Apr 10, 2008

Musa Dung Passes On

Until August 18th Musa Dung was a staff of the NASCO group of companies where he has worked for thirty years, starting from 1978.

On the 17th August Musa was involved in a motor accident along the Bukuru Express Way. The accident occurred about a hundred meters away from his house. He had closed from office and was driving home when another vehicle from the opposite lane ran into a pot-hole, lost control and crossed over to his side of the road to smash the Mercedes 190E in which he was driving alone. He was taken to the Jos University Teaching Hospital and died the next day.

Death often chooses the most noble of men. Musa was a very discipline and honest man who lived a very organized life. Musa once admitted the fact that he loved money but will prefer to stay poor if getting the money involved doing anything unconventional. Thus he was the Cash Officer of NASCO Group Of Companies when he died. Musa was also the treasurer of his clan’s development union. When he died the union had nothing in its coffers. This is because the union refused to heed his advice against investing all it had at Pinnacle Golden Ventures where it was lost.

Musa’s sudden demise again brings to mind the need to have a speed limit along the Bukuru Express Way. When the road was constructed in the late 70s there were just sparse settlements around it. The construction of the road however spurred the speedy development of settlements leading to its present urbanized status. Thus there is the need to have a speed limit from the Police Staff College to the heart of the city.

Jang Addresses Press

Governor David Jonah Jang has addressed the press regarding key issues of his administration during a press conference convened at the Government House in Rayfield on Friday 26th September. Excerpts:

Education

While answering questions on education the Retired Commodore addressed the issue of renovation of primary schools. He noted that primary school renovation was collaborative as it involved the federal and the state governments with each paying a counterpart fund.

Jang did not forget to talk about plans to establish special science secondary schools spread evenly across the three political zones that include the north, central and southern zones. In the northern zone, Science School Kuru where the Governor was educated will be the Special Science School for the Zone, while Government Secondary School Mangu will be the school for the Central Zone and Government Girls School Shendam will be the school.for the Southern Zone. He also mentioned the intention of the government to restore the status of Government Science and Technical College Bukuru to effectively perform its function of teaching technical education.

Jang explained that as part of its service to the community, Oceanic Bank plc has taken the responsibility of renovating one of the four schools. In the same vein the Zenith Bank has agreed to carry out the renovation of the remaining three schools. This gesture according to the governor will enable his administration to save money that can be used to renovate the other schools.

Jang also talked about his government’s plan to build a permanent orientation camp for the National Youth Service Corps in Mangu to end the disruption of academic activities in schools were the corps members are camped as it has been in the past.

Health

Each of the seventeen local government areas in Plateau State is to have a sixty-bed hospital according to Jang. The aim, no doubt, is to address the rickety health care service, a general problem in the country.

Jang also spoke of plans by his administration to establish a truly specialist hospital in the state. The hospital will be equipped with all the necessary equipments to enable it meet up with the challenge. It will be located near the airport at Heipang in Barkin Ladi Local Government. The purpose is to make the services of the hospital available to people from other parts of the country that will inevitably require the services of the hospital. Jang explained that the government of Solomon Lar started the project at the same location but the project could not go beyond the foundation level.

Following the near completion of the permanent site of the Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH), it is hoped that the operations of the hospital will move to the permanent site leaving behind the old site. The school of nursing will use part of the facility for its laboratory demonstrations. The remaining parts of the structure will be converted to Jos North Cottage Hospital. In addition to the sixty bed hospitals Jos-north and Jos-south need cottage hospitals in view of the large population of people resident in those local governments.

Transport

Jang expressed his displeasure over the activities of commercial motorbikes. This according to him stems from the fact that people riding on okadas commit most criminal activities in Jos. Jang aware of the sensitivity of this angle of his plans for the state was cautious on the issue but said a clear decision on the plight of the okadas will depend on how events unfold in the transport sector as time goes on.

Jang stated that he is not against people using private vehicles for commercial transportation (kabu-kabu) after closing from work in the evening but that such vehicles must be properly registered with the Vehicles Inspection Officers, demonstrating that they will be used for such purposes. Jang stressed that Vehicle Inspection Officers who fail to live up to the agenda of the authorities in the transportation portfolio will be shown the way out.

Urban Development

A new master plan for the development of the Jos-Bukuru metropolis will be out in a few months time. This according to the Governor does not imply that the old master plan is headed for the trashcan. The new plan according to him will address only newly developing areas. He stressed that structures illegally constructed i.e. those not authorized by the Jos Metropolitan Development Board; the chief enforcer of any master plan for the state, will give way

The government is also experimenting on the feasibility or otherwise of having solar-powered streetlights. He said that if the solar means of energy turns out to be favourable, it would enable his administration to embark on installation of traffic lights at key junctions in the streets of Jos.

The urban development efforts of his administration will also involve naming and renaming of streets in addition to fresh house numbering for proper identification of street addresses.

Security

According to Jang since the restriction of the hours for the sale and consumption of liquor, there have been improvements in the security status of the state. He said that allowing the sale of alcohol to go on unrestricted nurtures crime since the perpetrators hang in the liquor houses till the critical hours they find convenient for their criminal operations. Jang said that this does not however imply that people cannot operate nightclubs in the state but that people wishing to operate nightclubs must apply to be given licenses such that nightclubs will be recognized and given security men to hang around them during operational hours.

Information

Jang also addressed the plight of the Nigerian Standard Newspapers that used to be the mouthpiece of the northern region of the country. He explained that his past experiences as a governor, albeit military, in the old Gongola and Benue States taught him that publishing is an industry that is better managed by the private organizations and as such his government is working on a possibility partnership with the private sector in the running of the Nigerian Standard to avoid the collapse of the organization as a result subsequent governments that may not be interested in financing it.

Commission of Enquiry

The Governor explained that the set up of a Commission Of Enquiry was not aimed at witch-hunting anybody. He noted that the commission is rather an avenue for concerned persons to come up and clear their names. He further explained that such commissions often come with new administrations and his cannot be different. Jang warned members of his administration to note that a similar commission will come after his administration and whoever threads wrongly would have himself to blame. He called on members of the public who are suspicious of any member of his cabinet to come up with the allegation and evidence supporting such allegation.

Apr 4, 2008

Woman Seeking Justice for Son's Life


Pam

As early as 0600 hours local time on the morning of July 2nd, the noisy engine of a vehicle awakened the Dung family of Rahol Kanang in Jos south Local Government Area. When madam Josephine Dung pulled out the covering of her window, she saw about eight gun-wielding men in mufti. Their mission was to arrest her son, Emmanuel Pam Dung.

Emmanuel’s room door, which overlooks the road, gave the men easy access. They banged the door with a horrifying viciousness and when the boy opened the door he was grabbed by the trousers and with all manner of cruelty his two hands were pulled backwards and held together with handcuffs. When madam Josephine tried to find out where her son was been taken to, one Haruna Dikko threatened her with a gun. That was how the men made away with her son.

The investigation of the whereabouts of her son led her to the Nassarawa Gwong Police Station the next day. She met Haruna Dikko who told her that her son was in detention and that she will have to come back the next day. The next day she sent her relations who went to the station but were told that no such case existed. The then contacted Haruna Dikko who denied knowledge of any such case despite the fact that he led the team that arrested her son. The turn of events led madam to consider checking the morgues in town and the search led her to the Jos University Teaching Hospital where, to her utter disbelief, she discovered the corpse of her son deposited two hours after he was arrested. The same Haruna Dikko who had arrested her son and who later denied knowledge of the case deposited the body. The boy was obviously shot from the back of the head at point blank with the bullet ripping through his head to pull off one of the eyeballs from its socket. Cause of death as documented by Dikko on the mortuary register says that the boy was a robbery suspect killed by the Police as he tried to escape from the crime scene at Babale along the road to Bauchi.

Following the extra-judicial manner in which her son was killed, Madame Josephine has vowed that justice has to be done and has thus subsequently approached the League For Human Rights, LHR, in Jos. Following Mrs. Dung's resolve to see that justice is done, some persons who claim to be members of the vigilante group from Nassarawa Gwong, the immediate jurisdiction of the police division whose men killed her son have threatened her life through texts messages. The same persons have also sent a letter to the head office of the Federal Road Safety Commission in Abuja where she works, telling the command that she is not worthy of wearing the uniforms of the command and should thus be fired. Against all these, madam says that her resolve to fight for justice has only been strengthened by such threats.

Extra-judicial killings by Policemen in Nigeria are recurrent and leave people wondering whether perpetrators ever face retribution. Shamaky Gad Peter, the Senior Programme Officer of LHR, said that his organization wrote the Plateau State Commissioner of Police (CP) on the 16th July and following the failure of the CP to respond; a second letter was written on August 4th. On the same day, the Homicide Department of the force was assigned the responsibility of investigating the case. The men were subsequently arrested but released later on. The explanation of the

Homicide Department was that the men have no case to answer since the boy was short death while attempting to escape. The LHR was not satisfied with the explanation since the boy was arrested and had his hands held behind by steel shackles. There was no way he would have escaped in that condition. The nature of the gunshot injury also revealed that he was shot at close range. While investigation was going on the Police also hastily buried the corpse.

The LHR sensing a deliberate lack of cooperation from the force has hence written the Inspector General (IP) of the Police, the Police Service Commission and the Attorney General of the Federation. The LHR believes some form of communication will be established with the office of the Inspector General. Should this fail however, the LHR has plan B which will involve suing the IG, the CP and all other parties that should be held responsible for their refusal to allow justice to take its course.

In December 2002 some youths: Silas Joseph, Emmanuel Kwaja, Samson Jacob, Laban Samaila and Edozie Okonji were arrested on suspicion of robbing a pastor of a branch of Church of Christ in Nigeria around of the sum of N75, 000. They were taken to the Katako Police station. While their hands were held together with steel handcuffs, a female police officer sprayed a concentrated form of tear gas directly into their eyes. Most of them suffered visual impairment for some time. The torture was meant to compel them to admitting guilt of the offenceOn the 9th November 2004, Mallam Shehu Mohammed was seriously beaten by one constable Ali on suspicion of being an armed robber. He later bled to death. On 14th May 2007, Ahmed Sadiq Mohammed, 24 and Aminu Musa, 23 were involved in an automobile accident with a vehicle belonging to their boss around Abattoir in Jos. Yusuf Dongonyaro, who was a Chief Superintendent of Police and who also, happened to be the Divisional Police Officer of Anglo-Jos Police Station was drinking at a near-by beer parlour. He came out with his gun and sent the two boys to hell instantly. According to Shamaky the mortuary register of JUTH showed that Haruna Dikko actually deposited two corpses on the 2nd of July at about 0830 local time. The corpses were those of Emmanuel Dung and one other unnamed victim.

Constable Ali and CSP Dogonyaro were dismissed from the force and charged to court. The LHR does not always carry on with the cases as it often relays it to the Federal Ministry of Justice. The Nigerian judicial process has been known for its sluggishness. Legal cases often drag for so years that the memory of the seriousness of the crime diminishes with time. Such lengthy legal process also wears out the bereaved that lose interest in pursuing the case. The trial will thus end up inconclusive and justice is never found. It is hoped that Emmanuel’s case will be different.

Political Retirement of Michael Botmang

For decades since Da Michael Botmang left the village, Zawan, in Jos South Local Government, he was never again resident there. What pulled Botmang from his village was to work for the Nigerian Tobacco Company, NTC. He worked for the company and rose to the pinnacle when he found his way into the top brass of the company that ran things across the nation.

In the late 90s he retired from the company to gamble into the Nigerian politics. When he returned to Plateau State he still did not settle at Zawan until the end of the second tenure of the Government in which he served as the sidekick to Joshua Dariye, and eventually Governor, when Dariye was impeached. Now that he is back in Zawan it epitomizes the end of the his active political journey. Da Michael Botmang is retired and perhaps tired.

Leaving a profession that provided you with all that you want in life, a profession that make others green with envy to join politics, the Nigerian type, was indeed a gamble in those days. It indeed worked negatively for him as the military struck again in 1993. This time around, the military blocked the little chance Ibrahim Babangida gave the politicians at the second and third tiers of government.

In a game you sometimes lose and at other times you win. When General Abdulsalam Abubakar restored full democracy Da Michael Botmang bounced back. This time he won the Jack-pot when he became Deputy to Chief Joshua Dariye and eventually Executive Governor, albeit briefly.

Da Michael Botmang says he will never be active in politics again. That is going to be the future direction of his politics, mentoring political protégés, pacifying and reconciling aggrieved parties. “At my age I should be seen playing the role of a father. The politics of Plateau State before May 2007 became very stormy creating multiple factions even within parties. Some people must be seen to heal these wounds. “People in my circumstance are just the right persons. As at 1982, I was diagnosed with diabetes. Since then I have taken regular medical attention, once every six months. When I became Governor, the nature of the work compelled me to stay for more than a year without receiving medical attention, the condition grew worse. Now doctors come to my house to administer dialysis twice a week. I am just striving to live a few more years”.

There is something about Botmang that makes him look old when he wants to and young and smart when he chooses to. One will not be surprised if the man, one day decides to unleash verbal missiles.

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