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Akpabio Denies Saying 60 Per Cent Of NDDC Contracts Given To Lawmakers
Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, has denied accusing members of the National Assembly of collecting 60 per cent of contracts from the Niger Delta Development Commission.
Akpabio in a letter read on the floor of the House during plenary by Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, claimed to have referred to old contracts awarded by the NDDC, which had not been paid for and some of which are part of the constituency projects of the lawmakers.
He said the only reference he made to 60 per cent during his presentation before the NDDC committee on Monday was in response to a question by a member of the committee.
According to the minister, the member had sought to know whether a medical director can serve as an Executive Director, Project, to which he responded by saying that since 50 to 60 per cent of NDDC contracts were medical-related, there was nothing wrong in a medical director serving in that capacity.
The Speaker said Akpabio’s response would be referred to the Committee on Ethics and Privileges to look at the merits of his arguments.
The House had earlier initiated moves to sue Akpabio for perjury.
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Policeman Killed As Gunmen Abduct Four Chinese Workers In Cross River
Gunmen have kidnapped four Chinese construction workers in Cross River State.
The police spokesperson for the state, Irene Ugboh Itohan, confirmed the incident to the BBC.
She said a policeman working with the Chinese nationals was killed during the abduction which happened near a quarry site in the remote area of Akampka on Tuesday night.
Security personnel have been deployed to search for the expatriates.
It is not yet clear why the gunmen seized them, but kidnapping for ransom is rampant across Nigeria with both locals and foreigners targeted.
In some cases, the abductors kill their captives if their demands are not met.
Immigration to establish border community committee in Cross River
The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) in Cross River has express its readiness to establish the Immigration Border Community Relations Committee in all border communities in the state.
Comptroller of NIS in the state, Mr James Ezugwu, disclosed this on Wednesday in Calabar during a courtesy visit to the Paramount Ruler of Calabar South, Prof. Itam Hogan.
Ezugwu explained that the committee would bring all the traditional rulers, youths and relevant stakeholders together in border management, security and patrol.
According to him, the committee will be charged with checking irregular migration and all forms of illegality along the border posts through a stronger and collaborative security.
He maintained that the committee would be chaired by the Paramount Ruler of each of the border communities in the state.
“My visit here today is to seek for collaboration between the NIS state command and the traditional institution.
“It’s important that we identify with the people of Calabar South because the area is very important to the NIS because it occupies an important security attraction due to its route to Cameroon.
“The traditional rulers and youths are important to us because the security of the country does not rest on the hands of uniform personnel alone, but in the collaborative efforts of all stakeholders.
“It’s in view of this that we are planning to establish the Nigeria Immigration Service Border Community Relations Committee across all border communities in the state,” he said.
The Comptroller said: “when you are in a place where the waters are closer to other countries, you collaborate with the local authority to ensure legal migration of persons.
“We need to collaborate and get it right so that the people we don’t desire are not allowed into the country. This country is ours and we must do everything to secure it.
“I am appealing to the traditional rulers here to collaborate and help us with intelligence. When we get this information on time, our response time will be faster and we will achieve results,” he said.
Responding, Hogan said the collaboration was a welcome idea, adding that it would serve the interest of Calabar South, the state and Nigeria in general.
“On our part, we will do our best to cooperate with you. Calabar South is the most cosmopolitan local government area in Cross River.
“The border committee you are planning to set up will help us to give you the needed support and intelligence that you require for your operations,” he said.
Newsmen report that the Comptroller in company of some traditional rulers and youth leaders went round some of the creeks in Calabar South for an on-the-spot assessment of the area.
HON. EMMANUEL ISHABOR FLAGS OFF MAIZE PLANTING PROJECT IN OGOJA.
In line with one of his cardinal objectives of repositioning Agriculture and keying into the Green Money initiative of the Governor Ben Ayade led state government agricultural revolution in Cross River State,as well as to reposition the economy of the the people of Ogoja Local Governmemt Area, Hon. Emmanuel Ishabor, the Executive Chairman of Ogoja Local Government Council, flagged off the hybrid maize planting project today, 8th July 2020.
The flag-off which was attended by so many sons and daughters of Ogoja, had in attendance the Paramount Ruler of Ogoja, Ntol George Nsor Ibembem and his council of chiefs, the Vice Chairman of Council, Hon. Sarah Amu, the Leader of the Legislative Council, Hon. Cyril Abang and his councillors, former Chairman of Ogoja Chief Sylvanus Idam, Ogoja Chapter Chairman of the PDP, Mr. Paul Adinye, Dr Ikani Wogar, Special Advisers to the Governor, DGs of Boards, Board members, numerous appointees of State Government, the non-indigene community and representatives of United Nations.
Speaking at the flag-off ceremony which took place at the council secretariat, Hon. Emmanuel Ishabor said the maize farming project which is in collaboration with Siga farms limited and Tofamid Farms Limited, is an effort at diversifying economy of the people of Ogoja for growth and sustainability.
He stated that his administration will provide the enabling environment as well as funds, insecticides, pesticides and fertilizers needed for local farmers to strive.
Hon. Ishabor stressed the need for the farmers to take the opportunity created by council seriously, stating that committed farmers will continue to enjoy the patronage and support of his administration in bigger and better ways with regard to Agriculture.
On the part of Siga Farms, the Director Mr. Etuki Stephen in his presentation, intimated local farmers that Siga farms Limited, is an Agricultural establishment that aid farmers through government intervention into planting of hybrid maize for cultivation within 90 days.
Mr. Etuki assured farmers of the high productivity level of the hybrid maize and its resistance to pest. He thanked the Chairman for keying into the Federal Government and Cross River State Government Agricultural Agenda, and promised the Council boss of continuous synergy in other agricultural value chain for the people of Ogoja.
Speaking during the occasion, Mr. Woga Celestine, Assistant Manager Tofamid Farms Limited who are the potential buyers after harvest, encouraged farmers to take this gesture by council seriously assuring farmers of Tofamid's readiness to buy as much as 50 trailer loads of Maize every month.
On the part of farmers, Mr Iyaji David Agantem appreciated the Chairman of Council, Siga Farms and of course Tofamid Farms for coming to the aid of farmers at this period, he specifically on behalf of farmers, poured enconiums on Hon. Emmanuel Ishabor for starting in such a good light, assuring him that farmers will do their best not to betray the confidence reposed on them.
High point of the event was the presentation of the hybrid maize to 2000 farmers cut across the ten legislative council wards of Ogoja Local Government Area through their respective councillors.
Mele Kyari And NNPC: One Year After By Reuben Abati
Ayear ago, Mele Kolo Kyari was named as the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). He succeeded Maikanti Baru, now of blessed memory.
On July 8, 2019, the then incoming GMD made the following promises: (i) There will be no corruption without discretion. We will work with all shareholders within the NNPC group to ensure there is no discretion in the system; (ii) We will build this company to enable it to compete with its global peers. We are not saying we will not make mistakes along the way, but we will not make deliberate mistakes. (iii) We will deliver all our four refineries within the life of President Buhari’s administration. We shall seek strategic partnerships to ensure Nigeria becomes a net exporter of petroleum products.” Within two months of settling down in office, Mele Kyari further reiterated the goals of his tenure. One year later, how has he fared? Is the NNPC better today than it was at the point he took over the helms of authority? Has he been faithful to his promises? This is the focus of this brief, preliminary interrogation of his first year in office. I intend to be fair but I will also raise questions.
Mele Kyari’s main achievement in the last year should be the efforts that he has made to create a peaceful environment for team work, efficient communication and collaboration within and outside the NNPC system. His tenure so far has been without rancor, dispute or the kind of unnecessary drama that characterized his predecessor’s time in office. There was no love lost at any time between Dr. Ibe Kachikwu as Minister of State for Petroleum and Maikanti Baru as GMD of the NNPC. I stand to be corrected. Baru succeeded Dr. Kachikwu as GMD and when Kachikwu became Minister of State, both worked largely at cross purposes. Baru reportedly had the support of the Villa and the late Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari. Mele Kyari assumed office in July. In August 2019, President Buhari named Timipre Sylva as Minister of State for Petroleum. Kyari and Minister Sylva seem to have a much better working relationship. Kyari seems to be doing a better job of managing internal politics. He also seems to be doing a good job of managing relationships with stakeholder communities. Within a few weeks of assuming office, for example, he was able to broker peace between Shell/Belema Oil, operators of OML 25 and the oil well’s host community in Akuku Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State. Crude oil production activities in the community have since resumed. Brokering peace with oil bearing communities however is a task that the NNPC should remain focused upon. In the absence of a mutually acceptable framework to address the interest of host communities, and the failure of the National Assembly to enact the Petroleum Industry Bill, the people of the Niger Delta will remain aggrieved, and they are not keeping quiet at all. Kyari and the NNPC need to do more in this regard.
Kyari promised transparency and accountability. One year later, he can claim to have scored big in this regard with the release in June 2020, of the 2018 Audited Financial Statement of the NNPC. The statement covered all the 20 plus subsidiaries in the NNPC group. It was the first time in 43 years NNPC accounts would be audited and published for scrutiny. Before then unaudited monthly financial and operational reports were published but Kyari is the first Group Managing Director to subject the accounts to an independent audit. The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency International (NEITI) and other industry watchers who had consistently insisted that NNPC’s opaqueness and inefficiency was unacceptable were understandably pleased that for the first time in four decades, the NNPC is willing to render audited accounts. But, ironically, the published audited accounts exposed the very reason why previous GMDs failed to toe the same line. The revelations are damning, if not surprising. It was disclosed for example that the country’s four refineries have all been running at a loss. The Kaduna Refinery in particular did not earn any income during the period of the audit. In 2018 alone, the Kaduna Refinery recorded zero revenue. Zero! And yet it reported an operating cost of N65 billion. What! In other words, Nigeria spent that amount on that refinery and got nothing in return. How about that as a business model?
This question is important. When he assumed office, Kyari promised to fix the refineries before 2023. In 2015, the All Progressives Congress (APC), Nigeria’s ruling party, promised to fix one refinery per year. Five years later, where are we? The children of the workers in those refineries today, can their own children work there in the future given the present state of the assets? The truth is that government has no capacity anymore to manage those refineries. The thing to do is to release them to the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) for privatization. The point has been well made over the years that if the refineries work and there is efficient local refining of crude, Nigeria would save cost and Nigerians won’t have to pay N143 per litre for petrol!. In a recent report by Stakeholder Democracy Network (SDN), we are told that Nigeria wastes valuable funds importing “low quality” and “dirty” petrol from European refineries whereas it can do much better locally. The report reveals that the bush, illegal, artisanal refineries in the Niger Delta produce even much better fuel. Does this make sense? There is no reason why Nigerians should be placed at the mercy of so-called market realities and made to pay through their nose for a natural resource that is in their own backyard. I have said my bit. But going forward, what is Mele Kyari’s strategy? What does he intend to do?
Mele Kyari promised to increase crude oil production. He has been able to do so. Under his watch as NNPC GMD, in the last year, crude oil production reached about 2.3 million barrels per day at a point. The fortunes of the Nigerian Petroleum Development Corporation (NPDC), the corporation’s flagship upstream company also improved. NNPC also executed the NPDC OML 65 project which should generate more revenue and create jobs in the areas of operation. This however has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the shut-down of the global supply chain and various industries, oil producers were faced with demand and supply disruptions. In April 2020, OPEC+ agreed to cut global output by a record amount of about 10% of global supply. COVID-19 reduced demand for oil, and drove down oil prices. Storage tanks were full; there were no off-takers. The impact on oil-dependent economies like Nigeria was devastating. Nigeria’s 2020 budget which was benchmarked at $57 per barrel had to be revised more than thrice. Low oil prices meant lower revenue for Nigeria. COVID-19 has exposed the vulnerability and fragility of Nigeria’s mono-cultural economy. It is interesting, however, to see the NNPC actively involved in the on-going conversations about how Nigeria now more than ever, needs to address this challenge.
Further, Mele Kyari as part of his one-year score card can include the Final Investment Decision (FID) on the Train 7 of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Company (NLNG) which was taken in November 2019. The project has been on the table for years. Kyari led the negotiations to a decision stage. The NLNG is one of the most successful business models in Africa. It is expected to generate over $20 billion revenue and over 50,000 direct and indirect jobs. Nigeria may need to consider the same model for moving the NNPC to a higher level. It is also under Kyari’s watch that the AKK gas pipeline project which had been in the pipeline since the 80s was finally commissioned! Kyari also promised in 2019, to leverage on technology and innovation. Our investigation reveals that the downstream arm of NNPC operations – the buying and selling of petroleum products - is heavily digitized under Kyari, resulting in a significant reduction of human interface and bureaucratic red tape. Marketers can now see inventories across 22 depots and make appropriate decisions based on real-time data. NNPC Retail is also digitized to enhance service delivery. While this is another case of promise made and kept, it is worth noting that many stakeholders and observers are uncomfortable with the NNPC’s seeming “monopoly” of the downstream sector, and rightly so. They insist that the NNPC should operate upstream and leave the downstream sector for private investors.
Between 2002 and now, private investors have invested so much in the importation of finished products and the building of tank farms and fuel stations. Their expectation was that government was serious about its decision to deregulate the downstream sector. But today, deregulation is essentially a myth. Shortly after the deregulation plan, the NNPC took over the downstream sector. It began to build petrol stations, and established a retail company. Private sector investors in the downstream sector have since learnt that they cannot compete with the NNPC. They borrow money at high interest rates to do business. NNPC uses government money. To worsen matters, another government agency, the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) fixes the price at which marketers can sell. Both the NNPC and the PPPRA exercise a monopoly of discretionary power to the disadvantage of other players in the market. This is probably the reason why other stakeholders, notably Total and Exxon Mobil are cautious. Is this conflict between NNPC mega stations and private fuel stations something Mele Kyari would like to address?
Under him, NNPC has also shown a great level of corporate responsibility. NNPC operations may have been affected by the Corona virus pandemic, nonetheless the corporation has contributed to the efforts to mitigate the impact on the people. This includes the launch of a Petroleum Industry Intervention Fund, which attracted a pledge of N21 billion, and is being used to fund medical interventions across the country’s six geo-political zones: notably the on-going construction of an Infectious Diseases Hospital in Maiduguri, Borno State, and partnership with ThisDay Media Group, Sahara Energy, the CBN and others to build the 230-bed ThisDay COVID-19 isolation, recovery and treatment centre in Abuja.
I rate Kyari highly but on the whole, the big elephant in the room at the NNPC is the urgent need for wholesale reform. The institution itself is in need of a shake up and a shake down. A much leaner and efficient NNPC focusing on the upstream sector may be of more strategic value than a corporation that is over-stretched across the oil and gas value chain.
II: Nimi Akinkugbe: Ambassador-Designate and the Indigeneship Question
The protest by some misguided Ondo youths against the appointment of Mrs Nimi Akinkugbe as ambassador-designate must be condemned by all reasonable persons, most especially the entire Ondo state community. The youths reportedly complained that Mrs Akinkugbe (nee Ajumogobia) who is originally from Rivers State cannot fill the slot of Ondo State. Who told them that? Their tribalism is probably helped by the failure of the National Assembly to amend Part II Section 2 of the Federal Character Commission (Establishment) Act which simply says “a married woman shall continue to lay claim to her state of origin”. The proposed amendment to include a married woman’s right to the indigeneship of her husband has been before the National Assembly since 2015! That notwithstanding, it is illegal and unconstitutional to turn any Nigerian into a “foreigner” in any part of the country or to discriminate against persons on the basis of gender. The objection to married women representing their husbands’ states is also utterly against the principles of equity and justice. Persons holding on to warped notions of indigeneship play the politics of identity with public positions. This is the case with the refusal to confirm Justice Akon Ikpeme as the substantive Chief Judge of Cross River State. The excuse is that Justice Ikpeme who hails from Akwa Ibom, although married to a Cross Riverian poses a “security risk to Cross Rivers State.” How? Mrs Akinkugbe who is married to an Ondo indigene and has Ondo children, has received the support of the Ekimogun Round Table and Senator Patrick Akinyelure (Ondo Central). President Muhammadu Buhari, Governor Akeredolu and the Senate should uphold her nomination. An author, newspaper columnist and experienced banker, Mrs Akinkugbe is eminently deserving of the nomination to become one of President Buhari’s envoys.
Cross River Doctors Accuse Governor Ayade Of Covering COVID-19 Cases, Declare Indefinite Strike
The Cross River chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association has withdrawn its services from all medical facilities in the state.
This was relayed in a letter addressed to the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, by the state chairman of NMA, Agam Ayuk, on Sunday.
The association demanded explanations from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control on why the five confirmed cases from the University College Teaching Hospital, Calabar, have not reflected in its daily update of COVID-19.
It also passed a vote of no confidence on the Commissioner for Health, Betta Edu, over alleged unethical handling of COVID-19 testing in the state.
The letter reads, “The association demands explanation from NCDC why the five COVID-19 confirmed cases from UCTH carried out at the NCDC accredited Molecular Laboratory at Alex Ekwueme University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, have not reflected in the daily situation report of NCDC long after results had been transmitted to UCTH since July 1, 2020. Congress demands update of the NCDC situation report as a matter of urgent public health interest.
“Congress demands explanations from NCDC why epidemiology code numbers have to be generated by Cross River State Ministry of Health before results of samples sent by UCTH to an NCDC approved molecular laboratory can be published by NCDC, despite having approved UCTH as an independent test centre.
“The NCDC is put on notice that the Cross River State Government have abdicated her responsibility of contact tracing, treatment and care for the five confirmed cases which may not be unconnected with the delay in publication of the results by NCDC. Congress demands the immediate activation of Adiabo Isolation Centre and commencement of surveillance and contact tracing in the state.
“Congress demands explanation from NCDC, why, despite several complaints of compromised testing in the state, investigations have not commenced on the unethical activities carried out by Cross River State COVID-19 Task Force.
“The association passed a vote of no confidence on the Honorable Commissioner for Health – Dr. Betta Edu, and further referred her to the NMA National Disciplinary Committee and Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria for the unethical handling of COVID-19 testing in the state, thus putting lives at risk and bringing the association to disrepute.
“Arising from the meeting, all members of Nigerian Medical Association Cross River State branch in public and private hospitals have embarked on a total and indefinite withdrawal of medical services until NCDC and the state Ministry of Health give urgent and prompt attention to the issues raised.”
Last week, Ikpeme Ikpeme, Chief Medical Director of UCTH had announced that five patients tested positive for COVID-19 in the hospital but the state government accused him of spreading falsehood.
Governor Ben Ayade Appoints Man Accused of Raping 12-Year-Old Girl As Special Adviser
Cross Rivers State Governor, Ben Ayade, has appointed one Edet Okon Asim, who was alleged to have raped a 12-year-old-girl, into his cabinet as Special Adviser on Biodiversity.
Asim was said to have been arrested by police in 2019 for raping and impregnating a 12-year old girl and also damaged her womb after series of abortions .
He allegedly warned and threatened the girl not to reveal the crime until the girl started developing repeated belly aches.
Asim was supposed to have been jailed for the said offence but manipulated the judicial process because of his political influence and connections, the source claimed.
The mother of the girl, Sarah Noah, was also said to have been having affair with Asim.
Findings also revealed that Asim has been dropped as United Nations Ambassador as a result of the rape allegation.
A source, who spoke to SaharaReporters about the incident, said, "He has been dropped as UN Ambassador and he cannot come out to represent cases or advocate for issues concerning women.
"The governor has questions to answer on whether or not he is aware this man is an offender, an accused or alleged offender. Appointing Asim is encouraging rape in the state. "
It will be recalled that many interest groups in the state had also condemned the appointment of Asim.
"By allowing an alleged offender or somebody who has been accused of rape to serve in your cabinet, it also shows that you are encouraging rape to thrive,” the source added.
Meanwhile, there have been calls for the arrest and prosecution of the mother of the girl. She was alleged to have offered her to the man as a sex slave while also having an affair with the Asim.
The Spokesperson for the Cross River State Police Command, Irene Ugbo, could not be reached for comments.
NLC begins indefinite strike in Cross River
Government activities were paralysed in offices in Cross River State Monday following the indefinite strike embarked upon by the Nigeria Labour Congress.
The state chapter of the NLC led by Comrade Benedict Ukpepi had declared an indefinite strike over nonpayment of pension, gratuities, removal of names of civil servants from payroll implementation of promotion, among others.
Some agencies and offices rendered skeletal services and their workers closed early.
At the new secretariat on Murtala Mohammed Highway in Calabar, a team of NLC officials, policemen, and other security agencies were seen enforcing compliance.
The NLC chairman said, “The strike is successful. The few staff at the New Secretariat are mostly members of Trade Union Congress who cannot work without our members.”
Some offices were also shut at the Old Secretariat when newsmen visited the place in the morning.
There was confusion initially over the strike as the TUC pulled out of the industrial action, citing wrong timing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
INEC REC tells political parties to educate their members to right things
Cross River Residents Electoral Commissioner (REC), Dr Emmanuel Hart, has urged chairmen of political parties in the state to educate their members to do the right things during elections.
Hart gave the advice at a meeting on the forthcoming Northern Senatorial District by-election in the state with the heads of political parties under the auspices of the Inter-party Advisory Council (IPAC) on Monday in Calabar.
He said political parties should educate their members and the electorate to be law abiding and health conscious during the by-election.
According to him, you are the leaders of the political parties in the state, I crave your indulgence to educate your members to do the right thing.
“Forget about the issues associated with electioneering in the nation like vote buying, ballot box snatching and others and just do the right thing by coming out for the election, vote and go home.
“On the issue of COVID-19, we have visited the State Ministry of Health to partner with us.
”We even have a handbook, which educates the electorate on how to protect themselves during the election, so, we are prepared to hold a safe election.
“Although, the date for the by-election has not been announced, immediately it is announced, everyone will know because we will disseminate it even to the grassroots,” he said.
The REC, who assumed office in the state on May 13, added that he had paid a courtesy visit to Gov. Ben Ayade, the Ministries of Information, Education and Health National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and security agencies as relevant agencies necessary for a smooth election.
Responding, Anthony Bisong, Chairman of the Young Progressive Party (YPP), who spoke on behalf of the other political parties, thanked the REC for the courtesy and advocacy visits.
Bisong added that all the political parties in the state under the umbrella of IPAC were in total support of his administration and would ensure that his work in the state was fruitful.
News of nearby cities
Governor Ayade And Witch Burning In Cross River State By Leo Igwe
The refusal by the governor of Cross River State, Ben Ayade, to condemn the assault and burning of alleged witches in Boki Local Government Area of the state is deeply disturbing. His deafening silence over this tragic incident is indicative of a disgusting trend in Nigerian politics, and the pervasive incompetence, insensitivity and irresponsible governance that has plagued the country.
On Wednesday, May 20, an aide to the governor, Thomas Obi Tawo (also known as General Iron), led a lynch mob that set ablaze 15 suspected witches in Oku community in Boki Local Government Area in Cross River State. On this fateful day, General Iron and his ‘boys’ stormed this rural community.
They dragged out those who were identified as witches including General Iron's mother and threw them into the fire. Three of the victims have died as a result of the burns. Others are at various hospitals and clinics battling for their lives. Some of the victims had serious burns on their legs, hands, heads, and their private parts. Some victims are unable to seat down or urinate. Others cannot walk or use their hands. Meanwhile, most of the victims are farmers and elderly persons.
It is unfortunate that for over a month since this horrific attack, Governor Ayade has not issued any statement to denounce this mob violence. He has not reached out to the victims to provide support. Instead, the government of Cross River is busy trying to cover up this atrocity and shield the perpetrators from justice.
The government’s media spokesperson has denied that any member of the government was involved in the violence. So, is Governor Ayade saying that Thomas Obi Tawo is not an appointee with the Cross River State Government? Is General Iron not his Special Adviser on Forest Security? There is nothing to gain from these media games and manipulation. In fact it is not too late for Governor Ayade to remedy the situation and demonstrate enlightened and responsible leadership.
Governor Ayade should not allow his political interest to overshadow his duty and responsibility to the people of Cross River state. Ayade needs to take urgent steps to end impunity and witch persecution in the state. Cross River has been notorious for human rights abuses linked to witchcraft allegations and witch persecution. There are hundreds of street children in Calabar, the state capital, and most of them have been abused and driven out after being accused of witchcraft. Witch persecution persists in Cross River because the government has consistently failed in its responsibility to protect lives and property of alleged witches, as in the case of the Boki witch hunt.
The government of Cross River has refused to prosecute and bring to justice those who engage in witch persecution and killing. Governor Ayade has an opportunity to rewrite history and turn a new page of hope, justice, and compassion. He should take all necessary measures to provide support to victims of witch-burning in Boki and bring to justice all perpetrators of this horrific crime.
Governor Wike angry with security agencies for ‘long silence’ over threats in Rivers
Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has described as unfortunate the silence of security agencies in apprehending those that ‘want to destroy the state.’
Governor Wike expressed this at the weekend while speaking on Arise Television on contemporary issues.
He said the threat by a pro-Amaechi group, which has gone viral, did not mean anything to security agencies.
The governor recalled that All Progressives Congress (APC) supporters threatened and attacked the Rivers State High Court because of internal party squabbles and that security agencies did not bring the perpetrators to justice.
Governor Wike said the pro-Amaechi supporters were courageous because their paymasters have assured them of security cover.
‘It is really unfortunate that some people can now want to destroy the state. They issue threats and the security agencies cannot come out to say we can’t tolerate such threat against the peace and existence of the state. I will not go to court against anybody because the threat is in the public domain. It is obvious that they have the Police, Department of State Security, Air Force, Navy and the Army,’ said the governor.
‘Otherwise, how do you explain the long silence of the Nigeria security agencies over such threats already trending online. For whatever reasons, why won’t they bother about the person making such threats because of an internal problem within APC?
‘Remember, for the first time in the history of this country, when [Minister of Transportation] Chibuike Amaechi was governor, he shut down the courts for two years. Based on that experience, more threats and attacks are seen.
‘The minister is now coming to say that he is not a man of violence, which is not true. We are not children to be so deceived. During the campaign leading to 2019 elections, he came to the state chanting war songs and nobody cautioned him,’ Wike said.
Speaking on the role of the police in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic in the state, Governor Wike accused a Deputy Commissioner of Police in the state of having worked to frustrate the implementation of an Executive Order.
He said because the heads of the security agencies cooperated with him to save lives in the state they were all transferred and that has instilled fear in their successors.
‘I have said it always that governors are not the real chief security officers. They are only chief logistics officers of their states providing funds for security agencies’ operations.
‘For us, we are talking about COVID-19 pandemic which is commonplace across the country. The safety of the people is paramount and we signed an Executive Order. But, a Deputy Commissioner went ahead to flout it.
‘In fact, the Commissioner of Police was transferred, including the director of DSS, and the Air Force Commander, because they worked with me to enforce COVID-19 protocols. The new people they have sent are also afraid. Such a double standard in this country is not healthy,’ the governor stated.
The governor, speaking on an Amnesty International (AI) report, called on the international NGO to be objective in their activities and to stop labelling states with alarming reports.
He described as incorrect the figure of deaths in the state as a result of cultism which was published by AI, saying that cultism has been fought to a standstill in Rivers.
Wike asked: ‘Why are they not talking about the insecurity across Nigeria, particularly the killings done by bandits in some states? Is it because those states are controlled by the ruling party?
‘Today, Rivers State is comparatively faring well. We have fought cultists to a standstill. But, you cannot say that is the case in Nigeria as a whole today. What has Amnesty said about killings by bandits in other states?
‘If there is insecurity, you can’t see the level of infrastructural development activities going on in Rivers state. Multinational companies like Julius Berger, Setraco and CCECC are here working and none of them is affected by insecurity. Residents know that the state is moving on very well,’ he said.
The Rivers governor pointed out that the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was happy to have resolved the disagreement that ensued in Edo State before the governorship primaries, which has eliminated litigations.
He said that when the interest of every party member is protected nobody would feel aggrieved and the party would continue to remain united.
‘I have always said that politics is where you must carry everybody along. Sometimes, there can be disagreements but the ability to reconcile everybody is important. Particularly as an opposition party, it is healthy to have division. There is no need to make people think that you don’t want them. I told Governor Godwin Obaseki so and anybody who knows me understands that I am not against anybody.
‘After the primaries now, everybody is very happy and Governor Godwin Obaseki is at home. If we have allowed what was going on then to continue, you will be alarmed at the level of division that will erupt and it will be like what you see in APC.
‘As a loyal party man of the South-South region, I would want the whole region to belong to one political group which is what it is likely to be. If APC is in crisis, it is not my business to help it. Remember, we also had our own crisis under Ali Modu Sherrif and they were jubilating. As a politician, I am happy that we have taken one more state from them. I will continue to pray that they make more mistakes,’ he added.
Governor Wike: May APC continue to make mistakes
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has said his prayer is that All Progressives Congress, APC, continues to make mistakes and remain in crisis, so that Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, will grow.
He said in an interview with Arise TV: “I want my party to be in power and, therefore, I cannot be praying for APC not to have crises. I hope they continue to make mistakes every day and my party (PDP) will continue to grow.”
He said he is happy with the circumstances that brought Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo to Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. and that he cannot pray for APC not to make mistakes.
His words: “I am happy that APC is in crisis. It is not my business to help APC to be united.
“Remember we also had our own crisis under Ali Modu Sheriff and APC jubilated about it then. It is my prayer that they should continue to be in crisis.
“We have taken another state. Unfortunately, APC isn’t really a political party. They came together just to take over power.”
The governor said he has no problem with Obaseki’s emergence as the standard bearer of PDP for Edo governorship election slated for September 19.
He, however, stressed that everyone be carried along and also advocated unity to avoid the APC’s current situation.
He cautioned: “Carrying people along does not mean giving money. That is the mistake people make. It means listening to them, appealing to them and making them recognise the greater interest of the party.”
Cross River TUC denies bribery allegation
Officials of the Trade Union Congress, Cross River State chapter, have denied receiving bribe from the state government to back out of the strike called by the Nigeria Labour Congress scheduled to begin on Monday.
The state branch of the NLC through its chairman, Benedict Ukpepi, had declared an indefinite strike from Monday over unpaid gratuities, pensions, among other issues after the expiration of an ultimatum issued to the government.
But the TUC branch in the state, as well as other affiliate unions, had said they won’t join the industrial action, noting that the timing – being amid the Covid-19 pandemic – was wrong.
Speaking at a media briefing on Saturday, the State Secretary of the union, Ken Bassey, said, “Nobody has collected a dime from the government. And the TUC is not the mouthpiece of the government as is being insinuated.”
“As a labour centre, we and our members are aware of the sacrifices government is making to ensure prompt payment of salaries and we commend the government for that. We do not think or agree that crises or threats of crises will solve any problem. We dissociate ourselves and our affiliates from the ultimatum,” the union had noted in an earlier statement.
UCTH: Cross River not coronavirus free
The University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH) said a patient has tested positive to coronavirus in the facility despite the fact that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has not announced any confirmed case of COVID-19 in the South-South state.
The hospital management said it has already informed the NCDC of the recent development which added a new twist to the controversy trailing the COVID-19 free status of Cross River State.
On Thursday, the NCDC announced 594 newly confirmed cases bringing to 22, 614, the total number of infections in all states across the country except Cross River.
“With recent developments, it does appear that the state (Cross Rivers) may not be free of COVID-19 as generally believed,” an internal hospital memo exclusively obtained by newsmen said. “A recent rapid test carried out on a patient came out positive. However, the patient had recovered and was discharged from our isolation centre last week.”
According to the memo dated June 25 and directed to all department units, staff and patients of UCTH by the hospital’s chief medical director, Ikpeme Ikpeme, “henceforth there will be strict entry and exit protocols into our facilities in furtherance to steps taking to protect staff and patients against the virus.”
This is coming few weeks after newsmen reported how the lawmaker representing the Obudu State constituency in the Cross River State House of Assembly, Godwin Akwaji, died of fever and other COVID-19 symptoms at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital Isolation centre.
Authorities in Cross River have continued to claim that the state is COVID-19 free despite been surrounded by states with confirmed cases, alleging that there is a plot to ensure the state records a case.
Last week, the state government accused the NCDC and the Federal Ministry of Health of shipping positive and negative test kits and cartridges to the Nigeria Navy Reference Hospital in Calabar, to violate the state’s COVID-19 free status.
The agency denied the allegation by the state’s Commissioners of Information and Health, describing it as a misinterpretation of the country’s COVID-19 testing strategy and efforts to protect the health of Nigerians from the disease.
Meanwhile, health authorities and federal officials who believe the government in Cross Rivers is discouraging tests for people with symptoms of COVID-19 are disputing the state’s free status.
“There is enough anecdotal evidence to support the belief that cases of the COVID-19 disease exist in the (Cross River) State,” Efik Leadership Foundation said recently in a letter it wrote to Muhammadu Buhari, requesting the Nigerian President to intervene in the matter.
The group said the Cross River government has been “rejecting” COVID-19 testing in the state.
In the internal memo, the UCTH management said the NCDC has approved the hospital as an independent isolation centre.
Mr Ikpeme, the hospital CMD said the implication of this is that henceforth “we do not need to pass samples through the epidemiology unit of the state as was the case before.
“The hospital can now send samples directly to NCDC accredited laboratories while the NCDC works to help set up and accredit our laboratory. We therefore urge everybody to honestly do the needful to ensure that our community is protected from the coronavirus pandemic.”
The hospital Management also urged staff and patients to protect themselves as maximally as possible.
“This is however without prejudice that health caregivers must make themselves available at all times to provide adequate treatment to patients without fear. Management, on the other hand, will do everything possible to ensure staff and patients are adequately protected in line with NCDC guidelines,” the memo said.
Calls and texts Friday morning to Chikwe Ihekweazu, NCDC executive director, on seeking to know if the agency has duly been notified of the recent development and how it would respond were not responded to as of the time of filing this report.
BELOW IS THE FULL MEMO BY THE HOSPITAL
University of Calabar Teaching Hospital
P. M. B 1278
From: Chief Medical Director
To: Heads of Departments/Units, Staff and Patients
Date: June 25th 2020.
UCTH STAFF HEALTH ADVISORY: CORONAVIRUS COVID-19 PANDEMIC
The Management of the University of Calabar teaching hospital is aware of the agitation and uncertainties associated with coronavirus pandemic in the state. With recent developments, it does appear that the state may not be free of COVID-19 as generally believed. A recent rapid test carried out on a patient came out positive. However, the patient had recovered and was discharged from our isolation centre last week.
Management, therefore, urges staff and patients to protect themselves as maximally as possible. This is however without prejudice that health caregivers must make themselves available at all times to provide adequate treatment to patients without fear. Management, on the other hand, will do everything possible to ensure staff and patients are adequately protected in line with NCDC guidelines.
The UHC management has been in direct contact with the NCDC director and the NCDC has approved the hospital as an independent centre. the implication of this is that henceforth we do need to pass samples through the epidemiology unit of the state as was the case before. The hospital can now send samples directly to NCDC accredited laboratories while the NCDC works to help to set up and accredit our laboratory. We, therefore, urge everybody to honestly do the needful to ensure that our community is protected from the coronavirus pandemic.
In furtherance of steps taking to protect our staff, patients and facilities, management will ensure strict compliance with measures geared towards protecting our population. This will involve strict entry and exit protocols into our facilities. We urge understanding, patience and cooperation.
Prof. Ikpeme A. Ikpeme
Chief Medical Director
NDLEA Arrests 146 Drug Suspects In Cross River
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency has said that it has arrested 146 drug suspects in Cross River in the last 12 months.
The NDLEA Commander in the state, Mrs Anthonia Edeh, disclosed this on Friday in Calabar, the state capital, to mark the 2020 United Nations International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
Edeh said within the period under review, the command also secured 15 convictions in respect to drug-related offences at the Federal High Court, Calabar.
“Also, in our Drug Demand Reduction activities, 114 drug-dependent persons were counselled and rehabilitated back to their families,” the News Agency of Nigeria quoted the commander to have said.
She added that following the arrests, the command seized 205.314kgs of hard drugs comprising 196.23kgs of cannabis sativa; 163.521gms of cocaine; 187.2gms of heroin; and 9.036kgs of psychotropic substances.
According to her, the command carried out drug enlightenment programmes with the view to educating the general public on the inherent dangers of drug abuse.
Edeh described drug substance abuse and illicit trafficking of drugs as an “evil in our society” and disorientation among the majority of the youths.
“It is an industry working generally in a vicious cycle of manufactured demand and supply,” she said.
The commander said that in line with the 2020 theme: “Better Knowledge for Better Care”, there was a need for all stakeholders to join hands to reduce the menace.
In Praise Of Marxism By Edwin Madunagu
One of the earliest objections we encountered from our opponents when we entered the organized Marxist political activism in the early post-Civil War years was the one built around the thesis that Marxism, our ideology, was alien to Africa and to Nigeria in particular. We soon realized that this objection was not new, that it was as old as the history of the Marxist ideology in Africa and Nigeria.
We found that our older Nigerian comrades (especially the intellectuals and academics among them) had confronted the objection for at least two decades and a half before our entry. Still later, we learnt that the objection we are talking about was, in fact, a particular application of an older and larger objection, namely, that Marxism, as the overwhelmingly dominant ideology in the socialist and anti-capitalist movements, was alien to human nature.
As we grew older and stronger, but still early in our career as revolutionary Marxists, we found that German Nazism, under Adolf Hitler, had proclaimed that Marxism was an international Jewish “conspiracy” – originated by Karl Marx and promoted by international “conspirators” like Rosa Luxemburg and Leon Trotsky. This was, in fact, one of the specific Nazi “charges” against the Jews, as a race. It later became a pillar of Nazism as an ideology.
This admission may be made: As a young graduate student of mathematics, I was at first destabilized – but not intimidated or tempted – by these objections and charges. But, soon, I became strong enough to begin to respond along this line: To question the relevance, applicability and appropriateness of Marxism in Africa (or Nigeria in particular) is to inquire into the mode of arrival of Marxism in this continent and in this country. And, for a serious student of history (academic or non-academic), to inquire into this arrival is, in some respects, similar to an inquiry into the arrival, in our land, of modern religions, including Christianity and Islam. Finally, the general proposition: To question the relevance of Marxism in the revolutionary understanding of, and intervention in human society or in any segment of it, is to ask how capitalism arrived in human society or in the particular segment, and what it is still doing there.
To put our response more directly: To study the origin of Marxism and its historical trajectory is to study the origin and historical trajectory of Capitalism. Why? Because Capitalism and Marxism are inseparably bound, the latter being the organic “nemesis” of the former. If a young Nigerian asks me what Marxism is doing here, I will ask her/him to go and find out what Capitalism which originated in England is doing here.
I will also tell her/him that both Capitalism and Marxism emerged as adults, with clear identities, in England. Finally, before we end that session, I will re-state the mission of Marxism. This mission is not to defeat Capitalism and thereafter supplant it as “king”. No. The mission statement is that Marxism, as an anti-capitalist “weapon of criticism”, will defeat and bury Capitalism and thereafter become superfluous in an emergent classless and genuinely human society whose initial stages we call socialism.
In my recent published article, “Dialoguing with Pan-Africanist compatriots” (early June 2020), I subscribed to the view that Marxism is a science. Specifically, following Samir Amin, I defined it as the “social science of socialist revolution”. I have also described Marxism as an ideology, an ideology of liberation. I stand by both definitions: Marxism is both an ideology and a science. When I came in contact with Marxism it “fired” me because it rationalized and promoted my previously existing radical and rebellious consciousness. Karl Marx’s writings and deeds between 1843 and 1848, the teachings of my elders and contemporaries in the Nigerian Left and my own studies and experiences contributed immensely to making me a Marxist ideologically. Later, I realized that Marxism is more than an ideology, that it is also a science. Is there a contradiction here? No, not at all.
Speaking specifically about my own development and experiences I would say that I would, perhaps, not have become a Marxist if I had not first encountered Marxism as an ideology. I would, also, probably, not have remained a Marxist if I had not, at a stage in my development beyond the original “firing”, come to see that Marxism is also a science. At the risk of being schematic, I would say that Marx’s writings from 1843 to 1848, including “Towards a Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right”, “Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts”, “Theses on Feuerbach”, “The Poverty of Philosophy” and the “Communist Manifesto” made me a Marxist ideologically. But his writings in the decade following the “Manifesto” (which included “Wage Labour and Capital” and “Critique of Political Economy”) plus “Capital, volume One” made me a Marxist scientifically.
The 1848 “Manifesto” remains the clearest statement of the ideology which bears the name of Karl Marx. But, as the world later learnt and saw, even before the appearance of this “Manifesto”, Marx had produced enough materials to lay the foundations of an anti-capitalist ideology of liberation: not just liberation from capitalist wage-labour and slavery but liberation from “all circumstances” (capitalist and pre-capitalist) in which segments of humanity are “oppressed, humiliated or despised”.
These segments include class, gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, culture, and religion. Before the production of the “Manifesto,” Marx had proclaimed that the proletarian, anti-capitalist ideology which was later codified and given the name Marxism was the solution to the “riddle of history”, a solution that was conscious of itself as a solution.
Two quick footnotes should follow here: One: I think the title of the Manifesto should be read in full as “The Manifesto of the Communist Party” – the title given by the authors themselves – rather than “The Communist Manifesto”, a title that editors, writers and codifiers of Marxism later gave to it. The two titles do not mean the same thing when put in the proper historical context. Two: The battle-cry with which the “Manifesto” ended remains ever fresh: “Workers of all countries, unite … you have nothing to lose but your chains … you have a world to win!”
Karl Marx’s 1859 Preface to his “Critique of Political Economy” may be taken as one of the clearest introductions and statements of Marxism as a science. From this point onward Marx poured out scientific works – always spiced, of course, with ideological and journalistic polemics. Speaking personally again and by way of emphasis, I would say that Marx’s simple demonstration of the critical difference between “labour” and “labour power” (a self-correction he made in his “Wage-Labour and Capital”), his demonstration of the inevitability of workers’ vanguard role in the struggle for socialism and his demonstration of the reality of the state and its role in pre-socialist history helped to make me a scientific Marxist in addition to being a Marxist ideologue.
Karl Marx died in 1883. That was 137 years ago. Since then Marxism has grown both as ideology of total and universal liberation and as social science of socialist revolution. But it has also, naturally, and inevitably, developed so many factions and so many tendencies. But then: Is there a line, a red line, beyond which a Marxist faction or tendency can no longer seriously or legitimately claim to be Marxist? Should one of my numerous young Christian compatriots ask me this question, I would polemically, but with sufficient sensibility, answer her or him along the following line: Is there a red line beyond which a Christian individual, or formation, or sect, or tendency cannot continue to claim to be Christian?
The answer I receive will not settle the matter, since there is a big difference between the nature of Christianity and the nature of Marxism. But the answer will provide a sufficient basis for further discussion.
Madunagu, mathematician and journalist, writes from Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria.
Cross River Records COVID-19 Index Case
Cross River State has recorded its first COVID-19 case.
Chief Medical Director, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Prof Ikpeme Ikpeme, made this known in a memo to staff on Thursday.
Some soldiers transferred from Cross River State to Sokoto State had last week tested positive for the virus.
According to Prof Ikpeme, a rapid test was conducted on a patient and the result came out positive.
He said, “A recent rapid test carried out on a patient came out positive. However, the patient had recovered and was discharged from our isolation centre last week.
“Management on the other hand will do everything possible to ensure that staff and patients are adequately protected in line with Nigeria Centre for Disease Control guidelines.”
Ikpeme added that the UCTH management had been in direct contact with the Director General of NCDC and has approved the hospital as an independent test centre.
He added, “The implication of this is that, henceforth, we do not need to pass samples through the Epidemiology Unit of the state as was the case before.”
All 36 states in Nigeria and Federal Capital Territory have now recorded cases of COVID-19 since the country’s index case was reported on February 27.
Obaseki Will Defect To PDP But No Automatic Ticket--Edo PDP
After days of uncertainty, it has now been confirmed that Governor Godwin Obaseki will be defecting to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in a matter of days.
But the party insists there will be no automatic ticket for Obaseki.
The PDP has fixed its governorship primary for June 19th and 20th and the All Progressives Congress (APC) has disqualified Obaseki from contesting in the party’s primary.
Speaking to Vanguard on the telephone on Monday, state chairman of PDP, Tony Aziegbemi, also said there would be no automatic ticket for Obaseki.
He said, “There is nothing like an automatic ticket for anybody, it is like that in any democratic environment, and there is a process as laid down by the constitution of the party and that we will follow.
“But I can confirm to you that the governor, his deputy and the entire All Progressives Congress (APC) structure in the state will be joining the PDP soon. We have been in touch in the last few days. By tomorrow, I will be able to confirm the exact date he will be joining with his team.”
On the reports that Obaseki had obtained a PDP membership form in ward 4, Oredo local government area, Aziegbemi said, “I am not aware of that yet.”
Reacting to the development, a governorship aspirant of the PDP, Ken Imasuagbon, said he would resist any attempt to hand over the party’s ticket to Obaseki ahead of the state governorship elections.
Imasuagbon, who spoke with newsmen on Monday in Benin, however, said the governor was welcome to join the party but that he must join the queue.
He said, “Any attempt to manipulate the party’s primary would be met with serious resistance; there will be no PDP primary or whatever if the party’s leadership tries it.
“This is neither a military coup nor are we in military rule, the governor must subject himself to the party’s primary; he will need to queue with the other aspirants if he wishes to join, but certainly not handing him the ticket automatically.
Boki: Justice For Victims Of Witch-hunt By Leo Igwe
Aprotest has been staged in Calabar, Cross River State, to get authorities to take action against those, who attacked and burnt alleged witches in Boki Local Government Area of the state.
The protesters carried placards with the inscription: Justice for Oku-Boki Burnt Women.
Last month, an aide to the state governor led local thugs to attack and set ablaze suspected witches in Oku Community
The police have yet to arrest Thomas Obi Tawo (aka General Iron) and other alleged perpetrators of this horrific crime.
Victims have yet to receive any support or assistance from the state government.
Meanwhile, the Advocacy for Alleged Witches has received a list of victims of the witch-hunt. Here are their names:
1. Benard Kekong(known as papa Odu Ekpang)
2. Rita Abang (known as Dachi Ochang)
3. Margaret Akan (known as Ada Akan)
4. Edward Kekong
5. John Otu
6. Mama Delia Kubua
7. Rose Obi
8. Patricia Obi
9. Kaka Olum
10. Mary Ada Otu
11. Martina Maurice
12. Serah Kepua Odu
13. Paulina Owan
14. Sussana Bisong
15. Yet to be confirmed
There were 15 victims and the name and identity of the fifteenth person has not been confirmed.
An eyewitness told AfAW that on that fateful day, Thomas Obi Tawo arrived the community with his boys, first, he attacked his mother, Rose Obi, and then Chief Benard Kekong.
General Iron called out names of other suspected witches. His boys dragged them out of their apartments, beat them up, and threw them into the fire. People could not cry out or raise an alarm. Nobody tried to stop or resist them because they feared that they could also be beaten and thrown into the fire.
Three persons, who were set ablaze, have died as a result of their wounds.
They are Benard Kekong, Rita Abang, and Margaret Akan. Other victims are in various hospitals battling for their lives.
Some of the victims, who could not afford the cost of medical treatment are at home.
The buttocks of one of the victims, Serah Kepua Odu, was completely burnt. She cannot sit down.
Another victim, Sussana Bisong, sustained serious injuries. She was unable to go to the hospital because she could not afford the hospital bills.
A local source told AfAW that the wounds started smelling and they had to rush her to a general hospital in Ogoja.
AfAW urges the government of Cross River State to support the medical treatment of those affected by this tragic incident and help rehabilitate victims of witch hunts in Boki LGA.
Witch Burning: Victims Cry For Justice
The Advocacy for Alleged Witches(AFAW) has received a photo of another victim of witch-burning in Cross River State in Southern Nigeria.
Last month an aide to the state governor, Thomas Obi Tawo (aka General Iron) led some thugs to set ablaze several persons, suspected of witchcraft in Boki LGA.
Two of the victims have died as a result of the burns, while others such as the woman in the photo are battling for their lives at various hospitals.
AFAW calls for the arrest and prosecution of Thomas Obi Tawo and others accused of perpetrating this horrific violence.
Nigerian authorities should not allow this matter to die as usually the case when persons who are connected to those in power are implicated in a crime.
Even though General Iron is part of the government in the state, he should be made to answer for his crimes.
Tawo abused his political position and should not be allowed to get away with this atrocious act.
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in the state has confirmed that investigation is underway.
But many are saying that no real investigation is being conducted.
This is because Thomas Tawo and the ring leaders of the lynch mob have yet to be arrested.
Victims have yet to be interviewed. There are serious concerns that the perpetrators are trying to use their political connections to evade justice.
Victims and their relatives are crying for justice.
The police and Cross River State government should not let them down.
The police will be sending very wrong signals if they do not arrest and prosecute Thomas Tawo and others who are alleged to have perpetrated this savage act.
The police should use this incident in Boki LGA to send a strong message to other would-be witch hunters in the region that Cross River is a state where the rule of law not jungle justice applies. Cross River state government should rise to its responsibility to protect the lives and property of people in the state.
The government should take all necessary measures to ensure that this form of violence does not repeat itself in the state. AFAW is in touch with some of the victims and is helping defray the costs of their medical treatment.
AFAW is providing humanitarian support to those affected by this horrific attack in pursuant to its objective of eradicating witch persecution in Africa by 2030.
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