A case for or against the land of the rising sun. 2

Welcome to another edition of Topical Thursday: today we will be taking another look at the case for Biafra gaining it’s independence from Nigeria. I searched for the heralding voice behind this new move for Biafra and my search brought me to Nnamdi Kanu, today’s article stems from his actions. Read the first edition on Biafra here.


Mr. Nnamdi Kanu

Nigerian – from Afaraukwu in Umuahia, Abia State.

Uk based political activist.

Director of Radio Biafra, London.

Leading member Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)

Mr. Nnamdi was arrested in Lagos on Sunday the 18th of October, 2015 by the Nigerian State Security Services (SSS) for criminal conspiracy, intimidation and belonging to an unlawful society. Some of the statements allegedly made by Nnamdi Kanu and published by the press include:

“If they fail to give us Biafra, Somalia will look like a paradise compared to what will happen to that zoo. It is a promise, it is a pledge and it is also a threat to them.”

“If they do not give us Biafra, there will be nothing living in that very zoo they call Nigeria; nothing will survive there, I can assure you.” 

I am uncertain about the sentiments behind these statements, but I know without a doubt that they are inflammatory. Forecasting the heartbreaking and critical state of Somalia on the future of any country is in poor taste.  A disregard for the human life and the irreparable damage that war produces.

These statements make me question if Nnamdi Kanu had/has any really plans for Biafra. The situation makes me think he started out with an unclear agenda, one that suddenly grew beyond his imagination. This thought alone makes me tread cautiously around him and his precepts; following him would be like the blind leading the blind, even worse the blind  leading the misguided (blind and deaf).

According to statistics available to him, over 98% of Igbos support a Biafran secession, because every “Igbo has freedom embedded in their DNA”.

I agree with him, if there ever was a people who really hated being under any form of subjugation it’s the Igbo people. That said I have learnt and I am still learning that freedom prematurely secured is a death sentence etched in stone especially in the wrong hands. 

Do I think Nnamdi Kanu has a personal agenda … Yes. Thus to his followers I ask that you ensure that the freedom of Biafra is what you are pursuing and not the freedom of a man’s political dreams. BiafraMy point is further buttressed by his fathers statement “I’m appealing to the Federal Government and (President Muhammadu) Buhari) in particular to release my son because he is not fighting with arms; he is just talking with his mouth.” I find this plea a little too much in hindsight, he should have told his son to never start a fight his ill prepared to survive.

Having said the above, I find the statement allegedly made the Nigerian government to be very condescending and disrespectful to it’s citizens cry. “The Nigerian government said that it does not consider the separatist movement a threat to the current leadership. It went on to define pro-Biafrans as an “insignificant number of frustrated people who are not a threat to the existence of Nigeria.”

An army spokesman was also quoted to have said “That the army and police might use the Rules of Engagement on security operations to the fullest depending on the circumstances.” Where has this rule of engagement being with regards to Boko Haram?

Both parties should deal respectfully with each other. Mr President Sir, this is your prime opportunity to show the change agenda is all encompassing for all tribes and all religions.

A case for or against: The land of the rising sun.

Welcome to another edition of Topical Thursday: today we will be looking at an issue that strikes close to home, the case for Biafra; an independent nation separate from Nigeria.


History:

On the the 15th of January 1966 the land of the rising sun a.k.a Biafra took a stand to become a separate nation independent of the federal republic of Nigeria. Biafrans succeeded in their quest and the nation existed in Southeast Nigerian for a short time between the 30th of  May 1967 to the 15th of  January 1970 when it surrendered to the Nigerian government.

Several issues prompted the people of south-eastern Nigeria to seek out a nation of their own; prominent amongst them was a sense of being politically, economically and ethnically marginalised. Issues deeply rooted in the foundation of our nation: a nation created by the British government from a diverse bunch of people with no regards for their different pre-existing ethnic, cultural and religious boundaries.

Biafran flag

The Biafran flag     Source:  emeagwali.com

The move to create the Biafran state was circumvented by two separate coups and the Nigerian civil war also known as the Biafran war. The first coup was organised by Maj. Kaduna Nzeogwu to cease power from the incumbent leaders whom he deemed corrupt. It led to the death of eleven prominent politicians, none of whom were from the eastern part of Nigeria. Hence the belief that the coup was masterminded by the Igbo people.

The second/counter coup led by  Lt Colonel Murtala Muhammed was a reaction to the above mentioned coup. It led to the death of the first military Head of State, General Aguiyi Ironsi. (Click on the link to read extensively.)

In between the first and second coup a pogrom against Igbo indigenes occured: a massacre probably sparked by the unitary decree introduced by General Aguiyi Ironsi. The northerners saw this an endorsment of the Igbo peoples leadership over the nation. The massacre lead to the exodus of Igbo’s back home to the east and to the declaration of secession from the federation by General Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu.

The biafran war was declared by the federal government to take back Biafra, it lasted between 6 July 1967 – 15 January 1970. Biafra resisted defeat  in the face of an intimidating Nigerian military in-spite of its poor support. The Nigerian Army gradually took back territory, whilst the Navy established a sea blockade denying Biafran soldiers and civilians food, medical supplies and weapons; this led to death by starvation/famine. Biafra eventually surrendered when its leader General Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu fled to Cote d’Ivoire.

Present day: 

Once again the cry for Biafra has been resurrected and it is slowly gathering momentum. To be honest on this topic I have no straight answer, a part of me believes Biafra might be the way forward whilst another part believes there are better ways to get what we want.

Pros/Case for Biafra:

  • Becoming a nation hopefully should make us invest into exploiting other natural resources outside the oil wells.
  • It would enable us assert our identity eliminating the feeling of being marginalised.
  • Becoming a separate nation might help unify all south easterners, giving us autonomy and a common ground for progress.

Cons/Case against Biafra:

  • What regions specifically would the Biafran nation consist of? I believe a vast majority of south-south indigences in Nigeria do not consider themselves part of the Igbo tribe.  Without a clear definition of boundaries and follower-ship, I see the fight for biafra already defeated by internal wars and behind the scene sell outs.
  • Where will Biafra get it’s funding from? The bulk of natural resources in south-eastern Nigeria lies unharnessed, meaning that Biafra in it’s early days will either depend on external funding or business for it’s income and both options require a good economic/social environment to thrive. Considering that the south-south regions which has the bulk of the oil reserve might not be part of Biafra this point becomes a crucial factor to examine.
  • Can the demands driving the fight for Biafra be achieved through other means? Have we genuinely exhausted every other route of getting what we want?

As a child from Igbo land, I know how strong we are, how feisty in soul and spirit we can be; but I am also aware of the great rivalry such traits creates amongst us. We are hard-working, we are earnest, we are honest, but we are not the most humble people neither are we the most agreeable.

We can not demand autonomy and greater respect from others when we haven’t shown a thoroughness of thoughts and plans going forward into the future. A plan that encompasses the support of the learned, the unskilled, the wealthy and the poor alike. We cannot make this demands when we are not honest and united within ourselves.

Any movement outside the above in my opinion is nothing short of sham by a few to endanger the masses: exposing us to ridicule, destruction, looting and instability.

One hasty, unchecked decision can turn this

Source:  www.soschildrensvillages.org.uk

to this:

 

starvation
Source: www2.needham.k12.ma.us

Having said the above, I urge the government to implement better resource and power sharing processes, don’t ignore our demands. Be the government that listens to its citizens voices not their violent acts, be the change you promised for once. Let us learn from the mistakes of those around us: internal wars has destroyed many nations leaving them forever broken.

Greener or Different pastures?

Welcome to topical Thursday, a lot has happened in the last week: with the death toll in Paris, Beirut, Iraq and my beloved Nigeria taking the spotlight . I read an interesting article last week (click on the link to read) it highlighted the role of social media on migrants decisions. This article is directed at migrants who are not under any sincere life threatening attack to leave home.


Slide2

There are several misconceptions held by migrants about life abroad, some are engineered by society this includes social media and the other is a myth we have created in our mind. Some of them include:

Slide11. Earning a living is easier abroad: errmmm…..no it’s not. When you go to work, you will make every second of your work time count. No slacking, sleeping or idle chatting. I am not saying its a concentration camp but a lackadaisical attitude is unacceptable. The jobs open to a majority of migrants is low paid and physically exasperating: the demand and opposition placed on you as a migrant is twice as high. Whist I cannot justify why this is so, I would encourage every migrant to embrace that reality as it helps manage expectations

Slide42. Expecting to land that dream job easily in your field: except in cases where the country requests for professionals in that particular field this rarely happens. Citizens come first before migrants for many roles. The case is different for menial jobs which most citizens refuse to do or find arduous. Most professional jobs require you to write and pass professional exams before you can search for a job. Emphases is placed on experience and experience back home is rarely considered for a job.

3. Life abroad is better: whilst basic amenities and infrastructure are in good working order it all comes at a cost. For everything you use in the western world, there is an attached bill. Electric, gas, water, general tax, rent etc. For every car you own in the UK you must have insurance, pay road tax, do an MOT yearly after the third year of ownership. Having more than one car is obviously out of the question except seriously needed. Beware the more expensive the car, the more expensive the aforementioned bills. Leaving lights, sockets and amenities on when not in use is a costly practice. Don’t contemplate avoiding the bills unless you want to live as a fugitive.

4. Everyone dresses so modern and lives in nice houses: and we deduced this from where? Social media wins the price! Who puts up sad pictures or unpleasant moments of their lives on social media? Given the volume of sales and the variety of shops to pick from looking good is not that hard. Living in a nice house is not solely up to the individual. For example: houses in UK are quite similar, building regulations ensure certain standards are maintained across all boards this covers privately owned homes as well. Externally every house is beautiful, open the door to discover if it matches the exterior. The façade makes it easy to pass off any odd house as theirs’ and also covers the backs of those squatting or living in shared accommodations.Slide3

5. His built a house in his home town and speaks good English now: init! ooioh! y’all! Speaking with an accent do not translate to a proficient use of the English language, if it were IElTS would have it included in their exams. Did you ask him how he made his money, where he sleeps, and how many hours his had to work to pay for the house?

Slide5Finally, the western word might have turned some of our lives upside down by their actions, but relocating to their country is no guarantee that everyone would welcome you with open arms and neither will your life suddenly become better. New terrains, new challenges: same you, same baggages. Become well-informed before you take a decision that leaves your life negatively reformed. If the land is good, it is only so because people worked and are still working to make it so. We can take pride in our country if we dedicate ourselves to it. I must admit life here offers many options for growth and human right exploitation is not as high. Having said that poor planning or failure to integrate the standards of living abroad leads people into dubious lifestyles debt, disillusionment and a search for vengeance.

Detention centres with no hope.

Welcome to Topical Thursday, today I like to consider the guidelines for detention centres and the story of the Iranian detainee who died on  Christmas Island, Australia.


On the 9th of November 2015 the body of an Iranian refuge detainee Fazel Chegeni was found at the bottom of Christmas island detention centre in Australia. According to reports the detainee attempted to escape from the centre on the 7th of November. A lot has been said about his personality and history, I mourn for his family and share their loss. However, this article hopes to increase information on detention centres and relocations.

People relocate under different circumstances (peaceful/turbulent) all in search of a better/richer life. It would be impossible to plan what direction to take when forced to relocate by a crisis, however, it is still important to formulate some sort of plan when you can.  The last thing you want is to be tossed about or stuck in a detention centre, ask questions, research as much as you possibly can.

Red tape can turn your quest for a better life into a nightmare, with some countries refusing to accept its citizens and the other refusing to grant access people are caught in limbo for days and years. Detention centres are not known for quality personal or health management practices: run by private contractors the placement of profit over quality care individuals /management is not difficult to envision. Regardless the UNHCR guidelines should be enforced. Find below the definition and guidelines concerning detention.

Detention is defined as the deprivation of liberty or confinement in a closed place which an asylum-seeker is not permitted to leave at will, including, though not limited to, prisons or purpose-built detention, closed reception or holding centres or facilities. (UNHCR 2012)

Guidelines
                               © UNHCR 2012 Original version can be found here.

Certain individual should be given further consideration before being detained, they include:

  • Refugees
  • Children
  • Pregnant women and nursing mothers
  • Survivors of torture or trauma
  • Victims of human trafficking
  • The elderly or disabled; and Those in need of urgent physical or mental health care, including persons who have suffered violence in transit.

Illegal migrants are not covered by the above guidelines and definitions. I understand countries must safeguard their borders, however, illegal migrants should be treated with respect not harassed on the streets to identify themselves, as documented by border force TV series (UK and Australia). Being in limbo or living ‘underground’ is no way to live, think things through before leaving if you can, don’t live it to chance. I hope better solutions surface regarding immigrations across the world. Please note no human is illegal, but they can be illegal migrants.

What are your thoughts? Click the links to read more.

How feasible is the sustainable development goal number eleven in Nigeria?

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          By Skeeze. Source: Pixabay free images

A lot has been said about computer games: how addictive they can be and how they slowing turn into couch potato, a very clingy unsanitary couch potato grudgingly hugging the remote. That might be true under certain circumstances, but for today I want to appreciate the lessons I have learnt from some of them especially the empire building and city planning ones.  Indirectly these games show us how city planning decisions impact on the general ambience and growth of a community. For example building a factory too close to residential premises always gives you low marks and turns the area from a high eco-friendly zone to a medium or low one whilst building parks and planting trees does the opposite. So you see they can be useful in teaching kids/adult players (like me) a thing or two about the importance of maintaining ‘greenhouse economy’ and modern day infrastructure development. Sadly however the unlike the game the impact of knocking down structures either for the improvement of an area or the expansion of a region is never as simple and without life changing consequences as they are in the games.

City planning and reconstruction process are ongoing on a daily bases around the world from back home in Nigeria to the far regions of Antarctica. In Nigeria alone, several cities have undergone some level of reconstruction with the aim of producing better structural flow throughout the city, this includes my home town Enugu. Most of these changes are a welcomed development on paper, but in reality the management and execution is below par. People are often left homeless, caught off from a stream of income and in some instances medically impaired as a result of the governments’ tardiness in dealing with the aftermath of such ‘progressive thoughts’.

Source: http://www.24dash.com Boarded up houses, regeneration area in Anfield Liverpool.

The United Nations sustainable development goal number eleven addresses this issue, it reads: “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.” In accordance with this goal seven areas have been identified as key: housing, transport, planning, natural/cultural heritage, resilience, environment and open space. The approach aims at encouraging governments and town planners to take a holistic and broader perspective to meeting the 21st century the demand for sustainable and liveable human settlements. The UN also acknowledges that there will be challenges which would vary across nations when it comes to achieving this goal. I already foresee three major challenges with respect to this goal in Nigeria including:

  1. A total disregard for the areas that need it most: the tendency of past governments to concentrate developments to areas that need basic facelifts is not new. Often times these projects are desirable, but essentially not needed, concentrated at the city centres or the governors’ personal hometown, they generally are self-serving and ignorant of the masses need. Rural areas and slums which require restructuring and modernisation to easy urban city crowding never make it into the drawing room as areas to be focused on. I have seen parks, zoos demolished only to be replaced by luxury estates owned by the wealthy built for the wealthy. Score points: Sustainable city planning development zero -0, government mismanagement one – 1.
  2. A mismanagement of those who get affected: sadly this is a story that resonates from developmental processes in Anfield UK to the streets of New haven Enugu, Nigeria. Deadlines are given to residents of selected sites, but in most cases demolition processes start before the set deadline, leaving people bereft of home and hearth, running from pillar to post. More disturbing, however, is the failure of the authorities to deliver on their compensation plans. Cash, land or alternative living arrangements are promised vocally, but in Nigeria less than half if any of those affected ever receive this alleged compensation. They are tossed and turned by red tape and pure political illusion hogwash, leaving some medically impaired as the weight of starting afresh on an uneven playing field in midlife gets the best of them. Score points: Sustainable city planning development zero -0, government mismanagement two – 2.
  3. A multiple increase in abandoned project/discontinuity: lack of continuity is a trademark of the Nigerian government, the only thing they seem able to pass down graciously. It is
             Source: http://www.50report.com Uncompleted airport in Nigeria.

    remarkable how each government never strives to finish off a project within its tenure leaving society littered with half-finished hazards and empty pockets. In most cases where the project is actually completed the possibility of it being substandard is quite high. Score points: Sustainable city planning development zero -0, government mismanagement three – 3.

With time running out and a score point of three – zero in favour of the opponent, surely it’s time to pack up shop. I don’t mean to be pessimistic, with regards to Nigeria I have decided that until we own it and change it by us there really isn’t any point holding out hope. The Akwa Ibom and Kaduna government are presently taking on some city development plans; for the sake of hope I pray they put the People and posterity first. As citizens, however, we must accept that the change we seek won’t come easy; tackling the claptrap jobs of past administration will be an uphill climb, surmountable only with careful transparent management and realistic expectation.

Get the jam out of traffic.

Being stuck in traffic for thirty minutes, an hour or more isn’t unusual in Nigeria, it’s more like the norm rather than the unexpected especially in Lagos. Thus getting stuck in a twenty minute rush hour induced traffic jam last week wasn’t a bother: a surprise maybe, but definitely not a headache. The difference between both scenarios is quite simple; one is a lock down situation whilst the other is a slow, but paced movement on the road. The circumstances leading up to traffic lock downs vary, however the situation is exacerbated by certain factors:

  1. Drivers behaviour: you learn this during driving classes. Rules on who has the right of way at any given time, what to do under different circumstances on the road. Most of the time drivers remember these rules, but for some reason inner streets have a way of throwing the rules out of the window and replacing them with a contest of whose car is bigger or who’s ego is as bigger as the Taj mahal. Such incidences though seemly insignificant have been known to start street fights and lock downs of
    20151013_161541
          Copyright creatingahome/chioma – 2015

    significant hours/proportions (I witnessed this both in Lagos and in London a few days back). Driver induced traffic jams are often avoidable if each remembers to keep the rules at the forefront and their personality on the back seat.

  2.  Traffic control systems: Trevor Noah made a joke about South Africans reactions to traffic lights insinuating that they considered them structures designed to increase the ambience around the area and nothing more. The same can be said for Nigeria, were traffic wardens are also required to help enforce the lights, ridiculous! Traffic lights help control congestion, but they are useless if the citizens don’t adhere to them. We can’t demand better traffic manage on one hand and then refuse the solution with the other. It is important to ensure that people are not exposed to harm as a result of obeying the traffic lights as accounts of people being rubbed or shot abound at traffic lights at night. Even cases of police assaults and scams abound, these issues must be tackled before slamming fines on people for disobeying.

    20151013_161628
              Copyright creatingahome/chioma – 2015
  3. The road: the need for good road networks has been over flogged on several occasions so I will save us another rendition. Good roads should not be a luxury, they should be a fundamental provision for every rural and urban society. Having experienced traffic jams on both terrains: rough roads and well maintained roads, it is safe to say that good roads indirectly affect a driver’s mental and physical health: it cuts journey times, car maintenance bills and increases drivers confidence on the road amongst other factors.
  4. General chaos: as with life in general the presence of disorder has a way of making a seemingly straightforward task a mountain climb. The lack of good road network, poor housing plans, poor drainage/ power supply networks and random structures makes driving twice as hard. As mentioned above it these factors subtly affect the mental, physical and emotional mind frame of the driver. Having people swear at your, beep their horns loudly at you and indulge in different forms of road rage influences our disposition and attitude to driving in the long run.

    IMG-20151010-WA0009
            Copyright creatingahome/chioma – 2015

All these factors contribute to increasing accidents and traffic lock downs. Tackling each one is very important, but I fear traffic jams and road lock will continually exist in our communities if the first is addressed by each citizen.

What are your thoughts on traffic jam?

Happy Independence day!

Happy independence day, darling Nigeria!

My initial thoughts on independence day has taken a different turn, largely due to an article in The Guardian on the topic of  Britain paying reparation to it’s colonoies for slavery. Prior to reading the article I would probably have responded in the affirmative to the topic, but today I say a resounding NO!.Why? Because the slave trade is in the past and I live in the present, facing a different set of complex issues in an ever evolving world.

Demanding reparation depicts the mentality of someone who isn’t independent, what your asking for is to have fish provided for you a temporal solution and not to teach you to fish empowerment.

Coming from nations which claim to be independent, the notion is tantamount to demands by a grown son to have his aging mother cook him meals and do his laundry. A NO, NO in must cultures, ours even more so. It shows no self respect or desire to truly exploit his abilitites. This has been the same cry over the years, isn’t it time to move on?

Don’t get me wrong the slave trade was dehumanizing and totally abominable: whether it was amongst similar races or different races, no format of a human being subjugating another will ever be deemed acceptable. By demanding reparation we close our eyes to the bigger issues facing us

  • a) Being a different colour still translates to being treated differently.
  • b) Being from a third world country still translates to meaning you live in the dark ages.Slide2
  • c) Having natural resources increases the chances that internal conflicts will escalate and international intervention will be speedy and not directed at the root causes. (Is there a game plan here? I think so)
  • d) The world powers will constantly pull the strings and if you want any sort of respect we must brace up and be ready to stand on our own. Wasn’t that the whole point of independence?

So today I celebrate my fellow compatriots: Arise, O compatriots, Nigeria’s call obey. Men and women who go out each day to eek out an honest living under difficult and often resistant atmosphere. People who choose to do things right even when no ones looking. People who want to learn to fish and not the fish.

The labour of our heroes past, shall never be in vain, demanding reparation and not thinking ahead ensures the labour of the heros past and that of the future to come never amounts to much.

Guide our leaders right, help our youth the truth to know: We know the truth, but come elections we alt for the ‘false.’ The leaders will never do right unless the youths stand for the truth and hold them by the balls to it.

Great lofty heights attain, to build a nation where peace and justice shall reign: When we dream big and have the bigger picture in mind, we will strive for peace and justice because without them our dreams will remain just that dreams.

Reparation NO!! Slide1

Equal treatment, help and support devoid of greed and political strings for all mankind, YES!!!

Not acceptable … we demand an explanation for church closures.

The Governor of Kaduna state Nigeria, Nasir El-Rufai, has announced the immediate closure of two churches, a seminary school as well as a hospital belonging to the Assemblies of God Church in Saminaka in Lere Local Government Area of the state.(source: channelstv)

I hate to be that person who goes on defensive mode once their religion is mentioned, scrutinized or attacked, but honestly I fail to see the rationale behind this decision. What exactly did the churches do? Where did they go wrong? How did their actions put the security of the state in jeopardy? What other steps other than closure will be taken to address the situation and reassure citizens that it was for their benefit? We need explicit answers, not coded politically laced replies intended to put off the listener from further investigations. As citizens who elected you to create change, we honestly hope those changes don’t become our nightmares.

On the other hand, I must say I am embarrassed by the actions of my fellow Christians. What went so wrong that we could not contain it amongst ourselves, has the message of Christ no real impact on our lives? Has power and a lust for the present ‘goodies’ made it impossible for us to see and do as the scripture instructs? We really need to address were our numerous callings and pursuits in the church stem from, are they God given or greed motivated?

For those saying the Governor had no right to act this way, I have to say you are very wrong. It is within his jurisdiction to step in and settle any threat to peace in the state over which he manages. It only becomes wrong when it is targeted, unwarranted and unexplainable: which is why we must choose our leaders with great care and foresight where possible. Sorry to be repetitive, but I can’t help feeling the blame lies more with the church. However, I will keep an open mind and hope the real answers get exposed and not buried as is the usual case with things in Nigeria.

Please lend your voice today, let us demand answers now. It’s not enough to label said governor and other non-Christian leaders as anti-Christians without proof or fact, when things like this happens we must demand explicit answers that way when they fail to respond or justify their actions satisfactorily, then we know the label to be true. Prior to that happening brandishing such labels only makes you look like an unbalanced fanatic and raises tension amongst us.

Tomorrows leaders, treated as today’s miscreants.

…. They said it when I was in nursery, repeated it when I was in primary school, chanted it when I was in secondary school and I grew deaf to it by the time I was in uni …… Children are the leaders of tomorrow; its either time ceased to move or the children refused to grow. Either way someone was lying and it definitely wasn’t the person listening.

According to the daily post corp. members who had gone to the Bayelsa state government house to protest the non-payment of their monthly allowance were replied by gun shots fired in the air and tear-gas from security agents attempting to disperse the group. To say that this is unacceptable is to put it mildly.563044_10150688804169135_889881701_n

For my non Nigerian audience, a Corp. member is usually a young Nigerian observing the statutory one year of service to the nation. The organization managing this scheme is known as the National Youth Service Corps. According to its mission statement “…it is committed to the unity and even development of the Nigeria State. It hopes to be at the forefront of National development efforts … imparting in the youths values of nationalism, patriotism, loyalty and accountable leadership. To develop the mind of the youths through shared experience…..ensuring the Nigerian youth acquires the spirit of self-reliance, a reliable source of economic empowerment and effective participation in nation building,”

Essentially every new graduate of Nigerian descent home or abroad is expected to observe this one-year of service in any of the thirty-six states across the nation. During this period the government both federal and state provide a stipulated allowance each month for each youth. The last time I checked the federal government paid N 19, 750.00 slightly above the national minimal wage whilst each state decides what it can afford to pay each corp. member according to their professional status and role in the state. Both funds, however, are disbursed by the state officials and the amount barely covers the cost of everyday living for the frugal youth. More often than not most state governments fail to pay this amount for months and in a state like Bayelsa where the price of living is twice as high the situation is not pleasant.

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In light of the above, it was very unjust, inhumane and disrespectful of the state government to treat the “future leaders” of our Nation demanding their due this way. Especially in a state that pays large sums of money monthly to individuals who supposedly received amnesty from the federal government. Having served in Bayelsa myself I assure you some of the individuals receiving said payment had nothing to do with Niger-Delta militancy or cultism, in actual fact some were not born at the time, but due to dubious management they receive such payments. These factors: high cost of living, fund mismanagement by the government, insecurity and general ill-treatment by the government only serve to rubbish and deride the ultimate purpose of the service year.

Relocating prisoners

Ekwulobia, Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State Nigeria on the 30th of July came to an economis standstill as residents in the community protested the alleged relocation of 47 Boko Haram prisoners to the federal prison in the area. And, I believe they are right to have protested and to keep resisting such a move for several reasons.

One of them being the fact that the prison is already congested. According to the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media, Mr. James Eze, the prison in question was designed to house only 84 inmates and there are already 133 inmates in there. Where exactly does the Federal government plan to fit these 47 individuals into, an underground cellar?

Secondly, Ekwulobia Prisons according to sources does not have the capacity nor facility to house such high-risk inmates. It is not a maximum security prison. Relaying the governors message Mr. Eze goes on to state that globally terrorists and terror suspects are mostly kept in strongly fortified and isolated places. He cited the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp in the US as an example: a military facility, located away from the people. (Please note neither the treatment of inmates nor the management of the prison is under consideration in this article, only its design, location and security are considered).

Another factor worth considering is the possible radicalisation of inmates or worse still a rescue attempt by other members, capturing hostages and laying siege to the town all activities which we have seen in the past without any response from the government. Considering the economic climate and populace of Ekwulobia my heart sickens at the potential catastrophe that would materialise should the second scenario becomes a reality.

joke2

I have searched high and low for the Federal governments reason behind this decision and only one keeps coming up; the location was chosen to ensure the convicted sect members do not have access to an environment where they can be re-indoctrinated or escape. Really?! What exactly has the government done to ensure this does not happen.

Given the hesitation of easterners to vote Mr. President into office, I expected his first mandate with regard to the east would be to promote its stability, to set up infrastructures to aid economic growth and not rash, ill-thought decisions which does nothing to improve the fragile unity of our country or the credibility of his government as an ethically non- biased government.

Source: http://www.thisdayonlive.com