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Lock down Nigeria now

Editorial: Lock Down Nigeria, Now

Nigeria has, at last, recorded a death from Coronavirus, death of a high profile retired public officer.

This death is not a surprise because everyone expected that at some point, a confirmed case might go this way. Most, however, expected that the first report of death might have come from Lagos – the state where majority of our citizens who flew in from overseas have flocked to. Instead, it came from Abuja, the city where only three cases of Covid-19 had been confirmed prior to this time.

It is instructive that the death came from a case that was not hitherto captured in the public record. It must be a sobering moment for all of us. This death indicates that it is no longer a matter of speculation that there could be others silently battling the disease in their homes and not submitting themselves to the processes that could save them and also save millions of their fellow citizens.

Nigeria has done everything it could possibly do wrong to ensure that, first, the virus is allowed free entry, and second, that it continues to spread silently and ferociously.

As you read this today, 23 March 2020, the Nigerian airspace is still not closed to commercial airlines from overseas. The order from the regulator – the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) – is for Lagos and Abuja international airports to close to foreign airlines with effect from 11.00 p.m. tonight.

The result of this dithering has been obvious: More than 90 percent of Covid-19 cases so far confirmed in Nigeria are from people who flew into the country within the past seven days.

As you read this, people are still jetting around through domestic airlines, including those that came in from overseas and are mingling with the fortunate few who could afford to fly.

As you read this, the Nigerian e-visa policy has not been officially cancelled. Foreigners with US visas are said to be exploiting this loophole by flying into Nigeria and boarding aircraft for the US, something they could not do from their home countries.

Oversea transit passengers passing through Lagos and Abuja international airports without knowing they already have the symptoms will definitely pass it on to immigration officials processing their e-visas who, in turn, will take it to town in Lagos and Abuja.

As you read this, 33 states in Nigeria do not have the facility to test the virus but must take a trip, with samples from suspected cases, to laboratories in two of Nigeria’s six regions. As happened in the Enugu case, suspects may even have died before the results come back.

As you read this, we can safely say that the silent battle for self-glorification – between Lagos and Federal authorities on the one hand, and between actors in the health sector, on the other hand – has been subdued, possibly as a result of the overwhelming threat they all can see clearly now.

Nevertheless, who will be surprised if some federal and state actors take this as an opportunity to approve budgets that can be diverted into private pockets while equipment and processes they need to put in place are corrupted?

As you read this, Nigerian authorities are asking travelers from high risk countries to self-isolate. This essentially means to go back to their homes and not mingle with society until after two weeks. Going back to their individual homes is not self-isolation – if the home also habours other family members and relations that the returnee freely mingles with within the self-isolation period.

All that needs to happen is for the person in so-called self-isolation to be positive to the virus and to infect a family member who freely mingles with society, and the result is too obvious to miss.

As you read this, save for Lagos State, many churches, markets, and areas with high footfalls in all the states of the federation are still in business, our people are freely mingling, and we are creating jokes about the virus and about social distancing.

We are saying enough of this tomfoolery. It is time for our various governments to go into near-panic mode, stop fooling around, institute and enforce drastic solutions. Domestic flights need to be grounded. All schools need to close. All open markets and anchor shops need to close. All social gatherings need to be banned and the bans strictly enforced. Governments need to buy food for the people that they will be asking to go into self-isolation because, for majority of our people, there is hunger in the land and no money to buy food.

eMetro News calls on Nigerian citizens to be aware of the danger we face at this moment and face up to it as individuals and as families. We are facing an existential threat. We all need to collectively fight this thing and stay safe.

If deliberate and intentional panic will do it for individuals and families, we highly recommend it.

Social Distancing is the Solution

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10-ways-to-dine-in-enugu-restaurants

There are at least 10 different types of restaurants one can patronize while on a visit to Nigeria’s south east City of Enugu. Enugu restsurant owners invariably serve a pot-pourri of menus that make them distinguishable one from the other. They also approximate to standard restaurant categorisations.

It can sometimes be tough for Enugu residents and visitors to enjoy the unique advantage of specializing in different pots. There are quite a number from the hundreds of restaurants dotted all over the city landscape, whose owners get it right. Plus the Igbos of Nigeria are reputed to serve the most diverse and nutritionally rich ethnic menus.

Let’s do a checklist of 10 categories of restaurants and see how Enugu restauranteurs rate in meeting the standards of each. Here goes.

1.    Ethnic Restaurants

Ethnic restaurants are one of the different types of restaurants that specialize in preparing ethnic dishes. In Enugu, we are primarily concerned with finding restaurants where visitors can find Igbo, Yoruba, Riverine, Calabar dishes. Except at roadsides, it is difficult to find exclusive Nigerian ethnic restaurants in Enugu, except one patronizes roadside eateries like Nwanyi Ituku Restaurant on Presidential Road. However, if we consider Chinese as ethnic food, one can go to Octopus in Nza Street, Happy Panda at Upper Chime Avenue, and Discovery Kitchen also at Chime Avenue

2.    Fast Food Restaurants

The name was coined from how fast it takes people to get food to eat when they step in through the door. Fast food joints provide the fastest service because every meal is cooked, waiting to be dished to patrons who are not interested in fine dining. Diners order the food from the counter and carry the plates themselves to their tables or packed in takeaway bags. Popular fast food restaurants in Enugu include Mama Onyinye Restaurant in Park Avenue, GRA. Take-away only fast foods can however be found in Shoprite at Polo Park, Spar at Okpara Square, and the Roban Stores located at Independence Avenue, Agbani Road, and Trans-Ekulu.

3.    Fast Casual Restaurants

Fast casual restaurants are one of the different types of restaurants one will search far to find in Enugu. They are chain restaurants such as Mr. Biggs, Chicken Republic, and Sweet Sensation, all of which operate mainly in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt. National fast casual restaurants like Mr. Biggs could not survive the competition in Enugu and had to close down. Only Crunchies on Rangers Avenue is making a strong showing at the moment.


Know about Enugu’s two famous native meals


4.    Casual Dining Restaurants

 These are restaurants that serve moderately priced menus in a casual atmosphere. They provide table service as well. Typical examples of casual dining restaurants include Ntachi Osa, Discovery Kitchen, Celebrities and Dolphin Restaurants.

5.    Premium Casual Restaurants

Premium casual restaurants come with both a dining section and a lounge section. This is the place to be for millennials who want to eat in a good atmosphere as well as play games or watch matches at another section. The only restaurant that comes close to this description is Roots Restaurant on the intersection of Presidential Road and Okpara Square.

6.    Fine Dining

They are the ultimate in connoisseur restaurants, delivering three- or two course meals in an upscale ambience. The décor is quite rich and exotic, and the owners may decide to set some rules for patrons, such as asking each diner to dress formally or wear a tie. Diners get full table service in tables that are traditionally covered by white cloth.

7.    Buka Restaurants

The most common types of restaurants in Enugu is the Buka. Food is often served in an unpretentious local setting with fewer tables. The taste and richness of some Bukas can be quite delightful. It is for this reason that bukas such as Nwanyi Ituku on Presidential Road and .. opposite Enugu Sports Club are patronized by high profile clients who do not mind the make-shift arrangement under which they dine.

8.    Buffet Restaurants

Most buffet restaurants in Enugu are found in star hotels and serve mainly guests and their visitors at the hotels. It is difficult to find diners choosing to visit a hotel restaurant because of exclusive menu that they have. Most hotel menus include a selection of food that is served at a fixed price. Better known hotel menus can be found at Blue Royal Hotel, Maxbe International, and

9.    Cafeterias

Cafeteria food are served in establishments such as schools, big corporations, and hospitals. The foods are ready-cooked, and the diners serve themselves – although some patrons may wish to request attendants who also clean the tables as each diner departs. There are cafeterias serving low budget foods at the IMT, the UNEC, and Godfrey Okoye University. Big establishments such as WAEC in Enugu also run cafeterias, although their quality and taste are considerably watered down.

10. Roadside Delicacies

Most Enugu local delicacies are surprisingly served mostly by street food vendors. You are likely to find otherwise discriminatory diners patronizing them because of their richness and acclaimed health benefits. One can accost the itinerant food vendor wheeling his or her barrow of carrying a pan filled with food on the head. Among the more popular delicacies are okpa and abacha, two menus that Enugu people specialize in. Abacha (cassava flakes mixed with vegetables and dry fish) is sold in open markets while okpa (paste prepared from Bambara seeds and garnished) is a regular fare at interstate bus and taxi parks dotted around the city.

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Anambra lawmaker killed and beheaded

… Soludo offers N10m reward for info

A faceless violent gang has killed and beheaded Anambra lawmaker, Hon Okechukwu Okoye, kidnapped on 15 May 2022.

Hon Okoye, representing Aguata II in the Anambra State Assembly, hitherto chaired the House Committee on Information.

The gang abducted the lawmaker with his aide, Cyril Chiegboka, Government said in a statement.

Both died in what appears like a cheeky response to Governor Chukwuma Soludo’s efforts to rid the state of violent criminals.

An outraged Governor Soludo pledged to find the killers and offered N10million bounty for information that helps unmask them.

Incidentally, Governor Soludo, late Okoye and Chiegboka are from the same hometown of Isuofia in Aguata LGA of the State.

The double killing heightened fears that faceless terror gangs holding the State hostage were sending a message to the Governor.

Soludo said this morning he was undeterred by their action, even as the news shocked and saddened him.

He however vowed to press on with his mission to track down and deal with murderous criminals operating in Anambra

He suggested that the same criminal gang that attacked him and killed three policemen at Isuofia could have struck again.

“They can never cow down Isuofia and Anambra state,” he said in a statement released by his spokesperson, Christian Aburime.

The N10million reward he pledged is for individuals or groups that offer information to unmask and arrest the killers.

“Anambra will soon be a hell for these criminals. Anambra will win against the forces of darkness,” he said.

Gov Soludo urged Anambra citizens to brace up for “the all out war against the criminals.”

As of the time of writing this report, no group claimed responsibility for the double abduction and murder

Slug Anambra lawmaker killed and beheaded

When Chinua Achebe joined the immortals

When Chinua Achebe joined the immortals, first published in 2013, recalls UNN’s Special Senate Session to honour Africa’s literary icon.

“Chinua Achebe was well known throughout the fifty-five countries of Africa and even beyond. His fame rested on solid personal achievements. As a young man of 28, he brought honour to the continent by telling the authentic story of Africa in the work Things Fall Apart. His work changed the narrative of years of denigration of the African as if he had no culture, language, or history.

“The drums beat, and the flutes sang and the people held their breath as African countries struggled for independence. The Western narrative of Africa was strong and deep-seated, but Chinua Achebe was determined and equipped with the knowledge, passion, and the craft and wisdom of ancient storytellers. Every line, every proverb and every sentence of that book stood out. In the end, Achebe defeated the Tarzan narrative and gave African writers a voice.

“That was many years ago, 50 years and more, and during that time Achebe’s fame grew like a bushfire in the harmattan. He would write several other novels, essays, short stories, poems and works all evincing deep wisdom, knowledge, prescience and impassioned advocacy for the betterment of Africa and the black race.”

This recasting of the opening lines of the most famous book out of Africa and one of the best books in world literature played through my head in contemplation of a truly outstanding life whose passage is celebrated this week as the University of Nigeria held a Special Senate Session to honour Chinua Achebe.

There was a sense of the dramatic and surreal at the occasion. As is the tradition at Senate meetings, University Registrar Ogbueshi Anthony Okonta called out the names of members of the Senate present. They responded. He called several names, certainly with no intention of calling the more than one hundred professors present. Then he called Emeritus Professor Chinua Achebe. Silence. He called thrice. Silence.

When Achebe joined immortals

The grave silence provided an entrée for the Vice-Chancellor Prof Bartho Okolo who observed that it was unusual for Achebe not to answer to his name. The VC then called him once more as Achebe’s body rested in the casket at the centre of the Main Hall of the Enugu campus. There was no response as the hall fell deeply silent at the further calling of Achebe’s name.

“Truly, this is a solemn confirmation that the earthly sojourn of our revered colleague, Emeritus Professor Chinualumogu Albert Achebe, our compatriot who rose to become a citizen of the world, has come to an end. It is therefore with profound grief and regret that I preside over this special Senate in his honour”, the Vice-Chancellor added.

It would be a tad too dramatic to say that things have fallen apart with the passage of Chinua Achebe. The literary community are certainly no longer at ease either with the impeding of our hopes concerning continued longevity for this Iroko who departed this plane on March 23, 2013, in the United States.

Scholars gathered Tuesday to pay their last respects to Chinua Achebe with an academic procession and special Senate session at the Enugu campus of the University of Nigeria. It was sobering yet uplifting.

Chinua Achebe’s history is already well-told across the world. At each event through this week of his funeral, though, that life story would be told and retold. It is clearly important to share, acknowledge and deeply appreciate his life.

Achebe lived just short of a century, but he was, pun very much intended, a man of the people; of his students; of his country and of the world. It is fitting that the world has acknowledged his passage and his monumental contributions in several tributes and eulogies ranging from formal proclamations in his honour from government entities in Nigeria, the United States, South Africa, and Jamaica as well as tributes from writers and writers’ organizations worldwide as well as by citizens everywhere.

When Achebe joined immortals

Chinua Achebe was an academic in the finest traditions of contributing to new knowledge, illuminating hidden or unclear aspects of life, and opening the eyes of people to new vistas. He was the epitome of inspiration to all who heard his voice or read the words he wrote.

At the University of Nigeria, he served as a researcher, a teacher, and a fountain of knowledge and inspiration. He gave life to Okike, the journal of new African writing, and served as editor of the journal of socio-political discourse, Nsukkascope. His presence alone was an endorsement and enabler. He was professor emeritus until his passage.

In an earlier tribute, UNN Vice Chancellor Prof Bartho Okolo asserted that Prof Achebe was “one of the academic titans whose presence on the faculty served as a beacon of light that drew the world to the University of Nigeria.”

Chinua Achebe was an agada kpa here uzo, to quote Uzor Maxim Uzoatu. He was a pathfinder and trailblazer. Not only did he climb the tall tree of literature, he also held aloft the ladder so that other writers could climb through the African Writers Series and his vocation as writer and teacher.

No one expected Achebe to live forever; as god-like as he seemed, he still was but a man. When he wrote Things Fall Apart, it was a revelation. It not only was a fantastic read, it opened our eyes to so many issues with and about so many subjects beyond even the obvious.

It was clear that the gathering Tuesday was not really to mourn but to pay the respect of the University community. The university through the Vice-Chancellor declared that “He will be remembered as a remarkable teacher, astute administrator, a creative genius, a storyteller and author of extraordinary ability.” VC Okolo said UNN mourns Achebe for “his unique contributions to the development of our university and for the enormous visibility he brought to our university through his creative works, even in his death.”

It is clear then that no one can be talking about LAST respects, as the debt of Africans to Achebe will never be fully repaid. Homage to Achebe will clearly never be a one-time thing.

,Chinua Achebe by his work, life, and passage on March 23, 2013, has joined the pantheon of immortals that people would forever remember wherever the stories of peoples and nations of the world are mentioned.
The gratitude of the University of Nigeria is one that people share across the world for the life and work of Chinualumogu Achebe. And it is gratitude that several people will express by telling it on the mountain, over the hills, across the seas, that there was a Country. And in that country, there were People, and in the hearts of those people…there was a Man. There IS a man.

Achebe is dead. Long live Chinua Achebe.

First published, 21 May 2013

When Soludo pulled his ears

What does it mean that an elder like Gov Chukwuma Soludo pulled his ears in conversation with Mazi Nnamdi Kanu?

We may never know why the Anambra governor pulled his ears in front of separatist leader Nnamdi Kanu last week. The Governor did not address what he discussed with Kanu at the DSS detention facility in Abuja. He was more interested in passing a message that assists his fight to restore normalcy to his beleaguered state. And no guessing why; Anambra State is undergoing torture through mindless violence.

Why is Anambra being singled out?

We may also never know the reason. But we can take a guess. However, before we do, let us exhaust the ear-pulling gesture captured in the photo-op at the meeting.

It does not matter that the governor did not talk about what he said to Kanu himself. Or indeed why, at a point in their conversation, he began to pull his ears. A picture, they say, speaks more than a million words. Here, we have the image of a “sitting governor” at the edge of his seat, pulling both ears while facing his “host.” And the host, totally relaxed on his chair, replied with an indulgent smile. That smile says it all.

When Soludo pulled his ears

Among the Igbo, there are two broad ways of pulling one’s ears. If one is addressing an elder or a peer on a matter of grave importance, pulling the ear becomes a grave admonition. The speaker admonishes the hearer to not do something or to stop doing something. But it goes deeper than this. It is also that the ear puller has had enough and is washing his hands of whatever his hearer has done or want to do.

“If you do that again, my hand no dey there!”

“I’m telling you now that enough is enough!”

“Better listen to me and listen good; this thing that you are doing is not good.”

“I heard something very bad, and it is my duty to warn you about it. So, I am telling you to stop this thing that you are doing. I am telling you now and you are laughing. Hmm. Ok”

“I know what you are doing but note that I will not be part of it. Let me warn you that this will lead nowhere safe and know also that I will not follow you to that place.”

No matter how we view the gesture, it ends up as an admonition when the speaker pulls his ears in front of another adult. If two ears are pulled at the same time, as Soludo was captured doing in this photo, it becomes a very serious admonition and a serious call for caution.

If Kanu were a child, and the Governor a father figure, the gesture would have been different. When an adult addresses an unruly or irredeemable child, this can lead to pulling the child’s ears. The adult clamps the thumb and index finger on the child’s earlobes, pinches hard and pulls forwards. The legs of most children wobble from the pull while wincing from the pain. The message is the same but delivered more forcibly.

How one wishes there is currently someone of the stature of late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe to give the same ear-pulling message to Ndigbo. The rest of Nigeria have their ears open, listening to the things Ndigbo are saying about the challenges they are facing today. And the challenges are multifaceted. There is the presidency project that is going badly. There is the undeclared and cowardly war against the people of the Southeast. No one, except one lunatic in Finland, is taking responsibility for this war. And there are the other little wars that all disadvantaged people suffer in Nigeria, the war of survival. How will Ndigbo win these multiple wars?

Our current strategy is precisely the sort of undertaking that the Great Zik would have abhorred. At the middle of the Civil War when it looked like the generals were not ready to follow his “Fabian tactics,” Zik stylishly pulled out to let them get on with it. And from the time he left the war, everything inexorably went downhill, until the generals either ran for dear life or wisely surrendered to superior forces.

No one wins a war through direct confrontation with a preponderant adversary. It is true of every battle one can think of, including sports battles, and yes, even the battle of the sexes! On the face of it, it appears like misguided Igbo youths are prosecuting a Fabian Strategy by striking repeatedly at the “enemy” to wear him down. But the enemy happens to be the family members, us.

We are exhausted and frightened. And this is happening without a formal declaration of a war that requires guerrilla tactics to prosecute. Additionally, even if the youths have the weaponry, which they do not, is it not so pointless and silly to fight in their father’s compound? The Fabian Strategy that works – and which Ndigbo currently needs the most – is more subtle and non-violent. It involves actions that enable Ndigbo win over their traducers through an extended and planned campaign.

I am not a prophet of doom, but it is difficult to see the presidency project progressing further than it has done. Unless, of course, the General of Aso Rock experiences an epiphanic encounter and blesses Nwajiuba of the Southeast or Amechi of the South-South. Who will pull his ears, Soludo like, to get Ndigbo to listen to the voice of reason? And to tone down on the fiery rhetoric?

When Soludo pulled his ears

Deborah Samuel and the College Idea

In Deborah Samuel and the College Idea, Ogbuagu Anikwe picks out four failures that predispose fanatics to violence.

Last week, the village of Tungan Magajiya in Rijau LGA of Niger State received and interred the charred remains of Deborah Samuel. She travelled over 250 kilometers to get an education, only to die a needless and senseless death. Late Deborah was a Nigerian Christian and a student. It is the fact of being a student, stoned to death in a tertiary institution, that leaves me speechless. Fellow students not only stoned her to death but also roasted her body with rubber wheels.

The biggest lesson for me is that what happened to her exemplifies all that is wrong with our educational system. People go to college to broaden their knowledge and skills, interrogate phenomena, and sharpen critical thinking skills. It is not a place where people go to have their minds closed to ideas. This includes ideas that conflict with what one brought along to the institution. Therefore, if a college cannot teach its students and make them accept that the world is made up of people with different ideas and beliefs, and that no one idea or belief is necessarily better than another, it is not worthy to be called a college. The stoning to death of a college student by fellow students for religious reasons is an indictment on the school faculty.

Late Deborah

Last Easter, a financial institution managed by a Muslim compared the resurrection of Jesus Christ to Agege bread. Christians recoiled at the idea and threatened to withdraw their business from the bank. However, the chief executive hurriedly apologized, and the matter was rested. Pray, what if Christians in the bank went out of their way to waylay and stone their MD to death? And to subsequently roast the man for his “blasphemy”?

There are four things that stand out for me as teachable moments in this sordid episode.

The first is that every religion harbors militant sectarian factions whose members itch to fight for and kill for their god. However, the majority in each religious sect subscribes to the highest teachings of the Prophets that brought their religions into being. I have read, for instance, that the Prophet of Islam never directly or indirectly commanded his followers to extra-judicially kill others. In the case of Christianity, everyone knows that Jesus Christ asked his followers to turn the other cheek if slapped on one. This is the same for other religious organisations worldwide.

Deborah Samuel and College Idea

The first is that we should reposition our tertiary institutions as the mind development centres that are supposed to be. There is a reason why they are hailed as Ivory Towers. An ivory tower is a “village” whose natives are happily shielded from the world of hate and bigotry to enjoy mental and other high-minded intellectual pursuits. A drastic solution will involve legislating religious houses out of existence in Nigeria’s public tertiary institutions.

Deborah Samuel and the college idea

Every person attending a school with preponderance of religious faculty or student body ought to be circumspect. Our world deteriorates when overzealous followers of religious groups find themselves in leadership positions. They use their platforms to misinterpret pure doctrine and, in the process, brainwash the gullible to fight for God. They never for once stop to think that they habitually acknowledge the same God not only as “the almighty” and “most powerful” but also “most compassionate” and “most merciful.”

The third is that ours is not a lawful society. If it were, the regulatory agency for Colleges of Education will investigate the remote and immediate causes of Deborah’s death. This inquiry will lead to actions that will protect students that leave their parent’s homes to go to college. It is not enough to round up and punish the perpetrators of the darstadly murder. We must look at the problem from its roots, particularly in an atmosphere where religion trumps humanity in the hands of fanatics.

The fourth is to implement better security management of those schools. This is what the Nigerian military and our police did when terrorists began invading and killing them in their barracks. They put up barricades and paid more attention to visitors. The management of tertiary institutions owe this responsibility to the students they attracted to enroll in their schools.

Rule of Mobs

It is not enough to let fanatical mobs dispense jungle justice on matters that are controversial in their religion. Sokoto State, for instance, practices Sharia legal system. This system implies that there will be scholars to pronounce fatwas (legal rulings) on points of Islamic law. Their pronouncements become a guide to all those who subscribe to the religion. I know that Christian Churches, the Catholics for example, have a similar magisterium where the Pope speaks ex-Cathedra. In this position, the Pontiff uses the encyclical letter to define a doctrine concerning faith or morals. And the Church obeys and implements. It is similar to Islamic legal authority issued as fatwa. The fatwa educates Muslim faithful about Islam, advises courts on controversial points of law, or elaborates on extant law.

If we cannot stem the outpouring of religious hate through the secular judicial system, this will be a good way to discourage religious leaders, whether pastors or imams, from preaching hate against rival religions.

Ogbuagu Bob Anikwe is the publisher of Enugu Metro.

Column: Deborah Samuel and the college idea

EFCC arrests federal accountant-general for N80b fraud

EFCC arrests the nation’s accountant-general (AGF) for allegedly pinching N80billion federal funds. EFCC, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, is a federal agency that manages Nigeria’s war against financial fraud.

Agency officials said the AGF, Alhaji Ahmed Idris, diverted and subsequently laundered N80billion federal funds in his care.

The AGF initially funneled the funds into bogus consultancies executed by friends and family members, officials said.

EFCC arrests federal accountant-general
Alhaji Ahmed Idris

Subsequently, he allegedly laundered the money through real estate property purchased in Abuja and Kano cities.

The Agency said it had no option than to pick up Alhaji Ahmed after he disregarded invitations to respond to the allegations against him.

President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Idris, a professional accountant and civil servant, on 25 June 2015, to look after the nation’s finances

In doing so, he fired Idris’ predecessor, Jonah Ogunniyi Otunla, for allegedly pinching N2.5 billion of security agencies’ funds.

Controversies trailed Idris himself, ranging from failure to respect mandatory retirement age and lax audit of MDAs to fraud allegations.

Senior civil servants accused him of staying beyond the mandatory retirement age of 60. He rejected the claim with a counter that the AGF is a political appointee not bound by age rules.

An NGO also called him out and demanded explanations for over N106billion allegedly missing from the budgets of MDAs in 2018. 

At some point, the Academic Staff Union of Universities asked Idris to explain how he financed his massive real estate investments.

EFCC arrests federal accountant-general over N80B fraud

Red Sunday in Anambra

…Policeman shot dead
…Legislator kidnapped

It was red Sunday this evening, 15 May, as gunmen shot dead a policeman and kidnapped a state legislator in Anambra.

Unidentified gunmen reportedly shot and killed a police officer at Eke Oko Market this evening.

Oko, the Polytechnic Town, is in Aguata LGA where the Governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, incidentally comes from.

Witnesses said the policeman was riding on a bike when his assailants blocked his path and pumped bullets into him.

Witnesses ran for dear life as the unfortunate agent died on the spot.

In another daredevil raid, kidnappers this afternoon abducted a state legislator in the same Aguata LGA.

Witnesses identified Dr Okey Okoye who represents Aguata II in the Anambra State House of Assembly as the victim.

The abductors dragged him out of his black Sienna bus and whisked away.

The Anambra Police Command has yet to confirm both alleged killing and kidnap.

In recent times, miscreants appear to directly target the Governor’s home local government in a renewed terrorist offensive.

It is a forcible response to the Governor’s effort to contain violence and killings unleashed in the State.

Governor Soludo was in Abuja on Friday to visit detained separatist agitator, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and get him to help stem the violence.

Mazi Kanu reportedly agreed to call Biafran activists to order if given the opportunity to make a broadcast.

Red Sunday in Anambra as policeman killed

Between Sharia and the 1959 bargain

In Between Sharia and the 1959 Bargain, Sam Amadi examines how politicization of Sharia law enables abuse of due process.

Between Sharia and the 1959 bargain
Dr Sam Amadi

Dr Sam Amadi, former chair of the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), is a law teacher in an Abuja University.


In 2000 when Zamfara declared Islamic criminal law, Olisa Agbokaba and myself filed a suit at the High Court at Gusua to challenge the constitutionality of the Sharia criminal law. The court struck out the case because we are not indigenes of Zamfara and therefore have no locus standi to bring the case. We changed course and brought another case on behalf of indigenous Christian community in Zamfara. Before the case was decided I traveled abroad for graduate studies.

At Harvard I started re-examining the legality of the enactment of sharia criminal law in Zamfara and other states in the north of Nigeria. I wrote a paper to argue that may be the enactment of an Islamic criminal law is in line with democracy. I was beginning to change my views. I decided to pursue scholarly research on the relationship between Islamic jurisprudence and liberal democratic theory. I chose a renowned Muslim human rights scholar as my field supervisor. His name is Prof Abdullahi an-Na’im. He is popular in Nigeria for his scholarship and participation at conferences on sharia and human rights in many Nigerian universities. He is from Sudan, and a leading global human rights scholar.

When I gave professor an-Na’im my doctoral proposal, he took offense at my effort to argue for the legality of the Sharia criminal law system. We had long debates for days. Later he wrote to me that he would not be one of my supervisors. As a Muslim he believes that Sharia is a sacred law that any attempt to enact it by a political authority is a degradation of Shari as divine law. He argued further that when a state enacts Sharia it will lead to religious persecution of Muslims who do not agree to the interpretation of the dominant school of Islamic jurisprudence, because there is possibility of divergent human interpretations of the Sharia. He narrated how his mentor and leader, the leading Islamic cleric in Sudan, was executed by Islamic sectarian leaders because they adjudged his interpretations wrong. So for him, this debate is a matter of life and death, and he will not have the neutrality to accept my argument about the legality of Sharia criminal law. He pulled out of my team and I had to look for a substitute. Fortunately, I found a renowned German Islamic scholar who had taught in Nigerian universities to take his place in my team.

I won a fellowship of the Harvard Islamic Institute and conducted extensive research in Northern Nigeria. As part of the research, I interviewed diverse Islamic leaders, including El ZakZaky. Two perspectives emerged from the research. Most of those I interviewed supported the enactment of the Sharia code. But some believed that a political, secular state should not enact sharia as public law. When it does, it ceases to be true sharia. It become a human law that is full of human contamination. For them, Sharia should remain a divine law, and not a state law.

A variant of the latter view recommends that the personal dimensions of Sharia should be legally recognized. But the criminal aspects of Sharia should not be legalized in political society. This view influenced the development of public law in Indonesia. President Wahid, a leading critic who later become President, told me that Islamic leaders in Indonesia decided to exclude criminal aspects of Sharia (public Sharia) during preparations for independence, although the country had overwhelming Muslim population. This perspective aligns with the recommendation of the special committee established by the government of the Northern Region in 1957. The committee led by Professor Anderson of University of London, the leading expert on African law, had as members notable clerics from Sudan, Pakistan and Sudan. It recommended that criminal Sharia should not be enacted as law in Nigeria, even as the personal aspects of Sharia should be part of Nigeria’s public law system.

Nigerian leaders debated this perspective at the London Constitutional Conference in 1959 and institutionalized it in the Bill of Rights in the 1960 Independence Constitution. It was retained in all constitutions, including the 1999 Constitution.

In 2000, this bargain was reversed by Zamfara government in enacting the Sharia Criminal Law. Many northern states followed suit. This now provides legal legitimacy for the offense of blasphemy.

The predicted surprise of such legalization is that in a disorderly society with high impunity, the mob can seize the right of Islamic court to punish presumed blasphemy without due process. But the fault still lies largely with the reversal of the 1959 bargain that built on the 1957 recommendation in 2000. The year 2000 may be the year one of the pillars of the Nigerian republican system was recast. We need more reflections on this constitutional transformation in the guise of lawmaking, even as we commend efforts by Governor Tambuwal, the Sultan, and the Bishop of Sokoto to act fast to avert total breakdown of order in Sokoto State.

Because of the 2000 reversal of the 1959 bargain, the Nigerian constitutional state is now deeply trapped in incoherence.

Between Sharia and the 1959 Bargain, by Dr Sam Amadi

What Nnamdi Kanu told Soludo about sit-at-home

What Mazi Nnamdi Kanu told Gov Chukwuma Soludo on Friday: “I’m against brutal enforcement of sit-at-home in Southeast.”

Leader of the separatist group, Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, is against enforcement of sit-at-home in Southeast.

Kanu is being held at a Department of State Security (DSS) facility in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, while facing treason trial.

Kanu also expressed sadness over “sacrilegious killings of innocent persons, kidnappings and all forms of criminalities.”

If given an opportunity, he volunteered to make a broadcast to ask his followers “to maintain peace.”

Anambra State Governor Chukwuma Soludo made these revelations yesterday after a visit to the detainee.

The visit to sue for peace took place on Friday, 13 May 2022, Governor Soludo said in a Facebook post.

Here’s the full text of the statement:

“I visited Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, yesterday, (Friday, 13th May, 2022) to felicitate with him and also as part of the wider consultations with critical stakeholders in search of lasting peace and security in the South East.

“He was in very high spirits and we had quality and frank discussion in a very convivial atmosphere.

“(Kanu) expressed sadness over what he described as “sacrilegious killings” of innocent persons, kidnappings and all forms of criminalities, including the brutal enforcement of the senseless “sit at home” perpetuated by sundry groups claiming to be acting for or on behalf of IPOB.

“He assured that if the opportunity arises, he will be glad to personally broadcast to his followers to maintain the peace.

“Together, we shall restore peace, security and prosperity in Anambra and the Southeast.

“It is well indeed!”

What Mazi Nnamdi Kanu told Gov Chukwuma Soludo on Friday

Ekweremadu at 60

Enugu Metro lineup of the people and places that featured at the Ekweremadu at 60 birthday anniversary celebration.

The distinguished Senator Ike Ekweremadu celebrated in Enugu, his home State on Thursday, 12 May 2022.

He used the occasion to reaffirm his commitment to holistic human capital development of the state.

Thanksgiving Service

After Service

Reception

A touch of politics..

… and of culture..

He later took to his Facebook page to thank God for his favours.

Ekweremadu at 60

How kidnappers nabbed Ekweremadu

…his testimony at 60

Senate Ike Ekweremadu yesterday recalled how he was nabbed by kidnappers but saved by God’s grace in year 2000.

He gave a testimony of the experience at his 60th birthday anniversary thanksgiving service held in Enugu yesterday.

“When His Lordship, the Bishop, spoke about some of my travails, he didn’t remember to say that I was kidnapped in the year 2000 at Onu Asata in Enugu Metropolis.

“I was taken to Anambra State. I went to one bush with the kidnappers and passed the night with them.

“The next day, I was taken to Benue State from Anambra.

“We later returned to Nsukka and just by the single grace of God, they let me go and gave me N1,500 for my transport.

“Not many people can be that lucky. So, I thank God and trust him.”

Enugu Metro dug out a record of the incident which took place on 10 September 2000. He was at the time the chief of staff to former Governor Chimaroke Nnamani.

No ransom was paid for his release, fueling speculations that the kidnappers wanted to use him to send a message to Governor Nnamani.

Yesterday, the Senator used his ordeal in the hands of the daredevil kidnappers to emphasize the necessity to give youths employment.

This, according to him, is because the high rate of crimes is directly linked to high unemployment rate across the nation.

He promised to meet the unemployment challenge in his home state if he is elected as governor.

Why I run

The Senator said he aspires to be governor of Enugu State to continue his prior efforts to transform the State.

He said he has a lot to offer the state from his “national and international experience, exposure, goodwill, and contacts.”
 
“Today, by the grace of God, I am seeking the office of the governor of Enugu State.

“The idea is to create a completely new Enugu State where good governance will be showcased.
 
“We intend to deal with the issues of unemployment, which is affecting our society and creating the opportunity for crimes to thrive.
 
His blueprint for transformation includes promoting at least two industries in every local government to create jobs.
 
He will also harness agricultural and tourism potentials of the state which will boost revenue collection for development.

And he will make life easy for the people by building and maintaining world-class infrastructure, he said.

“By the grace of God, we will achieve more.”

The Senator asked for prayers and support but said that, ultimately, it is God’s will that will prevail.
 
“I submit myself to the will of God in this endeavor. Whatever is His will, may it be so in Jesus’ name.”

My testimony

Ekweremadu reminded his audience that he was raised from “a highly challenged part of Enugu State.”

As a young man, he said that he beseeched God to lift him so he could upift his people

“I had a covenant with God early in life and asked for his mercy and favour so I could lift others up. I prayed God to give me an opportunity to be able to transform society and assured Him that if he did that for me, as a testimony and a constant reminder, I would build a church for Him.

“Since that covenant, God has never looked back in matters concerning me.

“That is why I pass through tribulations, I pass through water, and I pass through fire. Yet, none has been able to consume me because God is with me.
 
“So, this 60th anniversary is 60 years of thanksgiving. It is about 60 years of grace and God’s favour,” he stated.

He also said he fulfilled his part of the deal he made with God.

“God fulfilled his part of that covenant. I also fulfilled mine by building a Church for him at Mpu, my community.”

He’s the best, says Chukwuma

Archbishop Emmanuel Chukwuma conducted the service at Cathedral Church of the Good Shepherd (Anglican Communion) yesterday, 12 May 2022.

The Archbishop said he finds Ekweremadu as an outstanding legislator in Nigeria and best in the history of Enugu State.

He blessed the Senator for his contributions to the development of Enugu State and Nigeria and wished him well.

Sight and sounds..

The sights and sounds of a celebration, as recorded yesterday. See photos

How kidnappers nabbed Ekweremadu

…connecting to more