suspected Boko Haram terrorists. Death toll may have risen to 100Twin blasts targeted at a shopping centre and a viewing centre at Gomari-Bintu Sugar area of Maiduguri occurred at about 6.05pm on Saturday.
Scores of football enthusiasts who were watching the evening English Premier League matches were caught by the explosions believed to have been hidden in a truck loaded with firewood and parked near the viewing centre by the terrorists. The residents yesterday told the Deputy Governor, Zannah Mustapha, during his visit that 46 people died on the spot while over 60 injured persons were rushed to hospitals within the metropolis. Hospital sources also said some of the victims later died yesterday even as some were said to be in critical condition.

Mustapha expressed the sympathy of the governor and the government to the people, adding that government would always identify with them in their period of grief. He said the governor directed him to express his condolence to the bereaved. He promised that government would assist the victims and those whose shops were destroyed by the explosions to assist them return to normal life. He directed the Chairman of Maiduguri Metropolis Council (MMC) to compile a list of affected persons to help government plan its palliative support for them.

The residents said they saw a truck loaded with firewood parked near the shopping centre unknown to them that the vehicle was carrying bombs. “We didn’t know it was going to be the source of our sorrow,” a resident said amid tears. According to an account, two men reportedly alighted from a truck loaded with firewood, “opened the vehicle bonnet as if trying to fixa fault” and disappeared from the scene in a jiffy. “The truck exploded about 10 minutes later,” sources said. Some residents who were around the area rushed to the scene ostensibly for rescue mission but the second bomb went off immediately. “It was the second blast that killed many people because those who moved toward the first scene were mostly affected,” Aji Musa, a resident said.

The development prompted troops to launch stop and search operation in the city early yesterday to track down possible movement of arms and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) into the city. Many residents said they were jolted by the discovery and return  An official of the National Emegency Management Agency (NEMA) said many people died and injured but declined to give exact figure, insisting he is “not authorized t do so.” He said both NEMA and Red Cross Society collaborated with the police to rescue those suspected to have been trapped. He, however, said no more corpses or victims were discovered in yesterday’s rescue operation.

In another attack in Mainok, along Maiduguri Damaturu road, about 39 people died in the incident involving explosions and sporadic shooting, security sources said. Mainok is about 55 kilomteres from Maiduguri. A resident, Mansur Buba, said gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram laid a siege on the community at about 8pm. “We were still discussing the bomb explosion in Maiduguri when we started hearing gunshots and explosions everywhere. Almost all our houses have been burnt. This morning (Sunday), we have recovered 39 bodies,” he said.

Source: Radio Biafra.

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