Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Goodluck Jonathan Vows to Transform the Country

President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday took oath of office with a vow to transform Nigeria. He promised not to let the people down.

The President while speaking after he was sworn in by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu, at the Eagle Square, Abuja, listed the task before his administration to include that of transformation of the economy, maintenance of security and a better image for the country.

"You have entrusted me with your mandate and I will never let you down. I know your pains because I have been there; look beyond the hardship you have endured and see a new beginning, a new direction, a new spirit. Nigerians I want you to start to dream again, what you see in your dreams we can achieve together. I call upon all the Presidential candidates who contested with me to join hands with us as we begin the transformation of our country. Let us work together".

President Jonathan was sworn in as President and Commander-in-Chief for his first full elected term at a colourful ceremony at the Eagles Square, Abuja.

He also acknowledged the challenges of driving reforms and healing wounds and rifts generated by the fierce election contests which saw mass protests and killing at least 10 members of the National Youth Service Commission (NYSC) and other Nigerians.

The oath of office and allegiance was administered by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu and assisted by Sunday Olorundaunsi, the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

He said: "I will continue to fight for your future because I am one of you; I will continue to fight for improved medical care for all our citizens; I will continue to fight for all our citizens to have access to first class education; I will continue to fight for electricity to be available to all our citizens; I will continue to fight for an efficient affordable transport system for all our people; I will continue to fight for jobs to be created to all through productive public partnership".

The President however advised Nigerians to put the era of lamentations behind them and forgive one another and embrace the new era that will be characterized by hard work and diligence, saying only through such efforts that the nation can be transformed and development attained.

"The time for lamentation is over; this is the era for transformation. This is the time but Nigeria can only be transformed if we all play out parts with commitment and sincerity. Cynicism and skepticism will not help our journey to greatness. Let us believe in a new Nigeria, let us work to build a great country we will all be proud of, this is our hour.

"Fellow compatriots fix your gaze towards the horizon, look ahead and you will see a bright future that we can secure with unity and collective sacrifice".

President Jonathan urged Nigerians to join hands with him in building the nation of their dreams.

He assured that he would fight corruption while adding that he would identify with Nigerians in solving many of the problems confronting them because he had been there before.

The President also called on others who contested the presidential election with him to come forward for the task ahead.

He said the success of the 2011 elections and the widespread acclaim which the exercise received was due to the uncommon patriotism and diligence exhibited by many Nigerians, including members of the Armed Forces, NYSC among others.

"Unfortunately, despite the free, fair and transparent manner the elections were conducted, a senseless wave of violence in some parts of the country led to the death of 10 members of the NYSC and others. These brave men and women paid the supreme sacrifice in the service of our fatherland. They are heroes of our democracy. We offer our heartfelt prayers and condolences in respect of all those who lost their lives.

"In the days ahead, those of us that you have elected to serve must show that we are men and women with the patriotism and passion, to match the hopes and aspirations of you, the great people of this country. We must demonstrate the leadership, statesmanship, vision, capacity, and sacrifice, to transform our nation. We must strengthen common grounds, develop new areas of understanding and collaboration and seek fresh ideas that will enrich our national consensus".

Despite sending an invitation to his opponents in the April 16 Presidential election, none of those who contested against him including General Muhammadu Buhari, former chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nuhu Ribadu and former governor of Kano state, Ibrahim Shekarau were at the event.

Former President Ibrahim Babangida and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar with whom Jonathan contested the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential primaries were also absent at the event.

The President said he will intensify his advocacy against illicit trades in small arms and light weapons which have become the catalyst for conflicts in the African continent; this is just as he urged all Nigerian diplomatic missions abroad are to accord this vision of according dignity to humanity the highest priority.

"My fellow countrymen and women, Nigeria is not just an only land of promise but it shall be a country where positive change shall continue to take place for the good of our people.

"Let us build together, let us bequeath a greater Nigeria to the generation to come.

The ceremony was however attended by many former Nigerian Heads of governments including, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Chief Ernest Shonekan, Gen. Abdul salami Abubakar, and Alhaji Shehu Shagari.

Jonathan also paid glowing tributes to late President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua with whom he won the Presidential election, fours ago then as Vice President, praying God to bless his soul, even as he commended Nigeria's founding fathers who had laid the foundation for the unity and greatness of the country.

He said: "We take utmost pride in their contributions; the pivotal task of this generation is to lead our fatherland to the summit of greatness."

The president was also grateful to the heads of state and government who attended the inauguration, as well as the chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) and other world leaders and development partners.

Jonathan also appreciated the contributions of his parents to his success, saying: "I hold a debt of gratitude to my mother and late father; I cannot thank them enough."

The president further applauded his dear wife and the wife of the vice-president for organising Nigerian women to support democracy.

He was grateful to Nigerians for the trust and confidence which they demonstrated by casting their votes for him.

"I want to assure you that I will do my utmost at all times to continue to deserve your trust.

"I want to specially thank all Nigerians for staying with us in our collective will to build a democratic nation; I want to also thank members of the PPD and members of other political parties who have demonstrated faith in our democratic enterprise.

Jonathan equally acknowledged the contributions of his Vice-President Namadi Sambo, "with whom we moved across this country encouraging Nigerians to see with us and vote for us".

He was happy at the nation's political progress, noting that a decade ago nobody would have thought that an individual from a minority ethnic group could win the people's mandate as president.

He said he was touched by the fact that earlier in the year more than 72 million eligible Nigerians "endured all manner of inconvenience just to secure their voters' cards in order to exercise their rights to choose those that would govern them".

Jonathan said the determination which Nigerians displayed was typical of the Nigerian spirit of resilience in the face of the greatest of odds.

Daily Champion

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Video - Cara 'Titilayo' Harshman at a Market in Lekki, Lagos

Cara 'Titilayo' Harshman is a University of Wisconsin journalism student who studies Yoruba. She moved to Ibadan, Nigeria to fully immerse herself in the Yourba culture. When videos of Titilayo speaking fluent authentic Yoruba hit the web, it immediately went viral. Here she is interacting with folks at Lagos market.

Related story:  Naija whiteboy speaks superb broken english + hausa

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Video - 5'8 Air Nigeria SICK New Dunker


Check out the newest face to the dunking scene, 5'8" Air Nigeria from Denver, CO. With a TRUE 45 inch vertical Air Nigeria could be one of the highest jumpers in the world if not the highest. Vote for him at NBA.com/dunk once voting opens in August.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Siasia Explains Peter Odemwingie Omission from Nigeria vs Argentina

Coach of Nigeria's Super Eagles, Samson Siasia has explained why he left out Osaze Odemwingie from the squad for the friendly game against Argentina and the 2012 Africa Nation's Cup qualifier against Ethiopia.

Siasia released a 24 man list for the upcoming matches with Odemwingie the surprise omission. The Super Eagles Coach said Odemwingie stormed out of the team's camp after the 2012 Africa Nation's Cup qualifier against Ethiopia on March 21.

"He (Odemwingie) left the team's camp without my permission and he has not called me since then. The other players threatened to stage a walk out of the national team if he was invited and we did not want a situation where Nigeria will be disgraced.

It is a case of instilling discipline. No one is bigger than the national team," Siasia said.

Daily Champion

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Fifa Rankings - South Africa Overtake Nigeria

Nigeria slipped one step down on the FIFA rankings for the month of May released yesterday. South Africa pushed Nigeria down to the 39th position from 38th, Nigeria previously occupied.

Ghana, Cote d' Ivoire and reigning African champions Egypt retained the top three positions while South Africa and Nigeria swopped slots and resurgent Senegal climbed three spots to sixth.

Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Libya complete the top 10 in rankings that are becoming increasingly significant with seedings for national team competitions based on them.

Senegal rose 11 places to 40 in the world -- the first time they have been among the top 50 since January 2009 -- as the team spirit created by coach Amara Traore continues to bear fruit.

The 'Teranga Lions' defeated Cameroon in a crucial Cup of Nations qualifier two months ago and are poised to make the 2012 tournament in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea after missing the last two editions.

Spain stayed top as the 10 top places remained unchanged, while Netherlands are second behind world and European champions Spain with Brazil third, Germany fourth and Argentina fifth.

Africa's top ten (World ranking in brackets):

1. Ghana (15)

2. Ivory Coast (21)

3. Egypt (36)

4. South Africa (38)

5. Nigeria (39)

6. Senegal (40)

7. Algeria (41)

8. Burkina Faso (44)

9. Cameroon (49)

10. Libya (58)


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Apo Six - Judge Grants Last Adjournment

An Abuja High Court judge, Justice Ishaq Bello yesterday granted what he described as last adjournment in the trial of the six policemen accused of killing five traders and their female companion in Abuja in 2005.

Those standing trial for the killings are DCP. Danjuma Ibrahim, ASP Othman Abdulsalami (still at large), Corporals Nicholas Zacharia, Emmanuel Baba, Emmanuel Acheneje and Sadiq Salami.

They were alleged to have killed Ifeanyi Ozo, Chinedu Meniru, Isaac Ekene, Paulinus Ogbonna, Anthony Nwokike and Tina Arebun, while they were returning home from a night-out.

The deceased were between 21 and 25 years of age.

At the resumed hearing, Bello who adjourned the matter to July 6, said it was done at the instance of counsel to Acheneje, Malam Isa Ibrahim, in order for him to get all the records of proceedings to prepare for defence.

Ibrahim had asked for an adjournment to enable him get the record of proceedings and exhibits as he was just coming into the matter today.

He said that he needed time to also meet with his client.

Facing Acheneje in the dock, Bello warned Acheneje against any further stalling of the proceedings by his constant hiring and firing of counsel at will.

The judge, who did not hide his anger, warned the accused to stop the "hiring and firing" of counsel.

"Since this trial started in 2005, you have changed six counsel, the last one was Mr Olu Otitoju sent by the Legal Aid Council, whom you fired in January.

"This cannot continue, you cannot keep holding us back. We have to make progress. We are being watched by the public.

"Once we resume in July, the matter must continue untill it reaches its logical conclusion this year. So all counsel in thismatter take note," he warned.

The Prosecution Counsel, Mr Mamman Usman (SAN), who did not object to the application of Acheneje's counsel, said that he was ready to resume trial. Also counsel to Danjuma, Mr Hyeladzira Nganjiwa, and that of Zacharia, Malam Musa Tola did not object to the adjournment but counsel to Baba and Salami, Mr Anthony Agbolahan and Deborah Akor had prayed the court to take note of the attitude of hiring and firing of lawyers by Acheneje.


Related stories: Still no justice for the APO SIX killings 

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Video - Basket Mouth performs in Houston, Texas - 2011

Comedian Basket Mouth performs live at the Laff Out Loud comedy show in Houston, Texas.

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Televangelist rapes 13 year old girl in church

A popular tele-evangelism Pastor of the Celestial Church of God (CCC) Deliverance Parish, Ajangbadi, Ojo Local Government Area (LGA) of Lagos State, Isaac Adejumobi, is currently telling police detectives at the Lagos State Police Command Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) Panti, Yaba, all he knows about the rape and assault case for which he has been fingered. Police spokesperson in Lagos, Samuel Jinadu, who confirmed the arrest and detention of the "man of God" to LEADERSHIP in Lagos yesterday, added that the behaviour of the Pastor could only be described as animalistic.

He said, "it is pitiable and sympathetic what people who parade themselves as servants of God could do. No wonder therefore, God said judgment shall start from the temple. The action of the Pastor could only be described as animalistic."

It was gathered that the incident happened right inside the Church auditorium at about 7.30pm of penultimate Friday. "The girl's father who reported the incident to the Police, at Ajangbadi Police Station said that Friday is usually for all night prayer vigil. He stated further that, his daughter, (name witheld) was at the Church for the prayer meeting."

LEADERSHIP learnt that, it could not be explained why the girl should be in the Church at that time when the prayer meeting was scheduled to start at 12midnight. Though, the victim had told the Police that, she had earlier been informed by the Pastor that she should come early because there would be some special prayer for her as she is about starting her Junior Secondary School (JSS) examinations, which she obliged.

The Police said, it was between the period the girl arrived the Church for her supposed prayer session with the pastor, "that he pounced on her and deflowered her. I think it was the scream of the girl that alerted passers-by who decided to rush into the Church to find out what has gone wrong. It was a vulcanizer in front of the opposite building that noticed that blood was dripping down the legs of the victim."

The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) stated that the randy Pastor would soon appear in court, "because the Police SCID at Panti, Yaba are compiling his case file and as soon as it is ready he would be taken to court for trial. He lamented the high incidence of rape cases in the State, since the beginning of this year and stressed that, the police authority was worried.

According to statistics made available to LEADERSHIP at the Police Headquarters, Ikeja, over 134 reported cases of rape has been recorded in the State since the beginning of this year.


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Friday, May 13, 2011

No Messi for Nigeria vs Argentina on June 1

Nigeria football enthusiasts looking forward to seeing top Argentine stars in action for the June International friendly against the Eagles, would have to settle for less as Argentina will field a B string team at the National Stadium Abuja.

The players chosen by coach Sergio Bastista for the June 1 cracker are mostly under-25 players based in Europe. They are been given the chance to prove themselves worthy being in the Argentine team for the Copa America. Some of the players are making their international debut.

The organisers of the international had made Nigerians fans believe that top performers like Messi, Sergio Aguero, Angel D' Maria, Javier Mascherano, Carlos Tevez and others would be coming. However, according to Argentine Football officials they attach much importance to the game as it would help their players and their preparation for the Copa America.

On the other hand Eagles coach Samson Siasia stated that he was looking forward to the match. This is because in all his encounter with the Argentines he had been on the losing side as a player and a coach.

" It is going to be a very serious match and we need good preparation. It is going to be a big challenge and I like big challenges," Siasia said.

South Africa-based former international Mohammed Lawal noted that the match could be a dicey for the Eagles notwithstanding the calibre of players coming. He urged the Eagles to be focused on beating the Argentines not matter what team they are bringing.

" What is important is that we play to win no matter which team they bring. Because this will boost the confidence of the players."

Argentina Squad


Oscar USTARI (Getafe)

Augustin MARCHESIN (Lanús)


Mateo MUSACCHIO (Villarreal)

Nicolas OTAMENDI (Porto)

Ezequiel GARAY (Real Madrid)

Pablo ZABALETA (Manchester City)

Marcos ANGELERI (Sunderland)

Federico FAZIO (Sevilla)

Emiliano INSUA (Galatasaray)


Tino COSTA (Valencia)

Nicolas BERTOLO (Zaragoza)

Mario BOLATTI (Internacional)

Fernando BELLUSCHI (Porto)

Alejandro CABRAL (Legia Varsovia)

Diego PEROTTI (Sevilla)

Mauro FORMICA (Blackburn)


Pablo PIATTI (Almería)

Marco RUBEN (Villarreal)

Jonathan CRISTALDO (FC Metalist Kharkiv)

Nicolas GAITAN (Benfica)

Messi will be better than Maradona, Pele - Ardiles

World Cup winning player Osvaldo Ardiles has stated that Lionel Messi will be the best ever.

"I think there is only one player you can compare with Messi and that is Diego Maradona, and in many ways they are very similar."

"For some time I thought that Diego could never be surpassed, and nor could Pele, but no longer. I would now say that Messi will go down in history as the number one player of all time, the best that there ever was.

"The big difference is that Maradona played in Argentina, then in Italy, while Pele stayed in Brazil, and during their time the pressures were less intense than they are now.

"Messi is under pressure all the time, and has to play in incredibly high-intensity games all of the time, the Champions League being the perfect example.


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Man Kills Mother in Church

Tragedy struck in Benin City, the Edo State capital as a 29 year-old son of a pastor, Abraham Ovie ,brutally murdered his own mother inside a Pentecostal church located in Uselu part of the City.

Ovie, who was apprehended after committing the dastardly act by Police with the assistance of youths in the area, is currently cooling his heels in police custody.

The Edo Police Public Relation Officer(PPRO), Assistant Superintendent of Police(ASP) Peter Ogboi who confirmed the incident to newsmen, said men of the command were on top of the situation to unravel the puzzle behind the murder. The incident occurred at the Chapel of Glory International Church in Uselu area of Benin City.

Police say that Ovie whose arrest was influenced by the presence of his pair of shoes at the church compound located in Uselu area of the ancient city, had in the past reportedly accused his mother of hindering his prosperity.

It was gathered that Ovie, a Computer Technician was earlier arrested, detained and released on bail by the Police Area Command in the city, over these altercations with his mother, who appeared helpless in the absence of his father who pastors the church branch at Ozoro in Isoko South Local Government area of Delta from where they hail.

Sources said that the incident took place at about 2 am yesterday, after the youth tracked his aged mother to the Church where she had gone and locked herself in ,seeking refuge after several assaults by his son, who gained entrance into the church through the window after beating the men of the Vigilante group on the street.

The scream from his mother who he was mutilating with a broken plastic chair and repeated stabs to the face and other parts of her body attracted residents of the area who thought the Pastor of the church was conducting deliverance for one of his members.


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Stephanie Okereke possibly pregnant

A-list actress, Stephanie Okereke is in the news again.

And this time around it has to do with her months motherhood course. Rumor mongers have it that Stephanie Okereke maybe pregnant for her fiancé, Linus Idahosa.

They both got engaged last year during her birthday where he proposed to her in the presence of some family members and friends. Linus put a fast one on the delectable actress at the posh Club 10, owned by Jay Jay Okocha.

And since then, all her fans and colleagues have been waiting for this much anticipated wedding. According to information made available to us, preparation is already in top gear as both families are not leaving any stone unturned. So whether or not Stephanie is pregnant, time will surely tell.


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Thursday, May 12, 2011

15 year old Nigerian teenager gets admission to Harvard

A 15 year old Nigerian girl has been offered admission to the prestigious Harvard University in United States of America, She is Saheela Ibraheem, 15 year old daughter of a Nigerian immigrant family living in New Jersey, United States. The Harvard University new intake is the latest media sensation.

Since news broke about Saheela's incredible acceptance to 13 of American's prestigious Universities, local and International media have taken interests in the teen's success story.

A source at Wardlaw-Hartridge high school, who fears that media interests in the young Nigerian-American is fast becoming overwhelming and could be a distraction during her upcoming exams said that about a dozen media organizations are schedule for possible interviews with Saheela. According to the source "She [Saheela] is amazing and because she is well spoken, media organizations wanted to have live interviews with her".

In 2010, Saheela applied to 14 schools that includes some of America's Ivy Leagues. All, but Yale, offered her admission. This includes, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, Cornell, Brown, Williams College, Stanford, University of Chicago, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Washington University in St. Louis and Harvard, which she settled on after a convincing visit to the university's campus. In an interview with Fox 5, New York, Saheela's mother, Shakirat, attributes her daughter's academic success to her interest in learning and knowing more. According to Shakirat,"When you teach her 1, 2, 3 she wants more,... When you teach her 1 through 5, she'd say how about this."

Her dad, Sarafa, a graduate of Nigeria's own ivy school, University of Ibadan, is a financial analyst and vice president at a major Financial group in New York

Besides her academic excellence, Saheela actively plays soccer, softball and the trombone. Nigerians have reacted to the good news. Bukky Adekanbi, a Nigerian residing in New York said.

"It is always joyful to hear that Nigerians are doing great things around the world regardless of how bad some international media tries to portray us. We Nigerians here in America are proud of Saheela and her parents,"

Saheela who plans to study neuroscience or neurobiology - scientific study of the nervous system. said "It all comes down to the support I've had at home, from my parents, even my brothers being there every step of the way."


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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Nigeria vs Argentina - Argentina coming with A team

The Nigeria Football Federation on Tuesday assured that it had the word of the Argentina Football Association that it would present its senior team players in the international friendly against the Super Eagles in Abuja on 1st June.

NFF General Secretary, Barrister Musa Amadu said the Federation was not unaware of insinuations and speculations in the media about the quality of the team that the South American nation would bring to Abuja, but insisted that the two-time world champions would come with senior team players of note.

"The truth is, Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano are playing in the UEFA Champions League final for FC Barcelona against Manchester United FC at the Wembley on 28th May.

That is the day the Argentina team would departfrom Buenos Aires for Nigeria, so naturally, you wouldn't expect those two players to be on the trip.

"The Argentina team has a new coach, in the person of Sergio Batista, and is preparing for the Copa America taking place in July, and which that country is hosting.

Therefore, you would expect that the new Coach would want to blood a number of new players and see if they can fit into this tactics and team plans. That is why there are a number of new players in the team.

"But the Argentina list that I have seen is replete with 'A' team players who ply their trade in top leagues in Spain, Portugal, Italy, England, Russia, Ukraine and the like.

We are assuring that Argentina would present its very best possible, apart from Messi and Mascherano who are obviously out due to the Champions League final.

"We must continue to commend Guinness for bringing this match here and should not do anything to disparage the game in the build or discourage the company. Come Wednesday, 1st June, both Nigeria and Argentina would present

'A' teams to play this high_profile game", said Amadu.


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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Video - Femi Kuti sings for Nigeria

The Afrobeat musician discusses his father and why improving conditions in his native Nigeria is "his life."


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U.S.$1 Billion Abacha Loot Still Outstanding

About $1 billion (N157 billion) of the loot by the late Head of State, Sani Abacha, remains out of the reach of Abuja, nearly 13 years after his death, and 12 years after moves to recover the public funds he embezzled and laundered to European countries during his four-year junta.

So far, $1.3 billion is said to have been recovered and lodged with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) with the help of Enrico Monfrini, a lawyer hired by Abuja to help track money that corruptly found its way out of the country during the period.

Part of the outstanding $1 billion has been frozen in Liechtenstein, Luxembourg and The Bahamas.

Part of it is also in France and Jersey in the United Kingdom.

Monfrini disclosed in an interview in the latest edition of FT Weekend Magazine that huge funds laundered systematically are often split into irregular amounts - for instance, an amount such as $7.23 million is first split and routed through other banks across the globe, to make it difficult to trace, before eventually showing up in other destinations.

Monfrini, who is based in Geneva, and who is performing a similar role for Brazil and Haiti, among others, spoke of frustration in the job, having to work day and night for months.

He said: "It is one thing to find and freeze the money, but the next step is to confiscate the funds and repatriate them. This is the hardest part.

"Nobody disputes the cause, but some countries refuse to help, or do not have laws that allow it. To give you a practical example, more than $400 million connected with the Abacha case has been sleeping in the Channel Islands for years, because Jersey is unable - through a lack of laws - to confiscate the money by itself."

Most of the restitution is being monitored by the World Bank as part of efforts to ensure such money finds its way into national coffers, instead of being stolen by equally corrupt state officials.

Monfrini, 66, whose father was a diplomat in Gabon and then Cote d'Ivoire, and has had a close relationship with Africa, first became associated with Nigeria incidentally during the Abacha era, representing several opponents of the despot at the time.

After the death of Abacha, the new government wanted someone trusted that could pursue stolen funds and contracted Monfrini.

"I began with very few details," which only led to empty bank accounts, he recalled, following which he lodged a criminal complaint, which was upheld by the authorities in Geneva.

Accounts traced to Abacha, which had a total $650 million were frozen.

That was the first big break, and since then his work consisted of stripping the accounts, to understand where the money came from and where it went.

Monfrini described himself as a specialist in tracing money embezzled or received through corrupt deals by Heads of State, their entourages, other officials and other public servants.

He said the job is not for the lily-livered, coming with hazards, and with threats from cronies and family members of public officers.

"I might get a phone call, or a visit from a lawyer from Paris or London, who would say: 'Oh, well, you know, Enrico, you should be more careful, because that person didn't at all like what you did to him. He is known to be a rather violent person, with contacts...

"You also need to have a network of friends, which I have built up through the Abacha case. I'm talking of journalists, politicians, policemen, prosecutors, and bankers

"I know lawyers who launder money and they make more than I do. I meet a lot of strange and crooked people, but I also meet a lot of straightforward and important people who want the world to change."

Monfrini believes that in 10 years time such brazen theft of state funds by dictators without regard for the poverty of their people would have stopped.

Nations where stolen funds can still be stashed would soon realise that "it is in their best interest not to give safe haven to corrupt funds."

Closer to home, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) officials are in several states, particularly where Governors have ended their second term or were voted out of office last month.

Many of the Governors are making moves to evade the EFCC ahead of the May 29 handover date.

Daily Independent

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Ribadu Gets UN Duty in Afghanistan

The presidential candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the April 16, 2011 election, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, is to begin a three-week country governance audit of Afghanistan as part of a six-man international monitoring team set up by the United Nations under the "Afghanistan Anti-Corruption Monitoring and Evaluation Committee".

A statement by Ribadu's media aide, Ibrahim Modibbo, said the ACN presidential candidate left Nigeria for Afghanistan last Tuesday to join five other team members in Dubai who together travelled to Kabul where they were expected to fine tune the strategy of curbing corruption in the troubled country.

While in Afghanistan, the statement said, the committee's duties, according to briefing papers from the Department of Foreign International Development (DFID) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) office, include a review of the social, political, economic and cultural conditions giving life to corruption in the country, which they tag "drivers of corruption."

The group is also expected to make a sustainable proposal on how to curb the crime and moral ill that has ravaged the image and international standing of the conflict-ridden country.

It noted that aside from offering best "approach and principles" of fighting corruption on a legal basis", the monitoring team, according to its mandate, is also expected to propose ways of ensuring that international aid and development financing to Afghanistan meets with the country's "national priorities".

Afghanistan (ranked 176th) is the third most corrupt country, with a CPI (corruption perception index) of 1.4 according to Transparency International (TI), with only Somalia (178) and Myanmar (176) ranked worst. Nigeria is ranked 134 with a CPI of 2.4 among the 178 countries ranked.

According to the statement, members of the committee who were appointed late last year commenced work on April 21 with a teleconference on the task at hand and how to achieve their mission, adding that the monitoring and evaluation is expected to help the Afghanistan government in its fight against corruption and also guide the international community on how best to relate with the country.

It also stated that even though the committee is expected to complete its work in two years, the task would not affect Ribadu's national priorities and his continued commitment to the growth and development of Nigeria.

It stressed that "it is Mr Ribadu's contribution to the global fight against corruption that has gotten him this recognition. This will however not deter him from playing his roles as a responsible citizen and political leader in our country.

"You know, his party, the ACN, controls six states and Mr. Ribadu will do all he can to ensure that the governors of those six states bring the dividends of democracy to their people in order to let Nigerians know that the ACN is the best party to rule the country," it said.

This Day

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Monday, May 9, 2011

Two Kids Found Dead in Mother's Freezer

TWO children of a woman (names withheld), working at the Central Hospital Agbor, in Delta State have been found dead in their mother's deep freezer.

The names of the children were given as Harrison and Favour. Favour was a five year old girl and Harrisson , a 7 year old boy who were pupils of Community Day Care/Primary School Agbor.

Vanguard gathered that their mother had allegedly locked up the kids in her one-bedroom apartment and went to the market only to return and found the kids stone dead in the freezer.

The woman who is said to be a single parent is alleging foul play, noting that blood was reportedly found trickling from both the mouth and nose of the children.

According to her "when I returned from the slaughter, I went straight to where I kept the key but to my greatest surprise, the key was no where to be found".

State Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Charles Muka told Vanguard, Sunday, that "we (police) are investigating. No arrest has been made; the woman locked the kids inside(her apartment) and took the keys away".


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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Barack Obama congratulates Goodluck Jonathan and condemns riots

United States President Barack Obama has personally called and congratulated President Goodluck Jonathan on his victory in the April 16 presidential election.

And as political groups and regional blocs lobby for key positions after the general election, the South-east Caucus in the House of Representatives Wednesday intensified its bid to clinch a prominent place in the next democratic dispensation, particularly at the National Assembly.

A statement released Wednesday night by the White House stated that Obama called Jonathan in the morning to congratulate him on his electoral victory and to commend the people of Nigeria "for their resolve and patience during last month's historic presidential, legislative and gubernatorial elections".

Obama pointed out that "the success of the elections was a testament to Nigerian voters who waited in long lines, stayed to watch their votes counted and were determined that these elections mark a new chapter in Nigerian history."

He also acknowledged that "credit also belongs to the Independent National Electoral Commission, the National Youth Service Corps, and Nigeria's vibrant civil society, all of which must play a role in ensuring that the final results reflect the will of the Nigerian people and that Nigerian authorities investigate and address any allegations of fraud or irregularities."

He noted that while the majority of Nigerians cast their ballots free from intimidation and coercion, "the post-election violence that followed the presidential election on April 16 was deplorable. Violence has no place in a democratic society, and it is the responsibility of all Nigerians to reject it."

The US president pointed out that even with the success recorded in the conduct of free and fair polls, "Democracy, however, neither begins nor ends with elections."

To move forward, Obama stressed that "now is the time for Nigeria's leaders and its people to come together and build the future that they deserve-a multi-party democracy that addresses the aspirations of all Nigerians, especially its youth, who did so much to make the recent elections a success and who will define the nation's future."

In a veiled reference to the ethnic and religious undertones that underlined the electioneering campaigns and post election violence, Obama reminded Jonathan that "As Africa's most populous country, Nigeria can show what is possible when people of different parties, ethnicities and faith backgrounds come together to seek peace, provide for their families, and give their children a better future."

To drive the point further home on the import of the just concluded polls, Obama emphasized that "Today, Nigerians have an historic opportunity to move forward together and make their nation into a model for Africa. As I told President Jonathan, I look forward to strengthening our partnership with Nigeria so that this and future generations of Nigerians can live in peace, democracy and prosperity."

Meanwhile, the parliamentary caucus, made up of 43 legislators from the five states in the South-east geo-political zone, rose from a crucial meeting Wednesday and demanded that it would only accept the position of presiding officer in either of the two chambers of the National Assembly.

The lawmakers said their demand for a South-east federal lawmaker to be made the Senate President or Speaker of the House of Representatives in the seventh session of the National Assembly was based on the overwhelming contributions of the zone to the victory of the ruling PDP in the just-concluded elections.

They argued that it would be unfair for a region which had shown so much loyalty to the ruling party to be relegated to the background in the aftermath of the elections.

In a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting, the caucus expressed concern that in recent times, the South-east geopolitical zone of the country had suffered serious political setbacks and would no longer tolerate a situation where some internal and external political forces were unleashed on the region to stifle its political fortunes.

It recalled that in the build up to the general election, the zone demonstrated absolute good faith when it unconditionally backed the candidature of President Jonathan and delivered the needed block votes that gave him (Jonathan) victory at the PDP presidential primary, resulting in his emergence as the party flag bearer. This support, the caucus said, was in spite of the "numerous tempting offers from our brothers" from other geopolitical zones of the country.

"We insist on either the offices of the President of the Senate or Speaker of the House of Representatives. We will reject other offices such as Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Deputy President of the Senate or any such office that may be offered to undermine the attainment of the two offices so mentioned. It is pertinent to mention here that under the present circumstances only the position of Senate President or Speaker of the House of Representatives is acceptable to the South-east. It is a gratuitous insult to offer the South-east any position less than this.

"The position of the South-east that it would not run for the office of the President or Vice-President, no doubt compelled both the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) presidential candidates, to pick their running mates from the South-west geo-political zone.

"The results of the just-concluded general elections show that, the PDP in the South-east received over 85 per cent support in the National Assembly elections, and about 97 per cent support in the presidential election. The total votes of 5.1 million represent almost a quarter of the total valid votes received by President Jonathan in the presidential election. Indeed, the PDP has won all three of the governorship elections conducted so far in the South-east.

"From the above figures, it is crystal clear that in the 2011 general elections, the PDP did very well in the South-east zone. This position is in line with the voting pattern started in 1999, representing PDP dominance in the South-east. It is therefore incomprehensible that over 85 per cent South-east support for PDP in the National Assembly elections will be sacrificed for any reason whatsoever.

"The argument about religious balancing is not tenable, historically. We may recall that in the 2nd Republic, while the President (Shagari) was a Muslim, the Vice-President, Senate President and Speaker were all Christians. Hell was not let loose. During the 1993 presidential elections, the South-east put its weight behind the SDP's Abiola/Kingibe candidature - a Muslim-Muslim ticket.

"In 2007, the President of the Senate, Senator David Mark and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Patricia Etteh were Christians. In fact, in the current legislature, both the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives are Muslims. Religion has never been an issue," the communiqué read in part.

The caucus enjoined the central socio-cultural organisation in the zone, the Ohaneze Ndigbo, all the governors of the South-east zone, all Senators and Honourable members-elect, and all stakeholders in the politics of the South-east, who were part and parcel of the zone's support for President Jonathan, to prevail on the national leadership of the ruling party to ensure that the South-east was not short-changed in the distribution of key political positions.

This Day

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Stampede in Kano, Nigeria over Bin Laden's death

There was stampede in Kano on Monday when news of the death of al-Qaida leader, Osama bin Ladin, in Pakistan via US raids spread across the city just recovering from post-election violence.

The commercial city, which recorded violence that claimed several lives and properties, witnessed another round of stampede resulting in temporary closure of markets, shops and other business places, as residents in flash points where non-indigenes had suffered colossal losses in the past hurried out of the areas.

As news that America's most wanted man had been killed became public, panic and jitters set in resulting in massive movement as non-indigenes scampered for safety.

Some Muslim faithful in Christian dominated areas like Sabon Gari also took to their heels.

In the seeming confusion was the Kofar Ruwa building material market where properties worth several millions of naira were destroyed in the post election violence.

Traders at that side of the market horridly shut their business premises and moved into Sabon Gari inhabited predominantly by non-Muslims and non-natives.

Our correspondent reports that the anxiety on Monday was a clear manifestation of the fact that non-indigenes in Kano are still living in fear despite assurances by security agencies of their safety.

It was gathered that there was also a mass movement of people from Kurna-Asabe, Bachirawa, Mitara and Rijiya Lemo to the Army barracks, while residents in other identified flash-points such as Brigade, Badawa, Dakata, Hotoro and Zango, have also started a gradual movement to the different police barracks in the city.

However, there has never been any sign of possible violence arising from bin Ladin's death, but going by previous experiences where problems in the Arab world are considered as an attack on Islam, non-Muslims are always apprehensive because most times they were at the receiving end.

The situation has also provoked a reinforcement of armed security agents, some of who have been deployed to strategic locations while others are known to be on patrol.

The military men are still very much on the streets of Kano, with armoured personnel carriers also seen in some strategic corners of the city.

Daily Independent

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