Posts Tagged ‘goodluck jonathan’

Politics: Doyin Okupe joins ACCORD PARTY

Image result for Doyin OkupeSenior Special Assistant on Public Affairs to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Doyin Okupe joins ACCORD PARTY

Doyin Okupe has announced that he is now a member of the ACCORD Party.

In a statement on Facebook on Tuesday, The Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Doyin Okupe said consulted “with political associates, family and friends” before he made the decision.

Okupe had left the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), attributing his decision to the party’s unending crisis, “deception, selfishness and gross nepotism”.
The statement reads, “Following various consultations with political associates, family and friends I have decided to formally join the ACCORD Party. My decision is based on deep reflection on who I am and what I want from politics.

“My decision is based on deep reflection on who I am and what I want from politics.To

“To me, politics does not begin and end with winning or losing elections. It’s not about big or small parties either. It’s also beyond personal relationships or endearing associations or friendships.

“There exists in our communities several platforms on which such affiliations and sentiments can be sufficiently gratified.

“To me, Politics is about, Service to the people, policies and ideologies that will serve the best interests of the greater majority of the society, Forthrightness and accountability, Honour and Integrity.

“I am not desperate to be anything anymore. But I am desperate to find and work with other Nigerians especially our young and vibrant upcoming politicians, to establish a political incubator to breed a new generation of leaders who will do things right, maintain high ethical standards and abhor greed, avarice, selfishness and impunity.

“Most of our national parties presently and in the past were put together with a false sense of national spread but majorly, irrespective of how they came to power, end up being inequitable and manifestly exists to serve the interests of a minority few and/or that of a tiny section of the country.

“I want to belong to a political party that will be able to publicly state it’s position on troubling national issues like, requests for self-determination by a section of the country, resource control, federalism and Restructuring, Religious intolerance, atrocities of Fulani Herdsman, unequal standards in national university admission policy, and many more.

“Any political party that does not have an openly stated position or Stands on these issues is a mere association of elites coming together only to feather their own nests or at best a deceptive political contraption put together by a few to seize power for a few and for the benefit of a few.

“An official date of declaration by me and my numerous supporters in Ogun state will be announced shortly.”

Fani-Kayode’s aide Ndukwe to Omokri: You’re a slave boy

Former Special Adviser (Media) to Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, Mr. Jude Ndukwe, has replied the ex-aide to Former President, Goodluck Jonathan, Pastor Reno Omokri, saying the ex-Jonathan’s aide is a coward and a slave boy who stays abroad and picks on soft spots to attack but then hides “like a sickly fowl just saved from lightning-induced electrocution” when those he thinks are bigger than him direct even derogatory words at him and his principal. Mr. Ndukwe is replying a statement credited to Omokri wherein the ex-Jonathan’s aide equated the personal opinion of the overall leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, to that of Ndigbo in general. Pastor Omokri had said that Kanu’s statement that Former President Jonathan was weak is a statement of ingratitude from Ndigbo. But Mr. Ndukwe said Omokri who claims he is a pastor “without any anointing” and “who was anonymous, lame and ineffectual in his days as media aide to Goodluck Jonathan” to the extent that he could not prevent the now ruling government which was the opposition then from emasculating the good image of his principal was rather enjoying then even to the dwindling image of his principal. He also said that Omokri has now begun his duty as an aide, much very late, a situation he describes as “scoring a much needed goal only after the match has ended.” Omokri Vs Ndukwe “We must have heard how the former media aide to erstwhile president Goodluck Jonathan, Reno Omokri, the self-called pastor and founder of the Mind of Chrsit Christian Centre, embarked on an ill-advised and futile attempt at lecturing the Igbo nation on diplomacy in reaction to a statement credited to Nnamdi Kanu, the IPOB leader, on president Goodluck Jonathan. “It is most unfortunate that Omokri would take a statement by Nnamdi Kanu as a statement by the Igbo, and weave same to make it look like the Igbo met somewhere as a nation, concluded on what to say about Jonathan and detailed Kanu to speak on their behalf. “Having served at that level of government and run a self-found church for this long (most probably without any anointing), one would have thought that Reno would be circumspect in his approach to such matters rather than blow it out of proportion by apportioning it to the Igbo while using that opportunity to run a web of tirades against the Igbo who were as shocked as anyone else by Kanu’s statements. “Even if anyone should want to say what Kanu said about Jonathan, the general belief in Igboland is that it should not have come from a brother anywhere between the south east and south-south. “But then, Reno, who was anonymous, lame and ineffectual in his days as media aide to Goodluck Jonathan, was to the extent that he and his colleagues allowed the opposition to literally run the government of Jonathan aground and out of town but for the intervention of people like Femi-Fani-Kayode, which, though, came late, was, nevertheless, so effective that the opposition got distracted from Jonathan and faced FFK squarely, threatening fire and brimstone, and court cases while Jonathan’s rating rose so high within the period FFK joined his campaign. “If Reno had been just even one per cent as effective as he is now, running after every Tom, Dick and Harry who says anything about Jonathan, when he was media aide, the opposition would have had no space to run their propaganda, half-truths and outright falsehood against the former president. “The impression Reno creates now is that he was so comfortable enjoying the perks of office and a very sure income that he cared less about his job and its sensitive nature to the image of the person and government of Jonathan. “Of course, we all know that church business is no longer as lucrative in America as it used to be, that country is fast turning its back on the church, so the pastors there, especially those like Reno, who called themselves to church business as a means of livelihood, can hardly make ends meet. “The income is low for the Renos of this world, and to shore up whatever little they get from there, they have to try to remain relevant by spewing gibberish against a people in the name of defending Jonathan. “While it is unacceptable to some of us to describe Jonathan in uncomplimentary remarks, we still remember very well that the governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson, an Ijaw man like Jonathan himself, said that Jonathan’s six years as president was a waste. While we condemn Dickson for such insulting remark, it would be wrong for anyone to claim that it was the Ijaw that spoke through Dickson. “Those of us who condemned Dickson for such remarks, condemned him as a person, and even though he is the governor of Bayelsa State, we would still not arrogate such malicious remark to the good people of Bayelsa. So, why would Reno ascribe Kanu’s remarks about Jonathan to Ndigbo and not ascribe Dickson’s to the Ijaw? “What lesson in diplomacy does Reno want the Igbo to learn when the region is peopled by some of the finest diplomats, ladies and gentlemen that can be found anywhere in the world and have risen to the height of their respective callings, towering above many others? From Emeka Anyaoku to Alex Ekwueme, Onyeka Onwenu, Cardinal Arinze, Nwankwo Kanu just to mention a few. “It is on record that Wole Soyinka once made reference to Jonathan as the inglorious King Nebuchadnezzar of biblical days and described Patience Jonathan as “mere appendage of power…” and other unsavoury things he had said then about the former president and his family. But Reno then operated like a sickly fowl just saved from lightning-induced electrocution: helpless, weak, incompetent and ineffectual while the Soyinkas, Lai Mohammeds etc had a field day against his principal. “How come Soyinka’s statement was not arrogated to the Yoruba then? “One can only imagine how the Igbo would have been bashed if it was an Igbo man that described Jonathan as clueless. Of course, the traditional media would have gone gaga and the social media would have gone haywire. The statement would have been “the Igbo lack diplomacy, they lack respect, they lack courtesy” etc. But because it was somebody from the other side of the divide that said it, it could be forgiven, it could be forgotten. Not so, never so for the Igbo man. He must not talk or else he is labeled. Such nonsense! “Nobody heard Reno arrogating that balderdash against Jonathan in Segun Adeniyi’s book “Against the Run of Play” to the Yoruba, and rightly so too. Segun Adeniyi may be Yoruba but he does not equate to Yoruba. The same goes for Nnamdi Kanu. One can only imagine what the Igbo would have been subjected to if that propaganda and hate-filled book had been written by an Igbo man. “While Jonathan faced acerbic and scurrilous attacks even from his own people in south-south, the Igbo stood by him solidly. One can only thank God that Rotimi Amaechi is not Igbo, or Timipre Sylva, or Magnus Abe etc, the Renos of this world would have been convulsing with hate and use every opportunity available to spew such in-built hate against Ndigbo in the media. “It is even more nightmarish to remember that Jonathan lost the 2015 election majorly to image problem created by the opposition and unchallenged by the president’s media aides of which Reno was a prominent member. “The fact is that the Igbo love Jonathan even till tomorrow no matter what the Renos of this world try to make us feel or think. Apart from high ranking appointments, it was Jonathan who destroyed the plans of our common foes to keep Ndigbo perpetually inaccessible and locked out from the outside world when he declared the Enugu airport an international air route for Nigeria thereby opening the south-East directly to the world. That was not a mean feat given the fact that it was done against the powerful wish of those who have held this country down for so long with their oppressive agenda. “That singular action by Jonathan has opened the south east to enormous opportunities that can only be appreciated not only now but forever. “However, the south east is also suffering for their support to Jonathan at the 2015 elections. Our businessmen in the oil & gas industry, auto-industry, cement industry, manufacturing industry etc, are being hounded freely today by security agencies because of their open support for the former president. “The reversal of some of Jonathan’s policies like that of the automobile industry was directed at the Igbo who were already making giant strides in that sector before the coming of Buhari. “Today, our busineses suffer for our free democratic choice to support Jonathan. We have no regrets about that at all. We are never known to abandon our own even when the battle is fiercest, it does not matter what gossips and betrayers say about us. Our loyalty is always total and unalloyed. “The suffering assumed an official dimension and got the official stamp of the presidency when Buhari made the infamous and unfortunate declaration of 97% vs 5%! The good thing is that what the Igbo saw in 2015 while sitting, those who did not see it even while standing on the Iroko tree are now seeing it and wished they had towed the same line with the Igbo during the elections. “No matter what Nnamdi Kanu says, Jonathan will continue to enjoy the support of Ndigbo even till death. We will not betray him like some of his own people have done. Kanu might have said what he said, but the truth is, given another opportunity to choose between Jonathan and Buhari, even Kanu would still choose Jonathan. “He is not like Reno who is scoring a much needed goal only after the match has ended. Such a needless, meaningless and useless goal… “Rather than his diatribe against the Igbo, Reno would do well to come out from hiding, return to Nigeria and join in the noble task of tackling this oppressive and tyrannical government that has brought so much distrust among brothers and sown so much hate among neighbours. It is an act of cowardice to remain in San Francisco and keep picking on soft targets while the real despots in the country get away with severe and several acts of unconstitutionality. “Even if he decides to remain in distant lands, when next Reno wants to attack, he should choose his subjects carefully. Ndigbo are not Jonathan’s problem. People like Reno who think they can continue to be hypocritical in order to impress Jonathan should learn to deliver their messages as aides and not as slaves! “Lastly, Jonathan remains Nigeria’s hero of democracy. It is his meekness that has exposed Buhari’s gross incompetence and tyranny. If Jonathan had behaved like strong men behave in Africa, we would not have had the opportunity to know that Buhari is the worst president Nigeria would ever have. “Meekness is no weakness. It is the strong that let go. Jonathan let go to save the nation from the precipice, and today we have all learnt enormous lessons from that singular act of magnanimity. “I hope Reno, too, has learnt.”

Implement Nat’l Confab recommendations, Jonathan urges Buhari

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has urged the President Muhammadu Buhari to implement the recommendations of his  national conference conducted in 2014, stressing that it has the capacity to  resolve several issues at the root of the problem plaguing the country.

Jonathan spoke, yesterday, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, at the Golden Jubilee lecture to mark the 50th  anniversary of  the state, saying that the recommendations of the conference emanated from consensus  by the various nationalities that participated.

The former president, who got an ovation when he arrived the Obi  Wali venue of the lecture, expressed confidence in  fiscal federalism  as an enduring solution to some key challenges facing the country, adding that it would provide opportunity for all sections of the country to develop  where they have comparative advantages.

His words: “One of the reasons I insisted on the National Conference, the guest lecturer (Prof Godini Darah), made reference to was the interest of Nigerians. Yes,  in many areas as a nation,  we are doing well.  But, there are still other areas that agitate the minds of our people and as a government,  you need to address them.

“I remember in August  2013,  Professor Ben Nwabueze led the patriots and met me,  and one of the issues they raised was the National Conference.  Others schemed for other conferences,  but I insisted on the National Conference that would look at these gray areas that affect our people,  those areas that retard our development and fine tune it for the good of our children and grandchildren.

“I always believe that when you are in government,  when you are making laws, or coming up with policies,  don’t consider your position  because that your position is very temporal.

“I was quite pleased with the outcome of the conference. There was nothing like voting.  Every decision was by consensus. And I believe sincerely,  that if government is able to implement most of those recommendations,  some of the things that agitate our minds today,  some of the social issues we have, including insecurity and otherwise,  would be addressed.”




EFCC evil plan to plant cash in my house revealed –Adoke

Image result for Mr. Mohammed AdokeThe immediate past Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Mohammed Adoke (SAN), says the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is planning to raid his country home in Okenne, Kogi State, with the purpose of planting huge sums of money in order to indict him.

Adoke, who also served as the Minister of Justice under former President Goodluck Jonathan, said this in a statement by his media aide, Victor Akhidenor.

The EFCC had on Tuesday raided Adoke’s home in Kano as part of investigations into the $1.3bn Malabu scam.

Adoke said having found nothing in his Kano home, the EFCC had become desperate to nail him at all cost.

The statement read in part, “We gathered that the swoop on the country home of the former Attorney General and Minister of Justice will happen any moment from now as part of EFCC’s sustained campaign to soil the good name of Mr. Adoke in the guise of seeking evidence to indict him.

“We put Nigerians on notice that with the desperation shown by the EFCC, it is not unlikely that they may want to plant incriminating document or cash in the Okenne home of Adoke and claim that same were found in the premises. The world is watching.”

The former minister, who has been charged for alleged fraud albeit in absentia, said the EFCC had no evidence against him and that was why operatives were still searching for evidence over four months after charging him. The statement added, “It would be recalled that earlier this week, the EFCC invaded Adoke’s residence in Kano State, breaking doors, upturning chairs and tables, and generally disturbing the peace of the neighbourhood.

“They claimed they were looking for documents with which to substantiate their wild allegations of corruption against Mr. Adoke. They did not find anything incriminating as there was no such document.

“That action alone has established one fact — the EFCC has no shred of evidence on which they had charged Mr. Adoke to court. It was after charging him that they started hunting around for evidence. Is this justice?”

Adoke maintained that the $1.3bn Malabu deal was transparent, adding that it was done with the approval of former President Jonathan.

How Jonathan and aides sold Nigeria property, got $200 million from Malabu deal- Russian middleman revealed

jonathan-1dpIt has been reported that a Russian middleman who helped facilitate the Malabu deal says former president, Goodluck Jonathan, may have received as much as $200 million to approve the $1.3 billion sale of OPL 245 oil field.

Ednan Agaev reportedly met Jonathan on more than one occasion in Nigeria during the negotiations for the Malabu deal reports revealed.

Jonathan denied any wrongdoing despite the fact that his name has repeatedly featured in different investigations in the scandal across many jurisdictions.

Italian prosecutors added that former president, Goodluck Jonathan, received as much as $200 million to approve the controversial $1.3 billion sale of OPL 245 oil field.

The disclosure was made by Italian prosecutors in court documents which were gotten from investigation by Italian authorities into the deal. The documents also confirmed that Shell and ENI knew a good chunk of the $1.3 billion would be disbursed as kickbacks to Nigerian politicians, yet went ahead with the deal,

The prosecutors quoted Ednan Agaev, a Russian middleman who helped negotiate the transfer of the oil block to Shell and Eni, as saying that Dan Etete, the former petroleum minister at the heart of the oil scandal, said he intended to dole out as much as $400 million in bribes if the deal went through, If Mr Etete actually paid out such an amount in bribes to Nigerian officials, “Agaev stated that he would think President Goodluck Jonathan got at least $200 million of this money,” an excerpt of FBI submissions to Italian authorities stated.

It was learnt that Agaev made the disclosure to the FBI during an interview and was also said to have met with Mr Jonathan on more than one occasion in Nigeria during the OPL 245 negotiations. The Russian, who was Mr. Etete’s representative in the negotiation, said the convicted former petroleum minister told him of the $400 million bribe to Nigerian politicians when he approached him for his payment. When FBI detectives asked Mr. Agaev about payment of his commission, he “stated that he went to Etete and told him to pay him the $65,000,000 fee. Agaev stated that Etete said, ‘I can’t pay you, I have to pay Adoke [Mohammed Bello Adoke, then Nigeria’s attorney general] $400 million and all the other people in the Senate and the National assembly.” The claim that Jonathan probably received as much as $200 million in the deal was also repeated by the Russian in a follow-up interview with Italian prosecutors, led by Fabio De Pasquale in Milan. “I said that if it’s true, that he paid, he had to pay 400 million, I assume that at least 200 went to Goodluck (Jonathan).” “I heard from Chief (Etete), he claims that he had to pay 400 million, so, if this is true, if he paid 400 million, then most probably the President, as the biggest boss, took at least the half of it,” documents prepared by Italian prosecutors quoted. But Jonathan has denied any wrongdoing despite the fact that his name has repeatedly featured in different investigations in the scandal across many jurisdictions. Jonathan’s spokesperson, Ikechukwu Eze, had in a statement on a January 10 exonerated the former president about the Malabu oil deal. Meanwhile, the federal government had approached the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja for a warrant of arrest on former attorney general of the federation and minister of justice, Mohammed Adoke, over the controversial Malabu oil deal. added that the request was presented by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday, April 3. The EFCC has charged the former Attorney General, with illegal transfer of more than 800 million Dollars for the purchase of Oil Prospecting License, OPL, 245 to a former Minister of Petroleum, Don Etete and Malabu Oil. Counsel of the EFCC Johnson Ojogbane, however, made the plea verbally. Justice Tsoho, in his ruling told Ojogbane to bring the request in writing. He then adjourned the case to June 13.

Politics: Who is behind former Governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam?

Image result for Gabriel SuswamIt is very glaring that some people are some people are plotting the fall of former Governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam. Hours a go,  Federal Government, accused the ex-Governor, and two others of diverting the sum of N9.79bn, part of which was meant for police reform programme and Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme.

The SURE-P scheme was set up by the then President Goodluck Jonathan administration following the partial removal of fuel subsidy in 2012.

The funds were allegedly diverted between 2012 and 2015 while Suswam was the governor of Benue State.

The allegations are contained in the 32 fraud and money laundering charges filed against Suswam and two others on Monday.

Others named as defendants in the charges, filed before the Federal High Court in Abuja and marked FHC/ABJ/CR/48/2017, are a former Commissioner for Benue State under the Suswam’s administration, Mr. Omadachi Oklobia; and the then Accountant, Benue State Government House Administration, Mrs. Janet Aluga.

The prosecution alleged in the charges, signed by a counsel in the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation, Aminu Alilu, and Kehinde Fagbemi, that the three defendants committed the offences between 2012 and 2015.

It accused the defendants of conspiracy, conversion of property derived directly from corruption; collaboration to conceal property derived from corruption; obtaining by false pretences and accepting cash payments, exceeding the amount authorised by law.

The offences were said to be contrary to and punishable under various provisions of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011, and the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act.

In counts one and two, the prosecution alleged that the defendants, between August 8 and March 15, 2015, conspired and converted the sum of N4,135,208,404.90 allegedly “derived directly from corruption”.

The money was said to have been taken “from the Benue State SURE-P account number 0116099195, domiciled in Guaranty Trust Bank, into various illegal accounts with the aim of concealing the money.”

The prosecution, in counts three and four, accused the defendants of committing similar offences by transferring the sum of N2,975,329,418.88 from SURE-P account to illegal accounts between August 8 and March 16, 2015.

The amount mentioned between counts one and four amounted to a total of N7,110,537,823.78.

From count five to nine, the prosecution also accused the three defendants of conspiracy, collaboration to conceal, obtaining by false pretences and conversion of a cumulative sum of N7,110,537,823.78, allegedly derived directly from corruption.

The Federal Government also levelled similar allegations as well as acceptance of payments authorised by law from counts 10 to 14 against the defendants with respect to a cumulative sum of  N1,970,662,130.00.

The defendants allegedly “obtained” the money “from the Benue State Government for the benefit of yourselves and other unentitled persons” between June 27, 2014 and April 24, 2015.

Count 16 to 22 involve a cumulative sum of N450m allegedly diverted by the defendants from the Benue State Government’s account between April 2 and 8, 2015.

From count 24 to 28, the defendants were accused of diverting the sum of N45,593,500 meant for the Police Reform Programme on August 13, 2014.

Between count 29 and 32, the defendants were accused of conspiracy, conversion and obtaining by false pretences the sum of N214,809,000, belonging to Benue State Government between April 13 and 15, 2015.

Part of the charges read, “That you, Rt. Hon. Gabriel T. Suswam (m), former Governor of  Benue State of No. 1 Rio Negro Street, Maitama, Abuja; Omadachi Oklobia (m), former Commissioner for Finance of Flat 1 Block A13, Marathon Avenue, Games Village, Abuja; and Janet Aluga (f), former Accountant , Benue State Government House Administration of David Mark Extension, Agber Village, Makurdi, Benue State, between August 8, 2012 and March 16, 2015 at Makurdi, Benue State, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did conspire among yourselves to transfer a total sum of about N4,135,208,404.90, from the Benue State SURE-P account number 0116099195, domiciled in Guaranty Trust Bank, into various illegal accounts with the aim of concealing the money which you derived directly from corruption.

“That you, Rt. Hon. Gabriel T. Suswam (m), former Governor of  Benue State of No. 1 Rio Negro Street, Maitama, Abuja; Omadachi Oklobia (m), former Commissioner for Finance of Flat 1 Block A13, Marathon Avenue, Games Village, Abuja; and Janet Aluga (f), former Accountant , Benue State Government House Administration of David Mark Extension, Agber Village, Makurdi, Benue State, between August 8, 2012 and March 16, 2015 at Makurdi, Benue State, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did collaborate to conceal the genuine nature and origin of a total sum of about N7,110,537,823.78 which you moved from the Benue State SURE-P account number 1013470079  and account number 0116099195, domiciled in Zenith Bank Plc and Guaranty Trust Bank respectively, into various illegal accounts being money you derived from corruption.

“That you, Rt. Hon. Gabriel T. Suswam (m), former Governor of  Benue State of No. 1 Rio Negro Street, Maitama, Abuja; Omadachi Oklobia (m), former Commissioner for Finance of Flat 1 Block A13, Marathon Avenue, Games Village, Abuja; and Janet Aluga (f), former Accountant , Benue State Government House Administration of David Mark Extension, Agber Village, Makurdi, Benue State, on or about August 14, 2014, at Makurdi, Benue State, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, committed an offence, to wit: by false pretences and with intent to defraud, obtained the sum of N45,000,000 from Police Reform Programme Skye Bank account number  1750022970, belonging to the Nigeria Police and paid into the Benue State Government House First Bank Account number 2023289293 for your own benefit.”


Current Affairs: Jonathan Addresses U.S. Congress over State of the Nation

“If, as a nation, we do not kill religious persecution and extremism, then religious persecution and extremism will kill Nigeria.” This were the very words of immediate past president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan.

He further said that, “the potential danger associated with the level of conflicts going on across the country is so glaring that no sane mind can ignore.” He said it is not in the best interest of the U.S. and indeed the international community to ignore Nigeria.”

Jonathan gave the statement in a speech he delivered at the U.S. House Sub Committee on Africa on February 1, 2017. The speech is titled, “Challenges of Nigerian Christians and the Niger Delta Question-A Summary.” Read the full speech below: Challenges of Nigerian Christians and the Niger Delta Question-A Summary A Presentation by Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, Chairman of the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation to the U.S. House Sub Committee on Africa, February 1, 2017 Let me start by thanking Congressman, Christopher H. Smith, Chairman U.S. House Sub-Committee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations for inviting me to share my views on the crisis facing Christians in Nigeria today and the Niger Delta question. The U.S. Congress is a powerful institution not just for good governance in the U.S. but also for global peace and development. Over the years, the U.S. Congress has shown consistent interest in African affairs and I thank you for this and for showing interest in Nigeria. Congressman Smith has personally visited troubled spots in Nigeria and especially those geo-political zones that are considered the frontline of ethnic and religious conflicts. He has also visited the Niger Delta. I sincerely thank him for these efforts. File: Former President Jonathan giving his speech at Oxford In your invitation letter, you highlighted a number of very sensitive issues you wanted me to touch on. I group all these issues under ‘Challenges Facing Nigerian Christians and the Niger Delta Question’. A full discussion on even one of these issues may take a minimum of two hours, but here, I am expected to be very brief. I will therefore present a bird’s eye view, but when next your committee visits Nigeria, even more detailed presentations will be made by other stake holders. Nigeria and the World I read a paper presented by Princeton N. Lyman, a former U.S. ambassador to Nigeria, suggesting that Nigeria is no longer strategic to U.S. interests in Africa and the world as it used to be. Ambassador Lyman may have had valid reasons for such a view point, but I make bold to say that the relationship between the U.S. and Nigeria has come a long way since Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa’s State Visit to the U.S. in July of 1961 and that relationship should not only endure, but be built upon. Nigeria, as a nation, is relevant to the U.S. in my opinion especially when you consider such parameters as: Mineral Resources Economy/Trade Biotic Resources Population/Human Resources, etc Nations such as Nigeria can impact the globe positively when things are handled properly. They may also affect the world negatively if things go wrong. It is not in the best interest of the U.S. and indeed the international community to ignore Nigeria. Killing of Christians in Nigeria Your invitation letter profusely highlighted the issues of the killing of Christians in Nigeria, the last major incident being the recent killings in Southern Kaduna in Kaduna state, and I do not need to elaborate on that. The challenge is how do we stop that from recurring. How do we ensure that Christians and Muslims cohabit peacefully in Nigeria and practice their religions freely without discrimination, molestation and killings? One school of thought believes that these killings reoccur because of impunity. Security and law enforcement bodies unfortunately have a history of failing to apprehend the culprits of previous killings and disturbances and punishing according to the law. Such impunity has emboldened and encouraged persons with such tendencies. Indeed, though there have been over 10 major incidences of ethnic and religious conflagration in the frontline state of Kaduna since 1979, there has only ever been one incidence where the authorities took action, according to the law, to punish the culprits of the disturbances. This was in 1992, after the Zangon Kataf riots in which the official death toll was 300. The military administration of General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida constituted the Civil Disturbances Special Tribunal to try arrested persons and a total of 14 persons were sentenced to death, although the Babangida administration commuted the sentences to five years imprisonment. Within the period I served as a Vice President and later as President, it became very clear to me that if the issue of religion is not handled properly, the unity of the country would be in great jeopardy. Religious and other ethnic issues were becoming a stumbling block towards societal cohesion and economic development. I therefore set up a National Conference with the mandate of looking into all the grey areas militating against the peace, progress and development of Nigeria. On the issue of religion, let me quote unedited the position of the 2014 National Conference. Nigeria has over 350 ethnic nationalities and that: ‘“This multi-ethnicity has been compounded by pronounced religious differences, exploited usually for political considerations by avid political classes in contexts of extreme poverty and very low educational development among the mass of the populace. Whereas Nigeria is supposed to be a secular state,” one nation bound in freedom, peace and unity”, the prevalence of religiosity and its related nepotism at all levels, has effectively undermined the objectivity which secularity would have ordinarily imbued in national politics.” The Conference further stated that: “In view of the fact that religion plays a vital role in many aspects of our national life especially in the aspect of national security and national unity, it is highly imperative that it be singled out from other fundamental rights and given a special attention via the creation of an Equity Commission whose sole mandate will be to focus on religious rights and their promotion. This is in line with best global practices as many advanced democracies have special legal and institutional arrangements for some very sensitive aspects of their national life. Examples of such specialized agencies from other countries are presented below: a) In the United Kingdom, despite the existence of the UK Equal Opportunities Commission (UK-EOC), a Commission for Racial Equality (created by the Race Relations Act, 1976) which existed alongside UK-EOC for many years. This was done because at the time, issues of racial discrimination were very sensitive and crucial that it was thought necessary to create a special commission for it. b) In the United States, despite the existence of the US State Department Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, it has other special human rights enforcement agencies created to promote specific rights. One of such agencies is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) which is a federal law enforcement agency that enforces laws against workplace discrimination. The EEOC investigates discrimination complaints based on an individual’s race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability, genetic information, and retaliation for reporting, participating in, and/or opposing a discriminatory practice. c) Canada has a similar arrangement to that of the United States. The Canadian Human Rights Act has long prohibited discrimination on the basis of gender,COM FINAL CONFERENCE REPORT PAGE 433 race, ethnicity, and certain other grounds. In 1986, the Canadian government passed the Employment Equity Act which was meant to protect certain restricted vulnerable categories of persons. The Canadian Human Rights Act continues to be in force alongside the Employment Equity Act. d) In Australia, there are 3 different commissions addressing the issues of human rights, namely: Human Rights Commission, Anti-Discrimination Commission and Equal Opportunities Commission” I totally agreed with the 2014 National Conference on the need to establish the Religious Equity Commission that will have powers to arrest and prosecute those who contravene the law. If, as a nation, we do not kill religious persecution and extremism, then religious persecution and extremism will kill Nigeria. The potential danger associated with the level of conflicts going on across the country is so glaring that no sane mind can ignore. Even before I set up the National Conference in 2014, my government took certain initiatives to end impunity and reorient the minds of Nigerians. First was education. I established twelve conventional Federal Universities and two specialized universities. Nine of the twelve Federal Universities were located in those states in Northern Nigeria that previously did not have any Federal University. The Specialized Police University was located in Kano state, also in the North, bringing the total number of universities I established in the North of Nigeria to ten. The Specialized Maritime University was located in the Niger Delta. In addition to these, I also established 165 Almajiri elementary and high schools in each of the nineteen states of Northern Nigeria to combine Islamic education with Western education. In the area of law enforcement, it was quite challenging, but we were determined. When the Boko Haram Islamic terrorists bombed St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, Madalla, in Niger state of Nigeria on Christmas Day of 2011, I physically visited the scene of the bombing at which 44 people died on Saturday the 31st of December 2011 and I promised Nigerians that those responsible for that heinous act would be brought to book. That promise was fulfilled on the 20th of December 2013 when Kabiru Umar, aka Kabiru Sokoto, was sentenced to life imprisonment after my administration investigated that crime, identified him as the mastermind, arrested him and diligently prosecuted him and some of his associates. Might I add that this was the first and only successful prosecution of a crime of deadly terrorism against a religious place of worship inspired by religious extremism since Nigeria’s return to civil rule in 1999. Before then, my administration had also diligently carried out the first successful prosecution of terrorists of the Islamic extremist group, Boko Haram, for another terror attack, but this time not in a place of worship but on the offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission also in Madalla, Niger state, an act which led to the deaths of sixteen persons on April 8th, 2011. We were in the process of prosecuting Aminu Ogwuche, the mastermind of the April 14, 2014 Nyanya bombing in Nasarawa state which killed 75 people but unfortunately that prosecution was ongoing as at the time I left office in 2015. But the point I want to emphasize by citing these incidences is that my administration had the political will to halt impunity in Nigeria and that is why killings due to religious extremism was localized to the Northeast with occasional killings in other zones of the North. And even in the Northeast, we had rolled back the Islamic terrorist sect, Boko Haram, by the end of the first quarter of 2015 after we were able to get weapons to arm our military. The killings did not spread to the mainly Christian south and I believe that the fight back against impunity by my administration was the main reason for this. Of course, there were other reasons for this. For instance, through my personal reach out to the then President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, I was able to persuade the Body of Christ in Nigeria not to engage in any retaliation or reprisal killings. My job was made easier in this regards when the Christian Association of Nigeria saw a genuine desire on my part to bring religious extremists to book. Using the same approach with the head of the Muslim Ummah in Nigeria, His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto, I was able to get the mainstream of the Islamic faith to publicly condemn Islamic extremism in Nigeria. This was important to show that a clampdown on Islamic extremism was and is not a clampdown on Islam. Going a step further, I worked through a body known as the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) to bring Christian and Muslim leaders together so they could talk to each other not at each other. To summarize on the issue of ethnic and religious conflicts, I recommend the establishment of the Religious Equity Commission, enforcement of our laws without fear or favor and maximum cooperation by all Nigerians especially our revered religious leaders and clerics. The Niger Delta Question The issue of the Niger Delta is an issue of exploitation of natural resources, economy and development. The complaints and restiveness is not unique to the Niger Delta of Nigeria alone. In most African nations where resources are domiciled in minority regions and the control of such resources are in the hands of majority regions, such agitations are commonplace. The people in these regions feel that though they suffer from the environmental hazards of the exploitation of the God given resources, they do not commensurately benefit from the exploitation of these resources. In the Niger Delta, these agitations predate Nigeria’s existence in 1914. Oil palm produce (palm oil and kernel) were major raw materials that fed the growth of the Industrial Revolution in Europe, and they largely came from the Niger Delta. Various tribal kings and chiefs such as King Jaja of Opobo and Nana Olomu, resisted British exploitation of these resources and were both arrested, deposed and exiled to the West Indies (King Jaja) and the Gold Coast (Nana) by the British Imperial Government as punishment for their agitations. Let me add that the punitive measures against these kings did not end the agitations. With the discovery of petroleum, in the Niger Delta, similar agitations surfaced. On February 23, 1966, these agitations culminated in the declaration of the first secessionist state in post independent Nigeria, the Niger Delta Republic, proclaimed by Isaac Jasper Adaka Boro. His twelve day revolution was crushed by the Federal Government. It is instructive to note that Isaac Boro declared the Republic of the Niger Delta a full year and three months before May, 1967 when then Colonel Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu declared the secession of the Eastern Region to form the Republic of Biafra leading to the thirty month civil war. From the end of the civil war to date the Federal Government has come up with many interventionist initiatives to pacify the Niger Delta. I was a pioneer staff and worked as an Assistant Director of Environmental Protection at one of these early interventionist agencies called the Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission (OMPADEC), set up by the military administration of General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida. With the advent of democracy in 1999, then President Olusegun Obasanjo established the present body, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). The greatest stumbling block of these interventionist agencies was lack of continuity, resulting from an over politicization of projects as each successive management awarded new contracts rather than continue with those awarded by their predecessors and as such, the Niger Delta is littered with many abandoned projects with very few completed projects to show for the huge monies spent. During the Obasanjo era, the Federal Government, in line with our constitution and revenue laws, set aside 13% of oil revenues to be paid as derivation funds to oil producing states and shared on the basis of proportion of oil they produce.  As a person from the Niger Delta, I can say that the 13% derivation has benefitted Niger Delta states and their people more than the interventionist agencies. For example, those who knew Akwa Ibom state before the 13% derivation become law will agree that the derivation fund has changed the face of that state making it almost overnight one of the most developed states in Nigeria. The same is true with other oil producing states though with varying degrees of development. From the foregoing, the only option that will solve the agitation in the Niger Delta is true and Fiscal Federalism as practiced in the United States from whom we copied the Presidential model of government. States should be allowed to exploit their natural resources as they deem fit and pay adequate taxes to the Federal Government. This is also the position of the 2014 National Conference. The Conference strongly recommended the adoption of Fiscal Federalism as the only panacea to these agitations and other challenges. The Role of the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation Resolving both the religious crises and the Niger Delta question requires a new legal framework, thus the Federal Government and the National Assembly have major roles to play. The Goodluck Jonathan Foundation working with Elder statesmen and Civil Society groups can, through dialogue and advocacy, encourage religious leaders, traditional rulers, youth groups and women groups to participate in the formulation of a new legal framework. They will also be impressed upon to abide by these laws when put in place. Without a new legal framework, successes by any advocacy group will at best be transient, it will not endure. Also, the military crackdown in the Niger Delta will not end the agitation there. It will have the opposite effect of provoking the youths which will cause them to seek to acquire sophisticated weapons to defend themselves and their communities. This may in turn lead to secessionist movements and the reincarnation of the Isaac Jasper Adaka Boro led revolution and the Biafran Civil War. The Federal Government and the international community must work to avoid this. Global Terror and Boko Haram in Nigeria The Boko Haram Islamic terrorist sect has been classified as the most deadly terror group in the world by the Global Terrorism Index. Herdsmen operating in and around Nigeria are listed as the fourth most deadly terror group. However, I do not intend to discuss global terror because it is a subject well known to all and the U.S. government has been working hard with various governments to address these issues. My belief is that the day the U.S. government and the Russian government decide to work together, that will surely mark the beginning of the end of global terror. Conclusion In my capacity as head of the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation, I visited former Nigerian leaders to call for unity of purpose to fend off some of these challenges I have listed above. And finally today I am here, calling on this august body and the new American administration of President Donald J Trump, of whom we are very confident, to please work with the government and people of Nigeria by way of capacity building and intelligence gathering and sharing and indeed in any way possible to bring an end to religious extremism in Nigeria. Mr. Chairman, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my ideas on these sensitive subject with you.

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