NIGERIA:A NATION ON THE BRINK.


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

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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.

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.

APC-toon

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.

WANTED:A NATIONAL DELIVERER.

Further Reading:

https://spearide.wordpress.com/2012/12/20/authentic-leadership/

http://www.vanguardngr.com/2013/08/the-making-of-apc-and-the-storm-ahead/

http://www.punchng.com/news/obasanjo-had-a-killer-squad-as-president-former-associate/

http://www.vanguardngr.com/2013/08/our-registration-victory-for-democracy-apc/

http://www.tribune.com.ng/news2013/index.php/en/component/k2/item/18184-apc’s-long-walk-to-life.html

http://www.nigeriamasterweb.com/paperfrmes.html

http://www.punchng.com/news/apc-presidential-ticket-north-woos-danjuma/

http://pointblanknews.com/pbn/exclusive/polio-vaccines-dont-cause-infertilitymodu-sherriff-was-an-ally-of-late-boko-haram-kingpin-says-jonathan/

The State vs. Al-Mustapha and others


Guardian Editorial Wednesday, 31 July 2013

THE acquittal the other day, of Major Hamza Al-Mustapha and the emotions now trailing the judgement, have again shown that the scars are not only still deep, they have been dug further open.

Hamza Al Mustapha.Credit:Vanguard Newspaper.

The accused persons are free, the victims are dead, and their families are nursing the scars. With the killers still unknown, as this judgment effectively says, Nigeria still bleeds from the assault of the Sani Abacha years.

In place of a closure on those bestial years, the nation now deals with an open and nagging reminder of a mindless torture. And for many, the nightmare not only continues, the nation is trapped in bondage to a ghastly memory.

That judgment of the Court of Appeal, Lagos which upturned the death sentence handed down by a Lagos High Court to Hamza Al-Mustapha, former Chief Security Officer to the late Gen. Sani Abacha and Lateef Shofolahan, former aide to the late Chief Moshood Abiola, over the murder of Kudirat Abiola, has once again, put the judiciary in an uncomfortable controversy. Not only did the court discharge and acquit Al-Mustapha in the most controversial manner, it also descended heavily on the High Court Judge for being “fool-hardy and unreasonable” “to have so swiftly convicted the appellants when it was very evident that the prosecution had a bad case.”

Ironically, many Nigerians believe that if any judgment fits that description, it is actually that of the Appeal Court and not the Lagos High Court’s. The lower court’s verdict appears more reasonable and convincing than that of the Appeal Court. In other words, what was evident was that the prosecution did not have a bad case.

There is a lot to take away from the judgment. In the first instance it brings to the fore the too many ills besetting the Nigerian criminal justice system which makes it deserving of a complete overhaul. Most bizarre is the inordinate delay which cases suffer in court. An average case takes three or more years to be decided against the provision of the constitution that “whenever any person is charged with a criminal offence, he shall unless the charge is withdrawn, be entitled to a fair hearing in public within a reasonable time by a court or tribunal.” It is even worse and perhaps orchestrated in criminal trials involving high profile persons as witnessed in Al-Mustapha’s case which took 14 years to decide, and in the trials of corrupt public officers and former governors some of who have been in court since 2003, without an end in sight. Nigerians are bewildered as to whether there would ever be an end to the trials. High hopes enkindled by such arraignments have become forlorn by the indeterminable delay. Any criminal justice system that drags for so long makes itself vulnerable to all sorts of abuse and external or extraneous manipulation potent enough to asphyxiate or pollute justice.

Secondly, the judgment raises the question of whether Nigerian courts are actually courts of justice as they are called, or mere courts of law. For a court of justice according to the law, sentiments have no place at all. It is a popular view in legal circles that sentiment or a semblance of it is never allowed to filter into justice. And this is why the Court of Appeal came across in this case as no more than a court of law determined to espouse the principles of law to arrive at a destination. Its consideration of the law was to set the “captives free” whether or not there was any justification for this. It capitulated pathetically to the strong wind of sentiment. The court was not known to fall so cheaply and naively for retraction of confessional statement in the way it did in this case. In all of its previous judgments, its consistent and seemingly immutable position was that retraction of confessional statement does not per se render the statement unreliable and that conviction can be based on such statement provided the court is satisfied of its truth. What operates in the mind of the court in assessing the quality of a confessional statement, whether retracted or not, are: whether there is anything outside the confession which shows that it may be true; whether it is corroborated; are the relevant statements of fact made in it true as far as can be tested? Was the accused person one who had the opportunity to commit the offence? Is the confession possible and is it consistent with other facts which have been ascertained?

Against this background, can it be honestly contended that there was not enough independent corroborative evidence of the facts contained in the confessional statement of prosecution witness Sergeant Barnabas Jabila Mshela and Mohammed Abdul? Why did the justices find it more convenient to believe the retraction more than the confession? Was there no spate of killings in those dark days of Abacha regime which claimed the lives of Alfred Rewane, Rear Admiral Omotehinwa, Dr. Omotshola, Tosin Onagoruwa and others, and which should readily make the confession more believable than the retraction? Was there no attempt on the lives of Alex Uruemu Ibru, Chief Abraham Adesanya, and others? Was Kudirat Abiola not murdered? Did the graphic illustration of star witness, Barnabas Jabila Mshela, alias Sergeant Rogers, on how Kudirat was murdered not exactly how she was killed? Were the circumstances and events surrounding the murder of Kudirat Abiola not exactly as painted by Rogers? Why did it take so long to retract the confession? Is it not more probable that they were induced to retract the statement than to make the confessional statement bearing in mind when the statement was made and when it was retracted? It is not out of place to assert without fear of contradiction that there was a lot outside the confession of Rogers, which showed that his confession might be true, that Rogers as a member of the strike force under Al-Mustapha’s control had the opportunity to commit the offence and that what he said about the murder of Kudirat was possible. It is surprising and an irony of great significance that the Court of Appeal did not see all of these, which other Nigerians saw, and instead, chose to reprimand the lower court judge who was clear-visioned enough to see them.

The truth is that it has remained part of the nation’s criminal jurisprudence up till today that conviction can be predicated solely on a confessional statement. To deprecate the judgment of the lower court for standing on the confessional statement of Rogers reinforces the argument that the court was either labouring for excuses, or would not be bothered into making deeper inquiry on a crime so gruesome. The former appears more apt in the light of the previous decisions of the court in similar matters where it took positions completely at variance with the ones now taken in Al-Mustapha’s case.

In Usung v. State, the same Court of Appeal justified the reliance of the lower court on a retracted confessional statement and the conviction based thereon. Why then did the same court turn around to deprecate what it applauded in an earlier judgment? Basically therefore, it is safe to conclude that the Court of Appeal by discharging and acquitting Al-Mustapha and Shofolahan for the reasons it did, took its stand on a banana skin. It is unlikely to survive the scrutiny of the Supreme Court. What this suggests is that the judgment should be appealed for posterity sake.

Although the Court of Appeal accused the trial judge of impropriety, they would appear to be more guilty of all the allegations and travesties levelled against her. While the Lagos State government prosecution team can be accused of shoddiness in some respect and should be knocked for this, the appeal court went too far when it described the failure of the prosecution to tender “the bullet extracted from the forehead of the deceased” as fatal to its case. Whereas it was the same court which said in the cases of Ochiba v. State and Kabaka v. State that where the cause of death is clear, production of murder weapon, though desirable, is no longer necessary before the court could convict for murder. And so, it was in Bayewu v. State, where the murderer of a popular musician, Ayinla Omowura, was convicted, as indeed in several other cases, without the tendering of the items used in the assassination. Or was the court insinuating that it was not clear that Kudirat died of gunshot wounds?

In all, what the judgment has done is to authenticate impunity. It reinforces the conviction that here in Nigeria, only the small man pays for his crimes. Above all, it means that all those behind the dastardly acts and litany of woes freely dispensed by the Abacha regime have finally got away, literally with murder, in a manner that calls to question the essence of government or its readiness or capacity to discharge its basic responsibility of protecting lives and property, and enforcing law and order. The greatest tragedy is that this judgment has, once again, defeated the expectation of Nigerians, and shunned the invitation to a patriotic partnership to save Nigeria. The accused may have been freed by the court, but Nigeria remains shackled to the memory of a traumatising era. With justice now put off over these murders and the killers still unfound, the cleansing Nigeria needs remains elusive. And the blood of the victims, still raw on the pavement of the hearts of Nigerians, cry out ever more loudly for justice.

Julius Berger begins work on 2nd Niger Bridge


 

SEBASTINE OBASI.VANGUARD.June 25, 2013

Work on the long-awaited second Niger bridge  has commenced.

Niger-Bridge-412

   

Wolfgang Goetsch, Managing Director of Julius Berger stated this at the 43rd annual general meeting of the company in Abuja.

Goetsch also said the Federal Government had given Julius Berger a letter of intent, which would enable it to do preliminary work such as, soil testing and engineering design.

According to him, the bridge is to be built under the private public partnership arrangement.

Goetsch said: “A consortium that included a company from South Africa participated in the bidding for the project. In January 2013, our group became the preferred bidder. We are excited because it will be the first of its kind in Nigeria”.  He also said mobilization to site for the construction of the 125-kilometre Lagos-Sagamu road will begin in 10 days.

Five lanes are expected to be added to the road. The Build, Operate and Transfer, BOT, arrangement the Federal Government had with Bi-Courtney Highways Services Limited, had been terminated.

At the annual general meeting, Julius Berger declared a profit before tax of N12.34 billion, for the 2012 financial year, as against N9.93 billion recorded in the previous year.

Profit after tax stood at N8.02 billion, as against N4.41 billion, while the company approved an increased dividend of N2.50, resulting in a total gross dividend payment of N3 billion.

This is a marked improvement over that of 2011 fiscal year, which was N2.40 per share.  Retired Air Vice Marshal Nura Imam, chairman of the company, said the performance in 2012 increased by 17.7 percent from 2011.

“This commendable achievement is attributable to a number of factors, including the handover of large-scale projects such as the Admiralty Alexander link bridge in Lagos, the Escravos Gas-to-liquids plant, as well as the completion of a major segment of the Lagos-Badagry expressway and several projects in Akwa Ibom State,” he said.

Four convicts hanged in Edo as Oshiomhole ignores Amnesty International, others


Ben Ezeamalu.PREMIUM TIMES.  June 24,2013 

The governor acted within the law, the attorney general said.

Update: Four convicts hanged in Edo as Oshiomhole ignores Amnesty International, others 

Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole    

 
 

Four death row inmates were hanged in Benin City, Edo State, Monday, after their death warrants were signed by the Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole.

The inmates included Osaremwinda Aigbuohian and Daniel Nsofor, whose lawyers have been struggling to obtain a stay of execution on the death sentence; and two other convicts whose identities are yet to be ascertained.

Mr. Oshiomhole allegedly signed the death warrants of the unnamed duo last month, despite appeals by local and international organizations including Amnesty International and Access to Justice.

President Goodluck Jonathan had directed state governors to exercise their constitutional rights by signing death warrants of death row inmates in order to reduce the rising level of criminality in the country.

Henry Idahagbon, Edo State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, confirmed the development adding that the governor merely carried out his constitutional requirement by signing the warrants of the convicted criminals.

Mr. Idahagbon said that the defence team of the death row inmates, led by a civil society group, LEDAP, had tried up till the last minute to stop the hanging but did not succeed.

Three of the inmates were convicted outside Edo State and all the executed inmates had been issued the death penalty years ago, according to Mr. Idahagbon.

The Attorney General admitted that his office received petition papers for a stay of execution but could not do anything since the hanging had nothing to do with the state government.

It was gathered that notable Senior Advocates of Nigeria had backed the governor in the debate that followed his signing of the death warrant of Messrs Aigbuohian and Nsofor last September in exercise of his Prerogative of Mercy.

According to the Supreme Court, Mr. Aiguohian killed and dismembered the body of his victim while Mr. Nsofor forcefully robbed, tortured and strangulated his victim to death.

In Mr. Aiguohian’s statement of defence during trial, he described his action as a “mistake” but the Supreme Court in the affirmation of his death sentence in 2004 said, “the likes of Aiguohian belongs to Hades.”

The second convict, Nsofor, who also had his death sentence affirmed by the Supreme Court, was said to have strangled a woman to death after forcefully taking her money and torturing her.

Foreign investors eye Nigeria’s middle, upper class


    

Oluwaseyi Bangudu. PREMIUM TIMES. June 23,2013        

More companies are showing interest in the Nigerian market.

Despite the challenging business environment, foreign investors have continued to eye the Nigerian market, recently exhibiting more interest and focus in its middle and upper class.

The investors’ interest range from automobile, to assorted wines and brewery, mobile phones, Jewellery, among others. Despite the obvious challenges the nation suffers, such as lack of sufficient infrastructure, lack of adequate electricity, political instability, insecurity, multiple taxation among others, the investment choice of foreign brands have not been hampered but rather, appears to rise.

Athmane Lakhlifi, Head of Export Sales, Miele, a German based manufacturer of high-end domestic appliances, commercial equipment and fitted kitchens, based in Gütersloh, Germany, said on Saturday that the company has taken its time to study the Nigerian market and concluded that Nigeria is the most suitable nation to invest in and open its mega outlet, the first of the firm’s outlet in West Africa.

“We find customers that can afford our appliances everywhere in the World, and we also find them in Nigeria. However, it is not all about being able to afford the products, but handling the customers as well,” he said, adding that the firm took time out, about a year, to study the Nigerian market, the culture and the people and is convinced that they can handle the seeming challenges and work with the citizens.

The Managing Director, Miele Nigeria, Mustapha Olorunmbe, said the products are already being received with open arms, as about eight of ten prospective customers end up buying the products.

“Our products belong to the upper and middle class of the society and knowing that, we have brought the right products that would give them the value they deserve. If we don’t bring these products to them, they will travel abroad to buy them,” he said.

The organisation said it views the Nigerian market as a big market, despite the fact that it is already operating in over 40 countries globally. It said it understands the Nigerian electricity problems and has sorted out challenges that can erupt from issues such as low voltage and power outage.

Founded in 1899, the firm’s products include freezers, fridge freezers, dishwashers, tumble dryers, washer dryers, washing machines, vacuum cleaners, cooking appliances, rotary irons; built-in convection, steam, and speed ovens; hobs (cooker hoods, cook tops); freestanding and built-in refrigerators, freezers, and wine coolers; and coffee systems.

In 2007, Miele, which has won series of awards over the years, was given an award for being the most successful company in Germany that year, beating the previous year’s winner, Google, which placed second, and Porsche, which came in third.

Miele is, however, not the only company eyeing Nigeria’s high end market.

Earlier in the week, Tecno Telecom Limited, a high-tech company specializing in the production, sale and service of mobile communication products, though acquainted in the Nigerian market and otherwise considered a phone maker for low-end users, announced that is seeking a niche among the big names in the phone manufacturing industry by introducing its first major high-end user smartphone, the Phantom A.

A major supplier of premium brands and premium services, the organisation expressed its desire to play in the high-end phone user market, as this first of its kind product would compete with top brands that produce such products with a very competitive purchasing price.

Chidi Okonkwo, the Deputy General Manager, Tecno Telecom, Nigeria, said “We are taking a giant stride with the launch of Phantom A. The phone was designed with a passion to give everybody access to innovation unlike other brands of similar quality, which are reserved for the high-end customer by reason of their prices alone”.

The Phantom A smartphone is the outcome of a collaborative effort of the firm’s French and Korean design team. It is a 5.0 inch high definition touch screen and dual-SIM hand set with 1GHz dual-core CPU, 1GB internal memory, an 8-mega pixel camera (front), the latest Android 4.1 Jelly Bean Operating System and a flash share which allows users to share information without either WiFi or internet connection. The phone also has a 13-month warranty.

Tecno partnered with Etisalat, a telecommunications company in Nigeria, on this product, and the partnership guarantees that the phone comes with a 12 months free data bundle powered by the firm’s 3.75G, HSPA+ network.

The firm said it is achieving great success with its strategy which resolves translating advanced technology into superior localised products, with fast growth in Africa, especially in Nigeria, where it plans to establish a manufacturing plant.

Finance experts have said foreign investments can make a positive contribution to Nigeria’s economy by providing employment, technology, management resources, and capital that would otherwise not be available and thus boost her economic growth.

Over the years, Nigerians have benefited from both the direct and indirect employment effects of foreign subsidiaries of international organisations located in Nigeria.  Their technology and management resources have helped to stimulate economic development and industrialization, and improve efficiency.

The presence of these firms also increases the number of players in the local market and hence consumer choice. This increases the level of competition, thereby driving down prices. Furthermore, imports from these countries bring in a variety of products previously unavailable because local manufacturing companies were unable to provide them.

A major challenge, however, is that consumers are often quick to buy the imported goods rather than purchase locally-made ones, further contributing to the downfall of local industries.

Nigerian exporters are also not doing badly in their exploits. According to the Central Bank of Nigeria, in quarter 1, 2013, the total non-oil export earnings by Nigerian exporters stood at US$1,136.33 million at the end of the review period. This indicated an increase of 15.1 and 9.3 per cent above the levels in the preceding quarter and the corresponding quarter of 2012, respectively.

According to the regulatory body, the development was attributed, largely, to the 66.9 and 70.3 per cent rise in receipts from the industrial sector and manufactured products, respectively. A breakdown of the proceeds in the review quarter showed that industrial, manufactured, agricultural, minerals and food products earned $634.2 million, $322.6 million, $89.9 million, $67.9 million and $21.7 million, respectively.

The shares of industrial, manufactured, agricultural, and food products as well as mineral and transport in non-oil export proceeds were 55.8, 28.4, 7.9, 6.0 and 1.9 per cent, respectively.