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Posts tagged ‘Sierra Leone’

Tribalism Is Like Biting Your Father’s Genitals: Dokubo And Other Tribalists.

By Peregrino Brimah

The heading of this piece may read strange, but some of the parties it primarily refers to will know its source. The original quote is, “He who calls for `Asabiyyah (nationalism/tribalism) is as if he bit his father’s genitals.” Also, “He is not one us who calls for `Asabiyyah, (nationalism/tribalism) or who fights for `Asabiyyah or who dies for `Asabiyyah.” “One of us,” here means, “a Muslim,” these quotes, being Hadith of the prophet of Islam (p).

There is no denying the disdain for tribalism by the prophet of Islam. In other narrations, of fighting for tribalism he said to “leave it, it is rotten.” Again he is narrated to have said, “…Behold, Allah (God) has removed from you the arrogance of the Time of Jahiliyyah (Ignorance) with its boast of ancestral glories. Man is but an Allah (God)-fearing believer or an unfortunate sinner. All people are the children of Adam, and Adam was created out of dust.” More references can be found on Zawaj website (

Mujahid Asari Dokubo claims to be a Muslim, but according to these narrations, not only he, but all other northerners and other Nigerians, who clamor for and prescribe tribal based fire and blood regardless of the interest of the nation’s masses, simply for the best and most decent, progressive and non-corrupt leadership, are “not Muslims,” and are rotten people who are so low, they nibble and bite to chew their parents genitals.

A Muslim will never fight for tribalism or nationalism. It is one people and one world, all made from dust. All that separates people is their fear of God and their good and Godly behavior.

The New Testament likewise does not favor tribalism. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28-29)

Many of us pray for and seek a day and a world without borders and without indigenship and ethnic regulations for leadership. A world where a Kenyan man’s son can become president of America, the world’s most powerful nation (That day has come already in America, but the reverse obtains today in political Nigeria).

The concept of tribalism is very foreign to Africa. Many great writers have penned and typed articles on this fact. When we look back at our ancestors, the one thing that defined pre-colonial Africa is the integration not only of citizens but of leaders too.

King Jaja of Opobo, Jubo Jubogha was an Igbo man from Orlu, who was assimilated into and became leader of Ijaw Opobo in Rivers/Akwa Ibom.

General Murtala Mohammed’s father Pam Iyatus from Vom in Plateau state was a Berom man, who assimilated into Hausa Kano and Murtala is recognized today as a Hausa hero, over his Berom ancestry.

Malam Umaru Altine was a northern Fulani man who was the first elected as the Mayor of Enugu; he was again re-elected to serve a second term.

There are tons more examples.

Indeed in pre-colonial Africa, all it took was to migrate into a new territory and prove your diligence and character to be fully accepted, acculturated and be eligible not only for ethnic citizenship but even to lead the nations.

We have Nigerian origin Yoruba chiefs in Ghana, Sierra Leonean politicians and chiefs in Nigeria, Nigerian top government officials in far away The Gambia and so on.

What is happening to Nigeria now as a few of us are so embroiled in dirty, filial genital cannibalistic tribalism is un-African and will actually make our ancestors turn in their graves. Those of us who wear tribal regalia and claim tribal loyalty would actually be discarded by our for-fathers as illegitimate offspring of their great hospitable and progressive legacies.

It must be added that there is a space for ethnocentrism. However this is only useful as regards competing with the positive achievements of those who came before us, to do better than their records; not in tribalism feats, defaming and disgracing what they valued and promoting what they rejected.

In an earlier article, “The Devil Was the First Ethnocentric,” I presented how by refusing to bow for Adam, the devil was the first to portray such shameful behavior, and is the father of tribalism and ethnocentrism. The devil had argued that he, made from fire should not bow for Adam, made of “mere” dirt. The devil was discarded into the pits of hell for such repugnant behavior.

Nigeria’s empty political elite, the enemies of the nation and the 168 million poverty ridden, humiliated masses, have copied a page from the colonial books, by taking advantage of, and festering tribal sentiments as a weapon to secure their inutile holds on power.

Nigeria needs good leaders, short and simple. Regionalism or disintegration is a legitimate quest if raised and sought respectfully and without direct and indirect celebration of, sponsorship and promotion of death; but promoting tribal based leadership is cheating as long as it is one nation and murderous.

The likes of Dokubo Asari, and others north, south, east and west, who argue to cheat Nigeria of its much needed race to recovery and development, by promoting rotational-presidency and ethnic selection and re-election of candidates, are in African terms, abominable inheritors of our great ancestors. Spiritually speaking, they are cannibals, who thrive off of eating the testicles of their fathers.

Written with contributions from Doctor Amadi Jnr. of Muslims Against Terror.

Dr. Peregrino Brimah [Every Nigerian Do Something]
Email: Twitter: @EveryNigerian


No Right To Force The Legalization Of Same-Sex Union By Hannatu Musawa.


Hannatu Musawa

Hannatu Musawa

The signing of the Same-sex Prohibition Act by President Jonathan on January 7 2014, elicited negative reactions from Western countries such as the US, member countries of the European Union and Canada. They have consistently mounted pressure on the federal government over the president’s signing of the Same-Sex Prohibition Act 2014, claiming that the law is a violation of the fundamental human rights of Nigerians with same sex orientation.

Notably, the law does not only criminalize same-sex marriage, it also makes public displays of affection and even socializing in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and inter-sex community illegal. The US ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle threatened that his country would scale down its support for HIV/AIDS and anti-malaria programs in response to government’s position on the gay rights issue. The Vanguard also reported that they learnt the US is committing “substantial” resources to fund the emergence of gay clubs and advocacy groups in Nigeria. The Canadian government canceled a planned state visit by President Jonathan scheduled for next month. The Canadian government’s action is believed to be that country’s reaction to the president’s assenting to the bill, which has so far enjoyed popular support in Nigeria.

Since 2011, certain Western countries have been considering and implementing laws that limit or prohibit general budget support to countries that restrict the rights of homosexuals. Regardless of this, many African countries have continued to refuse pressure to legalize homosexual practices. Many African leaders feel that gay rights are against Africa’s culture and religious value systems and believe that they have the sovereign right to reject what is seen as an imposition by Western nations that attempts to affect national sentiments via aid. While I vehemently disagree with the laws that impose the death penalty on those who come out as homosexuals, the reality is that same sex acts are illegal in about 38 African countries and actual enforcement varies widely and punishment ranges from prison sentences to the Draconian sentence of the death penalty.

In Mauritania, Sudan and Nigeria, homosexuality is a serious punishable crime. In Uganda, Tanzania and Sierra Leone, offenders can receive life imprisonment for homosexual acts. South Africa’s constitution is the most liberal towards gays and lesbians within the continent, with a constitution that guarantees gay and lesbian rights and legal same sex marriage. However, even there, gay rights have been described as an “exclusive privilege of the whites and well-heeled, a small but high-profile subset.”

The raucousness from Western nations that has been accompanying the banning of same sex unions in some parts of Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia has risen to a crescendo. And in their bid to ram the freedom of same sex unions down the throat of more traditional and conservative nations, the west has discarded high-minded rhetoric for bullying tactics dressed in the guise of human rights mantras. The result? Hypocrisy has taken center stage as the preferred response of the west in their bid to redefine the limits of marriage, privacy and religious freedom in some African, Eastern European and Asian countries.

The hypocrisy of the west regarding their stance on the banning of same sex unions is most apparent when considered next to the position taken on polygamy under western laws. In most western nations, the practice of polygamy is not only frowned upon but has been criminalized. The hypocrisy and bully politics of the west in regards to the banning of same sex unions occurs when Western countries pass laws that limits the boundaries of marriage, privacy and religious freedom in line with their value system while they employ strategies and tactics to intimidate, harass, undermine, threaten and abuse other countries for doing the same.

In the case of Reynolds vs. United States, the American courts declined accepting polygamy as a legitimate religious practice, dismissing it as “almost exclusively a feature of the life of Asiatic and African people.” While that particular case is very old, in later decisions, American courts have declared polygamy to be “a blot on our civilization” and compared it to human sacrifice and “a return to barbarism.”

In all the countries that have banned homosexual unions, traditions and religion defines the issue and because most countries have varying values of which they adhere to and are guided by, none should have a right to impose their value system on another. Not only is the practice of polygamy one of the common threads between Christians, Jews and Muslims, studies have found polygamy present in 78% of the world’s cultures. In the same way that countries that accept polygamy have no right to force western nations to legalize polygamy, western nations have no right to impose same sex unions on the countries that ban it.

As a sovereign nation, Nigeria has a right to ban same sex unions in the same way the west has banned polygamy. Indeed the anti-gay legislation is a reaffirmation of core Nigerian values, as the Nigerian society is, to a great extent, based on respect for traditions and religion. The leadership in Nigeria has taken a position on a practice that is alien to its culture and its religious and traditional institutions. The public relations officer of the northern Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) stated that Christians and their counterparts in other religions have unanimously expressed gratitude to the president and National Assembly for passing the Anti Same-Sex Marriage law, despite opposition from Europe and the US. Similarly, the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN), Lagos State, commended the president for signing the bill into law. The group applauded the president for standing his ground, despite pressure to reject the anti-gay bill by some international organizations and foreign countries.

In line with traditions that don’t prohibit same sex unions, neither of the two dominant religions of the world supports homosexuality. In the scriptures, marriage is a sacred contract between a man and a woman that cannot be redefined and it is the cornerstone of family life. In the Bible, passages in the book of Leviticus prohibit homosexuality. Chapter 18:22 states, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” Similarly, chapter 20:13 also states, “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” Jews and Christians have historically interpreted these two verses as the clear prohibition of homosexual acts. Furthermore, the story of Sodom and Gomorrah has historically been interpreted as condemning homosexual acts.

In Islam, the traditional schools of Islamic law based on Qur’anic verses and hadith consider homosexual acts a punishable crime and a sin. The Qur’an cites the story of the “people of Lot” (also known as the people of Sodom and Gomorrah), destroyed by the wrath of God, because they engaged in “lustful” carnal acts between men. The Qur’an contains seven references to the people of Lot; 7:80-84, 11:77-83, 21:74, 22:43, 26:165-175, 27:56-59 and 29:27-33, and their destruction by Allah is associated explicitly with their sexual practices.

In 2012, the Nigerian parliament approved a bill banning same sex marriage despite threats from the US and UK that they would consider withholding aid if the country didn’t recognize gay rights. Curiously though in the US, 17 states out of 50 (less than half) have endorsed same-sex practices and others reject its legality. This means that even in the US, not all its citizens are in support of same-sex practices.

Nigeria and the countries that have banned same sex unions have cultures that are clear and intact and they have a right to rededicate themselves to their traditional values. Same-sex marriage is inconsistent with Nigerian values of procreation and the belief in the continuity of family and clan. And in that vein, Nigeria has a right to fashion its laws in accordance with its values and traditions.

It increasingly seems that the Western countries’ mandate is to coerce African states to institutionalize behavior systems that they frown upon or deem illegal. There is the urgent need for these African states and the Nigerian leadership not to be dependent on foreign assistance for governance. Nigeria and the continent should use its net worth to dismantle the entrenched dependence syndrome and to also say no, no matter how many times they are accused of not adhering to the value system of the West. Aid given with strings attached is not worth it. Nigeria should not lose its moral and spiritual integrity for the sake of aid.

Just like with polygamists in Western countries, a day of social acceptance is unlikely to come for homosexuals in Nigeria and most African and Asian countries. It is unlikely that any law will be passed in Nigeria where the act of same sex marriage will be legalized. No matter, the rights of every nation to infuse its value system into its laws should not be based on the views of other nations, but on each nations individual principle.

Despite one’s view on the subject matter, there is no doubt that Nigeria has a right to enact laws that are reflective of its traditions and religious values and norms. No country has a right to dictate another countries laws that defines the boundaries of marriage, privacy and religious freedom. Thus, just as Nigeria has no right to harass America, Canada or any other nation to enforce and adopt polygamy and other traditional practices into their statutes, these nations also have no right to harass Nigeria to adopt laws that legalize homosexuality. The more the West continues to malign Nigeria for passing laws that prohibit certain modern western value systems, while they hold onto laws that disallow traditional practices acceptable in Nigeria, their hue and cry over human rights becomes a little more than hype and they become much more than hypocrites. May each country be free to preserve the value systems they wish to be defined by and adopt the laws of which they wish to be governed.

Article Written by Hannatu Musawa

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Smuggled Syria Photos Show ‘Systematic Killing’ of Thousands.

A cache of disturbing photos and files smuggled out of Syria allegedly shows the “systematic killing” of about 11,000 detainees since 2011 by the government of Bashar al-Assad, the Guardian newspaper reported Monday.

Three former prosecutors examined records leaked by a defector known as “Caesar,” whose job was “taking pictures of dead detainees” from March 2011 to last August – sometimes as many as 50 a day, both the Guardian and CNN reported. 

Their 31-page report on the grisly findings was released Monday to the two media outlets.

Once of the report’s authors, Desmond de Silva, a former chief prosecutor of the special court for Sierra Leone, told the Guardian the evidence “documented industrial-scale killing.”

“This is a smoking gun of a kind we didn’t have before,” he said.

Another, David Crane, who indicted President Charles Taylor of Liberia at the Sierra Leone court, said the evidence provides “direct evidence of what was happening to people who had disappeared.”

“This is the first provable, direct evidence of what has happened to at least 11,000 human beings who have been tortured and executed and apparently disposed of,” he said.

“We have pictures, with numbers that marry up with papers with identical numbers – official government documents. We have the person who took those pictures. That’s beyond-reasonable-doubt-type evidence.”

Throughout the civil war in Syria, Assad’s regime has denied accusations of human-rights abuses and blamed “terrorists” for deadly violence.

The Guardian notes, however, that any call for Assad to go before an international criminal court in The Hague would be problematic because Syria isn’t a member of the court and a required referral by the U.N. security council would likely be blocked by Syrian ally Russia.

The report notes the cache of photos allowed the death certificates to be issued without families’ first seeing the bodies; it also confirms “that orders to execute individuals had been carried out,” the newspaper said.

Families were told the cause of death of their missing loved ones was either a “heart attack” or “breathing problems,” the newspaper said.

Caesar snuck the pictures out of the country on memory sticks, giving them to the Syrian National Movement, which is supported by Qatar, the Persian Gulf state that has called for Assad’s overthrow and prosecution for war crimes.

The report itself was funded by Qatar and is being made available ahead of this week’s U.N.-organized Geneva II peace conference on the Syrian conflict, the newspaper said.

CNN reported that in a group of photos of 150 persons, 62 percent of the bodies showed emaciation; the majority of all of the victims were men most likely ages 20-40. They illustrated a ghastly scene, CNN reported.

Stomachs, faces and even legs were seen to be concave – “sunken rather than convex,” CNN reported. “On some torsos, bruising and bleeding is so severe that the victims’ skin is a mosaic of black, red, purple and pink. Oblong and parallel wounds, a mix of bruises and torn skin, line one man’s chest and torso, covering every inch of the victim’s body from neck to pelvis.”

One forensic pathologist, Dr. Stuart Hamilton, who examined the evidence, told CNN:

“This is not just somebody who is thin, or who maybe hasn’t had enough food because there’s a war going on.

This is somebody who has been really starved.”

Nadim Houry of Human Rights Watch told the Guardian his organization has “documented repeatedly how Syria’s security services regularly torture – sometimes to death – detainees in their custody,” adding:

“These photos – if authentic – suggest that we may have only scratched the surface of the horrific extent of torture in Syria’s notorious dungeons. There is only one way to get to the bottom of this, and that is for the negotiating parties at Geneva II to grant unhindered access to Syria’s detention facilities to independent monitors.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Cathy Burke

Nigeria’s Retrogressive Anti-Gay Law By Abiodun Ladepo.

By Abiodun Ladepo

This past Wednesday, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan elevated crassness and primitiveness to the highest level imaginable by signing into law a bill banning homosexuality in Nigeria.  I deliberately crafted the previous sentence so unambiguously.  He did not just ban homosexual marriage; he banned homosexuality as a whole!  Perhaps if the law had only stopped at “persons who enter into a same-sex marriage contract or civil union commit an offence and are each liable on conviction to a term of 14 years in prison,” one might not feel so much outrage.  But it went on to state that “any person who registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organizations or directly or indirectly makes public show of same-sex amorous relationship in Nigeria commits an offence and shall each be liable on conviction to a term of 10 years in prison”!  In essence, only heterosexuals are allowed to hold hands in public, sit on each other’s lap, hump each other while dancing in clubs or kiss publicly.  What, in the name of God, just happened to Nigeria?

Let me state upfront that I am a Straight (heterosexual) guy who is happily married to a beautiful woman.  So, this write-up is not about me or my sexual preference.  It is about Nigeria’s lack of originality and lack of creative instincts.  We the people, along with our leaders, fail to do the deep thinking, the due diligence, in many respects that will take our country farther and more quickly than we have hitherto done.  Lethargy is irredeemably ingrained in our psyche.  Otherwise, how does being openly gay draw our country back?  We already have thousands of gay people in our midst!  How does their gayness prevent those of us who are not gay from going about our businesses?

This law assumes that the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community just arrived in Nigeria yesterday.  No, the LGBT has been with us since, at least, when I was a young boy over 50 years ago.  I recall growing up in (yes) Zaria, Kaduna State, of all places, and going to watch evening dances of members of the LGBT.  We used to call them “Dandaudu.”  We, the kids, used to marvel at their public display of amorous acts.  This was in the early 60s.  They were not hidden behind the walls of any clubs in the middle of the night; they danced in open spaces and in early evenings.  I have also personally witnessed “Dandaudus” doing their dances in Bukuru, Jos, Bauchi and Maiduguri in the 70s.  And if you lived in the hostel during your secondary school years, don’t tell me that you did not catch a few of your guy friends “doing it.”  I have heard from some of my secondary school female friends of the sexual trysts that went on in their hostel.  Let’s not even talk about what happens in the dorms of our universities.  So, why are we just now finding out that their presence in our midst is anathema and antithetical to our moral fiber?

Reuben Abati, that formerly celebrated anti-bad government champion, who is now a turncoat and who I now detest with so much passion, defended the law with the pedestrian argument that since 90 percent of Nigerians were opposed to same-sex marriage, “…the law is in line with our cultural and religious beliefs.”   Ninety percent?  First, how did we come up with that percentage?  When did we poll the country to ascertain that 90 percent of our people oppose same-sex marriage?  And even if they do, what right does the majority have to trample on the basic right of the minority – the fundamental human right to freedom of association?  What right does the majority have to deprive the minority of having sex with whomever it wants as long as it is consensual?  The worst that the Nigerian government should have been able to do should have been the denial of official recognition of such a union. But to criminalize it is akin to despotism, especially in a democratic dispensation.

And by the way, since when has this government or any past Nigerian government taken a decision in favor of an issue perceived to have received the support of the majority of Nigerians?  Don’t 90 percent of our people support the removal or Stella Oduah as Aviation minister, Diezani Madueke as Petroleum minister and Reuben Abati as adviser?  Don’t 90 percent of our people support the banning of government officials, especially the President, from seeking medical attention abroad until our medical facilities and personnel are of the same standard as those they use when they go abroad?  Don’t 90 percent of our people support the supply of 24/7 uninterrupted electricity to all corners of Nigeria?  Don’t 90 percent of our people support the revamping, rejuvenating and reinvigorating of the EFCC so it can better fight corruption?  Don’t 90 percent of our people support a massive overhaul of our educational infrastructures from elementary all the way to university systems?  Don’t 90 percent of our people oppose the blocking of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway by mega-churches and mega-mosques?  Have our lawmakers crafted any laws that criminalize the failure by government to do the things mentioned above?  No.  But these nosey people are eager to get into the bedrooms of Nigerians.

I find this homophobic inclination that is so rampant in our country as yet another example of religious zealotry and self-righteousness that have been the bane of our society.  Everybody is stampeding and trampling each other today in their quest to out-do one another as they condemn homosexuality.  But we will find out one day – tomorrow maybe –  just as we have found out in Europe and America that even family members of influential government officials can be (and are indeed) gay!  In fact, we will soon find out that membership in the LGBT community cuts across all spectra of our society – from the ranks of elected politicians, to traditional rulers, military officers, police officers, teachers, technocrats, pastors, imams, babalawos, traders and what not.  And what are we going to do when we find out that one of these influential people whom we had thought was heterosexual was indeed bisexual?  Would we throw OBJ or IBB or GEJ or Mama Iyabo or Dame Patience or any of their children into 14 years of prison terms if any of them turns out to be gay? What would we do when we discover that Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye or his wife, Folu do engage in homosexual acts (with other partners, of course)?  What about Sheik Muhammad Yahaya Sanni and his many wives?  Are we going to give them immunity against prosecution?

This is why I stated earlier that our leaders did not subject this law to a rigorous and intellectual discuss before allowing their emotion, religion and communal bandwagon mentality to overtake their sense of reason.  Before the bill was adopted by the Senate in 2011, a few Nigerian members of the LGBT community, supported by some civil rights activists, appeared before the Senate to argue against enacting such a law.  The lawmakers and religious zealots in the chambers of the Senate booed and heckled these gay folks till they cried and left in disgrace.  Among the booing and heckling crowd were men who maintain two, three, four or more wives – wives who are subjugated, mentally and are physically abused.  Among this crowd were women who cheat on their husbands with their pastors and imams to the extent of making babies out-of-wedlock while their husbands thought the babies were theirs.  These people, in my opinion, lack the moral right to tell a gay man or woman whom to love and whom to cavort with in public.

Believe me, gays are the least of Nigeria’s problems.  Graft in high places, greed in high places, hired assassination, kidnapping, murder, armed robbery, neglect of rural areas, neglect of urban areas, lack of functioning basic amenities like electricity, water, hospitals, education, transportation, youth unemployment – all take precedence over what my neighbor is doing in his/her bedroom.  I am ashamed that my leaders do not see this.

And I get it. I get the fact that Nigeria is a deeply religious country.  Even if I wonder how truly religious we are when we watch our religious leaders steal from the religious houses and sexually abuse the laity; even if I sometimes wonder why our religious leaders live in obscene opulence while they watch their followers wallow in abject poverty, I still get the fact that Nigeria is a deeply religious country.  It is the reason why an issue such as gay rights should have been thoroughly debated intellectually.  I hope the passing of this primitive and retrogressive law begins the rigorous discussion of how we allow members of the LGBT to bask in their rightful sense of belonging.  We should lead Namibia, Botswana, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, Angola, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, South Sudan, Cameroon, Togo, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leon, Guinea, Senegal, Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia out of the comity of nations still wedded to the archaic tradition of segregating their own people on the basis of sexual preferences.

We should join South Africa, Zaire, Congo, Gabon, Central African Republic, Chad, Niger, Mali (yes, Chad, Niger and Mali), Burkina Faso, Benin Republic, Cote D’Ivoire and Guinea Bissau in the comity of nations that embrace the diversity of their people’s sexual preferences and have legislated to protect the rights of their LGBT people.

By Abiodun Ladepo

Los Angeles, California, USA


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

Jonathan once again addressed Obasanjo in the Church, says ex-president doesn’t own Nigeria.


President Goodluck Jonathan has again hit back at former President Olusegun Obasanjo, saying he and his like do not own Nigeria, reiterating that Nigeria does not belong to any politician or group of politicians.
In his remarks at Christmas Day service held at the Cathedral Church of the Advent, Life Camp, Abuja, the president, who was obviously unhappy over Obasanjo’s 18-page letter accusing his administration of corruption, promoting ethnicity and engaging in anti-party activity among others, said those beating the drums of war should take a look at crisis bedeviling countries like Syria, Egypt, South Sudan, DR Congo, Pakistan and the like and see the effect of war and terrorism.
While thanking the clergy men for their constant prayers, which, he said, has so far helped to save Nigeria from plunging into war, urged them not to relent. He stated that despite the numerous challenges his administration was forging ahead and striving to deliver what Nigerians duly deserve.
Re-echoing the message of Primate of the Anglican Communion, Nicolas Okoh, Jonathan said even in time of peace, neigbouring countries surrounding Nigeria were already uncomfortable with the number of Nigerians in their territory, saying that if not for diplomacy, a lot of them would have sent them packing.
He therefore, called on Nigerians to cherish the peace they are currently enjoying and not to do anything to rock the boat.
President Jonathan said: “For us at this time, especially we the politicians that think we own this country, we begin to think about next elections and doing what we ought not to do, making statement we ought not to make, writing letters we are supposed not to write.
“I call on clergymen and statesmen, who really own this country because this country belongs to our statesmen, traditional rulers, religious leaders, our men, our women, our youth. Nigeria does not belong to any politician or group of politicians. So we continue to urge to pray for this country.
“The primate mentioned a number of nations that deals with crisis.  For those who know about terrorism, countries that are infested with terror will hardly get out of it. If you look at a country like Pakistan, we even go to Pakistan to train our soldiers. In some parts of Pakistan, as we are talking now, there appears to be no government. So this country could have been worst.
“Look at the incidences in Abuja, even the police headquarters was boomed, the UN building right here, in the seat of government, was boomed, maybe the next target would have been the State House.
“So we have to thank God that we have been able to bring it to a reasonable level, though we are far from getting there. There are a lot of challenges but we have to thank God.
“The primate asked if it were to be a country like Syria, what would we have done? Look at South Sudan; they were part of Sudan and they felt that they were being dominated; they have resources there, oil in part of South Sudan; they carried arms against the state. Finally, the whole world, through the UN, liberated them. In fact, within this week we will be going for Security Council meeting under the AU. My envoy just came back on Sunday from where he had conversation with them on how do we stop this madness.
“So we have to thank God, even though we still have this security challenges in our country at least we are reasonably better.
“The Primate was mentioning that Ghana, Sierra Leone can accommodate us if Nigeria was to have crisis.  I was just laughing because even now with the number of Nigerians in these countries, the people are not even comfortable. We don’t have crisis but from Cameroon to Senegal, Nigerians are everywhere, that the countries, if not for political and diplomatic reasons, would have even asked some of them to leave. Then assuming we have crisis, what would be the state? Where will you go? Is it the Atlantic Ocean? So I urge you to continue to pray.
“I also thank the religious leaders of this country; they have been praying and I believe God has been hearing our prayers. We will do our best within the period that God has asked us to occupy the positions we are occupying we will continue to work hard.”
The Anglican Primate, in his sermon, had stressed that those who don’t have peace cannot share with others. He said that God’s peace was not based on things that cannot endure, adding that one could only find peace in Jesus Christ.
Okoh reiterated that peacemakers are children of God, adding that one cannot draw a logical line from God to destruction and killings that the nation has witnessed in recent times, as God is the source of peace.
“We need to draw God’s peace to the church, the family, the community and the world,” he stated.
While admitting that Nigeria was facing a lot of challenges, the primate said just as the people in Syria, DR Congo, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Egypt, Indonesia, and Ukraine cannot understand the message of peace and joy at this time, there was need for us as a country to do everything within our power not to be at the same level.
He warned ordinary Nigerians not to allow themselves to be used because, according to him, unlike the politicians, many people do not have international passports and foreign bank accounts to fall back on should crisis breaks, adding that they would bear the brunt at the end of the day.
Okoh said: “War frustrates peace. Most economies tagged the best in the world are violent economies; they produce weapon of mass destruction to kill people and themselves. How many Nigerians can go to Togo, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Cameroon accept as refugees? So it is in our interest to keep peace because we have no where to go in case of war. God has given us the best in the land. I charge you to maintain peace.
“In some places, they live in extreme conditions, extreme cold, extreme heat.  But that is not our case, we have the mangrove; we have good weather condition, we are blessed with all sorts of natural resources; we ought to be grateful to God and not the way we behave at times. We ought to live responsibly.
“We ought to pray for the peace of Nigeria; do not join anybody to cause trouble, confusion because you might bear the brunt. Some of you do not have international passports, but those asking you to cause trouble have passports, bank accounts and can vamoose at any time. Stay here and maintain peace because Nigeria will blossom. Whatever you get from the devil you will pay dearly. Refugees are not the happiest of people; don’t make yourself a refugee.”
Prayers were later offered for President Jonathan, his family, his cabinet, the National Assembly, the judiciary and security agencies for them to be agents of transformation.
Also prayers were offered for the trade union, for industrial peace and for Nigeria, asking that the expectations of those who pray for the country to crash will be futile and that there may be no more bloodshed in Nigeria again.
Prayers were also offered for the economic and education sectors and that Nigeria will become the preferred destination for pilgrimage.
Some dignitaries present were the First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, President Jonathan’s mother, some members of National Assembly, ministers and some presidential aides.


Source: Radio Biafra.

Nigeria The Underperformer The dangerous mix of corruption and poverty, by Walter Carrington.


A former United States ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Walter Carrington, speaks on the challenges of corruption in Nigeria and the mismatch between growth and poverty as it relates to the much touted VISION 202020. He admonishes Nigerians to rise and harness the plethora of potentials in the country for the common good while not leaving behind the womenfolk.

I am transported to a time some sixty years ago, when I too, was an eager student about to graduate into an uncertain world. The Second World War had recently ended and the Cold War, pitting the United States and Western Europe against international communism, had even more recently begun. There was genuine fear that, with both sides possessing nuclear bombs, a deliberate or accidental launching of one of these weapons might start an unbreakable chain of retaliatory actions which would result in the annihilation of most of the world’s population.

That was the world that I left university to enter. But there was a more optimistic world yearning to be born. The First World War had led to the break up of defeated Germany’s African empire. There were many here on the Continent and in the Diaspora who believed that the Second World War had so weakened the victorious allies and emboldened their colonial subjects that the time for African liberation could not be far off. How fortunate I was that, when I was just a fortnight further along my life’s journey than most of you are on this day, I made my first visit to the continent of my ancestors. Two weeks after receiving my first university degree in 1952, at a convocation such as this, I was on my way to Senegal as one of eight American delegates to an international youth and student conference which was to be held in its capitol, Dakar. There I met many young people who in less than a decade would join with older freedom fighters to haul down the British Union Jack and the French Tri-coleur from their government buildings and replace them with the flags of their newly independent countries. Some of you may have noticed that I did not mention another major colonial power – Belgium. The delegation from their largest colony, the Congo, included but one African. Congolese until 1954 were allowed to receive no more than a basic primary education unless they were studying for the priesthood. As a result, at independence in 1960, there were only 17 university graduates in a country with a population of 13 million. That’s fewer than the number of you sitting in any one of the rows before me today.

That first trip to Africa was to change the direction of my life. Before I was 30 years old I had traveled twice to Africa at a time when few members of my generation in America had been here even once. My second trip was to Nigeria leading a group of students on a program called the Experiment in International Living. It occurred the year before Nigeria’s Independence. We traveled throughout the country living with Nigerian families in Lagos and Ibadan in the West; Enugu and Port Harcourt in the East; and Kano and Kaduna in the North. Regrettably, Ilorin was not a part of our itinerary. That trip tightened the hold Africa had on me which I had first felt at that youth conference in Dakar. I embraced the opportunity offered to me by administration of John F. Kennedy to help set up the Peace Corps in Africa. I would spend the next six years living in Sierra Leone, Tunisia and Senegal and then most of the following four years traveling from Washington to towns and villages throughout the continent overseeing the work of development being carried out by a dedicated group of young Americans.

1960, when Nigeria and most of West Africa became independent from British and French rule, was the beginning of a decade of great expectations. I remember coming back to Africa in 1961 to establish the first Peace Corps program in Sierra Leone. What great hopes there were that West Africa would become the model for the rest of the continent. East and Southern Africa had been held back by their white settler populations from achieving independence peacefully. I remember that I used to jest that every country in West Africa should have an image of a mosquito emblazoned on their new flags. For it was that malaria bearing insect which had caused this region to be christened as the “White Man’s Grave” driving Europeans to search for greener, healthier pastures on the other side of the continent in which to settle down with their families.

Much has changed in Africa from those days of my youth more than half a century ago, but so much more needs to be done. The end of colonialism brought about governments of the people; each country’s first elections brought about government by the people, although in too many cases not for long, as authoritarian presidents for life and military dictators took over. The return of democracy once again gave Africans the right to decide by whom they would be governed and for how long. But elections, even when free and fair, rarely brought about governments that were for the people. Rather they tended to be for the elites; for the rich and those who hoped to become rich through government contacts and contracts.

Throughout Africa we hear slogans such as “African Renaissance” and “Africa Rising.” On this day of celebration for you graduates and your families I suppose that I should be upbeat and commemorate a bright new Africa into which you are about to emerge. But to do this would, I fear, only contribute to a sense of complacency about the condition of the overwhelming majority, not only of your fellow country men, but also of all who live on this continent. No, I would rather instill in you a sense of urgency. For this is not just a day of celebration but also of preparation. In order for you to do your part in making this world a better place you must understand the world that awaits you.

First of all I ask you to ponder a perplexing paradox. Africa is the world’s richest continent in terms of natural resources and yet by all measurements developed by the United Nations its peoples are the poorest. In terms of education, health, and most standards of living they lag behind the rest of mankind. Why, oh why, should this be so? A few Africans may indeed be rising but too many others are falling. The old maxim that the rich get rich and the poor get poorer seems all too true as the gap between Africa and the rest of the world grows ever wider.

The latest Human Development Index of the United Nation Development Program better known as the UNDP was released in March of this year and lists the world’s 46 lowest ranked countries. 37 of them are in sub Saharan Africa. All of the bottom 26 are African with the single exception of Afghanistan. All rate lower even than Haiti. Out of 187 countries surveyed, oil producing Nigeria is ranked 153, the lowest, by far, of any non African member of OPEC. Indeed, with the exception of Angola (which ranks 5 places higher than Nigeria) all other members, including war ravished Iraq (107), are included in the ranks of the more developed. Your neighbor, Niger, at 187 has the dubious distinction of coming in last.

The UNDP’s Index, in arriving at its rankings, surveys life expectancy, mean and expected years of schooling, gross national income per capita, standards of living, quality of life, and child welfare. What it does not disaggregate is the status of women about which I will have more to say later.

An earlier UN report in 2007 predicted that in little more than a year from now, in the year 2015, nearly a third of the world’s impoverished will be black Africans. This would be a significant increase from one fifth fraction which was the case in 1990.

The proponents of the Africa Rising thesis point to the significant economic growth experienced by some countries on the continent during a time of economic retraction in much of the developed world. Growth indeed there was although often from a rather low base. Nigeria’s was impressively a little above 6 and a half percent. But how much was this a case of growth without concomitant development? According to the latest IMF estimates Nigeria has the second largest economy on the sub continent with a GDP or gross domestic product of 270 billion US dollars behind only South Africa whose GDP is 375 billion. Thus Nigeria, the 7th largest country in the world by population, has only the 40th largest economy by GDP. It is overly dependent on an oil and gas sector which provides 70% of its federal revenue, but is the source of a much smaller percentage of jobs than agriculture which employs 70% of the country’s labor force. But Nigeria suffers, as do so many other highly endowed extractive natural resource countries, from what economists label as the “Dutch disease” whereby other sectors of the economy such as agriculture and manufacturing are relatively ignored.

At Independence in 1960 Nigeria’s annual agricultural crop yields were higher than those of Indonesia and Malaysia. Today they have dwindled to half as much. The fact that Nigeria’s current yield per hectare is less than 50 percent of that of comparable developing countries dramatically demonstrates how much Nigeria has abandoned its once promising agricultural sector. Until Nigeria is able to rely less on capital intensive sectors of the economy and more on labor intensive ones it will be difficult to see how it will meet its ambitious goals to make the country one of the world’s twenty most important economies. Diversification is urgently needed to make the economy less vulnerable to downswings in petroleum prices. Even when oil prices were historically high the national unemployment rate, instead of falling, rose from 21percent in 2010 to 24 percent in 2011. As the African Development Bank report pointed out, Nigeria’s recent economic growth has been mainly driven by the non oil sector because of high consumer demand. The cruel irony is that whatever Nigeria and others in Africa might do to improve their economies their efforts in the short run could be undone by a renewed global financial crisis. As I was writing this there was still much uncertainty over the consequences that might ensue if the United States failed to meet its international debt obligations. Thus this continent remains at the mercy of a world financial order over which it has little or no influence.

Those of you who will be earning a university degree this week are among the most privileged of your generation. Over twenty million young people between the ages of 15 to 35 are unemployed. An overwhelming number of them do not have the education you have received. They are part of a burgeoning army of unemployed even as the economy is growing.

You however will become a valued part of Nigeria’s unmatched pool of human resources. No country on this continent has historically had such a richness of human capital. Unfortunately, during the days of military dictatorships so many of your best and brightest fled abroad. Students overstayed their visas and professionals remained abroad, so reluctant were they to return home. As a result over 3 million Nigerians live and work in the United States and Canada to say nothing of the large numbers in the United Kingdom. They everywhere excel in their contributions to all sectors of our society. I have said many times to American audiences that I regard Nigerians as the most accomplished immigrant group in the United States. What made Nigeria the country that I looked up to for so long was the fact that it produced some of the most educated, most talented black people to be found anywhere on earth.

My country and others around the world profit from Nigeria’s greatest export – her accomplished people. I often ask Nigerians who are legally in the U.S. why they remain.

The two major impediments to going back which they cite are their fears of the omni presence of corruption and the growing absence of security. They cringe whenever they hear Nigeria belittled on television comedies because of 4 1 9 schemes. They have so much to contribute to their homeland and ways must be found to create the environment which will invite them to return and reverse the brain drain which does so much damage to the body politic.
A cure must be found for the corrosive cancer of corruption. I congratulate you, Vice-Chancellor Ambali, for the University’s Anti-Corruption and Monitoring Unit. Your address on the Occasion of the Public Presentation of the ACTU Handbook two months ago is one of the best that I have read. With your indulgence I would like to repeat a few of your words which cannot be heard too often.
As we all know, corruption is the most terrible monster that confronts Nigeria but we must all work hard to tame this monster. In other words, I am certain that virtually all the problems associated with governance would be removed if we can all summon the courage to tackle corruption and banish it from our activities. Development doesn’t have a bigger enemy than corruption and the development of Nigeria is hinged on ridding our polity and politics from corruption and corrupt practices.
I salute this university’s motto of character and learning – probitas doctrina. It is an axiom fit for a whole nation to adopt. But I regret to say that I have seen too many good people of high character yield after putting up a good fight. Which is why efforts must be redoubled to create an environment in which character and virtue are rewarded and not scorned. Now, I know from my Sunday School days that being faced with temptation can be good, for if you can resist it you will be that much stronger. But let us not put too much temptation in their path. All of you, old and young alike, have a duty to do all you can to make the society in which these students and those who come after them matriculate is a society in which getting rich quickly is no longer a cherished goal; in which corruption is to be shunned and not envied; a society in which freedom and democracy flourish.

Earlier I mentioned the role of women. They are estimated to carry on about 70% of economic activity in Africa but they own but a paltry two percent of the land and are woefully under employed in the formal work force. And they are, in so many other ways, continually discriminated against. They remain victims of ancient patriarchal customs.
Half of your generation are women as, of course, are 50 percent of all Nigerians. Yet their participation in the workforce is extremely low. Only 33 percent of Nigerians who are employed in the formal sector are women. No nation can long endure and prosper which wastes the talents of so many of their citizens. President Jonathan has done better than any of his predecessors in bringing women into the top ranks of his government. A third of the members of his cabinet are women and he has appointed the first female Chief Justice. Yet, too much of the old sexist culture remains in the country. It is an anchor holding back its progress. Women’s family inheritance rights in too many states remain subordinate to those of their brothers even if the boys are younger than them. Too often they are sexually harassed on the job. No task will define the moral fiber of your generation more than your willingness to be committed to do as young people around the world are doing – rejecting sexism and seeing that women in law and custom enjoy equal rights to dignity and opportunity. No nation can prosper utilizing manpower alone. The freeing up of women’s power is essential to progress.

Nigeria has been too long an underperformer on the world stage. It has ceded to South Africa the pride of place as Africa’s leading spokesman. When the G-8 or other gatherings of the world’s most powerful nations occur it is more often to Johannesburg that they call than to Abuja on those all too rare times when they seek an African perspective. In its second century as more than a geographic entity, Nigeria, must at last realize its full potential. Even now, as woefully neglected as it has been, its manufacturing sector produces a large proportion of West Africa’s goods and services. What it has done for the region it can certainly in the years ahead do for the entire continent. You are indeed the giant of Africa. Your population of close to 170 million dwarfs all others. You are, by far, the continent’s largest and most appealing market. Surely Nigeria can raise the future amount of its exports to members of the African Union beyond its current level of 11 percent. Africa’s success is crucial to Nigeria’s own. Even if it accomplishes all of its 2020 goals by 2050 it will find it difficult to long prosper as an oasis in a desert of impoverished countries. It will become the attraction for massive illegal immigration as has the United States to its poorer neighbors to the South or has Europe to the peoples of the poorer countries of Africa, India, Pakistan, and the Caribbean. That is why it is in Nigeria’s enlightened self interest to be concerned as much about the plight of its neighbors as it is of its own. Those are the responsibilities that the members of the club of the world’s most powerful nations which Nigeria wishes to join must shoulder.

Nigeria has the potential to be in fact the giant of Africa which it has always thought itself to be. Its agricultural output is already second to none on the continent and 25th in the world. By making it more of a priority Nigeria could become a major player on the world’s commodities market. It must refine at home more of its 37 billion proven barrels of oil which is the world’s sixth largest reserve of crude oil. Its 187 trillion cubic feet of proven natural gas is the eighth largest gas deposit in the world. Its flaring must be stopped and the gas harnessed to meet the country’s mounting energy needs. The pipelines carrying oil and liquefied natural gas must be better protected for both ecological and economic reasons

The second century must be dedicated to diversifying this economy away from its overdependence on oil and to adding value to Nigeria’s treasure trove of the other natural resources lying beneath its soil. This can be done by sending not raw materials abroad but rather enhancing their value at home through a revitalized manufacturing sector, which refines and finishes the more than thirty different minerals lying beneath the nation’s soil.
The question must now be asked, why is Africa’s most endowed country, which earns $57 billion dollars a year in oil revenues not yet able to solve its persistent problems of electric power and infrastructure? The African Development Bank report has summed it up thusly:

“After decades of neglect, infrastructure in Nigeria is in a dilapidated state. The ranking of overall infrastructure is very close to the worst rank in Africa. Power supply is erratic, roads are in a state of disrepair, and the railway infrastructure is in a poor state. The erratic supply of electricity has continued to plague every aspect of the economy and it is viewed by the Federal Government of Nigeria as the bedrock of the country’s future growth, if addressed. Billions of dollars have been spent on the power sector by various administrations but without success because of mismanagement and implementation problems. However, with the political will to tackle mismanagement in the infrastructure sector and the desire to find a solution to the infrastructure problem in the country, there have been some improvements in the state of infrastructure in the country.”
Let me turn now to the great moral shame of our time – the persistence of poverty. Towards its elimination the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank promulgated in 1999 a Poverty Reduction Strategy Program (PRSP). Those two agencies have over the years ruffled nationalist feathers in a number of developing countries because of the austerity and conditionality requirements which they have imposed. Nigeria has not filed a PSRP progress report since 2007. It has enacted instead its Transformation Agenda 2011-2015 It is imperative that poverty reduction be a major goal of the agenda and not a marginalized one as it appears to have been so often in the past in too many countries. If not, then progress will be limited and the plight of the poor will become even more hopeless. One of the most important challenges your generation faces is to find ways to address continuing inequality so that all Nigerians are able to benefit from economic growth.

One hundred years before I first came to Nigeria in 1959, on the eve of your Independence, one of my heroes, the father of Black Nationalism, Martin Delany, in 1859 on the eve of the American Civil War came to these shores in search of a homeland for the enslaved sons and daughters of Africa held in captivity in America. He wished to see a great state built in Africa. As he put it: “a nation, to whom all the world must pay commercial tribute.” Sailing aboard a ship owned by three African merchants he arrived in Abeokuta. His one-year stay resulted in the signing of treaties with western Egba Chiefs giving American blacks the right to settle in their areas. The agreements were never followed up because the Civil War broke out just as Delany returned to America. He served as a medical doctor in Abraham Lincoln’s army which ended slavery and resulted in blacks becoming citizens of the United States.

I speak to you now, on the eve of Nigeria’s second century and in the twilight of my years, as more than an in-law who first came to Africa as a student in search of my heritage and returned four decades later to find my destiny in my lovely wife – Arese.

I speak to you young people as an octogenarian optimistic enough to believe that I will still be around to see Nigeria become the fulfillment of Delany’s dream of a great African state to whom the world must pay tribute.
Yours is the pivot generation. One that can and must turn Nigeria around as mine and the one that followed changed America forever. Nigeria is calling you. Heed her call so that in the words of your National Anthem ‘The labors of your heroes past shall not have been in vain.”

Being extracts from the UNILORIN Convocation Lecture, ON THE DAWN OF NIGERIA’S SECOND CENTURY: CHALLENGES TO A NEW GENERATION, by WALTER C. CARRINGTON, O.F.R., former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, delivered last Monday.


That Nigeria’s Quest For Membership of UNSC By Yushau Shuaib.

At 53 Nigeria has faced some challenges of nationhood, similar to what other great nations had or have faced. While one is concerned by the recurring disturbing and negative trends that dampen the spirit of writing positively about the country, Nigeria’s greatness is in its abundant human and material resources.
Having had the opportunity of traveling to some great countries, I am amazed by accomplishments of Nigerians who are highly regarded in various spheres of human endeavour. We are not unmindful of the fact that very few vagabonds among the citizens give the nation a bad name due to their corrupt tendencies and criminalities that, to some extent, exacerbate insecurity in the land.

Meanwhile, not minding what others will say about Nigeria’s quest to becoming a member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), the country has made positive impact in international diplomacy and peacekeeping operations. This argument was re-echoed by President Goodluck Jonathan when asked world leaders to support the country’s quest to be a member of the UNSC.

Speaking at the 68th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York, President Jonathan said Nigeria’s commendable performance on previous occasions when it held a non-permanent seat on the Security Council should assure the global community that the country deserved to be elected to the council again for the 2014-2015 session. He also called for faster action towards the democratisation of the Security Council as many countries are concerned about the lack of progress in the reformation of the United Nations.

A casual observer may not attach significant importance to the clamour for special seat at the United Nations, after all, only few countries call the shots in the global political arena in the United Nations in the name of Veto-Power.  The permanent members who have the veto power are America, Britain, China, France and Russia. They solely wield  the so-called “veto power”, enabling them to prevent the adoption of any “substantive” draft Council resolution, regardless of the level of international support for the draft. With such power they can do anything no matter what other nations consider and propose.

The Permanent Members top the list of countries with the highest military expenditures as they spend an average of US$1 trillion combined annually on defense, accounting for large percentage of global military expenditures. They are largest arms exporters and the only nations officially recognised as “nuclear-weapon states” under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), though there are other countries believed to be in possession of nuclear weapons.

There is also G4 Nations of Germany, Japan, India and Brazil who are clamouring to become members too. Meanwhile two seats are to be reserved for Africa, where Nigeria is in contention with Egypt and South Africa for the coveted membership.

Apart from the five permanent members, there are ten non-permanent members, elected by the General Assembly for two-year terms who take turn at holding the presidency of the Security Council on a monthly basis.

Sentiments apart, Nigeria deserves the membership than any other African country because of its significant roles in global politics. It is the largest single contributor to UN global security engagements in Africa. It played greater roles in the ending colonialism in several African countries including Angola, Namibia, South-Africa, Zimbabwe and still remains the main force in the regional ECOWAS/Ecomog, which actively intervened in resolving and stabilising war-ravaged Liberia and Sierra Leone and Cote d’Ivoire.

In addition Nigeria’s military have been deployed as peace keepers under UN and ECOWAS arrangements in former Yugoslavia, Angola, Rwanda, Lebanon, Somalia, Iran-Iraq, East Timor, Dafur-Sudan, Congo and Sierra Leone and later Mali. In some of the foreign operations, Nigerian officers served as chiefs of defence in other countries or Command Officer-in-Charge of military operations.

The country has a unique and enviable demographic position, human and natural resources, which are brought to bear on sub-regional, continental and global affairs.  The country is Africa’s leading oil and gas producer and with population of over 170 million making it the most populous black nation on earth and seventh most populous country in the world. It is a plural society with multi-ethnic and multi-religious diversity.

I believe Nigeria should adopt an appropriate strategy in pursuing the quest for a permanent seat at the UN Security Council. Since it has received the endorsement of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU), Nigeria should work with other regions for strategic alliances for the success of the campaign.

We have always being a big brother, this is the time for others to support our aspirations.

Yushau a. Shuaib
Finance Estate, Wuye


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

World Court dismisses Charles Taylor’s appeal, upholds 50-year jail term.



Former President Charles Taylor of Liberia will spend 50 years in jail after the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) today rendered a historic final judgment in his case, dismissing the appeal he lodged following his conviction by the Trial Chamber.

Taylor, 65, came under the hammer for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during Sierra Leone‘s decade-long civil war.

The African Press Organization (APO) quotes Special Court Prosecutor Brenda J. Hollis as welcoming to the judgment, saying: “This final decision affirms Mr. Taylor’s criminal responsibility for grave crimes which caused untold suffering to many thousands, if not tens of thousands, of victims in Sierra Leone. Today’s judgment brings some measure of justice to those victims who suffered so horribly because of Charles Taylor.


“The Appeals Chamber today confirmed what the Trial Chamber made clear, that Heads of State will be held to account for war crimes and other international crimes. No person, no matter how powerful, is above the law. Today’s judgment affirms that with leadership comes not just power and authority, but also responsibility and accountability.

“We welcome the Appeals Chamber’s decision to uphold Mr. Taylor’s sentence to 50 years, which reflects the seriousness of his crimes. This sentence makes it clear that those responsible for criminal conduct on a massive scale will be severely punished. No sentence less than 50 years would be enough to achieve retribution and deterrence, the primary goals of sentencing for international crimes.

“The Appeals Chamber agreed with the Trial Chamber and the Prosecution that the evidence proved that Mr. Taylor aided and abetted, and planned, the crimes charged in the Indictment. Today’s judgment affirms the critical role that Mr. Taylor played in inflicting great misery on the people of Sierra Leone. Mr. Taylor spun a vast web of crimes which victimized the entire civilian population of Sierra Leone.

“I commend those brave witnesses who came forward to testify. I also commend the people of Sierra Leone. Without their commitment to justice this trial would not have taken place; indeed this Court would not have existed. Their resilience and courage gives us all great hope for a future of continued peace, justice and progress in Sierra Leone.”

Charles Taylor is the first former Head of State to be convicted for war crimes by an international criminal tribunal since Nuremberg in 1946. The Appeals Chamber upheld Mr. Taylor’s convictions on all 11 grounds of the Indictment with one minor modification, and agreed with the Trial Chamber’s decision sentencing Mr. Taylor to 50 years in prison.

The Special Court for Sierra Leone came into existence because the people of Sierra Leone demanded accountability for the crimes committed during the conflict. With this judicial pronouncement accountability has been adjudged at the very highest level for the crimes committed.

The Special Court will close its doors before the end of 2013, and will be immediately replaced by the Residual Special Court. A primary function of the Residual Special Court will be the continued protection and support of Special Court witnesses and individuals at risk on account of testimony.

The Residual Special Court will respond robustly and effectively to any reports of interference with, or harassment of, witnesses.

“The Special Court will soon close,” said Hollis, “but the courage of the witnesses and the people of Sierra Leone will never be forgotten, nor should it be.”

Source: Radio Biafra.

Africa: What Western Media Is Not Telling the World By Igbokwe Ifeanyi.

‘… They are also a people without head, having their mouths and eyes in their breasts’ was an account kept by the London Merchant John Lock when he sailed to West Africa in 1561 was one of the first the world would hear and unfortunately this ugly badge seemed to be continually sewed unto Africa’s skin four and a half decades later.

Each time the name ‘Africa’ comes to mind or appears in the news we can almost predict what would follow. Somehow the emotion attached to the continent seems to constantly elicit numerous emotions not much different from pity, anger, sadness, anguish, and most often stirs up horrible images of despair, poverty of the harshest kind, needless and avoidable deaths, all kinds of senseless wars, hunger, widespread corruption, unemployment, disasters and brutality leaving out mental skies and landscape devoid of any possible hope in sight for the dark continent.

Pick hundreds of young people between age 16 and 30 at random from Europe, the United States, Asia and South America. Ask them what they think of Africa and you will be amazed at the terrifying answers you will get. Take the bars a little higher and put 100 government officials randomly selected from the same locations in the same position and the economic woes of Africa would begin to unfold to the full grasp of the narrowest of minds.

But is Africa this messed up? Without argument it has had its fair share of issues ranging from wars, hunger, bad governance to economic and infrastructural development. A major problem is that western media, who is the world’s major eyes on what is happening in Africa seems to be only interested in only all the sad stories, all the corruption allegation stories, wars, unemployment, fraud and illiteracy stories it can lay its hands on, often without due verification and confirmation as held by the ethics of journalism.

If I had not experienced Africa first-hand, I would have thought too that it is just made up of beautiful landscape, animals and hordes of retarded useless black people always engaged in fighting useless wars without enough sense to rule or help themselves. I would think that the average African person cannot think, speak good English or relate with me as equals. I would think nothing good can come out of the continent and I would never bring myself to imagine that making an investment in Africa would ever be a good decision irrespective of the surrounding circumstances simply because those are all I know about Africa.

Corruption is yet another word that depicts the African story. Its mention conjures up pictures of African leaders hoarding stolen monies in foreign banks and we will be quick to know that the corrupt and guilty ones are the leaders and not the bankers on the other side who assisted in the transfer and custody of stolen funds. Start the story with the blood diamonds of Sierra Leone and not the buyers who greatly assisted in tearing the country apart and you have a different story. Begin the story with oil bunkering in Nigeria (and not the buyers on the other side whose government decided to react with a blind eye) and you have a typical African story where Nigerians are greedy and unpatriotic saboteurs. Or begin the story of the menace of Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria with the number of people they killed and not the poverty and illiteracy that fueled it and the story is already dressed the African way.

How vulnerable the rest of the world has become to one sided stories of Africa. Yes we want to hear about the war in Somalia, turmoil in Egypt, demoralizing stories from Mali’s heartless rebels’ killing expeditions, massacre in Benue and Boko haram in Northern Nigeria but we also want to hear about the people like Emmanuel Ohuabunwa got a scholarship to study medicine in Yale University from Nigeria and made a Grade Point Average of 3.98 out of 4.0, graduating as the best student the university had to offer. We want to hear of how Nigeria’s telecommunication sector among the fastest growing in the world along with its banking sector. They would love to hear about how Nigeria’s economy has been on a progressive growth since the last few dozen years in figures many European countries can only imagine or the economic growth Ghana has been basking in.

Yes we want to hear all the sad stories about Africa but we also want to hear its best stories too.

Igbokwe Ifeanyi writes from

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

‘Witch-Gun’ And Superstition In Guinea And Sierra Leone By Leo Igwe.

By Leo Igwe

Belief in ‘witch-gun’ is common among the peoples of Guinea and Sierra Leone. It is not clear how they came about this superstitious notion. But the belief is deep rooted. In fact there are as many conceptions of witch- gun as there are believers. One figure whose notion of a ‘witch gun’ stands out is the National President of Sierra Leone Indigenous Traditional Healers Union, ‘Dr’. Alhaji Suliaman Kabba. He said “The earliest and deadliest type of witch gun is made out of the husk from rice, but today’s witch guns are made out of gun powder while others are made out of lead. In fact the type of witch gun bullet that is most frequently removed when people are shot is the lead.”

He noted that witch-gun attacks are due to malice, jealousy, struggle for positions and political offices. But that is not the issue.

The main question is: Does a ‘witch-gun’ really exist? The belief is that people can shoot and kill others spiritually using this ‘weapon’. It is not all cases of murder or death that are ascribed to witch-gun operations. Most often cases of mysterious or premature deaths are attributed to ‘witch-gun’ attack. For instance a young person who dies suddenly or a middle aged person who collapses and dies without showing any sign of sickness or a powerful and successful person who dies after a brief illness. These are often incidents categorized as unnatural, not-ordinary deaths. These are instances of misfortune believed to be caused by enemies using a ‘witch-gun’. This spiritual weapon can be procured from local medicine men and women. A witch doctor- also called a ‘herbalist’- can be commissioned to carry out a witch-gun attack. People believe a witch-gun’ can kill a person, no matter where he/she is. Witch gun belief is a sub category of a widespread belief among Africans that people can kill others using spiritual means.

Allegations of witch-gun killings are taken seriously in many parts of Sierra Leone and Guinea.  Accused persons are attacked, beaten up, banished, and sometimes may be lynched by a mob. Suspects are tried and convicted by state courts, though witchcraft is not recognized under the law in these countries.

Today, there is a growing incident of witch-gun accusation in these countries.

Early this year, three Sierra Leoneans- Usman Dumbuya, Yalmamy Kamara and Jeneba Jalloh-  living in Guinea were banished by a court for ‘shooting’ people with a witch gun and practicing sorcery. They reportedly hired a witch doctor who carried out the killing. The case was brought before a magistrate court and the court found them guilty and banished the three from the district. The accused persons denied the charge. One of them said the accusation was brought by his rivals in the district to get rid of him. Efforts by officials from the Embassy of Sierra Leone to resolve the matter were unsuccessful.

In a related development, a man, Gbongbo Mansaray, has appeared before a court in Sierra Leone. He was charged with ‘witch-gun’ sorcery. The incident allegedly led to the death of a person in Tonkolili district. Mansaray pleaded guilty to practicing witchcraft and killing one Mohammed Fullah of Masingbi town with a ‘witch gun’. Mansaray said he was hired by one Alhaji Adamu  to carry out the ‘murder’. But he never explained exactly –how, when and where- he gunned down Fullah. He only claimed that Fullah died shortly after he was taken to a local ‘herbalist’ for treatment.

Given the state of the justice system in Africa, Mansaray is likely to be convicted and jailed. The judge should not have entertained this case in the first place. That Mansaray pleaded guilty should not be an excuse to try and convict him for ‘killing’ somebody with an imaginary weapon. Due to lack of adequate health facilities, many people resort to witchcraft to explain cases of deaths and diseases in their communities. They invoke cultural narratives that have no basis in reason or medical science. And when witchcraft cases are brought to court, judges and magistrates often convict the accused due to social and political pressure, not based on evidence.

This has to change. There is need for a public enlightenment campaign in Guinea and Sierra Leone. People in these countries should be made to understand that the notion of a ‘witch-gun’ is a myth. It is mere fantasy, a product of fear and imagination. The claim that people can murder others using this spiritual weapon is baseless and untrue(After all Sierra Leone went through years of civil war. Was that war fought with witch-guns?). Witch gun belief thrives due to ignorance of the natural causes of death and the scapegoat mentality.

The governments of Guinea and Sierra Leone should take extra measures to improve the health care system. They should organize basic health education programs in rural and urban communities. Governments should promote scientific thinking and the rule of evidence-based law. They should protect the rights of accused persons and ensure access to justice for all.
Skeptics, scientists, philosophers and intellectuals in these countries should speak out against superstition based abuses, and ensure that the voice of reason is heard. The cause of combating superstitions and emancipating African people from the witchcraft mentality should not be left to politicians alone. Critically minded Africans should get involved and set up programs to get people to abandon superstition and embrace scientific temper and critical intelligence.


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

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