Tag Archive | Nigeria

Nigerian Widows Sue Shell over Complicity in Executions*

Nigerian Widows Sue Shell over Complicity in Executions*

In recent years, Shell has faced lawsuits in several countries over oil spills and environmental damages in the Niger Delta.

The widows of four men executed by Nigeria’s military government in 1995 have filed a civil lawsuit against oil giant Shell for alleged complicity in a military crackdown.

Esther Kiobel, the widow of Barinem Kiobel, and three other women whose husbands were hanged in 1995, served a writ in a Dutch court this week, following a 20-year battle with the oil company.

Facilitated by the Nigerian government, Shell’s oil activity in the Niger Delta resulted in decades of pollution in local communities. In protest, the Ogoni people launched the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People, MOSOP, led by Ken Saro-Wiwa, in the 1990s.

The government crackdown on the movement ultimately led to the hanging of Saro-Wiwa, Kiobel’s husband, and seven other men, who became collectively known as the Ogoni nine.

The four widows allege that Shell provided support to the crackdown and seek compensation and an apology from the largest oil producer in Nigeria.

“Shell and the military regime formed an alliance in the events leading to the deaths of the Ogoni 9,” the writ said.

“Their relationship was one of mutual dependence: the Nigerian state was dependent on the income from oil that Shell generated; in turn, Shell was dependent on the benevolence and protection of the regime to pursue its activities in Nigeria and in this way realize a substantial part of its turnover.”

Amnesty International, which has supported Kiobel’s legal team, also claimed that Shell encouraged security forces and military authorities to stop the protests, even though the company knew this would lead to human rights violations.

“Shell was reckless in raising Ken Saro-Wiwa and MOSOP as a problem, significantly exacerbating the risk to Saro-Wiwa and those linked to MOSOP,” said Audrey Gaughran,  Senior Director of Research at Amnesty International.

“Shell knew full well that the government regularly violated the rights of those linked to MOSOP and that it had targeted Saro-Wiwa.”

In response, Shell branded the allegations as “false and without merit” and denied any involvement in the executions.

“We have always denied, in the strongest possible terms, the allegations made by the plaintiffs in this tragic case,” Shell said in a statement. “The executions of Ken Saro-Wiwa and his fellow Ogonis in 1995 were tragic events that were carried out by the military government in power at the time. We were shocked and saddened when we heard the news of the executions.”

“SPDC (Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria) did not collude with the authorities to suppress community unrest and in no way encouraged or advocated any act of violence in Nigeria. In fact, the company believes that dialogue is the best way to resolve disputes,” it added.

In recent years, Shell has faced lawsuits in several countries over oil spills and environmental damages in the Niger Delta.

Source*

Related Topics:

Shell Oil Faces Second Lawsuit in Five Years over Spills in Nigeria*

Nigeria Signs Deal for 36 Oil Wells*

Nigerians Tell U.K. To Stop Money Laundering for Corrupt Individuals*

Destroying Nigeria Vital to World Entropy *

External Hands in Nigeria’s Strife!

Oil vs. Communities: The Case of the Niger Delta

Advertisements

Nestlé Sinks Teeth into Jamaica and Nigeria Hosting ‘Health Events’ While Products are Toxic*

Nestlé Sinks Teeth into Jamaica and Nigeria Hosting ‘Health Events’ While Products are Toxic*

Nestlé has been experiencing terrible loss. As we noted in an article a few months ago titled “Processed Food is Dying: Nestlé Takes Worst Hit in 20 Years as Public Opinion Shifts”:

“This “Q4” as the corporate world calls it, Swiss processed food giant Nestlé took a harder hit than they have in 20 years. Even mainstream business articles are sporting headlines such as “Nestlé Drops Targets as Consumer Giants Struggle,” from the Wall Street Journal. Could it be that consumer giants are actually struggling because of a shift in public opinion?”

They are despised, and rightfully so. They are known for producing generally unhealthy processed food products, and have the audacity to hold events focusing on nutrition in the wake of the mother of all PR problems.

PR problems grew enormous in 2013 when Nestlé’s CEO said water is not a human right. Then it got worse when they were found to be collecting water from California springs while the state was in a severe drought, as nearby people had to abide by water usage restrictions.

In 2015 a classic article by Claire Bernish exploded, titled “The Privatization of Water: Nestlé Pays Only $524 to Extract 27,000,000 Gallons of California Drinking Water.” Reading from it:

“Nestle has found itself more and more frequently in the glare of the California drought-shame spotlight than it would arguably care to be — though not frequently enough, apparently, for the megacorporation to have spontaneously sprouted a conscience.

Drought-shaming worked sufficiently enough for Starbucks to stop bottling water in the now-arid state entirely, uprooting its operations all the way to Pennsylvania. But Nestle simply shrugged off public outrage and then upped the ante by increasing its draw from natural springs — most notoriously in the San Bernardino National Forest — with an absurdly expired permit.”

In 2016, they had the audacity to pursue collecting even more massive amounts of water from Michigan’s White Pine Springs operation, angering many because nearby Flint, Michigan residents have to deal with water poisoned by lead and other toxins. Even in the 1990’s, outrage was sparked by their decision to take water from Michigan.

Headlines were recently made about how Flint residents are being forced to pay for the poisoned water, or face foreclosure. Meanwhile, a legal decision will be made soon deciding whether or not Nestlé can increase their water theft to 400 gallons per minute at the nearby White Pine Springs operation.

With all this bad press, Nestlé is truly taking a hit. Even in Australia their profits are down: they are getting desperate.

The corporation’s situation is demonstrating the power of public opinion and negative press, and in response they are launching PR efforts from Jamaica to Nigeria, going so far as to host workshops and events with “health care professionals,” as if they care about health.

A headline about the Nigerian PR from Vanguard reads “Nestle partners with media to enhance biz relationship.”

A Jamaica Observer article is titled “Nestlé Jamaica hosts health care professionals: Symposium reinforces importance of iron for health and development in infants.” Reading from it:

“Nestlé says it has reformulated its Nestum infant cereal portfolio to include additional iron in response to the needs of children for this important nutrient. The revelation was made at a symposium for health care professionals at the Knutsford Court Hotel on May 10. The symposium was entitled ‘Rationale for Feeding Normal Infants from Birth to One Year’.

The keynote speaker, Dr Jatinder Bhatia, a professor of paediatrics at Augusta University, Atlanta, Georgia, highlighted iron requirements as a specific need for infants in his presentation. The right nutrition during the first 1,000 days can have an important impact on a child’s ability to grow and learn, and iron deficiency remains a public health concern for Jamaica.”

This sounds like a poor effort at pretending to care about nutrition. Iron is something the company can easily put in its products: where is their concern for vaccine damaged children, or consumers of toxic chemicals such as aspartame?

Aspartame literally turns into formaldehyde and methanol in the body, and is responsible for an array of health problems, but Nestlé doesn’t mind promoting it. This webpage from Nestlé India promotes aspartame as a healthy alternative to sugar.

These PR efforts are also occurring in PakistanIndia, Nigeria, and probably many more countries.

According to an article titled “Nestle Urges Nigerians to Lead Healthier Lives”:

“Nestlé Nigeria has embarked on a nutrition education campaign with various programmes to help individuals and families, parents and children live healthier.

In a statement made available to THISDAY over the weekend, Nestlé stated that “it will continue to inspire people to lead healthier lives, raising awareness and deeper understanding about nutrition, and promoting healthy cooking, eating and lifestyles through education programmes on various channels in line with its conviction that healthier lives are happier lives.”

It doesn’t get more fake than this: giant corporations with track records of not caring about people promoting nutrition. In this world, it isn’t easy to know what health is. We live in a time where vaccines containing toxic metals are lauded as miracles of science, and food containing cancer causing, endocrine disrupting chemicals is consumed without a second thought.

The building blocks of our bodies, vitamins and minerals, are ignored by “health care professionals.” Nestlé will strategically promote iron because it’s easy to put in their products, but won’t say a damn thing about how sugar depletes magnesium in the body. They won’t say anything about essential components of health such as magnesium, zinc, vitamin c, vitamin e, or anything of the like.

If they do put a vitamin or mineral in their products, best believe it’s an inferior, profitable version of it. They’ll load products with calcium carbonate and claim it has beneficial calcium, but that’s not a nutritious form of it: it’s a harmful form of calcium that no one would benefit from consuming.

Their form of calcium actually inhibits the body’s ability to absorb calcium. Calcium carbonate is also known as chalk.

In conclusion, hopefully this can be considered good news: this is a demonstration of the power of public opinion. Nestlé is having a hard time because people are outraged

Source*

Related Topics:

Neuroscience Shows Breastfeeding is not Just Milk*

Nestle Being Sued for $100 Million Dollars over Hazardous Lead in Food*

Nestle ‘Liberating’ Water from Drought Stricken Indian Reservation*

Nestlé Loses more Than $500 Million for Poisoning Maggi Noodles with Lead*

Nestlé to Control Canadian Water Supply that Effect 6 Indigenous Tribes*

Nestlé Gets to Control a Town’s Entire Groundwater for up to 45 Years*

Nestlé’s Bid To Squash a Child Slavery Suit Rejected*

Nestlé Removes GMOs from South African Baby Foods not U.S. Baby Foods*

Fear and Dejected Riddled Chocolate Brought to you By the Company that Believes Water is not a Human Right!

Nestlé’s Selling You Your Water!

European Museums to ‘loan’ Looted Benin Bronzes to Nigeria!?*

European Museums to ‘loan’ Looted Benin Bronzes to Nigeria!?*

Credit: K. Opoku

 

By Kwame Opoku

The idea of Europeans establishing in Benin City a permanent display of looted Benin artefacts that continue to be in European ownership should be considered by every African as an insult to Nigerians and African peoples. Successors to looters become arbiters of the location and display of Benin artefacts. The wishes of the Oba of Benin are simply ignored. The Benin artefacts should be returned to the Oba of Benin and his people who may decide to organize a display showing artefacts that were looted in 1897 by a violent British army.

We, Europeans, who have received and transmitted and continue to transmit these objects, are on the side of the conquerors. To a certain extent, this is also a ‘heritage that weighs us down’. But there is no fatality. The good news is that in 2017 the history of Europe being what it is and has also been for centuries, a history of enmity between our nations of bloody wars and discriminations painfully overcome after the Second World War, we have within ourselves the sources and resources to understand the sadness, or the anger or hatred of those who, in other tropics, much further away, poorer, weaker, and have been subjected in the past to the intensive absorbing power of our continent. Or to put it simply: it would be sufficient today to make a very tiny effort of introspection and a slight step aside for us to enter into empathy with the dispossessed peoples’’ Bénédicte Savoy

Queen-Mother Idia, Benin, Nigeria, now in British Museum, London, United Kingdom.

I read with great interest an article entitled ’University-owned Benin collections may be loaned to Nigeria’ written by Monty Fynn on 4 April 2017, in Varsity, independent student online newspaper of the University of Cambridge.

The article reports that an agreement was reached at meeting of a so-called Benin Dialogue Group that met in Cambridge during the first week of April 2017 with delegations of the Benin Court, Nigerian museums, and a number of European museums with major Benin collections to establish in Benin City an exhibition of a certain number of Benin artefacts loaned by European museums. According to the article, ‘the display will consist of rotating material from a consortium of European museums.  There are no details about which artefacts will be in the projected display or about the museums that will make contributions. We do not know whether the British Museum, the museum that holds the greatest number of the looted Benin artefacts, will be participating in this project, or whether any artefacts from British museums will be loaned and when this project will start. The participation of the British Museum cannot be taken for granted. When the museums met in 2013 to draw the so-called Benin Plan of Action, the venerable museum did not participate owing to alleged logistic difficulties to travel to Benin.

The reported information seems to have come from a statement by Prince Gregory Akenzua. A spokesperson of the University of Cambridge is also reported to have stated that the agreement builds on the Benin Plan of Action of 2013. We prefer not to comment here on that miserable document. It may be symptomatic of the nature of the discussions said to be going on that the public receives very little information. We are to be surprised by a scheme that may raise many controversies.

In the absence of more details about the proposed display in Benin City, we reserve our right to make detailed comments later. Meanwhile, we offer a few preliminary comments on the available information. We believe that ideas should be discussed vigorously before they are concretized and before it is to late to change or challenge them. The long 500-year period of relations between Africa and Europe has taught us several lessons which should not be ignored even by museum officials.

We should pay careful attention to the idea of successors to the looters of the Benin artefacts making a loan to the rightful and legitimate owners of the artefacts looted in 1897 by the members of the nefarious British Punitive Expedition.

Since when do looters or their successors loan the very stolen objects to the owners instead of simply and correctly returning them?

What will be the status of the Benin artefacts that were wrenched from their locations with great violence and mayhem?

Would this mean that, for instance, Nigerians cannot send any of the artefacts to Ghanaians for a Pan African festival in Accra without the consent of Europeans? Are we moving forwards or backwards? We should be aware that by accepting a loan of looted Benin artefacts, one could be considered to have recognized thereby the ownership or ownership rights of the museums in the artefacts. One will be estopped, in English law, from asserting a contrary position later. So far, no such recognition of ownership has been formally accepted. Once we reach such a situation, we can forget all our claims for restitution of looted African artefacts. A dangerous precedent would have been set for other African States.

It would be interesting to know what price Nigerians would pay for this revolving display of Benin artefacts. Would they have to pay money for the loan? Would they be paying for the loan of their own artefacts to the successors of the notorious looters? Or would there be some other consideration such as renouncing forever any claim to the looted artefacts? There is in the museum world, as elsewhere, no such thing as free lunch. The danger here is that much of the arrangements between African museums and their European counterparts are usually shrouded in mystery and the public never gets to know the details. The need for transparency is not felt by many African and European museum officials. Many museums appear to be run almost as secret societies. No one knows about their expenditures and they react badly to questions about details of their finances. They do not see it as a duty to inform the public about arrangements with other institutions.

They invite the public to see and admire the objects in exhibition but do not want an inquisitive public that seeks information about the administration of the museum. For example, nobody knows what the Russians paid for having a Parthenon marble flown to St. Petersburg for exhibition. We also do not know how much Nigeria received for Benin: Kings and Rituals-Court Arts from Nigeria in Vienna, Paris, Berlin and Chicago. Nor is one informed about the expenses of Kingdom of Ife: Sculptures from West Africa.

Members of the nefarious Punitive Expedition of 1897 posing proudly with looted Benin artefacts

 

It is true though that many African governments have not provided sufficient funds for their museums which must often rely on external funds from the very states that are holding our looted artefacts. That clearly weakens the bargaining position of African museum officials in their dealings with European museums. Think of the deleterious effect of such situations on the production of knowledge in museum studies. The often-stated commitment of African governments to African culture is not generally followed by any concrete acts. Hardly any politician follows the example of Léopold Sédar Senghor who made sure that the budget of Senegal made sufficient provisions for arts and culture.

The idea of Europeans establishing in Benin City a permanent display of looted Benin artefacts that continue to be in European ownership should be considered by every African as an insult to Nigerians and African peoples.  Successors to looters become arbiters of the location and display of Benin artefacts. The wishes of the Oba of Benin are simply ignored. The Benin artefacts should be returned to the Oba of Benin and his people who may decide to organize a display showing artefacts that were looted in 1897 by a violent British army. This would be the true history of the Benin Bronzes, however painful and shameful this may be for some persons and institutions. For the sake of all those who lost their lives and properties in the notorious invasion, the true story of Benin should be preserved. Falsification and distortion of history will not do.

Nigerian officials should finally pay some attention to the so-called manifest destiny of Nigeria on the African continent and bear in mind that any arrangement they reach with European museums and governments will be cited as precedent for similar agreements regarding restitution of looted artefacts from other African States.

Head of an Oba, Benin, Nigeria, now in Bristol Museum, Bristol, United Kingdom of Great Britain.

 

The report on the proposed display of Benin artefacts on loan from European museums demonstrates once more, if another proof were necessary, European contempt for Africans and our intelligence. How could anyone, conversant with the history of the violent detachment of the artefacts from the palace of Oba Ovonramwen in 1897 make such a proposal? Would Europeans accept such a proposal if their looted treasures were in Nigeria and were shown from time to time in London and then returned to Benin where they would be kept for good? Do Benin artefacts belong to Nigerian history or European history? And how can any respectable African agree to such a proposal? Where is the self-respect of African representatives?

Queen-Mother Idia, Benin, Nigeria, now in the Ethnological Museum, Berlin, Germany.

 

We expect nothing short of the full restitution of the famous Benin bronzes such as the hip-mask of Queen Mother Idia, now in the British Museum, the bust of Queen-Mother Idia, now in the Ethnological Museum, Berlin, the plaque of Oba Ozolua and his retainers, now in World Museum, formerly Ethnological Museum, Vienna, the altar with Oba Ewuakpe, in the Ethnological Museum, Berlin, Germany, as well as the altar with Oba Akenzua I. in the same museum. These Benin nobles must return home to occupy their rightful place in the history and culture of the Benin and Nigerian peoples.

Altar group with Oba Ewuakpe, Benin, Nigeria, now in Ethnological Museum, Berlin, Germany.

 

The famous and well-known bronzes, relating to Benin history and culture, should be returned to Benin unless the Oba of Benin agrees that some of them may stay abroad. It would not be acceptable that European museums select for their own use the better-known objects and return to Nigeria lesser known artefacts.

What the people of Benin need is not a museum of rotating artefacts, here today in Benin City and back tomorrow in Berlin or London. We do not know whether other countries have such a system, apart from special exhibitions. In most countries, historical figures, such as Queen-Mother Idia, would have their statues standing at a definite place in a definite museum for decades. Students and pupils would visit such figures at places known by all. But how do you teach the public about such personalities when they are constantly changing and returning to the countries that have been keeping them since the invasion of 1897? How do you create and build knowledge on such a basis? No one could prepare a history of Benin for schools on such basis.

Regarding the number of artefacts to be returned, one would hope that the Nigerians may agree to leave a few in European museums but the majority should be returned. For example, the Ethnological, Berlin, holds some 508 Benin artefacts. There is no reason why at least 300 should not be returned to their original abode in the palace of the Oba of Benin from where they were looted. [5] We believe Benin should have most of Benin artefacts just as the Europeans have most European artefacts. Alas, Westerners have banned justice and morality from issues of restitution. For example, instead of seriously considering returning many Benin artefacts to Benin City, German museum officials are busy working on how they can display the artefacts in the new Humboldt Forum now under construction in Berlin. Those holding looted items do not seem to have any urge to return them.

Western museums holding looted Benin artefacts are not likely to change their attitudes so long as countries like Nigeria do not increase the pressure on them to release stolen objects. Since independence in 1960, Nigerian parliaments and governments have frequently requested the restitution of the looted artefacts and have mandated officials to contact the holders but so far not even one of the looted artefacts in the museums has been returned. In a speech delivered in Vienna, at a conference on New Cultures of Collaboration, Sharing of Collections and Quest for Restitution: The Beni Case, Vienna, December 2-3, 2010, the Director-General of the National Commission on Museums and Monuments (NCMM), Nigeria, invited what he called ‘international museums’ to establish museums with branches in source countries.

The idea is not new and has been mentioned by a Nigerian scholar some decades ago. We consider this idea very dangerous. When we have Western museums known for holding looted Nigerian artefacts, refusing to return any, it does not seem right to invite them to open branches in Nigeria. In effect, one is inviting them to open a depot at the source for the looted/stolen artefacts in their museums. As the Director-General would know from the examples of British lootings he mentioned, the universal museums, (which he prefers to call international museums) have always played a major role in such lootings. For example, Richard Rivington Holmes, an assistant in the manuscripts department of the British Museum, had accompanied the expedition against Magdala, Ethiopia, as an archaeologist. He acquired a number of objects for the British Museum, including around 300 manuscripts which are now housed in the British Library.   http://www.britishmuseum.org

Whether in Beijing, (China,1860), Magdala, (Ethiopia, 1868), Kumasi, (Gold Coast, Ghana, 1874) or Benin City, (Nigeria, 1897), it is obvious that the looted articles were not taken at random by wild soldiers hungry for loot; the objects were taken with advice from experts from museums or auction houses. Even in our days when meetings are held on ‘what objects we should save in case of war’, this is usually a training seminar by experts to instruct on what is valuable in a museum or palace which one should take out. Looters in time of invasions do not simply loot on instinct but with knowledge, training and skill.

We can imagine the consequences of inviting universal museums to open branches in Nigeria, as regards corruption and looting of artefacts. One facilitates the transfer of looted artefacts from Nigeria. We used to think that one of the major mandates of the NCMM was to secure the return of the thousands of Nigerian artefacts abroad but instead it now seems to be inviting the illegal holders of the artefacts to open branches in Nigeria. Something is not right here.

Readers may have noticed that it is only when an international meeting is on the question of restitution of looted African artefacts that the word ‘sharing’ features prominently. There has never been a meeting between Africans and Westerners on artefacts where sharing is mentioned in connection with European artefacts. We have mentioned often that we could also share with Europeans their cultural artefacts but nobody has taken up the suggestion or criticised it. It appears the Europeans are so shocked by the idea that a European painting, for example, a Turner or Picasso could be sent to an African museum. The European attitude is: mine is mine, yours is ours. It appears that those who talk about sharing are not really interested at all in sharing the looted artefacts they hold. What they mean by ‘sharing’ is that Africans agree to their keeping the objects and from time to time they may display one or two objects to Africans. Otherwise where is the difficulty for the Ethnological Museum of Berlin sharing the 508 objects it has with Benin? Has the museum shown its goodwill by, for example, sending a few of the artefacts to Benin until there is agreement on the eventual number of artefacts to be returned? Numbers are not even being discussed.

African delegates are sent to argue for the restitution of our looted artefacts and they end with discussions on sharing the looted African artefacts with Europeans. It seems in the opinion of many Europeans, Africans do not even deserve to have African artefacts. If Nigerian representatives feel they cannot, after all these years, make any progress towards the recovery of Nigerian artefacts, they should inform their people and government so that they may take other measures and relieve them of their impossible mandate. Above all, there should be no attempt to create any illusions that Nigeria has been successful in the recovery of looted artefacts. When Nigerian peoples, parliaments and governments request the return of Nigerian treasures abroad, they are surely not thinking of customs and police seizures of criminal attempts to transfer artefacts abroad: they think of the thousands of Nigerian artefacts in museums and other institutions in the West – they think of the Benin bronzes in the British Museum, London, Ethnological Museum, Berlin, World Museum, Vienna and Metropolitan Museum of Arts, New York and Museé du quai Branly, Paris.

Routine police and customs seizures of unlawful attempts to smuggle Nigerian artefacts should not be confused with efforts at restitution that have so far failed. The return of some of the artefacts looted in 1897 was not a result of Nigerian efforts but a decision by an individual British subject, Dr. Mark Walker, who, disturbed by his conscience that the artefacts inherited from his great-grand father were secured through violence against the Benin people, returned them to Benin. [9] The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, voluntarily returned 8 pieces of looted art to Nigeria. Again, this was not due to any Nigerian demand or pressure. Moreover, the museum’s action was related only to artefacts stolen after 1970 thus excluded artefacts looted in 1897. The museum is still holding artefacts stolen in 1897.

Two artefacts returned by Dr. Mark Walker. rbp.blogspot.com

 

The lack of enthusiasm in pursuing the recovery of looted Nigerian treasures has been noted by many. Plankensteiner, a curator of the exhibition, Benin Kings and Rituals-Court Arts from Nigeria, has written:

‘Sotheby’s had informed the Nigerian authorities in advance about the upcoming sale with an official letter to the Nigerian National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM). The Art Newspaper reported that Nigerian official bodies made no formal claims in the end; also, an approach to the family seemingly never happened, although it had been planned by officials of the NCMM’.

‘Willett also deplored the slow reaction of the NCMM in replying to reports they received from customs or international colleagues who informed them about detected stolen objects and in officially claiming them back.’

It is interesting to note that the auction sale of a Benin bronze, Queen-Mother Idia mask, mentioned above was finally aborted because of agitation by Nigerian students abroad. There was no input from Nigerian authorities nor was there any follow-up on the issue by Nigeria. The Galway family may have sold the mask privately without too much publicity. Again, Cambridge students succeeded in making the university authorities consider the return of the Benin Cockerel without any real input from Nigerian authorities and yet we are given the impression that the student agitation was somehow the result of the so-called quiet diplomacy.

Prof. Wilhelm Östberg, has also stated that Nigerian officials may have other interests in lending national treasures without seeking reciprocity and that may also explain why the same officials are not keen to submit formal requests for restitution:

‘There are many ways to develop relationships besides returning museum objects. Informally, it also appears that different kinds of collaboration that are currently in progress are more important to Nigerian museums. That might explain why Nigeria has not registered any formal demand for the return of the Benin collections, but has preferred to engage in dialogue and cooperation with museums that have Benin collections. It seems Nigeria is chary of bringing the matter to a head. How does one otherwise explain that the National Museum of Nigeria was willing to lend its extensive and unique collection of Ife art to the British Museum for a special exhibition 2010, without demanding reciprocity?’

No one has challenged this assertion by the former Director of the Ethnological Museum, Stockholm, a museum that organized with Nigeria an exhibition on Benin artefacts in Stockholm.

We do not know exactly how many artefacts were stolen in 1897 but we accept that more than 3,000 artefacts were looted as stated in a plea before the British House of Commons by Prince Edun Akenzua, great-grandson of Oba Ovonramwen in whose reign the artefacts were removed from the Oba’s palace. What is more important for the issue at hand is the number of Benin artefacts that the various Western museums hold. This number could be easily established if the museums were interested in helping. As stated in the annex below, most museums refuse to divulge the number of Benin artefacts they hold. And yet they are public institutions or claim to serve the public.

It would be interesting to know how the displayed Benin objects would be insured. Who will pay for the insurance? Would it be the European museums who would be acting as ‘owner’ or Nigeria as a ‘user’? Would the objects be insured with a European insurance company or a Nigeria company? Would the details be made known to taxpayers? We recall that during FESTAC the proposal to bring home the hip-mask of Queen-Mother Idia was accompanied by exorbitant claims for insurance that Nigeria was finally unable or unwilling to accept.

We note that the discussions on the return of Benin bronzes have so far involved only European museums. What about American museums? Is the British government, that is ultimately responsible for the looting and dispersal of the Benin artefacts, going to assume its responsibility, and ensure that the looted artefacts are returned or will the Nigerians have to negotiate separately with Americans and thus free the British Government from its responsibility of having sent its troops to Benin who looted the artefacts?

We would expect Nigerian officials and their European counterparts to elaborate a set of principles that would make the choice of artefacts to be returned apparent and recognizable. The whole process should be transparent and not be shrouded in a cloak and dagger operation as some are wont to do. The Nigerian public, the European public and students of Benin culture should be enabled to follow discussions and measures on a matter of a wider public concern. Nor should Nigerians accept a procedure that would keep the people of Benin waiting for another hundred years before they finally see the return of their valuable treasures. The proposed arrangement would turn looters and their successors into owners and make owners and their successors miserable beggars. The arrangement would clearly reduce the pressure on the holders of looted artefacts to return them.

It seems that international cooperation and solidarity cease for many Westerners when it comes to restitution of looted African artefacts. They will do everything except return them to the legitimate owners. Westerners, even today, seem to have a deep-seated reluctance to admit that slavery, colonialism and imperialism and indiscriminate use of violence against Africans are all wrong, and hence their unwillingness to restore looted African artefacts as they have done for other peoples. Compensation for loss of life and destruction of property are clearly not on their agenda. And they find Africans to accept this situation.

The latest proposal to establish a rotating display of Benin artefacts in Benin City shows clearly that Western museums have not yet abandoned their pretentious claim to universalism which was used to justify their retention of looted artefacts from around the world. That unfounded and arrogant racist claim based on imperialist and colonialist assumptions about Caucasian superiority, supported by some Enlightenment philosophers, has been demolished in the last decades and is no longer directly presented but still appears to be the basis of many Western thoughts and actions. The notion still seems to reign in museum circles but must African officials and intellectuals accept such racists beliefs, even if they have done their apprenticeship and studies in Western universities and museums?

Contemporary Westerners purport to condemn the imperialism and colonialism of their forebears but are unwilling to give up any of the artefacts looted during previous eras. They appear in this light to be worse than their predecessors. Could Western museums be the last bastions of colonialism and imperialism by holding on to looted artefacts which should have been returned at the time of independence?

Does anybody find it proper to propose to the Oba of Benin, owner of the Benin bronzes, the sharing of the looted Benin artefacts in the western world? Do our senses of legality and morality permit such a proposal? In effect, successors to the looters are saying to the successors of the Benin owners, let us share what our predecessors stole from your ancestors. Can self-respecting Nigerians accept such a proposal and become accomplices after the fact of the looting of 1897?

Arrogance, denigration, humiliation, racism and lack of respect have been the hallmarks of Western discourse on restitution of looted African artefacts and the recent proposal of displaying Benin artefacts in Benin City is no exception. Nothing demonstrates more clearly the powerlessness of the African continent than the issue of restitution of looted African artefacts.

Future generations will marvel at those who proclaim the freedom of art and artistic creativity at every occasion but stubbornly refuse to return looted African artefacts they have been holding illegally for decades. They have hijacked the most important African contribution to the civilisation of the universal advocated by Léopold Sédar Senghor.

‘But should the recipient countries continue to be so completely oblivious to the feeling of deprivation which is suffered by the loser countries? What is more, in many cases, objects which now adorn museums and private homes in the recipient countries and which are merely regarded as curios or objets d’art have overriding cultural and historical importance for the countries of origin. That is why the discussion on the restitution or return of cultural property is often accompanied by impassioned outbursts’. -Ekpo Eyo.

Oba Ozolua and his retainers, Benin, Nigeria, now in World Museum, formerly Ethnological Museum, Vienna, Austria.

 

Source*

Related Topics:

Hiding Africa’s Looted Funds and the Silence of Western Media*

The Return of Looted Antiquities

Destroying Nigeria Vital to World Entropy *

Blood and Gold: Children Dying as Egypt’s Treasures are Looted*

A 55,000 year Old Artefact Found in Sierra Leone made Out of Oxygen?*

Looted Palmyra Treasures Discovered in Geneva Warehouse*

Indigenous Mexicans Slam Misappropriation of Native Designs*

Brazil Coup Architect Eduardo Cunha Sentenced to 15 Years for Corruption*

Brazil Coup Architect Eduardo Cunha Sentenced to 15 Years for Corruption*

Is that all!

Eduardo Cunha, former speaker of Brazil’s lower house, is accused of receiving millions of dollars in bribes while in office.

 

The man who led a campaign to paint Dilma Rousseff as a corrupt politician has drowned in his own fraud scandals.

A Brazilian judge sentenced Eduardo Cunha, the former speaker of the lower house and mastermind behind the parliamentary coup against former President Dilma Rousseff, to 15 years and four months in jail Thursday for corruption charges.

The sentence is the result of a criminal suit investigating Cunha for fraud related to millions of dollars in kickbacks he received for the 2011 purchase of an oil field in the West African country of Benin by the state-run oil company, Petrobras, which has been at the center of a major anti-corruption probe in the South American country known as Operation Car Wash.

Federal Judge Sergio Moro handed down the sentence over charges of corruption, money laundering and tax evasion. The former head of the lower house has been held in pre-trial detention since last October.

“The responsibility of a federal parliamentarian is enormous, and therefore so is his guilt when he commits crimes,” said Moro.

There is no bigger crime than that of trying to use one’s parliamentary mandate and the sacred trust the people place in it to obtain personal gain.”

According to Moro, Cunha received US$1.5 million in bribes for the Benin oil field contract, which, according to an internal Petrobras investigation reported by local media, resulted in US$77.5 million in losses for the state-run oil company after no oil was found at the site.

The federal public prosecutor’s office had called for Cunha to be forced to pay full damages to Petrobras, but Moro has signaled that a fine equivalent to the US$1.5 million bribe he received will be ordered.

While Cunha’s defense team has said that they will appeal the decision, Moro confirmed that the politician will remain behind bars while the appeals process moves forward.

Despite himself facing multimillion dollar bribery and fraud charges, Cunha was a key architect in painting the impeachment process against Dilma Rousseff as a campaign to root out government corruption.

A member of unelected President Michel Temer’s PMDB party, Cunha is accused of corruption, money laundering and tax evasion linked to raking in at least US$5 million in illicit kickbacks between 2006 and 2012 and hiding the wealth in Swiss bank accounts.

Cunha was removed from his position as speaker of the lower house last September after being suspended in May 2016 — just weeks after the lower house pushed through the impeachment bid against Rousseff — to face an impeachment process over accusations that he intimidated lawmakers and hampered investigations. The Congress voted overwhelmingly by 450 to 10 to remove the unpopular politician.

The overwhelming decision to remove Cunha also stripped him of the parliamentary immunity he long enjoyed, opening him up to the corruption charges. Authorities arrested him at his apartment in Brasilia last October over accusations he hid laundered money in secret Swiss bank account while in office.

Despite the power he has wielded over Brazilian politics, polling over the past year has repeatedly unmasked Cunha as one of the most unpopular politicians in the country, including among his own party.

Several other top Temer allies have also been targeted in the Operation Car Wash investigations that have led to the arrests of dozens of politicans and economic elites over bribery schemes and corruption linked to Petrobras.

Source*

Related Topics:

Brazil’s Key Corruption Judge Who was Killed in a Plane Crash Demands Investigation and Protection from Temer*

In Brazil, Major New Corruption Scandals Engulf the Faction that Impeached Dilma*

Brazil Just Approved 20-Year Spending Freeze to Punish the Poor*

Prosecutor Who Led Charge Against Brazil’s Rouseff Was Just Arrested*

Washington Rape of Brazil Begins*

Imminent Starvation Resulting from U.S. Led Wars: U.N. Officials Warn of Worst Famine Crisis Since World War II*

Imminent Starvation Resulting from U.S. Led Wars: U.N. Officials Warn of Worst Famine Crisis Since World War II*

By Patrick Martin

More than 20 million people face imminent starvation in four countries, United Nations officials warned over the weekend, the largest humanitarian crisis since the end of World War II. All four countries—Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan, and Nigeria—are wracked by civil wars in which the U.S. government is implicated in funding and arming one of the contending sides.

U.N. emergency relief coordinator Stephen O’Brien gave a report to the U.N. Security Council Friday detailing the conditions in the four countries, and the UN issued published further materials on the crisis Saturday, seeking to raise $4.4 billion in contributions for emergency relief before the end of March. So far, according to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, only $90 million has been pledged, barely two percent of the total needed.

As outlined by U.N. officials, the populations most immediately at risk number 7.3 million in Yemen, 2.9 million in Somalia, 5 million in South Sudan, and 5.1 million in Nigeria, for a total of 20.3 million. The number of children suffering symptoms of acute malnutrition is estimated at 462,000 in Yemen, 185,000 in Somalia, 270,000 in South Sudan, and 450,000 in Nigeria, for a total of nearly 1.4 million.

While adverse weather conditions, particularly drought, are a contributing factor in the humanitarian disasters, the primary cause is civil war, in which each side is using food supplies as a weapon, deliberately starving the population of the “enemy.”

U.S.-backed forces are guilty of such war crimes in all four countries, and it is American imperialism, the principal backer of the Saudi intervention in Yemen and the government forces in Somalia, South Sudan and Nigeria, which is principally responsible for the danger of famine and the growing danger of a colossal humanitarian disaster.

The worst-hit country is Yemen, where U.S.-armed and directed military units from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf monarchies are at war with Houthi rebels who overthrew the U.S.-installed president two years ago. Some 19 million people, two-thirds of the country’s population, are in need of humanitarian assistance.

The Saudi forces, which fight alongside Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, control the country’s major ports, including Aden and Hodeida, and are backed by U.S. Navy units in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden in imposing a blockade on the region controlled by the Houthis in the west and north of the country.

U.S. forces operations range throughout the country, with drone missile strikes and occasional raids, like the disastrous attack on a village at the end of January in which at least 30 Yemeni civilians were killed, many of them small children, and one U.S. Special Forces soldier was shot to death.

In Somalia, the protracted civil war between the U.S.-backed government in Mogadishu and Al Shabab militias, who control most of the country’s south, has laid waste to a country which already suffered a devastating famine in 2011, and has been ravaged by civil war for most the past quarter-century.

At least half the country’s population, more than six million people, is in need of humanitarian aid, according to U.N. estimates. Drought conditions have killed off much of the country’s animal population. In Somalia, too, U.S. military units continue to operate, carrying out Special Forces raids and drone missile strikes. There is also an extensive spillover of Somali refugees into neighboring Kenya, where another 2.7 million people are in need of humanitarian aid.

The civil war in South Sudan is a conflict between rival tribal factions of a U.S.-backed regime that was created through Washington’s intervention into a long-running civil war in Sudan. After a U.S.-brokered treaty and a referendum approving separation, South Sudan was established as a newly independent state in 2011.

Tribal conflicts within the new state have been exacerbated by drought, extreme poverty, and the struggle to control the country’s oil reserves, its one significant natural resource, which is largely exported through neighboring Sudan to China. The country is landlocked, making transport of emergency food supplies more difficult.

The crisis in South Sudan was said to be the most acute of the four countries where famine alerts were being sounded, with some 40% of the population facing starvation. Last month, U.N. officials declared a full-scale famine alert for 100,000 people in South Sudan. A cholera epidemic has also been reported.

The famine crisis in Nigeria is likewise the byproduct of warfare, this time between the Islamic fundamentalist group Boko Haram and the government of Nigeria, which has military support from the US and Britain. The focal point of this conflict has been the Lake Chad region, where Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger share borders. This is the most densely populated and fertile of the four areas threatened with famine.

A recent offensive by Nigerian government forces pushed backed Boko Haram and uncovered the extent of the suffering among the local population in the region, where food supplies were cut off as part of the U.S.-backed military campaign.

U.S. military forces range throughout the Sahel region, the vast area on the southern edge of the Sahara Desert which encompasses much of western Africa. The armed forces of French and German imperialism are also active in former French colonies like Mali and Burkina Faso, as well as further south, in the Central African Republic.

According to the U.N. reports, the humanitarian disaster in Yemen has accelerated in recent months. The number of Yemenis in immediate danger of starvation jumped from four million to seven million in the past month. One child dies every 10 minutes in Yemen from a preventable disease.

When the U.N. humanitarian chief’s mission was in Yemen last week, it was able to secure safe passage for the first truckload of humanitarian supplies to the besieged city of Taiz, the country’s third largest, which has been blockaded for the past seven months.

The debate on O’Brien’s report to the UN Security Council featured one hypocritical statement after another by imperialist powers like the US, Britain, France, Japan and Italy, as well as by China and Russia, all bemoaning the suffering, but all concealing the real cause of the deepening crisis.

Typical were the remarks of the U.S. representative, Michele Sison, who declared,

 “Every member of the Security Council should be outraged that the world was confronting famine in the year 2017. Famine is a man-made problem with a man-made solution.”

She called on the parties engaged in fighting in the four countries to “prioritize access to civilians” and “not obstruct aid”—although that is exactly what the U.S.-backed forces are doing, particularly in Yemen, and to a lesser extent in the other three countries.

The U.N. report does not cover other humanitarian crises also classified by the World Food Program as “level three,” the most serious, including Iraq, Syria, Central African Republic and the Philippines (the first three due to civil war, the last due to the impact of several Pacific typhoons). Nor does it cover the devastating civil conflict in Libya or Afghanistan, ravaged by nearly 40 years of continuous warfare.

Nor does it review the worldwide total of people in acute need of food assistance, estimated at 70 million in 45 countries, according to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network. This figure is up 40 percent since 2015, as a result of escalating civil wars, drought and other climate-driven events, and rising food prices.

The World Food Program experienced a shortfall in contributions of nearly one-third in 2016, receiving only $5.9 billion from donors towards a total outlay of $8.6 billion, forcing the agency to cut rations for refugees in Kenya and Uganda. Total unfunded humanitarian aid appeals came to $10.7 billion in 2016, larger than the combined total of such appeals in 2012.

While these sums are gargantuan in terms of the need, they are a drop in the bucket compared to the resources squandered by the major powers on war and militarism. The total deficit in humanitarian aid amounts to less than three days’ worth of global military spending. The $4.4 billion in aid sought for the famine crisis is half of what the US Pentagon spends in a typical week.

Source*

Related Topics:

U.S. World Population Control Programme Revealed Creates War and Famine*

‘No Food, No Medicine, No Money’ in Yemeni Town Just Death by Starvation*

US-Saudi Man-Made Famine Threatens 20 Million Yemenis*

Hundreds Dying from Hunger as Severe Drought Grips Somalia*

Starvation Is an Imperial Resource for Britain*

Indigenous Australians being Starved by their Occupiers*

Fallujah’s Residents Starving, Murdered, Besieged by U.S. Backed Government Forces and ISIS*

 

 

 

Nigerian Teen Invents Fan That Lasts 19 Hours Without Electricity*

Nigerian Teen Invents Fan That Lasts 19 Hours Without Electricity*

A 13-year-old Nigerian boy has invented a battery-operated fan that can last up to 19 hours when properly charged.

Ukoma Michael’s invention, branded Blue Wind, are made from aluminium and wires and come in two varieties including round and rectangular table top fans.

The ambitious young man has also beautified his craft by packaging them in cartons ready to sale.

Ukoma says his vision is to have a company of his own that will specialise in producing fans and aircrafts.

Blue Wind is a timely invention.

Earlier this month, a Nigerian newspaper published an opinion piece, titled, ‘Will 24-hour power supply ever become a reality in Nigeria?’

In it, the writer comments: “This has resulted in the use of generators to power homes, offices and stores, which has resulted in massive noise pollution.”

Adding: “We, the Nigerian youth, have to take charge because nothing is given to us in this part of the world.”

Ukoma has done just that.

Source*

Related Topics:

19-Year-Old Invents Robot Lawyer which is Saving People a Lot of Money in Legal Fees*

14yo Indian Signs Government Contract to Make anti-landmine Drones*

Ahmed the Inventor of a Clock that wasn’t a Bomb, Just Offered a $250K Scholarship*

Tesla: The Inventor Who was a National Security Threat!

The Cell Phone is in Its 40th Year. Meet the Black Man Dr. Henry Sampson Who Played a Key Role in Its Invention*

Youth Inventor Wins Environmental Award

Inspiring Youth Recycle Cooking Fat into Biofuel for Hard-up Families*

 

Should a Country Like France Be Indicting African Leaders?

Should a Country Like France Be Indicting African Leaders?

By Torinmo Salau

France is a major corrupting influence in Africa

Teodorin Obiang, vice-president of Equatorial Guinea, is on trial in France for plundering the nation’s treasury to fund his aristocrat lifestyle. Obiang, who is also the son of Equatorial Guinea’s president, faces up to 10 years in prison if found guilty of corruption, money laundering and embezzlement. Obiang stayed away, but his lawyer requested that the trial be suspended on the grounds that his client had not been given enough time to prepare his defense in a complex case, having been summoned to trial just three weeks ago.

“We’re not talking about a moped theft charge,” said Emmanuel Marsigny, his lawyer, in Paris.

Lawyer William Bourdon, who represents Transparency International, which helped bring the case, accused the defense of trying to paralyse the judicial system through a series of “opportunistic” and “malicious” manoeuvres. Obiang’s trial came after two non-governmental organisations targeting corruption and an association of Congolese citizens living abroad launched a lawsuit in France nearly 10 years ago. The lawsuit was launched against leaders in nearly a half-dozen African countries, including the late Gabon president Omar Bongo, charging them with using state funds during or after their tenures to buy properties and luxury goods in France.

Obiang allegedly bought up to 15 cars in France for 5.7 million euros (currently $6 million) and once splashed nearly 20 million euros at an art auction. However, Swiss authorities opened a preliminary investigation last year, and the U.S. filed claims in 2011 against his U.S.-held assets worth more than $70 million, alleging they were the proceeds of corruption.

But can France hold African leaders to account, because the nation has had its own share of corruption scandals involving high-ranking public officials, the defence and public works are said to be the most affected by corruption? Transparency International concluded in its annual report for 2011 that France does not do enough to stop corruption.

 “There will be no lasting progress in the fight against corruption in France with an increase in vigilance and citizen engagement. For a start they need to stop voting for elected officials convicted of dishonest conduct,” Daniel Lebègue, president of the agency’s French section told French daily Le Figaro.

Teodorin Nguema Obiang is famous for his love of fancy cars and his playboy lifestyle.

 

Political corruption studies include the presidential campaign 2007 finance investigation in the value of 150,000 euros from Liliane Bettencourt to Nicolas Sarkozy.  Jacques Chirac was accused of using public funds for his election campaign in Paris in the 1990s. On 15 December 2011, Chirac was found guilty and given a suspended sentence of two years. He was convicted of diverting public funds, abuse of trust and illegal conflict of interest.

Bribery investigations from South Africa to France are ongoing, including bribery claims of Jacques Chirac, Dominique de Villepin and Jean-Marie Le Pen bribery claim from Gabon ex-president Omar Bongo. Alstom has been under investigation in France and Switzerland for allegedly making improper payments of US$200 million for contracts for Brazil’s Itá hydroelectric plant, for São Paulo’s subway expansion and for other major works in Venezuela, Singapore, and Indonesia. The Mexican government has penalised Alstom and in 2007 the European Commission’s antitrust authority fined Alstom €65 million for price fixing with competitors.

Since the disclosure of budget minister Jéröme Cahuzac and his secret hidden bank account in Switzerland, many others have been implicated. “The most common public corruption is among local and not national authorities in France. The council members and mayors are in closer proximity to local business people,” Jacques Terray, the Vice President of Transparency International in France, told The Local at the time.

But is France pursuing a neo-colonial policy in Africa?

Is it continuing Francafrique, the term coined to describe the country’s relationship with its former African colonies, in which it supported unpopular African politicians in order to advance and protect its economic interests?

After independence, France still needed Africa’s natural resources, particularly its oil – and Africa needed French investment.

This dependence allowed France to position itself as the guardian of its former colonies. In the decades following independence, France supported the lavish lifestyles of African dictators while their people endured extreme poverty. African leaders, well aware of France’s need for their countries’ resources, adopted the same manipulation tactics once used on them. So, after supporting a the Biafra war in Nigeria, overthrowing several presidents, collapsing Guinea’s economy and bribing leaders to support its interests, France started to lose the control that it once exercised in Africa.

Protests against France escalated to violence in several countries. Although France’s control over its former colonies had weakened, the colonies still needed French investors – and this reliance allows some networks to persist today.

Source*

Related Topics:

France is Broke, but Still Reaping from the Colonial Tax!*

Colonial France out for Niger’s Uranium*

French Draft Resolution on Syria Reflects its Longing for its Colonial History in Africa*

Unpaid Debts: Reparation For Colonialism*

Hiding Africa’s Looted Funds and the Silence of Western Media*

French Terrorists Dispatched to Sub-Saharan Africa*

African Court Sentences Former Chadian Military Dictator to Life in Prison for Crimes against Humanity*

Six Countries that Grew Filthy Rich from Enslaving Black People*

How France Loots its Former Colonies*

The French Patent an African Indigenous Plant (anti-cancerous)*

French Troops with U.K., U.S. Support Engaged In War on Libya*

The Rise of the French Right and the CFA Franc