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ideas have consequences

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Okonta still remembers  that morning when a neighbour rushed to the colonial  residence of Dr. Harrison at Ikoyi, Lagos, where he worked to announce to him that his wife Mariana  had been delivered of a bouncing baby boy. Okonta was dressed in his well- starched  khaki uniform in the colonial house when the cheery news got to him.

 

He made merry and entertained his friends to celebrate the birth of his son and named him Harrison after the whiteman in whose household he served as a servant.

 

The birth of  his only son coincided  with  the celebration of Nigeria’s independence on October 1, 1960.

 

Today, Harrison is 52 years and lives in Lagos. He has no  regular job  after  graduating from the university several years ago.

 

He had tried to sustain himself as a self-employed businessman but his business at Tincan Island suffered from excess custom duties and multiple taxations. Harrison couldn’t  cope with the blows that fate had severally dealt on him. At 52, he has no house he could call his own.

 

He has no regular  means of livelihood despite his B.SC in Business Administration and Masters  Degrees in two other Disciplines. He has no home  and has transversed severally between being an okada rider and a tricycle driver. On many occasions , he has served as a bus conductor and the finesse he acquired through education has given way to a crude, frustrated, middle-aged man.

 

But Harrison Ogbonna is not the only Nigerian whom fate has dealt with badly. Across the 36 States of Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory, there are many Harrisons who have been battered by fate but only few  were able to make a success story from  the school of hard-knocks.

 

The above story sounds like the typical Nigerian story. From what they taught us in history,  the pathway to Nigeria’s 52 years of independence  was littered with broken  promises.

 

Nigerians are people  suffering from battered egos and damaged psyche. Ab initio, our leaders had envisaged prosperity for the country, given  the country’s enormous resources but that had been mere dreams. As a nation very rich in oil resources, we have  receded from oil boom to oil doom.  Nigeria  has become  a giant with mosquito legs.

 

The elders of the country left good legacies. But their successors could not match the strength of the sages.

 

Sir Ahmadu Bello, former Premier of Northern Nigeria at our independence in 1960 said that the freedom of Nigeria from British rule  is not the freedom of the jungle, where might is right.

 

“We are not free to molest others  less strong than ourselves or to trample on their rights simply because we are in a position of authority over them. Independence brings with it heavier and new responsibilities.

 

The eyes of the world are on Nigeria now and there are many friends who hope that we shall be the leading nation in Africa. Let us say with all emphasis at my command that we shall never attain this goal if there is suspicion and mistrust among the peoples of Nigeria.

 

Such an attitude cannot benefit anyone and can easily lead to strife as has been the painful experience of other independent nations in Africa and elsewhere.”

 

It is obvious that Nigerians of today  never heeded the wisdom of the sages . In today’s Nigeria, deceit holds sway ! Almost every year, we lament our situation , wondering if  achieving nationhood is such an unrealistic and unworkable project.

 

From all indications, many have come to accept the reality that ours is a society where the morons are the barons; a society where thieves are kings;  a  society  where the monkey works and the baboon chops; a society where might is right and injustice the order of the day.

 

Today, ours is  a kingdom against itself. Things are  falling  apart and the centre can barely hold. Anarchy appears to have let loose upon  the nation. Insecurity, corruption in high places and other vices are building strongholds. These are felt in every facet of our daily life.

 

For years, we keep questioning ourselves about what went wrong  with our country but each year, the questions increase but there are less answers. We are forever  preoccupied with how to redesign the Nigerian project after 52 years of self-governance because of  the folly and greed of those who took over the affairs of modern Nigeria.

 

Beginning from 1966,  the country recorded eight military regimes. The final military regime left power on May 29, 1999 in between interjections of civilian regimes.

 

The military government came to power in pretence of restoring sanity in government but today, Nigerians know better.

 

Celebrating Nigeria at 52 is only to fulfill all righteousness. At least,  the country has been able to sustain civilian government  without interruption of the military government since 1999.  With her avalanche of social economic cum political challenges, the country is still rated as a major key player in the global economy.

 

The present  Nigerian leaders should see this independence celebration as time to reflect on our  past so as focus on the political emancipation of the country; restore security and the confidence of the populace.

 

 

image of Martin PlautMartin Plaut, African editor BBC World Service,  gives a compassing analysis  on Chinua Achebe new book   on Biafran war called - 'There Was a Country'

 

Martin Plaut  analysis:

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This is a memoir filled with sadness - sadness at the deaths of so many of his fellow countrymen and sadness too at the fate that has befallen Nigeria.

 

The book begins by recalling the coup and counter-coup that left Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and the Northern premier, Sir Ahmadu Bello dead.

 

Thousands of Igbo people were killed in retaliation. At the end of May 1967, Biafra declared independence and there was a rapid descent into war.

 

Achebe portrays the Nigerian government as ruthless in its suppression of the rebellion.

Biafran army soldiers and captives - May 1967More than one million people died during the Biafran conflict - BBC

A statement is attributed to Chief Obafemi Awolowo which summarises this attitude: 'All is fair in war, and starvation is one of the weapons of war. I don't see why we should feed our enemies fat in order for them to fight harder.'

 

Soon images of malnourished children filled the international press. Achebe accuses the United Nations of following Nigeria's lead, and standing idly by as Biafra was crushed. As Achebe puts it: "You see we, the little people of the world, are ever expendable."

 

The author writes movingly about the final days in January 1970: "In the end, Biafra collapsed. We simply had to turn around and find a way to keep those people still there alive. It was a desperate situation with so many children in need, kwashiorkor rampant, and thousand perishing every week... some people said: 'Let's go into the forest and continue the struggle.'

 

"That would have been suicidal and I don't think anybody should commit suicide."

 

 

 

 

 

 

President John Dramani Mahama on Wednesday assured the international community that the Elections 2012 would be free, fair and peaceful.

 

“I am so certain of our stability through this process that I extend a warm welcome to any individual or organization that would like to come and monitor our elections,” he said in an address to the 67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

 

Re recalled that Ghana had held five successful elections since 1992 resulted in the smooth transfer of power from one democratically chosen leader to another.

 

“When it comes to transparency in the electoral exercise, Ghana is, in fact, held up as an example of excellence,” he said.

 

President Mahama said the commitment to peace that I had pledged in the past and was pledging anew was in keeping with a longstanding tradition that Ghana has established domestically and internationally.

 

He said Ghana’s consistent championing of peace was neither accidental nor coincidental.

 

“Rather, it is by design and by determination.  We have always recognized that peace is critical to development and to the overall improvement and enrichment of people’s lives.”

 

President Mahama said in the past two decades, Ghana’s position on peace had been tested again and again as the West African sub-region was ravaged by one civil war after another, but the country “held firm to that position and will continue to do so”.

 

The President said because Ghana wished to co-exist harmoniously with all of its neighbours, it was ever-conscious of the importance of peace when legislating policies.

 

“When offering asylum or a safe haven to refugees, we are ever-protective of our borders, making certain that political conflicts and ethnic tensions do not cross over onto our soil.”

 

He said the unfolding tensions in Cote d’Ivoire and Mali were of particular concern and pledged that Ghana would not allow its territory to be used to destabilize other nations.

 

“We will not be the storehouse of any resources or weapons that will be used to disrupt the peace and development of another nation.  We will not harbour any individuals or groups whose intent is to utilize Ghana as a base of operation to undermine the safety and security of another nation.”

 

President Mahama said Ghana would work under the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) protocol and utilise whatever other tools of diplomacy at its our disposal to ensure that security is restored to Mali and Cote d’Ivoire and that they found a place alongside their fellow African countries in the continent’s forward march towards prosperity.

 

The President said Ghana had a strong belief in the universal declaration of human rights and therefore restated the country’s support for an independent, prosperous Palestinian state, co-existing peacefully with a free, stable Israeli state.

 

Ghana also reiterated its opposition to the continuous blockade on Cuba and called for an immediate lifting of the embargo.

 

President Mahama said the 21st century was fast being described as the century for Africa citing figures which stated that last year, of the 10 fastest growing economies in the world, 6 were African.

 

“Ghana, my own country, posted one of the highest GDP growth rates, with a final outturn of 14 per cent.  Foreign direct investment amounted to some 1.5 billion dollars in various sectors.”

 

President Mahama said this type of sustained growth, in combination with security and democracy can only ensure an Africa that will bear no resemblance to the ghost of its former self.

 

“An Africa where we create equal opportunities for women to realize their full potential, and where there is respect for the rights of all human beings.

 

“This new Africa will wean itself off of handouts and humanitarian relief. It will not continue to succumb to the corruption and oppression of despots. This new Africa will stand on the world stage as a mutual partner.”

 

President Mahama stressed that true partnership must be based on equality and said the current realities in the world called for greater inclusion to consolidate our common security and therefore informed Ghana’s stand for an expansion of the Security Council to admit more members in order to make a meaningful impact on the many challenges the world faced.

 

GNA

 

 

 

Published in Emeka Chiakwelu
Thursday, 27 September 2012 12:33

Senate to FG - Appeal Bakassi Judgement Now

 

THE Senate, yesterday, declared total rejection of the ceding of Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon following the judgment of the International Court of Justice, ICJ, and directed President Goodluck Jonathan to urgently appeal the judgement.

 

The ICJ in its ruling in 2002 ceded Bakassi Peninsula, located in Cross River State of Nigeria to Cameroon, with a 10-year window gap for appeal which expires on October 9, 2012.

 

Also, the Paramount ruler of Bakassi, Dr. Edet Okon Etim, said in a letter to President Goodluck Jonathan that the most significant issue for the people of Bakassi was the right to self determination, which is enshrined in the UN Charter on Human Rights.

 

Meanwhile, the Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr. Olugbenga Ashiru, has been criticized by lawyers for his comments that members of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, that gave the Federal Government seven-day ultimatum to approach the ICJ to review the Bakassi case were doing so for pecuniary interest.

 

The position of the Senate came at a time China and Japan are flexing muscles over the uninhabited Daiyou Islands in the South Pacific Island and Nigeria has 12 days to make a fresh case to ICJ on new facts supporting its claims to Bakassi peninsula.

 

While considering a motion on Bakassi sponsored by Senator Abdul Ningi and 17 others, the upper legislative chamber faulted the ICJ judgment, declaring it as null and void.

 

The Senate held that the Vienna Convention on treaties that required domestication of the ICJ judgment by a national parliament was not done by the National Assembly before Bakassi was handed over by fiat to Cameroon by the Federal Government.

 

Bakassi could not be ceded to Cameroon --Senators

 

Senators during an emotion-laden debate expressed shock at the approach applied by the Federal Government in the handing over of Bakassi to Cameroon without referendum by the people of Bakassi as stipulated by the United Nations, UN.

 

Senate President, David Mark, who presided over the motion, maintained that Bakassi could not be ceded to Cameroon, adding that he would write to President Jonathan to immediately begin the appeal process which expires in nine days time.

 

According to him, "the resolution that we need to make is that Bakassi should not be ceded to Cameroon. I think that is the final objective of our decision.

 

"If we do not go to an appeal at all while we have subjected ourselves to the international court, I think that will be a grievous mistake. There is room for us to appeal. Going on an appeal is a line of action that we should not reject. If that is what is available through the court, we should utilise it. I think that is the most appropriate thing to do now. The most we should do now is to quickly rush an appeal in spite of what the President said at the UN.

 

"We have obeyed the international court to this point, but we still do not accept it. It is not that we accept it, we have simply obeyed their decision. We have not accepted it. There is a lot of pressure at home here and I think it is the belief of every Nigerian that we should not cede Bakassi, not the way it has happened. I think that is really where the problem is."

 

Mark assures

 

Mark assured that the Senate would go ahead with all legislative processes to ensure that the judgment is over turned in favour of Nigeria.

 

He said: "There is a host of other things, letters written to National Assembly are actually here and we on our part have not done anything. We have neither rejected it nor said anything. They just came and went like that.

 

"We will revisit the letters and whilst we are urging the Federal Government to go on an appeal, we on our part will revisit the letters and see what we can do from our own side, may be to quickly again come up with a debate and then reject it and forward it to buttress our points and to buttress our resolutions arrived at today (yesterday)," he added.

 

Deputy Senate Leader, Abdul Ningi, leading debate on the motion urged Nigeria to appeal the judgment, stating that the whole process that led to ceding of Bakassi to Cameroon was full of irregularities. He argued that both Cameroon and Nigeria had not fully complied with details of the judgment, adding that new facts have emerged to show that the peninsula belongs to Nigeria, in accordance with article 61 of the ICJ.

 

He said: "The dateline of the judgment of the ICJ on the International Boundaries between Nigeria and Cameroon including Bakassi that cedes Bakassi Island from the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the Republic of Cameroon would expire by October 9, 2012.

 

Judgment erroneously based on agreement

 

"The judgment was erroneously based on agreement between the British and Calabar Chiefs in 1884. There has never been a precedent in history where any case of this nature was executed without a referendum as enshrined by the United Nations.

 

"There is lack of faithful implementation of articles 3 (1) and 2 (a) of the 'Green Tree Agreement' signed by both the Cameroon and Nigeria, thereby violating the basis of the implementation of the court of judgment."

 

Senators to fund appeal process

 

Ningi added that the action of government was a conspiracy of silence against the minorities in Nigeria and that Senators had agreed to fund the appeal process.

 

"Let government appeal, we are ready to fund the processes if the problem of government is money," he stated.

 

Senators unanimously backed the call for an appeal, as some of them who spoke, yesterday, urged government to physically reclaim the Island from Cameroon.

 

They said it was very shocking for government to hand over Bakassi without even a fight, pointing out several instances where there have been long drawn battles over lands between countries, without the ICJ settling the disputes.

 

Those that spoke include Senators Victor Ndoma-Egba, Bassey Otu, Heineken Lokpobiri, Haidi Abubakar, Enyinnaya Abaribe, Ita Enang and George Akume.

 

FG must protect us --Ndoma-Egba

 

Ndoma-Egba, PDP, Cross River Central, said the ceding of Bakassi to Cameroon was in complete violation of the fundamental human rights of the people of Cross River State.

 

He said: "Bakassi was ceded by Federal Government in spite of protest by Bakassi people, because they are minority of minorities. Bakassi was ceded in spite of the Senate not rectifying the treaty. The least Federal Government can do is to protect us.

 

"Federal Government must pay Cross River compensation. It is their land, their heritage, their history, their ancestors were buried there and Nigerian government keeps quiet about compensation. The government must protect us."

 

Enyinnaya Abaribe in his contribution said the action of the Federal Government in hastily handing over Bakassi to Cameroon depicts that of a coward.

 

He said: "In which country in the world can a country willingly give away its property? It is a father that is weak that would be quick to admit that his child is at fault when there is a dispute. Nigeria is not a weak father so we must appeal."

 

Senators want physical reclaimation

 

Senators Lokpobiri, PDP, Bayelsa West and Atiku Bagudu urged the Federal Government to use its physical might to quickly reclaim the Island while pursing the appeal.

 

According to Lokpobiri, "two options are available to Nigeria: the first option is to appeal. Second option is to go back to Bakassi and reclaim it. It is very unfortunate that in the 21st century, we could just hand over part of the country just like that. We should physically go and repossess the land. Since we have a bigger military might, we should go to Bakassi and repossess it."

 

Also kicking against the ceding of Bakassi, Senator Haidi Abubakar, CPC Katsina Central said government had no choice but to appeal since no referendum was conducted. His words: "The issue of referendum has not been done. We must force the Federal Government to appeal.

 

But the former Attorney General of Cross River State, Mrs. Nella Rabana (SAN) who was at The Hague said those who were advising the Federal Government against approaching the ICJ to revisit the Bakassi issue should examine their position because "Nigeria has all along complied with the ruling of ICJ. So, asking that we invoke article 61 of ICJ statue is in fact, part of this compliance process and not a violation."

 

Senator Ewah Bassey Henshaw, who represented Cross River South from 2007-2011, told Vanguard that the Obong of Calabar and the Efik Kingdom have resolved that they would not concede their territory on the basis of wartime contrivance between two leaders who did not have the consent of Bakassi people.

 

He said: "There is every reason for Nigeria to exercise its right of appeal which is also part of the compliance rather than shirking its responsibility."

 

Nigeria bastardized its position --Bola Ajibola

 

Meanwhile, retired jurist of the ICJ and former Nigerian Minister of Justice, Prince Bola Ajibola, has expressed disappointment that Nigerians put themselves in the mess they now bemoan.

 

Speaking to Vanguard at his Hilltop GRA home in Abeokuta, yesterday, the former Chairman of the Boundaries between Nigeria and Cameroon, said Nigeria sent a note to Cameroon in 1961 admitting and conceding the ownership of Bakassi to the Francophone country.

 

He said: "A lot of people have been saying a lot of things that are not really correct. In most cases, we ourselves as Nigerians bastardized our position because as far back as 1961, we had written a note to Cameroon telling Cameroon that we Nigerians are aware of the fact that they own Bakassi. Throughout these 1960s and 1970s, our map of Nigeria was always indicating the excise of Bakassi out of our own land in Nigeria as part of what belongs to Cameroon.

 

"In fact it had further been stamped that we agreed that our boundary is to Akwa Yafe as opposed to Rio del Rey. The boundary would have been in Rio del Rey and not Akwa Yafe. We agreed to that, we Nigerians in Nigeria here."

 

In buttering his point, Ajibola said in the quest to be sure that historic blunder was not committed, that a British professor, Valad, was consulted on the matter and he said it was a difficult task to embark upon.

 

NBA calls for Ashiru's sack

 

Meanwhile, the Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr. Olugbeinga Ashiru, has been criticized by lawyers for his comments that members of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, that gave the Federal Government seven-day ultimatum to approach the ICJ to review the Bakassi case were doing so for pecuniary interest.

 

In a statement to Vanguard newspapers, Mr Festus Ogwuche, on behalf of Crownfield Solicitors, said Ashiru should be relieved of his position for denigrating the body as money mongers when in actual fact the NBA, which embodies the best of the nation's legal profession, is expressing its views on a serious national and international issue because of pecuniary interest.

 

Ogwuche said for the Foreign Affairs Minister to state that "the Nigerian Bar Association, a professional body made up of all the country's lawyers, does not have the facts of a judgment that ceded a part of the country to another obviously betrays a pedestrian mindset."

 

Ogwuche called on the minister and Mr. Mohammed Adoke, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to address the issue of revisiting the Bakassi issue where the people had been rendered homeless and endangered.

 

Source: Vanguard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The United Nations’ urgent assistance is crucial in order to bring peace and security to West Africa, Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan said today at the General Assembly’s high-level debate, while also acknowledging the role played by regional organizations in stemming the continent’s violence.

 

“The overall security situation in the West African sub-region should continue to be a matter of interest and concern to the rest of the international community,” President Jonathan declared n his address to the General Debate of the Assembly’s 67th session, taking place at UN Headquarters in New York.

 

“Although ECOWAS [the Economic Community of West African States] is taking measures to address the situation in Mali, particularly in the north, the urgent assistance of the United Nations and the support of other partners will be needed to build on recent gains to secure peace and stability in Mali and across the sub-region,” he stated, adding that West Africa could “ill-afford renewed insurgency.”

 

Fighting between Government forces and Tuareg rebels broke out in northern Mali in January. The instability and insecurity resulting from the renewed clashes, as well as the proliferation of armed groups in the region, drought and political instability in the wake of a military coup d’état in March, have led over 250,000 Malians to flee to neighbouring countries, with 174,000 Malians estimated to be internally displaced.

 

President Jonathan noted that Nigeria had committed itself to the attainment of regional peace and security and was doing so in close coordination with the UN, African Union and ECOWAS partners, particularly in Mali, where Nigeria and ECOWAS are working in concert to prevent the country’s conflict from spilling over its borders.

 

In addition, he also highlighted Nigeria’s assistance to the Transitional Government in Guinea-Bissau as it works towards national reconciliation and the organization of credible elections following its unconstitutional change of government earlier this year.

 

Turning his focus to the issue of regional cooperation, the Nigerian leader emphasized that it had been “a key factor” in tackling West Africa’s security challenges, singling out Nigeria’s bilateral agreements with neighbouring Cameroon, Niger, and Chad.

 

“We are confident that these measures will stem the flow and access to small arms and light weapons, which have indeed become Africa’s weapons of mass destruction and the most potent source of instability,” he added.

 

Along with President Jonathan, scores of the world’s heads of State and government and other high-level officials are presenting their views and comments on issues of individual national and international relevance at the Assembly’s General Debate, which ends on 1 October.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A text of President Obama’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, as released by the White House:

 

Mr. President, Mr. Secretary General, fellow delegates, ladies and gentleman: I would like to begin today by telling you about an American named Chris Stevens.

 

Chris was born in a town called Grass Valley, California, the son of a lawyer and a musician. As a young man, Chris joined the Peace Corps, and taught English in Morocco. And he came to love and respect the people of North Africa and the Middle East. He would carry that commitment throughout his life. As a diplomat, he worked from Egypt to Syria, from Saudi Arabia to Libya. He was known for walking the streets of the cities where he worked -- tasting the local food, meeting as many people as he could, speaking Arabic, listening with a broad smile.

 

Chris went to Benghazi in the early days of the Libyan revolution, arriving on a cargo ship. As America’s representative, he helped the Libyan people as they coped with violent conflict, cared for the wounded, and crafted a vision for the future in which the rights of all Libyans would be respected. And after the revolution, he supported the birth of a new democracy, as Libyans held elections, and built new institutions, and began to move forward after decades of dictatorship.

 

Chris Stevens loved his work. He took pride in the country he served, and he saw dignity in the people that he met. And two weeks ago, he traveled to Benghazi to review plans to establish a new cultural center and modernize a hospital. That’s when America’s compound came under attack. Along with three of his colleagues, Chris was killed in the city that he helped to save. He was 52 years old.

 

I tell you this story because Chris Stevens embodied the best of America. Like his fellow Foreign Service officers, he built bridges across oceans and cultures, and was deeply invested in the international cooperation that the United Nations represents. He acted with humility, but he also stood up for a set of principles -- a belief that individuals should be free to determine their own destiny, and live with liberty, dignity, justice, and opportunity.

 

The attacks on the civilians in Benghazi were attacks on America. We are grateful for the assistance we received from the Libyan government and from the Libyan people. There should be no doubt that we will be relentless in tracking down the killers and bringing them to justice. And I also appreciate that in recent days, the leaders of other countries in the region -- including Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen -- have taken steps to secure our diplomatic facilities, and called for calm. And so have religious authorities around the globe.

 

But understand, the attacks of the last two weeks are not simply an assault on America. They are also an assault on the very ideals upon which the United Nations was founded -- the notion that people can resolve their differences peacefully; that diplomacy can take the place of war; that in an interdependent world, all of us have a stake in working towards greater opportunity and security for our citizens.

 

If we are serious about upholding these ideals, it will not be enough to put more guards in front of an embassy, or to put out statements of regret and wait for the outrage to pass. If we are serious about these ideals, we must speak honestly about the deeper causes of the crisis -- because we face a choice between the forces that would drive us apart and the hopes that we hold in common.

 

Today, we must reaffirm that our future will be determined by people like Chris Stevens -- and not by his killers. Today, we must declare that this violence and intolerance has no place among our United Nations.

 

It has been less than two years since a vendor in Tunisia set himself on fire to protest the oppressive corruption in his country, and sparked what became known as the Arab Spring. And since then, the world has been captivated by the transformation that’s taken place, and the United States has supported the forces of change.

 

We were inspired by the Tunisian protests that toppled a dictator, because we recognized our own beliefs in the aspiration of men and women who took to the streets.

 

We insisted on change in Egypt, because our support for democracy ultimately put us on the side of the people.

 

We supported a transition of leadership in Yemen, because the interests of the people were no longer being served by a corrupt status quo.

 

We intervened in Libya alongside a broad coalition, and with the mandate of the United Nations Security Council, because we had the ability to stop the slaughter of innocents, and because we believed that the aspirations of the people were more powerful than a tyrant.

 

And as we meet here, we again declare that the regime of Bashar al-Assad must come to an end so that the suffering of the Syrian people can stop and a new dawn can begin.

 

We have taken these positions because we believe that freedom and self-determination are not unique to one culture. These are not simply American values or Western values -- they are universal values. And even as there will be huge challenges to come with a transition to democracy, I am convinced that ultimately government of the people, by the people, and for the people is more likely to bring about the stability, prosperity, and individual opportunity that serve as a basis for peace in our world.

 

So let us remember that this is a season of progress. For the first time in decades, Tunisians, Egyptians and Libyans voted for new leaders in elections that were credible, competitive, and fair. This democratic spirit has not been restricted to the Arab world. Over the past year, we’ve seen peaceful transitions of power in Malawi and Senegal, and a new President in Somalia. In Burma, a President has freed political prisoners and opened a closed society, a courageous dissident has been elected to parliament, and people look forward to further reform. Around the globe, people are making their voices heard, insisting on their innate dignity, and the right to determine their future.

 

And yet the turmoil of recent weeks reminds us that the path to democracy does not end with the casting of a ballot. Nelson Mandela once said: “To be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

 

True democracy demands that citizens cannot be thrown in jail because of what they believe, and that businesses can be opened without paying a bribe. It depends on the freedom of citizens to speak their minds and assemble without fear, and on the rule of law and due process that guarantees the rights of all people.

 

In other words, true democracy -- real freedom -- is hard work. Those in power have to resist the temptation to crack down on dissidents. In hard economic times, countries must be tempted -- may be tempted to rally the people around perceived enemies, at home and abroad, rather than focusing on the painstaking work of reform.

 

Moreover, there will always be those that reject human progress -- dictators who cling to power, corrupt interests that depend on the status quo, and extremists who fan the flames of hate and division. From Northern Ireland to South Asia, from Africa to the Americas, from the Balkans to the Pacific Rim, we’ve witnessed convulsions that can accompany transitions to a new political order.

 

At time, the conflicts arise along the fault lines of race or tribe. And often they arise from the difficulties of reconciling tradition and faith with the diversity and interdependence of the modern world. In every country, there are those who find different religious beliefs threatening; in every culture, those who love freedom for themselves must ask themselves how much they’re willing to tolerate freedom for others.

 

That is what we saw play out in the last two weeks, as a crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world. Now, I have made it clear that the United States government had nothing to do with this video, and I believe its message must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity.

 

It is an insult not only to Muslims, but to America as well -- for as the city outside these walls makes clear, we are a country that has welcomed people of every race and every faith. We are home to Muslims who worship across our country. We not only respect the freedom of religion, we have laws that protect individuals from being harmed because of how they look or what they believe. We understand why people take offense to this video because millions of our citizens are among them.

 

I know there are some who ask why we don’t just ban such a video. And the answer is enshrined in our laws: Our Constitution protects the right to practice free speech.

 

Here in the United States, countless publications provoke offense. Like me, the majority of Americans are Christian, and yet we do not ban blasphemy against our most sacred beliefs. As President of our country and Commander-in-Chief of our military, I accept that people are going to call me awful things every day -- (laughter) -- and I will always defend their right to do so.

 

Americans have fought and died around the globe to protect the right of all people to express their views, even views that we profoundly disagree with. We do not do so because we support hateful speech, but because our founders understood that without such protections, the capacity of each individual to express their own views and practice their own faith may be threatened. We do so because in a diverse society, efforts to restrict speech can quickly become a tool to silence critics and oppress minorities.

 

We do so because given the power of faith in our lives, and the passion that religious differences can inflame, the strongest weapon against hateful speech is not repression; it is more speech -- the voices of tolerance that rally against bigotry and blasphemy, and lift up the values of understanding and mutual respect.

 

Now, I know that not all countries in this body share this particular understanding of the protection of free speech. We recognize that. But in 2012, at a time when anyone with a cell phone can spread offensive views around the world with the click of a button, the notion that we can control the flow of information is obsolete. The question, then, is how do we respond?

 

And on this we must agree: There is no speech that justifies mindless violence. There are no words that excuse the killing of innocents. There’s no video that justifies an attack on an embassy. There’s no slander that provides an excuse for people to burn a restaurant in Lebanon, or destroy a school in Tunis, or cause death and destruction in Pakistan.

 

In this modern world with modern technologies, for us to respond in that way to hateful speech empowers any individual who engages in such speech to create chaos around the world. We empower the worst of us if that’s how we respond.

 

More broadly, the events of the last two weeks also speak to the need for all of us to honestly address the tensions between the West and the Arab world that is moving towards democracy.

 

Now, let me be clear: Just as we cannot solve every problem in the world, the United States has not and will not seek to dictate the outcome of democratic transitions abroad. We do not expect other nations to agree with us on every issue, nor do we assume that the violence of the past weeks or the hateful speech by some individuals represent the views of the overwhelming majority of Muslims, any more than the views of the people who produced this video represents those of Americans. However, I do believe that it is the obligation of all leaders in all countries to speak out forcefully against violence and extremism.

 

It is time to marginalize those who -- even when not directly resorting to violence -- use hatred of America, or the West, or Israel, as the central organizing principle of politics. For that only gives cover, and sometimes makes an excuse, for those who do resort to violence.

 

That brand of politics -- one that pits East against West, and South against North, Muslims against Christians and Hindu and Jews -- can’t deliver on the promise of freedom. To the youth, it offers only false hope. Burning an American flag does nothing to provide a child an education. Smashing apart a restaurant does not fill an empty stomach. Attacking an embassy won’t create a single job. That brand of politics only makes it harder to achieve what we must do together: educating our children, and creating the opportunities that they deserve; protecting human rights, and extending democracy’s promise.

 

Understand America will never retreat from the world. We will bring justice to those who harm our citizens and our friends, and we will stand with our allies. We are willing to partner with countries around the world to deepen ties of trade and investment, and science and technology, energy and development -- all efforts that can spark economic growth for all our people and stabilize democratic change.

 

But such efforts depend on a spirit of mutual interest and mutual respect. No government or company, no school or NGO will be confident working in a country where its people are endangered. For partnerships to be effective our citizens must be secure and our efforts must be welcomed.

 

A politics based only on anger -- one based on dividing the world between “us” and “them” -- not only sets back international cooperation, it ultimately undermines those who tolerate it. All of us have an interest in standing up to these forces.

 

Let us remember that Muslims have suffered the most at the hands of extremism. On the same day our civilians were killed in Benghazi, a Turkish police officer was murdered in Istanbul only days before his wedding; more than 10 Yemenis were killed in a car bomb in Sana’a; several Afghan children were mourned by their parents just days after they were killed by a suicide bomber in Kabul.

 

The impulse towards intolerance and violence may initially be focused on the West, but over time it cannot be contained. The same impulses toward extremism are used to justify war between Sunni and Shia, between tribes and clans. It leads not to strength and prosperity but to chaos. In less than two years, we have seen largely peaceful protests bring more change to Muslim-majority countries than a decade of violence. And extremists understand this. Because they have nothing to offer to improve the lives of people, violence is their only way to stay relevant. They don’t build; they only destroy.

 

It is time to leave the call of violence and the politics of division behind. On so many issues, we face a choice between the promise of the future, or the prisons of the past. And we cannot afford to get it wrong. We must seize this moment. And America stands ready to work with all who are willing to embrace a better future.

 

The future must not belong to those who target Coptic Christians in Egypt -- it must be claimed by those in Tahrir Square who chanted, “Muslims, Christians, we are one.” The future must not belong to those who bully women -- it must be shaped by girls who go to school, and those who stand for a world where our daughters can live their dreams just like our sons.

 

The future must not belong to those corrupt few who steal a country’s resources -- it must be won by the students and entrepreneurs, the workers and business owners who seek a broader prosperity for all people. Those are the women and men that America stands with; theirs is the vision we will support.

 

The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. But to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see in the images of Jesus Christ that are desecrated, or churches that are destroyed, or the Holocaust that is denied.

 

Let us condemn incitement against Sufi Muslims and Shiite pilgrims. It’s time to heed the words of Gandhi: “Intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit.” Together, we must work towards a world where we are strengthened by our differences, and not defined by them. That is what America embodies, that’s the vision we will support.

 

Among Israelis and Palestinians, the future must not belong to those who turn their backs on a prospect of peace. Let us leave behind those who thrive on conflict, those who reject the right of Israel to exist. The road is hard, but the destination is clear -- a secure, Jewish state of Israel and an independent, prosperous Palestine. Understanding that such a peace must come through a just agreement between the parties, America will walk alongside all who are prepared to make that journey.

 

In Syria, the future must not belong to a dictator who massacres his people. If there is a cause that cries out for protest in the world today, peaceful protest, it is a regime that tortures children and shoots rockets at apartment buildings. And we must remain engaged to assure that what began with citizens demanding their rights does not end in a cycle of sectarian violence.

 

Together, we must stand with those Syrians who believe in a different vision -- a Syria that is united and inclusive, where children don’t need to fear their own government, and all Syrians have a say in how they are governed -- Sunnis and Alawites, Kurds and Christians. That’s what America stands for. That is the outcome that we will work for -- with sanctions and consequences for those who persecute, and assistance and support for those who work for this common good. Because we believe that the Syrians who embrace this vision will have the strength and the legitimacy to lead.

 

In Iran, we see where the path of a violent and unaccountable ideology leads. The Iranian people have a remarkable and ancient history, and many Iranians wish to enjoy peace and prosperity alongside their neighbors. But just as it restricts the rights of its own people, the Iranian government continues to prop up a dictator in Damascus and supports terrorist groups abroad. Time and again, it has failed to take the opportunity to demonstrate that its nuclear program is peaceful, and to meet its obligations to the United Nations.

 

So let me be clear. America wants to resolve this issue through diplomacy, and we believe that there is still time and space to do so. But that time is not unlimited. We respect the right of nations to access peaceful nuclear power, but one of the purposes of the United Nations is to see that we harness that power for peace. And make no mistake, a nuclear-armed Iran is not a challenge that can be contained. It would threaten the elimination of Israel, the security of Gulf nations, and the stability of the global economy. It risks triggering a nuclear-arms race in the region, and the unraveling of the non-proliferation treaty. That’s why a coalition of countries is holding the Iranian government accountable. And that’s why the United States will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

 

We know from painful experience that the path to security and prosperity does not lie outside the boundaries of international law and respect for human rights. That’s why this institution was established from the rubble of conflict. That is why liberty triumphed over tyranny in the Cold War. And that is the lesson of the last two decades as well.

 

History shows that peace and progress come to those who make the right choices. Nations in every part of the world have traveled this difficult path. Europe, the bloodiest battlefield of the 20th century, is united, free and at peace. From Brazil to South Africa, from Turkey to South Korea, from India to Indonesia, people of different races, religions, and traditions have lifted millions out of poverty, while respecting the rights of their citizens and meeting their responsibilities as nations.

 

And it is because of the progress that I’ve witnessed in my own lifetime, the progress that I’ve witnessed after nearly four years as President, that I remain ever hopeful about the world that we live in. The war in Iraq is over. American troops have come home. We’ve begun a transition in Afghanistan, and America and our allies will end our war on schedule in 2014. Al Qaeda has been weakened, and Osama bin Laden is no more. Nations have come together to lock down nuclear materials, and America and Russia are reducing our arsenals. We have seen hard choices made -- from Naypyidaw to Cairo to Abidjan -- to put more power in the hands of citizens.

 

At a time of economic challenge, the world has come together to broaden prosperity. Through the G20, we have partnered with emerging countries to keep the world on the path of recovery. America has pursued a development agenda that fuels growth and breaks dependency, and worked with African leaders to help them feed their nations. New partnerships have been forged to combat corruption and promote government that is open and transparent, and new commitments have been made through the Equal Futures Partnership to ensure that women and girls can fully participate in politics and pursue opportunity. And later today, I will discuss our efforts to combat the scourge of human trafficking.

 

All these things give me hope. But what gives me the most hope is not the actions of us, not the actions of leaders -- it is the people that I’ve seen. The American troops who have risked their lives and sacrificed their limbs for strangers half a world away; the students in Jakarta or Seoul who are eager to use their knowledge to benefit mankind; the faces in a square in Prague or a parliament in Ghana who see democracy giving voice to their aspirations; the young people in the favelas of Rio and the schools of Mumbai whose eyes shine with promise. These men, women, and children of every race and every faith remind me that for every angry mob that gets shown on television, there are billions around the world who share similar hopes and dreams. They tell us that there is a common heartbeat to humanity.

 

So much attention in our world turns to what divides us. That’s what we see on the news. That’s what consumes our political debates. But when you strip it all away, people everywhere long for the freedom to determine their destiny; the dignity that comes with work; the comfort that comes with faith; and the justice that exists when governments serve their people -- and not the other way around.

 

The United States of America will always stand up for these aspirations, for our own people and for people all across the world. That was our founding purpose. That is what our history shows. That is what Chris Stevens worked for throughout his life.

 

And I promise you this: Long after the killers are brought to justice, Chris Stevens’s legacy will live on in the lives that he touched -- in the tens of thousands who marched against violence through the streets of Benghazi; in the Libyans who changed their Facebook photo to one of Chris; in the signs that read, simply, “Chris Stevens was a friend to all Libyans.”

 

They should give us hope. They should remind us that so long as we work for it, justice will be done, that history is on our side, and that a rising tide of liberty will never be reversed.

 

Thank you very much.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Presidential candidate ( Republican Party)Mitt Romney's remarks to the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City.

 

Thank you, Mr. President. I appreciate the kind words and your invitation here today.

 

If there's one thing we've learned this election season, it's that a few words from Bill Clinton can do any man a lot of good. After that introduction, I guess all I have to do is wait a day or two for the bounce.

 

Since serving as President here in America, President Clinton has devoted himself to lifting the downtrodden around the world. One of the best things that can happen to any cause, to any people, is to have Bill Clinton as its advocate. That is how needy and neglected causes have become global initiatives. It is that work that invites us here today.

 

As I have watched the astounding impact of this Initiative from afar, I have been impressed by the extraordinary power you have derived by harnessing together different people of different backgrounds, and different institutions of different persuasions. You have fashioned partnerships across traditional boundaries -- public and private, for-profit and nonprofit, charitable and commercial.

 

On a smaller scale, I have seen partnerships like this work before. In Massachusetts, two social pioneers brought corporations and government and volunteers together to form City Year, the model for Americorps. I sat with then candidate for President Bill Clinton as he investigated the life-changing successes which occurred when young people came together for a year of service, linked in teams with corporate sponsors.

 

Then, as the head of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, I saw again the stunning success than comes when the disparate elements of a community join together in unity, to overcome challenges that had seemed insurmountable before.

 

The Clinton Global Initiative has also demonstrated the effectiveness of entrepreneurship and social enterprise. You endeavor to not only comfort the afflicted, but to also change lives thorough freedom, free enterprise, and the incomparable dignity of work.

 

Free enterprise has done more to bless humanity than any other economic system not only because it is the only system that creates a prosperous middle class, but also because it is the only system where the individual enjoys the freedom to guide and build his or her own life.

 

Free enterprise cannot only make us better off financially, it can make us better people.

 

Ours is a compassionate nation. We look around us and see withering suffering. Our hearts break. While we make up just 4.5 percent of the world's population, we donate nearly a quarter of all global foreign aid--more than twice as much as any other country. And Americans give more than money. Pastors like Rick Warren lead mission trips that send thousands of Americans around the world, bringing aid and comfort to the poorest places on the planet. American troops are first on the scene of natural disasters. An earthquake strikes Haiti and care packages from America are among the first to arrive - and not far behind are former Presidents Clinton and Bush.

 

But too often our passion for charity is tempered by our sense that our aid is not always effective. We see stories of cases where American aid has been diverted to corrupt governments. We wonder why years of aid and relief seem never to extinguish the hardship, why the suffering persists decade after decade.

 

Perhaps some of our disappointments are due to our failure to recognize just how much the developing world has changed. Many of our foreign aid efforts were designed at a time when government development assistance accounted for roughly 70 percent of all resources flowing to developing nations. Today, 82 percent of the resources flowing into the developing world come from the private sector. If foreign aid can leverage this massive investment by private enterprise, it may exponentially expand the ability to not only care for those who suffer, but also to change lives.

 

Private enterprise is having a greater and greater positive impact in the developing world. The John Deere Company embarked upon a pilot project in Africa where it developed a suite of farm tools that could be attached to a very small tractor. John Deere has also worked to expand the availability of capital to farmers so they can maintain and develop their businesses. The result has been a good investment for John Deere and greater opportunity for African farmers, who are now able to grow more crops, and to provide for more plentiful lives.

 

For American foreign aid to become more effective, it must embrace the power of partnerships, access the transformative nature of free enterprise, and leverage the abundant resources that can come from the private sector.

 

There are three, quite legitimate, objects of our foreign aid.

 

First, to address humanitarian need. Such is the case with the PEPFAR initiative, which has given medical treatment to millions suffering from HIV and AIDS.

 

Second, to foster a substantial United States strategic interest, be it military, diplomatic, or economic.

 

And there is a third purpose, one that will receive more attention and a much higher priority in a Romney Administration. And that is aid that elevates people and brings about lasting change in communities and in nations.

 

Many Americans are troubled by the developments in the Middle East. Syria has witnessed the killing of tens of thousands of people. The president of Egypt is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Our Ambassador to Libya was assassinated in a terrorist attack. And Iran is moving toward nuclear weapons capability. We feel that we are at the mercy of events, rather than shaping events.

 

I am often asked why, and what can we do to lead the Middle East to stability, to ease the suffering and the anger and the hate. Religious extremism is certainly part of the problem. But that's not the whole story.

 

The population of the Middle East is young, particularly compared with the population of the West. And typically, these young people have few job prospects and the levels of youth unemployment across the region are excessive and chronic. In nations that have undergone a change in leadership recently, young people have greater access to information that was once carefully guarded by tyrants and dictators. They see the good as well as the bad in surrounding societies. They can now organize across vast regions, mobilizing populations. Idle, humiliated by poverty, and crushed by government corruption, their frustration and anger grows.

 

In such a setting, for America to change lives, to change communities and nations in the Middle East, foreign aid must also play a role. And the shape that role should take was brought into focus by the life and death of Muhammed Bouazizi of Tunisia, the street vendor whose self-immolation sparked the Arab Spring.

 

He was just 26-years-old. He had provided for his family since he was a young boy. He worked a small fruit stand, selling to passers-by. The regular harassment by corrupt bureaucrats was elevated one day when they took crates of his fruit and his weighing scales away from him.

 

On the day of his protest, witnesses say that an officer slapped Bouazizi and he cried out, "Why are you doing this to me? I'm a simple person, and I just want to work."

 

I just want to work. Work. That must be at the heart of our effort to help people build economies that can create jobs for people, young and old alike. Work builds self-esteem. It transforms minds from fantasy and fanaticism to reality and grounding. Work will not long tolerate corruption nor quietly endure the brazen theft by government of the product of hard-working men and women.

 

To foster work and enterprise in the Middle East and in other developing countries, I will initiate "Prosperity Pacts." Working with the private sector, the program will identify the barriers to investment, trade, and entrepreneurialism in developing nations. In exchange for removing those barriers and opening their markets to U.S. investment and trade, developing nations will receive U.S. assistance packages focused on developing the institutions of liberty, the rule of law, and property rights.

 

We will focus our efforts on small and medium-size businesses. Microfinance has been an effective tool at promoting enterprise and prosperity, but we must expand support to small and medium-size businesses that are too large for microfinance, but too small for traditional banks.

 

The aim of a much larger share of our aid must be the promotion of work and the fostering of free enterprise. Nothing we can do as a nation will change lives and nations more effectively and permanently than sharing the insight that lies at the foundation of America's own economy-free people pursuing happiness in their own ways build a strong and prosperous nation.

 

When I was in business, I traveled to many other countries. I was often struck by the vast difference in wealth among nations. True, some of that was due to geography. Rich countries often had natural resources like mineral deposits or ample waterways. But in some cases, all that separated a rich country from a poor one was a faint line on a map.

 

Countries that were physically right next to each other were economically worlds apart. Just think of North and South Korea. I became convinced that the crucial difference between these countries wasn't geography. I noticed the most successful countries shared something in common. They were the freest. They protected the rights of the individual. They enforced the rule of law. And they encouraged free enterprise. They understood that economic freedom is the only force in history that has consistently lifted people out of poverty - and kept people out of poverty.

 

A temporary aid package can jolt an economy. It can fund some projects. It can pay some bills. It can employ some people some of the time. But it can't sustain an economy--not for long. It can't pull the whole cart--because at some point, the money runs out.

 

But an assistance program that helps unleash free enterprise creates enduring prosperity. Free enterprise is based on mutual exchange--or, rather, millions of exchanges--millions of people trading, buying, selling, building, investing. Yes, it has its ups and downs. It isn't perfect. But it's more durable. It's more reliable. And ultimately, as history shows, it's more successful.

 

The best example of the good free enterprise can do for the developing world is the example of the developed world itself. My friend Arthur Brooks of the American Enterprise Institute has pointed out that before the year 1800, living standards in the West were appalling. A person born in the eighteenth century lived essentially as his great-great-grandfather had. Life was filled with disease and danger.

 

But starting in 1800, the West began two centuries of free enterprise and trade. Living standards rose. Literacy spread. Health improved. In our own country, between 1820 and 1998, real per capita GDP increased twenty-two-fold.

 

As the most prosperous nation in history, it is our duty to keep the engine of prosperity running--to open markets across the globe and to spread prosperity to all corners of the earth. We should do it because it's the right moral course to help others.

 

But it is also economically the smart thing to do. In our export industries, the typical job pays above what comparable workers make in other industries, and more than one-third of manufacturing jobs are tied to exports. Sadly, we have lost over half a million manufacturing jobs over the last three and a half years.

 

As president, I will reverse this trend by ensuring we have trade that works for America. I will negotiate new trade agreements, ask Congress to reinstate Trade Promotion Authority, complete negotiations to expand the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and create what I call a "Reagan Economic Zone," where any nation willing to play by the rules can participate in a new community committed to fair and free trade.

 

I've laid out a new approach for a new era. We'll couple aid with trade and private investment to empower individuals, encourage innovators, and reward entrepreneurs.

 

Today, we face a world with unprecedented challenges and complexities. We should not forget--and cannot forget--that not far from here, a voice of unspeakable evil and hatred has spoken out, threatening Israel and the civilized world. But we come together knowing that the bitterness of hate is no match for the strength of love.

 

In the weeks ahead, I will continue to speak to these challenges and the opportunities that this moment presents us. I will go beyond foreign assistance and describe what I believe America's strategy should be to secure our interests and ideals during this uncertain time. A year from now, I hope to return to this meeting as president, having made substantial progress toward achieving the reforms I've outlined.

 

But I also hope to remind the world of the goodness and the bigness of the American heart. I will never apologize for America. I believe that America has been one of the greatest forces for good the world has ever known. We can hold that knowledge in our hearts with humility and unwavering conviction.

 

Thank you, Mr. President, and thank you all very much.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PRESIDENT JONATHAN TO ADDRESS UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY

 

United Nations, Sept. 20, 2012 (NAN) President Goodluck Jonathan has been listed among first 38 Heads of State that will  speak at the general debate of the UN General Assembly commencing  on Sept. 25.

 

In a provisional list of speakers for the General Assembly 67th session obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York on Wednesday, the president would address the session in the afternoon.

 

According to the list, Jonathan is on number 16 out of 23 speakers.

 

The heads of states to speak along with the president were those from  Rwanda, Switzerland, Argentina, Senegal, Finland, South Africa Panama, Jordan, Hungary and Pakistan.

 

Others are: El Salvador, Turkey, Gabon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Slovakia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Czech Republic and Afghanistan, Uganda’s Vice President, and Spain Head of Government.

 

Also 15 countries, which their heads of state had been listed in the morning session of the same day , were Brazil, United States, Serbia, Morocco, Benin, Cyprus, Qatar, Bulgaria, Indonesia, Georgia, Dominican Republic, France, Lithuania, Honduras and Namibia.

 

On Tuesday, the General Assembly opened the session with an urgent call for cooperation to tackle the economic and political uncertainties being experienced in many parts of the world.

 

The new President of the 193-member body, Vuk Jeremic of Serbia, had said that ``Peace and security is a prerequisite for the stability needed for global economic growth, sustainable development and social progress.” (NAN)

ENN/OSA/OFN

Martin Lurther King Center Lauds Rivers Govt Over Peace Initiative

 

The Martin Luther King Center, an initiative formed in honour of the late United States peace advocate, Reverend Martin Luther King, has lauded the government of Rivers state for its peace initiative.

 

Briefing a delegation of Rivers state that visited the center in Atlanta under the leadership of the wife of the state governor, Dame Judith Amaechi yesterday, the Director of External Affairs of the center, Mrs Barbara Harrison, rated River state as the highest place where peace has been maintained throughout Nigeria.

 

Mrs Harrison said that the Martin Luther King Center has been following all the political intolerance in some parts of Nigeria, stressing that the efforts of the Rotimi Amaechi-led administration to ensure absolute peace in Rivers state was commendable.

 

Saying that there was an understanding that Governor Rotimi Amaechi took over the leadership of Rivers State when the issue of militancy was rampant in the state, Barbara Harrison pressed further the center was impressed by the way the governor was able to put the activities of the angry militants under control.

 

Her words: "Governor of Rivers state has done a lot in keeping peace in his state and i implore all other governors to emulate his worth emulating efforts. At this point, i like to note that the Martin Luther King Center will continue to support the state in its peace initiative"

 

She also commended the efforts of the first lady of the state, Dame Judith Amaechi, for her continous efforts to give meaningful lives to the women, children and the less privileged ones in the state through the Empowerment Support Initiative {ESI}.

 

Mrs Harrison however urged the Rivers state first lady who is also the founder of the Empowerment Support Initiative {ESI} not to relent in her efforts to defend the rights of women, young girls, children and physically challenged people through her Non-Governmental Organisation.

 

In her response, Mrs Amaechi who noted that nothing can change her passion for the less privileged ones said that her NGO will continue to groom the young ones who she said would in future become patriotic and productive individuals to River State, stressing that such individuals, if caught young, will find dignity in labour, uphold ethics, values and good moral standards.

 

She also lauded the efforts of Reverend Martin Luther King for his outstanding efforts to ensure on peace, adding that the struggles of the United States peace advocate had shown that sustainable peace can only be earned through dialogue.

 

Her words: "When there is peace, rights of the people are protected. When there is love, the fundamental rights of the people and accelerated development are promoted. A child who begins at infancy to learn about love will surely preach peace, promote peace in his community and respect the rights of others"

 

Source: Leadership

 

Central Bank Of Nigeria (CBN) authored  a list of  companies that are barred from getting bank loans because they “failed to repay their loans to banks and had those loans subsequently transferred to  Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).”

 

"A circular released by the Central Bank of Nigeria has listed prominent Nigerians and their companies as chronic debtors who have refused to pay up debts they owe to banks. The circular which listed 113 companies and 419 directors/shareholders directed banks not to extend further credit facilities to the defaulters. Prominent among the blacklisted names and companies are Femi Otedola, Alhaji Sayyu Dantata, Sir Johnson Arumemi-Ikhide, former Power Minister, Prof. Bart Nnaji, Mrs Elizabeth Ebi and Dr. Wale Babalakin. The debtors have refused to pay back their loans despite the purchase of the debts at an agreed price by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON)." -Dr Austin Ejaife Blog

 

“Deposit Money Banks are prohibited from approving or disbursing any new credit facilities to all persons and organisations on this list with effect of the date of this circular, until full liquidation of agreed indebtedness to  Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON),” according to  the circular signed by Central Bank Of Nigeria (CBN)’s Director, Banking Supervision, Mrs. A. O. Martins.

 

The CBN circular titled 'Prohibition of New Credit Facilities To Debtors of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), also stated that “In the initial instance, this restrictions shall apply to individuals, organisations, companies as well as principal shareholders and directors of companies where the outstanding value of loans purchased by AMCON amounted to N5 billion or above as at the day of purchase, without regard to the actual amount paid by AMCON.”

 

The breakdown of the bad debts:

The $1.2 billion(N192 billion) is owed by Otedola’s Zenon Petroleum & Gas Ltd

MRS Holdings Limited, owned by Dantata (N119.98bn);

Seawolf Limited (N98.32bn);

Arik Air Limited, owned by Arumemi-Ikhide (N85.481bn);

NITEL Plc/M-Tel (N71.547bn);

Capital Oil and Gas Limited, owned by Ifeanyi Ubah (N48.014 billion).

Falcon Securities (N162.9bn);

Rockson Engineering Limited, also owned by Arumemi-Ikhide (N60.475bn);

BGL Securities (N6.44bn); Rahamaniyya Oil & Gas Limited (N46.38bn);

Bi-Courtney Limited (N20.214bn);

Geometrics Engineering, owned by Bart Nnaji (N19.76bn);

Aero Contractors Company, belonging to the family of Olorogun Michael Ibru (N32.579bn);

Tinapa Business Resort (N18.509bn).

Nestoil Limited, owned by Ernest Azudialu (N13.506bn);

Dorman Long Engineering (N9.667bn); Ascott Offshore Nig. Ltd, owned by ex-banker,

Henry Imasekha and the Berkley Group (N64.728bn);

Gitto Constuzioni owned by the late Italian road builder(N11.838bn);

Dansa Foods (N14.880bn) whose directorsaer Sani and Abdul Dangote, brothers of billionaire business magnate, Alhaji Aliko Dangote.

Commercial banks were also prohibited from granting further credit to Cross River State and Zamfara State owing to the refusal of the Tinapa Business Resort and the accountant general of the Zanfara State Ministry of Finance to pay back their respective loans.

Sources: PM News, ejaife.wordpress.com

 

 

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      "Anglo Dutch oil giant, Shell, lost about $1.6 billion dollars to theft and other disruption to its Nigerian oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) operations in 2013. The company, also, noted that oil...
  • In Nigeria, Terrorism Moves South In Nigeria, Terrorism Moves South
      LATE last month, a workman on his way to my house rang to explain that he was running late because of the mayhem caused by a bomb blast in the city. Instantly, I was skeptical. There couldn’t possibly...
  • Anambra  and Chinemelum made history in the  WAEC Anambra and Chinemelum made history in the WAEC
    Anambra State made history again by scoring the highest percentage number recorded in the recent result released by the West African Examination Council, WAEC.  The released statistics from WAEC also...
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Strategic Research and Analysis

  • George W Bush  painted  world leaders including Africans George W Bush painted world leaders including Africans
    George W Bush, former US President has another side of him that the public rarely seem or noticed.  On Saturday of  April 5th he shown his exhibitions of the painting of 24  world political leaders and heads of state including three African presidents that he shared the world stage during his tenure.   AP/Benny Snyder   Olusegun Obasanjo and  John Kufuor, former presidents of Nigeria and Ghana together with the current Liberian president,Ellen...
  • Nigeria Senate Confirms Emefiele as CBN Governor Nigeria Senate Confirms Emefiele as CBN Governor
    Godwin Emefiele  has been screened and confirmed  as the Central Bank Governor designate by   Nigerian upper house, the country's Senate. The procedural screening lasted for almost 3 hours.   During the confirmation and screening Central Bank Governor designate, Godwin Emefiele narrated his vision for Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and said that a stable and strong naira will ensured "that Nigeria maintained a strong exchange rate."   He...
  •  Dr. Kingsley Moghalu: The voice of Reason and Conscience at CBN Dr. Kingsley Moghalu: The voice of Reason and Conscience at CBN
    An average Nigerian identifies the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) by its executive governor, in this case the suspended chieftain of CBN, Sanusi Lamido Sansi who has everybody speaking about him. Not because he has reversed the slumped, nosedived and gyrating naira into a stabilized and appreciated currency.  Neither has he made the smallest naira denominations (1K, K5, K25, K50) a real medium of exchange, that have occupied respectable place at monetary...
  • Ukraine's Crimean mocks Obama with Photoshopped and  declare independent Ukraine's Crimean mocks Obama with Photoshopped and declare independent
    Ukraine's Crimean mocks Obama with Photoshopped and  declare independent
    "Ukraine's Crimean peninsula declared itself an independent nation Monday after its residents voted overwhelmingly to secede and try to join Russia, while U.S. and European Union diplomats discussed sanctions against Russia for backing the referendum.   Ukraine's political turmoil has become Europe's most severe security crisis in years and tensions are high since...
  • Gov. Peter Obi: My governor, my brother Thanks a million! Gov. Peter Obi: My governor, my brother Thanks a million!
    "Governor Obi has done a great job, he has made us proud  and his tomorrow is  full of great promises" - Chief Onyechi Nzekwu (Omozele). Chairman, Inland Group USA
    “Obi is a man of vision, mission, focus, compassion, piety and integrity”. His legacies will serve as a lasting guide for future leaders in the state.'" - Emeka Anyaoku, former Commonwealth Secretary     Every good thing has an end. It was just like yesterday that...
  • ANAMBRA 2014 – Rebirth or Rendezvous with Destiny ANAMBRA 2014 – Rebirth or Rendezvous with Destiny
      As Anambra prepares to ring out the old and ring in the new administration, the stakes and challenges can’t be any higher. The State is at a precipice with a weary population that have suffered and endured so much for so long. The outgoing administration no doubt made great strides, considering where it started. However, the expectations and aspirations of the masses from their government remains a colossal illusion.   There is deep resentment...
  • PhotoNews: President Jonathan  Ground Breaking Ceremony Of 2nd Niger Bridge Onitsha PhotoNews: President Jonathan Ground Breaking Ceremony Of 2nd Niger Bridge Onitsha
    " President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday flagged off the construction of a 1.8-kilometre mega-bridge linking Nigeria's southwestern and south-southern regions to the sprawling markets of the country's southeast. "The Second Niger Bridge is a strategic national infrastructure that holds so much importance for our economy," Jonathan said in a short speech before unveiling the bridge's foundation stone. "It links the southwest to the southeast; it's...
  • Lupita Nyong'o ' s Speech on Black Skin and Black Beauty Lupita Nyong'o ' s Speech on Black Skin and Black Beauty
      Lupita Nyong'o, the Kenyan actress who has just won an Oscar Award for  her role in critically acclaimed film, '12 Years a Slave' was also honored with the Best Breakthrough Performance Award at the 7th annual Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon. On her acceptance speech at the 7th annual Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon, she spoke about black color and beauty in the era of bleaching cream that is devaluing the self worth of Black people, blackness...
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