“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” John Adams, 2nd President of the United States.
-Lord Denning in Leonard MacFoy v. United Africa Company Limited 1962 AC 153.
“My lords, the issue of jurisdiction is over and above any legal manipulation. There is no doubt that a court of law is fundamentally competent when it is properly constituted. If a court is not properly constituted, when there is a defect in its membership then that court cannot be said to have been properly in place. It lacks jurisdiction to properly adjudicate. Whatever decision it reached is going to be a nullity:
-Chukwudifu Akunne Oputa, JSC. in Oniah v. Onyia (1989) 1 NWLR (pt. 99) 514.
hen political and ideological opponents articulate and voice their opposition to certain developments in the polity, it admirably serves the corporate good when such articulated opposition and criticisms are grounded and founded in the consequential facts backed by a full appreciation of the underlying principles. Otherwise, no public good is done, and the universe of the polity is further polluted, if not poisoned.
The anxious quest for such unfounded and ill-conceived criticisms and innuendoes not to pollute the polity informed the writing of this piece.
In the 7th July 2019 edition of the Nigerian Tribune newspaper (both print and digital), Mr. Yinka Odumakin, a vocal and well-known political opponent of the All Progressives Congress (APC), put his name to an article titled: “Osun Verdict: Technicality Defeats Justice.” The overarching point of the article is evident from its title, namely that the Supreme Court of Nigeria failed to do substantial justice in the appeal emanating from the Osun State Election Petition Tribunal and the Court of Appeal by allowing a ‘technical point’ raised by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, His Excellency, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola, to defeat the petition of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the September 22 and September 27, 2018 Osun State gubernatorial election, Senator Ademola Adeleke.
Mr. Odumakin admittedly wrote beautifully, alluded to fascinating historical events and quoted respected jurists. However, he wrote under a mistaken appreciation of the legal principles involved and the fundamental principles of judicial adjudication. While the Supreme Court does not need a spokesperson to defend its judgements, the insinuation in Mr. Odumakin’s article that the bias of some of the justices made them elevate what he termed as ‘technicality’ above justice, is one that is indeed capable of poisoning the polity by diminishing the faith of political actors and citizens in the judiciary or by suggesting to other political actors that the APC is undeserving of its victory at the polls and at the Supreme Court. Hence, this rejoinder.
Of course, the right place to begin is exactly where Mr. Odumakin got it wrong: the supposition that the Supreme Court decided the appeal from the Osun State Election Petition Tribunal on a ‘technical’ ground while ignoring the substance of the case. This is far from correct.
Respectable lawyers know so well, and jurists in all commonwealth jurisdictions agree, without exception, that jurisdiction is of fundamental importance to any adjudication process and further that one of the salient ingredients that confer jurisdiction on a judicial body is that it must be properly constituted at all times. Otherwise, it is not a body with vires to conduct a judicial act.
In the case of Nwankwo v. Yar’Adua (2010) 12 NWLR (Pt. 1209) p. 518, at p. 560, the Supreme Court restated the time-honoured principle of jurisdiction laid down in the celebrated locus classicus, Madukolu v. Nkemdilim thus:
“The law is indeed trite that a court is only competent to exercise jurisdiction in respect of any matter where-
1. It is properly constituted as regards numbers and qualification of the members and no member is disqualified for one reason or the other.
2. The subject matter of the case is within its jurisdiction and there is no feature in the case which prevents the court from exercising its jurisdiction.
3. The case comes by due process of the law and upon fulfillment of any condition precedent to the exercise of jurisdiction. See Madukolu & Ors. v. Nkemdilim &Ors.(1962) 2 SCNLR 341.”[Emphasis ours]
It is that first ingredient of jurisdiction listed by the Supreme Court that Mr. Odumakin and other ill-informed commentators or opportunistic opponents of the APC fail to appreciate. For the sake of genuinely intrigued members of the public, one should adumbrate on it.
It is not only a legal principle of procedural law or a mere ‘technical’ requirement but a foundational principle of justice that a judge or tribunal member is not qualified to write and deliver judgement when he was absent at any of the sessions during which the trial of the matter held. Absence at trial is tantamount to not hearing the case in person. This principle is simply giving life to the commonsense position that, without being at all sessions of the trial of a matter, a judge cannot be regarded as having heard the matter so as to be qualified to write and deliver the judgement in the matter.
Indeed, this cardinal principle is codified in almost all the laws setting up trial courts in Nigeria, including, for example, section 23 of the Federal High Court Act which provides that: “every proceeding in the Court and all business arising therein shall, so far as is practicable and convenient and subject to the provisions of any enactment or law, be heard and disposed of by a single judge, and all proceedings in an action subsequent to the hearing or trial, down to, and including the final judgment or order, shall so far as is practicable and convenient, be taken before the judge before whom the trial or hearing took place.”
This is because the trial judge in Nigeria as well as the members of the election petition tribunals are both judges of facts and law. Hence, the requirement for them to be present at the trial in order to be competent to write and deliver judgement. For, how can a judge properly apply the law to the testimonies of witnesses he did not personally see or hear?
As earlier mentioned, this is not some principle of law invented out of thin air but a principle of justice recognised in all mature legal jurisdictions. In the United States case of the Matter of Whisnant, 71 N.C. App. 439, 441 (1984), Judge Tate presided over a termination of parental rights hearing. At the close of the hearing he announced his intended order and asked one of the attorneys to “prepare an order with the appropriate findings…reflecting the broad findings that I announced.” A couple of months later, however, Judge Crotty—not Judge Tate—signed the relevant order, which included detailed findings of fact and conclusions of law. The Court of Appeals reversed, citing Rule 52 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, which requires a court in a non-jury trial to make written findings of fact and conclusions of law. Because these findings and conclusions reflect the role of that judge as “both judge and juror,” they cannot be performed by a judge who did not hear the matter. (Emphasis mine).
Again, the second point that Mr. Odumakin failed to appreciate is the salient difference between the role of an appellate court and that of a trial court. The Osun State Election Petition Tribunal is, to all intents and purposes, a trial court which has the duty to sift through the evidence, listen to witnesses, listen to the oral and written arguments of lawyers and then deliver its judgement based on the evidence evaluated, the witnesses heard and observed and the legal arguments canvassed.
On the other hand, the role of the appellate court is, generally speaking, to review the proceedings and decisions of the trial court and the role of a higher appellate court is to review the proceeding and decision of the lower appellate court. In other words, an appellate court merely reviews what the trial court has done. It cannot substitute its own views for that of the trial court because it did not evaluate the evidence nor listen to the witnesses. With respect to the instant matter, the question submitted to the Court if Appeal was whether Justice Peter Obiora was competent to deliver the judgement of the tribunal notwithstanding his absence at one of the tribunal sittings.
Of course, the Court of Appeal could not deliver a judgement beyond the question submitted for its consideration. Similarly, the Supreme Court could not but answer the main question or issue placed before it, namely, whether the Court of Appeal was right in its decision that Justice Peter Obiora was not qualified to deliver the judgement of the tribunal having been absent on one of the days that witnesses appeared before the tribunal.
I am certain that a better appreciation of the issues would have restrained Mr. Odumakin from penning the July 7, 2019 article published in the Nigerian Tribune. The only competent body that can conduct gubernatorial elections in Nigeria is the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). INEC is also the only competent authority that may declare results. It is therefore pedestrian to argue that the courts ought to have assumed the powers of INEC, extrapolate figures and arrive at what Mr. Odumakin considers the ‘correct’ result of the Osun State gubernatorial election.A court of law must act within the ambits of the law.
So, we may end this discourse exactly where we began it: John Adams was right in his observation that facts are stubborn things that cannot be altered by our wishes, inclinations and passions. And yes, the fact that Justice Peter Obiora, who wrote and delivered the judgement of the Osun State Election Tribunal was absent on a day when witnesses appeared before the tribunal, is so stubborn that it cannot be wished away by anyone. It is fact. A fact that goes to the competence of Justice Obiora to carry out the judicial act of writing and delivering the judgement of the tribunal. A fact that essentially denies him of jurisdiction and vires to deliver the judgement. As the erudite Justice Oputa rightly observed: “An act done without jurisdiction is a nullity” and, as the immortal Lord Denning espoused, one“cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stay there. It will collapse.”
Let the Yinka Odumakins of our country know that that is not a mere ‘technical’ point of law. It is a universal and foundational principle of justice.
Akinyede is a legal practitioner based in Osun State
Could the private sector fill Nigeria’s $31bn annual infrastructure gap?
Nigeria’s Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola recently commissioned public roads built by a private citizen, Chief Ade-Ojo. For decades, Nigerians have looked up to the government to provide necessary infrastructures. But things seem to be changing, at least following Fashola’s call on private citizens to supplement state efforts. Nigeria has an enormous infrastructure deficit that would require annual spending of at least $31 billion and the government is already neck-deep in debt.
According to the World Bank, the country’s infrastructure deficit may reach a whopping $878 billion by 2040. A viable way for Nigeria to fill this gap in infrastructure in light of the rising debt, as advised by Fashola, would be through the support of individuals and corporations.
Should Nigerians, however, take to building public infrastructures, it would not be the first time such help is rendered by non-state bodies. Unleashing the powers of the private sector through infrastructure investment, meanwhile, is a part of development stories in the west.
In 1896, Nikola Tesla built a hydroelectricity power station at Niagara Falls in order to provide public electricity for New York City. Thirteen years earlier, Thomas Edison commissioned the first public electricity project in the world while inspiring the first hydropower station built by another American businessman, H.J Rogers on the Fox River in Wisconsin. Many of the railroads and steel bridges in America were built in like manner by private citizens.
Similarly, though, Public-Private Partnerships in the United Kingdom (UK) has led to the private sector investing £56 billion in 700 UK infrastructure projects. With the huge infrastructure deficit in Nigeria, there is a lot of room for private capital investments.
The importance of private participation in state-building should not be lost. But now that private university founders like Chief Ade-Ojo are venturing into building public roads, too, it is instructive to note that the oldest private university in Nigeria started in 1999.
Whereas, in 20 years, 79 private universities have been built in Nigeria. The private sector has built 36 more universities since 1999 than all 43 federal universities built since 1914. Clearly, there is no doubt that with the right policy environment, this feat can be replicated in building roads, seaports, railways, power supply, and other hard infrastructures.
As we have seen with the new private universities, financial institutions, and entertainment outlets, job creation is a dependable outcome when private corporations invest in an endeavour. Investing in hard infrastructure could provide thousands of jobs that would, in turn, help the average household income, which is currently appalling. These investments could accelerate Nigeria’s industrialization.
Meanwhile, Nigerians should do away with the wrong premise that the government has unlimited wealth at its disposal, hence it should assume all development responsibilities. This would only encourage indiscriminate state borrowing, which would accelerate. Not only does the borrowed funds lead the country into a huge debt burden over time, but it is also susceptible to be embezzled or diverted by officials when it is aplenty. Nigeria’s debt profile is already a staggering N25 trillion.
We would not want to blow that over. Private sector investments in infrastructure, nonetheless, provides a healthy alternative to borrowing.
With the private sector complementing the state in infrastructural developments, the government can focus more on creating an enabling environment and increasing funding for other necessities like education and health. Indeed, Nigerians need to change their view on the role of the government in development. Moving the country forward is everyone’s homework.
•Feyisade Charles Adeyemi is a writing fellow at African Liberty and a lecturer at Elizade University. He is on Twitter @Thisischale.
Tightening the screws on Sex Offenders
The recently launched National Sex Offender Register in Nigeria is a welcome development, considering the fact that ‘one in four women is sexually abused in the country and worse still, before they attain the age of 18,’ as extrapolated from UNICEF. Even at that, this statistics seems a mere tip of the iceberg, as we, as a people, have not been good at keeping accurate records of these heinous criminals who should be named and shamed. Also in operation in the United Kingdom, this Register contains the details of anyone convicted, cautioned or released from prison for sexual offences.
As at last year, 2018, about 60,000 sex offenders were registered. They are legally required to register with the police within three days of their conviction, or release from prison – and must continue to do so, on an annual basis. This is to guide against repeated sex offenders. Of importance, too, is the Sarah’s Law, named after eight-year-old Sarah Payne, who was abducted and then murdered by sex offenders
This law allows UK parents to find out if a child sex offender lives in their area. More so, if someone on the Register wants to start a new relationship, there are certain conditions that must be met, these conditions becoming more stringent if any of the lovebirds are coming into the relationship with children.
Now to Nigeria: This new measure is a step in the right direction, however, keeping an overstocked database of those convicted of sex crimes is one thing, and prosecuting these criminals, another. It has been established by the United Nations Children Agency, UNICEF, that majority of cases involving sexual abuse in the country are not prosecuted, thereby, giving the heartless perpetrators a free rein to intensify their atrocious acts. Now is the time to put our money where our mouth is.
We must ensure that we keep a clean slate of the past and checkmate our country’s evergrowing sex offenders anytime they violate the rights of our young girls. Where they are sent to jail to serve as a deterrent, that punishment in effect, should serve as their just deserts rather than be given a cozied, comfortable or stress-free incarceration because they are acquainted to the prosecuting judge or able to navigate the barefaced lacunae bedevilling our criminal justice system.
It is also high time we took sex violence serious and rewrite or abrogate certain sections of our Penal Codes which covertly encourage rape, spousal abuse and sex violence. Take, for instance, Section 282(2) of our penal code, where it is spelt out inter alia, that sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife is not rape if she has attained puberty.
This provision is to me, defective and in fact, ostensibly allows for the defiling of teenage girls, as the honourable drafters of the Code simply ignores the age of puberty, usually 14; and rather concentrates on the all-encompassing banner of ‘wife.’
Also check out the poisonous fangs of the Northern Nigeria Penal Code, Section 55(1) (d), which provides that nothing is an offence which is done by a husband for the purpose of correcting his wife…where the drafters did not specify which ‘offence’ needs correction nor did they care a hoot about what is ‘correction’ and in what manner or fashion can it be gauged.
They goofed and they know it. Even, the Vagrancy Law which has for close to a decade ceased from being in operation in the country is still being used by morallybankrupt and skirt-sniffing law enforcement officers to railroad innocent girls to jail for ‘wandering,’ if they fail to ‘play ball’ or surrender their bodies for rape.
The nitty-gritty here, is that while the newly launched Sex Offenders Register is a desideratum albeit arriving belatedly considering the excruciating pains our young girls had been subjected to over the years, there should be a rewording or even an abrogation of these Codes which, in their harshness, could drive our numerous teenage girls and baby-wives onto the streets and into the trap nets of these evil and conscienceless sex offenders. It will be preposterous and clearly beyond the realms of the ridiculous for anyone to begin to argue about the concept of Retroactive Law, in that the law had not been in operation in 2015 when these people committed the sexual offence.
This SHOULD NOT be the case. Finally, while I applaud the newly-introduced national Sex Offender Register, there should be no garland yet for Sadiya Farouq, Nigeria’s Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, as we have just initiated our first faltering steps; and for that very reason, not yet Uhuru.
•Martins Agbonlahor is a trained lawyer and lives in Manchester, United Kingdom.
Where is the lion’s owner?
The story of Kevin Rene Richardson, a South African, who is better known as “Lion whisperers,” has never stopped to amaze animal behaviourists and wildlife experts. I remember how I held Richardson in awe, the first time I watched him on DSTV’s Nat Geo Wild station in the midst of a Pride of Lions in a forest. He was obviously at home with the pride comprising at least five big lions who have accepted him as a member of the pride.
If I had seen that video as a young boy, I would have either come up with a myth to explain what Richardson does with the pride or thought the South African used “juju” to tame the lions. As I was watching the video, I also recalled the case of one cleric, who was later named as “Brother Daniel” by the students of the University of Ibadan.
The story of “Brother Daniel” happened in the ’80s and was well captured by the then “Evening Times,” an evening paper as the name suggests, a publication of Daily Times.
Armed with a Bible, a long rope and a bell, “Brother Daniel,” who had boasted to visitors at the UI Zoo, claimed that he had divine power to tame the lion who was sleeping at the time. To convince the onlookers that he was not a joker, he scaled the cage of the lion and even had the audacity to continuously ring the bell until the Lion woke up. I can still recall how the reporter dramatised the encounter between “Brother Daniel” and the lion using descriptive power and imaginative prowess to explain to the readers how the lion devoured the cleric.
I remember the reporter writing that if “Brother Daniel” had come out of the cage alive, religious bigots would have been fooled that the Biblical Daniel had reincarnated in Nigeria and the country might have experienced the influx of religion zealots from different countries. The lion was eventually killed by the zoo authorities. Most people were unhappy that the lion was killed and blamed the cleric for his foolishness.
But the authorities had a good explanation for its action. Ordinarily, a lion is a wild animal and once it tastes human blood, it becomes more dangerous and wilder.
Having tasted human blood, its taste had changed and would yearn for more human blood. It won’t be satisfied with the live goat he was being fed with. So, it would be dangerous to keep such a lion even though it was restricted to a cage. So, such lion must be cut down. This is how dangerous lions are.
Yet, a foreigner kept this kind of animal in a residential area in Nigeria for a while until November 19. Nigeria is a fertile land and will always attract foreigners despite our obvious downside.
But it is not good when we allow foreigners in connivance with our people go away with the impression that ours is a like a Banana republic where anything goes. I recall a day I was driving on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, two foreigners were being chauffeur-driven in a nice car. One of them sat behind the driver while the other one sat beside the driver in the front.
The one who sat beside the driver wound down and was pouring banana peels and some dirt right on the road. I wondered what sort of human being this was.
I quickly increased the speed of my vehicle so I could catch up with them and yelled at the animal in human skin and asked him a rhetorical question: ‘Can you do that in your country?’ By the time I caught up with the vehicle, I guessed he had poured all the dirt on the road and wound up again. I honked the horn to attract them. But they all kept straight faces. I strongly suspected they knew I wanted to register my resentment and didn’t want to give me the opportunity.
As the head of Punch Metro Desk some years back, we had cause to report cases of exploitation and inhuman treatment of Nigerians who worked in factories owned by Chinese, Indians and Lebanese. Some of those who worked in some of these factories narrated to us how they were often exploited and treated like animals.
Some of the girls working in some of these factories were sometimes asked to report to the residents of their foreign employers to perform household chores not captured in their letters of employment. And did it at no cost except what the master gave out something extra out of his “generosity.” In some cases, some of the girls would be invited to satisfy the libido of their masters.
Most of such girls suffered in silence because of fear of losing their jobs. It was worse for the girls, most of who were from poor homes and had assumed the role of breadwinners in their families on account of what they earned as salaries. I recall the case of a guy who suffered a permanent dis ability while working in one of these slave camps called factories.
His employers abandoned him and he approached me to help publicise his plight. In line with the principle of fair hearing and balancing, I asked the reporter assigned to cover the story to get response from the company concerning the allegations brought by an employee. But to my chagrin, the company was more interested in “killing” the story than seeing to the welfare of the injured worker.
Subsequently dealings with some of these factories indicated that perhaps as a deliberate policy, their human resources departments were usually headed by Nigerians, who were often used as chief tormentors of fellow Nigerians.
No matter how bad Nigerians were treated, fellow Nigerians would swear to high heavens to defend these foreign owners of these sinister factories.
Back to the issue of the lion allegedly owned by an Indian and kept at 229, Muri Okunola Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, a residential building. It was the grace of God that the lion didn’t get out of its cage before it was tranquilised, evacuated and taken to a zoo by officials of the Lagos State government.
Imagine the damage the lion would have caused if it had escaped from its cage. Since the issue became public knowledge, the whereabouts of the owner remain unknown. The fact remains that the lion did not stray from a zoo to the residence. It has been established that someone actually brought it to the residence. Perhaps, the owner might have fled Nigeria.
If that is the case, how did it happen? Between November 19 and December 7 is long enough to know how the man developed wings and flew out of the country or at least tell us his name and a few things about him.
After all, the apartment he rented, paid for and kept the lion was not paid for by a ghost. I learnt some of those working for the man were arrested. Are we going to use them as scapegoats and allow the main culprit to go with the intention that anything goes here?
It’s high time we named and shamed the man who put the lives of hundreds of his neighbours at risk for at least two years by keeping a lion as a pet. Another person may try a similar thing and we may not be this lucky. This is the danger of bad precedence.
World Bank warning: Will anything change?
n Monday, global financial institution – the World Bank, released a very damning report, warning that as Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) declines, poverty will be on the increase.
According to the international financial institution, headquartered in Washington DC, United States, and which provides loans and grants to the governments of poorer countries for the purpose of pursuing capital projects, the main problem the world’s most populous black nation is facing, is that uncontrolled population growth is outpacing economic growth.
In its Nigeria Economic Update (NEU) report released by the global financial institution in Abuja on Monday, the World Bank said: “With economic growth expected to remain below the estimated population growth of 2.6 per cent through 2021, per capita real GDP will decline from $2,485 in 2018 to $2,460 by 2021, pushing more Nigerians into poverty.”
“Population growth is expected to continue exceeding economic growth, undermining Nigeria’s prospects for poverty reduction.”
Incidentally, in the late 80s former military President Ibrahim Babangida was aware of this problem for the nation and consequently came up with a simple solution – encouraging families to limiting them to just four children!
Unfortunately, a serious backlash from conservatries both religious and traditionalists meant that the suggestion never really gained traction.
Our failure to take action then has led to the situation we have found ourselves in now, which has further been highlighted by the World Bank.
The situation has become so dire that in June Nigeria was officially dubbed “the poverty capital of the world” by ‘The World Poverty Clock’, which said we have overtaken India in that dubious regard.
The report said then: “The struggle to lift more citizens out of extreme poverty is an indictment on successive Nigerian governments which have mismanaged the country’s vast oil riches through incompetence and corruption”.
Since then, nothing concrete has been done by those at the helm at affairs to stem the slide or even show that The World Poverty Clock writers that they would put them to shame.
Instead, it has been business as usual with government officials not seemingly bothered by the tag.
In fact, Monday’s World Bank report further showed the kind of people we are when it said that money in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) had almost “been exhausted, rendering Nigeria more vulnerable to shocks.”
The NEU report stated that “the account balance on June 30 was $0.1 billion, down from $0.6 billion at the end of 2018 and $2.5 billion at the end of 2017.”
The World Bank lamented that the “ECA has rarely operated as envisaged; when it was established in 2004.” It explained that that the account “was to be drawn on only when the actual crude oil price falls below the budget benchmark price for three consecutive months.”
Ironically, state governments had kicked against the creation of ECA on the grounds that the Federal Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) of 2007 was not binding on them and local governments.
In 2011, the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) Act came into being, thus, establishing the Nigeria Sovereign Wealth Fund (NSWF) as the oil savings fund for the country. It has three ring-fenced funds (future generations, infrastructure, and stabilisation), jointly owned by the three tiers of government.
The stabilisation fund, like the ECA, is to support federation revenue in times of economic stress. It was envisaged that the balance in the ECA in 2011 would be transferred to the fund. Instead, in 2012, seed capital of only $1.5 billion was transferred. In addition, another $0.5 billion in 2017 and another $250 million recently.
But like most things in this country it has been repeatedly abused as noted by the World Bank, which said savings had drastically dwindled.
Incidentally, Norway, which is also a major oil producing nation, and with a much smaller population than Nigeria’s, 5.2 million compared to the West African nation’s 200 million, started her own fund in 1990 to invest the surplus revenues of the Norwegian petroleum sector.
It now has over $1 trillion in assets, including 1.4% of global stocks and shares, making it the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund.
This means that in the event that their main natural resource eventually runs dry they (Norway) have more than enough funds to continue to enjoy the way of life they have become used to.
Sadly, if our previous records are anything to go by, nothing is expected to change here because ironically some of the most vociferous opponents of the Sovereign Trust Fund and who often pressurised the central government hand over money to them when they were governors are now the ones formulating policies in government.
And with such mind-set will certainly not have suddenly become proponents of financial discipline.
Desolately, had the monies they armed twisted the federal government in releasing to them from the (SWTF) had been put to good use, the people would have been the major beneficiaries of better hospitals, roads and other social and infrastructural amenities.
Instead, we have been treated to continued reports of the massive sleaze that many governors, past and present, have been accused of carrying out.
The same government that has been touting its successes in the agric sector, especially with the direct intervention of the Central Bank, have also been called into question by the World Bank report.
“CBN financing schemes for the agriculture sector and forex restrictions designed to reduce imports of staple foods will continue to support the sector, but will affect the quality and increase the price of agricultural produce,” it said.
The report warned that “with little growth in agriculture and few opportunities elsewhere, agricultural labour productivity is expected to stagnate, failing to improve the living standards of the 40 million Nigerians it employs.”
Government and politicians have refused to show that they are not only worried by the reports but are ready to tackle the issue head on by setting examples by cutting down on wastages and their humongous salaries and allowances.
The present government has said that it is committed to lifting more than 100 million Nigerians out of poverty without explaining in concrete terms, how they intend to make this happen.
On Wednesday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, once again insisted that poverty eradication as key to attaining sustainable development, saying that it is an issue the Federal Government will remain committed to.
Mohammed, who made this known in Abuja at the Quarterly Public Lecture of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), said: attaining sustainable development is in line with fulfilling Buhari’s promise to lift “100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next ten years”.
Since 1999 every successive civilian government has been promising the people El Dorado and yet leave them worse off than how they met them.
As things stand, it is clear that unless a miracle happens, or the people finally decide that they have had enough and will ensure that their votes do ultimately count, things will not change any time soon.
Where is honour in marriage?
he word ‘Honour’ according to dictionary refers to something that is morally right, has respect, honesty, dignity and pride.
If we agree that God is honourable and that everything he created is good, then, we must admit that marriage, (his creation) is an honourable thing.
Marriage is not man’s idea. It was a creation of God in Genesis chapter 2. After originating marriage, God provided the rules of engagement in the Holy Bible, the word of God. Every brand new car comes with a manufacturer’s manual. Any attempt to operate the car outside the guidelines of the manual can create problems. In the same vein, any attempt to operate marriage outside the provisions of the word of God leaves you with a marital crisis to contend with.
The fact that you were born a few decades ago and you are alive today is a miracle. There are many people that came into this world with you and aspired to get honoured by getting married to a life partner. They did not live to see it happen. So, if you have gotten someone to marry and you are about to do so, or you are already married to someone, you are honoured.
When you get admitted into the marital institution, you become a socially and spiritually honourable person. If the admission was gotten through malpractices such as fornication, coercion, unwanted pregnancy and so on, the honour gets deflated and a seed of uncertainty and possible marital crisis is sown.
“Marriage is honourable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4).
“Man that is in honour and understandeth not is like the beasts that perish” (Psalm 49:20).
How I wish you appreciate the great honour God has done to you by giving you someone to marry. Please, take good care of your spouse.
When the purpose of a thing is not known, abuse is inevitable. Ignorance and wrong perceptions about marriage is largely responsible for the growing failure rate in the marital institution. Ignorance and wrong perceptions have been more destructive to this institution than economic situations. Today, most of our young men and ladies take marriage for granted and jump into this lifetime journey based on naive judgements, without any enquiries or even mental preparedness, as if it is a joke. They then, jump out shortly afterwards or stay in a problem that is avoidable in marital relationship, throwing away the honour in marriage.
As a single person that aspires to get married someday, if you want your marriage to be outstanding, you must seek some level of understanding of this honourable institution before you enrol in this university that has no graduation date.
Today, many young people have the ambition or desire to get married and be successful in marriage. Ironically, many of them are not interested in gathering information or researching on this subject. If you are single and intend to have a joyful marriage but you are not interested in reading marriage books, attending marriage seminars or even interacting with the married, to gather experiences, you are deceiving yourself. You don’t even want to know what the Bible says about marriage? Sorry!
There are too many things you need to understand about marriage before you embark on premarital relationship. You need to understand God’s prescribed procedures and processes of choosing a life partner. Is courtship and engagement possible without sin of fornication? How? What about the viruses that can ensure failure in marriage such as wrong orientation or mentality, addiction to public opinion, disobedience to God’s word, bad habit, religious ignorance and so on?
What kinds of development could possibly turn an honourable wedding into a dishonourable marriage or marital life?
If you jump into marriage without understanding, you will distort your destiny, deny yourself of the associated honour, gains and favour that God has packaged for you, and expose yourself to unnecessary hardship.
As a married person, you must begin to see your spouse as an honourable gift that God has in his mercy, given to you. A lot of things that your spouse could do that offends you, might not annoy you or mean anything to you if you have understanding that he or she is an honourable gift from God.
If you are a wife and you are not submissive to your husband as expected by God, you are playing the beast in the marital institution. If you are a husband and you are not showing love to your wife, you are playing the beast in the marital institution.
“Man that is in honour and understandeth not is like the beasts that perish” (Psalm 49:20).
“Nevertheless, man being in honour abideth not is like beats that perish” (Psalm 49:12).
This implies that seeking to break your marital vow is a beastly act. If you are not abiding, it is a beastly act. If you are maltreating your spouse physically, spiritually or emotionally, where is honour in your marriage? If you are operating in the marital institution outside the biblical instructions that guide marriage, where is the honour in your marriage?
You might have made up your mind not to get married for simple reason that you saw marriages collapse, or tried marriage before and it failed. Now, you may have to explain to me whether you will resolve not to build a house because people’s houses collapsed. Will you abstain from buying a car because cars have recorded road accidents? You will have to tell me whether you will stop investing money in business just because businesses failed in the past. Will you commit suicide because other people are dying every day?
Marriage is full of honour. Discover and understand the honourable nature and features before going into the marital institution. If you are married, maintain the honour that God has given to you in marriage and your marriage shall be a blessing and a testimony in Jesus name.
When a blood clot block lung arteries (Pulmonary embolism)
The scene Miss UV had to embark on a 12- hour automobile ride to the nearest local airport due to the turn around maintenance being embarked on at one near her residence.
It was indeed a stress laden journey aggravated by the poor state of the roads.
She was to catch a 10-hour flight to another part of the world. She went through about 22 hours of restricted mobility!
Just minutes after disembarking she felt a sudden chest pain, shortness of breath and cough, then a blackout.
Paramedics came to the rescue…their efforts paid off and she was eventually resuscitated at the hospital, several others are not that lucky as they lose their lives in the process.
What it is A pulmonary embolism (PE) is a blood clot in the lung. The clot usually forms in smaller vessels in the leg, pelvis, arms, or heart, but occasionally the clot can be large.
It prevents oxygen from reaching the tissues of the lungs. This means it can be life-threatening.
The word “embolism” comes from the Greek émbolos, meaning “stopper” or “plug.”
In a pulmonary embolism, the embolus, forms in one part of the body, it circulates throughout the blood supply, and then it blocks the blood flowing through a vessel in another part of the body, namely the lungs.
An embolus is different from a thrombus, which forms and stays in one place.
When a clot forms in the large veins of the legs or arms, it is referred to as a deep venous thrombosis (DVT).
The pulmonary embolism occurs when part or all of the DVT breaks away and travels through the blood in the veins and lodges in the lungs.
The clot travels through the vessels of the lung continuing to reach smaller ves sels until it becomes wedged in a vessel that is too small to allow it to continue further.
The clot blocks all or some of the blood from traveling to that section of the lung.
These blockages result in areas in the lung where the disruption of blood flow does not allow the carbon dioxide waste to be delivered to the air sacs for removal (ventilation).
• Immobility: A stroke, broken bone, or spinal cord injury can result in confinement to bed so that clot formation can occur in either the arms or legs.
• Travel: Prolonged travel, such as sitting in an airplane or a long car trip, allows the blood to sit in the legs and increases the risk of clot formation.
• Recent surgery; it is often associated with immobility and sometimes vessel damage depending on the surgery
• Trauma or injury (especially to the legs)
• Heart disease (such as an irregular heartbeat)
• Previous history of blood clot in the legs (DVTs) or pulmonary embolism Conditions that increase clotting of the blood
• Estrogen therapy and oral contraceptives Symptoms
• chest pain, a sharp, stabbing pain that might become worse when breathing in
• increased or irregular heartbeat
• difficulty catching breath, which may develop either suddenly or over time
• rapid breathing
• a cough, normally dry but possibly with blood, or blood and mucus More severe cases may result in shock, loss of consciousness, cardiac arrest, and death.
Recognizing Pulmonary embolism Doctors may suspect a blood clot if any of the above symptoms occur in someone who has or recently had a swollen or painful arm or leg or who has any of the risk factors listed previously.
Check your legs for any signs or symptoms of DVT, such as swollen areas, pain or tenderness, increased warmth in swollen or painful areas, or red or discolored skin.
In addition, several other tests are requested by the doctor to back up the definitive diagnosis of a suspected case.
When to seek help If a person experiences any type of chest pain, he should go or have someone take him/her to the nearest hospital’s emergency department immediately; this is the way to go.
It is better to be too careful than being care free! Treatment Doctors prescribe medications and other supportive measures. In some cases, surgery may be indicated.
Prevention You can reduce your risk of pulmonary embolism by doing things that help prevent blood clots in your legs.
• Avoid sitting for long periods. Get up and walk around every hour or so, or flex your feet often.
• Get moving as soon as you can after surgery.
• When you travel, drink extra fluids, but avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine.
• Wear anti-embolism compression stockings to compress the legs when on a long trip.
• Physical activity, regular exercise, a healthy diet, and giving up or avoiding smoking tobacco. Advice
• Take all medicines as prescribed, and have tests done as your doctor advises.
• Discuss with your doctor before taking blood-thinning medicines with any other medicines, including over-the-counter products.
Over-the-counter aspirin, for example, can thin the blood. Taking two medicines that thin your blood may increase the risk of bleeding.
• Foods rich in vitamin K can affect how well the drug works. Vitamin K is found in green leafy vegetables and some oils, such as soybean oil.
It’s best to eat a well-balanced, healthy diet.
• Once you’ve had Pulmonary embolism (with or without deep vein thrombosis (DVT)), you’re at higher risk of having the condition again.
During treatment and after, continue to take steps to prevent DVT
Curbing violence during elections in Nigeria
Democracy is the preferred system of government all over the world because it provides the people an opportunity to elect the leaders of their choice.
Democracy is about freedom of choice, and that choice must be made by the people in an atmosphere devoid of violence, intimidation and harassment.
This is why I strongly condemn the violence during elections generally in Nigeria, especially during the recent governorship polls in Bayelsa and Kogi states.
Humanity is diminished when innocent lives are lost before, during and after elections.
Democracy and violence have nothing in common.
Desperate politicians who want to win elections at all cost arm unemployed youths to cause mayhem while their own children are safely kept abroad.
I believe that any politician who has the intention to render service to the people will not kill the same people to get to power.
It is rather unfortunate that no single individual has been prosecuted for electoral violence since 1999 when Nigeria returned from military rule to civil government, and this has given the perpetrators the boldness to continue the evil act.
This is why government must revisit the recommendation of the Justice Uwais Electoral Reform Panel on the establishment of an Electoral Offences Commission to prosecute perpetrators of violence during elections.
I also believe that the introduction of electronic voting system will drastically reduce violence during our elections.
Elections in Nigeria must be devoid of violence and the people must exercise their franchise in an atmosphere of peace.
Nigeria should send a clear message to the international community that it is ready to sustain and deepen democracy by conducting violence-free elections.
•Osikhekha is a 200-Level student of Mass Communication at the Babcock University, Ilisan Remo, Ogun State.
Edo: The vultures flock to the prey
St John Clarke
Criticism is a popular sport in Nigeria. The art, if it can be so-called, requires no special gifts or any particular training, for that matter. It has no regulating guild and a lack of qualification can debar no one from participating in what sometimes looks like a national pastime. What you require most, is an obsession with a cause, a crisis or in many instances, a huge load of prejudice, professionally disguised as public or community interest.
The unravelling political impasse in Edo State has continued to attract comments, both helpful and unhelpful. However, vultures are now flocking to the prey. Interventions like that of Kassim Afegbua have in particular also been a distraction and have done nothing but set the pot boiling. Fortunately his partisanship on the matter at hand is difficult to conceal or misread: We concede that Kassim Afegbua’s free ranging professional genius can adopt causes and briefs even without a contract or proper briefing.
Afegbua has issued a somewhat magisterial sounding statement on the crises in Edo State. It is ponderously titled Edo’s Political Conundrum. Even though Afegbua’s effort pretends to be an analysis of the Edo crisis, it is essentially a vicious and partisan attack on the quality and contributions of the Obaseki years. It is thus better to engage the analysis with the understanding that the presentation is an attempt by a prodigal associate of Oshiomhole to feather the nest of his political father. This rhetorical health warning is an important precursor to any unbiased appreciation of Afegbua’s philosophical drift. It is worth recalling that Kassim Afegbua was for example part of Oshiomhole’s government in 2016. He served as Commissioner for Information and Orientation. However even though Afegbua has since parted ways with Oshiomhole he more than most, understands the authoritarian streak in Oshiomhole and has sometimes called attention to this. Afegbua’s portrait of Oshiomhole is understandably composite and sometimes confusing. In an interview with Adekunbi Ero of Tell Magazine some 11 months ago, he said this of Oshiomhole
“I will rather he allows the incumbent governor the opportunity to be his own man and take full responsibility for his actions and inactions. That’s the way to go. Once anyone meddles into the affairs of a governor, he or she carries part of the blame. I see a lot of friction coming but like one adage in my village says, if you have sacrificed a rabbit for the gods, you remove your hands from its tail.’
Afegbua in the same interview issued a warning to Comrade Oshiomhole thus:
“My quarrel with Oshiomhole is knowing when and where to apply the brakes when confronted with a political disagreement. Leaders are called leaders because of certain qualities in them that are not in others. If you fight against godfatherism on the one hand and exhibit all traits of godfatherism on the other hand; your followers won’t take you seriously.’
This stiff-necked authoritarianism, correctly identified earlier, as the root of the Edo crisis, now gets no mention in Afegbua’s latest prognosis of the difficulties in Edo. Seized by what looks like residual partisan loyalty, Afegbua has instead attacked Governor Godwin Obaseki for being able to consolidate on the gains of the Oshiomhole years. Some of the arguments leading to this conclusion are weak and sometimes laughable. Afegbua bellyaches about Governor Obaseki’s inability or refusal to tar township roads in his native Okpella, and in Freudian slip reveals that this same neglect was one of the reasons he was alienated from Oshiomhole’s government. Afegbua went on to grouse about decay in infrastructure; in health and education and flood control under Obaseki. It is a massive portfolio of grievances, and in compound terms, contained extremely unreliable and sometimes ignorant charges.
Afegbua has posited rather lamely, that if Edo State under Obaseki could not employ 400 additional teachers how could the Obaseki government claimed to have created 157,000 new jobs. Coming from Afegbua this is a grave intellectual howler. It is shocking that he associates job creation with the effort by government to directly employ people. Job creation is activated when government through public provisions opens up the economic space for business to prosper. The orthodoxy which required government to involve itself in business is now old hat. Those who can remember, will recall that Ogbemudia, perhaps our most famous son and ruler, established over 72 government businesses. Most of them were wiped out by experiential contradictions. That way is no longer the preferred route. Afegbua is invited to kindly note this. We can also bear witness to the fact that it was this same attitude of regarding the service as a welfare haven rather than a tool for expanding social good, that has landed most states in their present unsustainable condition. Recurrent expenditure has risen exponentially in relation to gravely capital provisions. This is a danger of which a technocrat like Obaseki is well aware, and laboured along with Oshiomhole to establish an equitable capital/recurrent expenditure ratio.
The charge by Afegbua that 2,520 teachers interviewed by Oshiomhole are yet to be employed under Obaseki is of little consequence. Protocols and observances require to be fulfilled before hiring is perfected. In any case, funding is an important consideration, and it is worth reflecting on what might have disabled Oshiomhole from perfecting the appointments himself. A Warri proverb says that, “When you have identified a hurdle on the highway in the daytime, you do not require illumination to avoid it at night.” No excuses, but Obaseki’s circumspection on these matters is perfectly justifiable.
But perhaps Afegbua’s most bizarre turn was his charge that insecurity in the state had risen citing the recent kidnap of a judge in the state as an indication of how badly things have gone wrong. This is clearly in violence of the understanding that security is on the exclusive list and that no residual responsibilities devolve on the state.
These arguments will continue to animate public discussions for as long as we remain active political animals. But neither the insincerity of Afegbua’s laboured prognosis nor the partisan computations of rival gangs can deny the real achievements of the Obaseki government. The reconstruction of several government buildings including the secretariat in Benin stand out.
The secretariat is one the more iconic structures in Central Benin. It has remained neglected by government after government and ultimately became an architectural scar on the face of the city scape. Other institutions such as the Benin Technical College, the Ogbe Stadium and Ekpoma township roads have also received robust attention. These recitations are essentially banal and are only deployed in response to Afegbua’s irrational denunciation of a government he regards as hostile.
Afegbua’s unreasonable impatience is typified in his disgruntlement that a Gelegele-Okpella Road, which he said Obaseki adopted as a blueprint has remained undeveloped. The project if it really was an Obaseki initiative, would require a bit of time to be realised. Oshiomhole’s Airport Road pet project covered a mere seven kilometres and was an urban initiative. It took Oshiomhole 20 months and several variations and reverses to complete. Afegbua watched patiently and saw nothing wrong. Benin-Okpella is stretch of 190 kilometres and Obaseki is only three years in office. Yet Afegbua is already straining at the leashes! With people like this, Governor Obaseki can put no foot right. Whatever goes on, Obaseki is damned!
But the citizens and residents know better. The violence which threatens to arise from the ongoing political crisis is alien to Obaseki’s nature and family environment. A technocrat and man of considerable refinement, Obaseki prefers debate and dialogue to threats and coercion. Those who seek war must look beyond and outside him. There is still a chance that peace will prevail and that people like Afegbua, no stranger to ideological somersaults, can still find accommodation in Obaseki’s large heart.
•Clarke writes from Abuja
Where are the Awoists?
Chief Obafemi Jeremiah Oyeniyi Awolowo, GCFR, was born on March 6, 1909 in Ikenne, Ogun State, Western Nigeria and died on May 9, 1987. He attended various schools including Baptist Boy’s High School, Oke-Egunya, Abeokuta; he then became a teacher in Abeokuta. Following his education at Wesley College, Ibadan in 1927, he enrolled at the University of London as an external student and graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Commerce (Hons).
He went to the United Kingdom in 1944 to study at the University of London and was called to the Bar by the honorable society of the inner temple on November 19, 1946. He founded the Nigerian Tribune in 1949 at Adeoyo, Ibadan as a private Nigerian newspaper, which he used to spread nationalist consciousness among Nigerians.Nigerian Tribune is still publishing in Nigeria. Chief Awolowo was Nigeria’s foremost Federalist. He advocated Federalism as the only basis for equitable national integration. As the leader of the Action Group party he led the damans for a federal constitution which was introduced in 1954 Lyttle Constitution, following primarily the model proposed by the Western Region Delegation led by him.
He was first Premier of Western Region. He proved to be and was viewed as a man of vision and a dynamic administrator. He introduced free primary education for all in Western Region and free health care for children. He established the first television station in Africa in 1959 and the Oduduwa Group of Companies. He built the first skyscraper called Cocoa House in Ibadan and the Liberty Stadium also in Ibadan.
When Chief Awolowo was alive, a group of young Nigerians called themselves ‘AWOISTS’ to feather their political interest. A few of them were columnists in the Nigerian Tribune newspaper. One of them became the Governor of Oyo State later in his life. Many of them got federal and state government appointments, especially when Chief Awolowo was the Vice Chairman of Federal Executive Council under General Yakubu Gowon.
After the death of Chief Awolowo, many of these so-called Awoists, thin away from weekly journey to Ikenne. Only a few of them kept fate with Mama H.I.D Awolowo.
As soon as Mama H.I.D Awolowo too passed to the great beyond, the so-called Awoists were nowhere to be found. That is human nature for you.
Many of the so-called Awoists did not imbibe the culture and nature of Chief Awolowo. All the three children of Chief Awolowo I know (they do not know me) attended public schools, like other children in Western Region as soon as free primary education started. Even though the first private primary school in Ibadan was just across the road to the residence of the Awolowos, instead, they attended N.A. Teachers Training Practicing School Oke-Ado, Ibadan. Chief Awolowo did not employ a private teacher for his children, Tola, Tokunbo and Oluwole. The three of them always trek from Oke-Ado near Ibadan Boys High School to Oke-Bola, Seventh day Adventist primary school under Mrs. Ogunsola and trek back after lessons.
Mama H.I.D Awolowo would come and check the progress of her wards. I remembered day the ball we were playing off the field and stopped between Mrs. Ogunsola and Mama H.I.D’s legs. We were afraid to go and get the ball. Mama H.I.D Awolowo threw the ball to us on the field. Her remark that day is still ringing in my ear. She said, “We may not know Thunder Balogun may arise amongst these children.”
When Chief Awolowo’s contemporaries were celebrating their joy of becoming billionaires, he celebrated 25 years of free education in Western Region.
Many of his contemporaries were not remembered again in history. But, free education introduced by Chief Awolowo continues to put him forward as the real Asiwaju of the Yoruba.
•Dr. Ajai writes from Lagos.
What sanctions for sex between consenting adults?
I should think that this revolution in sexuality and its manifestations in Nigeria are getting out of hands. Sex is a great staple in human affairs and excites great amount of interest and emotions whenever it is in issue. Sex revolution comes with social changes as happened with several cultures and at different epochs. The United States had its sex revolution in the 1960s when the young and the not-too-young seized the moment to experiment with sex especially in the entertainment industry.
But I doubt if the manifestations we are currently seeing in this sex revolution in Nigeria were the case in the United States. History records those hip-hop music stars, boxers and wrestlers, etc. dressing in weird ways and freely engaging the opposite sexes in sexual relationships became the custom and tradition. It was also during that period in the 1960s that the craze for large families by way of couples having many children otherwise called the “baby-boomers” was a fad. History did not record that those that lived this cultural revolution engaged in rape, incest, paedophile, etc. as has become the case in Nigerian since year 2000. The sex revolution in Nigeria is becoming something that even history will be ashamed to record as the social history of Nigeria.
The stories that have saturated the electronic and print media were, and still are stories that rend the heart in perversity and depress the soul. In one case, a father impregnates the daughter, or ward such as a maid or 60-year-old man defiled a 7 years old child and the list goes on interminably.
The academic communities of Nigeria are not spared as this sex revolution has seized it as it should ordinarily. Chukwuemeka Ike in Toads for Super rightly captured the freedom to live as humans in the twilight of colonial and newly independent Nigeria using the university people in freely expressing their sexuality as opposed to the reserved traditional cultural background of various Nigerian ethnic communities that regarded sex as merely means of procreation and not recreation.
Now, one of the major problems confronting universities in Nigeria is the corruption of the academic culture and environment. Sex is now used as a means to achieve advancement or promotion in academic matters such as a student getting a good or better grade or admissions in exchange for sexual favours. It has happened in Obafemi Awolowo University, University of Lagos, etc. This unhealthy exchange between a lecturer and his student is unlawful. Sexual relationship should ordinarily be freely contracted and broken off at will except when such has been concertized in legal marriage which is a contract that can only be annulled or dissolved upon the happening of certain prescribed events or circumstances or conditions between the parties which only the courts can determine. We do not even want to broach the idea of “free love” as postulated by some Marxist sociologists who dreamt of the world experiencing a period when men and women like other animals like dogs, fowls, goats, cows, etc. freely engage in unrestrained and unreserved sexual relationships without preconditions.
Sex between consenting adults is a freedom arising from the fundamental rights to associate; to privacy; to human dignity and expression of conscience. So, where consenting adults agree and engage in sex there can be no sanctions for their actions in realisation of that object of their desires. But the decision to relate and have sex must be free of all corruptive circumstances such as fraud, coercion, oppression, duress or intimidation. Where it is tainted with any of the above conditions or such like, then the relationship and the subsequent act of sexual relation becomes an offence or crime punishable under the laws. But so long the actions leading to sexual relationship and the actual sex were not tainted with any or all of the above conditions the law is helpless because the law presumes that the consenting adults in the sex relationship are eminently qualified to make that decisions for themselves regardless of the opinions of others no matter their moral standpoints or reservations.
It is in the light of the foregoing; it was with consternation that one reads the story about an undergraduate student in one of the country’s universities who impregnated his lecturer and the school authority reacted by summoning him before a disciplinary committee which punished him with expulsion from the school. This punishment is clearly improper. The news report did not carry the full facts of the case except as stated that the undergraduates whose university was not mentioned had been punished with expulsion for impregnating his lecturer. In the report, the boy protested his innocence declaring that the female lecturer lured him, threatened him and finally blackmailed him to have sex with her even to the point of requesting that she be impregnated.
I would not know what offence the undergraduate committed if the facts as presented be the true representation of their relationship? Is the offence as considered, determined and punished because the ‘victim’ is a lecturer? Or that a student is prohibited by law not to relate with his lecturer or to have sex with her? If such be the case, then such must be a bad law. Sex between consenting adults whether the parties are lecturers and students cannot be an offence unless it is shown that it was not consensual or that the relationship and the sexual act were fainted with fraud, duress, intimidation or blackmail, and in that case it becomes rape. But once it is free from any of the above stated condition the student and the lecturer are free to engage themselves in sexual relationship and there can be no sanctions for that relationship because it is their fundamental right to so relate.
We must acknowledge that Nigeria is undergoing a very trying period in its history when so many factors have conspired to render Nigeria “ungovernable” and the society in an irredeemable social ferment but descending to the level of lawlessness in handling the outcomes of ordinary social relations is certainly to kill a fly with a sledge hammer in the guise of fighting corruption as this unnamed citadel of knowledge was trying so hard but in a very wrong way to prove. Let no one make an offence out that which can certainly be no offence in law, public morality and common sense.
In conclusion, we urge the university that handed down the sanction against the student to rescind it. To us, considering the fact presented in the report, the victim was the student and not the lecturer as she did not report she was raped or forced under coercion or fraud to contract the sexual relationship with the poor boy. If anything, it is the female lecturer that should be punished for deceiving the hapless boy into a sexual relationship she knew all along was experimental. Perhaps, she has been married but had been unable to conceive a pregnancy hence she contracted this poor boy to experiment to prove her fertility. And just when her experiment proved positive she now turned round to throw away her specimen and instruments used in the successful experiment because they have served their purposes.
This is callous and amoral but the university must not allow itself to be so cheaply used by a desperate and unconscionable woman. For the umpteenth time, sex between consenting adults is no offence.
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