SHARIA AND RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE (IN NIGERIA)
Forwarded by: email@example.com
Rudolf Okonkwo - Publicity Secretary
The Nigerian Leadership Foundation(NLF) has noted with dismay the disturbing trend of state-sanctioned religious zealotry in our homeland and the grave implications it has for national cohesion.
We note with more than a little worry that the federal government has taken a hands off approach to resolving the constitutionality or otherwise of the Islamic Sharia as a parallel legal system in certain states of the federation. The result is that Nigeria now has the dubious distinction of becoming a nation operating two legal systems -- one secular and the other based on a theocracy, both claiming to derive legitimacy from a constitution imposed by an illegitimate military regime.
This coerced synthesis of theocracy and secularism has led to increased religious intolerance in states that have adopted the strict form of Islamic Sharia. Recently, the historically peaceful and city of Jos was engulfed with religious intolerance, as lives and properties were lost to the tune of billions of naira. Also, following the reprisal attacks by the USA on Afghanistan, the city of Kano witnessed yet another mayhem with religious connotations in which hundreds of lives were lost, and Nigerians of different faiths sought refuge in police stations and military barracks. Apart from the incessant riots, there have been incidents where justice has been clearly misplaced, as in the case of a pregnant 30-year-old divorcee sentenced to death by stoning in Sokoto State while the partner was set free for lack of evidence!
The refusal of the current administration to resolve this festering Sharia issue is at best an abdication of its responsibility and at worst, an alarming lack of confidence in a key arm of the government -- the judiciary.
We in the NLF have no reason to believe that the Justices of the Supreme Court of the Federal Republic of Nigeria lack the sagacity and fairness to put aside personal religious preferences to objectively consider the fundamental legal questions posed by the seeming adoption of state religions in Nigeria.
We therefore call on the Federal Government of Nigeria to resolve the constitutionality of the theocracy that has been foisted on parts of the Nigerian state. This would help to determine the future coexistence of its corporate parts. Furthermore, the idea of a National Conference should be given the urgency that it deserves.
We are for putting the institutions of government, no matter how flawed, to the test of efficacy in meeting the collective aspirations of our long-suffering populace. Please let the judiciary rule on the Sharia before Nigeria is drawn into the vortex of religious-inspired international terrorism.
Nigerians Abroad Disappointed with the Winding up of Oputa Panel - ANA
Forwarded by: Eadada3@aol.com
Dr. Emmanuel Abiodun Dada
The Association of Nigerians Abroad (ANA), an internet based
(http://www.ananet.org) non-political, non-religious, non-partisan, and
non-profit organisation wishes to express its disappointment with the
non-appearance before the Oputa panel of former Nigerian military rulers,
retired Generals Buhari, Babangida and Abubakar.
The winding down of the Oputa panel when a case against the commission is
scheduled for October 25th, is also a source of concern to those who believe
in fairness and justice. We had expected that the panel sitting would have
been extended by the Presidency, to allow the legal case before the Federal
Court of Appeal take its normal course.
ANA believes that the Oputa panel was an opportunity for Nigeria's past
military rulers and their agents to answer to several well-documented human
right abuses that took place as a direct result of the military rule they
forced on Nigeria. It was hoped that such open dialogue with victims'
families and the generality of Nigerians would pave the way for national
forgiveness and reconciliation.
Specifically, they assaulted the Constitution of Nigeria by taking over
power through illegal military coups. The annulment of the free and fair
June 12th 1993 presidential elections led to the death of several Nigerians
and opportunity for Abacha's murderous rule. The deliberate killing of Dele
Giwa, Ken Saro Wiwa, Pa Rewane, Khalto, etc, and the massive depletion of
the nation's treasury few months to the return of democratic rule are
examples of issues that required open deliberation.
The South African Truth Commission has shown how atonement, forgiveness, and
reconciliation can rebuild a wounded nation. While for example, the court of
law in South Africa could not indict Mrs. Winnie Mandela, she confessed at
the Truth Commission and was reconciled with the families of the young
people, fellow blacks that she abused during the dark days of apartheid
Our presidential system of government is mirrored after the USA where
recently, the then US President Clinton bowed to the national interest and
demonstrated that he was not above the law by testifying before the jury via
real-time video taping, which was released to the whole world. It is
therefore an irony that Babangida through his counsels claims immunity
protection from the 1979 Constitution, the same Constitution that he was a
part of its suspension during the military coup of 1983.
We therefore urge the Federal Appeal Court to make its ruling set for
October 25th irrespective of the winding up of the Oputa panel. Their ruling
will help to set the records straight that no one is above the law and bring
hope to our nation.
We also wish to advise President Obasanjo that he should modify the bill he
recently submitted to the National Assembly to stop pension payments to
these ex-military rulers, to now include barring them from sitting in the
national council meetings and holding any public office in future.
No one is above the law!
Dr. Emmanuel Abiodun Dada, President
Dr. Francis Ogbonnaya, Vice President
Mr. Fatai Oyejobi, General Secretary
Mr. Uzoma Onyemaechi, Public Relations Secretary
Ibadan Muslim leader names baby Osama bin Laden
THERE was a drama at the christening ceremony of the fifth child of the zonal coordinator of the Muslim Students'' Society of Nigeria (MSSN) B Zone, Malam Abideen Olaiya, when he named the baby after the most wanted man on earth, Osama bin Laden, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported.
The christening, which took place in Ibadan, Oyo State at the weekend, was witnessed by Muslim brothers and sisters, who expressed surprise and shock when the name of the child was mentioned.
Olaiya, an Islamic activist, announced to the gathering that henceforth, in line with Islamic tradition ""the name of my baby is Abdulqudus Ramadan Osama bin Laden"".
Those in attendance, who were taken aback by the name, initially thought he was joking, but to their surprise, he brought out souvenirs and stickers with the name already printed on them.
Afraid of being labelled ""terrorists"" most of the guests who were offered the gifts, politely refused to collect them.
Explaining the rationale behind the name, Olaiya said that he had vowed to name the child, if he was a boy, after Allah''s name, adding: ""coincidentally, he was born during the month of Ramadan.""
He said that bin Laden stood for justice and fairness to the Muslim world, explaining that to demonstrate his love for him, ""I and my wife decided to name our fifth child after him.""
VANGUARD (culled from Nigeriaworld.com) - (Wednesday, 2nd January, 2002)
Calabar woman divorces husband for naming child after bin Laden - By George Onah
CALABAR, CROSS RIVER----A CHRISTIAN woman (names withheld) resident in Calabar, Cross River State, has divorced her Muslim husband for naming their new boy-child after Osama bin Laden wanted for the September 11 attacks in the United States.
Vanguard gathered that, the couple residing at Bogobiri area (a predominantly Muslim settlement) had a new child on December 27, 2001 in their one bedroom apartment in the area.
Trouble, however, started when the man who does not want his name in print, decided to name his new child after the fugitive, suspected to be the mastermind of the terrorists attacks on the WTC and Pentagon in US.
Angered by her husband''s obnoxious decision, the woman, it was learnt, protested to no avail and subsequently packed out of her husband''s house along with the child and is currently taking refuge in one of her relation''s residence.
Speaking to Vanguard, the mother of two (boys) said the husband started nursing the idea of naming their child (if a boy) after the Saudi-born Islamic extremist, just a few weeks before the baby boy was born.
She said she vehemently opposed the name even before the child was born, suggesting instead to her husband to think of a name of other Islamic heroes such as Yaser Arafat, Farakhan and any other "granted that the child becomes a man when born."
"But the man remained adamant and I kept wishing secretly that I give birth to a girl instead, rather than a boy as I was equally bent on not having a child named after a criminal with a natural inclination towards shedding innocent blood".
She then told Vanguard that her man made good his promise after the birth of the child "when he started telling those who visited us that the child''s name is that monster called Osama bin Laden," stating that she would not return to the man''s house until he changes his mind and "promise to me that he has done that by undertaking a naming ceremony in my relation''s house with a new name."
When Vanguard visited the father of the child, the following encounter ensured:
Good morning friend, my name is George, congratulations on the birth of your new child.
Yes, Good morning and thank you very much but the baby and the mother are missing from this house.
Oh! It''s a pity, what happened, how could your wife and child be missing just like that; could you explain the circumstances surrounding this please?
But first of all, my friend, who are you?
I told you, my name is George, George Onah and I am a journalist with the Vanguard Newspaper and based in Calabar.
(Changes mood) journalist! Why don''t you people ever mind your businesses? Why do you journalists always poke your noses in other peoples problem? You say your name is George wetin, wetin. How many times have you written to condemn the killings of Muslim Palestinians by the Israelis. Why have...
(cuts in) we are not discussing Israel and Palestinians, we are discussing a simple family matter which is about the disappearance of your wife and baby. Have you reported to the police yet and what ...
(cuts in) look Mr. Journalist, we must discuss that and religion. For your information, the name of my child is Osama bin Laden, he is a hero who has taught America a lesson of their lives.
What informed your choosing that name for your new child who is innocent of the happenings in the world right now? Don''t you think you are putting the child in complex position in life, especially...?
(cuts in) it is none of your business, why did your own father name you George. Walahi! That is the name of my child, if the mother likes let her vanish from Calabar.
VANGUARD - (Monday, 31st December, 2001)
Infants in Kano named after Bin Laden
KANO----SOME 70 percent of infants being cared for in the northern Nigerian city of Kano are named after Osama bin Laden, the alleged mastermind behind the September 11 attacks in the United States, hospital officials have said.
"Osama babies are being brought in daily for postnatal care," said Jamila Shehu, a nurse at the paediatric ward of the government-owned hospital in Kano, the largest medical facility in the city.
"At least seven out of 10 babies brought here for postnatal care bear the name Osama," she said, adding, "This is, indeed, a season of Osama babies." A worker at the government civic registration centre said there has been a considerable rise in the registration of children named Osama since October. "I believe this is connected with Osama bin Laden, who has become a kind of hero to the people," said the worker, who asked not to be named. The actual number of "Osama" babies in Kano could be even higher, as not all newborns are registered at the centre. Kano was one of several cities and towns in mainly Muslim northern Nigeria where people celebrated the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington which killed over 3,000 people.
Some parents of Kano''s Osama babies said their enthusiasm for the suspected terrorist mastermind is purely religious.
"Osama bin Laden is my hero," said 36-year-old Sadiq Ahmed, father of an infant Osama.
"My wife gave birth to our third child on September 15 and I named him Osama in honour of Osama bin Laden who has proved to the world that only Allah is invincible, by exposing America to shame despite its claim of being the strongest nation on earth," he said. "I like his guts towards the Americans and his war of liberation of Muslim nations," he added. "I want my child to imbibe his courage." Sa''adatu Ibrahim, 28, said she was delighted to name her first child Osama. "I convinced my husband to name him Osama because of my love and respect for bin Laden, whom I see as a hero for shaking America to its foundation," she said. Another parent, 34-year-old businessman Umar Yinusa, said he named his child, born on October 22, after the Saudi-born dissident "because of the respect I have for him for championing the liberation of Muslims from the oppression of America and its allies." Islam is widely seen as being on the rise in Nigeria, where 12 northern states have in the past two years introduced Islamic Sharia law. Around 100 people died in Kano after violent protests broke out there in October following the start of US-led air strikes to oust Afghanistan''s Taliban government, believed to have harboured bin Laden.
BBC NEWS Monday, 1 October, 2001, 18:47 GMT 19:47 UK
Nigeria's firebrand Muslim leaders
Many northern states now operate under Islamic law
By Dan Isaacs in Zaria, northern Nigeria
His gold embossed calling card not only has a new telephone number on it, but
also an e-mail address.
Ibraheem Zakzaky may well have a reputation as a firebrand Muslim preacher with
a large and devoted following, but he also stays constantly in touch with world
[It appears now as if the entire Muslim people are considered guilty, over one
billion of them]
"If we want a million people out on the streets on any issue we can do that," he
This may be something of an exaggeration, and he has perhaps lost some of the
zeal of his younger more militant days in the 1980s and 90s, but he still
commands widespread support among the legions of impoverished Muslim youths in
From his house in the dusty northern town of Zaria, he follows media coverage of
the aftermath of the terror attacks on the United States via satellite on the
BBC and CNN.
Every nuance of meaning, every word is absorbed and discussed.
He considers the attacks on America a crime, but the response of President Bush
to be treading on very dangerous ground.
Ibraheem Zakzaky says he can mobilise huge numbers of people
The use of the word "crusade" was picked up as not simply insensitive, but a
clear indication that America's retaliation for the attacks on 11 September is
to be a war against islam, and not against terrorism.
It is only fairly recently that Zakzaky, leader of Nigeria's radical Islamic
Movement, has been free to live without constant harassment by the authorities.
The significance of his handing me a newly printed calling card at our meeting
was that until a short while ago, he had been prevented from having a phone
Now, he not only has a working phone, but e-mail access too. He expressed his
regret that his website was still under construction.
[For now the United States has the sympathy of Muslim people in this area]
"Soon after the event we were all shocked and dismayed, because it appears now
as if the entire Muslim people are considered guilty, over one billion of them,"
"This was a crime perpetrated by some individuals and justice demands that only
those individuals that are responsible should be brought to book."
Ibraheem Zakzaky's comments are relevant not because they reflect the
establishment view of Nigeria's traditional islamic leaders, but because they
reflect a widely held view among Nigeria's poorer Muslims that in the coming
confrontation led by America and its allies, they would show their support for
Osama bin Laden, a man whose posters Zakzaky believes are now outselling those
of Saddam Hussein.
"For now the United States has the sympathy of Muslim people in this area, but
if the richest country decides to attack the poorest nation on earth, that would
be another story," he warns.
"But if the American retaliation is anything like on the scale which is being
currently talked about, then the protests in Nigeria could be strong".
But Zakzaky's voice is by no means the most radical in Nigeria. And as Zakzaky's
rhetoric has softened over recent years, many of his followers have looked
elsewhere for inspiration.
Abubakar Mujahid has attempted to fill this gap. He broke away from his mentor a
few years ago, and is now considered to lead a more radical Muslim faction in
the north - known as the Ja'amutu Tajidmul Islami, The Movement for Islamic
He too has displeased the authorities sufficiently to have spent time in
Mujahid lives in much more modest surroundings than does Zakzaky, and our
meeting took place in the bare room of a village house, far from telephone or
Abubakar Mujahid heads a more radical faction than his mentor
His thick spectacles give the air of a bookish intellectual, but he too has a
substantial following, and the tone of his words are harsh and uncompromising.
"Before we condemn this attack in America we have to see who carried it out, and
then see their reasons. If you put a person in a corner then like a snake he may
feel he has to strike back".
Any room for doubt in these words is quickly dispelled, as he continues by
saying that "most of the people here are happy with the attacks because of what
America stands for and what it does, in its attitude to the Palestinians, for
"America has yet to publish any evidence and if instead it is determined to go
the cowboy way with two guns blazing to get Osama bin Laden dead or alive, it
will definitely lead to a confrontation between America and the Islamic world,"
These are extremely sensitive issues for the authorities to deal with not only
in Nigeria, but in any country with a substantial Muslim population.
Neither Ibraheem Zakzaky nor Abubakar Mujahid hold political office in Nigeria,
and both resolutely maintain their disdain for the power elite that rules
Neither is suggesting that Muslim anti-American sentiments in northern Nigeria
will lead to major protests in the coming weeks.
But there is little doubt that the unswerving support for American military
action expressed by Nigeria's leaders is being severely questioned by supporters
of the country's populist Muslim preachers.
Sunday October 14 8:02 AM ET - Reuters
More Than 200 Reportedly Die in Nigeria Religious Riots
By Emeka Madu
KANO, Nigeria (Reuters) - More than 200 people have been killed in two days of
religious clashes in the northern Nigerian city of Kano triggered by protests
against U.S. air strikes in Afghanistan (news - web sites), residents said
Most of the killings took place overnight as rival Muslim and Christian gangs
rampaged in heavily populated districts on the outskirts of town despite a night
curfew and orders to police to shoot protesters on sight.
One of the worst hit areas was Zangon district outside the city center, a Muslim
stronghold with a significant Christian minority. Those fleeing were Christians.
``People were slaughtered in Zangon. There cannot be less than 200 killed last
night,'' said one of many residents ferried in buses under military escort to
Sabon Gari where most non-Muslim immigrants live.
``As I speak with you now I can see a body burning in the street,'' said a Sabon
Gari resident speaking by telephone. ``He appears to be a Muslim who strayed
into Sabon Gari.''
More killings were reported in the Brigade district adjoining Sabon Gari.
Officials have so far only spoken of ``many killed'' and have not issued any
definitive figure on those killed.
Religious riots over the past two years has claimed hundreds of lives. Nigerian
authorities are always keen to play down death figures so as not to provoke an
escalation in clashes.
``People are stranded. People are trapped in various locations,'' said another
resident who spent the night holed up in a city office.
Hard pressed security forces used civilian buses to rush what were reported to
be hundreds of injured to hospitals.
Heavily armed soldiers guarded the few churches which held Sunday services,
witnesses said. Streets of northern Nigeria's commercial nerve center were
MILITARY REINFORCEMENTS POUR IN
The federal government of President Olusegun Obasanjo sent reinforcements of
soldiers and police to the city from neighboring states.
Tanks and armored cars patrolled the streets as night fell Saturday. Police
banned all vehicles from the streets on the second day of protests against U.S.
action against Afghanistan's ruling Taliban for refusing to surrender Saudi-born
dissident Osama bin Laden (news - web sites).
The United States has named bin Laden as prime suspect behind suicide attacks on
the United States last month.
Obasanjo's two-year-old civilian government, which took over from military
rulers, has been struggling with a spate of religious violence in the
predominantly Muslim north.
Nigeria is Africa's most populous nation, with over 110 million people divided
almost evenly between Muslims and Christians.
Analysts say the upsurge of sectarian violence followed the introduction of
strict Islamic sharia penal code by some northern states, despite protests by
The clashes in Kano are potentially the most dangerous for oil-producing Nigeria
as Kano is the biggest urban center in northern Nigeria and a hotbed of Islamic
Kano police commissioner Yakubu Bello Uba Saturday issued the order to shoot on
sight rioters and other troublemakers.
The protests, which began after Friday prayers, were intended to be peaceful,
but local residents said they were hijacked by hoodlums from the city's army of
The GUARDIAN Online - Friday, October 12, 2001
CBN seeks report on terrorists' accounts
By Malachy Ezema
APPARENTLY joining forces with the United States-led global war against
terrorism, a strategic part of which is to go for the economic jugular of terror
sponsors, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has directed all banks in the
country to report the existence of any accounts of some 300 persons and
organisations within seven days.
And yesterday, the U.S. government ended a month-long mourning for victims of
the September 11 suspected terrorist attacks on its cities with memorial
services in New York and Washington.
A one-paragraph circular by CBN director of banking supervision, O. I. Imala, to
the banks on October 8 reads: "By the powers conferred on the Central Bank of
Nigeria by the CBN Act No. 24 of 1991 as amended, you are hereby directed to
confirm within seven days, the existence or otherwise of accounts being operated
by or in the names of the persons and entities listed in the attached schedule."
The schedule which has the names and aliases of individuals and organisations
alleged to be terrorist oriented or supportive of the terror acts around the
world originated from the United States Department of the Treasury, Office of
Foreign Assets Control.
It is titled: "Terrorism All you need to know about US sanctions," being a
summary of Terrorism sanctions regulations, Terrorism List Government
Regulations, and Foreign Terrorist Organisations Sanctions Regulations, passed
in US, all of which prohibit "US persons form receiving unlicensed donations and
from engaging in financial transactions with respect to which the US person
knows or has reasonable cause to believe that the financial transaction poses a
risk of furthering terrorist acts on United States."
It states further: "Banks located in the US and US banks located offshore must
reject transfers in form of gifts or charitable contributions from the
government of Syria."
Other countries named include Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea and Sudan.
Following the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, the
United States and the European Union have frozen accounts of several
organisations and persons linked with terrorism, which run into billions of
The Nigerian government has since joined the world in condemning the attacks on
the United States, although it also asked that any war on terrorism should be
put in global perspective since there had been similar others before the U.S.
tragedy in which some 5,600 people have been reported killed.
The U.S. document noted three existing laws on terrorism, namely: "Terrorism
Sections Regulations, Terrorism List Governments sanctions Regulations and
foreign Terrorist Sanctions Regulations.
Some of the named organisations and their aliases which are mainly Mideastern
Revolutionary Organisation 17 November; a.k.a. Epanastatiki Organos! 17 Noemvri
32 county sovereignty committee; a.k.a. Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare
Association; Realira: a.k.a. Real Irish Republican Army; a.k.a. Real Oglaigh Na
Heireann; a.k.a. Rira (FTO).
A.I.C. comprehensive research institute (a.k.a. AUM supreme truth a.k.a. A.I.C.
Sogo Kenkyusho; a.k.a. AUM Shinrikyo) (FTO) and
A.I.C. Sogo Kenkyusho (a.k.a. AUM supreme Truth; a.k.a. AUM Shinrikyo; a.k.a.
PIJ; a.k.a. AUM Shinrikyo; a.k.a. A.I.C. Comprehensive Research Institute) (FTO)
The list also include: Abu Ghunaym Squad of the Hizballah Bayt Al-Maquis (a.k.a.
Pij-Shaquaqi Faction; a.k.a. Islamic Jihad in Palestine; a.k.a. Islamic Jihad of
Palestine ; a.k.a. Palestinian Islamic - Shaqaqi faction; a.k.a. Pij-Shallah
faction; a.k.a. Palestinian Islamic Jihad) (SDT) (FTO).
Abu Nidal organisation (a.k.a. Ano, a.k.a. Black September; a.k.a. fatah
revolutionary council; a.k.a. Arab revolutionary council; a.k.a. Arab
revolutionary brigades; a.k.a. Revolutionary organisation of socialist muslims)
Abu Sayyaf Group (a.k.a. Al harakatal Islamiyya) (FTO).
AIIB (a.k.a. Nippon Sekigun; a.k.a. Nihon Sekigun; a.k.a. Anti-imperialist
International brigade; a.k.a. Holy War Brigade; a.k.a. Anti-war democratic
front; a.k.a. JRA; a.k.a. Japanese Red army) (FTO) and
Al-Faran (a.k.a. Al-Hadio; a.k.a. Al-Hadith; a.k.a. Harakat Ult-Mujahideen;
a.k.a. Harakat Ul-Ansar; a.k.a. HUA; a.k.a. Hum) (FTO).
And memorial services in both New York and the Pentagon in Washington yesterday
marked the end of the 30-day mourning for victims of the attacks on the World
Trade Centre and the Pentagon.
Waving American flags, thousands of mourners were stirred to their feet by a
military band rendition of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" at the Pentagon.
President Bush speaking on the occasion declared: "On September 11, great sorrow
came to our country," adding that those responsible for the acts will be brought
to justice. "And from that sorrow has come great resolve. We have awakened to
the evil of terrorism, and we are determined to destroy it. We will continue
until justice is delivered."
Speaking to the military men and women on the Pentagon lawn, he said: "In the
missions ahead, you will have everything you need. Every weapon, every resource
- everything you need to win a full victory for the cause of the United States
of America. And I pledge to you that America will never relent in this war
Bush and his wife, Laura, were joined in Washington by former President Bill
Clinton and his wife, Senator Hillary Clinton for the hour-long Pentagon
ceremony, presided over by chaplains from all four branches of military service
with readings from the Hebrew Torah, the Islamic Koran and the Christian Bible.
Before the president's remarks and those of Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld,
the names of the 189 Pentagon victims scrolled over giant screens near the dais.
Rumsfeld hosted the event on the Pentagon's Parade Field, where some 20,000
invited guests included several thousand family members of those who died.
"We are gathered here to remember, to console and to pray," said Rumsfeld,
referring to the victims. "We remember them as heroes, and we are right to do
Rumsfeld said that those responsible for the terror attacks believed "not in the
theology of God," and their victims would be remembered because of how they
lived: "proud of freedom, proud of their country and their country's cause, the
cause of human freedom."
Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, praised those who
died, saying that they were "serving their country" in the course of doing their
jobs at the Pentagon, "and on September 11 were called to make the ultimate
"For that," he said, "we call them heroes."
All 64 on board American Airlines Flight 77 and 125 people working at the
Pentagon were killed.
Investigators reconstructing details of the attack say they believe terrorists
hijacked the American Airlines flight shortly after take-off from nearby Dulles
airport as it left on a flight to Los Angeles.
If the diverted plane had been flown on a direct path to the Pentagon, the
aircraft would have reached the site within minutes. Instead, the plane spent
more than an hour in the air before it struck the building.
Flight 77 was one of four commercial airliners hijacked September 11. Two other
jets crashed into the World Trade Center towers in New York, and a fourth
jetliner crashed in Pennsylvania about a half-hour after the Pentagon attack.
When the aircraft struck the Pentagon, it caused widespread damage on the
building's fourth, fifth and sixth corridors. The impact tore a gaping hole in
one side of the Pentagon.
Security in and around the building has been extremely tight since the attack,
with heavily armed patrols walking the hallways at all times, and armed crews
manning military "humvee" vehicles to reinforce guard checkpoints.
NEWSWATCH - Hurt by President''s Tongue
University teachers tell President Olusegun Obasanjo to speak like a statesman, not as a soldier
By Chikodi Okereocha
The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, is taking on President Olusegun Obasanjo who December 3, accused lecturers of constituting themselves into an obstacle against academic excellence in Nigeria . He also accused them of exploiting students through the sale of handouts; disrupting examinations by their incessant strikes; harassing female students sexually and always asking for more money.
The president said he would no longer negotiate with ASUU and even invited God to join in the battle against ASUU. ""The less we talk about ASUU the better,"" the president said.
ASUU has condemned the president''s comments, describing them as ""unstatesmanly."" In a statement signed by Abiodun Onilude, ASUU chairman, Ibadan chapter, the union called on the president to be mindful of his statements when addressing sensitive national issues. The union also called on the president to respect the provisions of the International Labour Organisation, ILO, to which Nigeria is a signatory and stop acting like a politician or a soldier but as a statesman. It urged the president to ask for God''s help in the effort to reconcile all trade unions and warring communities in the country.
In another statement signed by Otus Ukoonwa, ASUU chairman, Obafemi Awolowo University , Ile-Ife chapter, on December 9, the union described Obasanjo''s comments as ""trivial and unfortunate."" The union said among other things, that the remarks were apparently aimed at mobilising public opinion, especially that of students against ASUU.
The statement said further that the comment was a product of desperation, hatred for academics and anti-intellectual disposition. The union insisted that its membership was made up of men and women seeking the best for the university system and by extension the nation at large. It said the present leadership had refused to understand the union''s motives because of ignorance. The union, therefore, called on the president to stop playing politics with the nation''s future since according to them, ""80 percent of the leaders are products of Nigerian universities.""
Adeboye Ayo, a lecturer at the department of plant science, Obafemi Awolowo University , Ile-Ife, blamed Obasanjo for the problems in the education sector. According to him, the standard of education started falling after 1976 when Obasanjo was the military head of state. ""Award of bursary to students in Nigerian universities stopped. The ""Ali Must Go"" crisis, which one can say was the worst in the history of education in Nigeria , happened during the military regime of Obasanjo. The period marked the beginning of brain drain in our universities,"" Adeboye argued.
A school teacher who would not want his name in print said that the president''s statement was an eye opener to Nigerians on the helpless condition of teachers in general. ""Obasanjo''s comments call for a sober reflection on the future of the present generation of youths,"" he said.
Obasanjo''s statement was in reaction to ASUU''s insistence that the June 30, 2001 agreement it entered into with the federal government be implemented. Part of the agreement was that no member of the union should be victimised for participating in strike actions. ASUU insists that the federal government has not fully implemented other agreements relating to university funding, basic salary and university autonomy. The union particularly wants all sacked lecturers from the University of Ilorin to be recalled. ASUU says that the lecturers were sacked because they participated in the last nationwide ASUU strike.
Though the federal government had instructed the authorities of the University of Ilorin to recall the teachers, they disobeyed the instruction. ASUU then went on a seven-day warning strike. Their action did not enjoy the goodwill of many Nigerians especially Obasanjo.
Obasanjo said at his last month''s media chat that he intended to sponsor a bill to make strikes illegal in schools. The president also reportedly lashed out at lecturers on a visit in Calabar. He accused them of contributing nothing to the growth of the economy through research.
Newswatch Volume 34 No 26, December 31, 2001
ThisDay News - 27/12/01
When Can Emergency Rule be Declared?
By Tunji Bello
The debate on what to do about the intractable feud between the governor and his
deputy in Osun State and which has resulted in horrendous violence and killings,
including the assassination of prominent politicians and lawmakers is getting hotter by
the day. This is coming on the heels of the recent assassination of Chief Bola Ige which
many suspect is traceable to the Osun crisis.
President Olusegun Obasanjo may have sent some military troops to the state to restore law and order. For some this has not gone far enough. They would rather prefer the president to declare a state of emergency as both Governor Bisi Akande and his deputy, Otunba Iyiola Omisore, may have lost the moral authority to govern, since they are both the originators of the crisis. The fear in certain circiles is that the Special Session of the Senate today may have been summoned to give the President sweeping powers.
But has the situation in Osun really degenerated to warrant a declaration of state of emergency? The question therefore raises three main issues: (1) when does a state of emergency arise? (2) Who declares it and how is it declared? (3) What are the consequences of the state of emergency for the state and the country in general?
Section 305(3) of the constitution outlines seven grounds on which a state of emergency may be declared.
a). When the federation is at war;
b). When the federation is in imminent danger of invasion or involvement in a state of war;
c). When there is actual breakdown of public order and public safety in the federation or any part thereof to such extent as to require extraordinary measures to restore peace and security;
d). When there is a clear and present danger of an actual breakdown of public order and public safety in the federation or any part thereof requiring extraordinary measures to avert such danger;
e). When there is an occurrence of imminent danger, or the occurrence of any disaster or natural calamity, affecting the community or a section of the community in the federation;
f). When there is any other public danger which clearly constitutes a threat to the existence of the federation;
g). When the president receives a request to do so from a governor having the backing of two thirds majority of the State House of Assembly.
Of the seven grounds listed by the constitution only the situation in (c), (d) and (e) may apply to Osun State. Even for a governor with the backing of state legislators to invite the president the grounds outlined in (c), (d) and (e) must also be present. Properly interpreted, for a state to warrant the declaration of emergency rule any one or combination of the situations in (c) (d) or (e) must be present. Until the current lull which some observers have described as the peace of the graveyard, Osun State manifested a combination of (c) and (d). There was not only the danger of an actual breakdown of public order and safety, there was in fact an actual breakdown. Whether that situation still exists at the moment is, however, debatable.
Only the president is empowered by the constitution to issue a proclamation to that effect having established the grounds so listed. This he does by instrument published in the official Gazette of the government. And after the publication the president shall transmit copies of the Gazette including details of the emergency to the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives each of whom shall forthwith convene a meeting of the house he represents to consider the situation and decide whether or not to pass a resolution approving the proclamation.
Meanwhile, the president's declaration takes effect immediately it is published even before the National Assembly approves of it. The declaration is however revoked if the National Sssembly is in session and does not pass the resolution within two days and within 10 days when not in session. The resolution must be passed by two-thirds majority of all the members of each House of the National Assembly.
A state of emergency lasts for six months but may be extended by the National Assembly. It can also be revoked before the expiration of six months by either the president or the National Assembly.
The consequence of state of emergency declaration is ominous. It is the president that rules the state directly through an appointed administrator and he rules by emergency powers including the enactment of laws similar to decrees. Both the executive and the State Assembly are suspended from office. The constitution is however silent as to whether they can be restored or a fresh election must be ordered.
In Nigeria's history, only once had we experienced this scenario. This was when Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa declared one in the old Western region following the crisis between supporters of Obafemi Awolowo and S.L.A. Akintola in the First Republic. This led to the appointment of Chief Koye Majekodunmi and the suspension of Akintola, the governor and the state legislature. After six months however, a fresh election was conducted which Akintola was said to have won.
Yet that declaration of emergency was viewed in bad light by majority of Yoruba who felt a Northern controlled federal government had a hidden agenda which was to paralyse the West politically.
The same situation appears not to exist now. Should Obasanjo declare a state of emergency in Osun it may be perceived differently being a Yoruba, except that he comes from a different party which in itself raises another element of bias for now.
Thisday News - 25/12/01
The Story of Kaduna Boy
By Kayode Komolafe
Chief Bola Ige told the story of his childhood in his book Kaduna Boy in a manner that helps to understand what he later
became in life. Ironically he was born in his hometown Esa-Oke in Osun State his childhood memories were full of Kaduna
His first conscious visit to the Southern part of Nigeria was in 1942, whI became consciously interested in politics in 1945, and it was in that year that I began to feel and act like a Nigerian nationalist. The fire was kindled by Zik, and fanned by the West African Pilot and Southern Nigeria Defender. Although I had been reading whatever copies of the Pilot I found in Kaduna it was when I got to Ibadan Grammar School that my desire to read newspapers was satisfied in the School library. I would go into the library with my notebook of words and phrases, and copy out all the unusual words and phrases, and the quotations which Zik liberally scattered through his INSIDE STUFF. Then there were the writings of George Padmore, that very brilliant Pan-African West Indian nationalist with a world view. It was from the PILOT that I read about the Indian struggle for independence and I was led on to find out more about the Great Mahatma and Panditji. It was from Mbonu Ojike that I learnt the useful art of political catechism which I practised many years later on the pages of the NIGERIAN TRIBUNE. And-it was from the SOUTHERN
NIGERIAN DEFENDER'S Here, there and Yonder by Ariel that I took my first lessons in political satire.
Between 1945 and 1948 I developed rapidly politically. I loved Zikists. They were young and fearless. They were going to revolutions Nigeria and bring us independence as Gandhi and Nehru were doing in India. Or so I thought. Prince Nwafor Orizu had returned to Nigeria from the United States of America with a new philosophy. Although he came to launch what he described as the need for horizontal education, he was clever enough to seek refuge under Zikits charisma. He propounded .The Philosophy of Zikism". It was indeed something new even if not particularly challenging. Zik himself had never claimed to propound a philosophy, or even to abide by any identifiable one. He neither wrote nor spoke about Capitalism or Socialism, not to talk of Marxism. He did not hide his preference for welfarism, but he has never defined it. He always spoke and wrote glowingly of leaders of the British Labour Party? especially Fenner Brockway, M.P., but that was because many of Labour Party leaders sympathised with the anti colonial cause, and could be cabled to raise some issue in the British House of Commons.
It was Orizu who came out with some salad of vague ideas and concepts and served them in a misshapen bowl he labelled the philosophy of Zikism. He claimed to have worked out the new ideas from a study of Zikists published works and his life. In spite of the vigorous attack by the leaders of the Nigerian Youth Movement and the DAILY SERVICE to ridicule Nwafor Orizu and his new-found pet philosophy, the idea fired the imagination of quite a few Nigerian youths and before long the Zikist Movement was formed. I was not interested in the philosophy; I was interested in the positive actions of Zikists.
In another book I have expressed my views about the formation and emergence of the Zikist Movement and its place in the political history of Nigeria. Here all I can do is to narrate how the movement impinged on my life, even as a teenager.
I knew that Adewale Fashion, who was editing Southern Nigeria Defender was a Zikist. I had been pleasantly surprised that the newspaper had not bothered to find out who I was before it published my article attacking the Assistant District Officer in Lies over an action I had read in the newspaper he had taken. I was also very much impressed when my articles on Gandhi, Nehru, sattyagraha and women in Indian politics were published. It was about 1948 or 1949 that Adewale Fashion knew me personally, although in 1946 and 1947 I used to attend many meetings called under the auspices of the Zikist Movement.
My young mind was impressed by the large number of Zikists who were convicted for what was then described as "Zikist revolutionary action and rhetoric". If I remember correctly, 21 of them were convicted, the most prominent of them being Osita Agwuna, Molwego Okoye and Raji Abdallah. Tony Enahoro was also jailed but he was not a Zikist. He merely presided over a lecture delivered at Tom Jones Hall in October 1948 by Osita Agwuna. The title of the lecture was A Call to Revolution. Even though I was potting ready for my Cambridge School Certificate examinations, I lapped up everything written by or about Zikists, including this celebrated lecture.
The Zikists were not merely noisemakers. They also engaged in what they called positive action. They were in the forefront of what history now knows as The Rristol lotel Incident In 1947 the British Government had sent a commission of Inquiry concerning higher education to Nigeria. One of the members was a black man, Sir Ivor Cummins. Bristol Hotel refused to give him accommodation when the management discovered when Sir Ivor arrived at the reception that he was a black man. Bristol Hotel (not the present one) was owned by a Greek! Osita Agwuna and other Zikists led an assault on the hotel. The Greek proprietor fled. There was such a public outcry arising out of that incident that important steps were taken: it was good-bye to European Hospital, African Hospital, European Club, African Club, and discrimination with regard to race or colour was abolished officially by the colonial government. In Ibadan I had taken part in protests against what happened at Bristol Hotel.
In those days, Zik was like God. Although from what I had read about Gandhi and Nehru, and how they were going in and out of prison for the sake of their country's independence, Zik cut a different figure„„always making sure he never got caught„„I thought it must be that Zik was extremely clever. I had read somewhere where he wrote about Fabian tactics and Fabius Cunctator. So, when I read the Latin text about Fabius Cunctator in Latin for Today Books III and IV, I believed that Zik was indeed a clever man. I thought that probably Gandhi and Nehru had not read about that great Roman tactician. Because of this, I was for some time worried in 1945 when Zik disappeared from Lagos during the Railway Strike and came back with the Assassination Story. My boyish thought was that Zik should have stayed in Lagos with the workers, and even to allow himself to be exiled ]like Michael Imodu was. My boyish heart was also worried when all those Zikists were being jailed, and Zik was not even prosecuted and I never read that he attended court to give moral support to those heroes of mine. But I thought: Zik must be exercising some brilliant tactics„„he cannot do wrong.
GUARDIAN - Friday, December 28, 2001
Ige's family denies fixing burial date, Soyinka refutes report From Steve Ajulo and Seyi Odewale FROM the family of the slain Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Chief Bola Ige, came a denial yesterday of purported burial dates announced by it. In the same vein, Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has faulted the report of his reaction over the killing of the former minister who was his childhood friend and confidant. The Ige family said the dates, reported by a national daily (not The Guardian) were the figment of the imagination of the reporter, adding that it had not discussed or agreed on any dates for the burial rites of the slain minister. The paper had reported that the burial dates were fixed for January 10-12, next year. But the eldest son of the deceased, Muyiwa, told The Guardian that at no time did he or any member of the family tell anybody of the burial dates of his father. To Muyiwa, the family and "other interests" have to meet to decide on the burial dates, which he said was not the priority for now. "You know a lot of interests are involved. The Federal Government, the international community, the political class and then the family, among others. They are all going to meet and decide on the burial dates," he stressed. Asked when such a meeting is likely to take place, he simply said: "I don't know", adding that "the meeting could be today, it could be tomorrow, it could be later. But I can't say precisely what time it could be". Soyinka was particularly irked by his reported weeping while on flight from the United States to Nigeria on Wednesday on hearing about the murder of Ige. Said he: "I didn't arrive weeping. How could I have wept on a 20-hour flight from the U.S. and still be weeping now. I think you people should stop concocting emotion. You people should know what you write." Soyinka, who spotted his characteristic simple long sleeve cream shirt arrived at the home of the Iges at about 10.40 a.m. accompanied by Dr. Yemi Ogunbiyi and his wife, Shade. He was chauffeur-driven to the home of the slain minister in an unmarked black Honda Legend car and headed straight to the living room where the widow, Justice Atinuke, was attending to sympathisers. On sighting Soyinka, Atinuke broke down in tears and was immediately embraced by him, and after petting her on the back, he sat beside her to further console her. Making his entry about the same time with Soyinka was a former Military governor of Old Oyo State, Major-Gen. Oladayo Popoola (rtd), who joined the Nobel Laureate and others to console the widow. Soyinka and Ogunbiyi were later taken upstairs for a brief moment in what looked like an inspection of the scene of the incident, after which they left.
VANGUARD - (Friday, 28th December, 2001)
I feel more anger than sorrow---- SOYINKA
By Sina Babasola
IBADAN ---- NOBEL laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka yesterday in Ibadan declared that he felt more anger in his heart than sorrow over the murder of his long-standing friend, Chief Bola Ige (SAN). Chief Ige''s widow, Atinuke broke down in tears when she sighted the playwright.
Prof. Soyinka, who arrived the Bodiya home of the Iges at exactly 10.45 a.m. told reporters, "I''m just here on a family visit. Bola Ige is a brother and a friend."
Asked for his opinion on the killing of his friend, Prof. Soyinka retorted, "later on there will be plenty time to talk. I don''t really know the way forward right now.
"And unlike what was reported in some dailies today, I did not arrive weeping, so people should be careful of what they write and people should not try to attribute emotion to me.
"When I want to weep, I will weep. So it means that I was weeping right away from United States? he asked.
"You press boys, don''t concoct emotion. On solemn occasions like this it is not necessary to fabricate emotions. I feel more anger than sorrow," he stated.
Buy, former Managing Director of Daily Times, Dr. Yemi Ogunbiyi who accompanied Prof. Soyinka to the Ige''s residence quickly corrected Prof. Soyinka on the appellation of "press boys," saying that they are journalists.
However, the widow of Ige yesterday broke down in tears when she sighted Prof. Soyinka in her sitting room.
Son of Chief Ige, Muyiwa ushered Soyinka into the bed room of the late Ige for about 10 minutes apparently to show him the location where the assassins terminated his father''s life.
Justice Atinuke, who had in the last few days controlled her emotion broke down when she saw Prof. Soyinka and she wept for about five minutes.
Prof. Soyinka had to console the widow, before she was able to control her emotion again.
Founder and President of Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Dr. Frederick Fasehun, also on a condolence visit said the said incident was an indication that the whole country should consider the agitation for state and local government police.
Said he: "People should not jump into conclusion. In a situation of shock, thinking process is bound to be paralysed and you make unguarded statement, to jump to conclusion, arrest and investigate is against the tenet of democracy."
"In a good security system, every information is necessary and useful. Whether it is right or wrong." Dr. Fasehun said, "there is similarity to what happened to Kudirat and what happened here, shortly before Kudirat got to that round-about, the policemen disappeared. Chief Bola Ige got home and his security guard disappeared."
Minister of Works and Housing, Chief Tony Anenih lamented the murder of the Attorney-General, saying "this thing is a great shock. It is more than politics."
Cross River State Governor, Mr. Donald Duke also mourned with the Ige''s family.
Other dignitaries who paid condolence visit to the family in Ibadan yesterday included the immediate past Minister of Police Affairs, Maj.-Gen. David Jemibewon, Moses Olaiya Adejumo a.k.a. Baba Sala, Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti, Dr. Bode Olajumoke, Prof. Adebayo Adedeji, Gen. Akin Aduwo, Chief Okoya Thomas, Alhaja Abibatu Adele, Mrs. Kemi Nelson, Dr. Lateef Adegbite, Apostle Adesuyi Haastrup, Alhaji M.D. Yusuff, PDP Oyo State chapter delegation, Chief Paul Alabi, Ekiti State Deputy Governor.
ThisDay News - 27/12/01
Soyinka Arrives, Weeping
Heads for Ibadan today
By Osedebamen Isibor, Samuel Famakinwa and Ndubuisi Francis
Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka broke down in tears yesterday on arrival from United States over the assassination of
his childhood friend and Justice Minister, Chief Bola Ige.
Soyinka, who arrived Murtala Mohammed Interna-tional Airport at 7.28pm via KLM, declined comments when asked to react to the death of Ige.
Prodded to say a word at least to show how he felt over the incident, the Nobel laureate who was in tears, took his medicated glasses off his eyes, wiped them and said, "Sorry, I can't make a statement now. You can see for yourself. I mean, what do you want me to say...?"
With those words, and still in tears, he walked briskly into a waiting CVU convoy with anti-riot policemen in tow.
Soyinka's reaction yesterday was a repeat of his disposition when the news of Ige's death was broken to him on phone by family members.
"That night (meaning Monday morning) when we called him on phone to tell him about Uncle Bola's death, he screamed and that was the end; we did not hear his voice again", said the source. Soyinka, the source further disclosed, is not happy that only recently he has lost three of his close friends: "the late Femi Johnson, Professor Ojetunji Aboyade and now Uncle Bola".
Earlier, Soyinka had been received at the VIP arrival hall of the airport by his son, Makin and a close friend, Dr. Yemi Ogunbiyi. It was gathered that he will in the late minister's Ibadan residence at 8am today on condolence visit to the bereaved family.
GUARDIAN - Thursday, December 27, 2001
Police arrest seven suspects over Ige's murder
Offer N.5 million for information
Obasanjo vows to find killers
By Ben Akparanta (Lagos), Steve Ajulo and Kola Alade (Ibadan) and Charles Coffie-Gyamfi (Abeokuta)
THE search for the killers of Justice Minister and Attorney General of the Federation, Chief James Ajibola Ige (SAN) on Sunday, may have begun to yield results.
Although the Police are still keeping an open mind on the investigation, seven "principal suspects" have been arrested while scores of others are being screened in connection with the murder, according to Police spokesman Mr. Haz Iwendi.
Also, unconfirmed reports yesterday said a man went to the Agodi Police Station in Ibadan to confess having a hand in the murder. Police sources, however, claim that the man was arrested.
To underscore its determination to unravel identities of the assassins, the Police High Command yesterday offered a sum of N500,000 as reward to anyone who provides information that could lead to the arrest of the killers.
President Olusegun Obasanjo who also yesterday pledged, on his honour, to apprehend the killers soon, reiterated the need for tolerance among the citizenry in resolving differences.
Iwendi, an Assisstant Commissioner of Police, who confirmed the arrest, however declined to reveal the identities of the suspects.
The Police High Command which offered the monetary reward pledged to accord any information received on the murder utmost confidentiality.
A statement by the deputy force public relations officer, Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) Olufemi Oyeleye, appealed to anyone with useful information to contact the police on designated telephone numbers.
Iwendi, who spoke with The Guardian last night, said the information could be routed through the office of the Inspector General Mr. Musiliu A.K. Smith on telephone number 09-2340422 or 09-2340633.
Such people can also contact the office of the Assistant Inspector General in charge of the "D" Department who is in full charge of the investigations, Mrs. Abimbola Ojomo, on 09-2340869.
Others who can be contacted are Osun State Police Commissioner Mr. Ganiyu Dawodu (035-243363) or his Oyo State counterpart, Mr. Michael Ukoh (02-2412824).
President Obasanjo, who was at his ancestral home, Ibogun in Ogun State, for the community's yearly celebrations Ibogun Day said his administration would intensify efforts to encourage dialogue among Nigerians.
He said: "I want to assure you that come next year, this government will pursue the need to eschew bitterness. We will be guided by the need to eschew rancour. We will be guided by the need to eschew anger and substitute it with dialogue, enthronement of peace and making democracy work as it should".
Going philosophical, the President who was accompanied by his wife, Stella, Rivers State Governor Peter Odili and Senior Special Assistant (Media and Publicity) Mr. Tunji Oseni, continued: "A situation where we leave dialogue and substitute it with violence is not human, I mean it is animalistic and; any group of human beings who behaves in such a way is not fit to be in the company of civilised people."
The President expressed regrets that the joy of the occasion had been taken away by the "tragic incident of the assassination of Chief Bola Ige." He described the late Ige as "a friend, colleague, patriot and nationalist."
He said: "Let me say this that whatever may have been the motive of those who carried out this dastardly act, be it political, economic, social, whatever it is, it is absolutely unacceptable and this government will leave no stone unturned to search for justice.
"This is because if this can happen and they (culprits) can get way with it, then the life of the ordinary people in this country, I will say, is insecured."
The President gave an assurance that the perpetrators would be brought to book.
Apparently affirming President Obasanjo's order to the Police to unmask the killers before the new year, Iwendi said: "This is one case that the Police must crack soonest."
Iwendi who said the police were not leaving anything to chance added: "We are leaving our minds open for links and evidences in this regard."
The N500,000 offer, according to him, is not paltry and should not be viewed on the monetary value. He said: "It is a civic responsibility for all Nigerians to assist the Police in this regard. The money is just an incentive to do so."
Meanwhile, men of the Criminal Intelligence Bureau (CIB) and the Security Intelligence Bureau (SIB) have joined the army of security operatives scouting to unravel the high profile killing.
Ige resigned before death?
UNCONFIRMED reports on Monday indicated that the slain Minister of Justice and the Attorney General of the Federation, Chief Bola Ige, had tendered his letter of resignation from the Obasanjo administration.
Sources close to the family informed the Nigerian Tribune that Chief Ige had, in a handwritten memo to President Olusegun Obasanjo, intimated his boss of his desire to resign from the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in order ""to go and rest.""
The letter, it was gathered, was turned in by the Justice Minister a day after his wife, Justice (Mrs.) Atinuke Ige, was conferred with a national award of the Officer of the Federal Republic (OFR) by President Obasanjo in Abuja.
The rumour mill had been abuzz with the decision of President Obasanjo to reshuffle his cabinet sometimes in December and it was touted that the Justice Minister had been listed among those to be affected.
Shortly after Chief Ige was appointed to the International Law Commission, it was widely claimed that the Afenifere chieftain was, indeed, on his way out of the Obasanjo administration.
But Chief Ige and some of his close aides like Dr. Olu Agunloye came out to disclaim such rumours, saying that he had no reason to quit the Obasanjo cabinet because of the international assignment which was on a part-time basis, adding that he (Ige) had no fundamental difference with the President to warrant his quitting the administration.
It would be recalled that Chief Ige''s participation in the Obasanjo administration had been subject of disputations between him and the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural and political organisation, Afenifere, which did not want Ige to accept the ministerial appointment.
However, Chief Ige was supported by the Alliance for Democracy (AD) in the South-West to accept the ministerial gesture and that had created a major schism among the rank and file of the AD/Afenifere in Yorubaland.
ThisDay News - 27/12/01
As IG Offers N.5m for Information on Killers...
Ige: Ex-Commissioner, 6 Others Arrested
Family considers January 10- 12 burial dates
From Funke Aboyade and Ademola Adeyemo in Ibadan , Godwin Ifijeh in Lagos and Hammed Bodurin in OsogboThe manhunt for the killers of the Attorney-General of the Federation, Chief Bola Ige, swung into high gear with the arrest of seven persons including a former commissioner and another politician in Osun State who are said to be helping the police in their investigations.
In Abuja the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Musliu Smith, has offered the sum of five hundred thousand naira (N500,000) to anyone who provides information that could lead to the arrest of the perpetrators of Ige's murder on Sunday night in his Ibadan residence.
However, contrary to reports of a Lagos newspaper that Ige was felled with a bullet "which dissolved in the body", police sources confirmed to THISDAY that his chest was blown open by the single bullet fired at very close range as the bullet splintered into pellets inside the body leaving a deep gush.
He is believed to have died instantly with no chance for survival.
"It is pedestrian to say the bullet melted in the body", said a top police officer.
According to police sources, the Osun State ex-commissioner, Mr. Kunle Alao and Mr. Wale Adeseyan, a local politician, have been arrested on "preliminary investigations". Both who are assisting the police in their investigations even as both are said to be allies of Osun State deputy governor, Chief Iyiola Omisore who had been at loggers-head with Governor Bisi Akande, a protege of the late Ige.
The former Commissioner had recently caused a stir at the Osun House of Assembly when he reportedly appeared clad in underpants and armed with a shotgun in a bid to cause confusion, thereby pre-empting a rumoured bid to impeach the Deputy Governor.
He is also alleged to have been a mastermind behind the recent assault on the late Ige at Ile-Ife. The late Attorney-General was recently at the palace of the Ooni of Ife slapped several times with his cap and his glasses broken.
Other suspects include the two security details (one State Security Service Operative and one policeman) attached to the late Justice Minister, who abandoned their duty post, leaving their weapons behind to go for dinner when the killing occurred.
THISDAY learnt that when the two returned, they retrieved their guns from where they had been kept and continued on duty, totally oblivious, or claiming to be, of what had happened.
Family sources said that so ignorant were they of the tragic incident that when Funsho, Ige's daughter, arrived home to visit, they told her that her father was in the house, several minutes after he had been shot.
Another suspect,described as an aide of the Osun State Deputy Governor, is said to reside in Bodija, not very far from the late Attorney-General's residence. He was said to have fled his Bodija residence after the murder and was picked up in Osun State.
The Special Investigation Panel set up by the Inspector-general of Police will however address the press today.
Meanwhile, tentative dates of January 10-12 are being considered as burial dates for Ige, family sources told THISDAY Ige was to have been conferred with an Hononary Doctor of Letters Degree by the University of Ilorin on January 12.
THISDAY gathered, from competent sources, that the burial plans would include a service of songs daily at Ige's Bodija residence, special court sessions (at the Supreme Court and possibly, Oyo and Osun states), an inter-denominational Commendation Church Service, wake-keeping, private service and internment possibly at Ige's Esa-Oke country home.
Consultations are still on-going with family members in order to ensure that the slain minister is buried in a dignified manner. There is also the need to balance the desire of Ige's family to ensure a quick burial in line with his expressed wishes during his lifetime, and the reality of the personality involved and position occupied.
Speaking exclusively with THISDAY, Ige's widow, Justice Atinuke Ige, expressed her immense appreciation to the media for their outpouring of support and sharing in the family's grief. She observed that whenever she woke up with a heavy heart, she would feel "light-spirited" when she again saw the show of media support.
Dr. Olu Agunloye, the Special Assistant to the Justice Minister, expressed the hope that, "the death of Uncle Bola will lead to peace in Yorubaland, rather than violence, since he had always stood for peace, truth and principles of integrity. He has paid the ultimate price and made a final sacrifice, and this can only be for peace otherwise, the Yoruba will be shooting themselves in the foot".
In a statement signed by Mr. Olufemi Oyeleye (CSP), Deputy Force Public Relations Officer (PRO) in the Police Headquarters, Abuja, the Inspector General announced a reward of N500,000 to anyone who provides information that could lead to the arrest of the killers.
The statement read: "The Inspector-General of Police hereby announces a reward of N500,000 to any public-spirited individual or group who might offer any useful information that will assist the police in ensuring earliest conclusion of investigation of this case."
Police also promised to treat such information "under utmost confidentiality while the identity of the supplier will be kept secret.
'The public is hereby assured that the perpetrators of the dastardly act will soon be fished out and made to face the wrath of the law."
The Police urged individuals and groups with "helpful information" to call the following telephone numbers: Inspector-General of Police (IGP); 09-2340422, 09-2340633; Principal Staff Officer to IGP: 09-2340424, Assistant IGP ("B" Dept.): 09-2340755, and Assistant IGP "D" Dept.: 09-2340869.
Continuing, the Police enjoined such "public spirited individuals or groups" to call the Oyo State Police Commissioner on telephone number 02-2412824, his Osun State counterpart: 035-243363, or the Force Public Relations Officer, on 09-2340868.
But in a swift reaction, the Independent Youth Forum (IYF) of Esa Oke, the home town of late Ige condemned the police for offering "mere N500,000" as ransom for the killers of the late Attorney-general.
According to the youth leader, Mr. Biodun Oni, Ige's family and the people of Esa Oke were shocked to learn that "only N500,000 was put on the killers of Baba, a man of immense status and of international repute."
Said he: "I think it is uncharitable of the police to offer just N500,000 to track down the killers of the nation's Justice Minister, a member of International Law Officers and a leader of Afenifere. However, we know what we will do, the killers and their collaborators will not go unpunished."
Yesterday, the Association of Nigeria Students (NANS) issued a 21-day ultimatum to President Obasanjo to arrest the killers of Ige or "he should resign from office.'
NANS President, Olusegun Olaleye in a press release urged the government to urgently step up action to bring the killers to book.
Said he: "It was a shameful act if the nation's Justice Minister could be killed like this in a democratic government. This could be likened to the dark era of the military regime."
The President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Right Rev. Sunday Mbang predicted that "God will reveal those behind the assassination of the late Minister of Justice."
Mbang who paid a condolence visit to the late Ige's residence said "those assassins that killed Chief Ige would confess to the world of their sin, very soon, God will reveal the assassins. This is a tragedy of irreparable proportion to the nation as a whole. I believe God will reveal those that did it."
Mbang added: "We were together on Friday. They have done their worst. I don't know who killed him, if they are politicians they will die like Abacha."
Alliance for Democracy (AD), National Chairman, Alhaji Abdukadir Ahmed, said the late Ige was the pillar of AD and "he stabilised the politics of Yoruba, the struggle has just started."
Meanwhile, traditional chiefs and elders in Esa-Oke yesterday staged a peaceful demonstration to the palace of Owa-Obokun of Ijesaland, Oba Adekunle Aromolaran calling on the Federal Government to get the killers.
The elders urged the monarch to get across to the Federal Government to ensure justice in the matter by bringing the assassins and their sponsors to book.
Armed with placards, the chiefs condemned the killing describing it as cruel, tragic and barbaric.
While calling on the Federal Government through the royal father to get to the roots of the ugly incident, they extolled the virtues of the late Attorney-General as an illustrious son of not only Esa-Oke but of Yorubaland and Nigeria in general.
Responding, Oba Aromolaran sympathised with the traditional institution and the entire people of Ijesaland over the loss, commending the chiefs and elders on the peaceful way they had conducted themselves.
Aromolaran who later held a close-door meeting with the Esa-Oke chiefs, assured them that President Obasanjo would do everything possible to fish out the perpetrators, urging the elders to keep on calming down the people in their domain as the killers would not go unpunished.
Also in a release entitled "Adieu Uncle Bola", the State House of Assembly Speaker, Dr. Mojeed Alabi, described the late Minister as "a nationalist, statesman, patriot and political icon of our time."
"The tragic death was untimely coming at a time when men of his quality and experience are needed in the search for an amicable resolution of the current political logjam in Osun State," Alabi said.
While condoling the late Minister's wife, Justice (Mrs) Atinuke Ige and the entire family as well as Osun State in particular and Nigeria in general, Alabi said he "felt "disturbed by the series of attacks, assassination, murder and general sense of insecurity that have been recorded in the state hitherto a land of peace in the recent times."
REUTERS - Saturday, Dec. 29, 2001
Nigerian says killed minister for one mln naira
IBADAN, Nigeria, Dec 27 (Reuters) - A Nigerian man said he was promised one million naira ($8,860) as one of eight gunmen who killed Justice Minister Bola Ige, police said on Thursday.
Ige, a confidant of President Olusegun Obasanjo, was shot in the chest at close range on Sunday night by gunmen who entered his home after his guards went on a break.
Oyo State Police Commissioner Mike Okuo told a news conference a 27-year-old man, who turned himself in on Wednesday, had named some of his accomplices and those who hired them.
"He confessed to taking part in the act," Okuo said. "His own share of (the money for) committing the act was one million naira."
"The accused person mentioned some names of those who sent them and who participated in the killing of Chief Bola Ige," Okuo said.
The commissioner declined to identify the man, who said he turned himself in because he was overcome with guilt.
He also refused to say who the man said he was hired by or whether the killing was politically motivated.
The man presented himself just hours after police offered a 500,000 naira reward on Wednesday for information leading to the minister's killers.
Okuo said the man told him the killers were not paid after the murder.
"This is the first time in Nigeria that anybody has come and said 'I took part in the killing of a person'," Okuo said.
"I questioned him for hours. He is sound, coherent, sane and intelligent. He was very sober."
Okuo said police had arrested many people on suspicion of being connected to the murder, but declined to say how many.
"Those who are involved in the act are our primary targets, but those who aid them and give sanctuary to the assassins are also our main targets," he said.
Senators were due to begin returning to Abuja on Thursday, ending their holiday nearly a month early, for an emergency meeting on Friday.
The senators will discuss national security following the minister's death, state radio said.
A Reuters photographer, who visited Ige's home village of Esa Oke and nearby Ile-Ife on Thursday, said soldiers had just withdrawn from the area where President Obasanjo deployed them on Monday to prevent reprisals.
Ige was the third politician to be slain in the region in less than a week.
Newspapers reported on Thursday that the Oodua People's Congress (OPC) ethnic militia had vowed to hunt Ige's killers.
The OPC, which has been accused of carrying out summary executions of suspected criminals, was banned after the government blamed it for an explosion of ethnic violence that left more than 100 dead in Lagos in October 2000.
The minister was the highest ranking politician to be killed since 15 years of military rule ended in 1999. His death has shaken a country already struggling with widespread ethnic and religious violence.
Ige had become embroiled in a bitter feud between the Osun state governor and his deputy which led to gunmen invading the state assembly two weeks ago. The feud also led to riots last week in which two local politicians were killed and half a dozen homes and the state radio station were destroyed.
($1 - 112.85 naira)
GUARDIAN = Friday, December 28, 2001
Osun House to shut down, says speaker From Iyabo Sotunde, Ibadan FOLLOWING the killing last Sunday of the Justice Minister and Attorney-General of the Federation, Chief Bola Ige, embattled Speaker of the Osun State House of Assembly, Mojeed Alabi yesterday declared that Osun is no longer safe. Consequently, he added the House will remain locked until the security situation improves. Alabi, who spoke in an interview with The Gaurdian in Ibadan shortly after paying a condolence visit to the Iges, appealed to the Federal Government and Yoruba leaders to mediate in the Osun crisis, saying the situation was becoming too dangerous. He said: Honestly, one is too shocked about the state of things in Osun. A member of my House has been murdered; a great leader who has been nurturing us is also murdered.... I have not touched Osun State since then. You see the car I brought, I am moving about in disguise because no one's security is safe now." Besides, the legislator said: "the government should provide maximum security while the leader of our race, the Yoruba race, should be more assertive in making sure that differences are justly and amicably resolved." On the possibility of reopening the House which adjourned sine die following the fracas that broke out over plan to impeach the deputy-governor, Iyiola Omisore, the lawmaker said the House cannot resume sitting yet because things are not safe. "Honestly, I cannot tell you anything now until I am satisfied that the House of Assembly is a safe place, a member has been murdered and nobody knows what will happen next, we cannot afford to continue to lose more lives and property. Until that sense of insecurity is totally reduced, nobody can come to the House. To come and do what? A dead man does not legislate, it is only those who survived a war that live to tell the story," he added.
GUARDIAN - Friday, December 28, 2001
U.S embassy, Okoya Thomas, others condemn assassination
By Justin Akpovi-Esade
AS Nigerians mourn erstwhile Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Chief Bola Ige, who was assassinated on Sunday, the United States yesterday, through its embassy in Nigeria, sent a condolence message to the Federal Government and the bereaved family.
A statement by the embassy's Public Affairs Section (PAS) described the murder as "tragic and senseless."
It said: "Chief Ige was a fine gentleman, a warm and helpful interlocutor for the embassy and a superlative son and representative of Nigeria. An eloquent and courageous champion for the rule of law in Nigeria, he recognized the serious threat posed by drug traffickers, organised crimes and corruption to Nigeria's stability and nascent democracy and used his position to push for reforms to strengthen Nigeria's ability to counter these threats".
The embassy added:"In November, because his legal and leadership skills were recognized around the world, an overwhelming majority elected him to the United Nations' International Law Commission.
"We take this opportunity to extend the profound condolences of the government and people of the United States to his wife and family and to the government and people of Nigeria. We will all deeply miss Chief Bola Ige, may his soul rest in perfect peace."
Similarly,business mogul Chief Molade Okoya-Thomas,in a reaction, said: "I am not a politician, but I am a Nigerian, I am a citizen of this great country and I condemn all those that are responsible for Ige's death. May God almighty brings them out as quickly as possible. They are callous, they are weak people, and they are mindless.
"God will never forgive them, God will bring them out as quickly as possible."
Okoya-Thomas, at the Glover Memorial Hall, Lagos, yesterday on his return from Ibadan, Oyo State, where he went to sympathise with Ige's family, described the slain minister as a great man, " and one of our great leaders, a nationalist. He was not a tribalist, he could speak the three main languages very fluently."
"He was very useful to the society, useful to the nation and he was murdered while still in the service of this great country. May God destroy those people that are responsible for it (murder)," Okoya Thomas the chairman, Board of Trustees of the Glover Memorial Hall, said in an emotion-laden voice.
He also joined others in raising questions on the security of lives and property in the country.
"People are no longer safe and I will not attribute the unsafe environment to the coming of democracy. I am not a politician, but democracy has nothing to do with the country's security. People are just becoming more callous, wicked and mean", he lamented.
Also the Campaign for Democracy (CD) has expressed shock at the news of the murder.
"We mourn Chief Bola Ige because in him we have lost a rare gem. We recall with fond memory his deep counsel, moral grandeur and tenacity of purpose, which were invaluable during our days in the trenches.
"It is inconceivable that anybody would kill a political leader of Ige's stature at this stage of our fragile democracy. If they could do it to Ige, then nobody is safe in Nigeria again," it lamented.
Leader of the Oodua People's Congress (OPC) Dr. Fredrick Fasehun,re-stated his call for state police to complement the security efforts of the Nigerian Police.
Speaking with reporters at the Bodija residence of the late minister, Fasehun said the spate of disturbances in certain parts of the country and the killing of Ige showed serious lapses in the nation's security.
He said:"It is sad and most unfortunate that a man of Ige's stature and calibre could be shot so cheaply like that. We have always said that the security of lives and property is too low in this country."
He added: "We have always said that there is the need for us to re-visit the issue of state police. What is wrong with state police, and even local government police? The federal Government should look into the question," Fasehun added.
GUARDIAN - Friday, December 28, 2001
Senate reconvenes, debates state of the nation From Abiodun Adeniyi, Abuja THE Senate will today reconvene in an emergency but crucial session after a formal Yuletide adjournment earlier in December. Today's session was actually impromptu, as it was on the orders of the Senate President, Ayim Pius Ayim, through the bureaucracy over what is said to be unabating heat on the recently passed electoral law, besides the shocking assassination of Justice Minister, Chief Ajibola Ige (SAN). Chief Press Secretary to the Senate President Mr. Kola Adeyemi, who announced the emergency session was, however, silent on the reason for the meeting of the Upper House. The Guardian learnt that the consultation is to enable the chamber find a way around the controversial electoral law, which has of late heated up the polity. If the Senate was in doubt over whether they should reconvene because of the disputed law, the assassination of Justice Minister Bola Ige erased such misgivings, following feelings that the temperament of the polity was being overstretched and something had to be urgently done in the circumstance. To that extent, it was said that the Senate might even reaffirm its earlier words to the President to exercise the power of emergency on any state where law and order is threatened. In the circumstance, the troubles in Osun State have been adjudged an unduly protracted one, and may therefore provoke the federal might. It was also believed yesterday that the Senate leadership might use the opportunity of today's session to assuage the feelings of their colleagues over what is believed to be unwholesome deeds in the process of the bill passage. Sources confirmed yesterday that today's session is preceded by series of caucus meetings, hovering around traditional Senate groups, in what is said to be further to their determination to smoothen rough edges preparatory to its debate today. The Senate session begins 2.00 p.m.
ThisDay News - 27/12/01
House Leadership Files Amendment to Electoral Act
From Chuks Okocha in Abuja
As controversy continues to trail the Electoral Act, the principal officers of the House of Representatives have filed an
amendment to the "offensive" part of the Electoral Act.
THISDAY gathered that the decision by the House leadership to file the amendment to the controversial section, 80 (1), was arrived at after the Speaker of the House, Hon. Ghali Na'Abba and the principal officers failed to convince President Olusegun Obasanjo to withdraw his assent to the Electoral Act on the ground that there were some procedural errors.
National Assembly sources said Na'Abba and the principal officers met the President last Saturday to make him see reason on the need to withdraw his assent to the Act. One of the sources explained that the president however refused to yield any ground, allegedly informing the principal officers that it would be better for the alleged procedural error to be corrected through the proper channel, that is, by way of amendment.
THISDAY further gathered that it was as a result of this that the leadership of the House agreed to file an amendment before the Clerk of the House of Representatives.
Also, it was agreed that the amendment by the leadership of the House would likely supersede all other amendments that were filed by some members, including the duo of the Deputy Chairman of the House Committee on Justice, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Hon. Celestine Ughanze, and the Chairman of the House Committee on Industry, Hon. Hamisu Shira.
Both Shira and Ughanze had earlier filed amendments to the controversial section 80(1).
According to sources close to the meeting of the principal officers of the House of Representatives, the amendment to the controversial section will be one of the first issues to be handled when the House resumes January 22.
It would be recalled that the Speaker of the House of Representatives in a BBC interview recently reportedly distanced himself from the handling of the electoral bill before it was signed by the President.
According to the Speaker, when he received a letter dated from the President on December 5, 2001, he sent it to the House committee chairman on Special Duties for the necessary action, after which he proceeded to Mecca for the lesser Hajj or Umrah.
GUARDIAN - Tuesday, January 1, 2002
Ige: Police dismiss confessed killer's claims
(Nigeriaworld Archive '02) - Shocker: Confessed killer doesn''t know Ige''s house
Police detectives were surprised at the weekend as the 27-year old man, who last week confessed to having participated in the murder of Chief Bola Ige, could not take them to the slain minister''s house in Bodija, Ibadan.
Top police sources told the Nigerian Tribune on Tuesday that detectives probing the murder of Chief Ige had been able to establish that the self-confessed killer was a fake being used by some shadowy people to divert police attention.
The sources said the police saw through the man''s deceit when he failed some elementary tests of veracity of his claims.
Particularly, the sources said, the man could not know the way to Chief Ige''s house in Ibadan when detectives asked him to take them there. The police sources said it was most probable the man was paid to make the confession and derail police investigation into the murder.
Also, all names and addresses given to the police by the man as those of his accomplices, have so far, been very difficult to trace.
GUARDIAN - Tuesday, January 1, 2002
Ige: Police dismiss confessed killer's claims
Atiku in tears, Enahoro, Na'Abba mourn By Ben Akparanta, Lagos, Iyabo Sotunde, Ibadan and Mike Osunde, Benin ALL clues given to the police by Sadiq, the man who last Wednesday voluntarily surrendered himself and confessed to killing the Justice Minister and Attorney General of the Federation, Chief Bola Ige, are a hoax, according to the investigators. Sadiq who, The Guardian learnt, may be taken to the Psychiatric Department of the University of Ibadan before Saturday to determine his mental state, had confessed to have been a member of an eight-man gang that killed the Justice Minister eight days ago. Investigations of Sadiq's claims, said Force Public Relations deputy spokesman Femi Oyeleye yesterday, have been "concluded and proven to be in the negative for now." Sources at the Oyo State Police Command, Eleyele spoke in the same vein with the deputy police spokesman by stating that all clues, including names and addresses of associates given police by the suspect have been proven to be mere fallacy. Abimbola Ojomo, an assistant-inspector general of police and head of the Presidential panel probing the killing of the minister is still prowling Osun and Oyo states to unmask the minister's killers. Oyeleye made these disclosures hours before Vice President Atiku Abubakar gave free rein to sorrow and shed tears at the Bodija, Ibadan home of the slain minister. Abubakar, while condoling the deceased's family, expressed the sympathy of members of the Federal Executive Council saying the council will miss Ige's wise counsel. Police's attention, which was somewhat concentrated on Sadiq's claims and the possibility of a spill-over of the Osun State crisis as clues to resolving the killing of the minister, now appears more enlarged. The involvement of an international syndicate is being checked and more detailed probe of the minister's activities during his life time are also under scrutiny. Ige as minister of Justice and attorney-general of the federation personally prosecuted on October 7, two suspected drug barons who imported 60 kilogrammes of pure cocaine estimated to be worth N1 billion. The suspects, including a Mexican, Angelo Merilnay, had allegedly offered operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) N50 million as bribe. Atiku, clad in a light blue guinea brocade, arrived at the Solemilia Court residence of the Iges at 11.50 a.m, in a Peugeot 605 car driven by Police Inspector Idris Adam. He was accompanied by his wife, Titi and the Oyo State Governor Lam Adesina. The Vice-President was led into the living room, where the Iges were already seated. Tried as he could to control his emotion, tears flowed as he embraced the slain minister's widow, Atinuke, who also wept profusely. It took the intervention of some members of the Ige family before the duo could stop sobbing. "Chief Ige was a very loving and caring person. He was well loved by all of us. He wanted the best for the country, we will ensure that his ideals and what he fought for are not in vain, Ige did so much for the country, particularly the enthronement of democracy, he will be greatly missed. He was a fine gentleman and one who does not hide his feelings. Abubakar later presented a letter to the widow on behalf of members of the Federal Executive Council. Justice Atinuke Ige, while expressing appreciation for the visit, prayed for the FEC members, for God's continued guidance and strength and also prayed for the Vice-President and his daughter who recently got married. However, Abubakar was prevented from talking to journalists who had laid siege at the entrance as his securitymen shielded him from the crowd. The Vice-President who was about to give audience to the anxious journalists, consequently headed for his car. But in the condolence register, the Vice-President said," A great loss and a tragic death, may God accept his gentle soul, Amen." And in far away United States of America, NADECO patriarch, Chief Anthony Enahoro, mourned the death of Bola Ige. Enahoro said he learnt of the death of Ige when he realised, even with greater shock the manner of his death. "It is a bad reflection of the socio-political conflicts and tensions of our times, that he died in such gruesome circumstances," he said in a message to the family, after his son, Ken, led in two-men delegations to visit the bereaved family in Ibadan three days ago. Recalling that Ige had been in public life for many years and had attained high office in the service of the country, Enahoro said the slain politician would be remembered for his enthusiastic participation in Nigerian politics. Also Edo United Front (EUP), a socio-cultural group, said yesterday that Ige's death raised yet another fundamental challenge in Nigeria's chequered history. "It is an expressions of the level of our political decay and diabolical intrigues." It said it was time the Nigerian leadership re-examined its sincerity of purpose, adding that the outcome of police investigation into Ige's murder would make or scuttle democracy. "Today, we mourn the legal luminary, and an astute politician who was gruesomely murdered; nobody know who is next," he said, adding that it was for that reason EUP had joined the teeming Nigerians to request the leaders to fish out Ige's killers. EUF said Ige's death is a challenge to the Yoruba who must now bury the hatchet and reconcile the warring factions. "The world is watching us. We cannot afford to fail again for history has never been in our favour the way it is today, so let our victory be our sources of unity." There is therefore need for all Yoruba groups to present a common front to check with the attempt to fractionalise them, it said. EUF urged President Olusegun not to lose sight of the problems. And because Ige's case is an eye opener, the President was urged to ensure that those involved are brought to book. "We have no other country, we must join hands in protecting our collective interest," EUF concluded. And in Abuja, The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Ghali Na'Abba, has called on Nigerians to honour their resolve and thirst for democracy as a mark of honour for the assassinated Attorney-General of the Federation. In his condolence message Na'Abba said the "cowardly slaying of Ige should not undermine our resolve and hope in democracy. The greatest legacy and honour we can bestow on this great democrat, is to ensure that the seeds of democracy continue to grow, he said. He went on: "It is particularly cruel that a man so known and endowed with bravery could be felled in such a cowardly manner. It is ironical that a democrat of Ige's sterling credential could be a victim of dulitions energies believed from the young democracy he fought for." Na'Abba said the late Ige would be remembered as a great Yoruba and Nigerian nationalist. But Federal government, will not allow the murder of Ige to truncate the present democratic dispensation, according to Information and National Orientation Minister Prof. Jerry Gana. Gana spoke in Ibadan while addressing reporters at the Bodija, Ibadan home of the late Minister. He expressed regrets over the death, but said that nothing can disrupt the present democracy being enjoyed in the country. "I want to assure Nigerians that of those who did this, were thinking of terminating democracy or frightening the political class, we want to assure Nigerians that by the grace of God, democracy will be sustained in the country and it shall be well with Nigerian." Gana who pointed out that Nigerians are angry over the gruesome death of the Justice Minister, assured that no stone will be left unturned to fish out the killers. He specifically assured that Ige's murder will not be like that of Kudirat Abiola and Pa Rewane among others, who were brutally killed during the military government, saying efforts are already on to bring the culprits to book. "Ige's death will not be like the previous cases, security forces are already working and this time around, because so much has happened, Nigerians are really deeply angry, information is really coming from every quarter and we encouraged anyone who have information about the killers to go ahead because not only Nigerians, God will reward that person," he added. He disclosed that President Olusegun Obasanjo has directed greater security for all serving government officials to prevent further occurrence. His words: "Nobody ever imagined that anybody would do anything like this to a great lover of the masses, but with this kind of thing, we have directed that adequate security be provided for all serving ministers as well as other government functionaries. On the cash reward for anyone with useful information on the killers, the minister explained that the move was aimed at encouraging those who may not want to talk except they have some incentives pointing out that the exercise is not restricted to Nigeria but every part of the world. While commending those who have contributed to the cash reward, a move described by Gana as an indication of the deep anger felt by the people, the minister said the Federal Government will do everything possible to arrest Ige's killers. Gana however absolved the Federal Government of blame in the death of Chief Ige. Saying nobody should blame the government for the death because every security desired by the late (Justice Minister) was provided. Said he: "The Honourable Minister of Justice had been a respectable person, so whatever security he desired should have been given, the late Ige was so humane and loving, that was why he allowed his security aides to go and eat, those who did this act just look at the advantage of his humaneries, he was so nice and wonderful." In a separate interview, former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PD), Chief Solomon Lar, advocated improved funding of the nation's security system to enhance effective performance. Lar who stated that more money should be made available to the Nigerian Police, also canvassed recruitment of more people into the force saying the Nigeria Police is understaffed. "In fact, we have the least number of police, the United Nation policy says 800 person to one policeman, but here we have about two thousand or more than that to a policeman, which is very inadequate. "Therefore, there should be more recruitment of policemen, more funding of the sector and when the money is approved by the National Assembly, it should be released forthwith," he said. The PDP chieftain continued: "Assassination should not be a way of life, it should be discouraged by all, the security of this nation should be tightened. It must be seen to be tightened, while more money should be voted for the security of the people." Others who paid condolence visits to the bereaved family include serving minister like Mustafa Bello (Commerce); Ishaya Mark Aku (Sports) Kema Chikwe (Aviation); Ojo Maduekwe (Transport) as well as Bishop Mike Okonkwo, Frank Kokori, former NUPENG scribe as well as the Ataoja of Oshogbo, Oba Iyiola Matanmi.
GUARDIAN - Monday, January 7, 2002
Police declare Ige's (Neighbour) suspected killer wanted
Burial rites begin today By Ben Akparanta, (Lagos) and Emmanuel Onwubiko (Abuja) POLICE's search for the suspected killers of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Justice Minister, Chief James Ajibola Ige (SAN), has turned on one of the bereaved family's neighbours, named Ademola Elubode Adebayo. Adebayo, who is believed to be on the run, has been declared wanted by the police, a statement by force spokesman Mr. Haz Iwendi yesterday evening disclosed. Meanwhile, burial rites for the slain minister begin today. Adebayo, aged about 30, "is known to have been involved in the spate of violence and killings in recent times," according to another statement by Olusola Amore, press officer, "D" Department of the FCID annex in Lagos state. Amore's statement said the suspect, who is about 6 ft 2" tall and dark in complexion, was last seen on December 16 last year in company of one Shehu whose full names are unknown and whose whereabouts cannot yet be determined. The police statement in Lagos added: "If seen, Mr. Ademola Adebayo should be arrested and information passed to FSARS Lagos on telephone Nos. 01-2634419 or 2634799 and force CID Annex No.01-2694934. Osun states 035-243363, Oyo state 02-2412322 or the nearest police station for necessary action." According to Mrs. Abimbola Ojomo, an assistant inspector general of police who is head of the Presidential panel investigating the murder, Adebayo is wanted for conspiracy and murder. He is believed to have featured prominently in the police report as leader of the murder gang. Although the authorities are yet to determine whether the suspects were hired or they carried out an independent action which resulted in the death of the minister, it has been confirmed that Adebayo is also well known in Osun State. His photograph is said to have been identified by the bereaved family members of the slain minister who witnessed the armed attack. Meanwhile, the zone II command of the police force has begun an inquiry to determine whether the incident could be blamed on security lapses. The authorities are querying why there was no local arrangement to protect the slain minister, whose widow, Atinuke, is an Appeal Court judge, an appointment which demands adequate police protection for the family. The inquiry at the zonal level may cost some senior officers of the state command their jobs or redeployment, according to sources. A seven-paragraph statement by the force spokesman, Mr. Haz Iwendi said many persons had so far been quizzed, eight of whom are currently in detention. Iwendi also confirmed that the self confessed Adeniyi Yunusa, whose name had once been given as Sadiq, is of unsound mind. He said: "Among the eight persons still being held is one Adeniyi Yinusa who reported himself to the police at Ibadan claiming to be one of the killers of the justice minister. We interrogated him exhaustively, while detectives checked all the names, places, addresses and clues he provided and we found all to be false. Police investigation suspects him not to be mentally stable." Iwendi, however, gave assurance that the police would further check man's background despite the investigators' conclusions. He said: "more investigation is being conducted into the background and actual state of health to determine his criminal liability." Iwendi appealed to the media and interest groups to be cautious even as he pleaded for patience from the populace since according to him, the force is doing everything possible to uncover the killers. Meanwhile Olusegun Obasanjo, the Federal Capital Territory Minister Abba Mohammed Gana, Information Minister Professor Jerry Gana the and Minister of State for Justice Alhaji Abdullahi Musa Elayo are among the dignitaries expected today at the Abuja home of the slain minister as the burial rites begin. Also, tributes have continued to pour in for the late Minister. Governance Adviser to the British Council Mr. David Robert at the weekend expressed deep shock at the murder. Robert, who paid a visit to the new Secretariat office the Federal Ministry of Justice in Abuja wrote in the condolence register: "What a loss for Nigeria at this stage in the nascent democracy. We had enjoyed very cordial and fruitful working relationship not only as minister and Attorney General of the Federation but as long-standing friend of Britain and the British council. He added: "No only did he (Ige) support the latest Justice reform initiatives and the National Action Plan for Human Rights, but he was a literate and articulate man of letters, a great advocate of the arts will surely be missed." Elder statesman and governor of old Anambra State, Chief Christian C. Onoh described the assassination as "the murder of Nigeria and a sacrilegious act against the Lord's anointed." According to him, killing of the former minister is a challenge to all Nigerians to find ways of preventing the new generation of politicians from adopting violence as a means of settling political differences. Appearing on a television programme in Lagos at the weekend, Onoh recalled that in his heydays in the first and second Republics, recourse was never made to elimination of political opponents. "In our days, we could talk and abuse one another but we never thought of murdering one another," he said, adding: "anything we can do to stop the new generation of politicians from recourse to assassination must be done quickly. " Onoh linked the current crises in the polity to office holders' bid for second terms in 2003 without commensurate performance in their first outing. But he cautioned: "If you want to come back to power, you should tell people what you have done and then the people will call you. That is democracy. But what we are seeing today is militocracy system." Second Republic Governor of Kano State and former Minister of Communication, Alhaji Abubakar Rimi, condemned the describing it as a callous act of cowardice perpetrated by enemies of the nation's nascent democracy. Also former special Adviser on Special duties to the late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha, Alh. Wada Nas, called for concerted efforts to unravel the circumstances behind the murder. Rimi in a statement in Kano blamed the nation's security agencies for not doing enough in recent times, stressing that Ige's murder has exposed the poor state of the nation's security which he blamed for the numerous unfortunate bloodshed and ethnic cleansing all over the country." He declared further "I recalled how he used to spend his annual leave with me in Kano during which we spent days together examining Nigerian and International affairs. "I also recalled with a passion and nostalgia how Bola Ige hosted the nine and later 12 Governors meeting in Ibadan in the days of progressive politics in the Second Republic. "He was a kind and generous host he threatened us, his gubernatorial colleagues, lavishly and in a comradely atmosphere." While expressing his sympathies to the widow of Ige, Justice Atinuke and his entire family, Rimi asked the federal government to improve the security situation of the nation, stressing that the killers of Ige must be traced and punished. Yobe state governor Bukar Abba Ibrahim and the State House of Assembly also condemned the murder. In two separate letters of condolence, brahim and the clerk of the State House of Assembly Mohammed Nur Alkali, decried the dastardly act. They added that the indiscriminate assassination of political figures in the country is a threat to democracy and the nation at large. Condoling the Ige family on behalf of the people and government of Yobe, the governor said: "We strongly condemn the callous assassination Nigeria's great democrat and a vanguard of the oppressed in the country," adding "May his soul rest in perfect peace as Nigerians will never forgets the virtues of the great. The Assembly described the killers of the late Justice Minister as detractors of democracy and the enemies of Nigeria who are bent on political assassination instead of democratic process and dialogue." The governor's condolence letter for the Ige family sent through the office of the president reads in part: "On behalf of myself, the government and people of Yobe State I sincerely convey to your excellency, the president, the Federal Executive Council and all Nigerians our heart felt condolence over the loss of Chief Ajibola Ige," adding: "May the Almighty God give you the fortitude to bear the great loss, Amen." The All Peoples Party (APP) Chieftain Dr. Olusola Saraki canvassed a befitting state burial for the late Justice Minister whom he described as a non-tribalistic," politician. Saraki, while addressing reporters at the weekend in Ilorin, quoted copiously from Macbeth and likened Ige to a man of honour who would hold tenaciously to his principle at the expense of hatred and castigation by his perceived critics. He said: "I never saw him in that light (a tribalist). He held to his view once he believed in it. I respect him for that. Everybody who thinks he's right should hold to his views too. He spoke Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba and English fluently. He was at home everywhere. To call him a tribalist is not being fair to him. Once he held a point he stuck to it." A chieftain of the defunct National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu yesterday in Ibadan said that the assassination of innocent Nigerians might continue until the country is restructured to become a true federal state. The pro-democracy activist who paid a condolence visit to the widow of Ige told reporters: "We ought to have a conference to iron out contentious issues." He said: "I think we should look beyond the country's insecurity to what has led to the country and that state of insecurity which we all know. It is not by any chance. By that I go straight to the point that we just have to re-arrange this kind of thing and to change the system which we are capable of doing in terms of living in a single country as brothers." According to him "there is no half measures about it and we have got to restructure this country back not only to one country but as peoples of Nigeria." To Kanu, the death of Ige must not be seen in isolation of what Nigerians ought to have done to make the country a better place years back. Meanwhile, many dignitaries are dignitaries expected to pay tribute to the slain Justice Minister at a special session billed to take place at Cultural Centre Ibadan, on Wednesday the dignitaries include President Olusegun Obasanjo, former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Walter Carrington, Nobel laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka, Prof. Anya O. Anya and Prof. Akinwunmi Ishola. Tagged "Afternoon of tribute," according to Lagos State Information Commissioner Mr. Dele Alake, the event will feature drama, poetry, music and the arts. Alake also disclosed that a special joint session of all the Alliance for Democracy (AD) controlled State Houses of Assembly will take place same day at the Oyo State House of Assembly. He added that the governors of the AD-controlled states are expected to attend all the programmes as well as others lined up for the rest of the week.
CNN.COM/WORLD - January 5, 2002 Posted: 8:29 PM EST (0129 GMT)
Internet tycoon to be first African in space
CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) --
He's just 28 years old, has more money than he can ever spend, and Mark Shuttleworth is feeling out of this world -- which is exactly where he's headed.
In just over four months, the Internet millionaire will blast off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in a Russian Soyuz rocket on dream trip to the International Space Station, the first ever mission by an African cosmonaut.
"It's been an incredible experience. The training has been fantastic," Shuttleworth said in an interview in Cape Town Saturday. He is on a brief holiday from the Star City cosmonaut training center outside Moscow.
Shuttleworth will become the world's second "space tourist." Last year California tycoon Dennis Tito reportedly paid Russia $20 million for an eight day trip to the space station.
Shuttleworth, who said the entire project would cost less than his $20 million, hates being labeled a tourist, saying he will participate fully in the mission and take responsibility for radio and life support systems in the Soyuz capsule.
By the time he launches April 22, Shuttleworth will have undergone about 8 months of full time training, including a week at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.
"I have to be proficient in the systems of the Russian Soyuz spacecraft which I'll work with during the flight, and also understand the ISS systems to ensure safety while I am on the space station," he said. "The training includes weightlessness and centrifuge training, science program training, and training on space craft communications, guidance and control systems."
He will also carry out and fund three experiments in space for South African research institutions, chosen from more than 30 proposals vetted by three of the country's top scientists.
More importantly, Shuttleworth hopes to educate young South Africans about space and show the country in a positive light.
Tony Fairall, professor of astronomy at the University of Cape Town, believes the publicity Shuttleworth has generated will boost interest in science and could ultimately help build South Africa's technology capability.
Tim Noaks, sports science professor at the university, said the experiments Shuttleworth plans to carry out on stem cells, protein crystallization and cardiology would be of great benefit to researchers.
In 2000, Shuttleworth sold his Internet security company, which he started in his parents garage, for more than $500 million to U.S. company Verisign. That's more than South Africa's annual education budget.
Although he had donated nearly $3 million to an educational foundation, Shuttleworth has come under fire in the local media for not doing more to address South Africa's pressing social needs.
"The whole (space) project will come out at under $20 million ... a tiny fraction of the capital I created for South Africa," he counters. "The project is creating tremendous excitement among scientists and school kids -- I am very satisfied it is worthwhile."
Shuttleworth has found the challenge of dealing with his instant wealth and publicity very tough, yet his life has also become very exciting.
"Everybody treats you differently but I'm still the same guy," he said. "I will never complain about my life."
Copyright 2002 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
CNN.COM/WORLD - S. Africa robbers snatch $9.5m
December 28, 2001 Posted: 8:16 AM EST (1316 GMT)
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- Armed robbers snatched $9.5m and an undisclosed amount of jewellery and diamonds at South Africa's main airport, police said on Friday.
Police said between five and eight armed robbers surprised three security guards inspecting cargo from Amsterdam at Johannesburg International Airport on Thursday.
"We are still questioning the three security guards with regard to establishing whether they were involved, but we cannot exclude the possibility of an inside job at this stage," police inspector Mary Martins-Engelbrecht told Reuters.
Engelbrecht said the $9.5m in cash was destined for Angola, while the diamonds and jewellery were meant to be delivered to a South African-based company.
Police gave no further details of the haul and said they had so far made no arrests.
South Africa suffers rates of armed robbery, murder and rape many times higher than those in Europe and the United States.
Copyright 2001 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Newsobserver.com - Jan. 6. 2002
By AISLING SWIFT, Staff Writer
DURHAM - A mechanic who worked for Anthony Okoro, a Nigerian used car dealer missing since Dec. 5, has been charged with killing his employer.
Pedro Enamorado-Aguilar, 27, of 2322 Broad St., an employee of Unity Motors used car lot, is being held without bail at the Durham County jail on a murder charge lodged against him Wednesday. He is expected to appear in court today.
Aguilar was arrested Sunday on felony charges of possession of stolen goods and obtaining property by false pretenses. Police haven't disclosed what those charges entail, but according to search warrants, Aguilar initially attracted police attention when he told police that Okoro had received a telephone call about 8 a.m. Dec. 5 . and had to rush to Nigeria for a family emergency -- which family members denied.
The warrant charging Aguilar says Okoro was killed Dec. 5.
On Dec. 28, two cadaver-sniffing police dogs brought in to aid homicide investigators found Okoro's body in a 3 1/2-foot-deep grave about 50 yards behind his dealership and home at 2915 Holloway St. The body was wrapped in fabric, and the grave was covered with brush.
Dr. John D. Butts, the chief state medical examiner who performed the autopsy, said the death certificate lists gunshot wounds to the head as the cause of death. Butts declined to release further information.
On Sunday, Okoro's Toyota 4Runner, which had disappeared from his lot, was found on Stallings Road in eastern Durham County. It had a temporary license plate on it instead of the license plate registered to Okoro. The vehicle was dusted for fingerprints and searched for other evidence.
Six days after Okoro was last seen at the dealership, his cousin, Paul Nwaija of Nashville, Tenn., reported him missing. Durham police began an investigation and determined that Okoro's 4Runner also was missing.
A police report and search warrants executed last week by Detective D.C. West say there was evidence of a struggle inside Okoro's small single-story home. Blood was spattered on the wall and carpet, and duct tape was found on a sofa nearby.
Search warrants say relatives were concerned because Okoro carried large amounts of cash. When asked about the family emergency, Nwaija told police he had called Okoro's mother in Nigeria and had learned that Okoro hadn't been there since a visit in November. Warrants say Okoro's luggage from that trip hadn't been unpacked.
Although Okoro had no history of financial problems, his BB&T bank account was overdrawn, the warrants show. They also indicate that a bank teller told police that a tall man -- not Okoro -- cashed one of Okoro's checks Dec. 6 at Northgate Mall. Another check was cashed about two hours later near South Square mall, causing the account to become overdrawn.
As part of the investigation, Detective D.W. Addison seized Okoro's telephone records.
Staff writer Aisling Swift can be reached at 956-2468 or firstname.lastname@example.org
GUARDIAN - Friday, December 28, 2001
Malian youths attack Nigerians in Bamako
SEVERAL Nigerian nationals are said to be sleeping in the streets of Bamako following an attack on them by youths suspected to be Malians. According to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) radio service, the militant youths also attacked Sierra Leoneans and Ghanaians, destroying and looting their valuables. An unnamed Nigerian victim chided Nigerian embassy officials for not responding to their plight. "Till now, we don't know the reason why they attacked us. With Nations Cup still some weeks away, that means if we win the Cup, every Nigerian here will be killed. We went to the embassy for assistance only to learn that they have closed for Christmas," he said. Stating that some people attacked by the rampaging Malians were still unaccounted for, he said their lives are still threatened. Reports said officials at the Nigerian embassy could not assist the beleaguered Nigerians as they had gone on Christmas break. Although no reason has yet been given for the attack, reports from Bamako said militant Moslem youths are aggrieved over the beer joints and centres set up by many Nigerians and Ghanaians which they allege are anti-Islam. The sudden attack on citizens of Anglophone countries is coming barely two weeks to the commencement of the biannual Nations Cup tagged Mali 2002 with Nigeria and Ghana featuring. However, officials at the Nigerian Embassy in Bamako said the issue would be raised with the Malian authorities to prevent recurrence. Recently, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dubem Onyia, said Nigeria would not tolerate further attacks on its nationals unjustifiably and assured Nigerians in the diaspora that their interests would be protected.
GUARDIN - Friday, January 4, 2002
Abacha family refunds N1.9b to govt
From Madu Onuorah (Abuja) and James Dadzie (Lagos)
NIGERIA's concerted effort to recover looted funds by former public officers has begun to pay off. About N1.9 billion ($168 million) has been returned to the Federal Government coffers by the family of the late head of state, Gen. Sani Abacha on the order of a London court. The family, two weeks ago, according to the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Tunji Oseni, complied with the judgment of a London High Court which last year upheld government's submissions that Mecosta Securities, a firm owned by the Abachas and Abubakar Bagudu, an accomplice, should refund DM300 million to Nigeria from a DM973,009,450.6 debt-buy-back deal. The former ruler is said to have stashed about $3.6 billion away during his five-year reign, in major banks in Switzerland, European and Asian countries. Oseni in a statement in Abuja yesterday disclosed that the $168 million was paid two weeks ago into the treasury in Euro, the European currency. He gave the equivalent as Euro163,116,061.99. The presidential mouthpiece said the money represents the equivalent of 300 million Deutshmarks and an accruing interest of DM18,840,397.89. He explained that the money was recovered from an Abacha family frozen account in Luxembourg. Oseni said the payment was in compliance with a London High Court judgment last year, which ordered that Mecosta Securities, owned by the former ruler's family and a crony, Abubakar Bagudu, to refund DM300 million to the government from a DM973,009,450.6 Ajaokuta Steel debt-buy-back transaction. Presided over by Justice Rix, the London court had given judgment in favour of Nigeria in the moribund steel company debt-buy-back case. After the court's ruling, the detained embattled son of the late ruler, Mohammed and 19 others through their counsel, Ustas Yunus Usman (SAN) filed a suit at a Federal High Court in Abuja last year, challenging the government's freezing of the family's foreign accounts. In the action, Justice Okechukwu Okeke on November 13 granted the plaintiffs an injunction and restrained the government from further taking steps towards freezing the family's foreign accounts, pending the determination of their suit. But in its defence, the government urged the court to dismiss the suit, saying that the act complained of by the plaintiffs had already been completed. Justice Okeke, subsequently, adjourned the case for hearing to February 20 and 21 this year. Already, the former Finance Minister Anthony Ani who was involved in the Ajaokuta deal has refunded DM30 million to the government.
GUARDIAN - Friday, January 4, 2002
World Court invites Gowon over Bakassi dispute
From Emmanuel Onwubiko (Abuja) and Gbolahan Gbadamosi (Lagos)
FORMER Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon is to testify before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague, Netherlands, next month over the four-decade old tussle between Nigeria and Cameroun on the ownership of the oil-rich Bakassi peninsula. According to Cameroun, Gen. Gowon ceded the area to it during several meetings with its then President, Alhaji Ahmadou Ahidjo, between 1972 and1975. Gowon who ruled Nigeria between 1966 and 1975 has, however, vehemently denied the allegation. The Director General of the National Boundary Commission, Alhaji Dahiru Bobbo, confirmed the invitation of the former military ruler. He told The Guardian that his commission and the Federal Ministry of Justice have prepared more than 10,000 volumes of documentary evidence to prove that Nigeria validly owns the disputed peninsula. He also disclosed that the documents have been sent to the World Court. Bobbo said the Olusegun Obasanjo administration is optimistic that the International Court of Justice would bring the dispute to "a successful end." He said that as a relevant witness, Gen. Gowon would make clarifications on a document he allegedly signed ceding the peninsula to Cameroun during a visit to Ahidjo. Cameroun in 1975 took step to rename the area after the Marona Accord. But with the coming of the regime of late Gen. Murtala Mohammed in August 1975, Nigeria repudiated the accord. President Obasanjo who took over from Mohammed also repeated the repudiation in August 1977. Since then, there has been no love lost between the two countries, as the first major clash was recorded in 1981 during the administration of President Shehu Shagari when six Nigerians soldiers were reportedly killed in the peninsula by Camerounian gendarmes. There were several other skirmishes until 1996 when Nigeria counter-attacked, compelling the gendarmes to beat a retreat. The journey to resolving the matter in the court room began when Cameroun on March 29, 1994 filed an application instituting proceedings against Nigeria over the peninsula. It specifically relied on the June 1, 1975 Marona Declaration. On June 6, 1994, Cameroun filed an additional application to extend the case to a further dispute with Nigeria over "a part of the territory of Cameroun" which it claimed is also being occupied by Nigeria. On December 13, 1995, Nigeria filed certain preliminary objections to the jurisdiction of the court and to the admissibility of the claims of Cameroun contending that among others, for at least 24 years, both states had accepted a duty to settle all boundary questions through the existing bilateral machinery. Between March 5 and 8, 1996, the court held public sittings and on March 15 of the same year, it ordered that "both parties should ensure that no action of any kind, and particularly no action by their armed forces is taken which might aggravate or extend the dispute before it." Nigeria later filed its defence known in international legal norm as 'counter-memorial.' Giving more insights into Nigeria's defence, Second Republic Justice Minister, Chief Richard Osuolale Akinjide (SAN) who is on the country's legal team, said Nigeria could not afford to transfer Bakassi to Cameroun. He argued: "That is totally unacceptable, totally intolerable. Apart from the economic principles which are involved, a lot of our oil concessions will have to be transferred to Cameroun and it is totally unacceptable." The first legal victory came for Nigeria when in June 1999, ICJ accepted its counter-claim against Cameroun and the court further ordered both countries to submit their final positions on the boundary dispute. A new twist was added to the matter when the court in late 1999 accepted the request of Equatorial Guinea to intervene. "Equatorial Guinea has sufficiently established that it has an interest of a legal nature which could be affected by any judgment which the court might hand down for the purpose of determining the maritime boundary between Cameroun and Nigeria", the court ruled. Speaking to journalists in Benin, Edo State capital in June last year, Gen. Gowon denied the alleged ceding of the area to Cameroun. He said: "I was never drunk and I was not asleep and I know exactly what I did for our country and I am not ashamed of it." The meetings held with Ahidjo, according to Gowon, were clear and: "I can tell you that in the meetings we had, I got the best agreement for Nigeria." He spoke further: "As far as I am concerned, Cameroun accepted that Nigeria would have full control of the natural access to the sea, the channel that leads to Calabar." "That part was all part of our town and we had the agreement and the Kokango line was drawn and it was I who drew the line and I made sure all that part was part of Nigeria." "...So I do not know exactly where Bakassi is. In fact, it never featured as far as our discussion with Ahmadu Ahidjo was concerned. But as far as I am concerned, I knew I did my best..."