The Sun News http://sunnewsonline.com/new - Voice of The Nation Wed, 02 Sep 2015 14:40:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.7 Zimbabweans have mixed feelings about Dangote’s investment pledges http://sunnewsonline.com/new/zimbabweans-have-mixed-feelings-about-dangotes-investment-pledges/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/zimbabweans-have-mixed-feelings-about-dangotes-investment-pledges/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2015 14:40:05 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133621 Zimbabwe have expressed mixed feelings over visiting Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote’s pledges to invest billions of his wealth in a country condemned as an investment risk. Opposition politicians were adamant African’s richest man would not blindly pour in cash into a dysfunctional economy plugged by political instability, corruption and recurrent power outages. Similarly, ordinary Zimbabweans [...]]]>

Zimbabwe have expressed mixed feelings over visiting Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote’s pledges to invest billions of his wealth in a country condemned as an investment risk.

Opposition politicians were adamant African’s richest man would not blindly pour in cash into a dysfunctional economy plugged by political instability, corruption and recurrent power outages.

Similarly, ordinary Zimbabweans took to social media to question how an astute tycoon in the mould of Dangote would consciously invest a generous chunk of his riches in a country with no regard for property rights.

Leading the assail was former finance minister and now MDC Renewal Team president designate Tendai Biti who insisted Dangote was way too smart to squander his fortune in a comatose economy.

“Dangote is a smart man that I know at a personal level,” Biti told NewZimbabwe.com Tuesday.

“He is not going to pour billions into an economy that is as dysfunctional, as dishonest and as broken down as that of Zimbabwe.”

Biti said Zimbabweans should not read too much into comments made by the billionaire he had already made his mind towards investing in the country.

He urged the Zanu PF government to attend to broader economic issues to expand the cake as opposed to opening the gates for a single investor.

“We have to fix the economy so that we are able to attract investors from all corners of the world,” he said.

“The Indigenisation and Empowerment Act has to be repealed and it will affect him (Dangote) anyway because he is a foreigner.”

MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu also wrote on his personal Facebook page that Dangote would not readily plunge a penny into an economy ridden with corruption.

“Aliko Dangote is a very smart and shrewd entrepreneur. He will never invest in a corruption – infested, lawless country. Just forget it,” Gutu said.

Media rights activist and political commentator Nhlanhla Ngwenya also felt the current government was out to placate a restless population by projecting Dangote’s intended investment in billions.

“YES the guy is rich, and YES he has pledged to invest in Zimbabwe,” Ngwenya said, adding, “But claiming he will pour in ‘billions’ is typical feel-good propaganda that Zimbabweans have been fed on but continue to see their lives deteriorate. Millions, could be closer to reality.”

But a senior private media journalist who preferred not to be named for professional reasons felt Dangote was a businessman cut from a totally different cloth.

“There are other investors who argue that this is the right time to invest in Zimbabwe,” he said.

“They feel that once the current problems which are mainly anchored on the politics of the day are resolved one day, it would be very difficult to come in.

“Dangote could as well belong to that group.

“You could see the enthusiasm he exuded soon after meeting President Mugabe and his ministers.”

The scribe said Mugabe, who wants to be seen as a pan-Africanist, would be reluctant to unnecessarily mess the Nigerian tycoon up.

Dangote’s high profile visit to the crisis-weary country was covered in screaming headlines from the state media with top government officials, among them Jonathan Moyo, celebrating the deal.

(NEW ZIMBABWE)

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Enyeama withdraws from Afcon qualifier; Oliseh, Nigerians still waiting http://sunnewsonline.com/new/enyeama-withdraws-from-afcon-qualifier-oliseh-nigerians-still-waiting/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/enyeama-withdraws-from-afcon-qualifier-oliseh-nigerians-still-waiting/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2015 13:50:39 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133618 Ahead of the Monday, August 31st deadline for all invited Super Eagles players to report to Bolton White Apartment Camp of the Eagles team for the African Cup of Nations qualifier billed to be played at Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, the Europe-based Eagles goal-keeper, Vincent Enyeama is yet to join the team. According to Patrick [...]]]>

Ahead of the Monday, August 31st deadline for all invited Super Eagles players to report to Bolton White Apartment Camp of the Eagles team for the African Cup of Nations qualifier billed to be played at Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, the Europe-based Eagles goal-keeper, Vincent Enyeama is yet to join the team.

According to Patrick Pascal, the team’s Coordinator, Eagles Coach, Sunday Olise expected Enyeama to report to the camp, latest, Wednesday morning to which the keeper is yet to fulfil.

‘’All the invited players have already reported at the Bolton White Apartment Camp of the team. “Russia-based Ahmed Musa came in [Tuesday] evening and even trained. But the only player we are still expecting is the team captain Vincent Enyeama.” Pascal told newsmen on Tuesday.

He also said that 18 foreign-based professional players were invited by the Eagles Coach while five home-based players were also picked to join the team for the battle of Dar es Salaam. The team is expected to travel via a chartered flight on Thursday.

(VANGUARD)

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One million Nigerians are blind http://sunnewsonline.com/new/one-million-nigerians-are-blind/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/one-million-nigerians-are-blind/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2015 12:45:25 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133615 About one million Nigerians suffer from one form of blindness or the other while over 50 per cent of the number is caused by cataract alone, the Ophthalmological Society of Nigeria (OSN) has said. “This figure is based on a research conducted in 2008,” Professor Sebastian Nwosu, President of the society told newsmen in Jos, [...]]]>

About one million Nigerians suffer from one form of blindness or the other while over 50 per cent of the number is caused by cataract alone, the Ophthalmological Society of Nigeria (OSN) has said.

“This figure is based on a research conducted in 2008,” Professor Sebastian Nwosu, President of the society told newsmen in Jos, Plateau State, at the end of a weeklong conference.

Professor Nwosu said while cataract accounts for over 50 per cent of the cases of blindness, glaucoma, and several other factors are responsible for the remaining 50 per cent. The OSN president said three million Nigerians suffer partial blindness, a situation that could be corrected if proper treatment was done.

He said 42 out of every 1,000 Nigerians are blind, pointing out that the distribution varied from one geographical area of the country to the other. While cataract is age related, genetic factors as well as human life styles also result to blindness in some cases, he said.

(DAILY TRUST)

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Uber taxis expand in Lagos http://sunnewsonline.com/new/uber-taxis-expands-in-lagos/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/uber-taxis-expands-in-lagos/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2015 12:38:47 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133611 E-hailing taxi company Uber is reportedly negotiating cheaper deals for new vehicles with Kia to boost its number of drivers fivefold in the Nigerian city of Lagos. Bloomberg reported that Uber is hoping the low-cost deals will help boost its driver tally in Lagos – Africa’s most populous city – to 3,000 by the end [...]]]>

E-hailing taxi company Uber is reportedly negotiating cheaper deals for new vehicles with Kia to boost its number of drivers fivefold in the Nigerian city of Lagos.

Bloomberg reported that Uber is hoping the low-cost deals will help boost its driver tally in Lagos – Africa’s most populous city – to 3,000 by the end of next year.

The report says that Uber has signed agreements with Kia and Lagos-based Access Bank Plc to reduce the down payment required for new vehicles to under US$500 (half the usual level) with the balance payable over four years.

Nigeria is frequently cited as one of Africa’s brightest emerging markets with good long-term growth potential for automotive demand. E-hailing companies have also begun to grow in many emerging market cities over the past year.

(JUST-AUTO)

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NNPC to use drones to end oil thefts within eight months http://sunnewsonline.com/new/nnpc-to-use-drones-to-end-oil-thefts-within-eight-months/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/nnpc-to-use-drones-to-end-oil-thefts-within-eight-months/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2015 11:30:36 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133608 Nigeria has announced it will deploy drones to curb oil thefts in the country. The announcement was made by Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, the newly appointed chief of state-run oil company Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). Nigeria is Africa’s biggest oil producer and oil generates about 70% of government revenues. However, frequent thefts and pipeline attacks [...]]]>

Nigeria has announced it will deploy drones to curb oil thefts in the country. The announcement was made by Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, the newly appointed chief of state-run oil company Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

Nigeria is Africa’s biggest oil producer and oil generates about 70% of government revenues. However, frequent thefts and pipeline attacks affect the country’s oil production. President Muhammadu Buhari, who vowed his administration will end corruption, alleged that around 250,000 barrels of Nigerian crude oil are stolen every day and sold to other countries.

Kachikwu said in a statement: “We are launching an armada of approaches which will include incorporation of drones to check movements of vessels within our territorial waters. We are looking at the current logistical nightmares of changing staffing at the loading bay.”

He added that NNPC will also work closely with the navy to increase patrols. Oil thefts are expected to end within the next eight months, according to the statement.

Kachikwu also said nearly 4,000 attacks on pipelines occurred between June 2014 and June 2015 and 350 people, including NNPC workers and members of the community, had been killed by oil thieves in the past three years.

NNCP has been marred by scandals linked to stolen revenues. In 2013, the head of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, was suspended after he claimed $20bn (£13bn) of oil revenue “went missing” from NNPC.

As part of his anti-corruption campaign, Buhari replaced the whole NNPC’s board and banned 113 vessels from lifting crude oil from some 27 Nigerian ports amid suspicions the vessels had been implicated in illicit activities.

In July, US President Barack Obama announced he would give Nigeria the names of alleged oil thieves as part of a joint effort to curb widespread corruption in the country. Following Buhari’s appointment in May, the two countries have improved their relations, which deteriorated during Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.

(IBTIMES)

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APC guber aspirant in Bayelsa, Col. Sam Inokoba is dead http://sunnewsonline.com/new/apc-guber-aspirant-in-bayelsa-col-sam-inokoba-is-dead/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/apc-guber-aspirant-in-bayelsa-col-sam-inokoba-is-dead/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2015 10:50:51 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133605 Reports reaching DAILY POST has it that the former chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Bayelsa State, Col. Sam Inokoba (rtd), is dead. DAILY POST recalls that the the late Inokoba was recently reported to have slumped at a political function in the state. The 68-year-old ex-PDP chairman had some two weeks ago [...]]]>

Reports reaching DAILY POST has it that the former chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Bayelsa State, Col. Sam Inokoba (rtd), is dead.

DAILY POST recalls that the the late Inokoba was recently reported to have slumped at a political function in the state.

The 68-year-old ex-PDP chairman had some two weeks ago defected to the All Progressives Congress, APC, along with other political heavyweights in the state.

Until his death, the retired Colonel was an APC governorship aspirant in Bayelsa and had procured his nomination form to contest the governorship primaries of the party. Reports reaching DAILY POST that the former chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Bayelsa State, Col.Sam Inokoba (rtd), who was recently reported to have slumped is dead.

The 68-year-old ex-PDP chairman had some two weeks ago defected to the All Progrssives Congress, APC, along with other political heavyweights in the state.

Until his death, the retired Colonel was APC governorship aspirant in Bayelsa and had procured his nomination form to contest the governorship primaries of the APC.

(DAILY POST)

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Indian police arrest three Nigerians for duping Indian businessmen http://sunnewsonline.com/new/indian-police-arrest-three-nigerians-for-duping-indian-businessmen/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/indian-police-arrest-three-nigerians-for-duping-indian-businessmen/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2015 10:27:25 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133602 Three Nigerians, Onuoha Nnanna Francis, 34, Valentine O. Anumaka, 28, and Eze Victor, 35, alongside 6 of their accomplices, have been arrested by India’s Central Crime Station (CCS), for duping two Indian businessmen to the tune of Rs3.6 lakh by luring them with an offer to invest $ 1 lakh in hotel business. India Times [...]]]>

Three Nigerians, Onuoha Nnanna Francis, 34, Valentine O. Anumaka, 28, and Eze Victor, 35, alongside 6 of their accomplices, have been arrested by India’s Central Crime Station (CCS), for duping two Indian businessmen to the tune of Rs3.6 lakh by luring them with an offer to invest $ 1 lakh in hotel business.

India Times reports that the arrest was made after one of the businessmen; C. Sadashiva, lodged a complaint at a police station stating that he and his friend, Raju Jembiya, were duped by one Terry Joseph from Nigeria to the tune of Rs 3.6 lakh.

Sadashiva alleged he agreed to join Terry’s business venture.

Terry, who posed as a restaurant owner in Nigeria, reportedly became friends with Sadashiva six months ago on Facebook and then expressed his willingness to invest Rs 1 lakh US dollars in restaurant business in India.

According to police statement, when Sadashiva agreed to join Terry’s business venture, Terry, the initiator of the scam deal, asked him to meet another Nigerian man whom he, Terry, gave his own share of the money, which he wanted to invest in the hotel.

Sadashiva met with the second unidentified Nigerian who asked him to first release his own share of the investment before his partner, Terry will release his.

Sadashiva did and after releasing the money, the phones of the Nigerian men were switched off.

Suspecting he’d been duped, Sadashiva reported the case to the police, who after investigations, arrested the fraudsters and their accomplices.

(DAILY POST)

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Akpabio jets off to London following accident http://sunnewsonline.com/new/akpabio-jets-off-to-london-following-accident/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/akpabio-jets-off-to-london-following-accident/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2015 10:11:05 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133599 A private jet belonging to the Akwa Ibom State Government on Tuesday flew the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio in company of a cardiologist and a general doctor to London from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja. DAILY POST recalls that Akpabio who was involved in an auto crash on Monday was briefly admitted [...]]]>

A private jet belonging to the Akwa Ibom State Government on Tuesday flew the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio in company of a cardiologist and a general doctor to London from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

DAILY POST recalls that Akpabio who was involved in an auto crash on Monday was briefly admitted at the trauma centre of the National Hospital in Abuja.

Akpabio was said to have been traumatised and in shock after the crash which involved two SUVs.

The former Governor of Akwa Ibom State was however given a clean bill of health by the doctors at the centre on Monday evening; however Akpabio is going to a London hospital to seek further evaluation and treatment.

Reacting to the crash, the United States Embassy in Abuja Monday stated that the former governor’s armoured Mercedes Benz G63 AMG ran into an armoured Suburban SUV in a US diplomatic convoy at the Bollingo Hotel junction in the capital city.

The crash which occurred at about 7.30 am however claimed no life.

(DAILY POST)

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Woman recalls escape from Boko Haram with day-old baby http://sunnewsonline.com/new/woman-recalls-escape-from-boko-haram-with-day-old-baby/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/woman-recalls-escape-from-boko-haram-with-day-old-baby/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2015 03:20:20 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133591 The story of Zainab Ali’s determination to live attests to her bravery. Barely 24 hours after she put to bed she ran the race of her life while fleeing from Boko Haram.]]>

By MOLLY KILETE

The story of Zainab Ali’s determination to live attests to her bravery. Barely 24  hours after she put to bed she ran the race of her life while fleeing from Boko Haram.

She was in that critical state when  Boko Haram terrorists struck her village in Bama.
Not wanting to be killed in the onslaught, she took her newborn and escaped along with her kinsmen.

Painful tale

I did not have the opportunity of being taken care of by my mother and mother in-law after the arrival of my baby because we were faced with the dilemma of choosing between life and death as Boko Harm struck in our village,” Zainab told Abuja Metro in an Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in Yerwa.

The camp is dominated by people from Bama, Zainab’s place from where she and others escaped from Boko Haram attack. The camp is located at Government Girls Secondary School, Yerwa, The day-old baby by Zainab who escaped alongside three other children is now six months old, implying that they have lived in destitution for six months and the innocent baby has not known normal since she arrived FCT,

Baby Nana Ali, is now six months old, and the mum says she has every cause to thank God because even some villagers that were even stronger than her, did not survive the attack.
According to her, “I had to trek for more than four days with other villagers before we arrived Maiduguri.

Zainab, spoke about her experience in the hands of the insurgents that had terrorized her village long before people ever knew they existed.
“Our problem in the hands of Boko Haram started long time ago when these killers arrived our domain. They started by killing one person at a time but laterl, they graduated to two, three and finally, they carried out killings of the villagers en-masse. Our community had been predated for a long time until it became so unbearable that we had to run away.

We didn’t know where to report what was happening in our village. But as time went on, even our traditional rulers did not have a say as to run the affairs of our village as the Boko Haram did not spare them, either. It got so bad that when we could no longer bear the brutality, we had to run. I had just put to bed on Sunday night and almost the same night, Boko Haram stormed our village in a very fierce way and started shooting and killing our people and burning houses.

The attack was so bad that all the villagers ran away first thing in the morning. I did not even have the opportunity of being bathed with hot water and get the local massage that women who has just put to bed are treated to.

Like I said, I put to bed in the evening of Sunday and by early morning on Monday, we got up at about five o’clock and commenced our journey to Maiduguri on foot because there was no vehicle to convey us there.

I know I was not very strong to embark on the journey but if I stayed back Boko Haram killers will take me as next victim when next they come and they must surely come back like before.

They don’t have pity on anybody – woman, child, old or young. They would even rape women who just put to bed. So I woke up like any other person and we started the journey that involved running and walking at some points.

We trekked until we got to Maiduguri in the night. That was how my baby and I escaped being killed.

Life in the camp has not been easy because here you just sit all day doing nothing. We don’t go to farm, we don’t do our local business, no good food, no water but there is nothing we can do now because we cannot even go back to the village when everyone had ran away. As I am talking to you now, there is no single soul in our village. So no need to go back, even though we love to. We just pray that this whole thing ends so we can go back.

Grandma’s heartrending story:

Boko Haram vehicle ran over my hand and leg and left me unattended

The story of Mama Kata Modu is  another very pathetic one. This old woman is among the Bama natives taking refuge at the Government Girls College.

Abuja Metro sighted her when the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), offered free medical services to people in the camp. The old woman, who narrated her story during an interview, cried her heart out when asked her how she escaped and the whereabouts of her children.

She got emotional at this point and started crying. “The problem is that I don’t even have a child to call my own with all the sufferings I have been through,” she explained in Kanuri.

It took time to console and convince her that all hopes were not yet lost before she could stop and continued with the interview.

“Mama, how can you say you don’t have a child when I am here, the reporter asked her in love? She smiled after the question and wiped the tears from her eyes.

“My name is Kata Modu,” she began. “I am from Bama and I have lived in Bama all my life. I am not too rich but I thank God that he provides all that I need so I don’t have to do the things that I am not supposed to do.

I am in this IDP camp because Boko Haram chased us out from our village which they have been attacking over the years.

As far as I can remember, these people came to our village a very long time ago and started pretending to be good people. But as time went on, they started to kill our people at the slightest provocation and it all started like a joke.

But gradually, the killings became too rampant and that was when we realized we had enemies right inside our village and we decided that it was time we did something.

They killed our young men, kidnapped our children, raped our young girls and women at will and we could not just keep quite. They took our young boys and gave then guns to kill us and they obeyed them and before we knew what was happening, they recruited them into their cult and used them to cause more havoc in our village. It was unbearable. They stole our farm produce, stole our motorcycles, Keke NAPEP, cattle killed our husbands, children. You can name or recall all the bad things of this life, they did worse than what you can imagine or think of.

And so on this particular day, they stormed our village again like they always do and started to kill our men, our children especially the boys, raped young girls and burnt down the houses. The raid on that day was so severe that we all decided to vacate the village early the next morning. And so on the next day, I along with my other people left and started to run.
We ran until, the same people sighted us and began to chase us.

In the process, some pregnant women died, children died, many fell down and before I knew it one of the vehicles with which they chased us ran over my hand and I heard a loud crack and remained there. By the time I tried to stand up, I could not because my leg was also affected and while I was still struggling to know my next move, one of the killers came and lifted me up and took me to a house and left me there.

I was there for some days writhing in pain. I had nobody to attend to me, so I remained there and managed to take care of the hand the little way I could until I embarked on my journey on foot to Maiduguri.

On getting to Maiduguri, I went to the hospital at the IDP camp and they gave me some drugs and this is what the hand had turned into because I did not get proper medical attention and I have remained like this for exactly three years because this incident happened three years ago.

Doctors to the rescue

I am here to get proper medical treatment because the Nigerian Air Force came to offer us free medical services. I am very happy about it because this is the first time a free medical service of this magnitude is taking place in this camp since I arrived a year ago.

Many of our people who have been ill got treatment and they smiled when they came out of the consulting room because the doctors are very friendly, they take time to ask us our names, how we feel and give us words of encouragement before they find out what our medical problem is.

What else can you say to such people other than may God bless them. I pray that God will reward them and protect them as they fight Boko Haram because I know that they are fighting them.

The doctor has seen me and said they will carry out an operation on me and I am very happy now, she said excitedly, after she came out from the doctor consulting room.

Children

Children are also not left out of the sordid tales  at the IDP camps. Abuja Metro also spoke with some of them on their experiences.

Getting them properly organized was very hectic. Children are not ready to tell any experiences of what they went through. The IDP to them is just another playground and sighting a reporter with a camera was just fun to them

As expected, they all wanted to speak all at once and so it took another round of persuasion and murdering the little Kanuri language that made them laugh.

And by the time they all agreed to talk, they bared their minds and said they hate Boko Haram because they have done more than good to their parents, brothers and sisters and to their entire community.

We trekked for seven days -Children

The children said some of them trekked for about seven days before they got to Maiduguri. Others said they were lucky to have found vehicle owners who stopped to pick them and brought them to Maiduguri, after trekking for more than three days.

“It took some of us three, four and seven days to get to Maiduguri from Bama. Some of us don’t know where our parents are because when Boko Haram struck, everybody ran in different directions to find safety.

Some of our parents may be dead because we have not seen them for about two years, and some for one year now.

We really miss Bama, it is a very interesting place, but these bad people chased us out, now we can no longer go to school.

“There is no good food here, no water, no soap to bath and wash our clothes, we cannot play football and we cannot go visiting.

On their plight in the hands of the insurgents, they told of how they saw their brothers and sisters raped and killed in their very presence by the terrorists, whose mission they say they were yet to understand.

“Our experience in the hands of Boko Haram was not good at all because they killed our fathers, our mothers in our presence.

They gave some children guns to be part of them and shoot people, some children obeyed while some of us ran away.

“Boko Haram called at our village when we were small and they used to steal our things and send us on errand to work for them,” some of the older children recalled.

“We have been here for more than one year. We ran away from our village when Boko Haram invaded the place. It was in the night that they came very late in the night so we ran away. Some of us ran without our parents so we don’t know where they are now.

We tracked from our village in Bama, to Maiduguri. We were running and trekking. But at a point, the attackers saw us and started to pursue us and we ran into a river before they left us. Some people who do not know how to swim drowned in the process and never got to Maiduguri.

Since we came here, life has not been easy. We want to go to school but there is no way. We want to go to school so we can become journalists like you. We even want to become soldiers when we grow up so that we can fight the Boko Haram. We want to be teachers, we want to be doctors, we want to do government work, when we grow up.

We are praying for this problem to be over so that we can return back to our village.

Throughout our period of trekking, we did not eat food of drank water.

It was while we were running that some people picked us on the road and brought us to this place. When we came here, there was nobody here only grass. Life here is not like home, we don’t have clothes to wear. We miss our parents and want to go back home. We thank the Nigerian Air Force because they gave us medicine to treat our sores because most of us have sores on our head and the body.

Still children

Like children that they are, they take the situation they find themselves as just any other incident and careless about what their parents are going through. They most times engage in fighting one another, play, run around the camp and when they get tired, they sleep.

Some of them said they also engage themselves in the sewing and weaving of caps with the older people. Apart from that, life goes on for them.

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Abuja chemist turned fashion designer –Eunice Inyang http://sunnewsonline.com/new/abuja-chemist-turned-fashion-designer-eunice-inyang/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/abuja-chemist-turned-fashion-designer-eunice-inyang/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2015 03:17:14 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133588 Abuja based fashion designer, Eunice Inyang is the CEO of Uniqcouture, a top fashion house known for its unique designs. This elegant and hardworking woman could best be described as an entrepreneur.]]>

By NKECHI CHIMA

Abuja based fashion designer, Eunice Inyang is the CEO of Uniqcouture, a top fashion house known for its unique designs. This elegant and hardworking woman could best be described as an entrepreneur.

Indeed, she is an inspiration to young women. Her success story is not complete without mentioning her frustrations in getting a job at the civil service, which motivated her business ideals.

Inyang, who hails from Akwa Ibom is a Chemistry graduate from University of Uyo. She is married and has two lovely children. In this interview with Abuja Metro, she recounts her journey into the creative business, secret of her success, future prospects, family, among other details.

What were you doing before you ventured into fashion business?

I taught in a government secondary school in Warri, Delta State where I also served as a youth corps member. After my graduation in Chemistry from University of Uyo. Thereafter, I relocated to Abuja in 2012 as a married woman. I sought for a job at the civil service, but every effort to get employed proved abortive. Though, I have been involved in bead making, while in secondary school, I got trained by my aunt whom I visited in Lagos. Bead making really sustained me as a student in the university. But I discovered it’s not a lucrative venture after setting up a shop, so I had to close it down and enrol in a six month programme in fashion academy here in Abuja. Since I have always loved craft, I worked with a woman in Wuse, before setting up my fashion outfit.

How has business been so far?

It’s hasn’t been easy, but my passion drives success. Initially. I had to source for clients, which propelled me to make ready-made wears to exhibit in my showroom, which attracted my clients until the business progressed to what you see today. Actually, I didn’t start big as it is today, but I have an admirable space to execute my business and I must appreciate my lovely husband, Iboro Inyang, for all his support and love he gave me the platform to excel in business.

While growing, did you ever envisage becoming a fashion designer?

I have always loved technical drawing in secondary school. Sometimes, I found myself sketching women wears in the classroom. Honestly, I didn’t know my flair for drawing would take me this far. My parents had always wanted me to read a professional course, so I studied chemistry instead of writing JAMB always because I had wanted to become a pharmacist as a child. However, my passion for creativity motivated me into fashion business.

After graduation, I wanted to study for my masters, but I wasn’t encouraged since I was unable to secure a job with my degree certificate. At that point, the Holy Spirit ministered to me to learn a skill. Honestly, it takes a hard way to discover your destiny in life, though some people are lucky to finding their destiny on a platter of gold. In all, I give God all the glory for discovering my talent.

Are you fulfilled in what you do.

I appreciate God for making my dream a reality. I have been able to pay some of my staffs far from what a level 08 officer in the civil service earns. And we have a good working relationship like a family. I have six tailors, three sales attendance, one receptionist, two bead makers, and two trainees.

Who are your major clients?

They are mostly women from the northern parts of Nigeria. I have more patronage from them, because they love wearing trendy ankara made in our traditional designs daily.

How do you get inspiration on your designs?

Though, some customers bring their designs, but I get inspired on the colours and design of a fabric, which also motivates my creativity to match accessories to compliment the design. Sometimes, I could sleep over a particular fabric to get my desired style by sketching, which determined the finishing.

What is the hallmark of a good design?

The clothe should fit the body shape of your client. And a designer should be able to create designs that will fit different individual body shapes perfectly, before beautifying the cloth.

What is the worse business mistake one could make?  

It’s setting up any business without formal training. A lot of fashion houses within and outside Abuja have closed down, because of lack of knowledge or experience. Some people may go into it as a business venture without been passionate and before you say Jack Robinson it’s has folded. But, when you are gifted in your chosen profession, you will always have testimonies to share.

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SDGs’ll fasttrack Nigeria’s development  –Gbeneol, ex-MDG boss http://sunnewsonline.com/new/sdgsll-fasttrack-nigerias-development-gbeneol-ex-mdg-boss/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/sdgsll-fasttrack-nigerias-development-gbeneol-ex-mdg-boss/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2015 03:14:47 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133585 Barely a month away, heads of State and Government will at the 70th session of the UN General Assembly adopt a declaration on the Sustainable Development (SDGs)]]>

Barely a month away, heads of State and Government will at the 70th session of the UN General Assembly adopt a declaration on the Sustainable Development (SDGs)

Consequently, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will officially come to an end and the implementation of a successor framework, SDGs, with 17 of such platforms and 169 Targets will begin.

The SDGs are expected to among other things, complete the unfinished business of the MDGs. Nigeria has been gearing up for the transition with the recent visit by the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon serving as further encouragement for the dedicated implementation of the incoming global agenda.

The immediate past Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDGs, (SSAP-MDGs), Dr Precious Kalamba Gbeneol asserted that the conscious implementation of the SDGs will among other things complete the unfinished business of the MDGs and as well bring the desired changes to Nigerians as she told Abuja Metro in an interview.

You served as the head of the MDGs in Nigeria for close to four years. Within this period, you encountered the UN Secretary General on different occasions. How would you describe his visit to Nigeria at a time the world is transiting from MDGs to SDGs?

I have fond memories of the UN Sec Gen. He is somebody that is very passionate about giving development to the poor. He is always keen on ensuring inclusive government. I believe that his visit to Nigeria at a time like this will further inspire the country to stay committed to investing in pro-poor projects and programmes. Ban Ki-Moon is an advocate of better deal for the indigents in the society. He has never minced words about bequeathing to the people the dream future that they actually deserve. The visit will also spurn the people and government into action, especially in ensuring that the core tenets of the SDGs framework find expression in the lives of the ordinary Nigerian.

You led Nigeria at various Intergovernmental Negotiations on the post 2015 development agenda ahead of the adoption of a successor framework to the MDGs. How would you describe your roles?

The intergovernmental negotiations were part of the very important processes for presenting the zero draft document of the Post 2015 development Agenda to be adopted by global political leaders in September. The Negotiations was the climax of the extensive consultative process. Nigeria began the process with an Expert Group Meeting, held the National Consultative Forum, the National Stakeholders Forum, the My World Survey and the MDGs Presidential Summit. We were able to harness and harmonise the views of all Nigerians of the desired Sustainable future they want. The aggregate views formed the National collective position that was fed into the overall global framework. During the actual negotiation of the document, Nigeria seized the moment to renew her commitment to make the transformative shift needed to achieve sustainable development, inclusion and shared prosperity. As we are all aware, the process of framing a successor framework to the MDGs is long advanced with the formulation of 17 SDGs and 169 Targets. At the 70th session of the UN General Assembly in September 2015, heads of State and Government will adopt a declaration on the SDGs. The SDGs seek to foster inclusive development whilst addressing the economic, environmental and social aspects of sustainable development.

Are you satisfied with the content in the draft of the SDGs?

Not fully initially but I am optimistic that the final document that will be adopted will serve the interest of the underdeveloped mass. As at the time I left office as head of the MDGs, we had noted that the document was yet to attain our desired expectation of what should constitute the nature and character of the MDGs Successor Agenda. It is apparent that we needed to put ‘flesh on the bones’ on some aspects of the document to accommodate the yearnings and aspirations of the poor and vulnerable, majority of whom resides in developing countries. In this regard, we had reiterated that the delicate balance achieved in the carefully negotiated Report of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) should not be reopened under any guise. We stress that the entire outcome document of the OWG including the reservations should be embedded in the Post-2015 Development Agenda. I expect that all these would have been done by now to ensure that the final document actually meet the expectations of all and give our people the future we all desire.

Are there specific issues in the zero draft of the Post 2015 Development Agenda that are pertinent to Nigeria?

We believe that the outcome document of the new paradigm must reinforce the integration of the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development as an interrelated and indivisible whole and as a pledge to leave no one behind. We were concerned then that the section on the new agenda relegates the environmental aspect vis-a-vis the social and economic dimensions. We have also stressed that the outcome document of the Post 2015 Development Agenda must continue to focus on addressing the critical challenges of poverty eradication and inequality between and within countries. In addition, we emphasized the need to stress all the Rio principles and in particular the principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities. In this regard, we urged the developed countries to, in line with their traditional responsibilities, take concrete steps to address the challenges of climate change and its bandwagon effects. This was what we stood for while we were in the office and a better life for our people cannot be negotiated. This was the reason while we were around, we ensured that projects and programmes were strategically designed and carefully executed to promote development, create wealth and alleviate poverty.

While you may hold this position, there are allegations that contracts awarded under your watch were skewed to favour your allies. Is that true?

I can tell you that there is no truth in that allegation. In OSSAP-MDGs, there is standard procurement process. Bids are submitted and qualified companies are awarded contracts in line with procedures. What you should know is that, when contracts are duly awarded, those that are quick to mobilise to site and execute their jobs early enough are paid ahead of those that delayed. This was the approach that we adopted, paying contractors as they present their completion certificates. However, as the country began to experience dwindling resources, with poor releases, it became almost impossible to pay the remaining contractors in full at once. We however, ensured that everybody got something by adopting a percentage formula that enabled us to spread payment across all the contractors. Debt is a common thing in government. When we came in 2011 for example, we inherited similar debt under Quick-wins projects. We gradually started paying and had almost completed it as at the time we left office. As you are aware, government is a continuum and the exit of one Chief executive does not mean whatever is owed a contractor will not be paid successive leadership. So nothing could be farther from the truth than alleging that we only paid interested companies at the expense of others.

Finance was a major issue in the implementation of the MDGs. What is your take on financing the SDGs?

Nigeria believes that the means of implementation are much more than finance – as was already recognized in Monterrey. We believe that an effective implementation of the post-2015 agenda will require the full range of actions – financial and non-financial, public and private, domestic and international. There is the need to ensure that the means of implementation for each of the goals are clearly defined in the outcome document of the post 2015 development agenda. While we recognize that the Financing for Development Track would address the full range of the means of implementation including both enabling policy frameworks and mobilization and effective use of financial resources, we are stressing that the financing for development process should complement and not compete with our discussion of the Means of Implementation in the Post 2015 development Agenda.

How did you cope with the challenge of ensuring proper tracking and review due to the lack of data?

Data was a big issue but you will agree with me that, Nigeria has recorded significant progress in the achievement of the MDGs. Evidence from the Performance Tracking Surveys conducted by the National Bureau of Statistics states that Nigeria has made progress on most of the goals. As a country, we rely on the statistics provided by the NBS and currently efforts are in top gear to produce the final report on the implementation of the agenda. As you are aware, the first MDGs Report was published in 2006, while the second and third Reports were produced in 2010 and 2013 respectively. The three previous reports provided in-depth analytical reviews of progress recorded and actions required for attaining the MDGs. Accordingly, shortly before I left office, OSSAP-MDGs in collaboration with the UNDP and DFID-SPARC commenced the process for the production of the 2015 MDGs Report. I understand it is currently at the point of validation and adoption. The report as planned is expected to document key achievements, challenges faced and key lessons learnt at both the national and sub-national levels in the implementation of the MDGs in Nigeria. It will also serve as Nigeria’s input into the UN Secretary-General’s Address at the next UN General Assembly in September, 2015. I am proud to say that the MDG story for Nigeria is a good one that we must properly documented.

Are you optimistic about the aggregated citizens’ development aspirations of the SDGs?

I am very optimistic. The on-going efforts, I can tell you, all highlight the quest to craft a people-centered and an inclusive global agenda. We expect that this will guide development planning and execution for the next decade and a half. There are a number of lessons we have learnt from the implementation of the MDGs Agenda. To start with, Internationally Agreed Development Goals (IADGs) such as the MDGs often galvanize development planning and execution locally. The principles of the SDGs are in line with the commitment of Nigeria to improve the lives of the poor. And to forestall late adoption and deployment of the Post-2015 Development Agenda as was the case with the MDGs framework, Nigeria will have to put the necessary implementation mechanism in place in collaboration with Ministries, Departments and Agencies, subnational governments, the United Nations Country System, DFID and other International Development Partners, ensuring it is integrated into National and State development strategies and plans for seamless execution. The negotiation and transition processes of MDGs to SDGs, which coincides with the democratic transition in Nigeria, require national advocacy, follow-up plans, national domestication and early implementation. Learning from our experience with the MDGs, national integration of the SDGs will require multi-sectoral partnerships and collaboration.

Some believe that Nigeria was completely off track in the implementation of the MDGs. How well did we actually perform?

We may not have attained all the goals but we definitely scored a pass mark. Since inception in 2000, successive governments in Nigeria have made efforts to establish and strengthen the institutional, policy and financial frameworks geared towards the attainment of the MDGs. The Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on the MDGs was established to provide policy, technical and political leadership as well as a robust coordinatory mechanism aimed at guiding the implementation of the MDGs in Nigeria. I can tell you that Nigeria has recorded appreciable progress in the implementation of the MDGs particularly in the areas of universal primary enrolment, gender parity in education, and reduction in the spread of HIV/AIDs, maternal and child death, as well as the prevalence of hunger. We found that there are divergences in MDGs progress across states, local governments and geo-political zones. As well, the introduction of multi-level incentive-based interventions, such as the Conditional Grants Scheme and Conditional Cash Transfers has proved to be key drivers of success in Nigeria. However, the implementation of the MDGs in Nigeria, and indeed the whole of Africa, remains an unfinished business that needs to be rolled over to the Post-2015 Development Agenda. An update on the progress made on the MDGs in Nigeria shows that with particular reference to Goal 1, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization honoured Nigeria for reducing by half the population of those who suffer hunger way ahead of the 2015 deadline. As regards Goal 2, Primary Six Completion Rate improved to 88% in 2012 from the baseline of 82% in 2004 but declined to 74% in 2014.  However, regional divergences in progress arising from security challenges in the North East are largely responsible for this decline. Nigeria has achieved the gender parity targets at primary and secondary education levels with the national average Gender Parity Index (GPI) being 1. There is significant improvement in Goal 4 with a reduction from the 2008 National Demographic Health Survey figure of 157 under-five deaths per 1,000 live births, to 89 per 1,000 deaths in 2014. This trend is similar for infant mortality rate. The 2012 infant mortality rate of 61 per 1,000 live births declined slightly in 2014 to 58. With respect to MDG 5, Nigeria has continued to reduce the Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR). In 1990, the MMR was estimated as 1,000 per 100,000 live births; in 2008, this figure dropped to 545 and in 2012, the figure was 350. The 2014 MMR figure stands at 243 per 100,000 live births, which means this target has been achieved. Goal 6 has also recorded remarkable improvement with the fall of HIV prevalence from a baseline figure of 5.8 to 3.4 in 2014. We can also tell the same success stories for Goals 7 & 8. I expect that some of these figures would change for the better by the time the 2015 MDGs Report would be released. I am also optimistic that the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari will in line with his campaign promises improve on the successes recorded by the previous government.

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Sorrowful tales of orphans of North East –A reporter’s encounter http://sunnewsonline.com/new/sorrowful-tales-of-orphans-of-north-east-a-reporters-encounter/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/sorrowful-tales-of-orphans-of-north-east-a-reporters-encounter/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2015 03:11:56 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133582 In April, Kano State government announced a decision to adopt 100 kids orphaned by the Boko Haram insurgency. ]]>

By Sanya Adejokun

In April, Kano State government announced a decision to adopt 100 kids orphaned by the Boko Haram insurgency. As part of the package, the children would be trained in special schools from primary to tertiary levels. Looking emaciated and worn out, it was immediately clear that in their short lives, they have experienced so much. Many of the children, with age ranging from three to six years were so young that they could not even remember their own names, neither those of their parents  nor where they hailed from. None of them knew why or how they became orphans or even made the 750-kilometre journey from Maiduguri, in the North East to Kano.

They were lucky because all things being equal, their future is already guaranteed. Most of the millions children orphaned like them or would be orphaned like them have their fate currently hanging in the balance.

Although there is no reliable data on the overall number of children orphaned by the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria’s North East, a reasonable estimate will put it at least 1 million. In May 2014, the Catholic Church in Maiduguri disclosed that it had 1,500 orphans. The Centre for Crisis Communication (CCC) recently organised a fact finding trip to parts of the North East and other areas in the country where the impact of displacement due to terrorism is being felt.

The trip highlighted the issues concerning orphans and what is likely to be their fate after Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps which are being managed by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) would have been disbanded in a country where social security safety net has not been institutionalised.

The Government Girls Secondary School (GGSS), Maiduguri, turned into an IDP camp since October 2014 houses only women and children. It has a population of 6,149 as at August 21, 2015. Of this figure, 3,614 are children and 40% or 1,446 of these are orphans. In the North East alone, there are at least 30 officially recognised IDP camps. There are others not recognised while camps have sprung up in many other towns and cities outside the North East in places like Abuja, Kano and Edo State. Thousands of Nigerians are also currently refugees in neighbouring countries.

A chat with a few of the orphans revealed the pathetic story of many of them while also teaching that a coordinated strategy must be fashioned to deal with the time bomb.

There was a beautiful young girl around 10 years old wearing a black hijab, the type that cascades from head to torso. She stood with an empty stare into space, betraying no emotion. One of the camp officials said “oh that girl? Her name is Hauwa; her head no correct again” meaning that she had become psychotic. He then went ahead to narrate to us Hauwa’s story. Terrorists invaded their community and were going from house to house killing the occupants and torching their houses. They got to Hauwa’s home and ordered her father to be on his knees. She watched from a corner as her beloved father was slaughtered like a ram by the insurgents while her mother was raped in turns and later killed while the girl was watching. She later joined scores of other orphaned children and few women to trek all the way to safety.

Approached however, Hauwa warmed up to the show of affection by the guests and eventually opened up to the surprise of even the camp officials. According to her, life was no longer interesting since the day that she watched in horror and consternation as some people invaded her community, setting houses ablaze and gunning down people who tried to escape. Later, the invaders whom by now have been identified as members of the boko haram entered their house and slaughtered her father after he declined to join their movement despite him being a Muslim. Her mother was also killed along with some other family members.

It was a sobering narrative for all present as a girl thought to be deranged was only much traumatised by the experience of seeing her beloved parents killed in the most cruel manner thus triggering psychological disorder now manifesting in unstable and sometimes anti-social behaviour. Her situation highlights the need for governments and the relevant stakeholders to arrange for psychologists and counsellors to be embedded in IDP camp managements.

There is also little Baba who had to trek the 75 kilometres distance from Bama to Maiduguri in order to escape rampaging terrorists who killed both his parents along with many others in his community. Wearing an oversized and dirty white and green jersey of the Super Eagles, the about seven year old boy was busy scavenging for survival by asking for help from visitors.

There was also little Nana Kashim. Nana is a seven months old girl whose father was slaughtered by insurgents. Her mother, who was then heavily pregnant with her managed to flee on foot to Maiduguri along with others from Bama. On managing to reach the camp, the woman went into labour and died immediately after. Nana is still hanging on at the camp where caregivers are taking care of her. She has been adopted.

There is also the case of the woman quoted by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees who picked up a child by the road as she fled terrorists. According to her “I live in Doro Baga, Nigeria. As I fled, I picked up this boy crying beside his dead mother. At 6am we heard the sounds of guns, When they arrived for us an hour later, we started to run. They came after us and killed many people. I saw the boy and took him with me and my children, onto my husband’s small canoe out into Lake Chad. We stayed on a small island for three days, with nothing to eat, until hunger forced us to leave. I know the family of the child. I know the father but I do not know where they went or what happened.”

But the question is what will happen to these ones after Boko Haram is defeated and camps are dismantled. Right now, there are fears that cases of malnutrition are on the increase in the camps because there is no special attention given to children in the supply of food. There is the need for Nigerians especially from zones not affected by insurgency to cater for these children by adopting some of them.

Many years ago, I came across the hostel built by late Chief Lawrence Omole in Ilesa, Osun State housing indigent young men and women, which he was caring for educationally and socially. It is a mode that other wealthy individuals and corporate organisations interested in philanthropy could adopt.

The state governments involved could also establish an agency to take care of these children as even as many children are themselves currently taking care of their younger ones in the various camps.

Culled from online publication Adejokun is Coordinator, Journalists Against Disaster Initiative

 
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Enugu community cries out over dilapidated bridge, road http://sunnewsonline.com/new/enugu-community-cries-out-over-dilapidated-bridge-road/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/enugu-community-cries-out-over-dilapidated-bridge-road/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2015 03:08:26 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133579 The people of Isi-Uzo Local Government Area of Enugu State have cried out to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to come to their rescue and complete the celebrated Ugwogo-Neke-Ikem road started by the past ]]>

…Begs Ugwuanyi to repair hanging bridge built since 1970

From Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha

The people of Isi-Uzo Local Government Area of Enugu State have cried out to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to come to their rescue and complete the celebrated Ugwogo-Neke-Ikem road started by the past administration of ex-Governor Sullivan Chime but was later abandoned.

Residents of Ikem community who spoke to Oriental News lamented the nightmare they experience in crossing the Ebenyi Bridge at Ikem-Uno and urged the new administration in the state to come to the rescue of motorists, the natives and commuters using the road to connect neighbouring communities in Udenu LGA, Benue and Ebonyi states.

A businessman at the local government headquarters, Ndubuisi Odo, told Oriental News that his business across the Ebenyi River has been paralysed as he finds it difficult to cross the hanging bridge that was built shortly after the end of the civil war in 1970.

Also an auto panel beater at Ikem junction located across the river confessed that he has been making brisk business as the bridge’s pan pulls out the exhaust pipes of most vehicles that attempt crossing the risky Ebenyi hanging bridge.

The traditional ruler of Ikem-Uno, HRH Igwe Okechechukwu Ogbodo, while appreciating the effort of the past administration in constructing the road, pleaded with the new administration of Ugwuanyi to help complete the construction of the bridge and the remaining meters of the road to join Nsukka-Nkalagu road at Ukwumango.

The monarch disclosed that the hanging bridge was being maintained by community effort, especially the President General of the Ikem community, Engr. Greg Ugwueze, now late, adding that since his demise, condition of the bridge has worsened.

Another resident of Isi-Uzo LGA, Sunday Ugwuodo from Neke, also lamented that the ashphalted road from Ugwogo with shoulders and drains of the road have remained uncompleted, making him to also plead with Governor Ugwuanyi to come to the rescue of the Isi-Uzo communities.

Oriental News  found found that contract for the Ebenyi bridge was awarded at the cost of N350 million to a different contractor from Greyline Construction Company that constructed the 28km Ugwogo-Ikem road, yet the bridge was not completed by the past administration.

It was also learnt that the contractor was not mobilized up to 20 per cent of the contract sum, yet the contractor sourced money to erect piles of the bridge in the hope that the past administration would pay up before May 29, but that did not happen and the contractor was frustrated and withdrew from the site.

The people of the community, however, now call on Ugwuanyi to come to their aid by completing the project to save their lives, saying that if the hanging bridge finally collapses, it would cut-off  villages, communities, council areas, and even states.

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Abakpa Nike: Church rescues neglected Enugu suburb http://sunnewsonline.com/new/abakpa-nike-church-rescues-neglected-enugu-suburb/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/abakpa-nike-church-rescues-neglected-enugu-suburb/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2015 03:00:26 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133574 For the eight years Mr Sullivan Chime held sway as governor of Enugu State, he did not look at Abakpa Nike, a populous area in the metropolis.]]>

…Rehabilitates abandoned road

From Petrus Obi, Enugu

For the eight years Mr Sullivan Chime held sway as governor of Enugu State, he did not look at Abakpa Nike, a populous area in the metropolis.

Thus the roads in Abakpa deteriorated such that the people groan every day as they go out and return home.

The level of dilapidation of the Abakpa road was one that drew the attention of incumbent Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, who has listed the roads in the suburb among priority projects of his administration.

But as Ugwuanyi plans to begin work on the road, the Church of Later Day Saints recently mobilized materials: sand, stones, gravels, to fill big potholes and repair the dilapidated road that has always obstructed traffic along the Last Bus-Stop of Abakpa area.

The Abakpa road since the rainy season began has been a nightmare for motorists in the Enugu metropolis, having been abandoned by Chime.

So, as the church came to the aid of the people by making the road motorable before the government action as promised by Ugwuanyi, the residents of the area could not hold back their joy and appreciation to the church.

Elated tricycle riders in the area who came out in large numbers to show solidarity to the church praised the members for the initiative while some lambasted the past government and politicians for neglecting the road.

One of the tricycle boys who gave his name as Nnamdi queried why politicians in the area would always be disturbing them during campaigns when they cannot fix their roads.

“But look at a church is here to save people’s lives but politicians are more concerned about second tenure. We are proud of this church and God will continue to bless and prosper them,” he prayed.

Explaining the reason behind the road repair at Abakpa, the President of the Church of Later Day Saints in Enugu State, Chimaroke Udechi, described what the church was doing as part of its community service.

“We do this every year and the principle behind it is service. We usually have this programme every year in August whereby we identify an area of special need; where there is a problem in a community or society, in infrastructure like schools, hospitals, roads, environment; everything that poses a hazard or danger to citizen of that area which has not been addressed we often come as a church to see what we can do about it. And in doing this we partner with those in the neighbourhood; we partner with opinion leaders, local leaders, and anybody who is interested to assist us or work with us in ensuring that the problem is mitigated.

“Today, we are working on the road: this area is Last Bus-Stop in Abakpa Nike. It has been quite bad and it causes a lot of traffic congestion and can damage vehicles and disturbs freedom of movement.

“So we are here to fill the potholes that are here and also fill up trenches to ensure that vehicle can move around smoothly and we are happy that people are supporting us here; the Civil Defense, the police, army and some government officials are also in partnership with us in doing this,” the state leader said.

Udechi explained that usually the church has a committee that usually goes round the metropolis where the church is located to try to identify where there are major problems.

He noted that choices are made based on the important areas of need.

“Some time ago we were in Uwani and then we did a lot of work in that area before the former governor came about two years after that to fix the road. We have also worked in other places like New Haven, Emene and Agbani. Next year we may not be here in Abakpa; next year may be at Trans Ekulu, we may be at Emene, anywhere that we identify as area we need to work. What we also consider is the availability of materials and resources in an area; like here we have drainage from where we can get water so that makes it easier for us to choose here,” he explained.

He described the Abakpa township road as very bad and terrible when one drives through the area, saying that it is one of the worst areas in the entire Enugu metropolis.

The stake president refused to blame the past government in the state for the awful state of the road, saying “we are not here to criticize or find fault with what the government is doing. We are a church and we are concerned with how we can come in, how we can assist. There are better people, professionals better placed to assess what government is doing.

“There are times we’ve been to the motherless babies’ homes; the women gathered clothes of children they are not using and they go there to give them those clothes, tissue papers, soap, detergent. And they wash and clean the place and paint the environment. We do attend to people who are in need; who are less privileged. The church had also in the past severally donated wheelchairs to people who can’t work and who need assistance because many of them can’t afford it.

“We have done all sorts of things; we have also done reliefs, where you have disaster we come in and provide such aids.

“Also some time ago General Society Initiative was done to provide free eye services; some were issued glasses, some underwent surgeries. Also areas that have drought, bad or infected water, prevalent and endemic water borne diseases the church has done borehole projects.

“Members have donated as people, individually to contribute to the sand, the stones, the gravel and all other materials, none of them is Church official’s money, it’s individual effort and contributions.”

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Enugu children excited as ENSUBEB, CIC stage science, technology fair http://sunnewsonline.com/new/enugu-children-excited-as-ensubeb-cic-stage-science-technology-fair/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/enugu-children-excited-as-ensubeb-cic-stage-science-technology-fair/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2015 02:58:18 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133571 It was a day children in Enugu State had waited for given that it had something in stock for them. The Community Innovation Centre (CIC) had linked up with the Enugu State Universal Basic Education Board (ENSUBEB) to bring the children up to speed with developments in science and technology.]]>

From Chinedu Asadu, Enugu

It was a day children in Enugu State had waited for given that it had something in stock for them. The Community Innovation Centre (CIC) had linked up with the Enugu State Universal Basic Education Board (ENSUBEB) to bring the children up to speed with developments in science and technology.

The two collaborating bodies had given school children in the state a wonderful treat. Consequently, the children were filled with joy as they were full of thanks to ENSUBEB for letting them into the world of science.

ENSUBEB and CIC had organized a Science and Technology Fair as part of measures aimed at inculcating love and passion for science in school children in the state.

The fair, which was tagged ‘Applying Science and Technology to Solve Today’s Problem’, featured exhibition of numerous science projects from selected public schools, ranging from primary schools to junior secondary schools, as well as independent  individuals.

The fair featured junior, middle and senior categories and was it aimed at not only providing an opportunity for school children in the state to showcase their scientific skills, but to also develop their passion for science and technology.

In her opening remarks, the Chairman of ENSUBEB, Nneka Onuora, noted that the fair was organized as part of measures to celebrate innovators, scientists and researchers within the state and beyond.

According to her, the world owes much of its development to the contributions of science and technology and as a result, they decided to organize the fair to serve as a platform for young scientists to showcase their skills.

She explained that the programme which had earlier begun with a workshop where teachers, pupils and students from selected public schools were trained on creating technological products and applying science to create various appliances, is majorly aimed at “bringing young scientists together, to be creative, innovative and improve on their skills”.

Her words: “These individuals are the pillars of any developing nation. In partnership with Community Innovation Centre, our energies are focused on building that foundation by strengthening science and technology education in primary and junior secondary schools through creating platforms for student innovators within and outside the school system.

“So, we want to encourage them and also improve science and technology in our country because we are lagging behind. Science and technology is key to development of any nation and for us to improve as a society, we should encourage it among young children. So, the fair serves as a perfect avenue for that”.

She was, therefore, optimistic that by next year it would be  bigger and better with more funding so that they could widen their scope and reach out to the rural areas, adding that “embarking on a project like this especially as the first of its kind wasn’t an easy task”.

Also speaking, the Principal Consultant for the project and Managing Director of CIC, Ifeoma Ozodiegwu,  Nigeria was still lagging behind in science and technology  because there was no strong research base and technical knowledge .

“So, we want to make same obtainable in Nigeria and we are starting with Enugu State. Our goal is to make Enugu State the silicon valley of Nigeria,” she said.

“If you watch, you will see that innovations in various areas such as medicine and health have their basis in science and technology. So, we are beginning to catch them young now that they are still in primary and junior secondary schools, to start inculcating in them the love for science and technology,” she said.

The highpoint of the programme was when the judges and some other officials went round to inspect the projects which were being exhibited by the various schools and independent individuals in attendance some of which included electric water boiler, chargeable electric fan, automatic and emergency lighting system, lighted abacus, and improvised simple barometer, among others.

According to the judges, the projects were graded on some criteria such as scientific thought and understanding, originality, creativity, value creation and communication effectiveness.

At each exhibition point, the school in question took time to explain to the judges what the project was all about, its values and benefits, as well as the value the project will add.

After an intensive assessment of the projects, Igbariam Primary School 111, whose project was an automatic and emergency lighting system, emerged first position with Aria Way Primary School and Army Children School emerging second and third respectively in the junior category.

The winners in the various categories, including schools and individuals, were rewarded with cash prizes with all schools in attendance receiving cash prizes too just as winners were also promised science and technology equipment worth N100,000[one hundred thousand naira].

According to Ms. Ozodiegwu, such measures were aimed at motivating them to develop a culture for science and technology.

“With such rewards, they will be able to build on what they have and be able to go higher”, she said.

In a chat with Oriental News, some of the attendants expressed joy for participating in the programme.

They also thanked the organizers for “blessing us with this kind of opportunity”, expressing optimism that such would continue in the near future.

Chiagozie Ozuaka, whose school, Trans Ekulu Primary School, presented a lighted abacus, thanked ESUBEB for organizing the event.

“I learnt about the abacus in the Internet and we started working on it at our school,” he said.

In the same vein, another student, Desmond Okafor, a primary five pupil in Igbariam Primary School 111, said it was a nice experience participating in the programme.

“I am happy that our school came first with an automatic and emergency lighting system. The device will help us in Nigeria, it will help us not  waste money  in buying fuel for generators or kerosene for lanterns”, he said.

A teacher from Igbariam Primary School 111, Mrs Patience Nsude, also thanked ENSUBEB for organizing the programme, adding that “with such things as this, our schools will become better in the near future”.

She explained that the school had earlier represented the state in a similar fair in Anambra State and that with such feat; they were poised to do better.

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Woman pronounced dead in Edo found alive in Aba http://sunnewsonline.com/new/woman-pronounced-dead-in-edo-found-alive-in-aba/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/woman-pronounced-dead-in-edo-found-alive-in-aba/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2015 02:55:21 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133568 For many, Mercy (not real name) from an Edo State community had long been dead and buried by her kinsmen. But miraculously she is still very much alive.]]>

…Relations shy to take her home as she’s now mad

From Okey Sampson, Aba

For many, Mercy (not real name) from an Edo State community had long been dead and buried by her kinsmen. But miraculously she is still very much alive.

The story of Mercy is one wrapped up in mystery. Before the mid ‘90s, the tall, dark and beautiful lady was living a normal and healthy live in a community in Edo State, where she was said to be involved in a business with which she took care of herself and members of her family.

Mercy, as was now named, was said to have at times travel to Onitsha, Anambra State to purchase some goods which she resold at home. Loved by all, she was reportedly leading a happy and fulfilled life.

But one day, according to a report by a lady relation, who pleaded anonymity and equally refused to give the name of their community for fear of in her words projecting them in bad light, Mercy got missing from her home.

According to the lady, usually comes to Aba to buy goods, there was confusion in their community as Mercy who was not used to be traveling about except on trips to Onitsha for business, which she did not embark on at that time, could not been seen for days.

Confusion then made way for apprehension. Having waited for days and yet their daughter could not be found, leaders and youths of the community set out to look for her.

First, the police in the area were alerted on the search for the lady and they swiftly spread their dragnet to see if they could get a clue of Mercy’s whereabouts, but all yielded no fruits.

Having been satisfied that finding Mercy was beyond the police, the community decided to look for her in their own way.

But the result was the same, there was no trace of their daughter anywhere and they left her case to fate, believing that one day she would come home alive on her own. But that was not to be.

In Mercy’s community tradition forbids a missing person to be presumed dead until after a stipulated time if he or she was not found.

Within this window of time allowed by tradition, there was still high hopes that Mercy would come back home alive.

But as this period elapsed without Mercy being found, the community went into mourning because their daughter had by the dictates of tradition died.

So, burial rites were reportedly performed. Although her body was not found, but as far as the community was concerned, Mercy was dead and buried and her name on the community’s register marked with red ink.

But years after, in 2014 to be precise, something happened. Mercy who had long been ‘buried’ in her community in Edo State was found roaming the streets of Aba as a mad woman.

How Mercy was found

The lady, who told Mercy’s story, was the one who found her. She said she was in Aba late last year on a business trip as usual and went to see some of her customers within the Ogbor Hill area of the commercial city when she saw somebody who resembled Mercy.

She said two things crossed her mind, either she was seeing a ghost because Mercy who had long been ‘buried’ way back in Edo years ago had not been to Aba before, or she saw someone that resembled their ‘dead’ sister.

But out of fear, the lady could  not make further enquiries.

When the lady went back after that business trip and narrated to her people what she saw, opinions were divided.

While some people were of the view that she saw somebody who resembled their sister, others believed she might have seen a ghost, yet another group encouraged her to sermon courage and approach the mad woman when next she visited Aba and sees her.

So, on a recent visit to Aba, the lady again was heading towards the Federal Housing Estate along Opobo Road, Ogbor Hill to see her customers.

As fate may have it, on getting to Emelogu junction, she saw Mercy coming in the opposite direction.

Instead of dodging as she did in the first time, when Mercy approached, she called her by the name for which she was known back home.

The mad woman recognised her and stopped. Both ladies greeted themselves and engaged in a lengthy sisterly discussion to the bewilderment of onlookers.

After the discussion, the lady gave Mercy some items she bought for her and reportedly told people around that she would take her case back to their community so that her people could come and take her home.

But checks by Oriental News showed that since then, nobody as promised has come for Mercy who is now domiciled in front of a disused factory building on Opobo Road, adjacent St. Dominic’s Catholic Church, Federal Housing Estate, Ogbor Hill, Aba.

When this reporter went to take her photographs, Mercy charged at him, calling him a mad man and threatened to deal with him if he ever took her picture.

A resident of the area, John Ndudi described Mercy’s case as pathetic.

He said if her people have been looking for her all these while and she was eventually found in Aba, they would have braced all odds to reach her irrespective of her current condition of health.

For the relations of Mercy who had looked for her over the years believing she was dead and performed a mock burial for her, she is not dead and may recover from her present state of mind if proper care is extended to her, many in Aba believed.

 

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Buhari, beware of Tinubu http://sunnewsonline.com/new/buhari-beware-of-tinubu/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/buhari-beware-of-tinubu/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2015 01:31:51 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133566 President Muhammadu Buhari sure means well for Nigeria. He is disposed to tackling corruption. But let’s not make mistakes. He can’t ]]>

GUEST COLUMNIST

Dele Akin Rahman


President Muhammadu Buhari sure means well for Nigeria. He is disposed to tackling corruption. But let’s not make mistakes. He can’t fight and totally win any war against corruption. All he can ever achieve, in my opinion, is to substantially curb the menace. To eliminate it will be a very tall order because we live in a human society where there are different shades of want and need. No country in the world has been able to eliminate corruption. From my readings, corruption is not a phenomenon that can be eradicated, like you eradicate polio.

However, given Buhari’s disposition, and strict disposition to the adherence of the rules, he may achieve a significant percentage reduction. But before he does that, he must address the moral burden he now lives with. That is one huge issue that will continually blight every effort he makes at prosecuting anyone for corrupt enrichment or embezzlement of public funds.

Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is a moral burden on Buhari. He is also a dent on whatever image Buhari professes to the public, and the world, as far as corruption war is involved. There is no denying the fact that Tinubu was one of the main facilitators of the Buhari presidency. He joined other key political actors to provide the platform and worked out the model with which Buhari achieved his dream of leading Nigeria as a democratically elected president. It will be, therefore, uncharitable to ever think of the Buhari presidency without tying it to Tinubu and his ability to mobilise resources for the feat.

Tinubu delivered his media organs, The Nation, TV Continental, Radio Continental to the Buhari campaign, churning out persuasive messages and propaganda in the pursuit of the vision to enthrone the APC candidate into power.  Yes, the former Lagos governor deployed other resources, financial and otherwise, to galvanise delegates support to deliver Buhari and the APC presidential primary election in Lagos. But despite all these, Tinubu is Buhari’s biggest moral baggage.

So many putrid things swirl around the former Lagos State governor that no leader who is committed to tackling corruption can gloss over. And that is why voices asking the President to commence the cleaning of Nigeria’s Augean stable from his party have refused to be drowned. Tinubu is unquestionably one of the richest Lagosians nay Nigerians as at today. The stupendous wealth certainly can’t be located in the matrix of hard work.  It is a product of shady deals, which shames his pretentious progressive credentials.

These are some of his upscale business concerns, which he allegedly acquired after leaving office as governor using fronts, which he has found extremely difficult to explain its financial base: Oriental Hotel, Falomo Shopping Complex, First Nation Airline, Lekki Concession Company, Apapa Amusement Park, Maiyegun Land Project, The Nation, Renaissance Hotel, Ikeja, Tejuoso Market (Joint ownership), Ikeja Shopping Mall, TV Continental. He allegedly converted Lagos Polytechnic land for TVC, owns NNPC office building in Lagos, Radio Continental, School of Nursing building in Lagos. He’s involved as tax collector of Lagos State (Alpha Beta).

His blind supporters believe that it is asinine to call attention to this abnormality. But the truth is that no serious nation can sweep such things under the carpet. The shibboleth of the current administration is fight against corruption. Tinubu is askew to that vision. An individual that owns 80 per cent of Lagos simply because he had the opportunity to govern the state cannot be a face of war on corruption, which the APC government represents. If the country is to hop into a new era of accountability, Tinubu, certainly, cannot be part of it. His socio-political life is strewn with dirts. Not too long ago, an online news magazine, Daily Beast.com, based in the US ran a story of Tinubu’s involvement in drug cartel in Chicago. Even though the truth or otherwise of the allegation cannot be ascertained, the man himself has not publicly denied it.

In the same measure, the recurring issue of Tinubu’s parental background and state of origin have remained suffused in controversy. This is totally at variance with the personality of the president, whose social life is not in doubt.

The lifestyle of the former Lagos State governor is largely the reason several Yoruba give cold shoulder to a suggestion that he should wear the armband of the leader of the ethnic group.  Some reasons are always cited for rejecting him. First is his controversial academic claims and secondly, his large appetite for filthy wealth. These traits are opposed to the accommodating and incorruptible lifestyle of Pa Obafemi Awolowo.  The latter sacrificed all for the Yoruba. He was unblemished in every sense of the word. And that informed his choice as the leader of the race.

In contemporary time, Pa Abraham Adesanya lived for the people. He was neither greedy nor overbearing. His simple lifestyle and commitment to the cause of the Yoruba made people of the race to adopt him as their leader.

For now, the person who shares these ennobling values and characteristics is former governor of Ogun State, Chief Segun Osoba. On account of his principled disposition to issues as well as his refusal to succumb to questionable political deals he was elbowed out of APC, a party he helped to build.

All these things cannot be brushed aside by the Presidency. Nigerians are keenly watching on the template the administration intends to use to battle corruption. But Buhari has a leeway. He can redeem both his image and that of his deputy and in the process give credence to the anti-corruption fight if he borrows a leaf from Russia under Vladimir Putin.

Like Buhari, Putin, a former KGB chief, was helped into office by some individuals considered to be most corrupt in the Russian society. Putin also was aware that his quest for office was being backed and financed by the best wheeler-dealers of the Russian society. They threw their money for his election in exchange for protection. These were corrupt business and oil magnets, who had abused whatever needed to be abused in the Russian society to become rich.

These guys included Mikhail Borisovich Khodorkovsky of Yukos Oil. As at 2004, Khodorkovsky was Russia’s richest man and was worth $15 billion. Along with Roman Abramovich, he was named Russia’s Person of the Year in 2003. They all put considerable resources into financing Putin’s election.

Despite their enormous contribution to ushering him to office, Putin refused to live with a moral burden as far as the campaign to stem corruption in his country was concerned.  At a time in history, Nigeria was equated with Russia on the corruption index. But Putin has been able to pull Russia out of the infamous club. How did he do it? He first went after those who funded his election with illegally acquired wealth. For this reason, Khodorkovsky, who was first given the option to leave the country but refused, found himself before the law and was found guilty of tax evasion. He bagged a five-year prison term for tax evasion. While in prison, his business partner was prosecuted and found guilty of money laundering and embezzlement. For Khodorkosvky’s involvement, his jail time was extended. Further probe of Yukos Oil led to the eventual collapse of the company.

With that, Putin sounded a note of seriousness in his anti-corruption battle in Russia. Putin’s action held a lot of promise for Russia. Having openly prosecuted and punished Khodorkovsky, one of his main election financiers, Putin off-loaded the moral burden that would have blighted his anti-corruption fight. This is the leaf Buhari must borrow if he is to clad his anti-corruption war in seriousness devoid of any witch-hunt.

Why probing Tinubu is important is that it will free Buhari to go after others. Otherwise, it will be ridiculous if Buhari seeks to prosecute perceived corrupt persons while shielding those immediately around him. If Buhari pretends not to have any evidence against Tinubu, he should reach out to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) or even re-visit the documentary, Lion of Bourdillon. That short film holds a lot of leads into Tinubu’s corrupt empire from which he funded his political enterprise. Tinubu’s Chicago certificate scandal, which actually laid the foundation for his corruption of the public space, needs to be revisited. The reason is this: we have no reason to have allowed such odious show to have enveloped our sense of patronage. If Buhari is able to revisit that issue, like he is revisiting NITEL, then, we may begin to put things in proper perspective.

Besides reviewing leads exposed in the Lion of Bourdillon, it is also incumbent on Buhari to cause a re-opening of the Code of Conduct case against Tinubu. If former President, Goodluck Jonathan, did not go further with the matter, on account of not possessing the guts to do so, or on account of a deal that freed Tinubu and made him betray Nuhu Ribadu in the 2011 presidential election, a Buhari who has professed the guts to look into our national past, ought to re-open the matter and make sure that justice is served to both the accused and the accuser.

I recall that a prominent politician, in several published interviews, had raised allegations of conversion of public property to personal use, including the alleged stealing of a polytechnic, which was converted to house Tinubu’s media company in Lagos. Those allegations are yet to be answered or denied. I also think that allegations by several other Nigerians against Tinubu should be investigated. It thus says a lot about the convincing work that Buhari ought to do to give his anti-corruption fight a serious and altruistic face. Not investigating any of those issues would dent Buhari’s charge against corruption.

I know that it will be argued that those alleged property belong to Lagos State. Yes, they do, but they also belong to the public and the public deserves justice in this regard, knowing that the incumbent governor of the state will not investigate, as doing so may consume him.

Former Governor Babatunde Fashola is still paying a price for refusing to grant some self-serving requests of his godfather. He is close enough to Buhari, or perceived to be so. Therefore, he can shed more light.

In all, Buhari has a golden opportunity to prove to the world that his anti-corruption fight is not targeted at some individuals he may have disagreed with in the past.  The starting point should be Tinubu. If Putin could do it in Russia, nothing stops Buhari from doing it in Nigeria. That is the only one way that Buhari’s action in removing crude-swap partners of the Jonathan era, and replacing them with oil companies linked to Tinubu, like Oando, would be seen as an action taken in national interest. It is the only way Nigerians can cast their trust on the corruption war.

• Dr. Rahman is university don and a public affairs commentator.

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Buhari, people’s pin-up president, falters http://sunnewsonline.com/new/buhari-peoples-pin-up-president-falters/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/buhari-peoples-pin-up-president-falters/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2015 01:26:00 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133564 The national outrage that erupted soon after President Muhammadu Buhari announced last week, the names of people he appointed as Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), the Chief of Staff, and the heads of other government departments was indicative of the level of public disappointment with Buhari for failing to reflect geographic or regional balance in the people he appointed. Public indignation over the appointments is justified.]]>

The national outrage that erupted soon after President Muhammadu Buhari announced last week, the names of people he appointed as Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), the Chief of Staff, and the heads of other government departments was indicative of the level of public disappointment with Buhari for failing to reflect geographic or regional balance in the people he appointed. Public indignation over the appointments is justified.

When a president continuously appoints people from one section of the country to serve in his government and marginalises other regions, he sends the strong message that people in other parts of the country are unfit, incompetent, unqualified, inexperienced, and do not measure up to his benchmark for appointment into his government.

It is remarkable how merit has now become a catchphrase used to defend the president’s lopsided appointments. I have listened endlessly to the ludicrous line of reasoning advanced by people who constitute a choral group that consistently recites the song that appointments made by Buhari could not be faulted because they were based on merit. How self-serving? In previous governments when appointments were somewhat balanced, the same people who are now lecturing us on the virtues of merit-based appointments, cried endlessly that the federal character principle had been murdered.

Buhari’s previous and latest appointments remain clearly biased and a slap on the wrist of people in the southwest, the south-south, and the south east parts of the country. Leaders of the APC from these regions who worked hard to put up the APC in a position in which the party successfully overthrew the dominant People’s Democratic Party (PDP) must now be feeling slighted by the asymmetrical nature of the region of origin of the people appointed by Buhari to serve in his government.

When leading politicians in the PDP and other opposition parties identify Buhari as a bigoted politician, they will point to his biased appointments as evidence to back their accusations.

It is disingenuous to assume, for example, that people in the southwest, southeast or south-south are unfit to serve in Buhari’s government or that they lacked higher qualifications and experiences compared to those in the president’s region of origin who were appointed on the basis of merit. Suddenly, we no longer see value in the need for the president to reflect federal character in his appointments.

Another point that needs to be cleared up quickly is the propaganda that, if Buhari should reflect federal character in his appointments, it would mark the enthronement of unskilled, unqualified, and incompetent people in government. That is decidedly a false premise. When people ask Buhari to reflect federal character in his appointments, they are asking him to consider the multi-ethnic and multi-religious composition of Nigeria’s population. No one is asking Buhari to pick unqualified and inexperienced people from the southeast, southwest, and south-south regions. Buhari should look closely and nominate qualified and competent people from these southern regions because, surely, these regions have many highly educated, experienced, and professional people.

A former Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Abubakar Tsav, expressed his disappointment over the lack of balance in the geographic origin of people most recently appointed by Buhari to serve in various capacities. His views are consistent with public opinion on the issue. Tsav said: “I see the appointments as lopsided. Nigeria is too big to have majority of the appointees from one section of the country.  We have competent people in every part of Nigeria. For that reason, he (Buhari) should spread the appointments to every part of Nigeria…”

The same sentiments were expressed by the chairperson of the Northern Elders Council, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai. He made it quite clear that Buhari’s appointments to date had favoured people in the president’s geographic region probably because that was the region that gave Buhari the largest number of votes in the last presidential election. However, he also pointed out quite correctly that: “In Nigeria today, we have competent people all over the country, no doubt about it… We have people with university education and working experience all over the country. So, we are not in dire need of competent people because they are everywhere.”

Tsav’s comments are apt in the same way that Yakassai’s arguments are sound. The notion that Buhari’s appointments are based on merit lacks validity. It is a dishonest and hare-brained line of argument to push. It is absurd to argue that Buhari has been picking people from the north based on merit. What that wacky argument suggests is that the north is more endowed with qualified and experienced people who are fit to serve in government compared to other regions of the country that, presumably, lack qualified and experienced people. No one region of the country has a monopoly of qualified and experienced people relative to other regions. To argue otherwise is to turn reason on its head.

The pre-election campaign slogan that hoisted Buhari as a change agent is now flawed. We all seem to associate change with positive development. That is a misconception. Change can also be negative, such as the kind of change that Buhari has been making in appointing people from one section of the country to serve in his government. It seems that the change promised by the All Progressives Congress (APC) during the general election campaigns has turned out to be skewed, unsustainable, and antithetical to national development. And this is coming so early in the tenure of the current APC-led Federal Government.

In appointing his officials, Buhari must not ignore the sensitive feelings of people across the country. Nigeria is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country. And as regionalism is a major feature of politics in the country, these sensitivities must be respected. By asking that these sentiments be considered in federal appointments, the public is not asking Buhari to install second-rate people in his government.

A presidential aide who was obviously worried by the widespread magnitude of public criticisms of Buhari’s latest appointments, gave assurances that Buhari would still reflect geographic balance in his remaining appointments. That statement must be taken with a great deal of doubt. How could Buhari correct the imbalances in his earlier appointments when he is almost running out of options? Would Buhari balance his appointments by nominating all his ministers from the southern regions that have been marginalised? If he were to do so, he would counteract the constitutional requirement about the states of origin of federal ministers.

There was even a hint of arrogance in the presidential aide’s tone when he said needlessly that Buhari had the right to appoint people to serve in his government. Yes, Buhari in his capacity as president has the right to appoint people to serve in his government. However, the right to appoint people is not a right that should be abused or misused. In exercising his right, the president must be conscious of the need to ensure that officials of his government are selected from across the country, not just from one part of the country.

Suddenly, Buhari, the people’s superstar president, is beginning to look fallible.


Re: Who can stop Oshiomhole, the Saint from talking?

I have read your piece with the above title. Inasmuch as I agree with you that as a member of the “committee set up to critically examine the accounts of the NNPC and the Excess Crude Account”‎, Oshiomhole should have refrained from making public comments about the people whose activities the committee is investigating, I beg to disagree with you on the glowing tribute you’ve paid to Adesina’s tenure as Agriculture Minister.

As Minister of Agriculture, Adesina superintended a massively fraudulent exercise that he called “telephone for farmers”. This was a conduit through which he siphoned up to N60 billion from the Nigerian treasury.

As I write this, there is no one in my agrarian state of Benue that got a phone from Adesina’s Ministry of Agriculture. And I know that telephone is neither an agricultural implement nor input. To, therefore,‎ expend such a huge amount of money on it smacks of nothing but corruption. And the searchlight shall soon beam on him. But till then, Oshiomhole should minimise his public utterances.

Orngu Titus 

Levi, let me commend your apt description of Oshiomhole and his indiscreet use of words against his perceived enemies. I thought I was the only one who had been worried by Oshiomhole’s use of indecent language against people he perceives as his enemies. In comparative terms, Oshiomhole does not come anywhere near the profile of the internationally respected former Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

There are clear processes in our system to be adopted in prosecuting people who are suspected to have engaged in corrupt practices. These legal procedures are respected by enlightened minds in Nigeria and these are very few in the nation’s leadership bracket.

It has become a common practice by our political leaders to misuse power when they suddenly find themselves in positions of authority. A Yoruba adage says that no one can see the back of their head but other people. Let us wait patiently to watch the closing scene of the drama in which Oshiomhole is the main character.

Lai Ashadele (laiashadele@yahoo.com)

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Reinstatement of dismissed soldiers http://sunnewsonline.com/new/reinstatement-of-dismissed-soldiers/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/reinstatement-of-dismissed-soldiers/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2015 01:21:26 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133562 THE Nigerian Army Review Panel headed by the General Officer Commanding the First Infantry Division, Major-General Adeniyi ]]>

THE Nigerian Army Review Panel headed by the General Officer Commanding the First Infantry Division, Major-General Adeniyi Oyebade, ended its sittings last Wednesday. Tempering justice with mercy, the panel directed the recall of 2,500 soldiers who had earlier been sacked for various offences during the Army’s counter-insurgency operations against Boko Haram, code-named “Operation Zaman Lafiya.”

The review exercise, which began in Kaduna on August 17, also reinstated 102 officers.  The reinstated soldiers have now commenced a re-training exercise at the Nigerian Army Training Centre, Kontagora, Niger State.

To reassure many Nigerians who had been alarmed at the Army’s embarrassing performance in its fight against Boko Haram last year, the Acting Director of  Army Public Relations, Col. Sani Usman, observed that the recall of the sacked soldiers should not be mistaken for a “total reinstatement of dismissed and deserter soldiers.”

It is good that the Nigerian Army has seen the wisdom in reviewing the cases of these soldiers. The reprieve granted them is a welcome demonstration of compassion by our military authorities. The cases had earlier been decided by general courts-martial in Jos, Abuja and Lagos.

The Review Panel also advised those already tried or listed to be tried by courts-martial to approach the tribunals directly for reprieve, since their cases are already before them.

With this directive, the military authorities have shown that there is, indeed, a new era in the conduct of Army affairs, in which the rule of law and due process are accorded pride of place.

Out of the 4,000 soldiers that had reportedly appealed for a re-consideration of their sanctions, only 2,500 were found to deserve a review.

We commend the panel for the speed and precision with which it worked. While we support the review of these cases because of the then widely acknowledged dearth of arms and ammunition to prosecute the war against insurgency, which probably negatively influenced the actions of the offending soldiers, Nigeria must be careful not to convey the wrong impression that a shortage of arms is an excuse for desertion, cowardice and other offences during military operations.

The performance of the Nigerian Army before March 2015 when it revved up its attacks against Boko Haram was, indeed, nothing to write home about. It was sad watching whole units of Nigerian soldiers fleeing the battlefield into neighbouring countries.  Those were really embarrassment moments for most Nigerians that should not be allowed to recur.

However, the confession of the erstwhile Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh (rtd), that he presided over a military that was short of weapons should be a lesson for Nigeria. It should tell our leaders the need for preparedness of our military at all times.  Wars are sometimes sudden and unpredictable, thus necessitating eternal vigilance and preparedness.

It is, of course, also true that no army in the world has all the weapons it needs. Even the United States of America found itself at a severe disadvantage in Iraq, fighting against improvised devices which took a huge toll of its soldiers.

The improved performance of our soldiers from March 2015 appears to have buttressed our soldiers’ claims that their unsatisfactory performance was due to the poor availability of weapons. The review of the sentences passed on some of the soldiers is, therefore, in order.

We appeal to the military authorities to continue the review of all sentences, especially those of the soldiers that were sentenced to death by firing squad.

There is no doubt that   something was wrong with the arms supply situation prior to March 2015, so we commend the President Muhammadu Buhari administration for trying to get to the root of the problem.

We commend the military authorities and urge them not to rest on their oars. This is the time to properly arm our soldiers and motivate them for a decisive onslaught that will end the Boko Haram insurgency once and for all.

 
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Non-oil exports and Nexim Bank’s alliances http://sunnewsonline.com/new/non-oil-exports-and-nexim-banks-alliances/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/non-oil-exports-and-nexim-banks-alliances/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2015 01:18:21 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133560 The Nigerian Export-Import Bank has over the years championed the development of non-oil sectors of the nation’s economy. These efforts have resulted in the diversification of Nigeria’s economy. Nexim Bank’s ]]>

By Uche Nwoko

The Nigerian Export-Import Bank has over the years championed the development of non-oil sectors of the nation’s economy. These efforts have resulted in the diversification of Nigeria’s economy. Nexim Bank’s initiatives under Mr Roberts Orya as the MD|CEO have led to thedevelopment of non-oil sectors such as agriculture, entertainment,solid minerals and export promotion to mention a few.

It is against this backdrop that recent alliances which the bank plans to enter into with some countries and trade bodies aimed at promoting non-oil sectors of the nation’s economy is quite commendable and need to be vigorously pursued because of the multiplier effects therein.

One of such is the recent partnership plan between the bank and Greece. It would be recalled that the Greek ambassador to Nigeria, Mr AlekosIkonomopoulos,  during a recent  visit to the headquarters of the bank in Abuja indicated interests to partner with Nexim Bank in his country’s quest to develop non-oil exports with Nigeria. Such

collaborations should be encouraged because they will provide export opportunities for Nigerian goods, which will in turn positively improve upon the gross domestic products of the country.

During the discussion with the management of the bank, the ambassador had affirmed that his country would seek ways to collaborate with Nigeria in ensuring the success of the partnership. In his words, “We shall create the enabling environment for Greek investors to collaborate with Nigeria in the areas of technology, maritime and agriculture.”

Nexim Bank’s MD, Mr Roberts Orya, had thanked Mr AlekosIkonomopoulos for the initiative, and added that the prospect of the synergy was bright because of the Sealink Project which would provide a good platform for the non-oil sector exportation. According to him, the Sealink is a private sector-driven project, and that NEXIM Bank is only facilitating its establishment in line with its mandate, as the Trade Policy Bank of Nigeria, to promote and deepen non-oil export trade. He said the Sealink Project would promote intra and inter-African trade, thereby fostering regional integration, economic growth and development in the West and Central African sub-regions.

In a similar vein, Nexim Bank has also concluded plans to collaborate with the World Trade Organisation, WTO. Mr Orya stated this when the deputy Director General of the WTO, Mr Yonov Fred Agah, paid him a visit in Abuja. He said such collaboration would remove bottlenecks usually associated with international trade.

Just like the Greek deal, that of the WTO would be enhanced by various platforms already initiated by the bank. Some of them are the ECOWAS Trade Support Facility (ETSF), Interstate Road Transport Scheme (ISRT), and the Nigerian Creative and Entertainment facility.

The determination of the bank to collaborate with the WTO will no doubt deepen Nigeria’s relationship with relevant government agencies which will in turn determine the mechanism to drive Nigeria’s export market. Mr Agah had during their discussion revealed that trade finance was the core area of encouraging regional integration and a key factor in eradicating poverty.

He said, “The WTO provides the framework for negotiating trade agreements and dispute resolution processes to enforce participants’ adherence to WTO terms. Trade finance is the core area of encouraging regional integration and a key factor in eradicating poverty. The WTO aims to create awareness and proffer solutions to peculiar experiences in different countries with regards to trade.”

He believes that although empirical trade policy analysis was lacking, the WTO was working on developing a global value chain for better trade regimes, and promised to work with the Nexim Bank to achieve its goals.

Following the fall in the oil prices globally, and the quest by Nigeria to diversify her economy by developing other sectors, such alliances are coming at the right time. The world, it is said, is a global village and the only way for Nigeria to holistically develop is by collaborate with relevant bodies that will promote her export opportunities.

The Nigerian Export-Import Bank was established by Act 38 of 1991 as an Export Credit Agency with the broad mandate to promoting the diversification of the Nigerian economy and deepening the external sector, particularly the non-oil through the provision of credit facilities in both local and foreign currencies; risk-bearing facilities through export credit guarantee and export credit insurance; business development and financial advisory services.

In pursuit of its mandate of promoting export diversification and deepening the non-oil sectors, the bank’s current strategic initiatives are targeted towards boosting employment creation and foreign exchange earnings in the manufacturing, agro-processing, solid minerals and services (tourism, transportation and entertainment) industries.

•Nwoko,  a banker,  writes  from Abuja 

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