Thursday, 22 October 2015

Akure monarch bans Eze Ndi Igbo title

Deji of Akure, Oba Aladetoyinbo Aladelusi
The Deji of Akure, Oba Aladetoyinbo Aladelusi, has banned the title of ‘Eze Ndi Igbo’ in Akureland and ordered it to be reviewed and replaced with a non-controversial honorary title.
This is one of the conditions given by the monarch to end the crisis between him and the leader of the Igbo community in the town, Mr. Gregory Iloehike. The monarch said the condition must be met before Igbo traders in the area would be allowed to continue operating their businesses in the community.
The traditional ruler dethroned the Igbo leader last week and stopped his men from opening their shops following an alleged rude behaviour against the traditional ruler at his palace by the Igbo leader during a meeting with Oba Aladelusi.
Some other conditions included that the dethroned Eze must apologise for his behaviour, said to be unruly in at least three national dailies as well as go to broadcast stations to also tender an unreserved apology. He was also ordered to write a letter of apology to the monarch and the Deji-in-Council.
Oba Adelusi also directed that the Igbo leader should stop wearing any form of crown and must comply with all the directives of the palace.
To this end, the state Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, met with the two leaders separately on Tuesday evening at the Governor’s Office, Alagbaka, Akure, and reportedly pleaded with the Akure traditional ruler to forgive the embattled Igbo leader.
At the meeting, it was gathered that the governor maintained that the Igbo leader could not go against the tradition and custom of the land, as there was no basis or constitutional back up for such attitude.
The governor, however, thanked the youths of the town, praising them for their maturity and peaceful disposition towards the matter.
The traditional ruler maintained that a truce can then be brokered once the conditions were met.
As a result of the crisis, all shops occupied by Igbo people at the Moferere Market, Akure, remained closed as of the time of filing this report on Wednesday.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Hajj death: Beyond statistics

Hajj death: Beyond statistics
Prof. Pat Utomi
The news came in trickles. First, it was said a Nigerian may have been lost in the stampede at a Holy site during the pilgrimage. It was one professor. Then, it seemed some judges had also been lost. At some point, when I called a friend to ask how the Sallah celebration was going, I was told the joy of the day had been dampened by news that a veteran Northern journalist, Bilikisu Yussuf, was among the dead. Oh no, I screamed, not her. Not long after I heard that the professor was not just some professor it was Tijani El Miskin who along with several others I had a fabulous time as graduate student in the United States from 1979 through 1982.
The Saudi tragedy had gone from statistics of the unfortunate to a personal tragedy that diminished me personally.
That moment brought me to a time of introspection. There was much violent death all around, from the Boko Haram killing fields in the North-East to the community clashes in Anambra State and oil pipeline thieves created infernos, and flood victims. Often, the statistics are reeled out. A shrug of disbelief is let go as another 39 human beings go before what may have been a span of life which could be their due. Behind every statistic are flesh, blood, brain, brawn and emotions that brought joy to some, laughter to many and reason for being to others. Yet, like the words of wisdom of the Ibusa people of Delta State affirm, the body in that casket in a funeral cottage escorted by wailing friends and relatives is just a piece of log to the stranger.
Surely, our lives must gain greater meaning and rise in value when we are diminished by the unwholesome squashing of human life no matter whose, and where it happens. This shared humanity should breed solidarity that drives man to cooperating to ward off every assault on the dignity of the human person. Such cooperation and collaboration should fuel cooperative efforts, in multilateral institutions, for example, to fight poverty, threats to the environment which fight back with consequences from global warming, and terrorism which mindlessly targets the innocent.
As I wrote this, the breaking news came that bombs had gone off in Kuje market and a police station, in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, an unwelcome return after a hiatus during which the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, came calling to mark the sad anniversary of the earlier journey of bombs of death from the bowels of hell. That time it took down the UN building in Abuja. It would not be about how many people died in Kuje and Nyanya. This was a colour commentary on these people I knew so well.
How would I forget el-Miskin? The summer of 1980 was the high point of our paths crossing. A group of us, African graduate students, got together in the evening to play recreational volleyball in mixed teams of men and women, just across from Evermann Apartments in the Married Students Housing area in Bloomington, Indiana. As many of us were not married but more mature postgraduate students at different stages of working on the PhD degrees, the Apartments would probably have been better called Graduate Apartments than Married Housing.
A small group of African students formed a neat social web that had late evening volleyball in summer as a central recreation. Among us were Aminu Kano Zaria, Gidado Tahir, Tijani el Miskin, Jonah Ifegwu, Collins Ajiniran and a small squad of good looking Ethiopian women.
Tijani was the ultimate Bohemian, I used to say. Hardly the athletic type, he would suddenly wonder past and call out to one of the Ethiopians, not by her name but the name of her tribe. Tigre, he would call as he passed, and we knew we would soon lose the company of one whose looks could account for several of the men being of good behaviour during the game. I would typically look at Gidado, who as Professor Tahir, many years later, would serve as the Executive Secretary of the Universal Basic Education scheme, we would smile and fall into consolation of a depleted stock of the other gender on the teams. Had Tom Adaba and Matt Mogekwu not left just before that long hot summer, I could have imagined them running colour commentary on the game and dragging Tijani into that part of the sport.
Tijani was likeable, revolutionary and determined to see a better world. In the 35 years since those fun summers, I have spoken with him only about four times on the telephone, the last being nearly two years ago. Still a huge part of what meaning I have for patriotic commitment to changing society for the common good had to have died with him.
Then, there is the case of Bilikisu Yussuf. Beyond being a pioneer as a woman in editorial chair positions and a social enterprise pacesetter, Yussuf was comfortable with a strong voice. I still remember the eve of October 1, 1998. Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, just released from prison, had called together the cream of the Nigerian political and civil society elite. Most were of an older generation, the dominant players of the 1960s and 1970s. A sprinkling were the 1980s and 1990s people.
As with natural selection, those few sat together for lunch that afternoon at the Gateway Hotel in Ota. There was Clem Nwankwo, Bilikisu Yusuf, Olisa Agbakoba and I. Her views on the issues were firm and fair. She had won my respect long before that for her work at the New Nigerian Newspapers but the small banter that afternoon made her voice even more important to lend an ear to.
Her passing surely had to diminish my sense of mission and purpose.
As our world turns on axis of discontent and violent expression and the death of many gets expressed in the gruesome statistic of many more killed today, it helps to place faces, habits, loves found and lost, dreams dreamt and abandoned, in that statistical maze. As I see the manners and moods of el-Miskin and Yussuf, I wish so deeply that a civilisation of love could govern our times and deaths of this nature affect every man and not attract blame like it’s the Africans who took the wrong turn or “it is that party that failed with procedure.”
When people stop being statistic, human solidarity becomes an anchor of culture. It is then it becomes easier, in empathy with the dignity of the human person for collective action to get to the roots of these challenges.
As we pay tribute to the memories of two remarkable people who were leaders who had no need for title (LWT) to lead, Hadjia Bilkisu Yussuf and Professor Tijani el-Miskin, we must come to terms that no life is just a statistic and that our being is enriched by the lives of others.
– Utomi, political economist and professor of entrepreneurship, is founder of the Centre for Values in Leadership.

EFCC grills Moro over Immigration job tragedy

EFCC grills Moro over Immigration job tragedy
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday interrogated immediate past Minister of Interior, Mr. Abba Moro for eight hours over the March 15, 2014 Immigration job tragedy in which 19 applicants died.
Interrogators wanted to know how the N700 million collected from the applicants was spent.
Moro’s interogation was said to be the first in the series of interaction he will have with the commission.
He is expected to return to the EFCC for further questioning tomorrow.
The anti-graft agency had earlier grilled the immediate past Comptroller-General of Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), Mr. David Parradang and Secretary to the Civil Defence, Fire, Immigration and Prison Service Board, Mr. Sylvanus Tapgun.
According to a top source, Moro arrived at the EFCC headquarters in Abuja around  10am and he left at 6pm.
The source said Moro was granted administrative bail.
He said: “We summoned the ex-minister on how the NIS came about N1, 000 levies imposed on about 700,000 applicants, the relevant statute or authority backing such a charge and how the money was expended.
“Our investigators are trying to unravel many things. Out of about N700million collected from the applicants, N212million was budgeted for the March 2014 recruitment test for applicants.
“But records made available to the EFCC indicated N45million was actually released. So, about N167million meant for logistics on the test day could not even be accounted for by anyone or group.
“We are asking all the parties invited so far to name the account in which the N700million was deposited and the withdrawals. They have to justify how every kobo was spent.
“In 2014, the Immigration Service illegally collected N1, 000 from each of the over 700,000 applicants looking for jobs.
“Twenty applicants lost their lives during the stampedes which accompanied a sham test conducted nationwide for the applicants.
“In spite of collecting the levies from the applicants, Moro shielded Parradang from any reprimand during his tenure.
“While appearing before the then Senator Atiku Bagudu-led Senate Committee on Interior, “Tapgun admitted that the consultant released N45million out of the N212million requested by the board for the exercise.
Tapgun said Drexel Technical Nigeria Limited – the consultant who anchored the application exercise on behalf of the Ministry—provided only the N45million as ‘discretionary contribution’ for the screening.
“He admitted that the development created serious logistics problems on the day of the exercise.”
The Nation

Radio Biafra: Protest turns bloody