Saturday, February 23, 2008
'Mending' Henry Okah
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Friday ordered the Federal Government to allow relatives, doctors and lawyers access to the detained leaders of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta ( MEND), Henry Okah and Edward Atatah.
Justice Babs Kuewumi gave the order upon an ex-parte application filed and moved before the court by Mr. Femi Falana, lawyer to the MEND leaders. The judge ordered thus, “It is hereby ordered that the respondents should allow the family members, lawyers and doctors of the applicants to visit them in custody from time to time.”
The respondents in the suit are the Attorney-General of the Federation, the Inspector-General of Police and the Director of State Security Services. Kuewumi also granted leave to the applicants to enforce their fundamental rights to personal liberty, dignity of their person, fair hearing and freedom of movement.
The judge, however, refused a prayer that the applicants be released unconditionally. He ordered that the respondents should be notified of the existence of the suit.
The court process, Kuewumi ordered, should be served on all the respondents through the office of the AGF in Abuja. Earlier, Falana had told the court that the arrest and detention of his clients without warrant since February 14 constituted a violation of their fundamental rights to personal liberty. He said that the respondents had no power to keep them in detention beyond 24 hours without charging them to court.
Falana said that Okah was a trained marine engineer and businessman resident with his family in South Africa since 2004 while Atatah was a Merchant Navy Captain based in Lagos. He attached to the suit a permanent resident permit of Okah numbered JHB2996/05 and referenced JHB2996-3001/05. Falana said that his clients were arrested September 3rd 2007 at the Luanda Airport, Angola, where they had gone to inspect a trawler which they had wanted to buy for their fishing business.
The Angolan government, he alleged, deported them to Abuja on February 14 at the request of the Federal Government. He said that the Nigerian security agents who arrested them and took them to an undisclosed detention centre.
He said, “The respondents did not acknowledge that they were detaining the applicants until two days ago when it was reported on the Internet that the first applicant had died in the course of interrogation in Nigeria.” The Federal Government had refuted the rumour of the death of Okah and had said that it was an attempt to cause a breach of peace.
The police had also, on Thursday, said that the applicants were being investigated for allegedly plotting to overthrow some governments in West Africa and for the theft of weapons and ammunition in Nigerian armouries. The detainees were described by the police as international gun runners, oil bunkerers, kidnappers, pirates and financiers of militant activities.
The police had also said that they were extradited from Angola where they were arrested while negotiating for the purchase of gun boats and ground-to air missiles for use to destabilise Nigeria and other West African countries.
... and a brother's insight into how it all began
The MEND leader, who is the fourth of nine children, enjoyed adventure comics and read Commando magazines, Charles, Henry Okah's brother said, adding, “We would talk about battles in the Second World War endlessly. We loved war films and talked about them all the time.” Although neither of them went into the military, Henry and their father regularly quarrelled because he was “very brave and headstrong.”
Charles said Henry rejected offers from universities but chose to go to a nautical engineering college and into the Merchant Navy. When Henry turned 19, their mother died and they visited their family home, where the MEND leader was appalled at the conditions in the Niger Delta.
Henry was also badly affected by the execution of Ogoni environmentalist, Ken Saro-Wiwa, in 1995 because he saw the late poet as a role model. Charles, who declined to have his photograph taken, denied knowledge of his brother’s alleged involvement in gun-running. He stated that his brother and a friend, Edward Atatah, a captain in the Merchant Navy, were in Angola to buy a used trawler for Henry’s marine engineering consultancy.
Recalling that they both spoke just before Henry and Atatah were arrested at Luanda Airport, Charles said, “He called me and said they were being delayed on the way in and their passports were checked. He was worried that they were being set up.” He added that Henry was “travelling on his real passport” at the time because he had been visited by top-ranking Nigerian government officials in August and believed there was nothing to fear.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Who is killing Iraq's children?
"Wars are wars but the invasion of a country under the banner of democracy and bringing disease and calamity instead to the women and children, looting a nation's natural resources and exercising greater control over the region for egoistic or military pursuits is a telltale charade orchestrated by the diseased minds of the imperialists who seek to achieve their fiendish goals by any means." Ismail Salami, author of 'Iran: Cradle of Civilization' email@example.com.
Recent reports indicate that more than 275 children in southern Iraq have been infected with leishmaniasis, a disfiguring skin disease, which is yet another appalling consequence of US invasion of Iraq.
Health officials believe that the war-ravaged public health system is responsible for certain viruses to flourish.
Leishmaniasis is generally caused by a parasite transmitted by the sandfly. The disease may appear in different forms including skin ulcers on the face, arms and legs, leprous-like disseminated skin lesions which can destroy the mucous membranes of the nose, mouth and throat cavities partly or completely, and high fever, substantial weight loss, swelling of the spleen and liver and anemia.
"This is a killer disease and we are trying to stop its spread," said Dr. Omer Mekki, an epidemiologist at the World Health Organization's Iraq office.
Children aged 1-4 years who have weaker immune systems than adults are particularly at risk of infection. A single sand fly bite can transmit the disease.
"It is a dangerous disease which hits mostly children and could lead to death or leave skin deformities if no appropriate treatment is available," said Fatih Abdul-Salam, a dermatologist at Qadissiyah General Hospital.
Wars are wars but the invasion of a country under the banner of democracy and bringing disease and calamity instead to the women and children, looting a nation's natural resources and exercising greater control over the region for egoistic or military pursuits is a telltale charade orchestrated by the diseased minds of the imperialists who seek to achieve their fiendish goals by any means.
This is indeed a mockery of democracy and an obstruction of justice.
Yet there is no limit to disease and terror brought about by the US government.
The US and Britain used hundreds of tons of depleted uranium (DU) against Iraq, thus putting the Iraqis and the whole world into serious danger. A crime of monumental dimensions, the use of Depleted Uranium (DU) will cause extremely destructive effects which can remain for hundreds of years and can cause cancer, leukemia, brain damage, kidney failure, and extreme birth defects.
They actually used 1500 tons of DU in Iraq. In other words, the cities in Iraq are now blanketed in lethal particles, any one of which can cause cancer or deform a child. There are reports of infants born without brains, with their internal organs outside their bodies, without sexual organs, without spines, and the list of deformities goes on and on.
Disease is not the only consequence of war. Psychological torture is yet another gruesome consequence of war. Lashing out at the US policy, Layla Anwar, an anguished Iraqi female blogger gives us a touching meaning of terror and angst dictated to the Iraqis by the US government. She writes:
Stress is when you have no job because some f*** backward retard came and occupied your country, pillaged it and stripped you of your livelihood; when you see your family and loved ones dying in front of your eyes and you can't afford to buy them the basic medication to ease their pain; when your baby girl or baby boy is born looking like f*** Frankenstein, because some American motherf*** who is stressed out bombed your country with DU; when they walk into the middle of the night and you sleep with your clothes on, because you don't want them to see you half naked just in case, when they smash your door down, pull you from your hair or shirt out into the cold and place a sand bang over your *** head; when you are a prisoner in your own country by some smelly shit faced, pimpled stinking American who has not even finished high school, and stress is when that same motherf*** rapes you and sodomizes you, tortures you and calls you a dirty Iraqi in your own *** country.
By practical standards, the US is the leading state sponsor of terror in the world and threatens the security of nations. Tyrants and terrorists were all created by the US. It was the US which created Saddam. It was the US which created the Taliban. It was the US that turned Iraq and Afghanistan into graveyards, ripped them of their values, killed their families, destroyed their infrastructures, sowed the seeds of sectarian dissension among the Muslim brothers, and stripped the people of their identities.
The history of US foreign policy is replete with crimes against humanity, crimes in Iraq, crimes in Afghanistan, crimes in Vietnam, and crimes in the Philippines.
History itself is a true witness to the crimes perpetrated in the name of democracy.
Nigeria to sue Int. tobacco firms
The Nigerian Government is seeking more than $45 billion in compensation from the firms to meet the cost of treating smoking-related diseases, accusing tobacco manufacturers of putting pressure on the country's health services by targeting younger and younger people.
British American Tobacco (BAT), Philip Morris and International Tobacco Ltd, deny the claims and say they are socially responsible companies who do not target children.
The World Health Organization estimates that 18% of young Nigerians smoke, which will probably increase with the BAT setting up a factory in the West African country just recently. With a population of 140 million, most of whom are under 20, smoking can be the build up for a major health crisis.
For decades, tobacco firms have been accused of aggressively targeting Africa as a market to offset the impact of tougher anti-smoking regulations introduced in the west.
Nigeria: Two killed for insulting Prophet
A riot broke out in Sumaila town in Kano State when a group of youths protested the circulation of a leaflet insulting Prophet Mohammad, according to the chairman of Sumaila Council area in the state, Zubairu Hamza.
DPA reported that Hamza briefed the Deputy Governor of the State Abdullahi Gwarzo, and said that the Sumaila police outpost and vehicles parked outside the building were destroyed,
Hamza said the young men trailed one of a group of non-Muslim students of the Government Secondary School suspected of being behind the distribution of the leaflet to the police station where he was taking refuge.
The violence broke out when police refused to surrender the man. Deputy Governor Gwarzo described the incident as unfortunate and gave an assurance that those responsible would be brought to justice.
He stressed that no religion condoned slandering of a prophet and urged the people of the town to expose any person who indulged in acts that could disturb the peace.
Police Commissioner Mohammad Yesufu later confirmed the arrest of 25 persons in connection with the riot, and added that two persons, not three as stated in earlier reports, had been killed.
A year ago 30 people were killed during a similar incident following the desecration of the Our'an by a female teacher in a state-run secondary school in Bauchi.
Many believe insulting the prophet of Islam has become a wide-spread phenomenon after the publication of Salman Rushdie's book, 'The Satanic Versus' in the UK and has gained momentum after the publication of blasphemous cartoons of the prophet in Denmark in 2005.
Yar'Adua begs America to protect oil fields
Nigeria is pressing for a special security force with US help and training to protect oil facilities in Africa's oil-rich Gulf of Guinea.
President Umaru Yar'Adua asked the United States for help with logistics and training of the force during a trip to Washington in December, a Nigerian presidency statement said.
The United States is one of the top customers of oil from the gulf that can be reached from a number of unstable African countries including Nigeria.
Nigeria gave no details of the proposed force's composition but said it would help to address emerging security concerns in the oil-rich region, according to the statement.
The Niger Delta has seen an upsurge in violence in the past two years as militants have renewed their attacks on oil facilities and personnel, slashing Nigeria's daily output by a quarter.
While the attacks have focused on targets in the Niger Delta region, they have occasionally ranged far out into the Gulf of Guinea, where the oil industry is concentrating on developing offshore oil fields.
Fractious groups in the Delta region have a wide range of demands, but all want more oil money to stay in the delta and to bring development and jobs to the remote, impoverished region.
Kenyan govt. to resist U.S pressure
The Kenyan government has warned the US not to pressure the country to agree to a political deal, saying the solution lies with Kenyans.
"We encourage our friends to support us, to encourage us, but not to make any mistake by putting a gun to anybody's head and say 'either or' because that cannot work," Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula said Sunday on the eve of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's visit.
He also said that while "we welcome proposals, opinions, suggestions and views, at the end this problem will be solved by Kenyans and Kenyans themselves".
US President George W. Bush called for a power-sharing deal to end a post-election political crisis at the start of his Africa tour on Saturday.
But President Kibaki's camp has balked at a power-sharing solution, saying in talks led by Annan that it was willing to name some opposition members to government under the strong executive leadership of the president, according to a government official.
Rice is due in Nairobi on Monday for meetings with President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga to support Kofi Annan's mediation, which appears deadlocked over a proposed coalition government.
The Fall of the Dollar Empire
"America's fate is at the mercy of foreign investors (China, India, Russia and many others with around 10 % annual GDP growth) which are getting stronger by the day and represent the economies of the future." Hamid Varzi, Economist and International banker
The crisis began in 2000 with Bush Jr.'s election that re-established the irresponsible “Supply Side” and “trickle-down” economic policies of the Reagan years. We are wrong to focus only on the subprime crisis, which has been conveniently blown out of all proportion in order to create the convenient and comforting impression that this is a manageable problem solvable through a simple reduction in interest rates and a 90-day government mandated delay on foreclosures (Hillary's recommendation). The subprime crisis presages far greater problems down the road. It is already spreading to other forms of commercial paper, and even if the damage can be contained the relief will be only temporary because a much larger danger is looming on the horizon: The US economy has grown largely on the back of speculative credit derivatives that have risen exponentially to $ 35 trillion, which is more than double the size of the entire US economy! This is an approaching iceberg, and all you've seen (in the sub-prime scandal) is the tip. To return to your question, the first chart below proves that speculative commercial lending received a major boost with Bush's election, and soared with his re-election.
The real root cause of the subprime crisis began with Ronald Reagan. Wall Street 'wisdom' hails Ronald Reagan as the last great saviour of US Capitalism. However, supporters of Ronald Reagan seem unable to explain the unprecedented exponential growth of stocks, during Clinton's presidency, on the back of equally unprecedented (= exploding) budget surpluses, a major decline in the Federal Debt and a major strengthening of the Dollar.
Bush raised fiscal irresponsibility to new highs. The charts below explain why the subprime crisis did NOT occur on Clinton's watch:
During Clinton's 8 years he turned a $ 135 billion Bush Sr. deficit into a $ 526 billion budget surplus, he significantly reduced the National Debt and simultaneously presided over a mind-boggling 240 % rise in the stock market. The perspective of strong fiscal discipline encouraged foreigners to invest in the US and the Dollar rose over 20 % as a result of a combination of the above 3 factors.
Yes, the world has indeed weathered the crisis, because the US sold only about 20 % of its economic toxic waste to the rest of the world. Most importantly, the nations which bought America's toxic waste have suffered financial losses only among their financial institutions, not among the general population which, in most industrialized countries, has to make a 30 % mortgage cash down-payment and provide solid evidence of regular financial income before being granted a mortgage. Not one home-owner in Germany or France or England faced foreclosure because of what happened in the US.
This actually demonstrates how quickly global economies are decoupling from the US economy. The US has a $ 9 trillion National Debt and a net $ 3 trillion foreign debt, so obviously any crisis is going to hit indebted countries far harder than nations flush with cash (Russia, China, India, Japan, the 'Tigers' and Western Europe). The US is in deep fundamental, historical trouble.
Investment bankers tend to be 'cowboys' and 'gamblers' salivating at the prospect of gigantic bonuses when they succeed, and many of whom simply move on to the next bank when they fail (Nick Leeson of Barings Bank was an exception, but only because he actually bankrupted the bank! But I don't believe M. Kerviel has even been charged; he was arrested and then released!).
As for the US mortgage lenders, their 'irresponsibility' bordered on 'fraud', because they lent money to people who obviously couldn't pay, simply in order to earn higher commissions/fees. If you place a knife in the hand of a 2-year old child and it cuts itself it is you, and not the child, who has been criminally negligent, particularly if you have benefited from the child's discomfort as did the mortgage lenders.
What is its impact on the world economy? Greater controls will be imposed by governments across the globe to discourage financial speculation, which is a 'good thing'. Banks will refocus on trade and export finance rather than on gambling. The world economy will cool off (which will reduce some of the speculative excesses such as the current oil and gold prices).
Those at the bottom of the economic ladder in Europe are about 10 rungs above their counterparts in the US, so the effect will be negligible compared with the economic hardships to be faced continually by those at the bottom of the US economic ladder. Even setting aside the subprime crisis for a moment, US households are more in debt, generally, than at any time since the 1930s Great Depression. The US Wealth Gap and the US Household Savings rate are both at Great Depression extremes despite an extended period of global economic growth.
The U.S dollar has gone into a spiral of decline mainly because it has to borrow $ 3 billions each and every day from foreigners to finance its massive current account deficit and its war machine. Foreign nations have become nervous at the annual 10 % deterioration in their Dollar holdings. Foreigners don't even need to reduce their Dollar reserves to precipitate a Dollar crisis; they can do so merely by refusing to increase their holdings, i.e., refrain from participating in further US Treasury auctions.
The US crisis is an opportunity for booming economies like India and China to assume a more important role in the world's market. The US is totally dependent on China's goodwill. If the US were to ban all imports from China tomorrow morning the US economy would suffer a heart attack as it would have to import those same goods more expensively from elsewhere. In retaliation, the Chinese would sell their surplus Dollar mountain and precipitate a global economic depression. The emerging economies would be better able to withstand such an Armageddon scenario because they are accustomed to hardship, while decadent US consumers are already bankrupt despite an environment of extended global economic growth. The US would probably suffer riots, internal conflict and starvation for the first time in 80 years. Emerging economies are used to economic hardship and even war. The US is much more fragile than its leaders and economic pundits admit. There is a huge fundamental and conceptual difference between a) going from recession to depression (the USA), and b) going from 10 % + economic growth to a more reasonable 3 % economic growth (Russia, India, China, ….).
Friday, February 15, 2008
Abacha Loot: $2.5 billion still trapped in London
The British Government may have withheld further cooperation with Nigeria in repatriating an estimated $2.5 Billion part of the loot recovered from secret accounts belonging to late despot, General Sanni Abacha.
Sources are sighting the reluctance of Nigerian authorities in pressing charges against leading members of the Abacha family and remnants of the Abacha junta who played active roles in ferrying the stolen money to Britain.
According to a report contained in a 2007 edition of Business Law Report of London, questions were raised as to the propriety of assisting Nigeria to recover and repatriate its stolen wealth in view of the fact that Britain has not enjoyed unqualified support from successive administration in Nigeria to use existing bi-lateral protocols to extradite accused persons to the United Kingdom.
International Law experts, in relation to rules and regulations governing fraud and money laundering explained to pointblanknews.com that the onus rest on the authorities in Nigeria to cooperate with the Government of Great Britain to make sure that notable members of the Abacha Family are extradited to London and prosecuted so that the estimated $2.5 Billion now in possession of the British Government could be returned to Nigeria.
“It is hard to just say that that money should be returned to Nigeria without following due process,” said one of the experts.
So far, Nigeria has recovered over $1.3 billion from various secret accounts in several countries as part of the money allegedly stolen by the late military ruler, General Abacha.
Tales of loot recovery from the family of Abacha abound. Not too long ago, a building on Sanni Abacha Way, Kano was said to have been discovered in Kano State, home town of the Abacha’s. Allegedly, the building was said to have been used as a warehouse of money which was said to have been kept in different foreign currencies. After an alarm was raised about the money, unknown persons were said to have cleared the warehouse and no trace was left.
Yakubu Manfred Isah, a man who had worked as a Guard for the Abacha building was arrested and over N30 million, exotic cars, trucks and luxury buses were recovered.
Four days after he was granted bail by a Federal High Court in Enugu, the former Edo State Governor, Chief Lucky Igbinedion, is yet to meet his bail conditions.
This according to sources, is said to be weighing the former governor who is in Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) custody down.
The Federal High Court, Enugu, had on Monday attached 16 stringent conditions to his bail. A source said the former governor’s sister told him that his legal team and aides had combed Abuja with the hope of getting people who could stand as sureties, but were unsuccessful.
An aide who witnessed the meeting between Igbinedion and his sister said: “Oga broke down soon after his sister narrated all the difficulties. Even when the sister suggested that his lawyers could go back to court to seek review of the conditions, he still refused to eat his food. All pleadings for him to eat at least a little food fell on deaf ears. He just kept mum.”
The source said a condition pertaining to where sureties could not travel out of the country until the case was concluded was a major reason why the potential sureties abandoned the former governor.
Justice Faji had said Igbinedion should remain in the custody of the EFCC until all the conditions are met.
Among the conditions are that the former governor will produce two federal permanent secretaries who are not likely to retire in the next three years as sureties in the sum of N10 million each.
Igbinedion was also mandated to deposit his international passport with EFCC and not travel out of the country without the order of the court.
The two permanent secretaries who will stand as sureties to the former governor will also not travel out of the country.
The former governor is also required to be reporting to EFCC every first Friday fortnightly.
Justice Faji, who also ruled that the order of the court should be served on the Head of Service and Comptroller of Immigration for their information and compliance, said the sureties must be credible people.
The former governor must also be ready to submit himself anytime he is needed in court.
Igbinedion and his two sureties are also required to provide two recent passport photographs and make available to EFCC their three years tax clearance.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Goodworks, bad crooks
“There’s a class of African Americans who feel no sense of responsibility, no shame, no ties to the [African] continent, who are incapable of playing any kind of role. I think we see that with Condoleezza Rice. We see it even more clearly in some of the other appointments which have been recently made, like the new assistant secretary of state for Africa, Jendayi Frazer. So we see African Americans often emerging as functionaries of the system, the gendarmes, if you will, of the system for the re-colonisation of Africa by both the corporate and military establishments in the United States”.
Young’s business relations with Africa have been criticised. The sharpest suspicions have focused on his involvement with Nigeria and go beyond his friendly relationship with Obasanjo since the late 1970s. Despite its credo “we do well by doing good”, GoodWorks seems to represent the double face of black US economic involvement in “mother Africa” since the late 1990s, dealings supported by free trade agreements between the US and the “good students” of Africa.
La lettre du Continent, a newsletter of political, business and financial affairs in francophone Africa, described GoodWorks as the first of the African-American intermediaries who are “setting themselves up as the new levers of US power in Africa”. According to its editor, Antoine Glaser: “They may lead the way in public commitment to ethical principles like transparency in business dealings with Africa, but they are also directly involved with much-criticised individuals like the Angolan president Eduardo dos Santos. This can only get worse as China, which regularly exploits its status as a power untainted by colonialism, emerges as an economic rival [to the US] in Africa.”
People like Young exploit their reputation in the media and across sub-Saharan Africa as veterans of the civil rights struggle, as well as their African roots. They advance the US quest to reap the dividends of financial aid. “The term Françafrique is obsolete,” said Glaser. “We need to find a new word to describe the grip that these African-American consultants have secured over the continent’s business as subcontractors for leading US companies and for the State Department.” It is significant that GoodWorks has chosen to open its offices exclusively in countries benefiting from US customs preferences.
Even before revelations of relations between GoodWorks and Nigeria provoked US newspapers, the international justice movement and US campaigners for social rights had attacked the company. In 1999 Young accepted Nike’s invitation to lead a mission to its factories in southeast Asia. His report concluded there was “no evidence or pattern of abuse or mistreatment of workers”. A few weeks later an independent report denounced “unsafe, inhuman and abysmal conditions” in the same factories.
In February 2006 Wal-Mart persuaded Young to lead its pressure group Working Families for Wal-Mart. His task was to restore the retailing giant’s image, particularly among the black community and the “hungry” whom Christ told us “to feed... good, fresh food”. But Young was forced to resign when his remarks about small storekeepers from ethnic minorities provoked accusations of racism. “I think they’ve ripped off our communities enough,” he said. “First it was Jews, then it was Koreans and now it’s Arabs, very few black people own these stores.” An embarrassed Wal-Mart representative said: “We are appalled by these comments. We are also dismayed that they would come from someone who has worked so hard for so many years for equal rights.”
Gendarmes of the system
In 2007, as the presidential election was fought in Nigeria, African-American websites attacked GoodWorks. Prexy Nesbitt of Chicago, another civil rights veteran and an architect of the US 1970s campaign against South African apartheid, said: “There’s a class of African Americans who feel no sense of responsibility, no shame, no ties to the [African] continent, who are incapable of playing any kind of role. I think we see that with Condoleezza Rice. We see it even more clearly in some of the other appointments which have been recently made, like the new assistant secretary of state for Africa, Jendayi Frazer. So we see African Americans often emerging as functionaries of the system, the gendarmes, if you will, of the system for the re-colonisation of Africa by both the corporate and military establishments in the United States”.
GoodWorks exploited its relationship with Obasanjo, whom Young associated with “everything good in Africa since the 1960s”, to access decision-making circles in Africa. The journalist Ken Silverstein, an expert on business relations between the US and Africa, said of GoodWorks’ ethical pretensions: “Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin [recently said] that GoodWorks has proven that public-purpose capitalism is possible. If the public she refers to is composed of corrupt African leaders, their American cronies, and huge international energy conglomerates, she’s right. But if she was trying to say that GoodWorks is living up to its name when it comes to fighting African poverty, she couldn’t have been more wrong.”
GoodWorks’ directors include two African-Americans who have been US ambassadors to Nigeria: Howard Jeter and Walter Carrington. The head of its office in the Nigerian capital Abuja, Sharon Ikeazor, was formerly a lawyer in Royal Dutch Shell’s Nigerian office. Carlton A Masters, GoodWorks’s current head and co-founder, is a naturalised US citizen originally from Jamaica. In June 2005 he married Leon H Sullivan’s daughter at a ceremony in Abuja. One of the guests was Obasanjo, members of whose entourage joined Masters to form a company, Sunscope Investments, in Florida.
In 2006 the Abuja-based Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) appointed Masters as its special envoy on African diasporan relations. Nigerians living in the US wondered why their government, which already has competent diplomats in the US, would want to pay $500,000 a year to a lobbying company like GoodWorks. Steve Nwabuzor, president of the Nigerian Leadership Foundation, asked: “Does it mean there are no suitable Africans within Ecowas who can fill this position (9)?” Masters defended himself: “I fully intend to use this appointment to not only bring global attention to Africa’s needs, but also to strengthen relations between the US and the 15 African nations that comprise Ecowas.”
GoodWorks blames such criticism from both sides of the Atlantic on the Nigerian vice president Atiku Abubakar, an unsuccessful candidate in this April’s election. It accuses him of spreading lies throughout the Nigerian diaspora to further his personal ambitions. For months a campaign against corruption has provided a pretext for an exchange of press releases and revelations between supporters of Obasanjo’s protégé in the election, Umaru Yar’Adua, and those defending Abubakar, who has been accused of embezzlement.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
IBB's brother-in-law bails Ibori
Authorities of the Kaduna Prison authorities on Tuesday released the former governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori.
His release was sequel to the signing of his bail bond by a brother-in-law of former military President, Chief Sunny Okogwu; a former Nigerian Ambassador to Spain, Alhaji Mamman Yusuf; and an ex-Managing Director of Peugeot Automobile of Nigeria, Alhaji Abba Danbatta.
The Kaduna State Comptroller of the Prison, Alhaji Momoh Momodu, who confirmed the release of the the former governor, said he left the prison on Tuesday afternoon.
“He has met the conditions and he has left,” Momodu said.
Ibori, dressed in a blue-stripe long-sleeve shirt and jeans trousers, left the Kaduna prison around 3.21pm in a black Mercedes Benz 450 marked Abuja DR 496 ABJ and headed straight to the Federal High Court, Kaduna, in company with his co-accused, Ms. Udoamaka Okoronkwo, and some of his associates.
Prominent among the associates were Senators Patrick Osakwe and James Manager.
Our correspondent gathered that from the court, Ibori went to an undisclosed location in Kaduna where he reunited with some of his family members. Some minutes later, they departed for Abuja.
An associate of the Oghara-born politician told one of our correspondents that “the bail conditions were actually met on Monday because they (terms) were anticipated.”
“The judge verified the conditions this (Tuesday) morning and signed the release papers,” he said.
Justice Mohammed Shuaibu had on Monday granted bail to Ibori and Okoronkwo in the sum of N50m and N10m respectively.
Ibori was ordered to produce three sureties, who must be resident and have landed property worth the bail sum in Kaduna.
The judge also directed that the sureties should deposit with the court, the original title documents of the landed property located in the state.
He further ordered Ibori to leave his international and diplomatic passports with the court.
The court had last week Monday adjourned indefinitely the ruling on Ibori’s bail application following a nationwide strike by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria.
It had earlier fixed February 1, 2008 for its ruling on the bail application but could not sit because the judge had to attend a workshop on intellectual property in Abuja.
Before then, the court had on December 13, 2007 declined request for bail by Ibori, arguing that it needed time to study cases cited by parties to the case.
Shuaibu had then remanded the former governor and the co-accused person in the Kaduna Prison.
Simon Kolawole Live!, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, 02.10.2008
Some things happen to some people in life and you just tell yourself: this is God at work; this cannot be the making of a human being. That is the view I have always held about Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former president. Everything in life looked pre-arranged for him. Minus the small matter of having grown up in poverty, Obasanjo has always had the best things of life signed, sealed and delivered to his laps on a platter of gold.
When he became president in 1999, I had cause to reflect over the life of the retired general. The instruments of surrender of the Biafran Republic were symbolically handed over to him in 1970 when the civil war had been won and lost. It all looked as if it was Obasanjo that won the war on behalf of Nigeria, whereas other generals had toiled and toiled to make victory certain. Obasanjo reaped where he did not sow. Lucky fellow.
In 1976, when General Murtala Muhammed was killed in an abortive coup, the mantle fell on Obasanjo, as the second-in-command, to succeed Murtala as the military head of state. And although Murtala had transition to civil rule as a priority on his agenda, it was Obasanjo who actually handed over power to civilians in 1979 a feat that became his selling point as the first African leader to voluntarily cede power to a democratically elected government an accolade that actually belongs to a Ghanaian general.
In 1995, Gen. Sani Abacha dragged Obasanjo and his former second-in-command, Maj. Gen. Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, to jail over a phantom coup. Chief MKO Abiola, acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993, election had been clamped in jail in 1994. By the time Abacha died in 1998, Yar’Adua and Abiola had been killed, or had died, whatever, in prison. Only Obasanjo came out alive. And while we had been campaigning that Obasanjo should simply be released from prison, he in fact came out of the prison to become president. This was incredible. Always reaping where he did not sow!
I recall that when Obasanjo was campaigning for presidency in 1999, I was captivated by his credentials. I composed something like a poem in my head for him. I was reciting it at the slightest provocation. It went like this: A civilian acceptable to the military, a Christian acceptable to Muslims, a Southerner acceptable to Northerners. For me, it was almost impossible to get any Nigerian who could boast of these qualifications all at once. It all looked like Obasanjo had been specially favoured and anointed.
I recollect also that as soon as Obasanjo was elected president in March 1999, the price of crude oil, which had fallen below the $10 mark between 1997 and 1998, began to pick up dramatically. From $12 in March when he was elected, it had risen to $15 in May when he was sworn in. It never fell below that price again. By December 1999, it was $23. And by the time he left office in 2007, crude oil price was dancing between $80 and $90.
I thought having gone to prison and come out alive, Obasanjo was going to rule Nigeria with a heart of gratitude. I expected him to be sober and humble in presiding over the affairs of this country. But what did we see? A man who ruled us with contempt and conceit. A man who took us for granted. A man who became an expert at manipulating and misusing state agencies to perpetrate selfish and narrow ambition. A man who wasted billions of naira to organise a political reforms conference designed to legitimise his inordinate third term ambition.
You always knew Obasanjo was headed for self-destruction when he began to insult anyone who disagreed with him. For him, nothing was sacred and no one deserved respect, apart from himself. He ditched the people that helped him to power and walked on the heads of those who those tried to call him to order. He used and dumped people at will. So devoid of grace is Obasanjo that he insulted Chief Bola Ige whom he had used to divide Yorubaland even in death, describing Ige as someone who did not know his left from his right while he was Minister of Power and Steel.
Obasanjo was the Master of Manipulations. He destroyed the credibility of state institutions like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) just to get even with his opponents or fulfil his selfish heart desires. He manipulated and manipulated anything that could be manipulated. Right before our eyes, Obasanjo metamorphosed from a potential great leader to the ultimate poster-boy of anarchy in our land.
After presiding over a party where treachery was systematically entrenched, he fished out Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and made him his successor. I am very pleased whenever Yar’Adua reverses Obasanjo’s policies and rubs in the due process mantra very smoothly. Yeah, that is what Obasanjo deserves for his manipulative streak. When Yar’Adua recently described Obasanjo’s $10 billion expenditure on the power sector as not yielding any result (a euphemism for waste, that is), I was very happy. That is what Obasanjo deserves from his handpicked successor. That is what happens to people who think they can manipulate history and get away with it.
But my heart bleeds for Obasanjo. If his enemies were just Atiku Abubakar and Solomon Lar, it would be understandable. You could attribute everything to politics. But when his own son decides to strip him naked in the market place, Oh God, what a shame. Obasanjo should have ordinarily gone into his grave as an accomplished man and a great leader of men. But what he has perpetrated and perpetuated in Nigeria in the last eight to nine years will forever cast a shadow on his life and times to say nothing of his own son rising up against him. What a pity. What a shame.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Yar'Adua in bid to bribe tribunal Chair
There are indications that there is a scripted plot to allegedly bribe the Presidential Tribunal Chairman, Justice James Ogebe through his U. S based son, Emmanuel Ogebe to rule in favor of President Umaru Musa Yar' Adua. President Yar'Adua's election is being challenged by General Muhammadu Buhari of the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the Action Congress., AC.
It is being alleged that President Yar'adua has approved an initial $150,000 down payment which is the first installment of a $2 Million alleged bribe.
Attorney General and Justice Minister Michael Aondoakaa is the point man in the bribery plan, sources close to Saharareporters have alleged.
Sources alleged that the Attorney General, spent ample time with Emmanuel Ogebe during his visit and dangled the bait of highly lucrative legal briefs to Justice Ogebe’s son. Aondoakaa made it clear to Emmanuel Ogebe that Yar’adua hoped that the award of legal briefs to the younger Ogebe would “persuade” Justice Ogebe to affirm Yar’adua’s election.
The cases for which Aondoakaa sought to make Ogebe a legal consultant for the Federal Government were listed as Abiola vs. Abubakar; the NNPC vs. Gulf Petrec at the US Appeal Court of the 5th Circuit in New Orleans, and the Wilbros case in Texas.
Apart from the Wilbros case in which the accessing of court records was the only legal effort required, the other two cases already had paid lawyers hired by the Nigerian authorities (attorneys-on-record) handling them, so there was no need to retain any legal consultants to assist with the cases.
In fact, with regard to the Abiola vs. Abubakar case, both plaintiffs and defendants had already entered into negotiations to work out an out-of-court settlement before Umar Yar'adua came to occupy Aso Rock.
Aondoakaa’s offer of legal briefs to Emmanuel Ogebe had nothing to do with the three cases, but was a pretext to bribe Justice Ogebe, the most important judge in the Presidential Elections Tribunal. Aondoakaa and Yar’adua had become anxious, according to our sources, because Justice Ogebe had become unpredictable on the account of his religious beliefs. One of Yar'adua's political handlers described the judge as “a Christian fanatic.” Aondoakaa and Yar'adua wanted to reach Justice Ogebe on time, figuring that if Emmanuel Ogebe was well taken care of, he could make Yar’adua’s case to his father during the judge’s annual medical visits to the US.
Saharareporters learnt that as Emmanuel Ogebe’s relationship with Aondoakaa soured, the young man perfected a direct way to reach Yar'adua. Some of the sources interviewed for this story said Emmanuel Ogebe wanted to cut Aondoakaa out of the deal because he knew too well that Yar'adua needed him very badly.
Towards the end of 2007, Yar'adua approved the sum of $150,000 as payment for Emmanuel Ogebe even as Aondoakaa was engaged in settling the Abubakar case directly with the attorneys-of-record, according to the terms of the out-of-court settlement stipulated by the parties. No mention was made about the pay off to Emmanuel Ogebe.
But by January 2008, Aondoakaa—who has traveled to the US more frequently than other members of Yar'adua's cabinet—reportedly informed Yar'adua that he was going to pay Mr. Emmanuel Ogebe the sum of $150,000 approved by Yar'adua. He asked that Emmanuel Ogebe be told to meet him in Washington, DC to pick up the payment.
Emmanuel Ogebe, it was learnt who is not licensed to practice in the United State, arrived Nigeria about two weeks ago and reportedly sent word to Yar'adua that the AGF never paid him the approved monies. He also told top administration officials that his life was under threat from assassins hired by Michael Aondoakaa, Nigeria’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice.
When Yar’adua summoned the AGF to explain why he did not pay Ogebe, he produced documents that showed that Emmanuel Ogebe was an "enemy combatant" who had sworn to affidavits and legal notes in support of enemies of Nigeria in the Abiola Vs. Abubakar case. He also provided letters written by attorneys for the plaintiffs and defendant in the Abiola case denouncing Emmanuel Ogebe for his spoiler role. He said the documents compelled him to withhold the fees approved by Yar'adua—and which he had already reported to Yar'adua that he was going to Washington, DC the previous week to deliver.
Several political pundits say the central disturbing question raised by the whole affair is why Yar'adua approved $150,000 to be paid to James Ogebe's son for no discernible legal services rendered. Another question is: Why did the AGF agree to pay a non-attorney in court cases that already had their attorneys-on-record, according to case dockets? Why would Aondoakaa agree to pay $150,000 to Mr. Emmanuel Ogebe, a man with no license to practice law, and whose legal fees the AGF did not vet as required by the government’s so-called due process and zero-tolerance for corruption?
Yar'Adua orders Ibori's release
Umar Yar'adua, who advertises his government as one that does not interfere with the judiciary, has set aside its "rule of law" mantra to pressure Justice Mohammed Lawal Shuaibu to grant bail to former Governor James Ibori.
Our impeccable source revealed that Yar’Adua’s regime has asked the judge handling Ibori's case in Kaduna to sit-in-chamber any moment from now and rule to approve Ibori’s bail application. The source said Yar’Adua’s government told the judge that failure to grant Ibori bail could precipitate an outbreak of violence in the oil-rich Niger Delta.
Reached on the development, one of the prominent members of the Ijaw Elders Council said they had heard rumors too of the government’s intervention on Ibori’s behalf. But he said such a dictation to a judge was dangerous, and should be resisted. “It’s not true that Ibori’s continued stay in prison will cause more violence in the Niger Delta,” said the elder. “It gives the impression that Ibori is a hero of the area. It’s total bunkum. Ibori’s greed and stealing contributed to the crisis in the Niger Delta.”
Ibori’s bail application was to have been heard last week, but it was scuttled by a strike action undertaken by Nigeria's judicial workers who complained about poor conditions of service.
Reliable presidency sources told Saharareporters that the message has already been communicated to Justice Mohammed Lawal Shuaibu to sit as soon as possible for the purpose of granting Ibori freedom.
Last week, a number of Ibori's associates rented rooms in major hotels in Kaduna in anticipation of his release from Kaduna prison where he has been remanded over charges of corruption, abuse of office and money laundering.
EFCC lawyers had contended that Ibori, who was in 1992 twice convicted in Britain for stealing-related offences alongside his wife, Theresa Nkoyo Ibori, was likely to interfere with his trial if he were granted bail.
On their part, Ibori’s lawyers are making a case for him to get bail. They argue that the offences for which he is being tried are "bailable" offences.
Meanwhile charges filed in the UK against two of Ibori's female associates, Mrs. Bimpe Pogoson and Christine Ibie-Ibori, are progressing. At an appearance before the Southwark Crown Court in London on January 29, 2008, the two women and their lawyers received a calendar detailing the process of their trial. Sources told Saharareporters that lawyers on both sides are exchanging briefs and documents to prepare for a fairly speedy trial later in the year. The women face several counts of charges relating to money laundering and mortgage deception.
Also, Ibori's wife, Tessy, has been given till March 3rd, 2008 to report back to the Metropolitan Police. She was originally billed to appear on January 29, but was granted an extension because new documents had surfaced in her case. The Metropolitan police are looking at the documents so as to determine when to file charges against her.
Theresa Nkoyo Ibori was arrested at Heathrow Airport late last year as she prepared to board a Virgin-Nigeria Airline to Lagos. She was interrogated fingerprinted before she was allowed to proceed with her travel plans.
In the course of processing her records, London police discovered she was an ex-convict. She and Ibori were convicted in 1992 on stealing and dishonesty offences. Ibori, who went on to be a two-term governor of Delta State, is believed to have stolen billions of naira of public funds. His assets worth about £35 million remain frozen on the orders of a London High Court.
The Federal High Court sitting in Kaduna this morning granted embattled former governor of Delta State, James Ibori bail after about 10 weeks in detention. The court granted him bail in the sum of N50 million. The presiding judge, Justice Mohammed Lawal Shuaibu, in his ruling submitted that the court had to consider Ibori bail application on the grounds that his counsel, Joseph Daudu, SAN, gave reasons of ill-health, the accused�s inability to see his lawyer and lack of movement to procure relevant documents to defend the charges filed against him.
Justice Lawal disagreed with the excuse given by Daudu on Ibori's ill health saying, "I do not see him as a sick man. However, that won't stop me from granting him bail."
He said the application was also considered on the assurance Daudu gave that Ibori would not jump bail and would always appear in court whenever his case is scheduled for hearing.
Lawal ruled that three prominent persons resident in Kaduna with property worth N50 million must stand as sureties for him.
Hearing for a definite trial has been scheduled for 18 and 19 February, 2008.
Meanwhile, respite came the way of former governor of Edo State, Chief Lucky Nosakhere Igbinedion, this morning as a Federal High Court sitting in Enugu granted his application for bail, though with some conditions.
Some of the conditions attached to the bail issued by Justice Olayinka Faji are that Igbinedion should pay N10 million to the court, and provide two sureties who must be federal permanent secretaries with three or more years to spend in the civil service.
The credibility of the permanent secretaries must not be in doubt and both should show evidence of payment of taxes for three years. They must also submit two recent passport photographs.
The judge also directed the accused not to travel abroad without the permission of the court and must swear to an affidavit of loss of travel documents (as revealed by his counsel).
The judge also ordered the accused to declare all his assets, including his residences, both at home and abroad.
He is also to report to the EFCC every fortnight on Fridays and deposit all his travel documents with the EFCC.
The judge directed that his order be served on the Head of Service of the Federation and the Controller-General of Immigration.
Reacting to the conditions attached to the bail, Igbinedion�s counsel, Adetunji Oyeyipo, thanked the judge for the bail but frowned at the stringent conditions attached.
We will try to meet these conditions but if we don�t, we know what to do,� he said.
The judge directed further that Igbinedion be remanded in EFCC custody until all the conditions are met and verified. The judge thus fixed proper trial for 25 February, 2008.
After the conditions attached to the bail were read out, supporters of Igbinedion who had thronged the court expecting his release, left the premises, wearing long faces and discussing the development.
...Judge Buckles Under Pressure
As earlier reported by Saharareporters, Umar Yar'adua finally delivered on his promise to free James Ibori from prison remand. Justice Mohammed Lawal Shuaibu sat earlier today in Kaduna to grant James Ibori freedom.
The judge had come under immense pressure from Umar yar'adua to release James Ibori or face disciplinary action, according to presidency sources privy to the threats against Justice Shuaibu. It is also expected that former governor of Edo State will be granted bail today in Enugu.
When birds of the same feathers flock together
Saturday, February 09, 2008
Gbenga Obasanjo indicted in $200 million fraud
The report of an administrative panel of enquiry into the operations of Ajaokuta Steel Company(ASCL), National Iron Ore Mining Company (NIOMCO) and Delta Steel Company (DSC) has indicted Global Infrastructure Holdings Limited (GIHL), a company believed to be partly owned by Dr Olugbenga Obasanjo, the controversial son of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
GIHL was granted a concession to manage the three companies in August 2004 following the failure of SOLGAS, the first concessionaire, to meet the target in the agreement it signed with the Federal government in a privatisation programme supervised by Gbenga's father.
The report of the five-man panel submitted to the steel minister, Chief Tunji Sarafa Ishola, said GIHL failed to deliver on the terms of the concession agreement, instead it used the companies to secure loans without corresponding investments.
According to the committee, the N24 billion secured from Zenith, Ecobank, UBA, FBN, Oceanic, FCMB, Bank PHB and Sterling Bank went into private pockets.
The report expantiates: "As at November 15, 2007, the aggregate borrowings from the Nigerian banks is a little over N24billion. These borrowings are allegedly secured with the assets of Delta Steel Company. BPE confirmed that there has been no board approvals for any of these borrowings and for the assets of DSC to be used as collateral for ASCL and NIOMCO. The figure (N24billion) supplied by the finance director of the GIHL could be more considering the interest of about 14% per annum. One is therefore forced to ask what happened to the funds borrowed."
The report further found innumerable cases of diversion of value from the ASCL to either DSL or outrightly sold abroad for cash. The bottomline, the panel said, is that ASCL is gradually being crippled while GIHL's interest is being buoyed in Nigeria and overseas.
"On the resumption of GIHL management at the ASCL and NIOMCO, processed iron ore stored at ASCL were carted away to Warri and sold to interested groups overseas."
Sales of the said processed iron ore had continued for a while before the Monitoring Committee assessed what was left at a little over $2, 077, 545, 00. GIHL paid about $1, 000, 000 and just a week into the life of this panel the processed iron ore should not have been sold in the first place. It is a vital raw material for production at ASCL.
"Mention has been made of the issue of Essential Premium Scraps needed by ASCL which Global carted away to DSC. These scraps are worth N203,371,260.27 at today's prices. This money is yet to be paid to FGN. The scrap should not have been sold because ultimately ASCL will need to import similar premium scraps at a higher price sooner or later."
The panel chaired by Magaji Inuwa called for a review of the approval given to GIHL by the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Development (NOTAP).
One of the ways the firm claims to have spent money on Ajaokuta is through technology transfer. GIHL has transferred US $17,356,896.02 using NOTAP approvals.
In order to ensure that it does not part with a penny on the Ajaokuta deal, GIHL, in concert with its Nigerian sponsors, came up with a report that put the value of the Ajaokuta Steel Company at a paltry $300 million.
The company also submitted a letter to BPE, another report that says it has spent the sum of $250 million on the Ajaokuta Steel Company since August 2004 when it took over the management of the Nigerian steel giant.
With the $250 million expenditure it submitted and which it claims to have spent, GIHL maintained it had already spent far more than it was expected to pay for the 60 percent share of the company it is targeting in the privatisation deal.
By its claim, GSHL would not only take Ajaokuta free of charge, it would also expect the government to make a refund of some millions of dollars to it, being the excess of what it claimed it had invested.
But the report deflated this claim by the Indian firm, saying "We requested for evidence of this massive investment but GIHL could not substantiate this except for a list of spare parts and consumables bought and cleared by DSC."
Another startling revelation of the panel is that since GIHL took over the running of Ajaokuta Steel Company, it has not paid the salaries of workers regularly. This has led to several industrial disputes between the management and workers of the establishment.
GIHL owes both the Russian and Ukrainian experts working with them salary arrears for about a year.
Industrial actions embarked upon by workers has resulted to the stoppage of rolling activities at the steel plant.
Other members of the committee are Ibrahim Abba Gubio, Emma Nwadi Eke, Vincent Odafen and Kunle Bolujoko.
Did I hear someone say like father, like son?
Sunday, February 03, 2008
9-11 Mossad agents admit mission-Click
9-11 Mossad Agents Admit Mission
Three of the five "dancing Israelis" appeared on an Israeli television show to explain that they were sent to document the event. Here is an excerpt of them:
the dancing Israeli Mosad who was arested by the police in the us and then sent to the FBI and later released to Israel says they were documenting the event of 9\11 on a talk show in Isreal
According to the police report, one of the men said they had been on the West Side Highway in Manhattan "during the incident" — referring to the World Trade Center attack. Sivan Kurzberg, the driver, said, "We are Israeli. We are not your problem. Your problems are our problems. The Palestinians are the problem."
The case was turned over to the FBI's Foreign Counterintelligence Section because the FBI believed Urban Moving Systems was a "cover for an Israeli intelligence operation," ABC reported.
While the FBI searched the company's Weehawken, N.J., offices, removing boxes of documents and a dozen computer hard drives, the owner of the company, Dominic Suter, was allowed to flee the country. When FBI agents tried to interview Suter a second time they discovered that he had cleared out of his New Jersey home and fled to Israel.
Mid-East, S. Asian internet crippled
High-technology services across large tracts of Asia, the Middle East and North Africa were crippled Thursday following a widespread Internet failure which brought many businesses to a standstill and left others struggling to cope.
Hi-tech Dubai has been hit hard by an Internet outage apparently caused by a cut undersea cable.
Industry experts are blaming damage to two undersea cables but it is not known what caused the damage.
Reports say that Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain Pakistan and India, are all experiencing severe problems.
Nations that have been spared the chaos include Israel -- whose traffic uses a different route -- and Lebanon and Iraq. Many Middle East governments have backup satellite systems in case of cable failure.
Stephan Beckert, an analyst with TeleGeography, a research company that consults on global Internet issues, said the damaged cables collectively account for the majority of international communications between Europe and the Middle East.
Du, a state-owned Dubai telecom provider, attributed the outage to an undersea cable cut between Alexandria, Egypt and Palermo, Italy, according to an internal memo obtained by CNN.
In India, Spectranet and Telecomasia.net, two large Internet service providers were experiencing problems. Reliance, a third major Indian Internet provider, said it was not affected.
An official at Egypt's Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, speaking on condition of anonymity told AP it was believed that a boat's anchor may have caused the problems, although this was unconfirmed. Beckert agreed that was a likely cause.
The head of an Egyptian Internet service provider called the situation a "wake-up call" for the region, which he said is too dependent on underground lines and does not have a strong enough back-up system. Mohammed Amir, head of Quantum, an ISP in Cairo, described the situation as "a major problem," but expressed hope that the worst of it is over.
The two cables damaged are FLAG Telecom's FLAG Europe-Asia cable and SeaMeWe-4, a cable owned by a consortium of more than a dozen telecommunications companies, Beckert said.
He added the options while those cables are repaired were re-routing traffic around the globe or using an older undamaged cable that has less capacity -- both of which would cause usage delays.
Kuwait's Ministry of Communications said the problem could take two weeks to solve, according to a statement carried by the state news agency, KUNA.
There were concerns in India that an Internet slowdown could affect trading patterns at the country's two major exchanges, the National Stock Exchange (NSE) in Delhi and the SENSEX exchange in Bombay.
Rajesh Chharia, president of India's Internet Service Providers' Association, explained that some firms were trying to reroute via Pacific cables and that companies serving the eastern US and the UK were worst affected, AP added.
Besides the Internet, the outage caused major disruption to television and phone services, creating chaos for the UAE's public and private sectors.
The Du internal memo called the situation in Dubai "critical" and stated that the cable's operators did not know when services would be restored.
"This will have a major impact on our voice and Internet service for all the customers," the memo stated. "The network operation team are working with our suppliers overseas to resolve this as soon as possible."
The outage led to a rapid collapse of a wide range of public services in a country which proudly promotes itself as a technological pioneer.
Sources from Emirates Airlines confirmed to CNN Arabic that the outage did not affect its flight schedules -- a statement which assured hundreds of travelers worried after rumors about the possibility of rescheduled flights due to the faults.
However, Dnata, a government group in charge of providing air travel services in the Middle East and ground handling services at Dubai International Airport, acknowledged facing problems because of the outage, sources from its technical department confirmed to CNN Arabic.
The outage heavily crippled Dubai's business section, which is heavily reliant on electronic means for billions of dollars' worth of transactions daily.
Wadah Tahah, the business strategies and development manager for state-owned construction company EMAAR, told CNN Arabic that it was fortunate the outage started Wednesday, when there had been only moderate activity in the UAE markets. He said that softened the blow to business interests.
But Tahah warned that if the outage continued, "such a situation could create problems between brokers, companies, and investors due to loss of control."
(a) Given that the cable linking UAE and Oman was cut earlier today, this cable linking Suez with Sri Lanka is the FOURTH cable that has been cut!
(b) The biggest problem the Bush administration faced during Iraq were images coming over the internet that showed the horrors being visited on the Iraqi people, and exposed the government's lies about Saddam.
I am greatly concerned that these undersea cable cuttings are intended to prevent the world from seeing something that is about to happen, other than through the government-controlled propaganda/media.
As of this posting, the Internet Traffic Report shows that Tehran is cut off from the rest of the internet. However some traffic, such as that to Ahmadinejad's blog, is still getting through, albeit slowly.
(c) There was disruption to 70% of the nationwide network in Egypt, and India suffered up to 60% disruption.
(d) I’m not one that usually believes in International Conspiracy Theories… but THIS is too much of a coincidence not to be related to one. For most of this week there has been virtually no Internet connectivity to much of the Middle East. This has caused many problems to merchants and to areas of education… needless to say, the Blogesphere… Why do I suspect something ‘fishy’…. Israel has not been affected at all.-- Michael Rivero@WhatReallyHappened.com
... and never you forget "Nations that have been spared the chaos include Israel -- whose traffic uses a different route -..."
Saturday, February 02, 2008
Incest: The Obasanjo Scandal-who impregnated a 14 year old?
Chief Alex Onabanjo,
The cycle of influential individuals being accused of incest and of varying degrees of sexual misconduct in relation to the allegations listed in the affidavit filed before a Lagos High Court by Dr. Gbenga Obasanjo is widening even as an underground campaign to discredit the media may have started. Chief Alex Onabanjo, his Eighteen years old daughter, Dunni Onabanjo, former President Olusegun Obasanjo and other notable Nigerian politicians are now in for rough times as more shocking allegations have come up.
Only recently, Gbenga Obasanjo and his estranged wife, Mojisola whom he met while she was a student in Boston, took the nation by shock when he alleged that his wife has been having sexual relationship with her father Chief Onabanjo and his father former president Obasanjo.
Sources told pointblanknews.com that Chief Onabanjo’s young daughter, Dunni, suddenly got pregnant at the age of fourteen and could not identify the man said to be responsible. It was gathered that the young woman who is now Eighteen Years and resident in a mid-western part of the United States was told to pin the pregnancy on an allegedly innocent man. The attempt was said to have failed and Ms. Onabanjo had to be taken out of Nigeria and brought to the U.S where she has since lived with her little child whose paternity remains unresolved.
Also, a woman identified as a niece to the former Nigerian President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was said to have complained of being groped by the ex-ruler at his popular country home, Ota Farm in the early 1980’s. The woman, identified as Mrs. Funmi Ololade (nee Obasanjo) was said to have fought her way and resisted given in to Obasanjo’s unsolicited advances. Pointblanknews.com obtained a write up by Mrs. Ololade nee Obasanjo where she said:
“Shame on you Uncle Segun. I believe you can do it. I still vividly remembered when you tried such with me at the Ota Farm back in the 80's and I nearly slapped you. I also remembered some ladies you tried to sleep with at Owu Baptist Church, Abeokuta, including your cousins. You should be questioned about this. Na wa ooooooooooooooo. Broda Aremu, you don dey grow old ooo. I Still can't get over this Uncle.....It's just shocking.”
Interestingly, Obasanjo unlike most world leaders who would want to clear the air on any confusing allegation is neither confirming nor denying the allegations. Cornered at the Lagos Airport by reporters recently, he only said: “I bow, I tremble.”
However, following recent court deposition by Chief Onabanjo’s son-in-law, some family friends of the Onabanjo’s speaking under anonymity for fear of reprisals are making deductive conclusions that the Chief said to have had an incestuous relationship with Mojisola Obasanjo, one of his daughters, may be responsible for Dunni’s plight.
Chief Onabanjo who is said to be currently in the United States on an undisclosed mission had also being accused of impregnating the wife of a Staff of the Guardian Newspaper, Mr. Ganiyu Odusanya, who bore him his first male child sometimes between 1988 and 1989.
Chief Onabanjo and Mrs. Joke Odusanya were said to have met at Jubril Martins Kuye’s office on 29 Town Planning Way, Illupeju, Lagos in the early 1980’s and started having extra marital affairs. Their regular escapades at a rented property, maintained by Onabanjo for such illicit sexual relationships, at 16B Ologun Agbaje, Victoria Island, Lagos went on for a long time at a time Mr. Ganiyu Odusanya had no job or any means of survival. They never stopped seeing each other until Mrs. Odusanya became pregnant, then it became a big embarrassment.
Sources told pointblanknews.com that the Chief initially did something juvenile by denying responsibility for Joke’s condition. He was said to have attempted passing the blame to another friend. Nevertheless, his mother, popularly called “Mama Aladura” was said to have undertaken to take care of the expectant mother and her child. And Chief Onabanjo’s sister based in London regularly provided financial support for the welfare of Joke Odusanya.
Meanwhile, Chief Onabanjo’s wife, Chief Lanre Onabanjo, the Yeye Oge of Ago Iwoye, Ogun State was kept in the dark about the entire saga. The cat was let out of the bag when an angry friend of Chief Alex Onabanjo decided to produce the birth certificate of Joke’s baby which had Chief Onabanjo as the father to the Chief’s wife. The Yeye Oge was said to have been initially angry but later decided to be “stylish” about the whole event, because she too was caught in bed by the Chief when, after missing an air flight on his way to London came back home abruptly to the wife, comfortably in bed with another man.
Sources also told Pointblanknews.com that several Nigerian elected officials simply continue to take a cue from the bad example set during the military era and being perpetuated by ex-military officials now wearing the toga civilian democrats. Specifically, it is said that so called “personal assistants” to these elected public officials often got to the various campuses to recruit cash desperate young ladies for “brief sex parties.”
Ex Governor Lucky Igbinedion’s name featured prominently in the agonizing trend. Igbinedion allegedly was said to be in the habit of squandering Edo State tax payer’s resources on girls from University of Abuja, University of Benin, Edo State University, Ekpoma and Igbinedion University, Okada wonderland.
Sources said that he usually splashed about $5,000.00 on each of such “aristo.” He is said to have earned himself the nickname of “pay master” among ladies at the University of Abuja.
Sources close to Obasanjo's extended family said that an overture was recently made to involve the Olowu of Owu Oba Adegboyega Snaya Dosunmu to persuade Dr. Gbenga Obasanjo to deny knowledge of the widely reported court affidavit in which it was alleged that ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo and Chief Alex Onabanjo had filial relationship with Mojisola Obasanjo. In effect the media would be made to look stupid and irresponsible.
Ironically, former President Obasanjo’s first daughter, Senator Iyabo Obasanjo Bello recently teamed up with Senator Chris Anyanwu to sponsor a Bill that has now scaled second reading on criminalizing incest and other forms of sex crimes. If the Bill passes, very strict punishment may await Nigerian randy elected officials and other reckless private citizens.