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Thursday, 20 July 2017

HURIWA Canvasses anti-open grazing law for FCT; Lauds Taraba Assembly

Following incessant invasions of several human settlements and the upscale central business district/city center of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja by hundreds of herdsmen and their cattle, the National Assembly has been asked to pass a legislation clearly outlawing open grazing of livestock within the Metropolis.
Also the Taraba State House of Assembly has been commended for successfully and transparently passing the state's version of the anti- open grazing law which the Rights group believes will fundamentally redefine the symbiotic relationship amongst farmers and private owners of cattle ranches and will increase the tourism potentials of Taraba State just like what obtains in most other civilized climes. 
It urges other States in the Federation to borrow a leaf from Taraba, Benue and Ekiti States which now operate anti- open grazing state laws to check frequent violent attacks of farmers by armed Fulani herdsmen.
Making the clarion call is the pro-democracy and Non-Governmental Organization-Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) which lampooned the Federal Capital Territory's Minister Alhaji Mohammed Bello for his abdication of functions and failure to curb the persistent invasions of herdsmen and their livestock within Abuja metropolis. 
The media statement endorsed jointly by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf was issued in Abuja.
HURIWA accused the Fulani-born FCT minister Alh. Mohammed Bello of probably allowing his private relationship with his fellow Fulani kinsmen to interfere with his official obligations to clean up the FCT and stop the apparently lawless herdsmen from defacing the environmental beauty of the FCT and constituting grave security threats to the nation's capital. 
HURIWA affirmed that the dereliction of duty in this instance by the Abuja minister constitutes a willful breach of his constitutional oath of office which obliges him not to allow his personal interests to interfere with his official functions and services he must render to the good residents of the nation's federal capital. 
The group warned that the persistent presence of unrestrained movement of cattle in and around the governmental business center of the Federal Capital whereby foreign dignitaries frequently move around constitutes global opprobrium for our nation's international image as a nation that lacks implementable civilized clean environmental laws. 
Besides, the Rights group carpeted the Federal Capital Territory administration for failing to take prompt and decisive steps to stop the continuous occupation by cows and herdsmen of the premises of the University of Abuja since the last one monthly thereby obstructing the smooth implementation of academic and non-academic activities by the students and staff.
The Rights group said the reason for the bad and abysmally poor State of environmental sanitation and frequent roaming of cattle and herdsmen within the city and the occupation of the university of Abuja by herdsmen and their cows has been made possible also by the systematic failure of the relevant committees of the National Assembly to compel the political administration of Abuja to clean up the city and stop the invasion of the City center and its environ by large herds of cattle and herdsmen.
Apart from constituting security threats to the lives and property of the citizens including the students and staff of the University of Abuja, the Rights group said the unrestrained roaming of cattle could pose health hazards should the livestock develop mad cow disease or any such emerging health risks which could inflict a massive epidemic to the population of Abuja. 
The organization recalled with trepidation that even in civilized climes like the United kingdom with strict regulatory regime prohibiting open grazing of livestock the last time Mad Cow disease and foot and mouth disease broke out within animal ranches, the diseases somehow inflicted human beings just as the group lamented that should such an outbreak of disease happen in Nigeria with our traditionally slow pace of reaction to epidemics, the lives of thousands and millions of Nigerians would be endangered. 
HURIWA Said it has become increasingly notorious that the officials of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board cannot effectively rely on the extant anti-street trading law that hitherto restrict the movement of livestock and herdsmen within the FCT thereby necessitating the call by the group for the National Assembly to take drastic measures to legislate against open grazing of animals within the FCT.
The Rights groups aid the cattle and the herdsmen have successfully destroyed several flowers planted all over the FCT with billions of tax payers’ money and wondered why the National Assembly which supervises the FCT has failed to ball out the residents from the persistent unhealthy invasions of live stocks and herdsmen.
"The ugly development probably would have been of less security concern if the herdsmen had kept their animals out of the reach of human habitation. Unfortunately, the sight of cattle roaming the highways at the city Centre, including within the precincts of Aso Rock Presidential Villa, the seat of government, is now a national embarrassment. From Asokoro to Maitama and Jabi, it is now a common sight for herds of cattle to block major access roads in broad daylight." 

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

NHIS Sector must not be destroyed-HURIWA

Gentlemen/Ladies of the fourth estate of the realm, we are worried by the festering crises of confidence playing out in the Federal ministry of health with specific reference to the reported intransigence of the now suspended executive Secretary of the NHIS Usman Yusuf.
First and foremost, we are intervening in our capacity as practioners in the human rights sector primarily involved in the promotion of the human rights of all Nigerians one amongst which is the right to qualitative healthcare.
Gentlemen, you are aware that the 1999 constitution remains the grund norm governing the conducts of public affairs. In section 14(2) (a) and (b) the constitution says: “It is hereby, accordingly, declared that-
(a)               Sovereignty belongs to the people of Nigeria from whom government through the Constitution derives all its powers and authority.
(b)               The security and welfare of the people shall be primary purpose of government.
Corollary, Section 147 (1)(2)and (3) of the Constitution affirmed thus: “(1) There shall be such offices of ministers of the Governments of the Federation as may be established by the president
(2)Any appointment to the office of Minister of the Government of the Federation shall, if the nomination of any person to such office is confirmed by the Senate, be made by the President.
(3)Any appointment under subsection (2) of this section by the President shall be conformity with the provisions of section 14(3) of this Constitution”.
Most of these aforementioned provisions of the highest law in the land says that the president appoints the Nigerian Ministers for the purposes of good governance.
Now, the Nigerian appointed by Mr. President to take charge of the health sector feels strongly that the NHIS (a parastatal) under him is not properly governed based on reported petition and he ordered for probe.
The Minister of Health Prof Isaac Adewole has explained why he directed the Chief Executive Officer of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Usman Yusuf. He is to proceed on three months suspension with immediate effect following various accusations. Mrs. Boade Akinola, Director, Media and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Health made this known. Mrs. Akinola quoted the minister as saying the suspension was a result of various allegations and petitions against Mr. Yusuf. The minister also directed the setting up of an investigative committee to look in the various allegations in accordance with the Public Service Rules. The suspension was also to allow for uninterrupted investigation. Following his suspension, he was directed to hand over to the next most senior General Manager in the agency. He advised staff of the agency to be law abiding, vigilant and safeguard all government properties including valuable documents.
But in what is out of sync with the best global practices, the Executive Secretary publicly disagreed and created the impression that because he was appointed by the Katsina State born President (his Kinsman) he is bound not to respect constituted authority.
Constitutionally, this type of nepotistic impression is illegal because the office of the president of Nigeria is not an ethnic or religious trophy and loyalty is to the constituted authority. Section 15 (4) of the Constitution says: “The State shall foster of belonging and the involvement among the various peoples of the Federal, to the end that loyalty to the nation shall override sectional loyalties”.
We say this because we read that the suspended E.S even petitioned his State governor thereby reducing this official matter to look like a tribal warfare .This is even made worst because of the nature of one of the allegations against him (ES) that he unilaterally appointed over half a dozen middle level officers and all are from the North even without following prescribed civil service laws and the constitutional provision of Federal character principle.
The suspended E.S sounded indecorous to publicly affirm that “I will not obey your suspension order”. This is gross misconduct.
The suspended Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS, Usman Yusuf, has then gave five reasons why he will ignore his suspension from office as ordered by the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole.
Mr. Yusuf, in his letter dated July 12, acknowledged receiving the suspension letter dated July 6, but gave five reasons why he would not comply with the suspension.
In his own letter addressed to the minister, using the NHIS letterhead, Mr. Yusuf said he received the letter directing him to proceed on three months suspension with immediate effect to pave way for uninterrupted investigation of petitions against him in accordance with Public Service Rules.
He, however, said he would not comply with the directives for the following five reasons:
“1. By virtue of the NHIS Act particularly section 4 and 8 thereof, my appointment and removal from office whether by way of suspension or otherwise is at the instance of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“2. Except removed from office by the president under circumstances specified in the NHIS Act, my appointment is for a period of five (5) years subject to further term of the same period at the discretion of the president.
“3. Although by virtue of section 47 of the NHIS Act, you are empowered to give directives of a general nature to the Governing Council of the Scheme and in the absence of the Council, you have Presidential mandate to exercise the powers and functions of the council, but since the powers and functions of the Council do not include discipline, suspension or removal of the Executive Secretary of the Scheme from office, the directive in your letter under reference cannot find comfort under the said section or presidential mandate; and
“4. The letter of suspension is not in accordance with Public Service Rules as no prima facie case has been established against me in respect of the petition referred to in the letter. The mere fact that there are pending petitions against a public officer which is yet to be substantiated does not constitute a ground for suspension under the Public Service Rules. otherwise, with over 18,000 petitions pending against public officer holders before the EFCC and ICPC as at the end of June 2017, the total number of public officers who would have been on suspension by now including Honorable Ministers is left to be imagined.

“5. As you are aware, the petition referred to in your letter are currently being investigated by the ICPC which is yet to submit its report. In view of the criminal nature of most of the allegations in the petitions, security/investigative agencies like ICPC are the appropriate agencies for investigation contemplated in your letter; not a Ministerial Committee. I have cooperated fully with the investigations so far and will continue to do so.”
The embattled health insurance chief asked that the minister allow “investigations of these petitions to follow due process.”

HURIWA strongly urge all stakeholders in the health sector NEVER TO ALLOW THEIR PERSONAL INTEREST TO HARM THE STRATEGIC NATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE SCHEME. We expect the health minister and the National Assembly to partner effectively so as to widen the scope of services rendered by NHIS so all Nigerians are covered by health insurance policy.  We propose that there should be a national legislation to make it compulsory for every citizen to be enrolled into NHIS because the fundamental human rights to quality and affordable healthcare services is a strategic component of the UNIVERSAL DECLARATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS. We urge the minister of health to scale up his supervisory roles to make sure that all the agencies under his ministerial purview are obliged to comply with the best global services. 

*Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko; National Coordinator.  
July 19th 2017

Labor's 2011 live cattle export ban to Indonesia not justified, court told

Class action brought by north Australian cattle farmers against then agriculture minister Joe Ludwig alleges ‘misfeasance in public office’
 Export cattle are loaded on to trucks on the outskirts of Darwin.
 Export cattle are loaded on to trucks on the outskirts of Darwin. The issue of live exports became particular controversial after the airing of a Four Corners program showing treatment of animals in Indonesia. Photograph: Dave Hunt/AAP
 A federal Labor minister’s decision to act indiscriminately in banning all farmers from exporting live cattle to Indonesia for six months in 2011 was not justified, a court has been told.
Noel Hutley SC was giving his opening address in the federal court in Sydney on Wednesday in a class action brought by north Australian cattle farmers against the then Labor government agriculture minister, Joe Ludwig.
They claim the ban cost them hundreds of millions of dollars but the current hearing relates to the alleged liability of Ludwig who, Hutley said, may or may not give evidence.
The group, led by Brett Cattle Company, is alleging “misfeasance in public office” by Ludwig.
Hutley said the issue of live exports had been controversial for many years but became “volcanic” when a May 2011 ABC Four Corners program aired footage showing the “appalling” and “abhorrent” treatment of animals in facilities in Indonesia.
Ludwig was familiar with the live animal industry, having a long background of involvement in rural issues, and in September 2010 told key stakeholders he had no intention of making any “drastic” changes within his portfolio, including live animal exports.
Hutley listed various reports, memos and other material that he said were provided to Ludwig in the lead-up to the airing of the program.
They included advice to him, days before the program, to continue to work collaboratively with industry to voluntarily improve the welfare of Australian livestock in Indonesia and to revisit regulation if, and when, voluntary efforts failed to deliver improvements.
Alive and kicking: Australia's animal export trade booms despite persistent claims of cruelty
But two days after the program he “was rushed into taking dramatic steps” and made a control order banning export to 12 specific locations and then a second control order on 7 June that banned the export of non-breeder livestock to Indonesia for six months.
Ludwig is accused of making the second order with “reckless disregard of its invalidity and consequences”.
The hearing is continuing before Justice Steven Rares.
Earlier on Wednesday, the deputy prime minister, Barnaby Joyce, told reporters the ban had been a “stupid decision”.
“Everybody knows, even the Labor party knows, it was an incredibly bad decision,” he said. “Whether it was an illegal decision, is something entirely different. That’s determined by the court.”

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Rescue kidnapped Lagos students now:- HURIWA charges Acting president

A pro-democracy and Non-governmental body-HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA(HURIWA) has accused the Acting President Professor Yemi Osinbanjo of gross insensitive and non-challance to the plight of the six students of a Lagos model school kidnapped over 50 days ago.
In a statement by the National coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zanaib Yusuf, HURIWA said it was shameful that the Acting President was seen celebrating his wife’s golden jubilee and attending high society wedding of the daughter of the Ogun state governor and the Son of a presidential aide Mrs. Abike Dabiri even when such national calamity like the kidnap of school children have yet to be resolved and the schools made sufficiently secured for meaningful and constructive learning activities. 
HURIWA expresed dismay at the inability of the Inspector General of police Ibrahim Kpotum Idriss and the Director General of the Department of State services Alhaji Lawal Musa Daura to unravel those behind the sensational abduction of the six school boys even when it has been widely reported that the Parents have been cajoled by the hoodlums to part with over N30 million and yet their Children aren't freed.
"The security forces especially the Nigeria police force right under the command and control of the Presidency have spectacularly failed to rescue these unfortunate Nigerian school boys whose parents have coughed out over 30 million naira ransom without seeing their children. This is a serious dent on the international image of Nigeria which has rapidly pushed Nigeria up into the top 20 most dangerous places on the Planet Earth".
HURIWA stated thus: “It is the greatest embarrassment of the decade that armed kidnappers in Lagos have on more than one occasion breached the security of schools and kidnaped hapless children of poor Nigerians and the police authority and other security services have not jointly embarked on surgical covert operation to rescue these boys even when the same security forces sprang up and deployed intelligence led crack team to rescue the wife of the governor of central Bank of Nigeria when she was kidnapped in Edo state”.
The rights group has therefore charged the Acting president to personally direct that all the security heads in Nigeria must ensure the immediate release of these school boys.
“We urge the Acting president to also ensure that Nigeria establishes a national anti-kidnapping security joint task force to be composed of operatives and officers drawn from the crack teams of all the security forces in Nigeria because of the diverse effects of kidnapping which discourages foreign direct investors from coming to Nigeria”.
Besides, HURIWA said it is unbecoming that the Federal and State governments will fail to discharge the primary constitutional obligation of providing security of lives and property of Nigerians and yet the political class go about with hundreds of armed security forces and letting armed kidnappers to have field days kidnapping helpless citizens.
HURIWA recalled that the Six Senior Secondary School students of Lagos State Model College, Igbonla, in Epe area, were early on 25th May 2017 kidnapped by unknown gunmen. 
HURIWA also recalled that four students and two staff of the school were abducted in October last year. The kidnappers involved in the yet unresolved criminal operation according to police sources, were suspected to be members of a militant kidnap gang that had carried out several kidnappings, armed robbery and the killings of security agents around Lagos and Ogun state.
HURIWA therefore wonders why the security forces have yet to arrest the kingpins of this latest kidnap incident when the police already have actionable intelligence on the suspected perpetrators of the heinous crimes against humanity. 

HURIWA has therefore warned that it may begin international advocacy  campaign alongside its allies and foreign friends to inform the international community that Nigeria is no longer safe for the lives and property of the citizens and foreign visitors even as the Rights group may appeal to the United Nations Security Council to send in security forces to stop the killings of unarmed members of the civil populace in Nigeria. 

Our supporters swam, biked, and ran to raise money for animals around the world.

On Sunday, June 11, 2017, Team World Animal Protection joined the 2017 IRONMAN 70.3 Eagleman race in Cambridge, MD.
Temperatures were in the 90s and not a cloud was in the sky as our racers completed the course’s swimming, biking, and running portions. Despite the stifling heat, our team kept cool – and together they raised more than $20,000 to help suffering animals.
“I decided to support World Animal Protection because I was drawn to the idea of being a part of something much bigger than myself,” explained Ali Rubnitz. “World Animal Protection represents one of the most important causes to me.”
“I definitely thought about all the animals and my own pup as I was competing,” Ali added. “The animals’ stories were so inspirational…I kept thinking of the suffering they have had to go through and that I could do my little part to help even if it was competing and fundraising.”
We couldn’t be more proud of our Eagleman team. Congratulations to Ali, Amy, Beth, Jeff, Jonathan, Matt, and Sherri for such an amazing race!

Monday, 17 July 2017

Who created Nigeria, God or Lugard? By Emmanuel Onwubiko

This piece is not theological in nature but a direct response to the statement often rendered by political office holders in Nigeria each time certain agitations are raised for a fundamental restructuring or overhauling of the structure of the polity.
These persons defending Nigeria as a divine product are those who profits from the dysfunctionality that Nigeria has been made to become by politicians and their military allies through a cocktail of corruption and economic brigandage of Nigeria's commonwealth.  
Of course the bulk of those proponents of restructure or self determination are persons who feel that they are treated with the short end of the stick by those who have cornered political powers through hook or crooked means.
The latest sermon came from the speaker of the Federal house of Representatives Mr. Yakubu Dogara in which he alluded to the claim that Nigeria is a creation of God even as he dismissed the agitation for restructuring of the country as a product of some minds who have not sufficiently appreciated God’s desire for Nigeria's  unity. 
Dogara's house of representatives is seen as one of the main obstacles to the institutionalization of good governance.  
Most Nigerians see the legislators as few privileged Nigerians who are reaping where they did not sow. 
But this is not the perspective of this reflection nor is it a verdict on the apparent ethical deficit of the political class.
 I'm concerned with debunking the error of judgment by Dogara and others who ascribed divine creation to the emergence of Nigeria. 
Dogara, a lawyer by training seems to be responding to the very latest public intervention of the Nobel  laurette in literature professor Wole Soyinka who had rendered an opinion that Nigeria as a nation is not cast in stone in such a way that it cannot be negotiated by the various component units that make up the whole.
Professor Soyinka was clearly responding to the cacophony of opinions by mostly reactionaries who believed that the groundswell of calls fro restructuring of Nigeria are generic product of anarchists bent on destroying Nigeria.
Soyinka, while fielding questions from students of a publicly built academy in Bayesia state recently and also from a renowned poet, Mr. Odia Ofiemun, on whether Nigeria should break up or not, insisted that such an argument sounded “hypocritical, dogmatic and dictatorial.”
The Nobel laureate said, “My response is basically a plea; we must stop confusing or mixing up the argument. When people come up with the question of whether to break up or not to, it always sounds hypocritical, dogmatic and dictatorial. And for the statement that the unity of Nigeria is non-negotiable, that, for me, is a falsity.
“Anything is negotiable. The right of people to determine their future is what is non-negotiable. Most nations came into being through negotiations. Sometimes, when people say negotiate, what they really mean is to restructure. What the argument or question should be is: should Nigeria break up? And my answer to that is no.
“But please, don’t tell me that Nigeria as it stands is non-negotiable. For me, this is a fallacy. The nation has got to be negotiated. Negotiation includes ensuring that there is no marginalization. Negotiation has to do with control of resources; it has to do with restructuring the nation in a way in which its components, its constituents are not feeding a bloated center to the detriment of their own development.
“So, Nigeria is negotiable. So, what we should say, the language we should use is, what are you willing to sacrifice, what efforts are you willing to make to ensure that Nigeria remains intact? That is the citizen question.”
In his direct response to the time -tested submission of Soyinka, rather than spend quality time to reflect before making his intervention, the Nigeria’s speaker of parliament Mr. Yakubu Dogara, a very young Nigerian, decided to adopt the intellectually lazy approach of holding on to the fallacy that Nigeria as a nation state was the creative work of God.
Hear him: "Those who think Nigeria is a mistake, it may be because they don’t know the purpose. But if you want to know the purpose of a thing, you have to go back to the manual, and who puts the manual together? It’s the manufacturer, so I would challenge them to go back to the manufacturer of Nigeria, who is God, so that we can get the manual for Nigeria.
 "If we were a mistake, maybe during the first civil war, this country would have disintegrated but God decided to keep this country one and God has never made a mistake," he stated.
The Speaker argued that for the country to have survived the civil war means that there is a purpose for the nation, and that "until the destiny of this nation is realized, nothing will happen to Nigeria."
While acknowledging that the nation is facing multifaceted challenges, the Speaker urged Nigerians not to relent in offering prayers for the country as according to him, nothing is impossible with God, including Nigeria's challenges.
"'For our country, we will never cease to ask that prayers be made, especially collective prayers. We all know the benefits of collective prayers; it is said that whenever two or three of you come together and ask of anything, God will do it.

"'We know the challenges we face, they are quite enormous challenges, they are very difficult, but they are not insurmountable. With God on our side, we will surmount them, and the only way we can do that is when we have the benefit of the wisdom of God; wisdom means application of knowledge."
Although the Nigerian speaker spoke within the premises of a church during what is called a thanksgiving service, he nevertheless committed a grave intellectual error known as fallacy of over generalization. 
There's no law forbidden Christian worshippers from engaging in critical thinking. 
I do not want to accuse speaker Dogara of committing heresy or a sacrilege, but I believe he got it all wrong by swimming along the incredible tide of illogicality of the 'God theory' in the matter of the political creation of Nigeria as a nation state in 1914.
 Is God a politician? Not at all. 
Aristotle made us know that only human being is a political animal by nature.
Speaker Dogara  is wrong because the historical persona behind the nomenclature Nigeria and behind the coupling together of the various component parts to arrive at a geographical expression (apologies to late Chief Obafemi Awolowo)is no other person than the British colonial overlord called Frederick John Dealtry Luggard, first Baron Luggard (1858-1945).
This man is clearly identified in the official biography as a British imperialist and colonial administrator  in Africa of the pre-independence era. 
Does it mean that Dogara and all those political office holders who preach this political heresy of Nigeria being the creation of the Divine force not knowledgeable about the political history of Nigeria?  
Please let him and others do just a simple research on the founder of Nigeria Mr. Lugard of Britain so as to cure themselves of this class heresy. I have undertaken to conduct a very brief historical research on the personality of Lugard who founded Nigeria in 1914. 
As recorded in his official biography, Mr. Frederick Lugard was born on Jan. 22, 1858, of missionary parents in India. He attended the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, England. 
He obtained a commission in 1878 and returned to India, where he participated in the Afghan War of 1879-1880.
 In 1885 he accompanied the Indian contingent to the Sudan, joining the Suakin campaign to relieve Khartoum; in 1886 he joined military operations in Burma.
In 1887 Lugard returned to England, but unable to resume his commission for medical reasons and despairing over an unhappy love affair, he set out for the east coast of Africa. 
In 1888 he arrived in Mozambique, where he entered the employ of the African Lakes Company, for whom he commanded a mission to Lake Nyasa to relieve a trading station besieged by Arab slave traders.
In 1890 he went to Mombasa, where he was employed by the Imperial British East Africa Company to open a trade route to Buganda. Lugard remained in the interior of East Africa for 2 years, where, through a combination of diplomatic skill and military force, he established the suzerainty of the company over the region of present-day Uganda. During this time the company decided to withdraw from Buganda, a decision Lugard chose to ignore. 
He returned to England and launched a political campaign designed to convince the government to annex Uganda. In England, Lugard was criticized for his activities in Buganda, particularly for his treatment of French missionaries. Therefore, in defense of himself and in advocacy of his imperial vision, he published his first book, The Rise of Our East African Empire (1893), an autobiographical account of his activities in Nyasaland and Uganda.
In 1894 Lugard visited West Africa for the first time. Employed by the Royal Niger Company, he led an expedition to forestall a French effort to establish a position on the lower Niger River. After a brief tour to Bechuanaland for the British West Charterland Company, he returned to the Niger in 1897 as commissioner for the hinterland of Nigeria and commander of the West African Frontier Force, a military contingent designed to aid the Royal Niger Company in defending its territorial claims.
When the charter of the Royal Niger Company was revoked in 1900, the British government assumed administrative responsibility for former territories of the company, and Lugard became high commissioner for Northern Nigeria. At that time, Northern Nigeria existed in name only, since the company had never extended any form of administration beyond the banks of the Niger. 
During his tenure Lugard laid the foundations of British rule in the North, first establishing British sovereignty by conquest of the Moslem states which had resisted alien domination and then by developing the forms of administration whereby the British would rule.
In 1906 Lugard resigned as high commissioner and the following year accepted an appointment as governor of Hong Kong, where he remained until 1911. Then, in 1912, he returned to Nigeria as governor of both the Northern and Southern protectorates, charged with amalgamating the two territories into a single unit.
Lugard's plans for amalgamation provided for the extension into the Southern Protectorate of the policy of indirect rule which he had developed in the North. Indirect rule was designed to allow for the administration of colonized peoples through the agency of indigenous institutions. 
Historians recorded that although indirect rule was not uniformly effective among peoples of very diverse traditional institutions, Lugard pushed hard for its adoption and as a guide published his Political Memoranda, earlier directives he had circulated in establishing the Northern administration. By 1919, when Lugard retired as governor general, Nigeria had been set well on its way to becoming a unified territory administratively... his  wife, the former Flora Shaw, was the author of A Tropical Dependency, a history of Nigeria.(See http://biography. john-dealtry-lugard).
Two distinguished legal minds Yinka Fasakin and L.O Alimi also authored an opinion which provides a historical preamble to underscore the fact that the nation state known as Nigeria is a human creation of the British overlords.
In the researched article titled: “The continuing debate of systems of government and good governance ideals-the best model for Africa, ”published in the book titled: “Globalization, National development and the law, “edited by Professors D.A Guobadia; and Epiphany Azinge (SAN),the duo laid out a very convincing empirical evidence to show the historical context in which Nigeria as a nation state came about.
Hear them: “Over the years, countries in Africa have experimented with various systems of government in search of good governance for their citizens. Various countries in the continent after independence from COLONIAL OVERLORDS, moved from the parliamentary and Westminster model of government to the military system of government. Many of them are presently coming back to democratic governance".
Also,in a piece by Max Boot,titled “origins of United States Indepence defamed by here and now,"  the author was clear that even the United States of America whose independence status was heralded by a church bell,there are clear historical evidence that America was created by the people and not by some Divine Being.
The author wrote thus: “On July 4, 1776, church bells rang out across Philadelphia. The Continental Congress had approved a Declaration of Independence to inform the world that the goal of the colonial revolt, which had begun more than a year earlier, was not mere autonomy within the British Empire. Rather, the rebels were seeking the creation of an independent republic the likes of which the world had never seen.”
“Their demands were couched in then-novel language of natural rights; “all men are created equal”, they wrote, and “they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. 
The authors of this revolutionary text warned all governments to respect these rights or else face the consequences: “whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government.”
So Dogara and all others who think that Nigeria was created by God should go back and dust up the history books to appreciate the historical fact that it was one Mr. Lugard a British who created Nigeria. 
I'm not sure if Speaker Dogara has not committed the fallacy of knowing that since Frederick Lugard attaches the title of a Lord, it is therefore  conceivable to ascribe some forms of divine authority or mandate to his political activities for his then home British empire in coupling up Nigeria. 
*Emmanuel Onwubiko is Head of Human rights writers Association of Nigeria  (HURIWA) and blogs;www.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Have-a-go heroes: the women saving elephants in their free time

With one elephant killed every 25 minutes, the poaching crisis continues. But with the commitment and activism of a growing global network – dominated by women – laws and attitudes around the world are changing
If dedication and hard work were all it took, Maria Mossman would have saved every last elephant by now. Despite having two children, aged five and seven, and a part-time job for a large corporation, she also spends 35 to 40 hours a week as an unpaid activist. It was even more time when the children were younger. “I used to come home from work at about 4pm and then sit on my computer, networking with other groups and activists until two o’clock in the morning,” she recalls.
Mossman, 41, got heavily involved in elephant activism in 2013. As well as founding Action for Elephants UK (AFEUK), she’s one of the key organisers of the global elephant and rhino marches. “It’s really hard work,” she says. “Really stressful. Just before the marches you say: ‘We’re not going to do this again.’ And as soon as one is over you start planning the next one.”
Is she committed? Definitely. Unusual? Perhaps not.
 “If I am off work, then I am working on my volunteer stuff full-time,” says 42-year-old Salisha Chandra. By day she is communications manager at the Lion Guardians conservation group. By night, she is managing director of the volunteer-run Kenyans United Against Poaching (KUAPO), a board member of Friends of Nairobi National Park and a core member of the global march team.
“I prioritise and reprioritise constantly,” she says. “There are times when sleep is minimal and more often than not weekends are forsaken – I really do not take much time off. I know I annoy everyone around me with the amount of time I spend at social occasions staring at my phone, trading WhatsApp messages or texts with other fellow activists because we are working on something important. It is a constant battle.”
Val Green, 55, is another activist working a full-time job on top of multiple volunteer positions. As well as her civil service job, she is a fundraising ambassador for the conservation charity David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) in Scotland, and one of the core organisers of the Scotland for Elephants and Rhinos group. Somehow, at home in South Queensferry, Scotland, she still finds time for her 21-year-old daughter and their pets, a cavalier King Charles spaniel and two guinea pigs.
Although elephants are still in a precarious situation, with one killed every 25 minutes, there is enough good news to keep campaigners motivated. The rate of killing is slowing down; China’s ban on the ivory trade will be in place by the end of the year; Thomas Cook recently announced it won’t be selling elephant rides on its holidays; and poachers in Africa are getting tougher punishments.
Green, Mossman and Chandra are part of a global network that is dominated by women. An estimated 80-95% of elephant conservation activists worldwide are female. “I think it has something to do with matriarchy,” elephant campaigner Rosemary Alles told the Invoke website. “Elephants are a matriarchal society – it all depends on the mother, her longevity … If she’s killed, it’s not just losing one animal, it’s like someone just burned down the library. So they are all left chaotic, unable to find their way in droughts, not knowing where to go to find water … I think there’s a bond between women and elephants.”
Thailand’s “elephant whisperer”, Lek Chailert, founder of the Save Elephant Foundation and the Elephant Nature Park sanctuary in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand, says: “When I see the animals get abused, I have a mother instinct. I want to work for them, I want to protect them from harm.” And there is no shortage of strong female role models in conservation, from primatologist Jane Goodall to Animals Asia founder Jill Robinson.
Mossman’s activism started when she was watching the news on TV in January 2013 and saw the corpses of 12 elephants that had been poached in Kenya. Then there was another incident in which 89 elephants were slaughtered in a week in Chad. “Thirty-three were pregnant. They were wiping out entire herds. There were reports in other poaching cases that the bullets came down from above, so that meant there were helicopters involved. It was a nightmare.”
Chandra had a similarly emotional awakening in 2013, when poachers slaughtered a family of 11 elephants in Kenya’s Tsavo National Park. “It lit a fire in me,” she recalls. “The barbarism of the act was so horrifying that I could not sit back and stay quiet.”
In 2013 the first International March For Elephants and Rhinos was organised by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and took place in 15 cities around the world. It sparked the creation of dozens of local groups, and a network to co-ordinate them internationally. Off the back of this the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos was founded in 2014 by Rosemary Alles, Denise Dresner and Maria Mossman as a grassroots movement, which took over the reins of organising subsequent marches. Last year, they brought together demonstrators in 140 locations in 40 countries. Mossman describes the annual marches as “really powerful and really emotional”. In 2015, some poachers in Uganda were reportedly moved to hand in their spears afterwards.

It was at the marches that Mossman and Green met the women who now help them to organise events, write letters, raise funds, liaise with the media and create posters, literature and websites. For both women, their core teams are 100% female.
The poaching lit a fire in me. The barbarism of the act was so horrifying
It was the connections made at the 2013 march that led to one of the notable victories in elephant conservation: reducing the demand for ivory from China. The combined forces of grassroots activists, NGO campaigns such as the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s iworry campaign, and Prince William’s awareness-raising work with Tusk put pressure on China to end its ivory trade. But China’s decision was at least partly prompted by a series of protests outside its embassies.
“At the end of [the 2013 march] I was talking to all the people there and everybody was saying that they wanted to be able to go to the Chinese embassy,” Mossman recalls. “There were so many passionate people.” She created AFEUK, together with Denise Dresner, who edits the organisation’s letters; Joanne Smith, who takes care of networking; and Maria Ibrahim, who does the team’s graphics. Their first act was to demonstrate outside the Chinese embassy in London. “We were six weeks old and we were novices, and not really sure what we were doing,” Mossman says. However, they still received “incredible” support from established NGOs.
Care for the Wild helped with media work that landed AFEUK coverage from ITV news, the Evening Standard and the Daily Mail, while the protest featured speakers from the Environmental Investigations Agency and Born Free.
In 2015 AFEUK wrote an open letter to the Chinese prime minister Xi Jinping, calling for China to consider its legacy where ivory was concerned and shut the trade down. David Attenborough co-signed the letter, and it was published everywhere from China to Australia.
“When we started our campaign, China was in absolute denial about its role in elephants being poached across Africa,” says Mossman. “Three years on, it’s banning ivory by the end of this year, and closing down its ivory carving shops.”

“No matter how small a thing you do, whether it is signing a petition from home, writing letters, going to see your MP to marching on the street – every single action helps,” she says.
“I have no doubt,” Chandra adds, “that the work and the voices of so many people across the globe helped push China to stop the domestic ivory trade. Even just a few years ago, the general awareness of what was happening was so limited – people had no idea what it meant to own or purchase an ivory bangle.”
Chandra’s own work in Kenya – where elephant numbers are relatively stable – has been focused on collaborating with the various parts of society that have an interest in elephant conservation. KUAPO has influenced the Kenyan government to get the country’s Wildlife Act passed sooner, bringing in stronger laws around poaching. The trust is also working to help the judiciary “see the worth of wildlife” and make sentencing tougher and more consistent. It has even reached young boys from the Nairobi slum of Kibera, who joined the 2016 protests outside the Chinese Embassy.
Bringing together the political and traditional aspects of Kenyan society, KUAPO has also convinced the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to meet community elders to foster co-operation on conservation issues, after which the two groups gave joint talks on conservation ethics and the new wildlife law.
“For aeons KWS and Njavungo [Council of Elders] had not sat down in the same room,” Chandra says. “KWS had felt there was no role for elders in conservation management and the elders had felt ostracised by KWS and the laws of the country that forbade them from going into protected areas where their shrines were, for example.”
Val Green, meanwhile, has been pouring her energies into Auction Rangers, a crowd-sourced project whose members report suspicious-looking listings on auction websites that have policies banning the sale of ivory. The concept was roadtested in January by members of the Scotland for Elephants and Rhinos group, with encouraging results.
Over the course of two days, Green and her colleagues searched auction sites and reported 57 items that they strongly suspected of being ivory to sites including eBay, Preloved, Gumtree and Etsy. Of these, 19 items – with a combined value of £10,569 – were immediately taken down. Most auction sites have strict rules about ivory. eBay, for instance, does not allow bones from elephants, walruses and whales; carved and uncarved ivory; fossilised ivory or mammoth tusks; or manufactured items with 5% or more ivory.
Campaigners have also been targeting other materials from endangered species – rhino horn, tortoiseshell and leopard fur
According to Green, suspicious items can be identified by searching for terms such as “bovine bone”, “deeply carved Chinese antique”, “faux-ivory”, “cow bone” and “ivory-coloured”, and then sorting by the highest prices. In some cases, photos will make it clear that the rules are being breached; in others sellers will privately confirm that they are selling ivory.
Campaigners have also been targeting other materials derived from endangered species, such as rhino horn, tortoiseshell and leopard fur. ”It’s not just the elephant items that are so upsetting,” says a US-based activist who asks to be identified only as Trudy. “It’s the vintage ocelot coats, the rhino taxidermy head, it’s the lamp with four rhino feet used as its base, it’s the river otter coats, the skins from the coyote heads that ‘can be used as a fun mask on Halloween’, on and on and on.”
In her opinion, very few people uploading items to online auctions have the “age authentication documentation” required to prove that the goods are antiques and therefore exempt from strict anti-trafficking laws. And auction sites rarely ask to see it. “The sellers are counting on this,” she says.
But Trudy, like other activists, is aware that it’s not healthy or sustainable to spend all of her spare time advocating for wildlife. “I am one person,” she says. “I have one computer. I have an eye condition that precludes me from spending extended amounts of time on said computer.”

And Chandra? “I always make sure that I have one hour in the morning to myself,” she says. “Normally it’s when I walk Misty – my labrador retriever – in the forest and gather my thoughts for the day.” Ultimately, no matter how passionate the activists are, they need to take care of themselves if they are to continue to be a voice for the elephants.