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Published in Technology

By Abbas Inuwa Jnr

The government is expected to address all challenges, domestic and international for the wellbeing of its people and guests. The challenge of corruption is not mutually exclusive, government through anti-corruption agencies need to enforce and prevent corruption, as well as educate the public on its vices.

The government can address bureaucratic, political, economic, incidental and state-restricting corruptions. However, not all forms of corruption can be addressed by the government as not all forms are criminal offences or simple transaction like bribe. Therefore, the onus lies with the citizens.

The corrupt behaviour of breaching traffic rules, lateness to work, absenteeism, lies, mischief, misuse of official information, not keeping to time (African time), hypocrisy, deceit and underhandedness, passive abuse of office (including nepotism, victimisation and bullying), exploiting conflicts of interest or personal interests may be considered unethical, especially in a professional sense. They constitute ‘quiet’ corruption found in various types of malpractice of frontline providers (such as teachers, doctors, supervisors, and other government agents) that do not involve monetary exchange. Quiet corruptions are observable and sometimes hard-to-observe deviations from expected conduct such as a lower level of effort than expected or the deliberate bending of rules for personal advantage.

 

These forms of corruption are relatively subjective and inclined to personal conduct either privately or publicly and require personal commitment and redemption to be addressed and not governmental intervention.

What would you say of someone who accuses a motorist of obeying traffic rules because he wants to overtake the motorist and breach traffic? Or, someone who accuses a colleague of doing his work diligently? Really that person requires divine intervention to see the rights in others before emulating same.

Quiet corruption is not the type Buhari’s government will fight, they are either inherent or habitual immoral attitude that Nigerians must fight. As the saying goes “the fight against corruption starts with you and me”.

At the core of this saying is the individual commitment to condemn corruption and uphold integrity according to the rules and tenets of belief. All religions abhor corruption and social vices, therefore we must look inward spiritually and internalise God’s consciousness to be able to fight corruption.

Spiritually, the holy bible reveals that, “Corrupt thoughts give rise to corrupt speech and corrupt actions” (Proverbs 19:28; James 3:6). “When human hearts are not in fellowship with God, they are preoccupied with their own interests and fail to accept God’s will as the norm of action” (Romans 3:23; 5:12).

The holy quran says: “Woe to those who deal in fraud. Those who when they have to receive by measure from men, exact full measure. But when they have to give by measure or weight to men, give less than due. Do they not think that they will be called to account on a mighty day, a day when (all) mankind will stand before the Lord of the worlds?” (Q.83 vs. 1-6). Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) further reiterates that, “Whoever indulges in corruption is not part of us”.

Therefore, it is pertinent to note that, irrespective of one’s belief or religion, corruption is not an option both morally and spiritually.

As Nigerians, we are part of the government’s anti-corruption effort, the success of which depends on us, our readiness to change, our support and commitment, response and participation in the process. The thought of eradicating corruption starts with the individual. It is our ethical transformation and commitment to fight the menace that will make the anti-corruption crusade successful.

Nigerians must shun and condemn corruption in all its ramifications and work for the common good individually and collectively; a progressive nation is built on the platform of good leadership, committed followers, sound morals, stable economy and patriotism.

Inuwa posted this piece on Abusidiqu.com

Published in Technology
Thursday, 19 July 2012 06:21

The Boko Haram prisoners’ transfer

By Ejike Anyaduba

The transfer of Boko Haram prisoners to Ekwulo¬bia in Anambra State has been generating a lot of controversy. Very few subjects can claim to have done so in recent past. The closest, perhaps, was the dump-ing by nightfall of some waifs at the foot of the Niger Bridge by the then Fashola government in Lagos. That incident almost pitched Anambra State against Lagos and helped define the election of the period. It may feel safe to accept as normal the prolonged public debate that has dogged the prisoners’ transfer because of its un-usualness. Either through security measures or divine intervention or both, the southeast zone was insulated and void of the menace of the terrorists. And it appears to want to remain so.

Though there were some resident Igbo and a few peripatetic ones who were killed within the Boko Ha¬ram enclave, but to cohabit with the suicides (be they captive or free) would be a costly acquiescence. Per¬haps, this explains the consistent demonstrations and protests witnessed differently at Onitsha, Awka, Nnewi, and Ekwulobia. Other muffled voices of complaint yet to be given expression have failed to be assuaged by the futile explanation that the transfer is a routine pro-gramme of the Prison Establishment. Essentially, the transfer is seen by the people as yielding the zone – hitherto immune to boundless violence – to possible rape by the suicides. The strong feeling of disapproval from the people is premised upon three major reasons. One is the fear of indoctrination of other inmates who were not known to harbor as much ruthless streak as the terrorists, and whose convictions were secured on less criminal charge. Two is the fear of escape from the prison and possible mingling with the natives.

 

Three, and perhaps the worst of the fears, is likely invasion of the prison and its surrounding by other members of the terrorist group who may attempt to free the captives. As feeble as the excuse that this set of Boko Haram prisoners are not as radicalized as the ones wreaking havoc in the Northeast and beyond is, the choice of a poor prison like Ekwulobia beats the imagination. If the argument is to insulate this set of prisoners from further radicalization couldn’t a better equipped prison suffice? At any rate, what attraction has Ekwulobia as a prison? Is it capacious? Does it have enough room to swing a cat? Does it have the necessary facility to hold in check such high risk pris¬oners? Now soldiers are said to be drafted to the place to keep surveillance. This must be at another cost. And there is no assurance that an invasion will be repelled if it occurs.

Aside the fact that the terrorists have been a handful for security operatives, nothing has changed in recent past to inspire in the people the kind of confidence exuded by those who made the transfer. Ekwulobia prison or any other prison in the Southeast does not fit the bill of a safe place for Boko Haram-type of pris¬oners. Except there is a fail-safe option in this prison that is not evident to the people, the transfer remains a policy mistake. For a zone that is the least developed, including its prison facilities, to be the first choice for the transfer is very strange. Again the transfer failed to follow Nigeria’s unofficial scale of preference in its distribution of favours. Southeast normally comes last in this scale. Every effort made by those involved in the unsavoury transfer to convince the people of their good intention leaves the host community Ekwulobia, Anambra and the Southeast zone more distressed.

And until they are relocated from Anambra, every other state in the Southeast zone is at risk of being in¬filtrated. Everybody now sleeps with their eyes wide open in keeping with the saying that a man hemmed in by enemies must guard his life always. To the credit of the Anambra State government, it managed all the protests well, thus de-escalating them. Even though a lot of people still see the with rage over the issue, including those whose calls I missed, government is able to manage the situation while awaiting redress. Already efforts are on by all concerned Southeastern¬ers, including the five governors, senators and other stakeholders to even out the situation.

Sadly, the time required in thinking out new strat¬egy on how to move the zone forward is now wasted on avoidable problem. It would seem that those who hatched the idea to send the prisoners to Ekwulobia never envisaged there will be outcry. But if they are conscious of the poverty of infrastructural develop¬ment in the zone, including prison services they will not to annoy the people further. When in recent mem¬ory did the Southeast zone beat other zones as the first choice of destination for building an industry by the federal government? Virtually all federal infrastruc¬tures in the zone are moribund. Instead of sending high-risk prisoners to the zone to keep everybody on edge why not expedite work on the second Niger Bridge whose construction has endured the worst politiciza¬tion in recent memory.

 

Culled from Opinion.ng

Published in Technology
Thursday, 19 July 2012 06:21

Nigeria: Religion, morality and politics

By Alex Akpodiete

Admittedly, Nigeria is a complex country, with over three hundred ethnic groups.

In an interview in The Guardian of Tuesday, May 28, 2013, under the caption “How to save Nigeria from anarchy by Nwabueze, Asemota”, The Patriots under the chairmanship of Prof. Ben Nwabueze, provided their research-based claim that we have 389 ethnic nationalities in Nigeria. This lack of ethnic homogeneity is compounded by the various religions we have in the country. Though our uncorroborated statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics purportedly states that the country is split evenly between Christians mostly in the south and Muslims mostly in the north, there are other religions, especially our traditional African religion. 

 

I hesitate to use the term ‘pagan’ in referring to our traditional religion. Even the phrase traditional African religion is questionable as some theologians will argue that Christianity originated from Africa and was eventually exported, only to be re-imported to us, in an ‘anglosized’ form. Also, the United States Institute of Pace in a January 2015 article titled “Religion and Conflict in Nigeria” by John Paden, states that “Muslims in Nigeria include Sufi, Izala, women’s organisations, student organisations, emirate traditions, and ordinary people, as well as Boko Haram extremists. Christians range from Catholic to mainstream protestants to evangelical to pentecostal to African syncretism.” That notwithstanding, I want to look at the interplay of religion, morality and politics in Nigeria, using Christianity and Islam as a general backdrop.

Recently, on a trip with some fellow lawyers, we were discussing corruption, religion and essentially morality. It reminded me of an article I wrote four years ago, wherein I asked which was worse: adultery or corruption. Only a naïve person will deny that our moral values have declined as a nation. A gentleman stated that some years back, a young girl would have been ashamed to have even the straps of her bra showing in a dress. But today, some clothes are made to intentionally reveal the bra and young girls will wear them to entice a man under the guise of being sexy or fashionable. We discussed the incessant adultery committed by married men and women with the searchlight beamed on married women at NYSC camps sleeping with young men. Also, we discussed why men and women cheat, with a particular man stating that he only cheats when he travels.

Given the Durex condom research that painted Nigerian women as the most unfaithful in the world, the issue of DNA tests came up. It was jovially agreed that if DNA tests were readily available in Nigeria, many homes will be broken because a lot of men will discover that the children they raised were not biologically theirs. At the end of the day, we still came back to our discussion on morality and politics.

With the prevalence of churches and mosques everywhere, why is there so much corruption and wickedness in the country. A friend of mine stated that he does not like the idea of prayers being offered in many offices before the beginning of the work day, especially at government offices. He also pointed out that in some markets, the traders have morning devotionals (praise and worship session) before the start of the day. My friend is a Christian but was pointing out the hypocrisy of these people. The same civil servant that just finished praising God, will go into the office to find a means to embezzle money or frustrate a contractor that has not ‘shown appreciation’. He further added that the trader will leave the morning devotion and immediately start plotting how to defraud or overcharge a customer to increase his profit. I reminded him that in civilised climes where they practice separation of state and religion that will not happen. Keep in mind that Section 10 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) states that “The government of the federation or of a state shall not adopt any religion as state religion.”

My Muslim friends were not left out of the discussion. How can a Malam or Alhaji go to the mosque at 2pm, pray religiously five times a day and still swindle you or siphon off billions from the pension funds? Even with the privilege of marrying four wives, some still have mistresses/concubines outside.

Is it that infidelity, morality, corruption are now acceptable values in Nigeria? If so, maybe we should stop deceiving ourselves and accept it. In fact, we should tell our president not to bother with the fight against corruption because our religion, morality and politics accept it. Maybe we should stop complaining when we see the “runs” girls chasing after sugar daddy politicians? If we celebrate politicians and fraudsters that display their ill-gotten wealth without being concerned about the source, then are we not sending the message that just get the money, no matter how? A friend simply admitted that he has not stolen any money yet, not because he was righteous, but because he has not been given the opportunity. In fact, he said he was looking and “praying” for the opportunity to steal money because everyone he knows has stolen money from government. He even bemoaned how a “small” boy he trained was appointed SA and all of a sudden is displaying wealth without abandon.

President Muhammadu Buhari was elected based on an anti-corruption agenda. This means that deep within many Nigerians, they are tired of the dearth of moral values. Nigerians are tired of the stealing with impunity.

Published in Technology
Thursday, 19 July 2012 06:21

IDPs and special education needs

No child left behind:  Four words that ensure basic education caters for all.  The education sector requires restructuring in Nigeria.  From archaic syllabus to examination malpractice, several glitches within the educational system have caused Nigeria to lag behind global education standards.  Regrettably, millions are left behind and reorientation of our education system should be a priority.

The 2015 Education For All (EFA) Global Monitoring Report (GMR) has revealed that “Nigeria failed to reach any of the global education goals.”  This indicates that the ‘Giant of Africa’ is not doing enough to improve its children’s education.  According to the United Nations Education, Scientific, Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), “Nigeria has more out-of- school children than any other country in the world.  The number was estimated at 10.5 million.”

In the shadows of the system lurks the plight of Special Education Needs (SEN) students erroneously regarded as dull, slow, or mentally challenged, SEN students are marginalised and ignored.  Most people are dismissive of the realities of learning difficulties, assuming it is not a common problem in Nigeria.  This is far from the truth.

SEN is stereotypically categorised as educating physically challenged students in separate special schools.  Special education is much more than two or three labels.  It covers a vast range of learning difficulties, sensory/physical difficulties, communication needs, intellectual disabilities, behavioural/emotional difficulties and medical conditions.

It is necessary to accommodate students with special needs within mainstream schools instead of them being unjustly perceived as burdens and brushed aside.  Identifying strength and weakness, application of multiple teaching methods, individualised educational plans, therapy, modified syllabus and assessments and physical structural assistance are few services that are provided to SEN students to improve their educational knowledge.

 

Two cases particular to Nigeria today are sickle cell anaemia (SCA) patients and internally displaced children. Because of frequent hospital admission and health-related school absences, SCA students fall under the medical attention aspect of special education.  “No child left behind” is priority.  SCA patients often deal with emotional distress and struggle to keep up with the syllabus that they missed.

Recent series of unfortunate events in the north east has displaced entire communities.  Children’s educational process has been disrupted and many are out-of-school.  IDPs will need post-conflict rehabilitation.  Most (if not all) children will need some level of special education needs support, ranging from behavioural/emotional needs to communication needs.  That is excluding any other needs not taken care of prior to the conflict.

So far, there has been overwhelming support by individuals and charity groups to help IDPs.  However, establishing a functional school system is still in the works.  The government is yet to act on improving this aspect. The Special Education Needs office in the Ministry of Education is a small under-resourced room, with little activity.

A ‘Disability Bill’ is still in limbo at the National Assembly bookshelves.  “Part XII – Education” section of the “Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities” is flawed in the sense that it is not adequate and relevant to students with learning difficulties.  A few lines are not sufficient to cater for the needs of students in Nigeria.  “Special Education” should be an Act on its own, with the following provisions;

An Amendment to the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities Act

Definitions and eligibility of Special Education Needs, Learning Disabilities, Social Disabilities, Mental Health Disabilities, and Physical Disabilities Diagnosis and Certification Emphasis on Inclusive Approach to integrate SEN students in schools Administration, Projects, and Research Departments Source, allocation and use of grants and funds Roles of State, Public and Private Schools, Teachers, Students, and Parents

Methods of Teaching, Alternative Assessments, & Assignment Modifications Parent and Teacher Training/Interaction

Resources and tools within government schools for Special Needs Students Awareness, information centers, booklets, and website

It is apparent that a lot more should be dedicated to SEN students.  The aim of a Special Needs Education Act is to protect the rights of children with learning difficulties to improve their educational outcome and ensure the equality of opportunity, independent livelihood and economic self-sufficiency.  It should be designed to meet their needs and prepare them for further education, employment and independent living.

The Federal Ministry of Education has to ensure that all students have high education standards by providing qualified teachers, proper resources and a favourable learning environment. Improving education will create productive citizens, who will contribute to the development of Nigeria, instead of becoming detrimental to our society.

Culled from Abusidiqu.com

Published in Technology
Thursday, 19 July 2012 06:21

Nyako: Between EFCC and CBN who is lying?

ust this week, some commercial banks released the names of some of its debtors which they said was a directive given by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to be published on a quarterly basis. Among the published debtors was a former governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Hammanyero Nyako, who was said to be owing Union Bank N115.5 million classified as overdraft projects financing term loans.

According to a Daily Trust publication, Nyako was one of the directors of the Noble Heavy Duty Industry whose loan was collected under his names and the term facility of the loan was collected on November 11, 2008 and had expired on May 20, 2009.

 But the  Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)  interrogated Nyako     over alleged corrupt practices   and money laundering   of  N15 billion belonging to Adamawa State  to which he used some   companies  such as  Blue Opal Nigeria Limited, Crust Energy Nigeria Limited, Blue Ribbon Multilinks Limited, Tower Assets Management Limited and Blue Ribbon Bureau De Change to divert funds.

 

Even though the  EFCC said their   investigation against Nyako  was triggered by petitions against him to which many believe was organised by the federal government, they alleged that he looted   the treasury with  his cronies through an illegal department called Special Programme and Project Units, SPPU, which engaged in over invoicing and inflation of contract.

Nigerians all know that   Nyako’s travail originated from two ‘incidental pies’ during former president Goodluck Jonathan’s administration. The first was his independent-mindedness and audacity to dump the then ruling party, PDP, along with other ex-governors.  Since then the PDP was no longer ready to take matters lying low and the dummy for the critical assessment of his stewardship, pied with booby traps ostensibly to spite him began.

  Another point was how he openly castigated Jonathan, saying he was behind the genocide against the north eastern region, all in the name of fighting Boko Haram at the heat of a gruelling massacre of the people of the area by the outlawed insurgents.

Before he was impeached, the EFCC had in June 2014, frozen the bank accounts belonging to Adamawa in what it then called a precautionary measure to safeguard the state treasury. The commission had alleged massive looting of the treasury by top officials of the state government under Nyako, a development that led to the arrest and questioning of key officials of his cabinet including the then secretary to the state government, state commissioner for finance, commissioner for higher education, accountant general of the state and permanent secretary, ministry for local government affairs. The commission declared Nyako wanted and set in its dragnet to track him and his son, Abdulaziz, whom they alleged fronted for his father.

Nyako, however, was not disturbed by the incident and described the anti-graft agency’s ambush on him as ‘the last kicks of a dying horse’. Notwithstanding the accusations, Nyako continued to enjoy soaring support even after he left office, culminating to his son, Abdul-Aziz’s victory as the senator representing Adamawa Central.  

Following the recent disclosure from the bank, if Nyako had looted the treasury to the tune of N15 billion as EFCC had claimed, why would he borrow  N115.5 million within the same period that  the EFCC accused him of financing Noble Heavy Company as a governor and director? It is time for Nigerians to know if the EFCC is telling us the truth or the bank, of course the former governor and his son were being witch hunted for political reasons. 

Published in Technology
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