Wednesday, 31 October 2012

RIBADU REPORT:Report of the Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force

                                               EXECUTIVE SUMMARY


The Honourable Minister of Petroleum Resources, driven by the need to strengthen the institutions responsible for Petroleum Revenue Management, commissioned the Petroleum Revenue Special Task force (PRSTF) on 28 February 2012. The goal of the Task Force was to support the programme of the Federal Government of Nigeria in enhancing optimization, probity and accountability in the operations of the Petroleum Industry.

As part of this agenda and the issues arising from the various fiscal regimes existing in the sector, there arose an urgent need to establish the streams of revenue flows from the Petroleum sector to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and design systems and processes which would enhance the accountability of each agency or entity.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Going to Maiduguri 3: JTF's Reign of Terror

By Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri

Going to Maiduguri 1 

Going to Maiduguri 2

The exact spot where the bomb blast occured
Scene of the blast
As Sani (my driver) approached the palace of the Shehu of Borno in Budum community, the road blocks, the crowded streets and the thickening clouds of chaos and confusion signaled that something was wrong. A bomb blast that went off beside Budum market, injuring three soldiers, had invited ruthless military action and reprisal attacks from JTF soldiers. The JTF onslaught left boldly disconsolate imprints that resonated loudly in nearly every home, in every street, and every corner, within the community. 

Grumbling men, wailing women, unrestrained children and incensed youths milled through the streets, especially close to the smoldering shops and wares strewn in and around what used to be Budum Market. Inestimable quantity of grains of burnt rice, beans, millets, corn, groundnuts, carrots, broken plates, clothing, provisions, drugs and a variety of items littered the entire market area. A handful of local youth rummaged through the ruins, picking objects that caught their fancy. My camera started rolling immediately. 

Friday, 26 October 2012

Governors, Private Jets and Public Accountability

The plane that crashed and Governor Danbaba Suntai 
Amid widespread speculations of death and a flurry of condolence messages, an official statement  issued by the Special Assistant to the Nigerian Minister of Aviation on Media, Mr. Joe Obi, clarified that no one died in the plane crash involving the Governor of Taraba State, Mr. Danbaba Suntai. The governor and  five other passengers, including the governor’s security detail, survived the crash, though they are reported to be lying in critical condition at a hospital in Abuja, Nigeria's capital city. 

The aircraft, Cessna 208, which belongs to the State Governor departed Jalingo, Taraba State for Yola on Thursday evening and last reported contact with the Yola Control Tower (1720Z) at 38 miles estimating landing at 1730Z. In addition to being a pharmacist, Taraba governor is also a licensed pilot. He got his license from Aviation School, Zaria in 2010.

As soon as news broke out, especially on the social media, that a serving governor had crashed in his private jet, attention instantly shifted from the crash and the likelihood of survival and spiralled to full-blown unsympathetic outrage.  The reason for the outrage is not far-fetched:  Taraba is ranked among the poorest states in Nigeria with a high population of almajiris (child street beggars). The governor is also among the leading voices clamouring for increasing revenue allocation while currrent state resources remain largely unaccounted for. How could it be possible that a pharmacist-trained governor could afford to buy acquire luxury private jets, build private air strips while majority of citizens under his watch live in abjectly poor conditions? 

Here is a random collection of the questions young Nigerians, especially the northern youth, are asking: 

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Mimiko Wins, GEJ Congratulates Him

President Goodluck Jonathan has congratulated Olusegun Mimiko, the winner of Saturday’s governorship election in Ondo state. A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati said “as Governor Mimiko looks forward to the commencement of his second term in Office, the President urges him to be prepared to work even harder to  justify the fresh mandate given to him by the people of Ondo state who voted for his re-election on Saturday.”

Friday, 19 October 2012

Why Are Public Officials Afraid of the Social Media?

By Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri

A casual glance at the Facebook walls and pages of most public figures in Nigeria reveals motionless and inactive accounts bereft of any form of human or interactive activity. Just about a year ago, especially in the build up to the 2011 elections, the same walls and pages across diverse social media sites were very busy, fanatically inundating online users with campaign promises and brightly-colored pictures of partially-existing and non-existent roads, schools, boreholes and other “development” projects. Citizens were regaled with unsubstantiated stories and claims of achievements in their public and private lives. 

Thursday, 18 October 2012

PIB: Examining the Power of Regulatory Agencies to Receive Gifts

By Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri

Sections 33 (1), S. 63 (1) and S. 139 (1) of the latest draft of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) empowers the two regulatory agencies: the Upstream Petroleum Inspectorate (UPI) and the Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Agency (DPRA), including the National Petroleum Assets Management Corporation to receive gifts of money, or other property, from third parties.  

Should regulatory bodies accept gifts of money and property from the same entities they regulate? In its recently released policy briefing paper, Spaces for Change argues that such gift-giving may not only upset the pursuit of transparency and accountability urgently needed in the oil sector, but that gift cultures are also fraught with ambiguities and intrinsic susceptibility to corruption.

Saturday, 13 October 2012


These photos were taken on October 9, 2012 in Mbiama, Akinima,  Akioniso and Oruama communities, In Ahoada West Local Government of Rivers State, Niger Delta, Nigeria. They have no shelter, no food and no medicines.

Join the campaign...Support flood victims today!


By Tèmítáyò Fábùnmi

It's sheer intellectual laziness to tar Prof. Chinua Achebe's book as the result of a "pathological hatred of theYorubas". But like someone said earlier, lots of folks don't read their Bible, but still spout the mantra "it is loaded" - simply because the pastor said so.

Lay aside the dogma you have been fed by UPN/AG since your primary school days - ostensibly in an environment influenced by people who were products of "Papa Awo's welfare state. Do not take my comment as an "attack on Yorubas", for the same practice abounds across Nigeria where some folks still probably believe Nnamdi Azikiwe had the keys to the River Niger or that Ahmadu Bello had a halo under his turban.

Thursday, 11 October 2012


A normal trip from Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital to Mbiama, the popular commercial town in Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rivers State usually takes about one hour, thirty minutes. That wasn’t the case when Social Action, a Port Harcourt-based NGO visited the area on October 9-10, 2012 to assess the level of damage caused by flood and to document the official responses to the situation by the federal, state and local governments, including the multinational oil companies working in the area, especially Shell.

A heavy traffic from Okogbe axis of the East-West Road signaled that something was wrong: the Okogbe-Mbiama road is flooded to the point where only heavy-duty vehicles could pass. Surmounting all the odds and traffic delays, the team’s visit to the inaccessible communities such as Mbiama, Akinima,  Akioniso and Oruama revealed that these areas have been submerged, rendering thousands homeless, and without food. Scant media reportage of the situation in these communities was also delaying help from reaching those in critical need.  

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Going to Maiduguri 2…

Continued from last week....Going to Maiduguri Part 1...

 On seeing a combined team of police men, uniformed soldiers and mobile police officers stationed at the gate of a major hotel along the entrance road into the city, I alighted from the taxi and walked up to them. Experience has taught me that security operatives could be important allies for researchers and journalists working in very dangerous locations. Not only that, I have come to love and respect officers of the Nigerian Army. They earned my respect following an April 2010 engagement with the 9th Brigade, Nigerian Army Cantonment Ikeja, Lagos. I was particularly impressed by the way the military authorities professionally handled a complaint about an illegal demolition and shooting exercise in Makoko community, Lagos State involving some recalcitrant soldiers. 

One officer asked to see my identity card, while another searched my luggage. They warmly offered me a seat as they listened with rapt attention, to my reasons for coming to Maiduguri. It turned out to be a brilliant way to start my documentations. The initial suspicious glances and gazes melted away as we engaged in very robust informal discussions about the insurgency and violent terror attacks in the state. They gave me a list of communities that were “no-go’ areas. Budum, Gomari and London Chiki communities topped the list. 

“Don’t you ever visit these locations. They are Boko Haram hideouts”, they warned me.  


 Lillian Chioma Nwosu
"Writers don't give prescriptions, they give headaches."
~Chinua Achebe in Anthills of the Savannah

I have observed with some degree of amusement, the reactions to Achebe's latest book, his memoir, There Was A Country; which chronicles the ravages of the Nigerian-Biafran Civil from the perspective of the average Igbo man in 1970. But my amusement is slowly ebbing.

There are different sides to every story; and no matter how gory, it will have to be told. Some stories gnaw and gob at you, until you write them. Achebe is an old man; undoubtedly, he must have some stories to tell; stories which he must either tell or take to the grave.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

PIB: Good to go or not

A panel of analysts on CHANNELS breakfast show, Sunrise, debated whether the latest draft of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) is ready to passed into law or not and divergent views were expressed with calls made for more engagement for the bill.
An energy expert, Mr Zaka Bala claimed the PIB that was recently submitted by the federal government is good to be passed into law. However a human right activist; Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri argued that a whole lot still needs to be reviewed in the latest draft. 

According to Mrs. Ibezim-Ohaeri who is the director of Spaces for Change, “a number of issues such as addressing the issue of environmental pollution by oil companies and Petroleum Equalisation Fund were not properly addressed in the new bill.” She also alleged that a section of the bill permits the regulator of the sector to accept gifts from the oil companies, noting that this is asking the regulator to open to bribe-taking. The latest draft of the PIB is currently with the National Assembly, where deliberations are on-going ahead of its planned signing to law.

For the full video of this discussion, please click here:  WATCH VIDEO

PRESS STATEMENT: Protect Nigerian Youths From Violent Attacks Now!

In two separate incidents in the last week, about 50 Nigerian youths lost their lives in the most gruesome and barbaric manner rarely seen elsewhere in the world. The grisly massacre of 46 polytechnic students in Mubi, Adamawa State and the lynching of four students of the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) in Aluu Community, near Port Harcourt Rivers State, have highlighted the need for the Nigerian government to take the constitutional protection of the right to life, and other inalienable fundamental freedoms, more seriously. Spaces for Change condemns these two incidents in very strong terms, and urge for greater protection of the lives of young citizens across the country. 

Monday, 8 October 2012




 Fresh in Nigerian minds are the mass protests opposing government attempts to abolish the subsidy on local fuel in January 2012. The protests propelled high-powered probes which exposed the unprecedented financial mismanagement and horrendous malfeasance entrenched in the administration of fuel subsidies.

Last week, the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFFC) arraigned more independent oil marketers allegedly involved in the pilfering of fuel subsidy funds. From the merry looks on the faces of the suspects above, we leave you to decide whether they really look like men on trial.

Let us know what you think!

Saturday, 6 October 2012


By Emeka Rowland

"When I used to write plays and novels that were only critical of the racism in the colonial system, I was praised, I was awarded prizes, and my novels were in the syllabus. But when toward the seventies, I started writing in a language understood by peasants, and in an idiom understood by them and I started questioning the very foundations of imperialism and of foreign domination of Kenya economy and culture, I was sent to Kamiti Maximum Security Prison".
                                                                              -           Ngugi Wa' Thiongo

The post-Civil War generation in Nigeria, fortunately or unfortunately, could not make it to the eye-witness’ list to the circumstances and hullabaloo that characterized the pre-Civil War and Civil War experiences, respectively. What they know as history, therefore, are different versions of either the true tale or its contorted forms which, in any case, leave the anxious youths with so much to yearn.

 In a desperate attempt to either demonize the protagonists or absolve the antagonists of the war, of any sin, vice versa, the so-called eye-witnesses demonstrate a very high level of contortionist tendencies predicated on their propagandist motives, experience, beliefs, ethnic reasons and political considerations. This trend manifestly results in the springing up of youths, and possibly adults, with different twisted thoughts and notions about this particular incident – Civil War.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Going to Maiduguri…

By Victoria Ibezim Ohaeri

Lagos airport, en route Maiduguri
I like to describe myself as a very daring woman. From the Loango oil fields in Pointe Noire, Congo Brazzaville where communities are ravaged by oil pollution, to the indigenous communities living on the edge of the mountains in Lima, Peru threatened with forced eviction, down to Kibera Slums in Nairobi, famed for its very deplorable housing conditions, i am no stranger to inquisitive local and international research exploits aimed at uncovering injustices affecting inaccessible and marginalized communities across the world. But going to Maiduguri, and other northern states in the thick of the insecurity crisis in northern Nigeria is among my many adventurous assignments I consider quite daring. 

Wednesday, 3 October 2012


By Kunle Rotimi

Nigeria’s birth circumstances, being unnatural and not carefully thought out in 1914 have constituted a plethora of crises facing the growing nation! From independence in 1960, series of socio-political, religious, cultural and economic ailments or upheavals have afflicted the great country, thereby threatening its existential stability.

Now at 52, Nigeria has had its own fair share of teething challenges that growing nations face! Instead of running fast in national adulthood, our beloved country still toddles at old age, trying to find its feet! Yet there is hope and we can overcome. But those who are charged with leadership responsibility of guiding the national growth-path have since independence become selfish, power-drunk, steeped in inordinate ambition with insatiable lust for perpetual occupation of public offices without commensurate productivity!

Monday, 1 October 2012


52nd Independence Day Broadcast by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan

Beloved countrymen and women, on this day, fifty-two years ago, our founding fathers brought joy and hope to the hearts of our people when they won independence for our great country. Nigeria made a clean break with more than six decades of colonial rule, and emerged as a truly independent nation. That turning point was a new beginning for our nation.

Those who witnessed the lowering of the Union Jack and the emergence of the Green White Green flag continue to relish the memory, because that ceremony was not just about the destiny of a nation, but the future of a people.
That future is here; we are the inheritors of a great legacy that goes even much farther into the past.


Where Else is Home?

Where else is home
Like the land of our own
Where our olds have grown
And many renowned

Yet with pain they have sown
All the treasures we know
And many fought and drown
Just make us a home

For where else is home
But a land we have known? 

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