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Posts tagged ‘Mbu Joseph’

Amaechi, New Rivers CP Ogunsakin Say No To Partisanship.


 

CP Ogunsakin
By SaharaReporters, New York

Newly appointed Rivers State Commissioner, Mr. Tunde Ogunsakin has promised to prosecute the state’s security affairs without bias to either the All Progressives Congress (APC), which Governor Rotimi Amaechi is a member of, or the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of President Goodluck Jonathan.

Speaking in Port Harcourt during an official visit to the governor, Ogunsakin assured that he would police the state without bias, as both the president and the governor have their respective roles in ridding the state of crimes.

“The President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces is the Chief Security Officer of the Federation while the Inspector General of Police is the Chief Law Enforcement Officer of the Federation”, he said.

“Also, in a state, the Executive Governor is the Chief Security Officer and the Commissioner of Police is the Chief Law Enforcement Officer of the State. This relationship is definitely best appreciated when it is harnessed to ensure peace and tranquillity in the state”.

Ogunsakin revealed his intention to collaborate with various communities, non-governmental organisations, and all other stakeholders. The result of this, he enthused, would be an objective, liberal, firm and non-partisan policing of the state.

“I will deploy my expertise to manage the affairs of the Rivers State Police Command in the best possible professional manner”, he assured. “I will strategically marshal a formidable operational plan that will speedily arrest the trend of all forms of criminality, particularly violent crimes in the state”.

Amaechi himself stated the readiness of the state government to cooperate with the Police in restoring law and order. But he noted that this would be impossible were the Police to support either of the two parties battling for the reins of the state in 2015.

“We are willing to cooperate with the Police to restore law and order. The only thing we need is for the Police to have the courage to restore law and order”, he said.

“The Police must do whatever it takes to restore law and order. Don’t support PDP, and don’t also support APC; just support Rivers people. Please don’t obey any illegal order from the Rivers State Government. What we want is a neutral police commissioner who is firm and [who] understands that the state needs to accommodate everybody — not one that loves to be in any of the political parties”.

Amaechi endured a rancorous relationship with former Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mbu Joseph Mubu, who was believed to be working for President Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP, notoriously banning all forms of political rallies in the state and proscribing activities of such pro-Amaechi groups as the Grassroots Development Initiative, Save Rivers Movement, and the Rivers Leadership Advancement Foundation, among many other blatant use of Police apparatus to negate pro-Amaechi individuals and associations.

Police arrest 320 Boko Haram suspects in Rivers.


 

Police-militant

Harcourt, Rivers State, on Sunday, as the state police command confirmed the arrest of 320 Boko Haram suspects.
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Though details were still sketchy as of the time of filing this report, Nigerian Tribune gathered that the suspects were arrested from a convoy of 17 commuter buses, all coming from Jigawa State.

However, sources at the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) confirmed that the arrest was made after a tip-off.

According to the sources, the suspects, arrested in the convoy led by one Bala Marto Danbam, were all travelling in buses belonging to a transportation company owned by a former Inspector General of Police.

 

“The arrest started from about 1.00 a.m till about 7.00 a.m at different points; some were arrested as they were entering the state boundary, while others were arrested from places like Mile One and other parts of Port Harcourt.

“Three hundred and twenty of them, men and women, were arrested and the manner of the travelling was deemed suspicious; so many people in those buses and at that time of the day was suspicious,” the source said.

When reached for comments, the state Police Commissioner, Joseph Mbu, confirmed the development, adding that the state command would not comment on the matter yet for security reason.

“It’s a top security issue. I don’t know how you got the information and I won’t ask you, but there cannot be any comment now from the Rivers police command until we finish the investigation. I will make no comment,” Mbu said.

It could not be confirmed if arms or other incriminating objects had been discovered with the suspects, but they, alongside the buses that conveyed them, were inside the premises of the police department.

Nigerian Tribune observed that security had been tightened around the SCID on Sunday evening, as movements into and around the area were under close watch.

Journalists who tried to access the premises were strictly barred by policemen on guard.

It was also observed that the areas close to the SCID premises were thronged by people believed to be friends and kinsmen of the arrested suspects.

Meanwhile, the Northern States’ Governors Forum has charged security agencies to end the killing of defenseless citizens, especially in the North-East region, where suspected Boko Haram members have continued their bloody campaign since 2009.

Chairman of the forum and Niger State governor, Dr Babangida Aliyu, in Minna, on Sunday, noted that members of the forum were concerned at the renewed attacks, which had killed 18 persons around Maiduguri.

“The forum is particularly alarmed that the shooting to death of 18 persons in Njaba, Mude, Kwaljiri and Kaya villages in Borno followed the same pattern, as previous midnight attacks on towns and villages in the region,” he told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

According to a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Danladi Ndayebo, Aliyu described the fresh attacks as “horrendous, callous and inhuman.”

He also called on security agencies to halt the incessant clashes between Fulani herdsmen and farmers in the region.

Written by Bolaji Ogundele -Port Harcourt

Source: Radio Biafra.

Rivers State Crisis: APC To Block Legislative Proposals, Including 2014 Budget, In National Assembly.


By SaharaReporters, New York

In response to the situation in Rivers State and other constitutional breaches by the Presidency, the All Progressives Congress (APC) today directed its members in the National Assembly to block all legislative proposals, including the 2014 Budget and confirmation of all nominees to military and civilian positions to public office, until the rule of law and constitutionalism is restored.
The party also decided that if acts of impunity and lawlessness continue in the State and the Police persist in being an enforcement arm of the PDP to the detriment of its members, it would ask its teeming members all over the country and especially in Rivers to take whatever steps are necessary to protect their lives and property.

The unprecedented decisions arose at the 8th regular meeting of the APC Interim National Executive Committee.

According to a statement by the party’s Interim National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the event was attended by top party leaders, including General Muhammadu Buhari Rtd, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, as well as the Governors of Rivers, Lagos, Edo, Nasarawa, Kwara, Borno, Adamawa, Yobe, Sokoto, Ekiti and Ogun States.  Also present were the Deputy Governors of Oyo, Imo, Kano and Zamfara States, members of the Interim NEC, as well as the leadership of the party in the National Assembly.  The meeting was chaired by the Interim National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande.

Mohammed said the NEC commended the courage, maturity and political sagacity of Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State in the face of serial unprovoked and unwarranted assaults on his person, his constitutional rights and those of the Government and People of Rivers State.

“The conduct of Governor Amaechi represents our Party’s maturity and compliance with the rule of law in response to escalating impunity,” he said.  “The APC is very proud of him.”

It noted that any cursory observer of events in the state since February 2013 would be left in no doubt as to the culture of lawlessness and impunity being promoted and supported by the Presidency, and executed by the State Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mbu, who has become the de facto military Governor of Rivers State and sole administrator of the PDP in the State.

He cited instances of the brazen lawlessness and violations of the Constitution in the state to include the forceful dispersal of 13,201 newly recruited teachers in the Port Harcourt Stadium using tear gas; blockading the entrance to the Government House in Port Harcourt and forcing the State Governor to use another entrance; preventing an aircraft chartered by the State Governor from taking off, alleging that the Governor was trying to smuggle out a legislator wanted by the Police, for which no apology was offered to the Governor; the disruption of a peaceful rally during which Senator Magnus Abe was shot with intent to kill; the several disruptions of Save Rivers Group rallies, and the unlawful detention of anybody perceived to be a sympathizer of Governor Rotimi Amaechi, while allowing pro-Jonathan and Anti-Amaechi groups to organize rallies unmolested.

APC’s new decisions could start to have an immediate impact in the country in view of the recent change in the dynamics of the legislature, where power now tilts in its favour.  In the House of Representatives, the numbers are now on the side of the APC following the defection of many members from the PeoplesDemocratic Party, while several members are also set to defect in the Senate.

Three days ago, nearly half of the Senate membership wrote a letter to their leadership warning against underground efforts to declare vacant the seats of those members who choose to join other political parties.

In the past, members who defected to the PDP were warmly welcomed and treated as heroes, but they did not have their seats declared vacant as the PDP is now considering doing.  The matter is in court.

Recuperating Senator Abe Writes The Senate, Condemns Attack On Supporters, Saying He Survived A Serious Attack By The Police.


 

Senator Magnus Abe
By SaharaReporters, New York

Senator Magnus Abe, who was shot with a rubber bullet by the Police at a Save Rivers Movement (SRM) rally in Port Harcourt over a week ago, has condemned last Sunday’s attack on supporters of Governor Rotimi Amaechi at Bori

In a statement signed by his spokesperson, Honour Sirawoo, Senator Abe (Rivers South-East Senatorial District) lamented that instead of implementing the UNEP report on Ogoniland, the Federal Government choose to arm youths with guns worth millions to kill fellow human beings.

He expressed gratitude to friends, well-meaning individual Nigerians and groups for their support following his ordeal, and thanked them for their prayers, phone calls, solidarity messages and support, praying to God for their protection in these dangerous times.

Having faced violence before and emerged victorious, he called for forgiveness as well as focus on set goals, stressing that the law as impossible as it may look today, will one day take its course.

“Every gun has a life span of over a hundred years, our politics may change,” he said. “As today’s friends become opponents tomorrow, the guns will also change hands; but they will still remain lethal, even against their present owners.”

Abe, who is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) maintained that rather than encourage violence in order to gain relevance in politics, he will continue to arm his supporters, just like his children, with school fees, laptops, prayers and the fear of God.

SEE RAW LETTER SENT TO THE SENATE PRESIDENT DAVID MARK

 

Anarchy Looms In Rivers As President Sits Idly By, APC Warns.


 

By SaharaReporters, New York

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has warned of the impending anarchy in Rivers that may have far-reaching consequences beyond the state, unless President Goodluck Jonathan urgently reins in his supporters who, backed by a gross-partisan police, have now resorted to bringing in ex-militants from neighbouring states to attack innocent people in Rivers.

“Having lost confidence in the ability of the police to protect them and keenly aware of the President’s deliberate refusal to allow peace to reign in their state, the patience of the people of Rivers is wearing thin, and there is an increasing possibility that they may resort to self help, which can only result in a blood bath,” the party warned in a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

“Because we abhor anarchy, which is the very antithesis of democracy, we hereby call, for the umpteenth time, on President Jonathan to act today to stop the looming anarchy in Rivers unless of course he is bent on throwing the country he was elected to govern into chaos,” it said.

APC also warned that the decision of the desperate pro-Jonathan politicians and their supporters in Rivers to resort to ferrying in ex-militants from Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom to cause mayhem in Rivers and make it ungovernable for Gov. Chibuike Amaechi will have far-reaching consequences in the months ahead, most serious of which is that it will revive militancy not only in Rivers but in the entire South-South.

“The ex-militants, who are being hired daily by the anarchists in Rivers today, will turn against them and the people tomorrow when, one way or the other, the present situation in the state is resolved. The outcome will be a resurgence of insecurity, including hostage taking and attacks on oil and other infrastructure, in the entire region. This is why we are warning those who believe they are having a free rein today to tarry a while and retrace their steps,” the party said.

It expressed absolute shock that a President who has been widely quoted as saying his political ambition is not worth the blood of any citizen is now standing by, pretending to be oblivious to the happenings around him, as the same citizens’ blood is being used to water his ambition to have a second term in office.

“This President has deliberately refused to listen to the calls by numerous individuals and organisations, including the opposition parties, labour unions and the National Assembly for peace to be allowed to reign in Rivers. He has tacitly egged on the police to champion the worsening impunity in the state and even thumbed his nose at the Constitution, while the Police Service Commission has suddenly lost its steam and is even defending the arrowhead of the anarchy in Rivers.

“It is instructive that while the police have stood by and allowed hired ex-militants to attack innocent citizens whose only offence is that they are exercising their constitutional rights of freedom of association, movement and speech, the same police have provided protection for pro-Jonathan and anti-Amaechi elements who have turned the state into a battle ground.

“Twice in eight days, peaceful rallies organized by the Save Rivers Movement have been brutally broken up by police-backed hoodlums, who shot at innocent citizens including women and children; a serving Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has been shot and is now being treated in a foreign hospital and, as we write this press release, hoodlums brought in from Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom have gathered at different points in Port Harcourt to protest any attempt to remove Police Commissioner Mbu Joseph Mbu, the man who is now using the police against the same people they are paid to protect,” APC said.

The party also chronicled, for the record, the series of impunity that has helped prepared the ground for the looming anarchy in Rivers:

– Mbu practically provided the needed backing for a group of hired thugs and ex-militants with dangerous weapons to unlawfully and forcefully invade the Rivers State House of Assembly to terrorize its members, sack them and other management staff members from the complex and prevent the lawful exercise of legislative functions.

– A caretaker committee lawfully set up for Obi/Akpor Local Government Area was prevented from delivering governance to the people due to the sealing of the LGA secretariat by police operatives acting under Mr. Mbu’s directive.

– Security details were withdrawn from the principal members of the state government, including but not limited to the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Attorney-General and principal judicial officers of the state.

– Mbu again provided cover for a sponsored protest by over 5,000 ex-militants and other criminal elements brandishing dangerous weapons to completely take over and parade the streets of Port Harcourt, thereby creating fear and an atmosphere reminiscent of pre-amnesty siege in the minds of right-thinking residents.

– Mbu almost engineered an unnecessary but deadly riot by directing his men to restrain over 500 people – including traditional rulers – from the Orashi communities of Rivers State from paying a scheduled and legitimate courtesy and solidarity visit to the State Governor at Government House, Port Harcourt.

– A potential bloodbath at the Island Community of Bonny was averted only by the maturity exhibited by the young members of the Rivers Leadership Advancement Foundation in the face of serial provocation by members of the Rivers State Police Command.

– When five colleagues of Governor Amaechi – who felt they were exercising their constitutional  rights of free movement and association – had the temerity to pay him a solidarity visit in Port Harcourt, they were molested and humiliated at the Port Harcourt Airport by hired thugs under the protection of Mr. Mbu.

– Police operatives used tear gas to cause a potentially-deadly stampede through the forceful dispersal of 13,201 newly-recruited and trained teachers who had gathered at the Liberation Stadium in Port Harcourt for the final round of their training, orientation, mobilization and deployment to primary and secondary schools.

– The Rivers State Command, acting on the orders of Mbu, blockaded a road leading to the Government House in Port Harcourt, forcing the Governor’s convoy to turn back and take another route to his official residence.

– Police prevented a plane chartered by the Governor from taking off ostensibly because it was carrying a lawmaker said to be wanted by the police. When the lawmaker was not found on the plane, no apology was issued to the Governor.

“We have decided to remind Nigerians how the situation in Rivers state got to the present dangerous level, even as calls by the nation’s lawmakers, labour unions and other well-meaning Nigerians for the redeployment of Mbu have fallen on deaf ears.

“Our party has also intervened numerous times to warn the nation that President Jonathan is using Rivers as a testing ground for fascism, especially ahead of the 2015 general elections, all seemingly to no avail as the crisis has worsened instead of abating.

“It is in this light that we reiterate our fears of a looming anarchy, which is the outcome of months of impunity, as the man who swore to an oath to ensure the welfare and security of all citizens – the raison d’etre for any government – has now become the quiet sponsor of violence against the same citizens. It is time to stop the madness in Rivers!,”’ APC said.

Tinted Glass Dramas And Police Extortions By Emmanuel Tyokumbur.


By Emmanuel Tyokumbur

A coin normally has two faces only. However, in some climes and under certain circumstances, it may appear that the coin maybe multifaceted. Therein lays the paradox of the faces of a coin. Or is that why we find it difficult to accept the coin as a currency denomination, otherwise the note too has two faces. Encounters with some members of the security forces that are the true faces of these agencies or may not be reveals that indeed we are faced with many faces of the same coin. Whether good, bad or ugly, an experience with them reveals the level of professionalism and indeed the rot that many systems in the country have had to contend with.

The purported saying that the police is your friend or not is best captured in the experience I had why traveling from Ibadan to Benue during the yuletide in 2013. It is a well known occurrence during festive seasons that all manner of personnel dot the roads in search of prey whom they will devour or exploit, as there is always a fault to be found on the vehicle or particulars. On this fateful day,at the exit from the expressway  from Ojoo into the state roads at Iwo road we were flagged down by some armed policemen. Our papers were okay, but one of them took me on since I was wearing my ID tag. Having asserted that we were driving in a factory-fitted tinted glass vehicle, he went on to inform us that we had broken the law which was a high court offence and therefore we must follow him to the station or settle them with N10,000 cash. We pleaded to no avail. As if we were the cause of the rot in the force, he vituperated further that we lecturers fail students unjustly and massively.

I thought maybe he must have failed woefully in one of those institutions, so I told him that it was not in the character of a lecturer to fail a student and that the University of Ibadan where I come from is above board and that is why we don’t even sell handouts and force students to buy our books. Not satisfied, he went on by pontificating that the chaplet in our car was attacking him spiritually and he was not himself again. But who can argue with an armed robber, certainly only one out of his/her mind would argue with someone with a gun. For many have been allegedly gunned down by these friends of the public and proclaimed as robbers or much less victims of robbery attacks for failing to accede to their demands. Previously, he had played the ethnic card by speaking with my wife in his language so as to gauge the lever of extortion. We had no choice but to part with our hard-earned money to an armed man using the powers of his gun to preach to us on every subject that presented it directly or indirectly.

We had broken the extant rule on tinted vehicular glass long outlawed during the military era, but a product of intensive research from the developed world to protect passengers from harmful solar radiation and for purposes of right of privacy even on the road. No wonder since we have a paucity of research products, our very agencies are destroying the products of hard-won research gotten from other lands for health benefits as factory-fitted  tinted glass are meant to protect from harmful solar radiation while on the road. Although no bombs have been uncovered in factory-fitted tinted glass vehicles, the measure has been in place for a clearance to be obtained with ‘’immediate effect’’. Like most draconian legislations that do not consider the sensibilities and responsiveness of the hapless citizenry, vehicle owners of factory-fitted tinted glasses have been on the receiving end through police extortions and intimidations on the highways. A market has been created for the extorting police to rake in between 10-15K from their victims.

Unlike the FRSC that gave a time frame and even extended it for number plates, the rule on tinted glasses is with ‘’immediate effect’’ as if we are in a military regime. This is most unfortunate, as law abiding owners would have no time for the replacement of neither the previously lawful tinted glass nor obtaining a licence or clearance from the police authorities. This is discomforting in that some would be forced to move only within restricted zones in order to avoid the recalcitrant police flagging them down for what is clearly a bogus and insensitive rule. This impinges on the freedom of movement of the citizenry. For they never give a breathing space when there is a so-called overstep. However, on the same fateful day, there was an exception in Ondo State at the boundary with Edo towards Okenne. This particular police officer on seen that all our papers were right with the exception of the permit on vehicular tinted glasses, having identified ourselves, cautioned us to make use of the next opportunity to obtain the permit without us begging him.

This was no doubt a hard reminder that good men are still in the police having been extorted by the same force members with abusive statements on the same day in Ibadan, simply because he was armed from the taxpayer’s money. It is quite possible that the sensible police man in Ondo thought about the cumbersome nature of obtaining the permit, the unnecessary cost of replacing the factory-fitted glasses, the recklessness of the resurrected extant rule and the rightness in all our other papers in deciding to wave us through without demanding a bribe. This showed how sensible the rank and file of the force can be, as I reflected.

There is no gain saying  that with the calibre of leadership in the police force today, it could not have  assumed the inglorious role of ‘’immediate effect ‘’ syndrome reminiscent of the military era in resurrecting and enforcing extant rules without giving adequate time for the citizenry to adjust to the situation. In this case, the police force should, like the FRSC on number plates, give a time frame within which vehicle owners with tinted glasses are allowed to change them to transparent screens or obtain the necessary permits to continue using them. After all they were lawful in the first instance and cleared by Customs at the point of entry into the country in the recent past. The process of obtaining such a tinted glass permit should be clearly defined and possible across the country within 24 hours or less.

Otherwise, it can be safely assumed that a new extortion avenue has been created for the lesser mortars in the force (and their collaborators in the stations) that stand on the roads flagging down vehicles looking for an infringe of the law. As good as the rule is in checkmating terrorism as it were, the citizenry need not be reminded of the military fiat with which things were being done in a dictatorship without recourse to allowing them to do what is right. The tinted glass vehicles have been legally cleared for entry into the country, before they were put to use, so the owners shouldn’t be treated now as criminals through no fault of theirs. Nigerians and other vehicle owners with tinted glasses need to be treated with dignity and respect. The force should stop treating everyone as a suspect and criminal. Give the citizenry the time to do the ‘’new’’ right thing on vehicle tinted glass.

Emmanuel Tyokumbur, Department of Zoology, University of Ibadan

 

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

Anti-Amaechi protesters shut Port Harcourt down.


River-youth-protest-port

Hundreds of protesters from the four-Ikwerre speaking council areas of Rivers State, on Tuesday, took over the busy Port Harcourt-Aba Road in Port Harcourt, expressing solidarity for the state Commissioner of Police, Mbu Joseph Mbu.
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They disrupted traffic flow on the road and caused panic in surrounding areas.

Following the protest, the Rivers State government has accused those it described as Federal Government agents as the sponsors of the protest, adding that the state had been subjected to war by the Federal Government.

The protesters, under the aegis of Ikwerre Peoples Assembly (IPA), took over the GRA Junction point of the highway, vowing to shut public and multinational facilities down should the commissioner of police be transferred out of the state.

 

The protest, which lasted about one hour, had a full police cover.

The protesters described Mbu in glowing terms, adding that his problem with the state government was his refusal to be used against those opposed to the governor.

The spokesman of the group, Chima Boms, who was also the counsel to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission headed by the late Justice Kayode Eso (JSC), also said Mbu had performed creditably well in the state.

According to Boms, “CP Mbu, in our estimation, has performed creditably well and deserves commendation. We, therefore, request that he continues to serve in Rivers State for the good of the people. Consequently, the Ikwerre Peoples’ Assembly will resist any attempt to redeploy CP Mbu as commissioner of police in Rivers State as such move will take us back to the dark era.”

Meanwhile, the senator representing Rivers South-East Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Magnus Abe, who was shot with a rubber bullet by the police at a Save Rivers Movement (SRM) rally in Port Harcourt over a week ago, has finally broken his silence.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Senator Abe expressed gratitude to friends, well-meaning individuals, groups and indeed, Nigerians, for their prayers, phone calls, solidarity messages and support, and prayed God to protect them at these dangerous times.

He condemned Sunday’s attack on supporters of Governor Rotimi Amaechi at Bori.

In a related development, pposition All Progressives Congress (APC), on Tuesday, alleged that supporters of President Goodluck Jonathan are importing ex-militants from Bayelsa and Akwa-Ibom States to cause mayhem in Rivers State.

A statement by its spokesperson, Lai Mohammed, warned that supporters of Governor Rotimi Amaechi might resort to self-help since Police are allegedly backing the other faction.

Warning of impending bloodbath, the party said, ”Having lost confidence in the ability of the police to protect them and keenly aware of the President’s deliberate refusal to allow peace to reign in their state, the patience of the people of Rivers is wearing thin, and there is an increasing possibility that they may resort to self help, which can only result in a blood-bath.”

Source: Radio Biafra.

LET’S TALK ABOUT CORRUPTION, by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.


Ngozi-Okonjo-Iweala-02

Most of you know me and usually listen to me talk about a new Africa, a rising Africa and a hopeful Africa, that’s usually the kind of topic

I try to talk about with our young people.

But I also think that it is not difficult to talk to mature people about issues that confront them. So today, I’m going to depart a little bit from my talks on Africa, because I have a lot of young Africans and her lovers here.

I want to talk about a difficult topic, that topic is talked about by non-Africans and even more frequently by Africans themselves, and it has gotten so critical that when you mention the name Africa or even the name of my country Nigeria, the word ‘corruption’ rings; isn’t it? I want to talk about corruption today, it’s a difficult topic, it’s a sensitive topic, but I think we are mature enough to talk about it.

As the continent does better, as we have Africa rising and growing; we also struggle with issues of creating jobs. We have a long way to go, we are talking about growth, but we really need to grow faster to be able to make an appreciable dent on poverty.

We need to create jobs and include those at the bottom of the ladder. We are struggling with so many problems; governance and issues on corruption are also inclusive. We need to highlight some of the root causes and have sensible conversation on these also.

So, I am speaking for my continent, my country, and even for other countries globally. We have to admit that in most cases corruption is the problem. Corruption is not tagged to a particular set of people, whether in the UK, US, Nigeria, or other African countries. It exists in one form or the other and the issue is the set of laws and the will we have to fight it.

Speaking for my country, we have to say, “Yes, we have problems”. Corruption undermines development in Nigeria and the continent at large. It deprives us of resources with which we can fight poverty and create wealth for people.

When a civil servant demands under-the-table money for a service that they should deliver, they diminish the service and the people they serve; this is corruption. When a teacher demands sexual favours to give students high marks in an examination or to pass them, they diminish the students, they diminish themselves, they undermine education; they undermine development – this is corruption.

When a public servant diverts resources from the state budget or national budget and siphons them abroad, removes them from doing the work and any good for the people. This is corruption on the part of the person embezzling public fund at home and also those receiving it abroad.

When people steal our mineral wealth, be it crude oil or other natural resources in any of our countries on the continent and they divert and send it abroad; that is corruption on the part of those stealing and receiving. When a company illegally refuses to pay tax and finds clever ways to take out the profits and resources which they ought to pay in the country they are working, this is also corruption.

It is also corruption for a business man to support a politician in return for inordinate access to contracts or resources. All of these undermine development and the very fabric of our society.

But there is one thing I think is very important and that is what I call the ‘trivialisation of corruption’. What do I mean by that?

Trivialising corruption is going on mightily in some of our countries right now. You trivialise corruption when there is evidence that an act or a policy is legitimate and yet for your own purpose, either political or otherwise, you label it as corruption. When people divert attention from the real issues and focus on issues that are not relevant, that is a way of trivialising corruption. You trivialise corruption when you use it as a weapon to castigate other people; whereas the evidence is there.

Let me give you an example, you all saw Chikwe (Ihekweazu) put up a whole series of newspapers with their negative reports, that doesn’t mean all newspapers are bad. Some newspapers are good, some reporters and journalists are good. I had an example recently of this trivialisation from one of our national newspapers ‘The Punch newspaper’; they claimed that a government policy where we give incentives to industries or business people to spur them to invest in the economy was a bunch of corruption.

Yes, in the past it wasn’t a good policy, we had people who came and got particular incentives to spur their businesses and it gave them an undue advantage over others. We call them waivers and exemptions. They will get an advantage and their businesses will get an advantage because they had a particular exemption to give them an incentive to do their job.

So two years ago, we looked at this and in the economic management team in Nigeria the president totally agreed that this doesn’t work very well, and it gives an undue advantage, creates an unequal playing field. We decided that we will reform it, so that we can decide: what are the sources of growth, which sectors are likely to help the economy the most? And then we will grant these exemptions and incentives within those sectors. The key is that anybody working with this sector is entitled to get this exemption. So we reformed and it is still in the process of strengthening and reforming. It is not perfect, but it has come a long way, now this is a whole new sectoral policy.

So, when the newspaper wrote an editorial and said this was corruption, we pointed out that, “Yes, in the past, it wasn’t good but now we have been running a different system for two years.” They dared us to publish those who got these waivers; and guess what? Last week we sent it to them; yes we did. But you know what? They refused to even look at it. And they continued to insist that this was excess bite of corruption.

Why am I telling this story? It is because if you spend enough time trivialising an issue when the evidence is in front of you, then you are not doing a good service. So, let those who want to know more about that visit the budget website or even go on the internet and they will see this publication. I have spent some time on this story, because I think we need to be mindful ourselves not to divert attention from the serious issue which we have to deal with and spend our time on the trivialisation of what is truly an important issue.

Now, I want to delve into one more aspect which is also an important issue. That is an aspect of one of the underlying sources or roots of corruption, which we don’t usually talk about very much. I want the young people on the continent to truly think about it, it is about how we finance our democracy and finance our elections. We all want democracy in our countries; we have worked very hard on the continent to have this. So many countries now practice multi-party democracy; we now conduct elections. It’s the only form of governance that can allow a voice for the people.

Have you ever thought of how elections are financed? No country has been able to crack this problem. In the US they have conversation about campaign finance and they’ve tried to reform it; they’ve got a system, but I’m sure they will admit it’s not perfect; even in the UK and so many other countries. But at least they are having a conversation about it, isn’t it? And they are talking about what to do to make it better.

In the continent of Africa, how many of you have thought about this issue whether we are doing it right, has anyone even thought about this? To me one of the root causes of corruption in the continent is the way we finance or do not finance elections properly. We have adopted systems that demand that politicians’ campaign; haven’t we? Campaigns cost money. But where does that money come from?

If we don’t find a legitimate means of supporting campaigns, then all sorts of ways are found to do this. It could be, as I said before, engaging business people who support an individual, a system or a party and then later on, they have to be rewarded through contracts or other means that may actually not help but undermine the economy and development.

We haven’t found an answer to this problem but the silence in this room gives me concern. That’s why I want us to respond to it, because the next generation will have to think about it. It means we haven’t begun to have the kind of conversation we should have. If we don’t solve this problem, people will continue to find unorthodox means of financing their elections, of financing the implantation of democracy. And this very means may be the root of some of the corruption we do not want, which may totally affect the way we do business.

So, I want us to think about this, think about ways, and think about means; if we want democracy to continue to thrive in our continent, if we want to deal with some of the root causes of corruption. We also have to think of how we can finance that very good that we want. I want us to start a conversation about it. I’m sorry for starting your day with such a sober topic. But I think this is the right group and the right audience; isn’t it? I want us to start a conversation; what if we decide that we want a certain percentage of each of our countries’ revenue to be dedicated to this purpose and that people need not run around to look for means and stress themselves to finance political parties or election campaigns, but that it is a legitimate public good that we have said we want in each country we want democracy? Therefore, we must find a legitimate way to support this.

What if we say we will do that, is that a way? What other ways can we think about? How can we have this conversation? How can we innovate? We’ve got so many young people on our continent with innovative ideas including all of you in the audience here.

Look at this TEDx; is this not creativity? Is it not innovation? If we can do a thing like this; if we can have ‘Ushahidi’ in Kenya which helped to track political violence and is now used in applications all the way in Haiti; if we can have this wonderful discovery that a young Ghanaian made that helps us detect fake drugs and saves life; if we can have the application on budget that a young Nigerian has put together that enables us understand our budget better – if we can have these and many more; if we can use technology to solve our problems; if we can think and put together knowledge that puts us ahead, why can’t Africa be a leader in thinking and innovating legitimate ways on how to finance election?

We want you to join this discussion, please visit innovatedemocracyafrica.org and share your ideas on how we can finance our democracy better; how we can root out a burdened source of corruption in our society and share any other ideas you have about how to solve the problem.

Let me end by saying this, we must take personal responsibility for these issues. Too often I see people think it’s them or someone else, or the government or that other person. On Twitter, I get lots of messages that say, “Why don’t you do this or why don’t you do that?”

Well you know what I said, the reason I came back to government was because I felt even if the environment is difficult and there is only one little thing I can do to plug a hole, solve a problem even if it’s small, it is meaningful. If there is one little thing you can do, don’t shy away. If you can come into government and help solve something, don’t think someone else is there to solve it for you.

If you can do it from civil society, and I mean legitimate civil society, not those who are saying they are civil society but are doing something else. If you can solve it as a civil society, if you can solve it from the media; if as a media person you can observe principles and say you are not for sale and tell the truth; if you can use this means to galvanise action, please do it.

It is you who have to take responsibility, I have to take responsibility. We can’t leave it to someone else, we have to take responsibility.

By Radio Biafra.

Police Attack On Senator Abe : APC Tells President Jonathan To Stop Reign Of Impunity In Rivers State.


By Saharareporters, New York

The All Progressives Congress (APC) party has asked President Goodluck Jonathan to urgently put an end to the worsening reign of impunity in Rivers State, which is being carried out under his watch by those who are obviously acting to impress him and the First Lady.

In a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the call has become even more imperative, following the irresponsible act of brigandage by the police, which stopped a peaceful and lawful rally billed for the Obio Akpor Local Government Area of the state today by the Save Rivers Movement (SRM), an organization campaigning against the impunity of the PDP-controlled Federal Government against the government and people of Rivers State.

”The police went to the venue of the rally, pulled down the erected canopies and fired tear gas at everyone around there and even into nearby homes, with the result that five children are now feared to have died from suffocation due to this shameful Gestapo-style action of the police, who are being funded by taxpayers to protect the lives and property of the same citizens they are now brutalizing and killing.

”Not only that, they injured the Chief of Staff to Gov. Chibuike Amaechi and fired a supposed rubber bullet, at point blank  range, at Senator Magnus Abe, who is now gravely injured. The Senator is believed to have been deliberately targeted for attack by the police.

”We understand that the exceptional brutal clampdown on the planned rally by the police, who seem to have now surpassed even their own act of brutality against the people of the state, was aimed at impressing the First Lady, believed to be due in Port Harcourt on the same day (Sunday), ” it said.

The APC said there is no way a Commissioner of Police in any state will be so bold as to be waging a war against an elected Governor and his aides/supporters if he is not empowered to do so by higher authorities, and that everyone knows that the impenitent Rivers Police Commissioner Mbu Joseph Mbu believes he is now the de facto Governor of Rivers because he has the support of the Presidency to exhibit impudence.

”Mbu, who is going down in Nigeria’s history as a classic example of an officer of the law turned the biggest violator of the law, has not only defied the resolutions of the National Assembly, he has also thumbed his nose at the ultimatum issued by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC). He is the Alternate Inspector General of the Police who takes orders only from a conniving presidency, ” the party said.

It said the only reason the impunity in Rivers could have continued unabated is because it is a dress rehearsal for what is being planned for 2015, hence the APC has continued to raise the alarm over the instigated crisis in Rivers.

”Since this reign of impunity started, the Rivers Governor has been barred from accessing his official residence by the police; Members of the State House of Assembly have been tear-gassed and harassed endlessly; the plane owned by the state government has been grounded, using the institutions of state; and even a chartered plane bearing the Governor has been prevented from takeoff, not minding that the member of the state House of Assembly which the plane was supposed to be carrying was not on board. No one has apologized for this chutzpah.

”This is all happening under the watch of a President who has been widely quoted as saying his ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian. The statement now rings hollow, considering what is happening in Rivers and elsewhere, which is generally regarded as a sign of things to come ahead of 2015.

”President Jonathan should act today to bring Rivers State and indeed Nigeria back from the brink of lawlessness. His body language must discourage the likes of Mbu from turning Nigerian into a lawless nation. He must differentiate his position as the leader of the PDP from his perch as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, ” APC  said

Anglican Archbishop Most Reverend Kattey wife was kidnapped in P/Harcourt.


 

Archbishop-Kattey

THE Anglican Archbishop of the Niger Delta North Diocese, the Most Reverend Ignatius Kattey and his wife,

Beatrice, were on Friday night kidnapped close to Port Harcourt in what the Rivers State Government called the latest evidence of the deteriorating security in the state under Police Commissioner Mbu Joseph Mbu.

The couple were abducted at Aleto-Eleme, the bishop’s home town at about 11.30pm.The wife was later abandoned in the couple’s car while the abductors went away with the clergy.

He is the second highest ranking official of the Church of Nigeria, being next only to the Primate, Dr. Nicholas Okoh.

Kattey and wife were on their way to Port Harcourt, when the kidnappers struck near the two Eleme Refinery and the Indorama-Eleme Petrochemical Company.

His whereabouts was unknown last night with the abductors yet to state their reason for seizing him. They have not demanded a ransom either.

Governor Rotimi Amaechi, in his first reaction to the kidnap blamed Police Commissioner Mbu Joseph Mbu for the rising insecurity in the state.

It was learnt yesterday that the kidnapped cleric was scheduled to receive the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, in Port Harcourt yesterday and decided to leave his personal house in Aleto-Eleme for the Rivers State capital on Friday night to enable him put finishing touches to preparations for the arrival of the visitor.

It could not be confirmed at press time if Okoh was able to visit Rivers State.

Another source said the couple decided to set out for Port Harcourt that late to enable them beat the usual Saturday traffic restrictions occasioned by the monthly environmental sanitation exercise.

Unknown to them, however, the exercise had been cancelled in view of the ongoing WAEC/GCE examinations.

A senior member of the Anglican Church in Port Harcourt, who would not want his name in print, said the bishop detests the idea of going about with police escorts.

He chose to live in his personal house in Aleto-Eleme from where he goes to St. Paul Cathedral, Diobu, Port Harcourt, which serves as his official base.

Kattey is described as a very simple and easy-going cleric. His kidnap occurred barely two weeks after the Rivers State Commissioner for Sports, Fred Igwe, was shot at Akpajo-Eleme in the same Eleme LGA on August 25.

Igwe was severely injured and is still receiving treatment in an undisclosed hospital.

His car was riddled with bullets.

The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Angela Agabe, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), confirmed Kattey’s kidnap and said the prompt response of the police to the kidnap forced the criminals to abandon Beatrice and the couple’s car.

Agabe was optimistic with the effort of the policemen, the Bishop would soon be released unhurt and the kidnappers apprehended and prosecuted.

Amaechi, through the Chief of Staff, Government House, Port Harcourt, Chief Tony Okocha, regretted what he called the upsurge in kidnapping, armed robbery, cultism, militancy and other vices in the state under Mbu.

The same Mbu, he alleged, has continued to allow ex-militants to protest on the streets of Port Harcourt, an action the governor said has emboldened criminals.

Amaechi had earlier called for Mbu’s immediate redeployment, which he described as the only condition for peace in Rivers State, having accused the CP of taking sides in the deepening political crisis.

Source: Radio Biafra.

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