I’ve selected my 23-man squad – Keshi

Stephen Keshi

Super Eagles head coach Stephen Keshi says he already has an idea of the players who will make the 23-man squad to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Keshi said this on Friday after the Nigerian senior male football team had their first work-out at the Philadelphia Eagles Stadium in Philadelphia, United States.

He however said he would still wait till the last minute before making it public. The final day for the submission of the list to world football governing body FIFA is 2 June.

Keshi, who nonetheless said he was thrilled by the level of tactical and technical depth displayed by the players, said there was a need to be cautious.

“I have an idea of those who will go with us to Brazil but we will still wait till the last minute before we announce the list,” the team’s Media Officer, Ben Alaiya said through a statement.

Keshi said he was delaying naming the list so as to have a second look at those who are not measuring up.

The national team had their first training session on Friday morning in Philadelphia and are scheduled for another one later in the evening at 4:30 p.m. local time, which was 9:30 p.m. Nigerian time.

NAN reports that the 2014 FIFA World Cup is scheduled for June 12 to July 13, with Nigeria in Group F alongside Argentina, Iran and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Daphne Bramham: Brutal gang-rape images the most visible manifestation of a global scourge

Daphne Bramham: Brutal gang-rape images the most visible manifestation of a global scourgeThe image seems taken from another time: Two girls hanging from a tree after having been gang-raped.

Not only were they brutally assaulted by a gang that included two police officers, they were left as barbaric trophies, a warning to others that there is no safety.

These were innocent girls aged 14 and 15 whose only crime is to be victims of the pervasive poverty in rural India. Their home has no toilet. They were attacked at night in the field where they’d gone to relieve themselves.

Mourn those girls and rage against what has happened.

But spare a thought and some of that anger for the many girls and women whose rapes we never hear about.

In India, it’s estimated that a girl or woman is raped every 22 minutes and even that estimate is likely low, since worldwide only a small proportion of sexual assaults is ever reported.

Some blame the increased incidence of rape (as well as a sharp rise in the kidnap and forced marriage of women) on India’s demographic imbalance.

Because of a cultural preference for boys over girls, India now has 37 million more men than women. About 17 million of those excess men are in the age group that commits most crimes.

In an attempt to curb rape and respond to the howls of outrage after the high-profile gang-rape and subsequent death in 2012 of a 23-year-old woman on a bus in Delhi, India made rape a crime punishable by death.

Whether that makes a difference remains to be seen. After all, caste and child marriage are also outlawed, but both persist.

Women and girls are victims of a culture and society that doesn’t value them and where equality remains a distant dream for many, especially those who belong to the lower castes.

Eight out of 10 Indian women need permission to visit a doctor. Six in 10 cover their heads. Nearly half were married before the age of 18. Four out of 10 have no say in marriage. Two in 10 are forced to marry a cousin or a relative.

Those are just some of the most damning findings in a recent survey of more than 30,000 married women done by India’s National Council of Applied Economic Research.

Using a long lens with a single focus on the barbaric image of those two girls, it’s easy to rush to judgment.

Over the past couple of years, some have called India the rape capital of the world.

It may be.

But it’s difficult to know for sure. Rape still isn’t a crime in some countries; rape in marriage isn’t a crime in many others.

What isn’t in doubt is that rape is a massive, global problem that was only recently acknowledged as a war crime and a routinely used tool of war.

But rape isn’t a crime unique to countries in chaos or in the developing world.

One in four women in Sweden report having been raped, according to a European Commission-funded study. And the United States has the highest number of reported rapes — 83,425 annually at last count, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice.

The incidence of child and baby rape in South Africa is one of the highest in the world. And shockingly, between 28 and 37 per cent of all South African men admit to having committed rape, according to the Africa-based Institute for Security Studies.

In a United Nations survey of 10,000 men living in Asia and the Pacific region, one in four men in Asia and the Pacific admitted to having raped at least one woman.

In Canada, the situation bears more striking similarities with India than most of us know or are readily willing to acknowledge.

Every 17 minutes in Canada, it’s estimated that a girl or woman is raped. Of those rapes, just six per cent are reported to police and fewer than half of those result in criminal charges. And, of those charges, only one in four leads to a conviction.

Here, date-rape drugs are so common that some bars have started using glasses with lids and straws to help safeguard young women from having the pills being plopped into their drinks.

Here, as in India, the most marginalized women and girls are over-represented in every violent statistic including the 1,181 RCMP-documented cases of murdered and missing women over the last three decades.

The most vulnerable are aboriginal women and girls, who are three-and-a-half times more likely to be victims of violence and seven times more likely to be murdered. Two-thirds of those victims are aged of 15 and 34.

Rape is among the most egregious acts of violence against girls and women that’s meant to humiliate and dehumanize them.

It’s done not for sexual release or gratification, but out of lust for subjugation and domination.

Every rape may not end with a body swinging from a rope. But every one is a cowardly, monstrous, barbaric act.

Kidnapped schoolgirls: Boko Haram runs out of food supply

There are indications that the need to feed the over 200 students of Government Secondary School, Chibok, abducted by Boko Haram insurgents on April 14 has put pressure on the Islamic terrorist group to steal food items and loot communities close to Sambisa Forest in the North East.

Saturday PUNCH investigations revealed that the violent Islamic sect had in the past week stepped up the looting of villages, markets and food stores in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states for food items including grains and bread.

Residents of these communities told Saturday PUNCH that the rate at which the insurgents stole their foodstuffs was unprecedented, noting that the pressure to feed the abducted girls might have contributed to the desperation of the insurgents to steal and kill the villagers in the process.

One of the villagers, Bukar Umar, who resides in Kamuyya village in Borno State, told one of our correspondents that though it was normal for the insurgents to ask communities to contribute money towards “God’s work,’’ they were usually satisfied when communities raised money for them.

He, however, said the insurgents in recent times had stepped up their activities by invading their communities and carting away food items.

With the pressure on Nigerian soldiers to clamp down on the Islamic sect, it was learnt that the insurgents no longer felt safe to go to markets to buy food items for fear of being arrested.

Some of the insurgents recently met their waterloo in Madagali, Adamawa State, where they were given up by a local food vendor from whom they had planned to buy foodstuffs.

Consequently, members of a vigilance group pounced on them and killed over 70 of them while seven others were reportedly handed over to the police.

The vigilantes acted after they were tipped by the local food vendor that the insurgents were coming to get food before going for a major operation in a neighbouring village.

A Madagali resident, who did not want his name mentioned, had said, “The vigilance group mobilised, laid ambush and waited patiently for the insurgents.

“As soon as the insurgents, numbering over 100, showed up in the village to pick up their favourite meals, the vigilantes attacked them, killing most of them in a hail of bullets.”

Security personnel, during the week, also repelled attacks by the terrorists on Kubla, a border town between Adamawa and Borno states.

A security source said, “The heavily armed terrorists arrived in Kubla and started burning houses and stealing foodstuff, until a contingent of the military was mobilised to confront them.

“The soldiers engaged the militants in a fierce exchange of gunfire to repel them,” the source said.

The source, who did not disclose his name because he was not authorised to provide details of the attacks, added that the insurgent had set to extend their stealing spree to Taraba State.

Residents of Limankara, Kamuyya, Kirenowa, Kimba and Makor communities in Borno State said the insurgents usually carte away food items and livestock after killing people in their areas in recent attacks.

In Limankara, a Borno border village with Adamawa State, the insurgents who killed many persons and carted away property worth several millions of Naira were said to have particularly gone for the available food items in the village.

In Kamuyya village, a resident, Bukar Umar, said over 20 insurgents, who must have emerged from the bush, stormed the Kamuyya weekly market when traders were conducting their businesses and opened fire into the crowd before setting shops and vehicles on fire.

According to him, the hoodlums were well armed with sophisticated weapons, and after raiding the area, they went to the major market and shot sporadically and indiscriminately into the crowd, killing 20 persons on the spot and burning most of the shops in the market.

He said the attack lasted for over two hours last Sunday. “The invaders had a field day wreaking havoc on us. They snatched several vehicles and loaded them with bags of assorted foodstuff, before fleeing the area.”

In Kirenowa town, where 20 persons were killed last week Thursday by the insurgents, they were said to have ransacked the town for food items, which they subsequently packed away in stolen vehicles.

The insurgents on Sunday intercepted a vehicle loaded with bread, killed the four occupants and drove the vehicles towards Sambisa Forest. The vehicle, which was on its way to Polka from Gwoza, was attacked at Waraba village.

Some of those who spoke to our correspondents appealed to both the state and the Federal Government to immediately come to their rescue by giving them food and rebuilding their burnt houses.

One of them, Modu Kaka, said: “It has been difficult for our people to feed because our food items have been carted away and we are left with little to share among ourselves.

“To even get another supply is a problem, if you get that, you are only inviting them to come back and that makes it necessary for security personnel to be deployed here.”

The village District Head of Limankara, Alhaji AbdulKareem Wahab, claimed that 1,750 bags of assorted grains were loaded in seven stolen vehicles that were taken away by the insurgents during the week.

He said, “The invaders had a field day wreaking havoc on us. They snatched several vehicles and loaded them with bags of assorted foodstuffs, before fleeing our area.”

Also in Kirenowa town, residents said scores of armed insurgents invaded the area around 12noon, shooting everyone at sight and setting houses, shops and vehicles on fire.

A resident of the area, Mallam Goni Bukar, said, “The militants, armed with sophisticated weapons, raided the area and proceeded to the major market and began sporadic shootings into the direction of crowd, killing 20 people on the spot and burning most houses and shops in the town.

“They snatched several vehicles and loaded them with bags of assorted foodstuffs and fled. They destroyed everything we have, carted away our food and burnt down the remaining ones.”

It was also gathered that after wreaking havoc in Marte, the hoodlums invaded nearby Kimba and Makor villages, where five people were killed in each of the villages.

Bukar added, “After the carnage in our area, the militants proceeded to the two neighbouring villages and killed 10 persons, even as they set ablaze several houses and vehicles. They equally carted away their food items.”

In a recent attack on Shawa, a neighbouring Chibok community, the terrorists stole food, after killing no fewer than 10 people. In another attack on Alagarno village, Borno State, the gunmen also stole food and razed their victims’ homes.

One of the residents who spoke with journalists, Mallam Umaru Saina, said, “They destroyed everything we had and burnt down our remaining food after stealing what they needed. What is most painful is that they did not spare our kids. They killed children and women.”

Apagu Maidaga also said Alagarno residents hid in the bush and watched while the extremists set ablaze their homes of thatch-roofed mud huts.

The British newspaper, The Mail, had last Sunday reported that Nigerian journalist, Ahmad Salkida, who is trusted by both the Federal Government and the Boko Haram leader as a mediator, visited the camp where the abducted schoolgirls were being kept.

Sakilda was quoted as claiming to have seen the abducted schoolgirls being “well fed and adequately sheltered.”

Saturday PUNCH gathered during the week that the insurgents resorted to stealing following the shortage of food to feed themselves and their hostages.

It was also learnt that the thirst for more loot prompted the terrorists to invade Kamuyya village in Biu Local Government Area of Borno State last Sunday.

The recent activities of the sect have left the communities attacked further impoverished and many found it difficult to feed as their food items have been carted away.

It was also learnt that the violent sect had begun to pile up food items in preparation for a long drawn battle with the military, especially as the United States, United Kingdom, France, Israel and other foreign collaborators are assisting the Federal Government to ensure the safe return of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls.

With the allied forces believed to be on the ground to help the Nigerian military rescue the girls, it was learnt that the insurgents did not want to be caught unawares by running out of strategic resources, especially food.

Saturday PUNCH further learnt that this development also contributed to the latest strategy of carting away food from communities, and the rustling up of the residents’ cattle in the last one week.

In recent publications, some residents of the communities close to Sambisa Forest told journalists in Maiduguri that the insurgents had visited their towns recently asking for money to execute “God’s work.”

The villagers were only able to raise N70, 000. The insurgents left with the money but with a message that they would come back for the balance.

They threatened to come back for the balance at a stipulated time or they would kill the villagers.

One of the villagers, Bukar Umar, said the villagers took the threat with levity. They thought it was “madness gone too far.”

He said, “Actually when they issued the threat, we took it lightly as we were all relaxed and nobody bothered to make any extra effort to raise the amount they requested. May be that was what caused this bloody attack because we were unable to meet their demand.”

Speaking on the growing raid of the insurgents for food, a military source said, “The military is aware of this and knows that the insurgents are doing this for a strategy but it is inevitable that we have to confront them if the schoolgirls and other girls and women they have abducted are not released.”

He said, “They should continue to pile up food items as much as they can but wars and battles have different complexities and when we get to that stage we will definitely know which strategy to deploy.’’

Unconfirmed reports had indicated that certain helicopters used to drop food items and other needs in the Sambisa stronghold of the Boko Haram group.

Security experts said the growing focus on the Sambisa forest must have disrupted the routine of the helicopters, thus putting pressure on the group’s supply chain and fueling more attacks on villagers in the North-East.


Game plan of northern PDP exposed


Months after some governors elected on the platform of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), dumped the party for All Progressives Congress (APC), fresh facts have emerged on why governors Aliyu Babangida of Niger State and Sule Lamido of Jigawa State declined to join the opposition party. They were actually left behind to engage incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan in a political “fight” from within.

The decision to leave both governors, it was gathered, was part of the calculations of the North to democratically wrestle power from the the incumbent President.

“The Northern PDP leaders tactically kept Sule Lamido in PDP to fight President Jonathan from inside. If Sule wins PDP primaries, some of the governors that left in annoyance may come back,” a source that pleaded not to be named, told Saturday Newswatch in Abuja.

The rumoured presidential ambition of Governor Lamido, which apparently thawed immediately two of his sons were arrested and arraigned, literally assumed another life of its own when former President Olusegun Obasanjo visited Jigawa State recently, and allegedly gave the governor the nudge to aspire to the nation’s highest p olitical office.

Obasanjo, who was accompanied by Otunba Johnson Fasawe, also visited Sokoto, even though the State is now being ruled by the APC. It was believed that Obasanjo, who had told President Jonathan to honour an earlier agreement to run for only one term, was looking beyond the PDP primaries in his calculations.

The Ota farmer, Saturday Newswatch learnt, has also been in touch with a good number of ‘disgruntled elements’ within the party, with a view to positioning them for the post-PDP primary arrangement.

But a second republic federal legislator and delegate to the ongoing National Conference, Hon. Sidi Ali, described Lamido’s touted presidential ambition as a big joke.

Ali said: “Governor Lamido has a serious moral baggage. Already security agencies have arrested two of his children who are not working, yet have over N10billion. The Sule Lamido I know loves his children, and he is ready to bargain for their freedom,” he stressed, adding that the whole idea of Lamido contesting is a gimmick .

A source close to some political heavyweights in the North further informed Saturday Newswatch that political opinion leaders would prefer the ruling PDP to select its standard bearer through primaries. Their reason: the general anger in the North would make it difficult to market.

The source said should Lamido lose the primaries, he is expected to cross over to APC, where a special position has been reserved for him.

The source said in the event that Lamido and his supporters are pushed out of PDP and forced to join the APC, it will make it easier for the APC to garner almost 32 million votes from both the South west and North west, while the party targets a 50-50 contest in the North central and South east.

Nigeria Immigration Arrests 10,000, Repatriates 268 Illegal Immigrants To Their Countries

Asaba— OVER 10,000 persons were arrested in Asaba and Warri axis of Delta State, following a mop up exercise of black spots and criminal hideouts by security agencies.

The exercise was carried out by men of the Delta State command of Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, in collaboration with other security agencies such as the Nigeria Police Force, Department of State Services, DSS, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC and National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA.

Our reporter who monitored the exercise reports that after the screening of those arrested, which took place at the command’s headquarters, Nigerians and regular immigrants were released while 268 persons declared as illegal immigrants were repatriated in six luxury buses to their respective countries.

The 268 undocumented/irregular immigrants of African extraction were repatriated to their countries of origin.

An unidentified official of the NIS was heard saying “even though Nigeria is a signatory to the ECOWAS protocol on free movement of persons, goods and services as well as residency rights, immigrants must enter the country with a valid travel document and through an authorised port of entry and not to sneak into Nigeria without any identification.”

Efforts to speak with the state Comptroller of Immigration Service, Mr. Isiaka Hamad, yesterday, proved abortive as he was said “to be very busy in a meeting sorting out the deportation arrangement.


Highway robbers meet waterloo in Ibadan


It was a sad end for a gang of highway robbers that had been terrorizing the Ajah area of Lagos state for some time now as men of the Highway Patrol unit of the Oyo State Police Command recently brought their reign of terror to an end. TAYO JOHNSON reports

The end has come for a gang of highway robbers that had been terrorizing motorists and residents of Ajah area of Lagos State, thanks to the activities of the Oyo State Police command. The gang which had for long remained a threat to peace in the area was arrested along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway by a team of policemen from the Highway Patrol unit of the command. The robbers, who were paraded in Ibadan last week, allegedly robbed a woman of her Toyota Camry car at gun point in Ajah in Lagos, and were escaping towards the Oyo State capital, when they were intercepted by the police. It was gathered that the four-man gang after robbing the woman of her car, forced her into the vehicle and later drove towards Third Mainland Bridge heading for Ibadan. Somewhere on the bridge, the woman was dropped off and given N400 to join a commercial vehicle back home. But luck ran against the robbers when they encountered a Highway Patrol team along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway which stopped them for routine checks. But as they were being interrogated, three members of the gang ran out of the car and escaped into the bush leaving only the driver, 28-year-old Semiu Sikiru, who was arrested on the spot. One other member of the gang 27-year-old Daniel Okorie was later tracked down to Challenge area of Ibadan by the police and arrested.

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Addressing journalists at Eleyele Police Command headquarters, the state Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Indabawa, revealed that the  federal highway patrol team that arrested the suspect was led by Inspector Ihedoro Emmanuel, while the intercepted the stolen car had a registration number DL 550 BEN.

Indabawa explained that:  “As the patrol team was trying to interrogate the occupants of the vehicle, three of the occupants jumped out of the car and escaped into the bush, adding that the unrelenting effort of the policemen led to the arrest of one of the fleeing suspects identified as Daniel at Orita Challenge area of Ibadan.

The police boss gave an assurance that the other suspects at large would soon be arrested.

Speaking with The Nation, one of the suspects, simply identified as Semiu, confessed to the crime, saying that his role in the gang was only to drive anytime they snatched cars.

According to him, the Toyota Camry vehicle was snatched from a woman in Ajah area of Lagos before they proceeded to Ibadan.

Also, his partner in crime, Daniel also confessed to the crime, saying that immediately the car was snatched from the woman they drove her in the vehicle and dropped her off on the Third Mainland Bridge and gave her N400 as transport fare.

He stated that he escaped into the bush with two others when policemen stopped them but was arrested later in Ibadan, where they had gone to meet with a buyer of the vehicle identified as Sola.

Daniel said the gang had successfully snatched four vehicles from their owners at gun point.

Also, a member of another gang of armed robbers simply called Uche was arrested along Ogbomosho/Ilorin Road by men of the Oyo State police command.

Uche confessed that his gang normally operates on the highway by nailing sharp irons in the middle of the road to entrap unsuspecting motorists. Their evil plan caught a trailer driver when the tyres of his truck were punctured by the sharp iron. But as the robbers converged on the vehicle to conclude their plot, a team of police that had laid ambush on the road pounded on them after which one of them named” Enukwe” who stays around Agbowo area in Ibadan was hit by the police bullet and was arrested. Indabawa, however, promised to track down those robbers that escaped, while advising  the people of the state to be security conscious and report any suspect to the nearest police station.



I woke up from a sweaty dreamless afternoon sleep (my first in a longtime… we’re talking 5months or more) or should I call it a nap? I’ve always envied people that took afternoon naps (or siesta as some would call it) so effortlessly, what was the secret to willing your body to sleep? Anyways, so I woke up pretty abruptly, I’m guessing kindda like how Samuel in the bible did when he heard the lord call his name. In my own case, there was no name calling by any supernatural power even though I would give anything to be in Samuels shoes…
I picture myself knelling before the lord and answering “Speak lord, your servant is listening”
And he would respond “Get up Toju! As na only you waka come, I shall make you rich, so rich that your name will be known everywhere”
And I shall ask gleefully  ”How…

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