30 Paragraphs On Socio-Cultural And Political Problems Of Nigeria By Som O. Adedayo

Nigeria is a West African country; England is in the Western part of Europe. England, formed by small Celtics and Anglo-Saxons in the early medieval period; Nigeria, a 1960 independence of at least distinct 250 tribes with over 500 languages. Nigeria is the largest part of the African world; England, the largest part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Your Professor lecturer briefs the history of Nigeria at ODLT lecture theatre. He talks about a pretty history. He talks about the Royal Niger Company and the amalgamation, independence and Republicanism, military coups and the civil war, and the civilian rule of the Third Republic. You like how he constructs his sentences; raw, simple and genuine. You want to listen attentively so you close your note. You place your elbows on the desk and cup your palms to rest your chin. You squint your eyes to follow his waving hands. After all Dr. Ogunfolabi had told you keeping an eye on the body gesture of a speaker is a sure way to reflective listening. Note making is useless when you can reflexively listen to how the British, led by Lord Lugard sucked life out from your country, Nigeria.

Obafemi Awolowo University has just restructured her accommodation policy so that you couldn’t get hostel. You live on Road 7, Awotile, off campus. You are on your way home now. You have to trek because no commercial vehicles ply the road except about five always-overloaded shuttles which scurry like bush rat to OAUTH complex. You can also get free ride,  but once in a month. You will definitely not forgive OAU for that! So you prod yourself through on Road 7 sidewalk in the light evening rain (You are still in harmattan semester though).

You ruminate on what your history Professor lecturer had said earlier. How Nigeria is a diverse but dynamic country. You begin to wonder what was the cause of this amalgamation of entirely different countless tribes. Now, you think you have to make research and write an essay on it. You will probably publish it on Sahara Reporters. You’re jogging now. You must be happy you finally have something to say about the situation of Nigeria.

You get home wet and weary. The lecturer you’re staying with is not yet at home so you are in a free world. You pick up your second phone, a decrepit Nokia 1280, and turn on its frequency modulator. It’s 6 o’clock world news. The first headline is so sad: Fulani Herdsmen Kill 50. It makes you wonder why people of a country that symbolises unity in diversity kill one another. Interesting. Prof. Salami had told you philosophy involves logical and critical enquiry into the nature of things. So you will try it.

You get to the Hezekiah Oluwasanmi library. You want to check England and Nigeria in Crompton Encyclopedia. You smile as you rummage your bag for the library card. You smile wider. A smile that pastes enthusiasm on your face as if you would interview your president in ten minutes time. You can’t find it! But you’re with your friend’s card with no passport photograph. You have a brainstorm. You pack your book and dash out to the photocopy stand.

You come back in a few minutes. You try to swallow your panting as you join the queue. The security man is talking to a female colleague. He pokes his thumb and fore finger into a scissors-like shape so that you can slot your card into it. Of course he doesn’t check it, he only holds onto it a few seconds.

This is your first time in the library, in the reference room. You’re shocked the place is exactly what Boluwatife described in his A Diary of a Disappointed OAU Freshman. But you’re there on a purpose so you get to work.

You pick a 1970 book on Nigeria colonialism. So old and dusty, you flip through it. You keep jotting some points down.

You pick another book, also old. It’s on precolonial Era. You read about Hausa tribe first. The Muslim Hausa-speaking societies were renowned for international trade, high-quality textile, craft production and ancient centre for Islamic learning. In the 19th century the political system centered on them; the Sokoto Caliphate was probably the most powerful and complex state system in West and Central Africa.

Interesting. The Christian and Muslim Yoruba-speaking societies now. In the past, especially before the 15th century, the Yorubas practiced tradition of metalworking, technical innovation and elaborate city development.

You shake your knees in enchantment. You trace the words with your index finger. The Christian Igbo-speaking societies. They were mostly hardworking farmers and traders.

You go now to the Languages & Literature shelf to get Crompton Encyclopedia. You see a Chinese University Bulletin, 2010. It’s probably one of the latest books in the library.

You nod as you scan through. England, an early middle-age conglomeration of small Celtics and Anglo-Saxons. England speaks in English having a few dialects. You close the book in anger. Red veins stand at the sides of your head all straining away from your ears.

You had read Crompton’s description of Nigeria earlier. Nigeria, an enormous and complex region both culturally and politically. Now you wonder if the English colonial master really knew what Enormous Diversity And Complexity in Culture And Politics meant. If it was proper to merge entirely different regions with distinct languages, culture and history. By that you need a dire conclusion. There must be a genuine reason for that because most people around consider the white man infallible. No. You want to do philosophy so you decide to read more.

You remember you had done ethics in philosophy class yesterday. Now you think the English colonial master’s action must be graded as consequentialist. Of course he might have been looking forward, towards the consequences and effects. You stare hard at the fat book before you, into it, through it and land into the Wonderland of your thoughts.

This is it. He wasn’t interested in the effects of it on himself alone (though philosophically human being is selfish). So he wasn’t egoistic. He was doing it for the interest of his own people then. No. He wasn’t ethically utilitarian. You know it now.

You go back to the Languages and Literature shelf for a big Oxford dictionary. You stand there flipping through the light brown pages. Shit! You can’t find it. You can’t find the word. You return back to your seat disappointed and angry. You don’t know why. Maybe because the big dictionaries that should have the meaning are mostly 3rd edition.

You think you should decide now. You don’t need any English man dictionary to define your term. Yes. The white colonialist was being altruistic. Psuedo-Altruism. You smile. If you’re being asked to define the word, you would smile sharply and say it means taking actions to benefit others over yourself in disguise.

The colonial master merged the regions (Nigeria) together to benefit your country of course. As in, he merged the diverse and complex regions into Nigeria for the sake of peaceful coexistence, unity and civilization.

Language is perhaps the greatest source of unity. A society with less diversity in language is more likely to survive. You applaud your sense of empiricism. No, rationalism. Whatever. You humorously call your self a philosopher.

You smile once again. It’s true England had once comprised distinct regions which differed in economy, religion and dialects (still a single language though). You wonder why Nigeria has to come together. Taraba state, for goodness sake, has more languages than at least 30 countries in the world and mother Nigeria herself constitutes 7% of the world languages. Altruistic colonialist indeed.

It’s getting late and most people are leaving the library. You yawn. You’re tired but can’t leave now. You want to finish your research. You’re charging your phone from a socket outlet, on the Square pillar behind you. And when you try to unplug it you brush your hand against the chair rusty metal armrest which its leather covering is reeled off. It’s 5 o’clock – you still have an hour more.

You’re tired so you close your note and try scrolling some Internet pages. Because you don’t have data subscription you login to Airtel free basics. A captivating headline is glowing in Bembo font as you tap The Punch. God bless Airtel network provider. You take your time to read the news. A Nigerian lawyer files a lawsuit against Oxford University Press over alleged wrongful definition of the words ‘Mortgagee’ and ‘Mortgagor’.

Yes. The altruistic colonialist sometimes is attacked very unconsciously by unconscious Nigerian voices like Wole Soyinka’s Telephone Conversation. He must have wronged the beautiful conscience of Nigeria!

You scroll over to another news. A third-year-governor is being praised for constructing the road that leads to the state government house and names it after the president. This is it again. The altruistic colonialist master had civilized Nigeria with a Psuedo-Altruist mentality. Nigeria praises people especially politicians who in a dramatic way had Psuedo-Altruistically done a single project in 8 years of power. You remember Fela talks about corrupt chief Obafemi Awolowo being exonerated in Fela: This Bitch Of A Life by Carlos Moore. You shake your head as if to say in Fela’s musical Pidgin-English nawa o.

You are in the eponymous University of Chief Obafemi Awolowo so you’d best shut up. Hahaha. The girl beside you streaks her eyeballs out at you scornfully. You don’t care.

You just at this juncture have to conclude. Nigerian societies cannot coexist unless they shave off the Pseudo-Altruistic mentality or simply break up. Yes. You will title your article Dear Mr. Altruistic Colonialist or Nigeria Of A Shattered Foundation. Good.

You’re pressed. You gather your properties quickly and dash to the exit point. The security woman at the entrance tagged OUT doesn’t check your card. Your pack your materials into your bag and you discover you have mistakenly packed Crompton, E. Oh!

You join a queue filing inside. A hot drop of urine kisses your underneath short as you try to show your library card to the security man.

Som O. Adedayo
Email: [email protected]

EDITORIAL: At A Critical Juncture

The nation and the Southwest in particular have arrived at a critical juncture. The strategic imperative is how to navigate the way forward.

Recent on-going events will provide the key parameters on the road to pivotal elections this year and in 2019.  It will also be decisive, as policy options are considered for how to resolve the dilemmas to be tackled and resolved in the make or break decade 2020-2030 ahead. With Nigeria’s alarming population growth rates and economic growth below par, the policy options must be weighed very carefully.

The present discourse appears to center around two options. On the one hand, we have the populist driven ‘stomach infrastructure’ paradigm and on the other, the sustainable development model.

In weighing the options, it is important to note that nothing has actually changed, it’s eerily still the same debate as in the 1950’s about the development options and the way ahead.

The demagoguery behind ‘stomach infrastructure’ must be appreciated and not derided. It obviously negates the problematic involved in the deferment of immediate gratification.  The issue is understandable in a poverty ridden society devoid of the most rudimentary of social safety nets. We are just seeing the emergence of things such as free school meals and ‘Agba Osun’.   How a balance providing immediate needs with constructing the blocks for sustainable development is the issue of our times. For what is appealing about the misconstrued populism of stomach infrastructure can be found in the admonition of the economist John Maynard Keynes, “in the long-term, we are all dead.”

As the leader of government business and later Premier of the Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo had to undergo a delicate balancing act in trying to navigate his way through. The level of taxation was high in the Western Region in the 1950’s and it was disproportionately skewed against the rural areas. Awolowo’s party paid a heavy electoral price in terms of the loss of seats in the local government elections as well as regional and federal elections. Indeed, Awolowo actually won a very narrow electoral victory running against his NCNC challenger, Chief Kehinde Sofola in Ijebu-Remo central constituency in the pivotal 1959 pre-independence general elections.

It is of course, the verdict of history, which matters. And history has vindicated Chief Awolowo and his party, that the construction of the foundations for a better tomorrow should override immediate electoral gains. History will also vindicate the state of Osun’s Rauf Aregbesola who has also had to vary out a delicate balancing act. Of course, it has also come at a cost.

The way out is to slay the monster of stomach infrastructure through massive political education and economic policies based on jobs creation and the elevation of a skill based framework. The mechanisms through which the government of Ignacio Lula da Silva pulled out 40 million people out of poverty in 80 years must be carefully looked at and applied. It is in the interest of the progressive movement to delicately navigate a path through the stomach infrastructure versus sustainable development conundrum. In our opinion, the ‘alternative perspective’ balancing act of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola provides a good starting point.

A Bright Future for Nigeria: How To Get There, By Femi Falana

Introduction

I congratulate Kunle Ajibade on the occasion of his 60th birthday anniversary. He is lucky to be alive today because he had engaged in many risky ventures in the struggle for a better Nigeria. When Professor Wole Soyinka said about 30 years ago that his was a wasted generation, Kunle never believed that his own generation would also be wasted. But since Kunle is still alive and active, we urge him to team up with other patriots to arrest the imminent collapse of our country.

Through its highly reliable sources, TheNews magazine had confirmed in 1995 that the maximum ruler, General Sani Abacha wanted to be crowned as a civilian president. For exposing the plot to rope some retired and serving military officers into a phantom coup in a bid to eliminate any form of opposition, the brutal dictator ordered the arrest of the editors of the magazine. Even though he did not write the story that provoked the dictator, Kunle was the only editor in the office when the security forces invaded the premises of the magazine. He was arrested, detained, tried with three other colleagues, convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. But he and others regained their freedom when the dictator was killed in a palace coup three-and-a-half years later. We are celebrating Kunle today because he survived the dehumanising prison conditions which claimed the precious lives of many other convicts.

Unabated Killings in Nigeria

In spite of repeated assurances of the federal government to ensure the security of life and property of every person living in Nigeria, it has been confirmed that not less than 1,400 unarmed civilians have been killed in Benue State by armed herdsmen and armed gangs between January and May 2018. The figures of casualties in Nasarawa and Zamfara States are said to be higher. Although the satanic Boko Haram sect is said to have been substantially defeated, it has continued to massacre scores of people through bomb attacks in schools, markets and mosques in the North-East region. In the same vein, armed bandits have embarked on the mass killing of people in some local governments in Kaduna and Zamfara States in the North-West region. Armed robbery and kidnapping are regular occurrences in all the 36 states of the federation and the federal capital territory.

Contrary to the misleading impression being created by the advocates of state police in the country, the Nigeria Police Force is not an agency of the president or the federal government. What has been established by Section 214 of the Constitution is the Nigeria Police Force: It is a police force which shall be organised and administered by the Nigeria Police Council. It is pertinent to note that the Nigeria Police Council is constituted by the president who shall be the chairman, the chairman of the Police Service Commission and the inspector-general of Police, as well as the 36 state governors. But for reasons best known to state governors, the president has always been allowed to hijack the Police Council. As a matter of urgency, the members of the Council should meet to agree on the funding, organisation and supervision of the Nigeria Police Force in conformity with Paragraph L, Part 1 of the Third Schedule to the Constitution.

I believe that a bright future is possible for Nigeria. But it can only be possible if the members of the political class are compelled to abandon the politics of money and manipulation of ethnicity and religion. Nigerian journalists like Kunle Ajibade and his colleagues should force all political aspirants to address serious issues during the forthcoming political campaign.

However, it is indisputable that the killings have continued unabated in the aforementioned states due to official negligence and impunity. Hence, the hundreds of murder suspects arrested by the police and the army have not been prosecuted by any of the state governments. I am sure that the criminal elements who murdered some citizens during the just concluded congresses of the All Progressives Congress will also be treated like sacred cows. Even my recent call on the leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association to mount pressure on the attorneys-general in all the states of the federation to arraign the murder suspects in state high courts was ignored. Ours has been reduced to a banana republic where kidnappers, murderers, robbers and rapists are conferred with impunity and licensed to continue their criminal enterprise.

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Since the government has lost the monopoly of violence to criminal gangs and life has become totally cheap and unsafe in the country, it is high time that the National Assembly enacted a law to provide for compulsory military training or military service for citizens of Nigeria without any delay. And pending the enactment of the law, the governments of Benue, Nasarawa, Taraba and Zamfara States should request the president to maintain adequate facilities in some institutions for giving military training to citizens whose lives have become endangered. This call is in line with the provisions of section 220 of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 as amended.

With respect to the killing by herdsmen, the federal government knows the solution but has refused to embrace it. As far back as 2016, about 55,000 hectares of land were acquired in about 11 states for ranching. But instead of implementing the policy, the federal government has been toying with the backward idea of a cattle colony. Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army, which has a ranch at Giri in the Federal Capital Territory, has offered to establish more ranches in other parts of the country. The offer of the Army has been ignored. The Kano State government, which has ranches and grazing zones, has also offered to accommodate all herdsmen who have been displaced in Benue and Taraba States. The offer has equally been treated with disdain without any justification. However, to put an end to the violent clashes between farmers and herdsmen, all relevant stakeholders should liaise with the Kano State government with a view to establishing a number of ranches.

A Bright Future for Nigeria

I believe that a bright future is possible for Nigeria. But it can only be possible if the members of the political class are compelled to abandon the politics of money and manipulation of ethnicity and religion. Nigerian journalists like Kunle Ajibade and his colleagues should force all political aspirants to address serious issues during the forthcoming political campaign. In particular, they must extract commitment from the political class to implement the fundamental objectives enshrined in Chapter 2 of the Constitution. Section 14 thereof provides that the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government. To actualise that political objective, it is stated in section 16 that the economy shall be planned and managed by the government to promote national prosperity and happiness.

…through the struggle of the oppressed people in Nigeria, the National Assembly has been compelled to enact welfare laws which shall be funded by the government. For instance, the Compulsory, Free and Basic Education Act and the Child’s Rights Act have made education free and compulsory from primary to junior secondary school.

Furthermore, it is stated that the government shall control the commanding height of the economy and ensure that the wealth of the nation shall not be concentrated in the hands of a few people or a group. It is illegal and unjust to lease oil blocks to a few people who are turned to multi-billionaires after subleasing them to foreign investors. Some of them have been honest to disclose publicly that they do not know what to do with the hundreds of millions of dollars made from the sublease of the oil blocks. Thus, by allowing a few people to collect rents from our national asset, the government has continued to concentrate wealth in the hands of a few people. Since it is illegal and unjust to enrich a few people at the expense of the Nigerian people, we hereby call on the federal government to stop awarding oil blocks to local and foreign investors. They should be leased to the federal and state governments in order to have money for development.

The Constitution has provided that the socio-economic rights of the people to education, health, housing, living minimum wage, pension, unemployment benefits are guaranteed, while the government shall provide for the aged and physically challenged citizens. Apart from the legal obligation imposed on political parties to comply with the fundamental objectives, it shall be the duty of all organs of government and of all authorities and persons exercising legislative, executive and judicial powers to conform to, observe and apply the provisions of the fundamental objectives. The socioeconomic rights of the Nigerian people have also been enshrined in the Africa Charter on Human and People’s Rights Act. Therefore, the justiciabiility of the fundamental objectives is longer in doubt.

Indeed, through the struggle of the oppressed people in Nigeria, the National Assembly has been compelled to enact welfare laws which shall be funded by the government. For instance, the Compulsory, Free and Basic Education Act and the Child’s Rights Act have made education free and compulsory from primary to junior secondary school. Parents and guardians who refuse to allow their children and wards to acquire education are liable to be prosecuted. To fund the programme, the federal government shall contribute two percent of its Consolidated Revenue Fund, while state governments shall provide counterpart fund. But due to the refusal of state government to access the fund, not less than N67 billion is lying fallow at the Central Bank, while Nigeria has about 11.5 million children of school age who are roaming the streets. Other welfare laws on housing, health insurance, pension, minimum wage, etc. are being breached with impunity. Yet if we insist and ensure that the welfare laws are enforced by the governments, there will no money left to be stolen by unpatriotic public officers.

Since the 2019 general elections are a few months away, it is not enough to urge Nigerian voters to register and collect their Permanent Voters Cards. They must be encouraged to know what to do with the PVCs. When politicians come around to ask for votes, every PVC owner must ask questions on the jumbo emoluments of public officers, unemployment, poverty, infrastructural decay, corruption and abuse of office, human rights violations etc. The harassment of law abiding citizens by the police and other security agencies should be discussed with political aspirants. The answers to the questions should be noted so that the elected ones can be confronted with all promises made by them. To assist voters to hold politicians accountable, the progressive extraction of the media must provide relevant information on public affairs.

Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), writes from Lagos.

This is the text of address delivered at the 60th birthday colloquium in honour of Kunle Ajibade held at Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Victoria Island, Lagos on May 30, 2018.

FG: 14.8m People Affected By Boko Haram Insurgency

No fewer than 14.8 million people were affected by the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria with at least 1.7 million of them displaced.

Nigeria’s Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the UN, Prof. Tijjani Bande, told the UN Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflicts that most adversely affected were women and children.

Bande regretted that the Boko Haram insurgency had led to an unprecedented humanitarian crisis in northeastern Nigeria.

He, however, assured the international community that ‘The Buhari Plan’ would bring relief to Northeast Nigeria, currently ravaged the by Boko Haram activities as all efforts were being taken against the insurgency.

The Presidential Committee for North East Initiative developed ‘The Buhari Plan’ – a framework of action to ensure the rehabilitation of the victims of insurgency and the reconstruction of their communities.

Bande said a robust Social Protection Initiative, and a second National Action Plan to fully implement the provisions of resolution 1325 (2000) had been instituted to protect civilians, particularly women and children from the Boko Haram ravages.

“To that end, the initiatives will also complement the implementation of ‘The Buhari Plan’, which provides a blueprint for the comprehensive humanitarian relief and socioeconomic stabilisation of the North-East, as well as the return and resettlement of displaced persons.

“We are collaborating with our neighbours, Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Benin, within the framework of the Multinational Joint Task Force, to defeat the Boko Haram insurgency, which is targeting civilians, particularly women and children,” Bande said.

The Buhari Plan’ aims to achieve a safe and prosperous Northeast that would be a global model for post-conflict socio-economic recovery and development.

The envoy noted that Nigeria was among the first group of states to endorse the Safe Schools Declaration in Oslo, thereby making a pledge to protect schools during armed conflicts and using and promoting the Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict.

Bande said the declaration complemented and strengthened Nigeria’s national Safe Schools Initiative established in 2014, as part of the response by the Federal Government to promote safe zones for learning.

He said these initiatives reflected government’s commitment to ensuring the security of women and children during armed conflicts and enhancing their active and direct participation in conflict prevention and peace-building.

The ambassador said: “It is heartening to note that over a thousand kidnapped women and children have been rescued, and all territories once controlled by the group have been recovered.

“Indeed, our experience in the Lake Chad Region today, is evidence that with determined international collaboration, terrorism can be defeated.

“In addition, the Government of Nigeria has adopted a multinational and multi-agency approach tagged ‘Operation Safe Corridor’, to effectively handle the de-radicalisation, rehabilitation and reintegration of willing and surrendered Boko Haram members back to the society”.

The Nigerian envoy said so far, many insurgents had willingly surrendered to the military, while about 700 others had indicated interest to surrender.

He said Nigeria had taken steps to cater to victims of Boko Haram. According to him, these steps include providing humanitarian relief, financial, economic, educational and psycho-social support.

“Despite the tremendous efforts being made at the national level, we acknowledge that protecting civilians in conflict situations remains a critical challenge, not only for the United Nations, but also for the entire international community.’’ (NAN)

People Should Fight For Good Governance

The great democratic path of the society begins to crumble when it is full of thorns and shades of darkness. It is observed that despite fights and struggle for power in Nigeria, there is nothing to show for it.

One keeps wandering in the wilderness of democratic flows like a drunkard who slept off its worries as there is no savior for all bleeding hearts.

There is no doubt, most of us have forgotten the colonization of our country, the Biafran war and other inter-community and tribal wars where many lives were lost in a twinkle of an eye. If the British colonized Nigerian, should Nigerians colonize their fellowmen? And if the colonists enslaved us, should we also enslave ourselves? There are reasons for the amalgamation of the Hausas, Yoruba and Igbos after 1914 but the question that agitates the mind is “can three sailors control a ship or three drivers control the same car simultaneously? The answer, which is yes or no indicates that nothing is impossible if love is the order of the day. If the masters are to rule, love comes first, cooperation follows while unity remains important.

Our heroes, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Dr. Nnamidi Azikwe who ruled as the Premier did their best for Nigeria. They developed each region with what is available within their capacity and their works still remain firmly till today.

However, in the Western region then headed by Chief Obafemi Awolowo, he developed human and laid a good infrastructure foundation which some of his disciples now build upon since he left office. In education alone, he established a prestigeous world class university which has produced great professors in the society.

In industry, some of our past political leaders left a good legacy by establishing industrial estates that housed some of the industries that propelled the economy and engage a lot of young ones in the country.

Therefore, a good leader must promote good governance at all cost which will benefit mankind.

But nowadays, reversed is the case among our leaders, they only have pleasure in perishable materials, not thinking of developing human resources.

All they understand today is embezzling the public fund, they convert government properties to their own in the name of greediness.

Therefore, it is a basic duty of voters to promote good governance within his or her domain by making good use of their voter’s card during the periodic election. An average voter can make life better for himself by making sure that he votes in line with his conscience and not for money.

The duty of a good and responsible leader is to promote the welfare and ensure the progress of his people; it is a duty he owes them!

 

America Gives Nigeria N32bn To Conduct HIV/AIDS Census

The United States Government has donated $90m (N32bn) to Nigeria for the HIV/AIDS survey that will take place across the country starting from June.

The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, said this during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Federal Ministry of Health, the National Agency for the Control of AIDS and the United States Government in Abuja on Thursday.

The survey, which has been tagged, ‘Nigeria AIDS Indicators and Impact Survey,’ will have a sample size of 170,000 people and is expected to last for about six months.

The exercise, which is the largest survey of HIV/AIDS in the world, will take place across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.

Adewole said the American government had directly supported the survey with about $90m and, indirectly, through other partners.

The minister said, “The resources for the survey are largely from the US government. Directly, they are giving us about $90m; and indirectly, they are working with other partners to ensure the success of the survey.”

Adewole, who spoke on the importance of the survey, said, “The survey will put behind us the concept of making guess work in terms of burden of HIV disease in Nigeria.

“We do not know how many people are infected; so, this study will enable us get a precise number.

“This survey is not only about HIV, but about Hepatitis B and C.

“This survey will also help us to drive forward the agenda to rid Nigeria of Hepatitis C. As you know, Hepatitis C now has a cure.

“Also, people who test positive will be placed on treatment, as having HIV is not the end of the world.”

Adewole said politics would not be involved in the process, even as he promised that the result of the survey would be published “so that we can discover the real state of HIV in the country.

“It will serve as a drive to our effort to control the epidemic.”

Also speaking, the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, urged Nigerians and interested groups to ensure that the exercise was a success.

He said the world was watching and a successful survey would make Nigeria a shining example and ultimately help bring the HIV epidemic under control.

Symington said, said “An epidemic control has not yet been achieved anywhere, but with this effort the government of Nigeria in partnership with this extra ordinary team of partners funded by every man, woman and child in the United States of America, a huge success will be achieved. As one thing everyone can do this year, is to help make this survey a success.”

The Director-General of NACA, Sani Aliyu, said the survey would help solve the problem of accurate data and also more precise information of the coverage of HIV in Nigeria.

Aliyu urged Nigerians to participate in the survey, to enable accurate and precise results.

U.S. Finalises Repatriation Of Over $500m To Nigeria –Malami

The visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to U.S. President Donald Trump has led to the finalisation of negotiations to repatriate more than $500m (about N190bn) of Nigeria’s looted money traced to the U.S.

Nigeria’s Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, told the News Agency of Nigeria  in Washington, DC, that he and the Attorney-General of the U.S. would be meeting last Tuesday to finalise the agreement.

Malami explained that the technicalities involved were being taken care of by both officials of the Nigerian government and also from the U.S. side.

He said: “On the part of assets recovery, we have made considerable progress through this visit.

“There’s goodwill by the two presidents to have a road map for the repatriation of illicit funds and assets traced to the U.S. as proceeds of illicit transactions.

“This illicit funds and assets are to the tune of $500m and above for immediate repatriation. We are looking at the shortest practicable time for it to be repatriated.

“There is political commitment demonstrated by the two presidents.

“The over $500m is not all the recovery, it is only for the immediate repatriation while we continue with our efforts to recover more.”

 

 

(NAN)

Buhari Wants More UK Investments In Nigeria

Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari has commended the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May for the effort of the British government towards the training of the Nigerian Army in the fight against Boko Haram insurgents.

Buhari on Monday held a bilateral meeting with UK Prime Minister, Theresa May at 10, Downing Street, London.

The President told the Prime Minister that, “We campaigned on three major issues; to secure the country, revive the economy and fight corruption.

“We have elections next year, politicians are already preoccupied with the polls, but I am bothered more about security and the economy,” he stressed.

Recalling that Nigeria and Britain have a long history of cooperation on several fronts, President Buhari stated: “People ought to know how they arrived where they are, if they would move forward. It was a mistake for us to have stopped the teaching of history as a subject in schools, but we are returning it to the curriculum now.

He commended British companies “who have stood with Nigeria through thick and thin. Even when we fought a Civil War, they never left.

“But like Oliver Twist, we ask for more investments. We are encouraging more British companies to come to Nigeria. We appreciate the support you have given in training and equipping our military, particularly in the war against insurgency, but we want to also continue to work with you on trade and investment.

President Buhari briefed Prime Minister May on the strides in agriculture, which he said has put Nigeria firmly on the road to food self-sufficiency.

“I am very pleased with the successes in agriculture,” he said, adding that, “We have cut rice importation by about 90%, made lots of savings of foreign exchange, and generated employment. People had rushed to the cities to get oil money, at the expense of farming. But luckily, they are now going back to the farms. Even professionals are going back to the land. We are making steady progress on the road to food security.”

On education, President Buhari said more investment was being made, because, “people can look after themselves if well educated. In this age of technology, education is very important. We need well-staffed and well-equipped institutions to move into the next generation.

Climate change and environmental issues also came up for discussion, and President Buhari brought up the necessity of inter-basin water transfer from Congo Basin to Lake Chad.

According to him: “The Lake Chad is now about 10% of its original size, and it is perhaps one of the reasons our youths dare both the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean, to get to Europe. But if there is inter-basin water transfer, about 40 million people in Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon, Chad, and other countries stand to benefit.

I made the case during the Climate Change Summit in France. If Lake Chad is recharged, it will reduce the number of youths coming to Europe to increase social problems. We brought back about 4,000 people from Libya recently. Almost all of them were below 30, and Libya was not their final destination. They were headed to Europe.”

Ghana Owes Nigeria $160m For Gas Supply

Ghana is said to be owing a total of $160m for gas supplied to its largest power producer, Volta River Authority, from Nigeria through the West Africa Gas Pipeline.

N-Gas Limited is a company owned by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Chevron and Shell, and buys gas from oil companies in Nigeria and transport it to Ghana through the $1bn WAGP.

The pipeline, which is operated by the West Africa Pipeline Company Limited, was built to distribute gas from Nigeria to customers from and in  Benin, Togo and Ghana.

N-Gas has an off-take agreement with Ghana to supply 120 million standard cubic feet of gas per day to the VRA. But supply to the country had fallen short of the contractual volume in recent years.

“There is a current arrangement between the gas suppliers and the off-taker that the volume will be 60mmBtu,” the General Manager, Corporate Affairs, West Africa Gas Pipeline Company Limited, Harriet Wereko-Brobby, told our correspondent in response to questions sent via a text message.

She said the off-taker (VRA) had established a payment security arrangement for gas consumed to halt “debt accumulation going forward.”

“There is still an outstanding debt of around $160m to be paid to the supplier, N-Gas, and it is expected that about $30m will be paid shortly,” Wereko-Brobby added.

GhanaWeb recently reported that the volume of gas supplied to Ghana from Nigeria for power production had reduced by about 50 per cent.

It said the situation had been attributed to the inability of Ghana to settle its long-standing debts as stipulated in the gas supply contract, and vandalism of gas pipelines in Nigeria.

The Board Chairman, VRA, Kweku Awotwi, was quoted to have said, “We are at about half of what we have been contractually promised, which is not good enough. There are many reasons for that: the vandalism of pipelines and the fact that we have not paid our bills. We owe them about GH180m; what do you expect them to do?

“Now, we are getting the gas because the VRA is pre-paying for that gas. We are putting in Letters of Credit to get the gas.”

In 2016, Nigeria saw a resurgence of militant attacks in the Niger Delta that caused the nation’s oil production to plummet to a near 30-year low and disrupted gas supply to power plants.

Commenting on the debt owed by Ghana for the supply of gas through the pipeline in May last year on the sidelines of an event in Badagry, the Managing Director, WAPCo, Mr. Walter Perez, told our correspondent, “We are delivering gas now because we have put arrangement in place for Ghana to prepay for the deliveries that they receive, and so that is working. We have every expectation that this will continue to work.”

The Reasons Nigeria Must Wake Up Fast By Dele Momodu

Fellow Nigerians, please, permit me to say it as bluntly and categorically as possible, our dear country, Nigeria, the giant of Africa, is slumbering and snoring deeply. The Federal Government apologists are free to live in delusion and denial, but I stand by this obvious position.

They can continue to deceive President Muhammadu Buhari and although he can continue to suffer under their hypnotic spell for a long time, he would one day wake up to appreciate people like us telling him the unadulterated truth. We were abused black and blue by the Jonathan guys in those days, but where are they today? Anyone who has eyes can see very clearly that we are not moving at the pace God allocated to us. We are inching like snails and millipedes when we are supposed to be speeding like bullet trains.

Nigeria is snoozing and sleeping. I’m not even comparing us to Europe or America. I have travelled sufficiently in Africa. Everywhere I have been, I saw nations at work. I wrote about Rwanda recently, a country that went through one of the most terrible wars ever known to mankind. The Rwanda genocide was gory and ghoulish. An entire nation was almost wiped out. I can see Nigeria has not found any lessons to learn from that atrocity against mankind. We are stoking the fire of ethnicity and stupidity that would never do any good to us. We are so close to the precipice, but we don’t seem to know or just don’t care. Meanwhile, those in far worse situations are busy doing progressive things while we backbite and backstab!

I was in Ethiopia a few years ago at the instance and invitation of Alhaji Aliko Dangote for the launch of his humongous cement plant and was pleasantly surprised this technological wonder didn’t have to invest so much in power generation. This is the same Ethiopia where celebrities were so shocked by the abysmal level of hunger that they had to come together to sing “we are the world.” I flew out of Addis feeling sad and melancholic. It was the same experience in Tanzania, Zambia, Senegal, Benin Republic (next door to us) and others. These countries are marching slowly, but surely, while we are busy fighting and wallowing over frivolities. Once you cross the Seme Border into Cotonou, the reality that hits you instantly is refreshing. Yet most of these countries rely and depend on Nigeria for many things.

The reason for my preamble is simple. Most Nigerians seem not to realise how desperate our condition is. Nigeria can no longer afford to recycle this madness, which Fela Anikulapo-Kuti called “demoncracy”, every four years, as if God has frozen time for us and we can do whatever nonsense we like. No please. Time is no longer on our side and we have over-experimented with saints and sinners. None has performed spectacularly. The essence of my sermon today is to drum it into our ears that we cannot continue along this path of foolishness and foolhardiness. We need all hands on deck desperately and urgently to rescue this country from the throes of imminent death. We have already fulfilled all righteousness by supporting our great incorruptible Muhammadu Buhari, in 2015, despite our avowed rejection of him in the past. It would have been unfortunate if we had not tried and tested him. We would have been lamenting, like the Biblical Jeremiah, from now till eternity, had we not tried him, thinking God was punishing us for ignoring our best solution and gift to mankind.

Now that we have discovered that it is a human being that is behind the mask, and not an ancestor from heaven, we should be bold enough and accept that we’ve misplaced our hopes in gods with feet of clay. What has now been corroborated, unequivocally, is that no one can give what he does not have. Of course, there are always exceptional cases but, unfortunately, this is not one of them. Staying at home, or on a farmland, for the most part of 30 years, would stultify anyone’s worldview without doubt. But I personally love the fact that God has made this day to come, to demonstrate to us that we should not bow before any idols, and we should never ascribe to mortals the powers that belong to God.

No angel is going to come down to save or rescue Nigeria. We must all join hands to do it. I think we are wasting too much time and resources on seeking a God on earth to run our affairs. The time has come to make use of the best brains among us in a united government, strengthen our democratic institutions, stop the charade of selective injustice, promote unity and religious tolerance. I weep every time I see young people insulting themselves on behalf of politicians who are all friends off-radar. They kill themselves for mere pittance while the children of the priviligentsia are living large on the sweat and blood of the proletariat. Those who have ears should please listen.

We need a new orientation. We need leaders who know their onions. We need modern leaders. What belongs to antiquity must be left where it belongs. Those who want this system to continue, understand the game well. They are in control when the leader is weak and cannot perform. It is not about loving the old man. They just want to govern from behind. They are the faceless and unseen cabal.

2019 cannot come and go as business as usual. It won’t be funny. Are we so jinxed that we keep repeating the same mistakes? Why can’t we stand up to our leaders and demand excellent performance? Why can’t we see that the world is leaving us behind and adjust quickly? Truth must be told, as imperfect as our politicians look, they are the ones we must manage, and manage well. We cannot afford to waste another four years worshipping the gods who cannot liberate us from poverty, hunger, diseases, wars, backwardness, and general retrogression.

In summary, I will support Buhari’s government within my modest sphere of influence till 2019. That was my unwritten contract when I voluntarily offered my support, in cash and kind, in 2015. It is nothing personal, I’m just a patriotic and passionate Nigerian who believes we can do much better and there are millions of great Nigerians who can fix Nigeria without making a fetish of what it would take to achieve it. For me, Buhari represents the Mandela option. He has already served a useful purpose as stopgap between the known devil and the unknown. We have now seen that despite the blame games, there is really no difference between six and half a dozen. What is the point in a doctor killing the patient in the process of treating ulcer? That is the situation we have found ourselves. Perhaps, it would have been bearable and endurable if there was no obvious hypocrisy in the whole set up.

I beg, like Mandela, the world’s greatest statesman, one term is enough.

God bless Nigeria.

Commonwealth Games: Five Nigerians Reach Athletics Finals

Seye Ogunlewe and Enoch Adegoke on Sunday have both qualified for the final of the  Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games men’s 100m.

In the  women category, the country’s representatives Jennifer Madu, Isoken Igbinosun and Joy Udo-Gabriel lost in  the semi-finals. Udo-Gabriel was the closest of the women to qualifying after finishing fourth in her semi-final in 11.53secs.

Ogunlewe, who is the national 100m champion, equalled his season’s best of 10.20secs to place third in the third semi-final to qualify as one of the fastest losers in his heat. Adegoke, who is making his debut for Nigeria, won the second semi-final in 10.24secs.

The Nigerians face Jamaica’s Yohan Blake, who is favourite for  gold, and South Africa’s Akani Simbine, who is expected to claim silver in the event, in the final on Monday.

The country’s other representative in the men’s 100m Egwero Ogho-Oghene failed to make the final after placing sixth in 10.42secs.

In the men’s 400m, Chidi Okezie and Samson Nathaniel both qualified for Monday’s  semi-finals  after they finished in 45.84secs and 46.41secs respectively. But Orukpe Erayokan placed fourth in his heat in 47.19secs and didn’t progress into the semis.

Also, women’s 20km race walk national record holder Fadekemi Olude finished 10th in the event after she finished in 1:49:31. Australia’s Jemima Montag claimed gold in 1:32:50.

In the men’s shot put, Chukwuebuka Enekwechi and Eke Kalu qualified for Monday’s final. Enekwechi threw a mark of 20.66m to place second behind New Zealand’s Tom Walsh who threw 22.45m to win in qualifying group A. Kalu threw 17.62m to qualify as one of the best losers from qualifying group B.

In boxing, Nigeria’s Itunu Oriola’s lost 4-1 to Australia’s Kaye Scott in the quarterfinals of the women’s 69kg.

On Monday, Folasade Abugan, Patience George and Yinka Ajayi compete in the women’s 400m heats while in table tennis Nigeria face England in the semi-final of the men’s team event. Goodness Duru competes in the F46 women’s javelin final.

Also, Oyeniyi Abejoye competes in the men’s 110m hurdles while in boxing; Millicent Agboegbulem faces Elizabeth Andiego of Kenya in the quarterfinals of the women’s 75kg and Lukman Lawal fights Uganda’s Regam Simbwa in the round of 16 of the men’s 81kg.

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