The soon-to-retire Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Ambassador Olukunle Akindele Bamgbose, and the Acting Chairman, Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC), Dr. Chima Obi Odunze, are spearheading a corrupt scheme to embezzle over N1billion in the conduct of the 2018 promotion examination for 59 foreign service officers. The exam is scheduled to hold on July 7, 2018 in four centres: New York, USA; London, UK; New Delhi, India; and Nairobi, Kenya.

According to a Telex Cirtel A.105 transmitted on June 29, 2018 from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Headquarters to the missions hosting the four examination centres, a total of 110 government officials from MFA and Federal Civil Service Commission are scheduled to jet out of Nigeria, some on business class tickets, to supervise only 59 promotion-seeking candidates. 

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Each of this 110 government official is on 10 days estacode allowance payable in US dollars.

The centre-by-centre breakdown of the treacherous plan goes like this:

NEW YORK CENTRE
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and 15 senior staff of the ministry will be joined by 13 high-ranking officials from the Federal Civil Service Commission to supervise only 14 candidates. This means that every candidate sitting for the exam at the New York centre will be supervised by more than two people from Nigeria!

LONDON CENTRE
At the London centre, 13 Officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be joined by the Acting Chairman, Federal Civil Service Commission and 10 other officials from the commission, totalling 24, to supervise 18 candidates.

NEW DELHI CENTRE
At the New Delhi centre, 11 officials from Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be joined by 14 officials from the Federal Civil Service Commission (total 25) in supervising 17 candidates. 

NAIROBI CENTRE
The Nairobi centre is even more staggering. Here, 18 officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be joined by 14 Federal Civil Service Commission senior officials (total 32) to supervise only 10 candidates. This means that each candidate at the Nairobi centre will be supervised by over three officials from Nigeria.

It should be noted that this is not the first, second or third time that exams are being conducted at the four centres. It has become an annual jamboree for officials from the two Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to waste tax payers’ money on an exercise that is enmeshed in corruption. The candidates are stationed in Foreign Missions, earning dollars, and are compelled to contribute money for the payment of hotel accommodation of the visiting Foreign Affairs Ministry officials, and ‘kola’ for the examiners from FCSC. This is an unwritten rule that no candidate dare stand up to challenge.

The difference between this year’s exercise and the previous editions’ is the sheer number of supervising officials from Nigeria, whose ranks range from Acting Chairman, Permanent Secretary to a Chief Detail. 

Curiously, also, the plans of the soon-to-retire Permanent Secretary to deliberately sink the ministry into further debt comes at a time when many Nigerian embassies are struggling to pay utility bills and staff allowances. It is also mind-boggling that he also agreed to allow no less than 20 directing staff of his ministry leave the country at the same time on a self-enriching exercise.

Meanwhile, the exams for Directorate level officers scheduled to take place at the headquarters in Abuja on June 30, 2018 has been rescheduled to a later date in July 2018 to allow sufficient time for these officials to make their travel plans.

Project thanks

After nearly 40 years in our home, we decided it was time for Swedish Death Cleaning. You may have heard of it — it’s getting rid of anything you’re not using so that your children don’t have to when you’re gone.

We have made innumerable trips to the Senior Center and to Goodwill. We also had an embarrassing amount of garbage.

Rick Peargin and Marlo Messmer at the City of Hood River Public Works Department and the kind people at Hood River Garbage helped us get the necessary permit and dumpster solution in record time with minimal fuss so our painting crew didn’t miss a beat. We appreciate public service and private business working together with us on our project. Thank you!

Jerry and Deborah Whiting Jaques

Hood River

People and guns

The June 9 headline on page A5 is missing one word, “with,” a common failing on the subject of firearms. It should read, “… the fight against violence with guns.” As is nearly universally the case, the term “gun violence” ignores the fact that there is a person using a firearm. It also implies that the existence of a gun automatically creates a violent situation, which is not true. There are millions of people who have owned guns but have never used them violently or illegally.

As one with two grand-daughters in local schools, I am certainly concerned that they will always be safe in their school and other activities. Student activism regarding firearms should not lose sight of the point that it is people who are using firearms illegally and violently. Even if all firearms were totally eliminated, other tools would be used in similar fashion. But it would still be a person using such tools that is the problem, not the tool. Unfortunately, the anti-gun campaigns focus quite deliberately, in most cases, on the gun, not the perpetrator.

Cal Taylor

Hood River

Address the real problem

A U.S. House bill was approved on Tuesday of this week that would allow for 100 kill permits to be issued for sea lions that inhabit the Columbia River region and feed on salmon. This is not only a short-term failure for the sustainability of salmon, but it is also a moral and ethical failure to kill sentient beings for doing nothing more than acting within the norms of their biological nature. We need to demand that our politicians stay focused on long term sustainability with regard to the protection of native salmonids. Long-term issues include climate change measures and dam removal. The fish kill due to warm Columbia waters in 2015 is a sign of more to come and is a much more serious threat than that posed by sea lions. Further, the water is warmer due to dams turning the Columbia into a series of ponds. Human activities are the true cause of salmon decimation and solutions must be connected to those activities instead of scapegoating an innocent species.

Nathan Smith

Hood River

Rethink fireworks

Fire season is beginning earlier and lasting longer. Those who were in the Gorge last September experienced wildfire up close with the Eagle Creek fire. That event was human caused, as, allegedly, was the fire that erupted along Indian Creek within city limits soon after. Both fires caused people to evacuate their homes. Both were started by fireworks.

Besides the risks of wildfire caused by fireworks, noise is a problem for many. Military vets, wildlife, pets, infants, and the elderly are among groups affected by explosions.

Maybe it’s time to rethink July 4 celebrations during the hottest part of summer in one of the windiest places in the west. I’m pretty sure most people can come up with at least 20 ways to celebrate Independence Day that don’t involve explosions or incendiary devices.

Let’s put fire safety and community wellbeing before recreational fireworks.

Thanks for considering this.

Connie Graham

Hood River

Double standard

So, I am confused, more than usual. Why would it be okay for an administration to develop a law handling illegal minors, which includes separation (that would be President Obama, 2015) and the uproar of an administration enforcing the existing law (that would be President Trump, 2018)? Probably just because it is Trump? Was the rage just building? Or is it okay to have a double standard?

When one does something illegal, one realizes there may be consequences. You are naïve if you think those coming here illegally do not understand this. Should you do something stupid, illegal and endanger your children, will you now not be separated from your family?

I do not always agree with the president’s actions. I do appreciate the fact he is attempting to fulfil his campaign promises. Haven’t seen that for quite some time.

And regardless of where your party affiliation falls, I would hope that even you could acknowledge that this “activist” president has illustrated something quite boldly — that we have a truly ineffective, unproductive Congress which has no resolve except to maintain a status quo and not solve our bigger issues. How many administrations has immigration been an issue, with both parties in majority?

We have a majority of Republicans who have no spine, afraid of their own shadow, to do anything. We have a group of previously in majority Democrats whose only ideas are to criticize the president’s actions without offering anything specific on the table.

Impeach him, waste more millions of dollars. They did spend the first term of President Obama blaming all our ills on the previous administration when they were in the majority.

If you have a representative who is obstructionist and will not work towards an honest solution (yes, that means compromise), then vote him out. We only hurt ourselves when there are two standards of laws, or the laws THEY passed are not enforced.

Are we now a nation of laws, but only when it fits our narrative?

Steve Nybroten

White Salmon

Fading beacon

“The U.S. Navy is preparing plans to construct sprawling detention centers for tens of thousands of immigrants on remote bases.”

This quote is from Time magazine. The total number is supposed to be around 120,000, and there’s also reference to it from KGO radio in San Francisco, and elsewhere if you want to look.

Minoru Yasui is spinning in his grave, along with some of my relatives, at the mention of camps in the U.S. Are they still planned after the demonstrations of the last few days? Let’s call them what they really are, concentration camps in the USA being planned by the present administration. Are the Republicans in Congress going to go along with this? Who’s going to pay for it?

Is Congress prepared to appropriate money for concentration camps?

Are you okay with civilians being kept in confinement by the military on military bases? So who’s next, will it be the Muslims, African Americans, gays, or is there some other group I’m missing?

For those of you who are religious and Christian, do you remember Rev. Martin Niemoller’s poem? “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Trade Unionist, then they came for …”

My Uncle Bernard fought against the fascist Franco before World War II, my father built liberty ships during the war, and now it appears we’ll be fighting them right here in the U.S., in what’s supposed to be the Beacon of Democracy, the land of the free.

Rob Brostoff

Cascade Locks