Thursday, 31 July 2014

Special Report: Facts About The Ebola Virus



Credit: Federal Ministry Of Health, Nigeria
Ebola Virus Disease is a highly infectious and deadly disease affecting humans and animals such as monkeys, gorillas, Chimpanzees, bats, birds, reptiles, amphibians, arthropods. The disease is caused by Ebola virus and it occurs in sporadic outbreak.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Article: Governor Okorocha And N5.9 Billion Mbaitoli Council Funds



By Kenneth Uwadi

Some time ago Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State announced his readiness to conduct local government council election in Imo. My townsman by name Okereke rushed and collected the expression of interest form for councillor position. He tried to make me believe that Okorocha was really interested in conducting the council election. Okereke spoke like a man who knows what Okorocha can and cannot do; he spoke like a man who know what commentators like me don’t know but ought to know. And Okereke claimed to know a lot about the Imo State helmsman. But the more he tried to assuage my trepidation and misgiving about Okorocha the more I laughed at him; the more he tried to fine-tune his analysis of Imo political situation, the more i cautioned him not to waste his money . And why not; after all, it was Okorocha we were talking about. Owelle Rochas Okorocha!

News Release: Intersociety Reminds President Jonathan Of Constitutional Provisions, Principles Of Fairness, Equity In Appointment Of IGP





We sincerely wish retired IGP Mohammed D. Abubakar a robust retirement life as he retires today being 30th July 2014 after 35 mandatory years in service. The retired IGP’s official performance index is quantitatively measured at 70%/30%. That is to say that he recorded 70% failure and 30% success. Part of his success is reprieve he gave to Nigerian road users especially between January 2012 and reasonable part of 2013 when he dislodged most of over 3,500 police roadblocks across the country. Before the dislodgement, thousands of innocent Nigerians were killed as a result of roadblock extortion and related police abuses. Billions of naira was also extorted from innocent Nigerian road users. For instance, between 2009 and December 2011, over N53billion was extorted by the NPF at roadblocks from Nigerian road users. Commendably retired IGP Mohammed D. Abubakar was able to sustain the dislodgement until police roadblocks resurfaced in different parts of the country especially from the last quarter of 2013 using the cover of Boko Haram insurgency. To his credit, many innocent lives were saved and billions of naira that would have been extorted saved as well.

News Release: King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust And African Export-Import Bank Sign MOU



King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in London, UK has today (Tuesday, 29 July) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank).

The MOU between King’s and Afreximbank is designed to enhance the health and well-being of people in Africa by improving healthcare infrastructure on the continent.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

U-Report: Imo State Speaker’s Aide Urges Critics, Journalists To Be Cautious In Their Reportage

Speaker Ben Uwajimogu


Report By IMHA Media Unit
Following the recent reported insinuations making the rounds that the Imo State House of Assembly is making plans to remove the State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, as well as its leadership, the Senior Special Assistant on Media to the Speaker, Mr. Chukwuemeka Ahaneku, has urged Journalists, as well as social critics in the state to be cautious in using such avenue to cast aspersion on the leadership and members of the state Assembly in the guise of reporting the rumored impeachment moves. 

News Report: List Of Hamas Demands, And Why Israel Unlikely To Accept Them

A Scene Of Israeli Bombing In Gaza. Photo Credit: AP


Credit: Associated Press

Hamas rulers have presented a list of demands to stop their fire on Israel in the Gaza war. Israel has said it doesn't want to reward Hamas for its rocket campaign, but has other reasons to oppose the demands — mostly based on security.

Here's a look at Hamas' list of demands and why Israel is unlikely to accept many of them:

Article: Who Is Afraid Of General Muhammadu Buhari?

General Muhammadu Buhari


By Theophilus Ilevbare

The attempt to snuff life out of one of Nigeria’s most revered former Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari, in a fiendish operation which would have passed for a routine Boko Haram attack if their hand had performed their enterprise, would have thrown Nigeria in turmoil of unimaginable proportions as President Jonathan submitted days ago.The failed “assassination attempt,” as Buhari tagged it, may not be unconnected with the grand plot to silence the opposition. This is coming on the heels of the impeachment of Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa state and the tightening of impeachment noose around Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa state.

Videonews: Two Shells Hit Fuel Tank At Gaza Power Plant

Monday, 28 July 2014

Photonews: Former Nigerian Minister; Iheanacho, Inaugurates Governorship Election Campaign In Imo State

Iheanacho (With Mic) Addressing  Supporters
A Cross Section Of Supporters
Iheanacho(Middle) With The Youth Wing

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Poem: Gaza



By Chidi Anthony Opara

Bombs,
Rockets
Rouse me from silence,
Gaza blazes again.
I see sacrilege
In the shrines of the good gods,
I hear loud laughter
And clicks of wine glasses
From the mansions
Of merchants of war weapons.

I stand gazing at Gaza.
The smokes rise
And shield my gaze
From the slaughter.

From the risen smokes
I hear the cries
Of the wounded
And the bereaved,
The dead are dumb.

I am drenched
By the tears
Of the weeping world.

(Poem presented as social service, all rights reserved)

Saturday, 26 July 2014

U-Report: Imo State Police Commissioner Bans Activist Samuelson Iwuoha From Seeing Visitors

Activist Samuelson Iwuoha


Report By Emma Jackson

Removed him from cell 7 and placed him in cell 1, a dark cell for hardened criminals where he is undergoing torture.

Senior police officers of the force Headquarters Abuja stormed Owerri the Imo State Capital on the 24/7/14 and presented a letter from the Inspector General of Police to the Imo Police Commissioner Mr Abdulmajid Ali officially demanding the transfer of the case of murder which the Imo Police Command claimed involved Activist  Samuelson Iwuoha  and his wife. The transfer had effect from the 24th of July 2014.

News Release: Declaration By Right Livelihood Award Laureates On Gaza



As recipients of the Right Livelihood Award, popularly known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize“, we strongly condemn the killing of hundreds of children and innocent civilians in Gaza by the Israeli Defence Forces, the indiscriminate firing of rockets by Hamas against Israeli civilians, and we mourn the continued suffering of Gaza’s inhabitants.

Gaza faces shortages of water and electricity supply, of hospitals, physicians and medicine, while bombs and bullets kill and injure both civilian people and health workers in a spiral of violence and hopelessness. Around 24 % of all those who have lost their lives in Gaza, as a result of Israeli bombing and military invasion, are children.

Nevertheless, the responsibility for such deaths lies not only with the joint and manifold accountabilities of Israel’s soldiers, Hamas’ fighters and their governments. Other governments are responsible either directly or indirectly through the transfer of weapons, military advice and silence. Such countries and  the United Nations seem not to have learned from the past. Meanwhile, even as the violence grows rapidly in Gaza, negotiations move at an incredibly slow pace and are hindered by the vested interests of countries that don’t face any bloodshed in this conflict. Dialogue and negotiations cannot be replaced by the use of military force. Revenge solely produces revenge and bloodshed solely produces more bloodshed.

Nobody will forget the recent scenes of broken school books in the streets of Gaza and the broken lives of the children who used them. Their dead bodies splattered near their books, which are never to be used again, paint a tragic picture of unparalleled cruelty. Nobody has the right to end their lives nor to threaten the lives of those children that still survive. They are also our children.

In this context we strongly support the outstanding and courageous work, determination and perseverance - amidst the thunder of bombs - of our fellow recipient Raji Sourani (RLA 2013, Palestine) and his colleagues at the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights in Gaza, who are denouncing the killings of innocent civilians and the continuity of a dirty non-declared war being waged against the principles of international humanitarian law. We also want to express our deepest admiration for the work of Israeli peace organisations such as Gush Shalom (RLA 2001), and the incredible work of all medical personnel operating in Gaza right now continuously highlighted by our friends at Physicians For Human Rights-Israel (RLA 2010), who continue to hold up the torch of humanity despite being exposed to the inhumane machines of war.

As recipients of the Right Livelihood Award we urge the United Nations, the European Union and regional bodies, such as the Arab League and the Organization of American States, and countries from all over the world to join their voices, to condemn these unacceptable violations of human rights, to request an immediate ceasefire, lifting of the blockade of Gaza and to ask for the beginning of new peace talks. And to also halt all actions that perpetuate this conflict, hinder a peace settlement and supply the warring parties with arms. If we don't act urgently, more children and innocent people will be killed in the following days, in the following hours, in the following minutes, in the following seconds.
 
Signatories to this statement, as of Friday July 25 2014, 11 am CET, are 46 Right Livelihood Award Laureates from 32 countries: (We will continue to update the list on our website, www.rightlivelihood.org)

            • Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish, Founder, SEKEM, Egypt (RLA 2003)
            • Swami Agnivesh, India (RLA 2004)
            • Dr. Martin Almada, Paraguay (RLA 2002)
            • Uri Avnery, Founder, Gush Shalom, Israel (RLA 2001)
            • Dipal Barua, Former Managing Director, Grameen Shakti, now at Bright Green Energy   Foundation, Bangladesh (RLA 2007)
            • Nnimmo Bassey, Health of Mother Earth Foundation, Nigeria (RLA 2010)
            • Andras Biro, Hungary (RLA 2005)
            • Citizens’ Coalition for Economic Justice, South Korea (RLA 2003)
            • Dr. Tony Clarke, Executive Director, Polaris Institute, Canada (RLA 2005)
            • Comissão Pastoral da Terra (CPT), Brazil (RLA 1991)
            • Prof. Dr. Anwar Fazal, Director, Right Livelihood College, Malaysia (RLA 1982)
            • Prof. Dr. Johan Galtung, Norway (RLA 1987)
            • Dr. Juan E. Garcés, Spain (RLA 1999)
            • Dr. Inge Genefke, Denmark (RLA 1988)
            • Gush Shalom, Israel (RLA 2001)
            • Dr. Monika Hauser, Founder, Medica Mondiale, Germany (RLA 2008)
            • Dr. Hans Herren, Founder of Biovision Foundation, Switzerland (RLA 2013)
            • Dr. SM Mohamed Idris, Sahabat Alam Malaysia (RLA 1988), Consumers Association of Penang and the Third World Network, Malaysia
            • Bishop Erwin Kräutler, Brazil (RLA 2010)
            • Dr. Katarina Kruhonja, Center for Peace, Nonviolence and Human Rights-Osijek, Croatia (RLA 1998)
            • Birsel Lemke, Turkey (RLA 2000)
            • Helen Mack Chang, Fundación Myrna Mack, Guatemala (RLA 1992)
            • Dr. Ruchama Marton, Founder and President, Physicians for Human Rights, Israel (RLA 2010)
            • Prof Dr. h.c. (mult.) Manfred Max-Neef, Director, Economics Institute, Universidad Austral de Chile, Chile (RLA 1983)
            • Prof. Dr. Raúl A. Montenegro, President, Fundación para la defensa del ambiente, Argentina (RLA 2004)
            • Frances Moore Lappé, Co-Founder, Small Planet Institute, USA (RLA 1987)
            • Jacqueline Moudeina, Chad (RLA 2011)
            • Helena Norberg-Hodge, Founder and Director, International Society for Ecology & Culture, United Kingdom (RLA 1986)
            • Juan Pablo Orrego, President, Ecosistemas, Chile (RLA 1998)
            • Medha Patkar, Narmada Bachao Andolan, India (RLA 1991)
            • P K Ravindran, Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad, India (RLA 1996)
            • Fernando Rendón, Co-Founder and Director, International Poetry Festival of Medellín, Colombia (RLA 2006)
            • Dr. Sima Samar, Chairperson, Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, Afghanistan (RLA 2012)
            • Dr. Vandana Shiva, Naydanya, India (RLA 1993)
            • Prof. Michael Succow, Founder, Michael Succow Foundation for Nature Conservation, Germany, (RLA 1997)
            • Suciwati, widow of Munir, KontraS, Indonesia (RLA 2000)
            • Dr. Hanumappa Sudarshan, Karuna Trust & VGKK, India (RLA 1994)
            • The Kvinna Till Kvinna Foundation, Sweden (RLA 2002)
            • Shrikrishna Upadhyay, Executive Chairman, Support Activities for Poor Producers of Nepal, Nepal (RLA 2010)
            • Prof. Dr. Theo van Boven, The Netherlands (RLA 1985)
            • Martín von Hildebrand, Founder and Director, Fundación GAIA Amazonas, Colombia (RLA 1999)
            • Dr. Paul F. Walker, Director, Environmental Security and Sustainability, Green Cross International, USA (RLA 2013)
            • Alyn Ware, Global Coordinator, Parliamentarians for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament, New Zealand/Switzerland (RLA 2009)
            • Chico Whitaker Ferreira, Brazil (RLA 2006)
            • Alla Yaroshinskaya, Russia (RLA 1992)
            • Angie Zelter, Trident Ploughshares, United Kingdom (RLA 2001)

 
Zahra Moloo 
Press Consultant for Africa
Right Livelihood Award Foundation
Box 15072
104 65 Stockholm
Sweden
Mobile: +254-724-568-164
Stockholm office: +46-8-702 03 40 

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Article: Aregbesola; The Man And The Moment

Governor Aregbesola


By Abiodun Komolafe

"A man shall not be established by wickednes: but the root of the righteous shall not be moved." - Proverbs 12: 3.


I am not a politician but a 'political animal'. I am also not a card-carrying member of All Progressives Party (APC) but a Rauf Aregbesola sympathizer; and an unrepentant one at that! If I am therefore tagged a politician because of my belief in the progressive credentials of Aregbesola, so be it! In the same vein, if I am labelled an 'Aregbe wrapper' as a result of my love for this great man of honour, I owe nobody any apology!

At a time like this, I cannot but remember my days at Ijebu-Jesa Grammar School (IJGS), Ijebu-Jesa when it was all fun traveling to towns and villages especially, within the-then Obokun Local Government Area of the old Oyo State for sports and related social activities. I can confirm that those were relatively good old days when towns were towns and schools were schools. At a time like this as well, one cannot but begin to wonder what became of our government that, for close to three decades, residents of my Local Government were at the mercy of the State Government. No thanks to the bad roads and absence of other social amenities that were naturally taken for granted in saner climes.

Specifically, between 1985 when I left IJGS and and 2010, when Aregbesola was sworn-in as Osun Sate Governor, schools in Osun State had become something else and hitherto passable roads had become such death traps that residents completely got cut-off from the rest of the world. People groaned in the rough of aches and moaned in the tumble of pains. Hunger begat hunger, poverty took the place of affluence and it was as if the gods were angry!

Entered the Rauf Aregbesola-led administration on November 27, 2010 and Osun State was again on the path to greatness. Within the first three years in office, Aregbesola saw to the training and empowerment of over 5,000 youths in Information Technology through the Osun Youth Empowerment Technology Scheme (OYESTECH); some thousands of the stand-alone, multimedia, e-learning Opon Imo Tablets were distributed to students while others are expected to benefit from the scheme through local production by a company already sited in the state. Within the same period, no fewer than 750,000 pupils and students were given free school uniforms, with over 3000 tailors trained and empowered to sow school uniforms. Primary School Funding Grants also increased from 7.4million to N424m a year while Secondary School Basic Funding Grants rose from N171m to N427m a year.

During the period under review, Tuition Fees in state-owned Tertiary Institutions got reduced by close to 30% even as 254,000 elementary students were fed daily with nutritious meals through government's O'MEALS scheme, a project that also led to the employment, training and empowerment as cooks of 3000 people. Since the foodstuffs were sourced and prepared locally, the scheme brought about the annual injection of N4billion into the economy of the state. Aregbesola's era also witnessed the inauguration of Omoluabi Garments Factory as well as Omoluabi Conservation Fund into which N4.2billion reserve has so far been injected.Also worthy of mention is Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES) which has succeeded in taking off the streets and engagement of 40,000 unemployed youth. Efforts to enroll more youth into the programme is also in top gear. State-of-the-art Police Stations were built and Patrol Vehicles, Armoured Personnel Carriers and related security equipment were also donated to Security Agencies towards the enhancement of security of lives and property. What about those 'Stop! Ma P'ara e!' Aregbesola-constructed roads that adorn the nooks and crannies of the State, in addition to O'CLEAN's bi-monthly statewide environmental exercise and Agricultural Farm Settlements Project through which 1.765 hectares of land were cleared and prepared for farmers?

The State was able to build 74 Primary Health Centres and rehabilitated its 9 hospitals and 12 Comprehensive Health Centres, thereby aiding the provision of Sustained Free Health Services to all, irrespective of age, gender, political affiliations or religious inclinations. Through its Free Medical and Surgical Missions Programme, government was able to provide free treatment and surgeries to thousands of citizens; and, through its Osun State Ambulance Service Authority, not less than 400 youth have been trained as paramedics. 123 kilometres of waterways (streams, arteries and canals) were dredged to keep the state flood-free for three years and Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) increased from N300m to N1.6b without any increase in tax payable by citizens.

In my personal opinion, the Education Sector seems to have been the  most blest. Apart from those education-related dividends which I have enumerated above, Osun State Government, under Aregbesola, also embarked on the building of no fewer than 40 Elementary, Model and High Schools to cater for its ever-increasing population of pupils and students. Some have been completed and already put to use while some will be commissioned within the next two weeks. This is in addition to the 20 new sites which will also be opened within the same period.During the period under review, 7000 thousand additional teachers were employed; with all outstanding allowances paid and all entitlements settled. The governor also graciously approved the creation of four Permanent Secretary positions (that is, Tutors-General) for the Teaching Cadre. And, as we speak, over 30 brand new Omoluabi Scholar Buses are ready for distribution to the State's High Schools. The number is expected to increase to 100 by September. 

So, herein lies the essence of this piece. Of all the contenders for the Seat of Power in Osun State, two of them, that is, Aregbesola and Iyiola Omisore, former Deputy Governor and former Senator, are of interest to me. This is not to say that other contenders for the office are not qualified. Rather, it is because the duo have some things in common which others in the race don't have - which stand them out.

First, Aregbesola and Omisore were born the same year: 1957. Both are from the same Senatorial District (Osun East) and both are qualified engineers. Both have tasted power - in their own rights and in different capacities; and both are still interested in aspiring to that highest office the Constitution allows Osun State to offer any of its indigenes.

However, while one has a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Mechanical Engineering, the other holds a Doctorate Degree in Procurement, Taxation, 'and things like that.' Not that alone, while one is an apostle of Due Process, especially, in Political Practice, the other is a man of scant consolation renowned for desperate and dangerous schemes that carry along with them avoidable violence. Again, while one is skillfully artful and gets fairly well with everybody, the other paints the picture of a man of fancy speculations and unstable whims who only politic for individualistic innuendos; one whose credibility baggage, in saner climes, couldn't have earned them 'aspirant' status in the first place. But this is Nigeria!

Beautiful Denial! Shameless insincerity! Sickness of inaction! Wheezing vanities! Like Omisore, like Goodluck Jonathan: clueless; visionless; pretentious; mere men with narrow loyalty. In their dictionary, 'power of performance' and 'forces of politics' are of the same essence. Little wonder the country has become a wasting entity! But, if I may ask: what does Omisore want again? Maybe I should put it this way: what does Omisore want for the good people of Osun State and what does he want for a political party which was for close to eight years in power without any meaningful achievements to justify its rule? What does Omisore want his party to give to his people as democracy dividends and why is President Jonathan's Federal Government bent on destabilizing the region that has all this while sustained a semblance of peace?

That Nigeria is sick and that the ruling party is responsible for her ailment has never been in doubt. Political Violence has taken the better part of Nigeria's electoral process while ethnic competitions, religious tensions and struggle for power between the North and the South have reached an absurd peak. Once, her predicament was excused on the politicization of the military. Now, it is the militarization of our democracy. Once, its politics was tagged 'bread and butter'; now, it's been re-branded: 'stomach infrastructure'. There's chronic youth unemployment in the midst of get-rich-quick 'yahoo yahoo' mentality; Boko has spread its 'Haram' insurgency to the Southern part of the country and it is as if Nigeria has no leader. 

In our clime; and, in our very eyes, politics has gone beyond being the survival of the fittest to being the exclusive preserve of the meanest and the crudest. Added to this is a satanic blend of “dumb horse-traders” and “perpetual complainants who do nothing about their complaints apart from moaning and moping.” That is why it has become practically difficult for the those who mean well for dear fatherland to challenge the status quo ante bellum. Threateningly, we are for the first time having as president a man who does not see himself as the Commander-in-Chief of Nigeria's Armed Forces but one to whom perpetually remaining in office is the only strategic necessity. 

But why Aregbesola again? The answer is simple! So far, so commendable! Aregbesola is an achiever who, within so short a period of time in office, has transformed Osun State into an attractive city, a state of aquatic splendor and a centre of tourist attraction offering superb views. A man of poise and panache, this small-in-stature-but-mighty-in-spirit Ilesa-born politician has changed the face of Osun into a state looking ahead to the future. No doubt about it: Aregbesola is witty, disciplined, teachable, responsible and passionate about leaving not only Osun State but also the world better than he met it. Little wonder he was described in Wikipedia as "the best Governor Osun State has ever produced since the creation of Osun State." Of course, that's why we all want him at Bola Ige House for another term of four years!

"If the plural of 'man' is 'men', why can't the plural of 'pan' be 'pen'?" So, why not Omisore? Here again, the answer is simple: Osun State has had its fair share of the few 'ups' and the many 'downs' of this 'mere geographical expression' called Nigeria. Left to this reason alone, the state's democratic destiny should no longer be left in the hands of misfits and pretenders whose previous outings not only ended up polarizing our thinking with a sickening system but also turned our common patrimony into a 'breakfast-in-London' and 'lunch-in-Ada, Osun State' venture. And, if I may add: a man in whose eyes violence is not only justified but is also essential for the attainment of political objectives should not be entrusted with the destiny of a State as promising as Osun.

In the words of Oscar Wilde, democracy is nothing but the "bludgeoning of the people, by the people, for the people." But how come Kigali suddenly became the epicenter for everything chaotic, tribalistic and genocidal? How did it gravitate into a metaphor for the sad, the bad, the ugly and the violent? How did it become a habour for hatred so much that, even, two decades after, Rwandans' wounds remain practically and pathetically unhealed? If I may ask again: how did the "substantial" violence which characterized the fall of the House of Hohenzollern come to be and what was responsible for the rise of the Weimar Republic through the German Revolution of 1918–19? Coming back to Nigeria, have we as a country any lessons to learn from the 'like play, like play' predicament of Somalia, Egypt, Democratic Republic of Congo, Libya, Kenya, Zimbabwe and, now, Central African Republic (CAR)? For God's sake, who is responsible for our woes and how do we take back our destiny from the claws of political marauders, rapacious 'jegudu jera' and 'alo k'olohun k'igbe' politricians?

The beginning of the end! Or, the end of the beginning! The truth is; and, not unexpectedly, too, events in the coming days will be the ultimate decider of Nigeria's direction.

May God save us from ourselves!

(Komolafe writes in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State and can be reached via: ijebujesa@yahoo.co.uk,

+234 803 361 4419, +234 809 861 4418)