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The rate of crimes and scams in Nicaragua

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The rate of crimes and scams in Nicaragua

Nicaragua is considered as one of the safer countries in Latin America. Tourism-related crime like petty theft and scam artists (and the occasional robbery and assault) sometimes occur, usually at night and involving alcohol. There have also been some problems with carjacking by criminals posing as police. For the moment, Elizabeth Perkins states that Nicaragua has mostly escaped the gang violence that has plagued the cities of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. Smugglers, mafiosos, dealers, and crackheads are found along the Atlantic coast, where drug-related crimes threaten local communities, although to a lesser extent in recent years.

The Corn Islands have experienced several rapes, and San Juan Del Sur experienced an extreme wave of violence in 2008 that included kidnapping. In 2015, a woman was accosted while walking on an isolated road outside of town. In 2014, a tourist was raped and killed after walking some distance along the beach from the Montelimar resort.

The Tipitapa-Masaya highway, formerly a convenient shortcut for going from the airport to Granada while avoiding Managua, is increasingly dangerous at night as it is the scene of fake “police inspections” that end up with foreign tourists being forced to go from ATM to ATM, withdrawing cash. Before travelling, check official reports, including the U.S. State Department’s warnings and the travel forums. Managua is the city with the most crimes.

Big cities, like Esteli and Chinandega, have neighbourhoods you should skip as well. Avoid travelling alone, especially in remote areas including beaches, at night or while intoxicated, and pay the extra dollar or two for a cab. You are most at risk of pick pocketing (or hat/watch/bag snatching) in crowds and on public transport. Keep a low profile and leave a flashy jewelry, watches, and expensive sunglasses at home.

Keep your cash divided up and hidden in a money belt, sock, or your undergarments (take a cue from the many Nica women pulling cordoba bills out of their cleavage). Immediately report crimes to the local police department, at a minimum because your insurance company back home will require an official police report before reimbursing you. Elizabeth Perkins further states: Nicaragua police have good intention but with a few resources. Don’t be surprised if you are asked to fill up a vehicle with gas.

This is annoying but not uncommon, and chipping in for $20 of gas will help get the job done. While police corruption does exist, the Nicaraguan police force is notably more honest and helpful than in Latin American nations, and has gotten more professional during the Ortega administration.

In these circumstances I did say no way, even though many parts of Nicaragua stayed safe during the worst of violence. San Juan Del Sur, for example, Nicaragua’s main beach town and tourist/expat Mecca, experienced no violence.

They recommended either not travelling to Nicaragua at all only for essential reasons or stay at home. Nicaragua, the poorest country in Latin America and the second poorest in the Western Hemisphere, has widespread underemployment and poverty. GDP growth of 4.5% in 2017 was insufficient to make a significant difference. Textiles and agriculture combined account for nearly 50% of Nicaragua exports.

On November 27, 2018, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved the Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality (NICA) Act, which “seeks to condition U.S. approval for loans to the Ortega regime from international financial institutions.” On the same day, the U.S. Department of the Treasury issued an Executive Order that demonstrated it “is committed to holding the Ortega regime accountable for the violent protests and widespread corruption that have led to the deaths of hundreds of innocent Nicaraguans and destroyed their economy.”

In addition, on November 29, 2018, there were reports that the Nicaraguan National Assembly cancelled the legal personality of Information Centre and Health Advisory Service (CISAS), Institution of Strategic Studies and Public Policies (IEEPP), let’s make democracy (HADEMOS), and Nicaraguan Centre for Human Rights (CENIDH). According to the resolution, CISAS allegedly (a) conducted illicit activities, (b) changed the public order, and (c) conducted activities not related to its objectives.

The director of CISAS was expelled from the country before the cancellation. Similar actions expected against other organizations that have denounced the abuses of the Nicaraguan government against human rights. It is important to note that the criminal circumstances of Nicaragua as a nation may not be different from what is obtainable in most third world countries. There is no country in the world that cannot boast of criminal tendencies such as the visible ones in Nicaragua.

Fortunately for the country, it has no militant group(s) which threatens the very survival of the nation state such as could be found in Nigeria, Somalia, Kenya, and a host of other countries in Africa. Fraudulent activities are so prominent that the governments of these nations are running from pillar to post in an attempt to find a lasting solution to the problems of kidnappings, assassinations, essential scams, robbery, rapes, outright murder, and a host of other devilish activities capable of destabilizing a nation state. Although Nicaragua is rated as almost number one country in the world within the context of criminality, the world should note that a careful investigation into the activities of other countries may reveal the fact that Nicaragua may not occupy the first position, after all. Therefore, Nicaragua may not be rated as number one in the sphere of such criminal acts.

Although, Nicaragua was based on socialist ideology during the period of Daniel Ortega in 2018, the country still remain a capitalist state, no matter how the country intend to preach the gospel of socialism. Obviously, socialism cannot work side by side with capitalism. It is so fundamental that socialism has failed when implemented in most parts of the world.

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Osun State, Supreme Court and stubborn facts

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“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.

W

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

 

 

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The power of storytelling

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I

’ve always been fascinated with stories. It’s one of the reasons why in high school I jettisoned physics, chemistry, and math in favour of literature and history. The decision has served me well in my media and communication career.

I realized early on – to quote the poet Muriel Rukeyser – that “the universe is made up of stories, not atoms.”

 

 

The truth is, stories are not loaded with hard data but rather with something more powerful: emotional data. That’s why we remember good stories long after we first hear them.

 

 

Jesus was a master storyteller. At the age of 12, he theologically confounded the teachers in the Temple. But it was his capacity to tell stories that deeply stirred the souls of those who followed him. He wove familiar elements that his audience could  relate to into his stories – pastures, hills, farmers, sheep, oil and lamps, coins, bandits and highway robbers, etc.

 

 

In workshops, seminars, or conferences on public speaking or communication, my advice is always simple. “Don’t complicate your presentation. Tell stories. Your audience will thank and remember you for it.”

 

 

Whether in journalism, public speaking, or business presentations, the most effective speakers tell stories. What sets them apart is an innate understanding of the needs of their audiences. They know how to connect on an emotional and sensory level, rather than a cerebral one. How do they do it? Stories.

 

 

Sports legend and entrepreneur, Magic Johnson, the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, Virgin Atlantic Founder, Richard Branson, and Kenyan Pan-Africanist lawyer, Patrick Lumumba, distinguish themselves by their amazing storytelling abilities. They connect on a powerful and emotional level when they speak.

 

 

Why are stories important and so powerful?

 

 

Simply because oral tradition has been a part of our DNA for millenia. We are addicted to stories, especially in a digital world of social media dominated by Instagram, twitter, WhatsApp and Facebook. And because stories help bring issues into sharp focus.

 

 

Stories are also important because every single one of us is looking for answers. We connect with appropriate and authentic stories that help us build bonds and bridges. Stories help us recognize that our own experiences are not necessarily unique. Stories help us understand that we are not alone as we navigate this journey called life.

 

 

Good stories should always have three key elements:

 

    *Honesty, authenticity, and vulnerability:* Audiences can tell a fake from a mile away. Your unique life experiences have prepared you well. Tell your stories.

 

 

    *Inspiration:* Life is tough. Your speech or presentation should be a lift and not a burden. Give your audience something to believe in. Inspire them to want to change their world one life at a time.

 

 

    *Clear Lesson:* Before you deliver your speech or presentation, ask yourself, “what is the key takeaway? What’s the lesson I want my audience to leave with? Is it clear and easily understood? Is my logic sequential? Does the story fit the circumstance and needs of the audience? Does it resonate?

 

 

As Plato once said, “those who tell stories rule society.”

 

 

Stories make us laugh. They make us cry. They help change the way we think, perceive and act. They enlighten and provide new insights. They teach values and pass on ancient wisdom. Revolutions have changed nations on account of the narrative-changing power of stories.

 

 

Most importantly, stories transcend the mind and speak deeply to the heart.

 

 

Your authentic story is your power.

 

 

Dr. Victor Oladokun is the Director of Communication and External Relations at the African Development Bank

 

 

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Insecurity: Will we ever get it right in Nigeria?

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Insecurity: Will we ever get it right in Nigeria?

Last week the nation was taken aback when reports filtered in of the murder of Mrs Funke Olakunrin, the 58-year-old daughter of Afenifere leader, Reuben Fasoranti. Mrs Olakunrin had just visited her 93-year-old father and was heading back home when suspected herdsmen attacked her car along the Akure-Ore road.

 

And what is becoming a very worrying trend (as if was not already) the assailants rather than blocking the road and giving their victims the chance of ‘cooperating’ or being dispossessed of their valuables by force, opted to shoot first and in the process the woman who resides in the US was struck and later died in hospital due to massive loss of blood.

 

Incidentally before last Friday’s incident a number of videos had been circulating on social media showing people recounting their brushes with death after having their vehicles shot at by the bandits. In one such case for instance, nine suspected armed herdsmen were said to have launched an attack on a Nigerian naval officer who was on his way to Lagos while returning from an official assignment.

 

The attack on Lt. M. Dahiru took place on July 7 at about 1:30 pm along the Benin by-pass by Ahor community, Edo State. Dahiru was returning from an official assignment on the NNS Burutu, a Nigerian navy vessel, when the attack occurred.

 

Just like in the case of Mrs Olakunrin, the attackers never gave him the opportunity of stopping but rather reportedly fired several rounds at Dahiru’s vehicle hitting him in the shoulder. While trying to escape from his assailants, the soldier crashed into another vehicle.

 

Pictures of the incident showed his white Peugeot 307 saloon car full of bullet holes on the bonnet with his boot crumpled from the crash. Sadly in the case of Pa Fasoranti daughter’s death politics crept in with the police insisting that it was a case of armed robbery and kidnapping since their investigation showed that another vehicle and a luxurious bus were also attacked and about eight people abducted.

 

However, this was hotly disputed by Mrs Olakunrin’s brother, Mr. Kehinde Fasoranti, who told journalists that he visited the police station in Ore town shortly after the incident and was told by officers on duty that those who operated and shot his sister were Fulani herdsmen!

 

“We need to get the story straight. The way they operated, according to what the police said in Ore, is the way Fulani herdsmen operate…The story that these are just bandits is a lie. If you want records, request the report I made at the Ore police station. They categorically said the attackers were Fulani herdsmen,” he told the media.

 

But whatever is the true situation, Friday’s incident only further drives home the fact that the security situation in the country is only getting worse by the day and no amount of propaganda by government and her officials can mask this fact!

 

From Sokoto to Zamfara, Borno to Yobe, Benue to Plateau state, we are constantly bombarded with chilling reports of killings, murders and attacks by herdsmen, bandits or ‘unknown gunmen’ slaughtering fellow Nigerians with reckless abandon. In fact, just a few months ago, the nation’s top police office, Mohammed Adamu, who is the Inspector General, reeled out very chilling statistics of the rising lawlessness in the country.

 

Speaking during the quarterly Northern Traditional Rulers’ Council meeting which took place in Kaduna State on Tuesday, April 30, 2019, Adamu said that 1,071 people were killed in crime-related cases in the first quarter of 2019. Of course the figures would have drastically shot up considering all the killings, murders and abductions that have taken place after his presentation. It is very clear that the nation did not get to this precarious situation overnight – it is obvious that failure by governments at all levels to face the situation with all the seriousness it required played a big part.

 

For instance, it still beats the imagination that the same set of people saddled with the responsibility of protecting lives and properties, and who have clearly failed to do so from the daily reports we get, are still keeping their jobs. Like I have noted in previous write ups, the famous German theoretical physicist, Albert Einstein said: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results!” And yet we are still going down the same path. But why security chiefs are on their own not trying anything differently is also a source for concern.

 

Four years ago, a former Secretary to the Government, Chief Olu Falaye was attacked and abducted on his Ilado farm in Akure. Chief Falaye, who was also a one-time Finance Minister, insisted that it was six Fulani herdsmen who had carried out the abduction. And yet here we are years later still talking about the same set of people who rather than being degraded have become more daring, brutal and more widespread in carrying out their dastardly actions. This is clearly a sign that we have not learnt any lessons from previous incidences and evolved correspondingly to tackle them.

 

When Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda successfully breached the defences of the US intelligence agencies and carried out their multiple attacks on mainland America in 2001, the agencies did soul searching checked what they did wrong and have ensured that no such large scale attack has taken place since then.

 

The same thing in the UK, where security and intelligence services working in synch have been able to foil a repeat of the 7/7 (July 7) attacks of 2005, which killed 52 people of 18 different nationalities and injured more than 700 in Britain’s deadliest terrorist incident since the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 near Lockerbie, Scotland, and England’s deadliest since the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings, as well as the country’s first Islamist suicide attack.

 

While it is good for our leaders to show empathy with the victims when such sad incidents happen, what we will want more than anything else is for them not to have to do so because they would not have to console bereaved families having ensured enhanced security across the land. Intelligence gathering should be stepped up by all those concerned with our security, while they should also be equipped with the latest gadgets in order to successfully carry out the very important task of protecting the lives and properties of the citizens.

 

Government should also not shy away from seeking assistance from wherever so long as it will improve the performances of our security services and allow citizens go about their daily chores without fearing for their lives. It is a given that an economy can only thrive in a safe and secure environment – of which, unfortunately, Nigeria is far from.

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Perspectives

Hearing impairment

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Hearing impairment

A Yoruba nollywood actress fondly referred to as ‘’no network’’ elicits a spinning laughter when she is immersed in her thespian role. It is essentially that of someone that is hard of hearing, someone that echoes and acts ‘’go’’ when ‘’come’’ was the actual instruction………….always hearing and carrying out the contrary.

 

As funny as her role seems, it’s actually a portrayal of a very disturbing condition. What it is This is a reduced ability to hear sounds in the same way as other people.

 

• Mild hearing loss: One-on-one conversations are fine, but it’s hard to catch every word when there’s background noise.

 

• Moderate hearing loss: You often need to ask people to repeat themselves during conversations in person and on the phone. • Severe hearing loss: Following a conversation is almost impossible unless you have a hearing aid.

 

• Profound hearing loss: You can’t hear when other people speaking, unless they are extremely loud. You can’t understand what they’re saying without a hearing aid.

 

Deafness: This occurs when a person cannot understand speech through hearing, even when sound is amplified.

 

Profound deafness: This refers to a total lack of hearing.

 

An individual with profound deafness is unable to detect sound at all. Types of hearing loss Hearing loss is defined as one of three types:

 

• Conductive (involves outer or middle ear)

 

• Sensorineural (involves inner ear)

 

• Mixed (combination of the two) The act of hearing Sound waves enter the ear, move down the ear or auditory canal, and hit the eardrum, which vibrates. The vibrations from the eardrum pass to three bones known as the ossicles in the middle ear.

 

These ossicles amplify the vibrations, which are then picked up by small hair-like cells in the cochlea. These move as the vibrations hit them, and the movement data is sent through the auditory nerve to the brain.

 

The brain processes the data, which a person with functional hearing will interpret as sound. Causes of hearing impairment

 

• Damage to the inner ear. Aging and exposure to loud noise may cause wear and tear on the hairs or nerve cells in the cochlea (the sense organ that translates sound into nerve impulses to be sent to the brain). When these hairs or nerve cells are damaged or missing, electrical signals aren’t transmitted as efficiently, and hearing loss occurs. Higher pitched tones may become muffled to you. It may become difficult for you to pick out words against background noise.

 

• Gradual buildup of earwax. Earwax can block the ear canal and prevent conduction of sound waves. Earwax removal can help restore your hearing.

 

• Ear infection and abnormal bone growths or tumors. In the outer or middle ear, any of these can cause hearing loss.

 

• Ruptured eardrum (tympanic membrane perforation). Loud blasts of noise, sudden changes in pressure, poking your eardrum with an object and infection can cause your eardrum to rupture and affect your hearing. Risk factors

 

• Aging. Degeneration of inner ear structures occurs over time. • Loud noise. Exposure to loud sounds can damage the cells of your inner ear. Damage can occur with long-term exposure to loud noises, or from a short blast of noise, such as from a gunshot. • Heredity. Genetic makeup may make one more susceptible to ear damage from sound or deterioration from aging.

 

• Occupational noises. Jobs where loud noise is a regular part of the working environment, such as farming, construction or factory work, can lead to damage inside your ear.

 

• Recreational noises. Exposure to explosive noises, such as from firearms and jet engines, can cause immediate, permanent hearing loss. Other recreational activities with dangerously high noise levels include power biking, carpentry or listening to loud music.

 

• Some medications. Drugs such as the antibiotic gentamicin, sildenafil (Viagra) and certain chemotherapy drugs, can damage the inner ear.

 

Temporary effects on your hearing — ringing in the ear (tinnitus) or hearing loss — can occur if you take very high doses of aspirin, other pain relievers, antimalarial drugs (chloroquine and quinine) or loop diuretics (drugs that rid the body of water)

 

• Some illnesses. Diseases or illnesses that result in high fever, such as meningitis, may damage the cochlea. Symptoms In adults

 

• Have trouble following a conversation when more than one person speaks at once

 

• Think other people are mumbling or not speaking clearly • Often misunderstand what others say and respond inappropriately

 

• Get complaints that the TV is too loud

 

 

• Hear ringing, roaring, or hissing sounds in your ears, known as tinnitus • High-pitched sounds, such as children’s and female voices,

 

• The sounds “S” and “F” become harder to make out. In infants

 

• Before the age of 4 months, the baby does not turn their head toward a noise. • By the age of 12 months, the baby still has not uttered a single word.

 

• The infant does not appear to be startled by a loud noise.

 

• The infant responds to you when they can see you, but respond far less or do not respond at all when you are out of sight and call out their name.

 

• The infant only seems to be aware of certain sounds. In toddlers and children

 

• The child is behind others the same age in oral communication.

 

• The child keeps saying “What?” or “Pardon?”

 

• The child talks in a very loud voice, and tends to produce louder-than-normal noises.

 

• When the child speaks, their utterances are not clear. What to do Please visit or take your ward to visit the hospital as soon as possible when any abnormality is noted.

 

The general practitioner will surely make a referral to the ear, nose and throat doctor.

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The marriage of these days (Part 2)

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The marriage of these days (Part 2)

One of the vital information required before engaging in marital relationship for instance, has to do with difference in variables in behavioural patterns, even in areas of economics. No two individuals in this whole wide world are the same in everything.

 

Let us look at family economics for instance. If a man grew up in a home where his father did nothing but left his mother to shoulder all financial responsibilities of the family, the man is likely not to contribute a penny to the financial upkeep of his family when he gets married. You cannot accuse him of not loving his wife and family based on that character because he sees that lifestyle as a norm. If it was his father that shouldered all financial responsibilities when he was growing up, he is not likely to expect any financial contributions from his wife when he marries.

 

If it was a girl that grew up seeing her father shoulder every single financial responsibility, she is not likely to contribute anything financially to her family when she marries, even when her husband’s income is a peanut when compared to hers.

 

Don’t accuse her of not loving her husband because she is doing what she believes is right. On the other hand, if it was her mother that shouldered financial responsibilities when she was growing up, she is likely to aspire and actually do the same thing. It is only education, positive social interactions, informal exposure to learning or change of orientation along the path of growing up that can make things happen differently.

 

These are some of the background checks that ought to be made during courtship. This is why I wonder whether those who get mar- ried without courtship actually understand the meaning and implications of marriage. Wrong orientation about marital relationship is a huge challenge. As a guy or lady, you have a friend of same gender.

 

You are so close, love each other so well, and you have been able to successfully maintain this relationship for years, even as wretched people. In fact, people have even forgotten that you are mere friends rather than blood brothers or sisters.

 

The relationship has remained sweet with or without affluence. Now, you have married someone of the opposite sex that you supposedly love.

 

Because of a minor offence, probably related to money, you are already contemplating separation or divorce. Would you say you are serious with life? For decades, you loved and lived with your parents and blood relatives who frequently offended you and you forgave them.

 

In fact, as you read this write-up, you know they will still offend you tomorrow. Are you contemplating divorcing them? Is it possible to do away with them? No, of course! So, why are you so embittered that your spouse of a few years relationship offended you? You are already contemplating divorce, forgetting that you made a covenant before your creator as marriage vow.

 

Development of warped values has also become a huge challenge. As I said in previous editions for instance, the notion that once there is plenty of money, success in marriage is guaranteed, is a wrong notion. I am still waiting for someone to prove me wrong on this stand by explaining to me why divorce rate among popular billionaire couples has continued to increase.

 

In the midst of growing number of divorce cases today, there are couples in our environments whose level of sweetness and love in marriage have continued to grow, with or without affluence. The truth is that marrying someone is a journey into discovering who the person is. Before you discover someone else however, have you discovered yourself?

 

There are many people that were ‘very good’ and happy as singles. Their problems started when they got married to someone. In many of such cases, issues of compatibility were not addressed by the couple before choosing to get married to each other. So, the problem cannot be the relationship itself. Relationship is a good thing. In fact, relationship is everything.

 

The problem is with the operators of the relationship. The ‘relators’ as it were, have a problem.

 

Today, you can have a happy marriage and family if you want. If your marriage has a challenge, you need to approach the right source for solution. Seeking counsel or a solution from a wrong source can be likened to seeking the services of a carpenter to mend your faulty dress or car.

 

“For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1st Corinthians 3:11).

 

If your marriage is approved of God, the solution to any challenge in that marriage is not in any other way, than the way and method of God as reflected in his word. Marriage is so important to God that the very first miracle that Jesus performed in Cana was at a wedding ceremony in John chapter 2.

 

If you have a marital challenge and someone is counselling you, that counsel must be weighed with the word of God.

 

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:1-2).

 

The day you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and personal saviour, there is no longer a YOU. “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the son of God who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 5:20).

 

I hope you know that your prayers may never be answered when you mistreat your spouse? (1st Peter 3:7). Your personal relationship with your owner and maker is priority.

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Imo TSA: Matters arising

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Imo TSA: Matters arising

Less than three weeks after His Excellency, Governor Emeka Ihedioha, assumed office, a columnist in an Owerri-based newspaper queried why he was yet to flag off a “major project”! A few days later, another commentator in a rejoinder argued that while “projects” are important, they must be distinguished from “edifice mentality” which, according to him, was the bane of governance in the state for eight years; and wherein the people were made to see halls and squares as the hallmark of development.

Today, if we are talking of edifices, Imo would likely rank the first among the 36 states. But unknown to the hapless citizens of the state, the buildings and squares are standing on top of a massive financial and procedural filth. Of course, the administration of Hon.

Ihedioha is inevitably forward-looking but it also owes it a duty to explain to the good people of Imo State where they were before now, since that is the only way they can consciously pursue a collective aspiration for a greater future.

In other words, we cannot be tired of telling the people the state of affairs before now. How would, for example, Ihedioha, no matter how “nice” anybody would like him to be, fail to disclose to the people that in the last eight years, over 250 bank accounts existed in the state through which revenue accruing to government was supposedly managed; or that monies deducted from the salaries of civil servants under the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system never got into the coffers of government; or that such monies indeed “disappeared between the Accountant-General’s office and the MDAs”.

Would the governor be “playing politics” to let Imolites know that even with that incredible number of bank accounts, payments for government services were “being made in cash as against directly to bank accounts” and that “these payments in cash are not duly transmitted to government treasury…”, resulting in “massive fraud and heavy loss of funds to the government”.

Or take another situation whereby “MDAs… maintained and operated revenue accounts… in pseudo names instead of directing payments to the central electric platform of the Board of Internal Revenue”, leading to a situation where “these funds are spent … and not properly accounted for…”

I have just pointed at a few of the findings of the eight-man Financial Advisory Committee (FAC) set up by His Excellency on assumption of office to look into how the state’s finances, especially from internally generated revenue, were being managed.

The committee, led by Dr. Abraham Nwankwo, an egghead who, for a decade, headed Nigeria’s Debt Management Office (DMO), turned in an interim report last week. Would Governor Ihedioha be playing politics or wanting to do his predecessor in, by letting fellow citizens know of this parlous state of affairs? In any case, it is not as if the people did not know the situation. Otherwise, why do we think that calls have been made by several well-meaning indigenes/ stakeholders and concerned friends of the state, agitating for an immediate probe of the past administration.

However, for those who want the new administration to “look forward” and not “look backwards”, the governor has just done that with the findings and recommendations of the FAC. It is no longer news that, in line with his promise as contained in his inaugural address to adopt the Treasury Single Account, His Excellency on Wednesday July 10, 2019, upon receiving the committee’s report, signed Executive Order 005 signalling the takeoff of Treasury Single Account (TSA) system in the state. By this, Imo is the second state, to take to the TSA system, following its adoption by the Federal Government in 2015. Among others, what TSA in Imo State means is that henceforth, there ceases to exist the multiplicity of revenue accounts operated by MDAs. Instead, all revenues payable to government shall be to BIR accounts.

The TSA also means that henceforth, there shall be no cash payments for services rendered by government and its agencies as all such payments shall now be made to designated bank accounts on the BIR platform.

Then, of course, PAYE reductions from the salaries of civil servants shall be remitted simultaneously with the payment of salaries to the TSA maintained by the BIR. While every well-meaning and knowledgeable citizen of the state is looking forward to its implementation, it is important to point out that TSA is not an end unto itself. It is a step that is taken preparatory to achieving something more robust and transcendental, in this case a positive transformation of the state economy. One of the major objectives of TSA in Imo is to reposition the state to make it more competitive, that is, make business easier in the state.

Perhaps unknown to many, Imo, according to the latest World Bank report, is number 34 on the Ease of Doing Business ranking among the 36 states of the federation. So, what has that got to do with TSA? A lot. Imagine a first time visitor to the state who wanted to obtain some government services which he had to pay for.

Under the previous arrangement wherein MDAs received cash for such payments, the visitor, perhaps a potential investor, would have to go to his bank, withdraw the cash and then go back to the concerned MDA to make the payment. Cumbersome? Exposure to danger? Discouraging? Your answers are as good as mine.

Now, this. A comparative review of the state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) between 2013 and 2018 shows that at N14.8 billion in 2018, Imo occupied the fourth position (it tied with Abia) among the five South-East states.

In other words, Imo ranked below Anambra and Enugu states whose figures stood respectively at N19.3 billion and N23.1 billion. Imo was only atop Ebonyi State whose figure was N6.1 billion. Now, Anambra and Enugu are non-oil producing states but Imo has 163 oil wells.

Needless to say, the current assignment of the Imo FAC is not the first time experts are expressing concern over the financial morass of the state. So, if the state is to “improve its infrastructure and enhance its financial viability”, it goes without saying that measures like the TSA have become absolutely necessary. But even so, it is important to further point out that the Imo FAC did not stumble at TSA.

As already noted, TSA is in itself not an end but a means to an end, which is the overall economic prosperity of the state. Considering the collapse of infrastructure in the state, what project can be better than cleansing the Augean stable of a cacophony of financial procedures, irregularities and massive theft of public funds; as a necessary condition for a sustainable action plan? As experts say, 70 per cent of good governance is from intangibles, not edifices or “projects”, the type Imolites were used to in the immediate past.

Good governance, according to those who know, strives at excellence which is defined by equality, meritocracy, integrity, incorruptibility, diligence and compliance; which is where our dear state is now headed.

There is no gainsaying Ihedioha is passionate about the rebuilding process, for which, he has already hit the ground, despite the fact that the past administration never considered it traditional to hand him a status report.

Not distracted by the deliberate abuses by the remnants of the disgraced past administration, he has gone further to deliberately restore confidence again in the governance of the state. He has taken bold steps to institutionalize believability in his administration which a large section of informed citizens, say, is a total departure from old. Truth is, there is calm, hope and expectation, which resonates among the people. lOnyeukwu is Chief Press Secretary to Governor of Imo State

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Anambra Central and Umeh’s Senate sojourn

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Anambra Central and Umeh’s Senate sojourn

After the 2015 Anambra Central Senatorial Election, Senator Victor Umeh went to the tribunal to challenge the declaration of Senator Uche Ekwunife of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner. Six months after Ekwunife was inaugurated as the Senator representing Anambra Central Senatorial District in the 8th Senate, Umeh succeeded in dislodging her. However, it was after two years, one month of further legal warfare that the former National Chairman of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) eventually assumed office to replace Ekwunife, leaving him with just one year, five months to spend in the Red Chamber of the eighth National Assembly.

Many never thought the red cap chief would do anything impressive with the little time he had to spend in the 8th Senate. But the APGA chieftain known for his firmness of purpose, conscientiously worked round the clock to fulfill the promise that his late entry into the upper legislative house would not be used as an excuse for non-performance.

He did all he could to positively affect the lives of his people and got actively involved in the lawmaking process. Umeh went into the 8th Senate with all the zeal and determination of a man fully prepared for the task ahead.

It didn’t take him much time to acquaint himself with the workings of the legislature. Almost immediately after he was sworn in on January 18, 2018, he began to contribute robustly to debates on the floor of the Senate to the admiration of his people and many Nigerians.

In his determined effort to make a difference in the representation of Anambra Central, Umeh, within his short period in the Senate, sponsored and co-sponsored a number of bills and motions, aimed at advancing the cause of the Nigerian masses and enhancing the growth and sustenance of the nation’s emerging democracy. Even Umeh’s colleagues were marvelled at the speed with which he caught up with activities in the 8th Senate, despite his late arrival.

His motion on the ‘Illegal Confinement of Underage Offenders and Infants in the same Prison with Adult Prisoners’, which was overwhelmingly adopted by the eighth Senate and well celebrated by Nigerians, was a stunning success that earned him an award as the ‘Best Senator of Year 2018’ in overall motion by the Senate Press Corps.

The APGA stalwart was a potent voice for his people and the entire Ndigbo in the 8th Senate. It was he who brought a motion before the 8th Senate for an “Urgent Need to Include The Eastern Rail Lines In the Nigerian Development Project” on March 28, 2018.

He was likewise the Senator that raised objection to the confirmation of the nominees for Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Board appointments in December last year, on account of the exclusion of South-East and South-South. Umeh had insisted that President Muhammadu Buhari did not adhere to the principle of Federal Character as enshrined in section 14 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) in making the appointments.

The confirmation of the nominees as recommended by the then Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes was stood down consequent upon Umeh’s protest. Considering how critical the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu State is to the economic lives of the Southeasterners, the estate surveyor turned politician vehemently opposed the plan to downgrade the airport. Sequel to his motion captioned: “Threat to downgrade Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu”, the eighth Senate warned the Federal Government not to downgrade the airport. Instead, it urged that the airport should be fixed.

The former lawmaker sponsored the bill for the creation of the Theatre Art Professional Practitioners’ Council of Nigeria and co-sponsored the bill seeking to establish the Federal University of Education, Aguleri, in Anambra State with Senator Stella Oduah. Umeh’s achievements within the short period he spent in the 8th Senate as Senator representing Anambra Central, in the estimation of some observers, surpassed that of his predecessors since 1999.

His loyalists maintained that Anambra Central had never enjoyed such quality and effective representation under any senator before Umeh’s sojourn in the Senate. The Anambra politician is believed to have brought succour to the people through the attraction of federal projects to his constituency and helped a lot of youths to secure federal and state jobs.

The erstwhile APGA national chairman also empowered the people of his senatorial district via his laudable youth and women skill acquisition programmes. According to Sheryl Sandberg, an American technology executive, activist and author, “Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.”

As the political leader of Anambra Central, Umeh, in the 17th months of his sojourn in the Upper Chamber, showed true leadership. He appears to understand what a privilege it is to be a leader. And so, he made a mark that had direct impact on the lives of his people.

Though, he lost to his political arch-rival, Ekwunife of PDP, in the 2019 senatorial election, followers of the ex-APGA helmsman are so confident that he will win at the tribunal and join the ninth Senate to continue with his good work for Ndi Anambra Central. Just like in 2015, Umeh is currently at the Anambra State Election Petition Tribunal, challenging Ekwunife’s victory on the grounds that she was not legitimately sponsored by any political party and for alleged irregularities in some polling units during the senatorial poll.

 

  • Jegede, a media professional, writes from Abuja
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Mindless military coup in Ethiopia et al

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Mindless military coup in Ethiopia et al

The history of military coups in Ethiopia and other countries including the Middle East and afar is almost endless. The period also covers Rome, Israel, and North Africa. However, I intend to list the military coup d’etat and coup attempt in order to show that military overthrow and the destruction of monarchies and traditional institutions is no longer en vogue with modernity and therefore should not be contemplated upon.

The staging of mindless coups in contemporary times is certainly at variance with present civilisation. At present, coup plotting cannot be equated with democratic norms and values. Therefore, this write up is based on random sampling. The history of military coup dates back to ancient times to present day. In 876, a military coup led by Zimri, a military commander of Israel killed King Elah and seized power.

Zimri became king who immediately committed suicide to avoid being overthrown by his own commander, Omri. In 1841, Jehu killed Jehoram of Israel and Ahaziah of Judah and became king of Israel.

In the year 730 there was a failed coup which was attempted by Rezin of Aram- Damascus and Pekah of Israel. They tried to overthrow Ahaz of Judah and the House of David. In 716, king Candaules of Lydia was killed by his bodyguard, Gyges, who then assumed the throne.

Gyges conspired with the wife of Candaules to stage the said coup. In 509 members of the Tarquin dynasty led by Lucius Junius Brutus overthrew King of Rome Lucius Tarquinuis Superbus and established the Roman Republic. In 411, a coup was staged in Athens.

It was led by Antiphon who established a shortlived oligarchy known as the Four Hundred. In 404 coup in Athens, Critias established the short-lived pro-Spartan oligarchy known as the Thirty Tyrants. In 209 Xiongnu Emperor Modu Chanyu overthrew his father Touman and killed his rival half-brother.

In 185, a coup was equally staged in Maurya Empire which controlled much of present Indian territory by Maurya General Pushyamitra Shunga. In 87 during Sulla’s first civil war, Lucius Cornelius Sulla invaded Rome and deposed Gaius Marius. In 82 in Sulla’s second civil war, Sulla again marched on Rome, removed Gaius Marius, and proclaimed himself as Roman director.

In 49, Julius Caesar illegally crossed the river Rubicon heading part of the Roman army and marched on Rome. After assuming control of government, he was proclaimed “dictator in perpetuity”.

In 44, on the Ides of March, Julius Caesar was assassinated by members of the Roman Senate. The conspirators did not gain control of the Roman Republic; instead, power eventually passed to the Second Triumvirate of Caesar supporters. AD 1-999, Nero was the target of many plots. Here a plaster bust conserved at the Pushkin Museum, Moscow. As-Saffah is proclaimed as the first Abbasid caliph, from Balami’s Tarikhnama. In 31, Sajanus was killed when his upcoming appointment to Emperor was disclosed as a coup.

In 41, Roman Emperor Caligula was killed by his own bodyguard due to his unbalanced nature. In 65, there was the Pisonian conspiracy against Roman Emperor Nero. In 69, following Roman Emperor Nero’s death, several plots led to the year of the Four Emperors.

In 249, incident at Gaoping Tombs, where Cao Shuang was captured and executed by the Sima house (Sima Yi, Sima Zhao, and Sima Shi). In Oomi Heguri no Matori usurps Yamato Japan’s government upon the death of the Okimi (ja) (Great Chieftain), now known as Emperor Ninken.

Matori was killed by Otomo on Kanamura. Over a century later, the title Okimi was posthumously reassigned to the term Emperor. In 602, Maurice, emperor of the Byzantine Empire, was deposed by a conspiracy of the Balkan army led by a Thracian junior officer named Flavius Phocas, along with Maurice’s seven sons.

Most of the pro- Maurice government officials and Generals were executed along with him (except Priscus and Philippicus), and Phocas was acclaimed emperor in the church of St. John the Baptist.

In 610, the same Phocas who had deposed Maurice eight years earlier was deposed by a conspiracy led by the General Priscus, his son-in-law, Heraclius, the governor of North Africa.

The Exarch’s son, Heraclius, deposed Phocas with the help of his cousin, Niketas. In 626 during the Xuanwu Gate Incident on 2 July, Prince Li Shimin and his close followers killed Crown Prince Li Jiancheng and Prince Li Yuanji before taking complete control of the Tang government from Emperor Gaozu. In 642, Yeon Gaesomun of Goguryeo led a military coup that killed king Yeongryu and installed king Bojang as a puppet under military rule. In 680 king Wamba of the Visigoths was drugged, tortured and dressed in the monk’s cloak, so he would be considered an ordained man and hence he could not reign.

In 751 Abu Muslim Khorasani stormed Damascus and massacred the ruling Banu Umayyad family, henceforth As-Saffah became the first ruler of the Abbasid Caliphate. In 839, Jang Bogo of Silla overthrown king Minae and installed king Shnmu on the throne.

In 1903, The Black Hand group, composed of military officers and led by Col. Dragutin Dimitrijevic Apis, killed Alexander l of Serbia in a coup d’etat named Majski Prevrat (May Overthrow). There have been series of coup plotting in Ethiopia till date.

In recent times, a military coup was staged in Ethiopia and the army chief of staff was assassinated along with four other senior officials during a failed coup bid. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed survived a grenade attack at a rally.

The coffins of army chief of staff Seare Mekonnen and a retired general, both were shot dead by Seare’s bodyguard in the national capital Addis Ababa. They were wheeled into the hall, draped in Ethiopia flags.

Ethiopia has been left reeling after apparently co-ordinated attacks in Northern Amhara State. The coup plotters in Ethiopia are yet to realise that military coup plotting has become ancient and archaic and until the Ethiopia’s military are abreast with contemporary situation, they will continue to wallow in ignorance.

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Nigeria’s population as a fraud, a scam!

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Nigeria’s population as a fraud, a scam!

Nigeria’s population data is a cancerous open sore, only truth will heal it! It is an ever present problem in Nigeria. Those who benefit from it, want the sore to fester, more like flies feasting on rotten carcass of a pig in spite of its odiousness.

Those who are victims, and therefore losers want the cancerous sore cured, and extirpated from the body politic. As said earlier, Nigeria’s population data was part of the birth process of Nigeria. Of course, after the birth of Nigeria in 1914 as an amalgamated entity, the midwife/ creator of Nigeria, Britain and its colonial officials set to erect governance infrastructure.

One of the key structural ramparts upon which Nigeria’s existence and development hinge on is the census data. It was essential for governance especially for taxation, socio-political and economic planning Britain thought otherwise by using it as an instrument of political control. The first census exercise was conducted in 1916, barely two years after the amalgamation in 1914.

The result of the exercise showed that the former Northern and southern protectorates were nearly equal in population. The exercise was repeated in 1921/22, 1931/32 with almost the same result.

Thus, the Northern Region had census data compiled in 1921, 1931 and 1952 with the following results: 10,259,983, 11,434,924 and 16,835,582 respectively. The Eastern Region, excepting Cameroon had its census data conducted in 1911 with the result given as 4,408,000. In 1921, a census was conducted for the Southern group of provinces by Mr. P. Amaury Talbot but this census was considered more of ethnological survey than a census with reported figure of 5,440,000 for Eastern provinces.

Then in 1931, there was no census in the Eastern Region due to the Aba Women Riots of 1929. It was in 1952/53 that a proper census was conducted with a tinge of political interference in the three regions with the results as follows: Northern Region had 16,835,582, Western Region had 6,352,472 while the Eastern Region had 7,992,651 while Nigeria’s population was 30.4 million.

It was on the basis of this 1952/53 census that the electoral infrastructure that ushered in Nigeria’s constitutional developments culminating in the 1960 Independence was based. Instead of working on the census data to delineate electoral constituencies, British colonial officials merely by fiat allocated 50% electoral representation to the Northern Region.

This electoral infrastructure guaranteed Northern political ascendancy and a tenuous hold on the reigns of power over Nigeria. But it desired a firmer grip which it continued with the census of 1963/64 which gave the North 29.7 million, West 13.5 million and East 12.5 million – cumulatively giving Nigeria 55.6 million population. Military rule afforded the North dominant political control with unchallenged authority to structure Nigeria according to its political quests and desires.

Apart from the rejected 1973 census no other census was held until 1991 when General Babangida conducted one which gave the North 47.2 million, West 17.6 million and the East 23.7 million. The last census was conducted in 2006 by President Obasanjo.

The result gave the old North 72.8 million, old West 27.3 million while old East got 39.9 million which added together, Nigeria’s population was 140 million. Since then Nigeria’s demographic data are guesswork.

Thus, on July 9, 2019, the Acting National Chairman of National Population Commission, Yusuf Anka while speaking at the World Population Day at Abuja claimed that Nigeria’s population is about 198 million but he recalled that the UNFPA had estimated it at 201 million.

But the question of falsity of the census data has continually dogged the census infrastructure in Nigeria. Former Chairman of National Population Commission, Eze Festus Odimegwu had dismissed Nigeria’s census infrastructure as a fraud and promised to extirpate the fraud in proposed 2016 census.

He was not allowed as Northern political establishment assailed him with all its might. In fact, after a meeting of Northern political leaders in Kaduna, Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso was detailed to go to President Jonathan to demand Odimegwu’s head on a platter. And they got it as Eze Odimegwu was queried immediately after and eventually sacked.

But is there any truth in the allegation of fraud by Odimegwu against Nigeria’s census data? A commonsensical analysis of Nigeria’s census data establishes it as a fraud and highly tainted with falsity which cannot stand the test of modern demographical analysis. In establishing the charge of fraud, and thus falsity of Nigeria’s population as conveyed by Festus Odimegwu, we can take two most recent census data to prove it.

In 1991 census, Lagos had a population of over five million while Kano State with Jigawa State before its creation in 1996 was about four million plus. Then in the 2006 census as conveyed by the Gazette No. 2 of February 2, 2009, Vol. 96 gave Kano State 9,401,288 while Jigawa has 4,363,002 and when added together gives old Kano State 13,769,288. Then juxtapose this figure with Lagos State’s 9,113,605.

How do you explain these magical demographics? It is either there was a plague that wiped out substantial population of Lagos while Kano State experienced exponential development that tripled its population between 1991 and 2006.

This fraud in the preparation of Nigeria census is an innocuous one. A very simple arithmetical formula but it is a fraud and a scam. It is found in what is called Enumeration Area Demarcation (EAD). It is this fraudulent device that census officials working for vested interests deploy to rig the census infrastructure for or against the states.

Enumerated Area Demarcation is a mapped geographic unit for the purpose of counting people and households. Each EAD is allotted between 350 and 500 people. So, once EADs are given, a minimum of 350 people allotted even assuming no counting took place there. So, officials of NPC use this devious device against disaffected states and regions. In the 2006 census, Ebonyi State was able to detect this vile practice when it set up a 2006 Census Review Committee.

The committee found that 13,888 EADs were mapped out in Ebonyi State but the NPC headquarters by fiat substituted this figure with 5,267 EADs. But the NPC did not touch Kano State’s EADs.

The same treatment against Ebonyi State by way of drastic reduction of EADs was also applied to Lagos State. So, we can see that EAD is the pivot of all enumeration exercise. If an area is not properly demarcated the implication is that regardless of the area’s population you will be given between 350 and 500 per EAD. Census data in saner climes are political and socioeconomic instrument upon which national planning are hoisted.

But in Nigeria, it is a political artifice. Those agitating for restructuring of Nigeria have greater job in changing this devious and fraudulent census data upon which the political dominance by the North is hoisted.

This is even moreso given the new electoral framework erected by Prof. Atahiru Jega which now confers on the Far Northern States the unquestionable political domination of Nigeria. Without abolishing this census data upon which the voters register is based, any other section of Nigeria can only rule Nigeria at the pleasure of the Far Northern States. So, let’s join the former NPC chairman, Odimegwu, to call for a change of this fraudulent census which is a scam against all the other sections of Nigeria except the Far North.

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Intensifying skills acquisition among Nigerian youths

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Intensifying skills acquisition among Nigerian youths

By Fred Nwaozor

 

On July 15, the world over celebrated the fifth edition of the World Youth Skills Day. The day, which is aimed at enhancing the youth’s ability in order to make informed life and work choices, was established by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly on November 11, 2014.

 

The World Youth Skills Day was initiated in the UN by the effort of the Sri Lanka representative, and was unanimously endorsed by the Assembly. Hence, the UN calls on Member States to observe the day in an appropriate manner.

 

A skill can simply be defined as the ability to do something well. It can equally be referred to as the ability and capacity acquired through deliberate, systematic, and sustained effort in order to smoothly and adaptively carryout complex activities or job functions involving ideas, things, and/or people. Similarly, skill acquisition is the process of acquiring a certain skill by an individual through a thorough intensive training over a given period of time.

 

Skill acquisition involves both theoretical and practical training regardless of its duration. Skill can be classified into three major parts including cognitive, technical and interpersonal skills. A cognitive skill deals with ideas; technical skill is the ability to handle things or a certain human endeavour effectively and efficiency; whilst, interpersonal skill is the ability to relate with people around you usually in business or work places.

 

It’s noteworthy that there are hundreds of thousands of skills in existence across the globe such as sporting skill, cultural skill, installation skill, maintenance skill, manufacturing skill, management skill and what have you. Skill is required in every area of human endeavour and it enables the entrepreneurship drive of any nation to be actualized.

 

The most important aspect of skill acquisition is that it benefits all classes in any society involved especially the masses. A small or medium scale entrepreneur is expected to hire many skilled people to take on tasks that are outside of his/her skill set.

 

However, every individual either a prospective leader or business personnel, must relentlessly strive to acquire the skills that will make him/ her a great leader or a successful businessperson, as the case may be. Someone who has commenced a business or trade venture owing to his specialized skills and knowledge related to a particular service or product is required to expand his skills to be a successful entrepreneur.

 

 

Such measure is referred to as ‘skill enhancement’. No doubt, improving skills related to acquiring money or raising capital for a business boost represents the difference between success and failure of the venture in question.

 

Unequivocally, being good at starting a business does not automatically make one good at planning for growth.

 

He or she must acquire planning skills that tie his/her vision to practical steps, which the business can take to realize that vision. The acquisition of the aforementioned skill is important because without it, your firm or business venture can stagnate and lose out to the competition. One may have envisioned a smooth rise to the top when he commenced his business, but the truth is that he will surely encounter crisis or challenging situations.

 

Whether it has to do with shortage of money or the loss of his facilities to a fire disaster, he must acquire the skills or technicalities that would enable him to remain calm in times of turmoil and maintain his ability to make adequate decisions.

 

The above step is very vital because the affected person can learn to triumph when it looks like he could be defeated. Needless to say that skill acquisition in decision making remains an inevitable tool while carrying out a business strategy. On the other hand, the importance of acquiring strong communication skills will be evident in all of one’s entrepreneurial activities. From networking to leadership, one needs to constantly and consistently update his communication skills to enable him form alliances and encourage consensus.

 

Taking Nigeria as a case study, you would notice that most of our young ones, or the youth, are potentially preoccupied with variety of skills in various areas of human endeavour ranging from culture to sports, engineering/ sciences, art works, and leadership, that need to be developed with a view to strengthening their respective entrepreneurship prowess towards nation-building. To this end, there is need to encourage our young ones to be acquainted as well as acquire proficiency in one skill or the other within their reach.

 

The schools can help in this regard by ensuring that the pupils or students regularly create time for guidance and counselling during their school hours. On their part, the schools that have already jettisoned the idea of counselling ought to equally do well by reviving such lofty initiative. It’s not anymore news that guidance and counselling have unceremoniously gone into extinction in most existing primary and secondary citadels of learning in Nigeria.

 

A good counselling would enable each of them to discover their potential skills or abilities, thereby making them develop an interest in that area. The parents and guardians on their part should not hesitate to boost the morale of their children or wards in any skill they are fit in by providing all the needed materials or facilities for them to excel.

 

Inter alia, there is an urgent need to revive the various technical colleges and commercial schools situated across the federation that are currently moribund. And at the tertiary level, the ‘Entrepreneurship Studies’, which are usually done by the undergraduates as general studies, ought to be taken more seriously by the various school managements.

 

In the same vein, the ongoing Industrial Training (IT) and Teaching Practice (TP) schemes being observed by the Universities/Polytechnics and Colleges of Education, respectively must be intensified by the concerned authorities towards boosting their effectiveness.

 

 

Above all, the various cultural heritages across the country need to be revisited by the apt authorities with a view to harnessing the required ones.

 

This will go a long way towards discovering and reawakening thousands of skills among our numerous youths. Intensification of skills acquisition among the youth via implementation of viable tech-driven measures is the fundamental way Nigeria can record a society imbued with self-reliant individuals thereby drastically reducing youth restiveness in every facet of the country. There could not be a better time for such consignment than now. Hence, it’s high time the concerned authorities fully embraced the needful.

 

Think about it!

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