Issues


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

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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 olusegun.adeniyi@thisdaylive.com
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.

NIGERIA RECORDS NEW EBOLA DEATH IN PORT HARCOURT
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.
BY SAHARA REPORTERSAUG 27, 2014
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
PRESS STATEMENT BY THE HONOURABLE MINISTER OF HEALTH,
PROFESSOR C. O. ONYEBUCHI CHUKWU ON THE 14th AUGUST, 2014 AT THE FEDERAL MINISTRY OF HEALTH, ABUJA.

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)

You cannot fault any country for being proactive, rather than reactive, in taking every stringent measure in protecting their people against the most viciously deadly plague of our life time – the Ebola.
This Ebola virus has been ravaging the West African countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone since March of this year, 2014. In spite of the world wide publicity the plague engendered since then; despite the close geographical proximity of Nigeria to the region inflicted and infected; and given the fluidity of movement of people in the West African sub-continent, the authorities and Government of Nigeria never bothered to take any precautionary measures to protect Nigerians. Proactive measures like the screening of the hordes of people at the border crossings and the airports; the gathering and dissemination of information on this deadly virus, could have either prevented the Liberian index carrier of Ebola into Nigeria from entering into the country in the first place. Or, these measures could have equipped the healthcare givers at the hospital the knowledge about the plague, so as to first, be suspicious of their diabolical patient, and secondly take precautions to protect themselves.
Like everything else in Nigeria, nobody cares; nobody gives a damn, from the lowliest to mightiest; anything goes. Everybody is busy chasing the almighty naira at a breakneck speed, and with reckless abandon: embezzling funds and being embezzled; bribing and being bribed. Like anything else that comes out of the official circles in Nigeria, perhaps the reactionary measures purported to being put in place to combat the spread of the Ebola plague – reminds me of closing the barn when the cattle are already out and about – are nothing more than empty gestures and pronouncements for the world to consume. –CCObiajunwa-

Ebola Virus-A Nigerian doctor causes major scare at Trinidad airport
PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad–A Nigerian doctor, who has not been to Africa for the past five years, caused a major scare at the Piarco International Airport after he arrived on a British Airways flight from London on Thursday.
The aircraft and passengers were isolated after the doctor had been flagged as having contracted the deadly Ebola virus that spreads through mucous and other bodily fluids or secretions such as stool, urine, saliva and semen of infected people.
The British Airways flight BA 2159 originated in London Gatwick, then went on to St. Lucia before landing in Trinidad just before 4:00pm (local time).
Piarco International Airport was alerted by the Barbados-based Joint Regional Communications Centre (JRCC), via the Advance Passenger Information Database that contains a complete list of persons, including crew and passengers on the flight including their biographical data and carrier information.
A memo sent to airport staff read, “Please be advised that [a – Ed.] Person of Interest (POI) was detected via JRCC on Flight BA 2159 which departed London Gatwick (LGW) at 9:10am on August 7, 2014, and is scheduled to arrive in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago (POS), at 3:50pm on August 7, 2014. Traveller is a high risk for Ebola virus and has been referred for admissibility assessment. Please provide the results of the examination at the port of entry when they become available.”
But the Principal Medical Officer here, Dr. Collin Furlonge told Trinidad’s TV6 News Thursday night that the passenger was a Nigerian doctor living in London.
“We have sent personnel to go and confirm the information. But there seems to be little or no risk at all,” he said, adding that the passenger was eventually cleared, because he had not been to Africa in years.
TV6 News reported that the passengers were not allowed to disembark the plane, while the Nigerian passenger was taken into isolation.
Port Health workers were on standby before the plane even landed. Other airport workers had been asked to stay within a certain part of the airport, the report added.
On Wednesday, the Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency CARPHA had said the risk of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) being imported to the Caribbean remained low.
“There have been no confirmed cases of Ebola in the Caribbean, and overall, the risk of becoming infected with the Ebola virus in this region remains low,” said CARPHA executive director, Dr. C. James Hospedales.
He said that in countries where the virus is present, “people who have direct contact with the organs, blood, or other bodily fluids of dead or living infected persons or animals are those at greatest risk.”
CARPHA said it had evaluated the risk of importation of the disease to the Caribbean following an increase in the number of cases of EVD in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
The man has not been to Nigeria for a long time and yet, he was isolated at the Trinidadian airport, suspected of carrying the Ebola Virus. This Virus did not start from Nigeria , only this evening I over heard a radio Presenter on WBLS, Davey Levy, saying that every Nigerian is a suspect. This is really crazy. Ebola started from Liberia. Nigeria is a country of over 180 million people, to date, it is only 9 cases that have been reported? Davey Levies of this world , please take note. Watch your basket mouth!
Emma Agu

General Douglas MacArthur, after he was fired by President Harry S. Truman in 1951, for insubordination to the commander-in-chief, said: “Old soldiers never die, they fade away”. This is a truism; an aphorism that is most famously remembered and quoted today in enlightened and civilized climes.
But in Africa (Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe; Youweri Museveni of Uganda), and most notably in Nigeria (Olusegun Obasanjo; Muhammadu Buhari, both erstwhile military rulers), old soldiers never die, quite alright, they simply shed off and discard their military paraphernalia and insignia and return unfettered to wreak havoc on their people with reckless abandon.
Under Olusegun Obasanjo as a civilian president, the corruption that runs amok today in Nigeria became institutionalized. Now, Mister, or should I say, Mallam, or Alhaji Muhammadu Buhari, for the umpteenth time is spoiling, sparring, and squaring up to return to power. It is crystal clear to see that there are no tributaries that he has sand-bagged and lined-up to bring back to Rome. Obviously, the Retired General’s “presidential aspiration” is nothing short a bold-faced scheme to ensconce himself yet again in the position to continue from where he had left off, the perpetuation of the callous and mindless rape, pillage, and brigandage of the depletable oil resources revenue of that moribund elephant called Nigeria.

2015: Contact Office Opened For Buhari’s Presidential Bid
Former Head of State, retired General Muhammadu Buhari and his loyalists seemed set to kick-start the campaign for his presidential aspiration on the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC), with the opening of a contact office in Abuja.
The office, a rented apartment located at No. 34 Lobito Crescent, off Adetokunbo Ademola Way in Wuse II, was opened without fanfare a few weeks ago.
THISDAY gathered that Buhari was persuaded to also hire a residential accommodation in an undisclosed area in Asokoro so that he could have more time to stay and interact with political stakeholders in Abuja.
One of his associates who spoke to THISDAY yesterday said the former Head of State was being pressured to declare his bid early enough before the congress that will produce delegates at the Presidential convention scheduled for later this year.
Buhari does not reside in Abuja as he often shuttles between his base in Kaduna and Abuja to attend political meetings, a situation his political associates viewed as not being convenient and healthy under the circumstance.
“Buhari is going to run and there is no doubt about it. We, his supporters will insist that he runs even if he saying otherwise. Majority of the party supporters believe that he is the right person to run for the presidency if APC is desirous of changing the administration in Aso Rock,” said the source.
On the plan to launch the presidential bid, the source said before the bomb incident, Buhari had concluded plans to formally declare his interest after Ramadan festivities. He said the former Head of State also planned to relocate to Abuja so that he can properly coordinate his campaign strategy.
Speaking on the recent bomb attack on Buhari, the party chieftain said the party was aware of the competing interests, especially those currently in government who may not be disposed to having the former Head State run for presidency in 2015.
He said the party was not suspecting that any internal rivalry may be responsible for the attack but that it feels worried that the bomb blast came a few days after Buhari took a swipe at the Federal Government over Boko Haram.
“They all related to it. But first of all we are interested in his safety. No, everybody in the party looks forward to him as one person who is capable of lifting the opposition party to victory in the 2015 presidential election and as such they are all happy and will give him support to make it happen.Although there may beneficiaries if he is out of the way, but I do not think anybody will expect to win an election if Buhari had died. His exit will create serious crisis for the choice of candidacy for the party. People with the profile of a person like Buhari are very few in the country”.

I have never before read such a lengthy, but captivating sordid tale of a nefarious act of moral turpitude, blatant pillage, and bold-faced brigandage perpetrated on such a monumental scale, and with such impunity; simply because he wielded the brutish power to inflict such a flagrant act of one man’s financial inhumanity to a “nation”.
The sum totality of the write-up vividly evokes the lamentations of Dr. George BN Ayittey, in his book “Africa in Chaos”, he grieves: “most of Africa’s self-appointed leaders do not use their heads. Their primordial instinct is to perpetuate themselves in power, loot the national treasury, and brutally squelch all dissent”. He went further to lament: “dishonesty, thievery, and peculation pervade the public sector. Public servants embezzle state funds; high ranking ministers are on the take. The chief bandit is the head of state himself”.
I cannot help myself, but to go further to quote more of this preeminent Pan-Africanist and world renowned scholar, Dr. George BN Ayittey. His divinations as to why “paradoxically, a continent with such” a promise “ and potential” as Africa “is inexorably mired in steaming squalor, misery, deprivation, and chaos”; not to talk of being “in the throes of a seemingly incurable crisis”, cannot be more manifest than in the rapacious excesses of this brutish beast – Sani Abacha:
“But in Africa, government officials do not serve the people. The African state has been reduced to a mafia-like bazaar, where anyone with an official designation can pillage at will. In effect, it is a “state” that has been hijacked by gangsters, crooks, and scoundrels. They have seized and monopolized both political and economic power to advance their own selfish and criminal interests, not to develop their economies. Their overarching obsession is to amass personal wealth, gaudily displayed in flashy automobiles, fabulous mansions, and a bevy of fawning women. Helping the poor, promoting economic growth, or improving the standard of living of their people is anathema to the ruling elites”.
Chukwuemeka Chukwuma-Eze Obiajunwa

Abacha’s loot, Mohammed’s deal and the Abacha in our present rulers, By Olusegun Adeniyi By News Express on 03/07/2014

“To worsen matters, the kind of pillaging of public resources perfected by Abacha is being replicated at practically all levels, though it may not be on the same scale. Today, Governors loot their state treasuries at will . . .”
Apparently taken aback by what it considered a crooked deal by the Federal Government, Transparency International (TI) has described the withdrawal of charges against Mr. Mohammed Abacha as an act of encouraging impunity. A statement by its Regional Director for sub-Saharan Africa, Chantal Uwimana, said: “Allowing the theft of public funds to go unpunished sends the wrong message that those with powerful connections can act with impunity. The case should have been fully prosecuted and the government has not given adequate reasons for dropping the charges. Corruption is widespread in Nigeria and despite claims by the government to make tackling corruption a priority too few people have been held to account for a series of high profile scandals.”
Given the way this administration has treated (with levity) the challenge of corruption in our country, it is very easy to understand the basis of the damaging statement by TI. However, having followed the Abacha loot recovery story for almost 15 years, I support all efforts to bring a closure to the sordid affair. Nevertheless, I am also aware that there had been at least four previous agreements with the Abacha family that did not stand so I keep my fingers crossed about this deal. For those who may not be fully acquainted with the dirty details, a recap may be necessary here.
Following General Sani Abacha’s death on June 8, 1998, General Abdulsalami Abubakar assumed power. A month later on July 13, 1998, apparently having seen evidence of monumental looting of the treasury by his late predecessor, then Head of State instituted the Special Investigation Panel to establish “cases of swindled public funds and recover same back to the federal government coffers”. The panel was also to identify the culprits and recover all properties or assets illegally acquired by the culprits.
Within a matter of days, the panel had secured records from the apex back which revealed that between November 1994 when he took over and June 1998 when he died, Abacha had taken from the CBN funds totaling $2,263,520,497 in cash withdrawals, travelers cheques and telegraphic transfers, in the name of “security vote”. However, the job of the panel was made easy by the fact that one of the Abacha family associates, Alhaji Abubakar Bagudu (currently a senator representing Kebbi Central) was ready to cooperate by returning some of the loot.
The first yield came just a few weeks after Abacha’s death when the CBN Director of Foreign Operations, Mr. M. R. Rasheed, on 21 September 1998 acknowledged receiving from Bagudu the sum of US$604,743,187.19 and GB £60,090,984.93. There was an additional GB£5.25 million from Bagudu a few days later to complete what was considered full and final settlement with the Federal Government. And with that, on May 26, 1999, just three days before handing over power, General Abubakar promulgated Decree 53 of 1999 on forfeiture of assets by certain persons which listed the monies returned by the Abachas.
The import of the decree was that the family of Abacha and some of their conduits like Bagudu, Gilbert Chagoury, Mark Risser et al would not face any civil or criminal prosecution on account of the forfeitures. But a few months after President Olusegun Obasanjo assumed power on May 29, 1999, it became evident that Abacha and his cronies had actually fleeced Nigeria to the tune of about $ 4 billion in several deals that included inflation of (or unexecuted) contracts, the Ajaokuta debt buy-back scam, shady oil transactions, etc. That began another round of tricky negotiations with the family with then Attorney General and Justice Minister, Mr. Kanu Agabi, SAN, acting on behalf of the Federal Government.
The yields from those negotiations were: $110 million from Uri David; $50 million from Abdulkadir Abacha (younger brother to the late Head of State); $170 million from Doraville Properties and various sums totaling hundreds of millions of US dollars from Switzerland. Since then, the Abacha family, even while instituting several legal actions of its own against the Federal Government, has been seeking a closure to the civil and criminal proceedings in Switzerland, United Kingdom, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Spain, New Jersey (USA), etc, as well as at home. That was what the Jonathan administration recently obliged and interestingly, part of the deal is that “the Abacha family would wish to bring assets back to Nigeria so that these could be invested in the Nigerian economy.”
Last week, June 25 to be specific, the Federal Government received the sum of $227 million from the Government of the Principality of Liechtenstein as part of the looted funds from the Abachas and another $380 million is expected from Luxembourg within the next two weeks. And quite typically, a committee has been set up by the Jonathan administration, this time on how to spend Abacha loot! Yet for me, since these monies are coming in because of a deal that grants reprieve to the Abacha family, the Federal Government needs to come out clearly to tell us how much has been recovered from 1999 to date, how much has been spent (and on what and when) and what remains (if any). Aside the issue of transparency, the fact also remains that Abacha loot really does not belong to the Federal Government alone but indeed the Federation which means the 36 states and the 774 Local Governments ought also to be beneficiaries.
However, the jury is still out as to whether the deal between the Federal Government and the Abacha family will stand. For instance, Decree 53 promulgated by General Abubakar was premised on the assumption that the Abacha family had “vomited” enough of the loot. Under Obasanjo, there were also three of such agreements that never worked. The first one was in 1999 but the most interesting was that of March 2002. Acting on behalf of the Obasanjo government, Agabi had signed the “Global Settlement Agreement” which also stipulated a complete resolution of all civil and criminal issues worldwide between the government and the Abacha family as well as associates. The seven-page document also did not stand. So, I am waiting to see how this one too will work out and if it does, whether another government will not in future discover reasons why the Abacha family should “cough out” more money.
I know many people have wondered how Abacha was able to take as much money from the Nigerian treasury but the manner in which he did it would make for a bestseller novel because the details are actually stranger than any fiction: His National Security Adviser, Allhaji Ismaila Gwarzo, would make a request, Abacha would endorse and the CBN would release the cash. And it all started less than two weeks after he took over power from Chief Ernest Shonekan.
In a letter dated 30th November 1994, Gwarzo requested for US$100 million to combat “an economy that was deflected and distorted through the black market”. By the arrangement, the dollar was to be sold through Bureau De Change dealers at the then prevailing exchange rate, with a view to mopping up the naira, and beefing up its value. Having apparently been briefed by Abacha, then CBN Governor, Dr. Paul Ogwuma released the cash in the following sums: US$95 million and GB£3.2 million. Abacha’s son, the late Ibrahim, was to sell the dollars in the black market and remit the naira equivalent to the CBN through Gwarzo. The transaction was indeed carried out even though the money eventually returned to the CBN was not up to what was received.
However, the import of that first transaction was that Abacha had realised just how easy it was to directly take money out of the CBN and that became a perfect scam for him. All that was then needed was a letter from Gwarzo seeking approval for any sum of money in the guise of “security” and the CBN would release such demand in cash. So primitive was the whole arrangement that the principal job of some security officials was to be bagging and re-bagging millions of dollars and pound sterling. The following are a few of the documented transactions:
On February 13 and 15, 1995 Gwarzo collected US$200,000 and US$600,000 respectively (totaling $800,000) from the CBN. This was sequel to Abacha’s approval of his letter dated 15th February, 1995 in which he requested for US $4 million and GB£2 million “to take care of some developments in a number of areas…” The $800,000 was part-payment for the approved sum of US$4 million while the balance was paid in Travellers’ Cheques. On 29th December 1995, Gwarzo collected from the CBN the sum of US$5 million based on Abacha’s approval of his letter to deal with “situation at hand”!
The reasons given in many of the letters seeking approval to take money out of the CBN beggar belief but having “started small”, Abacha apparently became more emboldened with time. On 23rd August, 1996, Gwarzo collected US$30 million from the CBN following Abacha’s approval of his letter dated 20th August 1996, requesting for the said money to “assist our immediate neighbours and others within this sub-region”. On 18th December, 1996, Gwarzo collected US$66.5 million and GB£20 million following Abacha’s approval of his letter to meet “some requests from Heads of State of some Francophone countries, and to cultivate African solidarity.”
A month later on 30th September, 1996, Gwarzo collected US$50 million and GB£20 million from the CBN sequel to his letter dated 24th September 1996, requesting for the money to “prop some African and other Third World countries” to assist in Nigeria’s “democratization and economic recovery”. On 28th April, 1997, Gwarzo collected US$60 million GB£30 million sequel to Abacha’s approval of his letter dated 22nd April 1997, in which he requested for the said sums for “public relations to international communities and organizations”.
On 9th July, 1997, Gwarzo collected US$5 million from the CBN following Abacha’s approval of his letter dated 23rd May, 1997 to meet all “demands and commitments as directed”. A month later on 8th December, 1997, Gwarzo collected US$120 million and GB£50 million sequel to Abacha’s approval of his letter dated 26th November 1997. And on 19th January, 1998, Gwarzo collected from the CBN the sums of US$100 million and GB£50 million to “counter insinuations that (Lt. General Oladipo) Diya’s coup was not real, and the government framed them to remove and replace the coupists with stooges.”
The interesting thing about this particular transaction was that while re-bagging the money, “four cartons containing a total of about US$8 million were set aside” in Gwarzo’s own residence, while the balance of US$57 million and GB£30 million were delivered to the late Head of State through Mohammed Abacha. On 25th October, 1997, Gwarzo collected US$80 million and GB£40 million “to sponsor military intervention in Sierra Leone, and garner support for same in the West African Sub-region.” On 30th April, 1998, a few weeks before Abacha died, Gwarzo collected US$80 million, GB£50 million and N250 million based on his letter dated 29th April 1998 for the conduct of an enlightenment campaign on the “virtues” of an “Abacha Presidency”.
On 5th July, 1996, Gwarzo collected from the CBN the sum of US$8.1 million and GB£5.2 million based on his request dated 14th June 1996, to support five presidential aspirants in the Niger Republic general elections. On 21st February, 1997, Gwarzo collected from the CBN the sums of US$60 million and £20 million for “pro-Nigeria propaganda” abroad. On 1st April, 1998, Gwarzo collected from the CBN the sums of US$65 million and GB£30 million for “Public Relations at home and abroad, to counter the European Union campaign against the transition programme.” On the 8th of May, 1996 Gwarzo collected US$3 million and US$9 million respectively from the CBN. Out of this sum, he reportedly sent US$7 million (on behalf of Abacha) to then President Matthew Kerekou of Benin Republic as “assistance to the country to pay outstanding workers’ salary” while US$2 million was for Kerekou himself.
On 13th November, 1996, Gwarzo collected US$5 million and GB £3 million from the CBN based on his letter dated 7th November, 1996 “to take care of foreign dignitaries who will attend the burial ceremonies of the first President of Nigeria, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe.” On 10th September, 1997, Gwarzo collected US$60 million and GB£30 million from the CBN “to finance a campaign for a seat on the Security Council of the United Nations Organisation.” On 9th December, 1996, Gwarzo collected US$5 million from the CBN sequel to Abacha’s approval of his letter dated 21st November, 1996 in which he requested the said sum “to finance the purchase of ten Toyota Land Cruisers, and ten Peugeot 505 saloons for the Republic of Mali”.
I can go on and on because the list is actually very long but I believe the point is already made, even though it needs to be said that more than half of the entire money was diverted to the private accounts of Abacha and his cronies, rather than for the purposes for which they were collected.
Given the foregoing, I can understand the position of those who believe that while a deal like this may be financially and politically expedient, it is ultimately dangerous and debilitating for the possibility of any future confrontation with the forces of corruption in our nation. Unfortunately, Nigeria is left with few options on the issue.
For me, now that the Abacha family has finally decided to settle with the Federal Government, I cannot in good conscience oppose the deal and I will explain why.
I left Nigeria with my family in June 2010 and did not return until late in 2011 so I was not around in the country for the 2011 general elections. However, when I learnt that Mohammed Abacha was seeking to be Kano State Governor, I wrote a piece published on 11 February 2011 to challenge him and his family. Now that they seem to have fulfilled that obligation, I reproduce the piece as my own conclusion to this long-running drama of shame.
However, since the Federal Government has come to some form of agreement with the Abacha family and assuming the next tranche of $380 million arrive the country as planned, then they should also be assisted to repatriate the remaining loot home for investment in Nigeria. I am also aware that nothing has been tidied up yet because what the Federal Government expects from Abacha family is US$ 550 million and GB £ 95,910 all domiciled in 10 bank accounts and six investment portfolios in United Kingdom, British Virgin Islands, France and the United States. If they pay up, I believe Nigeria should put the unfortunate Abacha saga behind us.
However, we should worry about the kind of system we are running that would allow for what the late Head of State did. To worsen matters, the kind of pillaging of public resources perfected by Abacha is being replicated at practically all levels, though it may not be on the same scale. Today, Governors loot their state treasuries at will. In fact, I have heard of some who receive bank alerts on their mobile handsets, not of their personal bank balances but rather of money belonging to their states which they can spend as they like. And as for the presidency, most Nigerians are quite aware that whoever occupies the number one office in our country is the “sole proprietor” of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)!
All said, given the position I have taken in the past concerning this issue (as captured in the piece below), I wish Mohammed and the entire Abacha family well as I also put a closure on the reportage of one of the most scandalous stories of corruption in Africa.
February 11, 2011: Before Mohammed Abacha Becomes Kano Governor
I have met Mohammed Abacha on a number of occasions and I consider him a likeable person. I also believe that whatever might have been his father’s transgressions as a leader, Mohammed should be judged on his own merit. I, however, feel that for anybody to seek public office, even in Nigeria where almost anybody can aspire to be anything, honour and integrity should still count for something and that is where I have problem with Mohammed’s aspiration.
When early in 2002, President Olusegun Obasanjo confirmed that his government had come to a compromise deal with Abacha’s family whereby Nigeria would get about $1.2 billion while the family would retain $100 million in cash and per bonds worth $300 million, there was a public outcry. But in defending his action, Obasanjo cited several examples of countries where stolen wealth have remained abroad notwithstanding years of litigation. From Ferdinand Marcos in Philippines to the late Shah of Iran and Mobutu of Zaire, the funds are still trapped, the President argued. And in one of those rare moments as a commentator on public affairs, I commended the former president in a piece I wrote titled “A dirty but very good deal”.
I was viciously attacked for the position I took on the issue but my argument was that it must have been difficult for a man like Obasanjo, who is ever concerned about his international image, to settle for such crooked deal which I considered to be in our collective interest as a nation. “In a way he sacrificed his prestige to get a good deal for us under a patently dirty bargain akin to pleading with a notorious armed robber to send relief materials to his victims,” I wrote. What many may not have known at the time is that the Abacha loot case is one issue on which I have devoted considerable time as a reporter.
My interest began in February 2000 when I went to London to cover the Ajaokuta debt buy-back scam legal tussle involving Mr. Nessim Gaon of NOGA (founding partner in what is now known as Transcorp Hilton), the Federal Government and the Abacha family represented by Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, one of the prominent custodians of Abacha loot. From then, I have seen the complexity as well as the difficulty in attempts to retrieve stolen public money siphoned in Swiss banks. Bagudu, now a PDP Senator representing Kebbi Central, I must add, was the person who actually helped the General Abdulsalami Abubakar regime to recover about 800 million dollars following Abacha’s death. But Senator Bagudu knows, as we all know, that there is much more of the loot out there.
Since General Abubakar left, nothing much has been achieved with regards to the money stolen by Abacha while the only people who have been benefitting from efforts to use legal means to recover the loot have been some fat cats in the Nigerian bar with access to the villa and their counterparts in Britain and Switzerland where some of the cases have been fought. I therefore felt back in 2002 that if Obasanjo could recover some of the loot after bargaining with Abacha family, it was in the nation’s interest.
There was, however, a problem about the deal that would surface afterwards: it was conditioned on the release of Mohamed Abacha, then facing trial for his alleged involvement in the murder of Kudirat Abiola. In what was generally considered part of the bargain, the Supreme Court, in a ruling of four to one, would order that Mohammed be discharged and acquitted for the murder charge.
Interestingly, the drama was not limited to the court as there was also politics involved. For instance, a delegation was sent to Aso Rock from Kano to plead with the president. It was led by then Governor Rabiu Musa Kwakwanso, his Deputy, Dr. Umar Ganduje and former Solid Mineral Minister, Kaloma Ali, who had become the representative of the Abacha family. After the delegation had made their representation pleading with Obasanjo to order the release of Mohammed from detention, the president responded: “I want you to know that there was no malice whatsoever, no ill-feeling whatsoever on my part, only a desire to do what was right and what we can stand before God and man to defend.
“If you are talking of reconciliation, as a believer, I know that whatsoever we do, we must remember God. I am here today; we may not be here tomorrow. What matters is what happens to the people we leave behind. I believe very strongly that as I ask God for forgiveness, because I know that I am a sinner, I will readily forgive those who wrong me. I have no ill feeling whatsoever, no malice whatsoever, no bad idea whatsoever, against anybody and certainly not against [the] Abacha family. But we must be guided by fairness and justice. When you introduced Mohammed Abacha as our son, what do you think he is to me? He is my son too.”
On the issue of Kudirat Abiola’s murder over which Mohammed was standing trial, Obasanjo explained to his audience the gravity of the situation: “There are two issues. One, the issue of Sergeant Rogers’ allegation against Mohammed; there is also an issue of SaniAbacha family, including all members of the family, with Mohammed Abacha at the centre of it all. And that is the stashing away of this country’s money. Let me tell you what I have done, in case you don’t know. My predecessor, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, and in fairness to him, he recovered $600 million and £120 million.
“When we came in, we looked at things again, and we discovered that there are much more. I asked my Vice President to invite Mrs. Abacha as a wife of former Head of State. I asked him not to take her to the office, but to his home but to let her know that these things she is holding must be dislodged. Then Mrs. Abacha phoned me, for the first time, she said she did not know I could be generous and could treat her that way. She said she had always feared me. But I told her that we hear that they have $2 billion. We went on and on and we discovered very close to $1.5 billion.
“We hired lawyers and took them to five different places, Switzerland, Britain, Luxemburg, Spain and New Jersey (USA) for a long-drawn legal battle. We got through their lawyers to say we will settle out of court. So, we have a legal document. So, our lawyers and their lawyers agreed. The document made me to forgo $100 million. I know they don’t deserve it, with another $400 million in bond on face value. The agreement was signed and sealed, but when it got to the time of exchange, they reneged. If only for the interest of the nation, nobody should perpetrate this kind of blatant corruption.
“Governor, (looking in the direction of Kwakwanso) you are making a special request, and I am also making a request, because the money belongs to all of us and should be disgorged, we will not let up until every kobo is recovered. I hold no malice, ill-feeling, only for us to do what you can stand before God and man as just.”
With his sermon done, the former president now handed over to Kaloma Ali a document containing the agreement prepared by both the lawyers to the Abacha family and those of the Federal Government, saying: “If he (Mohammed) signs he will be released to you and you can take him with you.”
But following Mohammed’s release, Mrs. Maryam Abacha decided to call Obasanjo’s bluff. In repudiating the agreement, she claimed that whatever was in the accounts of the Abachas belonged to the family: “Our lawyer came here with this piece of paper. It was not on any official letter-head; there was no coat of arms or anything like that yet they want us to surrender money.” Adding that the money in their accounts included that of her late eldest son, Ibrahim, Mrs. Abacha said: “Mohammed too was doing business so his money is there too. Now, they (Federal Government) say they want all the money.”
Mrs. Abacha vowed back then that they would not release a dime of whatever may be in their family till, money that has been established to belong to the government of Nigeria. And she has remained true to her words. That is where I have problem with the aspiration of Mohammed to be Governor of Kano State or to hold any public office for that matter, until the issue of the money belonging to the people of Nigeria – which is being held illegally by his family – is resolved.
Now, I must make some points clear: I have no problem with whoever argues that Mohammed never stole Nigeria’s money since he was not in a position to do so as he held no public office. That indeed is a fact. But the fact also remains that his father did loot the treasury and unfortunately for the family, he was not as lucky as many other Nigerian public officials who have helped themselves to our common wealth: he was caught!
Mohammed is a young man who should consider his future. He may have so much money with which he now seeks political power, a legitimate aspiration. He should, however, realise that honour and integrity also count for something. The question he should ask himself is whether he is happy with the public image of his family when he has a golden opportunity to put a closure on the sordid affair. All he has to do is to fulfil his part of the bargain by returning to the public treasury the amount agreed with the Federal Government.
If he doesn’t do that, he will forever be condemned as not only the son of a thief but also a disreputable young man without honour. The good people of Kano State certainly do not deserve such a governor. I hope they are taking note.
•This piece by Adeniyi (shown in photo) originally appeared in his column “The Verdict” in today’s edition of ThisDay under the headline, ‘Abacha’s loot & Mohammed’s deal’. Adeniyi can be reached via olusegun.adeniyi@thisdaylive.com
Source News Express
Posted 03/07/2014 12:34:56 PM

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