On February 26, four distinguished lawyers debated this and other questions at a forum at American University, co-organized with the American Bar Association Center for Human Rights, the student-run Africa Initiative on campus, and a new diaspora organization, East Africa WashingtonProgram. Â The event drew attention from Africa, Europe, and in the Kenyan media. Â You can watch a brief clip from the NTV Kenya television coverage here. Participants included:
- Michael S. Greco, former president, American Bar Association
- Regina Njogu,Â a Washington College of Law alum who offered a vigorous critique of the ICC, and filled in the spot on the panel left vacant by the Hon. Koki Muli, Kenya’s Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations
- Stephen Arthur Lamony, Senior Adviser on AU, UN and Africa Situations Coalition for the International Criminal Court
- Prof. David Bosco, a professor in AU’s School of International Service, and author of Rough Justice: The International Criminal Court in a World of Power Politics, recently published by Oxford University Press
A cornerstone of President Obamaâs policy towards Africa is a new initiative to expand access to electricity, dubbed “Power Africa”. A great deal of economic research (and common sense) suggests that unreliable power is a major barrier to economic growth and long term development.Â However a letter signed by 75 African groups across 18 African countries has raised concerns about Power Africa, as well as the Electrify Africa Act and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. Ever since the 1990s,
OPIC has been targeted by budget hawks as âcorporate welfareâ since it helps underwrite financial risks associated with private investment in the developing world.
The signatories to the letter wrote, “We do not need to poison communities in Africa in order to develop sustainably. Consequently, we reject any further extraction of and exploitation of fossil fuels, including natural gas, oil, coal and unconventional fossil fuels” as part of the Power Africa initiative. This letter is particularly relevant to attempts by some to weaken OPIC’s carbon cap. Indeed the groups wrote, âOPIC’s cap on greenhouse gas emissions must not be tampered with, most certainly not in the false name of supplying power to Africa’s poor.â Instead, the African NGOs urged support for “small-scale, decentralized, community-owned renewable energy initiatives throughout the African countryside and cities.”
The letter is again getting wide circulation in Washington as Power Africa and the enabling legislation winds its way through Congress, including today’s markup by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
10 November 2013
Subject: Leave the oil in the soil; leave the coal in the hole
Dear President Obama,
We are African organizations working for the realization of a healthy and just environment for the people of our countries. We believe that every person has the right to a dignified life of quality on a livable planet. The climate crisis — brought on by developed countries — poses a monumental threat to this basic human right.
It is with this in mind that we write to you concerning the Power Africa initiative, as well as congressional legislation apparently meant to operationalize your initiative, including the Electrify Africa Act of 2013. Like you, we feel a great sense of urgency to address the pervasive energy poverty found in most African countries. It is shameful that in 2013, more than two-thirds of sub-Saharan Africa’s population lacks electricity, with that number growing to more than 85 per cent in rural areas.
We are therefore working hard to bring decentralized, truly clean, community-controlled renewable energy to all of our people. We do not need to poison communities in Africa in order to develop sustainably. Consequently, we reject any further extraction and exploitation of fossil fuels, including natural gas, oil, coal, and unconventional fossil fuels.
These dirty fuel projects cause devastating impacts on local health, communities, and the environment. We similarly reject large hydropower projects, and other âfalse solutionsâ such as carbon trading and offsetting. Smaller scale solar, wind, and geothermal, and mini-hydro, can provide us with sustainable lives and livelihoods without sinking our health along with that of the continent and the planet.
When we read statements from the White House about ânew discoveries of vast reserves of oil and gasâ, and that âThe recent discoveries of oil and gas in sub-Saharan Africa will play a critical role in defining the region’s prospects for economic growth and stability, as well as contributing to broader near-term global energy securityâ1 – our response is to say,
- âLeave the oil in the soil; leave the coal in the hole.â
- Â It is simply impossible to continue to exploit fossil fuels if we want to avoid climate catastrophe. And we want to avoid climate catastrophe. So do you.
- Climate change is already having a heightened impact in Africa, with increasing temperatures, more floods and droughts, and failing agriculture, which is increasing conflict and threatening the lives and livelihoods of many millions.
Furthermore, we know from many decades of direct experience that the World Bank-driven development model pushing large-scale infrastructure and power projects rarely, if ever, alleviates poverty. Instead, such projects exacerbate inequality and conflict, devastate the environment, and frequently involve human rights violations (i.e. the well-documented âresource curseâ). These projects do not help us at home but rather are for export and to line the pockets of multinational corporations and local elites.
But even more troubling is how African poverty has historically been used to line the pockets of U.S. corporations and âexpertsâ. Much of the money given as “aid” to African and other countries actually returns right back to the âexpertsâ and consultants of donor countries 2. It thus troubles us tremendously that Power Africa has been advertised to U.S. audiences as an initiative to benefit U.S. corporations. For example, upon Power Africa’s launch, Forbes 3 wrote that it âgreases billions in deals for General Electricâ, saying the firm is âperhaps the biggest beneficiaryâ of the initiative, noting the U.S. Export-Import Bank’s4 central role in financing its ambitions in the region. Indeed, the chair of the Export-Import Bank was quite frank about this over Twitter, referring to Power Africa as a “$7B plan to power up @General Electric”, and he posted a picture of President Obama’s speech on the initiative in Tanzania with a GE logo more than twice the size of the presidential seal.
We therefore urge you to re-think any support for large scale power and infrastructure projects in the name of increasing energy access for Africa. We know that this hasn’t worked in the past, and it won’t work now. What will work are small-scale, decentralized, community-owned renewable energy initiatives throughout the African countryside and cities.
Even the International Energy Agency has said as much. Its 2010 World Energy Outlook found that for universal energy access to occur by 2030, 70 per cent of rural populations will need to be served by decentralized renewable energy, and that electrification strategies should focus heavily on decentralized renewable energy systems, such as small-scale, democratically controlled wind, solar and microhydro co-operatives which meet local needs and end peoples’ reliance on the corporate-controlled energy system. Advances in distributed renewable energy in recent years have made this technology more cost effective than outmoded grid extension from centralized fossil fuel projects; much like cheaper mobile phone technology has made extension of phone lines obsolete. When the externalized cost of fossil fuel projects is factored in — including the cost of harmful health impacts, loss of land, environmental and agricultural damage, and conflicts â distributed renewable energy solutions become even more cost effective than fossil fuel projects.
Unfortunately, to our dismay, we have learned that fossil fuel companies, the ONE Campaign, and even some in the Obama administration are using Power Africa and the Electrify Africa Act to try to weaken crucial gains in U.S. development financing at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). OPICâs landmark climate and development policy, which is already having a positive effect in directing the agency’s portfolio toward renewable energy, requires the agency to reduce its fossil fuel financing and increase its renewable energy financing, bringing cleaner energy access to the poor.
OPICâs cap on greenhouse gas emissions must not be tampered with, most certainly not in the false name of supplying power to Africa’s poor.
Weakening this policy will mean more polluting energy for Africa. What’s more, it may result in increased numbers of large centralized fossil fuel power projects that serve industrial customers but do not increase energy access for the poor, particularly in rural areas.
We thank you for your attention to these most important matters as we all move boldly toward sustainable livelihoods in the face of the climate crisis.
1 The White House Fact Sheet: Power Africa, 30 June, 2013,
2 Timothy Mitchell. Rule of Experts: Egypt, Techno-Politics, Modernity,
University of California press, 2002
3 See http://www.forbes.com/sites/christopherhelman/2013/07/01/with-power-africa-plan-obama-to-grease-billions-in-deals-for-g-e/.
4 We note that the U.S. Export-Import Bank has gained notoriety for itsÂ skyrocketing financing of fossil fuels, including the 4800 MW Kusile powerÂ project in South Africa, which is exacerbating energy poverty and causingÂ tremendous local and climate pollution. Indeed, we vociferously protestedÂ the Export-Import Bank’s financing of Kusile.
Abibiman Foundation, Ghana
African Alliance for Rangeland Management and Development, Kenya
African Biodiversity Network, Kenya
African Biosafety Centre, South Africa
African Research Association managing Development in Nigeria
Association NigĂ©rienne des Scouts de l’Environnement, Niger
ATTAC Burkina, Burkina Faso
Caravane D’Animation Culturelle Pour Le Development Durably, DRC
Center for Secured Health and Environmental Development Initiatives, Nigeria
Centre for 21st Century Issues, Nigeria
Centre for Civil Society, South Africa
Climate Change Network Nigeria
Committee on Vital Environmental Resources, Nigeria
Daughters of Mumbi Global Resource Center, Kenya
Direction GĂ©nĂ©rle des ForĂȘts et des Ressources Naturelles, BĂ©nin
Earth Peoples, Africa
Earthlife Africa Durban, South Africa
Earthlife Africa Jhb, South Africa
Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria
Friends of Lake Turkana, Kenya
Friends of the Earth Africa
Friends of the Earth Ghana
Greater Middelburg Resident’s Association, South Africa
groundWork, Friends of the Earth, South Africa
Growing Power NPC, South Africa
Health of Mother Earth, Nigeria
Host Community Network Gwagwalada-Abuja, Nigeria
Host Community Network Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria
Host Community Network Chika-Lugbe, Nigeria
Host community Network Karimo, Nigeria
Host Community Network Mape, Nigeria
Institute for Sustainable Development, Ethiopia
Irrigation Training and Economic Empowerment Organization – IRTECO, Tanzania
Jamaa Resource Initiatives, Kenya
Jeunes volontaires pour l’Environnement de la RDC (JVE-RDC), DRC
Johannesburg Anglican Environmental Initiative, South Africa
JustiĂ§a Ambiental/ Friends of the Earth Mozambique
Kenya Debt Relief Network – KENDREN, Kenya
Labour, Health and Human Rights Development Centre, Nigeria
Les Amis de la Terre-Togo
Maendeleo Endelevu Action Program, Kenya
National Association of Professional Environmentalists, Uganda
Never Ending Food, Malawi
Newcastle Environmental Justice Alliance, South Africa
Next Generation Youth Initiative International (NEGYII), Nigeria
NGO Coalition for Environment (NGOCE), Calabar, Nigeria
Nigerian Conservation Foundation, Nigeria
No REDD in Africa Network
Ogoni Solidarity Forum, Nigeria
Organisation de Bienfaisance et de DĂ©vellopement, Djibouti
Project 90 by 2030, South Africa
Rainforest Resource and Development Centre (RRDC), Nigeria
SAFCEI, South Africa
South Durban Community Environmental Alliance, South Africa
Southern Cape Land Committee, South Africa
TCOE, South Africa
The Rules, Africa
The Young Environment Network, Nigeria
Unemployed People’s Movement, South Africa
Uniao Nacional de Camponeses (National Farmer Union of Mozambique), Mozambique
University of Kwazulu Natal, South Africa
Wise Administration of Terrestrial Environment and Resources (WATER), Nigeria
Women Environmental Programme Burkina, Burkina Faso
World Neighbours, Africa
Worldview -The Gambia
Young Volunteers for Environment, Ethiopia
Youth Volounteers for the Environment, Zambia
350.org Durban, South Africa
Nigeria’s president Goodluck Jonathan fired the Central Bank governor, Lamido Sanusi, last week. Â The move was immediately condemned by the opposition and alarmed the business community, prompting the naira to drop in value (briefly as low as 170 = 1 USD) and the stock market to fall.
One senior oil executive I spoke with said the incident was not entirely a surprise, as tensions between Sanusi and Jonathan have been escalating for months. Nigeria’s top banker testified before a legislative oversight committee in January that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) had failed to remit about $20 billion in oil proceeds to the country’s Federation Account. The implication that the money disappeared was not lost on anti-corruption activists, such as the Socio-economic Rights and Accountability Project and the Zero Corruption Coalition (a partner of Transparency International). Though Sanusi was named Forbes Magazine’s “African Person of the Year” in 2011, and “Person of the Year” in 2010 by Banker Magazine, his reforms requiring new auditing procedures in banks and limits on CEO tenure had turned some in the Nigerian banking sector against him.
In a long list of charges detailed in Leadership and other media, the president accuses Sanusi of violating Nigeria’s recent Procurement Act and wasteful spending. I was interviewed by Al Jazeera English a few days ago on the subject (see right).
Since the Central Bank Act of 2007 does not give the president the authority to fire the Central Bank governor without a two-thirds vote of the Senate, the executive claims that Sanusi has technically been suspended, not dismissed. However Jonathan has already forwarded a replacement,Â Godwin Emefiele of Zenith Bank, to the Senate for confirmation. Can Senate President David Mark consider a replacement for an office that is not vacant? Stand by for a lively debate in Senate, and a fight from Sanusi in the courts (though he has also said he is fighting on principle, and does not plan to return to office). A slew of recent defections from the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to a new opposition party will make the Assembly’s role all the more uncertain.
The last four Central Bank governors hailed from the north (see “Six Under Consideration to Replace Sanusi,” This Day 29 October 2013), so the nomination of Emefiele, from southeastern Akwa Ibom State, may also suggest that Jonathan wants to rotate the position. Â Moreover, Sanusi’s term was about to expire in June anyway, and Jonathan is going into a heated presidential election next year when many in the PDP believe that Jonathan himself should step down to “shift power” back to the north. So the question is, why now?Â With northerners seeking reassurance, this might not be the most opportune moment to appoint an easterner. And even if Jonathan prevails on the legal technicalities (the Senate’s chief information officer seems to agree with his interpretation of suspension), and he is able to offer persuasive evidence of the charges against Sanusi, the independence of the Central bank is now in doubt — and the procedures for investigating corruption seem cloudy again.
In a paper I co-authored with Todd Eisenstadt and Tofigh Maboudi, we answer the above question using a new data set covering all 132 new constitutions in 118 countries between 1974 and 2011.
After noting a larger empirical disjuncture between new constitutions and democratization since the 1970s, we ask: under what circumstances do new constitutions lock in democratic gains? We disaggregate the constitution-making process into three phases: drafting, debating, and ratifying. Statistical tests find that overall increased participation positively impacts levels of post-promulgation democracy. However, the results also offer compelling evidence that the degree of citizen participation specifically in the first stage (drafting) has an especially robust impact on the resulting regime. This is important in light of the centrality of referenda and the last stage of constitution-making (ratification) during the Third Wave.
Click here to download our paper on “Participatory constitution-making and democracy,” recently presented at the American University comparative politics seminar. Â Comments are welcome!
I share these recent comments by Dr. Datti Ahmed and Nafiu Baba-Ahmed for discussion, without comment here. Â I have inserted a few hyperlinks as appropriate. Â If anyone has any conflicting or confirming information about these incidents, please post details.
Text of a Press Conference by the Supreme Council For Sharia in Nigeria on Sunday, 1st December, 2013
Â No More Pretensions, the Nigerian State is waging a war on Islam and Muslims.
Gentlemen of the Press, I welcome you all to this Press Conference on a very important and weighty issue on the serious concerns of Muslims over a Systematic war on Muslims and Islam by the Federal Government, controlled by CAN.
Since the end of Military dictatorship in 1999, Muslims and other objective observers have witnessed, with incredible consternation, the progressive transformation of the Nigerian State into a government of CAN, by CAN and for Christians, in character, structure and policies.
This ugly development, now appropriately christened a âtransformation agendaâ, appears to have reached its zenith, involving practically all Federal Government Institutions and resources, with the active support of all security agencies and the Armed forces, all pursing in unison, the objective of collective punishment, marginalization, intimidation and demonization of Muslims and Islam. This unfortunate development is now openly executed, with no conscience or pretensions, for even the blind can see. This relentless war against Islam and Muslims for close to 15 years by the Nigerian State and its agencies of coercion, which was initially under deceptive guises, is today crystal clearly targeting the slaughter of Muslims with impunity, and to destroy the future and livelihood of Muslims in every conceivable way, for the goal of 2015 in the short term and at the same time, inflict upon Muslims, an everlasting state of impotence in the long term. This MUST stop, Now! And from today, we urge all Muslims to wake up to this real and immediate danger so that we can take appropriate steps to put an end to it.
I will begin with the latest plan by CAN and its security agencies, SSS, DIA, DMI and the Police, to target and arrest prominent Muslim clerics, scholars, Imams and other activists, then employ the obnoxious SSS tactic of using youths, under duress or through inducement and deception, to give false prepared testimonies against such targeted Muslims. The most recent case is the criminal arrest, detention and humiliation of Dr. Muhammad Yunus Nazeefi, a well known and respected critic of the Boko Haram ideology and tactics, now being portrayed as a spiritual leader of the group.
We demand his immediate and unconditional release from detention, a public apology, compensation for his unlawful incarceration and humiliation, and most importantly, a public inquiry to reveal those behind this dastardly act.
We also call on the President to put an immediate end to the impunity and criminality of the SSS or risk the wrath of the people who will definitely rise up to resist such gross abuses and injustice. Injustice as is being perpetrated by the present Government, can never bring about peace, but breed perpetual circles of violence. Unfortunately, we are aware of a sinister plan to commence the wholesale arrest and humiliation of prominent Muslims, with approval from the highest level of Govt., to include Muslim clerics, scholars, Imams and other Muslim activists.
At this juncture, I must salute the courageous patience and perseverance of Nigerian Muslims for all the acts of provocation, impunity, brazen injustices, profiling and stigmatization, over a long period. No doubt, we have given the Govt. benefit of doubt for too long, for noble as the act of patience is, it has a limit, and that limit we seem to have reached now. The import of the statement by the Chief of Army staff, General Ihejinka in 2011 that the armed forces are fighting a civil war, not just elements of the Boko Haram insurgency is quite clear today, it is a war against Islam and Muslims.
Muslims are fed up with the Governmentâs duplicitous circle of deception and double standards. Here, I will give just a few in controvertible examples, which raise many questions begging for answers. (i) Since the early 1980s when religious crises and the mass massacre of Muslims commenced in earnest, (Zangon Kataf I and II, Kasuwan Magani, Kafanchan, Tafawa Balewa, Jos, Yelwan Shendam, Numan, Mambila Plateau, Kuru Jenta, and most recently, Zonkwa, Wase and Wukari), all promises, undertakings and assurances by the Federal Government to investigate and sanction the leaders and perpetrators have not been met. After each round of massacre of Muslims, the Federal Government would come with the familiar high sounding assurances which are never meant to be fulfilled.
(ii) For quite some time, there have been numerous cases of Christians involved in terrorist related acts, but such cases are never investigated by the Police and SSS, even in instances where they were caught red handed in the act. I will give a few instances in 2010 alone, beginning with Messrs. Moses Ashaji and Papa, arrested on Friday, 19th February, 2010 along Akwanga-Jos Road with huge stocks of locally manufactured rifles. Also, Daniel Chayi Gyang, Amos Akila and Mbono Musa, were arrested with deadly weapons, including rocket launchers, grenades and AK47 rifles, intercepted by the SSS in Maiduguri on 30th July, 2010 on their way to Plateau State. There was another case of eleven well armed terrorists arrested in August 2010, including the village head of Nasarawa Village, Chief Danteri Bongwat of Langtang South, and an illegal armory located in Kuru, Plateau State. These cases were widely reported in the media, but the CAN SSS never took any action, because they were not Muslims. Still in 2010, the Punch Newspaper reported the arrest of Five (5) Pastors âfor operating an Illegal Military outfitâ (a Euphemism for terrorist activity, since the word is exclusively reserved for Muslims), in Lagos, with their photographs published at page 11 of the Wednesday edition, 10th March, 2010.
The examples are too numerous to cite here, but the most recent were two news reports on the arrest CAN Military operatives by the police âfor operating illegal security outfitâ in Jalingo, Taraba State. Those arrested included Reverend Chaplain Shehu Yakubu, a retired customs officer Sunday Silas, retired SSS officer Sulaiman Audu, a retired ASP Y. Winew, a retired ASP Ismaâila Makaniki and many others. This was reported by the Daily Trust Newspaper of Saturday, 2nd November, 2013 at page 10. In the same paper, at Page 8, was another report, âPolice nab woman, 2 others over militia training in Gombeâ, in which one Mrs. Deborah Babayo and two men were reportedly arrested by the Gombe Police Command âfor conducting illegal militia training under the auspices of an illegal organization, called âThe Elite Corpsâ on the outskirts of Gombe, on 1st November, 2013. In both cases, which we believe the Police and SSS will sweep under the carpet as usual, the concern of the Police in the two reports was the “sums of money involved but unfortunately, though not surprisingly, they were silent on the cache of arms recovered.
Perhaps even more revealing in the unfolding drama of double standards and deception by the Federal Government and its CAN controlled security agencies are widely reported cases of Christians, too numerous to mention, who were actually caught in the act of terrorism, which were never investigated, let alone prosecuted. There have been more than twenty of such cases, but I will cite about half a dozen as examples, in Gombe, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Plateau, Lagos, Benue and Rivers States.
In Gombe State, there was a report on the arrest of Christian men that sprayed bullets on the Gombe Deeper Life Church worshippers. Igbos were the suspects arrested who were reportedly taken to Abuja. Shortly thereafter, two Christians, Hassan Ojudu and Samaâila Yakubu were arrested with a vehicle loaded with explosive devices and ammunitions. Curiously, they too were reportedly taken to Abuja, and as usual, nothing has been heard from the SSS Spokeswoman or in the news, to date. Still in Gombe State, one Madam Ruth was caught attempting to bomb ECWA Church in the Kalarin area of Kaltungo. But the security agencies claimed she was âhypnotizedâ and was conveniently set free.
In Bauchi State, one Miss Lydia Joseph was also caught red handed trying to set ST. John Catholic Church in Bauchi on fire, but she was immediately set free, with the explanation that she had a problem with a boyfriend member of the Church! Shortly after that incident, eight (8) COCIN Church members were arrested with explosive devices while attempting to bomb the Miya-Barkatai branch of the Church. By the following Sunday, they were free to participate in Church service.
In Plateau State, in March 2012, a Christian wearing Military Uniform, later identified as a member of the COCIN Church, was lynched while trying to escape after the bombing of the same Church headquarters in Jos. A few days later, on Sunday 25th March, 2012, the Special Task Force (STF) paraded one Mr. Alex Danladi, who was caught wearing army camouflage, along with one Mr. Dung Bulus, a well known fabricator of guns, and some others the authorities said were students of the University of Jos. A few weeks later, on 10th April, 2012 one Mr. Monday Davou was arrested, caught red handed, planting a timed improvised explosive device (IED), at the Makera weekly market in Riyom Local Government Area, Plateau State. This was evidently aimed at committing mass murder that was to have been instantly attributed to Boko Haram, to provide a good excuse to attack Muslims, demonize Islam and opportunity to loot Muslim property and cattle!
In Lagos, the Saturday Sun newspaper of 10th March, 2012, at page 10, reported that 11 cartons of explosives imported from South Africa, which were carefully packaged to beat security checks, where intercepted by the Nigerian Customs Service at the Murtala Muhammad International Airport, Lagos. The huge consignments were for Miero Marble Granite and Stones Ltd, in Kaduna State, with one Mr. Micheal Awara Ernest as the Company representative to collect the explosives at the Cargo terminal. The statement of the Customs Area commandant at the Airport, Mr. Charles Eporwei Edike, which was profoundly insightful on the intent and probable consequences of the explosive, fell on the deaf ears of the SSS. He said âif those items were released, they could have been used to cause mayhem. We are now going to hand him and the items over to the Police for further investigationâ. Well, since the handover, neither the Police nor the Spokeswoman of the almighty SSS have not said, or done anything on the case. It would be most surprising if he was not set free with his toxic import, to kill Muslims. In Benue State, on Sunday, 19th February, 2013 four (4) persons, were arrested while trying to detonate explosives at the ST. Theresaâs Catholic Parish in Makurdi. The Leadership newspaper of Wednesday, 22nd February, 2012, at page 10, reported the Police PRO, Mr. Ejike as saying that the four terrorists arrested were Christians. But before the honest revelation, the members of the public had already jumped to the conclusion that they were Muslims.
The factual examples are just too many, but for the purpose of this Press Conference, I will conclude with two examples indicative of the international dimension of the deception and double standards of our CAN controlled SSS and the Police Force. On January 11th 2012, two Nigerians, Sunday Eze from Anambra State and one Samuel Taiwo from Ogun State with three other Ghanains were arrested in Ghana, with heavy weaponry, carefully concealed in a truck which was to be brought to Nigeria. The question to ask the Police, SSS and the Presidency is who were behind the order? Certainly not NSCIA, SCSN, JNI, NASFAT, MSS, NACOMYO, MURIC OR UMMAH. While Opposing the bail of the terrorists in court on Tuesday, March 27th, 2012 the office of the Attorney General of the Republic of Ghana said âthe arms and ammunitions seized on transit to Nigeria were to be used to fuel terrorists activities in Nigeriaâ. Which terrorist groups are they that the Nigerian Government, the Police and SSS are protecting? It must surely be the bigger, better armed, well financed and protected Government/CAN Boko Haram.
Finally, on specific factual examples, was a BBC news report published by THISDAY Newspaper of Friday, 13th January, 2012 on page 6, on a British arms dealer, Gary Hyde being prosecuted in a London court for unlawfully arranging the shipment of about 80,000 guns and 32Million rounds of ammunition from China to Nigeria in 2007. Obviously, it was not meant for Muslim terrorists, because if it was, the BBC, CNN and the Nigerian Media would have kept harping on it. As for the Presidency, SSS, the Police and our Armed Forces, this event never happened.
It appears a good number of Nigerians are afflicted by amnesia, but keen observers would recall that a few years ago, a systematic robbery of the armory of the Nigerian Army in Jaji, the 1st division of the Nigerian Army Kaduna, Ikeja cantonment and many other Military formations was widely reported, involving Christian serving Officers and Generals. A Military inquiry was instituted and many Christian Officers, serving and retired including the Late General Azazi, were indicted, but nothing was done to any of them. More importantly, were are the arms? May be they were given to one Boko Haram or another! What about the report of the Military Inquiry?
Gentlemen of the press, there are just too many questions begging for answers from the Presidency, the SSS, the Police and the Military high Command. The Presidency is definitely involved in the cover ups and double standards, for why would the President, rush to absolve MENDS from the first terrorist act involving massive bombs in Nigeria, on October 1st, 2009 even before the commencement of any investigation and attribute it to Muslim Leaders? Why would the Commander in Chief, order the Director General of SSS to publicly, in Church, grant a pardon to a Christian terrorist group, OMBATSE, of Nasarawa State, who slaughtered over 80 mobile policemen and 10 SSS operatives? Let any fair minded person imagine what would have happened if it was a group in Kano, Katsina, or any Muslims were behind what OMBATSE did! As for the double standards of the SSS; it seems to be a part of their training or culture, to provide excuses and explanations for any Christian unfortunate to be caught in a terrorist activity. The Eggon Christian tribesman of the Minister of Information (and Defence!) who was also caught red handed with arms at the Federal Ministry of Information, readily comes to mind. The SSS Spokeswoman explained off this security breach as a non-issue, since it was not a Muslim that was involved.
Recent Mass Massacre of Muslims
The Sunday Trust Newspaper of 20th October, 2013 revealed that the JTF had dumped 3,335 corpse, in Maiduguri Hospital mortuary, the toll for only 6 months, January to June, 2013. Incontrovertible evidence further revealed that an average of not less than 12 young Muslims were massacred every day during the period, at the Maiduguri Military Barracks alone! In January, 94 were killed, 61 in February, 218 in March, 200 in April, 161 in May and 233. This total figure does not include thousands killed in their homes, in Yobe, Bauchi, Gombe and Kano. To the Nigerian Government and its security agencies, the blood of a Muslim is not worth more than a mosquito.
In 2009, after series of denials by the Police and SSS of extra judicial massacre of Muslims in Maiduguri, ALJAZEERA aired a video clip that revealed the monstrous evil committed. In spite of the outcry and the clear evidence including the identity of the perpetrators, the matter has been conveniently swept under the carpet. The Apo six murderers who happened to be Muslims were however promptly apprehended, dismissed and prosecuted with unprecedented swiftness. But the most recent Apo 9 murderers are yet to be apprehended, why? because the poor souls were hated Muslims.
Disproportionate Recruitments into all Govt. Services, especially, the SSS, Armed Forces and the Police
As a result of the non-challance of Muslim leaders, especially in the last 15 years, recruitments into key parastatals and agencies, especially the SSS, NIA, the Police, the Armed Forces and even paramilitary agencies, have been systematically skewed to favour Christians, with massive expulsion and wholesale retirement of Muslims. Our Council had cause to bring this issue to the public domain and even involved the Supreme Council For Islamic Affairs and the JNI, with an advertorial and a petition on the matter handed to President Obasanjo in 2005 by the Late Sultan. Almost 10 years later, the lopsidedness in the recruitment has become even more brazen. The recent recruitment into the SSS officer corp, the latest of which graduated from their Training school in Lagos about a month ago, showed for example, Kano had 6, Kebbi and Sokoto had 3 each, while Rivers State had 38 and Akwa Ibom had 40. In addition, most of those from Kaduna, Bauchi, Taraba, Adamawa, Nasarawa, Kogi, Gombe , Ogun, Oyo and Oshun States were predominantly Christians.
At the Zaria Army depot, where other ranks of the Army are trained, over 11,000 were recruited and trained in the last 3 years, and Christian constitutes a big majority. Just last week, about 40 Muslim trainee recruits at the Zaria Army Depot were expelled, with no explanation, a few weeks before the end of their training. The records of recruitment into the officer corps of the Armed Forces at the NDA, had for over 20 years now been skewed to favour Christians. The most recent list of recruitment into the 65th regular course of the NDA is typical of what has been going on for years; Kaduna had 3 Muslims and 11 Christians, Adamawa 4 Muslims, 9 Christians, Taraba 3 Muslims 10 Christians, with Borno faring a little better with 7 Muslims and Six Christians. There have been many cases of Christians given slots in Jigawa, Katsina, Zamfara and even Sokoto, but you will never, find a Muslim name in Benue, South East and South South.
This is a very serious issue that must be remedied, because the series of religious/ethnic crises are further compounded by the disproportionate representation of Muslims in the SSS, the Police and the Armed Forces. For example, the authoritative Human Rights Watch (HRW) in a damming report on the last major religious crisis in Jos, indicted the Mobile Police for singling out Muslims for massacre. It cited more than a dozen incidents in which mainly Muslims were rounded up and gunned down. In one incident, 44 Muslims were shot in firing squad style.
It also listed seven separate incidents of arbitrary killings in which 47 Muslims were shot by Military men. Of Course, the HRW appeal for a probe of the Mobile Police was disregarded. Their report concluded with the recommendation,:- The HRW reported concluded that -
âThe probe of the Mobile Police should go beyond its role in the Jos crisis to unearth its recruitment policy, numerical strength and the religious affiliations of its officers and menâ. It added that â
âUnless the roles played by the Mobile Police and fake (sic CAN) soldiers are properly investigated and the finding made public, other groups are likely to adopt similar methods in the nearest futureâ.
Earlier on, the then Police Commissioner in Kaduna State, Alhaji Mohammed Shehu, observed after the 2000 major religious crises, observed that unless the composition of the Police Force, which then was 80% Christians in Kaduna State was re-constituted, there would be no end to religious crises (page 24 New Nigerian newspaper of Wednesday, 2nd August 2000).
We therefore urge the Federal Government, the Nigerian Police, the Armed Forces and the SSS and NIA to come clean on these injustices with satisfactory explanations and assurance of fair play and transparency. Government at all levels, especially the Federal Government should note that there can never be peace without justice and no people, however complacent, can accept such excesses, without reacting. And unless the Federal Government is determined to push Nigerian Muslims to that stage, we demand immediate, transparent remedial actions.
Fellow Nigerians and gentlemen of the Press, how many people would believe that in the 21st Century, and for almost 10years, 80 Muslim women and girls are still being held as âbootyâ (ganima) dehumanized as sex slaves by Christians in Plateau State, since the Yelwan Shendam massacre of Muslims in 2004. All efforts to get the appropriate authorities to take immediate steps to secure their release and re-union with their families have fell on deaf ears. Our Council had held series of meetings with 3 Inspectors General of Police, 3 Directors General of SSS and the NSA all of whom were given petitions on the matter. As at 2004, over 200 such Muslim women and girls were involved, the Council was successful in securing the freedom of about 120, all victims of forced labour, rapes and emotional trauma. If this barbaric act had affected Christians, the Federal Government, and its security agencies would have ruthlessly swung into action with an International Press awash with the news.
It is evident that CAN and the Federal Government are poised to undermine Islam, for at every turn, every right of Muslims according to their faith is being opposed with threats borne out of blind hatred. The ethical system of banking, universally embraces, was opposed by CAN, Nigeriaâs membership into the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) was opposed for over 20years, until about Six years ago when the Obasanjo saw beyond religious bias, the benefits of joining IDB to the country. Still, the Governors of Oshun and Adamawa states are facing opposition in their plans to secure interest free long term developmental loans from the IDB, for no reasons other than irrational prejudice against anything Islamic. Christians, on the other hand, are not only free to practice every aspect of their faith, but can even pick and incorporate aspects of the Islamic faith convenient for them with the support of the Government; the annual trips on government sponsorship to Egypt, Israel and Rome in the name of pilgrimage, is an example.
In conclusion, while we call on Muslims to meticulously stick to the teachings of Islam on Peace, Justice, Compassion and truthfulness, we all know that everything human has a limit. The fact is the patience of Muslims who have been systematically brutalized, stigmatized, marginalized and pauperized , been severely tested and overstretched. We therefore call on all people of conscience to stand up for the truth against such glaring injustices, otherwise we all know it is a fact of life that every act has a consequence, good or bad. We therefore want the Federal Government to know that it is no longer acceptable for the rights of Muslims to be abridged or annulled, while Christians in Nigeria have an unfettered right to do as they wish.