Nigerian ex-police chief jailed
Nigeria's former police chief Tafa Balogun has pleaded guilty to eight charges of corruption and been sentenced to six months in prison.
He becomes the first senior official to be convicted in Nigeria's drive to stamp out corruption.
He was arrested in January and has already spent 67 days in custody. He is due to be released early next year.
Judge Binta Nyako said her sentence reflected that Balogun was a first offender and had "shown remorse".
Balogun was inspector general of Nigeria's police for three years until his arrest.
He was also ordered to pay a fine of 4m naira ($30,000), while some $150m-worth of cash and property will be seized by government.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission set up to spearhead the fight against corruption by President Olusegun Obasanjo said the conviction was a victory.
"We have recovered all the money for which he was charged... Today's court order is the final order we need," said EFCC lawyer Rotimi Jacobs.
Nigeria is routinely ranked as being seen as one of the world's most corrupt countries by watchdog Transparency International.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/11/22 16:27:36 GMT


H. Dauda

Nigeria: Our Lawless Nation!

Our governors, our governors… have now finally managed to make us the comic album of all nations. It is difficult to find the right words that will succinctly describe the outrage that all good and decent Nigerians will feel today after the stunt pulled by the sitting governor of Bayelsa. And to confound the unprecedented lack of ethical behaviour, exhibited by this scoundrel of a state executive, he was welcomed with a parade as he declared that God has brought him home.
There are a lot of good Nigerians today, but it seems very unlikely that you can find a group of 24 good elected public servants in Yenagoa, or any other state capital in Nigeria, today! How else do you explain a whole nation of docile citizens who are happy to have someone steal from them with impunity only to be rewarded with a welcome home parade? The individual action of every one of us affects us collectively. Where is our sense of moral responsibility? How can a whole generation of people be so callous and irresponsible in everything they do? Why do we live only for today and even then only for our individual selves? Why do we always fail to do what is good for all of us?

We are undoubtedly now past the stage of wondering where we stand in the midst of all other civilized nations! Our desires are mostly simple and uncomplicated, but our prayers have always fallen far short of the realities of our situation. Our leaders – mighty leap of faith to call anyone in Nigeria a leader – have systematically rubbished our image abroad, rendered us destitute at home, made false our claim to being the most religious people on earth, trashed our coveted sense of pride and cultural identity, ignobled our constant claim to be good and generous people, emasculated all our efforts to stand shoulder to shoulder with our equals, and finally, tendered our history worthless and condemned us to the heap of those nations that have no morals and above all lawless. Wisely put, “their wicked indifference to life and truth, their intellectual disconnect from knowledge and realities, and the immoral ignorance of their own faiths, are the evil triad of the leaders of today.”

The law, and I submit my knowledge is miniscule, is the pillar upon which all civilizations must exist. Unfortunately, the law has become two things for our ‘leaders.’ It has become their cover as they claim immunity for all their dastardly acts of unfathomable dishonesty and also the instrument with which they hold us in bondage and contempt. We must find a way to break this yolk. If a governor finds no good reason to abide by the so-called laws of the land, why should the rest of us? A dangerous proposition in and of itself no doubt. Our “sorry” state of existence is inextricably married to the action of these 36 people in our governor’s mansions. While 66 percent of us live on less than 1 single dollar a day, here is Mr. Alamie jetting around Europe with a briefcase full of Pounds close to one million!!

It is easy for us all to get mired in the details of Mr. Alamie’s arrest, incarceration, bail and escape. But we must not allow these details to misdirect our focus on the bigger picture. Why was he arrested in the first place? Regardless of how some of us may feel, it is apparent to most observers that nowhere else in the world can any executive of any outfit, let alone an elected executive of a state, traveling around the world with the kind of money found with Mr. Alamie, be allowed to continue business as usual, not to mentioned being welcomed home with a parade! If I were to go to any elementary school and explain the actions of this entangled governor, I am certain that the kids will see to it that he is fired (impeached) immediately, why, because they do not expect, and will not accept, any less. Even children know what is right! Why can’t we do the same for our states and our country? Why do we allow our leaders to get away with unmentionable crimes against us?!

Some have suggested that our ethnicity is the primary culprit for our bizarre attitude towards corruption. It has been suggested by many that we only see corruption as abhorrent and illegal so long as someone else is practicing it. If however, one of our ethnic or regional brethren is involved, we are always willing to justify their action and throw the blame on others who must be trying to deny us our fair share – you can imagine the sentiments of those who support Mr. Alamie today. It can be argued that Nigeria today must be experiencing the Age of Ignorance. An era whereby the impoverished and the wealthy, the illiterate and the educated, the faithful and the faithless, the weak and the powerful, share a common trait, a common cause, a common lie - ignorant perversion of faith, of morality, and truth. An era where lies, greed, murder, and abuse of humanity are justified, even glorified, in the name of either religion and/or ethnicity. Socrates said, "There was one only good, namely, knowledge; and one only evil, namely, ignorance." Our ignorance as a nation has by all accounts reached an incredibly high plateau. The only way down from there is by way of a life-jarring cliff that awaits the brave amongst us to lead the way!

Mr. Alamie’s actions are just an example. Having a corrupt governor is not the exclusive preserve of Bayelsan’s. Our whole nation is littered with corrupt and in many cases immoral governors. At least now there are two out of 36 who must remain in Nigeria when their term and immunity expires in 2007. They may escape British justice for now, but ultimately we must make sure that they answer to Nigerian justice. And if somehow we cannot administer justice in our courts, then all of us must stand up and challenge the whole rotten system in our homes, workplace, and the streets. The voice of rectitude is more powerful than the barrel of a gun. We the people can make Nigeria good again!

Habu Dauda Fika, Webmaster writes from Washington, DC.

November 22, 2005

Escape From Sobibor And London; Alarming Alamaiesyeigha And Diplomatic Baggage ( A Beautiful Woman)
Prince Charles Dickson

I remember with tight emotion as I watched the movie with the title escape from Sobibor, a remake of events that occurred in a place called Sobibor, a Nazi concentration camp where all sorts of injustices and inhumanity was perpetuated by German Nazi Soldiers against fellow beings…the film climaxes as the escape from the camp is attempted by the inmates after they could no longer endure the depravation, another interesting part of that painful film is the plan for the escape itself, the movie is a true story. Apart from this particular movie I have watched a couple of ‘good’ movies on imprisonment and escapes…but none I am sure could beat the one that just unfolded in Nigeria Africa’s home of signs and wonders.

I do not know how many of these films ‘governor’ Alam ( the small letter g is intentional) must have watched while his ordeal lasted and before his escape which he called “an act of God” I am sure the Nigerian or is it Ijaw god because my Almighty Allah cannot be party to plotting an escape. Some years back a certain black chap was sedated and put in a crate weighing barely 4 and half tons, the crate was listed as ‘catering equipment’. The man on arrival in Nigeria would have been unconscious for thirty-six hours, whether he would have survived the ordeal or not is left to assumptions. That black man was Umaru Dikko, former Transport Minister and close pal to sacked President Shehu Shagari, he was to be smuggled out of the U.K as diplomatic baggage. Dis Nigeria Sef!

The man behind the government that was principal partner in that escapade was General Muhammadu Buhari now born-again democrat like they have all become these days from Obj, IBB, to Marwa, Aikhomu, Shagaya, Gowon and co.

The essence of the background rap was as a result of the escape from the same London by Alams, he is said to have arrived Port Harcourt at about 4.00am Monday 21st November 2005. The cosmetic general also part of the military born-again democrats union not only skipped, jumped and fled bail in the United Kingdom but he did it in style as speculated in the most bizarre of methods. Probably reminding one of the NADECO days when men, great men for that matter suddenly became women. I won’t want to join this band wagon of speculators, but the extent Nigerians go to, sometimes I sleep hoping to wake and discover that I am not a Nigerian but sadly I am still one, for how long only God knows.

As an old man once said that an Albino is easily recognized in the sea of blackheads…I disagreed, because not if that Albino is not Nigerian, he will escape detection. For the tummy tuck master who would have been a year older last week and enjoy flipping the pages of newspapers and smiling at birthday messages by Local Government Chairmen, Commissioners, parastatals, contractors, and fellow thieves paid for by tax payers’ monies, no one took notice, but the general of the Ijaw nation was scheming with high powered colleagues how to escape the eyes of the vigilant whiteheads in the Metropolitan Police and Airport Immigration.

He must have had lengthy discussions with governor Dariye of Plateau State author of the best selling book “How to Skip Bail in London”. The conversation as recorded by security agents at Abacha’s Directorate for Military Intelligence must have sounded like this…

Alam: Joshua how did you do it…I am not finding this place and whole thing funny, two months, you know how much I have missed in subventions and my birthday has just come and…
Dariye: Solomon, if not Bola and Orji who had a hand…it was a commando arrangement...
Alam: You mean Bola and Orji helped you…
Dariye: you are talking of help, for where, they smuggled me out, just contact them…

And the plot was planned and expertly executed under the “watchful noses and smelling eyes” of the British security apparatus, while Uncle Bayo Ojo the Justice Minister was wasting our money traveling to and fro the United Kingdom. Abeg somebody should clap for Alams, this is not funny but what can Nigerians not do, tell me what…someone reliably informed me that the Obj we are seeing is a pirated Obasanjo because certainly the real Obj cannot be behaving like this. I close my eyes and I see Dipreye dressed in full female attire, he must have looked like ‘Big Momma’ though he had lost small weight, and stress sure affects the rich. I am sure he did not talk as he was being cleared by the immigration officials because of masquerade voice. Whiteman fall mugu, Shege bature.

I watched Nuhu Ribadu’s first press conference in response to the escape from London, the EFCC Chairman was visibly shaken, he picked his words, he could not rake, or make the usual noise, the Foreign Affairs Minister said this situation would require diplomatic maneuvering, the British High Commission here said it would dialogue with the Nigerian government and did not rule out issuing an international arrest warrant. In all these drama Uncle Immunity Clause is smiling and watching will Nigeria breach its constitution to please Britain. After all Dariye still dey Plateau dey make noise.

The legal, constitutional, political and diplomatic fire works has started. The Federal government is not finding this funny at all, its still in a state of six and sevens. You want to underestimate an Ijaw man, when the bowler hat wearing resource control baba was making noise in his last two major interviews with The Guardian and Sun Newspapers, he said he was not afraid, little did one know that beautiful as the guinea fowl, it is not used for sacrifice-Guilty as Alam was he was not willing to go down without a fight.

I would not bore us with what Alam did or did not, but the true questions is that, did this man steal money, forget the political or PDP under and above tones…if he did then he is a thief and deserves to be so treated, however, the money he laundered is Nigerian albeit Ijaw money not British so where is Britain crying more than the bereaved. His people have welcomed him home in celebrations in Yenogoa, Bayelsa State displaying the height of poverty of the mind, not just pocket.

Nigerians the most creative people there is… we recall after Dariye was smuggled out too, one of the first callers to check out his welfare was big brother governor the Capone Orji Kalu, who admonished the small boy Joshua to be careful next time, infact he was quoted as saying to the governor “…I am not saying you should not steal but work for your people”. Christ’s sake what a Nigerian counsel. After he was boxed into the country he spent some few days in the NVRI Guest House in his Vom, Plateau backyard to cool off, gather weight, while his men surveyed ground and wet same, he was then driven back to the airport, from where paid praise singers were told to come and welcome him and he drove with entourage and siren blowing accompaniments into town. Following Sunday the State being predominately Christians, a thanksgiving service was held and the governor with hands lifted to high heavens he sang to the God of Joshua “What the Lord has done for me I cannot tell it all…so I can shout hallelujah…I can shout praise the Lord.

He celebrated his birthday even months after it had passed…so too will Alams celebrate his, supporters have lined the only expressway in Bayelsa to welcome their Lord. Will God forgive us, what poverty has turned us to, professional mourners, professional standers who are paid to come and stand and wave at people they hate like you mourn for a man you never met. How would we handle this diplomatic baggage, the scene is like the impotent man who hid the fact that he was impotent from his wife and his wife hid the fact that she was having an affair with the husband’s best friend, she also did not know her husband was impotent and bang she got pregnant…she cannot tell her husband the true father of the expectant child, neither can the husband question the wife and the best friend is watching confusedly…e be like say we may have to just maintain status quo. But the world is watching us, it’s not as easy as it seems, wahala dey. Almighty Allah we are in your hands, help us.