128 Nigerians, others perish in the Mediterranean in 21 days


The International Organisation on Migration said 128 migrants, comprising Nigerians and other West Africans, died while crossing the Mediterranean Sea to Europe between March 6 and 26, 2017.The UN agency in a statement by its spokesman, Flavio Di Giacomo, stated that the number made it 649 deaths recorded in the first 86 days of 2017.

The IOM spokesperson said other nationals included Gambians, Ivorians, Ghanaians, Malians, Senegalese and Guineans (both Guinea-Bissau and Conakry).

Di Giacomo explained that 521 deaths were recorded in the first 65 days of 2017.

He said the number of deaths recorded in the first 86 days of 2017 was higher compared with 566 deaths recorded in the same period on March 26, 2016.

He said 26,589 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through March 26, with over 80 per cent arriving in Italy and the rest in Spain and Greece.

Di Giacomo said the number was, however, lower compared with 163,895 recorded through the first 86 days of 2016.

The spokesperson explained that 2,320 migrants were brought to land between March 23 and 24, 2017.

He added that another set of 1,160 migrants which did not include the number above were brought to land on March 25 and 26.

He stated that one corpse was found on a dinghy, which was carrying 138 migrants.

Di Giacomo said Proactiva OpenArms, an NGO, retrieved the remains of five migrants from a capsized dinghy in addition to a sixth victim it retrieved near the original site of the shipwreck.

According to him IOM believes the dinghy found by OpenArms is the same one that IOM Libya reported was rescued by Libyan fishermen who saved 54 people on 21 March.

He said that the 54 survivors brought to Libya said that approximately 120 migrants were on board including six dead.

Di Giacomo said 66 victims remained unaccounted for in that tragedy.

He further explained that a vessel “Iuventa” of the German CSO “Jugend Rettet” claimed it spotted another ship sinking six miles off the position of the “Golfo Azzurro”.

The spokesperson stated that IOM had no further information about sinking vessel, adding that The Jugend Rettet was the vessel that retrieved the remains of the sixth victim.

“We are trying to understand whether the ship found by Open Arms is the same one that was rescued earlier this month by Libyan fishermen. “This may considerably change the number of missing migrants. For the moment, it is only possible to confirm that there are 66 victims,” Di Giacomo quoted Federico Soda, Director for IOM’s Mediterranean operations, as saying.

According to him, this tragic event reminds us all of the massive loss of lives in the tragedies occurring on the central Mediterranean route where over 590 migrants died in 2017 alone.

He said: “That is 418 more than last year on this route during the same period.

“In this context, the presence of many rescue ships at sea is crucial; without them, the number of fatalities would be inevitably higher.”

Di Giacomo said IOM had received information about the remains of a 15-year old African girl retrieved from the shores of Sabratah by the Libyan Red Crescent.

He said that puts the total confirmed dead found on Libyan beaches in 2017 at 164, of which 20 were retrieved in March.

He added that the number rescued in 2017 by the Libyan Coast Guard and others were 3,457.

NAN.

My husband rapes me in front of our children, woman tells court


“My husband rapes me in the presence of our children,” a 40-year-old trader, Bolanle AbdulKareem, told an Igando Customary Court in Lagos on Wednesday.Bolanle said her husband, Olasunkanmi, with whom she had three children in their 17-year-old marriage, molests her whenever he got drunk.

She said: “Whenever my husband comes home drunk, he will want to make love to me by fire by force and I will caution him not to do it in the presence of our children.

“He will beat me and make love to me by force, while the children watch us.

“There was a day I came back from work and I met my children, one on top of another doing what they always see their father do to me.”

The petitioner also said her husband always threatened to kill her.

She said: “My husband derives pleasure in beating me.

“There was a day he beat me and broke my leg.

“One day, he threatened to kill me, so I ran to one of my relative’s house.

“My husband came there, he met my sister’s husband ironing his clothes, he snatched the iron from him and started chasing me with it.

“Seeing his desperation, I ran into the street and my husband still chased me with the pressing iron.

“Anytime, I reported him at the Police Station, the Police always tell me that it is a family matter and refused to caution him.”

Bolanle described her husband as an irresponsible husband and father, who did not care about the welfare and education of the children.

According to her, Olasunkanmi neither cares for her nor the children, adding that she is the one paying the school fees of the children.

She said: “He has a tricycle that he is using for business, but he always uses the proceeds to drink to stupor and usually loses self control.”

She begged the court to dissolve their marriage, adding that she was no longer in love with the husband.

However, Olasunkanmi, who did not deny the allegation of raping his wife, however, begged the court not to dissolve the union.

He said: “Please, do not dissolve our marriage, I still love my wife, I know I have made a mistake; I will make amend.”

The 42-year-old commercial tricycle operator admitted that he used to beat his wife, whenever she flouted his orders.

Olasunkanmi said: “I don’t derive pleasure in beating her, but I only beat her whenever she disobeys my instruction.

“The day I snatched the pressing iron from my in-law, I only wanted to use the iron wire to beat her and not to burn her.”

He said he was not a drunk, but that he drank moderately.

The President of the court, Adegboyega Omilola, ordered the couple to come along with three members of their families for Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Nigeria to remain in recession till Igbo heads economic team-Primate Ayodele


The Spiritual head of INRI Spiritual Evangelical Church, Primate Elijah Babatunde Ayodele, has stated that Nigeria’s present economic woes can only be resolved if an Igbo man is placed at the helm of the country’s economic affairs.
In his words ;
“The CBN governor, like I said before now, has to be removed because he is not the solution to Nigeria’s economic woes.
“All the members constituting the country’s economic team have to be removed if this administration wants to show us that they are serious about getting us out of recession.
“An Igbo man should head the economic team and recession will come to an end. Even the minister of Finance should be removed and those who understand what the economic situation is all about should be made to occupy the position.”
He explained further that the Nigerian government should do away with dollar and form an alliance with the Chinese “and let us see what will happen to our economy.”

Zoning arrangement, Nigeria’s method to deny Igbo presidency

The national chairman of the United Progressives Party, UPP, Chief Chekwas Okorie has carpeted claims by some politicians that Ndigbo should wait for 2023 before attempting a shot at the presidency.

Prominent members of the All Progressives Congress, APC, have categorically dismissed calls for Nigeria president of Igbo extraction in 2019, insisting that the North was yet to complete their tenure in line with an unwritten zoning arrangement made before the 1999 election.

The opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has also toed the same line, as its body language clearly shows that it would zone the party’s presidential ticket to the North.

However, in an interview with journalists in Enugu, Okorie, who was also the founding national chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, said “there is nothing like rotational presidency.”

“Who rotated the presidency?”, he queried further, noting that the members of the APC who are insisting that Buhari must complete another tenure in line with the said zoning arrangement were insincere.

According to him, “this is Buhari’s fourth attempt at the presidency; that means he has always contested even when it was supposedly the turn of the South to hold the position; so many other Northerners, including Alhaji Atiku Abubakar have also done same. Why did they not wait for the turn of the North in those days.

“It is only politically naive people that will keep waiting for a non-existing zoning arrangement and for the presidency to be handed over the them, thinking that one day, somebody will say, ‘Igbos come and take’. Such a day will never come.”

He further stated that having studied the political situation, his party, the UPP, had zoned the 2019 presidential ticket to the South-East.

“This is the only way an Igbo man can fly the presidential flag of any political party; I did it with APGA and that was how late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu became the presidential candidate of APGA.”

On the call for restructuring and self-determination struggle by pro-Biafra groups, Okorie said UPP remained the only political party, which had clearly articulated such issues in its manifesto.

“I put in my manifesto that if I win, I will put exit clause in the constitution. There is no country in the world that went for self-determination without a political party; there is no where NGO has achieved self-determination of a people.

“In our manifesto, we have self-determination, devolution of power, true federalism, state police, community policing, among others. We encapsulated all the recommendations of the 2014 national confab in our manifesto.

“We believe that 2109 shall be a referendum of some sort; Nigerians shall prepare to vote either yes or no to APC and PDP for status quo to remain, or to vote UPP for a total reform. No other party has such things in its manifesto.

“It is not about Atiku going around delivering lectures talking about true federalism; they are just rhetorics; back-up your position with firm position of your party”, he said.

The UPP chairman expressed confidence that his party would clearly win the Anambra State governorship election, stressing “there is no way Anambra people will go for those parties with uncertainties and legal encumbrances hanging on their necks.

UPP UK chapter to discuss Biafra, other issues at London summit

United Progressive Party(UPP) has announced its plan to hold a crucial meeting in London on 4th April 2017.
In a press release signed by its national chairman, Chief Chekwas Okorie and made available to journalists, the party listed present economy of Nigeria, lack of democracy and transparency, agitation of the people of Biafra, Niger Delta and others in Nigeria as some key issues on the burner to discuss. 
It also said that the yelling of the Poor and the insecurity of the Rich is another issue that must be discussed.
Last month in Enugu, UPP had formed an alliance with the Movement of Biafrans in Nigeria(MOBIN), in a move to elect Biafran-minded politicians into power in the old Eastern region that formed the Biafran state between 1967 and 1970.
Delegates from Nigeria would give us situation reports about Nigeria, and we need the opinion of all progressive minds on whether we should either support the present government or provide an alternative via the ballot box in the on coming election”, Okorie said.
The release enjoined the Nigerian Community in the United Kingdom to attend the summit.
It also gave other details of the summit: 

VENUE: BETTY BUNKER HALL, MORA STREET, LONDON EC1V 8EH

TIME: 17:00 –20:00. 

DATE: 08/04/17
CONTACTS : 

HON EUGENE DURU (EKWUEME1) 07909087308; 

SIR GODSON IWUJI 07877560742

CHIEF CBN. ONWUASOANYA (EZENDIGBO 1) 07944485231

HON. EZEBUIRO UCHENNA SAMUEL 07758401329
NEAREST STATION- OLD STREET STATION (NORTHERN LINE)

BUSES: 141, 214, 43, 205, 243, 76, 21 and 55.

Delta U 16 intra-state league set to start

The Delta U-16 Elite League is set to begin soon. 

Consequently, the Management Committee of the league has put together five committees to fully strategise in order to position the league in anticipation of a smooth take off.

The committees are marketing/sponsorship, technical, venue/security, media/publicity and welfare/facility.
In a statement released by the League Management Committee Chairman, Sam Sodje, teams have been mandated to get to work immediately in anticipation for the proposed date for the league kick-off which will be announced very soon.
According to the statement, the technical committee head by Frank Ehigue is expected to come up with the league format in tandem with the ideals and objectives of setting up the league in Delta State.
The statement further urged eligible clubs in the state to collect registration forms at any of the stadia in the state to enable them participate in the league.

Biafra National Party, UPP constitutes Working Committee in Anambra

The National Working Committee (NWC), of the United Progressive Party (UPP) has reconstituted the State Working Committee (SWC) of the party in Anambra State. 

According to a press release signed by the National Chairman of the party, Chief Chekwas Okorie, this is part of the measures taken by the national leadership of the Party to reposition the Party’s structure and it’s composition in Anambra State in view of the forthcoming Governorship Election in the State expected to hold in November 2017.
UPP few weeks ago, went into an alliance with pro-Biafran freedom fighters in a meeting where it was declared that the party has been adopted as Biafran national party. Under the auspices of Movement of Biafrans in Nigeria(MOBIN), the freedom fighters are seeking to run for political positions in subsequent elections in a bid to be able to make legislations that will eventually see the realization of a sovereign state of Biafra.

  

The Anambra exercise, according to Okorie was effected with due consideration given to the relevant provisions of the Party’s Constitution registered with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) especially Article 21 section 2(c). 
The new State Working Committee (SWC) is chaired by Dr. Igwilo Sylvester while Okafor Fidelis is State Secretary. They are expected to ensure a prompt reconstitution of the Local Government Working Committees and Ward Working Committees in all the Local Governments and Wards in Anambra State and submit same to the National Executive Committee for consideration and approval. 
The State Working Committee is required to complete this assignment in two weeks from Tuesday 7th March 2017.

 

 Full list of members of the Committee:

 

 

Dr. Sir Igwilo Slyvester C. ​​-State Chairman ​​​

Bro. Chibunna Chidebe ​​-Deputy State Chairman ​​

Okafor Fidelis ​​​-State Secretary ​​​

Chidi Nwafor ​​​​-Asst. State Secretary ​​

Goddy Onyemaobi ​​​-Vice Chairman South ​​

Anthony Agu ​​​​Vice -Chairman Central​​

Barr. Celestine Ofoegbunam ​-Vice Chairman North ​​

Chief Mrs. Ify Ezenwa​​-Women Leader ​​​

Ndidi Ibeaso ​​​​-Assist. State Women Leader​

Ben Obide ​​​​-State Youth Leader ​​​

Eric Obi​​​​ -Assist. State Youth Leader ​​

Ody Chukwube​​​ -State Financial Secretary ​​

Bar. Jideofor Okongwu​​ -Assist Financial Secretary ​​

Ibiakor Innocent ​​​-State Treasurer​​​

Barr. Mrs. Uju Nwaogugu​ ​-Assist State Treasurer​​

Uche Amaku​​​​ -State Publicity Secretary ​​

Obi Emekekwue​​​ -Assist. Sate Publicity Sec.​​

Okwuchukwu Umeh ​​-State Welfare Officer​​

Nkem Grace Ofomata​​ -Assist. State Welfare Officer​

Anachuna Chukwudi​​ -State Auditor​​​​

Celestine Egwutuoha​​ -Assist. State Auditor​​​

Barr. Jezie Ekejuba ​​​-State Legal Adviser​​​

Barr. Azubuike Okeke -​​Assist. State Legal Adviser​​

Chidi Uzoma​​​​ -State Organizing Sec.​​

Dr. Paulinus Ezechukwu ​​-Assist. St. Organizing Sec.​​

Dr. Golibe Christian Ikpeze​​ -Ex-Officio

Emeka Uzoeto​​​ -Ex-Officio​​​​

Clement Etete​​​ -Ex-Officio​​​​​

 

Biafrans, unite now and achieve your dreams through the ballot-Chekwas Okorie

PRESENTATION TO THE FEDERATION OF IGBO STUDENTS (F.I.S.), OBAFEMI AWOLOWO UNIVERSITY, ILE-IFE, OSUN STATE, AT THE OCCASION OF THE IGBO DAY CELEBRATION ON SATURDAY, 4TH MARCH, 2017 BY DR. CHEKWAS OKORIE 

TOPIC; SELF-DETERMINATION; A MEANS TO REPOSITION NDIGBO IN THE NIGERIAN POLITY AND AN OPTION FOR SURVIVAL

 

SELF – DETERMIANTION

In simple terms, I consider the clamour for the self-determination of Nigeria’s Ethnic Nationalities as the clamour for freedom, equity, justice, equality of all ethnic nationalities, unfettered latitude to develop at the pace of each of Nigeria’s Federating Units, and the liberty to opt out of Nigeria following the process of a referendum.

 

Nigeria held the promise of a great nation right from 1914 when the British Colonial Administration under Lord Federick Lugard clobbered the Northern and southern Protectorates including the colony of Lagos into one country he called Nigeria. This forced union, could have been turned around for unity, strength and development by taking advantage of the benefits ofour diversities based on the comparative advantages of the various sections of the country.  Unfortunately, leaders who took over the reigns of power in 1960 after independence, chose to entrench our diversities and seized every opportunity to declare their intention to subdue their neighbours and impose their ways of life and religion on them.  The progress and development of any section and their people became the envy of the others.  Instead of emulating the positive attributes of those doing relatively well, plots and schemes were designed and executed to suppress them and halt their advancement.

 

 

In the first Republic, Nigeria’s brand of Parliamentary system of government was generally described as a quasi federalism.  Even with that, development in the country was steadily growing.  It is significant to recall that before the 

Biafra/Nigeria war, the revenue allocation formula of Nigeria was adopted on the basis of 50% by derivation principle.  This was when agriculture was the main stay of the Nigerian economy.  At that time the north had advantage based on their production of groundnut, cotton, tin, etc.  The western region came second on the basis of their production of cocoa, while the eastern region came third based on their production of palm oil and palm kernel.  However, shortly before the outbreak of the war, the economy of Eastern Region came under focus as the fastest growing Third World economy under the visionary and indefatigable Premier of Eastern Region Dr. Michael I. Okpara.

 

It is also important to note that by 1963 when the Mid-Western region had been created through plebiscite, Nigeria’s Provinces stood as follows:

 

Northern Nigeria-14 Provinces

Eastern Nigeria-12 Provinces

Western Nigeria-7 Provinces

Mid-Western Nigeria-2 Provinces

 

This means that there were 21 provinces in Southern Nigerian and 14 Provinces in Northern Nigeria.

 

At the outbreak of the Nigeria/Biafra War the Northern Military Junta which seized Political Power at the Centre began a steady process of restructuring Nigeria’s power equation by military fiat using Decrees.  States were created to replace the Regions. Initially 12 states were created to give Northern Nigeria 6 states and Southern Nigeria 6 states, thus leveling up the North and the South. No reason was given for this action. Subsequent state creations gave the North advantage such that there are today 19 states in the north plus the Federal Capital Territory, which has the status of a state and 17 states in southern Nigeria.  Not done yet, the Northern Military in charge of the government of Nigeria proceeded to set up the Dasuki Committeewhich carved up Nigeria into 774 Local government Areas and inserted same in the Nigerian Constitution which recognized the local government areas as factors for the sharing of Nigeria’s Revenue.  Note that while the South East Geopolitical zone was carved up into 95 local government areas, the North West was carved up into 188 Local Government Areas. 

 

After the balkanization of Nigeria’s political structure, the last military government led by General Abdulsalami Abubakar, imposed a Nigerian Constitution on Nigeria with provisions that make the creation of more states and local government areas near impossible. That is why no civilian democratic government has been able to creat any new State or Local government Areas.  Even the creation of Development Centres has no constitutional backing and therefore not considered in national revenue allocation formula.  There  are several obnoxious provisions of the 1999 Constitution that have turned Nigeria into one large “concentration camp” with “slave masters” riding roughshod over fellow Nigerians, with provocative arrogance and impunity.

 

It was also under the military government that Nigeria’s Revenue Allocation formula plummeted from 50% by the principle of Derivation to 0% and later began to be adjusted to 1%, 3% and the present 13% that was made possible by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, during his regime as a democratically elected President.

 

In all the absurdities that have been imposed on Nigerians, Ndigbo have been the worst hit.  Ndigbo are rated as the second largest ethnic population in about 31 states of Nigeria and are by far the largest ethnic population in the 5 south east states and the Federal Capital Territory.  Similarly, Ndigbo have settled in all parts of Nigeria long before the advent of the European Explorers and Colonialists.  I was astonished to be informed in the year 2000 when I was a Special Guest of Honour at the Igbo Day Celebration in Gusau in Zamfara State, that there was an Igbo Settlement in what was known then as Northern Gusau that dated back to 400 years.  It was in that year 2000, that the Caliphate Celebrated its Bi-centenary Celebration.  This means that Ndigbo were already in that part of Nigeria for two centuries (200 years) before Sultan Othman Danfidio arrived Sokoto to establish the Caliphate.  These later day arrivals now refer to Ndigbo as non-indigenes and charge their children differential school fees.

 

Since the end of the Nigeria-Biafra war there have been many attempts through National and Constitutional Conferences to make Nigeria a True Federation where all the ethnic Nationalities and Federating units will co-exist peacefully and develop at their own pace for the benefit of all but those who are benefiting from the unacceptable and debilitating political structure have frustrated every initiative to put Nigeria on the part of growth, development and civilization.

 

Most Nigerians are yet to come to terms with the fact that the Recommendations of the 2014 National Conference which cost Nigeria over N9b to host in which every state of the Federation actively participated including the 21 states controlled by the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, could just be consigned to the archive by President Mohammadu Buhari with a wave of the hand.

 

The current and persistent agitation for self-determination championed largely by the Igbo youth is a direct result of the insensitivity of subsequent Nigeria Governments to their cry of marginalization and alienation. The painful fact that there is no person of Igbo origin that is a member of Nigeria’s Security Council since the inception of the APC Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari is the height of exclusion of the Ndigbo. The agitation has reached the height where the consciousness for self-determination has permeated the entire Igbo populace both in Nigeria and the diaspora.  Many are of the opinion that since Nigeria is not comfortable for us, the option is to exit from Nigeria. We have been forced to dig deeper into our history to establish that whereas God created us Igbo which is our origin, but we are BIAFRANS by indigenous identity.  Yes we are Nigerian citizens but this citizenship must be renegotiated.  It is a blatant fallacy to say that Nigeria’s unity is not negotiable. Even the institution of marriage which is the oldest institution established by God is negotiable and dissoluble.  The conditions and modalities for such actions abound in the Holy Books.

 

Any human being who is not proud of his indigenous identity and ethnicity on account of fear or timidity is not worth the name he is called. You break no known law in Nigeria when you admit proudly that you are a Biafran by indigenous identity.

 

THE OPTION FOR NDIGBO

It is generally accepted by the proponent of self-determination or even exit from Nigeria that violent means or arms struggle is not an attractive option for several reasons.  The political process is what I propose to our people.  Although some of us have been exploring this process within the limited space of the Nigerian Laws, it will appear that President Mohammadu Buhari has given impetus to this process. In two recent occasions President Buhari used the platforms of Al Jazeera an International Television Network and a Nigerian Town Hall meeting in New York, United States of America to urge Ndigbo to take advantage of Nigeria’s Multi-Party Democracy to organize themselves in a political party of their choice to pursue their aspirations.  It is a challenge we have taken up immediately. There are several other ethnic Nationalities and political blocs in Nigeria who will very readily align with us in a Political Party that is ideologically driven and has express provisions in its manifesto registered with INEC, for the self-determination of Nigeria’s ethnic nationalities, True Federalism, devolution of Power, State Police/Community Policing, Referendum, Release ofPolitical Prisoners or Prisoners of Conscience with Compensation, Resource Control, etc.

 

I am of the strong view that tension will be greatly reduced in Nigeria if the Constitution of Nigeria has a provision for an Exit Clause that enables any section of the country wishing to opt out of the Federation to do so peacefully in accordance with the law.  The nation of Ethiopia has an Exit Clause in its constitution, which has effectively ended the ethnic wars that plagued the country for many years.  There is mutual respect and accommodation for all ethnic nationalities in Ethiopia as a result of which none has opted to invoke the provision of the Exit Clause.  Subsequent governments in Ethiopia have treated all ethnic nationalities as equal stakeholders, with the awareness that each of the ethnic nationalities has the option of EXIT should they be pressed to do so.

 

It is fortuitous, that in recent times many eminent Nigerians such as General Ibrahim Babangida, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Alhaji Balarabe Musa etc have been speaking out in favour of an Igbo President of Nigeria.  It is also interesting that our own Dr. Alex Ekwueme whose political party the PDP has zoned its 2019 Presidential ticket to the North, has been urging Ndigbo to contest for the President of Nigeria. The latest is the resolute statement of the new President-General of Ohanaeze, Chief John Nnia Nwodo that Ndigbo are poised to produce the President of Nigeria in 2019. 

In conclusion, I wish to state that the political process is a viable and quicker option for us to address the Igbo question in Nigeria but it can only work if we wake up from our sulmber to take our destiny in our own hands by participating actively in the politics of Nigeria henceforth at wherever we are domiciled. The Era of lamentaion is over. This is the time to stand to be counted. Ndigbo have the population and the national spread to align with ethnic nationalities and political blocs of like minds to make a huge difference. The action time is now.
Thank you for your audience. 
Chief Dr Chekwas Okorie

Oje Ozi Ndigbo