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 [ Masterweb Reports ] – “It is the information of the leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law that the Ogbaru and the Ogidi Business Units were carved out of the Onitsha Business Unit of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria sometime in 2011 as part of the ongoing power sector reform in Nigeria. As you know, the PHCN was a successor public company to NEPA (National Electric Power Authority) which succeeded the ECN (Electricity Company of Nigeria). The PHCN also is being succeeded by DISCOS including the Transmission Company of Nigerian PLC and the Enugu Power Distribution Company PLC, which inherits the three Business Units above mentioned. It is our further information that the three Business Units of Onitsha, Ogbaru and Ogidi are the largest Business Units in the Southeast Nigeria. Another larger Unit is the Aba Business Unit and its “junior” units possibly carved out in 2011 as well. Under Onitsha Business Unit, there are large and densely populated residential and industrial cities like Fegge, Onitsha GRA, Odoakpu/Inland Town, Nsugbe, Nkwerre- Ezunaka, Woliwo & Omagba Layouts, etc.” - Intersociety Nigeria
Ref: Intersociety/NG/001/11/012/FMP/ABJ/FRN

1. Honourable (Hajiya) Zainab Ibrahim Kuchi
Minister of State for Power
The Federal Ministry of Power
4th Floor, Federal Secretariat Complex
Shehu Shagari Way, Maitama District
Abuja, Nigeria

2. Dr. Sam Amadi
Chairman of the Board
Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission
NERC Headquarters, Adamawa Plaza
Plot 1099, First Avenue
Off Shehu Shagari Way
Central Business District
Abuja, FCT, Nigeria

Dear Madam Minister & Chairman NERC,

A Special Report

Multi-Billion Naira Fraud In Onitsha, Ogbaru & Ogidi Business Units Of The Power Holding Company Of Nigeria In Anambra State: Ogbaru Business Unit As Our Case-Study

Above subject matter refers.

General Background Information:

(Onitsha-Nigeria, 3rd December 2012)-It is the information of the leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law that the Ogbaru and the Ogidi Business Units were carved out of the Onitsha Business Unit of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria sometime in 2011 as part of the ongoing power sector reform in Nigeria. As you know, the PHCN was a successor public company to NEPA (National Electric Power Authority) which succeeded the ECN (Electricity Company of Nigeria). The PHCN also is being succeeded by DISCOS including the Transmission Company of Nigerian PLC and the Enugu Power Distribution Company PLC, which inherits the three Business Units above mentioned.

It is our further information that the three Business Units of Onitsha, Ogbaru and Ogidi are the largest Business Units in the Southeast Nigeria. Another larger Unit is the Aba Business Unit and its “junior” units possibly carved out in 2011 as well. Under Onitsha Business Unit, there are large and densely populated residential and industrial cities like Fegge, Onitsha GRA, Odoakpu/Inland Town, Nsugbe, Nkwerre- Ezunaka, Woliwo & Omagba Layouts, etc. Under Ogbaru Business Unit, there are Iyiowa Odekpe Layout/Ogbeukwu Village, Harbour Industrial Estate, Odo Rubber and Onwuasoanya Layouts, Nkutaku and Mkpikpa Layouts and Okpoko urban Community (the largest and most densely populated low cost city in the Southeast Nigeria).

Under Ogidi Business Unit, there are Awada Layout (a sub-city with largest number of high rising buildings in the Southeast Nigeria), Ugwuagba Layout, Nkpor, Ogidi and Obosi urban Communities, etc. Generally speaking, the three Business Units are substantially populated by those who engage in the exchange of goods and services including traders, artisans and industrialists. Within the revenue contemplation of the PHCN and other socio-economic calculations, substantial revenue potentials abound in the three Business Units. They are also a god mine for the graft practitioners in the PHCN. This has indisputably been the case over the years. From general public views, the most deadly corrupt sub-units in the three Business Units are marketing and distribution departments. While the marketing departments indulge in roguish consumer billing methods, their distribution departments commercialize installation and maintenance of distribution transformers and their accessories.

It is therefore upon the foregoing that this important letter to your two public bodies is predicated. This is in accordance with extant ministerial and statutory powers vested on your two public offices by the Nigerian Electric Power Sector Reform Act of 2005.

Our Case Against The Ogbaru Business Unit:

The Ogbaru Business Unit is presently headed by Engineer E.C. Anyaelesi. He is the Unit‘s second pioneer Business Manager, the first had reportedly been transferred to Owerri zone of the PHCN. In the year 2000/2001, our sister body, the Civil Liberties Organization, Anambra State Branch, under the then leadership of Comrade Emeka Umeagbalasi (present BOT Chairman, Intersociety Nigeria)exposed the monumental corrupt practices in the then Onitsha Distribution of NEPA(as it then was). The crux of the matter then was commercialization of installation and maintenance of distribution transformers as well as extortions arising from maintenance of same including changing of burnt fuses, units, cables and wires and transformer oil. The Iyiowa Odekpe Layout was then adopted as its case-study. The peak of it all was the case of a Catholic Reverend Father who was trapped into paying the then top NEPA (as it then was) officials at its Enugu Zonal office a whopping sum of N1million via a private bank account so as to be given from its warehouse a 500KVA “11” distribution transformer for the Iyiowa Community. At the end, heads rolled including that of one Engineer Agha Aghashi, an AGM for Distribution at the Enugu Zonal Office of the NEPA.

Today, twelve years after, the relevant top marketing and distribution departments’ officials in the Ogbaru Business Unit are at it again by indulging with impunity and utter recklessness in sundry graft practices ranging from roguish consumer billing to abdication of statutory duties and commercialization of the installation and management of the distribution transformers and their accessories. Our main grouses against the marketing and the distribution departments of the Ogbaru Business Unit and by extension, the Onitsha and the Ogidi Business Units are: 1. Issuance of criminal, crazy, unfair and outrageous consumer bills based on criminal estimates usually N4, 500/N5, 000.00 monthly per three-bedroom flat apartment for high rising buildings or N5, 000.00 per four rooms in bungalows (in some cases per room or two rooms). This is whether or not the affected areas are in perpetual or erratic outages. 2. Rejection of part payments or payments made in the banks with a view to enriching themselves privately through criminal disconnections of consumers’ power lines.

Others are: 3. Abandonment of, and refusal to read the existing post payment metering bills. 4. Hording and creation of artificial scarcity of new electronic prepayment consumer electronic meters so as to retain their criminal system of extorting and short-changing innocent and social obligation-compliant consumers. 5. Selling through black-market means of some electronic prepayment meters to cutting-corner consumers outside the approved processes. 6. Criminally charging consumers who previously subscribed and paid for prepayment electronic meters (before they were made free with effect from June 1, 2012) the sum of N7, 500.00(N5, 000.00 as installation fee and N2, 500.00 as installation wire cost) as “installation fee” per prepayment electronic meter. 7. Criminal diversion of loads meant for consumers/members of the public to some industrialists for a fee. 8. Epileptic power supply in many parts of the three Business Units on ratio of less than quarter of a day. 9. Abdication of statutory duties or monetization of same where rarely carried out. 10. Creation of artificial load-shedding.

11. Non-provision of distribution transformers to the affected areas and commercialization of their installations when procured by public consumers especially in technical areas that require their inputs. 12. Poor management and maintenance of distribution transformers. 13. Extortion and commercialization of the replacement of the transformers’ accessories. 14. Aiding and abetting illegal power connections. 15. Little or no attention to consumers’ complaints arising from issuance of criminally estimated and outrageous consumers’ bills and transformers’ overloads, their burnt or spoilt accessories, installations and general maintenance and management. 16. Reckless resort to the use of the so-called PHCN licensed contractors especially in the area of installation, repair and maintenance of distribution transformers-a criminal practice that engenders fraud, extortion, bribery and corruption in the PHCN particularly in the three Units under scrutiny. 17. Mass disconnection of residential buildings no matter the insignificant number of the non-bills’ payers in such buildings instead of going after such defaulters.

Facts Of Our Grouses:
Ogbaru Distribution/Undertaking Sub-Units:

In 2011, Honourable Chukwuka Onyema of the Ogbaru Federal Constituency at Nigeria’s House of Reps (as he then was) handed over eight distribution transformers to various electoral wards in the Ogbaru LGA as part of his Federal Constituency Projects, which are captured annually in the Appropriation Act of the Federal Government of Nigeria. Out of these eight distribution transformers, a 300 KVA/33/0.415 transformer was given to the Iyiowa Layout so as to ease the heavy loads of the Iyiowa Market Transformer installed in 1983. Others listed as beneficiaries of the eight transformers were Okpoko IV ( 500KVA), Okpoko V (500KVA), Ogbeukwu (300KVA), Okoti (300KVA), Ogbetiti Odekpe) 300KVA), Atani (300KVA) and Ogbakuba (200KVA). The transformers were given to the affected areas during the national campaigns for the National Assembly Polls held in April 2011.

Consequent upon the handover of the said 300KVA transformer to the Iyiowa Layout consumers, the offices of the Senior Manager for Distribution and the Undertaking Manager at the Onitsha GRA and the Ogbaru offices of the PHCN were approached via a letter from the Iyiowa Electricity Committee for its immediate installation and energization. This was followed by a letter of introduction/assistance addressed to them by Honourable Chukwu Oyema, dated 1st day of July 2011, urging them to effect the installation of the eight transformers including that of Iyiowa Layout. As at then, the Ogbaru Business Unit was still under the Onitsha Business Unit.

Sadly, the two requests were turned down on the flimsy grounds that the PHCN “does not have money, materials and human resources” to install same. The Senior Manager for Distribution at the Onitsha GRA Ridge Road office of the PHCN and his subordinates including the Undertaking Manager at the PHCN Ogbaru area office located on Obodoukwu Road, Okpoko told the Iyiowa Layout consumers through a committee set up to reach out to same for installation that they should wait for the availability of money, materials and personnel or undertake the responsibility of installing the said transformer by way of “community assistance to PHCN”, which they insisted must be committed to writing.

With the latter as the only option available to the consumers who never defaulted in paying their monthly criminally estimated bills, they resolved to embark on the installation of the transformer after they were told by the same PHCN senior staffers that waiting for them would have no end in time. The installation project was started in June 2011 and ended in June 2012, gulping a whopping sum of N2, 092,230 (two million, ninety-two thousands, two hundred and thirty naira). The installation started when the Ogbaru Business Unit was under the Onitsha Business Unit in 2011 and continued into 2012 after it had been created as “a Business Unit”. The senior PHCN staffers, who participated and still participate directly or indirectly in the gross misconducts complained of, are: 1. the former Business Manager for Onitsha Business Unit in 2011, who was transferred to the Enugu Zonal Office. 2. The former pioneer Business Manager for Ogbaru Business Unit in 2011 who was reportedly transferred to Owerri Unit. 3. The Onitsha Senior Manager for Distribution and his subordinates and the Ogbaru Senior Manager for Distribution and his subordinates including his Undertaking Manager. 4. The former Maintenance Manager for Iyiowa area office of the PHCN, who is now at the Ogbaru Business Unit headquarters located on Obodoukwu Road, Okpoko. His name is Mr. Richard Ohadume. 5. The new Business Manager for Ogbaru Unit, Engineer E.C. Anyaelesi. He aids and abets the gross misconducts complained of.

How The 300KVA /33/415/ Was Criminally Installed:

Sequel to an application and request for the installation of the transformer addressed to the Undertaking Manager in-charge of the Ogbaru Undertaking office of the PHCN, dated 6th June 2011, at the forceful instance of the Onitsha Senior Manager for Distribution, the Iyiowa Electricity Committee under the Iyiowa Community Landlords Association decided to bear the cross of installing the transformer on the strength of the rejection of their request by the PHCN. As a result, Mr. Vincent E.O. Nwaeze was introduced to them and certified by the then Maintenance Manager for Iyiowa, Mr. Richard Ohadume and the Ogbaru Undertaking Manager’s office as a “licensed PHCN contractor”. Mr. E.O. Nwaeze goes by a business name ODISON ELECTRICAL SERVICES & COMPANY NIG., of 15, Moore Street, Odoakpu, Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria.

The controversial distribution transformer is now referred in the PHCN records as “Abazuonu Iyiowa 300KVA/33/415 substation”. It is located at Abazuonu (New Road) Street by Ihitenasaa Street Junction, Iyiowa Layout, which is in front of the St James Catholic Church Outstation-a next door to the PHCN area office in the area. The Community went through hell so as to source over N2million through levies and free willed donations to install the transformer. Also, getting the relevant PHCN top staffers in the distribution department including their undertaking office to supervise and approve same was hellish. The transformer was energized in June 2012 after 12 months of the commencement of its installation.

Bribery, Extortion, Poor Supervision & Management Of The Substation:

According to a written account presented to the Iyiowa Community by the transformer installation/electricity committee, dated 18th day of September 2012, out of the whopping sum of N2, 092,230 spent, N263, 170 was spent in bribing the above-named top PHCN officials. The committee called it, “NEPA (PHCN) PR”, an acronym for bribery and extortion. Also, the sum of N3, 500.00 was offered to them as bribe so as to obtain an outage from the PHCN transmission station at Uga Junction, Fegge in Onitsha. Our investigation into the bribery and its recipients in the PHCN showed that the former two Business Managers for Onitsha and Ogbaru Business Units who held sway in 2011 as well as the Onitsha and Ogbaru SMDs (Senior Managers for Distribution) and their heads of Undertaking units were reportedly bribed. According to a member of the committee, the former Maintenance Manager for Iyiowa office of the PHCN, Mr. Richard Ohadume coordinated the bribery including his own cut. The only exempted top PHCN official is the new Business Manager for Ogbaru, Engineer E.C. Anyaelesi and his Onitsha counterpart because they were not in office between June 2011 and June 2012.

The committee members told Intersociety that they know other recipients facially and that a sum of N80, 000.00 was paid to the PHCN in June 2012 as bribe before the transformer was energized. According to them, the PHCN licensed contractor named above that handled the project allegedly played a role in identifying the relevant PHCN offices to be watered for a breakthrough. After its installation and energization, the transformer was heavily loaded and poorly managed by the PHCN officials at the Iyiowa Maintenance Office. Intersociety’s further investigation showed that the 300 KVA transformer was heavily loaded with 493 three-bedroom flat apartments comprising Ihitenasaa Street (largest street), Obidike Street, part of Ibekwe Street, part of Ehirim Street, Abazuonu Street (New Road), Okafor Close and Chukwuaku Lane, totaling 493 flats for a 300KVA distribution substation.

A team of electrical engineers contacted by Intersociety for an independent on-the-spot evaluation of the transformer told us expertly that apart from the fact that it was excessively loaded, many accessories used for its installation are of very low quality. Yet the PHCN went and certified them including the load capacity as “okay”. During the brief life span of the transformer (June to September 2012- a period of two months, some nefarious junior staffers of the PHCN Iyiowa Maintenance Office were caught engaging in tapping currents from the transformer to some consumers for a fee. As a result of the foregoing, the transformer sparked and shut down in the middle of September 2012 and since then its 493 flat apartments’ users, who pay monthly the roughly sum of N2.5million to the PHCN on average of N5,000.00 per flat as criminally estimated bills, have been in perpetual darkness with the said PHCN staffers doing nothing.

Intersociety‘s Encounter With The Ogbaru Business Manager:

Sequel to the sad developments enumerated above, the attention of Intersociety was drawn to them particularly the issue of the Abazuonu Iyiowa transformer installation scandal. It is also our discovery that some of the transformers mentioned above, donated to various electoral wards in Ogbaru LGA, have not been installed by the Ogbaru PHCN till date. For example, the 300KVA substation donated to Ogbeukwu village (a low class residence) in Ogbaru is still lying un-installed. Attempts by the Ogbaru PHCN to take it away were reportedly rebuffed. Consequent upon these, we wrote the Business Manager for Ogbaru Business Unit of the PHCN, Engineer E.C. Anyaelesi to draw his attention, formally, to the gross misconducts complained of. The letter was dated 31st day of October 2012. As a result, a meeting was called in his office, which was attended by himself, his marketing manager and senior manager for distribution and other top officials of his Business Unit. Representatives of Intersociety and the Iyiowa Community including the affected consumers were also in attendance. At the meeting, the BM told those in attendance that he resumed as the Ogbaru BM not up to a month and claimed ignorance of most of the sharp practices of his men and women especially those relating to the Iyiowa transformer installation scandal.

However, he acknowledged the existence in his Business Unit of estimated bill culture, which he said arose from “units/target allocations” per Business Unit and its marketing sub-units. He and his marketing manager made futile efforts to justify the criminal impositions, but they were roundly rejected by those in attendance who insisted on energy consumption readings based on post payment or prepayment metering bills since 95% of the consumers in Ogbaru like their counterparts in Onitsha and Ogidi Business Units have post payment electric meters. The BM and his Marketing Manager also claimed that “most of the post payment meters have expired”, a claim roundly rejected with incontrovertible pieces of evidence by those in attendance.

He announced to the meeting, which was held on 7th day of November, 2012 that as a “compensatory” measure, his Business Unit has issued a monthly bill of N500.00 for every flat apartment under his Business Unit for the month of October 2012 because of the flood disaster that shut down all distribution transformers in Iyiowa zone. He called the N500.00 bill “maintenance charge”. The bill was later issued together with that of September 2012 which contained a minimum of N4, 500/N5, 000.00 per flat/four rooms. The meeting also raised the issue of the failed Abazuonu Iyiowa transformer and drew the attention of the BM to a quotation for its repair worth N463, 000.00 given to the affected community by one GERSHON ELECTROTECH SERVICES NIG LTD of N0. 1 Gayius Ezeh by Onitsha-Owerri Road, Awada, Obosi, Anambra State. The said quotation arose when some residents of the affected area led by Mr. Joel Ebele Ezeneobi (Enyi) met with the SMD in September 2012 to draw his attention, formally, to the failed transformer. He (SMD) invited the PHCN licensed contractor to his office and introduced him to them, from where the quotation was written and given to them in his (SMD) presence. This is another clear case of corruption and abdication of statutory duties on the part of the SMD.

The meeting demanded firmly from the BM and his top officials to totally address the gross misconducts complained of, including fixing as a palliative measure the said failed Iyiowa transformer and processing the substantive approval of a 500KVA/33 substation as reinforcement for the area so as to lessen its high load burden. On 8th day of November 2012, Intersociety wrote the Ogbaru BM again on the strength of the outcome of the 7th November meeting and demanded firmly that the Abazuonu Iyiowa Transformer be fixed within seven days so as to end the suffering of the occupants of the 493 flat apartments including nursing mothers and their newly born babies, pregnant women and the elderly who suffer scorching heats, mosquito bites as well as expose their health to environmentally hazardous substances arising from discharging of carbon monoxide from thousands of power generators dotting every nook and cranny of the area and anti mosquito substances. The Business Manager, Engineer E.C. Anyaelesi was also reminded in the said letter that his failure to address the gross misconducts complained of, including sanctioning those involved expressly makes him aider and abettor of same. Sadly and unfortunately too, none of the issues so raised has been frontally addressed, which prompted this important letter to your two public offices.

Our Case Against The Ogbaru PHCN Marketing Unit & Its BM:
In 2006, the total number of three-bedroom flat apartments in Iyiowa Layout comprising the Mission Road down to the Madonna Catholic Church areas of the Layout, was put at 2,800. The downstairs/bungalows as per four rooms per post payment electric meter were 1,500. Today, the number of three-bedroom flats has increased to approximately 4,200 owing to rapid increase in the number of high rising buildings in the Layout. When added to the number of flats in Onwuasoanya and Odo Rubber Layouts which are also under Iyiowa zone, it may be correct to say that there are over 8,000 three-bedroom flat apartments and their equivalents in Iyiowa Zone, fetching the Ogbaru PHCN, crookedly and otherwise, a whopping sum of N40million monthly from the issuance and imposition of criminally estimated bills, on average of N5, 000.00 per flat, which translates into N480million a year. In Okpoko urban Community, Mkpikpa and Nkutaku Layouts all under Ogbaru Business Unit, there may be up to 20,000 flat apartments on the basis of four rooms as metering flat. This is subject to the PHCN discretion because bills or meters can be allocated per room or two-room basis.
Generally speaking, using the estimated billing benchmark of the PHCN, which has been the case for years particularly since January 2011, the consumers under the Ogbaru Business Unit are annually short-changed and defrauded to the tune of over N1billion. This does not include bills imposed on small, medium and large scale industrialists/industries in the areas so mentioned. It is also observed that promotions and punishments of the PHCN staffers in the three Business Units of Onitsha, Ogidi and Ogbaru are now based strictly on their ability or inability to defraud consumers by way of imposition and forceful collection of criminally outrageously estimated monthly bills. There also exists in the said PHCN Units “units allocation targets”, whereby, for instance, if “units target” of N15million is given to the PHCN Iyiowa Marketing Manager monthly, he is now at criminal liberty to allocate 1000 units to every flat apartment in the Iyiowa zone, which may fetch him more than N20million monthly. Once he returns the N15million targets consecutively, he stands the brightest chance of being promoted and rewarded. He is also at criminal liberty to squander the remainder.

This is how the innocent and social obligations-compliant consumers have been short-changed and defrauded over the years by the PHCN Units under reference. These sharp practices are totally responsible for gross misconducts complained of. Those who do not pay are traced, disconnected and forced to pay the reconnection fee of N1000.00 per meter in addition to the payment of the imposed bills given before being reconnected. As a result, post payment meters are not read and their management totally abandoned so also procurement, installation and maintenance of distribution transformers.

Commercialization, Hording & Artificial Scarcity Of Prepayment Electronic Meters:

The introduction of prepayment electronic metering did not go down well with the three Business Units mentioned above. Efforts by way of commercialization, hording or creation of artificial scarcity of same have been made and sustained by the PHCN Units since its introduction. This is because the prepayment e-meter is corruption, bribery, extortion and fraud liquidator. Many, if not most subscribers who paid for it in 2009 and 2010 have not received theirs, while few who have received theirs paid extra N7, 500.00 per prepaid e-meter for its “installation” and “ for special wire for its installation”. For instance, Mr. Arinze (08183298361) of the PHCN Iyiowa Service Station demanded and collected N7, 500.00 from Mr. and Mrs. Onyeozili Chukwuemeka Isaac to install a prepayment electronic meter, which they subscribed and paid for since 2010. The couple runs a business center at No. 13, Ihitenasaa Street, Iyiowa, Odekpe, which goes by name CITADEL COMPUTERS. The e-meter was brought to them from the Ogbaru PHCN office on 20th day of November 2012 and installed on 21st day of November 2012 at their residence, No. 8 Oraifite Street, Odo Rubber Layout, Iyiowa Odekpe.

He claimed that N2, 500 was for its special wire while N5, 000 was for installation fee. Mrs. Onyeozili may be reached via 08181860658 for further information. Mr. Arinze went to the two places on a PHCN motorbike with electrical kits also bearing the insignia of the PHCN. He had earlier in the said second day installed three e-meters at Okpoko at the same charges. In early November, 2012, the 10 three-bedroom flat apartments of No. 10 Onyeagba Street, Odo Rubber Layout, at Iyowa Odekpe, paid a total of N50, 000 to the PHCN technicians from the Ogbaru Business Unit for the installation of their new e-meters on average of N5, 000 per e-meter. The building is a four-storey building. According to Mr. Ikenna Obi (08039580626 or 08175763477), who resides in the building, the PHCN officials are still demanding for another bribe totaling N100, 000 for the entire building before decoding their e-meters for use. Instances such as the forgoing are too numerous to mention.

General Observations: It is our general observation that the 18 grouses listed above against the Ogbaru Business Unit are also our grouses against the Onitsha and the Ogidi Business Units. In other words, the sufferings of innocent consumers in the hands of criminal PHCN officials under the Ogbaru Business Unit are the same sufferings experienced by consumers in Fegge, Odoakpu, Nsugbe, Nkwerre-Ezunaka, Woliwo Layout and Omagba Phase 1 all under the Onitsha Business Unit and; Nkpor, Odume Layout, Obosi, Ogidi, Awada and Ugwuagba Layouts and Omagba Phase 11 all under the Ogidi Business Unit. Cases of criminal negligence, fraud, embezzlement, extortion, bribery and corruption are hereby established against the three Business Units of Onitsha, Ogbaru and Ogidi. These are subject to further thorough and unbiased administrative and criminal investigations into the 18 grouses complained of.

We also observe that the 18 sharp practices complained of, which are a routine in the modus operandi of the three Business Units may most likely have the criminal blessings of the Enugu Zonal Office of the PHCN. In other words, the Enugu Zonal Office of the PHCN may most likely aid and abet. It is also our observation that the 18 sharp practices complained of are no where supported or condoned by any policy statements, missions, visions and aims and objectives of your two important public bodies. They are also not contained in the Nigerian Electric Power Sector Reform Act of 2005. They are called sharp practices because they are activities and conducts done outside the law or administratively prescribed processes.

For instance, none of the 18 sharp or criminal practices is contained in the “Customers Service Charter” of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, which contains a 56-point rights and obligations of the customers, the PHCN management and the Government of Nigeria. What appears to exist in principle is the celebration of official thievery by the PHCN management by rewarding, promoting and punishing their staffers on the basis of ability or inability to defraud consumers ten folds of what their actual monthly consumption bills ought to be. In the two other important public documents made available on the official website of the Federal Ministry of Power titled: “Installation: Electronic Energy Meter” and “Benefits of Prepaid Meter”, none of the 18 sharp or criminal practices is found in them. Rather, they are mentioned in the three public documents as possible criminal practices in the PHCN, to be tackled head on once complained of. These 18 sharp practices are in gross violations of the Chapter Four of the Constitution of Nigeria especially rights to life, dignity of human person (right against mental torture), family life and information. They also violate the Chapter Two of the Constitution –rights to health and education as well as the EFCC, ICPC and Electric Power Sector Reform Acts of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The African Chapter on Human & Peoples Rights of 1981, which Nigeria signed, ratified and domesticated in 1983 is also utterly violated by these 18 gross sharp practices.

Our Demands: In view of the foregoing, therefore, we firmly demand as follows:

1. Thorough, unbiased and conclusive administrative and criminal investigations into the 18 sharp practices complained of, which are leveled against the three Business Units particularly the Ogbaru Business Unit. In the area of criminal investigation, the criminal investigative agencies like Police, EFCC, ICPC and the SSS should be invited by your two important public offices.

2. In investigating the 18 sharp practices complained of, the doctrine of Vicarious Liability (senior taking the punitive liability of his or her junior’s illicit acts due to his or her negligence or incompetence) should be strictly applied against the relevant PHCN top- shots including those occupying the offices named above.

3. The failed Abazuonu Iyiowa 300KVA/33/415 substation (transformer) should be repaired as a matter of uttermost urgency.

4. The 493 flat apartments attached to the said transformer, who installed same should be publicly commended and apologized to, after which a 6-month consumption-free bills should be issued to them. The so-called “monthly maintenance charge” of N500.00 per meter should not appear in the free bills being demanded of. The affected consumers must not be a party to any monthly bills from September 2012 till date having been in perpetual outage since then.

5. A new 500 KVA/33/transformer should be provided and installed beside the said Abazuonu Iyiowa substation so as to balance the heavy load burden of the area.

6. The entire outstanding transformers not yet installed including the 300KVA/33/0.415 given to Ogbeukwu village should be installed and energized immediately.

7. Area or field survey should be conducted in the Iyiowa zone in all the substations therein so as to ascertain their conditions, and load-carrying capacities with a view to balancing their loads and effecting major servicing in them.

8. The acts of inducing or forcing consumers to undertake the responsibilities of installing distribution transformers and maintaining faulty ones in the three Business Units under reference should be totally prohibited and made punitive for defaulting PHCN staffers. Also forcing the consumers to write undertakings “donating to or assisting the PHCN”, which is now a routine in the three Business Units should be totally banned.

9. The present case whereby the consumers in the three Business Units are forced and commanded to pay criminally estimated monthly bills of at least N4, 500/N5, 000.00 per post payment meter, without recourse to units actually consumed captured in same, should be abolished. As a matter of fact, the use of estimated monthly bills to bill members of the public who have post payment meters should be forbidden in the entire Business Units under reference.

10. Commercialization and hording of the allocation and installation of the prepayment electronic energy meters to their subscribers in the three Business Units particularly in the Ogbaru Business Unit should totally be prohibited. As a result, the instances highlighted above should be thoroughly investigated and the culprits severely punished and made to refund sums extorted to their victims.

11. New prepayment energy meters should be massively allocated to consumers in the three Business Units particularly those in the Ogbaru Business Unit. Their allocations and installations should be truly free of charge as a matter of practice. The deliberate and criminal technical conditions and demands attached to their operational usage by the PHCN technicians with a view to further defrauding the consumers should be monitored and prohibited.

12. All the senior occupants of the relevant PHCN offices, to wit: former BM for Onitsha, the SMD for Onitsha, former BM for Ogbaru, the SMD for Ogbaru, the Undertaking Manager for Ogbaru, the new BM for Ogbaru (for aiding and abetting) and the former Maintenance Manager for Iyiowa PHCN office as well as other senior and junior staffers connected to distribution and related departments, who were on seat between June 2011 and June 2012 should be thoroughly investigated over their remote and immediate roles in the Abazuonu Iyiowa 300KVA/33/0.415 transformer installation scandal. If wholly or partly found culpable, they should be punished proportionately to their levels of involvement. Any of them found innocence should be spared.

13. The marketing departments in the three Business Units should be thoroughly audited for 2011 and 2012 fiscal years to ascertain the amounts defrauded in the name of “estimated bills” so as to ascertain what were paid into the official PHCN coffers and the remainders and their whereabouts. For issuing fraudulent bills to the innocent consumers and short-changing them to the tune of billions of naira since 2011, the former and incumbent BMs of the three Business Units should be administratively and criminally sanctioned.

14. The heads of the PHCN offices above mentioned including the heads of marketing departments in the three Business Units should criminally be investigated so as to ascertain their present lifestyles including their movable and immovable properties and compare them with their monthly salaries and allowances paid to them since 2011. In this context, your two public bodies should refer them to relevant security and criminal investigative agencies.

For: Intersociety Nigeria

Emeka Umeagbalasi Chairman, Board of Trustees Phone: +234(0) 8033601078, +234(0) 8180103912 Email: info@intersociety-ng-org

Comrade Justus Ijeoma Head Publicity Desk Phone: +234(0) 8037114869

1. A copy of Intersociety’s letter to the Ogbaru BM dated 31st October 2012 (marked EX 1).
2. A copy of Intersociety’s 2nd letter to same dated 7th November 2012 (Marked EX 2).
3. A copy of letter addressed to the Manager, Ogbaru Undertaking Unit of the PHCN by Hon. Chukwuka Onyema, dated 1st July 2011 (marked EX 3 ).
4. A copy of written request to the Ogbaru Undertaking Unit by the Iyiowa Electricity Committee dated 6th June 2011 (marked EX 4).
5. A letter of appeal for financial support addressed to Comrade Emeka Umeagbalasi regarding the said transformer dated 22nd September 2011 (marked EX 5).
6. A copy of demand/pre-action notice addressed to the Iyiowa Electricity Committee by one Vincent E.O. Nwaeze through Jekwu Anikpeh & Co (solicitors), dated 10th October 2012, demanding for payment of his balance of N30,000 (marked EX 6).
7. A copy of written financial account prepared by the Iyiowa Electricity Committee dated 18th September 2012, which also contained sales invoices of the materials supplied for the installation of the transformer (marked EX 7).
8. A copy of letter-headed sheet from the said PHCN licensed contractor introduced to the Iyiowa Committee by the SMD, containing a quotation worth N463,000 for the repair of the failed Abazuonu Iyiowa transformer (marked EX 8).
9. A copy of the Customers Service Charter of the PHCN (marked EX 9).
10. A copy of public information obtained from the website of the Federal Ministry of Power titled: “Benefits of Prepaid Meter” (marked EX 10).
11. A copy of similar document from the same source titled: “Installation: Electronic Energy Meter” (marked EX 11).

Copies of PHCN monthly bills to consumers in Ogbaru and environs containing the said criminally estimated bills (marked EX 12 (a) to EX 12 (j). They are bills for months of July and August 2012 as well as that of October 2012 containing the so-called “maintenance charge” of N500.00).


1. Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan
President & Commander-in-Chief, Federal Republic of Nigeria
2. Mr. Peter Gregory Obi, Governor of Anambra State
3. Honourable Chinwe Nwaebili
Speaker, Anambra State House of Assembly
4. Honourable Victor Afam Ogene
Member, Representing Ogbaru Federal Constituency, House of Reps, Abuja, Nigeria
5. Dr. Sam I. Gekpe, Power Holding Company of Nigeria
PHCN Headquarters, Abuja, Nigeria
6. The Managing Director, Enugu Power Distribution Company PLC
PHCN Zonal Headquarters, Enugu, Nigeria



1. Honourable (Hajiya) Zainab Ibrahim Kuchi
Minister of State for Power
The Federal Ministry of Power
4th Floor, Federal Secretariat Complex
Shehu Shagari Way, Maitama District
Abuja, Nigeria

2. Dr. Sam Amadi
Chairman of the Board
Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission
NERC Headquarters, Adamawa Plaza
Plot 1099, First Avenue
Off Shehu Shagari Way
Central Business District
Abuja, FCT, Nigeria

Dear Madam Minister & Chairman NERC,

Re Multi-Billion Naira Fraud In The Onitsha, Ogbaru & Ogidi Business Units Of The PHCN

1. We in the Civil Liberties Organization write to associate ourselves with the subject matter above mentioned, undertaken by our sister body, the International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law.

2. We wish to state unequivocally that facts and circumstances of the matter as raised in the Intersociety’s special report under the foregoing subject matter are familiar to us presently and in the time past.

3. We call for thorough and unbiased investigations into them and punishment of those found wanting. We also concur with demands made by the Intersociety and wish to join in making the same demands.

Yours Faithfully,
For: CLO, Anambra State Branch

Comrade Aloysius Emeka Attah
Chairman, Anambra State Branch


1. Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan
President & Commander-in-Chief, Federal Republic of Nigeria
2. Mr. Peter Gregory Obi, Governor of Anambra State
3. Honourable Chinwe Nwaebili
Speaker, Anambra State House of Assembly
4. Honourable Victor Afam Ogene
Member, Representing Ogbaru Federal Constituency
House of Reps, Abuja, Nigeria
5. Dr. Sam I. Gekpe
Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN Headquarters, Abuja, Nigeria
6. The Managing Director, Enugu Power Distribution Company PLC
PHCN Zonal Headquarters, Enugu, Nigeria

*Photo Caption – PHCN workers demonstrating, demanding 25 per cent severance package as against the 15 per cent government offered, as the inept company was in the process of  privatization.

 [ Masterweb Reports ] – New style prophets from Nigeria and Ghana have bastardized the once prestigious prophetic ministry and turned it into a caricature of visions of phone numbers, bank details and ladies underwear. The prophetic ministry is one of the fivefold ministry which Jesus Christ gave for the edification of the church (1 Corinthians 12 vs 28) The New Testament order was apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. The reigning craze among the new style prophets is calling people’s phone numbers and bank details on the pulpit. Some of them, in order to convince the congregation that the Holy Spirit is in operation and can reveal the deepest secrets, mention the colors of underwear, panties, brassier of pretty female worshippers to the cheering of equally spirit filled congregation. Prophets have been used by God occasionally to reveal deep secrets about people especially when a gross danger is about to envelop a person, city or nation and proffers solution on how to overcome the situation. (Ezekiel 11:1-4), therefore the bastardization of the process by fraudsters does not eliminate the existence of true prophets and pastors.
The prophetic ministry is the highest in ministerial rankings, Jesus Christ called himself a prophet who is without honour in his home (Matthew 13vs 56-58) and Apostle Peter while addressing the crowd after the healing of the lame at the beautiful gate said ‘’For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. 23 Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from their people.’[a‘’ (Acts 3 vs 22-23) The Bible said that God will send them a prophet in the order of Moses and Elijah. During the time of transfiguration of Jesus Christ, two prophets, Moses and Elijah appeared and flanked him. (Matthew 17 vs 1-3) Most of the fathers of the faith, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, David, Daniel operated the prophetic unction. Therefore, prophetic ministry is a ministry ordained by God as a medium of directly communicating his mind to people. Simply put, prophets are spokesmen of God who must deliver the counsel of God whether the recipient likes it or not.

A prophet must always manifest a word of wisdom (future predictions and solutions), word of knowledge (recalling past events and solutions). There are three types of people parading themselves as prophets in contemporary Nigeria, those called by God, those who called themselves and those called by the devil. There are prophets called by God, some of them are still in our midst. As an undergraduate, a classmate, who is now a pastor with the Assemblies of God Church , Enugu convinced me to follow him to the house of one prophetess Okereke or so from Christ Ascension Church, Enugu. This lady then living in abject poverty and under oppression by a difficult husband was able to tell me things still unfolding in my life almost twenty years after. I had to cut out a large chunk of my feeding money to assist this woman from poverty. I can never forget the prophetic counsel and foresight of this woman whose daughter, Chimuche, is now a successful Abuja based gospel singer . I have had course to meet others like Rev Stephen Tamfu, a Taraba born missionary whose advice and counsel then was as if God had spoken and fifteen years later, those things are still unravelling. The two I talked about lived a Spartan life until God deemed it fit to change their financial status.

During a prophetic session at the Abiding Word Gathering Campus Fellowship, a beautiful female student known for prophetic messages cried loud that fornication has entered the fellowship. At the end of the service, the responsive campus fellowship leaders conducted a discreet investigation and found out that some prominent actors in the fellowships are into immorality. Those affected were confronted and openly suspended from fellowship and after evidences of repentances, were readmitted back. Such is the edification process of the prophetic ministry. These new style prophets are not interested in whether the worshipper is going to heaven or hell, their focus is intimidating the congregation with revelation of hidden secrets with the intent of fleecing the stunned worshipper of lands, houses, cars and life savings. These groups of people first calls the phone number of the victim to the cheering of the excited congregation, others go further to mention the person’s bankers ,bank details and the amount of funds with the bank. Some others will move a step further to mention the color of the underwear some beautiful ladies in the congregation are putting under their skirts, to the cheering of the congregation.

The prophets will then invite the beautiful and figurine ladies to their hotel rooms for special deliverance and anointing while the ugly looking and shapeless ones are asked to have faith in God, except if they have fat offerings as compensation for their unpleasant figure. This bedroom invitation always leads to bedroom exercise and the prophet repents, asks for forgiveness and awaits the next lady visitor. When the people discover that they miracle is yet to come, they transfer their aggression to anyone who is called a pastor. Therefore, genuine pastors should shut down the activities of these new style prophets before they distribute the stench of their activities to the honest ones.

These new style prophets from Nigeria have been known to travel to Kofiridua, Ghana while others visit Kumasi with the aid of some Ghanaian pastors where they consult the Antoa river goddess for powers to see people’s secrets. Others travel to bar beach Lagos, some to Calabar , Port Harcourt among other places to consult with powers. These powers must be serviced by constantly sleeping with church members or else the powers will dry up.

The second group of phone number callers are those who cannot muster the evil courage to consult spirits for strange powers, therefore, with the collusion of some church pastors, they send people in advance to gather information about certain persons in the congregation, including their vehicle plate numbers, villages, number of children etc. Four years ago a visiting prophet based in Enugu, who have influenced a lot of youth for God in the early nineties when his anointing was full, contracted some young men to get information about certain people in a church where he was invited to preach at Owerri and promised to share the booty in the ratio of 70:30. At the end of the shows he released a paltry N200, 000 naira to them. The embittered accomplices went to the chief donor and exposed the deal. The chief donor dragged both the visiting prophet and the host pastor to the police station to help recover both the state of the art vehicle and the millions he gave to the prophet. This second group is less harmful than the first group because they can only access the finances of the worshipper while the earlier group can be spiritually harmful. In 2003 I was invited to the church of one of the new style prophets in Lagos. The church service started by 9am and ended by 4pm. This handsome pastor, whose brothers are all prophets, walked up to a man and asked his name, the man replied John. He moved across to the other side of the large congregation of over two thousand and asked another man his name, the man replied John. The congregation erupted in cheers. He walked to a woman and asked for the name of the absentee husband and the woman replied John, everybody rejoiced the more. Then he moved to the first John and asked him what he does for a living, the man said that he is a staff of University of Lagos. He proceeded to a woman near the window and asked her what she does for a living, the woman said that she is a staff of University of Lagos; the crowd erupted in dancing and jubilation that God had revealed deep things. Then he moved back to the second man named John and asked for the name of the wife, the man answered Phebe. He moved to the first lady whose absentee husband bears the name John and asked her the name of the person that invited her to church, the lady replied that the person’s name is Phebe –this time around the congregation went wild with joy that God is in this place. This cycle continued with intermittent songs and dance until service closed and the congregation went home satisfied that next week will be their turn for God’s visitation.

The Bible said that Christians should test every spirits but these prophets with lots of intimidating credentials of the number of senators, governors, ministers, ambassadors they have prayed for easily sways unsuspecting worshippers to their sweet talks until it is too late. For those who have fallen victim to these people, it serves them right because people who reject the simplicity of the gospel and ignore those who appear too simplistic, preferring those with plethora of bodyguards, convoys and affluence as signs of genuineness they will fall victim to conmen who use the power of effects to manipulate others. Let every Christian grow in maturity with the help of the Holy Spirit, constant reading and meditation in the Bible so that when the new style prophets appear again with visions of bank details and ladies underwear, they will not fall victim.

Obinna Akukwe ( ) reports.

*Photo Caption – As seen.

 [ Masterweb Reports ] - A few years ago while we were young students in Atlanta, a young Nigerian student at Clark College went to work and a heavy box he was lifting with a forklift fell and broke the poor student’s neck. We ran around looking for money to send the body home after the Nigerian Embassy in Washington informed us it had no money budgeted for flying bodies home. We asked the family back home to bury Ejike in Atlanta, and the answer we received was: “No, send our son home.” That was a tall order, particularly coming from the order giver who had no kobo to contribute but who would perhaps be at Lagos Airport crying about “Nwa anyi jere Obodo Oyibo” (our child that went to the white man’s land). The round-trip fare to Nigeria by Pan American Airline then was dirt cheap ($425) so there was no problem. When time came to send the corpse home no one was willing to accompany Ejike because we all were illegal aliens and Immigration was hot on our heels. How time flies!
Nigerians are still very touchy about death, and giving loved ones befitting burials is a significant feature of the Nigerian cultural life one is not easily allowed to tamper with .What is more befitting for a dead man than washing him and sticking him in the soil to rest from his earthly worries? And why must talking about death and burial be removed from public discussions as a matter of urgency? Few friends had warned me to stay clear of discussing controversial Nigerian traditions after I wrote the piece “Wake Keeping or Wake Begging.” A Nigerian woman whose ideas I always seek when thinking on some of my topics, asks “Who forces you to attend wakes? Why do you write on such topics? Are you asked to donate money? Why are you becoming so unpopular that people are beginning to hate you?” Hate me for expressing innocuous thoughts on sensitive issues- innocuous in the sense that my thoughts are inoffensive to me, safe to the environment, harmless to others, and strictly personal?

If hatred is what I get for questioning my people’s oppressive tradition or status quo, I don’t want to be loved. And if omenala (traditional ways of doing things) will oppressively dictate how we live, love, sex, die, and bury our dead (by transporting a corpse thousands of miles across continents at exorbitant costs to the family), are we allowed to ask: “Does it mean that’s the way things ought to always be done? Does it? And why doesn’t it?” Assumimg arguendo it is found that you are entitled to how you want to be buried, it doesn’t preclude battling for “uche gi” (your mind) or struggling to manipulate your mindset and change the way you think about traditions. This essay speaks to that. We owe no apology.

How about making death a bit painful?

I am thinking about changing the way I behave at wakes. The gentlemanly way of spraying dollar bills has got to stop. I have tried pressing the dollar bills hard on the men’s sweaty foreheads or the women’s pancake (that hideous, gummy substance called makeup) which African women enjoy plastering their faces with. I would like to press the dollar bill hard on pancake faces that it sticks like dried-up pus and covers the dancers’ vision. The idea is to get dancers to trip and fall down, giving the impression they are helping children collect the IN GOD WE TRUST. Now, I have thought of coming up with heavy rolls of quarters which would allow me to stay on the dance floor a bit longer and which I shall throw with ferocious force at the celebrants’ cringing eyes, noses, mouths, lips, ears, necks, or teeth if they try to smile at Okafor Naira Sprayer or me during Sweet Mother number. A wicked friend of mine suggested I come up with bags of rocks to be thrown with the energy of a baseball player at the dancers begging for money. There would be pandemonium as the women run into bathrooms with rocks sticking out of their heavy make-up and the men dive under tables with their onyeagba pot bellies filled with osikapa and isi ewu mixed with a half gallon of foaming Heinekens.

Does death defy time and place ?

As I was planning on what moves to take to discourage carrying corpse home, I ran into a Nigerian woman at Riverdale Bank of America. She had been counting Dollar bills for over an hour. I recognized her as one of the dancers at Igbo wake-keeping social gatherings and that grabbed my inquisitiveness. As I carefully approached her so as not to create the impression I wanted to rob her, I sarcastically asked: “Madam, you need help counting all that money?”

“Oh, no,” she said. “My brother just died, and we had a wake for him two days ago.” Two days ago? In the very town I live? I didn’t go to her wake because I didn’t read the email or because the name of this woman and her bereaved family didn’t ring a bell. It could be that I hadn’t wanted to write more checks when some Nigerian MC begins to say: “Folks, this body got to go home .” I didn’t kill the man, and I hadn’t stopped the corpse from walking home across the Atlantic, did I? Anyway, running into a recently bereaved Naija lady counting money at a bank was a picture in comedy. It is comical in that the lady’s brother doesn’t know his sister would be using his death as excuse to prostitute and count her proceeds at a local bank.

I said: “I’m so sorry, Ma’am. Did your brother die in Atlanta, and when did he pass?’ Her response baffled me and led me to want to grab the money from her, put it back into her account , and then lecture her on the evil of her people’s wake-keeping habit of “ichughari akpati ozu” (chasing after the wooden coffin)? Why are we always (a) shedding crocodile tears; (b) bothering friends to organize wakes; (c) begging friends to bring food and beverages to a rented hall; (d) collecting money to spend on business back home or to build a doggone house under the pretext that we are honoring the dead and paying respect to family members who once lived and are no more; and (e) getting drunk to ease the pain or fear of facing our impending death? “Oh, no, he died in Nigeria a few years ago.” The dollar-counting woman finally said in front of a heap of green Dollar bills that were unkempt, ragged, scruffy, bedraggled, disheveled, or simply rumpled.

What Do I Care When I’m gone?

I once had a funny dream in which I was attending a wake party somewhere at Atlanta. Something terrifying happened. As I was carrying two hefty plates of food to a table in the midst of Osadebe and Sweet Mother pieces of music and people were milling around the dance floor ready to throw down, the man whose life and death we were celebrating suddenly appeared in the hall and snatched the microphone from the befuddled MC. He gave a little speech and disappeared as miraculously as he had entered:

He said: Igbo Kwenu, Rienu, Nuonu, Kwezuenu! I’m just coming from the grave. Did I ask you people to place me in this box? Wha t do I care how you dispose of my remains when I die? Did you say some kind words to me while I walked among you? Did you smile, pat me on the back, slip a loving arm around my neck, or put a lone Dollar into my palm to buy a bottle of Crystal Sparkling Water? How come now you are going bananas, looking for a place to get drunk and talk your trash? Weren’t you gossiping when my wife and I were fighting and going through a bitter divorce? What’s this jankara all about?” And piom! The man disappeared. The MC announced: “Ladies and gentlemen, you heard what was being said. Now, DJ, give us a hot number.”

New Breeds of Nigerians

I was going home from a function in which this Anambra man gave his daughter away in a traditional wedding when an Igbo man I was riding with on a stony, winding road in the early hours of dawn, cleared his throat and shocked me. This is the first time a Nigerian had shocked me after clearing a deep throat he uses to swallow large quantities of foo-foo, goat pepper soups, and cases of Heinekens. His words came out like that of a dead man in enchanted house. “I have told my wife in Atlanta and mother in Nigeria: ‘Bury me right here in America when I die.’”

This right -thinking Igbo man then enunciated reasons for his desire to be buried in Atlanta. His wife wouldn’t have to fork over $10,000 to $15,000 on caskets and shipping his body home. His wife would spend that money on raising his children the best she could rather than waste it on archaic customs. His wife could cremate him and spread the ashes in his compound at home, or she could just dump the corpse in the ground. The Yorubas, he said, do not subscribe to Igbo ideas and are burying their dead wherever they are. Do the dead know where they are? The Igbo man concluded his discourse with a question: “Why must my wife be in debt after I am gone?”

Are Nigerians thinking any better than their thick-headed ancestors? When asked where she would like to e buried, a Nigerian Igbo woman said: “Bury me in America because the cemetery has beautiful lawns, and I would like to sleep there.” Her children would occasionally come to clean her grave on Mother’s Day and place some beautiful flowers there.

Our ancestors were egocentric, defined as being selfish, self-centered, insensitive, inconsiderate, egotistic, egoistic, or simply careless of other people’s feelings. They were self-centered simpletons. A man died in a Nigerian town, leaving behind a will that specifically stipulated that he be buried in style in a grave along with his most precious and endearing possession- his Citroën car. At the man’s death, his relatives refused to dig the large grave despite the weeping and prodding of the deceased’s widow. “ How could he be so selfish?” They asked. Finally, there was a compromise with the widow who agreed to bury her late husband in a wooden box and let the widow keep the Citroën. It took the persuasion of the whole town to get the widow to agree to hire a driver to chauffeur her around town.

Now Comes my Incredible Homeboy

I called up this man from my village and suggested his wife would bury him In New York’s Flower Gardens if he should predecease her. He shot back like a sawed-off gun: “Mba, obu ihe aru ini madu na mba” (No, it is a shameful thing to bury a man outside his home). Why? Villagers would not believe the person is dead until they see the corpse. Relatives would want to know what killed their brother or husband. People would want to participate in and witness the elaborate celebration including the number of cows led in the funeral processions, the size of food and alcohol to be eaten and drunk; the number of masquerade groups invited and baskets of Naira spread; and how closure was brought to the dead person’s life. Older married men with some money would want the opportunity to check out the dead man’s widow to see if she could be a welcome addition to their collection of girlfriends.

The most notable reason for the elaborate celebration is to pay the last respect to the departed so people would go home saying: “You know. Okonkwo spent billions of Naira to give his father the best funeral the people in this town have ever seen in years.” According to my homeboy, a man must be buried in his compound where he has inheritance. And I get irritated when my homeboy goes into details about his late father’s funeral when relatives the old man had put into business brought not one or two, but eleven large cows to be slaughtered. To my homeboy, a funeral is not complete unless it has a show-show, beatiem -m’ele (unbeatable) feature.

Then, my homeboy goes into the underworld of voodoo and magic, and I wish he had just gone away so I could doze off. A man my homeboy knew had died and was buried outside his village. Because omenala wasn’t followed, the dead man’s restless spirit caused so much destruction and turmoil relatives had to hurriedly exhume the body and re-bury him in front of his house. His spirit finally rested in peace. Will someone please tell my homeboy to go somewhere else (gaa ebe ozo), and tell that old wives’ tale to my grandkids at halloween. I remember growing up with the family of Mr. Oji from Arochukwu who owned a Volkswagen and a few transport lorries, When Mr. Oji died, the children tore up the living room of his expensive home and buried him in the middle. That way, Mr. Oji would always rule over his financial empire. As the Biafran War was brewing, the wife and children of Mr. Oji abandoned the house with Mr. Oji’s grave in northern Nigeria and ran to Arochukwu.

Where you want to be buried is your doggone business. Be sure you are making things better not worse for the people you are leaving behind, and you aren’t being crazy as the Egyptian Pharaoh who asked to be buried with his servants, queens, and household goods and jewels in preparation for rulership in the underworld. I’ve just gotten a clever idea. When folks back home badger me with demands that I send them some American Dollars through the Western Union for uniforms to be worn at village funerals of Chiefs So-an-So, I am going to be asking the callers: “Are you going as Jesus to raise the dead or are you going just to eat bitter leaf soups and drink some palm wine?” Then I embarrass the callers by giving them nicknames of Mr. or Mrs. Oke Akpiri (Tremendous Appetite). The callers are getting fewer and fewer. Nawa. I sure got those beggars. Hahaha. Ah.

Dr. James C. Agazie ( ) reports.

*Photo Above – A grave in a cemetery

 [ Masterweb Reports ] – In June this year, a 28 year old Nigerian, Celestine Ebelechi was attacked by a mob and died in police custody. He was attacked after a dispute with an electric bicycle driver over a fare. This happened in the city of Guangzhou. The city of Guangzhou has over 200,000 Africans as residents, of whom about 30,000 are Nigerians. Discrimination and abuse of Africans in China is not new. During the cold war, it was hidden and papered over in the name of international solidarity. Today it is difficult to hide. The story is the same on the continent of Africa itself. There has been several reports of Chinese workers managers abusing their African workers without any repercussions. In Zambia, African workers were abused and killed at the copper mines without any repercussions. As opposition leader, current Zambian President Sata has railed against Chinese exploitation of Africans. In Nigeria, DRC, Sudan, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, etc the story is the same. What is disturbing and perplexing is that African leaders have turned a blind eye to these transgressions. In China, Africans claim that when they complain to their respective embassies about the abuse, they are told to keep quite.  On the continent, the leaders haven't reacted either.
It seems that some African leaders have  got carried away by a few Chinese dollars, that they are willing to mortgage their dignity. I am not against economic cooperation with the Chinese, but I am against swapping the old colonialism with a new one. We should remember that China is still a totalitarian state, not a democracy. Despite its economic ascendancy, Chinese citizens don't have freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, cannot criticize their government, and do not have the option of choosing a political party. The communist party remains the only political party in the country.  Indeed some African leaders who might want to be president for life, might see the Chinese as valuable allies since they might be reluctant to criticize, given their own political background. African leaders need to address this issue now and aggressively. Africans do not want another master/slave relationship for all the money in the world. During her current trip to Africa, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has stated “partnership not patronage”.  To the Chinese, Africans should say, “partnership not domination”.

African Caribbean Institute reports.

*Photo Caption - Dr. Leonard Madu, President, African Caribbean Institute (  ).

 [ Masterweb Reports ] – “In furtherance of our contributions towards the attempts to give Nigeria and Nigerians a people-oriented Constitution, the leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law, again, wishes to bring to the attention of your public committee the existing ouster clauses in the Chapter Four of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 for immediate amendment so as to bring them in conformity with regional and international standards. As you may know, ouster clauses are those immunity and impunity oriented sections, subsections and paragraphs deliberately inserted into the constitution or statutes either to frustrate the application and enforcement of their mother provisions or to provide an escape route under the law for….” –Intersociety

Ref: Intersociety/NG/002/012/HOR/NA/ABJ/FRN

The Clerk/Secretary, House of Reps Committee on Constitution Review
Honourable Victor Afam Ogene, Member, Representing Ogbaru Federal Constituency
Room 0.28, House of Reps New Building Extension, National Assembly Complex
The Three-Arms-Zone, FCT, Abuja, Nigeria.

Dear Clerk/Secretary,

Ousting The Ouster Clauses In The Chapter Four Of The Constitution Of Nigeria 1999

Above subject refers.

(Onitsha-Nigeria, Sunday, November 18, 2012)-In furtherance of our contributions towards the attempts to give Nigeria and Nigerians a people-oriented Constitution, the leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law, again, wishes to bring to the attention of your public committee the existing ouster clauses in the Chapter Four of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 for immediate amendment so as to bring them in conformity with regional and international standards. As you may know, ouster clauses are those immunity and impunity oriented sections, subsections and paragraphs deliberately inserted into the constitution or statutes either to frustrate the application and enforcement of their mother provisions or to provide an escape route under the law for their violators usually the State actors.

Ouster clauses are inherent in the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 especially in her Chapters Two and Four. Those in the Chapter Four have been responsible for high incidences of police killings/ torture, long pretrial detentions or detention without trials, long detentions arising from committal proceedings, abandonment/death of gunshot victims and abandonment/ non-State compensation of the victims of violent crimes in Nigeria, etc. The notorious Order 237 of the Nigeria Police Force, under which it kills Nigerians mindlessly for sheer reasons of crime fighting and prevention, is constitutionally backed by relevant subsections of Sections 33 and 35 of the Constitution. These subsections are in conflict with their mother sections and inconsistent with the African Charter on Human & Peoples’ Rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights, the UN Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime & Abuse of Power, the Basic UN Principles for the Use of Firearms by the Law Enforcement Personnel and the UN Code of Conducts for the Law Enforcement Officers, all of which Nigeria has either signed, ratified or domesticated.

The US Constitution, proclaimed in 1776 and enacted for American public in 1789 has undergone various amendments including her 14th amendment of July 28, 1968 so as to be brought in tune with the yearnings and aspirations of Americans taking into account modern realities. Her libertarian concept (rights of US citizens first) and eminence over other indigenous and foreign laws is still well pronounced all over the world. In a like manner, the egalitarian concept of the EU Rights Convention (recognition of the rights of Europeans side by side with the rights of the non-Europeans) is also traditionalized. The prominence and eminence of the Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution over other indigenous and foreign laws is clearly stated in the case of Gani v IGP/FGN. Practically speaking, the country’s Constitution must at all times be the worthy mother of all laws under her midwifery by way of periodic credible and popular amendments otherwise she runs the risk of being a mother without breasts. The Constitution under reference must at all times be brought in conformity with the regional and international standards. The yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians to be captured in periodic Constitutional amendments such as the ongoing are local contents that must be purified so as not to be repugnant to the international standards. It is, therefore, fundamentally incontestable that some subsections and paragraphs of the 14 sections of the Chapter Four are repugnant to the regional and international rights and jurisprudential norms. As a result, we dutifully recommend for the re-working of the following subsections and paragraphs under the Chapter Four:

1. Under Section 33(1): Right to Life, its subsection 2 contains ouster clause to wit: A person shall not be regarded as having been deprived of his life in contravention of this section if he dies as a result of the use, to such extent and in such circumstances as are permitted by law of such force as is reasonably necessary:

33(2) (a) for the defence of any person from unlawful violence or the defence of property;

33(2)(b) in order to effect a lawful arrest or to prevent the escape of a person lawfully detained; or 2(c) for the purpose of suppressing a riot, insurrection or mutiny

Our Observations: Within the contemplation of the 1999 Constitution; our questions are: what is 1. Reasonably necessary permitted by law? 2. What constitutes unlawful violence under which a Nigerian can be killed extra-judicially? 3. What is riot or insurrection?

Answers to these questions are not provided by Part IV of the 1999 Constitution under Interpretation, Citation & Commencement (definition section). Unlike reasonable time which is defined by Section 35(5), none of them is constitutionally defined, thereby creating room for their abuse and misinterpretations by relevant State-actors, particularly police officers. For instance, among many war and crime experts, it is agreed that war is an act of violence with more than 999 casualties. Also, empirically speaking, conflict is different from dispute.

Therefore, we recommend that those undefined terms should be constitutionally and unambiguously defined. Also, in the modern riot control trends, live bullets are no longer in use, but rubber bullets and other non-lethal human body control kits. Insurrection as an act of war with its globally defined weapons of war and insurrection as an act of non-violent protest with instruments of civil protest should be constitutionally differentiated and stated. Under Section 33(2)(b) the death of a citizen in order to effect a lawful arrest or to prevent the escape of a person lawfully detained; it should be constitutionally stated that the use of lethal weapons and maximum force (guns and other deadly weapons) in the course of any State arrest particularly with respect to non-violent crimes is forbidden. The only global exception or defence to this is the invocation of the right to self defence if under deadly attack with the application of force proportionate to one applied against those State-actors under attack.

Under the foregoing circumstances, the doctrine of Intervening Force should no longer be made a blanket defence for State and non-State actors. For instance, if a passerby gets killed by a bullet fired by a State-actor in the course of exchanging fire with his or her violent attacker, he or she should be sanctioned for unprofessional conduct and tried for manslaughter, because he or she is not trained and armed to miss his or her professional targets. These are in line with the spirit and letters of the UN Code of Conducts for Law Enforcement Officers and the UN Basic Principles for Use of Firearms by the Law Enforcement Personnel. The victim if alive should be treated promptly and unconditionally by the State. If the victim dies, the State should adequately compensate his or her family with public apologies for misuse of public procured weapons. Specifically, the use of guns and other deadly weapons to carry out the arrests of suspects suspected of committing non-violent offences or offences carrying the penalties of fines, one day to six months imprisonment and six months to three years imprisonment, that is to say strict and statutory liability offences, simple offences and misdemeanors, should be constitutionally forbidden.

Further, for the Constitution to sanction the death of innocent citizens in the name of effecting lawful arrest is socially disastrous because by its present implication, citizens can be killed by State-actors while effecting arrests arising from commission or suspected commission of simple offences which carry minimum judicial penalty of an hour and maximum of six months. Offenders of strict and statutory liability offences like traffic and sanitation misconducts which can result in lawful arrest can also get killed extra judicially by State-actors under the guise of resisting arrest or intervening force, likewise in the course of arresting suspects suspected of committing the offences of misdemeanor, which can attract maximum judicial sanction of three years and minimum of one year. Killings of this nature including roadblock/check point killings as well as house raids killings should constitutionally be treated as murder with adequate compensations and proper public apologies paid to, and tendered to the victims’ families by the State.

It is also socially and globally abominable for the Federal Republic of Nigeria to sanction the killing of an escapee or escapees from barrack or prisons detentions. Such right to kill should be abolished in the Constitution except where such custodies especially prisons are violently revolted against with revoltees and/ or their external conspirators attacking same with deadly weapons such as guns and machetes. In such situations, it is globally recommended that the force to be applied must be proportionate with that of the attacking felons. Excessive and disproportionate use of force in criminal justice system is globally forbidden. Instead of the Nigeria police officers killing their detainees within this constitutional levity, the escaping suspects can be prevented by applying force that will make it difficult for them to escape. Any injuries sustained by the escapees in the process should be promptly and unconditionally treated by the State and if they escaped, technological tracking devices including biometrics technology can be deployed to re-arrest them. Such escapees should be declared wanted as well. These are the global trends and Nigeria must not be exception. The present case whereby gunshot victims are refused medical treatments by private and public hospitals and clinics in Nigeria should be constitutionally forbidden. Wounds arising from gunshots or machete cuts inflicted on both violent crimes’ suspects and victims should be treated by the State unconditionally because Nigeria has inherited criminal justice system that makes the State the sole protector, compensator, arbiter and punisher of victims and perpetrators of violent crimes. Therefore, it is our recommendation that the entire Section 33(2) and its paragraphs should be amended.

Under Section 34: Right to Dignity of Human Person (right against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatments), its subsection 2 and paragraphs under forced and compulsory labour should be amended to include where in the course of performing State sanctioned forced or compulsory labour, death or injuries occur, the families of the dead victims should be adequately compensated by the State and the injured expressly and unconditionally treated by same. The State here should mean the authority responsible for the forced or compulsory labour such as the Federal Government of Nigeria in respect of the National Youth Service Corps. It should also be constitutionally stated that forced or compulsory service shall not be used in obtaining any confessional statements from criminal investigations. Subsection 2(a) under any labour required in consequence of the sentence or order of a court should be amended to remove…or order of a court.

To cure Nigerian Judiciary of its awaiting trial sickness, Section 35(1)(f)(i) under Right to Personal Liberty, which reads provided that a person who is charged with an offence and who has been detained in lawful custody awaiting trial shall not continue to be kept in such detention for a period longer than the maximum period of imprisonment prescribed for the offence, should be deleted because it utterly contradicts the principle of fair hearing to jail the accused/defendant before his or her conviction/sentencing. Speedy trial is the hallmark of the fair hearing doctrine.

Section 35(4)(1)(a) which reads any person who is arrested or detained in accordance with subsection (1)(c) of Section 35(for the purpose of bringing him or her to court for trial) shall be brought before a court within a reasonable time, and if he is not tried within a period of –two –months from the date of his arrest or detention in the case of a person who is in custody or is not entitled to bail; in the case of a person who has been released on bail, he shall without prejudice to any other proceedings that may be brought against him, be released either unconditionally or upon such conditions as are reasonably necessary to ensure that he appears for trial at a later date. It is our recommendation that this subsection should be amended to read any person who is arrested for committing or on suspicion of committing any offence with capital punishment prescribed in a written law including life imprisonment and detained by the State for two months without trial should be released unconditionally. In accordance with the foregoing, subsections 7(a) and 7(b () should be amended.

The secularity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in matters of Right to Conscience, Thought & Religion should be strengthened. To this effect, Sections 38 and 10 of the Constitution should be reworked.

Section 42(3) of the Constitution under Right to Freedom from Discrimination should be amended to lift the restrictions imposed on persons of disability especially the physically challenged persons from being appointed or elected into public offices. Even in the army and police, they can be trained and deployed in administrative and non-combat departments.

The enemy property under Section 44(1)(g) should be constitutionally defined.

There is need to also amend Section 45 of the Constitution so as to bring it in conformity with the areas recommended for amendments.

Extra: Like we recommended in our first submissions of November 12, 2012, there shall be a constitutional provision for adequate compensation and protection of the victims and witnesses of the violent crimes in Nigeria. A provision should also be provided in the Constitution for prompt and unconditional medical treatments by the State of the victims of gunshot wounds whether they are State-actors, suspected violent criminals or innocent victims. After these amendments have been effected, it is our further recommendation that related enforcement and penalty Acts of the Federation should legislatively be revisited so as to bring them in conformity with the said sections of the Constitution. A Bill of Rights for violent crimes’ victims & witnesses should also be created. A provision should be created in the Constitution for the establishment of Nigerian Civil Society Endowment Fund , whereby a percentage of the country’s annual earnings will be allocated into same for the growth and development of Nigerian Civil Society Organizations especially those working for the promotion and protection of democracy, public security, civil liberties, rule of law, gender justice, children’s rights and public health issues. An Act for the establishment of its Commission shall be enacted.

For: Intersociety- Nigeria

Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman, Board of Trustees
08033601078, 08180103912,

*Photo Caption - Citizen Uchenna Anthony killed at roadblock by the NPF in 2010

 [ Masterweb Reports ] - Intersociety's Submissions On Constitution Review: “Based on your Committee’s template for voting on key constitutional issues needing amendment or retention, we, the International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law wish to make the following submissions following your Committee’s template items: Yes, Section 8 of the Constitution should be amended to rob it of ambiguities inherent in the creation of more States. The processes should be devoid of parochialism and sectionalism, but predicated on demographical, geographical and geopolitical equity. Section 8(1)(c) that requires all the States in the country to approve the result of the referendum for the creation of new State(s) by simple majority supported by simple majority of their Houses of Assembly should be amended to include…..” [ Full Report Below ]
Ref: intersociety/NG/001/012/HOR/NA/ABJ/FRN

The Clerk/Secretary
House of Reps Constitution Review Committee
Honourable Victor Afam Ogene
Ogbaru Federal Constituency
Room 0.28, House of Reps New Building Extension
National Assembly Complex
FCT, Abuja, Nigeria

Dear Clerk/Secretary,

Our Submissions In Respect Of Your Committee’s Template & Related Issues

(Onitsha-Nigeria, November 12th 2012)-Based on your Committee’s template for voting on key constitutional issues needing amendment or retention, we, the International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law wish to make the following submissions following your Committee’s template items:

Yes, Section 8 of the Constitution should be amended to rob it of ambiguities inherent in the creation of more States. The processes should be devoid of parochialism and sectionalism, but predicated on demographical, geographical and geopolitical equity. Section 8(1)(c) that requires all the States in the country to approve the result of the referendum for the creation of new State(s) by simple majority supported by simple majority of their Houses of Assembly should be amended to include simple majority reflecting federal character principle.

1. Yes, six new States should be created to bring the total number of States in the country to 42. In creating the six new States, the Southeast geopolitical zone that presently has five States should be given two more States, while others apart from the Northwest zone that already has seven States, should be given one more State each.

2. Yes, the six geopolitical zones in the country should be constitutionally recognized for administrative and political purposes.

3. No, the six geopolitical zones should not be included in the Constitution as a tier of government because that will be utterly wasteful and expensive, except Nigeria adopts religionalism and abolishes statism.

4. Yes, indigene-ship of an area within Nigeria should be defined to include persons who have resided in an area for a continuous long period and should be entitled to accruing rights, duties and privileges.

5. Yes, the Chapter Two (Fundamental Objectives & Directive Principles of the State Policy) should be made justiciable akin to Chapter Four of the Constitution (Fundamental Human Rights) by expunging Section 6(6) (c).

6. Yes, the laying before the National Assembly of the annual budget estimates should be done at least three months before the end of a fiscal year. To this effect, Section 81 should be amended.

7. Yes, Section 121 should be amended in a like manner for a Governor to do same before his or her House of Assembly.

8. No, the State House of Assembly does not need any financial autonomy to be independently administered and assertive. That given to itself by the National Assembly was a fatal blunder and a mistake. Financial autonomy in Nigerian context means immunity for fiscal roguery.

10. Yes, if the 774 LGAs are to be granted full autonomy as an independent third tier of government in Nigeria, then Section 162(6) should be expunged to eliminate State/LGA Joint Account so as to ensure direct allocations to the LGAs from Federation Account.

11. Yes, only on condition that the LGAs’ autonomy is discarded and all the 774 LGAs removed from the Constitution and disqualified from receiving allocations from the Federation Account, then States should be allowed to create LGAs and assume their administrative and financial responsibilities.

12. Yes, the LGAs should be accorded the status of a third tier of government with designation of a residual legislative list for their independent legislative jurisdiction. If this is to be the case, then there should be equal number of LGAs for each of the six geopolitical zones. The present case whereby Southeast has 95 LGAs as against Northwest’s 186 is demographically, geographically and geo-politically criminal and grossly lopsided.

13. No, because the issue of un-elected LGA officials would be taken care of once the LGAs’ autonomy is ensured and the seizure of LGAs’ revenues will no longer arise.

14. Yes, there should be a defined tenure for chairmen/councilors of the LGAs akin to the tenures of presidents and governors.

15. Yes, some contents of the Exclusive Legislative List like prisons and railways should be duplicated into concurrent list.

16. Yes, let Section 197(1) (b) be amended to expunge the States Independent Electoral Commissions and replaced with Independent National Electoral Commission, which will conduct elections into the country’s approximately 14,483 elective offices at federal, State and LGA levels.

17. Yes, Section 315 (5) (a) of the Constitution should be amended to remove, not abolish the National Youth Service Corps Act, the Land Use Act, the Public Complaints Commission Act and the National Security Agencies Act from the Constitution. This will enhance their amendment processes by lowering stringencies inherent in their amendments owing to their direct attachment to the Constitution.

18. Yes, Section 308 should be amended to confer civil responsibility on serving presidents, their deputies, governors and their deputies. For criminal aspect, indictment clause following credible and conclusive criminal investigations should be incorporated and entrenched in the Constitution with indictment bodies clearly mentioned. Once such indictment is certified judicially, impeachment follows and arrest and prosecution commence immediately after the impeachment.

19. No, instead, Section 215 (4) that requires the Commissioner of Police under a governor’s directive to request or refer such directive to the president or minister for approval, and Section 215(5) which forbids such development from being inquired in a court of law, should be expunged, and replaced with a provision empowering the governor and the House of Assembly to remove any disloyal or incompetent commissioner of police by way of two-thirds votes and executive proclamation. Once such legislative approval is obtained and proclamation made, such CP stands removed and posted out of the State, to be sanctioned further by the PSC.

20. No, instead, a provision should be inserted in the Constitution for the rotation of the office of the president among the six geopolitical zones, not between North and South.

21. Yes, our position in item 20 has answered this question.

22. Yes, it should be filled both on merit and by zoning. Every geopolitical zone has eminently qualified sons and daughters to govern Nigeria and no zone is born to rule.

23. Yes, Section 135 should be amended to provide for a single term of six years for the office of the president because it is the most controversial seat in Nigeria and its occupation has been very lopsided over the years.

24. Our position in item 23 has also answered this question.

25. Yes, the office of the governor should rotate among the State’s three Senatorial districts with a single tenure of six years.

26. Yes, office of the governor should be filled both on merit and by zoning because there is no Senatorial zone in Nigeria that is wholly peopled by morons and political buccaneers.

27. Yes, Section 221 should be amended to allow for independent candidacy in Nigerian elections.

28. Yes, in line with the international best practices, certain percentage of elective and appointive public offices should be reserved for women.

29. No, the current qualifying age for elective offices in Nigeria is in line with the international best practices.

30. Yes, there should be specific constitutional provisions to take care of the interests of persons with disability with the inception of mentally deformed in matters of elective and appointive public offices.

31. Yes, Section 77 (2) should be amended to allow Diaspora Nigerians voting rights to ensure demographic justice, provided it will not be used as an instrument of election rigging.

32. No, the existing bi-cameral legislature should be allowed but its individual and corporate fiscal allowances and overheads should be drastically trimmed down.

33. No, let Sections 4 & 5 on presidential system stay. But let them be clothed with local contents that are not repugnant to the international democratic standards such as fiscal prudence and minimized corruption or profligacy.

34. No, instead, Nigeria should implement the practice of Federalism that allows States more percentage of nationally accrued revenues than federal and local governments.

35. No, instead, the 13% derivation component of revenue should be extended to States with natural and non-natural resources, which generate revenues for the country.

36. No, the traditional rulers need not be made members or having representation at the National Council of State. They should be confined to their States and LGAs of origin.

37. No, the new amendment to the Constitution, setting time limit for the determination of election petitions should stay.

38. Yes, since such powers are no longer exercised by the President or Governor but by the National Assembly and the State House of Assembly with respect to modifying or amending existing laws under the transitional provisions of Section 315 (2) and the definition section related thereto, the relevant section should be expunged. The National Assembly and the State House of Assembly as new exercising powers should be constitutionally stated.

39. Yes, the Constitution should further be amended to address issues of electoral reforms including incorporation of salient provisions of the Uwais reports and times for conducting bye-elections and determination of electoral petitions into same.

40. Yes, the Constitutional provisions on judiciary should be amended to achieve reforms of judicial institutions and processes in order to ensure quicker dispensation of justice.

41. Yes, the Constitution should be amended to separate the office of the Accountant General of the Federation from the office of the Accountant General of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

42. Yes, the Constitution should be amended to separate the office of the Attorney General of the Federation from the office of the Attorney General of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

43. Yes, the Constitution should be amended to enable the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission to send proposals for revenue allocations directly to the National Assembly in order to avoid undue delays in preparation of the revenue allocation formulae.

44. Yes, Nigeria should have one police organization which shall be constituted in such manner as to give the State Governors reasonable control over the Commissioners of Police in charge of their States. The Governors’ disciplinary powers over their CPs should be exercised in conjunction with two-thirds votes of their State Assemblies so as to avoid abuse.

45. Yes, Nigeria should maintain the present police structure and system with some modifications as recommended above.

1. Section 12 (3) of the Constitution, which requires the ratification by a majority of the Houses of Assembly of States in matters of a bill for domestication of international treaty by the National Assembly before the president’s assent, should be expunged. This has substantially been responsible for the stagnancy of outstanding international treaties, which are yet to be domesticated years after they were signed and ratified by the Federal Government of Nigeria. Once the National Assembly passes a bill for the domestication of an international treaty and the president signs it, let it be binding on all authorities and persons in Nigeria.

2. A provision should be inserted into the Constitution conferring Nigeria’s courts of superior records powers to assume international jurisdiction in matters of special public interests (i.e. heinous rights abuse and economic crimes). A typical example of a country with this noble modern justice administration is the Republic of Belgium.

3. A new constitutional provision for the award of ex gratia compensations for victims of crimes including victims of inter-personal violence/crimes should be created.

4. Section 174(1)(c) of the Constitution and its sister section should be amended to make the powers of the Attorneys-General of the Federation and the States to  discontinue at any stage before judgment is delivered any such criminal proceedings instituted or undertaken by him or any other authority or person very stringent to exercise so as to further strengthen the public interest, the interest of justice and further forestall the abuse of legal process, in accordance with Section 174(3) of the Constitution.
5. The Constitution of Nigeria should be gender oriented and depart from traditional and archaic law language of he/him and adopt modern norm of he/she and the like.

Special Notice:
The attention of the National Assembly is also drawn to the existing anachronistic Acts of the Federation needing fundamental amendments. Many, if not most of these Acts have outlived their social usefulness to Nigeria and Nigerians, thereby begging to be upgraded to modern standards. Examples are Police Act, Prisons Act, Evidence Act, Criminal Code, Criminal Procedure Act, Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code, Private Guards Act, Land Use Act, Companies & Allied Matters Act, to mention but very few.

For: Intersociety Nigeria

Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman, Board of Trustees
+234(0) 8033601078, +234(0) 8180103912,

Comrade Justus Ijeoma, Head, Publicity Desk

Submitted At The Public Forum On Constitution Review Organized By Honourable Victor Afam Ogene, Member, Representing The Ogbaru Federal Constituency, Held On Monday, November 12, 2012, At The Ogbaru LGA Secretariat, Atani, Ogbaru, Anambra State, Nigeria.

Note: Intersociety-Nigeria Headed The Steering Committee’s Secretariat.

*Photo Caption - Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Intersociety, 41, Miss Elems Street, Fegge, Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria.

[-Masterweb Reports]
An article published in Sun Newspaper of November 8, 2012 titled “Woman boils two-year-old stepdaughter’s hands” has drawn tears in the eyes of The Holy Family Sisters of the Needy who need immediate information to enable them make contact with the abused child to render help (both medical and otherwise) to her.

Please contact The Holy Family Sisters of the Needy immediately with any enabling information. In the U.S., they can be reached at +1 3479814758 or +1 9734897448, in Nigeria at Nekede, Owerri, Imo State; and by email at


Below is a copy of the email that was sent to Masterweb News Desk by The Holy Family Sisters of the Needy -

We are The Holy Family Sisters of the Needy, a Roman Catholic Religious order founded in Owerri Archdiocese, in Imo State Nigeria. We are working in different part of the world which includes: The Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, Nigeria, France, Italy, England, Sierra Leone, United States and so on.

-Taking care of under privilege ones.
-Care of Infants especially those infected with HIV/ AIDS and are abandoned. We live with these children in some of our communities designated for this apostolate. We provide them with the basic need such as health, education, food, clothing, shelter etc.
-We also care for the elderly men and women who have no one to take care of them.


Our main and specific apostolate is the care of unmarried pregnant teens that have been abandoned or disowned by their families. We provide them with accommodation, rehabilitating and with the necessary counseling and spiritual guidance. We also provide counseling for the sexually abused and those with post abortion trauma.

In the case of Esther, we would like to establish a contact with her parents or the caregiver So that we can arrange how to rescue her in this inhuman condition and difficulty as soon as possible. We beckon on people of good will who are touch by Esther’s situation to support us financially in the course of giving this child an optimum healthcare requires in restoring her two hands in Nigeria hospital or abroad. We accept any gift, no donation is little

Thanks for your cooperation and assistance
May God Bless you

Below is our contact

USA Contact
526 orange street
Newark NJ 07107
Phone: 3479814758 / 9734897448

Nigeria Contact
Holy Family Sisters of the Needy
P O Box 3967
Nekede, Owerri, Imo State.


*Follow the link below to read Sun’s “Woman boils two-year-old stepdaughter’s hands” article.
Here is the link:-

*Photo Caption - Abused Esther and abuser-stepmother Kehinde (insert) 

 -Masterweb Reports
Women are more than fifty percent of the world’s population. They
perform two-third of the world’s work, yet receive one-tenth of the
world’s income and own one-hundredth of the world’s property.  They
represent a staggering seventy percent of the world’s one billion
poorest people. This is a stack development reality for our world.

My country-Nigeria has the highest population of any African country.
With a population of over 162 million, Nigeria is ranked the world’s
seventh most populated country. Of this magnitude, forty-nine percent
are female; some 80.2 million girls and women. Comparatively,
thirty-eight percent of women in Nigeria lack formal education as
against twenty-five for men and only four percent of women have higher
education against the seven percent of their male counterpart. Nigeria
ranks 118 of 134 countries in the Gender Equality Index.

Commenting on the fore, it is apparent that no appreciable development
can be made either at the local, national or international platform
without recognising girls and women as equal players in the game of life
whilst empowering, up-skilling and investing in them for a better world.
“When we empower women, we empower communities, nations and entire human
family” un Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

We live in a world where majority of girls and women face real-time
poverty, gross inequality, molestation and injustice, which could run
through from birth to death. From poor education to poor nutrition to
violence and brutalization to vulnerable and low pay employment, the
sequence of discrimination and atrocities a woman may suffer during her
entire life is unacceptable but all too common in our global society.

In her assessment of gender inequality, Nigerian Ambassador to the UN,
Joy Ogwu, rightly noted, “It is about having half of humanity
participate. The progress of women means…the progress of the world”.

Undoubtedly, Nigeria and the World at large has in the last decade
witnessed an unprecedented expansion of women’s rights, being one of the
most profound social revolutions the world has ever seen. Couple of
decades back, only two countries allowed women to vote. Today, that
right is virtually universal. Millions of men and women around the world
now support the call for gender equality although there is much to be
done especially in developing countries like Nigeria.

Reviewing the UK Department for International Development (DFID), 2012
Gender Report in Nigeria, “Nigeria’s 80.2 million women and girls have
significantly worse life chances than men and also their sisters in
comparable societies”. This reveals the neglect of the Nigerian people
and government in tackling the issue of gender inequality despite calls
from various quarters.  It also brings to bare our frail understanding
of preparing the girl child for tomorrow’s motherhood, family and
societal challenges.

The report which succinctly stated that “Women are Nigeria’s hidden
resource”, exposed that over 1.5 million Nigeria children aged
6-14(8.1%) are currently not in school, a situation which has
effortlessly earned Nigeria the world’s largest out of school children
country-an unfortunate achievement of a robust nation. “In eight
Northern States, over 80% of women are unable to read (compared with 54%
for men). In Jigawa State, 94% of women (42% of men) are illiterate”.
Apparently, we have failed to realize that just a few investments have
as large a payoff as girls’ education.

Some traceable factors to this ill-starred development include lack of
funds resulting from wide-spread poverty, traditional and religious
inclination which place low priority on educating the girl child,
non-provision of educational facilities by government, poor funding of
the educational sector, weak educational policies, early marriage, early
childbirth, poor sanitation, ignorance amongst others.

“Nigeria has one of the lowest rates of female entrepreneurship in
sub-Saharan Africa. The majority of women are concentrated in casual,
low-skilled, low paid informal sector employment. Only 15% of women have
a bank account”. Educating and empowering the girl child implies
preparing her for future motherhood challenges that will in the nearest
future affect a family and the larger society either positively or

The huge geographical and ideological disparities of Nigeria, makes her
a unique country with though global yet slightly peculiar challenges and
opportunities, even as it relates to gender inequality. Human
development outcomes for girls and women are worse in the northern part
of the country where poverty levels are sometimes twice as high as in
the south. Nearly half of all children under age five are malnourished
in the North-East, with the figures expected to increase across the
country in the wake of national and international food crises.

On maternal mortality, the 2012 DFID Gender Report in Nigeria noted that
Nigeria has one of the highest rate of maternal mortality in the world,
a case where in every ten minutes, one Nigerian women dies in
childbirth. With about forty-seven percent of Nigerian women being
mothers before the age of twenty, the report cautioned that without
access to safe childbirth services, adequate and affordable emergency
obstetric care, improved healthcare funding, enormous political will and
civil society pressure, Nigeria’s maternal mortality rate could double
from its current 545 deaths per 100,000 live births. Note, “Every 90
seconds of every day, a woman dies in pregnancy or childbirth”, world

“Women around the world are dynamic leaders and powerful advocates of
change. But space for their leadership and broader social and political
participation remains constrained. By mid-2011, only 28 countries could
claim that women’s parliamentary representation had reached a critical
mass of 30 percent or more. Only 19 women were leading their countries
as elected heads of state or government”.

In Nigeria, only 25 out of the 360 members of the Nigerian House of
Representatives being women and only about 4% of local government
councillors are women, confirming that “women are under-represented in
all political decision making bodies and their representation has not
increased since the inception of democratic rule”.  This could perhaps
be an explanation for Nigeria’s low investment in sections that are
crucial to human development outcomes such as health and education.

It is pertinent to note that the quality of our democracy, the strength
of our economies, the health of our societies and the sustainability of
peace —are all undermined when we fail to fully tap half of the world’s
talent and potential. Where women have access to secondary education,
good jobs, land and other assets, national growth and stability are
enhanced, and we see lower maternal mortality, improved child nutrition,
greater food security, and less risk of HIV and AIDS.

In a society like ours, violence against women and girls cannot be
ignored though it is being ignored. “One in three of all women and girls
aged 15-24 have been a victim of violence. Women who have never married
are more likely to have been attacked than married women. Up to one
third of Nigerian women report that they have been subjected to some
form of violence. One in five has experienced physical violence”.

Rape, sexual insult and assault, brutalization and molestation, domestic
violence on girls and women have in recent time upsurge in Nigeria, with
victims feeling embarrassed to report such incidence to the right
agencies for justice. However, kudos must be given to some individuals,
civil society and media organisations that have continually been
campaigning against violence on the female folk, though, there is more
to be done noting that women and girls pay an unjustifiable price for
violence and discrimination, but they do not do so alone.

The United Nation Women says “Ending violence against women requires
know-how”. The know-how of judicial and health processes. In her words,
Karen Valero, Colombia said “I dream of a world where women are free
from domestic violence…Everyone is equal. We have the same rights in
every way”

Curbing and stopping violence against women requires the creation and
passage of laws regarding such violence, adopting action plans and
budgets to implement legislation, instituting prevention programmes and
protection services for women survivors, and campaigning to raise
awareness whilst instilling sound moral and religious instructions in
the girl-child towards a chaste and modest future.

Achieving gender equality and women’s rights in Nigeria and the world at
large is crucial to establishing and sustaining developments as
specifically addressed by three Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Gender inequality has a much greater impact than the explicit MDGs.
Gender dynamics underpin all of the MDGs and to make progress, we need
specific gender-sensitive policies and action across the entire project.

In promoting women’s livelihood, the 2012 DFID Gender Report in Nigeria,
recommends that “Government policy should prioritise agriculture and
rural development, because 54 million of Nigeria’s 80.2 million women
live and work in rural areas where they constitute 60-70% of the rural
work force”. It also advocates the formulation and implementation of
laws that will assist the female gender in actualising her mandate.

On education, the report advised the creation of incentives for all
girls to complete primary and secondary education, whilst delivering
free education to girls and better funding for the educational sector
both at the state and national levels. 

This fight for gender equality can only be successful with YOU and I
playing our individual yet concerted roles towards successful women’s
leadership; strengthening women’s economic empowerment; ending violence
against women; promoting women’s participation in peace and security
processes; and ensuring that public planning and budgeting responds to
the needs and rights of women. Together-we can make it happen!

According to the Executive Director, UN Women, Michelle Bachelet,
“Gender equality must become a lived reality”.

At this juncture, let me drop my pen in recognition and appreciation of
all female: girls and women across the globe, who despite societal
inequality and discrimination have just like my mother and sisters
continued to grow in leaps and bounds…I love, respect and cherish you
all. PEACE!

Tayo Elegbede Jet reports.

*Photo Caption - Woman & man images against their standard gender symbols.  

 -Masterweb Reports
So much has been said about the problems besetting Nigeria - economic, political, social - name it and you can see the evidence all around. Since 1999 when the Abubakar military regime returned the country back to civilian rule, Nigeria has been enjoying an unbroken era of civilian government and one would expect such longevity era of democratic dispensation to bring unprecedented benefits to this most populated country in Africa. However, the opposite is the case. The arrays of problems facing the country today reveals once again that there are inherent weaknesses in the foundation upon which the country was built and if these inherent weaknesses are not addressed, they may well become the catalysts that will facilitate the collapse of the Nigeria project.

When you look at the country as a whole, what you will see is a given mass area of Africa blessed with unimaginable abundance of natural resources and human resources. One can be forgiven for imagining that the people living in such an area will be enjoying the benefits of such abundant wealth. However, with Nigeria, what supposed to be her blessings have become her curse. You look at the crude oil for instance, this supposed to bring enormous revenue into the country with which the country should be able to utilise to develop itself and be able to take its place among the committee of great nations, but the opposite is the case. The Nigeria set up has not made this possible. One need to be in the corridor of power or at least closely associated with the corridor of power in order to benefit from these abundant wealth. Similarly, if you look at the size of the population, you will be forgiven to imagine that such a large population will be a great source of strength to the country and a blessing in terms of human resources. If one look around the world and compare those countries with large number of population and in fact very few of them, one will see that it is a source of strength and blessings to such nations. With Nigeria, this is not the case. Nigeria is an aberration. What supposed to be her strength has become her weakness and what supposed to bring her together has become the source of her disunity. Then you cannot but wonder where are we heading as a country?

What is wrong with Nigeria?

During the colonial era, the country was governed by a system of protectorates which recognises the diversity of the people in this area of Africa. In the early years of colonial rule, the Niger Coast Protectorate became Southern Nigeria and had its seat of government in Lagos (Southern Nigeria was made up of the Eastern and the Western regions). Similarly, the protectorate of Northern Nigeria was placed under a high commissioner Frederick Lugard. Although, the regions were formally united as the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria in 1914, administratively Nigeria remained divided into the Northern and Southern Provinces and Lagos Colony. System of administrations among the regions varied widely and British staffs in each region were encouraged to operate according to procedures developed before unification. In the north for instance, legislation took the form of a decree by the governor and the emir, whilst in the south, the colonial governor sought the approval of the Legislative Council.

In 1957, the Western and the Eastern regions became formally self-governing under the parliamentary system and in 1959 the Northern region became self-governing. Although the whole country was said to be under a federal government, there were numerous differences of detail among the regional governments and there were wide differences in the conduct of public affairs among the regions. The only similarity was that all the three regions adhered to a parliamentary form of government but each was autonomous in relation to the federal government at Lagos. The federal government has specified powers, which included responsibility for defence, external affairs, currency, banking, shipping, navigation, and communications, but real political power resides in the regions and significantly, it was the regional governments that controlled public expenditures derived from revenues raised within their regions.

This was the prevailing system that the then politicians inherited when Nigeria got her independence from Britain in 1960 - a system whereby there were three distinct autonomous regions and each with its own parliament but with a federal government with its seat of power in Lagos. The benefits of these arrangements were there to see - each region follow their own ways of life and determine their own pace of development whilst the role of the federal government was limited to the areas where it was most needed and beneficial to the country as a whole - namely defence, external affairs, currency, banking, shipping, navigation, and communications.

However, today’s Nigeria is completely different from when the country started. Nigeria have experimented with several systems of government ranging from unitary system to the current muddled-up federal system.

How did we get here?

First Military Government - Aguiyi Ironsi government (January 1966 - July 1966)

When the First Republic under the Premiership of Tafawa Balewa was overthrown by a group of mostly Igbo junior officers under Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu and the Aguiyi Ironsi (not connected with the coup) military government took over on 16 January 1966 , Nigeria was deeply divided along ethnic lines. In its effort to encourage unity and prevent the country from breaking apart, the Ironsi government promulgated the Unification Decree 34 which abolished the inherited federal structure and put in place a unitary system in the belief that the new system will move the country away from the brink of collapse. This move proved unpopular particularly among the Northerners who were suspicious of Southern domination. Though the decree was abolished when Aguiyi-Ironsi was deposed and killed on 29 July 1966, it however set the trend for the modern day Nigeria.

Until the incursion of the military into Nigeria politics and the promulgation of Decree 34, the regional governments enjoyed a significant level of independence and could make their own foreign relation policies including having their own so called “mini-embassies” abroad. However, since the overthrow of the Tafawa Balewa government and the incursion of the military into the Nigeria politics, there has been gradual erosion of the autonomy of the regions and their authorities vis a vis the federal government. Subsequent governments over the years and in particular military governments have continued this trend.

Second Military Regime - Gowon Government (July 1966 - July 1975)

On ascent to power Lt Col. Gowon abolished the unpopular Decree 34 however he did not completely restore the federal principle that was in operation at independence. This was evident when the 3 regions were eventually divided into 12 states by the Gowon government. This move by the Gowon government was in response to the tension created between the Eastern Region government headed by Col. Ojukwu and the federal government headed by Gowon.

Following the coup led by some officers of Eastern origin which brought an end to the First Republic and also cost the lives of many politicians particularly many Northern politicians, suspicious were raised among the Northerners who thought the coup was an Igbo conspiracy. Although the Ironsi government made efforts to dispel this notion but his failure to punish the coup plotters lent credence to this suspicion. This led some Northern officers to plan a counter coup which cost the life of Ironsi and the lives of some other notable officers. The counter coup was followed by the massacre of thousands of Easterners throughout the Northern Region. The persecution led to the flight of more than a million Igbo from the North and towards their homelands in Eastern Nigeria. Col. Ojukwu who at the time was the military governor of the Eastern region felt that if the Nigeria state could not offer protection to the Igbos, the Igbos reserved the right to establish a state of their own in which their lives would be protected. He therefore demanded for talks with the federal government controlled by Gowon on neutral soil. In response to the demand, a summit attended by Ojukwu, Gowon and other members of the Supreme Military Council was held at Aburi in Ghana. The outcome of the summit was the Aburi Accord in which it was agreed that Nigeria was to be a confederation of regions. However, this agreement was never implemented by the Gowon government. It was rumoured that Gowon and also Ojukwu had knowledge of the discovery of large oil reserves in the Niger Delta area of the Eastern part of Nigeria in the mid-1960s and this was partly responsible for the Gowon government’s reluctance to implement the agreement.

In a move to restrict the influence of the Ojukwu's government in the East, the Gowon government divided Nigeria into 12 states: North-Western State, North-Eastern state, Kano State, North-Central State, Benue-Plateau State, Kwara State, Western State, Lagos State, Mid-Western State, Rivers State, South-Eastern State, and East-Central State on 5 May 1967. Until then the only region created after independence was the Mid-Western region which was by plebiscite in accordance with due process as laid down in the constitution. Henceforth, state creation exercise has continued under military regimes and by decree.

The erosion of the authority of the regional governments and the arrogation of powers by the federal authority combined with the discovery of the oil reserve and the control of which was now firmly established in the hand of the federal government, set the stage for a rapid increase in corruption particularly at the federal level. Although Gowon was not personally implicated in any corrupt practices but there were widespread allegations of corruption by government officials and the Gowon government failing to do anything about it.

Third Military Regime - Mohammed Government (July 1975 - February 1976)

As mentioned earlier, during the colonial rule and also at independence real powers resided in the regions, the federal government sphere of authority was limited to defence, external affairs, currency, banking, shipping, navigation, and communications . Slowly but steadily, the federal government under successive military regimes arrogate powers vis-a-vis the regional governments. During the Murtala Mohammed regime, the federal government extended its sphere of authority into areas which were formerly exclusive to the regional governments thereby restricting the powers of the state governments in those areas. Under the military set up and in particular under the Murtala Mohammed military government, the newly appointed military governors of the states were expected to administer policies handed down by the federal government through the Supreme Military Council on which none of the state governors had a seat. In addition, the federal government took over the control of the country’s largest newspapers and made broadcasting a monopoly of the federal government. State-run universities were also brought under federal control. Although Gen. Murtala Mohammed made attempt to curb corruption particularly at the federal level but his effort was short lived as his regime was overthrown in a bloody coup which claim his life and the lives of some notable officers on 13 February 1976.

Fourth Military Regime - Obasanjo Government (February 1976 - October 1979)

The Obasanjo military government was an extension of the Murtala Mohammed regime. General Olusegun Obasanjo was the second in command to General Murtala Mohammed when the latter was the head of state. Gen. Obasanjo took over power following the death of Gen. Murtala Mohammed in an unsuccessful coup led by Lt. Col. Dimka. Although the Obasanjo government fulfilled the promise made by the Mohammed government to return the country to civil rule by handing over power to an elected government but corruption was becoming widespread and unabated. There were allegations of massive corruption perpetrated under the Obasanjo military government. Retiring army generals were said to be rich beyond what their life term earnings as military officers could account for. Holding power at the centre had become so attractive since it puts whoever is in power at the centre in total control of the enormous wealth of the whole nation, and with little or no control, subsequent Nigerian leaders particularly at the centre have exploited the set up to enrich themselves with dire consequences for the whole nation. It was during the Obasanjo government that 2.8 Billion Naira (equivalent to about 2.8 billion British pounds sterling at the time) was alleged to have gone missing from the nation‘s account but this was later dismissed as a mathematical error. During the Obasanjo government, the country was further divided into 19 states thereby further reducing the influence of the regions in the nation politics. The mannerism of the state creation exercise have also become detached from any justifiable reason and had become more or less the personal wish and judgement of those in power at the centre rather than the needs or the wish of the people.

Second Republic - Shagari Government (October 1979 - December 1983)

In accordance with the promise of Gen. Murtala Mohammed to hand over power to an elected government and the declaration by the Obasanjo government to honour this promise (Obasanjo government being an extension of the Murtala Mohammed government), Gen. Obasanjo handed over power to an elected government headed by Alhaji Shehu Shagari on 1st October 1979. However, the circumstances surrounding the whole conduct of the election and subsequent declaration of results and the controversy surrounding it, suggested that the military were now firmly established in politics as the outgoing regime seemed interested on who succeeded it.

The set up under the civilian government was not completely different from what was obtained under the military government. Before handing over power to elected government the preceding military government always enact a constitution under which the subsequent civilian government is to operate. These constitutions was never a return to the inherited constitution at the time of independence but a constitution that those handing over power prepared and sanctioned. Hence, the continuing trend of the centre arrogating more powers to the detriment of the regional governments. Furthermore, the weakness in such a set up and the consequences of it was the more glaring after just four years of the Shagari government when it became clear that reckless spending and corrupt practises on the part of the federal government had caused irreparable damage to the Nigeria economy leading the country to eventually ask for a bail out from the International Monetary Fund.

By the time the Shagari government was overthrown by the Buhari/Idiagbon regime on 31 December 1983, Nigeria was on her knees economically. Politicians have seen the weaknesses introduced into the system by the military regimes and have massively and recklessly exploited the weaknesses. Corruption was widespread and the use of arson to cover their tracks were common place under the Shagari government.

Fifth Military Regime - Buhari Government (December 1983 - August 1985)

The Buhari regime that overthrew the Shagari elected government stated that the reason for the overthrow was because the Shagari government was very corrupt and the new military government initiated the ‘War Against Indiscipline’ to sanitise the society. Many politicians were arrested and tried for embezzling public money. The Buhari government was praised for its stand against corruption but failed to correct the inherent weaknesses in the system which put the whole nation’s resources at the mercy of the government at the centre and which had made control of power at the centre very attractive to unscrupulous politicians and leaders. The economic problem created by the reckless spending and corruption of the Shagari government meant that austerity measures had to be introduced which resulted in economic hardship for majority of Nigerians. On 27 August 1985, the Buhari regime was overthrown by General Ibrahim Babangida, the Chief of Army Staff and a member of the Supreme Military Council during the Buhari Regime.

Sixth Military Regime - Babangida Government (August 1985 - August 1993)

The Babangida government that took over power following the overthrow of the Buhari government was well known for taking corruption to a level never witnessed before. No Nigerian leader before Babangida had exploited the weaknesses in the system to the extent carried out by the Babangida government and never until then was there such a culture of impunity in dealing with public money. Corruption was widespread and there was a free for all attitude within the polity. At one stage during his administration, it was difficult to delineate between Babangida’s own personal account and the state account as public money was spent with total disregard for due process. As a matter of fact, the Babangida’s regime was criticised by the World Bank for spending two Billion British pounds sterling without budgeting. State sponsored assassination was also introduced into the system to silence government critics. The extravagant spending and widespread corruption together with the infamous decision to cancel what most observers believed to be the fairest election ever conducted in Nigeria (12 June 1993 Presidential Election), brought Nigeria to the brink of economic and political collapse. Facing widespread revolt particularly from the western part of the country, on 27 August 1993 President Babangida as he wished to be called decided to ‘step aside’ and installed an Interim Government led by Mr Earnest Shonekan, an industrialist from the western part of the country.

Interim Government - Ernest Shonekan (August 1993 - November 1993)

The Interim government of Earnest Shonekan that succeeded the General Babangida government was a victim of the Babangida misrule. Nigeria was already on her knees politically and economically by the time President Babangida decided to step aside. There were widespread industrial action by the Labour Congress and the operation of the business of governance had become paralysed. With no form of legitimacy whatsoever, the interim government lasted only three months before it was dismissed by General Sanni Abacha on 17 November 1993 following a court ruling that declared the Interim Government illegal.

Seventh Military Regime - Abacha Government (November 1993 - June 1998)

Following the dismissal of the Interim Government headed by Shonekan, Gen. Abacha took over the rein of power. The Abacha government completely exploited the weaknesses in the system to its advantage and to the benefit of those close to the government and the Abacha family but to the detriment of the country. Corruption was blatant and so also the abuse of power by those in authority. Gen. Abacha simply continued in the vein of the Babangida government.

There were large scale embezzlement of public funds. It was reported that during Abacha's government, a total of £5 billion was stolen from the public purse by Abacha and his family. Abacha was labelled the fourth most corrupt leader in history at the time. A preliminary report commissioned by the Abubakar government that succeeded the Abacha government described to some details how the Abacha government swindled the Nigeria coffer. It described a process whereby Abacha's national security adviser, Alhaji Ismaila Gwarzo, under the direction of Gen. Abacha would make a fake request for fund which Gen. Abacha would then approved. Gwarzo would withdraw the money from the Nigeria Central Bank by way of cash or travellers cheques before depositing the money in Abbacha’s house. Abacha’s son Mohammed would then arrange for the money to be laundered to offshore accounts. It was estimated that about $1.4 billion in cash was taken out in this way.

General Abacha declared on 6 September 1994 that his government had absolute power meaning that his government is above the jurisdiction of the courts. Despite the existence of courts in the country, none was prepared to challenge the authority of the Abacha government. General Abacha also promised to hand over power to elected government in 1998 but it became clear that he only planned to succeed himself as the elected president because he had forced all the five registered political parties to adopt him as the sole candidate.

There were widespread human rights abuses during the Abacha regime. Some Ogoni activists including Ken Saro-Wiwa were hanged whilst Chief MKO Abiola (the presumed winner of the 12 June 1993 Presidential Election), retired Gen. Shehu Musa Yar’Adua and Chief Olusegun Obasanjo were among those jailed for treason. Gen. Yar’ Adua and Chief Abiola later died in prison.

Eighth Military Regime - Abubakar Government (June 1998 - May 1999)

Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar succeeded Gen. Abacha following the sudden death of the latter on June 8 1998. The country inherited by the Abubakar government was in a mess both politically and economically. Successive governments’ mismanagement of the Nigeria economy coupled with some politically insensitive decisions by previous governments have brought the country to the brink of collapse. There were murmurings of secession as many people from the regions started to question the viability of the Nigeria project. The leaders have over-milked the Nigeria coffer and the masses were reeling under severe economic hardship. The Abubakar government knew that time was not on its side and within days of assuming power promised a return to civilian rule within a year. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was established to oversee the conduct of elections. However, just as in previous elections conducted under the aegis of the military, the results and particularly results at the centre were more or less stage-managed. Many knew that Gen. Obasanjo of the People’s Democratic Party was a President in waiting not because of his huge popularity or wider political appeal but because he was a safe pair of hands for the ruling elite - the clique. The prevailing situation at the time threatened the privileged position of the clique - the Nigeria people were near revolt against a system that have yielded nothing but years of economic mismanagement, oppression and a culture of impunity for erring leaders. The clique needed someone who could be trusted to pacify the anger of the people and at the same time safeguard the system to ensure the continuation of their privileged position and their protection. It did not come as a surprise when the conduct of the elections drew strong criticisms from foreign observers for widespread irregularities.

Just as in the past, the outgoing military adopted a new constitution for the country on 5 May 1999. A constitution of their own making which the people have no say in its making nor were they consulted about it. This is a constitution formulated by the leaders, for the leaders, to manage the people.

In fulfilment of its promise, the Abubakar government handed over power to an ‘elected’ government on 29 May 1999 but not without the controversy of corruption as once again the retiring generals have left the seat of power with more than a golden handshake that ensures that their amassed wealth surpassed what their life-time earnings as civil servants could account for.

Third Republic - President Obasanjo Government (May 1999 - May 2007)

The fact that Chief Obasanjo was only called to lead the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) after its formation was not a secret. He was the choice of the clique and Gen. Obasanjo now President Obasanjo did not disappoint. With smart political manoeuvring, the country was moved away from the brink of collapse and apart from some cosmetic changes, the system was maintained as the clique had wished. We had gone round in circle and back to where we were before.

Although Obasanjo made fighting corruption one of the stated aims of his first term in office and managed to pass some anti-corruption laws, his government was accused of doing little to control corruption particularly at the federal level. The tone of its government with regards to corruption was encapsulated in President Obasanjo’s response to a question about whether or not his government would probe former President Babangida who had been alleged to have embezzled large sums of public money when in office. President Obasanjo replied that whoever has got any evidence against Babangida should let him know and he would prosecute Babangida. Also the remit of the task entrusted to him by the clique was also revealed in this comment made by President Obasanjo in Dutse, Jigawa state: “In 1999 Nigeria was not looking for a President that will build roads or fix power supply or provide water, Nigeria was looking for a President that will hold Nigerians together." With this kind of comment, one need to ask for whose benefit President Obasanjo came to power in 1999. This is because, building good roads, fixing the power supply problems and providing clean water supply are the issues that matters most to the long-suffering masses, but keeping Nigeria together and maintaining the tainted and discredited system are issues that matters most to the ruling elite. It shows that the Nigeria public without any doubt had been short-changed once again by the ruling elite.

And just as with previous governments under the current system, the Obasanjo government was rife in corruption. There were allegations of large scale mismanagement of funds. There was the allegation of corruption in the sale of the country's businesses like Nitel and Nicon Noga Hilton together with land allocations and oil blocks which Obasanjo was accused of allocating to himself and his cronies. There was also allegation of mismanagement of the funds for road projects. The Obasanjo government embarked on war against corruption and set up Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) but it soon became clear that the anti-corruption drive was selective with the government targeting political opponents and ethnic militants, whilst ignoring growing concerns about wide-scale corruption within its own inner political circle. In March 2008, President Obasanjo was indicted by a committee of the Nigeria National Assembly for awarding energy contracts worth $2.2bn without due process. The report of the committee was never accepted by the National Assembly as the entire process was derailed. It was no surprise that Ribadu, the head of the EFCC faced a lot of persecutions after Obasanjo left the seat of power because many had seen the operations of the EFCC during Obasanjo government as selective justice.

Third Republic - Yar Adua Government (May 2007 - May 2010)

It was a well known fact that the Yar’ Adua and Jonathan government that succeeded the Obasanjo government was a brainchild of President Obasanjo. What was not clear was the main reasons behind it. There were those who believed that Obasanjo had wanted Yar’ Adua to succeed him because Yar’ Adua was one of the few governors without a blemish on their record. There were others who felt that Obasanjo had wanted Yar’ Adua to succeed him because Obasanjo was close to Yar’ Adua’s late brother as the latter was his second in command when Obasanjo was the military head of state and Obasanjo saw the younger brother Musa Yar’ Adua as someone he could easily control.

At the time of his nomination for the candidacy of the PDP, Yar’ Adua was relatively unknown on the national stage although he was the Governor of Katsina State. There was also a rumour about the fact that Yar’ Adua had no presidential ambition but for the persuasion and the support of President Obasanjo who in fact did many of the campaigning on Yar‘ Adua‘s behalf as the latter was always in and out of hospital due to his ailing health.

As for Goodluck Jonathan, he hails from the Niger Delta region of Nigeria where most of Nigeria oil, the main source of revenue for the country came from. His candidature as the running mate to President Yar’ Adua was a way of diluting the protest by the Niger Delta people and to placate the militant organisation, Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) that had been fighting against the foreign oil corporations and the Nigeria establishment who they felt were exploiting them.

Mr Goodluck Ebere Jonathan is a perfect gentleman. His demeanour not only depicts this but his history in politics confirms it. Whilst the deputy governor in Bayelsa state, even when the then governor was more or less incapacitated due to his involvement in money laundering case and temporary detention in London, Mr Jonathan was reluctant to step into the vacuum of power. Again when he found himself in similar situation as a result of the pro-longed ill health of President Yar Adua, Vice President Jonathan was reluctant to step up and fill the vacuum created by the President’s ill health. Mr Jonathan is not someone that can be described as a career politician but someone who finds himself in politics and then found himself thrust into position of high authority as a result of catalogue of unplanned events - stroke of luck. Goodluck Jonathan also was said not to nurture any presidential ambition until the intervention of President Obasanjo who persuaded Jonathan and supported him.

The inertia of the Yar Adua government caused by the late President’s ill health was there for all to see. As a matter of fact, the issue about the late President’s ill health was not a secret. Whilst he was the governor of Katsina, he was constantly in and out of hospital. Only in Nigeria will someone with such a history of poor health get to win the nomination of his party and then went on to win the presidential election. Even during the campaign for the presidential election, Yar Adua was constantly in and out of hospital for treatment. There was a time during one of the campaigns where the outgoing President at the time President Obasanjo was doing the campaigning for him whilst Mr Yar’ Adua was on a sick bed in a German hospital. There was a rumour about whether or not he was still alive at the time and President Obasanjo had to quell the rumour by phoning him on his mobile phone and had a phone chat with him for the audience to witness. This helped to confirm to the crowd that he was alive and receiving treatment in hospital in Germany. In fact there was some disquiet within the PDP that Obasanjo had imposed Yar’Adua on the party and by implication, on the country.

The successes of Yar’ Adua and Jonathan both at their party’s primary and at the general election were said to be largely down to Obasanjo’s political manoeuvring and the general election in particular was massively rigged in favour of the two. The conduct of the presidential election was criticised by foreign observers which shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. This is Nigeria and we are yet to witness a free and fair presidential election. There is too much at stake for the ruling elite to allow presidential election to be free and fair.

The government of Yar’ Adua and now Jonathan have left much to be desired. It shows that when you put together a team of the unwilling to head the executive of a country, what you will get is a reluctant Presidency and a nation that is left to drift. There was so much optimism at the beginning of the Yar’ Adua government but the fact that President Yar’ Adua was always in and out of hospital due to ill health means the government lacked leadership and direction. And with the Vice President unwilling or unable to lead, a dangerous power vacuum was created which means important decisions were not being made or made late to the detriment of the country. The fact that there was no visible person to effectively take on the mantle of leadership in the absence of the President also allowed many government officials and ministers to dictate their own direction and again corruption went on unchecked.

On 23 November 2009, President Yar'Adua left Nigeria for Saudi Arabia to receive treatment for a heart condition but was never seen in public again. His return back to Nigeria was carried out under the cover of darkness which generated more controversy as he was flown back in an air ambulance which clearly indicated that something was gravely wrong with the President’s health. On 5 May 2010, the country was informed that Yar'Adua had died and on the following day, he was buried in his hometown.

Third Republic - Jonathan Government (May 2010 - Current day)

Following the death of President Umaru Yar'Adua, Vice President Goodluck Jonathan was sworn in on 6 May 2010. Goodluck Jonathan had been the Acting President since 9 February 2010 when the Senate decided that presidential powers be transferred to the Vice President until President Yar’ Adua return to full health which he never did. This decision by the Senate was preceded by so much outcry from concerned organisations like the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) and the Save Nigeria Group. On 22 January 2010 the Supreme Court of Nigeria gave the Federal Executive Council (FEC) fourteen days ultimatum to decide a resolution on the capability of the ailing President to discharge his presidential functions. It was clear that Vice President Jonathan was never going to make any move of his own accord or provide the leadership needed at a time when the President was no where to be found to discharge his constitutional duties and despite the fact that the President’s poor state of health was a general knowledge.

On 18 May 2010, the National Assembly approved Jonathan's nomination of Namadi Sambo, the Kaduna State governor for the position of Vice President. This continued the unfinished four year term of late President Yar’ Adua. On 15 September 2010, President Jonathan announced that he would run for re-election and on 18 April, Jonathan was declared the winner of the election. His victory was however marred by violence in the northern part of the country over claims of vote rigging.

The election or the assumption to the Presidency of an Ijaw man and in particular someone who did not come from one of the usual major tribes in Nigeria gave many people a sense of hope for the country but so far, the Presidency of Jonathan has left much to be desired. Accounts of events so far over the Jonathan’s Presidency have indicated that Mr Jonathan was either unprepared for the Presidency or he did not fully had a grasp of the magnitude of the task he was taking on. Presidential decisions were either made late or not at all and even in some instances where presidential decisions were made, it is opened to serious questioning the judgement behind such decisions. The Jonathan government so far gives the impression of being in government but not in power. The death of the ailing President Yar’ Adua had not changed anything as the country is still drifting under the Presidency of Jonathan. The country lacked real leadership and many government officials have seized the opportunity to do whatever they like. There was no clearer example than in the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria Mallam Lamido Sanusi who had become an executive governor in his own right with little or no control from the real head of the executive. Islamic banking was introduced into Nigeria polity not by National Assembly passing any law to that effect or by the Presidency giving the authorisation for the Central Bank governor to do so. Also, following the bombing of areas in the Northern part of Nigeria by the Boko Haram sect, the Central Bank governor had not only been going about making political statements in contradiction of his position as a civil servant but had also been disbursing Central Bank money as he wish without any reprimand from the President. Even pressure group like the Save Nigeria Group who had stood up and decried some of the excesses of the Central Bank governor and in particular when he made political statements as to why Boko Haram engaged in terrorism and then donated N100million to the victims of the Boko Haram carnage in Kano, acquiesced when Mallam Sanusi made a balancing act by giving N25million to the Christian victims of the 2011 Christmas bombing by Boko Haram. Those who kept quiet when wrongful acts are done in their favour loses the moral right to complain when wrongful acts are done against them. Regardless of the balancing act, Mallam Lamido Sanusi was well beyond the remit of his duty and should be censured. He had no authority whatsoever to give the money of the Nigeria Central Bank to any victim of the bombings. His actions are politicising the office of the governor of the Central Bank and polarising the Nigeria society. It is a further evidence of the weakness in the current system which has outlived its usefulness to our country if it was ever useful at all.

Also, there is the issue of the fairness of the current revenue allocation formula which have been left unresolved. Even many from the Delta region that have been agitating for a fair deal for the Niger Delta people have become more or less quiet now that one of their own is in power. It seems it is just enough for them to have one of their own in Aso Rock with little or no benefit to their surrounding and their people. For many of us who supported the derivation formula of revenue allocation and sympathise with the Delta people for their cause, will find it difficult to maintain the support when all that the majority of the Delta people want now that one of their own is in power is just a safe and uneventful passage through Aso Rock for one of their own. What many failed to realise is that, if all they are just contented with now that one of their own is in power is just ensuring a safe passage through Aso Rock and kept quiet on the issue of their agitation for fairness, they will have no moral right to demand for a better deal when the power pass on to not one of their own. Then they will be seen as trouble maker because they were contented with the status quo when one of their own was in power.

Thus events over the years have changed the fate of the Nigeria nation. The current set up in Nigeria today is completely different from what existed during the colonial era and much different to what the politicians inherited at the country’s independence from Britain in 1960. The federal government today has arrogated so much powers that the state governments only exist at its mercy. Control of natural resources and revenue derived from them are firmly in the hand of the federal government with little or no control from the regions. This, coupled with the inherent weaknesses in the system have resulted in unprecedented level of corruption and without doubt make the control of power at the centre very attractive to unscrupulous politicians. These two combined have created a vicious cycle which without any doubt will eventually lead to the collapse of Nigeria if not addressed.

Nigeria leaders over the years (military and politicians) who have been fortunate enough (unfortunately for the general masses) to grace the throne of power in Nigeria have seen the inherent weaknesses in the Nigeria set up and have exploited it for their benefit. Many have enriched themselves and in the process impoverished the masses. As a matter of fact, what past and current leaders in Nigeria have done is to make sure that the current set up with the inherent weaknesses are maintained and would go to any length to defend the status quo. The victims in all these are the Nigerian masses who continue to endure year on year of unprecedented level of misrule and mismanagement resulting in total collapse of infrastructures and normal daily life.

There are talks about amending the constitution and President Jonathan has assigned the task to a commission to look at this. But for anyone to think that the leaders who stands to benefit from the continual operation of the current constitution would then agree to change or amend it in such a way that will deprive them of their privileged position of unfettered access to the nation’s wealth or take away their undue authority is either plain stupid or suffering from the worst kind of brain damage. As a matter of fact asking for a Sovereign National Conference (SNC) when it is clear that the federal government is never going to organise one represents a complete naivety to the point of complicity.

The issue here is also about mandate and whether the regional governments should accept such a move. The original constitution make a provision for the regional governments to approve major changes in the constitution before it is implemented but this provision had not been respected over the years. Under the current system, the role and responsibilities of each level of government have been diluted. Military incursion into Nigeria politics have created a great imbalance between the regional governments and the central government resulting in the replication of a military style pyramidal chain of command. The central government has arrogated powers over the years at the expense of the regional governments. This was a de facto arrangement, a consequence of military incursion into Nigerian politics as opposed to a negotiated agreement between the regions. For the regions (or states as they are now called) to subscribe to such arrangement and agrees to the central government undertaking its own constitutional amendment not only amounts to legalising the illegality of central government acts over the years but also meant failing to defend the rights of their people against central government encroachment which in itself a great injustice to the majority of the Nigeria people who have been deprived of any say in the formation of the constitution and its imposition on them over the years. It also means legalising the act of fraud performed on the Nigeria populace when the constitution inherited at independence was replaced by a constitution promulgated by the military ruler and imposed on the people without the people having any say. The current system is a fraud not only on the regional governments but also on the people of Nigeria and should be resisted. The fact that the federal government is now in full control of natural resources like crude oil, makes control of power at the centre very tempting and military coup very attractive to unscrupulous military officers. Even the dedicated and professional officers among them will be tempted to get involved because of the prize awaiting such a successful coup - the control of the resources of the whole country in the hands of the few. Secondly, it discourages enterprising among the states since states can get their hands on money which they do not generate. Thirdly, it encourages the agitation for more states and the creation of more local governments by the states as this is the only way to boost their allocations from the central government. The corollary of this is that it leads to substantial increase in the cost of administration. It is now estimated that Nigeria spends over 80% of its GDP on administrative costs. This is not sustainable and it is a barrier to growth and development. With so much spent on administration, little is left on building infrastructures for the people. Fifthly, it makes the conduct of fair and accurate census impossible as it encourages falsification and artificial inflation of census’ figures. States are using the figures to justify the creation of more local governments and demands for more money from the central government. Up till the present day, Nigeria is yet to conduct a credible census. Therefore, any changes to the current system that leaves the control of the nations resources in the hands of the central government should be resisted. Some people have suggested the limiting of the term of office for elective office holder to a single term of six years, seven years or whatever. How this will help the people of Nigeria or help to fight corruption in Nigeria is yet to be seen. We have witnessed in the not too distant past how our leaders even with not a long time in office have enriched themselves to the detriment of the whole country. The Abubakar government was in power for only eleven months and yet there were allegations of large scale embezzlement of public money. The Abacha government was only in power for less than five years and billions of pounds sterling was siphon from the government coffer. The only people that will benefit from such provision in the constitution are the corrupt leaders as this would make sure that their turns come round quickly. In addition, when those in power realise that they won’t be facing another election make them to act with total disregard for accountability. Those who fail to learn from their past will become a victim of their future.

Nigerians For Referendum (NFR)

This is why we in the NFR believe that a real mandate from the people is necessary to challenge the continuous operation of this discredited system imposed on the whole nation by the few to the benefit of the few and to the detriment of the majority.

Sadly, the situation in Nigeria today more or less resembles the situation prevailing in the old Soviet Union. For a long time, those in position of authority at the centre were aware that the Soviet Union was in a mess politically and economically and there were urgent needs for changes to be made to address the problems but the changes were resisted. There were those who believed that the status of the country as a super power would be jeopardised if the required changes were made and there were those who thought their privileged positions would be threatened if the changes were made. As a result, the problems were allowed to fester until it started to threaten to collapse the whole country. Gorbachev was brought in to try and execute some changes but when his attempts at making changes at the system through Perestroika threatened the privileged positions of some old guards, attempt was made to remove him through a coup d’etat. The coup failed and the old Soviet Union collapsed.

It has become clear that real and required changes will not be effected from the centre when it comes to Nigeria as those at the centre are oblivion to the fact that the corporate existence of Nigeria is under threat. They are too much pre-occupied with maintaining their own privileged position and undue benefits the current system accords those who manage to gain power at the centre. This is the reason why we in Nigerians For Referendum are now advocating for changes effected from the regions. What the country needs is a total abandonment of the current system not an amendment of it. This current system is a complete fraud on the people of Nigeria. A system that put the whole resources of a whole nation in the hands of the few and allow them the authority to deal in the country‘s revenue as they so wish and as if it is their own personal account; a system that allows our leaders to steal our money and then decide among themselves how much they can keep and how much they should return. This is a discredited system which should not be allowed to continue in this day and age. Nigerians have been taken for granted for too long. Nowhere in the world would the public money be treated the way Nigeria’s revenue had been treated over the years and those involved been allowed to get away with it to the embarrassment of the whole nation and to the detriment of the whole country. Everything is wrong about the current system. It was neither negotiated nor agreed upon. It was imposed on the people. This is why we are proposing a return to the original plan put in place at independence (though with some changes) before military incursion into the country‘s politics derailed it. We are proposing a return to regional government based on each state having full control over revenue from resources found within their states. A system that restore the regional autonomy that was taken away by the current system. We are proposing a system that will strip the central government of its unjust arrogated powers and return those powers to the states where their exercise will be for the benefit of the people. We are asking for a system that allows each region the freedom to map out its own path to development dictated by its own chosen pace. This is a plan designed to save Nigeria and restore dignity to our people. This is why we are calling for a referendum based on two issues: returning of the total control of resources and the revenue derived from them to the state governments in which the resources were found and the restoration of the original regional governments.

Why a referendum? In a democracy power or authority are derived from the people and for any major changes like the one being advocated to be implemented legally and legitimately, you need the full mandate of the people to carry it out. Much have been said about National Sovereign Conference but if one take a good look at it, it is fraught with a lot of difficulties. Firstly, we have an elected National Assembly which is sovereign in its own right. You cannot select a group of people and then accorded them with such privilege which by any means they do not deserve. The corollary of selecting people to undertake the task of debating our problems and finding solutions is just continuing with the same elitist democratic system that allows certain kind of people the honour and undue privilege to decide on the future and direction of our country while depriving others a say on issues that concern them. Thirdly, the authority of the National Assembly is derived from the people, therefore the only power that supersedes this authority is the people themselves as they are the highest sovereign in a democracy hence the need to have the people decide on what they want the government to do on these important issues.

Why the returning of the control of resources and the revenue derived from them to the state governments in which they are found?

Firstly, this was the arrangement at independence and this arrangement has served us well in the past and we believe it will serve us well now and in the future if adopted. It is evident that most public spending on services and on development projects are undertaken by the states and the new arrangement will stop the concentration of the control of resources of the whole country in the hands of the few at the centre. The current arrangement has become the bane of corruption in Nigeria. This is not to say that the new system being proposed will wipe away corruption or that there won’t be corruption at the state level but never again will the corruption by one individual or group of individuals in a state affects the whole nation as the case is under the current system. In addition, because the state governments are closer to the people, accountability will be more effective and mismanagement easily spotted. Furthermore, state governments are below the regional government in hierarchical order and as each state will only be required to give certain percentage e.g. 20% of its revenue to the regional government, the regional government will have cause to ensure that corrupt state government is exposed since allowing the state government officials to embezzle government’s money would mean a reduction in the amount turned over to the regional government and hence less money for the regional government to spend. Therefore, the new arrangement will have an inbuilt checks which will go some way to discourage corruption.

Why the restoration of the original regional governments? It should be acknowledged that prior to the army incursion into Nigeria politics, the Mid-Western region had been created by a plebiscite in accordance with the constitutional provision. However, the reason behind the agitation was to prevent the domination of the minority Mid-Western people and we believe that the retention of the created states will continue to serve this purpose and allay the fears of the minorities hence the suggestion for the return to the original three regions with the individual states in full control of resources found within their states and revenue derived from them but operating under the umbrella of a region.

We also believe that Nigeria should be a union of autonomous regions and not a federation as it is now. This will allow each region to determine the path to their own development and the pace of their own development. This is what we had before the incursion of the military into the country’s politics. This is not to say that there won’t be any role for a central government but this would be based on cooperation between the regional governments. Also, the areas of cooperation will be clearly defined and will only include those areas that were originally reserved exclusively for the central government at independence namely, defence, external affairs, currency, banking, shipping, navigation, and communications. Much have been said about the role of a President for the whole country but we had existed before without a President albeit with a head of state and a prime minister but we don’t have to have a directly elected President for the whole country as the role can be rotated between the elected leaders of the three regions. This will go a long way to resolve the current and continuing tension within Nigeria. And since the area of cooperation is the area already assigned to the regional governments, cooperation in these areas will be more effective and efficient.

In order to achieve these objectives, we are proposing the following 2 point plan:

(i) The introduction of a ‘referendum’ bill in each state House of Assembly. The bill could be sponsored by any member of the House of Assembly or by the state government.

(ii) The bill is to authorise the state government to consult its people to seek their mandate through a referendum on the following issues: (a) should Nigeria continue with current arrangement or be a union of autonomous regions as it was at independence; (b) Should state governments assume control of all resources found within their states and the revenue derived from them.

We urge all Nigerians to join hands with us in demanding for a referendum organised by the states in actualising this plan. We in the NFR believe and justifiably so that what can save Nigeria from the impending collapse is a return to the arrangement obtained at independence where real powers reside with the regional governments. Much have been said about the Aburi Accord which suggested a confederation arrangement for Nigeria but which was never implemented by the Gowon government. The truth is that the Aburi Accord was a negotiated agreement but this current system was neither negotiated or agreed upon, it was imposed. We don’t have to practice federalism, we don’t have to accept someone else’s discredited plan. We are human beings with hope and aspiration and we have a right to self determination. This is more the reason why we are calling for a total change from the path that our past military leaders have taken the country. It is a path leading to nowhere but destruction. The current system favoured no one but our leaders and their families and cronies Other countries in the world are moving forward while we continue to watch in agony how our dear country is being left behind. Many of our children have lost their lives in search for a better future abroad that they are being denied at home. There are tribal and religious tensions which are costing the lives of many innocent Nigerians but with no solution in sight. We in the NFR believes that these problems have solutions and this is why we have suggested a referendum on those issues that if adopted without doubt will bring us nearer to finding solutions to our perennial problems as a country. Together we can save Nigeria from the impending catastrophe and restore dignity to our people but we must be brave to take the important and needed steps to achieve this.

To find out more about NFR, visit us at: or if you would like to join NFR, leave your name and contact details at: and we will get back to you. You can also leave your comments on Facebook: Nigerians For Referendum

Folorunso Makinde
President NFR

Chief Evans Akpanobong
NFR (Nigeria)
Tel. + 44 - 07574342640

*Photo Caption - Late General Aguiyi-Ironsi addressing the nation in his 1st press conference as Head of State. *In photo - sitting from left to right are Hassan Katsina, Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, David Ejoor, J.E.A. Wey and Yakubu Gowon. Click For Enlarged Photo

 -Masterweb Reports
Nigeria’s wealthiest pastor, Bishop David Oyedepo is in the news again – this time in the United Kingdom. Sadly for him, Britain is not Nigeria, where the corrupt courts absolved him of all wrong doings, his abuses and violence against a young worshiper of his church at Winner Chapel – aka “Cananland” It was the video of his satanic slap of a young girl, probably an uneducated parishioner, who didn’t know how best to express her love and witness for Jesus, that exposed the abuse and muddled message that is being promulgated by the bishop to his gullible and biblical ignorant followers. Since then, I have penned a couple of articles calling on the federal government intervention to enact laws and policies to checkmate abuses - physical, sexual, emotional, mental, and moral abuses in places of worship in the nation in order to protect the vulnerable. I’m not too concerned about the learned and intelligent parishioners that sit under such blasphemous teachings every week. Hosea 4:6 says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” To earn a PhD or have a lucrative job or business does not make one knowledgeable. However, it still baffles me how an educated and intelligent person could sit under such teachers and listen to the junks that some of them teach from their pulpit every week. So, it behooves the government to protect the weak and vulnerable especially from physical and sexual abuses in the name of God.

Christianity is no longer an intellectual exercise in an age of prosperity gospel

The Rev. Dr. Jonathan L. Walton, the new Pusey Minister of Harvard’s Memorial Church, and professor at Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, in his first “morning prayers,” a ritual of welcoming freshman move-in day to Harvard University at Cambridge, said, “Religion (faith) is an intellectual as well as spiritual exercise. The Memorial Church, he declared, is a place to educate minds and expand hearts - action that defines faith, belief that encourages discussion, and joyousness that allows for the occasional bout of existential angst.” I agree with Professor Walton. If theology, spirituality, faith, religion and the call to teach the infallible Word of God, was not an intellectual exercise, I would have quit being one long time ago. Training to become a priest/pastor takes years of study and preparation. Sadly the “holy office” is no-longer sacred and intellectually stimulating because cone men and women, who have no business with the “holy calling”, have desecrated it in order to dwindle and deceive the gullible and weak in the society. This kind of unbalanced gospel messages that are being promulgated by the so-called “men of God” and super pastors and preaches of our day around the world is appalling and troublesome.

Christianity has lost its moral mandate and mission. Today, the gospel message, the good news of the kingdom is perverted. What we have nowadays is another gospel, a false gospel, and a religious syncretism. “The gospel teaching that subtly implies and often overtly states that God wants you to be rich is a false gospel,” writes Pastor Jim Bakker, a former prosperity preacher and proponent of “God wants you rich theology,” who dwindled his parishioners millions of dollars and later while serving term in prison, he diligently read and studied the Scripture and God opened his understanding. That teaching he says, does not lineup with the tenets of the Holy Scriptures. It is another gospel – another Jesus, in fact, a gospel of Satan and message of hell fire - a prosperity-tinged Pentecostalism.”

Christianity is in crisis

Dr. Hank Hanegraaf, president of Christian Research Institute in California, and one of the finest and courageous Christian apologists of our time, in his book, “Christianity in Crisis” prophetically and passionately argued that modern-day Christianity is in crisis. He said that the Church is undergoing a major transformation and that millions of Christians have embraced another gospel, another Jesus, a gospel of false promises of prosperity, wealth, healing, signs and wonders. He attributes the problem to lack of sound biblical training and Seminary education. George Barna, the famous Church consultant, researcher and writer, also supports Dr. Hanegraaf postulations that the Church is dying due to lack of sound Bible teachers and strong Church leadership. There is no doubt that the Christian faith has lost its value, respect and dignity. C. S. Lewis, the famous Oxford apologist for the faith, wrote: “We must return to Christianity in order to preserve the things we value. But we cannot return to Christianity at all unless the thing we value above all else is Christ….. Otherwise, we are in effect, asking to save our idols for us.”

In his best-selling book, “Crisis in the Village,” Dr. Robert M. Franklin, a theologian and public intellectual, wrote that the “Church has lost her moral mission, call and commitment.” Today baby boomers and the new “millennials” are flooding to churches and synagogues because of widespread hunger for meaning and many bring aversion to such traditional teachings such as sin, evil, forgiveness, commitment, even truth itself. As a result, what we have today in many large churches is “designer gospel message” and “religious syncretism” where the gospel are re-packaged to suit those who want a faith to satisfy their “felt need,” the gospel message that “God wants you to be rich.” “Send money as a step of faith and God will bless you message.” “Give a $1,000 pledge and God will bless you.” Name it claims it.” “Give to get rich message.” “100 fold return-blessing and even 1000 times return” is another gospel, a different gospel from what Jesus Christ taught. Their tricks are working because many of those who profess faith in Jesus Christ are biblically ignorant and gullible and that is why ‘god-want-you-rich theology’ is a booming business for their proponents. It is true that Jesus taught on the subject of money and finance more than any other subject in the Bible – but all His teachings on money were in negative connotation. I will write more on Jesus’ teachings on prosperity in the part-2 of my article.

Big faith equals wealth $millions$

In the July 2007 edition of Christianity Today, it carried a survey conducted in 2006 by the PEW forum on religion and public life. They found that 25% of Nigerian Christians are renewalists - that is Pentecostals and Charismatic. The same survey noted that 33% of South Africans and 50% of Kenyans were also renewalists. Out of nearly 900 million Africans, which include Christians, Muslims, pagans, Atheists and other religious persuasions, about 150 million Christians are now renewalists. Professor Paul Gifford of the University of London, England, in his 2004 book: “New Christianity: Pentecostalism in a Globalizing African Economy” writes, “African Christians believe that success is determined by your faith.” Professor Gifford notes that these renewalists have moved beyond traditional Pentecostal practices of speaking in tongues, prophesying, and healing to the belief that God will provide – money, cars, houses, and even spouses – in response to the believer’s faith – if not immediately, then soon. In the same 2006 survey by PEW forum, 92% Nigerian Christians, 90% South African and 85% of Kenyan Christians agreed that “wealth and material blessings are based on one’s faith.” What a tragedy and travesty!

This is how sad and drastic prosperity gospel has become among Christians in Nigeria and most of Africa. Prosperity message is destructive and has negative effects. This blind spirituality is not only destructive, damaging, and deceptive but worse than slavery. It is bondage, abuse, deception, manipulation, godlessness and satanic capitalism. Most Nigerian Christians are only not enslaved spiritually, morally and financially but intellectually as well. It is economic, moral, and intellectual slavery. Million of Nigerian Christians are now victims of Satanic Churches and their false prophets. The prosperity gospel is also destroying Nigerian society –family, homes, causing a combination of disappointment, hurts, discouragement, and anger toward God and sometimes causes people to turn away from God. What we have nowadays is moral bankruptcy, biblical ignorance, a modern day voodoo and satanic spiritual spiritualism. In a nutshell, what we have today is 419 in the Church. What we have today is materialistic Christianity and there is enormous danger in it.

Warning against false doctrine and false prophets and teachers

Jesus Christ warned his disciples and followers about false prophets who would rise up to lead many astray and to destruction (Matthew 24:11). In Oliver Discourse, Jesus warned, "Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name. And will deceive many" (Matthew 24:4-5). Jesus said if you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free – John 8:31-32. People remain in bondage when they are ignorant of what has been provided for them through the life and death of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, today, too many Christians are more interested in this present world materialism than in the balanced teachings of Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul dedicated the entire epistle of Timothy to teach against false prophets, false doctrines and godlessness in the last days. He warns Timothy, his son in the ministry, to flee from such things. He writes, “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths” – 2 Timothy 4:3-4.

In 2 Timothy 3:1-5, Paul warns, “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God — having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.”

2 Timothy 3:16-17 say, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. The Apostle Paul charges Timothy, “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.” As teachers and preachers of the Word of God, we are reminded to do our best to study and show ourselves approved to God, a workman who odes not need to be ashamed but who correctly handles the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15).

There is no doubt that that the Nigerian Pentecostal Church and certain bishops in the fold are emulating and borrowing from the rich American Church and her superstar pastors, bishops and televangelists like Pastor Benny Hinn, Bishop TD Jakes, Dr. Creflo Dollar, Bishop Eddie Long, Bishop Dale Bronner, Pastor Joel Osten, Pastor Joyce Myer, Pastor Paula White, and Pastor Darlene Bishop etc. These imitators and imposters refused to understand that United States is a rich and capitalist country. The American Church organizations are big businesses and they have learned to tap into the wealth and prosperity of the nation without depending on the meager tithes and offerings from their members. Today, the streets of major cities in Nigeria are littered with all kinds of Churches promising healing, wealth, prosperity and happiness and yet Nigeria and vast majority of its citizens are among the poorest people in the world. Additionally, the presence and practice of rituals, divination, astrology, sorcery, witchcraft, voodoo, magic, envy, greed, jealousy, hatred, idolatry, hypocrisy, ungodliness, wickedness, lust, immorality, adultery and corruption remain rampant and alarming in the society. There is no sign of righteousness, love, peace and hope, but injustice, unrighteousness, hate, anger, resentment, bitterness, evil, wickedness, violence, killings, and hopelessness reign supreme in every household, neighborhood and city.

Modern-day designer Church is perverted

I’m afraid to say that what we have today is a perverted Church; a Church that is totally misconstrued, misguided and misinformed where spiritual witchcraft and biblical ignorance are in abundance. What we have today is a Church that is bewitched, a Church that is preaching and teaching another gospel; another Jesus and a message of “get rich and get healed theology,” a Church were the so-called men of God are preaching eisegesis rather proper exegesis and sound exposition of the Word of God, where they are using pragmatic psychological philosophies for attaining success and for solving spiritual issues rather than sound exposition of God’s Word, men who are using the Word of God for lucre and for profit.

The Church was called upon to uphold the honor, glory and authority of Christ on planet earth. Instead of upholding this divine mandate with dignity, the Church and her leaders have been deceived and trampled upon by demons of antichrist and cultic and pharisaic associations where the presence of God is completely absent and self and pride are enthroned. What we have today are Church buildings where sin, wickedness, witchcraft and all manners evil are practiced and people accept it so; multimillion dollar buildings and temples where the spirit of Christ has been thrown out and Satan himself is enthroned on the altar. No wonder atrocities and exploitations of worshipers such as the ones we read in our newspapers and watch on television are happening every day. The Church must pray for revival and renewal. I agree with Rev. D. Peter C. Moore, who wrote that, “The Church that God cherishes is one that is “Evangelical in Teaching, Catholic in Sacrament, Reformed in Doctrine, Charismatic in Ministry Gifts, and Liberal in Ethos and Global in Scope.” Anything else is just humanistic and designer religion.

The danger of prosperity and materialistic message rather than true gospel

The danger of Pentecostal prosperity and materialistic message is giving people false hope – that God will fulfill His promises based on their twisted interpretation of Scripture. Biblical hope is more of a simple wish; it entails certainty based on God’s demonstration of faithfulness to people in the history of salivation recorded in the scriptures and as experienced by promise of Christ’s return and the anticipation of resurrection from the dead. That is the blessed hope in God. Most of these prosperity preachers may have earned PhD’s in other fields of study but not in theology, divinity or ministry. They should go back to school – Seminary to study the Scriptures – and take course in exegesis, biblical interpretation, hermeneutics, homiletics, and biblical languages such as Hebrew w and Greek in order to be qualified to correctly teach the Bible. Because what most of them are teaching today is another gospel, a twisted and muddled gospel - a gospel of hell and that of Satan designed for the coming of antichrist. Prosperity teachers are preaching arrogance, foolishness, sin, and false doctrine – because what most of them are propagating today is not true gospel but another gospel, a muddled message. They should repent and confess their sins for contradicting and twisting the gospel message of Jesus Christ.

In Part 2 of this essay, I will unpack the teachings of prosperity preachers and share what the true gospel message is about including the prosperity aspect of the gospel from the teachings of Jesus Christ, who is the Gospel.

Rev. Dr. C. Kingston Ekeke reports.
Rev. Dr. C. Kingston Ekeke is a public theologian, author, and leadership scholar. He is the president of Leadership Wisdom Institute.

*Photo Caption - Bishop David Oyedepo