• Who is investigating the mass graves found in Kaduna?

    10/Feb/2016 // 243 Viewers

    By Dr. Peregrino Brimah

    Mass graves were reported found in Kaduna, location of the recent military action against the Islamic Movement. On February 6th "activists" found a mass burial ground at Mando Kaduna cemetery along the Birnin Gwari road near Hajj camp, that had been ploughed by caterpillars. They said it contained some of the bodies of movement victims that had been killed by what has been regarded as an overhanded military "honour killing" reaction.
    When mass graves are found, it is a humanitarian alarm and trigger for immediate investigation. But frankly, who will investigate these mass graves when the suspected perpetrators are the State and Nigerian army?
    The Nigerian Attorney General Malami has refused to open an investigation into the happenings of last December. Nigeria has left it to the implicated State government and Nigerian army to investigate themselves. The Kaduna State government has been accused of exhuming bodies at the Darur Rahma burial ground. Decayed carcasses from that burial ground were transported and dumped somewhere, perhaps also in the discovered location at the Mando cemetery.
    A list of 705 missing victims has been released. The corpses in the mass burial ground need to be forensically studied to see if they are remains of some of the missing Muslim victims. The families have also stated their right to properly burry their lost loved ones according to Muslim rights. These bodies were simply dumped there in very inhumane fashion.
    Nigerian and the international human rights watch's, the media and other humanitarian conscious individuals are urged to urgently press for justice. The Nigerian military must urgently come forward and confess on where it dumped bodies if it did so, so they can be investigated before decay. The Panel constituted by the Kaduna government is a chair-and-table investigation panel at best and not an action panel. The Nigerian police whose duty has been replaced by the army and now the Kaduna panel needs to recognize its responsibilities in civil crises.
    Contrary to the expressed opinion of Nigeria's President during his media chat, the police are meant to have opened an investigation into the events of December 12-16th, investigating all parties and should have been the ones to discover and investigate the alleged mass graves. They should start now or they will be held to account for abandonment of their constitutional duties.
    There is urgent need for action as families are crying not knowing whether their loved ones are dead or alive, and what can be worse?
    Dr. Peregrino Brimah @EveryNigerian
     
    Disclaimer: Views expressed in any piece we publish remain entirely the author's and do not reflect the editorial policy of DailyGlobeWatch

     


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  • Return of the bad boys, By Dare Babarinsa

    10/Feb/2016 // 280 Viewers

    By Dare Babarinsa

     

    During his recent outing at the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria met with several old timers of the ultimate Boys Club. One of those members of the club who welcomed our President was Robert Mugabe, the veteran guerilla fighter and intellectual who has been president of Zimbabwe since 1987.
    He is the only ruler most Zimbabweans have ever known. He is determined to keep it that way in the nearest future. When an impertinent journalist asked Mr. Mugabe, “When are you going to say goodbye to the people of Zimbabwe?” He gave the apt retort: “Where are they going?”
    When Buhari was Minister of Petroleum in 1976, Mugabe had acquired international fame as a fearless nationalist and dogged fighter for his people. But he was in fierce struggle with the elderly Joshua Nkomo who believed by antecedent and contribution to the struggle, he should be allowed to lead the movement. When they brought their quarrel to General Olusegun Obasanjo, then the Nigerian military ruler, Obasanjo locked the duo in a room in Dodan Barracks, placing a pistol on the table before them. “When I return, I want you to have solved the problem of Zimbabwe,” he told them. “One of you should be dead; the survivor would go and be the ruler of Zimbabwe!” When Obasanjo returned 15 minutes later, the two of them were still alive.
    We have seen in the past how tenacity of office has cost Nigeria dearly in the West African sub-region. After Samuel Kayon Doe messed up Liberia, it took Nigeria a lot of resources in lives and money to bring back normalcy. From the time Doe was killed in 1990 until President Obasanjo, in his own unique way and with the help of the international community, persuaded President Charles Taylor to accept exile in Nigeria in 2003, Liberia did not know peace
    Mugabe agreed to be Prime-Minister, while Nkomo was to be ceremonial President. That was how Zimbabwe became independent in 1980. The marriage of inconvenience lasted only a few years. Joshua Nkomo was hounded into exile, his home base of Matabeleland placed under virtual interdiction. The resulting pacification by Mugabe’s troops led to the death of about 20,000 people. Mugabe is still in power 36 years later. Since the first time Mugabe attended the Boys Club, Nigeria has gone through 10 rulers. We in Nigeria cannot understand the horror of a leader that is determined to go on and on. It is equal to President Shehu Shagari still being in power in this 2016.
    It is true that things have changed from the heydays of the African dictators. We remember the evil triumvirate of Field Marshall Idi Amin Dada of Uganda, Field Marshall Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) and Field Marshal Jean Bedel Bokassa of the Central African Republic. Bokassa, who seized power from President David Dacko in 1966, was the ultimate act of the dictator until Amin came along in 1971.
    Bokassa made himself a General and Amin followed suit almost immediately. Then Bokassa made himself a field marshal and Amin did the same, with riot of medals on his chest to prove the point. Bokassa finally put Amin in his rightful place when he declared himself the Emperor of the Central African Empire in 1976. Amin could not follow suit. He was toppled in 1979.
    African old time rulers of today are not as dramatic, but they are no less dangerous. Many African countries are following the example of Nigeria by inserting term limitations in their Constitutions. The presidential constitution that was introduced by the departing General Olusegun Obasanjo government in 1979 stipulated only a maximum of two terms for Nigerian elected President and governors. This has been adopted by many countries across the continent, but it is being resisted by the old timers.
    One of the youngest entrants into the club is Yahya Jammeh, the ruler of The Gambia since 1994 when he seized power from President Dauda Jawara. Jammeh joined the President of Togo to resist pressure from the leaders of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, to make term limitation applicable in every member-country. Togolese president, Faure Eyadema has been in power since 2005 when his father died on the job. His father, General Gnassingbe Eyadema, seized power in a military coup in 1967 and was in power for 38 years. The son does not see any reason why he should not exceed the record of his father.
    The trend is the same in each of these countries in which the leaders are unwilling to go. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has been in power since 1986. He is gearing up for another term. Recently some leaders of the opposition led a protest in Kampala against Museveni’s iron rule. Some of the women leaders were arrested, stripped stark naked, dumped into the police van.

    The women leaders, some of whom were former ministers, were then paraded naked at the police headquarters before television camera. Where else in the world could this have happened except Uganda, the benighted land of Idi Amin? Museveni has spent 30 years in power and has no plan for retirement.
    These rulers constitute serious problem for Black Africa. Some of them equate the destiny of their countries to their own. Denis Sassou Nguesso was Congolese ruler from 1979 to 1992 and at great cost, he was persuaded to leave. He instituted a civil war and returned to power in 2002. He is still there. In Burundi, Pierre Nkurunziza has been in power since 2005.
    In 2015, he “won” a third term. His country has been in crisis since then. In Equatorial Guinea, President Teodoro Nguema Mbasogo has been in power since 1979 when he toppled his uncle, the country’s first president, the murderous Francisco Macias Nguema. Thirty-seven years on, Mbasogo has no plan to retire. Paul Kegame of Rwanda has been in power since 2000 and there is no end in sight to his reign.
    Nigeria needs to be interested in curing Africa of this virus that is creeping into our body politics. We have seen in the past how tenacity of office has cost Nigeria dearly in the West African sub-region. After Samuel Kayon Doe messed up Liberia, it took Nigeria a lot of resources in lives and money to bring back normalcy. From the time Doe was killed in 1990 until President Obasanjo, in his own unique way and with the help of the international community, persuaded President Charles Taylor to accept exile in Nigeria in 2003, Liberia did not know peace. Many of our soldiers have their graves in Liberia and Sierra Leone, a direct result of Doe’s misadventure.

    After the fight for independence and the struggle to end minority rule in Southern Africa, this is Africa’s next struggle and Nigeria should take the lead in our own interest. We have already seen the result of the implosion in Mammar Ghadafi’s Libya which may have had a linear relationship with the Boko Haram insurgency. The Libyan crisis may also have direct impact on other West African countries especially Mali and the Lake Chad basin. Ghadafi ruled for 40 years.
    President Buhari should persuade these veteran leaders to show interest in term limitation. This assignment would not be easy, but it is in Nigeria’s interest. Imagine if Jerry Rawlings is still in power in Ghana, how can he be defeated at the polls with all he resources of the state at his disposal? It was the insistence of Ghanaians to have term limitation inserted in their constitution that helped Ghanaians to solve the Rawlings debacle. Rawlings ruled Ghana for a total of 20 years. That was the ambition of General Sani Abacha of Nigeria who looked up to Rawlings as a role model.

    Tackling this menace would not be easy since the big man is always going the extra mile to prove that his people want him. The Gambian ruler Jameh has not allowed free democracy in his country despite all entreaties from the international community. “I will deliver to the Gambian people and if I have to rule this country for one billion years, I will if Allah says so.” He would not leave this to Allah alone or the Gambian people. He has the army, the police, the secret service and the national treasury to help him. In December last year, one of Jammeh’s known critics, Deyda Hydana, the publisher of The Point was assassinated.
    Nigeria led the struggle against apartheid and minority rule in Southern Africa, and we should lead this struggle, too. We cannot afford to continue to tolerate this state of affairs in our backyard. We need to invest our resources and international prestige to dissolve the club of the bad boys and persuade these veteran leaders to accept the principle of term limitation. It is when this is done that Africa will be truly free.

    Disclaimer: Views expressed in any piece we publish remain entirely the author's and do not reflect the editorial policy of DailyGlobeWatch


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  • No longer at ease with Edo State APC.

    10/Feb/2016 // 326 Viewers

     

    By Iredia Osakue
    PARIS, FEBRUARY 10, 2016: (DGW) The mudslinging, verbal and physical assaults within the Edo State APC have reached an alarming crescendo where the people of the state can no more sit idly and watch a flagrant breach of good manners while we keep our silence.
    The infighting, of course, does not have any effect on the participants, but a show of strength and supremacy within the ranks, but it is sad that the electorate and good people of the state suffer the brunt of their solecism. There is a common saying that a house divided against itself cannot stand - and in view of this, it is evident that with the height of indiscipline and unruly behavior, the ruling party cannot dispense equity and good governance because they lack it in their arsenal.
    According to an APC chieftain on ITV over the aggression on Barrister Gentleman Amegor in his residence some few days ago by some people described as "Oshiomhole's thugs," quoted from "The Gods Are Not To Blame" a play written by Ola Rotimi, that, " if the gods want to kill a man it will first make him mad." If the ranks within APC can say this, then it is a clear indication that the party's political sphere has polarized into many competing ideological positions beyond redemption and any attempt to undermine this premonition will be tantamount to giving our future to the dogs.
    The state has witnessed a different degree of setbacks occasioned by the remarkable ineptitude of the incumbent and his cronies who in their lack of wisdom have failed to read between the lines.
    There is no gainsaying the fact that the state needs a facelift, but the people have been bamboozled with the rehabilitation of roads that leads to nowhere. In my own opinion and that of other like minds, the state deserves more than just mere road repairs and superficial school restructure. Sadly, in this present Gestapo rule, who will dare say it!
    While talking with a friend recently, I gave him a vivid picture of the goings-on in the ruling party: if APC was to be Oshiomhole's house and the aspirants are his children, would it be just for him to show love to one with flagrant disregard to the rights of others? He said 'NO' in strong terms. This story is akin to that of Jacob and his household, when he identified with Joseph and the consequence was that he was maliciously sold out and if not for God's intervention nothing good would have come out of Joseph.
    For this not to be the portion of Edo indigenes, this is the time to show it. A new party and leadership is the only answer and as we match on into election, let us remain committed to our wish and shun any distraction that will take us off balance and further plunge the state into yet another tumultuous years of misrule.
    *Iredia Osakue is a Turin-based scholar, political analyst and public commentator on national and global issues.
    Disclaimer: Views expressed in any piece we publish remain entirely the author's and do not reflect the editorial policy of DailyGlobeWatch


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  • I Miss Shekau

    10/Jan/2016 // 260 Viewers

    By Dr. Peregrino Brimah

    Shekau told us everything that was wrong with Nigeria. Shekau made us understand the level and implications of looting in Nigeria as well as the level of institutionalized disenfranchisement of the masses. He exposed how evil we are and can be and as well triggered good advocacy and most human, altruistic behavior in some of us. He exposed the hypocrisy and cowardice of our Elite and Religious leaders. Shekau made us know how many who claimed to be crusaders, ready to die in Jihad over ripping of pages of books were mere cowards who cowered away and tucked their heads under their mothers’ laps when the true call to rescue our weakest was made.

    Shekau made us understand how much of a crime authority stealing was. President Buhari just referred to him when defending his extra-judicial imprisonment of Dasuki. He said, “look at the 2 million displaced people and I should let Dasuki who looted the billions go to London?” This was academic course Shekau 101: the implications of government looting.

    Shekau did not lie as all our administrations do, Shekau always told us the truth. Shekau exposed our rot which he took advantage of. In fact during Shekau’s time, Shekau was the only institution that worked in Nigeria when all others were thoroughly dysfunctional. Shekau operated his Boko Haram with efficiency, discipline and professionalism, something we lack in all ours till date. None of his members ever divulged company secrets. When Jonathan could not procure arms, Shekau did right from the jungles of Sambisa and when the Nigerian army could not fight, he could. Remember how 300 of his men used to defeat 3000 of Alex Badeh’s without even shooting a bullet?

    Shekau taught Nigerians a lot of sense. He showed us how foolish we are. He ridiculed the north and drilled them on their extremism. Notice, since Shekau came to town you no longer have those insane northern youth running around at the beck and call of the Takfiri fanatic elite, burning Churches and Igbo businesses for beauty pageants “in Indonesia?” Shekau took them to school and gave them a mirror to see their dark souls. Shekau taught Nigerians to live in peace and harmony, well to a degree he did, though it has already worn off in the north and east and within sectors of the demolishing government. He brought us together to vote for change which would have been otherwise largely impossible.

    I miss the days and ways he boldly called our bluffs and dismantled our government lies. Today we and our media are not bold enough to stand to authorities and tell them when they lie and declare stuff as technically corrected when it is not, that they are lying. We are not true to ourselves and our existence as Shekau was. Shekau let us and the world know how useless we are/were. He made things vividly clear.

    We could never be united as a nation in truth, goodness and justice, but at least, thanks to Shekau, we eventually even if reluctantly got largely united in anger at evil. Like Paul of the Bible, Shekau will be remembered for the mantra “Let us do evil, that good may come.“ 

    Without Shekau we return to our lies, our intolerance, sectarianism and self-hate. Today under a pretense of good, may insufferable evil not come.

    You can call me a lunatic, but truth be told, I miss Shekau the mirror to our dark souls as I wrote of him sometime back.

     


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  • What do the Igbos want?

    10/Jan/2016 // 407 Viewers

    Obi Nwakanma
     
     
    In an angry retort to a question thrown at him in his recent Media chat, President Muhammadu Buhari asked, “What do they (Igbo) want?” “Who is marginalizing them?” In his own defence, he said the Minister of state for oil in his government is Igbo, the Minister for Science and Technology is Igbo, and of course, the Governor of the Central Bank too. He might also have added the Foreign Minister Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Labour & Productivity (it used to be Establishment), Dr. Chris Ngige, the Minister for Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister for Trade, Industries and investment, Dr. Okey Enelemah, and the junior Minister for education, Anthony Anwuka. On the face of it, the president would be right to say that he has Igbo as members of his Executive Council.
     
    His critics would of course be quick to respond that Buhari was hampered by a constitutional requirement that compelled him to effect plural representation in his cabinet, willy-nilly. They would say were it not for the constitution, the president would, left to him, not have had any Igbo in his cabinet, given his known historical predilection. The evidence, they would say, is in the constitution of the cabinet itself: Ibe Kachikwu is not the Oil Minister, he is the junior Minister for oil.
     
     
    The president is the oil minister. Nonetheless, oil is Nigeria chief commodity; that which gives it its sex appeal, and Kachikwu is no doormat and his position not insignifcant. The Foreign Ministry portfolio is a sinecure position, at best. There was a time when it would have carried some weight. In those years Nigeria carried its weight in the international scene. Today, the Nigerian Foreign Ministry is no more than a clearing house for the great powers to which Nigeria is now just a proxy nation. A foreign minister is as powerful as his nation in the international arena, and Nigeria seems increasingly insignificant, even as a notable voice in African affairs.
     
    So, at best, the Foreign Minister is a prestige position, full of glitter, and nothing else. Yet, President Buhari might also argue that it is Nigeria’s voice, its eyes and its ears in the outside world, for whatever it is worth. That by itself is significant – Nigeria speaks to the world through the voice of an Igbo, whose own illustrious father was no less the World Court judge, Charles Daddy Onyeama of Eke. The Ministry of Labour could equally be powerful, and might be in the hands of a visionary minister, the arrowhead for the reform of the Civil Service and the public sector.
     
    The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment could, working in tandem with the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Defence, and the Ministry of Education, where Anwuka is a junior minister, transform the landscape of national production, and shift the entire job situation radically. It might be President Buhari’s challenge to his Igbo ministers, to solve the greatest problems that the Igbo themselves have always argued about: lack of jobs for the teeming army of skilled youth, expansion of the local industrial and investment base, and so on and so forth. Nigerians often see the big ministries – Education, Home Affairs, Works, Health and Defence – as the important ministries because they have huge budgetary allocations – they are the pork ministries.
     
    Labour, Trade, Science and Tech, are often ignorantly dismissed because they are not as well-funded. Even Lai Muhammed’s Ministry of Information was given more in allocations than the Ministries of Science and Technology, and Trade and Industries, and even Transport, in the president’s recent budget sent to the National Assembly, which makes you wonder where the priorities of this administration lie – in manufacturing propaganda, or in manufacturing Nigeria’s national defence equipment, as Ogbonnaya Onu has promised, through an expanded technological base? In any case, these are catalytic ministries of government at that can transform the very thrust of this nation, and the legacy of this administration – if only the administration could halve the allocations to Defence, Health, and Education, and move the money to the Research and Production component of the Ministries of Science & Technology, and Trade & Industries. But Buhari’s policies are not in that direction. The budget just recently announced makes that clear. Current policy thrust, evident in the base allocations made to these ministries of government under the Buhari budget for 2016, indicate that TII, Labour, Sci &Tech, are at best, shop-front ministries in this administration. But of course, the question is, what do the Igbo want, and who is marginalizing them? First, and above else, the Igbo want the same thing every thoughtful Nigerian wants: a great nation of which they can be proud. They want equal protection, and the equal rights of citizenship; they want non-discriminatory standards applied, which does not undermine their individual aspirations towards economic justice and the pursuit of happiness.
     
    Very often the Igbo feel that they do not get this, and that they have often been serially targeted in Nigeria for selective injustice. Frequently, the Igbo are targets of selective taxation, deportations, violence and brutality. The federal government has never, through its Ministry of Justice, investigated or prosecuted anyone for targeting the Igbo outside Igbo land. Igbo life feels expendable in this republic, and the Igbo thus feel themselves unprotected in Nigeria.
     
    The use of the police and military to mount road blocks in the East makes the East, since1970, feel like a perpetual area of conquest, where citizens are constantly harassed and brutalized. No business can thrive under those conditions. No investor or tourist would come to an area that feels like it is under siege and quarantine. President Buhari began his presidency by declaring publicly that he’d favor those who voted more for him against those who voted less for him in the elections. Basically President Buhari began his government on a policy of discrimination. It showed in his key appointments into the inner sanctum of his presidency. The Igbo feel themselves gated from the presidency where all executive decisions take place. This kind of discrimination is equally evident at the larger space of nation. An Igbo child who is denied a place in a federal institution on the basis of a quota-system gone berserk will grow up naturally to resent Nigeria. And the Igbo, more than any other group in Nigeria, have had to suffer seriously from federal discriminatory policies that ought by now to have been revised.
     
    The Igbo have the highest number of educated and skilled unemployed, because discriminatory policies have kept them in silos. The Igbo are not necessarily against the use of the quota principle for inclusion and spread of opportunities to all parts of Nigeria. The Igbo in fact want the expansion of the Nigerian middle class from North to South because it is good for their business. But this must not be, as it is often the case at the expense of the Igbo. All development must be based on the human person. To understand Igbo anger, one must first comprehend that since 1970, the South-East of Nigeria has received the least infusion of federal capital, in fact in general, less than 11% of all capital expenditure. The old Kano state comprising Kano and Jigawa receive more in federal allocation than all the states of the South East put together. This is strategic diminution.
     
    There is not a single federal industrial investment in Igbo land. In 1981, Governor Sam Mbakwe secured President Shagari’s guarantee to site the National Petrochemical plant in Ohaji, or he would build it himself. In 1984, Buhari revised the plan and the Petrochemical plant slated for Ohaji was later sited in Eleme by Babangida. It was much the same about the National Steel plant which was designated to be built in Onitsha, but which was moved to Ajaokuta. By 1967, the city of Aba was at par with Lagos: whatever industrial plant was built in Lagos was also built in Aba – Lever brothers, SCOA industries, Nigerian Breweries, Guinness, Proctor & Gamble, PZ, etc. In fact the West African headquarters of Pfizer Pharmaceutical Laboratories was in Aba, before it was forcibly relocated to Lagos in 1970.
     
    The East has the worst federal roads, and much of the infrastructure destroyed by the federal forces during the war was never been rebuilt. Rather there is a policy of strategic divestment and capital flight out of the East. Basically the federal government has deliberately created a steel bucket out of Igbo land, with crabs in it. So, what do the Igbo want? First, a president who would be president of all Nigerians, irrespective of who voted for him. Secondly, a fulfilment of one of the basic conditions for ending the last war: the rehabilitation and reconstruction of all of Eastern Nigeria, including the Igbo heartland of that region. It is a matter beyond the President’s appointments.
     
     
     
    Disclaimer: Views express in any piece we publish remain entirely the author's and do not reflect the editorial policy of the DailyGlobeWatch

     


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  • Death of IDPs: As Kashim Shettima waits for Jonathan’s call

    10/Jul/2016 // 361 Viewers

     

    The IDPs have been languishing from hunger and dying in droves while Nigerians out there have been made to believe all along that the victims were being taken good care of. At least, that was what the governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima had made us believe until Nigerains came to know the truth.

    As recently as April 2016, the governor had told the world in a keynote address he presented at the first annual dialogue on Rebuilding Peace in Borno State organized by AOA Global, a humanitarian advocacy group, that Internally Displaced Persons consume a whopping 1,800 bags of 50 kilogrammes of rice daily. That number represents three trailer loads of rice. Daily?

    Before this time, the state’s former deputy governor, late Alhaji Zanna Mustapha, had some time in December 2014, told the world that the Borno State government was spending a humongous N600m monthly to feed IDPs in only 20 out of the 27 local government areas in the state.

    However, despite this supposed huge investments by the State, very disturbing reports came out from the camps recently of people especially children dying of malnutrition in the camps in Borno State. One of the reports had it that, at least, 30 children were dying from the phenomenon almost daily while there were about 1,233 graves of citizens who died of acute malnourishment out of which 480 were children’s discovered by Medecins Sans Frontiers.

    In a bid to cover up their negligence and corruption, some government officials had claimed that the children were already malnourished in Boko Haram camps where they were held captive before being rescued. But this story does not sell and cannot sell unless such officials want us to believe like it is being mouthed in some quarters that the purported rescued Chibok girls noise was stage-managed. For how can you not have prepared for a thing and time like this as a State playing host to the world’s deadliest terror group? Were Shettima and his partners not aware that unlike the purported stage-managed rescued Chibok girls, the reality of such rescue is that the victims would need intensive care?

    Why would Nigerians who survived the onslaught of the dreaded sect for years showing resilience while in captivity be left to die after regaining freedom? Why would those who were forced to live in Sambisa die in Bama? Why would children live under Shekau but die under Shettima? Even if their conditions were so desperately hopeless, does it mean that the government of Shettima did not make adequate provisions medically and otherwise for such situations despite the hundreds of millions bandied about as the sums expended on taking care of the IDPs?

    Those innocent Nigerians had no reason whatsoever to die once rescued from Boko Haram! Their rescue should have been a joyous journey back to life and not a sad, pathetic and shameful one to death! And just like the outgoing USA Ambassador to America, James Entwistle asked recently, “Nigerians are dying of starvation in Nigeria. How can that be?”

    Indeed, how can that be?
    If the Doctors Without Borders could have an inpatient therapeutic centre in Maiduguri where they immediately referred 16 of these malnourished and dying children to, nurture them back to life with utmost and intensive care, the Borno State governor and members of his team should be held responsible for the needless and avoidable deaths of citizens directly in their care!

    They should be made to account for all the donations both in cash and in kind that have come the way of the IDPs through the state government from foreign countries, local and international donor organizations, corporate entities, NGOs, religious organizations, individuals etc.

    Another fact we must not gloss over is the reality that some of these children actually became malnourished while in the camps as we have heard of how officials shortchange the IDPs in the distribution of food and medicines. Obviously, somebody somewhere is feeding fat at the expense of these vulnerable children who deserve our all in order to be alive. That is the height of heartlessness.

    Maybe Kashim Shettima is still waiting for former president Jonathan to call him before he wakes up to his responsibilities just like he lamented in the wake of the Chibok saga that the former president did not call him until after 19 days following the incident. He declared this as one of his defence for his poor handling of the Chiobk issue, and when he was reminded that he, as the chief security officer of the state should have reached out to Jonathan, he said he did not reach out to the former president because he assumed that he would have been briefed! Briefed by whom? If a governor could think and act this way then, how do we expect such a ruler to be able to handle even more intricate matters of nurturing dying children back to life?

    It is such act of carelessness and incompetence that Shettima has grown with to the extent that he cannot take care of a small proportion of citizens put under his care. Or, is he still waiting for Jonathan’s call. His excuses so far for this inexplicable and unfortunate occurrence are at best lame in reason and defective in intelligence.

    This is the effect of politicising serious matters just for mundane purposes. If Shettima and his team had used the Chibok matter as a learning process rather than as a divisive tool, if they had focused on the larger picture rather than on the narrow prism of pulling Jonathan down, they would by now have appreciated the enormity of the catastrophe staring them in the face, and would have risen to the challenge rather than sacrifice those innocent citizens including children in desperate need of the care of a certain governor and his officials.

    To put an end to this carnage of disturbing proportions, I wish to appeal to former president Goodluck Jonathan to place a call to Alhaji Kashim Shettima, the governor of Borno State, perhaps that is all he needs to wake up to the enormous responsibility that fate has placed on him, and save us the embarrassment of war-like images from his domain.

    ---jrndukwe@yahoo.co.uk ; Twitter: stjudendukwe


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  • Edo Decides 2016: The Prospect Of A New Dawn In Edo State.

    10/Mar/2016 // 641 Viewers

    By Iredia Osakue

     

    Faith as we know, is the expectation of things to happen with hope that it will materialize. This is achieved having prayed fervently, putting your trust in it and believing in God, the creator.

    The Edolites have been patient enough and their strength as I know is drawn from hope and with the notion of better days ahead. They are a people who never give up easily and believe in divine intervention in hard times and rejoice with praises to God in victory.

    This trait is innate and a divine gift to the people of Edo state. In the face of trouble, they search for solution rather than dwelling on the matter, this philosophy has helped tremendously in solving many perceived insurmountable issues.

    Here they are again, with another big challenge: the forthcoming gubernatorial election. Stakeholders and participants are warming up, planning and strategizing all in an attempt to have the day. The unseen thing is that they are also capable of planning unfavorable and sinister agenda aimed at outwitting their perceived formidable adversaries. This can come in an abominable manner or in circumstances opposed to civility.

    As a result, hope could be dashed and expectations lost. To this end, all hands must be on deck. The good people of the state must resist every untoward situation and prompt in amending leakages regardless of where it is coming from.

    The people must know and remember always that "the voice of the people is the voice of God." Your input determines the day and under the face of democracy, the only weapon that is required in the political battlefield is the right to cast your vote for any candidate of your choice and this must be guided.

    Sometime ago, I hurriedly read a book written by Cromwell Ibie, titled " The Complete Book Of Orunmila." In it, I found something interesting that hitherto has its impact on me: it says, the patience of Orunmila is unquantifiable so much that it can wait until a log of wood decays before it crosses it. What an endurance, wit and unparalleled patience!

    The people of Edo state have endured enough and a new dawn is about to come. The political barrier that has caused pain, poverty, unrest will soon be a thing of the past. You have waited enough and your effort is noteworthy, but to physically bring about this hope, requires the emergence of a true leader with the interest of the people at heart.

    The person that has this magnetic personality is your illustrious, not assuming and God-fearing man, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu. He has the solution to many pertinent problems. He has started implementing many from his own palour, but for him to do it effectively requires your mandate and participation.

    On this note, SUPPORT, NOMINATE AND VOTE him as your next governor of Edo state. ‪#‎thefutureisnow‬.


    Iredia Osakue is a Turin-based scholar, political analyst and public commentator on current affairs.


    Disclaimer: Views expressed in any piece we publish remain entirely the author's and do not reflect the editorial policy of DailyGlobeWatch


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  • Buhari's Fuel Subsidy Payments: There is none after all

    11/Dec/2015 // 718 Viewers

     
     
    Today we supposedly live under a government driven by 'change'. In the run-up to the general elections, the Nigerian fickle public saw that giving the APC presidential flag bearer their mandate would doubtless usher in a regenerative process that would produce sustainable developments in all sectors. This, above all, informed their interest and desire to heed his pleas and entreaties for their votes.
     
    Late Achebe in one of his famous literary works ''Things Fall Apart'' wrote that ''a chick that will grow into a cock can be spotted the very day it hatches''. Buhari assumed the reins of power about seven calendar months ago. Came with his government is the ongoing anti-graft war which this writer shall make the focus of his analysis. Nigeria belongs to over 170 million people, a country that parades world class intellects.
     
    In order to derive optimal use from our resources, the immediate past administration was reportedly found wanting and a campaign laden with pure sophistries and terminological inexactitudes was launched and some gullible minds fell hook, line and sinkers. Amid a web of deceit, a cabinet of competent technocrats was shown the door. This happened between 2013 through 2014 and 2015 AD in the course of our nation's history which is still on-going.
     
    For the first time one of the 'agents of change' the former Lagos State helmsman heaped an encomium of praise on the former 'clueless' President Jonathan as the only former Nigerian leader that surpassed his predecessors in the area of roads construction and scored him as much as 50% in the power sector. This lends credence to the fact that you may have a billion lie but never a billion truth because there is only one truth which stands incontrovertible and undeniable. More power to you Babatunde Raji Fashola! You earn my respect here and shall continue to be my reference point.
     
    To Buhari's double standards in fuel subsidy payments and the ongoing anti-graft war, we must now turn. Only about three days ago President Buhari was said to have approved the payments of a whopping N407bn subsidy payments to oil marketers in order to bring to an end the lingering fuel crisis that has brought untold hardships to Nigerians. That amount of money is mind-boggling, in fact, it is a lot of money when there is every avenue to cut cost if the government he leads is genuinely out to regenerate Nigeria.

    Image result for images of Buhari with fuel subsidy
    President Muhammadu Buhari
     
    This writer shall give a brief explanatory analysis or put differently a statistical and detailed cost breakdown of a litre of fuel which when refined locally by our moribund refineries would meet our domestic demand.There is no denying the fact that our refineries have witnessed a terminal decline and, therefore, lack vitality and vigour. Moribund as they may be, but have the capacity to refine our crude oil to meet local demand and save billions of our tax payers money. Must Buhari who leads a government driven by change lose sight of this fact? Must he toe the line of others when he has supposedly come to show the way. Oh! this makes us move round in circles because there is nothing revolutionary here, all things considered.
     
    Nigeria's four refineries with installed combined capacity, reports say, can refine four hundred and forty-five (445,000) barrels per day but this has been drastically reduced as experts and analysts observe to as low as 30% due to ageing equipment. That is to say, we can only refine 133,500 barrels per day which will give us no fewer than 21.2 million litres.
     
    Nigeria's required domestic consumption according to official figures from the Federal Office of Statistics (FOS) is 12 million litres daily, a pointer to the fact that our moribund refineries can actually refine to meet our domestic consumption. We live in a country, I mean a frontline oil producing nation which does not consider the high import bill on the product it can refine locally which depletes our foreign reserves. This takes a disastrous toll on our economy as it spiral downward thereby toeing the line of the previous administrations which it depicts as clueless. Is this not a gross contradiction in terms? I ask yet again, where lies the desired ''change''?
     
    Lington Donovan
    Iyoha John Darlington
     
    Now let us take a cursory glance at the cost structure of crude oil production per barrel with particular reference to Qua Iboe. Findings and recent development show that production cost stands at $3.5; production cost stands at $1.5; refining stands at $12.6; pipeline/transportation stand at $1.5 while distribution/fund margin stand at $15.69.
     
    According to experts, 159 litres make up one barrel which could be sold anywhere in Nigeria for $34.8 and you divide this figure by 159 litres it equals to $0.219, the cost of one litre of crude oil. The Nigerian Naira equivalent 0.219xN160= N35.02k- Add Tax N5 + N35.02 = N40.029)
     
    I challenge the experts in collusion with the Nigerian regime in Abuja to refute this and tell the world why a litre of fuel should still be sold for as much as N87. In fact, how did they come about N87/litre?
     
    There are in fact two questions that agitate this writer: Do Nigerians need their fuel consumption to be subsidised? From the detailed cost breakdown above, when the moribund refineries at home can effectively refine for us the 12 million litres we need at much less cost, why should Buhari approve a whopping N407bn for fuel subsidy payments? We really do not need FGN SUBSIDY as there was none in the first place. Is the President not caught in the web of corruption himself?
     
    With reference to the ongoing anti-graft war, doubtless many former public office holders have been indicted and duly charged. In Latin ''Lex autem non est personarum acceptor'' which is interpreted in English to mean ''the law is no respecter of persons''. Reports say between 1976 and 1978 a whopping N2.8 bn disappeared from the NNPC account under Buhari's stewardship.  It was after Obasanjo had handed over to the civilian administration of former President Shehu Shagari in 1979 that the first alarm was raised that N2.8 billion got missing in NNPC during Obasanjo’s regime when President Muhammadu Buhari was the Minister of Petroleum Resources. 
     
    Consequently, Shagari’s government was said to have set up a Judicial Commission of Inquiry headed by Hon. Justice Ayo Irekefe of the Supreme Court, to probe the alleged missing fund. Before one could say Jack Robison, President Shehu Shagari was deposed in a coup by Muhammadu Buhari thereby leaving controversy to trail the findings of that commission. Vera Ifudu who reported the findings of that commission live on NTA was sacked. There is no restating the obvious that Vera Ifudu was sacked to shred the evidence against him over the missing funds. It is time President Buhari told Nigerians why he swiftly rose to sack Vera Ifudu which is tantamount to encroachment on the freedom of news desk reportage.
     
    These were indeed interesting times! In fact, this is indeed a shocking discovery that that has been swept under the carpet by the successive governments when IBB's palace revolution terminated Buhari's junta some 30 years ago. Could that money have  developed wings from the Midland Bank, London account of the NNPC during Buhari's stewardship in the Petroleum Ministry? That contentious N2.8bn Midlands scam needs to be revisited if the current war on corruption is anything to go by.
     
    Similarly, the world has a burning desire to know what again happened to the missing N27 billion in his days as PTF chairman under late Sani Abacha who Buhari swore did not steal Nigeria's money. The monies reportedly disbursed from the former NSA office included the repatriated Abacha looted funds. But Buhari did say with all emphasis Abacha did not steal our money. Does that not make him an accessory after the fact of money laundering operations for which he ought to be standing trial?
     
    It will be recalled that Buhari and his ADC Col Mustapha Jokolo supervised the smuggling of 53 suitcases filled with cash against the protest of Idiagbon which metamorphosed into a drama at the airport of Lagos and ironically Atiku Abubakar was the former DG of customs. These are all verifiable facts which ought to be revisited in the ongoing war against corruption.
     
    Conversely, what the world sees in the ongoing stunningly arranged and orchestrated trials are nothing short of ​double ​standards by being ​tough on ​law and ​order ​yet ​allowing you and your own ​cabinet ​members and party partisans to ​escape ​prosecution for ​fraud. This, I dare say, amounts to sheer hypocrisy of a tsarist regime.
     
    Iyoha John Darlington, a scholar, social activist and public commentator on national and global issues writes from Turin, Italy.
     
     
     
    Disclaimer: Views expressed in any article we published remain entirely the author's and do not reflect or represent the editorial policy of DailyGlobeWatch


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  • Financial fraud, cross-border crimes and the future of Nigeria

    11/Feb/2016 // 216 Viewers

     By Walter Duru

    The fact that Nigeria is still intact as one indivisible country, maintaining its leadership position in Africa and not reduced to a banana republic is a miracle. Several things that befell and literarily sank some countries of the world have happened to Nigeria, but it is still standing firm. Little wonder many insist that God is a Nigerian. I do not just believe this; I know it; God is here and is in charge of our affairs, else, it would have been history long ago. But shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Imagine the figures released here.
     
    Last week, Nigeria’s Ministry of Justice, in collaboration with Digital Forensic Limited, Justice for All of the British Council and other stakeholders organized the maiden edition of the Annual Conference on Financial Fraud, Cyber Crime and Cross Border Crimes in Nigeria. Other implementing partners were Forensic Insight International Limited, Nigeria Communications Commission, Nigerian Police Force, Central Bank of Nigeria, Ericsson and IBM.
     
    The event which was attended by major stakeholders, including practitioners, academics and policy makers, was aimed at reviewing current security trends in Nigeria and globally as it relates to transnational organized crimes, cyber security threats, terrorism, money laundering and its impact on national security, critical infrastructure and the financial system. It also gave participants the opportunity to determine the prevalence and patterns, analyze the causes, and proffer policy recommendations on tackling the myriad security issues that confront the international community and Nigeria as well.
     
    The event was declared open by the Honourable Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, while keynote speakers were: Hon. Minister for Justice/Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) and the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, His Excellency, Paul Arkwright.
     
    In his opening remarks, Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Mahmud Mohammed gave a frightening statistics on the devastating financial effect of cyber fraud and financial crimes and called for action, through the prioritization and reform of relevant laws of the land. Hear him:
     
    “A report published in 2010 by the Internet Crime Complaint Center, which is a partnership between the United States of America’s Federal Bureau of investigation (FBI) and National White Collar Crime Center, revealed that Nigeria was ranked third among the list of top ten sources of Cybercrime in the world, which at 8% ranked behind the US (65%) and the UK (9.9%). Unfortunately, our country is perceived as having carved a niche as the source of what is now popularly called 419 emails, named after Section 419 of the Nigerian Criminal Code (Cap. 77, laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990). This publication also ranks Nigeria as first in the African region as the target and origin of malicious cyber activities.”
     
    “The correlation between cybercrime, fraud and money laundering and other emerging crimes such as terrorism, human trafficking and drug smuggling cannot be overemphasized. Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Training Center, Paper No. 12 of May 2006, recognized the challenge of cross border crime in West Africa as including trafficking in small arms and light ammunitions, ‘mercenarism’, human trafficking and the use of child-soldiers in armed conflict. Others are trans-national syndicates involved in crimes such as peddling of hard or narcotic drugs, armed robbery and 419 activities, money laundering and the smuggling of goods.”
     
    He also made a strong case for the improvement of the skill set of investigative and prosecutorial agencies, “while providing the requisite resources to our agencies in order to mount more comprehensive, intelligence-led, technology driven crime detection and prevention initiatives.”
     
    In his keynote address, Nigeria’s Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Abubakar Malami SAN, identified the impact of organized criminal activities on Nigeria’s Economic growth and Security.
     
    According to him, “trends and statistics as reported by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) indicate that on the average, Nigerian banks loose huge amounts of money annually to different forms of cybercrime and cyber criminals. The total estimated loss incurred by the financial system alone from 2012 to 2014 could be more than N65b or USD321,689 million.”
     
    “Another area of organized crime in Nigeria is illicit funds flow. Illicit funds flow is the transfer of illicit funds through illegitimate sources. A report compiled by the presidency in 2013 identified a total of over $33.144 billion (20.6 trillion) illicit flows during the period 2000-2013, of which over $7.456 were proceeds of corruption and embezzlement in Nigeria. As you all know, illicit funds transfer has a number of severe effects on a country like Nigeria. It drains the country’s foreign exchange reserves, reduces tax base, increases poverty levels, increases insecurity as a potential source of terror funding and hurts the country’s international image.”
     
    “The common crimes that confront Nigeria today include terrorism/terrorist financing, cybercrime, fraud, money laundering, corruption, kidnapping, trafficking in illicit drugs and persons, armed robbery, oil theft, sexual exploitation of young persons, all of which threaten Nigeria’s economy and make Nigeria unattractive for investment.”
     
    On the present administration’s Justice Reform Initiatives, Malami identified several interventions, among which are: “Establishment of an inter-agency justice and security reform committee (Justice Sector Reform Coordination Committee) with a mandate that recognizes the interconnectedness between security, economy and justice to Nigerians. This committee would drive the implementation of the bulk of our reform initiatives.”
     
    On law and Regulatory Review, the AGF stressed: In the last one month, the Honourable Attorney General has been working with a team of experts and has transmitted four critical anti-corruption related bills- the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Center (NFIC) Bill that will domesticate the full remit of the FATF Recommendation 29, the Proceeds of Crime (POCA) Bill, the Money Laundering (Prohibition and Prevention) Bill, and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill to President Buhari for further transmission to the National Assembly. Two of these bills- the Money laundering and the Mutual Legal Assistance bills were read on the floor of the Senate and House of Representatives on 27thJanuary, 2016. These bills will not only support the policies of this administration in combating corruption and stolen asset return, they would also respond to the requirements of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and international conventions. In the coming days, the team will submit more bills to President Buhari for transmission. The proposed bills are: Whistle-blowers Bill, Police Reform Bill, Prisons Reform Bill, Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition Repeal) Bill. The team is also reviewing investment related bills that would be presented for enactment into laws in the coming weeks and months. There are several other initiatives, including the establishment of Justice Sector Reform Fund, Legislative intervention, Judicial Intervention, Public/Stakeholder Engagement, Human Rights Enforcement, among others.”
     
    Also in his address on United Kingdom’s perspective on anti- corruption, British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright, argued that financial crime is dependent on corrupt practices.
     
    “International financial crime is dependent on corrupt practices. There are also well known links between corruption and terrorism. Corruption creates an environment in which organised crime, people trafficking and drug smuggling thrive. Nigeria and the United Kingdom stand together in fighting all these criminal elements, but my focus today is on fighting corruption.”
     
    “Corruption is one of the greatest challenges of our time - a challenge Nigeria is unfortunately all too familiar with. Addressing that challenge is essential to the future of this country. Failing to do so will mean further decades of poverty, inequality, reputational damage overseas, massively reduced external investment and an undermining of the huge potential represented by Nigerian youth.”
     
    “Most crime is committed for profit. Depriving the criminals of their profits is a key aspect of tackling their illegal activities. In the same way that starving a thriving small business of capital hampers its growth, removing assets from criminal enterprises can also disrupt those illegal activities.”
     
    “So, there is no better time for our two countries to fight together against corruption. From only a short time here as High Commissioner, it’s already clear to me that President Buhari and Prime Minister Cameron share a determination to root out this blight on the growth of our economies, the health of our societies, our national and collective security, and even the integrity of the sports we love.”
     
    On the United Kingdom’s support to Nigeria in the war against corruption, Arkwright explained:
     
    “Tackling corruption requires systems to be in place, attitudes in society attuned to the effort and a process to investigate, prosecute and sanction. Institutional reform is at the heart of all of these elements. The UK is supporting Nigeria in all these areas. The political environment and personal example of the President gives a superb opportunity to take the necessary action. As part of its bilateral aid review, DFID is considering a significant upscaling of UK support. In the past 5 years, the UK Government has contributed £7 million under the Justice 4 All (J4A) programme to build capacity of the anti-corruption agencies and help Nigeria in the fight against corruption. Justice 4 all is one of the sponsors for this event.”
     
    “UK Support has boosted capacity in: Drafting new legislation to underpin the fight against corruption; Building capacity to investigate and prosecute cases; Stimulating greater public accountability through civil society; Operational support delivered by the National Crime Agency in country to numerous Nigerian agencies.”
     
    On the way forward, he identified passing of complementary legislation as necessary. “It is encouraging that President Buhari recently requested the National Assembly to consider and approve the Money Laundering Prevention and Prohibition Bill and the Mutual Legal Assistance bill. I hope other complementary legislation like a Proceeds of Crime, Nigerian Financial Intelligence Centre and Terrorism Prevention act will be prioritised in a similar way. The Proceeds of Crime Act legislation will do much to support the process for the return of assets seized outside Nigeria. UK is committed to the return of such assets and officials visited Nigeria last week to discuss this process. I am aware of criticism –unjust though it may be – that the UK has not returned Nigerian stolen assets quickly enough. As you will appreciate, there are legitimate legal hurdles which need to be overcome, but we are looking actively at how we can accelerate that legal process. In any event, recent actions by the UK law enforcement agencies demonstrate clearly that there is no impunity in the UK for those who seek to conceal stolen assets in the UK.”
     
    Speaking on Effective Policing and National Security, Nigeria’s Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase identified National security as essential to enjoying the dividends of democracy.
     
    “Achieving National security however, is a function of the contribution and participation of all citizens.” He identified Cybercrime and Transnational crimes as major threats to National security, even as he called for synergy between strategic-security stakeholders.
     
    In her overview of Measures to preventing, detecting and deterring Money laundering and terrorist financing, former Director, Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit, Juliet Ibekaku spoke on the need for the strengthening of the legislative framework against Corruption and money laundering.
     
    According to her, a strengthened legal framework will enhance the Money laundering and terrorism/terrorist financing war and guarantee the security of the nation.
     
    In his presentation titled: Financial and electronic fraud: legal and regulatory approaches to protecting the integrity of Nigeria’s Financial Systems, Nigeria’s Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele warns that: “Banks are required to report employees dismissed on account of fraud and forgeries. The CBN maintains a ‘blacklist’ of such employees and in line with section 48, Sub section 4 of the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) LFN 2004, such staff are no longer eligible for further employment within the banking industry.”
     
    In a paper titled: Cybercrime and Impact on National critical Infrastructure and National Economy: Nigeria’s Response, presented on behalf of Nigeria’s National Security Adviser, General Babagana Monguno (Rtd) by Engineer Shariff Lawal, the need for the establishment of the Cybercrime Advisory Council, tasked with the responsibility of formulating and providing general policy guidelines for implementing provisions of the Cybercrime Act 2015 was reiterated.
     
    “The way forward in reducing Nigeria’s risk-profile in the cyberspace entails: adopting a national and international collaborative approach to cyber security, with all stakeholders working together and sharing information about cyber threats; expedite the implementation of Cybersecurity policy and strategy. “The biggest risk to cyber security is an ignorant or careless user who does not know when he is putting himself or his organization at risk. Therefore, improving pubic understanding of cyber security and cybercrimes is key to mitigating its threats. To address the current persistent threat to online presence of MDAs and LEAs, there is need for a government policy stipulating minimum-security standards for the creation, operation and management of government websites and ICT Infrastructure.”
     
    In his paper on the performance of regulatory framework in stemming institutional financial fraud and abuse in Nigeria, President, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, Otunba Olufemi Deru explains: “The global recognition of the evils of fraud and sharp practices has brought to the fore the need for all resources managers to be united in the anti-corruption crusade of the government. One way of winning the battle is through the creation of fraud awareness. Employees must be made to realize that fraud will only enrich perpetrators and endanger the financial survival of enterprises in both the public and private sectors of the economy. If frauds are undetected or not prevented, the livelihood of everyone will be destroyed permanently with severe consequences for the immediate and extended families.”
     
    Speaking on Adjudicating Fraud, Corruption, Cybercrime and Transnational Organized Cases in Nigerian Courts: Challenges and Recommendations for Improvement, Justice A.A.I. Bankole of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Abuja, called for the Central Records Registry to be accessible to all law enforcement agencies and justice partners, while ensuring regular training and retraining of investigators and prosecutors.
     
    On the need to decongest the courts, she recommended that: “Retired Judges should be employed and engaged in decongesting the backlog of cases before the Court. The introduction of Part Time Judges from Senior Advocates; Improved working conditions for Judges, such as the employment of Information technology in the Court system. The Constitution should be amended to include a provision that a defendant facing weighty criminal charges should not be allowed to continue or aspire to hold public office until the determination of the substantive trials and appeals. This will ensure the absence of delaying tactics and aid effective disposition of the cases.”
     
    A major highlight of the Conference was the breaking out into sessions by participants, who brainstormed and made far-reaching recommendations, among which are the speedy passage of the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Center (NFIC), Proceeds of Crime Agency (POCA), Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) and other related bills; establishment of Cyber-security division in every government Ministry; equipment of law enforcement agencies with forensic laboratories, manned by core professionals; development of a national policy on terrorism; establishment of a National Cyber Security Architecture to be linked to the Central Bank of Nigeria; regular training and retraining, among others.
     
    Whether relevant authorities will implement the recommendations/outcome of the Conference or not is the main crux, or will stakeholders assemble next year to discuss the same issues and make similar recommendations?
     
    Ultimately, if the recommendations are not implemented, it will end up like any other talk-shop in Nigeria. The only way to secure the future and security of Nigeria is by taking forward progressive resolutions reached. Stakeholders interaction should also be more regular.
     
    It is time for action!
     
     
    Disclaimer: Views expressed in any article we publish remain entirely the author's and do not reflect the editorial policy of DailyGlobeWatch


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  • The Many Troubles Of Budget 2016

    11/Feb/2016 // 127 Viewers

     

    By Azu Ishiekwene 
     
    PARIS, FEBRUARY 11, 2016: (DGW) - Weeks before the 2016 budget woes became public, a source confided to me a story that sounded like fiction. The source said that shortly before President Muhammadu Buhari formally presented the budget, some politicians in the opposition Peoples Democratic Party approached the Minister of Budget and Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma.
     
    Buhari was racing against time and the group told Udoma that the government didn’t need to trip over itself in haste. The group then gave the minister a disingenuous idea: Stuff a box with plain white paper, seal it and dress it with a covering note for the President to present to the Senate. After the ceremonies are over, the government could then retrieve the empty sheets and send the “real” budget through the backdoor.
     
    The minister thanked them, but said nothing, giving the impression that he was open to the idea. Two days or so after he received the unsolicited advice and after the budget had been presented, the same group apparently went to a major TV station and tipped off journalists there that what Buhari presented on December 22, 2015, might be empty sheets of paper! They assumed that Udoma had accepted their advice and fallen in their trap.
     
    The journalists followed the lead and called everyone they could, including Udoma, but found out in the end that it was a wild goose chase.
     
    Unfortunately, as it was from the start, the path of the 2016 budget has been marred by a slew of drama and intrigues. Buhari has been hammered for purported errors of date in the covering note and the presidential aide Ita Enang who removed a copy of the budget in cahoots with administrative staff of the National Assembly has yet to tell the full story of his shameful adventure.
     
    The 2016 budget is getting more than its fair share of farce for good reasons. Buhari came to office with the promise of change. The budget is the first test of change; it tells us not just about the money but invites us to follow the money and see where it leads.
     
    According to a report by Premium Times, N4.9million was budgeted for books in the office of the Vice President. That sum is N2.6million less than the budget for books in that same office last year, but it is still over one million naira more than the budget for books in 11 out of the 22 federal polytechnics in the country.
     
    Nearly N1billion was set aside for vehicles and vehicle maintenance, with the office of the SGF getting N400million, even though the same office received N291million for new cars between 2014 and 2015. The State House clinic will get an upgrade of N3.87billion, about N500million more than what was budgeted for the 16 federal-government owned teaching hospitals, responsible for thousands of patients across the country.
     
    In an editorial on the budget, PUNCH asked, “how can a government of change justify spending N3.8billion on the State House Medical Centre over N1billion on the purchase of vehicles and N89.17million on canteen and kitchen equipment at a time of belt-tightening for the State House?”
     
    There are no easy answers. The muted official responses and the alarm by Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, that his ministry’s budget contained dodgy figures reveal the tardiness of the process so far and how embarrassed the government must be.
     
    But it’s a good thing. The budget would have been another pork barrel affair if Buhari didn’t promise change and citizens didn’t feel obliged to hold him to his promise.
     
    Not that we have never cared about budget, but government in the PDP years didn’t care about any standard of accountability above the waistline. As a result, public objections didn’t matter. Things got so bad that in 2012, government budgeted N22million for typewriters, when the Daily Mail of London reported that typewriters sold fewer than 800 pieces in 2010!
     
    The promise of change will not remove the demons overnight, but it is exposing them. I’m sure Buhari himself would have seen by now, that these demons are flesh and blood. They are mostly the same civil servants he had praised as saints when he described ministers as noisemakers. He obviously thought he was coming back to the same civil service he left 30 years ago and hoping to find the same work ethic.
     
    Now, he knows better.
     
    The dodgy figures did not insert themselves in the budget. Civil servants, who have mined the budget as their “oil block” for years, did it in cahoots with politicians who are desperate to recoup their election expenses. They defraud the country in at least three ways – one, by inflating the budget; two, by demanding items they don’t need; and three, by holding off expenses till year-end, when they can cream off unused funds.
     
    Of course the fall in oil prices has also forced us to inspect the budget more closely. And zero-budgeting is making sure that unlike in the past when estimates were based on sexed up historical records, ministries and government departments will now justify the cost and value of every line of expenses.
     
    That does not mean there won’t be problems, it only means that the process has become more open and transparent and it should be easier to catch and punish those who abuse it.
     
    It’s not enough, for example, for the health minister to reject the figures allocated to his ministry. Those who were responsible for the fraud should be traced and punished; it is not enough for the Senate to say that N10billion was “smuggled” into the budget of the Education ministry, it’s even more important to root out the culprits and make them face the law.
     
    The 2016 budget has obviously been hijacked by special interests. Corruption, which the President has invested considerable time and energy chasing, is now confronting him face-to-face in his first budget.
     
    Former President Goodluck Jonathan faced a similar problem. In December 2014, he complained that some persons who wanted to divert unused funds from the budget at year-end had sabotaged the electronic payment system, making it almost impossible to pay salaries.
     
    That was an understatement. We now know that the fraudsters captured both the budget and the budgeter. The only way Buhari can prevent that from happening to him is to find the culprits and punish them.
     
    *Azu Ishiekwene is the Managing Director/Editor-In-Chief of The Interview and member of the board of the Paris-based Global Editors Network
     
     


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