A medical expert, Professor Sola Ogunniyi, has warned that migraine and seizures may be the side effects of snapping selfie in some individuals.
Ogunniyi, a consultant neurologist, University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, stated that such side effects were electrical reactions in the brain to the flashing light from the smart phone.
According to him, some individuals have parts of their brain that are sensitive to light, and as such a flashing light, say from a smart phone, can trigger a reaction that manifests as migraine, headache and seizures.
The expert said it was because of the same phenomenon and reason television viewers were sometimes warned that a particular programme has flash photography.
“When there is electrical disturbance of the brain for those that are predisposed due to flashing light, it can manifest as migraine, normal headache. They can also have epileptic seizures.
“We usually advise people who have seizures to avoid staying close to computers because sometimes when there is a glare, it can also cause some problem.”
Epileptic seizures are triggered by a sudden interruption in the brain’s highly complex electro-chemical activity. And it can develop at any age.
In a recent case report from Canada, doctors saw seizure-like activity in a teen’s brainwaves just after the teen took a selfie. They were monitoring her to gather information about what was causing her seizures.
According to the report, which was published in February in the journal Seizure, the doctors who treated the teen called the phenomenon “selfie-epilepsy.”
The teen, a girl, had previously had a seizure. The seizure-like brain activity that was triggered by the selfie was discovered when the teen was being monitored in a laboratory for a three-day period.
Though the teen did not experience any seizures in the laboratory, doctors noticed two unusual spikes in her brain activity. When they went back and reviewed the video, they found that just before these spikes, the teen had used her cellphone to take a selfie with both the flash and red-eye reduction in the dimly lit room. (Red-eye reduction involves pulsing flashes of light before taking the photo.)
The doctors concluded that the teen likely had a “photosensitivity response” to the selfie.
In one type of epilepsy, called photosensitive epilepsy, people are known to have seizures that are provoked by flashing or flickering lights.
Photosensitive epilepsy is a “well-known phenomenon,” but it affects only a small percentage of people with epilepsy.
Any type of flashing, flickering, or shimmering light, including video games, camera lights, natural light and even visual patterns, can provoke a seizure in a photosensitive individual.
In the past, experts claimed selfies could cause wrinkles and self-image issues.
Dermatologists believe that regularly exposing the face to the light and electromagnetic radiation from cell phones can damage the skin, accelerating the ageing process.
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja II yesterday laid an unprecedented achievement in the history of Yoruba race as he paid an unscheduled visit to Alaafin Of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi at his palace to join him in celebrating his 45th coronation anniversary on the throne.
Speaking at the thanksgiving service to commemorate the anniversary, Oba Ogunwusi though uninvited emphasized that his agenda, is to unify all Yoruba sons and daughters all over the world.
Oba Ogunwusi, in his quest to unite Yoruba nations said, “I am here today, though not invited, but as the Arole Oduduwa, the onus is on me to felicitate with all sons and daughters wherever they are and to show my solidarity for them.
“I am ready to damn any consequences or insinuations from anywhere; my mission here is to preach peace among nations of Yoruba both home and abroad and I am ready to work with Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Olayiwola Adeyemi to project the unity and love which existed in days of our forefathers.”
Ooni of Ife, Oba Ogunwusi, on Sunday, became the first Ooni to visit Oyo town since 1937. He visited the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III, to grace his 45th coronation anniversary thanksgiving, held at the Methodist Church, Apaara, Oyo State.
The Ooni, who was accompanied to the 45th thanksgiving service of Alaafin by over 100 monarchs across Yoruba land, said with the support of all obas in Yoruba land, there will be unity in Nigeria and by extension the world.
“Oduduwa is father of all nations and his spirit abides by all us as the symbol of the progenitor,” he noted.
Earlier in his speech, Oba Olayiwola Adeyemi, who expressed joy with the presence of the Ooni and all other Yoruba Obas, maintained that if every monarch in the Yoruba unite, there will be tremendous progress in Nigeria.
He said: “This special visit was done last in March 1937, that was the first time the kings in Yorubaland met in Oyo town and today history was made with the visit of Arole Oodua, Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II and I feel delighted to host you and to reassure you that I will be ready to work with you.
“I had a cordial relationship with Ooni Adesoji Aderemi and I did not want to relent my bound with any Ooni of Ife that assumed the post but everybody has his own little differences.”
The Bishop of Oyo Diocese, Rt, Rev, Titus Ilori Omoniyi, emphasized that the unity among Yoruba nation will bring progress and development and this will leads to unprecedented progress to all nations.
Among the royal fathers that accompanied the Ooni were; Orangun of Ila, Ajero of Ijero, Timi of Ede, Olu of Yewa, Alara of Aramoko, Oore of Otun, Alayemore of Efon Alaye, among others.
While wishing him success, the advice is needful that the newly appointed Minister of Power, Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN should read the unwritten book- “Bola Ige and The Power that be in The Power Industry”. Though nobody can find any book of this title on any shelf because it’s my coinage, the title is philosophical and passes the message that BRF must learn from late Chief James Ajibola Idowu Adegoke Ige, SAN.
I learnt that “Uncle Bola Ige”, as he was popularly called, personally chose to administer the Power Ministry during former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime. He had determination, vigour and passion. He believed he could turn things around within months, and “let there be light”. But there was no light. Up till now, there has never been stable light in Nigeria! So what suddenly happened that Ige’s dream got busted and evaporated so that some cabal rejoiced. What happened is in that ‘book of the past’ that BRF should master.
Like Bola Ige, like BRF?
Like James Ajibola Idowu Adegoke Ige, SAN, Babatunde Raji Fasola, SAN is brilliant and has vigour too. That he unprecedentedly has to oversee three ministries is however attention catching. I don’t really envy this trinitized minister, though I vehemently pray for his sounding success. What?! Three-in-one minister! The Power Ministry is powerful. There are lots of work to be carried out in the Works Ministry, just as a lot of strategies must be housed for implementation of good ideas that would bring success in the Housing Ministry. No. I don’t envy the former Lagos State Governor.
No doubt, the entire 36 ministries are very much important. However, apart from the Ministry of petroleum, no other ministry has ever gotten as much funding as the powerful Ministry of Power. For example, a whopping sum of N2.74 trillion has so far been spent in attempts to improve power supply in Nigeria since 1999 to date. This fact was disclosed during the debrief of a Senate Committee investigating investments in the power sector in the 16 years of PDP rule in Nigeria. At the session, the arrow head of the Federal Ministry of Power, Ambassador Godknows Igali further explained that “From 1999 to date, 1.56 trillion was appropriated to us but actually only N948bn was released to the Ministry and the entire agencies under it. This amount covers all the entire investments in value chain. Yet Nigerians sleep in darkness and company close down for lack of electricity.
At the assumption of office, late Chief Bola Ige unexpectedly tried to examine previous activities of the Power Ministry in order to know from where to take off in relation to the plans of the ministry and yearnings of Nigerians. To some blocks within the sector, it was like “katakata wan bust”, “there are troubles in the offing!”
Today Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, former Minister of Petroleum is synonymous with alleged unprecedented corruption in the Petroleum Ministry because, according to what many Nigerians say, she kind of chewed too much alone quite conspicuously. BRF, I presume would know that corruption is as much hydra-headed in the Power sector as it was in the petroleum sector under Diezani Alison-Madueke. The powerful petroleum lady-minister was just one bigger node within a network of wicked oil-drunks. BRF must see some senses in, and take cognizance of that. Hence, it is not out of place to state that the two Ministries of Petroleum and Power are crucial for the quick bounce of Nigeria. Petroleum as the bedrock of the national economy is expected to have powered the lights in Nigerians’ homes.
BRF must talk less. He must not be a “noise maker” minister. While studying previous files, he would discover how almost N3 trillion had been wasted on power under PDP 16 year rule. No doubt, he would have to ask some individuals some few questions, not probe, but there must be light in the homes of Nigerians. Whether this would translate to somebody sleeping behind bars is no big deal, in as much as it would make electricity to run uninterruptedly in Nigeria. Welders must get electricity to fabricate things. Small, medium and large industries must run on power that is not generated through diesel and petrol bought through the nose.
Whatever BRF has to do, he must develop capacity to detect possible mines that could have been planted by some cabal within the sector, just as he must develop and maintain deep cordiality with Mustapha Baba Shehuri, the Minister of State, Power, Works and Housing. The cabal in the power industry, especially, must not come between them. BRF must ensure that another Yoruba Senior Advocate of Nigeria must not “fail” and later got redeployed to become Attorney General and Minister of Justice. BRF must destroy set up, if any.
In the wake of Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris, police arrested seven suspects in the Molenbeek district of Brussels. According to data compiled by RFE/RL, Belgium has contributed the most fighters to the so-called Islamic State of any EU nation on a per capita basis. RFE/RL estimate that there are 40 fighters per million Belgian inhabitants present in Syria and Iraq. Jordan, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia are the top three nations worldwide for supplying the so-called Islamic State with foreign fighters, contributing 315, 280 and 107 per million people respectively.
This chart shows the estimated number of foreign fighters per capita in 2015 (per million people).
Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, in his speech to the Nigerian Legislative Council, had this to say: “we shall demand our rights when the time is ripe. We do want independence and we shall fight for it if necessary, but I should like to make it clear to you that if the British quit Nigeria now at this stage, the Northern people would continue their interrupted conquest to the sea.”
Nnamidi Azikiwe, as President of the Igbo State Union, said “it would appear that the gods of Africa has specially created the Igbo nation to lead the children of Africa from the bondage of the ages”, while another prominent Igbo, Charles Daddy Onyeama was the same time saying that “the domination of Nigeria, indeed Africa, by the Ibo race was a question of time”.
Oloye Obafemi Awolowo, on his part, had this to say: “Nigeria is not a nation. It is a mere geographical expression. There are no Nigerian in the same sense as there are English, Welsh or French. The word Nigeria is merely a distinctive appellation to distinguish those who live within the boundaries of Nigeria from those who do not.”
These statements, made around the same time, 1947-1949, in the heat of the push towards independence formed the foundational and continuous story of Nigeria where some parts would be thinking of reserving for themselves the right of a conquest, either by sheer force of arms or by a supposed divine mandate.
These historical trajectories had been at the expense of the Yoruba, who appeared to be the target of these adventures especially with the alliance between the aspiring domineers, such that the breakdown of the alliance in 1966 and its attendant Fun of violence against each other did not prevent further cementing of the alliance in peacetime. Having gone through fifty years of this alliance in one form or the other, everyone now realizes that the resultant political space is unsustainable.
Nowhere was this manifested more than our most recent past with the economic meltdown in the states and in the federal government itself; institutions that had been surviving solely on “allocations” from the federal government even as some claims were made as to increases in what is called internally generated revenue. The cost of running these bureaucracies at the state and central levels go over seventy percent of the total income of the entire country thus leaving no room for any capital for any form of development.
Yet, for the Yoruba Nation, our post-colonial experience showed that such a bureaucracy is antithetical to development as all it took us was in being rooted in a socio-cultural ethos based on the need to situate the Yoruba anti-colonial experience within the ambit of the development of “man”, which was why Federalism took root in Yorubaland and had since been the bedrock of our praxis.
This is borne from an appreciation by Oloye Obafemi Awolowo, not only because he was the major proponent of Constitutional re-engineering of Africa based on the recognition of the African to influence the trajectory of the world based on his inherent ability as a human being to determine his relationship within as well as without, which all boils down to the meaning of a Constitution as the formal establishment of a social, economic and political relationship between different people.
In his Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Lecture delivered in 1976, he had this to say about Constitutions:
“Constitution-making has, since independence, become a past-time in all parts of Africa. As soon as a new set of people accede to power, they find some pretext for introducing a new Constitution. Be that as it may, the point I wish to make here is that none of the Constitutions operating in Africa today are likely to endure beyond the tenure of those who make them and hand them down to the people, because they are fundamentally unsuitable in character for a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual or multi-national State.
“I have made a long and careful study of the problems involved in Constitution-making and, as a result, I have certain definite principles. Time does not permit me, in this lecture, to set out the theoretical and empirical bases for the principles which I am going to state presently. But if I may say so, without appearing immodest, I would refer those who are interested to two of my books entitled “thoughts on the Nigerian Constitution and the People’s republic which contain a full exposition of the said principles.
“Of all the 189 countries in the world, twenty have Federal Constitutions and the remaining 169 have Unitary Constitutions. The twenty Federal States have a population of 2400million, that is approximately two-thirds of the entire population of the world and as far as is known, in spite of occasional social upheavals in some of them, the character of their Constitutions, together with the basic provisions thereof, has endured because it is suitable for their respective peculiar conditions.
“I will now state the principles which I have evolved and relate each of them, as appropriate, to the twenty Federal countries and to other multi-lingual States with Unitary Constitutions. They are as follows:
(1) If a country is unilingual and uni-national, the Constitution must be unitary. Examples are: France, Italy, Portugal, Poland and Greece, among others, which are unilingual and have always had Unitary Constitutions.
(2) If a country is uni-lingual or bi-lingual or multi-lingual and also consists of communities, which, though belonging to the same nation or linguistic group, have, over a period of years, developed some important cultural divergences as well as autonomous geographical separateness, the Constitution must be Federal, and the constituent States must be organized on the dual basis of Language and geographical separateness. Examples are: USA, Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, Indonesia, the Federation of South Arabia, Australia, Austria, the two Germanys and Switzerland.
(3) If a country is bi-lingual or multi-lingual, the Constitution must be Federal, and the constituent States must be organized on a linguistic basis. Examples are: Canada, Mexico, Burma, China, India, Malaysia, Czechoslovakia, the USSR and Yugoslavia.
(4) Any experiment with a Unitary Constitution in a bi-lingual or multi-lingual country must fail, in the long run. Examples are the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Belgium, Spain, Sri Lanka and Cyprus, all of which have, for some time, been experiencing incessant turmoil and violence because, though they are either bi-lingual or multi-lingual, yet they stubbornly insist on operating a Unitary Constitution.
If the vast majority of mankind, among them the USA, the USSR, China—the three super powers-and India—the harbinger of freedom from colonial rule—if all these countries, for what I sincerely think are very sound reasons, consider a certain form of Constitution suitable for some specified set of circumstances and adopt such a form of Constitution, African leaders would do well to learn from them and not follow the erring ways of Britain, Spain and others who have refused to learn, and are right now suffering the agonies of their errors. But before proceeding to learn, African leaders should endeavor to appreciate the true meanings of terms like Clan, Tribe and Ethnic or Linguistic or National Group, and the difference between tribalism and ethnicism. For it is not in a chemical laboratory alone that wrong labelling could lead to serious disaster and death. It could do so too in politics. The only difference is that in the former case, disaster is instant, whilst in the latter, it tends to be insidious and delayed.
If our leaders and all of us observe the principles enunciated above, it will be the easiest thing for us to fashion, for Africa’s multi-lingual States, a Constitution which will endure in its character and eliminate ab initio, the tendency to future secessionist agitation, because it preserves the pre-colonial co-eval status of each of the constituent ethnic or linguistic units, and allays the fears of minority groups.”
The above would be the further concretization of his 1945 statement which manifested in the quest for Federalism to which it appears everyone has now subscribed, one way or the other, even as secessionist tendencies also thrive. This is exactly the reason why Nigeria is presently in a position to set an example for the rest of Africa in a fundamental manner and the Yoruba have a lot of responsibility in this regard.
Such responsibility hangs on, among others, creating a pathway for its realization. Nigeria has had so many conferences whose reports have not seen the light of day such that aspiring or advocating for another will be a waste of time as well as an unnecessary ritual. Yet, the only way the aspirations of a people can be decided is through such a Conference or Convention, but now anchored on a Referendum among the various peoples simply because of the multi-lingual, multi-cultural composition of Nigeria itself.
This is all the more urgent considering the 2015 election experience and whose replication in 2019 is just around the corner. The economic meltdown and the corruption associated with it alongside the attempts at truncating the legal means of tackling corruption will leave no room for any form of radical transformation of the economy that will be needed to check the economic drift, hence the necessity to arrest this situation from its foundation—the political structure. The Yoruba Nation can begin this process by calling on the Attorney General of the Federation to hearken to this necessity based on his own convictions on Constitutional imperatives.
The siege of Knightsbridge is both an emblem of gross injustice and a gruelling farce. For three years, a police cordon around the Ecuadorean embassy in London has served no purpose other than to flaunt the power of the state. It has cost £12 million. The quarry is an Australian charged with no crime, a refugee whose only security is the room given him by a brave South American country. His “crime” is to have initiated a wave of truth-telling in an era of lies, cynicism and war.
The persecution of Julian Assange is about to flare again as it enters a dangerous stage. From August 20, three quarters of the Swedish prosecutor’s case against Assange regarding sexual misconduct in 2010 will disappear as the statute of limitations expires. At the same time Washington’s obsession with Assange and WikiLeaks has intensified. Indeed, it is vindictive American power that offers the greatest threat – as Chelsea Manning and those still held in Guantanamo can attest.
The Americans are pursuing Assange because WikiLeaks exposed their epic crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq: the wholesale killing of tens of thousands of civilians, which they covered up, and their contempt for sovereignty and international law, as demonstrated vividly in their leaked diplomatic cables. WikiLeaks continues to expose criminal activity by the US, having just published top secret US intercepts – US spies’ reports detailing private phone calls of the presidents of France and Germany, and other senior officials, relating to internal European political and economic affairs.
None of this is illegal under the US Constitution. As a presidential candidate in 2008, Barack Obama, a professor of constitutional law, lauded whistleblowers as “part of a healthy democracy [and they] must be protected from reprisal”. In 2012, the campaign to re-elect President Barack Obama boasted on its website that he had prosecuted more whistleblowers in his first term than all other US presidents combined. Before Chelsea Manning had even received a trial, Obama had pronounced the whistleblower guilty. He was subsequently sentenced to 35 years in prison, having been tortured during his long pre-trial detention.
Few doubt that should the US get their hands on Assange, a similar fate awaits him. Threats of the capture and assassination of Assange became the currency of the political extremes in the US following Vice-President Joe Biden’s preposterous slur that the WikiLeaks founder was a “cyber-terrorist”. Those doubting the degree of ruthlessness Assange can expect should remember the forcing down of the Bolivian president’s plane in 2013 – wrongly believed to be carrying Edward Snowden.
According to documents released by Snowden, Assange is on a “Manhunt target list”. Washington’s bid to get him, say Australian diplomatic cables, is “unprecedented in scale and nature”. In Alexandria, Virginia, a secret grand jury has spent five years attempting to contrive a crime for which Assange can be prosecuted. This is not easy. The First Amendment to the US Constitution protects publishers, journalists and whistleblowers.
Faced with this constitutional hurdle, the US Justice Department has contrived charges of “espionage”, “conspiracy to commit espionage”, “conversion” (theft of government property), “computer fraud and abuse” (computer hacking) and general “conspiracy”. The Espionage Act has life in prison and death penalty provisions.
Assange’s ability to defend himself in this Kafkaesque world has been handicapped by the US declaring his case a state secret. In March, a federal court in Washington blocked the release of all information about the “national security” investigation against WikiLeaks, because it was “active and ongoing” and would harm the “pending prosecution” of Assange. The judge, Barbara J. Rosthstein, said it was necessary to show “appropriate deference to the executive in matters of national security”. Such is the “justice” of a kangaroo court.
The supporting act in this grim farce is Sweden, played by the Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny. Until recently, Ny refused to comply with a routine European procedure routine that required her to travel to London to question Assange and so advance the case. For four and a half years, Ny has never properly explained why she has refused to come to London, just as the Swedish authorities have never explained why they refuse to give Assange a guarantee that they will not extradite him on to the US under a secret arrangement agreed between Stockholm and Washington. In December 2010, The Independent revealed that the two governments had discussed his onward extradition to the US.
Contrary to its 1960s reputation as a liberal bastion, Sweden has drawn so close to Washington that it has allowed secret CIA “renditions” – including the illegal deportation of refugees. The rendition and subsequent torture of two Egyptian political refugees in 2001 was condemned by the UN Committee against Torture, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch; the complicity and duplicity of the Swedish state are documented in successful civil litigation and in WikiLeaks cables. In the summer of 2010, Assange had flown to Sweden to talk about WikiLeaks revelations of the war in Afghanistan – in which Sweden had forces under US command.
“Documents released by WikiLeaks since Assange moved to England,” wrote Al Burke, editor of the online Nordic News Network, an authority on the multiple twists and dangers facing Assange, “clearly indicate that Sweden has consistently submitted to pressure from the United States in matters relating to civil rights. There is every reason for concern that if Assange were to be taken into custody by Swedish authorities, he could be turned over to the United States without due consideration of his legal rights.”
Why hasn’t the Swedish prosecutor resolved the Assange case? Many in the legal community in Sweden believe her behaviour inexplicable. Once implacably hostile to Assange, the Swedish press has published headlines such as: “Go to London, for God’s sake.”
Why hasn’t she? More to the point, why won’t she allow the Swedish court access to hundreds of SMS messages that the police extracted from the phone of one of the two women involved in the misconduct allegations? Why won’t she hand them over to Assange’s Swedish lawyers? She says she is not legally required to do so until a formal charge is laid and she has questioned him. Then, why doesn’t she question him? And if she did question him, the conditions she would demand of him and his lawyers – that they could not challenge her – would make injustice a near certainty.
On a point of law, the Swedish Supreme Court has decided Ny can continue to obstruct on the vital issue of the SMS messages. This will now go to the European Court of Human Rights. What Ny fears is that the SMS messages will destroy her case against Assange. One of the messages makes clear that one of the women did not want any charges brought against Assange, “but the police were keen on getting a hold on him”. She was “shocked” when they arrested him because she only “wanted him to take [an HIV] test”. She “did not want to accuse JA of anything” and “it was the police who made up the charges”. (In a witness statement, she is quoted as saying that she had been “railroaded by police and others around her”.)
Neither woman claimed she had been raped. Indeed, both have denied they were raped and one of them has since tweeted, “I have not been raped.” That they were manipulated by police and their wishes ignored is evident – whatever their lawyers might say now. Certainly, they are victims of a saga which blights the reputation of Sweden itself.
For Assange, his only trial has been trial by media. On August 20, 2010, the Swedish police opened a “rape investigation” and immediately – and unlawfully – told the Stockholm tabloids that there was a warrant for Assange’s arrest for the “rape of two women”. This was the news that went round the world.
In Washington, a smiling US Defence Secretary Robert Gates told reporters that the arrest “sounds like good news to me”. Twitter accounts associated with the Pentagon described Assange as a “rapist” and a “fugitive”.
Less than 24 hours later, the Stockholm Chief Prosecutor, Eva Finne, took over the investigation. She wasted no time in cancelling the arrest warrant, saying, “I don’t believe there is any reason to suspect that he has committed rape.” Four days later, she dismissed the rape investigation altogether, saying, “There is no suspicion of any crime whatsoever.” The file was closed.
Enter Claes Borgstrom, a high profile politician in the Social Democratic Party then standing as a candidate in Sweden’s imminent general election. Within days of the chief prosecutor’s dismissal of the case, Borgstrom, a lawyer, announced to the media that he was representing the two women and had sought a different prosecutor in the city of Gothenberg. This was Marianne Ny, whom Borgstrom knew well, personally and politically.
On 30 August, Assange attended a police station in Stockholm voluntarily and answered all the questions put to him. He understood that was the end of the matter. Two days later, Ny announced she was re-opening the case. Borgstrom was asked by a Swedish reporter why the case was proceeding when it had already been dismissed, citing one of the women as saying she had not been raped. He replied, “Ah, but she is not a lawyer.” Assange’s Australian barrister, James Catlin, responded, “This is a laughing stock… it’s as if they make it up as they go along.”
On the day Marianne Ny reactivated the case, the head of Sweden’s military intelligence service – which has the acronym MUST — publicly denounced WikiLeaks in an article entitled “WikiLeaks [is] a threat to our soldiers.” Assange was warned that the Swedish intelligence service, SAPO, had been told by its US counterparts that US-Sweden intelligence-sharing arrangements would be “cut off” if Sweden sheltered him.
For five weeks, Assange waited in Sweden for the new investigation to take its course. The Guardian was then on the brink of publishing the Iraq “War Logs”, based on WikiLeaks’ disclosures, which Assange was to oversee. His lawyer in Stockholm asked Ny if she had any objection to his leaving the country. She said he was free to leave.
Inexplicably, as soon as he left Sweden – at the height of media and public interest in the WikiLeaks disclosures – Ny issued a European Arrest Warrant and an Interpol “red alert” normally used for terrorists and dangerous criminals. Put out in five languages around the world, it ensured a media frenzy.
Assange attended a police station in London, was arrested and spent ten days in Wandsworth Prison, in solitary confinement. Released on £340,000 bail, he was electronically tagged, required to report to police daily and placed under virtual house arrest while his case began its long journey to the Supreme Court. He still had not been charged with any offence. His lawyers repeated his offer to be questioned by Ny in London, pointing out that she had given him permission to leave Sweden. They suggested a special facility at Scotland Yard commonly used for that purpose. She refused.
Katrin Axelsson and Lisa Longstaff of Women Against Rape wrote: “The allegations against [Assange] are a smokescreen behind which a number of governments are trying to clamp down on WikiLeaks for having audaciously revealed to the public their secret planning of wars and occupations with their attendant rape, murder and destruction… The authorities care so little about violence against women that they manipulate rape allegations at will. [Assange] has made it clear he is available for questioning by the Swedish authorities, in Britain or via Skype. Why are they refusing this essential step in their investigation? What are they afraid of?”
This question remained unanswered as Ny deployed the European Arrest Warrant, a draconian and now discredited product of the “war on terror” supposedly designed to catch terrorists and organised criminals. The EAW had abolished the obligation on a petitioning state to provide any evidence of a crime. More than a thousand EAWs are issued each month; only a few have anything to do with potential “terror” charges. Most are issued for trivial offences, such as overdue bank charges and fines. Many of those extradited face months in prison without charge. There have been a number of shocking miscarriages of justice, of which British judges have been highly critical.
The Assange case finally reached the UK Supreme Court in May 2012. In a judgement that upheld the EAW – whose rigid demands had left the courts almost no room for manoeuvre – the judges found that European prosecutors could issue extradition warrants in the UK without any judicial oversight, even though Parliament intended otherwise. They made clear that Parliament had been “misled” by the Blair government. The court was split, 5-2, and consequently found against Assange.
However, the Chief Justice, Lord Phillips, made one mistake. He applied the Vienna Convention on treaty interpretation, allowing for state practice to override the letter of the law. As Assange’s barrister, Dinah Rose QC, pointed out, this did not apply to the EAW.
The Supreme Court only recognised this crucial error when it dealt with another appeal against the EAW in November 2013. The Assange decision had been wrong, but it was too late to go back. With extradition imminent, the Swedish prosecutor told Assange’s lawyers that Assange, once in Sweden, would be immediately placed in one of Sweden’s infamous remand prisons.
Assange’s choice was stark: extradition to a country that had refused to say whether or not it would send him on to the US, or to seek what seemed his last opportunity for refuge and safety. Supported by most of Latin America, the courageous government of Ecuador granted him refugee status on the basis of documented evidence and legal advice that he faced the prospect of cruel and unusual punishment in the US; that this threat violated his basic human rights; and that his own government in Australia had abandoned him and colluded with Washington. The Labor government of prime minister Julia Gillard had even threatened to take away his passport.
Gareth Peirce, the renowned human rights lawyer who represents Assange in London, wrote to the then Australian foreign minister, Kevin Rudd: “Given the extent of the public discussion, frequently on the basis of entirely false assumptions… it is very hard to attempt to preserve for him any presumption of innocence. Mr. Assange has now hanging over him not one but two Damocles swords, of potential extradition to two different jurisdictions in turn for two different alleged crimes, neither of which are crimes in his own country, and that his personal safety has become at risk in circumstances that are highly politically charged.”
It was not until she contacted the Australian High Commission in London that Peirce received a response, which answered none of the pressing points she raised. In a meeting I attended with her, the Australian Consul-General, Ken Pascoe, made the astonishing claim that he knew “only what I read in the newspapers” about the details of the case.
Meanwhile, the prospect of a grotesque miscarriage of justice was drowned in a vituperative campaign against the WikiLeaks founder. Deeply personal, petty, vicious and inhuman attacks were aimed at a man not charged with any crime yet subjected to treatment not even meted out to a defendant facing extradition on a charge of murdering his wife. That the US threat to Assange was a threat to all journalists, to freedom of speech, was lost in the sordid and the ambitious.
Books were published, movie deals struck and media careers launched or kick-started on the back of WikiLeaks and an assumption that attacking Assange was fair game and he was too poor to sue. People have made money, often big money, while WikiLeaks has struggled to survive. The editor of the Guardian, Alan Rusbridger, called the WikiLeaks disclosures, which his newspaper published, “one of the greatest journalistic scoops of the last 30 years”. It became part of his marketing plan to raise the newspaper’s cover price.
With not a penny going to Assange or to WikiLeaks, a hyped Guardian book led to a lucrative Hollywood movie. The book’s authors, Luke Harding and David Leigh, gratuitously described Assange as a “damaged personality” and “callous”. They also revealed the secret password he had given the paper in confidence, which was designed to protect a digital file containing the US embassy cables. With Assange now trapped in the Ecuadorean embassy, Harding, standing among the police outside, gloated on his blog that “Scotland Yard may get the last laugh”.
The injustice meted out to Assange is one of the reasons Parliament reformed the Extradition Act to prevent the misuse of the EAW. The draconian catch-all used against him could not happen now; charges would have to be brought and “questioning” would be insufficient grounds for extradition. “His case has been won lock, stock and barrel,” Gareth Peirce told me, “these changes in the law mean that the UK now recognises as correct everything that was argued in his case. Yet he does not benefit.” In other words, the change in the UK law in 2014 mean that Assange would have won his case and he would not have been forced to take refuge.
Ecuador’s decision to protect Assange in 2012 bloomed into a major international affair. Even though the granting of asylum is a humanitarian act, and the power to do so is enjoyed by all states under international law, both Sweden and the United Kingdom refused to recognize the legitimacy of Ecuador’s decision. Ignoring international law, the Cameron government refused to grant Assange safe passage to Ecuador. Instead, Ecuador’s embassy was placed under siege and its government abused with a series of ultimatums. When William Hague’s Foreign Office threatened to violate the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, warning that it would remove the diplomatic inviolability of the embassy and send the police in to get Assange, outrage across the world forced the government to back down. During one night, police appeared at the windows of the embassy in an obvious attempt to intimidate Assange and his protectors.
Since then, Julian Assange has been confined to a small room under Ecuador’s protection, without sunlight or space to exercise, surrounded by police under orders to arrest him on sight. For three years, Ecuador has made clear to the Swedish prosecutor that Assange is available to be questioned in the London embassy, and for three years she has remained intransigent. In the same period Sweden has questioned forty-four people in the UK in connection with police investigations. Her role, and that of the Swedish state, is demonstrably political; and for Ny, facing retirement in two years, she must “win”.
In despair, Assange has challenged the arrest warrant in the Swedish courts. His lawyers have cited rulings by the European Court of Human Rights that he has been under arbitrary, indefinite detention and that he had been a virtual prisoner for longer than any actual prison sentence he might face. The Court of Appeal judge agreed with Assange’s lawyers: the prosecutor had indeed breached her duty by keeping the case suspended for years. Another judge issued a rebuke to the prosecutor. And yet she defied the court.
Last December, Assange took his case to the Swedish Supreme Court, which ordered Marianne Ny’s boss – the Prosecutor General of Sweden Anders Perklev – to explain. The next day, Ny announced, without explanation, that she had changed her mind and would now question Assange in London.
In his submission to the Supreme Court, the Prosecutor General made some important concessions: he argued that the coercion of Assange had been “intrusive” and that that the period in the embassy has been a “great strain” on him. He even conceded that if the matter had ever come to prosecution, trial, conviction and serving a sentence in Sweden, Julian Assange would have left Sweden long ago.
In a split decision, one Supreme Court judge argued that the arrest warrant should have been revoked. The majority of the judges ruled that, since the prosecutor had now said she would go to London, Assange’s arguments had become “moot”. But the Court ruled that it would have found against the prosecutor if she had not suddenly changed her mind. Justice by caprice. Writing in the Swedish press, a former Swedish prosecutor, Rolf Hillegren, accused Ny of losing all impartiality. He described her personal investment in the case as”abnormal” and demanded that she be replaced.
Having said she would go to London in June, Ny did not go, but sent a deputy, knowing that the questioning would not be legal under these circumstances, especially as Sweden had not bothered to get Ecuador’s approval for the meeting. At the same time, her office tipped off the Swedish tabloid newspaper Expressen, which sent its London correspondent to wait outside Ecuador’s embassy for “news”. The news was that Ny was cancelling the appointment and blaming Ecuador for the confusion and by implication an “uncooperative” Assange – when the opposite was true.
As the statute of limitations date approaches – 20 August 2015 – another chapter in this hideous story will doubtless unfold, with Marianne Ny pulling yet another rabbit out of her hat and the commissars and prosecutors in Washington the beneficiaries. Perhaps none of this is surprising. In 2008, a war on WikiLeaks and on Julian Assange was foretold in a secret Pentagon document prepared by the “Cyber Counterintelligence Assessments Branch”. It described a detailed plan to destroy the feeling of “trust” which is WikiLeaks’ “centre of gravity”. This would be achieved with threats of “exposure [and] criminal prosecution”. Silencing and criminalising such a rare source of truth-telling was the aim, smear the method. While this scandal continues the very notion of justice is diminished, along with the reputation of Sweden, and the shadow of America’s menace touches us all.
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For several days the Nigerian government and it’s Office of National Security headed by Sambo Dasuki, refused to admit that 234 pure girls from Chibok had been kidnapped. While the Civilian-JTF had risked all, trailing the terrorists to the edges of Sambisa as we exclusively reported then, Nigeria’s security agencies and army in spite of having hours of prior warning, not only failed to ward off the kidnap but did nothing to rescue the girls.
The Nigerian government during the horrific Dasuki era in attempting to mislead the public on the kidnapped girls put out a reckless and insanely wicked and heartless message, further jeopardizing the safety of the girls, that all but eight of the girls had been freed. This lie lasted a few hours till a parent of an abducted girl loudly denounced it.
Thanks to a series of brutal failures of the Dasuki administration that has been accused of being so embroiled in corruption, using the cover of the Boko Harma terror war to loot billions of dollars meant for kitting the army, the Chibok girls are no where to be found today; some are said to have died, some have been forcefully married with many having had kids from that and also out of wedlock, some sold and all other types of sad fates have befallen the rest.
The Chibok girls have been attended to in hospitals in Sambisa forest if at all. This is where Dasuki should be sent for his medical therapy. He should be treated with those drug sachets we see on the jungle floors in pictures of raided camps.
Dasuki has been a part of Nigeria’s governments for at least 20 years added up. His step brother, Gusau has been a part of governments for as long or longer. These are the people who make up 30 years of Nigeria’s pain via PDP godfathers (14 years of military misrule-IBB et al) and also have been part of PDP sons’ (the past 16 years of PDP democratic misrule-GEJ/OBJ) administrations. These are the people who have ensured that there are no standard hospitals in Nigeria this 2015. These are the people who have deprived us of security, progress and the luxury of reasonable comfort and hope in Nigeria.
How many of us can afford to travel abroad when our health ails? How many of us can afford to eat three square meals in the wrecked nation that Dasuki and co have left us? Truth is, everyone from Jonathan’s administration or who supported him and his party is guilty until proven innocent.
It is unbelievable and a big shame that Dasuki has the effrontery to request leave to travel abroad to be treated. What nonsense! Where is it in Nigeria’s constitution that a suspect, charged with treason should be allowed to travel abroad for health purposes? Does he know what treason is?
Dasuki is a national security threat. He can or should only be allowed abroad if it is to go and receive his capital sentencing for wrecking Nigeria’s capacity to defend its territory and allowing over 100,000 Nigerians to be killed in the hands of Boko Haram, over 2 million to be displaced and the Chibok girls to be so destroyed for the only “crime” of going to school.
I pray the Department of State Security realizes the violation of allowing an individual charged with being a national security threat and risk, and of treason, to travel abroad. Dasuki should be the last Nigerian allowed to travel abroad for “health” purposes.
As it is for the poor, so it must be for the rich, else the wrath of God will continue to be on Nigeria and we will continue to see deadly chaos from north to south and west to east.
Crying like a baby, “eyaa eyaaa eyaaa, I want to go abroad to see white doctor… eyaa eyaa eyaa!”
Onye’ala like yourself!
Dr. Peregrino Brimah; http://ENDS.ng [Every Nigerian Do Something] Email: [email protected] Twitter: @EveryNigerian
President Obasanjo was at the Aso Rock Villa today. Courtesy visit.
It is time to take stock and calculate the man hours that the President of Nigeria has lost to hosting former President Obasanjo in Aso Rock Villa.
Femi Adesina has run out of categorizations of these overbearing and frequent visits. Every second spent hosting Baba is on the people’s clock. We are paying for the time Buhari is spending hosting OBJ every second.
Either President Buhari and his team are going to tell us how OBJ’s “joro jara joro” in the Villa is translating to some kind of impact on the lives of Nigerians – regular salaries, improved electricity, etc – or the Yoruba people around President Buhari should teach him a Yoruba strategy.
Femi Adesina, when next OBJ comes calling, tell President Buhari to yawn and say: “This time yesterday we were already sound asleep”.
As a younger guy, I went with my brother to one of his sites. On arriving there, we met the labourers rebelling against their leader. One of them said in Yoruba “aponle ni fourmanu jare, eniyan kan o le sise eniyan merin”. Meaning the position of a foreman is exaggerated, no one man can do the work of FOUR people. He apparently thought foreman means fourman.
Now that Fashola has been appointed a FOURMAN, eniyan kan to ma sise eniyan merin…e ba mi sadua fun o!
Office of the Special Adviser to the Rivers State Governor On Media and Publicity
4th November 2015
Nyesom Ezenwo Wike,CON
Governor of Rivers State.
Sir,Let me start by thanking you for finding me worthy of serving you,nay,the state in my capacity as SPECIAL ADVISER on Media and Publicity,for this i shall remain grateful.
However,with the unfolding developments,it is irretrievable that my services are no longer needed,and to this end,subterfuges are employed to send the message accross.
Sir permit me to dredge up the facts that plank my conviction on.
For the first two Months i worked with you,not a kobo was given to me as Impress/Overload.Apart from paid advertorials and when you briefed the press,every other publications were done at my own cost.Infact,in most cases,announcements made at your behet were paid for by me or done pro- bono.
In the third month,you approved the sum #5,000,000.OO(Five Million Naira) as monthly impress.This was obviously grossly inadequate compared to the pecuniary monthly obligations of my office that gulped #4,800,000,00(Four Million eight hundred thousand).These are obligations inherited from the Rotimi Amaechi’s government.Attached are how the payments are made to bolster my assertions.
With this,i am left with #200,000.00(Two Hundred Thousand Naira) to manage the press for one month.There are times when journalist who cover occasions in government house leave without a kobo.
It is pertinent to also state for the records that no time did i threaten to arrest journalist with policemen.Even when i tried to explain,you rebuffed me.
Furtherance,i have written several memoranda to you on efficacious Publicity.All memoranda were returned to me untreated,i have also attached herewith such memoranda.
Sir,i resolved to work with you all my heart,but what i got in return is gratitous derision.
On several occasions after i noticed your hostile attitude towards me,i approached you for clarification and resolutions but was denied any chance to speak,this prompted my fist resignation move,after which you called and cautioned and asked me to go back to work.Things got festered from them on.
I fell in the bathroom and sustained several head injuries,with the plaster on my head,i met you in the office to explain things to you.All you said was that i should go and treat myself.This was about two months ago,sadly you have never asked me about the injuries.
On thursday October 22nd 2015,i had a close shave with death on my way from Buguma as assassins riddiled”my car”.I sent you a text on the development,but up till now you have never called me to ask questions.
You got back from Abuja on saturday,after the Tribunal verdict only to spleen on me.
Although one may understand that given the Tribunal verdict,you showed no concern at all after the day of your broadcast.On the sunday,you had solidarity church service,i was with you in the morning for the broadcast,on my way to the chuch service,i felt dizzy and went home.Shortly after i started vomiting blood.Emeka Woke(COS) and the SSA on protocol were informed and they rushed to my House.I was reliably informed that you were briefed by Engr.Emeka Woke but did not bother to know if i was okay or not.This is bloodcurdling.My life means nothing to you,i sent a memo to you for imprimater to travel to the United States for medical attention,without asking for money.That memo has been on your desk for about three weeks.
Sir,the climax of your disdain for me was the rebuttal in which you dissociated yourself from an innocous statementi made concerning the judiciary and the verdict.
When you called me on Wednesday to express your disapproval,i apologised profusely on the phone with a promise that it shall not repeat itself.You asked if i was actually with your or not,and i said I was.This siencere assurance could not placate you because of your mindset.Thank God the likes of O.C.J Okocha,SAN saw nothing wrong in my statement.The rebuttal was a good opportunity for you to ridicule me in public and show disapproval of my still working with you.Your rebuttal obviate the need for further evidence of your absolute loss of confidence in me.This i failed to discern when you ordered that i must not be a member of the ONE HUNDRED DAYS IN OFFICE COMMITEE and INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATION COMMITEE.Initially,you claimed the publicity on you was poor and when it imporved,you said i was only popularizing myself,you saw nothing good in anything i did.You called me and cautioned me that you were always in the news.You further said that most of us will know our fate after the Tribunal.
On the white paper Press Briefing,it was suggested that I brief the press(and rightly too),but you spurred.The Issue is not my not briefing the press but the contempt.
Your insentivity to my close shave with death awakened reminiscenece of when you said i can go and Die with my father,when i coughed in your office.You worked me out of your office,saying”If i you want to die,go and die with your father”interesting! This was after you queried why E.C AGUMA,SAN and I were close despiet the fact that my dad,the late Hon.Justice Chief Opubo Inko-Tariah sentenced the late Chief E.AGUMA to Death in the Ndabros matter.It was even E.C Aguma,SAN who even corrected the impression because my late dad never found the Late Chief Aguma guilty and so never ever convicted him.
The issue of your controversial visit to the CJN is still green,you called me two weeks after(On the Day PUNCH Published it online) to ask what my reactions were and why queried why i was not proactive.Tersely,I said i never knew of the visit because you never told me although we were in Abuja together or else i would not have pro-acted.
However,i told the Press the visit was to resolve the thorny issue of a substantive CJ for the state.Few days later,you said i told the Press i was not aware and I replied that I never did and that the statement was made to you alone.All I told the press was that your visit was to resolve the vexed issue of substantive CJ.I never knew your allegations was only a vener.
As a Special Adviser,I have no befitting to accomodate my PAs and SAs yet i carried on.
Let me not bore you further with what I know you dismiss as prolixity.
I sincerely advise that you give penetrating thoughts to your leadership paradigm.
The people around you are people ready to die for your sake.Do not dampen their spirits.They are but human beings. Expereince is Pre-eminent where advice is ignored.
I conclude Sir,by once more thanking you for opportunity and wish you God’s guidance and blessings as i exit your government.
Nigeria’s economy has been officially declared insolvent by the president. With this affirmation, medical experts, especially psychiatrists say many Nigerians may likely commit suicide as a temporarily measure to escape the quagmire. ISIOMA MADIKE in this report looks at this and other consequences through the eyes of experts
Many Nigerians, according to medical experts, are apprehensive that the recent revelation by President Muhammadu Buhari that the country is broke may lead to quantum suicide among the populace. Speaking in an exclusive telephone interview with Saturday Telegraph, a consultant psychiatrist and deputy secretary, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Lagos State branch, Dr. Oluseun Peters Ogunnubi, said the frank assessment of the country’s economy is likely to lead to “anomic” suicide. According to him, the health sector before this time has been in shambles with non-functional equipment and jaundice personnel that are unmotivated. Ogunnubi said:
“Even when Nigeria was not broke, hospitals have become mere consulting rooms. There was no accessibility, availability and affordability of quality medicare for the mass majority of the people. This was what gave rise to medical tourism that is being experienced in droves. India has suddenly become the destination for quality medicare, which unfortunately, the poor majority in Nigeria could not access because of the huge financial implications.
“Now that the president has come out frankly to admit what most people already know, it would definitely lead to both active and passive suicide. Where someone is unable to pay for simple things like malaria treatment, what do you think will happen?
By mere thinking on how to get the high cost of treatment in hospitals that do not even have what it takes to treat such trivial ailments would on its own lead to death. I mean death-induced by a state of hopelessness. This is what is going to happen if urgent steps are not taking to fix the economy back to shape.”
The consultant psychiatrist did not stop there. He also said that the secondary health facilities are the ones still managing to remain afloat even as he noted that they are being overstretched at the moment. “The primary care sector, which has remained unfunded, is in coma as we speak now while the tertiary sector, that is the teaching hospitals have become mere edifices. These have led to mass exodus of quality medical personnel abroad. I’m not talking of doctors alone; but nurses and other personnel are also moving.
This is a shame for a country that should be selfsustaining in many areas, particularly in the health sector. “I foresee a situation whereby anomic suicide will overtake all known health issues currently plaguing the nation. It may be the leading death in the next six months if truth must be said. Again, more people will take to alcohol consumption, especially paraga because of depression and anxiety, which in turn will lead to more heart-related diseases.
This is my candid assessment of the situation that we found ourselves now,” Ogunnubi said. In like manner, another consultant psychiatrist at the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology Teaching Hospital (LAUTECH), Osogbo, Osun State, Dr. Suleiman Babatunde, aligned with the position of Ogunnubi. He said that despite the change in government, there has not been any visible development in the lives of individuals.
Civil servants, according to him, have been at the receiving end, feeling the crunch with many not being able to meet simple family obligations. “Depression and anxiety are the major symptoms of a regress economy the world over and Nigeria, if you ask me, would not be an exception. The consequence of this will be attempted and actual suicide by many who may not be able to cope with the accompanying stress and hardship.
With the situation at hand, many would not be able to pay their bills as they should or even meet up with sundry domestic commitments. “It will also lead to unemploymenmany will lose their jobs, crime and criminality will rise, incidents of rape like we are experiencing now will continue to rise astronomically and generally, weird things will be happening with no control.
All these are suicidal. This behaviour would be as a result of frustration, which ultimately would lead many to take their lives.” However, Dr. Femi Olugbile, also a consultant psychiatrist and former Chief Medical Director (CMD) at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), chose to look at the issue differently.
He told Saturday Telegraph that the president was only talking about the drastic change and manner the scarce resources are going to be managed in the new dispensation. “It was a realistic comparison of what was and how to get out of it. I believe Mr. President was talking about the lean economy and how to efficiently manage the system to avoid total collapse.
As a medical doctor, I don’t think it will degenerate to the point where individuals would be so frustrated to consider taking their lives. To me, it’s just how the resources would be prudently deployed to the very essentials in the economy; a kind of plugging the hitherto licking areas.
That is my reading of the import of Buhari’s statement on the state of the economy,” Olugbile said. But, Dr. Olusunkanmi Isamotu, a paediatrician and immediate senior special adviser on health to the Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, differ slightly.
He told this reporter that when a country is broke it means it is no longer able to meet up with the demands of activities in most sectors of the economy as it used to before such situation occurs. “A lot of things the country was able to do based on the available income, it won’t be able to do such things any longer.
This applies directly to an individual. So, this situation would affect the life expectancy of the citizens because they would not, in a broke economy, able to do those things they had taken for granted. For instance, the health sector would suffer, in which case hospitals and the allied institutions would have difficulties in meeting up with the demands of the time.
“There would also be less money to service the available equipment or even replacing obsolete ones; drugs would become very expensive and out of the reach of the ordinary people and many would not be able to access these facilities as they should have. The resultant effect is that there would be increase in disease and deaths.”
Isamotu went further to look at the issue of food sufficiency. He noted that there may not be enough food for the required balance diet. This, according to him, would affect everybody because all need or require food to live a healthy life. “In any case, many who would be unable to access the high cost of health would in turn move to patronise quarks.
These unskilled personnel would also compound the already bad situation. “Given that the average life expectancy at the moment is about 52 years compared to the United States of America which is about 78 years, the situation would further compound this ugly scenario.
Apart from these, the education sector would suffer in that many children would not be able to go to school as their parents wouldn’t be able to meet up with the fees. “The struggle of life in this circumstance would force them into crime and criminality even as some other unwholesome ventures that may eventually cut their lives short would become attractive.
In a similar regard, it would promote unemployment as many would be thrown out of job. The resultant effect would be that they may not be able to take care of their immediate families,” he said. For Dr. Saheed Bello, family physician at LAUTECH, the country’s very bad economic state is obvious.
He believes that the economic situation has greatly affected would even affect the citizens the more in the coming months. “Many people cannot afford their bills now. In this year, we have experienced seven strikes, including doctors who had gone on strike for over four months.
As it is now, government seemed not to be concerned. And the situation affects other sectors of the economy too. We now have many beggars on the streets and at the market level, goods are out of the reach of many with little money at their disposal to spend.
“All of these would sum up to increase mortality because people can no longer afford simple things like malaria drugs. For sure, these would eventually shorten the life expectancy in the country, which in the first place, is not encouraging.” Incidentally, the experts agreed that there is a problem in Nigeria and that many, who are dying young, usually die from diseases that could have been prevented or treated if the economy is boisterous.
People’s immune systems, they chorused, are weakened by living substandard lives, in which many frequently succumb to avoidable diseases like cholera and malaria. President Buhari recent admission that the country is broke is, indeed, rattling not only to medical experts but to all Nigerians.
Buhari, who is the President of Africa’s biggest economy, confirmed many people’s fear when asked about the neglect of infrastructure. He bluntly stated that paying salaries by the federal government is so tough that not much else can be done. He mentioned that 27 of the 36 states had to be bailed out so they could pay salaries and went further to state that Nigeria was morally and economically vandalised. Watchers of the country’s economy took it from there.
They have gone on to paint a gloomy picture of the economy and how it would inadvertently affect the already depleted life expectancy of the average citizens. Compared to this time last year, a barrel of crude oil was over $100 (now less than $50), at the black market was N169 (now about N226), while inflation was about eight per cent (now 9.4 per cent).
These figures, however, have somewhat forced living standard to nosedive dramatically. The situation is remotely being linked also to the rise in many young people who have begun to have serious heart-related diseases that lead to, for instance, strokes and renal failures that have become rampant in today’s Nigeria.
Before the country’s Center for Disease Control announced that it calculated a reduction in the national life expectancy figures, the World Bank had said it was just above 51 years old, almost 20 years less than the world average. This may be why Dr. Adamu Onu, a family medical practitioner, said that the health crises across the country have poverty as the main cause.
He is of the belief that most people in Nigeria simply do not have access to healthcare because they live far away from the nearest clinic and do not have the money or the means to travel to the city to access better medical treatment. Incidentally, this correlation of income and life expectancy is often said not to affect individuals born in wealthier countries negatively.
On the average, they are expected to live longer than those born in poor countries. To these analysts, it is not the aggregate growth in income, however, that matters most, but the reduction in poverty. At present, lives in the remote areas of the country presents a horrifying picture. Infants within the age bracket of two years are generally looking malnourished. Many of them are pipe-stem thin with rather large teeth which jut from a somewhat perpetually open mouth etched on a face with skull-tight skin and buzz-cut hair.
They often grit their teeth when they talk. Their sight casts a dark shadow over a rising Nigeria, where millions of children have little to eat. If they survive, they are likely, according to experts, to grow up shorter, weaker and less smart than their better-fed peers.
However, it does appear that the country’s efforts at reducing the number of undernourished people would be largely hampered by blighting poverty where many cannot afford the amount and types of food they need. In addition, shoddy management of food stocks, over reliance of carbohydrate-rich food that fuel and fill the poor rather than truly nourish them in the country’s poorest rural settings, according to findings, would only but worsened the already bad situation.