Wednesday

WHAT DO YOU WANT ON YOUR TOMBSTONE?

CC™ Perspective - By Yahaya Balogun

"We must always find a way to get into GOOD TROUBLE; speak against all evils, and do the right thing at all times!" - John Robert Lewis (February 21, 1940 – July 17, 2020). 

John Lewis believed in the courage of his convictions. He followed his mind and he conquered his fear and left a great legacy worthy of emulation. - Yahaya Balogun. 

"It's time to prod our minds and look at ourselves in the mirror; ask ourselves the questions: are we going to be part of the problems, or are we going to be part of the solutions? History will judge our decision, action, and inaction" - Yahaya Balogun.

In 1963, John Lewis was, at age 23, the youngest person set to speak at the March on Washington. John Lewis gave a resounding speech of his life during the protest for civil rights in the United States of America. John Lewis was a man of peace, and a conscience of the US Congress and the world. Historically, no one has under any circumstances, stop an idea whose time has come. There's always a reward for every action or inaction. John Lewis was arrested more than 40 times during the civil rights movement in the US. He was brutalized, jailed, and dehumanized. But John Lewis remained steadfast, and never get discouraged. The historic movement he participated in paved the way for the recognition of the dignity of African-Americans.

It seems time has come to systematically put an end to racial profiling and systemic racism in the United States of America. Thanks to the modern well-informed, articulate, and decent American millennials. The American millennials are morally reading American history in congenial ways to turn surreptitious hate to love in the United States. John Lewis was a moral fiber and a quintessential fine man. John Lewis was an epitome of moral values and principles. Values are principles, standards, or qualities by which we live our lives; our values shape the person we become, and our actions to our neighbors and humanity reflect those values. This is the definition of John Lewis in the conscience of his contemporaries in the US Congress.

John Lewis was a liberated man. A liberated man is free, fair-minded, fearless, and humanistic. A liberated mind is not concerned by the noises emanating from the cyborg market, or enemies' territory! A liberated soul is mindful of his association and carefully chooses his friends and acquaintances. He is conscious and informed of what he does to other people. All his actions are from the repository of good ideas for man's humanity to man. A liberated man is a complete man with mindfulness, emulative values, consistency, and love.

The mind of a good man is concerned about how to enlivening and stimulating the souls of his neighbors and adversaries alike for their success and happiness altogether. A man with a purposeful mind is focused and anticipatory about the results of the good he has invested in himself and other people. The ROI-return on investment of the good a good man has done to fellow human beings is the undiluted joy in his heart. The integrity of man is known when his character comes to fore. He keeps true and never gets ashamed of doing what's right or best for him and humanity. The value of a liberated man defines him and shapes the kind of person he becomes in life and after that. A liberated mind has zero-tolerance for pretense, hatred, idiocy, and other negative nuances of life. He pays close attention to discern the evil-minds around. He is not perfect, but his fallibility makes him reasonable and humble when he realizes his mistakes or wrongdoings.

A man with a liberated mind fights fearlessly with no opportunistic expectations and grandstanding. His encumbrance (burden) is his deafening silence in the face of oppression and tyranny. A complete man shares his beliefs, virtues, integrity, principles, and missions with unblemished vigor and robustness for the common good of all. A whole man doesn't mind the short-term consequences or rewards for his act of goodwill, but he's fixated on the imports of his deeds to benefit him and humanity.

On the other hand, a warped mind is a reservoir for uncanny men to deposit resentment, vices, hatred, and manipulations. One of the most significant damages unnatural man has done to society has been his refusal or nonchalant attitude to discover his value through mindfulness. Uncanny man is very narcissistic, jealous, opportunistic, mindless, and resentful of others. He is always in penchant rivalry or competition with others rather than with himself!

Every man has roommates (negative and positive minds). A resentful man listens continuously to his roommate's negative voice (i.e., the blistering spirit of hate and resentment). The sound of roommates is mutually complementary if they agree with each other. Uncanny man has no compliment or encouraging disposition towards the other man making progress. He is always striving for the unwinnable war of envy, and needless struggle with his midget mind to falsely outpace himself.

The completeness of a man is embedded or assembled in his subconscious mind. When a man rediscovers himself, he is liberated from the existential invasion of his mind by the selfish figures of the affluence, bad friends, and influential people around him. He is immune to antisocial behavior and societal vices. A liberated man is ensconced in constant self-evaluation and rediscovery. Through self-discovery, a liberated mind becomes a renewed man and predisposes to self-consciousness. A liberated man only believes in what will be engraved in his tomb after he kicks the bucket-greed, hedonism, resentment, extremism, opportunism, jealousy, bigotry, and hatred, not in his personage or lexicon. He always enjoys constant happiness, and the inner tranquility and peace flowing ceaselessly from the (subconscious) base of his mind.

Collectively, the common humanity that is in all of us should rise now. People must be morally engaged to join other people of goodwill to fight corruption, diseases, unhealthy competitions, hatreds, terrorism, religious and ethnic bigotry, jealousy, and deliberate divisiveness in our society. To bring peace to our environment is better than engaging in the negative nuances that can bring war, hatred, and disorderliness for our mutual destruction.

Generally, life is not fair and just, but it's beautiful to an only, thoughtful, and mindful mind. What divinely unites humanity (Love) is more than those defeatist nuances (racism, bigotry, hate, war, jealousy, false-religiosity, resentment, etc.) that divide the world. Your existential legacy should be your responsibility now before you expire. What man needs now is to rediscover himself through mindfulness; do self-talk; reinvest in moral armament to bring inner peace to himself, peace to his neighbors, and peace to the world.

John Lewis came; he saw, but he has left humanity an existential assignment of grace and decency. Our performance in the assessment will determine what people and posterity are going to jot down on our catacombs when we expire or kick the bucket.

May John Lewis's gentle and wonderful soul rest in perfect peace.

Tuesday

Nigerian Government reacts to viral hydroxychloroquine video attributed to Nigerian physician

Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu - Director-General of the NCDC
CC™ Global News

Nigeria on Tuesday said it has not validated the use of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19, an obvious reaction to the viral video of Nigerian-born physician, Dr. Stella Immanuel.

Immanuel, also a Christian preacher, claimed in the video that has gone viral worldwide that she has successfully treated more than 350 COVID-19 patients using hydroxychloroquine, Zinc and Zithromax.

Immanuel first made the claim on April 27 in a Twitter post in which she also showed support for American President Donald Trump’s backing for the use of chloroquine to treat the virus.

But Nigeria’s Ministry of Information and Nigeria Center for Disease Control, in identical messaging on Twiter, said the use of hydroxychloroquine is “only limited to clinical trials“.

“Some trial drugs show promising results but are yet to be validated for use,” NCDC said on Twitter on Tuesday. “In Nigeria, use of hydroxychloroquine is ONLY limited to clinical trials.”

The Lagos State Government said in April that its hospital treated many patients who suffered chloroquine poisoning in the wake of Trump’s endorsement of the drug in March. 

Immanuel doubled down on her April claim on Monday when she addressed the press after America's Frontline Doctors Summit in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. on Monday, July 27.

Hydroxychloroquine has long been used to treat malaria as well as other conditions such as lupus and arthritis.

It's used to reduce fever and inflammation, and the hope has been that it can also inhibit the virus that causes COVID-19.

Apart from Trump, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has also claimed hydroxychloroquine could prevent or treat COVID-19.

"I'm here because I have personally treated over 350 patients with COVID," Immanuel said in the video.

"Patients that have diabetes, patients that have high blood pressure, patients that have asthma, old people... I think my oldest patient is 92...87-year-olds. And the result has been the same. I put them on hydroxychloroquine, I put them on zinc, I put them on Zithromax, and they're all well."

She said she put herself, her staff and other doctors she knew on hydroxychloroquine for prevention of COVID-19. "We see patients, 10 to 15 COVID patients, every day," she said.

"We give them breathing treatments. We only wear a surgical mask. None of us has gotten sick. It works."

FIMC, however, asked Nigeria to take responsibility and avoid self-medication.

Monday

‘Buhari pampering terrorists’ – Nnamdi Kanu reacts to re-integration of ex-Boko Haram members

CC™ News

Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of “pampering” terrorism in Nigeria.

Kanu stated this in reaction to the graduation and reintegration of 601 repentant Boko Haram members into the society.

Reports that the ex-fighters reintegrated into the society included those from Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

The Coordinator, Operation Safe Corridor, Major General Bamidele Shafa made the announcement on Saturday.

Reacting, the IPOB leader lamented that Nigeria was rewarding terrorism.

In a tweet, Kanu wrote: “No nation ever PAMPERS terrorists. @MBuhari’s Nigeria not only pampers terrorists but it gives them scholarships and sends them to mix with those they’ve terrorized and slaughtered.

“There’s no other way of looking at this than that Nigeria is the ONLY nation that rewards TERRORISM.”

Sunday

'The narrative is always white is good' - Ex-Chelsea director and former Nigeria international Emenalo on systemic racism in football

Ex-Chelsea and Monaco Sporting Director Mike Emenalo
CC™ Introspective 

Former Chelsea sporting director Michael Emenalo says “the narrative has to change” if black coaches are to be given the same opportunities as their white counterparts.

The issue of racism in society has been given greater prominence in recent months following the killing of American George Floyd by a white police officer in Minneapolis in May, which sparked Black Lives Matter protests across the globe. 
Premier League players and staff have shown their solidarity against racism by taking a knee before kick-off at every game, while the players also have 'Black Lives Matter' printed on their shirt sleeves.
Emenalo, though, believes there needs to be a more fundamental shift in how black players and managers are perceived if there is to be true equality in football.
Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo is currently the only manager from a black, Asian and minority ethnic background in the Premier League. Emenalo meanwhile is one of only two BAME technical directors in Premier League history along with Les Ferdinand, whose QPR side were relegated three months after his appointment as director of football in February 2015.
“The narrative has to change. The narrative right now is always that white is good,” he told the Guardian.
“So it doesn’t matter what Chris Hughton produces as a manager. There’s always someone saying a white guy can do it better. People need to do the right thing. Like Martin Luther King said: ‘Judge me by my competence – not my skin colour.'
“When I sit behind the bench at a game, I want to be close to my work. But it’s also so that people of my colour could say: ‘I can do that.’ People in the parking lot would say: ‘Oh my God, you don’t know what you mean to us.’ Then I feel even worse because I want to say more.”
Emenalo joined Chelsea as chief scout in 2007 following a playing career that saw him play in five countries and feature for Nigeria at the 1994 World Cup. The 54-year-old was briefly promoted to assistant coach in 2010 before becoming technical director the following year.
He would go on to spend a decade at Stamford Bridge, overseeing a complete overhaul of the club’s academy structure and being credited with the scouting and signing of players such as Kevin De Bruyne, Mohamed Salah, N'Golo Kante and Eden Hazard.
Despite those achievements, Emenalo felt he constantly had to prove himself to the 10 permanent or caretaker managers Chelsea went through in that time.
“Everybody has a misconception of my knowledge, insight and experience. I did it 10 times with 10 managers,” he added.
“Each time I climbed the hill and convinced them of my worth. I have a university degree in international relations and diplomacy. I know how to deal with people and with situations. I had World Cup experience and been part of this industry on five continents.
"I said: ‘I’ll give them an opportunity to understand me.’ They all did but it’s not easy starting from ground zero every time.”
Stats Perform News

Saturday

Tiger Woods' struggles continue at the Memorial Tournament as his back problems resurface

CC™ GolfStream

Tiger Woods accepted he was fortunate to still be in the Memorial Tournament as he reflected on his improved fortunes in the third round.
A difficult second round at Muirfield Village had seen the five-time Memorial champion, who opened the event with a 71, sign for a four-over-par 76.
After narrowly avoiding missing the cut, Woods was back under par with a one-under 71 on Saturday, improving to two over for the tournament.
The 15-time major winner did not suffer with the same movement issues he encountered the day before as he recorded four birdies and three bogeys in humid Ohio conditions.
Woods recovered nicely after finding water and dropping a shot on the third hole.
"I felt like I played well and controlled the ball well," Woods said. "I hit one really bad shot there at three, but other than that, it was a pretty good, solid day.
"I was fortunate the cut came back [on Friday]. I made a little run at the end, and at times it was looking like it was going to be at two [over], but fortunately I snuck in at three.
"Then I was moving better [on Saturday] and felt like I did the first day, and consequently I could make the passes at the golf ball like I did the first day.
"Unfortunately, I didn't make any putts, so hopefully I can make a few more [on Sunday]."
Woods fared better than playing partner Brooks Koepka, whose one-over 73 left him at four over through 54 holes.
Asked about conditions on the course, Woods added: "It's tough. It's fast.
"The golf course is right where they want it. Now that the wind has picked up just a touch, it's going to dry it out a little bit more.
"The ball is starting to run out on the greens. Some of the fairways are starting to chase."
Leader Tony Finau was at 10 under par through nine holes of his third round.
Source: Omnisport

Wednesday

Band of thieves and purveyors of ineptitude.....

"BARBARIANS AT THE GATE"
CC™ Viewpoint 

It actually does not matter what aisle of the 'political' spectrum you belong to, this rudderless leadership has failed Nigerians, more-so even worse, since the inception of the 4th Republic in May, 1999.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) held sway for fifteen mostly inglorious years (1999-2015) under the stewardship of the following:

a) Rtd. General Olusegun Obasanjo (1999-2007)

b) The late Umaru Musa Yar'Adua (2007-2010)

c) Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (2010-2015).

For at least 12 of those first 15 years of the 4th Republic, corruption, by and large, became the norm while the climate created by avaricious greed, further engendered a general state of lawlessness.

Kidnappings and killing orgies became commonplace and have continued unabated, till today.

While some may say that there was a certain degree of accountability, with the accompanying restoration of some semblance of sanity during Yar'Adua's brief reign, the truth remains that his vision of a better Nigeria was never going to see the light of day, given the scavengers and marauders he was surrounded by.

For this piece, we will absolve Umaru Yar'Adua of some of the PDP misrule when one considers that he was never in charge, as the cabal (whose stranglehold on the proverbial throat of Nigeria has never been in doubt) led by the one Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo et al essentially pulled his strings. When he (Yar'Adua) then dared to think for himself, he was murdered by the demonic powers behind the Nigerian throne of oppression.

Then came Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo again, as in his quest to maintain his inordinate hold and that of his fellow 'barbarians at the gate' on the destiny of Nigeria, he ensured that the next Nigerian leader would come from his "political family tree'. Thus, the dysfunctional reign of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, an absolute and utter misfit for any public office, was visited upon Nigerians.

It remains telling that only Goodluck Ebele Jonathan could have made an ethnic and religious bigot attractive to the same Nigerians that had rejected him (Muhammadu Buhari) a resounding three times (2003, 2007 and 2011) prior to his resounding victory in the 2015 general elections.

In case some have forgotten how we got here, this was the "scorecard" of the PDP misrule, particularly under Jonathan:

a) Coffers-to-personal account accountability (or lack-there-of) where public funds were used for personal gain including the extravagant wedding of GEJ's daughter http://www.myjoyonline.com/…/goodluck-jonathans-daughter-re….

b) An aviation industry (once led by Femi Fani-Kayode and then later by the certificate forging Stella Oduah) that was nothing short of a death trap. I should know as I lost a close relative, Deji Falae (Ondo State Commisioner for Culture and Tourism at the time) to one of those unfortunate but far-too-common air crashes under the PDP misrule.

c) Fabricated economic numbers embellished masterfully by sycophants in the Finance and Economic Ministries to obfuscate the fact that the average Nigerian could not afford the most basic amenities under the Jonathan misrule.

d) Religious over-reach where Jonathan consistently employed openly the advise and services of so-called Christian Pastors and even embarrassed the country by taking his whole cabinet to Israel to "pray". Can you imagine the outcry from the same hypocritical CAN (Christian Association of Nigeria) and their egunje leadership if PMB had gone to Saudi Arabia with his whole cabinet to pray?

e) Under Jonathan, the bigotry and balkanization of Nigeria was effectively set in motion as Jonathan was essentially committed to the disintegration of Nigeria; and this was made even more apparent with the systematic decimation of the Nigerian Armed Forces. Jonathan, in an act of subterfuge against the Nigerian state, then employed foreign mercenaries (former South African soldiers under the apartheid racist regime) to fight Boko Haram at the end of his unfortunate misrule. 

f) Do Nigerians also forget that Jonathan attempted to scuttle the democratic process during this period of shame and disgrace to the Nigerian nation by postponing the elections?

g) The use of the DSS to terrorize, intimidate and kill (thousands of people disappeared without trace) Nigerians in the North, the SE and the SW (in particular) with Femi Fani-Kayode, Ayo Fayose and Musiliu Obanikoro leading the assault on political opponents in the SW with the firm support of the DSS, much like the days of Nazi Germany. 

h) Nigeria became a pariah state under Jonathan and effectively lost its voice both on the African continent and globally. Anyone who underestimates the forces that are against this current administration with its stated desire to sanitize the nation must be truly misinformed. The forces are both spiritual and physical and I will caution Nigerians that those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.  

And the circus continues while the teeming masses of hardworking and highly industrious Nigerians remain saddled with an unbecoming horde of brigands and marauders. 

Nigerians need to realize that they are merely pawns in the game of high stakes chess being played by a corrupt and morally bankrupt political class. The truth is they (the political class) even intermarry and are not bothered by ethnic or religious so-called differences, while at the same time fanning the embers of ethnic and religious warfare among the desperately poor who just would like to have a fair shake in life, for once. 

As the late Sunny Okosun said in his famous song from almost three decades ago, "Which way Nigeria. Which way to go?" The answer lies squarely in the hands of the Nigerian people and the sooner they realize how much power they have to make a change, the sooner that change will come.  

Heaven, as they say, helps those who help themselves. 

Saturday

The plot thickens: APC screening committee disqualifies Segun Abraham, a Tinubu protege in Ondo guber election

 CC™ Breaking News

The screening committee of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has disqualified a protege of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Dr. Segun Abraham, from the gubernatorial election primaries scheduled for later this month, in Ondo State.

It should be noted that Dr. Abraham lost to the current Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu in the 2016 primary elections for the same office and that loss was what prompted Bola Tinubu to move decisively against the then National Chairman of the APC, John Odigie-Oyegun.

It is no secret that Bola Tinubu nurses aspirations for the 'exalted' seat at Aso Rock, but recent developments within the rank and file of the ruling party, seem to suggest that he (Tinubu) may be losing his grip on the power base of the APC as we move closer to the general elections in 2023.

It is particularly noteworthy that out of the 12 aspirants screened for the primary elections, the only candidate disqualified was Dr. Abraham and that was definitely a pointed message to the "Lion of Bourdillon" and it remains to be seen what his response will be.

According to the committee, Dr. Abraham has the option of appealing his disqualification.

Friday

The Hushpuppis and Nigeria’s image

CC™ Opinion - By Eleanya Ndukwe Jr.

The arrests of Ramoni Igbadole Abbas, commonly known as Hushpuppi; Jacob Ponle, known as Woodberry; and ten others last month by the expert combination of the FBI, INTERPOL, and the Dubai police in the United Arab Emirates has reopened the unpleasant conversation about international cybercrimes. It has equally re-centered the issue of Nigeria’s image vis-à-vis crime and the most populous African nation’s citizens.

According to official news sources, at the time of the 38-year-old’s arrest, Hushpuppi had victimised over 1.9 million people, 21 laptop computers, 15 memory storage devices, 5 hard drives, 47 smartphones, and 15 flash drives. Investigators announced that he, alongside his aids, defrauded people up to the tune of $435,611,200 (N169.01 billion) based on documents recovered to indicate fraudulence “on a global scale.” Did I mention that he was the owner of 13 luxury cars worth up to $6,806,425 (N2.640 billion) too? 


Hushpuppi displaying his ill-gotten wealth on his Instagram account draped in designer wear.






It is erroneous to assume that Hushpuppi’s case is isolated. The pattern and frequency prove otherwise; they show that the menace is not only endemic, but extensive. Last year, much-celebrated Forbes Africa’s 30 Under 30 2016 honoree and chairman of Invictus Group, Obinwanne Okeke was arrested and recently pleaded guilty to FBI charges for $11 million (N4.2 billion) internet fraud facing up to 20 years imprisonment sentence; in August 2019, the FBI released a list of 80 wanted Nigerian cybercriminals for an alleged $6 million cybercrime noting that “the overall conspiracy was responsible for the attempted theft of at least $40 million,” while arresting two co-conspirators: Valentine Iro and Chukwudi Christogunus Igbokwe; 6 Nigerian nationals—Richard Izuchukwu Uzuh; Alex Afolabi Ogunshakin; Felix Osilama Okpoh; Abiola Ayorinde Kayode; Nnamdi Orson Benson; and Michael Olorunyomi—are currently on the FBI’s “Cyber’s Most Wanted” list for defrauding “over 70 different businesses in the US with a combined loss of over $6,000,000” according to its official twitter account.
Underlying all these cases is a certain measure of self-indulgence which seeks to exploit the efforts of innocent victims, capitalising on codified methods of cybercriminality frowned upon by international laws, and counterproductive to the image-building goals of Nigeria. Acts such as phishing, engaging in Business Email Compromise (BEC), ransomware, banking malware and other widely recognised cyberthreats have been at the forefront of their activities.
Following Hushpuppi’s arrest, social media platforms began witnessing a sense of distancing. But unlike the social distancing globally induced by the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), we became accustomed to social media distancing initiated by those who had once dined with the overtly brash Hushpuppi. More importantly though, the often-repeated lines of denunciation by Nigerian public officials greeted our airwaves as expected. The central message was the same as always: ALL Nigerians should not be lumped into the soiled perception of fraudulence, uncharacteristically championed by most recently arrested infamous nationals like Hushpuppi, Obinwanne, Mompha and their ilk.
“This is really denting to our image as a people, but like I always say, fraud does not represent who we are as Nigerians. Hardworking. dedicated. committed,” the Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa retweeted to a tweet detailing Hushpuppi’s fraudulent acts on June 25, 2020. Public relations messages like the one by Hon. Dabiri-Erewa are, perhaps, important in the fight to redeem Nigeria’s already battered image—somewhat reminiscent of the late Information Minister, Prof. Dora Akunyili’s campaign: “Nigeria: Good People, Great Nation.” However, they reek of gross unexamined self-reflection in many forms. And I will highlight some.
First, at face value, these cybercrimes committed by Nigerian nationals portray a certain get-rich-quick syndrome which has become a deified, noticeable trend mostly exhibited—to varying degrees—across social media platforms. Exotic cars are flaunted, designer wears rocked, glittering accessories are customary looks across verified pages and profiles, as if to separate those that have “made it” from those trying to stay as legitimate and clean as the strength of their manhood and the integrity of their professional crafts entail. That these self-acclaimed “made men” have millions of followers on their social media accounts portrays the alternate universe we live in, where the disenfranchised see them as role models to aspire to become. Yet, there is a profound truth to be gleaned from this aforementioned syndrome.
On deeper observation, it epitomises the present spirit of Nigeria’s younger generation. In terms of age structure according to the 2019 CIA World Factbook, Nigeria’s “early working age” and “mature working age” boast a population pyramid combination of 15-24 years (19.81%) and 25-54 years (30.44%). That equals a combined 50.25%. To put it differently, a 2020 pew research notes that only 5% of Nigeria’s population is 60 or older with a median age of just 18. In other words, 95% (or 195,700.000) of Nigeria’s 206 million population is under the age of 60—a rather astronomical figure that has been failed by the Nigerian experiment with no hope in sight.
The loss of hope in a nonexistent socioeconomic structure is a direct indictment of Nigeria. As Chinua Achebe aptly quips, it is a reiteration of “a failure of leadership.” Admittedly, this does not cloak the blame due these few fraudulent Nigerian nationals. Integrity is an intrinsic, conscious value to be continually upheld as a self-guide by every individual regardless of external forces of failure. To blame the vices of evil without highlighting the deepening failures of governance across all dynamics though, is to be selective about the realities of our normative socioeconomic and political truth.
Secondly, that the indictments of these cyber-criminals have been executed by such international law enforcement bodies like the FBI, INTERPOL, and the Dubai Police Force, reiterates our perceived views about the interests and mandates of the anti-graft commission. It exposes the failures of Nigeria’s national anti-crime agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), again, making a mockery of the nation’s image as one only interested in selectively fighting against crime.
Since the Commission’s creation in 2004 to “prevent, investigate, prosecute and penalise economic and financial crimes and is charged with the responsibility of enforcing the provisions of other laws and regulations relating to economic and financial crimes,” its results have been, to put it bluntly, abysmal. In May 2018, the EFCC’s Head, Media and Publicity, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren claimed that the Commission had, within three years of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, secured 603 convictions: 103, 195, and 189 for 2015, 2016, and 2017, respectively. He also claimed that the Commission had recovered about 500 billion naira in Nigeria’s embezzled commonwealth. Fast-forward to this year’s Democracy Day, June 11, while speaking at a press conference, the Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu noted thus: “Our scorecard in the area of conviction is 2,240 in the last five years and we recovered assets in excess of N980 billion, with quite a large array of non-monetary assets.”
Juxtaposing these “recovered” stolen funds with the 2018 Brooking Institution report that every minute, six people in Nigeria fall into extreme poverty—defined by the United Nations to mean those who earn $1.90 (a meagre N760) or less daily—is a tough task. In the same year, Nigeria would become the “poverty capital of the world” overtaking India—a nation with more than six times its population size—and is set to remain so for the next generation. That we have reportedly recovered N980 billion ($2,529,977,800.00) under the present administration by the EFCC alone, even as Nigerians fall into extreme poverty, is almost unimaginable. There have also been allegations of Magu “relooting the loots”—a codified notion that the recovered funds have been used for personal gains instead of being reimbursed into the coffers of Nigeria’s commonwealth.
As at the time of writing this piece, Ibrahim Magu has been arrested by the Department of State Services (DSS).
Supposing we even ignore these random convictions and focus on the assumed big fishes as my curiosity suggested during the writing of this piece, my inquiry into the most sensitive cases betrayed hope as well. Of all 43 cases termed “high profile cases being prosecuted by the EFCC” as shown here with the earliest dated 2007, only four (a measly 9.30%) of the cases have been “dismissed.” A massive 39 of the cases (90.7%) are still “ongoing” or have “commenced” including those on “interlocutory appeal at the Supreme Court.” The perception is thus that Nigeria’s anti-crime agencies are mere watchdogs for political witch-hunting, readily available and only potent against targeted individuals and organisations.
This endemic betrayal of trust in the Nigerian system and the astronomical surge in cybercrimes by its nationals, have come at a grave cost to Nigeria’s international image. 419—the section of the Nigerian Criminal Code—is now an emblem of our economic and financial realities. Cybercrime is now an automatic indictment of both the average Nigerian and Nigeria’s character, just as our comatose international image lies critically at the selective mercy of western propaganda. It has equally fostered an unconscious guilt we have to bear across all international institutions as Nigerians. And its implications have been even more damaging: our emails are rejected; our notices for denial are stamped with imperialist prejudice; our visa applications—whether for tourism, work, or studies—are denied with reckless abandon; our green international passports are treated with utter disdain. We are judged based on our perceived unscrupulousness than on the merits of our individual characters. And even when meritorious acts are associated with the Nigerian nationality, there is the preconceived idea that an ill must have contributed to the outcome. Through it all, no iota of success or failure of the Nigerian is without the asterisk of potential criminality.
Thankfully, international anti-crime agencies have been successful in fishing out these hoodlums and charging them appropriately. However, what does not fall under the jurisdiction of INTERPOL, FBI, or any other anti-crime agency is the urgent need to redeem Nigeria’s image. To do this, is to reexamine the erroneous one-way-street perception of criminal acts, which is to call out the failures of both the leaders and the led. To do this, is to admit the failed Nigerian socio-economic and political systems, and to rebuild them on the foundations of integrity, transparency, truth, and justice. Until we do so, the Hushpuppis and Obinwannes of our existence will continue to dent our collective image with their cybercriminal acts. Until we do so, others will continue to look up to these criminals as role models and answers to the questions Nigeria fails to address.
Eleanya Ndukwe Jr. is a sociopolitical critic and graduate student of Political Science at California State University, Los Angeles majoring in Global Politics. He writes from Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter @The_New_Mind
This opinion piece originally appeared in The Guardian.

Wednesday

Two Nigerians face US charges over online fraud worth 'hundreds of millions'

CC™ Global News - By Jon Fingas,@jonfingas

US law enforcement is cracking down on a pair of alleged online fraudsters that appear to have been wildly successful. The United Arab Emirates has sent the US two Nigerian nationals, Ramon Olorunwa Abbas and Olakean Jacob Ponle, to face charges relating to large “business email compromise” scams. Abbas is accused of money laundering in schemes meant to pull in “hundreds of millions of dollars,” according to the Justice Department. 

He reportedly helped with a plan to launder $14.7 million stolen from a “foreign financial institution,” helped take nearly $923,000 from a New York law firm and was even involved in a plot to steal roughly $124 million from an English Premier League club. 

Ponle, meanwhile, allegedly participated in several 2019 fraud campaigns that were worth “tens of millions of dollars,” including one Chicago-based company that sen a total of $15.2 million. According to the claim, Ponle had victims wire funds to money mules who converted the gains to Bitcoin and sent them to a digital wallet the mastermind controlled.  

Both Abbas and Ponle could serve up to 20 years in prison if convicted. US attorney Nick Hanna saw the move as evidence the US could hold online fraud perpetrators responsible “no matter where they live.” However, this is is also an illustration of how difficult it is to halt internet scams. American officials have been identifying foreign fraud campaigns for years, and they only sometimes lead to arrests. Although these moves could send a message to scammers who think they can escape without penalty, they might not serve as practical deterrents.

Source: endgadget

Tuesday

Nigeria was once an indisputable leader in Africa: What happened?

CC™ Opinion Editorial - By Sheriff Folarin

The traditional leadership and redeemer posture of Nigeria in Africa has, in recent years, been put into question.
Issues like corruption and infrastructural decay have held the country down from playing a leadership role in Africa. As have transitions from one poor leadership to another. A visionary leadership is lacking while public institutions are weak, inept and compromised. Decades of political patronage and nepotism have seen a corrosion of quality and performance in the public service.
In addition, the intractable problem of Boko Haram and Islamic State, coupled with kidnappings, have created a security crisis. All continue to shatter the myth of military invincibility and the might of the Nigerian state.
In the beginning, it was not so. From independence in 1960, Nigeria took upon itself the role of uniting Africa against western recolonisation. The continent, from then on in, became the centre-piece of its foreign policy. The fact that nations were living under foreign rule made it possible to galvanise them around a common cause. This led to the creation of the Organisation of African Unity  – now the African Union – in 1963 and Economic Community of West African States in 1975.
Nigeria assumed a leading role in these events as it forged a foreign policy with a strong Afrocentric posture. In fact, so frenetic was its involvement in this role that it sometimes paid little attention to the home front.
Nigeria’s leadership role on the continent was a product of the vision, dreams and, sometimes, whims of the founding fathers. They were nevertheless premised on real national capacity. Jaja Wachukwu, Nigeria’s first external affairs minister noted  in 1960 that:
Our country is the largest single unit in Africa… we are not going to abdicate the position in which God Almighty has placed us. The whole black continent is looking up to this country to liberate it from thraldom.
This defined the country’s behaviour and continental outlook and has continued to influence successive administrations – weak or effective.

Assuming a leadership role

The sheer size of Nigeria’s population – the largest on the continent which rose from 48.3 million in 1963 to over 200 million in 2020 — gave the country the idea that Africa was its natural preoccupation.
In addition, its colonial experience and the abundance of its oil resources and wealth have empowered Nigeria economically. This made it possible for the country to pursue an ambitious foreign policy. It also permitted Nigeria to finance its Civil War, strengthening its international independence. And oil made possible an unparalleled post-war recovery.
Nigeria has used its influence to good effect and to good ends. For example, it worked with other countries in the West African sub-region to establish the Economic Community of West African States in 1975. It went on to push for the prevention and resolution of devastating conflicts that engulfed Liberia in 1992. The conflict spilled over into Sierra Leone and other countries in the region. Nigeria spearheaded the cessation of hostilities and created the cease-fire monitoring group to bring a total end to the civil strife and restore democracy in both countries.
Many observers agree that the sterling performance of the monitoring group is unparalleled in the history of regional organisations the world over. It has now become a model to emulate for its operational efficiency and for giving regional actors pride of place in the resolution of regional conflicts.
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Nigeria exerted similar efforts to ensure that democratic governments were restored to Guinea-BissauCote d’Ivoire and Sao Tome et Principe, after military take-overs in those countries.
It spent over US$10 billion in these peace campaigns and also lost soldiers in the process.
Nigeria has not limited its peacekeeping role to West Africa. It has also been engaged in Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia-Eritrea.
The country also played the most important role  in fighting apartheid in Southern Africa and supporting liberation movements on the continent.

Disappointments

But Nigeria has not been immune to challenges facing countries on the continent. Corruption, misappropriation of public funds, electoral malpractices, insurgency and terrorism have devastated its capacity and weakened its moral fortitude to lead the continent.
Amidst enormous wealth, poverty in Nigeria is endemic . It could even become the poverty capital of the world, according to The World Poverty Clock. Nigerians have been reduced to the behest of the politicians that tie them to gridlock of “stomach infrastructure”. This is a new trend which reflects institutionalised and structural poverty. Deprivation puts people in a vulnerable and compromised position where the desperation for survival makes them sell their votes and conscience.
The slow movement of the current administration is also killing the Nigerian spirit and leadership posture. South AfricaGhana and even Madagascar have acted faster in continental and global politics, including during times of emergency such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. But Nigeria seems content with a spectator position.

What next?

Nigeria has been relegated to the background of international affairs. To turn this around requires a revisit to the roots – and mowing the lawns afterwards. Nigeria must take stock of its own performance and capacities and re-position itself – first from within.
If Nigerian leaders are increasingly determined to proffer African solutions to their problems, then political structures and institutions must be reformed to reflect conditions suitable for sustainable development. Without a formidable political base, the economy will remain weak and fragile. The political base is crucial, because, the state is the repository of all ramifications and dimensions of power – political, economic, technological and military. And the purpose of the state is to authoritatively allocate these resources.
There is also a need to empower people to mobilise their local resources and to use them for development. And, of course, public funds should not be concentrated in the hands of few individuals, who may be tempted to steal them. An accountable system is one in which money management has several checks.
Oil wealth has been the country’s nemesis, a curse that has promoted corruption and blatant bleeding of the economy. But it is declining in value and as source of national revenue. Now is the time for Nigeria to make good its repeated and well-advertised intentions to diversify the economy.
A de-emphasis on oil would open the door to smarter ideas about how to create wealth. It would also herald in getting rid of a great deal of the phlegm of corruption which has played such a central role in Nigeria’s infrastructural decay, eroded its influence and given it such a negative image.
Added to this is the succession of weak rulers since 2007.
African leaders do not look towards Nigeria anymore for counsel, inspiration and help. They think Nigeria has a lot on its plate already and needs help. The potential is still there for Nigeria to return to power; but it takes leadership to (re)build the auspicious atmosphere and to activate the country’s potential – the two steps required to regain that enviable frontliner spot on the continent.
This article was originally published on The Conversation.

Monday

Indian man wears gold face mask to ward off coronavirus

CC™ World News 

An Indian man said he paid about $4,000 for a bespoke gold face mask to protect him from the coronavirus raging in the country.

The precious metal covering weighs 60 grams (two ounces) and took craftsmen eight days to make, said businessman Shankar Kurhade, from the western city of Pune. 

"It is a thin mask and has tiny pores that is helping me to breathe," Shankar stated. 

"I am not sure if it will be effective to protect me from a coronavirus infection but I am taking other precautions," he added. 

When going out, the 49-year-old said he likes to adorn himself with gold jewellery weighing a kilogramme, including a bracelet, necklace and rings on each finger of his right hand. 

Kurhade -- whose company makes industrial sheds -- said he got the idea for the gold face mask after seeing a media report about a man wearing one made from silver. 

"People are asking me for selfies," he said. 

"They are awestruck when they see me wearing the gold mask in markets." 

India has made face masks mandatory in public places in a bid to control the spread of the virus in the country, which has around 650,000 confirmed cases and more than 18,600 fatalities. 

Source: AFP