The Guardian Newspaper of Friday 13 June, 2008, published a letter by Ethnic Nationalities Movement, titled Abacha and Nigeria, written on behalf of the Movement by S.A. Asemota, SAN, rproduced here for public interest.
“The Times Online of April 19, 2018 under the Title ‘The New Scramble for Africa begins, modern imperialism on the resource-rich continent will be less benign than the old Colonialism ‘by Mathew Parris who had this to say:
‘Fifty years ago, the decolonisation of Africa began. The next half-century may see the continent decolonised. But the next imperialism will be less benign. Great power isn’t interested in administering wild places any more, still less in setting them: just raping them. Black gangster government sponsored by self-interested Asian or Western power could become the central story in 21st century African history- But a solution beckons’: buy your own gang. You hardly need visit and are certainly not required to administer the gang’s territory. You simply give it support, munitions, bribes and protection to keep the roads and airports open; and it pays you with access to resources. You dress up the arrangement as helping Africans to help themselves.
The French, who have been doing this in their former African Possessions for years, lead the way. But it is when China, then America and perhaps even Russia or India follow, that the scramble for Africa will truly be resumed:
“It is this context that we of the Ethnic Nationalities Movement see the alleged statement of General Buhari that “All the allegations levelled against the personality of the late Gen. Sani Abacha will remain allegations. It is 10 years now, things should be over by now.” He added “rather than maligning Abacha, the former ruler deserved to be praised for initiating developmental ideas that moved the country forward.”
“ General Babangida was also reported to have said. “ It is not true that he looted public treasury. I know who Abacha was because I was close to him.” General Abubakar was reported as having said. “ It is quite unfortunate and unfair to accuse the family of the late Sani Abacha of looting public funds. But now, we have been seeing what is happening .”
“ If these statements are correct, then, the former Heads of state are openly advocating gangsterism and should long have been held responsible for bringing Nigeria and Nigerians to the contempt with which they are regarded in the world. The Ethnic Nationalities Movement is not surprised that the three former Heads of State are unable to distinguish between right and wrong, criminals and honest Nigerians, because the method by which they became Heads of State was treason against the Constitution and the people of Nigeria as they were unfortunately able to ride rough shod on the people of Nigeria to become Heads of State and one of them executed some soldiers including General Vatsa who were alleged to have attempted to stage a coup the same method by which he and the two others became Heads of State.
“In a situation where the same act can produce two results, one – Heads of State, the other the gallows, must have to blurred the reasoning of these Heads of State to say in effect that “Abacha served Nigeria well.” On the contrary, Abacha and others like him made Nigeria to become a critical weak state unable to foster “an environment conducive to sustainable and equitable economic growth, aren’t and accountable political institutions; aggressions and meeting basic needs of the people.”
“Gangsterism has permeated all the facets of our public life and for these three Heads of State to make such statements is to add insult to injury and further compromise honest and hard working Nigerians who want and are working for a better Nigeria. Abacha exhibited gangsterism when his agents murdered Kudirat Abiola only to arrest law-abiding citizens including the leader of Afenifere, Chief Ajasin and Abraham Adesanya for the murder which Abacha himself through his agents committed. He executed Ken Saro-Wiwa and the Ogoni eight . gangsterism continued with the sacking of Zaki Biam and Odi and this has continued with Obiaruku massacre and the sacking of Ijaw villages and towns.
“All these are in addition to looting the country’s treasury dominated by politicians who are alleged to have obtained ‘security clearance.’ The attitude portrayed by the unfortunate statements of the three former Heads of State is that of gross insensitivity as if the feelings of the relatives and Nationalities of those who were brutally murdered by Abacha’s activities for them do not matter and count for nothing.
We of the Ethnic Nationalities Movement say with emphasis that Nigeria will not be re-colonised either by foreigners or by gangster leaders.
Money We’re Spending On Cancer Hospital Justified -Wike
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has declared that the money his administration is spending on the Dr. Peter Odili Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease Diagnostic and Treatment Centre in the state is not a misplaced priority.
The governor made the assertion, yesterday, when he visited the project site at Rumuokuta in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, to inspect the progress of work done already.
Wike said that no amount of money spent in putting in place facilities that will secure the health of all residents in the state will be considered a waste.
“I’m very happy that the money we have spent here is not a misplaced priority. The healthcare of our people is important to us.
“It will save the time people travel overseas for cancer treatment. I think it will be something every Nigerians will be happy with. Here will be like a tourist centre. It has helipad, and doctors’ quarters. In case of emergency, they will fly in helicopter to this place and doctors who stay here will attend to them.”
The governor explained that the State government decided to build doctors’ quarters within the precincts of the Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease Diagnostic and Treatment Centre so that no doctor will claim he is unable to attend to patients timely, particularly in emergency situations, because of distance of where he stays to the hospital.
The governor expressed satisfaction with the pace of work done in view of the gigantic nature of the project and the difficult topography that requires massive piling.
“We have confidence in Julius Berger and having come here today, I think they are on schedule. We are happy with the level of work.
“It’s not a job you must rush. They are taking their time to make sure they give the citizens of the state the best and to Nigerians in general.
“You knows it is a specialist hospital, the first of its kind in this country. We are quite comfortable and confident that by end of July 2022, they would have handed over this very important project to the State.”
The Regional Manager of Julius Berger Nigeria PLC, Juergen Fischer, said they are conscious of the promise they have made to the governor to deliver the project as agreed.
Already, he noted, the milestone achieved has surpassed what was initially expected because they have done ground piling and concluded the critical baseline underground structural work done.
“You can be sure that by the end of July as we promised his excellency, we will deliver this hospital. We are a little bit ahead of schedule even in the rainy season.”
US Lawmakers Stop $875m Defence Equipment Sale To Nigeria
The United States lawmakers are holding down a proposed sale of attack helicopters to Nigeria amid mounting concerns about President Muhammadu Buhari government’s human rights record as it grapples with multiple security crises.
US lawmakers on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee have reportedly delayed clearing a proposed sale of 12 AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters and accompanying defence systems to the Nigerian military.
The deal is worth $875million, according to US officials and congressional aides familiar with the matter.
In addition to the helicopters, the proposed sale includes 28 helicopter engines produced by GE Aviation, 14 military-grade aircraft navigation systems made by Honeywell, and 2,000 advanced precision kill weapon systems—laser-guided rocket munitions, according to information sent by the State Department to Congress and reviewed by ‘Foreign Policy’ magazine.
A report by ‘Foreign Policy’, last Tuesday, said the behind-the-scenes controversy over the proposed arms sale illustrates a broader debate among Washington policymakers over how to balance national security with human rights objectives.
The hold on the sale also showcases how powerful US lawmakers want to push President Joseph Biden administration to rethink US relations with Nigeria amid overarching concerns that Buhari is drifting toward authoritarianism as his government is besieged by multiple security challenges, including the Boko Haram insurgency.
But Western governments and international human rights organisations have ramped up their criticisms of the Buhari regime, particularly in the wake of its ban on Twitter, systemic corruption issues, and the Nigerian military’s role in deadly crackdowns on #EndSARS protesters, last October.
The Chairperson of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Bob Menendez, called for a “fundamental rethink of the framework of our overall engagement” with Nigeria during a Senate hearing with US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken in June.
Both Menendez and Sen. Jim Risch, a top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, have placed a hold on the proposed arms sale, according to multiple US officials and congressional aides familiar with the matter, who spoke to ‘Foreign Policy’ on condition of anonymity.
The details on the proposed sale were first sent by the US State Department to Congress in January before then-former Vice President Joe Biden was inaugurated as president, according to officials familiar with the matter.
Nigeria has just received six out of the 12 Tucano jet fighters purchased from the US Government.
Some experts said the United States should hit the pause button on major defence sales until it makes a broader assessment of the extent to which corruption and mismanagement hobble the Nigerian military, and whether the military is doing enough to minimize civilian casualties in its campaign against Boko Haram and other violent insurrectionists.
Administration officials say they are tired of regular efforts by Capitol Hill to review arms sales to some countries.
“There doesn’t have to be a reason why we don’t provide weapons or equipment to the Nigerian military,” the Director of the Africa Programme at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank, Judd Devermont, said.
“But it has to be done with an assessment of how it will actually, one, change the direction of conflict in Nigeria, and, two, that they will use it consistent with our laws. In both cases, it’s either a question mark or a fail.
“There is a culture of impunity that exists around abuses by the military,” Nigeria researcher at Human Rights Watch, Anietie Ewang, said.
Ewang cited the Nigerian military’s killing of unarmed protesters during the massive #EndSARS demonstrations against police corruption and brutality last year as well as cases documented by human rights organizations of abuses in the military’s campaign against Boko Haram.
“I’m sure it’s a difficult situation. There are so many conflicts springing up across the country now,” Ewang said.
“The authorities, I presume, are trying to do the best they can to save lives and properties. But this must be done in accordance with human rights standards. You can’t throw one out just to be able to achieve the other.”
Nigerians Waiting To Elect PDP In 2023, Atiku Claims
The former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar says Nigerians are waiting eagerly for the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) to take over power at the federal level in 2023.
Speaking to journalists at the Rivers State Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday, Atiku said his meeting with the state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike was fruitful.
Atiku explained that party affairs brought him to Port Harcourt, and he had spent the time reconciling touching issues with the governor.
According to him, the issues bother on how to ensure unity and stability in the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), that are critical for the party in clinching electoral victory in 2003.
“Well, I came here to reconcile with the governor on party affairs and how we can ensure that there is unity and stability in the party, so, that we can take over government in 2023. I believe that Nigerians can’t wait for 2023 to come, so that PDP will return.”
Speaking on the current insecurity challenges that have overwhelmed the capability of the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government, Atiku described the prevailing situation in the country as bad.
He urged Nigerians to wait for the appropriate time when PDP shall unveil its policies on how it wants to address the issue of insecurity across the country.
“I have never seen it (insecurity) this bad. I am 70 years plus, I have never seen it this bad in terms of security challenges, in terms of economy, in terms of unemployment. This is the worst.
“Why can’t you give us time? We will come up with our policies. We will present them to Nigerians when the time comes.
“We have done that before. Under PDP, we recorded the highest economic growth, the best foreign reserves, we reduced unemployment. You know that we can do it”.
The former vice president also acknowledged the tremendous leadership success recorded by Wike, who he described as a topmost governor among his peers in the party.
“I think he (Wike) is the topmost governor we have in the party. There is no doubt about that in terms of projects, youth empowerment and employment; in terms of security. Yes, we have security challenges all over the country.”
He further commended the governor for his outstanding leadership and sterling performance in office.
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