Since the apparently invincible Boko Haram insurgency pounced on Nigeria virtually four years ago, every act of the Nigerian military in its effort to combat and, possibly, subdue it has never failed to dishearten Nigerians in the most bizarre and epochal forms.

Let no one talk about the possibility of the appalling failures of the military to subdue the insurgency as a problem caused by something unfathomable in the realm of secret global military, political or intricate diplomatic intelligence, about which Nigeria must tread with utmost caution in its choice between ‘the devil and the deep blue sea,’ which may have, therefore, compelled the military to compromise some measures of its constitutional responsibility of maintaining security and protecting the territorial integrity of the country.
We are talking of Nigeria – the most reputable black nation in global affairs, a nation that proudly flutters the banner of the most revered military in peacekeeping missions, a nation that brandishes the military prowess of defending other African nations against any crisis akin to the one terrorising it now.

Members of the Nigerian military should know that their prime responsibility is to ensure the internal and external security of Nigeria and Nigerians in situations of the inability of the police and other relevant agencies to do so to ward off any uncontainable threat to the existence the country.

They should know that there has to be a secured Nigeria for them to answer the name of the members of the Nigerian military, let us assume they have not begun to feel ashamed of answering the name.
Why are Nigerians so bizarrely disheartened with the conceited failure of their erstwhile proudly laurel-decorated military to even face the insurgents in a prolonged fierce combat, let alone subdue and banish them from the Nigerian territory?

Aside the unfathomable invincibility of the insurgents, which the depressing string of promises of the military authorities, such as ‘we are on top of the situation’ or “we will soon re-capture Boko Haram’s Caliphate,” the Nigerian military has all along slapped Nigerians with an endless series of disrespectful lies about strategically combating the crisis, in the face of sharply contrasting deterioration of the security situation.

No Nigerian now needs to be convinced that the top echelon of the military has perfected strategies, not of decisively battling insurgency towards quelling it, but of conning President Goodluck Jonathan into disbursing trillions of Naira to finance what it proposes to him as victorious war against terror, to which the president succumbs with a promptness emanating from his Commander-In-Chief and guardian position for Nigeria and Nigerians.

Although some inconsolably cynical Nigerians would always argue that President Jonathan readily makes such disbursements in a trick to mesmerise the soldiers against going anywhere close to the vicinity of a coup de tat, I do not subscribe to that. So far, the president has demonstrated considerable commitment to putting an end to the dastardly insurgency that has, so far, resulted in the mass murder of innocent souls and wanton destruction of places of worship and many properties.

It has since ceased to be any secret among Nigerians that the top echelons of the military have ascended to the class of the richest group of Nigerians, leaving the pitiably frustrated rank-and-file consoling and pleasing themselves with transferring their frustration and anger on the ever-worsening vehicular gridlock at military checkpoints on most of the Nigerian highways and metropolitan centres, especially in the northern states, on the pretext of looking out for and arresting insurgents.

Very ridiculously, Nigerians have never heard of any insurgent arrested at the checkpoints. A mass of hundreds, at some locations, several thousands, of vehicles is usually built up, with the jam-packed vehicles spilling beyond the shoulders of the roads to create several lanes more than the number the roads have been built to contain. These huge mass of vehicles snail-paces to the point where a couple of frustrated and angry-looking soldiers merely wave at them to pass, most times without checking anything.

Conventionally, criminals find it easy and safe to operate at night. In contrast, however, vehicles pass through these military checkpoints freely in a smooth vehicular traffic flow at night with no logjams because the soldiers keeping sentry there would be relaxing, either near the checkpoints or elsewhere nearby, drinking and gallivanting. It would have been very easy for as many insurgents or other criminals as possible to ease their way through the checkpoints in the night hours when no soldier would be around to detect them to any planned location to perpetrate crime.

These military checkpoints have proved to be practically useless, oftentimes, counterproductive, causing economic activities slowdowns in most metropolitan centres with large populations of commuters comprising traders, businessmen and women and workers stranded there for hours. Honestly, these checkpoints have failed to serve their purpose. How would they? Do the soldiers have the facilities to effectively be in charge of the checkpoints? What modern gadgets do they have to detect even knockouts?

Yours sincerely is also worried about the way soldiers are being used in stop-and-search operations in the city, which ordinarily should be handled by the police or para-military personnel. More worrisome is the fact that a reasonable number of the soldiers have been deployed to personal residences of some retired permanent secretaries, retired directors, retired this and that as guards. Why should Nigeria train soldiers only to be used as guards in private houses and companies? For me, unnecessary presence of soldiers and avoidable interactions with civilians diminish their prestige in the eyes of the public, if the Hausa adage, ido wa ka raina, wanda na saba gani (which simple means familiarity, breeds contempt) is anything to go by.

Now, it has since ceased to be any secret that military troops are deployed to the epicentres of the insurgency, ill-prepared with ‘makeshift’ weapons compared to the highly superior weaponry brandished by the Boko Haram militants. No wonder, most times when both combatants come face-to-face, the Nigerian military men flee for their dear lives as would, a herd of gazelles fleeing from an attacking lion in the wilderness.

Face-to-face with the stark reality of the superior weaponry of the insurgents, detachments of the Nigerian soldiers have severally mutinied against being deployed to confront the superior-armed insurgents.

Why are poorly-armed Nigerian soldiers continuously deployed to face the seemingly indomitably Boko Haram militants who delightfully crush them? Most Nigerians now believe this is due to the rather psychopathic tendencies of their military generals who evidently take pleasure in sacrificing them as part of the dual strategy of creating more urgent excuse to attract more funds for terror war.

This situation, most recently, caused a detachment of Nigerian troops to flee from the more powerful insurgents to the neighbouring Cameroon, to which the Nigerian military authorities respond, albeit with the usual bare-face lies, that the soldiers only retreated in a tactical manoeuvre. What an explanation!

The persistent ill-preparedness of the Nigerian military for the terror war has confirmed the observation of Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State, some months ago, that the Boko Haram insurgents have more sophisticated weapons, which is why the Nigerian military cannot subdue them, an impeccable observation the military authorities vehemently denied.

Huge population of Nigerians in the Northeast are exterminated, evidently by Boko Haram militants and seemingly complicity of the Nigerian military in the insurgency crisis, perhaps powered by some unfathomable formidable force masterminding the insurgency.
There is absolutely no time for lamentations. If the Nigerian military authorities are sincere on fighting and quelling the insurgency, they should rebuild their confidence and commitment accordingly, hone their tools morally and spiritually, utilise the billion-naira funds for the terror war in equipping the rank-and-file with the state-of-art weapons that could, at least, match the ones brandished by the insurgents. That is THE HARD WAY, THE ONLY WAY they can effectively deal with the crisis we have at hand.

The Defence Headquarters, DHQ, on Friday said it had commenced inquiry into the shooting incident that occurred in Zaria between soldiers and members of the
Shiite Islamic sect.

This is contained in a statement in Abuja by Chris Olukolade, the DHQ’s Director of Defence Information.
Mr. Olukolade said the inquiry became necessary to calm the situation in Zaria after the recent encounter between soldiers who were on routine patrol and members of the sect.
It stated that while not downplaying the significance of such incident, it was also necessary to ensure that sufficient information was obtained beginning from the unit level and other reliable sources at the location.

He said that a preliminary investigation had been conducted to unravel the circumstances surrounding the unfortunate incident.
“An inquiry is subsequently ongoing at the Divisional level”.
“Although, the report of the preliminary investigation at the unit level has vehemently contradicted some of the issues raised by the leader of the group.
“In his statement, especially on the
allegation of extra judicial killings, the higher headquarters is conducting additional investigation on the incident to ascertain the claims in the preliminary reports from the unit level”.
“In spite of the preliminary findings, the importance placed on the respect for human rights in all military operations, activities and interactions, has prompted the additional steps presently being taken to ascertain the true situation.”
He said the higher level of military inquiry is with a view to unmasking the remote and immediate causes of the incident and to identify anyone found culpable.

Mr. Olukolade said that those apprehended during the incident are being interrogated.
“The DHQ deeply commiserates with the families of those that lost their lives in that unfortunate incident, especially the leader of the group who was reported to have lost
his sons.
“Indeed, his present disposition is
understandable as it is pathetic. I assure that no effort will be spared to ensure necessary justice on this matter.”

The sect was on a procession to mark the annual Quds day in Zaria when soldiers reportedly shot at them, killing over 30 of them, including three sons of the leader of
the group, Ibraheem El-Zakzaky.

What’s Ebola?


It’s Bloody:
Ebola is what scientists call a haemorraghic fever – it operates by making its victims bleed from almost anywhere on their body.
Usually, victims bleed to death from Ebola.

It’s Contagious:
Ebola is highly contagious; being transmitted via contact with body fluids such as blood, saliva, semen or body discharges.

Really Deadly:
About 90% of people that catch Ebola will die from it.
It’s one of the deadliest diseases in the world, killing in a few weeks.


This is the sad part – Ebola has no known treatment or cure. Victims are usually treated for symptoms with the faint hope that they recover.


How Do I Know Someone has Ebola?:
The follow signs and symptoms will be visible in a sufferer


Joint & Muscle Ache
Stomach Pain
Lack of Appetite

Protect Yourself:
Wash Your Hands with Soap.
Do this a lot. You can also use a good hand sanitizer. Avoid unnecessary contacts!


No Bush Meat and Suya.
Bush meat may be carrying the virus. Also avoid suya.
Its better to restrict yourself to food you prepared yourself.
Disinfect Your Surroundings. The virus cannot survive disinfectants,heat, direct sunlight,detergents and soaps.

Clean up!:
Fumigate If you have Pests. Rodents can be carriers of Ebola.
Fumigate your environment and dispose off the carcasses properly!
Don’t Touch Carcasses. Dead bodies can still transmit Ebola. Don’t touch them without protective gear or avoid them altogether.

Protect Yourself:
Use protective gear if you must care or go near someone you suspect has Ebola.


Report any suspicious symptoms in yourself or anyone else IMMEDIATELY you notice them.

Don’t delay!!

Educate Everyone:
Tell your neighbours, colleagues and domestic staff. You’re safer when everyone is educated about Ebola.


As reported on today



The Fallen Hero

A symbolic but tragic reminder of the enormous sacrifices the Nigerian military has been making in defence of the nation in the ongoing war against terror was brought to the fore yesterday by the painful news of the death of a  Lieutenant who was killed in the line of duty barely a month to his wedding.


His wedding invitation card

Lt. Kyom Leo, who had planned to wed his fiancee, Miss Angela Gaiya, on August 30, in Kaduna was killed in an ambush while on a mission to search for the Chibok schoolgirls. With his death, he joined the long list of fallen heroes as the military intensifies the counter insurgency campaign against the Boko Haram sect.


The late Lt. Kyom as a 3rd year cadet in NDA

The sad news was announced yesterday by the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) through their twitter account @DefenceInfoNG and later on their website

The message which was confirmed by the Director of Defence Information (DDI), Maj-Gen. Chris Olukolade, stated:  “This is his WEDDING IV but killed by #BokoHaram in an attempt to #BringBackOurGirls. A #HERO is gone”#RIP Lt. Leo”

The statement reads: “2nd Lieutenant Leo of the Nigerian Army was one of the three gallant soldiers killed in operation as insurgents ambushed our troops during a patrol to dislodge insurgents around Delwa, Borno State.
“His emotional story told on various social media channels, continues to draw myriads of sympathies, tributes and encomiums from friends and family and other well-meaning people all over the country.

“One Miss Nkechi Afamu, a friend to the late soldier wrote ‘RIP LEO, my childhood friend. We all parted ways after Kaduna crisis in 2000. I can’t believe you are gone, what happens to Tida and Wyari your lovely sisters. I can’t question God but it’s hard to say goodbye. Rest On KY. We will all miss you’.”

The statement added that Leo was a deeply religious and courageous soldier whose steadfast belief in the country for which he paid the ultimate price would “continue to inspire the Nigerian Military to protect our territorial integrity and rid Nigeria of all forms of insurgency and aggression.

By Chimamanda Adichie

As soon as he opened his eyes, he felt it. A strange peace, a calm clarity. He stretched.  Even his limbs were stronger and surer. He looked at his phone. Thirty-seven new text messages – and all while he was asleep. With one click, he deleted them. The empty screen buoyed him. Then he got up to bathe, determined to fold the day into the exact shape that he wanted.

Those Levick people had to go. No more foreign PR firms. They should have made that article in the American newspaper sound like him, they should have known better. They had to go. And he would not pay their balance; they had not fulfilled the purpose of the contract after all.

He pressed the intercom. Man Friday came in, face set in a placidly praise-singing smile.

“Good morning, Your Excellency!”

“Good morning,” Oga Jona said. “I had a revelation from God.”

Man Friday stared at him with bulging eyes.

“I said I had a revelation from God,” he repeated. “Find me new Public Relations people. Here in Nigeria. Is this country not full of mass communication departments and graduates?”

“Yes, Your Excellency.” Man Friday’s eyes narrowed; he was already thinking of whom he would bring, of how he would benefit.

 “I want a shortlist on my table on Wednesday,” Oga Jona said. “I don’t want any of the usual suspects. I want fresh blood. Like that student who asked that frank question during the economic summit.”

“Your Excellency… the procurement rules…we need somebody who is licensed by the agency licensed by the agency that licenses PR consultants…”

Oga Jona snorted. Man Friday used civil service restrictions as a weapon to fight off competition. Anybody who might push him out of his privileged position was suddenly not licensed, not approved, not registered. “I don’t want you to bring your own candidates, do you hear me? I said I want fresh blood, I’m not joking.”

“Yes, Your Excellency,” Man Friday said, voice now high-pitched with alarmed confusion.

“Put that DVD for me before you go,” Oga Jona said.

He watched the recording on the widescreen television, unhappy with his appearance in the footage. His trousers seemed too big and why had nobody adjusted his hat? Next to The Girl from Pakistan, he looked timid, scrunched into his seat. She was inspiring, that young girl, and he wished her well. But he saw now how bad this made him appear: he had ignored all the Nigerians asking him to go to Chibok, and now The Girl From Pakistan was telling the world that he promised her he would go. He promised me, she said. As if the abducted Nigerian girls did not truly matter until this girl said they did. As if what mattered to him was a photo-op with this girl made famous by surviving a gunshot wound. It made him look small. It made him look unpresidential. It made him look like a leader without a rudder.  Why had they advised him to do this? He pressed a button on his desk and waited.

Violence was unfamiliar to Oga Jona. Yet when Man Monday came in, his belly rounded and his shirt a size too tight as usual, Oga Jona fought the urge to hit and punch and slap. Instead, he settled for less: he threw a teacup at Man Monday.

“Why have you people been advising me not to go to Chibok? Why have you people been telling me that my enemies will exploit it?”

“Sah?” Man Monday had dodged the teacup and now stood flustered.

“I am going to Chibok tomorrow. I should have gone a long time ago. Now it will look as if I am going only because a foreigner, a small girl at that, told me to go. But I will still go. Nigerians have to see that this thing is troubling me too.”

“But Sah, you know…”

“Don’t ‘Sah you know’ me!” This was how his people always started. “Sah, you know…” Then they would bring up conspiracies, plots, enemies, evil spirits. No wonder giant snakes were always chasing him in his dreams: he had listened to too much of their nonsense. He remembered a quote from a teacher in his secondary school:  ‘The best answer to give your enemies is continued excellence.’ What he needed, he saw now, was an adviser like that teacher.

“Sah, the security situation…”

“Have you not seen Obama appear in Afghanistan or Iraq in the middle of the night to greet American troops? Is Chibok more dangerous than the war the Americans are always fighting up and down? Arrange it immediately. Keep it quiet. I want to meet the parents of the girls. Make gifts and provisions available to the families, as a small token of goodwill from the federal government.” He knew how much people liked such things. A tin of vegetable oil would soften some bitter hearts.


“From Borno we go to Yobe. I want to meet the families of the boys who were killed. I want to visit the school. Fifty-nine boys! They shot those innocent boys and burnt them to ashes! Chai! There is evil in the world o!”

“Yes Sah.”

“These people are evil. That man Yusuf was evil. The policemen who killed him, we have to arrest them and parade them before the press. Make sure the world knows we are handling the case. But it is even more important that we tell the true story about Yusuf himself. Yes, the police should not have killed him. But does that mean his followers should now start shedding blood all over this country? Is there any Nigerian who does not have a bad story about the police? Was it not last year that my own cousin was nearly killed in police detention? Let us tell people why the Army caught him in the first place. He was evil. Remember that pastor in Maiduguri that he beheaded. Find that pastor’s wife. Let her tell her story. Let the world hear it. Show pictures of the pastor. Why have we not been telling the full story? Why didn’t we fight back when The Man From Borno was running around abroad, blaming me for everything when he too failed in his own responsibilities?” Oga Jona was getting angrier as he spoke, angry with his people, angry with himself. How could he have remained, for so long, in that darkness, that demon possession of ineptitude?

“Yes Sah!”

 “You can go.”

He picked up the iphone and spoke slowly. “I want to expand that Terror Victims Support Committee. Add one woman. Add two people personally affected by terrorism. How can you have a committee on terrorism victims with no diversity?”

On the other end of the phone, the voice was stilled by surprise. “Yes Sah!” Finally emerged, in a croak.

He put down the phone. There would be no more committees. At least until he was re-elected. And no more unending consultations. He picked up the Galaxy, scrolled through the list of contacts. He called two Big Men in the Armed Forces, the ones stealing most of the money meant for the soldiers.

“I want your resignation by Friday,” He said simply.

Their shock blistered down the phone.

“But Your Excellency…”

“Or you want me to announce that I am sacking you? At least resignation will save you embarrassment.”

If those left knew he was now serious as commander-in-chief, serious about punishing misdeed and demanding performance, they would sit up. He ate some roasted groundnuts before making the next call. To another Big Man in the Armed Forces. They had to stop arresting Northerners just like that. He remembered his former gateman in Port Harcourt. Mohammed, pleasant Mohammed with his buck teeth and his radio pressed to his ear. Mohammed would not even have the liver to support any terrorist.  He told the Big Man in the Armed Forces, “You need to carry people along. Win hearts and minds. Make Nigerians feel that you are fighting for them, not against them… And when you talk to the press and say that Nigerians should do their part to fight terrorism, stop sounding as if you are accusing them. After all, let us tell the truth, what can an ordinary person do? Nothing! Even those people who check cars, if they open a boot and see a big bomb, what will they do? Will they try to subdue an armed suicide bomber? Will they pour water on the bomb to defuse it? Will they not turn and run as fast as their legs can carry them? Let’s start a mass education campaign. Get proposals on how best to do it without scaring people. When we tell Nigerians to report suspicious behavior, let’s give them examples. Suspicious behavior does not mean anybody wearing a jellabiya. After all, was the one in Lagos not done by a woman?” He paused.

“Yes, Your Excellency!”

“As for the girls, we have to go back to negotiation. Move in immediately.”

“Yes, Your Excellency.”

“I should not have listened to what they told me in that Paris summit. Why did I even agree to follow them and go to Paris, all of us looking like colonised goats?”

From the other end, came a complete and lip-sealed silence. The Big Man in the Armed Forces dared not make a sound, lest it be mistaken as agreement on the word ‘goat.’ Besides, he had been part of the entourage for that trip and had collected even more than the normal fat juicy estacode.

“I don’t want to hear about any other mutiny,” Oga Jona continued. “You will get the funds. But I want real results! Improve the conditions of your boys. I want to see results!”

The Big Man in the Armed Forces started saying something about the Americans.

Oga Jona cut him short. “Shut up! If somebody shits inside your father’s house, is it a foreigner that will come and clean the house for you? Is Sambisa on Google Maps? How much local intelligence have you gathered? Before you ask for help, you first do your best!”

“Yes Your Excellency.”

“And why is it that nobody interviewed the girls who escaped?”

There was a pause.

“By tomorrow night I want a report on the local intelligence gathered so far!”

“Yes, Your Excellency.”

Oga Jona turned on the television and briefly watched a local channel. Who even designed those ugly studio backgrounds? There was a knock on the door. It had to be Man Thursday. Nobody else could come in anyhow.

“Good afternoon, My President,” Man Thursday said.

Short and stocky, Man Thursday was the soother who always came cradling bottles of liquid peace.

This time, Oga Jona pushed away the bottle. “Not now!’

“My President, I hope you’re feeling fine.”

“I received a revelation from God. From now on, I will stop giving interviews to foreign journalists while ignoring our own journalists.”

“But My President, you know how useless our journalists are…”

“Will Obama give an interview to AIT and ignore CBS?”

“No, Your Excellency.”

“I know some of our journalists support Bourdillon, but we also have others on our side. I will beat them at their game! I want to do interviews with two journalists that support us and one journalist that supports Bourdillon. Find one that will be easy to intimidate.”


“I want names in the next hour.”

“Yes, Your Excellency.” Man Thursday now stood still, lips parted in the slack expression of a person no longer sure what day it was.

 “Tell the Supporters Club to change their television advertisements. They should stop mentioning ‘those who are against me.’ I will no longer give power to my enemies. They should mention only the things that I am doing. I like that one with the almajiri boy. It shows Nigerians that I have helped with education in the North. They should make more advertisements like that.”

In response, Man Thursday could only nod vigorously but mutely.

Later, after eating vegetable soup with periwinkle and a plate of sliced fruits – he was determined to keep himself from looking like Man Monday – he asked Sharp Woman to meet him in the residence. Not in the main living room, but in the smaller relaxing white parlor. Sharp Woman was the only one he fully trusted. He had sometimes allowed himself to sideline her, when he had felt blown this way and that way by the small-minded pettiness of other people. She was the only one who had not allowed him to dwell too much on his own victimhood. Once, she had told him quietly, “You have real enemies. There are people in this country who do not think you should be president simply because of where you come from. Did they not say they would make the country ungovernable for you? But not everything is the fault of your enemies. If we keep on blaming the enemies then we are making them powerful. The Bourdillon people are disorganized. They don’t have a real platform. Their platform is just anti-you. They don’t even have a credible person they can field, the only major candidate they have is the one they will not select. So stop mentioning them. Face your work.”

He should have listened then, despite the many choruses that drowned her voice.

It was she who, a few days later, and after the four rubbish candidates stage-managed by Man Friday, brought the new PR people, Kikelola Obi, Bola Usman and Chinwe Adeniyi – when he first saw their names, he thought: and some crazy people are saying we should divide Nigeria. They were in their early thirties, with rough faces and no make up; they looked too serious, as if they attended Deeper Life church and disapproved of laughter. They started their presentation, all three taking turns to speak. They stood straight and fearless. Their directness and confidence unnerved him.

“Sir, we voted for you the first time. We felt that you would do well if you had the mandate of the people instead of just an inherited throne. We liked you because you had no shoes. We really liked you. We had hope in you. You seemed humble and different. But with all due respect sir, we will not vote for you again unless something changes.”

He nearly jumped up from his seat. Small girls of nowadays! They had no respect! As if to make it worse, one of them added that if the election were held today, the only person she could vote for was The Man From Lagos. Oga Jona bristled. That annoying man. Even if a mosquito bit him in his state, he would find a way to blame the president for it. Still, Oga Jona could see why these foolish small girls were saying they would vote for him. The man had tried in Lagos. But their mentioning The Man From Lagos was now a challenge. He would rise to the challenge.

“Sir, the good news is that Nigerians forgive easily and Nigerians forget even more easily. You have to change strategy. Be more visible. Stop politicizing everything. Stop blaming your enemies for everything. You have to be, and seem to be, a strong, uniting leader. Make sure to keep repeating that this is not a Muslim vs. Christian thing.”

Oga Jona cut in, pleased to be able to challenge these over-sabi girls. “You think Nigerians don’t know that it is mostly Christian areas that they are targeting in Borno? And what about all those church bombings?”

The three shook their heads, uniformly, like robots. They were sipping water; they had declined everything else.

“With all due respect sir, if you look at the names of bombing victims, they are Muslims and Christians. If God forbid another terror attack occurs, you have to come out yourself and talk to Nigerians. Stop releasing wooden statements saying you condemn the attacks. We will prep you before each public appearance. You have a tendency to ramble. That’s the most important thing to watch out for. Be alert when you answer each question. Keep your answers short. You don’t have to elaborate if there is nothing to elaborate. Stick to the point. If they ask you something negative, be willing to admit past mistakes but always give the answer a positive spin. Something like ‘yes, I could have handled it better and I regret that but I am now doing better, and am determined to do even more because Nigerians want and deserve results.’ You have to start reaching out beyond your comfort zone. Nigeria has talent. Look for the best Nigerians on any subject at hand, wherever they may be, and persuade them to come and contribute on their area of expertise. Especially the ones who have no interest in government work. Even one or two who don’t completely agree with you. Think of Lincoln’s Team of Rivals.”


“Don’t worry, sir. The important thing is to reach out beyond your circle. Oga Segi was not a calm person like you. He even used to threaten to flog people. But he had a good network. Jimmy Carter is his friend. If he needed expertise from a university in Zaria or Edinburgh or Boston, he would pick up his phone and know somebody who knew or somebody who knew somebody who knew. But with all due respect, sir, you don’t have that. Bayelsa is a small place.”

These girls really had no respect o! He glared at Sharp Woman, who shrugged and muttered, “You said you wanted people who would tell you the truth.”

But he listened.

In his first interview, the words rolled off his tongue. Those girls had made him repeat himself so many times. “I want to apologize to the Nigerian people for some actions of my government. We could have done better. No country fighting terrorism can let everything be open. But we owe our country men and women honest, clear assurance that we are taking decisive action, with enough details to be convincing. I ask for your prayers and support. I have directed the security services to set up a website that will give Nigerians accurate and up-to-date information about our war against terrorism. I have also hired specialists to manage the flow and presentation of the information.”

And the words came easily when he shook hands with the parents in Chibok, simple polite people who clutched his hand with both of theirs. He should have done this much earlier; it was so touching. “Sorry,” he said, over and over again. “Sorry. Please keep strong. We will rescue them.”

The words were more reluctant when he wore a red shirt and asked to be taken to the gathering of The People in Red at the park. But he cleared his throat and urged himself to speak, particularly because, as he emerged from within his circle of security men, the People in Red all stopped and stared. Silence reigned.

“I came to salute you,” Oga Jona started. “We are on the same side. My government has made mistakes. We are learning from them and correcting them. Please work with us. Together, we will defeat this evil.”

They were still silent and still staring; they were disarmed. He thanked them and, before they could marshal their old distrust, he turned and left. That night, as he sank to his knees in prayer, he heard the muted singing of angels.

- Chimamanda Adichie is an award winning writer and author of bestsellers including Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun, The Thing Around Your Neck and Americanah.

Fans, Family, Friends and colleagues of African Gospel Pop icon, Kefee gathered at a candle light service last night in honour of the late Gospel singer, Kefee.

Guests at the service bade a tearful farewell to the singer at the Oba Akenzua Cultural Centre in Benin City, Edo State


Friends and family of the late songstress gathered together in the hall, lit candles and listened to sermons, songs and speeches rendered in the honour of the gem.


And we all wave her Good bye

Some of those who performed included Maleke, Benjamin Okorodion, Ifeoma Ikusemoro, Godfather and Asemota.

Singer, Kefee died on Friday, June 13, 2014 and is to be buried in her hometown of Sapele, Delta State on Friday, July 11, 2014. May her soul Rest in Peace.

Fans, Family, Friends and colleagues of African Gospel Pop icon, Kefee gathered at a candle light service last night in honour of the late Gospel singer, Kefee.

Guests at the service bade a tearful farewell to the singer at the Oba Akenzua Cultural Centre in Benin City, Edo State


Friends and family of the late songstress gathered together in the hall, lit candles and listened to sermons, songs and speeches rendered in the honour of the gem.


Some of those who performed included Maleke, Benjamin Okorodion, Ifeoma Ikusemoro, Godfather and Asemota.

Singer, Kefee died on Friday, June 13, 2014 and is to be buried in her hometown of Sapele, Delta State on Friday, July 11, 2014. May her soul Rest in Peace.

How do I get this guilt off my mind? How do I look at the little boy and tell him his mother wasn’t just playing dead? Where do I start from? Whose wings can cover me from this guilt?


I look into the mirror and behold the image of a murderer by proxy. If only I had done more on my part. If only I had shown up for work that day. If only I had not gotten carried away by my own so called issues. If only I had not mingled with so much civilian affairs that I forgot I AM A MAN OF WAR.

Now I sit and cry, regretting my inactions and wishing I could turn back the hands of time. I wish I could express the pain I feel in a better way but I can’t. It hurts more than anyone could imagine.

The image of the village, the children rendered orphans and the homes torn apart. The old women that were raped. The young boys that were kidnapped. The palace that was burnt. All in 3hours. Three hours in which the rain of terror showered upon these little villages.

The way I see it, we all failed. The Republic has failed these people and I can’t help it but cry. We are the Republic. We couldn’t protect our own. We are guilty of manslaughter because we failed by proxy. We could have shown up earlier. Or even prayed but we did none. We are guilty. The Republic and we her Forces are guilty. Including myself.

The death of a former Minister of Information and Director-General of the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control, Prof. Dora Akunyili, reminds us of the immense transformational influence that one person can wield, especially in a country like ours permanently crying out for heroes. She took over a demoralised regulatory agency and energised it, and in the process showed us that public service doesn’t always have to entail settling for the path of least resistance.

Akunyili was one of the earliest arrivals in our new democracy to inspire us to a higher level of belief and hope in ourselves. It was clear that she wholeheartedly believed in the anti-counterfeiting message she was responsible for championing, and her belief translated into the sort of action whose effects reverberated across Nigeria and beyond. That she ended up amassing an impressive array of awards was by-the-way, an inevitable outcome of her rare zeal.

Like the finest of public servants, she stepped on toes. She had to. You cannot make a mark in Nigeria’s dysfunctional bureaucracy without having to take on vested interests of all shapes and sizes; elements conditioned to breed in large numbers by the very nature of our ways of carrying on business. Look at Nigeria’s dismal rankings on any index that measures progress and development, and be reminded that there are many collections of human beings actively responsible. They come in several guises: drug merchants, crude oil thieves, smuggling barons, arms dealers, subsidy thieves, etc; taking them on is never easy, neither is success guaranteed. But take them on Akunyili did, with a clear understanding of what needed to be done.

In a profile to mark her selection as a TIME Magazine Global Health Hero in 2005, she was quoted as saying: “Malaria can be prevented, HIV/AIDS can be avoided and armed robbery may kill a few at a time, but fake drugs kill en masse.” In those words could be found her motivation, and direction.

Akunyili is not alone in that category of Nigerians who elevated public service in inspiring ways. There’s also Nuhu Ribadu, who built the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission from scratch, and who succeeded to a large extent in striking a deep-rooted fear into the hearts of fast-fingered political office holders. Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru’s emergence as boss of the federal tax agency in 2004 brought with it a gale of efficiency that could not have gone unnoticed.

Lamido Sanusi took over the running of the Central Bank of Nigeria at a time when the lines between the regulator and the regulated had blurred dangerously. He didn’t flinch when decisive steps needed to be taken to rescue Nigeria’s banking industry from a rot that threatened to overwhelm it. And just as Sanusi did not allow ethnic sentiments – the fact that the biggest and most powerful dealers were from his part of the country – to affect his move to clean up Bureau de Change operations in Nigeria, Akunyili also was not deterred by the fact that her biggest headache as NAFDAC boss came from people who spoke the same local language as her. In fact, the online news medium, The Cable, reports that the fact that she was from Anambra State, home to one of the most prominent fake drug hubs in Nigeria, was used to argue against her nomination by President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2001. We subsequently saw how her actions rendered those concerns baseless.

Sometimes, the revolution is dressed up in relatively low-key garb. The work of Yemi Kale as boss of the National Bureau of Statistics in 2011 is one good example. The Bureau has of course always existed. But something changed in 2011 when Kale took over. Amid all the talk about rebasing, not many people seem to have acknowledged his central role in the rebasing project, or the fact that under his watch, the NBS has acquired a visibility to which pleasantly surprised analysts have responded with increasing enthusiasm. A difficult and complicated matter like a ‘rebasing’ does not just happen. It takes a lot of hard work, which has to be directed by someone with a vision for real change.

And it’s not really about perfection. None of the persons mentioned above is perfect. Akunyili was sometimes accused of being too enamoured of public and international praise and recognition. Ribadu was often accused of allowing himself to be used by Obasanjo to target his political enemies. Sanusi’s governorship was characterised by much debate over the extent to which a Central Bank Governor should allow himself to be seen as confrontational and controversial.

But perfection is not the point. If we wanted perfection, we would confine ourselves to churches and mosques and shrines and plead with God/gods to take over our public institutions, or at the very least send us tried-and-tested angels and spirits to rescue us from these giant holes.

In my opinion, what we should be looking for in our public officials is passion, competence, a reputation for integrity and an ability to speak the truth to power, even from the inside.

In closing, I’d like to dwell briefly on some issues related to public service. Post-service reinvention/transition is one: How do you, after what has been adjudged an impressive performance as a public official, reinvent yourself on different terrain? How does a Nuhu Ribadu who built his name on the strength of fighting fraudsters and corrupt politicians negotiate the treacherous road to becoming a politician?

We all saw how Akunyili struggled to make the transition from the clear-cut mandates of being NAFDAC boss to the painful nebulousness of being the Information Minister; from fighting criminals to having to peddle propaganda on behalf of a less-than-serious government. It wasn’t easy for her, and many will remember her famous outburst at the height of the constitutional crisis that accompanied the disappearance of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua: “I am the Minister of Information for the Federal Republic of Nigeria but if you ask me, I have no information about this matter.”

There’s also the vexed matter of “loyalty”. What do you as a trailblazing public servant do when you run into difficult circumstances thrown up by elements within the government you’re serving? How do you define loyalty to government and loyalty to personal conviction, and where to draw the line? Do you stay in and try to force change from the inside? Or, do you throw in the towel early on? Are there cases in which an immediate resignation might not be a smart move?

In Akunyili’s case, she eventually resigned from government, to pursue a career in elective politics. Ribadu and Sanusi chose to hang on, even when it was clear that the governments they were serving no longer had much use for them. They must have had their reasons for hanging on; sometimes, points need to be proved to vested interests. But they were both eventually hounded out of office – a cautionary tale to everyone who seeks public office for the purpose of creating real change.




Article written by Tolu Ogunlesi, { @toluogunlesi }

My Name Is Abdullahi, I’m an Orphan – by James Ogunjimi

My name is Abdullahi, an SSS2 student. At least that was my status until last week. Now I’m just a cattle-rearer, and I’m in charge of my late father’s 70 heads of cattle. I have to take the cows around and sleep wherever night meets me. But first let me tell you how it all started.

I wasn’t always all alone. I had a father, a mother, two elder brothers and two beautiful younger sisters. We didn’t have much, but we had each other. My father was a devout Muslim man who brought us all up to love and appreciate others around us. At a very tender age, my father hired one of the brothers at the mosque who had completed his senior secondary examinations to teach me arithmetic and English language. I was a bright kid, in no time at all; I was reciting the first 100 numbers and could recite the complete alphabets. My father being a devoted Muslim sent me to the Arabic home with boys of my age group and our Arabic lessons began. At the same time, my father got a big break with his cattle and he used the money to put myself and my two sisters in school. Although I was too old for my class, I went anyway and performed well. I completed my Arabic school and my father killed one of his cows to celebrate my graduation from Arabic school.

I was one of the recipients of the free education programme designed to encourage children to go to school, my father only had to buy my school uniform and notebooks.

It was in my junior secondary school year that I began to sense something was wrong. I was told some people said it was wrong to go to school. I was told they are fellow Muslims, but our Imam said they are not and that they are messengers of Satan who will have no place in paradise. Those people said the Koran forbids school attendance and that Allah has commanded that those who attend school should be destroyed. They also said that if we are to enter paradise, we must kill anybody who is not a Muslim.

That night I was confused. Could they be right? I picked up my Quran in the midnight and turned up the light of our local lantern, I tried to think back to my days at the Arabic class; Alfa Razaq never mentioned anything like that. Could he have forgotten? I thought back to the days when my father would sit us down and tell us about how good it is to co-exist peacefully with others regardless of tribe or religion. Could he be wrong? I remembered that the boy that my father hired to lead his cattle around was a boy from the Catholic Church down the street. If it was wrong to associate with anybody who didn’t practice the same religion as ours, why then did my father do so? I was genuinely confused.

The next day at school, I couldn’t concentrate; I kept on thinking of what to do. For the first time, I looked at Akpan, the Igbo boy who had the seat next to mine with new eyes. He noticed and asked what was wrong; I merely shook my head and told him I was fine. Immediately after school, I didn’t wait for my two friends, Adamu and Sunmonu, I dashed off to my old Arabic teacher’s house. I met Alfa Razaq just concluding his prayers and waited quietly for him to finish. I looked at him; he was now frail and was closer to the grave than he was to us. He smiled at me and simply said, “Abdullahi, you have grown.” I smiled back and told him thank you. He noticed that I was in no mood for small talk and asked me what brought me there.

I thanked him and joined him on the mat. I asked him if during the course of my lessons with him, there was anything he left out. He coughed, gave me a knowing smile and replied, “Abdullahi, you have always been an inquisitive child. It’s one of the reasons why you were my favourite pupil. But don’t talk to me in parables; tell me what’s on your mind.” I told him everything; how I’ve heard that some people said it was wrong to go to school, that it was wrong to associate with people from other religions and how we needed to destroy anybody who wouldn’t accept our religion as our pass into paradise.

When I started my narration, Alfa Razaq merely listened with his face betraying no emotions, but as I neared the end of my narration, I noticed he was clutching tighter at the prayer beads in his hands while his other hand was clenched tightly into a fist; his teeth was grinding together frantically. He was sweating. After I finished talking, we were both silent for some minutes as Alfa sat with his eyes closed. I initially thought he had dozed off, but then his toes twitched, so I sat still waiting for him to talk.

Eventually, he sighed and opened his eyes. He looked at me for a few minutes and asked, “Abdullahi, have I ever lied to you?” I shook my head. “Has your father ever led you astray?” He asked again. I shook my head again. He continued, “See, the world we live in is full of people who act first and then look for justifications for their actions. This Quran you see, if you want to live right, you have your backing. If you also want to do otherwise, you can find your excuse here.” He went on and on telling me that I should not allow myself to be deceived and that there was no honour in killing people because we differ in beliefs. After much talking, I thanked him and left.

Those people who said going to school is forbidden started threatening everybody. They called them Boko Haram. Initially they would meet children coming from school and merely warn them to stop or beat them and tell them not to go again, but they eventually grew tired of just warning and started using some as scapegoats. There was a day we heard a scream in papa Adamu’s house, we were told Adamu and his little sister went to the farm to pick firewood when they were attacked by members of Boko Haram, Adamu was held by two of them and forced to watch while others took turns raping his little sister. Eventually, her frail body couldn’t take it again and she slumped. The attackers tied Adamu to a tree and after giving him a severe beating, they left him staring at the lifeless body of his sister as she bled out. It was then the reality struck me that it was no longer small talk, it was real and they meant business.

After similar attacks like that, families were reluctant to let their children out alone. The government sent some soldiers to protect everybody, and calm returned. But it was only for a while. One day as we were returning from school, I had just greeted the military men parading and was eating kulikuliwith garri when I heard a very loud bang. The bang shook the whole house and the pictures on the wall all fell down. The black and white television that my father put in the sitting room as decoration fell to the ground and cracked. I wondered, could this be the earthquake that our teacher talks so much about, that they said happens in the white man’s land and swallows houses? Will our house be swallowed? As I was still wondering, we saw a huge smoke arise into the sky. The smoke was so thick that I hadn’t seen anything like it before in my life. I tried to step outside, but my father pulled me back and gave me a deafening slap. He asked what I was going to do outside. He dragged me inside, and we all hid under my parents’ wooden bed.

After about fifteen minutes, we started hearing voices. The voices were screams. I heard Mama Kafayat screaming that she couldn’t find her daughter. We came out, and my father stepped out first even though my mother was still begging him not to. Eventually, we all went outside. The first smell that hit me was that of roasted meat. I then started seeing strange sights. I looked down and there at my feet was a hand; a human hand. I choked, and nearly vomited. It was like a scene out of those movies that we occasionally sneaked off to watch at Papa Akpan’s house. I saw the truck belonging to the military men; it was up in flames, while another car was burning beside it. They said it was a bomb and that it was carried in that car to attack the military men. I saw the shoe cobbler that lives in the deserted house behind our mosque; his two legs had been blown off and he was screaming for help. My father herded us back in and locked the door. My two sisters were crying and one was even vomiting.

That night, I couldn’t sleep. I kept on replaying the scene in my head. What if my father was on the road at that time? What if mother was returning from the market then? The next morning, the state governor came, when he got to the scene of the bombing, he shed a few tears; they looked real. He promised to fish out the perpetrators of the act and bring them to book. He also promised that the state would foot the hospital bill of the victims and be responsible for the upkeep of the children who lost their parents. We all clapped for him and sang his praises. He told us that our security was his primary concern and that he felt our pains. He promised to do his best to make the state habitable. He sang a song saying the state is ours and we must protect it since we have nowhere else to go. We all thanked him again and sang his praises. It was later that night that I learnt that the governor doesn’t even live in the state for fear of these people. That night, I knew we were on our own.

The government sent in new military men, this time, they sent six truckloads of military men. These ones were unlike the previous ones who joked and played with us. If you moved too close to these ones, they would whip you with their koboko. They looked at us as if we were their enemies. If you greet them, they wouldn’t even answer and would keep their guns pointed at us staring at our hands frantically until we passed. They started entering houses and searching them. They said some of us kept the Boko Haram members in our house. I wondered why anyone would do that.

Some of our friends who were Christians started avoiding us. The last time I sneaked to Papa Akapn’s house to watch movies as usual, they refused to open the door and acted like no one was inside, but I knew they were inside because I heard the sound of the television, but they quickly switched it off when they heard me knocking. At school, Akpan moved his chair to another place and doesn’t even talk to me again. I became even more confused.

The next week, we heard that the Catholic boy who was in charge of our cattle had stopped coming. He said his parents didn’t want him working for us again. Father decided that he would henceforth start leading his cows around instead of hiring someone else. The day he started, mama cried and begged him. He refused. He went away and sometimes returned home just once in two weeks. I became used to being alone. My two sisters were by now in boarding school at a girls’ school. I was in senior secondary school one.

It was on a cold Saturday morning, at about 6:30 am when someone was banging our door, she was wailing at the same time. When mama opened the door, the person told me to go inside. I went inside but stayed around the corner trying to eavesdrop. Suddenly mama screamed and was shouting my father’s name. I rushed out, but she just sat on the ground shaking vigorously and screaming. I learnt that while papa was leading his cows around, he was attacked by some Fulani herdsmen and was killed. They stole some of his cows and left others scattered in different directions. The youths in our area were infuriated and mobilised with machetes and sticks to try and catch the attackers, but they couldn’t find them. They came back and according to Islamic rites, my father was buried that evening. Mother sent the information to my brothers; one lives in outskirts of Abuja, while the other lives in Yobe. She also sent message to my two sisters in school. Although my brothers couldn’t come home, my sisters came and stayed a while before going back to school for their exams.

The week after that, my brother in Yobe sent a message to us to deliver to Alfa Razaq saying he craved our prayers. He said over there, the military men were feared more than the Boko Haram people themselves. He said they had made themselves judge and jury and that they killed at will. Two weeks after that, I was about leaving for school on a Thursday morning when a military truck stopped in front of our house and about 6 fierce looking military men barged into our house. I greeted them but they merely brushed me aside and asked mother if she was shettima’s mother. Shettima is my brother’s name. Mother answered in the affirmative. The next thing I heard was a thunderous slap. They slapped her around and said her son was a terrorist. After beating her to their heart’s content, they told her to be in the barracks by 5pm to collect her son’s body. She simply lay there; speechless. The pain that was coursing through her was more than the physical pain; it was a pain that defied words. I dropped my school pack and sat on the floor with her, not saying a word; I wouldn’t know what to say anyway. Later that morning, my father’s elder brother and two of our relatives came and simply sat without saying a word. They went with my mother in the evening to collect shettima’s body. They didn’t allow mother to see his body; they simply took him to the bush and buried him there.

After that, mother rarely smiled again. I got used to staying a whole day without talking. I began to think. I also began to read everything I could lay my hands on. Books became my companions. I wondered why anyone would say it’s wrong to read. I tried so hard to understand how they reasoned, but each time I came short.

My sisters were sleeping in their hostel rooms when they were attacked by the Boko Haram people. They took some of the girls with them and set fire on their hostel. Suliat died in the fire while Rashidat was kidnapped along with other girls. They said girls like that became wives of the Boko Haram people. Mother couldn’t take it; she wept every day. Me? I withdrew more into myself; I hardly went out again. I read more and more. I learnt that these people killing everybody are all over the world. Somewhere, some of them are called Al-Quada, in another country, some are called Al Shabbab. They all claim to be Muslims, they all claim to be doing God’s will, and they all claim they are going to paradise. But why should they kill to achieve all these? I devoted myself to reading more books, hoping to find the answers to my questions.

Mother aged very quickly. She had seen too many evils and she could bear no more. She didn’t go out again. She always sat inside singing softly of her little girls. My father’s relatives told me that I had to start taking care of my father’s cows or find someone who would. I told them I was still in school, they told me I must not let my father’s labour just perish like that. I told them I would think about it.

The next morning, I heard there was another bombing in Abuja. Abuja? How did that happen? Our capital? I was told it happened in Nyanya. Ok, that was outskirt of Abuja. Wait!…My brother lives in the outskirt of Abuja. I dashed inside and asked mother for the piece of paper where she writes telephone numbers. I read through and saw my brother’s phone number. I rushed across the street to the call centre where a girl makes phone calls. I gave her the number and she dialled it and gave me when it started ringing. The voice I heard was strange, so I asked, “Boda Ibrahim, Is that you?” But the voice simply said, “I’m sorry sir. My name is Mr Frank. Are you related to the owner of the phone?” I replied impatiently, “Yes, what are you doing with my brother’s phone?” “I’m sorry,” he said, “Your brother was killed in this morning’s bombing.”

I was shocked. I clenched the phone tightly. The man on the phone kept on saying some things but I wasn’t listening again. I gave the phone to the girl and just stood rooted to the ground. The girl told me my money is sixty naira, but I gave her the last two hundred naira with me and didn’t wait for my change. I walked home like a ghost, just quiet, unfeeling. When I got home, a look at my face was all mother needed to know; she broke out laughing. She laughed hysterically and rolled on the ground. She laughed until tears started coming from my eyes. Those outside heard her and rushed inside. I didn’t think anything was wrong until she started plucking at her hair and loosening her wrapper. The neighbours tried to hold her, but she overpowered them. She went into the streets singing and laughing. By the time my father’s relatives came, she couldn’t be found. She had gone far. The next day, after combing the nooks and cranny of our town, we found her. She was there by a river; naked, sleeping peacefully; forever.

She was dead.

As my father’s relatives took her body to be buried. I made up my mind that I wasn’t going back to school. I had had enough of the town, the state and its ills. I would take the remaining 70 cows that my father had and lead them around. If I successfully make it out of this area alive, praise be to the creator. If I don’t, well, I have told my story. So, my books are packed, my radio is packed with my extra batteries. And now, my story is told.

NB: In honour of those who have had it all bad in this country of ours, who have had their homes destroyed and their happiness shattered. To those whose dreams have been turned into nightmares, words cannot convey my sympathy. We will continue to hope that our leaders will awake to their responsibilities and realize the urgency of now. But in the meantime, we will not relent, our voice will not stop talking, our pen will not stop moving, and we will not stop acting and preparing for a system change.