PPPRA Headship: Govt Narrows Search To South-South

The Federal Government may have narrowed the search for the leadership of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, (PPPRA), to South-South candidates, LEADERSHIP can authoritatively reveal.

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It would be recalled that the immediate past executive secretary of the agency, Dr. Oluwole Oluleye, was sent packing recently over allegation of graft which the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, is still investigating.

The development, according to Aso Rock sources, will help balance, to an extent, the appointments by President Umaru Yar’Adua’s government, in the oil and gas sector.

Already, the appointments made into some of the establishment in the oil and gas sector are those of: Alhaji Mohammed Bakindo, Group Managing Director, GMD, NNPC; Alhaji Muttagha Rabe Darma from Katsina, who presides over the Petroleum Technology Development Fund, PTDF, and Adefunke Kasali, Executive Secretary, PPPRA.

Today, the PPPRA is being superintended over by Mr. Wole Adamolekun. Beside, Dr. Bello Gusau who served as the secretary of the Oil and Gas Reform Implementation Committee, OGIC, has also been appointed as the executive secretary of the newly created National Petroleum Directorate, NPD, which will replace the Ministry of Petroleum.

The choice of the South-South candidate for the plum job of the agency, we further gathered, was to assuage the restiveness in the Niger Delta region of the country; and to also balance the appointment equation of President Umaru Yar’Adua.

Two key candidates who are in contention for the agency’s job from the South-South at the moment are: Miss Donu Kogbara and Mr. Moses Mbaba. While Kogbara, a freelance journalist from Bayelsa State was at one time an aid of Dr. Abiye Sekibo, when he was transport minister. Mbaba, who is a career civil servant and a pioneer staff of the agency is the agency’s acting general manager, AGM.

He is from Adnoni local government area of Rivers State.

Nigeria, S/Africa Set Up Investment C’ttee

Nigeria and South Africa yesterday inaugurated a 10-man Joint Presidential Advisory Council on Investment (JPACI)in its second review council meeting of the Nigeria -South Africa Bi-National Commission (BNC).

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JPACI was established in June 2008 to strengthen the bilateral economic relations of JPACI under the BNC.

The body, which has five representatives from each country is to advise the two presidents on business cooperation and investment promotion.

The Nigerian representatives are Mr. Jim Ovia, MD, Zenith Bank, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG), Mr. Femi Otedola, Zenon Oil, Alhaji M.A Gambo, former MD, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and Alhaji Sani Nuhu, former Comptroller-General of Customs.

From the South African, Mr. Cheryl Carolous, Petonia Group, Ms. Wendy Nqenga, Aphrodeitis Mining, Mr. Phutuma Nleko, MTN, Mr. Simphiwe Tshabalala, Standard Bank and Mr. Jerry Vilakazi, Business Unity, South Africa (BUSA).

The members will meet to pick their leader (s).

The body was inaugurated by the Vice Presiden,t Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and the Deputy President of South Africa , Ms. Baleka Mbete.

In his remark, Dr. Jonathan said the notable individuals from both countries have been chosen for the very important task.

While noting that they will bring their experience to bear, Dr. Jonathan said “In this time of global economic recession” the group will work hard to bring the two countries into the path of economic recovery and development.

He also tasked the body to inject a new life in the flow of goods and services between the two countries.

The vice president also said that the 10th anniversary of the BNC in October this year will afford the two countries the opportunity to comprehensively review the achievements, as well as challenges, with a view to identify measures to be taken in further strengthening and deepening the work of the BNC.

Dr. Jonathan said that a joint committee has been drawn-up for the marking of the 10th anniversary of BNC.

In her remark, Mbete said though the meeting is coming up at a time when economies of the developed countries are experiencing a meltdown, with the accompanied adverse effects on the economies of the developing world, Nigeria-South Africa are challenged to deploy necessary measures to ensure that the crisis does not affect the foundations of democracy nor deter the effort to defeat poverty and reversing underdevelopment.

She noted that BNC would have failed in its duties if it does not reflect on matters that would enable its activities deliver the people from the shackles of poverty.

The South African Deputy President also said that Nigeria- South Africa should continue to encourage intra-African trade as mandated by the imperatives of the New Partnership for Africa ‘s Development (NEPAD) so as to develop and boost the economies of the continent.

As a building block, the enhancement of bilateral trade between the two countries would consolidate this goal.

She added that BNC is ten-years old this year as a testimony to the commitment of the leadership of both countries to strengthen the bilateral relations on all fronts- from business and trade to science and technology, education and culture.

Lassa Fever: Nasarawa Acquires N10m Drugs

Nasarawa State government said it has acquired drugs worth N10 million to treat patients confirmed to be infected with the dreaded Lassa fever disease recently discovered in some parts of the state and Abuja.

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This was disclosed by the state Commissioner for Health, Alhaji Abubakar Sarki Dahiru in a chat with newsmen in Lafia, the state capital.

Dahiru said that the drugs, which are been purchased in Zaria local government of Kaduna State, are to be stocked in various drug stores in the state to help patients who are suffering from the disease.

He explained that those patients diagnosed with lassa fever last week are responding to treatment because of the quick response of the state government and Federal Government.

According to him, a 16- member medical team is on ground presently in the state going round various clinics, communities and villages for immediate treatment of any person found with the ailment.

He added that the state government is also planning a publicity campaign to sensitise the public over the disease and to guide them on preventive measures for future occurrences.

Dahiru maintained that already, plans are under way to involve NGO’s, traditional rulers, community leaders and interest groups over the sensitisation issues so as to have an all inclusive effort.

He then called on the public not to panic as every measure has been put in place to help eradicate the disease in the state.

It could be recalled that last week, Lassa fever was discovered in some parts of the state and Abuja.

Port Harcourt Ranked Most Dangerous City In The World

It sounds pretty surprising but not unexpected that the city of Port Harcourt, a once very glamorous city, has been ranked among the three most dangerous cities in the world.

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The human resources unit of New York-based Marsh & McLennan Cos. has ranked Port Harcourt with Baghdad, Yemen’s capital of Sana’a and Khartoum in Sudan, as the world’s most dangerous cities.

Going by the ranking published by Bloomberg, Port Harcourt ranks with Baghdad as one of the world’s most dangerous cities for foreign workers as criminal gangs and guerillas seeking greater control of energy revenue step up attacks.

Port Harcourt, a city of 1.6 million was once the home of nightclubs crowded night and day with well-paid petroleum workers. Now dotted with heavily armed checkpoints, Port Harcourt’s transformation from a city that offered round-the- clock-fun to one offering round-the-clock fear. Security has deteriorated as the region moved from agitation to rebellion.

But a prominent leader from Ogoni land, the external visitors’ coordinator,Ogoni council of traditional rulers, chief Sunday Kotes has described the ranking of Port Harcourt as one of world’s dangerous city as baseless and a calculated attempt to dent the image of the city.

In an interview with the LEADERSHIP yesterday, Kotes stated that Port Harcourt currently has over sixty oil companies which are operating peacefully and comfortably. “Port Harcourt is a peace loving home, nobody should dent its image, the report is baseless and it is an economic sabotage .I stand against the report”, he declared.

The Ogoni leader described those behind the report as shortsighted and did not make proper investigation into Port Harcourt before arriving at that conclusion.

“Port Harcourt is not a dangerous city; it is the most beautiful city in the world as far as I know. Presently in Nigeria, Port Harcourt is the treasure beat of the country and they deserve the best rating” he added, observing that the leaders of Port Harcourt are intact and currently craving for investment.

Kotes disclosed that the people of Ogoni have declared their support for President Umaru Yar’Adua whose 7- point agenda includes the development of the Niger-Delta and who is currently building the roads in Ogoni land.

“We stand by President Yar’Adua and we have declared our support for him and we are working very hard to see that the 7-point agenda as it concerns Ogoniland is fully and successfully implemented”, he said.

He blamed the current crisis in the region on corruption and enemies of progress saying that “Ogoni started the struggle perfectly well and stand by what it started. What is happening in Ogoni now is not from Ogoni people and if any Ogoni person is involved it is from somewhere else.

Also speaking during the interview the President of Ogoni Youth Assembly, comrade Saturday Opoga protested the ranking describing it as a mere propaganda play.

The high wave of crime involving kidnappings, robbery and attacks on oil facilities started way back in 2006 and has continued unabated. The government put the blame on the activities of oil thieves and unemployed youths, the youths and traditional rulers of communities in the region have put the blame on politicians, government and the oil companies for their selfish approach to the development of the area. According to expatriate report more than 300 oil industry employees, or two a week, have been kidnapped in the Niger River Delta since a surge in violence began in 2006.

Majority of the militant groups fighting in the Niger-Delta have claimed that they are fighting for the poor masses of the region but this claim has been debunked by high ranking indigenes of the region among whom is the Governor of Rivers state,Rotimi Amaechi who described the militants as armed bandits who are fighting for their selfish economic gains to the detriment of the poor. According to Amaechi at an oil and gas forum in Abuja, no body who is fighting for his people will kidnap them for ransom and destroy facilities put in place in the region, however the governor admits that the Niger Delta is one of the most neglected regions in the world and a positive struggle towards its development is justified.

The militant groups have often targeted the facilities and staff of the major oil companies operating in the region such as Shell and Chevron. Bloomberg reported Tola Adeogba, Shell’s exploration manager in Nigeria as saying that the security situation in Port Harcourt is taking a huge toll.

Most oil companies have either evacuated expatriates or kept them hunkered down in guarded compounds. The metal gates outside Shell’s offices in the city are flanked by two sandbagged positions manned by guards with automatic weapons. Last week, irate youths attacked guards protecting three oil flow stations operated by Royal Dutch Shell to push demands for more funds for the local community, security sources said. A military spokesman said the attackers delivered a letter to security guards threatening further raids if Shell did not provide more funds to the local community.

The attacks in the Niger-Delta region has cut exports from Nigeria, Africa’s largest producer by more than 20 percent, and last month the Delta’s main guerrilla group said it was resuming a campaign against the industry after a four-month ceasefire. A union representing office workers said it may pull members out of the region after gunmen killed the 11-year-old daughter of a Royal Dutch Shell Plc employee and abducted her 9-year-old brother in Port Harcourt.


$6bn LNG Deal: KBR, Halliburton Admit Bribing Nigerian Officials

Kellogg Brown & Root LLC pleaded guilty to violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act as it sought contracts for a Nigerian LNG project, the US Department of Justice said on Monday. KBR and its former parent, Halliburton Co., also settled US Securities and Exchange Commission charges that they allegedly bribed Nigerian government officials for over 10 years to obtain contracts valued at more than $6 billon to build LNG facilities at Bonny Island, Nigeria, the SEC said in a separate announcement.

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KBR entered guilty pleas to a five-count criminal information in federal court in Houston and agreed to pay a $402 million criminal fine, DOJ said. It said that according to court documents, KBR’s predecessor entities, Kellogg Brown & Root Inc. and the MW Kellogg Co., were part of a four-company joint venture that received the contracts from Nigerian LNG Ltd. during 1995-2004. Government-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was the largest shareholder of the consortium, with a 49 per cent interest, DOJ said.

Oil and Gas journal reports that KBR pleaded guilty to conspiring with its joint-venture partners and others to violate the FCPA by authorising, promising, and paying bribes to a range of Nigerian government officials, including officials of the executive branch of the Nigerian government, NNPC and NLNG officials, to obtain the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts.

KBR also pleaded guilty to four counts of violating the FCPA related to the joint venture’s payment of tens of millions of dollars in “consulting fees” to two agents for use in bribing Nigerian government officials. DOJ said that KBR admitted that, at crucial junctures before the EPC awards, KBR’s former Chief Executive, Albert (Jack) Stanley, and others met with three successive former holders of a top-level office in the Nigerian government’s executive branch to ask the office holder to designate a representative with whom the joint venture should negotiate bribes to Nigerian government officials. Stanley and others negotiated bribe amounts with the office holders’ representatives and agreed to hire the two agents to pay the bribes, the charges said.

Disabled Perm Sec Donates Jamb Forms To Deaf Students

The Permanent Secretary at Zamfara State Agency for Poverty Alleviation (ZAPA), Alhaji Usman Ahmad Nahuche, has donated JAMB forms worth N100,000 to members of Nigerian National Association for the Deaf (NNAD) who are aspiring to further their education.

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Presenting the items at a ceremony in Gusau, Nahuche said the effort is part of his little contribution to the development of education of the disabled in the country.

According to him, education brought him where he is today, and as such, it is imperative for him to assist others to achieve their aims.

While urging the beneficiaries to double their efforts and read hard for the forthcoming examinations, Nahuche said he hoped to make the gesture an annual event.

He said the beneficiaries were drawn from seven states of the federation which include Zamfara, Kwara, Katsina, Oyo and Kaduna States among others. Collecting the items on behalf of his colleagues, Secretary-General of NNAD, Zamfara chapter, Malam Yusuf Muhammad Gusau, said Nahuche’s gesture should be emulated by all persons who are wishing the disabled well. He said the permanent secretary is contributing to the welfare, education and social-well-being of the disabled, adding that Nahuche has set a good precedent as such he should be supported.

Reps Propose Deadline On Gas Flaring

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Dimeji Bankole, has disclosed that the House of Representatives will soon come with a definite deadline within which all multinational companies in Nigeria must end the flaring of gas.

The ministry has also looked into other viable ways of reducing environmental pollution. A group of lobbyists have made a valid point to the government to create industries where flaring of gas and the resultant pollution can be eliminated in toto.

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The speaker said this yesterday while inaugurating the newly created House Committee on Climate Change.

“This committee is expected to collaborate with other stakeholders to draw up a final deadline within which the multinational companies will stop flaring of gas in Nigeria “.

Bankole expressed concern over the 1.5 million dollars captured in the 2009 budget for Ministry of Environment which he said would not be enough to address environmental issues.

He added that in the “Supplementary budget proposal, we may decide to take this even more seriously”.

The speaker said the House is currently working on a bill to establish a National Climate Change Commission to address the problem of environmental degradation in the country.

Earlier, while presenting his welcome address, the chairman of the committee, Hon Eziuche Ubani said the “Committee would ensure legislative scrutiny and oversight over treaties and agreements that are likely to arise from the coordinated efforts under the United Nations framework on climate change”.

He warned that the issue of global change should not be treated with kid gloves as “The future of every country will depend on what it does now to address climate change, especially if we understand the nexus between climate change and energy use”.

Ubani called for support from stakeholders in order to effectively execute the mandate of the committee and to embark on a “Massive advocacy drive to educate Nigerians on the reality and consequences of climate change and efforts necessary to mitigate or adapt to its effects”.

in their separate presentations, the counsellor of climate change to the government of Denmark , Peter Krogh Serenson and the British High Commissioner to Nigeria , Mr Bob Dewar, called for political will by the government to combat the effects of climate change in Nigeria .

Meanwhile, the speaker of the House of Representatives had disclosed that it would amend the National Planning Act to make the commission more effective and responsive to the nation’s needs and ensure that the process is done transparently by the relevant organisations.

He said this while inaugurating the committee on international donors and civil society under the chairmanship of Hon. Nnenna Ukeje.

“We need to see the grassroots impact of development funds on our citizens. The practice where chunks of donor fund administrators go to service the pleasures of donor fund administrators or pay for excessively priced technical assistance will need to change.

“The people who make the decisions concerning projects and needs are too far removed from the people who should benefit from them and are powerless to make any contribution”.

Filming Violence: Like Gaza, Like Jos North

Watching the Jos Crisis movie, I couldn’t help thinking in the same way as Dershowitz; when was the “Jos North Muslim Umma, Information Desk and Media Interview Committee” the producers of the movie set up to so capture the November 28/29 crises? And when it was set up, did it know that a bloody crisis was imminent in Jos? And did it have a role in “the Russian roulette” of burning churches to stir up the requisite violence for the filming crew for the movie: “A Fact File on the Jos North Nov. 28th-29th Post-Election Genocide”? Or, was that the task of yet another, presently unknown, committee to get the actors of this morbid movie moving on cue? In short, who stirred the trouble so chillingly captured by the lenses of this Committee? It is now no longer in doubt that the Jos crisis, whether over local government elections or not, took the form of religious crises immediately upon the burning of churches in the wee hours of November 28, 2008. Why was it so? Why was the PDP or ANPP State/Local Offices not set ablaze? Why was the PLASEIC office not destroyed? Why was the Jos North local government headquarters not torched? The answer is simply; If you want to make Rabbit soup, you must first get a rabbit. You can’t get a movie script on religious genocide, and go about shooting political scenes of PDP and ANPP thugs flinging it out on the streets, can you? That wouldn’t have made it a religious genocide, would it? Point is; the Jos North crisis film makers know a lot more about the origin of the crisis than their film reveals.

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According to Dershowitz, the CNN strategy works because “decent people all over the world are naturally sickened by images of dead and injured children. When repeatedly flashed across TV screens, they tend to react emotionally.” Permit me to quote Dershowitz at some length here: “Rather than asking why these children are dying and who is to blame for putting them in harm’s way, the average viewer, regardless of their political or ideological perspective, wants to see the killing stopped.

“They blame those whose weapon directly caused the deaths, rather than those who provoked the violence by deliberately targeting civilians.”

This is the situation in Jos North whereby instead of objectively looking at the cause of the religiously-manipulated crisis and apportioning blame accordingly, the media propaganda, according to some pre-determined cue, began a chorus about a so-called genocide. With the release of this gruesome “movie” whose aim is to cause religious disaffection in the country, one begins to understand the orchestrated media campaign against the Government and people of Plateau State. The Daily Trust columnist, Mallam Mohammed Haruma apparently wrapped in a pre-globalism time-capsule was even boorishly penning a column Gaza: Blaming the victim ( January 14, 2009) and critiquing the Western Press for supporting Israel when indeed it was the same Western International Press, succumbing to Hamas’ cheap “CNN strategy” propaganda on their networks, that made for the let up of hostilities and allowed the Hamas a breathing space to negotiate a desperately needed ceasefire. This is the same Haruna that had written about the Jos crisis calling it genocide essentially on the basis of hearsay.

In discussing this phenomenon of the so-called CNN strategy, many people have wondered why the Christians have not produced their version of the tragic events on multi-media. I think such questions are either naïve or mischievous; war, as one world leader once remarked is no tea-party. Hiring a camera will not be the first thing on your mind when you are told that war has broken out. Unless you are the aggressor armed with a knife or a gun, your first instinct will be to flee to safety. It therefore speaks volume that anyone, in recent crisis which took the whole town by surprise, was so steady nerved to have thought of making a “film” in the face of such calamity.

But more than just steady nerves, it certainly takes the stoniest-hearted to film such tragic real-life human calamity for whatever altruistic purpose. Taking such risk or morbid interest, in my opinion, could never have been for any reasonable purposes but evil. We don’t need to speculate about the pecuniary interests involved but we know that the film is now being circulated widely to draw the ire of the Muslim umma nation-wide against the government and people of Jos who these mischief-makers desperately want to brand as xenophobic and also want to frame against them charges of genocide. We also know that this kind of treasonable acts against the nation fetches lots of money from their foreign sponsors who have all along been envious of Nigeria’s progress as united and strong country. As many good people of this nation know, most of the ethno-religious crises we have been witnessing in this country, especially in the Northern parts, have been sponsored by obnoxious terrorist organizations that don’t mean well for this nation.

The widely circulated “movie” is more than just a film on the Jos Crisis. It is a further reinforcement of the biased framing of any sectarian violence in Jos as genocide. While Kano and Bauchi states regularly relapse into the most inexcusable killings of fellow Nigerians, it is Jos that is always singled out for the harshest chastisement by the Presidency and the National Assembly whenever civil disturbances breakout. It is like the Federal authorities have adopted a dual standard; one that it applies to the killing of Christians and another to the killing of Muslims in events of ethno-religious crises in the North. In many parts of northern Nigeria today, Christians and non-Hausa Fulani Nigerians live in mortal fear of what fate could befall them, at the shortest notice, from very extraneous questions such as: will America invade Iran, will Israel attack Iran, will an okada rider crack a joke considered “blasphemous” by his listeners, will an American or European Christian leader make a verbal slip considered offensive to Islam, etc? For such superfluous reasons as these, Christians have been massacred in many northern states in the past. But more worrisome is the fact that in the face of the killings, neither the Presidency nor the National Assembly ever did anything against these aggressors in the same manner that they always try to find scapegoats in the events of any flare up in Jos. This has given the impression that the Federal Government only bares its teeth when the victims of violence are Muslims or Hausa Fulani.

The Jos Crisis film is potentially a lethal poison in the veins of already bellicose communal relations in the North and one expects that the security agencies should have by now arrested and arraigned its producers and distributors for treason and dissemination of falsehood. For, indeed, the spread of falsehood and criminal discontent lie at the heart of the project with its hopelessly puerile film trickery and cheap forensic deception that are just too obvious to the trained eye.

Apart from questioning the motive and modus operandi of the producers of the film, the film lacks all ingredients of credibility. But they are cashing in on our people’s gullibility, more especially in the North where the darkness of illiteracy overwhelms our people and make them too susceptible to maninpulation. The film exhibit several shortcomings.

The carefully laid out corpse in an enclosure is intended to give the visual impression of a massacre, a la Rwanda or Srebrenica. But the truth is that the positions of corpses were tempered with; indeed they had been carefully re-assembled by the film producers and their extras in the mosque where they were filmed. As far as the picture genre is concerned such piling of corpses created the crowded sight which in turn creates the notion of bloodbath which the film crew intended to create. But as any greenhorn investigator will say, the evidence has been tempered with; a euphemism for saying it is no longer reliable evidence. comcluded…

• Mr. Simji contributed this piece from Abuja and be reached at kwsimji@yahoo.com

However, while allowing that the ferrying of corpses to the mosque to be filmed was, to an extent, visually effective in the sinister objective to create a “massacre”, this incredulous action has however raised serious doubt about the authenticity of the claim that the victims were Hausa Fulani Muslims. There is absolutely no way of identifying a corpse by religion; absolutely impossible even going by common stereotypes of dressing or facial features. Was it not the same Hausa Fulani writers that have been boasting in recent newspaper articles that the Plateau indigenes imitate their dressing or language? Besides, it is a well known fact that in time of crisis people could improvise (or is it disguise?) in order to flee to safety.

In any case, the Igbo community and others have kicked against the mass burial given to the victims of the violence, and filmed in the said grisly movie, asking for exhumation of the corpses for proper identification. They argue that many of their relations were among the corpses taken into the mosque. Indeed, it was reported that a visitor from Abuja who came to commiserate with the Muslim victims at the mosque was taken aback by a corpse wearing a crucifix. Some other people have alleged that the corpses were taken away from where they were killed because these were areas occupied by their murders and they were taken to the mosques to “get rid of evidence.” It is a serious indictment that people were given mass burial, portrayed in the film, exclusively on the say-so of a religious group without the coroners’ identification or approval. How were these Muslim clerics able to know that the corpses burned beyond recognition were Muslims and went ahead to bury them?

Another forensic flaw in the film was its inability to show how the carnage took place in the mosque or the places shown in the film. The mosques bear neither visible bullet marks nor even bloodstains. Roasted corpses lie next to bullet-wounded corpses without any clear reason why the cause of death would be so different among corpses found in the same place.

However, more fundamental questions are raised on why the corpses were not filmed in their places of death. This leads to a lot of disturbing questions which the film-makers will not find comfortable in addressing. Such questions will expose their post-violence preparation, logistics during the crisis, sponsors, etc. By the time the police get to question them we shall indeed be better informed on the nature of the whole crisis. But will the police ever arrest them? Or will it be another chasing of the wind as the case of the 26 arrested armed mercenaries who some police are claiming are members of a vigilante group but they (the police) are not explaining, to anyone, how the vigilantes were armed and bearing fake military and police uniforms as well as forged identity cards and were caught, lest we forget, in the heart of security-challenged Jos, during curfew hours!

Finally, it needs stating that while the “CNN strategy” by the Jos North film-makers is aimed at whipping Islamic sentiments against Plateau indigenes, it has nothing to do with advancing the interest of Islam. Islam we all know is a religion of peace but these mischief -makers instead of praising Allah for restoration of peace in Plateau State are baying for blood by circulating such provocative material.

Some of our youths are always readily mobilised to demonstrate for causes which have no relevance to their lives or improves their welfare. No long ago the respected Emir of Zaria was assaulted by some unruly youths in Zaria; but the self-appointed leader of the sect passed it off as a protest against the “Zionist” attack on Gaza as if the Emir, the leader of the Umma, had anything to do with it.

But you ask yourself, why is it that these self-styled Islamic leaders have never organised demonstration against what is considered as the world’s worse humanitarian crisis? Their fellow Africans and Muslims in the Dafur region of the Sudan are facing genocide in the hands of President Omar Bashir, an Arab Muslim, who has an international arrest warrant dangling before him for crimes against humanity at the war crime tribunal at The Hague? The answer is simple: they are not defenders of Islam or Muslims; they are just simply brain-washed Arabists. The Arab and Muslim government in Sudan has killed more Muslims and Africans than Israel has done going by the casualty figures in Dafur released by the United Nations, yet the Arabist megaphones and admirers in Nigeria will sooner kill their Nigerian neighbour in protest against the Israeli war in Gaza than send a word of solidarity to the millions of Dafuri Muslims being ethnically cleansed by President Bashir.

We ought to applaud the role of the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Saad Abubakar for the very fatherly role he has played in fostering inter-religious and inter-communal peace since he assumed the throne. Since the Jos crisis, he has spoken forthrightly in mature and measured tones. We have confidence that with people like him the nation will overcome this present challenge to its survival. There should be no rooms for charlatans and imposers bearing all manners of false titles pretending to speak for the Muslim umma or the Christian majalisa but only advancing their quest for societal relevance.

Nigerian youths, Christians and Muslims, ought to wake up to their responsibly and resist being used by mischief-makers for selfish ends. They should demand for jobs and economic opportunities instead of allowing themselves to be used to perpetrate violence against fellow citizens.

Mr. Simji can be reached at kwsimji@yahoo.com


500 Disabled Persons Receive Allowance

Kiru local government council in Kano State had on monthly basis paid allowances to 500 disabled person in the area.

Also, they would consider teaching them how to trade online using world class software that have already made the educated youth in the developing countries able to support themselves with the money so earned. The only drawback that he online trading has is that there is no consistency in the amount that can be earned. However it does not undermine the amount of good it will do to inspire confidence in the disabled youth who are already in dire straits are losing their morale in life. The ministry will do a review of the recommendation before it will start a pilot on it.

The council chairman , Alhaji Ali Datti Yako, made this known recently while fielding questions from newsmen , explaining that the council had decided to introduce such gesture with a view to reduce the hardship encountered by the disabled persons, and the amount being paid to them will help them to carry out some petty trading for their betterment.

Yako added that he had also distributed 4 goats to each benefiting women in the area in order to assist them empower themselves in sheep trading and also to become self reliant, adding that already many women who benefitted from the goat distribution scheme have already started other businesses to boost their economy.

He revealed that in its effort to improve educational standard in the area, the council has created evening lessons for secondary school leavers in order to recover the subjects they failed in their final examinations, saying many of the said students had already secured admissions in various higher institutions after they successfully passed their examinations.

The chairman added that the local government has embarked on building of blocks in primary and secondary schools of the area, while teachers were also encouraged to upgrade their educational levels through provision of in-service opportunities to them.