Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Resurgence Of Lassa Fever In Nigeria

By Livy-Elcon Emereonye
Sometimes ago, I received a call from some media con­sultants that they would like to come and interview me on Lassa fever. And my reaction was wow, Lassa fever again! Why Lassa fever? There is a possible re­surgence of the fever in Nigeria. We even play “politics” with our lives. Lassa fever had been with us so if there is resurgence now, we have ourselves to blame. This is because, more than anything, Lassa fever is primarily a disease of hygiene. How clean is our en­vironment? What is our person­al hygiene? What do we feed on? What type of health policies do we have, and how functional are they? Our problem is Nigeria is more of a problem of implemen­tation.
Image result for lassa fever

 Lassa fever is caused by a sin­gle-stranded RNA virus that is animal borne (zoonotic). It can cause a potentially fatal illness that can rapidly spread. The vi­rus is spread by a particular type of rat known as the ‘multimam­mate rat’(Mastomys natalen­sis) that lives in large numbers in west, central, and east Africa

While we are what we eat, our living conditions have direct im­pact on our health. People can get Lassa fever, also known as Lassa haemorrhagic fever (LHF) through contact with the urine or droppings of an infected rat; catching and preparing infected rats as food; inhaling tiny parti­cles in the air contaminated with infected rat urine or droppings; and rarely, direct contact with a sick person’s blood or body flu­ids, through mucous membranes, like eyes, nose, or mouth. How­ever, It should be noted that peo­ple with Lassa fever are not be­lieved to be contagious before they have symptoms. Lassa fever is not spread through casual con­tact (like hugging, shaking hands, or sitting near someone). 

The New US Entry Regulations: For Those Affected

Image result for usa united states of america

If you are a green card holder (lawful permanent resident) outside of the U.S. please reach out to an immigration attorney before you travel back to the U.S. even if you are not for one of the seven countries.
Nigerian green card holders are advised to return to base immediately until further notice.
If you are planning to travel back to the US on your green card, you should fill out a USCIS G-28 form. Get it from the USCIS WEBSITE; that officially appoints an attorney to represent you in immigration situations. Have that completed form with you as you board your flight.
The refugee program is being halted immediately, for at least 120 days. This will mean that anyone, anywhere in the process, will not move forward.

Other Info:

Monday, January 30, 2017

BREAKING: It Is Now US1$ To N500!

As Nigeria's economic recession worsens, the Naira has suffered further depreciation. One US dollar now exchanges for five hundred Naira (N500)...
*Today's Exchange Rates

Nigeria: Awaiting The Second Colonization

By Abraham Ogbodo
Why are we what we are in Nigeria? Nothing is ever promptly handled to create maximum benefits. If it is road construction or rehabilitation, government waits until a tiny pothole becomes a dangerous crater and lives lost through accidents caused by the failed part of the road and after a deafening public outcry too, before a contract is awarded for the fixing.

This national lethargy is even more manifest in government – labour relations. No proposed strike action by workers union is ever nipped in the bud. Government usually lives through the build-up and in a fire-fighting approach sets up committees to negotiate a cease-fire with the warring union after everywhere had been put on fire. It is all a measure of our inability to sift through the issues of today and articulate a proper future. More or less, we live by the day or in everyday language, from hand to mouth. No nation attains greatness operating on pay-as-you-go basis.
Is the fault in our star or style? I mean is there anything about our geo-ethnic locations that makes perception difficult? We are incapable of perceiving danger even if it is just an inch away. An online trending statement allegedly by South African Apartheid President P.W Botha, but which has been reworked or adapted to suit the personalities of Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu and American President Donald Trump, is very hard on the Black race.
The summary of it all is that the Negro lacks completely in the essentials to cultivate a high culture. He is neither innovative nor resilient and hides under the circumstances of his social evolution to always remain under his challenges instead of rising above them. It is a damning verdict, nevertheless, supported by ample evidence in the observable political leadership of the Black world. Also, a video of an American Black preacher, Dr. David Manning of Atlam World Missionary Church in Harlem, New York on the same subject matter of the copious and inexplicable inadequacies of the Black race went viral.
The narratives in both instances came close to creating a separate taxonomy outside the homo-sapiens specie for the Black race. The commentators only stopped short of branding black people sub-human. The temptation is to lash out at these bigots and proclaim (not prove) that Blacks and Whites are denominated in a common humanity and the so-called difference between them is not any more substantial than illusive perception of pigmentation. And that is largely true because even President Trump, in a moment of absolute sanity, said in his inauguration speech that the same red blood runs in the veins of everybody.

Nigeria: APC’s Road To Infamy

By Alabi Williams  
In the beginning, all seemed very well with the All Progressives Congress (APC). As the fortunes of the former ruling party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) dimmed, that of the new coalition shone luxuriantly. Politicians began to fall over themselves to partake in the assemblage, even as thousands of volunteers outside the party system placed their bet on the party. Without being asked, they turned social media campaigners for the election of candidate Muhammadu Buhari. 

It could be said that in the build up to the 2015 elections, Buhari and his party had their palm kernels cracked on their behalf by a benevolent spirit. APC had little to do to clinch victory, as PDP had burnt its credit so prodigally that it was only a matter of time for it to unravel. At home and abroad, enthusiasts were just waiting for elections to come and go. The frenzy was so pervasive that the government of Goodluck Jonathan had to device some means to adjust voting dates, and postpone day of reckoning. Even that did not stop chants of Sai Baba!
Eventually, Buhari won and was crowned on May 29, 2015. It was time to unbundle the wrap of campaign promises, especially that of making one naira equal to one dollar. It turned out that there was a huge difference between asking for votes and delivering on promises. It turned out that beyond the excitement of winning election, there has to be proven capacity to comprehend the issues and conceptualise a process to confront them. That is where a good number of Nigerians, particularly friends of the APC in the social media, were forced to part ways with government.
Today, the level of discontent with the Buhari government is frightening. The quantity of bile social media ‘journalists’ spew and its toxic content is enough to send a chicken-hearted president on permanent bed rest. The rumour mill is agog with very offensive content, and you wonder how fast the APC has frittered away the credibility and trust on which it rode to power. And they are not about to back off, as the economy is not showing signs of quick recovery. Their anger is that they were conned by the ruling party, into believing that once they assist to send the other government away, Nigeria will become an el dorado overnight. In other words, they are angry with this government over its policies that do not seem to work and have human face. 
When Buhari came onboard, reflex action on the part of some agencies of government created mirages that were thought to be early signs of the change that was promised. Electricity supply became relatively more assured; supply of PMS at the former price of N87 became readily available, and Nigerians were beginning to reenact the social discipline that hallmarked Buhari’s first coming, as military head of state. Effortlessly, and without raising a hand, things seemed to work and the party in government attributed that to be the body language of Buhari in action. They began to celebrate with much noise.

Planned Detention Of Apostle Suleiman, Bishop Oyedepo: Don't Plunge Nigeria Into Religious Crisis, Fayose Cautions DSS

Ekiti State Governor and Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors’ Forum, Mr. Ayodele Fayose has warned the Department of State Services (DSS) over the planned detention and trial of Apostle Johnson Suleiman of The Omega Fire Ministries Worldwide and the General Overseer of Living Faith Church Worldwide International (Winners' Chapel International), Bishop David Oyedepo, describing it as indirect invitation to religious crisis in the country.
*Bishop Oyedepo
Governor Fayose alleged that, "There is plan to charge Apostle Suleiman and Bishop Oyedepo for incitement and attempt to cause public disorder on Friday, and make sure that they are not granted bail so to get them remanded in Kuje Prison perpetually."
He said this plan was to humiliate these men of God as well as silence them and create fear in other people that may want to speak against the heinous crime against humanity being committed daily while perpetrators are being shielded by the federal government.
In a statement issued on Sunday by is Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, Governor Fayose said the DSS should tell Nigerians how many of the Fulani herdsmen that killed thousands of Nigerians across the country have been arrested before going after Nigerians who merely expressed their frustration over the to failure of the federal government to protect them.
The governor said: "Even though the DSS has allowed commonsense to prevail by properly inviting Apostle Suleiman as against the gestapo manner with which the service attempted to abduct him last week Wednesday, it is still questionable that the DSS is more interested in a man who threatened to defend himself against any attack by Fulani herdsmen rather than those herdsmen that murdered thousands of Nigerians.”

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Indeed, Right Time For Igbo Presidency

By Bolaji Tunji
One Tuesday, former President Olusegun Obasanjo made a case for the South east to also be given a chance to produce the next president of Nigeria. In canvassing this view which he said was personal to him, he noted that most of the other zones in the country- the North, South West and even the minority south South had all produced the nation’s president at one point or the other and it would only be fair if the south east was also allowed to produce Nigeria’s president in the not too distant future.

Indeed, the iconic former president seems to have spoken the mind of most of us who still believe in fairness, justice and equity as way of stemming the agitation from that part of the country.
Within a few days of the ex-president’s statement, there have been reactions from some Nigerians,though mostly of the South east extraction. While some are in support of the former president’s statement, a few remain skeptical believing that Obasanjo’s statement came because he saw that the agitation of South east ethnic nationalities such as Movement for the Actualization of  the Sovereign State of Biafra, (MASSOB) and the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) have grown more strident. Notwithstanding the messenger, the question is whether there is any substance in the message and whether it is or should be a reality worth pursuing?
For someone who has always believed in fairness, equity, Obasanjo’s message resonates with me. If Nigerians have not been thinking in this direction, it is time to start looking that way.
It is not in doubt that the South east has contributed immensely, like any other zone to the development of this country. One would even believe an average South easterner to be more nationalistic than any other, among the different zones in the country. And why would I say this? It is only an Igboman who feels comfortable in any and every part of Nigeria. There is hardly a state or town in Nigeria today where you would not find an Igboman. He  either has a business running or is found offering different services to the host community. He builds his house in that community and feels comfortable there. He sees himself as part of the community. There is a saying in the Southwest, especially among the Oyo-speaking Yoruba that if you got to a town and you could not locate an Ogbomoso person, it would be better for you to run from the place. The implication being that the inhabitants are inhospitable. Ogbomoso people in those days are traders who ply their trade in far-flung places, far from their home.
I think the same applies to the Igbo race. If you ventured into any town or village and you could not locate an Igboman, you would do yourself a world of good by running away from the place. The Igbo is an irrepressible race. Prior to the civil war period, they were everywhere in the country. They were the railway engineers and great merchants while majority were also seen as intellectual giants. With the civil war, majority went back home. But less than five decades after the war, they are every where in Nigeria, trading and contributing to the economy of the host community. If that is not a good example in nationalism, I wonder what is. Their attitude is the trait of a race that still believes in the oneness of the country, despite what some people would say to the contrary.

The Shocking Rise Of Paedophilia In Nigeria

By Tony Ogunlowo
Hardly a day goes by when there isn’t a news report about a minor being sexually abused by a much older person. And the shocking thing is that for every case reported dozens are not because the young victims are either too scared of their attackers or embarrassed to talk to anyone. And it’s so bad now that it’s rising to epidemic levels and soon Nigeria will be overtaking Cambodia and the Far East as the paedophile hotspot of the world!

Currently the law stipulates life imprisonment for rape of a minor under the new Sexual Offences Bill but the law doesn’t deal with those who marry under-age girls to circumvent the law. Whilst it is a horrendous crime to rape anyone it’s even worse when the victim is a child and the perpetrator can get away with it by either marrying their victim or shutting them up. Most paedophiles get away with their crimes because they are much older and can intimidate or brainwash their victims. And most of the time the perpetrators of these crimes are people known to the victims as fathers, brothers, neighbours, uncles, in-laws etc.
Disturbingly, families are prepared to put up a wall of silence and pretend as if nothing is going wrong if there is a case of incest or paedophilia going on in their household. They all keep quiet, hoping it blow over, in an attempt to preserve their dignity often threatening the victim to remain quiet and not dealing with the perpertrator.
Some tribes even encourage paedophilia by marrying off their under-age daughters to men old enough to be their grandfathers. And over the years no government policy or law has been put in place to outlaw this practice until recently and it’s still not enforced. Our society needs to shape up; it’s not okay for a 50-year old to be seen walking down the road with his new under-age wife. It doesn’t matter if he’s the richest man in Nigeria, an Oba or Emir. It’s morally wrong and the person belongs in jail! And for those who disagree or hide behind the flimsy excuse of ‘it’s our tradition’, how would you feel if your under-age son or daughter was being sexually abused by a 50-year old? Some men even think it’s ‘cool’ to sleep with an under-age child. It’s not and anybody who sleeps with an under-aged child, whether it’s consensual or not, is a paedophile. On a sadder note thirty-five Nigerian Senators actually voted, recently, for the legalization of child marriage! And the Senators in question all happen to be from the North and Muslims! Somebody ought to tell them we live in the 21st century now and such barbaric acts are not tolerable despite what the Koran says about marriage.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

January 15, Fajuyi And The Northern Christians

By Emma Okocha
 “Colonel Francis Fajuyi was the Commander of Operation Baby Chimra, the mock battle at Lenlete before Abeokuta few days to Operation Damisa…. Even if a tree stands in Yoruba land, Akintola will rule that tree!”
– Colonel Fajuyi addressing the Revolutionaries at the mock battle, Lenlete.
Revisionists of the Nigerian Civil war history distort the role, diminish the active participation of Colonel Adekunle Fajuyi’s support to the boys of the January 15 revolution. Without any scientific evidence, they have gone forward to present the Colonel as a hero, who sacrificed his life in solidarity with his condemned high priced guest. Encircled by the blood-thirsty Phalangists, who were in the Ibadan Government House to kill the Head of State and effect a change of government, the story went on to say that the Governor was offered an option… “The Governor decided to die with his guest when it was inevitable that the coup plotters wanted General Aguiyi Ironsi dead…” Bla bla bla.
Our researches on the other hand, counter that fable. In the first place, Adekunle Fajuyi did not belong to the same philosophical school of his guest. The late Colonel was a hero alright but his heroism was built out of his exceptional gallantry, as a field commander during the United Nation’s Peace Intervention in the Congo. Recently, in a Punch interview, Fajuyi’s sister shocked our present Roman leaders and governors when she revealed that her brother started to avoid her when she asked him to influence a contract job she had quoted for in one of the ministries under his government in 1966!
Like Kaduna Nzeogwu, who was going to die in the South African Liberation war, hence he refrained from getting married. Governor Adekunle Fajuyi had no house and would not allow his sister “disgrace his reputation” by getting him involved in contract jobs. Adekunle Fajuyi and the leaders of the January 15 revolution were pioneer African Revolutionaries, who were primarily motivated into action by their experience in the Congo. Kaduna Nzeogwu principally did not forgive the African conservative Monrovia Group led by Nigeria for their complacency, following the C.I.A conspiracy, which overthrew the legitimate government of the elected Prime Minister of the Congo. Since that despicable putsch and the murder of Patrice Lumumba, the Congo has remained on the cliff hanger. Indeed, Kaduna Nzeogwu’s January 15 spontaneous Declaration of the Revolution was as arresting and in delivery, a carbon copy of Patrice Lumumba’s independent speech, which challenged Imperial Belgian’s enslavement of the Congo.

The President's Dining Table Of Corruption

By Nnaemeka Oruh
Nigeria's current president, Muhammadu Buhari, rode to power on a flaming horse of anti-corruption, wielding a blazing without-fear-or-favour sword. It was for that singular reason that most Nigerians voted for him. The Nigerian people, tired of several years of misrule and corruption wanted a change. Buhari was sold to them as that change, the messiah, who will bring about all the changes, and most importantly, defeat corruption, with his blazing sword. As events since his inauguration have shown, that image of Buhari was photoshopped!
Here was a septuagenarian who had not the slightest clue of what leading a nation in the 21st century, and as a civilian leader, was all about. Yet his army of followers coached him on how to brainwash the people with truth-like lies, while promising them paradise. As a man who was only power hungry, he grasped the offer with both hands, and proceeded to recite(when he could remember) the words that he had been coached to recite. In the end, he said enough to deceive Nigerians and they gave him their mandate. But it is key to note that they gave him their mandate so that in addition to performing the miracles he promised, he would most importantly fight corruption without fear or favour, as he promised.

However, Nigerians had not reckoned with two things:

One, to rise to power, the man popularly known as Sai Baba needed money. So to get that, he leaned heavily on some poster-children of corruption, some governor, mostly from the South. who looted their states dry, to fund Sai Baba's election campaigns. By doing that, they forever bought Buhari's loyalty such that even when there are concrete proofs of their corrupt actions, Sai Baba closed his ears to them, and unintelligently continued to defend and shield them.

But what every discerning person immediately understood was that there was no way Sai Baba was going to fight the very corruption that made him President! So, naturally, the first seats around Sai Baba's table were taken by the poster-children of corruption, who have since then remained untouchable—out of the window goes the “favour” part of the without-fear-or-favour sword.

President Buhari And His Rumoured Death

By Paul Onomuakpokpo
An impediment to the quest for the full return of history to schools is our fear of excavating the seamy past of our heroes. We want history to be returned to our schools so that we can learn about our past and its avatars and draw some useful lessons for an effective response to our contemporary challenges. But we are trapped in the tragic paradox of the fear of being confronted with the foibles and peccadilloes of the past heroes who shaped our history. This paradox is amply expressed in the warning not to speak ill of the dead.
We are even forbidden from speaking ill of the living. Fawn on the living, credit them with the virtues they are crassly bereft of and there would not be any problems. But attempt to draw attention to their less than stellar qualities and a kerfuffle is provoked. There is a grimmer possibility of this if the subjects are public office holders. They would deploy all their might to teach the daring offenders the lessons that they should not traduce a big Nigerian. With the complicity of the police, they would throw them into jail where they would be forgotten.
It is in this context that we can situate the developments around the rumoured death of President Muhammadu Buhari. To be sure, it is wrong to wish anybody dead. For neither do we have the power to take the life of someone we did not create nor know when that person would die. Again, we are reminded of Michel de Montaigne’s warning that we should not consider anyone happy until his death. In other words, no human being, no matter his or her station in life is immune from the storms and tempests of life. Thus, we must not be deterred from discussing the rumoured death of the president and appropriating some useful lessons from it.
After all, other leaders like Nnamdi Azikiwe were said to have died while they were still alive. Even in Zimbabwe, there have been many rumours of death about Life President Robert Mugabe. Mugabe who is amused at the rumours has quipped that he has resurrected more often than Jesus Christ. And just recently, one Pastor Patrick Mugadza prophesied that the 92-year-old Mugabe would die on October 17, 2017. And unsurprisingly, Mugadza has been taken to court. But the joke is on Mugabe as Mugadza’s lawyer has said that the pastor was only relaying a message from God and the police had to prove that God is not its originator. 
The reactions of Nigerians to the rumoured death of the president are a mix of genuine shock and barefaced humbug. How dare malevolent persons claim that the president is dead? hollered some. If our president had reacted like this to the recurrent wastage of lives in the country, we would have disincentivised the propensity for willful killing by fellow citizens or through government neglect. We glimpse our president’s lack of respect for human life through his protection of those who allegedly stole the money meant for starving and sexually exploited internally displaced persons. Obviously, these lives are not as precious as the president’s. This is why despite the outrage at the sleaze of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Lawal Babachir, Buhari is begging the Senate to allow him to stay in office.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Infrastructure Collapse In The South-East Of Nigeria

By Emmanuel Onwubiko
During the last Yuletide, when people from diverse sectors of life trooped down to their indigenous hometowns in the South-East of Nigeria from across the globe to celebrate with their loved ones, this writer also spent quality periods in the South-East.

But, unlike several millions of our people whose major point of attraction in going home for Christmas is to be with loved ones, as a professional journalist and human rights campaigner, I also moved round the South-East states to catch impressions of the state of infrastructure in the zone, largely due to the existential fact that the South-East of Nigeria suffers severe infrastructure deficits. 
With the possible exceptions of Enugu and Anambra states, all other states in the South-East like Imo, Ebonyi and Abia states have serious infrastructure shortages. Some elected politicians in some of these states operate like merchants who are in Abuja to enrich their families. 
But, throughout the movement I had around the South- Eastern States, a common noticeable trend emerged, depicting the reality that, indeed, the South-East of Nigeria is witnessing first class infrastructural emergency.
Home truth dawned on me that steps and mechanisms must be put in place and meticulously implemented to restore the pride that the South-East of Nigeria used to enjoy in times past.
But, in all of these bad states of social amenities, the almost complete absence of effective social services and professional policing of most states of the South- East goes to show another hidden fact- that the South- East is currently witnessing human rights emergency.
Federal security agencies operating in the South-East States, most especially in the capital cities, usually operate with a hostile mindset, as if to say the South-East of Nigeria is a conquered territory. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Fulani Herdsmen And Endless Killings

By  Benedict Ahanonu
FOR most part of 2016, Nigeria was plagued by incessant letting of blood by a group alleged to be Fulani herdsmen. While some may claim that the real Fulani herdsmen are peaceful and essentially mindful of their flock, the fact remains that this marauding group is composed of herdsmen who appear in the garb of Fulani pastoralists.

That aside, their modus operandi is unwavering and follows a common pattern. From Benue to Enugu, Delta, Ekiti and now Niger, Kaduna it has been a gory tale of woe.
Thousands of innocent Nigerians have been killed, cash and food crops destroyed, villages and communities sacked.
Because there seems to be no indication of readiness by the government through the security agencies to deal with these murderous offenders, they have got more emboldened even as they visit mayhem on Nigerians with flagrant impunity.
One had expected President Muhammadu Buhari to demonstrate strong leadership in dealing with these marauders whom it appears may not be Nigerians.
While there is “Operation Lafiya Dole” for the Northeast insurgency, “Operation Python Dance” for the Southeast Biafran agitators, “Operation Crocodile Smile” for the Niger Delta, there is none for this bunch of killers who have succeeded in inflicting pain on almost every part of the country.
It is even quite disturbing  and strange that the same President Buhari who is always quick to condemn such dastardly acts when they happen elsewhere has so far been unable to rebuke what seems like genocide taking place in Southern Kaduna.
Reacting, perhaps, at the behest of Buhari, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, who spoke on a Channels Television programme, “Sunrise Daily,” said that it was needless for the president to speak on the destruction of southern Kaduna State since the governor assured that he was in full control of the violent crisis and had been briefing his boss regularly.

Nigeria: Drifting To A One-Party State

By Victor Effik
Nigerians may have to expect a full blown one-party rule unless the opposition parties gear up and put their houses in order. 2019 may just end up as a one horse race. The evidence is simply overwhelming. As I write, the ruling party is using all the political tricks in its bag  to lure many members of the opposition PDP in the National Assembly into its fold. Their soft targets are the serving members who may, in the estimation of the party apparatchik, not get a return ticket for another term; they are also targeting those who are not in the good books of their state governors.
And that reminds us that the greatest problem in the opposition camp are the governors. Apart from bringing a frankenstein monster called Sheriff, they seem not intelligent enough to know where their power stops. Some of them are even antagonizing serving members of the National Assembly who should add political value to the party and by extension, their second term ambitions. And apart from Rivers State’s Wike, not many of the serving PDP Governors can withstand the heat of  federal might during elections.
Really, the opposition PDP is in tatters. That has been the plan of the ruling APC. The plan is working well now. No thanks to overzealous state governors, lack of party cohesion and discipline that characterize Nigerian party politics.
The feeling from within the ruling party is that except a death blow is dealt on PDP given its 16 years dominance, there is a threat that it might bounce back. So, the strategy of the ruling party to dismember it was carefully hatched. Let us now look at the following scenarios:First, the Sheriff strategy fitted the bill. Given his case with EFCC and the likelihood of him being roped into the Boko Haram conundrum, he was seen as an easy prey who will play ball. And he has done that so perfectly. The APC strategists did their homework well.
Second, a section of the judiciary perceived to be hostile must be brought to its knees if the Sheriff strategy must work. Those judges perceived to be a stumbling block needed to be singled out and dealt with. True, the state may have a genuine case against some of them, but like the anti corruption campaign has shown, the campaign is heavily skewed in favour those ready to acquiesce.
Thirdly, the electoral umpire, INEC and the security might of the state needed to be mobilized to ensure that the ruling party makes an inroad into South-south and captures the Edo and Ondo top prizes ahead of 2019. That too seemed to have worked well in Edo and Ondo and partially in Rivers.

Oil And Local Prosperity: A Study Of ‘Two Kingdoms’

By Patrick Dele Cole
The King of Abonnema has just finished a magnificent building he called his palace. The king of Okpo has done the same – built a palace. But there the similarity ends. Abonnema is one of the major towns among the Kalabari Ijaw; its history is long and illustrious. It has prominent indigenes whose names are well-known to all Nigerians, Wenike Briggs, Ajumogobia, Graham-Douglas, Ferdin and Alabraba, W.W. Whyte, Mr. Justice Adolphus Karibi Whyte (SCJ), Odoliyi Lolomari (Ex-MD, NNPC), Olu Fubara, Ambassador D.D. Obunge, Admiral Bob Manuel, Chief Lulu Briggs, Dr. Dodiyi Manuel, Capt. Briggs (Ex-Minister of Transport), Capt. Ajumogobia, Chief S.K Dagogo Jack (Ex-INEC chairman), Deputy Comptroller of Customs, Bibi Akpana, Tom Fabyan (former chief executive of African Petroleum), L.M. Jacks (Permanent Secretary, Internal Affairs), Miss World (Agbani Darego); Miss Nigeria (Syster Jack), and many others.
Okpo, on the other hand, is a small village which many years ago you would have passed even before you blink once. It is part of Obuama or Harry’s town which is regarded as a small village in the pantheon of Kalabari Ijaw towns. So Okpo is a small village of a small village.
A few years ago, some oil companies did some seismic work in Okpo village. In doing so, they brought in a lot of equipment, reclaimed large tracks of land, and employed hundreds of people – thus awakening a small dot of a village into a potential metropolis. The seismic activity ended and the oil company packed up and left. Chief Diamond Bob Manuel Tobin–West saw his opportunity in this substantial real estate, substantial compensation for the seismic activities from a company with a lively corporate social responsible mentality. The people of Okpo were compensated. Instead of Chief Diamond taking his own share of the money to Port Harcourt to build a beautiful house and or a hotel, he decided to return to the spot and there restart and rebuild his community. The Chief is a man who lives by example. He is a graduate from UK and Canada: has a family well settled in these countries.
Chief Diamond built himself a palace in the old seismic site. He encouraged his people to return and follow his example. He built a complex of six houses; his brothers and sisters are in the process of completing modern structures, with roads and amenities – water, electricity, schools, etc. This year’s Christmas and New Year celebration in his palace had all trappings of modernity, complete with carols, fireworks, plenty of food and drinks. There is a clinic nearby. He has galvanised all the villages around him and a modern metropolis is taking shape in a formerly one – blink village. His neighbours in the bigger town of Obuama are beginning to recognise his worth and influence and constantly visit him to talk about the progress of Okpo and the surrounding area. Incidentally, the Deputy Governor of Rivers State, Mrs. Harry Banigo is from Obuama. So is Chief Ombo Harry, once Executive Director, Finance of NNPC. The former Chairman of PDP Rivers State, Marshall Harry, the former Deputy Speaker of Rivers State House of Assembly, another Harry and so on are from Obuama- None of the above has what the vision of Chief Diamond who hopes to build a true metropolis in this forsaken enclave.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Northern Governors, Monarchs Meet On Lingering Crisis In The Zone

Governors of the 19 Northern states of the Nigerian federation are currently meeting at the Sir Kashim Ibrahim House in Kaduna to discuss the various crises plaguing the zone.

Uppermost in their minds, according reports, is the worsening security problem in the zone which has wasted thousands of lives, including women and children, displaced lots of people and consumed properties worth billions of naira.

The crisis has further polarised the zone along religious and ethnic lines and deepened suspicion and mistrust among the various co-existing people.

Nigeria: A Nation Of Cowards And Docile Citizens

By Nnanna Ijomah
It is said that “a nation of sheep is governed by wolves”. Nigerians have not only become sheepish and docile but also whiners and cowards. Docility has become our middle name and we have come to display it on our chests as badges of honor. I don’t know when we became this way but I’m sure it’s been long in the making. Over the years it has become more evident that we have become a very timid and spineless people, with a high degree of acceptance and tolerance of whatever mistreatment our leaders, both at the local, State, and Federal levels mete out to us. There is a popular saying, “the future belongs to those who change it”.

In Nigeria today, we have as its citizens, though ethnically, linguistically and culturally diverse, a people who are scared or reluctant to effectively bring about real change and not the fake change promised by the APC. A people who continuously elect and re-elect people whose past track records does not show any evidence of any real effort in terms of policies or actions to improve their lives or their standard of living. This is what Aribisala said not long ago about the President on this issue.

“He, Buhari commanded the support of a significant number of the Northern poor, in spite of the fact that there is absolutely nothing in his curriculum Vitae about advancing the interest of the poor.”

Here he, the President is not alone. The same can be said of most of our Governors and national Assembly members. The reality of our situation in Nigeria today is that we wallow in the status quo and seem to be content with it. We whine and complain daily about our leaders and the deplorable state of our existence but fail to acknowledge our role in electing them or the courage to hold them accountable.

The more I read about events in Nigeria or the state of the nation, the alarming scope of corruption despite the war against it, the ineffective or none -existent economic policies and its aftermath, the increasing poverty rate in the country especially in the North, the complicity of INEC and our security officials in rigging elections, the non-payment of worker’s salaries both at the state and federal levels, the religious massacres by herdsmen and the lack of a tough response or arrests by federal government officials and the financial appeasement by a state governor, the instability in the Niger Delta, the agitation for Biafra by the Igbo’s, the unending blame campaign of the President of his predecessor, etc. etc., the more I feel morbidly entranced like a homicide detective gazing into a pool of freshly spilled blood. I use the phrase freshly spilled blood literally because that’s what each new unfortunate event looks like. If I may borrow the words of Pat Utomi in a recent comment he made, “Nigeria is a paradox of progressive degradation, where every Government is worse than the one that preceded it”. As the new year begins this month I have become more apocalyptic about the future of the country and its political stability.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Why President Buhari Ran(n) to Gambia and Away From Rann

By Reno Omokri

Till date, the only person who has died in The Gambia is President elect Barrow's son, Habibu Barrow, who was bitten by a dog. But in Southern Kaduna, hundreds of people have bitten the dust. 

If in truth President Buhari really wants to prevent a humanitarian crisis, the place he should be visiting and intervening in is Southern Kaduna before The Gambia.

And the penchant of the President to delegate pressing domestic problems to his subordinates while personally addressing foreign challenges of lower priority is on the increase.

I have chosen to empathize with the Buhari administration over the deaths of Internally Displaced Persons and international aid workers at the Rann IDP camp in Borno state by a bomb mistakenly dropped on the camp by a Nigerian Air Force Jet, but for the life of me I cannot understand why the President, who heavily criticized former President Jonathan's handling of the Boko Haram crisis, elected to delegate his Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, and some ministers to visit the victims and survivors of the Rann disaster to offer condolences and supposed support.

And to the Borno state governor who cheekily said there was progress because in his words there was no "blame game" as would have happened in the previous administration of Jonathan, I would just say, wake up and smell the coffee. I can see no excuse for this faux pas except the Borno state Governor is sarcastically trying to call out the Buhari government for its over indulgence in blaming previous administrations.

If it was possible, the Buhari administration would have taken out a registered trade mark on the phrase 'blame game'. Never in the history of Nigeria, and perhaps contemporary Africa, has an administration invested so much of its focus and time on blame gaming as the Buhari government. So Governor Shettima would have to pull more fallacious words out of his mischievous magical hat of illusions to be able to pin such a false accusation on the Jonathan Government.

It may be necessary to remind Governor Shettima that the Jonathan he so likes to blame visited Borno more than once as President during the height of the Boko Haram insurgency. Has President Buhari even bothered to drop by? That is how much the President thinks of him!

But in all this, we still must give God the glory that the mistake by the air force did not occur while Oby Ezekwesili and Lai Mohammed were combing Sambisa forest in search of the missing Chibok girls. 

And let me speak directly to the President. President Muhammadu Buhari, as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, don't you think you owe it as a duty to be in Rann at this very moment to personally comfort victims and survivors of the unfortunate mistaken bombing by our Armed Forces? 

Mugabe Must Go! – War Veterans

Agitated war veterans have reiterated their call for President Robert Mugabe to leave office now, adding derisively yesterday that they would not "waste" their time quarrelling with Zanu-PF youths who have said that they are prepared to take up arms to defend the nonagenarian.

Speaking to the Daily News, the spokesperson of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA), Douglas Mahiya, was emphatic that Mugabe - who turns a mature 93 next month - could not continue to lead the country.
*President Mugabe
He also took a swipe at Zanu-PF youth leader Kudzanai Chipanga who said earlier this week that party youths were ready to go to war against former freedom fighters and other supporters of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, in defence of Mugabe - saying Chipanga had "no idea" about wars and their deadly consequences.

This comes as Zanu-PF secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo was also insisting yesterday at a press conference held at the party's headquarters in Harare that Mugabe would be the party's presidential candidate in next year's eagerly-anticipated national elections, as decided at the party's disputed 2014 congress.

"The youths do not know what taking up arms is all about. They only hear about it. Nobody in their right mind wants a war, especially those who were once involved in one. What the youths are saying is childish.

"What we are simply saying is that a 93-year-old may, naturally, not be fully capable of discharging their duties in the office of the president,"
 the forthright Mahiya said.

However, Chombo was adamant that Mugabe could only be challenged internally at the party's 2019 elective congress.

"Some of you, including the press elect not to read," Chombo said, adding that the Zanu-PF congress was the only party event that was held to elect the person who would represent the former liberation movement in future elections.

"We are saying this so that newspapers do not create confusion where there is none. In 2014, we elected our president.

"We said then that all those who want to be president should raise their hands. Everyone rushed to lift the president's, saying ‘we want Mugabe, he is the one we want to be president of the party'.

"This was a mandate for five years. So, anyone who wants to come in now can only do so at the 2019 congress. Logically and mathematically, it's all very clear and straightforward . . . there is no shortcut. So what is bothering our reporters?" he said - bizarrely appearing to blame Zanu-PF's worsening tribal, factional and succession wars on the media.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Mugabe Son Lives In 10-Bed $42,000/Month Mansion In Dubai

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s son Robert Junior is living in a 10-bedrom villa located in an exclusive and pricey Dubai neighbourhood at a cost of $42,000 per month in rentals, it has emerged.

The revelation was made by Lebanese businessman, Jamal Ahmed, who is at war with Mugabe’s wife, Grace, over a botched deal to buy a million-dollar diamond ring supposedly intended as the President’s wedding anniversary present to the First Lady.
Grace, the Lebanese claims, has ordered the seizure of his properties in Harare, apparently to force the return of about $1.4m she paid for the ring through her account with CBZ bank in Harare.
Ahmed claims Grace surprisingly rejected the ring when it was delivered Dubai and demanded the return of her money. She reportedly insisted that the money be paid into a Dubai bank account.
The Lebanese argued that full refund was not possible since costs had been incurred in procuring and polishing the precious stone. He also objected to paying the money in Dubai saying this would be illegal under Zimbabwe’s laws.
In the ongoing court battle over the saga, the First Lady denied demanding payment in Dubai, saying she did not have a bank account there.
However, in response Ahmed said the Mugabes rent an expensive villa in Dubai which is used by son Robert Junior who is based there.
“Whether or not the second respondent has accounts outside Zimbabwe does not mean she did not ask for a refund in Dubai,” Ahmed argued.

UN Investigative Panel On The Genocide In Southern Kaduna: A Call For Objectivity

By Paul Danbaki
In Southern Kaduna today,  many are desperately searching for answers right now. Southern Kaduna indegenes have seen their loved ones slaughtered, raped and brutalized. Some have watched their homes, businesses, villages, and religious places set ablaze and destroyed.

Husbands have helplessly watched their wives raped and humiliated.
Ordinary people have been killed and burned publicly. For years, Southern Kaduna has been experiencing economic, political and structural siege. Thousands of people are traumatized, resulting in a range of different cognitive, emotional, physical, and behavioural effects which impact communities negatively. Hearts are hurting and the suffering is deep!
From the aforementioned, I join myriads of good people of Southern Kaduna to welcome the decision to launch an independent investigation with a mandate to cover allegations of human rights violations since the unabated genocide in Southern Kaduna; I have confidence that the UN panel would indeed be independent, transparent, thorough and effective, with a view to establishing the veracity of the facts before it with a view to bringing to justice the perpetrators of the genocide in Southern Kaduna.
I am confident that the indegenes of Southern Kaduna are ready to assist in ensuring that the investigation is undertaken in line with international human rights standards. I also reiterate our request for access to the affected areas, as the situation on the ground makes it very challenging to access because of the ‘lies’ put forward by kingpins of the heinous attacks in the region.
More so, given the tense situation in southern Kaduna where a large security presence has reportedly been deployed only on the main streets and NOT in the bushes and hills/mountains where the brutal killers commit their crimes and withdraw to; in the midst of all these, there are still reports of ongoing arbitrary arrests, intimidation and harassment of people, a majority of whom are the victims, this call becomes vital for the survival of the Southern Kaduna nation.

Friday, January 20, 2017

58 US Lawmakers Boycott Donald Trump's Inauguration

Donald J. Trump

Former President Jonathan Writes New US President, Donald Trump

Dear Donald J. Trump,  
By the grace of God, President of the United States of America

As the United States of America opens a new chapter today, many around the world, myself inclusive, are optimistic that the success you have achieved in your career as one of the world's foremost entrepreneurs will be translated to your life as a public servant and custodian of the trust of the American people.

For over four decades, you have consistently created wealth and opportunities for yourself, your family, your country and its citizens.
The city of New York, host to the United Nations Headquarters, thus the world's most prominent city, bears the hallmark of your signature through your real estate developments.

You have also left your footprints in politics, media, education, sports, entertainment and the arts.

From this backdrop, I am very hopeful that the United States of America and indeed the rest of the world will be witnessing great, worthy and positive frontiers under the Trump Presidency.

I congratulate you, the 45th President of the United States, as you begin your tenure today. I pray that God will bless your tenure and enable you actualize your vision and commitment to building a better and more secured America and the world.
*Dr. Goodluck Jonathan
Let me seize this opportunity to express my hope and desire that your administration will work with Africa to help her people realize their achievable great future and harness the God given potential domiciled in the land and people of Africa from Cairo to Cape Town.

May God bless the United States of America.

May God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria and may God bless the world.

Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan GCFR
Chairman of the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation.

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