Repackage Traditional Products, Contribute Positively To Economy, Aregbesola Charges TRAWSO

By Shina Abubakar

Osun state governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola has called on adherents of traditional religion to add value to traditional medical products and services they offer.

The governor said when this is done, the adherents would be contributing positively to the nation’s economy and also solve some health challenges that could be addressed with traditional herbal products and services.

He also called for repackaging of, and reorientation about the Yoruba traditional religion and practice, so as not to lose valuable benefits inherent in them.

Aregbesola, who disclosed this at the swearing-in ceremony of newly elected executives of Traditional Religion Worshippers Association, State of Osun (TRAWSO), noted that, when traditional medical products and services are properly packaged, many more people will be interested in them.

Represented by the Commissioner for Home Affairs, Dr. Wale Adebisi, Aregbesola was of the opinion that wholesale rejection of the Yoruba traditional religion could lead, in no distance time, to loss of identity by the race.

He said the warm hands of fellowship the West, in recent past, appears to be offering Yoruba culture, should send signals to the discerning minds within the race that there are several good things about the culture.

“But how are we, the owner of the culture treating it? Shabbily. We don’t value what we have and that is not the right way to go. We must guard our culture jealously and ensure we don’t lose it. Loss of culture means loss of identity and we must not allow that to happen.

“As a Yoruba man, I know many medical products and services offered by the Yoruba traditionalists are potent.  But lack of proper packaging has limited acceptance of these products by even we Yoruba people, let alone people from other parts of the world. That should be addressed. Once we package them well, these products will be contributing positively to our GDP and even earn us forex.

“I am suggesting as part of the way forward, that you leaders and adherents of the Yoruba traditional religion should not scare people away from the tradition, but package it and make it very attractive and more exportable,” Aregbesola concluded.

Newly elected officials of the association; Chairman, Oba Bamijogbin Alao, Vice Chairman, Chief Oyebowale Olojede, Secretary,  Dr. Oluseyi Atanda, Assistant Secretary, Apetebi Toyin Awolola, Treasurer, Oloye Ifasola Onifade and others later took oath of office.

African Elephants Are Migrating To Safety And Telling Each Other How To Get There

The Chobe National Park in northern Botswana is a 11,700 sq km (4,517 sq mile) sanctuary for animals. Families of endangered African elephants wander freely through the park, which is bordered by Namibia in the north and Zimbabwe in the east. The animals visit watering holes, feed on the lush vegetation, and play with the youngest of their groups.

African elephants in nearby countries such as Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Namibia are migrating to parks like Chobe, where strict anti-poaching policies allow them to thrive. Botswana is now home to roughly 130,000 elephants—a third of Africa’s entire elephant population. This is an increase of over 30,000 elephants in Botswana since 1995 against a backdrop of declining numbers across the continent.

In 2016 the Great Elephant Census published the first-ever continent-wide, standardized survey of African savannah elephants. The census found that savannah elephant populations in Africa fell by an estimated 30%—or 144,000 animals in total—between 2007 and 2014. Today there are only around 350,000 left on the entire continent. The survey authors blamed poaching as the primary reason for the decline.

The 2016 survey did not include forest elephants, whose populations are difficult to discern because they live in dense, forested areas and would require labor-intensive ground counts to survey. Estimates suggest there are only 100,000 left today. In total, it’s believed that there were over 1 million elephants in Africa in the 1970s, and possibly more than 2 million at the beginning of the 20th century.

Botswana, however, has become a safe haven for the world’s largest land mammals. “Elephants are using well-known migratory routes into Botswana to flee threats from neighboring countries,” says Mark Hiley, cofounder of the UK-based nonprofit National Park Rescue. “The systematic movement of elephants into Botswana is linked to their survival.”

Elephants like these in the Chobe National Park are developing survival mechanisms in response threats.
Elephants like these in the Chobe National Park are developing survival mechanisms in response threats. (Kanika Saigal)

Communicating for survival
Researchers believe this migration is just one survival mechanism elephants have developed in response to poaching, conflict, urbanization, agriculture, and other pressures in Africa.

In 2016, one elephant made a treacherous 209 km (130 mile) journey over three weeks from the relative safety of Kenya to conflict-ridden Somalia, all under the cloak of darkness. Morgan, as the researchers called him, remained in Somalia for just a day and a half before turning back.

“We don’t know the precise reason for his migration into Somalia,” says Iain Douglas-Hamilton, founder of Save the Elephants, a UK charity headquartered in Nairobi that conducts research on elephant behavior and ecology, “but we suspect it was to mate.”

“Moving by night was an extreme form of survival in a region where elephants are under threat from poaching,” adds Douglas-Hamilton. “He was the first elephant on record to visit in Somalia in 20 years.”

Inspired by the elephant’s journey, researchers at the University of Twente in the Netherlands worked with Save the Elephants to conduct a study last September on African elephant migratory patterns. They found that some elephants in sub-Saharan Africa have started uncharacteristically travelling at night to avoid the threat of poaching that usually occurs during the day.

Elephants also have developed sophisticated gestures, sounds, infrasound, and even chemical secretions to relay messages to one another for survival purposes. “Through various means, elephants can suggest that the group moves on, that they sense danger, or that they are in distress,” says Douglas-Hamilton.

Indeed, it’s not just where elephants are going that’s of interest to researchers, but when, and how they’re communicating about it within groups, between herds, and across generations. In 1977, Mozambique gained independence from Portuguese colonial rule; two years later the country collapsed into civil war. By the time the war ended in 1992, over a million people had been killed and 5 million others had been displaced. During the conflict, soldiers ate elephant meat and traded the animals’ ivory for weapons and ammunition, says Joyce Poole, cofounder and scientific director of ElephantVoices, an organization that studies the social behavior and communication of African elephants. Mozambique’s elephant population was completely decimated: 90% of the 4,000 elephants that lived in the greater Gorongosa area in central Mozambique, where much of Poole’s research has focused, had been killed.

Many Injured As Suspected PDP Thugs Clash In Ile Ife

By Sodiq Lawal

Many people were injured at Iremo area in Ile Ife On Thursday morning as suspected PDP hoodlums believed to be rival gangs clashed.

Our correspondent learnt that the clash was as a result of a long-standing feud between rival gangs in Akodi and Ogbingbin.

A motorcyclist who craved anonymity, told our correspondent that the clash was as a result of a row which broke out during the distribution of weapons allegedly acquired by the PDP to cause mayhem during the upcoming Governorship election .

He added that fighting among the hoodlums had become a weekly affair since some undisclosed officials of PDP have given the leaders of thug groups money and weapons.

“Immediately the police arrived there, the hoodlums took to their heels. The violence has become rampant now, ” he said.

Our correspondent however learnt that many residents had fled the area until peace was restored.

OAU Reinstates Suspended Student

By Sodiq Lawal

The management of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, has reinstated one out of the four students that were suspended for protesting over poor welfare in October.

The institution has lifted the suspension on John Udeh, a 200 level student of Arts and Social Science Education following his letter of apology to the management dated 16th November, 2017.

According to his reinstatement letter issued by the Registrar of the university, Mr. Dotun Awoyemi and made available to our correspondent, his apology has made the university reversed his suspension.

The letter partly read: “After due consideration of the content of your letter of apology and security report that you have strictly compiled with the conditions given in the letter suspending you from the university, the Vice Chancellor has graciously directed that the suspension order on you be lifted forthwith. In this respect and in compliance with the Vice Chancellor’s directives, the suspension is hereby lifted and your studentship reinstated with immediate effect”

Confirming his reinstatement to our correspondent , the Registrar of the university, Dotun Awoyemi said: “The reinstated student already complied with the provisions of the suspension that pending their suspension, they should not be seen on campus which he abide with. We are also parents and we need not to delay his reinstatement since he already apologised. If others do the needful, they will also be considered.”

Also, the Dean of Students Affairs, Professor Isiaka Aransi told our correspondent that the reinstated student has shown sense of remorse.

“The reinstated student has shown a sense of remorseful. He wrote a letter of apology and the university considered that. We need to reform our students to do what is right. He has gotten letter of reinstatement. That’s all”, he said.

Nigerian-American Couple Ordered To Pay Abused Nanny N44 Million

The Nsobundus, the Nigerian couple living in the Houston-area of the United States has been ordered by an American court to pay $121,000 as restitution to the Nigerian woman who worked for 20 hours a day for two years as the nanny to their five children.

The nanny was not paid throughout the period. Now she has a N44m windfall.

Chudy Nsobundu, 57, and his wife Sandra Nsobundu, 49, also were sentenced by U.S. District Judge Nancy Atlas to seven months in jail and seven months of home confinement, plus three years on probation, the Associated Press reported.

The naturalized U.S. citizens originally from Nigeria recruited the woman there with the promise of a $100 monthly wage. Instead, authorities said they abused her physically and verbally while she worked at their home in the Houston suburb of Katy from September 2013 to October 2015.

Chudy Nsobundu in 2016 pleaded guilty to visa fraud while his wife pleaded guilty to unlawful conduct with respect to documents in furtherance of forced labor.

According to court documents, the nanny would work every day from 5:30 a.m. to 1 a.m., couldn’t take breaks and had to eat leftovers and not fresh food, including being forced to only drink milk left in bowls in which the children had eaten cereal. She also couldn’t take hot showers.

Authorities said the Nsobundus prevented the nanny from leaving their employment by keeping her passport and by threatening her with physical and mental abuse.

The nanny reached out for help and was rescued following a tip to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center. Her name has not been released.

Prosecutors say the couple knowingly caused a false visa application for the victim to be submitted to the Department of State with numerous pieces of false information.

The woman’s date of birth was incorrect on the application, listing her 20 years older than she was, said she was married when she was not, incorrectly indicated the purpose of her travel was to attend a niece’s graduation and falsely identified her in a letter that Chudy Nsobundu was her brother. Prosecutors also said he made false representations under oath on the visa application to increase the chances that the application would be accepted and to hide the fact she’d be working for his family as a housemaid and nanny under conditions that violated U.S. labor laws.

Federal prosecutors said Sandra Nsobundu took the nanny to the U.S. Embassy in Lagos, Nigeria, to obtain her visa and provided her with a letter indicating she didn’t speak English well, that she was to attend a family graduation and gave her a picture of her husband with instructions that she tell embassy officials he was the nanny’s brother and that she was married. The nanny’s husband listed on the visa application actually was the Nsobundus’ driver in Nigeria.

APC Berates Omisore For calling Osun Civil Service State

By Nofisat Adeoye

The All Progressives Congress, APC in the State of Osun has berated a former Deputy Governor of the state, Sen. Iyiola Omisore for tagging the state as a civil service state.

In a statement signed by the party’s spokesperson, Mr Kunle Oyatomi, the party said the statement could only have come from someone with no political experience of government.

“To call Osun a civil service state is absolute nonsense. Any politician with that mentality or attitude or both can never ever develop a state. The civil servants are a fraction of the totality of government and they constitute in most cases, less than 1% of the population.

“They are an important part of government, admittedly but they are not the reason government exists. Government exists for 100% citizens of the state and justice demands that all be treated equally and helped to contribute to the overall development of the state.

The APC added that workers only constitute 5% of the state population and shouldn’t be given priority over other people and sections of the state.

“Only an ignorant politician will be in government as head of the executive and give unequal priority to any section of the state. If the civil servants deserve salaries because they work for it, all other citizens also have right to social services which every citizen, including civil servants enjoy.”

“So, it is clear if Omisore had been governor since 2010, he could never have handled the crisis that hit Nigeria, including Osun since 2013. Ninety per cent of what Aregbesola has done in Osun today would never have seen the light of day because Omisore will be busy using all Osun money to pay salaries and to succeed even at that, he would have needed to take loans to pay workers’ salaries.

“And in the case of Osun, these workers represent only 5% of the population.
You can therefore imagine what state of squalor and underdevelopment Osun would have been today.” the release read in part.

Lagos Deputy Governor Raises A Voice For Rural Women

Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr. Idiat Oluranti Adebule, on Saturday, appealed to Women in Successful Careers (WISCAR), a women support group, to extend its capacity building programmes to the rural areas.

Speaking to the theme, ‘Developing Women to Build a Better Nation,” she said it was time women stood for themselves because men won’t yield space for them at the tenth anniversary of WISCAR. She noted that taking up the challenge would not only be an added advantage for WISCAR, but would also add value to the lives of women who are less privileged.

“I made the request because for us in this hall we are educated and listen to all sort of encouragement, but others can’t be part of this capacity building because they don’t have the chance to know what’s going on,” she said.

Reacting to the deputy governor’s request, founder of WISCAR, Amina Oyagbola, said though it was a big challenge, the board of her organisation would think about it.

Confusion Over Osun Councils’ Election

By Kehinde Ayantunji

There now seems to be confusion among political parties’ members and candidates in the State of Osun over the Local Government election slated for January 27, 2018, as series of interpretations have followed the Federal High Court injunction, purportedly stopping the Osun Independent Electoral Commission (OSSIEC) from conducting the elections.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said it has gotten court injunction stopping the process of the election and that the court has ordered that Status Quo be maintained, but the OSSIEC said, the injunction could not stop the commission from continuing with the process, as no service of the suit was effected on the commission.

A statement signed by the Chairman of the Commission, Otunba Segun Oladitan wondered how such an injunction would be granted without the other party having a say in the matter, saying the OSSIEC was not aware of any court process involving it at an Abuja Federal High Court.

He said, the local government election could not be stopped through a funny means by a court of law, adding that the election would still hold on January 27, 2018 as slated.

Querying the locus of the Federal High Court based in Abuja to meddle in a matter affecting the conduct of Local Government Election in the state of Osun, the commission insisted that it is focused and working round the clock to deliver the most credible and acceptable council election in January 27, 2018.

Meanwhile, a lawyer and Public Affairs Analyst, Yomi Obaditan has said that by law, no court has stopped the process of the election, but only ordered that the status quo should remain, meaning that the process would still continue.

According to him, the status quo as at the time the injunction was given was that the process of the election has started and by interpretation of the injunction, it would still continue pending the January 23, 2018 adjournment date when the matter would come up again.

He said the purported order stopping the council poll was a rumour to disturb the electoral process and the power given to state government over local government, saying, no such order was given by any court.

He noted that the state government has the power to supervise and run the electoral process at the local
government level going by Section 7and 8 of the constitution.

On the parliamentary system which is the bone of contention, Obaditan said the state has power to run the local government by any system of government it deemed fit, saying, more so that the State House of Assembly has amended the Local Government law to make provision for parliamentary system at the local government level.

He also disclosed that the court would not go ahead to stop any electoral process going by different court judgments on similar issues in Kwara State where the court noted that there was nothing unconstitutional about the process, since the House of Assembly has passed law in that regard, as well as Akwa Ibom state.

The legal practitioner also noted that the Supreme Court has, at different times ordered that no electoral process must be disturbed, but the outcome of the election could be challenged.

However, the candidates for the election are now in dilemma on which side of the information to believe, as some of them are confused on whether to go ahead with their campaigns or not, with a view to avoiding waste of resources.

Obafemi Martins Donates Crutches, Beds to Lagos state government

The Obafemi Martins foundation donated hospital equipment to the Lagos State Government. Governor Akinwunmi Ambode took his time to thank the China-based footballer for his services to the state.

Ambode recently donated N50m to Lagos based football club MFM FC Nigerian Footballer, after which, Obafemi Martins donated wheelchairs, crutches and hospital beds to the Lagos State Government through his foundation.

Edo Shares N2.15bn To Local Government Areas

The Edo Joint Account and Allocation Committee (JAAC) distributed N2.15 billion among the 18 local government councils the state in August.

Mr Crusoe Osagie, the Special Adviser on Media and Communication Strategy to Gov. Godwin Obaseki, said this in a statement .

According to Osagie, the Head of Owan East Local Government Administration, Mr Akeena Ade-Akhani, presented the figure after the JAAC meeting presided over by the governor.

He said that N1.44 billion was allocated to mandatory expenditures which include N1.09 billion for teachers’ salary while N705. 6 million distributable sum was left for the 18 local councils.

Osagie added that N212. 8 million was used for the payment of local government pensioners.

He further said that the meeting reviewed the use of electronic system for revenue collection in the state, saying this had recorded appreciable success.

The governor’s aide quoted Ade -Akhani as saying that the state government does not deduct money from local government allocations.

Heavy Rains Render Many Homeless in Benue

Following about four hours of heavy downpour from late Saturday night to the wee hours of Sunday morning, many areas in Makurdi, the capital of Benue State have been left flooded. This includes Atusa, parts of Wadatta, Zone 4, Gana and Nyima.

Punch reports that A staff of the state house of assembly, Mr Tikili Simon said that some of the flooded areas from Zone 4 to Atusa and Gana were mostly affected because of lack of drainage.

According to him, ‘if you move from here to Atusa and the FADAMA area in Nyima which links Gana down to rail track along Barracks road, they are not conducive because there are no drainages’.

“All these places like Gana and Atusa are developing areas within 16 Kilometer radius, so government should do something to make these places habitable”.

Other representatives of the State for environmental issues have also laid the blame on lack of proper drainage channels.