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Posts tagged ‘Niger Delta’

President Jonathan hand pick National conference list of delegates sparks anger.


 

Even before it begins, the National Conference is generating acrimony – the very ailment it is expected to tackle.

The talk shop to which 492 delegates have been invited is to be inaugurated by President Goodluck Jonathan next Monday. It will be chaired by a retired Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Idris Lagbo Kutigi.

But the Ogoni in Rivers State, the Itsekiri of Delta State and Pensioners, among others, rejected the list yesterday. They are angry that they have been “sidelined”.

The coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOS) in the Northeast has also rejected the delegates’ list.

Besides, a top official of the All Progressives Congress (APC) said the opposition party might not be keen on filling the two slots allotted it at the conference.

But a former President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), said the conference should be given the benefit of the doubt to succeed.

He urged President Jonathan not to reduce its outcome and concessions to “mere advisory significances”.

The APC chief, who is a member of the Interim National Executive Committee (NEC), doubted the Federal Government’s sincerity.

He said: “If they are still waiting for the list of delegates from the APC, they may have to wait till eternity. If they are waiting for our list before they start it, then, the conference will not hold. Our opinion and disposition are known. They need to understand where we stand.”

Asked to comment on the participation in the conference of some APC chieftains nominated by state governments and other bodies, he said they are not representing the interest of the opposition party.

“There is no evidence that the conference will solve Nigeria’s problems. As at today, we have no delegates’ list. The people expecting us to send a list are not blind and they are not deaf. Our position is clear,” the official said.

The Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) at the weekend wrote the Presidency through the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, protesting it exclusion.

The union said: “We are strongly protesting the exclusion of our Union from the National conference, which, if not quickly redressed, would lead to mass protest by pensioners all over Nigeria.

“We humbly call on Your Excellency, to use your good offices to rectify this ugly situation as soon as possible. This issue has been referred to the Nigeria Labour Congress for quick intervention as well.”

In the letter dated March 7, titled: “National Conference Nomination: Letter of Protest”, the NUP National President, Dr. Abel Afolayan, said the six slots that were allotted to retired civil servants were all for the Council of Retired Permanent Secretaries (CORFEPS).

According to the the letter, the NUP should have been consulted as the major stakeholders representing the interest of the entire civil service retirees/ pensioners.

Afolayan added: “Ironically, other related retirees’ associations, such as the military, the police, State Security Service, were all given slots to represent the interests of their members with the exception of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners.

“Regrettably, the presence of the National President of the union at the office of the SGF on the 5th of March, 2014 to protest this oversight was rebuffed by the Permanent Secretary (Special Duties) of the office of the SGF.

“I am writing on behalf of over 1 million pensioners in Nigeria who are members of our union.

We consider it necessary to direct our complaint to the office of the SGF because it is the office charged with the responsibility of compiling the list of the delegates to the National Conference.

“It is on this note that we wish to draw your attention to the Federal Government’s announcement in the media on the release of the list of delegates to the National Conference, which indicated that retired civil servants were given six slots to the National Conference.

“As the only union registered and approved by the Ministry of Labour and Productivity for Nigerian civil pensioners/retirees, it was expected that our union, rather than the association of the retired Federal Permanent Secretaries should nominate delegates to the conference. But to our greatest dismay, we discovered that the union was sidelined.

The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has written to President Jonathan to protest the exclusion of Ogoni from the national conference.

MOSOP, through its President, Legborsi Saro Pyagbara, in the letter to the President accused the Federal Government of marginalising Ogoni people.

It reiterated that the national conference was set up to address lingering imbalances, injustice and instability occasioned by marginalisation and violation of people’s rights, among other issues.

The umbrella organisation of Ogoni people said: “We have reviewed the published list of delegates (to the national conference) and are shocked that while some ethnic groups in the country are represented by over 40 delegates in some instances, others have no representation whatsoever.

“For us (Ogoni) specifically, in spite of the huge sacrifices we have made in our pioneering struggle for justice in the Niger Delta and democracy in the country as a whole, we are appalled that even out of the list of 15 delegates from the Southsouth, while some ethnic groups in the zone were represented by upwards of five delegates, not even one of our people was considered for inclusion.

“We had thought that the Federal Government’s nominations would help address cases of such obvious omissions, but surprisingly, we found that it suffered the same fate.

“Given the internationally-acknowledged contributions and huge sacrifices of the Ogoni people, under the leadership of MOSOP, to the struggle for democracy, justice, human rights, including indigenous people’s and minority rights, environmental justice and true federalism, we see the exclusion of Ogoni people as another major step in the continuing government policy to malign and oppress the Ogoni people and diminish their huge contributions to nation building.

“This our protest is predicated on our firm belief that any dialogue process to address the injustice of marginalisation cannot succeed, if erected on the shallow foundation of exclusion and that the best way of perpetrating injustice is to exclude those most afflicted by it from discussions aimed at addressing it.

“Our people and others like us have been the barometer by which injustice in Nigeria has over the years been measured and that explains why we have been in the forefront with others to advocate national discourse to address the national question. Our exclusion not only sends a dangerous, even if inadvertent message, but asks important questions about the credibility of the process.”

It declared that Ogoni people and other indigenous/minority communities would not consider themselves bound by whatever decisions that would be reached at the national conference, should the organisation’s protest not be considered.

The Volunteers for Protection of Itsekiri Rights accused Jonathan of “rigging” the list of delegates to achieve a predetermined agenda in favour of his Ijaw kinsmen.

VPIR, in a statement by Robinson Ariyo, Leleji Augustine and Okpeyeghan Toju, National Coordinator, Secretary and Public Relations Officer, said the exclusion of the Itsekiri ethnic group from the original list of delegates was suspicious.

It also faulted the explanation of “anomaly” proffered by the state government for the exclusion of Chief Isaac Jemide, the Itsekiri delegate, saying, “We suggest that it is because in this instance, the selection criteria for the delegates were rigged from inception to favour one ethnic group above every other ethnic group in Nigeria.”

It said the assertion was buttressed by The Presidency’s presentation of an delegate in each of the categories, stressing that other ethnic groups must also vet the list properly to ensure that the agenda of a group is not imposed on Nigerians.

“With the conspiracy to exclude the Itsekiris from participating in this conference and the fact that over 20 delegates of Ijaw ethnic extraction are on board, Nigerians need to revisit the set of criteria finally chosen by the Presidency to make this possible,” the statement added.

The Itsekiri group said the hoopla generated by the exclusion of their kinsmen and other ethnic groups from the list of delegates justified initial calls that selection of delegates be done along the lines of ethnic nationalities as suggested by constitutional lawyer, Prof. Ben Nwabueze.

They claimed that the decision not to make selection on ethnic line was to “guarantee that Ijaw have the well over 20 slots which they now have. While the Itsekiris have none, Isokos and Urhobos have only about three jointly.

“Now that the Presidency has gone ahead to execute its strategy of lopsided representation of delegates to suit the President’s ethnic group, we call on all other ethnic groups in Nigeria to peruse the list of delegates against the alleged criteria and determine how much each has been cheated in this scheme before we proceed any further with the conference.

Secretary of the Coalition of the Northeast Civil Societies, Alhaji Baba Shehu told reporters in Damaturu yesterday that the conference is a jamboree of fraudulent and selfish government agents without the full representation of the people at the local level.

Alhaji Shehu noted that 25 CSOs in the region met and nominated four delegates but the list was thrown into the dust bin by the Federal Government.

“We the Civil Society Organisations in the Northeast receive the news of the delegates of the CSOs in our region with a rude shock.

“The list as released by the Federal Government is completely strange from the criteria and procedure of selection of the delegates as earlier directed.

“Apart from our complete ignorance of the names of delegates on the list, we are also noticed that the region has been short-changed by two delegates. Instead of the four names that we forwarded after our meeting on the 12/02/2014, none of the names came out only for us to see just two strange names on the list.

“We make bold to say that the Northeast more than any other region in this country at the moment needs a more true representation at this conference to discussion its problems. It is rather unfortunate that some people would sit in Abuja and make a decision on such a sensitive matter of this nature.”

Olanipekun said no constitution disallows President Jonathan from organising a National Conference, noting that “sovereignty resides in and with the people.”

The former chair of the University of Ibadan Governing council explained that the NBA had long been in the struggle for the convocation of a Sovereign National Conference (SNC) since the 1980s under the leadership of Chief Alao Aka-Bashorun.

“Whether it is National Conference or Sovereign National Conference, Nigerians must start from somewhere. We have to cross-fertilise ideas on how best to run the country, whether the Presidential system should continue or not. We have to go there and listen to discussion”.

He said: “Are we saying the maiming and killing of innocent Nigerians presently in some parts of the country should not be discussed? Are we saying these human lives have no meaning to us?, he queried”.

“It is the conference that would determine the type of constitution and system of government that would be operated in Nigeria. It is the conference that will give us a groundrum and not to advise Mr President”, Olanipekun said.

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.

After Sack, Melaye’s Group Ready To Press Corruption Charges Against Oduah And Orubebe.


 

Dino Melaye
By SaharaReporters, New York

Former member of the Federal House of Representatives, Dino Melaye has praised the sack of Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah and Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe, describing it as the long-needed opening to institute corruption charges against the two former ministers.

Speaking on behalf of his civil society group, the Anti-Corruption Network (ACN), Melaye described the sack as validation of the age-long cliché that the voice of man is the voice of God.

“I am vindicated; power truly belong to the people”, he said. “When we protested against two of these criminals, many abused us. But today, we are happy. We salute the courage of Mr. President, although he delayed too much because they ought to have been fired since”.

He recalled that his group submitted the corruption history of three ministers to the United States of America last year; and with the sack of two, the third must be relieved of her ministerial position as soon as possible.

“Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Deziani Alison Madueke must go, too. The president must take hard decisions in the interest of Nigerians”, he said.

“Now that they have been sacked, we will institute criminal charges against Orubebe and Oduah. The voice of the people is the voice of God.

“We encourage Nigerians to continue to protest vehemently against mal-administration, ineptitude and corruption. For me it is a no retreat, no surrender. No amount of arrest, intimidation, blackmail or name-calling will detract my attention from fighting all forms of injustices”.

Last year, SaharaReporters exposed Oduah’s involvement in the scandalous purchase of two BMW armoured cars for $1.6m and a web of certificate scandals.

Meanwhile, Melaye’s ACN has consistently accused Orubebe of abuse of office and illegally diversion of funds and contracts, as well as demanding gratifications for award of contracts to companies.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

EU Vs Nigeria On Corruption: Time to Fashion Made In Nigeria Solution. By Ifeanyi Izeze.


Who would have believed that the European Union would one day come out publicly to accept that massive corruption has been a serious problem in their individual governments and businesses in their countries since time immemorial?

Highlights of a research by the European Union (EU) Commission revealed that bribery and corruption at ‘breathtaking levels’ costs Europe’s economy 120 billion Euros (£100billion) every year and the rate keeps increasing.
Three-quarters of people across Europe felt corruption was widespread in their own country. Even in Britain, seventy percent of the people said ‘bribery and connections’ were often the easiest way to get the best out of public services.

The new study also revealed that over eighty percent of the people believe that close links between business and politics in their countries lead to corruption.

The report on the problem of corruption presented by the EU Home Affairs Commissioner, Cecilia Malmstroem said the true cost of corruption was “probably much higher” than the 120 billion Euros pegged.

Just as the pathetic situation we have here in Nigeria, the report said bribery is widespread in EU country governments and businesses and “the political commitment to really root out corruption seems to be missing.”
Comparative deductions from the EU’s Commission report show that Corruption risks are generally greater at local (LGAs) and regional (states) levels just as we have in the Nigerian situation.

Public procurement (public bodies buying goods and services) form about one-fifth of the EU’s total output (GDP) “and is vulnerable to corruption and so requires better controls and integrity standards.” This is not different from the problem we have here in Nigeria that necessitated the promulgation of the Public Procurement Act 2007/2008 and subsequent establishment of the Bureau for Public Procurement.

As said in the EU report, many shortcomings remain in financing of political parties. “Often codes of conduct are not tough enough and the existing rules on conflicts of interest are inadequately enforced.” Is this not the Nigerian situation?

Over half of the businesses surveyed by Eurobarometer, the assessment standard, described corruption as an obstacle to doing business in their countries. It was disclosed that “white-collar crimes like bribery and VAT (sales tax) fraud plague many EU countries,” just as we have in Nigeria.
An official of Transparency International in Brussels, Carl Dolan was quoted as saying, “Europe’s problem is not so much with small bribes on the whole. It’s with the ties between the political class and industry. There has been a failure to regulate politicians’ conflicts of interest in dealing with business.”

Despite all the smear campaigns to steer away from the real culprits, the sleaze in the nation’s oil sector was introduced and taken to a devilish height by two prominent (if not dominant) European operators in Nigeria’s Upstream oil sector. They are also critical partners in the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Project. These two European companies have been doing all sorts of terrible things in their operations to shortchange both the host communities and the Nigerian government in their joint venture relationships. The community crises across the oil producing areas of the Niger Delta were deliberately created predominantly by these two companies with the aim of weakening the community muscles to ask for their rights.

Till tomorrow, no single Nigerian either in the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) or National Petroleum Investment and Management Services (NAPIMS) can authoritatively say with any iota of exactness the volume of crude oil that actually leaves the three export terminals (Bonny, Brass and Forcados) operated by these two major European players in Nigeria. The amount this nation has lost to European oil thieves who are in joint venture with the NNPC is only better imagined.

All the propaganda about NNPC’s default in cash call payments was because few straightforward and honest-minded administrators of the nation’s oil sector at certain time started raising questions about the ever-increasing joint venture capital expenditures which these European operators spend unilaterally and turn around to ask for either outright refund or deductions from NNPC’s shares of produced crude oil. These operators would tell NNPC they used N300 million to build a six classroom block for a host community in the Niger Delta or N150 million for a water scheme which actually on ground is just one borehole that is not up to 50 metres deep and an overhead tank with five dispensing pumps. They would go and bring South American and Filipino okada and bicycle repairers and call them certified engineers all in attempt to defraud and siphon monies out of this country. And this is still going till tomorrow.

These are the same countries and peoples that have been teaching us how to fight corruption. No wonder the more our agencies (which we copied from them) try to fight corruption, the worse and more sophisticated the menace becomes.
Look at the two anti-graft institutions- Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) we copied from the European template. They are not only disabled, they were outrightly structured to fail and it was deliberate.

Do we need to be told in this country that the hottest spot in corruption and misuse of public funds is the government and public service? And funny enough, the two European-modeled anti-graft agencies- EFCC and NEITI were tied to the apron- string of government- the Presidency where they exist as units for breastfeeding (funding sustenance). So how does anybody expect any credible fight against corruption when the most corrupt ( at least as alleged) seat is where the two major anti-graft agencies go to beg for money for their operations (to fight corruption)?

This is the tragedy of copying templates that are not even working in areas where they were developed and until we change that mindset to begin to fashion home brand solutions to our domestic problems, way no way and go no go go o!

IFEANYI IZEZE is an Abuja-based Consultant and can be reached on: iizeze@yahoo.com; 234-8033043009)

 

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

An Albatross Named Mujaheed Asari Dokubo By Olugu Olugu Orji mnia.


By Olugu Olugu Orji mnia

An albatross is a burden; a burden that refuses to let you be and prevents you from doing something. When that ‘something’ is harmful, then an albatross can be quite beneficial. There is a media outfit in Nigeria that has as its motto, TRUTH IS A BURDEN. Now I’m certain you can appreciate the context in which I employ the word.

Mujaheed Asari Dokubo is a man that needs no introduction. Courts of law usually grant legal privileges to the likes of him on the basis of self-recognition. As founder of the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force, he has never been too far from the spotlight for nearly fifteen years. Many feel better describing him as an ex-militant, but that does injury to his reputation. In my opinion, Asari has always been a militant, and barring any record-shattering miracles, he will remain one. When you have a preference for using force or pressure to achieve your aim, you are militant and a militant.

Recently, he stirred the hornets’ nest once more by promising war if President Jonathan is not returned as president in 2015. The Department of State Services reined him in for questioning but he has since been allowed to go home. The authorities have consistently warned politicians and the rest of the people to desist from making inflammatory statements capable of threatening the nation’s ‘fragile’ peace. It is either he is oblivious of the directive or he has elected to ignore it. Asari has since made it his life work to disturb the peace (whatever that is).

To many, he is a pest and a nuisance deserving of neutralization. Many would wish he could be locked away permanently like had been envisaged for the voluble Al-Mustapha. Unarguably, he has come to establish himself as the nemesis of the North. They crave the presidency which Asari insists must remain in the South until 2019. If you ask me, I think the battle line has been drawn.

Before you go castigating me as an Asari apologist, here are a few clarifications. I don’t even like the fellow: neither his Body/Mass Index nor his preference for the uncouth. And his beard scares the living daylight out of me. Yet I will not ignore facts and truth simply because it is coarsely presented by one with an avowed aversion to doublespeak.

He had had a run-in with the administration of Obasanjo who had promptly arrested him but was compelled to let him go sometime in 2007. Now hear him, “The last time Obasanjo arrested me, my arrest reduced Nigeria’s oil production to 700,000 barrels per day.” I do not know about the figures but I can confirm that when Obasanjo was purporting to fight militancy in the Niger Delta, oil production dropped significantly. He adds ominously, “This time, we will reduce it to zero (oil production) and we will match violence with violence. We are ready for them. Jonathan will complete his tenure of two terms whether they like it or not.”

So what makes this fellow so rambunctious and cavalier? Why does he speak with such impunity; as if taunting and daring the rest of us? The answer is as simple as a b c. Nigeria is a one-legged structure; so to threaten her, all you require is capacity to hurt the leg. For now, oil is our only leg and last time I checked, the bulk of the oil still flows from the Niger Delta from where Asari and Jonathan hail.

You can spin all manner of nationalistic tales and engage in unparalleled cognitive dissonance. You may even throw in the centenary argument that seems to be trending in official quarters. If we have survived together for a hundred years, then nothing can separate us. But you will still come back to the sobering realization that everything about us – our peace, our economy, our cohesion, and our politics – is fragile; and one-legged.

Maybe that is what the man formerly known as Melford Dokubo Goodhead Jr. before converting to Islam, seeks to remind us of. If we do not honestly and expeditiously deal with Nigeria’s structural defects, the words of Asari and legions in his mould will continue to haunt us.

When the late Kenule Saro-Wiwa was carrying on his own crusade from a more intellectual platform, Abacha would have none of it. In spite of pleas from those who should matter, he had him hanged. Maybe if Abacha had bowed to superior logic, Asari in all his crudity would not have been created. But he’s already here with us and if you can believe anything, then believe that he speaks for millions of the criminally deprived in the Niger Delta.

Jonathan’s National Conference presents us a unique opportunity to re-negotiate Nigeria along the lines of justice and equity. Predictably, many are already complaining about the proposed structure of the conference that they suspect will be tilted to favour the official position. The only position I’m aware the federal government has taken is the declaration of Nigeria’s disintegration as off-limits. For me, that is good enough. If we sincerely and conscientiously apply ourselves to the conference, I believe a better nation will emerge whose fortunes can quickly be weaned off the uncertainties of a mono-product economy. No segment of the polity should be required to pay so much more to keep us balanced and moving forward.

Then and only then can we be rid of the irritable ranting of Asari and his ilk. But if we persist in collective deceit and grandstanding, let us be assured that the whole landscape will soon be crawling with Asari wannabes making us wish we had done the needful.

He who reminds us of what must be done may seem like an irritant but he is certainly not an enemy.

 

OLUGU OLUGU ORJI mnia

nnanta2012@gmail.com

 

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

APC- If Asari-Dokubo is not above the law, SSS must arrest him now.


 

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) has described as reckless, irresponsible and totally condemnable the alleged threat by Mujahedeen Asari-Dokubo to levy war against Nigeria even if President Goodluck Jonathan is defeated even in a free and fair election in 2015.

It said the SSS must act immediately or be damned.

“There is no better test of the fairness, non-partisanship and professionalism of the SSS than this Asari-Dokubo’s threat to levy war on his own country. If Asari-Dokubo is not above the laws of the land, he must be hauled before the SSS, just like the service did to our Deputy National Secretary, to explain his statement,” APC said.

In a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said despite the attacks by oil militants in the Niger

Delta and the ongoing insurgency by Boko Haram in some parts of the north, Nigeria has not witnessed a clearer and louder call to war than Asari-Dokubo’s senseless vituperation since the country’s civil war ended in 1970.

It said Nigerians are waiting to see what the SSS, which recently detained for many hours the APC’s Deputy National Secretary Nasir El-Rufai over his warning against election rigging in 2015, will do now that an ally of President Jonathan has threatened the very existence of Nigeria, by saying he and his fellow militants would cripple the economy of the country not only in the creeks but also in Nigeria’s territorial waters.

“What on earth gave Asari-Dokubo the confidence to issue threats against a whole nation? If he doesn’t care about elections and democracy, how else could his hero, President Jonathan, have come to power? Does he know the meaning of anarchy? Does he think anyone, no matter how big, is more important than his country or bigger than its constitution?

“When he said President Jonathan ‘must complete the mandatory constitutionally-allowable two terms of eight years’ or the militants will make Nigeria ungovernable, was he aware that even the North that has become his favourite whipping boy did not complete its own eight years before his kinsman became President?

“It is not Asari-Dokubo’s fault. When we warned against the handing over of the nation’s maritime security to a company owned by an ex-militant in 2012, many thought we were crying wolf where none existed. But the threat by an ex-militant to ensure that no vessel will be allowed to enter the nation’s territorial waters unless President Jonathan is re-elected has shown the dangers inherent in such actions,” APC said

The party wondered why President Jonathan, who said his ambition is not worth anyone’s blood, has neither condemned nor call to order his out-of-control kinsmen like Asari-Dokubo, who speak either on his behalf or for his benefit.

Source: Radio Baifra.

SSS Arrests and quizzes Dokubo-Asari over the threat of bloodshed in 2015.


 

asari dokubo 1

The president of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force, Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, is currently being interrogated at the headquarters of the State Security Service in Abuja.
Dokubo was invited by the SSS, following his alleged inflammatory statements in connection to the 2015 election, in which he stressed in unequivocal terms that there will be bloodshed, if President GoodluckJonathan was not re-elected.
Dokubo, an ex-militant, arrived the SSS office at about 9.45am on Thursday, with scores of his supporters, and his lawyer.
The SSS Deputy Director, Public Relations, Marilyn Ogar, confirmed that it was questioning Dokubo based on the inflammatory comments.
More details later…

Source: Radio Biafra.

2015: The Muslims Rights Concern (MURIC) Cautions Dokubo Over Unguarded Uttrances.


Asari-Dokubo-2

The Muslims Rights Concern (MURIC) on Wednesday advised the  leader of the out-lawed Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force  (NDPVF), Asari Dokubo, to stop heating up the polity by making unguarded  statements.
Dokubo had on Tuesday reiterated that his kinsmen in the oil-rich  Niger Delta would foment trouble if President Goodluck Jonathan failed  to secure second term ticket in 2015.
He also advised northerners not to seek election into the presidency  on the platform of the ruling PDP and the main opposition All  Progressives Congress (APC).
The Director of MURIC, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, in statement said that  the utterance by Dokubo to make the nation ungovernable was “uncalled  for.
“MURIC, therefore, appeals to President Goodluck Jonathan to call Asari Dokubo to order.
“A statement from the presidency on this issue is of strategic  importance at this material time in the history of our dear nation.
“We reiterate for the avoidance of doubt, MURIC as a human rights  organisation is not witch-hunting any political party or individual.
“We are concerned about peace and stability in our dear country.
“Silence over critical issues is harmful to us as well as to the polity.
“It is the duty of religious groups to speak out in this hard time.
“Past experience has shown that it is even the poor who suffers most each time this country is engulfed in crisis.
“We want peace. We, therefore, appeal to all stakeholders to sheath their swords,” the group said. (NAN)

Source. Radio Biafra.

Northern leaders sponsor Boko Haram.


 
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Chairman of the Niger Delta Nationalities Forum, Seigha Manager has said that the threat by members of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF)

to drag the former chief of army staff, Lt-Gen Azubuike Ihejirika to the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague, clearly shows that they are the real sponsors of the Boko Haram Islamist sect.

Manager, who said President Goodluck Jonathan has done well to deserve a second term in office, also warned that any attempt by any person or group of persons to deny Jonathan the right to contest in 2015 will cause chaos in the polity.

In this interview, he speaks on a number of issues.

Excerpts.

Do you think President Goodluck Jonathan has done well to deserve a second term in office?

I think he has done well and when you measure the performance of a person, you have to do that side-by-side with the performances of that nature within the same period. Everybody knows that former President Obasanjo spent his first four years in office from 1999 to 2003, traversing the whole world. Of course, you cannot blame him because Nigeria was a pariah country at the time. The CommonWealth of Nations had banned Nigeria when the former Head of State, late Gen Abacha killed Ken Saro-Wiwa. So, Obasanjo spent between 1999 and 2003 trying to get the rest of the international community to begin to now believe in Nigeria. If you look at the personnel that worked with Obasanjo at that time, you can remember people like Anenih, Ciroma, Danjuma and others.

These were people who are supposed to be fathers of minsters but they were the ministers then, so not much was achieved. In his second term, Obasanjo was able to sit down and that was when people like Ribadu, Okonjo-Iweala, Ezekwesili, El-Rufai and the rest of them came on board. They gave some light to his government and that was about two years to the end of his tenure. Of course, that was why he tried to come back through the failed third term project. When Yar’Adua took over from him in 2007, he also spent the first two years trying to sort out his personal health and at the same time trying to correct some of the wrong things he met.

So, Yar’Adua’s portfolio too was a very good one but when you look at Jonathan, you see the difference between a properly educated person and a politician. Jonathan is an academic. He started by ensuring that the right personnel work with him. So, you can see that a lot of technocrats are in his government. It takes quite a long time for serious planning. Somebody who wants to achieve must ensure he has good planning. Recall too that over $16 billion was spent for upgrading our electricity during the Obasanjo administration and all went down the drain. But, Jonathan has taken his time within the first two years to ensure that the first and most important thing was to repackage the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN). He has successfully done that; PHCN is now in the hands of private owners. So, Nigerians can, within the next six months, be sure of between 12 to 18 hours of uninterrupted power supply. And those are the things that will truly show that he has succeeded. Now, if you want to truly measure Jonathan, you must not do that by his person because he is an introverted person.

He is not the extroverted type that talks a lot about his achievements. He is a man who works through sectors. He is not a man who goes from house to house giving money to people, non-governmental organisations or groups making noise but a man who works through sectors. That is why his performance in the aviation sector is now visible. Nigerians can also see what is happening in the agricultural sector and people can criticise it. Nigerians can see that electricity is epileptic but it has shown progress. If you look at the transport sector, you now see clearly that a lot of gigantic work is being put in place. So, Jonathan is putting structures all over Nigeria and you must move from point A to B to know that he is actually doing something. But, those who sit where they are to say that nothing is happening are actually those who are just relying on secondary information. We also know another category of people who are saying that he has not done well. These are people who have been benefiting from the system in one way or the other but because some of the loopholes and leakages from where they benefited in the past have all been blocked, such people are now ploughing back the little money left with them into the press and making a lot of noise that he is not doing well. I can categorically tell you that one of the problems that Jonathan has is his information management machinery. Without prejudice to the minister of information, I think there is more that the minister can do because selling the president and his activities is a big job; far bigger than what any of the ministers is doing in his or her own personal ministry. It takes the minister of information to tell Nigerians what aviation, agriculture, defence, power, health, education and other ministries are doing.

Can you say that Jonathan’s government has really addressed the three basic needs of man –food, clothing and shelter for the average Nigerian?

This is one of the misconceptions that we have. Food, clothing and shelter are the primary needs of man and these needs ought to be provided at the third tier of government. The Federal Government is not supposed to be held responsible for the survival of Nigerians at the family level. What is the local government chairman doing? What is the state governor doing? Of course housing, yes, the Federal Government should have been directly involved in that but you also know the politics that come with housing in Nigeria. What Jonathan government is doing is to provide the atmosphere and not necessarily getting the Federal Government involved in providing housing because the Nigeria factor is always there.

Has government provided the enabling environment?

Yes, it has. Remember that when the former Housing minister, Miss Amah Pepple was there. What they spent all their time doing was to galvanise the mortgage industry and the banks to ensure that the ordinary Nigerian had access to mortgage loan, so that you can build for yourself rather than the Federal Government giving money to certain people and they would build houses that are not habitable.

But has that produced any result?

Successfully, what it has produced is a $300 billion loan from China. That is the result of what that has done. It started from Amah Pepple’s time and when the president went to China and the Chinese government saw the potentials in what the Federal Government was doing to provide housing, they became interested because that is what happens in China. In China, it is not the government that is building houses; it only provides mortgage and that is why a new mortgage re-financing was recently launched in Nigeria. The aim is to reach ordinary Nigerians. So, no Federal Government official will be holding any money and asking the whole of his town or village people to come and benefit. People will be benefiting through where they work, at the primary or secondary levels; through the local or state governments or as a federal worker. Providing that platform is the most important thing that we have always lost. In the past, a head of state or president will personally give it to his cronies and they will mess it up. Before you know what is happening, billions of money have gone to people without the structure succeeding. You recall that during the Abacha time, Lateef Jakande, who is renowned for providing shelter for his people in Lagos was the minister for Works and Housing. I was a civil servant then and we all contributed money towards the housing scheme but because the Federal Government was directly involved, the money never came and Jakande never built a single house. Those are the type of things that Jonathan is trying to avoid; that’s why I said he is working with experts in their various areas.

The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has just threatened to drag the immediate past chief of army staff, Lt-Gen Azubuike Ihejirika to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes during the military onslaught on the Boko Haram insurgents in the North East. What is your take on that?

The Niger Delta Nationalities Forum as a group wants to say that Lt-Gen Ihejirika is not from the Niger Delta but he brought a lot of positive developments to the Armed forces and that is why Jonathan’s government has succeeded in curtailing the activities of Boko Haram to a small section of the North. We want to urge those who are masquerading as members of NEF to take Ihejirika to ICC at The Hague. We will be happy if they do so and we’ll also urge them to make their names known. They shouldn’t send their organisational name alone; they should also be bold to list all the members of that organisation to the ICC, so that we, in turn, will use that opportunity to know them and submit their names before the United Nations and the United States of America. Recall that America had already classified Boko Haram as a terrorist group . And Jonathan’s government has been battling the Boko Haram insurgents. From a N4.9 trillion budget, one trillion goes to security just to battle Boko Haram alone and Nigerians are the worst for it. Today, instead of praising Ihejirika who had successfully resticted the group to a very tiny area in the North, NEF is saying he committed crimes against humanity. If that is what they truly mean, we are prepared to submit their names before the UN as the sponsors of Boko Haram. We know very well that former President Babangida, former heads of state; Gowon and Abdulsalami Abubakar as well as Maitama Sule are not members of that group. So, if these renowned northern leaders are not part of such group, who then are those people who call themselves leaders of that group? We believe that they are the sponsors of Boko Haram and we want them to carry out that threat.

Former governor of Anambra State, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife recently added his voice to those who warned that Nigeria would boil if Jonathan is not allowed to contest the 2015 presidential election. How does your group see those threats or warnings?

As a group from the Niger Delta, we are appealing to Nigerians that as Niger Deltans, we have paid our dues. We have supported every government led by the northerners or westerners from independence to date. It is either by coincidence or accident that a Niger Delta person became the president of Nigeria and we thank all Nigerians for the opportunity. We also think that giving Jonathan another four years will not cause Nigeria any harm; it will only unite Nigeria further and give us a sense of belonging that we are also part of Nigeria.

However, if any group, in the name of NEF or whatever insists on denying Jonathan his fundamental human rights of contesting for a second term, we can assure them that the Niger Delta will not be part of that Nigeria which they think they will use our resources to project. In simple terms, if they do that, everybody is going to answer his own name. If Jonathan is allowed to contest the election like any other Nigerian and Nigerians as a people decide not to choose Jonathan in the polls, there is nothing anybody can do about that because Nigerians have spoken. It is who Nigerians want that will be the president of Nigeria. So, if Jonathan contests election and Nigerians refuse to elect him as the president, so be it.

By SUNDAY ANI

Source: Radio Biafra.

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