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Sunday, 30 March 2014

PDP Runs A Deceitful, Shameless Government – Tinubu

Former govenor of Lagos State and leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has accused the Peoples Democcratic Party-led government as operating a shameless and deceitful government.
Speaking at a special colloqiuium organised in his honour to mark his 62nd birthday in Lagos, Tinubu urged Nigerians to vote the ruling party out in next year’s presidential election.
Tagged, “The Summit of The Common Man”, the occasion attracted scores of prominent leaders of the APC, include a former head of state General Muhammadu Buhari, former vice president Atiku Abubakar as well as serving governors on the platform of the party.
Commenting on the state of the nation, Tinubu who stated that the country has never benefited from the current political arrangement lampooned the ruling party of foisting a reign of extortion on the people.
While urging the people to vote the PDP out next year, Tinubu said, “We need change that will sustain the economy. Hunger has no tribal marks. No matter who or what you are, you still have a trace of poverty in you.”
He went ahead to raise many posers saying “How can they (PDP) continue to win elections with the removal of subsidy. These people are shameless. That the number of years that they have spent doesn’t matter to them anymore.”
He called for a thorough probe into the controversial $20 billion, saying “They call all other people all sorts of names when they cannot account for the missing $20billion. Account for the money!
“They are shameless that they still steal from the pensioners. They even took our children to the stadiums for job tests and they picked their pockets. They are racketeers and we must do everything to kick them away.”
Earlier in his welcome speech, Governor Babtunde Raji Fashola of Lagos State lauded his predecesor in offfice for nurturing future leaders, saying in spite of whatever his opponents might say, he has given a good account of himself.
“Because he (Tinubu) has opted to serve the country, he has come under severe attacks from people. Perhaps, if he had stayed in his comfort zone, probably he won’t have been under this kind of attacks,” the governor said.


BBCtrending: The mysterious case of Wendell Simlin


A team of online sleuths claim to have exposed an attempt to smear the former governor of Nigeria’s central bank.
Lamido Sanusi – who is widely respected in the international community – was suspended from the bank last month after accusing the government of corruption.
A few days later, a number of journalists were surprised to receive an email from an unknown man, Wendell Simlin, which linked Sanusi with the militant Islamist group Boko Haram. The group is believed to have killed thousands of people in a string of brutal attacks since 2009. But a handful of digital activists who obtained the email say it was actually written by one of the president’s aides, after they found his name in a Word document attached. Reno Omokri – social media advisor to President Goodluck Jonathan – is listed as its author in the document properties.
“We just did a simple right click on the document and looked at the ‘properties’,” says Feyi Fawehinmi, one of the team who carried out the investigation. They also contacted a newspaper to cross reference the email with previous messages sent from Omokri himself, and the metadata seems to be a perfect match, they say.
A screen showing the properties of the Word document, where "Reno Omokri", is named as it's author
The properties of the Word document name the president’s advisor as its author
It is possible that the accusations are part of an elaborate attempt to frame Omokri. Carlo De Micheli, an independent security expert, says the evidence can’t be taken as concrete proof – but points out that it would be a bizarre strategy for Sanusi’s supporters to falsify documents incriminating him, and subsequently try to clear his name. BBC Trending has contacted Omokri about the allegations, but he has not responded. He is due to appear as a speaker at a new media conference in Lagos on Friday, and local journalists are keen to press him on the matter.
Sanusi was suspended from the bank by the president after alleging that $20bn (£12bn) in revenue had gone missing from the state oil firm, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
Reporting by Sam Judah


Anglican Communion knights Ogiemwonyi

By Sam Raphael
The Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Saint Matthew’s Cathedral, Sokponba Road, Benin City, Edo State, was a beehive of religious and social activities, Sunday 23rd March, 2014, when former Minister of State for Works, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Sir, Engr. (Dr.) Chris Ogiemwonyi, FNSE, KSA, JP, was admitted into the Order of Saint Christopher, amongst other important dignitaries in the state, in a colourful ceremony attended by the crème de la crème of society.
While inaugurating the 37 new knights, Archbishop of the Anglican Communion, diocese of Benin, Rt. Reverend Peter Imasuen, challenged them to be humble ambassadors of Christ, who would help to actualize the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ to all nooks and crannies of the world and assist the church at all times.
Also speaking during the event, the guest preacher and Archbishop of the Kaduna Province, Most Reverend Josiah Idowu Fearon, called on Christians, especially the new knights to put on the amour of truth and righteousness in order to be able to fight the ills in the society. 
He noted that in a world that was being ravaged by the threat of moral and spiritual decadence, especially the spreading evils of homosexuality, injustice and extreme wickedness, Christians were supposed to be extra vigilant to save their world, insisting that with their faith in God, they would overcome.
Sir (Engr.) Dr. Ogiemwonyi, in a chat with newsmen, shortly after the end of the church ceremony, thanked God for the honour done him with the investiture as knight of the Anglican Church, noting that it had always been his prayers that after quitting the public service, as a career civil servant, he would dedicate the remaining part of his life to serve humanity and support the work of God.
The former Minister later treated his numerous friends, associates and family members to sumptuous meals and lively entertainment at his residence. 
Present at the ceremony were politicians from all political party divides, representatives of the Palace of the Benin Monarch, a cross section of traditional chiefs, led by the Iyase of Benin kingdom, Chief S.O. Igbe, captains of industry, the leadership and membership of clubs and associations to which the celebrant is Grand Patron, notable amongst which were, the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Association of Community Newspapers’ Publishers of Nigeria, ACNPN, National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, The Benin Recreation Club, etc.

As he marks his Birthday Anniversary: Ogiemwonyi mobilizes medical attention for Edo people

By Victor Uwagor
In a grand display of his usual philanthropic gestures and show of concern for the needy, former Minister of State for Works, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Sir, Engr (Dr.) Chris Ogiemwonyi, FNSE, KSA, on the occasion of his 63rd birthday anniversary, 21st March, 2014, sponsored free breast and cervical cancer (for women between ages 18 – 65) and prostrate cancer screening exercises (for men above 40years), in conjunction with the Lagos-based Optimal Cancer Care Foundation, at the Urhokpota Hall, Benin City.
 The 2-day event, which was well attended by indigenes and residents of the three senatorial districts of the state and beyond, who wanted to know their statuses and the preventive/curative medical steps required to checkmate the deadly ailments, in case they were diagnosed positive, was essentially supported by the Ogiemwonyi Foundation because according to the former minister, “we have discovered that early detection of the presence of the diseases could save a lot of lives and help curtail its spread in the body system.  Breast and cervical cancer in women and prostrate cancer in men have recently become killer ailments around the world, but a quick detention of traces of these diseases could actually reduce their severity, make the diseases manageably impotent and save more of our peoples’ lives.  This is why we have thought it necessary to bring this screening and free drug distribution to the doorsteps of our people so they could benefit.  Those cases that cannot be immediately attended to, during this exercise, would, where necessary, be referred to specialists’ hospitals for further treatment and management.”
While flagging off the exercise, Engr. (Dr.) Sir Ogiemwonyi encouraged Edo people to take full advantage of the screening and treatment exercise, insisting that it was ignorance on the parts of the people that remedies to treat ailments abound, that have made some, otherwise, combatable diseases become readily terminal and deadly. 
“Many of these diseases that lead to untimely deaths,” Ogiemwonyi noted, “could be easily treated when diagnosed on time.  For me I only discovered this a few years ago; so we have decided to make this available for our people.  These days, celebrating or marking birthdays have gone beyond the issues of sharing rice and drinks and dancing to music; true care for the people means taking care of their health challenges in whatever way one could; come to think of it, a healthy man or woman could easily fend for himself or herself.  It is sickness and disease that weaken the ability of human beings to effectively be up and doing, to be alive and active.  It is our prayers that diseases would be far away from us; but when they do sometimes come to our doorsteps, we pray that medical attentions would be available to help us take them out.  That is essentially why we are doing this today.”
Some of the beneficiaries of the free screening and treatment exercise, in separate chats with The Navigator commended the initiative of Engr. Ogiemwonyi to make the opportunity available to Edo people, and enjoined other well-to-do indigenes of the state to emulate the kind gesture and make such exercises available to indigent residents and indigenes of the state.
In his remarks, shortly after participating in the exercise, Pa Igbe, who, however, tested negative of prostrate cancer screening, was full of praises for Engr. Ogiemwonyi for even helping to create the awareness and enlightenment about the possibility of curtailing the killer disease. 
Said he, “First, I want to thank Engr. Ogiemwonyi for letting people know that this disease is curable when detected early enough.  I didn’t know before that one could come for a test as simple as this.  I have just been test.  I tested negative.  Now, for me, I would make it a regular exercise according to the advice of the medical personnel handling the exercise.  It has not cost me anything.  This is a very commendable development.  I am very happy.”
Pa Igbe, therefore, called on Edo indigenes, particularly those within the age brackets specified for the female and male not to be inhibited by any thought or fears, “because it is better to know whether one is well or not.  If one is silent about a worrisome ailment, and keeping it secret, one would die in silence.  But this is an opportunity to come forward, free of charge as it is here, to find out one’s status and what could be done.”
In his own chat with The Navigator, another beneficiary of the free cancer screening exercise, Mr. Efosa Obasogie, said the development was a wake-up call on other wealthy Edo sons and daughters, to show concern for the well-being of humanity by investing an appreciable percentage of their wealth on philanthropic exercises, instead of amassing stupendous wealth selfishly for themselves and their generations yet unborn when millions were dying of preventable and curable diseases because they did not have the wherewithal to seek medical attention.
While commending the sponsor, Engr. Ogiemwonyi for the free screening, and for providing lunch during the 2-day exercise, Mr. Obasogie challenged government to appreciate the fact that there was poverty and disease in the land, and that only a committed drive, especially on the part of government, to provide essential services, such as education and health, free of charge to the populace, could help reduce the ugly trend.
A 43-year-old woman, Mrs. Elizabeth Ukpebo, in her chat with The Navigator was full of gratitude for Engr. Ogiemwonyi for the initiative, noting that kind-hearted people were hard to find, especially at this time when selfishness and greed had grown to frightening proportions in the country.
Said she in pidgin English, “God go bless the man. I nor know am, but I know say God go continue to bless am. Na me and two of my daughters come.  Dem dey inside now; na only me don finish my own. The man do well; God go still look after im family too.”
Health personnel from the Optimal Cancer Care Foundation, Lagos and officers of the Chris Ogiemwonyi Foundation, who supervised the exercise and offered free drugs to participants at the exercise advised Edo people to regularly come out for tests to ascertain their statuses, insisting that early detection and regular screen-testing of cases of breast, cervical or prostrate cancer remains the safest antidote to effectively checkmating the deadliness of the ailment.    

I’ll not take you for granted, Ogiemwonyi assures OSM

By Osaro Edenedeso
The leadership and membership of the Ogiemwonyi Solidarity Movement, OSM, have been assured of the maximum support of its principal-project, Engr. (Dr.) Chris Ogiemwonyi.
                At the inaugural meeting of the movement at the Motel Benin Plaza, penultimate week, Engr. Ogiemwonyi commended the movement for its focus and commitment, assuring that it could count on his support at all times and “I will not take you for granted.”
                The former Minister of State for Works, Federal Ministry of Works, while thanking members of the Movement for their sacrifice and focus, remarked that it was gratifying that, very early in the day, in the life of his quest to seek the gubernatorial seat of Edo State, ahead of the 2016 election, the group had become so organized and visible, and urged them to continue to mobilize membership across the state.
                Engr. Ogiemwonyi noted that youth unemployment has continued to be the highest hurdle successive administrations have failed to scale, and disclosed that tackling the social malaise would be top on his agenda of priorities if he eventually secures the ticket and mandate of the people to govern the state.
                Earlier in his speech, Edo State Coordinator of the OSM, Prince Victor Ehue, disclosed that the Movement was a non-tribal group, cutting across the three senatorial districts of the state and made up of like-minds who believed in the potentials and abilities of Engr. Ogiemwonyi to take the all-round development of the state onto higher heights and improve on the laudable contributions of the present Gov. Oshiomhole-led administration.
                He disclosed that the OSM was already on ground in the eighteen local government areas of the state, insisting that the movement believes that Engr. Ogiemwonyi should be supported by all and sundry because “he holds the Midas touch to do it better as governor of Edo State, come 2016.”

FRCN’s probe is vicious witch-hunt—Sanusi

FRCN’s probe is vicious witch-hunt—Sanusi
The suspended  governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Lamido Sanusi,  says he is the  target of a vicious witch-hunt and relentless victimization being prosecuted and fronted by the Federal Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN), acting outside of the rule of law and well beyond its scope of responsibility.
He vowed yesterday that he would only appear before an impartial authority  to investigate him and his tenure at the apex bank.
Mallam Sanusi who,on Thursday, declined an invitation to appear before the FRCN mandated to probe his tenure, wondered whether the council    ”is the appropriate statutory body to conduct such an investigation.”
Speaking through his   media consultants,Celine Loader, Sanusi, made reference  to the enabling statute of the FRCN  Act 2011, particular Sections 7, 8, 11, 25, 28, 58(2) and 62 which said  “it does not give the FRCN the authority and the powers to conduct the investigation it seeks to undertake.”
Celine Loader  queried the intent of the FRCN  and the source of its  mandate,saying the council “has already prejudged what it now purports to be investigating, thereby compromising its integrity and the integrity of such investigation.”
It  added: “The credibility of the purported investigation is further undermined by the fact that, in reaching its prior conclusions and recommendations contained in the Briefing Note, the FRCN neither heard nor provided Sanusi with the opportunity to respond to the allegations that led to the unfounded conclusions contained therein.”
 This pre-existing bias, it claimed, amounts to a “breach of the rules of natural justice, the absence of statutory power, the violation of the rule of law and the prejudicial conduct by the FRCN all point to an obvious witch-hunt and victimization against Sanusi Lamido who has already been controversially suspended from office on the strength of erroneous allegations by the same FRCN.”
It  said that   after making  weighty allegations, conclusions and attendant recommendations in its Briefing Note dated June 7, 2013 to the President, which formed the basis for Sanusi’s controversial suspension, the FRCN ”is now setting itself up as ‘judge’ and ‘jury’ in pursuing a purported investigation for which it has no authority, competence nor mandate.”
Citing words like  “incompetence”, “acting outside the object clause of the CBN”, “nonchalance”,”fraudulent activities”, “wastefulness”, “abuse of due process”, and  “deliberate efforts to misrepresent facts”, used by the FRCN against Sanusi  in its Briefing Note  and recommending to President Goodluck Jonathan “to cause Sanusi and the Deputy Governors of the CBN to “ cease from holding office in the CBN, so that the opposition to the Federal Government does not take advantage of the information and use it to attack the government.”
On Thursday, the Chief Executive Officer of  FRCN Mr. Jim Obazee while reacting to Sanusi’s absence from the investigation maintained that Sanusi’s absence cannot stall the investigation since the investigation is not targeted at Sanusi but at the CBN.

INTERVIEW: Why I will not step down for Governor Akpabio in 2015- Senator Aloysius Etok

Mr. Etok speaks on his duties in the Senate and relationship with the governor.
Aloysius Etok is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Service Matters . He represents the Akwa-Ibom North-West in the Senate; a seat the incumbent Akwa Ibom State governor, Godswill Akpabio is interested in.
Mr. Etok speaks on his committee’s duties and the expected 2015 battle he would have with the state governor.
We learnt you were invited for an interview at Planet FM, a private radio station in Akwa Ibom State, but was barred from featuring in the programme. Can you tell us what happened?
I was about going into the studio when the programme manager came in and told us that there was a technical fault and begged that the programme be discontinued to allow for repairs to be carried out on the faulty equipment. I don’t know whether there was some other issue but that was what the technical manager told me.
But the CEO of the station, Tony Afia, in a post on Ibom Forum, indicated that the time paid for by the producer of the programme had elapsed before you were invited into the studio?
Well, Tony has the right to say whatever he wants to say. If I had arrived late for the programme, why was it announced that I was at the studio? It was announced while I was there that they were going to have an interview with me after a member of the state House of Assembly from Uruan was interviewed. If he went on to say that the time had elapsed then it was his own. Whatever he said or would like to say is left for the judgment of the public. Clearly, one could see the contradiction. When he called me for a discussion, he apologised and said he would explain what happened to me. He never told me I arrived late for the programme because I arrived at the station before the commencement of the programme.  I met the member of the state House of Assembly representing Uruan at the station. As a gentleman, I agreed with the producer that (the Member) should go in first because he was there before me.
Did Mr. Afia later offer you an explanation as promised, when he called to apologise to you?
He called to get an appointment for us to meet but I didn’t have time to meet with him.  He called for about two days but I didn’t have time to see him. If I had time, I would have listened to his explanation.
Do you think the treatment you received at the station has something to do with your frosty relationship with the state governor?
That would be left for Afia’s judgment. My relationship with the governor should not have anything to do with a private station. Atlantic FM is not a government radio station; therefore, I cannot see any reason why he would play funny.  Since he is running a private station, he should be willing to provide an alternative to the government broadcasting stations. One would have understood if it were a government broadcasting station. But for a private station to do what that, it means Afia is not ready to provide the alternative platform for the people. I wish him good luck because when the administration ends next year, I don’t know what he will be doing.
You have been a private business man and a member of the House of Representatives and now a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. How challenging are your duties at the Senate?
My job at the Senate is quite challenging and interesting. It is interesting in the sense that I deal directly with the welfare of the people as well as the future of Nigerians. My committee oversees a critical sector of the Nigerian public service. I chair the Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Service Matters. We oversee recruitment, promotion and discipline of civil servants. We also deal with pension matters of the civil, public, military and the police services. It is a very sensitive and challenging assignment.
Not quite long ago, it was alleged that you received bribes to cover up the scam in the pension sector. You denied the allegation. Can you tell Nigerians what actually happened?
It was a drama of sorts and I have come to realise that in Nigeria, corruption is almost endemic. Corruption is almost completely embedded in the conduct of public business and if you find yourself fighting it, it will definitely fight back. I have said before and I want to say it again: corruption in the pension sector is bigger and deeper than the one in the oil sector. It is also more cancerous.
In the oil sector, you have a few persons who form a cabal but in the pension sector, it takes a lot of people to perpetrate it. The leader will recruit a lot of people into the system. When you are fighting them it means you are stepping on so many toes at the same time and it will be difficult to know where the fight is coming from. That was why when we fought the pension thieves to a standstill, they decided to fight back. They arranged a ring and empowered them to run a smear campaign against my person. But thanks to God, when somebody is lying, people will know. On my part, I called on security agencies and offered myself to be arrested and investigated to unravel whether my accusers were telling the truth or not. How can somebody be involved in fraud when he rejected money that was given to him?  Is it possible to turn around and accept anything from a man one rebuked for offering him bribes? If I wanted to collect a car from somebody, would I collect a car that is seven years old when ministers are collecting brand new bullet-proof cars? Would I be moving forward or backward at this stage of my life? These are some of the issues Nigerians should consider. They talked about giving me equipment to use in my farm but the truth is that I don’t have a farm in any part of the country and it is verifiable. If you collect a bulldozer, will you swallow it so people will not see? If you collect a tanker, people will see it. All these things are verifiable. When my colleagues in the senate investigated the allegation, they found it was a lie and blackmail. By third week of December last year, we cracked the ring. We discovered that there were about six persons who were involved in the racket. The security agencies are already on their trail.
Are these people civil servants?
They are a bunch of criminals who were hired to form a smear ring.
The Senate was strongly behind you when the incident happened. Why was it so?
Because they know Aloysius Etok. I have been with them from the 6th Senate. They know what I can do and what I will not do. When you are a shepherd, you will know your ship and your ship will know you.  My colleagues know what I am capable of doing and what I cannot do. There are a lot of things I cannot do for the sake of my name, my family and the God that I worship and those on whose mandate I am serving in the senate. For the sake of our democracy and the need to move the country forward, we must fight every evil tendency that tends to destroy this nation.
Are there things you want Nigerians to know about the scam?
Certainly, I was surprised at the fact that there could be that level of rot within the pension sector. I didn’t believe there could be that level of impunity and arrogance in the way and manner the funds were being stolen and the exhibition of ill-gotten wealth by the pension thieves. I never believed those kind of things could happen in this country. I was equally shocked at the operations of the pension cabal and the extent they went. They took the money with impunity and without regards to the extant regulations regarding financial operations in the public service. They broke every known financial regulation in the management of the pension funds.  And we found that more than N100 billion was missing from the system.
What measures are being put in place to ensure that such bare-faced robbery does not continue in the pension fund administration?
We had submitted the report of our investigation to the government but even though the executive hasn’t issued a White Paper on it, we have seen evidence of the report being implemented in piece-meal. For instance, the Pension Transitional Administration Programme, PETAP has been set up to bring together all the pension administrators which operated as independent bodies under one umbrella.  PETAP does not cover the military but other pension bodies including the Police, Customs, Immigrations, Civil Defence and the Prisons. All these pension offices have been brought together and a director-general has already been appointed.
I had a meeting with the management of PETAP but because the Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala wasn’t there, we had to adjourn the meeting. We know that the setting up of PETAP is a move in the right direction. With it, the government will close the loopholes and sanitise the sector. But even with that, the government must initiate a process of creating a biometric record of pensioners in the country with a view to creating a databank. There is no way we can manage the pension sector without a databank of pensioners. It is only when that is done that we could say the loopholes have been closed.
It is quite obvious you want to return to the Senate in 2015. How confident are you about this in view of the fact that the state Governor, Godswill Akpabio, and many others are also eyeing the seat?
Power belongs to God and mandate belongs to the people. It can never be an election until two or more people are involved in a contest. So the governor is welcome on board and it will be proper if he wishes to come to the senate that he contests for it. It is God that will give power to who He will. In doing that, God will not negotiate or consult with anybody. He already knows who he will give the power to. On the other hand, the owners of the mandate know who they want to send to the senate come 2015. They know who will be willing to be their servant. The people are the bosses while the representative is the servant. So the people know who they will send and when we get to the bridge, we will cross it.
You had a misunderstanding with your governor sometime last years. How is your relationship with the governor now?
People call it a misunderstanding but there was nothing like that. I don’t have any problem with the governor. I keep on saying that if we keep to our tracks, there will be no misunderstanding. If we don’t cross each other’s way, there will be no misunderstanding.  Akpabio has his duty post. He is the governor of the state and I am the senator representing Akwa Ibom North-West. We have distinct areas of operation.
What is your expectation from INEC in 2015
I know that the 2015 election will be better than that of 2011.  INEC has enough time to prepare and deploy new strategies for the election. Besides, Nigerians are getting wiser and more desirous to vote and defend their votes. The people are getting wiser in terms of party affiliation and choice of candidates and the tendency to intimidate or force somebody to do what he wouldn’t want to do is waning.
2011 was a watershed of politically motivated violence in Akwa Ibom State. Do you expect something different in 2015?
I think the security agencies took note of what happened in 2011 and they are exploring alternative ways of dealing with the situation. They are also developing new techniques of handling security situations in each of the senatorial districts and in the entire state. I am sure the security agencies will be at their best and will be able to handle whatever situation may arise.  I regretted what happened because in 2007, about 67 candidates contested for the position of the governor and nobody died. However, in 2011, a few people contested and so many people were killed. We pray that such should not happen again. We should not lose people because of an election. It is better for people to be alive to see a person in power or not taking power than taking power at the expense of human lives.
What will you not do to get power?
I will not engage in violence. I will never kill. I cannot spill blood nor do anything contrary to God’s commandment for the purpose of capturing power. I will never, never kill anybody for any reason whatsoever.

Privatisation fraud: UN’s searchlight on Nigeria

After playing the ostrich over palpable complaints that the privatisation process of the country’s power sector was sacrificed on the altar of fraud  and nepotism, Nigeria’s Federal Government is now under pressure of the United Nations (UN) to respond to the queries raised over mismanagement allegations that trailed the exercise acclaimed to be one of the most transparent in the world. Sunday Business Editor, ANDY NSSIEN, reports on the latest development.
Chinedu Nebo  Ngozi Okonjo-iweala
Chinedu Nebo                                     Ngozi Okonjo-iweala
Last week, the UN alleged that Nigeria’s Federal Government mismanaged a total of $51 billion in the power sector in the past ten years and demanded proper accountability.
The allegation which was contained in a letter sent to President Goodluck Jonathan by the UN was signed by the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Ms. Magdalena Sepúlveda Carmona, and Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, Ms. Raquel Rolnik.
They demanded some answers from the Federal Government over the alleged mismanagement of $3.5 billion annually in the power sector in the last ten years, amounting to $35 billion.
The UN rapporteurs’ action was sequel to a petition lodged in 2013 by a coalition of human rights activists, labour, journalists and lawyers led by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).
According to the petition, the implementation of the Multi-Year Tariff Order II (MYTO II) by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) was “having detrimental impact on the human rights of those living in poverty in the country.”
That’s not all.  The global watchdog also demanded explanations on another $16 billion released to improve electricity supply in the country, while insisting that the funds had not been properly accounted for.
The Executive Director, SERAP, Adetokunbo Mumuni, who put the total amount of money to be accounted for by the government at $51 billion, explained that around $3.5 billion has been mismanaged annually over the last ten years, and a total of $16 billion released to improve electricity supply in the country that has not been properly accounted for.
The rapporteurs did not spare the generating and distributing firms that bought over the assets.
“The Business Units, which have taken over from the PHCN, participate in large-scale corruption such as graft from exorbitant consumer bills, rejection of payment to independent third parties such as banks to keep management of funds secret, unprecedented disconnection of consumers’ power lines, general bribery and fraud among staff (members), adding up to over N1 billion extra charged to consumers annually.”
The UN special rapporteurs argued that “all beneficiaries of the right to adequate housing should have sustainable access to energy for cooking, heating and lighting. The failure of the states to provide basic services such as electricity is a violation of the right to health,” they said.
Consequently, the special rapporteurs wanted answers to the following questions: are the facts alleged by SERAP and others accurate? What kind of impact assessments were conducted to gauge the potential impact of the electricity tariff increases on the human rights of people living in extreme poverty in Nigeria? If so, provide details.
Other queries include: did public consultations take place, including with potentially affected persons and especially people living in extreme poverty, prior to the adoption of the new Multi-Year Tariff Order II? If yes, please give details of the dates, participants and outcomes of the consultations.
Was accessible and culturally adequate information about the measure actively disseminated through all available channels prior to consultation?
Also requiring explanations were:  what measures have been put in place to ensure that the human rights of people living in extreme poverty in Nigeria will not be undermined by the increase in electricity tariffs? In particular, what measures are in place to ensure that they can enjoy their right to adequate housing, including sustainable access to energy for cooking, heating and lighting, which is a component of this right?
The rapporteurs were not done yet: what mechanisms exist to ensure transparency, accountability and regular monitoring over the use of tariff revenue within the government? What mechanisms are available to address allegations of corruption, or other complaints? What mechanisms are in place to monitor and regulate service provision by private actors, as required under the State’s duty to protect?
They wanted to know if there is provision to ameliorate the plight of the poor.
Please describe any existing policies or measures aimed to promote affordability of electricity provision for people living in extreme poverty. Are any subsidies already available and implemented? What is being done to mitigate the hardship imposed by increased tariffs, especially for persons living in poverty?
According to the special rapporteurs, “We would be most grateful to receive a response within 60 days, which will be made available in the report that we will submit to the Human Rights Council for its consideration of the matter.”
The long list of groups and individuals that endorsed the petition included; the Gender and Constitution Reform Network, a coalition of over 250 women’s groups (GECORN); Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA), and One Voice Nigeria, a coalition of civil society groups.
Individuals that backed the petition included; Femi Falana, SAN; Professor ‘Dejo Olowu of the North West University, South Africa; Victor Oladipupo Momodu; Tope Robert; John Collins; Onyedikachi Orizu; and Gbenro Adeoye.
Also in support of the petition were ;Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ); Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Lagos State Council; Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Lagos State branch; Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) Ikeja branch; National Union of Food Beverage and Tobacco Employees (NUFBTE); and Joint Action Front (JAF).
Others were, Women Advocates Research and Documentation Center (WARDC); Women Empowerment and Legal Aid Initiative (WELA); Partnership for Justice (PJ); Campaign for Democratic Workers (CDWR); Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM); Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC), and Education Rights Campaign (ERC).
According to the coalition, “The introduction of a new electricity tariff by the government of President Goodluck Jonathan, not only risks violation of human rights under the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights but also exacerbates and perpetuates poverty for millions of Nigerians already vulnerable and marginalized and lack access to basic necessities.”
The petition dated September 6, 2013, had called on the UN to send an urgent appeal to the Federal Government to delay the increased fixed rate electricity tariff until the government is able to put in place mechanisms to ensure regular and uninterrupted electricity supply in the country.
The petition also demanded an impact assessment of the increase on people living in extreme poverty, adding, “By introducing fixed rate electricity tariff, the government is complicit in violating the human rights of people living in poverty and undermining their personal development and prosperity. We believe that it is premature for the government to increase electricity tariff prior to taking effective measures to guarantee and ensure regular and uninterrupted electricity supply across the country.”
The coalition also requested the Special Rapporteur to visit the country to “conduct an in-depth investigation into the effects of the increased electricity tariff on people living in poverty,” and to urge the government to “take all reasonable measures to protect, respect and fulfill the rights of people living in poverty and social exclusion across the country.”
The persistent outpour of disenchantment on the outcome of the exercise was hardly surprising.
Few months after the privatisation of power was flagged off last year, two top government officials involved in the sale of the government assets to the private sector  were at daggers drawn  over the process , signaling fears  that the exercise might not inspire the much needed confidence to drive home the initiative.
The apple of discord was Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (disco) which was awarded to Interstate Consortium.
The Chairman, Technical Committee of the National Council on Privatisation, Atedo Peterside, had raised an objection on the process which led to the sale of the disco to Interstate.
His grouse was the decision of the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) to grant an extension of time to Interstate, the preferred bidder for the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, rather than invite the reserve bidder, Eastern Electrics, in accordance with the set rule.
He had argued that granting an extension to Interstate that never showed any seriousness in paying the balance of 75 per cent of the bid price until the deadline expired was equivalent to giving the company a discount.
Several moves to resolve the matter were said to have been hampered by the intransigence of the BPE Director-General, Benjamin Dikki.
In a letter, the head of the Technical committee, Peterside who was under pressure by the committee members, told the 20 members of the committee that his attempts to convene a meeting of the technical committee had been frustrated by Dikki.
His words: “Many of you contacted me recently to enquire why a Technical Committee meeting has not been called to consider and deliberate upon updates on the PHCN privatisation.
“My understanding has always been that it is the chairman of a committee that decides when it is appropriate to call a meeting, having considered possible agenda items and the need to dispense with them promptly with a view to achieving the broader objectives/mission of that committee.
“The reason we are unable to meet is because the DG of BPE, who controls the BPE’s budget and, therefore, releases funds to pay for hotel bills and sitting allowances, has surreptitiously vetoed all my efforts to convene a meeting of our technical committee of recent.” he said.
The letter continued, “His latest ploy was to copy me on a text he purportedly sent to His Excellency, the Vice President, requesting approval for our committee to be allowed to meet and refusing to give me any feedback even after I gave him (the DG) 24 hours within which to revert to me. He did not reply my e-mail and did not even bother to explain why he did not reply.
“As you are all aware, the Technical Committee serves as an advisory/due-process watchdog over the BPE, and we are accountable to the NCP (National Council on Privatisation). Accordingly, I find the DG’s surreptitious attempt to keep us in the dark objectionable in the extreme.
The letter steered clear of insinuating exogenous interference.
“For the record, I do not believe for one second that the DG is acting on instructions from above. His body language and enthusiastic evasiveness suggest that he is the initiator who has pro-actively been looking for ways to avoid having to transparently table issues/updates before this technical committee.
“In the circumstances, there will be no meetings of the Technical Committee until further notice. Members should please, therefore, stop calling me to ask why a meeting has not been convened. I will revert with additional feedback after carrying out further investigations/consultations with the relevant higher authorities,” the letter added.
However, after intervention to no avail by the governors of the South-East, Eastern Electrics, the reserved bidder, headed for the courts.
A public affairs consultant, John Ukegbu said there was need for the Jonathan administration to respond to the issues raised in the petition now that the allegation is before the international community.
He told Sunday Independent that it was unacceptable for the government to foist certain policies on the masses, simply because they have no teeth to bite.
Ukegbu said the spurious bills charged by the new power investors could not be justified when electricity supply in the country has deteriorated especially in recent times, adding that pushing  high estimated bills to the consumers amounted to putting the cart before the horse.
According to him, there should be marked improvement on the power supply through out the country to justify extra cost imposed on the consumers.
He said although the power generation and distribution is now a private sector responsibility, government should not allow a few group of people to take undue advantage of the policy change to exploit the already impoverished populace.
Another analyst and commentator on international affairs, Mike Oton, while acknowledging the intervention of the UN on the issue was worried about the corporate image of the country, especially now that  Nigeria’s potential for becoming one of the largest economy in the world  in the near future, is generating global attention.
To him, the whole issue has arisen because corruption has pervaded all facets of the economy to the extent that there are no human endeavours in the country that are corruption free.
He told Sunday Independent that for Nigeria to attain its full potentials, concerted efforts must be made at all levels of governance and other human endeavours to curb the menace of corruption in order to inspire the confidence of the international community which has placed so much hope on the future of this country.

National Conference: 50-member consensus group agree on voting procedure – Official

Chairman of the National Conference: Former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Idris Kutigi …. Photo: Courtesy
The delegates have not agreed on what constitutes the voting majority.
The 50-member consensus group selected by the National Conference chairman, Idris Kutigi, to resolve the impasse on the number of delegates required to approve a decision at the confab, has reached a resolution.
The Assistant Secretary, Media and Communications at the CONFAB, Akpandem James said on Friday in Abuja that an agreement had been reached. He said the agreement would be tabled before the delegates on Monday for adoption.
Delegates disrupted proceedings on March 24 and 25 when they failed to reach a consensus on whether to adopt a two-third majority or three-quarter majority on any issue.
Read the full post and other National Conference stories here.


Amaechi, NJC clash over Rivers’ CJ

Amaechi, NJC clash over Rivers’ CJ
by: Bisi Olaniyi
The Rivers State Government yesterday dismissed as clearly partisan  and self serving, the  suspension of the state’s Chief Judge, Justice Peter Agumagu, by the National Judicial Council (NJC).
 It insisted that the NJC,by its decision,  had chosen the path of unconstitutional bullying, lawlessness and injudicious racketeering and described Wednesday  as a dark day for Nigeria, when the most senior justices and lawyers in the country “ resorted to high-handed self help, instead of judicial redress.”
 Speaking for the state government in Port Harcourt,the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, also accused a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), O. C. J. Okocha (SAN) and an NJC  member   of influencing the recommendation of  Justice Daisy Okocha.
Mr.Okocha, reacting,  said the Rivers State government’s allegation was nothing but  absolute balderdash, hogwash, nonsense, falsehood and totally irresponsible.
Semenitari said the  NJC appeared   ”not to have taken into consideration the judgment delivered by Justice Lambo Akanbi of the Federal High court, Port Harcourt in which it is a party.
 “The state government finds this position of the NJC rather curious especially as Justice Agumagu is the most senior judge in the Rivers State judiciary and a very respected judicial officer.
 “The Rivers State government had gone to the courts to seek interpretation of Section 271 (3-5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as regards the appointment of a chief judge of the state.  That section of the constitution clearly states that ‘A person shall not be qualified to hold office of a Judge of a High Court of a State unless he is qualified to practise as a legal practitioner in Nigeria and has been so qualified for a period of not less than ten years.’
 “To enable it to act within the confines of the law, the Rivers State Government sought the court’s interpretation. The learned Justice Akanbi, in delivering his judgment faulted the deliberate omission of Justice Agumagu’s name among the list of senior judges qualified to be Chief Judge of Rivers State.
 “Justice P.N.C Agumagu is the most senior judge in the Rivers State judiciary and was seconded to establish the Customary Court of Appeal in 2008.
 “The Rivers State government is well aware that there is no constitutional provision compelling the Governor to appoint a Chief Judge based on his or her seniority or even the arm of the judiciary to which such a person belongs. What the constitution requires is a minimum of 10 years post-call qualification.
 “This is evidenced even by the appointment of the immediate past Chief Judge of the state, Justice Iche Ndu, who was appointed Chief Judge over his senior at the bench. At the time of Justice Ndu’s appointment, Justice Sotonye Denton-West was the most senior judge in the Rivers State judiciary, yet the NJC did not compel the governor at the time to announce her as Chief Judge.”
But Mr.Okocha, responding to the broadside from the Rivers State government, said: “As at the time when in July 2013, NJC met and took a decision to recommend Justice Okocha (Daisy) over Justice Agumagu, I was not in the meeting. I had to excuse myself.
 “Everybody knows that in keeping with due process, if you have a personal interest in a matter and of course, the personal relationship is enough to indicate that OCJ Okocha must have a personal interest. So, I left the room.
 “The allegation by the Rivers State Government that the NJC has been hijacked by political jobbers for selfish interest is absolute balderdash, hogwash and absolute nonsense. NJC is constituted by the most eminent judges in this country. The CJN is the chairman.
 “If they are accusing the entire NJC of being politicised, let them point to the particular member that is believed is a politician or being influenced by politicians. It is absolute falsehood and a totally irresponsible statement.
 “Agumagu is now being investigated. While his investigation is going on, it is only fair and right that he has to step aside, to allow for due process to be carried out. Agumagu is being investigated for what the NJC considers to be a bridge of his oath of office and a bridge of the code of conduct of a judicial officer. He has been asked to step aside and I hope that at the end of the day, we will all hear the outcome.”
  The Chief of Staff, Government House, Port Harcourt, Chief Tony Okocha,  said that the NJC acted in error over Agumagu’s suspension, which he said would not stand, in view of the pending suit at the Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt, filed by Daisy.
 Chief of staff also noted that the NJC, headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Aloma Mariam Mukhtar, should have waited for the decision of the appellate court, accusing the council of taking

Giant Rat That Terrorized Swedish Family Killed At Last

by  David Moye

Family Finds 15-Inch 'Ratzilla' In Their Home
A Swedish family's three-week nightmare is over: Ratzilla has been killed.
The gigantic rat that invaded the home of Erik Korsas and Signe Bengtsoon and set up shop under their kitchen sink was dted there was some kind of animal invader, but they didn't imagine an oversized rodent was in their midst.
"We thought it could be a little mouse, but after a while we figured it couldn't be because it was making too much noise," Bengtsson told The Local.
She got the shock of her life a few days later when she discovered the mutant gulping down leftovers under the sink.
"It was right there in our rubbish bin, a mighty monster. I was petrified. I couldn't believe such a big rat could exist," she told the website. "I couldn't help but do the old classic and jump on the kitchen table and scream."
The pest apparently got into the kitchen through a ventilation pipe, after gnawing through cement and wood.
Ratzilla was so horrifying that the family cat refused to enter the kitchen, the BBC reports.
RATZILLA (Story continues below)

huge rat
Exterminators were called to the couple's home in Solna, Sweden, and they set thee rat traps for the monstrous rodent.
Eventually, the rat was trapped by its neck, but took its sweet time dying, preferring to crawl behind the dishwasher for its final moments on Earth.
The carcass measured about 16 inches in length, not counting the tail, and weighed around 2.2 pounds.
"The kids were afraid it would come back to life as some sort of zombie rat. They didn't want to touch it," Korsas told The Local.

Unknown Gunmen Abduct Bauchi Businessman

Nigerian Police
Less than four hours after President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan left Bauchi after attending a Peoples Democratic Party Rally, unknown Gunmen have kidnapped a popular business man in the state, Alhaji Manu Soro in Soro town of the state.
Manu Soro of Soro town in Ganjuwa Local Government Area, sources told Leadership in Bauchi, was on Saturday, 29 March, 2014, at about 8:10 pm kidnapped by the Gunmen as he was moving out of a mosque after the evening prayers.
The source also told Leadership that the gunmen shot into the air as they made away with the businessman and it is not yet clear whether Manu Soro was shot by the gunmen or the gun shots were meant to only to scare people around.
Haruna Mohammed, DSP, the Police Public Relations Officer of the Bauchi State Police Command when contacted, confirmed the abduction of the Bauchi businessman.
Mohammed said the Businessman was abducted by the gunmen at about 8:10 pm Saturday 29th March, When he came out of the mosque behind his house at Soro town.
The police spokesman assured that effort is ongoing to rescue the businessman and arrest the gunmen.

Drug Baron, Buruji Kashamu To Spend N1bn On Fayose…He Is Our Mobilizer, Says PDP

Buruji Kashamu
Indicted drug baron, Buruji Kashamu, is planning to spend N1 billion to ensure the return as governor of indicted former Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayo Fayose..
Kashamu is the man against whom former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, warned President Goodluck Jonathan in his famous letter in December 2013, calling him “a certified unashamed criminal.”
Obasanjo wrote: “Putting a certified unashamed criminal wanted abroad to face justice and who has greatly contributed to corruption within the judiciary on a high profile of politics as you and your aides have done with the man you enthrone as PDP Zonal leader in the South-West is the height of disservice to this country politically and height of insult to the people of South-West in general and members of PDP in that zone in particular.”
Last Friday, Buruji was present when Fayose went to the National Headquarters of the People's Democratic Party in Abuja to collect his certificate for winning the party's governorship primaries.
Women hired for the occasion were brought in three buses bought by Kashamu for the campaign and they arrived to sing the praises of the drug baron.
Kashamu was said to have provided the funds with which Fayose bribed the leadership of the party at the state and national levels in order to emerge as the winner.
It was the same Kashamu who also priced the logistics that dislodged a majority of the 13 aspirants from gaining access to the venue of the primaries.
As a form of loyalty, Fayose paid tribute to Kashamu and assured him that he would remain loyal to him if he wins the election.
A close confidant of Kashamu said, "Our chairman has vowed that he is ready tis spend N1bn to oust the Governor of the state, Dr. Kayode Fayemi and install Fayose.  He means it. He has bought vehicles, and also gave some money to Fayose."
The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Chief Olisa Metuh, referred to Kashamu as the leader and mobilizer of the party in the zone.
"Our mobilizer in South-West, a great mobilizer, we welcome you," Metuh said.
Analysts say, however, that Kashamu’s emergence and pride of place in the PDP is a measure of how much the politics of ruthlessness persists in the party and how much it is prepared to win at all cost.
Below is the full text of the comments made about Kashamu by Obasanjo in his letter to Jonathan:
Putting a certified unashamed criminal wanted abroad to face justice and who has greatly contributed to corruption within the judiciary on a high profile of politics as you and your aides have done with the man you enthrone as PDP Zonal leader in the South-West is the height of disservice to this country politically and height of insult to the people of South-West in general and members of PDP in that zone in particular.”
For me, my politics goes with principles and morality and I will not be a party to highly profiling criminals in politics, not to say one would be my zonal leader. It destroys what PDP stands for from its inception. By the government not acting positively and promptly in the case of Kashamu wanted in the US for drug trafficking and money laundering crimes, it is only confirming the persistent reports of complicity or involvement of high-level political figures in drug trafficking and condonation of the crime for political benefit. Whichever way, it is a very dangerous development for Nigeria.
Sooner than later, drug barons will be in control of large real estates, banks and other seemingly legitimate businesses; in elections, they will buy candidates, parties and eventually buy power or be in power themselves. It may be instructive if I quote fairly extensively from Lansana Gberie’s recent paper titled, ‘State Officials and Their Involvement in Drug Trafficking in West Africa’:
“...The controversial and puzzling case of Buruji Kashamu, a powerful figure in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), suggests that a successful and wealthy politician’s association with drug trafficking is hardly disabling.
Kashamu was indicted by a grand jury in the Northern District of Illinois in 1998 for conspiracy to import and distribute heroin to the United States. The indictment named him under his own name as well as two supposed aliases:
‘Alaji’ and ‘Kasmal’. His whereabouts were unknown at the time, however, and his co-accused were tried and convicted. Later that year, he was found living comfortably in England, and, on receipt of an extradition request from the US, the UK authorities arrested Kashamu. After a very protracted proceeding lasting until 2003, however, an English Judge refused to extradite Kashamu on grounds of uncertainty about his true identity.
Kashamu triumphantly returned to Nigeria and soon after became a key political figure. He is now believed to be very close to President Goodluck Jonathan, because of his ability to mobilise votes in key States in Western Nigeria. The US government reviewed Kashamu’s case, with the famous Judge Richard Posner presiding.
Posner concluded that while Kashamu’s identity remains murky, there is little doubt that the figure now exercising authority in Nigeria’s PDP is the same as Kashamu the ‘Alaji’ who was indicted for conspiracy to smuggle illicit drugs into the United States. Despite this, the Nigerian government has persistently ignored calls by civil society groups to investigate Kashamu and extradite him to the US.
On 2 July 2013, the Federal Court in Lagos determined that Kashamu should be extradited to the US. Kashamu immediately appealed against this decision, yet in November 2013, a new Panel of Judges constituted by the President of the Court of Appeal unanimously held that his appeal lacked merit, and that Kashamu should be extradited. His extradition to the United States will certainly set an important precedent... unless, of course, he uses his political skills and contacts to continue avoiding it...”

The Creepy Way Fathers Across the Country Are Controlling Their Daughters' Virginity

"At this point, you're married to the Lord, and your father is your boyfriend." 
So says Pastor Ron Johnson to his 12-year-old daughter Caroline, before placing a ring on her left finger. Johnson and his family are the subject of a recent Nightline Prime investigation of Purity Balls, a "full-fledged national phenomenon" that has reportedly spread across 48 states and 17 countries. Despite the thought that first popped into my head, these balls are not some ironic term for Ben Wa sex toys, but rather formal father-daughter dances during which young girls pledge to abstain from all sexual activity until marriage (this includes kissing and dating). They also symbolically entrust their fathers — the "high priest" of the home — with their maidenheads for safekeeping.
The special was filmed back in October 2013, when Nightline reporters headed to the 14th annual "Super Bowl of Purity" (only in America, folks) to document the chaste event. As the cameras rolled, 60 father-daughter couples arrived at the Grand Ballroom of Colorado's Broadmoor Hotel to "celebrate the beauty of [their] daughters and the glory of their fathers."
Creeped out yet? You should be. Purity Balls might seem like a quirky, inoffensive ritual of uber-religious middle America, but they're emblematic of some very messed up attitudes about women and their sexuality that have serious implications beyond these communities.
Purity Balls stem from purity pledges, a practice that developed in the late '80s and early '90s in response to increased sexual liberation, the AIDS epidemic and rising rates of STDs and teen pregnancy. In 1998, five years after the Southern Baptist group True Love Waits popularized the first purity pledge cards, Randy Wilson and his wife Lisa held the inaugural Purity Ball.
Wilson is not a minister, but he is very concerned with young women's sexuality. As the father of five daughters, he started the balls in an effort to control what he deems a tumultuous transition from "girlhood to womanhood."
"What I hear from these young ladies is that there's this need for that physical touch, and from a male being," he tells Nightline. "I believe that's what the father's role is."
Girls typically take the purity pledge at the balls around age 12 or 13, not coincidentally around the same time they start getting their periods; however, young women of all ages can attend. The ceremony itself is rife with symbolism — some of it intentional, like when ballerinas clad in virginal white carry a large wooden cross to the middle of the dance floor:

And some of it not, like when two men then stand before the cross, each holding out a sword:

After fathers and daughters walk beneath these crossed swords, daughters lay white roses at the cross to silently commit to living "pure lives before God." Then everybody foxtrots.

The Wilsons are part of an evangelical community that views both hookup culture and the media's messages surrounding sexuality as deeply troublesome. So it's ironic that the method they've chosen to combat the hypersexualization of girlhood is, well, the hypersexualization of girlhood.
When you get down to it, Purity Balls are literally all about sex. If your worth as a human being is invariably tied to what you do with the parts between your legs, who you are becomes defined by your sexuality; you're either pure, or impure. Madonna, or a whore. As Jessica Valenti puts it in The Purity Myth:
"What's the difference between venerating women for being fuckable and putting them on a purity pedestal? In both cases, women's worth is contingent upon their ability to please men and to shape their sexual identities around what men want."
Let's be clear: What consenting adults do (or don't do) between the sheets isn't anyone else's business, and there's nothing wrong with a personal decision to practice abstinence. But that's not what this is.
In giving fathers (and by extension, future husbands) dominion over their daughters' virginity, Purity Balls both commodify female sexuality and completely rob women of sexual autonomy, instead granting power to men who, if Wilson's comments about "male beings" are any indication, have very little understanding of what it actually feels like to be a young woman.
And since purity pledges and abstinence-only education have both repeatedly been shown to be ultimately ineffective in preventing teens from having sex, what happens to those who inevitably slip, having been taught that their entire moral value is so contingent upon their sex lives (or lack thereof)?
Seventeen-year-old Katie Johnson, another of Pastor Johnson's daughters, has worn a purity ring for four years. She recognizes the difficulty of her chosen lifestyle, saying she would probably "give up" without the support of her church-going friends. But there are plenty out there who may not have such a supportive group, or who may give up in spite of it (and understandably so, since fighting against the biological impetus to use what God gave you isn't easy). Even if the community welcomes them back pending repentance, multiple studies have shown that teens who vow abstinence are less likely to use contraception than their peers, making them vulnerable to unwanted pregnancies and STIs.
Even worse, fostering a sense of dirtiness and shame surrounding sex can prohibit the reporting of sexual assault, as well as the healing process. Not to mention the fact that these balls completely ignore the existence of homosexuality, and that a universal definition of virginity arguably doesn't even exist in the first place.
At the end of her Purity Ball, Caroline Johnson looks ecstatic. "I felt like a princess with my dad," she says, revealing a mouth full of braces as she grins at the camera. "This is the moment I've been waiting for, to get my purity ring." Other Purity Ball attendees have expressed similar sentiments, asserting that the event and pledge are a way to encourage invaluable bonding between fathers and daughters.
That doesn't change the fact that sex does not define who you are, whether you're having a lot of it or none at all. Your daddy does not own your virginity, and neither does your husband. You do. This is just misogyny, dressed in white and foxtrotting around a cross. 

PDP promised us millions to dump APC – NIPF

Commissioner Barr Chuma Chinye boosts Forum with donation of a bus
Ehi Ekhator
The Non-Indigenes Political Forum (NIPF) of the Rivers State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has warned the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the State to desist from luring its members.
NIPF Coordinator, Chief Uchenna Okokoba, issued the warning yesterday during a meeting of the Forum held at the State APC Secretariat in Port Harcourt.
He said that the warning had become necessary following reports reaching him that PDP leaders in the State had been making overtures to NIPF members with a view to luring them away from the ruling APC. 

“The PDP leadership in Rivers State has approached some of us, requesting us to dump our great party and switch camp to them, assuring us that we will be paid in millions of Naira if we switch camp. What they forget is that we are not in this project for money but to ensure that Rivers State is blessed with good leadership under an APC government. We are committed and ready to ensure that our goals, vision and mission for Rivers State are actualised no matter the odds,” Chief Okokoba said in his welcome address.
He disclosed that based on their rejection of the overtures from the PDP leadership, the party in its desperate efforts to make a presence in the State has contacted one Dr. Peter Okoye residing in Nnewi in Anambra State to help it establish a sister body of non-indigenes in Rivers State to be named “PDP Rivers State Non-Indigenes Movement”. “We wonder why a fellow who is not residing in Rivers State should be contacted to form a political body in the State. We have instructed our people not to have anything to do with such a body when finally formed,” Okokoba stated.
The NIPF Coordinator, Chief Okokoba presented the final report from the 21 Local Government Areas of Rivers State, indicating that 148,497 non-indigenes registered with APC at the end of the recent registration of new members of APC in the state. This new figure, he noted, is far above the 100,000 registrants contained in the group’s preliminary report. Giving a breakdown of the figures, Okokoba said that Port Harcourt registered the highest number of 15,156 non-indigenes; followed by Ikwerre, 10,931; Obio-Akpor, 10433; Etche, 10,112; Eleme, 9,915;, Etche, 7,280; while Asari-Toru Local Government came last with only 2,090. The results of other Local Government Areas are as follows – Abua/Odua, 3,520; Akuku Toru, 4,560; Ahoada East, 5,612; Ahoada West, 4,991; Andoni, 8,931; Bonny, 6173; Degema, 2,860; Emohua, 10,112; Gokana, 4,131; Khana, 8,921; Ogun/Bolo, 2,920; Okirika, 2,550; Omuma, 4,272; ONELGA, 6,832; Opobo/Nkoro, 5,168; Oyigbo, 6,860 and Tai, 4,390 making the grand total of 148, 497 non indigenes that have registered with our great party, APC. He said that more non-indigenes would have been registered if not for the violence introduced by the PDP leadership during the exercise. The full list of Local Government by Local Government registration of non indigenes in Rivers State during the just concluded registration exercise is attached for doubting ‘Thomases’ who were at a loss on how the non indigenes are indentifying with the aspiration and vision of APC in Rivers State in such a large and massive number.
NIPF Leader, Barr. Chuma Chinye, who is also the Rivers State Commissioner of Commerce and Industry, surprised the meeting by donating a brand new air-conditioned Coaster Bus to the group. Chinye, said he made the donation to make it easier for NIPF to mobilise non-indigenes in the state to contribute optimally towards making APC the leading political party in the State. Barr. Chinye declared that the Forum stands on a firm ground, assuring the members that the era of non-indigenes being excluded in the affairs of the State is gone for good “as we have done much in contributing to the development of Rivers State through payment of our taxes and participating in good governance of the state.”
He charged the NIPF leadership and members not to feel intimidated by the acts and antecedents of the PDP leadership in the State as they have nothing good to offer them and the state in general. “To us in Rivers State, PDP is history as Governor Amaechi departed with the soul of the party leaving a mere corpse of the party in the hands of some confused and misguided elements to handle”. He concluded by urging other well-to-do members of the Forum to assist in any way possible to put the Forum on a solid footing.
An elated NIPF Coordinator, Chief Uchenna Okokoba, commended Barr. Chinye for his avowed commitment towards the Forum, assuring him and the revolutionary Governor of Rivers State, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi that NIPF would work hard to ensure that both non-indigenes and the entire Rivers State elect an APC Government come 2015.
Other leaders of the Forum present at the meeting were Chief Ade Adeogun, Chairman of Rivers State Sanitation Commission, Mr. David Iyofor, Chief Press Secretary to Governor Amaechi, and Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, Alh. Yusuf Tanko, NIPF Secretary, Chief Joseph Udoh, Leader, Akwa/Cross, Chief Solomon Nwnoye, NIPF Igbo Leader, Chief Joseph Ijede, Edo/Delta Leader, Alh. Ahmed Adisa, Youth Leader, Alh. Halliru Imam, Hausa Leader, Hausa Leader among others. (4)