Monday, 24 February 2014

N100 bribe: Court sentences policeman to death

A High Court sitting in Port Harcourt on Monday sentenced a police sergeant, Clement Indyel, to death for killing two persons while engaging in a fight with a bus driver over a N100 bribe.
Two other persons identified as Ali Bello and Auwalu Kwale, bagged life imprisonment each for their involvement in the crime.

Justice Biobele Georgewill, who delivered judgement on the matter, said Indyel and the two others conspired to murder Chinyeaka Kamalu and Ugochukwu Harcourt.

Georgewill, who recalled that the convicts were charged with felony, conspiracy and murder, said they (convicts) attacked the victims, who were passengers.

He added that the report of the autopsy conducted on the victims revealed that they (victims) sustained gunshot injuries that led to their death.

The trial judge maintained that the injuries sustained by the victims were as a result of the bullets from the AK-47 rifles used by the policemen.

According to Justice Georgewill, the incident that led to the sudden demise of Kamalu and Harcourt occurred on January 17, 2010 in Port Harcourt.

“The result of the autopsy conducted on the remains of the victims, which was tendered in court, showed that the wound sustained by them was bullet wound from AK47 rifles used by the officers.
“The only way the souls of the victims can rest in peace for their unjust murder by police officers who were meant to protect them is to allow the law to take its course,” he said.

Sister to the late Kamalu, Mrs. Chinyere Ideoha, expressed delight over the ruling of the court, even as she added that the judgement could not bring back her dead sister to life.


Court registrar jailed for receiving bribe

An Enugh High Court has sentenced the Registrar of a Magistrate’s Court in Enugu State, Anikwu Ifesinachi, to three years jail without an option of fine, for demanding bribe.

According to a statement from the spokesperson of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other related Offences Commission, Mr. Folu Olamiti, Justice A. A. Nwobodo convicted him after finding him guilty of contravening section 10 (a) (ii) of the ICPC Act, 2000.

Ifesinachi was accused of demanding N80, 000.00 bribe from the relation of a suspect before he would process the warrant of release of the suspect who had been in custody for about two years.

The statement said, “After persistent demand, the relation approached ICPC and the Commission gave him marked money. As soon as the accused collected the money from the relation, he was arrested by the operatives of the ICPC.

“Consequently, the accused was charged on two counts for demanding and receiving bribe under the ICPC Act in the High Court of Enugu,” it added.

The ICPC in the charge stated that “Ifesinachi ‘m’ on or about June 2010, whilst being the clerk of the Magistrate Court, Awgu, received the bribe purportedly for Chief Magistrate J.S Ede of the same Magistrate’s Court, before the warrant of one Maduabuchi Oji could be processed.”

In the course of the trial, the prosecution called three witnesses and tendered some exhibits while the accused gave evidence without calling any witness.

In his defence, the registrar claimed to have collected the money on behalf of the complainants whom he did not call as a witness.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Warri residents protest return of police roadblocks

WorldStage Newsonline-- Some Warri residents on Wednesday stormed the Nigerian Union of Journalist (NUJ), Press Centre in Warri to draw the attention of police hierarchy to the return of “illegal road blocks” to the metropolis.
They alleged unlawful arrest and detention while decrying the "unfriendly disposition" of policemen at "B" Division also known as Avenue Police Station in Warri.

The protesters alleged that police activities had made it difficult for them to exercise their right to freedom of movement particularly in the evening hours.

Spokesman of the  protesters, Oghenekevwe Onome  said, "We have come to you people as the watch dog of the society to help us reach out to the Inspector General of Police (IGP), the Commissioner of Police, Delta State Command, Ikechukwu Aduba and the Delta State Government and let them know the embarrassment that has become of police particularly the B-Division Police in Warri.

"The other day, they went round the whole of Okumagba Avenue arresting indiscriminately people who were relaxing at beer palours, subjecting them to bail raging from 3,000 to 5,000 depending on your bargaining power. A boy who was returning from lesson whose photograph we have here was arrested and injured with the butt of police rifle. Another young boy who went to buy 'akara' (bean cake) was arrested and all of them bundled to the police station."

Another resident, Kome Eradejaye said, "Just recently, another young boy who was returning from work carrying a video camera was accosted and upon interrogation he told them that he hired the camera. Despite his explanations, they insisted that he must take them to the owner which he obliged. But when they got there, the police arrested the owner of the camera and took him to the station in spite of the fact that the receipt of the camera was produced."

Monday, 17 February 2014

Fallacy of Division and Nigerian Corrupt Ministers, By Adeolu Ademoyo

Last week four Nigerian ministers were relieved of their services. Some of them had been pointedly accused of corruption.  They are Stella Oduah (Aviation), Godsday Orubebe (Niger Delta Affairs), Caleb Olubolade (Police Affairs) and Yerima Ngama (Finance).

Interestingly, from the relieve, it seems the “national quota” and  “ethics” of “federal” character commission are at work!  Thus the question is: will it ever be possible for a Nigerian president to take the morally right decision as each corrupt case arises without “balancing” it with some ethnic consideration? Time will tell.

Corruption is a universal poor ethics. It is not peculiar to Nigeria or Africa, nor is it genetic or ethnic. However two things are Nigerian about corruption. They are failure of the Nigerian state to act decisively and prosecute corruption and the deliberate ethnic muddling of corruption cases by common folks in Nigeria and     especially those in surprisingly “high” places.

The supposedly “well read” Nigerian would normally waive the ethnic flag when officials they think are from “our” ethnic group are accused of corruption!  That was the case with some of the recently sacked ministers and those ministers President Jonathan continues to protect and shield for reasons of his own personal economic interests and political survival.

Here I am talking about Ms. Diezani Alison-Madueke the   corrupt minister of petroleum who sits on the most reported corruption in Nigerian history in the so-called Nigerian oil industry. I am sure Stella Oduah must be chuckling cynically at Nigeria and her sack while the main source of corruption in the Nigerian presidency Diezani Alison-Madueke is jealously guarded by an equally corrupt president!

At the time President Jonathan was “sacking” some corrupt ministers without prosecuting them, here in the Diaspora something similar and morally instructive unfolded. The former Mayor of New Orleans in Louisiana State, Mr. Nagin was being convicted for corruption charges.

And far away in Europe, the 28-member country European Commission released a report, which indicted corrupt European countries. The Commission’s Home Affairs Commissioner, Cecelia Malmstrom, described the findings of the report on European corruption as breathtaking because under European graft and corruption   €120bn are lost annually to corrupt practices and shady deals. Also, in the report we know that 60 per cent of Europeans say that corruption has increased in their countries as opposed to 47 per cent three years ago.

These continental cases show that corruption does not have any ethnic coloration, which Nigerians deliberately give it to muddle the issue and defend the corrupt. Take Mr. Nagin’s case in America for example. Remember hurricane Katrina where lives   were  lost?  As the mayor during that sad period of hurricane Katrina, Mr. Nagin was the face of the call for help and succor that came to the survivors of the hurricane. It was the same sadness and grief which hurricane Katrina brought that Mr. Nagin allegedly turned into a source to milk the American public through abuse of his office.

The interesting thing is that Mayor Nagin is black like me. But there was not a single reference to his race or ethnicity in his prosecution and conviction. In his case there was no fallacy of  division  where it would have been awkwardly and dubiously   said that Mr. Nagin was being prosecuted because of his race or ethnicity.

That Mr. Nagin is corrupt  does not mean that we  peoples of African descent   are corrupt.  No one referenced his blackness, race or ethnic origin  in his prosecution and eventual conviction.
Legitimately, in Mr. Nagin’s conviction  it was  all about law and ethics.  Shame and jail are the prices  the corrupt individual  pays for his/her corruption. So Mr. Nagin goes to jail like any other corrupt persons black or white or whatever. But this is not the case with respect to my country, Nigeria. Abuja, New Orleans, two cities, different ethics.

In Nigeria, it is duly documented for all eyes to see that Ms. Stella Oduah was one of the major funding sources  of President Jonathan’s campaign in the last election.  This is a fact that  the most fervent defenders of President Jonathan cannot refute. The organization Neighbor 2 Neighbor owned by the sacked  Stella Oduah  and Godwin Orubebe was one of the illicit conduit pipes for the support for President Jonathan in the last election.

So it is silly that when the story of Mrs. Stella Oduah’s corruption   broke religion and ethnicity were deployed in her defense.  Like the case of Mr. Nagin, those who accused   Stella Oduah  took her on  as an individual who allegedly abused her office  to her own  personal benefit, the companies she has interest in  and to the benefit of  her  political sponsors in the Nigerian presidency and the companies like Coscharis  Motors-they are invested in.

But unfortunately like most Nigerian  politicians if not all of them, Stella Oduah and her handlers  muddled the issue.  Behind the scene, like  the typical Nigerian politician, they deployed ethnicity.  It was so bad and ridiculous that chiefs and ethnic organizations   were lined up  to show how she is innocent.
I  do hope that these chiefs, persons ,ethnic organizations  and Oduah handlers who openly said Stella Oduah was being prosecuted for ethnic reasons will have the good sense to rethink their bad faith and breadth-   given how intensely corrupt Stella Oduah  has proven to be.

But the problem goes beyond Stella Oduah.  Diversity is a good ethics in multinational societies, which our country, Nigeria is.  However, when officials/ministers/commissioners are appointed principally  as representatives of ethnic groups and not for their moral merit, then it is no longer about the goodness of the pragmatism of the  ethics of  diversity but  an un-ethical political appeasement. The dubious and immoral  ethnic then trumps otherwise good  pragmatic ethics.  This is why corrupt ministers and their companies appeal to the ethnic when  they are caught pants down.

Finally, here in America, companies which are  cited sites of corruption that are used by pubic officials to perpetuate corruption are made to  inherit the opprobrium of the same corrupt  public officials who used them to loot. But this not  the case in  Nigeria.  Companies like  Coscharis Motors who are cited sites of corruption go scot-free even when public officials that collaborated with them are sacked for corruption!

But as corrupt public officials fall, companies they have used to steal must go down with them. The EFCC must beam its searching lights on  companies that are cited sites of corruption like Coscharis Motors.

Like all immorality corruption is a teamwork, it is a network. To take out a few individuals while leaving the network  will only  re-grow corruption and strengthen it.
So, this is the time to ask Coscharis Motors and other companies, which are, cited sites of corruption to come clean and inform us about what they know in the looting and moral destruction of Nigeria.

Adeolu Ademoyo aaa54@cornell.edu is of Africana Studies and Research Center, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Nigeria ravaged by $20bn oil robbery

It was 2am when a fireball pierced the inky night sky above a small community in the Niger delta. The explosion near Port Harcourt last June killed several people and released 6,000 barrels of crude oil. The cause: contractors hired by Royal Dutch Shell to stop pirates siphoning oil from a huge pipeline were themselves stealing fuel, and something went terribly wrong. The blast led to the shutdown… Shell, the largest foreign operator in the country, was responsible for more than 20,00 barrels of last year’s spills.

By John Donovan: Sunday 17 February 2014

The Sunday Times has today published an article by Danny Fortson under the headline: “Nigeria ravaged by $20bn oil robbery”
The article reveals information about a new website being launched next month by The National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency as a result of an initiative by a group of interested parties, including the Nigerian Government and local communities. The website will publish searchable details about every oil spill in Nigeria. It is expected to shame big oil.
As could be anticipated, Shell’s name is mentioned many times in the half-page article about oil spills, intrigue, greed and robbery e.g.
It was 2am when a fireball pierced the inky night sky above a small community in the Niger delta. The explosion near Port Harcourt last June killed several people and released 6,000 barrels of crude oil. The cause: contractors hired by Royal Dutch Shell to stop pirates siphoning oil from a huge pipeline were themselves stealing fuel, and something went terribly wrong. The blast led to the shutdown…
Shell, the largest foreign operator in the country, was responsible for more than 20,00 barrels of last year’s spills.
Extracts end
The Guardian newspaper published a remarkable article in November 1997 about Shell under the headline “Unloveable Shell, the Goddess oil Oil. It mentioned Shell’s unholy conduct in Nigeria, including financial support of the corrupt regime that murdered Ken Saro-Wiwa.

This is a link to the Guardian article together with a response letter received from then Shell Chairman, Mark Moody-Stuart, who cited in defense, Shell’s Statement of Principles covering business integrity, health, safety and the environment.  Moody-Stuart stated:just having those principles is no longer enough. In the past an oil company could say‘trust me” Today, people say “tell me - listen to me - show me”
Some 17 years later stakeholders and everyone else can make a judgment about whether Shell can be trusted. The list of Shell management misdeeds over many intervening years is extensive (if you don’t believe me check this webpage), but I will just mention as a couple of glaring examples, the reserves scandal announced to a shocked world in January 2004 and the unfulfilled repeated pledges to end gas flaring in Nigeria.
Since Shell manifestly cannot be trusted, the new website must be a good idea. 


Saturday, 15 February 2014

Kerosene: Marketers pay NNPC officials N195bn bribe

Oil marketers may have paid over N195.5bn as a bribe to officials of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation before getting allocations to lift kerosene between 2010 and 2012, Saturday PUNCH has learnt.

It was learnt that the NNPC compelled marketers to pay a bribe of N25 per litre which was usually described as mobilisation fee, to petroleum ministry and top NNPC officials before they could get allocations to lift kerosene.

A source, who asked not to be named but who is in the oil industry, added that marketers who could pay the NNPC and petroleum ministry’s top shots N25 on every litre got kerosene allocations.

The source said, “So many things are happening and that is why it is almost impossible to sell kerosene to end users below N170. For any marketer to get allocation, you will pay N25 per litre and this is aside from other expenses that are incurred to get the product to the end users.’’

The NNPC has been the sole importer of kerosene despite a directive by the late President Musa Yar’Adua in 2009, which asked the corporation to discontinue the kerosene subsidy.

Investigation also revealed that many portfolio marketers, who are cronies of government and top NNPC officials, among other marketers, were those able to get allocations to lift kerosene in the last three years.
An analysis of figures obtained from the official website of the NNPC showing the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company sales of household kerosene revealed that 2.996 billion litres of the product were sold in 2010.

In 2011, 2.869 billion litres were sold; while in 2012, the corporation sold 3.123 billion litres of the commodity to consumers.

When put together, the NNPC sold 8.988 billion litres of kerosene within a three- year period of 2010 to 2012.

Investigation by one of our correspondents showed that the NNPC might have spent N988.84bn on kerosene subsidy between 2010 and 2012.

This is because the corporation currently imports the product at N156.46k per litre and sells to marketers at N40.90k per litre.

With 8.988 billion litres of kerosene sold in three years, the source said about 7.819 billion litres must have been lifted by oil marketers who had to pay N25 for every litre of kerosene allocation they got between 2010 and 2012.
This, he said, was premised on the fact that marketers control about 87 per cent of retail outlets in the country, while the NNPC only operates 37 mega stations, 12 floating mega stations and over 500 affiliate stations.
In view of this, the source said if marketers had lifted about 7.819 billion litres of kerosene, a whopping sum of N195.5bn must have been paid as a bribe to NNPC officials before they could get the kerosene allocations.
He explained that though marketers would usually get allocations to lift kerosene at N40.90k, “they had to pay N25 per litre as mobilisation fee to NNPC officials without which they could not get the allocations.”
He said, “If you add N25 to N40.90k, the marketers are already paying almost N70 per litre and by the time they add their operational costs and other expenses to it, it will be practically impossible for them to sell kerosene at the official retail price of N50 per litre.
“How can such a marketer sell at N50 per litre after parting with N25 on every litre and incurring other costs,” the source asked.
The ex-depot price of kerosene is N40.90, but the landing cost plus margin, according to the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency is N156.46 per litre.
The pricing template made available on the PPPRA website put the  cost and freight of kerosene at N130.47; lightering expenses, N4.09; NPA charges, N0.68; financing, N0.64; Jetty depot  charge, N0.80; and storage charge, N3.00.
These, according to the PPPRA, amount to N140.97 and with another N15.49 distribution margin, the total cost is N156.46 per litre.
This, the PPPRA stated, included retailers’ margin of N4.60, transporters’ margin of N2.99, dealers’ margin of N1.75, bridging fund of N5.85, marine transport average of N0.15 and administrative charges of N0.15.
Although there have been conflicting figures, the NNPC is said to be paying between N107.46 and N110 as subsidy on each litre of kerosene sold to consumers in the country.
When contacted, the acting Group General Manager, Public Affairs, NNPC, Dr. Omar Farouk Ibrahim, said, “You can’t just make blanket accusations against the NNPC. It helps for you to tell us in which of our 22 depots this thing is happening. Who are the officials involved? If you don’t come out with the fact, we will not know.
“It is unfair for people to be making wild and unsubstantiated allegations or accusations against the NNPC. If people have facts to support their allegations, they should present them to us and we will investigate and take necessary actions.”
He, however, admitted that the NNPC sold kerosene at N40.90k per litre, but lamented that marketers were selling it between N120 and N130 per litre to the Nigerian public.
Our correspondents also gathered that some consumers buy the product at prices ranging between N170 and N250 per litre, depending on their location in the country.
The Director, Centre for Petroleum, Energy Economics and Law, University of Ibadan and President, Nigerian Association for Energy Economics, Prof. Adeola Adenikinju, in an interview with one of our correspondents, said a study done in 2013 showed a huge margin in kerosene prices at filling stations across the country and the ‘official price’ claimed by the NNPC.
On the average, Adenikinju said the national pump price of kerosene deviated from the official price by about N64.38.
He said, “The deviation was most significant in Abuja with a margin of over N100 per litre. Three states, Enugu, Kogi and Cross River, recorded excess margins of N90 per litre.
“Corresponding margin for Bauchi was N85 per litre, Taraba, Lagos and Kano, N80. However, the margins were much lower in Benue, Kaduna and Ekiti.”
The professor said the analysis of variations between official price and hawkers’ market price was even more dramatic, ranging from N30 per litre in Ekiti to N150 per litre in Bauchi.
He said, “The NNPC cannot claim ignorance of this sharp practice. Some would even argue that NNPC contributed significantly to the emergence of this thriving unofficial market. These unofficial channels are not self-sufficient and they depend to a very large extent on supply from the official sources.
“Given the revelation from the probe panel and the evidence on ground, the average Nigerian does not benefit from the so-called subsidy on kerosene and should therefore be stopped.”
The Group Executive Director, Production and Exploration, NNPC, Dr. Abiye Membere, noted that it was not the fault of the NNPC that the product was sold at prices above the N50 pump price.
He said it was worrisome to see people retail the product at such exorbitant rates, adding that such a situation was beyond the NNPC.
The Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Lamido Sanusi, had said the NNPC sold kerosene at a subsidised rate of N40 while buying it at N150.
Sanusi said, “The burden of proof on the NNPC is to show where they obtained authorisation to purchase kerosene at N150/litre from federation funds and sell at about N40/litre, knowing well that this product sells in the market at N170-N220/litre. At what point was the presidential directive revered?”
The Chairman, House Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Mr. Dakuku Peterside, had recently said the government spent N110bn on kerosene subsidy in 2010, N324bn in 2011 and N200bn in 2012, which came up to N634bn within the three years.
He said, “In the year 2010, we spent N110,068,533,988 to subsidise kerosene. This is not the cost of kerosene but the cost of subsidising the product alone. In 2011, it got worse and the government spent N324,089,961,319 on kerosene subsidy. Although we have yet to reconcile this, we spent N200bn in subsidising kerosene in 2012.
“So, in three years, we have spent N634bn subsidising kerosene. This is one-third of what we spend in a year on capital budget.”
He described kerosene subsidy as “a network of corruption” and “a network of fraud.”
However, a human rights lawyer, Wahab Shittu, said such allegations should be substantiated to assist anti-corruption agencies in carrying out investigations.
He said, “Every allegation bordering on corruption and criminality must be expressly proved beyond conjecture, suspicion, accusation and counter-accusation. There must be proof and I think that the fight against corruption cannot be won if whistle-blowers are not prepared to come into the open and provide solid incontrovertible evidence.
“People must be prepared to make sacrifices if this fight will be won. So those who want to sanitise this society must be prepared to make sacrifices. To substantiate the allegations, they must give names in particular circumstances. They can even write petitions anonymously and forward to the appropriate agencies so that they follow up with investigations.”
But another human rights lawyer, Jiti Ogunye, completely disagreed with Shittu’s assertion, saying that whistle-blowers do not have to risk their lives to expose corruption. Ogunye also said that the allegation should not be taken lightly considering the recent allegations made by the CBN governor about a missing N20bn.
He said, “These allegations coming from a whistle-blower following the recent allegation made by the CBN governor, which has the subject matter of kerosene, is again, very disturbing.
“We have seen the case of the former Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah, where a whistle-blower made allegations before media investigation. Later investigations by the legislature and the presidency established the truth of the allegation first made by the whistle-blower. So this allegation should not be dismissed with a wave of the hand, and, therefore, the anti-corruption agencies cannot bait the whistle-blowers by asking them to come forward.
“Anonymous information like this is not allowed for the demonstration  of unreasonable courage. If the allegation is that some people are paying about N195bn to bribe certain persons in a country where assassination is rife and killings can be procured with less than N1m, so will it be an act of courage for someone to come out and say I’m the one that said it. That lie that NNPC and others can’t do anything unless you name names is despicable and ought not to be taken seriously. What we expect the anti-corruption agencies to do is to examine the information and then work on it to unravel it, after all that’s why they are there; it’s their job.”

Monday, 3 February 2014

Dollar-bribe Demanding Nigerian Policeman Arrested, Faces Disciplinary Action

Police Corporal Aniyem Chiyem
The policeman earlier caught on camera demanding a “dollar bribe,” has been arrested and currently in Police custody according to the Nigerian police headquarters.

The police officer, Corporal Aniyem Chiyem with police number F/No 374171, is attached to the Isheri Division, Lagos State.

SaharaReporters has learned that the police authorities have commenced disciplinary action against him.

Mr. Chiyem was videotaped while demanding bribe in dollars from a US-based Nigerian traveling  in Lagos.