The pitiable ignoramus of a governor of Benue State of Nigeria decries “the economic crisis in the country” brought about by “the reduction in crude oil prices”. And goes further to predict the failure and grounding of many state governments should the economic and financial crunch in Nigeria persist. You ought to have seen it coming.
Well! My man, you ain’t seen nothing yet, in a country whose economy is completely and totally dependent on the extraction of crude oil – a depletable resource, whose price for that matter is susceptible to the vagaries of global economic conditions – to the exclusion of every other economic endeavour, pursuit and enterprise.
It is a sad commentary that of all the 36 states of Nigeria, perhaps only 3 can be said to be economically viable. The rest are wholly and completely reliant on the so called federal allocation of funds from crude oil revenue to be able to meet their balance of payment obligations.
Just like the “geographical expression” called Nigeria was forged purely for the British colonial administrative convenience; Nigeria was carved into these unfeasible states for nothing but rapacious reasons.
Once upon a time, there were regions in Nigeria that were variously productive and rich, with: palm oil and palm kernel in the East; natural rubber in the Midwest; cocoa in the West; groundnut and beanie seed in the North; and crude oil in the South. With the exception of crude oil, all the other primary products have been neglected and abandoned to extinction.
History keeps repeating itself because no one learns from the lessons it teaches. There was a period in History when the population of Ireland nearly got wiped out because potato, the only crop their economy heavily relied on suffered crippling failure for some years.
In secondary school geography we learnt the severe adverse effects of monoculture as was practiced in Ghana in those days. Its agricultural economy was heavily reliant on cocoa. And when the crop inevitably suffered blight for a number of years, the country’s economy took a precipitous nose dive, and the people of Ghana suffered untold hardship.
In spite of your lamentations, Mr. Governor, the world crude oil prices are poised for a continued downward spiral for the foreseeable future. And here are the reasons, according to The Brookings Institute:
• Slowing global economic growth the regions of Asia;
• Rising global oil production, especially in Canada and USA;
• Unexpected oil production in Libya, South Sudan, and Iraq;
• Increasing energy efficiency – impacts long-term global demand;
• Record oil output from Russia;
• Surging natural and hydrocarbon gas, exogenous to OPEC system;
• Natural gas eating away oil’s market share as fuel;
• Japan’s decision to restart its nuclear reactors;
• Dumping of oil onto the market by hedge fund managers.
There is no respite in sight, Mr. Governor. You and your mal-governors of Nigeria should have had the foresight to diversify the Nigerian economy, and you would not be in this predicament now. –Chukwuemeka Obiajunwa-

Economic crisis: Many states will shut down next year —Gov. Suswam; By News Express on 23/11/2014
Governor Gabriel Suswam of Benue State has cried out that if the economic downturn in the country continues unabated, there is the possibility many state governments will shut down next year.
The governor who spoke through his media aide, James Uloko decried the economic crisis in the country, particularly, the reduction in the crude oil prices, stating, ‘if the crisis continues, I’m sure so many states will be grounded next year’.
The governor who was reacting to non payment of workers’ salaries in the state cited the October allocation to buttress his argument, stressing that the wage bill of state workers stands at over N3 billion while the October allocation was N2.7 billion. He asked; “where do we make up the difference?”
While acknowledging that the issue of salary was not peculiar to the state, Suswam said something drastic has to be done, calling on workers to understand the station.
On the purported report that he may likely dump the PDP, as a result of the automatic ticket granted serving senators. He denied such plans, noting that he had already been screened to contest the senatorial seat for Benue North-East district. He posited that if the country is practicing true democracy, then the issue of automatic ticket is a complete variance to the tenets of democracy.
He noted that President Jonathan as a true democrat would not indulge in such act of granting automatic ticket to anyone, adding that he has undergone successful screening and is ready to go into the primaries against his opponent, Sen. Barnabas Gemade.
•Source: Sunday Tribune. Photo shows Governor Suswam.
Source News Express
Posted 23/11/2014 12:43:35 AM

I couldn’t agree more with you that “the culture of impunity that pervades “our country (Nigeria) is essentially” the bi-product of a failed, unscrupulous, and corrupt judicial system. It is only in Nigeria that the judiciary can be bought and sold at will. Consequently, “public officials now act”, with reckless abandon, “as there are no consequences for (their) bad behavior”.

When Justice Goes for Sale…, By Olusegun Adeniyi
On June 14, 1993, two days after that memorable presidential election between the late Bashorun M.K.O Abiola of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Alhaji Bashir Tofa of the National Republican Convention (NRC), I was (among several other reporters) at the headquarters of the National Electoral Commission (NEC), as it was then called, in Abuja awaiting the final collation and release of result. Around 3 PM on that day, we were invited to the office of then NEC Public Affairs Director, Dr. Tonnie Iredia, who gave us a terse press statement to the effect that further release of the Presidential election result had been suspended in deference to a court injunction obtained by the Chief Arthur Nzeribe-led Association for Better Nigeria (ABN).
Given that there was an ouster clause in the enabling decree guiding the elections which had empowered NEC to act above the courts, obeying the said order given by the late Justice Bassey Ikpeme of the Abuja High Court was curious. Even at that, the Judge herself stated clearly in the controversial ruling that it could be disobeyed. It was therefore evident that by suspending announcement of result, the electoral commission was playing out a script written elsewhere.
As a reporter with the African Concord magazine owned by Abiola, there was only a thin line between my professional duty and my interest in the fortunes of my employer who for all practical purposes had won the election. Therefore, on getting the statement, I rushed to our office to call Ambassador Baba-Gana Kingibe, then Abiola’s running mate and someone with whom I was fairly close, to intimate him of what was going on. Although it was evident he had been briefed before my call, Kingibe nonetheless asked me to come to his room at NICON-NOGA Hilton Hotel (now Transcorp Hotel) with the statement.
However, before I got to the hotel, no fewer than six SDP Governors were already there with Kingibe and what struck me was that a decision had apparently been taken on what to do. Right in my presence, three of the Governors (one from South-West, another from South-South and the third from the North-East) made calls to their respective states. Even when I did not know the people with whom they were speaking, the game was clear: the persons on the other end of the lines were instructed to go and meet certain named Judges of their states’ High Courts to obtain ex-parte orders that would compel the electoral commission to release the presidential election result!
In simple term, what the governors decided was that since the Prof. Humphrey Nwosu-led NEC was relying on an Abuja court order to stop the release of the election result, they too could procure such order from their states to get the Commission to release the result. And within hours, the said judicial orders came from two states and were well publicised for the attention of NEC which predictably ignored them. As it would happen, General Ibrahim Babangida who contrived the whole political logjam capitalised on that development to later annul the election to “save the judiciary from anarchy.”
Although I have told this story before in the past, looking back today, the real issue is not that the governors wanted and got the court orders they requested but rather that each was specific as to which judge whoever they were sending should go to. What that implies is that it is not from all courts that you would get such kangaroo injunctions and not all judges could be easily manipulated. That is good for our system. But it is also as bad that there are judges who specialise in black market injunctions that are rooted more in politics and pecuniary gains than observance of the rule of law. In a society where you have a preponderance of such judges, the system is in jeopardy.
Ordinarily, I do not like to write anything critical of our judiciary. It is not because I am not aware of some of the challenges within the arm of government (in fact, I heard several unpleasant, including salacious, tales about many judges during my brief stint in government); but rather because it is one institution that I believe should be guarded jealously in the interest of all of us. To the extent that the judiciary is central to holding a functioning society together, it is important that we avoid anything that would impugn the credibility of our men and women on the bench. It is also important to recognise the positive role the judiciary has played in the last 15 years.
However, I am constrained to make this intervention based on the candour of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloma Mariam Mukhtar, who has refused to live in denial about a problem that would just not go away. Ever since she assumed office some three years ago, she has continuously highlighted the challenge of corruption in the judiciary and has in fact dealt with many such cases. On Monday, Mukhtar went public again and she deliberately chose her platform: venue of a workshop organised by the National Judicial Institute for workers within the arm of government.
Said the CJN: “Now more than ever, the public has become more critical of the conduct of judicial staff, perhaps buoyed by public outcry against unwholesome conduct of the judicial staff like leakage of judgments before delivery, demanding bribes before the preparation of records of appeal, acting as go-between for some overzealous litigants and some corrupt judicial officers, ostentatious lifestyles beyond legitimate earnings and host of other activities.”
Apparently not done, Mukhtar said further: “These corrupt activities of some judicial staff have raised serious issues as to the credibility and integrity of the persons who are employed to assist the judicial officers in the performance of their duties. Some of the corrupt ones amongst you have gone ahead to solicit and collect millions of naira from unscrupulous litigants on the pretext that they are acting for the judicial officers handling their cases. This is bad and reprehensible. Many judges and magistrates have been violently attacked by hoodlums on the mistaken belief that they did not perform even after money has been given to them through their staff.”
Unfortunately, as serious a charge as the CJN remark may sound (and notwithstanding that she specifically targeted court officials and not judges), she only confirmed the fact that nothing much has changed. Indeed, at some point in the early years of the current democratic dispensation, politicians found it far cheaper to use the courts to scuttle events than to procure thugs. The situation was so bad that in 2002, then CJN, Justice Mohammed Lawal Uwais publicly decried the indiscreet granting of ex-parte applications for interim or interlocutory injunctions to stop legitimate functions. According to Uwais, “the only inference one can draw from such behaviour is that the judicial officer so involved cannot feign ignorance but are acting or acted deliberately in bad faith for improper motives…I have heard it said that some legal practitioners act as agents for litigants in giving bribe to Judges..”
Whether we realise it or not, that the culture of impunity is growing in our country is essentially because the judiciary is failing in its duty. While there are several men and women of integrity on the bench (and among court officials) who are doing their very best, there are also more than a few other rotten ones. The danger is that when people realise that they cannot settle disputes through the instrumentality of the law, because of those unscrupulous characters (including Judges, lawyers and court officials), they resort to self-help. But beyond that, the situation has reached a level in which public officials now act as if there are no consequences for bad behaviour. Afterall, cases of those who steal billions of Naira will take forever to adjudicate after which they could be asked to pay some ridiculous fines from their pockets and go home free.
Nothing underscores the gravity of such a state of affair more than the opening line on the website of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) which states: “A serious impediment to the success of any anti-corruption strategy is a corrupt judiciary. An ethically compromised judiciary means that the legal and institutional mechanism designed to curb corruption, however well-targeted, efficient or honest, remains crippled. Unfortunately, evidence is steadily and increasingly surfacing of widespread corruption in the courts in many parts of the world.”
However, as we have seen in recent past, a compromised judiciary also poses a serious threat to democracy and that was what the example of Justice Samson Egbo-Egbo demonstrated very clearly before he was eventually booted out. For those who may have forgotten the notorious affair, on July 10, 2003, then Anambra State Governor, Dr Chris Ngige (now a Senator), was abducted in broad daylight on the instruction of those who at that period conjured his ascension to power even when on the strength of what we would later hear, he did not win the election. Somehow, Ngige survived the initial assault and decided to fight back but the forces against him appeared stronger.
On July 22 of the same year in Abuja, Justice Egbo-Egbo granted an ex-parte injunction asking Ngige to stop parading himself as Governor and hand over to his deputy, Dr. Okey Udeh. Following the public outcry that greeted the said order, the Judge, a week later, put the blame at the doorstep of the court registrar: “The order I made was not the one drawn up by the senior registrar. One would have expected him to lift the five orders I made,” he told a bewildered court audience.
But not even then Attorney General of the Federation and Justice Minister, Chief Akin Olujimi, would buy that as he told the judge: “You have clarified the issue, but there would have been no need to ask the applicant to sign an indemnity if you have not granted an injunction.” To put it in layman’s language, what Olujimi was telling the Judge was that he had given himself away in the ruling because after granting the injunction, Egbo-Egbo had actually directed: “Plaintiffs/ Applicants file an undertaking to indemnify the respondents if it is later discovered the order ought not to have been given.”
Although the National Judicial Commission (NJC) would ultimately sacrifice Egbo-Egbo, the Anambra State saga exposed the underbelly of our judiciary and the danger posed by compromised judicial officers. Unfortunately, there have been several other cases since then some of which suggest that our judicial system may have been deregulated to the extent that we now have “independent judicial marketers”. That was the import of Monday’s intervention by Justice Mukhtar. Yet if this democracy is to survive, it is important for the judiciary as an institution and judges as individuals not only to be impartial to those who appear before them but also for the wider public to have the confidence that their cases will be decided fairly and in accordance with the law. And, as the CJN said, that would not happen in situations in which court officials are so powerful as to determine who gets justice and at what price. But to the extent that lawyers are also part of the problem, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) should fish out the corrupt ones among them for appropriate sanction.
In spite of the prevalence of corruption in the judiciary it must be pointed out that the institution is the only arm of government with a functional in-built corrective mechanism. Since 1999, many judges have been flushed out of the bench on the recommendation of the NJC. We must also not forget that in moments of tension the judiciary has intervened to stabilise the polity. However, in asking the bar and bench to restore the lost glory of the judiciary we recall, with nostalgia, the era when Udo Udoma, Akinola Aguda, Taslim Elias headed the judiciary of Uganda, Botswana and the International Court of Justice respectively.
In the final analysis, what should worry us is that the disruptive power of corruption in the judiciary undermines the orderly development of the larger society in two key ways. Belief in the rule of law as the key to social and political order falls apart when individuals get as much justice as they are capable of paying for. The broad majority of citizens lose confidence in a system that openly protects criminals because they can afford the judgments they desire. In the political realm, our democratic aspirations have too often been frustrated by corrupt judicial officers who thwart the popular mandate of the people as expressed through the ballot. It is therefore my hope that those concerned would take note of the warning sounded by the CJN who will be leaving office on November 20 this year, just some weeks away. Her message is simple: Judicial calling is a noble one that should have no place for people who are used to buying and selling. A word should be enough for the wise.
•This piece by Adeniyi originally appeared in his column “The Verdict” in today’s edition of ThisDay. He can be reached via
Source News Express

Talk of the Ebola with no cure! Culpable palpable ignorance, like corruption, pervades Nigeria at all levels; and it is an incurable disease.
First, there was the nurse who had a primary contact with the Liberian index carrier of Ebola into Nigeria, Patrick Sawyer. Allegedly, she escaped quarantine to return to her native Enugu State to attend a relative’s wedding. In the process, and before she was captured and returned back into quarantine, she did set in motion the process for possible secondary Ebola infections. She later died. And at the very least her husband has since tested positive, and receiving treatment.
Now, there is the case of “the diplomat who was part of the team who met with Patrick Sawyer in Lagos”. Just like Mr. Sawyer evaded the Liberian authorities and flew into Lagos, this diplomat also evaded the “Nigerian federal government surveillance … flew to Port Harcourt, Rivers State for treatment”, perhaps. A doctor, perhaps a friend or family member, “took him to a hotel” where he surreptitiously lodged him “for treatment” clandestinely and nocturnally through his hospital.
And now, the “Good Heart Hospital” doctor is dead. “His wife has also taken ill and has been quarantined”. Consequently, “70 people have been quarantined”. The hospital “has been shut down”. The “hotel where the secret treatment took place, has also been shut down”. Ironically, “the diplomat the doctor treated is still alive”. Go figure!
The nurse, the doctor: these are the two professionals at the pinnacle, and in the vanguard of the healthcare provision and delivery. Supposedly, they ought to know better. Society expects them to know better, because they have the relevant education and knowledge. Hence, but alas! The truisms: You can be educated and not be enlightened. And you can be knowledgeable and not be wise.

The diplomat, who was part of the team who met with Patrick Sawyer in Lagos, flew to Port Harcourt, Rivers State for treatment, evading surveillance for the disease.
A doctor, who secretly treated a diplomat who had contact with the index case, Liberian-American Patrick Sawyer, has died of Ebola in Nigeria.
The doctor, who has yet to be named, died on Friday. His wife has also taken ill and has been quarantined in Port Harcourt. Interestingly, the diplomat the doctor treated is still alive.
The diplomat, who was part of the team who met with Patrick Sawyer in Lagos, flew to Port Harcourt, Rivers State for treatment, evading Nigerian federal government surveillance for the disease. The late doctor then took him to a hotel for treatment.
As a result of this, 70 people have been quarantined. The doctor’s hospital, Good Heart Hospital in Rivers State, has been shut down. The unnamed hotel, where the secret treatment took place, has also been shut down.
The Minister of Health and the Rivers State government are expected to make a statement on the incident tomorrow.

It is quite encouraging that the spread of the Ebola in Nigeria appears to be stemmed, at least for now. After “the 21-day incubation period”, there are still only “10 confirmed cases” out of which, sadly, “4 have died, and 6 are currently under treatment”. We pray and hope that these will recover, with or without the experimental drug from Canada, to tell their tale later.
It is heartwarming to learn that the “reports of Ebola Virus Disease in Abia, Imo, Akwa Ibom and Anambra States as well as the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja have all been investigated and none of them was found to be Ebola Virus positive”. We thank God Almighty.

Ebola: Confirmed Cases Still 10, 4 Now Dead, No Ebola in Enugu, all Cases Confined to Lagos

The man who brought Ebola Virus to
Nigeria, Patrick Sayer

Nigeria has now recorded ten (10) confirmed cases of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). Out of these, four (4) have died and six (6) are currently under treatment. (It is important to note that the number of confirmed cases remains ten (10) as at today and not eleven (11) as earlier
announced this morning. We regret the error which arose from double counting in the process of communicating the additional death from the operational centre in Lagos to the Federal Ministry of Health). The fourth death recorded today was a Nigerian nurse who participated in the initial management of the index case.

The total number of persons under surveillance in Lagos is now 169. These are all secondary contacts as all the primary contacts have completed the 21-day incubation period and have been delisted to resume their normal lives.

Enugu State now has 6 persons under surveillance as 15 after complete evaluation were found not to have had contact with the nurse, a primary contact of the index case who became symptomatic and tested positive and is one of the 10 confirmed cases. The nurse who had been placed under surveillance in Lagos disobeyed the Incidence Management Committee and travelled to Enugu. At the time she made the trip, she was yet to show any symptom and did not infect anyone on her way as transmission of the disease is only possible when a carrier of the virus becomes ill. However, she has since been brought back to Lagos. Before the return journey, she had become symptomatic and had to be conveyed to Lagos with her spouse in special ambulances. The husband is not symptomatic neither is he positive for Ebola Virus Disease but has been quarantined given the intimate contact with her while in Enugu.

It is therefore important to emphasise that there is no Ebola Virus Disease in Enugu. All cases are still confined to Lagos State. Also, reports of Ebola Virus Disease in Abia, Imo, Akwa Ibom and Anambra States as well as the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja have all been investigated and none of them was found to be Ebola Virus positive.

On Monday the 11th August, 2014 the Honourable Minister of Health convened an Emergency National Council on Health (NCH) Meeting as Chairman, with the Minister of State for Health, the Commissioners for Health in the 36 States and the Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Federal Capital Territory Abuja. The meeting reviewed the state of preparedness of the country to contain the outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease and resolved on actions to be taken.

In furtherance of the national containment efforts, President Goodluck Jonathan himself convened a meeting of the 36 State Governors and the Minister of the FCTA, Commissioners for Health and the Secretary of Health of the FCTA on 13th August. The meeting was briefed by the Minister of Health, the Project Director of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), and the World Health Organization (WHO) Representative in Nigeria. The Governor of Lagos State also briefed the meeting on the situation in Lagos. Each State of the Federation and the FCTA reported on the status of their preparedness to prevent and mitigate the disease through their Commissioner of Health and the Secretary of Health in FCTA. The vast majority of the States were fully prepared while a few others are in the process of completing all the requirements.

Since the last press briefing, the Minister of Health and the Minister of Labour and Productivity have met with the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) and the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) to secure their buy-in on the strategy to contain the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak.

The private sector stakeholders and Foundations are also showing interest in containing the EVD outbreak and here today, there will be a special announcement by the Dangote Foundation.

It is also important to note the laboratories where specimen can be taken for laboratory analysis. They are:
a. NCDC Laboratory at LUTH, Idi-Araba Lagos
b. NCDC Laboratory at Asokoro, Abuja
c. Redeemer’s University Laboratory, Lagos-Shagamu Express Way
d. UCH Laboratory, Ibadan
Let me once again reassure Nigerians that the Government is working hard to ensure the containment of the outbreak.

Thank you.

Dan Nwomeh
Special Assistant on Media and Communication to the Minister
Federal Ministry of Health
1st Floor, Federal Secretariat Complex, Phase III
Ahmadu Bello Way, Abuja

08033236501, 07054658028
Source: Global Reporters vienna (GRV)