Saturday, June 28, 2014

Nigeria hires PR for Boko Haram fallout

The Nigerian government has signed a contract worth more than $1.2 million with a Washington public relations firm to deal with the fallout from the Boko Haram kidnappings, documents obtained by The Hill show.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, who is up for reelection in February, is seeking to counter the perception that he has not done enough to combat the Islamic extremists in his country who abducted more than 270 schoolgirls in April.
To that end, his government has hired Levick, a prominent PR and lobbying firm in Washington, to engage in an effort to change the “the international and local media narrative” surrounding Nigeria’s “efforts to find and safely return the girls abducted by the terrorist organization Boko Haram,” according to a contract document signed June 13.
The firm will also be “assisting the government’s efforts to mobilize international support in fighting Boko Haram as part of the greater war on terror.”
Levick is partnering on the contract with Jared Genser, a human rights attorney who primarily represents political prisoners.
The firm said the work for Nigeria will be more than just PR and will be part of an effort to create “real change” in the country.
“A more comprehensive approach, using vehicles, such as public diplomacy and engaging outside experts to enact real changes, is how the advocacy industry is evolving,” Phil Elwood, a vice president at Levick, told The Hill. “A communications strategy alone is not enough to solve the complex and multifaceted problems facing some of the more controversial nations.”
In April, Boko Haram, a terrorist group whose name loosely translates to “Western education is sin,” snatched more than 250 schoolgirls from a state-owned school in northern Nigeria. Government officials say 219 girls are still missing, while about 57 have escaped their captors.
Local media reports out of Nigeria suggest Boko Haram kidnapped more girls last week. More than 60 women and girls, and 31 schoolboys are missing after a three-day siege in the northern part of the country.
President Obama has sent a team of U.S. military, law enforcement and hostage-negotiation advisers to Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, to help with the search for the missing youths. He has also committed 80 American troops to the neighboring country of Chad.
Lanny Davis, an executive vice president at Levick who is also a columnist for The Hill, said Jonathan is committed to the rescue effort.
“For me, after talking to him, the priority for President Jonathan beyond any is finding and bringing home the girls,” Davis said. “There’s got to be a way to amplify what he’s saying and doing to find these girls because over here in America, we’re not hearing much about his effort.”
Levick will be also working to publicize “President Goodluck Jonathan Administration’s past, present and future priority to foster transparency, democracy and the rule of law throughout Nigeria,” according to contract documents.
That’s where Genser, armed with impressive human rights bona fides, comes in.
His client list includes the Burmese pro-democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi, retired South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel. Genser also began representing human rights activist Liu Xiaobo, currently imprisoned in China, months before he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010.
“Arbitrary detention is, for better or worse, my specialty,” Genser said, mentioning that it has been about five years since he has worked for a foreign government.
In addition to his own firm, Perseus Strategies, Genser founded Freedom Now, an independent nonprofit that works to “free prisoners of conscious worldwide.” The firm has more than 15 campaigns that urge the release of political prisoners in countries including Ethiopia, Vietnam and Uzbekistan.
“It’s of course easier to wear the white hat,” he said, referring to the bulk of his work, “because who’s going to object?”
Genser said his decision to work for Nigeria was based on Jonathan’s commitment to taking on Boko Haram.
“In terms of advancing human rights, however, the real work has to be done working with governments that are well meaning but lack the capacity — or as much capacity as they might like — and want to do the right thing,” he said.
“At the end of the day, the [Nigerian] president has said clearly to us that he wants results,” he said.
Levick will be paid $75,000 per month for its work, in addition to the extra costs of advertisements, video production and website development, and is working for the government through a state-owned media agency.
If members of the firm travel to Nigeria, there will be an additional estimated cost of $22,500 per person. A subcontract with Perseus Strategies is valued at $25,000 per month, bringing the monthly retainer to a total of $100,000.
By K Street standards, the $1.2 million Nigeria contract is a fairly sizable one, though other firms have earned more from Middle Eastern countries. For example, The Glover Park Group has a contract with Egypt valued at $250,000 per month.
Genser said he hopes to bolster the efforts already underway to rescue the schoolgirls.
“I would not sit here and pretend that we are singlehandedly going to rescue the girls, that’s not our role,” Genser said. “What we can do is, we can provide advice and support about how to do so in accordance with international human rights norms and standards.”

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Sunday, June 22, 2014


How many people saw the illuminating light that radiated much more brighter than the glory of lifting the World Cup itself in the Super Eagles' performance last night in Brazil? Well, if you missed it, don't beat up on yourself.

Lost in the ecstatic and euphoric celebration of our narrow victory against Bosnia-Herzegovina, I missed it too...until one of my frequent daily moments of reflection took over the reigns of my thoughts. I wasn't even a quarter-inch deep into the solitary zone of my mind before the light flashed through like thunderbolt.

Our so-called leaders, politicians, Pastors, Imams, and everyone in the country who often react outrageously to criticism, must allow this light to shine in them each and everyday of their lives if they truly love Nigeria, or remain forever condemned in their horrid hypocrisy.  

I know by now you must be wondering what the said light is. Well, let's dig right in.

It is undeniable that every Nigerian, in and outside of the country, from President Jonathan and his goons to 9JA Diasporas in the remotest part of China, vented a soured word or two of vilification against the Super Eagles for their lackluster and unproductive performance in their first outing against Iran.

You vented, I vented, we all vented, and rightfully so.

But after nearly drowning in the pool of our vituperation for almost a week, the Super Eagles responded last night in the RIGHT WAY, THE BEST WAY, THE ONLY performing much better, and I for one couldn't be more proud of them. Not just for the victory, but for the potential learning curve their victory unleashed if we are all willing to view it from the perspective of this blog.

So let it be trumpeted on the hilltop, down in the valley, and in every nook and cranny of the country. Let it be drummed in the ears and engraved in the hearts of every politician, pastor, imam, and all public office holders in Nigeria.....that they must learn to respond to the brutal criticisms that we the people regularly heaps on them when they under-perform in the exact same vein the Super Eagles responded last night in Brazil. 

Mr and Madam Politrickians, no more buying the press to Picasso-out your failures. No more hiring thugs to squash your critics. No more going to Babalawo for rituals or praying to God to sustain your position of power when your performance is nothing to write home about. Your only redemption is to go out there and perform much the Super Eagles did last night.

That is the lesson, that is the light. Learn it, and let it shine in you.

And anytime you feel bad about being lambasted for your below-par performance in office, remember that you yourself also disparaged the Super Eagles for the self-same reason somewhere between their 0-0 draw against Iran and their 1-0 victory against Bosnia-Herzegovina.   

                       Monday Midnite.                                     

Saturday, June 21, 2014

I Get Prophetic Messages To Impregnate My Church Members----ENUGU PASTOR

enugu pastor 
Timothy Ngwu, second from right and two of the concubines

By Emmanuel Uzodinma,

The Police in Enugu State have arrested one Timothy Ngwu, the General Overseer of Vineyard Ministry of the Holy Trinity, located at Ihe/Owerre, Nsukka in Enugu State.
Before his arrest on Friday, the self acclaimed Pastor, who said he was obeying God’s command, has put no less than 20 members of his church in a family way.
DailyPost gathered that Ngwu does not spare married women in his evil act.
The spokesman of the Enugu State Police Command, Ebere Amaraizu, DSP, disclosed that “the pastor claims to be obeying prophetic/spiritual injunction to do the will of God, which is to impregnate any one chosen and revealed by the Holy Spirit, irrespective of whether the woman is married or not.
“When the woman is delivered of the baby, the child remains in the ministry with the mother for life”.
Amaraizu added that “Vineyard Ministry of the Holy Trinity, located at Umudikwere, Ihe/Owere Nsukka in Enugu was not known until DSP Gloria Udoka and her operatives from the Anti Child Trafficking unit of the state criminal and investigation department, stormed the place based on the complaint they received from wife of the Pastor, Veronica Ngwu, bordering on sexual abuse of people in the ministry, which has brought about indiscriminate pregnancy among married and single women in the ministry.
“According to Veronica, her husband used to be a well known catechist in Nsukka Catholic”.
It was further disclosed that while acting under the same alleged will of God, the Pastor got his wife’s niece pregnant.
“Some of the members’ wives are now living with him after he impregnated all of them”, the statement added.
Reacting to the allegations against him, the General Overseer stated that he has about five wives with thirteen children, apart from other concubines, who came as a result of the prophetic will of God.
He claimed that he does not do anything with any married woman until full consent and agreement is reached between him and the husband in line with the directives of the holy Spirit.
Two of the women, who had left their husband and are now living with the General Overseer, Calista Omeje, and Assumpta Odo confirmed that they left their husband and went to the General Overseer based on the prophetic injunction to do the will of God.
Calista revealed that she is married to her husband with ten children, and that she was impregnated by Timothy, though the baby later died.
She further disclosed that she also gave her daughter out to the General Overseer to be impregnated in fulfillment of will of God.
Assumpta Odo also confirmed the development, pointing out that she is also married with eight children and that the pastor impregnated her as well as her daughter.

Briton returns looted Benin artefacts after 177 years

A Briton, Dr. Mark Walker, has returned to the Oba of Benin, two bronze works carted away by his great grandfather 117 years ago during the invasion of Benin by British soldiers.
Benin artefacts

The two bronze artefacts, a long-beaked bird and a bell, which were removed by his great grandfather, Captain Philip Walker, in 1897, were received by the Oba at a reception organised in honour of the Briton in Benin.

The monarch, Oba Erediauwa, who would mark his birthday in few days, described the return of the antiquities as the best birthday gifts he had ever received.

The Oba, however, urged the other descendants of soldiers who fought in Benin and still kept the objects in their homes to emulate Walker’s friendly gesture and return the objects in their possession.

Walker, who expressed delight that the cultural antiquities were returned to their place of origin, noted that he was thankful to the traditional ruler and people of Benin for not rebuking him on account of his grandfather’s misdeed.

He said that he had persuaded his grandmother to take custody of the artefacts so that he could trace their root and return them to the rightful owners.

“I was very pleased to have them in my possession because they reminded me of my parents.
“But when I realised that my children were not interested in the bronze works, I knew I had to protect their future,” Walker noted.

He said that it was through information about Benin bronze on the Internet that he discovered the website of the Richard Lander Society, operated by Steve Sunstone, which connected him with the original owner of the antiquities.

“On that website is a brief history of Benin and a passionate plea for the return of the bronzes. So, I contacted Mr. Sunstone and he very kindly put into effect a lot of work by himself and his colleagues who arranged for visits to the Nigerian High Commission in London and made contact with the royal household here,” he said.

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