Friday, 24 November 2017

NEWS AND STORIES

Items filtered by date: July 2017

Like a tree that was just sprouting, he managed to get up from the bed where he was lying down, wearing only a pair of blue shorts. His sister and her two children sat beside him, helping him to get up so he could talk to our correspondent.

He looked weary, like someone who had just carried out a heavy task, but the only ‘task’ he had just finished was sleeping. He didn’t sleep soundly, though. His back ached badly all through the night.

He said he was still thankful, in spite of everything. Gone are the days when he used to sleep every night at a corner of a filling station in Iyana-Ipaja, Lagos State, until Saturday, July 13, 2013, when an unfortunate incident happened to him, an incident which was the genesis of his current predicament.

On that fateful day, at some minutes past 11pm, Babatunde Lawal, a 26-year-old indigene of Ibadan, Oyo State, had just closed work as a petrol station attendant in Iyana-Ipaja and had decided to go and sleep at his friend’s house at Cele Ijesha. He was supposed to go to his aunt’s house at Bariga, but she had continually complained of him always coming home too late. His parents had separated over six years ago and the only room his mother rented at Cele Ijesha was too small to accommodate him, his mother and five siblings. Hence, he packed to his aunt’s house at Bariga, but any day he felt like not sleeping at the filling station where he worked and too late to go to Bariga, he would go to his friend’s house at Cele Ijesha, the same area where his mother lived.

So as he left work on that tragic night, he boarded a bus from Iyana-Ipaja to Oshodi, where he would board another bus going to Cele Ijesha. By the time he got to Oshodi, it was getting to midnight already, so he jumped right into the next available bus, but unknown to him, he had just boarded a bus operated by suspected armed robbers.

Lawal said, “I was once a shoemaker. My father placed me under apprenticeship and shortly after that, married another wife and separated from my mother. I saw my father last in 2011 and this situation affected me in a way. After spending five years as an apprentice, my father didn’t come to check on me again. This made me leave my master to look for another job. At that point in time, I started sleeping at a filling station because I couldn’t sleep in the same room with my mother and five siblings. It was several months later that I got accommodated by my mother’s sister at Bariga.

“But before relocating to Bariga, I luckily got a job as an attendant at the filling station where I used to sleep. The filling station is at Alimosho Bus stop, Iyana-Ipaja. On the day the incident happened, I was on afternoon shift and closed very late in the night, at around 11pm. This day, I decided to go and sleep at my friend’s house at Cele Ijesha. I couldn’t get a bus to Bariga and even if I did, my aunt had always complained that I was always coming home late, so I decided to go to my friend’s house. I decided that when it was morning of the following day, I would go back to Bariga.

“As I got to Oshodi to board a bus going to Cele Ijesha, I saw one danfo which already had 10 occupants, including the driver and conductor. I jumped right in. The conductor locked the door and we left the bus stop. But some minutes after, the conductor brought out a gun; the person sitting beside the driver at the front also brought out one; then two other guys at the back of the bus also brought out guns. Everyone started panicking, including the two female passengers in the bus. I was sitting in the second row of the bus with two other passengers.”

Before Lawal and other passengers would know what was happening, the hoodlums started beating them, ransacking their bags and pockets and stealing their belongings.

“They collected my phone and the little money I had on me,” Lawal said.

Then suddenly, one of the suspected armed robbers fired a gunshot from behind Lawal, which hit the poor man on his back. He lost his consciousness immediately.

Lawal said, “I wasn’t struggling with them, so I wouldn’t know why he fired the weapon. At that time, we were at Sanya Express at Oshodi. I didn’t know what was happening to me again after the gunshot hit my back, but I faintly heard one of the guys say, ‘E be like say this one don die’ (meaning, It’s like this one has died.) Afterwards, I felt the arms of two of them lifting me out of the bus and dropping me by the roadside.”

Lawal wouldn’t know what happened to the other passengers. All through the night, he laid by the roadside until the following morning, which was a Sunday.

Fate smiled on him when one of a group of boys going to play football that morning at Sanya Grammar School in the area saw him. That one screamed when he saw Lawal and with the help of the team’s coach and the other boys, Lawal was taken to a private hospital in the area and there he got his first treatment. Thankfully, he regained his consciousness, but by the time he did, he discovered he couldn’t lift his legs again neither could he sit upright with his back.

He said, “I felt severe pain in my back. After spending a week in the private hospital I was taken to, I was then referred to the National Orthopaedic Hospital at Igbobi, where I was admitted to the Spine Ward. Doctors at the private hospital where I stayed couldn’t remove the bullets, they only treated the wound. When I got to Igbobi, they said I had to undergo surgery to remove the bullets. I was told I would spend N1.5m on the surgery alone, but I couldn’t raise the fund. My family couldn’t, either.

“I was expecting the manager of the filling station I worked with to assist, but he didn’t show up, even after hearing about my case. He only gave me money for drugs and food. So I was at Igbobi’s Spine Ward for six months until I was asked to go home since I couldn’t raise the money. An anonymous person paid the discharge fee. I was discharged on December 23, 2013, two days to Christmas. From the hospital, I was taken to Iju-Ishaga to stay in a white garment church where my mother worshipped. I was given a small room by the church, where they used to pray for me. I spent almost two years at the church.

“While there, I slept on the bed, I ate, bathed and did everything on the bed. I was in the church when I started making use of social media, especially Facebook and Instagram, to tell people about my plight. From there, a woman, who owned a non-governmental organisation, saw my posts and offered to help me. She sponsored the first surgery I did in March 2015 in a private hospital in Abuja. She is based in the United Kingdom, but she comes home frequently.”

After removing about 10 bullets, which Lawal kept in a small container and showed our correspondent, surgeons at the Abuja hospital referred him to an Indian hospital for a spinal surgery, which when done, would make his back pain go.

Lawal said, “The woman who sponsored me for the first surgery wanted to help, but she couldn’t get people to sponsor me. She had helped to secure an Indian visa for me and my mother, but along the line, she couldn’t get the money to enable us to travel to India. So since 2015, I have been living in this condition. I live in pain from morning till night every day.

“The last surgery was badly done because after it, I went to do an X-ray, where I learnt there were still bullet traces in my spine. They said that’s why my spine always aches me.”

Asked how much was required to conduct the surgery, Lawal said estimates sent to him by the Indian hospital is $16,000 (N5.04m).

However, since he started sharing his story on the social media, he said he had received N500,000 donation from Nigerians in his bank account; a GoFundMe account (which he showed Saturday PUNCH) opened for him by some “concerned persons” have also generated $1,718 (N541,170) so far. Therefore, out of the N5.04m needed for his surgery, he has got N1.04m.

Sobbing as he spoke to our correspondent, he said, “A man read about me sometime ago and gave me some drugs, which I take to ease my back pain. He too had a similar spinal problem and he is okay now. He said he did his own in Italy and that the surgery took nine hours.

“I also plead with Nigerians to come to my aid so that I can live a normal life again. I want to get out of this bed and do something meaningful with my life because I am still young.”

Meanwhile, Halimotu, Lawal’s elder sister, with whom he now lives with at Obawole community in Ogba, Lagos, blamed her brother’s predicament on their father.

She said, “Our father was the cause of all these problems. Since he married another wife, it’s been hell for us. He made my brother to drop out of school, placed him under apprenticeship as a shoemaker and didn’t even bother to check on him again for many years.

“It came to a point in time that Tunde was living with our landlord then at Ijesha, who was generous. There he would sleep in the living room of the landlord. But my father had a quarrel with the landlord, so Tunde had to stop sleeping there. It was that problem that made Tunde to leave the house at Ijesha and started sleeping at the filling station where he then got a job as an attendant.

“At that time, if we wanted to discuss with him, my mother and I had to go to the filling station. He was just hustling because he wanted to have his own life. He would meet our father on the road and they would just walk by without my father responding to Tunde’s greeting. Please, help us beg our father to show up, let us know whether he is dead or alive. His son is living in pain.”

In the meantime, Lawal can be reached on 07035694304. Any donation can be paid into Tunde Alabi Lawal, Fidelity Bank number 6080096169.

Published in News & Stories

THE Police yesterday disclosed that 20 suspected kidnappers and one civilian were killed during the rescue operations of abducted pupils of Lagos State Model College, Igbonla, Epe.

Commissioner Fatai Owoseni stated this at the Lagos House, Alausa, during a joint press briefing on the release of the pupils.

He said three kingpins, including the mastermind of the pupils’ kidnap, Bright Idubo Adeniyi and a notorious militant, Oniweyi Eyelabo alias America, were killed in two operations.

Owoseni also explained that the civilian who was killed was a member of the Joint Task Force, adding that eight policemen and four members that took part in the operations were wounded.

He said: ”As long as you have human beings in a society, there must be security challenges. Government and security agencies acted swiftly in this incident. We were not letting out information to avoid criminals using same.

”We have talked against celebrating whether ransom was paid or not. We do not want to glorify crimes. If we start talking about it, we may be sending wrong messages to the public.

”It is pertinent to mention that security agencies did everything that was needed to be done. I want to acknowledge the roles played by the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) and governors of the Southwest region.

Continuing, he said: ”The response to this kidnap was very swift. It was combination of so many factors. The abduction took place on May 25. There were a lot of things that were done underground that we did not want reported to avoid jeopardising the safety of the victims.

“It would interest you to know that the kidnappers were many in number. The person who led the kidnap was one Bright Idubo Adeniyi. Immediately after that operation, security agencies stormed into action.

“The first thing we did was to ensure that the children were not taken off the areas we could monitor. The kidnappers in three boats, tried to move the children away. In the course of doing that, they ambushed Marine Police operatives and volunteers who knew the terrain very well.

“Two of their three boats were sunk and 17 of them killed that day, including Adeniyi. The security operatives were cautious with the third boat because it had the children in it.

“The kidnappers went further with a view to frustrate efforts of security operatives and the government by attempting to attack Marine Police posts in order to steal our gunboats.

“Specifically on July 18, they ambushed a Marine Police post with a view to steal gunboat. That operation was led by ‘America’ and he died in that ambush with two others. We must tell you that the criminals launched the offensives and the government and security operatives handled everything that needed to be handled.

“We also engaged the parents. Where we needed to engage psychologists, we did. It also led to the Acting President reassuring the parents on the release of the children. I can tell you that this is one operation the criminals will know that the government is responsible and they cannot dispute whether the government has the capacity to secure its citizenry.

“We have just started. This is the beginning. The security operatives with the support of the governors of the Southwest, has demonstrated the commitment reached in Abeokuta for a joint security team in the region.

“The criminals should know that there will be no hiding place for them in the southwest. People involved in criminality would be made to face the wrath of the law.”

Earlier, Lagos Deputy Governor, Dr. Idiat Adebule, who received the children on behalf of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode from Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) of Ondo State, said the state would intensify security in public schools before resumption.

She said: “I will like to commend the police and other security agencies for ensuring that the children are back. We plan to have comprehensive medical check-up on the children and they will be debriefed in collaboration with other stakeholders.

“We are going back to the drawing board to ensure that all that need to be done in terms of security before the resumption of schools are done.”

Akeredolu said the combined efforts of South West governors and security agencies led to the release of the pupils, adding that the role played by the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, was incisive.

Published in News & Stories

What seems to be sounding louder by the day is the call for restructuring by various interest groups in Nigeria. The impression the agitators are giving is that the country is structurally lopsided to the extent that something urgent should be done, if the various ethnic, tribal, religious, economic and political interests are to continue co-habiting harmoniously. The issue now is how sincere or genuine are these agitations for restructuring? Over the years, the need to restructure the federation has been at the front-burner. Recently, renewed agitations followed disturbing activities by secessionists as well as the various threats given for Nigerians to quit parts of the country, issued by other different groups avenging their angers on the perceived imbalance and displeasure over the state of affairs in the country in terms of allocation of resources, appointments, environmental degradation, human right abuses, dominance of the Federal Government over states, power sharing parameters and the unity of the nation.

To address the concerns raised by those calling for restructuring, there is need for the various federating units to develop according to their resources and at their own pace without being slowed down by others. The process of restructuring would involve changes in the distribution of powers, responsibilities and resources, which is contrary to what is provided for under the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended); a product of military regime that arrogates a whopping 68 items to the Exclusive Legislative List alone, unlike the 1960 Independence Constitution that had 44 items on the list while the 1963 Republican Constitution equally granted the regions 50 per cent of their resources. In line with what true federalism should be, the Federal Government should rather concern itself with highly sensitive and critical sectors like currency, defence, immigration/customs and foreign affairs while devolving other sectors to the federating units.

The various interests that had clamoured for restructuring strongly believe that the current structure is nothing but a recipe for anarchy, insecurity and instability. In other words, a restructured nation would make the federating units explore the resources in their domain, considering the fact that there is no state in Nigeria that is not endowed with arable land for agriculture or mineral resources that could make them self-reliant and capable of transforming the lives of the people, if well utilised. This was what the country experienced, development-wise, during the era of regionalism, where there was healthy competition among the four regions Northern, Western, Eastern and Mid-Western governments brought about optimal harnessing of resources for development. In the past, agitations for restructuring had been championed mainly by segments of the nation, notably southerners, but over time, other Nigerians, cutting across other geopolitical zones, have clamoured for the imperative of addressing the structure of the country in such a way that the federating units would be more functional, premised on the principle of comparative advantage unlike the current arrangement, whereby states had become completely dependent on the Federal Government.

For instance, the Western Region, under the leadership of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, successfully laid the foundation for development in commerce and industry by creating an efficient Western Nigeria Development Corporation, the parent of the present-day O’dua Investment Company; revolutionised the production and marketing of cocoa by farmers; reformed the local government system; improved the Western Nigeria Civil Service; implemented the first free primary education programme in Africa; introduced and managed the first Free Medical Service programme in Nigeria for children up to the age of 18; established the first television station in Africa: the Western Nigeria Television (WNTV), Ibadan, in 1959 the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife), among others. Apart from the Western Region government, monumental achievements were also recorded by the other regional governments. But what do we have now? It is unfortunate that today, most of the states in the country appear unviable and under-resourced to deliver good governance, as they depend almost entirely on monthly allocation from the Federation Account, the bulk of which they expend on salaries and other recurrent expenditures, leaving out capital expenditures that should actually drive development.

From the foregoing, any opportunity that would bring about positive change and better the lot of the people should be embraced. Therefore, if the call for restructuring is going to turn things around for the better, it is worth trying. But looking at the agitations from another perspective, those calling for restructuring, simply because they have been at the receiving end in the current power equation, should not be seen as being patriotic in their agitation. Those who belong to this category are made up of mainly politicians, who belong to several groups and affiliations. They appear to have joined the call for restructuring for three reasons. First, is to protest their exclusion from governance. In other words, they are using the agitations to vent their anger and obvious irrelevance under the current dispensation.

Secondly, some of the agitators are joining the call to acquire cheap popularity. Those who belong to this category do not have a clear idea of what restructuring actually means and how to attain it. They are simply part of the advocacy to elicit publicity and undue attention to themselves alongside the group they represent. Thirdly, we can refer to those belonging to this group as those warming up for the 2019 general elections, who merely are using restructuring to launch their political campaigns and to situate themselves better for the task ahead. Those belonging to this third group include new political affiliations and politicians that are desperately seeking relevance because the present arrangement and configuration may limit their chances to achieve their political ambition, in 2019. I have used the above scenarios to illustrate that not all agitations for restructuring are genuine and sincere.

On the way forward, efforts should be made to lay the foundation for a truly federal structure through constitutional amendment. The Federal Government should initiate the process without further delay, by putting in place a body that would fashion out the modalities without compromising the existing legislative framework, already provided by the National Assembly. On the likelihood of making use of the recommendations in the 2014 National Conference, one of the tasks to be carried out by the new body is to examine the confab report and make suggestions on the useful portions. I do not subscribe to the idea of adopting the report in its totality. Similarly, I do not also believe that the report should be archived. Rather, sincere and practicable recommendations should be adopted. Hence, there is need for government to decipher and carefully separate the wheat from the chaff in the growing agitation for restructuring.

Kupoluyi wrote from Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB

Published in Parliament

Education is in dire straits in Nigeria. More than 10 million children are out of school across the nation. The federal budget always falls short of the requisite 26 per cent recommended by UNESCO for developing nations. It is a well-known fact that “education is power,” but Nigeria continues to treat the subject of education with abject levity.

It is against this grim background that one welcomes with profound happiness the book Realities of Nigerian Education written by Chief Sam O. U. Igbe, the Iyase (Prime Minister) of Benin Kingdom. A retired Commissioner of Police, Igbe was a colonial era civil servant and a trained school teacher of yore. He is indeed a master of the subject, and pointedly laments that the family, the community and the society at large have obviously abandoned “the responsibilities to ensure strong educational foundation for their children.” Education standards keep falling given the unprincipled politics played by the mandarins of government. Chief Igbe submits that there is a crying need to review the National Policy on Education to take care of the identified deficiencies in the system. This way, a purpose-driven system of education can be instituted through the potent instruments of appropriate curricula and syllabi.

In his foreword to the book, Prof. Mon Nwadiani, former Dean of the Faculty of Education, University of Benin, stresses that “this book is largely informational, educative, inspiring and soul searching as to where, how and why we got the business of educating the citizenry wrong. The unique value of the book is the presentation of strategies aimed at enhancing the quality and relevance of education in concert with the spiritual nature of man ceteris paribus.”

According to author Igbe, “Education is the most prized contrivance by mankind to better his lot. Of all the living creations, only man has developed this means of passing his values, skills and attitudes to succeeding generations. Educational development began since creation, and continues throughout the life span of mankind.” He believes that the “governing class will definitely need self-cleansing to achieve these educational objectives.”

In Realities of Nigerian Education, Igbe starts out with what he terms “Indigenous Education” wherein it is incumbent on the home, the neighbourhood and the community to provide the foundation for the education of the youth. He then delves into formal education as promoted by the early Church Missionary Society (CMS), the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society, the Baptist Mission, the United Presbyterian Church of Scotland and the Roman Catholic Mission.

The CMS established the first Teacher Training College in Abeokuta in 1859, an institution that was later moved to Lagos in 1867 and then to Oyo in 1896 where it became known as St Andrew’s College, Oyo. The author incidentally undertook a Pivotal Teachers Training Course in St Andrew’s from 1954 to 1956.

The Baptist Mission established a station in Abeokuta in 1850 and founded the Baptist Training College at Ogbomosho in 1897. The United Presbyterian Church of Scotland established its mission in Calabar in 1846 and then founded the celebrated Hope Waddell Training Institute in 1905. The Roman Catholic Mission opened its station in Lagos in 1868 and founded St Gregory’s College in 1876.

Igbe deposes that the early colonialists did not participate in the pioneering activities of these missionaries. “It bears repetition,” he avers, “that they (colonialists) were preoccupied with the problems of subjugating the inhabitants of the newly acquired colonies, and the subsequent activities of having to procure commodities for the fledgling industries in their home countries.”

It was in 1882 that “the first Education Ordinance was promulgated to introduce some control and supervision into the educational efforts of the missionaries.” Yaba Higher College was established in 1932, and in 1948 the “Education Code was passed establishing a three-years Education Diploma Course for students who passed the Cambridge School Certificate, and thereafter, passed the entrance examination to the Yaba Higher College.”

Igbe in Realities of Nigerian Education then undertakes a crucial dissection of Special Education in regard to Autism, Slow Learning Disability, Attention-deficit/Hyperactivity Disorders, Educational and Behavioral Disorder. The vision and mission of the National Mathematical Centre are ready grist to the mill of Igbe’s appreciation of education in Nigeria. The need for technical and vocational orientation to conquer joblessness in Nigeria cannot be gainsaid.

The author ups the ante on the question of the National Policy on Education from the time of the Regional Education Laws to the military era and the democratic epochs. The role of the teacher is indeed pivotal whence the urgency of proper teacher education. His understanding of teaching strategies and methods can hardly ever be bettered.

The modern technological gizmos of today do not escape the attention of Chief Igbe in Realities of Nigerian Education, as he writes: “The Jet Age with all its breathtaking breakthroughs in mechanical, technological, electrical and computer engineering, and the seeming fictitious science appliances have now evolved into the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

Chief Sam O. U. Igbe has written a very crucial book in Realities of Nigerian Education which ought to stand the teachers and the governmental authorities in good stead toward moving education in Nigeria forward. His rallying cry should reverberate across all the geo-political zones of Nigeria thus: “The youths in their various ways must become part of the necessary specialist national labour force as Jet Age Nigerian academics, technologists, technicians, scientists, and the diverse hard work experts gearing to distinguish themselves to make the name Nigeria unforgettable in this age of educational adventures.” Chief Sam O. U. Igbe deserves celebration for writing the timely book, Realities of Nigerian Education.

Published in Parliament

After almost two decades of energy sapping combat with corruption, Nigeria, from all indications, is still in quandary on how to effectively tame the menace. Today in Nigeria, corruption stands tall and rotund, gnawing at every effort made to subdue it. Both the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the sister Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) seem to have lost track, leaving corruption to rear more hydra heads.

The two main anti-graft agencies created to fight corruption over the years do not seem to have a co-terminus approach in their war against the incubus. Sometimes, they work at cross-purposes. The EFCC, for instance, is seen to be impressionistic and egregious in the war, using the media as a tool, all along. On the other hand, the ICPC appears stoic and laid back, convinced that it could advance in the war against corruption by mere system overhaul and prevention. All the same, little results continue to trail every initiative they had put in place. Before the advent of the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, corruption became virulent, holding a promise to make Nigeria history.

Months ago, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed invented an idea of how Nigeria could dig pitfalls around corruption and make it fall, at least gradually. Nigerians laughed their heads off when he came up with a catch phrase; “Change begins With Me.” He had little audience since a disproportionate number saw his idea as impracticable having hitherto, been treated to the effusive and gratifying impact of corruption. But Lai Muhammad was not acting in isolation of the expanded agenda by the government of President Buhari to battle corruption headlong. Now, that effort has started resonating positively in different corridors, and most veritably in agencies like the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB).

A week ago, JAMB dominated the media space with reports about being parsimonious in handling its finances for the just concluded 2017 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UMTE). JAMB was reported to have remitted the sum of N5 billion into the federation account being the amount it saved from the conduct of the examination. Nigerians found the feat very incredulous; believing that no agency of government had been that transparent. JAMB is simply demonstrating responsiveness to the anti-corruption posturing of the present government. The idea is that other agencies of government must be on the cue to initiate their ways and means of advancing the war, using different techniques.

If JAMB appears to have woken up suddenly with a foul mind against corruption, the starting point should be traced to the Registrar, Professor Isaq Oloyede. The Registrar, once the former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, is an instant fighter of corruption. The legacies he left behind at the University of Ilorin speak volumes. Since he assumed office as Registrar, he has laboured to impress it on JAMB stakeholders that a new era where the agency’s funds must be judiciously utilised had just set in. His vows to bring a new order in JAMB ruled by efficiency, financial prudence and transparency were mocked in familiar quarters. But he meant business. At every point, he had dared saboteurs who seemed determined and desperate to subvert his every good steps and efforts. Today, his commitment to “Change” and insistence on leading by example has started paying off.

Before the 2017 UMTE, the Registrar had expressed aversion to the idea of raking in the sum of N7 billion from sales of registration forms and blowing the sum of N6.8 billion in the conduct of examination. He vowed not to spend more than N500 million for the 2017 UMTE and managed to do just that, leaving JAMB with an excess of N5 billion.

The spokesman of JAMB while analysing the cost saving measures by JAMB for the 2017 UMTE said, “Before now, JAMB budgeted for the sum of N7 billion. But this year, we have been able to prune down the cost very drastically, limiting our spending to N500 million. JAMB may not spend up to that in 2018 since it is expected to improve on the template from this year to attain this goal.

In his address to stakeholders of JAMB at a recent meeting for reviewing the conduct of the 2017 UMTE and preparations for the following year’s exam, the Registrar explained the reason he had chosen to lead by example. He alluded to the Change Begins With Me mantra of the Federal Government, stressing, Change Begins With Me campaign is not only a slogan, it is already a way of life which we believe in and which we have adopted as our guiding principle.

JAMB is not only excelling in the area of prudence, accountability and transparency. The Board has started re-inventing the future of Nigeria by curbing corruption maximally at the level of writing of examinations with more of candidates being inculcated with the spirit of hard work, self confidence and adequate preparations before every examination.

Years before now, examinations written in Nigeria at all levels had been characterized by brazen malpractices. Schoolteachers had been in collusion with invigilators and parents to allow impersonators write examinations for academically deficient students. Female students had severally been caught stuffing exam answers in the innermost part of their bodies, and had recourse to blackmail when exposed. There are reports of magic centers too, which no invigilator or examination official dared to visit during examinations, mostly JAMB, WAEC, NECO and others. The effects have been disastrous for Nigeria. Those who exploited the weak examination systems had secured employment into sensitive places, using the old power of corruption. Today, the system of Nigeria hardly runs unless oiled with brazen and sickening touch of corruption. JAMB has started changing the narrative, just as the 2017 examination it conducted was reported to be 98 percent free of malpractices.

In the 2017 examination, JAMB simply deployed Information Technology to halt corruption and all forms of malpractices. Its closely knitted synergy with GSM networks providers made this easy. Before the examination, JAMB created 642 Computer Based Test centers (CBTs) to administer examination for over 1,722,236 candidates, the highest ever in the history of the Board. Each of the CBT Centers had CCTV cameras to track down registration and examination malpractice within and outside exam halls. In the process, it was easy to weed out Centers that indulged in irregularities and malpractices. Today, all candidates must register under the lenses of the CCTV camera just as the footage is uploaded to the Board Headquarters for close monitoring and future references. Indeed, there is nothing stopping JAMB from improving on the feat it attained this year.

If other government agencies must learn from JAMB, their focus should be on necessity for immediacy in execution of plans and table-tables. For instance, JAMB has already set machinery in motion for conduct of the 2018 UMTE. In reviewing its omissions and successes during the last examination, the Board is planning to spend far less than N500 million to conduct the next UMTE. By implication, JAMB is expected to remit more than N5 billion into the federation account next year!

In essence, leading by example as demonstrated by an agency like JAMB is an unassailable way of re-inventing Nigeria. Individuals, groups and most especially government agencies should start emulating JAMB to change the narrative about Nigeria being irredeemably corrupt.

Samuel, a public affairs analyst, wrote from Abuja.

Published in Parliament

ABUJA- Chairman, National Caretaker Committee (NCC) of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP Friday escaped unhurt as his vehicle collided with others along the busy Abuja/ Kaduna Highway. Ahmed Makarfi In a statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, the PDP said neither Makarfi nor other occupants of the vehicle sustained any form of injury in the course of the collision.

“Earlier today, July 28, 2017, a vehicle conveying the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ahmed Makarfi, CON, was involved in a multiple collision with other vehicles along the Abuja-Kaduna Highway. “However, we are happy to report that fortunately, the Distinguished Senator and all other passengers in his vehicle came out unhurt. This is to allay the fears of our party members, teeming supporters as well as wishers who heard of the accident and have been making frantic calls; as well as those who may stumble on half-baked information,” the statement reads. Senator Makarfi was on his way to Kaduna from Abuja when the accident occurred.

As at the time of going to press, the identity of the other occupants could not be established.


Published in Business and Economy

Boko Haram sect on Friday posted a picture of three staff members of the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) it abducted on Tuesday.

The men were abducted during an ambush of oil exploration workers in the Lake Chad Basin by the terror group.

At least 48 people were reportedly killed during the ambush.

The bodies of the victims have been deposited at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH) mortuary.

Corpses deposited were remains of 18 soldiers, 15 civilian JTF members, five university staff and four Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) drivers.

Published in Headliners

It was a slightly breezy evening, and the songs played by the disc jockey rendered extra soothing effects as celebrities rocked the red carpet at the glamorous launch of Wanneka’s Lounge, a choice restaurant in Lekki Phase 1, Lagos.

Hosted by Denrele Edun, the event was graced by celebrities like Humblesmith, BBNaija Eriata Ese, Yvonne Jegede, Belinda Effah, BBNaija Jon Ogah, Fredrick Leonard, Mary Lazarus, Azuka Ogujuiba, Latasha Nwugbe, Peggy Ovire, Mimi Orijekwe and many others.

Just before declaring the beautiful lounge open, the proprietor, Mrs. Doris Nkumah popularly known as ‘Mizwanneka the Hair Boss’ talked about her journey as a serial entrepreneur and the times she had almost given up on her dream of opening a lounge. According to her, “I am grateful to all that encouraged me to never give up; my husband, my elder sister and my friends. I’m glad and excited that this lounge is now a reality”

After the cutting of the ribbon and declaring the lounge open by the celebrant’s elder sister, a tour of the facility revealed a tasteful decor, exotic offerings and warm hospitality for loungers.

A perfect mix of fun, relaxation, entertainment and meals, guests had a taste of the ice berg as they were then treated to a beautiful performance by a Saxophonist while relishing the local and intercontinental dishes, after which Humblesmith entertained everyone with his hit songs.

Published in News & Stories
Friday, 28 July 2017 15:45

Police rescue Igbonla school pupils

Operatives of The Nigeria Police have on Friday rescued School students who were kidnapped  Lagos State Model College, Igbonla, Epe, Lagos State.

The boys were rescued in Akure the Ondo State capital at about 3:30pm.

Recall that the operatives of the Inspector General of Police’ (IGP) Intelligence Response Team (IRT), on May 31st arrested three suspected members of the gang that kidnapped the six pupils.

It was gathered that IRT operatives led by Abba Kyari, an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) arrested the three suspects who left the creek and went to Edo State to visit a gang member who was injured during gun battle with security forces.

Similarly, the Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode had told pupils at a parade to mark this year’s Children’s Day at the Agege Stadium in May, that the government would do all within its power to get the children out of the kidnappers’ den unhurt.
Published in Headliners

Lagos, the former capital of Nigeria has been ranked the fourth wealthiest city in Africa.

With no other Nigerian cities listed in the ten-city fortune club, the nation’s commercial nerve-centre automatically clinches the wealthiest spot among Nigerian major cities.

In a report by AfrAsia Bank and New World Wealth, Lagos, considered to be home to

US$120 billion Africa’s wealth, is only topped by two South-African cities; Johannesburg and Cape Town as well as Egyptian city of Cairo.

The Nigerian state is unofficially believed to be most populous too in the country.

Four billionaires in dollars are mentioned to be resident in Lagos, with 360 multi-millionaires and 6,800 millionaires.

Two Forbes-recognized wealthiest Nigerians, Femi Otedola of Zenon Oil and Mike Adenuga of Globacom reside in Lagos.

Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote also has investment in the city.

The report says by “Total wealth”, it refers to the “private wealth held by all the individuals living in each city. It includes all their assets (property, cash, equities and business interests) less any liabilities. We exclude government funds from our figures.”

Cities ranked below Lagos include, Nairobi in Kenya, Luanda, Durban, Pretoria, Casablanca and Accra.

While Nigeria, Ghana, Morocco, Egypt, Angola and Kenya have a city each to their fortune consideration, South-Africa has five of its cities listed, making it the richest country in Africa.

Highlight of the report;

Johannesburg: Total wealth held in the city amounts to US$245 billion. Home to 18,200 millionaires (HNWIs), 970 multi-millionaires and 2 billionaires. Our figures for Johannesburg include Sandton. Major sectors in the city include: financial services (banks, accountancies, insurance), professional services (law firms), construction, telecoms and basic materials.

Cairo: Total wealth held in the city amounts to US$140 billion. Home to 8,900 millionaires, 480 multi-millionaires and 5 billionaires. Major sectors in the city include: real estate & construction, financial services and basic materials.

Cape Town: Total wealth held in the city amounts to US$135 billion. Home to 8,200 millionaires, 440 multi-millionaires and 2 billionaires. Major sectors in the city include: real estate, financial services (fund management), retail and tourism. Cape Town is also a second home hotspot for the wealthy with over 1,500 multi-millionaires living in the city during peak holiday months (many of these individuals are from outside South Africa).

Lagos: Total wealth held in the city amounts to US$120 billion. Home to 6,800 millionaires, 360 multi-millionaires and 4 billionaires. Major sectors in the city include: real estate & construction, telecoms, transport, financial services and basic materials.

Nairobi: Total wealth held in the city amounts to US$55 billion. Home to 6,800 millionaires and 280 multi-millionaires (no billionaires). Major sectors in the city include: financial services, real estate & construction, retail, tourism, FMCG, telecoms and basic materials.

Luanda: Total wealth held in the city amounts to US$48 billion. Home to 4,100 millionaires, 240 multi-millionaires and one billionaire. Major sectors in the city include: real estate & construction, transport and basic materials (oil & gas).

Durban: Total wealth held in the city amounts to US$46 billion. Home to 3,200 millionaires, 130 multi-millionaires and one billionaire. Our figures for Durban include Umhlanga, Ballito, Zimbali and La Lucia. Major sectors in the city include: real estate, finance, healthcare, construction, retail and transport.

Pretoria: Total wealth held in the city amounts to US$42 billion. Home to 2,600 millionaires and 110 multi-millionaires (no billionaires). Major sectors in the city include: basic materials, manufacturing and financial services.

Casablanca: Total wealth held in the city amounts to US$40 billion. Home to 2,300 millionaires, 110 multi-millionaires and 2 billionaires. Major sectors in the city include: basic materials, manufacturing and financial services.

Accra: Total wealth held in the city amounts to US$35 billion. Home to 2,300 millionaires and 100 multi-millionaires (no billionaires). Major sectors in the city include: basic materials, manufacturing and financial services.”

Published in Headliners
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