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"Courage is not just about bravery. It is also about integrity and persistence to do the right thing against all odds and in the midst of danger. It is not the bravery of a criminal to execute heinous crimes such as suicide bombing, or daredevil armed robbery etc. It is therefore important to point out that the courage we are talking about here is moral courage, which has been described as the essence of leadership." Chika Onuegbu in his 2016 paper titled "The Courage to Stand For Students Union" presented to the Students Union Government of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology.
"Our Governor Sir, hardly does any day pass in Nigeria, without a report of a massacre of Nigerians by Nigerians or at least, coordinated by Nigerians. Hardly does a day pass, without the report of a major violent crime committed against Nigerians by Nigerians. Hardly does a day pass, without the story of how large sums of money are stolen by Nigerians who are in positions of trust. The revelations at the various probes by the National Assembly are heart breaking as billions of Naira meant for the improvement in the welfare and condition of living of ordinary Nigerians are brazenly stolen by those who they are entrusted in their care. All these are examples of violence against the people of Nigeria. The killings and maiming of Nigerians, whether by Boko Haram, Militants, cult groups, kidnappers, armed robbers, misguided youths, political thugs and other forms of societal vices by deviant groups under whatever guise, are all examples of direct violence. There is also structural violence, which is the violence that does not hurt or kill through fists or guns or bombs, but through social structures that produce poverty, death and enormous suffering such as: corruption, injustice and bad governance. The truth is that, no one will be able to properly address the problems of direct violence especially, those with ideological inclination without understanding the relationship between direct violence and structural violence. For instance, take a hypothetical example of a man who loses his land or fishing port to oil /gas exploitation because of unjust laws. His son loses her mother because of poverty and crumbling social infrastructure in the Niger Delta, his daughter cannot further her education because the surviving parent is poor. Yet, they live closer oil pipelines When she manages to go to school through community effort. She is told that there is no job for her. She becomes unemployed and frustrated. The community also becomes frustrated, and unable to sponsor others like her. They become abandoned and trapped in the heinous poverty circle while their God-given resources are carted away and used to fund a system of fiscal federalism that is a misnomer and unbecoming of any true federation. The fund is used to pay for the construction of the expensive city of Abuja, fund the huge corruption that we read daily in the newspapers, finance expatriate workers in the Oil and Gas Industry who enjoy highest condition of service, incomparable to any of their equivalent in the world, fund one of the most expensive National Assemblies in the world and provide for the lavish and hedonistic lifestyle of the privileged few Nigerians . Our Governor Sir, you will agree with us that hunger, neglect, frustration and deprivation of this magnitude IN THE MIDST OF PLENTY is a serious form of violence, capable of pushing ( indeed has pushed) the man and his community into direct violence. The story is also not different in Northern Nigeria, where years of deprivation, neglect, corruption and misrule by the ruling elites have led to the emergence and establishment of dynasties of poverty in the form of ‘Almajiris’, and now we all cry over the terror in the land, occasioned by the ‘Boko Haram’ insurgence. Let me quickly add that I am not by any chance providing any justification for criminal activities, I am only showing how one crime, for example corruption, leads to another. For example, the killings by ‘Boko Haram’ or militant/cult groups in the Niger Delta. This analysis in my view, is important if we must address the unacceptable violence, insecurity and wanton killings in Nigeria that is fast becoming a way of life in our beloved country." Exerpt from AN ADDRESS PRESENTED BY COMRADE HYGINUS CHIKA ONUEGBU (JP, FCA) STATE CHAIRMAN TRADE UNION CONGRESS OF NIGERIA (TUC) RIVERS STATE COUNCIL ON THE OCCASION OF 2012 MAY DAY CELEBRATION IN RIVERS STATE NIGERIA.
''It is therefore doubtful if President Mohammadu Buhari will be able to deliver his campaign promises to Nigerians if the price of crude oil which accounts for some 90% of Nigeria’s total export revenue and 75% of total consolidated revenue continue to hover around $50 per barrel between now and 2019.'' Chika Onuegbu in his 2015 paper titled “HISTORICAL OVERVIEW OF THE IMPACT OF GLOBAL OIL POLITICS ON CRUDE OIL PRICES, INVESTMENTS AND EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS IN THE NIGERIAN OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY”
"It is therefore our considered opinion that the 2016 Federal budget may not be achievable and our hopes that capital expenditure of N1, 8 trillion will be spent in 2016 may unfortunately be dashed except if the government makes contingency arrangements." Chika onuegbu in the TUC Rivers State 2016 New Year Message published by The Nigerian Guardian
As Nigeria continues to dither over the Petroleum Industry Bill, which has been in the Nigerian National Assembly since 2009 as aforementioned, Ghana her neighbour (who just joined the Petroleum Club not too long ago) on August 4 2016 passed its own petroleum bill, i.e. the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Bill, 2016 into law in a bid to attract investments. Chika Onuegbu in his 2016 paper titled The Challenges and Implications of a Post PIB Nigeria for the Oil and Gas Workers
Comrades, let me also remind us again that the struggle for our Unions is the struggle for our life .It is the struggle for our freedom and the welfare of the people of our nation. It is a struggle against evil and the greed and insensitivity of the privileged few. It is a struggle for equity and Justice. It is a continuous struggle and we must not relent AT ALL because those who benefit from evil, injustice and oppression are NOT relenting. That is why we say and sing ALUTA CONTINUA and rekindle our believe that VICTORIA ACERTA
Comrades, let me remind us again that our union cannot be stronger than we make it; and a weak union serves no useful purpose.A weak union is a terrible disaster!
Let me on behalf of the leadership of TUC Rivers State; pledge to continue to stand by the workers and the ordinary people as well as on our original ideology as a mass movement.
Penguins survive on iceberg and if the iceberg is melting, then there is a serious danger to their survival . Today our association faces similar dangers. The iceberg of PENGASSAN is melting and melting very fast. Today our industry is facing severe challenges such as unprecedented levels of oil theft and insecurity; divestment on industry scale; underfunding of programme budgets; unending reforms in the petroleum industry and fears around the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB); discussions on the right model for the refineries; insecurity of lives and property; suspension of new investments due to delayed passage of the PIB; unfair and outdated labour laws; expansion of free trade zones etc. As if these are not enough, our Union is also facing great internal challenges and complexities. These challenges have dire implications for PENGASSAN as an effective Union and an influential social partner. They are also great dangers to our us, our families, our industry and our nation.
Perhaps ,the country should truly be at war, but that war SHOULD BE the war against corruption, poverty, injustice and unemployment. For it is only when we win the war against corruption, poverty, injustice and unemployment that we can effectively address the unacceptable level of insecurity in the country. Until we do this, no amount of defence/security spending will solve the insecurity problems in Nigeria as ‘poverty anywhere is a threat to prosperity everywhere’,
Today, we remember the Nigerian workers, who were massacred at Iva Valley Coal mines, gunned down at Burutu, bludgeoned and buffeted in many other parts of the country as they fought for the untrammelled freedom and prosperity of their fatherland. Today we remember the Nigerian workers and students who lost their lives during the struggle against the June 12 annulment and the gallant struggle against the military dictatorships during the dark days of the post-colonial history of our nation. Today, we remember those who lost their lives in the various struggles against the various harsh and anti-people policies since the advent of this democracy in May 1999.
We, therefore, urge President Muhammadu Buhari to be dogged in the fight against corruption and the elimination of waste in governance through strengthening the institutions that fight corruption, adopting a truly zero tolerance approach to corruption and waste of public funds and more importantly, pass into law the offence of unexplained wealth in Nigeria and ensure that offenders are properly dealt with. The offence of unexplained wealth (also called possession of unexplained wealth) will penalize people for possessing wealth disproportionate to their known lawful sources of income if they cannot provide a satisfactory explanation for this.
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