31 July, 2008

Nigeria’s Sick Man Democracy

By Ian Bremmer
First Published: July 27, 2008

How sick is Nigerian president Umaru Yar'Adua? In May, he admitted during a live television broadcast that he suffers from a kidney ailment, but sought to quell rumors that he was terminally ill by insisting that fears for his health are greatly exaggerated and politically motivated. There are plenty of world leaders in less-than-perfect health. But the stakes are especially high in Nigeria, where Yar'Adua embodies the country's delicate political balance.

With the fall of Nigeria's dictatorship and the introduction of democracy in 1999, governors in the mainly Muslim northern provinces believed they had struck a deal with their southern counterparts on a regional rotation of the country's presidency. In 2007, arguing that it was their turn to choose a chief executive, they bitterly opposed a bid by then-President Olusegun Obasanjo, a southerner and a Christian, to rewrite Nigeria's constitution in hopes of winning a third term. Southern governors countered that the north had controlled the country through more than three decades of authoritarian rule and that a southerner should hold the presidency for years to come. Tensions mounted.

Once it became clear that his gambit would fail, Obasanjo found a compromise: he named a man he trusted, Yar'Adua, a little-known northern governor and devout Muslim, as his preferred successor. In April 2007, Yar'Adua won a disputed landslide presidential victory. Western and African observers charged that widespread vote-rigging had tainted the official result, and Nigeria's Supreme Court has yet to rule on challenges to the election's legality.

But Yar'Adua shrugged off charges of electoral fraud, and in the first days of his presidency, he drew praise, both at home and abroad, for promises to tackle corruption and pursue an agreement with militia groups in the oil-rich, violence-plagued Niger Delta region. In reaching out to armed groups like the Movement for Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), one of his primary assets has been his vice president, Goodluck Jonathan, a native of the area.

Pacifying the Delta is vitally important, because Nigeria, the world's eighth-largest oil producer, earns 86% of its export revenue from oil. Attacks on pipelines have recently intensified ahead of a planned summit meeting between the government and various militia leaders, as small groups of militants stage attacks on oil infrastructure in the Delta to establish their relevance and win a potentially lucrative seat at the negotiating table. The summit is likely to generate an agreement and positive media coverage, but northern Muslim members of parliament could complicate efforts to implement the deal.

The Nigerian government could use some good news. Electricity shortages have intensified on Yar'Adua's watch, producing blackouts in many areas of the country and darkening the foreign investment climate. Rising food and energy prices pushed inflation up to 9.7% in May, from 8.2% in April. Corruption investigations launched by Yar'Adua's government have uncovered broader and deeper problems than many knew existed. A battle between the president and legislature over control of federal spending has not been fully resolved.

For foreign investors, the greatest near-term concern may be a broad range of attacks from parliament and some of Yar'Adua's economic advisors on Charles Soludo, the central bank governor, who is widely credited for Nigeria's improved economic performance in the past several years. Under Obasanjo, Soludo initiated much needed banking reforms and argued strenuously that Nigeria should pay its foreign debt.

But Soludo's recent decision to create a sovereign wealth fund has ignited a firestorm. Lawmakers complain they weren't consulted. Northern Muslims wonder why Soludo, a southern Christian, believes the government should horde excess cash that could be spent to relieve poverty among their constituents. A favorite of the West, Soludo may not survive the year.

With so many challenges ahead, Nigeria can ill afford an ailing president. Yar'Adua insists that he's fine and that his trips to Germany for medical treatment, during the election campaign last year and again this April, have been unfairly politicized. But there are plenty of unanswered questions about his kidney condition and rumors that he may even have Churg-Strauss Syndrome, a life-threatening autoimmune disease. The true state of his health may matter less than public fears that he's hiding something.

Yar'Adua's health worries are creating risks to Nigeria's stability that run far beyond questions about the Niger Delta or any single political issue. If Yar'Adua were to die in office, his vice president would succeed him – returning the presidency to a southern Christian. Nigeria's northern Muslims are highly unlikely to accept that result without protest.

There is no reason to believe that Goodluck Jonathan will preemptively resign, and removing him from office if he assumes the presidency might well stoke unprecedented violence in the Delta. Given the political friction and violence generated by last year's election campaign, new balloting would prove a less-than-appealing prospect.

Only Umaru Yar'Adua's doctors know for sure how sick he is. But as answers begin to emerge, we will learn much more about the health of Nigeria's fragile democracy.

Ian Bremmeris President of Eurasia Group and a Senior Fellow at the World Policy Institute.
This commentary is published by DAILY NEWS EGYPT in collaboration with Project Syndicate (


30 July, 2008

Fatal building collapse in Abuja

Rescue workers at the site of a collapsed building in Abuja
Eyewitnesses say 20 labourers were working on the building as it collapsed

At least one person was killed and several injured when a four-storey shopping centre under construction collapsed in Nigeria's capital, Abuja.

Emergency workers are trying to rescue as many as 15 people believed to be buried beneath the rubble.

Several others were pulled out alive. Rescuers are reported to be talking by mobile phone to a construction worker trapped inside the wreckage.

The building site was due to become the capital's largest shopping centre.

Falling debris

Eyewitness Mustapha Murtala told the BBC that there were about 20 labourers working on the building as it collapsed.

Reuters news agency quoted police as saying the number was between 40 and 50.

"There was a woman selling water in the building, she started screaming and the building collapsed," Mr Murtala said.

He said she was killed by falling debris.

The BBC's Andrew Walker in Abuja says building collapses have been common in Nigeria.

Two years ago the government promised to improve building regulations after hundreds were killed when a high-rise building collapsed in Nigeria's main city of Lagos

29 July, 2008


I had the good fortune of living in Cote D'Ivoire for almost 7 years. It is a beautiful country with wonderful people, incredible music, great food and excellent beaches. I must confess that despite the recent insecurity and fighting that nation has experienced, Cote D'Ivoire and specifically, the city of Abidjan, will always have a special place in my heart.

Well, Cote D'Ivoire, or the Ivory Coast as non-French speakers call it, has done something that Nigeria's government should pay attention to. There was a
riot in April when the government increased the price of diesel. In response, the Ivorian government has just announced that it will slash the salaries of Ministers by half to subsidize the lower cost of diesel for the masses.
This action is unparalleled in West Africa as far as I am aware. In fact, I have never heard of such happening anywhere. And, even though it could simply be a means to get votes for the upcoming November elections, the mere fact that the Ivorian government listened to the people and took a decisive step to make appease citizens is commendable. I do no know how far this decision will go to keep diesel prices at a manageable price for Ivorians, but the fact that Ministers will experience a pay cut shows that that nation's leaders are willing to bear the burdens of tough global economic times right alongside the common man. This is enough to give the people confidence in their government and hope that future disagreements will be solved by compromise.

Now, if only there was such unparalleled action in Nigeria on a whole host of issues....


Nigerian Army General becomes UN peacekeeping adviser

New York, UN - Nigeria's Lt.-Gen. Chikadibia Obiakor, the newly-appointed peacekeeping adviser to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon assumed duty at the UN headquarters here, PANA reported Sunday.He is the first military adviser at the world body and will hold the position of Assistant Secretary-General."Obiakor, 57, will advise on military affairs for the 110,000-strong UN peacekee ping force following a 35-year career in the Nigerian armed forces, where he earned the rank of three-star general,''a UN statement said at the weekend.It stated that he served as the top commander for the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and the artillery brigade for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Monitoring Group, where he coordinated border patrols in the region.The statement quoted General Obiakor as saying that his command strategy included prompt action and strict discipline in mitigating conflicts."I believe in the deterrence value, because if you don't deal with the matter, the tendency is that somebody else will attempt it," it quoted Obiakor as saying.The Nigerian general had also presided over the deployment of the first UN all-f emale police force in Liberia while serving at UNMIL.Obiakor began his career with the Nigerian Army in 1973, rising up the ranks to become a three-star general in December 2005.The uniformed personnel that serve in UN peacekeeping operations hail from 119 different countries, an all-time record.Nigeria is the fourth largest contributor of military and police personnel to UN peacekeeping operations around the world. New York - 28/07/2008

28 July, 2008

FG To Send Prince Erediauwa To Italy

Sunday, February 17, 2008
FG To Send Prince Erediauwa To Italy

The complexion of the designation of Nigeria's ambassadors being posted out now has started to emerge.

The Guardian has confirmed by the weekend that Benin crown prince, Eheneden Erediauwa is being sent to Italy. He had served as Nigeria's plenipotentiary to Sweden and Angola.

Diplomatic sources confirmed that the Prince is now awaiting his agreement from Rome. The request for Agreement was sent almost three weeks ago.

The need to resurrect a positive image for Nigeria, historical antecedents as well as strengthening the war against human trafficking are said to be the factors that determined which of the ambassadors-designates is to be sent to Italy.

Edo State is reputed to have the highest number of Nigerians who have been trafficked to Italy within the last two decades.

A high-level foreign ministry source, who responded to The Guardian's enquiry, said, " Government has done its own home work. The ancient Benin kingdom used to exchange ambassadors with Portugal in the 16th and 17th centuries and had contacts with the Dutch before the British people came. We needed someone who can completely fulfill the mandate in Italy. It is citizens' diplomacy at work..."

Last week, the Italian government, through its embassy in Abuja, signed an agreement with Nigeria on "Preventing and combating trafficking of minors and young women from Nigeria to Italy (Phase 2)"

The Nigerian community in Italy has doubled in the last five years (11,378 in 1998, 19,505 in 2002, up to 24,986 in 2003)



Abuja disappoints - again

Posted: 2008-07-27 12:00

Despite boasting a stadium that ranks among the best in Africa, Nigeria's capital city Abuja once again came up short in the spectator stakes when Portsmouth played Kano Pillars on Saturday at the National Stadium.

Large, open spaces gaped out of the 60 000 capacity stadium as the Nigerian champions were thrashed 5-0 by the English FA Cup holders.

This will not be the first time Abuja has embarrassed the nation. In 2003, Christian Chukwu's Super Eagles played Brazil in an international friendly game that was expected to have the stadium bursting at the seams.

Sadly, that did not happen, and organisers of that game told KickOffNigeria.com that they are still reeling from the effects of the loss.

Only one other Super Eagles game attracted a full house, that was the 2006 World Cup qualifier against Zimbabwe, which the Eagles won 5-1 but failed to advance after Angola won in Rwanda.

Conversely, games hosted in places like Port Harcourt, Warri and Abeokuta are almost always guaranteed sell-outs irrespective of t he pricing.

The Tinapa Football festival was due to be held at the UJ Esuene stadium in Calabar, which would have most likely been sold out, but KickOffNigeria.com understands that the two English clubs insisted on playing in Abuja.

Although fans have been flying in from Lagos, it is doubtful if there will be any significant changes in the numbers passing through the turnstiles.


911 call: 'I have killed the woman that mess up my life'

Bail was set at $1 million for a man accused of shooting his estranged wife.

Last update: July 26, 2008 - 1:06 AM

Iheme, 50, was charged with first-degree, premeditated murder in the death of Anthonia E. Iheme, 28. He is being held on $1 million bail in the Hennepin County jail.

Anthonia Iheme was shot Thursday as she left work at the Sholom Home West, 3620 Phillips Pkwy., an assisted-living center. Two witnesses reported seeing a man matching Iheme's description with a gun near his wife's car in the parking lot.

Hennepin County court records show that she had an active harassment restraining order against Iheme. The supporting affidavit suggests a history of domestic abuse, including threats by Iheme to kill his wife. The complaint said police in Brooklyn Park, where the couple lived most recently, had a number of domestic assault calls.

One of Anthonia Iheme's co-workers saw her get into her car about 2:35 p.m. Thursday and then saw Iheme get out of his car and shoot at Anthonia's car, which lurched forward, clipped a van, jumped a curb and rolled down a hill into a fence. Iheme followed the car down the hill and fired more shots, the complaint said.

A woman who lived down the hall from the couple when they lived in Brooklyn Center said Iheme took care of their two children and his wife worked. Anthonia moved out this spring, and Iheme and the children moved later, said the woman, who asked not to be identified out of fear of retaliation from Iheme's friends.

She said once when she locked herself out and had a locksmith opening her apartment door, Iheme came into the hall in his underwear about 10 p.m. and complained about the noise. He glared at her when she asked him to put on some clothes, she said.

On Thursday, Iheme was arrested at the scene and a semi-automatic handgun was found near his car, police said. Inside, police found a gun permit and Cabela's receipt for the gun, charges said. He told arresting officers: "I called the police.... I shot her. ... I shot her."

Police also said that an hour and a half before the shooting, Iheme went to the day-care center for their son, 4, and daughter, 3, and left new emergency contact information, "in case something happened today." Jim Adams • 612-673-7658



'Yar'Adua should declare emergency on corruption, not power'

Published: Monday, 28 Jul 2008

Nigeria's image seemed to have improved with former President Olusegun Obasanjo's claim to fight corruption during his administration. Do you think with all the revelations now, the country's image outside would not have worsened?

click to expand imageGen. Ishola Williams, TI boss

The corruption drive that started during the era of former President Olusegun Obasanjo gained some momentum. It showed that we were ready to expose to the world, some of our corrupt practices. We can call that washing our dirty linen in the open. But this is something that is necessary in order to be able to minimise corruption in our country. At least, that is good for our image. On the negative side, what is important is this: It is not the probe as such; but whether those who are found to have committed what I will call crime against poor Nigerians by taking out contracts, collecting money and not doing anything; that is what I call crime against poor Nigerians and therefore, they should be like crimes against humanity. Because it is a very serious problem, it is a very serious issue. If they are not punished, that is very bad. Secondly too, not only should they be punished, but they should have all their assets forfeited and I want to see a situation in which like the election tribunal, that will judge their cases within three months and there should be a situation in which once it has been proven from the probe and the National Assembly members have visited the sites (contracts) and there is nothing on those sites, then it is assumed that those people are guilty. So it is left for them now to prove to the world that they are not guilty, and if they cannot, all their assets should be seized and they should send them to jail for forty years, minimum. That is what the world is looking for now. If they can do that, I am assuring you that our image will skyrocket. We do not even need to publicise ourselves on CNN. But at the very moment, we are not the envy of any investor that comes to Nigeria. Any investor that comes to the country is investing in corruption, which is the way I can describe the present situation.

What was the involvement of TI in Obasanjo's battle against corruption?

To a certain extent, it is not the business of TI to help Nigeria to fight against corruption. There are 51 nations that are members of TI; it has no capacity to stop corruption in any of those countries. It is our own responsibility as TI in Nigeria because we understand the conditions better. The issue is that it is not only TI, it has to be the will of Nigerians to take the matter up, accountants, judges- must have the will to be able to do what they are expected to do. Just like the case of Mr. Nuhu Ribadu, the press will not allow us to rest, every single day it was Ribadu, Ribadu. How did the gentleman get N40-60m to buy house in Abuja? And the man said his father-in-law got a loan from the bank for him. So if he were caught in that kind of situation, what about his subordinates, and right now Mrs. Farida Waziri got there and she is saying, I am not going to probe him, it is all because they are policemen and women. As long as we continue to have policemen and women investigating corruption in our country, then we are wasting our time.

What is Nigeria's rating in TI at the moment?

The point is that we have just moved on to the stage. We are making effort, we are exposing all the cases of corruption and this had never happened before and if we want to move up that stage, we should be seen to be punishing all those who have been found to be wanting by the court. Secondly there are so many numbers of people who have stolen money and are sitting down in the Senate. Even from the leadership of the Senate to members of the House of Assembly who are alleged to have gone to Port Harcourt to collect N200m, the hunters are now being hunted. The issue is very straight forward, punish those who have been found wanting. All those former governors and the rest of them who are running around the place and they are giving them back their passport, and now we have a very serious situation today in the country. Most of those governors who have stolen public money are establishing newspapers, buying big shares in television houses, they want to control the media, and that is dangerous. If they do that, journalists cannot do their job because they will be looking down their back, if not they would not get paid. In any case, how many journalists get paid? So, if you look at all these things, the average policeman collects N20, and you see that the Inspector-Generals, one after the other, they are so corrupt. One of them was even buying the official quarters of his position. So, you see, it is the system that is so rotten. We are talking about '2020', how can you talk about building a skyscraper when you have not put in the foundation. It will collapse. Therefore, what the President should do is to declare a state of emergency against corruption, not on power. Electricity is not a big deal; it is just the supply of electricity. Lagos State wanted to do it, it was the Federal Government that stopped them. If not, everybody would have been having electricity in Lagos. Power is not our problem, what our problem is, is corruption. Until Yar'Adua does that, we would know that he is a very serious person. After all, who is supplying water to all the states? Are they not supplying their own water? So let electricity, just like water, be handled by individual states.

Who would you blame for some of the amazing discoveries over contracts awards in the various institutions?

The whole thing is that; let us assume that the system is so bad that even if they put you there, it is like putting honey on the tip of your tongue. Would you swallow it or spit it out? So in most cases, they will swallow the honey. When ministers, permanent secretaries get there, they meet our contract system that is bad. What we need to do is this; no ministry should be allowed to award contracts. We should have government procurement agency. During the time of the British, there used to be what they called the 'crown agent.' The tasks were given to them (crown agent) and they in turn will order what you want for you; from pencil to paper to everything that you want in your ministry. That was the only contract point of the government. That allows us now to be able to monitor that particular agency where contracts emanate. But where you have all the ministries in the world that are doing contracts, then you have a problem. That is why we have this very bad system, and of course the ministers, permanent secretaries and civil servants would like that kind of system to remain. One of the areas where we are having corruption cases in Nigeria and why it is very fundamental is that, one, the derivation system that we use in sharing money, is corrupting itself. How would the mobilisation and allocation commission that is distributing salary for everybody, when they do not mobilise any revenue. It is very bad. People should be paid according to what they can generate in their local government in their states. Not somebody sitting down in Abuja, and telling people what to be paid in remote areas of this country. We do not need all those ministries that we have at the federal level. What are the states there for? They should reduce the number of ministries (federal) to twelve, let the states do their job, as well as the local governments. That is why we have three tiers of government. In Nigeria, it is only one tier that seems to be working; the others are just spending money.

In all of this, where do you put Obasanjo?

Right from the beginning, I knew that Obasanjo was a hypocrite. I never accepted that, one, Obasanjo could fight corruption, because of his character and he has not disappointed me at all, from the investigations that are going on now. Two, it is stupid for anyone to think that politicians can fight corruption. Political system all over the world is corrupt. It is the people, and the people must work with the mass media so that there would be constant investigative journalism in the press and the judiciary. And then, we must have lawyers and accountants with conscience. Our lawyers and accountants do not have any conscience; they follow money.

Of what use would the ongoing probes be to the country?

These probes are very useful. There have been rumours and the probes are now there to confirm the rumour. Therefore what is EFCC waiting for, what is the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission waiting for? Once people have written petition to EFCC and ICPC, these probes would now make them to act because many people had written petition before about their governors, local government chairmen, contractors, ministers and so on. There are some that are still being kept under the carpet, there are rumours about the one of fertilizers in the agriculture ministry, we have not heard anything about that. The former governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori, is running around the whole world. There are some other governors who are sitting down in the village, while others are being arrested. So this is the issue. But the media would not bring this out, because they are their friends or if a journalist goes ahead to do the story, the editor may not publish them. Look at the way journalists are doing their election, they are not different from the politicians. It is because everyone wants to be the president of the Guild of Editors.

How do you situate the National Assembly in all these cases of corruption, especially with their attitude to the Freedom of Information bill?

I know people are making a big issue about this FOI bill. There is no doubt that it is very important, but as long as you continue to push the National Assembly, they would say there is a hidden agenda, and therefore they would continue to resist it. Now, the Senate may want to prove that it supports, but they know that as long as the House of Representatives does not pass it, it would not have any value, even if the President is ready to sign it. It is like the Yoruba saying that there are many ways of killing a chicken; either by putting the knife on its neck or in other places.

27 July, 2008


(ANSA)Two Nigerian children die on boat trying to reach Italy:

26/07/2008 18:09

Two Nigerian children aged two and four died trying to reach Italy on a boat carrying 75 illegal immigrants, Italy's Ansa news agency said Saturday.

The bodies of the two children were thrown into the sea, their father told the crew of an Italian coast guard launch that rescued the group.According to the father, his two-year-old son began vomiting during the night soon after their boat left. He died soon after. His four-year-old sister later died of dehydration, Ansa reported.

The father said he was travelling alone with his children.The boat, a large rubber dinghy carrying 75 passengers, was picked up Saturday by the Italian coast guard south of the island of Lampedusa in the Strait of Sicily.

26 July, 2008

Newcastle striker Obafemi Martins flies home after mother's death in oil tanker crash

LONDON: Obafemi Martins has left Newcastle's preseason preparations after his mother died when an oil tanker caught fire near her apartment in the Nigerian capital Lagos.Martins' mother Alhaja, 62, was among at least eight people killed Thursday when the tanker collided with a barrier on the side of a road in Lagos and burst into flames, the club said.
"Oba has flown back to Nigeria on compassionate grounds to be with his family at what is a very sad time for them," Newcastle said. "Everyone at the club extends their greatest sympathies to Oba and his relatives."
Martins' agent Chris Nathaniel said the 23-year-old forward was devastated.
"As you would expect, Oba is extremely upset at the moment," he said. "This has come as a massive shock to him and his family. His mother was a guiding light to him and had a strong influence on his life."Martins was dropped from the squad for tomorrow's friendly against Doncaster and may miss next week's friendlies with Hertha Berlin and Real Mallorca.His absence leaves Magpies manager Kevin Keegan increasingly short of attacking options. Mark Viduka and Andy Carroll are both injured and captain Michael Owen missed England's summer friendlies with a virus.
Newcastle faces Manchester United away in its Premier League opener on Aug. 17


Nigeria militants seek to free German hostages

Mon 21 Jul 2008, 6:22 GMT

[-] Text [+]

By Randy Fabi

ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria's main militant group in the oil-rich Niger Delta said on Sunday it would seek the release of two German construction workers kidnapped by armed gunmen more than a week ago.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), which has led a campaign of violence against oil facilities since early 2006, said it would intervene because the pair were not part of the energy sector but were working to help build the delta's infrastructure.

"MEND has located and identified the culprits and will begin negotiating with the kidnappers in the hope for a safe and unconditional release of the captives," the group's spokesman, who uses the pseudonym Jomo Gbomo, said in an e-mailed statement.
Unidentified gunmen on July 11 kidnapped the two employees of Nigeria's biggest construction firm Julius Berger, a unit of Germany's Bilfinger Berger, near the Nigerian oil city of Port Harcourt.

Around 15 gunmen ambushed the convoy of armoured jeeps by blowing one of the vehicles off the road with dynamite and killing a soldier.The kidnapping prompted the company to suspend its operations in the Niger Delta, the heart of oil production in the world's eighth largest exporter.

Among other projects, Julius Berger is rebuilding the main east-west road across the Niger Delta and is one of Nigeria's biggest private sector employers, with more than 16,000 staff. Companies operating in Africa's top producer have been struggling to cope with a wave of violence in the vast wetlands, fuelled by widespread poverty, corruption and lawlessness. MEND has focused its attacks mainly on Nigeria's oil workers and facilities, cutting output by a fifth in the last two years and helping push world oil prices to record highs.

The group, which is split between a number of different factions, say they are fighting for greater local control of the Niger Delta's resources.But the breakdown of law and order in the region has also allowed criminal gangs to thrive by kidnapping for ransom and stealing crude.

More than 200 foreigners have been seized in the Niger Delta since early 2006. Almost all have been released unharmed


Nigeria-Italy : cooperation on desert control (Google / The Tide News) « Desertification

Nigeria-Italy : cooperation on desert control (Google / The Tide News) « Desertification

Italy ready to co-operate with Nigeria on desert control’
Monday, Mar 17, 2008Italy has stated its preparedness to co-operate with Nigeria to combat desert encroachment and climate change. Mr Claudio Moreno, an Italian diplomat, said this when he paid a courtesy visit to Dr Abba Ruma, the Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources in Abuja. Moreno was accompanied by the Italian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Massino Biastrochi. He said the purpose of the visit was to extend, on behalf of the Italian government, an invitation to Nigeria, to participate in an international exposition to be held in Italy in 2015. The Milan Universal Exposition on “Feeding the Planet for live”, is aimed at fostering co-operation between nations to combat desertification and climate change in order to develop agriculture and reduce hunger.............

23 July, 2008

Baby dies after home circumcision

Baby dies after home circumcision
(ANSA) Second case in two months
July 22 - 2008-07-22 17:00 - Bari,
A two-month old boy died Tuesday after a circumcision carried out at the home of his Nigerian-born parents.The baby was rushed to a Bari hospital after the rudimentary operation went wrong but died of a haemorrhage, police said.Judicial sources said judges were weighing whether to place the boy's 24-year-old mother under investigation for manslaughter - along with the unidentified 'surgeon' when he is caught.It was the second such case in the last two months.Commenting on the case, Fabio Ferri of Rome's Bambin Gesu' Hospital said circumcisions were even ''risky'' in hospital because of the high amount of blood in the penis.''(The operation) should always be performed by experienced doctors in a hospital,'' he said.Souad Sbai of the Association of Moroccan Women in Italy said all Islamic boys in Italy were circumcised, with ''many'' having the operation at home and only a few going to the doctor.Sbai added that many girls were still being taken back to their countries of origin to be infibulated despite the practice being banned in Italy since 2006.''The situation has decidedly changed for the better but we need more money for awareness programmes and to support infibulated women,'' she said.photo: Bari's Policlinico Hospital
original article:http://espresso.repubblica.it/dettaglio-local/Il-dolore-della-madre:-costretta-ad-operarlo/2034416

20 July, 2008

The Beauty of Nigeria


19 July, 2008


Lagos, Nigeria - As the world celebrated the 90th birthday of South Afric a's freedom fighter and first post-apertheid President Nelson Mandela, the Nigerian media went to town this week, devoting editorials and opinion lead articles to the Madiba.The Guardian newspaper captioned its editorial "Nelson Mandela at 90"; the Daily Independent: in its editorial opinion, used the headline "Celebrating Nelson Madiba Mandela at 90" and Thisday newspaper's opinion "Celebrating Mandela at 90".The Punch newspaper published an opinion article on Mandela, written by Mike Woo ldridge, under the headline "Mandela, the sensitive leader at 90" while the Vanguard newspaper in another opinion article by Owei Lakemfa, headlined it "The moral authority called Mandela".According to the Guardian, "Nelson Rolihlahla ('troublemaker') Mandela was the son of a Xhosa-speaking Thembu chief, Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa. He attended the University of Forte Hare in Alice, where he became involved in fervid political struggle against the racial discrimination practised in South Africa."The new South African Constitution, which Nelson Mandela signed into law in 1996, allows a maximum of two terms for a president. Mandela voluntarily elected to quit office in 1999, after a single term in office, very much unlike many other A frican leaders; nor does he belong to the category of African presidents who shift the goal-post (amending their constitutions to incorporate longer terms of office).The Guardian described "Nelson Mandela as a veritable man of the people, self-ab negating, humanistic and altruistic. Upon his release from prison in 1990, his people made to usher him into a palatial edifice. In his words, "There were many in the ANC who advised me to move to the home a few blocks away, in Diepkloof extension, that Winnie had built while I was in prison."It was a grand place by Soweto standards, but it was a house that held no meani ng or memories for me. Moreover, it was a house that, because of its size and expense, seemed somehow inappropriate for a leader of the people. I rejected that advice... I wanted to live not only among the people, but like them....""As Nelson Mandela, popularly called the "Madiba", celebrates his 90th birthday today, we join the rest of the world to proffer our bouquets to this pre-eminentAfrican son, this moral torchbearer of our world, and this quintessential great man. We congratulate him on his selfless achievements and longevity," the Guardian wrote.In the opinion of the Daily Independent, "It is worth mentioning that Mandela - just like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. - was greatly influenced by the non-violent protest methods of India's Mahatma Gandhi. Like Gandhi, he believed in facing adversity with dignity."Be that as it may, he was pushed to renouncing the non-violent means of overturning apartheid by the buoying popularity of more radical groups like the Pan African Congress (PAC) as well as the frustrating lack of progress from peaceful measures. He consequently conceded that there was no effective alternative to an arm e d struggle, culminating in the formation of the MK.According to the tabloid, "Two actions go a long way to further highlight the moral fibre and large-heartedness of Mandela: He refused to support the cry for an ame change of the Parliament because Hendrik Verwoerd (the assassinated apartheid-era Premier after whom the complex was named) was the man that sent him to jail . He also refused to approve the destruction of Pieter Botha's statue (1st Executive President of apartheid South Africa)."At a time that very little positive news is emanating from Africa, it is exhila rating that the world would be celebrating the life and times of this global icon - Nelson Mandela: a 24-carat 20th Century gem from Africa to the rest of the world. Daily Independent wishes the Madiba a memorable 90th birthday anniversary.Thisday newspaper, in its opinion wrote "Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela is indeed a living legend. He is 90 years old today. Weeks before his 90th birthday, the world could literally not wait to celebrate him. On June 27, 2008 a very well attended and colourful musical concert was held for him at Hyde Park, London."Although he now walks slowly with the support of a stick and aids, he still has much life in him. While calling on African leaders to learn a lesson or two from this worthy son of Africa, we wish Madiba many," the paper wrote.Wooldridge wrote in his opinion in The Punch "He (Mandela) dedicated his life to a political crusade and became South Africa’s first black president, but Nelson Mandela never lost the personal touch – as those who know him explain. Nelson Mandela’s release from jail after 27 years, in 1990, brought hope of sweeping polit i cal change after the turbulent days of apartheid.Lakemfa, in the Vanguard newspaper opinion also wrote that Mandela "is not even clothed in any religious garb. He is simply human and his life, like his first wife Evelyn Mase and second wife Winnie Madikizela attested, is like that of any other mortal with all its fallibles."Mandela’s towering figure, his transformations through life and embodiment of the struggles of the weak and colonised and their eventual triumph, makes him a very difficult personality to capture in a single write-up."I have therefore limited myself to a tiny aspect of his life; the moral authority he wields. Never in history has anybody of African descent wielded so much moral authority in the world as Nelson Mandela.According to Lakemfa, "Mandela was not born a legend, he acquired it. He used to say that “Nurture, rather than nature, is the primary moulder of personality”. To be able to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s ninetieth birthday, no matter how tangentially, is an historic honour."Lagos - 19/07/2008

18 July, 2008


Nigeria: Bakassi Green Tree Deal - Obasanjo Didn't Consult Military

17 July 2008
Abdul-Rahman AbubakarAbuja
The military brass was not consulted before President Olusegun Obasanjo signed the Green Tree Agreement which ceded the Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon, Chief of Defence Staff General Andrew Owoye Azazi said in Abuja yesterday.
Speaking at the Senate Investigative Hearing on the Green Tree Pact signed by Obasanjo and Cameroonian President Paul Biya in 2006, General Azazi said, "I am not sure that the military made any contribution to the Green Tree Agreement, but I know that the then Chief of Defence Staff, General Martin Luther Agwai traveled with the former president to New York when the agreement was signed."

Azazi also told the Senate Committee that in the event of hostilities between Nigeria and Cameroon, France is likely to get involved in the conflict due to an existing defence pact between France and its former colonies.
The CDS said although no document shows the involvement of the military in the drafting and signing of the agreement, his office will continue to search and if anything turns up, he would send it to the Senate.
A senior Naval Officer on the CDS' team, Commodore Dele Ezeoba told the Senate panel that ceding Bakassi to Cameroon was not in the interest of Nigeria's security as the area will take away the adjoining deep marine routes, leaving Nigeria only with shallow waters which cannot be navigated. He said the area is more strategic to Nigeria than it is to Cameroon.
"I want to believe that if anything happens between Nigeria and Cameroon, the defence treaty between France and Cameroon will be called into force. They have such treaty with their former colonies. We don't have defence treaty with any country, we only have training agreements," General Azazi added.
Testifying before the Senate panel, Secretary General of the Bakassi Peoples General Assembly, Chief Ndabo Umo Nakanda said former President Olusegun Obasanjo intimidated the people of Bakassi, forcing them to dump their protest against the judgment of the International Court of Justice in the matter. He said, "We were invited by former President Obasanjo to the Aso Rock Villa. When we were seated the president said the press should excuse him and he warned us not to mention the case again. He said we should not make any further publications because according to him, we were provoking Paul Biya by our complaints. We were intimidated not to talk."
Asked why the Bakassi people failed to make their voices heard on the matter, former Cross River State House of Assembly member representing Bakassi, Mr. Joe Etame said the former president intimidated the people of the area not to contest the matter. "He told us that he was at the verge of having a meeting with Biya, but that because of our publications and he brought out some newspapers out that Biya was no longer ready to meet with him. He warned us to desist from further media campaign, that he was going to negotiate in our best interest and that not even an inch of our land will be ceded. After that we were scared."
Chief Nakanda also alleged that the former president threatened to leave the Bakassi people's fate in the hands of Biya, saying, "He told us not to make any pronouncements again on Bakassi. That was enough intimidation. He even said, if you ever make any publication again, I will leave you to Biya, can you fight Biya?
At yesterday's hearing, the Bakassi Peoples Assembly rejected the Green Tree Agreement and called on the Senate to device means which will enable Nigeria to appeal the ICJ ruling on Bakkasi. It said, "This Senate should put machinery in place to appeal the ICJ ruling to the United Nations Security Council. From the inception we have ten years option to appeal and three years is still left."
Chief Nakanda said the people of Bakassi have been hurt by both Nigeria and Cameroon saying, "We have seen that the overriding interest was solely economic rather than human interest. We appeal to Nigeria and Cameroon to sort their economic interests in the area and leave us alone."
He said the Bakassi people reject any plan to resettle them in an area already occupied by other ethnic groups, adding that such move will neutralize their culture and tradition and make them lose their identity. "We are saying the government of Cross River is trying to make a makeshift relocation camp. We reject it in its entirety. If we are forced to go there, there is going to be problem because we will lose our identity in three years. Where are we going to practice our traditions and religion? We have our shrines and deities; we cannot go and worship other people's deities. This cannot be overlooked because we still have our traditional religion," Chief Nakanda said.
He said the people are not happy that presently, their identity is already in jeopardy because they no longer have political presence either in Cross River State or at the National level. Chief Nakanda also said Bakassi Local Government formerly had ten wards but that has now been reduced to only five, while village names have been replaced with numerical figures. "Those names mean nothing to us," he said. According to him, the Green Tree Agreement is not in the interest of the Bakassi people as it infringes on their fundamental human rights.
Original articles:

17 July, 2008

Generator fumes kill 17 at Nigeria prayer meeting

Wed Jul 16, 2008 5:12pm EDT

By Anamesere Igboeroteonwu

UMUAHIA, Nigeria (Reuters) - At least 17 people died at a prayer meeting in rural Nigeria after apparently breathing noxious fumes from their power generator while asleep, police and witnesses said on Wednesday.

The deaths highlight the worsening power crisis in Africa's top oil producer, where the near collapse of the national grid is forcing homes and businesses to turn to portable generators.

Much of Nigeria has no mains power for weeks at a time. The capacity of the world's eighth biggest oil exporter has plunged to less than 1,000 megawatts from 3,000 a year ago.

The victims fell asleep on Saturday in a locked room with the generator still running, police said. Their bodies were discovered and the incident reported on Tuesday.

"We are still investigating the cause of the deaths. But a power generating set was found in the hall where they slept, so we are not ruling out suffocation through carbon monoxide inhalation," police spokesman Ali Okechukwu said.

The family had gathered in a village in the Isiala-Ngwa district of Abia to pray for one of their own whom they said was being haunted by evil spirits.

Though Nigerians are very religious, many are highly superstitious and hold strong beliefs in voodoo, ghosts and witchcraft. One survivor, Linus Abba, said the victims were attacked by the evil spirits they were trying to exorcise.

"I heard strange noises and noticed that the room where we slept was filled with smoke, that is all I can remember because I fainted," Abba told Reuters. "It was a terrible attack by the forces of darkness that we came to fight."

By Anamesere Igboeroteonwu

UMUAHIA, Nigeria (Reuters) - At least 17 people died at a prayer meeting in rural Nigeria after apparently breathing noxious fumes from their power generator while asleep, police and witnesses said on Wednesday.

The deaths highlight the worsening power crisis in Africa's top oil producer, where the near collapse of the national grid is forcing homes and businesses to turn to portable generators.

Much of Nigeria has no mains power for weeks at a time. The capacity of the world's eighth biggest oil exporter has plunged to less than 1,000 megawatts from 3,000 a year ago.

The victims fell asleep on Saturday in a locked room with the generator still running, police said. Their bodies were discovered and the incident reported on Tuesday.

"We are still investigating the cause of the deaths. But a power generating set was found in the hall where they slept, so we are not ruling out suffocation through carbon monoxide inhalation," police spokesman Ali Okechukwu said.

The family had gathered in a village in the Isiala-Ngwa district of Abia to pray for one of their own whom they said was being haunted by evil spirits.

Though Nigerians are very religious, many are highly superstitious and hold strong beliefs in voodoo, ghosts and witchcraft. One survivor, Linus Abba, said the victims were attacked by the evil spirits they were trying to exorcise.

"I heard strange noises and noticed that the room where we slept was filled with smoke, that is all I can remember because I fainted," Abba told Reuters. "It was a terrible attack by the forces of darkness that we came to fight."

By Anamesere Igboeroteonwu

UMUAHIA, Nigeria (Reuters) - At least 17 people died at a prayer meeting in rural Nigeria after apparently breathing noxious fumes from their power generator while asleep, police and witnesses said on Wednesday.

The deaths highlight the worsening power crisis in Africa's top oil producer, where the near collapse of the national grid is forcing homes and businesses to turn to portable generators.

Much of Nigeria has no mains power for weeks at a time. The capacity of the world's eighth biggest oil exporter has plunged to less than 1,000 megawatts from 3,000 a year ago.

The victims fell asleep on Saturday in a locked room with the generator still running, police said. Their bodies were discovered and the incident reported on Tuesday.

"We are still investigating the cause of the deaths. But a power generating set was found in the hall where they slept, so we are not ruling out suffocation through carbon monoxide inhalation," police spokesman Ali Okechukwu said.

The family had gathered in a village in the Isiala-Ngwa district of Abia to pray for one of their own whom they said was being haunted by evil spirits.

Though Nigerians are very religious, many are highly superstitious and hold strong beliefs in voodoo, ghosts and witchcraft. One survivor, Linus Abba, said the victims were attacked by the evil spirits they were trying to exorcise.

"I heard strange noises and noticed that the room where we slept was filled with smoke, that is all I can remember because I fainted," Abba told Reuters. "It was a terrible attack by the forces of darkness that we came to fight."Generator fumes kill scores of people in Africa's most populous country of 140 million every year.

16 July, 2008

link to Original news:http://www.stranieriinitalia.it/ansa-immigrazione_viminale_rimpatriati_40_nigeriani_da_fiumicino_5022.html

Rome (16th July). Fourty illegal immigrants from Nigeria were this morning repatriated to Lagos with a chater flight at 13.20 (1.20pm) from the Fiumicino airport in Rome .
The ministry of internal affairs underlined that the operation carried out by the Dept of Public Security (Police etc) was in line with its efforts in the war against illlegal immigration and is a follow-up to earlier operations carried out on the 28th June and 3rd July at Gorizia and Catinai respectively on Egyptian illegal immigrants.

(TRANSLATED BY: Chukwubike Okey. Charles)

14 July, 2008


Immigration officers (photo courtesy of www.immigration.gov.ng)
Jobs in any part of the civil service are prized

At least a dozen people have died during a recruitment drive for the Nigerian Immigration Service.

Four people were killed in a stampede at the recruitment centre in Enugu in Nigeria's south-east. Recruiters closed a gate to the government building where candidates were to sit an aptitude test.

More than 130,000 candidates applied for 1,260 jobs, local media report. Government jobs are prized for their regular salaries and good benefits. There are few good employment prospects for the many thousands of people who graduate from colleges and universities each year.

Four people also died in Asaba, in the Niger Delta region, during a fitness test where candidates had to run miles in the hottest part of the day. Four people were also reported to have been crushed in an stampede in Ilorin in the central region of the country. Other people died during fitness tests in Kaduna in northern Nigeria and in Abia and Anambra in the east, but the exact number was unclear.

Economic reforms over the last eight years have seen the civil service cut in size.

The government is still the largest single employer in Nigeria, but a large number of Nigeria's 140m population rely on the informal economy for their living.

Chinese firm to build $1 billion road in Nigeria oil hub

ORIGINAL ARTICLE:http://www.reuters.com/article/GCA-Oil/idUSL1328196020080713?pageNumber=3&virtualBrandChannel=0

By Nick Tattersall

LAGOS (Reuters) - One of China's top engineering firms has signed a $1 billion deal to build a road around the volatile Nigerian city of Port Harcourt, the hub of Africa's biggest oil industry, the AFC development bank said on Sunday.

The deal makes Beijing a key development partner in the Niger Delta, home to Nigeria's 2.1 million barrels per day (bpd) oil industry, where poor infrastructure and a lack of investment have fuelled a campaign of violence by militant groups.

China Harbour Engineering Co. (CHEC) signed a memorandum of understanding with the African Finance Corporation (AFC) for the six-lane ring road during a visit to China by Nigerian local government and AFC officials last week.

"The 125-km highway will be the largest municipal highway project in Africa and is expected to be a catalyst to the city's economic development," the AFC, a private sector-led investment and development bank based in Nigeria, said in a statement.

It said a unit of the State Grid Corporation of China, the country's largest state-owned enterprise, would also help upgrade the region's shambolic electricity generation, transmission and distribution system.

The Niger Delta is plagued by attacks by militant groups on oil pipelines and the kidnapping of foreign workers, violence which has cut Nigerian oil output by a fifth in recent years and helped push world oil prices to record highs.

China depends on Africa for some 30 percent of oil imports and has invested heavily in top producers Nigeria and Angola.

The Nigerian government has made developing infrastructure in the delta one of the planks of its campaign to bring peace to the region, where impoverished local communities complain they are seeing none of the benefits of oil wealth.

"Infrastructure, creation of employment through capacity building of our people and growth of the economy are the essentials to solving the crisis," Rotimi Amaechi, governor of Rivers state where Port Harcourt is located, said in Beijing.

Jichang Zhuo -- chairman of CHEC parent company China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) (1800.HK: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) -- said he hoped his company could contribute to the economic development of Rivers and said the project would begin immediately.


The announcement comes two days after Nigeria's biggest construction firm, Julius Berger JUBR.LG, started pulling out of the delta because of the deteriorating security situation.

The decision by the Nigerian unit of German builder Bilfinger Berger (GBFG.DE: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) came after gunmen kidnapped two of its senior Germans employees by blowing their armored vehicle off the road with dynamite close to Port Harcourt.

More than 200 foreigners have been seized in the Niger Delta since early 2006. Almost all have been released unharmed.

Amaechi said the Nigerian authorities would do all they could to protect Chinese workers.

"It is the responsibility of the Rivers state government to provide security to protect lives and property. We are determined to provide security for every staff member of CCCC that comes to work in Rivers state," he said.

The World Bank said in a report last week that China was leading new financiers in Africa, estimating its funding for roads, railways and power projects at $7 billion in 2006, up from just $1 billion a year between 2001-2003.

The bulk of the commitments were to four countries endowed with natural resources -- Nigeria, Angola, Sudan and Ethiopia

13 July, 2008

Frode in italiano (Nigeria Fraud in Italian)

Frode in italiano (Nigeria Fraud in Italian)
About the 419 scam
Email addresses used by 419 scammers
Phone numbers used by 419 scammers
How to report 419 spam to us
Domains registered by 419 scammers
Company names mentioned in 419 spam
What can you do when you receive 419 spam
La maggior parte dei email di frode nigeriano sono in inglese, ma ci sono inoltre versioni in italiano. Qui sono alcuni esempi:.
From: Simon [mailto:smuzender@netscape.net]
Sent: 12 June 2005 19:02
Subject: Proposta Finanziaia
Potresti sorprenderti nel ricevere questa lettera per il fatto che tu non mi
conosci e perci� vorrei presentarmi.
Mi chiamo Simone Mazenda, figlio primogenito di Paul Mazenda un
ex-agricoltore dello Zimbawe. Egli � stato ucciso poco tempo fa nell'attuale
guerra civile che incombe nel mio paese.
Ho ricevuto il tuo contatto attraverso il network e per questo ho deciso di
Mio padre, prima della sua morte, mi port� a Johannesburg (Sud-Africa) per
depositare una somma di 8,5 milioni di dollari, in una delle assicurazioni
private, proprio perch� conosceva il pericolo presente nello Zimbawe.
In seguito questa somma venne depositata e convertita in pietre preziose per
evitare la svalutazione dalla compagnia di assicurazione.
Questo capitale era destinato per l'acquisto di nuovi macchinari e prodotti
chimici per gli agricoltori e la creazione di nuove fattorie nello
Il problema in questa terra nacque quando il presidente dello Zimbawe, Mr.
Robert Mugabe introdusse una riforma agricola nel mio paese che andava a
favore interamente del ricco popolo bianco e di pochissimi agricoltori
benestanti di colore.
Tutto questo port� allo sterminio di intere famiglie da parte di fanatici
guerriglieri che continuano a portare la societ� Zimbawese alla decimazione.
Quindi la nuova riforma � la causa principale della morte di migliaia di
persone e tra cui mio padre che ne rimase vittima.
Per questo motivo decidemmo io e la mia famiglia di chiedere asilo politico
e di trasferirci in Olanda, dove tutt'ora abitiamo per� allo stesso tempo
cercare di trasferire la nostra somma di denaro in un posto pi� sicuro
poich� il governo olandese proibisce ai rifugiati politici all'interno del
proprio territorio di possedere un conto bancario o essere coinvolti in
transazioni finanziarie.
Come primogenito ho la piena responsabilit� di venire a conoscenza di un
conto estero senza che il mio governo venga a saper di tutto ci�, in quanto
ha il potere di defraudare ogni bene che noi cittadini possediamo.
Il governo sud-africano sembra sia d'accordo con il governo dello Zimbawe.
Mi trovo di fronte al dilemma di trasferire questo capitale dal Sud-Africa
in modo da non incorrer pi� in simili esperienze nel futuro in quanto
entrambi i paesi hanno una simile storia politica.
Come uomo d'affari sono alla ricerca di un partner finanziario, al quale
posso affidare nelle sue mai il mio futuro e quello della mia famiglia e
vorrei assicurarti che questa transazione non presenta rischi.
Tutto ci� che adesso avrei bisogno e che tu possa assistere me e la mia
famiglia e cio� fare un contratto con la compagnia di assicurazione per
effettuare il versamento dall'ufficio della filiale in Olanda, avendo gi�
dato le mie direttive per il trasferimento, che deve essere fatto dal
Sudafrica in Olanda. Ma prima di tutte queste modalit� si deve stabilire
come il cambio di propriet� del conto e cosa molto pi� importante � che
questo denaro deve essere usato per il mio investimento.
Avrei due opzioni per te. La prima � che tu puoi scegliere di avere una
certa percentuale di denaro per sottoscrivere il conto di questa
transazione; come seconda possibilit� potresti diventare il mio partner per
tutto l'investimento di denaro nella da effettuarsi tua citt�. Qualunque
opzione tu scelga, sentiti libero di contattarmi.
Ti dico che ho gi� sottratto il 5% per tutte le spese relative al processo
di transazione bancaria. Se non preferisci il partenariato ti potr� versare
il 10% del denaro mentre il restante 85% verr� riservato per l'investimento
da farsi nella tua citt�.
Se non reco alcun disturbo contattami cortesemente a questo indirizzo e-mail
e ti chiedo gentilmente di mantenere l'assoluta privacy come la legge
Grazie per il tuo sostegno e che dio ti benedica.
Cordiali saluti
Simone Mazenda

Naomi Campbell in Nigeria

Has she changed...? Is she going to save Nigerian enviroment?

12 July, 2008



station in Port Harcourt, the capital of Nigeria's oil producing region


Shell flow station in Port Harcourt, capital of Nigeria's oil....Gas is flared at a flow station owned by

Italian oil company Agip in the Niger Delta, near the...

"Cults - Nigeria"

YouTube - Broadcast Yourself

July 2005
In Nigeria, University fraternities have taken on brutal extremes. Students are being murdered and defiled with impunity by vicious cult members.

'It was a baptism of fire' recalls vice chancellor of University Benin. 'They cut his head open and flipped it -- like a cap, so that the brain matter and everything splattered around the building'. Over 80 Nigerian students have died in gruesome attacks by cult members in the last two years. No-one has ever been convicted. Cultists are often found to be children of prominent Nigerians and are often used by the regime itself to intimidate, maim and kill opponents. Cult leader, Meyer, explains how he uses the police to exact revenge on his opponents: 'We guide the police, pick them out to get them killed'. Universities are supposed to be the future of developing nations but a vocal minority here are trying to keep Nigeria in the Dark Ages.

© 2008 YouTube, LLC

11 July, 2008


Nigerian govt has a lot to thank the Irish govt - Pamela Toyin

By Taiwo Akinlembola - updated: Friday 11-07-2008

Her book, 'Herstory', highlights the plight of African women who migrated to Ireland because of different bitter experiences they had in their countries.

In this chat with Taiwo Akinlembola, Pamela Toyin Akinjobi, author of the book, spoke on reasons why many Africans flee their countries and her experience with African migrants, especially Nigerians in Ireland.

As a journalist and a writer, Toyin Akinjobi stated that she had seen and come across a lot of immigrants in Ireland, especially Nigerians who took refuge in the country because they could no longer cope with the situation in the country.

She relayed the example of a family who had to leave the country to resettle in Ireland because of the incessant armed robbery attacks on their home in Lagos. She has also come across a lot of Nigerians who come into Ireland with visiting visas and would refuse to go back home at the expiration of their visas.

"Majority of them stay back with the intention of getting into the United Kingdom through the 'back-door', while some come into Ireland through the same channel. "Most Nigerian women who come into Ireland from the UK do so because of the fact that they know if you have a child in Ireland, the mother would get a residency and the child automatically becomes a citizen and he/she is entitled to every opportunity in Ireland.

The circumstances which brought Nigerians to Ireland are different, but it all borders on the fact that Nigerians are not getting the expected social support from Nigeria."For instance, a lot of I.T experts are recruited from Nigeria and are employed in Ireland. I know of a guy who was made a director in a leading company immediately he got to Ireland. Think of what his expertise would have done to our fatherland, Nigeria. A lot of Nigerians graduates are hanging around the country without jobs.

"Sometime ago, during one of my talk shows, an Irish woman who was very furious asked me why many Nigerians are residing in Ireland.According to her, 'there is money in Nigeria and there are available resources, why are they here? All they do is take away our own resources, milk the Irish government dry and so many things like that. At least we hear that there is a lot of money in Nigeria.' I answered her that, it is not all the time that you switch on your TV set and watch war recordings that there is war going on. Even when the situation is calm, people experience internal war, and this is wiping out generations. People die everyday from suffering. In Nigeria you have to fight for everything — transportation, water, medical treatment etc.

"For example, a Nigerian from Benue State who has lived in Ireland for 33 years, has a school and a computer college there asked me to do a brochure on Benue State indigenes who live in Ireland for her. She told me that back home in her local government area, people were dying of cholera as a result of lack of potable water. She showed me some pictures, you can't believe such things still exist. She tried to help but according to her she encountered a lot of problems as the chairman was unsupportive at the initial stage.

"Our leaders in Nigeria have a lot to think about and a lot of things must be changed so that people will be encouraged to come back home. Take a look at the epileptic nature of the PHCN. A lot of businessmen and women barely make profit as all that should be their profit goes into buying diesel to run generating sets. My sister is a victim, I always wonder how she makes it.

The health sector is also zero. I once lost a cousin to a medical personnel's incompetence. The Nigerian government has a lot to thank the Irish government for, because of the way pregnant women are being taken care of over there in Ireland. A grandma recently came on visitation to Ireland and her daughter-in-law fell into labour.

The old woman coming with the Nigerian mentality insisted on accompanying her to the hospital, in case she would need to help her if she would need some extra things. She was surprised at the way everything went and the reception she herself got at the hospital.

"Here in Nigeria, another bane of the nation is maternal and infant mortality and morbidity. The medical facilities available for the care of pregnant women are zero.

"Most Nigerians do not want to come back home to all these hardships after living in a different environment where everything works the way it should. Some would even tell you that they prefer to die or rot away in jail abroad instead of coming home to suffer.

"I believe our government should begin to take positive steps to correct some of these inadequacies so that people can stay and stop migrating from Nigeria."

In the book Herstory, Pamela Toyin Akinjobi writes stories of different women from different parts of Africa and the painful separation from their homes, families and friends despite the fact they are leaving behind some forms of trauma.

Pamela Toyin is a writer, an immigrant who has lived in Ireland for many years. She started her writing career in Ireland with the Metro Eireann, Ireland's first and only multi- cultural newspaper. She was also a part of the organisers of the most Beautiful African Girl beauty pageant and she also anchors her own business and talkshow - Pamela Toyin Talk Show.

10 July, 2008

Threats over Nigeria amputation

Saratu Yusuf and mother Hadiza
Saratu's family say she can no longer go to school or help them on their f

A Nigerian doctor has told the BBC he is in hiding after receiving death threats for amputating a girl's arms.

Dr Dandyson Allison says he saved 13-year-old Saratu Yusuf's life after she was run over by a truck in April.
But he was subsequently arrested and spent a week in jail after Miss Yusuf's family accused him of removing her arms without her family's consent.
Other neighbours have accused him of being a "ritualist" who needed body parts for black magic, which he denies.

Miss Yusuf was riding on the back of a motorbike when she was knocked down by a truck, witnesses to the accident told the BBC.
"Hippocratic oath"
"I was in my clinic when I heard a loud commotion outside," Dr Allison, who runs a private clinic in Kuje, just outside the capital, Abuja, told the BBC News website.

Dr Dandyson Allison
Dr Allison has not been able to open his clinic since the accident

"Both limbs were completely disconnected, just held by small piece of skin. She was unconscious. She must have bled torrentially at the scene of the accident."
There was no time to get her parents, he says, so he had to act immediately.

"In private clinics it is standard that before you are treated you have to register, get a card, pay money.

"But I took the Hippocratic oath to save life. Waiting would have meant the end of the life of that poor girl."
Miss Yusuf says she was conscious until she was brought to the hospital and the bones in her arm were not broken.
"They sent the boy to get my parents, but by the time they came he had already cut off my arms," she said.

"I asked him why he did it and he said I would have died. The bone was not broken."
But witnesses and Dr Allison said the truck had shattered the bones and already severed the arms.

Now Miss Yusuf's family say she cannot go back to school, and cannot work to help them on their farm.

They want Dr Allison to pay them 50m naira ($424,000, £212,000) in compensation.
Dr Allison said he was prepared to help them get prosthetic arms for Miss Yusuf and give them 300,000 naira ($2,500, £1,250).
But they refused, and days later Dr Allison was arrested. He is now on bail pending a further court hearing.
His clinic was closed down by the state authorities and all his medical instruments seized.
He also received death threats and a mob threatened to burn down his clinic.

He was condemned in the Nigerian press and accused of wanting to sell the arms to a "ritualist" to be used in black magic.
Correspondents say such allegations in the media are common and children have in the past been killed and dismembered for their body parts.
it is an allegation Dr Allison strongly denies.

"There are a lot of stories about people dismembering human beings for money. It happens, but the truth is people at the site of the accident saw that the hands could not be salvaged."
He gave the amputated hands to the family and they buried them near their farm.


Nasty bathroom at our hut at Yankari Game Reserve, Nigeria. Sink has seen better days and toilet cistern contains components of a flush mechanism, although none of them are connected together to make anything useful!

Me in the clear and warm waters of Wiki Spring, Yankari Game Reserve, Nigeria.

Part of the modern Central Business District in Abuja, Nigeria.

08 July, 2008

Are Nigerians Worth Dying For?

Oct 7, 2003
When in the 18th century the likes of Jean Jack Rousseau, Voltaire and Montesquieu rose up against the aristocratic and dictatorship government of King Leo XVI, the French people rose up with them. Men, women and children gave their support to these noble men who had written and stamped their names in the sands of time. Together they rubbished the authoritative system of the government, which gave little or no hope to the ordinary French man.

Similarly, when in the 16th century Tetzel commercialized the Catholic Church, he met with the stiff and stringent opposition of Martin Luther who brought the reformation to the open. Luther did not need to seek the support of a large number of people who were tired of Tetzel’s style of administering the church before he got it. In actual fact the support he got from the people, propelled and spurred him up to see the battle for liberation to the end.

Nigeria like France (at the time) has been very unlucky with its leaders since independence. And like France too Nigeria has over time produced it’s versions of Rousseau and the rest. But unlike the French that supported the ending of aristocracy, Nigerians instead of supporting any move aimed at putting an end to any form of absolute or despotic government, give their full backing to such systems. And this kind of moves gives the leaders the impetus to carry on perpetuating all sorts of cynical governance.

A clear example of this arose when Festus Keyamo, a young and promising lawyer decided to take up the case of chief Bola Ige, the former Attorney General of the federation, who was murdered in cold blood because the Obasanjo government did not see any reason to investigate it. The Nigerian Police Force became furious and took him (Keyamo) up on the case.

Nigerians in their own questionable wisdom folded their arms and watched as the young lawyer was put behind bars. But for the timely intervention of Chief Gani Fawemi (in my own opinion, the best attorney that has ever existed in the history of this country), only the heavens knows what would have become of the young man.

Unbelievably a professor and former noble laureate award winner was quick to show his utter dismay in Keyamo. Parleying so much with the Lagos State government at the time, he described Mr. Keyamo as a ‘small fry’ that should not be allowed to handle the case. Perhaps what our Professor fails to realize is that heaven forbids, it could be his turn. Ironically, the same Professor was at the forefront of the late M.K O Abiola struggle for Nigeria’s liberation from military dictatorship.

In the last election of May 2003, another reputable legal practitioner Mr. Mike Ozekume, who also doubles as human rights activists decided to contest the Edo State gubernatorial elections in a bid to putting an end to the aristocratic government of the incumbent governor Chief Lucky Igbinedion, Mr. Mike got, was the shocker of his life. Rather than the people voting Mr. Mike who has co-championed the cause of Nigeria’s return to democracy with others of his kind, they opted to vote massively for the incumbent governor.

Similarly, when Mr. Gani Fawehinmi who in my own opinion gave Nigeria this so called democracy, decided that it was time for him to go into action by contesting for the presidential sit of the country, he like Mr. Ozekuma did not only get the shocker of his life, but was perplexed by it. After the election, pitying Nigeria and Nigerians he remarked that “Nigerians have opted for another four years of hardship”.

As an agent of the National Conscience Party (NCP) in Lagos whose umbrella Gani contested the election, I can state authoritatively that Nigerians voted massively for the incumbent President Obasanjo. Although there were so many irregularities, Obasanjo no doubt got the support of a large number of Nigerians. If the French people, the Germans and even the Americans have not stood up to fight in order to liberate themselves from the various bondage they were in, Nigerians will not be queuing up from dusk to dawn in their missions to obtain their visas today.

Listening to and watching Nigerians, one would wonder if these people are ready to get to the promised. Nigerians prefer to languish in abject poverty, believing that it will one day be their turn to inflict such psychological trauma on their neighbors. They display all sorts of inhuman characteristics on one another. And when spoken to on the issue, rather than accept this as a problem, the one who voices out is grossly hated.

A clear cut instance of this; is the recent call on the people to protest against the activities of Global Systems Mobile {GSM} operators. A lot more Nigerians ignored this call and rather than turning off their phones, they decided to turn on their handsets. And when some were asked why they disobeyed the call, they put up flimsy and unfounded excuses. Others felt that the one who championed this cause was seeking for cheap means becoming popular.

Similar calls have been made by the Nigerian Labour Congress to protest the Government’s irresponsible increase of the prices of petroleum products, but in their usual habit, Nigerians are very quick to complain after a few days of protest actions thereby rendering such protests irrelevant. With all these and even a lot more, can Nigerians be said to be worth dying for, when even in death such a person is blamed for his actions? Your answer is as good as mine.

by ejiro donald,