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LETTERS

Give Executive Order 003 a human face

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THE implementation of the strategies of the Greater Jos Master Plan is under serious threat, especially following the recent collapse of a school building in Jos.

The implementation of Executive Order 003, while commendable, has led to clashes between traders and the task force enforcing it. The timing and execution of this strategic plan has also resulted in other ugly incidents, including the Bukuru clashes, which led to the loss of a life and property worth millions of naira.

The Jos Master Plan has long been the dream of every Plateau citizen who wishes the state well. But its implementation must not come at the cost of lives and livelihoods. Traders should have been given adequate notice and alternative business environments before being asked to evacuate their stalls. The Jos main market could have been remodeled and occupied by those who were displaced by the 2010 bomb blast, which will yield revenue to government and promote the growth of businesses.

Compelling traders to vacate their shops without alternative arrangements is like sentencing them to death. They have families, financial responsibilities, and dependents who rely on their daily income. The recent increase in commodity prices due to the removal of the oil subsidy has added to the burdens on the masses who are already struggling to make ends meet.

Institutions like the University of Jos and Federal College of Education Pankshin are currently conducting their respective registration for new students with most of them relying on their parents’ income to pay tuition fees. How can parents be expected to fund their children’s education when their livelihoods are being taken away?

Furthermore, we are in the farming season and traders who are also farmers need to support their farming activities through trading. Destroyng their shops without alternative arrangements is an indirect way of pushing them into starvation.

Therefore, I urge the state government to provide necessary alternatives for traders, just as they are doing for owners of buildings marked for demolition. Let us find a peaceful solution that does not inflict pain on the masses. Let us prioritize living over a beautiful but empty garden.

Comrade Kwaria John Raphael, a public affairs analyst, writes from Kwall District, Bassa LGA, Plateau State

 

 

 

 

 

 

Land grabbing and need for sustainable peace

Land grabbing is becoming endemic in our communities in Plateau State and Nigeria as a whole and something needs to be done fast to curb the activities of perpetrators of this heinous activity.

This terrorist ideology dates back to the time of Usman Danfodio, who introduced jihad through conquest, killing, and divide-and-rule tactics. This legacy has been passed down to his descendants, who deceived our forefathers, pretending to be friends. They have discovered the riches on our land, endowed with mineral resources and agricultural potential.

As mentioned earlier, they pretended to be friends with our forefathers, gaining their trust, only to unleash violence on the natives, chasing them away from their ancestral homes and taking control of their land. Currently, Fulani jihadists are engaging in tin mining in areas like Barkin Ladi and Bokkos, where they have taken control of the mines. Whenever a native discovers tin deposit, the Fulanis will attack them forcing them to relinquish their claim.

It is important to recognize that farming is a crucial source of livelihood for many people in Plateau State, and any disruption to farming activities can have severe consequences. The fact that this is happening in multiple locations like Bokkos, Mangu, Riyom, Bassa, and other parts of the country, suggests a broader pattern of intimidation and violence.

The impact of these actions can be devastating, leading to hunger, displacement, and instability in the region. It is essential to address this situation urgently, ensuring the safety and security of farming communities and holding accountable those responsible for these actions.

Let us continue to explore ways to raise awareness about this issue and support efforts to promote peace, security, and sustainable development in Plateau State and beyond.

It is unacceptable to continue living in a state of fear, violence, and displacement. Every person, regardless of their background, deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. We are all equal in the eyes of God and should be treated as such.

It is important to recognize that everyone has inherent value and worth, and that our diversity is a strength, not a weakness. We should strive to create a society that values inclusivity, understanding, and peaceful coexistence.

Let’s work together to build a world where everyone can live without fear of violence or persecution, and where we can celebrate our differences and embrace our shared humanity.

We are all God’s creations, and we are all blessed with unique gifts and talents. Let’s use these blessings to lift each other up, rather than tearing each other down.

Nkieri Nzhua Ngha, a public analyst writes from Bassa LGA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unmasking land grabbing in Plateau State: A path to sustainable solutions

“Land grabbing is a form of colonialism, where the powerful exploit the vulnerable, leaving them in poverty and despair.” – Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of UNAIDS

As Nigeria marks another Democracy Day on June 12, we are reminded that the struggle for equality and justice continues. In Plateau State, land grabbing is a ticking time bomb, threatening the environment, local communities, and the economy. The British colonial government appropriated indigenous lands, displacing and disenfranchising communities. Today, corporations, individuals, and government projects continue this exploitation, fueling conflicts between communities, farmers, and herders. Even majority tribes conspire to grab land from their brothers, instead of being their keepers as biblical injunctions instruct.

Land grabbers use various tactics to chase away communities, including violence, forced displacement, illegal land grabbing, manipulation of land laws, divisive tactics, economic coercion, and cultural erasure. To defeat these enemies and protect ancestral lands, communities must stand together in unity and solidarity, document their land ownership and cultural heritage, advocate for policy changes, seek legal action, manage their lands, preserve their culture, and seek international support.

As we celebrate democracy, we must acknowledge the flaws in our system that perpetuate inequality and injustice. The time is now to address the issue of land grabbing and ensure that the resources of Plateau State benefit all its citizens, not just a privileged few. Let us rise up, take back our land, resources, and future. “A stitch in time saves nine.” Together, we can build a world where the earth’s resources benefit all, not just a privileged few.

“The struggle for justice is not a struggle for the faint of heart. It is a struggle for those who believe in the power of their own voices, even when the odds seem insurmountable.” – Desmond Tutu

On this Democracy Day, let us recommit to the fight against land grabbing and the struggle for a more just and equitable society, as Desmond Tutu so aptly said. United we stand, divided we fall. Joint hands and collective action are key to defeating land grabbers and preserving ancestral lands.

Ishaya Rangu, a political analysts, writes from Kwall District, Bassa Local Government  Area, Plateau State

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clarion call for adequate protection for Nigerian children

On this Children’s Day, we join the global community in celebrating one of our most precious resources, the world’s children. Within each child lies boundless potential, an unfolding future brimming with promise to shape a better world for us all. Yet even as we rejoice in their hopeful existence, we must confront the harsh realities that rob far too many young lives of the safety, security, and opportunities they deserve.

Children represent the seeds of humanity’s progress. Their inquisitive minds, creative spirits, and unbound optimism fuel the innovations and ideas that will propel our societies forward. By nurturing their talents and providing them with quality education, we unlock dormant brilliance and empower the next generation of leaders, artists, scientists, and change-makers.

Tragically, in regions gripped by violence and insecurity, the bright futures of millions of children have been overshadowed. In these areas, playgrounds have been traded for battlegrounds, and childhoods cut brutally short by the traumas of war, conflict, and displacement. The very idea that any young person should bear witness to such atrocities is an injustice that shakes the moral foundations of our global community.

In Nigeria, a nation blessed with immense human potential, children have become unintended victims of the country’s security crisis. From the abductions of the Chibok and Dapchi schoolgirls to the frequent attacks on educational facilities, the threat of violence has disrupted learning and shattered the hopes of many Nigerian youth. Children in the northeast have been deprived of safety, separated from families, and subjected to horrific human rights violations at the hands of terrorist groups. This rampant insecurity has reverberating effects, robbing entire generations of their fundamental rights to education, health, and personal development.

No child should be drafted into the theater of conflict. No parent should live in perpetual fear of their child’s wellbeing. The international community must stand united in its commitment to protect the world’s young from the insidious impacts of violence. We call on all nations, organizations, and stakeholders to prioritize child safety, advocate for their rights, and invest in robust peacebuilding and conflict resolution mechanisms.

On this Children’s Day, we celebrate the incredible potential that resides within each child. Yet our optimism must be matched by decisive action to safeguard their futures. Together, we can create an environment where every girl and boy can thrive, learn, dream, and grow into the empowered leaders and change agents our world so desperately needs.

Let us honor the promise of our children by striving for a more peaceful, just, and secure world. Their hopes and aspirations are our guiding light, reminding us that a brighter tomorrow remains possible if we have the courage and compassion to protect their journey.

Dr. Gideon Para-Mallam, Para-Mallam Foundation, Grace and Mercy Manor Gutville, Rayfield, Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plateau people support JMDB

PLATEAU people must not be taken for granted. Governor Mutfwang’s order to beautify the Jos/Bukuru metropolis, which is being executed by JMDB, has the full support of Plateau citizens and other well-meaning Nigerians residing in our midst.

For how long shall we continue to tolerate lawlessness just because we want to be politically or religiously correct? The way some traders and commercial transporters go about their businesses in Jos and Bukuru metropolis leaves much to be desired.

If past administrations were unable or unwilling to solve the problem, must subsequent ones also tow the same line? These people constituting a clog in the wheel of our progress come from different states of the federation where laws and order are obeyed to the letter.

So we view their negative attitude towards positive changes as sabotage and blackmail against our collective interest. And as a people, we must stoutly resist them and fully support government in its drive to reclaim the scenic beauty and orderliness that we have been known for.

JMDB and her sister organizations should be rest assured of our support towards the restoration of sanity and order in the Jos/Bukuru metropolis and Plateau State as a whole.

Hon. Nuhu Gagara. Nabor Gwong, Jos North LGA, Plateau State

 

Revisiting the Renewed Hope Agenda

THE  Tinubu administration’s tax increases amid the country’s hyperinflation are counterproductive and detrimental to economic recovery. This approach starkly contrasts with President H. W. Bush’s famous “Read my lips: No new taxes” pledge and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s assertion that no country prospers by overtaxing its citizens.

The recent increase in electricity tariffs for large consumers and the hike in VAT will ultimately raise the prices of goods for final consumers, reducing their purchasing power. Although the sudden suspension of the cybersecurity levy on financial transactions has averted significant financial disruption, the overall tax policy remains problematic.

In his inaugural address, President Tinubu made an abrupt and unplanned withdrawal of the subsidy on PMS, causing severe economic downturn. This, coupled with the devaluation of the naira against the US dollar, has led to skyrocketing prices of goods and services in an import-dependent economy.

The recent recapitalisation of banks to a maximum of N500 billion for mega banks and N200 billion for specialised banks signals a troubled money market, potentially leading to adverse effects on the capital market and the economy. The scarcity of surplus funds for savings and investment and the prohibitive cost of funds for small and medium enterprises are significant concerns.

While the Buhari administration handed over a fragile economy with many underlying issues and  high debt profile, Nigerians expected the Renewed Hope Agenda to correct these wrongs rather than continue the hardships. The government should support the Dangote Refinery to reduce foreign exchange expenditures on imported refined petroleum products, thus boosting Nigeria’s foreign reserves and strengthening the naira.

The government should also establish an industrial resuscitation fund to finance the revival of closed and moribund industries, which are widespread across the country. This move would help reduce unemployment, create jobs, and generate wealth for citizens.

Export policies should focus on value-added agricultural products to promote re-industrialisation. Furthermore, rail transportation should be prioritised for its cost-effectiveness and economic benefits.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has emphasised the importance of African countries looking inward for industrialisation, leveraging their abundant resources. Nigeria, rich in resources, should not import ceramic sanitary wares, tiles, shoes, bags, edible oils, or textile fabrics when it can produce these items domestically.

The government should seek investors to revitalise privatised manufacturing companies that have failed to meet privatisation terms, similar to actions taken with DisCos in the power sector. Additionally, joining BRICS could enable Nigeria to actively participate in the new world order and reassess its relationships with Bretton Woods institutions, offering more advantages than disadvantages.

The Tinubu administration must revisit the Renewed Hope Agenda with a focus on manufacturing as the engine of economic growth and prosperity. This should include tax incentives and supportive policies to attract potential investors, ensuring the agenda has a human face and aligns with the country’s economic needs.

 Mahmud Shuaibu Ringim, HALIM Consulting Ltd

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making PLASU safe

I wish to begin by expressing my sympathy to all the people affected by the recent unprovoked attacks on the inhabitants of parts of Mangu and Bokkos LGAs.

These acts of barbarism  against innocent citizens appears to have given way to a hopeless situation because of the failure of the relevant federal authorities to bring the herdsmen who perpetrate these heinous acts to justice.

I hope governments at all levels would live up to their responsibilities of protecting the lives and property of our people. They should also arrest the culprits and make them face the full wrath of the law to serve as deterrent to others and to ensure justice to those families who have lost their loved ones.

The social media has in recent times been replete with agitations by those for and against the relocation of the state-owned Plateau State University located in Bokkos. This institution has also witnessed its own share of violence orchestrated by the marauding Fulani herdsmen. It is due to these attacks, which have affected learning in the institution, that there has been the clamour for the relocation of the institution.

While acknowledging such concerns as being valid, but, considering the enormous investments so far made towards ensuring full scale educational activities in  the university, such thoughts about relocating the institution can be considered not advisable. Rather, I wish to call on all the relevant authorities to, as a matter of urgency, rejig the security architecture of the school to guaranty the safety of everyone within the school environment.

Therefore, securing the entire school’s landscape, promotion of peaceful coexistence among the university community and its neighbours, identifying potential flash points and increasing security presence is quite necesary.

Also, security posts should be built in the institution to be manned by well-armed soldiers and mobile policemen. This will check intruders   in case of any impending danger.

I believe that these deliberate effort with the support and co-operation of the government and the school management, the above measures will go a long way in ensuring the safety of students, staff, visitors to the institution and even its surrounding communities.

Rotshak Duks Katenna, No 45b, Arin Izang Street Furaka, Jos North LGA, Plateau State

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Release FIJ journalist, Daniel Ojukwu

PERMIT me space in this widely read newspaper, THE NIGERIA STANDARD, to express the concerns of the Nigerian National Committee of the International Press Institute (IPI Nigeria) to again raise the alarm over the safety of journalists in the country.

This follows the report of the abduction of Daniel Ojukwu, a journalist with the Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ).

According to reports, Ojukwu was abducted by the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) of the Inspector General of Police and is currently being held at the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Panti in Lagos.

IPI Nigeria strongly condemns the abduction and calls on the Inspector General of Police to, with immediate effect, order the release of Mr. Ojukwu.

Coming at about the period the world is celebrating the freedom of the press, the action of the Nigeria Police Force speaks volumes of the attitude and commitment of law enforcement agencies in Nigeria to the freedom of the press.

Some weeks ago, the Nigerian military abducted a journalist, Mr. Segun Olatunji, in a Gestapo manner in Lagos and flew him to Abuja under humiliating conditions in apparent violation of his rights to dignity and expression.

With the two incidents cited above, a pattern has emerged that points to the fact that the administration of President Bola Tinubu does not only condone repression of freedom of the press but also encourage it, in contradiction of promises made during the president’s inaugural speech that his administration would uphold fundamental human rights.

We have always stated, and it bears repeating, that in a democratic setting, the proper step to take is to follow due process in seeking remedies against journalists.

It amounts to an abuse of his powers and office for the Inspector General of Police to order the abduction of a journalist just because he is the overall head of the Nigeria Police Force.

IPI Nigeria calls on President Tinubu to sanction the Inspector General of the Police, having failed to lead by example. Nobody is above the law.

Human rights violations have continued unabated because perpetrators are hardly held to account. It is time to begin holding those suppressing freedom of expression to account.

Daniel Ojukwu should be released immediately, or else the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, will be included in IPI Nigeria’s book of infamy and branded an enemy of the media and journalists. His inclusion on the list carries serious consequences beyond the shores of Nigeria.

Musikilu Mojeed, President, IPI Nigeria.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These unabated killing should be stopped

THE recent unabated attacks by Fulani marauders have continued to generate global comments. Indeed, if not for anything else, the number of killings of innocent lives has continued to make me shed tears. For some of us who grew up the 1970s, when there was peace and tranquility all over the country, such despicable acts of man’s inhumanity to man is something one never imagined.

Many commentators have opined that these sad incidents can be attributed to the effects of climate change which has continued to ravage most nations of the world. However, I do not believe that the effects of climate change have been solely responsible for these dastardly acts in contemporary Nigeria.

Come to think of it, since these nasty experiences reared their ugly heads in some northern states of the country, not much success has been recorded in terms of bringing the perpetrators of these heinous crimes to justice. As a result, many more indigenous communities have continued to lose their lands to land-grabbers whose intention is to seize all arable lands on the Plateau and, by extension, the entire Middle Belt region. Also linked to this is the indoctrination of some vulnerable minds into believing that they must achieve their agenda of a fruitless jihad started by their mentor, Uthman Dan Fodio, from 1804 and 1808.

Even though hundreds of innocent people have been killed on the Plateau, not many citizens have come to terms with the intrigues behind these acts of genocide. In the midst of these challenges, our leaders who are saddled with the responsibility of protecting us appear to be overwhelmed by the realities on ground.

Sometime back, some leaders of thought had suggested that the only panacea to these endless killings at the grassroots levels is for the Federal Government to decentralize the Nigeria Police Force which, for now, is receiving stiff resistance from segments of the country and the political class.

I have read the arguments, that should state police be established, some state governors would use them to silence and, or, torment their political opponents. Though nothing is quite impossible in our country, I don’t think that this should be enough reasons for major stakeholders to delay the establishment of such a body in the interest of the majority of citizens.

While we anticipate the manifestation of this desire, it’s high time adequate steps are taken to protect our vulnerable rural populace. This is quite imperative if we must deal with the problem of food insecurity in the country – caused by the state of insecurity in the country. Suffice it to note that the various attacks in some local government areas of Plateau State will certainly affect the next farming season. As it is at the moment, though the rains have started, farmers are reluctant to go to their farms because of the fear of being attacked by these marauders.

While many farmers have abandoned their ancestral homes for fear of the unknown, others whose lands have been grabbed by these Fulani marauders are presently stranded with no other place to go. Thus, the high rate of poverty and its implications on the polity are better imagined.

To help deal with this unpleasant situation, both the state and the federal governments must strategize in conformity with contemporary security practices to ensure public safety. For too long, the Federal Government has dealt with apprehending perpetrators of violent conflict in our country with levity.

The situation has become so embarrassing that since the resurgence of some of these sporadic attacks on the Plateau, the identity of these unknown gunmen has not been unmasked. But the few ones that have been identified were given VIP protection and never questioned over their roles in taking up arms against innocent citizens.

Our security agencies have also failed in the area of intelligence gathering. They are not proactive enough. The proliferation of light arms by these merchants of death has continued to hurt our country which is heavily bleeding at the moment. Consequently, citizens have lost hope in our security agencies who have been accused of taking sides in the course of their operational responsibilities.

Not once or twice, fingers have been pointed at many security personnel involved in shoddy activities that undermine every effort aimed at bringing peace. Thus, there is an urgent need for proper investigations to determine their degree of involvement.

In some cases, identification cards of military personnel have been recovered in areas that have been attacked without anything done to ascertain their culpability or otherwise.  All these anomalies have contributed to bringing us to where we find ourselves today as a country.

Therefore, I am using this medium to call on both the state and federal governments to do everything necessary to stop these killings. It’s high time we as a nation come to the reality of the implications of what is before us right now. If the needful is not done and in time, Nigerians will soon lose confidence in their governments.

And many citizens may resort to self-help. If this happens, this country will certainly be on the path to chaos and, perhaps, total disintegration. God forbid.

Bulus Gambo, Karl Kumm University, Vom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unity helps in overcoming challenges

 KINDLY allow me space in your widely read newspaper, THE NIGERIA STANDARD, to highlight the significance of unity in strengthening relationships in the society.

Unity is one of the most important forces in the world. It brings people together, creates a sense of belonging and gives us the strength to overcome challenges. Whether it’s a community coming together to rebuild after a disaster, a workplace uniting to achieve a common goal or a family supporting each other through tough times, unity is what makes us stronger.

The power of unity can be expressed in many different forms. For example, in the aftermath of a natural disaster, communities often come together to help each other recover. Whether it’s clearing debris, rebuilding homes or providing support to those in need, the collective effort of a united community can make all the difference.

Another example is in the workplace where teams that work together are more productive and efficient than single individuals. The team is also more likely to find creative solutions to problems and achieve their goals. Within families, unity can provide comfort, support and strength.

Even though unity can be incredibly powerful, it doesn’t always come easily. It takes efforts, communication and a shared sense of purpose to bring people together. In the wake of a disaster, it takes strong leadership and organization to coordinate the relief efforts.

In the workplace, effective teamwork requires a clear vision and goals as well as trust and respect among team members. Within families, open communication and a willingness to listen are essential for building unity. When these elements come together, the result can be amazing.

The benefits of unity are far-reaching, both for individuals and society as a whole. On an individual level, unity can boost self-esteem, reduce stress and improve overall well-being. It can also lead to greater happiness, since social connections are a key predictor of happiness.

On a larger scale, a unified society is more likely to be stable, peaceful and prosperous. It’s clear that the power of unity is something we should all strive for, both in our personal lives and in communities. When people come together and share their unique perspectives, they can spark new ideas and create innovative solutions to problems.

This is because diversity leads to a greater variety of ideas, and people from different backgrounds can approach a problem in different ways. This kind of creative thinking is essential for the advancement of society.

The power of unity is undeniable. It’s something that we all need, in our families, our workplaces and the society. It takes efforts and commitment to achieve, but the rewards are worth it. Unity brings strength, happiness, and a sense of purpose to our lives. Let’s remember the power of unity and make efforts to strengthen the bond that connects us to each other.

As we go through our daily lives, let’s remember the power of unity. We should look for ways to build connections and strengthen our bonds with others.

Acts of kindness and compassion can make a difference. With little efforts, we can create a world that is stronger, happier and united than ever before.

Jummai Musa, Department of Mass Communication, Federal University of Lafia, Nasarawa State.

 

Mutfwang, halt rising cases of banditry in Agingi

 

PLEASE permit space in your widely read newspaper, THE NIGERIA STANDARD, to express my concern over the frequent attacks on our community by bandits.

In the last few weeks, the Agingi area in Bassa Local Government Area of Plateau State has been under frequent attacks by bandits. Unlike what we used to experience in the past, hardly does a week pass without a case of kidnapping being recorded.

Consequently, the residents of this once peaceful area have been overburdened with ransom payments to these criminals to secure the release of their loved ones in captivity.

On assumption of office, the present administration expressed its desire to tackle headlong the security challenges in the state. This had become necessary following the unabated cases of unprovoked attacks against innocent and vulnerable rural dwellers in the state.

Truth be told, the state has lost thousands of innocent lives since the commencement of these attacks against various communities on the Plateau. Though the present governor has been trying his best to halt this calamity, the rising cases of kidnapping have become very worrisome.

For us in Bassa LGA, particularly in Agingi, the situation is getting out of hand.

That is the more reason why we are calling on Governor Caleb Mutfwang to urgently tackle this problem so as to save the citizens from endless suffering.

More security posts should also be established in these areas so as to restore the confidence of the rural populace. Lastly, I wish to commend our dear governor for doing his possible best towards transforming the state to make it one of the best in the country.

I wish our governor more wisdom and God’s blessings.

Danjuma Wakili, Agingi, Bassa LGA, Plateau State

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today, things are hard

By Matthew Hassan Kukah

I am sure that many Nigerians are already used to the fact that during the annual celebration of the two most important events in the Christian calendar – Christmas and Easter – I have the practice of writing a national message in which I reflect on the meaning of the Christ-event for us as a people and nation.

While I am aware that many people look forward to reading my messages every year, as I have done over the past many years, there are those, I believe, who must be wondering what Bishop Kukah is going to say again or whether he is not tired of speaking with Buhari now gone.

My messages will continue for some time and have nothing to do with whoever is in power.

Every religious leader has an obligation to deliver these messages to his people. In doing this, I am only joining my voice with that of thousands of Priests and Bishops here and elsewhere.

I know there are many who think that when I speak, I am attacking government or that I am taking sides with some imaginary opposition. Unfortunately, people erroneously believe that God and Caesar do not mix.

The truth is that, God is the Creator of All, including Caesar! Caesar’s obligation is to be inspired by the way and will of God and govern according to His will. When those who govern seek the will of God, public service becomes a call to use the resources of state for the good of all.

In keeping with my discipline as a priest of the Catholic Church, I do not carry the partisan flag of any political party or hold brief for or against one set of politicians or another. What I try to do is to highlight the issues facing us as a Nation, provide moral clarity, and offer some policy options from where I stand. From where I stand, I often see missed opportunities, wrong turns likely to lead to cul-de-sacs. I try to differentiate between mistakes of the head and those of the heart.

Often, our destination may be the same, but the routes often differ and what I believe I should do in conscience is offer perspectives. I allow for the fact that of course, I could be wrong, but then, Democracy is about letting our voices be heard. While those in power and politicians talk to the people, as a priest, I talk with the people.

But when our voices and views are taken together, we can compose a beautiful melody for a united nation. In this way, government’s vision and policy become our vision and policy, thus creating a common threshold of trust. In keeping with the exhortation of St. Paul, we must preach this Gospel, welcome or unwelcome. So, fellow citizens, a very happy Easter to you all.

The great Bishop Fulton Sheen, in his timeless book, Life of Christ, stated: There are only two philosophies of life. One is the feast and then the hangover, the other, the fast and then the feast. Deferred joys purchased by sacrifices are always the sweetest and most enduring. Against this backdrop, it is easy to see why the Nigerian dream has turned into a nightmare over the years. Our leaders chose the feast rather than the fast. We are today reaping what we sowed yesterday.

For over sixty years, our leaders have looked like men in a drunken stupor, staggering, stumbling and fumbling, slurring in speech, with blurred visions searching for the way home. The corruption of the years of a life of immoral and sordid debauchery have spread like a cancer destroying all our vital organs. The result is a state of a hangover that has left our nation comatose.

Notwithstanding, Easter is a time to further reflect on the road not taken. It is a time to see if this Golgotha of pain can lead us to the new dawn of the Resurrection. Nigeria can and Nigeria will be great again. Let us ride this tide together in hope.

Many Nigerians are wondering and asking questions such as, what time of day is it? Where are we? How did we get here? Where is here? Where are we going? How long do we still have to travel and are there any map readers to tell us if we are on the right path?

Neither I nor anyone can answer all these questions, but together, we can think through them. Let us not all pretend to be ignorant. It is not so much who knows what. It is rather a matter of accepting the challenges, having the honesty to ask the most difficult questions, and holding each other accountable. In this way, the road may be long, but it will be easier to travel together in faith and confidence.

Even though it is not daybreak yet, all of us must agree that the night is far gone. The only reason why I am confident that daybreak may not be too far away is because of my faith in God and the power of the risen Christ. There could not be a better metaphor for addressing the situation we are in now than to turn our attention to the meaning of Easter and the promises that are contained in the meaning of Christianity.

St. Paul said: The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light (Rom.13:12). With the risen Christ, we can dispel encircling clouds of doom.

The belief in the resurrection is what sets Christianity apart from other world religions. It was inconceivable, unfathomable, indescribable, preposterous and incomprehensible. How could a dead man rise from the dead? Unfortunately for us, those soldiers who had been stationed at the tomb, men whose careers and life depended on carrying out the task of guarding the tomb confessed that they were like dead men because, at the resurrection, His appearance was like lightening and clothes were as white as snow (Mt. 28:3).

The accusers of Jesus and his enemies, rather than seeking trial for them for their negligence became fraudulent conspirators. We hear that: The chief priests met with the elders and gave large sums of money to the soldiers and said, you are to say that the disciples came at night and stole the body while we were asleep (Mt. 28:12-13).

The resurrection confirmed that indeed, Jesus was the Messiah, the Christ promised by the prophets for hundreds of years. The event of the resurrection split human history, becoming the marker of time and events. Everything else in human history from took place either before Christ (BC) or after Christ (AD).

Consider the following: His birth announced peace to ALL men and women of good will (Lk. 2:14). Salvation is to be found only through him alone. In all the world, there is no other name through which salvation is given (Acts 4:12). It is the reason why at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow and all proclaim that Jesus is Lord (Phil. 2:10).

If we Christians take the resurrection of Jesus to heart, then we will appreciate that suffering is a prelude to a better and more rewarding life. It might be argued that Nigerians have suffered enough. True, but the good life is a shifting aspiration with no finishing post. The important thing is to make it feasible for every generation to pursue happiness with less stress. We Christians still face the challenge of following Jesus truly.

Millions of people say that they believe in Jesus. Merely calling Jesus Lord is not enough because Jesus said: Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven (Mt. 7:21). Millions of people believe in Jesus, but this is not enough because their perception of Jesus is often flawed. There are those who call him one of the prophets of God. Some call him a good man.

Others think He was a teacher who worked miracles and of course, the Jews who considered him a blasphemer because of His claims to being God. However, what people believe about my father is not important. It is what I know about my father that is important. As such, too many Christians are often misled by the perceptions of others who say they believe in Jesus but are not Christians.

It is the resurrection that confirmed Jesus as being the Christ, the son of God. Jesus is not the Son of God in a biological sense, but is so in the incarnation, that is, God taking the human form without sin. Had he not risen, he would have been Jesus, a good man who perhaps lived and preached in a particular period of time. The world would have since forgotten of him or remembered him like other good men.

The coming of Jesus was foretold by prophets over seven hundred years before He came. The world expected Him. The only challenge was no one knew when it would be. His place of birth (Bethlehem), circumstances of birth (by a virgin) were foretold. The lord himself will give you a sign, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, his name shall be Emmanuel (Is. 7:14).

The Lord says, Bethlehem, you are one of the smallest towns in Judah, but out of you will come a ruler of Israel (Mic. 5: 1-2). The whole of the book of Isaiah chapter 53 gives a detailed account of the sufferings that would be endured by the Messiah. He is like a lamb led to the slaughter, never uttering a word.

He was arrested and sentenced and led off to die and no one cared about his fate…He was placed in a grave with the wicked…the Lord says, it was my will that he should suffer, his death was a sacrifice to bring forgiveness (Is. 53: 7-10). These prophesies were his letter of credence, the proof of the claims that had been made.

Against this backdrop, the early Christians faced a dilemma. Jesus, their Master had died the painful and horrible death meant for criminals.  Against the run of play, He had risen indeed as He and the prophets before Him had said He would. The event generates controversies. His bedraggled apostles were still reeling from it all when Jesus says they are to proclaim His message to the whole world (Mt. 28:15).

They have neither a headquarters nor do they even have a start-up capital. Jesus tells them to simply depend on the good will of people, but merely eating whatever is set before them (Lk. 10: 8). Their only currency of exchange is faith and peace. Whatever house you enter, let your first words be, ‘Peace to this house’ (Lk. 10:5).

Preaching the resurrected Christ is not merely a statement of a historical fact that has become associated with the Easter celebrations. Easter is about coming to the terms with the complex reality that; God’s ways are not our ways, His thoughts not our thoughts (Is. 55:8). Preaching and bearing witness to the resurrection came with a heavy price for the early Church.

The apostles were imprisoned, tortured, flogged, humiliated and killed. As far as confronting the throne of power is concerned, as far as challenging the structures of injustice and abuse of power are concerned, nothing has changed. Today’s Pilate is still firmly on his throne of arrogance, hubris and egotism. The persecution of Christians is still rife all over the world.

Much as we try to pretend, persecution is rife in our country through brutal and subtle means whether by outright denials of basic rights or threats and blackmail. In all this, we cling to the words of the great song, Onward Christian soldiers which says, Crowns and thrones may perish, kingdoms rise and wane, but the Church of Jesus constant will remain. Those who preach a discounted Christianity, focusing on quick solutions, miracles, drama and theatre, claiming that we were not born to suffer, suggesting that we were destined for prosperity, must choose between their cross-less Christianity and a Christ-less cross of human suffering which tyrants often afflict their people. Both have no salvific value.

Today, things are hard. Really very hard in Nigeria. I see it on the faces of our people every day. We are in one of the most difficult phases of our national life. But we are not alone. However, I am optimistic that our country will heal from the scars of hunger and destitution, that the wounds of physical and psychological violence will heal.

But, first, we Christians must wake up to our duties and responsibilities of what it is to be Christian as an individual, a family, a community or in public life. There are tough times ahead. Politics alone will not change the fate of our country, neither will all the right economic policies or positive ratings by the world’s agencies.

We need to do more. Nigeria has lost its soul and the evidence lies before us all. The mindless corruption and debauchery in high places is merely a symptom of a deeper rot. It is not the real disease. We must recover our lost soul. Christians cannot discount our high moral values simply because, this is Nigeria and, things are hard or everyone is doing this or that. With nothing but the moral force of faith in the risen Jesus, 11 semi-illiterate men, pursued by the roman authorities, finally converted the empire itself. If you doubt the force of true believers, think again. Not by power nor by might, but by my spirit, the Lord says.

The evil that we see around us is a consequence not a cause. We have relied on tools of social sciences to create all kinds of doomsday scenarios about the impending end of Nigeria. In the 90s, the pessimists told us that we were on the road to Rwanda. Time passed and we never got to Rwanda. Then the experts wrote so many opinion and editorial articles claiming that rather than Rwanda, we were heading for Somalia.

We have arrived at none of these destinations not due to poor map reading but due to superficial and scaremongering reading of history and analysis of social dynamics of society. Faith renews a people and a nation. St Paul said it all: To have faith is to be sure of the things that we hope for, to be certain about the things we cannot see……No one can please God without faith (Heb. 11: 1, 6). I leave you with four points to ponder on.

First, the Federal Government must come up with a robust template for how it wishes to reverse and put us on a path of national healing. This must include a deliberate policy of inclusion that will drastically end the immoral culture of nepotism. The government must design a more comprehensive and wide-ranging method of recruitment that is transparent as a means of generating patriotism and reversing the ugly face of feudalism and prebendalism.

There is need for a clear communications strategy that will serve to inspire and create time-lines of expectations of results from policies. There is need for clarity over questions of the Who, What, When, and How national set goals are to be attained and who can be held accountable. This will take us away from the current communications-by-announcement-of-appointments policies as if this is all that government is doing.

 

Second, the notion of rejigging the security architecture is a hackneyed cliché that is now at best, an oxymoron. It is difficult to fathom our current situation regarding the ubiquity of the military in our national life. It is impossible to explain how we can say we are in a civilian Democracy with the military literally looking like an army of occupation with an octopussean spread across all the 36 states and Abuja. This has very serious consequences both for its professionalism, its integrity and perceived role in protecting society.

No other person than the immediate past Chief of Defense Staff, General Lucky Irabor, who recently referred to the military as facing the dilemma of what he called, see finish. It is now difficult to say whether the persistence of insecurity is a cause or a consequence of military ubiquity. Trillions of Naira continue to go into bottomless pits with little measurable benefits.

Our military’s professionalism cannot be diluted by the recruitment of hunters, vigilante groups and other unprofessional and untrained groups. This is not sustainable because it leaves the military open to ridicule and perceptions of surrender. Fighting insecurity is now an enterprise. I believe our security men and women can defeat these criminals in a matter of months. All we hear and see are fingers pointing to the top. No, this must end. The alternative is too frightening to contemplate. The time was yesterday, but today is still possible.

Third, it is cheering to hear that the President has announced that kidnapping and banditry are now to be treated as acts of terrorism. If so, we need to see a relentless and implacable plan to end this menace with a definite date line for bringing these terrorists to their knees, no matter what it will take.

Without a timeline for eliminating these evil, despicable, malevolent and execrable demons from among us, our future as a people will be imperiled. I commend the government over its promise to stop paying ransom to bandits and kidnappers. However, merely going to the forest and returning with victims leaves the government open to suspicion from citizens. The government needs to show results of a well co-ordinated plan and time lines to bring back all citizens in captivity and give us back our country.

 

Fourth, I encourage the President to continue on the path of probity, to take further steps to cut down the overbearing costs of governance and to put in place more comprehensive plans towards achieving both food and physical security across our nation. Merely distributing money through already corruption riddled structures is not enough and diminishes the dignity of our citizens.

No one needs to line up to receive aid when we are not in a war. Give our people back their farms and develop a comprehensive agricultural plan to put our country back on the path of honour and human dignity.

May our blessed Mother who stood by the cross of Her son, watched Him die and laid to rest and rejoiced to see Him rise, intercede for our dear country.

Nigeria must embrace the blessings of the risen Christ so as to heal again.

Kukah is the Bishop, Catholic Diocese of Sokoto

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easter: The truth cannot be buried

“Every violation of truth is not only a sort of suicide in the liar, but is a stab at the health of human society.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The Truth never damages a cause that is just.” Mahatma Gandhi

John 14:6: “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.”

OBSERVING nature carefully makes us wonder about the mysterious cycles of life, death and through death new life again. It is the mystery of the grain of wheat, which falls to the earth and dies in order to produce an abundance of new life, which transcends itself in both quality and quantity. When the truth is buried, it never dies, it comes out more glorious.

From biology in secondary school, we remember the word ‘metamorphosis’. This is the post-embryonic change of an animal when the lava of an insect becomes a pupa, or a tadpole changes into a frog.

Metamorphoses is a mysterious development of life. Burial is necessary for the truth, if we want to see its beauty.

Not so with lies.

In dealing with the mystery of human life and death, the Bible refers to these phenomena in nature to indicate that, for the Christian, death is a metamorphosis (transfiguration: Mk 9:2) into a better life.

In the gospel of St. John, the Lord Jesus uses the mystery of the dying grain of wheat to refer to His impending death and resurrection to a new life.

The tomb, like the womb, brings new life.

Falsehood dies and undergoes corruption and degradation, it aborts itself.

All of us experience our daily personal metamorphosis. We die and new life begins. This is the shape of the Christian life patterned after that of Jesus. As He did, we must go through the mystery of dying to sin, dying to the flesh, dying to selfishness, dying to self, in short, a metamorphosis. And it will result in a glorious life with Christ.

This is the meaning of Easter.

Easter is the feast of life. “The Lord has risen, alleluia, praise the Lord!” marks all prayers and songs of this festive season.

It represents the joy of being a Christian: The Lord’s death was not a defeat but victory! And we share in the Lord’s victory over suffering and death.

Because you cannot bury the truth.

Easter remains us of an empty tomb.

This is the difference between Christianity and other religions. The graves of their founders are here with us and their followers go there for pilgrimages. That is why Christianity is not a religion. Christianity is a relationship with a living person, the Lord Jesus the Christ.

Luke 24:5-7

And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.”

“Why do you look for the living among the dead?” This is a great and timely question! We do not normally look for the dead among the living. So why would you look for the living among the dead?

The empty tomb means that Jesus is risen and is living among us and we should not look for him among the dead. You can kill and even bury the truth, but just for three days!

Unfortunately, we human beings look for life in dead things and places that have no life in them – we dig graves and bury ourselves. We are dead men and women walking. We turn to money, war, power, sin, betrayal, occultism, alcohol and drugs and think in them we can find life.

What are we searching for?

We never find love, joy and peace in these things. Instead, they become spiritual tombs with little or no hope of the resurrection. We love lies and our generation is best described as a generation of lies and liars. The best lier gets the day.

But for how long? Lies have a very short lifespan. Yet we continue trying things in the hope that they will give us comfort and peace.

The opposite of the truth is lie, and a lie is an attack on the liar’s person and credibility in the future. The words of Alexander Pope: “He who tells a lie is not sensible of how great a task he undertakes; for he must be forced to invent twenty more to maintain that lie.”

Matthew 28:11-14

The Report of the Guard.

While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sufficient sum of money to the soldiers and said, “Tell people, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.”

Easter means, it is better to be hurt by the truth than to be comfortable with a lie. This is because there is no sweet and peaceful pillow like a clear conscience.

This is an undisputed truth.

Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death!” What profits do you make from sin? Death. Our country has become the biggest cemetery in the world. We are the poorest in spirit, virtue and morals.

What will be written on your grave?

Do you increase your wealth without increasing your charity? Do you gain power without helping the powerless? Do you derive pleasure from life without alleviating someone’s suffering? Those soldiers forgot that a liar will not be believed, even when he speaks the truth.

Galatians 6:7-8

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption.

Easter breaks that feverish human cycle of searching for life in things that are dead and in the grave.

Easter calls us to shed the old life and accept new life. The resurrection power means to get out of the tomb of selfishness, greed, prejudice, wickedness, addiction and hostility.

Easter invites us to get out of pride, envy, anger, greed, gluttony and lust, that have imprisoned us and to accept a new birth and a new person.

This is the meaning of Easter.

You cannot bury the truth for more than three days.

Easter can happen to you today, if you believe in the “new life,” shed the old. Start with yourself, spread this joy to your family, in your workplace, to your friends and relatives, to your community, then lies will be buried and we shall be witnesses to the resurrection.

St. Paul puts it to all of us in Philippians 3:10-11. That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Let’s conclude with the words of William Hazlitt: “As hypocrisy is said to be the highest compliment to virtue, the art of lying is the strongest acknowledgement of the force of truth.”

One of the most devastating misfortunes in the aftermath of bandits’ attacks is the number of children and women who are left orphans or widows. Sometimes we see pictures of these forlorn and vulnerable ones, their eyes stare out of nothing but emptiness and sadness. All the donations, the promises and the lies.

But something more is needed, more than even love.

They need a sense of belonging to someone, a sense of family, a sense of home, a sense of the truth. All the aid in the world cannot provide these things.

Emptiness and sadness can only be filled with meaningful, lasting relationships, and the truth, because the truth cannot be buried.

The good news is that while the journey of life will not be easy, it need not be traveled alone.

You need Easter!

Father Gowok is a lecturer in the Department of Mass Communication, University of Jos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bokkos/Mangu attacks: Is a new barracks the solution?

Approval has been given by President Bola Tinubu for the establishment of an army barracks in Bokkos as a result of the security challenges that have continually engulfed several parts of the state. The 2023 Christmas eve attacks on some villages in Bokkos and parts of Mangu must have necessitated the president’s decision. KATDAPBA Y. GOBUM examines the development and wonders if the initiative would lead to the restoration of peace in those areas.

Musa

THE vicious attack on about 11 communities of Gashish District of Barkin Ladi on June 23, 2018, where over 200 people were killed was a turning point which necessitated the call for the establishment of a Mobile Police Barracks in the area. Since then, many communities across Kanam, Wase, Mangu, Bokkos, Barkin Ladi, Riyom, Jos North, Jos South, Jos East and Bassa local government areas had come under heavy attacks resulting in huge loss of lives and property. For those who may not know, the plan to overrun Plateau is not new. It was planned a long time ago and the executioners waited for several years to execute it. Sadly, Plateau has traveled this terrible road for over two decades now. That devilish plan was aimed at killing indigenous people and occupying their ancestral lands. The story of killings in Barkin Ladi, Bokkos, Riyom, Bassa and Mangu local government areas. The case for building a Mobile Barracks was first mooted by former Governor Simon Bako Lalong due to the security challenges bedeviling the state. The former governor had enlisted the support of the Federal Government in that direction. It was due to such security challenges that led to the clarion call for the creation for a state police. Some geopolitical zones of the country had to take the bull by horn by establishing their own security outfits in order to protect their people. Amotekun was one of s u c h, created b y t h e governments of the SouthWest region. But this move was condemned by those who perceived their creation as being deliberately targeted at Fulani herdsmen. In Plateau State, the state of insecurity was further compounded by the neglect of the state-owned security outfit called Operation Rainbow as well as starving the Plateau Peace Building Agency of funds. The little resources available for the Agency’s operational activities allegedly came from donor agencies. And once these dried up, its activities came to a stop. It is unfortunate that such an organization which encouraged dialogue among warring communities had to face such a fate. The peace agency had proved that bringing warring communities to the dialogue table could be a powerful instrument for the achievement of peace. As a result of the recent attacks, most natives cannot return to their ancestral lands which had been taken over by the rampaging herdsmen. Government and the security agencies have not been able to handle these new ‘land owners’ in a manner that could bring healing and justice to victims. Despite the fact that their losses cannot be quantified in monetary terms, t h e government at the center has not shown any appreciable concern for the plight of these people who had been under attack on an almost daily basis. And until that issue is addressed and as long as the perpetrators of these attacks are brought to book, they will always believe that they are the owners of the land and even put themselves above the laws of the land. Another sad aspect of the Plateau attacks is that the victims, often the natives, easily become the accused. In the process of protecting their communities from attacks, they are perceived by the security agencies as taking the laws into their hands. But most times they only use rudimentary tools of defence such as sticks, machetes and cudgels. While the state awaited the inauguration of Governor Caleb Manasseh Mutfwang last year, communities in Mangu Local Government Area came under heavy gun fire as bandits’ uncle a shed mayhem on innocent citizens. That bloodletting put to question the role of the security forces and government in protecting the lives and property of citizens. That harvest of death was so huge that the governor hardly slept in Jos after his inauguration as he had to seek for means and measures to stem that tide of violence and save the people. The consequences are dire. Mangu and Bokkos are traditionally agrarian communities whose contributions to food security in the country cannot be overemphasized. But these consistent attacks are putting a strain on food supply in the country as a whole. This is because most farmers cannot access their farm lands due to fear of being attacked. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s response to the killings offered a glimmer of hope. But hardly had the military high command relocated to Mangu and other affected neighbouring local government areas than more coordinated attacks were unleashed on the people. While the February 2024 attacks did not occur in Mangu villages, the local government headquarters became the theatre of war. Brothers allegedly took up arms against each other, reducing lives and buildings, including worship centers, market and homes, to rubble. That ferocious engagement led to the imposition of a curfew on the entire local government area. Even as various voices have risen in condemnation of the genocidal attacks, more needs to be done to sort out the challenges and give peace a chance in the state. The coordinated attacks on Bokkos, Mangu and Barkin Ladi local government areas on the Christmas eve of 2023 were well coordinated. Certainly, the attacks reduced the essence of our humanity. At the end, over two hundred lives were wasted with no one claiming responsibility, neither was any major suspect arrested. Even the few perpetrators reportedly arrested in connection with the attacks have not yet been charged to court. There is ample evidence pointing to the fact that the attackers knew the terrain very well and were assisted by their local collaborators. A few days after, some of those who allegedly took part in killing the natives were seen at mining ponds in the area, thus leading to the conclusion that the attacks are a plot to take over the economic resources of the area. While the establishment of the barracks is a welcome development to the natives, many are quick to point to the fate of the people of Bassa Local Government Area where the local communities have been under attack by Fulani herdsmen despite the fact that the area shares a fence with the 3 Armoured Division of the Nigerian army at Rukuba. For instance, on February 11, 2024, two communities, Nkiezha and Teegbe, in Irigweland were attacked and five people reportedly killed. In fact, Irigwe land remains one of the most attacked places in the state as thousands of lives have so far been wasted. Perhaps there is more to these attacks than meets the eye. Anyone would have thought that the Division’s proximity to the local government area would guarantee their security. The new military barracks, which will be located at Miller Farm, Mbar District of Bokkos Local Government Area of Plateau State. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu as well as the military authorities believe that it would provide swift security intervention to address the incessant security challenges in Bokkos, Mangu, Riyom and Barkin Ladi local government areas and parts of Nasarawa State. The Chief of Defense Staff, General Christopher Musa, has since set in motion modalities for the establishment of the barracks. The expectations of the people are very high as they believe that the military will play a critical role in stemming the tide of these attacks.

The domestic abuse response unit

My sister told me this story that made me livid. She told me about this woman who has eight children and is being abused by her husband. She told me that the church tried to intervene by reporting the case to the human rights radio. However, the pastor told the woman not to mention that he was the one who took the case to them.

When the woman sat down with the people from the human rights radio to tell her story, she asked them if she was still expected to go back to her husband’s house after their intervention. Needless to say that the intervention did not take place.

This is 2023 and a man still beats his wife. He does not only beat her. He bites her as well. When my sister went to her house to see her, she did not only see the bite marks. She also saw one of her daughters who had a wound on her forehead.The child had tried to stop her father from beating her mother and the father hit her on the head with a tool that left a wound on her forehead.

I asked my sister if she was trying to help the woman and my sister hissed. She told me that when the woman had child number eight, she told her how she could empower herself economically and leave the marriage with the children. However, the woman took in again. Having a child and leaving a  marriage do not go hand in hand. My sister tells me that the family is extremely poor and as early as 9:00am the husband would be drunk. She said that the man is extremely violent and would hurt anyone who got in the way. He beat her while she was carrying the baby on her back!

This story made me sad and angry at the same for many reasons. Please who goes and gives birth to eight children in this day and age? We have been struggling economically in this country for close to twenty years now. How can one be poor and have eight children in an abusive marriage and then go on to have a ninth child just when someone wanted to help her escape abuse?

How does a husband beat his wife? How does a man beat a woman not to mention one that has given him nine children? How does a man beat and bite his wife? How does that happen when she is carrying a baby. How does he hurt his child in the process of beating his wife? How do we mind our business?

My question is this: Where are the men in the community when a woman is getting beaten by her husband? Why do they go silent? Is this a form of conspiracy? I remember one day when my neighbour was beating his wife. Her sister kept on screaminng that he was trying to kill her sister and that she would not let him do that. I was alarmed. In the entire neigbourhood, I did not see anyone come out of their houses and go to that house to stop the husband. Not even my husband. I asked him if  we could call security. He told me that it was not our business. I told him that since I could hear her cries, it had become my business. After much pestering, he called the police and the estate security who came promptly on a bike.

The case was reported to the police and when investigations commenced, the police came to ask us some questions in the house and my husband told them that we were not aware of what happened. I wondered why. If abusers went to jail, it would discourage others from abuse. I wanted to talk to the police, but I was stopped.

I have come to a conclusion that I would like to share with our ministries of women affairs. That is, that women cannot stop abuse. We need men to be involved in this fight and take the lead for many reasons. Imagine a man who has daughters. Imagine how protective he can be towards his daughters. I believe that if we start a movement against abuse and we involve these fathers in the push against wife battery, we will make a lot of progress.

The case of the doctor who raped his niece is still fresh on our minds. He has been sentenced to life in jail. This is a move in the right direction. A deterrent .However, a lot still needs to be done to protect women and girls in the society.

I personally believe that before we put an end to abuse or reduce it to its barest minimum, abuse must become our collective business. It must become a source of worry to every man in every community. I go back to the day that my neighbour was getting a beat down by her husband. I imagine that if all the men on that street had come out to confront the husband, he would have promptly desisted. However, they did not. This was in the night on a weekday and most of the men on that street were home. How is it not their business? If it was their sister or their daughter. It would be their business.

Women have tried and continue to try. We have raised our voices against abuse for quite a while now and we are getting heard. However, there is a strong challenge. There are men who are die hard abusers and I believe it will take the entire community to stop them. Women can talk and sue but most women who are being abused cannot be saved because the man would often attack those who try to do.  Abroad, shelters are bult to protect these women and somehow some of them still end up getting killed by their abusive spouses who would stalk them if they ever left the shelters.

If we intend to reduce and eventually erase abuse in out communities, we must start thinking communally. Where are the men in the community? They can meet each month and make it clear to each other that violence against women will not be tolarated. They can also encourage the women in the community to report abuse to them. If any woman is getting beaten, it becomes their responsibility to break the door and go into the house to save the woman who is being abused, and then also take the man to the police station.

It is important for men to see abuse as their business and their responsibility.  It is said that evil strives when good men say keep quite.I have a different definition. A man is he who protects. A good man is he who goes out of his way to protect. A man also has the responsibility of  defending his fellow brother from being beaten by any woman. Men who are abused are not less masculine. Any man who sees another beating a woman and minds his business cannot be a man. A man is a protector.

An abuser has a certain type of mentality towards the woman he is abusing, that will require the intervention of other men. Let us look at the mindset of an abuser or wife batterer to understand that unless men get involved in ending domestic violence against women, it is only going to get worse.

The Traits And Mindset Of A Wife Beater: The Psychological Profile Of The Abuser

The following are the traits of a wife beater:

Rude and verbally abusive during courtship; A guy who is verbally abusive and rude during the process of courtship is likely to carry on with this behaviour into the marriage, further escalating into violence.

Background of violence; One study established that 80% to 85% of men who end up physically assaulting their spouses witnessed their dad abusing their mother early in their lives.

Low self-esteem; their upbringing immensely contributed to their emotional development. That’s the reason why the profile of a wife beater revolves around self-esteem.

Poor interpersonal skills play a big role in the abuser’s regard for social relations. An abuser is likely to misinterpret his spouse’s social interactions as love affairs. This is likely to send the wrong signals to his premeditated mind and violence will follow suit.

A man who comes from a culture that regards women as sexual objects is likely going to physically abuse the spouse when he fails to have his way sexually with her.

One who abuses alcohol or drugs lacks emotional balance and is likely to lose his temper when under the influence of alcohol or drugs and turn violent.

Feeling inadequate is another defining factor in the mind of an abuser which makes him turn violent the moment his wife threatens to leave him.

History of abuse in childhood is likely to make a man grow into adulthood nurturing those painful feelings into anger that will be misguided into reading negative messages or signals in the innocent behaviour of his partner. These imaginary faults will lead to violence.

Mood swings are one of the traits of a wife-beater which says a lot about a violent nature. It is highly unlikely for a man who experiences a sudden change of mood to end up friendly. Almost always, the mood ends in anger which is a good enough reason for an abuser to beat his wife.

Adoration of violence is a common trait in many males, especially those who regard violence as an appropriate method of settling scores. This is the kind of man who will only see the option of violence as the best one to employ in “punishing” his wife in the event of a minor altercation.

The history of domestic violence in an individual is a character that one can not easily live down. A man who abused his former wife or partner can not be trusted to keep off his habit for long. Sooner or later, he will abuse his next victim; his next partner or wife in this case.

Marriage for financial gain is a trait among some individuals who are not driven by love but by a desire for amassing gain. This only keeps them happy and sated as long as the bread and butter continue flowing. The moment their expectations are shattered, they turn to the object of their “love” and abuse them. This is the kind of man who first thinks of himself while others come after. With this kind of behaviour, the abuser abuses without reflection.

Ungodliness may be criticised and frowned upon, but it can never be condemned in our modern world where freedom of worship is safeguarded. Even those with no deity as their object of worship, are respected for having chosen their spiritual position. However, when a woman has an ungodly man, one who despises the word of God for a husband, most traditional values are likely to be stepped on. In a situation where such a man has nothing to check him, he’s likely to turn violent on a whim.

Mental issues in a partner or a husband, is a matter of life and death to the spouse. No, any other red signal needs to be raised. The fact that the husband or partner is mentally unstable, is enough to terminate the marriage or a relationship. Here is where your life and concerns take precedence over the sacred tenets of the marriage vows. Even the law will be on your side on this one.

In conclusion, all you ladies out there, be on the lookout for your potential abusers. Consider the value of your lives and use your heads; no time to be swayed by the heat of the moment and lose your head. What you may be misled to interpret as true love in your partner, may in a real sense be your death sentence. When in the movies, look out for that unmistakable love for either horror movies, or violent confrontations. I have not said that that guy who watches horror movies and violence is the culprit. No, I mean that individual who laughs with glee when someone is mauled or killed on the screen. He never looks disturbed even when you are hurt. That is your guy; avoid him like the plague.

Men with these type of behaviours cannot be managed or stoped by women. It will require a community domestic violence prevention unit to empower men within a community to protect women by standing up to and stopping these types of men from abusing their wives.

It would propose a domestic protection unit in every community. This unit would not only be instituted by social welfare but be linked to the ministry of women affairs. The job is to be watch dogs against domestic violence in their community. They also have a hot line and step in for the police before they arrive at the scent of the abuse.

For men who have daughters, sisters and cousins, the issue of abuse should be important to you because many women die in silence in their marriages due to   the lack of effective structures in their immediate community to protect them. When they go to the police, they are told that the issue of abuse is domestic. In essence, they are sent back to the monsters at home. When they go home to their families, few are received and protected. Some families are so concerned with their reputation than they are with their children. Some families turn their daughters away because they say that they do not believe in divorce.

It is also very important for men to empower their daughters with skills and resources. If a woman can fend for herself and contributes her own quota in a marriage, she is in a good position to leave an abusive spouse. Some women cannot leave their abessive spouses because they have no resources of their own and no skills to sell. The idea that a woman should depend completely on her husband is weak thinking. In practical terms, how can a man be the only one fending for his family with no contribution from his wife? Sometimes, men become very burdened and frustrated and if a man has an abusive tendency, this very easily starts to rear its head. He starts to believe that the ornamental wife is actually his property.

In conclusion, men of good conscience should make it their business to fish out all abusive men in their community and be actively involved in their persecution. Knowing that there are domestic violence prevention units in every community and that these work with the police and the social welfare office, is a deterrent to all abusers. It will also be a practical tools for protecting women in every community. These should be considered community development services.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Our wealth beneath our feet

Louis Farrakhan, the Great American, once said that Africans should not be poor because our  wealth lies beneath our defeat. Today I would like to write about the wealth beneath our feet.
I will start with a little true story. Late last week, I was listening to the radio. Human rights radio to be specific. A gentleman had reported to the station to complain about some Chinese miners who had rented his land for a sum of 50,000 naira per year. However, they paid him and others for only one year.
He told the story. He explained that a few community leaders had brought the Chinese around to introduce them. Some members of the community where not using their land for any activity and so the community leaders asked them to rent out these plots of land to the Chinese people for a sum of 50,000 naira per land per year to the Chinese people .
The deal was sealed, and the first payment was made. However, after a year, the Chinese reneged on the contracts .The gentleman said that all efforts to get the chief of the village to address the issue where futile. Consequently, he came to the human rights radio to see if he could get justice. The Chinese people where mining on the rented land even after refusing to pay or to renew the rent on the land. The ordinary president, Ahmed Isa, advised the gentleman to go to the palace of the higher Chief.
I was beyond astounded by this story. I was angry. Well, we were asked to focus on agriculture while other countries are  coming into ours to mine our mineral resources illegally. When are we as a people going to fully enjoy the wealth beneath our feet? Is it after our land has been plundered and our mineral resources taken away? I think that  it is time to change our focus. It is time to diversify from agriculture to the wealth beneath our feet.
In a society where poverty is prevalent, our focus has remained on growing food  for our local consumption. With some luck, we are able to export  but the foreign exchange comes majorly from the export of crude oil. My question is how can we can continue to remain in poverty while there are resources that are found in large commercial quantities under our feet?
The mantra about agriculture should be slowed down and more focus should be given to the mining and exporting of our resources as a way of raising the much needed foreign exchange for our economic stability. Providing raw materials markets has never been of any advantage to our economy. As such, we should do all we can to put in place the necessary infrastructure for mining, starting with efficiency in the area of electricity and  other forms of energy such as solar and wind energy. The rail infrastructure should also go from north to south and east to West. This should become the major transportation for te mining industry. Furthermore, applying for and acquiring mining licenses should be made easier so that anyone who wishes to go into mining and has the capital and the infrastructure to do so can participate.
There are so many mineral resources under our feet in nigerial. Let us look at a few and where they are located in Nigeria from the excerpt bellow:
Over 40 million tonnes deposits of talc have been identified in Niger, Osun, Kogi, Ogun and Kaduna states. The Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC)’s 3,000 tonnes per annum catalytic plant is the only talc plant in the country. The talc industry represents one of the most versatile sectors of the industrial minerals of the world. The exploitation of the vast deposits would therefore satisfy local demand and that for export.
Gypsum: Gypsum is an important input for the production of cement. It is also used for the production of Plaster of Paris (P.O.P) and classroom chalks. A strategy for large-scale mining of gypsum used in the cement industries is urgently required to sustain the existing plants and meet the future expansion. Currently, cement production is put at 8 million tonnes per annum while the national requirement is 9.6 million tonnes. About one billion tonnes of gypsum deposits are spread over many states in Nigeria.
Iron Ore:There are over 3 billion metric tonnes of iron ore in deposits found in Kogi, Enugu and Niger States as well as the Federal Capital Territory. Iron Ore is being mined at Itakpe in Kogi State and is already being beneficiated, up to 67 per cent of iron. The Aladja and Ajaokuta Steel complexes are ready for consumers of billets and other iron products for down-stream industries.
Lead/Zinc: An estimated 10 million tonnes of lead/zinc veins are spread over eight states of Nigeria. Proven reserves in three prospects in the east-central area are 5 million tonnes. Joint venture partners are encouraged to develop and exploit the various lead/zinc deposits all over the country.
Bentonite and Baryte:These are the main constituents of the mud used in the drilling of all types of oil wells. The Nigerian baryte has specific gravity of about 4.3. Over 7.5 million tonnes of baryte have been identified in Taraba and Bauchi States. Large bentonite reserves of 700 million tonnes are available in many states of the federation ready for massive development and exploitation.
Gold: There are proven reserves of both alluvial and primary gold in the schist belt of Nigeria located in the south-western part of the country. The deposits are mainly alluvial and are currently being exploited on a small scale. Private investors are invited to stake concessions on these primary deposits.
Bitumen: The occurrence of bitumen deposits in Nigeria is indicated at about 42 billion tons; almost twice the amount of existing reserves of crude petroleum. Analytical results suggest that this potential resource can be used directly as an asphalt binder. Most bitumen used for road construction in Nigeria is currently imported.
Coal: Nigerian coal is one of the most bituminous in the world owing to its low sulphur and ash content and therefore the most environment- friendly. There are nearly 3billion tonnes of indicated reserves in 17 identified coal fields and over 600 million tonnes of proven reserves.
Rock Salt: The national annual demand for table salt, caustic soda, chlorine, sodium bicarbonate, sodium hydrochloric acid and hydrogen peroxide exceeds one million tonnes. A colossal amount of money is expended annually to import these chemicals by chemical and processing companies including tanneries and those in food and beverages, paper and pulp, bottling and oil sector. There are salt springs at Awe (Plateau State), Abakaliki and Uburu (Ebonyi State), while rock salt is available in Benue State. A total reserve of 1.5 million tonnes has been indicated, and further investigations are now being carried out by the Government.
Gemstones: Gemstones mining has boomed in various parts of Plateau, Kaduna and Bauchi states for years. Some of these gemstones include sapphire, ruby, aquamarine, emerald, tourmaline, topaz, garnet, amethyst; zircon, and flourspar which are among the world’s best. Good prospects exist in this area for viable investments.
Kaolin: An estimated reserve of 3 billion tonnes of good kaolinitic clay has been identified in many localities in Nigeria. Lift from page 4 and 5 of Local Sourcing of Raw Materials.
The following are more of the mineral resources  in states- Abia: Gold, Lead/Zinc, Limestone, Oil/Gas & Salt, Abuja: Cassiterite, Clay, Dolomite, Gold, Lead/Zinc, Marble & Tantalite. Adamawa-Bentonite, Gypsum, Kaolin & Magnesite.Akwa Ibom: Clay, Lead/Zinc, Lignite, Limestone, Oil/Gas, Salt & Uranium, Anambra: Clay, Glass-Sand, Gypsium, Iron-ore, Lead/Zinc, Lignite, Limestone, Phosphate & Salt. Bauchi: Gold, Cassiterite (tine ore), Columbite, Gypsium, Wolfram, Coal, Limestone, Lignite, Iron-ore & Clay, Bayelsa: Glay, Gypsium, Lead/Zinc, Lignite, Limestone, Maganese, Oil/Gas & Uranium. Benue: Barite, Clay, Coal, Gemstone, Gypsum, Iron-Ore, Lead/Zinc, Limestone, Marble & Salt. Borno: Bentonite, Clay, Diatomite, Gypsum, Hydro-carbon, Kaolin & Limestone. Plateau: Columbite, ruby, topaz, sapphire
This is just about eight states in Nigeria. For the other states:  https://nigerianembassythehague.nl/about-nigeria/natural-resources/
More sources  such as Value Chain, an energy magazines, says that Nigeria has 44 mineral resources found in 500 locations across Nigeria in commercial quantity. The former minister of  mines and steel development, Olamilekan Adegbete, says and I quote: “this clearly demonstrates the wide mineral spectrum we are endowed with, which offers limitless opportunities along the value chain for job creation, revenue, growth amongst others.” He added “ Nigeria provides one of the highest rates of return because it’s minerals are closer to the surface”.
Going by what the minister says, our solid minerals are a solid source of foreign exchange, especially due to the fact that our minerals are closer to the surface.It means that we will spend less on mining and we will require less energy to bring out our mineral resources to the surface.
Looking at the forgoing, I ask the question, why then are we so focused on agriculture when we can simply diversify  into the solid mineral industry by licensing more and more local miners who  can then exports these solid minerals to places like China? Why do we continue to allow people from other nations to come in and cheaply dig up our solid minerals and take them to their countries without any hassles while we persecute our local miners whom we describe as illegal?
We have wealth beneath our feet. We should not be poor and suffering because Africa has the highest deposit of solid minerals, and we have our fair share on the Plateau and in Nigeria as a whole. Our Nigerian illegal miners die a lot because of the conditions under which they work. Our  miners  do not have to  die. If a community can put its resources together and get a mining license, it should be encouraged to mine.
Many of our embassies abroad have a long list of our solid minerals. I think that the harvest is plenty, but the harvesters are few. Do we have many mining training institutes where people who desire to become miners go to for training on how to mine different solid minerals, how to process them, grade them and export them? Do we have enough  experts and professionals to man this industry or are we sitting down to watch other countries pilfer our resources? We should have a mining cooperation institute at every state and local government level and also have the complementary law that protects the environment.
Let us now take a look at a few of the prizes of solid minerals on the international market from ACA international and ministry of mines and steel development – Iron Ore:77.37, Gold: 1335.5, Limestone:11.05, Baryte:150. These compete with crude prices.
Having read this, let me invite you to read from two more local newspaper so that you may juxtapose and determine our solid mineral situation in Nigeria. The following excerpt is from Punch of 6th July. It details  solid mineral imports into Nigeria:
The value of solid minerals imports rose by 74.39 per cent from N23.56bn in the first quarter of 2021 to N41.09bn in the same quarter in 2022. This is contained in the Q1 2022 Foreign Trade Statistics report of the National Bureau of Statistics. According to the report, solid minerals are elements found on the earth, and they include naturally organic substances that are solid like precious stones and kaolin.The report read in part, “The value of solid minerals imports in the first quarter of 2022 stood at N41.09bn, this value was 37.84 per cent higher than the value recorded in Q4, 2021 (N29.81bn) and 74.39 per cent of the value recorded in Q1, 2021 (N23.56bn).” Solid mineral imports were dominated by plasters of calcined gypsum or calcium sulphate imported from Turkey worth N6.87bn and China valued at N1.87bn.Other products imported under this category were salt for human consumption from Namibia (N5.87bn) and Tunisia (N1.14bn), and Gypsum anhydrite (N5.72bn) from Spain.The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, recently described Nigeria as a blessed with 44 different types of minerals in commercial quantity in over 500 locations in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. Some of the minerals include baryte, kaolin, gypsum, feldspar, limestone, coal, bitumen, lignite, uranium, gold, cassiterite, columbite, iron ore, lead-zinc, copper, granite, laterite,  sapphire, tourmaline, emerald, topaz, amethyst, and garnet.
However, the minister also said that Nigeria and other African countries were suffering from the under-utilization of mineral resources despite huge deposits. The minister said, “Undeniably, Nigeria’s Minerals sector offers robust economic potential for diversification of the nation’s economy yet the country and indeed, many other African Countries have continued to suffer under utilization of their mineral resources.
“This has accounted for the slow phase of socio-economic development in Nigeria and many African countries. Our country is known to operate a mono economy where oil accounts for almost 90 per cent of the foreign exchange earnings. He also noted that insufficient geoscientific data and geological knowledge, weak implementation and enforcement of mining laws and regulations were critical constraints to the mining sector’s development. He said the existing gaps propelled the ministry to immediately begin the process of preparing a detailed sector road map aimed at advancing certain strategic objectives. Adegbite further stressed the role of the private sector as owners and operators of commercial mining entities and businesses.
He called on geoscientists and stakeholders to support government’s policies and efforts in diversifying the nation’s economy, using the mineral sector as one of the key drivers.The President, Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society, Alabo Charles, said the Federal Government had identified mining and agriculture as viable options in its effort to diversify the nation’s economy from dependence on oil and gas.
Now, let us also read the following excerpt from Business Day Newspaper  of  February 2019 and Juxtapose the two:
In all ramifications, Nigeria is immensely endowed with numerous mineral resources. Every state in the country has some form of mineral deposit, waiting to be tapped for economic prosperity. According to Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Nigeria has 45 different solid minerals buried in various locations across the country. But these minerals are largely untapped. Both local and foreign investors can leverage on this multi-billion-dollar market. In its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan 2017 to 2020, the Federal Government of Nigeria declared that solid mineral sector is one of the fast-growing sectors of the economy. The recognition of this is a window opening for investors to tap into the promising sector in Nigeria. The solid minerals deposits in Nigeria are worth several trillion-dollar market, yet Nigeria losses billions of dollars every year for importing things that can be produced locally using these items. “The commercial value of Nigeria’s solid minerals has been estimated to run into hundreds of trillions of dollars. The domestic mining industry is underdeveloped, leading to the importation of commodities that can be produced locally,” NIPC says in its document.
In conclusion, it is time to actually diversify our economy by actually diversifying our economy. It is time to massively mine the wealth beneath  our  feet for our growth and development. It is time to move from agriculture to our mines now in dove.
Dogara: Is this  ‘political prostitute’s’ huggermugger over?
Once upon a time, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives during the 8th assembly, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara held sway in the corridors of power.  As member representing Bogoro, Tafawa Balewa and Dass at the green chambers for over a decade plus, he certainly was once a force to reckon with within the circle of the political gladiators in the country including his immediate constituency back home. And as luck will have it for Dogara, after party-political cunnings in the House of Representatives  back then, he eventually materialized as the Speaker of our nation’s significant parliament which epitomizes the integral aspect of the legislative disposition of the nation. Lest many have forgotten, the former Speaker’s rise to power was necessitated by the doggedness of his people back home who came out under the rains and sun to ensure that he consistently won elections to represent them at the lower federal chambers in Abuja.
Dogara who emerged as Speaker on the  9th June 2015 is a minority from Bogoro Local Government Area of Bauchi State favored by the god of politics to excel thus far in his political career. Today, Dogara is no longer the Speaker and would certainly come May 29th 2023 be amongst several other federal legislators in the country whose tenure would expire and he will not return to the green chambers for any legislative duty again. Evidently, Dogara will come back home where he all started his political adventure  to meet his people at Gwarrangah village and more of his constituents at Bogoro, his local government area. As is the tradition with most politicians, he may decide to hold a Thanksgiving Service and or preferably quietly stay back in Abuja to think of what he would venture into next in life. He would certainly be left deep in thoughts considering the present traumatic and unpleasant unfolding developments trying to envelop him back home. For many concern individuals like us, the federal lawmaker may with a sober reflection come to terms with the unpleasant realities on ground concerning him and perhaps turn a new leaf.
This is because; once out of power, reality eventually hits many of such once political gladiators and pushes them to  repentance. This perhaps is the only noble  path Dogara may humbly chose to follow if the little “demons” in him do not rebel again.
Prior to the 2023 general elections, Rt. Hon. Dogara and Babachir Lawal abandoned the ruling All Progressive Congress,(APC) in protest over the Muslim-Muslim ticket which the party decided to adopt. After several visitations  to churches and other significant political gatherings aligning with others who shared his similar thoughts, Dogara ended up in the People’s Democratic Party, (PDP), an opposition political party which decided to adopt a Muslim-Christian ticket but infringing the gentleman’s rotational agreement consensus earlier adopted   by the northern and southern political juggernauts in the country. This gentleman’s agreement came into effect before the emergence of this incumbent political dispensation to help consolidate the  balance power sharing arrangements for uninterrupted effective and efficient leadership succession intended to enhance fairness, justice and socio-economic and political integration of the citizens of the  country.
With the passage of time however, Dogara back home in Bauchi State  surprisingly  decided to support APC’s Gubernatorial candidate in the state, Air Vice Marshall Saqid Abubakar against the incumbent Governor, Senator Bala Mohammed who has since won re-election for a second term of office. Rt. Hon. Dogara’s campaign for the immediate past Chief of Air Staff was an open secret to the extent that people got confused on which side of the divide the former Speaker was. This attitude was another flagrant disregard to party loyalty and another anti-party activity if one may say so.
Though Dogara was a team member of PDP’s Presidential Campaign Council for Atiku/Okowa, he was also deeply involved campaigning for the APC gubernatorial candidate of Bauchi State perplexing intellectuals and political pundits. Even as he meander from one political party to another taking crucial decisions which needs further consultations with stakeholders back home, Dogara for once never found it expident to do so. This is certainly Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara for you. Retorting to this infrequent malfeasance, the APC Presidential Campaign Council Spokesman, Festus Keyamo described Dogara as a political prostitute. Keyamo, the incumbent Minister of State Labour further tagged the former Speaker  as a wanderer and back-stabber. True to his word, since Dogara’s departure from APC, no one can pragmaticaly ascertain  where or which political party he can confidently call his comfortable home. Plently water has passed under the brigde right now and not even Dogara himself can resonate the positive implication of his nasty political misadventure and or it’s glaring advantage to both the members of his immediate constituenty and Bauchi State at large. Typical  of some Nigerian politicians who employ administrative ingenuity to tackle crucial issues, Dogara is perhaps still hypnotized by spontaneous wealth and affluence and believes that he is still in a class of his own forgetting the reality of life in the sense that in politics and or life journey, there are seasons for everything under the sun. His leadership arrogance eventually came to bear after he started fighting anyone who shared a more pragmatic and logical ideology than his. Dogara is such a man driven by fallacious quest for power, unimaginable control of people and overwhelming notice me kind of a lifestyle.  This narcissistic ideology, unnecessary desperation for undue and undeserved power control by Dogara has led to his political misadventures in most recent times. As it is today however, Dogara is no longer on the same page with APC, PDP and or the Governor of Bauchi State. Beyond this, he has consistently continued to pick up fruitless quarrels with the former Executive Secretary of TETfund, Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, one man who has selflessly served this country with due diligence and integrity including other noticeable stakeholders in his community. For some of us, there is no way Dogara can compare his level of impact both back home and in disapora with that of Prof. Bogoro. Truth be told, Prof. Bogoro’s legacy and tremendous service to humanity is uncountable and Dogara can never claim to have done anything near it despite the office he occupied when he held sway in the corridors of power. Unfortunately, Dogara is yet to comprehend the simple fact that the people of Bogoro are wiser than his thoughts now.
 Therefore, if some unfolding unspeakable happenings in Bogoro Local Government Area fingered at Dogara must be taken into consideration critically, some of us with all sense of responsibility would  opine that the Dogara we know in 2015 is not the one some of us are seeing  these past months and years. His  unpleasant engagements with stakeholders of the area has portray him as one who is selfcentered, uncultured and intolerant of eclectic peculiarity of a contemporary but complex soceity as ours.  In the midst of many intellects Bogoro Local Government Area  is blessed with, Dogara has continued to arrogate a fallacious cloud-nine lifestlye only ascribed to medivial tyrannic emperors  degrading the need for accepting systematic principles of good brotherliness for the benefit of the people of the entire area. The way and manner Dogara arrogates power to himself including his eratic reaction to societal issues  today makes some of us wonder whether he is not out of touch with reality this time.
But again, for the fact that while the APC has won the presidential polls, PDP has overwhelmingly won both the Bauchi State gubernatorial election solidifying the return of Senator Bala Mohammed as Governor and the seat of the member  representing Bogoro constituency  at the Bauchi State House of Assembly with the retention of Hon. Musa Wakili Nakwada of the PDP, he will end up becoming politically homeless without any base to operate after 29th May 2023. This equally means that the people of his constituency have completely deserted him for their own good.
 As each day passes-by, Dogara will continuously be reminded of his obvious political miscalculations which has brought him from the pinnacle of power down to rock bottom. He will also be reminded of the obvious fact that prosperity eventually judge all mankind when the chips are down.Dogara: Is this  ‘political prostitute’s’ huggermugger over?
Once upon a time, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives during the 8th assembly, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara held sway in the corridors of power.  As member representing Bogoro, Tafawa Balewa and Dass at the green chambers for over a decade plus, he certainly was once a force to reckon with within the circle of the political gladiators in the country including his immediate constituency back home. And as luck will have it for Dogara, after party-political cunnings in the House of Representatives  back then, he eventually materialized as the Speaker of our nation’s significant parliament which epitomizes the integral aspect of the legislative disposition of the nation. Lest many have forgotten, the former Speaker’s rise to power was necessitated by the doggedness of his people back home who came out under the rains and sun to ensure that he consistently won elections to represent them at the lower federal chambers in Abuja.
Dogara who emerged as Speaker on the  9th June 2015 is a minority from Bogoro Local Government Area of Bauchi State favored by the god of politics to excel thus far in his political career. Today, Dogara is no longer the Speaker and would certainly come May 29th 2023 be amongst several other federal legislators in the country whose tenure would expire and he will not return to the green chambers for any legislative duty again. Evidently, Dogara will come back home where he all started his political adventure  to meet his people at Gwarrangah village and more of his constituents at Bogoro, his local government area. As is the tradition with most politicians, he may decide to hold a Thanksgiving Service and or preferably quietly stay back in Abuja to think of what he would venture into next in life. He would certainly be left deep in thoughts considering the present traumatic and unpleasant unfolding developments trying to envelop him back home. For many concern individuals like us, the federal lawmaker may with a sober reflection come to terms with the unpleasant realities on ground concerning him and perhaps turn a new leaf.
This is because; once out of power, reality eventually hits many of such once political gladiators and pushes them to  repentance. This perhaps is the only noble  path Dogara may humbly chose to follow if the little “demons” in him do not rebel again.
Prior to the 2023 general elections, Rt. Hon. Dogara and Babachir Lawal abandoned the ruling All Progressive Congress,(APC) in protest over the Muslim-Muslim ticket which the party decided to adopt. After several visitations  to churches and other significant political gatherings aligning with others who shared his similar thoughts, Dogara ended up in the People’s Democratic Party, (PDP), an opposition political party which decided to adopt a Muslim-Christian ticket but infringing the gentleman’s rotational agreement consensus earlier adopted   by the northern and southern political juggernauts in the country. This gentleman’s agreement came into effect before the emergence of this incumbent political dispensation to help consolidate the  balance power sharing arrangements for uninterrupted effective and efficient leadership succession intended to enhance fairness, justice and socio-economic and political integration of the citizens of the  country.
With the passage of time however, Dogara back home in Bauchi State  surprisingly  decided to support APC’s Gubernatorial candidate in the state, Air Vice Marshall Saqid Abubakar against the incumbent Governor, Senator Bala Mohammed who has since won re-election for a second term of office. Rt. Hon. Dogara’s campaign for the immediate past Chief of Air Staff was an open secret to the extent that people got confused on which side of the divide the former Speaker was. This attitude was another flagrant disregard to party loyalty and another anti-party activity if one may say so.
Though Dogara was a team member of PDP’s Presidential Campaign Council for Atiku/Okowa, he was also deeply involved campaigning for the APC gubernatorial candidate of Bauchi State perplexing intellectuals and political pundits. Even as he meander from one political party to another taking crucial decisions which needs further consultations with stakeholders back home, Dogara for once never found it expident to do so. This is certainly Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara for you. Retorting to this infrequent malfeasance, the APC Presidential Campaign Council Spokesman, Festus Keyamo described Dogara as a political prostitute. Keyamo, the incumbent Minister of State Labour further tagged the former Speaker  as a wanderer and back-stabber. True to his word, since Dogara’s departure from APC, no one can pragmaticaly ascertain  where or which political party he can confidently call his comfortable home. Plently water has passed under the brigde right now and not even Dogara himself can resonate the positive implication of his nasty political misadventure and or it’s glaring advantage to both the members of his immediate constituenty and Bauchi State at large. Typical  of some Nigerian politicians who employ administrative ingenuity to tackle crucial issues, Dogara is perhaps still hypnotized by spontaneous wealth and affluence and believes that he is still in a class of his own forgetting the reality of life in the sense that in politics and or life journey, there are seasons for everything under the sun. His leadership arrogance eventually came to bear after he started fighting anyone who shared a more pragmatic and logical ideology than his. Dogara is such a man driven by fallacious quest for power, unimaginable control of people and overwhelming notice me kind of a lifestyle.  This narcissistic ideology, unnecessary desperation for undue and undeserved power control by Dogara has led to his political misadventures in most recent times. As it is today however, Dogara is no longer on the same page with APC, PDP and or the Governor of Bauchi State. Beyond this, he has consistently continued to pick up fruitless quarrels with the former Executive Secretary of TETfund, Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, one man who has selflessly served this country with due diligence and integrity including other noticeable stakeholders in his community. For some of us, there is no way Dogara can compare his level of impact both back home and in disapora with that of Prof. Bogoro. Truth be told, Prof. Bogoro’s legacy and tremendous service to humanity is uncountable and Dogara can never claim to have done anything near it despite the office he occupied when he held sway in the corridors of power. Unfortunately, Dogara is yet to comprehend the simple fact that the people of Bogoro are wiser than his thoughts now.
 Therefore, if some unfolding unspeakable happenings in Bogoro Local Government Area fingered at Dogara must be taken into consideration critically, some of us with all sense of responsibility would  opine that the Dogara we know in 2015 is not the one some of us are seeing  these past months and years. His  unpleasant engagements with stakeholders of the area has portray him as one who is selfcentered, uncultured and intolerant of eclectic peculiarity of a contemporary but complex soceity as ours.  In the midst of many intellects Bogoro Local Government Area  is blessed with, Dogara has continued to arrogate a fallacious cloud-nine lifestlye only ascribed to medivial tyrannic emperors  degrading the need for accepting systematic principles of good brotherliness for the benefit of the people of the entire area. The way and manner Dogara arrogates power to himself including his eratic reaction to societal issues  today makes some of us wonder whether he is not out of touch with reality this time.
But again, for the fact that while the APC has won the presidential polls, PDP has overwhelmingly won both the Bauchi State gubernatorial election solidifying the return of Senator Bala Mohammed as Governor and the seat of the member  representing Bogoro constituency  at the Bauchi State House of Assembly with the retention of Hon. Musa Wakili Nakwada of the PDP, he will end up becoming politically homeless without any base to operate after 29th May 2023. This equally means that the people of his constituency have completely deserted him for their own good.
 As each day passes-by, Dogara will continuously be reminded of his obvious political miscalculations which has brought him from the pinnacle of power down to rock bottom. He will also be reminded of the obvious fact that prosperity eventually judge all mankind when the chips are down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The wonders of african black olives

Edible and Therapeutic oil Atili oil is considered a healthy vegetable oil rich in crude fats and protein. It’s regarded in the northern parts of Nigeria as the local olive oil. It’s believed to be more nutritious and flavourful than ordinary cooking oils. It is highly medicinal, believed to cure ailments like ulcer, I recommend it for some of my clients, and they’ve come back with positive feedback.  Good for whooping cough, treating rashes and used as an ointment for healing wounds. It’s excellent as carrier oil. When integrated with certain other carrier oils and essential oils, this oil has the potential to do amazing things.

Atili oil is said to be used in parts of Africa as bridal endowment during a wedding ceremony. The resin contains 8-20 % of an essential oil, the main constituent of which is limonene; essential oils are important in the production of fragrant candle and it has a long shelf life.

In honesty, the benefit derivable from eating black African olive, (Atili) equates to using olive oil. It contains naturally occurring antioxidants and enzymes. It is natural moisturizing oil with a nutty and pleasant smell. It’s loaded with anti-oxidants and vitamins that nourish the skin and stimulate hair growth. It works wonders when integrated in skin and hair care products. Atili oil has a unique feel that other oils do not have because of the speed with which it penetrates the skin, leaving it smooth and supple.

Medicinal/Herbal importance

Resin from Atili was used as a substitute for gum-mastic in making wound dressings in World War II. It is believed that the resins collected from the atili tree can be used for preparing herbal medicines that treat intestinal worm infections and other intestinal parasites. It is an emollient, stimulant, diuretic and has action on skin infections such as eczema. The resin burns readily and is used as a bush candle. The resin is also used to repair broken pottery, for caulking boats and as a gum for fastening arrowheads to shafts. The resin is used as a fumigant against mosquitoes too.

A decoction is used as a treatment against hypertension, dysentery, gonorrhea, coughs, chest pains, pulmonary affections, stomach complaints, food poisoning etc.

The giant Atili tree offers protection to the soil against erosion, often left standing on cleared land to provide shade and also acts as a wind break. It has been planted for reforestation in Uganda. It can also serve as firewood that can easily burn to generate heat.

The wood is a good fuel, igniting readily and burning with a lot of heat. The flame is very smoky and soot is collected as carbon-black from the outside of pots held over it for use in tattooing and to make ink in Liberia.

The wood is light in weight; very soft; not very durable, being susceptible to fungi, dry wood borers and termites. It seasons slowly but fairly well, though there is a risk of distortion and checking; once dry it is poorly stable in service. Works easily, stains and polishes well. Used as a substitute for true mahogany. The timber is used as core veneer, for decorative paneling, parquetry, furniture, and flooring and for general utility purposes. Locally, the wood is used for mortars, planks, boats and canoes.

The heartwood is pinkish when fleshly cut but darkens to light brown mahogany colour; it is not sleekly demarcated from the 5 – 15cm wide band of sapwood that is white with pinkish reflections. The texture is slightly coarse; the grain interlocked, thus causing a fine striped figure on quarter-sawn boards.

Its thick barks become increasingly scaly and fissured with age. The pounded bark is used against leprosy and ulcers. The bark exudes a heavy, sticky oleoresin that smells like turpentine and solidifies to a whitish resin. It is obtained by slashing the bark and allowing the colourless expiation to trickle to the ground where it solidifies into a sulphur-yellow opaque resin. The resin is used as primitive illuminant and as incense and releases a lavender-like smell.

Its leaves are pinnate, clustered at the end. The leaves are boiled with other herbs and the decoction used to treat coughs.

Its Root is used against adenites whereas root scrapings are made into a poultice.

No side effects have yet been confirmed following consumption of atili fruit.

Propagation

Seed–Pre-soak the seed by immersing it in hot water and then allowing it to cool in the water for 24 hours prior to sowing. The seed can be sown in nursery beds or in situ.

The ripe fruits should be collected when they fall to the ground and allowed to decompose; the stones should then be separated from the outer fruit coats. Seeds can be stored for a long time.

 

 

Embracing the challenges of fatherhood

By DENNIS RAINEY

LIKE soldiers, we are called to do our duty even when the storms of life tempt us to abandon our posts.

That’s what a soldier does. He acknowledges the storm, but he doesn’t give in to it. He stands firm. As a friend told me, “If these men can stand guard over the dead, how much more important is it that I stand guard over the living—my wife and children?”

Like these soldiers, we are called to stand and do our duty while staring down the very storms that seek to rob us of courage, taunting and tempting us to neglect our duty and abandon our posts. These storms are packing some power.

Storm number one: damnable training by fathers

I once met a man who grew up in a remote section of our country. He admitted that the only advice he received as a boy from his father about women was, “Get ’em young. Treat ’em rough. Tell ’em nothing.”

I wonder how that advice worked for him in his marriage.

You could say this is a legacy of the “strong, silent, tough man” image often passed down from father to son. This is the type of misguided training in manhood that has corrupted so many men as the leaders in their homes—selfish men who control their wives and children so that their own needs are met.

And that’s just one part of the problem. Many boys grow up with fathers who are distant and passive. Fathers who rarely engage their families, and when they do, their half-hearted attempts to train their sons may promote irresponsible, or even immoral, behavior. Like the father whose idea of sex education for his 12-year-old son was to take him to a strip joint. There they sat for three hours as the women did their thing onstage. No words were spoken. When they arrived home later that night, the dad told his wife, “There, I did it! Now I’m going to bed.”

Too many men today were raised by fathers who didn’t step up to their responsibilities. Is it any wonder we have a generation of men who feel lost and aimless, not knowing how to face their fears or think rightly about themselves, women, and their own passions?

Storm number two: fatherless families

The relentless, howling winds of a culture of divorce have uprooted the family tree, and with it at least two generations of men. With our high divorce rates and the increasing number of births to single women, the number of children.

Children are the innocent victims of this raging storm. Dad is AWOL in far too many homes today.

The social implications of fatherless families are endless. For example, the greatest predictor of a child dropping out of high school, committing a crime, and going to prison is his or her experience of growing up in a home without a dad. Many young people grow up today in areas where the only adult male role models they know are live-in boyfriends or gang leaders. The fallout has only just begun: a crop of weak young men, and frustrated women who are looking for real men.

One of the greatest challenges any boy could endure is trying to become a man without a father to show him how. How can a boy know what it looks like to behave as a man, love like a man, and be a man in the battle if the main man in his life has abandoned him?

My friend Crawford Loritts works with young men to build their skills as leaders.

Many of [these young men] grapple with fear. … I think that the dismantling of our families over the past 50 years or so has almost institutionalized fear and uncertainty. Divorce, the rise of single-parent households, and the tragic assortment of abuse and dysfunction in our families have produced a generation with many young people who are afraid of risk, and afraid to make mistakes.

So many of our young men grew up in homes in which they had limited or no contact with their fathers, or they had dads who were detached and didn’t provide any meaningful leadership. We are left with a legacy of men who in varying degrees have been feminized. They are uncertain about who and what a man is, and how a man acts and behaves. They are fearful of assuming responsibility and taking the initiative in charting direction.

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