October 14, 2012 •Vol. 6 No. 495
N’ DELTA PLANS SECESSION –Waku
FLOOD BABIES •2,000 pregnant women set to deliver Page 5
Murder of UNIPORT students
OH LLYOD, OH UGONNA Llyod Toku
•With tyre around his neck and burning, Llyod struggled to save his friend –Mum •Ugonna’s mother died in 2006 and I’ve been dad and mum to him –Dad •Chiadika would dance to the pounding of fufu in a mortar –Dad
Pages 4 & 8
OWERRI KID PROSTITUTES ‘The breasts of some of the girls can hardly fill the hand just as the buttocks they flaunt are still forming’ Page 7
How I charmed Chuba Okadigbo
–Sen Margery Okadigbo Page 9 & 10
October 14, 2012 •Vol. 6 No. 495
What mum taught me about pre-marital sex –Nuella Njubigbo
FLOOD BABIES •2,000 pregnant women set to deliver Page 5
SOLDIERS KILLED MY BLIND FATHER •My husband is still missing –Victim •I have been in Maiduguri for 30 years but I’m returning to Kano Page 8
Murder of the UNIPORT students
OH LLYOD, OH UGONNA Chiadika Biringa
•With tyre around his neck and burning, Llyod struggled to save his friend –Mum •Ugonna’s mother died in 2006 and I’ve been dad and mum to him –Dad •Chiadika would dance to the pounding of fufu in a mortar –Dad
Ugonna Obuzor Pages 4 & 8
October 14, 2012 •Vol. 6 No. 495
Liberia sinks in flood of goals
FLOOD BABIES •2,000 pregnant women set to deliver Page 5
Murder of UNIPORT students
OH LLYOD, OH UGONNA •With tyre around his neck and burning, Llyod struggled to save his friend –Mum •Ugonna’s mother died in 2006 and I’ve been dad and mum to him –Dad •Chiadika would dance to the pounding of fufu in a mortar –Dad
Pages 4 & 8
LAGOS ROBBERY GANG REGROUP •Police arrest 26 more suspects
PDP votes N5b to take Ondo •It’s bad investment –Mimiko Page 11
October 14, 2012 •Vol. 6 No. 495
Liberia sinks in flood of goals
LAGOS ROBBERY GANG REGROUP Pages 7&14
•Police arrest 26 more suspects •As kidnapped Osun Speaker’s wife regains freedom
PDP votes N5b to take Ondo •It’s wasted investment –Mimiko Page 11
Murder of UNIPORT students
OH LLYOD, OH UGONNA •With tyre around his neck and burning, Llyod struggled to save his friend –Mum •Ugonna’s mother died in 2006 and I’ve been dad and mum to him –Dad •Chiadika would dance to the pounding of fufu in a mortar –Dad
Pages 4 & 8
•2,000 pregnant women set to deliver Page 5
Judgement day for Fayemi! Keep a date with Daily Sun tomorrow
October 14, 2012
OCTOBER 14, 2012 SUNDAY SUN
By BOLATITO ADEBAYO
HE Rhoda Wilson Show will be on Africast Abuja from Oct. 23 to 25th.It is a talk show tagged ‘’Inspiring you to aspire to life’’and it will be held at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Abuja. According to representative of R&K consulting, Rick Nwanso, “Africast is the new gateway to Africa’s Broadcast Market. It is a conference platform on which broadcast issues as they relate to Africa are thrashed out biennially by professionals, academics and policy makers.” He said this is a viable platform for the show. Since the 9th edition of the biennial con-
ference of Africa broadcasters, Africast with the theme ‘Content Rules!’ provides a networking environment for providers, distributors and marketers of broadcast content and equipment. Rick also added that using such a platform for a talk show would help spread the goodwill message of the show. Rhoda Wilson started The Rhoda Wilson show in 2005 on OBETV. In 2008 The Rhoda Wilson Show moved to BEN TV (Sky Channel 184) aired weekly, had a viewership of circa 1,300,000 per show in 2010. With a wide mix of subject matter, Rhoda selects her guests with the central theme of inspiration and motivation.
Lagos restates commitment to HIV/AIDS control By ONYEKACHI JET
AGOS State Government has said it is taking concrete steps aimed at ensuring that the HIV/AIDS advocacy and intervention efforts are aligned and stepped up to the level of international best practices and standards. In achieving this goal, the government through the State AIDS Control Agency (LASACA), is organizing a two-day conference and workshop on the HIV/AIDS response and impact assessment. The programme said to be the first of its kind in Nigeria and possibly West Africa, will hold this week at the Airport Hotel, Ikeja. Tagged “International HIV/AIDS Conference Hub: Lagos 2012”, the event was put together in collaboration with AIDS HealthCare Foundation
The Rhoda Wilson Show comes to Nigeria
(AHF) and the Humanity Family Foundation for Peace and Development (HUFFPED). Speaking during a media briefing, the agency’s secretary, Mrs. Folashade Lediju explained that the hub would enable all stakeholders in Nigeria who are unable to attend the conference, to benefit from the outcome of the foreign conference. The Secretary who represented the Special Assistant to Gov. Fashola on HIV/AIDS, Dr Adetokunbo Dabiri, said that part of the derivable benefits of the international conference are that stakeholders would share experiences and be updated with global best practices, assess their individual response efforts, as well as the level of commitment towards the response as compared to other stakeholders around the globe.
Sunday, October 14, Weather Report CITY
Abuja 30ºC Heavy Rain Shower 29ºC Benin 24ºC Heavy Rain Shower
Birnin-Kebbi 35ºC P/Cloudy
Calabar 28ºC Heavy Rain Shower 24ºC Enugu 30ºC Thundery Shower
Ibadan 29ºC Heavy Rain Shower 23ºC Ilorin 30ºC Heavy Rain Shower
27ºC Light Rain Shower
Kaduna 30ºC Heavy Rain Shower 23ºC Kano 36ºC Sunny 22ºC Lagos 28ºC Heavy Rain Shower Maiduguri
38ºC Sunny 20ºC
Onitsha 29ºC Thundery Shower 24ºC P/H
25ºC Heavy Rain Shower
Sokoto35ºC Sunny 23ºC Zaria 32ºC Sunny 23ºC
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OCTOBER 14, 2012 SUNDAY SUN
Top stories Oh Lloyd, Oh Ugonna
FROM CHRIS ANUCHA &CANICE UZOUKWU, Port Harcourt
loyd Mike Doku, the erstwhile 200 level engineering student at the University of Port Harcourt, who was murdered in Omuokiri community, Aluu, Rivers State, with three others, was a staunch member of the popular Salvation Ministries Church. Salvation Ministries has its headquarters in Port Harcourt , Rivers State, with the glamorous preacher, Pastor David Ibiyomie, as the General Overseer. Lloyd loved Salvation Ministry and its founder, whom he called ‘daddy’ so much that he kept preaching and disturbing his parents, Mr and Mrs Mike Doku, to change from worshipping in their Church, Shammah Chapel and come to Salvation Ministry. His parents were quite impressed the way he was serious with his Christian life, and as a way of encouraging him, they sometimes obeyed and followed him to worship at Salvation Ministry, especially, when the church organized special programmes. Lloyd, from Okrika, Rivers State, failed to ‘convert’ his parents to be members of Salvation Ministry, but, the feat he could not achieve while alive has been accomplished after his death. As a way of immortalizing their son, the couple have vowed to grant his wish. They have automatically become members of Salvation Ministry till the end of their journey on earth. “There is no other way of immortalizing him, than to become members of Salvation Ministry, he died as a member of the church, he will be happy where he is now. He kept inviting us to that church and even a Sunday before he was killed, he invited us to his church and we went,” the grieving father said . Lloyd’s mother revealed how the
•They composed a song, There’s no love in the heart of the city ...And got murdered in the city by mob that denied them love same week, they attended the service with their son in his church, was the last time they saw him alive. Mrs Doku said “After the church service that day, he stayed behind and we left. As he was about going back to the school, he gave me a book, written by Pastor David Ibiyomie titled How faith works. He told me the book would help me •Mr. & Mrs. Mike Toku, Lloyd’s parents to know more about faith. And, that was the last me for his death.” Giving further insight into the person of Lloyd, the time I saw him.” She said her late son was very heart-broken mother recalled how close to God and never believed he she gave him the sum of N50,000 was going to die the way he did. to pay for his accommodation and He a compassionate person, I met three days later, he came back, him when he was still breathing, in called her into the room and startagony, struggling with life. Even in ed begging her not to be angry that agony, he knew when the mob with him. According to her, when put a tyre on the neck of his she inquired what his offence was, friend, poured fuel and set him he disclosed to her that he used ablaze. My son still struggled and the N50,000 she gave him to ‘sow tried to assist his friend to put off a seed’ in the church, and appealed for another one. “I told him I would the fire. She said it was possible her son not be angry since he gave the knew he was going to die, and money to God, I was really happy decided to buy the book for her. about the consciousness of God in Since the murder of her son, the him.” On her relationship with her book has become her companion late son, Mrs Doku said as a special and that was the only period she child, they were emotionally devoted time to read and under- attached to each other. According stand it better. “Maybe, he prepared her, after giving birth to him, it
•Biringa Stephen, Chiadika’s father
took her eleven solid years to conceive again. “We were so close, he touches me, kisses and hugs me, he became better, best, I fell in love with my son. When I got to the scene and saw the lifeless body of my son, I praised God, I exalted His name, I promised God that I would serve Him in any situation. I started singing and the whole place that was rowdy before was calm. My husband carried the battered, lifeless body of his own son, it was an ugly sight to behold,” she moaned. Lloyd and Ugonna as budding artistes It’s possible that Ugonna Kelechi Obuzor, a 200 level geology student and Lloyd and could have become two of the greatest musicians this country has pro-
•Mr. Messaih Obuzor, Ugonna’s father
duced. The two budding artistes were working on an album they wanted to release soon. The demo has already been produced. The young men were billed to thrill thousands of their fans during the Students’ Union Week ,which was to start Monday, October 8, 2012. Lloyd, who saw himself making a career and fortunes from music, told his mother how he was going
•Continued on page 8
FALLOUT OF ANAMBRA TERROR STORY...
Thugs disappear in Onitsha From ALOYSIUS ATTAH
arely two weeks after publication of a story on activities of members of the Anambra State Traffic Agency (ASTA), and those in charge of the emblems victims of extortions and brutality are recounting their experiences. Among those who reacted to the story were Anambra indigenes residing in the state, other parts of Nigeria and those in the Diaspora. They all were unanimous in calling for a proper overhaul of the agency and the dismissal of any of them who delight in infringing on the people’s rights. Edwin Emenalo, resident in Lagos, said he encountered the thugs when he was going back to Lagos with his family, who had spent the holidays with their grandparents. He said they ran into the boys in Onitsha and were under their captivity for more than five hours, adding that they collected unspecified amount from him before they were let off the hook. Today, Emenalo has vowed never to step into the East with his private car, while his children after the encounter have developed phobia for traveling by road to the East. For Benjamin Nwachukwu, another respondent from Lagos, he still feels the pain of losing N38,000 to the thugs when they
•More victims recount experience ambushed him recently at Orba junction by Upper Iweka. He said the boys forced him to make a withdrawal with his ATM card before they allowed him to continue his journey after being in their captivity from 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. However, there is hope that all the sad tales will soon be over, as the state government has announced plans to reposition the agency to curb excesses of its officials as well as ensure proper effi•Obi ciency. Investigations by Sunday Sun reporter revealed that the story rattled many of the stakeholders in the agency, while some affected people mentioned in the story are now struggling to mend fences to retain their jobs. Already, new Commissioner for Transport in Anambra, Dr. Collins Chike Ohamobi, with his retinue of staff in the ministry visited Onitsha a day after the report for on-thespot assessment of the situation.
He visited the Niger Bridge Head office of the agency, observed what was on ground and how the boys operated before moving to the old Public Works Department, Onitsha North, behind Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity. While inside, apart from confirming what was written in the report, he saw a lot of motorcycles impounded by the task force on registration of motorcycles. On enquiry, he was told that the private firm handling the branding of commercial motorcycles in the state collect N1,000 from okada riders. One of the cyclists he met in the area lamented that his bike had been impounded for one week, while the boys were demanding N4,000 from him before releasing it to him. Dr. Ohamaobi, who was visibly angry over activities of the boys, ordered immediate release of the bike and others seized from their rightful owners.
Later in the day, while addressing newsmen, he acknowledged that there had been reports of excesses on the part of the revenue agents, saying that government is now poised to reorganize the entire process to prevent abuses. The commissioner said a new person had been appointed to take charge of the Bridge Head zone of the traffic agency, while field workers would undergo retraining, selection and even sack of any person with unrestrained behaviour. He also confirmed that the revenue receipts brandished by such thugs as published in the story were fake and vowed that people perpetrating such nefarious activities would be prosecuted. He said the private firms given authority to sell emblems for the state government recruited some of the boys to help them market such, restating that they were not given mandate to molest people or collect any money above the prescribed fees. Sunday Sun also gathered that the commissioner convened a meeting with all the contractors on Wednesday with a view to driving home his message of change in the system. Our source gathered that the meeting lasted for several hours and the commissioner threatened to withdraw all letters of authority given to them if they were not ready to do the work in a civilized manner. He said a new code of conduct would be adopted, which the revenue agents must sign and adhere strictly to, while any defaulter would have his authorization permit withdrawn.
OCTOBER 14, 2012 SUNDAY SUN
Top stories INSIDE ANAMBRA RELIEF CAMPS
•Triplets, 2 sets of twins, 4 others born in one week •2,000 pregnant women set to deliver •Expert warns on imminent epidemic, famine From ALOYSIUS ATTAH, Onitsha firstname.lastname@example.org
he crowd surged forward as has become customary each time they noticed any vehicle enter the camp. They clustered together, struggling among themselves for vantage positions that would afford them opportunity to receive quickly from any “Good Samaritan” who may have come to offer assistance to them. Some were old men - grandfathers already counting when they would rejoin their ancestors. Others were children and nursing mothers clutching their babies. A larger number among them were pregnant with protruding bellies, showing different stages of their conception. Venue was St. Joseph’s Catholic Church field, Aguleri, Anambra State, and the characters were the internally displaced persons seeking refuge after heavy flood destroyed their farmlands, household properties and sacked them from their homes. As they wore haggard faces, struggling under the control of armed soldiers and policemen, this reporter spotted a young woman in the crowd probably in her early twenties. She carried a very tender baby boy. The scorching sun was biting hard on the baby, and though the eyes remained shut as a natural defense against the sun, the baby continued to gesticulate with his hands. The woman, identified as Ugochukwu Mbadiwe, oblivious of the tender frame of the baby, cuddled him with one hand while she used the other hand to ward off people that might injure the baby as they struggled for goodies. When cornered for a chat, Ugochukwu said the baby was born inside the camp and was named Kaosisochukwu, meaning “As it pleases God”, due to circumstances surrounding his birth. Having suffered monumental losses and rendered homeless by the flood, Kaosi’s mother told Sunday Sun that labour pains suddenly came before her expected date of delivery due to trauma, as they are now refugees in their own land. Before help could come in the form of any vehicle, she had delivered the baby inside an abandoned classroom in the camp. Standing beside her was another mother, Anulika Ozoekwe, cuddling her own baby, a boy too. She narrated her own experience similar to Kaosi’s mother’s, saying more pregnant women inside the camp were already at the last stages of their delivery date, while others had already delivered. All the new born babies with their mothers pass the night in the crowded camp, without accompanying medical attention. Already, in the past one week, 11 babies have been delivered at the Aguleri camp. The breakdown, according to Hon. Peter Okechukwu, a Transition Council member in Anambra West LGA, showed that one woman delivered triplets, two delivered twins, while four others delivered single babies. The camp now hosts over 20,000 people, while more people, who earlier refused to leave their homes, are now joining the camp in droves since the water level has refused to recede. A community leader, Uyanna Ignatius, also disclosed that there are about 5,000 pregnant women in the camp, while about 2,000 among them may put to bed before the next one week. He said unless government and well-meaning Nigerians intensified efforts in finding more relief camps and making their accommodation bet-
ter, there is imminent break out of diseases when the babies are delivered. At Crowther Memorial Primary School, Onitsha, the Anglican Bishop of Mbamili Diocese, Rt. Rev. Henry Okeke, told Sunday Sun that out of 3,500 people in the two refugee camps in Onitsha, 122 are pregnant women. He thanked the Anambra State government, churches, individuals and the Nigerian Army for supporting the displaced persons, so far. Accommodation Three communities of Ezi Aguleri Otu, Enugu Aguleri Otu, Mkpunando Aguleri make up the inhabitants at St. Joseph’s Primary School/Church in Aguleri centre. Crowther Memorial Primary School, New Bethel Primary School and Otuocha also house the people from Anam area and the Igala-speaking part of Anambra West. People from Ogbaru area are also scattered in some primary schools in Okoti. Government agencies, individuals and corporate donors are trying to alleviate the suffering of the displaced people by providing relief materials, including mats, foods, and mattresses, but it is hardly enough. Painting a picture of the situation, a camp assistant in New Bethel Camp, Hyacinth Madukasi, said what the people pass through every night is better imagined than seen. “We are like the Israelites in the wilderness on their journey to the promised land. The night scene evokes tears as everybody competes for space within the compound. People walk with measured steps to avoid stepping on another person lying in front and tripping over. Shrill cries of children everywhere. Different sounds of coughing from women and children. Some of the old women among us are asthmatic and suffer from stubborn cough that gets severe in the night. In fact, the situation is terrible,” he said. Victoria Obi, Mary Enede and Josephine Uzor, three women among the pregnant ones inside the camp, said they were due for delivery next week, while they’ve not bought any material for childbirth or even sure how they would cope with the new babies inside the
camp when they arrive. At Aguleri camp, though government has through the army provided mobile toilets, water-tanks and mattresses, some of the displaced people said these were not enough and that most people sleep on the school’s field, using the grass as beds. While the displaced people in Onitsha camps receive attention from medical personnel from Iyienu Hospital Ogidi and Borromeo Hospital, Onitsha, the inmates at Aguleri lack proper medical attention. An inmate in the camp, Ben Okeke, lamented that the survival of any of the women and children in moments of illness depends on divine grace. Okoli brings succour Perhaps, in answer to the prayers of the inmates for proper medical care, Managing Director of Emzor Pharmaceuticals, Dr. Mrs. Stella Okoli, has provided drugs and other relief materials worth several millions of naira to the displaced persons. She was accompanied by Vice Chancellor of Nnamdi
•Chinwe with her new baby delivered inside the camp
•Josephine, Mary and Victoria set for delivery at New Bethel Primary School camp, Onitsha
Azikiwe University, Awka, Prof. Boniface Egboka, and other management team, including the new Director of Chike Okoli Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, UNIZIK, Edmund Egboh. Items donated included several cartons of drugs, mattresses, pillows, towels, cups and an undisclosed amount of money. Overwhelmed by the predicament of the people, Mrs. Okoli wept. She told Sunday Sun amidst sobs: “I just came back from overseas trip and I opened the newspapers, but I could not believe what I saw. However, what I read in the papers and what I saw here are different. The situation is very hazardous and horrendous, and needs all hands on deck to ensure these children and families remain healthy. This is why we brought some drugs to de-worm the children against water-borne diseases. We’ve had first-hand information on the situation and this is a state of emergency that requires collective assistance.” With members of the Chike Okoli Foundation, the displaced persons were also given free screening for hypertension and blood pressure. She also presented cash gifts to all pregnant and nursing mothers in the camp and appealed to all well-meaning individuals to assist in assuaging the plight of the displaced persons. Come to Anam and weep While the victims continue to re-live their experiences in the refugee camp, a visit to some of the flooded areas evokes tears. It was weeping and tears galore when this reporter visited Anam community in Anambra West. Places hitherto known as markets, schools, major roads and bridges have been swallowed up. Houses, including two-storey buildings can only be recognized by their roofs. Schools were covered by the flood, while farmlands have been erazed. Some people of the community rescued through motorized boats now live on the main road along Otuocha, headquarters of Anambra East LGA. Boys resort to canoe business At Umueze Anam and Atani, youths in the area have resorted to building and paddling canoes to keep body and soul together. At Anam, a canoe builder, Nwakor Chiagozie, told Sunday Sun that he joined the business because of increase on demand for the product. “They say that necessity is the mother of invention. These days, we have more demand for canoe because this is a flood-ravaged area. You can see that even the house of our traditional ruler has been submerged. The other day, Aviation Minister, Princess Stella Oduah, came home and used our canoe to get to her compound. Now, we sell between N30,000 and N70,000, and many people buy them because they have no option,” he said. The paddlers also make brisk business as fare for crossing the floating “rivers” ranges between N100 and N300 per person. ‘Epidemic, famine looms’ A Professor of Environmental Hydrogeology and Vice Chancellor, Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK), Awka, Boniface Egboka, described the flood disaster ravaging parts of the country as a consequence of not listening to predicted expert advice. “This was accurately predicted by experts. People were warned against building on wet lands and river channels, but this is the outcome of such negligence in taking proactive measures. It is good that Mr. President has devised an intervention plan as he announced in a nationwide broadcast. This problem will remain with us for sometime as the water will remain stagnant for sometime. Buildings under water may be submerged, while there will be hunger and famine, because many farm products have been destroyed. Public health will also be endangered because the water has been polluted, while it is clear that water-borne diseases normally kill children. Let the government involve researchers and proffer a lasting solution on how to handle the post-flood experience so as to reduce the adverse effects to the barest minimum. International organisations like the World Health Organisation (WHO) should also come in to assist,” he said.
OCTOBER 14, 2012 SUNDAY SUN
Lynching of UNIPORT students
COMMENT OUR students of the University of Port Harcourt recently fell victim to the ancient, barbaric culture of lynching of crime suspects at Omuokiri Aluu, in Ikwere North Local Government Area of Rivers State. The victims, identified as Biringa Chiadika Lordson (Year 2, Theatre Arts), Ugonna Kelechi Obuzor (Year 2, Geology) and Mike Llyod Toku, (Year 2, Civil Engineering), and Tekena Erikena, were stripped naked, beaten and set ablaze over allegations that they were involved in serial theft of laptops and phones in the off-campus private hostels of the university. The brazen, extra-judicial murder of this quartet by a mob allegedly led by a vigilance group in the community is a shame to Nigeria. It is also an indictment of the police, the Joint Task Force (JTF), the traditional authorities and all those charged with responsibility for security in that community. It is alarming that accused persons can be arrested and killed by a mob outside the provisions of the law. This unconscionable multiple murder is an embarrassment to the country. The incident has greatly damaged Nigeria’s image, especially following its posting on the Internet where it went viral. The incident also led to protests from Nigerian students who stormed the area of the killings to damage cars, buildings and other property they could lay their hands on. We strongly condemn the killing of these students. It is unacceptable that people take the law into their hands and resort to delivery of jungle justice to persons suspected of wrongdoing. The proper thing to do is to bring all suspects to the appropriate authorities such as the police, for prosecution. It is only the courts that can pronounce any suspect guilty of a crime. Ordinary members of the public cannot be accusers, prosecutors, judges and executioners at the same time. Even if the students were suspected of stealing, they should have been handed over to the police, not killed. The extra-judicial murder signals horrendous descent to anarchy in that area. No one has the right to take the life of another person, for any reason. The Nigerian Constitution does not recognise the resort to self-help as happened in the Aluu incident. There is also no role for vigilante operators in the document. The report of the arrest of the victims in an uncompleted building does not confer on any vigilance group or mob the right to kill them. The constitution guarantees fundamental right to
life and freedom of movement. This incident has highlighted the need for proper streamlining of activities of vigilance groups so that they can know their limitations. The relish with which the baying mob killed the four boys is also worrisome. It is suggestive of a people that have lost their humanity. The killings also painted the Nigerian police, the JTF and the traditional authorities in that area in very bad light. The picture the incident communicates is that of an incompetent police and questionable security system. The authorities, apparently, did not do enough to prevent the lynching. This failure of the security agencies to protect the victims is a minus to the state and Nigeria’s quests for foreign investments. The conduct of the mob sabotages all efforts to portray Nigeria in good light to the world. We urge the police leadership to ensure that the perpetrators of this mindless act are brought to justice. This incident is a good opportunity for the police to demonstrate that it is now reformed. What happened to the “Aluu Four” can happen to anybody in other parts of the country. Efforts must, therefore, be made to limit activities of vigilance groups in the country. They should only arrest and hand suspects over to appropriate security agencies, not prosecute or issue judgements. At most, they can function as witnesses against suspects in criminal cases. This lynching of suspects has been going on in the country for many years now. It should be stopped by ensuring prosecution and appropriate punishment for perpetrators of such acts, beginning with those responsible for the killing of the four students. Some reports also said the students were cultists out to collect a debt owed by a member of a rival gang. It is necessary to warn students against the dangers of cultism. There is no arguing the fact that many of today’s youths are misguided. The growing violence among young Nigerians is suggestive of the loss of moral compass of that generation. However, the failure of our leaders to harness their potentials into productive ventures in fields such as agriculture, industry and information technology, which some gifted ones now deploy to negative use in their desperation to express themselves. Government should also come up with policies that will provide enabling environment for job creation and self-actualization to keep youths out of trouble. All youths need proper guidance. Now, they are mostly misguided. There is little intellectual fervour and ideology in students’unionism. Some students feel they are free to play the role of policemen or debt collectors. The government, parents and tertiary institutions ought to invest in re-orientation of youths to our national values to keep them out of trouble. We sympathise with the family of the killed students, the University of Port Harcourt and the Rivers State government on this sad incident. Above all, the killers of the students must be arrested and punished. This is the only way to ensure that incidents such as this do not recur.
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OCTOBER 14, 2012 SUNDAY SUN
Top stories Pub where kid prostitutes operate By HENRY UMAHI (email@example.com)
s the DJ played Iyanya’s Kurukere, the atmosphere was boisterous. Scores of youths were on the dance floor displaying their dancing skill. Most of them did the reigning Azonto stuff as if they were in the throes of stroke. Others remained on their seats, rocking to the pulsating beats. The guys, most of who wore sagging jeans, were engaged in pelvicto-pelvic dance with the girls dressed in low-waist trousers, micro mini skirts and midriff with breast-revealing tops. Some of the ‘couples’ stole kisses and caresses at corners. In fact, some of the girls engaged in lap dance with men even as some flirted around, making gestures easy to decode. Welcome to this dance bar (name withheld) that shares a name with a State in the United States of America, located on Ikenegbu Road, Owerri in Imo State. Special offer In Owerri, every night is a party as it were. Home of many tertiary institutions, the city has an array of fine restaurants and fun spots. Each has its distinctive flavour and style. Most of them open all day but they really come alive as the week winds up. New hotels and nightclubs are opening all the time and, to stand out from the crowd, they are inventing stuffs. Some of the services are daring, meant for those seeking something more of the unusual. This particular dance bar is one
of the places that offer ‘special services.’ Located on the first floor of the building, it pursues a-catch –them - young philosophy so to say. Hence, the place always brims over with very young girls strutting their stuff. Activities inside the hangout that bears a new name become animated as darkness falls and winds down at about 11pm. It looks like a regular dance place where people come to drink and dance. But there is more to it. To get in, you must pay a gate fee of N500. The hall is not well illuminated but bright enough for anyone to see what is being offered. Once you step in, the sight that greets you is that of many guys and girls on the groovy train, dancing and drinking. Insight was at the special dance bar recently. Stepping in, one beheld scores of squirming bodies. Immediately some of them saw the reporter and his friend, they hovered around them and some made catcalls to attract attention. Some of the girls requested to share the seats of the new guests while others did erotic dances around them. Indeed, as soon as you step into the neighbourhood, you will notice girls milling around under semidarkness. Some formed small groups of two or three, while others stood alone. They carefully scrutinized male passersby, tried to attract their attention with effusive greetings. The very bold ones asked, as one passed them along
By OUR REPORTER
ollowing police assault on ‘One million boys’ robbery gang that made life unbearable for residents of AjeromiIfelodun Local Government, Ifelodun and Apapa-Iganmu Local Council Development Areas in Lagos, there are indications that the criminals have gone underground. Investigations revealed that they hibernate in some high-profile hotels in the affected areas with their female partners and engage in Internet browsing. Sunday Sun had reported the terrorizing activities of the gang last week and days later, the Police swooped on their suspected hideouts and arrested 130 suspects. However, residents of the affected area still keep vigil for fear of the bad boys who some times rape women after robbing their victims. It was gathered that each street has vigilante team that are on patrol at night. Each house volunteers one or two persons. It was also gathered that as a precautionary measure, some streets have placed embargo on night parties and where allowed, it must end at 11pm and the organizers must obtain permission from the residents’ associations. Meanwhile, Mile 2 Oke has become a dangerous place for motorists from 5pm especially when there is traffic jam. The robbers who are armed with dangerous weapons ranging from knives to short guns capitalize on the gridlock to rob motorists. Their strategy is that they pretend to be beggars and target mostly occupants of posh cars and dispossess them of their valuable items such as laptops, phones and
the street, “How far bros? Any better? Which ones? Make I come?” Those at the street corners, in the shadows were either exhausted after dancing for sometime or simply lacked the patience to wait inside the joint. Or they were simply making extra effort to woo potential clients. Business, not pleasure outing Only few girls come there just to groove or swim in the ocean of fun with friends. Most of them actually go there for business. Some people refer to them as night traders. They are sex hawkers. By their dressing and the way they conduct themselves you shall know them. Most of the “hustlers” as they are also called are barely out of diapers. Some of them could be between 15 and 17 years old. Ironically, the pub indicates on a signpost at the entrance that it admits only persons up to 18 years and above but the reality is that big girls hardly come there. It’s a kid-
dies’ affair and that seems to be the cutting edge or unique selling point of the hang out. It is not difficult to tell that they are under-age. Their innocent faces and shape reveal that they are pubescent girls. The breasts of some of the girls can hardly full the hand just as the buttocks they flaunt are still forming. But the girls are street-wise and they display the mannerism of hawkers such as chewing gum noisily, smoking cigarette and soliciting of customers. They also have their marketing strategies. Take this: Sometimes when they see a prospective customer, they would say: “It is not by size”, “The younger the fresher” or “A trial will convince you.” Investigations showed that many of the girls are either in secondary school or just left school. This is why many of them still wear their natural hairs, and carry no attachments. Again, most of them do not
accept ‘day break’ (all night dalliances). For this category of commercial sex workers, ‘short time’ (few hours sex) is preferable. It is likely that they go for ‘short time’ so that their parents or guardians will not know what they are up to. A source said: “I can assure you that the parents and guardians of these girls do not know what they do. They just sneak out of their homes when they see the opportunity, especially on Sunday, which is generally outing day. They may tell their people that they are going to see their friends or whatever and then come here to hustle. That’s why such ones don’t sleep out all night. But the hardened ones among them do sleep out, especially those in tertiary institutions whose parents do not live around or cannot provide for.” Negotiable Of course, there is no fixed price for their services. It depends on the time, desperation of the girl and bargaining power of the patron. ‘Short time’ goes for N1000 and above. A man can spend a night with a “sweet 16” for any fee from N3000. It was learnt that the girls are in high demand. Young men and randy elderly men old enough to be their father or grandfather patronize them. “These girls may be young but they are experienced. I call them FS-S, that is 15, 16, 17–year-old girls. I had an encounter with one of them and she was all over me. She rode me like a jangolover but she stole my money at the end of the day. It was unbelievable”, said a man.
‘One million boys’ gang re-group in hotels •Robbers take over ‘Mile 2 Oke’ money. Checks revealed that the robbers have been a pain in the necks of road users for months. A victim, Mr. Lucky Onosebhagbe, told Sunday Sun that he had been attacked several times. According to him, ordinary passersby hardly notice the robberies because the hoodlums are usually too fast to arouse suspicion. He said they usually demand for money, blackberry and where a victim fails, they would remove the side mirror of the vehicle and run away. “Now I don’t pass there until I am very
sure the traffic is free. Those boys are deadly and they rob everyday. I was a victim several times. “If you don’t give them good phone or money and your glass is down, they will take off your side mirror, give you a punch on your face and run to the other vehicle behind you for the same operation”, he said. He said that he was attacked on September 6 at about 6:20 pm and on Monday, September 10 at 7:43 pm. Another victim, Jonah Aihbholoria, said that he suffered same fate in the area. It was also gathered that a man identified simply as Mr. Felix had to do thanksgiving
in his church after he survived an attack in the same place. He was said to have lost N15, 000 and a blackberry phone to the criminals who robbed him at about 7.30 pm at gunpoint. Investigations by Sunday Sun revealed that the criminals operate from Otto Wharf up to Mile 2, on both sides of the expressway. In most cases, they would merely open their shirts to victims to show their guns as hint of possible danger if they failed to cooperate. Other motorists who spoke to our correspondent appealed to the state Commissioner of Police to save them from the ugly experiences by deploying policemen including armed detectives to the area.
... As Police arrest 26 of them at Amukoko
wenty-six suspected robbers belonging to the dreaded ‘one million boys’ gang have been arrested by police from Area ‘B’ command in Lagos State. The suspects, according to a police source were arrested on Saturday morning at around 1.30 a.m at Amukoko in Ifelodun Local Council Development Area. They were said to have converged in a beer parlor in the area for more than three hours ostensibly to perfect their plan when police got a tip-off from some good Samaritans and moved in to arrest them. In the operation, which was said to have been led personally by the Area Commander, Muhammed A, Ali (ACP), ten cutlasses were recovered from the suspected criminals. It was gathered that before the major operation, the police sent some detectives to the area after the tip-off and they mingled with the suspects for some minutes and discovered that they were up to a sinister
action. It was learnt that when they suspected that those strange faces in their midst could be policemen, they lowered their voices and changed their discussion but before then the detectives had already got reasonable information from them. Later patrol teams swooped on them and arrested them. The police source disclosed that after their arrest, the police inquired from the members of Odua Peoples’ Congress (OPC) and the vigilante group who were securing the area to confirm whether the suspects lived in the area but none of them could be identified as a resident. They were later moved to area ‘B’ where they are currently undergoing interrogation. It was gathered that a day earlier, 160 suspects were arrested by the command in operations aimed at sweeping the ‘boys’ out of the state.
OCTOBER 14, 2012 SUNDAY SUN
Top stories Soldiers killed my blind father From TIMOTHY OLA, Maiduguri
he early morning wintry weather last Monday gave no inkling that tragedy loomed in the restive city of Maiduguri. As usual, a few residents, including university students and staff of the adjoining teaching hospital (UMTH) were already on the Lagos Street, the major road that leads to the two federal institutions. It was few minutes past 7 O’clock and the earlier cloudiness suddenly dissolved into a sunny morning in the Sahel Sahara and then, a loud, deafening sound. “Wayo Allah!” (Oh, my God!) exclaimed little Amina, a primary school pupil, who appeared terrified and confused as she stood in the middle of the road around the popular Lagos House. Hell was let loose as residents ran helterskelter, while motorists made U-turn or drove like bats out of hell, suggesting that all was not well with Yelwa, the city now known more for woes than reprieve in recent time. Barrage of gunshots later followed, as military troops moved into Gwange area of the popular Lagos Street. “It appears we’re in for another trouble,” Ike, a resident of GRA, said in fear. Few minutes later, thick smoke billowed from the area. The sporadic gunshots continued until mid-day and residents of the old GRA had to lie flat in their houses to avoid being hit by stray bullets, while most part of the city was shut down throughout the day. By noon, the picture became clearer. An Improvised Explosive Device (IED) buried at a bad portion of the Lagos Street near the NUJ Press Centre by suspected Boko Haram members had exploded when a JTF patrol van with some soldiers drove to the spot. An army lieutenant in the vehicle was killed, leaving two other soldiers seriously wounded. It was believed that the bombers had planted the explosive early in the morning with the possible connivance of some residents, waited for the JTF patrol vehicle and then detonated the bomb as soon as the Hilux van approached the spot. “They must have fled as soon as they completed their dastardly act,” one of the soldiers said.
•My husband still missing –Victim A JTF sector commander, who later conducted the state’s Deputy Governor, Alhaji Zanna Mustapha, round the affected area, insisted that the community members allowed the sect to attack personnel of the task force. “After the first explosion on the road, another went off in a house near the spot of the first blast,” he claimed. Gwange, a bustling community known for its well laid out streets, was in ruins within four hours on Monday as over 100 houses were burnt. At the time of visit on Monday evening, the fire continued to spread, affecting many other houses, business premises and shops within the neighbourhood. Women, children, few young men and the elderly were seen in the street watching their homes burn. “This is too much for us. The soldiers were brought here to protect us, but it is sad they have turned against us now. They killed our youths and burnt our houses. What have we done to deserve this?” a man in his 50s asked. Sources said over 10 people died in the shoot-out and confusion that followed the bomb blast. A woman said her father, a blind man, was shot dead by soldiers shortly after the explosion. “They killed my father and I don’t even know where my husband is now,” she shouted in frustration. A military source said soldiers were angered by the incessant killing of their officers and men through IED planted on major roads in the city. “We are here to protect the people. We didn’t come here to fight them and we have no business being here in the first place if not because of the security challenge, but it is sad that the people we’re protecting allow their houses and premises to be used to plant explosive devices,” the army officer, who would not want his name mentioned, said. Gwange is believed to be one of the flashpoints of Boko Haram activities in the city. A week earlier, another bomb targeted at a JTF patrol vehicle in Gwange also killed an army lieutenant colonel, while the bomber reportedly set the corpse ablaze with used
tyres. Perhaps, it was these incidents that ignited the furry of soldiers last Monday. But JTF spokesman, Lt Colonel Sagir Musa, claimed “no civilian or Boko Haram was killed by soldiers,” insisting that houses, shops and business premises were burnt by fire from the explosion. “The IEDs, which content include acid and highly inflammable substance that propagates thermal effect, set houses and shops around the vicinity on fire.” He also alleged that explosive devices were kept in some houses in the area. Though residents said they were not convinced by the JTF claims, they however, said they had only one option: to flee the area. “Why and where should I stay?” an elderly man, who simply identified himself as Alhaji, said, adding: “I’m packing finally to my village since they don’t want us to live here.” Hundreds of residents have fled the area since Monday evening. Some fleeing residents said they had to leave because they were already displaced, while some said the area “is no longer safe.” “I can’t continue to stay here. I have been here since 1988. I lost one of my children early this year and I don’t want to lose another. I have lost everything I laboured for in this city for over 30 years, and I think it is time for me to return to my state, Kano,” Ali, a trader, told Sunday Sun. Scores of residents besieged Borno Express Motor Park and Tarson Journey park on Tuesday and Wednesday morning. Looking famished and unkempt, those fleeing Gwange rebuffed attempts by this reporter to get their reaction. No doubt, the Monday incident has taken a toll on their psyche. But Governor Kashim Shettima insists the “hard time will not last long.” Shettima, who expressed “heartfelt sympathy to those directly or indirectly affected by the incident,” after a closed-door meeting with security chiefs in the state on Thursday, said he believes in alleviating the untold suffering the incident had brought on residents rather than apportioning blames. “I was out of the country when the incident occurred,
but I immediately directed the deputy governor to visit the affected area that day and calm the people. I know many people expect me to condemn the JTF troops or even call for their immediate removal, but I don’t think that is the solution to our problem now. What is paramount to us is how to address the hardship of our people and families of those who lost their lives rather than playing to the gallery to get applause from the people,” he said. He also constituted a 12-member committee headed by Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Alhaji Baba Kaka Bashir Garbai, to assess the extent of damage that would assist government in determining the level of support for the affected persons and families within seven days. The committee is expected to list victims, houses and vehicles affected, determine cost through evaluation, recommend ways of averting such situation in future to government. While many residents condemned the Monday killing of the army officer and the reprisal that followed by the JTF troops, it appears the task force would need to go the extra mile to win back the heart of the people in addressing the security challenge that has lingered for too long.
How Lloyd, Ugonna prophesied their death •Continued from page 4 to make money from music soon and use the proceeds to assist her. “He kept telling me, ‘mummy, don’t worry, I will soon have money,” she said. Their prophetic song It does appear the duo foresaw their death, that they were going to be killed in one of the cities of Nigeria, a country which does not love and cherish her citizens. The title of their unfinished album is In the heart of the city, while the title of another of their songs is There is no love in the heart of the city. Truly, there is no love in the heart of the city, and the four students were butchered like animals, by ‘the animal called, man’(Apologies to chief Olusegun Obasanjo). Ugonna’s stage name was Tipsy while that of Lloyd was Big L. Ugonna as a genius His mother died on October 26, 2005. That could be the reason some rumour mongers peddled false information that on hearing the news of his death, the mother collapsed and died. His father, Messiah Obuzor, from Ogbogu in Ogba/ Egbema/Ndoni Local Government of Rivers, said his late
son lost his mother seven When he was a child, Biringa said his late son years ago. Ugonna was 18 became popular, because years on May 30, 2012 . of the way he danced to the Obuzor, who described rhythm of pounding of fufu himself simply ,as a civil in a mortar. “Making peoservant, said like most leftple happy was in him and handed people, his son was that was while I later convery brilliant, sharp, gentle, ceded to his studying respectful and kind to a Theatre Arts.” fault. I have lost a gifted The problem the boy, we looked alike. Since bereaved father is facing his mother’s death , I have •Ugonna now is how to make his •Lloyd been a father and mother to wife cope with the reality them. We had very strong on ground, because of her ties, we knew each other his 20th birthday very well. I can vouch for his char- in September, his father, who closeness to their late son. “Sometimes, you find it difficult acter, my son is innocent. They works for NNPC said he wanted accused them of stealing laptop, to take him and other siblings out to differentiate whether they were mother and child or husband and but I exposed my son to computer right from his primary school to catch some fun, but he refused wife. They were too close such days. It’s painful that my son was and chose to stay at home and that, if she wore any clothes for outing, she usually called killed in this manner,” he lament- watch football . “My son was a very soft person, him to come and confirm they ed. he didn’t have strong heart. I’m were fitting. “ Chiadika he must have died, even He narrated how he was driving Chiadika Lordson Biringa is sure before they started torturing him.” from Obowo Local Government Biringa described his son as some- to his office that fateful Friday his second son called on Area of Imo State. The erstwhile one, who liked making friends before phone to inform him that Theatre Arts student was described and cracking jokes. According to Chiadika was dead. “I didn’t by his father, Biringa Stephen, as him, “it was not surprising , know when I reversed the car and humble, obedient, and someone Chiadika chose to study Theatre my wife managed to get to the who never removed a pin from Arts, against my wish.” adding scene and saw the badly battered his parents’ house unless it was Chiadika liked to make people body of her loving, first son she given to him. When he celebrated happy and he also liked dancing.” was fond of. I took the body home
and buried it the following day. The killing was barbaric. The only thing that could assuage what has happened to these children is justice. When someone suffers injustice, it is only justice that can heal the wound inflicted by injustice. I know my son cannot come back to be alive.” Another thing that’s bothering Mr Biringa is the robbery allegation, leveled against his son. He fumed: “Let the allegation of robbery be proved or disproved, I have been grooming this child to become somebody in life, to be able to give back to the society, let them investigate and find out, if they were armed robbers as the community branded them. If the police cannot do it, I will leave it for God. If the children were armed robbers, they wouldn’t have been killed, they would have fought back. Did they recover arms and ammunition from the children they branded armed robbers? My son was too close to his mother, his death is like a wound in the palm, which is seen each day the palm is opened . I hope, God will assist us to be able to come out of this bitter experience,” he said.
OCTOBER 14, 2012 SUNDAY SUN
The Sunday Interview
enator (Mrs) Maggery Okadigbo (Anambra North PDP) is certainly a chip off the old block, but with peculiar attributes. As wife of Nigeria’s most gifted and respected senator, politician and former leader of Nigeria’s National Assembly, Maggery had indeed taken sufficient sip from the cup of the late Chuba Okadogbo’s political wisdom and knowledge. This, according to her, has prepared her for the new legislative assignment at the red chambers (Senate) of the National Assembly. In this special interview with CELESTINE OKAFOR, the eve of her late husband‘s 9th memorial anniversary (September 25, 2012), Mrs. Okadigbo was ready to discuss her life with Chuba Okadigbo, the lessons she learnt from him; why she offered herself to step into the senatorial shoes of the great “Oyi of Oyi”; the challenges she had surmounted since Chuba died on September 25, 2003, and what plans she has for her senatorial district (Anambra North). Senator (Mrs) Okadigbo, who is a business woman and lawyer, proved in this interview that she is a fine cocktail of beauty and brain. In her impressive upper class English account, the highly cerebral widow made several shocking and interesting revelations. Excerpts…
Congratulation on your recent inauguration as a member of the current Senate! How would you describe the past one year of intense legal tussle that brought you to the Senate? Well, it is one year of an eye opener to politics. It is also, to me, a roadmap to being a politician. It was a crash programme in politics, being my first time out. I also see it as a baptism of fire. I thank God Almighty that I was vindicated in the end. I learnt in one year what most politicians learnt in their lifetime of being in politics. And what are those basic lessons? I think first and foremost, it is a lesson of standing firm and believing that this (seeking to represent Anambra North in the Senate) is possible and achievable. I think it is also, for me, a first hand experience of being a typical politician. In the last one year, I have lived with my people. I have seen their problems and since I made up my mind to go to the Senate and represent them, I had to pack my bags and go and live with them in Anambra for one year. It is not just about being a senator for the fun of it like some others did, but one had to truly represent them. What were the primary driving factors that made you to vie for Anambra North senatorial election? Basically, my husband’s (the late Dr. Chuba Okadigbo, former Senate president) influence was number one factor. Anambra North was the senatorial zone he represented between 1999 and 2003 in his life time. I knew what his aspirations were for his people. I lived with him, I heard him and I know the problems of his people. More so, the Omambala area, where we come from, is an area where the voice of the people has never really been heard in the present Anambra State. We have Onitsha area where Senator (Joy) Emordi (Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters) come from. She has a solid pedigree and she represented the district well. After that, we had Senator Alphonsus Igbeke, who came from the real Omambala area. With him, we thought that a Daniel had come to judgement. But for me, if I had to compare
9 Years after, wife reveals...
How I ‘charmed’ Okadigbo –Sen Maggery
Senator Igbeke’s performance recently with what Senator Chuba Okadigbo did for Omambala people, then I really had to come out to say that enough is enough. I think my people deserve something better. What were those things Senator Igbeke could not do well, according to you and your people? Talking specifically, if you call yourself a senator representing me and I don’t see you in the Senate, it means you are only representing yourself. First and foremost, Senator Igbeke was not attending Senate sittings. Though some people would argue that he didn’t really have time to do whatever, but how about regular attendance, which is a legal requirement of all elected senators? That was the number one complaint by our people. When you say you are representing people, you have to be there to know what is going on. But I don’t think I am here to talk about Igbeke and what he did right or wrong. The important thing here is that the people of Anambra North senatorial zone lost confidence in him completely because of poor representation and therefore, had to reject him when he came back to seek their votes. What were your initial challenges when you set out to run for election? I am sure you know that the first challenge one had to face was being a woman. Any woman in politics would tell you that. Second is the financial challenge. The third was opposition by those who feel you haven’t really been in politics. But I always ask the question: living with a man like Dr. Chuba Okadigbo as wife, what other political tutorial do I need? I think I’ve got all the tutorials I need to be in politics from my late husband. So, basically, you find that you have the challenge of being a woman, and then the challenge of the wallet. And until politics begins to move away from the size of the wallet, we will not get people of substance to represent us at all levels of the legislature and the executive offices. Often times, those who have deep pocket do not have the substance. So, it’s either you go for the wallet and get chaffs or the people of substance without deep pocket. These are the challenges I had. But again, it was able to work for me because the one thing the people did remember was that we had a man like Chuba Okadigbo, who didn’t have the wallet but had the substance, and he worked for his people. So, here comes this lady (Senator Maggery Chuba Okadigbo) coming from the same table of the man who was known to have the substance. That reminds me of what
our people used to say to me. “Odibeeze (Royal one from the kings palace), you remind us of Chuba Okadigbo. But the difference in your own case is that we see you in our kitchen. We can feel you, we can touch you. And you are very free with us.” For me, I think that was a big seller because I was able to relate to them at their level. Sometimes during my campaigns, when my campaign team is busy setting up tables for rallies, they would be looking for me to address the people. That is when you will find me in some woman’s kitchen helping to cook or carry her baby. I know how many times I’ve had to stop during campaigns to share biscuits or stuffs like that with children. Most people forget that children are part of the political process. And any politician worth his salt will tell you that women are the real voters. Once the women believe in you, they stick with you. The men can swing either way, but the women remain steadfast. And once you convince her to believe in your candidature, she will get five other women behind her. They turn out in large numbers to vote during elections. What are your key agenda in the Senate, particularly for Anambra North? There are a lot of things and ideas one has, but I need some time to implement them. You know, in the last one year, Anambra North has not had a voice in terms of representation because of the court cases involving me and my major opponents (Senator Alphonsus Igbeke and John Emeka). Even in the Senate budget for this year, Anambra North does not have any share because our people had no clear representative. So, it’s like my constituency has been denied one whole year. Therefore, we had to wait to see what happens in the next budget year (2013). Like I said, Anambra North, on the whole, are essentially farmers. We have mass and vast food basin that need to be cultivated. If you go to Igbariam, that whole axis is nothing but a food basin. Some of these farms ought to have been mechanized by now. Recently, President Goodluck Jonathan was on a State visit to Anambra State because oil has equally been discovered in our backyard. The oil wells are located in Anambra North. So, it is a very rich area. It just needs to be harnessed and managed for the benefit of the people. Agriculture and now petroleum are major factors in my area. Education is another challenge. School attendance is at a dismal level in Anambra North as a whole. Places like Onitsha where I come from have so many schools like DMGS, CKC, etc. The young ones don’t think education is worth it anymore. If you go to the market, you will see so many young people doing apprenticeship. These people can be educated informally, teaching them commercial courses and using the market halls where the traders hold meeting as classrooms. A lot of these young people doing business don’t even know what a computer is, yet they have business partners abroad. They should be able to send and receive e-mails to their partners and do photocopies and all that. These are basic commercial subjects that can be taught in those market halls. It is better than going to the business centres to do your business elec-
tronically and in the process fall into the hands of 419 scammers. But if these people are knowledgeable in the use of these facilities, they can afford to acquire them and send their business information materials in the privacy of their offices so that they don’t fall prey to scammers. These are the kind of things we can do for our people. Everybody doesn’t have to be a graduate. There is formal and informal education. And, of course, we are trying to bring in federal presence in the area. We are looking at the road networks. We have the erosion problem that must be tackled. As a senator, I don’t give contracts, but I can influence what comes in. There is a bridge built during my husband’s tenure in Otuocha, which was supposed to link Anambra with Kogi State. That project is still hanging and nobody has said anything about it, and the bridge has long been commissioned. I have to address that immediately. As a senator, if I have to go to Anambra, it should take me about four hours and that’s the purpose that bridge is meant to serve. The bridge has been done, but there is no road to it. It can’t be a bridge to nowhere. How much political tutorials have you really got from your late husband, Chuba Okadigbo? Well, I remember when we were trying to get the party ticket sorted out before the primary in the 2011 election, there was a meeting we had. This same Senator Igbeke told me in Igbo, “Odibe-eze, I ka eburokwanu Akpa (Odibe-eze, you have not done the political jobbing of carrying a bag for a godfather, which is like paying one’s political dues of apprenticeship)”. You know, “OdibeEze” is the popular name for which I am known and addressed by people in my area. Well, I just laughed about it. Then Senator Annie Okonkwo now replied Igbeke: “Among all of us in this room, who has carried the most bag? I think Odibe-eze has. And I told Okonkwo not to mind Igbeke, how much political bag do I have to carry than living with Chuba Okadigbo in the same house as his wife for a great number of years? I think I have carried not just a bag, but suitcases. So, Chuba’s influence in my political mission is very much there. Whether I liked it or not, I lived with it every day. Even when I didn’t want to hear the political sermons or lectures, I was forced to hear them. I was privy to so many political events. I gave opinions on issues at some crucial meetings that were held even when I didn’t hear the genesis off it, because I relied on Chuba’s side of the story. And if I don’t seem to agree with his story, I would get flak for not doing so. But all these are in the course of learning. So, Chuba’s influence was great on me and coincidentally, I am representing the same zone he represented in the Senate. But one funny thing about it is that in all the years of being married to Chuba Okadigbo, it never really occurred to me that I had the same right to that same senatorial seat (Anambra North). In my own case, I happened to be born in Anambra North and married in Anambra North. So, I have a dual citizenship by birth and by marriage. In all the senatorial representation we have had, I think I am the only one who wears that double cap of double citizenship. I can contest from anywhere, whether from Onitsha, Omambala or Ogbaru area.
•Continued on page 10
OCTOBER 14, 2012 SUNDAY SUN
The Sunday Interview ‘Lessons Chuba taught me in politics’ •Continued from page 9 What would you describe as similarities and differences in your style of politics and that of your husband, Chuba Okadigbo? That’s a hard one. For me, politically and character-wise, I and Chuba are both very blunt people. That’s our similarity. My husband would say things as it is straight out. I am also like that. And that’s what gave us compatibility in our marriage. I could come up with a view and he would counter it instantly. So, we are like that in the marriage. Our children were also raised that way. People have asked me whether I learned that from being married to Chuba and I tell them no, I have always been like that. I got it from my own father. My father raised us to stand firmly in what we believe in. That even if you are going to be punished for anything, just tell him straight that you did it, and then we can begin to talk about the punishment you deserve. It is when you don’t tell him the truth that he would now mete out the punishment he thinks you deserve. My father always tells me I should start solving problems from the simple to the difficult ones. Therefore, the point I am making is that for me in politics, I believe in telling you the truth. Oftentimes people believe politicians won’t tell you the truth. I don’t buy that. I want to represent you. It is for you to be convinced that I can really give you that service. I am not going to shove it down your throat or feed you with lies and at the end of the day I don’t give you what I promised. I won’t do that. I want to represent you because I feel I can do it, I want to give you the best. And I want you to believe I can do that. It is a relationship based on trust. Therefore, if you don’t trust me to represent you very well, then I don’t need to do that for you. I want to know that when you give me a job to do for you, along the way we may encounter problems. I should be able to say to you, Celestine, though we met a little bottleneck, we will overcome it. Then I can tell you to go ahead if you think you can do it. That is trust. That is the principle my husband believed in and represented. His word was definite. I remember during our campaigns, people were telling me that in politics you don’t tell it all, that you don’t tell all the truth in politics. And I tell them, if I cannot tell my people the whole truth, then why am I representing them? I should not deceive them from the beginning or half-way. Why do I have to tell them a story when I know it is not true? In fact, it got to a point where, when the people finish their discussion and agreements, they would say let’s go and see Odibe-eze (Mrs. Maggery Chuba Okadigbo), she will tell us the truth, the real story. I like and prefer that. That’s what Chuba also taught me in the political classroom. So, in terms of bluntness, my husband and I share that similarity. Chuba was politically flowery, charismatic and volatile as well; do you have these qualities? Of all the adjectives you have used, I’m not any (laughs heartily). I’m not one for make-up. I’m neither blessed in his kind of political showmanship nor in his height either. But seriously, I asked somebody sometime ago whether he thinks Chuba Okadigbo would have married a yo-yo for wife. I think I have the intellectual sophistication to relate to him. For our age difference, I have to be able to match his intellect. With Chuba, you can only be talking ideas and not the latest fashion. He had his own style, and I had mine. What is your style? I am not so much of a public person. It’s only in recent times that I became public. Maybe it is easier for some other person and not me, to do the comparison between the late Senator Chuba Okadigbo and his successor wife, Maggery Okadigbo. I am only one month old as a senator, as against Senator Chuba Okadigbo, who was there for four years, or quite a while. Maybe in six months or one year, that comparison will begin to make sense (general laughter). Tuesday, September 25, 2012, made it nine full years Chuba Okadigbo died, and you seem to have been able to keep the flag flying at the domestic and political fronts. How are you coping with the challenges of managing these two areas successfully? When it comes to the family or domestic aspect, I had early experience. Very early in our marriage, in my relationship with Chuba Okadigbo, he entrusted me with a lot of responsibilities. At the time I got married to him, he had other children, who were a little younger than me. So, I became like a mother, a big sister to them in the house. Chuba was a husband, a brother and a father. One unique attribute of him is that he was a teacher more than he was a politician. Even in your profession (media), Chuba had a lot of students. He was a teacher in the university and even in the seminary. Chuba taught in the Biggard Seminary in Enugu and in many other institutions. With him, you can always get good tutoring. He was very good at that. When we were running a news magazine called Platform some years ago, when we are looking
at the CVs of prospective employees and I tell him so and so was just fresh from school, a youth corps member with no experience. He would ask me, where do you want the guy to get the experience if he didn’t get the opportunity? If I say to him, my love, but this fellow may not be too useful now, he would insist by saying, “Hire him. If he didn’t do well, we will fire him and then he can go with that experience to the next job”. For Chuba, everybody has to get a chance. At home, his name is very strong. He was very popular with the children. He would give you a lecture any little opportunity he gets. He was known for his lectures, formal and informal. Even the cook in the house will get a lecture. The driver also gets a lecture on how to handle the car and how to use a spanner and jack to change the car tyres. You found that in all my years of living with him, from a very young age, I had excess materials to survive on. Everything concerning the home, family, politics, etc., I had proper tutorial. And that’s why I found myself able to cope. That is why I believe strongly that marriage should be a partnership. The man and woman should know what the other person does. That gap must be filled and nobody should fill it for you. The problem is when you don’t want to confront the reality of your situation, you begin to have issues. If I had Chuba to do 10 things and now I have only Maggery, I can only cope with six because I had no Chuba to cope with the extra four. And if I can’t cope with the ten, I will prune myself down to the six I have the capacity for. That is what I call coping with the realities and dealing with it. And if I live in a big house and find that it is not what I can manage, I should shrink myself into an accommodation or environment that I can cope with. That is my message to widows all the time. If you had ten cars when your husband was alive and you discover you cannot maintain the ten cars after your husband died, for God’s sake, shrink it to two. That is dealing with the reality of the situation you have found yourself. You are not there to please anybody. My philosophy in life, which I learnt from an old Catholic nun, is the philosophy of me, myself and l. It sounds selfish, but it is the reality. She (the nun) used to say it is only me that can take care of myself. That was her philosophy; that it is only me who can take care of myself for me. Then, can I look out for others. Even in the aircraft, they teach you that you have to wear your own life jacket first before you think of putting one on your child. You have to be safe and alert to be able to save the next person otherwise, both of you will go down. So, the nine years after Chuba Okadigbo was not a tea party. It had its ups and downs. And believe me, in that nine years the people one had to be watchful about were children because they go through their own emotional turmoil. Stripping a child of one parent, even in a divorce situation affects them not to talk of the death of either or both parents. When my husband died, the old nanny who raised me as a child and who lived with us also died. My husband’s death weighed her down so much and she had to die not long after my husband’s departure. This happened within two months and it was the shock of Chuba’s death that killed her. To
mama, because that’s what we called her in the house, if people that are young like Chuba should die, then what was she still doing here? So, it took me another five months of hide and seek with my children before we told them the old woman had died. My son, who is 19 years today, once asked me then: “Mummy, why is it that everybody I love dies?” So, if you don’t handle that well, the children would grow up believing there is no need to love. My own understanding is that when you love something, it goes. It hasn’t been easy in the last nine years. The children were young and I had to do a whole lot of balancing. I think having young children helped a lot because it focused my attention towards them. I didn’t have time to dwell on self-pity or what happens to me now. I found I had responsibilities, a duty to care for the children, which was paramount. Today, I have a number of the children who are now university graduates. The youngest is an undergraduate currently. When a man, especially of Chuba’s status dies, friends, close associates often desert the family. Even when they come close, they want to take advantage. Did you experience that in your own case? I have an answer to that from my experience. Oftentimes, you find that in marriages, the husband and his wife hardly had friends in common. When you come in as a man’s wife, your most pre-occupation is how to get yourself integrated as a new member of that family. Oftentimes, the woman, when she gets married, tries to disengage their husbands from their friends, especially the unmarried male friends whom you feel are going to have negative influence on him. You want this man for yourself, forgetting these were the friends all of you go out with together when you were courting. You begin to see those friends as no longer good company or bad influence now. As you progress in that marriage, your husband still has those friends and he is still seeing and meeting with them. But you, as his wife, is no longer part of that friendship. You’ve cut yourself off. You’ve disengaged and made your own friends. In my own case therefore, Chuba’s friends were my friends. And because of that age difference between me and Chuba, I was like everybody’s pet in that circle of friends. Anything I said was right and Chuba was wrong. So, I kept my friendship with them. And it’s that friendship that I am still tapping from nine years after Chuba’s death. It is that same friendship that made it possible for them nine years later to say, “Maggery, we want you to go to the Senate and serve your people. We know you can do it. Go and finish up the good job your husband started. This is not the same Senate we knew Chuba to represent. Let your people (Anambra North) have you there so that you can put a lot of sparkles there. If I didn’t maintain that friendship with them, I’m not sure I would have made it to the Senate now. In the one year of the struggle to reclaim my senatorial mandate, it is those friends that stayed with me and encouraged me. They are the same friends that, when I feel upset, they would say, calm down, please. So, it is important you maintain a relationship with your husband’s friends. You don’t expect people you don’t know to come looking for you when your husband dies. It is only by being friends with those people that you will be able to have a hold on your husband. They will protect your interest and fight for you. Nine years after Chuba, I still have our mutual friends standing by me and the children. There are also some friends I brought for him, people of my own age bracket and most were his students at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) where I studied Law. So, when I married him, and because a lot of them were his students, it was an opportunity for them to become his young friends. In as much as I tried to be friends with his own mates, he also tried to be friends with my own mates, who are mostly my age bracket. Among my friends, we started calling Chuba “Rewind”. We gave him that name because if we are gisting and he was absent, the moment he comes in he would tell us to rewind so that he could catch up with details of the discussion and we would laugh over it. Therefore, I don’t understand when people say that friends deserted them when they lost their husbands. I believe it is the foundation you lay that determines whether those friends will protect your interest or not. Why does Chuba call you “oxygen” when he was alive? It is funny the way it started, but it kind of stuck. I do call him “love of my life”. That was the pet name I had for him. He calls me “oxygen” because he says without me, there’s no point living. I was like the oxygen of his life. Because of that, a lot of my friends now shortened it “oxy” and they teased both of us with it. He also called me “Odibe-eze” and later shortened it to “Odibee”, and friends also started addressing me that way.
OCTOBER 14, 2012,
PDP votes N5b to take Ondo By OMONIYI SALAUDEEN
HE three major contending political parties in Saturday’s governorship election in Ondo State have continued to trade words over allegations of rigging plans. Sunday Sun gathered that one of the main opposition political parties, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has set aside a whopping N5 billion to induce the electorate on the day of election to achieve victory and wrest power from incumbent Governor Olusegun Rahamon Mimiko of the Labour Party (LP). A close source within the party, who doesn’t want his name mentioned in print said, “We are going to shock the people of Ondo State in this election. We have been hearing the people talking of power of incumbency; our party does not in any way feel threatened. We are forging ahead with our aggressive campaign and we are not going to rest on our oars until we achieve victory. Even with the enormous resources within the LP, we are going to square up with them, money for money, strength for strength. As I speak with you, over N5 billion has already been set aside for logistic arrangements and other contingency needs. Let’s wait and see.”
In a quick reaction to the allegation, Media Aide to Governor Mimiko, Mr. Femi Adepoju, said LP remained unperturbed by the threat of PDP. His words: “Any money spent by either ACN or PDP is going to be a lost investment. Those who know the political antecedents
...It’s bad investment –Mimiko of Ondo State people know they cannot be bought over by money. Ondo people are too sophisticated, enlightened and politically mature to be bought with money. Besides, they
appreciate what it takes to have good governance, which our governor ably represents. Already, our achievements are there for everyone to see. So, if they like they can bring all the
money in the Central Bank to Ondo, it will not change the support of the people for this government. Rather, it is going to be a lost investment, it is going to be money down the drain. On Saturday, we shall renew our mandate with the people under a free and fair contest. That, I can assure you.” This accusation is coming on the heels of repeated assurances
Oshiomhole’s victory: Airhiavbere wants special tribunal From TONY OSAUZO, Benin
President Goodluck Jonathan (middle) acknowledging cheers from the crowd shortly on arrival at the Government House during his visit to Bayelsa State in Yenagoa on his tour of the states affected by the recent flooding, while the state governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson (right) looks on.
ENERAL Charles Airhiavbere (rtd) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has asked the Court of Appeal to constitute a special tribunal to look into his petition. Counsel to Airhiavbere, Chief Efe Akpofure (SAN), said the petitioner is seeking for an order of the Court of Appeal to set aside previous ruling of the tribunal on his petition, except the part stating that ground of corrupt practices and non-compliance with the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) contained in paragraph 8 of the petition is competent, having being in substantial compliance with Section 138 (1) (b) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and the decision refusing to strike out the 4th and 5th respondents from the petition.
Flood: NIREC tasks FG, others on climate change
HE Federal Government and other levels of government have been urged to act urgently on climate
change forecasts to avoid worse flooding in the country in future. The Osun State Chapter of
the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) made the call in a seven-point communiqué issued at the end of its October meeting.
...As crocodiles, scorpions invade Anambra homes
From DAVID ONWUCHEKWA, Nnewi
•Community laments sharp rise of food prices
yam, maize, and other cash crops planted in so many hectares of land within the riverside area as well as fish ponds and poultry farms worth over N150 million were lost to the flood. Mr Chikwado explained that most of the farmers borrowed large sums of money from banks for the farming season that they could not pay back because of the monumental destruction. He said: “Famine is imminent in our community since the crops destroyed by flood were to be harvested in the next three months, when we expect to have food in abundance and enough to sell to repay our loans. Some of the farmers are already hypertensive because of the monumental loss.” The president-general noted that a measure of garri, the main staple food in the area, which used to sell at N250, has doubled to N500 signalling acute food scarcity in the area.
WO weeks after over 152 hectares of farmland were submerged at Ubaheze community, Okija in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State destroying cash crops worth millions of naira, the community has raised the alarm over dangerous reptiles visiting people’s homes. Also, the people are worried over sudden increase in the prices of foodstuffs in the communities ravaged by flood. “Apart from the appearance of crocodiles, snakes and scorpions at some residential houses in the community which poses great danger to all the inhabitants, it is painful that we have lost all our farmlands and crops due to be harvested in January, 2013, to flood. And we are known for farming which is our major occupation”, the president-general of Ubaheze community, Mr Ignatius Chikwado lamented. He said that cassava, rice,
from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that Saturday, October 20, governorship election in Ondo State is going to be a model for future elections. ACN and PDP are the two leading opposition parties trying to wrest power from the ruling LP. And they have been at each other’s throats over the soul of the sunshine state.
One of the leaders of the community, Barrister Ikenna Obidiegwu described what had befallen the community as tragic, adding that the incident had thrown the community of about 30,000 people into hunger and abject poverty. He called for government’s immediate action “to forestall epidemic which may occur as a result of hunger and environmental pollution.” Giving his on-the-spot assessment, the Chairman of Nnewi branch of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Mr O.J. Okeke who led other members of the association on a visit to the site of the flood disaster, urged that the community should be declared a disaster area. Mr Okeke appealed to the government not to lose sight of impending famine in the area, saying that, “they should be ;rescued immediately.”
It also urged the government to relocate the flood victims where necessary to avoid further destruction of lives and properties. It sympathized with the victims of natural disasters in the country and prayed for God’s protection and mercy upon them. The council commended Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s foresight in dredging of rivers across the state. It noted that the move saved the state and her people
from the flood that has ravaged many states in the country. However, it appealed to the state administration not to relent in its effort to forestall any disaster and urged the people of the state to shun acts that could jeopardize the government’s efforts to make life better for its citizens. The council called on different religious groups in the state to eschew actions that could disrupt the existing peaceful co-existence in the State.
Besides, Akpofure, who is appealing the rulings of the tribunal on 17 grounds, said the tribunal erred in law when it held that the answer to the issue of whether the tribunal has jurisdiction to hear and determine the application of the governor, the ACN and the INEC as 1st, 3rd and 5th respondents respectively, before the hearing of the petition was provided by the petitioner through the case of PDP vs INEC. He pointed out that the Supreme Court decision on the issue or point in the aforementioned case did not provide the answer the tribunal held was so provided. Airhiavbere is challenging the declaration by INEC that Comrade Adams Oshiomhole of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) won the July 14, 2012, governorship election in the state, among many grounds, that the governor was not qualified on the basis of his academic qualifications to contest the office of governor. But on September 27, 2012, the tribunal ruled that it lacks relevant jurisdiction to adjudicate on the academic qualification of the Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, which qualified him to contest the governorship election. Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Suleman Ambrusa, said by bringing the petition challenging the governor’s academic qualification before the tribunal instead of the Federal High Court, the PDP candidate embarked on a wild goose chase.
Achebe’s book: Lagos Ndigbo fault controversy
HE raging war of words between South East and South West leaders over Prof Chinua Achebe’s personal account of the alleged role of the late elder statesman, Chief Obafemi Awolowo during the civil war has been described as unnecessary. Reacting to the development in a statement, the Igbo in Lagos under the aegis of Ndigbo Lagos, said that the roles played by the major actors in the civil war were no longer topical issues. “The issue of what roles all actors on both sides played during the events leading to the unfortunate civil war and the prosecution of the war itself have for a long time been in the public space”, the organization said. Also, the Lagos-based Ndigbo reminded all that the late sage, Chief Awolowo, had addressed similar issues long
•Awolowo defended his role before death before his death. “Indeed the Punch newspaper of Monday, October 8, 2012 (http://www.punchng.com/new s/for-the-record/my-role-in-thecivil-war-awolowo/), published the late elder statesman, Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s response to a similar issue in 1983, and that should close the matter. He had spoken for himself.” “Ndigbo in Lagos regretted that the controversy ensued when, “the South-east, Southsouth and South-west are in consultations working together for a better Nigeria to ensure that such a situation does not arise again.” They urged that ‘the commendable quality of interpersonal relationship between Ndigbo and the Yoruba nation should be sustained and translated into mutually beneficial political, social and cultural rela-
tionship for the progress of our country.” Ndigbo in Lagos harped also on the need for the Southwest to back the Southeast’s demand for another state while both sides should forge a common front to move the nation forward. “The ongoing demand of the Southeast for additional one state, the serious infrastructure deficit subsisting in our geopolitical zone and the Igbo presidency project are areas Ndigbo Lagos believe the Southwest should come out with unequivocal support for the Ndigbo position. “In conclusion, we should focus on how the two nations and indeed the entire South can cooperate to enthrone fairness, equity and justice in the Nigerian polity. That is the legacy we should aim at moving forward”, the group stated.
OCTOBER 14, 2012,
NEWS From NOAH EBIJE, Kaduna
HE relative peace in Kaduna was truncated yesterday as hundreds of youths barricaded the Lagos Roundabout and all entrances leading to Magaji Garin Police Station, protesting the death of their colleague allegedly killed by the police. Commuters and okada riders (commercial motorcyclists) scampered in different directions, bringing traffic jam to major roads as the youths displayed green leaves, demanding immediate justice. The victim whose name was given as Elisha Joseph, aged 40, was said to be making peace between a prison service officer and a policeman, who were arguing over driving
Peace maker punched to death in Kaduna space when their vehicles collided about 1 p.m. from opposite directions along Forcados/Bonny streets in Kaduna metropolis. However, when contacted on phone, Kaduna State Commissioner of Police, Olufemi Adenaike said, “As a journalist, go and do your investigation very well, no policeman beat him, no police man hit him, he was foaming at the mouth, I think he is diabetic, and he took himself to the hospital and died there.” According to an eyewitness, Elisha came out of his printing business shop situated along the street to persuade both paramilitary officers to settle themselves amicably “since
they are both law- enforcing and abiding citizens.” Eyewitness added that the police did not take Elisha’s peace moves lightly, and decided to punch him, hitting him on the chest and abdomen with the butt of their rifles “for poking his nose into a matter that is not his.” Sunday Sun further gathered that it took the intervention of Elisha’s neighbours for the police to leave him when they wanted to drag him into a waiting vehicle, and Elisha was immediately taken by friends to a hospital in town where he died after a brief medical attention. Elisha, who is married with
three children, was said to be an easy-going person from Kogi State. At the time of filing this report, the prison service officer whose name was yet to be obtained was seen at the police station writing the First Information Report (FIR), while his vehicle with registration number AJ 715 GME was packed at the police station, but the police van that was involved in the matter was not available for identification. An eyewitness, who simply gave his name as Sheriff said, “Two vehicles were coming from opposite directions at the
Amnesty office defends Third Phase By FEMI FOLARANMI HE Presidential Amnesty Office has defended its distribution of slots for accommodation of ex-militants in the Third Phase of its rehabilitation programme. Afaction of the Third Phase exmilitants led by Tonye Bobo had accused the Federal Government of double standard in implementing the amnesty programme, stating that the real third phase agitators, who dropped their arms to relevant authorities and were given “acknowledgment receipts” were not part of the newly approved list. But Head, Media and Communication of the Amnesty Office, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, insisted that the distribution of slots in the Third Phase was fairly done to include all genuine agitators in the region.
L-R: Special Adviser to Lagos State Governor on Environment, Dr. Taofeek Folami; President, Nigerian Conservation Forum (NCF), Chief Izoma Phillip Asiodu; NCF Council members, Justice Bukola Adebiyi and Mr. Desmond Majekodunmi, during the 2012 Walk for Nature programme organised by Lagos State Government and NCF in Lagos yesterday.
Boko Haram would’ve made Niger their hqtrs –Babangida Aliyu From AKIN ALOFETEKUN, Mokwa to the proactive measures by security agents in the Minna state and the support given by HAT is today government. According to the known as Boko governor, it is necessary for all Haram actually Nigerians to rise up and started from Darus Islam oppose activities of the sect, (City of Islam), a small settle- which he said have had untold ment near Mokwa in Niger negative effects on the econoState, under the leadership my of not only the northern of Abubakar Shekau, now part of the country but Nigeria leader of the killer Islamic as a whole. fundamentalist sect, Boko For any business to thrive, it must be in a peaceful and Haram. environment, But for the prompt interven- secured tion of Governor Muazu Governor Aliyu said, insisting Babangida Aliyu in 2009, that in view of the series of Mokwa would have become attacks on security men Minna the operational headquarters of government would tighten security within and outside the sect. Abubakar Shekau and the late Minna. He therefore, asked the spokesman of the group, people to cooperate with secuAbubakar Kaka, believed to rity operatives on the exercise. have been killed by men of the Governor Aliyu also defended Joint Task Force in Maiduguri, the movement of the old were dislodged from Darus Minna market to its present Islam by security operatives in location, saying the market, when established, did not 2009. Governor Muazu Babangida envisage the rapid growth Aliyu alluded to this fact in Minna had witnessed. He said Minna recently when he met when the market was at its old traders at Government House. location it contributed to conThe governor confirmed that gestion in the city centre. the pictures of both Shekau Aliyu also disclosed that the and Abu Kaka posted regular- market at PZ area of Minna ly on the sect’s websites and would soon be moved to Kure published in newspapers are market to give more room for the same with the ones securi- development of Minna city ty agents captured before the centre. duo were dislodged from He said critics of the administration were those who wanted Darus Islam. He attributed the success in him to share public money dislodging the sect from without embarking on any
development, adding that the same people will turn round in the future to say Aliyu spent eight years in office without anything to show for it. “My government will not share money, what is uppermost in my mind is development of the state,” Aliyu said. The traders through their spokesmen, Alhaji Mohammed Umoru and Alhaji Dandere, pledged loyalty to the governor and his administration, but asked him to reduce the series of levies they pay daily in the markets.
same time along Forcados road by Bonny Street. On getting to the middle of the road, the two drivers started quarreling, and my friend came out of his shop, which is by the roadside, to calm down the two drivers, telling them that since they are uniformed men, they should not fight over the right of way. “He told them it is something they can settle amicably. But at a point the police shouted at my friend to shut up and even went ahead to butt and punch his belly. He slumped near his shop and the police tried to drag him into their vehicle. The people around started
He said 500 slots were allocated to the Itsekiri National Youth Council, 100 for the defunct John Togo Camp, 200 for Lato group, while other groups of disarmed agitators got 2000.
PDP suspends national vice chairman ATIONAL Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) has suspended Alhaji Girigiri Lawal, the party’s North East National Vice Chairman. According to a statement issued in Abuja on Saturday by Mr Olisa Metuh, PDP National Publicity Secretary, the suspension takes immediate effect. The statement said the NWC took the decision in furtherance of its resolve to entrench discipline at all levels of the party’s operations, adding that Lawal had earlier been invited
by the NWC for preliminary hearing on alleged violation of the party’s constitution. “After the preliminary hearing, the NWC resolved to suspend Lawal for a period of one month with effect from Oct. 12. The matter has been referred to the National Disciplinary Committee of our party for further action,” the statement said. In another development, the party said the country needed national integration and peace for development. It urged voters in Ondo State to vote wisely and avoid violence in the Oct. 20 governorship election.
Senator petitions Amaechi over flood From TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
SENATOR in the second republic, Dr Cyrus Nunieh, has appealed to Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State to set up a judicial panel to look into the flooding in Nyogor Beeri community in Khana Local Government Area of the State. He alleged that Shell
Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and OKmas Nigeria Limited caused the flood. Senator Nunieh in a petition dated October 10, 2012, addressed to the governor, decried the damages and hardship experienced by victims of the flood in Ogoni community caused by a road construction by the two companies. The former federal lawmak-
Additional state in South East right of Igbo –Nwosu From ALOYSIUS ATTAH, Onitsha POLITICAL stakeholder in Anambra State, John Nwosu, has described the creation of additional state for the South East geopolitical zone as an undeniable right of the Igbo people in Nigeria. In a chat with Sunday Sun, Nwosu said equity and fairness demands that the Igbo should be given a new state to be at par with other regions. He described as unfortunate the recent comments by Kano State Governor, Rabiu Kwakwanso, that the South East doesn’t deserve another state, saying that creation of an additional state for the people will address long years of perceived marginalization of the Igbo. “The war ended in 1970, and though Gowon declared the famous “no victor, no vanquished” slogan, the people from the South East seem to be grappling with the
shouting at the police to leave him alone since they have beaten him enough. After leaving him, he went to the hospital, but the next thing we heard about him was his death.” Father of the victim, Joseph Kunle, said, “I am devastated over the death of my son, and as at the time of talking to you I have not seen the body. I am presently in a state of confusion, but there are people who know him very well, and they told me they had seen the corpse. Some of my brothers, cousins and uncles have confirmed his death. There is no action that would bring him back to life, but we want justice to be done, and it is my desire that justice must be done, nothing more.”
burden of not being in the mainstream of the political configuration of the country. Creation of a new state in the South East is our right and not a privilege. “Looking at the South East, one can decipher easily that we are more than qualified for a new state. Also, it is clear that the Igbo constitute the major population figure being bandied about by the Kano State Governor, and we all knew how the last census exercise was disrupted in parts of Igbo land,” he said. Nwosu commended Nigeria’s former Vice President, Alex Ekwueme, and governors of the five South East states for adding strong voices to the clamour for additional state, and called on other prominent Igbo voices to come together to pursue a common goal. He also charged legislators in the National Assembly to ensure the structural imbalance in the geopolitical zones is addressed through the instrument of the constitution.
er, who is counsel to the community, urged governor Amaechi to recommend urgent compensation and rehabilitation of victims of the flood. The elder statesman lamented that his people had been displaced since 2001 and the current flooding had exposed the community to more danger. Nunieh was sad that a rescue petition he sent earlier to President Goodluck Jonathan on the effects of the flood had not received any response. He said that Nyogor Beeri community upheld a valuation report by the Nigerian Society of Engineers, which stated that the menace was due to the narrow culvert constructed by the road builders that could not contain the volume of water. The legislator wondered why a Bori High Court could remove the SPDC from a suit filed against it and Okmas by the community, even as the latter had claimed the design used for the construction of the road was given to it by Shell. He appealed to the governor to, “very urgently, set up a judicial panel to adjudicate in this continuing case of flooding, especially now that recent rainfall in the country has come to increase flooding in the area.
OCTOBER 14, 2012,
Cocaine found in earrngs, buttons, bangles It’s the first time we are seeing this –NDLEA ATIONAL Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) says it arrested an alleged drug suspect with 2.472 kilograms of cocaine. Mr Mitchell Ofoyeju, Head of Public Affairs of
the agency, said in a statement on Saturday that the suspect concealed the substance in a jewellery bag. He said he was arrested aboard a KLM flight from Brazil at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos.
Ofoyeju said during a search powdery substance, which was positive to cocaine test, was found in a bag of jewellery belonging to the suspect. ``It took several hours to extract the cocaine from the jewellery because of
the complex method of concealment; this mode of concealment is strange. “This is the first time of discovering drugs inside jewellery; the drugs were industrially packed in earrings, buttons, necklaces, bangles as well as female belts. “We had to forcefully
open them to recover the drugs; the entire quantity of cocaine found in the jewellery products weighed 2.472 kilograms. “One arrest has been made in connection with the seizure,” the statement quoted Ofoyeju as saying. He warned that although drug barons were becoming desperate, the agency
was determined to frustrate their efforts. “This seizure is yet an indication that drug traffickers can go to any length in hiding drugs from law enforcement agents,” he said, adding that the suspect would be charged to court as soon as investigations were concluded.
Emekuku High School Old Boys to partner Imo Govt LD Boys Association of Emekuku High School, Owerri, Imo State, has concluded plans to reposition the school to regain its glory as one of the leading centres of learning in the South East and the country. President of the association and Assistant Director of Sports at the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Mr. Paul Ogazi, dropped the Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, consoling hint in a statement. Rev. Mrs. Blessing Amuba, a flood victim, and Chief Goodluck Opiah, former The veteran broadcaster Speaker of Imo State House of Assembly (middle), during his visit to Abacheke, said the association intends to Egbema in Ohaji Egbema LGA of Imo State yesterday. achieve the set goal through
How Osun speaker’s wife was kidnapped From BAMIGBOLA GBO- returned from work. LAGUNTE, Osogbo Commissioner of Police, Mrs Kalafite Adeyemi, who ORE facts have confirmed the incident, told emerged on how Sunday Sun that, “It’s true wife of the Speaker the wife of the Speaker of the of Osun State House of state’s House of Assembly Assembly, Hon Najeem was kidnapped and police are Salaam Muibat, was kid- working round the clock to napped by some unknown ensure the kidnappers are people at Ejigbo, home apprehended in no distant town of the Speaker and time.” headquarters of Ejigbo She stated that the state Local Government Area on police command has deployed Tuesday night. officers to Ejigbo and enviMuibat, who is the first wife rons to ensure the kidnappers of Hon Salaam, was said to are brought to book. have been kidnapped at her Mrs Muibat Salaam, residence at Ejigbo at 10 according to sources, was kidp,m. on Tuesday after she napped inside the residence of
her husband and the reasons for kidnapping her was unknown, just as the police said no one has been arrested yet in connection with the kidnap. Meanwhile, Osun State House of Assembly has decried the kidnapping of the Speaker’s wife, describing the incident as barbaric, criminal and strange. In a statement issued by Media Secretary to the Speaker, Mr. Goke Butika, he stressed that the abduction of the Speaker’s spouse, Alhaja Muibat Salaam, was embarrassing, adding that she’s a responsible mother and wife
Rep urges ACN leaders to protect party constitution From CHARLES changed with the alleged ADEGBITE, Ado-Ekiti shoddy conduct of ward election to lodge their comHAIRMAN, House plaints with the party rather of Representatives than resorting to self-help. Committee on Awe noted that the backlash Legislative Budget and could be dire if the party Research, Hon Opeyemi members used the alleged Bamidele, has appealed to the national leadership of mishandling of the election to the Action Congress of create ill-feelings and division Nigeria (ACN), to devise within ACN. The duo made the statement mechanism by which the Iyin Ekiti in party’s constitution can be at protected at all times. Irepodun/Ifelodun Local Bamidele, who represents Ado/Irepodun/Ifelodun Federal Constituency, also NTHONY Village urged the Chief Jide Awe-led Foursquare Gospel ACN State Working Church (City of Committee in Ekiti to investi- Refuge) has concluded plans gate the alleged breach of the to hold week-long activities party’s constitution in the to celebrate this year’s conWards Congress election con- cert, revival and anniverducted recently in all 177 sary at the zonal headquarters, 1/3, Adeteju Adeyeye wards in the state. In the same vein, Chairman, Street, Anthony Village, Caretaker Committee in Lagos. The programme is schedIrepodun/Ifelodun Local uled to start from Sunday, Government, Hon Olufemi Awe, urged aggrieved party October 21 to 28, at 8:30 a.m. members, who felt short- and Monday to Friday at 6p.m
Government Area during the weekend while commenting on the looming crisis that was brewing in the town owing to disagreement that followed the conduct of the Ward Congresses in the town. Bamidele, who was a former National Publicity Secretary of the party, expressed displeasure at the way the congress election was organized in his ward.
Anthony Foursquare Gospel Church holds concert
respectively. “Back to Bethel” (Gen. 35:1) is theme. It will feature word exposition, intercession for revival, pure praise and worship, and musical/concert. Bro. Joseph Faulkner, head of planning committee, on behalf chief host Zonal Superintendent, Rev. Dean Adegbenga Adekoya, said this year’s concert is going to be a time for worship and people are expected to come out to connect with God in an atmosphere of worship.
who does not believe in living on the position of her husband alone, but to work hard in order to support the family. The Osun State Assembly said, for some gun-wielding men to waylay the woman on her way home from her shop was unfortunate, nauseating, and uncalled for, while asking all security operatives to investigate and get to the root of the matter with a view to finding out whether it has a crime dimension or politically motivated. The Assembly said: “The state of Osun is known for peace and tranquility, the rate of crime in the state is very low, and kidnapping is very strange. So, abducting the wife of the Speaker who keeps an open door policy is worth investigating to know and determine whether it is a pure crime or is politically motivated.” However, her husband, Hon Salaam, has insisted that he would not comment on the incident until the riddles behind it are unraveled. Also, the state chapter of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) condemned the kidnapping, saying “the news of the kidnapping of the Speaker’s wife was an ominous development signaling the gradual but seemingly unstoppable spread of criminality and anarchy across the country.” In a statement by the party’s Director of Publicity, Research and Strategy, Mr Kunle Oyatomi, the party said “the police in the state have a responsibility to urgently find the Speaker’s wife and get to grips with securing the state from activities of criminals who want to cause mayhem in the state.”
partnership with the state government. He said the present state of infrastructure in the school has remained a source of worry to old students of the institution. Mr Ogazi also said the intervention move was to save the institution from rot and total collapse. Consequently, the association plans to hold an important event in the school’s premises on October 20, 2012, to draw attention of the Deputy Governor of Imo State, Mr. Jude Agbaso, who is also an alumnus of the school, to its plight. Ogazi reasoned that infra-
structural development in the education sector of any country should not be left in the hands of government alone. He urged old student associations across the country and private sector operators, as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), to join hands with government to develop infrastructure. “Our alma mater, Emekuku High School, is one of the fruits of Public-Private Partnership (PPP), in the education sector in Nigeria. Originally named Sebastine Academy, it was a private school until it was taken over by government of the defunct East Central State.
Suswam warns against violence From ROSE Makurdi.
ENUE State Governor, Dr. Gabriel Suswam, has warned political parties against any act of violence capable of disrupting the forthcoming November 24 local government election in the state. Suswam, who gave the warning yesterday while commissioning 23 operational Hilux vans to aid the smooth operation of the Benue State Independent Electoral Commission (BSIEC) at its
premises in Makurdi, warned the political parties in the state to desist from any act that would disrupt the electoral process in their own interest. He called on political parties to exhibit high level of patriotism during the elections and promised that he would not interfere with the commission in the line of performing their electoral duties. “Political parties should exhibit high level of patriotism and desist from any act that may disrupt election on that day or become victims of the law,” he said.
Sambo, Markafi, Nwodo, others condole with Vanguard Deputy News Editor By WILLY EYA R O M I N E N T Nigerians, including Vice President Namadi Sambo, former governors of Anambra, Enugu and Kaduna states have condoled with Vanguard Deputy News Editor, Emeka Mamah, on the death of his mother, Gloria Mamah, aged 86. The octogenarian died on September 15 in Enugu. Her funeral rites start with a wake keep on Friday, October 19, at Imufu, Enugu Ezike. Special Adviser to Sambo, Alhaji Umar Sani, who spoke for his boss, described the death of the matriarch of Mamah family as shocking. Also, former governors of Anambra, Kaduna, and Enugu states, Senators Chris Ngige, Ahmed Makarfi and Dr Okwesilieze Nwodo, lamented the demise of the Octogenarian. Commiserating with Mama,
former Presidential aspirant of the defunct National Republican Convention (NRC), Dr Joe Nwodo, thanked “God for the life of the late Gloria and her good works.’’ Also, Senator Ayogu Eze and former Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Gombe State, Hon. Nuhu Poloma, described the death of Madam Gloria as a huge loss to the people of Nsukka senatorial distrisct. Eze, who is Chairman of Senate Committee on Works, in his condolence said, “It is with deep sense of grief that I received the sad news of the passing away into glory of the matriarch of the Mamah family. Senator Abubakar Girei summed his condolence thus: “What a great loss! May God Almighty grant her soul rest.” Former Deputy governor of Enugu State, Ezenwata Okechukwu Itanyi also lamented the death of Gloria and asked God to grant her soul repose.
OCTOBER 14, 2012,
North East may pull out of Nigeria –Wazirin Bauchi From PAUL ORUDE, Bauchi
ORMER Minister of Establishment and central committee Chairman, North East Forum for Unity and Development (NEFUD) Alhaji Bello Kirfi (Wazirin Bauchi) has threatened that the region would pull out of Nigeria and take their destiny in their hands if the need arose. Kirfi stated this yesterday in Bauchi during the inauguration of its action committee at the indoor sports Hall Multipurpose Bauchi saying that history would not forgive the region if it allowed their labour to go down the drain. But in reaction to Kirfi, former minister of Defence, General Theophilus Danjuma said it was not only a serious but ambiguous and weighty statement to make. He added: “As someone who went to the war front and survived it, I must warn that this statement be withdraw immediately.” Chairman of the occasion, Alhaji Adamu Ciroma later mounted the podium and announced that the statement had been withdrawn, a move that elicited applause from dignitaries present. And subsequently in compliance, Kirfi swiftly announced the withdrawal of the statement but stressed that it was for the meantime. The planned inauguration of the Action Committees of
NEFUD could not hold as six governors of the region boycotted the meeting. General Danjuma explained that the governors’absence was as a result of their suspicion that the meeting had political undertone rather than to genuinely address the problems bedeviling the subregion. “Initially, I was told that all the six governors of the region will attend the inauguration but three days ago, one of them called me and told me that all of them have resolved not to come and even advised me to stay away that there’s a hidden agenda”, he said.
He said that based on the advice, he went back to read the minutes of the meetings held by the Forum including the draft speech adding: “I am not in a position to pass judgment but this development has created doubt in my mind regarding the motive of the forum. I therefore suggest that this meeting should be adjourned immediately and be reconvened later at a later date when we would have been able to persuade the governors to join us in this noble undertaking.” The meeting which was held at the Multi-Purpose Indoor Sports Hall, Bauchi, attracted prominent
elders and politicians from the region including Adamu Ciroma, Yayale Ahmed, Professor Jibril Aminu, Nuhu Ribadu, Professor Ango Abdullahi, Adamu Maina Waiziri, Gen Timothy Shelpidi, three ministers of Abuja, Bunu Sherif, Aliyu B,Modibbo. Others include General Yakubu Usman, Deputy Senate Leader, Abdul Ningi, Senator Aisha Alhassan, former minister of Women Affairs, Inna Ciroma, Emir of Fika, former Education Minister, Alhaji Dauda Brima, among other prominent NorthEast leaders.
Lagos State Transport Management Authority (LASTMA) and Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI) officers undergoing a Career Evaluation Training Program for Law Enforcement Officers joined traders at Ladipo Automarket Association, Mushin, to clear the drainage in the area during a voluntary sanitation exercise in the market on Friday, October 12, 2012. INSET: President-General, Ladipo Auto Market Association, Mr. Ikechukwu Animalu (2nd left), with LASTMA and KAI officers monitoring the voluntary exercise.
It’s hard to forgive my mum’s killers –Son By MATTHEW DIKE
ER name is Gladys but she gave her family triple sorrow instead of glad-
ness. Last month at their countryhome in Ndiokwu Lorji in Aboh Mbaise local government area of Imo State, she allegedly
splashed fuel on her 85-year-old stepmother, Madam Mary Ukaegbu, and set her ablaze. Before the deadly act, she poured hot water on the old woman’s grandchildren. The children, six-year-old Nzube and his younger brother, fouryear-old Emeka are receiving treatment in a hospital, but their
Okada ban: Enugu Govt urged to create jobs From PETRUS OBI, Enugu
ATIONAL Forum for Enugu People (NAFEPA) is uncomfortable with the level of unemployment in the state. It observed that the situation has been worsened by the recent ban on okada in Enugu and urged the government to take quick steps towards creating jobs for those displaced by the ban.
Church holds Limit Breakers summit
S part of its global soulwinning drive, Christ Proclaimers Global Mission has begun a monthly programme, Limit Breakers Summit which holds every second Monday of the month at 6 p.m. Venue of the programme is Lasal Hotel, 43/45, Ajao Estate, Lagos. Chief host, Rev. Sunday Awe, said the programme is set to deliver people from power of limitations, adding that is why it is tagged Limit Breakers. Rev. Awe stressed that it is an interdenominational affair anchored by CPGM. He said God will break every limitation attacking everyone that attends and thereafter they would regain bountiful blessings and testimony. i
The forum, an umbrella body of elite clubs for Enugu natives which rose from its quarterly meeting in the state capital at the weekend, said it was in support of government’s decision to ban the use of commercial motorcycles in the Enugu metropolis “because we believe okada is not really meant for transportation and has been abused by some people.” In a communiqué issued after the meeting, the Enugu stakeholders urged the government to create jobs to take care of the teeming population of Enugu indigenes that have been displaced from their source of livelihood due to the ban. National President of the forum, Chief Pius Ike who read the communiqué decried the continued closure of the Enugu depot of the NNPC insisting that it has slowed down economic activities, closed sources of livelihood for a section of the populace and made life more difficult for the people and petroleum dealers. He recalled that the depot was shut after a major vandalization of the oil pipeline from PortHarcourt to Enugu about five years ago and urged the state government to work towards the repair and protection of the pipelines using relevant government agencies.
grandmother died. For two of the late woman’s children, Chukwuma Ukaegbu and his elder brother, Nnabuihe whose two children were victims of Gladys’ attack, there are several reasons they are reluctant to forgive their stepsister. Chukwuma would readily tell whoever cared to listen that Gladys punctured his welldeserved fun because she allegedly committed the mindless act less than 48 hours after his wedding. Like every other newly wed, he and his heartthrob had planned to go on their honeymoon when, “tears and sorrow crept in.” He wedded on August 18, this year, and went for thanksgiving in the church the next day. It was barely 24 hours after the church service that tragedy struck. Speaking to Sunday Sun on
phone, Chukwuma who was in his village to arrange for his mother’s burial described the suspect as wicked and insisted that justice should prevail. “I don’t know what was wrong with that woman called Gladys. I did my wedding in Lagos. She was in the village and I did not invite her. My mother was old, so I did not bother her to attend too. Gladys turned my happiness to sorrow. “I wedded on Saturday, did thanksgiving on Sunday and on Monday, she killed my mother. It is a terrible experience. How can I forgive a woman who poured petrol on my mother and set her ablaze? I wedded without a honeymoon because I could not have gone for honeymoon when my mother’s corpse was in the mortuary. She destroyed my happiness; God will destroy hers too.”
Vigilance group shoots newsvendor in Anambra From DAVID ONWUCHEKWA, Nnewi
23-YEAR-OLD newsvendor in Nnewi, Anambra State, Mr Oliver Awuzie has escaped death by the whiskers from a gunshot allegedly fired at him by a member of a vigilance group from neighbouring Ozubulu town. The deadly shot was fired at close range. The victim has been moved to a private Orthopaedic hospital in his hometown in Ezza North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, where he is receiving treatment. Awuzie’s brother told Sunday Sun that the vendor was riding his motorcycle from Nnewi to Ozubulu in Ekwusigo Local Government Area after the
day’s business when he was flagged down at about 8pm by three vigilante members at a point called Afor Ilo Ozubulu. Quoting a source, he said that before the vendor could stop even though he could not identify those who stopped him, one of the vigilante members cocked his gun and shot him in the leg. It was gathered that the suspect’s attempt to escape was foiled by the crowd that was attracted to the scene. The victim, though bleeding profusely was said to have run after his assailant, grabbed him and cried for help. The suspect later attributed his action to accidental discharge and had to take the victim accompanied by another vigilante member, to the hospital.
Côte d’Ivoire appeals for regional support From UCHE Abidjan
OTE d’Ivorie has appealed for support of ECOWAS member states and particularly Nigerian intellectuals and investors in their forthcoming 58th Congress holding at Abidjan, the capital. Speaking to our correspondent at the rally for the republican house(RDR) in Cocody municipality, Abidjan, the secretary general of RDR party , Honorable Amadou Soumahoro explained that Ivorian president, Dr Alhassan Ouattara being the head of Liberation International in West Africa seeks to share with the regional members of ECOWAS, the services and importance of liberation activities. According to him, Liberation International “seeks to support free and fair election , social justice ,free movement, economic reliance , private sector promotion among other noble objectives. On his part , Mr Isiaka representing a German agency for good governance and private sector development , reported that Dr Ouattara was chosen
because of his credibility in the respect of rule of law and human rights; good management of Ivorian post- election crisis among other qualities. It was gathered that over 200 distinguished personalities including investors and political party representatives from Africa ,Asia ,Europe , America, Canada among others are expected to brainstorm at this world development summit. It was also gathered that this special event which holds between 16th and 21st October 2012 would showcase economic, political , investment and tourism plans. There will also be a cultural fiesta , financial and diplomacy work shops among others . Liberation International and African liberalism gives us the opportunity to re-focus and redefine governance landscape in the direction that would strengthen the bonds of unity, enhance the democratic processes and structures so as to promote peace , stability and standard of living in African countries. African Union President , Yalli Boni of Benin Republic would present a key note speech at the event .
22 saved from sinking passenger boat in SF Bay
PASSENGER boat carrying nearly two dozen people started sinking near Alcatraz island in San Francisco Bay, but the U.S. Coast Guard said everyone aboard was safely rescued. The 40-foot boat , The Neptune hit an unknown object in the bay Friday night, leaving it with a 1-foot gash, Petty Officer Pamela Boehland said. The craft began taking on water and sinking, she said. But a Coast Guard boat happened to be nearby, taking on board most of The Neptune’s 22 passengers and crew and summoning another Coast Guard vessel that picked up the rest. The boats took the passengers to San Francisco’s Pier 39. There
were no reports of injuries. KGO-TV reported the passengers were celebrating a bachelor party when the accident occurred. “We were only in the boat for maybe about 20 minutes or so,” Matthew Rice, the party’s guest of honor, told the station. “We were coming around Alcatraz checking it out and all of a sudden it was like boom, just like a big jolt and the next thing we knew the Coast Guard boats came in and got us off.” The station says the Coast Guard is trying to get water out of The Neptune and will tow it back to port. The Neptune’s website, which advertises it as a “floating wine tasting room,” says it holds 42 passengers for wine tasting.
Kidnapped Osun Speaker’s wife freed From BAMIGBLA GBOLAGUNTE, Osogbo
FTER spending four days in the custody of her captors, Muibat, wife of Speaker of Osun State House of Assembly, Hon Najeem Salaam, has been found and rescued. Mrs Muibat Salaam, who was kidnapped at her residence in Ejigbo on Tuesday night, was rescued yesterday in Ilaro, Ogun State, as her captors were trying to escape with her. Sunday Sun gathered that she was rescued after the police were alerted. Three of the kidnappers were apprehended, while others escaped. Mrs. Salaam was last Tuesday kidnapped by gunmen in Ejigbo, Osun State, while returning home after her shop closed for business in the evening. It was further gathered that she was rescued around 2:30
p.m. from her captors, who were about nine in number. Commissioner of Police, Mrs. Kalafite Adeyemi, who confirmed the development to newsmen yesterday night, was said to have been contacted on the development by the Ogun State Police Command. The police boss, who spoke on the radio service of the Osun State Broadcasting Corporation (OSBC) last night, said both Osun and Ogun commands of the police synergized to arrest the captors of the Osun speaker’s wife. Earlier yesterday, the Ogiyan of Ejigboland, Oba Omowonuola Oyeyode Oyesosin, had organized a prayer session for the release of the wife of Osun State Speaker in good condition. It is noteworthy that both Christians and Muslims participated in the prayer that was held at the palace of the Ogiyan of Ejigbo.
OCTOBER 14, 2012
Standards in Nigeria: So far, how far? By Dr. JOSEPH IKEM ODUMODU (MFR) Dr. Joseph Ikemefuna Odumodu, was appointed the Director General and Chief Executive Officer of Standards Organization of Nigeria( SON), by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, (GCFR), in January, 2011.The former managing director and chief executive of May and Baker, Nigeria Plc approached the new office with vigour, vision, objectivity and optimism. As the world marks the 2012 World Standards Day, it became necessary he gives a country report: how Nigeria has fared in ensuring global standards on national life. Afirst class pharmacist and advocate of valid measures and data, Dr. Odumodu presents his testimonial.
TANDARDS are not abstract: we can see, feel, touch, weigh or match one item or standard against another similar or opposite or even complementing otherif we want to be objective in our assessments. The wanting to be is critical because some people prefer to be blind, deaf or indeed feel ill to objectivity/standard! But whatever business, value or interest anyone engages in and wants to make impact requires sincere measuring, keeping and upgrading the standard. The centrality of standards in daily life, in public and private businesses is pervasive: family, health, food, fashion, education, sports, transport, technology, industry, trades, even religion, politics and governance in reality– has standards that influence performance with wider effects including possible continued existence or going to extinction. Indeed, low or poor standard in anything that has life leads to sudden or gradual death and this is true both with small and vast realities, in personal, public, business and national lives. Today is World Standards Day – a day the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), uses to sensitize nations on the need for setting and keeping standards in order to give meaning and add value to life. This year’s theme Less Waste, Better Result: Standards Increase Efficiency is apt and rather timely for everyone but more so we in Nigeria. I fear Nigerians are among the most wasteful nations on earth. We waste time, perhaps hoping we have abundance. Individuals and nations can learn efficiency and reduce waste. No one has more than 24 hours daily but some people make the best of time and the difference is there to see! When I was appointed the Director General of SON nearly two years ago, I commissioned a study to see where we were on the standards table in consumer products. Indeed, standards cuts across board and SON has a mandate to check on all but we limited our scope to consumer items because they impact more readily on the general public than education or sports, for instance. As a pharmacist and an administrator, my life revolves on testing, measuring, weighing and matching things, drawing lessons, setting targets and distilling objective conclusions. I will not take a job that the performance cannot be measured – and I do not know of a job that cannot be
Continued from Back Page
Re: Rich people, poor nation
Thanks a lot for your write up on country’s situation/predicament with issue of “Rich People, Poor Nation”. I was happy to read through your writing, which is not new but, how many people are willing to address the issue? That showed me we still have people in Nigeria that speak the truth no matter what. My prayer is that the Good Lord will continue to give people like you the grace and boldness to write so that others could know what is going on in our RICH country, Nigeria Sam Rejoice firstname.lastname@example.org> Let me start by thanking you and some other preachers like you on the pages of newspa-
scientifically assessed – if one wants to make a difference! At the beginning of 2011, substandard goods prevalence in Nigeria was 85 percent – the highest globally. That was an emergency and I set up a think-tank which produced our six-point agenda and strategic plan. Our tasks were defined under the action plan: short, medium and long term. First, we set a target that substandard goods prevalence must be cut drastically – to bearable minimum in 30 months. By the end of 2011, substandard goods prevalence dropped to 60 percent across board but our main area of concern are the health/safety range of products, such as electrical and building materials, tyres and auto-parts; engine oil, lubricants and fuel products. We did not pick whimsically but on serious consideration of the damage these products pose to life. The Nigerian market had specially-made inferior cables and electrical products by the manufacturers. Well over 90 percent of Automatic Voltage Regulators (AVR) in Nigeria are mere extension cables. And this have been linked to the high rate of fire outbreaks that have razed offices, shops and homes in recent time as a result of substandard cables and electrical products. It is the same for iron and steel, even cement. In transport, Nigeria had one of the worst records of road accidents/fatalities. Human factors apart, the highest killers on our roads are second hand spare parts and tryes. Imagine motorists prefering used brake pads, adulterated oils and lubricants – tragedy waiting to happen! Merchants of used/fake products do not see the futility in their trade and doubt the fact that what goes round comes round! The kingpins of fake electrical and electronics products are not in building or transport. After making a fortune, each wants to show that he has arrived and then discovers that other evil traders are doing what thrills him and must fall to their trap! And the nation loses! In 14 months, SON officers seized and destroyed 5 million second hand tyres but there are 40 million others still in the markets. As part of our engagement and sensitization efforts, we visit markets and meet the traders and their leaders. After we placed the facts, the traders pleaded for time to sell their stock! It is that bad! We gave them six months for all fake and substandard products to be removed from the shelves. We will bring substandard products prevalence down to 30 percent by first quarter of 2013. Importers are the real problem and they either do good business or they get out! The cost of substandard goods is inestimable.At N3,000 each,40 million tokumbo tyres have N120 billion market value but it is more than that. Assuming that one in 5,000 used tyres cause an accident that comes to 11,000 accidents from bad tyres alone. In economic terms, it translates to factories’ closures, skills and job losses and denunciation of national pride. Michelin, Dunlop and some other indigenous tyre manufacturers are gone – no thanks to tokumbo dealers! What do the citizens of nations from where the used items, including under-wears think of pers. Your preaching on the back page of Sunday Sun, Oct 7, 2012, is a masterpiece. Well done, but come to think of it, these civil servants in quote, belong to one congregation or the other, be it Christianity or Islam. Let me ask this question, would you admonish a wayward child or the parents? Or could it be that the parents receive gratification from the wayward child? There is something to celebrate, in those days, civil servants would hardly buy a bag of rice, but today they can afford to send their children abroad to study, it needs to be celebrated. Thanks for doing the work of a good preacher. Funke, do not worry, our nation, Nigeria will outlive them. Barth Nneji, Ikeja 08060537581, email@example.com
us? What do the workers in factories in Asia think when they are told to produce substandard items specifically for Nigeria? We are not inferior or subhuman or are we? I know one thing for sure: Nigerians are proud and intelligent people. Substandard products bring us some contradiction of sort. There is a notion that poverty is the reason Nigerians patronize substandard goods. I do not disagree as such but it is not poverty of the pocket but poverty of mind – of self-worth or personal dignity. Anyone who has high regard for self will,I’ll think twice before doing certain things. Must one put the car on the road when one cannot afford quality tyres? I feel proud and honoured to tell Nigerians that we have crossed the ignoble boundary of being listed among the world’s worst country in terms of standards records. The six-point agenda we adopted two years ago are on course and bearing good fruits. We are not there yet but we have made substantial progress that I hope is irreversible. We are putting structures to ensure we will never go back to the bad old days. Before I came on board, SON had no certifiable laboratory. We relied completely on external lab tests. Today, our laboratories in Lagos, Enugu and Kaduna are being refurbished. An ultra-modern laboratory is coming up in Lagos. We are acquiring modern technologies that will give SON national coverage vis-à-vis comprehensive surveillance, compatibility and analysis/data. Our stakeholder engagement is working. Industries, members of the organized sectors see SON as partner in progress. We are committed to making SON the number one facilitative agency in Nigeria. For me, it is of utmost importance that Nigeria begins to pull her weight in world trades. We cannot perpetually be taking what others produce. It is dependence culture and there is no sense of fulfillment in that. I like to be fulfilled, feel having accomplished something and for me, I will feel joy when SON helps Nigerian businesses come strong on world stage. Between 2012 and 2013, we shall certify 2,000 SMEs free of charge. Under a collaborative agreement with the Commonwealth Secretariat, SON is giving critical support to some SMEs. Standards are not things that a business can afford to play with. It is the heart and soul and must be acquired if one means business. SON is training and retraining our officers. This year, we had ARSO Lagos 2012. Experts from Korea and Germany came to teach Nigerian and some African nations’standards officers’special skills. We are hosting the first Nigeria Quality Summit in Lagos. Designed for industry chieftains, experts are coming from the ISO, and the standards bureau chiefs of South Africa, Canada and Malaysia to teach fundamentals and efficiency models. Nigerian businesses – both public and private can learn from the experiences of established and emerging markets if we seriously want to play effectively at the global stage. This report will not be complete if I fail to mention some weaknesses and constraints that we face and which only limit our prospects and potentials.
The SON Act is outdated. We have a bill in the National Assembly which we pray both Houses hasten work on so that we may be fairly armed to deal with the menace of substandard business. The current Act is no deterrent but indeed encourages the evil trade. Fines of N1,000 to N5,000 are nothing to the possibility of making it big if a merchant succeeds once. Also, the existing Act does not empower SON to deal with merchants and producers of fake or substandard goods. SON may arrest and hand suspects over to the police but if the latter is not keen or diligent, our efforts come to nothing. In advanced economies, standards bodies are financially independent of the state. I believe that Nigeria will get there. But government needs to provide more funds in the interim. If the structures are there, SON can contribute to the national purse rather than be an Oliver Twist! Part of the weaknesses I met was the very poor image of our personnel in public eye. SON officials were perceived as one of the most corrupt public officials. During my first meeting with staff and management, I declared that was over. I promised that I would do whatever is in my power to make the work worth-while but no more dirty games. I called on members of the public to reach me personally in case an officer wants to play dirty. Some sanity has been brought to bear but we are not there. Again, part of my constraint is the public service rule: you cannot summarily fire erring personnel as would be the case in the private sector where I came from. But workers can also bear witness that there have been improvement in their welfare package. Having to take on merchants and producers of fake and substandard goods with their enormous resources is no fun. Trade in substandard goods is multi-billion dollar business and would require considerable resources, public and state support to checkmate the perpetrators and possibly run them out of business.. Nigerians must recognize the seriousness of standards beyond our national values. Take our education, for instance. So much is wrong and unless we realize the fact that we are not producing just for ourselves but need to put forward world-class materials, then we would be floored at the international level. We have to produce men whose credentials would not embarrass us but who would be pride to their institutions and the nation at large. The recent Olympics showed clearly that playing and winning laurels at the global level is a different ball game. Were our players not good? Of course, they are good but by our standard, not world’s standard. And they made us hide our faces in shame. The World Standards Day is full of activities. We have walk-outs in Oyo, Imo and Cross River states today. The maiden Nigeria Quality Summit is part of the celebration. To get Nigerian businesses on the global map is of paramount importance to SON. Why? Because it is the true measure of our efforts! On that note, we can say we have come a long way but we are not there yet. With determination and commitment, we will be there soonest! • Odumodu is Director General/CEO, Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON). firstname.lastname@example.org
Your write up was fantastic; you made a mince meal of our political and economic situation. I pray our rich civil servants and ministers would be able to peruse through your article. Nice job, keep it up. email@example.com You actually spoke the mind of millions of Nigerians, but I am not surprised. As one of your regulars, we know you always hit the nail on the head not minding whose ox is gored.What I strongly believe is that there will always be light at the end of the tunnel. We will definitely have a SERVANT LEADER one day that would listen to the yearnings and aspirations of the citizens. Just keep on speaking our minds as ever before. God bless you. Dele Adeyemi, Agbara, Ogun State. dele-
Re: Her first love
But you can’t begrudge boys for laying the same baits their fathers laid and became men, neither can you over-bemoan the fate of girls who refuse to stay away from the same baits that their mothers swallowed and became women. Otherwise you will look like a clog in the wheel of Nature (nay, love). How would you feel if your little girl whom you are painstakingly laying down your neck at the guillotine to protect, tells you to your face that you are being ‘a fly in her ointment’? May the fountain of your wisdom and frankness never run dry! Henry 08032916200 firstname.lastname@example.org
OCTOBER 14, 2012
Opinion HIS is not the best of time for the government and people of Nigeria. It has actually never been good, but the recent flooding in some parts of the country gives cause for great concern. When Lagos State government warned that there will be an unusually heavy rainfall in the Lagos belt this year, not many Nigerians thought of the bizarre consequences of flooding that has become our lot. While Lagos State was preparing and clearing drain channels, other states did not see the need to worry. Sadly, it is here. It has come. The flood is here, and like a flash, caught everybody napping. According to reports, the 2012 flooding in some parts of the country is partly caused by the release of water from the Kiri Dam in Adamawa State, and from Lagbo Dam in Cameroun. Nigeria has been under constant threat from the dams in Cameroun, but efforts to construct receiver dams that would absorb excess water released from Cameroun has been scanty. Despite yearly budgets, Nigerians are yet to see the impact of the dams, if they have been constructed. Across the nation, the story is the same. Water was coming slowly but steadily beyond the shorelines until it occupied the land. As at last count, over 137 people have died and 150,000 displaced as a result of the surging flood. This has caused economic loses of no mean dimension, with aggravated fear that food shortages might follow. Houses standing on its way have been submerged, sparing neither the rich nor the poor. Man has been uprooted from his land, leaving for him with limited airspace. Dangerous reptiles now exceed territorial boundaries and stray to share habitation with humans. Crops are soaked in water with no hope of survival or any good harvest at all. This is a sad commentary on Nigeria. It is as if God is angry and has deserted the nation. It is even worse that nobody prepared for it. The FGN did not know much. Incessant rain in the last few weeks and the resultant floods continue to ravage many parts of the country, both coastal and inland. States like Niger, Benue, Cross River, Ondo, Akwa Ibom,
Coping with the flood Kano, Zamfara, Oyo, Plateau, Tunde Lemo, Nasarawa, Kebbi, Ekiti, Taraba, Mr Frank Ogun, Gombe, Osun, Imo, Nweke Jnr, Ms Borno, FCT, Katsina, Kaduna, Fatima Wali, and Bayelsa, Rivers, Kogi, Lagos, Senator Florence Anambra, Edo, Delta, etc. are Ita-Giwa. reeling under water, counting Other institutions their loses and licking their represented in wounds. Amidst lamentation by the committee state governors regarding pauciare Secretary ty of funds, relief efforts by states General of the have been minimal, scanty and Nigeria Red hardly offering any succour. In Cross, Christian BY EMMA OKAH this part of the world, such Association of email@example.com, calamities nearly drown states N i g e r i a , 08033211999 and countries that fail to plan or Nigerian prefer bad government to S u p r e m e accountable and people-oriented administration. Council for Islamic Affairs, United Nations So, the truth is that the Federal Government of Development Programme (UNDP), European Nigeria needs to respond by drawing from its Union (EU), UK aid agency - Department for deep pocket if it must help the suffering people International Development (DFID) and displaced by the flood. America’s USAID. Together, these members as At a time like this, no nation will begin to chase part of the committee are to collaborate with the shadows or engage its people in trading blames FGN to raise funds for relief and rehabilitation of over who should have done what before the flood victims in Nigeria. We have no doubt they floods came. It is for this reason that we must will do a good job if they chose to keep their eyes commend the various efforts of the state govern- off the purse. ments, National Emergency Management Having said much about the containment Agency (NEMA), voluntary and charity organ- effort, it is important to consider Nigeria’s preizations, individual donors, etc. for giving hope to paredness for an emergency of this nature. We some of the affected people. concede that the flood disaster is natural and could hardly have been avoided in many cases. In the same vein, the Federal Government’s However, the Nigerian government failed to release of N17.6 billion and the setting up of the warn the people sufficiently as to the impending National Committee on Flood Relief and danger, which by all means was discoverable by Rehabilitation by President Goodluck Jonathan mere scientific methods. This failure in foreseeing is the way to go, although it came a bit late. The the impending gloom points to the usual ways of committee is co-chaired by Billionaire Aliyu doing things in Nigeria where a stitch in time Dangote and former MBA President, Olisa makes no meaning. Agbakoba, while Globacom Chairman, Mike Natural disasters are part of the human race, but Adenuga, is the Chief Fund mobiliser. countries surrounded by water are constantly Other members include Mr. Tony Elumelu, watching their dykes to prevent a weak link in the Alhaji Mohammed Indimi, Prof. Dora Akunyili, chain. It is for this reason that wise nations build Alhaji Karami Rabiu, Mrs Folorunsho Alakija, upon their existing potentials while the sun CBN’s shines. That way, they can muster national con-
sensus and show strength in time of calamity like we have today. Apart from affecting personal and public structure and environmental spoilage, agriculture takes the greatest heat in time of flooding. A nation without sufficient food reserve profile will easily fall to the grip of flood as we have in Nigeria today. This is true as most of the affected states have rich and cultivated agricultural land that sustains their people. The effect will be a lean harvest. Nigeria must prepare for the rainy day irrespective of how her leaders feel. Agriculture must constantly be a priority in Nigeria, because it is dependable and indispensable. A sweeping flood attack can set a national food supply chain backward, especially if all harvests are lost, spoiling of grains if saturated in water as well as loss of animal fodder. While our oil wells may not last the times, our strength in agriculture can endure for all generations. National food stores can be built in areas far away from flood threats. Nigeria has formidable coastal lines and this makes her vulnerable to flood strikes. The FGN should undertake proper studies and establish major or likely recurring flood zones so that adequate measures are put in place to develop appropriate structures that can check them. It is a sad thing that the nation is always running in confusion as a way of responding to a disaster, no matter the magnitude and size. Outbreaks of epidemics, lack of good drinking water, polluted food are some of the adverse consequences of a flood regime. It is an occurrence that does nobody any good and Nigeria does not need a prophet to know that time has come for her to sit up. A disaster well prevented is better and cheaper than an avoidable calamity that leaves her people in pains and agony. Finally, there is need for the nation’s armed forces to be involved in the flood management efforts of the government. By training and ruggedness, soldiers are better equipped to act with exemplary courage, dexterity and efficiency at this time. Beyond the soldiers is the need for all Nigerians to show love and mercy to those displaced by the flood as we pray that it never happens again.
Achebe and the “progressives” By ABIA ONYIKE firstname.lastname@example.org
FRICAN literary icon and famous novelist, Chinua Achebe has just released his memoirs, titled, “There was a country: A personal history of Biafra”. Though the book is not yet in circulation in Nigeria, The Guardian of London published its excerpts on October 2, 2012. Three days after, Nigeria’s Daily Sun culled the excerpts and got it published in its inside pages. Since then, intellectual polemics and political disputations have continued to trail the book – which dealt mainly with the Nigerian civil war (1966-70) and the gruesome massacre of Igbos, for opting for self-determination and independence out of the colonially contrived but wobbly Nigerian federation. Achebe wrote that: “Almost 30 years before Rwanda, before Darfur, more than 2 million people – mothers, children, babies, civilians – lost their lives-as a result of the blatantly callous and unnecessary polices enacted by the leaders of the federal government of Nigeria”. He went on to argue that “the persecution of the Igbos did not end with the Biafran conflict. Until the nation faces up to this, its mediocrity will continue”. Unfortunately, since the publication of the excerpts, in the usual Nigerian character, many self – proclaimed critics, essayists and revisionists have castigated Achebe for daring to write the book. A particular columnist even had to argue that, “Achebe should have left unsaid many of the things he wrote in the book”. Then the Awoists – the inheritors of late Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s political platform in the South-West have joined the fray in their numbers to condemn Achebe for mentioning the name of their godfather and “patron saint”, whom they believe was infallible and “untouchable”. But Awolowo was a prominent member of the Nigerian Government when the war under question was executed. He was the Vice President or Vice Chairman of General Yakubu Gowon’s military government and was believed to have masterminded the atrocious policies which gave vent to the genocide. For instance, Awo, while reacting to the allegation of
food blockade and starvation against the Biafrans, in a town hall meeting in 1983 at Abeokuta, explained that: “I decided to stop sending the food there. In the process, the civilians would suffer, but the soldiers suffered most”. I have taken time to read the reactions of many South-West leaders, amongst them highly respected and veteran Awoists, such as Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Ayo Fasanmi, Reuben Fasoranti, Ebenezer Babatope, Senator Olufemi Lanlehin, Odia Ofeimum, Femi Fani-Kayode, Kunle Famoriyo, Waheed Odushile and Idowu Akinlotan (the Paladium). Many of them accepted the fact that the allegation of genocide was not a ruse, but an actual fact. But they reject the view that Chief Awolowo was the initiator. In fact, they argue that Awo took positive steps “to persuade Ojukwu to avoid the war”. This deliberate act of blaming Ojukwu for the civil war is part of the revisionist tactics of the power elite who prosecuted the war against the Igbos, namely the Hausa-Fulani-Yoruba alliance. It is the same alliance which was involved in the sharing of the war booty, through political ascendancy, economic domination and the control of the federal public service – all supervised by the military – bureaucratic oligarchy which held the nation hostage for over 30 years since 1966. By now, one would have felt that the self-styled progressives in the South-West should have known that the Igbos had no alternative than to defend themselves in the face of the genocidal operations targeted against them before and after the coup of July 29, 1966. Moreover, do they even know that it is not the duty of progressive politicians or statesmen to go about subverting the inalienable rights of ethnic nationalities fighting for self determination. The right for self determination is enshrined in the United Nations charter on Human and Peoples Rights and the Yoruba ‘progressive’had no moral right on the planet earth to go into alliances with the reactionary Northern feudal oligarchy to levy war on a people fighting in self-defence for their own freedom. They may have done what they did based on the excuse of pragmatism and Awo’s own survival instincts as someone who was just coming out from prison
then, but there was nothing progressive about the move. Another point worth noting in the on-going controversy over Achebe’s latest book is that there is nothing new in the book that had not been documented or stated before. I want to believe that the Awoists know this, but they are only concerned about the stature of the writer and the possible implication which the work may have in exposing the tragedy of Nigerian politics, and putting the blames squarely on deserving personages and indicting such dramatis personae. Achebe’s books are globally read and his reputation as someone concerned with the African condition in particular and humanity in general cannot be faulted. For example, Babatope’s view that Achebe has no right to ‘irresponsibly murder history’ by recklessly attacking great leaders, like Awo, is besides the point. Fani-Kayode’s suggestion that Achebe owes the Yorubas and Awo’s family an apology sounds rather clownish. The issues at stake are beyond such banalities. The fundamental issue raised in Achebe’s book is the nature and character of autocratic African regimes and the ever-increasing genocidal killing-fields in the continent. Herbert EkweEkwe, a political scientist had in 2007 at the Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusets researched into the “state and genocidal wars in Africa” and described some African governments as “genocidal states”. He found that the Biafran war was the foundational and most gruesome genocide of post-European (conquest) Africa, during which, according to him, 3.1 million Igbos were murdered by the Nigerian state and its local and foreign allies. He therefore called for “the dismantling of these extant genocidal states and the construction of new decentralized states that serve African interests”. In his review of Achebe’s memoirs, published on 6th October, 2012, Ekwe-Ekwe summarizes the main features of the socio – economic degradation and deprivation of Igbo people since the end of the civil war to include: the “seizure and looting of the multi-billion dollar capital assets of the Igbos across Nigeria (as of January 1970), bar of 20 pounds dolled out only to the male surviv-
ing head of an Igbo family; the exponential expropriation of the rich oil resources from Abia, Delta, Imo and Rivers administrative divisions; the blanket policy of non-development of Igbo land/aggressive degradation of the socio – economic life of Igbo land; ignoring the ever – expanding soil erosion/landslides and other pressing ecological emergencies in Igbo land”. Others include “the continuous re – enforcement of the overall state of siege on Igbo land, the execution of over 20 cases of premeditated pogroms against the Igbo particularly in Northern Nigeria between 1980 and 2012; the fact that over 90 percent of the 54,000 people murdered in Nigeria since 1999 are Igbo people according to the December 2011 research by the international society for civil liberties and the rule of law and that 80% of the people murdered by the Boko Haram Islamist insurgency group’s attack across the North since Christmas Day of 2011 to date are Igbos”. Many people may not be aware that the documentation of the Nigeria-Brafra civil war and its genocidal cum criminal dimensions had been well made over the years. Some of the classified materials are now being declassified mainly due to the expiration of the time frame provisions for the release of such information to the public. Besides that, experts in military conflict in the continent would tell you that the public libraries in Europe and North America are awash with the reports, books, essays, features, interviews editorials and informed opinions on the war. Foreign journalists from countries such as Britain, France, Sweden, Denmark, Ireland, Germany, Italy Portugal, United States of America and Canada know much about the Igbo genocide. So it was never a creation of Achebe. With the above cited evidence, one still wonders why the so-called progressives in the South West have not shown genuine concern. What then is progressive politics, if serious issues bordering on war crimes cannot be viewed with the seriousness they deserve? The Igbo question should be seen for what it is- an urgent and critical element towards the resolution of the national question in Nigeria. The truth may be bitter but accepting the truth can be a good starting point for healing the wounds of our traumatic past.