Odido Deserves Eleme Local Government Council Chairmanship Seat in 2014

Honourable Oji Nyimenuate Ngofa is in the twilight of his second term in office and the jostling for who succeeds him has begun in earnest. The jostling may not necessarily be about who the successor would be, even though some aspirations are more than obvious, but importantly, the battle at this time is about the where in the geopolitics of Eleme the successor would come from. Several permutations ranging from the absurd to the macabre are being postulated by different interests in justification of primacy of succession, but herein only one is worthy of discourse, being, the issue of Nchia/Odido Dichotomy.
OKrika/Obigbo/Tai/Eleme Local Government Area (OTELGA) was created on September 6, 1979 from the old Bori Local Government and further into Gokhana/Tai/Eleme Local Government Area (GOTELGA) in December 1989. This political administrative arrangement was again separated into Tai/Eleme Local Government Area on September 23, 1991 and once again Balkanized into the present day Eleme Local Government Area in 1996. Consist predominantly of the Odidos (Ebubu, Onne, Eteo, Ekporo, etc) and the Nchias (Ogale, Alesa, Alode, Agbonchia, Aleto, Akpajo, etc); from inception, harmony, brotherhood and cooperation has been sustained through the efficacy and conscientious application and observation of the Odido/Nchia dichotomy principle in the allocation of socio-political and economic gains accruing to the Local Government Area, as a balancing ideology to promote unity and discourage discord.
This trend of political engineering as handed down to us by the founding fathers of the Local Government Area and which has been sustained as a vehicle for equitable distribution over time by all well-meaning leaders has continue to be the source of our strength and pride as a people. The sanctity and ingenuity of the Odido/Nchia dichotomy principle which has sustained us as a united family as we were moved from one political-administrative permutation to another over these many years cannot be continuously violated by the dictates of inordinate ambition of an unconscionable few. There is no better time than NOW to reverse the ongoing mindless repudiation of the Odido/Nchia dichotomy principle thus promote and uphold the doctrine of rotational leadership and true brotherliness in Eleme.
For the avoidance of doubt let us briefly examine the table below to see how the principle has been abused and the pendulum of leadership leaning towards one direction between 1979 and 2013. The table, without being parochial and/or economical with the truth, reveals the imbalance in Eleme Local Government Council Chairmanship and whether justice, equity and fairness have been served; our amity preserved and promoted; and our heritage and posterity, united and progressive, if in 2014, due negligence and inattention to detail we consign the glue of our peaceful co-existence to extinction by promoting the election of another Nchia Local Government Chairman.

Table 1: List of Past Indigenous Chairmen of Eleme Local Government Council
1. Chief Hon. C. C. Okpa Nchia Agbonchia 1981 – 1984
2. Hon. Chief (Sir). John O. Obele Nchia Agbonchia Oct. 9, 1991 – Dec. 1, 1991
3. Hon. Olaka Nwogu Nchia Alesa Dec. 3, 1991 – Nov. 9, 1993
4. Hon. Evang. Precious Osaro-Ekee Nchia Alode Apr. 11, 1996 – Mar. 15, 1997
5. Hon. (Dr.) Nwokolu Dimkpa-Nte Nchia Agbonchia Mar. 26, 1997 – Jun. 9, 1998
6. Chief Rev. Princely Emeka Chujor Nchia Ogale Jun. 2, 1999 – Jun. 4, 2002
7. Hon. Onornwi Ngofa Nchia Aleto Jun 4, 2002 – Dec.7, 2003
8. Hon. Fred Mbombo Igwe Hon. Nchia Aleto Dec. 7, 2003 – Aug. 26, 2003
9. Chief Davis Saloka Nchia Alode Aug. 26, 2003 – Apr. 22, 2004
10. Hon. Chief Ejor Ngonwa Ejor Odido Onne Apr. 22, 2004 – Apr. 24, 2007
11. Hon. Mba Laleobe Nchia Ogale Apr.24, 2007 – Dec. 10, 2007
12. Hon. Josiah Olu Odido Onne Dec. 10, 2007 – Apr. 25, 2008
13. Hon. Oji Nyimenuate Ngofa Nchia Aleto Apr. 25, 2008 – Apr. 24, 2011
14. Hon. Kammy Ngelale Odido Ekporo Apr. 24, 2011 – May 31, 2011
15. Hon. Oji Nyimenuate Ngofa Nchia Aleto May 31, 2011 –?

Of the fifteen (15) occupiers of the Eleme Local Government Council Chairmanship seat who are of Eleme origin Odido District which is located in the East and Southeast regions of the Eleme territory has produced only three (3) for only three years and four months period, while the Nchia District which is situated in the Western area has occupied the Eleme Local Government Council Chairmanship seat twelve (12) times spanning a period of over twenty-two (22) years. The current Executive Chairman, Hon. Oji Nyimenuate Ngofa hailed from Nchia and he is serving his second tenure, so no one begrudged them and the Odido accepted this in good faith, even though this unprecedented act of chivalry will culminate in an unbroken 22 years in power to the Nchia. Now, if we accede that in 2014, it is the turn of the Odido District, to complete the dual rotation, common sense and astute judgment, devoid of sentiments, demand that the Nchias should in good faith and for justice sake concede the position to Odido. Anything short of this conscientious interplay of mutual accommodation may consign our togetherness to jeopardy, because it would amount to reckless insensitivity to consciously attempt to exclude the Odido component of the Local Government from the power matrix for 28 years res ipso coquito!

It is also worthy to caution, that the present sabre rattling and threats of dire consequences, demeans rather than enhances, the quest for Chairmanship, since it will only inadvertently alienate many of us who consider ourselves lovers of and believers in ONE Eleme. Let no one be deluded that any single clan or ward can install itself Chairman of Eleme Local Government Area without the cooperation and collaboration of the other clans, wards and communities.

The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) unequivocally in Chapter II, Section 14(4) states inters alia “….The composition of the Government of a State, a Local Government Council, or any of the agencies of such Government or Council, and the conduct of the affairs of the Government or Council or such agencies shall be carried out in such manner as to recognize the diversity of the people within its area of authority and the need to promote a sense of belonging and loyalty among all the peoples of the federation” If we may ask, would Eleme Local Government not be in violation and indeed in contravention of the spirit and letter of the Constitution should the Nchias insist on excluding and marginalizing the Odido component of the Local Government Area for 24 years?
Even the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) took a cue from the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria when in Section 7(2) of the Party’s Constitution it affirmed that “The Party shall adhere to the principles of zoning and rotation” and so it is applicable to most of the registered Political Parties. Most States today and their out-going Governors tend to subscribe implicitly to this dictum, as can be gleaned from the public declarations of Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State; Governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu State; and even our own indomitable Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, amongst many others, whose unwavering commitment to ensuring that the egalitarian principles of justice and equal rights are upheld to the greater glory of unity, amity and equity. Therefore, we dare say without apology, that only an uninformed and unreasonable person, impervious to the peaceful co-existence and co-habitation of the peoples of Eleme, who is pandering to selfishness and inordinate ambition can dispute the overarching imperative of an Odido Chairman for Eleme Local Government Area come 2014.
For these reasons, and to preserve, promote and protect our collective destiny, and the future of our posterity and heritage, we implore and encourage our compatriots of Nchia extraction, especially our political brothers and sisters, who though eminently qualified and believe they are poised to actualize a long anticipated aspiration, to acknowledge that the vicissitudes of current political fortunes weighs precariously against their aspiration, if amity is to be preserved. The Nchias need come to terms with the fact that they represent “OUR BIG BROTHERS” and have been privileged to occupy the position of Eleme Local Government Council Chairman for many years. Conceding the position of Council Chairmanship to Odido is an esteemed sacrifice that must be made to the greater glory of our tomorrow as Eleme people with one destiny under God.
Again, a sincere beam of searchlight on Odido District will pin the Eleme Local Government Council Chairmanship position to Ebubu come 2014. The reason is not farfetched. Of recent, Ekporo has produced a Member Rivers State House of Assembly in the person of our great son, Chief Hon. Precious Osaro Ngelale who was later appointed a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and a Chairman of Council in the person of Hon. Kammy Ngelale. Onne has gotten two Council Chairmanship slots in the persons of Chief Hon. Ejor Ngonwa Ejor and Hon. Josiah John Olu and two (2) Members of Rivers State House of Assembly (RSHA) in the persons of our illustrious sons HRH (Barr.) Dr. Emere J. D. Osaronu (JP) and Hon Josiah John Olu. Eteo has also taken its own share of political leadership in recent times with our vibrant son Hon. Marcus Nle Ejii serving two tenures as Member Rivers State House of Assembly and also as a Portfolio Commissioner in the Rivers State Government. In all these, Ebubu has always played both fatherly and supportive roles with only Membership of the Rivers State House of Assembly in the person of Hon. Samuel Oguru to its credit. This shortcoming in the distribution of political power cum abuse of the doctrine of rotation can be collectively addressed if the Eleme Political Class (EPC) is determined to do so by simply conceding the Eleme Local Government Council Chairmanship position to Odido in general and Ebubu in particular come 2014.
A peep into the remote past is necessary here. From the “Eleme County Council” of 1959 created by the Eastern Nigeria Government through the highly cherished Governor Melford O. Okilo’s “Eleme Urban Council” of 1981 down to the present Eleme Local Government Council, history attests to the fact that Ebubu, within the Odido bloc, has suffered much oppression, suppression and repressions in both political and social matters and denied political representations and appointments. To put the records straight, between 1960 and 1965 Chief Hon. Israel Saloka Oluka of Aleto served as Chairman Eleme County Council. He was succeeded by Chief Hon. Aaron Oluka Ngei of Alesa who headed the Council from 1965 to 1967.Chief Hon. Columbus Okazu of Ebubu served as Chairman Eleme Urban Council for less than 6 months and was succeeded by Chief Hon. Gaius O. Ngofa of Aleto in 1982. Chief Hon. Paul O. Wokoma of Akpajo was Chairman Eleme Urban Council from 1982 to 1983 and was replaced by Chief Hon. Olungwe Osaro Baah of Eteo in December, 1983. During this period (1981 to 1984), the real cum overall Chairman of the Eleme Urban Council, designated Coordinating Chairman was Chief Hon. C. C. Okpa of Agbonchia, who by all standards deserved inclusion in the above table. This narration is not intended to arm-twist but born out of the sincere believe that together we can correct this abnormality; together we can reverse the trend; together we can give every section of Eleme a sense of belonging based on the doctrine of political power rotation between Nchia and Odido.
We are not unmindful and neither are we naïve to the great sacrifices the Nchias have made and continue to make, nor are we impervious to the perceptions of the “our turn” mentality being aggravated, but we pride in the conviction that the Nchias will always do what is right, no matter the cost. We are also of the conviction that truth, astute judgment and good conscience will surely prevail. God bless Great Nchia! God bless Eleme Local Government! God bless Rivers State! God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Eleme bi nnԑ!


Security Challenges of Kidnapping in Nigeria


Introduction – There is still no precise definition of kidnapping. Its definition varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. However, for our purpose we will define kidnapping as an unlawful seizure and carrying away a person by force or fraud. It involves seizing and detaining a person against his or her will with intent to carry that person away at a later time. In this sense, kidnapping occurs when a person, without lawful authority, physically asports (i.e., moves) another person without that other person’s consent, with the intent to use the abduction in connection with some other nefarious objective. That is, kidnapping occurs when any person is unlawfully and non-consensually asported and held for certain purposes. These purposes may include but not limited to gaining a ransom or reward; facilitating the commission of a felony or a flight after the commission of a felony; terrorizing or inflicting bodily injury on the victim or a third person; and interfering with a governmental or political function. Kidnapping is a crime under the Nigeria law.Kidnapping is as old as man. The practice has been known since the beginning of history. It was common as a method for procuring slaves, and it has been employed by brigands and revolutionaries to obtain money through ransom or to hold hostages whose safe release was dependent on the freeing of political prisoners and it has also proved to be an effective tool for generating attention and publicity to dissenting courses.
Dimensions to Nigerian Kidnapping Landscape – It is conservatively put that 1,000 people are currently victims of kidnapping in Nigeria. However, the actual number is probably much higher, since many cases go unreported. These numbers become even more terrifying if one takes into account figures indicating that 120 of those abducted are children. Another dimension to the Nigerian kidnapping landscape is that the kidnappers target the rich and their children and closed relations including foreigners who their intelligence revealed have kidnap value. Kidnappers’ targeting and attack also rely heavily on the victim’s insider to provide them with the needed intelligence information. These victim’s insiders could be domestic staff, driver, child, relation, friend, neighbour, etc who knows about the victim’s itinerary, funds availability, state of protection and so on and is maliciously ready to part with the information.
For many years now, the US and Britain, prompted by uncanny security situations, have routinely issued travel warnings to their citizens should they think of travelling to Nigeria. High crime index has continued to ensure that the country remains at the bottom of favourite tourist or investment destination thus compounding the twin problems of underdevelopment and unemployment, which invariably promote more insecurity and instability in the country. In the past, those scared to their wits of coming to Nigeria or scampering off the country to live elsewhere have often cited a catalogue of crimes like armed banditry, bank robbery, car hijack, political assassination, religious/sectarian violence, ethnic conflicts, ethnic militia activities and Boko Haram insurgency. While all these got their usual mention in the nation’s crime diary, it was kidnapping that recently took the center stage, making screeching headlines week after week.
It is evident that armed robbers and other criminals are fast abandoning their trades for the more lucrative business of kidnapping. Behind the abduction gangs that have sprung up across the country are young, smart, intelligent and educated Nigerians who are being lured into crime by growing unemployment, frustration and the perceived high returns in the booming business. According to Dennis Amachree, the Regional Vice-President for Africa, American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS), “of the 10 countries with high kidnapping records in 2007, Nigeria occupied the 6th position; but, between 2007 and 2012 Nigeria has moved up to the 3th position behind Mexico and Columbia”.
In all the villages and towns, the story is the same. Kidnappings and abductions with the whopping amounts of money raked in as ransom by the hoodlums are pointers to the new crime wave. For instance, the hoodlums who kidnapped the former Minister of Petroleum and elder Statesman, Dr. Shettima Ali Monguno, in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital confessed that they were driven by the need for money. They were said to have been paid a whopping N50 million within just 72 hours before they released their victim.
Another kidnap victim, Chairman of Ejigbo Local Government Development Authority (LGDA) of Lagos State, Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan, whose family allegedly paid N15 million to secure his return, said his return was miraculous. He said God made his captors to change their minds despite their initial plan to kill him. He revealed that the kidnappers claimed that they were graduates and that they did not like what they are doing but had to do it due to lack of jobs. In his words, “They said they were graduates and this country has not provided jobs for them and the same country that has rendered them unemployable spends billions of naira everyday on wasteful projects…. They have to do this, take the risk. They have to take part of the national cake”.
One of the major features of the Niger Delta crisis that outlasted youth restiveness in the area is kidnapping. Kidnapping which started at the peak of the crisis forced most multinational oil companies to consider pulling out of the Niger Delta. For example, in August 2006 Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) considered pulling out its expatriate staff following the spate of kidnapping experienced the Niger Delta. As part of the company’s effort to protect expatriate staff from victimization they were advised to stay indoors and work from home; reduce visibility within the city; and reduce the aspect of staying in hotels. Other options considered by the company include to withdraw all expatriate staff to Lagos; send all or most expatriate staff home and replace them with their Nigerian counterparts overseas; and to move operations offshore where security personnel can see and prevent attacks as well as make very difficult the ability of militants to attack on the high sea.
Fortunately, the Federal Government of Nigeria intervened and instituted Amnesty Programme which seeks to rehabilitate and reintegrate repentant militants through training at home and abroad, bogus contracts and outright bribing, among others. But the youths, having perfected the act of kidnapping and tested the sweetness of making huge amount of money effortlessly, without much risk, now engage in kidnapping as a ready income earning venture on a larger scale. Indeed, all manner of people including the young, old, men, women and even children now engage in the lucrative business of kidnapping. Boko Haram has also changed tactics to carrying out kidnapping business to generate funds; especially because kidnapping is more lucrative, less dangerous and requires short time to plan and execute.
Recently, the spokesman of the Joint Task Force in Borno State, Colonel Sagir Musa, told journalists in Maiduguri that based on intelligence report, the Boko Haram terrorist group had resolved to concentrate more on kidnapping than robbery. “They alleged that kidnapping is more lucrative, less dangerous, and requires short time to plan and execute”.
To achieve their goals, the report disclosed that, “A special kidnapping squad has been earmarked and tasked by Boko Haram to kidnap persons who could be a relation, politicians, businessmen and women, civil servants, traditional rulers, and foreigners alike”.
Bearing his mind on the danger of kidnapping in Lagos State, the Executive Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) said, “…people are afraid of the rapid increase in kidnapping. It is a new problem and I assure Lagosians that the Government is on top of the situation and would deal squarely with it”. We are seriously waiting to see the Government right on top of the situation.
In Rivers State where kidnapping has taken a new dimension following the kidnap of Most Rev. Ignatius Crosby Ogboru Kattey, the Dean, Archbishop and Bishop of the Niger Delta North, Anglican Communion of Nigeria yesterday, the Government still believes that it is on top of the situation. According to the Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon Chibuike Amaechi, “security agencies in the State foiled no fewer than 50 kidnap cases monthly”. The figure of monthly thwarted kidnappings in the State is not only alarming but also bothersome and apprehensive. If fifty were unsuccessful how many were successful? What about the unreported cases which often times are greater in number than the reported cases based on the rural nature of our communities and the fragile police-community relations?
Recently, on November 1, 2012 to be précised, a combined team of security operatives killed at least 14 suspected members of a notorious criminal gang that specialize in kidnapping, assassinations, and armed robbery in parts of the State. The operation which took place when the security agents invaded the hideout of the hoodlums at Kaani Community in Khana Local Government Area was to rescue a Turkish national identified as Biram Karakus, believed to have been kidnapped by the gang some weeks earlier.
The renewed increase in the cases of kidnapping in parts of the State in recent times is worrisome. The annoying aspect of it is that most of these kidnappings take place in the Ogoni axis of the State. In Eleme, the industrial nerves center of Nigeria, no fewer than two cases of kidnapping or attempted kidnapping are reported weekly. From Alesa to Onne and from Ebubu to Aleto, the story is the same. The militants who hitherto carryout kidnapping across the Niger Delta is said to have since disbanded. Who then are these youths that not only constituted themselves into criminal gangs but are also conniving to carrying out kidnappings in the area.
The rising number of army of kidnappers calls for concern. The reason is not farfetched. Unlike armed robbery which is often perpetuated by physically strong men, kidnapping can be undertaken by anyone between the age of 10 and 100 years, male or female, physically strong or weak. Their methods varied including posing as travelers, uniform men, clergymen, or technicians; acting as hawkers, dressing like mad people, or pretending to be beggars or offering one type of assistance or the other, which invariably lures the victim into their net.
Lamenting the situation of kidnappings in Anambra State, the Chairman, Inter and Intra Party Relations Committee in the House of Representatives, Hon. Fort Dike, noted that, “It is so unfortunate and so bad that State Governments, even Anambra State, where I hail from, and the Federal Government has allowed kidnappers to be on rampage as if there is no form of countercheck”.
He further said, “It is so unfortunate and it is not that the consequences are not so obvious and devastating to the extent that people who have kidnap value of N50 million to N500, 000 are scared of travelling to their States and if you have to go, you have to get security that will accompany you and even with the escort, because of the types of ammunition you will not be able to sleep”.
He advised, “So, I urge the Federal Government and the State Governments to tackle this insecurity called kidnapping. State Governors collect huge security votes every month and yet they cannot tackle the menace”, he queried.
The inadequacy of policing Nigeria is also revealed when you consider the number of police officers vis-à-vis the population being protected or controlled. In Rivers State, for instance, 11,000 police officers are expected to police 5.6 million people whereas the United Nations recommends a minimum police strength of 222 per 100,000 people. Inadequate policing is reflected in increasing crime waves and police helplessness.
In Nigeria today, the kidnapping industry is flourishing and operates hand in hand with political combatants. At least an average of three to four wealthy individuals is being kidnapped every month. Yet the authorities seem powerless to deal with the problem. Their advice to people reporting the kidnapping of a family member or a business associate is to pay the ransom. Some corporate organizations have units that deal with ransom negotiation. A bad precedent you would agree.
What then can we do about kidnapping?
Chips to the Rescue – In 1990, during the Gideon Orka bloody coup d’état, one of the stories that made the rounds was the alleged kidnapping of two of the children of the then Military President, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida in Switzerland where they were students. The motive, it was said, was to put pressure and raise the odds against IBB in that critical moment in Nigeria’s history. Real or fantasy, the kidnap story further claimed that the IBB children were tracked and rescue by the Swiss police who had followed a signals emitted by tiny electronic devices carried about by the VIP kids.
Global Positioning Satellite – There exists the technology to trace the whereabouts of kidnap victims using Global Positioning Satellite (GPS). As part of enhanced personal and family security, one can consider these electronic implants that have the capability to keep tabs on kidnap victims via satellite. The tracking machines and cameras also enable security agencies to track the kidnappers and their agents.
Grassroots Security Engineering – The grassroots security engineering system which operates through the age-long African traditional structure have the potency to check kidnapping in Nigeria. The grassroots security engineering as a system allows for information dissemination from the hamlet through kindred, ward, local government, and state government with a strong functional and effective structure to collate, evaluate, analyze, interpret and act upon them by relevant state security agencies. Grassroots security engineering provides the window for the public to supply law enforcement with real time information while their protection is guaranteed. It operates beyond the current vigilante groups to involve all law abiding elements of the grassroots.
Know Your Tenants– Every landlords and landladies should be encouraged to know his/her tenants. Basic information concerning where he hails from, what he does for a living, the types of friends he/she keeps, when he/she goes out and comes in and to call in the police when suspicious.
Know Your Neighbourhood – If you know your neighbourhood you will observe when the unusual is being perpetuated. Knowing your neighbourhood also involves knowing those around your immediate environment; the types of life they live; the friends that visit them, how often and usually when? Take cognizance of persons that loiter around or vehicles that park around your vicinity, for how long, and who is in the vehicle? On the way be conscious of vehicles that follow you for 5 to 10 minutes without making any attempt to overtake even when you slowdown. Seek police assistance as soon as possible.
Anti-kidnapping Squad – Anti-kidnapping squad should be incorporated into the nation’s fast growing community policing system. The anti-kidnapping unit of the police should be specially trained, equipped with modern anti-kidnapping gargets and motivated to provide proactive anti-kidnapping services. Red spots should be mapped and tabbed and surveillance cameras installed to aid law enforcement.
VIP Protection – Most Nigerians VIPs do not take their own protection serious. It is disheartening to note that many Nigerian VIP whose kidnap value is say N50 million and above still pay their security N20, 000 or less monthly. Unknown to them, this measure instead of saving funds for them merely increases their vulnerability and endangers the safety of their entire family members. If one is to provide security services for an executive worth billions of naira, the worth of the VIP should justify the operative’s remuneration. Staginess conserves money in the short run but frustrates and kills in the long run. The prevalence use of quacks by those who can afford professionally qualified security is both irritating suicidal. The protection a VIP pays for is what he gets. VIP or Executive protection is a specialized security function and only specialists in the field can render the required services. A research conducted by this writer on VIPs protection in the Niger Delta raised red flag. How fortified is your security? How qualified is your executive protection provider? Do not wait to be victimized to upgrade to Generally Acceptable Executive Protection Standard (GAEPS). You might not be so lucky to buy your release or procure your return for a fee.
Government Responsibilities – According to the 1990 Nigerian Constitution, the primary function of Government is “security and welfare of the people”. Unfortunately this responsibility has been relegated by successive administrations. Security votes are bluntly made family votes. Corruption is legalized, insecurity has become the rule not the exemption, and the people’s welfare are abused recklessly. Survival of the fittest is the now order of the day. Instead of properties, human beings are now stolen at random for ransom. It is the responsibility of the Government to create jobs for its citizens. It is also the duty of the Government to curb corruption, ensure good governance and eliminate those things that frustrate citizens and to institute platform that motivates citizens to bring out the best in them for the overall growth and development of the country.
Training the police, providing law enforcement with all the modern technologies to solve kidnapping problems and giving security the best available motivation can only cater for 30 percent of the problems; good governance which eradicates corruption, provides employment, ensures equitable distribution of resources and challenges the citizens productively is all we need to take care of the other 70 percent of kidnapping problem.

Two Wrongs Cannot Make A Right

It is yet to be proved that two wrongs can make a right. A threat by Bashar al-Assad was converted into an invitation to treat by President Barak Obama when he declared many months ago that his “redline” in the Syrian Civil War would be the use of chemical weapons. The acceptance of such offer and performance by Bashar al-Assad without second thought was foolish, wicked and barbaric. Combining the 1,500 people, including children killed by the chemical weapons and over 100,000 lives already consumed by the Syrian Civil War, it is clear that the US and France waited for too long to intervene if they have wanted to do so in a more civilized manner without increasing the number of casualties and inflicting more sufferings on Syrian civilian population. Of course, destroying some military installations, aircraft, or tanks to punish Assad for using chemical weapons would discourage other leaders from attempting to use chemical weapons on their own people. But the same civilian populations are at a higher risk if military action is angrily embarked upon. Obama and Hollande should consider human lives above political and economic gains accruable to their countries from the military option.

Russia’s threat to use the military capability of its warships, present off the Syrian coast, to rebut any attempt to attack from outside Syria is another cause for concern. Basher al-Assad is already on a suicide mission. The Russians who misled him are still playing the ostrich. We should be concerned with how many chemical weapons are in Basher al-Assad’s arsenal now and how to prevent further use, apprehend and prosecute him for offence against humanity. This option will enforce the norm and prevent the temptation of chemical weapons’ use around the world.

The use of chemical weapons against civilian and non-civilian Syrians by Bashar al-Assad is condemnable. On the other hand, supporting the U.S. President, Barack Obama and his French counterpart, President Francois Hollande, to punish the Syrian dictator, Bashar al-Assad by military attacks without considering the possible negative consequences of nuclear retaliation, an attack on South Korea, and a gigantic refugee crisis is really an intervention without human face. Two wrongs cannot make a right!

Protecting Nigerian Industry against External Aggression

Protecting Nigerian Industry against External Aggression

Presenting a keynote address at a three-day industrial security and loss prevention management workshop organized by the Nigerian Institute of Security (NIS) recently at Presidential Hotel, Port Harcourt the former Chief Judge of Rivers State, Hon. Justice Iche N. Ndu said, “It is my thesis that industrial security is national security, and industrial insecurity begets, not only economic insecurity and destabilization, but also political insecurity and instability”. Coded in these words are challenges to Nigerian leaders, policymakers and security professionals to evolve measures for internal and external process of effective industrial security management for improved functionality and success in the development of the nation’s industrial base, thus promoting sustainable national economic growth and development.
Nigeria has enjoyed relative peace from external military aggression. Nations at war employ all available means, including industrial sabotage to gain an advantage. However, we must realize that in modern times the term “war” does not typically refer to military confrontation. Economic wars are more prevalent these days. As at now, there is a relentless, massive, unceasing, and evil war mounted by the industrialized countries against the developing nations. The war is conducted in an atmosphere termed “peaceful coexistence” because it does not boom, grind and clatter. It is cool but devastating, silent but horrible, paralyzing economics and destroying nations.
Nigeria has been at the receiving end of this cool but evil war. The story of Ajaokuta Steel Mills is a case in point. The circle of Nigeria’s exploit into the steel world has been endless and the waste monumental. Our once promising National Fertilizer Company of Nigeria (NAFCON) and hopeful Eleme Petrochemicals Company of Nigeria Limited (EPCL) collapsed in mysterious circumstances. Today, these companies are up and doing, in foreign hands, producing at full capacity and maximizing profits. Our four refineries are not only moribund but have also become drain pipes for siphoning our national resources. Nigeria, apart from importing refined petroleum products from abroad forces her citizens to pay for the products through their nose. The security implications of zero industrial base economy, poor governance and frustrated citizenry are very much with us today.
The Nigerian Enterprise Promotion Act of 1977 (otherwise known as the Indigenization Decree) was intended to protect Nigerian’s industries by putting many businesses which were hitherto in the hands of foreigners in the hands of Nigerians. This good intention was soon defeated by a sudden upsurge in government revenue from oil, which saw the economy becoming suddenly over liquid plus its concomitant problems of how to organize the newly acquired business to avoid disruption and possible collapse that the unplanned changes in management caused; and the problem of how to cope with the runaway inflation which had badly eroded the purchasing power of the Naira. The worsened general economic conditions soon after the 30 months Nigerian-Biafra War of 1967 – 1970 coupled with lack of necessary goods; the realization of extreme sacrifice; and spreading disappointment and discontent caused insecurity of lives and properties to rise.
In the interplay of these factors, the unseen hands of our enemies were at work to reverse the indigenization doctrine and make Nigeria a dumping ground for foreign goods perpetually. Today, we are back to square one. Through the Bureau of Public Enterprises, we have sold everything to foreigners except the Presidency. We import everything, including toxic waste. Because the developed world would not want Nigeria to be detached from their apron strings, they would continue to do everything possible to sabotage any meaningful developmental efforts in the direction of heavy industries.
For instance, the doctrine of Local Content is another carefully orchestrated publicity campaign mounted by the multinational oil companies (MOCs) over 40 years after oil was discovered and exported from Nigeria without any meaningful achievement in terms of improvement in the infrastructural and industrial base of the country. In the Norwegian North Sea, it did not take more than two years for the country to take over the control of the national oil industry. Although the government initially placed a 30 percent local content clause in all contracts in the petroleum industry, in less than five years the local content was 100 percent. In other words, the Norwegians are in full control of their oil industry. They were never dictated to by anybody. The multinational oil companies merely provided the capital and expertise to kick-start the industry. The Norwegians take over as soon as they could raise the financial muscle.
The Nigerian case is pathetic. It is a case of one step forward and two steps backward. About forty-seven years after oil was discovered and exported from Nigeria, the Petroleum Industry Bill is still battling to see the light of day. The same people who have been working against indigenous takeover of the Nigerian oil industry are doing everything possible to frustrate the passage of the original PIB into law.
The matter does not end with the oil industry. It is common knowledge that foreign government knows more about Nigeria secrets than the Nigerian Government, be it social, industrial, political or economic information. For example, nobody in Nigeria can say with any measure of certainty that when the British left the shores of Nigeria they handed over all the information they obtained about the country’s mineral resources. The situation may be illustrated by a story told by the Principal of a Secondary School in one of the Western states. He narrated how he observed and watched two white men and a black man for several days while they used certain implements to dig and extract something from a hillside near his School. One day, out of curiosity, he went up to them and enquired what they were doing. Actually, he thought that they were deployed by the Government to carry out one type of project or the other. The intruders did not reply. Instead they disappeared from the site. When after many weeks they did not return, he became suspicious and reported the matter to the Local Government Headquarters. Further investigation revealed that those men were actually digging for gold.
Where did these people obtain the information that led them to know exactly at what point to mine for gold? The chances are that they must have obtained the information from somewhere in the archives of their native country. But then, even that fact would be less important than the realization that these men had the audacity to come right into the heart of the country and hired a local guide to help them locate where to dig. How many more of this sort of thing goes on in this country on a daily basis? Are we really in control of Nigeria? How secure are our secrets? How protected are our intelligence?
In the educational arena the story is the same. it is difficult for a Nigerian student to obtain data from one of the many multinational oil companies (MOCs) for an academic research than for a Camel to pass through the eye of a needle. The foreign company would instantly show him out of the gate on the grounds that such information is well-preserved and guarded company’s secrets. But, the student’s counterpart in the US or Europe would go to any library and lift exactly the same information about Nigerian petroleum industry right out of the bookshelf.
Similarly, if a helicopter lifts off from Yaoundé in Cameroon a drops in Kuru near Jos in Plateau State or from Niamey in Niger Republic and drops in Eleme in Rivers State, how many Nigerians, when they see the helicopter fly across, would give it a second thought? I doubt if anyone will. But such an event is not only momentous, it could be destructive. It could also mean the life and death of a nation. How much of Nigerian borders is actually policed? How many immigrants are documented and monitored as they walk across the nook and cranny of the country daily?
Nigeria is surrounded by black African countries – Benin, Niger Republic, Chad, and Cameroon. Now, if anyone has a reason to spy in Nigeria would he not sponsor black Africans simply to work across our borders and do their dirty jobs? When we use the term “foreigner” in Nigeria, we are always thinking about white people, or discernible light-skinned people like the Arabs. Meanwhile, the nation could be overrun by black foreigners. For example, the disturbances in Kano from December 18 to 29, 1980 in which 4,177 people were killed and the economic life of Kano city completely paralyzed was masterminded by Maitasine alias Muhammadu Marwa, an indigene of Marwa in the Cameroon Republic. It is also widely believed that the now lateleader of the terrorists group, Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau that has killed almost 5, 000 people and is disrupting the commercial and industrial life of northeastern Nigeria since 2009 was from Niger Republic. If the invaders were originally folks seeking for their livelihood, no one would be much agitated. The real threat is when the invaders have sinister motives like the instances cited.
Again, if you discover Uranium at Eleme, how do you know that the next “village man” you see around Eleme is not a spy? He might as well speak Eleme Language, dress like the Elemes, and indeed live in Eleme for over ten years without anyone realizing that this man is gunning for our Uranium.
I do not know much of what Nigerian immigration laws say, but I know that in Scandinavia, the immigrant is made to report to the local police in any town he intends to stay for more than one week. If his stay in that locality will be more than two weeks, he will need to obtain a new residential permit to do so. As you move from town to town, or from locality to locality, the police keep tag of your movements and update their records. You are constantly under surveillance, even when they are satisfied that you are a harmless fellow.
Counter-industrial-espionage entails both the measures a nation takes to protect its secret industrial information, and the method of identifying and dealing with those who want to obtain such information through covert operations. The former is easier to do than the latter. The former is passive while the latter is active. Does Nigeria have what it takes to engage in meaningful active counterespionage activities? Is our security apparatus organized and equipped with the appropriate tools, manpower, expertise, and charged with the responsibility of providing us with an envelope of protection through the functionalities of planning and direction, collection, processing, all-source analysis and production, and dissemination of intelligence? How many of our corporate organizations maintain an effective in-house security department with a functional Business Intelligence Section? Where such department or Unit exists, how much attention is paid to: –
• Current Intelligence – which follows day-to-day events,
• Estimative Intelligence – which looks at what might be or what might happen,
• Warning Intelligence – which gives notice to Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) or Policymakers that something urgent might happen that may require their immediate attention,
• Research Intelligence – which is an in-depth study of an issue, and
• Scientific Intelligence – which is information on foreign technologies?
Counterintelligence, the science of preventing enemies or competitors from learning about our secrets has grown both in scope and applications. It is either you can ensure that your secrets are very difficult to discover, or you can impede the effort of those who want to learn those secrets by snooping around. Although human beings still play prominent roles in gathering intelligence, electronic listening and seeing devices are now leading the race thus affording industrialized world added advantage over developing countries. Today, the security of some of our most cherished secrets that we hitherto enjoy are fast whittling away by technology. It is also true that the more publicly available information about us the more vulnerable we are to attacks.
Privatizing and commercializing all our ailing industrial and commercial concerns is not the solution to Nigeria’s industrialization problems. Our industries need protection; our markets need security. There is no disputing the fact that Nigeria is one of the world’s best-performing markets. According to the report written by Hilary Kramer and published in Forbes, an authoritative US Journal, “Nigeria was one of the world’s four best-performing markets in 2012 with a 35.45 percent gain and is the biggest and most dynamic frontier economy in Africa, with a GDP at par with global capitals like Hong Kong and Singapore”. Kramer noted that, “The Nigeria economy is growing at an annualized rate well above six percent, faster than any of the top-tier emerging markets”. The invisible growth is both frustrating and confusing. Where is all the accruable wealth? What percentage of the profits remains in Nigeria to develop our industrial base or are the profits exported in hundredfold to the foreign investors’ countries to strengthen their economy the more while we compound the problem of a “fast-growing economy” while the citizens suffer under the oppressive hands of poverty and frustration? Our market needs protection just as the citizenry request that their “security and welfare” be the primary concern of their Government.
What makes a nation thick is its ability to maintain a strong security defense; demonstrate the capability to learn the secrets of enemies (both real and potential); and exhibit the know-how to keep its secrets secret.
As we develop and advance in science and technology and play increasing roles in the international scene, we need to establish measures to protect our industries from both external and internal meddlesomeness. We must protect what we have as we move to where we want to be. In doing this, we must maintain a strong security defense, continually learning the secrets of our real and potential enemies and keep our own secrets secret.