Friday, June 17, 2011

Muslim Lawyers Association of Nigeria & A Grateful Nation

Muslim Lawyers Association of Nigeria & A Grateful Nation
Written by Paul I. Adujie

Exuberance, elation and unrestrained joy, overflowed upon reading that A Federal High Court in Lagos, Nigeria awarded monetary compensations and damages in favor of some Nigerians who were arrested and detained unlawfully and arbitrarily!

The plaintiffs instituted legal action against the Inspector General of Police and three others, namely, the Attorney General of the Federation, or AGF, and the State Security Service or SSS, the latter were absolved and deemed blameless.

A ten million Naira was awarded as compensation, while litigation costs, which amounted to the sum of thirty thousand, Naira, will be absorbed or borne by the respondents.

The important thing here is not the money. Instead, it rather that a groundbreaking or landmark judgment or verdict was rendered in favor of a group of hapless Nigerian citizens who were singled out for unlawful, and arbitrary arrests and detentions, based primarily on the fact that these Nigerians are Muslims or that they are adherent of Islam or a particular religion.

The measure of human refinement in any society or nation, and the measure and gauge of the extent of human refinements in Nigeria, as a society and as a nation is determined by how we care for our poor, the under privileged.

The Vanguard Newspapers of Nigeria reported that “The trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, in his judgment in a fundamental rights suit against the police by the Nigerians also restrained the Nigeria Police from further arresting, interfering on the fundamental rights to personal liberty and freedom of movement of the applicants” in a featured news article.

It was reported that “ in the suit by Sulaimon Alli, Abdul Ganiyu Sadu, Abdul Jelil Sanusi, Alimi Sulaimon, Abdul Hakeem Abdul Raman, AbdulKabir Shofidiya and Sulaimon Adebayo.” Which alleged illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional acts which “prayed the court to declare their arrest and detention illegal for more than 30 days by the police without any cogent reason as illegal, a violation of their fundamental human rights as enshrined in the constitution of the the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

“There is unchallenged evidence before me which I believe that the Applicants were in detention for 30 good days and were subjected to untold hardship.”

“They were also subjected to degrading and inhuman treatment. They were in solitary confinement and being held hostage for 30 days. They were moved from one police formation to another at will. On record they were moved to three different police stations within Lagos State.”

Clearly, what has happened here, in my view, is, the establishment of a principle, to wit, Nigeria is a Nation of Laws... and those whose rights have been violated will find remedies and succor from our judiciary and such citizen(s) do not have to be stupendously wealth and opulent, or must they possess the immense resources nor do they have to be a in position to hire 20 Senior Advocates of Nigeria... before they may find justice and equity from our legal system (judiciary) etc

This sounds like a landmark case and it is a groundbreaking judgment or verdict, as reported, if the finding of facts and the law are consistent with the verdict, it will stand, even on appeal and add to the body decided cases or precedents which will be used as benchmark and guideposts henceforth in determining outcomes in subsequent cases similar to the one under review.

Nigerians and all who wish Nigeria well, have an additional reason to celebrate this legal outcome for the Boko Haram suspects and plaintiffs in this case. Nigeria is firmly establishing herself as a nation of laws, a democracy, where Due Process, The Rule of Law, justice and equity forms the fulcrum of our great nation. Even in war time or during wars, there are rules of engagement. Conflicts cannot be the excuse for disregarding the fundamental human rights, liberty and freedoms of Nigerian citizens.

This is why verdicts or judgments such as the one by Justice Okon Abang is crucially important reinforcement of Due Process and The Rule of Law.

Nigerian society is imbibing a social construct, based on the establishment of a nourishing, and flourishing environment for individual liberties.

It is the case, that this current case and it’s outcome, illustrates the fact that, individual rights, liberties and fundamental human rights are being given rightfully due recognition and priority, brick-by-brick, in Nigeria, as Nigeria establishes a groundswell for social-economic development.

In the so-called global war on terrorism outside Nigeria, it has become common practice for many nations and their governments to engage unlawful arrests, detentions and maltreatments of Muslims, employing all sorts of pretexts, including radical Islam and extremism by some Muslims. Islam and Muslims have arguably and justifiably, felt under attack and siege.

It has become the vogue and quite fashionable, for some governments across the world view Islam and Muslims as the real and imagined enemies and whipping boy.

Islam and Muslims have become and endangered group of citizens across the world, as they are subject to reasonable and quite unreasonable scrutinizes globally.

Islam and its adherents have been feeling persecuted, particularly since the event of September 11, 2001 in the United States. Thankfully, through this legal outcome, Nigeria is saying, unequivocally, that Nigeria will not tolerate arbitrary and unlawful arrests and detentions of persons under pretext of fighting Islamic extremist or so-called war on terrorism.

It may be Muslims today, it could be Atheists, or Hare Khishena or African Religion adherents or Agnostics tomorrow

It therefore bears repeating, that it is better to set 10 suspects free than to jail or punish ONE innocent person.

And significantly, as it is relevant to this judgment by Justice Okon Abang, it is eminently better to compensate "Boko-Haram" suspects than to allow-permit unlawful and arbitrary detentions and abuse of citizens' rights by government agencies.

The outcome of this litigation on behalf of Nigerian citizens, who happens to be Muslims or adherents of Islam, makes such a laudatory point.

It is also the case that a socially responsible group of Nigerian Lawyers, the Muslim Lawyers Association, a socially aware and socially conscious group of Nigerians, took it upon themselves, to vigorously pursue this case to its successfully outcome.

This is the essence of democracy and the idea of all of us, taking our civic responsibility seriously! This is the push-and-pull, and call-and-response, which makes democracies successful. When all strata of society play roles and its parts
Well meaning Nigerians and all persons who wish Nigeria success, should offer congratulations to the plaintiffs and to the MULAN for standing up for what is right and using due process and the Rule of Law to accomplish this remarkable outcome

We salute the judge in the case, The trial judge, Justice Okon Abang who spoke for the average Nigerian or the proverbial common man... this is the Nigeria we want. We are at cusps of Nigeria of our aspirations.

The judgment rendered in favor of those who were unlawfully and arbitrarily detained and the vigilant and diligent pursuit of justice on their behalf by the Muslim Lawyers Association of Nigeria, or MULAN is a teachable moment for all Nigerians.

It showcases the courage and integrity of Nigerian judges and by extension, our judiciary. The judgment and the action of MULAN which precipitated the verdict, is also a ringing endorsement of the effectiveness of our Due Process, our Rule of Law and the fact that our Democracy is steadily taking root.

It is also an example for all segments of Nigeria, across the national spectrum that we may not resort to vigilante justice or self-help or taking laws into our hands in reactions to disputes. We may not foist violence and chaos upon our nation; we can rely on our judges, our judiciary and our lawyers to resolve disputes with integrity, impartiality and courage.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Anthony Weiner, Fallen Stars, Arrogant Powerful Men & Sexual Entitlement?

Anthony Weiner, Fallen Stars, Arrogant Powerful Men & Sexual Entitlement
Written by Paul I. Adujie

VAGINA and the lust for vaginal sex ended the promising illustrious career of erstwhile congressman, Anthony D. Weiner, the firebrand Democrat from New York!

The fixation on sex consumes yet another powerful man and in New York City again. In the last sixty days, Dominique Strauss-Kahn the former leader of the International Monetary Fund or IMF was arrested because of sex and his career soon ended.

Then there was another banker Mahmoud Abdel Salam Omar from Egypt, who was similarly arrested for seeking sex inappropriately, again in New York City.

And before all these, a brilliant lawyer, a public policy wonk, with great foresight, a man who foretold the greed, avarice and sundry corporate wrongdoings, which presaged the financial meltdown and the current recession-depression.

Elliot Spitzer, a man who was governor of the state of New York and could have be president of the United States, Eliot Spitzer, was compel to resign as governor because he sourced sex inappropriately.

John Edwards, another lawyer, with phenomenal success in private practice, whose late wife was also a lawyer, both accomplished spouses. John Edwards became candidate for vice president and then candidate for the presidency of the United States, but, he is now indicted, all because he sought sex inappropriately. His public policy ideas were superb!

Why Do Powerful Men feel this sense of entitlement to sex from multitudes of women? Is it a matter of arrogance, ego, hubris, narcissism, and a sense of invincibility?

Anthony Weiner is married to a gorgeous woman with a high profile job, she is in great shape and they have been married for just one year, but, among Congressman Weiner's sexting-textng-friends, was a "retired" porn star, an expert in pornography as consultant to the Congressman?

Mr. Weiner cannot argue that he is already bored with his marriage. He cannot argue that his wife is lazy, fat or obese and a slob, because none of these applies to her! So, what was the excuse?

Are these powerful men merely engaged in, these inappropriate sex and the resulting scandal, because they believed that they could get away with it? Could it be because these men believe they could have any woman, because they just could?

What is exactly the motivation? Arrogance or misplaced self-assured ego, allowed these men to pretend that they are super-fly-invincible ... it turns out that they are gold fishes, and gold fishes have no hiding places!

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a guy, I too like women... and I am not beyond temptations... but, here is the deal for me regarding Congressman Weiner, he is married only one year, he is young, and so is his gorgeous wife, high-profile career... WHY RUIN ALL THAT? And now, he is out of work in these tough economic times? AND for WHAT?

I don't get him and other menfolk like him... it is not as if his wife is overweight or a slob... she is a complete package, shape, career and high-profile flyer, her employment with US Secretary of State, Mrs. Hilary Rodham Clinton; How could Congressman be bored with such gorgeous -shapely and career lady? AFTER ONLY ONE YEAR of marriage? What did I miss?

Congressman Weiner was greatly admired by many, including this writer! He spoke often and consistently in defense of Democratic Party values and defended President Obama administration policies, when other Democrats were tepid, timid and timorous ... and spineless in defending their party's ideals! But there goes the neighborhood with his fixations on female orifices of pleasure!

He did not even get to live his fantasies... he was always at the talking and planning and more planning stages... how he would use his mightily endowed crutch and male equipment... he talked a good game, but, he never really got near to any orifices or crevices of the female anatomy which he craved... he never got to the center of pleasure... he merely talked, text and dreamed a lot about other women ... he only still had his wife... he is getting enormously huge punishments without ever really getting to commit the "crime" proper

Anthony D. Weiner, a superb congressman and a promising candidate for the mayoralty of New York City, now bleeds from mortal political wounds; self-inflicted wounds! He was silly, stupid and sophomoric or SSS... sex, ha!

Eliot Spitzer and Anthony Weiner were great on advocacy... I truly admire Eliot Spitzer despite the scandal! Spitzer has great foresight and he is a superb policy wonk... on the whole, Spitzer and Weiner are great on public policies... consistent with my worldview, except for these scandalous indiscretions and attendant or consequent ruinations! We the public have suffered losses as a result of their downfalls.

There are many who are saying that this fixation to sex and particularly inappropriate sex, is not unique to only powerful men, or that it is not only powerful men who take undue advantage of women sexually, all men think of and want sex, I understand that...

But, what I do not understand is how powerful men abuse their powers arrogantly, taking undue advantage of women to whom the men have put in powerless position and how such arrogance lead the men to think they are invincible and beyond reproach or even contrition etc

Why would educated men, with great careers, and men at the zenith, apex and pinnacle of their career and life, chose to endanger all that, through stupid risks, say, with a prostitute, a porn star, a hotel maid, or the resort to twittering naked pictures of male anatomical parts? How does tasteless picture earn any man a date?

It broke many hearts in his constituency, as they learned that Anthony D. Weiner has resigned! His childlike indiscretion was wacky, but what got completely out of control, was his elaborate cover-up, in which he granted countless interviews during which he was garrulous and flippant, too flippant!

In the end, he looked really like a common criminal, a thief with his hand caught in the cookie jar, he was heckled at the press conference as he announced his resignation, that for a man who was always press savvy and a darling of the media! He always had the issue right, full grasps and intelligent prescriptions or proffered solutions.

No one should be sanctimonious here, we all have our weaknesses. But, to those who so much are given, much is expected. A congressperson should be doing the people business. There is deep recession-depression, three foreign wars, Afghanistan, Iraq and now, in Libya as well.

There is now a chronic unemployment throughout the United States. There are millions of mortgage foreclosures by banks and financial institutions, leaving many home owners helpless and desperate. Cities and municipalities are filing for bankruptcies.

Fire houses are closing. Services are being cut, including reductions in Police, Teachers, Library and other essential services; and a politician takes pictures of his manhood and mail such to several women?

Politicians engaging in sexually explicit scandals and then, causing such distractions from everything which is important, he then eventually resigns after so much pressure from the press and public, Democrats and Republicans? The man engaged in silly, stupid, sophomoric sexual scandal, then, lied to cover up the embarrassing sleaze, talk of waste of valuable time!

Some politicians are in a Race-To-The-Bottom? Scandalous, voyeuristic and immature sex-texting with several women ... inappropriate and distasteful photographs does not elevate politics or public policy and AND does not even enhance or facilitate getting any lady! What lady gets impressed by a guy, whose seeks to persuade her with pictures of his crutch?

I never heard of any man getting a lady, because he showed her a picture of his bulging manhood or crutch in underpants, bulging, not matter how bulging!

It is so tempting to generalize about these apparently sex-crazed politicians. It is not a good idea to generalize... it is rather an intellectually lazy thing to generalize!

There are good politicians and not so good ones... there are great Catholic priests and there the many others who molest boys/children sexually, and there virtues and vices across the world. It is not good to generalize period!

In recent memory, we have had mighty men falling from grace for inappropriate sex, President Clinton, Governor Jim McGreevy of New Jersey, Governor Sanford South Carolina, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, Golfer Tiger Wood, Banker-Politician Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Senator John Ensign, Senator Larry Craig etc

Why steal what you already you are abundantly supplied by gorgeous your gorgeous wife? Why snatch what you can get through persuasion?

Why do some men seek sex from women who are less beautiful, in worse shape, and with less education, class and career, than the wife at home? Why have a whole cow and still a chicken? It will be interesting to know the answer!

But why do powerful men, politicians, business moguls at the top of their games, squander all that for sex, illicit, stolen, criminal and inappropriate sex?

Why do powerful men work so hard, then, only to gamble it all away for sex?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Land Grabs, In New Scramble For Africa & Global Food Security Implications

Land Grabs, In New Scramble For Africa & Global Food Security Implications
Written by Paul I. Adujie

“Slavery and colonialism came with great benefits to Africa from Europe” Among the “benefits” are, the adoption of Christianity by millions of Africans and the fact that a majority of Africans have become westernized through formal western education and democratic forms of governments.

An African on the African continent made these ignorant, naïve, simplistic and dumb comments on the BBC Have Your Say Program which was aired on June 9, 2011. He made these pronouncements so matter-of-fact and in such self-assured manner. He made the proclamations as if these were incontrovertible and sacrosanct.

He repeatedly identified these so-called “benefits” as though Africans are monolithic lots overjoyed with their adoption of Christianity, when in fact, Christianity was forced on the natives as European Christian Missionaries displaced and relegated African religions and spirituality.

It is impossible to hear anything more preposterous, outrageous and outlandish on BBC in the aftermath of this gentleman’s advertisement of his blissful ignorance. And yet, there were others on the BBC show who nodded agreement.

There were those who agreed and expressed similar sentiments, such as suggesting that the Land Grabs on the African continent by American and European entities does not have to pass the smell-test, for after all, these lands were laid fallow and not put to productive use by Africans prior to the onsets of these Land Grabs!

Africa does have her fair share of buffoons as citizens; One cannot in a million years imagine that a Jew in any part of the world, would argue that Jewish Holocaust was beneficial in some way, perhaps, arguing that in a roundabout way, it brought about the creation of the Jewish State of Israel in 1948?

How can anyone, especially an African on the African continent argue that Slavery and colonialism were beneficial to Africans? Despite the immutable evidence of the horrors, brutalities and inhumanity meted upon Africans, victims of slavery and colonialism, despite this well established public knowledge! It must not be forgotten that the Africans were robbed of human and material resources, culture, religion etc. And yet, there is an African with cognitive abilities who described these sordid African experience as having scintilla of “benefits”?

Slavery and colonialism are the twin greatest evils ever perpetrated by some human beings upon others; and it is just incredulous for anyone to suggest that there were benefits! It is an unimaginable incredulity if a Jew were to argue that there were “benefits” in pogroms and Holocaust!

Someone argued that the lands in Africa have been laying unused and laying fallow, and so, it is quite okay for Americans and Europeans companies or entities to snap them up… the equivalents of saying it okay to harvest organs of the poor or saying it is okay for your neighbor to put your kidney up for sale, for after all, you can function with one or that you have not been particularly vigorous or physically active?

Or that you have been a lazy person all this while with your two kidneys? Land Grabs are deprivations, through displacements and dislocations of thousands of poor farmers, and no excuses will do. It is the case that Land Grabs are getting worse in Africa
An opinion piece by this writer regarding Land Grabs by Whites and or foreign farmers on the African continent was published in September 2003 which is the predicate for my invitation to be guest on the BBC Program and I have been guest on several BBC broadcasts in the past, never one quite like June 11, 2011, which left me in utter shock!

Then in 2003 when I wrote “Does Nigeria Really Need British Or Any Foreign Farmers?” when the first Land Grabs in Nigeria were taking place, as it is now in 2011, land appropriation and expropriation and the concerns for food security in Africa were my concerns.

In 2003, this writer stated and it bears repeating that, Landlessness is one of the remaining vestiges of colonialism is Southern Africa including, and particularly Zimbabwe! The Boers and their other fellow Europeans grabbed lands in Southern Africa, from Black Natives who previously owned these lands!

The land issue has been the core of the racial, political and economic disputes that are raging in Zimbabwe. Land Grabs, racial discrimination and economic disparities are relics of White Supremacy and domination in Africa, particularly, the nations in Southern Africa, which were the last to be decolonized;

Zimbabwe is a case in point, Zimbabwe dramatizes, these vestiges and relics White usurpation of economic, political and civil rights of Blacks; Blacks who were arbitrarily denied of their lands and rights in their backyards in Africa.... But the world has forgotten, and prefers to focus on Mr. Mugabe with all his faults.
The genesis of the Zimbabwean land redistribution crises stemmed from Britain neglected or refused to implement the pre-independence Lancaster House London Agreement made with Zimbabwean political leaders, hence the imbroglio between Black and White farmers in Zimbabwe, emanated from British unwillingness to follow through with land redistribution agreements she entered more than twenty years ago!,
The Landless Black farmers versus the White farmers, who have all the lands; Lands, which the Blacks, originally owned. Lands which Whites converted arbitrarily and summarily looted and usurped from Blacks, but for Whites themselves
The Guardian Newspapers of London June 8, 2011 published a feature article by John Vidal and Claire Provost “US Universities In Africa 'Land Grab” in which it was reported that “Institutions including Harvard and Vanderbilt reportedly use hedge funds to buy land in deals that may force farmers out” which will result in displacement, dislocation and hunger for millions of Africans!

The Guardian UK reported that “Harvard and other major American universities are working through British hedge funds and European financial speculators to buy or lease vast areas of African farmland in deals, some of which may force many thousands of people off their land, according to a new study.”

“Researchers say foreign investors are profiting from "land grabs" that often fail to deliver the promised benefits of jobs and economic development, and can lead to environmental and social problems in the poorest countries in the world.”

“The new report on land acquisitions in seven African countries suggests that Harvard, Vanderbilt and many other US colleges with large endowment funds have invested heavily in African land in the past few years.

Much of the money is said to be channelled through London-based Emergent asset management, which runs one of Africa's largest land acquisition funds, run by former JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs currency dealers”. Researchers at the California-based Oakland revealed that fertile African lands are be snatched and grabbed by American Universities!

Oxfam has expressed similar concerns about food crisis, food insecurity and humanitarian catastrophes which would come about, including the multiplier effects on food prices which is already high and would double soon.

Whether these American and European entities are growing cheap food on the African continent for American and European consumers or growing for Bio-Fuels, any such efforts and endeavors which displaces, dislocated and disadvantage the Africans should be condemned by all.

It is a case of double whamming in these Land Grabs! The Africans will be displaced, dislocated and the Africans are not the target of or the end results or outcomes from the lands and the Africans will have food insecurity and hunger inflicted upon them or at the very minimum, the conditions of the Africans will be exacerbated by these American and Europeans new scramble for Africa.

Thousands of farmers have already been displaced and dislocated from the farmlands in Ethiopia, Mozambique, Tanzania etc and these American and European entities have demonstrated no interests in feeding starving Africans or providing jobs or improving the human conditions on ground according to activists such as Obang Metho of Solidarity Movement for New Ethiopia.

The Guardian UK writes that “Research by the World Bank and others suggests that nearly 60m hectares – an area the size of France – has been bought or leased by foreign companies in Africa in the past three years.” This is quite clearly an emergency and it should be a matter serious continental and global concerns. Where are the African governments and Public Intellectuals on this all-important existential issue?

"Most of these deals are characterized by a lack of transparency, despite the profound implications posed by the consolidation of control over global food markets and agricultural resources by financial firms,"

Those who have the land and water resources will have the money and will be calling all the shots in the next decade and in the future. Land and water resources will be the new petroleum, both in a literal and metaphorical sense.

American Universities and Hedge Funds are aggressively pursuing and engaging in Land Grabs on the African continent. These entities are motivated by food security and the need to feed Africans or partner with Africans to grow more food for consumption and exports. But instead, this new scramble for Africa, land, water and other resources, is to enable these entities establish cash crops for producing Bio-Fuels and for erecting Wind-Turbines or Wind Farms.

There are also speculations to the effect, that these American and European entities are in these Land Grabs in Africa, where they would have unfettered access to Africa’s water resources and farmlands, where they will be able to escape agriculture and food productions and food processing regulations as applicable in America and Europe.

These entities are keenly aware that, there are too many Africans who are still unaware of the continuing vigorous and profound debates regarding Genetically Modified Foods or Genetically Engineered Foods or GNF, GEF and concerns by many scientists of the risks imbued in GNF and irradiation of foods etc. Africa could soon become the new frontier in sundry agricultural and food production and processing experiments.

An agronomy Frankenstein or agricultural, food production and food processing scientific mutations and attendant adverse consequences, could soon be upon the world and as usual, such experiments or scientific accident will begin in Africa, with Africans as the guinea pigs and the perpetrators being American and European entities, the usual suspects?

What is the origin of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome and HIV? Some have pointed at an African gorilla? While others pointed at a gay man in San Francisco? And yet, others have pointed at a drug or narcotic substance abuser? Or was HIV-AIDS as some say, a result of a medical experiment gone awry?

What disease or pandemic could and would arise or stem from GNF and food manipulations? There are so many unknowns and even reputable scientists are unsure and are wary of the possible risks. Even as the urge and the zeal for profits is motivating and propelling entities which are willing to cut corners and avoid American and European regulations, as they pursue and engage Land Grabs in Africa, which will enable them to practice agriculture, food production and food processing with regulation or outside the prying eyes and purview of America and Europe.

Similarly, the race for alternatives to hydrocarbons or petroleum fuels, is resulting in the mad rush for lands, hence the Land Grabs in some African nations, namely Mozambique, Mali, Nigeria, the Sudan, Ethiopia and several others.

The rush for farmlands to produce Ethanol yielding crops is speedily propelling these Agro-Biz, Hedge Fund and Universities in Land Grabs in Africa. Bio-Fuels is the new diamond, gold and petroleum for which the lands in Africa must be ravaged once again by Americans and Europeans for their own benefit, and in a historical pattern which usually have ended to the detriment of Africans and Africa. As it was with cotton, cocoa, rubber, gold, diamond, petroleum.

American and Europeans entities are now setting the conditions, the stage and foundation for future food crisis and food insecurity or even humanitarian catastrophes on the African continent, with these mad-rushes for African lands.

There is no fair exchange or fair trade involved, in fact, what is going on right now in these Land Grabs cannot be described as trade or fair and equitable transactions in land, between Americans, Europeans on the one hand, and their African buffoons on the other.

Americans and Europeans are currently setting the stage and conditions for extreme hunger, suffering and more hardships for Africans and too many Africans are completely oblivious!

It is strongly believed by this writer, that a nation that cannot feed itself, a nation that cannot produce food in its abundance, or relies other nations, to feed itself has its priorities wrong. The former USSR, a former world super power crumbled, in part, due to hunger, as it could not feed itself!

USSR had WMD, Nuclear, atomic and had colonized part of space in orbits, but the USSR always relied on external sources, even on mortal foes, such as the USA was, at the time, to USSR, for grains and other food supplies for her citizens!

It is astonishing that Africans are not reacting sharply and even aggressively to the Land Grabs as a major crisis on the continent; In Nigeria for instance, grazing land for cattle, water rights, land ownership rights are usually the predicate for many communal conflicts. Hence the rather amorphous and spurious definition of citizenship based on the vexing “settler” or “indigene” dichotomies and state of origins etc in these matters of land, water and grazing right. And the land, and water resources arguments is not much different in other parts of Africa, be it Sudan, Tanzania, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Ugandan, Cameroon etc.
It is therefore a huge surprise, to learn that most Africans are seemingly looking the other way, as Land Grabbers come from across the Atlantic Ocean to expropriate African lands and without as much as a murmur from Africans who would ordinarily squabble amongst and between fellow Africans for land and water rights or priorities

Clearly, in all of these, Americans and European entities are once again, planting the seeds and setting the conditions and stage for more sufferings and extreme hardship for Africans, Africans who will then receive further image devastation and badgering for being in abject conditions which are being created right now through these egregious Land Grabs in Africa. The implications, ramifications and consequences will soon unfold for the whole world to see!

1. US Universities In Africa 'Land Grab”

2. Hedge funds 'grabbing land' in Africa

3. Does Nigeria Really Need British Or Any Foreign Farmers?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Does Nigeria Really Need British Or Any Foreign Farmers?

Does Nigeria Really Need British Or Any Foreign Farmers?

The well-publicized invitation of British, Israeli, Foreign and White Farmers by the Kwarra and Ogun State governments is puzzling for many reasons and in many respects.

How come Nigerians are not protesting the importation of farmers, with the same fervor and vigor, with which they recently protested the importation of foreign medical doctors by Katsina State, particularly from Egypt? Why the double standards? If Katsina should not? Why should Kwarra and Ogun states?

It is even more outrageous to import farmers! Why import White farmers? When Nigeria needs to create employment massively in all the states? Why import foreign farmers? When the average Nigerian is a farmer, first and foremost, before anything else?

It is true that Nigeria needs foreign investments injection into the economy, to buoy domestic efforts or investments by Nigerians But I was, under the mistaken impression? That the emphasis should be directed toward areas or sectors where Nigerians do not posses comparative advantage, in skills and or resources! So Nigerians in 2003 cannot till the land?

Nigerians cannot use combine harvesters as some Nigerians did some decades ago? Nigerians used modern implements of large scale mechanized commercial farming, many years ago, even before the establishments so many Federal University of Agriculture! Do we now have less skills and abilities in Nigeria?

Secondly, Britain neglected or refused to implement the pre-independence Lancaster House London Agreement made with Zimbabwe, hence the imbroglio between Black and White farmers in Zimbabwe, emanated from British will to follow through with agreements she entered more than twenty years ago!, The Landless Black farmers versus the White farmers, who have all the lands, lands, that the Blacks, originally owned. Lands that Whites converted and summarily looted and usurped from Blacks for themselves.

Nigerian Foreign Policy (Erstwhile?)

Nigeria, under President Obasanjo's first coming, had a sound foreign policy, which made Africa its centerpiece and Nigeria sacrificed resources, immeasurably, to defeat Apartheid and domination from Maputo to Cape Town, Johannesburg and to Harare!

Landlessness is one of the remaining vestiges of colonialism is Southern Africa including Zimbabwe! The Boars and their other fellow Europeans grabbed lands in Southern Africa, from Black Natives who previously owned these lands!

The land issue, in disputes that are raging in Zimbabwe, are relics of White Supremacy and domination in Africa, particularly, in the Southern part, that was the last to be decolonized; Zimbabwe is a case in point, that dramatizes, these vestiges and relics of Blacks denied of their lands and rights in their backyards in Africa.... But the world has forgotten, and prefers to focus on Mr. Mugabe with all his faults.

Why then? would a Nigerian, any Nigerian nay African bring succor to these usurper-farmers from Zimbabwe in the name of foreign investments in Nigeria? Why would the government in Kwarra State, a PDP government, (state's rights and all?)

why will a PDP governor within the administration of the straight arrow anti-Apartheid President Obasanjo of yore, rescue these foreign farmers from Zimbabwe?

I am aware that Apartheid and White Supremacy has fallen in Southern parts of Africa, but should Nigeria and Nigerians rescues White farmers, who benefited from oppressing Blacks? White farmers who usurped Blacks' inalienable rights in the Southern part of Africa?

Africa is still the centerpiece of Nigeria's foreign policy and we should continue to stand up for the rights of all peoples of African descent? Is the oppression of Black Zimbabweans and the taking of their lands not reprehensible?

Kwarra and Ogun State's invitation to foreign farmers, therefore raise fundamental questions and issues, principal among which are, the domestic one, Nigeria's abilities and the foreign policy one.

Domestic Abilities To Produce Food

Nigeria is capable of growing abundant food for all Nigerians! Nigeria is capable of producing sufficient food for all Nigerians and even producing surpluses for the purposes of exports! Nigeria, many years ago, actually fed Nigerians abundantly! And additionally, Nigeria exported food from Nigeria's abundance, Nigeria, it must be said, has very favorable climate for planting or growing and producing any types of farm produce or products, yams, wheat, grapes for wine making, rice, potatoes, broccoli, lettuce, oranges, everything else in-between.

Nigeria has lush rain forests, grasslands in the Savannah, and desert in the arid and or semi arid regions! You can plant cactus in Nigeria's deserts like in Arizona, California and New Mexico USA.

Nigeria currently has hordes and hordes of unemployed citizens! Some of these citizens, have been unemployed for more than a decade! Among these unemployed Nigerians, are graduates of Universities in Nigeria and abroad, some of these unemployed graduates, are actually ironically, agriculture specialists, Specialists in Agriculture and Food Production and Food Processing.

Why will Kwarra State, Ogun state or any state for that matter import farmers or experts in farming?

I now wonder what, an unemployed Nigerian graduate of Agriculture and Food Production or Processing or Agric Extension Services, who also have a thorough familiarity with the local conditions in Nigeria, the vagaries of our climatic conditions and the drawbacks of subsistence farming methods?..... Will say to the importation of any foreign farmers, by Kwarra state or any state?

Why should we relegate the local farmers and the Nigerians with expertise in mechanized or large scale farming/commercial farming be relegated to the background, in favor of some foreign farmers? What do the foreign farmers know that we do not? Why should any Nigeria hold any White Zimbabwean or British farmer cousins, on a high pedestal or exulted?

Why do some Nigerians seem to believe everyone is better than a Nigerian expert? Give a Nigerian medical doctor the right equipment and environment, and she is as good any good medical doctor gets! Give Nigerian doctors the equipment and electricity that the direly need, and no government official has to junket to overseas "medical check-up" or treatments, thereafter, they could just tell us, it is a vacation.

Give a Nigerian farmer the tools, resources, (subsidies a la US and EU!) Give the Nigerian farmers/farm entrepreneurs liberal bank loans to purchase modern machines for mechanized-commercial-large-scale-farming, voila! Nigerian farmers know the neighborhood too!

Let the Nigerian in Burutu or Bomadi or Epe be helped in starting large scale fish ponds/fisheries, Let the Nigerians in Benue and Kano be helped in large scale production of groundnuts/peanuts, Let the Nigerian in Kaduna be assisted in large scale Cattle Ranching, Let the Nigerian in Ondo be assisted in the large scale production of plantains and Cocoa, Let the Nigerian in Abakaliki be enabled to embark on large scale rice production, etc, etc.

Recently, I wrote articles urging governments at all levels in Nigeria, to make agriculture a priority, additionally, I also emphasized the importance of investing in agriculture in Nigeria, when I urged particularly wealthy and notable individuals in Nigeria, to invest in Agriculture, then, as now, It is my strong belief, that the government and the organized private sector must play a joint role in investing in agriculture or food production in Nigeria.

Agriculture and food production are very essential to Nigeria's survival and progress, it is crucially important and the federal and all state governments need to elevate agriculture and food production to a national security issue! Nigerian farmers need to form more lobby groups, while strengthening the ones that are already in existence.

It is my belief, that a nation that cannot feed itself, a nation that cannot produce food in its abundance, or relies other nations, to feed itself, has its priorities wrong; The former USSR, a former world super power crumbled, as it could not feed itself! USSR had WMD, Nuclear, atomic and had colonized part of space in orbits, but the USSR always relied on mortal foes, such as the USA was, at the time, to USSR, for grains and other food supplies.

The Americans and Europeans are not greater or better farmers than Nigerian farmers and for that matter, the farmers in the former USSR, what happened and which is still happening, is that, the USA and EU sees agriculture and food production as a national security issue!

The USA and EU, therefore massively subsidizes agriculture and food production, they realize the importance of agriculture and food production, that is clearly the explanation for the plentiful-ness of food in the USA, and that is why the agriculture and food production sectors are heavily subsidized by the Americans and the Europeans.

Agricultural subsidies by American and European governments are the stuff that the World Trade Organization frequently debates!

And even just this week ending September 13, 2003, WTO Conference in Cancun Mexico, Agricultural and food production subsidies by America and Europe is the most contentious of all the issues on the WTO agenda for the attendees at the conference, conferees and protesters or anti globalization forces, have roundly attacked farm subsidies practiced by America and their European counterparts.

Hence, it was reported that "The trade talks on Mexico's Caribbean coast have been hit by a North-South split on issues ranging from rich nations' massive farm subsidies "

"Poor and developing nations said it was far too soft in pushing the United States, the European Union and other rich countries to slash the $300 billion in subsidies they hand out every year to their farmers."

Indian Commerce Minister Arun Jaitley led condemnation of the plan, saying it ``arbitrarily disregarded views and concerns expressed by us'' and ``does not lend itself to any meaningful dialogue.''

Nigerian governments, at all levels, must accord agriculture, the priority and pride-of-place, that agriculture rightly deserves! Handing over agriculture and food production in Kwarra state an Ogun, to the British farmers or some other foreign investors, is probably not in our national security interests! In the name foreign investment or globalization, shall we now invite foreign sanitation experts to pick up our garbage in Lagos? Instead of providing Lagosian the money, equipment and other resources to clean up Lagos?

Nigerian farmers used to export groundnuts, cocoa and many other farm produce and products, Nigerians from all regions and states are or (were?) accomplished farmers! Whatever we did, we knew farming, first and foremost! Are we now too educated and too sophisticated for our own good? Nigerians are now too educated and sophisticate to farm? Farming need some respectability! A starved PHD holder is a dead PHD holder.

Talking about Nigerian farming, Nigerian farmers, perhaps I should remind governor Bukola Saraki, and his counterpart in Ogun state that our president, his boss, is prominent Nigerian, who is also a known experienced farmer of the OFN fame... grow your own food governor! Take a cue from the former governor of the MidWest state now Edo state, Dr. Osaigbovo Ogbemudia, took farming to new heights in Nigeria, and that was about thirty years ago! Mechanized, large scale and commercialized and all! President Obasanjo and Governor Ogbemudia are of the PDP, your political party! Consult them! They certainly will not recommend flying in, some white farmers!

I hope not.

Governor Ogbemudia turned Agbede and or Warrake farms in his state into farming wonderlands at the time, he successfully ran farms, these farms were known nationwide in Nigeria, I even went there as a child on a school trip! Perhaps Governor Saraki should talk or consult with the former governor of the MidWest?

The best hands for agricultural and food production services can also be found in the Department of Agriculture of the University of Maiduguri! I recall with pride, witnessing their diligent research efforts, geared toward the production and preservation of local Nigerian foods and delicacies from Nigerian farmers! I witnessed their efforts in the prolongation of the shelf-life of Nigerian farms produce and products! They conducted enormous amount of research then, in the Agriculture Department of UNIMAID.

I am also certain that, the above efforts in the University of Maiduguri, that I have alluded to, may be identical in many Nigerian Universities' Agriculture Department, and more particularly so, in the many Federal Universities of Agriculture?

Nigeria has many Universities of Agriculture and food production, Nigeria also boasts of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture or the IITA in Ibadan, and what about what used to be known as Nigeria Institute For OilPalm Research or NIFOR?

And more than all of these?

Nigeria has able-bodied under-employed and under-utilized farmers, and scores of unemployed citizens, who could be equipped to go into farming! There are scores of unemployed graduates reputable Nigerian and foreign educational institutions, Nigeria has decent local farmers that could best any British or Zimbabwean farming techniques or skills! Are Nigerians now waiting for white farmers to teach Nigerians how to make better kunnu? or Ogbono soup?

Nigeria need to harvest some of Nigeria's best brains, to resuscitate agriculture and food production, this will also generate employment for Bakassi Boys, Area Boys and their friends, the Almajiris! All these Nigerians gainfully employed, will cease to be part of Nigeria's socio-economic challenges.

Nigeria needs to commercialize agriculture and food production, Nigerians need to take more active interest in large scale mechanized farming, the governments at all levels, and the organized private sector, need to encourage and lead these efforts.

Nigerian Banks should set aside, a decent percentage of say, 10% pre-tax annual income, for agricultural and food production services, Nigerian Banks, should enthrone Agric Loans with VERY LIBERAL lending conditions, for mechanized-large-scale-commercial farming and food production.

KLM, South Africa Airways, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic etc etc, took over the operations of Nigeria Airways, but all these did not save our National Airline! Why do some Nigerians always defer to Oyinbos as the solution to all our problems? Have the Indians, the Chinese and every other foreign not taken over the operations of the Nigerian Railways Corporations in the past? How is the NRC doing now? Nigerian leaders and all Nigerian citizens should be told emphatically, that Nigerians are as good as anyone else and that given the right environment, money/resources and freedom of actions, Nigerians will solve our national problems, Nigerians will do better at righting the wrongs in Nigeria, because Nigeria is ours, we have a stake in the outcome of what happens to Nigeria, we know the terrain and neighborhood better than any imported experts! Given the chance and resources and freedom of actions, I will run the best farm that governor Saraki of the great state of Kwarra has ever seen! I know more about Nigerian farming, than I know legal principles or computer technology! And I love Kwarra state more than New York.

What Nigeria lack and what Nigeria needs, so desperately, in Agriculture and Food production, (pretty much every where else!) is the WILL, the DETERMINATION and FOCUS, to produce food! Nigeria does not need to import White or Purple farmers, whether from Britain or Zimbabwe.

Paul I. Adujie is a Nigerian Lawyer and an Information Technology Professional.

First Published in September 2003

Friday, June 3, 2011

American Defense Budget; Biggest Corporate Welfare, Massive Cuts Are Overdue!

American Defense Budget; Biggest Corporate Welfare, Massive Cuts Are Overdue!
Written by Paul I. Adujie

Cutting the American Defense Budget or Military Spending is panacea for economic recovery, budget balancing and deficit reductions.

After all, what use is the military to beleaguered American citizens who are being thrown out of their homes in foreclosures? Or what use is the military to Americans who are unemployed, broke and desperate? What use is the military to American citizens who are homeless or hungry?

The American economy is in a parlous and precarious state. The American economy remains perilous in tangible-visible and intangible invisible ways.

The American economy is currently hovering between fragile and volatile. Housing starts and prices of new and old homes are at their lowest in 10 years. Housing decline and or stagnancy is troubling in view of the fact that housing bubble or burst is one of the major indicators and one of the indices which measures the direction and state of American national economy.

A lackluster housing sector suggests that real and tangible economy recovery may still be 10 months or more away. And this has consequences for the unemployed and those already beleaguered in the extreme by the continuing economic recession-depression crisis.

Multitudes of municipalities in America, majority of states and even the American national government are all battling budget deficits and the need to balance budgets. Some municipalities are tethering and are on the verge of bankruptcy.

Speaker of the House Representatives John Boehner along with other Republicans such as Rand Paul, have been proposing drastic cuts with harsh and extreme consequences for American citizens.

The Republican Party with their Tea Party surrogates extremists, are parading as deficit hawks, posturing with demands for all sorts of cuts in government spending, which includes proposals to privatize Medicare or to whittle down Medicare benefits, obvious hardships and negative consequences on seniors nationwide

But, lest we forget, it was the Republicans and social conservatives who squandered the Budget Surplus which was created by the President Bill Clinton administration. It was the Republicans who then invented 3 trillion dollars deficit, with the wrongheaded policy, which was the invasion and occupation of Iraq, with the false allegations and sexed up fictional stories about nonexistent Weapons of Mass Destruction in the hands of Saddam Hussein!

The needless invasion and occupation of Iraq, premised on lies, led to the snagging of American taxpayers who are now saddled, sadly, with triple trillion dollars war bills and burgeoning national debt and deficits. Much has been written about the loss of blood and treasure. The needless invasion and occupation of Iraq led to the deaths of more than 5, 000 American troops. Iraqi dead is 650,000, then there are Iraqis who are maimed, dislocated, and displaced.

America’s debts and deficits situation have been greatly exacerbated by the Iraq war. It frittered away blood and treasure on both the American and Iraqi sides.

Ironically, Republicans are suddenly public spending conscious? After 8 years of Republican administrations engaged in squandering of trillions of dollars in the worse than useless invasion and occupation of Iraq?

Republicans are now the ones shouting, cuts, cuts, cuts to every government spending and services, even ones such as Medicare and spending intended to stimulate economic growth which could in turn improve and enhance the tax base as revenue source for governments.

Shockingly and surprisingly, the Republicans and some confused Democrats are splendidly uninterested in cutting Defense Spending or Budget for the Pentagon!

It will be recalled that the Republicans with notorious aversions for government regulations for business and industry, and more particularly so, their aversion for regulating Wall Street or the Financial Markets, also brought about the total economic collapse which ensued from the financial meltdown on Wall Street.

The continuing economic debacle-quagmire, now hovers between fragile to volatile, had its onset from laissez fare attitude by 8 years of Republicans at the White House, during which business and industry were left to self-monitor and self-police and self-regulate themselves, the equivalents of a major roadway or major traffic artery without a cop or traffic lights, where motorists are left to their devices! Hence, of course the chaos which arose, and the consequences which we have now, with inflicted national pains.

Powerful Defense Contractors and their incestuous relationship with American political leadership, through lobbying, influence peddling and campaign contributions, are the reason for the trepidations which is frequently suffered by some. This is exactly why Defense Spending or Defense Budgets are never mentioned in the same sentence as spending cuts and deficit control and efforts to balance budgets etc

Defense Contractors who supply weapons systems, inflicts unnecessary costs on American government and in effect, American citizens taxpayers.

All too often, unnecessary arms and ammunition are created. Weapons which are too often not needed or required by the military, are created by Defense Contractors and their enablers in government, for instance, there is this case of a second engine, a superfluous engine for a military aircraft, which the US Air Force and Defense Department have publicly stated is unneeded and unwarranted for their operations.

It is the case that the manufacturer of the so-called second engine, at some point, actually offered to continue the manufacturing process even after the rejection of the idea of a superfluous second engine! Waste and abuse is endemic and emblematic in Defense Spending. Defense Contractors use job creation arguments to snag congressional members into supporting Defense Spending on elephant projects, this, added to the campaign contributions saccharin to members of congress.

In recent years, civilian Defense Contractors are now doing the bulk of the work in Afghanistan and Iraq. Companies such as BlackWater, Halliburton, Kellogg Brown and Root or KBR and Z, have all been assuming heavy lifting statuses for the American military. Private or Civilian Defense Contractors now dominate American war efforts. A great number of these Defense Contractors are former members of the military personnel, and it suffice to say that none of them are Black, Hispanic, Women or other minorities.

It is the case that the majority of the enlisted persons in the Armed Forces of the United States are the poor, minorities and increasingly women. These are now the foot-soldiers of the US military establishment

In effect, the foot-soldiers have no role in the policy formulations, or, the profitable aspects or sides of wars, which is the purview and exclusive preserve of Defense Contractors and the political class. The political class which is often rewarded with billions of dollars in campaign contributions

Conversely, the poor, minorities and women, who are the proverbial foot-soldiers, physically, literally and metaphorically, are the ones who bear the negative consequences, impacts and adverse effects of all wars.

The foot-soldiers die in their thousands and they are the ones who are mortally injured, maimed or disfigured and or with Post Traumatic Stress Disorders, or PTSD. The foot-soldiers it is who bears the brunt of all wars in terms of death, injuries and other tangible, intangible, visible and invisible horrors and brutalities of all wars.

It bears repeating that foot-soldiers are the ones who are physically and mentally damaged, and too often, they endure these permanent physic al and mental damage and ruined psyche for a lifetime.

As is often the case, American war veterans (the foot-soldiers) are often without jobs upon return from foreign wars. Veterans the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are mostly unemployed, homeless or sick with physical and mental impairments or disabilities and life for the Defense Contractors and the political leaders remain profitable and life goes on.

It is sad that American veterans of foreign wars are too often left to wither physically and mentally in debilitating conditions and circumstances, including homelessness, this, after they have given their best in carrying out nationals assignment s to which they were assigned by the political leadership and for which Defense Contractors profited handsomely.

It is unconscionable to allow American veterans, in fact, any veterans to suffer physical and mental injuries, homelessness and other indignities, after such veterans have been used and exploited as tools in war efforts

American veterans are too often abandoned and neglected. Veterans are abandoned and neglected as they grapple with physical, psychological and psychiatric disablement, including brain injuries and PTSD etc. All this becomes more glaring in this era of skimping, scrounging and cuts in the name of deficits.

American authorities are now, having to discuss and publicly gripe about the expense of treating war veterans with brain and other assortments of injuries, some visible and other not. America tends to abandon and neglect war veterans, those who fight America’s wars, just or unjust wars.

As debates about Budget Deficits gets louder, some public officials have fretted about the expense of medical and other cares which veterans need and deserve

All reasonable persons are in complete agreement that veterans need and deserve gratitude of a nation which they have served courageously, heroically and selflessly. It is rather disgusting that anyone would think of shortchanging these veterans. Veterans should receive thanks and availed treatments, no expense spared.

While the plights and predicaments of American veterans are too frequently dire and desperate, Defense Contractors on the other hand, are wallowing and swimming in profits from the same wars fought be these abandoned and neglected veterans of these wars

Defense Contractors rake in billions from these wars, even as the foot-soldiers or veterans end up in squalid conditions. Why should any American veteran live in abject poverty and squalor

Whatever the value of all “just” and unjust wars, foot-soldiers are the ones who make waging all wars possible abandoning and neglecting foot soldiers is just plainly unconscionably disgusting!

It is the case that military or defense and attendant spending on wars are assuredly not about the average American citizen and the poor.

Military and wars are rather about the business and political class in every society; Which is why for instance, Defense Contractors inexplicably have symbiotic and even incestuous relationships with the political class Military, Defense and Budget for wars have absolutely nothing to do with the health, wealth and happiness of American poor or average American citizen.

This is so,which is what explains the fact that the Budgets and spending outpaces budgets and spending on health and education in the United States, even aftermath of the economic implosion, debacle-quagmire which followed the financial meltdown on Wall Street or Financial Market.

Currently, fiscal conservatives are loudly and ostentatiously making screeching demands for budget cuts and fiscal discipline and extreme deficit controls, while none among the fiscal conservatives are staunchly in support of Defense Spending without restraints

Unfettered and unmitigated Defense Spending is certainly not in America’s national interests. This is particularly so, in the face of an economy which is not generating employment that American national unemployment rate is currently 9.1%

A) 30,000 municipal workers were eliminated in May 2011

B) 18,000 teachers’ jobs eliminated and New York City alone is set to further eliminate 6,100 teachers’ jobs; The New York City Fire Department is also set to close many Fire Houses, even as the city remains a primary attack target for those who would do America harm.

C) There are 27 million Americans currently unemployed, stopped looking for work or are underemployed

D) Housing constructions has hit a brick-wall, and employment associated, connected and ancillary employment have declined considerably since the housing burst, particularly since easier credits have dried up

E) There are visible and invisible costs associated and connected with budget cuts

F) Stimulus spending is panacea, massive public spending on public infrastructure, roads and bridges and on health and education… The Republicans and their Tea Party surrogates extremists are against any spending whether to stimulate the economy and the Democrats appear to have no agenda, the will, the spine or backbone for vigorous and robust pursuits of stimulus package to revamp America, job creation and all.

G) Mitt Romney blames President Obama as haven failed America, and Republicans are expecting President Obama to blink, perhaps he has already blinked, he is talking more about deficit and spending cuts, as opposed to job creation and stimulus package for the economy!

H) The economy remains a transcendent and dominant issue for America and for presidential candidates in 2012

I) Unemployment is a very personal tragedy, depressing tragedy, which is not being addressed, but instead, debt limits and deficit has subsumed American national economic narratives

J) Millions of Americans are out of work or unemployed and have been so unemployed on the average for over 10 months continuously, the longest such gestation period since the keeping of unemployment records began in 1948. Reality has a left-leaning bias says Steven Cobert

The current American economic recession is over two years now and the concerns about a probable double-dip recession-depression have become more pronounced in the first few days of June 2011, upon the release of the May 2011 job numbers at 54,000 instead of say, 300,000 which were projected.

Furthermore, sales of old and new are in parlous state, and new housing starts remain precarious. These indices are harbingers for economic tough road which may still lies ahead.

In the circumstances, notable economists within and outside the United States have argued strenuously, that massive infusions of spending is an imperative for stimulating American national economic growth, in order to achieve this, the deficit hawks ought stop their current stridency and banish their unreasonable preachment, in the circumstances.

But fiscal conservatives or fiscal hawks, who are ironically, are also the ones who adamantly advocate unrestrained military and defense spending without limits;

These are the very same persons who are opposed to any general services budgets and domestic spending targeted at stimulating the American economy and economic growth hence. Domestic spending will generate domestic employment or jobs for the poor and average Americans, it will as an additional bonus, also generate tax revenues.

If the purpose of military or defense budget and spending is to protect the American people and to defend the homeland, while decimating, defeating and dismantling all those who may constitute threats to vital national interests of the United States, the American way of life, freedom, liberty, democracy and all that good stuff, why sacrifice the American people who are hurting in economic recession-depression hardship and extreme suffering?

It is rather an exercise in self-defeat to neglect Americans who are suffering from current economic recession-depression, while funding military defense and foreign wars ever abundantly?

There are over 4 million mortgage foreclosures and tens of millions of Americans out work who are underemployed.

American citizens are the center and cynosure of American democracy, governance and political processes, supposedly? American citizens are the predicate and or rational basis of every action by the American government, whether such action is foreign or domestic?

Why then, are trillions of dollars squandered on the military, defense budget and on wars, in the face of massive-drastic cuts in the budgets and spending which have direct bearing and impact on the lives of American citizens?

Whose interests do unfettered, unrestrained and unmitigated Defense Budgets and Defense Spending serve?

Millions of Americans citizens are left in the lurch or to carry the bag in these hard, harsh and extremely difficult economic times.

Millions of our neighbors are in dire economic straits in which they have played no part or role whatsoever, in their own economic misfortunes. Americans who are suffering and hurting from current national economic conditions were no participants in creating the conditions which foisted the market failure which was induced by sheer greed and criminality.

And yet, Defense Spending goes on untouched, even as the American government rescued Wall Street, Financial Markets and major financial institutions, including the Auto Industry, with the Reaganesque-Reaganomics idea of trickle down credit and economic recovery. The average American on Main Street never was bailed out.

Neither credit nor employed have flowed since these hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer bailouts for businesses. Now, there are these rampant talks about these bailed out businesses sitting upon tons and tons and wads and wads of cash, instead investing lending to stimulate the American economy!

American veterans are returning in droves from foreign wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to unemployment, homelessness, ruined families burdened with PTSD, brain injuries, suicides, and complicated physical and psychiatric issues.

It is time to massively-drastically cut American Defense Budgets and Spending, so we can take care and carter to and for the home-front.

Saving the American people through well thought-out and creatively targeted policies which will produce a buoyant American economy, should be job number one, as opposed to dropping smart bombs in Afghanistan, Iraq and now, Libya. Nation building begins abroad?

In effect, it time to severely cut and prune American military Budget or Defense Spending , in order to save the American people, the real purpose of the American republic and government, saving the people or citizens should be the priority of any organized government in America, and anywhere else for that matter!

Immunity from prosecution: Arguing both sides!

Immunity from prosecution: Arguing both sides!
Written by Paul I. Adujie

Tackling the issues that arise from immunity from prosecution is a delicate balancing act. This is particularly so, and indeed a very vexing matter, considering the political, legal, and constitutional issues raised in debates that have arisen from the intractable crises involving the governors of Anambra and Plateau States.

Immunity from prosecution, as enshrined in section 308 of Nigerian Constitution, was intended to serve public purpose flawlessly. As Nigerians now debate immunity from prosecution for president and governors, it should be remembered that there are compelling arguments for both proponents and opponents of the immunity clause. On the one hand, immunity from prosecution allows freedom of action by those beneficially protected with such immunity protections; conversely, immunity -- when abused -- could quickly become instruments of impunity of actions and impurity of outcomes, especially in the hands of public officials who seek to formulate and impose fraudulent public policies on Nigerian citizens. Immunity from prosecution could become a dangerous tool in the hands of those who possess a perverse sense of law, ethics, and decency.

It must be said that immunity from prosecution is a well-founded, well-reasoned concept, which has sundry benefits when applied honestly and scrupulously for the greater good and benefit of our society. This means that a sitting state governor of Nigeria or the president, during the subsistence of term of office, must have a free hand to act boldly and courageously for public good; in doing so, such governor or president would not be hindered by fear for self, for repercussion of actions embarked upon, for general public interest of a state or for national interests clearly defined -- all legitimate actions undertaken during the pendency of term of office by a governor or president -- must therefore be foreclosed from personal legal liability, hence the concept of immunity.

As the controversy rages in Nigeria regarding absolute immunity for public officials, Nigerians must however proceed cautiously, in view of the far-reaching implications of our hasty actions that are probable, as we seek to ensure that immunity protections are not exploited by corrupt officials’ avaricious perversity and absurdly extreme misuse power. In this connection, the concept of immunity from prosecution for certain public officials, Nigeria must undertaken with all seriousness, constitutional amendments, we must not change the constitution because of the shenanigans of Nigeria's current crop officeholders alone, a constitutional reviews and amendments, must be undertaken, for a more important rationale, and purpose, a solution that would stand the test of time and endure.

Conversely, immunity from prosecution is subject to abuses, just as every other law or rule is subject to abuse and adulteration by persons with such disposition to manipulate and corrupt laws and rules for their personal benefit, instead of public benefit. It is the case, therefore, that a governor or president, desirous of subverting public interests and public good for evil and personal gain, could engage in actions that serve personal or parochial interests, which of course amounts to perversions of public and national interest. At the same time, such governor may seek to cloak self in immunity from prosecution for actions undertaken as a public official. The electorate have witnessed a repeat demonstrations of such abuse of immunity protections since 1999.

In this debate, we probably should err on the side of retaining the concept of immunity for prosecution and the provisions in our constitution. What we perhaps ought to do is to redefine and delicately delineate actions that qualify and meet the standards or thresholds that are henceforth set, upon which a governor or president may successfully invoke the immunity clause.

Clearly, a commission of rape, murder, and embezzlements would of course not meet such standards and would not qualify for the contemplated protections. Preconditions would be set or required of actions that would meet the protection of a governor or president! I say this because there have been in recent times too many cases, glaring cases if I might add, where public officials have been suspected of engineering assassinations and killings that are politically motivated, and such heinous crimes have only met with murmurs of rumor quality. There have been cases where public officials have been accused of corruption and embezzlements or engaging in arsons to cover up egregiously heinous crimes. Further, there have been cases of public officials engaging in criminal conspiracies to pervert public interest, national interests, and general public good. These instances merit thorough investigations and determinations, whether such public official's notorious misconducts warrant the stripping of immunity.

A governor or president who is found in such instances to have committed criminal acts -- or conspired, aided, or abetted the commission of such offences by others -- is surely not deserving of immunity from prosecution by any stretch of the legal concept. The Nigerian Constitution presently offers carte blanche-immunity protections to president and governors. Nigeria ought to review these provisions and sections of the Constitution to repeal completely or to make amendments that reflect standards or threshold of conduct warranting such absolute constitutional protections, threshold beyond which the prosecutorial door is open and the immunity protection door is slammed in the face of erring public officials.

But this must clearly distinguish categories of actions that may be undertaken in good faith by, say, a governor or president in the public interest, while such governor or president is in office. For example, if a governor or president give orders for the demolition of my house because my house did not comply with the zoning laws of my locality or the president, or governor orders my house to be demolished because I have not maintained my house -- and it has become structurally unsound and unsafe, thereby constituting a public safety hazard, nuisance, and emergency, the governor or president should not be encumbered from the bold and courageous action of ordering the destruction of my house to safeguard public or national interest. Such governor or president must not be exposed to criminal or civil liabilities, penalties, or encumbrances for such transparent actions undertaken in good faith while in office and for the general welfare or public good of Nigerians. It would be different, however, if the governor or president allocates the land, hitherto occupied by my house, to himself or his in-laws. Such egregious misconduct would not meet the muster of immunity from prosecution! An amended Nigerian Constitution should so reflect distinctions of good faith, transparent actions, contrasted against corrupt usurpation gubernatorial or presidential powers.

Take another example related to public health and safety: If I have chicken farm in Ota infested with a chicken disease and, for reason of protecting the public's health and safety, the governor of the state where my chicken farm is located determined in good faith that it serves public or national interests to destroy the entire broods of my birds, in order to prevent the spread of the chicken disease from Ota to Maiduguri, etc. The governor must enjoy such freedom of action to enable the proper protection of the general public.

Another example, will probably reinforce the point: If I am flying my private jet toward the governor's or president's official residence, with a view of crashing into it because I disapprove of their policies and their lack of focus, by which they have deprived Nigeria of development and progress, of course, my aircraft should be shot down. I or my next of kin should not be heard to complain about such destruction or, worse, to demand compensation and recompense from the governor or the president for my life or property -- the plane -- that is thus destroyed in the process. Simply put, destroying or bringing down my plane should not expose or subject the governor or the president to legal strictures, as my noble but criminally foolhardy plane-crashing must be prevented in order to protect the public from my intended unsafe acts. Public interests and national interests require the governor or the president to act accordingly, and this must not subject them to criminal or civil litigations while in office, or even thereafter, due to actions undertaken for public safety and security.

In conclusion, as we debate the advantages and disadvantages of immunity from prosecution for public officials in Nigeria, notably the governors and the president, we must err on the side of, focusing on the benefits that accrue to our nation when public officials are not hindered and intimidated by fear of personal liabilities, as consequences of transparent actions they undertake for the utmost good of our people, actions taken while in office, actions that were in good faith, that were transparent, and that were for public good. We must delicately balance the two extremes: the benefits of immunity protections in the Constitution and the disadvantages that are probable from a complete absence of immunity protections in our Constitution, even as we fight to eliminate the ravages of the scourge of corruption. Even as we do all this, we must not disregard civil liberties and the rule of law.

Nigeria should maintain and retain the current constitutional provision that enshrines immunity from prosecution, or repeal it, amend it, refine it, retool it, reform it, but it should not be jettisoned because of the unjustifiable aberrant behaviors of some current public officials. We must continue to emphasize respect for the rule of law, due process, freedom and justice for all, even as we fine-tune our system and as democracy takes root.

First published on Wednesday, December 29, 2004!+Adujie&hl=en&prmd=ivns&ei=qOHoTdviNOj20gHxgLGNAQ&start=0&sa=N&biw=1708&bih=761&cad=cbv