United Ijaw * Welcome to United Ijaw on the web. Our preference is national self determination, the independence of Ijawnation as a Sovereign State. A state that promotes sustainable economic and social development, democratic principles, liberty, free enterprise, equal rights and justice. This is our story, this is our struggle. **** On Kaiama Declaration We Stand **** United Nations Under Secretary-General, Dr. Antonio Maria Costa, in Abuja condemned the theft of Nigeria's assets by past corrupt leaders. He said that kleptomaniac leaders stole more than 400 billion dollars from the Nigerian treasury between 1960 and 1999. **** IJAWNATION THINK! THINK. **** Almost $170 billion of the country’s wealth disappeared and ended in the private accounts of individuals between 1999 and 2003 alone... Priye Torulagha ****Nigeria has failed Niger Delta – Nnamani **** Resource Control: Niger-Delta governors are traitors – Evah **** Only the fear of a volcanic social eruption from below can stop barbaric behaviour by holders of political power – Gani Fawehinmi ***** “ if the Confab and Nigerians are not willing to heed to Resource Control, they will take it by force” - Oronto Douglas We Dare To Be Different.
Population: 14,833,421



Kalu: Mr. President, You’re Corrupt

It’s a smear campaign, says Presidency
From Kola Ologbondiyan in Abuja, 09.04.2005 (ThisDay)

Abia State Governor Orji Uzor Kalu has accused President Olusegun Obasanjo of corrupt practices and described the anti-corruption war of the present administration as mere window dressing aimed at witch-hunting the opposition. Kalu in a six-page letter to Obasanjo dated August 22 cited instances of the President's corrupt practices as including the handling of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) crude oil sales, the construction of hostels for The Bells Secondary School and ownership of a Platinum Credit Card through which the President allegedly charges his foreign acount and make purchases abroad.

But the presidency yesterday described the allegations as "a vicious, well orchestrated and well organised smear campaign" to impugn Obasa-njo's integrity. It noted that the President is clean and that he will be vindicated by the outcome of the transparent investigation to be conducted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Obasanjo has referred the letter listing Kalu’s allegations  to the EFCC chairman, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, “to clinically investigate and make your findings public if you so choose.”

The full details of Kalu’s letter, which was entitled “Working for Posterity to Judge Us” and made available to THISDAY yesterday, read: “I write you this letter with a deep sense of patriotism, and without any malice. As a practising Christian I detest sycophancy in whatever guise, and this is why I have always offered to tell you the truth, no matter how bitter it may be.
“I may not be in your good books, even though I made huge personal sacrifice and contributed tens of millions of naira to your 1999 presidential campaign. “But my joy is that, at least, you can acknowledge that I am one of those you can count on to speak the truth to you at all times and without any let or hindrance.

“It is now about four years since your administration emba-rked upon its anti-corruption crusade. Nevertheless, I regret to observe that the campaign has not yielded the desired result because it lacked focus and strong foundation ab initio. “The unrelenting resentment of the campaign by many Nigerians, including the media, is attributable to the fact that they see it as a deliberate plot to witch-hunt and muzzle perceived political enemies.

“The high-handed, draconian, and commando-like operations of the EFCC and Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) so far have negated all that our democracy stands for. They do not hide their bias neither do they function within the ambits of the laws setting them up. Again, the establishment of the two institutions is a mere duplication since there are existing provisions in our legislation to handle their functions.

“In any case, the most preposterous and incredulous aspect of your anti-corruption campaign is that while the media is awash  with stories on the activities of EFCC and ICPC corruption is taking root daily in many federal establishments, Aso Rock inclusive. I have said it several times that corruption is rife among senior officials of government, especially those at the federal level. It is said that a few members of the leadership of the Senate could stoop so low as to drop your name with active connivance of some of your aides to collect large sums in oil and defence contract commissions. The ignominous activities of this cabal, including the foreign accounts of some of your aides, serving and former ministers, are also well known to the international community. I would be surprised if you feign ignorance of this unfortunate situation.

“Unbelievably, you have done nothing visible to extinguish this dangerous and sycophantic phenomenon. It seems you have deliberately turned eyes against the atrocities perpetrated by your officials because there is incontrovertible evidence at my disposal that you are afraid to prosecute them for fear of turning the table against yourself. I do not see why you should preach openly against corruption but deep inside you, you have a different attitude towards it. “What about the Abuja National Stadium? Why was the original design for the stadium which had a five star hotel and which contract was won by a Chinese firm discarded and re-awarded to another foreign construction company based in Nigeria without the five star hotel at five times the price quoted by the Chinese firm? There is unquestionable evidence at my disposal why the contract was awarded to the Nigerian-based foreign construction company instead of the Chinese firm.

“What much do you know about the operations of the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE)? Who collected the commissions for the sale of Ajaokuta Steel Company and Delta Steel Rolling Mill, Aladja? Could both transactions have been said to be transparent? “Why have you found it difficult Your Excellency to probe the activities of the Federal Ministry of Works in spite of my allegation that the ministry stinks? It is an open knowledge that the operations of the ministry between 1999 and 2003 were a monumental fraud.

“In a media appearance at the VOA last month I challenged you to openly declare your assets. Up till now you are yet to do so. By declaring your assets openly you will have succeeded in dispelling any doubts on the minds of Nigerians and the international community about the sincerity of your anti-corruption campaign. “Mr. President, you will agree with me that there are still many other questions that I would have loved to put across to you. But I have just asked these few to agitate your mind and dismiss your anti-corruption campaign as mere window-dressing. “A few other examples will baffle you. Let me ask you: Who owns Bell University and Bell Secondary School? I was shocked when you openly denied ownership of the two institutions and rather ascribed their ownership to Dr. Onaolapo Soleye, a one time Minister of Finance. I wish to put it to you, Mr. President, that I have overwhelming evidence to link you with both institutions.

“Who paid for the construction of hostels and gigantic sports complex at the Bell Secondary School? I put it to you Sir that both projects were financed with tax payers money through the construction giant, Strabag, five years ago. What role did a former Minister of Sports play in the whole deal? What of the transformation of Ota, which is going on at frenetic speed? Who picks the bill? We knew all these things but deliberately chose to keep mute for the sake of peace.

“The third question for you Sir centres on your tenure as Nigeria’s Minister of Petroleum Resources since 1999. Why has there not been a properly-audited account for the Ministry of Petroleum Resources since then despite the outcries by the people for this to be done? There is indisputable evidence that all the major deals in the nation’s oil sector are being handled by you through some agents. What about the leakages and the fraud at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), with particular reference to crude oil sales and the accrued commissions? What have you done to check the malfeasance? “You have at several occasions accused top government functionaries, especially the governors, of owing foreign accounts. Can you in all sincerity, Sir, swear that you own no foreign account(s)? There is evidence that you own foreign accounts, including a platinum credit card recently opened for you through which you charge your foreign account and make purchases abroad.

“I fear for the ways things are going in this country under your leadership. I fear for the masses of our country which live under dehumanizing conditions. The economy has virtually collapsed, and there is no more middle class. Everything is in shambles yet we make millions of dollars daily from oil. An average Nigeria(n) lives on 60 cents (i.e N78) a day. Is this not a shame and a big scar on our collective psyche? “There is no way we can go on this way. If we continue this way then we are surreptitiously inviting anarchy and cataclysm. The patience of Nigerians is running out fast, and it behoves you to take the bull by the horns and salvage the situation before it consumes all of us.

“As I said at the beginning this is a message that should challenge your statesmanship and patriotic zeal. You have an opportunity to write your name in gold if you can begin today to make amends. “You should redirect your energies to only gainful and edifying activities befitting of your exalted office instead of haunting innocent citizens just for refusing to dance to your dictates. “I am a straight forward, transparent and focussed person. I call a spade a spade not minding whose ox is gored. I have demonstrated this through my altruistic service to the people of my state.

“I refer you to Galatians 6: 7-8, and wish to state in my conclusion that anybody who wants to come to equity must come to equity with clean hands, and those who live in glass house should not throw stones. “You may not bother to like me, just give ear to my admonitions, and let us leave posterity to judge us. “Please accept, Your Excell-ency, the assurances of my highest consideration,”

In refering the letter to EFCC Chairman September 2 the president stated: “These are wide and wild allegations which I authorise you to clinically investigate and make your findings public if you so choose.”   Reacting to the allegations, the President's Special Assistant on Public Affairs, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode, in a telephone chat said the allegations were baseless.

Details of his reaction are as follows:
"We completely reject and refute the suggestion that Mr. President has committed any crime or done anything wrong. It is precisely because he is a God-fearing, innocent and honest man that he has absolutely no hesitation in referring the matter to the EFCC for a thorough investigation and he directed that the findings of that investigation should be made public.
"We have nothing to fear and nothing to hide. Mr. President is as clean as a whistle and these are nothing but baseless, spurious and vicious allegations which are designed to impugn his integrety. It will not work and we are not in the least bit concerned.

“I have the details of every single allegation that has been made and I can assure you they are all baseless. We will do nothing to interfere in the EFCC investigation of this matter. We will co-operate and at the end of the day, I can assure you that Mr. President will be vindicated. "I don't agree with you that the allegation can lead to appearance of guilt and neither should that be the case. An allegation is nothing but an allegation without evidence. It is meaningless and irrelevant. People make hundreds of allegations per day. The issue is: where is your evidence and how can you substantiate it?

"I do not see the allegation as anything other than what it is - a vicious, well-orchestrated and well-organised smear campaign against a man that has given virtually his whole life to the service of this nation in an honest, decent and transparent way.  I can assure you that after the investigation has been concluded, those that made these vicious allegations will bow their heads in shame."

Guardian Newspaper Friday, March 21, 2008              

The trial of Olusegun Obasanjo
By Reuben Abati

THE on-going House of Representatives probe of expenditures in the power sector during the Obasanjo years has so far resulted in mind-boggling revelations about the abuse of due process, award of contracts to non-existing companies; the use of illegal Special Purpose Vehicles, misappropriation of public funds, and a gross failure of leadership. Reading the reports of the testimonies before the House of Reps Committee on Power, or watching the proceedings on television, many Nigerians cringe in utter frustration.

The power sector probe is the latest in a series of efforts apparently aimed at a systematic dismantling of the Obasanjo era, and the explosion of the myths upon which that government hoisted its claim to importance. The Obasanjo government advertised itself as a government that was committed to due process, transparency and integrity. President Obasanjo, with the EFCC as vehicle, was a corruption cop in power.

Gradually, however, Nigerians are being shown with facts, figures and words, that at work for eight years, under the former President is a tyranny of hypocrisy. The power sector, where $16 billion was allegedly spent and no result was recorded, with the nation in perpetual darkness is only a tip of a shaky iceberg. If the probe were to be extended to other sectors of the economy, it is easy to imagine that more myths would collapse. Former stakeholders in that government are being summoned by the House of Representatives to give evidence. I used the word "systematic" earlier. I do so advisedly. It is as if there is an organised attack on the Obasanjo government by the same government that he helped to bring to power.

This began very early in the life of the Yar'Adua administration with the reversal of some of the policies of the Obasanjo government. President Yar'Adua had campaigned on a platform of continuity. He is not continuing with anything. He has not started anything of his own, but he is subjecting the past to a searing dissection. Obasanjo - his persona, his legacy, his leadership - that is what is on trial. Students of leadership and management should find in the Obasanjo story, an interesting case study on power and leadership.

Why is the Yar'Adua government taking the Obasanjo government apart and exposing it to ridicule? I can hazard two guesses. One, Yar'Adua who began his career as President as Obasanjo's anointed candidate needs to prove that he is his own man, not Obasanjo's puppet. What better way to assert himself than to distance himself from the past? Two, it is possible that President Yar'Adua has been confronted with so much that is rotten in the Obasanjo government that he feels a sense of duty, if not patriotism, to remove the mask and put an end to Obasanjo's grandstanding.

Hence, many of the things done under President Obasanjo are being upturned: the sale of government houses, the monetisation of benefits for public servants; the revocation of plots of land in Abuja, the sale of refineries... And every step that has been taken in these regards by the Yar'Adua government has been met with broad-based public approval. In addition, the de-mystification of Obasanjo on all fronts, has emboldened those who feel aggrieved towards him to take potshots at him.

How does Obasanjo feel? What is going on in his mind? He has been quoted as boasting that he "dey kampe". But is he? Does he not feel hurt? Does he not feel betrayed by a man he had made President because he considers him family and believes he would help to preserve his legacy? Does he not feel helpless, seeing how he has lost his troop of old loyalists? Every leader looks forward to being honoured and accepted after leaving office. Obasanjo, all of a sudden, is a lonely man. His persona is under assault. His legacy is unravelling. His enemies are rolling on the floor holding their ribs as they try to stifle an unending flow of laughter from their throats. I have met only very few people who express any form of pity.

Besides the probe of his government and the exposure of its limitations, there is trouble on the home front too. Obasanjo's beloved daughter who is now a Senator has been associated with a number of controversial deals. Her father of course, is the main target. His son, the most visible of his sons while he was in office, has also accused Obasanjo of incest - of having an affair with his wife, and giving her contracts as compensation. There is problem in the community too. When President Obasanjo was quoted as having said he was trapped in the traffic between Sango-Ota where he lives and Lagos, a concerned public felt he should blame himself. In the course of a trip to Ekiti state, he was booed by his audience.

Across Yorubaland, his ethnic constituency, there are very few places where Obasanjo can give a speech in public and expect an ovation. He is most likely to be heckled. Within his political party, the People's Democratic Party (PDP), the situation is the same, here the storm is heavy. In the run-up to the PDP National Convention held in Abuja on March 8, it will be recalled that General Obasanjo in his position as Chairman of the party's Board of Trustees had openly campaigned for some candidates and particularly for Dr. Sam Egwu, former Governor of Ebonyi state, whom he wanted as Chairman of the Party. This incensed many members of the party.

Obasanjo's main supporter was Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu who boasted that Obasanjo would have his way. On March 8, both men were made to eat their words. A section of the party is even agitating for a review of the party's Constitution and Obasanjo's removal as Chairman of the BOT. In the past, no one would dare oppose Obasanjo. He held both the party and the country under his grip. His word was law. But now, on a daily basis, Obasanjo is being reminded that he no longer wields power. He had used power so viciously that Nigerians whenever they are privileged to do so, feel obliged to remind him of the change in his status. March 5 was his 71st birthday; there were very few congratulatory adverts in the papers.

When he turned 70 in 2007, the Baba-kee-pe adverts in the papers were so many. At a recent event in remembrance of his late friend and colleague, General Shehu Musa Yar'Adua, Chief Tony Anenih who was asked to give the opening prayer, had turned the prayer into a verbal assault on Obasanjo who was present at the occasion. Anenih had prayed that God should grant President Yar'Adua the courage to investigate the rot left behind by the previous administration. Anenih's prayer may reflect public sentiments, but he, Anenih is part of the rot that he was praying about. He used to be Obasanjo's friend.

For the better part of the Obasanjo era, Anenih was known as "Mr. Fix-It." He helped to fix most of the rot. If Anenih's prayer must be answered, the probe that he called for must include putting him in the box and asking him to account for the over N350 billion that was allegedly spent on Nigerian roads under his watch as Minister of Works and Housing. He'd need to explain what happened to all that money with Nigerian roads still in a state of disrepair. Anenih's attack on Obasanjo clearly shows the depth of Obasanjo's loss of goodwill.

Everyone is taking potshots at him - the most vicious in recent times coming from Col. Abubakar Umar and General T.Y. Danjuma. And the most damaging coming from security men at Aso Villa who at a post-PDP Convention Dinner on March 9, forced him to queue up for dinner according to the order of protocol. Twice, he was reportedly returned to his seat and asked to wait! He tries to bluff his way through either by ignoring the attacks or by fighting back. But Obasanjo is in a position of weakness. His humiliation, I repeat, is self-inflicted. In his days as President, the Nigerian mass media had tried so hard to tell Obasanjo the truth. But he and his aides were intolerant of criticism.

President Obasanjo not only called journalists names in official speeches, he even once declared that he does not read Nigerian newspapers! Obasanjo as President had a problem of style. He was a dictator in a democratic system of government. He ended up burning his bridges. But his greatest shortcoming: he was surrounded by a group of sycophants who told him what he wanted to hear, so they could pursue their own selfish agenda. They called him Baba. They told him he was the father of modern Nigeria. They advised him to seek a Third Term in office. They told him he was the best political leader since Winston Churchill. Anytime journalists criticised his government or any of his policies, they told him they had information that the journalists were looking for money or positions. And he believed them. These were the Obasanjo boys and girls, the inner caucus, the special team. They were voluble, abusive, unduly aggressive and terribly rude. They behaved as if they knew it all.

They are the architects of the rot that is now being associated with the Obasanjo era. And not surprisingly, they are not speaking up to defend the man. They are conveniently silent. They cannot be bothered. But this is easy to explain: Obasanjo is no longer in a position to help them; and they do not want to offend the new man in power. If Yar'Adua offers them a job tomorrow, they will jump at it with the enthusiasm of a goat.

But the bigger problem for Obasanjo is his loss of face in the international arena. When he left office in 1979, he immediately became the beautiful bride of the international community. Everyone wanted to meet the man who ended years of military rule in Nigeria. He was rewarded for his faith in democracy. Nigerians also loved him: they called him "Uncle Sege. They laughed at his jokes. The media promoted him as an African statesman. Today, the same international community is ignoring him. Nobody has invited him to mediate in Darfur, or Kenya or Zimbabwe. With his government's mismanagement of the 2007 elections, nobody is inviting Obasanjo to give a lecture on democracy, good governance and national development. With the rot in the power sector (Where was the EFCC, by the way?. Where was the National Assembly then?) and the scandal of his alleged involvement with his daughter-in-law, nobody is asking OBJ to pontificate on transparency and integrity as he would have wished. If anyone is still laughing at his jokes, these would be his workers at the Ota farm. To have been given so much and yet to have lost so much: this is the tragedy of Obasanjo's adventures in power.

However, the Yar'Adua government may be busy helping to expose the misadventures of the Obasanjo years, but that is not enough. This government must go beyond histrionics and staging a little grandstanding of its own. It should set up a judicial panel of inquiry. Besides, when will the Yar'Adua government begin to initiate its own programmes and show the capacity to deliver on its promises? It is now accepted knowledge that so much was wrong with Obasanjo's style and with his government and the hypocrisy of his loud-mouthed assistants. But Yar'Adua, please do something.

Take note, before the looting starts

Sunday, August 13, 2006
Frankly Speaking
Dele Sobowale

Prevention is better than cure—Old Proverb

THE  League Of States first published on this page needs to be regularly updated in
order to bring sanity to government operations in this country and reduce the pervasive corruption as a result of which Nigeria has remained under-developed even after seven years of so-called reforms. Last week the Federal ministry of Finance published the allocations to states and Local Governments from the Federation Accounts for June 2006. This brings the total amount that has passed through the hands of our elected officials at all levels since 1999 to over N11 trillion with the Federal government having to account for about N5.6 trillion. Above is the June 2006 League Of States.

Several observations can be made right away from this table. First Rivers State collected more allocation than the last six states put together and almost as much as the last seven. The state alone accounts for 12 per cent or one-eighth of all allocations excluding internally generated revenue.

 The top four states – Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta and Akwa Ibom collected a whopping 36 per cent of all federal allocations and once again poor Nassarawa State came last. Since the governors of the two states, Rivers and Nassararwa, are in the presidential race, would it not be pertinent to ask if the people of Rivers State have enjoyed seven times the dividends of democracy as those of Nassarawa? Besides, have the people of all  the 36 states benefited fully from the allocations they received? That of course is a question which every elected office holder seeking a new mandate must be made to answer as a minimum. Granted Ekiti is one of the poorest states. But, how prudently have the meagre resources been managed? Politicians “promises are like pie crusts; made to be broken” (V. I. Lenin 1870-1924 ). But, verifiable performance on the job is quite another matter. Do the structures on the ground in each state reflect the level of allocations? That remains the crucial question. Many governors have been trying to bamboozle the public by preparing glossy printed reports and radio and television documentaries. Invariably, none has provided the answer to the crucial question: do these projects fully and honestly account for all the money the state spent?

Next week I will present the Local Government League Table. This is designed to achieve two goals. The first is to ask each governor how much of these amounts actually reached the local governments. The second is to ask the local government chairpersons to account for how they disposed of the funds allocated to them. Already concerned citizens in every state have enough material to start asking their governors to account for the billions received in June 2006. We have to start somewhere holding our elected officials to account. We might as well start from here.

Finally, it needs to be pointed out that when we elected people who have never managed one billion in their lives and gave them absolute power over the management of trillions of naira we were asking for the tragedy that has been the result. Only institutions and well disciplined organizations can handle that sort of money without corruption setting in. That means that the next group of legislators we elect must be people who have demonstrated the capacity to understand the role of institutions in nation building and who will not allow the Executive branch to pocket them either by intimidation or bribery.

Then we need to rebuild the civil service to empower it to play the role for which it was created; that is, to act as a check against the excesses of the Executive embarking on corrupt practices. Right now the civil service itself has been corrupted almost beyond redemption.

June 2006 League of States

Group 1  Group 2  Group 3  Group 4

Rivers N23.24 b        Kad N4.28 b        Ben N3.81 b                        Tar  N3.40 b
Bayelsa N18.16 b      Edo N4.20 b        Sok N3.72 b                        Osu  N3.32 b
Delta  N15.83 b         Oyo N4.19 b       Ana N3.60 b                        Enu  N3.30 b
A/Ibom N14.44 b      Bor  N4.11 b       Keb N3.56 b                        Gom N3.15 b
Ondo N6.96 b            Bau N4.10  b      Zam N3.55 b                       Kwa  N3.12 b
Kano  N5.56 b           C/R N3.98 b       Ada  N3.53 b                       Eki    N3.08 b
Lagos N5.49 b           Nig N3.96 b       Kog  N3.50 b                       Pla     N3.05 b
Imo  N4.36 b             Ab   N3.95 b      Ogu   N3.45 b                      Ebo    N3.01 b
Kats N4.29 b             Jig   N3.91 b      Yob   N3.39 b                      Nas    N3.00 b

The real tragedy of Sosoliso air crash

Sir, are the media aware of goings on between Sosoliso and the bereaved families? Heard they are paying them N5 million instead of $100,000. Please investigate—Concerned Citizen

THE Sosoliso crash which claimed several lives especially of kids will remain for a long time one of the greatest tragedies this country has experienced. As a father and grandfather myself, my heart bleeds for the parents of the kids as well as for those who lost their bread winners. Since they have left us and will not pass this way again, we can only pray to the Almighty who understands everything to give them perpetual rest and to comfort the bereaved.

In a way, I am also one of the bereaved because the pilot of the fatal crash was a friend and I have been privileged to fly with him on many occasions. He was a true professional and one of the best this country or any other country has produced. He once told me of his ambition to start his own airline when his days at Sosoliso are over. The dream died with him, unfortunately.

 I have provided that background in my response to this text message, among several I have received on the issue of compensation to the bereaved families. My first inclination was to run away from it because I knew it would be too painful for me. But, the bereaved families quite clearly demanded an answer and some of them have selected me as their messenger to get the facts for them. Knowing that these matters can be quite emotive, I have gone ahead despite the risks involved. And below are my findings and suggestions to all the parties involved.

First, it must be agreed that Sosoliso, like any other airline, would not deliberately crash its own plane because it suffers the consequences in three major ways. The first and most important is the loss of experienced staff, especially the fly crew, which are most difficult to replace. Second, is the loss of goodwill and consequently which temporarily is experienced by the airline and third is the loss of an aircraft which is not easily replaceable and the loss of revenue that follows.

 But, once an accident occurs as they must in any human endeavour, the compensation to the victims or the bereaved and the airline itself becomes the primary responsibility of the insurance and the re-insurance companies with which the airline is insured. In the case of Sosoliso, the domestic insurance company is NICON which is also the largest in Nigeria, as everybody knows. The re-insurance is with Lloyd’s, perhaps the world’s largest insurance company. The situation as I understand it is that the $100,000 comes in two components; the payment by NICON and the lion’s share by Lloyd’s. Sosoliso has had no problem getting NICON to settle; the problem is with Llyod’s which so far has not settled. The matter has now become the subject of litigation. Until Lloyd’s settles Sosoliso cannot afford to settle the huge bill without going out of business. What Sosoliso has offered, therefore, is an interim settlement which nobody is compelled to accept, pending the outcome of the case abroad.

 I also understand that some bereaved families had filed a class action suit in Nigeria against Sosoliso. This is a legitimate exercise of the rights of the claimants but as a founding member of the Alternative Dispute Resolution concept in Nigeria and a strong believer in mediation as a superior method of resolving disputes, I believe litigation is premature in this instance. It might also be time-consuming and counter-productive.

 From the facts available to me, the amounts being claimed, if awarded by the courts, namely, High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court (because it might go so far ) would actually force Sosoliso into bankruptcy and it would not be able to pay. In addition, several of our fellow country people, innocent bystanders in this disaster, will be thrown out of work. This is my honest view and it holds not only for the particular case involving Sosoliso, it will hold for any other airline finding itself in this sort of predicament.

Take note, before the looting starts

The trial of Olusegun Obasanjo

" But an equally valid question to ask is where the money the producing countries have received has gone. Nigeria has earned around $400bn from oil since 1970. A Nigerian friend returning home after 15 years abroad asked where the war had been - so run down and dilapidated had the country become. And yet Nigerians own some of the finest properties in the world's best cities, and swell some of the world's biggest bank accounts.

An ongoing criminal investigation in the US shows that even in Equatorial Guinea, where oil was only discovered in 1991, the president has $700m in a US bank account
... " Antony Goldman ( BBC )

The Nigerian State tolerates leaders from the Niger Delta so long as they support the enslavement of their people. But the moment they show signs of independent thinking and preparation for action or opposition to the negative policies of the Nigerian State, all the coercive apparati of State power and might are brought to bear on them without pity or without human touch.

Gani Fawehinmi

"It seems to me that the further away you are from where the  resources of this country are produced, the better you profit from  it. The people who are nearer, who are proximate to the source of  the resource are poor. During the Oputa panel sittings, I shuddered  to see the depravity of the people in the oil producing areas. I don't  think it is right for us to feel that as long as we can hoodwink, pull  the wool on the face of our unfortunate brothers, wave our  authority and powers and the amount of weapons we can use to  level them, we wouldn't have a conscience" ... Chief  Benjamin Akinyede

"Between 1970 and 2000, the number of Nigerians living in poverty -- less than a dollar a day -- has risen to 70 percent from 36 percent and per capita gross domestic product has fallen to $1,084 from $1,113 in purchasing power parity terms.

At the same time oil revenues have boomed. Since 1965, oil has generated about $350 billion in 1995 dollars for the west African nation of 120 million people." ---
IMF 8/1/03

"How many of us will want our own heritage, in our own area to be devastated, exploited and expended for the common good with the result that we will be the people who suffer as a consequence?"...
 Chief Gilbert Akinyede, CON

"I consider that Nigeria is on the verge, on the brink of a massive implosion that will make what's happening in the Sudan child's play. We know there are movements for secession in this country. We know that everybody is preparing for the contingency of breaking up. International organisations are also studying the situation,"... Wole Soyinka, Africa's first Nobel Prize Winner for Literature.. Reuters Alert, July 8, 2004.