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Buhari’s Decision That Changed Boko Haram Narrative – By David Onmeje

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A South African adage says;” Even an ant can hurt an elephant.” So, on May 29, 2015, when President Muhammadu Buhari took the oath of office as Nigeria’s democratic leader, it was clear, his first, second and third immediate priorities centered on ending Boko Haram terrorism. It was not controvertable even to the blind that Boko Haram had repressed Nigeria and it’s security forces in conquerors might.

Buhari’s first official action was to order the Security Chiefs he inherited from the preceding administration to take the war to the doorsteps of the insurgents. He directed the instant relocation of the Command Theatre to Maiduguri, the epicenter of raging Boko Haram insurgency.

In his inaugural speech to the nation, President Buhari lamented how some small group of religious extremists who preached everything in negation to Islam amassed so much power and morphed from causing ” small fires, to big fires.” Apparently, President Buhari was pained that insurgents held the whole country to ransom, in anguish, sorrows, killings and other dehumanizing atrocious acts.

However, six weeks after he maintained the then Security Chiefs, they continued to exhibit the same and glaring incapacity to confront and subdue Boko Haram. A President, who somewhat concealed his indignation sacked all of them by mid July 2015 and calmly thanked them for service to fatherland.

He immediately announced a new set of Security Chiefs to commence the job of dislodging, decimating and defeating Boko Haram terrorists in order to free Nigeria from it’s pangs. The drastic change in the apex leadership of the military enthroned trusted and competent Military officers with proven track records of splendid service to the country.

Among the new arrivants on the leadership ladder of Security Chiefs was Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai. The hitherto unknown soldier, who hails from the obscure village of Buratai, in Biu LGA, Borno state, also ravaged by Boko Haram was named the Chief of Army Staff (COAS).

Perhaps, satisfied with his records of excellence and unblemish service over the years, President Buhari also crowned Gen. Buratai as leader of the counter- insurgency operations in Nigeria.

The choice of Gen. Buratai as COAS shocked many Nigerians because albeit, he had accomplished much in his military career, but was unnoticed. His lifestyle attuned more to the trenches than the urbanian display of sophistry as done by some military officers of his calibre.

Unknown to the hitherto “triumphant,” Boko Haram insurgents, in Gen. Buratai, President Buhari had silently packaged their nemesis and conqueror. Buratai’s colleagues in the military vouched for him as a dogged and relentless warmonger, military tactician and strategist in the famed shadows of Chinese war veteran, Gen. Sun Tzu.

Gen. Buratai’s first official conversation with Nigerians embodied the soothing message of decimating and defeating Boko Haram insurgents. And he gave time frames for reclaiming Nigeria from insurgents back to Nigerians. He was specific that by December 2015, Boko Haram would be completely decimated.

A Liberian proverb says; ” Good millet is known at the harvest.” And from Gen. Buratai’s initial actions, it was clear to discerning minds that this great soldier and chief armour bearer of counter- terrorism knows his briefs . It indicated he was quite familiar with the rudiments of battling insurgency having led the MNJTF as Field Commander.

Frighteningly, the tasks before Gen. Buratai and his troops were quite enormous. He was to lead troops to recover about 18 LGAs in the Northeast under the total control of insurgents with their headquarters at Gwoza and another seven others under the partial control of terrorists in the region.

Also, he was battling an insurgent sect which had spread horrendous atrocities to virtually every major city in the North, including Kano and Abuja, Nigeria’s FCT. Insurgents were also making incursions into the Southwest through Kogi state as transit camp.

Added to this burden, were the over 20, 000 Nigerians held hostage by Boko Haram in secret camps in the Northeast and the neighboring countries of Niger, Chad and the Cameroun republics, including the abducted Chibok schoolgirls. These Nigerian Boko Haram hostages yearned for freedom from captivity for reunification with their families.

Elsewhere in the Northeast, there was the problem of demystifying Sambisa forest, Boko Haram’s most fortified haven. It housed it’s most vicious leader Abubakar Shekau and other top commanders as well as some captives.

Boko Haram’s recruitment of innocently hypnotised youths as foot soldiers and charmed consecration of female suicide bombers was also rampant. These were the herculean tasks before Gen. Buratai and the Nigerian troops. Boko Haram regaled in destructive might each time it staged an onslaught on any community and often, for hours in gruesome killings, abductions and destructions. IDPs camps were filled to exhaustive limits of elasticity.

But Gen. Buratai convinced himself in the wisdom enunciated by a Ghanaian adage that says, “If there were no elephant in the jungle, the buffalo would be a great animal.” Thus, he personally led troops into the jungle of Boko Haram for the battles.

And sticking to his words, Gen. Buratai and the Nigerian troops effectively decimated Boko Haram by December 2015. The hard confrontations of terrorists marked the beginning of the reclamation of Nigerian territories under insurgents control at the dawn of Year 2016.

He achieved substantial progress, alongside rescue of hundreds of hostages in their gulags. By the twilight of December 2016, Gen. Buratai delivered a demystified and dismantled, dreaded Sambisa forest as Christmas gift to Nigerians. Troops encounter with insurgents was fierce, with Abubakar Shekau escaping narrowly, after abandoning his personal copy of Holy Koran and his Jihadi flag. He reportedly disguised as a woman and sneaked out of the region to nurture his wounds.

It is unquestionable that Gen. Buratai has presided over sustained winning streaks against terrorists. Presently, no Nigerian territory is under the annexation of Boko Haram. Insurgents are pained that despite their repeated attacks to regain control of lost territories, but none has afforded them such luxury because of the strong resistance by troops on the frontline.

And despite the multiplicity of terror sects operating in the region and with increased funding from foreign sponsors like the Republic of Iran, insurgents are still licking wounds of defeat as troops do not only repel their attacks, but most them have met their waterloos in gunbattle with soldiers.

Over 18, 000 Nigerian hostages have regained their freedom and reunited with families. Boko Haram has also lost scores of top commanders and foot soldiers to the Nigerian Army. Gen. Buratai has ended the scourge of female suicide bombers with the introduction of Army Female Corps. He battles both field and cyberspace terrorism with same vigour and in all dimensions.

Most strikingly, Gen. Buratai has not only been able to conveniently halt Boko Haram ingress into Southern Nigeria, but has effectively holed and confined their operations in the obscure parts or bushes of the Northeast, in occasional sneaky and isolated attacks.

Yet, sequel to Gen. Buratai’s leadership of counter-insurgency operations, Boko Haram had the generous liberty to bomb Kano, Kaduna, Gombe, Bauchi, Jos, Yobe, Adamawa, Borno and other parts of the Northern region very freely and recklessly, without hindrance.

The tears and sorrows of Abuja residents from terrorism has also ended, as no one has heard a bomb blast since the July 2015 date of the assumption of duty by Gen. Buratai. But it was a mega city, citizens were essentially driven by the phobia of Boko Haram which would sometimes bomb the city twice in a week or serially.

Nigerians have not experienced any detonated bombs in Nyanya bus station, Police Headquarters, UN building, Media Houses or Shopping Malls in the national capital city in the past four years.

Significantly too, the number of IDPs in the Northeast has also declined incredibly. And death toll from Boko Haram insurgency has reduced drastically under the Buhari Presidency despite the spirited battles launched by insurgents to regain control of rescued territories in Nigeria.

Evidently, in five years, former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan told the United Nations Security Council in New York on Boko Haram that, “The costs are high: over 13,000 people have been killed, whole communities razed, and hundreds of persons kidnapped.”

However, independent accounts from reputable organizations pegged casualty figures much higher.

For instance, the Nigerian Security Tracker (NST) a project run by Africa Program of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) estimates the death toll covering a shorter period from May 2011 to August 2014 at over 17,500.

And between January 3- 7, 2015 alone, Boko Haram serial attacks on Baga town reportedly massacred up to 2, 000 people in just four days.

And a report by the same NST & CFR stated that Boko Haram is responsible for the deaths of “only” about 5,598 people in the last four years of the Buhari Presidency. This is in spite of the intense pressures mounted against Nigeria by a conglomeration of terrorists sects competitively gunning to retake the country.

It is certified and indisputable that the appointment of Gen. Buratai as COAS was an ideal decision by President Buhari. It has changed the Boko Haram narrative in favour of Nigeria. His leadership of the counter-insurgency operations has really changed the terrorists’ perception of the Nigerian troops now, as a formidable Army which is ever ready to see to the complete routing out of insurgents from Nigeria.

Therefore, once a nation makes the right decision, seemingly unsolvable problems begin to ebb out gradually to the final end. With Gen. Buratai still on board, it’s a sure bet that Boko Haram must fizzle out of Nigeria in humiliating final defeat. He has vowed to supervise the reign of good over evil by terminating terrorism and uprooting every insurgency from it’s roots.

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What Does Boss Mustapha Want From Ministry of Power? – By Edem Edem

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Anyone reading through a circular dated 19th May, 2020, from the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) will only arrive at one solemn fact: Boss Mustapha is untowardly interested in goings on in the power sector. And his actions have begin to re-inforce talks in various quarters that he is a major beneficiary of the proceeds of darkness. The circular, in short, was a direct response to the sacking of the TCN MD by President Muhammadu Buhari on the recommendation of the Honourable Minister of Power, Eng Sale Mamman – an action that was popular as it was necessary. The circular, citing all sorts of rules, said the minister lacked the power to sack the erring MD. But nothing could be further from the truth. And this latest adventure clearly shows he is on a collision course with his own boss the President himself. Is he trying to over rule his own employer?

Because for those watching events closely, this may yet be another move to humiliate the minister by reversing a very effective decision just as it happened earlier this year. If that happens again, it would be an unmitigated tragedy both for national leadership, cohesion and indeed the entire power sector.

I’m a power sector activist so I should know. Many of the decisions taken by the minister are not only right but actually necessary if we must wade out of the embarrassing darkness we found ourselves. But officialdom, small minded meddlesomeness, and outright corruption keep getting in the way. The activities of Boss Mustapha in particular are worrisome.

I have some questions for Boss Mustapha.

1. Why does he always become restive with anything in the power Ministry?

2. Why didn’t he say all of these when the minister of communications, for instance, made some changes recently in top position of that Ministry?

3. Why didn’t we hear his (Boss) voice when similar reorganisation happened in key parastatal of the Ministry of Humanitarian Services when DG NEMA was replaced

4. Is it true the rumours making the rounds that he (Boss) benefits directly from some agencies within the power Ministry? The speed with which he acted when NBET MD was sacked is still fresh in my mind.

5. Is Boss Mustapha angry with the minister because SIEMENS company got a contract he is interested in? Why has be been so hard on local contractors making it difficult for them to meet targets.

Things to ponder

Nigerians will sooner or later have to chose between effectiveness and strangulating official procedures in addressing the power sector conundrum. The honourable minister must be empowered to go beyond those administrative red-tapism to deal with matters heads on. Procedures are great but not when an emergency like we have now has to be addressed.

The removal of the TCN boss was greeted with widespread jubilation in the industry especially by Patriots who want to see an end to darkness. The former MD was practically against the FG’s effort with SIEMENS and was openly granting interviews against the company due to his vested interest. By replacing him with a sound professional, Eng Abdulaziz, the minister demonstrated that he was willing and in fact, capable of delivering on his mandate. He, the minister, must not be frustrated in this bid. And Boss Mustapha must clearly know his place at the Federal Executive Council. A minister of the federal republic is clearly ahead of him in the Federal Executive Council (FEC). He must not be seen as rubbing shoulders with his superiors.

Edem Edem is a power sector watcher based in Sweden

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The Many Lies Against Senator Godswill Akpabio And Why The Persecutions – By Dr. Mike Uyi

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It is said that the greatest enemy of a lier is a man with a good and unforgettable memomry.

Such is the case of the accusers of the honourable minister of Niger Delta Goodswill Akpabio.

First and foremost lets get back to history lane to understand a little about the Niger Delta Development Commission(NDDC)

The Commission was one of several interventionist agencies established by Obasanjo governments in 2000 with the mission of facilitating the rapid, even and sustainable development of the Niger Delta into a region that is economically prosperous, socially stable, ecologically regenerative and politically peaceful.

The NDDC was mandated to carry out the following functions by the Act setting it up. They are: “Formulation of policies and guidelines for the development of the Niger Delta area; conception, planning and implementation, in accordance with set rules and regulations, of projects and programmes for sustainable development of the Niger Delta area in the field of transportation including roads, jetties and waterways, health, employment, industrialisation, agriculture and fisheries, housing and urban development, water supply, electricity and telecommunications; surveying the Niger Delta in order to ascertain measures necessary to promote its physical and socio-economic development and preparing master plans and schemes designed to promote the physical development of the Niger Delta region and the estimation of the member states of the commission.”

Others are: “Implementation of all the measures approved for the development of the Niger Delta region by the Federal Government and the states of the commission; identify factors inhibiting the development of the Niger Delta region and assist the member states in the formulation and implementation of policies to ensure sound and efficient management of the resources of the Niger Delta region and assessing and reporting on any project being funded or carried out in the region by oil and gas companies and any other company, including non-governmental organisations, as well as ensuring that funds released for such projects are properly utilised.”

Not only that, the NDDC is saddled with the responsibility of “tackling ecological and environmental problems that arise from the exploration of oil mineral in the Niger Delta region and advising the Federal Government and the member states on the prevention and control of oil spillages, gas flaring and environmental pollution; liaising with the various oil mineral and gas prospecting and producing companies on all matters of pollution, prevention and control as well as executing such other works and performing such other functions, which in the option of the commission are required for the sustainable development of the Niger Delta region and its people.

Nineteen years on, what is the scorecard of the NDDC? Abysmal! The commission is almost always in the news for the wrong reasons. The agency is simply a cesspool of corruption. At least, that is the impression many Niger Deltans and indeed Nigerians have about the commission. Below are some of the corruption allegations against the agency. In August 2008, President Umaru Yar’Adua ordered an investigation into allegations that the then Chairman of the agency, Ambassador Sam Edem, spent N1bn to secure the services of a sorcerer to employ spiritual means to enable him get contracts from the Akwa Ibom State Government. In August 2015, the then Auditor General of the Federation, Samuel Ukura, said that at least N183bn that was meant for the development of the Niger Delta was diverted by those put in charge of the commission.

In July 2017, a former Managing Director, Nsima Ekere, announced the revocation of over 600 contracts worth N200bn. According to him, the rationale behind the action was because the management discovered that some of the contracts were either not properly awarded or some of them were awarded but the contractors had not yet gone to site. Hear him, “Some of the contracts were awarded as late as 2002 with some of the contractors collecting advance payments from the commission with zero work done at the sites. So, we terminated these contracts worth about N200bn, which is the first phase of our restructuring the commission’s balance sheet,” he said.

Just in October, the Senate said it was probing the award of the Water Hyacinth Emergency and Desilting Contracts awarded by the agency from 2017 to 2019. The Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, made this known when the Director, Special Duties of the NDDC, Nosakhare Agbongiasede, appeared before the committee in Abuja. Urhoghide said investigation became imperative because the initial cost of the contract at N2.5bn was allegedly increased to N65bn.

On Saturday, October 26, 2019 on the Nigerian Television Authority, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, said corruption and political interference had disrupted the original purpose of setting up the commission. He said the NDDC was noted for substandard and abandoned projects. He said inter alia, “We currently have about 12,000 abandoned projects across the nine states of the Niger Delta. If those things were completed, you can imagine that the area would have been turned into an Eldorado… I think people were treating the place as an ATM, where you just walk in there to go and pluck money and go away. I don’t think they were looking at it as an interventionist agency.”

When Godswill Akpabio was announced as minister of Niger Delta affairs ofcourse that sent a strong message to the enemies of the region and Nigeria as a whole, people who had turn the commission into ATM as stated clearly by the Minister knew that it was never going to be business as usual.

When you fight corruption get ready for corruption must fight back. Here are a few questions to ask those who are all of a sudden protesting against the Minister alleging him to be corrupt.

1) Who was the head of the commission when all the above listed corruption cases in NDDC were recorded? The answer is simple ,Certainly not Godswill Akpabio.

2) Where were the powerful over night PETITION writers for 20years of ransom by the cabal of OMPADIC ?

3) Where were the paid youths and untrained detective appearing on stage with strange facts and figures of anticipated fraud by the new messiah dislodged from the pinnacle of powers?

4) Where were the present gang up LEADERS when the only manifestos on ground in NDDC was how to sponsor VIOLENCE to supress any voice rising against UNDEVELOPMENT of NIGER DELTA?

5) Where were they when billions of Naira was paid as RENTS into private hands at the expense of nine Niger Delta states?

6) If AKPABIO WAS corrupt why did he not colaborate with those he met there?

When you want to lie please it shouldnt be around one who have good memory and one who dosent forget history easily.

Akpabio is the Man who is changing the story of NDDC for good.

A shocking revelation had it that a Director in the Finance Department owns a Plastic Factory from where school desks and chairs are produced and he can afford to make approvals to the tune of N40bn in a year? Worse is that these plastic school desks and chairs are not durable and can only last a few months.

But the man in question who was affected by the recent transfers of Senior members of Staff is allegedly one of the sponsors of the series of petitions against the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs.

He and others involved in milking the commission have a huge financial war chest to prosecute their media attacks against whoever stands in their way, or tries to step on their toes, coupled with the backing of the powerful party cabal who allegedly paid their way to control the Committees in charge of the NDDC and the Niger Delta at the National Assembly.

This has lead recently to the Global Peace Movement international UK to show interest in coming to Nigeria after the pandemic for tour and assessment of NIGER DELTA.

It is worthy to note that Senator Akpabio had always handled any assignment given to him with courage and forthrightness and this was why his stride in Akwa Ibom State was described as uncommon transformation as he completely transformed the landscape of the state with landmarks projects like the Godswill Akpabio Stadium also known as the Nest of Champions and several roads network in the state capital and across the entire state when he was the governor of the state.

I want to conclude that the agenda to render useless, the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, MNDA as well as the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC both engines with which the federal government drives its developmental agenda can no longer be overemphasized.

The orchestrated plan by agents within the region working in connivance with other external conspirators, Senator Godswill Akpabio is leaving no stone unturned, his desire to get these development engines grinding again until the Niger Delta region experiences uncommon development commensurate with her resources.

*Dr. Mike Uyi is President General Global Peace International Movement (UK) based in London.

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The Watcher: How Does Containing COVID-19 Express The Chinese System?

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Communist Party of China; and thanks to them, China has successfully contained the pandemic. How to understand the Chinese system when praise and bias both exist? In this episode of the Watcher, Robert Lawrence Kuhn, host of the China media show Closer to China with R.L.Kuhn, chairman of the Kuhn Foundation, finds the parallel secrets of China’s success in eradicating extreme poverty, one of the daunting goals China has owed to reach by the end of this year, and interprets them through the lens of both poverty alleviation and COVID-19 containment.

I’m Robert Lawrence Kuhn and here’s what I’m watching: How China containing the COVID-19 pandemic expresses the Chinese system? And how understanding the Chinese system can undermine bias and reduce vitriol over virus origins and actions, and can increase mutual understanding?

A probative insight into how China’s system works is the parallelism between China’s war in containing the novel coronavirus and China’s war in eliminating extreme poverty. Consider three parallel factors:

First, the operational leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), not just making pronouncements and giving directives, but also implementing programs and working projects through the CPC organizational structure, central and five levels of local government (provincial, municipal, county, township, village).

Second, the leadership of President Xi Jinping, who sets an example for government officials. He makes the remarkable statement: “I have spent more energy on poverty alleviation than on anything else.” What other national leader has said as much?

Third, the CPC’s mobilization capacity, commanding the country’s resources in personnel and materials, a mobilization unprecedented in global healthcare, and in global poverty alleviation.

For example, assigning “sister” relationships between strong provinces and specific cities in need. By no means did all work well. There were obvious obstacles at the start of the outbreak. A strong, top-down system is effective at stopping rumors, but how can it also enable diverse voices to surface vital truths about frontline problems early in the process?

President Xi called for “fighting the outbreak in an open and transparent manner.” He pledged to rid the party of “formalism and bureaucratism.” A potent example is when local officials fear acting because they have not received directives from their superiors.

President Xi stressed drawing lessons from the outbreak to improve the country’s systems for major epidemic control and prevention. The Party says it will improve its systems of information collection and feedback, error correction and decision-making.

The CPC’s readiness to change and improve is a critical part of China’s governance system. Self-correction, the Party says, is its hallmark. China states that it values both individual and collective human rights, but there is a hierarchy of priorities.

In a government document, “The Right to Development,” China explains that the right to subsistence takes priority over the right to development, and collective rights take priority over individual rights.

This is why China’s system is dedicated to ending extreme poverty, which China calls the biggest obstacle to human rights, just as it is containing the contagion. Development is a means of eliminating poverty, thus providing necessary conditions for realizing other human rights, and releasing human potential.

If containing the polemic proves to be more challenging than containing the pandemic, all will lose. The only way to end pandemics is collectively; the only time when anyone in the world will be safe is when everyone in the world will be safe.

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