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The Legacy Of Governor Adams Oshiomhole And Cultists Crisis In Benin City By Paul Omoruyi.


By Paul Omoruyi

Our moral, religious, and political traditions are united in their respect for the dignity of human life. – Robert Casey

If anyone is paying attention, over the years, cult killings and counter-killings have taken more lives than the reprehensible killings of Boko Haram. Sadly, Nigeria’s cult wars and deaths do not make national news like Boko Haram’s mayhem. But the truth is that these cultists terrorizing the streets of Nigeria are just as vicious as Boko Haram.

No doubt, we have lost our moral compass and the value of human life and dignity in Nigeria. In less than three months, over 300 youths have been killed in Benin City alone from cult related activities. That is an average of 100 deaths per month. This is nothing short of mutiny and complete breakdown of law and order in the State. The Inspector General of Nigeria’s Police should immediately recall the commissioner of police in Edo State or declare a State of Emergency in Benin City NOW.

According to reports emanating from Benin, the current war between rival cult groups in Benin City is “believe to be linked to the leadership of Edo Rainbow Coalition who propel these confraternity boys into actions to get attention from the state government because it has refused for some time now to dish out money to them.”

On October 14th, 2013, The Punch newspaper reported that Edo State “cult members, belonging to various fraternities in schools across the state converged at the Sand Beach Resorts, Benin, on Saturday [October 12th] for a summit tagged “Interactive Peace Summit: Strategy for Social Cohesion.” At the summit, the groups, which came together under the aegis of Rainbow Consolidated Forum said they were not satisfied with the spate of violent crimes and insecurity in the state and vowed to fight the situation. Some of the fraternities at the summit included the Green Circuit (a.k.a Maphites), Norsemen (aka Vikings), Black Axe, Eiye confraternity, Family Fraternity of Nigeria and Avarian Organization of Nigeria.”

After the purported despicable cultists “summit” last year, it was rumored around Benin that Governor Oshiomhole has been paying these cult groups from the public coffers to checkmate their violent propensities. To many Edolites, the governor has legitimized and emboldened them so much so that they do whatever they like, whenever they like and however they like.

It appears Governor Oshiomhole has lost complete control of Benin City to the cultists. Why should a responsible Government cede the security of the state to cultist groups? Where are the Nigerian Police Force and other Government security apparatus in the State?

If it turns out that the Governor has been involved in such clandestine payments to cult members/groups in Benin City (to the detriment and massacre of Edo children), then his legacy will be forever marred, as he will be remembered as the “cultist-paying Governor.”

However, since Edo State is in financial dire straight, it would be wise for the Governor to stop such payments NOW (if it is true). The governor has all the state and federal resources to maintain law and order if this agitation is over the stoppage of such payments. Like I indicated in my article months ago, no individual or group should be more powerful than the state.

Governor Oshiomhole should not negotiate any deal with the cultists groups. Rather, like any responsibly government, he should marshal all the security apparatus at his disposal to crush these scumbags once and for all.

Today, shamefully, nothing happens in Benin City without cult membership playing a role. From public service election to Government appointments and contracts, the discussion is purely on which cult you belong to.  Capability, intelligence and leadership abilities have no place in our society anymore.
Graduates have no jobs while Agberos and illiterate cult members hold public office all over town. They go home with money bags on a daily basis. Yes, millions of naira daily. Money made from intimidating the public, from axe, hatchet and guns. Blood money, some call it.

You do not need education, special skill or training. Just “belong” to one of these nocturnal groups and start killing, then you are on your way to getting appointments and millions of naira.

We are sitting on gun powder. As usual, nothing is a problem in our beloved country until it becomes crisis. Just as the emergence of Boko Haram, no one will be immune from the dastardly acts perpetrated by these miscreants, low-lives and scoundrel cultists in our society.

The crisis is here. I hope not here to stay forever. From students to lecturers, law makers to governors, let all well meaning Nigerians say no to Cultism!!!

Paul Omoruyi
Social Commentator, blog@ – www.diasporascope.com

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

World Human Rights Day: Activists Protest Over Rights To Food In Benin …Family Of Slain Farmer Lead Protest.


BENIN CITY : Vehicular movement was brought to an halt on Tuesday at the ever busy Oba Ovoranwmen Square and its adjoining roads in Benin City as groups of human rights activists protest against police extra-judicial killings and denial of rights to food, education, women empowerment and protection amongst others as part of activities to mark this year world human rights day.

The protest organized by Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice in collaboration with the National Human Rights Commission attracted participants from several works of life including legal practitioners, medical doctors, journalists, traders, photographers amongst others.

The protest started shortly after an enlightenment programme themed “Rights to Protest at Bishop Kelly Pastoral Centre with the protesters marching through AirPort road, round the Oba Ovoranwmen Square to the Edo State House of Assembly and thereafter through Sapele and Reservation Roads to the Edo State Government House and back to the Edo State Secretariat of the Nigerian Union of Journalists with the seven children and two wives of late Samuel Imiakop, the alleged victim of police recent extra-judicial killing in the state at the front leading the protest with tears rolling down their cheeks.

The Executive Director, Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, Reverend David Ugolor said they staged the protest to call on authorities to address the perennial issues of police extra judicial killings in the state, cases of rape, the excluding of the masses in state and national budget preparation, and the need to set up panel of inquiry into the killing of the 42 years old Samuel Imiakop  allegedly by the police on his way to farm at Uteh Community in the morning of November 24.

According to Ugolor, poverty is not just about money but it is also an act of not having the opportunity to ventilate ones voice and therefore called on the Nigeria Union of Journalists to prevail on media owners and managers to stop commercializing human rights issues with little or no recourse to the laws or theories guiding newsworthiness and selection most especially as it concerns developmental journalism.

Also speaking, the Head of Private and Property Law Department, University of Benin, Dr. Edoba Omoregie said all Nigerians should join hands with civil society organizations to ensure that their rights to food, free primary education, antenatal care, malaria and HIV/AIDS treatment, clean environment, women empowerment and protection amongst others are provided by governments at all levels.

Former chairman of the Edo State chapter of the Nigeria Medical Association, Dr. Philip Ugbodaga said any government unable to meet the welfare requirement of the people as stipulated in the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has failed.

The Executive Director, Foundation for Good Governance and Social Change, Mr. Austin Osakwe said Nigerians should always be armed with facts and figures before confronting any authority in order to properly utilize their rights to protest.

The protesters displayed placards with inscriptions: “Police protect us, don’t kill us, Commissioner of Police should be redeployed, Our father is a farmer, not an armed robber, SSS should conduct investigation, Know Your rights, say no oppression,” amongst others.

Responding, the Deputy Chief of Staff to the Edo State Governor, Mr. Stephen Idehenre who stood in for the governor said all their complains would be communicated to the governor.

Speaker, Edo State House of Assembly, Hon. Uyi Igbe said the House would look into the issue of the alleged extra judicial killing by the police.

Finally, the Chairman of the Edo State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Comrade Desmond Agbama said the challenges facing media practitioners in Nigeria currently is that nobody wants to be criticized, adding that the union would not relent in their efforts in partnering civil society organizations in seeking justice in the country.

By Osazuwa Akonedo Of ANEEJ

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

NOPRIN Calls For Investigation of Another Police Execution Of Five Men In Benin City.


Samuel Imaikop
By SaharaReporters, New York

The Network on Police Reform In Nigeria (NOPRIN) has called for a thorough investigation to ascertain the actual circumstances and truth surrounding the killing of Samuel Imaikop and four others by policemen of the Edo State Police Command on November 24.

In a preliminary report today on the incident, the group stressed that the investigation must include an autopsy and a Coroner’s inquiry to ascertain how and why the five men were killed, and that there must be legal consequences, including redress and accountability for the murder.

The NOPRIN report said that Samuel Imaikop, a farmer from Nsital LGA of Akwa Ibom State, was shot dead at a police checkpoint on the Benin Bye-Pass at about 9am on that day along with four men he had hired to work on his farm.

“The dead bodies of the five men were dumped at the back of a white police Hillux van and driven to the Edo Sate Police Headquarters on Sapele Road, Benin City,” the report said. “The late Samuel’s Nissan bus was driven by a policeman following behind the police van to the Edo State Police Headquarters.”

The report further said that at Police Headquarters, the bodies were dumped on the ground and displayed publicly as “armed robbers” with a gun placed on them as an exhibit.

“It is not clear how the police arrived at the judgement or conclusion that the killed men were armed robbers,” NOPRIN said. “There was no evidence that they were shot during a robbery operation or that they had a tip off or prior information about them and then laid in wait for them.”

Mr. Imaikop, 42, was married with two wives and 7 children, and his second wife is pregnant.

Full text of the NOPRIN report

Preliminary Report on THE EXTRAJUDICIAL KILING OF MR. SAMUEL IMAIKOP AND FOUR OTHERS

NOPRIN CALLS ON EDO POLICE COMMAND TO ACCCOUNT FOR THE KILLING OF THE ‘EDO 5’ KILLED UNDER SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES.

Saturday, December 7, 2013.

Introduction

NOPRIN has received disturbing information concerning yet another extrajudicial killing in Edo State on November 24, 2013. Those killed this time are one Mr. Samuel Imaikop (42), a farmer and four labourers he hired to work in his farm. NOPRIN is investigating this recent killing and previous similar cases of reckless police killings in Edo State. This is with a view to unravelling and publicising the truths about these killings and following up to ensure that police authorities carry out thorough investigations that will lead to redress for the victims’ families and accountability for the police officers responsible.

THE NOVEMBER 24 KILLING IN BENIN, EDO STATE.

Mr Samuel Imaikop (42) a farmer from Nsital LGA of Akwa Ibom State and resident in Benin City was married with two wives and 7 children. His second wife is pregnant.

According to information from the late Samuel Imaikop’s family members which were corroborated by witnesses, on Sunday November 24, 2013 at about 9 am, Samuel, along with four casual labourers he hired to work for him in his farm, were shot dead by police officers at a check point along Benin Bye-Pass.

The dead bodies of the five men were dumped at the back of a white police Hillux van and driven to the Edo Sate Police Headquarters on Sapele Road, Benin City. The late Samuel’s Nissan bus was driven by a policeman following behind the police van to the Edo State Police Headquarters.

Prior to the incident, the late Samuel had left his house that morning to deliver bundles of firewood loaded in his bus to his customer at Cemetery road. After this, he drove to ‘2 plus 2’ (a location where casual labourers stand and wait to be hired for daily labour) and picked up four labourers to work for him in his farm at Ute community.

The Family’s Account

The late Samuel Imaikop’s relatives informed NOPRIN that their late brother was a farmer. The day before the incident- Saturday 23 November, he went to his farm at Ute community in Edo State with one of his younger brothers and the four labourers whom he picked up at ‘2 plus 2’ and engaged for a pay to clear some portions of his farm. He had bargained with the four laboureres and they agreed on the price of 25 thousand naira for the clearing of the farm. Later in the evening, the deceased Mr. Samuel drove the labourers back with an understanding to pick them up again the next day to go and complete the job.

The deceased was also a supplier of fire woods to some restaurants in town. On that evening at the farm, he loaded some firewood in his bus to be supplied the next day to one of his customers. He dropped off the four hired labourers and drove home with the firewood.

On Sunday morning, the day of the tragic incident, he first went and supplied the firewood at ‘Madam Spot’ a restaurant somewhere along Cemetery road, Benin. He was supplying the woman firewood two times in a week.  Having dropped the firewood, he stopped over again at ‘2 plus 2’ and picked up the same four labourers to go and complete their job in the farm. On their way to the farm, somewhere at Akpakpava junction, some police officers at a checkpoint opened fire at them, killing all the five men in Mr, Samuel’s bus. The police officers loaded the dead bodies of the five men into the van and drove to the office of the SARS at the State Police Headquarters. At the Police Headquarters, their bodies were dumped on the ground and displayed publicly as armed robbers with a gun placed on them as exhibit.

POLICE CLAIMS- UNCLEAR AND DOUBTFUL

It is not clear how the police arrived at the judgement or conclusion that the killed men were armed robbers. There was no evidence that they were shot during a robbery operation or that they had a tip off or prior information about them and then laid in wait for them.

The police have not convinced the family of Samuel Imaikop and members of the public about their claim that those men were armed robbers. Instead, they resorted to intimidation by subjecting the late Samuel’s immediate younger brother- Pastor Ime Imaikop Brownson to brutality, detention and cruel and dehumanising treatment for daring to come to the station to inquire about his dead brother.

Considering the hazy circumstances surrounding this particular incident, and recalling previous similar cases, there is serious doubt in the minds of the public about the claim by the police that these men were armed robbers. The family members of late Samuel Imaikop insist that their brother and husband was not an armed robber.

POLICE BRUTALIZE VICTIM’S BROTHER- PASTOR IME IMAIKOP BROWNSON

Pastor Ime Imaikop Brownson, the immediate younger brother to the deceased Samuel Imaikop, upon hearing about the incident of police carrying dead bodies in their van and his brother’s bus being driven by a policeman and following the police truck behind, he traced the police and the dead bodies to the State Police Headquarters where he identified his brother among the dead. He was shocked and immediately fell down crying.

Some policemen pounced on him and began to beat him accusing him of being one of the armed robbers. They dragged him inside the police station and one of the policemen emptied a bag of salt on his head while others were matching on him as he lay flat on the ground at the police station crying in grief. He was pleading with the police to ‘forgive’ him, telling them that he was not a robber and that his brother was a farmer and not a robber. They kept beating him as he knelt down and continued to plead, saying he thought that his brother was involved in an accident.  After a while, an Inspector came and asked that his statement be obtained and thereafter, he should be put in the cell. Later again, the Inspector came back and asked the officer taking his statement to stop taking his statement. He was later put in the cell with a threat that any other person who comes to see him or to inquire about any of the dead ones will also be detained. He remained in detention from that Sunday November 24 to Thursday November 28 and  neither ate food nor drank water. His detention was not recorded in the crime register.

The next day, when his wife came with a lawyer, he was brought out and asked to complete making his statement, after which he was sent back to the cell. His wife was not allowed to see him or give him food.

The next day again, his wife came back with another lawyer who was not allowed to see him. Then his wife later came back with another lawyer- Barrister Afolabi who eventually secured his release on the fifth day. He has since then been sick.

The late Samuel Imaikop’s bus is still parked at the police station. There is need to examine the bus to see if there’s evidence of gunshots (bullet holes) on the bus.

WRONGFUL POLICE INVESTIGATION PROCEDURE

There is every reason to doubt the claim by the police that these men were armed robbers. Similar claims in the recent past about similar killings by the police have turned out to be false. The police always circumvent the due process of investigation into such incidents. In this case, as in previous cases of extrajudicial killing, a Coroner’s inquiry into the cause of death has not been initiated as required under the law.  It is also suspected that the police have hurriedy buried the dead bodies without allowing for proper investigation, including an autopsy.

The motive for this unlawful police killing is not firmly established. But there is suspicion that the police may have carried out a reprisal for the killing of their colleagues along the Benin bypass about two weeks ago by suspected armed robbers.

INVOKING SAD MEMORIES FROM THE PAST

We recall the unresolved case of the Benin student whom the police killed and branded an armed robber. It took pressure from Civil Society groups in Edo before the police exhumed the body for examination. The examination proved the police wrong.

On May 27, 2013 a final year University of Benin Student, Ibrahim Momodu was shot dead by the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Ogida Police Station, Edo State, Mrs. Carol Afegbai, leading other members of her patrol team.

Although the police in Edo command claimed that late Ibrahim Momodu was killed while attempting to fire at the police, reports by the pathologists, who examined the remains of the late Ibrahim Momodu showed that he was shot from the back with three bullets, which torn his heart, before exiting through the upper part of his chest.

Ideally, the DPO and other suspected accomplices should have been subjected to orderly room trial, dismissed- if indicted, and arraigned in court for murder. However, the Edo State Police Commissioner, Mr. Folunsho Adebanjo redeployed the DPO and her orderly, according to him, ‘to have a smooth investigation’.

And, understandably, family members of the victim were suspicious of the motive of the police and insisted, through their lawyers that “the proper procedure for murder case is for the police after investigation to charge the suspects to court and thereafter, the court would order the duplication of the file to be sent to the office of DPP and not the other way round.’

We also recall the case of the Benin 5 who were arrested and branded kidnapers. The five young men: Mr. Chukwudi Eke, Mr. Chinedu, Mr. Ndubuisi Christian Nnalue, Mr. Godswill Chigbo and Isidielu Uche Onwuesi were summarily executed on October 16, 2010

The chronicle of events that led to the extrajudicial killing of the five victims started with a minor traffic accident involving the Audi car of one of the victims, late Mr. Chukwudi Eke and a Golf 3 with registration number AG 785 SLK car belonging to one Victor Okakah who was in the company of his wife. Chukwudi was carrying his friend and another victim late Mr. Chinedu in his car when the accident occurred at the popular Ramat Park, Benin, Edo State at about 6: 30 p.m. on Thursday, October 14, 2010. Others were arrested when they came to inquire about Chukwudi- their friend and brother, detained and executed along with him.

The Edo police authorities claimed that all the five victims ‘died when they and the police officers that went to effect arrest of their kingpin and a leader of the gang and to further recover their sophisticated weapons were ambushed by their gang members with heavy sporadic shooting which led to injury of the deceased….’ ‘That due to serious injuries of the deceased and on the way to the hospital for treatment gave up the ghost…’

Not a single one among the police officers in the team had even a scratch from the ‘heavy sporadic shooting which led to injury’ only of the suspects. The police killed them within two days of their arrest and detention. This was not enough time to conclude a thorough and exhaustive investigate of an alleged case of kidnapping. There was no effort on the part of the police to investigate the alleged kidnapping or to charge the suspects to court in accordance with due process.  They were denied fair trial and fair hearing.

All the foregoing take our minds back to outrageous ‘Apo 6’ killing of 2006. The Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, in his report, said: ‘if the Apo 6 were an isolated incident it would be a tragedy and a case of a few bad apples within the police force. Unfortunately, many of the ingredients – the false labelling of people as armed robbers, the shooting, the fraudulent placement of weapons, the attempted extortion of the victims’ families, the contempt for post mortem procedures, the falsified death certificates, and the flight of an accused senior police officer – are all too familiar occurrences.’

He further said in his report:

‘While armed robbery does plague much of Nigeria, the label of “armed robber” is very often used to justify the jailing and/or extrajudicial execution of innocent individuals who have come to the attention of the police for reasons ranging from a refusal to pay a bribe to insulting or inconveniencing the police’.

Even the federal government of Nigeria admits that the police do indeed improperly identify some—possibly many—of their victims as “armed robbers.” On December 17, 2005, in the wake of the Apo Six murders, then Minister for Police Affairs Alaowei Broderick Bozimo placed paid announcements in major Nigerian newspapers which read, in part:

‘It will be recalled that between the 7th and the 8th of June, 2005, we recorded a most bizarre encounter between some officers of the Nigeria Police Force and six youths at Gimbiya Street, Abuja. The incident culminated in the brutal killing of six civilians by the Police. On behalf of the Nigeria Police, Ministry of Police Affairs, and Federal Government, I offer my sincere condolences to the families of the deceased for the unfortunate Apo Six incident. . . .

Government has resolved, inter alia, as follows:

(i) that contrary to the earlier misinformation that the Apo Six victims were armed robbers, incontrovertible evidence shows that they were NOT ARMED ROBBERS. Government, therefore, exonerates the victims and apologizes to their families and in fact all Nigerians through this medium.

The statement came more than six months after the incident in question and only after the Justice Goodluck Commission recommended the prosecution of all the officers involved

The prosecution of the police officers responsible for the ‘Apo 6’ killing has since been stalled by deliberate acts of the police.

CALLS:

NOPRIN calls for a thorough investigation to ascertain the actual circumstances and truth surrounding the killing of Samuel Imaikop and four others.

This thorough investigation must include an autopsy and a Coroner’s inquiry to ascertain how and why they were killed. There must be legal consequences for this murder, including redress and accountability

Okechukwu Nwanguma

Program and Advocacy Coordinator

NOPRIN Foundation

Phone:234 08064974531

Email: okechukwu”

The Governor, The Widow, The Burden Of Poverty By Sonala Olumhense.


Columnist:

Sonala Olumhense

If Governor Adams Oshiomhole doubted the power of social media and the Internet before he came face to face recently with a widow who would change his life, I am sure he no longer does.  In the past couple of weeks, he has been insulted and called all kinds of names.

The governor deserved the flak.  As the camera starts to roll on an infamous footage that travelled worldwide in just two days, he is seen standing in the middle of a tumult.  The location turns out to be Mission Road in Benin City, one of the key streets he has been trying to keep clear.

And there, right before the powerful governor like a scene out of the Bible, is a woman on her knees.  The world now knows her to be Joy Ifije.

At that moment, she is nameless, faceless, and—it would seem—powerless.  On her knees, partly surrounded by her belongings, she is begging the governor for mercy, explaining that she is a poor widow.

As governor, the former labour leader has toiled in the past few years to redefine the face of the state capital.  Ruined by decade after decade of misrule, poor planning and neglect, Benin City became an overpopulated open market.

In stepped Comrade Oshiomhole in his khaki shorts, his short sleeves already rolled up from his days as a labour combatant, determined to build a modern city.  The reality is that you cannot build a modern street when people are sitting all over it, a lesson he has continued to teach and to preach.

Mrs. Ifije would hear the worst of his frustration: “Go and die!” the governor yells as the woman pleads.

Governor Oshiomhole has since apologized to her, explaining that he got carried away.  Supremely contrite, he gave her a job, as well as money to start a proper business.

But this story is of universal application.  You cannot be indifferent once you know about it.

If you believe in God, you have to question yourself about the coincidences in the story.  Mrs. Ifijeh might have been on another street at that time.  She was left to explain she did not know the governor would be on an inspection tour that day.

Her explanation is untenable: crimes are typically not committed when law enforcement is present.  But it was not what she said: it is what she did when the governor appeared.  Others ran away; she fell on her knees.  It was all a question of who was where, and at what time.

Mrs. Ifije was at the right place at the wrong time because Time needed her to trigger a sequence of events.

Governor Oshiomhole, fated to set foot on Mrs. Ifije’s Time trap, stepped forward, believing he was in his city to iron out a simple problem, and was in control.  But Time had written the story, not he, penning one into the story of the other, placing the governor in the wrong place, for him, at the right time.  The governor did not need to acknowledge her or say a word to her, but he did.  And because the words were put into his mouth by the author, Time, he said the wrong thing at exactly the right time.

It was the right time because the real hero of their story was present, in the crowd, fated to engrave their story in Time.  He filmed the all-powerful governor who would become humble, and the humble widow who would be catapulted onto the front page.  The pivot of this great story was that storyteller with the camera.  This story would not have been placed in front of the world had he not been where he was: the right place at the right time.  That footage took the matter out of the hands of the governor, the widow and the videographer.

There must have been a loud gasp when they first brought the howler to the attention of the governor.  It is not difficult to imagine top Edo State administrators such as Professor Julius Ihonvbere and Patrick Obahiagbon wearing uncomfortable smiles and scratching their heads.

Governor Oshiomhole, immediately recognizing the error of his tongue, set about rectifying it.  In addition to his words, he took immediate action to improve the life of the family that had crossed his path so dramatically.

When you think about it, the governor could easily have ignored the entire matter, knowing it would blow over in no time.  Nigeria does not have a history of its powerful showing any concern about what the people think or feel.

His response is a victory for democracy’s journey in Nigeria.  One of the reasons that Nigeria’s governing personnel often ignore the people is that they see no correlation between the citizen and their powerful offices.

In Oshiomhole’s case, that is untrue.  He has shown faith in the voter since he contested the governorship, and has fought the political forces that had held the state to ransom.  In Oshiomhole’s Edo, votes, and voters, count.  As a result, it is not difficult for him to make the connection between the power he enjoys and those whose votes gave it to him.  Those who commit murders, give bribes and stuff ballot boxes to obtain power know they owe their power not to the voter, but to their bloodlessness.

In the crisis of governance in which Nigeria is embroiled, they hold the voter in contempt; they are driven by the nightmare that if they uplift the poor, they are somehow diminished.  They do not understand the concept either of Time, of transient power, of legacy, or of service.

Governor Oshiomhole is to be praised for apologizing for his mistake over Mrs. Ifije, and for making his peace with Time.

But the governor must go one step further.  Helping one widow thrust into the limelight is to be applauded, and I join the applause, but it is not the question, let alone the answer.  A compassionate leader is a blessing, but the challenge that has been posed by this matter is: what do we do about widespread poverty?

Governor Oshiomhole should go one step further and set an example for other states and governments in the country by responding to this challenge in creative ways.

One such response might be small grants to the poorest under a Brazil-style Bolsa Familia system.  Using it, Brazil has lifted about 20 million people out of poverty in recent times.

If the burden of education and health are increasingly lifted from the shoulders of poor families through responsible policies, those small grants will go even further.

The government may also want to consider broadening the education base through the establishment of a network of libraries, including mobile one, thereby extending reading facilities and cultivating the reading culture. Retired teachers can serve as resource persons.

Finally, Governor Oshiomhole may want to find a way to encourage the contributions of Edo State citizens abroad.  I know of several in the United States alone whose offer of expensive free equipment to universities and hospitals were rebuffed in recent times because the officials involved felt they were no personal gains in the arrangements.  Some of the equipment is still rotting away in the state.

How do we help the poor so they are not murdered by poverty?

Source: Newsmax.com

Edo State House Press Release: Governor Oshiomhole Employs Widow, Gives Her N2 Million.


 

Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, Mrs Joy Ifije, Benin widow harshly treated by the gov. and her son Bright Ifije
By Peter Okhiria

Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has offered employment to the widow, Mrs Joy Ifije, whom he upbraided, penultimate week, and whose goods were seized by men of the State War Against Indiscipline for obstructing the Mission road in the state capital.

The Governor who announced the job offer to the woman, in addition to a N2 million grant for her to get a shop and trade, said during a breakfast meeting with her at the Government House, yesterday, that her job would be to join State’s War Against Indiscipline in the campaign against street trading and to keep the state clean.

The Governor who again apologized to the widow said “when you put your things on the road a vehicle can run into you and they have killed some people like that and that was why I said if you are a widow do you want more people to be widowed? But when I said go and die, that one was said in a fit of anger. And I am really sorry”, he said.

“I want you to join us. We would employ you and pay you salary. You would help us to campaign to other women not to trade on road sides. We should not use poverty as a yardstick. We would also talk to taxi and bus drivers not to block roads when carrying passengers”, Oshiomhole said.

“You will assist me to talk to women and traders not to litter the roads and sidewalks so that people walking and driving can have free road. If they want to park they can park properly so as not to disturb others.”

The Governor said government was trying to change Benin City from its old status adding “as you can see Benin is becoming a modern city. So you join us now and every month you begin to get salary so that you can look after your children”.

“For your child who is preparing to enter into the university, my daughters and myself have agreed to support him. If he does well as we pray he does, he would assist the family. Maybe this is the way God wants it. That is why I asked them to look for you so that I can personally offer my apology, but also to support you, so that God helping you, you can overcome the pain of widowhood”, he said.

“As a single mother I want to see how I can help you to train your children and God can use any of them to become a leader of our country. Please resist the temptation to do anything that would break the law. The law is the law; it is no respecter of persons. If Government does not enforce the law there would be confusion”, he remarked.

The Governor who gave the woman a cash gift of N2 million said “in addition to working with the War Against Indiscipline, I am also giving you the sum of two million naira so that you can hire a shop, trade inside the shop and not roadside and I pray that God will bless your decision on how you utilize the money. This money is not for you to share or distribute but to help you as a working capital”.

Responding, the widow, Mrs Joy Ifijeh thanked the Governor for the gesture and promised that she would be part of the fight to keep the City clean.
She apologized to the Governor for blocking the road with her wares, saying she recognized that what she did was wrong but she did not know that the Governor was on inspection that day.

According to her, she had been a victim of theft by a truck pusher who went away with her goods, a week before her encounter with the Governor, that was why she was on the road with her goods that day as she no longer trusted truck pushers not to do away with her goods.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Spread of terrorism: Army uncovers Boko Haram’s terrorists new tactics.


Lt-Gen-Azubuike-Ihejirika-003

The Chief of Army Staff Lt General Azubike Ihejirika, has advised Nigerians not to panic over speculation of the spread of terrorists into other regions of the country, assuring that security moves were in top gear to monitor terrorists movements just as the Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Ibrahim Attahiru also alerted Nigerians that Boko Haram terrorists have come out with new tactics to circumvent security measures put in place towards curtailing their activities in the North East.

The new methods according to General Attahiru include resorting to attacks on soft targets and erecting snap road blocks on major highways in the north east.

He however stressed that the Army has been responding swiftly through effective combat patrols both on air and land.
General Attahiru said: “While the onslaught on the violence extremist organisation continues, the insurgents have devised methods

to circumvent the new security measures by resorting to attacks on soft targets and erecting snap road blocks on major highways in the north east” he said.

“Equally, our troops have responded appropriately through effective combat patrols both on land and air in order to dominate the area of operations,” he stated.

Describing the United States’ designation of Boko Haram and Ansaru as Foreign Terrorist Organisations (FTO) as a step in the right direction, he noted that the Nigerian Army has continued to carry out “full spectrum counter-insurgency operations, with emphasis on both kinetic and non-kinetic operations to shape the operational environment in the north east”.

“Currently, 7 Division of the Nigerian Army in conjunction with the Nigerian Air force had carried out simultaneous offensive operations. Based on these operations, insurgents were successfully cleared from some camps in SambisaForest, BitaVillage in Damboa Local Government as well as Gujba in neighbouring YobeState. Many insurgents were killed and large cache of arms and ammunition were also recovered,” the Army spokesman said.

In the same vein, the General Officer Commanding, GOC, 2 Division Garrison, Major General Ahmed Jubrin expressed the readiness of the Nigerian Army to combat terrorism and other security challenges in the country.

Addressing the soldiers, General Jubrin who was represented by the Commander, 4 Brigade, Benin, Brig.-Gen. Patrick Akem, said at the end of the 2 Brigade “Inter Brigade Combat Proficiency Competition,” which ended in Benin City, yesterday, said that the exercise was geared towards combat readiness, as much as confidence building for men of the Nigerian Army.

According to him, “all these are geared ensuring that the desire of the Chief of Army Staff to build capacity in a manner that will position us to tackle the challenges we are facing currently. We have done this not only to create awareness but to give confidence to the nation that indeed we are training and we are able to tackle the challenges that we are facing.

Chief of Army Staff in Lagos

Speaking in Lagos while commissioning the remodeled headquarters of the Nigerian Army Engineers Complex, at Bonny cantonment , Victoria Island, Ihejirika noted that attempt by some insurgents to

spread from the North eastern region of the country to other regions have met brick-wall following their subsequent arrests, adding that the Nigerian Army would continue to do its best in providing equipment and logistics to enable troops carry out their duties”.

He said, “The spread should not cause panic. We monitor their movement and the exposure on them is beefed up in the North East in particular and in other parts of the North and the tendency is not for them to fret down wards.”

What we are trying to do is to build new cells in the new areas particularly for those of them that are unrepentant.a

We have a common understanding with the SSS ,the police and other sister services to continue to monitor them and they are being arrested”.

Commending the Nigerian Army Corps of Engineers for turning giving its head quarters a structural face lift, Ihejirika noted that the initiative and courage to undertake such project was in line with his vision to transform the Nigerian Army into a force that would meet the demands of the present challenges as well as remain relevant in national development.

According to him, “ this giant strides entailed a lot of sacrifice, integrity and on the part of the commander and his officers and soldiers. It is a proof that the transformation agenda of the president, commander- in chief of Armed Forces, Dr Goodluck Jonathan is being imbibed by some commanders in the Nigeria Army.”

He therefore,urged other commanders to emulate such,even as he encouraged the Commander, officers and soldiers of the Corps to strive more to improve upon the standards attained, noting that any organisation that is not growing is dying. here is still room for improvement particularly in support for the Nigeria Army operations in the North East where we have made progress the Army Headquarters in the face of limited resources and other competing needs.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Gov. Oshiomhole Apologizes For Harsh Public Dismissal Of Helpless Benin City Widow.


Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has apologized for his abominable dismissal of a helpless widow on a Benin street during a “project tour.”

A fast-circulating online video shows the governor, who was leading a large team of officials, telling the crying woman, who was on her knees begging him, to “go and die.”

The incident was videotaped and uploaded to the Internet and widely-circulated to social media activists, including Saharareporters.  By early today, the video had already garnered over 100,000 views and 360 comments on SaharaReporters fanpage alone.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the governor apologized to a delegation of Muslim women of the  Federation of Muslim Women’s Associations in Nigeria (FOMWAN), which visited his office yesterday, and explained that he made his comment in anger and now regrets it.  It is unclear if the governor has apologized to the woman herself.

Several commentators on SaharaReporters were seething with anger in condemning the action of the governor.

Several other groups set up an online campaign to raise money for the poor woman to enable her set up a business in Benin City.  Even the opposing Peoples Democratic Party (Edo State chapter), cashed in on the campaign by donating N250,000 to the widow.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

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