Monday, 21 April 2014

It’s civil war — Gowon

LAGOS—General Yakubu Gowon, who led Nigeria through a 30-month civil war, yesterday, lamented that the country had fallen into full scale civil war with the spate of crises in the northeast.
His assertion was corroborated by the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions, NASU.
The assertions came as the governor of Borno State, Alhaji Kashim Shetima lamented that the last seven days have been the worst in his life following the abduction of 129 girls from a secondary school in the state. He disclosed that seven more girls had escaped from the hideout of the Boko Haram insurgents bringing the number of those remaining in captivity of the Islamic insurgents to 77.
Meanwhile, despite Saturday’s formal lapse of the state of emergency in the troubled Northeast, the military remained fully deployed in the three states with strict restriction on the movement of persons in the states.
However, telephone communications which were once curtailed after the proclamation of emergency rule by President Goodluck Jonathan last April have noticeably improved.
Nevertheless, opinion on the sustenance of the state of emergency remained mixed among stakeholders from within and outside the troubled states. While some called for the full implementation of emergency rule with the suspension of the elected political institutions, other stakeholders differed. All parties were nevertheless agreed that the soldiers deployed to the region should remain.
The president has not given notice of his inclination towards renewing or suspending the state of emergency. A security meeting between the president and the nation’s governors is expected to hold on Wednesday following which a formal announcement on the issue would be clarified.
The state of emergency was first proclaimed by President Jonathan in April 2013 and renewed after six months last November.
Gowon, who spoke exclusively to Vanguard on the sideline of events marking the 75th birthday of former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Ufot Ekaette, said it was imperative for the government to firmly deal with the rising wave of terrorism in the country so as to keep the country one.
The former head of state pointed out that what was going on in Nigeria was close to the challenges the 30-month civil war posed to his administration.
He said that it was necessary for all Nigerians to team up with the government to ensure that the forces opposed to the continued unity and progress of the country were roundly defeated.
Describing the insurgents as enemies of a united Nigeria, Gowon enjoined Nigerians to support the federal government with necessary prayers to God to end the cycle of violence being unleashed on the nation by the insurgents.

It’s civil war — Gowon

Gowon said: “What we are witnessing today is not too different from what happened during my administration as head of state and we moved ahead to checkmate the insurgency.
“We need to pray and work with the government to ensure that this ugly cycle of violence comes to an end so that the unity of Nigeria is not threatened. It is therefore imperative for the government to take appropriate decisions to deal with the spate of violence sweeping through the country so that this country can remain as one united entity,” he admonished.
While speaking at the birthday celebration, Gowon had said that he stood his ground to ensure that Nigeria remained as one during the civil war because he believed in the unity of the nation.
He pointed out that although he was not the one who coined “Go Ahead With One Nigeria, GOWON”, the coinage significantly inspired him to resist all attempts by certain elements to divide the country.
The former head of state therefore appealed to Nigerian leaders at all levels to ensure that they render quality service to their people and also resist the temptation to stay in office beyond the stipulated terms in the constitution.
Gowon, who poured encomiums on Chief Ekaette, who had served him as Private Secretary between 1968 and 1975, said the former SGF was an embodiment of loyalty, hard work and transparency, who should be emulated by all well meaning Nigerians.
NASU in a statement recalled the April 14, 2014 bombing at Nyanya Motor Park, Abuja, which claimed over 100 lives with over 250 others injured, and the abduction of several female students from a Government Girls Secondary School, GGSS, in Chibok, Bornu State, 24 hours after the Nyanya bombing.
Speaking through its General Secretary, Peters Adeyemi, NASU, argued that it was unbelievable that one week after, the whereabouts and safety of some of the abducted students had remained unknown till today, calling on the Federal Government especially, the military to live up to its responsibilities of protecting the nation both internally and externally.

My worst days ever — Shetima

Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima has described the last one week as his most troubling moment since he took over the mantle of affairs in May, 2011.
The statement came as seven more girls escaped from captivity, bringing the total number of those who have escaped to 52 leaving 77 still in captivity.
Shettima’s expression of feelings was contained in his Easter message released by his spokesman, Isa Gusau and followed the abduction of 129 school girls in the early hours of last Tuesday at Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State.
The Governor said though he had witnessed very dark days of insurgency inherited by his administration, none of the attacks had been more troubling for him as the abduction of the school girls.
“I am also very much aware that the girls abducted consist of not just those with origins traced to Chibok but also from other parts of the state and the country which is typical of a good secondary school that should unite Nigerians. I am also aware that the abducted students include both Christians and Muslim faithful.
“I am made to understand that the Ameera (spiritual head) of the Muslim Students Society in the school is among those abducted and yet to be freed. She was abducted alongside her Christian and Muslim colleagues without the insurgents worried about the religion any of the students practice. We must therefore remain united in our shared grief to pray vehemently for our girls as well as the patriotic security agencies and civilian volunteers currently in relentless search and rescue efforts.
“Between last night and this evening, seven more girls escaped from captivity, bringing to 52 the number of those with us out of 129 students that were at the hostel on the day of that attack. This means 77 students are yet to be found.”
CAN declares fasting, prayers, appeal for their release
Meanwhile, the Christians Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Borno State, yesterday, called on all Christians in the state and Nigeria to begin fasting and prayers for the release of all the secondary school girls kidnapped by insurgents in Chibok.
State chairman of the association, Rev. Titus Pona at a press briefing in Maiduguri yesterday equally appealed to members of the Boko Haram to release the school girls.
“We are calling on all Christians in Borno state, Nigeria and the world to fast and pray for the release of the girls.
He also called on the insurgents to lay down their arms and channel their grievances through dialogue with the federal and state governments.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Accusing Pres. Jonathan of genocide: The memo by Gov. Nyako, which has got everyone talking

by Murtala Nyako
The adverse security situation in Northern Nigeria in particular and Nigeria in general is being felt by all of us. While every State Government is doing everything possible using virtually all its resources to stem the tide of near disaster facing all of us especially in the North, it is a well-known fact that the present Federal administration has now become a government of impunity run by an evil-minded leadership for the advancement of corruption that is apparently enjoying the protection of the Federal administration as a citizen of this country should enjoy but is being denied by the administration using its mass murderers/cut-throats embedded in our legitimate and traditional Defence and Security organisations. It is very clear that the protection of life and property of innocent citizens in Northern Nigeria and recognising their Human rights and Voting right in the forthcoming general elections is no longer a cardinal principle of the administration.    

The beginning of Genocide:

Clearly the victims of the Administration’s evil-mindedness are substantially Northern Nigerians. The administration is bent on bringing wars in the North between Muslim and Christians and within them and between one ethnic group and another or others in various communities in the region. Cases of mass murders by its bloody minded killers and cut-throats are well known, but it attributes the killings to so-called Boko-Haram. Thousands of our young girls and boys have been kidnapped by clearly organised militia in the last few years and kidnapping is now a random affair all over the far North. These organized kidnappers must have the backing of the Federal administration for them to move about freely with abducted children just as those who convey ammunitions and explosives from the Ports to the safe-houses of so called Boko-Haram in the North. Hurrah we are no longer being deceived! We no longer accept let alone believe that our prominent Mallams in the Mosques in Kano and Zaria have been killed by ‘innocent’ Boko-Haram members or Christians in the North, nor do we believe that the killing of the Pastor and other worshippers in the Christ Apostolic Church in Jimeta-Yola was done by any Muslim or Boko-Haram members. We know where we are now pointing our fingers. There have also been attempts to assassinate the Senate President (Northerner) in Imo State, two Executive Governors of States in the North (the Governor of Benue State and my humble self), two of our most prominent Traditional leaders (Shehu of Borno and the Emir of Kano), Senators and others too numerous to mention, all from Northern Nigeria. This is in line with the demonic policy of the evil-few in and around the administration that have advocated how Northerners, both Christians and Muslims, are to be so dealt with, ill-treated and oppressed!

No wonder, we in the Northern Nigeria are now facing an organised ethno-religious campaigns of hate fuelled by the Federal administration to make communities which hitherto have remained peaceful for centuries to start killing the minorities in their midst and to facilitate mass killings of the innocent and the arbitrary arrests and torture of elders of minority ethnic groups in the various Northern communities. The reader is please requested to note what has been happening in Plateau State and the recent happenings in Benue and Nasarawa States. We, in Adamawa State, have been battling this heinous machination in the last 3 years. Yes, we noticed it! We also saw it as the Beginning of Genocide. Genocide kingpins are now on prowl in Northern Nigeria!

Fulani communities in parts of the North who have been in their locations for over 100 years are now being raided and uprooted by paid killers within the Nigerian Army for the satisfaction of the Federal administration instead of being protected as citizens with their rights and dignity safe-guarded. This has happened to those communities at Keana L.G. in Nasarawa State and Laddoga and Kachia in Kaduna State. It is presently extended to Benue, Zamfara and Katsina States. Furthermore it is a well-known fact that virtually all the soldiers of Northern Nigerian origin recently recruited to fight Boko-Haram have been deceived in that aspect. They are being poorly trained, totally ill-equipped, given only uniform and are killed by their trainers in Nigerian Army training centres as soon as they arrive in the Nigerian Army camps being used by so-called Boko-Haram insurgents. Virtually all the Nigerian Army soldiers killed/murdered in these operations so far are of Northern Nigerian origin. The Administration has also hired militia from all across especially North Africa who have been deceived into accepting to come because they were made to believe that they would be fighting infidels.

The Federal administration’s affront to frame Northerners is also an open secret. Senior Special Assistant to Mr President tried to hoodwink us into believing that Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was kingpin of Boko-Haram. Typical bullshit from the Federal administration. Mr Henry Okah, the convicted leader of MEND also stated under oath that he was being put under pressure by the administration to implicate senior Northern elements such as IBB and Buhari as financiers of Boko Haram terrorism. We are in deep trouble. We have begun to sleep with ‘both our eyes widely open’!

Let me paraphrase what humanity has been humming over the ages:

A call to Action 

When they killed the Jews, we watched unconcerned because we were not Jews. 

When they murdered the Blacks we were still unconcerned because we were not Black. 

When they massacred the Asians we kept mute because we were not one of them. 

Then we saw the Marauding Murderers coming and we realised they were coming for us and we were not safe. 

That was when we knew that if we had collectively protested the Killings of the Jews, the Murder of the Blacks and Massacres of the Asians, we would all have been safe.

Right here at Home 

They started killings in Borno State we kept quiet.

They hired killers got to Yobe State we remained mute

They proceeded to Adamawa State we watched

They attacked Kano, Katsina and Sokoto we said nothing

The North-East is under occupation

The North-West is under assault

Now their tanks and marauders have begun rolling into the North-Central

The North is under occupation

Yet we are still silent!

Nigerians stand-up and talk! Injury to one is injury to all!

Full-fledged Genocide

It is fortunate that the people of Northern Nigeria and indeed Nigerians have friends namely the good people of this country and other nations, International Court of Justice and NGOs dealing with the protection of humanity against Genocide etc. The International Criminal Court Charter broadly defines genocide as:

  • Mass killings of human beings
  • A deliberate action by a government that embarks on a policy that denies a group basic social amenities.
  • A deliberate action by a government or group of people who embark on campaign of hatred against the innocent.
The International Criminal Court Charter also empowers any aggrieved person(s) or NGO to approach the Court to intervene when a Nation/State party fails to prosecute perpetrators of genocide or grave human right violation or human right offences.

One must confess that all these elements of genocide have been perpetuated by the present Federal administration against the people of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States and is beginning to rapidly spread to other 14 States of Northern Nigeria. The dead bodies being dragged daily from the Nigerian Army hitherto armouries now turned into killing chambers as identified by Human Right organisations and the last weekend massacre of inmates of SSS cells in Abuja speak volumes on genocide being committed in our country today. Mass killings of students and children in their schools’ dormitories and on their way to take exams are now virtually daily occurrence in Borno and Yobe States. Below is the chart on numbers and percentage of people killed in key trouble spots of the world (Courtesy of Sunday Trust of April 6, 2014) and some of the gruesome pictures of the dead in our country recorded by the Nigerian media and international NGOs.

We in the North must now have an open agenda to protect our people from acts against us similar to those in the foregoing. We should demand our Human Rights; we should demand protection against the evil acts being done to our people and environments; we should demand the Right to Vote in forthcoming General Elections as the people of war-torn Afghanistan did and were able to vote in smooth General Elections on 5th April, 2014. If it could be done in Afghanistan, it should be done in Nigeria, the whole of Nigeria!

It is overdue for us to commence the very serious business of purging all Northerners and fellow Nigerians of mutual hatred and suspicion against fellow countrymen and to inculcate true love and patriotism in the minds of all of us. How could we be nonchalant to the activities of the Federal administration which is involved in the daily massacre of our young men and women, selected elders and eventually all and sundry? It is also time to mobilize International NGO to bring to an end all the atrocities being committed by the evil-few in Abuja against millions of our innocent people. We need international support to compile an accurate data on the dead, maimed, wounded, displaced and missing in the North-East Zone especially Borno State and Yobe State and now other Northern States for payment of full compensation for the loss of life and property. We need the Red Cross to help us set up an efficient medical and ambulance services etc. We need the services of other international organisations such as UNICEF to assist us trace the whereabouts of our abducted children and return them to their parents. They should also assist us to rehabilitate all those who have been adversely affected by the evil machinations of the Federal administration and those evil-few around it. We also need the services of appropriate NGOs to help us arraign all those involved in the genocide before the International Criminal Court at The Hague! We urgently require the services of all those that could help us achieve the objective of the UN Millennium Declaration 2000 where all parties agreed viz “We recognize that, in addition to our separate responsibilities to our individual societies, we have a collective responsibility to uphold the principles of human dignity, equality and equity at the global level. As leaders we have a duty therefore to all the world’s people, especially the most vulnerable and, in particular, the children of the world, to whom the future belongs”. Nigeria is a signatory to this Declaration. 

WE NEED ONE ANOTHER IN NIGERIA

Setting Precedent

Nigerians, this is the first time we have collectively elected a citizen of this country from the former Eastern Nigeria as a President. Dear citizens of Eastern Nigerian origin please note that this Federal administration under your son is giving you a very bad name! He takes wrong decisions and seems to be heading us to the abyss. Let’s therefore team up to save our freedom, dignity and rights.

The issue now is not between North and South or Northern Nigeria vs Eastern Nigeria or Western Nigeria. We must save our communities, State and Nigeria from the Hitler-like evil-mindedness of a few. Let me remind ourselves that when Hitler walked out of the 1938 Olympics because a Blackman was winning all his events, humanity pretended it did not notice the beginning of genocide; when he started tracking and killing the Jews, it talked glibly about it as if it did not concern us; when he embarked on his racial cleansing, humanity then began to shiver, but it was too late to avert disaster that engulfed our world. The 2nd World War became a reality! We have the duty not to allow our country to be taken to the abyss! We should always condemn any action by any group of people that would set our communities and nation aflame. One is quite sure that if you had condemned the cold-blooded murder of political and military leaders of Northern and Western Nigerian origins in the night of 15 January, 1966 by your sons it would not have led to the subsequent massacre of the innocent and the Nigerian Civil War. We should never be silent or tolerant of such action by anybody. We have the duty not to be nonchalant or dormant on the fundamentals of our life. We should never take any ethnic group however small or unorganized for granted!

The Federal administration under present leadership has truly become absurd in its approach to vital decision makings as it could be seen in its declaration of State of Emergency and the deployments of the Armed Forces! How could such decisions be made without Exit strategies? The administration should know that declaration of State of Emergency is a very serious affair requiring proper analysis on all items of its Check-list. Nigerians are wondering why the administration has not yet declared a State of Emergency on FCT Abuja in view of the numerous explosions attributed to phantom Boko-Haram, one at Eagle square on the 50th Independence anniversary and others at United Nations Headquarters, Nigeria Police Force Headquarters, ThisDay offices etc. and terrorist attack at SSS Headquarter since the administration did declare such on Adamawa State where there was not a single incident of explosion! Perhaps this would happen soon; the absurdity of the administration’s conflict resolution is such that it is wise for Nigerians and foreigners residing in Abuja to braze up for a Declaration of a State of Emergency on Abuja in view of another carnage there at Nyanya District a few days ago! God help us! We seem to be led by a bunch of ‘HuHun-ma-ahun’ (courtesy of Kwankwasiyya which is being led by the one and only Dan Musa who was the former Minister of Defence)

Let me say, on the final note, with all seriousness that each and every one of us whatever is our religious or ethnic background and regardless of where we were born, needs this country, Nigeria, for self-actualisation and greater possibility. The various ethnic groups too by their individual traits require the space and the great population of this country; such ethnic group as Fulani, who are nomadic by vocation, require pasture and grains for their cattle;  the Hausa and Igbos require further reach to fulfil their commercial ambition; some other Nigerians e.g. Yorubas require higher job opportunities for employment and profits that should exist in a united Nigeria; the aristocratic Kanuri/Shuwa who are presently under siege need the vocal amongst us to save them from further destruction by deliberately recruited murderers embedded in our traditional Defence and Security forces/organisation; and other groups would like expanding markets for their yams (the Tiv/Munci) and other farm produce far beyond the boundaries of their domains.

Quite a number of us should simply be happy to have an erosion-free area where we could build houses and offices of our desire and enjoy the liberty to partner with persons of our choice regardless of primordial divides! Even my father who by today’s standard could be said to be untutored fully realised the need to seize the opportunities a greater Nigeria offered him from the 1920s. His cattle business and commercial activities were spread to all the big towns in Eastern Nigeria operating from Adamawa and northern Cameroon. So let us please sort ourselves out and stop at all levels wicked leaders from venting their evil hearts and committing genocide against fellow Nigerians. We must not ‘walk together’ with the evil-few especially those located in Abuja. Our late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo once said something to the effect that the consequences of breaking up of Nigeria would be too traumatic to even be contemplated. We all should therefore perish the thought of Nigeria falling apart. Let’s enjoy the opportunities Nigeria offers to all!

Fellow good people of Nigeria, we must now seek the intervention of the international community, NGOs and all to save us from the evil before us! Mother Nigeria, the leader of the Black race, is on the verge of disaster. The matter concerns all of us; we must save it and save ourselves!

Fellow Governors and Citizens of the North, we must face the daunting challenges of security and development before us; we must face them squarely and must not remain dormant. In addition to the aforementioned courses of action, should we not, after due consultation with the families of the victims of the atrocities and appropriate members of various communities, consider a declaration of Northern Nigerian Amnesty to the culprits and consequently squarely address all other matters connected with the Amnesty and Boko-Haram syndrome? It is my sincere opinion that the Federal administration has no plan and Exit strategy for the Boko-Haram disaster! Northern Nigeria is on its own. I am glad to state categorically that so far there has never been a single Adamawa person caught involving himself/herself in Boko-Haram; we have ensured that we have been doing everything possible to reduce the poverty and the frustration facing the youths in our State. Furthermore, let us all pledge to support maximally all those who have been adversely affected by ‘Boko-Haram’ to sue the Federal administration to Court for full compensation for any loss of life and property as per existing Laws of Nigeria including those enacted from 1915. Enough of impunity and induced calamity by the Federal Administration. We should in addition launch a Trust Fund to effect this with donations coming from all and sundry however big or small is the donation.

May the Almighty Bless our Country and our effort with success, Ameen!

- The governor of Adamawa, Murtala Nyako, presented this memo to Northern governors on April 16, 2014

Genocide Memo: The Presidency Bombs governor Nyako

The presidency on Saturday described Adamawa State Governor, Murtala Nyako as an unpatriotic hypocrite who is on a mission to cause disaffection and division among Nigerians, as well as polarise the country along ethnic lines by disparaging President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.

Specifically, it said the memo by Nyako to his colleague, northern governors alleging genocide on the Northern region by the federal government is “an unmitigated leadership disaster and a sad betrayal of trust by a major beneficiary of the Nigerian Nation.”

Senior Special Assistant to President Jonathan on public affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe who made the presidency known in a statement described Governor Nyako’s letter as “extremely divisive and intentionally meant to incite one section of the country against the other”, even as he regretted that the content of the memo, which “definitely defies common sense,” “portrays Mr Nyako as unfit for the hallowed position of a State Governor.

“It is perhaps necessary to request the Adamawa Governor to publish his yearly budget for the past five years and disclose how much has been voted or spent to support the war on terror or assist victims of insurgents activities in his state,” Okupe stated.

He recalled a recent attack on Nyako by a group of angry youths who, he said, accused the governor “of non challance and failure to support victims of Boko Haram’s murderous onslaught on innocent citizens of the state.”

Okupe added that the content of Nyako’s letter has unfortunately exposed the governor’s lack of historical knowledge, just as he said the memo also showed the governor was “incapable of rising above parochial sentiments and possessing a morbid hatred for facts and truth in public discourse.

“Governor Nyako claims that President Goodluck Jonathan is from the Eastern region which according to him was responsible for the killing of Northern political elites on the 15th of January 1966! This is a very disgraceful remark by the governor and a pathetic embarrassment to the Nigerian Military from where Nyako derives his career antecedents. It is certainly a reflection of the Governors ignorance and unpatriotic inclinations”, he stated.

On the Adamawa governor’s referral to the Boko Haram sect as a “phantom organization” which he believes does not exist, Okupe said it was “hypocritical” of Nyako who, in his unwise and desperate attempt to demonise the Federal Government, “likened the military operations against insurgents to the activities of German dictator, Adolf Hitler!

“In his befuddled mind and apparent hallucination, the Federal Government should be held responsible for the activities of insurgents in the North East and the sad killings,wanton destruction, murder and kidnapping of school children as well as other horrendous activities of Boko Haram should be hung on the neck of the Federal Government! He therefore invited his colleague northern governors to join him to sue the Federal Government”, the presidential aide noted.

The statement made available to LEADERSHIP further reads in part: “We also wish to remind Nigerians that this same Governor Nyako was recently quoted as having boasted openly that now that the Fulani herdsman can assemble the AK47 gun,”the security equilibrium in the country is now balanced”. The same man was reported to have imported some fulanis from outside the country and spent millions of Naira in rehabilitating,feeding,housing and catering for their welfare.

“We, therefore, urge Nigerians to ignore the senseless letter written by the Adamawa state governor whose ignoble aim is to create disaffection among Nigerians,polarize the country along ethnic lines and unkindly disparage this administration which continues to work hard to fully eliminate insurgency and destroy their support base.

“It is obvious that Governor Nyako’s opposition to the declaration of a State of Emergency in three affected states of the North East as well as his repeated calls for the withdrawal of the Military from troubled states without any credible alternative or security road map, is an open endorsement of the activities of the insurgents which is meant to provide them unrestricted opportunity to further unleash terror on innocent citizens in order to precipitate chaos, further instability, mayhem and anarchy ; a situation which they intend to exploit to undermine the administration and truncate our growing democracy.

“This, Nigerians will surely not allow to happen. The Federal Government assures Nigerians of its continuos determination to defeat terror and restore peace to every part of northern Nigeria so that every law abiding Nigerian citizen can go about with his/her socio economic pursuit without let or hindrance in all parts of the country.”

Friday, 18 April 2014

More than 20 dead in the clash between the Jukuns(indigenes) and the Muslims.

More than 20 dead in the clash between the Jukuns(indigenes) and the Muslims. This news goes against what is being reported by the popular media under the title "Fulani herdsmen kill 15 in Taraba".

The attack started since Wednesday 16th April and it is still going on. 
According to our source; Kingsley Andrew, who happened to reside in Wukari and witnessed the attacks, 
"The trouble broke out between the indigenes of the place(Wukari in Taraba State) when they were attacked selectively by some Muslims for unknown reasons. They retaliated but the situation intensified as some Nigerian Soldiers who happened to be the first to rush to the scene of the incident took sides with the Muslims in killing and maiming a lot of Jukuns and others. This is surprising as the soldiers were expected to solve the problem but unfortunately majority of them were Muslims as well. Nevertheless, when another set of troops arrived, there was a face off between them and the soldiers that arrived previously. That led many people to take refuge wherever they can until the situation is calm but we still hear gunshots here and there." 
We were made to understand that the wife of the Taraba state Governor; Dr. Mrs. Hauwa Danbaba Suntai was caught up in the middle of the fight but has since been rescued by a group of soldiers. The situation is still deteriorating and we expect a rise in the death toll as many has not been reported yet.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Abuja explosion: more than 200 killed at Nyanya. Boko Haram attack.





WorldStage Newsonline-- Security agencies have been placed on red alert throughout the Federal Capital Territory (Abuja) following the explosion that occurred in Nyanya bus/stop on Monday morning, according to the Police Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba. Mba said that about 16 Luxury coaches and 24 minibuses were affected by the deadly blast.

About 71 people were believed to have been killed and 124 injured in the blast that occurred at the highly populated motor park in Nyanya, about 16km from the Abuja city centre. The death told is likely to increase as some bodies are completely dispersed and some fatally injured could die.

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said the explosion occurred at 6:30 a.m.

President Goodluck Jonathan who visited the scene of the blast with the Senate President, David Mark and Chairman of PDP, Adamu Muazu urged Nigerians to be more observant of the activities around them.

He said, “We have lost quite a number. We condole with our country men and women. The issue of Boko Haram is quite an ugly history within this period of our own development. Government is doing everything to make sure that we move our country forward. But these are the unnecessary distractions that are pushing us backward. But we will get over it.

The President who cancelled a scheduled trip to Ibadan, Oyo State because of the incident added that, “The issue of Boko Haram is temporary. Surely, we will get over it.”

Police Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, who accompanied the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, on a visit to the scene, said emergency workers were collating the casualty figure.

He said 16 high-capacity buses, some cars and motorcycles were affected in the explosion and investigation had begun.

He confirmed that the FCT police were already on red alert while “security in and around Abuja is being strengthened; we are paying very close attention to all vulnerable points.

“We are also paying close attention to motor parks. We advise the public to avoid unnecessary huge crowd. We are also paying close attention to government buildings.”

He appealed for calm, cooperation and patience, describing the incident as sad.

He said, “Experts from the Bomb Disposal Squad are on ground, the police are working with other security agencies.

“At this stage, we may not be able to give the casualty figure; the reasons are obvious; a lot of people are in the hospital; our detectives are visiting hospitals and taking count.

“We want to give you figures that we can back up with facts.”

But... Boko Haram has promised to carry these attacks with more to come. Why people are still waiting for the terrorist group to claim this particular attack is daunting. 

I was chased out of Sudan when I raised the alarm about Boko Haram – Ambassador Bola Dada

Ambassador Bola Dada shares his experiences in international affairs as a former diplomat with ADEOLA BALOGUN and JESUSEGUN ALAGBE.

When did you retire and how are you spending your time now?

I retired from the federal civil service in June 2009, and since my retirement, I have been working in the farm. I am a farmer as well as a consultant. I consult for people on oil and gas and on any business connected to any of the countries where I worked before. I provide information and materials to anybody who is interested in businesses in such countries like Iran, which is the last country I was posted to. I am now into snail farming.

Apart from Iran, where else did you serve?

I started my posting with what was called attachment in those days. When I joined the federal service, it was still very fine and well organised. I joined in 1976, just four months after my National Youth Service Corp. The country was still nice then. In fact, by the time we finished, jobs were already waiting for us. Then we were divided into three groups. Some of us that had degrees in Political Science were sent straight to the Institute of International Affairs to obtain a diploma in International Missions. That was when Professor Bolaji Akinyemi was the Director General and late Alhaji Abubakar Rimi was Executive Secretary. We spent about one year in the institution to become full-fledged diplomats. Some of us were sent straight on attachments to various missions. We were about six. Others were retained at the headquarters.  My first attachment was supposed to be for one year, but I spent 15 months, and that was in Madrid, Spain. While in Madrid, I also covered the Vatican because countries didn’t normally send their envoys to the Vatican directly as you could not have two ambassadors in a country. We had an ambassador in Rome, but an ambassador in Rome could not cover the Vatican. They were two different entities. So, it was our mission in Spain that covered the Vatican. After that I came back to our headquarters. I was posted to the Passport Office in Abeokuta. By that time, our ministry was considering how to hand over the Passport Office to the Immigration. So 12 of us were sent to 12 states as Passport Control Officers. I was the Passport Control Officer for Ogun State. Then passport officers were sent to their states of origin.

Where were your next overseas postings?

My next overseas postings were to Trinidad and Tobago in the West Indies, then to Morocco, and from Morocco, I was posted to Sudan. I was chased out of Sudan for knowing and talking too much. I was then sent to Uganda. From Uganda, I covered Rwanda and Burundi. Funny enough, right from when I was in Morocco, I had always been the deputy head of missions, even as a junior officer. In Trinidad and Tobago, for instance, I was the second-in-command even though I was a junior officer. From Uganda, I was sent to Iran which was my last posting. So you could see that out of the six countries that I covered, I was made to serve in three Arab/Islamic countries, which you could say was a deliberate way of turning me into an Arabian and Islamic expert by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – which was not supposed to be so. Also, I was made to serve in three African countries which was not supposed to be. Normally, a diplomat is not supposed to serve in one continent twice, let alone three times. I was not supposed to be sent to Sudan when I was posted there. I started from Spain (Europe), then to the West Indies (America), then to Morocco (Africa); then to Sudan (another African country).

So, why were you sent to Sudan?

I could not explain it. In fact, at a stage, the Minister of Foreign Affairs then, Alhaji Sule Lamido, tried to offer some explanations. He said he believed it was an act of carelessness or sloppy attitude of some officers in the administration department. Otherwise, if they had been doing their work well, they should have seen my posting records. Since I had served in Morocco, I should never have been sent to other African countries, especially an Islamic country. Since I once served in Morocco, an Islamic country, why did they send me to another African and Islamic country? Lamido said, “Dada, don’t worry, I will make redress. Now tell me as we are now any country of your choice. I know they have robbed you and I am ready to intervene in my capacity as the Foreign Affairs minister. Right here on this desk, I can post you to any country you like. Just mention it.” When he gave me the offer, I told him, “Your Excellency, don’t worry. They might have posted me out of wickedness or sloppiness, but I believe it is the work of God. Nothing happens to a man that God does not know. Don’t worry yourself; I don’t blame any officer. So I am ready to stay here. I want to fulfill that purpose.” Besides, I had been there for barely six months; so if he had sent me somewhere else, it would have affected my family, especially my children. They were yet to settle down, just adapting. They were little then. He wanted to compensate me by posting me to the United States, but for my children, I stayed.

Was it the government of Sudan that was worried that you knew too much and therefore sent you out?

That is why the minister also thought of making such explanations and to offering consolation… maybe out of complaints from the northern elements from within and outside the office because the ambassador was an Islamic fundamentalist from Kano. In fact, he boasted that he was in total control because he was the stenographer to the late Sardauna of Sokoto, Ahmadu Bello. The embassy was single-handedly opened by the Sardauna with the help of Mohammadu Ribadu. So the ambassador believed the embassy was his legacy and that of the Hausas and Muslims. In fact, Sudan was our first embassy after Britain and New York. Sudan was next after those two countries because it was the main focus of the Sardauna and the Hausa/Fulani Muslims. If you look at the map, Sudan is enroute to Mecca. It is the shortest route to Mecca from Kano. So it was a strategic Islamic portal for the Hausa/Fulani Muslims. As a result, at that time when late Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Nnamdi Azikwe both focused on London and opened their embassies there, Sardauna opened his own in Sudan. He had no interest in the West but in the Islam/Arab world. The building was a four-storey structure; it served as an embassy and hotel to pilgrims. He stayed more in that hotel in those days. As a result, most of our ambassadors were Hausas and Muslims.

Did you have any clash with the Head of Mission there, or what really happened?

There was a clash of interest. I was doing what I was supposed to do as a diplomat – to send political and economic reports. And when he was not around, I also sent ambassadorial dispatch. But whenever he was around, I was expected to pass my reports through him as the Head of Mission. I did not care he had no clue about diplomacy because before he became I went to Sudan in 2000 and met him there. Anytime I sent my reports through him, which was quite professional, he would pick holes in them, even though I had experience in International Affairs for 24 years. He would pick a quarrel and sit on it because it was always different from his own expectation. As an ambassador, he too was expected to write reports. Ambassadors used to send dispatch two or three times in a week but political reports were sent once in two months or so. At times, he would send my reports to the host country which was not allowed in international diplomacy Due to this clash between us, I was sent out for my safety and that of my children because later, I became a target of the host country. They could have framed me or eliminated me. So it was going on like that until a director in the African affairs then visited and reported the case to the ministry. So it was Ambassador Femi George who advised that I should be sending my reports to the headquarters but that I should still give him my drafts.

Did you discover anything inimical to the interest of Nigeria in the reports of your boss?

Many! He was actually being selective in his reports. At that time, the war between the Northern and Southern Sudan was on and he was always behind the North who were Muslims. I discovered he was pro-Northern Sudan. He picked whatever he liked, never giving the true picture. On two or three occasions, former President Olusegun Obasanjo invited him and asked if he was still Nigria’s ambassador. He asked him how many embassies Sudan had. At that time also, Sanni Yerima, former governor of Zamfara State was in Sudan for two weeks and underwent indoctrination. He was exposed to all the training camps of Osama Bin Laden, who was my neighbour. In fact, Osama Bin Laden’s office in Sudan was just a few blocks away from our embassy. No report was made. Our embassy never reported Osama Bin Laden. In addition to having his headquarters in Sudan, Osama Bin Laden also had many firms and industries which he only used as a façade because he was actually using those firms as training camps for Al-Qaeda. Among his trainees were many Nigerians from the North. They would leave Nigeria as if they were going to study but were at the training camps of Osama Bin Laden. I got wind of all these things and told them, but my reports were dismissed. It was a policy of “see nothing, say nothing” because they were working for Muslims. They were not able to draw the line between Arabisation and Islamisation. What Sudan was practising was both Arabisation and Islamisation which led to the breakaway of the South from the North. That was the dangerous part of it which was also my major concern. In fact, that was the main concern of Mo Ibrahim, the richest Sudanese. That’s why it pained him seriously up till now that Sudan must not have divided just because of religion. And it’s one of the reasons why he established the Mo Ibrahim prize. That is the motive behind the prize. Up till today, the man is still pained.

Are you saying what was being practised in Sudan was exported into Nigeria?

When Sudan came under pressure during the US Bill Clinton era, they sent Bin Laden away. Osama Bin Laden had established himself there. In fact, one of his wives was the daughter of the Speaker. So when Sudan was under pressure to send Osama Bin Laden away, he decided to divide his Al-Qaeda army into three; he took the first team to Afghanistan and kept the second team in Sudan; the third group he sent out to be disturbing the whole world, including Magreb which is close to Mali, Chad and Niger. I raised an alarm in 2001 that Al-Qaeda was in Nigeria – that Al-Qaeda had penetrated Nigeria through Chad. You know Chad has a border with Borno State. We have about eight million Nigerians in Sudan: people who settled there after pilgrimage. Many who couldn’t reach Saudi Arabia just settled there. And Al-Bashir (Sudanese president) was a descendant of Borno State. I reported all these, including the fact that Yerima was there at that time but I was ignored. Yerima got back to Nigeria and the following day, he declared Sharia. And from then, they were sending students for Jihadist training. Then when I got wind of the distribution of Osama Bin Laden Al-Qaeda groups, I reported. I told them to check our borders between Mali, Niger, and Chad – that Al-Qaeda was on the move. It got to a stage that it became evident that my report was becoming a concern to our permanent secretary then who incidentally had intelligence security background as a former director of the Nigeria Intelligence Agency. His name is Ambassador Heart. He brought in his NIA background into the Foreign Service. He knew what was sensitive and newsworthy. So he took the case seriously and played his part. But instead of our government  sending inspectors were to check the veracity of my reports, they didn’t do that; they would just call the NIA man there who was also a Borno man who would refute anything I said. He would tell them not to mind me because I was a Christian and a religious bigot. In fact, he said Obasanjo deliberately sent me there to spy on the ambassador. That was how they usually dismissed my reports.

What did Obasanjo do when he got wind of your reports?

I wouldn’t know what he did but I guess some of the reports did not get to him. One of such was about a Sudanese consulate in Kano who spent 50 years as a consul-general in Nigeria. That is not allowed, but in the case of Sudan, because of the close relationship with Ahmadu Bello and Muhammadu Ribadu, they allowed Sudan to open a honorary consulate in Kano and instead of putting a Nigerian there, they put a Sudanese. I drew attention to this anomaly and by the time I left the place in December 2001 before I was sent out to Uganda, the Sudanese man was spending his 50th year there as a consul-general in Nigeria. Where does that happen? I knew of it from a Sudanese official himself at one party at the Ghanaian embassy. I sent a report asking why they would allow a consul-general to spend 50 years in Nigeria. Meanwhile, his activities had nothing to do with consular job; it was mainly for Islamic purposes. That is why Sudan is being kept on the US watch list as a terrorist country. And this is a country that our country is romancing.

Do you see a link between the Boko Haram insurgency and what happened then?

There is a lot. As far as I am concerned, Boko Haram is an offshoot of Sharia. Meanwhile, in 2001, I learnt from a Southern Sudanese while I was there that at Khartoum sometime in 1994, some Sudanese officials were lamenting that the then presidents of Nigeria were not radical Muslims; they were lamenting that the golden days of Islam had gone. They were not happy that General Ibrahim Babangida and Muhammadu Buhari did not follow in the footsteps of Ahmadu Bello. So they planned on strategising again. They went to Kano to do that. Whatever the strategy they made that time, there is a link to what is happening now. Meanwhile, Babangida compensated them by dragging Nigeria to the Organisation of Islamic Countries, still they were not satisfied. Also, there was a kind of covenant between Sudan and Libya to destabilise Nigeria to promote Islamisation. So, what is happening to President Goodluck Jonathan now may have something to do with that pact. They call it Afikaya,  a doctrine that all African states must be governed by Muslims only. Gaddafi fought for it rigorously before he died – that all African presidents must be Muslims and in any African country where by error a Christian is there, they should make life difficult for that person until he is deposed. I got wind of it in one document. I read it with my eyes that all African countries must be governed by Muslims and any country that is mistakenly being ruled by a Christian, they should make life difficult for him. They said it’s the injunction of the Quran. I read it. Boko Haram insurgency may have stemmed from such injunctions and as a result of the faulty policy of ambassadorial appointment and deployment. According to the Nigerian Constitution, ambassadorial appointment must be 75 per cent career-oriented and 25 per cent political. Ambassadorial jobs should be given to people who have experiences related to such jobs, not just anybody. That’s the constitution which was violated many times. In fact, the greatest violator was Babangida.

How?

He made a level 10 officer an ambassador at that time when we had level 15, 16, 17 officers. How could you make a level 10 or 12 officer an ambassador? It’s wrong. He made Ladan Baki, a level 12 officer an ambassador simply because it was the man that saved his life. Baki was an NIA man who leaked out to Babangida the plan of Buhari to sack him. That’s why he compensated him. Otherwise, Babangida would have been sacked and forgotten today. Another violation is that he appointed a Muslim as an ambassador to the Vatican. How could you make an Alhaji to be an ambassador to the Vatican? He also appointed late Saka Fagbo to Saudi Arabia because the man had terminal ailment and as a Muslim, he believed that once he died in Saudi Arabia, it’s Aljanastraight; and he gave directive that he must be buried in Saudi. Is that the purpose of ambassadorial appointment? So, many of these people go there for something else rather than performing ambassadorial duties. That’s why we have all these problems today.

Did you choose to go to Iran?

I never chose to go there. I don’t know why they deliberately posted me to Iran, after serving in three Arab/Islamic countries. I am a Christian but I was sent to Islamic countries to serve.

Was there any religious affinity between Northern Nigeria and Iran like what you observed with Sudan?

Actually, I did not stay long there. I did not really have the time to find out. But I think there is a bond between Nigeria and Iran too because exactly one year after I made my concern known, that was the time when the security operatives arrested some men smuggling containers of arms into the country from Iran.

What do you think Nigeria can do about the Boko Haram issue?

It has its roots in Sudan and has connections with Libya. So, let’s start to tackle it from the root. I think the government is already doing something about it through the help of France, because most of these countries are Francophone countries. If they would not listen to us, they would listen to France. By the time France talks to countries like Cameroon, something good will come out. Let’s deal with the problem from the root. We need France’s assistance. Our traditional and political rulers should also change their bullish mindsets about Nigeria. Also, no part of the country should think they can bully the other parts or that it’s their right to rule the other parts.

Are you aware if the Sudanese consul-general who celebrated his 50th anniversary is still there in Kano?

That should be the work of the State Security Service. I left the place in 2001. But I am sure the SSS should know. At a time, that man was used for a different purpose apart from being a consular. They were operating an airline then – Sudan Air, which apart from carrying passengers, was also a cargo airline. I don’t know what they were carrying. I raised the dust to investigate, but I don’t know if they are still operating.

Do you think the National Conference can solve all these issues?

I believe so, if they would allow it. That’s why some people are working against it. Like I told you, when Nigeria was amalgamated, it was born out of bad faith and evil spirit which is still hunting us today. Nigeria is a product of evil spirit. When Lord Luggard amalgamated us, he didn’t plan to build a nation, but to build a colony to loot for the benefit of Britain. When the Nigerian politicians took over, they continued with that spirit. The spirit entered our politicians and that’s why our politicians loot today. Our problem is not leadership, it’s our weak foundation. No one can govern Nigeria successfully now because of the faulty foundation. So the foundation has to be pulled down before we can see any way out. The confab is the only way out for Nigeria.

Do you think Nigerians can live together?

We have always been living in peace, so we can. Once the evil spirit is chased out, we can. All these issues must be addressed at the National Conference before any progress can be made. But strangely, many of the people who are at the conference are old people. I don’t know what they are doing there.

How did your job then affect your family?

My family was always safe. They were not really affected. Government made provision for them. They went to American schools there. So they were not negatively affected.

Compare your life as an ambassador to life now as a farmer

I thank God. Now, I’m able to stay with my people and family. I have time to come closer to God now through my church. I know my church and they know me too. Now as a farmer, I eat organic food; food that are natural and fresh. I enjoy my life better now.

SOURCE

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Helicopters drop arms, food for Boko Haram — Borno, Yobe elders

Adamu Ciroma
Political elders in Borno and Yobe states have raised alarm over the supply of food and medicine to areas known as the stronghold of Boko Haram by some unknown persons.

Indeed the elders alleged that some helicopters drop arms and ammunition, food and medicine to areas known to be strongholds of the insurgents in the North-East.

They said the authorities in the states could not claim ignorance of this development and described it as bad omen if a convoy of about 20 to 30 Toyota Hilux vehicles could move freely without being detected despite the curfew in place.

The elders, who spoke at a press conference in Abuja on Monday, also asked the government to provide answers to the attack on the Maiduguri Air Force Base by members of the Boko Haram sect, who reportedly demobilized and set alight aircrafts and other military equipment  despite the  state of emergency and curfew in the town.

Speaking on the platform of Borno, Yobe People’s Forum, the elders also asked those in authorities to tell Nigerians those that authorized the withdrawal of security personnel from the Federal Government College, Buni Yadi, few hours before the recent attack that claimed the lives of 59 innocent children.

A former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshall Al-amin Daggash (retd.), spoke on behalf of the forum at the press conference and was  flanked by a former Minister of Finance, Mallam Adamu Ciroma; a former Secretary to Government of the Federation, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe; an elder statesman, Shetima Mustapha and other political leaders from the two states.

Daggash said:  “Are the authorities unaware of helicopters dropping arms and ammunition, food and medical supplies to areas well known to be strongholds of the insurgents?

 “How were the insurgents able to attack the Maiduguri Air-Force Base and demobilise as well as burn planes and other military installations despite existing state of emergency and curfew in the town? How could 20 to 30 Toyota Hilux vehicles move in a convoy freely with subsisting curfew and still go undetected?

“How did a little band of rag-tag misguided youths metamorphose into a well-kitted, well-armed killing machine moving freely in convoy of vehicles and supported by helicopters.

 “How did the Shilka Tank, a multi purpose self propelled anti-aircraft  artillery weapon, positioned to secure Giwa Barracks, fail to function resulting in heavy loss of lives of both civilian and military as widely reported in the media? Are we dealing with fifth columnists in this crisis?”

The group also wondered how the insurgents were able to kill Gen. Mohammed Shuwa, whom he described as a civil war hero, despite the presence of a military detachment in front of his home.

The retired Defence Chief  asked the Federal Government to unmask those behind the “online media campaigns of calumny stirring ethno-religious intolerance in the country.” (is that Radio Biafra?)

He also asked the Federal Government not to extend the state of emergency declared in the three North-East states, saying that the action had failed to achieve its purpose.

The state of emergency, originally declared in May last year and renewed for another six months in November, sunnewsonline,com gathered will expire on April  19, 2014.

Daggash said that about 18 communities had been attacked by insurgents in the last one month with heavy civilian casualties, adding that rather than abate, the insurgency had continued to escalate and daring.

He said, “The continuous bloodletting has led to the loss of over 17,000 lives. Official statistics released by the National Emergency Management Agency revealed that over three million people have been displaced by the insurgency and terrorist attacks in the affected states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa in the first three months of 2014 alone.

“Most of the victims are women, children and the elderly. These developments underscore the urgent need for the government, the international community, as well as all Nigerians to arrest the brewing humanitarian crises in the area.”

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