TranscriptCNN International interview with Nigeria'sPresident Obasanjo and USAfricaonline.com Publisher Chido Nwangwu onDemocracyand Security Issues

FBI raided home of Nigeria's VP Atiku in Potomac,USA
They reportedly sought records on business dealings ofLouisiana Rep. Jefferson

By Bruce Alpert and Bill Walsh, The Times Picayune of New Orleans(Washington bureau)

Special to USAfricaonline.com,USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston
CLASSmagazine, TheBlack Business JournalandIgboEvents

WASHINGTON -- On the same day that federal agents executed searchwarrants on the New Orleans and Washington, D.C., homes of U.S. Rep.William Jefferson, the FBI also raided the Maryland residence ofNigeria'svice president, seeking evidence of possible payments to officials inthat African nation.

A State Department official confirmed the Aug. 3 search of thePotomac, Md., home of Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar and hiswife, Jennifer. The agency referred all questions about the raid tothe Justice Department, which declined to comment.

A source familiar with the investigation said subpoenas showagents were looking for records showing whether Jefferson, D-NewOrleans, paid, offered to pay or authorized payments to officials inthe government of Nigeria or Ghana.

The subpoenas, described to The Times-Picayune, seek documentsrelated to Jefferson's dealings with Abubakar and the vice presidentof Ghana, Alhaji Aliu Mahama. Jefferson returned from a five-dayvisit to Ghana in mid-July, about three weeks before the FBI raidedhis homes.

The subpoenas focus in part on a telecommunications deal Jeffersonwas trying to engineer in Nigeria over the past year, according todocuments and those familiar with details of the investigation.

Jefferson spokeswoman Melanie Roussell said the eight-termcongressman would continue to decline comment on the federal probe.He has only said that he is cooperating with federalinvestigators.

It's not clear how Vice President Abubakar or his wife, a doctoralstudent at American University in Washington, might be connected tothe telecommunications deal. A staffer at the Washington-based AIDSfoundation set up by Jennifer Abubakar said the couple are inNigeria. Efforts to reach them and the vice president of Ghana forcomment were unsuccessful.

Jefferson's attorney, Mike Fawer, has said he believes the FBI hadbeen conducting a sting operation against his client. Quotinganonymous law enforcement sources, The Washington Post reported thatthe operation had been in the works for a year and was investigatingwhether Jefferson pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars frombusiness deals. The Post reported that agents found a large amount ofcash in Jefferson's freezer.

Experts said that the U.S. Justice Department has beenincreasingly focused in recent years on prosecuting cases under the1977 Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which bars corporations or theiragents from paying, offering to pay or authorizing payment of moneyor anything of value to further their business interestsabroad.

Sources familiar with the telecommunications deal said thatJefferson was attempting to smooth the way for iGate Corp., a smallKentucky company, to introduce its high-speed broadband technology toNigeria's fast-growing telecommunications market.

Rare move

Legal experts said it is unusual, if not unprecedented, for FBIagents to raid the home of an elected official from a foreign nation.Foreign diplomats normally are given immunity from prosecution. Therehave been some well-publicized cases in which American prosecutorshave been unable to pursue allegations of wrongdoing againstdiplomats, ranging from failure to pay traffic tickets to allegedsexual assaults.

"Sometimes diplomatic immunity can be used as a shield fromprosecution, but not as a shield from investigation," saidMariano-Florentino Cuellar, an associate professor of internationallaw at Stanford University.

But the law isn't so straightforward for visiting foreign electedofficials. Usually, officials request and are given immunity coveringthe time periods of their visits to the United States.

Immunity, however, likely would not be given to an official, evena sitting vice president, for a private residence within the UnitedStates, especially if he wasn't present at the time the materiallisted in the warrant was being sought, according to an officialfamiliar with State Department guidelines on the subject. Theofficial said it is almost certain that the search got the approvalof top Justice and State Department officials given the "possibleeffect on foreign relations" of such a search.

A neighbor said that Abubakar doesn't use the Potomac home morethan a couple of months a year. The sprawling colonial is in one ofthe Washington area's most exclusive communities.

A major player

Abubakar, according to his official biography, was a successfulbusinessman in Nigeria before he was tapped in 1999 by the country'scurrent president, retired General Olusegun Obasanjo, to be vicepresident. Abubakar is considered a likely candidate for presidencyin 2007 and has said that if he decides to run it will be on aplatform that centers on anti-corruption.

His U.S.-based wife, who founded the Gede Foundation dedicated toreducing the spread of AIDS in Nigeria, is a student in internationalrelations. She also is active in establishing an American Universitycampus in Yola, Nigeria, financed largely by her husband. It isexpected to open its doors in September.

Louis Goodman, dean of the School of International Service atAmerican University, said the vice president wanted to use his wealthto "give something back to the Nigerian people."

(Staff writers Gordon Russell and Rhonda Nabonne contributed tothis report)

 

 

2006 CALENDAR, FRIDAY May 5, AND SATURDAY MAY 6, 2006: CLASS magazine, USAfrica and USAfricaonline.com (characterized by The New York Times as the largest and most influential African-owned, U.S-based multimedia networks), will hold the USAfrica 14th internationally-acclaimed 2006 BEST OF AFRICA awards dinner in honor of African professionals and our annual Mothers' Day Honors on FRIDAY MAY 5 and on SATURDAY MAY 6, 2006. Nominate some African professionals and community builders. E-mail: Class@Classmagazine.tv. It will be an invitation-only event. The open annual international townhall meeting, USAfrica Forum, will hold on Friday May 5, 2006. USAfrica was founded in May 1992, in Houston, Texas by television broadcaster and multimedia media executive Chido Nwangwu. Contact USAfrica/CLASS event manager Alverna Johnson and Chuck Obazei at 713-270-5500. or 832-45-CHIDO (24436) - E-mail: Class@Classmagazine.tv


Why Chinua Achebe, the Eagle onthe Iroko, is Africa's writer of the century. By ChidoNwangwu

Summary: Africa's most acclaimed and fluent writer of theEnglish Language, the most translated writer of Black heritage in theworld, broadcaster extraordinaire, social conscience of millions,cultural custodian and elevator, chronicler and essayist, goodwillambassador and man of progressive rock-ribbed principles, theEagleon the Iroko, Ugo n'abo Professor Chinua Achebe,has recently been selected by a distinguished jury of scholars andcritics (from 13 countries of African life and literature) as thewriter of the Best book (Things Fall Apart, 1958) written in thetwentieth century regarding Africa. Reasonably, Achebe's message hasbeen neither dimmed nor dulled by time and clime. He's ourpathfinder, the intellectual godfather of millions of Africans andlovers of the fineart of good writing. Achebe's cultural contexts are, at once,pan-African, globalist and local; hence, his literarycontextualizations soar beyond the confines of Umuofia and any Igboor Nigerian setting of his creative imagination or historical recall.His globalist underpinnings and outlook are truly reflective of thetrue essence of his Igbo world-view, his Igbo upbringing anddisposition. Igbos and Jews share (with a few other other cultures)this pan-global disposition to issues of art, life, commerce,juridical pursuits, and quest to be republicanist in terms of thevitality of the individual/self. In Achebe's works, the centrality ofChi (God) attains an additional clarity in the Igbo cosmology... itis a world which prefers a quasi-capitalistic business attitude whiletaking due cognizance of the usefulness of the whole, the community.I've studied, lived and tried to better understand, essentially, therigor and towering moral certainties which Achebe have employed inmost of his works and his world. I know, among other reasons, becauseI share the same ancestry with him. Permit me to attempt a briefsentence, with that Achebean simplicty and clarity. Here,folks, what the world has known since 1958: Achebe is good! Eagle onthe Iroko, may your Lineage endure! Therehas never been one like you!

APPRECIATION
A young father writes his One year old son: "If only my heart had a voice...."


INSIGHT: Why America should halt the genocide in the Sudan. By Chido Nwangwu, Founder and Publisher of USAfricaonline.com. Certain facts and the continuing, bigoted impudence of Islamic Sudan offer clarity to why the U.S should aggressively halt the genocide and gory events in Africa's largest country. The Sudan has almost 918,000 square miles in size and a war-weary population of 30million. Even as I call for a red line to be drawn against the rag-tag army of Arab-taliban-fascists in Africa and the assorted troops of religio-criminal rapists who have since four decades set upon the southern Christian, indigenous African Sudanese, I agree with Gen. Powell that "America will be a friend to all Africans who seek peace; but we cannot make peace among Africans." He is right. Africans must respect and love each other. Continued here....
POLICY INSIGHT: Africa, Blair and United Kingdom's commendable push for development assistance. By Chinua Akukwe, contributing editor of USAfricaonline.com
Nelson Mandela, Tribute to the world's political superstar and Lion of Africa  
Why Bush should focus on
dangers facing Nigeria's return to democracy and Obasanjo's slipperyslide
TRIBUTE
A KING FOR ALL TIMES: Why Martin Luther King's legacy and vision are relevant into 21st century.




DIPLOMACY Walter Carrington: African-American diplomat who put principles above self for Nigeria (USAfrica's founder Chido Nwangwu with Ambassador Carrington at the U.S. embassy, Nigeria)
DEMOCRACY'S WARRIOR
Out of Africa. The cock that crows in the morning belongs to one household but his voice is the property of the neighborhood. -- Chinua Achebe, Anthills of the Savannah. An editor carries on his crusade against public corruption and press censorship in his native Nigeria and other African countries. By John Suval.
ARINZE: Will he be the FIRST BLACK AFRICAN POPE?

Osama bin-Laden's goons threaten Nigeria and Africa's stability
What has Africa to do with September 11 terror? By Chido Nwangwu
Africans reported dead in terrorist attack at WTC
September 11 terror and the ghost of things to come....
Will religious conflicts be the time-bomb for Nigeria's latest transition to civilian rule?
INTERVIEW: 'Nigeria needs a democratic system guided by the truth....' Senator Francis J. Ellah, the Eze Nwadei Ogbuehi of Ogba in Rivers state of Nigeria. He is a highly regarded elder statesman with outstanding political credentials and a former Second Republic Senator and a delegate to Nigeria's ongoing national political reforms conference in Abuja.
Bola Ige's murder another danger signal for Nigeria's nascent democracy.

HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRACY
How far, how deep will Nigeria's human rights commission go?
Rtd. Gen. Babangida trip as emissary for Nigeria's Obasanjo to Sudan raises curiosity, questions about what next in power play?
110 minutes with Hakeem Olajuwon
Nigerian stabbed to death in his bathroom in Houston.
Cheryl Mills' first class defense of Clinton and her detractors' game 
It's wrong to stereotype Nigerians as Drug Dealers

Private initiative, free market forces, and more democratization are Keys to prosperity in Africa


Steve Jobs extends digital magic

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's burden mounts with murder charges, trials

Since 1958, Achebe's "Things Fall Apart" set a standard of artistic excellence, and more. By Douglas Killam

Lifestyle Sex, Women and (Hu)Woman Rights. By Chika Unigwe

Johnnie Cochran will soon learn that defending Abacha's loot is not as simple as his O.J Simpson's case. By Chido Nwangwu

USAfrica The Newspaper voted the "Best Community Newspaper" in the 4th largest city in the U.S., Houston. It is in the Best of Houston 2001 special as chosen by the editors and readers of the Houston Press, reflecting their poll and annual rankings.

USAfricaFORUM: Africa, Blair and United Kingdom's commendable push for development assistance. By Dr. Chinua Akukwe


'Live 8' global concerts put focus on Africa, poverty.... Singers from U2's Bono to billionaire Bill Gates called for the leaders of the world's wealthiest nations to relieve African poverty at ``Live 8'' concerts in London and nine other cities. About 200,000 people jammed into London's Hyde Park on July 2 at the start of a week of music and demonstrations to pressure heads of G-8 nations meeting July 6-8 in Gleneagles, Scotland, to increase aid and debt relief to Africa and also rewrite trade rules.

"This is our moment to stand up for what's right,'' U2 lead singer Bono told the audience in London. ``We can't fix every problem, but those we can, we must,'' he said, mentioning malaria, AIDS and deaths caused by dirty water. U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, host of the G-8 summit, is making African poverty reduction a focus of the meeting. Performers at "Live 8'' -- including Paul McCartney, Cold Play, Madonna and REM -- want to raise popular awareness of the continent's economic deprivation.

The concerts will reach a potential global audience of 5.5 billion people through television, Internet and other media, organizer Bob Geldof said. They occur 20 years after the Live Aid concerts that Geldof also arranged to combat African poverty. Africa is the only continent to have become poorer in the last 25 years, according to the United Nations. More than 300 million Africans live on less than $1 a day, and less than half of children on the continent complete primary school. In the last 50 years, there have been 186 coups and 26 wars in Africa, with more than 7 million people killed, the UN says.



WEB SITES SOLUTIONS, PHOTO IMAGING....

TECHNOLOGY: "
Apple's Switch to Intel: The Ultimate Power Move? Steve Jobs' decision to build Macs with Intel chips may finally give the company a shot at challenging Microsoft's Windows." By David Kirkpatrick
June 16 and South Africa's treble historic events. By Nkem Ekeopara
"Our ordeal with KLM"
"They bumped me and my daughter from a confirmed flight; then flies out with 5 pieces of our luggage...." TONY IGWE in exclusive interview tells USAfricaonline.com Publisher Chido Nwangwu of 5 hours of anguish and disappointments at the George Bush International Airport in Houston, on Friday March 26, 2004
DEMOCRACY DEBATE
CNN International debate on Nigeria's democracy livecast on February 19, 2002. It involved Nigeria's Information Minister Prof. Jerry Gana, Prof. Salih Booker and USAfricaonline.com Publisher Chido Nwangwu. Transcripts are available on the CNN International site.


Should Africa debates begin and end at The New York Times and The Washington Post? No
NEWS INSIGHT
CNN, Obasanjo and Nigeria's struggles with
democracy.
Why Obasanjo's government should respect
CNN and Freedom of the press in Nigeria.
Jonas Savimbi, UNITA are "terrorists" in Africans' eyes despite Washington's "freedom fighter" toga for him. By SHANA WILLS


Africa suffers the scourge of the virus. This life and pain of Kgomotso Mahlangu, a five-month-old AIDS patient (above) in a hospital in the Kalafong township near Pretoria, South Africa, on October 26, 1999, brings a certain, frightening reality to the sweeping and devastating destruction of human beings who form the core of any definition of a country's future, its national security, actual and potential economic development and internal markets.
22 million Africans HIV-infected, ill with AIDS while African leaders ignore disaster-in-waiting

In a special report a few hours after the history-making nomination, USAfricaonline.com Founder and Publisher Chido Nwangwu places Powell within the trajectory of history and into his unfolding clout and relevance in an essay titled 'Why Colin Powell brings gravitas, credibility and star power to Bush presidency.'

AFRICA AND THE U.S. ELECTIONS
Beyond U.S. electoral shenanigans, rewards and dynamics of a democratic republic hold lessons for African politics.
CONTINENTAL AGENDA
Bush's position on Africa is "ill-advised." The position stated by Republican presidential aspirant and Governor of Texas, George Bush where he said that "Africa will not be an area of priority" in his presidency has been questioned by USAfricaonline.com Publisher Chido Nwangwu. He added that Bush's "pre-election position was neither validated by the economic exchanges nor geo-strategic interests of our two continents."

These views were stated during an interview CNN's anchor Bernard Shaw and senior analyst Jeff Greenfield had with Mr. Nwangwu on Saturday November 18, 2000 during a special edition of 'Inside Politics 2000.'
Nwangwu, adviser to the Mayor of Houston (the 4th largest city in the U.S., and immigrant home to thousands of Africans) argued further that "the issues of the heritage interests of 35 million African-Americans in Africa, the volume and value of oil business between between the U.S and Nigeria and the horrendous AIDS crisis in Africa do not lend any basis for Governor Bush's ill-advised position which removes Africa from fair consideration" were he to be elected president.
By Al Johnson