RECORDS OF APRIL 2012

April 1, 2012

Come see how President dey worry, ministers dey hala!” That was how one rascal described the scene around Aso Rock today. The news filtered in to the Presidency that there was a possibility of an attack by the Boko Haram sect on sensitive installations in Abuja. Probably, the worry wouldn’t have been that much if the name of the corporate headquarters of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was not on the Boko boys’ list. NNPC! Every government official was panicky. They knew what that meant, that was the estuary, from where money flowed into the Presidency.

NNPC Group auf Twitter: "PRESS RELEASE: @NNPCgroup Disowns Phantom ...

It was the source of allowances, estacodes, 10 per cent, contracts – real and unreal – budgetary, budgeting and budget, all roll into one: the national cake. So, pronto, armed soldiers from the presidential guard were deployed to the building known as the ‘NNPC Towers’ located on Herbert Macaulay Way, Central Business District in the Federal City Capital, Abuja. Security was also beefed up at the Defence Headquarters in Area 8, where a part of the carriageway was blocked with concrete slabs. The same security measure was noticed at the Zone 7 Police Headquarters at Wuse, also in the FCT. But most of the people in Abuja were just laughing, saying, ‘So rich men too no wan die!

 

April 2, 2012

You won‘t believe this! But the President was accused of being the one prolonging the insurgence of Boko Haram. How? Well, he had failed to listen to suggestions on how to curb the menace.

No one would have known this, if not for the helping hand of a former Minister of Finance, former Minister of Agriculture, former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, three-time presidential aspirant and the Convener of the Northern Political leaders Forum, Alhaji Adamu Ciroma. He had said: “When the issue began to be serious in Borno, the elders and leaders of Borno advised the government that they should talk to these people, that they should withdraw the troops from the streets and that they should find a solution to ameliorate the complaints of Boko Haram elements. A spokesman of the government dismissed their recommendation.”

 

 

Today also brought in a ray of hope. For the first time in the history of our nation, the name of a Nigerian, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Minister of Finance, was put forward as a possible president of the World Bank. The government was confident in its support and the President personally urged the international community to give her candidacy a fair consideration in an open, transparent and merit-based process. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (@NOIweala) | Twitter

 

President Goodluck Jonathan appeared to have a fresh battle on his hands as civil rights groups and opposition parties today blasted him for accepting the donation of a multi-million naira church building by an Italian construction company working for the government. The church had the capacity to seat 2,500 at a time and was donated to his home community of Otuoke, Bayelsa State, by Gitto Construzioni Nigeria Limited. No doubt, the company was enjoying a good patronage from the Jonathan administration and since a good turn deserves another, also as Oga Jona na good church goer, the company built a befitting home for God in the President’s village.

 

April 3, 2012

The President came under heavy knocks again today over the church gift from Gitto Construzioni, the Italian firm. Trust the ACN leading the opposition and from smoking Lai Muhammed, its Publicity Secretary, who was practically on his knees begging the members of the National Assembly to commence, immediately, the impeachment process against President Goodluck Jonathan. Lai Muhammed said the President had violated the constitution and that the impeachment proceeding would enable the lawmakers to investigate the matter to reach appropriate conclusions.

 

In fact, many Nigerians asked the President to reject the church, while labour chiefs cautioned against such donation. What many people did not know, however, was that Jonathan and Gitto Construzioni were not strange bedfellows. The strong romance dated back to when the Nigerian President was the governor of Bayelsa State. Then, the firm was the state’s major contractor. Now, Gitto got the contract to construct the Second Niger Bridge at the cost of N58.6bn.

Today, some members of the ruling Party, PDP, were happy, while others were not. The news just came to town gbam! “Obasanjo resigns as BoT Chairman of PDP”.

 

April 4, 2012

It took some time for the news to sink in, but when it did, there was panic in Southwest PDP over former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s exit as the Chairman of the PDP’s Board of Trustees (BoT). Though the ACN that habours the most virulent attackers of Obasanjo, said the old man was no longer relevant to anybody, the leaders of the party in the Southwest zone did not see it that way and they quickly rushed to Abeokuta to convince the ex-president to remain. They were so unlucky, for OBJ had made up his mind.

 

However, it was President Jonathan who, through a TKO, kept the mouth of his enemies shut. Today, he replied his critics over the multi-million naira church building donated to his Otuoke community by an Italian construction firm, saying he committed no crime. He said the donation of the 2,500-seater church by Gitto was not novel but that the nation’s landscape was littered with donations by companies in furtherance of their social responsibility.

 

The PDP itself came out to defend the President and accused the opposition of plotting to destabilise the country.  Really, what other evidence would anyone need again to be sure that the opposition were plotting when Jesus entered into the heart of a good Samaritan and he donated a church and some people were now shouting. Yes, that was a sign of destruction from the PDP’s angle of thought.

 

Thanks to Reuben Abati, who was able to put this into rhetoric: “Yes, a contractor who has worked and continues to work in Bayelsa State and other parts of Nigeria thought it fit, in fulfillment of its social responsibility, to facilitate the renovation of the small church in the President’s home town of Otuoke. It takes a lot of desperation to translate this act of social responsibility into a crime….” And what are you still waiting for? Put your hands together for Reuben Abati, the best information disseminator of our time!

 

April 5, 2012

The President shouldn’t have allowed Reuben to say such things because, today, many citizens were now asking for their President’s head over the church building gift by Gitto. Lawyers had joined the row, arguing that the defence of the alleged bribe was untenable. The Action Congress (ACN) was all out for a fight, as it reiterated its earlier position that the President must be sacked. Professor Tam David West, a former Petroleum Minister, said “It is worse that the President is insisting that the gift is not a bribe.

 

A gift coming from a major contractor to a government of which Jonathan is the President is clearly a bribe and any attempt to change the nomenclature is an insult to Nigerians.” But if the truth be told, the President must find a way to thank the Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh, who helped him a great deal. Hear the man of God: “The call for the impeachment of the President over the renovation of a church in his town is satanic! It is capable of causing religion bigotry, which we don’t want. The ACN should apologise and retract the statement. We call on the National Assembly to disregard the call.”

 

While this bickering was on, US and UK sent jitters down every spine by announcing that there were indications that this year’s Easter might be far from being celebrated as usual. The United States today issued an alert and warned their citizens living or visiting Nigeria to be cautious and expect bombings by Boko Haram. The United Kingdom also released a travel advisory, warning its citizens to keep off Borno, Niger, Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto and Yobe states.  And from there on, no one remembered Jonathan and his church as the Boko Haram boys had taken over!

 

April 6, 2012

If it were a Nigerian group that prophesied that Boko Hararm would strike on Easter day, no one would listen. Or at worse, such person would be labelled a prophet of doom and the PDP might raise an alarm that the fellow had been paid to destablise Nigeria or distract the President from the good work he was doing. But since na America people sey bomb dey com again, come see how head dey scatter for Aso Rock! In one fell swoop, armed soldiers were all over the Northern states. They were guarding churches and mosques to forestall Boko Haram’s attacks during the Easter celebrations.

Because of this heavy security build-up in Kano, Kaduna, Niger, Yobe and other parts of the North, everybody was expecting a peaceful festival until former President Obasanjo stoked another fuel of controversy. No one was again talking about the infamous third term saga that rocked the twilight of his second term in office in 2007. But he brought it up again today, saying the idea did not in any way emanate from him. He said the botched tenure elongation amendment clause was actually initiated by the National Assembly. If Fela were to be alive, he would have sung: Trouble dey sleep jeeje, yanga go wake am!

 

April 7, 2012

Of course, what do you expect? Today was not a good day for OBJ. The members of the old National Assembly came all out on him. And even if his name were to be Bash Ali, he wouldn’t have taken more bashing! Left and right it came. Some said Baba was a liar; some said Baba was senile, while others said the old man was a joker. But the most scathing reactions came from the Senate President at the time, Ken Nnamani and two others.

 

Ken was talking, “He (Obasanjo) personally authorised the disbursement of N50m each for 109 senators then, which amounted to an excess of N8bn, to pass the third term bill into law.” Now, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila said he was a living witness and he was fuming: “He spent over 10 billion on the agenda. His aides came to me to solicit support for third term. He also attempted to enlist the support of a former US president, Mr. George Bush, for the project, but it failed.” Hon. Halims Agoda knew so much. From him came this, “It was Obasanjo’s personal agenda. He sought the support of the National Assembly, but it was thrown out. The third term was not meant for legislators; they were not the target beneficiaries.”

When matter got to this point and a push became a shove, Obasanjo knew when not to talk again. And silence was the only living thing at his Abeokuta residence!

 

April 8, 2012

They predicted it and it happened. Despite the blabbing of the government and the shakara of the security operatives, Boko Haram struck today in Kaduna, killing over 40 people on an Easter Sunday. There was a big explosion; then a fire and thick, black smoke. In minutes, bodies lay on the scene and panicky residents rushed indoors. It was at the ever-busy Junction Road/Sardauna Crescent, near the Ahmadu Bello Stadium.

 

The road was strewn with charred motorcycles and debris. The explosion badly damaged the nearby All Nations Christian Assembly Church, where an Easter service was going on. The church was the possible target of the bomber. Witnesses said it appeared the explosive-laden car attempted to go into the church premises before it detonated. Pastor Joshua Raji saw it all: “We were in the Holy Communion service and I was exhorting my people and all of a sudden, we had a loud noise that shattered all our windows and doors, destroyed all our fans and equipment in the church. The Pastor never knew that while this was happening in the church, burnt dead bodies were everywhere on the street.

 

April 9, 2012

Today, Kaduna continued to count its losses. The
Okada Riders Association came out to say that it lost over 100 members since the blast occurred near their park. It meant the 40 people earlier claimed to have died were under-estimated and that no one could actually know the number of the dead. As if that was not enough, Boko Haram again struck on Easter Monday. This time, it was in Yobe and Borno states and at the last count, about eight people had been recorded dead.

 

As usual, the President was not happy, while his aides were in a sober mood and the government was planning to do something fast. But that did not satisfy the expectation of the Southeast Christians. They came with an answer to the incessant bombings in the land: Sack the National Security Adviser (NSA). To the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) of that zone, Jonathan’s NSA was just a decoration who was incapable of stopping the bombers. He should go!

 

April 10, 2012

The Army seemed set to be coming up with another line of measure to arrest the security challenges of the Boko Haram bombings in the North. The Chief of Army Staff, Azubuike Ihejirika, who visited Kaduna today, said the Army would train a special squad in the art of using dogs to fight Boko Haram. In far away US, the Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, Jonnie Carson, in a remark at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, Washington DC, canvassed a ministry or commission for Northern Affairs to deal with economic challenges in the North which they believed to be the root of Boko Haram.

 

Nuhu Ribadu was the one who let us into the fact that “government is complacent on Boko Haram.” He said, “If I were Boko Haram, I will be happy with the complacency. Nobody is doing anything.”  But to God be the glory, the General Superintendent, Deeper Christian Life Ministry, Pastor William Kumuyi, had said Nigeria would not break up.

 

April 11, 2012

It was a torrent of tributes today for two eminent Nigerians who passed on: Dr. Moses Adekoyejo Majekodunmi and Chief Akinwole Omoboriowo. a former Deputy Governor of the old Ondo State (1979-1983), who died at the Adeniyi Jones Street, Ikeja, Lagos residence of his son, Mr. Akinwole Omoboriowo (Jnr.). He was aged 81. Majekodunmi, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, former Health Minister, Sole Administrator of the defunct Western Region and founder of St. Nicholas Hospital, died in his Ikoyi, Lagos residence at the age of 95.

 

But as the mourning was on, the Federal Government came with a revelation that brought about real confusion. It said: “Nigeria now world’s third fastest growing economy.” How they arrived at the figure and the calculation remained mysterious since those in government themselves admitted that the classification had not practically translated into improved standards of living for the citizens. But since Oga dem dem don sey Nigeria dey grow, nobody fit argue again!

 

April 12, 2012

There was a real problem today. Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, threatened that the group would “devour” President Goodluck Jonathan “in three months.” According to Reuters, the sect’s head, in a video posted on YouTube today, said the President goofed by boasting to get rid of the group in three months. Shekau said in Arabic: “Jonathan, you the helpless, we heard that you intend and want to destroy us, but this talk is useless when it is said by an infidel because only God can destroy us. Until now, nobody was able to do that (destroy us) and you too will not be able to do anything with God’s help. You, Jonathan, cannot stop us, instead we will devour you in the three months like you are boasting.”

 

But the Pensions Reform Task Force set up by the President was still making progress in recovering funds looted from the scheme by some key functionaries of the state. From the fresh facts unveiled today by the Task Force Chairman, Mr. Abdul Rasheed Maina, the panel had now retrieved N182bn as against N151bn it recovered from the pensions’ managers in the public sector. There was, however, a line of contention: the Senate Committee on Establishment accused the Maina panel of trying to bribe its members, but Maina said, “It was a lie. They were the ones who offered me N1.2billion and a new jeep!”

 

April 13, 2012

This was trouble! Nigerians today got a rare insight into this country’s financial health. But the news was not cheery. The country was going broke with only $3.6bn left in the excess crude account. The worry might not have been that much if the information was not from the Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, herself.  She met with the civil society organisations and told them that governors’ insistence in sharing every revenue was unhealthy for the economy. But the governors were not happy, they continued to shout, “Ngozi, let’s share everything”!

 

So corruption dey for EFCC self! Well, worried by the corruption in the ranks of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, its Chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, initiated measures to purge the anti-corruption agency of undesirable elements. He had even commenced a major probe into the activities of individuals in strategic places in the commission to ascertain their integrity and dedication to the task of fighting graft in the society.

 

April 14, 2012

Babatunde Fashola, the governor of Lagos, was angry. He condemned the traffic jam in the metropolis caused by security operatives, who mounted roadblocks in different areas during the visit of the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, yesterday. The wife of the President was in Lagos and as customary in this political dispensation, all roads were barricaded, not only to allow free movement for the First Lady who must not taste the hell ordinary citizens passed through on daily basis, but also to be sure no Boko Haram striker was lurking anywhere near the number two, abi na number one, citizen! And there was serious commotion and collision in Lagos.

 

That was why the governor was annoyed. And Fashola said, “Lagosians were terribly discomfited yesterday with the traffic jam, needlessly, if I must say. There is the need for public officers generally to be more sensitive to the people they serve. It is particularly worrisome because this is not an elected person and I think we all, including the security agencies, must know how they pander to our high officers, especially VIP movement, at the risk and expense of citizens and taxpayers whose money was used to fuel all the vehicles used to block the roads against those who pay those money!”

 

April 15, 2012

Members of the opposition parties nearly got a general heart attack today when it came from President Goodluck Jonathan that this was his first term in office. He asked an Abuja High Court to dismiss a suit seeking to stop him from contesting the 2015 presidential election over claims that he was already in the second term in office, having taken the Oath of Office of President twice.  In his counter-motion to the suit filed by a member of the People’s Democratic Party, Mr. Cyriacus Njoku, the President insisted that he was currently serving his first term of four years in office as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in line with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution.

With this insistence, those who had been angling for that position in PDP and the opposition became restive and it showed that despite all the insecurity, economic downturn, debts, crime and what have you, the race for 2015 had begun.

 

April 16 2012

Everywhere you turned, the world seemed a big political field. As widely predicted, the United States candidate for the World Bank presidency, Mr. Jim Young Kim, today beat Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjko-Iweala, to emerge the 12th president of the Bretton Woods institution. Executive Directors of the World Bank selected Kim, a 52-year-old US health expert and educator, over Okonjo-Iweala, an economist, who had worked for the bank for over 20 years.

 

But there was a different story in the land which made many smile. The House of Representatives Adhoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy had asked 69 oil marketers to refund N241.247 billion. Besides the illegal cash they got last year, 46 companies did not pay taxes, according to the Inland Revenue Service. The committee established that N1.692 trillion was paid as subsidy last year, but the problem was that many people just collected the money without importing anything!

The major problem, however, came thereafter. A Presidential panel recommended the scrapping of both the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission. The panel said the two key anti-corruption agencies were performing the functions of the Nigerian Police.

 

April 17, 2012

There was only one big story today, but big enough for the world to share. It went thus: The Ibori clan in British prisons swelled by one today. And he was the head of the family. Two-time governor of Delta State, James Onanefe Ibori, would now have the chance to hold court over his women, lawyer and other associates in a British cell.

 

Members of the Ibori family that were in British prisons for oiling the corruption machinery of the former governor were his wife, Theresa Nkoyo, sister, Chirstine Ibori-Ibie, mistress, Udoamaka Okoronkwo, his lawyer, Bhadresh Gohil, a financial agent, Daniel Benedict McCann and corporate financier, Lambertus De Boer. Now, Ibori had joined them. He was sentenced by judge Anthony Pitts to 13 years in prison for corruption and money laundering at 3.20 p.m. British time at the Southwark Crown Court 9 in London.

And there was jubilation in many parts of Nigeria, for the citizens thought they have been able to lead James Ibori to his final fall.

 

April 18, 2012

Today, some details of the rot in the oil industry in Nigeria were laid bare – courtesy of the House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy Management. It was a policy designed to bring succor to poor Nigerians, but it turned out to be the drain-pipe on the treasury and a source of ill-gotten wealth for both Nigerians and foreigners. At the end of the probe, it was revealed that NNPC, PPPRA and 72 firms connived and stole N1.070 trillion. It was an open page on how those in authority and crooked businessmen bled the nation dry.

 

And for the fact that Nigeria did not crumbled with this huge amount stolen showed the abundance of resources available in the land, and that the nation had no excuse to be poor were it not in the hands of a corrupt and gluttonous leadership. They were asked to refund the money, and the 72 companies listed under the financial forensics were recommended for further investigation by the relevant anti-corruption agencies, with a view to establish their culpability and recovering the sums indicated against their names. And all the citizens could say was, God, when would you save us from these rogues?

While this was on, the Northern leaders were meeting and calling their southern counterparts’ bluff, insisting that the North would survive in the event of a break-up of Nigeria.

 

April 19, 2012

“They have killed this country! They have ruined Nigeria!” These were part of the Nigerians’ cries as again, today, more sordid details of the multi-billion naira petrol subsidy bazaar emerged. But the most absurd of it all was that of a waste disposal firm which got a whooping N1.9 billion subsidy for the products it never supplied. And there was fury, lamentations in the land. Though the House Committee had recommended that all those in the management and board of the NNPC directly involved in all the infractions and all staff of PPPRA involved in the processing of application by importers and verification and confirmation for imported products should be investigated and prosecuted, many Nigerians believed nothing would come out of the report because it involved business and political leaders. But the NLC continued to shout: Send subsidy fund thieves to jail!

 

April 20, 2012

Many people were happy to learn today that Nigeria’s main anti-graft body had launched an investigation into the management of fuel subsidy payments, following the findings of the House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy Management. They heard that Ibrahim Larmode, the Chairman of the EFCC, gave the directives in Abuja. It showed that the NNPC, PPPRA, AGF and Fuel Importers would face a burning fire of the EFCC. But the other side of the news was not as cheery, since it said there was a threat of impeachment now hovering over the Speaker of the House of Representative, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal. Nothing abominable had he done than that he allowed the scandalous report to be made open to the general public. After the report, some forces in government became so uncomfortable and plan for impeachment was touted as one of the options of consequence.

 

April 21, 2012

It had started. The report of the House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy Management claimed its first casualties today. The Federal Government, apparently taking a cue from the panel’s recommendations, sacked two accounting firms responsible for certifying fuel subsidy claims by marketers. Sacked were Akintola Williams and Co. and Adekanola and Co. It actually surprised many to learn that there were auditing firms who were supposed to verify and certify claims of all marketers before payments were made. And for this, many were not impressed about the sack, they wanted them in jail! This was why the Save Nigeria Group was mobilising for a nation-wide mass protest.

 

 

Meanwhile, the last was yet to be heard of the pension scam in the office of the Head of Service of the Federation. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which had gone tough on the masterminds, said today that it had unearthed the payments of N2.5 billion to individuals and companies which were just acting as fronts for officials of the pension unit.

Probably, this was why General Muhammadu Buhari sharply reacted that “Revolution will consume PDP in 2015!” He believed, as many Nigerians did, that the political leadership was responsible for all these rots.

 

April 22, 2012

They had tried, but unsuccessfully. The fuel subsidy scam appeared to be too big a family affair for the People’s Democratic Party. The party continued to encounter difficulties in its bid to douse the scandal. Some chieftains of the party were concerned that the outcome of the report on the subsidy mismanagement would bring misfortune to the party in subsequent elections and they wanted to find a way out of it, but it was becoming tougher by the day.

 

For whatever it would bring, the President had spoken and pledged that he would act on the Rep’s fuel subsidy report. But members of the House were worried because from the floor of the house and public domain, the test of integrity sparked by the subsidy probe report was set for the court. Eighteen companies asked to refund over N14.9 billion had hired a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mike Ozekhome, to lead their legal battle against the House of Representatives and the House Ad-Hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy Management.  The Chamber described the legal action of the 18 marketers as a diversionary move aimed at taking the subsidy scam off the front burner as further discussion of the matter would then become subjudice. But House spokesman, Zakari Muhammed said the lawmakers would take the oil marketers to the court of public opinion.

 

April 23, 2012

Lagosians woke up today to find a team of battle-ready policemen at the Gani Fawehinmi Freedom Park, Ojota, in the outskirts of the city. Their presence was believed to be the government’s reaction to the protest being planned by the Save Nigerian Group (SNG) and other activists against the alleged N1.070 trillion fraud exposed by the report of the House of Representatives Ad-Hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy. This showed how unsettled the government had become. Thank God, Aminu Tambuwal, the Speaker, had said he was not afraid of impeachment.

 

Hear him:  “Members of the House of Representatives know that they are bound to face threats and resistance from many quarters. The important thing is that they will not be intimidated. And as for me, I am not afraid of impeachment.”

There was, however, a serious allegation that a bribery process was going on in the House. Some marketers were inching their way into the chamber and would soon get the reports watered down. Of course, the Reps denied this: “The bribe allegation is to intimidate us.”

 

April 24, 2012

Today, the report on the subsidy scam was debated in the House of Representatives. The mood preceding the debate of the Farouk Lawan-led ad-hoc committee was set by the appearance of about 100 protesting youths at the entrance of the National Assembly. The youths, under the banner of two civil society organisations, said their mission was to express their disapproval over alleged plan by the House of Representatives to indict the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Deziani Aliosn-Madueke, with the recommendations of the report. Inscriptions on the placards carried by the youths included: “We say no to Lawan Report if it is a ploy to discredit President Goodluck Jonathan.”  “Remove the Minister of Petroleum on the ground of ethnicity?” “Was Lawan committee hijacked by political enemies of President Jonathan’s government?”

 

 

With this at the entrance of the National Assembly, then it was not surprising when names of people like Ahmadu Ali, the former PDP chairman and others were recommended for trial. The House also said the Auditor General of the Federation should audit the account of the NNPC. And there was hullaballoo everywhere, because it was believed that “head go roll o!”

 

April 25, 2012

Yes, she nearly got it, but there was an uproar as Reps sought oil minister’s sack. The House of Representatives’ debate on the fuel subsidy report today slipped into bedlam, following a failed attempt to seek the resignation of Petroleum Resources Minister, Diezani Allison-Madueke. Minutes into today’s session, a member of the House, Robinson Uwak, raised “Matters of Privilege” and informed the chamber that his constituents had accused the House of shielding the minister. But before he could go further on the issue, Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha, who led the session, swiftly asked Uwak “to approach the chair.” After a few minutes discussion in low tunes, Uwak returned to his seat, looking dissatisfied. But this only divided the House the more as majority of the law makers called for the petroleum minister’s removal. The Deputy Speaker, however, overruled the majority, saying Diezani must stay, amidst shouts and table-banging by the members.

 

April 26, 2012

It had never happened and when it did, it was so shocking. Three media organisations were today hit by suicide bombers in Abuja and Kaduna. The two incidents were the first of attacks on the Nigerian media since the Boko Haram insurgence started. The affected newspapers were ThisDay,The Sun and The Moment.

 

And with this, the pen pushers got the taste of violence in some parts of the nation. At the end, the explosion killed eight people and injured 14. It happened this way: A suicide bomber detonated a car loaded with explosives at the Abuja office of ThisDay Newspapers in the Jabi area of the Federal Capital Territory, killing three people including two security staff. The Abuja bomber drove a dark green Izuzu Sport Utility Vehicle through the gates of ThisDay’s office around 11a.m. and blew himself up.  Everyone condemned the attack, except the Boko Haram spokeperson, who said the group hit the media houses because they were misrepresenting them. But Oga Jonathan was riled and he instructed his National Security Adviser: “Go get those boys!”

 

April 27, 2012

The story of the Boko Haram insurgence took a different turn today as the man, President Jonathan sent to “go get the boys” hit back at his employers. That was the National Security Adviser, General Owoye Azazi. He told anyone that cared to listen today that the ruling People’s Democratic Party should be held rersponsible for the increasing destruction visited on Nigerians by the Boko Haram sect. It was like Azazi was fed up and he reasoned: “A situation where a political party insists on fielding a particular candidate over another to get a massive win and that if they get that massive win, the party has arrived is the source of the problem.

 

How come the extent of violence did not increase in Nigeria until the public declaration of the people that were going to contest election by PDP? And I would also like to say this, though the PDP people will not agree with me, they would like to attack me, but I hope they do it in private. PDP got it wrong from the beginning by saying Mr. A can go and Mr. B cannot go, and their decisions were made without looking at the constitution. Is it not possible that someone is thinking that only Mr. A could win and that if he could not win, there would be problem in this society?”

That was how Azazi took his employers to the cleaners and the PDP senior members could not find their voice.

 

April 28, 2012

Of course, he should expect trouble. Azazi, the NSA. The signal came from the President himself. He told Journalists today, “Probably, people need to ask the NSA to explain what he really means. I have read it in the papers. I don’t want to comment on it until I hear from the NSA himself.” Well, if the President would wait, the PDP couldn’t. It came out in strong worded reaction, warning the NSA to steer clear of politics: The PDP is one united party behind Jonathan and there was no iota of truth in the comment made by the NSA.

 

Also today, former governor of Kwara State, Dr. Bukola Saraki, was declared wanted by the Special Fraud Unit, Ikoyi, Lagos State. The Police said he had failed to honour an earier invitation by it on 20 April 2012. But no one believed they were actually looking for him, because Saraki was in Abuja saying he had done nothing wrong.

 

April 29, 2012

It happened again. It was like a scene from hell. All was solemn. The church service was on. Time was about 8.30 a.m. Suddenly, a huge explosion, preceded by gun shots, deafened the worshippers. The atmosphere became cloudy. There was pandemonium. Minutes later, all was calm – no fewer than 16 people laid dead. They were victims of the Boko Haram attacks. The scene of horror was a lecture theatre at the old campus of the Bayero University in Kano, used as a Christian worshipping centre. In the congregation were students, lecturers and other categories of employees of the university and outsiders. One of the 16 dead was Professor Andrew Leo Ogbonyomi of the Department of Library Science.

 

April 30, 2012

It was as if the month of April had decided to end on a very sad note in Nigeria. From Abuja to Kaduna, Kano and Taraba states, the bloodletting had persisted as the bombs continued to go off. Less than 24 hours after terrorists stormed the old campus of the Bayero University, Kano and killed 14 worshippers, the serenity of Jalingo, the Taraba State capital, was shattered today by bomb explosion. The explosion claimed 11 persons while scores of residents were wounded.

 

 

This time, the President had no alternative than to confess. And confess he did, “Terrorists have come to destablise Nigeria!” It was so sad that nobody could smile, not to talk of laugh. The nation was in mourning and its citizens wore long faces.  What a month! they said. It couldn’t have been worse!

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