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Obamacare to Cover Married Gay Couples in 2015.


Married gay couples will be eligible for a family health policy under President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law beginning in 2015, the government said on Friday, encouraging insurers to begin offering coverage this year.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) also announced it would extend for one month a temporary program that offers insurance to some of the sickest Americans, who have had trouble finding private plans in new health insurance marketplaces set up in all 50 states under Obamacare.

Friday’s announcements add to the series of delays and modifications the administration has made to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare, since the law was enacted in 2010 and formally launched last October.

Obamacare’s six-month enrollment period ends March 31. And with volume expected to surge in the final two weeks, officials say the website HealthCare.gov continues to operate smoothly after technical problems in October and November paralyzed the portal for consumers in 36 states. The remaining 14 states run their own markets.

About 4.2 million people have enrolled in private Obamacare health plans so far, and millions more have been found eligible for the Medicaid program for the poor, according to the administration.

It continues, however, to wrestle with complicated and controversial issues related to the law.

In its decision on gay couples, HHS exercised federal authority to prevent discriminatory insurance market practices on an issue that has been caught up in state marriage laws.

The move follows a February lawsuit filed by an Ohio gay couple, who were unable to obtain family coverage under Obamacare, they said, because their state does not recognize same-sex marriage.

The gay community is a key constituency for Democrats, who are facing a Republican onslaught over Obamacare in this year’s midterm elections for control of Congress.

“If an insurance company offers coverage to opposite-sex spouses, it cannot choose to deny that coverage to same-sex spouses,” Dr. Matthew Heinz, who heads HHS outreach to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual communities, said in a posting to a government website.

“In other words, insurance companies will not be permitted to discriminate against married same-sex couples when offering coverage. This will further enhance access to health care for all Americans, including those with same-sex spouses.”

A formal clarification from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the lead Obamacare agency within HHS, said the administration is encouraging insurers to voluntarily implement the non-discrimination policy for the 2014 coverage year under the Public Health Service Act.

Compliance will be required starting in 2015.

“We expect issuers to come into full compliance with the regulations as clarified in this guidance no later than for plan or policy years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2015,” CMS said.

“We also expect states to begin enforcing the regulations in accordance with this clarification no later than for plan or policy years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2015,” it said.

Administration officials said the gay marriage decision and extension of the program for people with pre-existing conditions, known as the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP), were both intended to help Americans transition to the new healthcare era established by Obamacare.

The law requires most Americans to pay a penalty unless they are enrolled in insurance coverage by March 31, which is also when the PCIP program was set to expire.

Patient advocates welcomed the move, saying people with cancer, multiple sclerosis or other serious disorders need time to find insurance plans that meet complicated healthcare needs.

“We encourage patients in PCIP to look at other insurance options, including the health insurance marketplace at HealthCare.gov, as soon as possible so they are assured of coverage beyond the short term,” the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network said in a statement.

The extension came a day after U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told lawmakers in Congress that the enrollment deadline would not be delayed.

Administration officials said the PCIP program was being extended through April 30, under congressional authorization that has already allowed for two other extensions. PCIP was originally intended to expire at the end of 2013, but was extended first through January and later through March. (Reporting by David Morgan, editing by Karey Van Hall and Gunna Dickson)

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

Obama, Hillary Join Forces to Raise Money for Democrats.


President Barack Obama is bolstering his party’s campaign coffers, joining an ally of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to help the Democratic National Committee climb out of a worrisome deficit. It’s the latest alignment of the Obama and Clinton orbits, as the former first lady considers a White House bid in 2016.

Obama is traveling to New York Tuesday to raise money for the party at two events, including a high-dollar fundraiser at the home of Alan Patricof, the founder of a New York venture capital fund. Patricof is a longtime Clinton friend and financial bundler for her Senate and presidential campaigns.

The event illustrates the overlapping fundraising draw that Obama and the former first lady, senator and secretary of state represent for the party at a crucial time for the cash-strapped DNC. It also helps bridge some internal party tensions between donors who are merely interested in presidential politics and the Democrats’ needs during this year’s midterm elections.

Patricof wrote in a February email to contributors that he and his wife, Susan, had been “relatively quiet on the political front” following Clinton’s loss to Obama in the 2008 Democratic primary.

“The most effective way that we all can be helpful to Hillary, and the Democratic Party in general, is to make sure that the Democratic National Committee is as strong as possible if Hillary should decide to run in 2016 and, for that matter, if any other good candidate appears on the scene if she decides not to be in the race,” Patricof wrote in the email, first reported by Politico.

He called the fundraiser with Obama a “fireside chat” that would include 13 couples — 26 people — paying $32,500 per person.

The DNC has been trying to pare down millions of dollars in debt accumulated during Obama’s re-election campaign; through the end of January the DNC owed more than $15 million.

Obama, who will also raise money at a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee fundraiser while in New York, has been making a sober fundraising pitch of late, warning that Democrats run the risk of losing control of the Senate if the party doesn’t have the resources to motivate voters this November.

The president’s cash-raising comes amid tensions with Russia over Ukraine and a fast-approaching health care sign-up deadline that have been preoccupying the White House, underscoring the competing demands on Obama. It also comes as Obama is struggling with tepid approval ratings. Recent Gallup and CNN/Opinion Research polls place his job approval at 45 and 43 percent respectively. Over the past year, Obama’s approval ratings as measured by Gallup have fluctuated between a high of 51 percent last April and 39 percent in January.

If Clinton runs and wins the party’s nomination in 2016, the DNC would serve as a platform of continuity between the Obama White House and a future Clinton campaign. Party leaders recently outlined plans to build upon its technological advantage over Republicans and expand its voter registration and protection work in key states, steps that will help Obama’s successor.

The DNC already has plenty of Clinton connections. Committee members include Harold Ickes and Minyon Moore, both longtime advisers to Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton. One of its top fundraisers is Michael Kempner, a New Jersey public relations executive who served as co-chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 national finance committee and was a top bundler for Obama in 2012.

For many Clinton backers, the DNC is a natural place to offer help while the former New York senator mulls her future.

“It’s a clear signal that the Clinton faction of the party is seeking to help the president any way possible,” said Hank Sheinkopf, a New York-based Democratic strategist who advised Bill Clinton’s campaigns. “Money is still the mother’s milk of American politics.”

The fundraiser is the latest in a series of steps that have helped bring together the Obama and Clinton camps after the bitterness of the 2008 primary fight.

Democratic super PAC Priorities USA Action recently brought on board Jim Messina, Obama’s 2012 campaign manager, to lead the group. It made clear that it will back Clinton if she seeks the nomination. The super PAC’s executive director is Buffy Wicks, a former top Obama campaign staffer.

Ready for Hillary, a grassroots group aiming to lay the groundwork for a Clinton campaign, is advised by former Obama campaign aides Jeremy Bird and Mitch Stewart. In Iowa, which traditionally holds the nation’s first presidential caucus, the super PAC dispatched 250 volunteers last weekend to sign up new members at county Democratic conventions. The group covered 84 of the state’s 99 counties.

Patricof is managing director of Greycroft LLC, a venture capital firm he founded in 2006. In November, Obama appointed him to the President’s Global Development Council.

 

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source: Newsmax.com

Cheney: Crimea Not a Lost Cause.


Image: Cheney: Crimea Not a Lost Cause

By Greg Richter

Former Vice President Dick Cheney doesn’t like it when he hears his friends say, “It’s just Crimea,” referring to the Russian takeover of that portion of Ukraine.

“It’s not just the Crimea,” Cheney said Monday on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity.”

“It’s a significant effort on [Russian President Vladimir Putin’s] part to reverse the downfall, if you will, of the Soviet Union and try to regain a lot of that territory, which voted for independence and sovereignty as the old Soviet Union fell apart.”

Cheney sees a sense of resignation in most in the West that Crimea is a lost cause. Russian troops rode into the southern peninsula of Ukraine late last month and have been occupying ever since. Putin said he is concerned because many ethnic Russians live in Crimea.

A March 16 referendum has been set for voters to determine whether Crimea will remain part of Ukraine or join the Russian Federation. Ukraine says the vote goes against the country’s constitution.

Even former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Sunday that Crimea will not slip out of Russia’s hands.

Cheney agreed with many others that economic sanctions and military aid should be considered.

“Tomorrow, if Putin is successful in the Crimea, who’s to say he won’t decide to tell the folks up in Lithuania or Latvia or Estonia he wants part of their territory because it’s got Russians on it?”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 

Rep. Peter King: All Signs Say Terrorism on Malaysian Flight.


The puzzling disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 has all the earmarks of terrorism, says Rep. Peter King.

It’s still a mystery . . . Basically, though, you have a lot of indicators of potential terrorism here,” the New York Republican, who is chairman of the House Counterterrorism and Intelligence Subcommittee, told “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV.

“[There’s] the fact that you have a two passengers flying on stolen passports, the fact that the plane just disappeared, that there was no communication whatsoever, the fact that Malaysia is known to be a hotbed of al-Qaida activity in the past.”

Story continues below video.

On Saturday, the Malaysian passenger jet — headed to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur with 239 people aboard — vanished in the skies over southeast Asia. There were no distress calls made and no indication that anything was wrong.

Despite a massive search effort, no trace of the aircraft has been found.

Investigators are looking at terrorism, an electrical issue, or the possibility of a pilot suicide.

“If it was a terrorist attack, we have to make sure that it’s not part of a larger coordinated series of attacks,” King said.

“There are so many aspects that have to be looked at here . . . It could still very well be just an accident – an electrical explosion.

“Because of something this unusual, really nothing can be ruled out at this stage.”

King urged travelers all over the world to be extra-vigilant when flying.

“Whether or not we actually increase the precise level of security, we should be much more alert during this time,” King said.

“That’s just common sense that every airport be much more concerned and much more alert, much more discerning. First of all, we should be that way all of the time. It is a practical matter.

“Human nature is human nature, but certainly at this time, until this is resolved, every airport in the world, especially I’m concerned about the U.S., we should certainly be on our guard even more than we are usually.”

See the “Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV each weekday live by clicking here now.

 

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Bill Hoffmann

Santorum: GOP Should Follow Pope’s Example to Gain Followers.


It’s possible to believe in your principles and still gain public support, former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum says.

Santorum told “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace that both Pope Francis and conservative Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott have won over followers without changing their position on social issues, and Republicans can do the same.

“We’ve done a very bad job of connecting with working Americans, and we’re out there in a very stressful time in American history,” Santorum said during a round table during the news program. “People are full of fear and anxiety about their future, and we’re out there talking about cutting things.”

Story continues below video.

And while Santorum favors reducing the size of government and taxes, he said the issue is not simply about what’s going to be cut.

“When your whole answer is, ‘I’m going to cut your benefits, I’m going to cut taxes for rich people,’ you’re not cutting it with average people. And that to me is the real missing link here.”

But if Republicans would talk more like Pope Francis, maybe they would be more successful in attracting the followers they need to win races, argued Santorum, a devout Roman Catholic.

“Pope Francis hasn’t changed one doctrine of the Catholic Church, but he’s getting four times the crowds,” he said. “Why? Because of the way he’s communicating to the average person out there. We need to learn some lessons of who is out there actually trying to reach average folks . . . because average working Americans feel disconnected to this president.”

Santorum, who placed fifth in a straw poll of potential presidential candidates at this weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference, went on to tell Wallace that he’s refusing to comment on whether he’s planning to run for president again. He said he’s holding off on answering that question until after this year’s midterm elections.

However, he admitted, “I will be in Iowa and New Hampshire this month.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 

By Sandy Fitzgerald

Democrats Invite The Dalai Lama To Invoke Pagan ‘Blessing’ Over US Senate.


“The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.” Psalm 14:1

HuffPost: The Dalai Lama will step in for Chaplain Barry Black to lead the U.S. Senate’s opening prayer on Thursday, March 6, 2014 according to the Chaplain’s office.

The Director of Communications for Chaplain Black’s office told The Huffington Post that Senator Reid nominated the Tibetan spiritual leader to lead Thursday’s prayer in the place of the chaplain, whose office regularly facilitates prayers by visiting religious leaders.

dalai-lama-to-offer-pagan-prayer-over-us-senate-march-6-2014-new-age-religion

The Dalai Lama believes that he is a god, and as such recognizes no gods outside of himself. When he prays before the US Senate, he will be giving his blessing as a god, and not asking for God’s blessing on our nation.

The Dalai Lama’s prayer has been pre-approved, the director said, and if it is similar to the one he gave in 2009 to the New York State Senate, he may highlight the need for compassion and an “inner peace of mind.” He will be continuing the Senate’s 207-year tradition of beginning each session with a prayer, a role Chaplain Black has fulfilled since 2003 when he was elected 62nd Chaplain of the United States Senate.

Known for a firm commitment social activism, the 14th Dalai Lama is a controversial figure in China, where his relationship with the U.S. is regularly criticized. On February 21, the Dalai Lama met with President Obama for the third time prompting a reaction from the Chinese Foreign Ministry whose spokesperson called the meeting an “interference in China’s internal affairs.” source – HuffPost

by NTEB News Desk

The Exclusion Of Ogu (Egun) People From The Lagos And Ogun National Conference Delegates’ List.


The continuous marginalization of the Ogu (Egun) people of South-West Nigeria is common knowledge. The late sage and Premier of the then Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo has remained the reference point in leadership not only because of his selflessness and capability, but primarily because of his inclusiveness. For example, it was Chief Awolowo who appointed the Aholu, Claudius Dosa Akran from Badagry as the Minister for Economic Planning and Community Development (1958 – 1964) in the then regional government.

At the same time, Chief D. K Aihonsu (from Ipokia, present day Ogun State) was a member of the Regional House of Representatives through the support of Chief Awolowo. Since the demise of this sage (and the leadership style he represented), there have been spirited efforts to present the South-West Nigeria as a mono-ethnic region. In this vain, political representation (other than local elective posts) has largely excluded Ogu people.

For the records, Ogu people, who speak the language called Ogu (although erroneously called Egun) had been part of this space before colonization and amalgamation of the Southern and Northern Protectorates of Nigeria. The misfortune of colonization led to the partitioning of Ogu people into Nigeria, Benin Republic, Togo, Ghana, and Ivory Coast. The geographical spread of Ogu people forms a trans-border continuum in all these countries, while settling Ogu people are found in various other places in Nigeria.

To this end, Ogu people were part of the struggle for Nigeria’s independence and have contributed in no small measure to national development. In today’s Nigeria, Ogu people are found mainly in Badagry area of Lagos State as well as in Ado-Odo/Ota, Ipokia, Imeko, and Yewa South Local Government Areas of Ogun State. They are found in most states that share borders with Benin Republic, including Oyo, Kwara and Niger States. In addition, there are various Ogu indigenous communities like Makoko and Iwaya in Lagos State, Ago-Egun in Abeokuta, among others.

The indigenous Ogu people of Nigeria have had their fair share of the troubles with Nigeria. The Ogu are the typical victim of ethnic crisis in South-West Nigeria. In recent times, there has been escalation of ethnic crisis between Ogu people and their majority Yoruba neighbours as often reported in Ado-Odo, Ipokia areas, and some parts of Badagry. A few years ago, Ogu people were, almost as a matter of policy, denied admission into Badagry Grammar School, Kakon Model College and other government-owned schools until sufficient pressure and protests were registered by their leaders. On account of the non-Yoruba names most of them bear (there are some who consciously and on account of accident of naming bear Yoruba names), Ogu people are still denied admission into the various tertiary institutions in South-West Nigeria today among other injustices arising from their minority status in the South-West in particular and Nigeria in general.

The situation, sadly, at times suggests a systematic intention to single out this particular ethnic group for persecution. To many, the Ogu are Nigerians only when it is time to vote. Lagos traditionally has five divisions with Badagry (comprising mainly the Ogu people and the Awori sub-ethnic group of the Yoruba) as one of these divisions. It is however worrisome that a lot of political decisions and other moves for development often exclude the Ogu as is playing out in the nomination of delegates for the forthcoming national conference.

The Ogu people had looked up to the national confab as a great opportunity to table their concerns and suggestions that will advance the Nigeria project. It was with anxious optimism that the Ogu people through the Ogu Concern Forum (and various other groups) made presentations and submitted memoranda to the Senator Femi Okurounmu-led Confab Committee when the panel visited the South West late last year. Among others things, the Ogu people canvassed for ethnic representation to the confab, just as many other groups had advised. The report that the Constitutional Conference Planning Committee ultimately presented recommended, among other things, that the selection of delegates from each state should reflect their ethnic composition. Following from the recommendations, the Ogu people had made presentations and suggestions to the Lagos and Ogun State governments to be represented at the national confab.

On Monday, February 24th 2014, Governor Fashola of Lagos released the names of the six nominee-delegates of Lagos State to the national confab — Alhaji Femi Okunnu, Mr. Supo Shasore, Mr. Rabiu Oluwa, Mr. Waheed Ayeni, Prof Tunde Samuel and Mrs. Funmilayo Bashorun. Just as the Ogu, who were not in any way given any consideration in the choice of delegates, were grappling with the misfortune that had befallen them, the Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun also announced the names of Ogun State nominated delegates two days after to include Sir Olaniwun Ajayi, Pastor Tunde Bakare, Senator Biyi Durojaiye, Fola Adeola, Oba Kehinde Olugbenle, Mrs. Titi Filani, Barrister Biyi Adegbuyi and Senator Iyabo Anisulowo. Once again, the reality of Nigeria having a non-political national conference without Ogu people represented stares the entire South-West in the face.

The all-Yoruba delegates’ lists from Lagos and Ogun States reek through and through with contradictions. Such an exclusive list has the potential of detracting from the constant claim to a progressive character with which the South-West has often been identified. Neither is such a move in consonance with the mantra of justice and fairness and a collective developmental partnership which often reverberate in this part of the country. How, for instance, could these two states with radio and television broadcasting programmes in both Yoruba and Ogu close their eyes to the existence of Ogu ethnic nationality in their choice of delegates to the National Conference? It is an established fact that, Ogu people are not Yoruba, and to that extent, the governments of the states should have been kind enough to allow for representation of the Ogu as a distinct ethnic formation in the states. Even the non-Yoruba people in Ondo (Itshekiris, Ijaws) get better treatment from the state government.

We believe it is not late to rectify this gross marginalization and injustice. We are persuaded that there should be at least one Ogu representative in the Lagos State delegates’ list. We are equally persuaded that the Ogu people in Ogun State deserve at least one representative out of the eight delegates nominated by the state. We reject every suggestion that Ogu people can be represented by non-Ogu people, as not only does this smack of an attempt to infantilize Ogu people, it also amounts to malignant paternalism. We reject the persuasive distortions that tend to lump us up as Yoruba. We make bold to say that the absolutism being projected by the current leaders of South-West Nigeria is against the spirit of national dialogue.

We demand from the Nigerian State equal rights as citizens, including the right to air our grievances through the national conference. We remind all, that persistent injustice breeds agitation and resistance. We reject all suggestions that diminish our persons, our identities, our dignity and our uniqueness. We do not affirm difference for its sake; we do so because it is the least logical thing to do, seeing that we operate by distinct cultural paradigms that are framed by equally distinct historical evidence.

Signed on behalf of Ogu Collective:
Dr Pius Fasinu
Ms Gloria Sevezun Agbaosi
Dr Senayon Olaoluwa
Mr Viyon Awhanse
Dr Jendele Hungbo
Mr Nunayon Samson Afodewu

Ogu collective, a representative body of the Ogu people of Nigeria can be reached atogucollective@gmail.com

 

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.

Jonathan 2015 & The Parable Of The Prostitute By Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo.


 

Columnist:

By Rudolph Okonkwo

You must have seen one of those must read stories. There is this one about a lady who was a prostitute. She did her job so well and for so long. It also meant that she had to undergo a lot of abortions. At one point she decided to undergo a full hysterectomy to avoid any need for further abortions. The doctors indulged her after getting her to sign the consent. One of the lines on the consent form said she agreed that she would never have a baby again.

Along the way, as these stories go, she got redeemed. She accepted Christ and became born again. Her new passion for Christ found favor in the heart of the dashing pastor of her new age church. In no time, the pastor proposed to her. She was reluctant to accept, for obvious reasons. The pastor insisted that God spoke to him to marry her. She asked the pastor to check again for he must have misunderstood what God said. After going back and forth with the pastor insisting that he heard God well, she told the pastor that her womb had been taken out.

“No problem,” the pastor said. “I’ll still marry you.”

They got married. Lo and behold, before you could say honeymoon over she became pregnant. And that was when the story became interesting.

She returned to the doctor that removed her womb and reported that she was pregnant. After a natural bout of dismissal and doubts, the doctor did a pregnancy test and as the story put it, “to his greatest surprisation” the pastor discovered that the woman was pregnant for real.

To crown it all, on the ninth month, she gave birth to a baby. Not just any baby- she gave birth to the gold standard baby- “a bouncing baby boy.”

I know. By now your heart has melted like a spoon of butter left in the sun. And that’s when the peddlers of this tale finally strike. They now say to you in upper case:

“IT WAS THE GRACE, FAVOUR AND MERCY OF GOD that the prostitute could have a child. Therefore, I decree upon your life that whatsoever that has or might have damaged in your life, in your body, in your skills, your career, your academics, your business, MAY THE FAVOUR, MERCY, GRACE AND MIRACLE OF GOD LOCATE YOU. YOU TYPE AMEN TO THIS PRAYER, IN JESUS MIGHTY NAME, AMEN. My brothers & sisters, God still does this kind of miracles, just write “Amen” and share this story to your friends, you will see GOD perform a Miracle in your life today!!!”

Immediately, thousands of our compatriots rush to type Amen. If it is the one that urges you to forward the tale to 60 friends in six minutes so that Bill Gates will drop an iPad under your pillow, thousands of us will do so.

Nobody pauses to ask simple questions. Like, where will a fertilized egg get implanted on when the uterus, the fallopian tubes, the ovaries and the cervix were taken out during hysterectomy? Even in a partial hysterectomy, if fertilized egg is not self-aborted before the woman knows she’s pregnant, it gets attached to the other organs of the abdomen or the walls of one of the fallopian tubes, immediately putting the life of the mother in danger. Gynecologists and obstetricians often remove such rare fetuses. Unless a didelphic uterus is involved, hysterectomy is as good as sterility.

Those are the questions we should be asking and not singing, Amen. But trust us, Nigerians! We long for signs and wonders in place of reason and proof.

President Goodluck Jonathan knows this. And that’s why his handlers have designed a strategy that will keep him in Aso Rock until 2019. That strategy is very simple: show the people their miserable lives and point to them the people to blame for it. That’s how elections are typically won. In the case of Jonathan, he has crafted the people to blame – others.

Even though the presidency just issued a book, “The Reforms that have transformed Nigeria (2010-2013),” they are not basing the upcoming campaign on highlighting the various achievements listed in the book which they claim has made the lives of Nigerians more meaningful. Instead, they want you to just write Amen.

The ethno-religious reality of Nigeria has made it very simple for the president. The safe zones of the president are the South-South and the South East, the Middle Belt and the Christian North. The only region at play in the 2015 election is the South West. The Jonathan-Sambo ticket’s only path into the South West is through the church. The president has to grab 40% of the votes in the South West to win the election.

The opposition party, the APC is placed in a difficult position by this reality. The party also needs the South West vote to win. To get a significant number of the South West vote, the party has to juggle some complex parameters.

First, on the biggest masquerade in APC- General Buhari. A good analogy of his political fortune can be deduced from that of Emeka Ojukwu when he returned from exile in 1982. On Ojukwu’s return, an analyst said that, “if Ojukwu joins NPN, NPN is finished and if he joins NPP, NPP is finished.” Looking at the 2015 elections, the feelers out there is that the fate of APC is to a large extent dependent on whether Buhari runs or not. If he runs, APC is finished and if he doesn’t run, APC is finished. This thinking is based on the calculation that no matter how much President Jonathan screws up, Buhari cannot overcome the fair or unfair negative perceptions of him in some parts of the south. Some potential northern candidates are using this argument to keep Buhari from contesting at all.

The APC can pick a South West candidate for president. To ensure that the candidate has a chance up north, he or she must be a Muslim. The other alternative is to pick a Northern candidate for president and then pick a South West candidate for vice president. In this permutation, the only viable candidate from the South West with the kind of crossover appeal is Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State. But the Northern candidate cannot be a Muslim, too. Otherwise that will play into the hands of Jonathan and his PDP group already tagging APC a Muslim party.

If Fashola is the presidential candidate, he could deliver the South West votes but will the North line up behind him in the numbers needed to deflate Jonathan’s inroad into the North via the Middlebelt and the Christian North? If Fashola is the vice-presidential candidate which northern candidate at the head of the ticket will inspire enough confidence in the South West to secure over 70% of the votes there? Buhari did not in 2011 and he will not do so in 2015.

That is why Jonathan’s only challenge in these permutations is to squeeze out 40% of the South West vote, irrespective of the candidate APC will come up with. And the only way to do so is to carry the bible and the cross until election time.

And once the bible and the cross come out, like in the story of the prostitute, it is miracle and grace that follows not logic and reason. Objectivity disappears. Empirical evidence becomes irrelevant. Amen stands upon other Amen until the ladder climbs up to heaven under the whirlwind of promises.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

They Bleed: Nigeria Confirms Death Of Soldiers In Maiduguri Boko Haram Operations.


 

The Nigerian Army Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has confirmed the loss of some soldiers in connection with the Boko Haram attack on Abulum, Maiduguri, at the weekend.
In a statement signed by its spokesperson, Major General Chris Olukolade, DHQ said the troops were pursuing the militants who were responsible for the attack in Buni Yadi when they engaged in a fierce encounter with the terrorists around Mainok and other locations between Apa and Abulum in Borno State.
It said that the death of the soldiers was as a result of the air and land attack launched on the members of the sect, and that some terrorists were also killed in the incident.
“The air operations to clear terrorists bases sited in Daggu and Yazza areas of Borno State during the weekend have registered the expected results in the ongoing campaign against terror,” Olukolade said.  “The mopping up operation by ground forces after air assault has confirmed the death of several terrorists located in the bases.  Civilians had earlier been evacuated from the vicinity of the identified terrorist enclaves in line with operation orders before the air and land assaults.  Extensive cordon and search of the entire locality is ongoing with a view to apprehending the wounded and other members of the terrorists group who might still be trying to flee.”
The spokesman also stated that the suspects believed to have been responsible for detonating a bomb in the Bintu Sugar Ngamari area of Maiduguri on Saturday in which many citizens were killed have been arrested and are helping in the investigation.
“Patrols are continuing on land and air in the entire mission area in North East towards apprehending or eliminating the rampaging terrorists in the area,” the statement said.
It also noted that the campaign coordination cell has dismissed as untrue reports that civilians were mistakenly killed in the air operations in some parts of the mission area, as the claim could not be confirmed after the mopping up aspect of the operation.
“The reports are believed to be part of the design by those bent on discrediting the counter terrorists mission,” it concluded, adding that DHQ has reaffirmed its directive that necessary care should continue to always be taken to ensure safety of innocent Nigerians in the operational areas notwithstanding the fierceness of the encounters.
(From Biafra Galaxy)

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