Law and Order
ICMS, Inc Reports
Tom Okure, Ph.D
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari resumes work today three days after returning home. Before settling down to work he had a pleasant meeting and briefing session with Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo. The two are alleged to have spoken privately for over an hour.
President Buhari looked frail in health when he came off the plane upon his return from medical treatment in London on Friday March 10, 2017. In a nine-minute welcome speech to the nation on Friday, Buhari stated that he came back in the weekend deliberately “so I will continue to rest”. He also observed that he will need further medical checkups.
In a press statement issued by the Presidents special adviser, Mr. Femi Adesina, Buhari stated “I have resumed my functions as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria with effect from Monday,” The President’s action is in compliance with Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
The President has transmitted letters to the Senate and the House of Representatives formally as required by law, informing the National Assembly about his resumption of official duties after his vacation.
On January 19, 2017 it will be recalled, that the President transmitted a letter to the National Assembly indicating that he was taking a 10 days’ vacation in the United Kingdom (London). The president also formally handed the powers of his office to the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo in accordance with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended). Even so, the President did not return from his vacation after the 10 days passed on February 6. In another letter transmitted to the National Assembly, the President extended his medical vacation and leave, stating that his doctors’ directives required him to remain abroad for a series of additional medical tests. No definite date of his return was provided for the Presidents return.
It was therefore a welcome relieve to the country and especially the president’s supporters when the President suddenly came back home on Friday after spending 51 days in London on medical leave. During the Presidents sick leave in London the Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo had been acting as on behalf of Mr Buhari.
Obasanjo Holds Talks To Free Chibok Schoolgirls- PM News, Nigeria
Source: Sahara Reporters via PM New
Date: May 27, 2014
Former president Olusegun Obasanjo has met with people close to Boko Haram in an attempt to broker the release of more than 200 kidnapped schoolgirls, a source close to the talks told AFP.
The meeting took place last weekend at Obasanjo’s farm in southern Ogun state and included relatives of some senior Boko Haram fighters as well as intermediaries and the former president, the source said.
“The meeting was focused on how to free the girls through negotiation,” said the source who requested anonymity, referring to the girls seized on 14 April from the remote northeastern town of Chibok, Borno state.
Reports of the talks emerged as Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, said the girls had been located while casting doubt on the prospect of rescuing them by force.
Obasanjo, who left office in 2007, has previously sought to negotiate with the insurgents, including in September 2011 after Boko Haram bombed the United Nations headquarters in Abuja.
Then, he flew to the Islamists’ base in the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, to meet relatives of former Boko Haram leader Mohammed Yusuf, who was killed in police custody in 2009.
The 2011 talks did not help stem the violence and some at the time doubted if Obasanjo was dealing with people who were legitimately capable of negotiating a ceasefire.
Spokesmen for the former head of state, who remains an influential figure in Nigerian politics, could not be reached to comment on the latest reported Boko Haram talks.
But the source told AFP that Obasanjo had voiced concern about Nigeria’s acceptance of foreign military personnel to help rescue the girls.
“He said he is worried that Nigeria’s prestige in Africa as a major continental power had been diminished” by President Goodluck Jonathan’s decision to bring in Western military help, including from the United States.
Mustapha Zanna, the lawyer who helped organize Obasanjo’s 2011 talks with Boko Haram, said he was at the former president’s home on Saturday.
But he declined to discuss whether the Chibok abductions were on the agenda.
“I was there,” he told AFP, adding that Obasanjo was interested in helping orphans and vulnerable children in Nigeria’s embattled northeast and that possible charitable work was on the agenda.
Zanna had represented Yusuf’s family in a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the government following his death in police custody.
It was not clear if Obasanjo’s weekend meeting had been sanctioned by the government.
Obasanjo, who backed Jonathan’s 2011 presidential campaign, fiercely criticized him and his record as president in a letter released to the public last December and the two are widely thought to have fallen out.
According to the source, Obasanjo supported a prisoner-for-hostage swap that would see some of the girls released in exchange for a group of Boko Haram fighters held in Nigerian custody.
As a private citizen whose ties to the presidency have been damaged, Obasanjo likely does not have the authority to negotiate any deal on the government’s behalf.
The government, which has officially ruled out a prisoner swap, sent intermediaries to meet Boko Haram in the northeast to negotiate for the girls’ release.
The source identified one of the envoys as Ahmad Salkida, a journalist with ties to Boko Haram who had been close to Yusuf before his death.
“There was contact but it was bungled by the government,” according to the source, saying Jonathan backed away from the deal after returning from a security conference in Paris earlier this month.
The conference saw Nigeria and its neighbours vow greater co-operation to tackle Boko Haram because of the potential threat to regional stability.
The chief of defense staff on Monday said that despite having located the girls, the risks of storming the area with troops in a rescue mission were too great and could prove fatal for the hostages
MILITARY WILL NOT USE FORCE TO RESCUE ABDUCTED CHIBOK GIRLS -CDS
Source: News Agency of Nigeria (NAN-DS-3)
Date: Abuja, May 26, 2014 (NAN)
The Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, said on Monday that the military would not use force in the rescue of the abducted Chibok girls.
Badeh gave this assurance while speaking to members of the Citizen Initiative for Security Awareness (CISA), an NGO, who were on solidarity campaign to the Defence Headquarters in Abuja.
“We want our girls back, I can tell you that our military can and will do it, but where they are held, can we go there with force?.
“Nobody should say Nigerian military does not know what it is doing; we can’t kill our girls in the name of trying to get them back.
“So we are working, the President has empowered us to do the work, anybody castigating the military, definitely there is something wrong with him.
“The good news for the parents of the girls is that we know where they are, but we cannot tell you.
“We cannot come and tell you the military secret, just leave us alone, we are working to get the girls back.”
Badeh revealed that the fight against insurgency was quite different from full scale war, adding that “if we are fighting an external war, they would have been begging us to withdraw”.
According to the CDS, the Nigerian Military has proved its worth in the civil war; we returned democracy back to Liberia and Sierra-Leone.
On the operation in the North-East, Badeh said that the military was fighting its fellow brothers.
“We are not happy at all, because we are killing our own kinsmen and we are killing mostly the youths.
“We cannot afford to eliminate our youths, who are we going to hand over Nigeria to, we can’t kill them.“
According to him, the military in Nigeria is the strong arm of democracy, and that it hold the constitution very dear, adding that the constitution is represented by the president.
“So, we are using our lives to defend the democracy, democracy must thrive in Nigeria, whether anybody likes it or not.
“People have finally realised that you don’t have another military than this one and it is either you support your military or you are looking for anarchy.
“This war should not be fought by the military alone, but by all Nigerians, Nigeria is at war and everybody must put hands on deck.
“So, if you can’t do anything else, but you have mouth to support the military, don’t disparage it because you don’t have another one.”
On the recovery of arms and ammunition by the military in various parts of the country, the CDS said the arms are alien to the Armed Forces.
He said that some foreigners were supporting the insurgents, adding that the President had said there were Al-Qaeda in West Africa.
“I know that people from outside Nigeria are in this war, they want to destabilise us.
“This is our country and some people are standing with the forces of darkness; we must savage our country and bring sanity back into our nation.”
Earlier, the group’s Coordinator, Chidi Omeje, said they represented ordinary Nigerians on the street who realised that no nation can stand on its own without a strong military.
He stated that the group spurred into action due to the myriad of media attacks championed by mischievous politicians and some interest groups with ulterior motives.
“We are neither politicians nor religious bodies, but appreciate our military and we know they are doing their best.
“We are trying to tell the leadership of the Nigerian military that ordinary Nigerian is behind and appreciate them.“
Omeje expressed confidence in the military capability to halt the insurgency in the country, considering its exploits in a global level.
“We must respect our military; they are capable of rescuing our girls if we, as a people, eschew distractions, sabotage from the system.
“Nigeria military will do all we ask them to do, but we must all join hands with them in fighting the enemies of our land.”
The coordinator said that the group was in support of foreign military assistance but decried the way the western media was portraying the Nigerian military.
“I think is the right thing to do, we appreciate their sense of brotherhood in terms of coming to help us in our time of need, but that does not give anybody any right to denigrate our own military,” he said. (NAN)
New Boko Haram video may show proof of life
Published on May 12, 2014
A new video released by Islamist militant group Boko Haram claims to show some of the nearly 300 school girls kidnapped by the group in Nigeria last month.
Media outlets report the 17-minute video shows about 130 girls at an undisclosed location. Speaking in the video, the group’s leader alleges the girls had converted to Islam and will not be released until all imprisoned Boko Haram fighters are freed. (Via Sky News)
According to the BBC, Abubakar Shekau said: “These girls, these girls you occupy yourselves with… we have indeed liberated them. These girls have become Muslims.”
NBC points to one of the officials saying Boko Haram militants abducted a total of 276 girls from a boarding school in Northeastern Nigeria on April 14. Boko Haram may have split the girls into smaller groups to avoid detection from the international search effort.
While some of the girls have managed to escape or elude their captors, The Telegraph reports: “Some 223 are still missing.”
A BBC correspondent says the video may be a positive development for the rescue effort as it could be first step towards a potential negotiation.
JOHN SIMPSON, BBC: “They are not refusing, they are not threatening the girls… They’re just saying they won’t be released. If you remember just a few days ago, they were talking about selling them into slavery. So, this is very different.”
CNN interviewed one of the girls who managed to escape. Asking not to be identified, the girl was afraid to describe her abductors.
GIRL: “We are a little afraid.”
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: “You feel afraid? You don’t want to talk about what they look like.”
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: “It’s ok, I understand. I’m sorry.”
The U.S., Britain and France all deployed special task forces on Friday to help local authorities search for the missing girls. The U.S. says there are still no plans to send combat troops into Nigeria at this time
Watch the Video
In the video issued by Boko Haram, some of the nearly 300 schoolgirls missing in Nigeria are alleged by Boko Harams’s leader to have converted to Islam. The group’s leader states that the girls would not be released until Boko Haram prisoners are freed. Nigerian police on April 14, say a total of 276 girls were abducted from the northeastern town of Chibok, in Borno state. The town has a sizeable Christian community. About 223 are still reported to be missing.
CHIBOK ABDUCTION WILL END TERROR IN NIGERIA – JONATHAN
Date: May 8, 2014
Abuja, May 8, 2014 (NAN) President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday expressed optimism that the abduction of over 200 school girls in Chibok, Borno, would be the end to terror in the country.
The President said this at the opening plenary of the World Economic Forum on Africa holding in Abuja.
Jonathan, who said that Nigeria was proud to host the event for the first time it was coming to West Africa, thanked participants for coming at a time Nigeria was facing terror attacks.
Jonathan thanked China, the U.S., United Kingdom and France who volunteered to assist Nigeria in the rescue efforts of the girls and in fighting the terrorists
“Let me specially thank all of you for accepting to come. Especially this time that as a nation we are facing attacks from terrorists.
“Let me appreciate you individually and collectively for your support and your sentiment.
“In fact by your presence here in Nigeria at this time, you have already supported us to win the war.
“If you have refused to come because of fear, the terrorists would have jubilated and even have committed more havoc.
“Your coming here to support us morally is a major blow on the terrorists and by God’s grace we will conquer the terrorists.
“Let me use this opportunity to thank the other countries who have volunteered to help us in terms of rescuing the abducted girls. The government of China has promised to assist us and I believe that assistance will come almost immediately.
“U.S., UK and France have also spoken to me and expressed their commitment to assist us.
“I believe that the kidnapping of these girls will be the beginnig of end to terror in Nigeria,” he said.
The President said that the theme of the Forum, “Creating Jobs and inclusive Growth”, was critical to Nigeria, Africa and the world at large.
He said that job creation was a global challenge and nearly all countries of the world,of class and position, faced the problem of unemployment.
Jonathan noted that the unemployment problem in Africa was compounded by its youthful population.
He, therefore, tasked African leaders to place utmost priority on employment creation to forestall damning prediction of additional 122 million unemployed workforce by 2020.
President Jonathan said that wealth creation had been the main focus of his administration’s transformation agenda through mobilisation and diversification of the economy.
He also said that his government recognised that the private sector must be the agent of growth and job creation and it was, therefore, putting in place programmes to support the sector.
Jonathan said that the Nigerian economy had grown rapidly at about seven per cent in the last 10 years and the country was now the largest economy in Africa and 26th in the world.
He, however, said the robust economy was yet to translate into jobs creation and government was working hard to create job for people.
Specifically, Jonathan said government was focussing on specific sectors which has high job creation potentials such as agriculture, manufacturing, housing, construction and the servicing sectors.
Jonathan said that government was also giving priority attention to small and medium scale enterprises to create sustainable jobs.
Chinese Premier, Li Kequang, in a remark, said that Africa was a continent on the rise with 54 united countries, over two trillion dollars economic aggregate in 2013 and having seven out of the 10 fastest growing economies in the world.
He promised that China would continue to support the much needed infrastructural development in African countries without interference in their internal democracies and governance.
Kequang noted that the economy of China and Africa was complimentary because while Africa had practical need for infrastructural and rural development China had surplus in investments, construction and production.
He said China would increase its investment financing in Africa from 10 billion dollars, create a 30 billon-dollar credit facilities and provide an additional two billion dollars to China- Africa Development fund to bring it to five billion dollars.
Kequang also said that China would grant 18,000 scholarships in support of African Talent Plan and train 30,000 African professionals. (NAN)
Ousted Nigerian Central Bank Governor Sanusi Tells New York Times Missing $20 Billion Oil Money Shared By Cabal
March, 10 2014
By PM News, Lagos
Even in a country where untold oil wealth disappears into the pockets of the elite, the oil corruption scheme he was investigating seemed outsize — and he threatened to lay it bare at a meeting with Nigeria’s top bankers.
The rabble-rouser was none other than the governor of the country’s central bank. Weeks later, however, he was out, fired by Nigeria’s president in an episode that has shaken the Nigerian economy, filled newspapers and airwaves here, and even inspired a rare street demonstration.
The bankers were going to have to open their books, the governor, Lamido Sanusi, warned them at the recent meeting. He wanted to see where the money was going — $20 billion from oil sales that, mysteriously, was not making its way to the treasury, in a country that could soon be declared Africa’s biggest economy and already attracts the most direct foreign investment on the continent, according to the United Nations.
But his suspicions were cutting too close, Mr. Sanusi said — too close to an oil-politics nexus that both feeds the political establishment in Nigeria, in his view and that of analysts, and deprives the country of vital revenue.
The charge of missing oil money is not new in Nigeria. In recent years, government commissions, parliamentary inquiries and civil society groups have all pointed to serious shortfalls in the disbursement of oil revenues. Their findings have been ignored.
This time, the accusations appear not to be going away: Never before has an official at Mr. Sanusi’s level made them.
In interviews here, Mr. Sanusi gave a detailed account of the events that he said led to his ouster on Feb. 20, a dismissal that continues to depress the country’s currency and frighten investors. He said his warning to the bankers had been reported straight back to the threatened seat of power in the country’s capital, Abuja.
It was too much, he said. With his accusations, which outside analysts consider credible, the soft-spoken, bow-tied central banker appeared to have penetrated to the heart of the country’s entrenched corruption problem.
In 2009, Mr. Sanusi took aim at Nigeria’s failing banking sector, shutting down fraudulent banks, uncovering theft that led to an unprecedented conviction, and earning trust in international financial markets. He was named central bank governor of the year by The Banker magazine in 2011, and is a suited-up member of his country’s establishment, as an heir to the position of emir in the ancient northern city of Kano, one of Nigeria’s highest-status designations.
But then he began taking on the government oil agency, which determines whether oil-dependent Nigeria rises or falls. Specifically, he accused the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation — the agency that buys, sells, regulates and produces the country’s oil — of not turning over earnings to the country’s central bank. The country is Africa’s largest oil exporter, oil prices were steady or rising, yet Nigeria’s financial reserves were falling. It was a mystery. The money was missing. Mr. Sanusi said he feared an eventual collapse of Nigeria’s currency.
Backed by calculations, he presented his findings to a Nigerian Senate committee early in February. “A substantial amount of money has gone,” Mr. Sanusi said in an interview at the mansion reserved for the country’s central banker, which he will soon have to leave. “I wasn’t just talking about numbers. I showed it was a scam.”
At a time when political energy in Africa’s most populous country is focused on next year’s elections — and staying in power is costly for a governing party that functions as a patronage machine — Mr. Sanusi knew exactly which interests he had menaced, he said. He had been warned to “cool down.
“By making N.N.P.C. an issue now, the source of money for financing elections is threatened,” Mr. Sanusi said, referring to the petroleum corporation. “If this is stopped, there will be no money to finance the elections.”
On the other hand, if it was not stopped, the risk to Nigeria’s economy was grave, the central banker suggested. “It was critical that we stop this hemorrhage,” he said. “Otherwise, we can’t maintain stability. Reserves had gone way down. We would watch the naira collapse,” he said of the nation’s currency.
Alarmed, Mr. Sanusi said, he went in front of Nigeria’s top banking heads for a semimonthly meeting on Feb. 11 and “threatened to open the books of the bankers, to trace the money.” He suspected some were laundering stolen oil money.
“Some of them were not giving information about their accounts,” the central banker said. “I told them I would order a special examination.”
One of the bankers at the meeting said, referring to the Central Bank of Nigeria, “He made it clear to them that the C.B.N. would need to unravel what was going on, and they should cooperate.”
Many of the bankers became angry. “One of us said, ‘What next?’ “ a second banker said. “There was a general heaviness. He spoke tough.” Both bankers requested anonymity.
Panicked, several of the bankers went straight to the government, Mr. Sanusi said. Two of the bankers — he would not identify them — “went and reported to the petroleum minister,” he said. And at that moment, his days were numbered.
“The strategy of the government was to discredit the messenger,” he said. The Nigerian president “doesn’t want me to bring out any more information that would get them into trouble.”
Mr. Sanusi’s account is “untrue,” a spokesman for President Goodluck Jonathan said.
“Mr. Sanusi has been making all kinds of claims to project himself as a victim,” the spokesman, Reuben Abati, said in an email, accusing the former bank governor of “financial recklessness, abuse of mandate, incompetence and criminal acts of negligence.”
Mr. Sanusi has not been charged with any crimes, and the most Mr. Jonathan held him responsible for in a series of counteraccusations that emerged after the bank governor raised an alarm over the oil money was having perhaps “sidestepped civil-service rules.”
Outside analysts appear to be in large agreement that Mr. Sanusi’s claim of vast missing oil revenues is plausible.
Nigeria’s state oil sales “feature undue complexity, extensive discretion and well-documented flaws,” Revenue Watch, a group focused on natural-resource management, wrote in an examination of the central banker’s declarations. “In such a system, the line between mismanagement and corruption is difficult to draw, as shortcomings in process often benefit specific private interests.”
One such “shortcoming” was laid bare by Mr. Sanusi last month to the parliamentary committee: a phony subsidy on kerosene that he determined to be a racket, costing the Nigerian treasury billions of dollars and greatly benefiting what he called a “syndicate” of marketers and unknown others. Mr. Sanusi showed that any official subsidy on kerosene had long since been abolished, that the petroleum corporation was nonetheless selling kerosene to marketers at less than a third of its purchase price on the international market and that the Nigerian marketers were then selling kerosene to the public at prices 300 to 500 percent above what they had paid for it.
“It’s just a big scam,” Mr. Sanusi said in the interview. “The amount is shared by a cabal.”
Though his official term would have ended in June anyway, Mr. Sanusi said, he is challenging his removal in court. In a judiciary that is only lightly insulated from political pressure, the outcome is uncertain, though perhaps not with the wider public. One of the bankers at the Feb. 11 meeting said: “For me personally, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the position he has taken. We are Nigerians. We owe it to this country that things are run properly.”
One of Nigeria’s leading activists, Tunde Bakare, a founder of the pro-democracy organization Save Nigeria Group, said: “This is going to be tried in the court of public opinion. We can’t wish this matter away. Twenty billion dollars is not going to go away overnight.”
Article filed by Adam Nossiter was published in New York Times 10 March
Link to Original New York Times Article….http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/10/world/africa/nigerians-ask-why-oil-funds-are-missing.html?ref=world&_r=0
By Bode Gbadebo
Source: Leadership Newspaper.
Photo Credits: Leadership Newspaper.
Posted: March 6, 2014
The United States has passed a damning verdict on the Nigerian government under the leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan. The government, it says, has been shielding those guilty of high-profile cases of graft.
In its Country Report on Human Rights Practice for 2013, the US State Department alleges that the government had been frustrating the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from prosecuting those found culpable of financial crimes.
Section 4 of the report entitled ‘Corruption and lack of Transparency in Government’ states that “the EFCC faced several frustrating setbacks during the year (2013)”.
According to the US State Department,”despite the arrest of several high-ranking officials by the EFCC, allegations continued that agency investigations targeted individuals who had fallen out of favour with the government, while those who were in favour continued their activities with impunity”.
The report obtained by LEADERSHIP yesterday cites the presidential pardon granted former Bayelsa State governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha “who was convicted in 2008 for embezzling over $10million in state funds”. Police corruption, it says, remained “rampant” and the lack of legislative protection for whistleblowers like suspended Central Bank governor Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was the most offending among the pile-up of corruption cases in Nigeria.
Besides, the report notes that the refusal of President Jonathan to disclose his assets and the lackluster in implementing the “Public Access to Information” (the Freedom of information Act) by the federal government also feature prominently in the US report.
The report observed that EFCC chairman Ibrahim Larmorde, who took over office in 2011, continued previous cases or brought new cases against 12 nationally prominent public officials, amidst several frustrating setbacks faced by the anti-graft agency during the year.
On the presidential pardon granted the president’s former boss, the report states: “While Alamieyeseigha served two years in prison and forfeited the property he held in the country, he was still wanted in the United Kingdom on money laundering charges, and another foreign government seized his assets. By granting him a pardon, President Jonathan paved the way for Alamieyeseigha to run for another elected office or to hold other appointed offices.”
On corruption in the Police Force, the report notes: “In January the EFCC won the conviction of John Yakubu Yusuf for embezzling two billion naira ($12.6million) from the Police Pension Fund,which carried with it a two-year prison sentence. The judge fined Yusuf N250,000 ($1,570) in lieu of prison time.
“The day following this judgment,the EFCC re-arrested Yusuf on the charge of failing to declare a N250million ($1.57million) bank account on his mandatory Declaration of Assets Form; Yusuf remained in custody pending trial at the end of the year.”
The report also cites the case involving former Bayelsa governor Timipre Sylva as one of the corruption cases still pending. It states: “In February 2012 the EFCC brought criminal charges against former governor of Bayelsa State Timipre Sylva for laundering almost 5 billion naira ($31.4million) of funds belonging to Bayelsa State. In October 2012 the EFCC seized 48 properties worth approximately one billion naira ($6.3 million) allegedly belonging to Sylva in Abuja.
“Sylva was granted bail in January. The EFCC discovered still more evidence of Sylva’s money laundering activities,and after he refused to co-operate with the investigation,the EFCC arrested him again in May to bring new charges,raising the amount of money he was suspected of laundering to 6.46 billion naira ($40.6 million). The court held Sylva in custody for one month before granting him bail of 100 million naira ($628,000);the court refused his request to return his passports to travel to London with his wife.”
The report further cites the trial of a member of the House of Representatives, Farouk Lawan, who was indicted over soliciting a bribe from business mogul Femi Otedola, noting that the case which started on October 23 was still pending.
Citing other corruption cases, the report notes: “On July 4, the Federal High Court in Abuja acquitted former Minister of Works and Housing Hassan Lawal. In May 2011 the EFCC arrested Lawal on 24 counts of fraudulently awarding contracts, money laundering and embezzlement of 75 billion naira ($471 million).
“On May 28, the Federal High Court in Abuja started the trial of former Speaker of the House of Representatives Dimeji Bankole for making fraudulent contracts worth 894 million naira ($5.6 million); it continued at year’s end. “