Showing posts with label aa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label aa. Show all posts

Monday, 3 August 2015

By Joseph Onyekwere

STUDENTS of Nigerian Law School have decried alleged two-time postponement of Bar final examination results by the management of the institution, saying such action endangers their future.

Some of the students who spoke to The Guardian on condition of anonymity, said the excuse by the management that the results were postponed due to announcement of the dissolution of boards of federal agencies and parastatals by Federal Government is suspect.

It was gathered that the Council of Legal Education/Nigerian Law School conducted both re-sit and the 2014/15 April Batch Bar final examinations in April and May 2015, respectively.

The results for both examinations were scheduled to be released on June 30, 2015. But, on that date, the results were not out, and were later postponed to July 24, 2015 without any information about the reason for the postponement. Surprisingly, on July 24, 2015, the results again were not released.

This time, a reason was provided. A notice posted at the Law School Portal and signed by the Secretary to the Council and Director of Administration, Mrs. E. Max-Ubah, reads: “In view of the recent dissolution of the Governing Boards of Parastatals and Institutions of the Federal Government by the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Bar final examination results earlier scheduled to be released on July 24, 2015, after the usual ratification by the Board of Studies of the Council of Legal Education (CLE) has been postponed.

The results shall now be published August 3, 2015. Inconveniences regretted, please.” A council member who would not want his name mentioned said the reason given in the notice raised fundamental question as to whether the CLE and other allied bodies involved in legal education in Nigeria, such as the Body of Benchers, were among the parastatals and institutions associated with Federal Government that were affected by the pronouncement.

The source said: “The issue is: can the Law School Management rely on a Press Release in the media, to conclude that its parent body, the CLE has been dissolved, and that there is no more Council and Board of Studies responsible for Law School examination?

The council member expressed displeasure that the director general had allegedly gone to the Solicitor General and Permanent Secretary Ministry of Justice, asking him to pass the results to the President for ratification since council and its Board of Studies have been dissolved.

This is absolutely illegal as there is a statutory procedure for processing Bar final examination results and call to the Nigerian Bar. The question is whether the result will be authentic if it did not go through the normal process, and if the Body of Benchers would agree to call the candidates to Bar, with this type of avoidable controversy?”

When contacted on phone, the Chairman of Council of Legal Education, Chief O.C. J. Okocha (SAN) said the council would not just be dissolved, as it plays pivotal role in the legal profession. “It should not be because the Council is established by law”, he stated and expressed hope that the Presidency would soon clarify the pronouncement.

-The Guardian

Monday, 27 July 2015

From Judex Okoro, Calabar

IT has become an axiomatic fact that corruption in Nigeria has reached its climax. This development has put the country in bad light, especially before the international community. No wonder that in the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index released in December 2014, Nigeria ranked 136th most corrupt country in the world and the third most corrupt country in West Africa after Guinea and Guinea Bissau while Denmark is the least corrupt country in the world, as it ranked one out of 175 nations surveyed, with Somalia and North Korea as the most corrupt nations of the world.

According to Transparency International’s corruption perception index (CPI), this was Nigeria’s best ranking under President Goodluck Jonathan. The report further showed that Nigeria was ranked 144th in 2013, 139th in 2012 and 143rd in 2011.

Analysts have classified corruption as grand, petty and political, depending on the amounts of money lost and the sector where it occurs. To them, corruption corrodes the fabric of society; it undermines people’s trust in political and economic systems, institutions and leaders. It can cost people their freedom, health, money and sometimes their lives.

And to tame corruption, several NGOs and civil society organsations across the world have been pressuring governments, businesses and the powerful to take strong action against corruption.

In Nigeria, successive administrations seem to have treated the fight against corruption with levity, leading to the cry for reforms in all sectors of the economy if we must survive as a nation.

Perhaps, it was in the light of the above that the present APC anchored their campaign during the just-concluded general election. And on assumption of office, President Buhari has made the fight for corruption a sing-song. At home and abroad, the President has declared corruption as Nigeria’s number one enemy. And as an enemy, it has to be crushed to its knees.

But the current President’s stand has sent some tongues wagging. While some hail the declaration against corruption as a positive step that would restore the country’s lost glory and perhaps bring-back-our stolen wealth, others perceive it as a political witch-hunt and an extension of Buhari’s selective vendetta against those who have in one way or the other thrown spanner in his works especially in his tortuous march to Aso Rock since 2003.

Supporting the anti-graft war, Hon. Cletus Obun, an APC Vice-Chairman, Cross River Central, told DAILY SUN that the ongoing fight against alleged looters of our treasury should not be seen as selective, but rather as a commitment to fulfilling part of the campaign promises of Mr. President in recovering stolen money from past leaders to rebuild the nation.

Obun, a former lawmaker at the State House of Assembly described as cheap black mail and very irresponsive by mixing politics, electioneering and governance together.

He said: “All politicians think about the next election while all statesmen think about the next generation. Buhari is not thinking about the next election, but the next generation. Therefore, in cleaning the Augean stable, election should be the last thing on his mind. So, I give him kudos for summoning the courage to do what he is doing.

“Secondly, to say that he is looking into some activities of the past President Jonathan’s administration does not mean he wants to probe Jonathan. I think he was clearly misunderstood there. What this meant is that in other to clear this, Jonathan administration becomes that sign post of what transpired before him and that does not preclude individuals from approaching the anti-graft agencies to challenge the activities of men. Again note that crime and corruption do not have time limit. So, the present government has just given Nigerians impetus to challenge past administrations because it is not only the work of government alone to fight corruption or any form of crime. We are all involved.”

Supporting Obun, he Chairman of Elders’ Forum of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Cross River State, Mr. Eyo Nsa Ekpo, tsaid, “I think we are already being judgmental by saying he is selective. Again, do recall that during PDP era, it was always PDP ministers, Senators and former governors that were being tried. There is no one person from ACN that was tried.

“What we ought to now do is to give him total support to lead us to the Promised Land. The past to me is part of future, so, let us wait first and see how he delivers the dividends to the electorate. Buhari is an upright man with integrity and Nigerians had better support him now that he has the experience and capacity to fight corruption to any length.

But Mr John Okon Essien disagrees completely that Buhari’s anti-corruption war is not selective. Essien, a PDP stalwart in Southern Senatorial District of Cross River said the Presidency is once again up to the game he knows better and that is going after his perceived political opponents just as he did in 1985 by jailing people between 20 to 100 years on corruption charges.

Essein said: “Nigerians are not surprised because Buhari cannot change his style. He jailed people in 1985 and thirty years after he has come back to continue jailing his opponents. All the people he has been going after since he assumed office are people who have had one business to do with Jonathan admnistiration and all PDP members. I challenge anybody to point out real APC or even ACN or CPC member that is on trial. None.

“The talk that even APC members would not be spared is a smokescreen to deceive Nigerians into believing that he is on the right track. Definitely, not true. Do remember also that on assumption of office, he said he would not probe Jonathan, but what is happening now. Selecting a few of Jonathan’s aides to taste the waters but his final target is former President Jonathan to cripple the opposition.”

The PDP chieftain is of the view that the present administration has a lot to focus on rather than embarking on a witch-hunt of immediate past government that conducted one of the best elections in Nigeria and paved way for the opposition to assume office after 16 years and that alone is a feat that should be celebrated and not being castigated.

“If Buhari wants to probe corruption, let him go the whole hog and let us know that he used four years alone to recover stolen money from politicians and their collaborators. To say that he will only concentrate on Jonathan’s administration confirms the fears in many quarters that he is after the man and the party who handed over power to him.”

Also reacting, Mpabanga Eja, a youth leader from Etung, said “What Nigerians want now is for him to create jobs, start payments of allowances to unemployed and post-NYSC as promised and not the probe mantra that is making rounds.”

Mpabanga said: “It would haunt him if he continues to go after some people in the name of fighting corruption. I advise the Presidency and his team to leave Jonathan alone and face the APC programmes and perhaps lead us to the next level. Probe would not take him anywhere.”

However, some analysts argue that how Buhari handles his anti-corruption crusade would determine the fate of APC, the ruling party in the 2019 general elections

Sunday, 26 July 2015

By Seun Lari Williams

Murder is, simply put, the unlawful killing of a human being by another human being. There isn’t much difference between murder and assassination. Some say, if the person unlawfully killed was important enough, then the media will refer to such a killing as an assassination. For example, killings carried out for political purposes are often termed assassinations.

Hopefully, you haven’t come across this piece because you Googled up the exact topic. But if you did, this wouldn’t help you. Go here: Wikihow this will. Seriously, follow that link.

Okay, so some guy called Dr. David Buss of the University of Texas conducted a set of surveys and found that the most cited reason a lot of people don’t follow through with their murderous fantasies is the fear of getting caught, and a life behind bars. This made me write this article.

Perhaps in Nigeria though, a stronger reason not to commit murder may be because our dear Nollywood played their role well by having us believe that the ghost of the dead will come back and haunt you down. And it will. (And yes, the wind will blow the curtains and all that stuff too …) Because I do not believe the fear of getting caught, and a life behind bars is the biggest reason discouraging the average Nigerian in Nigeria at the moment.

In response to Dr. Buss’s findings, someone commented that he had hoped that the reason why most people don’t commit murder had something to do with our unshakable moral convictions. Sadly, this is mostly not the case. Generally, there is a cultural assumption that getting away with murder is virtually impossible. Governments of most countries will do almost anything to have you believe, and for good reasons too, that chances of getting away with murder is really slim.

A sweeping report by the National Public Radio (NPR) of the United States, has said that in the United States, only two out of every three murders result in an arrest. Further, an even smaller percentage of those arrests result in conviction. Phrased differently, some say today, that there’s a one in three chance that you can get away with murder in the United States.

I am sure by now you will understand my concern as a Nigerian who lives in Nigeria. I am thinking, what is the situation in my beloved country? It is well established that the US is some kind of a Big Brother to us. I mean, isn’t that why everybody had something for President Buhari to report to and ask of “Uncle Sam”?

Anyway, my issue is this: The US is the home of CCTV and omnipresent surveillance (with no PHCN wahala o). It is also the home of DNA evidence and thumb-printing technology and other wonderful things that an average Nigerian is not used to. If with all these, 36% of murderers can get away with it in the US, what can be said of the true situation of things in Nigeria?

On the “assassinations” list, we still don’t know who killed Dele Giwa. Who exactly killed Tafawa Balewa? How about MKO Abiola or Bola Ige? Funsho Williams? For the rest, who are on the “mere murders” list, the list is endless. It is terrible because no one seems to beat drums about them and no crowds come out to shout their names. They are not known or valued by society. So this class of runaways, homeless people, prostitutes and the likes normally have fewer people who will pressure the police for action. That is, the action that couldn’t get result for even the ‘high profile murder’ cases.

As it is, very few criminal cases end in convictions in Nigeria. This is actually not surprising. It is hard to obtain a conviction without witness accounts. Even though the Police have consistently tried to ram it down our throats that “the Police is your friend”, the relationship between the public and the police is still strained in Nigeria. But the truth is, even if the police are willing to catch murderers, they often cannot. They are simply not able and ready.

Also, there’s a growing culture amongst people, especially young people. It is called “no snitchin”. It used to be that you speak up when you see something that threatens the peace of your town. But nowadays, what is actually considered the bigger ‘offence’ is telling after the crime is committed. No matter the crime. But, as an aside, can a witness trust that he can be protected adequately after “snitchin”?

Jungle-Justice and other extra-legal actions have been the way many have lost their lives. Others were killed on the streets because they were caught stealing or because they were accused of being homosexuals. What’s the bigger offence? Stealing or Murder? How can you feel justified by killing somebody because the person stole something from you? What’s even more confusing is that this class of murders are often recorded on camera phones yet most of the time, justice isn’t seen to be done.

Definitely, the police in Nigeria will take a huge chunk of the blame for all the instances where people get away with murder. I mean, how many cases are properly investigated? Do we have sufficient forensic laboratories to fight this type of crime in Nigeria?

The rest of the blame will go to the average Nigerian citizen. That is, if you have let the endless news reports about the recent senseless killings in Nigeria make you become indifferent to murders. Many don’t even react normal to news of killings. You know, the normal, Naija reaction to sad, unfortunate news about unjust and unreasonable killings. Well, this should worry you. This should worry you a lot. This attitude has, in its own way led to even more unlawful killings than you can imagine.

From the records, only 32 people in every 100,000 Nigerians have been convicted of an offence. Certainly, only few of those people will have been convicted murderers. Is this the kind of information that will give confidence to Nigerian citizens that their right to life is adequately protected under the law?

Investigation by Daily Independent Law shows that about 56,785 inmates are in the 239 prisons across the country. And in the entire country, only 18,042 persons are convicted prisoners. Statistics obtained from the Nigerian Prison Service further confirmed that as at June 2014, a total of 1,484 were condemned. That is in a country of almost 200 million persons. With the number of deaths we hear about daily in Nigeria, these numbers are just sad. Simply sad.

So to our question; how do you get away with murder in Nigeria? The answer is simple. First, keep the police untrained, unmotivated and ill equipped to fight the crime. Second, don’t ask people how to get away with murder.

Hilarious for those who have a clue of Property Law.(Most People i guess)
Copied from Seun Lari Williams' Facebook

-Ann Nonimus

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Cannabis farm own­ers in the Niger Delta of Nigeria’s South-South region are cre­at­ing a new kind of drug car­tel.  This new car­tel type is defined strictly by blood rela­tions, and it fre­quently involves par­ents recruit­ing their own chil­dren, by pulling the kids out of school. This has intro­duced a new direc­tion for a drug trade that is already a major headache for law enforce­ment and pub­lic health admin­is­tra­tors in the region.
Inves­ti­ga­tion into the rise of the new gen­er­a­tion of drug lords in the South-South region reveals that pub­lic anx­i­ety is ris­ing about this new phe­nom­e­non. The inves­ti­ga­tion has been car­ried out in Akwa Ibom  Delta and Cross River states, the three most noto­ri­ous states for cannabis con­sump­tion and trafficking.
In vis­it­ing these three states,   Newswatch cor­re­spon­dent learned how many teenagers are now actively hawk­ing ille­gal drugs, mainly cannabis (pop­u­larly known as Indian hemp), in the major cities, at venues such as night­clubs, parks, hotels, oil depots and broth­els. A gov­ern­ment source, who wished to remain anony­mous, told Newswatch that the involve­ment of school-age chil­dren hawk­ing ille­gal drugs has made the mar­i­juana more avail­able through­out these states.
Ruth Obi, Akwa Ibom State Com­man­der of the National Drug Law Enforce­ment Agency (NDLEA), remarked that “chil­dren as young as 15 are being recruited by [their] par­ents.” Obi encoun­ters child drug traf­fick­ers on a rou­tine basis. In 2014, 56 youths were found to be car­ry­ing drugs for both sale and per­sonal use when arrested in Akwa Ibom, an increase from 35 in 2013.
 Obi is clear that there is a direct cor­re­la­tion between the new clan­des­tine fam­ily drug car­tels, and the increas­ing with­drawal of school age chil­dren from class­rooms. She believes that the seri­ous­ness and scale of the with­drawal of school-age teenagers to work in drug car­tel busi­nesses for their par­ents call for urgent action from the Niger­ian Gov­ern­ment, the South-South Gov­er­nors’ Forum, and other organ­i­sa­tions that should be advo­cat­ing for child protection.
She also says that there is a link between the new car­tels and the esca­lat­ing wave of mil­i­tancy in the oil-rich South-South region of Nige­ria. This region is now wit­ness­ing an upsurge in vio­lent crimes such as kid­nap­ping (of oil work­ers, politi­cians, and politi­cians’ fam­ily mem­bers), insur­gency, sex­ual vio­lence and armed rob­bery. Accord­ing to Obi, the teenagers sup­ply drugs to off­shore work­ers, includ­ing insur­gents: “They assist their par­ents in export­ing the drugs to pirates who come through the high sea of Nige­ria and Cameroon”.
The 2010 NDLEA annual report also linked the increase in kid­nap­ping in the Niger-Delta to high con­sump­tion and traf­fick­ing of illicit drugs like cannabis, cocaine  heroin and amphetamine.
On Sep­tem­ber 2, 2014, seven health offi­cers work­ing for the Niger Delta Devel­op­ment Com­mis­sion in Abua/Odual Local Gov­ern­ment Area of the state were abducted; four expa­tri­ates and two Nige­ri­ans were also allegedly kid­napped recently in Buguma, Asar­i­toru local Gov­ern­ment Area of the State. Other promi­nent per­sons who have been vic­tims of kid­nap in the state include a renowned poet, Elechi Amadi, for­mer Vice Chan­cel­lor of the Uni­ver­sity of Port Har­court, Prof. Nimi Briggs, for­mer Niger­ian Bar Asso­ci­a­tion (NBA) Pres­i­dent, Okey Wali (SAN), and Dean of the Church of Nige­ria, Angli­can Com­mu­nion, Most Rev­erend Ignatius Kattey.
The birth of the new cartels
The use of chil­dren for smug­gling drugs seems to have begun in earnest around 2007, when a wide­spread prac­tice of child labour traf­fick­ing in Akwa-Ibom, Cross River and Delta States was largely brought to an end. This prac­tise involved par­ents send­ing their chil­dren to work in the city as house­boys and house­maids for rich fam­i­lies, for which they were paid by traf­fick­ers. In some cases no job existed, and instead the chil­dren were forced to become sex workers.
The inter­ven­tion of var­i­ous Non-Governmental Organ­i­sa­tions helped to put an end to this trade. One of these NGOs was The Fam­ily Life Enhance­ment Ini­tia­tive (FLEI), founded in 2007 by Ekaette Unoma Akpabio,  wife of the Akwa Ibom State Gov­er­nor, as a chan­nel for imple­ment­ing social and human­i­tar­ian pro­grammes in the state.
The FLEI built alliances with var­i­ous women groups at the grass­roots, as well as with related gov­ern­ment agen­cies and min­istries, includ­ing the Min­istry of Women’s Affairs and Social Wel­fare and the National Agency for the Pro­hi­bi­tion of Traf­fick­ing in Per­sons (NAPTIP). The links cre­ated with the lat­ter, for exam­ple, were espe­cially use­ful in reduc­ing the inci­dence of child labour and child traf­fick­ing in Akwa Ibom.
This par­tic­i­pa­tory approach paid off hand­somely. Almost imme­di­ately it became ille­gal for par­ents to send their chil­dren to become house­boys and maid­ser­vants for the rich, in the cities. Many par­ents adopted an alter­na­tive plan, involv­ing their chil­dren in the drugs business.
 Akwa Ibom
The first state com­ing under the micro­scope in our inves­ti­ga­tion is Akwa Ibom. Cannabis seedlings are brought into the state from other states for cul­ti­va­tion, because the seedlings are scarce in Akwa Ibom. It is only recently that cannabis farm own­ers started plant­ing in the state. Obi says that in Akwa Ibom, rates of drug use are higher because it is a con­sump­tion state — the drugs that enter are locally con­sumed. Accord­ing to her, 15% of Akwa Ibom teenagers use drugs. ‘Com­bined’ –a mix­ture of cannabis and local gin — is a com­mon drink for youths. “Be it in a wed­ding, bur­ial, child-naming cer­e­mony, house-warming and any occa­sion at all, the drink is ever present. Almost every­body has tasted it at one time or the other”,she stated. Cocaine, heroin, and other hard drugs are con­sumed in Akwa Ibom, includ­ing mix­tures of heroin and cannabis and of cocaine and cannabis.
In Akwa Ibom, huge quan­ti­ties of drugs are smug­gled by 17 to 22 year-olds, sec­ondary school stu­dents and under­grad­u­ates alike, run­ning the drugs for their par­ents. “Some teenagers [traf­fic drugs] for their par­ents and bosses and they do it dur­ing school hours, after school, includ­ing late in the nights”, Obi explained fur­ther. “A cou­ple of years ago, we arrested some boys and girls from one fam­ily between ages 17 and 18 years. In their case, it was like their par­ents were into the busi­ness and lat­ter died and they took over ‘the fam­ily busi­ness’ sort of; so they just  inher­ited the busi­ness and we were able to arrest them and they went to prison”.
Drugs are hawked on the streets of noto­ri­ous hide­outs, includ­ing State-Abak and Akar Roads. These are very long roads where the young deal­ers just sit around while the deal­ers higher up in the chain come and dis­trib­ute the drugs to them. On receiv­ing the sup­ply, the teenagers hawk for the deal­ers, and any­body who wants to buy drugs goes there to pur­chase them.
“But the NDLEA con­stantly raid places, such as Etuk and Nkemba Streets and we are as well after the barons,” NDLEA said.
“The drug barons here take care of the teenagers and they sup­port com­mu­nity projects and when you come around to make arrest, they see you as an enemy com­ing to attack their influ­en­tial per­sons. They don’t care what the baron is doing as long as he puts food on their table’s. Some tra­di­tional rulers are not sup­port­ive of the war against illicit drugs but we keep  going to them and enlight­en­ing them on the dan­gers of drug to the youth. We go with suf­fi­cient fire power in col­lab­o­ra­tion with mobile police­men and when they see them, they com­ply”,  Obi said.
Trav­el­ling on to Delta State
Reports from Delta State are not encour­ag­ing. If you ask any NDLEA offi­cer where the pri­mary cannabis hub in Nige­ria is, do not be sur­prised if the answer is Delta State. Delta State sup­plies drugs to the South-West, South-East and North-Central regions. Many teenagers in the state know the mon­e­tary value of traf­fick­ing in cannabis, although they often remain igno­rant of its health haz­ards. Teenagers often obtain their wares from cannabis farms deep in the forests of Delta State, although Ameh Inalegwu, the assis­tant com­man­der in charge of oper­a­tions of the Delta State Com­mand of the NDLEA, said that his agency has recently destroyed these farms.
Inalegwu told our cor­re­spon­dent that the teenagers are ini­ti­ated into the illicit deals by the drug barons, who are typ­i­cally 30 to 40 years old. He explained to  Newswatch that teenagers as young as 10–15 years  started deal­ing drugs, as appren­tices work­ing for the big barons in the busi­ness.  Besides, traf­fick­ing drugs, they also use them as an enhancer and morale booster to con­front any secu­rity challenges.
 A visit to some sec­ondary schools in the cap­i­tal of Delta State, Asaba, indeed sug­gested that drugs are used and sold by chil­dren as young as 11 years old, who often belong to sev­eral gangs. In the local Gov­ern­ment Area of Sapele (towns like Gana, Amukpe-Ogorodo and Mac-Facin), chil­dren were seen openly using and trad­ing cannabis while older fig­ures sat and watched. “In Ogwashi-Uku Poly­tech­nic, a high school, drug traf­fick­ing and use among stu­dents is a com­mon phe­nom­e­non. If we dis­lodged a ‘joint’ (meet­ing point) a cou­ple of times, they resur­faced again,” says Inalegwu.
Inalegwu fur­ther says that teenagers make huge sales of drugs dur­ing events such as birth­day par­ties, buri­als, nam­ing cer­e­monies, and polit­i­cal gath­er­ings. Accord­ing to him, these occa­sions are incom­plete with­out the use of cannabis. “Dur­ing these fes­tiv­i­ties, teenagers are meant to sell drugs at a cost a lit­tle bit higher than non-occasional days.”
A one-day visit to a tra­di­tional wed­ding in Ogwashi-Uku was an eye opener for our cor­re­spon­dent. The wed­ding party saw guests using their own per­sonal mix­tures of cannabis, as teenagers offered var­i­ous types of mar­i­juana for sale.“To the Deltans, it sounds strange that cannabis traf­fick­ing and use is pro­hib­ited because it’s never seen as a bad thing. “Drugs are grown, stored and dis­trib­uted from here”, Okechukwu Nwaonyeo­sisi, a res­i­dent of Ogwashi Uku, told our correspondent.
Risk of a drugs war?
A visit to Abii in Delta State, a town noto­ri­ous for cannabis plan­ta­tion and for its large con­cen­tra­tion of stor­age facil­i­ties, shows it to be a reser­voir of all types of drugs. In Abii, cannabis is stored for Ondo and Ogun States, until its mat­u­ra­tion for dis­tri­b­u­tion; teenagers and some armed gangs guard and secure the stor­age facilities.
Inalegwu describes going to Abii as  going into a war zone. But, in spite of the clan­des­tine secu­rity appa­ra­tus of the drug lords in Abii, NDLEA offi­cers still under­take oper­a­tions there on a quar­terly basis, and seize more than three tons of cannabis on each raid. Inalegwu claimed that 15 to 35 sus­pects were arrested per month dur­ing such raids.
This is dan­ger­ous work. Inalegwu told Newswatch Times Mag­a­zine that in August 2014, the agency recorded casu­al­ties at Emuebendo, when the offi­cers of the agency were shot by the gang leader alleged to be run­ning the drug farm. In Kwale, another gang leader shot an NDLEA offi­cer, who had attempted to arrest him.
Again, teenagers are heav­ily involved. Young peo­ple who work for the drug barons, but pre­tend to be vil­lage secu­rity guards, pro­vide pro­tec­tion for the cannabis farms in Kwale, Abii and other areas of Delta State. Ameh Inalegwu says that the barons and their teenage traf­fick­ers fre­quently lay ambush to Agency offi­cers, while using logs of wood to block the roads lead­ing to the cannabis forests in the areas.
 “[The] gate­way to any crime is drugs,” Inalegwu warns. Accord­ing to the anti-drug offi­cer, the younger sus­pects in their cus­tody fre­quently tell the offi­cers that their par­ents were drug traf­fick­ers, who use the pro­ceeds to train them and then won­der why the NDLEA make arrests for traf­fick­ing in drugs. “To them, cannabis is a nat­ural resource from God”, Inalegwu stated.
Cross River State
The sit­u­a­tion is sim­i­lar in Cross River State. Ibrahim Mohammed Bashir, Assis­tant State Com­man­der in Oper­a­tional Intel­li­gence of the NDLEA Cross River State Com­mand, states that there are under­age drug traf­fick­ers in his state. “Just like any other states in the coun­try, Cross River State isn’t an exception….[but] Cross River State is a dead end, so almost all the drugs that you see in Cross River are prin­ci­pally for con­sump­tion”. He says that the level of drug use in Cross River State is high, and that alco­hol acts as a gate­way to harder drugs. “Alco­hol con­sump­tion here is high and it’s seen as a nor­mal thing here, so you see chil­dren as lit­tle as five and six years being exposed to alcohol.
“Teenagers are greatly involved [in the sell­ing of drugs], and another thing they do here is that they use the youths to sell, because they know that any­body below the age of 18 can­not be pros­e­cuted. Instead such a per­son would be coun­selled and allowed to go, so they use them as hawk­ers at the ‘joints’ and big hotels,”he said. Bashir said that teenagers con­sti­tuted about 60% of those arrested on drugs charges in the state this year.
Who is responsible?
Bashir is very crit­i­cal of schools in their atti­tude towards the drug prob­lem. Accord­ing to him, they are not read­ily avail­able to help because they don’t really know the dan­gers of drug abuse and traf­fick­ing. The anti-drugs offi­cial claimed that the NDLEA has vir­tu­ally begged schools to allow the agency to visit and deliver lec­tures on illicit drugs abuse and traf­fick­ing, but none has complied.
He fur­ther stated that the NDLEA has been able to estab­lish ‘drug-free clubs’ among the mem­bers of the National Youth Ser­vice Corps. These organ­i­sa­tions are intended to sen­si­tise young peo­ple and oth­ers to the issues around drugs. Mem­bers of the drug-free clubs visit schools to cre­ate aware­ness about the dan­gers of drug abuse and drug trafficking.
 Bashir was also crit­i­cal of many par­ents, say­ing that most of them do not know the impact of drug abuse and traf­fick­ing, and that even when they know, they pre­fer to ignore it. 
Wil­son Igho­dalo is not a new face in cam­paigns against drug traf­fick­ing. For 11 years, he has been President/Founder of the Drug Sal­va­tion Foun­da­tion, an Abuja-based organ­i­sa­tion that fights drug abuse and traf­fick­ing in Nigeria.
He also blamed some par­ents for the involve­ment of their chil­dren in drug abuse and trafficking.“Even par­ents at home con­tribute to drug abuse and traf­fick­ing by their wards. They encour­age their chil­dren into drug abuse,” he stated. “Again, do you know some par­ents smoke before their kids and some even go as far as send­ing their wards to go and buy cig­a­rettes or India hemp for them? And what do you think such a child will grow to become in future?”
Accord­ing to Igho­dalo, many Niger­ian par­ents do not suf­fi­ciently mon­i­tor who their chil­dren go out with. He believes that many chil­dren feel intense peer pres­sure to join groups of young peo­ple in tak­ing and traf­fick­ing drugs.
And the government…?
In some cases the gov­ern­ment is actively oppos­ing the rise in drug traf­fick­ing and abuse among young peo­ple in Nige­ria. One of these cases is Akwa-Ibom, where the state government’s efforts  were acknowl­edged by the NDLEA State Com­man­der, Ruth Obi. She praised the assis­tance the state had given to the NDLEA in pro­vid­ing funds for inves­ti­ga­tion and pub­lic aware­ness. Yet her praise is only partial:
 The state gov­ern­ment donated oper­a­tional vehi­cles but they are not enough. “We have to go round to all the area com­mands dur­ing patrol. We don’t have the capa­bil­ity to sus­tain our pres­ence on the roads from where the drugs are com­ing into the state. We have to be on the road every day for patrols,” she said.
But some  state gov­ern­ments seem to pay only lip ser­vice to pre­vent­ing drug traf­fick­ing by teenagers. “The gov­ern­ments of these states are not con­cerned about the pre­vail­ing recruit­ment of chil­dren by armed gang-drug traf­fick­ers in the South-South zone of Nige­ria, and not tak­ing imme­di­ate steps to nip in the bud the men­ace which is wor­ri­some to the drug agen­cies in the zone,” stated  Bashir of the  Cross River State Command.
“At our own level, it’s just that we are con­strained by so many chal­lenges. Logis­tics, funds, oper­a­tional mate­ri­als, and other things. A drug war needs logis­tics and finance. If we have the resources, we are ready to take the drugs out of the youths. We have the intel­li­gence, we have the per­son­nel but we are only con­strained with fund­ing and logis­tics and the state is not help­ing matters”.
 Bashir fur­ther explained that sev­eral efforts made by his agency to demand that the state help in the fight against ille­gal drugs have not yielded many results. “Sev­eral pro­pos­als have been sent to the state gov­ern­ment and nobody is doing any­thing about it.”
It is indeed dis­heart­en­ing that despite the huge secu­rity vote enjoyed by all  state gov­er­nors, includ­ing those in the Niger-Delta axis of the coun­try, the involve­ment of young peo­ple in drug traf­fick­ing in the region shows no signs of decreas­ing. Each gov­er­nor enjoys a huge annual fund of around N6 bil­lion, to fight crimes and main­tain order within their domain.
This secu­rity vote, which is not included in the annual bud­get and is not scru­ti­nised by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment, is sup­posed to be used to reduce crime within each state, through sup­port­ing secu­rity agen­cies in the state, empow­er­ing young peo­ple and cre­at­ing employ­ment. Despite the exis­tence of these funds, the phe­nom­e­non of wide­spread drug traf­fick­ing by young peo­ple continues.
By Emeka Ibemere
Court issues protection order preventing three sisters, aged six to 12, from being taken out of UK after mother testifies she has ‘never recovered’ from FGM herself.
Three sisters whose father was deemed to be preparing to have them undergo female genital mutilation (FGM) have been made the subject of a new-style protection order aimed at stopping the practice.
The mother of the three girls, aged six, nine and 12, submitted evidence to the family division of the high court in London that the children’s father had been putting pressure on her to have the procedure performed on their daughters. Both parents are Nigerian.
Ceremonial robes, worn during the cutting of external female genitals, had been sent to her from the girls’ family in Nigeria, the court heard.
In a written statement, the girls’ mother, who is divorced from their father, said she had “never recovered from the experience” of being cut herself, and said her decade-old wound still caused her terrible pain.
Zimran Samuel, a barrister representing the girls’ mother, told the judge that the girls’ father had been “putting pressure” on the mother to have the procedure done in the UK or in Nigeria. FGM is illegal in both countries.
“The father is currently in Nigeria and can arrive or instruct someone else to act,” he told the judge. “It was felt that there is a real risk that the girls may be cut in this jurisdiction or in Nigeria or may go missing.”
Mr Justice Holman said the woman’s description showed what a “terrible scourge” female genital mutilation was.
The FGM protection order is a new legal power that came into force in the UK this month to stop the practice, and the sisters are one of the first few cases of such an order being granted.
The judge said he would analyse the case further on 11 August and the girls’ father would be permitted to mount a challenge.
The Nigerian government outlawed the practice in May this year, the final piece of legislation by the outgoing president Goodluck Jonathan. About a quarter of Nigerian women have undergone FGM, which can be fatal or cause repeated infections, as well as pain urinating, during sex and in childbirth.
Last week, Bedfordshire police seized the passports of two young girls, who it was believed may be taken to Africa to undergo FGM. A parent in Salford also received a protection order this week, banning the daughter from being taken out of the country. It was the first FGM banning order in Greater Manchester.
A study by City University and Equality Now has estimated that 137,000 women and girls are affected by FGM, which involves the total or partial removal of external female genitalia for non-medical reasons, with the highest rate of prevalence found in the London borough of Southwark.
Women and girls affected by female genital mutilation can be found in every local authority in England and Wales, the study found.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

President Muhammadu Buhari said on Wednesday that his government was examining pieces of evidences that would lead to the arrest and prosecution of some former ministers and other government officials for stealing Nigeria’s crude oil.

Mr. Buhari said this at the Nigerian Embassy in Washington while answering questions at a session with Nigerians in the Diaspora. He said it will take at least 18 months to revive the economy.
He lamented that some of the affected officials were involved in illegal sale and diversion of crude oil monies belonging to the Federal Government to multiple private accounts abroad.

“We are now looking for evidences of shipping some of our crude, their destinations and where and which accounts they were paid and in which country.
“When we get as much as we can get as soon as possible, we will approach those countries to freeze those accounts and go to court, prosecute those people and let the accounts be taken to Nigeria.

“The amount of money is mind-burgling but we have started getting documents.
“We have started getting documents where some of the senior people in government, former ministers, some of them had as much as five accounts and were moving about one million barrels per day on their own.

“We have started getting those documents. Whichever documents we are able to get and subsequently trace the sale of the crude or transfer of money from Ministries, Departments, Central Bank.
“We will ask for the cooperation of those countries to return those monies to federation accounts and we will use those documents to arrest those people and prosecute them. This, I promise Nigerians.”
The President frowned at the way and manner the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation was mismanaged, saying his administration would check the excesses of the corporation.

He said his administration was carefully studying the issue of oil subsidy.
Mr. Buhari said he would not be a party to taking decisions that would further impoverish Nigerians in the name of removing oil subsidy.

“When people ask you to remove subsidy ask them to define it. Who is subsidizing who? Let me make it clear. The people are gleefully saying ‘remove subsidy’.”
“They want petrol to cost N500 per litre. If you are working and subsidy is removed, you can’t control transport, you can’t control market women, the cost of food, the cost of transport.
“If you are earning N20,000 per day and you are living in Lagos or Ibadan, the cost of transport to work and back, the cost of food. You cannot control the market women they have to pay what transporters charge them.
“If there is need for removing subsidy, I will study it. With my experience, I will see what I can do. But I’m thinking more than half the population of Nigeria virtually cannot afford to live.
“Where will they get the money to go work? How can they feed their families? How can they pay rent?
“If Nigeria were not an oil producing country – all well and good. Our refineries are not working. We have a lot of work to do.”
On the appointment of ministers, Mr. Buhari dismissed those accusing his administration of being too slow in taking crucial decisions relating to governance and appointment of political office holders.

He cited the immediate past PDP government, which he said spent more than two months to settle down during its 16-year rule.
“In some quarters they are now calling me `Baba Go Slow’. I’m going to go slow and steady.’’
Mr. Buhari also pledged to study the Diaspora Bill with a view to signing it into law as requested by the Nigerians in the Diaspora.
He advised Nigerians living abroad and searching for government jobs back home to suspend their ambition as the nation’s economy is in a bad shape as it would take his administration at least 18 months or more to resuscitate it.
The president, however, promised that some of the job seekers would be engaged by the Nigerian Government as consultants to enable them contribute their quota to the nation’s development.
All those who spoke at the interactive session expressed their readiness to assist the APC-led administration of Buhari to achieve its campaign promises for the benefit of Nigerians.
They also called on Mr. Buhari to sign into law the Diaspora Bill.

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