India clears $1.1bn contract for 48 Russian-built Mi-17-V5 helicopters


NEW DELHI, September 2. /TASS/. India’s Defence Acquisition Council has approved procurement of 48 Mi-17-V5 helicopters worth $1.1 billion from Russia, the Economic Times daily reported on Wednesday.

“The contract for 48 Russian-made Mi-17-V5 helicopters worth 70 billion rupees ($1.1 billion) has topped the package deal on armament and associated materiel acquisition which was considered and approved by a session of the Defence Acquisition Council,” a source in the Indian Ministry of Defence told the publication.

India has already bought and introduced into its inventory 139 Mi-17s worth more than $2 billion.

“The advanced Russian-made helicopters will be used in difficult-terrain areas ranging from deserts to mountains along the Pakistani and Chinese borders,” Indian Air Force headquarters confirmed to TASS. ” make up the backbone of the transport helicopter fleet of the IAF,” it said.


BY OLUSEGUN OGOLO green white green


Nigeria is on life support (that’s a fancy phrase for a semi failed state), and it’s amazing how determined our politicians are to pull the plug.

I know it is well advised to speak positive things; however,  the operations of faith goes beyond a positive confession.

Faith also requires corresponding action.

Unfortunately, the corresponding action we’re seeing from Nigerians is lethargy and stupor; a people so dazed and confounded by happenings in  their environment  that their will and wiliness to effect a change has been impaled  by an inexplicable fear of death.

That Nigeria is blessed is trite. How then do you juxtapose the abundance of natural resources with the fact that our country is in the same league with Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia (countries that are apparently going nowhere) when it comes to all human development indices.

The late Fela Anikulapo Kuti was vilified for his mannerism, but this great Nigerian had a message and to me, the message is more important than the messenger.

In SORROW,TEARS AND BLOOD (lyric below),Fela provides a clear reason why there may never  be an ‘arab spring ‘ style change in Nigeria.

With all the thievery, injustice and lack of respect for human life happening in our country,When will Nigerians rise up to the fact that praying for change also requires ACTING  in line with desired change?.

When are we going to awake to the fact that citizens of a nation are the ones who effect the change they desire  not ANGELS: in fact the  only societies where Angels were permitted to effect changes are those of Sodom and Gomorrah (and you know the story).

The PDP has been in government since 1999 with nothing to show for their existence other than that they have put the country in reverse gear; the newly formed APC is living in a bubble and may even be a worse evil than the PDP.

Shouldn’t Nigerians rise up against these old and directionless politicians and tell them to leave us alone?

While I do not advocate a break up of the country, there is a very urgent need to convene a conference to determine the future governance structure of the country.

SORROW,TEARS AND BLOOD (LYRIC) Everybody run run run Everybody scatter scatter Some people lost some bread Someone nearly die Someone just die Police dey come, army dey come Confusion everywhere Hey yeah!

Seven minutes later All don cool down, brother Police don go away Army don disappear Them leave Sorrow, Tears, and Blood

[Chorus] Them regular trademark!

Them leave Sorrow, Tears, and Blood Them regular trademark That is why

[Chorus] Hey yeah!

Everybody run run run…

La la la la My people self dey fear too much We fear for the thing we no see We fear for the air around us We fear to fight for freedom We fear to fight for liberty We fear to fight for justice We fear to fight for happiness We always get reason to fear

We no want die We no want wound We no want quench We no want go I get one child Mama dey for house Papa dey for house I want build house I don build house I no want quench I want enjoy I no want go Ah!

So policeman go slap your face You no go talk Army man go whip your yansh You go dey look like donkey Rhodesia dey do them own Our leaders dey yab for nothing South Africa dey do them own

Them leave Sorrow, Tears, and Blood…

Ah, na so Time will dey go Time no wait for nobody Like that: choo, choo, choo, choo, ah But police go dey come, army go dey come With confusion

Obama’s Road to Damascus: The War for Regime Change in Syria

Dominic Tierney.THE ATLANTI.Sep 6 2013

The more Obama lobbies Congress, the greater the danger for mission creep.


Obama pauses while speaking about Syria during a joint press conference with Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt at the Prime Minister’s office in Stockholm. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

A war that begins to punish Assad for using chemical weapons is likely to turn into a grander campaign to overthrow the Syrian tyrant. Obama is about to walk the road to Damascus: the president who sought to end Middle Eastern conflict will convert to the goal of violent regime change.
When the White House first outlined the use of force in Syria, the aims were described as limited, controlled, and proportionate. Missile strikes would chastise Assad, degrade his military forces, and deter the further use of chemical weapons–a quick punitive expedition. Washington has long hoped for Assad’s departure as part of a new transitional regime in Syria, but this was not the immediate objective. “I want to make clear,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney: “the options that we are considering are not about regime change.”
But if it isn’t a war for regime change already, it may well be soon.
First of all, Assad could retaliate against U.S. military installations in the region or against Israel–essentially forcing the president’s hand. If Assad’s forces kill Americans or Israelis, then Washington will go for the jugular.
But even if the Syrian regime absorbs a U.S. strike, Obama could still walk the road to Damascus. The president may face domestic pressure to escalate the goals. For sure, the American public is weary of fighting in the wake of Afghanistan and Iraq. But precisely because people are so sick of war, the administration may try to sell the campaign by describing Assad as uniquely evil. How then can we let this devil remain in power?
And for Americans, overthrowing a demonic tyrant is at least a comprehensible goal. By contrast, a quick shot across the bows makes little sense to anyone. If Assad quits using chemical weapons and goes back to slaughtering his people with conventional arms–you call that a victory?
The more effort Obama invests in winning congressional backing, the more he’ll be tempted to raise the stakes. Is he really going to spend all this political capital–all this wooing and arm-twisting–just to dump some ordinance into Syria and go home?
The mission creep is already happening. Obama has toughened his line in a bid to win the backing of hawks like John McCain. The use of force, Obama said: “fits into a broader strategy that can bring about over time the kind of strengthening of the opposition and the diplomatic, economic and political pressure required–so that ultimately we have a transition that can bring peace and stability, not only to Syria but to the region.”
After the rockets’ red glare streaks across the Levant, the United States will own the conflict. We will leave the audience and join the actors on stage. Suddenly, Washington will be expected to respond to every major event in Syria. If the rebels commit atrocities, or Assad’s forces capture a city, all eyes will turn to Obama: what now, Mr. President? Rather than face a neverending story of intractable conflict, the White House will seek resolution through regime change.
Both military success and failure could spur the United States to escalate its goals. If U.S. missile strikes go more smoothly than expected and Assad’s support crumbles, we may naturally heighten our ambitions.
More surprisingly, if Washington faces battlefield failure, Obama will also be tempted to go after Assad. Like a gambler on a losing streak, the White House may double down in a bid to win it all back. At this point, we’ve planted the flag and cannot allow the rebels to lose.
Are we ready for regime change? There’s no coherent Syrian opposition and jihadist groups are running rampant. Trying to patch together a new government could suck all the oxygen out of Obama’s second term.
After his revelation on the road to Damascus, Paul was blinded for three days. Let’s hope Obama can see the path ahead with greater clarity

Deter and degrade: US expands target list

David Sanger. THE  AGE.September  7, 2013

aExpanding targets in Syria: Barack Obama. Photo: Getty  Images

Washington:  US President Barack Obama has directed the Pentagon to develop  an expanded  list of potential targets in Syria.

The new planning is  a response to intelligence suggesting that  President  Bashar al-Assad’s government  has been moving troops and equipment used to  employ chemical weapons while Congress debates military action.

Officials said Mr Obama  was  determined to put more emphasis on the  ”degrade” part of  the administration’s  goal in a military strike against  Syria – to ”deter and degrade” Dr Assad’s ability to use chemical weapons.

That means expanding beyond the original list of 50 or so   main target sites  developed with French forces before Mr Obama delayed action last Saturday.


For the first time, the administration is talking about using US and French  aircraft to conduct strikes on specific targets, in addition to ship-launched  Tomahawk cruise missiles. There is also a renewed push to get other NATO forces  involved.

The strikes would be aimed not at the chemical stockpiles themselves – which  would risk a potential catastrophe – but rather the military units that have  stored and prepared the weapons and carried out attacks against Syrian rebels,  US military officials said on Thursday.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin  Dempsey, said   other targets would include equipment that Syria uses to protect the chemicals –  air defences, long-range missiles and rockets, which can also deliver the  weapons.

Senior officials know  that to win the fight on Capitol Hill, they will have  to accept restrictions on the military response, yet to make the strike  meaningful they must expand its scope.

”They are being pulled in two different directions,” a senior foreign  official involved in the discussions said. ”The worst outcome would be to come  out of this bruising battle with Congress and conduct a military action that  made little difference.”’

One senior official said Mr Obama intended to become more  involved in direct  lobbying for a military authorisation  and there was  talk of  an  address to  the nation.

As the target list expands, the administration is moving closer to carrying  out military action that  could also  tip the balance on the ground, even though  the administration insists this is not the primary intent.

The bulk of the US attack is still expected to be  by cruise missiles from  some or all of the four destroyers within striking range of Syria in the eastern  Mediterranean. But military planners are now also preparing options to include  attacks by bombers which could carry more munitions, potentially allowing the US  to carry out more strikes if the first wave does not destroy the targets.

In recent days the US Navy has moved the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz into the  Red Sea, within striking distance of Syria.

But  Defence Department officials said  the carrier and its squadrons of F-18  Super Hornets  were not likely to join any attack unless Syria launched major  retaliatory strikes.

Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel told legislators on Wednesday that a US  operation would cost ”tens of millions of dollars”, the first time any  administration official has put even a rough price tag on the possible  strike.

A country so corrupt it would be better to burn our aid money


 Michael Burleigh |Daily Mail| 8  August 2013

 Nigeria is  not quite the most corrupt country on earth. But according to Transparency  International, which monitors international financial corruption, it is not far  off — coming a shameful 172nd worst among the 215 nations surveyed.

Only countries as dysfunctional, derelict and  downright dangerous as Haiti or the Congo are more corrupt.

In theory, Nigeria’s 170 million-strong  population should be prospering in a country that in recent years has launched  four satellites into space and now has a burgeoning space programme.

Frankly, we might as well flush our cash away or burn it for all the good it's doing for ordinary Nigerians

Frankly, we might as well flush our cash away or burn it  for all the good it’s doing for ordinary Nigerians

Moreover, Nigeria is sitting on crude oil  reserves estimated at 35 billion barrels (enough to fuel the entire world for  more than a year), not to mention 100 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. 

It also manages to pay its legislators the  highest salaries in the world, with a basic wage of £122,000, nearly double what  British MPs earn and many hundreds of times that of the country’s ordinary  citizens.

The oil industry is highly corrupt, with 136 million barrels of crude oil worth $11¿billion (£7.79 billion) were illegally siphoned off in just two years from 2009 to 2011

The oil industry is highly corrupt, with 136 million  barrels of crude oil worth $11¿billion (£7.79 billion) were illegally siphoned  off in just two years from 2009 to 2011

No wonder the ruling elite can afford  luxury  homes in London or Paris, and top-end cars that, across West  Africa, have led  to the sobriquet ‘Wabenzi’, or people of the  Mercedes-Benz.

Yet 70 per  cent of Nigerians live below the  poverty line of £1.29 a day, struggling with a failing infrastructure and  chronic fuel shortages because of a  lack of petrol refining capacity, even  though their country produces  more crude oil than Texas.

And that poverty is not for want of  assistance from the wider world.

Poverty: Millions of Nigerians are living in poverty, despite the country earning huge profits from its oil deposits

70 per cent of Nigerians live below the poverty line of  £1.29 a day, struggling with a failing infrastructure and chronic fuel  shortages

Since gaining its independence in  1960,  Nigeria has received  $400 billion (£257 billion) in aid —  six  times  what the U.S. pumped into reconstructing the whole of Western  Europe after  World War II.

Nigeria suffers from what economists call the  ‘resource curse’ — the paradox  that developing countries with an abundance of  natural reserves tend to  enjoy worse economic growth than countries without  minerals and fuels.

The huge flow of oil wealth means the  government does not rely on taxpayers for its income, so does not have to answer  to the people — a situation  that fosters rampant corruption and economic  sclerosis because there is  no investment in infrastructure as the country’s  leaders cream off its  wealth.

Nigerian police can be easily bribed to look the other way in a country where corruption in Nigeria is endemic

Nigerian police can often be easily bribed to look the  other way in a country where corruption in Nigeria is endemic

Corruption in Nigeria is endemic —  from  parents bribing teachers to get hold of exam papers for their  children through  clerks handed ‘dash’ money to get round the country’s  stifling bureaucracy to  policemen taking money for turning a blind eye.

It is at its most blatant, perhaps, in the  oil industry, where 136 million barrels of crude oil worth  $11 billion (£7.79  billion) were illegally siphoned off in just two  years from 2009 to 2011, while  hundreds of millions of dollars in  subsidies were given to fuel merchants to  deliver petrol that never  materialised.

Whether the  country is ruled by civilians or  soldiers, who invariably proclaim their burning desire to eradicate civilian  corruption, it makes absolutely no difference.

The huge flow of oil wealth means the government does not rely on taxpayers for its income, so does not have to answer to the people

The huge flow of oil wealth means the government does  not rely on taxpayers for its income, so does not have to answer to the people 

The military  ruled Nigeria between 1966 and  1979 and from 1983 to 1999, but if  anything, corruption was worse when they  were in charge since they had a habit of killing anyone threatening to expose  them.

It is estimated that since 1960, about $380  billion  (£245 billion) of government money has been stolen —  almost the  total sum Nigeria has received in foreign aid.

And that even when successive governments  attempt to recover the stolen money, much of this is looted again.

President Sani Abacha, a military dictator who ruled in the Nineties, had accrued a staggering $4¿billion (£2.58¿billion) fortune by the time he died

President Sani Abacha, a military dictator who ruled in  the Nineties, had accrued a staggering $4¿billion (£2.58¿billion) fortune by the  time he died

In essence, 80 per cent of the country’s  substantial oil revenues go to  the government, which disburses cash to   individual governors and  hundreds of their cronies, so  effectively  these huge sums  remain in  the hands of a  mere 1 per cent of the  Nigerian population.



Political power is universally regarded as a  chance to reap  the fortunes of  office by the ruling elite and its  families and tribes.

The most egregious example was  President  Sani Abacha, a military dictator who ruled in the Nineties and accrued a  staggering $4 billion (£2.58 billion) fortune by the time he  died of a heart  attack while in bed with two Indian prostitutes at his  palace in the nation’s  capital, Abuja, in 1998. Abacha’s business  associates did nicely, too — one of  them deposited £122 million in a  Jersey offshore account after selling Nigerian  army trucks for five  times their worth.

Public office is so lucrative that  people  will kill to get it. Nigeria has 36 state governors, 31 of whom  are under  federal investigation for corruption.

In one of the smallest states, a candidate  for the governorship occupied by one Ayo Fayose received texts signed by the  ‘Fayose M Squad’ — and it was clear the ‘M’ was for ‘Murder’ when they stabbed  and bludgeoned a third candidate to death in his own bed.

By the end of its term of office, the British  Government will have handed over £1 billion in aid to Nigeria.

Given the appalling levels of   corruption in that nation, this largesse is utterly sickening — for the  money will only  be recycled into bank accounts in the Channel Islands or  Switzerland.

Frankly, we might as well flush our cash away  or burn it for all the good it’s doing for ordinary Nigerians.

Al Qaeda terrorists in Somalia pillaged £480,000 worth of British aid in raid on contractors delivering humanitarian supplies

Chris Hastings |   Daily Mail  |11  August 2013


  • ‘Theft’ of aid  and equipment hidden in recent set of Government accounts
  • Contractors were  targeted by al-Shabaab, Somali cell of Al Qaeda
  • Government:  ‘We work in some of the most dangerous places in the  world’

  Al Qaeda militants pillaged British  taxpayer-funded aid worth almost £500,000, the Department for International  Development has admitted.

The Government said that a Somali-based cell  of Al Qaeda, known as al-Shabaab, plundered the vital humanitarian aid and  equipment from approved contractors.

The loss was hidden in the small print of a  recent set of Department for International Development (DfID) accounts which  revealed ‘the theft’ of supplies worth £480,000 between November 2011 and  February 2012.

Loss: It is believed the supplies were stolen by Al-Shabaab, the Somali-based cell of Al Qaeda, and burnt

Loss: It is believed the supplies were stolen by  Al-Shabaab, the Somali-based cell of Al Qaeda, and burnt

It is understood that the supplies were  stolen or destroyed in November 2011 when al-Shabaab went on the rampage through  an area where some of DFiD’s local partners had a warehouse.  

The report singles out al-Shabaab for blame  and states: ‘DfID partners had no prior warning of the confiscations being  carried out and therefore had no time to prevent the loss.’

A DfID spokesman added: ‘We work in some of  the most dangerous places in the world, including Somalia, because tackling the  root causes of poverty and instability there ensures a safer world.

‘Working in conflict-affected and fragile  states carries inherent risk. DfID does all it can to mitigate against this but,  on occasion, losses will occur.’

Questions: Aid workers struggled to deliver supplies to thousands of Somali refugees during the humanitarian crisis in 2011

Questions: Aid workers struggled to deliver supplies to  thousands of Somali refugees during the humanitarian crisis in 2011

More than 13 million people were reliant on  humanitarian aid during the Horn of Africa crisis in November 2011. Starving  people were dying of malaria and cholera and heavy rains made it impossible for  aid workers to deliver supplies.

The disclosure that so much material went  missing will raise fears that the Government is not doing enough to protect aid  supplies. Ministers have been under increasing pressure to justify a decision to  protect overseas aid from spending cuts.

British aid is due to reach about £11 billion  by 2015 to meet the Government’s promise that spending should be 0.7 per cent of  gross national income. Critics say the 0.7 per cent figure encourages wasteful  spending to meet the target.

Last night DfID was not able to confirm what  sort of supplies had been lost in Somalia but suggested that they were burned by  al-Shabaab rather than stolen.


Egypt’s foreign relations and Local intrigues

By Alain Gresh.Le Monde.07 Aug, 2013

“To avert a bloodbath and civil war, the military will govern Egypt for a short period of not more than a year,” said an editorial in Saudi Arabia’s Okaz newspaper on 30 June: a few days later, after the demonstrations, Morsi was removed by the army. Okaz’s foresight was unsurprising since there had been liaison between Egypt’s high command and Riyadh for months.

The army had a guarantee from Saudi Arabia that it would come to Egypt’s aid provided the army removed from power the Muslim Brothers, who are hated by the Saudi royal family, and treated ex-president Hosni Mubarak better. (Saudi Arabia, which took in Tunisia’s former president, Zine al- Abidine Ben Ali, was unhappy with Mubarak’s treatment.) King Abdullah was among the first to congratulate the new leadership in Cairo and offer $5bn in aid: $1bn in cash, $2bn in oil and $2bn in bank deposits.

Morsi’s departure is a clear victory for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and a setback for Qatar. After a smooth transition of power in Qatar with the accession of the emir’s son, there might be a less interventionist policy. However, there will still be rivalry between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, even if both depend on their strategic alliance with the US.

Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is another loser. His condemnation of the Egyptian coup could be seen just as an expression of solidarity between Islamist parties (Turkey’s AKP and the Muslim Brothers). But it is more than that: Turkish parties, from the nationalist right to Kurdish organisations, have all condemned it.

Morsi had made no major foreign policy shifts. He had kept his distance from Saudi Arabia and made hesitant overtures to Iran, though he stopped short of re-establishing diplomatic relations with Tehran. On Gaza, he had begun to reduce restrictions — not enough in the view of Hamas, which controls the territory — and had been more diplomatically active than Mubarak, and critical of Israel during its intervention in Gaza in November 2011. Yet Morsi maintained the peace treaty with Israel, securing US favour; this made some of the opposition and popular opinion denounce the Brothers’ alliance with Washington. So Morsi was convinced that US support would prevent a coup — a miscalculation.

In the past few months, tensions between the government and military had been apparent in regional politics, which the military regard as within their jurisdiction. The army took a unilateral decision to flood some of the tunnels that supply Gaza, and publicly disapproved of recent calls for jihad in Syria; the calls were taken up by Morsi, who had severed diplomatic relations with Damascus. Until then Morsi’s policy towards Syria had been cautious: he had ruled out foreign intervention and tried to bring Iran into the process of seeking a political solution. His greater caution was less a genuine shift than a desire to win favour with the Salafists, but he failed, as demonstrated by the support of the powerful Al-Nour Party for the movement that ousted him.

In June, some Egyptian Islamist party leaders met Morsi to discuss the crisis provoked by Ethiopia’s decision to build a dam on the Nile. Unaware that the meeting was being filmed, some leaders called for military intervention. The army disapproved.

After Morsi’s fall, the military flooded the press with “secrets” about his alleged refusal to re-establish order in Sinai, an unstable region important to the military command. Since then, operations there have been stepped up and the army has reverted to the strategy of the Mubarak period, when all-out repression — and contempt for Sinai inhabitants, often considered second-class citizens — played into the hands of jihadi groups. In Gaza, drastic restrictions have returned at the Rafah terminal and there has been a political campaign equating Palestinians with terrorists.

Despite the anti-US rhetoric in Cairo, it is certain that the new Egyptian regime will maintain the peace treaty with Israel, and continue to cooperate with the US army, and so receive the annual $1.5bn in military aid that Egyptian officers rely on.

God’s Bankers: Church of England Wages War on Loan Sharks

By Hans Hoyng.DER SPIEGEL.August 06, 2013

Photo Gallery: Taking on the Payday Loan Sector The UK’s thriving payday loan sector is in hot holy water. The new head of the Church of England, an 11-year oil-industry veteran, is hoping to undercut the business by forging ties with credit unions to offer better interest rates to the poor.

The Church of England has made a former oil industry executive its new leader. He now aims to defuse the conflicts between religion and the financial world.

The working meal in mid-July wasn’t exactly exemplary for a “church for the poor.” The menu consisted of swordfish carpaccio, pasta with prawns, tuna steak, semifreddo, fresh fruit and coffee. Nevertheless, the two church leaders, who had taken office within only two days of each other, quickly came to an agreement.

Anglicans and Catholics alike, said Pope Francis, should give “a voice to the cry of the poor, so that they are not abandoned to the laws of an economy that seems at times to treat people as mere consumers.”

This well-intentioned statement could have also come from his counterpart, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, since March the head of the Church of England and supreme spiritual leader of about 80 million Anglicans worldwide. Welby, 57, has addressed issues of justice in capitalism ever since he was a theology student, and he rewrote his doctoral thesis into a treatise that poses the question: “Can Companies Sin?”

Of course they can. Unlike his predecessors, Welby can draw on his own experience to answer such questions. Before beginning his church career, Welby worked for 11 years as a financial manager in the oil industry: five years at Elf Aquitaine in France, followed by six years in London and, most recently, with Enterprise Oil, a production company that is now part of the Shell conglomerate.

The archbishop doesn’t shy away from naming the sinners in the world of business. In the same week in which Pope Francis, speaking in Rio de Janeiro, sharply criticized the “cult of money,” Welby took aim at an industry that is currently doing very well in the United Kingdom, where wages are falling and social services have been slashed: the shady business of payday loans.

Payday lenders like Wonga, Speedy Cash and Quick Quid are increasingly lending small sums of money for a few days or weeks at interest rates that, when extrapolated onto a full year, can exceed 5,000 percent. Welby calls the practice “sinful” and “immoral.”

But unlike German reformer Martin Luther, who wanted to see all usurers sent to the gallows, Welby preaches solutions from within the system. In a meeting in late July with the head of one of the money-lending companies, Errol Damelin of Wonga, Welby reportedly said: “We’re trying to compete you out of existence.”

It’s the kind of language that is understood in the financial world of London. Some 2,000 years after Jesus drove moneychangers and lenders out of the temple, Bishop Welby is inviting them back in. The Church of England, says Welby, has “16,000 branches in 9,000 communities,” which he wants to open up to credit unions so that they can issue short-term loans to the needy at far more moderate interest rates.

A Rough Business

Cutthroat payday lenders like Wonga are unlikely to be overly daunted by bankers in the vestry. The formula for success at the controversial companies is that they can provide a credit decision within minutes after combing through all the information about the applicant that can be found online. Credit unions aren’t nearly as fast. In 2011, the payday-lending industry lent the equivalent of €2.5 billion ($3.3 billion) — in some cases to customers who could no longer qualify for credit with regular banks. Still, less than 10 percent of borrowers defaulted on the loans.

In contrast, British credit unions, which have traditionally been the banks of the poor, have only lent about £605 million (€700 million or $930 million) to their customers. Most suffer from a cumbersome bureaucracy and laws limiting the maximum interest rate on short-term loans to 26.8 percent. As large as this number sounds, even Bishop Welby admits that credit unions would have to charge rates of 70 to 80 percent for these types of loans so that high processing costs wouldn’t eliminate their profits.

Now members of the coalition government want to examine how they can “work together to ensure credit unions can provide strong competition and a viable alternative to payday lenders,” said British Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Vince Cable.

The proposal to tie the credit unions to the church is only Welby’s most recent attempt to defuse the natural conflict between God and Mammon, the New Testament personification of greed, as well as to influence the reform of the British banking sector. Welby was also a member of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards and helped develop its recommendations. Under those recommendations, bankers could go to prison for “grossly negligent behavior,” and financial managers would have to wait up to 10 years for their bonuses to ensure that they had truly earned them.

But the financial angels in the Anglican Church are also not infallible. Less than 24 hours after Welby’s declaration of war against loan sharks, the Financial Times revealed that the church’s pension fund had a small amount of money, £75,000, indirectly invested in Wonga.

Which way Nigeria 2

By  Olusegun  Ogolo

On Wednesday the 31st of July 2013,INEC,Nigeria’s electoral commission approved the registration of the All Progressives’ Congress, (APC) as a political party in Nigeria.


The APC is the result of a merger of four political parties:  All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA),Congress for Progressive Change (CPC),All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP),and Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).

Although the All Progressives’ Congress has been registered by INEC, the use of the acronym APC is still  fiercely contested by at least two other ‘wannabe’ political parties.

Unsurprisingly,INEC’s  eventual registration of the APC was hailed by the sponsors of the party as ‘…a victory for democracy…’ while other Nigerians have remarked that the emergence of the APC would ‘deepen our democracy’.

I am of the considered opinion that these Nigerians have jumped to a conclusion that may turn out to be completely wrong.

On Februarury 12 ,2013, ten governors met in Abuja ;this meeting was presided over by Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola.Others in attendance were the governors of Ekiti, Kayode Fayemi; Ogun, Ibikunle Amosun; Oyo, Abiola Ajimobi; and that of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.Also in attendance were Adams Oshiomhole of Edo; Rochas Okorocha of Imo; Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara; Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa; and Kashim Shettima of Borno State.

At the end of the meeting a communique was issued .The communique   read by Governor Tanko Al-Makura, announced that ”…the party would give priority attention to the promotion of radical social economic and political reformation of the country. In particular, the party said its priority programmes would be agricultural development, job creation, free education, affordable healthcare, infrastructural development, adequate power supply, eradication of poverty and corruption and rapid technological advancement and industrialisation. They declared: “We shall pride ourselves as social democrats that are committed to organise our society based on the values of justice for all and individual freedom where everyone’s basic needs are fulfilled.”(vanguard. February 13,2013).

A close examination of the Governor’s communique shows that it is another blast of hot air by Nigerian politicians.

How many of the governors attending this meeting can show with  valid proof that they have implemented anything close to this communique  in their various states? If they have done nothing of such in the states they currently govern, then the only thing they have to replicate on a national level is bad governance.

Politicians have taken this country for granted for too long, but can you really blame them? The citizens also contribute to this.

When will Nigerians rise up to the truth that acronym (APC, PDP,    CPC, ACN, CPC, ANPP, APGA, e.t.c) peddling politicians will lead us nowhere. Nigeria is in dire need of reformed minds that would ultimately transform this great nation.

A close look at the sponsors of the APC shows that they may not be different from the members of the ruling People’s democratic Party (PDP).These APC fellows are solely interested in grabbing power at the national level  from the PDP, pure and simple.

The PDP is ever quick to remind all that they are Africa’s largest political party: but they are silent on the truth that they are also Africa’s worst performing political party.

For fourteen (14) years the PDP has been in power, and every sector of national life has been put in reverse gear: a great percentage of any twenty four hour period is spent without electric power. Hospital environments in Sri Lanka are better than those in Nigerian government hospitals. Students take classes in dilapidated school facilities. Craters on many roads in Nigeria  paint the picture of the aftermath of an air force campaign.

Strikes have become the order of the day: from University lecturers , to Health service workers to local government workers. The baton of strike seems to be one that is easily passed from one sector   to the next available one ,all because of bad governance, thievery and a total dearth of visionary leadership.

The PDP is such  a confused party that they appointed a sixty three (63) year old man as the youth leader of the party in Lagos state.

At  the national level, the party has structured itself in such a  way that it can only accommodate a pack of elderly individuals that are known to have mismanaged or contributed to the mismanagement of the affairs of this nation.

Whilst I have absolute respect for the elderly, I firmly believe that national interest should come first and not the narrow interest of these sectional minded individuals.

Prof Wole  Soyinka has  been quoted as saying that the PDP is responsible for killing Bola Ige the former attorney general and minister of justice and has also referred to the PDP as a nest of killers (Punch,July 29,2003.Daily Independent,June 14 2013)).

But is this not also true of the APC?

For example, former governor of Borno State and a key member of the newly formed APC, Senator Ali Modu-Sherrif has been accused of having links with the terrorists group, Boko Haram (National Mirror, Oct 27, 2012); Tanko Al-Makura,Governor of Nasarawa state (the individual that read the APC communique, vide supra) has been accused of having a hand in the killing of 20 policemen in a village called Alakyo about 10km from Lafia, the state capital (Blueprint .May 23, 2013).

My argument is that the difference between the new registered APC and the ruling PDP is exactly the same difference between twelve and a dozen.

These two groups can never (especially as currently composed) deliver the change Nigeria and Nigerians so desperately need.

The prognosis for 2015 is either that these politicians and their parties (irrespective of acronym) will wax stronger by their unpatriotic acts of thievery,bad governance and poor leadership while the nation is continually mired in the cesspool of underdevelopment  OR Nigeria will arise progressively and  radically with the concomitant demise of this pack of self aggrandizing politicians.


Further Reading:’s-long-walk-to-life.html

British Police Investigating $1.3 Billion Shell, ENI Nigerian Oil Corruption

John Daly || 29 July 2013


The British police are probing an allegation that a $1.3 billion Nigerian oil bloc deal involving Royal Dutch Shell and Italy’s Eni SpA may have involved money laundering. Most of the money was allegedly paid to a company linked with Nigeria’s former Minister of Petroleum Dan Etete. Nigerian President General Sani Abacha appointed Etete Minister of Petroleum in March 1995 and he served in that role until 1998, when he went into exile following Abacha’s death. In 2007 Etete was convicted of money laundering in France.

Last week a British High Court issued a judgment, Shell and its by-then-partner ENI paid the federal government $1.3 billion, including a $207 million signature bonus paid into a government account, in return for the right to operate the offshore OPL 245 bloc concession. A Shell subsidiary paid the signature bonus, and an ENI subsidiary paid the $1.1 billion balance. The court further ruled that convicted felon Etete should pay at least $110.5 million to Emeka Obi, the owner of Energy Venture Partners for helping him facilitate the sale of OPL-245.

According to the tangled story presented in court, Etete had in his capacity as Minister of Petroleum in the Abacha administration in 1998 awarded the OPL 245 concession to Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd, a company in which he allegedly had interest, for a payment of $2 million. Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd was registered on 24 April 1998, five days before Etete awarded OPL 245 to the firm. Three months later Abacha died.

Abacha’s son Mohammed and other Abacha cronies were also alleged to be shareholders in the company. After Abacha’s death the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo subsequently cancelled the concession, considering the transaction was lacking transparency and due process. Scrutiny of Etete’s activities as Oil Minister increased when the Obasanjo administration filed a complaint with international financial review agencies asking for help in tracing over $386 million that disappeared from the Central Bank of Nigeria from 1994 to 1998, adding that another $800 million was missing, with Abacha family members strongly suspected to have profited from the theft of the funds. During the subsequent investigation, millions of dollars in Switzerland, France, Gibraltar, the British Virgin Islands and several other tax havens traced accounts held by Etete. Etete told investigators that he was one of the largest ship-owners in Nigeria but that the corruption accusations against him were initiated by Obasanjo in an effort to deprive him of the OPL 245 oil bloc concession which Abacha awarded to his Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd.

During the London court proceedings Etete told the court in a breach of contract suit brought against him over the sale of the OPL 245 oil bloc that he only made $250 million working as a consultant for Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd., testifying, “I put my blood, I put my life into this oil bloc,” even as he denied ownership of OPL245. When presented with a transcript of a recording where he said, “It’s my bloc,” Etete claimed that the transcript was inaccurate.

In London a police spokesman speaking on condition of anonymity said, “The Metropolitan Police’s Proceeds of Corruption Unit is investigating allegations of money laundering related to the oil bloc.”

The U.K. based energy campaign organization Global Witness director Simon Taylor said, “From Global Witness’s point of view, the decision before Court effectively came down to whether or not to give cash to a crook who had stolen the block worth over a billion dollars from the Nigerian people, or to the middleman who claims he brokered the deal to sell it on.

Given that there are serious unanswered questions about the legality of OPL-245 deal, and the way it was put together, it is surely a scandal that the Court’s only consideration was where to send the money. The first question that should have been considered and fully investigated is to the legitimacy of the deal in the first place.”