Mr. Jean-Claude Junker, the blunt, strong-willed and battle-tested President of the European Commission blew hot about the precarious plight of the Igbo people and the dangers faced by members of the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB) in Nigeria last week.
He said “it is the people’s right to agitate and make a request from their government. Self-determination is a right enshrined in the United Nation Charter. The people of Biafra have every right to request for a referendum. They have been in this struggle for a while now. They have never killed or shot a bullet instead they are the victims of attacks and murder. The EU hereby condemns the brutal attack on IPOB members and leadership under the pretentious disguise of a military exercise (Operation Python Dance). The Nigerian military is warned to adopt democratic tenets in handling citizens. The EU will not sit by idly and watch things go undemocratic in the largest economy of the West African region”.
This is an excellent assessment of the situation and it provides a timely warning to the Buhari administration about their grave indiscretions and obvious excesses.
Yet instead of addressing the deep concerns that the EU, Amnesty International, the United Nations and many other notable players and organisations on the world stage have about what is going on in Nigeria, Mr. Lai Mohammed, President Buhari’s Minister of Information and a man who told us just a few years ago that it was wrong and unlawful to ban Boko Haram, had only the following to say:
“IPOB is a group sponsored by a coalition of political parties and looters who are bent on derailing the fight on corruption embarked upon by Buhari-APC led government.”
Such unadulterated poppycock and pernicious lies and such baseless allegations and nonsensensical assertions, even when they come from a man whose credibility is at best questionable, beggars belief.
Instead of attacking and insulting those of us that have condemned the slaughter of Igbos and alleging that we are sponsoring IPOB the Buhari government would do well to consider Jean Claude Junker’s words and what the European Union have said about the barbaric killing of the Igbo and the universal right of self-determination which is protected and guaranteed by international law.
Since when has it been acceptable or the norm to unleash the dogs of war against a group of innocent, unarmed and defenceless young people and their colourful leader simply because they dared to ask for a referendum?
The fact of the matter is that whether anyone likes it or not, the attempt to break, subjugate, demonise, belittle, villify and wipe out the Igbo race through the auspices of intimidation, disinformation, manipulation of the media, mass murder and ethnic cleansing by the Buhari administration shall fail.
The truth is that this whole thing is not about IPOB but about the consistent expression of an irrational, illogical and pathological hatred of the Igbos by the maximum ruler of the Nigerian state.
And if he gets away with it and manages to achieve his sinister and nefarious objective he will come after the Yoruba, the Ijaw, the Tiv and everyone else in a matter of time!
That is why it is important to refuse to be intimidated, to stand firm, to hold the line, to resist him with every fibre of our being and to insist on the restructuring and the renegotiation of Nigeria.
Fifty years after our brutal and genocidal civil war we have learnt nothing about the cataclysmic and devastating consequences and spiritual implications of slaughtering innocent people in the name of keeping Nigeria one.
Why do you think nothing works in our country and that our people are mostly unfulfilled, poor, miserable, afflicted and deprived? Why do you think there is so much suffering in our nation despite the fact that we have been blessed with so many human and mineral resources? It is God’s judgement.
Until we stop electing pyschopaths, sociopaths and cruel men of blood into office and until our leaders stop killing innocent people whose only “crime” is to express their desire to be free from slavery, bondage and tyranny and to be allowed to determine their own future nothing will or can change for the better in our beleagured country.
As long as the ethnic cleansing and mass murder continues and as long as our people cheer on our leaders as they commit these heinous crimes against humanity Nigeria will continue to be a basket case of a nation which is ruled by unrepentant and wicked tyrants, garrulous court jesters and certified village idiots.
If we continue to condone and refuse to desist from state sponsored repression and the mass murder of Igbos, northern Christians, Shiite Muslims, Niger Deltans or any other group of people who are seen by our collective oppressers as soft and easy targets our nation will continue to be perceived as an abominable and accursed dwarf that crawls around like a helpless, crippled and stunted child in the comity of nations.
Nigeria was once the hope of the black man but sadly in the last two years she has become an embarrasment and burden to Africa and a reference point for everything that is reprehensible and shameful in the world.
A nation where savage and insensitive beasts murder innocent men, women and children in the sanctity of their homes whilst the people cheer them on and embrace their murderous barbarity with joy and glad tidings.
A nation where political opponents can be locked up for years without any recourse to the courts and without any form of due process.
A nation where opposition members and dissidents are villified and subjected to every form of shame, malevolence and indignity simply because they refuse to bow before the maximum ruler and worship him as a living deity.
Can God’s prescence possibly be in such an arrangement and can God’s blessing possibly be in such a place?
Chief Mike Ozekhome SAN, one of the true crusaders for justice and human rights in Nigeria and a man of remarkable fortitude and immense courage captured the mood and painted an accurate picture of the situation when he said the following:
“The Fulani herdsmen who go on rampage daily, maiming, rapiing and killing and those responsible for the Agatu massacre, Shiites massacre, Southern Kaduna pogrom, indiscriminate killings, brazen quit notice givers across Nigeria, etc, have never been arrested, prosecuted, let alone been proscribed and stigmatised as terrorist organisations. We must surely have and operate two sets of laws for two sets of people in Nigeria”.
How true this is! Yet even if the majority within the Nigerian political class and media are not prepared or able to confront and expose this great evil and speak truth to power, the international media, who are thoroughly and understandebly mortified and shocked by what is unfolding in our country, are evidently ready to do so.
For example the Washington-based Newsweek International Magazine, in an excellent article written by Mr. Connor Gaffey just last week, focused on the fact that “many Biafran Christians” had been subjected to “extra-judicial killings” by a northern Muslim-controlled and led army.
They condemned the activities of the Nigerian military in the east in very strong terms, decried the dangerous situation that is unfolding in Nigeria and echoed President Olusegun Obasanjo’s laudable call for dialogue between the IPOB leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and Buhari.
In their own contribution to the debate the respected New York-based Huffington Post published the following artice which was written by Mr. Bruce Feinn, a highly celebrated and distinguished human rights lawyer and a former Deputy Attorney General in the Reagan administration. He wrote:
“The United Nations will live in infamy for lending its megaphone on Tuesday, September 19, 2017, to Nigeria’s elected military dictator Muhammadu Buhari.
The Hausa-Fulani Muslim strongman is currently orchestrating genocide as defined by the Genocide Convention against Nigeria’s 50 million Igbo people because of their ethnicity and unwavering devotion to Christianity. Buhari’s genocide marks the culmination of a long train of Biafran subjugation by radical Hausa-Fulani Islamic terrorists. The dictator’s power is anchored to an illegitimate constitution decreed by a military dictator in 1999 to hold the Christian Biafran people in bondage to Hausa-Fulani Muslims. Nigeria’s constitution has never been approved by Nigerians.
Last June, Buhari tacitly endorsed a Hausa-Fulani threat to expel by force and violence and to plunder 11 million Igbos in twelve northern Nigerian states that have adopted Sharia as their legal codes if they did not abandon their Igbo homes and businesses by October 1, 2017. During the past few years in northern Nigeria, Hausa-Fulani terrorists have destroyed thousands of churches and religious schools and displaced millions of Christian Biafrans.
Hundreds of innocent civilians have died and more have been injured or terrorized by Nigeria’s military acting under Buhari’s direction in the last week alone. A courageous and influential Biafran leader, Nnamdi Kanu, has had his home attacked and quarantined by Nigeria’s armed forces and his followers killed. Grisly videos and photos taken at scenes of the harrowing crimes are conclusive. What they prove amounts to state terrorism—the systematic employment of violence to intimidate or coerce a civilian population.
Instead of providing Buhari a megaphone, the United Nations should be expelling Nigeria from membership under Article 6 of the United Nations Charter. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) should be referring the dictator and his henchmen like Army Chief of Staff Lt. General Tukur Yusuf Buratai to the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, to investigate for complicity in genocide. The UNSC should also be imposing an arms embargo on Nigeria under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter until the right of the Biafran people to self-determination is secured through a free and fair referendum conducted by the United Nations Electoral Unit. At present, dictator Buhari is diverting arms purchased for ostensible use against Boko Haram, an international terrorist organization, to the terrorizing of Biafran Christians. Buhari has no interest in defeating Boko Haram because its threat triggers military and financial assistance from the United States in its global war on terrorism.
These sanctions against Nigeria would honor twin objectives of the United Nations: (1) “to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained;” and, (2) “promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to religion”.
The genocide of Biafrans is not a “domestic” matter within the exclusive jurisdiction of Nigeria. Genocide is a crime against all of mankind which concerns every country. Moreover, if dictator Buhari is permitted to kill and enslave Christian Biafrans with impunity, Nigeria could degenerate into a Hausa-Fulani Islamic theocracy and could become a state sponsor of terrorism. Nigeria’s example would embolden the persecution of Christians elsewhere.
Nigeria’s 190 million inhabitants make it the most populous nation in Africa. It is a model not only in West Africa but throughout the continent. It is too important for its fate to be left to the roll of the dice.
The international community planted the seeds of contemporary Nigerian and African strife by arbitrarily carving up the continent in favor of colonial powers at the1884-1885 Berlin Conference. The United Nations is saddled with a moral obligation to help remedy the dystopias spawned by many of its key members.
While the suffering and persecution of Burma’s Muslim Rohingya have captured headlines and the attention of the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, Nigeria’s far worse oppression of Biafrans has been largely ignored. It is difficult to resist the conclusion that the international human rights community squints when blacks kill blacks”.
He concluded by saying,
“Chad had its Hissene Habre, Libya had its Muammar Gaddafi and Nigerian President Buhari should learn from those examples before continuing his genocidal murders and torture of Biafrans. Justice will pursue Buhari as tenaciously as the Furies pursued Orestes. He would tremble if he reflected that God is just, and that His justice will not sleep forever”.
These are valid and legitimate observations and laudable assertions from a respected individual that has dedicated his entire life to the cause of protecting human rights and a medium that prides itself on the highest standard of literary excellence and investigative journalism.
Let us hope that President Muhammadu Buhari and his military commanders are listening!
Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Oriental Times
Buhari, APC Have Set Nigeria 60 Years Backward — PDP
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has taken a dig at the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration describing his five years stewardship as “wasteful, a season of the locusts.”
In a strongly worded statement issued on Friday by Spokesman of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, on the state of the nation, the PDP said after reviewing the five years of the Buhari administration, both the president and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) have “taken Nigeria 60 years backward.”
The statement accused Buhari and the APC of turning the country into a wasteland after allegedly destroying the economy.
The statement said under Buhari, May 29, has become “synonymous with the enthronement of incompetence, insensitive leadership, endemic corruption in high places and governance by propaganda and false performance claims.”
It also accused the APC administration of reversing all the “gains achieved by the PDP for which May 29 was always celebrated and left the country dejected and despondent.”
Furthermore, it said under Buhari, Nigerians always grieve on May 29, as it has become “a day for commemoration of failed promises, reversal of gains achieved by past leaders and retrogression in our body polity as a nation.”
The statement reads in part :”This administration has failed woefully in its three major governance planks of provision of security, economic recovery and fight against corruption.
“In the last five years, the APC administration has done nothing but driving our nation along the precipices; reneged on all its campaign promises, ruined our productive sector, frustrated our farmers, manufacturers and small scale entrepreneurs, devalued our naira, wrecked employment opportunities for our youth, turned our once prosperous nation into the poverty capital of the world while accumulating huge foreign debts for this generation and the unborn.
“Under five years, President Buhari has borrowed from every corner of the world. These include external borrowing of $10.72 billion (N4.1 trillion) in 2015, $11.41 billion (N4.4 trillion) in 2016, $18.91 billion (N7.3 trillion) in 2017, $25.27 billion (N9.8 trillion) in 2018, $27.68 billion (N10.7 trillion) in 2019 as well as 2020 loans of $3.4 billion (N1.3 trillion) from IMF, $4.4 million (N1.594 billion) internal borrowing, $22.7 billion (N8.8 trillion) external loan and the recently yet to be approved $5.513 billion (N2.1 trillion) waiting before the National Assembly.
“Our party had already alerted Nigerians that with the volume of borrowing, President Buhari and the APC have placed our nation on the international auction market.
“In the last five years, corruption has also worsened in government circle as shown in Transparency International (TI)’s corruption perception index. Federal Government agencies such as the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) among others have been opened up for pillaging by the cabal in the Presidency and the APC.”
Continuing, the statement noted that the government only pays lip to security as bandits, insurgents and marauders were now having a field day with killings.
“It is distressing that instead of heeding wise counsel to accept failure and avoid making false performance claims, the Buhari Presidency just yesterday, released a list of recycled fictitious achievements, including very insensitive claim of having routed out bandits; even as marauders were pillaging communities and killing our compatriots in Sokoto and other states, particularly in the Northwest.
“A look at the list exposed reused figures and data without corresponding verifiable projects in any part of the country, apart from attempts to appropriate PDP projects,” the statement said.
The party called on the president to wake up to the reality by accepting “failure and seek help since it has become clear that his administration as presently constituted has devastated our nation and leading us on a journey to nowhere.”
No Man Can Stop Me From Returning As Edo Governor — Obaseki Boasts
Governor Godwin Obaseki has confidently declared that he will emerge governor of Edo State, ahead of the governorship election in the State.
Obaseki who spoke as a guest on a Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily on Wednesday, expressed confidence that he will return as the governor of the State.
According to him, no one can stop him because only God gives power.
“I am not a violent person. But I am confident that the way I got into power is the same way I will return.
“God gave me power. If he wants me to return, I will continue. No man can stop me. Power comes from God.”
The governor also rubbished claims that he used the resources of the people of Edo State to become governor.
“I have friends with resources. I worked for eight years behind the scene before I became governor.
“So all that insinuations about using somebody’s resources is not true. I became Governor on the platform of the party and I am grateful for it.
“It does not matter whether it is direct or indirect (primaries), I will win.”
Obaseki’s statement is coming shorty after Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu was endorsed as the consensus candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Recall that Osagie Ize-Iyamu, a former Secretary to Edo State Government (SSG) emerged as the All Progressives Congress (APC) consensus candidate for the state governorship election.
Ize-Iyamu is believed to be loyal to the National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole who has been at loggerheads with Governor Obaseki.
How I Spent N38.8bn Security Votes In 8 Years — Ex-Abia Gov, TA Orji
A former Governor of Abia State, Senator Theodore Ahamefula Orji has furnished the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with details of how he spent his N38.8billion security votes during his eight years in office.
Orji who was in charge of the state between 2007 and 2015 is being investigated by the anti-graft commission for corruption.
He said he collected N38.8billion as security votes during the period and not N48billion as alleged by the EFCC.
Orji who is currently representing Abia Central Senatorial District in the National Assembly said he shared much of the N38billion with members of the state House of Assembly, his security informants and traditional rulers.
He claimed to have also given part of the money to military units,the police,the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and security agencies as what he called statutory allocations.
In a tell-it-all statement to his interrogators, the former governor said he gave successive members of the State House of Assembly N5. 760billion, at N60million per month, in the eight years.
He also claimed to have paid N75million monthly to security informants in 15 of the 17 local government areas of the state within the same period.
The yet-to-be identified informants allegedly pocketed a total of N7.200billion between 2007 and 2015.
Some of the security agencies, according to him, received N2million per month.
However, he told the interrogators that he does not have a comprehensive list of all the beneficiaries of the largesse because the Government House staff who used to disburse the cash is no more.
He gave the man’s name simply as Felix.
Orji said he did not ask for the list from Felix at the expiration of his tenure as governor.
He only issued directives to Felix on how to share the security votes.
He also said he never collected cash either from the Director of Finance or the Cashier in Government House.
The EFCC insists that Orji collected N48billion in eight years.
It has retrieved five huge bags of documents from the relevant desks in Abia State on the ex-governor’s financial transactions.
Based on Orji’s confessions, the EFCC is expected to arraign him in court soon being in what a source described as “a straightforward case.”
The Nation gathered that the former governor made the revelations during a session on oath in the presence of his lawyer, who he referred to as Edmund.
It was the first time Orji would open up after many years of trying to make him respond to allegations against him.
Orji said he received N370million monthly as security votes in 2007 and N410million monthly from 2008 to 2015.
He said that from his assumption of office up to his exit the funds were distributed in cash. “There were also statutory funds to the security agencies,” he was quoted as saying.
He said the first Speaker in 2007 and the last Speaker in his second term confirmed the receipt of N60million monthly from his security votes.
He said the Majority Leader also attested to the receipt of the monthly cash although he claimed he did not know “ how they shared the money.”
He could not explain what the monthly cash to the lawmakers was meant for or remember the exact amount he was giving the traditional rulers monthly.
Orji admitted that all disbursements by the late Felix were based on his directives.
Usually, according to him, the funds were brought by the Director of Finance (DF)in batches.
The DF would then inform the ex-governor on how much had come and would then be kept in the accounts.
Orji would, in turn, issue directive to the late Felix on what to disburse and to whom.
He was quoted as saying “Felix comes to show me how disbursement is made. After disbursement, Felix keeps the list for safety. As I was leaving the Government House, I didn’t ask him for the list.”
He claimed that he never personally collected any cash from the votes whether from the Director of Finance or Government House cashier.
The funds were channelled through Felix “on my directives,” he said.
The EFCC is still working on the charges against Orji.
But a reliable source told The Nation that investigation had “reached an appreciable stage for trial.”
Continuing, the source said: “We have been on this case since March 2017. Our operatives were painstaking in cracking this case.
“We will arraign ex-governor in court any time from now because the charges are ready. The only challenge is COVID-19 but we won’t allow it to affect the arraignment.
“In the face of the law, he is presumed innocent until proven guilty by the court. The onus is on him to prove beyond reasonable doubt that he did not commit the financial recklessness.”
The source said the use of security votes was the first leg of the ongoing probe of Senator Theodore Orji.
The former governor has been under investigation since November 22, 2018 following a petition from a group, Fight Corruption: Save Nigeria Group
In the March 17, 2017 petition, the group alleged that Orji received and diverted various sums of monies that accrued to Abia State while in office.
The breakdown of the amounts allegedly received by him are as follows:
- N383 billion revenue from federation accounts
- N55 billion Excess Crude Revenue
- N2.3 billion Sure – P
- N1.8 billion Ecological funds
- N10.5 billion loan from First Bank of Nigeria through the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Local Government Affairs.
- N4 billion Loan from Diamond Bank
- N12 billion Paris Club refund
- N2 billion Agricultural loan for farmers
- N55 billion ASOPADEC.
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