Africa is on the march in March

Itse Sagay

Donald J. Trump is full of surprises. He is an amazing guy. He has an incredible way of dealing with his detractors, critics, opponents and sworn enemies.

We shall come back to that later.

For now, let us just focus on the allegation that he has no time for Africa and his pre-occupation is with Britain, Europe, Russia, Israel, China and North Korea. He was sufficiently provoked to declare on Fox News:

“I am the least racist guy you have ever met. Of course I have time for Africa (especially the retired partners of KPMG who are still awaiting their gratuity and pension). Indeed, I have already spoken to President Muhammed Buhari of Nigeria and the President of Zimboda whose name I cannot remember. The Nigerian President was not on seat (as they love to say in Nigeria!!). He was in London. I wish him well.”

The problem with dealing with Africa (and Nigeria in particular) is that you do not even know where to start or when it is going to end.
Here are some of the stuff my National Security Adviser, Lieutenant-General Michael Flynn was sending me before I fired him.

Front page report of “The Punch” newspaper of February 8, 2017.

“The Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, Mr. Ekpo Nta, says the commission has seized 62 houses from a female public officer.

According to him, the matter is in court and the property will be confiscated by the Federal Government after litigation. The ICPC chairman revealed this while fielding questions from journalists at the Akwa Ibom Anti-Corruption Summit in Uyo on Tuesday. He said, “How would the commission address unexplained wealth by public officers? The commission has a mandate to ask anybody to explain the source of his or her wealth. The commission has the power to issue an interim seizure order to any public officer to explain the source of their wealth.

Through that order, the commission has seized 62 houses from one female officer, the matter is still in court and the property will be confiscated by the FG after litigation.”

Nta, who spoke on the theme, “Transparency and Accountability: A Panacea for Good Governance and Sustainable Development,” said the anti-corruption war had yielded good results in the country.

He cautioned public office holders not to live above their incomes.

Nta said, “There are many facets of corruption in Nigeria. The commission will stop at nothing to bring anyone found to have contravened the anti-corruption crusade to book.”

He noted that the commission had retrieved 40 motor vehicles that were stolen by some retired directors of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and warned against trivialising the anti-graft war.

Nta explained that the commission was prosecuting over 400 corruption cases in different courts in the country, noting that those found guilty at the end of the trial would be made to face the full wrath of the law.

He added that the commission had taken a step further by launching the anti-corruption campaign in institutions of higher learning and among the members of the National Youth Service Corps.

He said that an anti-corruption module had long been introduced into the curriculum of the University of Calabar, maintaining that such a measure would go a long way in entrenching moral values in students.

Nta explained that the ICPC had inaugurated anti-corruption clubs in orientation camps, noting that such measures had assisted the commission in detecting and arresting about 42 fake corps members at orientation camps recently.

The Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, lamented that corruption had eaten deep into the fabric of the Nigerian society.

Emmanuel advised all and sundry to be in the vanguard of curbing the menace of corruption if the country must move forward.

“We must change our mindsets about the way we do things in the country,” Emmanuel said.

The governor frowned on what he described as illicit cash running into over $157bn leaving the shores of Nigeria through fraudulent practices.

He identified corruption as the greatest enemy of development, noting that the repatriation of illicit funds across Nigeria’s borders to developed nations was regrettable.

He said if such funds were used within the shores of the country, the socio-economic life of Nigeria would have been positively impacted.

The governor enjoined all well-meaning Nigerians to join the ongoing crusade to rid the system of corruption and other economic crimes plaguing the country.”
Front page report “Daily Trust” newspaper of February 8, 2017.


“An investigative report submitted yesterday to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ibrahim Idris has accused Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike of giving N360 million bribe to electoral officials to rig the December 10, 2016 legislative elections in the state.

The chairman of the 15-member Special Joint Investigative Panel, made up of officers from the Nigerian Police and the Department of State Services (DSS), DCP Damian Okoro, said of the N360 million, N111, 300,000 had been recovered from 23 Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials.

He said three Senior Electoral Officers (EOs) admitted receiving the money directly from Governor Wike. The EOs were present at the Police Force Headquarters during the presentation of the panel report and exhibition of the recovered bribe money in Abuja yesterday.

Okoro, without mentioning their names said they were the team leaders who collected the money from the Governor and shared it with their colleagues on electoral duty in Rivers state.

He said the three senior EOs were given N20 million each while   twenty others  got N15 million each, out of which N111, 300,000 was recovered and displayed at the Police Headquarters.

ICPC Boss, Ekpo Nta

He also said the panel discovered that failure of leadership and followership rather than law enforcement was responsible for political upheaval and violence during the Rivers State re-run legislative elections.

He noted that the electoral violence was funded by desperate politicians who sponsored militant groups to not only target their political opponents but also law enforcement agents, including the Police, mostly within Ogba/Ndoni/Egbema Local Government Area “ONELGA.”

In his remarks, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ibrahim Idris said the INEC officials arrested in connection with electoral malpractices in the Rivers State rerun election would be prosecuted.”

Front page “The Punch” newspaper of February 14, 2016

“Suspected members of the terror group, Boko Haram have carted away over 1000 cows, 70 sheep and 40 goats in Madagali Local Government Area of Adamawa State.

Eyewitness accounts stated that the not fewer than 30 rustlers who were well-armed invaded Madagali settlement at about 10 am on Friday and carted away the animals.

Some of the residents of the settlements claimed that the hoof marks of the stolen cattle were traced by locals to paths leading into the Sambisa forest, the fortress of the insurgents.

The pursuing villagers said they had to turn back from the track of the rustlers when they noticed they were headed for the forest.
One of the local hunters on the trail of the rustlers said, “We could not go further for fear of being killed by members of the Boko Haram insurgency who are still holed in some parts of the forest.”

Confirming the incident, the village head of Krichinga, Abubakar Kanuri said some rustlers invaded their homes and carted away over 1000 cows belonging to villagers.

He said the rustlers were well-armed but did not hurt anyone.
According to him, the matter has been reported to the military manning the area.

He lamented that incidents of cattle rustling were becoming rampant in the areas and called on Federal Government to step up security in the areas.

Kanuri stated that the incident has impoverished some villagers who worked very hard to rear the animals and condemned the act in strong terms.
He said the cattle must have been stolen by members of Boko Haram, who might have run short of food and money as he claimed that the insurgents could sell the animals to make money.

One of the villagers whose cattle was stolen, Mallam Saleh, lamented that the rustlers were likely members of Boko Haram and that they invaded his home at about 10am and carted away 100 cows, and 50 sheep belonging to him.

Saleh said nine of his colleagues were also affected as the rustlers also carted away over 900 cows, 20 sheep and 40 goats belonging to them making the total of over 1000 cows stolen by invaders.”

“My dream is to see a day that Buhari will win the (presidential) election and be sworn into office. That day, I will slaughter a cow, cook plenty of food and throw a big party. I have told them that I will declare free food at my shop for everybody including those in the town and villages to come and celebrate.”

That was a statement of the now late Fatima Koko, who donated N1 million to Muhammadu Buhari presidential campaign organisation in January 2015.

She lived long enough to see her dream fulfilled. Her age was put at 95. Koko’s death was announced on Saturday by the Kebbi State government.

Meanwhile, President Buhari has expressed his sadness over the death of the campaign benefactor, popularly called Maitalle Tara, who in 2015 donated N1 million, reportedly her life savings, to his campaign as the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress.
She reportedly waited nine hours in Kebbi early last year to donate the money to Buhari.

In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the President described the deceased as “a woman with a good heart, who stood by her convictions, and gave sacrificially.”

Buhari commended Koko’s conviction and sacrificial giving, urging Nigerians to learn from her good example.

“She gave practically all she had towards our campaign. Though well advanced in age, she still believed a new Nigeria was possible, and followed her conviction with action. What generosity of spirit and what tenacious faith in her motherland. Nigerians, old and young, have a lot to learn from her,” the President said.

Buhari condoled with the family and relations of the deceased and urged them to take solace in the fact that their matriarch lived to a ripe old age.

While noting with delight that Koko saw the beginning of the change she had long yearned for, the President said the onus was now on all Nigerians to ensure that the change gets entrenched and solidified for generations yet unborn to benefit from.

The President also sympathised with the governor and people of Kebbi State, whom he said would all miss the sterling qualities of Koko.
He added that the life of the departed will serve as a standard to imitate “in the service of God, humanity and country.”

BREAKING NEWS ON AI Jazeera (January 29, 2017)

“The Colonial masters refused to educate the North. According to the Secretary For the Colonies:
The purpose of the British Administration in Northern Nigeria is to assist native administration to promote the true happiness of their people and not education and material development.”

Front page report: “Daily Trust” newspaper of February 16, 2017
“The police in Edo State, last Friday, paraded four persons, including a native doctor, for allegedly killing a 62-year-old hunchback for money rituals.

It was gathered that the suspects, identified as Aluma Sunday, Peter Olotu, Philip Ogeneka and Sunday Ogono, were arrested when one of the suspects, Aluma, was taking some part from the victim’s body to the native doctor in Ondo State for the ritual.

Ibrahim Idris, Inspector General of Police.

Parading the suspects, Edo State Commissioner of Police, Haliru Gwandu, said the suspects were arrested during a stop and search at Sabongida-Ora in Owan West local Government Area of Edo State.

He said the suspects would be charged to court after investigation and urged the public not to panic about the stop and search operations of the police.
Answering questions from the journalists, the suspects said it was poverty that made them to kill the victim for quick money.

Aluma, who lived in the same village with the hunchback, said it was Peter that killed him.

On his part, Peter said he asked the victim to accompany him to the farm where he strangled him and cut off the hunch and buried the body.

According to him, he took the hunch to Aluma who placed it inside a pot of honey for preservation before they were arrested.

Also speaking, the native doctor, Philip, denied asking them to bring a hunch back body part for money rituals.
“I only told them I heard from my father that there were some persons that could carry out the act in Ile Ife,” he said.
Front page report in “Nigerian Tribune” newspaper.

Customs, NDDC are corrupt – Sagay.

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has observed that no arm of government or any segment of the Nigerian society can claim to be insulated from corruption which he said can only be brought to an end through best practices.

Declaring open the “National dialogue on corruption,” organised by his office in collaboration with the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, at the Presidential Villa on Thursday, he noted that corruption is an existential threat to Nigeria as a nation and as a viable economic entity.

He said: “Clearly, there is no doubt whatsoever whether any arm of government can excuse itself, every part or arm of the society can excuse itself, but the truth of the matter is that we all know that corruption in Nigeria is systemic.

It doesn’t matter whether it is the executive arm of government, the judiciary or the legislature, every arm of government is involved in this systemic and life threatening social anomaly called corruption.

There’s no question at all. And it affects all segments of the society. It affects the religious, it affects agencies and civil society groups.

There’s no one in our nation that can say they are not in one way or the other, not necessarily being complicit but at least under some influence or the other of some of the implications of corruption.

So, I think we should leave the finger pointing, because the finger pointing is unhelpful. What is important is that we recognise that there is a major problem here.”
Osinbajo advised that that dialogue should therefore search for models around the world that could be applicable to the Nigerian situation in the war against graft.
“The truth of the matter is that there is nothing peculiar about the Nigerian citizen, or the Nigerian type. Corruption thrives where it is allowed to thrive and there are many societies that have found themselves in worse circumstances than Nigeria and have somehow managed to solve their problems,” he added.

He enumerated some steps to be taken to tackle the menace including how judicial officers should be appointed as well as an examination of their welfare, noting that any judge accused of any infraction must be investigated and prosecuted through the NJC to avoid political influence.

The Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee (PACAC), Professor Itse Sagay, in his remarks, accused the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the Nigeria Customs Service of corruption.

He accused NDDC of financial recklessness at time that it was complaining of being broke while he said the Customs had continued to wallow in bribery and corruption.

He revealed despite not having enough money to execute development projects, the Commission acquired 70 cars at the cost of N560 million.
He said: “My dear friends, you will not believe that with all we are going through, the NDDC (Niger Delta Development Commission) which is the other name for uncompleted projects, has just bought over 70 cars.

Of those, about eight of them are Super Lexus Jeeps costing 78 million naira each and about 10 are Land Cruisers costing 63 million naira each.

This money was taken from funds for infrastructure, water, housing, hospitals, school, etc., without conscience; recklessly without a thought for the wretched people of the Niger Delta.  These huge sums where plundered from their allocations, from the Federal Government.

The Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr Nsima Ekere, has lamented the N1.2trillion debt burden facing the new management of the commission.

According to the MD, the over $40billion received by the region in the past 10 years was frittered away.

He said the NDDC must now find a way around the huge debt owed by the past board while carrying out initiatives to free funds for urgent development projects and programmes.”

He narrated how Customs blatantly extorted money from importers especially at the Tin Can Island Port, Lagos, saying that nothing has changed since the advent of this administration.

He said: “Now we need to ask ourselves what the problem really is. We are definitely overwhelmed by the epidemic of kleptomania. But do we also have a collective psychiatric problem?

Why should a person loot what he cannot spend in 10 lifetimes thereby exposing the rest of the population to misery, hunger, poverty and wretchedness?”

Sagay blasted the recent anti-government protesters, calling them agents of the last administration.

He stated: “Let me briefly reflect on the recent public demonstration against the present administration, under the pretext of demonstrating against hardship brought up on us by the very mentors and sponsors of the so-called demonstrators.

These groups consisting of rented characters, and those who have lost elections or whose federal appointments were not renewed went about pretending that they don’t know those responsible for our catastrophic impoverishment. These characters belong to two groups.

Those who are agents of the looters, 2010 to 2015, and want to divert the attention of the ordinary Nigerians from the true culprits of our recession and misery, by transferring it to a hardworking, selfless administration which met sand rather than cash in our treasuries.

The second group are the naïve, unthinking ones who cannot make the slightest connection between cause and effect. Is Buhari to conjour wealth from the air? Is he God who can say let there be funds, and there are funds? Why did the demonstrators of February 6 not start from Otuoke?

Have they forgotten that the Niger Delta Avengers have destroyed our oil producing capacity so much so that we were producing less than a million barrels a day at a period when the price had plunged from $110 per barrel, as it was in the Jonathan era, to just over $30.

So, why all this pretence about calling for good governance, (which is in fact what we have today) when they looked on with love and adoration, whilst the national wealth was being plundered away and shared by their sponsors and mentors in the previous government.  Why is it that Nigerians hate the truth?

If we cannot even be honest enough to admit that the last government’s corruption, wastefulness and mis-governance are the cause of our present hardship, how can we join hands with the present government in salvaging our economy and promoting our social development?”

Bashorun J.K. Randle is a former President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and former Chairman of KPMG Nigeria and Africa Region. He is currently the Chairman, JK Randle Professional Services.

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