Monthly Archives: April 2013
Barely two months after visiting violence ridden Borno State and refusing to grant amnesty to “ghosts”, President Goodluck Jonathan after pressure and due consultations, innaugurated a committee on security and peace in the region. This was seen as a positive step in the right direction by some analysts and an improbable solution by others civil rights advocacy groups.
Nigerians were recently however awoken to news of the death of close to 185 people in what Military authorities have refered to as a fallout of attacks from terrorists who attacked a joint patrol team using rocket propelled grenades in the ensuing gun battle.
According to the Gen. Austin Edokpaye, Commander of the Multi-National Joint Task Force, “A patrol team of the task force was attacked by suspected terrorists on Friday evening killing one soldier and injuring two others. The incident led to sustained exchange of fire between the team and the terrorists.’’ Furthermore according to The Army spokesman however refutes the claim of such high casualy figures and The Presidency has immidiately ordered a full scale investigation, after briefing from the Military high command. The National Emergency Management Authority and Federal Health agenciees have also been deployed too assist the State Goovernment.
Operative words and figures to be taken from this incident are;
62 Vehicles burnt
486 Motorcycles burnt
2000 Houses destroyed
=N=5m cash donation in relief materials
It is interesting to note that a community that is located some 196km away from the State capital can be visited with such destruction. 2000 homes and 486 vehicles is an enormous amount of capital, property and livelihood even in a cosmopolitan city like Lagos State. The loss will certainly be unbearable for the community . This brings to note the amount of money immidiately set aside for relief materials. =N=5m, or $35k, for 2000 displaced families and businesses. Somehow, the maths doesnt seem right but it goes to show Nigerian`s the enormity of the situation on ground as it may well be too much for a State to single handedly manage.
One wonders if Comrade Shehu Sani is not spot on in his assessment of Boko Haram and amnesty issues going with the spate of violence including murders of WAEC students and teachers amongst other heinous crimes, even after the prospect of the said amnesty is being considered and fine tuned. Perhaps Boko Haram has not been properly contacted and will not recognise the committee as presently constitutedor. But then again, maybe Governor Yuguda is right about the sect having criminal and ploitical factions that will not yield to amnesty overtures, regardless.
Issues of security were put on the front burner for everyone to observe and witness recently, with the Boston Bombings and the ensuing drama of a high speed chase, grenades and explosives, shoot-outs, a man hunt and an eventual capture. One could not but wonder out loud how long it had taken the United States of America to “perfect” the operation of counter terrorism as displayed. We saw an interplay of technology and pure human resource management. Throughout the episode, someone seemed to be in charge, someone who knew exactly what he or she was looking for and working hard at getting it. Credit must also be given to the good people of Boston who listened to instructions and kept to them.
Let us switch back to Nigeria for a minute where have people who vowed to make the country ungovernable because they lost an election, people who say they are speaking directly with the agents of terror, killing and maiming innocent civilians for reasons best understood by them alone, and a citizenry that is gradually cowering to terror. While all of this is going on, we have an oppostion that is unconciously weakening the fabric of our unity as a people. When a country is being attacked as is presently playing out in Nigeria and the opposition do not come out to make bold statementss in defence of Nigeria, it only portends an unfortunate end approaching, if caution is not heeded.
Kudos will go to Governor Yuguda fof Bauchi State who has come outright and openly to declare that Boko Haram has factions of criminals who have no business with Amnesty. In as much as we are one united and indivisible country, we must always support each other when it calls for it. We must put our differences aside and do what is right for the common good. These coming weeks are pregnant with expectations and hope.
In 1976 Robert Nester Marley, known as Bob Marley, translated a speech by Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia to the United Nations, into music. The song was called War. The powerful speech captured the reality of African oppression, foreign interference in African development and sadly too, over the years has shown that Africa`s worst enemies are Africans who disgrace humanity with their utterances and actions.
“Until the philosophy which hold one race superior
And abandoned –
Everywhere is war..”
In 1976, Kim Jong-un was not yet born. Today he is the leader of North Korea and he is doing exactly what Emperor Selassie said will never bring about world peace. Kim Jong-un still believes his family and close associates are divinely superior to the entire country of an unfortunately brain washed people. Such people will never know peace regardless of the fleeting illusions they may perceive daily. They can be likened to the Almajiris of Northern Nigeria. Brain washed, hungry and easily deceived into supporting violence. The International community will therefore always have to interfere in North Korea`s internal affairs until the day the bells of freedom can be heard by the ears of North Koreans and peace in sensed in the region as a whole.
“That until there no longer
First class and second class citizens of any nation
Until the colour of a man’s skin
Is of no more significance than the colour of his eyes –
Me say war.”
In 1976, the year War was released on Island Records, Muhammad Buhari and ex Head of State through a coup that overthrew an elected civilian Government, was thirty-four years old. While Bob Marley is preaching peace in his music, and his message has not changed ,as it can not be changed, Buhari, some 37 odd years later, is at the forefront of preaching war and bloodshed. From referring to people as “Baboons” and inciting violence through unguarded comments unbecoming of a Statesman, to refusing to pick up the challenge when Boko Haram insisted in his attending a peace meeting, and now to supporting a call for amnesty for the sect, one can only go back to Bob Marleys music and do some soul-searching about what it means to be an African leader.
What do Kim Jong-un and Buhari have in common? They are common people with over bloated assumptions of relevance to humanity. Maybe to their fellow ‘tribesmen” they are relevant. However, in the eyes of humanity, on the scale of equity and justice, it would seem they fall short. To be silent in the face of tyranny knowing you can do or say something to confront such tyranny but you choose to remain silent because you want to be leader, makes you a disgrace to humanity. Likewise when all you do is stock pile arms and have only one Television station that teaches only what you want to be taught, yet your people are hungry and dying, then you too are a disgrace to humanity.
The world has since evolved away from the blame game. Humanity is never concerned about who is wrong or right but what the consequences of actions will bring. An all out war in Nigeria or North Korea today will do nobody any good. We have learnt from the recent past that war does not necessarily bring peace. Dialogue is still the best option till then.
“And until that day,
The African continent
Will not know peace,
We Africans will fight – we find it necessary –
And we know we shall win
As we are confident
In the victory
of good over evil”
Finally, the blame has to stop at one desk. The person in charge of that desk has to have the support of the people or the mind to overlook consequences and do the right thing for the sake of humanity. And who says that is not what is going on in Nigeria right now? Now what we are seeing are Northern leaders running from pillar to post. First they gave us the impression they could tell Boko Haram to cease hostilities so we all looked at them in awe. Today Boko Haram is washing its blood stained hands away from their control and obviously removing that cloak of authority of Northern leaders to their region. Soon, most of these people who have been criticizing Governments handling of the sect will leave town and it will be left to Government to carry on the job of protecting lives and properties of citizens.
It is no longer news that the Boko Haram sect has clearly refused to accept any offer of Amnesty from the Federal Government. Instead they are drumming up more beats for violence and mayhem. What is the implication of a failed attempt at peace to the Norther Elders who took sides against Nigeria only recently, claiming they would make the country ungovernable? It seems those who rode on the back of the Tiger are gradually sliding into its stomach. What lessons can we learn from this at this point in time? The dire implication of this it seems,is an overwhelming loss of political clout in the North. When Boko Haram eventually turns on those who were silent at its initial attacks on innocent citizens, who will stop them? Nigeria?
After winning the African Cup of Nations for Nigeria, 19 years later, one would have expected Stephen Keshi to be treated with respect by his employers. Instead we hear his salary is to be slashed because the NFF is not in a strong financial position. The question is why promise players a match winning bonus of $10,000 and agree to a contract with a certain amount to be paid as salary only to come up with a $5000 match winning bonus curve ball, after victory.
This doesnt sound too good. Let us hope Osaze Odemwegie`s warning to the big boss does not make sense eventually. He warned that inspite of Kehi`s success, he would still be sacked in the long run. http://allsports.com.ng/2013/04/10/nff-reduces-keshis-salary/
Renowned rights activist Shehu Sani came out yesterday to declare the planned amnesty for members of the Boko Haram insurgency as a doomed exercise only set out to defraud the government of billions of naira.
In his words, “First, it is ill-intentioned because you cannot just declare amnesty for members of Boko Haram and expect them to join the next available bus from their bases and drive down to Abuja waiting to see Jonathan. That is a wishful thinking.”
He further went on to express his views on the terms of reference of a properly set up committee to look into dialogue and amnesty for the group; “When we have a ceasefire of about eight months, the committee will use the period to take stock of the victims of this violence, the orphans, the widows and the destruction that has been caused as well as the grievances and the victims on the part of members of the sect.”
While it is on record that Shehu Sani facilitated a meeting with Boko Haram and former President Obasanjo thus clearly showing his accessibility to the group and as such he is most likely an individual with relevant suggestions on this issue, one would also have to listen to what the leader of Boko Haram has to say about the planned amnesty talks.
According to Ibrahim Shekau, the sect leader, “We are surprise that today it is the Federal Government saying it will grant us amnesty. Oh God, is it we who will grant you amnesty or you are the one to grant us amnesty? What have we done? If there is room for forgiveness, we are not going to do it until God give us permission to do it. Have you forgotten your sin, have you forgotten what you have done to us in Plateau the state you called Jos,” he said
It is obvious that in as much as dialogue is likely the option on the table for now, there is still a huge disconnect with communication on both sides. However we as a nation have to maintain focus and manage this situation as best possible. Time is ticking.
Only recently, 4th April 2013, The Nigerian Youth League Governing Council stated, “ If Boko Haram is granted amnesty then all youths will go to war with the duly constituted authorities across the nation”.
Time is ticking, but only dialogue may bring peace on both sides.
INAUGURAL PRESS CONFERENCE OF THE CITIZENS NETWORK FOR PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA (CNPD), 4th April, 2013
Distinguished Nigerian Citizens,
I heartily welcome you all to this inaugural press conference of the CITIZENS NETWORK FOR PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA. My names is Danladi Baido, Chairman of the Network; a privileged position which I accepted with all humility and deep sense of duty.
We step forward today to formally present ourselves and our cause to the Nigerian people. Though we are products of diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds, we have found that we have one thing in common; that is our genuine love for our dear country Nigeria and the belief that we can all, in one way or another contribute positively to national development.
To us, issues of the day should not always be about what government does or does not do, rather we should begin to learn how to look inwards and ask ourselves what part we can play in making the Nigerian Project a reality.
Since the advent of the present dispensation, the Nigerian polity has experienced a generous dose of both negative and positive incidents which rather than weaken its foundation have further entrenched democracy.
For Nigeria, the concept of democracy is no longer an experiment. Rather, it is fast becoming an intrinsic part of our national culture and with all sense of modesty; we can dare to say that we are finally getting it right.
Over the last decade, our democratic institutions spanning the three arms of government have impressively come to terms with their roles and are gradually adding value to the democratic process.
While these institutions have been engaged in executing their mandates, the major stakeholders in the system; the citizenry, have equally passed through a phase of positive change which has seen them become more politically conscious and enlightened. To say that the Nigerian citizenry have come of age would therefore be tantamount to stating the obvious. Attestations to this claim are evident in their zealous approach to issues that touch directly on their wellbeing as well as their seeming resolve to jealously guard our nascent democracy.
It is however unfortunate that whilst governments at all levels strive to provide the much desired ‘dividends of democracy’ for the benefit of the people, a seeming disconnect in citizen-government relations exists and has to a degree hampered the smooth execution of development oriented initiatives by the latter. The situation is made worse by a feeling of despair in the minds of the citizenry occasioned an ever pervading air of socio-economic insecurity which has hung over us for as long as we can remember. In the same vein, the business of governance (particularly under a democracy) has erroneously been deemed to be the exclusive preserve of politicians, which belies one of the fundamental principles of democracy; ‘government by the people’.
Fortunately, the indomitable spirit of the Nigerian is one that to comes to fore even in the most dire of situations. Nigerians are a largely optimistic and productive people who with effective orientation and enlightenment on those issues that matter most to them, are willing to identify positively with government towards the attainment of those goals that adequately reflect potentials for progress and development at both ends.
It is in realization of this perception that the CITIZENS NETWORK FOR PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT was born.
The Network is a non-partisan, non-governmental and non-profit making body, whose mission is purely to promote good citizenship, leadership and patriotism under the ambience of peace which attracts sustainable development to the benefit of all Nigerians.
It is our belief that any democratic dispensation endures only when there is the mutually reinforcing practice and belief in citizen participation. As such, we seek to establish a network of citizens committed to the shared values of peace, justice, respect, cross-cultural understanding and national cooperation as the foundational contents for purposeful development.
Going by all that has been said, the CNPD humbly avails itself as a platform for expressing the will and aspirations of the Nigerian people as well as promote harmony between government and the citizenry as this will tremendously strengthen the democratic structure. After all, democracy is about the people.
The Network realizes that peace and development are complimentary principles which if properly preached and practiced, will see us rising above the issues that cause disharmony amongst us. Our motto: ‘Sustaining peace through development’ stands as a clear evidence of the premium we place on this declaration.
Membership of the Network is open to all Nigerians regardless of gender, ethnicity, religion or political affiliation. Our goal is simply to move Nigeria forward bearing in mind the sacred principles of equity, patriotism and justice. Now and in the future, we shall be actively involved in the quest for good citizenship and governance
and will revolve our activities around this.
To our fellow citizens, we call on you all to be more receptive to those policies that have promise, realizing that every endeavor has its gestation period and must at some point deliver on expectations.
To government, we ask that you see ours as a desire to contribute to nation building. In view of this, we wish to state that we are willing to work with all arms of government towards ushering in an era of purposeful and sustainable development, which will enhance the standard of living of the citizenry and ensure the survivability of posterity.
Permit me at this juncture to formally present the principal officers of the Network; young and able Nigerians of like minds who have voluntarily and selflessly availed themselves to be of service to our teeming countrymen and women.
May I present as follows:
- Preye Dressman – Director-General
- Okezie Okereke- Director of Finance
- Paul Abbey – Director of Administration
- Olu Adekunle Snr. – Director of Media and Publicity
- Mallam Isa Nuhu– Director of Mobilization
- Victor Oche – Director of Research and Strategy
The commitment and loyalty of this group is first and foremost to the Nigerian people and the Nigerian project.
As we come to the end of this historic event, we wish to thank each and every one of you for the time you have taken off your undoubtedly busy schedules to grace the occasion. God bless you all.
CITIZENS! … NETWORK!
LONG LIVE THE NIGERIAN CITIZENRY!
LONG LIVE CITIZENS NETWORK FOR PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT!
LONG LIVE THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA!
Amnesty for Boko Haram, “You are on suicide mission”.. Bauchi State CAN…
Ohanaeze Ndi-Igbo wants Amnesty for Boko Haram…
“Northern Governors should unmask Boko Haram members”…Northern Elders Forum..
From the ongoing discussions in Nigeria with regards to Peace and a lasting solution to violence especially in Northern Nigeria, it would seem dialogue is taking the upper hand. However, while Boko Haram seems to send conflicting reports on their desire to accept the much touted Presidential Amnesty, there is yet a divide amongst the people of Nigeria on what path to tow. How do we forgive who has not confessed and repented of their misdeeds? What manner of pardon will take effect to pacify most and possibly all sides? It seems a very tight rope to walk, as a gentle breeze may easily distract our efforts at crossing this difficult bridge ahead of us. We must however not relent in our quest for lasting peace. We owe our past and future, this committment to focus on peace. Spread the word today, “give peace a chance”.
On the 4th of April 2013, a clarion call was sounded for all good Citizens of Nigeria to reclaim intrinsic values of nationhood that have been systematically eroded over time, thus creating a gap between the effective works of Government and the direct communication with the populace.
Making this fact known in Abuja was Danladi Baido, Chairman of the newly inaugurated board of Citizens Network for Peace and Development, CNPD, a non-for profit , non political, inter ethnic and inter religious organization. The Organisation has a mission to create enabling platforms for bridge building to encourage discourse and dialogue on pertinent issues bordering mainly on peace and development in Nigeria.
Directors presented were Mr Preye Dressman (Director General), Mr Paul Abbey (Administration), , Mr Olu Adekunle (Media and Publicity), Mr Okezie Okereke (Finance),Mr Alex Onotare(Deputy Director Research and Starategy) . Other members present include Mr Mike Amoji, Mrs Ifeyinwa Oparaocha, Mr Abdul Jimoh, Miss Bintari Inokoba .
According to Danladi Baido, “Membership of the Network is open to all Nigerians regardless of gender, ethnicity, religion or political affiliation. Our goal is simply to move Nigeria forward bearing in mind the sacred principles of equity, patriotism and justice. Now and in the future, we shall be actively involved in the quest for good citizenship and governance and will revolve our activities around this”.
Events lined up towards achievement of the Organizations objectives include sensitization tours and other activities will be unfolded in the coming weeks.