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Monday, 24 September 2018

HURIWA HOLDS NATIONAL LECTURE ON IDPS: *Gets new human rights question of Nigeria:


The foremost pro-democracy and non-governmental organization in the country – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) will on October 3rd 2018 (next Wednesday) hold the yearly national human rights lecture during which the plights of millions of internally displaced persons (IDPS) in Nigeria will become the focus.

Besides, the Rights group will also crown the HUMAN RIGHTS Queen of 2018 and HUMAN RIGHTS BABY of the year just as 50 indigent youths will receive training in different vocational skills to make them economically empowered.

In a statement signed by the national coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the national media affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA disclosed that it was convinced that the criminal neglects suffered by internally displaced persons in all parts of Nigeria as a result of man-made and natural disasters are the worst cases of human rights violations that exist in Nigeria which are not sufficiently redressed by institutions set out to do so.

HURIWA expressed consternation that government has not provided sufficient oversights to such critical institutions to ensure that IDPS are treated humanely with all their constitutional rights guaranteed and enforced.

“Our management team sat down and reflected on the diverse human rights challenges confronting Nigerians and we arrived at a consensus that the relevant agencies set up to provide reliefs to victims of disasters have failed thereby occasioning widespread human rights violations including all sorts of criminal deprivations.”

“The many IDP camps in Benue, Plateau, Southern Kaduna with thousands of Nigerians driven from their homes by armed Fulani herdsmen have faced horrendous ordeals due to poor health, poor hygiene, and lack of the basic necessities that are meant to sustain them. Worst still is that those who masterminded the violent attacks are still roaming the streets as free people and have the capacity and motivations to re-offend.

"For example, several victims of the herdsmen crisis in Benue State currently taking refuge at the Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, camp in Daudu have reportedly come down with malaria, diarrhea, malnutrition, leading to the death of 12 of the displaced persons in the last one month."
"Children are also not speared as many are diagnosed of malnutrition and diarrhea. From both media and health personnel at the Daudu 1 & 2 camps, we heard that but for the relentless intervention of the Red Cross, Doctors without Borders and the state government, the situation would have gotten out of hand."

 “The people are getting sick and some die, while others are surviving. In the last one month so many came down with malaria. We see between 50 and 70 patients every day and about 40 of them are down with malaria and others with diarrhea. They come with complains of headache, pains, fever and all of that which were confirmed to be malaria.”

“The death rate is not so high because of the intervention of the state government and the Red Cross, but there have been deaths. In the last one month two died of malaria at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital, BSUTH, Makurdi, while ten others died in the Daudu camps.”

“As for children, malnutrition is on a very high rate. It’s a major problem with children in the camp. But for the Red Cross intervention it would have been worse.”

“At the moment Red Cross has undertaken a programme to stem malnutrition among the children. They are being given food and packs of nutritional diet called Plumpy Nuts each week, which is monitored by the Red Cross to check the malnutrition problem.”

HURIWA recalled that in Adamawa and Taraba States, hundreds of internally displaced persons are left to wallow in penury, neglect and many have become sick, dejected and emotionally traumatized with no hope for a quick resolution of these challenges.

HURIWA will also look at the allegations of sexual abuses of IDPS by soldiers and security operatives in such places like Maiduguri, other parts of Borno, Yobe, Taraba and Adamawa states with a view to ascertaining how far these grave allegations have been redressed. HURIWA stated that it has invited all relevant security agencies to attend the lecture and deliver their positions on the ill treatment of IDPS. The Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai was specifically invited and is expected to deliver an address.

Major speakers at the event are Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, the senate committee chairman on power; the Executive Secretary of National Human Rights Commission Barrister Tony Ojukwu; Chairman of Federal Road Safety Commission Barrister Bhukari Bello; the Director General/Federal Commissioner of Nigerian Refugees Commission; Office of the Secretary to the government of the federation; foreign diplomats and leading clergies. Leaders of public and private sectors are also expected. EbonyBronze Beauty Parlour Abuja's leading beauty saloon has been commissioned to give free makeups for the first ten ladies to attend and stay throughout the lecture even as 20 students from poor homes will receive N10,000 subsidy for the WAEC fees.

Some Nigerians like the president of the United Labour congress (ULC) Comrade Joe Ajaero; Senator Abaribe will be honoured as human rights icons.

Also to get the human rights mention as a human rights friendly council chairman in Nigeria is the chairman of Abuja Municipal Area Council.

HURIWA; a not-for-profit body was founded eleven years ago as the advocacy and media affiliated platform to champion the respect for the human rights of all Nigerians. It has over 8,000 registered members. The year 2018 lecture is the eleventh in the series.


Below is the photograph of Miss Favour Chioma as HURIWA Queen 2018.

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Which way Nigerian youngsters? By Emmanuel Onwubiko


I actually set out today to do a tribute to the resilience of a very young British professional sports personality (Lewis Hamilton) who has successfully carved a niche for himself as a reference point on how to experience the real meteoric rise from child hood dreams of becoming world champion and indeed embracing the status in the real life situation through a combination of hardwork; good coaching/motivations and the enabling environment in the Country to power such individual talents to the global stage.

Whilst still in contemplation on modalities for drafting this article, a thought flashed through my thinking faculty to remind me also about a British born and raised Nigerian Anthony Joshua, who in his very tender age, miraculously and by dint of good fortune of a good mother, veered off from the world of crime to reach a phenomenal global position in heavyweight boxing. Anthony Joshua was brought up as a child of a single Parents who lived in what can be considered a slum in the United kingdom but nevertheless, he had good upbringing but his youthful energies nearly misled him into a World of crime before he was properly guided to put his talents into good use. This singular personal decision has seen him net in millions of United kingdom's pounds sterling in such a rapid way that he is today one of the most successful boxers in the Britain. He recently defended his World super heavyweight championship by defeating one of Russians most feared professional boxer and an Olympic gold medalist Alexander Havitzkan. Anthony Joshua or AJ in short grossed over N10 billion from the fight which lasted just a little above two hours.

Also, i recalled vividly that there are promising stories of phenomenal feats made in the World of academia, Sports; robotics/engineering; medicine and music by a lot of Nigerian youngsters all over the World.

These stories contradicts any misperception that Nigerian youths are lazy. Far from it.
But just before settling down to begin my reflection today, another significant milestone that was achieved by another American youngster in the world of Golf Mr. Tiger woods became so tempting to also highlight. Tiger woods, it would be recalled, was cruising phenomenally as a very successful professional golfer but almost crashed from Grace to grass due to some marital indiscretion which saw him bagging a very expensive divorce even as his sporting prowess began a down ward journey to ground zero specifically because of physical injuries.

Tiger Woods nevertheless did not give up but fought back to defeat his temporary setbacks and from his performance at the weekend, his larger-than-life status as a sporting star has began a rebounce.
Sadly, all these major feats by youngsters from all corners of the earth pales into frustrating insignificance for a Nigerian observer in this current era when we critically analyze and synthesize the happenings from the very negative perspectives around the world of some Nigerian youngsters who have unfortunately embraced the world of crime and criminality.

I repeat that the fraction of these Nigerian youngsters bringing us global opprobrium are few and far between but because of the universal truism that negative news is good news for news reporters and such bad news stories travel far and wide, the negative tendencies of some of our Nigerian Youths are usually presented to look as if the entire body of youngsters from Nigeria are evil.

This is a big fallacy of hasty conclusion and remains existentially illogical and untrue. 
However, we have set out here and now to discuss the involvement of some of our youngsters in the World of crime and will try to relate it to the twists and turns witnessed by some young icons who had conquered their youthful exuberance and indulgence to attain tremendous heights professionally.
Of all the sophisticated crime that some Nigerian youngsters have hooked on to, the most atrocious is their involvement in gangsterism as armed members of school cults. It will be stated from the start that cultism is also a big infestation in Nigerian politics because a lot of political top shots belong to one cult group or the other. That notwithstanding, the involvement of youngsters in cult related crimes should be a cause for serious worry.

On daily basis, the local media is littered with stories of youngsters who have either been killed, caught up during exchange of gun-fires between different cult groups or have been arrested for belonging to cult groups in their higher educational institutions.

On September 20th 2018, newspapers shouted in their news pages that gunmen suspected to be cultists gunned down five students of Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma in Edo State.
The students were said to have been killed during a graduation party at Ihunmudumun quarters in Ekpoma town.

The Media learnt that the deceased were four male and one female said to be a medical student.
It was also gathered that there had been a clash between rival cults in the area over some issues which might have led to the attack and death of the students.

It was learnt that the incident caused pandemonium in the area over fear of reprisal attacks by rival cult group.
The university’s Dean of Students Affairs, Prof Don Akhilomen who confirmed the killing, said the shooting did not happened within the campus.

He said the institution’s management is yet to identify the students that were killed in the incident.
“We heard that some people were killed at Ihunmudumun area of the town while at a graduation party. As at now, we are yet to identify those involved.

Some of the victim may be our students, while others might not be. So, we are still watching the situation “he said.

Meanwhile, the Edo state command spokesperson, Chidi Nwabuzor who confirmed the incident, said it was a cult related killing.

“We heard that rival cult attacked and killed two person in Ekpoma, several people sustained serious injuries and have been taken to the hospital. Some arrests have been made by the State Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and investigation into the matter is ongoing,” he said.

The involvement of Nigerian young students in different cult activities has assumed frightening national dimension to such a scale that there is no state of the federation that cultism and violent killings have not occurred near the schools or even right inside urban neighbourhoods.
Around the first quarter of this year, Lagos was held spell bound by a cult group known as baddoo just as casualties from their daredevil activities reached dizzying heights.

Governors Ben Ayade of Cross Rivers State, who was a geology professor before he entered politics, was in the news recently to have lamented the large-scale involvement of youngsters in that state in cult activities.

Some state governments have decided to lobby their legislative houses to introduce stringent legal sanctions for involvement in cult related activities. Poor enforcement of this law and the crude nature of justice system characterized by delay in the dispensation of justice have led to the defeat of the essence of such stuct laws.

So, a look at the rapid increase in the reported violent confrontations by different youth led cult groups should compel a deeper introspection to demand that the necessary reforms be enforced in the justice system so laws passed to curb such menaces are effectively enforced. There is also the need for governments and proprietors of educational institutions to tighten all loose ends and brace up for the challenge of keeping our youngsters away from bad gangs and cult groups. Schools must be well equipped with the necessary manpowers and resources to constantly engage the students in strenuous researches and academic/sporting activities to keep them very busy and to create the enabling environment for them to discover their innate talents in all fields including sports. Sports have the greatest potential of becoming the highest foreign revenue earner because professional sports are worth several billions in Europe, America and the test of the free World. Sports when adequately prioritized is capable of redressing the huge involvement of some of our youngsters in gangsterism and hooliganism.

This brings me to the whole stories of how those youngsters became who they are at the moment.
I will start with Lewis Hamilton.

In a highly rated biography carried on Google.com, Mr. Lewis Hamilton reportedly set himself on a path to Formula One when he introduced himself to McLaren team boss Ron Dennis at an award ceremony in 1995. The nine years-old walked up to Dennis, asked for his autograph and said: “Hi. I’m Lewis Hamilton. I won the British championship and one day I want to be racing your cars.”
It earned Hamilton the patronage and support of one of the top Formula One teams which, 13 years later, resulted in an F1 drive. Hamilton went on to equal the achievement of his hero Ayrton Senna, a former McLaren driver, by winning three championship titles.

Before that there was the small matter of graduating through the lower echelons of motorsport, which Hamilton achieved with some astonishing successes.

Hamilton’s first contact with motorsport came through driving remote controlled (RC) cars. His father Anthony bought him one in 1991 and aged six Hamilton was runner-up in a national RC racing championship. “I was racing these remote-controlled cars and winning club championships against adults,” remembered Hamilton. After that Anthony wondered if Lewis’s skills might transfer to full-size motorsport.

He began karting aged eight and two years later won the British karting championship (cadet class) and STP karting championship. Hamilton remained in cadet class karting in 1996, winning the Champions of the Future series and becoming Sky TV KartMasters Champion and Five Nations Champion. The following season he raced in Junior Yamaha and won the Champions of the Future series again, plus the Super One series, and was British Champion again.

At their first meeting Dennis had written in Hamilton’s autograph book, “Phone me in nine years, we’ll sort something out then.” In 1998 he was officially signed to the McLaren Driver Development Support programme. At 13, he was the youngest such driver to have been contracted by an F1 team. The contract guaranteed financial and technical support and even included a future option for entry into Formula One.

That year he graduated to the Junior Intercontinental A level and finished second in the McLaren Mercedes Champions of the Future and raced in the Italian Open Championship, finishing fourth.
More Junior Intercontinental A success came in 1999. He was Vice European Champion, Trophy de Pomposa winner and finished fourth in the Italian Open Championship again. Anthony Joshua grew from grass to grace as i earlier indicated. Today, whenever he fights professionally in Wembley stadium London, he usually pulls the largest crowds of audience in recorded history with the last number been 85,000 persons who turned up at the Weekend to chair him up as he defended his current rating as the holder of three of the only four accredited World heavyweight championship belts. 

The story of Tiger Woods is that which should necessarily inspire the youngsters in Nigeria to rise from the ashes of misfortune to do positive things with their lives and to aim for the skies.
As I had earlier stated, Tiger Woods was at his very best when due to some mistakes he made in his marriage, the union collapsed and brought him pain and huge bills which significantly weighed him down but few hours back, the British Broadcasting Corporation reported that an emotional Tiger Woods completed an astonishing comeback to win the season-ending Tour Championship by two shots and record his first win in five years.

The 42-year-old's victory in Atlanta was his 80th PGA Tour title - only fellow American Sam Snead has more - but his first since August 2013, so reports the BBC.
BBC recalled that less than a year ago he was 1,199 in the world after spinal fusion surgery - the latest of multiple operations.

"I was having a hard time not crying on that last hole," Woods said.
"I just can't believe I've pulled this off."

The media reports that thousands of fans spilled on to the 18th fairway to follow Woods to the green chanting "U-S-A" and "Tiger, Tiger" after his approach found a bunker on the edge of the green.
The global media reports that Mr. Woods holed out for par to complete a final round of 71 for an 11-under total before holding his arms aloft in celebration of a brilliant win just days before the Ryder Cup gets under way in Paris.

Woods, who was two clear of compatriot Billy Horschel, said: "I had to suck it up and hit some shots. Once I got the ball on the green, it was done. I could handle it from there."

The 14-time major champion's last tournament victory was in August 2013 at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, since when he has had surgery on his back four times
"It was just a grind out there," Woods added. "I loved every bit of it, the fight, the grind and the tough conditions.

"At the beginning of the year, it was a tall order but as the year progressed and I proved I could play, I knew I could do it again."

BBC reports that he came into the final day of the tournament - the last of four FedEx Cup play-off events - with a three-shot lead over Rose and Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy, who faded from contention with a 74 to finish on five under in a tie for seventh.

Woods birdied his first hole - one of two birdies and three bogeys - with his place at the top of the leaderboard in little danger during the final round.

"It's been tough. I've had a not-so-easy last couple of years," he said. "I've worked my way back. I couldn't have done it without the help of all the people around me.

"Some of the other players knew what I was struggling with. It was really special to see them at the green on 18. It's just hard to believe I won the Tour Championship."

The media reports that the win for Woods, who is part of the United States team for next week's Ryder Cup in Paris, means he is now two short of Snead's all-time PGA Tour title record of 82.
It comes less than a year since Woods said he might never return to competitive golf following multiple back operations, BBC reports.

Historically, in April 2017 he had his third surgery in 19 months to try and cure pain in his back and leg.
Tiger Woods reportedly returned to competitive golf in November 2017 and admitted he was "winging it" as he waited to see if his back would hold up.

"I've been in bed for about two years and haven't been able to do much," Woods said before the Hero World Challenge, where he would finish ninth in the 18-man field.

Media reporters recalled that when he came back on the PGA Tour in 2018, Woods missed the cut in his second event but crucially felt fit enough to add tournaments to his schedule and the results soon followed, most notably when he led the Open Championship at Carnoustie with eight holes to play and then finished runner-up in the US PGA Championship.

"All year long he's looked like winning," said Rose about Woods. "He's played some great golf and he's looked world class again.

"It was just a matter of time and I'm so happy for him."

To the politicians and private sector industrialists, i appeal to you to invest in the manpower and human resources' development of the Nigerian youngsters. There are a lot that can be gained if the 36 states and the Federal government can put square pegs in square holes by ensuring that talents' hunting becomes a priority project. Grassroots football and other sporting activities should be encouraged as of topmost priority so we can fully engage our millions of youth in the different sports from which we can derive maximum benefits in such a way that Nigeria could become the power house of sports development to attract international agents from Europe and America and even China to hire on full term basis, our thousands of talented youngsters who have what it takes to become global sporting champions like Lewis Hamilton, Anthony Joshua or Tiger woods. Yes we can!

*Emmanuel Onwubiko is Head, HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) and blogs @ www.emmanuelonwubiko.comwww.huriwanigeria.comwww.huriwa@blogspot.com.

HURIWA TO NBC DG; DG OF VON; OTHERS:- RESIGN AND FACE PARTISAN POLITICS:


A prominent Pro-Democracy and Non-Governmental organisation- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to give immediate matching order to all his political office holders who are eyeing elective positions in the forthcoming election to quit public service to avoid compromising integrity and impartiality of such strategic national institutions.
 
Specifically, HURIWA has tasked President Muhammadu Buhari to save the Voice of Nigeria (VON) a publicly funded broadcasting agency and the institutional regulator of the broadcasting industry in Nigeria- National Broadcasting Commission(NBC) from the current stranglehold of biases and deeply entrenched partisanship of their heads by forcing them to resign or be dismissed to pave the way for completely non-partisan technocrats with patriotic zeal to pilot the affairs of those organisations given that the Director Generals of both the VON and NBC who are fanatical card carrying members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have reportedly bought; filled and submitted expression/nomination forms to vie for offices of governor of Kwara state and Senator representing Enugu West  senatorial zone in next year's elections. 
 
In a statement by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss. Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA said it was disheartening and disappointing that President Muhammadu Buhari has allowed his appointees with open ambitions to run for elective offices to continue to shortchange the Nigerian people and undermine public trust by letting these rabidly partisan card carrying members of his political family to enjoy the unfair and illegal advantage over their opponents/rivals even in the same political party by enjoying official privileges and deploying public fund at their disposal to service their selfish political agenda to the detriment of such strategic national institutions. HURIWA said that such a malpractice on the part of the Presidency apart from its moral/ethical challenge also contravenes the enabling legislation setting up those key institutions of the media just as the Rights group reminds the Presidency that by the intendment of section 22 of the constitution the media terrain whether privately or publicly funded is a totally non-partisan sphere of influence with the underlying objective of serving as the consciences of the nation devoid of political influences and divisiveness. 
 
The Rights group alluded to the decision of the Imo State governor Mr. Rochas Okorocha  to fire his close aides with political ambitions including his surrogate and son-in-law that he plans to install as his successor so they can concentrate on their campaigns even as HURIWA wondered why the man in Imo state government house with the notoriety as the worst governor in the history of modern Nigerian politics could get it right by offloading his aides who nurse political ambitions whereas the Presidency has failed to take measures to weed out persons with self centered political ambitions so they pursue their goals and let the citizens without political baggage or agenda to take up their positions to continue to deliver service to all Nigerians in line with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the relevant laws that established some of these offices and institutions. 
 
HURIWA singled out the Directors General of National Broadcasting Commission (NBC)  and the publicly funded Voice of Nigeria (VON)  Alhaji Ishaq Modibbo Kawu and Mr Osita Okechukwu and the minister of Communications Alhaji Adebayo Shittu who is eyeing the governorship of Oyo State amongst others as persons who must be made to quit their positions to face their individual campaigns or be fired so competent and much more committed technocrats without political ambitions to be appointed to discharge the statutory duties for which these positions and institutions were established.  HURIWA wondered why neither the President nor the Secretary to the government of the Federation have taken concrete and verifiable steps to enforce compliance to the enabling laws governing those institutions and order these political office holders to quit in public interest so as to chase after their individual but altogether legitimate ambitions to win elective positions in their states of origin as already indicated by them. 
 
HURIWA reminds President Muhammadu Buhari of the extant NBC code in which article 2.2.3 affirmed that accuracy, objectivity; fairness, and integrity as salient elements that should guide the broadcasting industry in Nigeria even as the Rights group wondered how a man with self centered ambition to run for politically elective office of governor and has already reportedly bought and submitted the N22 million worth of expression of intention and nomination form of the All Progressives Congress would be allowed to hold on to such a high office as chief national regulator of the broadcasting industry in Nigeria whilst pursuing his individual goal of contesting for the office of governor which requires a lot of media activities which would automatically confer an unfair and comprehensively illegal advantages to him over and above his other co-contestants within and outside of his political platform. 
 
"If we look at it from the perspective of the essentially critical element of integrity required of broadcasting houses, allowing Alhaji Kawu to stay on as Director General of National Broadcasting Commission which wields the powers of a regulator of the broadcasting sector whereas he will definitely enjoy the advantage of impactful media presence as he carries on going about the execution of the assignments demanded of his office just as he could abuse such media privileges by highlighting his political aims covertly or overtly, an advantage that his other rivals don't have. On the side of the Director Generals of the VON Mr Osita Okecukwu, he has consistently used his official time and resources and has concerned himself with the political project of the re-election of his principal in 2019 poll, neglecting his primarily statutory duties as substantive head of a publicly funded Voice of Nigeria radio network. He has however lately delved fully into the political campaign for a senatorial slot for himself whilst parading about as the Director General of Voice of Nigeria. The minister of Communications has for almost a year focused exclusively on campaigning for the re-election of his principal even before the Independent National Electoral Commission blew the whistle permitting political campaigns. This minister of Communications has bought and submitted the form to run for the office of governor of Oyo State even as he stays on in a national office which he no longer pays 100 percent attention which his job prescriptions stated when he took oath of office.This unpardonable political immorality must never be allowed to fester because it will adversely affect our culture of political sanity and adherence to the principle of rule of law.  "

Friday, 21 September 2018

Allegory of a Waterlogged Country By Emmanuel Onwubiko


Today’s (Friday September 21st 2018) mainstream newspapers competed amongst themselves on which should decorate their front pages with photograph of the vice president Professor Yemi Osinbanjo and the governor of Anambra state Chief Willie Obiano paddling a canoe to inspect some communities in Anambra state in South East Nigeria submerged by huge floods.

This dramatic photograph of Professor Osinbanjo as well as other video recordings of the sad incidents of massive floods in most parts of Nigeria paints Nigeria as a waterlogged nation. As much as these political boat riders put up appearances of dejection and wore mournful looks as they stroll around to see for themselves the direct impacts of this environmental disasters made worst by poor planning and lack of sustainable floods defences, the millions of Nigerians who are now internally displaced persons know that surely they may never receive any relief materials to cushion their loses.

These political dignitaries from Abuja and Awka who wore protective jackets and reportedly took time to also interface with the local populace affected by these floods of overwhelming scale but who unfortunately are in a part of the World whereby the institutions of government mandated to play the role of first responders have often failed to effectively discharge their duties for which billions of tax payers’ money are sunk each year. As Yemi Osinbanjo toured the floods affected areas, the national emergency management agency under his control was nowhere near those areas.

These failing first responders are the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and its miniature opposite known in some states of the federation as the State Emergency Management agency (SEMA).

In the case of NEMA, which is directly under the supervisory purview of the office of the Vice President, the agency is swimming in the floods of managerial incompetence, contract scandals and corruption at the highest level resulting in the alleged misuse of nearly N6 billion.

The incompetences and inefficiency weighing down the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) attracted the attention of the federal legislators but the newly appointed political administrators of this hitherto efficiently administered agency are members of the untouchable class with support from the powerful cabal running the Presidency in Abuja. With this political back up nothing good can come out of any oversight investigation of this rapidly failing agency. The current President has demonstrated a high disrespect for the institutions of the legislature and the judiciary. The tragedy is that Nigeria or much pf Nigeria is under massive scale of floods but the institutional mechanisms for mitigating the consequences of these natural disasters are not functioning optimally.

The dramatic fact is that the heavens has opened up and the rains have come down in torrents and because the riverine communities are such that lack infrastructures to stave off the consequences of these seemingly unceasing rainfalls, the poor populations are put at risk of death and the total destructions of their farm lands and housing assets.

The problem of flood disaster is not limited to Anambra or Imo state whereby the governor Mr. Rochas Okorocha was credited with an unscientific statement that the Imo rains are acidic and have washed away all the roads his administration constructed in the last seven years.

But such far and near communities found in Kogi, Niger, Katsina and Bauchi states have been devastated by the natural disaster aided to inflict maximum consequences by the twin evils of political corruption and poor infrastructures.

In the case of the communities in Niger State bordering the River Niger, the consequences extended to the health status of the inhabitants because the floods have inflicted such health issues such as waterborne diseases to an extent that international broadcasters have flooded the communities to focus their reportage on the emerging health emergency. The World has also been put on notice that waterborne diseases are in resurgence in Northern Nigeria.

Global television stations operating from United Kingdom, China, Germany and the United States of America are known to have covered the health emergency in Niger State that resulted from the flood disaster.

In a story filed in for BBC by a reporter Mayeni Jones, the BBC reports that floods has destroyed homes and farm land even as the reporter noted that there is now a health warning after the floods.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) of the Nigeria’s Ministry of health was reported to have issued a warning for a number of waterborne diseases. A national disaster was declared in four states after over 100 people died from floods.

“With stagnant water in many of the affected sites, the authorities are concerned about the spread of diseases such as cholera and typhoid”.

The CDC, according to BBC, has issued a number of advisories, including avoiding using flood water to drink, wash dishes or prepare food. But locals in Egagi Village, Niger state, say they have little choice but to use the flood water, as they have no other water source.”

In Katsina as well as Bauchi state, the floods swept off hundreds of houses just as dozens of persons were killed. In the 776 local government area councils getting clean drinking water is a big deal even as people rely on stagnant streams for their sources of drinking water and for such other environmental sanitations. You keep imagining the essence of a national water and rural development ministry that gulps several billions to maintain yearly but yet much of Nigeria is without clean drinking water.

As I watched the sad ordeals of our fellow humanity swimming in the flood waters and facing imminent health emergency, the question that follows is why the institutions created to cater for the basic needs of agro-allied industry within the states which is in the concurrent legislative list have all but failed to carry out their duties. You then asked what the Ecological fund is used for.

Reading through part two of the second schedule in the constitution, and especially from section 18 of the second schedule which provides thus: “Subject to the provisions of this constitution, a House of Assembly may make laws for the state with respect to industrial, commercial, or agricultural development of the state.” Section 20 then affirmed that “For the purposes of the foregoing paragraphs of this item, the word “agricultural” includes fishery.

The perennial floods that have swept all through the divergent states of Nigeria have adversely affected the fishery sub-sector.

Section 36, part 1 of the second schedule however exclusively states that the responsibilities for maintaining safety and security of the maritime area lies with the federal government. This means that the federal government needs to play pivotal role in ensuring that rural dwellers who live in riverine communities near the River Niger are protected from the devastating consequences of the floods.

This is what that second schedule, part 1,  section 36 states: “Maritime shipping and navigation, including – shipping and navigation on tidal waters; shipping and navigation on the River Niger and its affluents and on any such other inland waterway as may be designated by the National Assembly to be an international waterway or to be an inter-state waterway; lighthouse, lightships, beacons and other provisions for the safety of shipping and navigation; such ports as may be declared by the National Assembly to be Federal ports (including the constitution and powers of port authorities for federal ports).”

What any careful observer will however decipher from watching the news item on the flood disaster in Nigeria as relayed to the world by British Broadcasting Corporation, is that millions of Nigerians are at the risk of suffering large scale waterborne diseases but sadly the federal and state governments have not made practical arrangement and have not put logistics in place to prevent the health disaster from becoming a full blown emergency. The health sector is facing a national emergency due to collapsing health facilities just as government officials travel to foreign jurisdictions at public costs for their healthcare and without any form of functional health insurance scheme in place in Nigeria, millions of Nigerians die for treatable diseases such as the waterborne diseases that have surfaced as a result of the massive floods.

If you compare the quality of responses you get from such nations in the Western societies such as the United States which usually suffers from major natural disasters and then look at how the victims of disasters in Nigeria are left to their cruel fate, you will then understand the import of classifying us who inhabit the Nigerian space as inhabitants of a third world country.

In the United States of America, there is a functional Federal Emergency Management Agency known as FEMA. Appointments into FEMA follows through global best practices and square pegs are put in square holes.

But in Nigeria, the National Emergency Management Agency is never seen as an institution whereby only experts with relevant compentences should administer but rather as jobs for the political stooges.

The difference shows whenever there are natural disasters simultaneously in U.S.A and Nigeria as it is now. We are poles apart.

We in Nigeria are left to wallow in agony as if we are in the era of Noah who constructed an arc for selected few in the Holy Bible whereas others were swept off by biblical floods.

In the United States, the institutional mechanisms are effectively activated to ferry to safety citizens who may be in harm’s way. Warnings are read out on major broadcast stations and emergency rescue workers are mobilized to physically bring out citizens from such flash points before the floods or typhoons arrives.

In Nigeria what you read on pages of newspapers are discordant tones emerging from different quarters warning rural people to find their ways to higher grounds.

These insensitive and irresponsible warnings from the Nigerian government deliberately fails to note that millions of Nigerian rural populace are too poor to read newspapers, watch televisions or listen to radios since electricity supply is next to zero to almost all rural areas.

Even those rural people who have the fortune of having people in the urban areas who would read about these warnings, these are very poor people who are unsure of how to evacuate themselves to higher grounds.

You then begin to ask what kind of misfortune is this, that you have a bunch of people in government who don’t care about your wellbeing but who will only show up for photo opportunities for the media for the purposes of propaganda.

Nigeria’s ecological fund is operated as a cesspool of corruption whereby the presidency officials use the fund to engage in political campaigns and care less about the citizens who would swim and perish in the floods that have become a yearly occurance. This is not how Western civilizations handle disaster relief responses.

In America, President Donald Trump is at the head of the teams that coordinate emergency rescue missions to assist citizens affected by natural disasters.

The center for American progress conducted an analysis and found that the federal government – which means taxpayers – spent $136 billion total from fiscal year 2011 to fiscal year 2013 on disaster relief. This adds up to an average of $400 per household per year.

In America, the congress as a legislative and oversight institution monitoring public expenditure, it has operational and funding autonomy.

Under such tightly monitored atmosphere of transparency and accountability, there is no room for public office holders to steal from fund meant to cushion the effects of natural disasters. Americans just like British do also have functional health insurance schemes.

The Guardian of United Kingdom did a report it carried on Monday December 28th 2015, whereby it states that the cost of United Kingdom floods topped $5 billion British pounds.

Financial Times reported that in just one particular year, the government of U.K spent $735 million British pound on building new flood defences and maintaining old ones.

What then is the state of preparedness in Nigeria to respond to floods? Why do we have to wait until housing assets and human beings are swept away by floods before we throw money at such problems that we could have mitigated but chose to let it happen first? What is the role of states towards emergency management and the training of people of their respective states on measures to stay alive during emergency? Must Nigeria continue to exist like an epic story of the allegory of the waterlogged countrysides?

*Emmanuel Onwubiko is Head, HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) and blogs @www.emmanuelonwubiko.comwww.huriwanigeria.comwww.huriwa@blogspot.com.

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Politicians redefining hypocrisy By Emmanuel Onwubiko  


I begin by making a personal confession so as to make full disclosure about my position on participation in qualitative and transformative politics as a Nigerian.

My confession is that I am a robust and firm believer in the political philosophy of Plato, one of the best known original thinkers from Ancient Greece.

Plato’s political philosophy is encapsulated in his recommendation that only philosopher – kings should wear the toga and leadership garb of political office holders since decision making and implementation to improve the living situation of the nation state and the citizenry can best be piloted by the best and those vastly knowledgeable about virtues. Plato made an allegorical comparison of leaders with sailors and affirmed that sailing a ship takes skills and competences and not a popularity contest.

For Plato, competence should be the qualification for leadership.
Argued differently, it can be stated that Plato’s political concept is governed by his well-founded apprehension that if the knowledgeable and competent persons abandon the field of governance in the hands of nitwits and never-do-wells, it follows therefore that the nation state would not just be ruined but the educated and technocrats stand the risk of being led by idiots.

As a student of Plato’s political school of thought, I do not share the general fallacy in Nigeria that politics is dirty and should be left for cultists and armed thugs.

However, believing in the genuine concept of Plato’s political thoughts is not the same as living in self-denial in such a way as not to acknowledge the rapid devaluation of politics and governance in the twenty first century Nigeria.

The fact that is indubitable is that the political or ruling class is dominated by persons who were railroaded into offices and recruited without any form of adherence or respect for the best global practices whereby only the best should be good for leadership. Nigeria is one place you see an old retired military General who overthrew democracy and ruled without a constitution for twenty months over 30 years ago was still railroaded into office of President of a twenty first century Nigeria. Nigerians ironically puts new wine in old wine skin and hope to witness technological advances even when an analogue person is at the helm of affairs in the country. This is existential hypocrisy at its apogee.

Nigeria of today has reached a climax whereby those who wield political powers at different levels have started redefining hypocrisy and falsehood to look like acceptable statecraft and those who should speak out are afraid of losing out in the bonanza of sharing national cake with Mr. President as chief cake sharer.

I will begin my conversation from the part before getting to the whole which implies that I will analyze the political health status of local government's tier of government vis-à-vis the state which is the second tier and then round up at the center which is the Federal Government.
And I ask: what does the constitution recommend as the best form of government in all levels of governance?

Section 14 (1) gives us the clearer picture of how and in what form should governance in Nigeria be patterned after.

That section says: “The Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be a state base on the principles of democracy and social justice.”

For the avoidance of semantic gymnastics, let me state that the framers of the constitution told us that the application of the word “SHALL” means that it is obligatory and binding on all authorities and persons.

Section 1 of the constitution also offered the aforementioned extrapolation when it states thus: “The constitution is supreme and its provisions shall have binding force on all authorities and persons throughout the federation of Nigeria.”

Dwelling on the examination of the constitutional format of the governance process and system in Nigeria, will logically take us to what the constitution stipulates as how local government administrators ought to be selected and or elected.

In the light of the above intellectual conundrum, we will refer to section 7 of the constitution which states unambiguously thus: “The system of local government by democratically elected local government councils is under this constitution guaranteed; and accordingly, the government of every state shall subject to section 8 of this constitution, ensure their existence under a law which provides for establishment, structure, composition, finance, functions of such councils.”

But the crop of governors we have had since the return of democracy in 1999 have also exploited the weakness of the state houses of assembly to emasculate the independence and democratic system of governance at the local councils. This was also this Supreme court's interpretation of section corruptly obtained by the thieving governors which depicts the state assemblies as enjoying the powers to exercise the ways and manners of running the councils to such an incredible extent that those who understand simple English grammar are left wondering how on Earth can any sane being interpret the clear intendment of the section 7 of the constitution which states that democratic choices of leaders of local government councils ate guaranteed.

The governors have successfully elevated hypocrisy to an art form in such a way that local government area councils in their respective states have all been operationally and financially weakened through the running of what they roguishly termed state local government’s joint account which is a cesspool of corruption and a channel through which council fund from Federation Account are laundered and stolen.

It has now become fashionable to notice that most local government area councils are administered like the colonial outpost of governors.

It therefore follows that the killing of democratic governance structure at the local council level has bred widespread poverty at the rural areas which are homes to about sixty percent of the population of Nigeria. Poor local government governance means dysfunctional infrastructural facilities and ballooning poverty.

The demise of local government councils has resulted in phenomenal rural to urban drift which has distorted urban planning in the respective state capitals and has increased urban poverty.
At the state levels, political godfathers have always made sure that only their foot soldiers are manipulated to win the juicy slots of governors and for the duration of the stay in office of these governors, the majority of them usually deliberately fail to develop and transform the state of infrastructure in their states.

The collapsing and failing state of infrastructures in these states come about because of the criminal collusion of the members of the house of Assembly populated by contractors affiliated to the governor.

The states of the Federation of Nigeria is afflicted by the ghost of self-centeredness even as the welfare of the citizenry becomes secondary to such an abusive level that the electorate are only good for what these politicians have now baptized as stomach infrastructure.

The system of administration of stomach infrastructure flows from the governors who operate like emperors and goes down to a few poor people through some bogus schemes supervised by the wives of governors. The devaluation of good governance inevitably comes from political hypocrisy.

Political hypocrisy breeds nepotism and nepotism breeds corruption just as corruption leads to the erosion of integrity in the system and erosion of integrity in the system gradually leads to a general state of dejection, failing infrastructures, mass poverty, high crime rate and frustration which spirals into breakdown of law and order by even those clothed with the powers to enforce the provisions of the constitution.

Political hypocrisy at the state level has assumed frightening scale to an extent that state governors who are about ending their second term of four years are using all unlawful means to manipulate their stooges and in the case of Imo state, Rochas Okorocha plans to install his son-in-law as his successor in office and sponsor his wife to run for office of house of representatives and himself to retire as senator representing his Orlu Zone.

In Lagos, the reign of a strong godfather known as Bola Ahmed Tinubu has become formidable because he picks and choses who becomes governor of Lagos state.

The political hypocrisy in the state dovetails into the hijack of all juicy offices by the state governors who dishes out patronage and favours to his boot lickers and in the case of Lagos state, the godfather is the chief revenue collector or so it is alleged. The political godfather of Lagos also installed his wife Remi Tinubu as senator representing the biggest constituency in Lagos.

However, the biggest arena for political hypocrisy is at the federal level as it is now.
The head of the executive arm of government is president Buhari who has subscribed to the provisions of the constitution.

This same holder of the office of president who took an oath firmly holding on to the Holy Scriptures of his religion, to abide by the tenets of the constitution, has been found wanting on many fronts such as nepotism which offends the presidential oath of office.

President Buhari has also failed to comply to section 14 (3) on the necessity of observing the federal character principle in the area of appointments just as his administration has been accused of concentrating all the juicy offices and projects to his state of birth which is Katsina.

The head of the executive arm of government is seen manipulating security forces and anti-graft agencies to embark on politically motivated witch hunt of perceived opponents just as these attacks have escalated with just few months to the 2019 polls.

Nigeria has never witnessed the scale of naked partisanship displayed by the police and all the anti-graft bodies and most especially the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) which has an acting head that was seen been decorated with a campaign badge of the incumbent president who is running for re-election for a second and final four years tenure.

The lack of transparency and accountability has become so clear in such agencies like NNPC, Nigerian Ports Authority and the Ministry of Aviation whereby over N2 billion was frittered on the so-called branding for a proposed national carrier that has no single plane only for the same administration to postpone the inauguration indefinitely.  Governance at the federal level now resemble the modus operandi of organized crime gang.

The father of all political hypocrisy is that the two successive budgets have provisions for halting medical tourism but the president and his family members travels to Germany and UK for healthcare and the incompetent minister of health sees nothing wrong in this.

The Nigeria of now has indeed redefined hypocrisy amongst the political class and hypocrisy has become a political religion for the current government.

*Emmanuel Onwubiko is Head, HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCITION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) and blogs @www.emmanuelonwubiko.comwww.huriwanigeria.com; www.huriwa@blogspot.com.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Buhari's Ten Million Imaginary 'Millionaires' By Emmanuel Onwubiko


Early in the morning of Wednesday September 19th 2018, I switch on the television and proceeded to channel 306 on DSTV/Multichoice satellite network to let my little Son NaetoChukwu Nnadozie watch the beautiful programme for Children packaged by the publicly owned British broadcasting media house otherwise known as BBC, but my Son opted to leave the room for the parlour to link up with the Mother who was preparing stuffs for his pre-school session.

I then switched on to a Nigerian owned television to listen to the 7am news but was immediately irritated by the soft tissues of fabricated falsehood that was packaged by the Nigerian Television Authority as a news item whereby they told the broad daylight lie that the current Federal government of Nigeria has made the claim of driving ten million people out of poverty. Deep inside of me, i knew this was a primitive lie from the pit of hell but i waited to see if the claimant would reel out verifiable data to justify this monumental embarrassment of waking people up with heavy dosage of lies. This empirical data was never shown but it was a wishy -washy politically correct propaganda meant to massage the ego of Nigeria's emerging dictator in civilian garbs. I will show proofs to show that these ten million ex-poor people now transported to the World of prosperity by government only exists in the warped imagination of the government official who authorized this unsubstantiated claim. As God would have it, a text message just popped into my phone. The following was the message which was clearly a distress message from a relation of this writer who is a graduate.

She stated thus: “Brother, good morning. How is mama? Please support me financially sir and connect me with any work sir. Thank you sir.”

The above was a text message that dropped on my phone from a cousin who lives in Awka, the Anambra State Capital. Mrs. Amaka has just left her husband with her three children because the husband Mr. Obinna is unable to meet up with basic funding obligations to keep body and soul together.

Another save my soul message also came in as I began scribbling this piece and in this message the sender is someone who lives in Enugu and has just left the university with distinction since four years ago but can’t find work after her mandatory service to Nigeria under the National Youth Service Corp scheme (NYSC).

In her set, there were about ten thousand freshly minted college graduates and out of this phenomenal number, only an infinitesimal percentage managed to find job in the formal and informal sectors of the economy.

Miss. Genevieve the ravishingly beautiful girl who is in her early twenties, read economics and from interactions, she shows evidential proofs of someone at home with her field of study but she has no employment.

That text message from her made me to immediately put up a call across to her to find out if she has a kind of self-employment that she has engaged herself in so as to escape from the trap of been trafficked for sex abroad as is the case with hundreds of thousands of girls in her age grade.

Mind you, the United Nation’s special rapporteur on human trafficking recently ended a working visit to Nigeria and from my interactions with her at a forum organized for leaders of credible civil society groups in which Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) was invited, she disclosed that Nigerian youngsters stand the risks of being trafficked for sex slavery in Europe because of a combination of forces of unemployment, insecurity and political instability that prevails in virtually all parts of Nigeria.

This young lady who holds the high profile position of special rapporteur on human trafficking (Maria Grazia Giammarinaro) was very forthright and brutally frank in pinpointing the major factors responsible for human trafficking just as she underlined poverty as one of the fundamental causes.
Her fears have severally been validated even from official quarters such as the statistic released by National Bureau of statistics which paints gloomy pictures of widespread unemployment affecting mostly the young people.

The young people in Nigeria clearly constitutes nearly sixty percent of the whole national population of Nigeria.

It therefore follows logically, that if 60 percent of Nigerians can’t find employments, it means that Nigeria is gloomy, dangerous and is in imminent risk of economic collapse.

Poverty, dejection and hopelessness are existential realities of our time in Nigeria. This is why it shocked most discerning and thinking Nigerians when the Nigerian Minister for budget was quoted as claiming without any shreds of empirical data, that the Muhammadu Buhari’s government has taken ten million Nigerians out of poverty. For a start, the ministry of budget and planning is a scam. This is because political leaders hardly implements budgets to the full. In the last 20 years of democracy, successive and the current Administrations have not successfully implemented any annual national budget to appreciable percentage. Budget is called appropriation and it is constitutional. But officials violate with impunity the provisions contain in every yearly budget. From this background, most Nigerians often take with a pinch of salt any unscientific claims emanating from the federal ministry that supervises the violations of a basic law such as the yearly appropriation Act of the federal republic of Nigeria. The claim of producing ten million millionaires literally, to most Nigerians is fake and unverifiable.

The question that this claim triggered, is to determine the precise location, identities of these mysterious ten million “Millionaires” created by the current administration. Are these ten million millionaires recently minted by Muhammadu Buhari's administration located in outer space or in this nation of Nigeria weighed down by grave uncertainties? To show that this claim is false, we visited the National Bureau of Statistics to know the number of hitherto employed people who lost their jobs due to economic recession.

A total of 7.956 million Nigerians became unemployed between January 2016 and September 30, 2017, data from the National Bureau of Statistics shows.

This unemployment report survey for the third quarter of 2017 released by the NBS on December 22, 2017 puts the number at 7.956 million more than the 8,036 million it stood in 2015 Q4.
The bureau in the report stated that the number of Nigerians that became unemployed rose from 8,036 million in 2015 fourth quarter to 15.998 million in third quarter of 2017.

The report said further that between the second quarter and third quarter of 2017, the number of economically active or working age population (15 – 64 years of age) increased from 110.3 million to 111.1 million.

“The unemployment rate increased from 14.2 per cent in Q4 2016 to 16.2 per cent in Q2 2017 and 18.8 per cent in Q3 2017. The number of people within the labor force who are unemployed or underemployed increased from 13.6 million and 17.7 million respectively in Q2 2017, to 15.9 million and 18.0 million in Q3 2017.

“Total unemployment and underemployment combined increased from 37.2 per cent in the previous quarter to 40 percent in Q3 2017.

“The labor force population increased from 83.9 million in Q2 2017 to 85.1 million in Q3 2017. The total number of people in full-time employment (at least 40 hours a week) declined from 52.7 million in Q2 2017 to 51.1 million in Q3 2017.”

NBS in the report blames the increasing unemployment and underemployment rates on Nigeria’s fragile economy despite the exit from recession. The report explained that domestic labor market is still fragile and economic growths in the past two quarters in 2017 have not been strong enough to provide employment in Nigeria’s domestic labor market.

“An economic recession is consistent with an increase in unemployment as jobs are lost and new jobs creation is stalled.

“A return to economic growth provides an impetus to employment. However, employment growth may lag, and unemployment rates worsen especially at the end of a recession and for many months after,” the report said.

During the third quarter of 2017, according to the report, 21.2 percent of women within the labour force (aged 15-64 and willing, able, and actively seeking work) were unemployed, compared to 16.5 percent of men within the same period.

The report also noted that underemployment was predominant in the rural areas as 26.9 percent of rural residents within the labour force in were underemployed compared to 9 percent of urban residents within the same period.

The federal government however told crude lie when it claimed that it has moved 10,073 million Nigerians from poverty to prosperity.

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma, made the claim while speaking on arrangements for the 24th Nigerian Economic Summit held at the conference room of the ministry in Abuja.

He said the achievement is one of the key priorities of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP, by investing in the people.

According to him, the government had provided 8.96million school children under the home grown School Feeding Programme; over 297,000 poor and vulnerable Nigerians supported with cash transfer of N5,000; successfully  disbursed more than 308,000 loans of N50,000 under  the Government  Enterprise  and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) and 200,000 young unemployed graduates empowered through the N-Power scheme , while  over 308,000 had been selected for consideration for the second  batch.”

Whilst the current government was busy dishing out lies regarding some mysterious ten million new millionaires that emerged as a result of the direct impacts of the economic programmes of the administration, those who should know however reminds us that Nigeria has enterred a tragic position in the World as the nation with the largest concentration of absolutely poor people. Mind you, World Bank says you are absolutely poor if you can't afford to generate $2 USD per day which means that virtually all the government paid employees who earn the minimum wage of N18,000 monthly are absolutely poor.

In The Guardian newspaper of Wednesday September 19th 2018, we read that rapid population growth in some Africa’s poorest countries could put future progress towards reducing global poverty and improving health at severe risk, a report by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has revealed.

Co-Chairman of the foundation, Bill Gates, said in the Foundation’s 2018 Goalkeepers Report launched a day before the newspaper's publication that young Africans were inheriting a continent where fewer and fewer people have to struggle to survive and could instead devote their energy to planning and investing in the future.

However, the report disclosed that demographic trends show that over one billion people have lifted themselves out of poverty in the past 20 years, but added that population explosion, particularly in Africa, could be a challenge the decline in the number of extremely poor people in the world, and it may even start to rise.

Nigeria was said to have taken over as the country with the highest number of extremely poor people, according to a report by Brookings Institution, thereby overtaking India with a population of 1.3 billion people as against Nigeria’s 200 million.
According to the report, the number of Nigerians in extreme poverty increases by six people every minute.

“Population growth in Africa is a challenge,” Gates said on telephone about the report’s findings.
It found that poverty in Africa is increasingly concentrated in a few countries, which also have among the fastest growing populations globally.

It projected that by 2050 over 40 per cent of world’s extremely poor people will live in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria.

On the best ways of tackling the growing population and poverty challenge, Gates said improving access to birth control was key, adding that this should be combined with investment in health and education of young people.

“The biggest things are the modern tools of contraception,” Gates said, adding: “If you have those things available, then people have more control of spacing their children.”

The report, tracked 18 data points on United Nations development goals, including child and maternal deaths, stunting, access to contraceptives, HIV, malaria, extreme poverty, financial inclusion and sanitation.

In its family planning section, the report called on policymakers to empower women to exercise their right to choose the number of children they could have, when to have them and with whom.

The U.N. data has projected that Africa will account for over half of the world’s population growth between 2015 and 2050, while its population is projected to double by 2050 and double again by 2100.

Aside poverty, insecurity and threats of Islamic terrorism constitute grave challenge thereby making it difficult for millions of Nigerians to break out of the terrible poverty trap.

Security in Nigeria is catastrophic, so says United Nations even as it states thus: "In Nigeria, the number of security incidents rose considerably. Among these was an attack on the town of Rann in Borno State, which claimed the lives of 10 people and wounded many others. Ten other suicide bombings and four attacks as well as IED explosions were recorded in Borno and Yobe states, targeting civilian and military infrastructures, predominantly in communities hosting the displaced".

The UN said also: "Meanwhile, the Government has continued to report progress in its efforts to neutralize the insurgency but the frequency and manner in which attacks are being carried out suggests the situation is going to worsen in the coming weeks".

The conflict, it says, has resulted in the deaths of more than 20,000 people and the displacement of millions in and out of the country since it started more than nine years ago.

The UN said: "In Maiduguri and Damaturu, road travel has been suspended for all United Nations (UN) staff but for its part, the Maiduguri-Bama-Banki axis was reopened after four years of closure. UN staff will continue to access Bama and Banki from Maiduguri using UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) flights. (Nigeria Situation: UNHCR Regional Update 01- 31 March 2018.https://reliefweb.int)"

*Emmanuel Onwubiko heads the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) and blogs @ www.emmanuelonwubiko.com; www.huriwanigeria.com; www.huriwa@blogspot; www.queenzblog.com.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

HURIWA to heads of courts: You have failed to defend justice *Lambasts President over Finance Minister’s replacement.


Vexed by the lack lustre and lackadaisical attitudes of the heads of the three mainstream Courts to the flagrant violations of subsisting court orders by President Muhammadu Buhari, a pro-democracy group – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has tasked them to defend the integrity of the court system. 

HURIWA challenged the Chief Justice of Nigeria Mr. Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen; President of court of Appeal Mrs. Zainab Adamu Bulkachuwa, and Chief judge of federal high court Mr. Adamu Abdul-Kafarati to work as a team and support the head of the judiciary in Nigeria being the Chief Justice of Nigeria to fashion out a sustainable response mechanisms that could compel the head of the executive arm of government to comply with all binding court orders to avoid the collapse of constitutional democracy in the Country. HURIWA insists that the hierarchy of the judicial system in Nigeria is needed now more than ever to show courageous leadership by standing on the side of the constitution to demand strict adherence to the tenets of the principle of rule of law because allowing the naked desecration of the temple of justice by one branch of government and to continue to pretend that all is well will not augur well for sustainable democracy. Democracy it argues survives when all the primary drivers of the process are compelled by all lawful means to comply with the binding rules governing constitutional democracy and most especially the rule of law.

The group specifically condemned the heads of the different courts in the country for doing nothing whilst the head of the executive arm of government continues to disregard court rulings which amounts to an unconstitutional conducts, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, the President of Court of Appeal and the Chief of Federal High Court are collectively charged to salvage the image of the court system and restore it to its constitutional pride of place.

In another development, the group has faulted the decision by President Muhammadu Buhari to pick the reported  step sister of the Kaduna state governor (Nassir Elruffai) Zainab Ahmed a Fulani like himself as finance minister after the resignation of the immediate past Minister Mrs. Kemi Adeosun who had to leave following swirling allegations of certificate scam.
The Rights group criticized the President for concentrating key and strategic beats in the hands of only a section of the country just as it accused the President of nepotism which violates section 14 (3) of the constitution.

“Why should this government concentrate the most important appointments in the cabinet such as Finance, Defence, Justice and the entire internal security team in the hands of a section of Nigeria and alienating others. This divisive tendency is a grave threat to national security and the survival of our union as a united political and sovereign entity?”

"Total control of all security infrastures and the concentration of same in the hands of the President's kinsmen who share same religion is a constitutional abomination which must be aborted forthwith just as HURIWA cited the replacement of a competent acting Director General of Directorate of State Security Services Mr. Mathew Seiyefa with a retiree from Kano state Alhaji Yusuf Magaji Bichi".

The Rights group which carpeted judges heading the diverse segments of the judiciary in Nigeria for failing to exercise their powers such as boycotting all cases filed by the presidency and the office of the Attorney General of the Federation until such a time the president complies with half a dozen binding bail orders in favour of erstwhile National Security Adviser Colonel Sambo Dasuki and the leader of Shiites Islamic Movement, Ibrahim Elzaczacky, cautioned them that time is not on our side to stop the coming catastrophy that may come by the persistence of these cumulative breaches of the principle of rule of law. 

"How does the chief justice of Nigeria; the president of court of Appeal and Chief Judge of Federal High Court feel every day they go to work to realize that the head of the executive arm of government has consigned several binding judgments of courts to the dustbin of impunity? Why not embark on peaceful boycott of cases instituted by the President? What is the essence of operating the institution of the judiciary when the holder of the office of President picks and chooses which decisions of the courts to obey?"

Referring specifically to the Chief Judge of Federal High Court, HURIWA asked him to worry more about how rulings of the different divisions of his court are rubbished by the President instead of dwelling on such sensational issues such as banning judges from issuing ex parte injunctions in political cases.

“We have just read that the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Adamu Abdu-Kafarati, had barred judges of the court from granting ex parte orders in political cases and even gave a deadline of October ending to judges to conclude political cases with likely effect on candidates in the forthcoming elections in the country but we are asking him to work with the other heads of the Court system together with the head of the Judicial arm of government to restore respect and credibility to the Judiciary already rubbished by the serial violations of court orders by President Muhammadu Buhari."