04 December, 2015

Nigerian Senate pushes social media clampdown bill, hits back at critics

 Nigerian Senate pushes social media clampdown bill, hits back at critics
The Nigerian Senate, on Thursday, hit back at critics of a proposed law which sets out heavy sanctions for people who “falsely” criticise public officials or institutions.
The bill, sponsored by Bala Ibn Na’allah, a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress from Kebbi State, has been widely criticised, and is seen as not only a significant clampdown on freedom of speech, but a deliberate targeting of critics of federal lawmakers and the National Assembly.
Nigerian lawmakers frequently come under the media spotlight because of the huge salaries they draw with relatively little output.
Mr. Na’allah’s bill, titled “A Bill for an Act to Prohibit Frivolous Petitions and other Matters Connected therewith” seeks to compel critics to accompany their petitions with sworn court affidavit, or face six months imprisonment upon conviction.
The bill says, “Not withstanding anything contained in any law, it shall be unlawful to submit any petition, statement intended to report the conduct of any person for the purpose of an investigation, inquiry and or inquest without a duly sworn affidavit in the High Court of a state or the Federal High Court confirming the content to be true and correct and in accordance with the Oaths Act.
“Any petition and or complains not accompanied by a sworn affidavit shall be incompetent and shall not be used by any government institution, agency or bodies established by any law for the time being enforced in Nigeria.
“Any person who unlawfully uses, publishes or cause to be published, any petition, complaint not supported by a duly sworn affidavit, shall be deemed to have committed an offence and upon conviction, shall be liable to an imprisonment for six months without an option of fine.”
It continues: “Any person who acts, uses, or cause to be used any petition or complaints not accompanied by duly sworn affidavit shall be deemed to have committed an offence and upon conviction, shall be liable to an imprisonment for a term of two years or a fine of N200,000.00 or both.”
It also states that, “Where any person in order to circumvent this law makes any allegation and or publish any statement, petition in any paper, radio, or any medium of whatever description, with malicious intent to discredit or set the public against any person or group of persons, institutions of government, he shall be guilty of an offence and upon conviction, shall be liable to an imprisonment term of two years or a fine of N4,000,000.00.”
For the social media, the bill says, “Where any person through text message, tweets, WhatsApp or through any social media posts any abusive statement knowing same to be false with intent to set the public against any person and group of persons, an institution of government or such other bodies established by law shall be guilty of an offence and upon conviction, shall be liable to an imprisonment for two years or a fine of N2,000,000.00 or both fine and imprisonment.”
The bill received an unusually rapid attention at the senate, with two readings made within two weeks of its introduction.
Many Nigerians have slammed the lawmakers, mainly using the social media.


On Thursday, Dino Melaye (APC-Kogi State) set the tone for the Senate’s response when he raised a point of order, lashing out on New York-based online media platform, Sahara Reporters.
Mr. Melaye claimed that untrue stories had been published against him and the Senate, and warned that the senate should not overlook.
“While I celebrate the social media as one of the actors, this senate should not be blackmailed,” he said.
“The senate is a sacred hallowed chamber. The bill moved yesterday by Ibn Na’allah has been misconstrued by the same people.
“This senate should not be quiet about it.”
Other lawmakers took turn to speak about alleged false publications in the media.
The senate leader, Ali Ndume (APC-Borno State), said the publication of false stories was becoming rampant in the country.
The senate as a lawmaking body should hold people responsible for their actions, Mr. Ndume said.
“It is not only Sahara Reporters; there are other online platforms that wake up and post all sorts of things.
“At a point, one of the online platforms accused me of buying 400 golf cars for Boko Haram use,” he said.
Biodun Olujimi (PDP-Ekiti State) also expressed frustration, saying she had to exit all the social media “because of these problems”.
Ruling on the matter, the senate president, Bukola Saraki said, “We all support freedom of speech but as a senate we should not be blackmailed.
“You can’t write false stories just because it is social media.”
The matter was referred to the committees on ICT, judiciary and to be led ethics and privileges committee.

03 December, 2015

Root causes of the Biafra struggle

Root causes of the Biafra struggle

on    /   in Femi Aribisala 1:40 am  

By Femi Aribisala
IN the eight years of Obasanjo’s presidency, there was no headline-grabbing demand for Biafra.   Ditto for the eight years of the Yar’Adua/Jonathan presidency.   However, within months of Buhari’s presidency, the Igbo demand for Biafra has become deafening.
Without a doubt, the blame for this new impetus must be laid firmly at the doorstep of President Buhari.   Moreover, rather than attenuate it, the president and the APC have exacerbated separatist tendencies in the country.
This was part of the reason why people like me did not support Buhari’s election as president of Nigeria.   I have written severally in Vanguard that Nigeria must remain a united nation.   In my column of 4th March, 2014 entitled: “Re-inventing Igbo Politics in Nigeria,” I maintained that: “Nigeria cannot survive without the Igbo.”   The following week on 11th March 2014, I wrote another article entitled: “Nigeria Cannot Do without the North.”
I remain persuaded by both positions.   But if Nigeria is indeed to remain united, there are certain things that must be said and done.   The problem with the Buhari administration is that it seems totally impervious to these imperatives.
Second-class  treatment
There is no question that, as one of the major ethnic groups in Nigeria, the Igbo have been hard done by.   Since the civil war 45 years ago, they have been treated as if they were a minority ethnic group in Nigeria when in fact they are one of the majorities.   No Igbo has been considered worthy of being head-of-state.   The South East of Ndigbo is the only one of the six geopolitical zones of the country with five states.   All other zones have six or more.   Indeed, the number of local governments in the North-East is virtually double that of the South-East.   As a result, the Ndigbo receive the smallest amount of revenue allocation among all the zones, in spite of the fact that some of the South-eastern states are among the oil-producing states.
The roads in the South-east are notoriously bad.   Government after government have simply ignored them.   Inconsequential ministerial positions are usually zoned to Ndigbo.   Time was when it seemed the lackluster Ministry of Information was their menial preserve.   It is also a known fact that every so often the Igbo are slaughtered in the North under one guise or the other.   Many are forced to abandon their homes and businesses and run for dear life.   The people who perpetrate these acts never seem to be arrested or prosecuted.
When a major tribe is treated procedurally as second-class in their own country, there will be a demand for self-determination sooner rather than later.   When a group of people feel unsafe in their own country, they cannot but be expected to decide to opt out.   It is not the responsibility of the government to imprison the Igbo in Nigeria.   It is the responsibility of the government to ensure and guarantee that they feel safe and are treated with respect.
Discrimination against the South: While these issues have been brewing under the surface for some time, the lop-sided tendencies of President Buhari have brought them all out to boiling-point.   In his first-coming as head-of-state in 1984, Buhari antagonised Ndigbo by locking up Vice-President Alex Ekwueme, an Igbo man, in jail in Kirikiri; while President Shehu Shagari, a Fulani man was only placed under house arrest.   In addition, Buhari arrested and jailed Ojukwu, another Igbo icon for no just cause.
As Chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund, Buhari discriminated blatantly against the South and especially the South-east.   For example, his PTF built only 4,440 kilometres of roads in Southern Nigeria representing a paltry 24%; while 13,870 kilometres were built in the North representing 76%.   Of these figures, the Southeast and South-south combined only received 13.5%.
Under the PTF’s National Health and Rehabilitation Programme, NHERP, the entire South got 0% allocation, while the North got 100% in the tertiary programme. In the vocational programme, the entire South had only 3% while the North had 97%. The same was for the primary side where the South had only 12% but the North was allocated 88%. The secondary area was no different. While the North had 86% percent, the South had just 14%.
Disenfranchisement  of Ndigbo
These anomalies have been duplicated to date in the seven months of Buhari’s presidency.   In the first place, Buhari won virtually without Igbo votes.   In order to diminish Jonathan’s votes, a major assault was made against them; recognising that they are some of the staunchest Jonathan supporters.   INEC ensured that, far more disproportionately relative to other geopolitical zones, millions of South-East voters disappeared between 2011 and 2015.
Only 7.6 million voters were registered for the 2015 election in the South-east, and only 5.6 million PVCs collected.   Compare this with Buhari’s North-west, there were 17.6 million registrations and 15.1 million collections.   While in the South-west, there were 4.2 million votes in 2015, relative to 4.6 million in 2011: in the South-east, there were only 2.6 million votes in 2015, relative to 5 million in 2011; a drastic drop of 2.4 million.
While Kano, Katsina, Kaduna, Jigawa and Bauchi posted their traditional humongous figures; Imo, Anambra and Abia posted relatively disappointing figures.   While the internally displaced Northerners in the North-East could vote; internally displaced Igbos from the North could not.   While the card-readers failed in many parts of the South-east, suggestive they were programmed to fail; they worked in most parts of the North.   In places like Lagos and Kano, many non-indigenes, including the Igbo, were not even given their PVCs.
Making of a hero: President Buhari then added insult to injury by stating on his visit to the United States that he could not be expected to treat those who voted for him in the same way as those who did not.
He said: “(Going by election results), constituencies that gave me 97% cannot in all honesty be treated, on some issues, with constituencies that gave me 5%. I think these are political realities. While, certainly there will be justice for everybody but the people who voted, and made their votes count, they must feel the government has appreciated the effort they put in putting the government in place.”
While his media assistants later tried to water down this disturbing statement, the reality was that, apart from the constitutionally-stipulated requirement that every state must be represented in the presidential Cabinet, Buhari has virtually ignored the Igbo in his appointments.
Two moves showed the level of insensitivity of the Buhari administration to these anomalies.   The first was the decision to move Boko Haram prisoners down from the North to the South-east; a move firmly resisted by the Igbo as it would have made them a target of suicide-bombers.   The other was the blunder of placing Nnamdi Kanu, the director of Radio Biafra, under arrest; charging him with treason and terrorism.
All the government has achieved by this is inflame passions in the South-east.   It has also made a hero out of Kanu.   Those who did not know about Kanu before now know him.   Those who were not disposed to Biafra before are now shouting Biafra.   For weeks on end, Biafra has become the biggest news item nationwide, with agitations, demonstrations, threats and arrests.
Agenda for action: The government needs to apply more wisdom here.   At the moment, it has become the biggest promoter of Biafra by the way it has gone about things.   The idea of Biafra cannot be killed with a sledge hammer, if at all.   What is required is to address the root causes that impelled Biafra.   Unfortunately, it would appear the Buhari administration is unwilling to do this.
As a matter of urgency, Nnamdi Kanu must be released unconditionally.   If the government persists in labeling him a terrorist, his supporters might decide to become terrorists.   Nigeria already has enough problem of Boko Haram conflagration in the North-east.   We cannot afford to light another fire in the South-east.
Kanu was living in England.   If he were a terrorist, he would have been arrested there.   The fact that he lived there without constraints or restraints shows he was not considered a threat, either to Britain or to Nigeria.
It is not a crime to fight for self-determination; it is a right.   The government must not give the impression that Nigeria is a prison where we must all live, irrespective of the living conditions.   The government needs to address the grievances of the Igbo.   Their roads and bridges must be built.   Their waterways must be opened up to the Atlantic Ocean.
Eastern sea-ports must be developed.   Railways must link their mercantile cities to the North.   Their coal resources must be profitably exploited for the benefit of their unemployed youth and citizenry. An additional state must be created in the South-east to bring it up to par with other geopolitical zones.
National  question
Moreover, we need to revisit again a critical issue addressed during the truncated National Conference: the issue of resource allocation.   This is a major gripe of the Igbo and it is a legitimate gripe.   It is not in the interest of Nigeria to continue in this age-old practice where all the states gather every month in Abuja for handouts, whether they are productive or not.   This gives the wrong impression that some states are insisting on being piggy-backed by others.   We need to develop a system that rewards and encourages productivity.
Those who produce should be allowed to keep disproportionately what they produce, instead of the current situation where they are required to share it disproportionately with those relatively less productive.   The truth of the matter is that every part of Nigeria is resource rich.   Every part of Nigeria has the requisite manpower.   Unfortunately, our current over-concentration on oil militates against the development of other indigenous resources.
A situation where national resources are distributed according to the number of local government councils, and where there is now supposedly only 96 local government councils in the South-East, relative to 186 in the North-west does not suggest equity and justice.
The disgruntlement in the South-east about the Nigeria project will not disappear by ignoring it.   It will not disappear by arresting Kanu.   It will not disappear by issuing threats.   Neither will it disappear by denying the youth of the South-east their freedom of speech and assembly.
Today, the demand for Biafra remains the demand of a minority of the Igbo.   If the root causes of their anger are not addressed, the minority will soon become the majority.   If that happens, Nigeria might unravel.   I repeat what I have stated before: the Nigeria of our manifest destiny cannot be realised without the Igbo.

02 October, 2015


 Text of speech by President Muhammadu Buhari to mark Nigeria’s 55th Independence anniversary.

OCTOBER 1 is a day for joy and celebrations for us Nigerians whatever the circumstances we find ourselves in because it is the day, 55 years ago; we liberated ourselves from the shackles of colonialism and began our long march to nationhood and to greatness.

No temporary problems or passing challenges should stop us from honoring this day. Let us remind ourselves of the gifts God has given us. Our Creator has bequeathed to us Numbers – Nigeria is the ninth most populated country on the planet. We have in addition:

• Arable land
• Water
• Forests
• Oil and gas
• Coastline
• Solid minerals

We have all the attributes of a great nation. We are not there yet because the one commodity we have been unable to exploit to the fullest is unity of purpose. This would have enabled us to achieve not only more orderly political evolution and integration but also continuity and economic progress.

Countries far less endowed have made greater economic progress by greater coherence and unity of purpose.

Nonetheless, that we have remained together is an achievement we should all appreciate and try to consolidate. We have witnessed this year a sea change in our democratic development. The fact that an opposition party replaced an entrenched government in a free and fair election is indicative of the deeper roots of our democratic system. Whatever one’s views are, Nigerians must thank former President Jonathan for not digging-in in the face of defeat and thereby saving the country untold consequences.

As I said in my inaugural speech, I bear no ill will against anyone on past events. Nobody should fear anything from me. We are not after anyone. People should only fear the consequences of their actions. I hereby invite everyone, whatever his or her political view to join me in working for the nation.

My countrymen and women, every new government inherits problems. Ours was no different. But what Nigerians want are solutions, quick solutions not a recitation of problems inherited. Accordingly, after consultations with the Vice President, senior party leaders and other senior stakeholders, I quickly got down to work on the immediate, medium-term and long-term problems which we must solve if we are to maintain the confidence which Nigerians so generously bestowed on us in the March elections and since then.

As you know, I toured the neighboring countries, marshal a coalition of armed forces of the five nations to confront and defeat Boko Haram. I met also the G-7 leaders and other friendly presidents in an effort to build an international coalition against Boko Haram. Our gallant armed forces under new leadership have taken the battle to the insurgents, and severely weakened their logistical and infrastructural capabilities. Boko Haram are being scattered and are on the run. That they are resorting to shameless attacks on soft targets such as IDP camps is indicative of their cowardice and desperation. I have instructed security and local authorities to tighten vigilance in vulnerable places.

On power, government officials have held a series of long sessions over several weeks about the best way to improve the nation’s power supply in the safest and most cost effective way. In the meantime, improvement in the power supply is moderately encouraging. By the same token, supply of petrol and kerosene to the public has improved throughout the country. All the early signs are that within months the whole country would begin to feel a change for the better.

Preliminary steps have been taken to sanitise NNPC and improve its operations so that the inefficiency and corruption could be reduced to a minimum. Those of our refineries which can be serviced and brought back into partial production would be enabled to resume operations so that the whole sordid business of exporting crude and importing finished products in dubious transactions could be stopped.

In addition to NNPC, I have ordered for a complete audit of our other revenue generating agencies mainly CBN,  Customs, NCC, for better service delivery to the nation. Prudent housekeeping is needed now more than ever in view of the sharp decline in world market oil prices. It is a challenge we have to face squarely. But what counts is not so much what accrues but how we manage our resources that is important.
We have seen in the last few years how huge resources were mismanaged, squandered and wasted. The new APC government is embarking on a clean up, introducing prudence and probity in public financing.

At an early stage, the Federal Government addressed the issue of salary arrears in many states, a situation capable of degenerating into social unrest. The APC government stepped in to provide short-term support to the owing states and enabled them to pay off the backlog and restore the livelihood of millions of Nigerians.

Fellow Nigerians, there have been a lot of anxiety and impatience over the apparent delay in announcement of ministers. There is no cause to be anxious. Our government set out to do things methodically and properly. We received the handing over notes from the outgoing government only four days before taking over. Consequently, the Joda Transition Committee submitted its report on the re-organisation of Federal Government structure after studying the hand over notes. It would have been haphazard to announce ministers when the government had not finalised the number of ministries to optimally carry the burden of governance.

Anyway, the wait is over. The first set of names for ministerial nominees for confirmation has been sent to the senate. Subsequent lists will be forwarded in due course. Impatience is not a virtue. Order is more vital than speed. Careful and deliberate decisions after consultations get far better results. And better results for our country is what the APC government for CHANGE is all about.

I would like to end my address this morning on our agenda for CHANGE. Change does not just happen. You and I and all of us must appreciate that we all have our part to play if we want to bring change about. We must change our lawless habits, our attitude to public office and public trust. We must change our unruly behavior in schools, hospitals, market places, motor parks, on the roads, in homes and offices. To bring about change, we must change ourselves by being law-abiding citizens.

Happy Independence celebrations. Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

29 September, 2015


La Nigeria "respinge" Salvini: negato il visto sul passaporto

Il leader del Carroccio ribatte al Papa sull'immigrazione: "I muri cadono se ci sono regole". E attacca Renzi: "È senza palle, in Siria usi le armi". Poi lancia Souad Sbai al Comune di Roma

Il viaggio in Nigeria non ci sarà. La partenza era prevista per domani ma Matteo Salvini ha ritirato il passaporto senza il visto necessario.
"Me ne farò una ragione, ci tornerò quando avranno compreso che noi siamo qua per aiutarli", ha detto Salvini a Radio Padania spiegando con una certa delusione che "era tutto pronto". "Avevo anche fatto la vaccinazione per la febbre gialla e sono stato due giorni a letto - ha raccontato - e invece non si parte. La cosa assurda è che vengono in migliaia qui come clandestini e poi noi... non possiamo andare in certi paesi". Secondo il segretario federale, i nigeriani non avevano capito che "volevamo portare lì sviluppo e investimenti"."Peccato - ha chiosato - saremo più fortunati la prossima volta".
Lo sguardo di Salvini non è limitato ai confini italiani. Se da una parte torna a bombardare il governo ("Semmai dovessi fare la fine di Matteo Renzi difendendo l’indifendibile, ricoveratemi"), dall'altra entra a gamba tesa sulla politica estera. Sempre dai microfoni di Radio Padania, bersaglia papa Francesco: "arla alle anime e probabilmente ha ragione a dire che i muri cadranno ma cadranno solo quando ci saranno limiti e regole. Non si risolve il problema immigrazione - aggiunge - invitando le parrocchie e le famiglie a prendersi immigrati in casa". E, proprio per porre un freno all'immigrazione incontrollata che dal fronte siriano arriva lungo la rotta balcanica, chiede un impegno militare maggiore contro lo Stato islamico: "Renzi ha detto di no agli interventi militare in Siria: è un senza palle. Io sono sempre per il dialogo, ma non con i tagliagole, in Siria e in Libia bisogna intervenire con le armi, militarmente e massicciamente".
Salvini stava lavorando da mesi a una missione di quattro giorni in Nigeria, fissata a partire da domani, per dimostrare che si possono "aiutare a casa loro" gli immigrati che vengono in Italia. "Avremmo voluto andare a testimoniare la solidarietà vera e concreta", spiega il segretario della Lega aggiungendo che il visto sarebbe stato negato "a tutti" i componenti della delegazione, formata da "imprenditori e assessori regionali" del Nord. "Il dubbio - continua - è che essendo stata organizzata la missione dalla Lega per portare sviluppo, a qualcuno dava fastidio". Salvini è molto rammaricato di non aver "potuto concretizzare l’aiutiamoli a casa loro", ma assicura di essere già al lavoro per organizzare altre missioni in Paesi come il Marocco.
Per quanto riguarda la politica interna, Salvini lancia un nuovo nome nella mischia per il dopo Ignazio Marino. Solo ieri il candidato che avrebbe potuto unire il centrodestra sembrava essere Giorgia Meloni. Oggi, invece, il leader lumbard lancia Souad Sbai. "Non mi dispiacerebbe vederla sindaco - dice con franchezza - una parlamentare che si occupa di diritti delle donne e che lotta contro la violenza islamica da anni".

16 September, 2015

After the wait, the storm

After the wait, the storm
President Muhammadu Buhari

Appointment of men and women to occupy key offices in the new administration was delayed for three months “in order to get it right” and also “to avoid making mistakes,” as President Muhammadu Buhari variously explained. In the event, as soon as he appointed a Secretary to the Government of the Federation [SGF], Chief of Staff and four other important officials last Thursday, a storm of social media criticism greeted the appointments. Apparently, the strategy of delaying appointments for several months in order to get everything right failed, in some citizens’ eyes, to ensure balance and fairness in a diverse federation.
I had wondered several times on this page whether trying to get things right warrants several months’ delay. A man who gets to become an elected president of a populous country such as Nigeria should know enough people all over the place that can be trusted to hold important posts. This is especially true of Buhari who was a soldier for 32 years, was military governor of a very large state, was minister in charge of the richest Federal Ministry, was a military Head of State and who has also been in politics for 13 years now. If that experience was not enough to know good people all over Nigeria, I don’t know what else is.
If personal knowledge of good material comes short, that is what political parties are for.  The problem is that Buhari does not think that his party shares in his vision, beyond mouthing the change slogan at rallies.  His insistence from the start that he will not rely on party state chapters to nominate ministers is indicative of this distrust.
At the end of the long wait, Buhari appointed three men who are known to be very close to him to three top positions. Chief of Staff Malam Abba Kyari, SGF David Babachir Lawal and Customs boss Colonel Hameed Ali have all been with Buhari during most of his 13 year quest for the presidency. The  message that other APC chieftains will get from these appointments is that Buhari has rewarded the men who stood by him the longest. The question is, why did it take three months’ search, only to end up with the men who were closest to him all along? 
For three months the president threatened to jettison considerations of party loyalty for technocratic merit. In the event, he rewarded the longest-standing loyalty. This is not bad at all, but old ACN and ANPP elements are likely to say that well, old CPC members deserve consideration but then, without our coming on board, Buhari would never have made it to the presidency. Afterall, they will say, he tried three times with the CPC circle around him but he never made it until we came along.
ACN and ANPP chieftains think their role was decisive in Buhari’s victory but yet another element, old nPDP, believe that they were the final straw that broke the obstinate PDP camel’s back. They believe that without their coming over, APC would not have been able to defeat PDP. A still later camp joiner is Obasanjo, who seems to believe that the missiles he hurled at Jonathan made all the difference. It is noticeable that none of these APC camps came out to defend Buhari’s latest appointments from charges of lopsidedness. It was left to Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity Femi Adesina to say on Friday that the president will ensure balance in his future appointments. That is to say, the president agrees that the ones he has made so far are not balanced and he also agrees that balancing is necessary in Nigeria.
Only three days prior to last Thursday’s appointments, the [opportunistic] Southern Nigeria Peoples Assembly had criticised a situation where Northerners hold the offices of President, Senate President, House Speaker, Chief Justice, Head of Service and National Security Adviser. The fact that Buhari did not appoint the Chief Justice or the Head of Service and the fact that he opposed the emergence of both Senate President and House Speaker was conveniently overlooked by SNPA.
The army of Northern social media warriors that rushed to Buhari’s defence were equally selective with facts, history and principle. Some said that Jonathan’s appointments were similarly skewed, a horrible way to defend anything. Others said that the president still has many appointments to make. While that argument was plausible a week ago, it became tenuous after last Thursday. The most important appointments yet to be made are ministerial, which contain an in-built balancing scheme since the constitution requires that each state must have at least one minister. Still others argued that balancing is a selfish elite issue. It is, but you ignore it at your peril because societies often rise and fall on the back of selfish elite issues. 
Still other social media warriors said that President Buhari should be given a free hand to pick his aides purely on merit without regard to regional balancing. Any Northerner who makes this argument could be suffering from historical amnesia. Forty years ago when most Federal public servants were Southerners, they insisted that “merit” must be used as the basis for all public service appointments. Northerners however insisted on “federal character” and succeeded in writing it into the 1979 Constitution. Northerners’ vigilance has kept it in the Constitution ever since.
Not that the Southern Nigerian elite is more principled than its Northern counterpart. In the late 1970s, even while arguing against federal character in public service appointments in one breath, the Southern elite pushed for the adoption of “zoning” in the political theatre, where it was disadvantaged. Twenty years later the Southern elite amplified zoning into the principle of power shift. So, the promotion of self-serving principles that suit their immediate needs is not the preserve of one regional elite in Nigeria.  However, it will be doubly opportunistic if the North comes round at this point to adopt the Southern position of 40 years ago because the tables are now reversed.
Federal character principle was so contentious in 1980 that the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies [NIPPS] organised a national seminar on it.  At that seminar, prominent Southern intellectuals such as Godwin Sogolo, Eghosa Osaghae and Peter Ekeh defended it as a form of affirmative action, saying an arrangement that keeps a diverse Federation in peace is superior to the need for “merit.” To those who said federal character lowers standards, Sogolo said no standard is lowered if a federation works out an arrangement that guarantees peaceful co-existence within it because there is no higher standard than that.
Balancing aside, last Thursday’s appointments threw up a few other issues. The new SGF Lawal’s CV did not show that he had any experience in the mainstream public service. Equally curious is the appointment of Colonel Hameed Ali to head the Customs.  This is not the first time that a non-Customs officer is being sent to head the paramilitary organisation. In 1989 the IBB regime brought Dr. Bello Haliru Mohamed from outside to head the Customs. The Abacha regime later sent Army Brigadier Samuel Ango to head the Customs.
There was uproar in the 1990s when Abacha appointed Major General Haladu Hananiya to head the Federal Road Safety Corps. Under the military regimes, soldiers headed many civilian agencies including Nigeria Airways, Federal Housing Authority, Nigeria Railways and National Sports Commission. Since then however, the trend has been to allow large state agencies to nurture their own leaders. Speculations before the appointments were that Ali was to be sent to EFCC. While the Customs Service could do with some of his tough guy reputation, Customs has grown in recent years into a sophisticated operation with a huge IT system infrastructure driving its destination inspection and other complicated trade rules.
Whatever are the president’s calculations, he ought to remember that an Army General who is launching a big military offensive does not leave his flanks badly exposed. The same rule applies in politics. Trenchant criticism of his fairness in appointments as well as silent restiveness within his party’s ranks could outflank the president in his main offensive battles against Boko Haram and corruption.

15 September, 2015

Polio: WHO urges hygienic standards in labs

Polio: WHO urges hygienic standards in labs

…plans nationwide inspection of labs

In an effort to maintain a polio-free nation, the World Health Organisation, WHO, has advised the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria, AMLSN, to strictly observe professional ethics in operation of laboratories in the country.
This is even as the organisation has set out to inspect all laboratories in the country to ensure they comply with the rules and regulations establishing them.

A WHO laboratory polio containment consultant, Mr. Chinedu Chukwubuike, disclosed this over the weekend in Owerri during the inauguration of new executive members of the association in Imo State. He lamented that most laboratories were operating below standard and in very unhygienic environment.
He said though Nigeria was declared polio-free in the last one year, there was need for such declaration to be sustained by strict observance to regulations.
According to him, there is likelihood of polio springing up from laboratories if the scientists fail to observe the rules.
Chukwubuike said he has been contracted to inspect laboratories in the country, adding that any laboratory that falls short of standard must be sanctioned by relevant agencies.
He urged Nigerians to take immunisation exercise very serious, adding that parents must ensure that every child below the age of five was properly immunised.
The WHO ambassador warned that Nigeria cannot afford to experience the dangers associated with polio, calling on the citizenry to contribute to the sustenance of a polio-free country.
New chairman of AMLSN, Imo State branch, Mr. Anthony Uhuegbu, promised to cooperate with WHO in the fight against polio.
He said his administration will ensure that members comply with professional ethics in discharging their duties.
Uhuegbu advised medical practitioners to discharge their duties effectively and widen the jurisdiction of their training.
He frowned at medical doctors and pharmacists who are in the habit of conducting medical tests on patients where it is outside their training.


11 September, 2015

Electrocuted Girl At The University Of Lagos Was A First-Class Student Until Her Death

Ouchi Anekwe was a 300 level student of the Department of Accounting at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) and was a first class scholar in her department until her death from a high voltage cable that snapped off the pole on the campus last night.Oluchi Anekwe

Miss Oluchi was returning from church service and was walking along the "New Hall" bus stop in front of Sodeinde Hall of residence when a high voltage cable snapped off the pole and killed her. She died almost immediately. 
Students of the institution today shut down academic activities on the campus in protest against what they considered negligence on the part of the university authorities.
 Oluchi is from Aku town in Igbo Etiti Local Government Area of Enugu State, Nigeria


10 September, 2015


Dear MTN,
I will not go and re-register my line. You CAN fool everyone if you like, you might have fooled me before, but you would never fool me again.
The only reason why you continue to pull the wool over our gullible eyes is because the consumer rights’ protection agencies are either in the vegetative state, or completely dead.
How can you explain a situation where you would tell your millions of teeming subscribers to register their SIM cards and provide the necessary bio-data, only for you to wake up one
morning to tell us to go and register our lines again WITH ABSOLUTELY NO EXPLANATION? It beats my imagination and it defies not just
logic, but also philosophy. Were you drunk when you were registering our numbers? Did a malicious virus wipe your entire database?
Maybe I’m giving you too much credit sef. You probably wrote the records in books like an ancient bookkeeper and a giant yellow rat ate them all. Whatever your reasons (or lack of reasons) may be, this is beyond ridiculous.
I have always maintained an MTN line because apart from being my very first line, most of my close associates also use MTN. To some extent, the coverage is also extensive. I didn’t hesitate
when the directive came from NCC to register our lines. I braved the queue, registered my line and collected my security number. Didn’t I try
Looking back, I can deduce that my attachment to MTN was more sentimental than practical, as your tariffs are the highest for calls and for
browsing. You send an average of 100 spam texts per day, enough to run down a BlackBerry battery and more than enough to give any Osun
State government worker waiting for
Aregbesola’s alert acute hypertension.
Your nuisance value knows no bounds.
Even Airtel that has been passed round
different investors more times than a devil's mail bag has not come up with this kind of Grade A foolishness. What the heck is wrong with you? Don’t your customers mean anything to
you? Doesn’t it bother you that Nigerians who wasted their time to register their SIM cards have to do the same thing again? You haven't even deemed it fit to fine-tune the process. It
doesn’t make sense to preserve bad experiences like these, in very much the same way that one relic of history is preserving mud huts, and stating them on an assets’ declaration form.
My records are not on your database, but you remember my number when you want to tell me to text ‘YES’ to win a missing plot of land in Port-Harcourt or go on vacation inside the moon, right? May heavy-duty thunder fire all of una.
I really don’t blame you. If Nigerians had run your devious, xenophobic,
exploitative, heartless, opportunistic, fraudulent ass back to South Africa, you wouldn’t be here making them queue desperately like migrants.
What’s to say that there wouldn’t be another sham registration in the next couple of months since you guys obviously don’t know what you are
You blocked my line, you have helped
me. Prior to your ridiculous directive, I had already banished your yeye SIM card to a barely functional phone. I have even borrowed the maximum permissible amount. Go ahead, feel
free. It sure feels great knowing
that when I eventually toss the phone into the trash-can, I won’t have to take out the SIM. Good riddance to bad rubbish.
You deserve to be sued for every fraudulent penny you’ve ever made on our shores. Thanks to other service providers for making sure that your evil dream of becoming a monopoly will
forever remain a demented hallucination.
There are so many fishes in the ocean. I will not tolerate your recklessness any longer.
Peace at last....
This letter speaks my mind.
Please forward till it reach their office!

05 September, 2015


Public Service Announcement

The Anambra State Government will on Saturday 5th September, 2015 hold a memorial ceremony in honor of the late Professor Dora Nkem Akunyili, OFR, former Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and Minister of Information and Communications.

As part of the memorial ceremony, the State Government will name the State Women Development Centre after Professor Akunyili in recognition of her sterling contributions and outstanding service to Anambra State and Nigeria in general.

The ceremony will also feature a concelebrated Holy Mass, a documentary on the life and times of the late Professor Dora Akunyili, tributes by the academia, representatives of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria and some top government functionaries.

His Excellency the Governor, Chief Willie Obiano will also use the occasion to unveil the plaque symbolizing the renaming of the State Women Development  Centre after the late erudite Professor.

Ndi Anambra both at home and in diaspora are by this announcement invited to the ceremony which will kick off at the Women Development Centre, Awka by 10am.

Dr (Mrs) Uju Nwogu
Hon. Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism
3rd September, 2015.

11 August, 2015

...NIGERIA( Senate) WE HAIL THEE.....

Do you know that it costs tax payers 290m Naira yearly to maintain each member of our National Assembly in a country where nothing works & 80% of population earn below 300 Naira a day ? A working day earning of a senator is more than a yearly income of a doctor; it's more than the salary of 42 Army generals or 48 professors or 70 commissioners of police or more than twice the pay of the US president or 9times the salary of US congressmen.
Please say NO to looting of Nigeria in the name of democracy by sending this text to at least 5 others.
 I think the country must have a referendum on salaries of senators. This must happen very quickly .

07 August, 2015

Notorious hippopotamus killed in Gombe, meat shared by community

By NAN on August 6, 2015

    Head of Forestry unit of Yamaltu/Deba Local Governmen Council in Gombe on Thursday confirmed the killing of a notorious Hippopotamus in Dadinkowa dam. Photo credit africanspotlight

    Head of Forestry unit of Yamaltu/Deba Local Governmen Council in Gombe on Thursday confirmed the killing of a notorious Hippopotamus in Dadinkowa dam that had been terrorizing the community for the past two years.
    He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Gombe on Thursday that the bulky animal, apart from terrorizing people, had also been destroying crops and fishing facilities of fishermen in the area.
    “We discovered it about two and half years ago, but unfortunately, it has become very notorious and dangerous to people.
    “The community wrote to the local government council, complaining about the threat of the animal and we forwarded same to the Ministry of Environment, seeking the approval of the Governor to take action.
    Head of Forestry unit of Yamaltu/Deba Local Governmen Council in Gombe on Thursday confirmed the killing of a notorious Hippopotamus in Dadinkowa dam. Photo credit africanspotlight“We received the approval last week, and decided to go hunting for it, an exercise that took us one week before the animal was finally spotted yesterday night.
    “We were lucky to trap it outside; we used military men to shoot it, with the help of the local hunters.
    “We shot it yesterday night around 10:30 pm when it came out to eat grasses, and today we butchered it in to pieces.
    According to him, there are about 100 of them in the water, but the one that was killed had been crossing to the lower side of the dam and causing havoc.
    Speaking to the NAN, Mr Adamu Pukuma, Permanent Secretary, Gombe State Ministry of Environment and Forest Resources, said hippopotamuses are among the animals that were endangered and going instinct.
    “We have been protecting them but the particular one that was killed was notorious.
    “It killed people around the area, as well as destroyed crops and fishing equipment.
    “There were complaints from the people and that was why we sought for the approval of the Governor to protect lives and property.
    Leader of Fishermen in Dadinkowa, Malam Sa’adu Sarkinruwa, told NAN that the hippopotamus killed no fewer than five persons in the community in the past two and half years.
    NAN reports that after killing the animal, its meat was shared among those that actively participated in hunting it down.