Africa’s biggest oil producer Nigeria is facing questions about where billions of dollars in oil money is going, amid suspicions of fraud and it being syphoned off to fund election campaigns. The issue has been rumbling on since September, when the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria accused the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation of withholding $49.8 billion in oil revenue. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, who steps down as central bank chief in the coming months, later revised his figures down to $12 billion, sparking claims of political pressure.
Civil society organisations in Nigeria’s South East have emerged among the first to select delegates
Peter Obi’s Political blunders : Nzam most neglected community in Anambra • Pregnant mothers deliver at home • Hospital, electricity, pipe borne water and good roads rare • Bicycle a major source of transportation
In this age of globalization and technological innovations, some communities still exist as in the Stone Age era where all the modern amenities of life are absent and citizens rely on nature and human natural instincts to survive. Nzam Community, the headquarters of Anambra West Local Government, Anambra State fits into the above description. A recent trip to the community by the reporter confirms the lyrics of the song by Afro beat legend, Fela Anikulapo Kuti that some people are “suffering and smiling.” A land so blessed with rich agricultural produce but yet wallows under the throes of underdevelopment and government neglect. In Nzam, most children have never seen electric light since they were born, while access to clean water, hospitals or accessible roads is like a luxury often dreamt of by the people but yet to feel it. A turbulent two and half hours sail through the River Niger by boat from the Niger Bridge Head brought the reporter to the precincts of the community. On berthing and anchoring at the bank of the river, one is confronted with weary villagers loading and offloading agricultural products behind mud houses and thatched roofs. A narrow swampy road from the river bank leads to the community accessed by trekking or boarding of commercial cycle a major preoccupation of the youths in the area who have lost interest in farming. Though there were few electric poles fixed on the narrow road which connects the local police post and an empty Health Post, the first response one gets on asking where to charge one’s phone battery through the public power source is a jolt on the real situation. “My brother, maybe you are in a dream land,” the Okada rider said. “Ever since I grew to maturity, I’ve never seen electric light from NEPA here. These electric poles you see now are just fancy decorations on the road because that is where it ends. We have no light and our people only travel to Onitsha by boat to get the diesel, which we use to power our rice milling plants. There is no telephone network too as you may have noticed that your phone has lost service as you alighted from the boat. We are like people living in another planet and what they do is to visit us with empty promises whenever election time is approaching. That is all we see or get from them,” he lamented. At the market square, though it was a work day and schools were in session, many children were seen playing by the heap of sand beside the community rice grinding mill. Farmers coming back from their rice farm all conveyed the yet-to-be-parboiled rice on bicycles. The local government secretariat, which was accessed by the reporter on a motorcycle through another narrow path with streams and locally made bridges, was like a ghost place. The sign post bearing the inscription “Anambra West Local Government Headquarters, Nzam” was swallowed by grasses that it becomes difficult to view the signpost from afar. The secretariat, though deserted had some nice buildings. The old secretariat complex commissioned on 18th February 1999 was built by the military administration of Uwakwe Ukaegbu in Anambra. On enquiry about the state of affairs in the local council, a staffer who pleaded anonymity alleged that the members of the transition council of the local government reside in Onitsha and only visit once in month when their entitlements is released by the state government. He said they immediately return to Onitsha in their speedboat after sharing the booty for the month. ‘Our local government is the worst in Anambra’ An executive member of the town union, Kenneth Nwabunwanne in a chat with Sunday Sun described their local government area as the worst in Anambra State. “During the flood crisis in 2012, our community was ravaged beyond proportion and we are yet to recover from the immense destruction. But before the flood disaster, we were living as the dregs of the society here. We have a health center but nothing is inside so it is more like a monument. When people fall sick, we are at the mercy of patent medicine shops while there is no hospital or qualified doctors to handle emergencies. We have no road and because of that, we are cut off from the rest of Anambra communities. There is no trade connection between us and others because of lack of access roads while those who can access this place through the river are very much limited. Our needs are numerous that we don’t know where to begin itemizing them but all I can say is that this place is the worst local government in Anambra State.”
Lagos State governor Babatunde Fashola yesterday urged Nigerians to query the $20 billion reportedly missing from the federation account. He lamented that Nigerians were indifferent to the ills facing the country.At the 2014 interdenominational service of the Lagos State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) held at the Apostolic Church Nigeria, International Convention…
President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday affirmed that only the Peoples Democratic Party was capable of rescuing Nigeria from its many troubles.Jonathan stated this in Sokoto State during a grand rally and reception organised for a former governor of the state, Attahiru Bafarawa, who defected to the PDP from the All Progressives Congress, APC, alongside his supporters.The rally, was attended by the prominent PDP members, including Vice-President, Namadi Sambo; President of the Senate, David Mark; the state Deputy Governor, Murktar Shagari, top government and party officials.Recall that the state Governor, Aliyu Wamako, had recently defected to the APC alongside four other former PDP governors.Jonathan stated that PDP remained the symbol of democracy in the country and that Nigerians, including religious leaders, business leaders, men and women who are not partisan politicians, believe in the party.The President said, “I was telling some people when we were coming this morning (Saturday) when I saw the crowd, that if we were running a parliamentary system, where the Prime Minister can call for early elections, I would have called for early elections.“Let us see where this noise is coming from, whether they are supported. Some people are afraid to go back and contest the seats because in a normal setting, if a parliamentarian leaves his seat and crosses to another party, the assumption is that you have consulted with your constituency and they agreed that you should cross over.“Such a parliamentarian would want to call for early elections to show that he is going with his constituency, but in Nigeria, the story is different.”While listing the feats achieved by his administration in Education, Agriculture, Power and road construction, Jonathan disclosed that after Sokoto, the team would also go to Imo, Kano and all other geopolitical zones to showcase the party’s achievements to the people.He added that Nigerians get jittery when they hear the challenges the party is facing “because the feeling is that if anything happens to PDP, it will affect the country.”
Northern socio-cultural group, the Arewa Consultative Forum, has said that the military campaign in the North-East cannot end the Boko Haram campaign. The group said the military campaign can only reclaim territories occupied by the Boko Haram Sect. The National Publicity Secretary, ACF, Anthony Sani, noted that the effort of the military had helped region greatly, as…
An ex-militant leader, Eris Paul ( a.k.a Ogunboss) and 20 policemen escaped death yesterday when they were attacked by armed men at Peremabiri in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. The policemen in two gunboats were detailed by the state Commissioner of Police, Hillary Okpara, to escort the ex-militant leader to his community. Eyewitness account had it that a bullet from the armed men pierced the bulletproof vest of Ogunboss but nobody has been confirmed dead in the attack. It was learnt that the attack occurred close to the Naval Boat House used for security by naval personnel to protect the oil facility owned by the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC). According to reports, Ogunboss who had petitioned Okpara about the
More facts have now emerged on how the Second Republic Political Adviser, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, led some northern elders to form a parallel body within the Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF). The emergence of Yakasai-led Northern Elders Council, Sunday Sun gathered, might not be unconnected with the drama that played out during the last meeting of Northern Elders Forum held in Kaduna on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 under the leadership of Ambassador Yusuf Sule Maitama. The NEF had written to the Northern Traditional Council for a joint meeting to discuss the state of insecurity, unemployment and poverty in the country, and the north in particular.
The ongoing insurgency in Borno State has taken a new dimension as the incessant onslaughts of Boko Haram sect on residents of the state and lack of food have forced many parents to abandon their children at welfare homes and flee to the neighbouring states. Sunday Tribune learnt that shortage of food and relentless killings in the state, which has been under emergency rule since last year, was responsible for the abandonment of children and forced migration, just as a community leader in Maiduguri, Malam Saina Buba, called on the state and Federal Government to come to the rescue of people affected by Boko Haram insurgency in the state.ADVERTISEMENT
Former Governor of Lagos State and national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu,