Former UN Sec Gen dies at 80

Former UN Secretary-General and Nobel Peace Prize winner Kofi Annan has died at age 80, his foundation confirmed Saturday.
Annan, who was born in Ghana in 1938, served as the seventh UN Secretary-General, from 1997 to 2006, and was the first to rise from within the ranks of the United Nations staff.
He had been a member of The Elders, a humanitarian group of a dozen leaders and activists of worldwide stature formed by Nelson Mandela, since it was founded in 2007. In 2013, Annan became its chairman.
The Kofi Annan Foundation confirmed his death with “immense sadness” in a statement posted on Twitter.

Kofi Atta Annan was born in Kumasi on April 8, 1938. Since 1960 Ghana has been a republic within the British Commonwealth, a group of nations dependent on Great Britain. Named for an African empire along the Niger River, Ghana was ruled by Great Britain for 113 years as the Gold Coast. Annan is descended from tribal chiefs on both sides of his family. His father was an educated man, and Annan became accustomed to both traditional and modern ways of life. He has described himself as being “atribal in a tribal world.”
After receiving his early education at a leading boarding school in Ghana, Annan attended the College of Science and Technology in the capital of Kumasi. At the age of twenty, he won a Ford Foundation scholarship for undergraduate studies at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he studied economics. Even then he was showing signs of becoming a diplomat, or someone skilled in international relations. Annan received his bachelor’s degree in economics in 1961. Shortly after completing his studies at Macalester College, Annan headed for Geneva, Switzerland, where he attended graduate classes in economics at the Institut Universitaire des Hautes Etudes Internationales.

IMN Condemns Gov el-Rufai for sponsoring hate speeches and sectarian phobia against Shiites

Abdulmumin Giwa

“Shiites, threat to National Security.” We feel this news headline deserves our condemnation. How about if we say: “Sunnis, threat to National Security,” will followers of Sunni Islam in Nigeria not get offended?”

The Islamic Movement in Nigeria IMN has condemned the Kaduna state government led by Nasir el-Rufai, accusing it of sponsoring hate speech and sectarian campaigns against it.

The Movement referred to a recent launching of a book “Fallacy of Shi’ites believes” written by Professor Umar Labdo early in the week at Arewa House, Kaduna, during which Shias were called infidels by the organizers of the event.

This is contained in a press release signed by the president of the Media Forum of the Islamic Movement, Ibrahim Musa.

“The Islamic Movement in Nigeria wishes to express its outright disapproval of the current campaign of calumny against the Shia Islamic faith in general and the Islamic Movement in particular as espoused in the gathering of some Wahhabi Islamic scholars during the book presentation on Sunday 11/08/18 at Arewa House, Kaduna, where Kaduna state Governor was the Chief Host” he stated.

He spokesperson condemned the headline carried by some national dailies accusing the Shiites of being a threat to the nation as claimed by the organizers of the launching.

“Though the book presented was titled “Fallacy of Shi’ites beliefs,” the scholars were reported by some national dailies to have said that “Shiites, threat to National Security.” We feel this news headline deserves our condemnation. How about if we say: “Sunnis, threat to National Security,” will followers of Sunni Islam in Nigeria not get offended?” the statement added.

The Islamic Movement stated, “We are extremely concerned that this title is similar to some of the scary titles you read about Muslims on the websites of Far Right movements who are busy spreading Islamophobia in the West in particular and the world in general, only that in this context the shiaphobia is the bogey for the so-called Wahabbi scholars.”

Expressing concerns over the violation of fundamental rights to religion and to assemble as granted by the Nigerian Constitution, the Movement further frowned at the infringement on its right.

“We must emphasize that while these debates and arguments between Sunnis and Shiites are as old as the history of Islam, the secular Nigeria has nothing to do with it. These ‘scholars’ know very well that the constitution of Nigeria gives freedom of speech and religion as enshrined in section 38, which categorically states: “Every person shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom (either alone or in community with others, and in public or in private) to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance”.” The statement said.

The press statement categorically denies that the Islamic Movement poses a national threat, “Why they hate the Shiites has nothing to do with national security. Therefore well-meaning Nigerians should not be seen to support demonizing narratives sanctioned at a state level simply because people choose different interpretations of some issues within the religion of Islam. Therefore, as long as a group or organization conducts itself peacefully without legitimizing violence, the state should stay away from meddling in inter-sectarian polemics.

“The almost 40 years history of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria and its Leader Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky is enough a pointer to the fact that we are not a threat to national security as those so called scholars that gathered in Kaduna will want other Nigerians to believe. In fact it is the other way round, because it is on record that in one of his books, the author of the book launched, Prof. Umar Labdo of the Maitama Sule University, Kano, called on Muslims of his like to kill, maim and burn the properties of Christians and Shiites. We strongly believe that it’s such ‘scholars’ who identify with the ISIS ideology that spread hate and animosity among citizens that are a threat to National security.”

The Islamic Movement vowed to continue demanding for the release of its Leader, Sheikh Zakzaky, “On a final note, we would like to state categorically that, we will not relent on our effort to enlighten the world about the atrocities committed by the trio of Federal government, Kaduna state government and the Nigerian Army (all under the influence of the Wahibi scholars like Prof. Labdo) against the members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria during the month of December, 2015. Even though the Kaduna book presentation is ostensibly held to justify the Zaria massacre executed by the Army, we will like to assure those pseudo ulama that Zaria massacre will continue to hunt the memories of its organizers, financiers and executors forever.

“We once again wish to reiterate our call on the Federal government to release our Leader Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, his wife Malama Zeenah and hundreds others still languishing in various detention facilities across the country, most especially Southern part of Nigeria since December, 2015.”

Maina persecuted for helping FGN recover N1.3 trillion

Abdulmumin Giwa

It is stated that Dr Abdulrasheed Maina former chairman Pension Reform Task Team, PRTT, is facing undue persecution even after volunteering to assist the federal government recover N1.3 trillion from looters as a committed civil servant under the whistle blower policy.

This is contained in an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari signed by the Executive Secretary, Legislative Watch Ngozika Ihuoma (MNISM) asking why Maina is facing continued persecution after helping the Buhari led administration recover looted funds to the tune of N1.3t.

“If Mr president is actually fighting corruption, should he dissengage a civil servant who has volunteered useful information that has led to recovery of over N1.3 trillion?” the letter asked.

The letter further suggested that some vested interests bent on sabotaging the fight against corruption are behind Maina’s travails. It therefore called on the Federal government to follow due process and recall Maina so that he can help recover over N3 trillion stolen public funds.

The letter expressed suspicion with the verbal manner with which Maina was dismissed insisting that it is the same thieves Maina had exposed that pressured the president into taking that step.

“The question that becloud well-meaning and reasoning Nigerians now, is why would President Buhari in October 2017, verbally order his disengagement from service after succumbing to political pressure from the same thieves that Maina caused their arrest without following due process and without a letter from the presidency to that effect” the letter explained.

The letter raised further suspicion asking why Maina was singled out as chairman Pension Reform Task Team whose membership was drawn from the EFCC, ICPC, DSS, NIA, Customs, Immigration, Police, Prison Service, AGF, PCC among others.

“What happened to the other members of the team from all the afore mentioned agencies? Nothing. In fact all others have not only been working but promoted” it claimed.

It condemned vested interest groups it accused of spending hundreds of millions of Naira on some of the corruption ridden media outfits to paint Maina as a monster insisting that they are the same cycle of people pilfering the nations treasury to date.

It also explained that Maina has since been cleared of the wrongful mismanagement of N195b, the amount said to be actually intact in the Treasury Single Account of the government.

It finally called on the President to stand by his campaign premises and protect citizens who identify with his cause of making the country great again.

The letter also notified that the Legislative Watch will take the matter up until justice is done.

United States Lawyer, Bruce E. Fein, Pledges To Drag President Buhari, Maj. Gen Buratai & Others To ICC

A renowned American constitutional attorney, human rights and international lawyer, Bruce E. Fein has reinstated his commitment to seek for justice for the persecuted people of Eastern Nigeria. In a press release at the end of a Symposium at the University of Chicago, he declared:

“On August 4, 2018, I spoke to hundreds of enthusiastic members of the Eastern Region diaspora at Chicago State University. The address was videotaped. I elaborated on the status of our lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia under the Torture Victims Protection Act for the extrajudicial killings or torture of ten peaceful Eastern Region heroes for protesting the human rights atrocities of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government. The sixteen individual Nigerian defendants include archvillain Tukur Yusuf Buratai.
I explained that litigation moves slowly. Patience, unity, and financial support are indispensable to success. And that our courageous and subjugated Eastern Region plaintiffs need and deserve the moral support of the diaspora.
I also addressed the ongoing effort to assemble the voluminous evidence of war crimes or crimes against humanity perpetrated under the command and control of President Buhari and Chief of Army Staff Buratai since the former’s 2015 inauguration to present to the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to justify her opening investigations of both culprits. No official—even a head of state—is immune from prosecution by the ICC. I explained that any changes or restructuring of sovereign authority in Nigeria would need the support of the United Nations as has occurred in Namibia, East Timor, and South Sudan.
The diaspora at the event highly resolved that the sacrifices of the brave men and women in the Eastern Region, the living and the dead, to advance the cause of liberty and justice shall not have been in vain; and, that the Region shall have a new birth of freedom that will endure for the ages”.

News Copied from The Nigerian Voice

APC Considers Babagana Kingibe As Likely Replacement

Temidayo Akinsuyi, Lagos

Pressure is currently on President Muhammadu Buhari to bow out of the 2019 presidential race, Daily Independent has reliably gathered.

The president is currently on a 10-day vacation in the United Kingdom (UK) and findings indicate that the holiday may be extended for another 11 days.

Credible sources said the pressure on the president not to seek re-election has been on for a while and comes mostly from the international community led by the European Union, the United States, the UK, and Saudi Arabia.

Aside from the issue of his health, which has greatly hampered his performance in the last three years, Daily Independent gathered that those against a second term for Buhari also harped on the current divisions in the country which, according to them, may worsen if he seeks re-election.

According to our source, “From the feelers we are getting, President Buhari may opt out of the 2019 presidential election. There is serious pressure on him from the international community, especially the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom (UK), and even Saudi Arabia.

It would be recalled that shortly before his departure to the UK, the president had appealed to his supporters across the nation to suspend campaigns for his re-election in compliance with the electoral law, saying it had come to the realisation of the presidency that his supporters had started campaigns through advocacies and placement of advertisements in the media.

A member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Working Committee (NWC), who also confirmed the development, said there was a possibility that the president might not seek re-election.

According to him, that was why loyalists of the president were considering Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, who served as Secretary to the Federal Government (SGF) from 2007 to 2008 under the late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, as a possible alternative.

“Yes, I am aware of the development though it is not something that is being discussed at the party level for now.

“For now, it is not a serious issue because one, the president has not made up his mind whether to continue with his re-election plans or do a single term or bow out.

Two, the party, for now, is trying to put its house in order, given the gale of defections among parties and issues surrounding the Senate Presidency.

“Once these are settled, we will now shift our focus on issues surrounding the 2019 presidential election.

“But one thing I know is that ever since the president announced his desire to seek re-election at the party’s NEC meeting in April, there has been serious pressure on him, especially from the international community, to rescind his decision and that is why some power brokers in the presidency are already considering Babagana Kingibe as an alternative if the president decides not to run.”

Also speaking, a close ally of the president said he was considering Hadi Sirika, Minister of State for Aviation, as his choice but added that his loyalists are afraid that Sirika is too immature for the job.


(OPINION): Nigeria is the highest breeder of poverty

NIGERIA is now the world’s largest breeder of poverty and our political leaders collectively and irrespective of party don’t give a damn. I was in Akwa Ibom on Monday, July 30, 2018; specifically in Essien Udim Local Government, sandwiched between Ikot Ekpene LG and Abia State on the now totally neglected Aba-Ikot Ekpene Federal Road. The LG was not on my itinerary when I set off from Lagos. But, an unexpected meeting with an indigene of Ikot Ada Utor community sent me scampering there. If you had been dropped blindfolded on the Aba-Ikot Ekpene Road at any point, it would be difficult for you to imagine that you are in Nigeria; let alone one in an oil producing state.
The neglect was total. From the Ikot Ekpene boundary to Abia State boundary and return, I met a total of seven vehicles including two trailers and one truck. The only means of transport available were motor cycles and tri-cycles. A motorist stranded on that road might wait for days without help. Virtually all the filling stations were closed down and the few still operating sell fuel at over N200 per litre. With economic life shut down, the level of poverty can only be imagined.

Several communities lying between Aba and Ikot Ekpene are already terribly impoverished with little hope of getting out of it because Presidents from Obasanjo to Buhari have refused to repair that road. Even Jonathan from the South South did nothing about it despite the overwhelming votes he received from them. It was callous.
The plight of the people of Essien Udim LG only serves as a metaphor for the unchecked and continuous pauperization of the majority of stakeholders of NIGERIA PLC under Buhari. Readers should bear in mind that to reverse our headlong crash into crushing poverty, the Nigerian economy must grow at five per cent every year for at least ten years before we can enjoy per capita income close to what we had in 2012. Right now, Buhari administration and the state governors are not getting us close to half of that figure. The economy grew at less than one per cent in the first quarter of this year. We wait for the Q2 result; but, it is unlikely to reach two per cent. Each quarter we grow at less than five per cent sends more people into extreme poverty. We now breed almost half of the people descending below the poverty line worldwide. Permit me to briefly explain the reasons.
Power supply defines all economies. Once upon a time, when Federal Government officials and some so-called technocrats were boasting about Nigeria becoming a top 20 economy by 2020, they were told to look at the gap in power generation between South Africa, SA, then number 32 and Nigeria. SA was already generating over 45000MW; Nigeria, officially, was stuck at 4000MW. Only the pervasive use of generators in Nigeria helped to close the gap. But, power generation by private companies made our products more expensive.
Today, the Nigerian power sector is in more disarray than when Buhari became President. The evidence stares us and investors in the face everyday. All the stakeholders in the power sector are at daggers-drawn. Consumers are in conflict with the Distribution Companies, DISCOs and the Minister in charge; the DISCOs are at war with consumers and the Ministry; generating units have a raging battle with DISCOs and the banks which financed the DISCOs are having a tough time collecting payments as and when due.
Meanwhile, the regulatory body National Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, has become more partisan than anybody expects. Designed to protect consumers from the awesome powers of the DISCOs, the NERC has turned deaf ears to the complaint of consumers regarding estimated billing and the failure of DISCOs to provide metres – meaning proof – that consumers are not being ripped-off. Even its latest announcement that consumers can procure their own meters has not been well-explained. Among important and unanswered questions are: who installs the meter? How can DISCOs be sure that they provide correct measurement? What happens if a meter becomes defective or gets burnt while a replacement has not been found?
Just recently some DISCOs announced their willingness to return their units to the Federal Government – even at a deep discount. The meaning of that is clear. Even those of them who had taken a “wait and see” attitude might no longer be willing to wait; because they have seen enough. When three or four DISCOs out of desperation quit in disgust, Nigeria would not just return to the starting point of public ownership, we would end with temporary chaos in the power sector which will make any rapid economic growth impossible.
Strategic roads and power define economic activities in any country. We have seen how atrocious policies on power are slowing us down. When we turn to our major roads and we should cry….


Review cases of illegal detention, release victims, Falana tells acting DSS boss

Human rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana, SAN, Sunday called on the acting director of the State Security Services, Mathew Seiyefa to review cases of hundreds of illegally detained persons by the Directorate of State Security, DSS under the leadership of the sacked director, Lawal Daura and release them forthwith.

In an open letter to the acting DSS boss, while congratulating Seiyefa, Falana made a catalogue of the running battles his firm had with the sacked Director General over alleged violations of the fundamental human rights of Nigerians, while calling on the new boss to remedy the past wrongs.

Specifically, Falana demanded that the DSS should “discontinue the frivolous charge pending against Messrs Jones Abiri, a journalist and Peter Collins Opume at the Wuse Magistrate Court; while releasing the hundreds of detainees that are languishing without trial in the various detention centres of the SSS.”

The lawyer called for the release of Col. Dasuki and others who have been freed by the Federal High Court, including Sheik Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife Zeenat Ibrahim from illegal detention in line with the orders of the Federal High Court.

Falana also called on him to respect the rights of suspects to consult legal practitioners of their choice before making, endorsing or writing any statement or answering any question put to them after arrest in line with the provisions of the Anti-Torture Act of 2017 which has criminalized the use of torture in all security agencies.

He urged the security boss to ensure that all detention facilities of the SSS are inspected monthly by the Visiting Judge of the Federal High Court in accordance with the provision of section 34 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.

He also called on him to stop the SSS “from further usurping the powers of the Nigeria Police Force, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Offences Commission and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission with respect to the investigation of allegations of murder, stealing, fraud, money laundering, corruption and other economic and financial crimes which are not connected to national security.”

He appealed that he should ban the operatives of the SSS from wearing masks as according to him, no military or paramilitary official is authorised by law to hide his/her identity in the course of performing official duties; as well as ensuring that the SSS operates within the ambit of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended and the National Security Agencies Act.

Promising his support for the the new leadership, Falana urged Seiyefa to be committed to his promise to secure and respect the rights of all persons and operates under the rule of law.

He equally advise that he, “hope that you will take urgent steps to improve the image of the security outfit from its current infamy and lawlessness to an institution that is completely dedicated to the enforcement of security laws and the protection of citizens against all acts of internal aggression.