FREEDOM OF MISINFORMATION


      Bashorun J.K Randle

image via jkrandleandco.uk

The iconic English artist Damien Hirst offers no apologies for the grotesqueness of his paintings, sculptures and whatever comes into his head or is the product of his hands (or indeed other parts of his anatomy). He relishes whatever outrage his art provokes. As far as he is concerned, just getting people talking about art is sufficient reward. Besides, his artworks sell for millions of pounds. As far as he is concerned, life is all about life – then money and finally death. He has it all worked out, to understand life you have to comprehend death and whatever is dead is actually living !! Just get the flow – life, death and mostly money.

Unknown to the rest of us, Barack Obama the President of the United States of America is a great fan of Hirst. The intellectual side of Obama, the quintessential cerebral politician has found Hirst an irresistible challenge within the context of Obama’s new philosophy – the advocacy of “The Mystery Of Hope”, the tentative title of the President’s new book. Anyway, there he was at the Damien Hirst exhibition at the Kennedy Centre, in Washington D.C. The President of arguably the most powerful nation in the world slipped in without any fuss. He preferred anonymity and with his wife and two daughters in tow, he was only there to enjoy the art, in the spirit of art for art’s sake.

After an hour of enjoying the art, he was about to exit into an unmarked cur when he was accosted by an intrepid reporter who demanded:
“Mr. President, what about the forthcoming elections? Are you going to
win?”
His cool answer: “Let’s talk about Damien’s art. Can you not grasp the connection between life and death? We are alive for only a brief period but death is for eternity.”
Back in the cozy but impersonal safety of the White House where
the President is under twenty-four hour surveillance, Obama was confronted with the reality of his unfinished business with America – so much misinformation about what he meant by his anticipatory castigation of Supreme Court judges who may be tempted to overrule his Healthcare programme; and the festering onslaught by the Republican against his bailout of Wall Street banks and Detroit motor car manufacturers – GM, Chrysler and to a lesser extent Ford. It was left to the First Lady, Michelle to calm him down with the soothing antidote: In Zimboda, the President has to deal with Freedom of Information (an American import) and Freedom of Misinformation (an American export) in equal measures with balanced equanimity. Life and death have become inter-changeable – but frightening. Fear and rage have become dominant. Sample :

Headline: “Thisday” newspaper April 8, 2012
“HOW WE STOLE N32 BILLION PENSION FUND,
BY PERMANENT SECRETARY”
“Former permanent secretary at the Police Pension Fund, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar Kigo, under whose tenure N32.8 billion was pilfered from the fund by public officials, has opened up to investigators on how the theft was perfected.
He told them that he, alongside his conspirators, deliberately ignored the safeguard mechanism put in place by the Accountant General of the Federation to prevent the looting of government funds.

Kigo, who is presently the permanent secretary at the Niger Delta Ministry, told operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission that during his tenure at the Police Pension office, they had no e-payment exemption approval but he deliberately circumvented the process through the use of cheques for withdrawals while officials of First Bank of Nigeria Plc, where the fund was domiciled, looked the other way.
He, however, said part of the loot was used for running the office as well as paying allowances and overtime of staff involved in retirees’ verification.
In a statement dated February 14 to the investigators, Kigo said he accepted responsibility for all the wrongdoings committed by officials serving under him.

“I wish to take responsibility for any wrongdoing during my tenure. I wish to state that we had no e-payment exemption during my tenure. Payments from the Assistant Director of Accounts, were sometimes made to me from cheque withdrawals in favour of Veronica,” he said.
He acknowledged that the cash withdrawals made were contrary to the extant financial regulations which required that the e-payment channel was the only acceptable mode of payment from the Police Pension Fund.

Investigators found title documents for two buildings in upscale areas of the Abuja metropolis during a search conducted at Kigo’s house. One of the houses is located at Plot 35 Lake Chad Crescent in Maitama while the other is located at the elegantly built and furnished Panasonic Estate in Wuse II District. Kigo stated that the Maitama house was allocated to him by the Federal Capital Development Authority during the monetization exercise between 2003 and 2004.
He also said he bought the Panasonic home for N42 million from a friend whom he still owes some money on the property.
Some of the documents found by investigators during the search conducted at his house also pointed to other landed properties at Gwarinpa and Apo Districts which he explained that he acquired through a N48 million loan from Aso Savings and Loans Plc while he was serving in the Ministry of Finance between 2008 and 2009.
Kigo and five others who allegedly defrauded the Police Pension Fund of sums of money totaling N32.8 billion have been granted bail by an Abuja High Court.

Others charged with him are Chief Esai Dangabar, Alhaji Ahmed Inuwa Wada, John Yakuku Yusufu, Mrs Veronica Ulonma Onyegbula and Alhaji Habila Zira.
They all pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them.”

Editorial/Opinion: “The Nation” newspaper April 6, 2012
Headline: “NO LONGER SACRED”
If Turkey could review its past, put two generals on trial for coup plotting …..
“From Turkey came the grim reminder that there is no statute of limitation on abuse of power or crime against the state, with the beginning of the trial, on Wednesday, of that country’s former president, Kenan Evren. Evren, 94, and his co-conspirator in the September 12, 1980 coup which ousted the country’s civilian government, 86-year-old Tahsin Sahinkaya, are to justify their action which eventually led to the establishment of a brutal military regime that had been accused of widespread human rights abuses. Evren was Turkey’s seventh president from 1982 to 1989.

Because the duo are in poor health, they could not turn up for the trial on Wednesday. But the issue is not about whether they were present in court or not; the fact that they are facing trial at all is more fundamental. Coming 32 years after they seized power, their trial has only reinforced the global trend whereby past leaders with questions to answer are being called upon to account for their actions while in power.

Of course there had been other coups before the one of 1980 in a country where the military sees itself as the guarantor of secularism; there was one in 1960 and another in 1971. Also, the military pressurized an Islamist-rooted government to relinquish power as recently as 1997; but then, the 1980 putsch was the bloodiest; hundreds of thousands of people were arrested and about 250,000 were charged. Fifty persons, including, a 17 year-old boy were executed while dozens died of torture and many fled into exile. Perhaps more of their accomplices would have been made to face trial with them but for the fact that Evren and Sahinkaya are the only surviving members of the junta that seized power in 1980.

The aspect of the constitution that would have shielded the generals from trial was removed in 2010. Hence, they must face trial. They are lucky though, in that if the trial had taken place in their time, they would have bagged the death penalty upon conviction. Mercifully, however, the worst punishment they can now get is life imprisonment, if convicted; Turkey having abolished the death penalty since 2002. Their trial is another chapter in the present government’s campaign against the country’s once untouchable top brass.

This is a good development. Its significance lies in the way the country is dealing with its past. There comes a time in the life of a country when such retrospection becomes necessary in order to see where and how things went wrong with a view to making amends of the things working for Turkey that used to be referred to as ‘the sick man of Europe’. There have been tremendous improvements in the country, especially in the last decade or so.

It is important that soldiers know the limits of their powers in spite of the fact that they bear arms. Violent changes of government that coup represents is no longer fashionable. It is even worse when it has to come with the attendant loss of lives and limbs and all manner of deprivations as the 1980 coup for which the generals are being tried. We welcome the development but plead that the trial be transparent.
But leaders, particularly African leaders who behave as if power is an end in itself, should know that the possibility of their being called to account for their actions years after they might have left the scene is high once they are still alive. The world is changing fast and the continent cannot afford to be left behind. And in Nigeria, today’s political leaders may lack the courage to ask our former leaders to explain their roles in the country’s sordid past, the fact is that it is not over until it is over.”

Headline: “Sunday Punch” newspaper March 25, 2012
“SANUSI LAMIDO SANUSI AND ME”
(Fuel Subsidy) – Tunde Fagbenle
SLS: “Starting from the lighter note, it was not so much a declaration of ambition. In our own part of the world, the emir takes it for granted that every prince wants to be an emir and in fact, it would be a sad day if a prince, when asked his ambition in life, ranked another office higher than the throne of his ancestors.
“As you are aware, economic arguments have many sides and policy regimes need to look at political reality. One example is the forex management regime of the ‘70s and ‘80s.
“Nigeria didn’t have enough forex to finance its imports when oil price crashed and it had two options:
“One, to devalue the currency massively; or two, to ration through import licences.
“It chose the latter and under Shagari, import licence became a huge scam where middlemen made millions without adding to production. In the military government of Muhammadu Buhari after locking up politicians and being able to enforce the law with military might, and introducing transparency by publishing names of allottees in national newspapers, the rationing worked and genuine importers got forex at official rate. Babangida could not do this and devalued instead.

“You agree that with subsidy, fuel should cost N65 in Nigeria, compared to N130 in Benin Republic and almost 200 in Niger Republic and Cameroun. Sixteen states in Nigeria have land borders with neighbouring countries. You need to seal them and make sure every customs officer is honest and will never accept a bribe to let tankers pass through. We also need to ensure that no vessels are offloaded in the high seas; that we have accurate measure for liquid fuel imported and can verify amounts to avoid trans-shipment, etc.

“Assuming all these can be done, we need to compute the cost of surveillance and enforcement. The arbitrage opportunity is just too large I don’t see how scams can be stopped. It is basic micro theory.

“There is no reason our refineries shouldn’t work; and right now, for the first time in decades, those who actually built the refineries have finally been awarded the contracts to do TAM instead of the old method of giving TAM mandates to contractors like Emeka Offor. In 18-24 months, all four should be working at 90 per cent.
Pipelines also need to be fixed, having been blown by militants.
“Private refineries can’t survive because private investments don’t come in when the market is distorted. If the only way a refinery will be profitable is by receiving government subsidy, it will be a government refinery, period – no one will invest billions of dollars in that business model.
“But also remember that even with subsidy removal, there is the Euro crisis and concerns about security in Nigeria. So, I don’t want anyone to think private investors will start in-flowing billions into the country without things stabilizing first.

“The refinery in Niger Republic – and Cote d’Ivoire – will not sell at N65. It will sell at market price and government of Nigeria will subsidise it. Niger will now have to refine its own crude and sell. The good news is that petrol in the north from Niger may be cheaper than from Lagos because of transport cost and thus reduce price differential until we build refineries and make imported fuel uncompetitive altogether, which is what we should do. We really ought to aim at exporting fuel and petrochemicals, not crude in the long term.
“I understand that we don’t agree on this, but I do hope you can see where I am coming from.
“And yes, I do think the cabal should be dealt with. However, I see from published names that these are Wale Tinubu, Femi Otedola, Sayyu Dantata (Aliko Dangote’s brother, I hear), Mike Adenuga.

“Question, Tunde, is: who is going to deal with these people? Let’s be realistic. Obama has still not dealt with the bankers on Wall Street, nor Cameron with the City. Finance capital. It is the story of bourgeois bankruptcy.
“Let’s just move on. At least this element can stop now.”
Sanusi Lamido Sanusi
Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria.

Headline: “The Punch” newspaper September 28, 2011
“BELGIAN FIRM, NPA FLEX MUSCLES OVER N300 BILLION CALABAR PORT CONTRACT”
“A Belgian firm, Dredging International Jan De Nul Limited, has intensified its bid to reclaim a fresh contract for the dredging of Calabar Port, a project it allegedly abandoned about four years ago.

Jan De Nul, which claimed to have submitted the lowest bid for the fresh project, has petitioned the Bureau of Public Procurement seeking to stop the Nigerian Ports Authority from re-awarding the $200m (N30bn) contract to another firm.
But the NPA said the firm’s bid failed to meet the conditions required for the new project and had gone ahead to offer it to another firm.
The Belgian firm had in 2006 shared $56m (N8.7bn) with another contractor, Van Oord Nigeria Limited, for the same contract – the dredging of 84 nautical miles-long channel. While Van Oord got $26m to dredge from Km 0-46, Jan De Nul was paid $30m to excavate
Km 46-84.
The two firms mobilized to site in October 2006 but left in December 2007 without completing the project. They claimed to have scooped 25 million cubic metres of sand, which the contract stipulated and called for the contract’s verification to cover the entire length of the channel.

Since they left the site, the scooped sand has returned to the dredged parts and covered the whole channel.
Calabar Port, which is one of the six major ports in the country, has thus remained dilapidated, underutilized and unattractive to big vessels.
Jan De Nul, it was learnt, had sent in the lowest bid price of 79.08m euro for the same project a couple of months ago when the Nigerian Ports Authority called for fresh bids.
Interestingly, Van Oord also applied for the same job quoting 139.57m euro.
Jan De Nul, in its petition, accused the NPA of awarding the contract to its subsidiary, Lagos Channel Management, which quoted 120.33m euro for the project.

This conflict has thus stalled the project. Almost 21 months after the process was initiated, the preferred bidders have not received a “Certificate of No Objection” from the BPP.
A document showing the details of the bids, a copy of which was obtained by our correspondent on Tuesday, indicated that seven companies were shortlisted for commercial bidding out of 24 firms that participated in the prequalification stage. Six finally submitted commercial bids.
The remaining four companies are China Harbour Engineering Company offering 90.91m euro; Dredging International Services Limited, 101.82m euro; Lagos Channel, 120.33m euro; and Nigerian Westminster Dredging 132.39m euro.

The Director-General of BPP, Mr. Emeka Ezeh, was said to have referred the matter to the Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, for action.
A source at the ministry told our correspondent on Tuesday that the petitioner was summoned with the NPA leadership a few days ago.
“The ministry has concluded its findings and sent its report to the BPP,” the source said.
The NPA, in defending its action in a written document, said, although the bid submitted by the petitioner was the lowest, it failed to comply with the provisions of Procurement Act 2007. It quoted Section 16 Subsection 17 to back up its claim. It stated, “A contract shall be awarded to the lowest responsive bid from the bidders substantially responsive to the bid solicitation.”
It explained that Jan De Nul submitted a bid with stringent conditions “that majority affect the status and price of the contract.”

For instance, it said the firm was demanding 25 per cent advance payment instead of 15 per cent as stipulated by the law.
The Belgian firm was said to have included “some deliberate errors, and misinformation” in its bid documents.
The petitioner, while presenting its bid last December, reportedly put the price of diesel at N105 per litre, while the product was selling for N160 per litre.
The firm’s alleged refusal to accept responsibility for deaths or injuries that could occur while carrying out the project worked against it.
The bid document also stated that the dredged materials would be deposited at an approved location, but the petitioner proposed to drop the materials at its own choice place, of maximum two kilometre.

Other allegations against Jan De Nul include its refusal to comply with the Cabotage Act in its bid document.

For instance, it said, “The employer (The Federal Government), shall be responsible to pay any fees required as due respect of Cabotage law, green light fees, harbour dues, wharfage or pilotage charges, landing rights, dredging and dumping fees and all other local dues, fees royalty or levies of any kind whatsoever.”
The NPA said the bid document gave all the contracting firms a guide to submit acceptable bids that were based on the Procurement Act.
The Act provides that if a bidder does not understand the bid document clearly, it should seek clarification from the NPA.
In such a situation, the clarification would be given to all the bidders irrespective of who sought the clarification in order to sustain a level plying ground for all the bidders as required by law.
The NPA said no clarification was sought by any of the six companies.

In turning down the bid of the petitioner, the NPA said the Belgian firm under-quoted its bid and could ask for a contract variation later as it did in 2007.
This, it feared, could lead to another abandonment of the contract.
The NPA also defended its decision to settle for LCM, a firm it jointly owned with its foreign partners.
It said the firm had dredged the Lagos Channels to about 13.5 meters draught and removed most of the wrecks that had been impeding safe navigation into the Lagos port.
It was further disclosed that the contract was given to an indigenous firm because NPA did not want a repeat of the past with the dredging of the Calabar port channel.
A leader of a maritime union, who spoke with our correspondent on the issue on Tuesday, said it was wrong to have considered the bids of the Belgian firm “that pulled out of the project in 2007.”
The union leader, who did not want his name published because of the sensitive nature of the matter, urged the government to expedite action in resolving the impasse.
He offered a number of suggestions and stressed only a firm with a track record should get the job.”

Headline: “Saturday Independent” newspaper, April 7, 2012
“MORE KNOCKS FOR LAGOS MAGISTRATE
OVER ASSAULT ON JOURNALISTS”
“Magistrate A.A. Oshiniyi of the Lagos State Judiciary on Friday received more knocks for ordering the arrest and harassment of about ten journalists last Wednesday.

A media group, Journalists for Democratic Rights (JODER), stressed in a statement that the arrest of the journalists on the orders of Oshiniyi was not only despicable, but also a slap on democracy.
Also, a Lagos-based lawyer, Odiana Eriata, noted that the action of the Magistrate was highly unwarranted and least expected of someone expected to be calm while dealing with issues.
The lawyer said in a statement that, “The rights and exercise of powers by the court, the police and the journalists are well spelt out in the constitution and different enactments made therefrom with specific rights, limitations, exceptions, exemptions, and privileges of the exercise of such rights which is known to these class of stakeholders in our democratic setting.

“I believe the court and the prosecutor ought to have observed some restraints in dealing with their ‘counterparts’ in the media who perhaps also know their limit in covering or publicising matters with respect to ‘corona inquest’ or when cases are to be tried in camera if it involves minor nor charged with adults in line with our criminal jurisprudence.
“It is therefore important to promote mutual respect among the interpreter and executors of our laws and the fourth realm who must not be viewed as touts and rascals by the uneducated minds who act for themselves or on behalf of any establishment of government because we are all good neighbours and stakeholders in the Nigeria project.”

While calling on the Inspector General of Police (IG), Mohammed Abubakar, to punish those responsible for the assault on the journalists, JODER stated that it was worried that a Magistrate could make such order on members of the fourth estate of the realm when they have not committed any offence to warrant such.
A statement signed by JODER’s Programme Officer, Kehinde Adegbuyi, stated that the brutalization of the journalists was barbaric and a slap on the growing democratic culture in the country.
According to him “We call on the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to arrest and prosecute all the police ratings involved.”
JODER also called on the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to investigate the character of the Magistrate who ordered the brutalization of the journalists towards recommending possible punishment to the appropriate authorities.”

Headline: “Saturday Vanguard” newspaper, March 24, 2012
“PENSION FRAUD: LIVING ON BLOOD MONEY FOR 44 YEARS.”
“Anthony Pius had worked in a federal establishment for 25 years and was looking forward to his retirement. He was expecting his pension benefits to enable him begin a new life as a retiree by investing in poultry farming.

But that turned out to be a tall order. He never received his pension as officials responsible for payment tossed him up and down saying that “funds are yet to be made available,” and therefore he should wait. Disappointed and frustrated, he watched himself slip into penury.
Then one day, as he stood on the long queue waiting for his pittance, he slumped and died. He never collected his pension. The above scenario had been the lot of many pensioners. Recently, there had been mind boggling revelations of the massive fraud in the federal and police pension schemes whereby pension funds amounting to several billions of naira were stolen using multiple cheques with fictitious names to withdraw cash from banks where the funds were kept.

Some of these looted funds were found in the homes of serving and retired public officials.
Severally, the newspapers were agog with the news of a pensioner dropping dead while he queued for verification or to receive his pittance. This should have given an inkling that the pension scheme was perverted but nothing was done. Those who should know always looked the other way until the bubble finally burst.
An investigative public hearing on the management of pension funds was set in motion chaired by Senator Aloysius Etok.
According to him, the outcome of the probe in the pension scheme would enable the senate take an informed decision on how best to address the several problems inherent in the management of pension funds.
In declaring open the Senate Joint Committee on Establishment, States and Local Governments which was constituted to investigate the management of the National Pension Fund, Senate President, David Mark, seemed to have cursed the various administrators of pension funds in the country. He said those officials converting the legitimate entitlements of retirees to personal use would never live in peace, accusing pension fund administrators of taking delight in living on blood money.
David Mark, speaking through the Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, put it succinctly: “These people, the administrators stealing pension funds, can never live in peace because the prayers of these old men and women who have diligently served the country will haunt them and their children’s children. I implore the committee to unravel all the issues pertaining to the management of pension funds in the country and bring the perpetrators to book.” He assured that the committee has the full backing of the Senate on this matter.

In his own presentation to the committee, Mr. Mohammed Ahmad, Director-General, National Pensions Commission (PENCOM), said the Federal Government has so far paid a total of N604.27 billion into the new Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS). He went further to say the total value of the pensions industry assets under CPS is N2.4 trillion as at December 2011. About 5.01 million employees in both public and private sectors have registered with the scheme. Of the N604.27 billion lodged with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, in the contributory pension account, the amount of N449.35 billion had been remitted into the savings account of the Federal Government employees domiciled with the various pension fund administrators.

Ahmad said for 2012, the Federal government requires N94.17 billion to settle pension liabilities of workers expected to retire at the end of the year and that this amount is N22 billion less than the N72.36 billion proposed in the 2012 budget for the payment.
The scale of fraud in the federal pension scheme could be unprecedented in the annals of looted public funds by corrupt officials in Nigeria that made some other looting sprees look like child plays.
Allegations bordering on impropriety were first made at the Senate probe panel by the Assistant Chief Accountant, Police Pensions Office, Mr. Toyin Ishola, against the chairman, Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina that he unilaterally opened three accounts in different banks without recourse to extant financial rules and without the approval of the Accountant-General of the Federation and the Minister of Finance.
Ishola alleged that the PRTT boss distorted existing police pension accounts by transferring a total of N21 billion into three accounts in different banks. Also, it was discovered that N240 million was expended on fictitious data capturing operations of only 20 pensioners in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, while most people on the delegation were not members of the Police Pension Commission’s office or the Head of Civil Service and also for the local bio-data of which N220 million was expended . Within three months of its tenure in the police pension office, the task team had spent N3.6 billion without any entry of such in the account books.

Other startling revelations were that about N3.3 billion were lost monthly to fraudsters: N28 billion police pension was paid into an illegal account; a federal permanent secretary and two directors in some ministries allegedly stole about N14.3 billion police pension money.
Maina had told the panel in his defence that the PRTT had recovered N151.6 billion and six million pounds sterling in the past two years. The sum of N74 billion out of the recovered money has been channeled into the 2012 budget, another N24 billion was put aside as contingency for harmonization of arrears in the police for offers.
The task team said it discovered there were illegal withdrawal by staff of the Police Pension office using multiple cheques with fictitious names in excess of 30 cheques per day to withdraw cash from the banks. Such illegal withdrawals amounted to N14 billion.

Maina reportedly said that the Police Pension Board used falsified documents to withdraw N24 billion from the Budget office for the payment of pension that required only N3.5 billion; and that his team deleted about 71.133 ghost pensioners from the payroll.
It was alleged that the systemic rot had been going on for about 44 years with officials and their collaborators smiling to the banks and acquiring property at the expense of pensioners, some of whom died in abject poverty after many years of waiting to be paid their benefits.”

Headline: “Saturday Vanguard” newspaper March 24, 2012
“I WON’T QUIT STEALING, SUSPECT TELLS POLICE, JUDGE”
Begs Magistrate For Long Jail Term To Avoid Temptation.”
“Sholani Street, Igando, a Lagos suburb is noted for its serene and peaceful atmosphere where commercial and social activities thrive unhindered. But the situation turned awry and dramatic Tuesday, March 20, 2012 after a man rushed out from a canteen and raised an alarm on discovering that his motorbike had disappeared from where it was parked. Just about the same time, an unknown person was sighted speeding away on the same motorbike. Other motorcyclists who were attracted by the alarm gave the thief a hot chase and apprehended him. He was beaten black and blue before some policemen from the nearby Igando Division came to his rescue.

However, to the astonishment of all, the motorcycle snatcher who gave his name as Idowu Dosumu, admitted during investigation that he intended to sell the motorbike and use the proceeds to eke out a living.
Investigation also revealed that the 26-year-old Idowu is an unrepentant thief as he has been arrested severally for the same crime. He was discovered to have been sent to jail on three occasions over a similar offence. But like the proverbial dog who would always turn to its cud, Idowu has proved to be recalcitrant. Infact, he was discovered to have been in and out of prison custody in the last eight years.
In his confessional statement, he claimed to have tried his hands on other businesses but did not succeed and therefore finds ready solace in stealing.
Here him, “I am an electrician by profession. But the business got so bad that money was not forthcoming. Then, I had to take to stealing because that is the only thing I am comfortable with.

“Yes, I have been arrested before and have been sent to jail say, about three times. I was sent to jail when I broke into somebody’s house and I was caught and also when I snatched a motocycle. But I cannot remember the offence I committed the third time. However, any time I come out of prison, poverty stares me again in the face and I will be left with no other choice than yield to the temptation of doing what I know how to do best. I went back to robbery because there is no other thing I can do again in my life.”
Asked if he was under any influence, he responded, “I can not tell. But the only thing I know is that I feel comfortable with what I am doing. I wanted to steal the motorcycle and sell so as to use the money to eat and take care of other things.”
Asked again if he would go back to stealing if let off the hook, he replied, “I do not think I can leave stealing. So the only solution for me is to be kept in jail for a very long time so that I will not go back to stealing again.”
He was thereafter, charged to court where he bluntly told the presiding Magistrate at the Ejigbo magistrate court, Mrs. M.B. Folami to grant him maximum jail term to avoid the temptation of committing the same offence.
But the Magistrate in her wisdom sentenced him to one year imprisonment with hard labour after he pleaded guilty as charged; a conviction Idowu never showed any sign of remorse.”

Headline: “The Comet” newspaper August 20, 2002
“SHARIA: WOMAN TO DIE BY STONING”
“An Islamic upper court in Funtua, Katsina State, ruled yesterday that a young woman must face death by stoning for having a child outside marriage.
The president of the Upper Sharia court told Amina Lawal Kurami, 31, “We hereby uphold the judgment of the (lower) Bakori Sharia court that decreed that you be sentenced to death by stoning.”
But the judge, Abdullahi Aliyu Katsina, said the stoning would not be carried out until Kurami had weaned her eight-month-old baby, which may not be for another two years.
Holding the child in her arms, Kurami remained calm and was quickly whisked away by her lawyers who said they would appeal the decision.
The introduction of Sharia or Islamic law has been controversial in the largely Muslim North. Kurami’s case was sparked international outrage.
Kurami had appealed against an earlier judgment by the lower court complaining that she was not given the chance to defend herself. Her appeal was filed at the Funtua Upper Court with the assistance of an international women organization.

She was charged along with Yahaya Mohammed, the man who allegedly had sexual intercourse with her before the birth of the baby. But Mohammed was set free after he swore with the Holy Koran and denied ever having anything to do with Kurami.
Mallam Nasiru Bello Dayo who in April ordered Kurami to be stoned to death gave her one month within which she could appeal against the decision.
Twelve northern states have embraced the Sharia legal system since October 27, 1999 when Zamfara State under Governor Ahmed Sani blazed the trail.
The first major victim of the controversial system was Mallam Bello Jangebe, whose left hand was amputated for stealing a cow in Zamfara State.
Lawali Isa, a firewood seller, became the second person to be amputated for stealing two bicycles. A traditional ruler in Jigawa State, Alhaji Abba Ajiya of Kazaure got 40 strokes of the cane and one year imprisonment for keeping at home a housewife, Faiza Bala, who was not his legal wife.

In Barbodo, a town in Toto Local Council in Bauchi State, 100 strokes of the cane were meted out to an expectant woman, Hajo Poki, for allegedly committing fornication.
A 35-year-old man Attahiru Umaru, was sentenced to death in Birnin-Kebbi, Kebbi State for forcibly having anal sex with a seven-year-old boy.
On January 3, Katsina State executed Mallam Sani Rodi 25, who was the first murder convict under the Sharia law. He was found guilty of killing with a machete. 35-year-old Hajiya Zainab Hamza, wife of his master and her two children Hadiza, three, and Abdullahi, who was three months old.
And in October last year, Safiya Hussain 35, was sentenced to death by stoning for allegedly committing adultery.
A divorcee, Safiya claimed a 60-year-old man, Yakubu Abubakar raped her four times in the bush. She became pregnant. Abubakar denied and she was convicted with pregnancy as evidence for committing adultery.
Attorney-General of the Federation and Justice Minister Godwin Kanu Agabi (SAN) has described the Sharia judicial system as illegal. He said that further implementation would amount to questioning the very existence of Nigeria.

In a letter circulated to all the northern states practising the religious code, Agabi said: “The fact that Sharia law applies to only Moslems or those who elect to be bound by it makes it imperative that the rights of such persons to equality with other citizens under the Constitution is not infringed. A Moslem should not be subjected to a punishment more severe than would be imposed on other Nigerians for the same offence.”
Headline: “The Punch” newspaper, September 28, 2011
“UNILAG STUDENT BATHED WITH HOT STEW”
“A diploma student of the University of Lagos, Bola (surname withheld), was on Sunday last week, bathed with hot stew by another student identified simply as Anita, at the school’s Radiography Hall of Residence.
According to eyewitnesses, the incident occurred after a fight ensured between the two young ladies.
Contrary to the widely spread rumour that the fight was premised on boyfriend-snatching and other issues, PUNCH METRO learnt that the cause of the fight was tale-bearing.
A mutual friend of the two ladies who identified herself simply as Brenda, told our correspondent that the ladies shared the same room in the hostel and both were students of the higher institution.
“They are four in the room including Bola and Anita, all of them used to be until last Sunday when they fought,” she said.
Another eyewitness who did not want her name in print, said Bola had been telling tales about her roommates to a close friend of hers, identified simply as Toyin, while also telling her roommates “stuff” about Toyin.
According to her, it was when Bola’s roommates approached Toyin to inform her of what had been said about her, and for her to beware of blabber mouths like Bola, that Toyin also told them all Bola had been saying about them.

This, PUNCH METRO learnt, irked the roommates, who confronted Bola and a fight ensued.
On her return to school later that evening, Bola met one of her roommates, Anita, cooking stew with her (Bola’s) pot.
Bola, who was angry about the fight, demanded her pot, but Anita refused, saying that she would return Bola’s pot when she finished cooking.
Our correspondent learnt from another student, who resides in the same hall and identified herself simply as Ada, that an argument started between the two ladies, which led to a fight.
She said, “Bola and Anita started fighting and Bola really beat Anita stupidly.”
According to her, Anita is a gentle and smallish girl, while Bola is the exact opposite of Anita.
She said that other students separated the two ladies and took Bola out of the room, but Bola came back into the room to continue the fight with Anita.
However, Anita, who was still in the room, took the pot of stew and poured it on Bola. “As Anita poured the stew on her, Bola was still beating her, so when Anita could not take it anymore, she ran out of the room. Then, we started pouring eggs and palm oil on Bola’s burnt body. She was later rushed to UNILAG Health Centre,” she said.

PUNCH METRO learnt that Anita was arrested by the police that same evening and was in custody all through Monday. But she later came to the hostel accompanied by her mother on Wednesday, to get her things after she was released on Tuesday.
Bola told our correspondent at the health centre, that she was not happy about the misconceptions that surrounded her quarrel with her roommate.
When asked to make further comment, she simply said, “I am tired and I want to sleep, I don’t want to say anything now, I want to sleep.” However, efforts to trace Anita were unsuccessful as none of the students knew her whereabouts.
But the university’s Dean of Students’ Affairs, Prof. Olukayode Amund, who confirmed the incident, condemned the act and said the university would not condone any act of indiscipline.
“We are aware of the incident and we are still investigating. They will face disciplinary action; the school does not tolerate indiscipline,” he said.
Headline: “Sunday Sun” newspaper April 8, 2012
“EVERY POLICE INSPECTOR-GENERAL HAS DIRTY PAST”
Chief Alex Akinyele
(Former Minister of Information)
“Nobody can get to the position of Inspector-General without a dirty history. You can’t get there; you must have soiled your hand one way or the other. It’s a long journey to be an IG. Let’s forgive him the past. Do you hear what Shakespeare says: some rise by sin, some by virtues fall, some rise through graces of ice and answer none but some are condemned for the fault alone. That is life.

Just one fault, let us forget that. If we say he instigated some people to attack Christians and the rest, whom do we call in the police? Who does not have skeleton in his cupboard among the police officers? It is difficult to get clean people who will go form recruit or ASP to IG. It is difficult. It’s a difficult journey. When they get to the IG, it is then they become exposed and they are disgraced out of office. Look at the number of IG’s we have had. I don’t want to mention names. Let us forgive Abubakar; he must have some kind of merits that chose him out as the best among his equals.”

This article is written by Bashorun J.K Randle.
Bashorun JK Randle is a former President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and former Chairman of KPMG Nigeria and Africa Region. He is currently the Chairman, JK Randle Professional Services.Email:jkrandleintuk@gmail.com
 Disclaimer: The views represented here are not necessarily those of adebayoalonge.wordpress.com
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2 thoughts on “FREEDOM OF MISINFORMATION”

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