Saturday, March 30, 2013

Who Killed Dr. Nev?


By Andrew Ojih
Leadership, Saturday, March 30, 2013



One week after the death of a Nigerian medical doctor alleged to have committed suicide at the Cairo International Airport, the family of Dr. Orseer Nev are yet to come to terms with his death, ruling out suicide. ANDREW OJIH, spoke with them in Jalingo.
The family of Dr. Orseer Orkuma Nev, son of the immediate past Permanent Secretary, Government House, Jalingo, Mr. Dennis Orkuma Nev, said they were still in shock over the mysterious death of Dr. Nev, the Nigerian doctor that was allegedly said to have committed suicide at the Cairo International Airport last week.
Wife of the deceased Dr. (Mrs) Ejiro O. Nev told LEADERSHIP SUNDAY yesterday in Jalingo that she was still in shock over the death of her husband.
“I was shocked to hear that my husband committed suicide few hours after we spoke.
“I don’t believe the report. My husband is a gentleman that is not in any form of drug or substance abuse. He doesn’t smoke or take alcohol. So, what would make him commit suicide?
“He had enough money on him. He told me he bought things for us and I even sent additional N80, 000 to him a few days to his departure. He only withdrew N37, 000 out of the money, so I don’t believe the report that he was facing financial troubles and was asking people for money to enable him get to Abuja,” she lamented.
In his reaction, Mr. Samuel Chiahemba Nev, uncle to late Dr. Nev who was highly emotional described the passing on of Dr. Nev as ‘shocking and heart breaking.’
“We received the news with shock, but we have taken solace in the fact that God has given and God has taken. Right now we are in touch with the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Nigeria Embassy in Egypt to bring the corpse home for burial.”
His colleagues at the State Specialist Hospital, Jalingo, where he worked declined to comment, saying the Chief Medical Director is the right person to comment. But when LEADERSHIP SUNDAY visited the CMD’s office, he was not available and several calls to his phone were not answered.
The condolence register at the family house in Jalingo which was almost exhausted at the time of filling this report had some of these comments; ‘A painful exit, adieu Dr. Orseer’, ‘A gentleman who does not hurt even a fly RIP’, ‘Gone too soon, may God grant you eternal rest’, among others.
Born to the family of Orkuma Nev Barkih in 1984 as a second child in the family of five, Dr. Nev started his primary education in Aliyu Mustapha International School, Yola, Adamawa State.
When his father was deployed to Taraba State when it was created in 1991, he was also transferred to New Era Nursery and Primary School, Jalingo, Taraba State where he graduated in 1996 with First School Leaving Certificate.
After graduating from the primary school in 1996, he got admission into the Government Day Secondary School, Nukkai, Jalingo for his JSS1 to JSS 3. Because of his bias in Science, he was transferred to Government Science Secondary School also in Jalingo where he completed his secondary education, in 2001. He then proceeded to the University of Jos in 2003 where he studied Medicine and Surgery and qualified in 2009 as a Medical Doctor.
He was reported to have committed suicide at the Cairo International Airport in the early hours of Friday, March 22 by an online newspaper, Al Ahram News.

Your sperm can be contaminated by pesticides

Researches have shown that pesticides and other insect killer chemicals could affect the quality of sperm in men.

Findings have also proved that many environmental factors affected sperm quality in men including The chemicals include pesticides and insecticides, which are mostly overlooked by most people as damaging to the sperm producing organ of men.

"Pesticides and insecticides used in controlling insects, pests and rodents have harmful effects not only on a person's health, but also on the sperm. Pesticides and insecticides exposure may affect spermatogenesis leading to poor semen quality.

"Other environmental elements that affect sperm quality include: extended exposure to industrial chemicals like herbicides, pesticides, organic solvents and painting materials.

Indiscriminate exposure to these elements should be limited, if not avoided because low sperm count and poor sperm quality are the causes of infertility in men," the finding said.
"Chemicals from pesticides and insecticides can cause damage, not only to the health, but also to the male reproductive organ. Reduction in sperm quality due to several exposures to pesticides and insecticides can result in infertility," it said.

---------------DAILY TIMES NIGERIA

Friday, March 29, 2013

Broad Street: A heritage lost to confusion, hustling, decay


By Chukwuma Okparaocha, Lagos
Nigerian Tribune, Saturday, March 30, 2013




IF Lagos Island occupies an irreplaceable spot in the annals of Lagos State and Nigeria as a whole, then Broad Street, which is arguably the most popular street on the Lagos Island, is equally indispensable.
Broad Street, like many other spots on the Island, is generally believed to represent some form of heritage for the entity called Nigeria, owing to some of the historical structures found on it.
For instance, it once played host to the dreaded colonial Broad Way Prisons, which once held in captivity not only criminals but freedom fighters and independence agitators such as the late elder statesman, Herbert Macaulay; Nigeria’s first President, Nnamdi Azikiwe, and the sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo as well as Adeyemo Alakija. These were all branded as rebels by Nigeria’s then colonial lords.
The prison has, however, been turned into a beautiful garden called Freedom Park by the Lagos State government.
Broad Street also serves as the home of a number of buildings occupied by banks and other companies that had been in existence long before the country gained independence from Great Britain. Though some of such banks and companies have since changed in name and size, their heritage and historical relevance remain unchallenged.
Broad Street also serves as the major link to the historic Marina as well as other parts of CMS, which play host to some of the most historic structures ever to be found in the country. These include the Cathedral Church of Christ, established in 1869 (widely regarded as one of the oldest churches in Nigeria); the CMS Bookshop and St Nicholas Hospital. It also has at its tail end, the historic Tinubu Square.
At this juncture, it is noteworthy to state that there are Broad Streets in some parts of the world too, including Broad Street London in England, which is believed to have inspired the colonialists to christen the one in Lagos as Broad Street. There are also Broad Streets in Birmingham (also in England) as well as in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America.
Reports have it that the Broad Street in Philadelphia serves as a major arterial street and yearly enhances the tourism strength of the United States, where, despite having been in existence for many decades, it still serves as the home of several Philadelphia cultural landmarks, and it is hence called the Avenue of Arts and home of art gallery in the United States.
According to information gathered, Broad Streets in these countries have largely held on to their originality, and hence, they are believed to still be in the same shape they were decades ago.
Sadly, however, the same cannot be said of Lagos Broad Street, because, as with the case of many communities in Nigeria, it seems to have changed dramatically from what it used to be decades ago.
According to reports, the street once known for peace, quiet and tranquillity has, over the years, evolved into a land of hustling and bustling with little room for organisation and control.
Aside street trading, which has become the order of the day on Broad Street, car parks full of the ubiquitous 18-passenger buses have also sprung up, a development that can be said to have also aggravated the rowdy nature of the street.
Though Saturday Tribune could not verify this, it is said that street trading thrives on Broad Street because of the huge income it generates into the coffers of the local government. It is said that many of the traders who publicly display their wares on the floor on the Broad Street usually pay various fees to a number of ‘tax collectors’ who are always on the prowl on the Island.
This claim was corroborated by one of the traders, identified as Chidi, who disclosed to Saturday Tribune correspondent (who had posed as a customer) that before he (the trader) could have access to his spot, he had to part with nothing less than N300, as various levies are usually collected by mean-looking fellows on a daily basis.
“If we don’t do this, we will not be allowed to display our wares let alone sell them to passersby. Usually, you have different groups of people, many of who can at best be described as touts, coming here to ask for levies. The least they usually collect is N100 and you could have up to three groups coming at different times. Though they all normally claim to be working for the local government as members of some task forces, we all know that most of the money collected will end up in their pockets. But we traders have little choice in this, because if we don’t pay, we won’t be allowed to sell,” said Chidi, who trades in shoes.
Apart from this category of traders many of whom have also turned the base of one of the prominent banks on Broad Street into their ‘bedroom’ where they go for siestas, there are also numerous hustlers who are always on the prowl in search of anyone who would be willing to do any kind of business with them.
One of such people, a young man possibly in his 20s, accosted Saturday Tribune correspondent and asked if there was anything he needed to buy or fix.
According to information gathered, these categories of hustlers are like human maps of the Island, and whenever they spot anyone perceived as a prospective customer, they approach them and offer to take them to where they can find what they are looking for. This, for instance, could include where to buy shirts at cheaper prices, where to bind a book, where to fix one’s pair of glasses, and so on.
There are also scores of bureau de change operators on the Broad Street, particularly those spots closest to the numerous banks that abound on the street. They endlessly call on passersby who may wish to either buy or sell foreign currencies.
Many experts have identified several factors for this fate that has befallen the Broad Street and other parts of the Lagos Island in the last few decades. These include population explosion and its consequent massive unemployment, which is believed to have turned many youths into hustlers.
They also blame partial or total neglect of relevant building bylaws, among others.
Desmond Majekodunmi, the President of Legacy, a group which seeks to protect the architectural past of Lagos, recently revealed that the anticipated population boom was putting tremendous pressure on Lagos, because it is a land surrounded by water.
Recently while commenting on the declining state of infrastructure on Broad Street and Lagos generally, John Godwin, a renowned architect who arrived in Nigeria in 1954 from Britain, said “You have to say that in many areas of Lagos, not just on Broad Street, building bylaws have been totally ignored. Lagos is like a drug; you get emotional about it, but it tears you up. It’s a mess. But under that mess, there are a whole lot of very good people.”
An octogenarian resident of Lagos, Pa Amodu Adediran, who claimed to have spent the last 65 years of his life on the Island, told Saturday Tribune: “It is fascinating to watch the once sinister and mysterious prison wall on Broad Street crumble and the whole place turned into a beautiful garden. All these should remind the new generation of leaders – including the youth – of the selfless sacrifices made by the past leaders.”
However, when speaking generally on the massive change that has set in on Broad Street over the years, Pa Adediran lamented the deplorable condition of many of the facilities now available, while also noting that there had been a near total collapse of many of the amenities that used to make Lagos Island the toast of many regions in the country.
“There were fewer automobiles on the road. The streets were always clean, unlike now when there is refuse everywhere. We enjoyed much better scenery of peace and quiet. But nowadays, there seems to be confusion everywhere. Everyone is desperate to make ends meet; the whole land is full of filth. It is almost impossible to walk a few metres without spotting refuse dumped somewhere. Even the lagoon which used to be a beautiful sight to behold is now a large collection of water full of refuse,” he lamented.

Anambra To Bury Achebe In Carnival Manner


ANAMBRA State Government has promised to play a prominent role in the burial of late Prof. Chinua Achebe.
Anambra State’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Mike Udah, who revealed the plan, said Achebe would be buried in a carnival-like manner.
The promise is coming at a time when the burial date seems be in doubt as no one from Achebe’s family could confirm or deny the speculated May date to The Guardian.
When The Guardian visited the home town of the renowned professor, members of the immediate family, Ogidi community leaders and officials of the state government expressed shock at the May date announcement.
While Anambra State Commissioner for Information and Culture, Chief Joe-Martins Uzodike, expressed shock at the source and manner of the burial date announcement, some of the professor’s relatives said  ‘Ogidi was yet to properly announce the demise of Achebe in the customary way’.
Uzodike said that the state government was yet to make official statement on the burial date and arrangement pending the return of Gov. Peter Obi, who have traveled to US to discuss with Achebe’s family.
President General of Ogidi Union Nigeria (OUN), Dr. Eric Obiakor, who said he has opened a condolence register at Ogidi Townhall to complement the one at the family house of Achebe, said no one in Achebe’s family have mentioned the May date to him, even though he has been in regular contact with the family.
The National President of Ikenga-Ogidi Union, Chief Amechi Ekume, said the burial date of the renowned author could not be possibly announced without the knowledge of and consultation with the international community, the Federal Government, state governments and Ogidi community.
Dame Ngozi, who earlier gave the May date, however, re-affirmed her comment on the burial date.
Meanwhile over 170 tributes made it to the condolence register opened at the University of Nigeria Nnsukka (UNN) as staff and students of the university poured out their hearts unto the pages in honour of departed writer. Prince Sam Ezeanyika and Dr. Jonathan Okere, senior lecturers at the Imo State University (IMSU), Owerri, Imo State, also paid tributes to the late  literary icon.
-------------Chuks Collins (Awka), Uzoma Nzeagwu (Awka) and Charles Ogugbuaja (Owerri)
                   The Guardian, Nigeria, March 29, 2013

Homegrown crystal meth industry sparks west Africa crime wave

Clandestine methamphetamine laboratories discovered in Nigeria signal disturbing new chapter in regional drug trade

By Monica Mark in Lagos
The Guardian, Friday, March 29, 2013


crystal meth west africa
Crystal meth (methamphetamine) is being manufactured in west Africa, in a disturbing new development in the international drugs trade. Photograph: Mikael Karlsson/Alamy

One May evening last year, as a tropical downpour lashed Lagos, Nigerian drug enforcement agents received the tipoff that would lead to a game-changing bust. Hours earlier, Baez Benitez Milan, a car dealer from Paraguay, had entered the country, telling airport officials that this, one of Africa's most notoriously gridlocked, chaotic cities, was ideal for plying his motor trade.

Instead, he drove to an unfinished, weed-choked building on the deserted outskirts of town, and holed up there for weeks. When agents eventually stormed the building, they found an amphetamine-producing factory capable of churning out 25kg of white crystal meth powder, or "ice", every few hours. Benitez Milan was, in fact, a Colombian drug runner named Gonzalo Osorio, whose skills in the rapid setup of clandestine laboratories commanded a $38,000 (£25,000) weekly fee. The factory, one of an intended three, was among the earliest to be discovered in west Africa, and signalled a disturbing new chapter in the regional drug trade.

For the past decade, west Africa's creek-lined coast has been a pipeline for trafficking South American cocaine to Europe and Asia. About $1.25bn of illicit trade has passed through annually, responsible in part for destabilising huge swathes of the region, from Mali's recent turmoil to the narco-state of Guinea-Bissau. But now homegrown criminal syndicates that previously earned cuts by providing mules for Latin American cartels are cooking up their own slice of the global drug pie. Their narcotic of choice is methamphetamine, a highly profitable powder concocted using readily available and legal ingredients.

"This is the next niche for criminal groups in west Africa because you can easily cook it at home, and you can easily adjust it for supply and demand. It is slowly but surely spreading in the region," said Pierre Lapaque, head of the United Nations office on drugs and crime in west Africa, whose latest report highlights the rising trade.

Four large-scale crystal meth labs have been discovered in Nigeria. Shipments of precursor chemicals have been seized in neighbouring Benin and Togo and in Guinea officials discovered huge vats used to cook MDMA, a similar synthetic drug.

Bola, a lanky drug baron with twitching hands who is based in downtown Lagos, said only local wrestlers bought synthetic drugs when he started peddling eight years ago. "It was difficult to sell. Now the guys selling [meth] to big boys and foreigners in the VIP dens can no longer come to areas like this because they will be robbed. Everybody knows they make big money," he said.

Behind Bola's stifling, corrugated iron shop selling dusty cartons of soft drinks is a warren of cramped brick-walled rooms barely high enough to stand up in. Ghoulish in the occasional shard of sunlight piercing through the haze, dealers and glassy-eyed users slump on wooden benches, hunch over chessboards or incessantly chop and wrap mounds of crystalline powder.

Most international orders come from South Africa and more recently Asia "because many people are afraid to go. The punishment there if they should catch you … " Bola mimed a knife across his throat, indicating the death penalty.

A kilo of meth exported to south-east Asia, where some countries have reported a 250% increase in traffickers from west Africa arrested over five years, brings in $45,000. In Bola's den, poorer users pay $1.20 for a single hit.

Crystal meth was traditionally brewed by US biker gangs but laws were tightened in 2005, curbing production. Thousands of miles away, there was unintended fallout. "Cocaine trafficking was falling because we were making record seizures. Suddenly we started making more and more interceptions of methamphetamine leaving the country, but nothing at all was coming in. We realised criminals had started making it within our borders," said Mitchell Ofojeyu, an official at the heavily guarded headquarters of Nigeria's drug enforcement agency.

Some worry the effects of this new trade will spill over into local communities, raising the spectre of rising crime and health problems.

"The warning signals are there that this really is a problem that could run amok in years ahead if comparable resources aren't devoted to the human consumption side," said Alan Doss, a senior adviser at the Geneva-based Kofi Annan Foundation.

For now, widespread unfamiliarity among the local population has sometimes got in the way of curbing the trade. When Nigerian officials discovered their first meth factory, they wanted to storm the site immediately.

"We didn't realise the chemicals were so poisonous. It was our international partners who told us: 'Look, you basically have to kit yourself up as if you're going to the moon'," said Ofojeyu.

Good Friday In Lagos

A man playing the role of Jesus Christ is escorted during a ritual procession in Lagos, Nigeria.
A man playing the role of Jesus Christ durung a ritual procession in Lagos, Nigeria, Friday, march 29, 2013. Image: Akintunde Akinleye/Reuters

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Iran, NKorea, Syria block adoption of UN global arms trade treaty, but approval by vote likely


ASSOCIATED PRESS
UNITED NATIONS — Iran, North Korea and Syria blocked adoption of a U.N. treaty that would regulate the multibillion-dollar international arms trade for the first time, saying it fails to ban sales to terrorists, but other countries refused to let the treaty die.
The treaty’s adoption required agreement by all 193 U.N. member states, but some countries said Thursday they would ask Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to bring the final draft before the General Assembly for adoption by vote as soon as possible. Observers said that could be as soon as Tuesday.
“This is not failure,” British Ambassador Jo Adamson said. “Today is success deferred, and deferred by not very long.”
For more than a decade, activists and some governments have been pushing for international rules to regulate the estimated $60 billion global arms trade and try to keep illicit weapons out of the hands of terrorists, insurgent fighters and organized crime.
After two weeks of intensive negotiations, many delegates had been optimistic that consensus — which doesn’t require a vote — by all states was within reach, but Iran, North Korea and Syria announced they could not support the treaty.
Both Iran and North Korea are under U.N. arms embargoes over their nuclear programs, while Syria is in the third year of a conflict that has escalated to civil war. Amnesty International said all three countries “have abysmal human rights records — having even used arms against their own citizens.”
This was the second attempt in eight months to get countries with very different interests behind an Arms Trade Treaty.
Hopes of reaching agreement were dashed in July when the U.S. said it needed more time to consider the proposed accord — a move quickly backed by Russia and China. In December, the U.N. General Assembly decided to hold a final conference and set Thursday as the deadline.
U.S. deputy representative Dan Mahley said Thursday that the United States supported the proposed treaty as “fair and balanced” and looked forward to its quick adoption by the General Assembly.
The United States, along with Britain, Argentina, Australia, Costa Rica, Finland, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria and Norway, backed Kenya, which announced that because “the will of the overwhelming majority is clear” it was sending a letter to the secretary-general immediately asking him to bring the treaty before the General Assembly for adoption.
The secretary-general did not immediately address the request but expressed deep disappointment at the failure to agree on a treaty text.
“He is confident that the Arms Trade Treaty will come to pass and is encouraged by the shared determination to make this happen as soon as possible,” U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said.
The Control Arms Coalition, representing about 100 organizations which have campaigned for a strong treaty, said the earliest the General Assembly could vote is Tuesday, when the chair of the negotiations, Australian Ambassador Peter Woolcott, will present his report to the full world body.

The United States used the consensus requirement — which gives any country a veto — to block adoption of the treaty in July, but Anna Macdonald, head of arms control at Oxfam, said “now it’s come back to bite them, because the U.S. now wants this treaty agreed but have found themselves blocked by Iran, North Korea and Syria.”
She added, “There’s no doubt that if the treaty was put to a vote there would have been a huge majority in favor of it — and I think there will be next week when the General Assembly votes.”

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Tom Countryman said the United States would like to see many countries ratify the treaty, because that’s what will make it effective.
The draft treaty would not control the domestic use of weapons in any country, but it would require all countries to establish national regulations to control the transfer of conventional arms, parts and components and to regulate arms brokers. It would prohibit states that ratify the treaty from transferring conventional weapons if they violate arms embargoes or if they promote acts of genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes.
The final draft made the human rights provision even stronger, adding that the export of conventional arms should be prohibited if they could be used in attacks on civilians or civilian buildings such as schools and hospitals.
In considering whether to authorize the export of arms, the draft says a country must evaluate whether the weapon would be used to violate international human rights or humanitarian laws or be used by terrorists or organized crime. The final draft would allow countries to determine whether the weapons transfer would contribute to or undermine peace and security.
The draft would also require parties to the treaty to take measures to prevent the diversion of conventional weapons to the illicit market.
Iran’s U.N. Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee said the draft treaty has “many legal flaws and loopholes,” is “hugely susceptible to politicization and discrimination” and ignores the “legitimate demand” to prohibit the transfer of arms to those who commit aggression.
“How can we reduce human suffering by turning a blind eye to aggression that costs the lives of hundreds of thousands of people?” he asked.
North Korea’s deputy U.N. ambassador Ri Tong-il called the text “a risky draft which can be politically abused by major arms exporters,” citing arms embargoes and human rights as criteria to prohibit arms exports. “Under this, major exporters are entitled to privileges while imposing self-proclaimed restrictions on arms trade to importers, whereas many countries have the right to legitimate self-defense and right to legitimate arms trade.”
Syria’s U.N. Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari said his country is perhaps the best example of the results of the illegal arms trade. He cited seven objections, including the treaty’s failure to include an embargo on delivering weapons “to terrorist armed groups and to non-state actors.”
India’s Ambassador Sujata Mehta said the text was skewed against countries like itself that import arms, and noted that it would strive ensure that the final treaty not threaten India’s defense cooperation agreements and contracts with other countries. She said it also won’t have any real impact on illicit arms trafficking and the use of arms by terrorists.
Countryman, the U.S. delegation chief, said the treaty should make it harder for “serial human rights abusers” to obtain weapons, but he said “India is not one of these countries.”

Associated Press writer Maria Sanminiatelli contributed to this report.




Ode Mkpishi Chinua Achebe (1930-2013): Our Literary Hero Exits


Richard von Weizaecker (L), former German President, congratulates Nigerian author Chinua Achebe, after Achebe was awarded the prestigious Peace Prize of the German publishing industry at the Paul's Church in Frankfurt/Main, 13 October 2002. With the peace prize he was honored as 'one of the most forceful and at the same time most subtle voices of Africa in 20th century literature'. Image: Frank May/DPA

Chinelo, Nwando, Ikechukwu and Chidi. Ngozi. The entire Achebe family. Ndo nu o!

I had engaged my friend, Dr. Elemi John Agbomi in series of our usual intellectual discourses on a fabricated national state, who never stops telling me stories of his encounter and combat during the Nigeria-Biafra war; who is fond of talking about Ode Mkpishi Chinua Achebe's "Things Fall Apart" and how "they" all got into it during his high school years at Government College, Afikpo, in the 60s; and who has been a very good friend over the years before dabbling into the social media on Friday, March 22, 2013, to read the widespread news that Ode Mkpishi Achebe is gone.


Much is known and has already been written about Africa's literary giant Ode Mkpishi Achebe who died Thursday night, March 21, 2013 in Boston at the age of 82. Much has been said about the man known to have reshaped the African literary landscape. And people have overwhelmingly given the literary icon lots of tribute. All major newspapers wrote a tribute to the literary icon whose novel "Things Fall Apart" is now in over 50 languages.

I was not sure if there was any more stuff one could pick from Achebe's stables since his last book "Anthills of the Savannah" published in 1987, depicting the West African country of Kangan until my colleague at the BNW News Magazine told me the Chinua Achebe Colloquium Projects would commence publishing at the site and its sister links, as the directors of the projects would be forwarding every episode in order to reach its desired audiences and readers. Yes, all the interviews conducted by journalists and folks Ode Mkpishi Achebe had assigned for the interviews including the symposiums and related articles that came along with it, begun the awareness for me that Ode Mkpishi Achebe still got game and has been on the radar to stay on with his ideals by way of network to finding solution on a case load of problems within the African continent.

As it turned out, the colloquium was held annually to bring together scholars, leaders and folks from all walks of life to exchange ideas on "strengthening democracy and peace" all around the African continent.

I had begun penning what may have been some of the reasons why the Nobel Academy had kept Achebe waiting for its grand prize in Literature until one of those out of the blue got to take care of projects halted it. I had intended publishing it before what we are now hearing that the storyteller who was fond of recalling societal ills in Nigeria is gone.

The Nobel had become for Achebe what the Biafran War had been for some not heard of names that battled until Biafra surrendered and yet nobody mentioned their names in the books on how gallantly they committed their lives towards the realism of a Biafran national state.

Like the plot from "Anthills of the Savannah," which in my opinion was second closest to "Things Fall Apart" if Nobel had decided to honoring Achebe's work in literature. Achebe, here, describes the political situation through the experiences of three friends who had been in collaboration and the assassination of an editor critical of a regime. The trend of coup after coup and assassinations that is the trademark of military juntas.

I'm sure no one who had known Achebe would doubt that the brilliant, proud, ultra-competitive and astoundingly a great writer had wished many things had worked out in his lifetime based on his lamentations of Nigeria's social ills, coupled with the most corrupt state in practice. He also would have loved to win the prize that no Nigerian novelist has won since Wole Soyinka in 1986. He also would have loved a successful leadership on the African continent, especially in his native Igbo land where the current crop of leaders have not learned from the previous leaders, from their brilliant successes and their disastrous mistakes in transforming organizations and communities, setting examples by communal leads, by ethical imperatives and by willing to take risks.

Achebe was one of a kind. His books called the shots.

Amazing thoughts. A beautiful mind.

The Chinua Achebe Colloquium defined him. In finding how the colloquium had been measuring up and doing what it was suppose to be doing by its standards, I interviewed his son Chidi, who practices medicine out of Boston and who is also the President and CEO of the Harvard Street Health Center regarding his dad's projects and whether it's still vibrant. Chidi Achebe responds:

It is going very well. A former United States ambassador to Nigeria described the annual gathering as “the best intellectual gathering focusing on Africa in the world.” The annual colloquium brings together an international group of scholars, officials from African governments, the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, and other organizations for two days of intense deliberation and exchange of ideas on the importance of strengthening democracy and peace on the African continent.

We all read him while growing up, and continued to read him when we became who we now are, and, still reading him. He was master storyteller. He was intelligent. He was proud. He was an enigmatic literary giant.

He was untra-competitive and unquestionably self-absorbed human being and author.

Okonkwo, the typical Igbo man and pigheadedness in "Things Fall Apart."

His Excellency, Chris Oriko, Beatrice Okoh, Ikem Osodi, Elewa, Major Ossai in "Anthills of the Savannah."

He wrote numerous books and authored uncountable articles -- "Winds of Change: Modern Short Stories From Black Africa," "How The Leopard Got His Claws," "Hopes And Impediments," "Home And Exile," "The Trouble With Nigeria," "Morning Yet On Creation Day," "Beware Soul Brother," "Girls At War And Other Stories," "Arrow Of God," "A Man Of The People," "Chike And The River," "No Longer At ease," "The Sacrificial Egg And Other Stories," "Anthills Of The Savannah," "Things Fall Apart," "The Education Of A British Protected Child: Essays," and as the list goes on and on, and on -- in which most recalled the social ills of a continent, his country and in particular, his native Igbo land, Achebe never stopped writing with sustained accuracy regarding a  continent's woes and never ending tragedy.

Achebe was fun to read; storytelling that was baked in his genes, ingrained and plausible no amount of detox could remove. It got us all hooked.

He had his pen and he used it very well to the point military drunks obsessed with dictatorial tendencies came after him to find out which had more firepower -- his pen or the guns of the juntas.

He wrote fearlessly and took no prisoners, presenting to his readers the simple truth on what had erupted as national crisis when bribery and corruption had taken the place of what supposedly should have been a transparent and accountable government in a democratic fabric.

He wrote extensively to near exhaustion on problems grand and small which had overwhelmingly clouded a country full of leaders of mischief in what is called Nigeria.

He will be missed!




Africa's phenomenal intellectuals Ali Mazrui (L) and Chinua Achebe share jokes at the Chinua Achebe Colloquium at Brown University in Rhodes Island. The colloquium is held annually to bring together scholars and officials to exchange ideas on strenghtening democracy and peace on the African continent. Image: Brown University.



Chinua Achebe chats with former South African President Nelson Mandela at a Steve Biko memorial ceremony in Cape Town on the 25th anniversary of the activists death in police custody, September 12, 2002. Biko, a leader of the Black Conciousness movement, died after being beaten by members of Apartheid's security police in 1977.  Image: Mile Hutchings/Reuters



 

Chinua Achebe participates in the PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature.  Location: New York. Date: April 26, 2006. Image: Beowulf Sheehan/PEN American Center/ZUMA Press





Chinua Achebe, famous for his novels describing the effects of Western customs and values on traditional African society. Achebe's satire and his keen ear for spoken language  made him one of the most highly esteemed African writers in English. Location: London, UK. Date: May 21, 1970. Image: Keystone Pictures, USA



Chinua Achebe speaks about his works and his life at his home on the campus of Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York where he is a professor. Date: January 22, 2008. Image: Craig Ruttle/Associated Press


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Kidney function important to overall body health

By Laura Militana, Herald-Citizen
Dr. Ikedionwu
Dr. Ikedionwu
slideshow
COOKEVILLE — Pop quiz: Do you know what important functions the kidneys have in keeping the body functioning?

“There are three major functions the kidneys have,” Dr. Freedom K. Ikedionwu, nephrologist with Cookeville Regional Medical Center, said. “Two are more well-known, but the third is rarely known.”

The two organs are about the size of a fist and located on either side of the spine at the lowest level of the ribcage.

“One function is to get rid of the excess water in the body,” Ikedionwu said. “The second is to get rid of toxins that the body produces. And the third — which is very important — is to regulate blood pressure, and help in the production of red blood cells.”

The production of red blood cells are key in the function of other organs. A hormone produced by the kidneys helps produce red blood cells, while other hormones help regulate blood pressure and control calcium metabolism.

The kidneys also produce an active form of vitamin D that promotes strong healthy bones.

But with any organ system, complications can arise.

These can be brought on all of a sudden due to medication intake or other factors like diabetes and high blood pressure.

“There are two categories of kidney failure,” Ikedionwu said. “There’s acute and chronic.”

Acute deals with sudden onset of failure, which is usually reversable.

“A lot of times, acute kidney failure is caused by medication,” Ikedionwu said. “With that type, the offending substance is removed.

“This can also be made worse by dehydration. If it’s an infection, we treat the infection and re-hydrate.

“Most acute kidney failure issues wears off once the offending substance is removed.”

Chronic kidney failure is usually irreversable, but can be detected early for treatment to slow the progression. It is caused mainly by diabetes and high blood pressure.

“Some common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and a disturbed sleep pattern,” Ikedionwu said. “The diagnosis can be determined by a simple blood test.”

Chronic kidney disease can lead to the need for dialysis treatments and a transplant.

“There are two types of dialysis,” Ikedionwu explained. “There is hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis.

“With peritoneal dialysis, most specialists do it through a catheter inserted in through the abdomen. The hemodialysis is more common. Patients get it done about three times a week for three to five hours at a time.”

Kidney stones are another issue that arises with kidneys. Kidney stones form in the urinary system, mainly due to high uric acid or calcium levels.

“They are very common and don’t affect the function of the kidneys,” Ikedionwu said. “It’s important to note to drink a lot of fluid to prevent the formation of uric acid. When you do that, you dilute it.”

Ikedionwu is board certified and re-certified in both internal medicine and nephrology.

He received his medical degree from the University of Ilorin in Nigeria and did his internship at Meharry Medical College and Internal Medicine Residency at SUNY Downstate/Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn, New York.

He received his Nephrology Fellowship training at Harvard Medical School (Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Beth Israel/Deaconess Hospital) in Boston. As part of his fellowship program, he also received special training in diabetic kidney diseases at Joslin Diabetic Center in Boston.

“This is all about slowing the progression of kidney disease,” Ikedionwu said.

For more information, Ikedionwu can be reached by calling 931-783-2902. His office is located at 145 W. 4th St., suite 201.

Your allegations are irresponsible, unbecoming, FG tells Kalu

Your allegations are irresponsible, unbecoming, FG tells Kalu
The federal government has replied allegations by former Abia state governor, Orji Kalu, that security agents were responsible for the series of recent bombings in the country, describing it as outlandish and irresponsible.

Kalu had on Tuesday, while hosting members of the FCT chapter of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) said the security agencies and not the Boko Haram were to blame in some of the bombings in the northern part of the country, saying that they were doing it to attract more funding from the federal allocation.

Reacting to the allegation, Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, said such an allegation was unbecoming of such a highly placed former public official whose words could dampen the enthusiasm of the security personnel who are sacrificing their lives for the sake of the country.

His words : "There has not been any month that passed without the police or the military lossing their own personnel in the course of recent challenges that this nation has faced, particularly in the area of the terrorist violence in the northern part of the country. And the least that is expected of us as leaders and citizens is that we Shiism appreciate the sacrifices of members of our armed forces.

"I can tell you that there is no family in this nation that will like to loose their children who have taken up the uniform to defend the territorial integrity of this country and to secure our lives.

"So when we sit out and make those outlandish accusations, what we do is to show ingratitude, is to show lack of sensitivity, and lack of responsibility. And this is really very sad. This is truly very sad.

"Check other countries, when America deploys their troops and security forces to defend their country, you see that their citizens speak with responsibility. But in Nigeria we have politicized virtually every aspect of our country including ongoing security operations," Maku said.

------------Elizabeth Embu, Daily Times, March 27, 2013

Nigeria offers to sell power plant to Chinese firm

(Reuters) - Nigeria has offered to sell a major power station to the Chinese engineering firm that has upgraded the plant, the privatisation agency said, as it aims to end power shortages that are the biggest brake on economic growth.

Africa's most populous nation is privatising the bulk of its power sector to help increase electricity output by 10 times by 2020, although President Goodluck Jonathan's plan laid out three years ago is running behind schedule.

State-owned China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) completed the second phase of the Omotosho power plant in southwest Nigeria last month, taking total output from 375 megawatts (MW) to 500 MW. This represents more than 10 percent of the West African country's total capacity.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Ending the Rain of Bombs and Flow of Blood

By Kayode Komolafe, The Horizon
This Day, Wednesday, March 27, 2013

If there was anyone who needed to be convinced that the Boko Haram insurgency is a national problem, the raid on the hideouts of suspected members of the group in Lagos should be enough proof. The worrisome development in Lagos has further reinforced the proposition that the government should be supported by all interest groups and political forces in finding a solution to the problem.

The administration of President Goodluck Jonathan needs all the help it can get to put an end to this rain of bombs and flow of blood. For it is elementary to know that the solutions to all other problems confronting the nation are only possible in a peaceful atmosphere.

 There is hardly anywhere in the country that could be said to be outside the perimeter of danger. Security agencies that are already on red alert in Lagos have arrested some persons suspected to be planning multiple attacks on the metropolitan state of Lagos. Public utilities, tank farms and other landmarks are said to be targets of the suspects who are still under interrogation. Security agents have also recovered bombs and other arms from the suspects. Some of those in custody are suspected to be suicide bombers. While the raid on the suspects was on in Lagos multiple attacks were launched in far away Bara in Yobe State. A policeman was killed and telecommunications masts were also destroyed.
 
The bloodletting continues in parts of the country. Nigeria's friends are also worried as indicated by the meeting that the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Terrence P. McCulley, had with the Minister of State for Defence, Mrs. Olushola Obada, and service chiefs two days ago. The multi-dimensional nature of the crisis was seemingly confirmed by the service chiefs at the meeting who reportedly told Mr. McCulley that Nigeria’s participation in the defence of Mali against the Islamic extremists in that country is a factor in the intensification of attacks on Nigeria. Experts have argued that the Malian civil war is, in some respects, a spillover from the invasion of Libya. Some of the fighters in the war that terminated the regime of Muammar Gaddafi had access to the armoury and so the southward-flow of arms began from North Africa. Some of the arms being used in Mali have been traced to this source and it is imaginable that Nigeria has also become a receptacle to some of the arms. The complexity of the problems is only a pointer to the fact that the solution should also be comprehensive and multi-dimensional.
 
It is, therefore, unhelpful in the circumstance to reduce the matter into an increasingly acrimonious debate on amnesty for Boko Haram. So to borrow Lenin's question, what is to be done? Those whose sensibility is seriously assaulted by the proposition of amnesty should note that the solution certainly goes beyond amnesty even if the President agrees to grant one to the insurgents. At best, amnesty can only be a wise political step in a mixture of approaches that should be adopted. Those who oppose amnesty as one of the approaches should be tempered by the global experience in the last one-decade or so where the use of force alone has not solved the problem of insurgency definitively.
 
Besides, it is a well - informed view in security circles that Boko Haram and its derivatives might have become a franchise borrowed by criminals of all sorts. At least Boko Haram had once posted in its website that the group felt offended that bombings for which it was not responsible were attributed to it in the media. It is important to know who is actually responsible for which attack. The various groups of killers should be separated so that the motives could be known as part of the strategy to defeat terror. This was one of the suggestions made last year by the Borno Elders Forum well before this amnesty debate.
 
Since the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa'ad Abubakar III, reiterated the suggestion of amnesty for the insurgents, those opposed to the idea have insisted that violence in parts of the north should not be compared with the crisis in the Niger Delta, which warranted amnesty by the late President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua. But a comparison was made on Monday when the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, warned against "politicisation" of the amnesty debate. He argued that the amnesty granted the Niger Delta militants was facilitated by the elders in the region such as Chief Edwin Clark, and Alabo Graham-Douglas. But the point remains that Yar'Adua never passed on the responsibility on security to the Niger Delta elders. Amnesty was a political initiative of the late President as amply demonstrated by his Media Special Adviser Segun Adeniyi in his celebrated book, "Power"
 
Politics and Death".

 In any case, as Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah is wont to say the debate has been conducted like the meeting of an organisation whose golden rule is not to read the meeting of the previous meeting. The federal government issued a white paper on the report of the "Presidential Committee on the Security Challenges in the North-East of Nigeria" in May last year. The government accepted many of the far-reaching recommendations of the committee headed by Ambassador Usman G. Galtimari. One of the accepted recommendations was this: "The Committee recommended the urgent need to constructively engage and dialogue with the leadership of the sect as an essential strategy in bringing them on board. However, it advised that government should negotiate from a position of strength by allowing security forces dominate the environment. In addition, dialogue with the sect should be contingent upon their renunciation of violence and arms'". The suggestion of amnesty is in synchrony with the spirit and letter of the government's comment: " Government accepts this recommendation and encourages the intermediaries who have access to them to initiate this dialogue".
 
A year after the President is saying he won’t dialogue or grant amnesty to "faceless" people. This is not a mark of progress. This is why the radical lawyer, Femi Falana, said yesterday that he would begin legal proceedings to compel government to implement the content of the white paper if by April 15, government fails to do so.

 As part of the steps to be taken to end this violence, the government should implement the white paper on the report of the Galtimari Committee.

What is the hope of the Nigerian inmates?

DECEMBER 31, 2012, was a terrible day for me if I must confess. I have never had such an emotional breakdown that I could not hold back tears. I literally cried like a baby as tears welled up in my eyes and ran down my cheeks freely. The only thing I could not have done was to break down completely so I would not be sent away from the prison yard. Thank goodness my handkerchief saved the day. The fact that I wore glasses made me pretend as though my eyes were itching so I could remove my glasses and stylishly dry the tears on my face.

I thought I was alone in the emotional breakdown; little did I suspect my bosom friend, Ayo Ajayi, who was on the team, had also found himself in the same situation from his own narration of the visit. It was a visit to the Nigerian Prisons Service, Agodi Prison, in Ibadan. According to him, what provoked his emotional breakdown was that he identified his mate at senior secondary school as one of the inmates we went to visit. I wished I did not go at all because the memories of what I saw haunt me till today. I had my psyche brutally bruised by the inhuman conditions in which the inmates live not just in one place but also across the Nigerian prisons. On the other hand, I appreciate the fact that I went because I would still have remained ignorant of the cruelty in the Nigerian prisons.

According to the convener of the team, Bishop Francis Wale Oke, the president and founder of The Sword of the Spirit Ministries (a. k. a. Christ Life Church), December 31 of every year is his commitment to the Lord in the past four years to visit a prison.

The team took off from the church and arrived at Agodi Prison premises at 10 a.m. We went through the protocol welcoming the bishop and his entourage. A visitor’s card was given to every member of the team with the exception of the bishop. There was a strong warning to everyone to keep the card jealously. Afterwards upon entering the ward, we were led directly into the Liberty Chapel building where the inmates conduct church services. The building has a sitting capacity of about 150. On this day it was filled to the brim. We were seated on a separate set of chairs on a raised platform- behind the pulpit where the bishop preached. Every part of the service which started 10:45 a.m. was nothing but emotion-arousing as inmates displayed amazing talents. The best way to express the experience is: Talents are wasting away in prison.

The conditions to which the inmates are subjected are demeaning. According to the statistics on their notice board, there are 903 inmates on the whole of whom 12 are women. In the prison yard, there are four main cells with iron bar openings purportedly called windows and it is only one of them that is opened. It occurred to me that those inmates that joined in the religious service are those serving mild sentences for minor. Meanwhile, how those cells were able to accommodate 903 inmates still baffles me.

According to the anchor of the programme, a senior prison officer, who is also a pastor and a member of the church, said that other cells would not be opened for security reasons. There, I saw heavily built young men looking through the openings with their heads in between iron bars. It was a pathetic scene to behold with some of them carrying Bibles and listening with rapt attention as the bishop preached. The inhumane condition of the prison yard has not only falsely humbled many of them but also humiliated them.

A lot of issues call for attention. First, is it so impossible for the government to build more prison yards? During an opening speech DCP Sowumi Adewale who was ably represented by his assistant DCP Adeyemi Ademabayoje, applauded the bishop for his good gesture towards the welfare of the inmates. He specifically referred to the donation of ICT facilities, which he made the previous year during a similar evangelical visit and some roofs that were fixed. The question that plagued my mind was: Is that really the way to ease the conditions of living for prisoners? Is it the inmates that will use the computers? Seemingly no. As much as that is appreciated, I think the first way to alleviate the dehumanising conditions is to decongest the yard through provision of more prison yards across the nation. It struck me like a thunderbolt when I was told that the situation at Agodi Prison was even better compared to what obtained at Kirikiri Maximum Prison and several others all over the country. If what I saw at Agodi Prison, where the offensive odour assailing a visitor can make person become ill was considered better, then other prisons must be hell on earth. I now know the reason why we were not allowed to bring phones, camera and other recording devices into the prison yard.

The conditions of our prisons raise two salient questions. First of all, what is the aim of imprisonment? The aim of modern prison system anywhere in the civilised world is the protection of society. It is also to induce retribution, to deter reform and rehabilitate prisoners. The aims and objectives of the Nigerian prisons service are in no way different from these. It plays the role of safe custody of inmates to ensure recovery of those who serve the cause of disorder. Reformation and rehabilitation are very important and indeed are the dominant aspects of the aims and objectives of the Nigeria prison service- Daniel I. Nkwocha, (2010— in Prisons and Correctional Institutions in Nigeria, Abuja, published by National Open University, Page 20.)

Imprisonment is not to humiliate or dehumanise people. Anywhere in the world, imprisonment is a corrective measure to make criminals sober, realise their errors and have a change of heart and attitude. Without mincing words, these are not what obtain in the Nigerian Prisons Service. At Agodi, although the floor looks neat but the yard is far from being hygienic. Besides the horrible odour, which can even endanger the health of the officials, the congestion can cause an outbreak of epidemic. We have the relentless religious activities and humanitarian services of churches, to thank, otherwise it is not conceivable that an ex-convict in Nigeria would change for better.

After the service was over, the bishop and his entourage were taken round the yard. In the course of the tour I saw a caption “CC” meaning Condemned Cell. The team was taken to another cell where inmates who commit another crime in the prison yard were locked up for the bishop to pray for them. It was a horrible experience that could make a lasting negative impression on a visitor.

This conviction brings me to the second salient question the government should answer. What does it entail to free an inmate? Are they just allowed to go home after the completion of their term? Is that how it should be done? I wonder why the so-called condemned prisoners said amen aloud as the bishop was taken round to personally pray for them. Their longing for prayers of intervention could not be unconnected with stories of testimonies by those who had been freed miraculously in the past and helped to integrate into the society for offences for which their mates had been executed. On December 31, the day of the Episcopal visit, the team paid N10, 000 fine which had kept a prisoner for one extra month after his term had ended and he had had no one to come to his financial rescue.

Apparently, when inmates are freed on one ground or the other, they are often homeless, jobless and stranded. Life becomes crueler than it was when they were imprisoned. The government is expected to set up rehabilitation centres for proper orientation, psychological balance and entrepreneurial empowerment of ex-convicts to prevent their falling into wrong companies and getting lured back into evil. It is high time the Nigerian government did something about the Nigerian Prisons Service or should forget about the lip service of fighting crimes and insecurity.

----------Abiola Olarinde, The Guardian Nigeria

Annual Report on Assistance Related to International Terrorism: Fiscal Year 2012

 
Report
Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism
Bureau of Counterterrorism
March 26, 2013



This report is submitted pursuant to the requirements for a congressionally mandated annual report codified at 22 U.S.C. § 2349aa-7(b). During Fiscal Year (FY) 2012, the U.S. government provided assistance related to international terrorism through the Departments of State, Homeland Security, Justice, and Treasury, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. This report does not include assistance related to international terrorism provided through the Department of Defense.
Note: All monetary figures are presented in U.S. dollars.

Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program (ATA): In FY 2012, $199.69 million in Nonproliferation, Anti-terrorism, Demining, and Related programs (NADR) funds, supported hundreds of courses, workshops, and technical consultations that trained 9,869 participants from over 50 countries. Course topics included crisis management and response, identifying travel document fraud, cyber security, bomb detection and disposal, airport security, border control, response to incidents involving weapons of mass destruction, and hostage negotiation and rescue. Eighteen on-site visits assessed partner country critical counterterrorism capabilities and were used to both inform Country Assistance Plans and evaluate progress. As an example of the program’s effectiveness, ATA-trained Pakistani bomb squad members were called upon multiple times to defuse improvised explosive devices potentially saving many lives in Karachi and Peshawar and countless other locations within Pakistan.

Counterterrorism Engagement (CTE): In FY 2012, $9.5million in NADR funds supported sixteen initiatives to build political will and capacities among foreign government officials and civil societies and support multilateral efforts, including through the newly launched Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF). CTE promotes effective counterterrorism policies and programs ranging from promoting rule of law and human rights to improving border and transportation security. Funding provided to critical countries and regions to promote awareness and implementation of international standards, norms, and best practices was implemented by expert counterterrorism bodies of the United Nations, regional organizations, and a non-governmental organization, the Institute for Security Studies. Specific examples of projects include training of South Asian judges and prosecutors to support and protect victims and witnesses in terrorism cases; promoting the GCTF Rabat Memorandum on Good Practices for Effective Counterterrorism Practice in the Criminal Justice Sector in East and West Africa; improving cyber security through the development of computer incident response teams throughout the Western Hemisphere, and developing a tool kit of best practices to secure bus transit from terrorist attack in the Southeast Asia region.

Border Security: Through the Terrorist Interdiction Program/Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System (TIP/PISCES), $42 million in NADR funds sustained, upgraded, and expanded TIP/PISCES system capabilities at 184 ports of entry (POEs) in 18 countries, including biometric equipment upgrades at 53 POEs in 11 countries. With the signing of a Memorandum of Intention (MOI) in April 2012, Niger became the 18th PISCES partner country. During the July-September installment in Iraq, nine POEs were upgraded and over 200 host nation staff were trained to use the new capabilities. During the July-September installment in Ghana, TIP/PISCES staff installed PISCES hardware at four POEs and trained 186 host nation staff. World wide, TIP/PISCES processed an estimated 250,000 travelers every day.

Countering Violent Extremism (CVE): Through the CVE Local Grants Program, the State Department provided funding to U.S. embassies and consulates for activities (not to exceed $150,000 per project) to support local efforts to counter violent extremist ideology and terrorist recruitment in communities confronting significant radicalization risks. Funding of $1.1 million in NADR monies were used for small grants, sponsoring 12 projects in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Indonesia (three projects), Kenya (two projects), Malaysia, Nigeria, Peru, Serbia, and Sri Lanka. All activities focused on law enforcement capacity building.

The State Department also provided $725,000 in NADR funding to enhance the networking and communication skills of women committed to CVE. Networks of women in eight countries learned how to train other women to recognize the signs of radicalization and to mediate conflict that might give rise to violent extremism within their communities. In collaboration with the United Nations International Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), the State Department supported a pilot project on the disengagement and rehabilitation of incarcerated violent extremists. This initiative created a multilateral forum for policymakers, practitioners, and experts. Funding of $1.3 million in NADR funds enabled UNICRI to expand this initiative by including a technical assistance component to respond to bilateral government requests for assistance to address broader problems of radicalization in prisons, in addition to the disengagement and rehabilitation work. This funding also enabled UNICRI and its NGO partner, the International Center for Counterterrorism-The Hague, to complete a draft paper on international good practices in these two prison-related areas. The 30 members of the GCTF adopted this paper in June, commonly known as the Rome Memorandum, at the GCTF’s Second Ministerial Plenary in Istanbul.

Counterterrorism Finance (CTF) Training: The Department of State provided $20.45 million in NADR CTF funding to multiple federal agencies for Anti-Money Laundering and Counterterrorist Finance (AML/CTF) training, and technical assistance programs for participants from multiple countries, while providing oversight of the interagency process to ensure that recipients of NADR funded training implemented plans in compliance with international AML/CTF standards.
• The State Department’s Bureau of Counterterrorism designed and implemented innovative courses and workshops to assist foreign governments to identify AML/CTF deficiencies, strengthen domestic abilities to address the terrorist financing threat, and to develop their awareness of and ability to confront kidnapping for ransom.

• The Deparment of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) provided analytical exchanges with foreign Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs).
• The Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section provided expertise in the drafting of laws and regulations.

• The Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations Office focused on developing forensic accounting techniques and an investigative, “follow the money” technique used to examine financial records and data to help determine hidden assets and money movement.

• The Federal Bureau of Investigations conducted international training in countering terrorist financing, money laundering, financial fraud, and complex financial crimes.

• DHS’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) conducted capacity building efforts through the HSI-led Cross-Border Financial Investigations Training (CBFIT) and Resident Cross-Border Financial Advisor programs (R/CBFIA). The CBFIT and R/CBFIA programs, supported by NADR funds, provided specialized training, technical assistance, and best practices on cross-border financial crime and money laundering to foreign law enforcement personnel, border control personnel, intelligence, regulatory agencies, and judicial authorities. These programs provided foreign partners with the capability to effectively implement relevant Financial Action Task Force Recommendations.

• The ICE HSI Trade Transparency Unit (TTU) conducted presentations on trade-based money laundering to hundreds of personnel from foreign law enforcement, customs authorities, and foreign military charged with border enforcement functions; as well as representatives from the financial sector from various countries around the world. The presentations and discussions resulted in numerous beneficial contacts and potential case leads.

Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS) Threat Reduction: In FY 2012, $9.3 million in NADR funds were provided to secure or destroy at-risk or illicitly proliferated MANPADS, as part of a program to prevent acquisition of these and other advanced conventional weapons by terrorists, insurgents, or other non-state actors, and to reduce threats of accidental explosions. Since the program's inception in FY 2003, these efforts led to the reduction of over 33,000 MANPADS in 38 countries and the improved security of thousands more MANPADS. The Department engaged 30 countries to reduce the threat and impact of MANPADS, focusing with its interagency partners on North Africa including Libya, and the Near East, North Africa, and Sahel regions. For more information on these efforts, please see the State Department fact sheet on MANPADS available at http://www.state.gov/t/pm/wra/.

The Weapons of Mass Destruction Terrorism (WMDT) Program: In FY 2012, WMDT received $6.042 million in NADR funding for projects that improved international capabilities to prevent, detect, and respond to radiological/nuclear terrorist attacks. Funding supported the U.S. Co-Chaired Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT), and the Preventing Nuclear Smuggling Program (PNSP). The GICNT is a multinational partnership of 85 countries and four international observers (International Atomic Energy Agency, European Union, INTERPOL, and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime). The WMDT program facilitated the continued operation of GICNT Working Groups in Nuclear Forensics, Nuclear Detection, and Response and Mitigation, with all three working groups developing practical best practices and guidance documents. The PNSP assists in reducing the amount of nuclear and radioactive material currently on the black market and helps integrate these efforts with other U.S. and international threat reduction efforts. PNSP projects range from improving prosecutions of smugglers, enhancing nuclear forensics capabilities, orphan source amnesty projects, strengthening smuggling response protocols, and improving border security.

The Global Threat Reduction (GTR) Program: GTR spearheads the most comprehensive U.S. effort to reduce the risk that biological, chemical, and nuclear experts will assist terrorists with a WMD attack. GTR received $69 million in NADR funding for efforts to prevent terrorists and proliferating states from acquiring WMD-related expertise, materials, technologies, and equipment. GTR leads the U.S. government’s principal global biosecurity effort, and works to improve the security of dangerous biological materials in countries that have a significant terrorist presence, developing bioscience capacity, and dangerous endemic pathogens. GTR also has the only U.S. chemical security program on improving chemical security best practices, raising awareness of chemical security, promoting the elimination of hazardous chemicals, and improving the management of dangerous chemicals in laboratory and industry settings.

Justice Sector and Rule of Law: The Counterterrorism Unit (CTU) in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance, and Training (OPDAT) supported efforts to improve and develop criminal justice sector capacity in partner countries, enabling them to more effectively combat serious transnational crimes, including terrorism and the financing of terrorism. OPDAT efforts were also directed at improving the operation of criminal justice systems. The CTU received $14.6 million in NADR funding from the State Department to deploy Resident Legal Advisors (RLAs) to Bangladesh, Kenya, Malaysia, Mali, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates, to increase host government capacity to effectively investigate and prosecute terrorism-related crimes, particularly financial crimes that help fund terrorism. In addition, new counterterrorism RLA programs were initiated in Iraq, Mauritania, and Niger. OPDAT also deployed a counterterrorism-focused Intermittent Legal Advisor (ILA) to Tunisia. The OPDAT RLA program in Mali was discontinued; funding was subsequently shifted to the RLA program in Niger.
DOJ’s International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP) works with foreign governments to develop professional and transparent law enforcement institutions that protect human rights, combat corruption, and reduce the threat of transnational crime and terrorism. In FY12, the State Department provided $4.4 million in NADR funding for ICITAP’s program in Algeria. The multi-year funded program provides assistance in the areas of forensics, criminal investigations, and border security. ICITAP continues to focus on the design and delivery of a comprehensive police counterterrorism assistance program to the Algerian Gendarmerie Nationale. The State Department also provided $1.9 million in NADR funds for a multi-country program covering Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Algeria to field a full-time corrections advisor to address counterterrorism-related prison reform issues. In Indonesia, the advisor will coordinate with the Directorate General for Corrections and UNICRI to design and build countering violent extremism programs for terrorist inmates at selected pilot prisons.

The State Department also provided ICITAP with $810,500 in Assistance to Europe, Eurasia, and Central Asia (AEECA) to continue developing a biometric visa database system for the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and $313,000 in AEECA funds to field and support a full-time counterterrorism advisor to assist Bosnia and Herzegovina’s State Investigation and Protection Agency to develop its capacity to collect, analyze, and disseminate criminal intelligence.