Nigerians must be wondering why the Police arrested Mr Emmanuel Atswen, a Benue State reporter of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), over a report he authored in which he brought to the attention of the public the rot in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp at the International Market in Makurdi, the State capital. In that report, it was clearly stated that the IDPs had on September 12, protested against alleged continued diversion of relief materials meant for them, and blocked the main entrance into the camp to stop vehicles loaded with the assorted relief materials, from driving out. Instead of acting on the information contained in the report and investigating it to find out who the culprits are, the security agencies are busy muzzling the media who are doing their legitimate duty of exposing Nigerians who are so shameless as to take advantage of their distressed compatriots for pecuniary...

As Johnson Sirleaf Bows Out

Liberian President and Africa’s first female president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, is stepping down after 12 years in office. Like every other leader in her situation, she has her regrets about things she would have done better and others she believes were landmarks that had helped the progress of the country within the period she was in power. One noteworthy regret, the president pointed out, was to the effect that she hadn’t worked hard enough for parity. “It saddens me, because I represented breaking the glass ceiling in Africa.” Notwithstanding, in the eye of analysts, Johnson Sirleaf is leaving behind what is generally perceived as a legacy of “fragile gains.” However, not a few will give her credit for maintaining stability in her country while in office. As at the time she was elected, Liberia, after a debilitating civil war, was tottering on the brink of collapse. She was confronted with...
The Minister of Education, Alhaji Adamu Adamu, recently expressed worry at the level of illiteracy in the country. This was during his visit to Kebbi State. He will be surprised that those children he classified as illiterate can possibly be fluent in Arabic and Hausa, for instance. Why insist on teaching them in English? In Nigeria, anyone who cannot speak English, is an illiterate. In an earlier editorial with the above caption, we argued against this position. The concern over the vanishing indigenous languages pre-dates the current efforts to revive the dying use of these languages in schools. The governments did not do anything to counter the policy of declaring local languages as vernacular which must not be spoken during classes. The colonial masters and the early missionaries used that act of obvious cultural imperialism to stymie the growth and development of the local languages and, in the process, compelled...
International experts at a recent conference in Lagos posited that Nigeria needs a whopping $3 trillion over the next 30 years to plug the nation’s infrastructure gap and achieve rapid sustainable development. That, indeed, is a huge budget by any standard. As far as Nigeria is concerned, that is understandable considering the extent of decay in the system. They did not stop at that as they went on to say that though government must be a primary source of funding, federal and state governments’ fiscal inflows have been proved to be grossly inadequate to match the pace of investments required in infrastructure. According to the Nigeria Economic Recovery and Growth (ECRG) Plan 2017-2020, the Federal Government’s medium-term fiscal framework forecasts deficits of N7.6 trillion from 2017 to 2019, an evidence that the federal government resources are limited and additional resources will be needed. Already the government is conscious of the situation and...
The 2017/2018 academic session has just commenced in Nigerian schools. It is also time for parents and their wards to search for schools that will offer them quality for the resources they put down while at the same time ensuring that students graduate in stipulated time. These conditions often give rise to the unwholesome preference for foreign schools by Nigeria’s public officers which is one of the main reasons why the nation’s public schools are in a shambles. The other reason is the ‘been-to’ mentality that used to be the exception at some point in the nation’s education system is today the rule. The cost as well as the challenges in sourcing the foreign exchange component have not succeeded in deterring the quest for foreign degrees by wards of that class of the Nigerian elite. The effect of this on the education system is glaring, as most public sector tertiary...
The latest report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on the Nigerian economy indicates that Nigeria’s total export value hits N3.1 trillion in the second quarter of 2017. The report, which covered seven sectors, agriculture, oil and gas, raw materials, solid minerals, manufactured goods, energy and other oil-related goods, showed an increase of 3.2 per cent over the first quarter of 2017 and a remarkable 73.48 per cent over the second quarter of 2016 and a trade balance surplus of N506.5 billion in the second quarter of 2017. This is an improvement from the country’s trade balance deficit of N572.12 billion in the corresponding period of 2016. The report also showed that the current administration’s efforts in the area of agriculture are already paying off as the continued strong performance of key agricultural products drove the export agenda in the sector, with cashew nuts alone primarily exported to Vietnam,...

Much Ado About Pay-per-view

By Pamela Osagie If you did not hear about the epic fight, which featured Floyd Mayweather Jr., the world-famous boxer who came out of retirement, and his Irishman, Connor McGregor, you are, most likely living under a rock. The fight, aptly dubbed ‘The Money Fight’, was billed to be the biggest fight in combat sports history. Highly sensationalized, it pulled up staggering statistics from viewership numbers to winnings for both fighters and promoters. The anticipated fight took place on August 26 at the T-Mobile Arena, Nevada. The night ended with Mayweather stopping McGregor at the tenth round and hitting a 50-0 unbeaten boxing record. Much has been said about the dexterity and doggedness of Mayweather and perhaps of Connor, so that is not the focus of this article. The focus however is on the broadcasting rights of the fight and a look once more at the pay-per-view model – a highly controversial...
Aung San Suu Kyi needs no introduction. No Nobel laureate does. She won that coveted prize for her stand against authoritarianism in her country, Myanmar, for which she was recognised and accepted as the conscience of the nation and the heroine of humanity. This lady had the stature of a moral giant. Unfortunately, she has become a pragmatic politician, with all its negative connotations, who has turned to an apologist for the most grotesque abuses of basic rights inside her own country. Before now, she was universally acclaimed as a champion of human rights and the moral face of Myanmar. That unfortunate country is not new to oppression. As an adult, Suu Kyi experienced first-hand the brutal power of an oppressive state, when she spent 15 years under house arrest. The democracy champion turned politician made her name as an implacable fighter for human rights. She sacrificed her family life, her...

Civil Servants, Not Now Please!

The situation in Nigeria’s civil service leaves a lot to be desired. From the poor service delivery to the mediocrity that thrives in the service, which has often been described as the bastion of corruption in the country, many people have had cause to call for complete overhaul of the civil service to make it more business-like and productive, in line with 21st century realities. Some have also called for downsizing of the civil service which consumes a huge chunk of the country’s budget in overhead costs. In spite of the shortcomings of the civil service amid the challenges the workers operate under, civil servants have continued to play their role as the oil that lubricates the wheel of governance in the country and like those in other critical sectors of the nation, they deserve to be treated right. It is on the basis of this that the recent notice...

IDPs’ Camps As Industry

A recent media report claimed that a N40 million contract for the supply of firewood to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps was awarded by the Borno State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA). The contractors are complaining that though the contract sum was reduced to N24.5 million, the agency has not been able to pay. This, according to them, is affecting their businesses as they have not been able to settle their own contractual obligations to the villagers who they buy firewood from. It is no longer news that the Secretary to the Government of Federation (SGF), Engr Babachir David Lawal, is presently on suspension for alleged acts of misappropriation of funds and lack of due process in the Presidential Initiative North East (PINE) which focuses on the redevelopment  of the North-east and management of the humanitarian crisis caused largely by the Boko Haram menace. Specifically, he was alleged to have...