OH BORNO!: Echoes of Biafra by Agha Egwu

My last night in Maiduguri.  Not a single shot was heard.  I listened intently, tense and wondering what will be my fate as I left Borno the next day.  Every sound, every scuttle, every bang was magnified into an ominous sound.  I summoned the courage to tip toe to my window in the dark hotel room and peeped through the blinds, expecting a sniper’s bullet to crack my skull – but there was nothing –just my imagination run riot.  Just darkness, total darkness, a pitch black darkness that reminded me of Biafra, when we used to switch off all lights at night for fear of air raids.All the memories and fears of my childhood in Biafra flooded back as if it was yesterday.  Some nights we would not eat and go to bed wondering if there would be an attack and we would have to run again as refugees.In the dark of the night I picked up my phone and tapped out the refrain of a dirge buzzing in my head:

Oh! Borno

Echoes of Biafra tear through my mind;

Tears of my heart rip through unkind.

I dedicate this piece to Safire S. Musa, a brilliant Nigerian commentator, who I promised to draw out the parallels I see between Biafra and Borno.  I take poetic licence to call her Safire because her incisive writing reminds me of fire and her name of the precious stone sapphire.  I told Safiya that Borno reminds me of Biafra because it takes me back to my childhood in Biafra, and by looking through that experience, one can better understand what drives Boko Haram, and its methods.  

Maiduguri is now a war front and the people of Maiduguri have now learnt to retire early to their homes and switch off lights so as not to attract the assassins of the night.  I found myself listening out for the rat tats of machine guns that used to encircle us in Biafra.  We were always so near a war front all the time, but it was the crickets chirping.I remember the furtive looks, the wondering who was a saboteur and who was not.  You can feel it in Borno as they follow you to check who the stranger is.  You could see it in the tense politeness, smiling whilst wondering; in the itchy fingers of the soldiers, ever ready on triggers whilst using hard faces to hide the nervousness of the boys they were, with loving families somewhere.

Oh! Borno

Echoes of Biafra tear through my vision;

Tears of my heart rip through my illusions.

Maiduguri is surrounded by Boko Haram, the way Biafra was surrounded by Federal troops.  We lived in a tiny enclave, just like Maiduguri is a tiny enclave; the rest of Biafra was devastated just like the rest of Borno is devastated.  The scorched earth policy of Boko Haram has burned out village after village.  Hundreds of villages and the refugees have flooded into Maiduguri, or crossed the Border into Cameroon or just sitting it out in the shell of their towns.  It is just like the scorched Earth policy of Federal troops was towards Biafra.  My entire village, was razed to the ground.  Almost every house was torched except for my father’s, my grand dad’s, and two other prominent people whose houses were reserved for the officers.  The 200 Chibokgirls is just the tip of an iceberg that made it to CNN.  Hundreds have been abducted. Recently 500 people were slaughtered in one week.  The slaughter too reminds me of Biafra, the reckless abandon with which anyone that was left behind was massacred.  Some were buried or burnt alive.  My best adult friend UjahEgwu died as they defended our village.  He was scalped.  Boko Haram slits throats.

Oh! Borno

Echoes of Biafra tear through my dreams;

Tears of nightmares flow down in streams.

There are four routes out of Maiduguri:  the road North to Lake Chad, the road Eastto Bamaand the border, and the road South to Chibok and Adamawa.  The Sambisa Forest, the stronghold of Boko Haram is due South.  They are all no go areas for people in Maiduguri.  The road West goes to Damaturu and Kano.  It is the remaining route for bringing in supplies.  I call that road ‘no man’s land’, because it is as devastated and as lonely as a no man’s land in a war front.   It woke me up to the reality of what was going on.  Can you imagine all the villages from Abuja to Kaduna or Onitsha to Enugu or Lagos to Ibadan, burnt out?  They were ghost towns, except for a few braves souls trying to repair their homes with money provided by the State Government and soldiers stationed to protect them.  It reminded me of Biafra’s only life line out – Uli Airport, or the famous route for sneaking in luxuries from Nigeria, called ‘Afia Attack’; (Attack Market).

Oh! Borno

Echoes of Biafra tear through my thought;

Tears of unnecessary wars we have fought.

So many parallels run through my mind.  I have looked at how Maiduguri is like the Biafran enclave and the surrounding Boko Haram like the Federal troops surrounding Biafra.  Now let us look at an inverted situation, how the Federal Government created Biafra and Boko Haram through the injustices of the State.  That is, instead of Boko Haram and Biafra as the rebels and aggressors, they become the victims that had to fight back with whatever they had to save themselves.  Many people in Nigeria will refuse to deal with this truth and will curse and abuse me but it is the truth I am telling.  The Nigerian State callously repeats this evil and then blames the victims when they rise up and then call them terrorists and rebels.  

Look at the Niger Delta, at the destruction of their environment, the denial of their rights to THEIR Oil, seized by individuals, not by the Hausa/Fulani, nor by the Yoruba, but by individuals, to become their personal Oil Wells – then we blame Hausa and Yoruba, as if the thieves sat down with the Hausa or Yoruba peoples to plan the theft of Oil blocks. Just this fact alone,of such massive theft, the arrogance of individuals from other tribes stealing one’s God given patrimony, to the exclusion of the owners of the land, is enough to cause a never ending war in Nigeria.  However, these individual thieves went further – they murdered Ken SaroWiwa and they destroyedOdi.  When the Niger Delta people took up arms they were called militants, but they later sold their birthrights for a mess of porridge, in a phantom amnesty, that used a few baits to steal their wealth again.  Instead of fighting to take control, or share to the people, they opted for some scholarships and hand-outs.

In the case of Biafra, the story is very well known.  Major Nzeogwu and his fellow coup plotters committed individual crimes and a whole tribe was blamed.  They never sat down to plan with this tribe but the tribe was massacred anyway. Who did the massacring – individiuals.  They may have come from the Hausa-Fulani tribe and other tribes, but the Hausa-Fulani tribe and those other tribes did not murder Igbos.  It was individuals that murdered Igbos.  INDIVIDUALS. And some of those criminals are alive today in high places but use their power to block justice and their propaganda to turn the victim into the aggressor.  That is why fellow Nigerians still erroneously think that the Igbo caused the war. When Igbos, out of sheer terror of the Nigerian State, did what the Niger Deltans have,surprisingly, still not been able to do, they were called rebels.Ojukwu, a courageous leader who used his father’s wealth to help fellow Igbo people was, in the unkindest cut of all, called a rebel leader that needed pardon, as if he should have offered his people to be slaughtered more by the Nigerian State and those individual killers.

Now let us look at Boko Haram.  They were a small sect that was located in Yobo State and helped the poor and needy and preached a fiery brand of Islam, but they did not kill.  They were known for their sincere charity to fellow Muslims. The Izallasect are fiery but they are not known to be killers.  Preaching fiery Islam does not make you a killer.  It was the Nigerian State that turned Boko Haram into a killer sect, just as the Nigerian State turned Igbo into ‘rebels’ and Niger Deltans into ‘militants’.  How?  From what I gather it all started over arguments with the police about wearing helmets when riding motorbikes.  Muslims wanted to wear their hats or turbans which have religious implications to some.  It is also for that reason that Sikhs do not wear helmets preferring to keep their religious turbans.  Police fought Boko over this and killed some haramites.  Whilst going to bury their dead, there was another clash.  More haramites were killed. This turned to warfare between the police and the haramites.  Many were arrested and locked up.  To the Police they were trouble makers. To the haramites their people were unjustly killed.  Their leader, Mohammed Yusuf, made efforts to secure justice from the Nigerian State but was rebuffed, so they armed themselves and attacked Bauchi prison to free what they believe was their unjustly imprisoned brothers.

Initially the Nigerian State underrated Biafra, just like they underrated Boko Haram.  In 2009, Yaradua gave a simple order – wipe them out.  For Biafra it was a 48 hour police action.  Does that remind you of Jonathan’s deadlines?  Wipe them out resulted in over 3000 murdered by the Nigerian Army, with even cripples executed.  Hundreds of homes were razed to the ground.  Mohammed was captured alive and then executed.  Now see it from Boko Haram’s point of view. They and the people of Maiduguri were slaughtered because they demanded for their rights.  Now the Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) is not like the Christian Jesus Christ who asked his followers to turn the other cheek.  Muhammad (Pbuh) was more like King David (Prophet Daoud), a warrior Prophet and King still beloved by God.  Muslims are taught to fight those who oppress their religion.  Boko Haram was never called people fighting for their rights, or even for revenge.  We just thought they were evil people that loved to kill.  We did not know they were so persecuted, they became killers.  Nevertheless they were at first seen as freedom fighters after that Maiduguri massacre, until their anger and excessed led to atrocities that turned almost everyone against them, and they were driven out of Maiduguri by civilian JTF.

Ojukwu was a brilliant war commander and a master propagandist.  Shekau is a brilliant geurilla commander and propagandist par excellence.  Ojukwusometimes led his troops to war, till the troops refused to have him, because they could not stand the idea of his death.  Just likeShekau.  In Biafra, we had no weapons initially so our soldiers had to capture weapons by daring raids on the Federal troops and fought them with their own weapons, just like Boko Haram. Then we started buying and building weapons but still reliedheavily on the weapons captured from the Federal troops. Just like Boko Haram.  But the ultimate weapon of Shekauin this war is propaganda.  Disinformation has become the most potent weapon with which he is manipulating the Nigerian State and the world, winning battle after battle.  Even though he may ultimately lose the war, if we wake up on time, but if we do not, expect Abuja to be over run, before the Americans or the French or whoever come to save the day?Mali and Central African Republic are examples that this type of extreme Islamic insurgency never negotiates, fights bravely and terrifies soldiers, because it is difficult for a man that wants to live to fight a man that is happy to die.

An early propaganda and diversionary tactic of Ojukwu was the attack by Biafra in the Midwest as they headed to Lagos and finally got to Ore.  It was done to save Biafra by diverting the Nigerian forces away from the Biafran heartland to go and save the Midwest and the West.  That action probably saved Biafra in the early days.  It helped Biafra to regroup.  I also remember during the exodus from Umuahia, the Federal troops suddenly advanced and their Saracen tanks were barking like dogs.  The Biafran soldiers were straggling back, hustling with civilians to escape over the Imo bridge.  Radio Biafra went into over gear and announced a phantom division massing in Umuahia.  Do you know that the Federal troops could have over run Biafra that night?  It was just about seven miles from Umuahia to the bridge and hardly any defence.  We were refugees amassed on the Umuahia side of the bridge praying to cross before the Biafran soldiers blew up the bridge.  What must have held the federal troops back was the fear of the phantom defenders of Umuahia.  The propaganda held back the Federal forces long enough for the Biafrans to regroup.

Shekau is a master of propaganda and using terror strategy.  Anybody that underrates him does so at their own peril. With a few soldiers and pockets of terror cells all over Borno and Nigeria, he has given the illusion of a massive army and is winning recruits and fighters to his side who probablybelieve that he is winning, so Allah must be on his side. According to the people I met in Maiduguri, he is a legend amongst his troops.  Theircombat cells operate every night burning down villages, but the military are everywhere looking for them.  Their protection is the Sambisa forests and other places they are holed up in with the hostages they capture.  The brilliance and propaganda value of capturing those 200 Chibok girls is mindboggling.  It brought him what he craved for most, international recognition as a leading Mujahedeen group in West Africa.  This opens up more Al Queda dollars to him, attracts more fighters and weapons whilst he continues to soften up the army and Bornoand gathering up a true military force.  He is just biding his time.

The magic of the Chibok girls is a true conjurers trick.  As the world attention is focused on the girls, the hands and feet of the World and the Nigerian army are tied, and they cannot attack for fear of those girls being killed, given the international opprobrium it will bring.  BokoHaram under cover of darkness continues to burn down Borno villages with impunity, knowing they cannot be fully attacked.  Now they have gone into full scale massacres of hundreds of people, yet the Nigerian Army holds its power so that negotiations will be done to bring back the girls.  It will be exceedingly foolish for Boko Haram to surrender any of its hundreds of hostages, including the Chibok girls, till they are in a position of strength.  What is probably their intention now is to delay as much as possible till they have a full army for the assault on Maiduguri.  They have already attempted to bomb the bridge on the only link road to Damaturu, as they have successfully bombed the bridge on other routes.

Why cannot the army get them easily?  Well tarred roads in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa are not necessary for hilux trucks and motorbikes.  The terrain is open with little vegetation and they can drive anywhere at night without hindrance.  When the army defends one village, they attack another.  It is therefore, very difficult to pinpoint where they will be.  During the day they are holed up in their strongholds protected by their hostages, or hiding in the ruins of burnt out villages.

From the actions of AQIM, (Al Queda in the Mahgreb), these groups make their money from kidnappings, selling of hostages such as girls, bank robberies and donations from extremists.  Those women they capture are too valuable as hostages to keep their group safe; as sex slaves to keep the troops happy, as commodities sold as slaves to raise money, but most importantly, for their propaganda value the give them international status and more donations.  I hope Shekau negotiates but I doubt it.  Any of the Chibok girls who still remain in Nigeria, along with hundreds of other girls captured nightly in the rural areas, are most effective as human shields.  I really hope someone is looking for those girls and most other girls captured but I doubt it.  There is just too much wahala on the ground and the army is too seriously overstretched for them to be focussing on finding these girls.  Counting the days gone by as if the Government is wasting time is really not understanding what is going on.  It is like counting the days gone by since the Malaysian airlines got missing, waiting for the passengers to come back.  CNN has stopped that count.

As for what can you or I do?  I have to be blunt.  Unless you are in the theatre of war, very little.As I listened to the people in Borno talk I came to realise one terrible thing, that although CNN, and other international publicity was helping to draw attention to the Borno disaster, they were also creating the fuel of oxygen that was building Boko Haram into a true international status.  All the activities with hashtag or demonstrationsare both positive and negative.  They may be helping or hindering or just irrelevant depending on the realities on the ground.  But just my hunch, and what I hear people say here in Borno and Yobe that making the world focus on the girls, rather than on Borno, is distracting at best and fuels the engine of global recognition, status and petrodollars for Boko Haram, turning them into a well armed international insurgency, no longer a home grown rag tag army, that the military and civilian JTF cannot defeat, unless the military and civilian JTF are also equally armed.  

If you really want to help in this war, you should either enlist with the forces, or put your energy into supporting and boosting the morale of OUR ARMY rather than disparaging them as incompetents; OUR Civilian JTF in Borno and the Borno Hunters.  Unless we can immediately change Jonathan, we are stuck with him, and we have to make him believe that the demonstrators want to support his efforts rather than ridicule him.  It is such acts that leads this Government to think that every well meaning criticism is designed by its political enemies to bring it down.  

We now need to encourage OUR Government, to create and train a local military force of these Civilian JTF and Hunters as Independent Commando Units.  They should be free to take on Boko Haram in any way they deem fit with army and America intelligence units supporting them.  They should be totally free to decide their targets, whether it is pursuing the girls or hitting Boko Haram as a primary target and if hostages happen to be in the way, then as the Americans say – COLLATERAL DAMAGE.  

We are dealing with an extremely ruthless enemy – the worst in the world – who is using the worst kind of emotional blackmail to manipulate us.  To succeed, somebody,somewhere must pull of their kids gloves.  It is an asymetrical war without a war front, and only the unarmed Civilian JTF has been consistently successful in rooting them out.  It is time they were armed.

Oh! Borno

Echoes of Biafra tear through my soul;

Tears of longing for whom only LOVE can console.

As I finally left Maiduguri into that East Road to Damaturu, my heart hung heavy with fear.  We went past the first soldier’s post into no man’s land and the driver sped up with the Jeep.  We were going so fast we did not see two deep potholes on the road.  The jeep slammed straight into the potholes and bounced badly.  Something had damaged as after a while the car started pulling.  We went past several burned village, and the terrible carcass ofBenishiek, the midway town between Damaturu and Maiduguri.  The pulling of our car increased.  Then the fuel cut out and it rolled to a stop opposite a completely deserted, burnt out, mud shack on the right, looking like ancient ruins.No one on the road.

Then out of the corner of the ruins, a motor bike wheel suddenly came into view.  I started shaking.  We were all silent. Then the half of the bike came into view, and there was a man in military fatigues with a turban and covering his face. He had various weapons on him.  The driver got frantic and started pressing the button to start the jeep. It would not start.  Then the man in front motioned his hand and another biker suddenly appeared.  He was dressed like the first and they were watching.  We could not really look at them.  We were too terrified.  They looked left and right into the road as if to check that no one else was with us.  It was as if they were hiding in the building and came out to check on the intruders.  They were probably afraid themselves.  Someone found the voice to say encouragingly, “They must be hunters”.  Then as they began to move slowly to the road, the car sputtered into life and we moved forward slowly then picked up speed.  The bikers wheeled out onto the road then sped off.  

The car slowed down again then became a crawl.  It stopped a few more times before we saw the double McDonald arches of the Damaturu gate.  The car rolled on then stopped right at the gates, besides some military men.  What a relief.  Then it packed up.  We waited for about an hour and the car finally sputtered to a hotel and my hosts.  We told them the story, they waited for a while then said … that was Boko Haram.  I knew it but still I went cold.  So I was face to face with death, and I escaped.  How did they know?  No motorbikes are allowed in Borno because it is the special vehicle they use for their killings.

First published by SkytrendNews


Gwoza Under Siege: Boko Haram Kills 300, Wipes Out 3 Villages

No fewer than 300 villagers were reportedly killed in three communities around Gwoza local government area of Borno State on Monday as gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram but fully kitted in military fatigue uniform attacked them, eyewitnesses and security operatives said.

A few villagers in Danjara, Agapalwa and Antagara who managed to escape the attack are currently taking refuge in the rocky Gwoza hills, while others mostly women and children who were spared by the attackers have found their way into Cameroonian territory.

A state lawmaker representing the region, Peter Biye, told the Hausa Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that “they (Boko Haram) opened fire on villagers and burned houses and churches to the ground”. Dozens of people were killed in each attack, he said, but he could not give precise figures.

Andrew Tada, an indigene of Attagara who lives in Maiduguri, the state capital, told the BBC that he lost two cousins in the attack, noting that residents had told him they were preparing to bury 45 people from that village alone.

“It is very sad and the villages are deserted now; we are just asking government to give us security to go there tomorrow (today) to evacuate the corpses for burial,” Tada said.

Impeccable sources who saw it all told LEADERSHIP that the gunmen that attacked the villages pretended to be soldiers who had come to protect them from further attacks, but when the fake soldiers managed to gather all the villagers at the centre of the village in Antagara, they opened fire on them, killing hundreds and injuring several others.

“They came in military Hilux vans, and we all thought they were the soldiers that we earlier reported to that the insurgents might attack us; when they came in over 10 Hilux vehicles we all felt relieved that, at last, the military had arrived. So we went to them and they told us that ‘we are soldiers and we are here to protect you all’. They then urged all of us to converge at a particular spot at the centre of the village; we all complied. But when they saw that a sizeable number of us had converged, they began to shout ‘Allahu-Akbar, Allahu-Akbar’ on top of their voices, then they began to fire at the people

continuously for a very long time until all that gathered were dead,” said a community leader who would not say his name for fear of his safety. “I lost four of my blood brothers in the massacre. I was lucky to escape because I was not very close by when the gunmen started shooting at our people. I was going round to inform people that the soldiers had come and they wanted to address us. I managed to escape through villages in Adamawa State and later made it to Maiduguri”.

The source said while the gunmen were killing the villagers in the three villages, some others who were riding on motorcycles lay in ambush outside the villages and continued to pick on the fleeing villagers.

“When some of the villagers managed to escape, they were unfortunately waylaid outside the villages by some gunmen on motorcycles who would catch and slaughter the men and young boys; they only allowed women and children to go,” said the source.

The source added that Boko Haram gunmen had for over a month now hoisted flags in attacked villages like Ashigashiya and Chinene, but each time they ran to the military to report their plights, “the military personnel in Gwoza would say they have not been given order to go to that area; even when they are hearing the sounds of their guns, they really don’t care”.

“But on Monday, when we went to tell the soldiers that we got information that the insurgents would be coming to attack us, they assured us to go back and that they would come to join us in the village. That was why we thought that those that came to attack us were soldiers, because they came in military Hilux and they were all dressed like soldiers. But it turned out that they came out to massacre us.”

The source said, “Corpses still litter everywhere in the villages and in the bush; some women whose husbands were killed before their eyes had to return to dig shallow graves to bury their husbands so that their bodies would not be preyed upon by vultures or wild animals. I can confidently tell you that over 300 persons have been killed.”

He added: “As we are talking now, some of the escaped villagers who are trapped up in the mountains said they still see the gunmen going about attacking villages and hamlets by setting them on fire.

“More than 1,000 homes in the three villages have been burnt to ashes, and they are still attacking more and more. We are worried if the federal government has forsaken us as citizens; if they have not, then, why are the soldiers yet to go and help us fight these insurgents that have destroyed our community, destroyed our farmlands, destroyed our pride and destroyed our future?”

A top security officer in Maiduguri, who didn’t mention his because he is not allowed to speak directly to the press on this matter, confirmed the incident in Gwoza, even as he said there was a move by the military to deploy soldiers to go and secure the women and children.

“I am aware of the attack in Gwoza, which is another bad case, but I believe the military is doing something towards going there to rescue the women and children,” said the security source.

Borno State governor Kashim Shettima was in Gwoza last Saturday to attend the burial of the late Emir of Gwoza, Alhaji Idrissa Timta, who was killed by Boko Haram gunmen while on his way to attend the burial of the Emir of Gombe, Shehu Abubakar, who died after a brief illness in London.

Gwoza came under fire after the departure of the governor, who was able to make his trip there under tight security.

The senator representing Southern Borno, Muhammed Ali Ndume, whose home town is Gwoza, was seen going forth and back the Government House in Maiduguri where he was meeting with the governor on ways to send help to the embattled people of his country home.

When contacted by LEADERHSIP on phone, the senator confirmed that his country home was under siege.

Ndume: “About six wards of Gwoza local government are under siege; the insurgents had taken over these communities and sacked virtually everyone out of their homes; many had ran into Cameroon; many had been killed, their homes burnt down. Of all the villagers and hamlets that are in Gwoza East, which comprises six wards, only Gava town is not affected for now.

“We have had a meeting with the governor and the GOC; and the GOC has assured us that troops would be sent there immediately to go rescue the situation; the Borno State governor had given the military all the needed logistics at his disposal to assist them go rescue the villages, especially where the insurgents were said to have hoisted flags.

“It is sad that we have to wait till now that people are being killed for government to take action; we know that for long the road to Gwoza from Maiduguri had been a no-go area even for the soldiers. It is a known fact that soldiers of the Nigerian Army have been overstretched in both human and material capacity; the federal government has to rise to the occasion to give these soldiers the needed support to work.

“Two major federal government bridges leading to Gwoza have been bombed and no one seemed concerned about this.”


Boko Haram kills 400 -Vigilante Chairman

The chairman of a local vigilante group set up to combat the militants, Abba Aji Khalil has disclosed that suspected members of the Boko Haram have killed about 400 peoplein three villages in Gwoza,

Bloomberg reports.

The online also quoted Khalil as saying that some of the attackers, who disguised in military uniforms, raided the villages yesterday, using “sophisticated weapons” and “started killing from house to house.” Yuguda Ndurvua, a local clergyman, said many villages in the area “are being attacked almost on a daily basis.”

Synagogue splits as ex-TB Joshua’s pastor establishes break-away church

In what seems like a battle of pastors, a breakaway clergyman from the Synagogue Church of All Nations, SCOAN, has set up a New Synagogue a stone’s throw from Prophet T.B. Joshua’s church and has been attracting a lot of members.

T.B. Joshua has warned his congregation not to attend the new church or be confused by the similarities between both places of worship.
The new church is called Christ Holy Mountain, A.K.A House of Prayer, but residents refer to it as the New Synagogue because the healing sessions, miracles and mode of worship is similar to Prophet T.B. Joshua’s.

The church is located at Ajata street, behind Igando-Ikotun Local Council Development Area in Lagos, western Nigeria.

Investigations revealed that many worshippers who come to see T.B Joshua’s church are now diverted to the New Synagogue where miracles and healing sessions are also performed in a similar manner.

Former members of T.B. Joshua’s church have also thronged the new church, it was learnt.
The battle of pastors became public recently wen Pastor T.B. Joshua, during a church service, warned his members not to attend the new church.

Joshua told worshippers that he was aware that former members of his church established a church in the area claiming that it is a New Synagogue Church. He warned members not to attend or be deceived because the church was not established by him.

It was learnt that the church is now providing alternative to numerous worshipers who come from within and outside the country to see Joshua but cannot due to the huge crowd waiting to see the prophet.

On a visit to the new church, the pastor of the church was not around to speak. However, a senior worker at the church who identified himself simply as Godwin, confirmed that the church was founded by a breakaway pastor and some other dissatisfied members from SCOAN.

High expectations as Emefiele resume Tuesday as CBN governor

Two months after his March 26 confirmation by the Senate, Godwin Emefiele will tomorrow resume officially as 11th Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Godwin Emefiele is the current MD of Zenith Bank.
Emefiele, 53, replaces Lamido Sanusi, who was suspended by President Goodluck Jonathan on February 20, while on official assignment in Niger Republic.

According to a CBN source, Emefiele will be received by the management and staff of the bank at the Abuja office of the apex bank, led by Sarah Alade, who acted as Governor since February 20.

It would be the job of Alade, who returns to her portfolio as Deputy Governor, Economic Policy, to officially hand-over to the new helmsman.

Unlike his two immediate predecessors, Emefiele is known to be reserved, preferring that his works speak, while the institution he manages remains the subject, instead of him, as can be seen from his almost four-year stint at Zenith Bank.

Stakeholders say he is not known to court the limelight.

In his last public appearance as Group Managing Director of Zenith Bank (the bank’s annual general meeting in Lagos), Emefiele, while fielding questions from shareholders, promised to ensure fairness and justice, while being firm in taking decisions.

“We will be fair…we will be just, and I say we would be firm in taking those decisions that need to be taken,” he had said.

According to him, the governorship of the CBN “is a national assignment. It is about our economy and we would work very hard to ensure that we take Nigeria to greater heights”.

One issue Emefiele must have to deal with at the CBN, according to Brigadier General Emmanuel Ikwe, Chairman, Port Harcourt Zonal Shareholders Association, is the nationalisation of some banks in 2011.

He lamented that shareholders who are ordinarily owners of the banks were not consulted, and even now that the banks are being sold to new core investors.

Ikwe, therefore, urged the in-coming governor to take another look at the entire process, to see if justice had been done to all.

Afterwards, he said, “anything wrong should be redressed. It is not right for the CBN to appoint people, and then negotiate with the appointees to sell the bank”.

For Nona Awoh, a shareholder rights activist, Emefiele must determine what Nigerian banks should do with their reserves which are idling away, and which they only keep reporting.

The CBN Governor comes onboard with 27 years of banking experience, 24 of which he spent at Zenith Bank, where he rose through the ranks from Manager, Corporate Banking (loan origination and analysis) in 1991.

A 1984 graduate of Finance & Banking, University of Nigeria, Nzuka (UNN), where he also obtained a Masters of Business Administration (Finance & Banking) two years later, Emefiele started his banking career as a credit analyst at the Nigerian-American Merchant Bank Limited in 1987, before joining Industrial Bank Limited (Merchant Bankers).

Between 1984 and 1985 he undertook his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme as assistant lecturer (1984-1985) in Mathematics of Finance and Bank Management; and University of Port Harcourt, River State, as Assistant lecturer in Principles of Insurance between 1986 and 1987.

He became Assistant General Manager in 1995, General Manager in 1997, Executive Director (1999), and Deputy Managing Director in 2001, from where he assumed the position of chief executive nine years later in 2010.

He was credited with growing Zenith Bank’s Shareholders’ Funds from N372 billion in 2010 to over N462 billion in 2012; driving profitability from N37 billion in 2010 to over N100 billion in 2012, and getting its $850 million Global Depository Receipts (DGR) listed on the London Stock Exchange – the largest of any Nigerian bank on the LSE.

Meanwhile, Emefiele’s replacement at Zenith Bak, Peter Olisamedua Amangbo, resumes today.

Before now, he has been Executive Director of the bank for the last nine years, with responsibility for supervising corporate and commercial banking, corporate finance, trade services and all the subsidiaries of the bank.

A 1988 Bachelor’s Degree holder in Electrical/Electronic Engineering from the University of Benin, Amangbo trained with PricewaterhouseCoopers and qualified as a chartered accountant before joining Zenith Bank in 1993.

He also holds a post-graduate diploma in computer science and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration.

With over 16 years post-graduate experience, 12 of which were in the banking industry, he was the head of Financial Control and Strategic Planning before his reassignment as head of the Corporate & Retail Banking Group and Zenith Bank’s group zonal head, Lagos.

As part of his job as Executive Director, he supervised the Power & Infrastructure Group as well as the group’s foreign subsidiaries.

He has also gained experiences in Corporate Finance and Investment Banking, Business Development, Credit and Marketing, Treasury, Financial Control and Strategic Planning and Operations. He was appointed to the board of the Bank and its subsidiary companies in 2005.

He was a pioneer Non-Executive Director of Zenith Bank UK.

Before joining the banking industry, he was a senior consultant with PriceWaterhouse where he covered assignments in financial services, manufacturing and general commerce.

According to a statement by the bank, “Amangbo brings the experience and expertise to meet the current competitive banking challenges that require constant innovation through proven leadership and team-building skills, an exceptional ability to drive product, process and customer service improvements and a talent for building partnerships with key business decision-makers.

“He also has demonstrable ability to motivate, mentor and lead talented senior professionals and to direct cross-functional teams.”

Source- Daily Independent

Cameroun kills over 40 Boko Haram insurgents

Cameroun security forces have killed some 40 Boko Haram militants in clashes in the country’s far north, state radio said on Sunday, shortly after the release of two Italian priests and a Canadian nun suspected to have been held by the Islamist group.

A presidency source confirmed the clashes, which took place west of the town of Kousseri, in the region bordering Nigeria and Chad.

Cameroun, which has been criticised by Nigeria for not doing enough to fight the Nigeria-based Boko Haram, deployed some 1,000 troops in the far north this week as it steps up the fight against the Islamist militants.

Pele’s son jailed 33 years for money laundering

The son of the Brazilian football legend Pele has been sentenced to 33 years in jail for laundering money raised from drug trafficking.

Edinho is a retired footballer who played goalkeeper for Pele’s old club, Santos, in the 1990s.

He was first arrested in 2005 and has served a sentence for drug trafficking offences and links with a notorious drug dealer in the city of Santos.

He admits he had a drug problem but denies the trafficking charges.

The ruling was issued by a judge in the nearby coastal city of Praia Grande, in Sao Paulo state.

Brazilian media have not been able to contact Edinho, whose real name is Edson Cholbi do Nascimento, but they say he is expected to appeal.

US childhood

Pele, or Edson Arantes do Nascimento, played all his professional career in Brazil for Santos.

Playing for Brazil, he won the World Cup in 1958, 1962 and 1970 and was acclaimed as the greatest footballer of his generation.

Pele won the World Cup three times with Brazil and scored more than 1,200 goals in his career
He retired in 1974, but made a comeback a year later for New York Cosmos.

Edinho is Pele’s third son from his first marriage. He was five when the family moved to New York to play for Cosmos.

When he returned to Brazil he decided to pursue a career in professional football – as a goalkeeper, much to his father’s surprise.

He was Santos’ goalkeeper in 1995 when the team reached the Brazilian league final, losing the title to Botafogo.

His detention and alleged involvement with drug gangs took most people in Brazil by surprise.

Pele, now 73, went to visit his son several times in jail.

“God willing, justice will be done. There is not a shred of evidence against my son,” he said in 2006.

Edinho said that his father was his idol.

Four other people have also been convicted for many laundering, including a man accused of controlling much of the drug trafficking in the region – Ronaldo Duarte Barsotti, known as Naldinho.

BRAZIL 2014: Super Eagles in fresh match-fixing mess

Nigeria officials may face prolonged ban if found guilty of match fixing.
Nigeria has been implicated in yet another football match-fixing scandal, with the revelation that the friendly match between the Super Eagles and North Korea on the eve of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa was doctored.
The allegation, published by the New York Times, opens a fresh can of worms in a series of claims that Nigeria has featured prominently for years in the dubious art match-rigging.
Nigeria won the friendly against the North Korean side by 3-1.
Besides the result, that match also grabbed the headlines over a stampede that occurred before the commencement of the exhibition game, as hundreds of South Africans and other fans trooped to the stadium to catch a glimpse of the Eagles.
It now turns out they were served a script worked out by a gambling syndicate.
The New York Times said South African officials allowed a notorious Singaporean syndicate, Football 4U, to pick the referee for that match.
Fixing games has serious profit implications for Asia’s largely unregulated but lucrative betting market.
Most fixed bets are placed on which team will win against the spread and on the total number of expected goals. By some estimates, the illegal betting market in Asia amounts to hundreds of billions of dollars annually, the report said.
Quoting from FIFA investigative report, the New York Times said FIFA investigators found that the referee in the Nigeria-North Korea match made several questionable calls. But investigators could not confirm whether the referee was a rogue Nigerien referee, Ibrahim Chaibou.
The investigators said they were however certain that the referee who officiated was not the Portuguese who had been assigned.
Such replacements are part of the trick, and do happen in fixed games presumably without FIFA’s knowledge.
The referee took “a very harsh stance” in giving a red card for a seemingly lesser infraction, and he later took “a very liberal stance” in awarding a suspicious penalty kick, the report was quoted by the New York Times as saying.
Mr. Chaibou had his hands soiled in many other matches adjudged to have been fixed including the South Africa Vs Guatemala game in which South Africa won 5-0. The referee was said to have received $60, 000 for his role.
It was also Mr. Chaibou who officiated the Nigeria – Argentina friendly in Abuja, also adjudged to have been fixed as the Eagles triumphed 4-1.
It is not clear what role Nigerian officials played in fixing the North Korea match.
But in recent months, Nigeria has been mentioned as a beneficiary of fixed matches.
One notorious Singaporean gambler cum match fixer, Wilson Raj Pemural, said in a personal memoir published this year that he aided the Super Eagles qualify for the South Africa 2010 Mundial.
Mr. Pemural played significant role in all of the Times findings.
Even Nigeria’s friendly with Scotland last week which ended in a two goal draw is under investigation for suspected fixing.
Officials of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, have consistently denied all the allegations.

New weight control pill takes America by storm

Move Over Weight Watchers, a new dietary supplement has everyone raving. Due to its almost unbelievable results, it has also created quite a frenzy among dieters. Garcinia Cambogia, a fat burning extract from a rare tropical fruit, is so effective it has become one of the hottest diets in the United States – But not without controversy.

Critics say the compounds – hydroxycitric acid, or HCA (the extract from the Garcinia Cambogia fruit) – cause such dramatic weight loss that they are ripe for abuse by people who only want to lose weight for cosmetic reasons. Proponents of the nutrient claim that banning the natural compound would be akin to banning vitamins.

One thing people on both sides can agree on is that the controversial, new supplement works. According to a new study from researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center, men and women who took the Garcinia Cambogia supplement for 8 weeks lost an average of 16.5 pounds without additional diet or exercise.

Another study published in the journal Nutrition Research found that people taking Garcinia Cambogia extract lost an average of 6.7 percent of their total body weight, including 12.3 percent of their total body fat – with zero side effects. In fact, not only were there not any side effects, but people using the supplement actually experienced improved health measures across the board, including reductions in bad LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar.

And if all that weren’t reason enough to have desperate slimmers stocking up, researchers from the Department of Laboratory Medicine found that people taking Garcinia Cambogia extract experienced a significant decline in cravings for sweets and other foods high in carbohydrates – likely due to the nutrient’s positive effect on insulin and blood sugar counts.

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Boko Haram top commanders fleeing Sambisa in choppers

Helicopters are allegedly “ferrying away top commanders” of the Boko Haram sect from the Sambisa Forest to unknown destinations, as the group prepares to end the five-year-old insurgency, Sunday Trust learnt from credible sources yesterday.
The claim could not be independently verified at press time. But the alleged repatriation of key officers of the sect came in the wake of reported systematic withdrawal of some Boko Haram’s foot soldiers from the Sambisa Forest, Mandara Mountains and other hideouts.
Some of the sect’s members had been reportedly going to towns and villages in Borno and Adamawa states “to repent” after their leaders had told them that the “war” was coming to an end.
A source in Maiduguri, who does not want to be quoted for security reasons, said in the last 10 days, choppers had landed at the Sambisa Forest severally.
“For now, many commanders of the sect, especially the mercenaries have been taken away from the forest to unknown destinations. Most of the sophisticated weapons being used by the insurgents have also been taken away. From what I gathered, the violence is coming to an end,” he said.
According to him, “Only local commanders are still in the cells and enclaves of the sect. As you are aware, dozens of foot soldiers are also fleeing because of many reasons, including the fact that the operation is also taking a different dimension,” he said.
He pointed out that the “middle cadre” commanders were the ones unleashing terror on communities around Borno and Adamawa states in recent times.
“The truth is that even some of the attacks going on these days are for the perpetrators to sustain themselves because when you observe clearly, you will see that they are taking away foodstuff and animals wherever they go,” he said.
“And in their cells, foot soldiers that are proven tough are being eliminated, prompting many of them to flee to towns to repent even though the real truth is that they don’t want to be killed. We have many of such incidences these days,” he added.
Some officials of youth vigilantes, also known as civilian JTF in Borno State, said they heard about the gradual withdrawal of Boko Haram commanders from their cells as well as the fleeing of some members into towns.
On Thursday, two suspected members of the sect fled to Bama, where one of them, who was captured, said they absconded from their camp because they wanted to repent.
He told the vigilante officials in Bama that many other sect members had also fled to Madagali and Mubi in Adamawa State, while many others had fled to other places.

SOURCE: Daily Trust

Breaking News: EKITI DECIDES: Ayo Fayose knocks out Fayemi by landslide (total result breakdown)

Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at 4.02 this morning declared former Governor Samson Ayodele Fayose as the winner in yesterday’s guber contest in Ekiti State, stating he polled a total of 203,090 to knock out incumbent Governor John Kayode Fayemi who polled 120,433.

Ayo Fayose contested on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) while Dr. Kayode Fayemi was the candidate of All Progressives Congress, (APC). The candidate of Labour Party (LP), Mr. Bamidele Opeyemi polled a total of 18,125.

Total results from the 16 Gocal Government Areas
Kayode Fayemi of APC 120,433
Opeyemi Bamidele of LP 18,135
Ayodele Fayose of PDP 203,090
Results APC LP PDP
Efon 3,422 358 5,335
Oye 10,176 512 11

Ilejemeje 3,336 165 3,670
Ikere 7,989 585 16

Ikole 8,804 1,259 14,238
Ekiti S/W 6,746 1,413 11,038
Ijero 9,348 1,554 13,814
Ifelodun 6,834 3,555 13,038
Emure 4,332 1,527 7,086
Ekiti-East 8,584 884 12

Moba 7,994 1,000 8,878
Gbonyin 8,138 714 11

Ise 5,809 600 10,136
Ekiti-West 7,860 884 10

Ido-Osi 7,134 1,182 13,045
Ado-Ekiti 13,927 2,065 41,169

EKITI DECIDES: Some of the results

Ekiti Results at a glance
(1.) Iworoko Polling unit 008 PDP – 109, APC – 63
(2.) Usi Ekiti Unit 009, Usi Grammar school PDP-79, APC- 41, LP-3, Accord- 0, CPP- 1, PPA-1, PDC-2.
(3.) Ado LG, Unit 004 ward 004 : PDP- 199,APC-84, LP-21.
(4) Iworoko ward 005 PDP- 64, APC-37, LP-8.
(5).Iworoko Ward 009 : PDP-78, APC-19, LP-10.
(6.) Okeyemi, Ward 005, Unit 11 : PDP- 162, APC,57, LP-8.
(7.) Onikoye’s Palace IKLG, Unit 16: PDP- 78,APC-50, LP-5.
(8.) Erinmope ward 2 Unit 006: PDP- 47, APC-66,LP-4.
(9.) Imesi Ekiti Ward 5 Unit 003 : PDP-36, APC-46,LP-2, PDC-1, PPA-1, NCP- 1.
(10.) Methodist Polling Unit, Ifaki-Ekiti : PDP-51,APC-1, LP-1
Health Centre Ward 010 Unit 7: PDP- 270, APC-81,
Health Centre Ward 010 Unit 8: PDP- 252, APC-81,
Emiloju: PDP 59, APC 25
Saloro: PDP 26, APC 13
CAC: PDP 47, APC 18
Ita-Ode: PDP 36, APC 6
Adetoyinbo: PDP 67, APC 39
Town Hall: PDP 80, APC 45
Aro/Saba: PDP 40, APC 36
Obalekosi: PDP 74, APC 44
Ogborodo PDP 47, APC 56
Obalogbo: PDP 58, APC 29
Akeji PDP 3, APC 14
Kanmodi PDP 11, APC 9
Ikole LGA:
Odo Oro PDP 748, APC 564
Igbara Odo ward 8: Unit 02 PDP-75,APC-52 n
Unit 11 PDP-73,APC-33 and LP-2
Unit06 PDP-70,APC-51 and LP-3.
Unit 09 PDP-68,APC-22 n LP-5.
Unit 13A PDP-98,APC-55 n LP-5.
Unit 13B PDP-108,APC-26 n LP-8.
Ara Ekiti
Polling Unit 002
PDP 102, APC 32
Igbara – Odo Ekiti
Ward 8, Polling Unit 009
APC 32, LP 11, PDC 01, PDP 69
Polling Unit 008
PDP 62, APC 47, LP 2
Imesi Ekiti, Ward 5, Polling Unit 003
PDP 36, PDC 1, PPA 1, NPC 1, APC 4
Ilawe Ekiti: APC 12, PDP 69, LP 2
Ward 1, Polling Unit 1
PDP 46, APC 21
Eyio Ekiti
Polling Unit 001
PDP 72, APC 40
Polling Unit 002
PDP 102, APC 30
Polling Unit 003
PDP 67, APC 64
Polling Unit 004
PDP 93, APC 23, LP 5
Note that these results are not yet certified by the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC).

Edo House of Assembly Crisis: Lawmakers thoroughly searched before access into HA

Speaker of Edo House of Assembly being searched this morning before gaining access into the Assembly. The PDP had alleged at the weekend that the APC faction had hidden weapons in the Chambers, so police had searched the compound as early as 6.30 am.
Lawmakers who arrived at 4 am were denied access into the Assembly until 7.45 when the place was declared safe.
Lawmakers sat outside as they were denied access to their offices.
Sitting resumes at 10 am this morning.

Economic activities grounded in Benin metropolis as HA lockdown enter Day 2 *court restrains 4 PDP lawmakers from HA grounds

The siege laid on Edo House of Assembly on Tuesday by security operatives following the emergence of a counter speaker of the House by the police continued Wednesday as the whole of King’s Square Benin was totally shut off to human and vehicular traffic.

The blockage, which grounded economic activities in the metropolis, affected Airport Rroad, Sapele Road, Oba Market and Akenzua Roads, as well as the ring that made up Ring Road.

Armed police, Civil Defence officers, and Mobile police officers surrounded the whole area, with over 50 patrol vehicles surrounding the whole of King’s Square.

Legislators of both factions, who went into a reconciliatory meeting with top police bosses of the state, including Edo Chief of Police, Sola Adebanjo dragged into the evening as the meeting was deadlocked.

The brunt of the lockdown was felt most by businesses located around the premises, which were forced to completely close down. The post office, the Central Hospital that shares a fence with the Assembly, as well as Lagos Street and Mission Road were all majorly affected as a go-slow prevented business flow.

A heavy gridlock affected all the roads leading to Ring Road, as motorists sought alternate routes to get to their destinations. Transporters, whose parks were by the Oba Market area also sought alternative loading points as police barricaded all the routes.

In a related development, a Benin High Court has restrained the four lawmakers – Hon Festus Ebea, Hon Patrick Osayimwen, Hon Jude Ise-Idehen and Hon Friday Ogieriakhi- suspended on Monday by the Edo State House of Assembly from gaining entrance into the premises of the Assembly and the legislative quarters.

The court also restrained the suspended lawmakers, the Assistant Inspector-General of Police Zone 5, Benin City and the Commissioner of Police, Edo State from interfering with the Sitting activities and other functions of the state Assembly pending the determination of a motion on Notice before it.

EDO ASSEMBLY CRISES: House finally adjourns after two fights, deadlock

The crises rocking the Edo State House of Assembly took a new dimension yesterday when members of the two factions went into a fresh physical fight. According to eye witness account, the People’s Democratic Party faction, led by the deputy speaker,  whose group swore in on Tuesday allegedly arrived the  Assembly at 6 am with a fake mace and a fake at Arms.  

They were about to begin plenary sitting when the All Progressives Congress faction, led by the substantive speaker arrived and a hot fight ensued.

The fight was only resolved when men of the Nigeria Police, led by CP Sola Adebanjo arrived to stop the scuffle. Eye witness account stated that Emmanuel Okoduwa,  representing Esan North East was injured and his clothes torn.

The matter was later resolved and the two factions sat at a peace meeting with the CP. The meeting which lasted all day ended at about 5.30 pm, and the legislators tried to commence sitting.

But another drama started with Hon Festus Ebea refusing to recognize Hon Uyi Igbe as the Speaker of the House.  When the Sergeant at Arms came in with the mace, the four suspended members who stepped out entered the Assembly, while Ebea insisted that Igbe must step down from the speaker’s seat, or another seat must be placed by his side. The mace was removed following the tense atmosphere.

For over one hour,  members kept pleading with Ebea who later agreed very reluctantly and sat down.
The mace was returned before sitting commenced. The speaker quickly read out a court injunction restraining the suspended members from attending plenary sittings. Part of the order read:

A Benin High Court has restrained the four lawmakers suspended on Monday by the Edo State House of Assembly from gaining entrance into the premises of the Assembly and the legislative quarters.

The suspended lawmakers are Hon Festus Ebea, Hon Patrick Osayimwen, Hon Jude Ise-Idehen and Hon Friday Ogieriakhi.

The court also restrained the suspended lawmakers, the Assistant Inspector-General of Police Zone 5, Benin City and the Commissioner of Police, Edo State from interfering with the Sitting activities and other functions of the state Assembly pending the determination of a motion on Notice before it.

He concluded saying: “the suspended members are not supposed to be with us”. After waiting for a while, Igbe said that since they have refused to leave, the sitting would be adjourned till Monday,  16th June,  bringing sitting to an abrupt end.

It will be recalled that the legislators had also fought yesterday following the hurried selection of a new speaker, in the person of Festus Ebea, the deputy speaker, who was suspended with some other members on Monday.