As the February 14 election approaches, I pray that we go into this voting process with one thing in mind: corruption. By Webster’s Dictionary, corruption (noun) is “dishonest or illegal behavior especially by powerful people…”, and it further defines it as an “impairment of integrity, virtue, or moral principle…” and an “inducement to wrong by improper or unlawful means (bribery)”. Corruption in our Nigerian space deepens as a result of underlying malaise of ethnocentrism, religiosity and the lack of a common social contract.
This corruption is so hydra-headed and easily morphing, that nothing functions whenever and wherever it is entrenched. Our human security is in shambles today squarely because of corruption. As it currently stands, Nigeria’s Defence Budget is roughly $2 billion USD yearly. The monies budgeted to this sector have been siphoned away by the big Ogas at the helm of the ministry, resulting in the unfortunate reality that almost nothing out of the budget was used appropriately to defend us. Our soldiers therefore lack the tools necessary to fight in a war, and even have to pay for such things as their own uniforms. Sadly, the result is that our military is unable to conquer Boko Haram. If this $2 billion annual budget were not stolen, why then do our soldiers lack equipment, war machines and intelligence to defend Nigeria from our internal enemy? Read More
On January 16, 2015, Act4Accountability and Amnesty International USA held a peaceful vigil outside the Nigerian Embassy in Washington, DC. This vigil represented as a show of solidarity with the families of Nigerians killed in the recent Baga attacks, as well as the other thousands previously killed by Boko Haram. Photo credits: Michael Leslie
I always feel a sense of irony in celebrating the independence of our nation. A young nation, filled with old very ones. Old cultures, with very old traditions and deep roots. It is ironic that on Nigeria’s Independence Day, I feel I am reflecting on a country in still its relative childhood at the age of 54. Many are watching intently as it is still developing, going through its awkward phases, inconsistencies, building and breaking relationships, rebellions, illnesses, achievements, and regression. In the internet age, with social networks sharing information at the speed of broadband, we are witness to a details of a process that few before us have ever seen. The political shadows in which to hide are ever shrinking.
With all this new available information, it is amazing how often history repeats itself. The Ebola Virus is not the first deadly disease the region has encountered. High unemployment is not new. Gender disparities are not new. Missing money from national budgets, as well as accusations of fraud are not new. The 276 girls kidnapped from Chibok, Borno State are not the first to be kidnapped and ransomed. Boko Haram is not the first despotic insurgency, Shekau is not the first elusive, but conveniently well-equipped and wired terrorist in our history. We have experienced corrupt, callous, and incompetent leadership in a variety of times in our history. Any student of world history, can see the parallels, of a nation’s maturation process. Trust is earned via displays of maturity and consistency. Displays of maturity when responding to crisis. Displays of maturity, when one has a responsibility to protect all citizens from harm by taking action regardless of political implications. Earning the trust of a diverse populace is not a new concept either. Is nothing new under the sun?
September 11, 2014 marks the 150th day since the abduction of 276 girls from Chibok, Bornu State, Nigeria. Since their April 14th abduction, the Nigerian federal government under the leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan continues to remain silent on its rescue efforts. Furthermore, the Nigerian Security forces struggle to address the escalating humanitarian crisis caused by Boko Haram, the group responsible for the ongoing spree of deadly attacks, bombings, and kidnappings in Northern Nigeria.
As the world continues to demand the safe and secure release of the abducted girls, we must being to ask the question, “What are we bringing them back to?” The Jonathan Administration must ensure that culturally competent and intensive wraparound services are instituted, that will meet the complex needs of the girls and their families.
This video was filmed at a protest in front of the Nigerian Embassy in Washington, DC. It illustrates the reasons why we ACT4 for the still missing 219 Nigerian school girls.
Video production donated by Chris Mariles. Music is “Reawakening” by Kevin MacLeod
Act4Accountability (ACT4) is looking for energetic, creative, and committed volunteers to join our founding Board of Directors. Members will support our work and provide mission-based leadership and strategic governance. The founding Board will guide ACT4 through the process of organizing as a tax-exempt nonprofit corporation and building capacity around our mission. Board members must participate in discussions related to advocacy, strategic planning, marcomm, finance & fundraising, new media, and community organizing activities.
Information on ACT4 board member responsibilities, as well as the application can be found here.
Photos from our July 6, 2014 protest at US-Africa Leadership Summit dinner in honor of President Goodluck Jonathan at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Washington, DC. The protest marked day 114 since the abduction of the missing 219 high school girls in Chibok, Nigeria.
Please take the metro to tomorrow’s protest. See below for DC street closure information:
– Constitution Ave. Ramp Westbound between 23rd St. NW and Rock Creek Parkway Merge to the Roosevelt Bridge from 12:00AM to 6:30PM
– Constitution Ave. Ramp Eastbound between E St. (exit off the Roosevelt Bridge) to 23rd St. from 12:00AM to 6:30PM. All Traffic must exit onto Independence Ave. and proceed to the Tidal Basin to 17th St. NW, continue on Independence Ave. Eastbound or Ohio Dr. eastbound
– Constitution Ave. Westbound two outermost lanes will be closed from 19th St. NW to Henry Bacon Dr. from 12:00AM to 6:30PM. Eastbound traffic is open with lane restrictions to Henry Bacon, northbound on Henry Bacon to Lincoln Memorial Circle, to the Arlington Memorial Bridge (see exception below)
– Constitution Ave. Eastbound all lanes open with restricted access to Henry Bacon. All Westbound Constitution traffic will be forced onto Henry Bacon and over the Memorial Bridge. Arlington Memorial Bridge and Rock Creek Parkway will funnel through Lincoln Memorial Circle to Henry Bacon Ave. to Constitution
– Constitution Ave. both directions between 17th St. NW and 23rd St. NW from 12:00PM to 2:30PM. Traffic southbound from 18th/19th St. will be allowed to flow eastbound on Constitution Ave. NW during this time
– Virginia Ave. Eastbound only between 23rd St. NW and 18th St. NW from 12:00AM to 6:30PM. Virginia Ave. Westbound will remain open
– C St. NW both sides between Virginia Ave. NW and 23rd St. NW from 12:00AM to 6:30PM
– D St. NW between E St. Expressway and Virginia Ave. NW from 12:00AM to 6:30PM
– 19th St. NW Southbound curb lane only between E St. NW and Virginia Ave. NW from
12:00AM to 6:30PM
– 20th St. NW between C St. NW and Constitution Ave. NW from 12:00AM to 6:00PM
– 21st St. NW between C St. NW and Constitution Ave. NW from 12:00AM to 6:30PM
Restricted Parking Zones: Vehicular parking restrictions will be coordinated and enforced by the District Department of Transportation and the Metropolitan Police Department. All affected areas will be posted with Emergency No Parking signage.
July 14, 2014: #Day90 Silence Saves No One rally for #bringbackourgirls at the Embassy of Nigeria in Washington, DC