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At Washington DC  Mbonu Meets New US Ambassador to Nigeria in Washington DC-Discusses Insecurity In Nigeria.

 

Executive Director of Nigerian-American Council (NAC), and Former Presidential Aspirant in 2019, Dr. Okey Samuel Mbonu, yesterday met with the new US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, in Washington DC, to discuss matters of rising international concern on Nigeria, especially on security and other important matters.


In a brief statement, issued on the sidelines of a Nigeria Event at the Washington DC think-tank, "Center for Security and International Studies (CSIS)", Mbonu said, “the current government in Nigeria may have abdicated its duty to protect its citizens, especially Nigerian Christians, of which images of horrific murders, by Nigerian terrorists, are now at the center of the world attention”.


Mbonu said, “where the government fails to live up to its primary responsibility, of ensuring the safety and security of citizens, they may leave citizens with no option but to revert to the basic human doctrine of self-defense”.


On the direction of Nigeria's political future, Mbonu said, “equity and convention dictates the next President of Nigeria in 2023 would be from the Southeast region of Nigeria”.


On why more political leaders of Nigeria did not speak-out per the murder of visible Christian leaders, such as the Chairman of the "Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN)" in Adamawa State, Mbonu said, “many of the Southern and Northern leaders, including Christian political leaders, are enmeshed in massive corruption, which makes them afraid to speak-out, because they fear a dusting up of their corruption files”.



Mbonu also stated that he believes that “2023 will usher-in completely new leadership in Nigeria, it will be an opportunity for new-generation leaders with zero corruption baggage, and 21st Century credentials to emerge on the political stage”.

 

Nigeria is set to receive around $308 million seized from former military dictator Sani Abacha under a deal backed by the United States and the island of Jersey, US prosecutors said Monday.


The sum is the latest to be recovered from the accounts of Abacha, an army officer who ruled Nigeria from 1993 until his death in 1998 aged 54, which sparked an ongoing search for hundreds of millions of dollars he stole and hid abroad.


The repatriation of the money from Jersey, in the English Channel off the coast of northern France, follows a 2014 US court ruling authorizing the seizure of $500 million of cash laundered by Abacha in accounts worldwide, the US Department of Justice said in a statement.


The $308 million recovered represents "corrupt monies laundered during and after the military regime of General Abacha" together with his son and a number of associates via US financial institutions and the purchase of bonds, the Justice Department said.


After several court challenges to the 2014 ruling, the government of Jersey seized the $308 million located on the island.

"General Abacha and his cronies robbed Nigerians of vast public resources and abused the US and international financial systems to launder their criminal proceeds," Brian Benczkowski, an assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice's criminal division, said in a statement.


"Today's landmark agreement returns to the people of Nigeria hundreds of millions of the embezzled monies through a lawful process that ensures transparency and accountability."


The agreement includes provisions to ensure "transparency and accountability," the Justice Department said, and after the US and Jersey transfer the money to Nigeria it is set to be spent on three major road projects across the country which has long struggled with waste and fraud in infrastructure projects.


In April 2018, Nigeria announced that it had received more than $300 million from Switzerland as part of money seized from the family of Abacha.


Those funds went to pay part of the bill of a government welfare scheme targeted at the country's poor.



The Justice Department is also seeking to recover other sums linked to Abacha, including $30 million in Britain, $144 million in France and $177 million located in trusts that name Abacha's associates and relatives as beneficiaries, according to the statement.

Olaudah Equiano, an Igbo free slave, a  freedom fighter and an abolitionist. He joined William Wilberforce in abolition movement  and became the wealthiest black man in the English-speaking world.




When Olaudah Equiano published his autobiography in England in 1789, he achieved instant celebrity. Several thousand copies were sold, the subscribers including the Prince of Wales, the Duke of York and the Duke of Cumberland. The book went through nine editions between 1789 and 1794, and pirated versions appeared in Holland, New York, Russia and Germany. 


He was a best-selling author, and became the wealthiest black man in the English-speaking world. He was so well off that he dabbled in moneylending to English people. 



His daughter inherited £950 and a silver watch from his estate. Two centuries on, Equiano continues to sell - there are more than half a dozen editions on the market, including a Penguin Classics. He is required reading in every British, American or African University teaching black studies. Chinua Achebe called him "the father of African literature". 



Henry Gates claimed him for America as "the founding father of the Afro-American literary tradition". In Britain, where he spent much of his life, he is deemed the founder of black British literature and has pride of place in the forthcoming Oxford Companion to Black British History.



A major reason for Equiano's popularity is that his autobiography contains a detailed account of his birth and childhood in Nigeria, with rare descriptions of the culture of 18th-century Igbo society. His narrative of the Atlantic crossing in a slave ship is as unique as it is moving. 



The early chapters are much anthologised since they offer a first-hand record of an African kidnapped at the age of ten, taken to the coast, sold to European merchants and despatched to the Americas. Equiano writes passionately and vividly of his separation from his mother and sister, of his initial horror at seeing Europeans (they behaved so brutishly and were so alien to behold 


- "white men with horrible looks, red faces and long hair" - that he feared they were cannibals bent on eating the cargo of slaves), of the astonishment of seeing a ship for the first time and, on the transatlantic journey, of the strange and exotic sight of flying fish and other sea creatures. In the midst of dreadful suffering the child-Equiano asserts the magical beauty of life. A sympathetic white sailor lets him look through a quadrant. 



"The clouds appeared to me to be land, which disappeared as they past along. This heightened my wonder and I was now more persuaded than ever that I was in another world, and that everything about me was magic."

 

It is difficult to believe that it is over 50 years since the end of Nigeria Civil War, what with the scars and the wounds that seem to fester and become more malignant and the ensuing cold war that has refused to abate.


Although the war ended on a no-victor-no-vanquished note and a promise of reconstruction, rehabilitation and reconciliation as pronounced by the Gowon-led federal government, yet the real war continued in a more insidious and sinister manner. Apart from the initial punitive measures immediately after the war there has been series of obnoxious measures to stymie development in the Southeast. There is no visible federal government presence in Igbo heartland. Every successive government follows the same repressive pattern except for the brief periods when IBB and GEJ were in power.


Thus, ndi-Igbo have continued to experience insufferable marginalization. Every geopolitical zone in the country has at least six states, only Southeast, the Igbo strong hold has five.The Southeast has the fewest number of local government areas and is least represented in the National Assembly and in the government. Over 70% of travelers and over 70% of importers in the country are Igbo yet the seaports in the Southeast and the geographically contiguous South-south region are made not to function.



There is no international airport in the Southeast. The only one built by GEJ has been tactically closed down for almost one year now.  They are made very vulnerable by their ubiquity in every city and every nook and cranny of the country; a clandestine design by those in power since the end of the war. Apart from the government sphere, the war also continued in the most unusual place—in the press—that is supposed to be the bastion of truth. The Nigerian Press in particular has been most unfair to ndi-Igbo in its reportage, analysis and interpretation of events and in gate-keeping functions.


Igbo are not in power yet they are blamed for all the woes of the nation. Hard work is mischievously misinterpreted to mean love for money. It is fashionable to attack the Igbo man and many revel in doing it. Ndi-Igbo have continued to live like endangered species in Nigeria. They bear the brunt of every religious and politically instigated disturbance in the country. It is disheartening that in the post-civil war Nigeria ndi-Igbo have continued to lose thousands of its own through organized and systemic riots, sometimes for inane reasons like the February 2006 attack over a cartoon in a Danish newspaper and the November 2002 Kaduna riot over Miss World Beauty pageant in Abuja. No one was arrested or tried for any of these.

biafra-protest



The exact cause of the war has been misinterpreted and manipulated by the obscurantist and suppressionists to justify the pogrom committed and to justify the continued obnoxious policies against ndi-Igbo in Nigeria. The popular opinion is that ndi-Igbo planned coup against Nigeria and took up arms against Nigeria. But the truth suppressed is that Ndi-Igbo did not fight Nigeria.They acted in self defence. The coup of January 1966 was the misdemeanor of a few ideologically misguided young military officers who were goaded by false notion of patriotism. They were influenced by the ideology of the Eastern Bloc that was the rave of the 60s and incited by the press that were in sympathy with the Action Group (AG) and its leaders jailed for plotting to overthrow the Tafawa Belewa government. Although the bulk of the officers that planned the coup were of Igbo extraction, yet officers from other ethnic groups were also involved.


The leader of the coup, Major Chukwuma Nzeogwu, was born and bred in Kaduna. His middle name was Kaduna. He was more Hausa than Igbo. He came from Okpanam, a place he rarely visited when he was alive, in present day Delta State. The obscurantist would not tell us that those who frustrated the-said Igbo coup were Igbo officers. General Ironsi quelled the mutiny in Lagos while Lt. Col. Ojukwu who was the garrison commander in Kano stopped the revolt in the North.


Lt. Col. Arthur Unegbe an Igbo officer who was the Quartermaster-General of the Army then was killed by the mutineers for refusing to hand in the key to the armoury. Zik of Africa was out of the country on medical treatment as at the time of the coup and could not have been killed in absentia. The mutineers did not operate in Enugu because apparently they did not want create diplomatic row as Okpara was hosting the Prime Minister of Seychelles Island in Enugu.


Chief Ladoke Akintola was killed because he resisted the coup plotters when they came for him. The same people that killed Akintola spared Remi Fani-Kayode, drove him to Lagos and released him.  The misinterpretation of the January 1966 Coup was what led to the counter coup of July 1966 and the consequent pogrom in the North. At four different occasions: in May 29th, July 29th, September 29th and October 29th, 1966, over 50,000 Igbo were butchered and hundreds of thousands of others raped, maimed, robbed, displaced and dehumanized in the most horrendous circumstances and till date no person or group has been held to account for that.


It is also worthy to note that the organized attack on Igbo predates the January 1966 coup. In 1945, there was attack on Ndi-Igbo in Jos and in May 1953 there was attack on Igbo in Kano over a harmless motion for self-rule moved by Enahoro on the floor of the Federal House. Thus, the federal government refusal to protect ndi-Igbo during the genocide of 1966 and 1967 and the flagrant refusal to implement the Aburi Accord was what led the civil war. The problem of Nigeria today is poverty, corruption and bad leadership and none of these is the making of the Igbo man. Igbo man has not been at helm of affairs since 1966 to date and yet when their traducers want to pass blame they call the Igbo man. Why would Nigerians spare the buttocks that fart and give knock to the head that has done nothing wrong?



Why are Nigerians venting their frustration on the hapless Igbo man when those who brought us to this sorry state of affairs are prancing around? Since the end of the war, they have not been in government meaning they are not the cause of the problem ravaging the land. In fact, among the few people that have acquitted themselves creditably in public office since the current democratic dispensation are people of Igbo extraction: Dora Akunyili, Obiageli Ezekwesili, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Charles Soludo, and Peter Obi. Nigerians should know that the injustice that led to the civil war is still staring us menacingly in the face today. Fifty years after the fratricidal war, there is no glimmer of hope of unity and national cohesion. There is no sense of nationhood.



When Martin Luther King (Jr.) said in his famous speech that he had a dream, there were discrimination, racism and white supremacists in America but he was optimistic because those who rule America were intelligent statesmen, nationalists and patriots. Nobody can say that in the present day Nigeria except hypocrites and those suffering from self-delusion. Nigeria will benefit more from integration yet the drones that control the state affairs want the status quo sustained for parochial reasons. Nigeria should restructure along the recommendations of the Aburi Accord or split peacefully. Other nations have done so in the past. Our so-called unity is not cast on stone. It is indeed negotiable!


Irogboli is an economist and public policy analyst.

 

Former Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar issued statement  on Trump Government’s  action to place Nigeria on its travel ban list. He blamed  Buhari's government.

 


"US Travel Ban on Nigeria: Punish Those Responsible, Not the Nigerian People"




"I received with sadness the policy of the government of the United States of America to place Nigeria on its travel ban list.



While I understand the reasons given by the Trump administration (the failure of the Muhammadu Buhari led administration to share information and to address issues of terrorism), the ban does not take into account the pro-American sentiments of the Nigerian public and the solidarity previous Nigerian administrations have had with the United States.



I urge the government of President Donald Trump to consider the history of US-Nigerian relationships. Nigeria was one of the few African nations that joined the US led coalition during Operation Desert Storm in 1990-1991, when the United States championed the liberation of Kuwait.



The Trump administration may also consider the pivotal role Nigeria, in partnership with the US, played in bringing peace to Liberia, an American sphere of influence, that now enjoys democracy because Nigerian blood and money paved the way for peace in that nation.



Nigeria has also consistently voted in support of the United States and her allies at the United Nations and other multi-lateral world bodies. This is even as we are perhaps the biggest trading partner that the United States has in Africa, even where we had alternatives.



Nigerians love the United States and have been a major force for the positive development of that great nation: 77 per cent of all Black doctors in the United States are Nigerians. Nigerians are also the most educated immigrant community in America Bar None.



Surely, the US stands to benefit if it allows open borders with a country like Nigeria that is able to provide skilled, hardworking and dedicated personnel in a two-way traffic.


The current Nigerian administration may have its deficiencies and deep faults, but the Nigeria people ought not to be punished for their inefficiencies. Once again, I call on President Trump to consider adopting measures that individually target those in government who have failed in their duties, rather than target the entire Nigerian population."

President Trump has placed travel restrictions and outright immigration ban on Nigeria and other five countries Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar,   Sudanese and Tanzanian.



These two Asian and four more African countries  travel were restricted and Trump suspended immigrant visas for citizens of Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, and Nigeria and suspended Sudanese and Tanzanian citizens from participating in the U.S. “visa lottery” system.


WHY?

Image result for nigeria ban us travel


“Defending American lives and safety is the President’s highest duty, ”  was the focal point of the travel ban according  to  a statement released by White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham .


The statement further stated : “The new restrictions will not apply to tourist, business, or other nonimmigrant travel,” the White House said in a statement regarding the additional six countries. “The Administration will work with the non-compliant countries to bring them into compliance with United States security standards.”



“It is fundamental to national security, and the height of common sense, that if a foreign nation wishes to receive the benefits of immigration and travel to the United States, it must satisfy basic security conditions outlined by America’s law-enforcement and intelligence professionals.” 


These countries  “fail to conduct proper identity management protocols and procedures, or that fail to provide information necessary to comply with basic national security requirements,”  the  statement concluded.

 

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