Tag Archives: Nigeria

Africa is setting an example for Arabs

Arab leaders and citizens do not often look at Africa for inspiration. For decades, the Dark Continent has been beset by civil wars, military coups, famine and recurrent outbreaks of endemic diseases. Millions of lives have been lost and economies destroyed. But Africa is waking up and moving forward and for the first time in decades achievements have been secured and growth sustained in many of the continent’s 55 nations.

This month something remarkable happened that promises to change the fate of African nations for good. At the African Union’s summit in Niger, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari gave the African Continental Free Trade Area a major boost by signing the continent’s largest economy onto the deal. With Nigeria joining the pact the world is now seeing the birth of the world’s largest free trade zone — a 55-nation bloc worth $3.4 trillion.

The pact aims are creating a single market for goods and services, facilitate free movement of people and investments, and eventually introduce a single-currency union.

Even more remarkable the leaders launched a Pan-African payment system aimed at reducing the use of third currencies — US dollars and Euros — in bilateral trade settlement across Africa saving nations between $5 billion and $7 billion, according to Okey Oramah, president of the African Export-Import Bank.

Geopolitical impact

There are efforts to push for the creation of an African Monetary Fund to help African states engage more actively in regional trade and intra-regional trade. The purpose is to help supplement what the IMF provides to countries facing balance of payments problems. Once operational it will have a capital subscription of up to $22 billion, but for the fund to exist a treaty that was agreed on in 2014 must be ratified by at least 15 nations.

Coming into effect by 2020 analysts believe the bloc will become the world’s largest free trade zone by cutting trade tariffs and barriers between 1.2 billion people. Aside from improving the continent’s infrastructure and bilateral trade, leaders hope that the free zone will have positive geopolitical impact by bringing in stability and preserving peace.

Raising the income of citizens and improving their living standards will help in the fight against terror groups in the long run, according to observers. UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed was quoted as saying that the AU’s goal of achieving peace across Africa by 2020 was attainable, adding that “we must work hard to silence the weapons.”

The continentwide trade agreement took 17 years to negotiate and approve but its rewards will be felt within few years, according to observers. African countries currently trade only about 16 per cent of their goods and services among one another, compared to 65 per cent with European countries. But by agreeing to reduce tariffs on 90 per cent of goods and services the AU estimates it will give a 60 per cent boost in intra-African trade by 2022.

Positive flow OF FDIs

In addition the agreement is expected to increase the positive flow of direct foreign investments into many countries in Africa. With more than 75 per cent of Africa’s external exports are raw material, such as oil and minerals which has stripped the continent of its natural wealth for centuries, the new pact will attract foreign investors who are expected to invest in the manufacturing sector, thus creating a new wave of industrialisation.

Yet the deal will have to go through a teething phase that includes tough negotiations on removing barriers and providing for fair competition. Also the deal faces legal and stereotypical challenges in the form of existing World Trade Organisation (WTO) agreements that may hinder Africa’s collective negotiations on free trade with the rest of the world.

But overall the perception is positive and exciting and this is why one feels, as an Arab, that we have fallen behind.

The Arab world, of over 300 million citizens, should have moved to integrate its economies and create a viable free trade zone long ago. Ironically, the legal frameworks and agreements within the Arab League charter and beyond do exist and references to intra-Arab free trade have been made since the mid 1950s. But a quick look at intra-Arab trade reveals that it only makes less than 10 per cent of total external Arab trade estimated at $1.75 trillion dollars.

Interestingly, trade among GCC countries makes up more than 70 per cent of total intra-Arab trade and more than 80 per cent of total Arab external trade, the bulk being oil and related products. It is incumbent upon the GCC countries to take the lead in integrating other Arab economies since they have the infrastructure, wealth and experience.

There is a lot or work to be done especially as we need to move from the rhetorical assurances to enforcing agreements and creating a real pan Arab economic structure that ensures free trade, economic complimentarily, movement of people and intra-Arab flow of investments. The rewards are not only financial but political as well. That is the only way this part of the world can compete, innovate and preserve its achievements for future generations.

— Osama Al Sharif is a journalist and political commentator based in Amman.

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At least 30 people killed in triple suicide bombings in Nigeria’s Borno state

Over 30 people were killed in a triple suicide bombing in northeastern Nigeria, emergency services reported on Monday, in an attack bearing the hallmarks of the Boko Haram jihadist group.

Three bombers detonated their explosives late Sunday outside a hall in the town of Konduga, where soccer fans were watching a game on television. Konduga is about 22 miles southeast of Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State.

Usman Kachalla, the head of operations for the Nigerian emergency management agency, said on Monday: “The death toll from the attack has so far increased to 30. We have over 40 people injured.”

Ali Hassan, the leader of a self-defense group in Konduga, said that the attack happened at around 9 p.m. on Sunday and that the operator of the hall had prevented one of the bombers from entering the packed venue.

“There was a heated argument between the operator and the bomber who blew himself up,” Mr. Hassan said by telephone, adding that two other bombers who had mingled among the crowd at a tea stall nearby had then also detonated their vests.

“Nine people died on the spot, including the operator, and 48 were injured,” Mr. Hassan said.

Mr. Kachala of the emergency management agency said that the high number of fatalities was because responders had been unable to reach the site of the blast quickly and were ill equipped to deal with large numbers of wounded.

“Lack of an appropriate health facility to handle such a huge emergency situation and the delay in obtaining security clearance to enable us deploy from Maiduguri in good time led to the high death toll,” he said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the attack bore the imprint of Boko Haram, which has led a decade-long campaign to establish a hard-line Islamist state in northeastern Nigeria.

The last suicide attack was in April, when two bombers blew themselves up outside the garrison town of Monguno, killing a soldier and a vigilante and wounding another soldier.

Konduga has been repeatedly targeted by suicide bombers from a Boko Haram faction loyal to its longtime leader, Abubakar Shekau. The faction typically carries out suicide attacks against civilian targets such as mosques, markets and bus stations, often using young women and girls as bombers.

The jihadists are believed to sneak into Konduga from hiding places in the nearby Sambisa Forest.

The Boko Haram insurgency has so far claimed 27,000 lives and forced around two million people to flee their homes. The violence has spilled into neighboring Niger, Chad and Cameroon, prompting the formation of a regional military coalition to battle the insurgents.

Nigerian students and transactional sex on campus: what we uncovered

By: Oludayo Tade

Transactional sex among female undergraduates in Nigeria is a social reality. The practice has been reported on regularly in the mainstream media and explored in various research papers.

This cross generational relationship is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa, and across the world where sponsors are commonly known as “sugar daddies”.

In our study on transactional sex in Nigerian universities, my colleague and I looked at the symbiotic relationship between some female Nigerian undergraduate students and aristos – wealthy, married or unmarried men. The students have transactional sex with the aristos in exchange for financial, social or educational support.

Because a great deal of these relationships happen undercover, there are no solid figures on the number of women involved in them. But there are many reasons that these relationships happen. It’s a practice that’s driven by economic hardship, a desire to network socially, and peer influence.

To understand more about these relationships we conducted 30 interviews with female undergraduates – commonly known as “runs-girls”.

We found that the students engage in transactional sex for pleasure and money. Typically, wealthy students would be with an aristo for pleasure, while those who needed financial support did it for the money. Most of the women we spoke to viewed it as a critical survival life investment strategy and rejected the “prostitution” label.

Although these relationships could offer the students economic, emotional, and political support, their effects can also be negative. The students expose themselves to sexually transmitted infections, physical violence and academic setbacks, because the relationships can distract from their studies.

Those with sexually transmitted infections risk of spreading these to their boyfriends, while also suffering economic losses seeking treatment.

Finding clients

Aristos are usually wealthy postgraduate students, lecturers, politicians, business people and military personnel. They are people with wealth and authority.

The students looked for these clients on and off campus, using connections and referrals. They then familiarised themselves with the potential client’s routine, aiming to eventually manufacture an encounter.

There’s usually a generational gap between the “runs-girls” and the aristos. The students often refer to their clients as “uncle”, “daddy” and, more recently, “aristo”. All of these bring connotations of the person’s expected role: to take care of the student.

If the students don’t have much financial support from their families, these relationships provide them with that security. Some started as a one-off “date”, for which they got a sum of money. But longer-term relationships also developed in some instances.

In return for sex, the women were given luxury possessions, like cars and mobile phones; investments for businesses they might start; or work placements when they finish their studies.

As one female student said:

The type of connection I have with politicians, lecturers, and military men cannot be purchased with money. At times, when I have problem, all I do is to make a call, depending on the nature of challenges…

In Nigeria, about 23% of young people are unemployed. These connections, with people of influence, may be a ticket to employment. As one “runs-girl” revealed:

One of my clients who happened to be a commissioner connected my senior sister to get a job at immigration even without any much stress…

Transactional sex isn’t limited to financially strapped students. We spoke to rich female students who engaged in it for sexual fulfilment. One 24 year old student said:

I am from a rich home, my father is even a Major (in the army), and my mother a nurse, but I’m involved in campus runs because of sexual satisfaction, although nothing goes for nothing, because sex is for enjoyment. I have a guy that I help financially, and on the long run he pays me back with sex.

Challenges

In this research we identified a few challenges.

Some “runs-girls” accepted offers of unprotected sex for better pay. This put them at risk of catching sexually transmitted infections and, consequently, the cost of treatment. As one student said:

I am always scared of having naked (unprotected) sex. Most times I use (a) condom because one can never know a man that has HIV/AIDS. Although sometimes some men always want naked sex and in that case, they will have to pay triple than what is earlier bargained. Part of the money realised as a runs-girl are used in revitalising the body, in which I go to the hospital once in a month to examine myself.

Other risks are that the women could be physically harmed. This is particularly true if the clients choose not to pay an agreed amount.

Their education could also suffer as they may choose to engage in “runs” rather than go to class.

Action needed

Getting the government or even universities to take action will prove difficult because our evidence suggests that policy makers, politicians and the business class are involved, as aristos.

Nevertheless, given the risks associated, something ought to be done.

One possible solution might be to establish part-time jobs for vulnerable students, and to institute courses about running businesses so that young women can earn money independently.

In addition, institutions should put together and roll out communications campaigns that teach young people about the implications of transactional sex.

Three persons, 319 cattle’s killed in Plateau

The police in Plateau have confirmed the killing of three persons and 319 cattle in separate attacks on some villages in Bassa Local Government Area.

According to the state police spokesperson, Tyopev Terna, the killing of the cattle occurred in Billi and Ariri Districts.

He said the cattle were killed a day after three persons were killed and one other was injured in different attacks in Maiyanga and Rotsu villages in the same local government.

Mr Terna confirmed the incident in a statement late Tuesday.

He said two cattle rearers were equally missing in the attack.

His statement reads thus:

“The Plateau State Police Command, Jos, received information on 29/04 /2019 at about 0800hrs to the effect that unknown gunmen attacked Maiyanga area of Miango District. As a result, one Jummai Jah ‘f’ 25yrs and Emmanuel Ishaya ‘m’ 37yrs were killed. A 7 months old girl, Tabitha, survived with a neck injury and is receiving treatment at Enos Hospital at Miango. The information also emphasised that Monday Audu of Rotsu village also in Miango District was shot and matched (macheted) to death.

“While the investigation into these crimes were ongoing, the Command on 30/04 /2019 at about 0730hrs received information that about 319 cattle were attacked and killed, 12 cattle were maimed while 11 cattle were rustled. Two cattle rearers: one Mubarak Yakubu and one Shehu Saidu, both males of different addresses, were missing. All these allegedly took place in Billi and Ariri in Miango District.”

He said the police have mobilised a search and rescue team to rescue the missing rearers while efforts are on the way to track and arrest the perpetrators of the crimes.

Earlier on Tuesday, before the police issued the statement, the state chairman of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Nura Abdullahi, in a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES, accused the ‘Irigwe’ of being responsible for the crimes.

According to the leader of the umbrella body of herders, the attack took place in Kuru area of Barkin Ladi Local Government Area, as well as in Kwal area of Bassa Local Government Area.

He said his members lost over 300 cattle “and three rearers were missing.”

The MACBAN chairman also confirmed that he spoke with the commander of a joint security team, Operation Save Haven, Augustine Agundu, on the incident “and he asked him to calm down as measures were being taken to check further occurrence of such incidents”.

Also, the National Secretary of MACBAN, Baba Othman, pleaded with cattle breeders in Plateau State not to engage in retaliatory attacks.

Mr Othman said MACBAN officials and security personnel had conducted an assessment of the area in the aftermath of the attack.

He cautioned against “any form of reprisal,” but called on Plateau authorities to take adequate measures to prevent any breakdown of order.

Not True

When contacted, a leader of the Irigwe people, David Chinge, denied the allegations that his tribesmen were responsible for the killings.

“I was not aware of the 300 cattle killed. All I know (is that) we were called today by the commander sector 6, Col. Hassan, that 11 cattle were killed on Monday.

“Apart from that one, I am not aware of the 300 cattle killed. We, as a people, condemn the act and call on both Fulani and Irigwe to live in peace. I also call on Fulani to keep off from the restricted areas where grazing is banned,” Mr Chinge added.

Unending Bloodshed

Fulani herders and some Plateau communities have been at loggerheads over the last few years. The youth of both tribes have engaged in bloody confrontations that have led to the loss of human lives and cattle.

The clashes have mainly been over grazing rights and resistance to encroachment over lands.

Attempts by the federal and state governments to end the clashes have not been successful.

Nigeria government to pay producers of seized codeine N1 billion

Moji Adeyeye, the Director-General, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), on Monday said the federal government would pay more than N1 billion as compensation to the companies that had their codeine impounded more than a year ago.

Mrs Adeyeye disclosed this on Monday in Lagos at a news conference to debunk a newspaper report that 70 per cent of medicines in Nigeria are fake.

Mrs Adeyeye said that there were about 2.5 million seizures of codeine made across the country, adding that government is working out compensations for the affected companies.

“It is about a year ago when the documentary about codeine was made which led to the Ministry of Health banning the product.

“Since that time, we have been having series of meeting with many government agencies and committees such as National Security Adviser group, the Presidency and the Ministry of Health.

“The final point is that we recalled about 2.5 million bottles of codeine and then put them on hold. This is sad because some companies did not commit the crime.

“So we put all the codeine on hold including the powder that they are using to the syrup. It will cost about N1 billion plus to reimburse these manufacturers,” she said.

Mrs Adeyeye said that government was already working on the reimbursement plan, adding that the agency is working round the clock to stem the manufacturing, distribution and use of substandard and fake drugs in the country.

“We are working on whatever the Ministry of Health is doing now to reimburse those companies affected. We just called a meeting about last two weeks on it.

More in Home

“In tackling fake and substandard products, we do raids and many a time, our staffs don’t sleep, they keep vigil, mainly to intercept those drugs in concert with the Nigerian Customs Service.

“We are also working with the local manufacturers to make sure that their products attain the international standard,” she said.

On the fake news attributed to NAFDAC that 70 per cent of medicines in Nigeria are fake, Mrs Adeyeye said that the legal department of the agency would see to it.

She said that a study jointly carried out by NAFDAC, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Department for International Development (DFID) in 2005 revealed that fake medicines stood at 16 per cent.

She added that a survey conducted by NAFDAC in 2017 and 2018 on some widely used drugs showed that Nigerian medicines were 98 per cent wholesome.

She therefore described the report as “untrue and grossly inaccurate”.


Premium Times/NAN

Blame traditional rulers for violence in the North – Fed Government

The Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan Ali, on Tuesday said fresh intelligence had exposed the complicity of some “highly-placed traditional rulers” in the ongoing killings of Nigerians across the northern parts of the country.

Deadly attacks blamed on “bandits” have increased in north west states of Zamfara, Sokoto, and Katsina, with hundreds killed in recent months.

In the north east, attacks by the insurgent group Boko Haram have continued, affecting mostly Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.

The widespread killings by rampaging armed bandits had prompted a surge in military and police deployment in those states, with President Muhammadu Buhari promising an escalation of security response if required.

The government on Sunday ordered the immediate stoppage of artisanal mining in Zamfara saying it had confirmed the attacks had links to illegal exploration of solid minerals in the area.

Mr Dan Ali in a Tuesday morning statement to PREMIUM TIMES said unnamed but high-profile traditional leaders had been identified as culpable in the violence, and vowed that they would not be sparred.

Mr Dan Ali said locals, especially in Sokoto, Katsina, Zamfara and other parts of northern Nigeria ravaged by faceless gunmen, should “rise in unison to support all government’s efforts” aimed at addressing the crisis, especially because soldiers and other elements in the armed forces cannot combat it alone.

“It is instructive to mention here that insurgency and terrorism are global phenomena that cannot be addressed through military actions only,” Mr Dan Ali said.

“However, in spite of the concerted efforts of the Armed Forces and other security some unpatriotic persons including highly placed traditional rulers in the areas were identified as helping the bandits with intelligence to perpetuate their nefarious actions or to compromise military operations,” the minister said.

Mr Dan Ali did mention names of traditional leaders suspected to be fueling the violence, or whether any of them had been arrested.

A spokesperson for the ministry did not immediately answer requests seeking comments.

The minister also said the suspension of mining across Zamfara was amongst the key decisions the administration believed were key to returning normalcy to the region.

SOURCE: Premium Times

Nigeria don’t have enough universities to take in all it’s intending students, but the government don’t care

By Chiamaka Kaima


Education is, around the world one of the first and basic right of everyone, but here in Nigeria, it has been abused by both the Governments and People.

During one of the Tours to the Adekunle Ajosin University in Akungba Akoko, Ondo state. The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Igbekele Ajibefun identified Poor Funding as a major threat to achieving a Functional Education in Nigeria. He said, Poor funding of Nigeria’s Education Sector causes Setbacks for its inherent ability to compete globally even with the inferior countries to Nigeria.

In Nigeria, to enhance good Education and stop the yearly increase of Admission-seekers [from getting] out of Hand[, the] Education Sector should be given lots of attention because it gives room for the country’s development ,but unfortunately, the quality and standard of Education in Nigeria is poor because it has not been paid adequate attention to.

And due to these lack of attention, it has caused lots of Problems that the Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB) has [revealed] how the number of admission-seekers increases yearly but only 75% are granted admission with only 20% being admitted to Public Universities, while 55% into other sectors of Education in Nigeria like the Private Universities or Polytechnics.

And this is are drastical elements that needs to be changed. Below are the causes;

Poor Funding

The foremost and greatest challenge that triggers this is Inadequate Funding by the Federal, State and Local Government.

In the year 2017, it was recorded that the budget bill allocated to the Nigeria’s Education sector was 26% much lower than the National budget recommended by the United Nations.

The Global organization recommended the budgetary benchmark to enable Nations adequately cater for rising Education demands.

But in the proposal represented to the National Assembly, President Muhammadu Buhari allocated only 7.04% of the 8.6 trillion budget to the Education.
 The total sum allocated to the sector was 605.8 billion, with 435.1 billion for Recurrent Expenditure, 61.73 billion for Capital Expenditure and 109.06 billion for the Universal Basic Education Commission. Even though, it hasn’t reduced the rise of Education yet but has yearly increased the number of Applicants to Universities.

Corruption

This is another Major problem in the Country that has also affected the Educational Sector?

There are multiple stories of how lecturers collects bribes from students in exchange for grades, some even go to the extent of harassing their female students to sleep with them. Even some university administrators demands money from students to have their Exam results compiled and submitted to the (required) National Youth Service Corps.

 Also, funds meant for paying salaries and maintenance of school facilities and so on are being diverted for personal use and mismanaged.

And these acts can cause schools to embark on strikes or riots which will not only ruin the School reputation.

Politicization of Education

The Governments at all levels, especially at the State level, attempts to run many Institutions even when they’re least prepared to do such, which thereby cause a general fall in the Standard of the initially existing ones and the available budget insufficient to cater for their needs.

In addition, State Governments gives accreditation to Schools that they fully know are not well equipped for Teaching, all in a bid to generate more revenue for themselves.

Unwillingness to study Education in Schools

Due to how Courses are being scrapped out and parents advising their children/ward to go for courses that pays much in jobs than those that gives adequate time but pays less.

In 2015, it was recorded by the Educational Board, that out of more than 1,700,000 applications submitted, only 5% applied for Courses in Education.

 To that resul,most Graduate Teachers aren’t professional and inadequately exposed to Teaching Practices which has made Learning in schools in-conducive and generated the love of doing things for money and not for passion or will.

But to solve these problems, it all has to begin with the Governments and not the Citizens because they have the powers to punish any defaulters.

Solutions

Provision of Conducive Environment to enhance Active Learning: It’s not all about teaching on Theory but also with other Teaching aids like practices, interactive sessions and Computers to exposed the students to more digitalized ways of learning and prepare them to be able to compete with their counterparts from other parts of the world. When these are provided, it gives each student the room to be well prepared for what they want and get it at their disposal anywhere, anytime.

Giving Power to those who actually knows What they’re to do and not to those who are there for the Money:To govern the Educational Board, the Government needs to Employ one who has both the Intellectual Skills not to rule alone but to apply Good measures and build up the Sector in a Striking way that will not only develop the Students but also the Country.

Contributions of Financial Funds both from the Private and Public sectors to Universities.

•There should be a Career Counselling where the Youths are been advised about Courses and similar courses when not given the first: This is a very delicate issue that should be looked into.

The Federal Government can enforce career counseling in all schools especially in secondary schools both the juniors and Seniors to avoid large numbers desiring to study one course that has Several alternatives which hinders the progress of the Economy.

 And if these solutions and many more are being implemented, it’ll give Nigeria a greater chance of competing with their counterparts from other parts of the world.


About the author.

Chiamaka Kaima is a young prospective writer with good writing skill that cuts across, education, lifestyle and living. She writes for The Bloomgist through our Academic Writers Forum “Column 60

Nigeria government learnt of the killing of its citizen in Saudi Arabia on newspaper

Nigeria’s government was not aware that one of its nationals was executed in Saudi Arabia on Monday until the details were published in a newspaper.

Abike Dabiri Erewa, who is the Senior Special Assistant to the Nigerian President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, questioned whether justice had been done.

The Nigerian woman was executed after being found guilty of drug smuggling.

She was killed along with two Pakistani men and a Yemeni man and was one of 20 Nigerians on death row in Saudi Arabia.

Ms Erewa said that the Nigerian authorities had lobbied the Saudi government to gain access to the prisoners but they were only allowed to visit once.

“As a nation we don’t condone crime and criminality but what we are asking for is a fair trial, let [the trial] be open and thorough before [the defendants] lose their lives.”

There have been 43 executions already in the first three months of this year and according to human rights campaigners 2019 will see the highest number of beheadings ever if Saudi authorities continue in the same vein.

#NigeriaDecides: Presidential elections – Live

OFFLINE

Three critical African elections

Welcome to the live update of Nigeria 2019 Presidential Elections. Follow updates and commentaries from our reporters and contributors on ground for first hand information from the polls.

3:00 – INEC postpones elections till Friday February 23rd. Read statement below.