war of words(truth)

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Wednesday blasted the President Goodluck Jonathan-led administration and the National Assembly for promoting corruption and poor governance.

The ex-President spoke in Abuja at the presentation of books by a former Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, retired Justice Mustapha Akanbi.

“For quite some time, the covered and hushed-up corruption has had its toll on the economy,” Obasanjo said.

According to him, the increasing rate of corruption under Jonathan had damaged the economy, warning that “in the future, we will have a budget that cannot be funded.”

He said, “We may have to borrow to pay salaries and allowances. Revenue allocation to states and local governments has already drastically reduced. Capital projects at all levels may have to be drastically cut or stopped.

“Nigeria cannot continue to indulge in disdain of truth, elevation of corruption and incompetence, reinforcement of failure, condonation of heinous crimes and celebration of mediocrity, tribal bigotry, fomenting violence and anti-democratic practices in states and National Assembly.

“Corruption in the National Assembly also includes what they call constituency projects, which they give to their agents to execute, but invariably, full payment is made with little or no job done.

“In all these, if the executive is absolutely above board, the offending members of the National Assembly resort to subtle or open threat, intimidation and blackmail of the executive.”

On Boko Haram, Obasanjo blamed the escalation of the insurgency on the delay in Jonathan’s understanding of the sect and the threat they posed to the nation.

“Boko Haram is not simply a menace based on religion or one directed to frustrate anybody’s political ambition. It is essentially a socio-economic problem that is tainted with religion. It is a gargantuan danger to the nation and to all Nigerians.

“Initially, President Jonathan’s understanding of Boko Haram phenomenon suffered from wrong reading and wrong imputation. That is what led us to where we are today.

“It took even the President more than three years to appreciate and understand that it is a terrible mix of poor education or lack of education; misinterpretation of what Islam and the Quran teach and stand for, poverty, unemployment, injustice, drug, gun trafficking, human trafficking, fallout from Libya, revenge, frustration, struggle against inequality, imitation of international terrorism leading to training and part of the absorption by international terrorist groups and general poor governance, including corruption. I have always maintained that the solution to Boko Haram or any organisation like it lies in the application of carrot and stick approach.”

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Politics + madness = Justice?

The Inspector General of Police, Abba Sulaiman has ordered the immediate arrest of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal.

The Daily Trust reports that a similar order has been handed down to the Department of State Security (DSS).

This is coming barely 24 hours after the members of the House of Representatives were denied access into the National Assembly Complex on Thursday morning.

Sources at the Police headquarters revealed that the Police Chief gave the order for Tambuwal’s arrest after a meeting with the Vice President Namadi Sambo and the National Security Adviser Sambo Dasuki.

“I can confirm to you that the order for his arrest has been given today (Friday). The signal from the IG’s office specifically directed the FCT and Sokoto State commissioners of Police to serve Tambuwal with notice of invitation to the force headquarters and if he resists, he should be arrested immediately,” the source revealed.

“The involvement of the Sokoto CP was because the Speaker was sighted in Sokoto on Friday where he picked the All Progressive Congress (APC) governorship form for the coming elections. It was assumed that he was out of Abuja as such other police divisions were involved in the matter.”

Sources at the meeting in the Villa indicate that both the Vice President and the NSA chastised the Police boss for the failure of his men to prevent Speaker from entering the National Assembly premises.

“The NSA was particularly angry and told the IG in clear terms that he doesn’t know his job. He said how did the Speaker and the members break a cordon organised by the FCT Police commissioner. The NSA then made it clear that the Police authorities must rectify the anomalies or they will face the consequences. The IG then said Tambuwal will be arrested for questioning.”
Source: newsdaily nigeria

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Mathematical erro in Ekiti state legislature.

n a sudden twist of events, the Peoples Democractic Party’s lawmakers in the Ekiti State House of Assembly on Thursday impeached the Speaker, Dr. Adewale Omirin.
The Minority Leader, Mr. Samuel Ajibola,  had told journalists on Wednesday that Omirin remained the speaker and that there was no plan to impeach him.

Dele Olugbemi who had acted as pro-tem Speaker during the controversial Monday’s plenary was elected as the new Speaker.
The lawmakers also replaced the Deputy Speaker, Mr. Tunji Orisalade, with a female lawmaker who recently defected from the All Progressives Congress, Mrs. Abeni Olayinka, representing Ado Constituency 2.
At about 8am, some group of youths, led by one Bello Ganiyu-Akande, had  protested to the Assembly, calling for Omirin’s removal on account of alleged frosty relationship with Fayose.
Ganiyu-Akande described the APC lawmakers as enemies of the State who should not be given a breathing space to actualise their alleged sinister intention.
Omirin has, however, insisted that he remained the Speaker because the PDP lawmakers did not meet the 2/3 majority required to impeach him as stipulated by the 1999 constitution.
In a programme monitored on African Independent Television on Thursday, he said “The 19 APC members are intact and we are outside the State because the place is not safe for us. Fayose is fast becoming a maximum ruler and this cannot stand.”
Omirin , who had on Monday threatened to go to court said that the APC lawmakers would resume duties next Monday to begin their legislative work.
“What they did was illegal because they cannot change the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Ordinarily, we never had the intention of impeaching the Governor because he has not committed any offence.
“But we have to leave the State when we realised that our lives are no longer safe. As I speak to you , my drivers and other aides have been removed and wild demonstration sponsored by Fayose is ongoing in Ado-Ekiti now. I want to emphasise that I remain the Speaker of the Assembly,” he insisted.
Ten people sat at the chambers on Thursday to conduct the plenary including the three whose identities still remain hidden.
However, only seven PDP legislators appeared in the Speaker’s office for the prayer session after the Assembly coup.
Journalists were barred from covering the session where Omirin was impeached. But a selected few were later allowed in after Olugbemi had taken charge in the chambers.
 
During the brief sitting that lasted for about 45 minutes, the lawmakers repealed the Ekiti State Peace Corps established by ex-Governor Kayode Fayemi, describing the body as a  burden to the finances of the  State.
They also amended the Ekiti State Logo and reversed the Ekiti’s slogan to ‘Fountain of Knowledge,’ which had earlier been tinkered with by Fayemi to “Land of Honour.”
Immediately after the plenary, the three lawmakers whose identities still remain unknown disappeared from the chambers. They did not follow others to the Speaker’s office which initially had been under lock and key.
Source: punchnews

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Church money and business

In the early days of Christianity in Nigeria the church was at the forefront of society’s development building schools, hospitals, vocational skills acquisition centres, farms and cottage industries, among others.
They offered scholarships, gave free books and teaching aids, and gave food, clothing and shelter to those deprived of these necessities. Notwithstanding that the central theme of sermons was on preparing for the life after death, the church tried as much as possible to ensure that members and those who dared to come into God’s house had a good life before death.
The satisfaction of the church was the welfare of members and the success of the church was seen in the number of lives touched and it therefore offered safe haven to people in various distress situations such as those needing food, clothing, accommodation, financial relief, treatment of debilitating illnesses such as leprosy and mental disorders and  several others.
As the church ministered to the needs of members and their lives got better they brought the proceeds of the works of their hands in form of tithes and offerings to God at Sunday services, thanksgiving and harvest ceremonies. With these, more cathedrals, mission schools, orphanages, maternity homes and farms were built.

Pastor Enoch Adeboye, G.O, RCCG
Also more scholarships to even higher levels of education were awarded as the house of God indeed became the house of plenty. Pastors saved money for social development projects by living modest lives usually behind the church, riding bicycles and working their own farms in a clear example of storing up treasures in heaven as the Bible recommends.
Fast track to 2014, members minister to the needs of the church paying through the nose to fund broadcasts on television and chain of businesses including universities, publishing houses, nursery, primary/ post primary schools, as well as buy flashy cars and private jets. They are reminded daily that givers never lack.
In a bid to please “God” and achieve the elusive breakthrough parishioners squeeze themselves dry to contribute to various projects in the house of God. But surprisingly their situation never changes. The more they give the poorer they become and the richer the church.
Today’s church is an epitome of modernity operating from state–of-the–art, imposing  edifices fully air-conditioned and complete with evolutionary camera, klieg light and other stage facilities for live broadcast from the pulpit. Yet poverty ravages the same establishment. Due to this religious paradox discerning Nigerians have begun to ask a pertinent question – has the modern church abandoned social service that the old church used so effectively to warm itself into the hearts of many?
Take this: July 6, 2014 in a church in Amuwo Odofin area of Lagos, a priest  held the congregation spell-bound with his homily. His delivery was superb. Emphasis was to shift to appreciating what God has done for all by been generous in the Harvest contributions.
He started by calling on those who wanted to appreciate God with N200,000 to come forward for special blessing. From N200,000 it fell to N150,000, N100,000 and to N50,000 to N5,000 and below. Although nobody came out for a supposed N200,000 blessing, the priest at the end of the day asked the entire church to stand for general blessing.

Oritsejafor
To the conservative Catholics it was taking revenue drive too far. The scene at the Amuwo Odofin church is common in Catholic churches in the country now. Before now, the pentecostal churches appeared to enjoy the exclusivity of megabucks from members. Some church leaders even flaunt their wealth. Even in their jerry-curl hair style they defend their affluence on the grounds that “my God is not a poor God.”
The message is apparently for members to strive to be like them as they claim to enjoy the benevolence of God. And so the craze for miracles that could create rags to riches phenomenon is unabated in our churches. Although the pentecostal churches are in the lead for revenue drive that see churches embark on big projects only a few of them have programmes to help the poor. And it is in this area that the Catholic Church stands out.
The programmes of their Saint Vincent De Paul Society are geared towards alleviating problems of the poor in their various parishes. They visit, hospitals, prisons, charity homes to donate items to them. They identify with the poor in their parishes and lend a helping hand. The Church is known for their contributions in education and  health care that is affordable by the poor. But unlike before, the Catholic church in Nigeria appears to have joined the race to grab and grab from church members or parishoners.
The harvest period in some churches last up to six months. The mass is usually longer for speeches and announcements that plead to members to appreciate God. Although members, in many cases, attest to what the church does with the money, the pressure on members to offer resources during harvest is unChatholic to many.
Mr. Gabriel Bolade, an accountant in a commercial bank who attends Baptist Church, Yaba believes the church has abandoned its members. He lamented that the church of today has abandoned the noble role of taking care of the weak and vulnerable in the society. His concern arose from the clear unwillingness to help enhance education in the country.
“Most of the private universities are owned by well established churches who charge fees far beyond the means of ordinary members who contributed to the establishment of these higher institutions. Fees in the region of N1.5 million to N3 million per session are charged which can only be afforded by the wealthy.
The ordinary members who helped in donating materials, cash, labour and even by praying and fasting for the universities cannot afford such fees for their children and wards.”

Pastor Chris Oyakhilome and his wife
But exorbitant fee is not the exclusive preserve of Pentecostal churches. Mission schools handed back by government to the churches that established them some years back as part of strategies to improve education in the country have now been caught in the web. The schools owned by Methodist, Catholic, Anglican, CMS and other churches that were reputed social service providers have now been hijacked by greedy capitalists. Their fees are no longer affordable, just like private universities.
Mr. Emmanuel Onyeji, past chairman of the Laity Council at St.  Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, Okokomaiko, Lagos put the problem at the door step of “churches that are mainly interested in making money” and not in the welfare of their members.
“Pastors of churches often preach about the primacy of giving at least 10 per cent of their income as tithe and more as offering to the church. Their focus is on prosperity mainly”.
But Pentecostal churches have faulted this claim about church members contributing towards the establishment of educational institutions. In fact, Pastor David Oyedepo of Living Faith Mission (Winners Chapel) who is Founder and Chancellor of Covenant University was quoted as saying that he did not build the university with tithes and offerings of members. But he is yet to reveal the sources of funding. His denial, however, does not explain why majority of Winners Chapel members cannot afford the fees charged by a University owned by their church or senior pastor; yet he owns private jets  – Gulfstream G550, Gulfstream G450, Gulfstream V and LearJet with combined valued of  $98.3million (N15.9billion).
The situation is not different at the Redeemers University (RUN), owned by the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG). While fees are also as high as that of Covenant University, RUN claims to have established a scholarship scheme for indigent students. The scheme involves school fees discounts of between 10 % and 80% for children and wards of the university’s staff, children of pastors and some indigent members of the church. Like Winner’s Chapel Senior Pastor, the General Overseer of RCCG Pastor E.A. Adeboye owns a private jet – a Gulfstream V.

Bishop Oyedepo
That owned by the President of Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Ayo Oritsejafor has just been involved in a scandal in South Africa. It  flew $9.3m cash into South Africa where the money has been seized by the home country although the man has explained that he leased the aircraft to another company and that he knew nothing about the transaction. . Nigeria’s government claimed responsibility, saying that the money was meant for the purchase of arms to fight terror and that cash payments are sometimes effected in such deals.
Ayo Oritsejiafor has admitted owning the aircraft and also admitted leasing it out to a company he has substantial interest. Nigerians want to know how this has this helped evangelism?  Critics will be quick to answer that materialism is better for it than evangelism.
Mr. Daniel Ede, a banker who worships with the Anglican Church expressed worry that the present day church has deviated from the practice of the early church in terms of assisting those in need and he recommends immediate change.
“The early church in Acts of the Apostles sold their belongings and gave to the needy. Some of the wealth being made by our churches should be used for the sick, poor widows, prisoners, etc. Churches ought to create more welfare programmes for the indigent and needy in their midst. They should have schools and hospitals that the poor can afford”.
A worker in a Pentecostal church in Lagos, who spoke to Saturday Vanguard on condition of anonymity said churches in Nigeria are not doing enough to help the poor and indigent and asked for remedial action. “The Nigerian churches are not doing enough. The church can begin a revolution of wealth creation and the development of education. We need to give in such a way that those given will not need alms again. Education funds should be created for those who are eligible to attend university, but are indigent. If churches build schools, they should dedicate a certain admission percentage slot for indigent church members. Of what essence is a church that doesn’t give back?”
He added that “churches should help fund businesses for church members and may also establish food banks, where indigent members of the church can access food in times of food shortage. They can also generate funds for small businesses to grow, as well as train the owners of such businesses”.

TB Joshua
Speaking to Saturday Vanguard, the Benue State chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Arch Bishop Yiman Orkwar sees nothing wrong in churches establishing schools and running them in a professional manner, without sentiments. While he is not against churches granting scholarships to children of the poor, he insists that there is no way all members of the church could be exempted from paying fees as a matter of policy as this could harm the institution’s ability to run the institutions properly and meet the demands of staff.
Sociologist Dr. John Akposibruke disagrees with those suggesting that the church has abandoned its social service role to humanity like poverty alleviation.
“Some of the Pentecostal churches being accused of collecting tithes and offerings without giving back to the needy members have commendable welfare/poverty alleviation schemes.
“I know of a church that pays rent, school fees, medical bills and even wedding costs of its indigent members, but how many people can they do this for with their limited resources?”
He explained that their efforts are not being felt because the magnitude of poverty and deprivation in the country is so high that what is done pales into insignificance.
“In some churches those who need help are up to 60% of members and with the worsening level of unemployment the rate is growing; how do you attend to everybody?”
He points out that some members have developed unrealistic expectations from their churches one of which is that their children should attend a church-owned university free of charge simply because they gave tithes and offerings when the universities  were being built without asking themselves the percentage of these contributions to the cost of setting up and running such schools.
“Tithes and offerings are gifts to God and the church, and like every gift they are not returnable either in form they were given, or by extending discounts and privileges.
“Since tithes and offerings are pooled together to carry out various projects in the house of God it is difficult to determine who gave what and on that basis extend any privilege; how can you be sure that your own portion of the contributions was not the part used to decorate the church or buy musical equipment and not used to build a school?”
Investigation by Saturday Vanguard revealed that some churches are indeed engaged in one form of welfare/empowerment scheme or the other. Daystar Christian Centre runs a leadership, entrepreneurship and skill development training for members to empower them. While the leadership programme is meant to impart leadership skills, the entrepreneurship class is a case-study based executive business education that takes potential entrepreneurs from idea to business plan, start up and fund sourcing.
The vocational skills development teaches members various skills such as maintenance of generators, photography, cake and confectionery making, bead making and video production among others. The church also runs a benevolence scheme under which foods, clothes and shoes are distributed to the needy whether they are members of the church or not. The Senior Pastor’s wife has also established a Real Woman Foundation to care for the female folk.
The foundation operates an orphanage and a street women rehabilitation centre which imparts vocational skills and education to any level. Inmates of these centres are given the kind of care and support that should have been provided by their families.
Saturday Vanguard  also found out that The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM) has established a number of schemes to help members beat poverty. Among these are “Career Academy” – an after school touch up for graduates to help them secure employment and “We Care” under which the church pays rent, medical bills, and gives foods and clothes to indigent members. It is also involved in rehabilitation of street girls through its “Rehobot Homes” programme.

*Bishop Okonkwo
The church also offers scholarships to intelligent but indigent members of the church under the Bishop Mike Okonkwo Scholarship scheme which runs from secondary to university.
Further investigations also revealed that several other churches run one form of poverty eradication scheme or the other to empower members but the impact of such schemes has remained minimal.
However, Dr. Joseph Antyo of the University of Mkar, a private university in Benue State owned by the Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA) believes that poverty issues in Nigeria cannot be effectively addressed at different levels (family, community, state and nation) in isolation from the churches.
He recommends that “churches should see poverty eradication as a part of their mission of evangelisation, since not only spiritual but also material salvation is needed to truly free someone. Some of the money that some churches have should be made available to their members in form of loans and other poverty alleviation measures, and the churches should be able to build on their greatest strengths which are trust and commitment rather than dependency.
Churches should also motivate their members to work or to help create employment, since the lack of it is probably the greatest bane of Africa today.”
Source: Thisdaynews (no edited content)

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you need a true witness

A man who spent 35 years in prison for raping a child has been freed after DNA evidence proved his innocence.

James Bain spent more time in prison than any of the 246 inmates previously exonerated by DNA evidence nationwide, according to the Innocence Project of Florida. The longest-serving before him was James Lee Woodard of Dallas, who was released last year after spending more than 27 years in prison for a murder he did not commit.

“Nothing can replace the years Jamie has lost,” said Seth Miller, a lawyer for the project, which helped Bain win freedom. “Today is a day of renewal.”
Mr Bain made his first-ever mobile phone call on Thursday, dialling his elderly mother to tell her he had been freed.

Mobile devices did not exist in 1974, the year he was sentenced to life in prison for kidnapping a 9-year-old boy and raping him in a nearby field. Neither did the sophisticated DNA testing that officials more recently used to determine he could not have been the rapist.

As Mr Bain walked out of the Polk County courthouse on Thursday, wearing a black T-shirt that said “not guilty”, he spoke of his deep faith.

“No, I’m not angry,” he said. “Because I’ve got God.”

The 54-year-old said he was looking forward to eating fried turkey and drinking a Dr Pepper soda. He said he also hoped to continue his education.

Attorneys from the Innocence Project of Florida got involved in Mr Bain’s case earlier this year after he filed several previous petitions asking for DNA testing, all of which were thrown out.

He was convicted largely on the strength of the victim’s eyewitness identification, even though testing available at the time did not definitively link him to the crime.

The boy said his attacker had bushy sideburns and a moustache. The boy’s uncle, a former assistant principal at a high school, said it sounded like Mr Bain, a former student.

The boy picked Mr Bain out of a photo lineup, although there are lingering questions about whether detectives steered him.

The jury rejected Mr Bain’s story that he was home watching TV with his twin sister when the crime was committed, an alibi she repeated at a news conference last week. He was 19 when he was sentenced.

Florida last year passed a law that automatically grants former inmates found innocent $50,000 for each year they spent in prison. That means Mr Bain is entitled to $1.75 million (£1 million).
Source: The Telegraph

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Notable Nigerians react(government/B.haram deal)

Several reactions have trailed the news of the
ceasefire agreement between the Boko Haram
sect and the Nigerian government. While some
people see it as a positive development that
would lead to a cessation of the needless blood-
letting in the northern part of the country, others
call for caution and some expressed outright
disbelief. Report Nduka Nwosu in New York and
Bennet Oghifo in Lagos
Human rights lawyer, Festus Keyamo
What is your reaction to the ceasefire agreement
between Federal government and Boko Haram?
Well, it is a welcome development no matter how
you look at it. Whether it is the Federal Government
that initiated the negation or the Boko Haram, either
way it is a welcome development and the reason is
this. Too much innocent lives have been lost. And it
is as a result of that the Federal Government got a
position where they seems to have said that Boko
Haram was an equal or even superior force to its
armed forces. So, it wasn’t a position where Boko
Haram is already holding some hostage in the
Federal Republic of Nigeria.
So, truce is a welcome development even if it is the
Federal Government that initiated the negotiation,
we will encourage the Federal Government to keep
this negotiation alive in order for us to save innocent
lives at least.
But the Boko Haram appears to be on the
defensive?
They have been on the defensive because that is
what you read from the Nigerian papers and that’s
what you heard from the spokesman of the army. In
a situation of war you should be matured enough to
know that it is the person who propagate more its
position that appear to be winning. But none of us
appear to know the winning position of the ground. If
the Federal Government is actually winning, why did
it have to negotiate with the terrorist group if indeed
they have overrun the terrorists. So, that is the
problem! I think that this a welcome development, I
think the Federal Government was also war weary
and they were looking for a way out of this problem.
And I think this of course, is a position that is even at
course with what the Federal Government had done
in the past when it negotiated with other terrorist
groups in the country.
The guiding principle should be one, the Federal
Government must never negotiate away Nigeria
sovereignty. That is not negotiable, the Nigeria
sovereignty not negotiable. The only thing that is
negotiable is perhaps a prisoners’ swap deal; that is
not bad. But in swapping prisoners the Federal
Government must insist on rehabilitation
programme for those it is swapping for the girls. It
must insist because they cannot release them into
the society without monitoring their progress and
what they are doing. They must insist on that, there
must be caveat to releasing those people.
Chief Richard Akinjide, former Attorney General
of the Federation
It must be respected. If the federal government
agreed to it then it must be to our national interest.
I believe the violence will come to an end with the
truce.
Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana
I hope it is genuine ceasefire on the part of the Boko
Haram sect because this is not the first time there
will be a ceasefire between them and the federal
government. There is no basis for celebration “until
we are sure the Boko Haram sect are ready to
actualise the ceasefire.
We are looking forward to the release of the Chibok
girls. The ceasefire will pave room for other
discussions. It is not yet Uhuru.
The President of (NBA), Mr. Austine Aleghe
It is a step taken in the right direction. Anything that
will lead to the cessation of the blood-letting in the
north-eastern part of the country is welcome.
There are many internally displaced people in the
crisis-ridden part of the north who should go back
home to their normal life. If peace is sustained, then
it will be to the greater good of the country.
Constitutional lawyer, Prof. Itse Sagay
The good part is that it promotes the chances of the
Chibok girls being returned to their parents.
However, does this mean that the murderous Boko
Haram sect will not be held accountable for it’s
actions and will they go Scott-free? Because a lot of
innocent people have been killed for nothing.
I don’t blame the federal government for this. We
have been calling for the resolution of the crisis and
this will lead to the release of the Chibok girls. The
fact that the girls will be released will be a balm on
our wounds.
Former Chairman, (NBA), Ikeja branch, Monday
Ubani
That is a cheering news and a welcome development.
It is good news I must say if it is true. We only hope
there is no more lies from each of the parties in this
endless game.
The country is in dire need of respite and peace. Let
there be peace once again in the land. It is a
cheering news if it is true.
Ahmad Salkida, Tweets:
I guess Nigerians are tired and at (as) such, any news
that offers respite on this protracted war between
Nigeria and BokoHaram is always welcomed.
Sadly anybody that demised (dismisses) such good
news becomes Nigeria’s enemy. But the leadership
of BH are said to be miffed that a nation of the
profile and magnitude of Nigeria, with high level of
intelligent people is being easily encased in deceit
and nobody seems to be asking tough questions.
What is most worrying here is, government at the
highest level and the intelligence formations in
Nigeria has embraced this ‘good news’.
This shows lack of understanding of the reality that
this is an ideology that can only be neutralised after
long hardwork that is yet to start this shows lack of
understanding of d reality that this is an ideology
that can only be neutralised after long hardwork that
is yet to start.
It also appears that government is more interested
in shadows and bubbles, than in substance and clear-
headed engagement with the BH ideology.
May God help Nigeria
An activist, Shehu Sani, Tweets
All my attempts to confirm the ceasefire deal did not
produce any result. My sources are telling me that
they don’t know who that person is. Any statement
that is not coming from the leader of the group
cannot be said to be credible and will not be
complied with by the group members. The leader is
the only person they respect and listen to.
Executive Director, Christian Association of
Nigerian-Americans, Laolu Akande
Is Shekau alive or dead?, I am raising this question
because the BBC said he was at home with the
agreement whereas the Federal Government and its
representatives long ago said the man was dead. We
need to know who we are negotiating with. What is
the confirmation that this deal is real and is coming
from the right quarters?
There is need to make adequate preparations for the
treatment of the victims while also ensuring they
and their relations must be part of the negotiations
to avoid a situation where the victims will get back to
those who tortured them. When an American
prisoner was released by the Taliban a couple of
months ago, he was taken to a specialist hospital
where he underwent a psychological therapy before
going home. The Chibok girls must be exposed to
adequate treatment before being re-integrated into
their families.”
Paschal Mbawuike, Vice President Cohen & Woods
I congratulate President Goodluck Jonathan for this
behind the scene deal; he has distinguished himself
as a deal-maker in secret negotiations, a wise and
skilful man whose security strategy for the nation
will eventually pay-off on a larger scale.
Franklin Ekechukwu, a Maryland coordinator of the
Nigeria First Organisaton and the Goodluck Support
Group
I am glad at the efforts being made by the Goodluck
administration to release the Chibok girls but at what
expense? Will the guilty be released after shedding
so much blood of the innocent?
I am looking at a more meaningful and total
negotiation, and not a stunt designed to win the
elections.
Funmi Omosule, who coordinates the Goodluck
Jonathan Leadership Centre in US
I welcome the truce or ceasefire agreement.
Someday the Boko Haram tragedy will be considered
a blessing in disguise in spite of the blood of the
innocent shed by the terrorist organisation. In the
past, the issue of security was treated with kid gloves
but Boko Haram exposed how insecure we have
been as a country, to the extent that any of our
neighbouring countries would have overrun us in the
face of a schism, with the lives that would have been
lost becoming insignificant compared with Boko
Haram.”
Hilda Dunkwu, a lawyer and university teacher
It was a welcome development and good news for
the family of the Chibok girls but is the terrorist
group completely disarming or is only negotiating to
release the Chibok girls? There is need to make the
right decisions and set the right precedent before
coming to the negotiation table. Fighting terrorist
groups with modern warfare tactics is an issue that
makes winning by either group difficult. Israel with
its superior weapons is not winning the war against
terrorist groups, whose guerilla tactics have also
failed to solve its problems. Coming to the
negotiation table to make peace is the answer to the
problem.
Source: Thisday live

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The real deal: boko haram vs Nigeria cease fire.

Abuja (AFP) – Officials and campaigners on Saturday
anxiously awaited further news about the fate of
more than 200 kidnapped schoolgirls after Nigeria
claimed to have reached a deal with Boko Haram
militants to secure their release.
Chief of Defence Staff Air Marshal Alex Badeh told
senior military officials from Nigeria and Cameroon
meeting in Abuja on Friday that a “ceasefire
agreement” had been concluded between the
government and the insurgents.
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“I have accordingly directed the service chiefs to
ensure immediate compliance with this
development,” he added.
Badeh’s announcement came after a senior aide to
President Goodluck Jonathan, Hassan Tukur, told AFP
an agreement to end hostilities had been reached
following talks, as well as for the release of 219 girls
held captive since April.
But a precedent of previous government and military
claims about an end to the deadly five-year conflict
and the fate of the missing teenagers left many
observers cautious.
Jonathan is expected to declare his bid for re-election
in the coming weeks, and positive news about the
hostages and the violence would likely give him a
political boost.
Shehu Sani, a Boko Haram expert who has negotiated
with the group on behalf of the government said he
had “never heard” of Danladi Ahmadu, whom Tukur
claimed represented the militants at talks.
Ralph Bello-Fadile an advisor to Nigeria’s National
Security Advisor (NSA), said the NSA has been
inundated with fraudsters claiming to represent Boko
Haram leader Abubakar Shekau.
“Government wants to negotiate but so far nobody
has come forward who speaks for Shekau,” he told a
Chatham House conference in Abuja on Monday.
The Nigerian government’s own security spokesman,
Mike Omeri, also said that no deal had yet been
reached on releasing the girls.
The United States said it could not confirm whether a
deal had taken place.
“Obviously, we would welcome an end to hostilities, a
restoration of security and, I think it should go
without saying, would welcome the release of those
girls that have been gone far too long. But we cannot
independently confirm that at this point,” said State
Department spokeswoman Marie Harf.
“This ceasefire is incredibly promising, but we aren’t
there yet — until every girl is released negotiations
must continue,” added Hussaini Abdu, the country
director for ActionAid Nigeria.
– Chad talks –
Tukur said he represented the government at two
meetings with the Islamists in Chad, which were
mediated by the country’s President Idriss Deby.
“Boko Haram issued the ceasefire as a result of the
discussions we have been having with them,” said
Tukur, adding that Ahmadu made the announcement
on Thursday evening.
“They have agreed to release the Chibok girls,” he
continued, referring to the girls seized in northeast
Nigeria on April 14, causing global outrage.
Leaders of the Bring Back Our Girls campaign, which
has been pressuring the government to act, gave a
cautious welcome to a possible release.
“We are monitoring the news with huge
expectations,” they said on Twitter.
Ndjamena refused to comment but security sources
in the country said Chad, which Jonathan visited for
talks with Deby early last month, had been involved
in the discussions.
The source also said a ceasefire agreement was
reached as well as the release of 27 hostages, 10 of
them Chinese nationals, who were kidnapped in
northern Cameroon earlier this year.
The release of the hostages last weekend was “a first
strong signal” from Boko Haram to prove their good
faith, the source added but did not mention the
schoolgirls.
Cameroon announced on Friday that eight of its
soldiers and 107 Boko Haram fighters were killed
during fierce fighting in its far north region on
Wednesday and Thursday.
A police officer told AFP that at least 30 civilians had
been killed by Boko Haram before the military
ambush.
In Nigeria, unidentified gunmen on Friday killed eight
people on a road near Shaffa village in Borno state,
two local residents said, but it was not clear if the
attack was by militants.
The incident, however, happened near where a
prominent Muslim leader, the Emir of Gwoza, was
killed by Boko Haram militants in May.
– Discrepancies –
Ahmadu gave an interview broadcast on Friday on the
Hausa language service of Voice of America radio in
which he claimed to be the group’s “chief security
officer” and in charge of publicity.
He made no mention of an end to hostilities and was
vague on details of the apparent talks, even claiming
not to have met Shekau.
He also referred to the jihadi group as Boko Haram, a
name that means ‘Western education is forbidden’
which was imposed on the Islamist radicals by
outsiders. The insurgents themselves never use the
term.
The group’s known leaders have exclusively used the
name Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad,
which means “People Committed to the Propagation
of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad”.
He made no reference to the Chibok girls and did not
list the creation of an Islamic state in Nigeria’s mainly
Muslim north — the core, unwavering Boko Haram
demand since the uprising began.
Shekau has in a series of video messages since 2012
ruled out talks with the government and said
northern Nigeria will never know peace until sharia
(Islamic law) is strictly enforced.
Envoys from Nigeria’s presidency have made similar
ceasefire claims in the past, notably Jonathan’s
Minister for Special Duties Taminu Turaki, who led a
so-called amnesty commission in 2013 that was
tasked with brokering peace.
But nothing materialised from Turaki’s protracted
negotiations. Shekau said that he never sent
delegates to any talks and attacks continued at a
relentless pace.
Source: AFP

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