Some armed policemen on Thursday invaded the Arogbo-Ijaw community in Ese-Odo Local Government Area of Ondo State on Thursday.
Numbering over 20, the policemen were reported to have shot into the air in the process of invasion of the community as they made their way to the residence of former Special Adviser to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan on Niger Delta Affairs, Kingsley Kuku.
His house was thoroughly searched by the armed policemen.
Residents report that the invasion caused panic among as many scampers to safety to avoid being hit by stray bullet.
One of the residents said the Police told them that they were in search of kidnappers.
“They broke into every room and everywhere in Kuku’s house, claiming to search for kidnappers. After searching all the rooms in the house thoroughly, they left without finding anything incriminating or any kidnapper in the house.”
In reaction, the Police Public Relations Officer of the state command, Femi Joseph, who confirmed the incident said, the policemen were from the Force Headquarters, Abuja, on a lawful mission.
He noted that the action of the police officers was not in breach of any law nor the rights of any person.
The federal government has filed a two-count charge of criminal conspiracy and fraudulent acquisition of property against the former Special Adviser on Niger Delta Affairs to ex-president Goodluck Jonathan, Mr Kingsley Kuku and one of his aides, Lawrence Pepple, who served as a technical assistant.
The two-count charge filed by Messrs Johnson Ojogbane and Abdullahi Faruk on behalf of the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), accuses the former coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme and his aide of fraudulently acquiring a property on or about the October 23, 2013.
Count two of the charge, which relates specifically to Mr Lawrence Pepple, accuses him of knowingly acquiring interest in a private company where he is a Director and sole signatory of the company’s account whilst being employed in the public service as technical assistant on reintegration to the Special Adviser on Niger Delta Affairs.
The arraignment of the accused persons before an Abuja High Court in Wuse Zone 2, however, did not hold following the absence of the accused persons.
Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has approved the appointment of Brigadier-General P.T. Boroh (rtd.), as the Coordinator of the Amnesty Programme for former Niger-Delta militants.
The development was confirmed by the President’s spokesman, Femi Adesina, in a statement on Monday.
Mr Boroh, whose appointment took immediate effect, would take over the responsibilities of the former Special Adviser to President Jonathan on Niger-Delta, Kingsley Kuku, who also doubled as Coordinator of the Amnesty Programme.
“The appointment of a new Coordinator for the Amnesty Programme is expected to lead to the speedy resolution of recent hitches in its implementation such as the non-payment of outstanding allowances to ex-militants” Adesina noted in the statement.
A Political Scientist at the University of Lagos, UNILAG, Dele Ashiru, has attributed the state of insecurity in Nigeria to a failure of leadership, occasioned by the nature of Nigerian politics.
He also extended the purported leadership deficiency to the military forces which he accused of fighting terrorism without a strategy. Ashiru was Channels Television’s guest on Sunrise Daily.
He made reference to the Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh, whom he accused of putting blames on the media rather than confronting the situation as the Chief of Defence Staff. He also berated the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Kingsley Kuku, for putting the responsibility of fighting Boko Haram on the people.
He asked, “Which people? The disillusioned people? The people who are on a daily basis being challenged by the failure of Government at all levels?”
“Boko Haram didn’t start as a terrorist organization; it became a terrorist group after the killing of Mohammed Yusuf. Until as we speak, the military captured Mohammed Yusuf alive, handed him over to the Police – if I’m correct, and between that space of two minutes, the guy was gone” he said, while explaining his earlier statement, “we must address the issue of justice.”
He noted that there cannot be peace without justice, irrespective of what the challenges facing the country were. He explained, “Whether you talk about militancy, agitation, or terrorism; at the root of all of these is the question of justice. There is injustice everywhere.”
He insisted that “Those who were extra judicially killed for whatever idea they profess deserve some form of justice and you need to also increase intelligence gathering.”
He continued, “Some people have been named; senators, governors – Kabiru Umar, was arrested in a government lodge in Abuja; Zakari Biu (Commissioner of Police who was dismissed for engineering the jailbreak of Kabiru Sokoto). There is some kind of unholy alliance between some characters within the Nigerian state.”
On the role of the people in the fight against terrorism, he enthused, “the people can help only if they are sure that they have a leadership that can protect them in all ramifications.”
The Chairman of the Amnesty Programme, Kingsley Kuku, has said that the almost absolute cooperation of the people of Northeast Nigeria is the only way to solve insurgency in Nigeria, and not just the Army.
Mr Kuku was a guest on Channels Television’s flagship breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, where he discussed the crisis situation in the country, digging from his experience as one of the key players in solving the challenge of militancy in the Niger-Delta region.
He explained that solving the problem of the Boko Haram sect was dependent on how much information the people of the local communities are able to provide to their local chiefs, local government leaders and security agencies.
Answering questions about the safety of people who provide information, particularly with reference to the killing of an Islamic cleric, Sheik Albani, in Kaduna State, Kuku maintained that the killing of Albani was one waiting to happen and which could have been avoided with the right information.
He noted that the Boko-Haram crisis was not a religious issue but wholly about a sect that wants to impose its will on a country, and this explains why both Christians and Muslims were being attacked.
He cited the processes used in solving the Niger-Delta crisis through the help of persons who volunteered to speak with the key players in the militancy, based on their personal relationships with them or communal links to them and their families.
He also mentioned notable Nigerians from the Niger-Delta region who joined in the negotiations, including President Goodluck Jonathan, who then was a Deputy-Governor in Bayelsa State and Chief Tony Anenih who he said offered to lay down his life despite being from Edo State which was not among the states under the attacks by the militants.
The Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, said that those who are criticizing Government and blaming President Goodluck Jonathan out of ignorance were just wasting their time and postponing the doom day for Nigeria, insisting that this was a case of terrorism and it should not be politicised.
Kuku also took a swipe at the Interim National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Mr Lai Mohammed, who appeared on Sunrise Daily a day before. He berated the APC leader for what he termed “performing at his lowest” despite his intelligence, during the interview where he accused the Government of lacking strategic discipline in the fight against the insurgents.
He explained that these insurgents have been heard speaking a totally foreign language, which is neither Hausa nor any of the languages spoken in Nigeria, insisting that the people must rise to fight this invasion by foreigners.
On the availability of a secure network to protect people who provide information, he regretted that some unsuspecting Nigerian youths have been indoctrinated into the violence under the guise of fighting a just cause, but it must be noted that there are also some elders who constantly condemn those youths and they can still be of help in the mission to end insurgency in Nigeria.
He admitted that the sect and their agitation had existed since the administration of former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, but it became political during the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan owing to its fanning by some Nigerian politicians who were playing politics with the sect’s agitation for a Muslim president without looking at the future implication of their actions which has now snowballed into the current situation.
The response time of security agents to distress calls also came to the fore. Mr Kuku vehemently refused to admit that the Nigerian military was slow in responding to calls of people under attack. He explained that the land mass of the North-east was a peculiar one that does not make it realistic for troops to get on the road immediately they receive calls, when they only have to connect with their men who are closest to the crisis location.
Mr Kuku insisted that the Nigerian Army had done very well in the fight against insurgents in the North-east and could not have done better under the circumstances in which they were operating. He insisted that criticism of the forces was unfair and should not be politicised.
The Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Kingsley Kuku has called for a continuation of dialogue with members of the Boko Haram sect despite the declaration of a State of Emergency in three northern states.
Mr Kuku said this while addressing past and present leaders of the National Association of Nigerians Students.
Recently, President Jonathan said the growing insecurity in Adamawa, Yobe and Borno states had compelled him to declare a state of emergence, exercising his powers as enshrined in Section 305 Subsection 1 of the Nigerian Constitution.
Mr Kuku has now said that the amnesty committee must succeed for peace to return to the country.
At the event, several NANS members criticised the Federal Government’s decision to offer amnesty to the insurgents despite the killings by the group.
The National President of NANS, Yinka Gbadebo said that the militants had killed several students whilst rejecting modern education.
However, Kuku explained that the nation must give peace a chance especially through the amnesty committee.
The Special adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Niger Delta and head of the Presidential Amnesty Committee, Kingsley Kuku has denied allegations of treason leveled against him, owing to comments he had made at a function in the United States.
Mr Kuku had allegedly said that “There would be dire consequences in the Niger Delta should Goodluck Jonathan fail to secure a fresh term in 2015.”
The statement was said to have been made in Washington D.C, while Mr Kuku was addressing officials of the U.S state department.
However, the presidential aide while speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said that he made no such statements.
“I didn’t say that… I could not have even said that! I am a democrat… I have always been in public service.” He said.
He explained that his actual comments were that “President Goodluck Jonathan has been able to secure and stabilize the Niger Delta. That he is not perfect and cannot be perfect…”
“What I basically said has to do with collaboration between the United States and the Federal Government in terms of securing and stabilising the amnesty programme and the Niger Delta.”
What is happening in the Northeast must not be a way of distracting attention from the stability of the Niger Delta.
“2015 was not discussed in the United States.” Mr Kuku insisted.
The Special adviser to the president on Niger Delta and Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Committee, Kingsley Kuku has said that President Goodluck Jonathan deserves a second term if he so desires it.
The presidential aide disclosed this in an exclusive interview on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily.
Mr Kuku, who was recently accused of committing treason for allegedly making a statement implying that there would be chaos in the Niger Delta should the president fail to secure to second term come 2015.
While speaking on the programme, Mr Kuku denied making such statements and added that he is a strong believer of the Jonathan led administration.
“The president has done so well because I am one of the few Nigerians who believe very strongly that this president has done so well… though well underreported under-publisied by the Nigerian media.”
He accused the opposition of making him appear not doing well. He also added that Jonathan’s achievements are underreported by the Nigerian media
He stated that “the common Nigerian who are (sic) the mass do believe that this president has done so well” and that the populace would be the ones to debate and decide who they want as president when the time comes.
President Goodluck Jonathan deserves a second term if “he so desires to have” it and “if makes himself available.” He said.
President Goodluck Jonathan has said in recent times that he is yet to decide what he will do in 2015 as he is busy with accomplishing what he set out to do in his current term.
The Vice President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr Issa Aremu has asked President Goodluck Jonathan to resign if he cannot call to order the Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta, Mr Kingsley Kuku and former Niger Delta Militant, Mr Asari Dokubo as he reacted to the inciting statements made by these men.
In Mr. Aremu’s words “It was regrettable that people of questionable character were the ones speaking for the president instead of those constitutionally empowered to do so”.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives have accused both the Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta, Mister Kingsley Kuku and former Niger Delta Militant, Mister Asari Dokubo of threatening the peace of the country following their incitiing statements insisting that President Goodluck Jonathan must be allowed to contest the 2015 presidential election for peace to reign in the country.
And considering a motion on the urgent need to check the utterances of some Nigerians which is capable of causing disaffection among the people, the House resolved to direct the Police to investigate the rationale behind the utterances of Mr. Kuku and former Niger Delta Militant, Asari Dokubo.
And in reaction to the proposed investigation by the House, a group from the Niger Delta, the South-South Restoration Forum has vowed to institute a legal action if any of them is arrested claiming that this is not the first time such statements have been made in the country and have gone unquestioned and wondered why this one has attracted the attention of members of House of Representatives, seeking their arrest.
Hundreds of ex-militants from Imo state have accused President Goodluck Jonathan of not recognising the state as part of the oil producing states in the country, vowing to disrupt oil production activities.
The youths who claimed to be ex-militants from Ohaji Egbema oil producing local government area of Imo state staged a protest in Owerri, the state capital over what they termed the outright removal of Imo state from the list of the Niger Delta States.
The states included on the list are to benefit from the third phase of the Presidential Amnesty Programme by the Federal Government.
During the protest, many of the angry youths barricaded major roads in Owerri.
While carrying placards with various inscriptions, the group accused the presidential amnesty office in Abuja headed by Kingsley Kuku of deliberately excluding their state from the list.
Ex militants in the Niger Delta have contributed N52.7 million for victims of flood disaster in the region a statement from the presidential Amnesty Programme office said.
Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, PAP, Mr Kingsley Kuku, who disclosed this, said the 26,358 amnesty beneficiaries in Phases one and two of the programme, agreed to donate N2, 000 each from their October allowances to support efforts of the federal and state governments on the flood disaster.
Already, the PAP chairperson, who is also the Special Adviser to the President on Niger-Delta, has constituted an 18-member Flood Relief Committee, comprising key stakeholders in the amnesty programme and volunteers.
The Technical Assistant on Reintegration, Mr Larry Pepple, heads the committee.
Kuku, expected to meet with state governors of the affected states soon on the management of the disaster, commended the amnesty beneficiaries for their selfless and humanitarian gesture.
Kuku said “This is very commendable as it is a practical demonstration of the African spirit and tradition of being your brother’s keeper in times of distress.”
He added that the committee would procure the necessary relief materials and liaise with the various states government to ensure the distribution of the items.
The beneficiary states are Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo and Rivers.