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Posts tagged ‘Mali’

Nigeria’s foreign policy in 100 years.


Diplomatic and bilateral ties which Nigeria had as a colony were mostly dominated by Britain.

Before the amalgamation of Northern and Southern protectorates in 1914, agricultural commodities were exported to Europe and totally controlled by the British Empire. This showed the level of foreign bilateral trade between the colony and the outside world, where cocoa, groundnuts, palm oil and palm kernels were exported and chemicals, machines, transportation equipment and other manufactured products were imported. This level of bilateral trade extended until the 1950s.

The dual mandate adopted by the Europeans, whereby African countries will receive Europe’s civilization in exchange for unrestricted access to the continent resources prevailed during that era.

British stood as Nigeria’s major trading partner, even as 70 percent of her exports, as late as 1955 went to Britain and another 47 percent of import came from that country to Nigeria.

However, this bilateral trade changed from 1976, when British dominance of Nigeria’s economy began to wane. The United States then took over as Nigeria leading trade partner. By this time, exports to Britain dropped to 38 percent while import from the country to Nigeria dropped to 32 percent.

At post independence and for decades, Nigeria’s foreign policy thrust remained consistent with catering for the interests of African countries. However, the change in policy focus was brought about as government sort to arrest the declining economic setbacks. The end of apartheid in South Africa brought to a climax the Afrocentric position Nigeria’s foreign policy. Hence, in the country’s 1999 Constitution the policy shift revolved around economic diplomacy. This became a useful tool for promoting and protecting the country’s national interest in its bilateral ties with other countries.

Each regime during and after the country’s independence in 1960, took to formulating its own course of action to manipulate and propel national interest within the international community; with the purpose of forging a unique identity for their governments. There was a welter of dynamic and conservative foreign policies that went a long way towards how governments of the country actively or passively influenced the country’s interests on the international scene.

While the governments of Tafawa Balewa, Yakubu Gowon and Shehu Shagari were seen as conservative by foreign policy analysts, those of late Muritala Mohammed, Olusegun Obasanjo (during the military era of 1976-79) operated dynamic foreign policies. However, observers of Nigeria’s foreign policy especially in her interaction with the international community may have confused radicalism for dynamism, hence, faulting this conceptualisation as a virile tool for measuring an effective policy. The erstwhileAction Group shadow Foreign Minister, late Anthony Enahoro was attributed as being a proponent of dynamic foreign policy.

He is reported to having moved a motion and prompted the country’s first post independence legislative house, arguing that the August 20, 1960 foreign policy adopted by the House of Representatives lacked dynamism and regretted that the Tafawa Balewa government’s interpretation and conduct of foreign policy lacked all ingredients of activism.

The August 20, 1960 official statement of Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa at the Federal House of Representatives, stated that Nigeria is “adopting clear and practical policies with regard to Africa; it will be our aim to assist any country to find solution to its problem”. Nevertheless, observers and analysts are of the view that the country’s foreign policy then lacked any definite direction.

Nigeria’s Afrocentric policy

By adopting an Afrocentric policy, in the wake of the country’s independence Nigeria aimed to engage the international community through Africa’s interests and issues that tended to be of benefits to the continent. Nigerian’s first Foreign Minister, Jaja Wachukwu threw more perspectives to this Afrocentricism posture, when he said; “Charity begins at home and therefore any Nigerian foreign policy that does not take into consideration the peculiar position of Africa is unrealistic”. Nigeria under this policy framework contributed immensely in the struggles that led to the independence of Angola, Mozambique, and Namibia and participated in the anti-apartheid struggles in South Africa. Nigeria also played a crucial role in the establishment of continental and regional organisations. For example, Nigeria was pivotal to the establishment of the Organisation of Africa Unity (OAU) on May 25, 1963. Nigeria was also instrumental in ensuring that it attained the two major objectives that included the quick decolonization of colonies in Africa and the rapid socio-economic growth and development of African countries.

Similarly, the creation of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) on May 28, 1975 saw Nigeria taking a fundamental role in spearheading the integration of neighbouring countries’ resources to enhance regional prosperity. Under the leadership of ex-General Yakubu Gowon, Nigeria led the formation of the 16-member regional body that signed the treaty establishing ECOWAS.

Nigeria further played a significant role in military peacekeeping operations on the continent. It contributed both financial and human resources in the ECOWAS Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) peacekeeping operations in Liberia, Sierra LeChad and several others.

New policy thrust in citizen diplomacy

The interventions to restore peace in Liberia, Sierra Leone and the fight against apartheid in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Angola among other missions of mediating in conflict prone countries like Gambia, Mali, Burkina Faso especially after coup d’états, signified the apogee in foreign interventions in the past decades. Of recent, the country’s foreign relations has become tamed, mainly due to internal problems and politics associated with getting a proper footing for our nascent democracy amid pressing economic problems.

The military regime of ex- Gen. Ibrahim Babaginda conceptualised a new face to Nigeria’s foreign policy, where economic diplomacy would enhance the promotion of export trade, investment and financial assistance from friendly countries. The then Foreign Affairs Minister, ex-Gen Ike Nwachukwu in June 1988, said that “it is the responsibility of our foreign policy apparatus to advance the course of our national economic recovery.”

It was during the democratically elected government of President Olusegun Obasanjo that the country’s foreign policy was refocused to de-emphasise an explicitly African bias. While appointing ambassadors in 1999, his administration admonished that “Nigeria’s foreign policy today extends, however, far beyond our concern for the well being of our continent, Africa”. In addition, Obasanjo, pointed out that “The debt burden, for instance, is not an exclusively African predicament. Many countries in Asia, the Caribbean and South America were facing similar problems.

It is imperative; therefore, that these regions harmonise their efforts in the search for a fairer deal from the industrialised nations of the west; and this requires of us a more global approach to world affairs than was previously the case.

Last year, the President Jonathan administration paved a new path for the country’s foreign policy thrust, by embracing an agenda that promotes growth and national development. In this new policy, both private partnership and foreign missions will be utilised as new vanguards in economic diplomacy. Hence, the collapsing of both economic and citizen diplomacy by the current administration, that is geared towards attaining national economic development and growth where the citizens at home and abroad are used as agents towards achieving policy goals.

Bilateral relations with members of the developing eight countries for economic cooperation (D8) have been a centre piece for the country’s economic diplomacy. In this regard, the foreign ministry has engaged in various economic activities of the D8, especially since it assumed leadership of the group in 2010.

Using the economic diplomacy policy to source and promote trade between Nigeria and D8 members, the foreign ministry has rectified three of its important legal documents: The D-8 preferential Trade Agreement, Multilateral Agreement on administrative assistance in Customs Matters and the Simplification of VISA procedures for businessmen of D8 member countries.

Former Foreign Minister, Olugbenga Ashiru, while expatiating on the new paradigm shift, said that: “We will redress existing imbalances and forge a strong partnership with OPS to assist economic growth. Consequently, members of OPS will frequently constitute part of any bilateral discussions between our governments and other foreign delegations, so that Nigeria can benefit from visits to and from other countries.”

“Our envoys will be directed to drive this new focus of our foreign policy by spending more time and effort on attracting foreign investments to Nigeria. Simply put, our ambassadors will be the foot-soldiers in this new approach for the purpose of achieving our Vision 20:2020 while bringing economic benefits to Nigeria.”

When contacted, Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, told National Mirror, that any country’s foreign policy should be for the benefits of the people.

“I will say Nigeria’s foreign policy is not really doing badly and not getting worse. Though, sometimes we may not be getting it right and in other times we do get it right. The people must come first, so Nigerians at home and those in Diaspora should be the centre of our policy thrust.

Nigeria was faced with huge challenge during the military era where her public image was relegated. The country’s foreign policy could not stand as imperative tool for image building, especially, where dictatorial rule and clampdowns on human rights were strongly opposed by the western world.”

Nigeria played a prominent role in the Congo crisis of 1960-1965. It sent military peacekeeping troops.

In addition, during the Cold War era, Nigeria adopted a non-aligned stance; where it refused to align with any of the power blocs.

Another significant development in Nigeria foreign relations after the country’s independence was the protest of Nigerian students against the signing of agreement by the then new Tafawa Balewa’s government with the British government. The Anglo-Nigerian Defence Pact entered by the government then meant that British military could maintain bases and presence in Kano. The Nigerian student’s protest made Tafawa Balewa’s government to back down from the intended deal. The message of the student then was that Britain was to be kept at arm’s length.

The foreign relations between Nigeria and Britain experienced some challenging moment, especially during the military regime of Olusegun Obasanjo where the Nigerian government nationalized the British Petroleum’s (BP( interest in the country, as a measure to arm-twist the UK government into withdrawing its sanctions and to restore British authority in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). This was after the white supremacist in that country hijacked power. This created a scene at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Lusaka in 1978. When the British Prime Minister challenged the Nigerian Foreign Minister, General Adefowope, he told Margret Thatcher, “Madam Prime Minister that is Act 1, Scene 1, many more will follow if you don’t play ball on Zimbabwe”. Thatcher had no choice than to relent and began process that enabled Zimbabwe have a free and fair elections.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Nigeria’s Retrogressive Anti-Gay Law By Abiodun Ladepo.


By Abiodun Ladepo

This past Wednesday, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan elevated crassness and primitiveness to the highest level imaginable by signing into law a bill banning homosexuality in Nigeria.  I deliberately crafted the previous sentence so unambiguously.  He did not just ban homosexual marriage; he banned homosexuality as a whole!  Perhaps if the law had only stopped at “persons who enter into a same-sex marriage contract or civil union commit an offence and are each liable on conviction to a term of 14 years in prison,” one might not feel so much outrage.  But it went on to state that “any person who registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organizations or directly or indirectly makes public show of same-sex amorous relationship in Nigeria commits an offence and shall each be liable on conviction to a term of 10 years in prison”!  In essence, only heterosexuals are allowed to hold hands in public, sit on each other’s lap, hump each other while dancing in clubs or kiss publicly.  What, in the name of God, just happened to Nigeria?

Let me state upfront that I am a Straight (heterosexual) guy who is happily married to a beautiful woman.  So, this write-up is not about me or my sexual preference.  It is about Nigeria’s lack of originality and lack of creative instincts.  We the people, along with our leaders, fail to do the deep thinking, the due diligence, in many respects that will take our country farther and more quickly than we have hitherto done.  Lethargy is irredeemably ingrained in our psyche.  Otherwise, how does being openly gay draw our country back?  We already have thousands of gay people in our midst!  How does their gayness prevent those of us who are not gay from going about our businesses?

This law assumes that the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community just arrived in Nigeria yesterday.  No, the LGBT has been with us since, at least, when I was a young boy over 50 years ago.  I recall growing up in (yes) Zaria, Kaduna State, of all places, and going to watch evening dances of members of the LGBT.  We used to call them “Dandaudu.”  We, the kids, used to marvel at their public display of amorous acts.  This was in the early 60s.  They were not hidden behind the walls of any clubs in the middle of the night; they danced in open spaces and in early evenings.  I have also personally witnessed “Dandaudus” doing their dances in Bukuru, Jos, Bauchi and Maiduguri in the 70s.  And if you lived in the hostel during your secondary school years, don’t tell me that you did not catch a few of your guy friends “doing it.”  I have heard from some of my secondary school female friends of the sexual trysts that went on in their hostel.  Let’s not even talk about what happens in the dorms of our universities.  So, why are we just now finding out that their presence in our midst is anathema and antithetical to our moral fiber?

Reuben Abati, that formerly celebrated anti-bad government champion, who is now a turncoat and who I now detest with so much passion, defended the law with the pedestrian argument that since 90 percent of Nigerians were opposed to same-sex marriage, “…the law is in line with our cultural and religious beliefs.”   Ninety percent?  First, how did we come up with that percentage?  When did we poll the country to ascertain that 90 percent of our people oppose same-sex marriage?  And even if they do, what right does the majority have to trample on the basic right of the minority – the fundamental human right to freedom of association?  What right does the majority have to deprive the minority of having sex with whomever it wants as long as it is consensual?  The worst that the Nigerian government should have been able to do should have been the denial of official recognition of such a union. But to criminalize it is akin to despotism, especially in a democratic dispensation.

And by the way, since when has this government or any past Nigerian government taken a decision in favor of an issue perceived to have received the support of the majority of Nigerians?  Don’t 90 percent of our people support the removal or Stella Oduah as Aviation minister, Diezani Madueke as Petroleum minister and Reuben Abati as adviser?  Don’t 90 percent of our people support the banning of government officials, especially the President, from seeking medical attention abroad until our medical facilities and personnel are of the same standard as those they use when they go abroad?  Don’t 90 percent of our people support the supply of 24/7 uninterrupted electricity to all corners of Nigeria?  Don’t 90 percent of our people support the revamping, rejuvenating and reinvigorating of the EFCC so it can better fight corruption?  Don’t 90 percent of our people support a massive overhaul of our educational infrastructures from elementary all the way to university systems?  Don’t 90 percent of our people oppose the blocking of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway by mega-churches and mega-mosques?  Have our lawmakers crafted any laws that criminalize the failure by government to do the things mentioned above?  No.  But these nosey people are eager to get into the bedrooms of Nigerians.

I find this homophobic inclination that is so rampant in our country as yet another example of religious zealotry and self-righteousness that have been the bane of our society.  Everybody is stampeding and trampling each other today in their quest to out-do one another as they condemn homosexuality.  But we will find out one day – tomorrow maybe -  just as we have found out in Europe and America that even family members of influential government officials can be (and are indeed) gay!  In fact, we will soon find out that membership in the LGBT community cuts across all spectra of our society – from the ranks of elected politicians, to traditional rulers, military officers, police officers, teachers, technocrats, pastors, imams, babalawos, traders and what not.  And what are we going to do when we find out that one of these influential people whom we had thought was heterosexual was indeed bisexual?  Would we throw OBJ or IBB or GEJ or Mama Iyabo or Dame Patience or any of their children into 14 years of prison terms if any of them turns out to be gay? What would we do when we discover that Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye or his wife, Folu do engage in homosexual acts (with other partners, of course)?  What about Sheik Muhammad Yahaya Sanni and his many wives?  Are we going to give them immunity against prosecution?

This is why I stated earlier that our leaders did not subject this law to a rigorous and intellectual discuss before allowing their emotion, religion and communal bandwagon mentality to overtake their sense of reason.  Before the bill was adopted by the Senate in 2011, a few Nigerian members of the LGBT community, supported by some civil rights activists, appeared before the Senate to argue against enacting such a law.  The lawmakers and religious zealots in the chambers of the Senate booed and heckled these gay folks till they cried and left in disgrace.  Among the booing and heckling crowd were men who maintain two, three, four or more wives – wives who are subjugated, mentally and are physically abused.  Among this crowd were women who cheat on their husbands with their pastors and imams to the extent of making babies out-of-wedlock while their husbands thought the babies were theirs.  These people, in my opinion, lack the moral right to tell a gay man or woman whom to love and whom to cavort with in public.

Believe me, gays are the least of Nigeria’s problems.  Graft in high places, greed in high places, hired assassination, kidnapping, murder, armed robbery, neglect of rural areas, neglect of urban areas, lack of functioning basic amenities like electricity, water, hospitals, education, transportation, youth unemployment – all take precedence over what my neighbor is doing in his/her bedroom.  I am ashamed that my leaders do not see this.

And I get it. I get the fact that Nigeria is a deeply religious country.  Even if I wonder how truly religious we are when we watch our religious leaders steal from the religious houses and sexually abuse the laity; even if I sometimes wonder why our religious leaders live in obscene opulence while they watch their followers wallow in abject poverty, I still get the fact that Nigeria is a deeply religious country.  It is the reason why an issue such as gay rights should have been thoroughly debated intellectually.  I hope the passing of this primitive and retrogressive law begins the rigorous discussion of how we allow members of the LGBT to bask in their rightful sense of belonging.  We should lead Namibia, Botswana, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, Angola, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, South Sudan, Cameroon, Togo, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leon, Guinea, Senegal, Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia out of the comity of nations still wedded to the archaic tradition of segregating their own people on the basis of sexual preferences.

We should join South Africa, Zaire, Congo, Gabon, Central African Republic, Chad, Niger, Mali (yes, Chad, Niger and Mali), Burkina Faso, Benin Republic, Cote D’Ivoire and Guinea Bissau in the comity of nations that embrace the diversity of their people’s sexual preferences and have legislated to protect the rights of their LGBT people.

By Abiodun Ladepo

Los Angeles, California, USA

Oluyole2@yahoo.com

 

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

The Gutless Eunuch And The Lion King By Femi Fani-Kayode.


By Femi Fani-Kayode

On 26th September 2011 in an article titled, ”On Goodluck Jonathan, David and Goliath” I wrote the following-

”A few days ago President Jonathan proclaimed as follows- ‘I am not David, I am not a general, I am not a lion- I will defeat the Goliaths in our land’. These are deep and instructive words yet I do wonder whether Mr. President understands the spiritual and practical implications of what he is saying.

I say this because if he says that he is not a David how can he then possibly slay the Goliaths in the land? If he says that he is not a general how can he be an effective Commander-in-Chief who commands the respect and confidence of his army and his officers? If he says that he is not a lion how can he overwhelm the animals in our jungle that seek to destroy and ravage our land?

Every king worth his salt must have the spirit of the lion and the warrior in him to a certain extent. It is a fundamental pre-qualification for good quality and inspirational leadership and that is what distinguishes the pretender and the usurper from a real king. May the spirit and weakness of the biblical King Ahab not be our President’s portion even though his words seem to have ensnared him. History proves that weak kings and weak leaders always end up pulling down and destroying their own empires and kingdoms simply because they are incapable of providing strong and decisive leadership. Always remember, whether you are a king or a subject, that courage is the greatest of all the virtues. This is wisdom. Would someone please tell our President?”

With the shooting of opposition leaders like Senator Magnus Abe and the killing of some APC youths by policemen in Port Harcourt on January 12th 2014, the attempted murder of the father of Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso and the cold blooded slaughter of some people that were with him in Kano on January 7th 2014 by people that are suspected to be agents of the Federal Government, the killing of twenty four people in Borno state by Boko Haram insurgents on January 8th 2014, the  shooting and hacking to death of 30 villagers and the burning of 40 houses by fulani gunmen in Shonong village, Plateau state on January 6th 2014, the bombing of a High Court in Port Harcourt by unknown persons a few days ago, the killing of 91 children by Boko Haram in Damatru a few months ago, the slaughter of 200 Nigerian troops by Boko Haram in Borno state a few weeks back, the massacre of 41 school children in Borno state by Boko Haram four months ago, the burning to the ground of 53 churches in Borno state by Boko Haram in 2013, the mass murder of no less than 7000 thousand Nigerians by Boko Haram in the last 3 years, the burning to the ground of an army barracks with it’s attendant slaughter of the family members of army officers and military personnel in Bama in December 2013 and the raging war that is going on in the north-eastern part of our country between Boko Haram and our military today those words and that counsel that was offered two years ago seem even more relevant now than they were even then.

I believe that the carnage that we are witnessing in our country today has come as a direct result of the manifestation of weakness at the top. When a President tells the world that Boko Haram are his ”siblings” whom he ”cannot move against”, as he did earlier this year, he is asking for trouble. When a President keeps offering Boko Haram amnesty even when they kept rejecting it and whilst they were murdering his people, as he has been doing for the last three years, he is asking for trouble. When a President installs and supports a party National Chairman, by the name of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, who describes Boko Haram as ”freedom fighters”, as he did earlier this year, he is asking for trouble.

When a President announces to the world that he is ”not a lion or a David”, as he did approximately two years ago, no-one should be surprised when his people are killed like flies before his very eyes. May God bring us a real leader that can save our nation and may He take away this one who feels no pain and has no empathy when Nigerian blood, nay even the blood of innocent children, is shed with impunity. Under the tenure of our ”lamb” President more innocent Nigerians have been slaughtered by terrorists than at any other time in the history of our country except during the civil war.

What a mess and what a record. I continue to ponder about one thing though- would the President have been so unperturbed and detached from the whole thing if the children that were killed in their school just a few weeks ago had been from his Niger Delta area. It appears to me that simply because those kids were northerners this President just ”doesn’t give a damn”. What a tragedy. Whether christian or muslim, northern or southern these are only children and they are NIGERIAN children each of whom is entitled to the full protection of the Nigerian state. I have said it before and I shall say it again, Nigeria has become an abattoir of human flesh and blood under the tenure of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and all those who support him should bury their heads in shame. The blood of all those innocent people is on his hands because he swore to an oath before God and the Nigerian people to protect them from such evil.

Permit me to make a painful observation here. I was thoroughly appalled about the fact that when our President was asked about the latest round of killings during his live ”Presidential Media Chat” programme a few months ago he not only told a lie to the world by claiming that only ”21 or 22 students were killed” at a time when the BBC and CNN had confirmed that at least 45 bodies had been found (almost 100 were to be discovered later) but he also failed to express his condolences to the families of those that had lost their loved ones. He made the same omission when he failed to commiserate with or express his condolences to the families of the 200 soldiers that were killed in Borno state a few weeks back whilst fighting Boko Haram simply because they ran out of bullets during the course of the battle.

By way of contrast not only was he quick to offer his condolences to the government and people of Kenya for the terrible carnage that was inflicted on them by Al Shabab just one day before when 68 people were killed at a Nairobi shopping mall but he was also quick to offer the Kenyan government military assistance.  I guess that to him Nigerian blood is not as expensive or as important as foreign blood.

If President Uhuru Kenyatta ever decides to accept his offer let us hope that our President will provide enough bullets and ammunition to the soldiers that he will send. Our boys are deeply courageous fighters and they certainly deserve that much. They also deserve to have a Commander in Chief that inspires them, that watches their back, that truly cares and that gives them the very best.

The question must be asked – does our President have any balls? And if he does just how big are they? Is he really a man? Does he have what it takes to fight a war against terror or is it that there is more to this than meets the eye? Is there a sinister plan to ensure that elections do not hold in some parts of the north-east in 2015 given the fact that those areas are very hostile to the suggestion that Jonathan should return to power that year? Is this whole thing planned and contrived or is it a case of chronic incompetence, ineptitude and weakness? Does Jonathan believe that it is in his interest for the north to burn and for northern blood to be spilt? Is the mindset of those that are pulling the strings of the view that since the problem has been (to use the President’s own words in his last media chat) ”localised” and ”contained in a certain area” the government can sit back and watch the locals slaughter themselves whilst they continue to drink champagne and kai-kai in the Villa? If that is the case has it not occurred to them that their fellow Nigerians live in those areas where the problem has supposedly been ”localised” and is the blood of those fellow Nigerians not red as well? Are they less Nigerian because of where they were born and who they are? Are the people that live in the villages and countryside not as important as those who live in the towns and cities?

Whatever is really going on God sees all and anything that is not of Him will surely fail. If it is nothing but weakness and incompetence that has resulted in this unprecedented carnage the President will answer before God for violating his solemn oath to protect the Nigerian people from enemies within and from enemies without. If it is a conspiracy to encourage and create turmoil and chaos in the north just to ensure that they are excluded from the vote in 2015, both Jonathan himself and Nigeria as a whole will reap the consequences. It is worth noting that that is precisely what happened in Mali in the elections that took place before the north was taken over by the islamists and it led to a full scale civil war.

Any attempt to exclude any part of this country from participating in the elections in 2015 under the guise of lack of security or Boko Haram will result in the same thing with catastrophic consequences for Nigeria. Yet as Napolean Bonaparte once said, ”we must never account to conspiracy what can easily be explained away by incompetence”. It is more likely than not that the situation that is unfolding in the north-east and the feeble fight that our government is putting up against Boko Haram over there is down to Jonathan’s weakness and nothing more. So when asked the question is our President capable of fighting the war against terror my answer would be that I am afraid that I doubt it very much. He just doesn’t have it in him. As the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Tony Blair once said about John Major, his predecessor in office, he is just ”weak, weak, weak”.

I am a great believer in strong government and I am one of those that has always believed that President Olusegun Obasanjo was one of the most effective leaders that we have ever had in this country. Love him or hate him one thing is clear- not under Obasanjo’s watch would 7000 thousand innocent Nigerians be massacred at will in the space of just two years by a bunch of murderous and heartless terrorists. He would have known exactly what to do and how to do it to put a stop to such callous lawlessness and anarchy right from the start. Equally significant is the fact that such was his love for Nigeria that regardless of the region, ethnic group or religious faith that the victims came from, espoused or belonged to, his response to the terrorists would have been swift, decisive and utterly ruthless. He would have had Boko Haram in ”shock and awe” and the whole world would have marveled at it. This is because in Obasanjo we had a President who not only had balls but who also had the courage, heart and guts to match them.

The greatest error that we as a people ever made and the worst tragedy and misfortune that has ever befallen us as a nation is the fact that a lamb ended up taking a throne that was designed and prepared for a lion. The unfortunate consequences of that tragic error and misfortune are there for all to see. The shedding of the blood of even the youngest, the most innocent and the most vulnerable in our society by Boko Haram on a daily basis is an eloquent testimony to that unsavoury fact.

The fact of the matter is that Nigeria is in dire need of a real ”Asiwaju” to lead her. She needs a man with the spirit of the ”Jagaban”- a ”last man standing” who has an iron will and who knows no fear. She needs an ”Ebora” and a ”Balogun” all rolled into one who is ready to confront evil, defend our nation, protect our people and crush the enemy. Sadly we do not have that today. Instead what we have is what the Yoruba describe as an ”olori oko tio lepon”. Roughly translated that means ”a President without balls”. May the Lord take the leadership of this nation away from the gutless eunuch and give it to a lion king.

 

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

Defence HQ To Try Over 500 Boko Haram Suspects, Releases 167.


 

By Saharareporters, New York

Nigeria has set free 167 of the 1400 Boko Haram suspects being held in Maiduguri and other locations in North-East Zone, but will try 500 other suspects.

The decision follows the recommendations of a Joint Investigation Team set up by Defence Headquarters.

This disclosure is contained in a statement by the Director, Defence Information, Brig-Gen. Chris Olukolade, and it comes two days after Boko Haram’s ferocious attacks on Nigeria’s military facilities in Maiduguri, Borno State.

“Those recommended for immediate trial include high profile suspects some of whom were training other terrorists in weapon handling as well as those who confessed to being trained in Mali and other countries for the purpose of perpetrating terror in Nigeria,” the statement said.

Olukoyade disclosed that those recommended for trial include a medical doctor, paramilitary or service personnel who were fighting on the side of the terrorists, as well as individuals who offered direct logistics support to them

“The team however recommended the release of 167 of the detainees from detention in Maiduguri, Yola and Damaturu.  About 614 others whose cases were inconclusive have been recommended for review.”

 

Some of the detainees are to be tried for various offences, including armed robbery, murder, and drugs.

 

Olukoyade noted that if the recommendations of the team are accepted, the suspects will stand trial in State and Federal High Courts.

 

“Receiving the reports at the Defence Headquarters, the Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim commended the team for being thorough in conducting the assignment. He assured them that the recommendations will be treated with dispatch after due consultations with appropriate authorities.”

Still On Okey Ndibe’s ‘Muslims, Stand Up To Be Counted’ By Comrade Yekinni Shakiru.


By Comrade Yekinni Shakiru

I read the above article written by Okey Ndibe and a mixed feeling was stirred in me which I thought I should communicate so as to fill a part of the article I thought was missing.  To start with, Okey is appreciated for his outspokenness on issues of national concern some of which have earned him the wrath of those in power before, for whoever is familiar with the Nigerian terrain where many among men of the pen profession have become errand boys of moneybags; this is no little a credential. However, the fact that the article in my opinion missed out on some facts relegated some and refused to acknowledge others necessitates that I write this piece, all in an attempt to provide a wider and broader view of that collective heritage that is under siege – our humanity. My intervention is hinged on about two key areas which the article implied; (a) that Muslims –by their ‘silence’ –consented to the senseless and irrational mayhems perpetrated by extremist groups which makes it imperative for them to ‘stand up to be counted’ as it were  on the side of ‘humanity’ and (b) to make a plea for a broader view of ‘humanism’ that seemed to be getting narrower in our daily application of the term conditioned as it were by a selective reading/interpretation of events that arrive at preconceived notions/destinations, imposed upon us by none other than a climate of phobia and prejudice.

To start with Okey himself knows that the issues behind all these mayhems are far more complex, and the forces behind them are not less predatory than Al Shabbab and Boko Haram, for whoever is conversant with the opinions of experts on the increased state of anarchy in global affairs will realize the near unanimity of apportioning of the larger chunk of the blame to the super powers even while condemning in the strongest of terms insurgents who think they are doing ‘a clash’ with them; from Noam Chomsky’s numerous treatises on the American empire, to William Blum’s “Rogue State’, and Tariq Ali’s ‘Clash of Fundamentalisms’ which asserted rightly that ‘American imperialism is the mother of all fundamentalism’ blocking all exit routes out of a global threat of extinction for most people of the world, virtually all have noted the imperialist ambitions of the big powers behind most of these mayhems we see today.

Okey too dropped this hint when he said that Al Shabbab’s demand that Kenyan troops leave its soil may not be unreasonable. However like he rightly pointed out, that is not even the point! The point has to do with the means employed by these sinister ‘warriors’; and talking about these ‘warriors’ they include both those who wave the daggers of ‘holy wars’ and their counterparts who throw ‘rationalist bombs’ all on the innocents and the most vulnerable of society –children, women and the aged; both religionist and secularist fundamentalists and  extremists are guilty of bloodshed, but because secularists terror and violence wear the tag ‘officialdom’ they seldom receive attention even though they are the most lethal and destructive!  and this is where I intend to start a communication of my feelings.

It is worrisome to me that our concept of humanism appears to be taking a selective rendition in many of our analyses; we seem to assume that some parts of humanity bleed less from the same injury than others, and this explains why we still could listen to “Today’s Sports and Entertainment News’ and jump up in excitement, even after hearing that drones have just been dropped on a sleeping ‘madrasah’ in Pakistan, or Palestinians have just been killed and evicted from their homes with armored tanks by Israeli troops, or protesting pro Morsi Egyptians have been shot dead and some of them hounded into prisons by the new usurpers of democracy in that country. I am worried that as a people we have become so selective in our reactions to issues that threaten our collective humanity.

Till date, I can count on the fingers of my palm the number of Christians, animists or so called humanists (groups or individuals) that have spoken and condemned in any strong terms the rape on democracy in Egypt and its attendant bloodletting, not to talk of issuing a call for a restitution of the institutions that were sacked. What a section of the Malian military did that brought about the invasion of that country was greeted in Egypt with a pat on the back for the military by none other than those who claimed to be building a world based on the sovereignty of the people. And talking about ‘means’ deployed at ‘objectives’ which like Ndibe I am also worried about, I know of no place where drones and bombs have drawn out less blood than AK 47. Or are sleeping children in Pakistani ‘madrases’ less human than those caught in the Westgate mall attack that we could not grieve with them? Whither our humanism?

To be more precise, it is not just the faith of Islam that is under a siege and thereby under a challenge to prove its humanity; rather it is all of us- our collective conscience- that is being challenged by these incidents to justify our innermost humanity by being holistic in our conception of the human being. For example, I did not hear of any statement from groups like CAN as in previous cases over the tertiary institution killings in Yobe state and the ones before it; or is it because it is ‘Mallams killing the children of Mallams’ this time around that made us to be so comfortable? And why do we have to wait for the Westgate mall incident in Kenya before writing about ‘Humanity and Against’ when on our own soil we heard of how alleged Boko Haram insurgents wore military camouflages and murdered more than three scores in number of inhabitants of the northeastern part of the country? I have noted that since the introduction of the emergency rule when the deadly Boko Haram operations became restricted to the northeastern part of the country, there has been a corresponding reduction in our reactions to the gruesome killings that we hear thereafter, because it is not difficult to imagine whom the victims of those killings would have been!

To show again that most of the time when we see reactions it is seldom borne out of genuine human consideration than the ‘gains’ we intend to get thereof. Today the Nigerian security forces is engaged in a war in the northeastern part of the country in which no media coverage is allowed, draping across the frontiers of its operation a thick blanket of censorship that makes it difficult if not impossible, a verification of the real situations behind those scenes. Of course this is a new style in warfare since the Gulf War of the 90s. From the first Gulf War virtually all the wars fought by the ‘global gendarme’ and its allies have been brought to us live in our living rooms; Iraq (first and second), Afghan-Pakistan, Yugoslavia and recently Libya. It was in Mali early this year that the ‘strategy’ of locking out reportage from a warfront became adopted and little wonder the war went without a whimper from any parts of the world whatever happened to innocent Malians caught in the cross fire.

At least, France which led the invasion to restore a ‘democracy’ was spared the ‘indignation’ of explaining what it would have referred to as ‘collateral damage’ when in attempts to capture few unspecified combatants, not few innocent civilians are sacrificed. There was no ‘humanist expression’ of feelings on this occasion and nobody stood up to be counted on the part of humanity perhaps because Mali is predominantly Muslim and the invading forces from France are not only adherent of a ‘peaceful’ religion, but are also ‘rationalist secularist’ to make up for any polarization along religion! Perhaps too because what the eyes do not see the heart does not grieve about; everyone just assumed the French troops were ‘civil’ enough to avoid the casualty of the innocents, or that perhaps ‘collateral damages’ were inevitable in such situations, and this is a reflection of our acclaimed humanity! For the records Muslim nations have had the misfortunate of being ‘testing grounds’ for the latest weapons in the arsenal of global powers, and this often for the most trivial of reasons-

In the same vein when the emergency rule was being imposed on those states in the north, I did not hear of any of our humanists, strategists or so called experts who expressed concern of any sort about the modalities of operations of the Joint Task Force (the JTF); accountability and openness were thought less of with regard to the enterprise! Nobody asked what areas of strategic interests should constitute the focus for protection; everyone was just interested in the insurgents being routed out, irrespective of the sufferings the innocents are bound to undergo, and this, despite repeated experiences that military operations never went without leaving in their trail, blood, tears and sorrow that is sufficiently distributed to the innocents and the guilty alike! If these genuine concerns have been expressed, perhaps schools (of which the School of Agriculture that was attacked) and other modern institutions would have had the same priority alongside military installations for protection. Another thing of intrigue since the imposition of the emergency rule and the restriction of the combat to NE Nigeria, is how for the second time, victims of the bloodbaths have taken their assailants for their protectors since Boko Haram now don military uniforms that cannot be distinguished from those of the regular army by their hapless victims!  And how do we account for this?

Again, it is not true that Muslims especially some of those Okey mentioned have not spoken out on the matter before now; some amongst them like the Emir of Kano was even saved by the whiskers from the murderous charge of this group. And contrary to what Okey’s and similar other comments assumed, that once these Muslim leaders called a ‘ joint press conference’ –rather than individually and separately denouncing this group, the group would lay down its arms- almost suggesting thereby that Boko Haram was running the errands of these leaders. A balanced and more objective view would have tried to examine how we got to this intractable stage. From the point where dialogue and amnesty were surreptitiously manipulated out of the equation frustrating and silencing genuine interventions like those of the Sultan to a whole embrace of full scale military option one can only pray that the theory that ‘war is an avenue for progress’ has not entered into the lexicon of our governance, otherwise, we would for a long time be tied to increasing security votes with corresponding increase in the number of lives wasted!, as the strategy of ‘Global War on terror’ showed. Moreover our account did not take into consideration a new term that has emerged since the restriction of the combat to NE Nigeria, and that is the ‘civilian’ JTF. These are ordinary Nigerians, most probably Muslims who are daily risking their lives to thwart the efforts of the insurgents by volunteering information to the security forces some of which have brought them and their villages (at times) death and destruction from Boko Haram retaliations!

Just as a reminder, it is pertinent to know that most of the conflicts that plagued our humanity today are caused by a global-power-center which thinks it is its prerogative to dictate who rules what country. Much of the human calamities we have seen so far have been caused by ‘Regime Change’ (one of the cornerstone foreign policies of the neoconservatives in Euro-America) to remove a sitting government; imposition of ‘new elites’ who could do its biddings; deliberate exclusion of a people from mainstream of national existence owing to their identity even if they command grass root support (as is now being tried out in Egypt, and before now in Algeria and Palestine) or the deliberate scuttling of democracy wherever such people eventually reached power as it happened recently in Egypt. But in our collective as human beings we failed by keeping silent on these injustices that fuel extremist reactions and sadistic killings- injustices which are not less extremist or sadistic when they are meted out!

The truth of the matter is that the core of the Nigerian Muslim Ummah that you appeal to is too weak, if not too divided to influence almost anything that affects it –the least of this is demonstrated in its inability to get even a sympathy, talk less of justice from the Lagos state government when one of its own (a 14-year old girl) was flogged 43 times by a fanatical Christian teacher in a public school because she was wearing the hijab outside of school hours! I did not see any Christians standing up on the side of humanity to be counted on this occasion either! Thus, the seeming silence from the Muslim Ummah that you talked about is not owed to any inhuman feelings of any sort, rather it is a combination of the anger at the standardized practice of double standards and selective renditions applied on Muslims and the exasperation of a people who could hardly control what affects them.

Lastly let me remind you that not everyone is born with the same temperament to tolerate injustice, and examples of this are both historical and contemporaneous. In Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) chose not to return the violence of the military upon it even though the latter had done everything possible to move it to armed struggle, and the West is comfortable with this. This is a totally different ‘current’ from Al Shabbab and Boko Haram that is not even appreciated. History will not forget that the MB single handedly prevented Egypt from degenerating into another Algeria, Syria or Libya. On the other hand as we were told in a certain scripture, a disciple of a prominent Jewish prophet, unable to tolerate the injustice being done to his master severed an ear of one of the adversaries of his master, although the ear was later mended by the master.

I do not know for certain how long that disciple had been under the tutelage of his master, yet he jettisoned or forgot the ‘peaceful’ teachings of his master at that moment even in the master’s presence. If that disciple were to be living in our modern time and in possession of a more sophisticated tool of violence, one could almost be certain that he would have unleashed it and invoke his master’s name in defense. Therefore let us avoid being selective in our treatment of general human problems and let our ‘humanist emotions’ be all embracing. More generally let us be more circumspect in our treatment of issues especially those ones bearing religious colorations.

Comrade Yekinni Shakiru wrote this from Lagos.
The writer can be reached on 08026134942 or mail address: laidetop06@yahoo.com

 

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

We Are Concerned About Terrorist Threats – President Mahama.


 

By SaharaReporters, New York

Ghana’s president John Dramani Mahama says he is not taking the supposed terrorist threat on his country lightly. President Mahama was speaking at an event organized in his honor by the New York University (NYU) at the Kimmel Center in Manhattan, New York on Friday September 27.

In a reaction to questions from the audience, President Mahama acknowledged the role Ghanaian troops played in pushing the coalition of rebel forces out of their West African neighbor Mali, which has been cited as the main reason for the alleged threat.  Last week, the British Foreign Office  issued a warning to its citizens of possible terrorist attacks on Ghana as a result of the country’s military participation in Mali. According to the release, attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by expatriates and foreign travelers.

President Mahama attributed the alleged threat to the US and the other western countries tightening their security. “As countries like the United States  homeland security tighten the security of your nations, terrorists are looking for softer targets, and what softer targets can you find than African countries who for years have shifted more of our spending into social services…and have neglected defense spending,” he said.

Ghana sent about 120 soldiers as part of the joint AU forces that backed French troops to fight Islamist militants in Mali. The government also made a financial pledge of $3 million to support the African-led force for Mali (AFISMA) and is operating an aviation unit there under a United Nations air services contract.

President Mahama, who took time off to attend the event on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, however assured that Ghana is prepared to defend its territory against terrorist aggression. “With what is happening in the world it means that if you must protect your democracy you must be vigilant too and so we are going to have to factor that into consideration and make sure that we are on our guard for any such things as have happened in Kenya”.  He also condemned the Kenyan incident and expressed condolences to those affected.

Hollande Asks African Leaders for Help in Freeing al-Qaida Hostages.


BAMAKO, MaliFrench President Francois Hollande said on Thursday he had reached out to leaders of countries across Africa’s Sahel region to work towards freeing French hostages kidnapped by al-Qaida‘s north African branch.

Speaking on the sidelines of the inauguration of Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in Bamako, Hollande told reporters he had spent the day in talks with heads of state to “allow us to have the best means of communication, the best contacts, to recover our compatriots.”

Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb released a video on Monday purporting to show seven Westerners it kidnapped in west Africa, footage France’s foreign ministry deemed “credible.”

The hostages are four Frenchmen kidnapped from a uranium compound in northern Niger three years ago along with a Dutchman, a Swede, and a South African who were abducted from Timbuktu in northern Mali in November 2011.

“I will not say more because I have always had as a guideline not to say anything and make sure to get the [desired] result,” Hollande said, without revealing the names of the leaders with whom he had spoken.

In the hostage video, released to the Mauritanian news agency ANI, Frenchman Daniel Larribe introduces himself as the head of the French group and says he was kidnapped by al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

ANI reported on its website that he was speaking on June 27 and said he was in good health.

The eight minutes and 42 seconds of footage includes statements from Arribe’s compatriots Pierre Legrand, Thierry Dol and Marc Feret as well as South African Stephen Malcolm, Dutchman Sjaak Rijke and Swede Johan Gustafsson.

AQIM is currently thought to be holding eight Europeans hostage, including five French nationals.

Hollande said in July that France was “doing everything” to bring the hostages back but “will not talk so as not to complicate a situation which is bad enough”.

AQIM grew out of a movement launched in the late 1990s by radical Algerian Islamists who sought the overthrow of the Algerian government to be replaced with Islamic rule.

The organization linked to al-Qaida in 2006 and has spun a tight network across tribes, clans, family, and business lines that stretches across the vast Sahel region abutting the southern Sahara desert.

© AFP 2013

Source: NEWSmax.com

Al-Qaida Releases ‘Credible’ Hostage Video.


DAKAR, Senegal — Al-Qaida‘s north African branch has released a video purporting to show seven kidnapped Westerners, the Mauritanian news agency ANI reported on Monday, footage France’s foreign ministry deemed “credible.”

The hostages are four Frenchmen kidnapped from a uranium compound in northern Niger exactly three years ago along with a Dutchman, a Swede, and a South African who were abducted from Timbuktu in northern Mali in November 2011.

“Based on an initial analysis, the video seems credible to us and provides new proof of life of the four French hostages kidnapped in Arlit [northern Niger] on September 16, 2010,” foreign ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot said, adding that the footage was being authenticated.

In the video, released to the Mauritanian news agency ANI, Frenchman Daniel Larribe introduces himself as the head of the French group and says he was kidnapped by al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

ANI reported on its website that he was speaking on June 27 and said he was in good health.

The video includes statements from Arribe’s compatriots Pierre Legrand, Thierry Dol and Marc Feret as well as South African Stephen Malcolm, Dutchman Sjaak Rijke, and Swede Johan Gustafsson.

“Of course we react positively every time we see that they are alive and in relatively good health,” said Legrand’s grandfather Rene Robert.

AQIM is currently thought to be holding eight Europeans hostage, including five French nationals.

Philippe Verdon, who was kidnapped in Mali in 2011 and found dead earlier this year, was executed with a shot to the head, according to French prosecutors.

Dol, Larribe, Legrand and Feret — mostly working for French public nuclear giant Areva and its subcontractor Satom — were kidnapped on September 16, 2010.

Daniel’s wife Francoise Larribe was also captured but was released in 2011.

A fifth French hostage, Serge Lazarevic, was kidnapped along with Verdon in the night of November 24, 2011 at their hotel in Hombori.

Their families have insisted they were not mercenaries or secret service agents.

French President Francois Hollande said in July that France was “doing everything” to bring the hostages back but “will not talk so as not to complicate a situation which is bad enough.”

In the video the French hostages reportedly urge Hollande’s administration as well as family members to work for their release.

“I am in good health,” Larribe was quoted as saying by ANI in a brief statement that also referenced France’s intervention in Mali earlier this year.

France sent troops into its former colony Mali in January to repel a sweeping Islamist occupation by groups linked to al-Qaida including AQIM which was threatening an assault on the capital Bamako.

AQIM grew out of a movement launched in the late 1990s by radical Algerian Islamists who sought the overthrow of the Algerian government to be replaced with Islamic rule.

The organization linked to al-Qaida in 2006 and has spun a tight network across tribes, clans, family, and business lines that stretches across the vast Sahel region abutting the southern Sahara desert.

During the nearly year-long 2012 occupation of northern Mali — which borders Mauritania — AQIM and its allies Ansar Dine (Defenders of Faith) and the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) used ANI as a conduit for information.

Threats to retaliate against the French-led military intervention which ousted the Islamists have also filtered through ANI and other sites boasting a vast network of informants and correspondents in the Sahel region.

© AFP 2013
Source: NEWSmax.com

A Final Word To Femi Fani-Kayode And Others On Child Marriage By.


By Peregrino Brimah

If you tell a lie one hundred times, it does not become a truth, all it becomes is a lie told a hundred times. As Mahatma Gandhi said: An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it.

Did you just wake up? Did you never before know of these provisions in the constitution and occurrences across Nigeria since forever?

No, not what you said Femi, nor what much of the junk media propagated, the senate did not pass any child marriage bill on July 16th.

Again, not the calumniation you proliferate, the senate did not approve child marriage by failing to delete Section 29 (4)(b), they only retained as ingrained in the constitution, a married young woman’s right to renounce her citizenship for purposes which include but are not limited to asylum seeking and foreign spouse related travel.

Again, no, Femi Fani-Kayode, there is no Muslim law that permits sex with children.

Emphasis: Islam is vehemently against sex with children and Islam does not permit pedophilia.

Education and Information: Sex with anyone who is post-pubertal is not pedophilia. Pedophilia is defined as: A person who has a sustained sexual orientation toward pre-pubertal children.

Fact on culture: 78% of marriages in north Nigeria are to women below the age of 18. (Most wise people know that protests and threats never change culture or religion.)
Fact on culture: 70% of marriages in Mali are to women below the age of 18. (And Mali does not have Nigeria’s peculiar VVF explosive crises)

Fact: The age of marriage in south Nigeria is generally set at 16.

Fact: The age of marriage for girls in the Vatican is set at 14 as per the code of canon law.

Facts: In the US, the age of marriage in New York is 14, New Hampshire is 13, North Carolina is 14, Rhode Island has no minimum age, Tennessee has no minimum age, Washington state has no minimum and Pennsylvania has no minimum age.

Facts: Minimum age of marriage in Spain is 14 (2013 now 16), Greece 16, Albania, 16, Austria 16, Denmark 15, Georgia 15, Lithuania 15, Poland, 16, Romania 16, England and Wales 16, Sweden 15, Canada 15, Slovenia 15, Ireland and Iceland – none, Serbia 16, Slovenia 15.

Fact: USA refused to sign the UN declaration of the rights of a child.

Fact: Old age also is a great risk of fistula; and the total prevalence of fistulae is 188 per 100,000 women aged 15 to 49 years in South Saharan Africa. Pierre Marie Tebeu et al, Int Urogynecol J. 2012

Fact: Seven primary risk factors for obstetrical fistula commonly reported include the place of birth and presence of a skilled birth attendant, the duration of labor and the use of a partograph, the lack of prenatal care, early marriage and young age at delivery, older age, lack of family planning, and a number of other poorly defined additional factors… Pierre Marie Tebeu et al, Int Urogynecol J. 2012

Fact: US has 500,000 teen pregnancies per year and 4000 girls get pregnant at age 12 and no age-related fistulae.

Nota bene: Human beings are not tinned tomato with ‘best before’ or ‘expiration date,’ and as hence, 18 can in no logical or physiological way, be the magical date that a child becomes an adult.

Nota bene: 18 is not a date enforced under the child rights UN act. It is only a recommended date; to maintain signatory to the act, a state can adopt an age of choice as its age of majority, above or below 18.

Nota bene: Biologically, medically and culturally, adulthood is defined as the attainment of sexual and social maturity, and is variable inter and intra-specie. A 13 year post pubertal man may not yet be intellectually mature just as a 52 year old man may not be deemed mature if he still acts intellectually and socially pediatric.

Popular consensus of the blesseds: Mary was 12 when she was betrothed to 90 year old Joseph, and God gave her Jesus when she was ~12-16.

Medical facts:

Teen pregnancy does not cause vesico or recto-vaginal fistula, lack of nearby quality obstetric care does.

Teen pregnancy reduces the risk/rate of breast cancer by 50%. Repeat, 50%!

Between teens and thirties, fertility rate drops by as much as 40%!

The body copes better and recovers more perfectly after teen birth, compared to old birth.

Social facts:

There are 2 teen pregnancies in south Nigeria for every 8 in the north.

#WomanNotCommodity

Aristo’s are men who line up with their cars at Moremi and other campus halls to predate on and rump peoples teen and older daughters.

#WomanNotCommodity

All the thousands of teens and twenty year old girls that patrol the streets all over Nigeria, risking and selling their bodies to men, are people’s daughters; repeat, they are people’s daughters, and are the greatest threat to womanhood in Nigeria at present.

#WomanNotCommodity

81% of Nigerian women suffer from domestic violence, including wife murdering which is very prevalent and almost exclusive to southern parts of Nigeria.

The right to life: Abortion crises in Nigeria is a great threat to our women as well as murder of babies. This is a clear cause for address.

In conclusion.

There is no problem with Nigeria having this conversation in a mature, respectable productive format, on our women, their rights including age, opportunity, marriage and domestic violence related. But there is absolutely no reason for these childish rants and hopeless cheap-publicity seeking campaigns.

Nigeria is just–thank God–finally putting a lid on Boko Haram ethno-tensive risky violence. We are dealing with the second worst high sea piracy in the world, with the worst government in the world. Nigeria is the worst place to be born. If anything, married males should also be included in the provision and granted the rights of renunciation. And perhaps also, our purer teens should be allowed to vote, maybe this will save us from the stupid choices our adults vote into power. No law was broken in the events of the fateful senate meeting of July 16, neither law of God, nor law of man was violated. Do you wish a law to be violated? Do you wish senators to vote against the desires of their constituents who elected them to office? Why do Nigerians love and promote lawlessness? Due process was followed that fateful day. Why do we not first go after the millions of actual legal violations in the government and community that are clear and present government terror, than continue peddling this preposterous, gelastic, harebrained misinformation and misconstruction of events of the proceedings, with only aim, to attack 80% of northern marriages and in effect incite ethnic distrust? What a sorry nation with the most misplaced revolutions in history. They say lawyers are liars. I hardly believe. And so also, I refuse to believe the caution that actresses should always be suspected of being in performance.

I am not sure the world started in Nigeria, so why must the apocalypse begin from Nigeria? I rest my case on this ludicrous distraction and hereby return to the issues of 5>27 and 16>19, child and teenage numbers, surpassing adult numbers. And perhaps also, our purer teens should be allowed to vote, maybe this will save us from the stupid choices our adults vote into power.

Peregrino Brimah M.D. M.S

drbrimah@ends.ng

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Climate of Terror Rising as Islamists Continue Attacking in Niger.


car bomb
The remains of the car used in the May 23 suicide attack in Agadez. (World Watch Monitor)

Four attacks within the last three weeks in Niger have raised the specter of a growing Islamist threat in the country.

In the latest attack on Tuesday, unidentified armed men attacked a paramilitary barracks on the outskirts of Niamey, the capital.

At the time of writing, Niger authorities have not made any announcement, but local media say there were no casualties and the attackers managed to flee.

On May 23, two suicide attacks in the North of the country targeted a military base in Agadez and a French-run uranium mine in Arlit, respectively.

The Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (Mujao) and the Signed-in-Blood Battalion (two Islamist groups active in Mali) claimed responsibility for the attacks, which left 36 dead – most of them soldiers – and threatened further violence.

Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou said the insurgents came from neighbouring southern Libya.

On June 1, more than 20 prisoners escaped from the main detention centre in Niamey, the capital, following an attack which Niger authorities attributed to members of Boko Haram, an Islamist sect operating in neighbouring Nigeria.

Among the escapees was Malian-born Cheïbane Ould Hama, a suspected Islamist leader serving a 20-year prison sentence for the murder of four Saudis in 2009.
Hama is known for his involvement in the assassination of William Bultemeier, a US military liaison officer, in Niamey in December 2000, and the kidnap of Canadian-born UN diplomat Robert Fowler in Niger in 2009.

The recent attacks have come in the middle of the French troop withdrawal from Mali, four months after recapturing northern cities Timbuktu and Gao from Islamist insurgents.

The French-led military intervention enabled them to dismantle the militants’ main base in the Ifoghas Mountains in north-eastern Mali, near the Algeria border.

A French army spokesman in Mali told media that more than 400 jihadists have been killed and a hundred captured since the beginning of the operation in January.

An undetermined number of militants have fled to southern Libya via Algeria and Niger, he said.

Local sources say the upsurge in attacks has set a climate of fear in Niamey.

Authorities have reinforced security across the capital, with checkpoints near strategic offices and areas around Western embassies.

“The militants’ activity is a global threat that goes beyond Niger,” Reverend Kimso Boureima, President of the Alliance of Missions and Evangelical Churches in Niger, told World Watch Monitor.

He said the Islamists posed a threat to the stability of the country and that all Nigeriens must be alert and stand together in the hope that this phenomenon will subside.

“The church must persevere in teaching of the good news. It must preach peace and love of neighbour,” said Rev. Boureima.

Niger is a secular country known for peaceful cohabitation between its religious communities: Muslims, which form 98%, and a Christian minority.

It is No. 50 on the 2013 World Watch List, a ranking of the 50 countries where Christians are most under pressure for their faith.

Nevertheless, the country has witnessed the emergence of radical Islamist groups since the advent of democratic pluralism in the 1990s.

In September 2012, several churches were ransacked by angry demonstrators in Zinder, Niger’s second city, in reaction to the US-produced film on Islam, ‘The Innocence of Muslims’.

Similar attacks targeting Christian properties took place in the southern city of Maradi, near the Nigeria border, in 1998 and 2000.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

WORLD WATCH MONITOR

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