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Posts tagged ‘Taraba State’

Northern govs meet over oil exploration.


Northern-Elders-Forum

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Source: Radio Biafra.

A Failed Ruling Class And The Litany Of Impunity: From Taraba Through NNPC To Rivers And Beyond By Jaye Gaskia.


By Jaye Gaskia

Sometimes when pummeled by the storms of our vicarious existence, i often take some steps back to reflect. And in those moments of reflection, I do wonder whether any of the actions we are taking is worthwhile, whether our actions, collective and individual do make any difference.

At such times, i am persuaded to ask the other question, and to wonder, what would our collective existence have been like without those actions that we have taken all through the tortuous contours of our collective history? On the balance i am however convinced that as close to the hedge of destruction as our clueless, myopic, greedy, gluttonous, light fingered and pillaging treasury looting ruling elite class have managed to push our nation; as devastating as the impact of their collective misrule has been on our collective existence; our fate would have been far much worse, and perhaps, there would not still have been a nation, without our collective resistance all through the years, without the anti-military struggle, without the June twelve struggle, without the January Uprising of 2012 for instance.

So like i have had the occasion to say to people in recent past, this nation, this country, this valiant peoples of Nigeria, have survived and kept the very fabric of our common patrimony together, inspite of, rather than because of this bungling thieving ruling class.

If you take a cursory look at our historical experience since colonial times, why is it that every succeeding generation looks back on the past with fondness? Why does the immediate past always seem to better than the present? And why does it always seem to us that we were better off under previous regimes than we are under current ones? Could it be because in truth and of a fact there has been a progressive decline in the quality of leadership over the years, a progressive decline in the quality, competence, integrity, and patriotism of the ruling class over the years and decades? This definitely does seem to be the case.

On the strength of this trend, it is little wonder that this regime, this current ruling political class, in power and in opposition, represent the lowest that we have sunk as a nation and people. It is perhaps the reason why we have witnessed the least governance since the amalgamation of 1914; and why we are witnessing the crassest opportunism, as well as the steepest rise in the intensity of treasury looting and pillage of our commonwealth. It is the reason why they not only trample on the constitution which they made for us, but also ride rough shod over ordinary citizens.

The Nigerian ruling class has historically not been a stranger to impunity in governance; nevertheless, past generations of this ruling class will cringe in their graves at the level of the impunity of their heirs, the current class of Vagabonds In Power [VIPs].

Let us take a roll call of the long list of the perfidious indiscretions of their looting infested reign over us. A constitutional breach of the highest order which they unconscionably piloted when they so inhumanely chose to play chess with the ill health of a severely sick and dying president; they are now playing out in a full blown tragicomedy in Taraba state with the ill health of another severely incapacitated governor. These vultures and coyotes, these hyenas and maggots, who survive only by scavenging on the dead, will do anything possible to push the ailing Taraba state governor to his death bed, because of their own selfish interests, just as the kitchen cabinet around the ailing president did to the late President Yar Adua.

During that period as well as in the current case, all manner of self interested liars, including leading politicians and leading clerics who called themselves men and servants of God, all trooped to visit the ailing President and Governor, and all claimed and swore by their Holy Books, lying through the skin of their colored teeth that all was well, and the subjects of their nocturnal visits were hale and hearty, as well as fit as a fiddle to govern!

In the case of the late President, as in the case of the ailing governor, the very few who had some access, and who because of that access knew the truth, and refused to tell lies, were and are being subtly discredited. Yet determining the truth should be really very simple. The NMA has offered to undertake an independent assessment of the ailing governor; but the pack of scavengers around him will not let this happen.

Apart from the sickening way they are playing political chess games with the lives of their fellow politicians, and leaders; what is even more significant for us about these games is the fact they these political gladiators are wilfully breaching and violating the provisions of the constitution which they had sworn to uphold.

So why should any of these matter to us all? Well, let us be clear that there is a clear connection between this blatant disregard for the constitution, and for human life, and the anarchy that is being orchestrated in Rivers state, where a serving Police Commissioner, who ought to be a member of the state security council is being used by external forces, to undermine not only the person of the governor of Rivers state, despicable as he might personally be, but also the institutions of the state in Rivers State. So a police commissioner in a civilian dispensation, would disperse a state legislature, and block the routes of the state governor, while openly defying a sitting state governor! And there are still some who think what is at stake is the individual fate of Amaechi, or of Wike, or of the President or the First Lady? On the contrary what is at stake is constitutionalism, rule of law, and yes, the very stability of the country. We may like to think that these arsonists are merely trying to set themselves ablaze; well, that is surely right; but they are setting themselves ablaze on our roof top. And this should matter to us.

Furthermore, we insist that there is a connection between this impunity being orchestrated at the very summit of power in these two instances of Taraba and Rivers, as well as the impunity being perpetrated the the smaller minions in the MDAs. It is why more than half of MDAs do not remit their revenues to the federation account in clear breach of the constitution; it is why the NNPC under the supervision of the Petroleum Minister will not remit trillions of Naira to the federation account; it is why the Aviation Minister will single handedly authorise variations in the ministries budget for vehicles from N240m to over N600m, while spending N255m of that on just two armoured BMWs! It is why although both ministers have been severally indicted by different probe panels, both are still firmly entrenched in the cabinet. And what is more it is why crude oil theft soared from less than 100,000 barrels per day barely 3 years ago to the current levels of more than 400,000 barrels per day; and this inspite of the huge annual multi-billion Naira contracts awarded to Ex- Militant Generals for security and surveillance of pipelines and maritime water ways.

The point being made is that the level of impunity among this shameless ruling class has reached such a proportion that it has become mutually reinforcing, as well frustratingly undermining of our national development; socially, politically, constitutionally, and economically. The fact is we cannot condone and applaud impunity in certain aspects of our national life while we seek to expunge it from others. The fact against impunity is total and all embracing.

The real question that is of existential significance hinges around whether or not we can continue to trust this thieving ruling class, or whether we should not all together take a deep collective breath, and undertake the necessary collective effort to heave them off our backs for good.

Follow me on Twitter: @jayegaskia & @[DPSR]protesttopower; Interact with me on FaceBook: Jaye Gaskia & Take Back Nigeria:

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

From the Bucket Men to Twon -Brass (4) By Patrick Naagbanton.


 

By Patrick Naagbanton

“Even the one guarding oil facilities force us to pay them money. Even JTF (Joint Task Force, the military task force operating in the delta region) force us to pay them. I am not even worried about the amount, even if they ask us to pay more we will and let them guard us against sea-pirates. We are just paying money for nothing. There was a time sea-pirates attacked us and we went to military people to report to them. They said we should go to police. The reason why we travel in the night is that we pay lesser amount of money, but is risky travelling in the night”, an enraged manager said further.

We were heading southwest still on the New Calabar River, some twenty five minutes before eight p.m., I heard a loud bang like that of a firework blast. I moved to the manager who was in his room, watching a comical Nigerian movie called, “Happy Christmas”

“What is the problem?” I asked.

“Don’t worry, the engine propeller cut off. It won’t affect anything. They will fix it” he responded.

The bell rang again and the boat stopped while the crew members were installing a new propeller. As the manager promised, it didn’t take up to three minutes before a new one was fixed and our journey began. We got to a military house boat in the Bille community to hand over all the ten drums to the military men there.

As we left the military point, I turned to the manager again and asked him what the drums were for. He laughed mischievously and said, “Oga sir, leave me alone oooo. You know what is happening than I know. Let’s talk about other things”, he laughed. I cracked some jokes with him, hoping to get more details about the drums, but he refused to say anything about it. Bille is one of the Kalabari communities, located in the Degema LGA. In early nineteen ninety- two, the Kalabari – Nembe war broke out again. The hostilities continued until two years after. The battle was over the ownership of the oil and gas rich area where Soku gas plant and other oil wells are located. Bille creek was a major battle field. On Thursday, third February, nineteen ninety-four at the Bille creek which is popularly called “Kilometer 90”, Ebigberi Trust, twenty years old then, who had just completed his secondary school, was travelling from Port Harcourt to his Twon- Brass town when attackers struck. He narrated to me in detail how around ten a.m. (in the morning) under the severe harmattan cold then, the incident took place. As they were approaching the Bille creek, seven young men alleged to be Kalabari fighters, dressed in military uniforms, heavily armed with guns opened fire on their speed boat. They were twenty-five persons in the commercial speed boat travelling to Twon-Brass and other Nembe communities along the creeks. There was also another commercial speed boat with same number of passengers, travelling with them. The attackers were in two boats as they saw them coming, used ropes and barricaded the creek route. The other boat travelling with them sped off. Ebigberi Trust and others couldn’t escape like the other boat, they were   attacked. Fourteen persons including a police escort and a Nembe chief were killed. Trust was amongst the eleven who survived the gun attack. Trust is still alive and now a sailor, still sailing in the rough creeks and high seas of the delta. Fighters from the Nembe kingdom were also patrolling the creeks and attacking suspected Kalabari natives. Some calm had returned after the boat incident and others, but armed fighters on both sides were not disarmed. They still have the guns. The route is notorious for sea piracy and illegal oil activities by state and non -state agents.

 

The boat driver was such a great man who knew his job. He sailed west-north, north-west and arrived south-west around ten twenty-five p.m. He didn’t miss the route. He wasn’t using a Compass or a Global Positioning Systems (GPS) or other navigational equipment.  We were at Oluasiri to drop off passengers with their loads of crates of beer (Star and Heineken).  At Oluasiri, a party was going on. Some young men and girls were by the beach side twisting their waists and bodies seriously to the tune of the erotic songs of Nigeria’s rich musician, J.M. Martins. Two loud speakers playing the music were placed by the beach. The chorus was loud. “Baby make you give me your fine love eh/fine love eh/your sweetie sweetie love eh/Baby make you give me your fine fine love eh/your sweetie sweetie love eh”. Such songs in time of crisis can be a big relief.

The Oluasiri people are Nembe people and the community is in one of the oil rich disputed areas. The Kalabari and the Abua people (both Ijaw kingdoms) in Rivers State are saying that they own the area (Oluasiri) and that the Oluasiri people are settlers on their land. The Oluasiri and other Nembe people of Bayelsa State are countering that. Blood has been spilt over this, and now rages the bitter legal battles and media war by Rivers and Bayelsa States over ownership of the oil and gas rich area. As a travel writer, it is not my responsibility to go into the issues of who owns the disputed area, but to merely highlight the prevailing issues in the zones I travel through. But I hope the government would resolve the issue justly and peacefully soon. Poor locals from both sides are the victims of this pointless oil war.

We got to a fishing camp around the Brass River called, “Sansan Village”, to drop off a female passenger, and her two kids and some bags of rice and garri. At the Sansan fish village, instead of having a concrete or iron jetty, planks of wood were used as a platform (jetty) which one climbs into the impoverished fishing village. The wood was old and falling apart. Sand flies, the black tiny, blood-sucking and virus-causing insects swarmed our boat. I was bitten seriously. I ran back to my apartment for safety. At boat room, I saw a fat rat chasing another small one along a wooden pillar by my seat. I chased them away and sat down. We didn’t spend up to six minutes there we sailed out. We diverted through another snake- like creek and entered the Krikakiri area in the Kula community in the Akuku Toru LGA, another Kalabari community in Rivers State. The “Strike Chief” we encountered at the Port Harcourt’s port hails from here. Kula is rich in oil and gas too. The community had witnessed killings related to chieftaincy tussle, violent struggles to benefit from royalties given by Shell and others, and youth leadership crisis. At Krikakiri, our bell rang again, our boat slowed down; the manager came out of his room and handed over two thousand naira notes to some soldiers who were guarding an oil facility there.

Around twelve-thirty a.m., we were at Kampala, a fishing settlement named after the capital of Uganda in East Africa. We were not dropping any passengers. We wanted to pick up a small rectangular empty metal container with us to Twon -Brass.

One of their boats, carrying plenty of wood from the area to Port Harcourt had run into a stubborn storm and the boat sank two days before. After dropping us at Twon Brass, the boat crew members would go to where the boat sank along Nembe creek, dive into the water and use a long rope to tie the floating metal container, just to indicate that a boat had sunk there. Some crew members had taken the empty metal container from Kampala, and had tied it to the tail of our moving boat. We had travelled for about four minutes with the container when waving water from our boat filled it and it cut off and sank. Two crew members pulled off their shirts and dived into the tidal belly of the water, searching for the container. They saw it, but it was filled with water and sinking deeper. They were helpless, returned to the boat sad and feeling dejected. This delayed our movement a bit.

We moved deeper into the Nembe area. The Nembe kingdom of the Ijaw or Ijo nationality has two LGAs( Nembe and Brass ) in Bayelsa State of the central Niger Delta with booming  towns which some of the natives called them ‘ kingdoms’ for some reasons. Around two a.m. (in the morning), I lifted up my eyes to the skies and saw stars over us, which seemed countless and moving closer to us. The morning breeze was chilling and refreshing. We passed Sunnykiri, another busy fishing settlement located on the edge of the windy creek. By three- thirty a.m. we were in the Nembe creek located in the Nembe LGA, a crew member was moving from one chamber of the boat to another, collecting fares and charges on loads. I paid him One thousand five hundred naira (about nine dollars) as my fare.

Nembe is the home of Ebiegberi Joe Alagoa, the humble and brilliant Professor Emeritus of history I respect a lot. Alagoa explores the rich oral histories and legends of his people through his historiographical expertise, reconstructs it, and presents it in a very simple and clear manner. In one of his books, The Small Brave City-State (1964), in pages 91 and 92, he wrote, “The early Portuguese, Spanish, and Dutch trade in slaves had carried on through the ports of New Calabar and Bonny. It shifted to Nembe Brass Town when the British preventive activities became effective at these ports ….. In the 1880s, after the arrival of Sir George Tubman Goldie’s National African Company (which became the Royal Niger Company, Chartered and Limited, in 1886), the company established supercargoes and the Nembe traders became allies against the common rival, and Liverpool merchants with stations on the Brass River agitated in the British press and parliament against the increasingly intolerable monopoly maintained by the Niger Company at Akassa over all the markets in the interior” .In early two thousand and beyond, Alagoa and I served on the advisory board of the California, US – based National Radio project (NRP).

Nembe is also the home of Emmanuel Gladstone Olawale Rotimi (1938-2000), widely called, “Ola Rotimi”, the famous playwright, theatre director and teacher. Rotimi was the author of the renowned play; The Gods Are not to blame (1968). He was born of a Yoruba father, Samuel Gladstone Enitan Rotimi and his mother, Dorcas Oruene was from the Nembe main town of Ogbolomabiri. The Nembe kingdom has an age-long matrilineal (inheritance along mother’s line) society, a child or children acquired in any relationship (either marriage or otherwise)   even if they bear the man’s name belong to the woman and her family. The system is no more. On Saturday, twenty-eight December, two thousand and thirteen, Edmund M. Daukoru, ex -Petroleum Minister to President Olusegun Obasanjo government, now Amanyanabo(king) of Nembe Kingdom (Mingi Xii) proclaimed it abolished. The system was established before 1800 AD. In nineteen seventy-seven, Akassa Youmi, his famous historical play was published. The play is about the Nembe-British War commonly called “the Akassa War”. The war over control of trade route between Nembe chiefs and its people (Ola Rotimi’s  people) and British commercial interest, many Nembe people were killed, while Britain lost over hundred people, some were buried in Twon-Brass. Youmi in the Nembe dialect means, the war. Ola Rotimi in his Akassa Youmi presents an aspect of the tragedy in a dramatic form.

 

We spent about four hours dropping off several passengers and their luggage at the various Nembe communities and fishing camps. Around ten minutes after seven a.m., we sailed into Twon- Brass through the Brass River. The river, that sometimes of the day could be mad and its forceful waves block humans traveling in boats on its table, was calm. Before we anchored at Twon -Brass, I viewed Twon -Kubu burial ground from my binoculars on my left. Twon- Kubu is in Twon -Brass, headquarters of Brass L.G.A. There(Twon-Kabu) persons accused of being witches, lunatics or those who died the wrong way like plane crash and others are buried in this area. Twon-Kubu is on the verge of the town. There were spots of tall forest trees around the area

.

Twon- Kubu is different from Ada-Ama cemetery located near Old Bank Road in the heart of Twon- Brass town. At Ada-Ama “good people” are buried with fanfare.” “Who are the bad people and who are the good people?” I inquired myself. I also saw Imbikiri, was a European settlement where palm kernels were sold. Imbi means palm karnel, whileKiri means settlement, area or  ground  A resident of Twon Brass once cracked a joke with me that if one does not see fish to buy in Imbikiri, one cannot  get fish anywhere in the world. Imbikiri is a settlement predominantly occupied by local and migrant fishermen and women and fish traders from other parts of Nigeria. The camp is crucial to the local economy of the people. The Nembe people consider it a serious taboo to kill or eat shark, the weird predatory fish. The fisher folks complained of the problems they have on daily basis when they catch shark and attempt to smuggle it into the town. The people also forbid killing or eating of python, the huge snake found in their mass in the Brass River. Twon -Brass, the old town of the Nembe people, from pre-colonial to present-day has witnessed one form of violent raid or another. At the river, I saw three long vessels as long as our wood boat, racing through in different directions. It looked like vessels with illicit crude oil.

When I got to Twon- Brass, I had wanted to sail out again. Not on the huge wooden boat, but in a speedboat to the Akassa area at the mouth of the turbulent Atlantic Ocean. I was advised against travelling there at the time, because of the dangerous activities of sea robbers and illegal crude oil cartels and dealers. I spent the night (Saturday) at the Samfagha Hotels near the Agip Gate. The hotel was clean and a bit spacious. I paid three thousand naira (about eighteen dollars) for the night. There was uninterrupted power supply from the nearby Agip gas turbine. The entire community also benefit from the power too. If such hotel were to be in Port Harcourt or elsewhere the room rate would have been higher. Opposite the  hotel was a massive hotel with half-naked sex workers from all over the country and even some African countries like Cameroon , Cotonou and others who had come to stay there to do their trade.

Twon- Brass is the native home of Ernest Sissei- Ikoli (1893-1960), one of the fathers of modern journalism and nationalism. Mokwugo Okoye (1926-1998), the foremost pro-independence activist, philosopher and writer, praised Ikoli and others in page 72 of his book, Storms on the Niger. The book was first published by the Eastern Nigeria Printing Corporation in Enugu in nineteen sixty-four. Okoye described Ernest Sissei -Ikoli of The Daily Times, Thomas Horatio Jackson of The Lagos Weekly Record, W. Couldson Labour of The Dawn and Herbert Macaulay of The Lagos Daily Newspapers as “…real masters of their craft and ornaments to the Nigerian intelligence. With their colleagues they brought news of the outside world to the rising middle class and focused attention on more glaring problems of national development.” During the trip, I met Twon- Brass chiefs who disparaged the great Ikoli as a failure who never did anything for his Nembe or Ijaw people. I tried to defend Ikoli, but one of them was angry with me for doing that. Society has slipped into absurdity where success and achievements are measured on the basis of fraudulent money and wealth one parades. Ikoli remains largely unsung. Some years ago, the Rivers State Council of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) erected a monument of Ikoli, holding a pen in front of its secretariat. The NUJ’s secretariat which is located along Moscow Road in the heart of Port Harcourt city is now in ruins and Ikoli’s monument is falling apart as well.

 

Alfred Papapreye Diete-Spiff, the former military administrator of old Rivers State is said to be a Nembe man with some roots in Twon- Brass. Diete-Spiff is the Amayanabo(king) of Brass, a sub-kingdom within the Brass LGA. Like other sub-kingdoms within the Brass LGA -Okpoama, Odioma and Akassa, they have their Amayanabos(kings) too. Twon- Brass is also the home of Clifford T.I. Ordu – Cameroon, the eminent Professor of soil microbiology, born on third July, nineteen thirty-seven and died on twenty-five October, two thousand and thirteen which is a great loss to the world scientist’ community.

Charles Alfred, a young, bright scholar of peace, war and the conflict economies, was born Twon-Brass some thirty-nine years ago. He is a lecturer of the Political Science Department at the Federal University, Wukari, Taraba State located in North-Eastern part of Nigeria. The University where Charles teaches is located in the Wukari LGA (Jukunland) where T.Y. Danjuma, the ex-military general and billionaire oil tycoon comes from. The university is one of the new nine universities established by the Goodluck Ebele Jonathan government. Charles is the author of the book, A Comprehensive History of Twon-Brass, Vol 1, 2 and 3

 

Twon-Brass is a lovely town. But damaging environmental activities of the oil companies and others in the Brass River and its environs has aggravated the rising surge level which threatens to swallow the beautiful Ijaw town by the sea.  I bade goodbye to Twon- Brass around seven a.m. on Sunday, twenty-nine December, two thousand and thirteen. Not with the huge local ferry boat again, but with the small “flying” boat (speed boat). My journey from Twon -Brass was just three and half hours.

I decided to travel with the poor locals- traders, fishermen and women, and with those who don’t have the money to pay for the speed boat to tell their stories. In the early sixties, travelling through the creeks from the Port Harcourt harbour to Twon- Brass in the large dug-out canoes would take three days. The boats were pulled manually (with paddles). The breakthrough in science and technology saw to better marine engines and equipment that reduced the stress of a longer journey. The various creeks used to be small, but successive governments in then Port Harcourt (then seat of power of the old Rivers State) had dredged the creeks to make them more accessible; for travels especially.

 

Twon -Brass! I shall come to you again, not on the snail- pace moving wooden boat, but on the flying boat (speed boat) to attend Professor Ordu-Cameroon’s funeral coming up sometime in March, this year.

 

Concluded

 

Naagbanton lives in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital

Fresh Attempt By Brain Damaged Governor Suntai To Resume Office Fails As He Could Not Recognize Aso Rock.


 

Gov. Danbaba Suntai upon arrival to Nigeria last year
By Saharareporters, New York

A fresh attempt by a political cabal in Taraba State to return to office Danbaba Suntai, the governor who suffered brain injuries in a 2012 plane crash, failed yesterday following a weeklong series of maneuvers.

Working in collaboration with some media outlets, the cabal last Monday took the ailing governor to his office in Jalingo along with some of his physical therapists to see if he could be smuggled back into office but after five minutes, Mr. Suntai could not tell what he was doing. He was then rushed back to the governor’s mansion where, when asked where he was, he answered, “Airport.”

The group behind the efforts, which is reported to be funded by former Nigeria Minister of Defence, Theophilus Danjuma, then shipped Mr. Suntai to Abuja to meet with President Goodluck Jonathan in the hope that a public outing with the president would help provide an official veneer to their shenanigans.  However, sources say that sensing that Mr. Suntai was still unstable, President Jonathan sent some security agents to meet with him; when they asked if he knew the location of Aso rock, Suntai replied that he was in Jalingo and not Abuja.

The governor was flown back to Jalingo last night after the plot failed to materialize, but the cabal is understood to be re-strategizing.

Mr. Suntai received his brain injuries after a small plane he was flying crashed near the airport in Yola in October 2012.  He has since be treated in Germany and the US, with doctors in both countries revealing he is unlikely to function normally again given the nature of his injuries.

More Than Half A Billion Naira Spent On Governor Suntai’s Treatment—Investigations Reveal.


 

By SaharaReporters, New York

Investigations by SaharaReporters reveal that poverty-plagued Taraba State has so far spent more than $1.2 million (close to N200 million) in ten months on the medical treatment of brain-injured Governor Danbaba Suntai. The state has also spent millions of naira more in security votes to the injured governor, estacode payments to him as well as members of Mr. Suntai’s inner circle, and transportation. The total cost to the state is close to half a billion naira, our investigative team discovered.
Mr. Suntai was injured in October, 2012 when a small plane he was piloting crashed near Yola Airport in Adamawa State. Mr. Suntai was attempting to land at the time of the accident.

After a brief stay at the National Hospital, Abuja, the injured governor was flown to a hospital in Germany. He was later transferred to the Johns Hopkins Hospital in the State of Maryland, the United States. After spending a few months there, he was admitted at a rehabilitation center for trauma patients in Staten Island, New York. He was flown back to Nigeria on August 25, 2013.

Several sources in Taraba State told our investigator that the funds spent on Mr. Suntai’s treatment were not documented as formal expenditure by the state government. Instead, the funds were either directly channeled into the personal account of one Aliyu Umar, a US-based friend of Mr. Suntai, or handed to the governor’s wife, Hauwa Suntai.

In addition to the medical payments, the governor and three of his aides who accompanied him abroad were paid nightly estacode payments, meaning allowances paid to government officials traveling on official assignments outside the country.The brain-injured governor received about $1,500 per night as estacode allowance while his wife and other aides received $500 each every night for the 10 months that Mr. Suntai was abroad.

SaharaReporters also learnt that Mr. Suntai’s associates demanded that the injured governor receive half of the security votes in the state with his former deputy, Garba Umar, who is now the acting Governor of Taraba State. A source at the state treasury said, “During the time the governor was abroad for treatment, the sum of $75, 000 (about N12 million) was sent each month into a personal account.” The payment was in addition to the sum of N100 million monthly security vote that was also sent to the same personal account apart from the governor’s monthly salary.

In addition to paying the medical bills, Taraba State also “shouldered the estacode of all those involved in the accident and those that were with [Governor Suntai] both in Germany and the U.S.,” one state source disclosed.

An inside source in the state government said, “So far, the state government has expended hundreds of millions of naira on Governor Danbaba Danfulani Suntai since his involvement in an air crash.” The source stated that the state government has paid all the medical expenses for the governor in addition to expenses incurred by his wife and other family members.

Mr. Suntai was flown from Germany to the U.S. in a special medical jet designed for flying patients with serious trauma. The hiring of the jet cost the state 200,000 Euros, a source stated. Also, Taraba State paid $150,000 for the private jet that flew Mr. Suntai from the U.S. to Nigeria. The state also picked up the bill for a local flight that took the ailing governor from Abuja to Taraba. The state contracted Izzy Air, a private charter airline owned by Alex Izinyon, to convey the governor to Taraba. Damian Dodo, a lawyer who is close to the governor, was reportedly to have a substantial interest in Izzy Air.

Since arriving from treatment abroad, Mr. Suntai has continued to receive N100 million in security votes every month. The governor also receives another $100,000 for medical care in addition to a monthly entertainment allowance that runs into millions of naira on a monthly basis.

A member of the Taraba State Assembly said he was disturbed to hear that no proper records and documentation were being kept about the governor’s medical expenditure. Asking for anonymity, he promised to raise the issue with his legislative colleagues.

“It is not right to send public funds directly to the personal account of Alhaji Aliyu Umar, a very good friend of Governor Danbaba Suntai. Alhaji Umar is not even an official of the state government in any capacity. Therefore he should not be taking charge of the medical concern of the governor when the money is coming from here,” said the assembly member. He added: “It is unfortunate that, despite the colossal amount being expended by the government of Taraba, no documentation of the transactions is recorded at the level of the state government.”

Several sources in the state disclosed that the transfer of funds for the governor’s treatment was always done over the phone. “It was always done between the state government and Alhaji Aliyu Umar or the governor’s wife, Hawwa,” said one source. Another added that, despite the colossal amount involved, nobody ever deemed it right to demand periodic updates about the governor’s health status.

A day after Mr. Suntai was flown back to Nigeria and helped out of the plane, he ostensibly signed a letter that was forwarded to the state assembly indicating his desire to reclaim the office of governor. The letter and subsequent acts by Mr. Suntai’s close associates threatened to push the state into a political crisis.

According to a senior staff of the Taraba Health Ministry, “The fact of the matter is that nobody here actually knows the true health status of Governor Suntai. His health status has been treated as an exclusive property of a few people.”

At the time, a top politician in the state told SaharaReporters thata cabal around the ailing governor was determined to hold the state hostage because of the funds they tap from public funds. He named the governor’s wife, the governor’s Chief Security Officer (CSO), the US-based Aliyu Umar, and Senator Emmanuel Bwacha as members of the cabal.

Since returning from his medical trip abroad, Mr. Suntai has not been found fit enough to resume duty.

SaharaReporters could not get any official response to this investigation. Both the chief press secretary to the governor, Hassan Mijinyawa, as well as the media assistant to the governor, Sylvanus Giwa, failed to respond to several telephone calls.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

CSNAC Urges IGP To Release Report On Governor’s Suntai’s Letter to State Assembly.


By SaharaReporters, New York

The Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC), has urged the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. M. D. Abubakar to release the report of the investigation demanded on August 27 by human rights lawyerFemi Falana (SAN) concerning the letter purportedly transmitted to the Taraba State House of Assembly by ailing Governor Suntai Danbaba.

Mr. Suntai, who was suffered brain injuries when a plane he was piloting crashed in October 2012, returned to Nigeria and to Taraba State from the United States on August 25 after 10 months of receiving treatment and rehabilitation.

“Barely one day after his return, a letter was delivered to the House declaring the governor’s fitness and readiness for work without affording the public a copy of his medical report of mental and physical fitness,” Mr. Falana had noted in his letter.

“That letter generated heated debate between supporters of the Acting Governor and Governor Suntai,” CSNAC said. “The veracity of the letter also divided the Taraba House of Assembly along lines of allegiance to either the Acting Governor or the returnee ailing Governor. The supporters of Acting Governor Umar, who are in the majority, succeeded in exposing the chicanery of those behind the generation and transmission of the letter with a demand to have a chat with Governor Suntai, who had not seen or spoken with any of them before then.”

Reflecting on developments since then, CSNAC noted the attempt on the life of the late Speaker and his eventual death two weeks ago, and the Deputy Speaker who escaped death by the whiskers last week.

It recalled that Mr. Falana had predicted the grave danger inherent in any failure to investigate the letter to confirm its authenticity, as there were several allegations within and outside Taraba State that it may have been forged by the governor’s handlers.

“In view of the above stated demands and unfavourable political developments currently playing out in that State, it is our expectation that your office must have concluded investigation into the matter, 3 months after, in view of its potential threat to the peace and development of not only Taraba but Nigeria as a whole. We are therefore, by this letter, demanding a copy of the outcome of that investigation.”

CSNAC is a coalition of over 150 anti-corruption organizations “whose primary aim is to constructively combat corruption vigorously and to ensure the effective monitoring of the various Anti-graft agencies in its activities in the fight against corruption and to enthrone transparency, accountability, probity, and total commitment in the fight to eradicate corruption in Nigeria.”

Taraba House Of Assembly Speaker Escapes Being Killed.


 

Haruna Tsokwa
By SaharaReporters, New York

The Speaker of Taraba State House of Assembly, Hon. Haruna Tsokwa, yesterday escaped being killed by unknown gunmen.

The incident occurred in a border town called Bade, which is located between Kaduna and Nasarawa States.  The gunmen arriving in a commando style, according to a source, fired several shots at the convoy but were unsuccessful.

One of his Speaker Tsokwaa’s guards, a police officer, was however shot.  He was rushed to the hospital after the attackers were overpowered.  They subsequently escaped.

Tsokwa has been in the middle of the political controversy, concerning the return to Taraba of ailing Governor Danbaba Danfulani Suntai.  He led the resistance against the efforts of the governor, who has brain injuries, to resume his office in his condition.

Gunmen kill four in Plateau.


Boko haram fighter 1

Four persons have been killed during an attack on two villages in Langtang South Local Government Area of Plateau State by gunmen suspected to be Fulani mercenaries.

It was gathered that the attackers, who came through Yemani in Shendam Local Government, razed the two villages, Karkashi and Barrack. The Chairman of Taroh community in Wase Local Government, Jungle Luhdut, confirmed the incident yesterday while speaking with our correspondent in Jos, the state capital.

Luhdut said four people were killed, while all the houses in the two villages were burnt down. He said the attackers later fled through Taraba State, adding that the casualty figure wound have been high if not that the people had deserted the villages when they heard rumour of an impending attack. A resident, who did not want his name in print, said the attackers stormed the villages simultaneously with sophisticated weapons while shooting everything on sight.

When contacted, the spokesman of the Special Task Force, STF, on Jos crisis, Captain Salisu Mustapha, said he would get across to the sector commander in Langtang South before commenting on the incident.

However, at press time, Mustapha was yet to respond to inquiry. Meanwhile, the new STF Commander, Major General David Eneite, yesterday resumed duty in Jos. Eneite took over from Major General Henry Ayoola, who has been transferred to the Army Headquarters, Abuja, as the director of Research and Documentation. Speaking at the handing over ceremony at the STF headquarters in Jos, Ayoola thanked the people of the state for their support.

The former STF commander also called on the people to learn to tolerate one another in order to consolidate on the current peace in the state. Also, the new commander urged citizens of the state to work with him in order to achieve lasting peace in the state.

Source: Radio Biafra

PHOTONEWS: PDP Committee In Taraba To Appease The Suntai Cabal.


 

Hauwa Suntai, the leader of the Suntai cabal evidently happy with the power sharing deal

Hope Uzodinma and “Acting Governor” Umar Garba

Hope Uzodinma presiding over the resolution of the Taraba crisis with Mrs. Suntai representing her hubby

Senator Uzodinma and his crew arrives Jalingo

Acting Governor hugs Senator Uzodinma upon arrival at the Jalingo at the airport

Governor Danbaba Suntai being introduced to his deputy, Garba umar yesterday at the Governor’s Lodge
By SaharaReporters, New York

Photos taken at the bizarre “fact-finding” visit to Jalingo by a team led by Senator Hope Uzodinma. It will be the second “fact-finding” trip by Uzodinma to the brain-damaged governor since a small plane he piloted crashed last October near the Yola Airport in Adamawa State.

Uzodinma led a similar delegation to visit Suntai in New York last August, he never told the truth about Suntai’s condition, instead the senator claimed that the ailing governor had recovered from injuries sustained during the plane crash.

Yesterday, Mr. Uzodinma set up another farcical trip to Jalingo, went into a meeting with Mr. Suntai and came out with yet another medical verdict that Suntai was “relatively healthy”.

A few minutes later, Uzodinma superintended over a power-sharing deal that effectively confers power to the Acting governor, Umar Garba and also retained some power for the cabal representing Mr. Suntai. As seen from these pictures Suntai had to be represented by his wife, Hauwa, at an enlarged stakeholders meeting after having a short meet and photo op with Uzodinma and his crew.

From all these is a final realization that Mr. Suntai was never fit to run Taraba regardless of the various stage-managed shows and spin by his supporters.

Suntai’s Wife Admits He Is Unfit To Run Taraba.


 

Fact-finding delegation ariving Taraba
By SaharaReporters, New York

The wife of brain-impaired Governor Danbaba Suntai today admitted that her husband was physically unfit to resume official duties as the chief executive of Taraba State.

Mrs. Suntai made the admission when a PDP fact-finding committee led by Senator Hope Uzodinma visited the ailing governor today. The Acting Governor of Taraba, Umar Garba, as well as the Speaker of the Taraba State House of Assembly, Haruna Tsokwa, accompanied Mr. Uzodinma. Mrs. Suntai as well as Senator Emmanuel Bwatcha were also present at the meeting.

Two sources told SaharaReporters that the meeting with Mr. Suntai lasted only 10 minutes. One source disclosed that the state’s Acting Governor had to introduce himself to the ailing governor, as Mr. Suntai failed to recognize him.

After exchanging pleasantries, the team met with Mr. Suntai’s wife as photojournalists were briefly ushered in to take photos.

Our sources revealed that Mrs. Suntai then confessed to members of the Uzodinma committee and an enlarged body of stakeholders that her husband was unfit to run the affairs of the state. “She told the group that the governor was only brought back home [from an American hospital where he was being treated] because he was homesick,” one of our sources stated. The ailing governor’s wife then suggested that Mr. Suntai would be taken out of the country in less than a month in order to undergo additional rehab.

The Uzodinma-led stakeholders’ meeting was the culmination of a series of meetings the Acting Governor had held during his recent trip to Abuja.

A stakeholders meeting attended by “political elders,” members of the Taraba State Assembly as well as members of the Taraba State contingent at the National Assembly in Abuja had resolved that the acting governor should continue running the affairs of the state. However, the stakeholders asked the acting governor to consult with Mr. Suntai or his close associates on crucial issues.

According to a member of the Taraba legislature, “This was the best political solution we could come up with. Instead of overheating the state, we decided to have a situation where the acting governor shares power with those that represent the interests of Governor Danbaba Suntai.”

Mr. Uzodinma and his team have since left Taraba State for Abuja where they are expected to brief members of the old PDP as well as officials at the Nigerian Presidency.

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