Ekene Okonkwo and Udo Chukwu Maduforo students of Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ikwo, Ebonyi state, have narrated how some policemen attached to the Airport Command, Ikeja, Lagos, allegedly extorted N40,000 from them, while on their way to board a flight back to school, last Saturday.
The students, Michael Ekene Okonkwo and Udo Chukwu Maduforo, said they were in a cab heading to the local airport, when their vehicle was flagged by a team of policemen in front of Golden Tulip hotel, on Airport road.
They stated that the policemen searched them, but did not find anything incriminating on them.
They said they pleaded with the policemen to allow them to catch a flight to school and showed them their identification cards but that their pleas fell on deaf ears.
The students told Vanguard Crime Guard that “they harassed us, delayed us without telling us what our offence was.
“They searched our bags and didn’t find anything. One of them pushed us in the face and at the end collected N40,000 from us. at the end of the day we missed our flight”.
One of the students’ mothers who spoke with Vanguard, Mrs Evelyn Okonkwo, explained that “When I received a call from my son that they were held by the police, I quickly headed for the spot and at the same time prayed that there shouldn’t be the release of an accidental bullet. All I wanted to know was the offence they committed that warranted their being held.
“Before I got to the spot, he called again to tell me that the policemen had released them to go after extorting N40,000 from them.
“The money was meant for their upkeep in school. By the time they arrived at the airport, their flight had left.
“They missed their Air Peace flight scheduled for 11:40 am. They had to return home and travel on Sunday morning at an extra cost”, she stated.
Describing the action of the policemen as an act of corruption and wickedness, the Executive Director, Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre, Okechukwu Nwanguma, called on Police authorities to investigate the matter and bring the erring officers to book.
Nwagunma expressed disappointment that despite the current raging issue of police corruption and abuse of power “ which has again put Nigeria in the spotlight of international opprobrium, these officers could not be deterred or persuaded to check their greed for money acquired through extortion.
“This is shocking for two reasons: That police officers trained and paid to serve and protect citizens could descend to holding students- young people who could be their children- to ransom and ignored their explanations that they were students going back to school and their plea to let them go since they were not found with anything incriminating- so that they would not miss their flights. They robbed them of their money and made them miss their flight”.
RULAAC according to him, “has the authority of the families of these innocent victims of unmitigated police corruption and abuse of power to demand that: The Commissioner of Police, Airport Command, Ikeja, identifies these despicable corrupt officers, ensures that they refund the total amount of money they extorted from these hapless students as well as refund the total cost of their tickets.
“The total cost is N186,400. A breakdown of the amount is N33,000 X 2= 66000( for the missed flight ticket). They paid an extra N80,400 to reschedule because it was business class.
“The CP should ensure that the officers involved in this criminal act which contravenes Police professional standards and which brings the image of the police to further disrepute be subjected to appropriate disciplinary measures in accordance with the police rules and regulations. This is important for deterrence.
“RULAAC also demands that the CP takes any further actions he deems necessary to remedy the violation of the rights of the students, reassure the victims and the general public that the command does not condone or tolerate corruption and abuse of police powers. These are necessary to redeem the image of the NPF”.
Efforts to reach the Police Public Relations Officer, Airport Command, SP Olayinka, proved abortive as he did not respond to calls put across to his mobile phone.
Anklets: Tradition or fashion?
Anklets are now trending among the young and old in the Nigerian fashion scene.
They are now seen as an essential part of any dressing, casual or formal.
At most parties, women and girls are seen wearing clothes that show off their ankles, with different ornaments and chains of high quality.
Anklets are chains or Ornaments worn around the ankles.
A cross-section of Nigerians expressed different views on the use of anklets.
Some told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that wearing anklets beautified women, while some others were of the view that it added no beauty to the users.
Mrs Amarachi Joseph, a Historian, said the use of anklets had become the most controversial fashion among ladies in Nigeria.
Joseph said that Nigerians from different backgrounds read meanings to the use of anklets.
She said that in some tribes, both men and women wear anklets during cultural festivals and other special ceremonies like chieftaincy title conferments or coronation.
“Anklets worn by the Igbos connote prestige, wealth, and beauty. These anklets are made with brass, beads, and elephant tusk,” she said.
Joseph said that in some Yoruba communities, anklets are worn by certain chiefs as insignia.
According to her, the votaries and worshippers of deities also wear anklets as insignia of their offices and to signify spirit children.
“Among the Hausas, some of them wear anklets to beautify their feet on their wedding day,’’ Joseph said.
She added that women of the high class wore them as ornaments, as they are regarded as being prestigious.
Joseph said that in some climes, anklets signify protection or identification of certain groups.
”In some societies, it is used to identify gay community or commercial sex workers, while in some parts it is used as a contraceptive to prevent pregnancy.
“Generally, when I was younger, there was this perception that ladies that wear anklets were commercial sex workers.
“So we don’t associate with anyone is seen with it as our parents also forbade us from being friends with them.
“In some communities in West Africa, anklets are given to brides by the groom to show that she is now married but now, almost everyone wears it.
Dr Doris Usman, an orthopaedic doctor, however, told NAN that anklets were not just for fashion they could be therapeutic too.
“They are the most beautiful piece of ornaments worn in the world,” she said.
According to Usman, it is not only worn occasionally but some also prefer wearing it daily. It comes in various sizes, styles, and designs.
“It provides relief from leg pain and weakness of heels, it also regulates blood circulation, which helps in curing swollen heels,” she said.
Meanwhile, Mr Johnson Ade, a businessman, said that to him the use of anklets connotes waywardness or homosexuality.
“I hate seeing ladies wearing anklets and I don’t think I can have any relationship with ladies who wear it,” he said.
Mr Rasaki Ishola, however, said that he does not see anything wrong in women wearing anklets.
“As far as I am concerned, people can believe whatever they want to but I don’t see anything wrong with its use.
“In fact, I love it when my wife uses anklets. I see it as a piece of decoration worn by women,’’ he said.
Madam Omifunke Salami, an Osun devotee, explained to NAN that all the deities in Yoruba had their specific ornaments worn either on the ankle, the neck or the arm by their devotees.
She said that specifically devotees of Osun wore yellow and white beads on the neck and ankle.
“Osun was beauty personified, she wore beautiful ornaments in her time, on her neck and ankle, that is why her devotees wear same now.
”It is worn for beauty and for identification, so we know that we are children of the same kindred spirit,” Salami said.
Gbemisola Olusayo, an undergraduate, who sells anklets and wears too, told NAN that anklets were the trend in fashion.
Olusayo said she made different anklets and waist beads to the specifications of her customers.
According to her, her client base cuts across ages, students, workers, traders and even grandmothers.
”Some want crystals, some just beads or chains, and I make for them to suit their pockets and requirements.
”I buy strands of beads, chains, and other ornaments and make on-demand for my customers.”
she also said she had made a lot of money from the business, on campus and outside.
.“If I invest N50,000, I usually make between N30,000 and N50,000 profit.
”Sometimes, I need to replace the beading tools, because they break or get worn out,” Olusayo said.
She said that the trend in fashion was also a money-making venture for her.
The Return of The Taliban – Obadiah Mailafia
Whilst a young university lecturer in London in the nineties, I taught many students from influential families across the world. Salman (a pseudonym), came from an affluent Saudi family. He once told me about a maternal uncle, Osama bin Laden, who had become the black sheep of the family. Their grandfather had emigrated from Yemen and his good fortune had led him into favour with the wise old King Faisal.
The king gave the Bin Ladens the biggest construction contracts in Saudi Arabia, bringing them untold wealth. Theirs was a gilded and gentrified world. Osama was expelled from the Kingdom for leading a plot to bring down the House of Saud. He later joined the Mujaheddin that were fighting the Soviet invaders in Afghanistan. Most of it didn’t make much sense to me until the tragedy of 9/11 which made Osama bin Laden a household name across the world.
Another young student that I took under my wings was Princess Alia (again, a pseudonym), granddaughter of the deposed king of Afghanistan, Mohammed Zahir Shah (1914-2007). Alia was a beautiful and sensitive young woman. The royal household fled to Italy where Princess Alia was born. She was always proud to be Afghan, a country I knew close to nothing about. After the attacks on the Twin Towers in New York on September 11, 2001, Afghanistan was a country I could no longer ignore.
Afghanistan is a central Asian country with a predominantly mountainous landmass of 652,864 km2 and a population of 32.9 million. It shares borders with Iran on the West, Pakistan on the east and south, and by Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan on the north; with the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China on the north east. Afghanistan is a poor country with a GDP of $21.7 billion and a per capital income of $493.
It is largely a Muslim country, with some 99.7% as adherents of that faith. Contrary to what many believe, it is a heterogenous country. There are 14 ethnic communities: Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazaras, Uzbeks, Balochis, Turkmens, Nooristanis, Pamiris, Arabs, Gujars, Brahuis, Qizilbash, Aimaq and Pashai. While majority are Sunni Muslims, there are also sizeable communities of Sufi and Shiite Muslim adherents.
In pursuit of its so-called “War on Terror”, America invaded Afghanistan and drove away the Taliban from power. For 18 years, America fought the Taliban on land and from the air. Americans were to discover that the Taliban are tenacious fighters for whom warfare has become a way of life. The heaviest aerial bombardments could not “smoke them” from the treacherous mountains, caves and ravines that dominate the Afghan landscape.
The United States has lost more than 2,300 of its military personnel, with more than than 20,000 others wounded. It has been estimated that more than 500,000 Afghans have perished in this cauldron – government military forces, Taliban fighters and ordinary civilians — have been killed or wounded. America has spent more than a $1 trillion on the Afghan war.
Ever since 2001, succeeding American Presidents had looked to the day when the Afghan government in Kabul would be strong enough to stand on its two feet and to allow Washington to withdraw its forces. It was therefore a great shock that after the American withdrawal last month, the Afghan government collapsed precipitately. The President, Ashraf Ghani, fled to Dubai, allegedly with a humongous fortune, while the military capitulated without firing a shot.
He had even co-authored a book with a British political scientist, on state building (Ashraf Ghani& Clare Lockhart: “Fixing Failed States: A Framework for Rebuilding a Fractured World,” Oxford University Press, 2009). Ashraf Ghani Ghana is a well-educated and highly Westernised technocrat with a doctorate in Anthropology from Columbia University. He was a tenured professor at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. He later worked for the UN and served as a consultant for the World Bank.
But something always warned me that this man is a wimp. Under him, the country was blighted by corruption and the drugs business. The institutions of state remained weak. The greatest sages have warned that a prophet unarmed is a dead one. Governing a stiff-knecked people such as the Afghans requires both enlightenment and superior force.
He should never have allowed so-called “repentant Taliban” to be enrolled in the regular army; a mistake we are already making with Boko Haram in Nigeria. The so-called “repentant Taliban” benefited not only from better training with the regular army, but also as insiders who under-studied the weakness of the regular army, the better to defeat it. And now they will inherit the massive arsenals left behind by the fleeing Americans.
There are many who dismiss the American effort as a disaster. Lest we forget, America’s hegemonic power was central to the post-war recovery of Europe. Through the Marshall Plan, America shored up the war-torn nations of Western Europe, helping them to recover economically while building viable democratic states that could withstand the onslaught of communism.
America helped in rebuilding Japan after 1945, including the drafting of a new Japanese constitution that outlawed war itself. After the Korean War (1950—1953), the United States again played a crucial role in South Korea’s post-war economic recovery and in laying the institutions of a strong and effective state that restored hope to a fractured nation.
The current failures accompanying American state-building enterprises are a relatively recent phenomenon. American intervention has left disastrous outcomes in Iraq, Libya and in Afghanistan today. It is a result of a tragic cognitive dissonance between understanding and the realities on ground; between ambition and hubris. The West have never really understood the Muslim world, least of all Afghans; a people who value their extremist ideologies more than life itself; and who are prepared to wage a war for entire century to achieve their ambitions.
In the words of the distinguished LSE Arabist, Elie Kedourie: “Be it sufficient for the present to record that these things are evil. That persecutors and persecuted, hunters and hunted are in the grip of the powers of darkness. It is enough to elucidate how this came to pass, for the story can at least have this moral, that the consequences of action are incalculable, and that out of the desire to do good, good may not in fact ensue.”
With the benefit of hindsight, the Afghan war was perhaps unwinnable from Day One. The country has been the graveyard of ambitious military commanders and adventurers from the Mughal Emperors of India to Ghengis Khan, Timur and the Soviets of the 20th century. Geopolitically, Afghanistan stands at the strategic crossroads between Central Asia and South Asia. Any world power that controls that treacherous landmass is likely to have mastery over much of Asia.
The return of the Taliban today is bad news for the Afghan people and bad news for the rest of the world. In killing Osama bin Laden in May 2011, America only cut the tail of the serpent with the head and body left intact. The New Taliban are going to be stronger and more confidant than the old. They have already announced their intention to govern with a more rabid form of Sharia law.
They have already ordered women to leave the universities, colleges and schools. They are systematically decimating Christians and adherents of other faiths. They have sent strong warnings that they will join their brethren in Nigeria to enforce Sharia throughout our country and the rest of our glorious continent. We must sharpen our swords and wait for them.
The German sociologist Max Weber anticipated such dark times when he had his bleak prophecies long ago: “Ahead of us is not the bloom of summer, but, rather, a polar night of icy darkness and hardness, no matter which group may triumph externally now”. Weber went ahead to warn that what we must not do is capitulate through a “dumb acceptance” of the world and our place in it.
Our lives, our liberties and our land are our most sacred possessions. Those who want to dispossess us of these must be regarded as enemies forever. If they are prepared to fight for a century, we at the receiving must arm ourselves and our children to fight them for a thousand years. America must also quarantine them back into the stone age.
End Nigeria Now! The Hoax Country – Ndidi Uwechue
The hashtag #EndNigeriaNow continues to trend on social media. If only the young people using it knew that Nigeria has actually ended, and all they now need to do is to activate that reality. Nigeria ended in 1966 but that truth was hidden from young people by removing History from the national curriculum for more than a decade, and by encouraging their parents to bring them up not to ask questions.
The #EndNigeriaNow young people rightly renounce the Nigeria they find themselves in. They should be told that rejecting One-Nigeria is being honest and being intelligent.Those that could, have fled by going overseas. Tens of thousands of others are also planning, or hoping to escape abroad too.
To understand what has happened to them, young people need to go back in time to late 1950s pre-Independence Nigeria. There were three Regions, each with its own Constitution and being more-or-less like three countries. The Regions then chose to retain the Union of Nigeria if certain conditions would be met and kept. Each Region decided how much self-determination they would keep for their Region, and what they would give up for the collective good in the Union. They now wrote a Union Agreement, that means a Constitution(federating) that would set out how their Union would be. This also meant opening a Union Office ie a Central Government to manage those things they would have in common. Thus, at Independence there were four Constitutions: one for each of the three Regions plus the federating Constitution. Later, a fourth Region, the Mid-Western Region was carved out, so now there were four Constitutions plus a fifth one, the federating Constitution. This arrangement came to an abrupt end with the military coups of 1966.
What the coups did was to topple that federating Constitution, ie the UNION AGREEMENT was overthrown. Thus, without a Union Agreement there was no longer any Nigeria. However, the Regional Constitutions were still there. What should have happened is that the now four Regions should have said: Since our Union is over, the ethnic nationalities in our different Regions will need to decide whether we will remain as we were before the Union, ie, as Regions, or whether we will re-commit afresh to any Union. However, the military prevented that from happening by using military might to force a Union that had ended.
A marriage can be used to illustrate it further for young people. Essentially, a marriage is a Union Agreement: as long as certain conditions are kept, the Union ie the marriage, remains. If however a husband goes on to commit adultery, that very act can end the marriage Union. A divorce ensues to make the end of the Union official. Now, if say, ten years later this same couple decide that they still love each other, and can make their Union work, traditionally the man will have to ask his ex-wife if she would like to re-marry him. He does not just grab her and force her into a re-marriage! She must first agree to re-commit to a new Union again.
The position of that ex-wife is the position of indigenous ethnic nations of Nigeria. The Union has ended. There has been no Nigeria since 1966! They have been abducted into a false Union by military decrees, and now by the imposed 1999 Constitution that is a known forgery. The only acceptable way forward is in doing the right thing, and in doing the right thing the right way. Just as a divorced ex-wife must first decide if she wants to re-marry her ex-husband, ethnic nationalities must decide whether or not to re-commit to the ended Union called Nigeria.
That is why the NINAS Movement is going to win. Justice always defeats injustice. The NINAS Movement Proclaimed a Constitutional Force Majeure (CFM) on 16th December 2020 .That CFM raised a Union Dispute ie stated that there is no Union since the indigenous ethnic nationalities are no longer going to submit themselves to a fake Constitution.
The CFM Proclamation made Nigeria a Disputed Project. The NINAS Movement rightly insists that preparations to general elections in 2023 that would renew the life of the Repudiated illegitimate 1999 Constitution be halted, and a transitioning arrangement be set up, with Regional Referendums, to correct the fraud. Since that 1999 Constitution is a forgery, everything it creates including government is a fraud. The truth that had been hidden from the people has come out – there is NO UNION. Nigeria is the hoax of the century! So it can no longer be elections business as usual. An illicit government should not even try to defy the people, and defy human decency.
Ndidi Uwechue is a British citizen with Igbo heritage from the Lower Niger Bloc. She is a retired Metropolitan (London) Police Officer, she is a signatory to the Constitutional Force Majeure, and she writes from Abuja.
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