WILFUL DEMOLITION OF MY PROPERTY: A CRY FOR JUSTICE WILFUL DEMOLITION OF MY PROPERTY: A CRY FOR JUSTICE
The Governor of Enugu State, Chief Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is after my life. He wants to take over my large expanse of land known as the Airport Road Layout Phase IV and V. This lands measures over 400 plots. I bought it from Umuenwene Iji, Nike, Enugu, Enugu East local government area in 2008. But the plot by the Gov Ugwuanyi to terminate my life and take over the land came to a head precisely on Friday, August 14, 2020. That was two days (12th of August, 2020) after the execution of the Order of Mandamus by an Enugu State High Court issued to the IGP to make sure that I take over full possession of my property which Gov Ugwuanyi was hiding under the cover of the Federal Ministry of Aviation to grab from me by claiming that it is now part of Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu. Let me state this unequivocally that I am a patriotic Nigerian. So I am not opposed to government acquiring any land, including my own for overriding public interest. I also know that normally acquisition is done through due process. But what Gov Ugwuanyi is trying to do in my case is completely different. He wants to appropriate my land for his personal gain, using his office as the governor of Enugu state to achieve that.
My travails started about 5 years ago when the then Chairman of Enugu East LGA, Hon. Cornelius Nnaji and his nephew the Speaker of the Enugu State House of Assembly approached me to give them half of the entire layout or they would use their position to take away the land from me. When I refused and called their bluff they now went and incited Umuchigbo community and Edward Ubosi’s community to start laying claims to my land. Both communities went to court against me over the ownership of the layout. But the court presided over by Justice J.O. Odugu in suit no. E/247/2015 gave judgment in my favour. Consequently, I employed five security men to guard the layout for me. But Nnaji and his cohorts wrote a petition to Governor Ugwuanyi that I was harboring kidnappers in the place. One fateful day the Governor led a team of security operatives to the layout and arrested my security men, tagged them criminals and charged them to court. They were remanded in prison custody for good one year before I could secure their release through the court. The Governor even approached the then State Commissioner of Police Enugu State, Mr. Ojukwu, to arrest me, accusing me of harbouring kidnappers in the place. But the Commissioner explained that he was aware of the presence of the security men at the layout and that I was not harbouring kidnappers there. So the Commissioner declined the order to arrest me.
Determined on taking my land forcefully from me, Nnaji and his cohorts brought in one Emeka Ene, the Managing Director, En-Power Energy Ltd, based in port Harcourt and empowered him to start construction of a free Trade Zone in the layout. Nnaji even invited Governor Ugwuanyi to come and declare the place a free trade zone, the same land he had earlier accused me of harbouring kidnappers in. Nnaji further co-opted two serving commissioners in Enugu state government and promised them five plots of land each in the layout. They went into the land and demolished 25 duplexes, nearing completion, claiming that the layout is a free trade zone belonging to the Enugu State Government.
The owners of the demolished buildings now sued to court, alleging that I sold government land to them. The trial Judge, Justice A.R Ozoemena, in suit no. E/642/2016 gave judgment in my favour, stating that I am the bona fide owner of the layout and that the layout neither belongs to the Enugu State Government nor was it revoked by it. It was after I took possession of the layout based on this judgment that Gov Ugwuanyi invited me. When I met with the Governor I complained to him how Hon. Nnaji, Hon Edward Ubosi and some serving commissioners under him have been trying to dispossess me of my land. Convinced about my plight the Gov invited the Commissioner for Lands Mr. Solomon Onah that very night and warned him in my presence to desist from trying to dispossess me of my land.
Surprisingly, two months after my meeting with the Governor in 2018, they drafted some mobile Policemen to give protection to the area, saying they were protecting the Akaunu Ibiam International Airport land. This is the same layout Hon Nnaji and gang earlier claimed belonged to Umuchigbo community, later a free trade zone of the Enugu state government, is now being claimed to be the property of the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Aviation. To make good their scheme they co-opted the manger of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Chief Security officer of FAAN Enugu, including some Air force men to be guarding the area. Meanwhile Nnaji and co have sold some plots of land from the same layout they claim belong to the Federal Government to private developers to the extent that 30 buildings were erected in the layout. Obvious that Nnaji and his cohorts have convinced the Enugu State Government to dispossess me of the land, I now ran to the Inspector General of Police and explaining my plight he gave me some police protection. Two weeks after, I moved in there and started construction. The Enugu State Commissioner for Capital Development Authority and some officials of FAAN, accompanied by operatives of the Nigerian police and the Air Force, loaded in five Hilux trucks stormed my layout and demolished several buildings and five thousand beacons. They said the buildings were obstructing free flow of traffic in the Airport, claiming the demolished buildings were illegal structures on FAAN land.
It is important to state here that Emeka Ene the MD of En-Power who Nnaji as the chairman of Enugu East LGA brought and gave C/O on my layout took me to court, claiming ownership of the layout. I am now in court with him over the land in suit no. E/094/2019. Note also that the same Hon Nnaji who is now claiming the layout belongs to the Federal Government has also sued along his brothers to an Enugu State High Court (Court 8) in suit no. E/9/2020, claiming that the layout belongs to their Nnaji nuclear family.
In the course of my travails, I had also reported the matter to the EFCC whose officials after investigation turned in their report in my favour. With the recent completion of the renovation work at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport Governor Ugwuanyi is now trying to hide under the perimeter fencing of the Airport to take over my layout. To achieve this they decided to fence in my layout which is over 400 plots into the Airport land. I then approached an Enugu State High Court which issued an order of mandamus, compelling the State Commissioner of Police to assist me possess my land. Consequently, the Commissioner gave me 40 police men to execute the order of mandamus which is to assist me take full possession of my layout by removing illegal structures built on it. This incident happened on Wednesday August 12, 2020. The Governor of Enugu State was later to drive to the Layout, accompanied by heavy security men. Fuming with rage, the Governor said that I damaged Federal Government property with armed thugs. He then drove straight from to my private residence at No 23 Eziokwe str. Trans Ekulu, Enugu. Fortunately, I was not in house when he came, but he met a friend of mine Hon. Arc. Paul Eze who was a colleague of his in the National Assembly. Hon Eze represented Uzo-Uwani/Igbo Etiti Federal Constituency while the Gov represented Udenu/Igbo Eze North Federal Constituency. Hon. Eze is currently paralysed and is recuperating in my house after he was discharged from the hospital. Governor Ugwuanyi told Eze that he had come to demolish my house and that he would kill me; that I cannot come from Anambra state and be contesting a choice property with him in Enugu State where he is the Governor.
The Governor later invited the Minister for Aviation and told him that I used some armed thugs to destroy FAAN property at the Airport and that I should be dealt with. The Governor immediately followed up by demolishing my two palatial duplexes. Painfully, I did not remove even a pin before the houses were demolished. He even declared a manhunt for me and directed that I should be shot on sight.
This is the trouble I am passing through in the hands of Gov Ugwuanyi. I am appealing for the intervention of well meaning Nigerians, especially illustrious Igbo sons and daughters to help me secure my life and my hard earned layout.
Arc J.J Emejulu Nkolofia Village, Awka Etiti Anambra State
The President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, has condemned the reported killing of over 21 young Nigerians of Igbo extraction by Security Agents.
This is following the bloody encounter between the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) and the Department of Security Service (DSS) on Sunday, August 23, at Emene, Enugu State, that left scores of people dead, many others injured while DSS confirmed that two of its operatives were killed as well.
But Nwodo reacting to the bloody confrontation in his tweet, deplored the security agents actions as insensitive and against the tenets of a democratic society.
He tweeted: “Information reaching us says about 21 peaceful IPOB members were killed by security operatives yesterday in Enugu.
“This is callous, anti-democratic and I condemn it strongly. Govt must do better in handling issues related to unarmed civilians. Killing for fun must end.”
Information reaching us says about 21 peaceful IPOB members were killed by security operatives yesterday in Enugu.
This is callous, anti-democratic and I condemn it strongly. Govt must do better in handling issues related to unarmed civilians. Killing for fun must end. pic.twitter.com/vOEJLH6LIs
However, the Police Public Relations Office, Enugu State Police Command in statement, ASP Daniel Ndukwe, titled: ‘Operatives Arrest Rampageous Proscribed IPOB Members and Rescue a Security Operative’, gave their own side of the story
The statement read: “Following credible information received on 23/08/2020 at about 0830hrs that suspected members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) numbering over five hundred (500) had gone on rampage, blocking and burning tyres on the road, after abducting Operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS), the Commissioner of Police, CP Ahmad AbdurRahman MCPSS, MCJ, MNIM immediately deployed Operatives of the Command, led by Enugu Metro Area commander, to rescue the adopted Operatives and restore normalcy.
“On getting to the scene, the Operatives, who were joined by those of DSS, Army and Air Force, came under serious gunfire attacks by the hoodlums. They responded and in the ensuing gun duel, two of the hoodlums were gunned down, while some of them escaped with bullets wounds.”
“The Operatives successfully restored normalcy and rescued one of the DSS Operatives, who were at the said school to disperse the hoodlums from their unlawful assembly, while two others were found lifeless in the scene and later confirmed dead.”
“Five members of the group were arrested and they confessed to being members of the proscribed IPOB, and had gone to the school to hold a meeting and be trained in martial act and self-defense skills.
Machetes, cut-to-size woods with nails affixed, phones and other items were recovered at the scene.”
Meanwhile, Ndukwe said, before getting to the scene, the hoodlums had macheted and gruesomely killed a young man, set ablaze another, while also attacking Police personnel resident in the area.
To this end, he said the Commissioner, while warning that acts of rebellion by persons and/or groups (including the proscribed IPOB) capable of truncating the peace and tranquility enjoyed in the State will not be tolerated, made it clear that perpetrators will be made to face the full weight of the law.
“He further warns hospitals and medical service providers against rejecting anyone seeking medical attention from bullet wounds. But they should treat and duly notify the Command of such persons by calling the following hotlines: 08032003702, 08086671202, 08075390883 or 08098880172.”
Yinka Odumakin, National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere has ridiculed the Governor of Kaduna state, Nasir El- Rufai after the invitation given to him to speak at the Nigerian Bar Association forthcoming 2020 Annual General Meeting was withdrawn.
He charged El-Rufai to go to Boko Haram and collect his own invitation from them. Odumakin in his latest article titled ‘ El- Rufai and The Wages Of Sin’ said like the NBA, no decent Nigerian should give El-Rufai any platform to speak to Nigerians.
He wrote “The NBA has continued what I advocated that Nigerians to continue to do when the late Kashamu peers wanted to shut former President Olusegun Obasanjo up for grafting the proper epithet for the late serial fraud. Boko Haram can invite El-Rufai for their session but let no decent Nigerians give him their platforms”.
El-Rufai was one of the fresh blood President Obasanjo injected into governance in his time. He showed some zeal in restoring Abuja master plan but his activities were trailed with extreme wickedness”.“I met him on the net in 2010 when former President Yar’adua fell ill and the cabal around him started monkey business with Nigerians..We started a pressure group of 12 Nigerians which blossomed to 54”.
The online movement later became a real organization at a meeting called by Pastor Tunde Bakare.The Save Nigeria Group engaged the cabal until the National Assembly used the doctrine of necessity to enthrone Dr Goodluck Jonathan as President”. “I saw how efficient El-Rufai could be while working with him online.There was no airspace he could not enter to get information.
The day they were bringing Yar’adua to Nigeria, he was downloading every move of the plane to me.But it was in that process that I saw how widely ambitious he could be”.I cannot forget the day Jonathan was made President and he came to Pastor Bakare room at Transcorp.He wanted a list forwarded to the President of about 3 names from which he could pick a vice-President.His name was on the list with highest points”.“I forgot I have seen him twice in UAE before.The first time was when I attended his 50th birthday.
The second was when he solicited a meeting of SNG leadership through me.Pastor Bakare was reluctant at attending but succumbed to pressure from Mr Jimi Agbaje who was the first to become the first adversary of El-Rufai and his partner ,Jimi Lawal.I saw they were not for any great good at the UAE meeting !“Thereafter came the 2011 elections during which Major General Muhammadu Buhari picked Pastor Bakare as his running’ mate and me as his spokesman.El-Rufai was by the sides of Pastor but throwing bomb at Buhari as “corrupt and unelectable”“By 2015 he turned around a Buhari supporter and had abandoned his 2011 pipedream of running for President on Labour Party opportunistically using the SNG as a launchpad”.He became one of the members of the CPC merger committee for CPC towards the APC,I was named a member without anybody discussing with me.
I took a trip to Abuja to explain to other members that I was done with the CPC experiment and I was not going to participate in APC”. “I met El-Rufai and Hadiza Bala-Usman at 3G office and returned to Lagos. Some weeks after this encounter,I met EL-Rufai at Abuja Airport as we were both traveling to London on British Airways, I saw him and Dr Kayode Fayemi at the lounge and greeted them but EL-Rufai did not answer”.“As God would always show his sense of humor, we were assigned next seats to each other and we didn’t exchange a word till we got to London .
I was not surprised a year after that he started giving testimony as a Governor about how he started befriending killers and paying them compensations”.
There are strong indications that the security operatives involved in the killing of some members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) may face litigation abroad.
Already a suit is being perfected against the Inspector General of Police to be prosecuted in any of the twenty-seven countries in Europe in order to bring the perpetrators to book.
A United Kingdom based Human Rights Lawyer Barr Paul Nwachalla who spoke to reporters on phone yesterday announced that;
“Even though the Nigerian government claims to have outlawed IPOB there are concluded arrangements to sue the Inspector General of Police and the Nigerian Police force under what is called extended jurisdiction over extra judicial killings”.
The AIG zone 13 has acknowledge the fact of killing as well as conflicting figures in the number of death hence confirming that the police, DSS and Army are culpable.
DanMallam said, “the incident is unbecoming and unfortunate and the zone has employed best security strategies to prevent future occurrences.
“The zone under my watch will continue to maintain peace, law and order in Anambra, Enugu and Ebonyi States. I stand for justice, human right, constitutionalism, peace and development. I say no to torture, illegal arrest and detention, intimidation, and abuse of power.
“You can’t get development in atmosphere of crisis. Northerners migrating to South East are doing that because the zone is peaceful. We should continue in making the zone peaceful,” he added.
The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) has said that there will be no going back on the new Company and Allied Matters Act (CAMA). CAC said the new act has come to stay in the country despite the public outcry that has greeted it.
The Commission said it was only waiting for the legislature to gazette it for immediate implementation of the law.
The CAMA bill was recently signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari, and was included in his list of achievements for the last one year.
The Christians Association of Nigeria (CAN), had recently described CAMA as satanic, demanding that the President halts the implementation of “the obnoxious and ungodly law until religious institutions are exempted from it.”
The CAC Registrar-General, Alhaji Garba Abubakar, while speaking to Commerce Correspondents Association of Nigeria (CICAN) in Abuja yesterday wondered why the act was being opposed by religious bodies, especially the churches.
“They must henceforth subject their finances and expenditures for proper auditing, and copies sent to us at the CAC,” he said.
He explained further, “The new legal framework applies to all organizations registered with us; be it a religious organisation, NGO or CSO.
“Remember that they also have constitutions guiding them. The criteria to be a trustee of registered organisations are clearly spelt out in the laws establishing them.
“How is it that a registered member who qualifies to be a trustee in an organisation would not want government to know how the organisation is run? What are the responsibilities of the trustees?
“What are the responsibilities of the governing council or the board? How do you manage the affairs of the organisation? How do you use or expend the income and properties of the organisation? How do you appoint members of the governing board? These are the issues the new CAMA has come to address.”
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari requesting him to “urgently rescind your assent to the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020, [CAMA 2020], and to send the legislation back to the National Assembly to address its fundamental flaws, including by deleting the repressive provisions of the Act, particularly sections 839, 842, 843, 844 and 850 contained in Part F of the Act, and any other similar provisions.”
The organization is also urging him to “instruct the Registrar-General of the Corporate Affairs Commission, Alhaji Garba Abubakar, and Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, not to implement or enforce the CAMA 2020 until the legislation is repealed by the National Assembly, and brought in line with the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), and Nigeria’s international human rights obligations.”
In the letter dated 22 August, 2020 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said: “With these provisions, the government now has overly broad and discretionary powers to arbitrarily withdraw, cancel or revoke the certificate of any association, suspend and remove trustees, take control of finances of any association, and to merge two associations without their consent and approval of their members.”
According to SERAP, “Rather than taking concrete measures to improve the legal environment and civic space that would ensure respect for human rights and media freedom, your government has consistently pursued initiatives to restrict the enjoyment of citizens’ human rights. These rights are protected from impairment by government action.”
SERAP said: “These restrictions, coupled with repressive broadcasting codes and Nigerian security agencies’ relentless crackdown on peaceful protesters and civil society, demonstrate the government’s intention to suppress and take over independent associations.”
The letter, read in part: “SERAP is concerned that the provisions would be used by the authorities to exert extensive scrutiny over the internal affairs of associations, as a way of intimidation and harassment, which would eventually unduly obstruct the legitimate work carried out by associations.”
“We would be grateful if the requested action and measures are taken within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, the Registered Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel you and your government to take these measures in the public interest.”
“Please note that SERAP has instructed its Legal Counsel Femi Falana, SAN to take all appropriate legal actions on our behalf should your government fail and/or neglect to act as requested.”
“Citizens’ decision to join with others in pursuit of a common goal is a fundamental aspect of their liberty. The right to freedom of association also plainly presupposes a freedom not to associate. This freedom is at risk if the government can compel a particular citizen, or a discrete group of citizens, to merge their associations.”
“Constitutional guarantees of freedom of association would be very limited if they are not accompanied by a guarantee of being able to share one’s beliefs of ideas in community with others, particularly through associations of individuals having the same beliefs, ideas or interests.”
“Similarly, freedom of association creates a forum for citizens in which they may freely seek, without any unlawful interference by the state, to move public opinion and achieve their goals. That “forum” cannot exist if the government is at liberty to treat one association as forming part of another or coercing one association to merge with another association.”
“By seeking to suspend and remove trustees, and appoint interim managers for associations, the government seems to want to place itself in a position to politicise the mandates of such association, and to undermine the ideas that the right to freedom of association and related rights are supposed to protect in a democratic society.”
“SERAP believes that the government granting itself the powers to suspend and remove trustees of legally registered associations and to take control of their bank accounts constitute an effective restraint on human rights.”
“Allowing the government to take control of the bank accounts of association would impact on the rights of the associations, and also seriously undermine civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights as a whole.”
“These rights are in fact parts of the attributes of citizenship under a free government. “Liberty” includes the right to enjoy the rights to freedom of association, expression and peaceful assembly. Our constitutional jurisprudence and international standards allow only the narrowest range for their restriction.”
“Combatting fraud, mismanagement, corruption, money-laundering and other modes of trafficking by associations is legitimate. However, it is not sufficient to simply pursue a legitimate interest, limitations need also to be prescribed by law and be necessary in a democratic society.”
“Under the Nigerian Constitution and international human rights law, controls need to be fair, objective and non-discriminatory, and not be used as a pretext to silence critics. Your government has legal obligations to create an enabling environment in which associations can effectively carry out their legitimate activities.”
“These restrictions have no legal basis, as they fail to meet the requirements of legality, legitimacy, proportionality and necessity. The Human Rights Council has called on States to ensure that any regulations of associations ‘do not inhibit the independence and functional autonomy [of associations]’”
“We have also sent a Pre-Action Notice of a lawsuit pursuant to Section 17 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020, to the Corporate Affairs Commission to urgently initiate, promote and support deletion of Sections 839, 842, 843, 844 and 850 and any other repressive provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020.”
“In communication No. 1274/2004, the Human Rights Committee observed that ‘the right to freedom of association relates not only to the right to form an association, but also guarantees the right of such an association freely to carry out its statutory activities. The protection afforded by article 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights extends to all activities of an association.’”
“According to the Committee, ‘the existence and operation of a plurality of associations, including those which peacefully promote ideas not necessarily favourably received by the government or the majority of the population, is a cornerstone of a democratic society.’”
“Under international law, the use of the term “democratic society” places the burden on States imposing restrictions on freedom of association to demonstrate that the limitations do not harm the principles of pluralism, tolerance and broadmindedness.”
“The Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights has also called on states not to pass legislation that would ‘give the Government control over the right of associations to manage their own activities.’”
“Associations, as organised, independent, not-for-profit bodies based on the voluntary grouping of persons who pursue activities on a wide range of issues, such as human rights, democratic reforms, and social and economic development, are an integral part of democratic institutions.”
“The right to freedom of association is to be enjoyed alone or in community with others. Without this collective dimension, the effective realisation of the right would often not be possible. SERAP believes that the rights to freedom of association, freedom of expression and peaceful assembly to advance beliefs and ideas are inseparable aspects of the “liberty” assured by due process of law.”
“The right to freedom of association is interrelated with other human rights and freedoms, including the rights to freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly, protection of property, the private life and correspondence, an effective remedy, fair trials; and right to be protected from discrimination.”
“A genuine and effective respect for freedom of association cannot be reduced to a mere duty on the part of the State not to interfere. Therefore, it is incumbent upon your government and all public authorities to respect and protect this right, and to guarantee the proper functioning of an association, even when they annoy or give offence to persons opposed to the lawful ideas or claims that they are seeking to promote.”
“Any limitations on human rights, including the right to freedom of association must be proportionate to the interest to be protected, and must be the least intrusive means to achieve the desired objective.”
“Implementing or enforcing these repressive provisions will have a significant chilling effect on legitimate activities of associations, and would seriously undermine their independence and operations.”
“SERAP considers the CAMA 2020 the most repressive legislation in Nigeria’s history, especially given the unlawful and impermissible restrictions contained in Part F of the Act. Sections 831, 839, 842, 843, 844 and 850 of the Act are manifestly inconsistent with sections 36, 39 and 40 of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999.”
“Under section 831[i][ii], the government through the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) is empowered to treat any unregistered association as part of an already registered association, and without any lawful justifications whatsoever. The government also has the power to treat two or more associations as a single association on the flimsy pretext that the associations have the same trustees.”
“Section 839 and  of the Act also grants the government through the Corporate Affairs Commission the powers to arbitrarily and unilaterally suspend and remove the trustees of any legally registered association, and to appoint an interim manager or managers to run the affairs of any such association, if the Commission reasonably believes that there is “misconduct, mismanagement, and fraud” in the association, or on the basis of undefined “public interest.”
“The government will determine and decide what constitutes “public interest” in all cases. The exercise of the powers under section 839 is subject only to the approval of the supervisory Minister, a political appointee.”
“Similarly, sections 842, 843 and 844 grants the government through the Corporate Affairs Commission overly broad powers and discretion to arbitrarily, unlawfully and unilaterally regulate the finances of any association, and to take control and take over bank accounts lawfully belonging to legally registered associations under Part F of the CAMA 2020.”
“Further, section 850[e] empowers the government through the Corporate Affairs Commission to arbitrarily and unilaterally withdraw, cancel or revoke the certificate of registration of any duly and legally registered association.”
“These repressive provisions clearly and directly threaten and violate the rights to freedom of association, freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, privacy, property, and other human rights guaranteed under the Nigerian Constitution and international human rights treaties such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to which Nigeria is a state party.”
“SERAP notes that legally registered associations have also deposited their constitutions and other documents with the Corporate Affairs Commission under the now repealed and replaced CAMA 2004.”
“The Commission also enjoyed wide ranging powers under CAMA 2004 to regulate these associations, as the associations are required to periodically report to the Commission. Registered associations are also regulated under other existing laws, including anti-corruption and money laundering laws, the Criminal Code and Penal CoCAMA
Briefing Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs (Reinhardt) to Secretary of State Kissinger
Washington, August 18, 1975
Nigeria After the Coup of July 28
This memorandum is presented in response to your request of August 14. It is concerned with the nature of the new government, its prospects, and continuing American interests.
The New Leadership
The leader of the coup against General Yakubu Gowon is an erratic, vainglorious, impetuous, corrupt, vindictive, intelligent, articulate, daring Hausa. Brigadier Murtala Muhammed was a prime force in the Nigerian coup of July, 1966, which brought Gowon to power, and is one of the two principal plotters against Gowon for the past two years. He commanded a division during the Nigerian civil war, was involved in the only documented cases of genocide, won one important battle, and thereafter coasted for upwards of two years until Gowon finally removed him from command and placed him in charge of Army signals, a position which he held until last month, though he combined his military role with the civilian position of Commissioner (Minister) of Communications from July, 1973, until the coup.
Muhammed inherits from Gowon vast petroleum resources (potentially 3–3.5 million BPD, based on known reserves), considerable but neglected agricultural wealth, tremendous but untapped natural gas reserves, other minerals (coal, tin, columbite, uranium), by African standards an excellently trained civil service, and the dubious asset of eighty million people.
To match his assets, Muhammed also inherits—and has contributed to—a tradition of corrupt civilian and military officials, urban problems second only to those of Calcutta, drift and inepitude in development, insoluble but containable ethnic problems, and a national temperament which combines pride, aggressiveness, arrogance and patriotism into a brand of xenophobia best labeled Nigerianism.
Prospects for Survival
Almost six years after the civil war, Muhammed is probably ushering in a period of coups. As a corrupt Hausa, he automatically attracts Ibo and Yoruba enmity, which he knows and has attempted to reduce by early appointments. As a Northerner and a Muslem, he will be expected to consolidate once and for all the leadership role which his fifty million brothers are certain is theirs. Muhammed will agree, of course, but will seem to the Hausas to vacillate as he sings “One Nigeria.”
While there is no reason to believe that he can approach Gowon’s success in accommodating ethnic rivalries, there is also no reason to think that he will be any more successful in rapidly developing the country, and rapidity is the great need if he is to avoid Gowon’s political problems stemming from stymied development. Money is obviously plentiful, but absorptive capacity is low (corruption, unrealistic planning, confused priorities, and a demonstrated reluctance to turn to the outside).
Finally, Muhammed and his co-plotter and now deputy, Brigadier Olusegun Obasanjo, are the most militant of Nigerian military leaders on the Southern African question. Gowon and his principal lieutenants burned with the rage of all Africans when considering this issue, but they were realistic. Muhammed and Obasanjo are advocates of a NATO-type military command within the OAU having the avowed objective of strengthening liberation movements. More responsibility may bring more realism. On the other hand, formidable ethnic and developmental problems could convince the new leadership that they should deal repressively with the domestic scene while joining militant [Page 3]Arabs and Africans in organizing a Pan African jihad for liberation. (A large Libyan delegation visited Lagos last week.) Muhammed and Obasanjo are unlikely to bring any more inspiration to this enterprise than Nkrumah and Amin. At any rate they do not enhance their prospects for survival by any launchings on this uncharted course. Yorubas and Ibos, at least, will be disinclined to travel with them.
Nature of American Interests
An early but undocumented and probably inaccurate assessment is that certainly Muhammed and perhaps Obasanjo are anti-American. I believe that this initial reaction is based on no more than an unfortunate U.S. visa restriction entered in Muhammed’s passport and Obasanjo’s impulsive move to evict our Embassy from prime Lagos property. Nigerian leadership is far more pro-Nigerian than anti-any cause or country, which is the essence of Nigerianism.
Still, we can probably do little or no political business with the new regime, which of course does not distinguish it from the old. We are simply too far apart on the political issues which they exalt, mainly Southern Africa and the whole range of UN controversies. (The Communist countries have no better political opportunities, unless they foment and become involved in the jihad scheme, which I believe to be as imprudent for them as for us.)
It is in the economic-commercial area that the USG will have greatest opportunities. Even in this area it is the private sector, motivated by the USG, which is in the best position to advance our interests. And it is in this area that Muhammed has demonstrated some responsiveness.
When the corrupt Muhammed succeeded the more corrupt J. S. Tarka as Commissioner of Communications, he immediately perceived that at least the telephones must operate properly if his fate were to be any different from Tarka’s. American businessmen, in extended conversations with me, described Muhammed as being un-Nigerian in his acceptance of their proposals. Specifically GTE and ITT were close to multi-million dollar contracts when [Page 4]Muhammed turned from communications to plotting. (These deals have all the earmarks of Ashland and Mobil Oil arrangements, which is another problem. The point is that they are deals in a country where Americans have not enjoyed much success outside the petroleum sector.)
Muhammed is intelligent enough to realize that he cannot survive unless he can convert oil revenues into tangible development. Among his considerable faults is not Idi Arminian stupidity. His questionable maneuverings as Commissioner reveal a respect for American technology and a realization that capital markets do not begin and end in London. (British and Canadian communications interests have absorbed Nigerian revenues for years without producing a workable system. Other fields point up similar examples, as USG policy has deferred to a British sphere of influence.)
What we badly need, to put it bluntly, is focused American investment and economic penetration of Nigeria. The planes between New York and Lagos are filled with American businessmen, most of whom return frustrated because their proposals are a part of no plan other than their own. Our AID program, even when it received substantial appropriations, demonstrated the same shortcoming.
It ought not be beyond USG ingenuity to organize appropriate sectors of American private industry to spend Nigerian money to gain perceptible development in response to Nigeria’s economic and Muhammed’s political (survival) needs. Emphasis is on the U.S. private sector: (1) USG foreign assistance funds cannot be appropriated and are not needed; (2) USG political closeness to the Muhammed regime is probably unobtainable and undesirable.
1. Determine critical Nigerian development areas in which American private industry can make unique and mutually advantageous contributions. Organize a high level economic-commercial mission with demonstrated technological skills in these areas, and send this mission to Nigeria, after proper advance preparations here and there.
2. Avoid even semblances of close political ties to the incumbent Nigerian leadership, until and unless it proves more durable than now seems likely.
3. Gradually phase small AID mission into Embassy Economic Section, which should be staffed with carefully selected State/AID personnel competent to foster and continue objective of Recommendation 1.
4. Maintain discreet, friendly State ties with Gowon, though avoiding commitments. After another coup or two, probably bloody, Gowon may seem more and more to be the indispensable military leader, or at least the only acceptable one.
Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 202, Geopolitical Files, Nigeria, January-August 75. Secret. Drafted by Reinhardt without clearances↩
Reinhardt evaluated Nigeria’s new leader, Murtala Muhammed, following a July 28 coup. He recommended avoiding close ties to the new regime but sending an economic/commercial mission to Nigeria.↩
…We’ll support them but there must be restructuring — Afenifere
…There must be conditions — Balarabe Musa
…We shall look at presidential candidates when they emerge and evaluate them — ACF
…Let Igbos speak with one voice — PANDEF
Apex Igbo socio-political organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo said yesterday that it had gotten the mandate of the Igbo-speaking states to negotiate with other Nigerians for the president of Igbo extraction in 2023.
Anambra State president of Ohanaeze, Chief Damian Okeke-Ogene said during a press briefing in Awka that the mandate would be pursued with the seriousness it deserved because the South East was the only zone that had not occupied the office of president of Nigeria since the present democratic dispensation began in 1999.
However, different ethnic groups and personalities have reacted to the development with Afenifere saying it would support Igbo Preisdency but noted that there must be restructuring, Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, said it would look at presidential candidates after they had emerged to evaluate them.
According to Ohanaeze, if in 2023, Igbo do not get the president, Ohanaeze would continue with the struggle until it is achieved, recalling that it took the late Nelson Mandela several years of struggle to achieve it in South Africa.
Okeke-Ogene also spoke on the recent attempt by some people, led by a traditional ruler in Anambra State to factionalize Ohanaeze through what he described as a misguided effort to deceive the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, to register a parallel Ohanaeze.
He said: “Ohanaeze Ndigbo is an institution of credibility and repute that spans seven states and beyond and should not for any reason be subjected to ridicule because of selfish interest of self- seeking individuals.
“We want to use this opportunity to advise the said traditional ruler to focus on activities of his kingdom and desist from meddling in the affairs of Ohanaeze so as to protect the integrity of the stool he occupies. I want to assure everybody that Ohanaeze Ndigbo led by Chief Nnia Nwodo remains intact and very strong. We want to use the opportunity to apologize to other Igbo states for this dance of shame.”
He also explained that through the intervention of the elder statesman and first republic minister, Chief Mbazulike Amechi, Ohanaeze and the Indigenous People of Biafra,
IPOB, had resolved their differences and had started working together to achieve the collective agenda for the Igbo.
On the recent misunderstanding between some traditional rulers and the Anambra State government, the Ohanaeze president said: “We want to advise our revered royal fathers to emulate the conduct of the Chairman, Anambra State Traditional Rulers Council and Obi of Onitsha, lgwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe, the grand patron of the Council and traditional ruler of Nnewi, lgwe Kenneth Orizu, as well as the traditional ruler of Mbaukwu, Igwe Peter Anugwu, among others and avoid confrontational stance against the state government as there is need to avoid sending wrong signal to the outside world.
“It is necessary to follow laid down processes and procedures in channeling grievances to appropriate authority. We equally want to use this opportunity to urge stakeholders in the state to avoid overheating the polity and creating opportunity for few individuals to hijack the power structure and hold the entire people hostage and in bondage.”
We’ll support them but there must be restructuring — Afenifere
When contacted, the pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, said though it supports the South East’s agitation, the country must be restructured before the 2023 general elections.
Afenifere’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yinka Odumakin said: “We will support the South East to get the Presidency in 2023 provided Nigeria is restructured.
“We have been on the same page with Ohanaeze as far as restructuring is concerned, but if Nigeria goes into any election before carrying out restructuring, it will spell doom for the country.”
There must be conditions — Balarabe Musa
However, Second Republic governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Abdulkadir Balarabe Musa said majority of Northeners were now in support of the emergence of a President from the Southeast come 2023, particularly of Ndigbo extraction.
According to him, “this time around, it would not be solely an Ndigbo affair, as all Nigerians would participate in selecting the most competent person among the Igbo that will fit the number one seat in Nigeria.
“He must be someone that will bring about peace, justice and equality in the country. He must be someone with the qualities of late Zik of Africa,” he said.
He reiterated that Nigerians would have to participate in choosing an Igbo person with such sterling qualities, who would be President in 2023 unlike in similar exercises.
We shall look at presidential candidates when they emerge and evaluate them — ACF
Reacting, Spokesperson for Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, Emmanuel Yawe, in a terse statement, said: “ACF believes that it is the constitutional responsibility of political parties to produce candidates. Until they do that, the forum will not interfere in that process. We shall look at the presidential candidates when they emerge and evaluate them at that stage.”
But a chieftain of the ACF, Anthony Sani said Ndigbo has the constitutional right to field a president in 2023.
“The decision by Ohanaeze Ndigbo to field a candidate to contest for the post of president in 2023 is their constitutional right under the nation’s multiparty democracy. They should design their winning game plan and canvass support across the nation, considering the president would preside over the whole Nigeria and not president of Igbos alone.
“And as Ohanaeze canvasses support, they should note that democracy is a contest of ideas and reasons and not a bull fight in a sumo ring. That is to say, in a multi-party democracy, threats and intimidation, nor playing victim with lamentation cannot secure power. Reasoned persuasion of the voters devoid of bellicose and percussive posturing are the instruments, while social skills are the requirements. More so, there is no national consensus on rotation of the president between the North and the South that is binding on the political parties.”
Let Igbos speak with one voice — PANDEF
Also yesterday, the apex socio-cultural group of the South South geopolitical zone, Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, said it will welcome Ohanaeze just as it called on all Igbo leaders and groups to eschew any form of division and support ‘Ohanaeze’ to negotiate with other parts of the country for the 2023 presidency.
National Chairman of PANDEF, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga, who gave the advice yesterday in Uyo stressed that Ohanaeze must work together with everybody, including those in government to win the support of other parts of the country.
Nkanga said PANDEF would welcome Ohanaeze when approached because the South South had held that the next president of the country should come from the South East.
His words: “I think what Ohanaeze is trying to do is the right thing and they should have the support of everybody in the Southeast and also in Southern Nigeria. Which other organisation would have done it other than they themselves?
“If they (Igbos) have other organizations, whether women, youth groups, especially those in govermment, they should support Ohanaeze. It should not be while Ohanaeze is negotiating for Igbo presidency, other organizations are negotiating for other regions to take the position. Let the Igbos speak with one voice.For Ohanaeze to succeed, the elders and leaders must make sure they eschew any form of faction in the organization. This is not the time to talk about faction; they should close ranks because when they close ranks they should be able to convince the rest of the country.”
“Though they have not approached us yet on that, Ohaneze will not have problem if they come to us because they are a component of Southern and Middle Belt Forum. And PANDEF over time had supported the idea that we should allow the presidency to come to the South this time.
“And of course if it comes to the South the logical thing will be to allow the Southeast have it. In an open letter our Chairman Board of Trustees,Chief Edwin Clark wrote, he specifically said that the presidency should go to the Southeast” (Vanguard)
Philippe Douste-Blazy, MD, is a cardiologist and former French Health Minister who served as Under-Secretary General of the United Nations. He was a candidate in 2017 for Director of the World Health Organization.
In a videotaped interview on May 24, 2020, Dr. Douste-Blazy provided insight into how a series of negative hydroxychloroquine studies got published in prestigious medical journals.
He revealed that at a recent Chatham House top secret, closed door meeting attended by experts only, the editors of both The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine expressed their exasperation, citing the pressures put on them by pharmaceutical companies.
He states that each of the editors used the word “criminal” to describe the erosion of science.
He quotes Dr. Richard Horton who bemoaned the current state of science:
“If this continues, we are not going to be able to publish any more clinical research data because pharmaceutical companies are so financially powerful; they are able to pressure us to accept papers that are apparently methodologically perfect, but their conclusion is what pharmaceutical companies want.”
Dr. Douste-Blazy supports the combination treatment –hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and azithromycin (AZ) for Covid-19 recommended by Dr. Didier Raoult. In April, 2020
Dr. Douste-Blazy started a petition that has been signed by almost 500,000 French doctors and citizens urging French government officials to permit physicians to prescribe hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus patients early, before they require intensive care.
The issue has become highly politicized; the left-leaning politicians and public health officials are adamantly against the use of HCQ, whereas those leaning toward the right politically are for the right of doctors to prescribe the drug as they see fit.
The journal SCIENCE described the response to French President Emmanuel Macron trip to Marseille to meet Dr. Raoult who prescribes the combination drug regimen and he has documented their effectiveness.
However, public health officials, academic physicians and the media – all of who are financially indebted to pharmaceutical companies and their high profit marketing objectives – vehemently oppose the use of HCQ, and use every opportunity to disparage the drug by derisively referring to President Trump as its booster.
The Lancet Published a Fraudulent Study: Editor Calls it “Department of Error” by Vera Sharav Alliance for Human Research Protection
On May 22, 2020, The Lancet published “Hydroxychloroquine or Chloroquine With or Without A Macrolide For Treatment of COVID-19: a Multinational Registry Analysis”. It was described as an observational study purportedly involving more than 96,000 hospitalized Covid-19 patients in 671 hospitals across six continents. What was not disclosed is the fact that the two lead co-authors have significant, relevant financial conflicts of interest that just may have biased the reported findings.
Dr. Sapan Desai
Mandeep Mehra, MD
The database belongs to Surgisphere Corporation whose founder and CEO, is Dr. Sapan Desai, who is a lead co-author of the study. Dr. Desai has refused to disclose the data – for independent confirmatory review. In fact, he refuses to identify the participating hospitals, or even the countries. Dr. Mandeep Mehra, the lead co-author is a director at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, which is credited with funding the study. Dr. Mehra and The Lancet failed to disclose that Brigham Hospital has a partnership with Gilead and is currently conducting TWO trials testing Remdesivir, the prime competitor of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19, the focus of the study.
The Lancet report claimed that COVID-19 “patients treated with hydroxychloroquine (with or without a macrolide) were at increased risk of de-novo ventricular arrhythmia and ‘a greater hazard for in-hospital death.’” Such an alarming finding from an inaccessible dataset should have raised concerns for the editor of the Lancet, about the integrity of the study and the accuracy of the claimed findings. In fact, within days of the Lancet publication, concerns about that dataset were raised on social media, on PubPeer, the post-publication discussion website, and in newspapers.
Within days of publication, Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) declared on CNN
“The scientific data is really quite evident now about the lack of efficacy.”
A media blitz against hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) created panic: clinical trials aimed at testing hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 were suspended by International public health institutions including the World Health Organization the UK government regulatory agency and the French government.
The chief scientist at the WHO, Soumya Swaminathan, stated that although the Lancet data weren’t from a randomized controlled trial, the data were compelling because they
“came from multiple registries and quite a large number of patients, 96,000 patients.”
Knowledgeable scientists and experienced clinicians around the world were skeptical The alarming findings and serious negative impact of the Lancet report led numerous scientists around the globe to scrutinize the report in detail. That scrutiny by legitimate, independent scientists has led to many serious questions about the integrity of the study, the authenticity of the data, and the validity of the methods the authors used.
An Open Letter posted online, is addressed to the authors of the report: Mandeep R Mehra, MD, Sapan S Desai, MD, Frank Ruschitzka, MD, Amit N Patel, MD, and to the editor, Dr. Richard Horton. The letter was signed by more than 200 prominent scientists across the world, including 17 from institutions in Africa.
The scientists question the evidence for claimed serious risks posed from the use of hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19 patients. Among the concerns raised by the scientists are the following:
A range of gross deviations from standard research and clinical practices, such as: patients were prescribed inexplicably high daily doses of hydroxychloroquine –far higher than the FDA-recommended doses. There was no ethics review. The number of patients reportedly from Australia far exceeded the number of patients in the Australian government database;. Gross misrepresentation of the numbers of deaths in Australia. “Both the number of cases and deaths [the claimed 40% deaths in Africa], and the details provide seem unlikely.” Refusal to identify the hospitals that contributed patient data. The ratios of patients who received chloroquine (49 %) to those who received hydroxychloroquine (50% ) are implausible; in Australia chloroquine is not available without special government authorization. The Guardian reported on May 28th that it could not confirm that UK’s health agencies had even provided data for the study.
On May 29th The New York Times reported that 100 scientists and clinicians raised serious questions about the validity of the The Lancet report findings. It reported that on May 29th Dr. Mehra issued the following statement:
“We leveraged the data available through Surgisphere to provide observational guidance to inform the care of hospitalized Covid-19 patients”
[Perhaps someone can translate what “leveraged the data” means ….? The Times understated the number of scientists who signed the open letter; it is closer to 220.]
Dr. James Watson
Dr. James Watson, senior scientist at the MORU-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit in Thailand doubts that any research organization could have obtained such detailed massive records for so many people in Africa that quickly. Based on healthcare workers’ descriptions of medical record-keeping, at many hospitals in Africa, he indicated:
“I just find it very hard to believe.”
Dr. Watson contributed concerns regarding the African data to the Open Letter. He had to suspend a just-launched trial of HCQ to comply with UK regulators following the Lancet report.
Dr. Anthony Etyang, a consultant physician and clinical epidemiologist with the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme in Kenya, who is also a signatory to the Open Letter, wrote to The Scientist expressing his doubts about the numbers of African patients in the Surgisphere dataset, noting that even private hospitals on the continent have poor medical records.
Rather than investigating the serious issues raised about the integrity of the report, The Lancet editor posted the authors’ claimed to “correction” of the numbers of patients in Asia and Australia on a page designated “Department of Error” – whatever that means!
The nature and number of the serious “discrepancies” that have emerged following the Lancet publication of the Surgisphere “study,” lead one to suspect out-and-out FRAUD.
Disputed Hydroxychloroquine Study Brings Scrutiny to Surgisphere, an investigative report by Catherine Offord in The SCIENTIST, May 30, 2020, looked deeper than others and uncovered background information about Dr. Desai and the changes in Surgisphere’s product line and his marketing methods. In 2008, Surgisphere was the publisher of medical textbooks that ran afoul when physicians complained about falsified rave reviews. In 2010, Surgisphere became a high impact, online medical journal, whose website boasts that it
“accrued over 50,000 subscribers spanning almost every country around the world… with almost one million page views per month.”
The Journal of Surgical Radiology had a three-year run; its last issue was published in January 2013.
The Scientist reports that Dr. Desai is named in three medical malpractice lawsuits that were filed during the second half of 2019.
Additional disturbing facts about Surgisphere have been uncovered by a team of investigative reporters — Melissa Davey, Stephanie Kirchgaessner, and Sarah Boseley – for The Guardian.
Surgisphere, the company that provided the database for studies published by two of the world’s leading medical journals – The Lancet and The New England Journal of Medicine – based on Surgisphere data. The studies were co-authored the hydroxychloroquine studies.
“Surgisphere’s employees have little or no data or scientific background. An employee listed as a science editor appears to be a science fiction author and fantasy artist. Another employee listed as a marketing executive is an adult model and events hostess… until Monday, the “get in touch” link on Surgisphere’s homepage redirected to a WordPress template for a cryptocurrency website, raising questions about how hospitals could easily contact the company to join its database.”
The fiasco of the publication of essentially fraudulent reports in the journals with the greatest impact on both clinical treatment and public health policies, reveals how thoroughly corrupted so-called peer review has become because it lacks external, independent review by scientists who have NO STAKE in the study outcome. It was only after the reports by The Scientist andThe Guardian, that the editors of The NEJM and The Lancet were compelled to issue an: “Expression of concern.” This fiasco demonstrates why intelligent people seek alternative sources for reliable information.
The website, Science Defies Politics exposes numerous scientifically invalid studies that were essentially “hit jobs” against the use of hydroxychloroquine.
WHY are very powerful corporate-government stakeholders so intent on killing a drug with a 70 year track record? Because the drug works against the pandemic; it is readily available, and costs very little. Therefore, it poses a financial threat to both pharma companies and their partners in government and academia, those who are intent on profiting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
As uncovered by Science Defies Politics: 16 of the panel members selected by NIH to formulate the official COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines – including two of the three co-chairs – were paid by Gilead. They issued guidelines that raised fear, uncertainty, and doubt about the use of HCQ combined with AZ, while raising no fear, doubt, or uncertainty about using Gilead’s unproven, unapproved, drug remdesivir; a drug that has shown mediocre performance in clinical trials. Seven of the NIH panelists failed to disclose their financial ties to Gilead. They are listed here.
The medical scientific literature is infested with financially motivated, shoddy, studies aimed at promoting products and, when a life-saving, non-patentable product, proves effective, scientists are hired to author study reports that are designed to tarnish scientists’ reputations, and to proclaim findings that refute legitimate findings. In this case, studies designed to “debunk” the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine against COVID-19.
Examples of countries and physicians who have witnessed the effectiveness of the HCQ – Az combination as a treatment for covid-19, are viewed by corporate-government collaborating partners as posing a major threat to their marketing agendas.
For example, Senegal and India are putting their hopes in hydroxychloroquine, marketed by Sanofi, under the trade name Plaquenil. A Sanofi spokesperson stated:
“We are providing the drug to hospitals and doctors to enable them to carry out clinical trials to determine whether hydroxychloroquine is effective or not, but not to treat Covid-19.”
On May 23rd the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) issued expanded revised guidelines for use of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) for COVID-19:
“The Joint Monitoring Group and the NTF have recommended prophylactic use of HCQ in asymptomatic frontline workers, such as surveillance workers deployed in containment zones and paramilitary/police personnel involved in Covid-19 related activities, asymptomatic household contacts of laboratory confirmed cases and all asymptomatic healthcare workers involved in containment and treatment of Covid-19 and working in non-Covid hospitals/non-Covid areas of Covid hospitals/blocks.”
Didier Raoult, MD, PhD — “a Science Star” — as the NYT described him in a recent profile, who has identified 500 novel species of human-borne bacteria; a scientist known all over the world as the discoverer of the first giant virus, a discovery that earned him the Grand Prix, one of France’s most prestigious awards.
Didier Raoult, MD, PhD
Dr. Raoult is the founder and director of the research hospital, the Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire Méditerranée Infection (IHU). He is a professor on the faculty of Medicine of Ais-Marseille University, and since 2008, he has been the director of the Infectious and Tropical Emergent Diseases Research Unit), which employs more than 200 people and runs a hospital with 3,700 patients. He has more than 2,300 indexed publications and was classified among the ten leading French researchers by the journal Nature. Dr. Raoult has a reputation for bluster but also for creativity that others lack. As the Times noted, “He looks where no one else cares to, with methods no one else is using, and [he] finds things.”
Since publishing favorable reports about a treatment combination of two cheap, widely prescribed medicines: hydroxychloroquine and the antibiotic azithromycin, as a treatment of choice against Covid-19, Dr. Raoult has become the subject of intense demonization by the corporate-influenced medical establishment, the media, and the who resort to this tactic whenever they lack evidence or legitimate grounds to support public health policies that cause people harm. Their fallback tactic is to demonize every doctor who challenges them and refuses to adhere to their financially – driven prescribing decrees.
Dr. Raoult’s latest scientific report about HCQ, Early Diagnosis and Management of COVID-19 Patients: A Real-Life Cohort study of 3,737 Patients, Marseille, France was posted on May 27, 2020,
It is a retrospective study report of the clinical management of 3,737 patients, including 3,054 (81.7%) treated with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin (HCQ-AZ) for at least three days and 683 (18.3%) patients treated with other methods. Outcomes were death, transfer to the intensive care unit (ICU), ≥ 10 days of hospitalization and viral shedding.
“Treatment with HCQ-AZ was associated with a decreased risk of transfer to the ICU or death (HR 0.19 0.12-0.29), decreased risk of hospitalization ≥10 days (odds ratios 95% CI 0.37 0.26-0.51) and shorter duration of viral shedding (time to negative PCR: HR 1.27 1.16-1.39). QTc prolongation (>60 ms) was observed in 25 patients (0.67%) leading to the cessation of treatment in 3 cases. No cases of torsade de pointe or sudden death were observed.
Conclusion Early diagnosis, early isolation and early treatment with at least 3 days of HCQ-AZ result in a significantly better clinical outcome and contagiosity in patients with COVID-19 than other treatments.”
In France, doctors who have followed the research of Dr. Raoult, and have themselves witnessed the effectiveness of the HCQ-AZ combination, are suing the government. They demand the right to treat their patients with these drugs before easing of the lockdown. They seek to prevent complications and deaths from a second wave of Covid-19.
Violaine Guerin, MD
Dr. Violaine Guérin, an endocrinologist who conducted a trial on 100 doctors infected with COVID-19, and their families, reported her study findings that demonstrated the effectiveness of prescribing HCQ combined with azithromycin at the first sign of symptoms. The drugs substantially reduced the viral load of Covid-19:
“Taking hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin on the outset of flu symptoms can prevent Covid-19 from getting worse. We can treat people now before they end up on a ventilator.”
Her findings replicated those Dr. Didier Raoult.
Dr. Guérin recommends prescribing hydroxychloroquine for health workers infected by the coronavirus, which is outside of its approved uses. Health unions in France warned that almost 12,000 health care professionals out of 550,000 – roughly a quarter of the country’s health force – were sick with Covid-19. Dr. Guérin recommends its use on compassionate grounds, stating:
“From the very beginning, doctors have been calling for the right to self-prescribe because they are the ones on the frontline of the coronavirus battle. We cannot waste time when we can treat Covid-19 now, as long as this is done in the early stages of the virus and patients are screened for pre-existing medical conditions.”
Soon after this favorable study was published, the Minister of Health Olivier Veran in bald political arm twisting fashion, asked the highest health authority to review its authorization for the use of HCQ to treat Covid, suggesting further restriction.