Prayer zone for a better, empowering, inspiring, promoting, prospering, progressing and more successful life through Christ Jesus

Posts tagged ‘Corruption’

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


 

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

Advertisements

Obama to O’Reilly: Fox News Reason for My Problems.


President Barack Obama twice blamed Fox News Channel for misinforming the public on issues that have bedeviled his presidency in the past year during a pre-Super Bowl interview with the network’s Bill O’Reilly.

The two sat down in the White House on Sunday for a live pregame interview that started about 4:35 p.m. and aired for about 10 minutes.

Story continues below video.

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama’s Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll 

O’Reilly first noted that Obama’s detractors believe he did not initially say the Sept. 11, 2012, attack in Benghazi, Libya, that left U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead was terrorism because it happened in the heat of an election.

Obama had just weeks earlier said al-Qaida was on the run after U.S. Navy SEALs assassinated its leader, Osama bin Laden.

“That’s what they believe,” O’Reilly said of Obama’s detractors.

“And they believe it because folks like you are telling them that,” Obama said in the often testy interview.

“No, I’m not telling them that. I’m asking you whether you were told it was a terror attack,” O’Reilly countered.

Obama said it was “inaccurate” to say that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told him the attack was terrorism when he first gave him the news. O’Reilly noted that Gen. Carter Ham, head of operations in Libya, has testified he immediately told Panetta the attack was terrorism, and not the result of a spontaneous demonstration over an anti-Muslim video.

“But it’s more than that because of Susan Rice,” O’Reilly said, noting that Rice, who was then U.N. ambassador, used the video explanation days later on the Sunday talk shows.

“Just as an American, I’m just confused,” he said.

“Bill, I’m trying to explain it to you if you want to listen,” Obama countered.

The president also turned on Fox News when questioned about the IRS scandal, in which conservative groups were scrutinized more heavily when seeking tax-exempt status.

“These kinds of things keep on surfacing, in part, because you and your TV station will promote them,” Obama said.

O’Reilly asked if Obama was saying there was no corruption in the IRS scandal.

“No,” Obama said.

“There was some boneheaded decisions out of a local office,” adding that there was “not even a smidgen of corruption.”

O’Reilly also asked why Obama didn’t fire Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius over the botched rollout of the Obamacare website in October.

Obama argued that while glitches had been anticipated, no one expected a complete failure of the site. He said everything had been fixed, and the site is now running as it should.

O’Reilly noted that only 8 percent of Americans agree with Obama, and again pressed about firing Sebelius.

“I’m sure that the intent is noble,” O’Reilly said, “But I’m a taxpayer, and I’m paying Kathleen Sebelius’ salary, and she screwed up. And you’re not holding her accountable.”

“Well, I promise you that we hold everybody up and down the line accountable,” Obama said. “But when we’re midstream, Bill, we want to make sure that our main focus is, how do we make this think work so that people are able to sign up, and that’s what we’ve done.”

O’Reilly asked if Obama considered the biggest mistake of his presidency telling “the nation over and over, if you like your insurance you can keep your insurance?”

“Oh, Bill, you’ve got a long list of my mistakes in my presidency,” Obama said.

But he did admit he regretted that the “grandfather clause” written into the Affordable Care Act didn’t cover everyone.

“That’s why we changed it,” he said.

“You gave your enemies a lot of fodder for it,” O’Reilly said.

The interview was scheduled to continue after the live broadcast. The recorded interview is set to air Monday night on “The O’Reilly Factor.”

“I know you think maybe we haven’t been fair,” O’Reilly noted near the end of the live interview, “but I think your heart is in the right place.”

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama’s Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll 

Related Stories:

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Greg Richter

Press Bulletin: Wonder Bank Operator Bags 14Yr Jail Term Over N9.8B Fraud.


A Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday sentenced a Wonder Bank operator, Godwin Nwaichie to 14 years imprisonment for defrauding several unsuspecting people at the Alaba International Market in Lagos to the tune of N9.8Billion.
The convict (Nwaichie) was charged before Justice Ibrahim Buba by the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) of the Nigerian Police alongside another accused, Fortune Etaba and their company, Establishment House Ltd, for fraudulently obtaining the said sum from several individuals. The judge sentenced Nwaichie, after he pleaded guilty to an amended three-count charge bordering on the offence.

“The convict, a 23-year-old man at the time of arrest, who ought to be vibrant and hardworking, decided to utilise his intelligence for fraud. “For such offence, the law provides a maximum of 20 years imprisonment and minimum of seven years.

“The convict is hereby sentenced to 14 years imprisonment beginning from January 9, 2010 when he was first arrested” Buba ruled.

The accused were first re-arraigned on January 21 on the amended charge.  Nwaichie had pleaded guilty to the charge, while the second accused (Etaba) pleaded not guilty.

Justice Buba had, however, refused to convict Nwaichie, after a review of the facts of the case, due to a conflict in his plea.

The accused had pleaded guilty to charge, but maintained that the amount of money he fraudulently obtained, was less than the sum reflected in the charge.

He said that the amount he obtained was N14,743,000.

The judge had therefore refused to convict him based on his plea.

At the resumed hearing of the case on Wednesday, the prosecutor Mr. Effiong Asuquo informed the court of an amended charge, having regularized it.  He therefore, prayed the court to re-arraign the accused. After re-arraignment, Nwaichie still maintained his guilty plea, and was thereafter sentenced by the judge.  Meanwhile, the judge admitted the other accused (Etaba) to bail in the sum of N500 million with two sureties in like sum. Buba also ordered the accused to submit his traveling documents to the courts, with an undertaking not to travel outside Lagos during the pendency of the case.

He adjourned the case to Feb. 21 for trial of Etaba. The accused were said to have committed the offence between June 2009 and December 2009. The prosecutor had told the court that the accused obtained various sums of money totaling N9.8 billion, from a number of people, especially businessmen at the Alaba International Market, Ojo, Lagos.

He said the accused misrepresented to the individuals that they will get back 50 per cent of their deposits after 21 days.

According to the prosecutor, the accused could not repay either the deposited sum, or the “multiplied sum” as represented.

He said the offence contravened the provisions of sections 1 (1) (a), 8, and 2 of the Advanced Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2004.

DSP NGOZI ISINTUME-AGU
Police Public Relations Officer
For: Commissioner of Police
Special Fraud Unit
Ikoyi – Lagos.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

president Jonathan, Igbos, And The Second Niger Bridge By Frank Onia.


Niger-Bridge

The standard criteria for decisions on infrastructural deployment include need, available resources, competing demands for finite resources, alignment with related infrastructure, incubatory foundation for progressive deployment, social benefits, political patronage, economic benefits, minimization of stress and hardship for the citizens, potentials for stimulating overall economic development, balancing considerations, replacement of obsolete infrastructure, need to embrace emerging and efficient technology, etc, etc. When viewed from an objective prism and against the backdrop of the itemized criteria above, it is long overdue to replace the Niger Bridge at Onitsha, which has verifiably and universally been identified as a deathtrap.

This bridge was constructed in 1963, and is the ONLY link between the South-East of Nigeria and the rest of the country (towards the West). This bridge serves as the ONLY access point to Anambra, Imo, Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Benue, and Plateau States, when you approach from Lagos, and, indeed, all the states that formerly constituted the Western and mid-Western Regions, as well as from Abuja and segments of the North.

It is trite to mention that this bridge handles the highest concentration of vehicular traffic in the country, and has served this purpose progressively and exhaustively for fifty years! The exponential growth in population and number of vehicles in the country in the past five decades have added to the pressure on the bridge, with the result that it is nearly collapsing, with the attendant risks for human lives, economic activities, mass psychology, and national development. Citizens from the Eastern parts of the country are the most itinerant in the country, with the evident implication that tens of millions of individuals make frequent trips to their homeland, relying on a safe passage through this same bridge. This assumption of basic safety has been denied them perennially for several years, and is currently being toyed with even further. The significance of this bridge is emphasized during the festive period at the end of each year, when millions of people are trapped and delayed at the bridge for several hours in what should, otherwise, be pleasurable commutes back home. As a country, we have witnessed this for several decades and have failed to do anything about it. When any attention has been paid to the need to replace and expand this bridge, it has been suffused with empty promises, vacuous platitudes, cheap politics, and exploration of the underlying potentials for corruption. The Obasanjo civilian administration played games with the need to replace this bridge for eight years, ensuring that new promises were recycled as elections approached. And, yet, nothing was done.

While the South East, as a Region, contributes very significantly to the development of Nigeria, especially outside Igboland, there is NO single Federal Government institution or semblance of infrastructure in the entire Region. Even though Igbos and their brothers from the South-South are among the most widely-traveled people in the world, there is NO worthy international airport in the larger Region, thereby forcing residents of the Region/s to travel to Lagos or Abuja, before they can travel overseas. Professor Chinua Achebe was involved in a ghastly motor accident near Awka, Anambra State, because he had to travel overseas from Lagos, even though he then resided at Nsukka in Enugu State. This accident cost him his limbs, paralyzed him for life, and hastened his relocation to the United States, where he died many years later.

There are thousands of others who have lost their lives in a similar manner; the additional cost and inconvenience involved in these unnecessary local travels are best imagined, as such travelers must stay in hotels, eat, utilize local transportation, and incur sundry expenses in (mostly) Lagos and Abuja, purely on account of a deliberate State policy to punish Igbo people for whatever reason, While Igbos easily dominate the trading and commercial sectors of Nigeria and West Africa, there is no discernible effort to dredge the River Niger at Onitsha, to enable port activities. The only federal “investment” on River Niger has been the deliberate channeling of the water to the Northern parts of the country, for irrigation activities, while the Onitsha end of the River has been drying up in the past 20 years, thereby impeding fishing, subsistence farming, and overall economic growth. While Abuja, the North, and other Regions of the country, continue to attract comparatively-significant infrastructural investments and upgrades (for example, the hundreds of billions of Naira being spent to expand the access road from the Abuja airport into the City, as well as the scandalous budget of over N55 billion for the erection of a mere City Gate in Abuja), it is clear that holding the South East down is a Directive Principle of State Policy in Nigeria. No other conclusion is possible from the continued neglect of the Niger Bridge, and the criminal disrespect with which the belated redemptive measures are being packaged. It is noteworthy that the Federal Government funds projects in Abuja and elsewhere directly and does not charge tolls on those roads.

In a society like ours, ethnic agitation for legitimate attention is entirely understandable, hence the tone and tenor of this submission. When our statecraft develops to the stage of objectivity, justice, and fairness, then, possibly our micro-national identities may become muted. The Jonathan Administration has failed both the South-South and South-East by its singular failure to provide basic infrastructure in the two pivotal Regions. The fact that the so-called East-West Road remains uncompleted after all these years, while humongous budgetary allocations have officially been designated to its conclusion, should remain a source of embarrassment for Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, well after his stay in office. Pray, how did a treasonous impostor like Mr. Ibrahim Babangida manage to utilize both federal funds (from oil sales!) and oil futures to build a new federal capital city in Abuja, when the man who literally owns the oil cannot construct the road leading to his hometown, even with a democratic mandate? Shame has only one definition.

As it pertains to the need to construct the second Niger Bridge, a categorical imperative, the same Jonathan Administration is being clever by half, by concessioning the bridge to that veritable purveyor impunity and corruption in Nigeria, Julius Berger Construction. This initiator and exemplar of corruption in Nigeria has since announced that the 1.8 kilometer bridge will cost them N100 billion to construct, as a justification for the sweetheart deal extended to them by Jonathan and his Administration, whereby Julius Berger will install three toll gates on that bridge in perpetuity, ostensibly to recover their “investment”. Knowing Julius Berger and Nigeria, this project will eventually cost N200 billion on paper, when completed. Julius Berger did not bring any foreign investment whatsoever when it left its decrepit office in Wiesbaden, Germany, to emerge on Nigeria’s shores 40 years ago, on the private invitation of the late Major General Shehu Musa Yar Adua, number two man in the erstwhile dictatorship of the perennial fumbler and dissembler, Mr. Olusegun Obasanjo, which lapsed in 1979.

Let it be made clear that a bridge is a road with its foundation in water. Nigerians need to be aware that the same Julius Berger has just paid penalties to the United States Government totaling tens of millions of dollars for specific cases of corruption it perpetrated in Nigeria. The United States Government, which was not victimized, benefited by way of this penalty payment by Julius Berger, while this construction company that has been at the forefront of corrupting public officials in Nigeria for the past 40 years, neither paid any penalty or compensation to the real victim, Nigeria, nor is it being blacklisted or censured in any way.

Rather, successive Nigerian Governments continue to reward Julius Berger with heavily-inflated contracts, responsibility for maintaining strategic locations like the Aso Rock Presidential Complex and the National Assembly. The same company is constructing the new residences for the Vice-President, Senate President, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, projects that have already gulped close to N60 billion on paper even before completion. To deepen the culture of impunity and complete the psychological humiliation of the illustrious Igbos of Nigeria, the Jonathan Administration, which owes the South-East a second Niger Bridge as well as tangible federal presence, has mortgaged the entire East to Julius Berger by criminally acquiescing in the perpetual exploitation of the teeming people under a most suspicious and fraudulent Concession Arrangement. Where else in the country is a whole Region held prostate and captive in this manner? Where else is the ONLY bridge leading into a Region casually assigned to a criminal enterprise for the exploitation of citizens who have no alternatives?

In this, it must be stated that Jonathan and his Administration are playing a script already tested and fine-tuned by Mr. Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Governor Fashola of Lagos State, wherein residents of the Lekki axis have effectively been hemmed in and subjected to unnecessary and usurious toll charges each time they either access or exit their homes, despite the very significant contribution these residents make to the much-vaunted Internally-Generated Revenue of Lagos State. It is significant that the same Julius Berger is the partner to Messrs Tinubu and Fashola on the bridge toll exploitation project linking Ikoyi and Lekki Phase One. Yet another toll gate ensures that you also cannot get to Lekki from Victoria Island without feeding Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his crony, Fashola’s, insatiable greed and appetite.

It is very clear from this single example that both the PDP and the APC (seeking leprous and blind navigators) are the same in philosophy, orientation, and content; both are fraudulent and self-serving devices.

If our dealers must feel entitled to collecting both public revenue and IGR, and yet charge the citizens for token infrastructure provided in their areas of jurisdiction, all in an environment of opaqueness, arrogance, impunity, and absence of citizen input, it might well be better to sack all governments and share the revenue of the country among the citizens, who are perpetually burdened with the direct provision of basic services, for which Governments exist in the first place. In all of this, these dealers feel perfectly justified in magisterially cornering significant chunks of State resources under various guises, notably the poorly-christened Security Votes.

Regarding the second Niger Bridge, there is NO WAY that a 1.8 km bridge of the best quality, together with immediate access roads, will cost up to N10 billion, yet, we are told that the initial assessment for the bridge is N100 billion. Why must Julius Berger be the only company handling all these projects? What process leads to these awards and appointments? Why are competent and established construction companies all over the world being frustrated from accessing the Nigerian market by Government Officials protecting this small German company, with a small office in their home country? Are they not aware that the unrivaled access given Julius Berger’s engineers and staff is a grave national security risk? What is the role of the National Security Adviser and the DG-SSS, in guiding the government appropriately? Are people now so incompetent or corrupt that they neither know nor care that sophisticated Intelligence Collection devices are installed in all these sensitive locations, with the downloading and processing taking place at the Julius Berger Operational Headquarters at Life Camp, Abuja, under the able supervision of German Intelligence Officials – all of this intrusive and aggressive collection against Nigeria paid for Nigeria. What a country!

Given the identified urgency of the need to construct the second Niger Bridge, you would think that, in the absence of common sense in high places, senior government officials of Igbo origin would be easy and strident advocates of the Federal Government swiftly constructing the bridge as its duty to the people, with an apology to the citizens for the delayed implementation. Some of the referenced officials are the Coordinating, Supervising, and Overseeing Secretary to the Federal Government, His Massive Excellency Mr. Anyim Pius Anyim; the so-called Coordinating Minister of the Economy (in hubris-free English, the Minister of Finance), Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Viola Onwuliri; the Deputy Senate President, Mr. Ike Ekweremadu; the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Emeka Ihedioha; the Chairmen of the Works Committees in both the Senate and the House of Representatives; the crisis-ridden and inflated Supervising and Coordinating Minister of Aviation and its Parastatals, Ms Stella Oduah; the immediate past Army Chief, Lt. General Azubuike Ihejirika; the recently-relieved Chief of Naval Staff; Vice-Admiral Dele Ezeoba; the Director-General of the so-called Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), Mr. Emeka Eze – whose village roads have all been tarred by contractors executing Federal Government contracts; 15 undistinguished Senators from the South East; several dishonorable Members of the House of Representatives; the five state governors of the South-East; ex-this and ex-that, etc, etc.

Even if the objective case fails to penetrate thick skulls, surely the selfish and symbolic motive of garnering solid Igbo votes should impel the urgent construction of that overdue bridge. I say this because expectations have been grossly lowered in Nigeria, to the extent that a 1.8 km bridge could guarantee you bloc Regional votes. Mr. Jonathan could even extend the tokenism by naming the new bridge after Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, in a symbolic gesture of connecting the erstwhile Biafran heartland with the rest of the country. The identified officials are rather satisfied with having Julius Berger construct private homes for them in Abuja and their remote villages, in a well-oiled program of corruption, collusion, and compromise. The definition of shame has still not changed.

If all of this fails, what stops the Governors of the South-East from reducing their greed quotient by utilizing their so-called Security Votes (since kidnappers have taken over the Region anyway!) to construct this vital bridge for their people, and then heap the necessary propaganda guilt on the Federal Government that has been permanently negligent and wicked towards Igbos? The failure to do the right thing, and at the right time, is the bane of the Nigerian society. The complacency of the Nigerian society is yet a latent contributing factor to the charade that is called governance in Nigeria.

Let it be clear, though, that Julius Berger, or any other company so-called, should not be allowed to exploit the people under whatever Concession Arrangement involving a critical piece of infrastructure like the second Niger Bridge. Their so-called investment should and will come to nothing. A bridge built on a fraudulent foundation MUST fall. Citizens must begin to demand their due dessert from pretenders to the throne. A life of surrender, conditioned by endless prayers and exploitation by clerical purveyors of hope, will not suffice in this case.

Mr. Jonathan, his handlers, and cronies from the South-East and South-South still have very limited time to reverse themselves, as well as their deeply-offensive and odious ineptitude and policies, by directly and quickly completing the East-West Road and the second Niger Bridge, without further ado and delay. They could, as always, collect multiples of the real contract value as bribe; someday, the United States Government will extract penalties from the complicit Construction Company. In other countries where non-strategic infrastructure have been concessioned out, the Government acts as the protector of the citizens, setting standards, aggregating public interest, achieving optimal costs, minimizing waste, setting the tariff, and defining the time-frame for toll collection. In Nigeria’s case, both the Government and the so-called Concessionaires are a united usurious entity, exposing the citizens unduly to endemic exploitation. In any case, competing and several alternatives are provided before roads are tolled. Not in Nigeria. Our dealers will do well to study the Latin American model, to understand how this program works.

I have discussed with a wide range of Igbo professionals in Nigeria and overseas, and they are in unison regarding the egregious insult involved in the structure being proposed by Mr. Jonathan, his Minister of Works, and their Administration. They affirm that, rather than accept the so-called concessioning of the Niger Bridge, Igbos should be allowed to float a Municipal Bond or contribute among themselves, to construct the bridge. The implication of this would be a final severance of whatever psychological link Igbos have with Nigeria. It is common knowledge that Igbo people have typically taxed themselves to provide electricity, water, roads, schools, etc., in their communities, through a well-honed self-effort system. They can also construct this short bridge that will save their lives, without the involvement of their politicians and their mentors in Abuja. In the case of the second Niger Bridge, let it be made very clear that the Igbos will not forget or forgive the perpetuation of marginalization, exploitation, and insult under any arrangement that involves the erection of toll gates on that bridge. Indeed, that bridge shall not stand, under the Jonathan paradigm, and Mr. Jonathan will do well not to delude himself that he is guaranteed of Igbo votes in 2015.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Chris Christie on Defense as NJ Hosts Super Bowl.


Gov. Chris Christie was born and raised in New Jersey, but his football allegiance is to the Dallas Cowboys. He played catcher on his high school baseball team and has been a lifelong Mets fan, though his friends and foes alike probably would agree he governs like a linebacker.

In case you missed the highlights of his exploits on the political playing field, here’s how the tough-talking governor, caught up in the first scandal of his administration, got to where he is today as New Jersey finds itself in the spotlight as host of Sunday’s Super Bowl.

___

FIGHTING CORRUPTION

Christie’s first attempt at elected office didn’t go well. He was a one-term county office-holder before being voted out of office. But he found a different and more noticeable way to burst onto the state political scene: He became a prolific fundraiser for George W. Bush in 2000.

Once elected president, Bush rewarded Christie by making him his surprise pick to be U.S. attorney for New Jersey, the state’s top federal law enforcement official, starting in 2002.

The former corporate lawyer quickly made a name for himself as a corruption-buster, winning convictions of more than 130 public officials over seven years. He reveled in talking about putting away politicians on the take, even for seemingly minor offenses.

“The longer we vote them in,” he said in a 2008 speech, “the more bulletproof they feel, and the more entitled they feel to become corrupt.”

____

OVERCOMING THE ODDS

There was speculation Christie would run for governor in 2005, but he decided to keep his job as U.S. attorney. By the time the 2009 gubernatorial election rolled around, however, the state’s Republican powerbrokers were lined up behind him.

Still, Christie was the underdog to Gov. Jon Corzine, a Democrat who spent tens of millions of his own money on his campaigns in a state where Democrats enjoy home-field advantage.

Christie hammered away at discontent with Corzine, who had raised taxes.

He was the first Republican elected statewide in New Jersey in 12 years and came into office pledging “to pick Trenton up and turn it upside down.”

____

TALKING TOUGH

Once in office, Christie introduced himself to the state anew by holding frequent town hall-style meetings where he showed himself adept at calling audibles and going off-script.

At one forum, a teacher complained that Christie was not being fair to public schools. As he denied that, he noticed the educator rolling her eyes. Then he went off: “I stood here and very respectfully listened to you,” he told her. “If you want to put on a show and giggle every time I talk, I have no interest in answering your question.”

The mostly Republican crowd cheered.

As he built a reputation for bluntness, he also showed he could get difficult things done, forging agreement with the Democrat-controlled Legislature on bills to make public workers play more for pension and health care benefits and eliminate lifetime tenure protections for teachers.

____

AIMING HIGHER

The Grand Old Party, and the country, took notice.

“Big Boy,” as Bush called him, created such buzz that some deep-pocketed donors were urging him to run for president in 2012.

The closest Christie would come— after repeatedly stating his disinterest in seeking his party’s nomination — was making Mitt Romney’s short list for VP. Christie would give the keynote address at his party’s nominating convention, a speech that was televised in prime time, adding to his national exposure.

Though he said he wasn’t ready to be president, Christie told Oprah Winfrey in 2012: “I’ll be much more ready four years from now.”

Adding to speculation that he would indeed jump into the 2016 presidential campaign, Christie had gastric banding surgery a year ago to help him lose weight, addressing what some believed to be his biggest liability in seeking national office.

____

BUILDING A BRAND

Willing Democrats in the Legislature helped Christie demonstrate his skill at bipartisanship, providing a stark contrast to the perennial gridlock in Washington.

Superstorm Sandy, the state’s worst-ever natural disaster, helped cement his reputation as a leader. His job approval rating soared as he tirelessly traveled the state to comfort victims and rally devastated communities afraid they would never be the same.

It was hardly noticed that he was unable to usher in a tax cut during his first term, or that he lost a court battle over gay marriage, which became legal in his state last year.

With his popularity in the stratosphere, no big-name Democrat was willing to challenge him during his run for a second term. He swamped a relatively little-known state senator, Democrat Barbara Buono, by 22 points, securing endorsements from more than 50 elected Democrats and winning about half the Hispanic vote.

_____

HITTING THE BRAKES

Documents released Jan. 8 revealed that aides to the governor were involved in blocking local-access lanes to the busy George Washington Bridge, apparently to cause delays to punish a Democratic mayor in a community at the foot of the span leading to New York City.

The governor issued a public apology while denying any personal knowledge or involvement in the political vendetta. Four of his top aides or associates resigned or were fired.

Now a state legislative committee and federal prosecutors are investigating.

The scandal threatens to undermine Christie’s second term and upend any ambitions to run for president.

 

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

How NCC Commissioner Gwandu Won Dismissal Case Against President Jonathan-Leadership Newspaper.


 

Bashir Gwandu
By Leadership Editors

The National Industrial Court, NIC, in Abuja has at last delivered its ruling in the suit filed by the former executive commissioner of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr Bashir Gwandu, against President Goodluck Jonathan and others challenging the legality of his removal from office.

Gwandu was asking:
1.       Whether by virtue of the provisions of S. 10 (2), (3) and (4) of the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003, his purported removal as an executive commissioner of the Nigerian Communications Commission by the 1st defendant (President) via a letter dated November 26, 2012 is not illegal, unconstitutional, ultra vires, null, and void and of no effect whatsoever.

2.       Whether having regard to the provisions of S. 10 (2), (3) and (4) of the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003, his fundamental right to fair hearing was not breached having not been served with the statutory notice of the intention of the 1st defendant to remove him from office and the reasons thereof and afforded the statutory opportunity to make written submissions thereto prior his removal from office.

3.       Whether having regard to the provisions of Sections 8 and 10 of the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003, the appointment of the claimant by the 1st defendant does not have legal status as to invest the Court with the power to order the reinstatement of the claimant and payment of his salaries and allowances since November, 2012.

4.       Whether if questions 1, 2, & 3 above are answered in the affirmative, the claimant is not entitled to exemplary and aggravated damages.

Gwandu is also seeking the following prayers

1.       A declaration that the purported removal of the claimant as an Executive Commissioner of the Nigerian Communications Commission by the 1st defendant via a letter dated November 26, 2012 is illegal, unconstitutional, ultra vires, null and void and of no effect whatsoever as it violates the provisions of Section 10 (2), (3) and (4) of the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003.

2.       A declaration that the failure or refusal of the 1st defendant to serve the claimant with the statutory notice of intention to remove him from office and the reasons thereof and afford him the opportunity to make written submissions thereto prior to his removal from office is illegal, null and void as it violates the claimant’s right of hearing guaranteed by Section 10 (2), (3) and (4) of the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003.

3.       A mandatory order of this honourable court directing the 1st defendant herein to reinstate the claimant as an Executive Commissioner of the Nigerian Communications Commission and pay him his accrued salaries, benefits and allowances since November 26, 2012 till judgment is delivered in this suit.

4.     An order of this Honourable Court directing the 1st defendant to pay the sum of N500, 000, 000.00k (Five Hundred Million naira only) to the claimant as exemplary and aggravated damages as a result of his unlawful removal as Executive Director of the National Communications Commission, and by extension, as Chair of the International Telecommunications Union Radio Communications Advisory Group as well as Vice-Chair of the ITU Joint Task Force Group 4567.
The Court dismisses preliminary objection of the President for lack of merit and also granted reliefs 1, 2, and a part of relief no. 3 and 4; The court declares Gwandu’s removal  from office as executive commissioner as illegal, unconstitutional, ultra vires, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.

The court also ordered that Gwandu’s accrued salaries, benefits, allowances and entitlements up to 21st January 2014 be paid.

The court, however, declined to order re-instatement citing ‘acrimony’ within the NCC as the reason. The Court has granted N100m of the N500m claim as General damages apparently to compensate for the loss of the two major international ITU appointments which are lost, to serve as a exemplary, and for damage to reputation in the manner removed.

Gwandu’s counsel, however, seemed perplexed that the court failed to reinstate him, saying that it was not the role of the court to look at acrimony even if it existed.

Since the court has declared the action as illegal, then the court is duty-bound to order re-instatement. He said his client (Gwandu) could lose almost 2 years pay, allowances, and other entitlements if his tenure and contract is cut short before Jan 2016. He said he will consult with his client to decide whether or not to appeal against the part of the ruling.

Engr. Gwandu in his reaction said “First, we thank God for this day, and I thank my Lawyers, Mr Femi Falana SAN and Mr Deji Morakinyo for a job well done. I also thank the Industrial Court and our judge for the courage to declare the action of my removal illegal, null, and void and of no effect whatsoever.”

He further said that “I see this case as part of my contribution towards strengthening of the rule of law and a decision meant to send message to investors that Nigeria has come of age and is a place where the law is applicable to everyone, including the President. The Nigerian telecom law is there and it contains adequate provisions to protect stakeholders and investment, all that investors need to do is to learn to stand and pursue their rights in defence of their investments.

” As for the young ones, never be discouraged, troubled, or get intimidated by powerful forces. There is an honour in public service, just do your part, and God is there to provide protection. Have faith in God and you will never be disappointed.”

It would be recalled that Jonathan removed Gwandu hurriedly after he exposed a series of fraudulent, secret, and non-competitive Sales of Frequency Spectrum, and Spectrum fee Waivers that could cost government over N53billion at a meeting chaired by the Vice-President on 6th August 2012 which naturally will lead to acrimony.

In particular Gwandu was removed from office as a Executive Commissioner of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on November 26, 2012, for three major frauds he exposed; first, selling of 450MHz Spectrum to an unlicensed company- OpenSkys ltd reportedly owned by Mr. Emeka Offor. OpenSkys paid only US $6 million for a license that should have fetched the nation over $50 million.

The arrangement has further incapacitated the new $470m police network, which has started falling apart. The police appear to be helpless. Secondly, the N1.029bn waiver applied for by the Communications Minister Mrs. Omobola Johnson supposedly for three companies, and then granted only to MTS- a company that the NCC Chief Executive Officer, Dr Eugene Juwah in two separate Interviews granted on 16th June 2007 and 12th October 2012 admitted share ownership, at the expenses of the federal treasury and other telcos operating under similar conditions in the industry, noting that a similar type of waiver amounting to N242million granted by NCC to Mobitel was eventually agreed to be shared between sellers and new buyers, and then, the third issue he stood against, was the selling of a 10MHz slot in the 800MHz spectrum-band to a South African company called Smile Communications Limited at about euros €13 million only when exact equivalent spectrums were sold in Germany, Italy, France and UK for €1.153billion, €992million, €891million and €631million respectively, the UK earning slightly lower amount due to imposed strict coverage obligations. In a related development, a few days ago, Belgium, a country of just 11 Million people, raised €120m for each of the 3 slots of the 800MHz Spectrum generating a revenue of €360m, and in a rather complicated mixture of 4G Spectrum slots Netherlands was, only recently, able to raise Euros €3.8billion from the 4G auction.

Dr Bashir Gwandu stood against the NCCs secret non-competitive sale of the 800MHz and the 450MHz Spectrums because the sale breaches clear provisions of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003, Nigerian Procurement Act 2007, and the NCC Spectrum Pricing Regulation. In particular, the sale has breached Nigerian Communications Act 2003 Sections 1(e), 4(1)(d), 4(2), 33(3) as well as Public Procurement Act 2007 Sections 55(3), 56(3), 57(5,6) and also Spectrum Pricing regulations s. 2(a) and s. 2(c) and s. 4 of the Regulation.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Former Va. Gov. Bob McDonnell, Wife Indicted.


Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife have been indicted on federal corruption charges

Peter Carr, a spokesman for the U.S. Justice Department, says McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, were indicted Tuesday. The 14-count indictment includes conspiracy, wire fraud, and other charges.

McDonnell left office earlier this month after four years in the governor’s office. Virginia law limits governors to a single term.

A federal investigation overshadowed the final months in office for this once-rising star of the Republican Party, with authorities looking into gifts he and his family received from a political donor.

In July, McDonnell apologized and said he had returned more than $120,000 in loans and other gifts from Johnnie Williams, the CEO of pharmaceutical company Star Scientific.

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

Tag Cloud