U.S. Military Splits Over Africa Anti-Terror Strategy
June 5 (GIN) - A turf war over Africa is dividing two wings of the U.S. military as they build a massive security presence on the continent while creating new and thorny problems for President Barack Obama.
Vying for increased power is the Special Operations Command (Socom), on one side, and regional commanders under the State Dept. on the other.
Hafsat Abiola-Costello Says Al-Mustapha Death Sentence Ruling Is “Long Overdue” - Channelstv, Lagos
Mrs. Hafsat Abiola-Costello, daughter of the deceased Alh. Kudirat Abiola, has responded to the death sentence ruling handed down to Major Hamza Al-Mustapha who was accused of ordering her death.
She described the sentence as a judgement for Nigerians and said it was long overdue.
Al-Mustapha, as well as Lateef Sofolahan were sentenced to death by hanging having been convicted of the murder of Mrs. Abiola, wife of Chief Moshood Abiola, widely believed to have won the 12 June 1993 Presidential elections.
She’d been assassinated along the Lagos/Ibadan express way on 4 June 1996.
Al-Mustapha, the former Chief Security Officer to the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha, as well Lateef Sofolahan, the protocol officer for the deceased who was accused of divulging details of Mrs. Abiola’s whereabouts on the day of her murder, have both been embroiled in a 12-year-long trial.
The Nigerian government today made it abundantly clear it will not restate the subsidy on petroleum products, according to The Punch newspaper.
Following this afternoon’s emergency meeting of the Federal Executive Council, in Abuja, the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, told newsmen the government was not oblivious of the pains inflicted by Nigerians as a result of the new policy.
In order to ameliorate those pains, he said the government had commenced a ‘massive mass transit scheme’ aimed at cushioning the effects of the subsidy removal on transportation. Thousands of mass transit vehicles, he claimed, would be distributed.
Pro-gasoline subsidy rallies across Nigeria continue to gain momentum with protesters in Kano staging an overnight rally in at the Silver Jubilee round about renaming it “Subsidy Square”.
Attempting to re-enact the mass demonstrations that took place in Egypt’s Tahrir Square during the 2011 Arab Spring movement, protesters in Kano are also referring to the Silver Jubilee roundabout as “Tahrir Square Kano.”
Nigerian Activists and locals rise up as Day 2 of protests against the country’s recent removal of fuel subsidy continues.
The youth killed by the Nigerian police today in Ilorin, Kwara state during an anti-fuel hike protest has been identified as Muyideen Mustafa.
Credible sources in Ilorin told us that Mustafa was an Abuja-based youth who decided to participate in the protest only to meet his end at the hands of the police. Mustapha is 23 years old and hails from the Ajikobi ward in Ilorin.
Meanwhile, the Kwara State police command is twisting the circumstances surrounding the killing of Mustafa, claiming that he was stabbed to death by the National Labor Congress (NLC), which had earlier accused the police of shooting the unarmed protester.
GOVERNMENTS and newspapers around the world attributed the horrific Christmas Day bombings of churches in Nigeria to “Boko Haram” — a shadowy group that is routinely described as an extremist Islamist organization based in the northeast corner of Nigeria. Indeed, since the May inauguration of President Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian from the Niger Delta in the country’s south, Boko Haram has been blamed for virtually every outbreak of violence in Nigeria.
But the news media and American policy makers are chasing an elusive and ill-defined threat; there is no proof that a well-organized, ideologically coherent terrorist group called Boko Haram even exists today. Evidence suggests instead that, while the original core of the group remains active, criminal gangs have adopted the name Boko Haram to claim responsibility for attacks when it suits them.
The United States must not be drawn into a Nigerian “war on terror” — rhetorical or real — that would make us appear biased toward a Christian president. Getting involved in an escalating sectarian conflict that threatens the country’s unity could turn Nigerian Muslims against America without addressing any of the underlying problems that are fueling instability and sectarian strife in Nigeria.
Since August, when Gen. Carter F. Ham, the commander of the United States Africa Command, warned that Boko Haram had links to Al Qaeda affiliates, the perceived threat has grown. Shortly after General Ham’s warning, the United Nations’ headquarters in Abuja was bombed, and simplistic explanations blaming Boko Haram for Nigeria’s mounting security crisis became routine. Someone who claims to be a spokesman for Boko Haram — with a name no one recognizes and whom no one has been able to identify or meet with — has issued threats and statements claiming responsibility for attacks. Remarkably, the Nigerian government and the international news media have simply accepted what he says.
In late November, a subcommittee of the House Committee on Homeland Security issued a report with the provocative title: “Boko Haram: Emerging Threat to the U.S. Homeland.” The report makes no such case, but nevertheless proposes that the organization be added to America’s list of foreign terrorist organizations. The State Department’s Africa bureau disagrees, but pressure from Congress and several government agencies is mounting.
Boko Haram began in 2002 as a peaceful Islamic splinter group. Then politicians began exploiting it for electoral purposes. But it was not until 2009 that Boko Haram turned to violence, especially after its leader, a young Muslim cleric named Mohammed Yusuf, was killed while in police custody. Video footage of Mr. Yusuf’s interrogation soon went viral, but no one was tried and punished for the crime. Seeking revenge, Boko Haram targeted the police, the military and local politicians — all of them Muslims.
It was clear in 2009, as it is now, that the root cause of violence and anger in both the north and south of Nigeria is endemic poverty and hopelessness. Influential Nigerians from Maiduguri, where Boko Haram is centered, pleaded with Mr. Jonathan’s government in June and July not to respond to Boko Haram with force alone. Likewise, the American ambassador, Terence P. McCulley, has emphasized, both privately and publicly, that the government must address socio-economic deprivation, which is most severe in the north. No one seems to be listening.
Protesters mass around the offices of the Nigerian Labour Congress in Yaba, Lagos to commence a massive demonstration against the Jonathan government over withdrawal of fuel subsidies.
PHOTONEWS: Femi Falana and Seun Kuti Join #Occupy Nigeria
Son of afrobeat maestro, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti jointhe mass movement in Lagos protesting against IMF/World Bank induced withdrawal of gasoline subsidy in Lagos.
Out of fear of possible Boko Haram bombing, the 2012 Afan Festival, also known as Kagoro Day in Southern Kaduna, has been cancelled. The event, the largest and most popular ethnic festival in Northern Nigeria, is normally held on the 1st of January.
The cancellation is in recognition of the bombings the Boko Haram sect vowed to unleash on Christian communities on 31st December 2011 and 1st January 2012.
The cancellation came today as President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was vowing in Abuja that his government will fight Boko Haram, the “group of evil-minded people who want to cause anarchy, to the end”.
Mr. Jonathan was speaking to Mr. Mohame Bazoum, Deputy Prime Minister of Niger Republic, who brought a solidarity message and condolences to Nigeria for lives lost during the Christmas Day attacks from President Issoufou Mahamadou.
Today’s unprecedented cancellation of Kagoro Day was contained in a statement SaharaReporters received today in Kagoro, Southern Kaduna.
Signed by Sunday Gwafan, National President of Kagoro Development Association, it said, “The Traditional Council and the Kagoro community in Kaura local government area of Kaduna State, wish to inform the general public and in particular, the friends and well wishers of Kagoro Chiefdom that because of the current mood of the nation the usual National Afan Festival which holds every 1st day of January of the year will not hold in the usual manner.
“Instead, the Kagoro community being predominantly Christian, has decided to observe the festival in a solemn manner in all Churches, praising and worshiping our God and thanking Him for all the blessings of the year past and praying for peace, protection, unity and more blessings for the chiefdom, state and nation at large. We therefore invite all Kagoro sons and daughters, including friends and well wishers, to come home for these prayers that will be held on the 1st January 2012 in all Churches in Kagoro land. The Chief of Kagoro and other government functionaries will worship at ECWA Hausa Fadan Kagoro by 10:00 am.”
A family of four people was killed in a machete attack in Nigeria’s ethnically and religiously mixed Plateau state on Wednesday, the state government’s spokesman said.
Plateau is a tinderbox of ethnic and religious rivalries over land and power between local people and migrants from other areas. These often take the form of sectarian strife between the state’s Christian and Muslim communities.
A series of bombings by Islamist militants across Nigeria on Christmas Day killed over two dozen people, raising fears that they are trying to provoke a sectarian civil war.
The attacks included a bombing at a church in the Plateau state capital of Jos which killed no one, although a policeman died in a subsequent shootout with militants.
"This attack is regrettable coming at a time when the state government has put … measures for security (in place)," state government spokesman Abraham Yiljap told local broadcaster Plateau Radio Television. He gave no further details.
VIDEO: Christmas Day Bombing Of St. Theresa Catholic Church In Madalla, Niger State (graphic content)
At least 30 people were killed at the St. Theresa Catholic church when suicide bombers detobnated a large bomb on Christmas day 2011. Islamist militant group Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the attacks.
(WARNING: Graphic Image)
The Delta State police command has confirmed that another bomb was detonated in the Hausa quarters in Sapele, Delta state. The bomb explosion happened at a Qu’ranic school along Urhobo Road in Central Sapele as earlier reported by Saharareporters. The attack was similar to the one that ripped through a Mosque in the township on Dec. 10 at a local Mosque in the area known as “Hausa quarters.”
There are confirmed reports of 7 injuries according the the Delta State police spokesperson Charles Mouka.
A source in the vicinity of the attack said the explosion shook the entire area. The bomb appeared to be aimed at a Quranic school and Islamic centre on Urhobo Road by King Street where Muslim children usually gather to study and cram sections of the Koran.
2nd VIDEO: Wealthy Nigerian Pastor Who Slapped Teenage Girl Before Thousands At Church Service Still Boasts Of The Beating
Nigeria’s wealthiest pastor, David Oyedepo, returned to the scene of the crime last year when, speaking to a full church assembly, he recalled walloping a young girl in the face, knocking her backwards, as she knelt before thousands of church members, where people kneel to be saved.
The ringing slap could be heard easily on the video of that service but no copy was available until a source just provided it to SaharaReporters.
The incident took place in 2009 and it was recalled by Pastor Oyedepo in 2010 at his Winners Chapel, in Otta, Ogun state, Southwest Nigeria. “I slapped a witch here last year,” Oyedepo declared, stressing each word, on the video. “She came back in February to apologize. She begged me to please forgive her.” He added the warning, “Starting today, the things harassing you, you will start harassing them.”
Thanks to YouTube and Oyedepo’s tradition of videotaping his sermons, the slap and the recall of the slap are now being seen by thousands.
The girl on her knees appeared to be a suffering teenager in a simple dress whose soft voice cracked as she answered the pastor’s insistent questions. She had been first on a line of teenagers apparently ushered in to confess their sins. Pastor lost his composure when the teen from Imo state, pressured to say she was a witch, claimed instead to be a “witch for Jesus”. The words had barely left her mouth when she was hit hard by the pastor’s open hand.