Northern Nigeria’s Oil barons Lap Luxury As Poverty Spurs Insurgency
The palatial home of Ahmed Mai Deribe, the famed billionaire of Bornu, in northern Nigeria is purported to be the most expensive home ever built in modern Africa.
Fit for a king, the mansion which was completed at a staggering cost of $100 million in 1991 is today a tourist attraction for people brave enough to visit the battleground that its location, Maiduguri, has become.
Northern Nigerian oil barons like Deribe, who is now late, got their start as businessmen in the freewheeling days of military rule in Nigeria when the government, dominated by Northerners, dispensed favours by gifting off state-owned oil fields to friends and cronies.
The beneficiaries in turn controlled a disproportionate amount of the Nigerian economy through their dominance of the country’s natural resources, even as the northern regions progressively got poorer over the years.
The north-east, base of the murderous Islamist group, Boko Haram, is the poorest region in the nation, with 69.1 percent and 76.3 percent absolute and relative poverty levels, respectively, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) Poverty Profile Report.
On the other hand, OML 110, with the good yielding OBE field, awarded to Mai Deribe by military dictator Sani Abacha on July 8, 1996 and operated by Cavendish Petroleum, is estimated to have proven oil reserves in excess of 500 million barrels.
Oriental Energy Resources Limited is another of such oil bloc awardees. It is a company owned by Mohammed Indimi who, sources say, is a close friend of former Nigerian military ruler Ibrahim Babangida.
Oriental Energy Resources Limited runs three oil blocs: OML 115, the Okwok field and the Ebok field. OML 115 and Okwok are OML PSC, while Ebok is an OML JV.
Perhaps the most famous northern oil bloc owner is T. Y. Danjuma, a retired general who served as defence minister during former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s stint as civilian ruler. Add a comment
Kano State Governor, Kwakwanso
A bomb explosion was heard Sunday night in the Sabon Gari axis of Kano, the largest city in northern Nigeria.
Although casualties have not been ascertained but the Kano State Police Command confirmed that an explosion shook the city, sending several people scampering for safety.
I Never Called President Jonathan Evil —Kwankwaso
Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of Kano State has denied reports claiming he referred to President Goodluck Jonathan as evil due to the hat the president wears.
In a two-hour media chat, the Governor said: “There was never a time I referred to Mr President or anybody wearing a hat as evil. What I actually said was that President Jonathan has tightened the umbrella until he made a hat that only fits him and few others.”
Governor Kwankwaso noted that the umbrella has been a symbol of PDP since it was established in 1998 and had accommodated reputed politicians from all parts of the country, until President Jonathan squeezed it into a hat for himself.
“My good friends Rotimi Amaechi and Peter Odili as well as other Nigerians from the South-South wear hats and are also good people,” Kwankwaso stressed.
Furthermore, the governor faulted media reports asserting that he referred to the Secretary to the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim and Vice President, Namadi Sambo as vultures. According to him, the men are his good friends.
“The vultures I was referring to are the three governors who were present at the President’s Kano visit and Godswill Akpabio is one of them. He wants to be anointed presidential candidate if Jonathan fails to get the ticket, while between the remaining two, one would be made the vice president and other, secretary to the federation.”
He stated that “Mr. President has deliberately misused the party machinery to serve his own private sentiments and favour those he feels are his kinsmen.”Add a comment
Mutiny: Gen Ibrahim Replaces Mohammed as GOC 7Div Maiduguri
Following the insurrection by soldiers in Maiduguri, leading to their indiscriminate shooting at the Maimalari Barracks on Wednesday, the Nigerian Army has removed the embattled General Officer Commanding (GOC), 7 Division, Nigerian Army Maiduguri, Major-General Ahmadu Mohammed, and replaced him with Brigadier-General M. Y. Ibrahim.
Mohammed narrowly escaped being killed by the angry soldiers, some of whom fired their guns at his car.
The soldiers were protesting the death of their colleagues, following an ambush by Boko Haram members on Tuesday.
Already, a committee to investigate the mutiny has been set up by the military authorities.
According to a military source, Mohammed was removed because he had lost the confidence of his soldiers and it was in the best interest of the whole security operation that he was replaced.
It was further gathered that it was the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, instead of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Kenneth Minimah, who ordered the immediate withdrawal of the former GOC “to also save him from the wrath of the angry soldiers”. Add a comment
Villagers kill 41 B’Haram members
A vigilante group made up of residents of Kalabalge, a town in the north of Borno State, on Wednesday mounted a fierce resistance to a siege by members of Boko Haram, inflicting severe casualties on militants from the fringe Islamist sect.
“We killed many of them (Boko Haram members) today (Wednesday),” one of the residents of the town who took part in the battle told a correspondent of SaharaReporters.
However, local officials who spoke to Al Jazeera said 41 insurgents were killed by the villagers
Several other residents disclosed that the members of the community had received advance information that Boko Haram’s death squads were on their way to wreak havoc in the community. “Once we got the information, we gathered many of our young men and positioned ourselves in surrounding bushes and forests. We were armed with bows and arrows, Dane guns and pump action rifles,” said one source.
The sources added that some 400 Boko Haram militants wearing army uniforms arrived in Kalabalge around 5 a.m. in two armoured tanks, eight Hilux pick-up vehicles, and seven sports utility vehicles (SUVS), all painted in Nigerian army colours according to eyewitnesses. Add a comment
Breaking: Oguche Nyanya Bombing MasterMind Arrested In Sudan To Be Flown To Nigeria
The mastermind of the Nyanya bomb blast in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, has been arrested in Sudan. He will be flown into Nigeria this week.
It will be recalled that the April 14 bomb blast in Nyanya of which he is reported to have masterminded, resulted in the death of a 100 people at the busy Nyanya bus station in Abuja.
More details to come...Add a comment
Nyanya Blast: FG Places Wanted Suspects on Interpol Red Alert
The federal government has placed terror fugitive, Aminu Sadiq Ogwuche, who was declared wanted in connection with the April 14 Nyayan bus station bombing on Interpol red alert.
This was announced by the Force Public Relations Officer, CSP Frank Mba, at the national briefing centre on security yesterday in Abuja.
This came as the Director of Defence Information, Major General Chris Olukolade, disclosed that foreign allies were yet to carry out any security surveillance, adding that it was inappropriate to discuss technical details of the rescue efforts.
“We will let you know when actual surveillance starts, I still see that within the realm of speculation. But we are not supposed to disclose details of operations with our allies,” Olukolade said.
Mba explained that the Interpol red alert represented an international warrant of arrest to the 190 member countries and consequent extradition of anyone placed on the red alert to the issuing country. Add a comment
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