EMMANUEL Uduaghan, governor of Delta State, is satisfied with the infrastructural transformation of the Delta State House of Assembly complex. Uduaghan, who gave the commendation while appraising ongoing construction projects embarked upon by the Delta State legislature within the complex, said his observation stemmed from the high profile professional approach to the projects.
He urged the staff to reciprocate the legislature’s innovative gestures of providing a conducive environment by discharging assigned responsibilities creditably and adherence to quality specifications by the contracting firms especially the administrative and e-library project. He said this underscored the need for maximum efficiency from the staff as it is an attestation to the pragmatic approach to governance by the leadership and the entire legislature. The governor used the occasion to commend the legislature for being a dependable partner in government’s resolve to impacting positively on the polity.
Speaking also during the visit, Victor Ohei, speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, disclosed that the decision to embark on the projects was to further enhance the governor’s infrastructural development agendum.
Jonathan on Nigeria’s Security Council Seat
PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan believes that Nigeria deserves a seat in the United Nations Security Council, UNSC, in the 2014-2015 session. Speaking to world leaders and other delegates at the opening of the 68th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York, United States, Jonathan said that the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, and the African Union, AU, had already endorsed Nigeria for the position. He assured the delegation of Nigeria’s commendable performance if it is given the chance.
Reuben Abati, special adviser on media and publicity to the president, in a statement issued on behalf of his boss, stressed that Nigeria and other developing countries were concerned about the lack of progress in the reformation of the UN and therefore, called for quick action towards the democratisation of the Security Council.
He said: “I believe that I express the concern of many about the slow pace of effort and apparent lack of progress in the reform of the United Nations, especially the Security Council. We believe strongly, that the call for democratisation worldwide should not be for states only, but also, for international organisations such as the United Nations.” The president argued that democratisation of the Security Council would bring about the “enthronement of justice, equity, and fairness; and also for the promotion of a sense of inclusiveness and balance in our world.”
On various global challenges, Jonathan called for a renewed and concerted effort by the international community to effectively resolve all issues that currently impede global peace, stability and progress. For instance, he said: “Terrorism constitutes a major threat to global peace and security, and undermines the capacity for sustained development. In Nigeria, the threat of terrorism in a few states in the North Eastern part of our country has proven to be a major challenge to national stability. We are therefore confronting it with every resource at our disposal with due regard for fundamental human rights and the rule of law.”
He also made reference to the terrorist attack on Westgate shopping complex in Nairobi, Kenya, stormed by the al-Shabaab, a terrorist group from Somalia, on Saturday, September 21, where more than 70 people were killed. He, therefore, appealed that such assault never be allowed again. “The reign of terror anywhere in the world is an assault on our collective humanity… We must stand together to win this war together,” President Jonathan said.
Is Abubakar Shekau Alive?
CONTRARY to media reports about his death, Abubakar Shekau, the wanted leader of the Jama’atu Ahlis Sunnah Lidda’awati Wal Jihad, also known as Boko Haram, resurfaced in a video shown in Maiduguri, Borno State, on Wednesday, September 26. In the video, a man claiming to be Shekau, debunked earlier claims by the Nigerian military authorities that he died from gunshot wounds on August 19, 2013. Wearing a camouflage military uniform Shekau said defiantly: “Here I am, alive, hale and hearty. Sagir Musa should bury himself in shame, President Jonathan should bury himself in shame, President Obama (of United States) should bury himself in shame, and President Francois Hollande (of France) should bury himself in shame; Queen Elizabeth (of England) should bury herself in shame.
“They said I am dead, but here I am. The world should know that I am alive and will only die at the appointed time. Everybody should be judged according to the dictates of his conscience. What I am doing is written in the Holy Qur’an and the Hadith and I will not stop. I challenge all the clerics of the world to question my deeds. Those underrating my capacity should have a re-think. I will never allow democracy to thrive.
“The concept of government of the people by the people, for the people, will never be possible and will never exist. Democracy shall be replaced only by the government of Allah, from Allah and for Allah.” Shekau vowed that the Nigerian military would never subdue his group. To buttress his point, he claimed responsibility for the September 17, attack in Benisheik, Borno State, where about 142 people were either shot dead or slaughtered. “Nigerian soldiers are late. After killing many of them in Monguno and Benisheik, we have snatched their armoured carriers and Hilux van and then hoisted Islamic flags on them. We now move freely with them,” he said.
Sagir Musa, a lieutenant colonel and the then spokesman of the Joint Task Force, JTF, had, in a statement, said that an “intelligence report available to the JTF Operation Restore Order revealed that Shekau, the most dreaded and wanted terrorists’ leader may have died. He died of gunshot wounds received in an encounter with the JTF in one of their camps in Sambisa Forest on June 30, 2013. Shekau was mortally wounded in the encounter and was sneaked into Amitchide-a border community in Cameroon, for treatment from which he never recovered.”
When contacted Ibrahim Attahiru, a brigadier general and director, Army Public Relations, said the matter was still being investigated.
Kidnap Kingpin in Security Net
IT WAS an important victory for the Nigerian security services as Kelvin Prosper Oniarah, a suspected notorious kidnap kingpin, was apprehended in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Wednesday, September 26. According to a statement issued by Marilyn Ogar, spokesperson of the State Security Service, SSS, Oniarah was arrested by a combined team of Army and SSS operatives, on Wednesday. The SSS alleged that Oniarah had masterminded the abduction of Mike Ozekhome, a senior advocate of Nigeria, SAN, and human rights activist, and some high profile kidnapping.
Oniarah who is also known as Kelvin Iburuvbe, is believed to be a major financier of a kidnapping ring in Edo State and its surrounding states. Ogar stated that Oniarah had been on the wanted list of security agencies for crimes ranging from terrorism, kidnapping and armed robbery. The SSS also linked the suspect to the abduction of a judge in Edo State, a women official of the Federal Inland Revenue Service and Chudi Nwike, a former deputy governor of Anambra State, who was killed in captivity.
“He also masterminded various attacks against security personnel, carried out several armed robberies and kidnap operations in Delta, Edo, Rivers and Anambra states. Oniarah maintained operational bases and detention camps in Warri and Kokori community in Delta State, Ugbokolo community in Benue State, Benin City in Edo State, and Aba in Abia State,” the statement said further.
Ozekhome was kidnapped on Auchi-Benin road on August 24, and was held captive by his abductors for three weeks before he was released. The Service said Oniarah had been taken into custody while investigation into his activities was ongoing. Oniarah had, in a parade with his gang members on September 18, openly issued a 60-day ultimatum to the federal government to provide infrastructure for his community or face the wrath of his gang.
Rallying Forces Against Boko Haram
THE Christian Association of Nigeria-American, CANAN, based in the United States, has vowed not rest until Boko Haram is designated a Foreign Terrorist Organisation, FTO. Marking its first anniversary with a gala and award night in New York, United States, US, recently, the group warned that if not contained, the Boko Haram sect could also harm the US.
Speaking at the event which was a roll call of eminent Nigerians in the US, James Fadele, a pastor and CANAN president, condemned the killings of Christians and innocent Nigerians by the terrorist sect, pointing out that it was time for all Christians to arise and fight as “we can no longer keep quiet.” Fadele was thankful to God and supporters of the CANAN that in just one year, the group had become the voice of Nigerian Christians advocating the designation as a FTO. The organisation, he said, had been recognised by the US and Nigerian governments, as well as launched and now disbursing a relief fund for victims of Boko Haram.
Wole Soyinka, Nigerian Nobel laureate, in a solidarity message to the organisation, said it was a relief “to find exceptions among one’s people, those who like CANAN, dedicate themselves…and manifest their humanity in practical ways,” adding: “history will not forgive those who appease violators at the expense of the violated, their guilt transcends even the horrors inflicted by the violators. Posterity will, however, enshrine the example of the few who offer practical solace to the orphaned, the widowed and other traumatized innocents.”
Babatunde Osotimehim, former minister of health, in his keynote address, traced the cause of the Boko Haram activities to increasing state of inequality in the society where a few endowed rich could induce the army of unemployed youths to do whatever they want. Osotimehin said the only solution to the problem is to grow the educational system in Nigeria.
Oby Ezekwesili, former education minister and a CANAN trustee, in her address, said the association was the first African advocacy group in Washington DC led by Africans. She challenged Nigerians in the diaspora to take greater interest in the affairs of the
country and contribute to the desired change. Speaking in the same vein, Adebowale Adefuye, Nigeria’s ambassador to the US, commended the CANAN initiative and efforts to bring Nigerians together to fight a cause. On Boko Haram, he disclosed that the federal government was liaising with various organisations within and outside the country to end the insurgence.
During the awards, Peter King, a US congressman, was given the Friend of Nigeria award, for joining the fight against Boko Haram sect. In his speech, King reiterated his determination to ensure that Boko Haram was designated a FTO so as to deal with it. Other award recipients were Emmanuel Ohuabunwa who was also given an award for emerging as the first black to make a 3.98 GPA in John Hopkins University; Toyin Falola, who was honoured as the top Nigerian academic in the US; Ibrahim Gambari, Nigerian diplomat and former minister of foreign affairs, honoured with a lifetime achievement award in diplomacy and public service; Ola Akinboboye, for being the leader of black cardiologists in the US, and Augustine Esogbue, the only Nigerian to serve on the NASA Board so far who received a lifetime achievement award in engineering and technology. The rest were Bunmi Awoniyi, the first Nigeria-born superior judge in the US; Usua Amanam, founder of Nigeria’s first private refinery; Adefuye, for his outstanding achievements as Nigeria’s ambassador to the US, and the Association of Nigerian Pharmacists in Tampa Bay Area, a body that got the right to conduct its own accreditation, the first of its kind in the US.
— Oct. 7, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT