• I’ll not collect tithes from prostitutes, yahoo boys –Pastor
• ‘God will judge erring pastors harshly’
There have been arguments over whether prostitutes and Yahoo guys pay their tithes and whether such tithes and offerings will be accepted as true worship to the Lord. Sunday Telegraph’s visits to the streets, brothels and churches have revealed startling secretes about this controversy. TAI ANYANWU and CHIJIOKE IREMEKA report
There has often been hot arguments over whether prostitutes and ‘gee guys’, popularly called ‘Yahoo guys’ pay tithes or give offering in the church and whether such tithes and offerings will be accepted as an act of true worship to the Lord.
While some sides of the argument, the prostitutes, said they pay their tithes regularly for more jobs, some pastors on their part said they will not collect tithes and offering from this category of members, if they notice a member is paying tithes from proceeds of prostitution or fraud.
However, in the spiritual matters of the Kingdom, it appeared that these scarlets of the night are not left out as they believe that the more offering and tithe they pay, will translate to more and robust reward as such that follows good tither.
Malachi 3 demands Christians to pay tithe, that is, one tenth of their income to the house of God as tithe to God so there will be food in the store house of God; that is from the blessings God has given, Christians are also to give free will offerings, for the advancement of the work of God.
In verse 10 of Malachi chapter three, God commanded: “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”
This promise and reward will go to anybody that adheres to the command and one of such prostitute-tither is a 27-year-old Zika T, whose tithes and offerings seemed to be making ways for her.
She said: “If I pay my tithes, and give offerings, it will attract more customers to me. Before I go to work, I will pray and ask God for protection and good business because God is the one that determines what happens.
“I go to church and I belong to the youth fellowship. I pray very well not because I am doing this. I am just doing it to pass away time and to feed myself. I know that what I am doing is wrong but I know that God will help me to stop one day. That is why I pay my tithe and offering for God to open a way for me. I’m a sinner, I know.
“Of course, I have a boyfriend; he doesn’t need to know what I do. But if he finds out on his own, I will explain things to him and if he feels otherwise, then he is free to do his mind.
“Yes, if he can give me what I need, then, there is no need for me to continue with this business. I will be ready to quit the job. We do jobs to pay our bills. Nobody wants to work, so if he will pay my bills, I quit.”
Unfortunately, prostitution in the country has gone digital making difficult even know who is a prostitutes from the mix of other clean ladies.
There are silent prostitutes that have more activities than those on the streets and brothels. There are those clean and well dressed ladies with good command of English and good jobs that you will kill to have as a wife, yet engage in prostituting from home.
They go to work during the day but do the oldest profession at night. If you are waiting for them to be on the street, you will be making a mistake as they control things through phones, facebooks, Instagrams, and whatsapp among other apps.
They go to church because they are targeting some rich guys in the church. Some of them visit big churches and in the process, they join different activities in the House of God. One major factor here is that you don’t chase people away from the church. Church welcomes all manner of people hoping to transform them.
“Of course, they are expected to be in the church because that is where they find their deliverance and meet their change. Church is like hospital where both the sick and the healthy visit,” said Minister Paul Ifeoluwa, of the Vision of God Bible Church, Festac, Lagos.
He noted that these categories of people have found their ways to the ushering department of the churches, saying that they are choristers and committed members of the church and therefore pay tithes, give offerings even without anybody suspecting them.
“They have to be in the church if not, their salvation will be far. Church is a molding point for people with hurts and characters that require remolding and reshaping. If you are sick and stay far away from the hospital, you are gambling with your life as your healing will not be in sight,” he insisted.
One of the scarlets of the night in search of her daily bread, Jessica Onovo, said: “Why won’t prostitutes pay tithes? After all no pastor had ever asked for the source of income of the tithe payers. Their followers pay tithes to ensure and increase the work of God.
“In the tithing world, prostitutes are the saints; we have armed robbers, extortionists, corrupt public servants, drug barons, 419’s, Yahoo boys, and the rest of them all paying tithes. So, why picking on us?”
According to Cassy Blez’s cousin, who was engaged in the oldest profession, prayer is the first thing before going out for the night duty.
She reveals: “Every evening before setting out to business, she should pray and shout “robocatca, remamakatabosa, and all the likes for a full one hour, disturbing our ears and peace every evening.
“I am sure she was a faithful tither because she attends all the Night vigils, mid week service and all other programmes. I guessed the tithing worked because she was catching one white man after another. She was dealing in dollars.”
“I was watching this sermon on TV where a pastor was preaching on how necessary it is to pay your tithe which is 10 per cent of your income but funny enough, he didn’t specify the kind job or how you earn the income that’ll enable you to pay your tithe.
“Rather he focused on the implications of not paying your tithe. So many questions keep ringing in my mind. Should it be considered right or wrong if prostitute pays her tithe? A Yahoo boy nko? What about our politicians?”
For Jessica White, she doesn’t joke what things of the Lord irrespective of what she doing for the moment.
“I go to church to worship God not to catch a man. I know where to get the king of man I want. I pay my tithe, I give offerings and I do other contribution when the need arises,” she quipped.
These people do not see themselves different from others in the country. You need to see them during the day. They are wonderful people but have hidden night identity. They are emboldened by the activities of Nigerian politicians and civil servants, whom they say do worst things than them, yet recognised and respected in the society.
On the Lekki-Ajah axis, the sight of Osamor Orus in any church is to the presiding pastor, as good as hitting a jackpot.
Ordinarily Orus, as he is fondly called, is a young man. But beyond the façade of his kind mien, is an unrepentant ‘Yahoo-Yahoo’ kingpin, whose wealth come from milking the hard-earned resources of others through indecent and ungodly means.
This affluent resident of one of Lekki’s exclusive estates makes it a habit, every Sunday, to visit as many churches as possible.
He dumps stupefying offering, tithe or gifts on the laps of the ‘lucky pastor’ of any church visited.
Orus’ cash gifts are usually so mesmerising that they render the efforts of other worshippers in the prowling ground of Lagos super-rich a Lilliputian’s gift.
Take it or leave it, Orus is a darling of the pastors on the Lekki-Ajah axis; and he is welcome in their churches any time any day as the pastors never bother to ask what the source of his income is and if it is genuine, godly or ungodly.
But, the Head, Media and Public Relations of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Olaitan Olubiyi said: “If I know that a worshiper, who wants to pay tithe is a prostitute, yahoo or earns his or her income from a dishonest source, I will not take the tithe from such people.”
According to him, one thing about tithe is, the pastor is not in a position to tell whether the payer’s source of income is genuine or not.
He explained that paying tithe is a way of appreciating God for giving one a source of income and an act of worship which attracts reward.
“Paying tithe from income that is not genuine or tricking a pastor into collecting from an ungodly income is an absolute waste. Indeed, such tithe is a wasteful venture because the payer will lose the benefits of tithing.
“Invariable, there is a curse for any wrong doing and disobedience to the word of God concerning any issue,” Pastor Olaitan stressed.
Pastor Olaitan finds a soul mate in Rev Stephen Ezechukwu, Head Public Relations, The Salvation Army Nigeria Territory Headquarters.
He said: “Tithe is 10% of someone’s income, from a godly source. Tithe does not belong to the pastor; rather it is God’s and an act of worship of the Almighty God, which attracts reward to a genuine tithe payer.”
He added: “God will not accept tithe paid from ungodly source of income as an act of worship. Hence, the payer will lose the reward if his source of income is not godly.”
For Rev James Akinadewo, Regional Overseer, Lagos Region, Motailatu Cherubim and Seraphim Worldwide, without mincing words said: “It is wrong for any pastor to accept tithe from people whose income come through ungodly avenues.
“God will judge, harshly, any servant of God who accepts tithes from prostitutes, yahoo people and those who pay tithe from ungodly means. The Bible says that the truth you know and do will set you free.”
Speaking on the right of any pastor to reject a tithe from a worshipper, Elder Chris Njelita said it amounts to hypocrisy for any pastor to openly say he will not accept tithes from prostitutes and yahoo boys.
He said: “So, the pastor will not collect tithes from a harlots but will but will collect from politicians, corrupt civil servants, murders, blasphemers, sinners, fornicators and adulterers among other sins. It doesn’t make sense. Romans 3:23 says, ‘For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.’
“If you stigmatise these people, how then will you win them over to Christ when you have condemned them? If you are called of God and you know a particular member who does a shoddy job, call him, speak to him or her like a father and brother would, advise him or her per adventure he or she might change but not by stereotyping him or her.
“It’s ungodly. Let’s not be over righteous here. The scripture says, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”
Anyone that adheres to this will get that reward because it’s the word of God, he added. “Let the over righteous people and pastors go and read about Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene, perhaps, they will learn something.”
Test of true love
ach time she opened her eyes, she saw the eyes staring at her. She wondered where she was. Her mind couldn’t focus on anything. Suddenly, everything seemed to be turning round. She felt herself being lifted, face turned upward. As she was about to hit the white ceiling, she started dropping. She opened her mouth and let out a blood-cuddling scream. No one heard her. Not even the pair of eyes that was boring into hers. She fell and fell…she screamed as she hurtled down. She had already lost hope of surviving but as she hit the base, she was enveloped in a feathery white, warm space. She burrowed into it thankfully.
When she woke up again, the eyes were still looking at her. But as she stared at the eyes, they seemed to develop facial features…until they morphed into the face of a young man. She frowned but the young man smiled at her. He was a complete stranger. She looked around her. She remembered she was in a hospital and she remembered that the doctor told her she was exhausted and needed to rest. She knew she was put to sleep. She felt better and stronger now. The only thing she couldn’t understand was why the young man was sitting beside her bed in the ward. She looked around, there were three other patients in the ward.
She yawned. She was feeling sleepy. The young man looked intently at her but said nothing. She needed to get in touch with Bolan. Her eyes closed and she eased into slumberland…
Jay drove fast and furious for a while before easing his foot on the throttle. He wondered where he was racing to and realised he was on his way home -home where he no longer had access to. He stepped on his car brakes and drove slowly to the portion of the road where he could turn his car effortlessly. He did just that and was about driving off when a car honk drew his attention.
He knew it would be one of his neighbours for he was almost at the estate’s gate. He ignored whoever it was for he was not ready to explain why he hadn’t been seen around his home in months. As he drove off, his phone beeped. It was Charles.
“Hello Charles,” he said as he answered.
“Jay, I’m sure you drove past me a few minutes ago. You seem to be in a hurry,” Charles told him.
“Yes bro. I need to see someone urgently,” he said.
They talked some more until Charles told him he was home.
It was then he checked the time. It was almost 10pm and he was driving towards Debola’s house. He slowed down. It wasn’t as if he planned to go there, though he knew she was expecting him.
Well, since she had threatened him earlier, it would be good for him to look in and see her.
His mind went back to his wife and he pulled off the road. How would he go about apologising for his shameful act? What would their children feel if they hear that he beat up their mother in a public place? They already felt scandalized that he raised his hand on her. He was in for a fresh round of quarrels with them. He wondered where Adele was at that moment. But, who was the man that dropped her off at the restaurant and kissed her? Her man friend? For how long had they been together? Could she have been cheating on him all this while? Adele cheat on him? She didn’t look the type that could do that; but then, you never know with women. The more docile they look, the more dangerous they are! But Adele loved him, that he knew. Where could that love have gone? She still loved him, he was convinced. He just needed to hit the right chord with her. His only problem was that each time he tried to be good, something would push him to do a despicable thing, like he did a few hours ago. He would have to start all over again. He prayed she would agree to another meeting with him. He had the urge to talk to her. Would she answer his call? He took his phone and dialed her number. It didn’t go through. He sighed. He would get back to her issue later. For now, he would sort out Debola’s trouble. Pregnancy! He knew he caused it. Why did he take advantage of her at her most vulnerable state? What bestial lust pushed him to a traumatised woman who was temporarily out of her senses? Now, he had played into her hands!
Well, he would find a way out. For if Adele or their children ever hear of it, then, he could kiss his marriage and family bye. He drove the few paces to Debola’s house.
As he parked his car and alighted, something told him not to enter but it was too late, two of her neighbours had already seen him. It wouldn’t be proper to go back to his car and drive off.
“Maami, my husband is here,” Debola said as she held back the door for him.
Jay momentarily missed his step. Ma’ami? Who was that?My husband? Whose husband? He looked around.
“Good evening ma,” he said to an elderly woman sitting on the couch.
He could barely recognise his voice.
“Good evening my son,” the woman responded warmly.
“It’s a surprise my husband. I didn’t want to tell you my mother was visiting,” she said.
“Oh great, I mean yeah, you should have told me. I don’t like such a surprise…em but…em…mama you’re welcome. How are you?” He stuttered as he sat on a stool close to the dressing mirror.
He gave the bed a wide berth. What did he walk into this night? Debola! She obviously hadn’t stopped scheming. He noticed that both Debola and her mother were staring at him. The old woman was apparently talking to him. He looked from mother to daughter, confusion on his face.
“I was asking how your day was,” the old woman said.
“Oh my day was fine,” he said.
He was uncomfortable. He hadn’t bargained for this.
“Debola told me you’re preparing to come and see us. I’m so happy that you’re about to do the right thing. What are you doing for a living?” She asked.
Jay shifted uncomfortably. He was suddenly hot despite the cool weather.
“Em…em…em…I’m not doing anything for now. I’m waiting for things to improve,” he said, surprised at himself.
Debola darted him a poisonous look. He ignored her. Even he didn’t believe himself. Debola’s mother stared at him.
“If you don’t have a job, how do you intend to take care of a wife? You have to think about it very well,” the old woman said.
“Maami, it’s not as if he doesn’t have a job,” Debola said.
“Debola, a man says he doesn’t have a job, you’re telling me he has a job. Are you the person he’s working for?” Her mother asked her.
“Maami…” Debola began but the old woman would give her no chance to talk.
“Where do you live? Are you living with someone or you’re living alone?” She asked Jay.
“He has a house, a big house,” Debola replied her mother.
“Are you his mouthpiece? Did I ask you? Why not allow him talk? Or, are you the one that built the house for him? I’ve told you that your mouth will put you in trouble. Every time talk talk talk, whether you’re asked or not, you’ll be running your mouth like person suffering from diarrhoea,” her mother shouted at her.
Jay shifted on the stool. Suddenly, he was enjoying the whole thing.
Debola could kill him right now if she had a gun. Her eyes were dripping anger. Jay looked her straight in the eyes. Time to leave…
Bolan’s head throbbed. It was almost midnight and he hadn’t heard from the only woman that made life meaningful for him. Where could she be? He blamed himself for dropping her at the restaurant and zooming off. He should have waited for her there! He had a gut feeling that something was wrong. Could she have been kidnapped? His blood ran cold. He was sure the man that drove into the restaurant premises and drove out in a hurry was the same person she had a dinner date with. What he didn’t know was whether they met or not.
Bolan had checked inside the restaurant and the premises three times. There was no trace of Adele.
He had gone to his house twice to check if she took a cab home. She hadn’t. He left word with the security man to call him if they see her. He had gone to her house twice and she hadn’t been home. He took the security man’s number and had been in contact with him several times. He toyed with the idea of reporting a case of a missing person at the police station, but he knew the police would tell him to go wait for 24 hours.
When he drove to the restaurant the fourth time that night, the security men at the main gate stopped him for questioning. That vehicle had driven in and out of that premises a number of times that evening, one of them observed.
“I’m looking for my woman. I dropped her here about six hours ago for a dinner with somebody. I was to pick her up later but I haven’t heard from her since then. I’ve checked inside the restaurant three times and gone home to look for her. I haven’t seen her,” he told them.
“Call her phone. Or is she not answering you?” One of them asked.
“She forgot her phones in my car,” Bolan told them.
“The restaurant has closed for the day,” one of the security men said.
Bolan looked around him. There were few vehicles parked in the premises.
“Can I still look around. Please,” he asked them.
The three security men stared at him.
“Please, she’s the only woman I Iove. Please. Let me look into those vehicles parked there. Please,” he pleaded with them.
“People are in some of those vehicles. It’s not proper for you to be looking into them,” one of them said, looking over his shoulder.
It took a while before it dawned on Bolan why the vehicles were still there.
“Okay. Can I stay here with you until the last vehicle leaves? I just want to be sure she’s not in one of them,” he told them.
“You can’t be looking into the vehicles while they are driving out,” one of them said.
When they saw the wad of naira notes he held out to them, they were all smiles.
“Okay sir. You can park near the gate. We need to check your car booth though,” one of them said.
A security guard strode to the gate as Bolan alighted from his car. He stood and watched as they conversed in low tones. He couldn’t hear what they were saying but suddenly, one of them ran to him.
“My colleague said a woman was rushed to the hospital. He said some people said she fainted while others said she was beaten up by her husband,” the security man said.
“She’s definitely the one. Which hospital was she taken?” Bolan shouted.
“He doesn’t know. The manager should know but he has gone home,” he said.
“Please get the manager’s number. I’ll pay. I’ll pay you,” Bolan pleaded.
They dialed the manager’s number and it wasn’t going through. Bolan punched the number on his phone and dialed, it didn’t go through. He dialed and dialed…
Let’s continue this journey on Sunday!
Send your observations to: email@example.com
Makoko community: Where residents defecate in water, use same to cook
A lot have been said about the Makoko community, a slum in Lagos State, where residents live in suspended shanties built on water. However, Sunday Telegraph’s investigation revealed that apart from waterfront settlement of Makoko community, where people live on water, a certain percentage of the settlers dwell on solid land. CHIJIOKE IREMEKA reports that the residents defecate in water and depend on the same water for their domestic needs
M akoko Community, Yaba Local Council Development Area, Lagos means different things to different people. To some, it is only a body of water which can be seen while travelling on the Third Mainland Bridge. Others see it as an island.
However, Sunday Telegraph investigations revealed otherwise as only a small fraction of the community is built on water – Floating community.
Part of the myth is that only a single school is cited in the community, but Sunday Telegraph also observed that there are a number of other schools in the community including public and private schools though there is the need for more serious schools to be established in the area to reduce the rate of illiteracy among the dwellers.
This also necessitated the construction of first ever floating school in the area to enable a more number of children the opportunity of going to school and thereby promoting literacy among the residents of the community.
The floating schools, which are sponsored by non – governmental organizations and the Yaba Local development Council, make waves across the shores of Nigeria.
Makoko slum is considered the Venice of Africa due to its construction on the Laos Lagoon requiring canoes for transportation. A third of Makoko’s community is constructed on stilts above Lagos Lagoon.
The community is located across the Third Mainland Bridge in the coastal mainland of Lagos.
According to one of the leaders of the community, Ovie Erukhewe, the popular community comprises of six distinct villages – Oko Agbon, Adogbo, Migbewhe, Yanshiwhe, Sogunro and Apollo which spread across land and water.
He noted that Makoko is an interesting slum lying on water with a beehive of activities throughout the year. The Community, a fishing village, came into being over a hundred years ago when fishermen from Benin settled in the reclaimed Lagoon from debris on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.
Today, he stated, Makoko slum is home to over 100,000 residents, majority of whom are migrants from West African countries trying to make a living in Nigeria, saying that residents in Makoko depend mainly on fishing as the main economic activity.
Sunday Telegraph observed that since the community came into existence, many people as well as NGOs are flocking the community due to its floating nature and other unique features.
The most captivating attraction of the slum is the floating school which was designed by a team of architects who built it from plastic barrels that have space for classrooms as well as a playground.
In 2013, a Nigerian architect, Kunle Adeyemi of NLÉ proposed to transform the water slum status of the Makoko waterfront community to a floating island by creating a functional building prototype.
He collaborated with non Nigerian Non-Governmental Organisations including an Abuja-based Heinrich Boll Foundation, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Federal Ministry of Environment Africa Adaptation Programme, Yaba Local Council Development Area (LCDA) and Makoko Waterfront Community to execute the project.
According to the then Public Relations Officer of the Germany origin Heinrich Boll Foundation, Armsfree Ajanaku, residents of Makoko comprise of immigrants from Benin and Togo, who settled in the reclaimed Lagoon in the late 18th century.
Economically, he stated, Makoko Lagoon was the main supplier of tilapia fish in Lagos and neighbouring countries, saying that the residents have found ways through which they coexist with their natural habitat even when it poses environmental hazards to their existence.
“Majority of all structures in Makoko rest on wooden stilts constructed from hardwood driven deep into the waterbed. Each household in Makoko owns a canoe which is used for transportation around the village. Hence Makoko is village in the water,” he added.
Sunday Telegraph learnt that children learn to paddle canoes when they are five years of age since it is one of the major skills required to survive in the slum.
The waterways in Makoko are a beehive of activities as the residents move around conducting business activities in their canoes, making it the most interesting slum in Africa.
Though many people are interested in this community and seeking ways to improve its living conditions, the reason the community has become a Mecca of a sort in Lagos, yet Makoko is, in itself, a threat to human existence due to its dilapidated structures.
One of the greatest problem of the residents of this community is lack of government presence in the community and the consequent none availability of any form of social amenities.
The residents do almost everything on their own which has also attracted philanthropists, NGOs and sympathizers to the community with the aim to alleviate their deplorable conditions.
“For decades, the inhabitants have had no access to infrastructure ranging from clean drinking water, electricity, and waste disposal, which have created severe environmental hazards to the residents and surrounding aquatic life,” said an environmentalist, Jimmy Peters.
He said that the communal latrines are shared amongst households and the wastewater flows straight into the water they live on, saying that the oily black water resulting from increased waste disposal over the years no longer supports marine life.
However, “efforts by the government to displace the people in the past years have been futile as it creates a bigger problem of relocating the homeless people. Residents believe that Makoko is their only culture and should be preserved by the government,” he added.
Recall that in July 2012, Lagos State government under then governor Babatunde Fashola, ordered that the stilts on the Iwaya/Makoko waterfront be demolished and dozens of stilts were demolished within 72 hours of notice to the residents.
Sunday Telegraph learnt that nearly 3,000 people lost their homes to the demolition exercise. Two months after the partial demolition, a SERAC housing affiliate known as the Urban Spaces Innovation developed a regeneration plan for Makoko that would bring the community together with academics, non-profits, and international consultants.
The plan was submitted to the Lagos State Ministry of Urban and Physical Planning in January 2014. Its population is considered to be 85,840; however, the area was not officially counted as part of the 2006 Census and the population has been estimated to be much higher.
Also, during Sunday Telegraph’s visit to the community where almost all the women are either fisherwomen or fish mongers, petty traders, foods vendors as well as fashion designers, it was discovered that these residents like their environment and consider their it as their friends, hence they said ‘this our home.’
While residents in other parts of the state spend money molding blocks to build their houses, these people do not have such time building houses rather they use thick and strong timber to build their houses on the water.
Ironically, their attitude of defecating in the water where they fish and get their sea foods, they eat their own fecal waste. For the jobless ones, who shun fishing and other economic activities, they sat in certain corners of the community smoking Indian hemp and indulge in alcoholism.
One of the canoes paddlers who spoke to Sunday Telegraph on the condition of the area, Edafe Iriruga, said he didn’t have the opportunity to go to school due to his fishing profession which he started with his father as a child.
The 13 years old, said his environment made him a fisherman as that is the only job he saw his parents and other children in the community do.
“I enjoy fishing because I normally cash fish in the water and sell them to the women who sell fresh fish in the market. Some of them roast the fish and sell later,” he said.
“I also learnt how to swim in this environment. I can swim any water. I was born here and I grow like. In this area, everybody knows how to swim and we play in the water. If you don’t know how to swim you cannot fish in big water,” he added.
For another fisherwoman seen off-loading her catch in a wooden basket, Aisha Musa, every family has a canoe with which they conduct themselves or transport themselves round the community as they do not live on the land.
“Here, every child knows how to paddle a canoe, if not he will stay at home all the year round and will not go to school. Our children paddle canoe to the school the way children ride bicycles to the school,” she said.
She noted that fishing is their major economic activity apart from petty trading and craftsmanship. “Our people where among the people that build that floating school on the other side,” she added.
Prior to the commencement of the floating school project, the children of Makoko had access to primary schools which were inadequate, built on reclaimed land, which were frequently threatened by recurrent flooding.
According to Executive Director, Heinrich, Christine K., Makoko floating school comprises alternative sustainable buildings and structures designed to adapt to the resident communities’ aquatic lifestyle.
She noted that the floating school utilizes local materials such as bamboo, timber and resources to produce architecture that applies to the physical, social needs of people and reflects the culture of the community.
“Wood is used as the major material for the structure, support and finishing of school building. The form of the school building is a triangular A-Frame section with about 1,000-square-foot play area.
“The classrooms are located on the second tier and are partially enclosed with adjustable louvered slats. The classrooms are also surrounded by spatial public greenery. There is a playground below the classroom while the roof contains an additional open air classroom,” she said.
She noted that the classroom spaces can be used for communal functions, especially during out-of-school hours, saying sustainable features include application of solar cells to the roof, rainwater catchment systems and composting toilets.
Sunday Telegraph learnt that the structure is also designed to use about 250 plastic barrels to float on the waters and be naturally ventilated and aerated. There are considerations to use the building prototype to provide additional infrastructure for the community including an entertainment center, a community hub and health clinics.
The floating school design won the 2013 AR+D award for emerging architecture and was shortlisted for the London Design Museum’s 2014 Design of the Year award. It also received a nomination for the 2015 International Award for Public Art.
On June 7, 2016, it was learnt that the Makoko Floating school structure was adversely affected by heavy rain, and collapsed. No casualty was recorded as the students and teachers had relocated three months earlier due to safety concerns.
However, in 2016, a second iteration of the Makoko Floating School, called the Makoko Floating School II (MFS II), was unveiled at the Venice Architectural Biennale.
This updated version was designed to be a prefabricated, rapid-assembly version of the original. It was awarded the Silver Lion prize, recognised as a powerful demonstration, be it in Lagos in Venice, that architecture, at once iconic and pragmatic, can amplify the importance of education.
A third iteration of the Makoko Floating School (MFS III), was displayed in 2018. Located in Bruges, Belgium, MFS III aims to redesign the floating school to be more structurally sound, claiming a 25 year life span.
“One of the major benefits of this water is that it developed the sense of craftsmanship in our people. Because of the water, our people are good in lumbering. We float logs on the water until it get to our milling area where we can bring it out and mail them,” said Layinka Ogunbumi, one of the millers on the dry part of the community.
He continued: “We have all types of roofing timber and their sizes. If you want to buy timber and come to this place you will find them cheaper because the cost of transportation is not much here. This a good place to be but you can’t compare it with other places that have drinking waters.
“We buy our drinking water from tankers and private tanks. We can’t boast of any good health centre apart from few private ones.”
Buhari won’t ask Senate to do illegality, says Kalu
The Senate Chief Whip and former Governor of Abia State, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, in this interview with journalists speaks on some critical national issues, including the proposed RUGA Settlement, his perception of President Muhammadu Buhari and senators’ alleged jumbo salary. CHUKWU DAVID was there and presents the report
Are you not worried that senators’ offices are not ready, almost one month after inauguration?
The issue of offices affects all of us. As an individual, I still operate from the office of the Senate President whenever we are out of the plenary and come back to my personal office latest by 8pm or any time the Senate President leaves. I think it is something the Clerk of the National Assembly has explained to us that they are looking into and that once we go on recess, they would be able to fix it.
As a very strong voice from the South-East, is the present government really marginalising the South-East and if it is so, what should be done about it?
Let me be honest with you. Since after the Nigerian Civil War, things have not been the same; there have always been marginalisation but I think with what we are doing today, the story is changing.
You remember my quarrel with former President Olusegun Obasanjo, when I was governor, over the same Port Harcourt-Aba-Umuahia-Enugu Expressway. That expressway was abandoned, that I had to remove the tollgate. It was based on that my move that all the tollgates in Nigeria were removed. The tollgates were there but there were potholes at the tollgates.
I came one morning and removed the tollgate at Lokpanta and the other one at Isialangwa junction, and President Obasanjo called me to asked why I did that, and I told him because there was no road for people to pay toll and I meant every word. I am sure that there are few governors that could have done that then. I removed the tollgate and said no Abians or non-Abians plying that road should pay a dime again. So, after six months, the President ordered for all the tollgates in Nigeria to be removed. It is good to collect tolls but you can only toll a road that is motorable.
So, for marginalisation, yes I cannot lie or look at anybody’s face but again, our people are not better politicians because you have to flow like any other region. But by building the Niger Bridge and doing the Port Harcourt-Aba-Umuahia-Enugu Expressway and Enugu-Awka-Onitsha Expressway, which even President Buhari we did not vote for is doing. Those we voted for were not productive, they are repairing 9th Mile to Makurdi.
Those our people voted for genuinely for 10 years didn’t touch those things. So I believe that President Buhari has tried. I am not talking in terms of appointment because the constitution says that every state should have at least one minister. That is statutory. It is good to also spread the service chiefs, and I will like people in the Senate to bring a bill, so that we can make a law that every region must have a service chief.
But when you look at it, service chiefs are like personal staff of the President; their appointments are not really constitutionally backed because you only work with military men you trust. That is the truth whether you want to hear that or not.
I can take you down memory lane on all those that have been Heads of State; they just did the same thing the President is doing; so there is nothing new.
Who was President Obasanjo’s Director-General of SSS? He was Col. Kayode Are; he was not from my village. Who was President Goodluck Jonathan’s DG of SSS? He was It Ekpenyong; he was not from my village. So, everybody goes back to his region. It might not be the best but that is the trend because everybody wants to be in control of his security.
So this is why when I see people shout they are marginalised, sometimes these things are not real. We should rather look for productive things that would be done by the government. I don’t care about who is appointed. What I care about is what services are they giving for people to move about their businesses; for people to be secured, for people to be saved; for armed robbers to stop harassing people, kidnappers to be tamed?
I was one day, maybe one and half years ago, joking with the President. You know he jokes a lot; you would wonder, is it this man who doesn’t laugh? We were joking and I said, Mr. President, we are marginalised. He said how? He said the previous government had all your brothers who could have done what they supposed to do but they didn’t do what they supposed to do.
He listed them: you had the Secretary to the Federal Government; you had the Minister of Finance, Minister of Aviation, you had this, you had that; you had Deputy Senate President, you had everything, people who would have put projects in the budget and executed them. I was just looking. So, you can see, whether you like it or not, the President was partially right. You know me, I don’t fear anybody; if the President is wrong, I will tell him he is wrong. If he is right I will clap for him.
For me, the eastern part of Nigeria has been neglected for a long time and now we have started to address the issue. The Second Niger Bridge is coming on board. I can tell you from the 70s, since 1975, every administration has promised the easterners the Second Niger Bridge and the benefit is not only for easterners; it is for the Nigerian people.
And every other person that got into power spoke big grammar, and they did not do anything but President Buhari is implementing it right away. So, somebody will say he did not give us minister. We don’t need minister if he can do the Niger Bridge; if he can do all the roads and there is security so that you people would not be kidnapped.
Yes, how do you see this issue of kidnapping?
Remember this kidnapping started in Rivers and Delta states when they kidnapped about 25 white men and President Obasanjo called Governors Ibori and Odili. He woke us up at about 2am to ensure we secured their release. So, all of us went into action, we contacted some of the boys we knew and they produced them. I made a statement then that these kidnappers would finish white men and they will turn over to kidnapping Nigerians. If they told anybody then that there would be kidnapping in the North today, would they believe? That is how we are going.
I have said it times without number that the Federal Government should invest money in education in the Northern Nigeria. I took my friend to the North during the last Sallah: Abuja to Kaduna to Kano, Kano to Katsina and to Jigawa. So, when we came back he told me that what I used to talk about the North he used to think it was just a phrase. I said it is a reality. He saw so many educated people; he also saw so many uneducated. Everywhere we went, he saw people who could defend their ground; he also saw people who could not defend their ground and he saw the population. Whenever I am in argument with them, they used to say we the Ibos need help more than the North but I say no, they need help more than us.
To be honest with you, if I have opportunity, I will address issues of education in the North, I will address the issue of almajiri in the North and nomadic education and save the nomads and provide quality education to help stop the killings of people but attend to their cows. Because these are things we are not doing.
What is your view on the RUGA thing?
When people talk about RUGA, I wonder. In 2001, I did a RUGA in Abia. In Lokpanta, I built it and the cows were being sold in Umuahia and Aba. In 2001, I invited the Hausa Community and they said we needed to decongest Umuahia and Aba. The location where we have Shoprite in Umuahia today used to be Hausa settlement; the same thing in Aba. We had an honest meeting with them and agreed that I provided them land and water electricity, everything but this would be your location. I travelled in five coaster buses to show them the land. I had meetings with the communities and they settled for Lokpanta and that is the biggest cattle market both in South-East and South- South of Nigeria today. So it is about the attitude of people to issues.
Yes, Federal Government should always do a further consultation whenever they want to embark on such issues. It is not just to go and put a deliberate policy and say ‘I want to do RUGA.’ People in the village don’t understand what RUGA means; they will panic and say they want to kill all of them. Some of us are the largest sellers of cattle. I started selling cows as far back as when I was in the university. I am still selling cows till tomorrow because it is profitable. So most of the cows you see are also not owned by Hausa people. We trade in cattle.
So people should have information because information is power and power is information. They have kept criticising tribe, criticising government. There is too much hatred by politicians among themselves. Everything is politics in Nigeria. When people in Nigeria cannot eat, politicians are busy politicising everything. Nobody is talking about the interest of the country. Anybody you meet talks about the interest of his village. It is high time our politicians started being Nigerian politicians, not their village politicians. They should see themselves as people who represent Nigerians.
In the last 21 years, you have been one of the key players at the national level on the workings of the Nigerian project, but with the problem of the systemic dysfunction in the system, do you think the Nigerian project can give the desired result in terms of genuine development as it is in other federations?
What I want to assure you people of is that our colleagues in the Senate and myself led by Senator Ahmad Lawan will ensure we make a very good Senate. The reason is that the Senate President is a reformer right from when we were in the university. He was my roommate in the university; we were not in the same class but we were roommates. He has never changed like I have never changed. He is supposed to be a comrade; he is straightforward. He also thinks about the people. I believe we are going to bring about a lot of changes than what it used to be in the past, but bringing about the changes, if those who are going to bring about the change should have the capability of executing the change.
We are not afraid of taking decisions. Many of you have been writing that this Senate is a rubber stamp; even President Buhari himself knows we are not going to be rubber stamp. We are afraid of President Buhari but we think more of the Nigerian people and for the President of the Senate; Nigerian people come first before friendship with Buhari.
For me, friendship will be for the needs of the Nigerian people but we are not going to openly wear our hand-gloves and start exchanging blows with the President because we just want to be independent. No. We need to sit down, agree and to disagree and tell him, ‘Mr. President, you cannot do this one because the law says so.’
The Buhari I know will never ask anybody to go against the law. When they were working out those that would head the National Assembly, the moment they told him that I was not qualified, that it is against the rule that I should run for the Senate President or deputy, he said they should remove me. That is who the man is. He would not look at your face and he owes you no apology. He would say ‘but you wanted to go against the law.’
What is your impression of President Buhari?
Buhari is a leader people greatly misunderstood. I have known him now for 32 years; he and former President Ibrahim Babangida. He has not changed. Think of it, a man that ruled Nigeria as a military Head of State has no house in Abuja or Lagos, neither does he have house in Port Harcourt or Ibadan! If you go to his house in Daura, it is the same house, the same small house he built long ago. The television I saw there when I went there last year for Sallah, that television must have been bought in 1973.
This is a reality of a man that has made up his mind that way. Like you can see here, there are modern things. Tomorrow, if this television is not good I will replace it with another one. I am not thinking that way, that is the fact. So this man, the only story you can tell him is to say there are poor people in Aba and you help them a lot to eat and tarred the roads for them to move about, that is how Buhari will like you, not that I have bought a private jet. You cannot go and tell Buhari that story whether he is President or not, he would not hear you because it makes no sense to him. I want to tell the Nigerian people to be patient with him and the National Assembly.
What do you make of the jumbo pay of the federal lawmakers?
I will also address the issue about jumbo pay. I have received my salary for June and it is far below what you people are writing. If a minister is travelling to Lagos would he use his leg? What you call fat salary are monies used to run the constituency because they don’t give us additional funds when we travel to Abia, Lagos, Badagry or Kaduna; this is the money they use. Next meeting, I will unveil to you. So you can see that you are maligning and criticising the National Assembly for nothing. Most of my colleagues said they did not know it was going to be like this and I said we came to be senators. That money they have given them is not going to be enough.
have seen them crying already. They came to me to complain because I have seen the good and the ugly. I think that the media is not fair to the National Assembly. I call on you people to change your minds because there is no jumbo pay; honestly I have not seen one. If I see jumbo pay that does not represent my conscience, I will speak.
When I was governor, the state bought my food, bought my clothing, ticket, the state paid for everything, but as a senator nobody does that. The money you have is for your constituency, for your staff and travelling allowances. That is what it is meant for. Tell me the ministers we are going to clear, there is no one senator that will have more than one car, have you heard of that? No, because they have only one car. So, Nigerian people should be patient with this Senate. Before now, honestly I used to think that senators don’t have any job to do but I have realised they have a lot of work to do. I have been there for one month now; I go to the office to have leaders meeting, had one courtesy call or the other and leave by 7pm every day. Before you know it, the Senate President is calling for another meeting somewhere. I was complaining to my family that I never knew I could be so engaged.
Few years back, you and two other senators, Eyinnaya Abaribe and Theodore Orji from Abia State, were all in the same camp. Later you parted ways and now you are in the National Assembly. How do you feel and what is the relationship like?
It has been a very faithful movement. You can see that even now within the last few days, former governor, Theodore Orji, is putting his best better than his first four years. So, it is a good development. And you can see that Senator Abaribe is making every effort to do the work given to him very well.
We are friends now for the interest of Abia State. That must hold us together: the interest of the Senate must also hold us together. There would never be any division in decision-making. What concerns our people and what concerns the Nigerian people, we must be together. Interest is the same and you should realise that I was their boss, both of them.
I was governor, one was deputy and the other was my Chief of Staff. They have never given me any cause to doubt their loyalty. They have always respected me and I have always respected them. That is how we find ourselves in the Senate. There is no division; we are one strong family and will continue to be one strong family in the Senate.
My dream is to see novel adaptation to movies –Lillian Amah Aluko
Lillian Amah Aluko is a veteran actress, author, producer and a two-time Vice President, Association of Movie Producers (AMP). The actress, who is respected for her acting prowess, has been in the movie industry for over two decades now. The beautiful thespian is also a writer and has continued to display her writing skills in literature; having two novels to her credit. In this interview with VANESSA OKWARA, she shares her love for movie production and sundry issues
When did you start acting?
I started acting in 1996. My first movie was with Richard Mofe Damijo’s ‘Out of Bounds’.
What was it like acting with RMD?
It was a great experience. He was this huge star I saw on TV, but he was totally down to earth. He really nurtured me on that project and that’s what made it easy for me. Working with RMD was a real pleasure. It was my very first time on a movie set and my first professional acting experience. I had only ever acted on stage in school productions. Acting beside RMD definitely helped me up my game. The director, Tade Ogidan, was very kind, firm and professional. He encouraged, coached and directed. He took a very good script and turned it into a beautiful and timeless film. The cast and crew of OOB were a lovely family and it was a lot of fun working on that set.
So you could say ‘Out of Bounds’ brought you to limelight?
Yes, it did. It actually gave me two awards, FIMA and the Real Awards.
After ‘Out of Bounds’, what was your career like?
It was up and up for me. Before 2005 when I started acting, I was in full time employment as a banker.
What was a banker doing in the movie industry?
Acting was my first love but my parents wanted me to have a responsible job, so I had to go into the banking industry. But by 2005, I was old enough to stand up and say ‘I want to follow my heart’.
How long were you in the bank?
I worked as a banker for ten years. In the last bank where I worked, I had been there for five years but had been in a couple of banks before that. While working in the bank, I nurtured my acting ambition. I was lucky to be at the bank I was. There were no frigid rules; we worked as one big family. This was one of the main reasons I could succeed in my acting career. I was allowed to do all that I needed to be done concerning acting until I finally resigned in 2005. It was while I was there that I featured in ‘Doctors’ Quarters’. This is why I have continually been grateful to God and that bank for their support. It is not common with any bank or organisation to allow such a move.
You are also a writer. Tell us a bit about your works?
My first novel, ‘Echoes of a Heartbeat’, is a novel published in the UK, which later became a best-seller. My second novel is ‘Dreams of Yesterday’. It is a thriller/suspense novel set in 1960s Nigeria. Having concluded training at the University of California and Hollywood.
Which movie did you produce?
That would be ‘After the I Dos’, an Africa Magic Original Film series being aired as part of the Africa Magic Original Blockbuster Festival. The movie was produced by me and directed by Samantha Iwowo.
Who starred in it?
We had me, Kalu Ikeagwu, Dakore Akande, Bimbo Akintola, Ejike Asiegbu, and then we had Sunny Nneji. Sunny is a fantastic actor. I thought he was just a musician, but he blew me away in that movie.
What was growing up like?
It was lovely. My parents are very lovely, but they are also disciplined. My father was a naval officer, my mother was a teacher. You know that kind of combination can be tough.
What is your fashion style?
I just love being simple. I just like to wear something that makes me comfortable, and makes me look decent.
What is your passion and what drives you?
I’m mostly driven by the desire to succeed, and make myself and the people around me happy.
Tell us about your family?
So far so good, we thank the Lord.
Are you married?
Yes, I am married.
What qualities attracted you to your husband?
There are lots, but you see I really don’t like to talk about my family because they didn’t choose the limelight, I did. So I don’t like to drag them in to it. And if you don’t mind, I don’t do any of the personal questions.
What is your philosophy of life?
Life is short, live it to the fullest.
I can see you are wearing your natural hair. How long have you had it?
I have been wearing dreadlocks for a long time now. The first time I had it, I wore it for almost ten years. I started dreadlocks in 2000. And then I wore it till 2010, cut it off, and I started again in 2012.
What fashion accessories can you not do without?
There is nothing I can’t do without.
But what can you not do without whenever you are going out?
Well, I like to wear earrings and my wristwatch.
You are looking beautiful and radiant. What is your secret?
It’s the grace of the Almighty. I used to exercise a lot. But in the last four years, I haven’t really done much of exercise, so I hope to go back. And then I try to be at peace with myself, I try not to eat too much, I don’t drink alcohol.
You have been in the movie industry for how many years now?
I have been acting since 1996. It will be twenty three years this year.
So what has it been like to be over twenty years in the industry?
It has been a lot of fun. There have been ups and downs, but I am here to stay because this is what I have a passion for. And right now, we are trying very hard, my colleagues and I, to put some structures into Nollywood. Nollywood has gotten to a height and to sustain it, we need to move from there. And to do that, we need to have structures in place.
Have you been scandal free in your career?
It’s been God. The press has been kind to me. I thank them for that.
As usual, Jimi Agbaje goes off scene
From what has been noticed of Peoples Democratic Party’s governorship candidate in Lagos State since the conclusion of the general elections a few months back, one might be tempted to say the man in question, Jimi Agbaje has lived up to his tag as ‘electioneering period politician’. Agbaje is perceived as a politicians who makes appearances only when the elections are approaching, and this trait of his, some are of the view is one of the factors he has successfully retained status of a former governorship aspirant after each election.
In three of the last four election cycles, Jimi had emerged on the scene, beating drums of revolution and good governance, gathering people under his banner and declaring that victory would be his. He first burst into public consciousness in 2007 when he had a thrilling campaign under the banner of the defunct African Democratic Congress, ADC. Although he lost, he made a great impression in the minds of many and was tipped by pundits as someone that would go on to scale greater heights.
Those greater heights have not materialized, however. Again and again Jimi keeps coming. Again and again, Jimi is denied. His third try at becoming governor in 2019 ended in a loss as humiliating as his second attempt four years earlier. It didn’t help that he was reportedly at loggerheads with many chieftains of the state PDP over allocation of election resources, leading many of them to leave him alone to sink or swim by himself. Since he was taught a lesson in unity by the well-oiled machinery of the APC in Lagos, Jimi has slunk away with his tails behind his legs.
Rumours at a time had it that the career pharmacist had dumped the PDP to align with the All Progressives Congress but he was swift to come out and debunk it. As it is, all fingers are crossed to see the moves that will be made by JK as Jimi is called come 2023.
Dignitaries bid Stella Ajaere farewell
It was nothing short of glorious outing penultimate weekend when dignitaries of all shades and the management and staff of God is Good Motors that is also known as GIGM.COM led by Chidi Ajaere paid their last respect to the late Co-Founder and President of GIGM.com, Mrs. Stella Ajaere, as she was laid to rest at the Ikoyi Cemetery, Lagos State after a funeral service.
Important personalities took time out of their busy schedule to identify with Ajaere family to bid farewell to the matriarch.
Some of the dignitaries include: the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, his Deputy, Engineer Femi Hamzat, Governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa, the Oba of Benin, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku’ Akpolokpolo Ewuare II, Senior pastor of God’s Mercy and Grace International Church, Okokomaiko Lagos State, Reverend Mark-Saviour Egeonu. Others include: His Royal Majesty, Eze Boniface Ikenna Egwuogu, the Igwe Ohazurume 1 of Ulo-ano Ndugba Autinomous Community,Isu, Imo State.
Also, in a tribute message sent by the National leader of All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the former governor of Lagos State described the late Stella as a rare gem who was industrious and also committed all she had to humanity.
Stella, whose husband, Deacon Edwin Ajaere was killed by kidnappers in 2019, it will be recalled gave up the ghost early in the year in the United State of America after a long battle with cancer. She was survived by their three children namely, Chidi, Uche and Chima.
Bez, Bolatito Idakula relish great moment
ew years ago, it was all high expectation of what the event was going to be like when singer, Bez Idakula, who is from a well to do home and daughter of shipping magnate who doubles as the former governor of Oyo State, Chief Rasheed Ladoja, Bolatito decided to take their relationship as mere lovers to a higher level where they would become man and wife. True to expectation, the ceremony was indeed a classy and glamourous wedding ceremony.
Unfortunately, the young couple had to endure a very devastating moment very early in their marital life when their first fruit, a supposed bundle of joy couldn’t survive beyond days on planet earth.
It was no doubt a very traumatic period for the Idakula’s, especially Bolatito, who nursed the pregnancy for nine months. It was however relieving that even in their grieving moment; they remained together in love even as Bez provided a shoulder to take the wife through the unpleasant season.
However, Bez and Bolatito have since had great reasons to put the terrible of loss of a child behind them as they are presently blessed with two wonderful children. The couple in the past few days has been over the moon as their first child, Joshua, days ago added another year to turn three and expectedly, the anniversary is a source of happiness for his parents as they couldn’t conceal their joy but expressed it greatly as well as showed gratitude to their creator for wiping their tears and given them reasons to smile.
Youngest monarch, Obi Noah Akaeze graduates in UK
bout three years ago, very disturbing news broke that the traditional ruler of Ubulu-Uku in Delta State, His Royal Highness Obi Akaeze Ofulue III, had been kidnapped. Following efforts being made to secure his release; many had nurtured hope the monarch would again breathe the air of freedom but that was not to be as his abductors cut his life short and sent him to his early grave.
Of course, his son, the heir apparent was born to succeed his father but didn’t bargain that he would ascend the throne at just 18 years but fate conspired to hasten his journey to the throne as he had taken father’s place unexpectedly. Young Chukwuma Noah Akaeze at age 18 had to take time off his law study in England to ascend the throne of his fore fathers as the Obi of Ubulu-Uku Kingdom after which he returned to the United Kingdom to continue his education.
To the admiration of the people of Ubulu-Uku, their young king has become a proud graduate of Law as His Royal Majesty; Obi Chukwuma Noah Akaeze has completed his studies at the University of Exeter, United Kingdom.
Faceapp challenge: Your favourite celeb old age looks
Old age is something everyone looks forward to and also dreads at the same time. A lot of people are afraid of getting old, having wrinkles and skin shrinking; that’s why the cosmetic industry is a billion dollar business as people buy all sorts of cream to make them look young and fresh.
To preempt what you will likely look like in your seventies, there’s an app trending on social media all over the world that helps predict your looks at old age.
This app helps to create an older version of your looks. The app, called FaceApp, basically allows you to alter your photo to see how you’ll look when you get old. It gives three selections – ‘Old’, ‘Young’ and ‘Young 2’.
With this app, people can now guess how they might possibly look like growing old and social media has been buzzing with different old age pictures of people still in their twenties, thirties.
Trust Nigerian celebrities to always jump on any challenge! First it was the Ten Years Challenge, where celebrities posted pictures they took ten years ago alongside their current photos and now is the FaceApp Challenge where people post their old age look pictures.
What makes a challenge better is usually when celebrities join the trend, and many of our Nigerian favourite celebrities also jumped on the bandwagon.
However from recent report revealed by Forbes, viral face changing application, FaceApp, reportedly now owns access to millions of people’s photos. According to Forbes, FaceApp now owns access to over 150 million photos and names and can do with it as they please for as long as they like. Forbes reports that according to the terms of service of the application, the company owns a never ending and royalty-free license to do anything with the information.
Check out how some of your favourite celebrities might look like in thirty to forty years’ time’ as VANESSA OKWARA reports
Why I’m organising youth security summit –Pastor James
Pastor Bassey James is a man of many parts. He is the General Overseer of Royal House of Faith, a renowned criminologist and the President of Southern Youths Development Forum. In this no-barred-hold interview, he X-rays Nigeria’s current security challenges, ahead of the national youth’s security summit proposed by the Southern Youths Development Forum. Tai Anyanwu brings the excerpts
How do you react to a situation where some influential traditional leaders, who believe that the security situation in Nigeria has gone out of hand, are sensitising the subjects and ethnic communities to rise up in defense of the own land?
No the security situation of this country has not gone out of hand. I don’t want us to play into the hands of the enemies of Nigeria. People are still moving here and there; people are moving on air, travelling north south, east and west and air crafts have not been shot down. We should not exaggerate, we shout not put fire; we should not encourage the enemies of Nigeria to rejoice over Nigeria. Nigeria is a great country; a country that has over 200 million people is a treat to other countries because the size of Nigeria, the wealth that is in this country and the population that is in this country is a treat. So we should not allow those things to happen. I think that the traditional rulers and the political class should be very mindful of whatever statement they make in the interest of Nigeria.
You are a renowned criminologist. As a security expert how would approach at solving the insecurity issue in our nation today?
The Southern Youths Development Forum, which I am the President, is organizing national youth security summit first to support the President in his fight against insecurity; and to give the youths of our great nation a sense of hope and to encourage them to do what is right.
There is need for our youths to believe in Nigeria; hence we also want to build a sense of direction for their future. The attention this time is to build collaboration among the southern youths, northern youths and also our elders; because I think that the issue insecurity, crime and criminality today are principally with the youths. Crime, Boko Haram and all kinds of criminality are not committed by the elders or senior citizens. They are committed by the young between the ages of 17 to 50. So I think that we should start talking to the youths. We need to build confidence in their lives and to create an environment for interaction. That’s a major thing; and to look at how cement the relationship amongst the youth of our nation in totality, build a cohesion and to assure them that it can always get better.
At what time are you going to have the security conference?
We want to start the various editions of the conference as soon as possible; may be between September and October. We will have, at least, one in all the geographical regions. We intend to start in the south western region, in Lagos; for the north, we are looking at Kaduna; in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja; in the south south, we will have it in Uyo; and Enugu in the South East. We want to see how we can reach the people because violence will never pay and never do anybody any good. The most important thing is to see how we can talk to our youths and support the government to stop the criminality.
Do you have plans to involve other relevant private and public organs whose contributions can help to achieve your goals?
I think that government should key into the initiative. We will invite our leaders and also encourage them to be part of the youth’s security conference. There is need for Nigerian youths to be engaged. There is need for those in government and those out of government to sit down and talk. There is need for the captains of industry and business moguls to sit and talk; because the government alone cannot do it. The kidnapping, the insecurity, robbery has assumed a very dangerous dimension and it cuts across the states. It is not something we should state apportioning blames to the federal government or state governments. But there is need for us to contribute our own quota. I have contributed my own part. In my state, I donated security equipment worth millions of naira; and built a police station equipped with modern communication equipment. There is need for every person to do something.
And the issue of community policing will be discussed. One of the recommendations that the Southern Youths Development Forum will put forward to the federal government is the issue of local governments creating police units. If, for instance, each local government in Nigeria has 100-200 trained men/vigilante to secure the communities in their own local government areas, security issues will be contained. The police alone cannot solve this problem. The total number of the police is less than one million; we have also over stretched the army; we have over stretched the security agencies including the police.
So there is need for the government to work with us and let everybody to contribute, bring in technologists, retired military people and let everybody contribute to the security development of Nigeria. One hundred to two hundred people across the local government areas as vigilante to guard protect the mother communities, the villages, the town unions and with the help of the Local government chairmen of the local governments and the traditional rulers Nigeria will have secure and peaceful society.
Part of the security problems in Nigeria is the infiltration and collaboration of locals by foreign terror organizations. Will your summit also to address this aspect?
No that is outside the scope of our discussion at Youth’s summit. We are going to discuss the dangerous dimension that the youths are going by taking up arms against their brothers and sisters. We are going to discuss the issue of Nigeria, the North, South, East and West.
We want to talk about how we can live together not as Igbos, Hausas, Yorubas, Efiks, Benins, Beroms, Kanuris or what have you; but as Nigerians. We will be talking on how the youths should not yield themselves to be used for crime and how they can stay away from politicians who want to use them for all manners of crime against society. That is why we say that we don’t need to over-stretch the Nigerian intelligence and security sector. That aspect will be handled by government security agencies like the Police, Army, Customs and Immigration.
The regular Police Force is doing what is good, but like I said they are over-stretched. Infiltration of enemies into our country will be left for the military and other security agencies whose mandate is to secure the borders and territorial integrity of Nigeria.
The Customs should pay greater attention to the influx of all manners of weapons. There is need for everybody to be involved. I think that the President is doing all of things in that regard. Precisely, what the conference will dwell on is how we can look at ourselves as Nigerians and not looking at ourselves from the point of regional or ethnic biases.
For instance, even though I am from Akwa-Ibom, I am a Nigeria. Let us begin to build in out youths the spirit of nationalism. A man of 70, 80 years and above cannot go and carry arms. Again, the major problem we have in this country is politics; we are going to look at that. There is a lot of politics in this country even after political party has won the won elections.
A Nigerian political leader begins to prepare to remain as a leader for 15 to 20 even those who have been governors want to still control their states. They begin to strategise on how to install governors in the states; they are not concerned about government business and what is going on. That is why our youths are on the rampage.
Let us begin to see how we can build Nigeria, if you win election for four years concentrate on governance. And when you are out of government allow the governor to work. The idea of winner takes it all must stop. When you win election invite other capable hands outside your party to help develop our country. You don’t own the society, and you are not Lord over Nigeria that when you win election you shut the door against the youths. There is need for us to start talking about all of this.
What is your opinion about military people manning our high ways?
I also want to disagree with the idea of bring the Nigeria army to man highways. It is not a good idea. I beg to disagree with the Vice President. You cannot over-stretch the Nigerian military. Equip the Police and allow them to do what they are doing; they are trained. The federal government should engage more people to contribute to the security development and maybe look at increasing the number of policemen, military and other security agencies.
From what are you going to draw the resources person so that we don’t just have mere talking heads and no ensure effectiveness?
We are extending the invitations to the Presidency, the governors, serving ministers, past heads of state, past Presidents, former Ministers and the political class. We are bringing in the industrialist, the diplomatic missions, and traditional rulers. We need to start talking. It is good to critise government but what are you putting on the table. Instead of sitting down to criticize Buhari’s government let first sit down and bring our various contribution to the security and general development of our country.
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