The Moral Debris Of GEJ’s Looted Home

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The Moral Debris of GEJ’s Looted Home, By Louis Odion

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Editorials of the Vanguard newspaper, in my view, belong in the heavyweight echelon of Nigeria’s commentariat. The weight of their punches is to be judged not only by the resonance of their messages over the years, but also the economy of phrase utilised – the uncanny facility to say a lot in so few words, and packing so much into limited space.

This piece was written by Louis Odion. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of 360Nobs.com.

But its edition of August 3 must rank among those that fall miserably short of the high value it normally espouses. In the commentary entitled, “Looting of ex-President Jonathan’s home”, the newspaper said every thing expected against the cops-turned-burglars and those who trafficked the stolen goods.

What would have been a fine argument against yet another iniquity of man was however sullied when, in the next breath, it openly sought to either deny anyone the right to outrage against Jonathan on any count whatsoever and make an outright villain of those unable to express pity or empathy with the victim on this matter.

3 Policemen Detained For ‘Stealing’ Designer Suits, Fridges, Others In Jonathan’s House

It wrote: “No decent human being can claim that what took place in … President Jonathan’s house is excusable on any ground. All people of conscience must rise up and condemn evil, no matter who is involved. The atmosphere of hatred which seems to have seized the people of this country by the throat must be made to give way to empathy for one another, as that is the only way we can build a united, strong country.”

For effect, it reminded us of the great sacrifice GEJ made to secure Nigerian democracy: “It was due to his gentle and patriotic disposition that the nation experienced a peaceful transfer of power from one political party to another in 2015.”

In the haste to whip up sentiments, the editorialist, alas, missed the context and the nuance of the great heist at issue. To start with, seeking to overplay Jonathan’s 2015 concession of defeat as reflected above is very cheap indeed. Care needs be taken against overdrawing that goodwill account. His action then was the most honourable thing to do at that moment, for which enough encomium has been showered on him both within and outside our shores.

But that can, by no means, now amount to an entitlement to pity at all times. Nor can it possibly be tendered as adequate inoculation against reproach or perpetual immunity against public scrutiny.

Otherwise, we, given what is now also known about the sordid aspects of the same past, risk enthroning a new relativity of morality with the suggestion that gross ethical inadequacy should be excused in the throes of sentimentality or being captive to one memory.

Rather, the intelligentsia must be seen as setting very high standards for the society, holding all actors by a universal principle. Inherent in that resolve is a commitment not to compromise values or lend itself to those seeking to lower the society’s ethical bar on sentiments ranging from ethnicity to creed.

Two, there can be no disputation over whether Jonathan, were he another ordinary Nigerian, would be deserving of pity over this loss of valuables. While it may be true that most Nigerians indeed lack true love for their nation as a corporate entity, they certainly do not hate one another at the inter-personal level, as can be verified from the instinctive response of the average Nigerian meeting complete strangers at an accident scene, for instance. He is very unlikely to turn the other way but play the biblical Good Samaritan – lending a hand to those in distress.

As a people, Nigerians are not incapable of pity when sufficiently aroused.

In the present circumstance, the truth is that Jonathan is definitely not the guy next door. And if we can summon courage to face the more inconveniencing truth, many – if not most – Nigerians today would argue GEJ only just got a mini dose of the bitter portion the nation was force-fed with under his watch as president.

In a poetic reversal of role, while the man from Otuoke grieved over the loss of domestic valuables under police guard, his fellow compatriots have not stopped bemoaning the mindless looting of their own country while Jonathan was sentinel.

On account of what is now known, those who wish to discount the GEJ silhouette as only totemic of looting without limit cannot therefore be accused of being uncharitable. The costs of plasma TVs, refrigerators and bowler hats are certainly insignificant compared to, say, the $150 million (N54 billion) of luxury asset recently forfeited by Diezani and co to US authorities alone. To say nothing of an estimated $15 billion (N5.4 trillion) systematically stolen, as revealed through Dasukigate.

Funny enough, when the likes of then CBN governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi were crying out that the national exchequer was being bled to death, Jonathan took it upon himself to parlay every national platform to vigorously defend Diezani as a hapless victim of those playing malicious political games.

When you occupy an enviable office, he once philosophised on national television in her defence, enemies tell fat lies to pull you down.

So, if some citizens are now unable to bring themselves to pity Jonathan over the Gwarinpa burglary as the Vanguard editorial surmised, it must be understood in the context of a nation still unable to come to terms with the mega heist under his watch, the lurid details of which continue to unfold with stifling pungency both at home and abroad.

In the statement to the police, he lamented that his home was “completely stripped bare”, underlining an epic betrayal of truth. Policemen asked to guard a home chose to become the thieves themselves.

But once the marauding vultures had been upbraided and chased away, it will be time to censure the mother fowl for exposing her chicks to danger in the first place. By Jonathan’s own admission, the theft was only discovered last month. The truth he was obviously too shy to share is that the property in question was lying waste as he lives elsewhere in Abuja. That apparently left the door ajar for the evil cops to systematically clean out the four-bedroom duplex over months.

Of course, in a society where an estimated 60 percent of the population is considered homeless and many more go to bed on empty stomaches at night, that is not the sort of secret you want to let out.

So, had the media not become awash last week with “sensational” claims of what went missing, it is debatable if Jonathan would not have preferred to hush things up to avoid eyebrows being raised or some hard questions being asked. His statement on the theft would then seem to be motivated more by a desire to debunk the “exaggerated” claims than a willingness to give the self up for scrutiny.

Obviously to deflect initial reports suggesting “36 Plasma television sets and 25 refrigerators” were stolen, the former president detailed the haul to include only six flat screen TV sets, toilet seats, three refrigerators, doors and one gas cooker. His statement was, however, conveniently silent on the reports on “bales and bales of babanriga wears and designer suits with his names embroidered on the inner linings”.

Without being induced, some witnesses have already volunteered accounts of what really happened. One Mallam Shuaibu has been named as one of the buyers of the stolen items at the popular Pankera Second-hand Market, Abuja. One account said each suit was auctioned for N5,000. And what a boom time it was in that corner of the market for a long time before the secret leaked. You would see locals of all nations and creeds trying on the assorted bowler hats on display and “woko” Ijaw jumpers of many colours in the open, before making a pick.

Not surprising, the four cops implicated in the shameful conduct have since been dismissed by the police after an orderly room trial preparatory to their being formally prosecuted. The same way Ibrahim Bagobiri, chairman of the Pankera Market, has been defenestrated by members for allegedly partaking in the receipt and disposal of the stolen goods.

From media pictures of the crime scene, it is easy to feel anger, vengeance in the clinical severity with which the policemen-burglars violated the haven where Jonathan once dined and slept. Literally, what remained was for the brigands to excavate the floor tiles and the blocks to complete a furious plunder.

Though no one can tell for sure how long it took them to finish the pillage, since they were reportedly posted after the former president quit Aso Rock, it is perhaps safe to assume they had taken charge before the slime of Dasukigate began to seep out by the twilight of 2015.

Dazed by the stories of grand larceny that began to circulate, chances are that the unscrupulous policemen themselves only saw Jonathan’s personal effects and household goods as their own fair portion of the elephantine loot. Ordinarily, no one would wish to be left out when the proverbial butchered elephant is being shared.

It is clear Karma had passed through Gwarinpa with all its mystical stealth.

Louis Odion is a Fellow of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (FNGE).

This piece was written by Louis Odion. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of 360Nobs.com.

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N30trn Revenue Fraud: CEOs Of 30 Firms Honour Senate Invitation After Arrest Warrant

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The Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of 30 companies, whose arrest warrants were issued for failing to honour invitations before the senate joint committee on customs, excise and tariff, and marine transport with respect to the N30 trillion revenue probe, have finally appeared before the committee.

The CEOs are accused of complicity in the frauds amounting to N30tn in the export and import value chain between 2006 and 2017.

N30trn Probe: Senate Threatens To Arrest CEO Of Glo Mobile, 15 Other Companies

This disclosure was made by Hope Uzodinma, chairman of the committee on Wednesday after a meeting with some of the companies in Abuja.

He said all the CEOs honoured the committee’s invitation after the arrest warrant was issued.

He had previously said that out of 63 accused companies, only 33 firms had appeared before it.

Due to their refusal to appear, the senate committee, on Friday, directed the police to arrest the CEOs.

The companies involved include Crown Flour Mills, Glo Mobile, British American Tobacco, CCECC, Dana Group, Olam Int. Ltd., Hong Xing Steel Co. Ltd., Visafone, African Wire, Star Comments and Allied Ltd. and Aarti Steel Nig. Ltd.

Others are Abyem-Diva Int. Ltd., Gagasel Int., Friesland Capina, Etco Nig., Edic Chemicals and Allied Distributors, De United Foods, Don Climax Group, Skill G Nig. Ltd., Premium Seafood and La Rauf Nig. Ltd.

Also involved are Standard Metallurgical Co. Ltd., Kam Industries, IBG Investment Ltd., Orazulike Trading Co. Ltd., Popular Foods Ltd., A-Kelnal Integrated & Logistics Services, African Industries, African Tiles & Ceramics and ZTE Nigeria.

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Kwara Gov’t Confirms That Saraki Has Returned His Entire Pension

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The Government of Kwara State has confirmed that the Senate President, Bukola Saraki has returned all monies paid to him as pension back to the coffers of the state government.

Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, had on Sunday demanded that the senate president return the pension paid to him by the state government since 2007.

Falana also sought that he relinquish the house the state government bought for him in Abuja.

However, in a statement issued on Wednesday, the Secretary to Kwara State Government (SSG), Alhaji Isiaka Gold, said Saraki has returned all monies paid to him as pension back to the coffers of the state government.

The SSG made this known in Ilorin in a press statement issued to clarify the issue of Saraki’s pension being paid by the state government.

The statement read: “The attention of Kwara state government has been drawn to issues surrounding the payment of pensions to former governors of the state, especially the senate president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, CON.

“As a result, the state government wish to make the following clarifications: That Dr Saraki, as a two-term governor, is entitled to pension as stipulated by the third schedule, Paragraph D (i) of the governor and deputy-governor ((payment of pension) Law, No. 12 of 2010 of Kwara state.

“That the said pension has been duly remitted to his account, like other former governors’, since he left office but when via a letter dated 20th August 2015 addressed to the state government, Dr Saraki requested that the payment of pension to his account be stopped and the amount already credited to the account be refunded to the government, the state government promptly complied.

“That the government not only stopped the payment of the said pension, the amount already paid into Dr Saraki’s account since he left office was deducted from the money owed to him as well as his other outstanding lawful entitlements.

“In view of the foregoing, it should be noted that neither the Kwara state government nor Dr Bukola Saraki violated the state pension law or any other law for that matter. The state pension law empowers the state government to pay pension to former governors of the state.”

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Bale: I’m Staying At Madrid

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Gareth Bale has stated the only thing he is focused on now is getting to fit to play for Madrid.

Reports have it that Madrid are looking to sell the Wales international to raise funds for Mbappe.

However, following his performance in the Super Cup, Perez is keen on holding onto the forward who is not interested in leaving Madrid.

“For me, I just want to concentrate now on getting fit, getting ready for the new season and playing as well as I can, ultimately,” he said.

Asked if he had told Real Madrid of a desire to stay, the Wales star laughed: “There’s been no need for anything.

“Everything’s gone on as normal, like it has every year. There’s been the normal speculation like there is every year.

“Obviously it’s a little bit more hyped up because we were playing Man United today. So it’s one of those things.

“I’m focused on my football and getting into shape. I’m happy, I play football, I win trophies … I just want to concentrate on being ready for the new season, and playing the best I can.

“The club have not told me anything about my future but we have talked and are happy with everything.”

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Cahill Unhappy With Decision To Sell Matic

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Gary Cahill says he is disappointed Chelsea sold Nemanja Matic , insisting he is a great loss to the club.

The Serbia international joined former Chelsea manager, Jose Mourinho at Manchester United for £40 million.

Chelsea secured the services of Bakayoko from Monaco and still has Kante on his roster. But Cahill insists Matic will be missed.

When asked about the Serb, Cahill told Sky Sports: “Matic is a fantastic player, a real top player. I had the benefit of realising how good he is when he’s playing just in front of you, on and off the ball.

“He’s going to be a huge loss, there’s no doubt about that. And for us it’s important because it can be very offensive this formation.

“People look at it as a five [in defence] but really it’s a three a lot of the time. The two wing-backs are pushed very high and we attack with numbers, so for us at the back in terms of balance you have to have some sort of protection and they gave us that last season.”

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Morgan Hails Iheanacho’s Scoring Abilities

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Leicester City captain, Wes Morgan is happy Iheanacho is with the club and expects him to do exploits.

The Jamaican defender is looking forward to Iheanacho affecting the direction of the team, as the season is about to start.

The Nigeria international joined the foxes from Manchester City and has signed a five-year contract.

“He’s a very, very good player. He’s sharp and quick and he’s definitely got an eye for goal,” Morgan told SkySports.

“We did a round-robin tournament today and he was on my team. He popped up with some great goals from impossible positions, which is refreshing.

“It’s good to see someone with that knowhow, someone with a different acuteness that adds something to the team.

“I think he’ll come and do a great job for us.”

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Mourinho Happy With Lukaku Performance

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Jose Mourinho has lauded Lukaku’s performance in the 2-1 Super Cup loss to Madrid, despite the striker missing an open goal.

Los Blancos claimed victovictory in Skopje, thanks to goals from Casemiro and Isco, who was named man of the match.

Lukaku scored just after the hour to reduce the deficit, having already missed a clear chance earlier.

“He tried, and of course he missed his chance with an open goal but he scored his goal,” Mourinho told a news conference.

“He had a good fight against two good central defenders and I’m happy with his period and I’m happy with the way he fits into – I’m not tired to repeat – an amazing group.”

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Nigerians React As Toke Makinwa Says “Guys Who Whatsapp Call Girls Are Lazy” (Watch Video)

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Nigerian radio personality, television host, vlogger and author, Toke Makinwa, has stirred the hornet’s nest on social media in the latest edition of TokeMoments, titled ‘Weird Much’.

Despite the backlashes and reactions that trailed the previous edition, when she talked about hairnets, farting, morning kisses and more, the media personality got several Nigerians cheesed off after she said ”guys who whatsapp call their girls are lazy”, in her recent publication.

According to her, “Girls like being called, but not WhatsApp call, I feel some type of way when a guy is not using his credit to call me”.

The OAP, who is also known for co-hosting The Morning Drive on Rhythm 93.7 FM, also had something to say to guys who constantly change their display pictures and guys who always tweet and troll at celebrities.

Watch the video below:

While a segment of Twitter netizens (girls especially) completely agreed with her, others showed their disapproval.

See tweets below:

 

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1,886 ‘Illegal’ Schools Shut Down In Rivers State

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At least 1,886 schools operating without government’s approval have been shut down by the Rivers State Government on Tuesday, August 8, 2017.

Speaking yesterday in Port Harcourt when the management staff of Jesuit Memorial College, Mbodo-Aluu, paid him a courtesy visit, Governor Nyesom Wike, said the schools were shut for failing to meet specified standards of the state Ministry of education.

Wike also said that parents patronising the affected schools had been told to relocate their wards before the next academic session began.

According to him, the government will fully implement measures aimed at strengthening the state education sector by September.

“We want to maintain standards that will uplift education in the state,” Wike said.

The governor further stressed that his administration was committed to transforming the state and empowering its people through an enhanced education sector.

He condemned examination malpractice associated with some illegal schools operating as West African Examination Council (WAEC) centres in some remote parts of the state.

According to the governor, most illegal schools have become WAEC magic centres where examination malpractices are promoted.

NAN quoted him as lauding the management of the Jesuit Memorial College for establishing a branch in Rivers in honour of the 60 students who died in the Sosoliso air crash in Port Harcourt on Dec.10, 2005.

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Zidane: Madrid Hungry For More Titles

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Zinedine Zidane is still hungry for more silverware to win with Real Madrid, after their UEFA Super Cup win.

Casemiro opened the scoring in the 24th minute, before Isco, who was named man of the match scored the second seven minutes after the break.

Zidane says Madrid who are going into the new season after winning the La Liga, Champions League and now the Super Cup, are still looking to win more trophies.

“We know we’ve got a lot of talent and that with hard work we can achieve great things,” head coach Zidane said. “We’re very hungry, we always want more.

“It was a near perfect performance. The first half was fantastic and then we struggled a bit at the end of the second. If we’d have got the third goal, that would have been it. We showed great character and hunger.

“There were great celebrations in the dressing room, that’s normal, we never get tired of winning. We controlled things where they are very strong, such as second balls, the high balls. We pressed high and didn’t allow them to play. We made it count with the ball and stayed calm. The team’s overall commitment is crucial as well.”

Zidane, whose side have scored in their last 66 games in all competitions, added: “We know that every game will be more difficult and we’ll come up against very good opposition throughout the season.

“We want to give it our all and we’ve got the ambition to do better and better. Today was no comparison with the pre-season games. We were on it from the first minute to the last.”

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