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Looking For Jobs, Finding Death – By Femi Fani-Kayode.


By Femi Fani-Kayode

Whether anyone likes to accept it or not the bitter truth is that 80 per cent of our GRADUATES are unemployed in Nigeria today whilst 51 per cent of our PEOPLE are also unemployed. As a frightful and grave consequence of these shocking statistics, which I happen to believe may well be a world record in terms of unemployment, a terrible tragedy occurred in Abuja and other parts of our country on 16th March 2014.

Approximately 68,000 of our youths gathered at the National Stadium in Abuja for an aptitude test for just 3000 jobs in the Immigration Service. 10 of those children were killed in a stampede whilst looking for those jobs. It did not stop there. Another 20,000 youths gathered in the stadium at Port Harcourt, Rivers state for aptitude tests for the same 3000 jobs and there was another stampede there as well in which 4 of their colleagues were killed and four more were so badly wounded that they remain in a coma up until now.

Similar gatherings for the same Immigration aptitude test took place in cities all over the country all for the same 3000 jobs and three young pregnant girls together with three male youths were killed in a similar stampede at the stadium in Minna, Niger state.

The only crime that all these children that were either killed, maimed or injured in these horrific stampedes in the stadiums of all these cities like Abuja, Port Harcourt, Minna, Lagos, Kano, Kaduna, Benin and elsewhere had committed was to try to get a job, to fight for a better life for themselves and to try to secure their future. What a tragedy.

One day Nigerians will appreciate the importance of facts, figures and statistics and the consequences of tolerating atrocious, lousy, insensitive and unaccountable governments. They will also understand the implications of having a government that has no qualms about taking advantage of the pitiful plight of it’s own youths and citizens and scamming them in the most obvious and shameful manner.

Why should anyone be surprised that hundreds of thousands of youths gathered in stadiums all over the country on the 15th March 2014 just to apply for a tiny handful of jobs that are available in Immigration? This is so SIMPLY because there are NO jobs available for these children in our country.

I repeat 80 per cent of our graduates are unemployed and 51 per cent of our people are unemployed. Why won’t they die and be killed or injured whilst looking for the few jobs that are available? Why won’t they gather in stadiums all over the country in their hundreds of thousands just to do an aptitude test for a job in Immigration for which there are only 3000 vacancies? Why should anyone be surprised by this madness and this turmoil? Why should anyone be moved by this horrific carnage when it is now a regular phenomenon in our country for children to be slaughtered. If they are not butchered whilst at school by islamist fundamentalists they are slaughtered whilst they are looking for jobs from a heartless government which has effectively destroyed their future.

Yet look for jobs they must because these children and these youths are desperate and they are suffering. To make matters worse they are also being taken advantage of and scammed by their own government who are desperate to extort money from them by all means available. If this were not the case why would the Comptroller-General of Immigration and the Minister of Internal Affairs order that each and every one of those youths that flooded the stadiums in their hundreds of thousands and that stood in the sun should be made to pay 1000 naira each for the forms that they were to use to do the aptitude test at the various stadiums all over the country.

Someone was set to make a whole lot of money considering the fact that over one hundred thousand youths were involved in this shameless exercise and the amount of cash that they must have made runs into hundreds of millions of naira. The whole thing was just a massive and monuemental scam to extort hundreds of millions of naira from these poor, young and innocent souls and many of our youths have paid for it with their lives.

This is what President Goodluck Jonathan’s Nigeria has done to them. We now have an army of angry, jobless, frustrated, disillusioned and desperate youths on our hands in this country and consequently we are literally sitting on a keg of gunpowder. May God help us and may He forgive us for failing these children and destroying their futures.

Other than this I will say no more on this matter because the truth is that most Nigerians no longer ”give a damn” when blood is shed and when lives are taken. This is so even when those lives are those of children. Permit me to give an example. On the very same day that our youths were dying in stadiums looking for jobs with Immigration another 100 innocent people were being slaughtered by ”unknown gunmen” in southern Kaduna and no-one seems to care. Again only two days before then, on March 12th 2014, 110 innocent Nigerians were butchered by what were described in the press as a group of ”fulani gunmen who were on motorbikes” in Katsina state whilst the President was on an official visit there. What a tragedy.

Under President Goodluck Jonathan we have become a nation of vampires where the death of innocent children and youths means nothing and where we cannot even provide jobs or a decent standard of living for our young ones. Instead we attempt to scam them and to extort money from them. What a government, what a country.

If our government had any sense of decency, justice or accountability the Comptroller-General of Immigration and the Minister of Internal Affairs would have not only been compelled to resign or fired by now but they would also have been arrested and would be facing criminal charges for, at the very best, criminal negligence and manslaughter and, at the very worse, accessories before the fact to murder. Yet we know that that will never happen as long as President Goodluck Jonathan is in power. Far from it.

As a matter of fact instead of bowing his head in shame and showing any sense of contrition or remorse the Minister of Internal Affairs has come out shamelessly and blamed the dead youths themselves by saying that ”they did not exercise enough patience during the exercise”. May God forgive this man. I wonder if he would have expressed such sentiments if any of his own children had been killed in the stampede.

Permit me to end this contribution by quoting from a moving email that I received from a dear Nigerian family friend who herself is a mother and who presently resides in the United Kingdom with her family. She sent it to me the day after the tragic death of the youths in the stadium. I have obtained her permission to share her words in this write-up but for obvious reasons I will not mention her name. She wrote-

”Good morning uncle Femi. I honestly don’t know where to start from. My heart is so heavy. What is it about Nigeria that (or is it we as a nation) nothing  good comes out of the news. I’m beginning to wonder if there is nothing wrong with me when I go through websites expectant of only bad news. Why don’t I ever expect anything good to come out if Nigeria? I don’t even know what to tell my children again. I try to give them a balanced view of the country but something would always come up to make nonsense of that. Why would any sane person want to come and live in that madness called Nigeria where nothing is guaranteed. Life is not guaranteed, jobs are not guaranteed, education is not guaranteed, security is not guaranteed, a decent daily meal is not guaranteed. I could go on and on.

I came to a realization recently which is self-preservation. Abi shebi it’s life/self first. When I saw the early morning pictures of the crowd of youths at the Abuja stadium my heart just sank because I could almost write the script of what would follow. And so I waited (expectantly?)and wasn’t disappointed. Would anything come out of it? No. Would life go on? Yes. Do they care? No. And the moron of a Minister had the gall to say that candidates died because of ”impatience”. Meanwhile the so-called aptitude test was just a ruse. They had handpicked their preferred candidates weeks ago. The crowd alone told me that we have a serious problem of youth unemployment yet Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala would come out and be reeling stupid figures. Please tell her that she’s not fooling anyone. As if the unemployment is not bad enough government is opening more universities like daycare centers and still granting licenses for private universities. Who is going to absorb these teeming unemployed graduates? Where are the industries? Are you creating an enabling environment for investment? In fact I’m just done with agonizing over Nigeria. Self first please!”

Her words and counsel moved me to tears. As far as I am concerned she captured the mood very well and her simple yet succinct submission is reflective of the thinking and deep pain of millions of Nigerians from all over the world that are fast losing hope in their nation. Yet what can we do but just continue to hope and pray. What can we do for the future of our children and to better the fortunes of our nation? This is indeed food for thought. As the bible says, ”may God deliver us from bloodthirsty and evil men” and ”may the balm of Gilead heal our wounds and comfort our mourning souls”.

 

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

APC registers 100,000 non-indigenes in Rivers, begins mobilisation for 2015 elections.


 

About 100,000 non-indigenes in Rivers State have registered as members of the All Progressives Congress

(APC), Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the Interim State Chairman, Dr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, has disclosed.

Eze said the information was given this weekend by Alhaji Yusuf Tanko, Chairman of the Registration Committee of the Non Indigenes Political Forum (NIPF) of Rivers APC, during a meeting of the Forum held at the State APC Secretariat in Port Harcourt.

He quoted Alhaji Tanko as saying while submitting a preliminary report of the work done by his committee during the recent APC nationwide membership registration exercise: “Our target was to register about 800,000 non-indigenes but due to the attacks on members by PDP hoodlums we could only mobilise about 100,000 non-indigenes who are genuine members of APC today. With this number we are capable of mobilising the 1.6m non indigenes voters in Rivers State for any election in favour of APC candidates any day, anytime. I commend and congratulate my colleagues particularly Chief Uchenna Okokoba, the NIPF Coordinator, who was on our neck to ensure that the required result is achieved. Of course, greater thanks go to Barr. Chuma Chinye, Leader of NIPF and the State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, who ensured that all the relevant logistics were made available to us.”

Eze in a statement issued this afternoon in Port Harcourt also quoted Barr. Chinye as commending the committee for its achievement. He said the commissioner assured the new APC members that they have made the right decision, stating that all non-indigenes in Rivers State can be assured that the APC administration come 2015 will give them all the necessary support to succeed in their various endeavours in the state.

“Let me reiterate that Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, apart from being very supportive is interested in all that we are doing as he has assured us of his commitment to carry us along; so we need to unite and ensure that an APC administration is installed in Rivers State come 2015 and totally reject PDP as the party has declared war on Rivers State and those living in the state, including our members besides Gov. Amaechi has proved that he is a nationalist who is committed to ensure the security and welfare of all Nigerians residing in Rivers State,” Barr. Chinye reportedly said.

The statement said that after brainstorming on the way forward, the meeting mandated the NIPF leadership to begin mobilisation for the 2015 elections by undertaking a tour of all state’s chapters to ensure that members of the Forum participate actively in the party congresses expected to start later this month.

Eze said that apart from himself, other NIPF leaders present at the meeting included Chief Ade Adeogun, Chairman of Rivers State Sanitation Commission, and Mr. David Iyofor, Chief Press Secretary to Governor Amaechi.

•Photo shows Barr. Chuma Chinye, Leader of NIPF and the State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry.

Source News Express

The Unending Military Siege to Delta State By Ogaga Ifowodo.


 

Columnist:

Ogaga Ifowodo

Delta is a densely populated state that also happens to house a vast amount of oil and gas. The Sapele-Warri-Ughelli corridor, extending to Port Harcourt, is the industrial and commercial heartbeat of the state and has a high volume of vehicular traffic. A testimony to the socio-economic importance of this corridor is the never-to-be-completed East-West Road that spans four states: Delta, Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom. Yet, it is precisely the short stretch of it between Warri and Ughelli that the Federal Government has managed to make motorable, seven years and N349 billion after, that exhibits the unbearable hardship of military checkpoints (MCPs) through which a permanent siege has been laid to the state. If you have ever travelled on that road at peak hours, or worse, are a frequent commuter between Warri and any of the towns further south—Ughelli, Patani, and all of Isokoland—then a nightmare for you must be a dream of sandbags and oil barrels that create bottlenecks in the middle of your road.

On Saturday, the 15th, I set out from Warri with an older cousin—I call him Brother Reuben—and his wife on a trip to visit my mother in Otor-Owhe, but with stops in Iyede to attend a funeral and Oleh for a wedding.  We crawled through the first MCP at Okuokokor in about twenty minutes, though from the DSC roundabout where the East-West Road begins to the checkpoint is less than half a kilometre.  At about 11:05 AM, our progress was halted with sterner resolve as we fell into one of now-three-and-now-four lanes caused by the MCP just before Beta Glass Company. For forty–three minutes, we stewed in the sun and expressed our frustrations in hisses and impotent rage. As we passed through the checkpoint, we noticed that the sentry hut was empty and the two soldiers in the vicinity were chatting with someone in the nearby petrol station. Thankfully, they had ensured to deploy helmets atop the sandbags to stand in for them! On our return, at 6:20 PM, we saw the gridlock ahead and turned just in time at Delta Power Station into the Otor-Udu Road, an alternative route to our destination in the Udu-Ovwian area of Warri.  We might as well have gnashed our teeth through the Delta Glass MCP for we ran smack into another in Ujevwu! Suffice it to say that a journey of twenty minutes, give or take, from the Delta Glass MCP took a full hour longer. But we were lucky: I heard stories of two to three hours lost to the East-West Road checkpoints.

But why build roads, supposedly for the freer flow of traffic, and then erect obstacles in them to defeat the purpose?  To combat kidnappers, I am told. Very funny! And not only because the soldiers do not check vehicles, do not do any actual policing—are indeed often not to be seen at the checkpoints—but also because I am yet to hear of any kidnapper arrested at a military checkpoint. Despite being hemmed in by MCPs, Kelvin Oniarah, the alleged kidnap kingpin of Kokori was arrested in a hotel in Port Harcourt, while one Enueme Ogaga, his alleged sidekick, was nabbed in Ashaka far from a checkpoint. And outside Delta State, the report “Another kidnap kingpin, 6 robbers nabbed in Rivers” (Vanguard, 20 February 2014) informs us that the said kidnapper “was traced to a . . .  bank . . .  where he went to withdraw [the] ransom” paid for his victim.

Checkpoints are an extreme policing device suitable only for a town under military occupation. They are to be used sparingly and only for a specific and immediate goal, then promptly dismantled. As I ranted against military checkpoints—they are a gratuitous infliction of pain; they hinder movement and economic activity and we mount them with glee only because we are not a productive economy, are not in competition with any other nation (crude oil and gas do not travel on the roads); they show us as a conquered people, a land rendered comatose by military dictatorship and civilian brigandage, etc.—my auditors recounted their experiences. On hearing me swear to write a column about the MCPs, Mr George Okoro, a retired Shell Community Relations Coordinator, said, “Well, you may write all you want but our governments delight in seeing us suffer, that’s all.” The next day, on a visit to Professor G.G.  Darah in his Udu-Warri home, I was still in a huff and so, it turns out, was he about the ubiquity of checkpoints in Delta State. He had once counted, he said, “29 checkpoints between Auchi and Asaba.” Delta State, he declared, “is a war zone. You won’t see checkpoints coming from Abuja, until you leave Auchi.”

Elsewhere, countries that take themselves seriously strain to outdo their nearest competitors in lowering the cost of doing business, partly by shortening the time for travelling between two points. And so China develops its new high-speed trains with France, Japan and Germany as its competitors. We do not have a rail transport system that would pass the laugh test; all we have are inadequate and decrepit roads. And yet we find every reason to bring traffic to a halt on them. Perhaps the powers that be who authorised the permanent military siege to Delta State might care to prove Mr Okoro wrong?

omoliho@gmail.com

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Amaechi, New Rivers CP Ogunsakin Say No To Partisanship.


 

CP Ogunsakin
By SaharaReporters, New York

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aviation Minister Oduah: I won’t allow abandoned projects.


Stella-ODUAH-03

Aviation Minister, Princess Stella Oduah, has assured that the ongoing remodelling of airports will be completed in record time

without any abandoned project under her watch.

Oduah spoke after a two-day tour of eight airports at the weekend.

The minister inspected the remodelling of Yola, Sokoto, Ilorin, Abuja, Calabar, Port Harcourt, Owerri, and Enugu airports.

Oduah, who decried the abandoned project syndrome in Nigeria, said the present administration was committed to timely completion of projects it started in late 2011 under the Airport Remodelling Project Initiative.

She said: “When we came on board in 2011 and drew up our master plan and implementation road map, which had as its core components the Airport Remodelling Project, we were charged by Mr President to ensure that we complete every project we embark on.

“We assured Mr President that we would see every project to its logical conclusion and we are committed to that. We are fortunate to have his full support and the support of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

“The result of that level of support is what you are seeing today. Not only have we completed, inaugurated and put to use a lot of the remodelled airports, work on the remaining ones is at 95 per cent completion. So, under my watch, no project we have begun will be abandoned.”

The minister said the Yola Airport was critical to the successful implementation of the transformation programme in the Aviation sector.

She said it was among the designated perishable cargo centres, adding that its cargo terminal would be completed in the second quarter of this year.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Rivers released 275 suspects Boko Haram arrest sterrorists.


Boko-Haram-members-42-suspected

Two hundred and seventy-five persons among those held by the Police in Rivers State on the suspicion that they are members of the dreaded Boko Haram group, have been released.

Deputy Commissioner State Criminal Investigation Department (DC/CID), Sam Ukaula told reporters in Port Harcourt yesterday that 19 of those arrested are being held for further interrogation.

The arrest of the people travelling in buses on the Rivers –Imo border, has generated huge interest. The House of Representatives has ordered as probe into the

arrests. .

Ukaula said the 19, whose mission in Port Harcourt was not clear, include an illegal immigrant from Niger Republic. One of them, he said, had spent ammunition on him.

The police officer said the interception of the vehicles and arrest of the occupants was necessitated by information to Commissioner of Police Mbu Joseph Mbu, that a great number of the killer squads had been dispatched to cause havoc on Port Harcourt residents.

He explained that the action of the Police was meant to nip the intended trouble in the bud. He absolved the police of political connection.

Earlier reports said those arrested were 320, but Ukaula said yesterday that they were 294.

The suspects were arrested on Sunday morning at the boundary between Imo and Rivers states, in a convoy of 17 buses from Jigawa state. They were held at the state CID until they were screened and freed.

Ukaula said a team of security agencies in the state, including the Army, Police Immigration, customs and SSS assembled to screen the suspects before the 275 could be released.

He said: “It would be recalled that on Friday night of January 24, 2014, the Commissioner of Police received an alarming information that members of Boko Haram were being massively transported to Rivers state particularly, Port Harcourt from certain parts of the country for the purpose of causing havoc on innocent citizens.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Niger Delta Groups Rejects Confab Committee Report.


Niger-Delta-group

Numerous ethnic groups in the Niger Delta have rejected the core ideas recommended by President Goodluck Jonathan’s advisory committee

for the convocation of the forthcoming national conference being planned by the Federal Government. The disaffected groups insist that Mr. Jonathan should, instead, rely on the submissions of various ethnic nationalities in convening the national conference. In addition, the groups described the advisory committee’s recommendation that the National Assembly approve the conference’s outcome and that representation at the conference be based on the 360 federal constituencies as ploys to marginalize the Niger Delta people.

The groups’ positions emerged on Tuesday at the Pan-Niger Delta Conference held in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital. The Conference was a civil society forum organized by Social Action in conjunction with other civil society groups to consolidate the positions of the Niger Delta ahead of the national conference.

The Niger Delta groups proposed that the ethnic nationalities of Nigeria should be the basis of representation at the national conference, adding that the outcome of the conference should be approved by a referendum. They argued that the use of the geopolitical units as the basis for representation would minimize the voice of the Niger Delta, which consists of several distinct ethnic nationalities.

The groups also want the conference to culminate in the emergence of a brand new constitution for Nigeria rather than the amendment of the 1999 Constitution.

Participants at the PNDC included academics, representatives of community organizations, social movements, non-governmental organizations, and ethnic groups. Keynote addresses were delivered by Kimse Okoko, a former president of the Ijaw National Congress and chairman of the Committee of Pro-Chancellors of Nigeria, Ben Naanen, the founding secretary of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People and a professor of History and Diplomatic Studies at the University of Port Harcourt, Nnimmo Bassey, a former chair of Friends of the Earth International and director of the Home of Mother Earth Foundation, Ledum Mitee, a former MOSOP president, Ankio Briggs, a Niger Delta activist, Andrew Efemini, who is a professor, and Mofia Akobo.

The Port Harcourt conference was chaired by Ebiegberi Alagoa, an eminent historian. Mr. Naanen served as co-chair.

On October 1, 2013, President Jonathan had announced the establishment of a 13-member Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue during his Independence Day speech. The advisory body was headed by Femi Okurounmu, with Akilu Indabawa as its secretary. The committee submitted its report on December 18 last year.

Source: Radio State.

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