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Posts tagged ‘Plateau State’

Plateau Boils Again: Two Herdsmen Killed, Over 100 Cattle Missing.


By Saharareporters, New York

Plateau State has witnessed another spate of violence as two Fulani herdsmen were killed today by unknown gunmen wielding sophisticated weapons. A security source in Jos, capital of Plateau State, disclosed the bloody turn of events to SaharaReporters. The attack occurred in Gero, a village close to Bukur in Jos South local government area.

The source added that the gunmen also stole over 100 cattle after killing the herdsmen. He added that the attackers escaped without being arrested by security agents.

Today’s development comes barely a week after more than 30 villagers were killed in the state by suspected Fulani militiamen. The casualties arose after Fulani militiamen launched attacks on some villages in the troubled Riyom local government area of the state.

According to our source, “There was an attack and two herdsmen were killed. We heard that over 100 cattle were stolen.” He added that security personnel were trailing the attackers.

All efforts by SaharaReporters to reach the state police command were unsuccessful. However, a police source in Bukur confirmed the incident.

Northern govs meet over oil exploration.


Northern-Elders-Forum

Thirteen northern governors, whose states falls under the regions’ sedimentary basin are set to meet today on how to kick start oil and gas exploration activities in the Inland Basin States.

Niger State governor, Dr. Babangida Aliyu, who is also the chairman of the Northern State Governors Forum, NSGF, will declare the meeting of the Association of Petroleum Inland Basin States of Northern Nigeria, APIBONN, open, according to a press statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Danladi Ndayebo.

The statement said Governor Aliyu in his capacity as the chairman of the forum has invited his counterparts whose states fall within the region’s sedimentary basin to direct their relevant commissioners to attend a meeting of the association in Minna, the Niger State capital.

 

The meeting, according to the statement, would enable them brainstorm on the modalities and action plan that would kick start and sustain oil and gas exploration activities in the north.

The forum said; “The meeting will fashion out strategies to harness the resources in Sokoto Basin, Chad Basin, Bida basin and Benue Trough, whose hydrocarbon contents are yet to be properly developed and estimated.”

The forum expressed support for the ongoing efforts by the Federal Government to explore oil in the sedimentary basin of northern Nigeria.

The Inland Basin States comprise of Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Gombe, Kogi, Kebbi, Niger and Sokoto States. Others are Zamfara, Kwara, Nasarawa, Taraba, Yobe and Plateau States.
by PRISCILLA DENNIS

Source: Radio Biafra.

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


 

By Frank Onia, PhD

The standard criteria for decisions on infrastructural deployment include need, available resources, competing demands for finite resources, alignment with related infrastructure, incubatory foundation for progressive deployment, social benefits, political patronage, economic benefits, minimization of stress and hardship for the citizens, potentials for stimulating overall economic development, balancing considerations, replacement of obsolete infrastructure, need to embrace emerging and efficient technology, etc, etc. When viewed from an objective prism and against the backdrop of the itemized criteria above, it is long overdue to replace the Niger Bridge at Onitsha, which has verifiably and universally been identified as a deathtrap. This bridge was constructed in 1963, and is the ONLY link between the South-East of Nigeria and the rest of the country (towards the West). This bridge serves as the ONLY access point to Anambra, Imo, Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Benue, and Plateau States, when you approach from Lagos, and, indeed, all the states that formerly constituted the Western and mid-Western Regions, as well as from Abuja and segments of the North.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Jonathan To Complete Plateau – Bauchi Railway In February, while none whatsoever exists in his Homeland Biafra.


 

Bauchi railway

The rehabilitation of the railway line from Kuru station in Plateau State to Bauchi station would be completed at the end of February, 2014, Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar has said.Umar said this yesterday during the inspection tour of the rehabilitation of the rail lines in Kafanchan District of Nigerian Railway, which covers some parts of Kaduna, Plateau, Nasarawa and Benue States.According to him, the inspection visit was to see the progress of work on the rehabilitation of rail tracks, to identify areas of challenges and interact with contractors on the achievement of milestones within the stipulated time.“We have the commitment of the contractors that between now and end February the track between Kuru and Bauchi will be ready,” he added.The minister stated that the federal government was assiduously working on the Port Harcourt – Maiduguri line to ensure that the entire line is completed by the middle of this year.According to him, the railway from Apapa port in Lagos to Kaduna, and to Kano, was already operational as people and freight were being conveyed on daily basis. He expressed government’s desire to replicate such feat in all parts of the country.During the visit, the minister gave directive for a survey to be carried out from Heipang Railway Station to the Inland Container Depot at near Heipang town, for a possible construction of a spur to link the depot.He said the idea was to ensure that when constructed, goods could be transported through the rail to the depot and from the depot to through rail to other parts of the country.Speaking further the minister disclosed that seven standard gauge rail lines were being constructed across the country in order to boost rail transportation.He stated that the federal government was committed to reviving the railway system as it was in the past even one of best means of transportation.

Source: Radio Biafra.

“Obasanjo Responsible for the PDP Crisis”.


Agabus Pwanagba, Jos

A former Military Administrator of Delta State and a Gubernatorial Aspirant in the 2007 elections in Plateau State, Col. John Dungs (Rtd) has blamed former President Olusegun Obasanjo for the ongoing crisis in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo

He told African Examinerin Jos that the 5 PDP Governors that recently defected to the All Progressive Congress are misled by the precedence set by Obasanjo.

His words: “Former President Olusegun Obasanjo is the person who laid the foundation for this problem, the present crisis started during his regime, when he forcefully removed Audu Ogbe as the National Chairman of PDP.

“Obasanjo said he was a party leader and told the governors that they should be leaders in their various States.

“For goodness sake, whether you are a President or Governor, you are a product of the party, it is the party that produces you, so you should allow the party’s supremacy and allow the party to dictate the tune.

“It is the party that made these people (governors) but today, they have become ‘demi gods’.

“But you can see President Goodluck Jonathan giving the National PDP Chairman, BamangaTukur his place as the Chairman but it’s unfortunate the Governors are refusing, they don’t want to relinquish that power which they have acquired.

“Some Governors are even removing Local Government Chairmen.  What will happen if the local government Chairmen said ok, we will also remove you as a Governor?

“What the governors don’t want to be done to them, instead they are doing it to the local government chairmen. That is not the way to run democratic system of government.

Dungs also recalled that Obasanjo set the precedence of hand picking gubernatorial candidates without conducting primaries and forcing them on people, an action, he believes also aided the current crisis in the ruling PDP.

Source: African Examiner.

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.

Gunmen Strike In Southern Kaduna.


By Saharareporters, New York

A security agent told SaharaReporters late Saturday evening that unknown gunmen had just launched an armed attack on residents of a village close to Zonkwa in Zangon Kataf local government area of Kaduna State.

Our source said the gunmen attacked the village with guns and other dangerous weapons, and then quickly escaped once security agents arrived in response to a distress call.

Details of casualties were still scanty, but our source disclosed he was aware that one person had died while several persons had been rushed to hospital with different degrees of injuries.

The attack came with a few days to Christmas. More than 100 villagers have been killed this year in Attakar land near the boundaries between Kaduna and Plateau States.

The Commissioner of Police, Olufemi Adenaike, neither picked nor returned calls made from our New York office.

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