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Boko Haram in Borno : Of Lost Faith And Terrorist Collaborators – By Richards Murphy

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The open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari supposedly came from Borno residents but in reality the authors of the poisoned chalice are closet supporters of Boko Haram terrorists and the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) who, being fed up with the losses being suffered by their proxies, have decided to come out of hiding. The innocuous sounding “Borno residents” – the pseudonym under which they wrote – is sufficiently nebulous to not arouse suspicion and valid enough to confer legitimacy and locus for them to make their unwarranted claims.

The essence of the letter, signed by one Hassan Boguma, a traditional leader, was to appraise the President. Unfortunately, all it succeeded in doing was to make a weak attempt at lying and they did it poorly for that matter. They tried to create the impression that the Nigerian Army is not on top of the situation whereas in the same breadth they admitted that troops were doing a great job. They claimed that the army is losing the fight yet admitted that only a particular axis remained under attack from the terrorists.
The very position occupied by the author of the letter, a traditional ruler, is one that raises questions. Past analyses by independent security experts had blamed certain categories of leaders in Borno state for the persistence of terrorism in the region in spite of the sterling efforts being made by the military. These are politicians, religious leaders and business opportunists. The politicians support the terrorists as a matter of desperation to gain power, the religious leaders either fail to condemn the perversion of doctrine to radicalize youths and entrench extreme views in them, the traditional rulers – having vast local networks – conceal their subjects that have embraced terrorism while the business opportunists simply hang in the wings to benefit from the horror show created by the horror show supported by the aforementioned three categories.
Nigerians must be wary and know that the open letter to President Buhari is merely one front, one phalanx, in the series of attacks that will be directed at discrediting the military, particularly the army in a renewed push by those that do not want to see terrorism brought to an end in Borno even after other neighbouring states have attained comparative peace. The political arm of Boko Haram support will in a short while follow in the steps of the traditional leadership support while the religious component continues to use their sermon to recruit, indoctrinate and radicalize the youth to ensure that the terrorists do not run short of human fodder.
Further interrogation of the open letter reinforces this belief. It is easy to accuse the army of all the manner of shortcomings reported in the publication. But common sense demands that we begin to question the loopholes that exist in the document. For instance, the Borno resident made no mention of offering the military any strategic support like providing timely and actionable information. They did not speak of any social intervention to halt Boko Haram and ISWAP’s ability to recruit new fighters. Reporting such support would have strengthened whatever case they have against the army, assuming they genuinely have one.
The letter did not mention how some people in the state demoralize soldiers by introducing ethnic dimensions into the anti-terrorism war that the army is conducting in the region. They are the ones that frame any successful operation by the army as being targeted at exterminating members of a particular ethnic group that has most of the terrorist commanders. They use negative sentiments like this to compromise the ability of soldiers to get support from communities where they operate with the consequence that these communities rather back terrorists – supply them with intelligence, food and logistics – rather than support the troops that are laying their lives down for the nation.
They also did not mention if they had at any point in time raised the concerns they have with the military authorities without getting the desired response. To the extent that they did not bring their concerns to the attention of the people on ground doing the actual job, the letter to the President could only have been intended to blackmail, cause mischief and provoke an outcome in the anti-terrorism war different from what Nigerians want.
One must however blame the army for the failure that arose on its own part. This failure has to do with focusing on exterminating terrorists without doing much to go after terrorist supporters. The military has largely refrained from going after these ones that engage in activities that encourage the terrorists, a practice that is not unconnected with making political considerations like keeping mute when this malicious letter was written to the President. The military also appears to shy away from arresting non-combatant component of the terrorist infrastructure, for that is what the traditional institution, political leadership and the clergy that support Boko haram are.
The fight against terrorism has gotten to that stage where the combatant components of Boko Haram and ISWAP should receive a well deserved attention. The military must stop taking reputational damage from terrorists disguised as politicians, traditional rulers or clergy. The society will not criticize the military for actions taken in pursuit of neutralizing the threats posed by these set of people.
It is befitting to at this point appeal to the Nigerian Army, and the military at large, not to take this kind of letter to heart. Had the complaints come from upright citizens of Borno state that genuinely concerned about defeating terrorism then it would have been worth agonizing over. But in this instance it should be treated as a mere irritant that should be allowed to derail the focus needed to continue supressing the terrorists operating in the axis. The war efforts cannot and must not be truncated simply because some people are angry that their Boko Haram fighters are taking heavy damage.

Murphy is a security expert based in Calabar.

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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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