Recently, President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua described insecurity in the country as the greatest challenge facing his administration. The President, who spoke through Vice President Goodluck Jonathan at the 48th National Executive Committee meeting of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Abuja, also identified power supply as another area that had remained a major headache for his government. He, however, assured that the two problems would soon be tackled.
My immediate reaction was; how soon is soon? This is against the backdrop of series of crises and bloody riots that had erupted across the country in recent times. These include the continuing sickness of the economy, the poor state of infrastructure and social services, the protracted strike by members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the banking crisis and the endemic corruption at all levels of government, among others.
Agreed that most of these problems have been existing for quite some time, but it appears that things are generally getting worse. In particular, lack of security of lives and property has become a national calamity. Nobody is safe anymore in Nigeria. Even journalists have suddenly become endangered species in the country.
Bayo Ohu, an assistant editor of the political desk of The Guardian newspaper was violently shuffled into the ever-lengthening casualty list of assassins in the country. His home was invaded by no fewer than five well-armed assassins in the early morning of Sunday, September 20, 2009. The evil men barged into his home at about 7 a.m. on a Sunday when Christians were going to churches on a day that coincided with the end of the month-long Ramadan period. By the time the purveyors of death left Ohu’s house a few minutes later, the poor journalist was left writhing in a pool of his own blood before he finally gave up the host later, right in the presence of his children.
Ohu’s death has only lengthened the list of journalists who have had to pay the supreme price in the course of pracitising their profession. This time last year, it was Abayomi Ogundeji, a member of Thisday’s editorial board, who was gruesomely murdered by yet to-be-identified killers while on his way from an outing. Before Ogundeji was Godwin Agbroko, the chairman of Thisday’s editorial board who was killed in a similar circumstance about three years ago.
Several others have been killed both in Nigeria and elsewhere in the world, particularly in such troubled spots as Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Philippines, Mexico, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Congo and Russia. While some were dispatched to the great beyond by bullets, or other lethal weapons, so many others have suffered false imprisonment and torture especially in North Korea and Iran in recent times.
Perhaps, Ohu’s killing bore some striking resemblance to the killing of Dele Giwa, Newswatch’s founding editor-in-chief, who was killed through the instrumentality of a parcel bomb on October 19,1986 some 23 years ago. Giwa was on his breakfast table at about 11am. That unholy Sunday morning, two men rode on an Okada (motorcycle) to his security post and delivered a parcel to a security man who in turn took it to Billy, Giwa’s first son, for onward delivery to his father. It was at the point of opening the envelope that the bomb, which was concealed inside the envelope and inflicted serious body injury on him which later led to his death.
Similarly, the attack on Ohu took place in the early morning of an unholy Sunday. Like Giwa, Ohu was in his house when he heard some knocks on the entranced door of his flat. As he made attempt to open the door, the evil men who had quickly positioned themselves opened fire on him. Ohu beat a retreat and attempted to exit through the kitchen door. Unknown to him, the agents of death had cordoned off the entire building. Another set of gunfire rang out by which time Ohu had been badly injured. By the time the killers were done, they left with his laptop computer and cell phone only without tampering with any other property.
The way and manner the attack was carried out bore imprints of a pre-meditated assassination. Since the poor boy was a journalist, a committed one at that, his mindless killing may not be unconnected with his professional duty. More and more privileged and powerful, highly placed Nigerians are daily getting involved in shady deals and all manners of crime and corruption. For these individuals, what matters to them is the continuous flow of their ill-gotten wealth. Therefore, any attempt to obstruct this is usually presented by all means at their disposal, including death through contract killing.
Ohu’s colleagues and ‘ogas’ as it were, had attested to his simplicity of nature and forthrightness of character. Therefore, he might not have been engaged in peddling stories for cash, which otherwise is blackmail and extortion. This is not to say that there are no cases of extortion or blackmail in the media.
But let us not belabour ourselves on what must have been the motive of the killers. This is because whatever must have gone wrong, nobody has the right to take another man’s life. What we need to do now is to assist the police to arrest his killers. My suggestion, therefore, is that the police should check the data of phone calls and text messages made to Ohu’s cell phone from the service providers. Similarly, his email should be opened, if his killers have not had access to it in order to delete his messages. Through his cell phone, the police can determine those who were in touch with him one or two weeks before the dastardly act was carried out. In this regard, it is important to know the calls or text messages he received until Sunday night because his killers might have made sure he was at home that Saturday night before they came calling to execute their nefarious plot.
On the day Giwa was killed, top security goons had made frantic calls to him to ensure that he was at home before the parcel bomb was delivered to his home.
And just like other people have suggested, there is need to look critically into Olu’s profile both in his official capacity and private life. His life in and outside the office, his circle of friends and where he relaxes or visits after work could provide a clue to what happened. His wife, close friends and the children who were present that morning could also offer useful information.
Lastly, the security agents should also look inwards because those who carried out the assassination could be serving or retired security personnel or some cultists around. In other words, no stone should be left unturned to unravel those behind this gruesome murder. This is important so as not to make journalists too vulnerable to this type of mindless killings by agents of darkness loitering everywhere in Nigeria.
Agekameh is the editor’s guest.
Your Resilience Has Kept You Afloat, PHALGA Boss Tells RSNC … Says The Tide Remains Long-Term Partner
The Mayor of Port Harcourt City Local Government Council, Sir Alwell Ihunda, has praised the giant strides and resilience of Rivers State Newspaper Corporation (RSNC), publishers of The Tide Newspapers more than 50 years after its establishment by the Rivers State Government.
Ihunda, who said this during a courtesy call by the management of RSNC, said the council was elated that The Tide has consistently remained on the newsstands for more than 50 years, adding that the council was looking forward to joining in the celebration of the golden jubilee anniversary of the corporation.
The mayor, who was represented by the council Secretary, Barrister Chile Kay Owuru, said The Tide has continued to deliver on its mandate and serve the Government and people of Rivers State in spite of obvious challenges.
He also praised the newspaper for standing behind the council during the recent struggle to ensure that the provisions of the Constitution were no longer brazenly breached by the Federal Ministry of Internal Affairs, which had been conducting marriages at illegal Marriage Registries across the country.
Ihunda also said the council would work to ensure that all commercial transport vehicles operating between #1 to 10, Ikwerre Road and under all parts of the Abali Flyover relocate to the main Abali Motor Park, which has been renovated and upgraded by the council to accommodate more vehicles.
He regretted that the commercial transport and illegal business activities taking place around the area have facilitated the operations of criminal elements who have been terrorising unsuspecting members of the public, and assured that the council was synergising with relevant authorities to restore sanity to the area.
The mayor also assured that the public health issues associated with the huge refuse dumpsite at Njemanze Street in Rumuwoji (Mile One) area would be addressed.
Ihunwo further promised to work out partnership strategies that would enable both the corporation and the council mutually leverage the opportunities that abound in the RSNC’s Business Development portfolio, especially in the area of commercial printing jobs, among others.
Earlier, the General Manager of the corporation, Chief Ernest Chinwo, said the meeting was initiated with the understanding that the mayor would use his position to facilitate mutually beneficial engagements between the council and the RSNC while also creating value added window to interact with the membership of ALGON in the state with a view to eliciting their support and partnership to boost the corporation’s fortunes.
Chinwo said every Rivers man should be proud of The Tide as the only surviving state-owned newspaper regularly in the newsstands since its founding, noting that the newspaper has continued to wax stronger despite all the challenges since it was established in 1971.
According to him, The Tide was the only surviving paper on South-South and South-East that has been regular on the newsstands, saying that the corporation was not only involved in newspaper publishing but also undertakes all kinds of printing jobs.
The general manager also called on the mayor to look into the health hazard posed by the refuse dumpsite at Njamanze Street, stressing that the site has recently constituted serious threat to the health of the people in the area.
He also called the attention of the mayor to the proliferation of illegal motor parks and markets around the Abali flyover and along the rail line, adding that criminals have used the area as fertile ground for perpetrating all kinds of unwholesome activities.
By: John Bibor
Kick Insensitive APC Govt Out With Your PVCs, PDP Charges Nigerians
As the 2023 elections gather momentum, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has charged Nigerians to kick the All Progressives Congress (APC) out with their Permanent Voters Card (PVC)
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, stated this, yesterday, during a sensitisation campaign for the collection of Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) in Abuja.
The party’s national publicity secretary; National Women Leader, Prof. Stella Effa-Attoe; and National Youth Leader, Mohammed Sulieman; led the campaign around the streets of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Ologunagba said the campaign was to sensitise Nigerians, particularly youths and women on the need to participate actively in the democratic process by collecting permanent voter cards and ensuring that they participate in the 2023 general election.
He said, “Against the backdrop of the fact that we have an APC government that is insensitive, that is rudderless, that completely failed this country, they lied to us in 2015, came to power by fraud and propaganda.”
Ologunagba lamented that the APC-led Federal Government has made life difficult for most Nigerians.
He said, “As the party of the people that believe in the sanctity of life and that our children need the future where on their own, they can achieve their goals and live a life where they can aspire to be anything in Nigeria.
“So, we are urging all youth and women to come out en mass to pick up their PVCs and those who have not registered to take advantage of the window now available by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to come out and register”.
He assured the electorate that their votes will count in 2023, adding that “we have seen how APC has destroyed the country, get your PVC and vote them out”.
Also speaking, the PDP National Youth Leader, Mohammed Suleiman, said the failure of the APC government was enough to motivate Nigerians to kick them out.
“We have seen what is happening in the country, the rate of unemployment, insecurity, students, is at home for over five months and the economy is messed up. So, we believe those comments you’re seeing on social media will turn to vote come 2023.
“We have 36 state youth leaders, we have six zonal leaders, we’re all working together to mobilize Nigerians so that they can vote for the PDP come 2023″.
See IOCs’ Divestments As Blessing, NUPRC Charges IPPG
The Chief Executive of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), Gbenga Komolafe, has urged stakeholders in the petroleum industry, especially the Independent Petroleum Producers in Nigeria (IPPG) to look at the brighter side of the divestments of International Oil Companies (IOCs) as many opportunities for local players abound.
Komolafe gave the charge at the opening dinner of the ongoing Nigerian oil and gas conference holding in Abuja, yesterday.
According to him, local players now have a golden opportunity to prove their mettle by leveraging the local content window in value addition and optimising the development of the nation’s hydrocarbon resources.
He emphasised the need for indigenous players across the value chain to deploy their ingenuity in promoting vibrancy and capacity utilisation in the industry
“As a regulator, the commission is not oblivious of the threat posed to the development of the Nigerian hydrocarbon industry by the divestment of the IOCs.
“The impetus for divestment by the IOC is mainly attributable to the hostile upstream petroleum environment arising from crude oil theft and energy transition as a global response to the advocacy for reduction in carbon emissions.
“Our view as a commission is that IPPG and other prospective indigenous players should perceive the IOCs’ divestment in some of the upstream assets as an opportunity rather than a threat to the development of the Nigerian upstream petroleum sector,” he said.
Speaking further, Komolafe noted that indigenous companies presently contribute about 30percent of the nation’s crude oil and 20percent of the gas production, as well as 40percent and 32percent of oil and gas reserves, respectively.
He also informed that seven indigenous companies are among the top 20 companies with the highest oil reserves in Nigeria.
He further disclosed that 57 fields were offered for awards in 2020 to indigenous operators, resulting in the issuance of 102 Petroleum Prospecting Licenses (PPLs) by the commission on June 28, 2022.
“It is worthy to note that Nigeria has the largest participation of local independents in the domestic oil and gas industry activities of all petroleum-producing countries in Africa arising from the robust local content policy.
“It is estimated that the energy demand across Africa in 2040 would increase by about 30percent compared to the current level. Consequently, the divestment of the IOC away from our onshore and shallow water terrains presents a massive opportunity for new operators of those assets, which the IPPG is better positioned to take advantage of in order to meet the increasing energy demand.
“The commission expects the IPPG to stay competitive, optimise future energy security and be resilient in our oil and gas extractive industry”, Komolafe stated.
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