Saturday, December 31, 2011

Boko Haram: Are you planning to destroy Nigeria?

I am absolutely sad and disheartened to observe what is going on at the moment as regards the turbulence and destructive activities of the so-called Boko Haram in our country. Since our independence in 1960, we faced so many disorderliness and confusion within our nation. I dare say that before independence, ours was a land flowing with milk and honey.
Sad faces of victims families
Then we largely depended on agriculture; cocoa in the South West; groundnut, millet and sorghum in the North; palm oil in the East with yam, cassava and cotton all over the place. Then we were never in the red and there was nothing like national debt. The first problem we encountered after independence was the coup and counter coup. That was the beginning of our national calamity because the Military took absolute control of the country, dealing death and destruction with anyone who dared question their authority. They reigned and ruled exclusively and absolutely.
 Our next misfortune was that of the civil war and the Military leader that led it against the rest of Nigeria was Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, who died recently and likely to be buried in February. The Military ruled for many years with all its ups and downs and turbulence. The view of the public at large was that the coup de tat that resulted in the civil war was ethnically motivated. Nigeria therefore, embarked upon damage control policies. One of which is the establishment of the National Youth Service Corps as well as the policy of Federal Character, which culminated in the creation of the Federal Character Commission.
 On the political scene, there has always been allegation and counter allegation of marginalization and accusation of winner takes all. Nevertheless, the option A4 system was also put in practice. Then came the claim and agitation of resource control, particularly the oil revenue that we were exploring and exploiting in heaps and bounds in the South Southern part of Nigeria. With all the attempts by the Government to please the people of the Niger Delta and its environs, the agitation kept escalating because of their demand for larger share of the oil revenue. Attempts to placate the situation were made by the Government, which led to the creation of the Niger Delta Development Commission. Nevertheless, the militants of the Niger Delta waged their own war against Nigeria and even planned to secede. Happily, it was to the credit of late Alhaji Musa Yar’Adua who settled the ensuing economic chaos. With all these antecedents of ethnic, political and economic turbulence, many Nigerians felt that our problems were over and we have taken good care of them all and we should now settle down after fifty years of independence to good governance in our polity.
 Suddenly, we are now faced with a disturbance of a very serious religious dimension, the type that we have never experienced in this country before, either during the colonial era or since our independence. One horrendous aspect of it is even the international dimension that it has created for our dear country, thus alarmingly destroying the image of our nation as a peaceful giant of Africa. We now suffer being viewed as a pariah State and the name of Nigeria now stinks. But it is equally capable of destroying our whole country which people like us have laboured with well meaning others to build. Religion is an emotive issue and our constitution, although not perfect, tries to make it a secular issue. However, ours is a multi religious nation and we have lived harmoniously thus for over fifty years and before. In the South West, we have pursued a civilized approach to this matter in the belief that we are all serving the same one God as perceived by the two received faiths.
 We should not allow the Boko Haram people to throw us back into the dark ages in the name of religion. Enough is enough! 
Our Head of State and all the people in government should stand up immediately to effect damage control. Security is lacking and ineffective to control the situation. It should be beefed up so that the matter will not degenerate into religious warfare. That will amount to a primitive situation and action. This world has passed that stage. We should move forward and not backward. The President should not rule out the possibility of having a dialogue on this matter. It is not impossible that the purpose of this destructive act may have some political undertone capable of disintegrating the whole nation.
This can't be the way to nation building
There is a very strong suspicion that these people waging war in the name of Boko Haram, are doing so at the instigation of certain people possibly political figures who are bent on the destruction of the nation. Indeed there is nothing like “haram” in western education which was in fact, inherited from the Muslims in the days of Islamic civilization in Anderlus, Spain. Besides, knowledge is not considered as “haram” in the Holy Qur’an and Hadith that emphasized so much about education.
There is another disturbing aspect of the situation in our country at the moment whereby people are currently indulged in unnecessary acts of merry making all in the name of festivals and carnivals while Nigerians are being killed mercilessly by this so called Boko Haram, even in Churches and on Christmas day. Is this the time for merry making and irresponsible pantomime while innocent people are victims of nothing other than their faith? Nigeria ought to move away from senselessness and find solution to serious problems in our country. Indeed, people like us spent the prime of our time and life serving this nation diligently, selflessly and gratuitously. Such contributions should not be wasted. 
The Government must therefore take care of and enforce the safety, security and daily protection of the citizens of this country in order to ensure peace and stability. The rule of law and adherence to human rights are equally important. They are primus and in governance they are sine qua non. We need peace and stability in Nigeria to ensure progressive development.

Anything else is not civilization, progress, or peace.

This article is courtesy of Prince Bola Ajibola, former Attorney General and Minister of Justice of Nigeria.

2011, Go with the Boko Haram madness

With only few hours to the end of 2011, my simple prayer for my country Nigeria is - Lord, let the passing year  pass with the Boko Haram madness.  This wanton disregard for the value of human life must not continue.  This insanity must stop; and stop it must if the entity called Nigeria must survive the doomsday predictions.  Boko Haram's operations in the last year have been nothing short of sheer insanity.
Victim of the latest Maiduguri bombing cries helplessly
We can't count how many families have been wiped out, maimed or rendered homeless by this aimless group in the last 12 months.  We can't count how many dreams were punctuated in 2011 by their bombings; the hopes that were shattered and the smiles that were turned into tears. In a country where unemployment remains very high, we can't count how many investors were sent packing as a result of Boko Haram.
You cannot build morals by taking away a man's independence.  Needless to say, many Nigerians - Christians and Muslims alike - are dissatisfied with the current state of things in the country.  Things look frustrating, depressing and seemingly hopeless.  In the name of religion, our nation continues on a piteous descent to the abyss.
When I was doing my last blog two days ago, I didn't know that another bomb will explode in Maiduguri in less than 10 hours to increase the death toll in just one week to more than 50 and the number of critically injured to over 70.  I wept when I saw the pictures of little children killed by the Boko Haram bombs; innocent children; children who represents our hopes and future as a nation.  For how long shall this continue.
'Act now Jonathan'
My dear reader, I am in one of those 'foul' moods, and please don't blame me if I spoil your very last day of the year.  But I cry for my country.  I try not to be angry, but I can't.  I weep for those killed children; I weep for their stolen youth, for their  mothers; and for a non-caring humanity.
I learnt many churches will not hold their traditional watch night vigil today for fear of Boko Haram bombs.  Many ordinary Nigerians who would usually host friends and siblings to parties will hide in their bed rooms tonight for fear of bombs.  For how long shall we live in this fear.
President Jonathan, Boko Haram must be stopped. Please act now.  For your information, those who sponsor the bombers are as guilty as the bombers.  They all live among us and might even be your party members or government appointees.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Boko Haram: An evil that must be stopped

Stunned church members and security officers 
I crave the indulgence of regular readers of this blog to digress a little from what I traditionally blog about.  I do it occasionally, when I feel very strongly about an issue.  The case of Boko Haram and the evil they have continued to unleash on Nigeria and Nigerians is something that troubles me a great deal.
My heart bled and I shed tears repeatedly last Sunday as I watched the shattered remains of fellow Nigerians being exhumed from debris in Madalla.  I was particularly pained because St Theresa Catholic Church, where the wicked, ungodly act took place is a church I know quite well, having worshipped there a couple of times during visits to siblings in Suleja.  The hatred exemplified by the Christmas Day massacre is simply unimaginable.
An injured worshipper being helped to safety 
While I was still emotionally tormented by the pictures I saw from St Theresa, the news of another bombing flashed past my computer screen this morning.  Not less than 15 people were again killed in another bomb explosion in a hotel in Gombe on Wednesday, December 28.  According to Ojiego Nelson - the hotel manager, three persons came to the hotel at about 10.13pm on Wednesday to explode a device.
Nelson told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that he was at the gate of the hotel when the men, who were carrying guns, started “manhandling” the security man and when he asked what was happening, they started shooting sporadically.  “Our customers and everybody started running helter-skelter and the one with two gas cylinders in his hands threw them into our reception area. He threw one into the reception and threw the other one under the cars parked by our guests in the hotel. The one thrown into the reception exploded and damaged the building, so we just managed to escape through the back fence,'' he said.
Another injured worshipper
It is unfortunate that this hatred and killing of innocent citizens has spread to Gombe.  That's a state I lived and worked in in the early stages of my career.  Though a Christian, I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Kuri and Gombe city, two places that I still remember with pleasant memories.  Infact, the first award I got as a journalist was from a story I did in that state.  My time as a Maths teacher in Government Girls Secondary School, Yamaltu Deba, Gombe, are memories I will forever treasure.
I am indeed bereft of words to describe how shocked and shamed I am as a Nigerian to see my homeland degenerate to such a theatre of absurdity and extreme lawlessness.  Not even Afghanistan and Somalia with all their problems have seen the number of bombings and killings that Nigeria has seen in the last one year.  Among the many gruesome deaths arising from the Christmas Day bombings, are two families that has had all their members but one wiped out.
Innocent child sent to his early grave
It is an act of savagery of the most arcane nature, to slaughter worshipers on a day which is globally acknowledged, as one in which neighbors should extend their hands of fellowship to believers and non-believers in their faith.  This is not godly service; this is deliberate wickedness that must be condemned and nipped in the bud.
Even more disappointing are the words coming from some northern elites concerning Boko Haram.  I was stunned to read a tweet attributed to Nasir el-Rufai, former minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja that Boko Haram “are only taking vengeance against government for injustice committed against their leader and the Christmas massacre was only an unintended target which could have been anybody".    It strikes a huge irony that a group that claimed to be waging war against sin, could itself be committing this horrendous sin against man and God.  Boko Haram is EVIL and I expect el-Rufai to acknowledge that instead of making unwarranted excuse for their misdemeanour. 
A car destroyed by the explosion
More unfortunate is the fact that President Goodluck Jonathan has continued to act as though he is not aware of fact that he is the Commander in Chief of the Nigerian armed forces.   It is unfortunate that the president waited for the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to tell him the naked truth – that Nigerians, Christians in particular, are "fast losing confidence in government's ability to protect our rights".
How long more will President Jonathan watch and ‘endure’ this evil from these nincompoops and rag-tag religious bigots who delight in killing fellow humans as though they are killing cows.  I shudder to think that they even have more respect for their cows and goats than they do for human lives.
A victim of the UN House bombing in Abuja
 Like my equally aggrieved compatriot, Kingston Ekeke, I am tempted to ask - Which God are they fighting for?  How long will the international community look away at a religious terrorism that is capable of obliterating the nation called Nigeria?   Where are the so-called Nigerian leaders and those who claim to govern? When will this foolishness and these kinds of dastardly acts stop in our nation?
 Boko Haram must be fought the same way its global affiliate the al Qaeda is being fought.  It must be stopped the same way Osama bin Laden has been stopped.  I expect President Jonathan to understand that how willing he is to fight this war will go a long way in determining whether there will be Nigeria after his tenure.  President Jonathan, I dare say you must not be last president of Nigeria.  The time to begin the fight is now.  A stitch in time, they say, saves nine.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

I can’t tech it anymore!

Men who struggle with complicated Christmas gadgets are twice as likely to refuse help than women

Stubborn men are almost twice as likely as women to refuse help with their new Christmas gadgets.
They'll fume, swear and sulk rather than admit they can't understand basic operating instructions. Or they'll blame their new smartphone, iPad, games console or sat nav and say it doesn't work.
Women, on the other hand, are much happier to accept help, and are much more grateful for it, according to a study of more than 1,000 adults for Geek Squad, which has launched a 24-hour Christmas helpline.
Almost a third of men (28 per cent) would ask for assistance only as a last resort if they couldn't work out their new toy.
By contrast only 16 per cent of women said they'd refuse help.
The survey also revealed that more than a quarter of us (26 per cent) have our Christmas day spoiled by frustrations of struggling with complicated instruction manuals.
And one in five will lose their temper because they don't have batteries to get gadgets up and running.
Mothers struggle more than anyone in the family with getting to grips with new gadgets, with a quarter saying they're baffled by new technology.
But they're also the most likely to ask for help. Half say they're prepared to turn to a family member for assistance - unlike their male counterparts who are too embarrassed to ask for help.

Geek Squad agent Sam Lawton deals with dozens of technical queries every day, and says women are much more willing to call for help - and much more likely to say thank you.
'It's a bit like asking for directions when you're lost,' he said.
'Women are happy to admit they don't know where they are, but men are all sheepish.
'Men have a sense of pride and don't want to admit they can't work things out. In my experience they're much more likely than women to say that the product doesn't work.
'They'll go into a shop and say they want to return a product, and the truth is that they simply haven't understood how it works. They get a lot more frustrated than women.
'Women are much more likely to seek advice face to face, while men will text, or email, or use Facebook - anything to avoid a straightforward conversation.
'Men tend to sulk and say thank you grudgingly. Women will tell you how pleased they are that you've been able to help.'

Read more:

NCC seizes Intercontinental Bank’s equipment, seals telecom operator’s office

Two officers of the bank were handed over to the police forfurther investigations over the source of their transmission as the bank has nooperational license to provide the service while radio equipment from the bankand the telecom company, IPNX, were seized by the officials of the Commissionled by Efosa Idehen, the Head of Enforcement of the Commission.
Head, Media and Public Relations of NCC, Reuben Muoka,said the enforcement action is in line with the Commission’s mandate andcommitment to ensure that the frequency spectrum is not abused. He said thefrequency spectrum is a finite resource of the country and that the companiesinvolved are denying the Federal Government of its source of revenues.

He said apart from sealing the offices and removing theequipments of culpable companies or institutions, they will also be liable topaying all the relevant fees for those frequencies for the duration they haveutilized them, in addition to paying the penalties associated with defaultingon the provisions of telecommunications regulatory statutes.
He said the Commission was able to detect the illegaloperators and users through its state-of-the art signal monitoring equipmentwhich it is deploying across the country to ensure that no company or organizationillegally operates or uses the licensable frequencies in the country.

Eugene Juwah, NCC boss
Head of Enforcement of NCC, Idehen said the enforcementaction which is coming few days after a similar one saw the sealing off of atelecom operator, Galaxy Wireless Ltd, also in Abuja, is to serve as deterrentto other illegal users or service providers on the licensable 5.4GHz spectrumband. He said the companies have been severally issued direct warnings andpublic notices to steer clear of using the licensable frequencies as declaredby the Commission.

He said the enforcement action provides the opportunity toreinforce the warning to all operators who may be using this frequencyillegally to desist from doing so because of the consequences.  He said the banks were particularly informedto steer clear of these frequencies as many of them were suspected to be usingthem at the moment but that the Commission is combing the entire country toensure that such illegal use are detected and appropriate sanctions meted tothe defaulters.

Technologies for cheaper, more fun-filled christmas

It's time to say adieu to the passing year by celebrating Christmas on December 25. The day celebrates the birth anniversary of Lord Jesus Christ. Before the Christmas Eve, people across globe have come under the mood of festivity.
Christmas brings joy and happiness to everyone. The spirit of Christmas is in its beautiful traditions and thoughtful customs.
Christmas celebrations are incomplete without the customary cakes and the bakers use to sell them at high costs on this eve. The markets are even in a festive mood and are ready with varieties of gift items, cakes, Xmas tress, chocolates etc.
To celebrate Christmas in a special way, people of every age group use to buy best gifts like chocolates, well decorated Christmas trees, cards for their near and dear ones.
But today in this era of technology, the celebration of not only Christmas but also New Year have become easier because of the internet. Earlier people use to make plans ahead of Christmas but now internet guides the users. It makes their task easier by providing details about parties and events, food, drinks, carols and gifts.
Users can easily get tips or details regarding the New Year and Xmas celebration. They can search for shopping, party, gifts and other related ideas through search option on the various website. The websites also makes kids happy with their stories on Christmas and New Year.
Santa Claus, father of Christmas is generally depicted as a portly, joyous, white-bearded man wearing a red coat with white collar and cuffs, white-cuffed red trousers, and black leather belt and boots. Children eagerly wait for Santa, who brings lots of gifts for them in his big red bag.
Christmas Toy wish list of children from their loving Santa Claus is also available on internet i.e. what toy do kids ask for most on this day.
A huge collection of Christmas wallpapers are also available like Xmas tress, candles, candies, lights, nature, paintings etc. All the wallpapers can be downloaded very quickly and are free of cost. Beautiful e-cards are also one of the best ways to wish our loved ones.
Online shopping saves our precious time as many websites provides online shopping for the customers in the festive season.
Social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, Orkut etc ensures that we keep in contact with each other and also play very important role on such occasions.
As on these sites we can wish our friends by posting our messages or we can send e-cards, gifts or chocolates. We can get the best collection of Xmas messages on internet.
So, now we don’t have to worry about the size of the X-mas tree or cakes and other gifts.
Share the spirit of peace and joy on this occasion…Merry Christmas to all.

By Rupa Singh 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

South Africans need to become healthier

Khulubuse Zuma, President Zuma's nephew

MORNING classes had just begun in Pellsrus primary school in the Eastern Cape province when a nine-year-old pupil dropped dead from a heart attack in front of his classmates. He weighed around 115kg (a little over 250lb). His little heart could not cope any more.
Last month President Jacob Zuma’s larger-than-life nephew, Khulubuse Zuma, a mining magnate not yet 40, said he could not testify at an insolvency hearing into one of his gold mines because he was too ill with a heart disease owing to his weight and lavish lifestyle.
It is no longer just the inhabitants of the rich world whose waistlines are spreading dangerously. Though 40% of its 50m people live off less than $2 a day, South Africa has become one of the world’s fattest countries. Six out of ten South Africans are now clinically overweight or obese, according to a recent survey by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), a pharmaceutical company. So, apparently, are a quarter of teenagers and one in six children under nine. Another study, by London’s Imperial College, found as many as three-quarters of South African women to be overweight, up from 57% in 1980; it classified 43% as obese, up from 24% in 1980. Men are only a shade trimmer, with 62% reckoned overweight.

South Africans weigh in as the third fattest nation on earth

As in the richer world, South Africa’s accumulating kilos are the result of rapid urbanisation, less physically demanding work, the spread of television, and a shift in diet from home-cooking to processed foods rich in fats and sugar. The country’s fast-food industry is booming. But whereas most Westerners seek to be thin, many black Africans still admire bulk in men and big contours in women. President Zuma’s four wives are all chubby.
Seven out of ten South Africans in the GSK survey said they had never been on a diet. Half admitted they never took exercise, despite South Africa’s reputation as a sporty outdoors nation. One in eight suffers from diabetes. With private and public health care costing 9% of GDP, much more than in most poor countries, the government is starting to take fatness seriously, with campaigns to encourage healthier eating and to make sport compulsory in schools from January. An adviser to the health minister wants a “fat tax” on sweets and booze.

Courtesy: The Economist