When in the evening of Friday, June 14, 2019, they cleared their wares and closed shops, hoping to re-open on Saturday morning, little did traders at the Orita Aperin Market, Ibadan, Oyo State capital, know that a midnight inferno would shatter their dreams.
The shops located beside a filing station were clustered in rows, accommodating a plethora of traders engaged in sales of different wares, among them: cereals, vegetables, yam and cassava flours, palm oil, vegetable oil, grinding machines, clothes, jewellery, local pots, traditional and ancient totems, herbs, among many others.
Governor Seyi Makinde has however condoled with the traders for the losses incurred, promising to assist them.
The cause of the inferno, which consumed goods worth about N200million was however till the time of filing this report unknown.
According to a trader, Mrs Tawa Adegun, “there was power failure that night and it is a law among all of us that lantern or any naked light should not be used in the market. Nobody even uses electricity in this market. Those who grind use diesel in their machines, and they do so with caution. This is the reason every trader uses flashlight in their shops at night. Within the market, nobody uses any naked light. But some of us who have our shops beside the road are not obedient. As soon as it is 7p.m, those within the market close their shops and go home. But some of us outside here stay longer till around 8p.m.
“Only God knows who could be responsible for the fire outbreak because it affected the shops of those of us outside here as you can see. It remains a mystery who put fire in the market, but I believe that God shall judge the person,” the cereals trader, who has rebuilt her shop through humanitarian assistance from some Good Samaritans, told New Telegraph.
Speaking with the Babaloja of the market, Chief Abiodun Hammed, on Sunday morning, he said: “The fire started by 12 midnight on Friday, and we immediately called on the Oyo State Fire Service. Unfortunately, when they got here, the nozzle of their truck was not functioning. So, we had to resort to selfhelp by putting out the fire ourselves, or else, the loss would have been more than this.
“Most of the owners of the shops affected by the fire just bought goods into their respective shops. This is what makes the total value of the goods affected by the fire to be that much.
“The shops that were affected include a jeweler’s shop, a food ingredient shop, that of a provisions seller, red oil seller and herbs seller among others. N5,600,000 (Five million, six hundred thousand naira) was the worth of jewelry that got burnt, and most of the goods affected in the shops of the herbs seller cannot be replaced because they were some ancient goods,” the Babaloja recounted.
He therefore appealed passionately to the Oyo State government to come to their aid because the loss was too much for the victims to bear.
Some of the victims of the midnight fire gave account of their losses and trauma being encountered, which to them could not be shouldered without the state government’s intervention. Among them was Latifat Adegbola, a provisions seller who appealed to the state government to assist her financially because the money used to buy the affected goods was loan which attracts interest.
“All my goods have been consumed by the fire and the remaining ones are useless. We are calling on the state government to come to our aid, so that we can survive,” she appealed.
A vegetable seller, Mariam Oladepo, who said she lost goods worth over N100,000 to the inferno, added that her shop had been razed by the fire and nothing remained for her and her children to feed on again.
When New Telegraph visited the market last Friday, it was seen that some of the burnt plank shops had been rebuilt, while construction was still ongoing in some others. The traders had been laying their wares while business was going on.
A yam flour seller who also operates grinding machines within the market, Mr Abiola Ismaila, said he was lucky that his shop was not affected, but in the spirit of neighbourliness, he was among the market leaders liaising with government agencies to come to their aid.
When New Telegraph asked whether the state government had doled out the money or materials promised to assist them, as seen in some shops that were already wearing new look, Mr Abiola corroborated the submission of Mrs Tawa Adegun when he said, “No assistance has come yet from the government.
The repairs you see were done by the individual traders through assistance from friends and relatives, as well as, humanitarian people. We decided to hasten the repairs lest some land owners cash in on it to eject us.
“We have reported to the police. We wrote to the lawmaker representing this local government area, Hon. Akinajo, who promised that Oyo State government will help. Officials of the Oyo SEMA (Oyo State Emergency Agency) have also come here to assess the level of damage in the market.
“We have submitted a letter to the office of the Deputy Governor, Engineer Olaniyan. We are doing all these and following up lest any unscrupulous elements hijack whatever is going to be given to us by the government.
“We have just returned from visiting the Babaloja of Ibadanland, Alhaji Dauda Ladapo, to appreciate him for identifying with us. He told us that he believes the new Governor, Seyi Makinde, will give our plight the necessary attention it deserves”, he said.
In his condolence message, Makinde, who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Taiwo Adisa, in a press release said: “I condole with the market men and women who lost their valuables to the fire incident. It saddens me to hear this is happening at a time we are putting heads together to expand the economy of this state and put more money in the pockets of our people.
“It is particularly painful that the incident happened in the dead of the night when many of the shop owners were far asleep. I learnt that many shops that were recently stocked were affected. Please take heart as we take measures to forestall such occurrences.”
The governor therefore promised to get to the root of the incident, noting that devastating fire incidents of such would not be allowed to happen anywhere in the state.
“Let me assure market leaders, market men and women, especially those affected by the Aperin fire incident to be rest assured that the government of Oyo State will not abandon them to their fate at this time. We will not only unravel the cause of the fire but will also ensure that we do what is within our powers to support the victims of the incident,” the governor promised.
Waving bye to a life of banditry
It was a day of peace and relief for everyone in Bauchi State, over five hundred youths come out to surrender their weapons voluntarily in the presents of Police, Religion, traditional and community leaders aimed at erasing fear in the mind of people on the activities of banditry in the state
The development has brought a lot of relief to communities in Bauchi metropolis and around as residents now sleep with eyes close without fear of attack from political thugs who attacked their victims at will and any time of the day.
Speaking over the five hundred youths who willingly surrendered their weapons to Police and denounced their membership of thuggery, Chairman Bauchi State Youth for Peace and Unity Malam Rabiu Samba said they were once members of the deadly political thuggery in Bauchi popularly known as Sara-Suka meaning cut and Chuck with dangerous weapons, but they have now repent and become useful to the society. Samba said, Sara-Suka is not good for community development and youth must learn to leave in peace with one another in the communities and beyond.
He said most of the youths are married with children but they don’t sleep in their houses because of fear of the unknown but they have reconciled all the warying faction in all the communities and peace has returned.The Peace leader, called on community leaders, religion, police and those aggrieved with the youth banditry activities to forgive them of their sins since they have decided to repent and surrender their weapons voluntarily. On his own part, the community leader of Gwallaga Bauchi Alhaji Nadada Ahmadu lamented that that root cause of banditry among youth emanated from lack of skills, jobs, and lack of basic education while some of them have no vision at all.
He said for the youth to come voluntarily to denounced their membership of Sara-Suka that means peace have returned to our communities and government should intervene by rehabilitating and train them on various skills of their choice so that they can be better people in their communities
“Now killings and social vices would reduce because those who are doing it have repented and it is our earnest prayer that the changes have come to stay”.
In his remarks, one of the repentant Sara-Suka Ibrahim Kaka by God grace Sara-Suka has come to an end in Bauchi. “I am calling on all my brothers and friends to repent because Sara-Suka is not good and is taking us to nowhere”.
In his addressed, Commissioner of Police Bauchi State Command, CP Habu Sani said, as part of the action plan of Police, the Command sets out a goal that will give emphasis of not only arresting and prosecuting the Sara-Suka thugs and other criminals but to also investigate the root cause of the menace, so as take decisive action that will lead to total eradication of the problem once and for all.
He said the Command through coordinated Puff Adder Operation which involves all its Tactical and Operational Units successfully cracked down many notorious Sara-Suka gangs and arrested most of their members including those supplying them with dangerous drugs.
CP Sani said, the Command have reviewed it’s crime fighting strategy and came up with action plan that is more proactively inclined to preventive actions and community solving approach. “It is important to note that, since it’s implementation the strategy has been very effective as a lot of criminal activities in the state were checkmate and over five hundred (500) suspected criminals in connection with Sara-Suka thuggery, Armed robbery, kidnapping and other violent crimes were arrested, large number of arms and ammunition and other dangerous weapons were equally recovered between the months of May and July, 2019.
According to him, most of the youths engaged in Sara-Suka thuggery are creative and have a lot of potentials I life if their current situation is well managed and the Command is not mindful if such potentials as such granted them the olive leaf and towed the carrot approach but with strict conditions to repent and be good citizens. “Among the repented youths about two hundred and ninety four of them are skilled in various trade hand jobs, thirty one are students while one hundred and seventy are unskilled. Finally the command calls on the youth to go and seek forgiveness of Almighty God, their parents and members of the public.”
A new passport office in Sagamu
The commercial city of Sagamu, Ogun State recently came alive as a new Passport Front Office was commissioned at Olotu Michael Oyedele Avenue, Government Reserved Area (GRA), amidst pomp and excitement. Dateline was Wednesday, 3rd July, 2019. As expected, the event played host to notable dignitaries among whom was the Governor of Ogun State, Prince (Dr.) Dapo Abiodun, MRF, represented by his Deputy, Engineer (Mrs.) Noimot Salako-Oyedele.
The commissioning of the edifice, facilitated by the Remo Growth and Development Foundation, (RemoGDF), attracted of the cream of indigenes including the Akarigbo and Paramount Ruler of Remoland, Oba BabatundeAdewaleAjayi, Torungbuwa II, former Governor of Ogun State, OtunbaGbenga Daniel, Asiwaju S.K. Onafowokan, OtunbaTunjiLawal-Solarin and Aare (Dr.) KolawoleOyefeso who are Co-Chairmen of Remo GDF Governing Council.
Others in attendance were Chief AyotundeOredipe, Deputy Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service (Rtd.), Senator DipoOdujinrin, OtunbaSeniAdetu, former Managing Director/CEO, Guinness Nigeria Plc, Remo Traditional Council of Obas, Remo titled Chiefs and a host of others.
The Ogun State Governor, Prince (Dr.) DapoAbiodun, MFR, on the occasion, called on the Nigeria Immigration Service to adopt a more coordinated approach and ensure stiffer migration control policy, while lamenting the influx of criminals into the nation’s porous borders which, according to him, posed major challenges to the operations of the Nigerian Immigration Service.
“One of the challenges of ease of access to passport to our nationals is the abuse of the system by non-Nigerians who may want to acquire our passport illegally. Some of these bad neighbours are those who give us a bad name with illegal activities and make the international community view legitimate Nigerians with suspicion”, he said, calling on the Nigerian Immigration Service to root out those criminals. The Governor further observed that establishment of the passport front office will be “a further boost to the economic viability and overall development of Ogun State.
“With regard to trade and commerce, it means Ogun State is fast attaining a mega status”, the Governor said. Governor Abiodun added that the opening of the office which makes Ogun State to be the second state apart from Lagos state in the South West to have two passport offices, is a confirmation of the state’s emerging status as an economic power house of the nation.
While commending the Remo Growth and Development Foundation, Remo GDF and other interest groups involved for the initiative and the feat in facilitating the project, the Governor said “it is a symbolic example of the height we could all take our state by our collaboration and support; and with strengthened collaboration, we could achieve more.”
Speaking at the occasion, the outgoing Officer in Charge of Ogun State Command, Assistant-Comptroller General, Mohammed Harande, recalled that the conception of the Sagamu Passport Front Office came into being during the 2017 Comptroller-General of Immigration Annual Conference in Ogun State between the 6th and 8th of December where the former Governor, Senator IbikunleAmosun, made a request for a new passport office which, according to him, was expressly granted by the service.
He stated that the new Passport Front Office which was being commissioned is designed as a strong contribution of the Nigeria Immigration Service towards making life easy for all residents of the State in recognition of its mega status.
Also speaking, the Comptroller-General, Nigeria Immigration Service, Mohammed Babande, represented by Assistant Comptroller-General, MuhammedAlhaji Alfa, said the idea was conceived because the immigration service “is determined to reduce to the barest minimum, all human interference in our transactions with members of the public.”
He warned officers and men of the service to shun indolence, indiscipline and corruption saying “the Federal Government has been magnanimous enough to approve our proposal for the 10-year e-passport and passport front offices. Consequently, nothing less than corresponding performance and commitment to duty is expected from us”, adding that “we must continue to justify the confidence reposed in us”.
He stated further that the new 10-year e-passport rolled out at the headquarters in Abuja which has also been rolled out at the Ikoyi Passport Office in Lagos will soon be rolled out in all state commands across the country, assuring that more passport front offices will also be opened in places where there is high demand for it.
The Akarigbo and Paramount Ruler of Remoland, Oba BabatundeAdewaleAjayi, Torungbuwa II, in his remarks, noted that the importance of the passport office cannot be overemphasized and that if Ogun State is the destination of investment, it then subsists that Remoland and its dedicated indigenes are working to position it as the capital of investment in Ogun State, saying more development projects are already lined up for commissioning.
The Chairman, Remo Growth and Development Foundation (RemoGDF) Governing Council, OtunbaTunjiLawal-Solarin, noted that the Foundation, in achieving the feat, mobilised resources from all corners to ensure the project became a reality, saying the desire to see to the rapid development of Remoland was the greatest motivating factor.
Meanwhile, the Akarigbo and Paramount Ruler of Remoland, Oba BabatundeAdewaleAjayi, Torungbuwa II, has been commended for championing the initiative of Remo Growth and Development Foundation (RemoGDF), which facilitated the establishment of the Sagamu Passport Front Office. Co-Chairman of the Foundation, Aare (Dr.) Kolawole Oyefeso, gave the commendation in an interview with newsmen at the event. Aare Oyefeso who observed that the project came to being through the initiative of the Akarigbo of Remoland, who gathered all the topnotch people of Remo together, said “the Remo Growth and Development Foundation exists to bring development to all the nooks and crannies of Remoland. He urged indigenes and residents of the community to support the new passport front office by encouraging people from different parts of the country to patronise it, assuring that efforts would be made to ensure that operations at the passport office will be seamless.
Co-Chairman, OtunbaTunjiLawal-Solarin acknowledged the sterling quality role played by the Akarigbo of Remoland to see to the actualisation of the project, saying the opening of the passport front office is just one of the numerous projects already lined up by the Foundation, all of which are being executed through self-help and without relying on the government. “With the strides of Remo Growth and Development Foundation (RemoGDF), rapid development of Remoland is imminent especially with Oba BabatundeAjayi in the saddle as the Paramount Ruler,” he said.
A strange way of fighting examination malpractice
here there is no law, there is no sin,” is the common moralistic saying among people of religious beliefs. In the law parlance is also the credo that “ignorance of the law is not an excuse against punishment. If you don’t want to go to jail, don’t commit crime,” is the summation of the two analogies. If anyone does crime and he is found guilty, jail term is certain.
In essence, there is prescribed punishment for every infraction or sin committed in any group or organization of human beings, even including animals. If there are no rules and regulations, life like Thomas Hobbes, an ancient Philosopher, said, “Will become short, brutish and nasty.” However, if there are laws, they are meant to be obeyed by human beings because it is meant for them. This is why there are exceptions to every rule in life.
`On the issue of rules and punishment, contrary to the Nigeria system, KCA University, a College in Nairobi, Kenya July 1, 2019 rolled out an internal memo where caning was introduced to be given to disobedient and disrespectful students in the institution. According to the Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Joshua Bagaka, in the memo entitled: “Introduction of the caning of disobedient and disrespectful students,” students who “fail to adhere to rules and guidance of the institution will be accepted to report to the committee immediately where he will receive his punishment not less than 15 strikes of cane.
“Please note that students who abscond from following the rule will be expelled from the University with immediate effect. Therefore, I hereby wish to inform all the Lecturers and class representatives that they have the mandate of punishing anyone who disobeys the rules and laws of the institution”, the DVC directed.
Technological discoveries have advanced development in human existence such that problematic issues are now simplified through ordinary press of a button, unlike in the days of yore when primitive and traditional methods were used to solve problems. Mobile phones are manufactured to make communication easier than the use of landline. But phones these days are imbued with series of devices which many Nigerians, especially, youths take advantage of to do a lot of negative things. One of such is commission of examination malpractices in schools and even during formal interviews.
In realisation of this social menace engendered by modernism in telephone technology, and the fact that many of its students were smuggling their mobile phones into examination halls to cheat, the management of The Polytechnic, Ibadan, gave the instruction that none of its students must take their phones into the examination halls. Any violation of such directive was an aberration which punishment of seizure of the phone was stamped.
This was akin to the law on caning of KCA University for any act of disobedience and disrespect. When the law was initially introduced at The Poly, Ibadan, students were being fined, while their seized phones were being returned to them. When the grace was abused and erring students continued to violate the rule, thinking that once they paid the fine, the phones would be released to them again, the authority took a drastic step last Wednesday, the 10th of July, 2019 which called for this discourse. It was the burning of over a thousand seized phones of various brands and values, estimated to have market value of about N15m. To some people, the act amounted to killing a fly with a sledge hammer, which to them was too disproportionate an approach or solution to the offence committed.
A Senior Lecturer and the immediate past Deputy Rector of the Institution, Sculptor Bayo Oyeleke, had told some newsmen that the school authority took the action of burning the various seized phones to make the institution semester examinations sacred, noting that some students continued to violate the school regulations by going into the exam hall with their mobile phones.
To Oyeleke who was flanked by the Deputy Registrar of the school, Mrs Ayoade; the Public Relations Officer, Alh. Soladoye Adewale; Chief Security Officer, Mr. Adebayo; Head of Legal Unit of the school, Mr. Ige; President of the Student Union Government, Comrade Akadiri Bayonle, among others, burning the phones was to serve as deterrent to students of the institution who might wish to further indulge in the illegal and inappropriate act.
Asked to justify the burning of the phones, the institution’s image maker, Adewole, had told New Telegraph that “We had to take the action to sternly serve as a deterrent to other students. We cannot continue to condone indiscipline in our school. Telephones all over the world has now become a toll of undermining academic activities especially fraud in examinations. They could easily Google whatever question is given them in the exam and get the answer. That is fraud. In the past, we were punishing any erring students with fine. But we soon realised that they were brazenly paying the fines believing that they could still continue in the illegal and immoral act and later get their phones back.
“Some had been expelled in the past, while many had been suspended depending on the gravity of their examination offences. We believe that with this unprecedented step taken by the management, examination malpractices through use of mobile phones will be nipped in the bud.
“Another reason we burnt the phones was to forestall another type of fraud among the students. Since the phones had become so many, we felt that some unscrupulous students among them whose phone might not be among the seized ones, could come forward to claim it. Burning them has prevented that, lest any phones get into wrong hands”, the PRO said.
Some analysts and commentators have expressed the opinion that instead of burning the phones, the institution could have confiscated them and refuse to release them until their graduation period. Then, other forms of punishment could be meted out to the students before the phones could be collected back.
To some others, the institution’s action was appropriate in that whatever is called law should be seen as such. Laws and rules are meant to be obeyed. Any departure from that renders the law ineffectual.
All attempts made to get the feeling of some of the students affected, despite assuring them that their identities would not be revealed, proved abortive as they were afraid to talk, lest the school authority mark them down for further punishment. None even availed New Telegraph the opportunity of linking their parents who could tell whether the punishment was justified for their children and wards, or too weighty.
Under the weight of tank farms, container terminals
Residents of Satellite Town, a densely populated community in Lagos State, have, since 2013, been living under the palpable fear of extinction, owing to the erection of tank farms and container terminals indiscriminately in their neighborhood by some oil marketers. AKEEM NAFIU reports
It’s more than six years that disaster has been staring residents of Satellite Town, a densely populated community in Lagos state in the face following siting of tank farms and container terminals in the area by oil firms.
The community which stretches from Alakija to Abule-Ado along Badagry Expressway to the Waterside area was designed as residential location for people.
However, along Waterside, an area of less than a kilometer is a concentration of about fifty tank farms erected by thirteen oil firms in the pursuit of their businesses.
Investigations by New Telegraph revealed that the fifty tank farms were owned by; A. A. Rano, Stallonaire Nigeria Ltd, Emadeb, First Royal, Chipet Nigeria Limited and MAO Petroleum Company.
Others are; Bond Global Energy Ltd, Menj Oil, Wosbab, Star Oil and Gas, First Deep Water, Ocean Pride Oil and Rain oil.
New Telegraph investigations further revealed that the activities of these oil firms in Satellite Town pose great danger to both residents and motorists. On a daily basis, an estimate of over 400 petrol tankers loaded with petroleum products are trapped on a single narrow road and most times, they leak fuel causing panic in the area. The operation of these tank farms by their owners is apparently a disaster waiting to happen.
This is in addition to bonded terminal at Alakija with its unending fleets of trailers. To add to the plight of residents is another container terminal being constructed in Zone 2, Liverpool Estate.
It was further gathered that the tank farms were built on drainage channels and as a result, flood which streams from the expressway down several under constructed routes can no longer enter the sea. The flood water is consequently forced back into several estates, streets and houses. This usually results to the submerging of several houses especially when it rains leading to many landlords and tenants vacating their houses.
Furthermore, there are fears of epidemic outbreak following increase in environmental pollution occasioned by waste dumps from the tank farms as well as oil spills from stagnant polluted water. The activities of tanker drivers who also parked indiscriminately is also a major concern for residents who are usually stranded in traffic gridlock for hours daily.
The gridlock and blockage by tanker drivers was said to have caused the death of one, Maurice Egbo, a week to his wedding. “There is now a 24-hour everyday gridlock from the expressway into old Ojo road from both Abule-Ado and Alakija through Finiger causing untold hardship to school children, women and commuters on the continuously deteriorating single lane Mumuni Adio Badmus road. We only know when we leave our houses but we don’t know when we will get to our destinations and when we are coming back home due to traffic gridlock”, a resident lamented.Worried by situation of things, residents of estates in Satellite Town under the aegis of “Satellite Town Forum” recently embarked on a protest march to draw government’s attention to people’s plight in the area.
In his address at the protest march held on 9th July, 2019, titled, “We are dead, please relocate these tank farms and container terminals now”, the Chairman, Satellite Town Forum, Mr. Governor Micheal Imitini, lamented government neglect of the community since 1999. He called for the immediate relocation of the tank farms from Satellite Town saying residents could no longer continue to live as a second-class citizen in their own country. “Since 2013, we have commenced a contrite struggle against the structures which were fewer then. Our whispers overtime amassed to groans. In 2018, we sent an SOS to the President, Governor of Lagos State and all the relevant institutions and agencies of government.
“We summed it up with a mega press conference held on 4th December, 2018. We thought we had attracted a reprieve that would douse all our sad past. But our conditions have worsened as Satellite Town situation deteriorated.
“Satellite Town has long been neglected by succeeding Federal, Lagos and Local Governments and the only functional road has been destroyed by heavy duty vehicles deployed to take products from the tank farms. No road has been added since the construction of Mumuni Adio Badmus road to Waterside even to enable Lagosians living in Ibasa to take advantage of.
“Tankers and trailers are usually parked in a daredevil manner anywhere and anyhow. They are found on gutter cover and pedestrian walkways on the Badagry Expressway, both sides of old Ojo road at the centre and both side of the narrow and bad Mumuni Adio Badmus road blocking every available space.
“Several businesses have also folded up owing to inability to cope with the imposed explosive and unending misery. Consequently, there is increase in unemployment for our teeming youths.
“We appeal to the Federal and Lagos State Governments to save our lives by relocating the tank farms as well as revoking the licenses of those that were fraudulently procured. That corruption should be fought.
“None of them engaged the community in an EIA before their approvals. We ask that they leave the community in at most five years. They should be relocated”, Imitini said.
He asked authorities at both Federal and State levels to pay unscheduled visits to Satellite Town and conduct random interviews with residents and road users to obtain a firsthand experience of the chaos and catastrophe that have been unleashed on the community since 2013 when tank farms became their neighbours.
Pending when the tank farms will be relocated, Imitini suggested ways through which government could alleviate Satellite Town’s residents suffering. One of his suggestions was the removal of tank farm facilities sited on direct flood channels. He was of the view that flood streaming through the estates need to be effectively and firmly channelled across the depot road to the sea.
“Mumuni Adio Badmus road must be converted to a dual carriage road. The road is too narrow and was not originally meant to carry and contain heavy axle vehicles. It is therefore always in a state of disrepair and easily blocked by tankers thereby causing eternal gridlock.
“The two routes planned through both sides of Mumuni Adio Badmus road to the old Ojo road and Badagry Expressway for the use of residents should be constructed.
“Deep and large spaced water/flood channels must also be constructed. There is an urgent need for deep large spaced channels that accommodate and route such voluminous flood straight to the sea. At present, the flood overrun houses, roads and estates.
“The bonded terminal at Alakija bus stop must be relocated, while on-going work on the container terminal project at Zone 2, Liverpool Estate must be stopped forthwith. The bonded terminal at the ever busy Alakija bus stop (the busiest bus stop in Satellite Town) should be removed. Such a facility is not meant for a residential area and a major bus stop. We also called for the construction of a temporary tanker and trailer park to ease the congestion of these heavy duty vehicles on the road”, Imitini also suggested.
Seeking redress over chieftaincy imposition
Rejection has trailed the process selecting the Paramount ruler of Eleme Kingdom as some of the people see it as politics infiltrating their culture and tradition with the Land Priest resorting to court for redress.
Some members of the Eleme Chiefs Council and Clan Heads told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Ogale, Eleme Local Government Area (LGA) of Rivers, that the peace of the oil rich kingdom may be threatened with the development.
They claimed that it would be so if politicians continue to show direct interest on who occupies the most revered (Oneh-Eh-Eta Eleme) traditional stool in Eleme kingdom.
Elder Godwin Opara, an octogenarian and clan head of Egbe Community, Aleto Clan, commended moves by stakeholders in the area who publicly rejected the selection process of Dr Philip Obele as Paramount ruler of the Eleme kingdom.
He said that Obele, a state government imposed Regent had on Wednesday, July 10 broke protocols of the kingship selection process going on in Eleme and attempted to impose himself on the people as their new king.
Describing the move as an anomaly, Opara said that the traditional priest of the land had also rejected the move via the media and had even sued in the court of competent jurisdiction to ensure that Obele observed sanity and due process in the chieftaincy matter.
“I have witnessed a number of Eleme coronations in my lifetime, never have I witnessed such a high-level desperation as recently displayed by Philip Obele and I stand to condemn such.
“Moving forward, we will adopt the process of kingship selection in same manner as observed by our forefathers, we stand to condemn all political interest and interference.
“We plead with the state government to allow us to choose our King according to our culture which is the responsibility of our Land Priest,’’ he said.
Opara therefore, advised Eleme people to shun greed and unite in accordance with existing laws of the land to ensure that only a credible citizen emerged as the Oneh-Eh-Eta Eleme (Paramount ruler).
In the same vein, Chief Ejii Olaka, Paramount ruler of Ogale community, also condemned the act of chieftaincy imposition and urged the Regent, Obel0e, to respect the laws of the land and avoid parading himself as the selected Oneh-Eh-Eta.Eleme.
Similarly, Chief Apolus Chu, an eligible contestant for the same kingship stool had urged the government not to issue certificate of recognition to Obele to guard against creating loopholes for communal crises in the area.
Chu urged the people to remain calm and advised against allowing the Eleme chieftaincy tussle to contribute to insecurity as the government currently battled to restore peace in some parts of the country.
Other stakeholders who publicly condemned Philip Obele’s self-imposed chieftaincy antiques are Chief Ambrose Iyaye — Deputy Paramount ruler of Agbata Community, Chief Harrison Onugwe, Chief Okparaji Chinwi, Chief Ejireaji Wuwu and several other clan heads in the Eleme kingdom.
Ordeals of singles in the hands of Lagos landlords
The city of Lagos is said to be a land of opportunities and a place where dreams comes true but with working hard.
This and many more are the reasons many people migrate to Lagos state. To its residents and visitors, Lagos is indeed a land of opportunities; a place where all their dreams get fulfilled but they didn’t prepared for was the sacrifices that come with such dreams. In fact, so many persons give up a lot financially; in order to come into the big city to make their desires come true. Yemi Okonlawon, a health assistant who lives somewhere in Ojodu Berger axis of Lagos, came to Lagos for greener pasture after his graduation. As a first timer in Lagos, he squatted with a few of his friends before he could be gainfully employed and gain enough knowledge to sustain him in Lagos. Although, not easy, in less than a year, Okonlawon got a job in a factory as assistant supervisor. A year later, he had gathered enough money to settle for accommodation of his own. Then the nightmare Okonlawon didn’t bargain for, started. It started with series of ridiculous questions like: “are you engaged or still searching for whom to marry? How many cars do you have? What is your current position at your place of work? What position are you among your siblings? The landlord was only short of asking for the death certificate of my late grandmother,” he said. Out of desperation to get the apartment, Okonlawon said he answered honestly thinking that would earn him the apartment. He explained that because he desperately needed the accommodation at that time, he was forced to answer the questions without giving a thought to the questions initially. I answered sincerely and that turned out to be my undoing.
I was later told by the agent that the Landlord said rejected me for fear of turning his compound to a motel, by bringing different girls and friends at different times as I would under the excuse of searching for the right lady.”
Okanlawon concluded that many landlords in Lagos are really just too inquisitive who wouldn’t respect people’s privacy. Taking in account also the reactions of Tovia Odion, Grace Ogunjobi and Blessing Mayaki, they all had nasty stories to tell.
As for Odion; “ mine was a landlady, I was actually happy thinking I had someone who was going to be like a mother to me in Lagos, but to my surprise, she was actually a monster. She started by keeping a watchful eye on whoever came visiting, whilst asking questions as to who they were and what relationship we had and why they would visit, claiming it wasn’t right for me to have male visitors that I was single and needed to be careful not to choose wrongly when instead they were friends or relations.
She would sometimes put off the pumping machine and ask for money to buy fuel to pump water. Sometimes, she would ask my neighbour and I to pay PSP for waste disposal for the tenants in the compound, again, because we are singles. I paid for a while but stopped and later, she started switching off the metre to ask for electricity bill even before the bill was brought. It got to an extent she said the septic tank was to be evacuated and after paying for that we were asked for, she rather covered the manholes with mortar instead the proper slab. The hurtful thing was that the hole was directly in front of my apartment so I had no choice but to look for a bricklayer to do it.
Ogunjobi’s experience was quite amusing as her landlord complained that she wasn’t always around and demanded to know the kind of job she does so as to know why she comes home a fortnight monthly, and the address of her work place should be tendered as well. He also asked her to bring a relative of hers even though he paid his utility bills without question yet he wasn’t satisfied,” she said.
She added that, “it escalated on one fateful day when I told my boyfriend I wasn’t into the relationship anymore and that he should move out before I returned. The landlord turned hostile towards me, she claimed she knew a certain guy as my boyfriend and now I was doing away with another as though men are predictable and stable.” This went on to the extent I had to call my elder brother to intervene as the landlord gave me eviction notice, stating unfathomable excuses. It was really stressful such that I had to ask him if he would allow his daughter to go steady with a man who couldn’t provide for her or keep a job for three straight months.
Mayaki ‘s saga was about how many people rented the apartment which was a room and why she never said she had six sisters and four brothers; as though there was a column in any rental rule book that stated the number of people that can live with her when she rented it. Mayaaki said the drama went on for a year until he got fed up and had to pay triple the utilities bills, which the landlord claimed was not enough since it amounted to him having the size of a football team using the amenities in the building.
These sort of invasion of privacy and extortion would leave one wondering if there are no laws protecting the tenants from infringement on the privacy of their tenants mostly singles by their landlords.
The common questions from most people New Telegraph spoke to was that “could it be that singles are just not what they portray themselves to be before renting the apartments and later show their full fledged personalities when they have gotten what they want from the landlords thereby then feeling they could have their cake and still eat?”
Some Lagos landlords reacted:
Lanre Atojaiye claimed that some of these tenants come in with a male as their fiancé but after awhile they find out they just camouflaged the person so as to get the accommodation can rent later turn one residence to a motel or a hangout for delinquents who later may constitute nuisance amongst the neighbours or around the neighbourhood. He also pointed that every area this time have CDA and meetings are held, disputes sometimes are settled among the tenants and landlords.
Olumide Oyeleye, another Lagos landlord said that, “you don’t know half of it, some of these tenants are so unkempt and lack hygiene, and even use up the amenities without caution, they would not even keep their surroundings clean as they feel just paying rent is all there is to do. What of the ones that go in and out of the compound, without knowing really what they do for a living after their initial lies.
Rights of a Tenant according to Lagos laws
*The tenant is entitled to quiet and peaceful enjoyment of the premises
*The tenant has a right to privacy and no interference or unreasonable disturbance from the landlord
*The tenant has a right to exclusive possession of the premise, subject to the landlords restricted right of inspection
*The tenant also has a right to use common areas for the reasonable and lawful purposes
* For all the above rights listed, the tenant also must fulfill his or her own obligations by paying rents at the time and manner agreed. The tenant should also keep the premises in good and tenantable repair although reasonable wear and tear is acceptable.
* Furthermore, the tenant must abide by the rules and clauses stipulated.
*The landlord also has obligations to be fulfilled to the tenant. He is obligated not to disturb the tenant’s quiet and peaceful enjoyment of the premises and pay all rates and charges as stipulated by law.
*The landlord should not terminate or restrict the use of a common facility or service for the use of premises.
2.3m girls, 1.6m women need reproductive health services in North East – UNFPA
UN Population Fund (UNFPA) says more than 2.3 million girls and 1.6 million women need reproductive health services in the North East.
The fund’s Country Reresentative, Dr Eugene Kongnyuy, told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja that no fewer than 7.1 million women were affected by the insurgency in the region.
Kongnyuy said there were untold millions of women affected by war and disasters that were cut off from reproductive health services globally.
He, therefore, called for more commitment to the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) held in Cairo in 1994.
The country representative recalled that during the ICPD 1994, 179 countries including Nigeria agreed that population and development were inextricably linked.
He added that the conference adopted a 20-year Programme of Action, which focused on individuals’ needs and rights, rather than on achieving demographic targets.
He said “we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of UNFPA and at the same time we are celebrating 25 years of ICPD 1994.
“The Plan of Action of ICPD 1994 was handed over to UNFPA to coordinate the implementation globally.”
He expressed concern that the Cairo Agenda (UNFPA dream) was yet to be realised for all people in all places, including Nigeria.
According to him, there are more than 214 million women globally who want to prevent pregnancy but are not using modern methods of contraceptive, with 20 per cent unmet need for family planning in Nigeria.
“Worldwide, 800 women die from preventable causes during pregnancy and child birth every day, in Nigeria, 111 women die daily during child birth.
“Total fertility rate is still very high in many developing countries.
“World population has grown from 3.6 billion in 1969 to 7.7 billion today, Nigeria’s population has increased from 140.4 million in 2006 to 198 million in 2018,’’ he said.
The country representative therefore called for full implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action in Nigeria because of its link to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
He added that UNFPA remained committed to ensuring that the needs of affected population were met in humanitarian crisis, emphasising that “every birth should be safe, and every pregnancy wanted.”
He said UNFPA was working assiduously to ensure that every young person’s potential was fulfilled and every girl and woman was treated with dignity and respect. Yauri writes for NAN.
From Mother and Child Hospitals to PHCs
With 70 per cent of the population of people living in rural areas of Ondo State having little or no access to health facilities, BABATOPE OKEOWO reports that the state government has jettisoned the idea of Mother and Child Hospitals to concentrate on Primary Health Centers scattered around 18 Local Government Areas of the state
With the massive renovation of Primary Health Centers across the 203 political wards in Ondo State, the state government may have abandoned the concept of Mother and Child Hospital, made popular during the immediate past administration of Dr. Olusegun Mimiko.
For now, the state government in the last two years has renovated 576 Primary Health Centers in order to bring health care delivery to the grassroots. This, the Executive Secretary of the Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr. Francis Akanbiemu, said is to make sure that what the Mother and Child Hospital do in designated areas are replicated at the grassroots.
The Mother and Child Hospital’s concept was popular among the populace in the state as it catered for pregnant women and children under the age of five free of charge. The hospitals, which began in Akure, the state capital earned the state government accolades among the electorate. All government’s visitors were taken to the hospital in order to showcase the facilities there.
The Hospitals which were tagged as first in Nigeria took deliveries of more than 10,000 babies in the first year of operation. The fact that its operation was devoid of any payment including caesarean operations made many communities put pressures on the government for such facilities. The Mother and Child Hospital which was one of the selling points of the immediate past administration is now located in seven other centers in the state.
However, Akanbiemu said various countries and international organisations realised that over 70 per cent of the population resided at the level of the community which means that for government to provide health care service for that large number, it must take health care services to them. These sets of people, reports said live in hard to reach areas, where there are no good roads and social amenities.
The minorities of the population which represents 30 per cent that live in the urban areas are enjoying social amenities and healthcare facilities like Mother and Child Hospitals, Specialists Hospitals, and Teaching Hospitals. These hospitals are situated in the state capital or headquarters of local governments.
Despite the fact that a large number of people live in the rustic areas with little or no access to medical care, the Primary Health Centers which are supposed to cater for these large number of people are also underfunded in terms of human resources, infrastructure, and finance.
In order to cater for the larger percentage of the population, which lives in rural area, the state government has shifted its attention from the popular Mother and Child Hospitals to the Primary Health Centers. These PHC centers, Akanbiemu said, have the capacity to function as mini Mother and Child Hospitals where they are situated.
His words: “This government has expanded initial mother and child hospitals from the traditional two to seven and those seven are located across all the zones of the state, and the concept is that once a woman or a child less than five years require health service, those services that are given at the level of the Mother and Child Akure and Ondo would be given at those areas.
“Coming to the PHC, the system that the present government in the state has embarked upon is to make the services available at those health centres. Last year, the state government procured some life-saving equipment to help in the delivery of babies. Most of the health facilities now have equipment that can be used to detect if a newborn baby has enough oxygen, all these are facilities you see at Mother and Child hospitals.
“But no matter how equipped a PHC center is, there is this linkage between the traditional PHC centers and these Mother and Child hospitals in those designated areas such that any case that is beyond the management of these PHC are referred to the Mother and child. In order words, the services they are getting at Mother and Child are almost the same but the ones that require greater skills are referred to nearest General Hospital or the newly designated mother and Child hospitals. The government is working to make sure that even though the PHC have the same standard as what we have in Ondo and Akure Mother and Child Hospital.”
With the rehabilitation of the PHC across the state, Akanbiemu said the people have now expressed confidence in the government-owned hospital at the detriment of Traditional Birth Attendants (TBA) which came to the rescue because of lack of access to healthcare deliveries at the grassroots.
According to him, “As at 2012, the people that deliver through PHC attendant was less than 60 but as at today we are having over 70, this survey was not done by us and this means that delivery is more at our facilities and not only that you will also see the immunization coverage.”
His words “In 2017 when I took over, the indicator that was done by UNICEF and other partners showed that our coverage was around 66 percent. But as at today, we are about 79 percent that has been a tremendous improvement. So, we work on evidence and from the national survey, you found out that the utilization of those health facilities is virtually increasing.
“The numbers of delivering are increasing because people don’t pay for delivery and bringing children under the age of five to hospitals even if they are admitted, those services are provided free. So, because those services are provided free, people will always patronize and are patronizing, more so that that the quality of service is also increasing.”
Akanbiemu said the many facilities including solar power system in the 576 out of 604 Primary Health Centers were put in place through the World Bank assisted project; the Nigeria State Health Investment Project (NSHIP).
He said “Most of the successes we are recording in the health system of Ondo state today, NSHIP has contributed immensely to it and is still contributing greatly to it.
NSHIP ensures that the community is part of whatever they do as far as the health facilities that are under NSHIP is concern, the chairman of the health committee is from the community and they still need to account, even the pricing of the health care services including what they need to do to ensure the health services are better is jointly done by the facilities and the community members. In terms of whatever achievements recorded in Ondo state since NSHIP started in 2014, a bigger credit goes to NSHIP”
Expressing satisfaction with the activities of the PHCs in the State, Akanbiemu said the government was working towards ensuring that more human resources are available at the health centers. He said that Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu is working at ensuring that the state has at least 90 doctors at PHC level to add to the about 30 that are already there.
He added that the governor has given an approval to inject more health workers, including doctors, nurse, and laboratory scientist into health system making the human resources available at the grassroots unprecedented in the country.
Dad dares kidnappers: Kill my son in the morning, you die in the evening
Suleiman Haruna a business man in Nabayi village of Nagoyi district in Zaria area of Kaduna State who refused to cooperate with kidnappers to pay ransom for his kidnapped son says he is prepared to give the money to religious scholars to offer prayers for him than pay ransom for the release of his son.
The kidnappers according to Haruna, demanded for N4 million ransom for release of his six-year-old son. Rather than pay the ransom, he asked the kidnappers to slaughter the boy and bring his corpse to him if that is not enough, they should come and carry his other brothers.
Haruna added that he put it to them categorically that if they kill his son by morning, they will in turn die by evening. He vowed not to give a dime for the ransom demanded.
According to his narration, the whole thing started, June 9, 2019, at about 7:30 pm he sent four of his children to bring his rubber mat from his other apartment. He said three of them returned to him while one of them did not. “We did not really get the understanding of what has befallen us until evening time by 11:00 pm when my wife called to say that Mohammed was not with the other children in the house. That night, I called all my relations to find out if the boy was with them, they all said no. By dawn of the following day, we checked all the wells around, in case he may have fallen inside but alas, he wasn’t there,” he said.
Three days after, Haruna said he got a call with a new number and the person told him that he was one of those who kidnapped his son and that he should give them N4m “I told him that I don’t have such amount but the kidnapper replied me that with all my shops around, I told the person that it would not work like that. But, he asked for my picnic pink color car, I said that is for inheritance,” he said.
Haruna added that the kidnapper went to negotiate for him by asking him to sell his house but he said he told them that one also is for inheritance. Haruna said he asked the kidnappers to tell him where they were keeping his son, but they insisted that he must give them the demanded amount of money. After the conversation, Haruna felt the best thing he should do was to report to the Police but then, the kidnappers switched off their mobiles and blocked all means of communication. But whenever the kidnapper wants to demand for money, he switches on his phone.
Out of tortured emotions and frustration, Haruna said he told the kidnappers that they should go ahead and slaughter his son and bring his dead body back to him. “And if that is not enough, let them come and carry his other brothers to add for their purpose. He asked me if that was what I wanted, I responded in the affirmative, and he began to insult me, calling me all sorts of names. In fact, he reminded me that my father is Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi, Buratai or Emir of Zazzau but that they cannot arrest him and the prayers I am offering is meaningless and would not have any positive impact on him. I told him that God has never created anything that is greater than him, I will continue to tell God and between my prayers and your own, God will choose one. I told him that by God grace your end has come and you will be arrested,” he explained.
Haruna added that, “I also told him that if you kill my son in the morning you would die in the evening and from there, I start praying to God and engaged scholars for more prayers and God answered my prayers after nine days. “A driver who shuttles between Bauchi and Zaria came with the message, I don’t even know him, that there is a missing child in Nabayi community and that the child have been seen in Bauchi. He came with Police number and the woman whose custody the boy was in Bauchi. He went straight to the district head of Nagoyi and the district head sent for me at once that there was good news. When I came, he narrated the whole story and advised me to go to police for report. So the police called the woman in Bauchi and explained to her that they want led to find out about the child under her care. She asked about the boy’s name, father and mother’s name and she got satisfied with responses.
The woman confirmed to them that a man brought the child to her that he is his brother’s son who is mining in Toro and that he wants to relocate but the boy refused to follow him so they will like to keep him with her for safe keeping until he returned and she innocently accepted the boy.
According to Police Public Relations Office Bauchi State Command DSP Kamal Abubakar said kidnappers have deviced a new method of kidnap. “Once they kidnap a child, they would take him to another state and keep him with social welfare while negotiation is ongoing with the parent of the child to pay ransom and initially the fixed price is N10m but you can bargain down to N1m,’ he said.
Boko Haram: A new hope for orphanage children
Following the lingering Boko Haram insurgence in North East that made many children lose their parents, hope has at last risen for the orphans through an Evangelist and his wife, Mr and Mrs Eleojo Joel Jinjigi who offered them free education, feeding, clothing and accommodation.
Interacting with some of the orphans at Cornerstone Orphanage Yelwa Kagadama area of Bauchi State, Sunday Garu, 13, told New Telegraph that both of his parents were killed in his present by men of Boko Haram. Garu, who cannot speak English language fluently, said he found himself in the orphanage house because parents were killed by Boko Haram but God save him. He said he was following people about from one place to another without direction and when the people saw that his suffering was too much, some good Samaritans contacted the orphanage house in Bauchi if they would be able to accept him and that was how he found himself at the orphanage house.
Due to the enormous pains of his parent’s death especially as they were massacred in his present, Garu lives with pains daily. His childhood sparkle also seemed lost. He does not laugh to jokes, not willing to play with his mates, does not even trust anyone around him. “I always see how my mother and father were slaughter,” he said. However, he has thus far learnt how to write, even though it is still on gradual process but he cannot read fluently in English and that is his major problem. He said, “I am now comfortable with my new parents but it took me a year before I start talking to other children around because of the shock of what I saw.”
Peter Geji, 20 years old from Toro local government council of Bauchi state and a two hundred level student of the University of Maiduguri reading Enlglish Language told New Telegraph that at the aged of six, he lost his mother in the village and he was left with no one to take care of him but the missionary picked him up in 2014 and brought him to the orphanage house because of his condition.
Geji said with help from other people, he was able to go to public school in the village but since the missionary brought him to the orphanage, he was enrolled at Zion primary and secondary school Yelwa, Bauchi. He said, “I am here because I lost my mum. She passed away when I was six years old, my father is still alive but could not take care of me in the village and the missionary found me in that condition and picked me up and brought me here. I thank God because I am doing well with studies and may God bless Mummy and daddy for their kind gesture.”
He added that, “when you are living in the midst of many people, there are things you learn and there are many misunderstandings amongst us but we thank God, we settle it amicable. Our parents here are not showing any favouritism the treat us equally like one family and they pay all my school fees at the University including pocket money.”
Also Suzana age 14, a primary five student from Adamawa State whose parents were also killed by Boko Haram said she has now found a new home, parents, sisters and brothers at the orphanage saying living with plenty children is exciting.
While, Ana Amos age 19, ND1 student Federal Polytechnics Bauchi said she is from Maira local government council precisely Gida, Zaki Kano State and have stayed in the orphanage for nine years right from her JS2 explained that, being in the orphanage has been so far good and comfortable for her. For her, the orphanage couldn’t have been different from her parent’s real home. “It has been good when I came here, I was feeling somehow because none of my relations is here but as time rolls by, I came to understand that we can live with people comfortably even though we are not from same back ground or tribes. We relates here as one family, as brothers and sister and our new parents here treat us equally without bias so I am really comfortable as we are all accommodated.” She said further that she became what she is today because she is a family of a good orphanage. “It is a privilege for me to be here, if I am not here I may not have gone far with my education. I think is God grace.”
Interacting with the founder of the Cornerstone Orphanage and the proprietress of Zion Pilgrims Christ School Yelwa, Kagadama Bauchi, Jinjigi said his wife started the orphanage about twenty years ago out of her love for children.
According to him, “my wife is a professional teacher with a master degree in education notice that some of the children in our community were malnourished, abandoned and not attending school so she decided to find out from parents what is wrong and discovers that most of the children were orphans living with their relatives mostly uncles. Therefore, she seeks for their consent to allow the children live with her and enroll them in her school and they agreed with her suggestion and that is how the orphanage was borne.
Evangelist Jijingi said, as at the moment, he has more than forty orphans under his care but lamented that he is handicapped in sponsoring most of them through Tertiary institutions, adding that he has enjoyed support from individuals and groups but there is need for more.
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