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Militants release pictures of hostages (Feb 2006)

A picture says a thousand words , militants in the  Delta region on wednesday released pictures that show what appears to be seven of the nine foreign oil workers kidnapped last week in the country.

Sevenhostage




The photos were  sent in by  e-mail to reporters.

In the photos, you can see seven unidentified men sitting  with a dozen gunmen wearing black masks and camouflage hats behind them.

Their demands havent been met , but as with the last kidnapping  negotiations have begun
the question now remains when will this vicious cycle end ?

(According to the group managing director of NNPC Kupolokun though this
is just a minor hitch .)

These militants are now adopting tactics used by insurgents in many other parts of the world ,
Just remember a picture says a thousand words  and an e-mail says a thousand more.


Killer Cartoons

Mohamedspread_1



The Jyllands-Posten - controversial cartoons have affected all parts of the world.
In Nigeria, news about the cartoons  mixed in with the underlying frustration in some camps of the presidents alleged 3rd term agenda has also sparked of very violent reactions,the death toll and destruction continues to rise both in the North and South,  reprisal Killings as is always the case have begun in some parts of the South.

Burntchurchnigeria

The first thing  that comes to mind is,what cartoon and  why all the comotion ?
Well the controversial cartoons are 12 in number and depict the prophet Muhammad/make references to Islam , you can view the Images here      
(please view responsibly)

In Islam, the prophets are held in very high esteem and so this act is seen as blasphemy.
On the other hand, the European editors in support of these cartoons see it as an expression of free speech,  so then where do you draw the line ?  Is this free speech or an Intentional attempt to insult and provoke others? What do you think? personally  I understand the arguments on both sides but just dont understand why so many innocent lives have to be wasted.

Pasted below is a recent article that appeared in The Washington post  an article from the editors of  Jyllands-Posten and an explanation as to why they published the cartoons.


Why I Published Those Cartoons

By Flemming Rose
Sunday, February 19, 2006; Page B01

Childish. Irresponsible. Hate speech. A provocation just for the sake of provocation. A PR stunt. Critics of 12 cartoons of the prophet Muhammad I decided to publish in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten have not minced their words. They say that freedom of expression does not imply an endorsement of insulting people's religious feelings, and besides, they add, the media censor themselves every day. So, please do not teach us a lesson about limitless freedom of speech.

I agree that the freedom to publish things doesn't mean you publish everything. Jyllands-Posten would not publish pornographic images or graphic details of dead bodies; swear words rarely make it into our pages. So we are not fundamentalists in our support for freedom of expression.

But the cartoon story is different.

Those examples have to do with exercising restraint because of ethical standards and taste; call it editing. By contrast, I commissioned the cartoons in response to several incidents of self-censorship in Europe caused by widening fears and feelings of intimidation in dealing with issues related to Islam. And I still believe that this is a topic that we Europeans must confront, challenging moderate Muslims to speak out. The idea wasn't to provoke gratuitously -- and we certainly didn't intend to trigger violent demonstrations throughout the Muslim world. Our goal was simply to push back self-imposed limits on expression that seemed to be closing in tighter.

At the end of September, a Danish stand up comedian said in an interview with Jyllands-Posten that he had no problem urinating on the Bible in front of a camera, but he dared not do the same thing with the Koran.

This was the culmination of a series of disturbing instances of self-censorship. Last September, a Danish children's writer had trouble finding an illustrator for a book about the life of Muhammad. Three people turned down the job for fear of consequences. The person who finally accepted insisted on anonymity, which in my book is a form of self-censorship. European translators of a critical book about Islam also did not want their names to appear on the book cover beside the name of the author, a Somalia-born Dutch politician who has herself been in hiding.

Around the same time, the Tate gallery in London withdrew an installation by the avant-garde artist John Latham depicting the Koran, Bible and Talmud torn to pieces. The museum explained that it did not want to stir things up after the London bombings. (A few months earlier, to avoid offending Muslims, a museum in Goteborg, Sweden, had removed a painting with a sexual motif and a quotation from the Koran.)

Finally, at the end of September, Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen met with a group of imams, one of whom called on the prime minister to interfere with the press in order to get more positive coverage of Islam.

So, over two weeks we witnessed a half-dozen cases of self-censorship, pitting freedom of speech against the fear of confronting issues about Islam. This was a legitimate news story to cover, and Jyllands-Posten decided to do it by adopting the well-known journalistic principle: Show, don't tell. I wrote to members of the association of Danish cartoonists asking them "to draw Muhammad as you see him." We certainly did not ask them to make fun of the prophet. Twelve out of 25 active members responded.

We have a tradition of satire when dealing with the royal family and other public figures, and that was reflected in the cartoons. The cartoonists treated Islam the same way they treat Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism and other religions. And by treating Muslims in Denmark as equals they made a point: We are integrating you into the Danish tradition of satire because you are part of our society, not strangers. The cartoons are including, rather than excluding, Muslims.

The cartoons do not in any way demonize or stereotype Muslims. In fact, they differ from one another both in the way they depict the prophet and in whom they target. One cartoon makes fun of Jyllands-Posten, portraying its cultural editors as a bunch of reactionary provocateurs. Another suggests that the children's writer who could not find an illustrator for his book went public just to get cheap publicity. A third puts the head of the anti-immigration Danish People's Party in a lineup, as if she is a suspected criminal.

One cartoon -- depicting the prophet with a bomb in his turban -- has drawn the harshest criticism. Angry voices claim the cartoon is saying that the prophet is a terrorist or that every Muslim is a terrorist. I read it differently: Some individuals have taken the religion of Islam hostage by committing terrorist acts in the name of the prophet. They are the ones who have given the religion a bad name. The cartoon also plays into the fairy tale about Aladdin and the orange that fell into his turban and made his fortune. This suggests that the bomb comes from the outside world and is not an inherent characteristic of the prophet.

On occasion, Jyllands-Posten has refused to print satirical cartoons of Jesus, but not because it applies a double standard. In fact, the same cartoonist who drew the image of Muhammed with a bomb in his turban drew a cartoon with Jesus on the cross having dollar notes in his eyes and another with the star of David attached to a bomb fuse. There were, however, no embassy burnings or death threats when we published those.

Has Jyllands-Posten insulted and disrespected Islam? It certainly didn't intend to. But what does respect mean? When I visit a mosque, I show my respect by taking off my shoes. I follow the customs, just as I do in a church, synagogue or other holy place. But if a believer demands that I, as a nonbeliever, observe his taboos in the public domain, he is not asking for my respect, but for my submission. And that is incompatible with a secular democracy.

This is exactly why Karl Popper, in his seminal work "The Open Society and Its Enemies," insisted that one should not be tolerant with the intolerant. Nowhere do so many religions coexist peacefully as in a democracy where freedom of expression is a fundamental right. In Saudi Arabia, you can get arrested for wearing a cross or having a Bible in your suitcase, while Muslims in secular Denmark can have their own mosques, cemeteries, schools, TV and radio stations.

I acknowledge that some people have been offended by the publication of the cartoons, and Jyllands-Posten has apologized for that. But we cannot apologize for our right to publish material, even offensive material. You cannot edit a newspaper if you are paralyzed by worries about every possible insult.

I am offended by things in the paper every day: transcripts of speeches by Osama bin Laden, photos from Abu Ghraib, people insisting that Israel should be erased from the face of the Earth, people saying the Holocaust never happened. But that does not mean that I would refrain from printing them as long as they fell within the limits of the law and of the newspaper's ethical code. That other editors would make different choices is the essence of pluralism.

As a former correspondent in the Soviet Union, I am sensitive about calls for censorship on the grounds of insult. This is a popular trick of totalitarian movements: Label any critique or call for debate as an insult and punish the offenders. That is what happened to human rights activists and writers such as Andrei Sakharov, Vladimir Bukovsky, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Natan Sharansky, Boris Pasternak. The regime accused them of anti-Soviet propaganda, just as some Muslims are labeling 12 cartoons in a Danish newspaper anti-Islamic.

The lesson from the Cold War is: If you give in to totalitarian impulses once, new demands follow. The West prevailed in the Cold War because we stood by our fundamental values and did not appease totalitarian tyrants.

Since the Sept. 30 publication of the cartoons, we have had a constructive debate in Denmark and Europe about freedom of expression, freedom of religion and respect for immigrants and people's beliefs. Never before have so many Danish Muslims participated in a public dialogue -- in town hall meetings, letters to editors, opinion columns and debates on radio and TV. We have had no anti-Muslim riots, no Muslims fleeing the country and no Muslims committing violence. The radical imams who misinformed their counterparts in the Middle East about the situation for Muslims in Denmark have been marginalized. They no longer speak for the Muslim community in Denmark because moderate Muslims have had the courage to speak out against them.

In January, Jyllands-Posten ran three full pages of interviews and photos of moderate Muslims saying no to being represented by the imams. They insist that their faith is compatible with a modern secular democracy. A network of moderate Muslims committed to the constitution has been established, and the anti-immigration People's Party called on its members to differentiate between radical and moderate Muslims, i.e. between Muslims propagating sharia law and Muslims accepting the rule of secular law. The Muslim face of Denmark has changed, and it is becoming clear that this is not a debate between "them" and "us," but between those committed to democracy in Denmark and those who are not.

This is the sort of debate that Jyllands-Posten had hoped to generate when it chose to test the limits of self-censorship by calling on cartoonists to challenge a Muslim taboo. Did we achieve our purpose? Yes and no. Some of the spirited defenses of our freedom of expression have been inspiring. But tragic demonstrations throughout the Middle East and Asia were not what we anticipated, much less desired. Moreover, the newspaper has received 104 registered threats, 10 people have been arrested, cartoonists have been forced into hiding because of threats against their lives and Jyllands-Posten's headquarters have been evacuated several times due to bomb threats. This is hardly a climate for easing self-censorship.

Still, I think the cartoons now have a place in two separate narratives, one in Europe and one in the Middle East. In the words of the Somali-born Dutch politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the integration of Muslims into European societies has been sped up by 300 years due to the cartoons; perhaps we do not need to fight the battle for the Enlightenment all over again in Europe. The narrative in the Middle East is more complex, but that has very little to do with the cartoons.


Rioting deaths in Nigeria (for Prophet and Country)

By Tume Ahemba         
LAGOS, Feb 19 (Reuters) - One of the deadly protests in Nigeria this weekend was against a planned constitutional amendment many fear would enable President Olusegun Obasanjo to seek a third term, an opposition lawmaker said on Sunday.          Initial police reports from the remote Islamic city of Katsina on Saturday had indicated the protest that killed one person was against the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad. The bloody protests against cartoons erupted in the northeastern state of Borno, killing 15 people.          But Abu Ibrahim of main opposition All Nigeria People's Party (ANPP), who represents Katsina in the upper-house senate, said the protests in his northwestern area were over the proposed constitutional amendment, not the cartoons.

Muslimriots

Since the  religious cartoon riots in Nigeria  story broke, the head lines reported 15 dead, 17 dead and even 45 dead  what ever the true figure, I  sensed a similar feeling of frustration from other blogs
Grandiose Parlourreality , Chippla ,   and Black looks.  Why is this still occurring ?

As suspected, it turns out some people were protesting the presidents alleged 3rd term agenda which then morphed into religious riots and resulted in wasted human  lives.

Is there any way we can make  people accountable for these senseless killings once and for all ?




9 foreign workers kidnapped in the Niger Delta

There are reports in the media that 9  foreign workers  have been abducted in the delta region.
read the news here

The Never ending Saga continues , although there is the criminal element to all the chaos in the Delta , this is also a desperate attempt for a solution in the  region.

Obasanjo has to make the Delta region his number one priority or else we stand a chance of loosing out on years of progressive development.


The Abuja 2014 Common wealth games ( Bid)

President Olusegun Obasanjo has endorsed the “Acceptance of Candidature Procedure Forms and payment of the bid fees to securing the hosting rights for the 2014 Commonwealth Games”, boosting Abuja’s bid for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Obasanjoflags


I believe it is progressive for Nigeria to want to host the 2014 commonwealth games.
It is a fact that in 1914, Nigeria was amalgamated (North and South) against all odds that amalgamation still stands and 2014 would mark a century so what better way to celebrate this than to do it in view of the whole world.


I guess it would also help in developing some facilities around Abuja further, the All African games was a starting point but despite all the controversy /mismanagement  the fact remains that is did happen. Many other cities around the world want a chance to host it so why can't we ?

We just need to step up to the challenge focus on improving and after all said and done DELIVER!.

So yes MR PRESIDENT go for it the 60,000 pounds hopefully will not be in vain.

But also think of a lasting solution to the delta region (development) and
Politics
Corruption
Disease
Poverty


In other news apparently Chevron have pulled out of the $4 Billion Brass LNG (liquid natural gas)project  they are claiming all the co motion in the Delta region has nothing to do with it..
ooh wel l

As the saying goes one mans meat is another mans poison and in this case other companies are lining up to take Chevrons stake in the gas projects .

Where would you place your bets a Chinese or Indian gas company?


Bombings in the delta region

What started out as an attack on illegal oil bunkerers according to the military in the delta region in Nigeria turned into outright warfare between the local militias and the military .

Ijawwar_1


The  Federal Government has run out of patience with communities suspected to be harbouring militant Niger Delta youths.

Yesterday  its Joint Military Task Force in the Niger Delta, Operation Restore Hope, bombarded Okorenkoko, an Ijaw community in Warri.

Community leaders on the other hand claimed that about 20 persons died while several others sustained serious injuries.

According to the Public Relations Officer for the task force, Major Saheed Hammed,

A military helicopter sighted some barges used for oil bunkering along the creek adjacent to Okorenkoko and subsequently reported the incident to base.

Accordingly, he said, the Air Force was ordered to destroy the barges. “The bombardment of the barges caused an explosion, which community leaders now refer to as the bombardment of the entire community.”

But community leaders who spoke anonymously to THISDAY in Warri claimed four Air Force helicopters carried out the aerial bombardment that left about 20 civilians dead.
According to them, the community reputed as the heartland of Ijaw youth militancy, has been the target of the military since some Ijaw youths took hostage, in January four expatriates working for an oil servicing company engaged by Shell Petroleum Development Company.
The community leaders said the military had left them in no doubt that government believed the hostages were detained Okorenkoko, explaining that its difficult terrain had made it difficult for any operation by the Nigerian Army.
The military operation, which reportedly took place around 1pm yesterday, left the oil city of Warri swarming with victims of the bombardment who claimed the military aircraft took off from Osubi Airstrip, owned by Shell, to rain bombs on their community.
The victims most of whom were brought in by speed boats had series of wounds as soldiers guarding the Miller Waterside Jetty prevented newsmen from speaking to them as they were being evacuated.
It would be recalled that elders of the last week expressed fears of a possible attack on the community by the military.

Perhaps fearing a reprisal attack on account of claims that its airstrip was used as a base by the military for the attack, Shell’s spokesman, Mr. Joe Aniah, said the airstrip was under the management of the Federal Government and, therefore, was not in a position to confirm that the military helicopters used for the operation took off from the airstrip.

The latest reports indicate there have already been some explosions at a Shell Petroleum Develop-ment Company (SPDC) facility in Rivers State.

Which went up in flames yesterday, leading to the closure of a flow station with a daily production capacity of 37, 800 barrels.
The huge fire, which will cost the oil company about $2.27 million (N295 million) daily in revenue, forced the closure of a flow station identified as Cawthorne Channel field, said to be close to the ill-fated facility.

This situation needs to be watched closely.

Read the News reports here and here


18-30 UK visa ban Lifted

The ban on first time UK Visa applicants aged between 18-30 will be  removed soon. The Ban was imposed when visa applications to the UK rose to 30,000 a month.

The UK has also re-affirmed its commitment to Nigeria by announcing the return of some more seized assets that were originally looted from Nigeria.

Straw

The announcements were included in the speech of visiting  British Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary, Mr. Jack Straw

Nigeria has really improved its International Image in the last couple of years  this is a far cry from where we were" image wise"a few years ago.


DJ's , Mugus, Scam artists and Technology

I just came across an interesting article by Uche Nworah - You are a Mugu -about some radio Dj's who were scam baiting some 419 con artists in Nigeria.

Now although Im completely against the activities of these scam artist and hate the fact that a handful of people (419ers) can sucessfully damage the reputation of Nigeria Globally , I must say I also take offence when a bunch of ignorant #@*&%%##@$$ !!  start ranting off on the radio Insulting our country and  mobile phone  technology in one of  the biggest and fastest growing mobile phone market s  in the world talking about huts and tuber technology from some part of the states when I know for a fact many parts of the states are behind Europe and even parts of Africa when you  talk about mobile phone technology .

Why can't they just make the point without throwing in the ignorant /almost racist commentary.

makes me wonder what kind of audience listen to thier radio show.

You can listen to the complete radio dialogue between the DJ's and the Scammer  here
(Talk about a digital divide wow...)


Hurricane Ruffai Strikes again (Abuja FCT)

FLASHBACK!
Well late last year Chief Alex Adogie a Lawyer /Business man/ Club owner in Abuja was dealt a terrible blow when his Establishments were closed down by the powers that be in Abuja  but to crown it all his palatial mansion in Abuja was also earmarked for demolition.--( unconfirmed reports indicate he was getting ready to participate in 2007 gubernatorial race hmmm, Alex)

Fast Forward Feb 2006

Piusanyim
The house of the former senate president Mr Pius Anyim has just been demolished apparently like many others (palatial mansions)in Abuja , the house was constructed on part of the drainage system it just did not fit into the "Abuja Master Plan ".

Others affected by the recent wave of demolitions include Chukwuemeka Ezeife former presidential adviser and Success Amauche apparently everyone involved had initially believed they posses ed legitimate documents from the FCDA.

read more


INTERROGATION CHAMBER TO BECOME NATIONAL MONUMENT

The notorious torture chamber where Nigeria's late dictator Sani Abacha kept current President Olusegun Obasanjo and his "accomplices" as coup plotters has been shut and is now to become a national monument, Obasanjo said in Abuja on Friday.

We do need reminders in society , so mistakes of the past are not repeated in the future .

I wonder if this is the prison in Yola ? or a completely different facility that was used for the torture chamber.

And what about all the trained assasins /enforcers from that regime (Abacha)  what became of them ?



read the rest of the story here.