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Monday, 31 March 2014


The attention of the Delta State Government has been drawn to the press briefing by Hon Dino Malaye alleging mismanagement of funds, specifically the N9 billion excess crude funds released to the state in December 2012.
It will be recalled that in the last two years, the fund allocation from the Federation has been dwindling. States have therefore been requesting for the release of part of the excess crude fund to deal with outstanding commitments.
The excess Crude referred to by Dino Malaye  came in two tranches of N1,090,380,894.61 and N8,348,064,864.52 on 10th December, 2012. 

Meanwhile the sum of N22,677,938,653.12 was being owed contractors and Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) mainly for capital projects. The N9b was therefore used to offset part of this commitment.

Contrary to the impression given by Dino Malaye that the money was spent in less than three days,  payment commenced in mid- December, 2012 and closed at the end of January, 2013 a period of over 6weeks.
All the payments were duly budgeted for and due process duly followed.
It must be noted that the Delta State Government uses the ICT based SAP financial management system which has ensured transparency in our payment system.
It is on record that many people have complained of the strict payment system by the Delta State Government. This is to ensure proper record keeping and accountability.
It is well known that the Delta State Government has been pursuing the Delta Beyond Oil Agenda to ensure that in future the State does not have to depend on Federal Allocation alone for survival.
The Honourable Commissioner for Finance will be addressing the press in the next few days to give details of the financial management system.
We urge Hon Malaye to properly investigate whatever information they get before coming out with allegations that are frivolous.

Comrade Ovuozorie Macaulay
Secretary to Delta State Government
 26th March, 2014.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

ABSURDITY OF THE 21ST CENTURY:IN EGYPT 500 IS = 1 By Emmanuel Onwubiko

Since the popular uprising by millions of Egyptians that resulted in the forced removal of Dr. Mohammed Morsi and the formation of another civilian administration backed by the military hierarchy, several events have happened that have raised questions regarding the impartial role in the entire political debacle by the military.

One among the most prominent events that have brought Egypt into global disrepute is the decisive crushing by brute force of the mass demonstrations by the Muslim Brotherhood members, a Sunni Islamist religious, and political platform which has  longstanding history.

Before I am misunderstood, it must be made clear that activities of the Muslim Brotherhood have come under increasing scrutiny for targeting followers of other religious faiths and members of this religious platform are seen more or less as fundamentalist Islamic adherents with little or no tolerance even for other sectarian groupings even within the same Islamic Religion. 

With the above key preamble, let me observe that the Muslim Brotherhood was successful in the 2011 – 2012 parliamentary elections and its leader, the United States trained Dr. Mohammed Morsi won the June 2012 Presidential poll. A year after he was sworn in, due to popular acclaim and the staging of another mass revolution, Mohammed Morsi was removed.

Morsi’s removal followed series of undemocratic moves the then Muslim Brotherhood-dominated parliament made to introduce theocracy and suppress the practice of democratic freedoms and liberal democracy. Under his watch secular Egyptians and Coptic Christians came under barbaric attacks by fundamentalists opposed to religious liberalism.

July 3rd 2013 was therefore the day in contemporary history that  the Egyptian military Chief- General Fattah el-Sisi removed Mohammed Morsi from power and suspended the national Constitution.  This decision nevertheless secured widespread legitimacy from a cross section of the Egyptian civilian populace in their millions which by far outstripped the number that actually voted and brought Mohammed Morsi and his now dethroned Muslim Brotherhood affiliated administration to power before it collapsed like a pack of cards.

The military Chief then set up an interim government which is charged with organizing fresh election and the Chief Justice of the constitutional supreme court of Egypt Mr. Adly Mansour was named leader.
The Massive crackdown of the demonstrators drawn largely from the Muslim Brotherhood has taken a bizarre dimension with the recent charade of a verdict of a Tribunal in which 500 or more members of Muslim Brotherhood were convicted for the alleged murder of one policeman during a demonstration. 

Apart from the fact that this sham that emanated from the Egyptian Court has drawn global wide condemnations, the fact that most of those sentenced to death never participated in any demonstration but were simply picked up from the comfort of their homes and driven in ramshackle vehicles to court, has made it all the more a mockery of the principle of social justice and the rule of law.

This verdict has created credibility question for the interim government which has largely operated under the shadows of the powerful Egyptian military hierarchy which is warming up to present its commander-General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi as a Presidential Candidate. This military chief has already started international political campaign to transmute into civilian President as he was recently seen in the international media visiting some World leaders as if he is the defacto and de jure President of Egypt.
This judgment has not only turned logic on its head but it has turned Egypt that used to be venerated as the bastion of ancient civilization into a theatre of the absurd. It is absolutely absurd to conceive that 500 persons can plot the killing of just one policeman.
This verdict in which 500 members of the Muslim Brotherhood have been sentenced to death for the alleged killing of just one policeman is one of the greatest mathematical mysteries because it is absolutely unmathematical to calculate and conclude that five hundred are equal to one.       
But since the military-controlled political institution in Egypt is all out to crush members of the Muslim Brotherhood to pave way for the return through the back door of a civilian administration headed by a venerated and powerful military oligarch, it does not matter if five hundred lives are wasted with the infantile and warped logic that these crowd conspired, colluded and participated in the killing of one policeman.

Even the official state media in Egypt has branded this latest charade as the largest set of death sentences ordered by a court in the modern history of Egypt.
The Cairo-based Minya Criminal court which handed out these set of primitive death sentences on Monday March 24th 2014 can at best be described as the modern day theatre of the absurd.
This is how even the Muslim-backed Malasia Sun newspaper of Monday 24th March 2014 reported the mass death sentences.
The Newspaper reported thus; “The trial which resulted in Monday’s sentencing, only began on Saturday. The defense team was reportedly not allowed to make statements or objections, and the majority of the defendants were not allowed to attend the hearing".

The newspaper also reported that; “When the trial starts on Saturday and it is just a procedural hearing, and the judge doesn’t listen to any lawyers or witnesses and doesn’t even call the defendants, you are before a group of thugs and not the judiciary,” a family member of a defendant told Reuters.

“This is the largest single batch of simultaneous death sentences we’ve seen in recent years, not just in Egypt but anywhere in the world,” Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International said Monday.

The newspaper quoted critics of the Egyptian government as saying that;  “Egypt’s courts are quick to punish Mohammed Morsi’s supporters but ignore gross human rights violations by the security forces. While thousands of Morshi’s supporters languish. Just one police officer is facing a prison sentence, for the deaths of 37 detainees.”

“Without an independent and impartial process that can deliver truth and justice for all, many will question whether Egypt’s criminal justice system has indeed anything to do with justice, “Sahraoui said. “in any event, recourse to the death penalty is inherently unjust, and the Egyptian authorities should impose a moratorium on executions, with a view to abolishing it.”    

This mass death sentences handed to over 500 Citizens of Egypt by this Cairo-based court have grossly breached all sensible and well grounded international humanitarian laws.
Specifically, in part three, Article 26 of the international Covenant on civil and political Rights, the defendants must not be denied the right to fair conduct of the trial process including the right to be heard and represented by legal counsels of their choosing.

"All persons are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection of the law", so, says Article 26 of the international centenary on civil and political Rights.         
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is another aspect of the body of international humanitarian laws that the Egyptian mass death sentences violated with shameless impunity, making it all the more imperative that the security council of the United Nations must act decisively to save Egypt from the unmitigated desecration of human lives that may occur should these sentences be carried out.

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood”. That is Article one of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. But in reaching this predictable and rash decision, the Egyptian court has treated these 500 Muslim brotherhood members as persons without fundamental rights.

Also, Article eleven of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides clearly that; “Every one charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence”.
From the barrage of news coverage emanating from the trial, it is clearly that none of these parameters of Justice, equity and fairness were extended to these 500 persons who were simply moved into a crowded court room caged like mere irrational inanimate objects and sentenced to death without allowing them to put up any form of defence.
Now that this injustice has happened, World leaders must not only speak out in total rejection of this perfidy, but the security council must take concrete measures to ensure that the government in Egypt is not allowed to send these 500 persons to their untimely deaths.

* Emmanuel Onwubiko; Head; Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria; blogs!;  


Wednesday, 19 March 2014


The earthly transition to the Saints triumphant on January 13th 2014 of my beloved father and best friend Mazi Cyprian Okorieocha Onwubiko taught me that there are significant events that happen in our lives that have transformative value chain. His death has brought the meaning of immortality closer home to me and has instilled in me the discipline to embrace my religious belief with more conviction.

On a national scale, one issue that made impact in the corporate life of Nigeria is the mass murder through administrative mistakes by the Nigerian Ministry of Interior and the Nigerian Immigration Services of over 18 youthful Nigerian job seekers during the ill-fated March 15th 2014 recruitment exercise in all parts of Nigeria and especially at the Abuja National Stadium in which young and upwardly looking Nigerian youths in search of better lives were killed during stampede that was occasioned by poor coordination and crowd control.

The man who wears the shoes as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Dr. Good luck Jonathan has since the sad incidents happened all across Nigeria, come under intense pressure to take action against the minister of Interior and his subordinates at the Nigerian Immigration Services whose woeful negligence and criminal dereliction of duty resulted in the national tragedy that characterized the shabbily conducted aptitude test for recruitment into the Nigerian Immigration Services. Jonathan has reportedly summoned the duo to appear before him at the State House in Abuja whereby they were reportedly queried.

This 'slap in the wrists' approach of the President towards Mr. Abba Moro the minister of Interior and the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Immigration Services has received widespread condemnation from a cross section of Nigerians who felt that it is insufficient to deter future occurrence given that a similar recruitment fiasco happened few years back with the same agency of government which also cost the precious lives of young applicants but no single government official was sanctioned.

Prominent Nigerians and civil rights groups have called on the President to summarily sack the duo and all other top officials of Government that not only bungled the recruitment exercise but clearly extorted the job seekers who were tricked into paying N1000 application fee and the forms sold online to over six million applicants when it was clear to government that only four thousand job vacancies were available and that preponderant percentage of these job openings have been shared to state governors and the members of the National Assembly.

To compound the national insult created by this fiasco of a recruitment sham of the Nigerian Immigration Services, the Chairman of the House committee on Immigration/interior accused of cornering some of the job slots was quoted in the media to have stated that there was nothing untoward in allocating secretly job slots to favored political office holders and he even had the temerity to insult our national psyche when he reportedly said that members of the National Assembly are also Nigerians and therefore should be given slots of job vacancies. What a shame!

It was therefore not surprising that most Nigerians don't trust that the National Assembly members can competently and fairly probe a matter in which their hands were soiled deeply. Nothing good will come out of the decision of the two chambers to probe the stampede that led to this national tragedy that gave us international opprobrium.

It is in the light of the overwhelming evidence that most Nigerians are not happy that quick remedial actions are not been adopted by the Nigerian state that President Jonathan demonstrated that he has a milk of human kindness and can indeed act decisively contrary to the impression his seeming inaction over several national  matters have created in the minds of most Nigerians.

Stories filtering out of the State House in Abuja says the President has ordered the cancelation of the ill-fated job interviews of the Immigration and has also offered automatic employment to all the injured even as he allocated three slots to each of the families of the dead.

But are these measures far-reaching enough? If you ask me, I will answer in the negative because if the two persons who should take responsibility for this national shame are left in their jobs it therefore means that these young job seekers who were massacred died in vain.

The President should therefore go a step further by sacking the minister of Interior and the Comptroller General of Immigration, order their prosecution for both acts bordering on official dereliction of duties occasioning deaths and aggravated injuries to many of the job seekers. Let section 6 of the 1999 constitution which gives the judicial powers of the federation to the court system be allowed to take its full course. Let the Federal Attorney General and the state Attorneys General whereby these job seekers died take action to drag the minister and the Comptroller General to court.

Section 33[1] of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides thus; " Every person has a Right to life and no one SHALL be deprived intentionally of his life save in the execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he/she has been found guilty in Nigeria".

The full intent of this section is that the Nigerian state lacks the power to deprive law abiding Nigerians of their constitutionally guaranteed right to life. Indeed the fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy is of the considered position that the welfare and security of every citizen is the primary duty of government.

It therefore follows that this act of treachery, corporate fraud called immigration recruitment exercise which occasioned the stampede that led to the untimely demise of youthful Nigerians in their dozens must be appropriately viewed as serious crimes against humanity and the officials fingered to be remotely or immediately connected with this deadly scam must be brought before the law to face the music squarely because the law should not be made to operate as a respecter of persons of high governmental status.

Nigeria must eliminate impunity from our body politics and whomsoever commits atrocity must be sanctioned appropriately in compliance with the constitutional provisions.

+Emmanuel Onwubiko; Head; Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria; blogs;



“Comrade Onwubiko, I didn’t see your name on the list of delegates to the national conference”, was the exact statement presented in a most melodious tones by a middle-age lady and a staunch member of the Peoples Democratic Party who accosted me while making some purchases of essential commodities at the Exclusive Superstores in Abuja also owned by a politician.   
I looked back to behold this beautiful lady from Imo State who has to her credit two beautiful teenage female twins and all I could do was to smile and thank her for believing in my ability to comfortably qualify to be at the National Conference in a representative capacity for the highly skilled and visionary and/or organized civil society community in Nigeria.
Same day while quaffing a hot cup of Coffee, I was also confronted by a top flight political office holder in Kogi State with the same question of why President Goodluck Jonathan and/or stakeholders did not nominate yours faithfully to be at the National Conference. My simple reply was that all of us cannot and should not be at the Abuja national conference.
This gentleman who phenomenally rose to the peak of his professional media career before his appointment by the Kogi State governor expressed doubt in the capacity of a lot of the delegates to the National Conference to qualitatively contribute meaningful panacea to resolve the monumental crisis of underdevelopment confronting our nation state.
“See, my brother, I just got a call from one of the so-called national conference delegates who is a well known tout in Kogi State informing me that he has just dropped his bank account details with the secretariat of the National Conference” headed by Dr. (Mrs.) Velerie Azinge, wife of the ebullient director General of the Nigeria’s institute of Advance legal studies Professor Epiphany Azinge (SAN).
This enormously gifted journalist then added in conclusion that “I wonder what these delegates will deliver to Nigeria to salvage us from the imminent threat of collapse”.
There is a considerable amount of anxiety/apprehension among a majority of Nigerians that Nigeria has never had it so bad to an extent that most of them have begun procuring foreign passports should the unexpected happened and Nigeria implodes. God forbid!

On that same Monday that these conversations took place, little did we know that another dimension of drama of epic proportion was unfolding at the venue of the national conference at the Nigerian judicial institute.
Members of the National Conference on the first day of the plenary were concerned about mundane and unserious issues of whether government will engage special assistants for each of them even as others argued like children on sitting arrangement. One of the delegates representing the traditional institution was caught on tape using the F – word to cast aspersion on a security detail who asked him to produce any form of identification before gaining access to the reportedly fortified conference venue.
The traditional ruler in question was said to have retorted in bottled up anger that if he was a traditional ruler from the North the security operative will rather than stop him to demand his particulars, will genuflect in obeisance/trepidation.
Predictably, media report of that session was so very unfavorable even as majority of those who spoke were said to have concentrated on selfish issues rather than national matters.
The national conference then rose from the first plenary session without achieving anything tangible  but adjourned for four days to enable the secretariat attend to emerging logistical issues for the comfort of members.
Respected fathers of philosophy were known to have stated that 'first impression in any engagement matters so much' and that 'the morning shows what the day will look like' and in line with that line of thought most Nigerians are now asking probing question regarding the extent of achievements expected from this national talk shop.
There is therefore a general climate of expectation that the national conferees will in no small measure achieve landmark revolutionary steps in moving Nigeria away from the current state of constitutional dysfunctionality, developmental inertia and general state of uncertainty and/or insecurity.
Honestly, from what I have gleaned from the groundswell of expectations expressed in words by most people, I think most Nigerians are unknowingly committing the fallacy of hasty conclusion or what I have chosen to call fallacy of exaggerated expectations from the ongoing national conference.
Reason: For over fifteen years that democracy staged a come back in Nigeria after many 'donkey years' of unprogressive military regimes, the National Assembly charged with the supreme task of formulating good laws has yet to roll out several good legislations that would have addressed the many Constitutional imperfections and lapses embedded in the legal frame work of Nigeria by the grudgingly departing military rulers in 1999.  It took the national assembly of Nigeria seven years to pass the Freedom of Information Bill into an Act of the National Assembly.
Besides, the extant Constitution has come under considerable criticisms for inhabiting several provisions that promote inequities of divergent types just as there are many “time bombs” and lacunae in-built in that document which is Nigeria’s grund norm.
For instance, why should Kano state have more legislators at the Federal House of Representatives than four of five states of the South East? This fundamental constitutional time bomb planted by the late General Sani Abacha is yet to be corrected.
Twice the National Assembly at different sessions spent billions of tax payers money to amend sections of the constitution to bring the law to comply substantially with global democratic best practices, but the National Assembly is currently not finished with this arduous task which has become a money spinning venture for the national legislators.
How will the National Conference that will last only three months be expected to deliver these revolutionary changes when the National Assembly has yet to deliver one quarter of the yearly aspirations of Nigerians even with billions of United States dollars spent taking care of their needs?
Have we forgotten so soon the revelation by the former Education minister and former vice president of World Bank Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili that N1trn was spent maintaining the National Assembly for eight years but yet not many more good laws have emerged from these two chambers (emphasis is mine).
Only last August, Mrs. Ezekwesili said Nigeria had spent over  N1tn on  the National Assembly members   in the last eight years.
Ezekwesili, in a keynote address she delivered during one-day dialogue session on the ‘Cost of governance in Nigeria',  added that  banks earned N699bn as interests last year  on loans secured by the government.
 “Since 2005, the National Assembly members alone have been allocated N1tr,’’she said while also lamenting that “82 per cent of Nigeria’s budgetary cost goes for recurrent expenditure.”
 To buttress her claim that  much was being spent   servicing those in government, she said that   “ a research conducted in the United Kingdom identified Nigerian legislators as being the highest paid in the world.”
Now that the outcomes from the National conference will in some ways find legitimacy from the law making mechanism of the National Assembly how do we expect that these same legislators will be courageous and patriotic enough to change the status quo that will take away their juicy allowances and allow democracy to work optimally in Nigeria? Tall order, you may say!
How are we expecting political miracles to happen at the National Conference when the National Assembly that is grounded solidly in law has failed to reform Nigeria from the many ills afflicting the body politics?
How do we expect the national conference that has shaky legal ground/foundation to deliver these lofty goals that will fundamentally change Nigeria to become a functional democracy whereby adherence to the rule of law, equality before the law, equal representation at the National Assembly, equitable resource control and respect for human rights would become sacrosanct?
The National Assembly is recognized under section 4(1) of the constitution whereupon it was assigned the legislative powers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. But where is the provision of the constitution that legally preclude and/or insulate the national conference from imminent legal earth quake if the subsisting court matter is decided in favour of the plaintiffs who are seeking the dissolution of the national dialogue?
Mr. Femi Falana, a senior Advocate of Nigeria and a delegate to the national conference was well aware of the legal challenge confronting the national conference so much so that he made spirited intellectual effort to anchor the national conference under a constitutional provision that did not clearly make pronouncement concerning the national conference but at best can be located by way of a seemingly tenuous inference.
Falana said the concern raised in some quarters that the National Assembly did not approve the hosting of the conference is unfounded.
He said “By virtue of Section 5 of the constitution, the executive powers of the President include convening meetings of this nature to solve problems confronting the country.
“The President has already taken the idea of the conference to the Council State and they appropriately advised him to go ahead and conduct the confab.
“The constitution also empowers citizens to assemble peacefully and discuss issues that affect their interest. So, why the talk that the conference is not supported by the constitution.”
He, however, said the National Assembly had a duty to consider legitimate resolutions from the conference in the interest of the country.
Falana said, “The National Assembly has  a duty to take all the interest of Nigerians into consideration.
“If the resolutions from this conference are serious, profound and they address the problems of the country, there is no way why the National Assembly will not take cognizance of them.”
Sir,  to be candid, I think these aspirations you have expressed herein may after all amount to a cocktail of  wishful thinking if the undemocratic antecedents of the legislators are anything to go by.
Herein lies the worry that we may after all be expecting so much from this talk shop that is billed to cost the tax payers the princely sum of N7 Billion which will be blown away within three months.
Let us moderate our expectations so we avoid cardiac arrest if at the end of the ongoing national conference the recommendations are thrown into the dust bin of history like all previous national/constitutional conferences.