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Posts tagged ‘Northern Nigeria’

Side effects of greed or anti-Jonathan: VP Sambo walks on the tightrope as Hausa elders compile ‘sins’ for him.


 

VP sambo

LEADERS of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the North-West geopolitical zone are said have prepared a list of the ‘sins’ of Vice-President Namadi Sambo which they will soon present to President Goodluck Jonathan.
Indications to this emerged following the anger among stakeholders in the zone in the aftermath of the visit to President Jonathan on Thursday.
Sources hinted Sunday Tribune that the leaders are of the view that Sambo was more of “a liability than a blessing to Jonathan” in his quest to get support in the North-West.
Although, the spokesman of North-West PDP leaders, former Acting National Chairman, Dr. Haliru Mohammed, had told President Jonathan during the solidarity visit, it was gathered that stakeholders in the zone gathered after the meeting and resolved to present a list of Sambo’s sins to the president to enable him get to the roots of the crisis in the zone.
One of the sins of the vice-president is what the leaders called his failure to carry the North along in the government. He is also being accused of staying aloof on the issue of Boko Haram and making it look like a Jonathan problem.
Another sin is what was called failure to be an active vice-president, thus, making the North go with the impression that the administration has left the zone behind.
“The vice-president has not played an active role in the Boko Hara crisis. It is unfortunate that he allowed the whole thing to look as if it is a Jonathan problem. His handlers allowed him to be aloof while the zone is yearning for leadership.
“He appeared unconcerned and he might not have raised a finger, if not that the crisis hit Kaduna State,” a source with insights into the document prepared by the party leaders said.
Another source, however, stated that the leaders are not only seeking Sambo’s ouster, but also insisting that President Jonathan gets an independent assessment of the situation in the North-West.
“The North-West seems left to wander and our people are of the view that if we have an active vice-president, the problems of insurgency would have been isolated. We want the president to find out the true situation. We want him to get to the root of the matter and we are already working on how to see him and give him a true picture of the North-West,” a source in the party said.

by  Taiwo Adisa – Abuja

Side effects of greed or anti-Jonathan: VP Sambo walks on the tightrope as Hausa elders compile ‘sins’ forhim.

Source: Radio Biafra.

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North responsible for Jonathan’s failure – Alamieyeseigha.


 

Alamieyeseigha

Diepreye Peter Solomon Alamieyeseigha
NATIONAL MIRROR – Former governor of Bayelsa State, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, yesterday warned that the failure of the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan would amount to the failure of the North. Alamieyeseigha made this declaration on Friday in Abuja during the award given to the chairman of HMG Oil and Gas, Alhaji Hamza Mohammed by Arewa Youth Forum
According to the former governor who was the chairman of the occasion, Jonathan was surrounded by northerners placed in strategic positions, hence the failure of the present administration should be blamed on the northerners in office.
His words: “If you look at the structure of this country, those that have made it happen, those in the driver’s seat, President Goodluck Jonathan is only one person. One out of so many around him; and quickly, the next person to him is the vice president. He is from the North.
The third person is the Senate President; he is also from the North. The head of the judiciary is also from the North. The Inspector- General of Police is also from the North. The Chief of Defence Staff, the Chief of Air Staff, the Comptroller- General, Customs, the National Security Adviser, Comptroller-General, Immigration, CBN Governor, INEC Chairman, EFCC Chairman. I can keep counting. Tell me, which office is left?
They are all from the North. So, if this government fails, the north has failed. Not only Goodluck Jonathan from a small state called Bayelsa State.” Alamieyeseigha also blamed the economic misfortune of the nation on former leaders of the northern part of the country, whom he said had failed to develop their region despite the privilege to do so. He said: “As a child, I am 61, so I have a fair knowledge of this country.
I went to Defence Academy; I also have fair knowledge of the North. Most of their leaders, I am directing it to the Northerners. All their houses are in Kaduna, Abuja, Lagos. Go to their villages, they don’t even have houses in their villages, but they have parents left behind, no water, no electricity. Because they are enjoying urbanisation, they have forgotten where they come from. “Leadership has been with some of them. If they have used the resources of this country in developing our rural areas, we won’t be talking about this level of poverty in our remote areas.”
While describing the awardee who was honoured with “Medal of Fellow of Northern Youths” as young promising leader, detribalised and an embodiment of professional qualities, he expressed optimism that there was hope for Nigeria should her youths be groomed to overcome her present challenges.
Alamieyeseigha also scolded opposition parties for welcoming members of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP. “These are some of the persons that are talking, making nonsense of themselves. They are saying that PDP is bad. It is not a party that people should belong to. But the opposition, when PDP members defect to their so called opposition party, they celebrate.

They are happy getting those people that are not good to join them. There is no hope, if they are not thinking of better persons to transform this country but the same people that have failed.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Nigeria at 100: Don’t take our unity for granted —Atiku.


 

 
atiku-northen-gov-01

On the occasion of  the country’s centenary, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, yesterday, called on Nigerians not to take the continued unity of the country for granted even as he cautioned against distractions that could impede the future prosperity of the nation.Atiku, in his centenary message to the country, urged Nigerians to look above the structural fragments that divide the nation, saying that the victims of the ineptitude leadership were neither divided by ethnicity, tribe nor religion.
He lamented that 40 years after the civil war, the country’s leaders could still be playing ethnic and religious games to gain power.He said: ”As we mark the centenary celebration of the amalgamation of the Lagos colony with the Northern and Southern Protectorates by the British Colonial occupier forming one country, Nigerians need to pat each other on the back for we have truly come a long way. However, we must redouble our efforts towards building a stronger and more united Nigeria rather than concentrating energies on division or breakup.”The recent clamour by some of Nigeria’s leaders for a renegotiation of the continued being of Nigeria are dishonest and an unnecessary distraction from the future that we can build. Such leaders need to concentrate their efforts on tackling the challenges ranging from lack of security to addressing poverty and unemployment through infrastructural investments.“The victims of structural ineptitude are not distinguished on the basis of their ethnicity, tribe, religion or region. It is also a truism that both the perpetrators and their victims are Nigerians, and secession  will not fix these woes.Rather, if our leaders devoted more energy to dealing with these basic challenges facing the ordinary Nigerians, ethnic and religious differences would have sunk to the background as people are able to focus on opportunities available to them.”

Source: Radio Biafra.

Obi Appraises Jonathan Instead of self, Says He performed well in 2013.


 

Gov-Peter-Obi-002

Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi, has given a pass mark to the performance of President Goodluck Jonathan in 2013.Obi said the present national administration deserves commendation, as it has made positive impact on the lives of the people since inception.He therefore, called on all Nigerians to give the president total support in 2014 to enable him improve on his transformation agenda.Obi, who stated this while fielding questions from journalists in Awka on New Year day, also listed areas in which Jonathan has done tremendously well.His words: “The President has done very well. He is trying to introduce a new order and the so much bickering as we hear are mostly from those resisting the new order; most of them being those that benefited from the old order.“Look at the power sector; the President has succeeded in unbundling the area and I bet you, in a few years, we shall see the effect and at that time, he will surely go down in history as one of the best presidents Nigeria has ever had.”Obi, speaking further, also compared past governors and the present ones, observing that governance was improving by the day in the country.“In the South-East, for instance, riding from the airport through Enugu, reveal commendable progress. The same with visits to Umuahia and Abakaliki.“Even among our neighbours, Delta has changed a lot; Akwa Ibom is no longer the same; in Cross Rivers and Bayelsa, one sees efforts to provide democracy dividends to the people. I knew what Benin and Akure used to be and what they are now,” Obi added.

Source: Radio Biafra.
By Wale Odunsi

President Jonathan: My Government Created 1.6 Million Jobs In 2013.


By SaharaReporters, New York

In what appears to be an election campaign statement to rebut those who say his government has failed, President Jonathan has in a New Year message to Nigerians rolled out a list of his “achievements” in the past year.

Among them, he claimed his government may have been responsible for an astounding 1.6 million jobs in 2013 alone, but did not clarify where the jobs were filled.

“Our national budget for 2014 which is now before the National Assembly is specifically targeted at job creation and inclusive growth,” he said.

“We are keenly aware that in spite of the estimated 1.6 million new jobs created across the country in the past 12 months as a result of our actions and policies, more jobs are still needed to support our growing population. Our economic priorities will be stability and equitable growth, building on the diverse sectors of our economy.”

Mr. Jonathan did not say anything about the challenge of leading by example, and only referred to corruption and bad governance, which his critics claim he is nurturing in the country, in passing.

“I urge all Nigerians, no matter their stations in life, to rededicate themselves to contributing meaningfully to further enrich our national heritage.  The time for that re-dedication is now, not tomorrow,” he said, referring to the 2014 being Nigeria’s centenary year.

He reiterated that the amalgamation of 1914 was a blessing rather than a mistake, and called on Nigerians as they celebrate the landmark, to continue to work together to be “even greater” as one, united people.

“Whatever challenges we may have faced, whatever storms we may have confronted and survived, Nigeria remains a truly blessed country, a country of gifted men and women who continue to distinguish themselves in all spheres of life, a country whose diversity remains a source of strength.  We pay tribute today, as always to our founding fathers and mothers, and all the heroes and heroines whose toil and sweat over the century made this country what it is today.”

On the issue of peace and security in the country, he said his government will do more in 2014 to further empower the security agencies who are working in collaborative partnerships with its friends in the international community to stem the scourge of terrorism in our country, adding that the allocation of over N600 Billion to Defence and Policing in the 2014 Budget attests to this commitment.

Mr. Jonathan also highlighted, among others:

•    The commencement of the National Industrial Revolution Plan in 2013, aimed at industrializing Nigeria and diversifying our economy into sectors such as agro-processing, light manufacturing, and petrochemicals;

•    Nigeria has moved from a country that produced 2 million metric tonnes of cement in 2002 to a country that now has a capacity of 28.5 million metric tonnes; for the first time becoming a net exporter of cement;

•    A revolution in the agricultural sector, where 4.2 million farmers obtained their fertilizers and seeds directly through an e-wallet in 2013;

•    Nigeria produced over 8 million metric tonnes of additional food in 2013 and inflation fell to its lowest level since 2008 partly as a result, the nation’s food import bill reducing from N1.1 trillion in 2011 to N648 billion in 2012;

•    Between 2007 and 2013, the government has almost tripled the allocation for education from N224 billion to N634 billion; and

•    Nigeria is building strong safety nets and improving access to primary health care under the Saving One Million Lives programme, and in 2013 recruited 11,300 frontline health workers who were deployed to under-served communities across the country.

Mr. Jonathan promised that in 2014, his government will continue to prioritize investments in key sectors such as infrastructure development, power, roads, rail transportation and aviation.

“We shall boost investments in transmission to ensure power generated is properly evacuated and distributed,” he said.  “In this regard, we have already mobilized an additional $1.5 billion for the upgrade of the transmission network in 2014 and beyond.  Government will also strengthen regulation of the sector, and closely monitor electricity delivery to increase this beyond 18 hours per day. We will complete the privatization of the NIPP projects, accelerate work on our gas pipeline infrastructure and also continue to invest in hydro-electric power and clean energy as we monitor the effects of climate change on our economy.”

He said his administration believes that the cost of governance in the country is still too high and must be further reduced, and would therefore take additional steps to stem the tide of corruption and leakages, including curtailing foreign travel by government personnel will be further curtailed.
He did not say how he would recover public faith in his government that has been shattered by his refusal to declare his assets publicly, his protection of corrupt government Ministers and the state pardon granted to his corrupt friends, all being elements that are known to curtail or compromise every government’s best initiatives.

Full text of the statement:

NEW YEAR MESSAGE TO THE NATION FROM PRESIDENT GOODLUCK EBELE JONATHAN, GCFR
DECEMBER 31, 2013
Dear Compatriots,
I greet and felicitate with you all as we enter the year 2014 which promises to be a momentous one for our country for several reasons, including the fact that it is also the year of our great nation’s centenary celebrations. I join you all in giving thanks to God Almighty for guiding us and our beloved nation safely through all the challenges of the outgoing year to the beginning of 2014.

Exactly 100 years ago today, on January 1, 1914, the British Colonial authorities amalgamated what was then the separate Protectorates of Southern Nigeria and Northern Nigeria, giving birth to the single geopolitical entity known as Nigeria.  For us therefore, today is not just the beginning of a new year, but the end of a century of national existence and the beginning of another. It is a moment for sober reflection and for pride in all that is great about Nigeria.

Whatever challenges we may have faced, whatever storms we may have confronted and survived, Nigeria remains a truly blessed country, a country of gifted men and women who continue to distinguish themselves in all spheres of life, a country whose diversity remains a source of strength.  We pay tribute today, as always to our founding fathers and mothers, and all the heroes and heroines whose toil and sweat over the century made this country what it is today.

As I noted, a few days ago, the amalgamation of 1914 was certainly not a mistake but a blessing.  As we celebrate 100 years of nationhood, we must resolve to continue to work together as one, united people, to make our country even greater.

I assure you that our administration remains fully committed to the progressive development of our country and the consolidation of peace, unity and democratic governance in our fatherland. Despite several continuing domestic and global challenges, for us in Nigeria, the year 2013 witnessed many positive developments which we will strive to build upon in 2014.

We have diligently carried forward the purposeful and focused implementation of our agenda for national transformation in priority areas such as power, the rehabilitation and expansion of national infrastructure, agricultural development, education and employment generation.

You may recall that our 2013 Budget was on the theme, “Fiscal Consolidation with Inclusive Growth”, and I emphasized the need for us to “remain prudent with our fiscal resources and also ensure that the Nigerian economy keeps growing and creating jobs”. I am pleased to report that we have stayed focused on this goal.

Our national budget for 2014 which is now before the National Assembly is specifically targeted at job creation and inclusive growth. We are keenly aware that in spite of the estimated 1.6 million new jobs created across the country in the past 12 months as a result of our actions and policies, more jobs are still needed to support our growing population. Our economic priorities will be stability and equitable growth, building on the diverse sectors of our economy.

In 2013, we commenced implementation of the National Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) aimed at industrializing Nigeria and diversifying our economy into sectors such as agro-processing, light manufacturing, and petrochemicals. We have also negotiated a strong Common External Tariff (CET) agreement with our ECOWAS partners which would enable us to protect our strategic industries where necessary.

I am pleased to note that as a result of our backward integration policies, Nigeria has moved from a country that produced 2 million metric tonnes of cement in 2002, to a country that now has a capacity of 28.5 million metric tonnes. For the first time in our history, we have moved from being a net importer of cement to a net exporter. Foreign direct investment into Nigeria has also been strong. In fact, for the second year running, the UN Conference on Trade and Development has named Nigeria as the number 1 destination for investments in Africa.

We are witnessing a revolution in the agricultural sector and the results are evident. We have tackled corruption in the input distribution system as many farmers now obtain their fertilizers and seeds directly through an e-wallet system. In 2013, 4.2 million farmers received subsidized inputs via this programme. This scheme has restored dignity to our farmers.

Last year we produced over 8 million metric tonnes of additional food; and this year, inflation fell to its lowest level since 2008 partly due to higher domestic food production. Our food import bill has also reduced from N1.1 trillion in 2011, to N648 billion in 2012, placing Nigeria firmly on the path to food self-sufficiency.

The sector is also supporting more jobs. Last year, we produced 1.1 million metric tonnes of dry season rice across 10 Northern states; and over 250,000 farmers and youths in these States are now profitably engaged in farming even during the dry season.
This Administration is also developing our water resources which are key for both our food production and job creation goals. In 2013, we completed the construction of nine dams which increased the volume of our water reservoirs by 422 million cubic metres.  Through our irrigation and drainage programme, we have increased the total irrigated area by over 31,000 hectares creating jobs for over 75,000 farming families while increasing production of over 400,000 metric tons of assorted irrigated food products.

Fellow Compatriots, I have always believed that the single greatest thing we can do to ensure all Nigerians realize their potential and play a full part in our nation’s future, is to invest in education. The education of our young people is a key priority for this Government. We take this responsibility very seriously and I urge all other stakeholders in the sector to recognize the national importance of their work, and to help advance the cause of education in our nation.

Between 2007 and 2013, we have almost tripled the allocation for education from N224 billion to N634 billion – and we will continue to vigorously support the sector. We have improved access to education in the country with the construction of 125 Almajiri schools, and the establishment of three additional Federal Universities in the North, bringing to twelve, the number of universities established by this administration.

In 2013, we rehabilitated 352 laboratories and constructed 72 new libraries in the Federal Unity Schools; and also rehabilitated laboratories of all the 51 Federal and State polytechnics across the country.

In the Health sector, we are building strong safety nets and improving access to primary health care under the Saving One Million Lives programme. In 2013, we recruited 11,300 frontline health workers who were deployed to under-served communities across the country. Over 400,000 lives have been saved through our various interventions. We have reached over 10,000 women and children with conditional cash transfer programmes across 8 States and the FCT and we intend to scale up this successful initiative.

Our national immunization coverage has exceeded 80%. And for the first time in the history of the country there has not been any transmission of the Type-3 Wild Polio virus for more than one year.We have also eradicated the guinea worm that previously affected the lives of over 800,000 Nigerians yearly. In tertiary health care, we upgraded medical facilities across the country. Two of our teaching hospitals – the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital in Enugu, and the University College Hospital in Ibadan – commenced open heart surgeries this year after the installation of new facilities.

Fellow Nigerians, I have dwelt on some of our administration’s achievements in 2013 to reassure you that we are working and results are being achieved on the ground. As we enter our Centennial year, there is still much work ahead. We are determined to sustain our strong macroeconomic fundamentals, to strengthen our domestic institutions, and to invest in priority sectors. These investments will create more jobs for our youth. Government will at the same time, continue to scale-up investments in safety nets and the MDGs to take care of the poor and the vulnerable so that they too can share in our growth and prosperity.

In 2014, we will continue to prioritize investments in key sectors such as  infrastructure development, power, roads, rail transportation and aviation. In the past year, the Federal Government completed the privatization of four power generation companies and 10 power distribution companies. We are also in the process of privatizing 10 power plants under the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP).
We shall boost investments in transmission to ensure power generated is properly evacuated and distributed. In this regard, we have already mobilized an additional $1.5 billion for the upgrade of the transmission network in 2014 and beyond.  Government will also strengthen regulation of the sector, and closely monitor electricity delivery to increase this beyond 18 hours per day. We will complete the privatization of the NIPP projects, accelerate work on our gas pipeline infrastructure and also continue to invest in hydro-electric power and clean energy as we monitor the effects of climate change on our economy.

Our administration believes that the cost of governance in the country is still too high and must be further reduced. We will also take additional steps to stem the tide of corruption and leakages. We have worked hard to curb fraud in the administration of the pension system and the implementation of the petroleum subsidy scheme. We have introduced a Pensions Transition Arrangement Department under a new Director-General. This department will now ensure that those of our pensioners still under the old scheme receive their pensions and gratuities, and are not subjected to fraud. Prosecution of all those involved in robbing our retired people will continue. The Petroleum Subsidy Scheme is also now being operated under new strict guidelines to tackle previous leakages in the scheme and prevent fraud.

Foreign travel by government personnel will be further curtailed. This directive shall apply to all Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government. Our strategy to curb leakages will increasingly rely on introducing the right technologies such as biometrics and digitizing government payments.

I am therefore pleased to inform you that we shall complete the deployment of the three electronic platforms in 2014 – namely, theTreasury Single Account (TSA), theGovernment Integrated Financial Management Information System(GIFMIS) and the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) – which are all geared towards improving efficiency and transparency in our public finances. Through these reforms, we have already saved about N126 billion in leaked funds and intend to save more.

To sustain Nigeria’s ongoing agricultural transformation, we have planned further investments in the sector. We will provide input subsidies to five million farmers nationwide using the e-wallet system.  This Administration recently launched a self-employment initiative under theYouth Employment in Agriculture Programme (YEAP), called the Nagropreneur programme. This scheme would encourage our youth to go into commercial agriculture as entrepreneurs and we plan to develop over 750,000 youngNagropreneurs by 2015.

We will also establish new agro-industrial clusters to complement the staple crop processing zones being developed across the country.In 2014, this Administration will continue to work with the private sector to improve financing in the agricultural sector. For example, we will launch the Fund for Agricultural Finance in Nigeria(FAFIN) which will serve as a private equity fund to invest in agri-businesses across the country.

Our Small and Medium scale enterprises (SMEs) will be the bedrock of Nigeria’s industrialization. We have about 17 million registered SMEs, and they employ over 32 million Nigerians. When our SMEs grow, more jobs will be created for our youth. Therefore, in 2014, this Administration will focus strongly on implementing the Nigeria Enterprise Development Programme (NEDEP) to address the needs of small businesses. Our interventions will include helping SMEs with access to affordable finance, business development services, and youth training. In addition, our new CET policies will enable us to support our emerging industries.

We will also intensify our investment promotion efforts abroad, to ensure we bring the biggest and best companies from around the world to invest in Nigeria.

Dear Compatriots, the housing and construction industry is a critical sector in most developed economies. When the housing sector booms, it creates additional jobs for architects and masons, for electricians and plumbers, for painters and interior decorators, and for those in the cement and furniture industries.

Today, I am pleased to inform you that this Administration is reinvigorating our housing and construction sector. We have established the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) which will increase liquidity in the housing sector, provide a secondary market for mortgages, and thereby increase the number of people able to purchase or build homes at an affordable price in the country.

In 2014, we will work in a number of pilot states where the State Governors have agreed to provide fast-track land titles, foreclosure arrangements, and serviced plots. This new institution will enable us to create over 200,000 mortgages over the next five years at affordable interest rates. In addition, those at the lower end of the economic ladder will not be left behind as this new initiative will expand mass housing schemes through a re-structured Federal Mortgage Bank and other institutions to provide rent-to-own and lease-to-own options. I am confident that very soon, many more hardworking Nigerian families will be able to realize their dream of owning a home.

In this our centenary year, we will continue our efforts, through theSaving One Million Lives initiative to strengthen primary health care services. We will scale up interventions in reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health, nutrition, routine immunization, HIV/AIDS, malaria elimination, tuberculosis, neglected tropical diseases, and non-communicable diseases. We will pay greater attention to the provision of universal health coverage. Besides the implementation of new initiatives such as my comprehensive response plan for HIV/AIDS, we shall continue to collaborate with global health partners to deliver our health sector transformation agenda.

I am glad that the issues responsible for the long-drawn ASUU strike have been resolved and our children are returning to their campuses. We are committed to making our tertiary institutions true centers of learning for our young people. We will therefore focus on upgrading hostels, laboratories, classrooms, and halls.  As the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals approaches, we will continue to expand access to basic education for all Nigerian children. Working with State Governments, we shall decisively tackle the problem of the large numbers of out-of-school children in this country. We will also invest in technical and vocational education to promote skills development for our youth across the country.

Nigerian entrepreneurs still lack access to affordable financing, with medium-to-long-term tenors. To address this gap, a new wholesale development finance institution will be established in 2014 to provide medium-to long-term financing for Nigerian businesses. We are working with partners such as the World Bank, the Africa Development Bank, the BNDES Bank in Brazil, and KfW in Germany, to realize this project. Our existing Bank of Agriculture and Bank of Industry will be re-structured as specialized institutions to retail financing from this new wholesale development bank.

In addition to the foregoing, our administration will also do all within its powers to ensure the success of the forthcoming National Conference. The report of the Presidential Advisory Committee on the Conference is undergoing urgent review and the approved structure, guidelines and modalities for the conference will soon be published as a prelude to its commencement and expeditious conclusion.

It remains our sincere hope and expectation that the success of the national conference will further enhance national unity, peace and cohesion as we move ahead to the 2015 general elections.

In keeping with our avowed commitment to progressively enhancing the credibility of Nigeria’s electoral process by consistently upholding the principle of one man, one vote, our Administration will also ensure that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) receives all required support to ensure that it is adequately prepared for the next general elections.

As peace and security remain prerequisite conditions for the full realization of our objectives, we will also do more in 2014 to further empower our security agencies who are working in collaborative partnerships with our friends in the international community to stem the scourge of terrorism in our country and enhance the security of lives and property in all parts of Nigeria. The allocation of over N600 Billion to Defence and Policing in the 2014 Budget attests to this commitment.

Fellow compatriots, the task of making our dear nation a much better place for present and future generations cannot be left to government alone. I therefore urge you all to be ready and willing to do more this year to support the implementation of the Federal Government’s Agenda for National Transformation in every possible way.

Let us all therefore resolve as we celebrate the new year, and Nigeria’s Centenary, to place the higher interests of national unity, peace, stability and progress above all other considerations and work harder in our particular fields of human endeavour to contribute more significantly to the attainment of our collective aspirations. I urge all Nigerians, no matter their stations in life, to rededicate themselves to contributing meaningfully to further enrich our national heritage. The time for that re-dedication is now, not tomorrow.

I wish you all a happy and rewarding 2014. God bless Nigeria. Happy New Year.

Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR
President,
Federal Republic of Nigeria
December 31, 2013

Letter Writing Politics Reaches Kaduna, Associate Writes Sambo Over Crumbling PDP.


By SaharaReporters, New York

The letter writing politics has reached Northern Nigeria as a strong member of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the region Engr. Umar Gana wrote Vice President Namadi Sambo an open letter cautioning him to wake up from slumber and save crumbling PDP in the North. And also tackle serious issues as the region slips away to rival All Progressive Congress (APC).

SaharaReporters obtained a copy of the letter dated 9th December, 2013, from a prominent member who chairs a leading Federal Government agency in Abuja.

The letter was addressed to Sambo was copied to National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, Chief Tony Anenih chair PDP Board of Trustees and President Goodluck Jonathan through his Chief of Staff.

Gana in the letter publicly tell Sambo that he is incapable of addressing the creeping collapse of the PDP in the North West Zone and Kaduna State, which he draws immediate attention of Jonathan in view of its being the largest and most populated zone in the country with 28% to 30% of entire voters in the country going by 2011 figures.

He was also quoted in the open letter as saying that, Governor Mukhtar Yero of Kaduna state has skewed misunderstanding of the dangers ahead in their home state of Kaduna, saying, “To me, there is a crucial need for collective concerted efforts to salvage the situation. Otherwise, giving our past ugly experience, we have no alternative than either to join the APC or flee for our dear lives, including the lives of the members of our immediate and extended families.”

Sharia Implementation in Northern Nigeria: An Asset or a Liability? By Leo Igwe.


By Leo Igwe

Today, criticizing Islam has become a dangerous undertaking even when such criticisms are warranted. Islamic clerics and intellectuals freely voice out their oppositions and criticisms of other religions or moral philosophies to the extent of inciting violence and hatred of whoever they perceive to be an ‘enemy’ of Islam. But anyone who dares point out the abuses and crimes being committed in the name of Mohammedan religion risks being accused of blasphemy or islamophobia- a term recently coined by those who want to make criticizing Islam a crime around the globe.

Such accusations make a critic of Islam look like a criminal. They make the fellow an endorsed target for murder and elimination by the ubiquitous foot soldiers of Allah, seeking slots in paradise.This development has created a climate of impunity and apprehension in many places as Muslim extremists rampage, kill, maim, loot and destroy in furtherance of their own interpretation of Islam, Sharia and the will of Allah.

So what we have in many countries is a situation where local authorities and governments turn a blind eye on atrocities being committed by Islamist because they do not want to offend Muslim sensibilities. They do not want to be portrayed as anti-Islam.

One such place where Islamic extremism is raging and wrecking havoc is northern Nigeria. Most parts of northern Nigeria are currently under siege from fanatics, jihadists and theocrats with competing and conflicting ideas of Sharia implementation and Islamic state. To put the situation into perspective, a brief historical background  is helpful here.

Shortly after Nigeria‘s return to civil rule in 1999, Muslim majority states in the north imposed Sharia law.  The process was marked by bloody clashes between Muslims and Christians in states with significant number of non Muslims like in Kaduna and Bauchi, Many lives were lost. Many people were displaced and property destroyed. At the end of the day, Sharia ruled -fully or partially- in many of the states. Right now the situation remains volatile. Tension and unease calm reign across the region. Hatred, division and suspicion caused by the introduction of Sharia law is not going away too soon. At the beginning of Sharia implementation, governments in these states assured the people that the law would not apply to non Muslims; that the law was for Muslims only. But this is not the case today. Most Sharia implementing states have become full fledged Islamic states where non Muslims are treated as second class citizens. In fact many Sharia implementing states have made Islam a state religion and promotion of Islam a state business.

Recently the government of Katsina state voted to spend 359 million in building mosques in 34 local councils in the states. Building mosques? What is the business of the Katsina state with building mosques? What makes building mosques in local councils a priority today? Is that how the government is tackling poverty and unemployment in the state?

Meanwhile in Kano state, Sharia implementation is getting serious nowadays. Kano state has a state funded Sharia police called Hisbah. Hisbah have been very active in the state. The Sharia police have literally usurped the role and duties of state police. They enforce Sharia law in ways that flagrantly violate the constitutional rights of non Muslims as well as Muslims. Apart from compelling- and teaching- Muslims to fast during the month of Ramadan, Hisbah arbitrarily arrest and detain those whom they perceive to be prostitutes or homosexuals. They clamp down on the sale and drinking of alcohol.

Not too long ago, the sharia police destroyed  over 240,000 bottles of beer as part of its latest crackdown on ‘immoral practices’ in the state. Some of these goods belong to non Muslims or are for consumption by non Muslims. Who says that sharia implementation does not apply to non Muslims?

Sharia states have also been funding the propagation of Islam in the country. Two governors of sharia implementing states- Sokoto and Bauchi- were among those who gave cash rewards to mainly Igbos who converted to Islam in Abuja National Mosque. Couldn’t they have made better use of this money in developing there respective states? What is the business of state governors with the conversion of people from Christianity to Islam or vice versa?

Some of the reasons advanced for the Islamic insurgency in northern Nigeria are poverty, unemployment and marginalization of northern states. But here is a situation where the so called poor and marginalized states have enough money to waste building mosques and rewarding converts to Islamic religion. Is that really a wise way of spending or investing the scarce resources of these poor states? Today Sharia states have two layers of policing and court system. The Sharia layer of police and court is funded by the state government. Is that not a waste of limited resources?

The time has come for Sharia implementing states to call their politicians to order. They need to divest from state funding of Sharia and invest in building schools, colleges and skill acquisition centers. Sharia states should invest in schemes that create jobs, tackle poverty and empower the people; schemes that address the development needs of persons of all faiths and none.  Sharia implementing states should check the activities of Hisbah and other quasi Sharia policing organs in the region. These groups are spreading Islam-based hatred, fear and intolerance.If as they say, there is no compulsion in Islam, then there is no need for Sharia police at least in indigent Muslim majority states in northern Nigeria. Sharia agitators declared in 1999 that the destiny and development of Muslim majority states was tied to Sharia implementation. Going by the developments in northern Nigeria since then, one may ask: Is Sharia implementation now an asset or a liability?.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

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