Huriwa Logo

Huriwa Logo

Wednesday, 28 May 2014


As the nation celebrates democracy day on May 29th, an appeal by HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has gone to President Goodluck Jonathan to lift the suspension imposed on the new film adaptation of half of a Yellow Sun.
The Rights group said the failure of the central government to allow Nigerians enjoy the freedom to watch the creative work of a vastly talented Nigerian- Ms. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on very nebulous, grotesque and incoherent excuses offered by the Nigerian Films and Video Censors Board in Abuja, is the greatest breach of the democratic and fundamental human rights which are universal, inalienable and sacrosanct.
Specifically, the film adaptation of half of a Yellow Sun a book done by Miss. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was directed by the Nigerian-born but United Kingdom-based movie director Mr. Biyi Bandele Thomas and has been shown on international movie screens in New York, Toronto, Canada; The United Kingdom and several other international venues.
HURIWA recalled that the Nigerian films and video censors board has reportedly suspended the showing of the preview of the movie in Nigerian cities citing the uncertainties of our contemporary times in Nigeria not unrelated to the insecurity across Nigeria.
The democracy inclined non-governmental organization in a statement to mark the 2014 democracy day has dismissed the suspension of the broadcasting of Half of a yellow Sun film adaptation in Nigeria as primitive, unconstitutional, illegal and highly anti-intellectual even as the Rights group has asked President Jonathan to apologize for this show of shame by the director General of the Nigerian films and video censors board in suspending ad infinitum the film in question.
HURIWA through a joint statement by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf reminded the Nigerian government that the Constitution allows for right to freedom of expression and the Press. It further reminded the Nigerian government that it is unwise to seek to deny Nigerians resident within the country the right to view the entire movie of half of a yellow sun when the rest of the World have already started pouring encomiums for the unprecedented creativity that the film adaptation of an important period of Nigeria’s political history represents.     
“In the strongest possible term, we condemn and reject the inexcusable suspension of the broadcast in Nigerian cities of the newly introduced Half of a Yellow Sun movie. This draconian directive from the Nigerian films and Censors Board is an attempt to deny the historicity of the Nigerian-Biafran civil war and by so doing significantly annulling the constitutional right guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of human rights, African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights and importantly section 39(1) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 (as amended) which unambiguously provides that “every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression including freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference”. 
HURIWA said the backward and reactionary measure of suspending and or directing the producers of Half of Yellow Sun to delete aspects of the movie as a condition precedent before certification could be issued to show it in Nigeria amounted to “genocide denial” reminiscent of dictatorial regimes and therefore remains undemocratic and non-civil. HURIWA has therefore asked the Nigerian Government to reverse this decision immediately.

Besides, HURIWA warned government not to create the impression that Nigeria still lives in the medieval dark ages since the film that has already being viewed around the world is being withheld by an agency of the Nigerian government for non-justifiable reason other than the official apprehension about the truth. 


Monday, 5 May 2014


If you ever nursed any doubts that Nigeria is a perfect metaphor then perish that thought if you are among the audience that watched as the Nigerian President made a laughing stock of Nigeria with his year 2014 Workers' Day speech at the heavily fortified Eagle square in Abuja. President Goodluck Jonathan, on that Thursday, faulted the World Bank report which placed Nigeria among the five poorest countries in the world, saying “the nation is not poor”.

Do you wish to smile or explode with angst at this allegory graphically depicted by the Nigerian President? Wait a while as I bring you further components of this strange theory of the political leader of the largest black nation and the World's most dysfunctional nation state. 

Cheered on by some sycophants who parade around as labour union leaders, the president advanced the illogical affirmation thus; “the challenge of the country is not poverty, but redistribution of wealth.”

President Jonathan whose adopted daughter recently got wedded and reportedly received choice exotic automobiles from business associates of her father said that the realities on ground did not portray the country as a poor nation, but a nation which abundant wealth needed to be evenly redistributed. 

Mr. President just committed the fallacy of hasty conclusion given the indices he relied on to draw his conclusion.

You know what?  Mr. President, yes, Nigeria is a perfect metaphor of a rich dad [political office holders] whose children [ordinary citizens] are so poor that they may die off any time soon.

If you, our rich President has spoken as clearly as you have done then we will believe you that Nigeria is a rich nation but only to the factual extent that Nigeria is indeed a rich country whose populations are mostly poor due largely to the corrupt tendencies of her thieving elites.

Please Sir do not presume that because your daughter only recently got phenomenal amount of gifts during her wedding that this nation is rich. Nor are you judging from the fact that the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar took his young son and his American lover to Dubai whereby they had one of the best wedding that money can buy to now presume that Nigerians are rich.  The fact is that those who showered gifts and cash to the adopted daughter of the Nigerian President only did that for selfish reasons since they have only invested their capital with the expectation that surely they will bag huge contracts.
But come to think of it, the President did not actually mean that because his daughter got lavish gifts that Nigeria is therefore a rich country. No, he rather used the number of private jets acquired by elites to arrive at that grotesque conclusion that Nigeria is such a rich country. But Mr. President failed to tell Nigerians how these few rich guys got the money in the first instance to buy up these exotic jets. Most of these jets' owners have liquidated the banks in Nigeria with their bad debts that they refused to pay back thereby forcing this same government to set up Assets Management Corporation  [AMCON] to buy back these bad debts.

Hear him; “Nigeria is not a poor country. Nigerians are the most travelled people. There is no country you go that you will not see Nigerians. The GDP of Nigeria is over half a trillion dollars and the economy is growing at close to 7 percent.”

“Aliko Dangote was recently classified among the 25 richest people in the world".

But here is the illogicality, If Aliko Dangote is ranked as one of the twenty fifth richest persons in the World, does that take away the factual reality that ten million or more Children of school age are out of school and are indeed in the harsh streets of Nigeria hungry, homeless and helpless? Does the fact that Nigeria is an oasis of just one Aliko Dangote who has joined the obscenely rich club globally that the millions of jobless youth in Nigeria have ceased to exist? Was it not only few weeks back that about twenty four job seeking Nigerian youth perished while struggling to attend the poorly conducted recruitment exercises into the Nigerian Immigration Service?

President Jonathan indeed believes that Nigeria is so rich because according to him; “I visited Kenya recently on a state visit and there was a programme for Nigerians and Kenyan business men to interact and the number of private jets that landed in Nairobi that day was a subject of discussion in Kenyan media for over a week".

“If you talk about ownership of private jets, Nigeria will be among the first 10 countries, yet they are saying that Nigeria is among the five poorest countries", so says President Jonathan. Here again is the flaws of this kind of thinking. Assuming that Nigerian elites who stole their ways into wealth have now managed to buy up private jets, it only goes to show one thing: Nigeria is a failed state whereby basic amenities of road infrastructure has failed and aviation safety is not guaranteed on commercial airlines thereby forcing these corrupt elites to buy exotic private jets for self preservation.

Again, majority of these jets buying elites are in the black books of most banks as bad debtors who have perpetually failed to fulfill their obligation of paying back their huge debts. Because of these criminal tendencies of these elites, banks have had to go distress therefore forcing government to set up the Assets management Corporation to buy back these bad debts. So how does these jets in private hands of a few elites contribute to national wealth?

President Jonathan introduced another dramatic dimension of this illogicality by saying that there is a quantity of cash that a rich Nigerian may offer a poor Nigerian and that beneficiary will not be magnanimous to commend the donor.

I have this shocking news for Mr. President by letting him know that the part of Imo state where I come from, the poorest of the poor who are in the clearest majority will appreciate the smallest amount of money in Nigerian currency that any donor can give them. I am available within the shortest notice to give Mr. President the details of these poor people in Onu-imo Local Government Area Council of Imo state that are actually generous with commendation for any small act of charity extended to them and these people are ready to shower Mr. President with basket full of thanksgiving if God directs him to extend some of his goodies.

This is what President Jonathan wants us to believe. His words; “Some of you will experience that there is an amount of money you will give to a Nigerian who needs help and will not even regard it and thank you but if you travel to other countries and give such an amount, the person will celebrate".

The source of this Presidential anger is the World Bank that dared to tell us the truth that is already as naked as a newly born infant that Nigeria is such a poor nation that harbours the third largest number of poor people in the World.  

Angry with the World Bank, President Jonathan told his audience that; "But the World Bank statistics shows that Nigeria is among the five poorest countries. Our problem is not poverty, our problem is redistribution of wealth.”

So Mr. President has not moved around the streets of Yenagoa, the Bayelsa state capital or Douglas Road in Owerri, the Imo state Capital or indeed one of the streets in Kano state disguised as a commoner to see for himself the large populations of the poorest of the poor who can not even afford the one square meal that is used as a yardstick for classifying people as poor or extremely poor?  To use the 'probability' word to assert that wealth is not equitably redistributed in Nigeria is to put it mildly offensive and odious.  

But the Nigerian leader used that word when he added that “probably, wealth is concentrated in very few hands and a number of people do not have access to it and that is why my administration is committed in terms of financial inclusiveness and we are working very hard to achieve this.”

Speaking apriori, I will narrate an experience I had recently when I travelled home to Imo state during the Easter period. I met twelve different young persons who came visiting me in my little village home. These persons came individually with baggage of existential circumstances that they had high hopes that as someone staying in Abuja, the Nigeria political capital city, I should be in a position to assist them solve them. The pretty part of what most of these twelve young persons all of them with good grades from their university degree examinations, could be summed up in just seeking for me to give each of them the equivalence of two hundred USD to enable each of them settle some basic hospital and other essential bills.
In the same vein, if you move around the major streets of Lagos or Maiduguri in Borno state, you will surely be confronted by the overwhelming presence of large number of young persons learned or unlearned, who are in dire needs of basic essentials to survive.

Frida Ghita writing an opinion piece in the Cable News Network stated the obvious when the following was stated; "Nigeria is a resource rich nation whose people live in grinding poverty. It is also plagued with endemic corruption. That triple combination-poverty, corruption and resource wealth- creates fertile ground for strife and extremism".

This is precisely what Nigeria is...A nation with a rich Dad but with very poor Kids.

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


Friday, 2 May 2014


As part of my usual pre-bed time rituals, I spend at least an hour or two to read through some chapters of any latest publication on a variety of thematic areas that I have just acquired.

So on the night of May 1st 2014, I was busy devouring some chapters in one of the new books I have just picked up from the bookshop written by Ambassador Tunde Adeniran, Nigeria’s former envoy to Germany.
Aptly titled “My mission to Germany” which is an account of his stewardship published by spectrum books.

In one of the chapters of that book, Professor Adeniran spent considerable amount of time to analyse what he called ‘the Image of Nigeria in Europe’.
Professor Adeniran gave the synopsis of why most people migrate to the Western societies from places considered as third World nations as follows; “…the search for a better life pattern, relative advantage among and between territories, armed confrontation as well as economic and ecological catastrophes are among factors which encourage migration (legal or illegal) from one country to another….”

I actually picked up this book to read because of a very damaging article in the foreign press that I had just finished reading on how African migrants jump fence to enter Europe.

That foreign Agency’s piece narrated the following on how African migrants take life threatening risks to cross over to Europe;  “They perched atop a barbed wire laced fence for more than seven hours, hands and feet bloodied, buffeted by chill winds whipping the cliffs of Africa’s Mediterranean coast. The 27 Sub-Saharan African migrants literally on the edge between Africa’s economic misery and the long-dreamt riches of Europe: on one side of the fence was Morocco, on the other the Spanish enclave of Melilla”.    

While still enjoying the beautiful prose penned down by Professor Adeniran, I got a worrying phone call from a friend that we have lost contact for many years and this friend told me that he recently got deported from one of the Central European Nation’s and that since he lost practically everything he had spent two decades working for in his host country, he decided to move into Nyanya, a suburb of the Nigerian Capital City.
My apprehension got to a summit when he told me of the latest bomb attack in Nyanya and that the terrorists struck at approximately the same spot that the April 14th 2014 attack took place in which over one hundred persons died.

 I quickly asked him to take precautionary measures to stay safe even as I made several other calls to verify the authenticity of this sad news that came to me at exactly 8.30pm on May 1st 2014. Sadly, his information was a cruel reality.
Naturally, this sad news put an immediate stop to my intellectual adventure of struggling to complete the reading of the 361 page book by Professor Tunde Adeniran.

The resolve to think out rational ways of avoiding the disintegration of Nigeria then became ever more attractive given that the armed Islamic insurgents who have made several threats to embark on a campaign of genocide have moved from their operational base in the North East of Nigeria and have returned back to the Nigerian political capital where they had struck some years back.

How do we avoid the Afghanistanization and/or balkanization of Nigeria?
The first step is to bring serious bite to the anti-graft fight by introducing through the legislative process the amendment of all relevant laws to make looting of public fund budgeted for defence and the police sectors punishable by the death penalty.   

It is no longer a secret that corruption is the root cause of lack of combat readiness on the part of operatives of the armed forces charged constitutionally with the role of protecting the territorial integrity of Nigeria.

The National Assembly needs to order the forensic audit of the Defence and police budgets to cover the period between 1982 till date to ascertain why the military still lacks the 21st century compliant combat infrastructure.

The citizens should be told how the huge budgetary releases were spent and if persons who had served in both the military and the police are fingered to be involved in the massive looting of the resources meant to equip our soldiers, then such persons must be made to cough out our resources and also be severely sanctioned in the accordance with the law.

Corruption in the defence sector is the most sacrilegious offence against the sovereignty of Nigeria because if the military operatives required by the supreme law of the land to fight to preserve Nigeria’s territorial integrity are weakened operationally and left without adequate intelligence-driven combat-readiness, trainings/capacity building, then the nation would become weak and porous for enemies of our sovereignty both internally and externally to attack us.

Again, fighting corruption in all its ramification is not just a categorical imperative but also a constitutional necessity because section 15(5) clearly states that “The (Nigerian) States shall abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power”.

Nigeria must work out better and more effective means of fighting corruption especially in the defence and police sectors so as to stop Nigeria from going the way of such failed nations like Afghanistan and Somalia.

In 2006, at a national Seminar on Economic Crime in which this writer attended, the current Gombe State governor who was the then Accountant-General of the federation Alhaji Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo spoke the mind of most true lovers of Nigeria’s sovereignty when  he canvassed stiffer penalty for the crime of looting public fund.

Writing under the title; “Managing public fund; Ethical challenges, conflicts of interest and solutions”, Alhaji Dankwambo had stated that; “Rules and regulations should be reviewed and up-dated from time to time. Sanctions should be imposed appropriately without delay”.

In the same vein, it is my considered submission that Nigeria has not waged determined war against corruption in the procurement mechanisms in place in the ministries of Defence and the police which is the fundamental reason for the clear rot that afflicts these vital sectors and has exposed Nigeria to a range of devastating attacks by armed terrorists.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo during whose tenure the anti-graft institutions were erected has this to say on why corruption must be uprooted from the face of Nigeria and especially in the most strategic sectors of Defence and police.

His words: “The fight against corruption must not only be sustained and completed; the people themselves must insist that their leaders do not deviate from it”.

Secondly, I think Nigeria needs to make it constitutionally imperative that those who desire to seek public offices must denounce all foreign passports and citizenship in their possessions and swear an oath to be totally loyal to the sovereignty of Nigeria. In America for instance, even citizens born outside of the geographical territory of the United States of America are forbidden by law from seeking the highest office of the President of the United States.

But in Nigeria, the members of the political class are competing for who would possess the best foreign citizenship than the other political rival and by this way none of them is completely loyal to Nigeria. The reason is that because the greater percentage of today’s political leaders have second countries to return to should Nigeria collapse, this is the reason why such sacred budgets of Defence and police for national security are wantonly stolen.
The National Conference should recommend a constitutional amendment to compel all political office holders to become Nigerians in reality and practice. From my extensive research, almost all the legislators in the National Assembly and officials of executive arm of government in Nigeria have obtained foreign passports for themselves and their immediate families.

* Emmanuel Onwubiko; Head, HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS’ ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA;;