Archive | November, 2013

‘Three dead’ in pub helicopter crash

30 Nov

 

Rescue workers cover the wreckage of a police helicopter which crashed onto the roof of the Clutha Vaults pub in Glasgow

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said it was “a black day for Glasgow”
 

Three people have died after a police helicopter crashed into a busy pub in Glasgow, the BBC understands.

Police Scotland have confirmed one death but said they expected the final number of fatalities would be higher. A rescue operation is continuing.

The crash happened at The Clutha in Stockwell Street at 22:25 on Friday.

There were three people on board the helicopter – two officers and a civilian pilot. Thirty-two people have been taken to local hospitals.

scene of crash

The emergency services remain involved in a “search and recovery” operation

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond told a press conference it was a “black day for Scotland.”

Prime Minister David Cameron paid tribute to the bravery of the “ordinary Glaswegians” who rushed to help.

Chief Constable Sir Stephen House confirmed that one person had died and further fatalities were expected after the helicopter crashed on to the roof of the pub.

He said they “can’t say definitively” whether there are people still trapped within the pub, and added “we are still in a search and recovery phase”.

Chief Constable House went on: “This is a very difficult and sensitive operation. The scene is, as you will understand, a particularly challenging one.

“Given the damage caused and the nature of the damage, it will take some time to complete the search of the building and to assess how we begin the investigation.

“Clearly the safety of those conducting the search is of the highest importance.”

Mr Salmond said: “This is a black day for Glasgow and Scotland but it is also St Andrew’s Day and we can take pride in how we respond to adversity.

“The response from our emergency services and citizens has been exemplary.”

It has been reported that about 120 people were in the pub at the time of the crash. Many were rescued or escaped but others were trapped by a collapse on the left-hand side of the building.

Emergency services have erected barriers around the scene and specialist rescue teams remain at the scene.

• A large area of the city centre has been cordoned off

• Mass held at St Andrew’s Cathedral in city for those involved in crash and emergency services involved in response

• Council has cancelled St Andrew’s Day celebrations in George Square as a mark of respect

• A minute’s silence was held ahead of the Falkirk v Rangers match

• Injured were taken to Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Western Infirmary and the Victoria Infirmary

• Some of those who were in pub taken to a nearby Holiday Inn Express

• Police Scotland Casualty Bureau number is 0800 092 0410 – for those concerned about relatives

• Glasgow City Council has opened a family reception centre at 40 John Street

• Investigation into what happened is under way

• Air Accident Investigation Branch is in Glasgow.

Speaking from the press conference at the multi-agency command centre in Glasgow, Fire Scotland deputy chief officer Alex Clark said: “Along with our emergency service colleagues, we responded very, very quickly and pulled out all the measures that we possibly could in order to rescue people who were affected by this incident.

“I can assure you that until such time as there is an inevitable outcome we will undoubtedly remain on site and carry on our rescue activities in the best way that we possibly can.”

Helicopter crash scene at the Clutha pub

The Police Scotland helicopter crashed onto the roof of the pub as a band was performing

Gary Hardacre, who is leading the Scottish Ambulance Service response, said: “All of our thoughts and condolences are with those that have been affected by this tragic incident.

“We have been working with our partners in the police and fire service to ensure a joined-up response, and provide the best possible care that we can for the people affected by this.”

William Byrne, 45, from Coatbridge, who was in the pub when the helicopter came down, returned to the scene this morning.

“There was a loud bang. Then there was dust and the lights went out. It was surreal,” he told BBC Scotland.

‘We didn’t know what had happened. At our side of the pub at least two people were trapped under the gantry. Myself and others lifted it up and managed to get them out. I spent some time with one injured man.”

He added: “At our side of the pub I would say there were less than 10 people injured, mainly walking wounded, not seriously injured. One girl had clearly been hit on the head – she had a big bump.

“The other side of the pub took the brunt. Myself and my friends managed to get out without a scratch. Everyone helped everyone else to get out.”

Helicopter operator Bond Air Services said it was working with the police and emergency services.

A statement added: “Our thoughts are with those who have been affected by this tragic incident.”

About 250 people attended a special service at St Andrew’s Cathedral on Saturday afternoon.

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia told worshipers: “We pray for those who have lost their lives, who are injured, the bereaved, and the emergency services and members of the public.

“We pray for our city of Glasgow, which is in mourning today.”

Jim Murphy, the Labour MP for East Renfrewshire, was in the area at the time of the helicopter crash and said he ran into the pub to help before emergency services arrived.

He told the BBC there was “pandemonium” as people tried to get out of the pub.

“It was almost like slow motion,” he said, adding: “People just formed a bit of human chain, side by side with each other, to help pull injured people out.”

The shadow cabinet minister, who had blood on his shirt which he said was not his, described what he saw as a “horrific scene”.

Man at crash scene

Local people have gathered at the scene

The band who were playing in the pub at the time of the crash, Esperanza, have released a statement on their Facebook page.

Bassist Jess wrote: “Waking up and realising that it is all definitely horribly real. Despite the situation everyone was so helpful and caring of each other.

“The police, ambulances, firefighters all did a stellar job and continue to do so today in extremely difficult conditions.”

Eyewitness Fraser Gibson, 34, was inside the pub with his brother to see his former band, Esperanza.

“Midway through their set it sounded like a giant explosion,” he told BBC Scotland.

“Part of the room was covered in dust. We didn’t know what had happened. We froze for a second; there was panic and then people trying to get out the door.”

Mr Gibson added: “I would say there was maybe 120 people inside the pub. A lot of people managed to get out straight away, but it was hard to tell how many were actually trapped in the other half of the bar.”

He said there had been no indication a helicopter had caused the devastation, adding: “The roof had just totally collapsed.

“There were shards of wood sticking out the top but nothing that said there had been a helicopter crash.”

Map of the area

Eddie Waltham, a former firefighter who had a friend inside the pub, told the BBC: “A roof joist came down and hit him and pushed him towards the window which is at the left side of the left door.”

He added later: “My own reaction was to run straight up to the pub.

“It was amazing to watch just how people were trying so hard to get into this building.”

John McGarrigle has spent the night at the scene and said he feared his father had been in the pub at the time of the crash: “I’ve checked every hospital and there’s no sign of him. I’m very anxious.”

Gordon Matheson, the leader of Glasgow City Council, said his heart went out to the families affected.

He also praised the response of ordinary people in the area before the emergency services arrived.

Mr Matheson said: “People who were in the pub, the people who were in the streets and who just helped out their fellow human beings who were out having a good time.

“It’s Glasgow at its best you know, if people are in need the spontaneous response is to go to their help. And I want to pay great tribute to that and I’m very proud as leader of the city that that was the reaction. It doesn’t surprise me.”

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “This is a tragic event and our deepest sympathies are with the families and friends who lost a loved one last night.

“I want to thank the emergency services who worked tirelessly throughout the night and I also want pay tribute to the bravery of the ordinary Glaswegians who rushed to help.

“We have offered the Scottish government our support in any way we can and we are all wishing a speedy recovery to those who are injured.”

Clutha scene

The roof of the pub has been covered with tarpaulins

Labour leader Ed Miliband described the crash as an “unimaginable horror”.

He added: “I know there will be lots of people worried about their loved ones who are unaccounted for and my thoughts are with them and also with the people of Glasgow who are an incredibly strong people, who showed, I think last night, in their reaction when the helicopter hit, a great bravery, a great courage, great calm in the midst of all this.”

In 2002, a police Eurocopter EC-135 came down in a field in Ayrshire. All three people on board survived.

In 1990, a police sergeant was killed when a Bell Jet 206 helicopter crashed in bad weather at Newton Mearns in East Renfrewshire.

BBC © 2013

In Defence of Oshiomole

30 Nov

BY Ani Michael

Image“Go and die” as said by Comrade Gov.Adams Oshiomole to a ‘widow’ is now an anthem.The righteous are demanding and wishing the Comrade Governor be stoned to death. 
As a fan of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole,having seen him as a man with a simple heart who realizes the gravity of his provoked annoyance and has the will-power to say sorry and apologized after a perceived wrong,shows that he is human. Personally,I see no wrong on the part of the Governor.Citizens need to be responsible and adhered to all laws made by government.Roadside trading do caused accident and many resulted in untimely death.
Being a widow isn’t a license to lawlessness.In decent and organized societies,law breakers domicle is prison.Sentiment and unnecessary political glory can’t score points in justice.What killed her husband in the first place?She might be the one,who knows?The greed of women killing their husbands to become ‘landladies’ are very rampant in recent times.And what ‘ll happen if millions of widows in Nigeria decide to trade on our roads?
However,I am happy that she didn’t ‘go and die’.I am happy our party gave her #250,000.But the authorities has obligation to stop wanton killing of innocent Nigerians in the northern part of Nigeria and many other places in the country,as hundreds of Nigerians are dying everyday even without the marching order to ‘go and die’.

PRESS STATEMENT BY MOBIL CORE OIL COMMUNITIES IN NIGERIA

30 Nov

TEXT OF A PRESS CONFERENCE HELD BY MOBIL PRODUCING NIGERIA UNLIMITED CORE COMMUNITIES OF EKET, ESIT EKET, IBENO AND ONNA.

Oil Spill Impact, killing birds and aquatic animals

Oil Spill Impact, killing birds and aquatic animals


BACKGROUND:
ON the 9th November, 2012, there was a major oil spill from one of the offshore facilities of Mobil Producing Nig. Unlimited and the result of the spill was conspicuous in and around the entire operational areas/ Core Communities of MPNU. Arising from the spill, the Core Communities made demands for the payment of adequate financial compensation on MPNU.
MPNU admitted the occurrence of the spill in its communication to the state, Local Governments and the Leadership of the various communities. MPNU at several fora made a commitment to react accordingly in due course as it contended that the process of determining the quantum of spill and the corresponding compensation sum and variables was still ongoing with the statutory regulatory agencies including the DPR and NOSDRA.
In the interface between the Core Communities and MPNU over the payment of the oil spill compensation, MPNU on a letter dated 15th June, 2013 and in a publication of Pioneer newspaper of 27th October, 2013, offered to carry out some projects in its Core Communities in particular and in other parts of the state as part of its Corporate Social Responsibilities to its Host communities and state. This may have been an attempt to redeem its failure in corporate social responsibilities for the last 15 years during which MPNU had been claiming that they have paid their statutory obligations to the various governments and contributed to the NDDC.
The demands by the Core Communities on MPNU for the compensation for oil spill persisted and this culminated in the peaceful protest by the communities which lasted for 10 days. The protest was suspended at the intervention of Akwa Ibom State Government after an offer to mediate between the Core Communities and MPNU.
The above mentioned offer to mediate led to the meeting between the Technical Committee of the Core Communities and the representatives of the management of MPNU on Monday the 4th day of November,2013 at the conference room of the Secretary to Government of Akwa Ibom state. In the meeting, the Core Communities presented its position paper and MPNU acknowledged the rights of the communities and therefore considered their demands reasonable but pleaded for time not exceeding Thursday the 14th November, 2013 to enable the Board of MPNU to meet and ratify the demands.
Oil Spill devastation in Nigeria

Oil Spill devastation in Nigeria


November 14th, 2013 has lapsed and communities have again become very restive arising from the intransigence of MPNU. We are familiar with all the antics of MPNU – divide and rule, delay tactics, sponsoring derogatory and inciting stories, seeking Government protection on its abdication of its Statutory Responsibilities, etc. it was this attitude that led to the kidnapping of the Paramount Ruler of Esit Eket L.G.A and attacks on other Paramount Rulers of Ibeno, Eket and Onna.
It has come to a point where the Core Communities can no longer contend these antics. We are also aware that Exxon being the parent company of MPNU has a notoriety of failure to meet its obligations such as payment of compensation for oil spill to the extent that they had to be sent away from other countries. This and similar attitude account for their consistent declaration of outrageous profit to the consternation of other oil companies and the amazement of the United States Congress.
Since 1998, the Core Communities have suffered sufficient deprivations and a near total exclusion from the benefits of its operation.
Consequent upon the fore going, the Core Communities wish to state emphatically as follows:
1. That MPNU should immediately comply with all the requests at the meeting of 4th November, 2013.
2. That failure to do so might elicit further very strong reactions from the Core Communities.

THIS PRESS CONFERENCE IS AUTHORIZED BY:-
1. His Eminence, Akwa Edidem (Dr) Akpabio U. Ukpa,
Oku Ibom III, Chairman of the Forum
Paramount Ruler of Onna.

2. HRM Edidem Ubong P. Assam II
Aso I of Esit Eket
Paramount Ruler of Esit Eket.

3. HRM Edidem N.J.E Oduenyie Jp
Atara Ekid, Enin Akwa Afaha III
Paramount Ruler of Eket.

4. HRM Owong (Dr) Effiong B. Archianga
Akwaha Owong Ibeno – Spokeman of the forum
Paramount Ruler of Ibeno.

5. Rt. Hon. Chief Nduese Essien
Attah of Ekid
Chairman Technical Committee

6. Pastor (Hon) Isaiah W. Abia
Coordinating Secretary

7. Proffesor Etie Ben Akpan
Member Technical Committee

8. High Chief Williams Mkpah
Member Technical Committee

9. Chief Okon Akpan Owong
Member Technical Committee

10. Barr. Bassey Nkanang
Member Technical Committee

11. Chief Ime M. Utin
Member Technical Committee

12. Chief Bassey Udo Akpan
Member Technical Committee

13. Rt. Hon. Imo Udobia
Member Technical Committee

Glory Itauma Says “I Do, I Do” To Samuel Coffie @ Latter Day Saint Church, Uyo

30 Nov

ImageAll roads lead to the Church of Jesus Christ of The Latter Day Saints headquarters, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State as former Ms. Glory ‘Ronke’ Itauma  from Eket drops her spinster’s garment to kiss “I do, I do” to Samuel Coffie of Nung Obong, Nsit Ubium Local Government Area.

The wedding is billed for Saturday, 30th November, 2013 by 10:00 A.M  at the church regional headquarters Uyo. Speaking to news men, Ms. Itauma said she’s very much delighted to meet Mr. Coffee whom she described as a young entrepreneurial, loving and caring friend. She said, though they have not known each other for a long time, she was confident that Samuel who has already shown her excellent traits of  a good husband and God fearing young man will definitely live to the bidding of the holy matrimony.

“I count myself lucky to meet Mr. Samuel Coffie and I will cuddle him into my arm as one. As a young man with rare traits of men of his class and age, I can imagine that our home will be a peaceful one and more of God’s love filled with blessings…” Ms. Itauma assured.

Also speaking, the man whose face will be beamed by a cream of jealous spinsters on that Saturday morning, Mr. Samuel Coffie, did not hide his joy for meeting a young lady whom he called ‘my honey-comb and the joy of my heart.’ He maintained that his meeting with Glory Itauma was one the Lord’s greatest doings in his life.

“When you are humble before the Lord and pray for your heart’s desire, God will always be kind enough to shower you with flood of His blessings.  It is not about riches or your understanding; it is about the Lord’s goodness. The Lord has been so kind to me; that’s why I am thrilled to tell you that for giving me Glory Itauma, He has done it again in my life.” Coffie brags

Asari Dokubo Released By Beninoise Gendarmes, Flown To Abuja

29 Nov

imageThe leader of the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force, Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, who was arrested yesterday in Cotonou, Benin Republic has been released.

Mr. Dokubo was released after President Goodluck Jonathan personally intervened on his behalf with the Beninoise President Yayi Boni.
Festus Keyamo, a civil rights activist and personal attorney to Mr. Dokubo confirmed his release to Saharareporters.

Dokubo, who once bragged openly that his arrest will lead to the demise of Nigeria spent 36 hours with the Beninoise gendarmes before his release around 1 AM Nigerian time today.

President Jonathan reportedly deployed a jet to ferry Mr. Asari to Abuja a few hours after his release.

Anambra: Rivers REC blames Colleague for flaws

28 Nov

 BY MUDIAGA AFFE, CALABAR

ImageThe Resident Electoral Commissioner in Rivers State, Mr. Aniedi Ikoiwak, has blamed the lack of commitment of some officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission for the flaws experienced in the conduct of the November 16 governorship election in Anambra State.

Ikoiwak, however, said the November 30 supplementary election would experience high level of commitment by all INEC staff from top to bottom.

The REC, who spoke with journalists in Eket, Akwa Ibom State, on Wednesday, said the shortcoming in the poll arose because some INEC staff failed to master the new policy adopted by the commission.

He said, “The November 16 election in Anambra was programmed to be the best. We all agreed that there are some areas where we had human lapses. Issues of commitment on the side of the officials were also noticed; that is people were not fully committed and this cut across junior and top staff including some of the commissioners.

“The commitment level of the officials of the commission should be higher in the next election than what was put in the election.  What happened was that because of the innovations, some persons did not know what to do.”

He noted that the innovation introduced by INEC for the conduct of the controversial election was meant to reduce malpractices to its barest minimum.

Seven PDP rebel governors join APC

26 Nov

BY OLUSOLA FABIYI

ImageThe seven aggrieved governors of the Peoples Democratic Party have announced their decision to merge with the All Progressives Congress.

The governors, at the meeting they had with the leadership of the APC in Abuja on Tuesday, said their decision was aimed at rescuing the country.

A former Acting National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Abubakar Baraje, announced the decision after the meeting, which was held at Kano Governor’s Lodge in Abuja.

Among the governors at the meeting were that of Rivers (Rotimi Amaechi), Kano(Rabiu Kwankwanso), Adamawa(Murtala Nyako), Kwara(Badulfatah Ahmed) and Niger(Dr. Babangida Aliyu).

The governors of Jigawa and Sokoto states, Sule Lamido and Aliyu Wamakko respectively were absent.

Baraje said the governors were part of the decision.

Some leaders of the APC like its Interim National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande; a former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; and a former Head of State, Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari(retd.), were in attendance.

A modern-day tale of Romeo and Juliet

24 Nov

 

A screen grab of a Facebook campaign supporting Huda and Arafat

Girl meets boy, her father disapproves. It is a story as old as time but, unlike Romeo and Juliet, a couple arrested in Yemen have sparked a major Facebook campaign.

Once upon a time, three years ago, Huda, now 22, walked into a mobile phone shop in her home village in Saudi Arabia. She met Arafat, now 25, a Yemeni migrant worker from a much poorer family. Love blossomed.Image

Arafat approached Huda’s parents to ask for her hand, but was refused, according to the couple’s lawyer. “My family wanted to marry me off to another guy,” Huda seems to have told Saudi journalists, in aclip posted on YouTube. “But I refused. I said no-one will touch me except for Arafat. That was when the thought occurred to me that I should escape.”

Huda then left home and crossed the border into Yemen disguised as a Yemeni worker. She was arrested on charges of illegal immigration. Huda’s family claimed Arafat had used “magic” on their daughter, according to reports. Arafat returned to Yemen and he too was arrested, for helping Huda.

So far, so familiar. So what is the difference between Huda and Arafat’s story, and that of Romeo and Juliet or the Arabic Laila and Majnun?

This time, there has been a huge reaction on Yemeni Facebook, with several pages and images of the couple being widely shared (one has 9,000 likes). Some of the comments have been nationalistic – with Yemenis venting anger at their wealthier neighbour’s attitudes. But others have invoked the 2011 uprising in which Yemenis demanded rights.

“The sympathy with Huda is because she rebelled against her culture,” says Fahad, a 33-year-old civil servant who is on Facebook every evening. “She stood up against a patriarchal society which told her who to marry. It highlights the need our societies have for modern states where there are freedoms and rights and where people can, for example, choose who they want to marry.” He is organising a group to protest outside Huda and Arafat’s court hearing on Sunday.

Iran nuclear: Geneva talks ‘reach deal’

24 Nov
Switzerland's Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter (L) talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during a meeting at the Intercontinental Hotel, in Geneva, on November 23, 2013 (Pool/AFP, Martial Trezzini)

Switzerland’s Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter (L) talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during a meeting at the Intercontinental Hotel, in Geneva, on November 23, 2013 (Pool/AFP, Martial Trezzini)

Iran and six world powers meeting in Geneva have reached a deal on Tehran’s nuclear programme, foreign ministers say.

No details have been released about the agreement, which has been reached after five days of negotiations.

Negotiators from the UK, US, Russia, China, France and Germany want Iran to stop enriching uranium in return for a loosening of sanctions.

Iran had earlier said it insisted on a “right to enrichment” in any deal.

This deal may be the most significant agreement between the world powers and Iran for a decade, says the BBC’s Iran correspondent, James Reynolds, who is at the talks in Geneva.

Iranian and western negotiators are expected to speak at a news conference shortly.

US President Barack Obama will give a statement at 03:15 GMT.

Tehran denies repeated claims by Western governments that it is seeking to develop nuclear weapons, and insists it must be allowed to enrich uranium for power stations.

“We have reached an agreement,” the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarifannounced on his Twitter feed.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius also confirmed the deal.

Minutes earlier, Michael Mann, spokesman for the EU foreign policy chief Baroness Catherine Ashton, who is leading the conference, quoted her as saying: “We have reached agreement between E3+3 and Iran.”

No details have been released. The White House says the US president, Barack Obama – who is in Washington – is preparing to make a statement about the deal.

Earlier, on Saturday evening, the deputy Iranian foreign minister, Abbas Araqchi, said “98% of the draft” had been agreed but that Tehran wanted a “right to enrichment” to be clearly stated in any deal.

“We are insisting on our right to enrichment, which should be clearly recognised in the draft agreement,” Mr Araqchi was quoted as telling Iranian reporters late on Saturday – the fourth day of the negotiations.

Negotiators have been working since Wednesday to reach an agreement that is acceptable to both sides.

The talks had been scheduled to finish on Friday but were extended. Foreign ministers from the so-called P5+1 group of nations joined on Saturday, amid hopes of a breakthrough.

US officials said Secretary of State John Kerry, who arrived in Geneva early on Saturday, had the goal of “continuing to help narrow the differences and move closer to an agreement”.

‘Vigorous inspections’

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Saturday that a deal would be done only if it was a “truly worthwhile agreement”.

Some US politicians had said they would push for more sanctions if the talks failed.

Iran's heavy water plant at Arak, file picThe fate of Iran’s heavy-water plant at Arak is one of the issues to be resolved

The Geneva meeting follows a previous round of talks earlier this month.

On that occasion, foreign ministers flew to Geneva to conclude the negotiations, but they went home empty-handed.

Analysts say a major sticking point has been Iran’s insistence on its right to enrich uranium – a process that yields material used to manufacture fuel for power stations, but can also be used in weapons.

Western diplomats are also concerned about a reactor Iran is building at Arak – an issue which disrupted the first round of talks.

President Obama has said any interim agreement would see the bulk of international and US sanctions remain, but that Iran would get sanctions relief worth between $6bn and $7bn.

The essence of the deal would involve Iran making no more advances in its nuclear programme and agreeing to “more vigorous inspections”, he said.

“Yes, Babangida Killed Dele Giwa” – Major Debo Basorun, Rtd

24 Nov
WHO KILLED DELE GIWA?

Babangida’s ex-Chief Press Secretary opens up, says ‘Yes, IBB killed Dele Giwa’ By News Express

General Babangida

General Babangida


Twenty-seven years after the brutal murder by a parcel bomb of the journalist Dele Giwa, the fog surrounding those behind his death has been substantially cleared by 70-year-old Major Debo Basorun (retd.), former Chief Press Secretary to ex-military President Ibrahim Babangida. In an interview published this morning in National Mirror, Basorun was asked: “Are you saying categorically that it was Babangida who ordered the killing of Dele Giwa?” His answer: “Yes, yes and yes.”
The septuagenarian had yesterday broken down in tears as he recalled Giwa’s dastardly murder during the launch in Lagos of his book, ‘Honour for Sale: An Inside Account of the Murder of Dele Giwa’.
In the explosive interview, Basorun also accused his erstwhile boss of bringing corruption to the highest level in the country and of committing a lot of atrocities. Please read on:

Question: What informed your decision to write a book about some salient events in the nation’s history?

Immediately I left this country for exile in United States of America in 1989, I gathered all the materials for the book. I started making jottings on long hand. By 1994 the book was ready and the transcript was given to Prof. Wole Soyinka during the NADECO struggles. But for one reason or the other, I could not put it through

Why did you go on exile?

I had to run when my life was in danger. I was then the Chief Press Secretary to General Ibrahim Babangida, the former Head of State. Since I know some facts surrounding the death of Dele Giwa, the government was uncomfortable with me, therefore they were looking for how to eliminate me.
Babangida’s government was involved in the planning and assassination of Dele Giwa. And because I was privy to that information, the government was unhappy, unsettled; it was jittery and wanted to get rid of me. It suspected that I could say the truth. When I saw the handwriting on the wall and between life and death, I ran for my life. I had to escape from the country after I took them to court. I was the only principal officer serving that will take the government to court.
Despite several injunctions, at the Lagos High Court, the military government then just refused to come to the court to present their side of the story. The court said they should leave me alone, but they were hunting for me everywhere and since my life was no longer safe, I had to leave.

What are the salient facts that you have in your custody that made you think the government was looking for you?

Dele Giwa and the letter bomb

Dele Giwa and the letter bomb


These facts are hidden in the book and if you get a copy, you will see the intrigue that was woven round the killing of Dele Giwa. You will see the role certain characters played in the murder. I was even induced with money, but I refused, that was the time I had to run away. Now I believe it is better to state the fact the way it was no matter whose ox is gored. It is better to run away than to collect money from the devil.

Are you saying categorically that it was Babangida who ordered the killing of Dele Giwa?

Yes, yes and yes.

What about the involvement of Cols. Haliru Akilu and A. K. Togun?

Yes, these guys were in the military intelligence. They were all involved. If there is any dirty job to be done, the military intelligence would do it. I am a dramatic personae in that unit, therefore there is nothing they are doing that I would not know. The bitter truth is that Dele Giwa was killed by the Babangida regime. The whole thing was surrounded by mystery of our government. It is unfortunate that nobody has been brought to book.

Are you not afraid of your life now that all those you implicated in your book are still alive?

That was then that I used to fear, I am old enough to die now. That is the reason why I wrote this book, ‘Honour for Sale’. If eventually it leads to my death, I have no regrets. Why did they tag you a rebel while in the army, especially on the issue of a strong memo you wrote to your superior officer. What happened then?
That was when I was in the army. The issue that forced me out into exile was that Babangida was the President. There were two different scenarios here. One of the things that endeared Babangida to so many troops was his sense of fairness and sense of accommodating, no matter where you come from. After I became his spokesperson in the army, I realised that most of our gadgets in the army had inscriptions written on them in Arabic.
Despite the fact that I was a Muslim, I found it offensive that English was our lingua franca and that those things ought to have been written in English. I raised a memo and sent to him. He did not want to act on it, when Akilu, who was the Director of Military Intelligence got wind of it, he was bitter with me. He called me all sorts of names and came to accuse me for initiating such a memo.

Was there any sinister move from Akilu over what you did?

Dele Giwa in portrait

Dele Giwa in portrait


He was just harassing me, but Babangida shielded me, and told me that I should lie low. There was a time he told me that I should not mind him. I was doing a good job and the image of the army, which had been battered, was being restored gradually.

Don’t you think that the society will blame you for concealing such information you are divulging now for many years?

No; they will not, against the backdrop of what went wrong then. I knew why I went to court and refused to be posted to where they can kill me. There was a precedent, they have killed people in that unit before and nothing happened, therefore I didn’t want to be killed. If I did not have my facts, I will not go to court. That was why they muzzled everybody including the court. They were very powerful and there was nothing they could not do.

Was that the reason why all the cases of glaring assassinations the country have been witnessing after the killing of Dele Giwa cannot be traced?

It is only now that the police investigate cases of assassination and other organised crimes. Those days, the police cannot investigate anything. In fact, during the time of Babangida, the police was just a toothless bull dog. They were just there at the beck and call of the powers that be, then and there was nothing the rank and file could do.

Is it true that the IBB you know can do anything to bribe his way out of any situation?

I can tell you authoritatively that Babangida was a corrupt man. He was very corrupt. Several times, I had collected bribe for him. I am not claiming to be a saint, because I was a part of that government.
It is ‘obey the last order’ in the military. I know bribery is not good, but it was a military assignment that you must carry out; it is a duty that you must do. If the society wants to blame me for that, I will take up the blame. IBB introduced a new dimension to corruption in Nigeria on a large scale.

Recently the same IBB came out to condemn corruption in the country, how do you react to that?

It is very unfortunate that he, who took corruption to the highest level, could do so. Every Head of State in this country, apart from Muritala Mohammed and Muhammadu Buhari, were all corrupt.
The idea behind the book is just to call on Nigerians that they should not allow impunity to continue, enough is enough. After Dele Giwa, a lot of people, including journalists have been killed by the powers that be, yet nobody has unravelled the killings. What that is telling us is that the media is not doing enough to come out with such investigative stories, one day nobody knows who could come next as their target.
That is the challenge I pose to them now; let them come and kill me. I no longer fear for my life. I am old enough to die now if that is the sacrifice to pay for telling the truth and exposing all the hidden facts in our past brutal political history. I don’t want to go to my grave with this heavy load on my chest, today I have children and grandchildren, so if death comes now, I have left a legacy for the next generation to ponder on. They offered me money to keep quiet, but I refused, knowing full well that a day like this will come.
In 2010, Babangida wanted to use the Chief of Army Staff as they came up with spurious charge that cannot withstand the test of time against me that I stole money in the army. I took them to court, but they could not defend it.
After that all other Chiefs of Army Staff who had sat on that chair realised that the issue was a political one and decided not to dabble into it. They did not want to dabble into it for the fear that a day like this may come where all the hidden facts will be in the open. They did all that could be done to rubbish my image and harass me publicly but it all failed.
Was there any specific attempt on your life in the course of this crisis?
When I was in exile, Babangida wanted to eliminate me, but all his attempts failed. He used the Nigerian Embassy in America to prosecute all these atrocities, he even got in touch with some corrupt US agencies to do the shady deal for him, but all failed. I was forced to go to court there before I was vindicated. Babangida was afraid of this day, when all his misdeeds of the past would be laid bare in the open to the public through my book.

As an insider, do you believe that there were few cabals that were controlling the destiny of this country?

Yes, Babangida is one of them. Let me tell you the bitter truth: all those who have been controlling the political power of this country are few cliques who are re-cycling themselves, either military or civilian. Most of them are in government by proxy; all their agents are in government.
Let me give you an example, there are some people, who were with me in Dodan Barracks and who are still in the present government. For us to move forward, let all the old brigade hands off, including myself. Let the young people take over the reins of power and run it. With all these dead woods around, former this and former that, we are not going to get anywhere.

Would you say we need revolution to make things right?

Revolution is the last resort. Yes things are not going as it ought to go, but Nigerians can endure a lot, however there is limit to human endurance. When Nigerians are pressed to the wall, revolution will come naturally. The handwriting is clearly on the wall.

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