Nigerian-American ImeIme Umana is the first black woman in 130 years to be elected as President of the prestigious Harvard Law Review, 27 years after Barack Obama, who would later become first black President of the United States, held the same position.
The 24-year old is the third-oldest of four daughters of Nigerian immigrants.
Umana was elected on January 29 by the review’s 92 student editors as the president of the 131st volume, according to the New York Times.
The Times said “The Harvard Law Review — which, like other law reviews, allows students to hone their legal writing skills and gives scholars a forum in which to thrash out legal arguments — is often the most-cited journal of its kind and has the largest circulation of any such publication in the world”.
The respected newspaper said “its presidency is considered the highest-ranking student position at the ferociously competitive law school and a ticket to virtually anywhere in the legal realm. Half of the current Supreme Court justices served on the Harvard Law Review, though none as its president”.
“It still feels like magic that I’m here,” Ms. Umana said in an interview.
But her fellow students told the Times “it was not magic at all but her sharp legal mind, intense work ethic, leadership ability and generosity of spirit that catapulted her to the top”.
The newspaper added that “Ms. Umana’s emergence now has raised questions about why it took so long for a black woman to reach the pinnacle of the review and how her perspective may influence a publication that has for most of its existence been led by white men”.
Nigerian activists are seeking $10 billion for the victims of xenophobic attacks in South Africa.
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) said on Sunday that it had sent an open letter to Mrs Soyata Maiga, Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the commission’s members requesting them: “to urgently submit a case on the escalating xenophobic attacks against Nigerians and other African citizens in South Africa to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights and to seek an effective remedy and reparation for Nigerian victims.”
SERAP said: “these attacks constitute serious violations of the human rights of Nigerians and other African citizens in South Africa.”
The organization also urged the commission to “seek in the case to the African Court, punitive damages and adequate compensation of $10 billion (USD) on behalf of hundreds of Nigerian victims and their families. This amount will sufficiently take into account individual harm suffered by victims.”
In the open letter dated 6 September 2019 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization said: “This is a key moment for the commission to push to protect the human rights of the victims. The commission ought to make it clear to the South African authorities that the victims of the heinous crimes have a right to an effective remedy and reparation, which includes restitution, compensation, rehabilitation, satisfaction and guarantees of non-repetition.”
The organization also said: “For the sake of the victims, the commission should move swiftly on the matter to prevent further harm to Nigerians and other foreign nationals in the country. Unlike for individuals and NGOs, the African Court Protocol does not require Nigeria to have made the declaration under Article 34(6) for the commission to submit a case on behalf of the Nigerian victims before the Court.”
The open letter read in part: “If the victims see that a process for ensuring adequate compensation for the crimes committed against them in South Africa is underway, it will also discourage revenge violence and killings and help break the cycle of violence that is now spiralling beyond control in the country.”
“Pursuing the case before the African Court and seeking adequate compensation in the sum of $10 billion (USD) would help to ensure justice to the victims and deter South African authorities and high-ranking public officials who incite hatred, violence and discrimination.”
“Pushing for payment of $10 billion (USD) compensation for Nigerian victims of xenophobic attacks and violence can demonstrate that the days of impunity for these crimes are gone.”
“This would also ensure the effective implementation of the commission’s Resolution ACHPR/Res.131 (XXXXIII) and Resolution ACHPR/Res.304 (LVI) as well as its press statements of 2017 and 4 April 2019, which expressed grave concern over xenophobic attacks that took place in 2008, 2015, 2017 and 2019 respectively.”
“Every African citizen in South Africa is guaranteed the rights to life and human dignity no matter their nationality or migration status. The commission should call on high-ranking political leaders in South Africa to immediately end public statements, which amount to advocacy of hatred or incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence.”
“The commission should consider the xenophobic attacks as amounting to serious and widespread violations of human rights of Nigerians in South Africa. The lack of accountability and adequate compensation for the xenophobic attacks and violence committed against Nigerians in South Africa for many years has fostered a sense that there are no consequences for violence.”
“SERAP notes that the African Commission has condemned the xenophobic attacks and violence, noting that ‘the attacks not only constitute possible violations of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights but are also contrary to the principles and ideals of African solidarity cherished in the African Charter.’”
“It is now time for the commission to move beyond mere resolutions and statements. The commission should pursue legal action to seek an effective remedy and reparation for victims, as the South African authorities have failed and/or refused to implement the commission’s repeated resolutions and statements.”
“SERAP is seriously that the African Commission, which is the main body mandated with promoting human and peoples’ rights on the continent—has so far failed to hold South African authorities to account for these crimes and to deter repeated violations and attacks against Nigerians.”
“South African authorities cannot expect Nigerian victims to resume their lives as though nothing happened. Time is of the essence as the failure and/or refusal by the authorities to respect the right of Nigerian victims to an effective remedy and reparation for the xenophobic attacks have continued to fuel repeated violence with devastating consequences and an entrenched culture of impunity of perpetrators.”
“Prior to the outbreak of the current xenophobic violence and attacks against Nigerians, the government of South Africa was failing to protect the human rights of foreign nationals in the country. Particular human rights concerns include restriction of the right to freedom of movement, violation of the right to life, equality, dignity and the security of their person and property as enshrined under Articles 3, 4, 5, 12 and 14 of the African Charter.”
“Significant efforts are needed to foster a culture of respect for the human rights of foreign nationals in the country. The commission should play a decisive role by beginning to call for broad human rights reforms that will ensure full protection and safety of Nigerians and other African citizens in South Africa.”
“The African Court has held that as long as the rights allegedly violated are protected by the African Charter or any other human rights instruments ratified by the State concerned, in this case South Africa, the Court will have jurisdiction over the matter if it is brought by the African Commission, pursuant to Articles, 2, 3(1) and 5(1) (a) of the Court’s protocol.”
“South African authorities have repeatedly failed and/or refused to take any meaningful action to end xenophobic violence and attacks against Nigerians, and address the root causes of these attacks. Also, the justice system has not satisfactorily dealt with the arrest and prosecution of perpetrators let alone ensure an effective remedy and reparation for victims.”
“The commission should also draw the attention of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union to the xenophobic attacks and violence since they reveal the existence of a series of serious or massive violations of human and peoples’ rights, as provided under Article 58 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.”
“It is important to invoke article 58 so that the AU can also consider taking punitive action against the South African authorities on their failure to implement their obligations under the Africa Charter and the AU Constitutive Act.”
“This request is entirely consistent with the African Commission’s rules of procedure and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Taking this step will show that African Commission and African Court can cooperate in taking action against massive human rights violation in South Africa.”
“Over 200 Nigerians have been reportedly killed since 2008, several more have been displaced from their homes while more than 300 Nigerians have registered for evacuation from South Africa. Shops and businesses by Nigerians have been looted or destroyed, and high-ranking political leaders have deliberately fuelled the attacks and violence.”
“The impact of the violence and attacks on Nigerian women and children has been devastating, as children have been unable to attend school due to fear of attacks. Many Nigerians are now relocating their wives and children to Nigeria while they stay back to work in South Africa.”
“In February 2017, parents reported that xenophobic prejudice was being extended to local schools. For example, the Eastleigh Primary School in Edenvale, Gauteng threatened to refuse the children of foreign nationals access to education. In May 2008, more than 60 people were killed, more than 600 injured and over 20,000 people were displaced in the Gauteng and Western Cape Provinces.”
The open letter was copied to the Secretary, African Commission; Commissioner Solomon Ayele Dersso, Rapporteur for South Africa; Commissioner Lucy Asuagbor, Special Rapporteur on Rights of Women; Commissioner Rémy Ngoy Lumbu, Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, and Commissioner Maya Sahli Fadel, Special Rapporteur on Refugees, Asylum Seekers, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons.
It is a horrifying scene from hell, the painful, dark and troubling picture emerging from Southern Kaduna, a state in Nigeria’s north central region, only a two hour drive from Abuja, the country’s seat of power.
The mutilated bodies of babies, children, women and the elderly are spread almost everywhere, from the living room to the bedroom, from the dusty floor to the bare, cold and silent ground.
Some of the victims have their necks cut, others have their stomachs open. It’s difficult to watch. It’s difficult to describe. It’s hard to comprehend. But it’s been going on since February 9 this year, with authorities doing little to stop it, apprehend the culprits, prosecute and punish them. There are many words but few concrete actions.
Most of the victims come from areas predominantly populated by Christians. Almost all of them were killed by Fulani Muslims.
Mr Jerry Lawrence, the convener of the Kaduna Coalition for Peace, says it’s an ethnic and religious cleansing often categorized as “clashes” between the Christian farmers and the Muslim herders.
He says the scenes emerging from Kaduna are so horrifying that one would think President Muhammadu Buhari and the governor of Kaduna, Nasir el-Rufai, would put it on top of their agenda.
But sources at the Presidency and in the governor’s entourage told TODAY NEWS AFRICA that when President Buhari and Governor el-Rufai met on Friday, they were all full of beaming smiles.
The reliable sources said they discussed the recently concluded elections but not the murders of hundreds of Nigerians, especially Christians, in the past few weeks alone.
But activists say those were just empty words that have failed to stop the killing of Christians.
They add that the way the crisis is framed by Mr Buhari, a northern Muslim and by el-Rufai, another northern Muslim, as “clashes” between Fulani herders and farmers, is deceitful. It’s genocide against the Christians in Southern Kaduna, they say. A genocide by those who are being armed by some actors.
A State Department official told TODAY NEWS AFRICA in Washington D.C. that the Trump administration was closely monitoring the situation in Southern Kaduna.
“We continue to closely follow incidents of rural violence in Nigeria,” the official said, adding that “while violence in 2019 is down compared to the same period in 2018, the drivers of the conflict, mainly a competition for scarce resources, remain”.
“With most farmers coming from majority Christian ethnic groups and herders from majority Muslim ethnic groups, the conflict often plays out along ethnic and religious lines, but we do not believe this is primarily a religious conflict.
“In public and private messaging, we have urged the Nigerian government, and community and religious leaders, to work together for an immediate end to violence, the swift and voluntary return of members of displaced communities, and for perpetrators to be brought to justice.
“While the drivers of the conflict are multi-dimensional, we believe that good inter-faith and inter-communal relations are part of the solution. Ambassador-at-Large for Religious Freedom Sam Brownback traveled to Nigeria in 2018 and joins our Mission in Nigeria in its work to support strong Nigerian inter-faith networks,” the official added.
U.S. President Donald Trump during a White House meeting with the Nigerian leader on April 30 last year urged President Buhari to end the killing of Christians in Nigeria.
But so far, activists and local populations say the killings have continued and multiplied.
The Barnabas Fund, quoting contacts on the ground, in a statement on Tuesday this week, put the death toll at over 300 between February and March 2019.
Barnabas Fund contacts report that nearly 300 people were killed in at least seven predominantly Christian villages across Kaduna State, Nigeria, in February and March 2019; brutal rapes and maiming with machetes were also reported.
In a dawn attack on Karamai on 14 February, 41 died when some 300 gunmen engulfed the village, chanting “Allahu Akbar!” as they fired their guns and ransacked homes. Almost all the dead were women and children, apart from a few elderly and blind men who were unable to flee.
Up to 71 people were killed and 28 injured in a Fulani militia attack on 11 March in Dogon Noma village, Kaduna State. According to eyewitness accounts, the gunmen were “torching houses, shooting and hacking down anything that moved”. Some 100 houses were destroyed in the attack.
Houses in Karamai village that were burnt out in a Fulani attack.
A further nine were reportedly killed in Nandu Gbok, also in Kaduna State on 16 March and 30 houses destroyed.
In Kajuru district in February and March, the bodies of about 73 women, some pregnant, and 101 children ranging from babies on their mothers’ backs up to 10-year-olds, were interred in a mass-grave.
Witnesses said most of the men in the villages fled when the raid started in the early morning in Dogon Noma and Karamai. Others were thought to be assisting in neighbouring villages that had been attacked in the preceding days.
During Nigeria’s recent election President Buhari, who was re-elected, campaigned on the promise to “bring permanent peace and solution” to the north east and other regions of “insurgency”, specifically mentioning Plateau, Benue and Kaduna States.
Church leaders in Nigeria have also repeatedly called on the President, who is himself a Fulani Muslim, to take decisive action against the scourge of attacks by Fulani herdsmen on Christian farming communities.
Attacks by armed Fulani herdsman are a constant threat for the predominantly Christian population of Nigeria’s Middle Belt. In the last two years, Fulani militants have murdered more than 6,000, according to church estimates. They also destroy church buildings and homes in their attacks which deliberately target Christian communities. Since 2001 at least 500 church buildings have been razed in Plateau State alone.
From Barnabas Fund contacts.
According to the Kaduna Coalition for Peace, from February 9, 2019, at least 120 people have died in a series of attacks by Fulani militia on communities in the Adara chiefdom of southern Kaduna.
The violence followed a statement by the Kaduna state governor on the eve of Nigeria’s presidential elections in February regarding an alleged massacre of Fulani villagers in the area.
According to the Kaduna Coalition for Peace, on 11 March, 52 people were killed and around 100 homes were destroyed in attacks on Inkirimi and Dogonnoma villages in Maro, Kajuru Local Government Area (LGA).
The victims included women, children, babies and the elderly.
According to survivors, their assailants divided into three groups; one group was shooting, another set fire to homes as people ran away, and the third waited in the bush to intercept fleeing villagers.
Later that evening, dozens of people were injured and 43 houses were burnt in an attack on Ungwan Gora village.
Pictures have emerged of hospitalized survivors of the Dogonnoma attack, showing men women and young children with deep machete wounds to different parts of their bodies.
The Commission on the Status of Women CSW, a Christian NGO in the United Kingdom, reported that one traumatized female survivor who suffered a deep cut to the hand had delivered a stillborn baby soon after the attack.
The day before, on 10 March, Ungwan Barde village in Kajuru suffered an attack which left at least 17 peopledead and dozens of homes were burned. On 26 February, 38 people were killed and around 40 homes were destroyed in attacks on the Karamai community in Maro, Kajuru. At least ten people were killed in an earlier attack on Ungwan Barde on 10 February, including a pregnant woman. Prior to this, on 9 February, six people were killed in isolated attacks in the area.
The violence is reported to have displaced thousands of households as people have deserted their villages in search of safety.
Following the 10 March attack, the Governor of Kaduna state, Nasir el Rufai, issued a statement of condolence and claimed to have deployed the air force and more ground troops to the area. Nevertheless, Inkirimi and Dogonnoma villages were targeted the following day. A dawn to dusk curfew has now been imposed on the area.
The attacks on Kajuru occur in the wake of a televised statement by Governor el Rufai on the eve of February’s presidential and national assembly elections, in which he asserted that 66 people had been killed in Kajuru LGA and insinuated that the victims were mostly women and children from the Fulani ethnic group.
This was widely refuted, including by the Nigeria Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). However, as pressure mounted on the Governor to either prove or withdraw his claim, he reiterated his assertion, raising the alleged death toll to 133 and ordering the arrests of nine Adara elders and village chiefs in connection with the alleged massacre.
The Adara people are still mourning their traditional ruler, the Agom Adara III, HRH Dr Maiwada Raphael Galadima, who was abducted and murdered by Fulani assailants in October 2018, despite payment of a ransom.
In December 2018, and without consultation, the Kaduna state government abolished and divided the predominantly Christian chiefdom, placing it under two emirates, despite the fact that under 15% of the population in the area are Hausa Fulani.
In a statement issued on 12 March the Adara Development Association described Kajuru LGA, as “gripped by a fully-fledged and supported group of terrorists that have been wreaking havoc in our land for long, while those saddled with the responsibility of securing us deliberately looked the other way. …The terrorists come in their hundreds, take time to kill, then leave without anyone being caught or apprehended by the security.” The statement ends with a call for the unconditional release of the detained Adara elders: “their continued incarceration is a travesty of justice that has no place in [Nigeria’s] democratic setting.”
On 13 February, the Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU) launched an appeal on behalf of survivors of the recent attacks, for assistance with hospital bills, resettlement and reconstruction.
“We are deeply disturbed by the resurgence of militia attacks in southern Kaduna, and extend our deepest condolences to the Adara people. We echo the appeal for the immediate and unconditional release of the Adara elders, who have been detained arbitrarily,” said CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas.
“In the interests of justice and equity, we call for the restoration of the Adara Chiefdom, and urge all who are in positions of authority to refrain from making unsubstantiated accusations capable of inciting violence and damaging fragile community relations even further.
“We also urge the state and the federal governments to address this violence in a swift, decisive and unbiased manner, and to prioritize rehabilitation and justice for traumatised survivors. The relentless death and destruction is a sad indictment of the continuing failure by both levels of government to fulfil the primary mandate of protecting all its citizens impartially,” Thomas added.
The recent events, however, show that that call has not been heeded.
The United States on Wednesday confirmed the death of Charles Wesco, a missionary from Indiana who moved to the central African country of Cameroon two weeks ago with his wife and their eight children to help.
In a tweet, the United States Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, Mr Tibor Nagy, said Mr Wesco was killed outside the town of Bambui, near Cameroon’s Northwest region where Anglophones have been in a running battle with Cameroonian soldiers in their quest for independence.
He extended his deepest condolences to family and friends of Mr Wesco, and assured that appropriate consular services were being provided.
“Earlier today, @StateDept confirmed the death of a U.S. citizen outside the town of Bambui, near Cameroon’s Northwest region,” Mr Nagy tweeted.
“I extend my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Charles Wesco & my assurance that we are providing all appropriate consular services”.
Charles Wesco, who was shot dead on Tuesday, was a native of Mishawaka in Indiana and an older brother to State Representative Timothy Wesco.
Wesco and his wife, Stephanie, spent the last two years raising financial support and planning to move to Cameroon as missionaries.
About two weeks ago, they moved to Cameroon with their eight children after selling their home and possessions.
“He was really wound up about everything,” Wesco’s mother, Rebecca was quoted as saying.
“He was really excited about everything and well, he is a hard worker.”
Details remained sketchy but reports said on Tuesday morning that Wesco was headed back from a shopping trip with another missionary and was gunned down while driving.
The Cameroonian government has blamed the armed secessionist fighters who are reportedly being sponsored from Maryland in the United States.
The secessionists have been calling for equality and justice, and then for independence after their non violent protests were met with force.
They have taken up arms against the state and vowed that it would be independence or nothing.
President Paul Biya of Cameroon has argued that no country would allow armed rebels to spread terror and burn schools and kill innocent people they believe are not sympathetic to their cause.
He has said Cameroon would defend itself against what he described as a “bunch of terrorists”.
Nigerian troops have recaptured Gudumbali town in northern Borno state from Boko Haram terrorists, the army said in a statement on Sunday.
Boko Haram had on Saturday dislodged the troops and recaptured Gudumbali town, the headquarters of Guzamala Local Government Area in the northern part of Borno State, Northeast Nigeria, after a lengthy gun battle that started on Friday night.
Nigerian soldiers and civilians fled the town as the terrorists took full control, two months after Tukur Buratai, Chief of Army Staff, in July, unveiled a cenotaph in remembrance of the 144 officers and soldiers who fell to Boko Haram in a single swoop in November 2015.
The fall of Gudumbali triggered fears that Boko Haram was back in full force contrary to claims by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari that the terrorists had been defeated.
Hundreds of displaced residents had only returned to the town a few weeks ago but were on the run again as the gunfight exploded on Friday night.
But in a statement on Sunday, Brigadier General Texas Chukwu, the Director of the Nigerian Army Public Relations, called for calm, saying that the town had been recaptured.
Read his full statement below
Combined troops of 82 Division Task Force Brigade and 158 Task Force Battalion conducting Counter Insurgency Operations in North Eastern Nigeria, on Friday 7 September 2018 had an encounter with Boko Haram insurgents in Gudumbali in Guzamala Local Government Area of Borno state.
The encounter took place when the insurgents attacked the community, set some buildings ablaze and quickly withdrew from the community. However, no human casualty was recorded in the encounter. The troops have regrouped and normalcy have been restored. The troops have also been reinforced with additional troops to dominate the general area.
It will be recalled that Gudumbali is one of the communities in Borno state, that were recently reoccupied by Internally Displaced Persons who had voluntarily returned to their ancestral homes.
The people of Gudumbali community and Guzamala Local Government in general are urged to remain calm and resilient as Operation Lafiya Dole troops tirelessly combat the terrorists. They are also implored to maintain high level of vigilance and monitor strange faces to prevent fleeing Boko Haram terrorists from infiltrating and hibernating in their communities.
The good people of the North East are assured of the unalloyed resolve of troops of Operation Lafiya Dole to continue to combat the Boko Haram terrorists in the region.
The South African government attacked President Donald Trump on Thursday, calling him “misinformed”, following his tweet over land reforms that seemed to fuel white supremacists’ belief that it was ok for 9 percent of whites in South Africa to continue to own 72 percent of land, even after the end of the brutal apartheid two decades ago.
Mr. Trump tweeted that he had directed Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, to “closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures” and the “large scale killing of farmers.”
His directive, as New York Daily News put it, was based on a “Fox News’ segment about a common racist conspiracy theory that’s been embraced by white supremacists”.
The South African government said Trump’s tweet was based on “false information.”
“South Africa totally rejects this narrow perception which only seeks to divide our nation and reminds us of our colonial past,” the country’s government said in a tweet on Thursday.
Decades after the end of apartheid, injustices against black majority persist. The whites who constitute only 9 percent of the population own 72 percent of land they forcefully snatched from the blacks.
These persistent injustices have continued to anger blacks and increased tensions in recent years.
Last month, South Africa said it would move forward with plans to amend its constitution, allowing land to be expropriated without compensation.
Floyd Shivambu, deputy president of the Economic Freedom Fighters, a radical party which backs the expropriation of land from the whites without compensation, attacked Trump for misrepresenting the issue and labeled him a “racist bigot.”
“That’s madness and highest form of foolishness by a racist bigot, who lacks the basic intelligence to understand anything. South Africa will never be intimidated by global racists who believe in lies,” he tweeted.
President Trump has been accused of being a racist and playing the card of white nationalists, accusations he has denied.
He’s troubled at home and in an interview with Fox News, he warned that the economy would fall apart should he be impeached.
Democrats are expected to win Congress in November and with former aides pleading guilty and implicating him, there are fears that the bombastic businessman turned politician may be impeached and even jailed.
AfriForum, a lobbying group based in South Africa that advocates for the rights and interests of the country’s white minority, has stirred up by white supremacists ire by spreading false reports about race-based killings, Nydailynews.com said, adding that there was no evidence of an increase of such murders taking place.
The government noted 47 murders and 638 attacks on farm owners, whose race was not specified, over the past year. That is historically low when compared with a high of 140 killings and 1,069 attacks over the same period in 2001-2002.
“People are not being targeted because of their race, but because they are vulnerable and isolated on the farms,” said Gareth Newham, head of the crime and justice program at the Institute for Security Studies in the capital, Pretoria.
Nigerians behave as if they own God. This may have been heightened by the abundant natural resources in our country. The natural resources in Nigeria close gap on the natural resources of the entire world. We now believe God is a Nigerian. Some Nigerians also use the name of God glibly to perpetuate their evil doings. It is in fact a business for them. That is why the generality of Nigerians reduce arguments to God as if to mock or tempt Him. A Nigerian can be heavily intoxicated with alcohol as a habit a heavily drive out; urging God to take care of his irresponsibility. He will pay school fees, build personal and worship places with looted money; yet pray that God should’ve eradicate corruption
In the impending 2019 election cycle, Nigerians are going to be invoking the name of God to win election at all cost. Presently, God’s name is pervading the atmosphere just as Chief Olusegun Obasanjo is wont to do. We commend this general for holding brief forrest’sforrest’srrr God as to when God would forgive, especially on his interaction with Atiku Abubakar.
In the journey to 2019, a lot of people who do not like President Muhammadu Buhari would eventually support him because he is deft at using Nigeria’s security system to win elections. That would include a directive to INEC to declare him as the president. The intimidated ones would have to support Buhari to be in the clear from EFCC. Does Obasanjo want to use this God and forgiveness thing to retrace his footsteps in the likelihood Buhari bends the machinery to win the 2019? We already know what happened in Ekiti State. We should not expect anything less in Osun State. On that note, it is not too late for Obasanjo to retrace his steps and support Buhari. If he does, that would be running away from the battle and a display of cowardice. Opinions are rife that Obasanjo runs away when it matters most. Some of us were not born then and have refused to believe it, rather attributing stellar characteristics to him. This Atiku and God forgiveness matter seems to be a paved expressway for him to reconnect with Buhari that he and Nigerians had rejected ab initio. In fact, if out of this business he goes back to Buhari, then we have no choice to believe that he has always been a coward and what has been claimed about him in the Army is true.
Will God forgive Obasanjo if he does not support Atiku for a good cause that will help Nigeria? By now Obasanjo is supposed to tell the whole world why he has consistently refused to support Atiku. He keeps it to himself and uses it to blackmail the latter. As a pastor and leader, will God forgive him for this abiding malignity?
Some political leaders as earlier stated are surreptitiously using any means to tell Buhari they are with him. By the action of our security forces, it is apparent they are going to work for Buhari. And so people are trooping to him on that pedestal. One sure way of supporting Buhari is that they would claim God directed them to support him. As we now hear them, the fear of God is going to affect their support for Atiku. God always! Might we clarify, having God in our national life is an advantage. We must not scorn true worship in the face of rot in the country. But by now we should be wary of political leaders whom we know ripped us off mentioning God. We could start stoning them when they call us to worship. That we know now is an issue for address. This is even more to wit in the impending 2019.
When Obasanjo was standing for president of the country, Atiku supported him more than anybody in the country. Now that Nigerians are saying it is the turn of Atiku, the former has suddenly developed mastitis. One wonders about this forgiveness Obasanjo is dangling to us. No political party has conducted its presidential primaries yet. PDP, the leading opposition party has many gunning for its ticket. Atiku would stand for primaries just like anybody and Obasanjo is using God’s name to choirmaster us away from Atiku. Is that a concession that he feared Atiku would emerge victorious? If not, then why is he always startled at the mention of Atiku’s name? He must know Atiku earned such acceptability. Granted Obasanjo might be a great man in Nigeria, but how does his interaction with God be a matter of consideration for our political choice?
Atiku has endeared himself to Nigerians. He has promised the most delicate thing in Nigeria now — true federalism. Of course, there are things Atiku cannot rescue like Obasanjo antecedents on Nigeria’s past presidents. He supported Alhaji Shehu Shagari to be president. He later denounced him. Though he was not part of the coup that brought Babangida and Abacha, was he? He later denounced them. He brought Yar’Adua, helped Goodluck Jonathan and also Buhari. He later parted ways with all of them. Has God forgiven him for aiding them come to power since he regretted supporting them? It is apparent even the presidents yet unborn would get opposition from Obasanjo. Pray, how does Atiku, a mere mortal, remedy Obasanjo’s (un)forgiveness? As a country we are in perpetuity encumbered with this Obasanjo courting God’s forgiveness. Atiku and Nigeria cannot solve this problem. We need to ignore it. The most we can do is to beg God to forgive Baba for all his absurdities. He deserves our sympathy because he has been around us for a long time and now an old man.
Atiku is impassioned to listen to the call of Nigeria to come forward and save this country. It is unmistakable what he intends to come and do. He has thrown his hat into the ring to solve a formational and structural matter that would put Nigeria on auto progression, yet someone is seen working against it. That is where the prayers for forgiveness come in. Nigeria is hitting the nadir; he cannot but help offer himself for this distress call by Nigerians for a true federal system of government. His popularity is soaring already, devoid of Obasanjo’s support.
My contriman apologies to Achebe, this God Obasanjo has stirred in us, how much of it do we see in Obasanjo? Nelson Mandela was not known to be religious, sort of a free thinker or atheist. On the other hand, Obasanjo we know as a sort of a pastor. Who amongst the two, commands respect in terms of godliness? By now we should be wary of mentioning God in our political life. We have heard that noise too much. We can hardly connect such leaders to good governance. They would tell us about God to weaken our guards. Nigeria has suffered this façade since independence. Obasanjo courting God’s forgiveness against Atiku fits into this perfectly.
Obasanjo has a stake in a registered political party that was formed to oust Buhari. Again the party, ADC, is meant to stop PDP which he first ate of its fruit. We believe ADC is good enough for him to elect the president of his choice. That is a sure way to work against Atiku instead of resorting to this cheap blackmail in the name of God. Obasanjo can hardly tell us about God. We challenge his ADC to market to Nigeria a more convincing message than Atiku’s and forget whether PDP would give Atiku presidential ticket or not. Obasanjo has always used “national interest’’ as the reason for not supporting Atiku and has vehemently held on to that vague reason without specificity. It clearly shows that it is unfounded personal interest and nothing more. Until he clearly tells Nigerians the reason he has that unfounded loathe for Atiku and seek for forgiveness from God then he truly has to slug it out with his conscience.
At any rate, it would be ironical for PDP to deny Atiku its ticket because he alone has what it takes to defeat Buhari. Obasanjo wants to stop that by clutching to any straw, going media-wise and reminding us of going against the will of God. How pitiable!
Obasanjo thinks because of his penchant for casting aspersion against Atiku, that would make the latter take his pound of flesh if he becomes the president of Nigeria. Atiku is a different breed. That is the reason most Nigerians and indeed politicians love him. He has severally and selflessly used his resources and time to support politicians across Nigeria to win elective positions. He never comes back to ask for payments – cash or kind. His presidency would concentrate on making Nigeria work. He would establish structures so that there would be latitude for looking inwards. There would be no issue of putting tax payers money on an individual’s hand with our only collateral to such money of being diverted is that the person is a Christian or Muslim. At the end of his tenure Nigeria would be heavily localized in terms of revenue generation. Killer herdsmen would be a thing of the past because multi-nationals would invest in cows instead of allowing them roam around in the bush and in the streets. There would be no time for vendetta.
At any rate if anyone says, in blind hatred, that he cannot support Atiku in this sterling project to revamp Nigeria then God truly has to forgive that person for he does not know what he is doing.
Hon. Omekwe, a former member of Bayelsa State House of Assembly, wrote from Abuja.
She has become famous to some, notorious to others, for her provocative dance steps with no underwear, and moves that drive men and women crazy. Many describe her as a dancer sexually or sensually bombing the world, or the devil incarnate sent on earth to destroy millions of souls.
Recently, she was banned from performing in Zimbabwe and several other countries are wondering whether she should be allowed to perform there.
At some events, she removes her underwear before performing, or while she’s performing, as thousands look to see deep inside.
At several performances, security guards had to keep the crowd away from devouring her with their hands and eyes. Yes, she’s seen as a super star by millions, and the devil incarnate by many moralists.
32-year old Zodwa Wabantu, whose real name is Zodwa Libram, is now a global sensation. Reporters chase after her and she’s booked every minute and is smiling to the bank. There are so many offers that she can no longer keep up.
Zodwa was born in Dlamini, Soweto and later relocated to Rockville. She left her home when she was 16 and started hustling and living with a friend for a while.
According to The Sun of South Africa, Zodwa says she was raised by her late grandmother, Maureen Ndaba and started working at a now defunct nightclub called The Rock where she was a bar lady. After she failed matric, she studied for a six-month call centre course.
“I was trying to hustle for myself and I tried to make a better life for myself. After working as a bar lady, I felt that I needed a better job. Since I failed my matric, I studied for a call centre course and I managed to get a job at a call centre,” she says, according to The Sun.
Zodwa says that she went to Durban through her job and that’s where she started her own business of leasing flats, and she rented them out to students.
“I then became a regular at Eyadini hangout spot because of my love for good music and dance. I am now part of the Eyadini family. I don’t depend on a man financially, but I’m pushing for a better life for myself and my 11-year-old son, Vuyo,” she says.
Zodwa says that she is proud of her body and she does not like putting on underwear as she feels comfortable in her own body.
“My boyfriend knows that I don’t sleep around. When I’m dancing, I embrace my body and men appreciate my moves. But I am not there to sleep with them,” she says.
Zodwa, who was recently roped in as an ambassador for an energy drink, says that her mission is to get into the world of acting and TV presenting as she wants to build a career in the industry.
“I am a hard worker and I know that I am destined for greater things. I want to push the boundaries to get on TV screens and entertain people,” she says.
Zodwa says that she wore that black number at the Durban July with pride and confidence.
“I am not looking for fame and for me to wear my black dress showing my assets was an act of embracing my freedom. I went to the Durban July to work and I didn’t go there for publicity or to pose for pictures. Eyadini had a marquee and I had to look after our clients,” she says.
Documents obtained by TODAY NEWS AFRICA have implicated the Director General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), Mr. Osita Okechukwu, in a high level fraud and massive money laundering.
The radio station, established by Decree 15 of 1991, is the external radio broadcast arm of the Nigerian government. It is, in effect, the voice of Nigeria in the world.
The outright fraud and daylight theft of public assets are coming at a time Nigeria is struggling to come out of recession and efforts are being made by President Muhammadu Buhari and Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to fight graft. They are also coming at the same time Voice of Nigeria Lagos has been off air for almost a year due to lack of funding.
Documents obtained by this newspaper show that the 2016 capital budget of VON made provision for the repair and maintenance of the transmitter and rotatable antenna at the transmitting station in Lugbe, Abuja.
Instead, Mr. Okechukwu, without any legal backing, decided to divert the funds to the ‘completion of works and services’ as well as the furnishing of a nonexistent corporate headquarters of Voice of Nigeria in Wuse 2, Abuja. The illegal virement is a criminal offence under the Nigerian law, lawyers told TODAY NEWS AFRICA.
The diversion of funds to the non-existent second corporate headquarters of VON in Abuja was all a scam, as there is no evidence of any acquired or built VON Corporate Headquarters at Plot 1386 Oda Crescent Wuse II, Abuja, as claimed by VON boss.
Worse, Mr. Okechukwu’s criminal acts extended to money laundering, the act of paying for things that do not exist in order to enrich oneself.
Documents show N149,684,293.30 was paid to Bowa Engineering Services Ltd “for completion of works and services of the newly acquired VON Corporate HQ at Plot 1386 Oda Crescent Wuse II, Abuja”.
However, TODAY NEWS AFRICA established that there is no acquired corporate HQ in existence and no work was executed by the company and the money was paid 100% to the company’s account.
Worse, N 60,036,973.76 was paid to Interior Woodworks Ltd for the supply of office furniture at the nonexistent HQ office. The company was paid 100% and no supply was made as the contract location is nonexistent.
Also, N 47,625,000.00 was paid to ECR Technologies Ltd for the provision of ICT Centre.
This contract seems to have been completely cooked up as it was not even in the letter sent to BPP and the money paid 100%.
With nothing like ICT Centre in VON, the money was simply laundered.
Beyond the above payments, there were several other payments made for jobs not done or not in existence as exposed by the Accountant General’s team, which has been investigating the finances in the company.
Government officials who spoke with TODAY NEWS AFRICA condemned the fragrant abuse of public office, adding that it must be checked immediately. They implored the ICPC and EFCC to recover these looted funds for the government and save VON from imminent collapse.
The organization, which has been operating at great difficulty due to poor funding from the government over the years, seems to have witnessed its worst period ever since the appointment of Mr. Okechukwu as the Director General, staff in Abuja and Lagos, who spoke on condition that their identities would remain secret, told this newspaper.
Staff said apart from theft and abuse of office, Mr. Okechukwu was not qualified in the first place to head VON.
They pointed to Article 6(3) of Act 15 of 1991, which states that the person to be appointed as ‘’The Director General shall be a person with wide knowledge and experience in broadcasting’’.
They said, Mr Osita Okechukwu has never come close to any broadcast organization and does not have any experience in broadcasting.
“He did not even possess any knowledge of corporate governance. He therefore, is not qualified to be the DG of VON thus his appointment at the onset is a breach of the law,” a staff told this newspaper.
Nigerian cleric TB Joshua has released a 20-year-old clip showing the ‘confession’ of a man who claimed to be one of the officers who arrested him in 1996 on the accusation of drug dealing.
Yusuf Hassan, who hails from Adamawa State, said he worked with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) when an informant tipped them off that Joshua was dealing drugs within his church premises.
Storming The Synagogue, Church of All Nations (SCOAN) in Lagos with 18 ‘armed’ officers and six soldiers, Yusuf recounted how the cleric was arrested and subsequently incarcerated for 13 days.
“On our way to the office, we asked him that – if he was a man of God, let him disappear,” Hassan reminisced, describing how the operatives all taunted the cleric en route to prison.
“Our officers destroyed a lot of things while searching for drugs – but we couldn’t find anything. On the thirteenth day he was released because nothing incriminating was found on him or with him,” Yusuf continued.
However, after Joshua’s innocence was established, Hassan revealed that calamity befell all involved in the operation.
“Among the officers that came to arrest TB Joshua, three of them are no longer alive. All 18 officers, except for myself, have been dismissed,” he revealed.
Yusuf himself said he was ‘on suspension’after a court-case landed him in prison for ten months.
“I want God to deliver me from the participation I took in this arrest,” he concluded.
Joshua, looking youthful, is also seen in the clip thanking congregants for their support after his release from imprisonment. “When you count the blessings of God in your life, doubts will fly away,” he can be heard saying.
TB Joshua is not new to controversy. He has been the subject of several accusations, most recently from an ex-worker at The SCOAN named Bisola Johnson who claimed she was ‘raped’.
Johnson, however, confessed to mental instability in a previous video and was found to have defrauded a US businessman, casting aspersions over her credibility.
“Nothing makes you better than your enemies when you respond to them. Leave the battle for God,” Joshua advised in a post on Facebook, whilst sharing the throwback clip.
Muhammad-Bande, a Nigerian diplomat, was earlier in the year unanimously elected President of the General Assembly for one year.
“I sincerely congratulate you. Your election was well received by the whole world. It was a unanimous support, and the global community received you well. That support puts heavy weight on you, and I wish you well,” the President said.
Responding, Prof. Muhammad-Bande said he was delighted to receive the Nigerian President, “along with your team of professionals and politicians.”
He added: “Your nominating me for this position is the greatest honour I can have. The support from Africa and the world has been outstanding so far.”
President Buhari was accompanied by governors, ministers, and senior government officials.
President Muhammadu Buhari Monday in New York announced robust plans and initiatives by his administration to reverse the negative effects of climate change in Nigeria.
The plans were revealed in his address to the United Nations Climate Action Summit with the theme, “A Race We Can Win. A Race We Must Win.”
The full-text of his speech is reproduced below:
I share the sentiment expressed by the Secretary-General that the world is on the verge of climate catastrophe. Undeniably, Climate Change is a human-induced phenomenon.
It is now imperative that we must step-up our collective climate actions in line with the request of the Secretary General. It is in this regard that I wish to reiterate Nigeria’s commitment to its obligation under the Paris Agreement, the aspirations enshrined in our Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) and ensure a resilient future that mainstreams climate risks in our decision making.
I want to announce that the Government of Nigeria will develop a more robust sectorial action plan, and expand the scope of our Sovereign Green Bonds in line with our intended upward review of Nigeria’s NDC’s towards the inclusion of the water and waste sectors by 2020.
In the water sector, Nigeria will issue a Green Bond for irrigation and construct multi-purpose dams for power, irrigation and water supply. We will strengthen solid and liquid waste management systems to attract more private sector investors.
We will take concrete steps to harness climate innovative ideas by including youths in decision making processes as part of our over-all climate governance architecture. We will mobilize Nigerian youths towards planting 25 million trees to enhance Nigeria’s carbon sink.
In the energy sector, Nigeria is presently diversifying its energy sources from dependence on gas-powered system to hydro, solar, wind, biomass and nuclear sources. Specifically, Nigeria is progressively working to realize 30 percent energy efficiency and renewable energy mix by 2030. This is envisaged to lead to 179 million tons of carbon dioxide reduction per annum by 2030.
In addition, our Administration intends to develop a shelter belt across 11 States of the Federation spanning a distance of 1,500 km and 15km across through the Great Green Wall initiative. Furthermore, the Federal Government has commenced the implementation of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Programme in Ogoniland, to recover the carbon sink potential of the mangrove ecosystem of the one thousand square kilometers (1,000 KM2) polluted site in the affected area.
I should also inform the summit that our Government has introduced Climate Smart Agricultural Practices to unlock Seventy-Four (74) Million tons of carbon dioxide per annum, through relevant technologies, advocacy and best practices.
As you are aware, the Lake Chad Basin, which used to be a region of productivity, food security and wealth for an estimated 40 million citizens living around the Chad Basin, has shrunk significantly from its original size due to Climate Change.
We will continue to lead in efforts to have solid partnerships for the ecological restoration and recharge of the Lake. We are confident that this would improve the living conditions of the diverse nationals living in the area, promote inter-state cooperation, strengthen community resilience, as well as assist in addressing the environmental and security crisis that threaten the region, its resources and inhabitants.
Finally, permit me to add that the forty million citizens in the Lake Chad area expect this Summit to take into consideration their concerns. They anticipate that the outcomes of this meeting would include solutions to address the Climate Change impact in the Lake Chad area.
I am glad that the Secretary General and some of the member states represented in this hall are partnering with us in this endeavor. We thank them for their cooperation and I look forward to deepening our partnership.
President Muhammadu Buhari arrived in New York on Sunday night for the United Nations General Assembly, even as his spokesman Femi Adesina refused to answer questions over detained activist journalist Omoyele Sowore who was arrested almost two months ago for organizing a protest and charged with treason.
Minutes after Mr. Buhari arrived at the luxury Millennium hotel located opposite the United Nations headquarters in New York, his spokesman Femi Adesina took questions from mostly African journalists.
Asked by TODAY NEWS AFRICA USA’s Simon Ateba to react to the arrests and detentions of political activists in Nigeria, including journalist and publisher of Sahara Reporters, Adesina said “I am not going to answer that question….next next”.
Mr. Adesina also faced questions on the over blown importance of President Muhammadu Buhari speaking on the same day other well known world leaders would be speaking.
In a statement and in comment, Mr. had said that speaking on the first of the UN General Debate made Mr. Buhari and Nigeria special.
But TODAY NEWS AFRICA USA’s Simon Ateba noted that Burkina Faso was so speaking on the same day, adding that the President of the UN General Assembly had downplayed the importance of speaking first amongst other African leaders or even speaking on the same day as other more visible leaders.
Adesina then tried to change course, saying that speaking first or on the first day did not matter.
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent an open letter to Mr Abukabar Malami, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, urging him to use his position “to without delay enter a nolle prosequi and discontinue the prosecution of the Convener of ‘RevolutionNow’ protest and publisher of Sahara Reporters, Mr Omoyele Sowore, and Olawale Bakare, also known as Mandate for apparently politically motivated charges of treason, fraud and ‘insulting President Muhammadu Buhari’.”
SERAP said: “We urge you to use your role as a trustee of the public interest under section 174 of the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 (as amended) to end several of similar trumped-up cases going on in several states.”
In the letter dated 21 September 2019 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the group said: “Sowore’s case and several similar cases instigated/brought by state governors make a hideous mockery of Nigeria’s criminal justice systems, rule of law, freedom of expression and media freedom. These cases are persecution and not prosecution. As guardian of the public interest, you have a role to end this travesty now, and to maintain the sanctity and integrity of Nigeria’s justice system.”
SERAP also said: “These cases set a dangerous precedent for the misuse and subversion of the justice system, which may lead to the politicization of judiciary. This will be bad for everyone—ordinary citizens, journalists and even the politicians in power, as they may themselves become targets of these repressive and abusive tactics when they are out of power/in opposition.”
The letter read in part: “While the Nigerian government has the responsibility to prevent and prosecute criminal offences, it ought to do so lawfully, and in full compliance with human rights and the rule of law. Exercising your constitutional independence and discretion to withdraw these kinds of charges would meet the text of reasonableness, demands of justice, and as noted, serve the public interest.”
“Laws against terrorism and money laundering should be properly used, and not to undermine critical voices, activists, and the media. Invoking the charges of treasonable felony to unjustifiably or arbitrarily restrict the right to freedom of opinion and expression would minimise the seriousness with which our laws traditionally treat such offences, and undermine the essence of the criminal justice system and the rule of law.”
“If not urgently addressed, the misuse of the criminal justice system and politicization of Nigeria’s judiciary would jeopardise the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law and lower the public estimation of the ability of our justice system to serve as the last hope of justice for desperate victims. Unless these bogus charges are immediately withdrawn, there is a danger that the public interest represented by the courts and that represented by your role, might part company.”
“Attacks on journalism are fundamentally at odds with protection of freedom of expression and access to information, which in turn is key to promoting transparency and accountability, and the achievement of the government’s anti-corruption agenda.”
“Withdrawing this case would send a strong message to many state governors that your office will not accept their persistent abuse of the criminal justice systems to jail journalists, bloggers and activists, just as it is, for example, the case in Cross River State, where journalists Agba Jalingo and Ekanem Ekpo have been charged with treason and now being detained for 90 days simply for reporting about an alleged diversion of N500 million by the Cross River governor, Ben Ayade.”
“As Nigeria’s Chief Law Officer, it is vital to our democracy, judicial independence and rule of law for you to stop the Federal Government and state governors from misrepresenting the country’s constitutional jurisprudence and international obligations in the matters of freedom of expression and media freedom.”
“SERAP notes that last Friday the Federal Government filed a seven-count charge of cybercrimes of insulting Mr Buhari, money laundering and treasonable felony against Sowore and Bakare. The charges followed their detention by security operatives on 2nd August, 2019. Order was his detention was not made until the 8th of August.
“SERAP also notes that at a forum we organized in June 2019 to discuss the legality of the Cybercrimes Act, your representative and the Head of Cybercrimes Prosecution Unit in the Ministry of Justice Mr. Terlumun George Tyendezwa said the Justice Ministry was committed to pursuing the amendment of the Act, to remove its repressive provisions like insulting public officials, which is now being used in this case, and frequently to undermine freedom of expression, media freedom and provide special protection for public figures including president and state governors.”
“Nigerian constitution and international human rights treaties such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to which Nigeria is a state party protect even shocking and offensive speech.”
“Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights guarantee everyone’s right to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers and through any media, including in the form of art.”
“The Human Rights Committee in fact underlines in General Comment 34 that laws should not provide for more severe penalties solely on the basis of the identity of the person and that the value placed by the Covenant upon uninhibited expression is particularly high in cases involving public or political figures. Thus, the mere fact that forms of expression are considered to be insulting to these figures is not sufficient to justify the imposition of penalties.”
“These restrictions on freedom of expression and media freedom cannot meet the basic tests of legality, reasonableness and proportionality. It is normal for expression to provoke controversy, reaction and discourse, even anger but not punishment, fear and silence.”
“We hope that the aspects highlighted will help guide your actions in acting to withdraw the charges against Sowore and Bakare, and several other similar charges instigated or brought by state governors across the county. We would be happy to provide further information or to discuss any of these issues in more detail with you.”
A young Nigerian climate change activist, Hamzat Lawal, warned on Saturday that the devastating effects of climate change were already being felt in his West African country.
Speaking on the sidelines of the United Nations Youth Climate Change Summit in New York, Hamzat said at least 60 million people were already being affected by the climate crisis along the Lake Chad Basin.
Even as water dries up in the Lake Chad Basin, the Boko Haram insurgency has made things even worse for the populations in Cameroon, Nigeria, Niger and Chad, which used to rely on Lake Chad for survival.
That insurgency, along with the lack of water, has led to unprecedented levels of population displacements and to the prolonged disruption of agricultural, livestock and fishing activities.
“In affected areas, the crisis is deeply aggravating chronic poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition patterns, with the most affected population living in complete destitution and without access to basic social services,” noted a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Hamazat said he joined a global tree-planting initiative because no one, no matter their location would be spared by the consequences of inaction on the climate crisis.
The initiative, known as the Great Green Wall seeks to give hope and unite communities across the Sahel.
Hamzat, who is also an anti-corruption activist, the initiator of Follow The Money, and the founder of Connected Development, a non-profit organization that comprises data analysts, journalists, activists, and students, is attending the United Nations General Assembly in New York where he’s connecting with other young people around the world to share his experiences and learn from them as well.
The supernatural phenomena allegedly happening within Pastor TB Joshua’s Synagogue, Church Of All Nations (SCOAN) see no signs of abating, with a young lady claiming to have witnessed an ‘angel’ inside the church which cured her of depression.
In a testimony posted to Emmanuel TV’s popular YouTube channel, Dickson Francisca – a Nigerian living in Ghana – narrated her alleged ‘angelic encounter’.
“Since I lost my parents ten years ago, I developed this bitterness and hatred I couldn’t control,”Francisca revealed.
“I had hatred for myself and people, which caused me to be isolated. I felt that if I went close to people, they would hurt me.”
According to her, the depression nosedived nine months ago into full-blown ‘anxiety disorder’ which left her dependent on a cocktail of medication.
“I would not be able to sleep unless the doctors gave me pills,” she explained.
“It got to the extent where I couldn’t even go out on my own. I had shortness of breath; I was feeling dizzy. I kept hearing a voice saying, ‘You are going to die’. My dreams were all nightmares. My whole life was shattered.”
With her fledgling career as a flight attendant threatened by the ‘mental torture’, Dickson resolved to visit The SCOAN in Lagos, Nigeria to seek for ‘Divine help’.
Praying at the church’s altar during their weekly ‘Living Water Service’, the young Nigerian recounted her remarkable experience whilst engrossed in prayer.
“All the pain in my heart rolled out of my eyes in tears and touched the altar,”she vividly recalled.
Proceeding to drink some of the ‘Living Water’ – given freely to all in attendance at the service – Francisca said she started to ‘vomit’ uncontrollably.
It was at that point, according to her, that something truly supernatural transpired.
“Behold, my eyes opened! I saw a man wearing white apparel standing where the Living Water is flowing. His right hand was stretched forth and he was placing it upon everyone’s head.”
The encounter proved transformative for Francisca. “Instantly, this inner peace came inside of me. I tried to think of my past but it was if the memory was ceased. I became whole again. I heard a voice telling me, ‘It is done!”
Renewed and refreshed, Dickson testified that her sleep has fully returned to normalcy and all the “hatred and grudges” in her heart had gone.
“Depression has a solution in Christ Jesus,”she concluded, adding that she was now fully convinced “the presence of God” was evident at The SCOAN.
“Not only have I heard about it, I have now seen it, felt it and experienced that the presence of God is here. His angels are everywhere – ready to do miracles!”
This is not the first ‘angelic account’ connected to Joshua’s church as, last year, amateur footage purportedly showing an ‘angelic being’ entering inside The SCOAN went viral.
Speaking at the Youth Climate Summit at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the young people said climate change was one of the biggest political, economic and social crises facing the planet.
Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, who sat close to the UN Deputy Secretary General, Ms. Amina Mohammed, said he was inspired by the youth to redouble his efforts in combating climate change.
President Muhammadu Buhari felicitates with His Excellency, Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, on the upcoming 70th anniversary of the establishment of People’s Republic of China.
The President also congratulates the Communist Party, and the people of China on the anniversary.
A letter from the Nigerian leader to the Chinese President reads in part:
“On behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria, I felicitate with Your Excellency, the Communist Party and the people of China on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of People’s Republic of China.
“The past seventy years have been decades of political steadfastness, remarkable development, dedication and purposeful leadership leading to the emergence of the People’s Republic of China as a global power-house.
“I rejoice with the hardworking and patriotic people of China who have demonstrated over the years a very high sense of unity of purpose, immense hard work, patriotism and full confidence in their leaders.
“I cherish the partnership between China and African countries under the umbrella of Forum on China – Africa Cooperation, FOCAC, which is breaking new frontiers for the development of Africa in a mutually beneficial environment.
“I am also excited about the ever-increasing level of cooperation between our two countries.
“Once again, I congratulate you and all Chinese worldwide on this landmark celebration.”
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan, Deputy Secretary of Commerce Karen Dunn Kelley, and USAID Administrator Mark Green will deliver remarks at the event scheduled to hold at the Lotte New York Palace Hotel in New York, the U.S. Department of State said.
EXIM President and Chairman Kimberly Reed, OPIC Acting President and CEO David Bohigian, Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Keith Krach, and Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Tibor Nagy will also participate in the event.
The event is expected to bring together U.S. government officials, African foreign ministers, and U.S. businesses to highlight new tools and initiatives the United States has developed to expand U.S.-Africa trade and investment.
With China on the rise, the United States has been increasing its presence in Africa while accusing China of pursuing what it has characterized as debt traps.
At least 150 heads of state and government are expected to attend the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Professor Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, the President of the United Nations General Assembly, said during an exclusive interview he granted TODAY NEWS AFRICA USA on Friday evening.
Speaking from New York, Professor Muhammad-Bande said although the official attendance figures would be known as final confirmations are received, at least 100 heads of state and 50 heads of government had indicated they would be attending the UN General Assembly 2019.
He said many African leaders would also be in attendance, an indication that Africa has a positive view of the United Nations as a global player in international affairs.
At the center of the discussions would be climate change, peace and security, including global terrorism as well as protectionism and trade wars.
Professor Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, a Nigerian political scientist, administrator and career diplomat, who was elected as President of the United Nations General Assembly on June 4, 2019, said Africa was a strong partner of the UN but there would not be an African agenda because the African agenda was already embedded in the global agenda.
The former permanent representative of Nigeria to the United Nations who served as Vice-President of the General Assembly during its 71st session in September 2016 addressed global issues from Iran to Russia, from Japan to Cameroon, as well as Africa and the United States.
On climate change, which is one of the biggest topics at the 74th session of the General Assembly, Professor Muhammad-Bande said the UN would continue to seek a close collaboration with the United States, noting that climate change was affecting everyone, irrespective of country, location or worldview.
President Donald Trump pulled the US from the Climate Change Paris Accord but many states and politicians in the United States have argued that science and scientists rather than economic and financial interests should guide policymakers.
On Iran, Professor Muhammad-bande reacted to the drama that surrounded the visa applications of senior government officials, including President Hassan Rouhani.
The United States was said to have first delayed or denied visas to the Iranian delegation, following the bombing by a drone of oil facilities in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia blamed Iran for the devastating attacks that left oil well crippled, and the President Trump warned that the United States was ready to defend its allies, pointing the fingers at Iran and raising the possibility of war with one of America’s greatest adversaries in the Middle East.
But Professor Muhammad-Bande said despite disagreements, the United Nations was set up to be a platform for everyone, adding that there were clear legal documents allowing every member country the right to attend deliberations at the UN headquarters in New York.
On the Nigerian leader Muhammadu Buhari speaking first among African heads of state, Professor Muhammad-Bande downplayed the significance of speaking first or on the first day, saying that what is important is for every head of state to have the opportunity to highlight their country’s understanding of global issues.
Dozens of protesters stormed the United Nations headquarters on Friday to draw the attention of the international community to the killings of Anglophones in Cameroon by the administration of President Paul Biya.
Their protest came just six days before President Biya, who has been in power for almost four decades, is due to address the world at the United Nations General Assembly next Thursday.
Mr. Biya recently called for a national dialogue to resolve the crisis in South West and North West Cameroon where hundreds of people have been killed and tens of thousands displaced to neighboring Nigeria, according to Amnesty International.
The protesters held placards that referenced what they described as genocide in Cameroon and pictures of relatives they said were killed by security forces.
They vowed to return on Thursday when Mr. Biya would be taking the stage to address the world.
The United Nations on Friday said it was in communication with Mr. Biya to resolve the crisis in Cameroon.
Stephane Dujarrictold reporters on Friday that the UN would be engaging Biya when he’s in DC.
The latest Anglophone crisis in Cameroon started in 2016 when lawyers and teachers took to the street to demand justice and equality in Cameroon. But their protests were met with excessive force by the Biya regime and snowballed into demand for secession.
Anglophone separatists then took up arms against the state and Mr. Biya branded them terrorists and vowed to defeat them.
The conflict has left many killed on both sides with innocent civilians caught in the middle.
Justice O.A. Adeniyi of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, sitting in Apo, Abuja on Friday, September 20, 2019 remanded Mrs. Grace Taiga, a female accomplice in the multiple fraud, involving P&ID in Suleja Prison. She is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Mrs.Taiga, a former director, Legal Services in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources was a key actor in the fraudulent Gas Supply and Processing Agreement (GSPA) between the federal government and P&ID. She is alleged to have used her position to administer undue favours to the company.
She was arraigned on an eight-count amended charges, bordering on accepting bribes and other related crimes. Count One of the charge reads: “That you, Process and Industrial Developments Limited, being a company incorporated in the British Virgin Island (now a convict), Michael Quinn (deceased), Brendan Cahill (at large), Neil Hitchcock (deceased) and Grace Taiga on or about the 11th January, 2010 in Abuja, within the Jurisdiction of this honorable court, with intent to defraud made a false statement in Paragraph 8(g) of Gas Supply and Processing Agreement (GSPA) to wit: the parties are aware that the 24-inch Adanga Pipeline presently under construction from the Addax operated OML 123, directly to Calabar and due for completion in 2010 which part of the said agreement you knew to be false and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 362(a) of the Panel Code Law and punishable under Section 364 of the same law.”
Count Five of the charge reads: “That you Grace Taiga (former director, Legal Services in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources) on or about the 18th of December, 2017 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, corruptly received the sum of $10,000(Ten thousand United States Dollars) from Industrial Consultants International, through your Zenith Bank offshore Account No.5070369868 on account of the favour you already showed to Process and Industrial Developments Limited, which led to the execution of the definitive agreement entered into between the said company, incorporated and existing under laws of the British Virgin Island and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources on 11th of January , 2010 and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 8(1) (a) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2010.” The accused pleaded not guilty to all the charges. In view of her plea, prosecution counsel, Bala Sanga prayed the court for a trial date and for the defendant to be remanded in prison custody.
Defence counsel, Ola Olanipekun SAN, however, made an oral bail application for the defendant, which Justice Adeniyi rejected, preferring that he filed a formal bail application.
Olanipekun SAN, further told the court that the defendant had been in the EFCC custody, all the while and was down with hypertension, praying that the defendant be remanded rather in the custody of the EFCC.The prosecution counsel objected to the prayer and urged the court to discountenance the defendant’s claim of health challenges as there was no evidence or proof to it. He also objected to the prayer for the defendant to be remanded in EFCC’s custody, arguing that the matter was now in court and that the Commission’s detention facility was congested. Justice Adeniyi adjourned the matter to September 25, 2019 for trial and remanded the defendant in the Suleja Prison.
It could be recalled that two directors of P&ID: Muhammed Kuchazi and Adamu Usman were on Thursday, September 19, 2019 convicted by a Federal High Court, Abuja, after they pleaded guilty to 11-count charges that bordered on obtaining by false pretence; dealing in petroleum products without appropriate license; tax evasion, money laundering and failure to register P&ID with EFCC’s Special Control Unit against Money Laundering (SCUML) as required by law.
The trial judge, Justice I.E. Ekwo also ordered a liquidation of the fraudulent company, while all of its assets are to be forfeited to the federal government.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Lagos Zonal office, on Thursday, September 19, 2019 arraigned a suspect Olalegbin Christopher alongside his firms, Pentview Luxury Real Estate Management Limited and Gelbin Technology Limited, before Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos on a two-count charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of 22 million naira, an offence contrary to Section 332(1) of the CriminalLaw of Lagos State, 2015.
The defendant was arrested during a collaborative operation by the EFCC and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, for his alleged involvement in illegal internet activities.
The defendant also allegedly used his companies to receive and conceal the proceeds of his criminal activities.
Court documents read: “That you, Olalegbin Christopher, Olatunji Olalegbin Mary (at large), Pentview Luxury Real Estate Management Limited, Gelbin Technology Limited and others still at large, between 2015 and 2019 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, conspired to collaborate in the concealing and disguising the genuine nature and ownership of the aggregate sum of N22, 239, 869.79k (Twenty Two Million, Two Hundred and Thirty-nine Thousand, Eight Hundred and Sixty-nine Naira, Seventy-nine Kobo only)being money received and derived from your illegal internet activities.”
The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was read to him.
In view of his plea, the prosecution counsel, M.K. Bashir, asked the court for a trial date and also prayed the court to remand the defendant in prison custody pending the determination of the case.
However, counsel to the defendant, Abimbola Akeredolu,SAN, informed the court that a bail application had been filed and served on prosecution.
Akeredolu also told the court the prosecution had responded to the affidavit. She, therefore, urged the court to grant her client bail in the most liberal terms.
In his response, the prosecution counsel, Bashir, told the court that a counter-affidavit had been filed and served on the defence, where he opposed the prayer of the defendant.
The prosecution counsel further described the defendant as a flight-risk, adding that “The defendant, while making statement in the EFCC office, tried to move money from his Zenith Bank account through his phone and also wiped all the information on his phone.”
The prosecutor also informed the court that the defendant’s mum, who aided him in perpetrating the crime, could not found. “My Lord, the defendant too may also abscond like his mum.
“ He is 26 years old and has never worked anywhere; yet,he acquired a 2019 model Porche car worth N120million and a 2015 model Merzedes Benz car worth N75million,” he further submitted.
The prosecution counsel, therefore, urged the court not to grant the defendant bail.
Justice Taiwo, after listening to both parties, said “the offence is a bailable one.”
The Judge, therefore, granted the defendant bail in the sum of N5 million, with two sureties in like sum.
One of the sureties must be a level 16 officer with the Lagos State government, while the other must be a relation of the defendant resident in Lagos.
The Judge also directed that the addresses of the sureties must be verified by the EFCC, while evidence of identification of the sureties must be provided to the court.
Justice Taiwo adjourned the case to October 18 and 23,2019 for commencement of trial and also ordered the defendant to be remanded in Kirikiri prison pending the perfection of his bail conditions.
In a related development, another suspected internet fraudster, Ani John Chukwuebuka, was arraigned by the EFCC on Thursday, September19, 2019 before Justice Taiwo on a two-count charge bordering on making false statement to a public officer and destruction of evidence.
The defendant was arrested during a recent collaborative operation by the EFCC and the FBI.
One of the counts reads: “That you, Ani John Chukwuebuka,on or about the 2nd day of August, 2019 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to cause Adenike Sanni, a public officer and an operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from performing her duty as an investigator, gave Adenike Sanni false MTN phone number 08032558370 as your own personal number and thereby caused her to omit to investigate the MTN telephone number which Adenike Sanni ought not to have omitted, if the true facts concerning the phone were known to her.”
The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against him by the EFCC.
In view of his plea, the prosecution counsel, C.R. Edozie, asked the court for a trial date and also prayed the court to remand the defendant in prison custody pending the determination of the case.
However, the defendant’s lawyer informed the court that an application for bail had been filed and served on the prosecution, adding that “ the prosecution is yet to respond.”
In his response, the prosecution counsel, Edozie, told the court that prosecution Intended to oppose the application and would respond. “My Lord, we are still within the time stipulated by the Law to respond to such an application,” he added.
Consequently, Justice Taiwo adjourned the case to October 2, 2019 for hearing of the bail application and ordered the defendant to be remanded in Ikoyi prison.
Nigeria’s opposition leader, Atiku Abubakar, who is seeking to annul President Muhammadu Buhari‘s presidential election wrote an emotional letter to his supporters on Friday to thank them.
Entitled “A Message of Gratitude to Nigerians For Your Support on This Necessary Journey“, Mr. Abubakar said he would not give up the fight to defeat the “forces of fascism” in Nigeria.
He warned that one day “We will all die and give account of our lives to our creator”.
Read full letter below.
Dearly beloved citizens of Nigerians,
I write to personally thank you for your support for our shared common goal and the solidarity I enjoyed from all walks of life and every strata of society, right from July 21, 2018, when I informed you, the good people of Nigeria, that I would contest the 2019 Presidential election, to Wednesday September 11, 2019, when the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal rendered its verdict.
Nothing good comes easy, and hard as the task to rid Nigeria from the forces of fascism, and be an instrument for the full restoration of the rule of law and democracy in Nigeria is, your support makes the struggle worthwhile.
I owe so much to this great land of Nigeria that took me from the streets of Jada, where I sold firewood, to the heights I have attained, by God’s benevolence, in the civil service, in corporate Nigeria, and in public service.
If I do not play my part in making it possible for other orphaned children, indigent youths and the less privileged, to replicate and even surpass my path to significance, I would have failed my Maker. If I do not ensure that the ladder I climbed remains accessible to those at the bottom, middle and top tiers of society, I would not have fulfilled my purpose.
And only by ensuring that democracy is not just done, but seen to be done, can Nigeria and Nigerians have a sense that this our dear land is indeed a land where Unity, Faith, Peace and Progress reside.
It is for this, and other patriotic reasons, that I am pursuing this judicial route: To ensure that the votes of Nigerians count and are counted.
Yes, those who do not want this as Nigeria’s reality, will use every trick in the book to undermine, discourage, misinform and mislead, but with God’s help and the support of Nigerians, we will ensure that Nigeria makes a course correction away from tyranny and towards democracy.
We must return to being Africa’s bastion of democracy, where the rights to Freedom of Speech and Freedom after the Speech, are guaranteed. We must stand together to pursue this just cause all the way, so that our judiciary are not afraid to do their jobs and have to be wary of blackmail, intimidation, and victimisation.
I note the immense outpouring of goodwill from ordinary Nigerians in every nook and cranny of Nigeria and from all regions, religions and relationships. Once again I thank you all for your support. I also thank the governors elected on the platform of my party, the Peoples Democratic Party, as well as the National Executive Committee, for their unanimous and unambiguous support for the judicial phase of this struggle, especially after it was announced that we would go on to appeal.
I urge all Nigerians to continue their support for this recourse to constitutional order via the courts. Even if there is little or nothing you can do to ensure that justice is done in Nigeria, just believe that it will happen. Let us never underestimate the effect of our belief in Nigeria.
Finally, I say to all concerned, that we will all die and give account of our lives to our Creator.
Thank you and may God bless Nigeria.
Waziri Atiku Abubakar, Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party and Vice President of Nigeria, 1999-2007.
President Muhammadu Buhari will depart Abuja Sunday for New York, United States to participate in the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA74) which opened on Tuesday, September 17.
The President’s participation at this year’s gathering of world leaders is particularly significant as it coincides with Nigeria’s Presidency of UNGA.
Recall that on June 4, 2019, Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Prof. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, was unanimously elected as the President of UNGA74 – an indication of the country’s high esteem in global reckoning.
This marks the second time Nigeria would be occupying that prestigious position following late Maj-Gen. Joseph Nanven Garba’s election during UNGA44 in 1989.
The theme for UNGA74 is, “Galvanizing Multilateral Efforts for Poverty Eradication, Quality Education, Climate Action and Inclusion.”
The General Debates will kick off on Tuesday, September 24 during which leaders of delegations will present their National Statements as well as speak to the theme of the session.
President Buhari is scheduled as Number Five Speaker on the first day of the debates – another plus for the country as most world leaders will be listening in the General Assembly Hall while the global audience watches on live television.
The President is expected to underscore his administration’s commitment to building on the achievements of its three-point agenda following the renewal of his electoral mandate by majority of Nigerians. He will also reaffirm Nigeria’s position on salient global issues.
While in New York, the Nigerian leader and members of his delegation are expected to participate in the Climate Action Summit with the theme, “A Race We Can Win. A Race We Must Win,” convened by the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres; the High-Level meeting organized by the President of UNGA74 on Universal Health Coverage with the theme, “Moving Together to Build a Healthier World”; UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development; High-Level Dialogue on Financial Development as well as High-Level Meeting to Commemorate and Promote the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.
In addition to the above high-level meetings, the Nigerian delegation is expected to participate at the Side-Events organized by the country’s Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
These include: SDGs Integration – Bridging the Policy Planning – Budget Gap for the Achievement of SDGs, organized by the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals; Promotion of International Cooperation to Combat Illicit Financial Flows and Strengthen Good Practices on Assets Recovery and Return to Foster Sustainable Development, organized by the Office of the National Coordinator/CEO, African Union Development Agency-New Partnership for Africa’s Development/African Peer Review Mechanism (AUDA-NEPAD/APRM) in collaboration with the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other anti-corruption bodies.
It is noteworthy that seven European and African countries have confirmed their participation at this event designed to mobilize collective global action against illicit assets and their recovery and return for developmental projects.
Moreover, the meeting will further boost the profile of President Buhari as the African Union anti-corruption Champion.
The Federal Ministry of Water Resources is also organizing a side-event on Sanitation and Hygiene Campaign for a Clean Nigeria: Sharing Lessons and Key Insights.
This is crucial for Nigeria as donor nations and organisations are willing to support the country’s target to end open defecation by 2025.
The Nigerian leader is also billed to hold bilateral meetings with some leaders of other delegations; chief executive officers of big companies keen to invest in the country; Aliko Dangote and Bill Gates on sustaining the polio-free campaign as well as issues on human capital projects and development.
Before returning to Abuja at the conclusion of his engagements, President Buhari will meet with a select group of top America-based Nigerian businessmen and potential investors.
The President will be accompanied to New York by Governors Abdullahi Sule, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and Adegboyega Oyetola of Nasarawa, Kebbi and Osun States respectively; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Minister of Environment, Dr Muhammad Mahmoud; Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; and Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire.
Also on the President’s delegation are: Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management & Social Development, Sa’adiya Farouk; Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu; Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu; National Security Adviser, Maj-Gen. Babagana Monguno (retd); Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Amb. Ahmed Rufai Abubakar; National Coordinator/CEO, NEPAD, Princess Gloria Akobundu; and Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs, Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire.