World Bank to raise $1.6b to combat hunger in Nigeria, others.

World Bank Group President Jim Yong-Kim on Thursday said the bank was working toward raising 1.6 billion dollars to build social protection systems to end food insecurity in sub-Saharan Africa and Yemen.

In a statement made available to newsmen by the Head of Communications, World Bank Nigeria in Abuja, Mrs Olufunke Olufon, Yong-Kim said about 20 million people in Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen were on the “tipping point” of famine.

“We at the World Bank Group stand in solidarity with the people now threatened by famine.

“We are mobilising an immediate response for Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen. Our first priority is to work with partners to make sure that families have access to food and water.“We are working toward a financial package of more than 1.6 billion dollars to build social protection systems, strengthen community resilience, and maintain service delivery to the most vulnerable.’’

Yong-Kim said he was also working with the bank’s board of directors to secure the approval of new operations amounting to 770 million dollars, funded substantially through the International Development Association (IDA) Crisis Response Window.

“The World Bank Group will help respond to the immediate needs of the current famine, but we must recognise that famine will have lasting impacts on people’s health, ability to learn, and earn a living.

“So, we will also continue to work with communities to reclaim their livelihoods and build resilience to future shocks. We are coordinating closely with the UN and other partners in all areas of our response.

“We know that resolution to this acute crisis will not be possible without all humanitarian and development actors working together.

“We call on the international community to respond robustly and quickly to the UN global appeal for resources for the famine.’’

Famine was officially declared on Feb. 20 in South Sudan, impacting approximately 100,000 people.

There is a credible risk of famines in Yemen, Northeast Nigeria, and other countries, says United Nations (UN).

Ongoing conflicts and civil insecurity are further intensifying the food insecurity of millions of people across the region, and there is already widespread displacement and other cross-border spillover.

For instance, food insecurity in Somalia and famine in South Sudan are accelerating the flow of refugees into Ethiopia and Uganda.

The UN estimates that about 20 million people in Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen are affected.

VP Osinbajo inaugurates task force to reduce food prices

Moved by the need to enhance affordability of food prices across country, the Buhari administration has constituted a Presidential Task Force to urgently consider measures that would ensure a steady flow of produce to the market and reverse recent price increases.

Giving the directive Wednesday at the Federal Executive Council meeting, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, expressed concern at some of the inflationary rates of food prices, noting that the Task Force will explore options to promote availability and affordability of food items to Nigerians.

According to him, the Task Force, which has seven days from Wednesday to report back to the Council, will consider how to remove some of the cost-raising factors that come into play between the farms and the markets and therefore “bring relief to our people.”

While there have been reports of bumper harvests in parts of the country, the prices of food stuff still end up rather high, while some of the produce even end up wasted due to a number of reasons preventing effective transportation delivery to the markets.

One of the focus areas of the Task Force, the Ag. President noted, would be to review the transportation and preservation processes, and see how government can intervene in those aspects to bring down food prices.

The Task Force, which would be meeting with the Ag. President in the discharge of its urgent assignment, will therefore draw out a practical plan and present same to the Council next week.

Members of the Task Force include the following:

Minister of Agriculture & Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh

Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun

Minister of Industry, Trade & Development, Dr. Okey Enelamah

Minister of Transportation, Honorable Rotimi Amaechi

Minister for Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu

Minister of Labour & Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige

The Offices of the Chief of Staff to the President and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, would also be on the Task Force.


Ebonyi State Government to partner with 50,000 farmers ‘to eradicate hunger’.

The Ebonyi state government says it will partner with over 50,000 farmers to boost agriculture and the state’s internally generated revenue (IGR) before the end of the year.

David Umahi, governor of the state, said this over the weekend when he received Zero Hunger Forum, an international group, in Abakaliki, the state capital.

He said apart from the farmers, 8,000 civil servants would benefit from FADAMA 3 programme, also an agricultural programme.

“IFAD injected over  N4 billion into the society by reason of empowering over 6,000  farmers,which of course we supported the farmers by way of standing in for them in their 50 percent equity contribution,” he said.

“Through direct funding, over 15,000 farmers were  funded directly by the state government. That is to me stomach infrastructure. So this year,we are targeting over 50,000 farmers to partner with and to see how we can begin to eradicate hunger in Ebonyi state.

“We want to marry them together and we have started the process of borrowing N1 billion from the banks and then to use it to pay the counterpart funding of FADAMA 3 of our civil servants.

“So we are targeting 8,000 civil servants that will benefit from this N1 billion in a way of counterpart funding on FADAMA 3 programmes.

“Our idea is that our civil servants who are interested should be able to go to work on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays and on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, they should go to farm and then be able to work through this programme.”


Source: The Cable

OPINION: How Buhari’s Government Is Weaponizing Hunger – By Adekoya Boladale

When Feyisayo, 36-year old trader and a single mother of three left her home in Imeri, a village in Ose local council area of Ondo State, to cast her ballot in the recently conducted governorship election in the State, it was not for the desire to vote in a government that will make her life better, rather, it was to get her cut in the widespread largesse going on across the state by the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC). As she later disclosed, she needed the ten thousand naira being doled out by the ruling party to feed her family who have been starving for days. Ironically, the cash-for-vote scheme which requires potential voters to cast a vote for the party in exchange for the prize money was tagged “Dibo ko sebe”- vote to feed.

Similarly, at another recently conducted governorship election in Edo State, various international and local observers reported outright and carefree display of cash-for-vote across the polling units. Several reports by the media stated that the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), John Oyegun openly distributed ten thousand naira to voters to vote for his party’s candidate.

Like Albert Einstein said, “an empty stomach is not a good political adviser”, the outcry across Nigeria over the turn of a once economically glorious country into a shambolic entity that has triggered skyrocketing prices of food items, rendering wages valueless and owing millions of workers (in some cases up to six months of unpaid salaries) is enough to becloud the judgment of the people at the polls. Sadly, the Nigerian Government is exploiting the masses via the hunger it created.

The Governor of Ekiti, Peter Fayose, who has been very critical of the Buhari-led administration described the cash-for-vote inducement scheme thus: “to sustain the ‘see and buy’ strategy and legalise money politics, the APC-led federal government deliberately created poverty in the country so as to continue to enslave the minds of Nigerians with peanuts to get their votes on election day”

The dawn of hunger

In May, 2016 Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari announced an end to the three decades fuel subsidy regime- an intervention programme where the difference in the landing cost of fuel and eventual pump price is paid for by the government. Even though the fuel subsidy removal ought to end government control over the pricing of petroleum products, Buhari went further to regulate the market price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) increasing it by 69% as against leaving it to the forces of demand and supply. Analysts have criticized the move as illogical, coming at a time when the price of crude oil is low in the international market.

Buhari had pledged to reduce the cost of PMS by 50% during his campaign into office. In January 2015 before his emergence as President, Buhari while reacting to the pump price of petroleum in the country said: “it is disturbing that in spite of the fall in the global price of crude oil; Nigerians still buy petroleum products at pump prices as if the global price of crude oil had remained at $100 (USD) per barrel”. The price of crude oil in the international market was $62 then.

Like most global food system, Nigeria food market is highly fuel-and transport-dependent. The increase in the pump price of PMS had a spiral effect on business operating cost. The major determinants of prices are the cost of transporting the items between regions and provision of electricity for production. An increased fuel price immediately interprets to an increased cost of transportation and more money spent on fuelling the power generating sets to keep the lights on.

With the minimum wage of the country standing at N18,000, purchasing power has drastically reduced as residents who are employed are forced to rationalize their consumption while the teeming unemployed and dependent ones face starvation. The social protection programmes promised by the government to cushion the effect of the increased fuel price were not implemented.

The implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) – a financial policy introduced to consolidate all inflows from the Nigeria’s ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) by way of deposit into commercial banks, traceable into a single account at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in other to promote accountability, transparency in generated revenue and reduce looting by public officials has created more harm than good.

While the initiative has resulted into high turn of revenue into the consolidated account, many commercial banks who rely on the deposits made into the government accounts domiciled with them to do business have hit financial crisis which has resulted into thousands of Bank workers being laid off.

The policy has also failed to reduce corruption as top government officials and aides of President Buhari have been accused of conniving with the Central Bank Governor to withdraw unappropriated funds from the treasury. Recently, the Emir of Kano and immediate past Governor of the apex bank, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, berated the current CBN Governor of violating statutory financial regulations and undermining the independence of the bank through his alliance with the presidency calling it an “unhealthy relationship”

Another former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and visiting scholar at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Professor Charles Soludo stated that the policy lacks sound economics as concentrating cash at the CBN when the economy needs reviving is illogical.

According to the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report released in August, 4.85 million Nigerians have lost their jobs between 2015 and 2016 with 2.6 million becoming unemployed within the first and second quarter of 2016 alone.

Adekoya BoladaleAdekoya Boladale is on Twitter @adekoyabee

Hunger Will Not Kill Nigerians, Presidency Faults UN Report

The Presidency says the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is responsible and will not allow starvation to kill millions of Nigerians.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity Mallam Garba Shehu said this on Sunday in a reaction to the recent alarm by some aid agencies that starvation would kill one million internally displaced persons in the northeast next year.

He said the nation appreciated the increasing humanitarian assistance complementing the federal and state governments’ efforts in the region currently facing humanitarian crisis.

Shehu explained that the crisis was a problem Buhari’s administration continued to handle with great sensitivity.

He stated: “This notwithstanding, we’re concerned about the blatant attempts to whip up a nonexistent fear of mass starvation by some aid agencies; a type of hype that does not provide solution to the situation on the ground, but more to do with calculations for operations financing locally and abroad. In a recent instance, one arm of the United Nations screamed that 100,000 people will die of starvation next year. A different group says a million will die.

“The displacement pattern as revealed by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) with the International Organisation for Migration indicates that there are currently about two million people who are displaced. Only about 20 percent of this is however in IDP camps. This much reduced numbers are in Borno in 13 formal and 16 satellite camps; four of such camps currently operating in Adamawa and about the same number in Yobe. The larger number of the IDP population is living either in self-settled camps or with host communities. The affected states with active collaboration with NEMA and the recently inaugurated Presidential Committee on Northeast Initiative are deeply involved in efforts to cushion the humanitarian challenges especially on food security and nutrition.

“Through an ongoing arrangement, NEMA provides raw food items to IDPs at formal camps, self-settled centres, host communities and satellite centres. The states for their part provide condiments, firewood and maintain environmental quality of the IDP camps. Beyond the IDP camps, government agencies are  distributing food in host communities. The T.Y Danjuma-led PCNI is currently doing this in Borno State. In addition to the supply of food, the Federal Government, through NEMA and the PCNI, has made the provision of drugs to some major hospitals in the zone as a priority. These agencies have also been deploying on continuous basis, medical teams and equipment to the North-East to support the provision of medicare to the IDPs.

“This country has a responsible government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari which is doing a lot to bring relief to the displaced people. The Nigerian government which has been making the most efforts in the entire endeavour will continue to work closely with the local and international response groups to overcome this humanitarian crisis. At this time when the focus is gradually shifting to towards rehabilitation, reconstruction, resettlement, recovery and the dignified return of IDPs back home, we can do with all the support out there in the donor community.

“We do not, however, see the reason for the  theories and hyperbolic claims being made ostensibly to draw donor support by some of the aid agencies. The situation on the ground, as it exists, provides sufficient motivation to all well-meaning donors to come and do a decent part. The hype, especially that which suggests that the government is doing nothing is therefore uncharitable and unnecessary.”

Credit: dailytrust

Don’t Blame Buhari For Hunger In Nigeria- Fr. Mbaka

Catholic Priest and Spiritual Director of Adoration Ministry, Emene, Revd Fr. Ejike Mbaka has called for prayers for President Muhammadu Buhari and has absolved him of blame in the country’s economic challenges.
Fr. Mbaka, however, reassured Nigerians that the current economic condition in the country will soon be over.
In a sermon to mark the opening of the 2016/2017 Legal Year, organised by Enugu State Judiciary, Mbaka who prophesied Buhari’s victory in the 2015 presidential election recalled that, in 2012, he prophesied that doom time would follow the oil boom, if there was no good planning of the country’s resources.
“But, the past administration was one of ‘loot as much as you can.’ Look at a place like the Niger Delta and one of them became president and did nothing for his people and now, you want Buhari to perform magic. But, we are a mono economy and every country depending on oil is suffering the same fate with Nigeria today.
“Buhari is not the cause of hunger in the country; not the cause of starvation in Nigeria.
“The tap root of Nigeria’s economy has been cut; Buhari is just trying to hold a rolling vehicle; a vehicle that the brakes have been destroyed.
“So, Buhari is not the cause. If (former President Goodluck) Jonathan was the president today, the situation would have been worse.
“Economic recession will not last long; the solution will come in a super natural way.
“Just like Ebola, we thought everybody would die; where is it now? Recession will go as Ebola has gone. So, all we have to do is to pray for Buhari; he has good agenda but, many around him are planning to pull him down.”
On the recent arrest of judges by the Department of State Services (DSS), Mbaka said Nigerians are beginning to lose hope in the Judiciary, “but with Buhari’s revolutionary experience going on, I am not saying that all who are accused are guilty but, I am saying that judges ought to remain incorruptible.
“If they are corrupt, they should be arrested and whoever arrests them should be praised.
“So, if president Buhari has that courage, that lion heart, to touch the tiger’s tail, he is a hero.”
Mbaka lauded the performance of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State and described it as “an exemplary display of visionary leadership which has enthroned peace, uniting diverse political interests.”
He called on the people of the state to continue to support his government which he said has been anointed by God.
In his speech to mark the legal year, Acting Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice N.P Emehelu commended the governor for giving rapid response to the needs of the Judiciary by providing the necessary requirements for the appointments of judges in the state as well as facilitating supervisory duties of the Customary Court of Appeal.
She made a request for a befitting Customary Court of Appeal complex in Enugu as well as complexes for the high courts and Magistrate Courts outside Enugu and called for more slots to be given the judiciary for appointment of high court judges following depletion in the number of judges occasioned by deaths and retirements.
Justice Emehelu thanked the Bar and Bench in the state for their cooperation urging them to redouble their efforts for a quicker and better dispensation of justice.
“I have noted the concern and suggestions of the Nigeria Bar Association as well as those of the learned magistrates and I wish to assure that God willing, we will partner with you in addressing those concerns and issues.”


Buhari’s Government Shameless for Talking About 2019 – Junaid Mohammed

Second Republic lawmaker, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, has kicked against a recent comment from the Presidency that Nigerians will rally behind the President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019, stressing that, “It is very unfortunate and shameless that a government that is yet to do anything is already talking of 2019.”

The President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, on Monday, gave an indication that his principal may be seeking a second term in office when he vehemently dismissed comments by a former member of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, Alhaji Buba Galadima, that the people of Nigeria would abandon the President should he choose to seek re-election.
Shehu, who stated that the “suggestions that the masses will desert President Buhari in 2019 was unfounded and utterly ridiculous,” adding that: “President Muhammadu Buhari is far from isolation. He enjoys a very strategic relationship with ordinary Nigerians.”
Reacting, however, Mohammed was quoted by Vanguard, as saying: “It is very unfortunate that a party like APC that is fast becoming moribund is already talking of 2019 when they have nothing to show for the four years Nigerians gave them. This development shows they are power-hungry, hypocritical and corruption-ridden.
“This entire 2019 discussion is ridiculous. I believe a government that has performed will rely on its performance before being considered for another four years in office. We are not even in the middle of the four-year term given to them and they are already talking of 2019. This is an unfortunate development and it shows the ineptitude of the government. For a man that has led us into the worst recession ever and has got nothing to show Nigerians since he assumed office to be talking of 2019, shows how shameless the government can be.”

There Will Be No Famine, Hunger In Nigeria- Ogbeh

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, says the Federal Government has put necessary measures in place to forestall hunger and famine in the country.

“There will be no hunger. It is just that there is heavy export of our grains to North, West and Central Africa,” The minister said on Tuesday.

“However, we are taking steps to ensure enough food in the next harvest.”

The minister said the Federal Government was also working to develop and establish more dams and lakes to aid irrigation farming to have three harvests within one year.

On preservation of excess grains, he said the Federal Government had provided no fewer than 33 silos with capacity to store over four million tonnes of grains.

He said, “The long term answer to that is to develop more dams and lakes for irrigation so that we have three harvests a year and if West Africa wants food from us, we sell to them.

“We do not have to panic. We have the means to preserve these grains. We have 33 silos, the total capacity of nearly four million tonnes so, we have enough.

“However, we are taking steps; we are assuring Nigerians that there will be no hunger.

“That is why we are here, there will be no need to panic about hunger or famine.”

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, recently warned that Nigeria, the largest producer of cereals risked famine from early next year following huge demand in the global market.

He said in a radio interview in Kano that the demand of the nation’s grains in the global market was creating an “excellent environment for the mindless exports of Nigeria’s food across the borders’’.

He said unless this was curtailed, Nigerian markets would be bereft of grains by January.


Food Importation: Nigeria At Risk Of Hunger – Dangote

Africa’s richest man and Chairman, Dangote Group, Mr. Aliko Dangote, says 98 per cent of all dairy products consumed in the country are imported.

He said that the nation was at the risk of hunger in the next few years if the mass food importation was not checked.

Dangote made this assertion in lagos on Monday while addressing some students of the Executive MBA class of the Lagos Business School who visited the Dangote Petrochemical Refinery.

He said, “Ninety-eight per cent of all the milk and dairy products we consume in Nigeria are imported.

“This is why Dangote Group has planned to develop dairy plants, and develop homegrown milk production, to reduce importation.

“By 2020, it is estimated that the Nigerian population would have risen to between 207 million and 210 million. If we do not make efforts to grow and process our own foods, God forbid, we will go hungry.

“We have been in talks with the Central Bank of Nigeria on ways we can add value to our local produce, and we have marked massive dairy production for the next three years.

“We cannot solve all Nigeria’s problems, but at least we can embrace and add value to areas where we have comparative advantage.”

He said that Dangote Group was the most capitalised company on the stock exchange, with investments which include six ongoing projects that would create not less than 250,000 jobs across the nation.

He said that the refinery, which primarily majored in gas plants, petrochemicals and fertilizer production, could generate an annual foreign exchange savings and earnings of $15bn dollars.

He said it would also generate up to 1500 direct jobs and 15,000 indirect jobs in support services and logistics, which would also include up to 22,000 housing facilities.

Dangote also said that the East West Onshore Gas Gathering Section pipeline of the refinery was a $3bn investment specially dedicated to generate 12,000 mega watts of power for industries.

He urged the students and other potential entrepreneurs to endeavour to venture into businesses that they are familiar with.

75,000 Children Could Die In Nigeria In 2017 – UNICEF

U.N. Children’s Fund warns that about 75,000 children will die next year in Nigeria. The horrible prediction is based on famine-like conditions created by Boko Haram if donors don’t respond quickly. The Fund stresses that’s far more than the 20,000 people killed in the seven-year Islamic uprising.

Arjan de Wagt, nutrition chief for UNICEF in Nigeria, notes that the severity of malnutrition levels and high number of children facing death make the humanitarian crisis confronting northeastern Nigeria perhaps the worst in the world.

De Wagt explains that most severely malnourished children die of secondary illnesses like diarrhea and respiratory infections.

The expert says: “But with famine, you actually die of hunger. Globally, you just don’t see this. You have to go back to places like Somalia five years ago to see these kinds of levels. Nearly 260,000 people died in Somalia between 2010 and 2012 from severe drought aggravated by war.”

On Thursday UNICEF doubled the amount of its appeal for Nigeria, saying $115 million is needed to save children. However, only $24 million has been raised so far.

Speaking about the whole society De Wagt stressed: “Of 4 million people in desperate need of food are about 2.2 million people trapped in areas where Boko Haram is operating or in newly liberated areas that still are too dangerous to reach by road. Among them, 65,000 are living in famine-like conditions.”

In their turn aid group Doctors Without Borders states: “The crisis has reached catastrophic levels for people who have sought refuge in towns controlled by the military but who are entirely reliant on outside aid that does not reach them”.

However, de Wagt admits that the agency continues to deliver some therapeutic food by helicopter and to train local health workers to treat malnourished children living in dangerous areas.

Doctors Without Borders state that the highest levels of starving children are in camps in Maiduguri, the northeastern city free of conflict where aid workers have been active for two years: “The mortality rate is five times higher than what is considered an emergency, with the main cause being hunger”.

Recession: In Niger State, Hungry Youths Snatch Food Packs from Nursery and Primary School Children

Hunger-induced crimes in Minna, Niger State capital have taken a worrying dimension as hungry youths now go about snatching food packs from nursery and primary school children on their way to school, The Guardian reports.
The latest victim, one Fati Sanusi, a four-year-old nursery two pupil of Mega Stars Academy, located in Kpakungu, Minna, alleged that her food pack, prepared by her mother was snatched from her by a youth.
Headmistress of the school, Mrs. Cecilia Bunmi Koseemani, who confirmed the incident exclusively to The Guardian, said that it was difficult to get the little girl to stop crying.
“We had to send for her mother who prevailed on the four-year-old girl before she stopped crying. The mother later rushed back home to prepare Indomie for her instead of the rice meal that was initially snatched from her.” said Mrs Koseemani.
The Headmistress appealed to parents to try and put their little school children in the care of grown up schoolmates, so as to avoid such things in the future, describing the incident as a reflection of the prevailing hardship in the country.
Other cases of hunger-induced crimes includes reports of people stealing food still on fire, as well as women collecting food items from sellers in the market and deliberately taking to their heels instead of paying. It was also reported that a housewife stabbed her rival to death over the modalities for sharing a measure of Gaari (Cassava flour) brought home by their husband.

Source: The Guardian

South Sudan Faces ‘Unprecedented’ Level Of Hunger- UN

The United Nations says hunger in South Sudan has reached “unprecedented” levels, with nearly 5 million people suffering from severe food insecurity.

The U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization said Friday that without a return to stability that will allow agricultural production to continue, “the situation could rapidly become catastrophic.”

The World Food Program has said both South Sudan’s government and the opposition have held up food shipments in parts of this East African country, which is trying to recover from civil war.

Roughly $30 million in supplies were looted from warehouses of the two U.N. agencies during clashes between government and rebel forces in July.

South Sudan is experiencing severe hyperinflation, and the World Food Program said the price of food spiked by 778 percent after the July fighting.

Credit: foxnews

Indian Woman Ends 16-Year Hunger Strike

An Indian rights activist who has waged what is thought to be the world’s longest hunger strike ended her fast on Tuesday after vowing to continue her struggle by standing for election in her home state. Irom Sharmila Irom Sharmila, dubbed the “Iron Lady of Manipur” for her unwavering protest against alleged rights abuses by security forces in the insurgency-hit northeast Indian state, was released on bail after she promised a court she would end her fast.

The 44-year-old had been held in judicial custody on charges of attempting suicide — still a criminal offence in India — and confined to a hospital where she was force-fed through a nasal tube. Speaking to journalists outside the court in the Manipur capital Imphal, she said her long campaign had not worked. “I went on a fast for about 16 years thinking I could change the system, but I now realise that this will not yield any result. “So I decided to end my fast and join politics and then fight for the cause that I undertook this mission for — justice,” she told journalists, speaking in her native Metei language. Irom is campaigning for the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), which covers large parts of the northeast and the restive state of Kashmir.

It gives Indian forces sweeping powers to search, enter property and shoot on sight, and has been criticised as a cover for human rights abuses. The Indian government says security forces need the powers to help them battle multiple rebel groups whose long-standing demands range from secession to greater autonomy and land rights. – Frail but determined – Amnesty International India campaigner Abhirr VP called Irom’s hunger strike “a testament to her passion for human rights, and her belief that a draconian law like the AFSPA has no place in any society”.

Irom began her fast on November 2, 2000 after allegedly witnessing the killing of 10 people by the army at a bus stop near her home. Two weeks ago she surprised supporters by declaring she would end it to stand as an independent candidate in state elections to be held next year. “My fight so far has been all alone and so I have decided to wage a war against the (AFSPA) act democratically by becoming a lawmaker instead of continuing with my fast,” she told reporters at the time.

On Tuesday she appeared frail but determined as she spoke to reporters, the plastic tubing still taped to her nose. After the hearing she was taken back to the hospital where she has spent much of the past 16 years to complete the legal formalities of her bail. Magistrate Lamkkhanpau Tonsing said she was being released after submitting bail of 10,000 rupees ($150) and a written pledge to stop her fast. It is not clear whether she will return to the family home — she has said she would like to marry her fiance, a British national of Indian origin who she met after starting her fast. Doctors have said she will need medical help to begin eating again. Amnesty International declared her a Prisoner of Conscience in 2013 and she has received several prestigious international prizes, including a lifetime achievement award from the Asian Human Rights Commission. But support in her home state has waned in recent years. Irom’s brother Singhajit told journalists she would either contest the election as an independent candidate or form a new party to “fight for the causes of the people of Manipur”.

Salary: Osun Government, Workers Meeting Deadlocked, Strike Continues

Moves aimed at ending the seven-week-old industrial action embarked upon by civil servants in Osun State over non-payment of their salaries failed to pay off over the weekend as meeting between the labour and government delegates ended in a stalemate.

Tribune Online gathered that the workers insisted that the only thing that could compel them to call off the strike is the payment of at least two months out of their seven months salaries.

Sources at the meeting held between the Chief of Staff to the governor, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola and the labour leaders under the leadership of Comrade Jacob Adekomi, who is the chairman of the state chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC)  at the weekend in Osogbo, the state capital, informed Tribune Online  that the government prevailed on the workers to call off the strike while the labour leaders reportedly insisted that ‘no alert, no resumption.’

According to one of the sources at the meeting, “we could safely aver that the parley was deadlocked as no agreement could be reached between the labour and the government. The  leadership of the union stood their ground that bank alert of salaries payment on their handsets of workers would determine when the strike would be called off.”

He further hinted that they told the government representative that if the workers received payment alert on their handsets on Monday, they would call the strike off and workers would resume on Tuesday and if otherwise, the strike continues.

“At Least, if two months could be paid by the government out of the accumulated seven months salaries owed, the strike will be called off for a while while pressure will be mounted to receive the remaining five months in no distant time,”the source added.

Credit –

Boko Haram Members Sell Seized Goats To Owners To Raise Money To Buy Petrol

A survivor of Boko Haram attack on a Borno town made a startling revelation that Boko Haram insurgents were selling goats and other livestock seized from owners during se­ries of attacks on the communities to buy pet­rol. Danladi Umar who fled the troubled Kukawa town, north of Borno following the Wednesday Boko Haram at­tack disclosed to Sunday Sun.

“They took away our goats, chicken and other livestock after attack on Kukawa and other neighbouring villages. They also seized our property, claiming Allah has bestowed these things to them. But when people started returning to Ku­kawa before the start of Rama­dan, Boko Haram men started selling the goats, chicken and some of the items back to peo­ple who were even the origi­nal owners in the first place. They said they were raising money to buy petrol to fuel their vehicles and motorcycles because petrol was being sold for N1,000 a litre in Kukawa before the last attack (Wednes­day),”

A group of Boko Haram insurgents last Wednesday launched coordinated attacks on Kukawa, a serene com­munity around the Lake Chad bordering Niger. Sources said residents; mostly peasant farmers and fishermen, had barely assembled in the major mosques for the break of the Muslim fast when the armed men came to unleash terror on them.

“They rounded up people in mosques and opened fire on them. They also pursued those trying to escape and shot them. About 97 people were killed while the insurgents also set fire on houses,” one of the sources disclosed. But Danladi who appeared fam­ished shortly after arriving Maiduguri following two days of trekking in the bush, said the casualty figure was higher, insisting that about 120 people were massacred.

“It is more than 97, there are corpses everywhere, about 120 people may have died. The insurgents burnt many houses and wrecked havoc in Kukawa,” he said. He said an historical tree in the town was cut off following heavy shoot­ing by Boko Haram.

He said many children who had gathered at a place where women fry and sell bean-cake were caught up in the spo­radic gunshots.

“Most of the women and children at a place where bean-cake are sold were shot dead. The women were frying bean-cake and selling pap to those willing to use it to break their fast since the time for breaking of fast was approaching. Some of the children were also there to buy bean-cake. Kukawa, an his­torical town, north of Borno, was reported to be the place where the first Shehu of Borno received two British Explorers to the Bornu Empire in 1822 and 1834 respectively.

Oshiomhole Blames Ministry Of Petroleum And Finance For Owed Salaries

The Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole has blamed the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and Ministry of Finance for workers salaries owed by different states.

He said both Ministries “refused to transfer into the Federation Account.

Governor Oshiomhole said: “the NNLG had every year made payments of about $1.5 billion to 2 billion Naira which ought to go the Federation Account but was expended by the Federal Government”.

Governor Oshiomhole also stated that the office of the Ministry of Finance was aware of the payment and also some other companies that remit their revenue.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Governor Oshiomhole explained that for the past four months under the past government, the Federal Government has not been able to pay salaries from her legitimate income.

He added that the Federal Government has been borrowing using CBN through various instruments like bonds, securities, thereby drawing down the pension funds.

Governor Oshiomhole said most Governors were bowing down on owed salaries because of structural crisis that the various states were facing.

He also raised concerns about the crude oil funds and also spoke against crude oil theft, insisting that the development had triggered the formation of a committee which he is a member of.

The Governor commended President Buhari’s decision that all revenue generating body  for Federal Government should be remitted to the Federal Account.

Senator Boroffice Denies NASS Members Will Be Receiving N8.64bn Wardrobe Allowance, Says It’s For Miscellaneous Expenses

A member of the National Assembly, Senator Ajayi Borrofice representing Ondo North has come out to deny reports that the National Assembly Members will be given N8.64bn as wardrobe allowance.

Speaking to ThisDay, Senator Borrofice said the controversial N8.64bn to be released to members of the National Assembly is for miscellaneous or regular expenses such as motor vehicle fueling and maintenance, wardrobe, domestic staff, personal assistant, constituency office, house maintenance, utilities and entertainment, among other perks, for the entire 469 lawmakers in the National Assembly.

Senator Borrifice said the miscellaneous allowance also includes cost of securing and equipping constituency offices in various local government areas which make up their constituencies and also includes monies to be used by lawmakers to organize town hall meetings in their various constituencies.

He said it was wrong for the public to believe they will be using N8.64 billion just for clothes.

According to him, the wardrobe allowance is the least significant to the assembly members. He stated that the miscellaneous allowance they will receive will be deducted in tranches from their salaries.

The report of the lawmakers collecting N8.64 billion as their wardrobe allowance surfaced yesterday June 16th with most Nigerians strongly condemning it.

Food Prices Getting Too Expensive In Lagos – Report

Stuffs are getting very expensive, yet workers are not making more money. How will Nigerians cope?

Food prices, especially those of yam and soup ingredients like tomato, pepper, etc. in Lagos, are rising too fast to the detriment of average Nigerians. The reason for the rise, according to traders, is a combination of the scarcity and hike in the prices of petroleum products across the country.

While many traders blamed the situation on the activities of insurgents in the North where these items are brought from, others attributed it to high cost of transportation, extra charges at the depot and shortage in supply of the goods, since many farmer in the North are running because of Boko Haram.

At the popular Ketu market, Lagos, which is the depot for tomato coming in from the North, it was observed that the prices of tomato and pepper have increased by over 100 per cent in the past two weeks. For example: a small basket of tomato previously sold for between N5,000 and N6,000 now goes for N18,0000, while the big basket sold initially for N12,000 now goes for between N26,000 and N27,000 depending on the dealers and bargaining ability.

Also, a medium basket of ordinary pepper increased from N8,000 to N15,000 while a basket load of Tatashe pepper now sells for N17.000 instead of N10,000.

When Vanguard visited the Ketu market, it was observed that the prices of melon, yam, crayfish and stock fish are going up. A small paint-plastic of crayfish sold for N1,200 now goes for N2,500 and above, a big tuber of yam that went for N300 before the elections now goes for N600 and above.

A tomato trader at the Ketu depot, Mr. Abdulli Isa, said the problem started before the just concluded general elections, when the supply in tomato and pepper into the depot reduced drastically, such that the shortage greatly affected the quality of tomato coming into the market.

He said, “Also, the dealers bringing in the items from the North incur financial losses due to some factors. These include high cost of transporting the goods to Lagos, the quantity of tomato and pepper that are destroyed due to the distance and method of conveyance. Sometimes we spend two to three days on the road to convey these items to the depot in Lagos, even after bringing them from the farm.”

Meanwhile, two women running restaurants at a motor park in Lagos lamented the hike in the prices of food items, in particular tomato and pepper, saying it was affecting their business as customers were not willing to pay more money than they hitherto paid for food.

Read the Account of People who Lived in “Boko Haram State”

Boko Haram says it is building an Islamic state that will revive the glory days of northern Nigeria’s medieval Muslim empires, but for those in its territory life is a litany of killings, kidnappings, hunger and economic collapse.

The Islamist group’s five-year-old campaign has become one of the deadliest in the world, with around 10,000 people killed last year, according to the Council on Foreign Relations. Hundreds, mostly women and children, have been kidnapped.

It remains the biggest threat to the stability of Africa’s biggest economy ahead of a vote on Feb. 14 in which President Goodluck Jonathan will seek re-election.

But while it has matched Islamic State in Syria and Iraq in its brutality — it beheads its enemies on camera — it has seriously lagged in the more mundane business of state building.

“The Islamic state is a figment of their imagination. They are just going into your house and saying they have taken over,” said Phineas Elisha, government spokesman for Adamawa state, one of three states under emergency rule to fight the insurgency.

Unlike its Middle East counterparts wooing locals with a semblance of administration, villagers trapped by Boko Haram face food shortages, slavery, killing and a lock down on economic activity, those who escaped say.

“(They) have no form of government,” Elisha, who saw the devastation caused by Boko Haram after government forces recaptured the town of Mubi in November.

Boko Haram, which never talks to media except to deliver jihadist videos to local journalists, could not be reached for comment.

Boko Haram’s leaders talk about reviving one of the West African Islamic empires that for centuries prospered off the Saharan trade in slaves, ivory and gold, but they demonstrate little evidence of state building.

In August a man saying he was Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau — the military says it killed Shekau — issued a video declaring a “Muslim territory” in Gwoza, by the Cameroon border.

There were echoes of Islamic State’s proclaimed caliphate in Iraq and Syria two months earlier. Boko Haram controls an area just over 30,000 square km of territory, about the size of Belgium, according to a Reuters calculation based on security sources and government data.

But while in Syria, after initially brutal takeovers, Islamic State has tried to win over communities, those who escaped Boko Haram say the rebels do little for them beyond forcing them to adopt their brand of Islam on pain of death.

“They provide raw rice to cook, the rice that they stole from the shops. They provide a kettle and … scarves to cover up the women,” said Maryam Peter from Pambla village.

“People are going hungry. They are only feeding on corn and squash. No meat, nothing like that. The insurgents are not providing anything else,” she added.

Maryam said most daily interactions with the militants involved them questioning villagers on their movements and forbidding them from trying to escape — a rule she managed to flout when she fled a week ago.

A government-run camp in a former school is now her home, along with 1,000 others, where mothers cook on outdoor fires while children run around. Some 1.5 million people have been rendered homeless by the war, Oxfam says.

And those the militants kill, they often fail to bury. The first thing the Nigerian Red Cross has to do when a town falls back into government hands is clear the corpses, Aliyu Maikano, a Red Cross official, told Reuters.

After the army recaptured Mubi in November, Maikano had to cover his nose to avoid the stench of rotting corpses.

Those still alive “were starved for food, water, almost everything there. There’s no drinking water because (in) most of the wells there you’ll find dead bodies,” Maikano said.

Many residents looked tattered and malnourished, and some were unable to speak.

“They are heartless. ISIS (Islamic State) is a kind of organised group, it’s a business. These guys are not.”

A former resident of Mubi said the rebels had renamed the town “Madinatul Islam” or “City of Islam”.

But when government spokesman Phineas Elisha walked into the Emir’s palace after its recapture, everything had been looted, even the windows and doors.

“Mubi was a ghost town … Virtually all the shops were looted.” he said. It took him hours to find a bottle of water.

Sometimes the rebels simply loot the unprotected villages and hide out in bush camps, security sources say. Murna Philip, who escaped the occupied town of Michika five months ago, said a few dozen fighters had occupied an abattoir, a school and a lodge, but little else.

To survive under their watch you have to pretend to support them, said Andrew Miyanda, who escaped the rebels last week, walking for days to the Benue river.

“They would write Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’Awati Wal-Jihad (Boko Haram’s full name) on their trouser legs in marker or the back of their shirts,” he said. “You had to turn up your trousers with the marker on to show that you are a member.”

Buildings were torched and boys were abducted for “training”, he said, a practice reminiscent of Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army.

Slowly, with the help of traditional hunters armed with home made guns and a reputation for magic powers, government forces have pushed Boko Haram out of some of its southern possessions.

Morris Enoch, a leader of the hunters, says they found an arsenal of military weapons: rocket launchers, machine guns, dynamite, anti-aircraft guns and grenades. The rebels rarely leave behind much else.

Credit: Reuters

The Urgent Need To Rebuild By James Ogunjimi

Yesterday, I was going on the road when some ‘boys’ repairing a fictitious pot-hole stopped the guy carrying me. They requested money from the innocent guy and when he couldn’t give them, I gave them N100. When they collected the money, come and see how they started hailing me. They told the guy; “Eeyan lo gbe o.” (Your passenger is a correct human being o). One of them even prostrated, and they continued like that till I left.
I felt very sad. Is this what Nigerians have been reduced to? That moment, I felt a raw hatred for the Nigerian ruling class. In a nation of plenty, people of the same nation are living in abject poverty.
It is sad that the same people that feel the effects of mismanagement and blue-black looting will still continue to harbour hope in this failed system.
This nation has failed so many people. The growth of the economy happens in worlds they don’t belong to. The steady developmental rise is bookish and has no place in their own reality. Yet these same people continue to expect things to get better. These same people continue to hope that at 40 and earning N10, 000, the future is bright. These same people continue to believe the false hope sold to them by religion and its agents. These same people continue to ‘sow bountifully’ every sunday to maintain their preachers’ jets, while waiting endlessly for a bountiful harvest that will never come.
The situation of this nation has never been clearer than it is now. Recycling leaders, changing party names and supervising mergers, perpetuating religious differences and championing regional sentiments will take us nowhere. Post-2015 polls will make it even clearer that the problems of this nation goes beyond individual failures and inabilities; you don’t patch up systemic failures this pronounced, neither do you repair it; you either overturn the system or you continue in the 4-year national delusion that we have been practising for the past 16 years.
Nigerians will have started on the journey to a genuine national liberation when they lose hope in this system and begin to organise to take the nation back from the thieving ruling class and inconsiderate ruling elites who are bent on not just looting the nation dry but also giving their children and friends the go-ahead to run the nation down.
Our salvation lies solely in our hands; not in the hands of any party or any political aspirant. The day we discover that is the day we take the first step in the long and tedious road to a genuine peoples’ national liberation.
James Ogunjimi

Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, Nigeria
November 2014

Articles on are solely authors opinion