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Posts tagged ‘Nigerian Tribune’

Police arrest 320 Boko Haram suspects in Rivers.



Harcourt, Rivers State, on Sunday, as the state police command confirmed the arrest of 320 Boko Haram suspects.

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.

South West (Yoruba) cries marginalisation when the tide is about to turn completely in 4 days time.

Yoruba Gov

West GovernorAS the presidency is addressing claims of marginalisation in federal appointments by the South West, the zone may be facing a new form of discrimination, going by the proposed details in some ministries in 2014 budget.A breakdown of new projects proposed by the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, which was obtained by the Nigerian Tribune, showed the South West largely neglected in the allocation of the projects, compared with other five geopolitical zones.Analysis of capital projects of about N30 billion proposed by the ministry showed the three zones of the North taking the lion share of over 80 per cent, while with three southern zones competed with 20 per cent, of which South-West had less than two per cent.Of over 30 new irrigation projects proposed in the 2014 budget, only two were located in the South West.The two, lower and middle Ogun, however, had only design funding of less than N10 million, in contrast to similar new irrigation projects in Kaduna, Kano and Yobe, to which over N1.2 billion was allocated.Of the 41 new earth dam projects proposed by the ministry, South West had only one at Ile-Ife, Osun State, with about 75 per cent of the dams located in the North, while the old Eastern region had the rest.Further checks showed that while the Ile-Ife dam had only N100 million allocated to it, similar projects located in the Middle Belt and core North had between N250 million to over N500 million allocated to them in the next fiscal year.The South West was not only neglected in the areas of irrigation and new dams, the region was also shortchanged in town/city water projects, as there was no allocation to the region in the over 40 new water works projects in the country. A check showed the North being the major beneficiary of the projects, followed by the South-South and the South East.Northern cities benefitting from the water works projects included Talata Marafa,

Takum, Gombe, Biu, Zungeru, Langtang, Damaturu, Uguru, Bulkashuwa, among others. While the reasons for the lopsidedness was not clear, the proposal is, however, subject to review by the relevant committees of the two chambers of the National Assembly.Minister of Water Resources, Mrs Sarah Ochekpe, it will be recalled, is from Plateau State, while the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Alhaji Baba Ahmed, is a royal prince from Bauchi State. Nigeriatribune.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Boko Haram terrorists now engages in forceful conscription •Abducts 9 female traders, 27 others in Borno.



Military authorities in Borno State has said that the Boko Haram sect has resorted to forcefully conscripting young and able bodied men into the group following the deadly attacks by troops in the last few days at the Sambisa forest and other camps where the sect lost hundreds of their fighters.

Colonel Muhammadu Dole, in a chat with the Nigerian Tribune in Maiduguri, the state capital, said the sect is now moving around villages to recruit members to replace the dead ones in a forceful conscription.

“You know they have suffered serious defeat in the last few days, now they are forcefully recruiting men and the women they are taking along with them also serve and cook for them. We are on their trail and we would continue to pursue them to the last person.


“We are aware that they didn’t kill those they abducted on the highways instead, they forced them to go with them. I think they kill such people only when they meet resistance otherwise, they recruit them forcefully and we are working towards ensuring the safety of those abducted in all the operations we are carrying out.” Dole said.

Meanwhile, traders at Kasuwan Doya and Tashan Kano have said that nine female traders and 27 other young men were abducted on Monday, when the insurgents attacked two lorries carrying oranges, a Pick up van carrying firewood and a Golf car carrying six passengers.

According to some of the traders at Tashan Kano motor park, the two lorries left them at Damboa town at about 7.00a.m. and was heading to Maiduguri.

“We left Damboa around 8.00a.m. and when we arrived at a village before Bulabulin Ngaura, we saw other vehicles that had been stopped by the soldiers. The soldiers told us that the Boko Haram people were operating ahead of us.They went ahead to clear the road before they now asked us to start moving. When we got to the spot, the two lorries were still burning but the passengers and drivers were not there,” a trader at Tashan Kano, who did not want his name in print told the Nigerian Tribune in Maiduguri.

In another development, Borno State Comptroller of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Modu Musa Mirga, has said that he discovered a large presence of Boko Haram insurgents in most of the border communities visited during his tour of border communities recently.

He, therefore, called on the state government to, as a matter of urgency, call on security agents to rid the border communities of the bad elements .

Musa Mirga, who was recently posted to Borno State, stated this on Wednesday during his courtesy call on the Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima, at the council chamber of Maiduguri Government House.

He said the purpose of his visit was to condole with the government and people of the state over the continuous attack and carnage especially on highways by suspected members of the Boko Haram sect.

Source: Radio Biafra.

N1.5bn Imo contract scam, EFCC clears impeached deputy gov.


After about nine months of investigation, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has cleared the impeached deputy governor of Imo State, Sir Jude Agbaso, of any wrong-doings and involvement in the N1.3 billion contract scam that rocked the state earlier in the year.

Twenty three members of the 27-member Imo State House of Assembly impeached him on March 28, 2013 over his alleged indictment in the contract saga.

Agbaso has been in court challenging the impeachment as well as his alleged indictment in the contract scandal.

He was accused of demanding and receiving a bribe of N458 million from a firm, JPROS International Ltd., which was awarded the said controversial construction contract by the Imo State government.

A letter signed by the commission’s Director of Operations, Olaolu Adegbite, dated November 27, 2013 with reference no CR: 3000/EFCC/ABJ/E.G/T4/VOL.14/252, which has been seen by Nigerian Tribune, showed that the investigation was at the instance of the impeached deputy governor.

It was entitled: “Formal Request for Investigation of Mr Joseph Dina of JPROS International Nigeria Ltd, a Construction Company located at 11, Umezuruike Street, opposite Umezuruike Hospital, Owerri, Imo State.”

The letter addressed to Agbaso read: “We refer to your letter dated 21st March, 2013 on the above subject and hereby provide our findings so far into the case.

“Road contracts for the sum of one and a half billion naira awarded to JPROS International Nig. Ltd was alleged to have engendered fraudulent bribe payments of N458 million by the Managing Director of JPROS, one Joseph Dina to you as the then Deputy Governor and Commissioner for Works.

“In furtherance of the investigation, evidence adduced from interview of key officials of Imo State government and other important witnesses, as well as documents obtained from relevant financial institutions confirmed that the sum of N1.305,000,000.00 was paid to JPROS to execute the Warehouse Orlu Road Junction, Odunze Street, Aba Road and Old Nekede Road projects within Owerri metropolis before mobilisation to the sites.

“The total sum of $5,538,830 USD was found to have been remitted to the personal accounts of Dina in Dubai and Lebanon. There is no single evidence so far that suggested that you benefitted from the funds.

“In his statement to the commission on 28th March, 2013, Dina revealed that he never gave any money to you or any other official of the state government over the contracts, which are yet to be fully executed as at the last visit of our officers in April 2013.

“The commission’s legal department is working on the case file with a view to taking appropriate legal action, please.”

Agbaso was replaced as the state deputy governor by the governor’s Chief of Staff, Mr Eze Madumere.

The state Chief Judge, Justice Benjamin Njemanze, had set up a seven-man probe panel which indicted Agbaso for alleged financial misconduct over the alleged bribery, paving the way for his impeachment.

It was also learnt that the clean bill of health given him by the anti-corruption agency had been communicated to the state lawmakers.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Kidnappers target women in the north •For sex, food •Abduct 200 in Kaduna, Sokoto & Zamfara.

boko haram 6

SECURITY operatives in the North were said to have been inundated with reports that armed bandits across the northern states of Zamfara, Sokoto and Kaduna have turned their searchlights on young girls, middle-aged women and housewives.

Reports made available to different agencies working in the states indicated that no fewer than 200 women had been abducted in the three states, with Zamfara accounting for more victims.

It was gathered that insurgents and bandits operating around the Birnin Gwari , Shamshalle and Walo forests in Birni Magaji and Maradun local government areas of Zamfara State, which spread to states of Kaduna and Sokoto, had been taking their victims to the forest as sex slaves, as well as using them as cooks.

Sources close to the Joint Task Force (JTF) in the states confirmed that the government of Zamfara State attempted to clear the Birnin Gwari forest recently, when it got reports of activities of the bandits and some insurgents.

Security sources indicated that the bandits resorted to kidnapping women and young housewives as a result of the heat turned on them across the North in recent times.

It was gathered that because of the increasing danger they had been facing within the towns and villages, the bandits had resolved to operate from the vast forests, though they faced sex starvation and lack of food.

They were said to have resolved to kidnapping young women and girls to satisfy both needs.

It was learnt that the bandits used to target villagers and cattle sellers around Birnin Gwari but that when the villagers stopped carrying cash around, they changed strategy and started kidnapping.

“They started kidnapping girls and young housewives and even old women that they considered attractive enough. Once they kidnap them, the victims are taken to the forests where they are turned to sex slaves and also made to cook for them. Many of the kidnapped women have not been seen for some time,” a source in the know said.

It was gathered that many of the young women had abandoned villages, especially in Zamfara and Kaduna, as many of them were said to have been forced to live with their relations at the council headquarters and cities.

Meanwhile, 20 people were reported to have been killed on Sunday, while 10 others were injured when gunmen suspected to be members of the Boko Haram insurgents launched an attack on Logomani village, in Dikwa Local Government Area of Borno State, between the hours of 6.00 a.m and 9.00 a.m

Nigerian Tribune gathered that soldiers had pursued the insurgents into the forest around Ngomboru Ngala, but there was no report as to whether they were successful in the operation.

Bukar Alhaji Gana, a resident in the village, told the Nigerian Tribune that about a week before the attack, there was rumour that some members of the Boko Haram group were seen in the area, heading towards Marte area.

“We were told that some of the Boko Haram sect members came around and warned some people, but left almost immediately towards Marte,” Gana told newsmen.

It was learnt that the area attacked was a usual meeting point of truck drivers, where they met to relax in the evening.

Nigerian Tribune learnt that the attackers, dressed in military uniforms, also left with some women and collected money also from some of the truck drivers.

A passenger who escaped the attack told newsmen that the attackers shot three passengers and slaughtered 14 people before someone alerted them that soldiers were coming, forcing them to flee on motorcycles into the bush.

“When they stooped us, we thought they were soldiers. It was when they began to ask us to come out of the car that we realised they are Boko Haram insurgents.

“They were dressed in military uniform and killed about 20 before they fled when they were told soldiers are coming,” he said

As of the time of going to press, there was no report from the military authorities on the issue, as the acting spokesman of the Seven Division, Nigerian Army, Captain Aliyu Danja, could not be reached for comment.

Source: Radio Biafra.

APC zones vice presidency to South-West •Tinubu shops for nominee.


THERE are strong indications that the All Progressives Congress (APC) has zoned its Vice Presidential slot to the South West while the Northern part of the country is to produce the presidential standardbearer of the party.

The national leader of the party, Senator Bola Tinubu is also reported to have abandoned his rumoured vice presidency bid and is now said to be shopping for the right nomination to team up with whoever emerges as the party presidential candidate.

These were said to be the outcome of series of nocturnal political consultations which took place within and outside the country when the former Lagos state governor was on medical treatment in both the United Kingdom and the United States.

Impeccable party source told the Nigerian Tribune that the unofficial decision to concede the vice presidency to the South West rather than the South East was because of the zone’s strength within the party while the north is naturally primed to produce the standardbearer.

Tinubu, since returning from the medical trip is reported to have commenced search for a suitable nominee for the vice presidency which many insiders believe was his prerogative since he would have emerged the running mate but for what the source called sensitive considerations.

The consultation was reported to center on alleged condition given the party leader that whoever is to be nominated from the South West should be a Christian as the party is said to be oppose to a Muslim muslim ticket.

Contrary to expectation that the Lagos State governor, Raji Fashola may pick the Vice Presidency, Nigerian Tribune was told that the religious consideration has knocked all four South West governors of the party out of considerations.

Tinubu and his inner circle are said to have subsequently crafted criteria to be used in making the nomination from the zone. Among the conditions are that the nominee must be a Christian grounded in the politics of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), that he or she must have served in senior governmental capacity like minister, governor or senator and that he must have national name appeal.

A party source in Abuja told the Nigerian Tribune that “Asiwaju is in charge as far as South West is concerned. He actually raised the idea with a senator second day after his return into the country. I cannot say however whether a name has been agreed on or not,” the source said.

Source: Radio Biafra.

As president inaugurates national confab committee Nwabueze opts out , Count Jigawa State out – Gov Lamido.



Luminary, Professor Ben Nwabueze, on Sunday, declined the offer to serve on the national conference panel on health ground. The leader of The Patriots, however, welcomed the initiative, saying it was a bold step.

In his letter to President Goodluck Jonathan, on Sunday, the octogenarian, a former education minister, requested the president to nominate another eminent lawyer, Chief Solomon Asemota, to replace him on the committee chaired by the former university don, Senator Femi Okunrounmu.

In the letter to President Jonathan, said to have been written on behalf of “The Patriots,” Nwabueze, a staunch advocate of a Sovereign National Conference (SNC), congratulated him for taking an indisputable bold step towards ensuring that a national conference was convoked before 2015.


“The Patriots regard this development as epochal and re-affirms the support, which we conveyed to you on the occasion of our visit on August 29.

“It is our fervent hope that nothing would be allowed to stand in the way during the preparation for and execution of the national conference that would finally bring every Nigerian into the mainstream of governance,” the letter read. In another personal letter to the president, Nwabueze explained his reason for declining to serve on the Okurounmu-led panel due to illness.

“I am at present in London and may be away from Nigeria for some time. I will be glad, if I could be replaced in the presidential advisory committee on national dialogue/conference by Mr Solomon Asemota, who is a member of The Patriots,” the letter read.

Meanwhile, the Jigawa State governor, Alhaji Sule Lamido, has said the state will not participate in the proposed national dialogue, adding that no delegate would attend from the state.

He disclosed this during an interview with newsmen, adding that the proposed dialogue lacked constitutional backing and was a flagrant abuse of democratic institution.

While stressing that his government would not be a party to it, the Jigawa helmsman said “the only solution to the country’s problems is good governance, while leaders should also abide by due process, rule of law and ethics of leadership.”

According to him, “such conference is a fruitless effort and cannot make any positive impact to the country,” adding that “this proposal is a flagrant abuse of democracy, as we have members of Senate and House of Representatives, who are legally and democratically elected to represent any constituency in discussing national issue.”

He asked if the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), headed by Professor Attahiru Jega, would organise election for those that would participate in the dialogue, or they would be selected through nomination.

“So the idea for the dialogue lacks formula in our democratic society and embarking on such worthless venture is un-ideal,” he said.

Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan will, in Abuja today, inaugurate the national advisory committee on the proposed national conference to be chaired by Femi Okunronmu.

In another development, it has been authoritatively gathered that the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) will converge on Kaduna, on Thursday, to brainstorm on the proposed conference.

A competent source closed to the forum disclosed this to the Nigerian Tribune in Abuja, on Sunday.

The source revealed that the forum, under the chairmanship of Alhaji Aliko Mohammed, was in full support of the proposed national conference and would do everything possible to make it succeed.

According to the source, “we are in full support of the proposed national conference. There is the need for it amd we are going to participate fully.

“That is why we are converging on Kaduna on Thursday to brainstorm on it and have a common position. We are not afraid of it. We will go there because we don’t want to lose out, as whatever decisions taken at the conference will affect our people generally.”

The source further hinted that any decision taken at the meeting on Thursday would later be communicated to the northern governors, so as to have their inputs, after which it would be presented to the would-be representatives of the region in the conference.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Plans by ex-Biafran soldiers to stage protest uncalled for Pensions board.


AUTHORITIES of the Military Pensions Board in Abuja have described plans by some ex-Biafran soldiers to storm Abuja and protest the non-payment of the benefits as uncalled for, noting that if they are genuine ex-soldiers, they should seek the necessary clearance and come for payment.

Chairman of the board, Commodore D.S Audu, who spoke with Nigerian Tribune on the issue, said so far, over 330 ex-Biafran soldiers and Air Force personnel had been cleared to enjoy the presidential pardon.

According to him, out of the number, the board initiated the publication of the beneficiaries in the national dailies, with instructions on how to go about collecting their benefits, to which they had responded without any hiccup.

“So, for any so called ex-Biafran soldier to come forward and claim that he is being owed benefits and he wants to embark on violent protest, that shows the person or persons are either fake or not genuine.

“We have the names and records of those that are genuine. Let those complaining come forward to prove their genuineness, then we will sort their matter out,” he said.

While explaining the procedures, the Director of Army Pensions, Colonel A. Akerele, noted that once the ex-soldiers showed up, their names would be sent to the Directorate of Army Records for verification and to see if they were gazetted.

He said from Lokoja, Kogi State, the names would be forwarded to the Central Pay Office, Apapa and after clearance, the names would be sent to the board for commencement of payment.

“As I am talking to you now, for the Army, we have a list of 226 ex-Biafran soldiers that are qualified and gazetted and out of this number, about 110 have come forward for clearance.

“They have had their details taken into our biometric system, after which they got their money. So, if the ones complaining are sure that they are not fake, let them come and prove it,” he said.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Where Did David Mark Get the Funds for His Private University? By Pius Adesanmi.


Pius Adesanmi

Pius Adesanmi

(to the accompaniment of Fela’s “Just Like That”)


David Bonaventure Alechenu Mark, Nigeria’s Senate President, is one of those extremely wealthy rogue soldiers produced by Ibrahim  Babangida’s  settlement philosophy. Fate has blessed him with an illustrious looting career. He has been stealing money from the Nigerian people for a very long time. When he got tired of stealing money, he graduated to loftier preoccupations: stealing elections. Thus, in one of those only in Nigeria self-destructive travesties, the occupant of the third highest office in the land actually never won any of the elections that got him to the National Assembly. Like others, he is a beneficiary of the PDP’s phenomenal rigging machine. He is openly pretending not to eye the presidency in 2015 but, deep down, he won’t mind adding tenancy in Aso Rock to his personal legacy of rigged elections. In the meantime, David Mark has graduated from stealing elections to being lucky.

Luck, for David Mark, is not about your head auspiciously making you the number two man to bosses destined to run into trouble or die along the way. Luck, for the Senate President, comes in the shape of a succession of overwhelming national tragedies which makes the personal transgressions of Nigeria’s political rapists pass unnoticed. Such has been the harvest of corpses lately in Nigeria, from Baga to Bama to Nassarawa and counting, that it would have been politically incorrect for anybody to pay attention to the regular but less violent ways in which the political class continues to kill more Nigerians than Boko Haram or armed robbers combined.

With Boko Haram, a hundred lives, two hundred lives, go out in a bang and photos of calcified bodies go viral on social media to remind us of the tragic errors of our national rendering. With every billion looted by a politician, thousands of lives go but not in a bang. They go smiling to their graves. They go installmentally. For every billion looted translates to hospitals and roads not built. There are no calcified images to show us that these thousands of slow, installmental, shuffering and smiling deaths are directly linked to the billions looted by a particular politician.

Hundreds of lives taken weekly in the blitzkrieg of Boko Haram, armed robbery, and our other national demons are more newsworthy and have more spectacle value on social media than the somber reality of hundreds of thousands walking deads on our streets, all candidates for the grave, because a politician has looted the money meant for hospitals, roads, and clean water provision. This is why luck shined on David Mark and another recent evidence of his brazen looting of our commonwealth went grossly under-reported and totally ignored by Nigerians.

Like most Nigerians, I nearly missed the news, partly because only one newspaper (Nigerian Tribune) considered it newsworthy and partly because I was distracted and anguished by other national tragedies associated with Boko Haram. Although, somehow, the editors of Nigerian Tribune did not consider it front page material, they still displayed enough critical acuity to give it an appropriately ominous headline in the Sunday, 12 May 2013 online edition of the newspaper. “3 Policemen, 5 Others Injured Over Proposed David Mark University”, screamed Nigerian Tribune.

Now, that caught my attention. Wait a minute, I thought, David Mark, a sitting Senate President, is building his own private University? How on earth did Sahara Reporters and Premium Times miss this story and the attendant necessity of investigating how David Mark is funding his University? The opening paragraph of the Tribune story confirmed my worst fears. Says Tribune: “No fewer than eight people, including three policemen, were said to have been injured in a clash between youths in Asa community area of Otukpo town inOtukpo Local Government Area of Benue State over the location of a private university owned by the Senate President, Senator David Mark. The youth were said to have converged on the Otukpo-Oju federal highway mid-week to protest what they described as unlawful acquisition of their land by the Senate President, while the policemen drafted to the area were said to have received stiff resistance from the youth. Efforts by policemen to disperse the youth were rebuffed, which reportedly left eight people, including three policemen, injured.” Like most things Nigerian, this piece of bad news comes in tangled layers. Tragic trees always fall on tragic trees in our situation and it is always a very difficult task determining which to remove first. So, we shall pretend not to notice that David Mark is also apparently involved in a messy land grab that has now caused injury to fellow Nigerians (poor Benue! When they are not robbed blind via contract rackets by Doyin Okupe, they are robbed silly by one of their unelected representatives in the Senate) and focus on the more sinister news of a salaried Senator funding a private University.

There is a sense in which David Mark’s venture into higher education (my dear brother, Tade Aina, Program Director of Higher Education in Africa for the Carnegie Corporation, must be gnashing his teeth in agony over the new meaning that politicians in his country are giving to higher education) reminds me of ace British colonialist empire builder, Cecil Rhodes.Starring at the heavens from his compound in South Africa onebeautiful evening, Rhodes famously exclaimed: “I would annex the planets if I could.” Just as Rhodes wanted no part of the solar system left uncolonized by the British, no part of our national life is left uncolonized by the loot of the political class.

For members of Nigeria’s political class, looting the treasury is no longer just about stealing money to rival the material acquisitions of Arab oil sheikhs in choice locations all over the world; it is no longer just about aping the glamorous lifestyle of Hollywood royalty, it has now acquired a psychological dimension with a tinge of impunity. Beyond material acquisition, loot creates the desire in the rapists of Nigeria to invade and make their odoriferous presence felt in those areas of national life which still provide some form of psychological cushion for the people. Thus, when the Nigerian politician or government official has acquired enough property in Abuja, Lagos, Dubai, Johannesburg, London, Washington, and Toronto; when he has acquired a private jet; when his fleet of expensive exotic cars in Nigeria makes his compound look like a car dealership; when he boasts a permanent year-round reserved room in Sheraton or Nicon Hilton, agony and restlessness set in.What to do next? Ah, yes, let me colonize other areas of life of Nigerians. Let me take my loot into other zones, other spaces that ordinarily ought to be inviolable.

This is the point at which they begin to invade and colonize faith. Thus far, only the traditional religions are safe from their depredations. They are not building ultramodern shrines yet forBabalawos and Dibias. Nigerian Christianity and Islam, on the other hand, have been very badly hit as I indicated in my open letter to John Cardinal Onaiyekan and Pastor Tunde Bakare. The loot of politicians and government officials has invaded Nigerian faith. They build churches (and mosques but mostly churches) and donate such glamorous buildings with fanfare. The Body of Christ in Nigeria has learnt that talking while eating from the hands of corrupt politicians is bad table manners. Thus, nobody asks any questions about the source of the funds when a politician builds and donates a church to a congregation. I am still waiting for the Nigerian Anglican Communion, especially the Anglican clergy, to ask Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, where he got the money to build a flamboyant church for the Anglican community in his village.

When they get tired of colonizing faith with their loot, they move on to colonize higher education, mushrooming private universities all over the place. The University idea ought to sue Nigeria for what we are doing to it. Just like we bastardized democracy, we are bastardizing the University idea. Every looter, every crook in Nigeria wants to start a private University after building a Church or a Mosque. Obasanjo built Bells University and we asked no questions. Ibrahim Babangidastarted Heritage University. His license was withdrawn by the NUC not because of questions over his sources of funds but because he delayed admitting students. Atiku Abubakar bought a franchise of the American University system while still in office as Vice President and we asked no questions about the sources of his funds. Now, a sitting Senate President has ventured into the same terrain and no questions are asked, no eyebrows raised anywhere in Nigeria. Next, a politician will wake up, create, and privately fund Nigeria’s 37th state and there will be no questions asked.

This is precisely what worries me: our transition into a society that no longer sees anything wrong with the bastardization of ideals and the violation of national psychic spaces by the criminals in the political class. Bring your loot into faith and try to buy God and Allah, no problem, we the clergy will broker the deal for you. Bring your loot into higher education and try to buy inviolable ideals, no problem, we won’t ask any questions about how and where you got your money. We have thus created a society in which there are no institutions primed to swing into action the moment public servants display expenditure beyond their determined salaries.

A US Congressman suddenly buying a Lamborghini or appearing in Congress in choice Ferragamo loafers everyday is asking for swift and immediate trouble with the IRS; a Canadian parliamentarian who suddenly buys the latest Range Rover in a country where most of his colleagues take public transport to work is asking for immediate and swift investigation by Canada Revenue Agency. If word got out that the Speaker of the House in Canada (David Mark’s counterpart in Ottawa) was privately building and funding a University in his village, Andrew Treusch, Commissioner of Revenue and Chief Executive Officer, Canada Revenue Agency, would have a heart attack.

However, in Nigeria, David Mark will steal the land he is busy stealing.

And build his private University.

Just like that!


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