At long last, President Goodluck Jonathan, last Monday,discarded the kid-gloves he had been using to tackle security concerns in Nigeria particularly, the near endless, wanton killings on the once peaceful Plateau, by ordering, the Army to battle architects of the senseless ‘war’ in Jos.
Before drafting the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshall Oluseyi Petinrin to take full charge of the security situation, countless innocent lives of defenseless men, women and children had been wasted in blizzard degrees that actually questioned the competence of the Commander-in-Chief to protect lives and properties in the land.
In the last three weeks alone, more than 100 persons were killed in a renewed orgy of insane bloodletting following disagreement over a praying ground, with an even more dangerous likelihood of prompting fresh killings in reprisal attacks. Infact, to state that the once very warm ambrosia of Jos is now totally gone and replaced by horror, deaths, weeping and wailing is to state it mildly.
Frankly, Jos has become an atomic community at constant war with itself, and with very little or nothing known as to why the bloodbath can never abate, or why nothing has been or can be done about similar acts of moral depravity that tend to diminish the true value of human life, to those of poisonous files that must be annihilated, as speedily as the architects of war deem necessary.
On March 22, last year, this column had warned against the familiar choice of sweeping under the dusty carpet, similar mayhem on Sunday, March 7, 2008 in which more than 350 people, mostly Christians were massacred, Nigerians were told of some arrests made with a promise of early trials. Titled, In This Place Of Horror, that work not merely warned of more killings, but also attempted a chronicle of earlier bloodletting which attracted little or no action, and which apparently served as a potent incentive for even more senseless killings, destruction and desecration of a Christian’s day of worship.
That work recalled, that between September 7 and 17, 2000, when the first cases of ethno-religious riots occurred in Jos, in which more than 1,000 persons were killed, not a single soul has, to date been punished for such inhumanity to fellow humans.
Naturally, because none had been held accountable for such crimes, barely four years later in 2004, the Plateau boiled again over clashes in Yelwa, where more than 500 persons were reportedly killed. At that time, the best, then serving Nigerian president, Olusegun Obasanjo did was to declare a state of emergency.
Expectedly, since the 500 lives earlier lost did not result in the punishment of even one culprit, hiding under a laughable excuse of council election disputes, the same traditional masterminds of the near recurrent Jos mayhem struck less than a year after, claiming in that action as many as 700 lives. There again, nothing tangible was done by government. Don’t forget, in late January, last year another minor dispute over a plot of land had reportedly claimed 350 lives, according to government figures, although independent national tabloids variously quoted between 600 and 650 deaths.
On Monday, May 24, of the same year, this column again ventured another reminder of the need to tackle decisively, the seemingly intractable chain of bloodbath on the Plateau. Titled, Lest We Forget …Whither Jos Murderers?, this column wrote, in spite of the countless deaths that rendered human life worthless “those expected to act have done nothing even after the Ajibola Commission had, infact, investigated the matter and submitted its report, in which very influential politicians and members of the Obasanjo Presidency were indicted.
It was killings of these nature and government’s seeming helplessness in checking the frequent ethno-religious disturbances in parts of the North, that might have pushed, the now embattled, Libyan strongman, Col. Muammar Gadaffi, into suggesting the break-up of Nigeria along religious lines, as was the case between India and Plakistan”.
As would be expected, all, especially, those that Nigerians depended upon to act fast in halting the ring of killings but chose silence instead, at once, united to condemn Gadaffi in true or pretentious love of a country, whose unity they choose to hate and love at will for varied reasons: love, only when they have, in their grip, political power, and hate, when they are without it.
Daily, it is increasingly becoming clearer, that most of the killings are driven by political and ethno-religious sentiments often master-minded by those who found in divisions across such lines, their own arrival at the centre of political renown. That, without doubt, explained successive governments’ reluctance to addressing, in a lasting manner, the fluctuating fortunes of Jos and elsewhere.
It is in this light that Jonathan’s option of a better organized and more credible Military presence shall be seen as the first, just a first step. But it is not enough and never shall be, because unless and until the real masterminds and their faceless sponsors are brought to book to serve as a deterrent to others, Jos can never be Jos again.
That is why President Jonathan must not allow himself to be fooled by the temporary, even phoney peace Jos has experienced between Monday and now. It is, methinks, the peace of the grave-yard which Jos has been familiar to after every bloodbath and resultant half-measures, in the name of interventionists security moves. It is also the reason many are not enthusiastic about this.
Human rights activist, Gad Peter Shameki captured it most aptly when he said last Thursday, that he did not believe something exciting was in the President’s directive, because, according to him, “the military have been on ground on the plateau since 2008. I am made to understand that the Commander of the Special Task Force (STF) takes directives from the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). So I really don’t see anything new or exciting about the whole action. However, I am in full support of anything that will give peace to the Plateau.”
That peace will come, not just because of the presence of the Army, because worse atrocities had been committed under the nose of soldiers watching on the city for years. What is indeed required, like the This Day editorial of Sept 14, 2011 and My Agony of May 24,2010 clearly suggested. Titled, “The Killing Field Called Jos,” the This Day piece, like My Agony’s, titled, Lest We Forget …Whither Jos Murderers, captured the thinking of the government and people of Plateau State and warned that unless and until, “those who have constantly been indicted in the different panels’ reports are brought to book and a serious reconciliation initiated, the situation in Plateau may not have been addressed as such”.
Such a step requires a stronger political will and respect for the sanctity of human life to actualize, because, Jos is what it is today not so much for wont of the right ideas to arrive at a just end, it has instead been for reluctance of successive governments to hurt political friends and allies and risk losing loyal political fellowship in power, no matter now criminally minded such loyalists may be.
President Jonathan must make the clear difference by giving the Plateau people and their government the much needed presidential support by ensuring that they pursue the legal process needed to identify, try and punish all those who either directly or indirectly support the killings and destruction of property.
To achieve that would require also the dusting of various reports by panels of enquiry that at one time or another investigated the cases of mayhem that in recent years became a recurring circle, identify all those indicted and then implement all reasonable recommendations duly adopted by the various government white papers, thus far issued.
The only way to make this new process work, or at least wear the semblance of credibility, is for the Commander-in-Chief to ensure that there indeed, are no sacred cows in the whole hug and that justice is served for the good and well-being of the living.
Those who express pessimism about the process are entitled to it, going by the disturbing antecedents of the past. That without doubt, also places on President Jonathan an even greater burden to deliver, because for now, his scorecard on superintending security challenges in the land, methinks, is below average.
My Agony is that there are still, within the security forces, some fifth columnists who are out to frustrate every effort at ensuring lasting security, in the false belief that their true economic survival can never be assured except through unrest of the Jos kind. And for that, they would do any and everything to ensure that even when the bird is slaughtered, some of its feathers must remain. So they’ll one day become birds, more dangerous birds. Just for their survival.
We’ve Spent N9bn To Upgrade RSUTH, Wike Confirms
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, says his administration has spent N9billion in upgrading structures and installation of new equipment at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH).
He said the fact that 40 per cent of the 2021 budget of the state is dedicated to provision of quality healthcare delivery was a further demonstration of the priority placed on the sector.
Wike made the explanation at the foundation laying ceremony for the construction of a Renal Centre at RSUTH, last Friday.
The governor said he made promise to Rivers people that the best would be provided to them in all sectors of the society within his capability because of the mandate they gave to him.
“As we came on here, I just looked around and I see the changes in this teaching hospital. I can say that we have put not less than N9billion in this teaching hospital.
“If you look at the budget, the health sector alone, what it’s taking from the Rivers State Government is not less than 40 percent of the 2021 budget.”
Speaking further, Wike said the state government cannot afford to implement free medical service programme in the present economic circumstance.
While dismissing the request for a subvention for RSUTH, Wike, however, commended the chief medical director and his team for their commitment to turnaround the fortunes of RSUTH.
“I have never seen anywhere that health services can be totally free. They’re telling me that people who come here can’t pay. I have never declared that this state is going to take over the health fees of anybody.”
Also speaking, the former Minister of Transport, Dr. Abiye Sekibo, who performed the flag-off, noted that Wike’s achievements in the health sector in particular, surpass what former governors of the state had done.
Sekibo said that the governor has given equal attention to every section of the health sector by providing complete health infrastructure that was positioning the state as a medical tourism destination in Nigeria.
Earlier, the Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Prof Princewill Chike, lauded Governor Nyesom Wike for his interest in the health of Rivers people.
He noted that the renal centre, when completed, would become another landmark development project in the health sector that would handle and manage all kidney-related ailments.
In his remarks, the Chief Medical Director of the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Friday Aaron, commended Wike for approving the renal centre.
Aaron explained that chronic kidney disease was a major burden globally with estimated 14 million cases in Nigeria.
According to him, over 240,000 of these cases require renal replacement therapy in the form of dialysis and renal transplant.
The CMD said the building that would house the centre was expected to be completed in six months and consists of two floors.
The ground floor, according to him, would house the haemodialysis unit with eight haemodialysis machines.
He further explained that the first floor of the centre would house the surgical component where most of the sophisticated equipment for kidney transplant would be installed.
Aaron said Wike has released the funds required to build, equip the centre as well as for the training of personnel locally and internationally.
Power Generation Falls 23% To 3,172MW
Power supply in Nigeria has failed to improve on last week’s performance, as it fell by 22.9 per cent from peak generation of 4,115Megawatts on Saturday to 3,172.20MW as at 5pm, yesterday, latest data from the System Operator has shown.
According to the data, most power plants were operating far below capacity due to gas shortage with Olorunsogo Power Plant 335MW capacity; and Sapele Power Plant, 450MW capacity; completely out.
Egbin was generating at 746MW; Omoku 37.20; Omotosho (NIPP) at 105MW; while Afam was generating at 80MW.
The data showed that on the average power generation in the past seven days were 4,120.9MW on Sunday, June 6; 4,249.4 on Monday, June 7; 4,000.9MW on Tuesday, June 8; 3,720.7 on Wednesday, June 9; 3,517 on Thursday, June 10; 3,765MW on Friday, June 11; and 4,115MW on Saturday, June 12.
The International Oil Companies (IOCs), had last warned that despite Nigeria’s huge gas reserves a lot needs to be done to attract investment to the sector to develop gas reserves to boost power generation in the country.
Speaking at the just concluded Nigeria International Petroleum Summit, the Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria/MD SPDC, Osagie Okunbor, said with 203trillion Cubic Feet of gas reserves, what was needed in the country is to deliver projects that would produce the gas.
“The challenge is not just growing the reserves but in producing these reserves for the benefits of our country. Essentially growing the reserves and delivering on the production is a function of two or three elements.
“I like to see infrastructure that is required for the development of these resources at two levels. Soft infrastructure is often the one that is more important than and that is the one that is actually drives most of what you see at site.”
“Soft infrastructure refers to the enabling environment and nothing pleases me as much seeing both the Senate President and the speaker of the house give very firm commitments about trying to pass the PIB this month.
“That is probably the big one of the enabling environment to provide the kind of stability we also need all sorts of other issues we need to that we have discussed severally in terms of sanctity of contract, stable policies and collaboration and I think we are well on our way there”, he added.
Wike, Pride Of Nigeria’s Democracy, NUJ Affirms
The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has described Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, as an exhibit of pride to democracy in Nigeria.
The NUJ also noted that Wike has redefined governance through demonstration of democracy in action with his service to Rivers people.
The National leadership, the 36 State Executives, and the FCT, including members of the NUJ across the country made the assertion in Port Harcourt during the inspection tour led by the Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim of both completed and ongoing projects being undertaken by the governor in the state.
The National President of the NUJ, Chief Chris Isiguzo, said the 1999 Constitution bestows on the media the responsibility to hold governments accountable to the people.
Isiguzo posited that having placed the projects side-by-side with the expectations of the populace, it was obvious that the governor’s investment in critical infrastructure would remain lifelong empowerment tools for the people.
”We were at the Mother and Child Hospital. We took time to look at the facilities there. That can easily be said to be first of its kind in the country.
”At the much-talked about Real Madrid Football Academy, where they are going to train the young ones, we saw that they have good facilities. At the moment, they have also offered admission to 140 pupils.
”That’s also to catch-them-young, and I want to believe that by the time this kind of resources is continuously invested in sports development in Nigeria, it’s just a matter of time, it will gain its pride of place in sporting world.”
On her part, the National President of Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Mrs Ladi Bala said that the projects she had seen were entirely unique, unprecedented and very uncommon in the country.
According to Bala, the Emmanuel Chinwenwo Aguma Judges’ Quarters stand out as first of its kind in Nigeria, with its serene ambiance that would translate into enhancing the productivity of judges of Rivers origin.
”I believe that democracy is at work in Rivers State, and, for Rivers people, I want to congratulate them, and to say, this is the true reflection of what democracy should be across board.
”I want to call on other governors across the country to borrow a leaf from what the governor of Rivers State is doing. Wike is working, and we are very proud of what we have seen here”, she added.
In his reaction, the National Internal Auditor of NUJ, Muhammad Tukur, stated that Wike was a committed leader with the vision of uplifting the standard of life of his people.
Tukur, who expressed gratitude to Wike for his support to the NUJ National Conference in Port Harcourt, said that his show of love for journalists confirms his commitment to the welfare of the people.
On his part, Chairman of Oyo State Council of the NUJ, Comrade Ismail Ademola Babalola, asserted that the Mother and Child Hospital, and the Real Madrid Football Academy were part of projects Governor Wike was using to secure a productive future for the youths of the state because they meet global standard.
Also speaking, the Vice President of NUJ North Central Zone, Chief Wilson Bako, commended the quality of the various roads and flyover bridges constructed in the Port Harcourt metropolis to make the city tourists’ destination of choice.
In the same vein, the Vice Chairman of NUJ in Jigawa State, Comrade Larai Musa, said she has confirmed all that the news media had carried about Wike and his projects’ mantra, and asserted that it was leaders like him that were needed at the national level.
Also, Comrade Ikechukwu Ordu of Enugu State Council of the NUJ noted the need for other political leaders to emulate Wike in providing dividends of democracy to Rivers people and changing the fortunes of his state.
Also from the Enugu State Council of the NUJ, Comrade Ugochukwu Chukwudieke, said she was completely overwhelmed by what Wike has done in constructing the Okoro-Nu-Odo Flyover Bridge, Rumuogba Flyover Bridge, and Rebisi Flyover Bridge delivered within one year.
Chukwudieke also praised the quality of work on the Rumuola Flyover Bridge, Ogbun-nu-Abali Flyover Bridge, GRA Junction Flyover Bridge, and the Orochiri-Wurukwo flyover project at Waterlines Junction by Aba Road.
- Niger Delta3 days ago
Rep Woos Stakeholders Over FMC Bill
- Business3 days ago
Lawmakers Want CBN To Halt Naira Devaluation
- News3 days ago
Buhari Parries Question On Twitter Ban
- Politics3 days ago
Previewing Nigeria’s New Democracy Day
- Entertainment3 days ago
Nollywood Veteran Actor, Bruno Iwuoha Bows Out
- Politics3 days ago
Senators Rate 9th National Assembly High
- Politics3 days ago
Anambra: INEC Publishes Official Election Notice
- Entertainment3 days ago
Why Rivers Rules Nigeria’s Entertainment Enclaves