Saturday, September 20, 2014

Outrage Grows As South African Court Okays Seizure of Nigeria’s $9.3m

Apart from breaching South African laws, the Nigerian government violated a number of key anti-money laundering laws in its botched attempt to buy arms and military equipment from South Africa with $9.3 million cash stacked in suitcases.

Two Nigerians and an Israeli were arrested at the Lanseria Airport in South Africa on September 5, 2014 as they tried to enter the country with the cash conveyed in a private jet owned by the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Ayo Oritsejafor.

Nigerian officials said the suspects were carrying out a "legitimate" transaction to procure arms for the country's military, and that South Africa had been given receipts and documents to prove the authenticity of the deal. South African investigators have faulted the claims, and last week, obtained a court order freezing the money. The Nigerian government's explanation was "flawed and riddled with discrepancies", they said.

An analysis of the deal shows how the Nigerian authorities, in choosing to procure arms with a huge sum in cash, blatantly flouted two important laws enacted to combat money laundering.

Section 2 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 clearly pegged the cash transfer allowed into a foreign country at $10,000 or its equivalent. The law stipulates that any cash transfer exceeding that limit must be reported to the central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, the Security and Exchange Commission, or the Economic Financial Crime Commission,EFCC within 7 days from the date of the transaction.

The World’s Largest Climate March Aims to ‘Bend the Course of History’

What is being billed as the biggest climate march in history will hit the streets of New York City on Sept. 21, with an expected 100,000 demonstrators on hand to greet the world leaders converging on the city for United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Climate Summit. Among those marching will be Ban, according to U.N. officials.
“The secretary-general will stand on the right side of the people on this key issue for our common future,” Selwin Hart, director of the secretary-general’s climate change support team, said at a press conference Tuesday.
While the People’s Climate March will be marked with the usual banging of drums, chanting, and blowing of vuvuzelas, the organizers of the demonstration and its sponsors are anything but typical.

The march towards the new climate deal

In 1997, when the whole world birthed the Kyoto treaty, it was like we were certainly reaching a monumental turning point in the history of humanity when we can all work unanimously towards curbing the unhealthy increase in global green house gas concentration.

The commitment period was seen as a reasonable timeframe to get the goal of the protocol achieved and set a motion for a new world order in the regards of zero emission future. Alas, 2012 arrived and it was like we were still at the basis of preparation, canvassing for a total ratification and then it became so reasonable to conclude on the note that humanity would be held largely responsible for the catastrophic changes enabled by our inaction towards making a concrete agreement that would ensure a safe future.

For over fifteen years of the Kyoto commitment we have been able to achieve little less than expected while most of the promises have set records of being all paper-based propaganda.  Year after year, we assemble for conference of parties holding various high level deliberations that have not yielded a tangible result. 

My Country and the Abuse of American Dollar

Fellow Nigerians, this is a very difficult moment in our country. It is also a confusing period for many of us. The only way to make sense out of the nonsense is to join the madness. We need to put ourselves in the position of those who see nothing wrong with our present predicament. If you’re on social media, you would be amazed at the contributions of some of our citizens who believe we actually live in Eldorado. Perhaps.
I’m beginning to think they are right and we are wrong. May be, we’ve been practically blinded by our inability to see and appreciate what the Federal Government has been able to achieve monumentally. I have no doubt that they are trying their best. My worry is if they can ever rise above this level even if they spend eternity. I decided to join their train this week and wish to invite you all to join me as I experiment a new style of reasoning. What you are about to read therefore is the voice from the other side of the divide. I’m determined to discover what drives those guys, why they don’t feel what we feel and we can’t feel how they feel. Is it that life is so good for them and so bad for the rest of us? For once, let’s try their shoes on and imagine their thought process. Why is it so difficult to accept their way of life and vice versa? Can there ever be a meeting point for us? The number of PDP operatives stuns me. What principle and ideology drives their faith? I see some very bright people and just wonder endlessly.
As I started writing this piece today, one song we used to sing in my childhood days came to my mind: “come and see, American wonder; come and see, American wonder.” Ours is a wondrously terrific country.
We’ve always been fascinated with the American way of life in particular and Western lifestyle in general. Many Nigerians would do anything possible to grab the almighty American visa and jump on the next available flight. Such is the attraction for, and the hypnotic effect of, going to America. This obsession has been a subject for movies and novels. The search for the American dollar has been a critical one for many who abandoned good jobs at home and headed to God’s own country in pursuit of the proverbial Golden Fleece or greener pastures.

Smuggled $9.3million Cash: Questions for the Nigerian Government

Alleged Pastor-Owner of the Jet and President Jonathan
 I have just read, with some amusement, the position of the Federal Government regarding the cash totaling $9.3million that was seized by the South African authorities as an attempt was made to smuggle it into that country. From my little understanding, the Federal Government’s position can be summarised as follows:

1. That it is aware of the movement of such large sum of money by cash out of the country.
2. That the cash is meant for the purchase of arms to fight insurgency.
3. That the transaction was done by cash to ensure the speed of the transaction.
4. That it resorted to buy from South Africa because of procedural bottlenecks in the purchase of such items from western countries.

The above position of the Federal Government is not only ludicrous, it is laughable, untenable and a story only fit to be told to the marines. The following rhetoric posers are germane to
this issue:

1. Is it really faster and safer to do an international transaction of such magnitude by ferrying cash across the continent or by a simple wire transfer that can go through in a matter of few minutes or few hours?

2. If, indeed, the matter involves security issues like the purchase of arms by a foreign government like Nigeria, why was the South African Government not brought into the picture beforehand? How could the South African Government be sure that the arms were purchased legitimately by the Nigerian government and not by insurgents if they were not officially informed beforehand?

3. If indeed the manufacturer(s) of such equipment was/were expecting such large amount by cash, why did they not make adequate arrangements with the authorities in South Africa to declare and clear the cash on arrival?

While We March for the Climate, Governments Meet With Polluters

(Photo: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)
I’m going to guess you’ve heard of the People’s Climate March by now. It’s been all over Facebook, the blogosphere, buses and subway cars—it’s even shown up on network news, which has been something of a black hole for climate activism.
But in case you’re just getting back from vacation (or a cave), here’s the deal: on Sunday, September 21, tens of thousands of people are expected to flood the streets of New York City to call on global leaders to take action on climate change.
What’s been somewhat forgotten in the truly herculean effort to make this the biggest climate mobilization ever is what global leaders are doing in town in the first place.
The truth is, they’ve been called to New York by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to meet in an unofficial capacity, because formal negotiations for a global treaty to stabilize the climate aren’t going so well.

$9.3 million cash for arms: Group Calls for Investigation

Eyal Mesika, Israeli Abuja Security CEO
Arrested in South Africa

A Nigerian watchdog group Friday demanded an international investigation into the Nigerian government for flying $9.3 million in cash to South Africa to buy weapons.
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project petitioned the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force "to investigate admission by the government of Nigeria that it hired a private jet to convey $9.3 million in cash to procure arms from South Africa."
South African customs officials last week seized the money in $100 bills in three suitcases that arrived on a private jet from Nigeria at Johannesburg's Lanseria airport. Police said they questioned two Nigerians and an Israeli who did not declare the money.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

WELCOME TO HELL FIRE: Nigeria’s Torture Chambers Exposed

Nigeria's torture profile, hitherto regarded as an open-secret, known only by security agents, victims of torture and their relatives, has burst open on the global stage following the release of a comprehensive by Amnesty International, entitled "Welcome to Hell."

The report graphically exposes the fact that Nigeria’s police and military routinely torture women, men, and children – some as young as 12 – using a wide range of methods including beatings, shootings and rape.

teenage boy arrested for being a suspected militant
had melted plastic poured on his back in 2013
“Welcome to hell fire”: Torture and other ill-treatment in Nigeria details how people are often detained in large dragnet operations and tortured as punishment, to extort money or to extract “confessions” as a shortcut to “solve” cases. 

“This goes far beyond the appalling torture and killing of suspected Boko Haram members. Across the country, the scope and severity of torture inflicted on Nigeria’s women, men and children by the authorities supposed to protect them is shocking to even the most hardened human rights observer,” said Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director.

2015 ELECTIONS: Ruling Party Endorses Nigeria's President As Sole Candidate

Members of the National Executive Committee of Nigeria's ruling Peoples Democratic Party have adopted President Goodluck Jonathan as the party’s sole presidential candidate for the 2015 election.

This decision was taken few minutes ago at the ongoing meeting of the body which is being held at the party’s national headquarters, Abuja on Thursday.

Members of the NEC took the decision after various organs of the party said that they had endorsed the President during their meetings which they said were held on Wednesday.

National Chairman of the party, Adamu Mua’zu led other members of the party’s National Working Committee to the meeting.

Climate Deniers and the Limits of Politics in Climate Change

An instance of consulting some 100 doctors concerning the health of a child and about 97 of the doctors all gave similar prognosis with well proven evidences which all share an above average similitude, Then left with just three of the consulted doctors who in their respected view of  experimentation have not totally arrived at a definite answer. 

Then having in mind the dying child who stands a narrow chance of surviving if not treated based on every necessary prognosis available, the question is would you give in to prognosis that carried the larger percentage or rather wait on the probabilistic decision from the other less significant odds?  The U.S president, Barak Obama, gave this rather vivid description about climate change at the university of California Irvine commencement and it was virally noted as a direct attack on climate deniers.

It is no news again that quite a lot of people still wouldn’t see to the fact that global warming is real and in fact some still attribute the changes to being a normal phase in the progressive evolution of our planet  in adjusting to the period. In a great a deal of way, they all show some similar side of making up premises which would only tend to yield some baseless arguments and in most instances arriving at no definite conclusion. The question is what could be fueling such rather petulant field of view while all facts are glaring enough to make the choice of agreeing to the reality.

I have been trying to see the reasons into the link between politics and climate sciences, obviously, there seems to be no direct nexus between both worlds as they share a different base of operation. Climate sciences is purely an academic premise while politics shares a lot with activities associated with running a government, an organization or a movement. But then what connects the dots between politics and climate sciences and in a way the scenario of climate change.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

67 South Africans dead in Nigerian Church Building Collapse

The death toll in the collapse of a building in Nigeria last week rose on Tuesday when the South African president said 67 South Africans died and dozens were injured in the accident.

Separately, a Nigerian official said 63 bodies had been recovered at the site of the disaster in the 

city of Lagos, but it was not immediately clear whether the bodies were those of the South Africans cited by President Jacob Zuma.
"This is a particularly difficult time for South Africa," Zuma said in a statement. "Not in the recent history of our country have we had this large number of our people die in one incident outside the country."
Jacob Zuma
The fallen multistory building served as a shopping mall and guesthouse at the sprawling campus
of televangelist T.B. Joshua's Synagogue, Church of All Nations, on the outskirts of Lagos, Nigeria's commercial capital.
"We rescued a woman, alive, around 2 a.m. this morning," said Ibrahim Farinloye of the Nigerian Emergency Management Agency. "We found her under the rubble. She walked away with only a little dislocation on her hand. She is very, very lucky."

Olam to invests $100m in Commercial Rice Production

President Jonathan cutting the tape at the 
inauguration of the Olam rice mill 

NUT Calls for Boycott of School Resumption Over Ebola

The head of Nigeria's main teachers union called on Tuesday for a boycott of next week's re-opening of schools, saying there had not been enough training to protect against the Ebola virus.

Michael Olukoya, president of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), said members should boycott next Monday's planned re-opening because they have not received training and supplies like hand gloves and sanitisers promised by the government.
"The schools are still the same as before the outbreak," Olukoya said. "Teachers should be trained. They should be provided with the thermometers, gloves and hand sanitisers."

President Goodluck Jonathan responded by saying he would "plead" with the NUT to not go ahead with the industrial action.
"Why do we want to create problems while it is not necessary? It is uncalled for," he told reporters.

15 Killed As Explosion Rocks Federal College of Education Kano

15 persons have been reportedly killed as explosion rocked the campus Federal College of Education in Kano, north-west Nigeria this afternoon.

Eye witnesses confirmed that sporadic gunshots were heard almost immediately after the explosion that occurred within the premises of the institution. Many of the dead victims, mostly students were shot while escaping from the bomb which was detonated by suspected militants who stormed the campus today.
Kano State Police Commissioner, CP Adenrele Shinaba who visited the scene confirmed that fifteen bodies have been counted so far and that security agents on duty shot and injured one of the militants who later escaped.
No-one has claimed responsibility for the today's attack, but Islamist militants have been behind a recent campaign of violence in the mainly Muslim north. The Islamist Boko Haram group, whose name means "Western education is forbidden" have been responsible for a wave of attacks on educational institutions in Northern Nigeria.

How Indonesia overtook Nigeria

From the air, the place certainly looked familiar.
I had never before been to Jakarta, the chaotic and teeming capital of the sprawling Indonesian archipelago.
But, as the plane dodged in and out between the clouds, there it lay below. And just as I had been told it would, it looked like my former home - Nigeria.
"Indonesia and Nigeria?" I'd protested to the friend who first suggested the comparison to me some weeks earlier.
"They're 7,000 miles apart. One's Africa, one's Asia. There's no comparison to make."
It was late 2003, and I was flying in from Singapore - a smart, modern Asian city, now two hours behind me to the north. I'd just been appointed Asia editor for the AFP news agency, after four years as its Nigeria bureau chief.
Lagos, my former home, is Africa's megacity, the country's hustling, bustling, trading capital. It is noisy, sometimes violent but pulsing with life.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

How God Saved Me From The Pestilence Called EBOLA - Dr Igonoh

Dr Ada Igonoh
On the night of Sunday July 20, 2014, Patrick Sawyer was wheeled into the Emergency Room at First Consultants Medical Centre, Obalende, Lagos, with complaints of fever and body weakness. The male doctor on call admitted him as a case of malaria and took a full history. Knowing that Mr Sawyer had recently arrived from Liberia, the doctor asked if he had been in contact with an Ebola patient in the last couple of weeks, and Mr. Sawyer denied any such contact. He also denied attending any funeral ceremony recently. Blood samples were taken for full blood count, malaria parasites, liver function test and other baseline investigations. 

He was admitted into a private room and started on anti-malarial drugs and analgesics. That night, the full blood count result came back as normal and not indicative of infection. The following day however, his condition worsened. He barely ate any of his meals. His liver function test result showed his liver enzymes were markedly elevated. We then took samples for HIV and hepatitis screening. At about 5.00pm, he requested to see a doctor. I was the doctor on call that night so I went in to see him. He was lying in bed with his intravenous (I.V.) fluid bag removed from its metal stand and placed beside him. He complained that he had stooled about five times that evening and that he wanted to use the bathroom again. 

$9.3m Saga: The Jet Is Not Mine, but I have Interest in Eagle Air, Pastor Oritsejafor Admits

Pastor Oritsejafor and President Jonathan
Following the interception  of an Israeli citizen and two Nigerians who attempted to smuggle $9.3 million cash into Nigeria by  authorities in South Africa and the subsequent seizure of the money by South African Revenue Service (SARS) from a private jet arriving at Lanseria airport in Johannesburg on September 5th, Sahara Reporters uncovered a connection between the smuggled money and Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, the president of the Christian Association of Nigeria. 
According to an investigation carried out by the online portal, the pastor’s private plane, which he got as a birthday gift few years back with US registration number, N808HG was among the two jets cited by South African security officials on September 5. The report claims that the jet landed in South Africa with $9.3 million cash loaded in several suitcases.

Reacting to the report,  Ayo Oritsejafor in a statement sent to media houses today, dissociated himself from the operation of an aircraft, Bombardier Challenger 600. Oritsejafor’s personal assistant, Bayo Adewoye, said that his boss does not operate the aircraft, adding that inquiries on its current state should be directed to the company it had been leased to.
“The Word of Life Bible Church has been made aware of the recent media interest regarding an aircraft (Bombardier Challenger 600, Registration No N808HG) owned by Eagle Air Company in which our Pastor, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, holds a residual interest.

Woman Emerges from Rubble 4 days after Nigerian Church Building Collapsed

Rescue workers early Tuesday dug a woman out of the rubble of a building that collapsed four days ago and she walked away with only a slight injury, a government spokesman said.

The death toll rose to 60 by Tuesday afternoon from the fallen multistory building serving as a shopping mall and guesthouse at the sprawling campus of televangelist T.B. Joshua's Synagogue, Church of All Nations, on the outskirts of Lagos, Nigeria's commercial capital, according to spokesman Ibrahim Farinloye of the Nigerian Emergency Management Agency.
"We rescued a woman, alive, around 2 a.m. this morning," Farinloye told The Associated Press. "We found her under the rubble. She walked away with only a little dislocation on her hand. She is very, very lucky."
He said she appeared middle-aged and was black, but he did not ask her nationality.

350 Global Power Shift Nigeria Launches #WeLeadYou campaign

campaign calling on Nigerian leaders to step up the fight against climate change has been launched. The #WeLeadYou campaign, which is an initiative of 350 Global Power Shift was launched in Nigeria today by Global Power Shift Nigeria as part of the massive global mobilization to demand that global leaders fight for climate justice at the forthcoming United Nations (UN) Climate Summit in New York on 23rd September, which president Goodluck Jonathan is expected to attend.

#WeLeadYou comes as global leaders have continually failed to deliver a binding agreement to cut CO2 and tackle global warming. The campaign aspires to show leaders the way to fight climate change by calling on them to hold rich Global North countries accountable for climate change and to show climate leadership by investing in clean solar energy versus dirty fossil fuels.

According to Usman Inuwa, 350 Nigeria team lead, a key part of the #WeLeadYou campaign is to help raise the voices of those Nigerians battling (drought/flooding/desertification, Gas flaring, oil spillage) and other impacts of global warming right now. 

“we are saying to our leaders #WeLeadYou, now fight for climate justice at the New York climate summit. In Nigeria fertile lands are turning to deserts, and weather patterns are becoming even more unpredictable as the result of climate change. We are saying to our leaders it is time for Nigeria to invest in clean alternative energy solutions that will also bring opportunities of job creation for young Nigerians.” 

Heirs Holdings to Generate A quarter of Nigeria’s Power Consumption

RED CROSS, LAMBOUGINI Sensitise Snake Island Community on Ebola

Residents of Nanti village, a bustling riverine community around Snake Island came out in their hundreds to participate in the Ebola awareness campaign which took place in their community recently. 

The campaign, which was sponsored by the Nigerian Red Cross Organisation (Apapa division) and Lambouginni, a Nigerian Rap-Artiste, with support from Jevinik Restaurant, was organised to create awareness on the Ebola Virus Disease as well as the need to prevent it from affecting rural and riverine communities in Lagos.

Speakers at the event, using both English and yoruba languages, explained the fundamentals of the rare but deadly disease called Ebola to the villagers, including it's spread, symptoms, causes, treatment, and prevention. 

The highly enthusiastic and appreciative villagers were also trained on how to wash their hands effectively, using detergents provided by the organisers. At the end of the training session, severel bottles of hand sanitisers were distributed to the villagers.

Military Tribunal Sentences 12 Nigerian soldiers to death for mutiny

Twelve Nigerian soldiers were on Tuesday sentenced to death for mutiny after shots were fired at their commanding officer in the restive northeast city of Maiduguri earlier this year.

A nine-member military tribunal, sitting in Abuja, convicted the soldiers following the incident on May 14 when shots were fired at the commanding officer of the Nigerian Army's 7th Division, which is tasked with fighting Boko Haram insurgents.
Court president Brigadier General Chukwuemeka Okonkwo said the sentences were subject to confirmation by Nigeria's military authorities but added there was no doubt about the gravity of the offence.

The panel considered "its likely effect on the counter-insurgency operations in the northeast as well as its implications on national security", he told the court.

The panel considered "its likely effect on the counter-insurgency operations in the northeast as well as its implications on national security", he told the court.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Canada deports Winifred Agimelen and family back to Nigeria

Winifred Agimelen at the Airport
In spite of a loud outcry, Winifred Agimelen and her three children have been sent back to Nigeria after living in Montreal for six years.

The Canadian government deportation of the woman and her two children to Nigeria tonight at 7 p.m. has taken a new twist, as it turns out that the mother does not have a necessary Nigerian visa for her third child, who is Canadian.

The Canadian child is also leaving partially because the stepfather does not have official custody rights.

In spite of the visa issue, it is believed that Winifred Agimelen and her three children boarded a plane out of Montreal, but whether any or all of them will be turned back once in Nigeria remains up in the air as of Sunday evening.

Protesters are decrying the forced deportation, as the order to leave stems from a complicated maze of immigration procedures that will divide the family and possibly subject them to danger in West Africa.