261 Days of Chibok girls in captivity By Kayode Komolafe

261 Days of Chibok girls in captivity
By Kayode Komolafe

So the year ends today without the return of the Chibok girls to their parents! This distressing turn of events should worry the government and people of this country a great deal as the year is viewed in retrospect. Since that terrible night of April 14 this year, the phrase, Chibok Girls, has become the sore shorthand for the abduction of over 200 girls from the Federal Government College, Chibok in Borno State. After spending 261 of the 365 days of the year in captivity, at least 219 of the poor girls are yet to be rescued from their callous abductors. It is even more troubling that no one could give account of the actual state of things with the girls.

It is indeed an end-of- year sad commentary on the conduct of the war that the murderous group, Boko Haram, is waging against Nigeria. To imagine how sad the commentary has become, you only need to put yourself in the painful shoes of the parents and guardians of these helpless Nigerians who have tragically become the most advertised victims of the Boko Haram war. Some “commentators and public affairs analysts” are wont to rationalise even the most absurd events. According to these rationalisers, “we should not be sentimental” about the tragedy of the Chibok girls. If the abduction of over 200 schoolgirls does not provoke sentiments among a people, what else should justify sentiments? Which parent having his or her daughter held by some terrorists in an unknown place and condition would remain unsentimental in response?

The outrage on the abduction and the handling of their rescue is a legitimate sentiment. It is an attribute of a society imbued with humanity. The story of the Chibok girls is a poignantly open sore on our collective humanity. So let no one add salt to the injury by cautioning against sentiments. Any one with a modicum of humanity in him or her should be sentimental about this national tragedy.

Now, the Boko Haram insurgents have exploded bombs killing thousands of people and maiming several others. The insurgents have abducted hundreds of people including the Chibok schoolgirls. The violent activities of the group have led to the destruction of property worth hundreds of millions of Naira. Indeed, the economy of the northeast especially has been put in a state of suspended animation by the devastation wrought by this group. Millions of Nigerians are also internally displaced. About 30 births have been recorded among the displaced persons in recent weeks.

By the way, another unsettling aspect of the story is that valid statistics about this national disaster are hardly available. However, none of these heinous crimes of Boko Haram (reported or otherwise) has attracted more global attention than the holding of the Chibok girls in captivity. Terrorists employ what is called “propaganda by the deed”. Future historians of the Boko Haram war may one day record that no deed of the insurgents provided greater propaganda than the abduction of the Chibok girls. The solidarity of the whole nation should go to all those who are bereaved as result of the mass murders committed by Boko Haram as well as those maimed and abducted. As the year ends on this sad note, the solidarity of the whole nation should also go to the Chibok girls and their parents.

A nation could go to war because of one girl. That is how patriotism is engendered. A girl who knows that her nation would go any length to save her life would most likely grow up to become an ardent patriot. The brave Malala Yousafzai is a soul. She survived an assassination attempt by terrorists in her home country, Pakistan. Her ordeal attracted global attention with the concomitant solidarity. She is today a Nobel Laureate for her activism in promoting the female education. The other day, she visited Abuja and was received by President Goodluck Jonathan in Aso Rock. In Nigeria, 219 schoolgirls have not been properly accounted for and some cynics dare suggest that the nation “ should move on” on the matter. Well, the nation may choose to move on, but the pain in the heart of the parents of these girls will not move an inch especially given the manner in which matter has been handled.

The defence authorities have become unduly sensitive to the criticisms of their prosecution of the Boko Haram war. Yet they should be told that the handling of the abduction of the Chibok girls has been less than satisfactory. Within a month of the abduction, defence spokesmen announced that most of the girls had been rescued. This cheery statement was withdrawn shortly after it was made, in a way that was bereft of accountability to the public. Some months ago, the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, told reporters to “leave us alone” as the military authorities knew the location of the girls.

Without prejudice to the secrecy of military operational procedures, there is hardly any official update to the public on the matter of the Chibok girls. The last time there was a categorical statement in respect of the Chibok girls was when the public was fed with the tales of a ceasefire with Boko Haram that never was in the first place. The release of the girls was alleged to be one of the terms of the ceasefire. The military authorities owe the public more explanations on this matter. This demand should not be misconstrued as asking them to discuss their operational strategies on the pages of newspapers. All that is required is to humanise defence briefings as it is done in other civilised societies.

The other sore point is the inexplicable hostility by government officials to those who have elected to uphold our collective humanity by sustaining a campaign for the recue of the Chibok girls. The counting of the days of the girls in captivity is even offensive to some government officials and politicians. It is disheartening watching on television ministers visibly irritated at the protest march by the #BringBackOurGirls group. Instead of joining hands with their compatriots in the group in solidarity, they respond with verbal assaults.

You wonder in what way the #BringBackOurGirls campaign is inimical to government’s interest? It is charitable to assume that the government is concerned about the condition of the abducted girls and working hard on their rescue. In that wise, the noble activities of those making personal sacrifices to keep the matter in public view should be seen as complementary to the official steps. What then is the basis of the official antagonism to the efforts to keep the matter in public view? The campaigners are simply saying that this nation should not “move on” with the fate of the Chibok girls unknown. No humane nation can so easily “move on” on such matters.

For clarity, it is also important to stress that the issue of the Chibok girls is beyond partisanship. It is indubitably a Nigerian problem. It is not just the headache of the government or a political party. It should, therefore, offend the sensibility of all decent people when the tragedy is politicised or trivialised. In fact, the wish of all persons of goodwill should be that the girls are rescued before the election so that no one would say the election is a referendum on the Chibok girls or indeed insurgency.

Meanwhile, the military authorities should be supported by the affected local and state governments in ensuring the return of the Chibok girls and indeed in defeating terrorism in the land. Yes, there are shared responsibilities in this matter. But the ultimate responsibility is that of the Commander-in-Chief when hundreds of girls are abducted in a place where a state of emergency is imposed. The whole nation should, therefore, be unambiguously behind the Commander-in-Chief in this war in which the Chibok girls appear to be helpless hostages. Both the government and opposition should acknowledge this inescapable fact in their rhetoric in the coming weeks of campaigns for the 2015 elections.

Source: ThisDay

Health alarm as Cancer-causing metal is detected in water supplied to Lagos residents

Cancer-causing metal detected in water supplied to Lagos residents

BY KUNLE FALAYI

In the second part of his report, KUNLE FALAYI takes on the Lagos State Water Corporation armed with the report of a chemical analysis done on a sample of the contaminated water which some Lagos residents drink oblivious of the dangers they face

At Ijora-Badia, one of Lagos’ most notorious slums, living around dirt is obviously not strange to the residents. But the water they buy from vendors who get their supply from the Lagos State Water Corporation may be doing them more harm than good.

A sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation, which is Target 10 under Goal Seven of the Millennium Development Goals, continues to be an illusion to people like the residents of this area. According to the United Nations, at least 783 million people the world over lack access to clean water.

Our correspondent noticed that many residents of the Ijora-Badia community dispose of their human wastes in open sewers while most of the pipes laid by water vendors in the community pass through the same drains and sewers. Yet common cases of dysentery and diarrhoea among children of the community do not seem to be raising alarm bells.

Where dysentery is a ‘regular visitor’

After 28-year-old food vendor, Mrs. Khadijat Akibu, narrated how her son died in June 2014 after a bout of his ‘usual’ dysentery (published in the first part of this report last Saturday), a search for more families with similar cases revealed how common the disease is among the residents of the area.

Thirty-two-year-old hairdresser, Adunni Alimi, told our correspondent that she no longer saw it as a problem when her three-year-old daughter, Bisi, complained of dysentery because “it always comes and goes.”

She lives only about 30 yards away from Akibu, and there is no doubt that she and her family also use the same water supplied by water vendors in the area.

“Bisi had dysentery last in November. She has dysentery almost every three weeks but she recovers after we give her drugs. That is why we are not really worried,” Alimi said.

Initially, when her daughter started her usual frequent stooling, Bisi would take her to Grace and George Hospital, a private hospital in the area, but now, she simply goes to a drug store to buy Flagyl and Tetracycline anytime the bout sets in because she can’t afford to take her daughter to hospital all the time.

Does she think that the recurrent dysentery might have something to do with the water they drink in the house? Alimi, whose expression changed to one of confusion, answered that it could not be so.

“I know well that the water the vendors sell in Ijora-Badia come from the water corporation,” she said.

That was the same reaction Julius Aji, another resident of the area, gave when our correspondent was speaking with his wife.

His wife, Chinenye, had told our correspondent that they had to take their six-year-old son to the hospital when the dysentery he had on December 15, 2014 entered the third day without abating.

“That is the second time he would develop dysentery in the last four months. But this last one really frightened us because we went to buy the same drug that were prescribed during his last case and it just did not work,” Chinenye said.

“You reporters have come with your questions again. If we use borehole water, maybe I will agree that there is contamination. But we use water corporation water here,” Julius interjected when his wife was asked if they had ever worried that the water they use in the house might be contaminated.

But these families are just two of the many others who our correspondent spoke with and who admitted to battling recurrent cases of dysentery in Ijora-Badia.

However, dysentery is just a minor problem compared with the danger the analysis of the water taken in the area revealed.

Cancer-causing metal, high bacteria load

The result of the analysis revealed a frightening chemical and biological composition.

The silica level detected is 14.20, which is at least 400 times higher than the World Health Organisation’s acceptable maximum of 0.03. Phosphate, a chemical that causes digestive problems to both human and animal, is five times higher (at 5.176) than the maximum level permissible by the WHO (1.0).

The analysis also reveals 0.498 level of Lead, a dangerous carcinogenic metal.

This water result signals grave danger —Don

A senior lecturer of Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the University of Lagos, Dr. Chimezie Anyakora, who has conducted extensive research on water contamination across Nigeria, broke down the result of the water analysis, explaining that the lead detected in the water level should be of great concern to the people directly using the water and Lagosians in general.

Anyakora explained that lead and the high bacteria level in the water are the two main elements that should cause alarm bells to ring.

He said, “Obviously, the bacterial count (2.40 X 103 colony-forming unit per millimetre) which is at least 20 times more than the WHO limits (1.0 x 102) poses the danger of short-term diseases like typhoid, dysentery and diarrhoea. But my major concern is the lead level. There should not be any lead at all in the water.

“As you know, lead is a very carcinogenic element. If one ingests bacteria in water, they reproduce and attack the body when their number is large enough. The typhoid, dysentery, diarrhoea or other diseases that it will give you in the short-term can be treated if detected in time. But the problem are those who are not feeling sick at the moment and develop long term illnesses in the long run because of the heavy metal, lead.

“Lead, like other heavy metals, accumulates in the body over time. Someone who drinks water contaminated with it like this may live a normal life without feeling sick for years. When one is supposed to be living a good life, that is when it causes kidney failure, cancer and many other ailments problems that may be too expensive to manage.

“Looking at the result of the analysis on this water sample, it is a signal of grave danger. One who drinks this kind of water continuously for two years is in grave danger.”

Anyakora said unfortunately, the epidemiology of many illnesses which plague Nigerians is not done unlike in developed countries where illnesses are traced to their roots.

Dysentery will stunt children’s growth —Paediatrician

A Professor of Paediatrics, Faculty of Clinical Services, College of Medicine of the University of Lagos, Edamisan Temiye, said children who consume the contaminated water at Ijora-Badia are likely to continue to have intestinal diseases like dysentery and diarrheoa from time to time, which may impact on their development.

He said children who have dysentery regularly do not grow well.

Temiyemi said, “Such children become stunted and smaller than their age. Each time they have dysentery, they use up a lot of energy to recover. A lot of energy is diverted to the immune system.

“The likelihood that they will have a high load of worms in their intestines is very high. These will also sap micro-nutrients, essential vitamins and elements from their bodies.

“Eventually, their immune system is put under a lot of pressure. There is no way they can achieve their optimal growth. It is also definite that it would affect their intelligence.

“Even the girl child among them are more in grave danger because they cannot grow well as their puberty is likely to be delayed. By the time they are supposed to have children, their pelvis are likely to be contracted and have problems giving birth.”

He explained that even though the issue is just about water contamination, the effect becomes a vicious cycle of poverty and diseases leading to more poverty and deaths.

Commenting on the presence of lead in the water, Temiye said the metal should be an urgent source of concern to the authorities.

“Lead is an element that prevents a children from growing optimally. They grow up to become dull mentally. In addition to that, lead also prevents the formation of blood. Meaning that such children are likely to suffer from blood shortage,” the professor said.

Danger knocking at everyone’s door?

Experts say the contamination occurring at Ijora-Badia may seem like a local problem but every resident of Lagos who uses government-supplied water must be concerned about.

As a result of the fact that the water vendors are connected to the LWC’s main, the contamination might be sucked into the larger water flow, thereby ‘poisoning’ water supplied to other parts of the state, they noted.

According to a water engineer, Mr. Olusegun Adeogun, it is improper and unhygienic to lay water pipes that feed residential apartments in drainages.

He said ideally, the distance of connection between the mains and the buildings they feed should not exceed 18 metres.

Adeogun, who runs Aqualeau Water Engineering Services, said, “Mains are usually laid in major roads, while sub and trunk mains are laid in sub-roads and streets bearing in mind the distance of flow, dimension of pipes, topography of the area and human population in such areas.

“It is expected that water flowing from mains is treated and disinfected with chlorine as it flows through the channel and appurtenances, once there is a burst along the direction of flow, it paves way for the post-chlorination that makes dirty particles or suspended particles easily flow in and contaminate the treated water, thereby exposing the end-users to water-borne diseases.

“In cases where the water pipes supplying a house are between 50 to 300 metres away from the mains, laying them without proper backfilling as protection will surely cause the pipes to burst at some point.”

Adeogun said the solution was to provide mains on all roads and sub-roads to prevent laying unnecessary lengthy pipes and also prevent untraceable damage points. He suggested that more pipe reticulations should be done by the LWC.

Water corporation promises clampdown

The Lagos State Water Corporation said even though it was true that some water vendors at Ijora-Badia are supplied water by the corporation, it was not aware of the haphazard and dangerous ways pipes were being laid in the area.

Executive Director, Operations at the LWC, Mr. Deji Johnson, explained that there are many challenges faced by the corporation which make consistent monitoring of water vendors impossible.

He said, “We have challenges with our networks. The corporation has only achieved about 25 per cent of coverage in Lagos even though by 2020 we hope to cover the whole of Lagos. This is why we allow legitimate vendors who are registered with us to supply to the people using their own pipes.

“But it is obvious now that many of them install the pipes whatever way they like when our back is turned. The first thing we will do is identify the affected area and carry out massive disconnection exercise.

“People will break the law as much as they believe that they won’t be punished. There is no excuse for such illegality. We do not condone laying pipes in drains because it is wrong and illegal. We carry out enforcement but the vendors have just learnt to take advantage of our challenges.

“It has been challenging to carry out monitoring all the time. The challenges we face which people are not aware of include the fact that many people build their houses and fences so close to the drainages that utility cannot work in their streets.”

He explained that the LWC would take steps to ensure that henceforth vendors who are punished when they put the end-users of water in the state at risk.

We’ll sanction both corporation, vendors —LSWRC

The Lagos State Water Regulatory Commission said the fact that the LWC allowed vendors to connect to their mains without proper monitoring makes it a candidate for sanctioning as well.

Executive Secretary of the commission, Mrs. Tanwa Koya, said it is the responsibility of the corporation to ensure the water vendors do the right thing.

She said, “My conclusion is that the water corporation is the culprit in this issue. The Lagos State Government has set up a mechanism to monitor and enforce such things.

“We are not just going to punish the vendors but will also sanction the water corporation as well. Our job as the regulatory commission is to enforce water quality. That includes tracing the source of the contamination right to the end.

“We have just recently issued water quality regulation that would sanction in no small way both the vendors and water corporation.”

She explained that the implementation of the framework for ensuring monitoring of water circulation in the state would start in 2015.

Koya said, “The government is concerned about this issue. In a case like this, we do not solely rely on the community to alert us us. In 2015, we will be looking at the integrity of the water the residents of Lagos are being served regardless of whether we get a feedback or not.

“When we take action on the case you have identified, our process is not just to shut down the compromised supply points but also to ensure remediation because they don’t have any other source of water.

“All the pipes going through drainages will be moved out of the gutter. This will be a multi-effort action. The difference between the approach of the corporation and ours is that they want to disconnect the people that have done the wrong thing, we want to ensure that when you disconnect the bad ones you reconnect immediately the right way so that people continue to have access to water.”

Source: The Punch

Between GEJ’s today and GMB’s yesterday

Between GEJ’s today and GMB’s yesterday

By Mohammed Haruna

In an interview with Channels TV three Mondays ago, Dr Doyin Okupe, a senior spokesman of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GEJ), said the All Progressives Congress, the country’s leading opposition party, made “a fatal error” by electing General Muhammadu Buhari (GMB), a former military head of state and serial loser in the country’s presidential elections since 2003, as its candidate for the February 14, 2015 presidential election.

General Buhari won his party’s presidential primaries, held on December 10 in Lagos, by a landslide, much to the surprise of most pundits who had forecast a tight race between him and former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar. Indeed, so confident was the Atiku camp of his victory that his able spokesman, Garba Shehu, boasted on the eve of the primary that his principal’s acceptance speech had already been written. Shehu, you may recall, had conducted the vice-president’s highly successful media war in 2007 against his estranged boss, former President, Olusegun Obasanjo,

“For you to know how confident we are,” Shehu said, “Oga’s acceptance speech has already been written. So we are winning.”

In the event, Shehu and his oga couldn’t have been more disappointed; not only did he loose to Buhari, he also lost to a much less fancied Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, the Governor of Kano State, who came a very distant second. The scores were 3,430 for the winner, 974 for the governor, 954 for the former VP, 624 for Rochas Okorocha, the Governor of Imo State, and 10 for Sam Nda-Isaiah, the publisher of Leadership.

The contrast between Buhari’s win and the coronation ceremony of President Jonathan as PDP’s candidate in Abuja on the same day couldn’t have been starker as a comparative study of the internal democracy of the two parties; the ruling party simply made it absolutely impossible for anyone to contest for its presidential ticket against the incumbent, inadvertently betraying a lack of confidence that the man can retain his ticket even in a rigged primary.

When Okupe said he knew Buhari’s election was “a fatal error” he of course meant it for APC. Buhari, like Generals Ibrahim Babangida, Abdulsalami Abubakar and Obasanjo (whose spokesman he once was), he said, only reminded Nigerians of a past that was best forgotten. Well, contrary to Okupe’s wish, APC’s “error” may well turn out to be fatal, not for itself, but for PDP which has ruled (misrule is more like it) this country since the start of the Fourth Republic in 1999 – and has threatened to rule us much longer for at least the next half century.

Okupe’s remarks in the Channels interview merely echoed his master’s acceptance speech on his coronation as PDP’s candidate. “The choice before Nigerians in the coming election,” he said in the speech, “is simple: A choice between going forward or (sic) going backwards; between the new ways and the old ways; between freedom and repression; between a record of visible achievements and beneficial reforms and desperate power-seekers with empty promises.”

I do not have any opinion poll to back my belief but I have no doubt that if Nigerians were free today to choose between the immediate and distant past Okupe has denigrated, on the one hand, and his principal’s present, on the other, the vast majority of them will prefer the past. Whatever those like Okupe who prefer the status quo may choose to believe, the fact is that Nigerians have never had it as bad as it has been in the last five years under President Jonathan, the good people of the oil producing Delta region he comes from not exempted.

As Eric Teniola, a veteran reporter and now a frequent commentator, pointed out in a well researched piece, “Changing tide for the Niger Delta” in The Guardian (December 24), with the region blessed with a development commission (NDDC), a ministry and the Presidential Amnesty Programme, all being allocated princely sums that are the envy of most states in the country – not, above all, to mention a president who is a son of the soil – money has since ceased being an object for the region.

Yet, today the ordinary people of the region have not in any way been better off than they were in the past. On the contrary, they are probably worse off today, as they wallow in abject poverty in sharp contrast to the mindless opulence of a few of them who the president seems ever so proud to say, as he repeated during his fundraiser two Saturdays ago, he has made millionaires and billionaires and, who knows, even trillionaires.

Speaking on December 23 at the inauguration of the Enugu-Port Harcourt train service the president repeated the statistical self-delusion, following the so-called rebasing of our Gross Domestic Product this year, that his administration has grown Nigeria’s economy into the biggest in Africa and one of the biggest in the world. “We have,” he said, “managed the economy such that it has risen to be the greatest economy in Africa and one of the biggest in the world.”

Obviously the president, in repeating this mantra about Nigeria’s new economic status, chose to ignore a report, issued by the UK-based Legatum Institute, a research organization that documents annual prosperity indicators around the world, which listed Nigeria as 125th in poverty out of 142 countries the institute surveyed.

The report, issued on December 19, had said, “Despite its latest status as Africa’s biggest economy, and its government’s claim of improved standard of living, Nigeria was not only one of the world’s least prosperous countries in 2014, but also one of Africa’s poorest beaten by smaller nations like Niger, Benin, Mali and Cameroun… Remarkably, Nigeria failed to make the list of Africa’s top 10 most prosperous countries, a league dominated by Botswana and South Africa.”

Obviously this is not a record any leader who cares for the welfare and the happiness of his people would be proud of. As The Punch said in the conclusion of its strongly worded front page comment, “Jonathan’s N21 bn donation: Impunity taken too far,” (December 23), “It is all evident that Jonathan has failed badly to build a credible, honest and minimally effective government for almost half a decade that he has been president. This is regrettable indeed.”

Yet we are told that we should reject change and vote for the status quo next year when our yesterday seems all so much better than our today.

Of all the things the president said in his acceptance speech as PDP’s candidate, the most profound for me was one of the shorted paragraphs in the speech. “Our mission,” he said, “is to secure Nigeria’s future.”

On his current record of his abysmal failure to even secure our present, it seems highly doubtful that he can secure the country’s future – certainly not with the level of threat we have repeatedly been subjected to by several of his henchmen like Asari Dokubo who have said his loss next year will mean the end of Nigeria. Given the widespread public concern about recent massive and illegal importation of arms as articulated only the other day by former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, in a letter to the President and to Buhari as the two leading presidential contenders, pleading with them to sign a memorandum of undertaking that they will get their respective followers to eschew violence especially after the election, Dokubo’s threats cannot be dismissed as empty or idle.

Predictably, threats from the likes of Dokubo have provoked counter-threats from Buhari’s camp, the most controversial of which has been the threat by Rivers State Governor and now the Director-General of Buhari Campaign Organisation, Rotimi Amaechi, that the opposition will form a parallel government if PDP wins, his assumption being, of course, that PDP cannot win next year’s election if it is free and fair.

Amaechi’s threat is to be condemned as much as Dokubo’s. However, whereas government officials have condemned Amaechi over his threat, they have maintained a deathly silence over those from the president’s men.

Not only have government officials condemned threats of violence from opposition elements, they have now gone further to threaten them with arrest and imprisonment. Only two Mondays ago, the combative Minister of Police Affairs, Chief Jelili Adesiyan, said he has ordered the Inspector General of Police and the Directorate of State Security to arrest anyone “making mutinous and inflammatory statements.”

He named no names but it was obvious he was referring mostly to Amaechi, especially over another statement the governor made condemning the death sentence passed recently on 54 soldiers for alleged mutiny in the war on Boko Haram terror in Borno State. “The soldiers,” the governor had reportedly said, “have a right to protest for the federal government’s failure to fully equip them.”

If the rather liberal interpretation of Amaechi’s words by PDP and government officials is accurate, he was hardly alone in speaking them. In this he was clearly in the company of such human rights lawyers like Femi Falana, SAN, and the Nobel Literature Laureate, Wole Soyinka, who have said the inability of government to arm and motivate the soldiers adequately are mitigating circumstances for their misconduct.

More importantly Amaechi is in the good company of one of the most respected retired generals of the Nigerian military, Major-General Alabi Williams.

“Those playing politics with the lives of these soldiers who were being sent to commit suicide in the name of fatherland and they refused, have to be ashamed,” the general, who retired as an officer and gentleman of the highest integrity and as the Chief of Defence Operations, Planning and Training in 1993, said recently. “The army’s top hierarchy is covering up its weaknesses by court-martialling these soldiers. Period.”

As the February presidential approaches the question then is not whether our present is worth preserving, because obviously it is not. The question is, can the opposition deliver on its promise to bring an end to our nasty and brutish present? My answer will form the subject of this column next week, God willing.

Happy New Year

With every difficulty, says a dictum, there’s ease. As we enter the year 2015 tomorrow may the Good Lord bring an end to our sufferings of recent years. Happy New Year.

Agbaje Can’t Govern Lagos- Fashola

Agbaje Can’t Govern Lagos, Says Fashola

image
Jimi Agbaje

By Kazeem Ugbodaga

Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola says Lagos State is too big to be handed over to the Peoples Democratic Party’s, PDP, governorship candidate, Jimi Agbaje to experiment with as he lacks experience.

Fashola, who spoke on Tuesday at a Town Hall Meeting with artisans and tradesmen, said the All Progressive Congress, APC, candidate, Akinwunmi Ambode, should be trusted to govern and lead Lagos State in the right direction as he has the needed experience to do so, having beein in government for 27 years.

Though the governor did not mention Agbaje’s name,  he was referring to him when he advised Lagosians not to trade experience in government business for experiment and trial and error that the opposition (PDP) wanted to bank on.

According to him, Ambode is better suited for the state’s number one job because of his competence saying he worked with him for over six years as Accountant General of the State and would start from where he handed over the baton to him.

He said he could thump his chest and vouch for the governorship candidate of the APC in Lagos State as one who would be a worthy successor to him.

Backing his contention with several anecdotes, the governor urged residents of Lagos not to make the mistake of electing someone without cognate experience who would only end up wobbling and fumbling with the fortunes of Lagos.

Fashola stated that he was ready to defend his stewardship in office at any time and at any forum if called upon to do so because his government had been very impactful to the lives of the average residents of the state.

He thanked the artisans, tradesmen and farmers for their honesty and truthfulness about the positive change that has come into their lives through the activities of the State Government in the informal sector.

The governor said he wholeheartedly supports their request for a continuation of the prosperity that is being enjoyed in the informal and agricultural sector under the present administration, adding that the only way such continuity could be actualized is by voting to ensure that the All Progressives Congress (APC) emerges victorious at all levels in Lagos State and the federal elevel in 2015.

He stressed that this is the time and period for Nigerians to make very important decisions about their lives as the elections approach and that the people should be bold to take up their leaders on what they have done with the time they have spent in office before asking for renewal of tenures.

The governor added that when President Goodluck Jonathan was seeking the votes of Nigerians before his first term in office, one of his sloganeering catch phrases was that as a child he had no shoes and walked barefooted but that now the campaigns would be about issues as the era of having no shoes to curry sympathy was gone.

Fashola said the President also made several promises such as the one he made in Lagos during the campaigns in 2011, where he promised to reconstruct the road leading to the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, adding that four years after, nothing had happened in Lagos.

Speaking at the event, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, running mate to Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, the APC presidential candidate, called on Nigerians not to vote for President Goodluck Jonathan, as doing so will only attract hunger.

He said Nigeria under Jonathan had already entrenched deep poverty and that retaining him for a second term would mean more hunger, and that the time had come for power to change hand at the centre.

Also speaking, the APC Lagos governorship candidate, Akinwunmi Ambode said APC from the period of Bola Tinubu to Governor Babatunde Fashola has continuously provided good governance to the people of the state, saying if voted into power, his government would not deviate from the principle.

He appealed to Lagos residents to vote massively for him during the governorship election and for General Buhari at the presidential election next year.

“Our promise to you as a party is to provide good governance and able leadership. We want to take good care of your businesses. If you have been making N1000 profit before, what we want for you is, after providing all the facilities you need for your business, that your profit swells to N10, 000.

“We know that when you make more profit, you will have more to take care of yourself, your children and your home. We promise not to stress you with our policies. I also want to remind you that no matter what we do, if we do not take over the central government, we may be hindered in a way and may not be able to provide all that we want to provide for you,” he said.

According to Ambode, “there must be change of government at the Federal level. APC must take over in Abuja. In Lagos, we remember where the former Governor Bola Tinubu started from and how Governor Fashola consolidated on his achievements and raised the bar, that is what we want to continue in Lagos.”

Ekiti: Seven PDP lawmakers ‘sit in camera’, pass 2015 budget

Ekiti: Seven PDP lawmakers ‘sit in camera’, pass 2015 budget

Written by ODUNAYO OGUNMOLA, ADO-EKITI

The seven Peoples Democratic Party members of the Ekiti State House of Assembly staged another “legislative coup” on Wednesday when they “sat in camera” and passed the 2015 Appropriation Bill into law.

They passed into law a sum of N80.94 billion as budgetary provision for the 2015 fiscal year which was about N160 million higher than the N80.77 billion presented to them by Governor Ayo Fayose on December 15.

The increase in the budget estimate presented by Fayose is to allow for repairs of the leaking roof in the Assembly complex.

The budget presentation to the minority legislators who did not form a quorum sparked outrage in the camp of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and other interest groups who described the action as “illegal and unconstitutional.”

The PDP lawmakers led by the factional Speaker, Dele Olugbemi, asked all journalists on duty and other observers to leave the gallery and “sat” for about 44 minutes where they passed the 2015 budget.

Signs that the “sitting” would not be allowed to be covered by reporters began to emerge as soon as the lawmakers entered the hallowed chambers complaining about the “heavy presence” of reporters and party faithful.

Assembly member representing Ekiti East Constituency 2, Samuel Ajibola, expressed displeasure about the presence of many people in the gallery but the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Idowu Adelusi, advocated that reporters be allowed to cover the sitting.

All entreaties by Adelusi were turned down by the legislators as they commenced the “sitting” at 10.54 am with Olugbemi saying the opening prayers.

 

Source: The Nation

How man defiled 9-year old daughter, impregnated her elder sister!

“How my husband defiled our 9-yr-old daughter, impregnated another”

By Gabriel Enogholase
BENIN—A 55-year-old man, identified as Osaro, has been arrested by men of the Edo State Police Command for allegedly defiling his nine-year-old daughter.
Osaro, according to his wife, Stella, had earlier impregnated their 17-year-old daughter, just as she told newsmen at the Ogida Police Division, Benin, that she recently returned to her husband’s house after he said he had repented.
She said: “My husband wanted to sleep with my second daughter. He later succeeded in sleeping with my other daughter. After impregnating the girl, he begged me several times to forgive him.
“He started the church I attended and confessed what he had done. The church members begged me and I accepted him. He has already paid my bride price so I went back.
“After we had settled, my husband started with our daughter again. The little girl told me what she was going through in the hands of her father. I asked my husband, but he denied. He said he had stopped the act since he repented.
“One afternoon, I caught him with our daughter. I went to the church and vowed that I cannot continue with the marriage. I am tired of forgiving him all the time.
“On Christmas Day, he drove me outside at about 8 p.m. He was alone inside with the children. The next day, my daughter told me what he did to her. When I decided to check my daughter’s private part, he wanted to beat me, but neighbours intervened.”
The victim asked police to jail her father.

Source: The Vanguard

Former ICPC Boss, Others Knock Jonathan On Corruption

Corruption: Ex-ICPC boss, others tackle Jonathan

*Say corruption is escalating and we cannot pretend
‘People accept bribe with impunity now’
By Demola Akinyemi & Monsur Olowoopejo
ILORIN — Former President of the Court of Appeal and pioneer Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related offences Commission, ICPC, Justice Mustapha Akanbi (retd) yesterday in Ilorin gave the President Goodluck Jonathan administration a hard knock over the manner it has handled the issue of corruption, saying the escalation of graft in all spheres of the nation’s economy is disturbing.
Similarly, a legal luminary based in Ilorin, Mallam Yusuf Olaolu Ali (SAN), criticised the present administration for its stance on corruption, saying: “The President believes that there is no corruption in Nigeria but petty stealing.”
They spoke on a day Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State accused President Jonathan of not releasing the audit report of the missing $20 billion crude oil fund because the report allegedly indicted some of his loyalists.
In his address at a public lecture on corruption, with the theme: “The bane of our society” organised by Amicus International Club of Ilorin, Justice Akanbi said people now accept bribes with impunity because nothing is being done about corruption.
Corruption is escalating
His words: “The clouds have thickened, corruption is escalating and we cannot pretend. The Transparency International put us at the position of 136th corrupt nation. You cannot deny it even though it is a perception. Honestly, I do not see what is being done about corruption now.
“Speaking for myself, I ask this question: Does it mean all the governors are corruption-free, does it mean all the legislators are corruption-free; does it mean the judiciary is corruption-free? We know that it is happening but people are not being arrested, no action is being taken and the end result is that people accept bribes with impunity now.
“At least, if they had taken few people to court, we would have known that something is being done. There is a general lull and the fight against corruption has gone down completely. That is why we are gearing up the tempo now so that people can be aware of it.

No gov arrested
”Now, when you look at many people wanting to be governors, is it because they want to serve their people or that they want to go and chop and chop? It is apparent that many of them want to enrich themselves because they know that when you go there you make money and become wealthy, which is the same as going to the legislature. Yet people are suffering, there is no development, there is corruption, kidnapping and the ills of the society have gone on the ascendancy.
“Honestly, look at these governors, how many of them have been arrested? We know about Oduahgate and the billions of naira that Sanusi alleged that was missing. The terrible thing is that the judiciary is not helping. Someone said he was alleged to have taken about N30 billion and he said it was N20 billion but was fined about N750 million by the judiciary.”
President believes there’s no corruption in Nigeria
In his contribution, Mallam Ali noted that as Nigerians “we know that corruption makes all of us poorer in the short and long run. Even for those who are stealing our money, they are poorer; what is the essence of money you have stolen and you cannot display whatever you have acquired with it? You build houses outside of Nigeria; you are not proud to tell people you have built such houses and you buy big cars and keep them as if they are items of antiquity.
He said: “The saddest aspect is that when you take this money out of Nigeria, you are mal-nourishing our economy and nourishing the economies of the countries that are already nourished. It is a no-win situation for those who are corrupt, those who condone it and the rest of us.”
On the current anti corruption crusade of President Jonathan, he said: ”I have said this before, there is no drive against corruption by the current government and that is quite obvious because the President believes that there is no corruption in Nigeria. He believes that what is going on is petty stealing. So if he doesn’t believe there is corruption, you can’t hold him for not driving any anti corruption war. If somebody doesn’t believe there is a problem then he would not be obliged to look for solution.”
Don’t sell your votes
On the forthcoming 2015 general elections, Ali said:”People should know that elections come and go but Nigeria remains. Those of us who are parents should tell our children not to allow themselves to be used as cannon fodders by people who are looking for power. Let us remind our children that the children of politicians will not take part in thuggery at rallies and campaigns. Their own children are safely tucked away in Europe, America and other places, totally out of harm.
“I also tell those of us who are electorate not to sell our votes; when you sell your votes you lose the moral rights to ask how you are governed. Once you sell your vote you cannot ask the people who are elected how they discharge their mandate.”
Why FG’ll not release audit report of missing $20bn crude fund
Still on corruption, Governor Fashola said President Jonathan will not release the audit report of the missing $20 billion crude oil fund because he knew the content of the report indicted some of his loyalists.
Similarly, the running mate to General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), the All Progressives Congress, APC, presidential candidate, Professor Yemi Osinbajo and Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, APC governorship candidate in Lagos, said the People’s Democratic Party, PDP led Federal Government had become a virus to the country and mismanaged every sector of the economy.
They all spoke at a Town Hall meeting with artisans, tradesmen and farmers in the state, in Ikeja.
Fashola said: “Prior to the 2011 election, he (Jonathan) promised to fight corruption in the country regardless of the person involved, but the President has refused to release the audit report of the missing $20 billion crude oil fund. We know that the audit has been completed. The president is shielding the report. He is doing this because he knew the content of the report but he must release the report.
“Even in 2011, the President promised to ensure that the country moved beyond producing and exporting crude oil to exporting refined petroleum products because Nigeria has no reason to import kerosene. But today, we have not moved beyond where we were in 2011.
“In politics, promises are important and that is why no one should make promises one cannot fulfil. And that is why we said that the time for ‘I have no shoe’ is over. This campaign will be on what the present governments have done. And that will help me to defend my record for eight years and I hope that the other party at the centre will have the courage to do so.”
PDP is a virus
On activities of the PDP-led Federal Government under Jonathan’s administration, Fashola said: “PDP is a virus. Every aspect of our national life has been destroyed by this PDP-led central government. We gave the entire country to Jonathan to manage but he has mismanaged it. They have mismanaged every sector of the country’s economy and yet they claim that Nigeria has the best economy in Africa.
“If the Federal Government’s claim on our economy was true, why is power supply yet to improve in Nigeria while smaller countries have gone to stabilise theirs? Why is it that we went to a smaller country to buy arms to fight Boko Haram.
“Even football, they have mismanaged it. The African Nations cup is the biggest showbiz in African soccer. While smaller nations qualified for the tournament, the big country could not qualify. They are like virus. They have destroyed everything they have touched. And yet they vowed to claim Lagos and boost the economy of Lagos if they come to power in 2015 but they could not manage the country for four years. If you allow them, they will destroy the economy of Lagos.
“We have been hosting the sports festival for years. Lagos hosted it within one year and the Federal Government claimed that the event would be hosted yearly but since we hosted the event in 2013, none could be hosted in 2014. It has been postponed.”
No one likes hunger, poverty
Osinbajo added that the poor state of the nation’s economy had plunged many Nigerians into poverty, stressing that there must be a change of government at the federal level to liberate Nigerians from poverty.
He noted that only those who love poverty and want to remain perpetually in hunger would vote for Jonathan in 2015.
Osinbajo said: “No one is ignorant of all that is happening to us in this country. No one likes hunger and poverty but people are hungry. In 2015, only those who love to continue to be hungry would prefer that the government in power at the centre remains there.
“By God’s grace, we would remove them from the seat of power. The people there presently cannot do anything because they don’t know how to. They lack the capacity and capability to govern the country. I pray for the farmers and artisans that the Lord will bless us in the coming year.”
There must be change of govt —Ambode
In the same vein, Ambode said the APC, from the period of Bola Tinubu to Governor Babatunde Fashola had continuously provided good governance to the people of the state, saying if voted into power, his government would not deviate from the principle.
Ambode enjoined Lagosians to vote en-mass for the party during the governorship election as well as for the party’s presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari.
According to Ambode, “our promise to you as a party is to provide good governance and leadership. We want to take good care of your businesses. If you have been making N1000 profit before, what we want for you is – after providing all the facilities you need for your business— your profit swells to N10,000.
“We know that when you make more profit, you will have more to take care of yourself, your children and your home. We promise not to stress you with our policies. I also want to remind you that no matter what we do, if we do not take over the central government, we may be hindered in a way and may not be able to provide all that we want to provide for you.
“There must be change of government at the Federal level. APC must take over in Abuja. In Lagos, we remember where the former Governor Bola Tinubu started from and how Governor Fashola consolidated on his achievements and raised the bar, that is what we want to continue in Lagos.”

Source: The Vanguard