Obasanjo, Amosun Reconcile Traditional Rulers In Egbaland

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun on Saturday called for an enduring, purposeful peaceful co-existence and harmony among the four sectional traditional rulers of Egba extraction to fast track socio economic and political development in the state.

The two leaders made the call in Abeokuta, the state capital, at the peace parley among the four sectional traditional rulers held at the Ogun state Government House facilitated by the state governor.

The peace parley initiated by Mr Amosun was attended by the Alake of Egbaland; the Osinle of Oke Ona; the Olowu of Owu kingdom; and the Agura of Gbagura; Mr Obasanjo, former head of interim government, Earnest Sonekan; and the Deputy Governor (Operation) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Tunde Lemo.

The goal of the meeting was to end the mistrust, and leadership tussle among the Egba traditional rulers.

While recommending dialogue and communication as panacea to world peace and harmony, Mr Obasanjo decried the slow pace of development in the country despite abundance of natural and human resources. However, he was quick to say that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Reading the communique after the closed-door meeting which lasted for several hours, the Alake and paramount ruler of Egbaland, Oba Aremu Gbadebo said the traditional rulers have agreed to leave the past behind them all for the progress and development of Egbaland and Ogun state in general.

Mr Obasanjo admonished the traditional rulers to do the needful to sustain the new found peace.

The highpoint of the occasion was the toast to the unity and continuous progress of Egbaland; Ogun State; and Nigeria in general.

Presidency Says Alleged Fight Between Jonathan And Obasanjo Is Mere Drama

The Presidency on Sunday denied the existence of a rift between President Goodluck Jonathan and ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, saying the reported “frosty relationship” between them was “mere drama which is a very important element of politics and governance.”

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati, said this while reacting to recent interview granted by a leader of the Niger Delta Volunteer Force, Mujaheed Dokubo-Asari.

Mr Asari-Dokubo had, among other things, said President Jonathan would not rule beyond 2015 because he is surrounded by greedy politicians who caused the rift between him and Mr Obasanjo.

However, Mr Abati in an interview with State House correspondents in Abuja said, “I keep saying it; there is no rift between President Jonathan and former President Obasanjo. The President has utmost respect for the former President whom he regards as his father. He even calls him ‘Baba.’

“I don’t think anybody can say he has any evidence anywhere where the President has been disrespectful to the elderly man. So, those things that you see in the newspapers about people saying President Jonathan and former President Obasanjo are quarrelling are exaggerated. They do not reflect the truth,”

Mr Abati claimed that “some persons” were just bringing up issues in an attempt to set up the two leaders.

He said that Misters Jonathan and Obasanjo were experienced enough to discern the tactics.

The presidential spokesman said Dokubo-Asari’s attack on the President amounted to a member of the house, who stands outside to urinate into the same house. He urged him to see the big picture and worry less about greedy people who are preventing other Ijaws from reaching the President.

“I was quite surprised that he would talk like that because as he himself admitted in that interview, he is close to government. So, I don’t know whether it is a wise thing for you to be a member of the house and then stand outside and urinate into that same house. Doing so may serve the purpose of sensationalism and it may please some mischief makers, but the truth of the matter is that wise people may think that that is not really the right way to go,” he added.

He urged Dokubo-Asari to be consistent, honest and truthful, and be less worried about those who are preventing other people from seeing the President.

He said, “President Jonathan is not running an Ijaw project. He is running a Nigerian project and I keep saying he is a man who is very conscious of his place in history. At the end of the day, whether the people say they are being blocked from having access to him, or even those of us who work for him, it is important to remember that the only person that will be called to come and give account is President Jonathan.

“That is the man Nigerians voted for and all of us, whether we are his kinsmen or we are his staff or we are his friends, I think we should focus more on the Nigerian project, the Nigerian assignment that President Jonathan has been given and worry less about insinuations like all these ‘people are blocking me from having access’, ‘he has forgotten his brothers’, ‘he is arguing with a particular person.”

Media chat: You are wrong about Odi, Obasanjo tells Jonathan

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Tuesday rebuffed claims by President Goodluck Jonathan that the army invasion of Odi – a small community in Bayelsa state – in 1999 was a failure.

During last Sunday’s presidential media chat, President Jonathan had said that the invasion of Odi ordered by Mr Obasanjo in 1999 was a failure.
He had said: “After that invasion, myself and the governor entered Odi…and saw some dead people. Most of the people that died in Odi were mostly old men, women and children, none of the militants was killed.

“If bombarding Odi was to solve the problem, then it was never solved. If the attack on Odi had solved the problem of militancy in the Niger Delta, then the Yar’ Adua government would not have come up with the Amnesty programme. So, that should tell you that the attack on Odi never solved the militancy problem and we had more challenges after that attack on Odi.”

Reacting to these assertions, Femi Fani-Kayode, who served as Special Assistant on Public Affairs and subsequently Minister of Aviation during Mr Obasanjo regime, released a press statement claiming that the invasion of Odi not only killed the militants but decimated their capacity to wage acts of terror against the state.

The statement reads: “During a live broadcast of the Presidential Media Chat to the nation on the evening of November 18, 2012, President Goodluck Jonathan said that the military operation in Odi by the Nigerian Armed Forces in 1999, which was ordered by President Olusegun Obasanjo, did not solve the problem or stop the killing of soldiers, policemen and innocent civilians in the Niger Delta area by the terrorists and militants. He also said that all he saw in Odi after he went there on an official visit as Deputy Governor were the dead bodies of old people. With the greatest respect to Mr. President this is factually incorrect. He has either forgotten the relevant facts or he has been misinformed. Whichever way he is mistaken and it is important for those of us that proudly served the Obasanjo administration to respond to him in order to clarify the issues, clear the air and set the record straight for the sake of history and posterity.

“I had the privilege of being briefed about all the facts by President Olusegun Obasanjo himself and Col. Kayode Are, the former DG of the SSS, immediately after the Presidential Media Chat and I believe that it is appropriate to share some of those facts with members of the Nigerian public given the grave assertion and serious charge that President Jonathan has made. Those facts are as follows:
Why Army invaded Odi

“Five policemen and four soldiers were killed by a group of Niger Delta militants when they tried to enter the town of Odi in Bayelsa State in order to effect their arrest. This happened in 1999. After the brutal killing of these security personnel, President Olusegun Obasanjo asked the then Governor of Bayelsa State, Governor Alamieyeseigha, to identify, locate, apprehend and hand over the perpetrators of that crime.

“The Governor said that he was unable to do so and President Obasanjo, as the Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, took the position that security personnel could not be killed with impunity under his watch without a strong and appropriate response from the Federal Government. Consequently he sent the military in, to uproot and kill the terrorists and to destroy their operational base which was the town of Odi. The operation was carried out with military precision and efficiency and it’s objectives were fully achieved. The terrorists were either killed and those that were not killed fled their operational base in Odi. They were uprooted, weakened, demoralised and completely dispersed. That was the purpose of the whole exercise and that purpose was achieved. The truth is that the killing of security agents and soldiers with impunity by the Niger Delta militants virtually stopped after the operation in Odi and remained at a bare minimum right up until the time that President Obasanjo left power eight years later in 2007. I advise those that doubt this to go and check the records.

“The same thing was done in Zaki-Biam in Benue State in the North-central zone of Nigeria in 2001 after 19 soldiers were murdered in cold blood and then brutally beheaded by some terrorists from that area. Again after the Federal Government’s strong military response in Zaki Biam, the killing of security personnel with impunity stopped. The objectives of the military operations in both Odi and Zaki-Biam were to stop such killings, to eliminate and deal a fatal blow to those that perpetrated them and to discourage those that may seek to carry out such barbarous butchery and mindless violence in the future.

“Those were the objectives and nothing more and clearly those objectives were achieved. There is no doubt that after Odi, there were still unrest, agitations, protests, kidnappings and the blowing up and sabotage of oil pipelines in the Niger Delta area but there were hardly any more attacks on or killing of soldiers and security personnel by the terrorists and militants because they knew that to do that would attract a swift and forceful reaction and terrible retribution from the Nigerian military.
Invasions objective achieved

“To stop and deter those attacks and killings was the objective of President Obasanjo and that objective was achieved. President Goodluck Jonathan was therefore in error when he said that Odi did not solve the problem of killings in the Niger Delta area by the Niger Delta militants. Not only did it stop the killings but it is also an eloquent testimony of how to deal with terrorists, how to handle those that kill our security personnel with impunity and how to deter militants from killing members of our civilian population and thinking that they can get away with it. If President Obasanjo had not taken that strong action at that time, many more of our civilian population and security personnel would have been killed by the Niger Delta militants between 1999 and 2007.

“By doing what he did at Odi and Zaki-Biam, President Obasanjo saved the lives of many and put a stop to the killings and terrorism that had taken root in the Niger Delta area prior to that time.”

The former Aviation minister also said Mr Obasanjo’s comments last week on how to solve the Boko Haram problem were misconstrued and misrepresented in certain quarters.

“He never said that the Odi treatment should be applied to Boko Haram or that such action is appropriate in these circumstances. What he said was that a solution ought to have been found or some sort of action ought to have been taken sooner rather than allow the problem to fester over time like a bad wound and get worse.

“There can be no doubt that he was right on this because, according to President Jonathan’s own Chief of Army Staff, no less than 3000 people have been killed by Boko Haram in the last two years alone. That figure represents approximately the same number of people that were killed by the IRA in Northern Ireland and the British mainland in the 100 years that the war between them and British lasted and before peace was achieved between the two sides.

“The same number of casualties that the IRA inflicted on the people of the United Kingdom in 100 years, is the same number of casualties that Boko Haram have managed to inflict on our people in just two. This is unacceptable and it is very disturbing. The Federal Government must cultivate the courage and the political will to stop the killings by Boko Haram and to find a permanent solution to the problem.”

Obasanjo to lead ECOWAS election observers to Ghana

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo will lead a 250-member ECOWAS Election Observer Mission to Ghana’s general elections scheduled for 7 December 2012 within the context of the region’s instrument for provision of support to Member States holding elections.

This was disclosed in a statement by the commission.

According to the statement, the teams, comprising representatives of various segments of the West African society, will be in Ghana for nine days to observe the conduct of the Presidential, legislative and local elections, expected to contribute to the deepening of democratic culture in the country.

An ECOWAS assessment mission was in Ghana last October to review preparations for the elections during which the mission members met with various stakeholders, including representatives of political parties, civil society organizations and the national electoral commission, to discuss their perspectives on the preparations for the elections.

Through these missions, the region seeks to promote a culture of transparent and credible elections, consistent with best practices for the enhancement of regional peace and stability.

N5000 note: Obasanjo is a good farmer but a bad economist – Sanusi

The governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido on Tuesday reacted to a statement credited to a former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, who said that the planned introduction of the N5000 note will increase inflation in the country.

Mr Obasanjo had on Thursday said the introduction of the N5000 note would kill production and affect small businesses negatively.

The former president, who disclosed this at a roundtable advocacy forum organised by the Institute of Directors, in Lagos, said the way, Mr Sanusi, was fighting inflation by removing money from circulation was improper.

However, speaking at the sixth annual conference of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, Mr Sanusi said Mr Obasanjo had introduced more high denomination in Nigeria than any other Head of State.

“General Obasanjo did N20; he did N100, N200, N500 and N1000. He has introduced more higher denomination than any Head of States,” Mr Sanusi said.

The CBN governor said that during the period Mr Obasanjo was introducing high denomination inflation in Nigeria was actually low.

“General Obasanjo did N100 in 1999; then he did N200 in 2000; he did N500 I think two years later; and did N1000. In that period, inflation was coming down because it was accompanied by very tight monetary and fiscal policies during his reforms.

“For somebody who have gone through that to come and stand up and say ‘introducing a higher denomination causes inflation’ I don’t know if somebody wrote his speech. I’m trying to see him or if he was misquoted.

“If he actually said that then he must be the single most important determinant of inflation in our history given the number of notes that he introduced,” he said

Mr Sanusi said printing higher denomination without increasing the money supply in the economy will not increase inflation. “This is simple economics,” he said.

He said that the cost of printing and minting all denomination of currency in 2009 was N47 billion and that by 2011 the CBN brought this cost down to N32 billion.

He said that by 2014 the cost would further be reduced to N25 billion thereby saving about 50 percent of the total cost of printing and minting all denomination of currency.

Mr Sanusi said the N5000 note would not cost more than N3 billion to print.

Supreme Court cedes disputed 76 oil wells to Akwa Ibom State

The Supreme Court on Tuesday conferred on Akwa Ibom State, the ownership of the 76 oil wells along the Atlantic Ocean, ruling that Cross River State has lost its claim to being a littoral state.

According to the Court, Cross River State lost the right of an oil producing state when the federal government under the leadership of former President Olusegun Obasanjo handed over portions of the Bakassi peninsula to Cameroun.

The seven justices of the court headed by Dahiru Musdapher, in their ruling, submitted that the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMFAC) was right in attributing the oil wells to Akwa Ibom at the inter-agencies meeting.

Justice Olufunlola Adekeye, who read the lead judgment, which was unanimous, dismissed the appeal by Cross River State as lacking in substance and merit, insisting that the agreement which initially gave the state rights to the 76 oil wells was upturned by the handing over of Bakassi to Cameroon.

“The facts before the court do not support the claim of the plaintiff to being a littoral state. A non-littoral state cannot claim oil wells offshore as she has no maritime territory. The plaintiff has no maritime territory since the cessation of Bakassi Peninsula and the Cross River estuary which used to be part of the state prior to August 2008. The present position of the plaintiff cannot be blamed on any government agency particularly the National Boundary Commission and the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC.

“This court cannot because of the influx of refugees from Bakassi into Cross River State, give a legislative judgment. The government of Nigeria has a means of providing for the social needs of the people of Cross River State faced with the social problems thrust on the state due to the cessation of the Bakassi Peninsula to the Cameroun,” the court ruled.

The 76 oil wells had before the judgment of the International Court of in Justice in Hague belonged to Bakassi Local government area of Cross River state.

Bakassi was however handed over to Cameroun on the order of the International Court of Justice as the new owner of the oil rich area after its victory in a boundary legal battle with Nigeria.

However, the Supreme Court said that Akwa Ibom being a littoral state with its boundary directly touching the sea remains the only state that can lay claim and remains the rightful owner of the 76 oil wells in line with the International law.

The Cross River State government had through it counsel, Yusuf Ali, approached the Supreme Court and asked it to compel both the Federal Government and the Akwa Ibom state government to respect the sharing formula put in place by the former President Obasanjo on the 90 oil wells which had been a subject of dispute between Cross River and the Akwa Ibom state government.

Imoke flaws judgement

The Cross River State governor, Liyel Imoke has faulted to the judgement of the Supreme Court which handed over 76 oil wells to Akwa Ibom State.

Mr Imoke said: “As a wronged but law-abiding people, we had hoped for justice. We had hoped for a dispensation of justice that would restore our belief in the timeless saying by the iconic American civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Junior that “the arm of the moral universe still bends towards justice.”

He said that the judgment differed from the opinion of the people but noted that justice could only be delayed and not denied.

“We maintained our peace and dignity even in the face of what could easily have provoked unprecedented violence and reprisals. We hoped for justice from the highest court in the land. But our hope was dashed. My dear brothers and sisters, our spirit will never be broken,” he said.

Akpabio hails ruling

The Akwa Ibom State governor, Godwill Akpabio, who also spoke to journalists after the judgment, said had the apex court ceded the 76 oil wells to Cross River State, the oil well would have automatically been transferred to Cameroun.

He said: “we are happy that the Supreme Court did justice today, but we hereby extend hands of fellowship to our sister state, we have always lived amicably with one another, and we are committed towards ensuring that the relationship that had always existed between the two states is not jeopardized in any way.”

Obasanjo says fighting corruption is not a one-night affair

Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo on Tuesday said that fighting corruption in Nigeria is not a one night affair.

In an interview with a UK newspaper, theguardian, Mr Obasanjo told the reporter interviewing him that instead of saying Nigerian leaders lack accountability, he should say they are corrupt.

“You are being euphemistic when you say lack of accountability. Call it corruption,” he said.

“There is no part of the world where corruption is absolutely eliminated. But [in other countries] that corruption has not been a way of life. When you are found, you are dealt with. And that’s what we need.”

Mr Obasanjo was in the UK to promote investment in Nigeria.

“Fighting corruption is not a one-night affair,”  the former president, who made fighting graft a significant element of his manifesto ahead of his election in 1999, said.

“The givers of most of the corruption in Africa are from outside Africa,” he said. “They do in Africa, [things] they would not do in their own countries. In my part of the world, we have a saying that the man who carries a pot of palm oil from the ceiling is not the only thief. He has an accomplice in the man who helps him to bring it down. The giver and the taker are criminals, and they should be treated as such.”

The former present who is working as a roving ambassador, facilitating firms’ entry into Nigeria and the rest of Africa said he believes that positive examples of business success will encourage avaricious minds to look for more legitimate routes to wealth.

“I still believe in the opportunities that Africa affords to make legitimate money,” he says. “Africa is one place I believe that if you are courageous enough, you get the money, you can invest and get 25% return on your investment annually. There aren’t many places in the world where you can get that return.”

A corrupt nation

In 1999, Transparency International Corruption Perception Index rated Nigeria the second most corrupt nation in the world.

Successive democratic government have since 1999 attempted to fight corruption in Nigeria. Following his election as president, Mr Obasanjo established the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) in a bid to halt corruption.

Despite the efforts of these agencies, corruption continued abated in Nigeria.

In a country ranked 143 in the world on the Transparency International corruption perception index, civil society fights a perennial battle with institutionalised corruption, which has led to some officials – including some of Nigeria’s extraordinarily influential state governors – becoming dollar billionaires.

One, James Ibori, a former governor of Delta State, was convicted this year of embezzling £150m and jailed for 13 years. Ibori, whose annual state salary of less than $25,000 (£16,000) was bolstered by the systematic theft of state funds, built up a portfolio of luxury cars and properties in the UK, US and South Africa.

Timipre Sylva, the former governor of Bayelsa State, was arraigned this month by the EFCC on charges including fraud and money laundering.
Since 2009, the crusading central bank governor, Lamido Sanusi, has had some success in cleaning out the banking sector, claiming high-profile scalps such as Cecilia Ibru, the former CEO of Oceanic Bank, who was jailed for fraud and mismanagement.

Arunma Oteh came in to head the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2010, attacking vested interests in the stock market. Ms Oteh had since been removed from office based on allegations that she abused her powers.

State of the Nation: Terrorism is so Elusive – Osuntokun

Akin Osuntokun; the former political adviser to the former President Obasanjo amongst other positions not mentioned here came for a chat on the state of the nation with the Sunrise Daily Crew.

On the issue of Nigerians having the impression that government is not handling the security matters of the country properly, Osuntokun said the most important thing for Nigerians and Nigerian government is not to lose their norms and should not get negatively excited.

Jonathan, others congratulates Obasanjo at 75

President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday congratulated former President Olusegun Obasanjo who turns 75.

Mr Jonathan, in a letter to the former president, wrote: “On the historic occasion of your 75th birthday anniversary which comes up on Monday, 5th March 2012, I join you, your family, friends and well-wishers to thank Almighty God for the life of fulfilment and uncommon accomplishment which He has blessed you with.

“You have spent virtually all of your adult life in dedicated patriotic service to our fatherland: as an accomplished officer in our nation’s army; as a military commander who played a historic role in effecting the end of the unfortunate civil war; as a military Head of State who ushered in civil democratic governance; and later serving two terms as a democratically-elected President, and helping to consolidate the democratic process in our country. Today you are the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the ruling, and by far the largest political party in Nigeria.

“Through it all, you have demonstrated exceptional courage, steadfast commitment and abiding faith in the unity, peace, stability and prosperity of the Nigerian nation. It is gratifying to note that you stand ready to continue to avail us of your wise counsel at all times.

“On behalf of my family, the Government and people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I congratulate you on this milestone and wish you many more years of fulfillment. Happy Birthday!”

Speaking at the party event at the premises of Mr Obasanjo’s Presidential Library located along IBB Boulevard, Oke Mosan, Abeokuta, Ogun State, the Vice President of the World Bank, Oby Ezekwesili, eulogised the former President, saying that to the people outside Nigeria, Obasanjo is a role model and a leader worthy of emulation.

She urged Nigerians to tap from the wealth of experience of the former president.

She advised Africans to strive to achieve more on food production to achieve food security, stressing that instead of fighting themselves, they should fight hunger and poverty.

KBR ex-boss goes to jail for helping Halliburton bribe Nigerian government officials

A US court on Thursday sentenced Albert Stanley, a former Kellogg Brown & Root LLC Chief Executive Officer to two and a half years in prison for his role in a scheme to bribe Nigerian government officials in return for $6 billion in engineering and construction contracts.

The court also said that Mr Stanley must serve three years of probation and pay $1,000 a month in restitution after he is released.

The former KBR chief pleaded guilty in 2008 to conspiring with others to bribe Nigerian government officials to secure construction and engineering contract in the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) company from 1995 to 2004.

Mr Stanley was KBR’s chief executive until 2001 and chairman until June 2004.

KBR was previously a subsidiary of Halliburton, but was spun off in 2007 and in 2009 agreed to pay $579 million to settle bribery allegations.
Kellogg Brown & Root LLC, the former engineering subsidiary of Halliburton Co, pleaded guilty in 2009 and admitted that it paid $180 million in bribes to Nigerian officials to win the $6 billion in contracts for the Bonny Island LNG project in the Niger Delta. Partner companies from Italy, France and Japan were involved.

According to agency reports, Mr Stanley told the U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison that alcoholism played a role in compromising the traditional American values of hard work, honesty and integrity that he brought to his professional life.

“I lost touch,” he said. “I wish to be very clear that I accept full responsibility for what I have done … and hope to be able to continue to make amends for my past.”

Larry Veselka, Stanley’s lawyer, asked the judge to forgo a prison sentence for Stanley, citing his involvement in Alcoholics Anonymous and mentoring relationships with people in Houston and North Carolina, where Stanley now lives. About two dozen people also attested to Stanley’s volunteer work in court Thursday.

Indeed, Stanley’s sentence is lighter than his plea agreement had outlined, as he had faced the possibility of seven years in prison for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. A federal presentencing report suggested punishment of three and a half years.

Veselka also argued that Stanley had cooperated with prosecutors and helped the government recover $1.7 billion in fines and restitution; making this case, Veselka said, the most successful prosecution under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The act says it is unlawful to bribe foreign government officials or company executives to obtain or retain business or to secure an advantage to getting the business.

But the trial Judge dismissed Veselka’s statement, saying the sum was only large because the case was one of the biggest ones prosecuted.
Ellison settled on two and a half years, acknowledging that white-collar criminals face hardship in prison. But he insisted he didn’t want to make a “distinction for crime for rich people.”

“The court does take note of and salute the strides Mr Stanley has made both to put things right in Nigeria and to redeem his own life,” Ellison said. “But the misconduct was serious, ongoing and deeply hurtful.”

After the sentencing, Stanley appeared to tell friends who approached him that it was disappointing. Veselka congratulated the Justice Department for its successful prosecution but withheld additional comments since Stanley was still cooperating with prosecutors.

TWO OTHERS GET SENTENCED

A second man involved in the bribery scheme, British lawyer Jeffrey Tesler, was sentenced earlier Thursday to 21 months in prison and two years’ probation. He was arrested in London in 2009, pleaded guilty in Houston a year ago to conspiring and violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
The third man to get a conviction in the e bribery scandal was Wojciech Chodan, 74, who on Wednesday received a one year supervisory probation and fined $20,000.

Mr Chodan pleaded guilty in December 2010.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had in 2010 charged the current and former KBR and Halliburton executives; including former American Vice President Dick Cheney, who at one time led Halliburton; in the bribery scheme. But the charges were dropped a few weeks later after Halliburton agreed to pay a $35 million settlement.

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act was passed in 1977. Its anti-bribery provisions were broadened in 1998 to apply to foreign firms and persons who directly or through agents allow corrupt payments to take place.

NO ACTION YET FROM NIGERIA

Despite these convictions, the Nigerian government is yet to take any major steps in identifying or prosecuting the bribe takers.

The only Nigerian to be prosecuted by the EFCC in relations to the Halliburton trial is an aide to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Adeyanju Bodunde, who is facing trial in an Abuja High Court for his role in the scale.

A preliminary report names some former Nigerian President as Halliburton bribe takers. They included, Military Head of States, Late Sani Abacha, Abdulsalami Abubakar and Olusegun Obasanjo.

Obasanjo meets with opposition leaders in Senegal

Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo

Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo is currently in Dakar, Senegal in a bid to bring some peace to the tense nation ahead of its elections on Sunday.

Mr. Obasanjo, who is currently visiting Dakar as head of a joint African Union Economic Community of West African states observer mission, has reportedly spent his first day in the country meeting with opposition leaders in Senegal who insist that President Abdoulaye Wade’s run for a third term in office is illegal.

Nationwide protests broke out in the West African country after its highest court ruled that incumbent President Wade, 85, could seek a third term in office and banned singer Youssou Ndour from running for the post.

Senegal’s constitution limits heads of state to two terms in office, but judges ruled that Wade’s first term in office does not count as the limit came into play afterwards.

According to the BBC, at least six people are said to have been killed in the protests that broke out in January.

Obasanjo arrived in Dakar late on Tuesday while police once again fired tear gas to disperse protesters in the capital, the BBC reported.

He is meeting with leaders of the M23 movements who are behind the protests. They have demanded that Wade step down and not contest in the elections.

The former Nigerian president will also meet with key presidential candidates, including two former prime ministers, Moustapha Niasse and Idrissa Seck, and the leader of the opposition Socialist Party, Ousmane Tanor Dieng.

“My job here is, first, election observation,” Mr Obasanjo told the BBC.

“And, second, to be proactive on behalf of our two organisations [AU and Ecowas] to prevent what is undesirable and unwanted,” he said.

Obasanjo charges FG to create wealth via agribusiness


Former president, General Olusegun Obasanjo has urged the federal government to tackle poverty by using wealth creating strategies like agribusiness.

The former president who gave the charge at the launch of a book titled: Agribusiness for Africa’s prosperity, decried the collapse of the nation’s industrial sector, noting that “meaningful partnerships that would accelerate agricultural and industrial growth is needed in the country.”

Against several efforts to boost agriculture across the country, the former president who is a farmer explained the critical role, small-scale farmers will play in addressing the nation’s low productivity. “Unless small scale farmers are introduced into the agribusiness strategy, problems of poverty and low agricultural productivity would continue in the country” he said

Formally launching the book, Chief Obasanjo described the publication as ‘timely’. The introduction of the agribusiness strategy according to him “would boost Nigeria’s development in today’s emerging markets.”

The book, written by international experts from agribusiness practitioners to academicians, details seven key drivers of sustainable agricultural growth.

Top government officials, diplomats and representatives of governments across Africa converged in Abuja to witness the launch of the book agribusiness.

The director of Agribusiness unit with the United Nations Industrial Development, Mr Phillip Scholtes noted “infrastructure and energy as major inhibiting factors in Nigeria.”

President of African business roundtable, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and other guest at book launch acknowledged that agribusiness can best be practised by “engaging the youths.”

It was agreed that agribusiness as a strategy can guarantee a 70 percent boost in food production by 2050, but the reality of this, is partnership with the private sector to ensure a well-diversified economy.