Former Commissioner Decries Poor Reportage On Kaduna Killings

Isuwa DogoA former commissioner in Kaduna State, Isuwa Dogo, on Wednesday decried the poor reportage of ethno-religious killings in the State, stating that there had been more of such killings in Kaduna than in any other state of the federation since Nigeria’s amalgamation in 1914.

“The kind of publicity we get with respect to what happens in Plateau or Benue or even in the Boko Haram area (north eastern states) is not given to what happens in Southern Kaduna”, he said, insisting that those who should be concerned about the situation had assumed that “it is a normal thing for killings to continue to happen in Southern Kaduna so the media houses give very little prominence to what is happening.”

Appearing on Sunrise Daily, the political analyst, who disclosed that there were about 200 ethnic groups in Kaduna, saidKaduna is a very peculiar state. Many people do not know or have very little understanding of what has been going on in Kaduna.”

According to him about 200 ethno-religious crisis had taken place in Kaduna between 1972 and 2014, leading to a death toll that beats any other State’s record.

He further disclosed that the figures of casualties seen in the media after such attacks were not accurate, disclosing that during the last attack, two weeks ago, “four villages were razed to the ground completely. Not a single hut was left standing”. “Women and children were massacred in cold blood. People were roasted in their houses”, he said.

Although Mr Dogo did not rule out the State government’s efforts in containing the situation, he stressed that “if something was being done, maybe we would not have this monumental and a continuous systematic annihilation of our people.”

Extoling the virtues of the people of Southern Kaduna, Dogo said the reason for the attacks was unknown as they were peace-loving religious people who “live in harmony with every single tribe in Nigeria,” adding that there were no killings in Southern Kaduna during the civil war.

He noted that the Fulani herdsmen, who had been accused of the acts, were being used to cover up by unknown people in southern Kaduna, Plateau and Benue States. He also stressed that those behind the attacks were trained terrorists who were brought in and armed to kill.

Mr Dogo appealed to media organisations to visit the affected villages in southern Kaduna “and see the monumental destruction. What we describe as ethnic cleansing and complete annihilation of the ethnic nationalities in southern Kaduna.”

He praised the Chief of Army Staff, Kenneth Minimah, who agreed to visit the community following a text message he (Dogo), sent requesting that the Army Chief should come and inspect the situation.

He further requested that an army Brigade be stationed in the area as well as an Air Force base.

Queen Elizabeth II Congratulates President Jonathan And Nigerians On Centenary

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain has written to congratulate President Goodluck Jonathan, the Federal Government and people of Nigeria on the occasion of Nigeria’s centenary celebrations.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, confirmed this in a statement.

Britain’s Minister for Africa, Mr. Mark Simmonds, delivered to President Jonathan late on Wednesday, a written message by Queen Elizabeth II, in which she conveyed her best wishes for the happiness and prosperity of the people of Nigeria.

“On the occasion of the Republic of Nigeria celebrating 100 years since the amalgamation of Northern and Southern Nigeria, I send the people of Nigeria my warmest congratulations.

“I have fond memories of my first visit to Nigeria in 1956 and again in 2003 as Head of the Commonwealth.

“The links between our two countries have deepened over the past 100 years and I hope they will continue to do so.

“I would like to convey my best wishes for the happiness and prosperity of the people of Nigeria,” the British monarch wrote.

Centenary Celebration: Jonathan Advises African Leaders On Conflict Management

Over 20 Heads of State have converged on the International Conference Center Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory, to commemorate Nigeria’s 100 years of existence, beginning with an international conference on human security, peace and development.

President Goodluck Jonathan presented the lead paper at the security conference which focuses on how to secure the continent against terrorists.

Some of the leaders present were President Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia, Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Yahya Jammeh of the Gambia and Prosper Bazombaza of Burundi.

Liberian President, Helen Sirleaf and the former Secretary-General of OAU, Dr Salim Ahmed Salim who led the Tanzanian delegation were also in for the celebration.

Also in Abuja was the President of Mauritania, Mohammed Ould Abdel Aziz, Ethiopian President, Mr Hailemarian Desalegh, and the European Union President, Mr Jose Manuel Barroso.

Presenting the lead paper, President Goodluck Jonathan, while highlighting the economic growth in the continent, told the world leaders present, that there was a need for collaboration in the fight against terrorism which is a global threat to development.

The President told his guests that world leaders must strengthen existing mechanism for national and international conflict management.

Citing the recent attack on students in Yobe State, President Jonathan said that the Federal Government would spare no funds in its resolve to bring the perpetuators to justice.

The theme of Nigeria’s centenary celebrations is designed around the key concepts of unity, indivisibility, virility, progress, and promise of the Nigerian Federation.

2015: Nigerians Will Accept Nothing Less Than Free, Fair Elections – UK Government

The Representative of the UK Prime Minister, Mark Simmons on Thursday called on the Nigerian government to deliver on its promise of a free and fair election in 2015, as Nigerians will accept nothing less.

“Next February’s election will be a vital milestone” as “Nigeria’s fifth consecutive election under civilian rule,” he said as he addressed President Goodluck Jonathan, saying he (Jonathan) had “committed himself to assuring that the elections will be free and fair and I am confident that Nigerians will accept nothing less.”

Simmons made this known at a world leaders’ conference hosted by President Jonathan as part of the nation’s Centenary Celebration, in Abuja. Mr Simmons delivered a speech entitled ‘United Kingdom Support for Peace and Security In Africa in the Face of Emerging Threats.’

“I am always struck by Nigeria’s youth, energy and vitality” he said and assured that there is a “great future ahead for both Nigeria and its African counterparts.”

He, however warned that choices made by African leaders will determine Africa’s future as “it is a future that is closely linked to the achievement of prosperity, stability and democracy.”

Relationship With Nigeria

Simmons, who delivered congratulatory message on behalf of the Queen of England, spoke on the history of both nations. “Our relationship is rooted in our joint history” characterised by the “large and important and energetic Nigerian community in the United Kingdom, the deep and expanding trade relationship and countless educational and sporting cultural connections.”

Speaking on Nigeria’s 100th year of existence, Simmons said “in 1940, the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern Protectorates and Lagos brought together peoples, territory and resources that had never before considered themselves as having mutual interests.

“That brought challenges,” he said adding that the country’s diversity brought “strength, resilience and a multitude of talent.”

He further described Nigeria as a country “of international influence, peace-keeper, leader in the African Union and in the United Nations Security Council” which had become a driving economic and political force in the region.

Message To African Leaders

While addressing African leaders gathered at the Conference, Simmons stressed the need for a continent where fundamentals rights are protected, good governance, job creation, zero poverty.

He also lauded the achievements of African leaders in the last decade whose efforts lifted millions out of poverty and conflict but pointed out that there are some governments who are yet to decide “between building open governments, institutions and economies or putting up barriers, oppressing minorities and ruling through fear and violence.”

“In 1914, 100 years ago, as Nigeria was being born, Europe stood on the verge of tearing itself apart. Europe’s future was uncertain. Its part towards democracy, prosperity and stability was unclear. It was the choices European leaders made that have brought European countries to where they are today. Many of those choices brought success but as we sadly know, some of the choices brought terror and devastation in Europe, to millions.

“If African nations are to avoid the mistakes that European nations made over the last 100 years, then ultimately African leaders, in the next century, must make the right choices.”

He added that African leaders gathered at the event “hold in their hands, the fate of possibly one billion people and their prosperity.”

He averred that the success of African governments will be judged by democracy, prosperity, stability and not rhetorics.

 

The International Conference on Human Security, Peace and Development is on-going in Abuja where several world leaders including President Francios Hollande of France, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, President of Chad, Idriss Déby, President José Manuel Barroso of the European Commission, are in attendance.

Nigeria Will Not Collapse – Akinjide

Former Attorney-General of the Federation, Chief Richard Akinjide has described the speculation that the amalgamation of Nigeria would expire in 2014 as a ruse.

Recounting Nigeria’s pre-independence history on Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today’, Akinjide pointed out that the existence of Nigeria started way before the 1914 amalgamation, specifically the Berlin Conference and thus cannot expire.

He noted that the British made it clear that they joined the country and not the people, indicating that the people still had a strong influence on the future of the country.

He admitted that although, the underlining motive of the British Government was for their own economic interests.  “Substantially, what they did was good, as there were no sovereign countries in Africa before they came, except Liberia and Abyssinia (now known as Ethiopia).

“We’ve been brought together as a nation and I think we will remain as a country, I don’t see the collapse that people are talking about,” he said.

Akinjide also noted that Nigeria’s recent economic growth was a proof to the strength of the country, and with President Jonathan “having started well, we will get better.”

He encouraged Nigerians that while 1914 was a critical year in the history of the country, it was important to look beyond it and see a better future.

National Conference

In view of the history of Nigeria’s amalgamation as recounted by Akinjide, the call for a National Conference came to the fore. He admitted that he could not give any intelligent report on it as he was not privy to information on the report compiled by the Presidential Committee.

He, however, said that although a constitutional amendment was not a bad idea, and Nigeria might indeed need it, but what Nigeria needed to change was character. He asked, “what are we doing with our resources?”

He cited Southern Korea, which was captured by Japan during the 2nd World War but whose character has made bigger than many countries, including Japan as an example for Nigeria to follow.

Akinjide also spoke about many issues of national interest, including the sensitivity of the office of the Attorney-General, stating that the office requires that its occupant must be a first class lawyer, a patriotic person, and of good character, irrespective of the region he comes from.